Local love: Sacramento Beer Week

I still remember the first Sacramento Beer Week. It was five years ago, I was living in Midtown and had no plan of having kids anytime soon. I was single and down to party. I don’t remember there being a lot of events, but I do remember getting tall cans for $2 at Monkey Garage and getting beer specials all week long.

Now in its fifth consecutive year, it’s gotten bigger and better. And luckily, I happen to write for one of the local businesses that has been a huge part of these events – Beers in Sacramento.

The boys from Beers in Sac teamed up with Unseen Heroes to create an in-depth guide for all things Beer Week. I was happy to write two articles for the guide – one on the San Diego Invasion Pub Crawl that’s happening tomorrow and the Sloppy Moose Running Club’s Sac Beer Week 5K that takes places on March 7th.

You can see the entire Sacramento Beer Week guide on The Seen.

So, while I have beer on the brain, here are some things I love by people who love beer:

Photo from Semi Sweet Press

Photo from Semi Sweet Press

Beer Tasting Party Kit from Semi Sweet Press

Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen

Image from Unseen Heroes

Image from Unseen Heroes

Beer Week T-Shirt, another collaboration from Beers in Sac & Unseen Heroes

Now that I have two kids who understandably need my undivided attention at all times (my son is glaring at me from his swing and my daughter is giving me a check-up with her play doctor tools as I type this), Sacramento Beer Week is a little different. I wish I could attend every event and drink all of those delicious beers, but times have officially changed.

So, if you are in Sacramento and you appreciate good beer, take this time to check out a new brewery or try some new beers at your favorite bar. Or heck, try new beers at a new bar? Get crazy. And report back to me.

Do you make cool stuff for beer lovers? Better yet, do you make beer? Share with me in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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Design Inspiration: Folk Art

Floral Exploration by Jill DeHaan

Floral Exploration by Jill DeHaan. Click the image for her portfolio

Folk Art is characterized by a naive style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed – Wikipedia

Writing is the only subject I continually got good grades in from grade school through College, and it has always felt natural to me. My dad says its because he made us write sentences as punishment when we were little, and that’s probably true. Let’s just say I had a lot of practice writing sentences.

It’s sort of ironic that the better I got at writing, the less I adhered to the rules that were laid before me in my Catholic school days. The saying “once you’ve mastered the rules, you can break them” applies here, and in most art forms, I think. However, that does not apply to parenting

As someone who thrives on bending the rules a little a lot, I have always had a fondness for folk art. And while many people think that folk artists have not had any formal training, that’s not always true. Again, once you learn the rules, you can break them.

As I have gotten more involved in graphic design, I have struggled with finding a style that feels like me. Until I started to see more and more folk design, and that’s when I knew what my style was. It feels hand-crafted, welcoming and from the heart.

Harriet Taylor Seed

Harriet Taylor Seed. Click the image for her website

Flora Waycott. Click the photo for her website!

Flora Waycott. Click the image for her website

Julia Child, by Jessie Hartland

Julia Child, by Jessie Hartland

This and several other illustrations of Julia Child are included in Jessie Hartland‘s book, Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child which you can learn more about on Brain Pickings.

And of course, one of my biggest design inspirations: Lisa Congdon

Foodie Pattern Collection. Click the image to see more.

Foodie Pattern Collection. Click the image to see more.

San Francisco Favorites. Click the image for her more.

San Francisco Favorites. Click the image for her more.

So, while it might take me a while until I can start breaking all of the design rules I’m learning right now, this style will always continue to inspire me. I applaud you, fellow rule-breakers and benders.

What design style is inspiring you right now? Who are some of favorite designers? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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Creative Workspace Update

Going from one to two kids will seriously mess with you. You are so deeply in love with this new addition to your home, but you are exhausted from trying to balance your time spent with the new little one and the other little one that still needs the same amount of affection from you as she did yesterday.

She’s two. She has no idea how this baby got here and why he is soaking up all the good mom time. It was at one point during the first week, when I was feeding one and the other was hanging on my shoulders, singing at the top of her lungs and pulling my hair, that I realized how much it was all going to change.

My projects around the house, all the half-done crafts I have tucked away in bins and cardboard boxes, the new products I was working on – all of these, including my blog, would have to wait.

Luckily, my stepdad is quite skilled in making any room look amazing. So, he was tasked to make the house in the back to look less like a dingy shack and more like a fun and creative space where I could do my homework and work on some projects when I have the time.

Office1Office2I wish I had the before pictures, but just imagine a really dirty room, with tinted walls that were not intended to be tinted, and dirt splatters everywhere on the walls and door. I have zero idea how that all happened. And now, it all looks so clean and welcoming.

I still have a couple projects I want to complete – the file cabinet needs a good painting, and the wall where my desk is will soon be chalkboard. There is also a lot of organizing and decorating that needs to eventually happen.

 

Office 5I also want to add a couple area rugs, like this awesome one from Ikea and I would like to get an old desk to fix up and put in there, since this table comes in use when we have gatherings.

Image from Ikea

Image from Ikea

The other room in this house will be a playroom for the kiddos, but we won’t be working on that until next month so I can share more about that process then. I can’t wait to see how it will turn out!

Are you working on any home projects? I would love to see them! Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Posted in Business time, Life, The Living Situation | 2 Comments

The Living Situation: An Update

The day before our daughter’s birthday in early December, we finally started decorating our house. Then we decorated some more before we hosted Christmas Eve. If we just keep inviting family over for every occasion, our house could be all decorated by the time the year is over. Although I wouldn’t recommend doing it that way.

Don’t tell Cecilia, but Freddy’s room is becoming my favorite room in the house. Maybe it’s because it has all the cute baby stuff that Cecilia’s room once held, and that isn’t scattered all over his floor…yet. It could also be that there is a shelf dedicated to Sam’s old cars, trucks and guitar.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

A collection of collected items

A collection of collected items

Curtains made by my mama

Curtains made by my mama

We’re currently working on some curtains for Cecilia’s room and painting a farm-themed mural with stencils from My Wonderful Walls, that were gifted to us for her birthday from my dad and stepmom. Can’t wait to get started on that!

10843828_316434811889592_1029535916_nWe hung up some framed prints from some of my favorite local ladies – Graphic Anthology, Pigment and Parchment and Semi Sweet Press – in our dining area. The birthday decorations are down now (minus the doily bunting – we kept that up), and I’m working on adding more to that space.

10817918_817721468269196_453611784_n living roomSam did this to our living room. He calls it “hoarder chic.”

There are still some pieces I want to add in our living room and then I’m off to work on our bedroom and the workspace in the back. But that will all have to wait until after Freddy joins us. For now, I’m enjoying this precious time with our family of three.

What home projects are you working on? What do you have in store for the future? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Posted in Life, The Living Situation | 1 Comment

For the New Year

Today, we are taking down our holiday decorations, cleaning out old stuff to welcome the new and all in all regrouping from the last couple of weeks. I have come to really love and appreciate all the time spent with family, but it’s also nice to have some downtime as well. I’ve come to appreciate that just as much.

This quiet time has allowed me to do some thinking, planning and organizing. And here’s what’s inspiring and motivating me right now:

Slow Simmering Bitch, Canning for a New Generation, The DIY Cookbook, Secrets of Slow Cooking

Slow Simmering Bitch, Canning for a New Generation, The DIY Cookbook, Secrets of Slow Cooking5 ha

Books: Slow Simmering Bitch by Amy McClure, Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff, DIY Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen and Secrets of Slow Cooking, another one from Liana Krissoff

I’ve been slowly starting a collection of cookbooks, including my latest one – Canning for a New Generation. I went through them all and these are my going to be in constant rotation over the next few months.

5 Habits to Adopt in the New Year

5 Habits to Adopt in the New Year / Photo Credit: Christi Fenly/ Written by Carrie McBride / Apartment Therapy

5 Habits to Adopt in the New Year, by Carrie McBride for Apartment Therapy – a good reminder to take time for yourself in your home.

Here’s another one from Apartment Therapy: Putting a Slightly Different Spin on Clearing the Clutter of Life, by Carolyn Purnell

Peanut Butter Goji Berry Granola Bars / Photo Credit: Jeanine / Love and Lemons

Peanut Butter Goji Berry Granola Bars / Photo Credit: Jeanine / Love and Lemons

Peanut Butter Goji Berry Granola Bars from Love and Lemons on BH&G – I freaking love granola bars and have wanted to make some for a long time.

DIY Burp Rags / Photo Credit: Life With My Littles

DIY Burp Rags / Photo Credit: Life With My Littles

DIY Burp Rags from Life With My Littles – I have wanted to take up sewing for some time now, and I honestly believe that this is my year, dammit.

diy bath salts diy candles _ body scrubI used Hello Natural‘s DIY skin and candle recipes for the majority of my homemade gifts last year, and they were thoroughly loved. Looking forward to making more stuff from one of my very favorite websites!

Check this: 15 Detox Bath Recipes to Try

DIY Craft Storage House / Photo Credit: At Home In Love

DIY Craft Storage House / Photo Credit: At Home In Love

DIY Craft Storage House from At Home In Love – Found this tutorial through Frankie Magazine, and then I cyber stalked the crap out of At Home In Love.

Other things to check out for the new year:

10 Amazing Craft Blogs to Follow, by Amanda Kingloff for Yahoo! DIY

5 Kitchen Things You Should Always Pick Up at a Flea Market, by Cambria Bold for The Kitchn

Babyspace.net.au – A mama blog that I just found through Pinterest, and also cyber stalked the crap out of.

What’s inspiring you this week? This month? This year? Share the link in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Posted in Crafts, Food, Inspired, Life, The Living Situation | Leave a comment

Hello, Monday

With Brave Wings, She Flies

Next year is going to push me more than anything has before. I will be a stay-at-home mother of two, attending school and hopefully growing my creative business. I have spent many, many sleepless nights attempting to calculate how it all work out. How I will be able to do it all without losing it.

And the truth is – I have no idea. Some days it will seem easy, and other days I will look back and wonder if I actually accomplished anything that day. Because that is the same thing that happened this year, and the year before. And I was just as scared and nervous before this journey started. The day I found out about her.

Some days I feel brave, and others I don’t. But deep down, I know I am. After all, it’s how I got here. So I don’t know how next year is going to go. But I do know that there will be good days, bad days, great days and horrible days. I know I will laugh and I will cry. But, regardless of how each days turns out, I will continue to be brave.

with brave wingsThere are some things I want to work on in the next year, like:

*taking more time for myself and my family

*getting collected + made into a retail store as I won’t have much time for craft shows and growing my online store

*building a creative collective

*growing my blog

*learning to take things one step at a time and trying really, really hard to not rush everything

So, here’s to a brave new year.

Download the free printable here!

What are you hoping to work on next year? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Posted in Inspired, Life | 1 Comment

25 DIYs of Christmas: Vanilla Bath Salts, Cake + Free Goodies!

vanilla bath saltsOur house has officially turned into my workshop for the next couple of days. There are gift-making supplies in the kitchen, in the living room and on our dining room table. I’ve been so busy with school that I haven’t had time to really make anything besides the apple butter so today it begins!

For my first homemade gift, I made vanilla bath salts with a super simple and easy recipe from Hello Natural!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAll you need is a cup of epsom salt, a cup of sea salt and a tbsp of vanilla extract. Mix, and done! This batch made three half-pint jars.

Then, I used my canning labels I got from Graphic Anthology to make the gift extra sweet!

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetYou can download the free printable labels here:

2-inch holiday canning jar labels by Graphic Anthology

Wide mouth holiday canning jar labels by Graphic Anthology

I also did a trial run of the gingerbread magic cake recipe I got from Foodness Gracious to make sure it would be a good holiday treat – and because it looked super delicious and I wanted to make it.

The recipe said to bake the cake for 50-55 minutes, or until the center was not jiggly. With my oven, it ended up taking me 1:10 – 1:15 to get it at the right consistency. It’s supposed to be more of a custard on the inside so don’t be alarmed (like I was) if it doesn’t come out with more of a cake consistency. (Also, read the full recipe and post before you try a recipe).

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetThe cake turned out pretty darned good, but I think I might give it another whirl before serving it for the holidays. Need to make sure I can master the custard consistency without overbaking it.

And while we’re on the topic of food, today is the last day to enter the giveaway to win a dozen caramels from Rebel Confectionery!

brittle

Nut Brittle / Photo Credit: Deb Ray / Rebel Confectionery

You can get the recipe for Deb’s nut brittle and enter the giveaway by clicking the picture or here.

And since I’m in the giving mood, I’m also adding a giveaway of my Tis the Season print!

tis the season Click here to download the PDF: tis the season

You also get a free downloadable print with every purchase, so be sure to check out my collected + made shop for more goodies!

More recipes and DIY projects to follow – connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Posted in Crafts, Food, Holidaze, Life, Local Love | Leave a comment

25 DIYs of Christmas: Apple Butter Recipe with Free Printables!

Apple Butter RecipeLast year, I unknowingly started a Christmas tradition when I gave apple butter as gifts to our family. I’ve been asked to make it again this year, and I can’t say that I mind. I’m using the same recipe from My Baking Addiction that I used last year as it was quite the hit.

If you already have a slow cooker, then I highly suggest making a batch of your own. If you don’t have one, you still have time to get it before Christmas! The recipe is super simple and easy to follow. I’m sharing my experience with it today, along with free printable labels from Graphic Anthology!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSo, here are the ingredients you’ll need:

6 1/2 pounds apples – peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI don’t have an apple peeler, and I think it’s about time that I get one, especially before next Christmas. For right now, I just use a sharp knife and try to cut as thin as possible.

The recipe says to throw your peeled apple slices in the slow cooker, and then mix in the dry ingredients. Cook that covered for 10 hours on low. I love starting it at night so that the house smells delicious in the morning.

Then you’re supposed to add the vanilla and cook it uncovered on low for two more hours. I always get distracted and add the vanilla from the start. I haven’t had any complaints doing it this way, but I do want to follow the recipe correctly next time to see what difference it makes.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAfter it’s done in the slow cooker, the recipe says to use an immersion blender to turn it into butter, but I don’t have one yet so I use my potato masher. Then, you put the apple butter into sterilized mason jars.

My batch filled four 8 oz jars

My batch filled four 8 oz jars

After that, I use my pressure canner to finish the job. You don’t need one, but it will make the apple butter last longer (and you’ll look super official). If you don’t have a canner, make sure that you tell them to either store in the fridge and use within two weeks, or to put it in the freezer.

Once it’s done in the canner, I use these labels on the tops of my cans! This is especially helpful since I’m also making a batch of sugar-free apple butter this year and don’t want the two to get mixed up! And it adds that extra homemade charm when giving them as gifts.

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 presetGenesis Duncan from Graphic Anthology was sweet enough to gift me and my readers with free downloadable canning labels, for both normal and wide-mouth canning jars. For the apple butter, you will probably use the regular labels, but be sure to keep the wide-mouth labels for any other canning you will be doing!

I met Genesis a month ago, when I saw her at the GOOD Design Market and I have already purchased recipe cards and a print, and I got a beautiful shibori tea towel from her at the craft swap. So I was really excited when she offered the labels for my post!

You can download the canning labels below. The labels may need to be aligned first, depending on your printer margins. It might be a good idea to do a test run first to make sure you got it right. You can also print them on bigger labels and use a circle punch to cut them out.

2-inch holiday canning jar labels by Graphic Anthology

Wide mouth holiday canning jar labels by Graphic Anthology

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSo, there you have it – homemade apple butter with your own labels! Be sure to check out the rest of Genesis’s work at Graphic Anthology – she has lots of fun stuff for your kitchen! You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Have a fun Holiday DIY project, gift idea or recipe? Share it in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Posted in Crafts, Food, Holidaze, Life, Local Love | Leave a comment

25 DIYs of Christmas: For the Skin

DIY Skin GiftsSince we’re not going big on the gifts for the adults this Christmas, I thought it would be fun to make them little baskets with some homemade food, candles and skin care. I have the food and candle ideas down, and now I’m finding inspiration for some skin care gifts.

And then if I like the way turn out, I’ll keep some for myself!

Here are a few good gift ideas for the skin:

DIY Vanilla Sugar Cookie Body Scrub / Photo Credit: Lindsey Johnson / Hello Natural

DIY Vanilla Sugar Cookie Body Scrub / Photo Credit: Lindsey Johnson / Hello Natural

I love all the skin care recipes from Hello Natural, and this one is no different! I just need to get a few ingredients before I make it, but other than that, it’s stuff most people have in their house and it’s a simple and easy recipe. Can’t wait to try it out!

Homemade Fall Face Mask

Homemade Fall Face Mask / Photo Credit: Alyssa / Alyssa & Carla

Hey, another excuse to use pumpkin in a recipe! This Fall Face Mask from Alyssa & Carla looks equally delicious and good for you. It’s a simple recipe with simple ingredients (that I actually have) so I think will be making this today.

Oatmeal Honey Shea Butter Lotion / Photo Credit: Kinsey Mhire / Sincerely, Kinsey

Oatmeal Honey Shea Butter Lotion / Photo Credit: Kinsey Mhire / Sincerely, Kinsey

I’ve been looking for a good lotion for a while and this Oatmeal Honey Shea Butter Lotion from Sincerely, Kinsey just might be it! If I can get the emulsifying wax in time for Christmas gifts, I’ll be able to make some lotions with this. If not, I’ll just make it for myself later!

I’ll be making some of these skin care gifts over the weekend and I’ll be sharing my experience with you on here! Maybe even do a giveaway for after Christmas, eh?

Have a fun DIY Holiday project, gift idea or recipe? Did you try any of these recipes? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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25 DIYs of Christmas: Nut Brittle Recipe & Giveaway!

Nut Brittle RecipeToday, I’m excited to have another guest on the blog! I met Deb Ray through my connection with Beers in Sac when I wrote an article that featured her, and we have remained virtual pals ever since! I met her in real life at a Beers in Sac event a while back, and she gifted me a grab bag of caramels and jams – every bite just as delicious as the next.

Deb has been canning since the early 90s and starting making caramels about ten or so years ago. She is certified as a master food preserver and using U.S. Home Preservation guidelines utilizes local, seasonal fruits to craft her jams in small batches and has won several Best Of and First Place awards at the California State Fair.

Earl Grey Tea Caramel topped with Preservation & Co.'s Citrus Rosemary Salt

Earl Grey Tea Caramel topped with Preservation & Co.’s Citrus Rosemary Salt

Today, she is sharing a recipe for nut brittle and she is also offering a gift certificate for a dozen caramels of the winner’s choice of a single flavor! Check out the recipe and giveaway below!

I found this recipe online several years ago when looking for a brittle recipe to break out for the holidays.  Most of the ones I found didn’t have the richness I was looking for.  This one is all about the butter.  An entire stick of it.   It’s crisp, rich and thicker than a traditional brittle. And it definitely has that salty sweet thing going on.  

Equipment needed:

  • Medium sized, heavy pot
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Parchment paper
  • Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • 2 c sugar
  • ½ c water
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 c light corn syrup
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 12 ounces roasted, salted peanuts, cashews, pistachios, singularly or as a mix (I use 2 c nuts)
  • Fleur De Sel or Maldon Salt

brittle ingredientsIt helps to get your ingredients ready prior cooking.   In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, water, butter and corn syrup and bring to a boil.

Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the caramel is light brown and registers 300° on a candy thermometer, 10 minutes.  Deb’s Tip:  Once temp reaches 280 degrees, it increases very quickly to 300.  Watch your thermometer!

Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the nuts, then immediately scrape the brittle onto a large rimmed, nonstick baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Deb’s Tip:  Cover blob of brittle with parchment and use a rolling pin to roll into an even thickness. Sprinkle with salt. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Break the brittle into large shards.

brittleAnd now for the giveaway part! Deb is kind enough to offer a gift certificate for a dozen caramels of a single flavor of the winner’s choosing! This is valued at $15 and would be the perfect gift to yourself for surviving the holidays!

Here are the flavors to choose from. You can also find them on her website:

  • The Side Car – Brandy, Orange and a Twist of Lemon: a riff on the classic cocktail
  • Spicy Chocolate – Cinnamon, Ancho & Cayenne topped with Cacao Nibs
  • Toasted Coconut Chai Spice: Exotic, warm and spicy
  • Earl Grey Tea: Tinged with Bergamot, unusual and satisfying
  • Honey Lavender: Floral, herby, not what you expect
  • Peanut Butter: Really? Yes, Really.
  • Stout or Porter, depending on my mood, with Smoked Salt: Using local microbrews, Bike Dog, Track 7, Hew Helvetia, Knee Deep – Cheers!
  • Coffee Stout topped with Cacao Nibs: Everyone’s new fave using local craft brews and local coffee
  • Bacon: Bacon & Caramel, Calvin & Hobbes, Batman & Robin, Scooby & Shaggy
  • Maple Bourbon: Subtle and smooth
  • Salted: Buttery, creamy and the perfect balance of salty and sweet
  • Pumpkin Ale: Pumpkin Pie Flavor with an ale edge
  • TouchDown: A chocolate peanut butter caramel Topped with Crushed Peanuts & Corn Nuts
  • Fig & Pine Nut: Figs, Balsamic, Mascarpone topped with toasted pine nuts.
My stash

My stash

I can attest to how wonderful the honey lavender, stout, pumpkin ale and fig & pine nut caramels are! Seriously delicious. Enter to win the giveaway by following the options below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Have a fun DIY Holiday decor project, gift idea or recipe? Did you try this recipe? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Find out more about Deb and her innovative caramels and jams by visiting her website and connecting with her on Facebook and Twitter!

Posted in Food, Holidaze, Life, Local Love | Leave a comment