A Passion For Creativity

Unleash Your Creativity, by Mary Sara Pipia

Oscars – A breath of fresh air February 23, 2009

Filed under: General — marysarap @ 8:18 pm
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Did you see the Oscars last night?  While, I thought the show was a breath of fresh air.  I loved Hugh Jackman and his showmanship.  How fun was the opening number?  It was so creative and different.  I loved that they had the stage much smaller and that it was in the “round.’  How inventive was that?  I thought that the stage setting with the crystal arch surrounding the curtains and the orchestra on the stage instead of in the pit made them part of the show. 


I also loved that they brought back past winners to applaud the current nominees.  How inspirational and what a wonderful way to show appreciation for their work.  How do you show appreciation for someone who you think is special in your life?  What about the coworker who’s having a bad day or helps you with that project?  Why not send them a card or handwritten note saying thank you.  Sometimes I leave a piece of chocolate on their desk when they are at lunch.  Just because.  I brought my mother her favorite  fudge on Saturday just because.  She loved the unexpected gesture.  What do you do that’s unexpected to show someone you care? 

Did you watch the Oscars?  What did you think about the show?   Did you see how inventive and creative it was this year?   What do you do to show appreciation to those who are special in your life?  Please post a comment and share your thoughts and ideas.


Creative Road Trip February 16, 2009

I had a fun weekend.  Even though it was cold, the sun was out and it’s amazing what seeing the sun for a few days in a row will do for you.  Some of the snow has melted and no storms this weekend.  In order to help some local scrapbooking businesses during a slow time, 12 local scrapbook stores in the area got together and put together a Shop Hop Pass that you purchase.  You visit all the stores during January and February and get a 20% discount.  If you visit all stores and turn your Pass in by the end of February, you’re entered into a drawing for gift certificates to the participating stores.  What a great way to support local businesses and at the same time you’re able to save some money, see new stores and meet other people that love crafts. 


So with the weather on my side, I got up on Saturday and visited four stores.  It was great to have the sun out, be in the car on a drive that gave me time to think.  The furthest store was over an hour away, but I mapped out the route and did a loop.  My Google directions were pretty accurate.  Two of the stores I visited had classes going on, so it was fun to see what they were doing. 

I picked up a couple of new things, got some ideas for cards and saw products that I hadn’t seen before.  Each store had a unique feeling and set up and while products were similar at each store, they each had different patterns, styles and product lines.  Staff and customers at the stores were very friendly and helpful and I got to talk to people who share my love of paper crafting.  I also got to try a new product at one of the stores that was doing a make and take that was pretty cool.   What a fun way to spend the day. 


The next time you are feeling stumped or the creative juices aren’t flowing, why not try something different and go to an area or store that is either close by or a little drive (within an hour) that you normally don’t go to.  Maybe sign up and take a class just for fun.  You never know what you might find and maybe you might even make a new friend, find that item that you were looking for or just went for a ride in the car to give you some thinking time.


Happy Birthday Sis February 12, 2009

Filed under: General — marysarap @ 8:15 pm
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Just wanted to wish my sister a Happy Birthday today.  It was fun having lunch on Saturday to celebrate and hope you enjoy your treats.  My sister and I always make a point now that we’re older to take each other out to lunch around our birthdays.  Hers being the winter and mine in the summer, we can run into either a snow storm or a heat wave, but we always have fun and try to do it within our birthday “month.”  We do whatever the “birthday” girl wants to do.  What do you do to celebrate your family’s birthdays?


Valentine’s Day February 11, 2009

Filed under: baking,General,Holidays — marysarap @ 10:21 pm
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I can’t believe that Saturday is Valentine’s Day.  To me, Valentine’s Day ranks right up there with New Year’s Eve.   My married friends forget about it and my single friends think it’s over rated.  However, being a holiday, my creative side can’t help thinking about it.  I know that most of the time I have good intentions as Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that I try and let pass, but in the end my ceative side takes over.  I make heart shaped cookies or buy fun chocolates for close friends and family along with either handmade or store bought Valentine Day cards and get Valentine’s Day candy for my candy dish at the office.


So, what’s Valentine’s Day without some chocolate?  I love this brownie recipe from Ghiradelli.  It’s one of my Ghiradelli Sweet Chocolate and Cocoafavorites because it’s super easy.  You use Ghiradelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa, which is easy to find at your grocey store.  I usually find it either with the baking items or coffee/tea/cocoa.  You’ll probably find the recipe on the back of the canister, which is where I discovered it. 


For a Valentine’s Day treat, I make a pan of brownies and let them cool.  I then use a heart shaped cookie cutter and cut into heart shapped brownies.  If you like, you could then frost with chocolate icing.  For a special Valentine’s Day dessert, drizzle hot fudge on a plate, put your heart shaped brownie on the plate, put a scoop of your favorite ice cream on top, drizzle hot fudge sauce over it, put a chocolate covered strawberry (or regular strawberry or cherry) on top and you have an easy, elegant dessert.  (Note – the nuts are optional and I very rarely use nuts because my brother doesn’t like them, so I stopped putting them in my brownies and cookies years ago.)

You can also make hot cocoa with this Sweet Ground Chocolate and add a Peeps Marshmallow Shaped Heart in the center for a sweet chocolate treat.  Kids especially love this. 

Please post a comment and tell me what you do for Valentine’s Day or if you made the brownies and how you liked them.



Ghirardelli Brownies Ingredients


2 large eggs 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, unsifted
3/4 cup granular sugar 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocoalte & Cocoa (Dutch processed cocoa) 1 cup bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions for Ghirardelli Brownies

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2.) Using a wooden spoon whisk together eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla.
3.) In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
4.) Stir flour mixture into egg mixture.Stir until thick and glossy.
5.) Add nuts and chocolate chips. Combine well.
6.) Spread into a greased 8- or 9-inch square pan.
7.) Bake for 20-30 minutes.
8.) Cut into squares.

Makes 16-20 brownies.

For extra chewy brownies, use 8 inch pan and less baking time.
For cake like brownies, use 9 inch pan and longer baking time.


Reconnecting with Friends February 8, 2009

Filed under: General — marysarap @ 2:59 pm

I recently had the opportunity to reconnect with one of my best friends from high school.  We have kept in touch over the years via sporadic email, phone calls and Christmas cards.  While, a few weeks ago, I was thinking about her one night during the week and I just decided to call her.   As we chatted, the years just melted away.  The distance, miles and the fact our lives are very different and we each took different turns didn’t matter, we were chatting like it was only yesterday that we saw each other instead of over fifteen years.  So, I encourage you to reach out to one of your high school best friends and if you are still really good friends, give them a call and say thank you.  Remember inspiration comes from others as well as yourself.  My friend reminded me of that as we reconnected and found a new connection again.  So, thank you good friend.  I’ve missed you and glad we’ve reconnected.


Thursday February 5, 2009

Filed under: General — marysarap @ 9:48 pm

It’s been a busy week, so I haven’t had a chance to post this week.  I’m so glad it’s Thursday the night before Friday.  What does Thursday mean to you?  For me sometimes it means the day before Friday and then the weekend.  It means the opportunity to take Friday off and make a long weekend to enjoy yourself.  So, please make a comment and post what Thursday means to you.