DIY Chronicles, Vol. 2

diy chonicles 2“If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try it again”

-Aaliyah

This post is a little late, but it got crazy last week and I just wrapped up my projects over the weekend. I still wanted to share my results and my projects for this week, so here I am! Last week, I was set on making a screen printed tote from the Needle & Spatula tutorial and gruyere rolls from the Joy the Baker recipe for the Baking Bootcamp.

After looking at the screen printing tutorial more, I realized that it would be too difficult of a task to undertake with everything else going on. So, I went a different route and did my first photo transfer. The instructions and the tutorials I read online said it would be super easy, so I was not expecting much of a challenge.

A challenge it was. The first couple of transfers came out really light, and did not transfer over that great to the canvas tote. So, I increased the resolution on my print and gave it another go. After washing my second attempt, the design looked all funky and was super bubbly. So I gave it yet ANOTHER try and used sealant. The sealant needed three days to dry before washing, so I didn’t wash it.

juliachildtoteI love the way it came out, and I already swapped it for some handmade goodies at our DIY Swap last night!

The gruyere rolls also proved to be a bit of a challenge. The first time, my dough did not rise overnight. I covered it with a towel, which allowed air to get into it. That might be why it didn’t work but I’m not positive. The next time, I covered it with foil and it worked! But then I ended up having to be gone all day and by the time I got back, it looked funky. I decided to give it one more shot before I would accept it just wasn’t meant to be…and it worked!

10747909_629042217200094_329666725_nI followed the exact recipe from Joy the Baker, except that I used my stand mixer to knead the dough and I did use a rolling pin to make sure the dough was thinned out. Some call it lazy, I call it smart. I also subbed in mozzarella and jalapenos for the gruyere and green olives.

And it was delightful. Soft, yet crisp on top. Spicy and cheesy. Everything I love.

So, on to this week’s projects!

I have been saving glass bottles for a while now, and I have been dying to make some candles.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Photo Credit: Lisa Loperfido / DIY Ready

Photo Credit: Lisa Loperfido / DIY Ready

There are several ways to cut glass, and I found this article from DIY Ready super useful. I purchased a candle making kit from Amazon that I’ve been itchin’ to use, and you can also get them from Michaels or your local craft store.

I have been saving DIY candle tutorials for a while now, but with this being winter and all, I’m digging this tutorial from Hello Natural for DIY Chai Candles.

As for the food part, I got this beautiful blueberry pie platter at a Vintage Market a couple weeks ago and it dawned on me that I have never baked a pie!

blueberry pie dishSo, I found this blueberry & blackberry pie recipe from Crepes of Wrath and I also found this Pie Crust 101 tutorial and recipe from The Faux Martha on a perfect pie crust and Baking Pies Made Easy from Chevrons & Eclairs.

Blueberry & Blackberry Pie / Photo Credit: Crepes of Wrath

Blueberry & Blackberry Pie / Photo Credit: Crepes of Wrath

Hopefully I will not find these projects as challenging as last week, but that can be part of the fun. Sometimes.

Want to join me in trying out new DIY projects and recipes? Simply leave a comment here and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. You can also search and use #diychronicles on social media as well!

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Holiday Gift Guide, Vol. 1

There is so much going on this holiday season that have decided to break down the holiday gift guide I’m working on. I’ll be sharing a little of everything every week for the next few weeks, including holiday sales and specials, gift ideas, local holiday craft events and DIY gift ideas.

SALES

Image from Semi Sweet Press

Image from Semi Sweet Press

Semi Sweet Press is offering 20% off everything in her shop (excluding boxed sets, mix and match sets and mini-card sets) on Black Friday thru Cyber Monday with the code THANKFUL. Subscribers will get a preview sale from now until Thanksgiving with the code SWEET20. And there’s free shipping off all US orders over $50!

Image from Handbrewed Soaps

Image from Handbrewed Soaps

Handbrewed Soaps is offering 5% off everything in their shop with the code HOLIDAY2014 from Black Friday thru Cyber Monday. And there is also free shipping on purchases over $50!

Image from Pigment & Parchment

Image from Pigment & Parchment

Pigment & Parchment is offering 35% off her everything in her Etsy shop with the code EGGNOG from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. You can see all her holiday goodness in her blog post!

GIFT IDEAS

Image from M.A.R.K. Vintage

Image from M.A.R.K. Vintage

I only recently learned that the owner of M.A.R.K. Vintage is Tracy Avenell, the lovely and creative mind behind She’s Craftyyyy, who I bought my big ol pot that I use almost daily from. Tracy has made a few guides so far, and of course my favorite one is the holiday gift ideas under $20. I have been meaning to make a visit and this is just motivating me even more.

LOCAL

Image from Pigment & Parchment

Image from Pigment & Parchment

If you are in Sacramento, treat yourself to a Holiday Pop-Up Shop on Saturday at the Arden Fair Mall from 11 am – 3 pm. It’s very rare (as far as I know) that the mall would be host to such an event so it’s definitely worth checking out. I’m going just so I can hug Pigment & Parchment and Semi Sweet Press and meet Sudz by Studz!

Swap FlyerAnd of course, the Homemade Holidays DIY Swap! There are still spots open for local makers to swap homemade holiday gifts. You can bring both food and craft items, as long as they total about $20 in value. There will also be a vintage/handmade clothing swap and you can bring art supplies to swap as well! It’s $5 to participate and you can check out the Facebook event page for all the info!

DIY:

Paper Mache Jackalope/ Photo Credit: Lay Baby Lay

Paper Mache Jackalope/ Photo Credit: Lay Baby Lay

There seems to be a revolt against toys lately. Which I’m totally fine with. Cecilia’s room is full of them (and we have not purchased a single one, lucky ducks) and while she has her favorites, she generally only cares about them when another little baby wants to play with them. A little glimpse into my future.

So if you’re on the crafty side and you’re feeling adventurous, a paper mache animal like this jackalope from Lay Baby Lay might be perfect DIY gift for a little baby that you know. It’s a unique gift that a child could treasure and keep forever. Or be completely terrified of. Life’s a gamble.

I hope you my guides useful this year, even if just a little. If you have a holiday sale, a local craft event or a DIY holiday project you would like me to feature, feel free to share it in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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

Homemade Holidays: DIY Swap – An update

Swap FlyerI can barely contain my excitement for the Homemade Holidays: DIY Swap at Shine on Sunday! It’s my first time hosting something like this, and I love how it’s all coming together. There have been some changes since my last post about it, so I wanted to share an update.

Last week, an art group in Sacramento hosted an art supply swap. I heard it was really wonderful but I wasn’t able to attend it, so I thought it would be awesome if we could add an art supply swap to this event. Nothing too complicated, just bring any old art supplies that you no longer need and swap them in for something new!

A lot of us are making our own Christmas gifts this year so I thought this would be a perfect time to stock up on supplies you need or possibly learn a new craft. I know I will be swapping a lot of my paper craft and jewelry stuff that I just don’t know if I will ever get to!

I also asked Katie Curler from Thrift Your Heart Out if she would co-host a vintage/handmade clothing swap…and she agreed! Hooray! This will be perfect if you are looking for a holiday dress and/or want to gift some vintage/handmade clothing this year.

So this should be a really fun event that is focused more on swapping than spending. If you are in the Sacramento area and would like to attend, you can purchase tickets through Eventbrite or just send me $5 through PayPal (mamabecrafty at gmail). You can also check out the Facebook event page for updated information.

I would love your help in promoting this event! Simply share the link on your social media and use the hashtag #diyswapsac. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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

Yo Momma Monday: Nikki Stern

Earlier this year, I met Nikki Stern – a local Holistic Health and Lifestyle Coach – through Instagram and I felt so inspired by everything she does. At 33, she’s a mom to her four-year-old son Jackson, a cook and she coaches women on making healthy life choices, even making house visits to help women feel more comfortable in their kitchen.

Photo from Nikki Stern

Photo from Nikki Stern

Can you explain a little about what you do?

As a coach I help women cut through the BS when it comes to being healthy.  No diets, no shaming, no losing 10 pounds in 20 minutes.  My programs are a combination of:

- helping women to make themselves a priority and NOURISH themselves – we deserve to relax, feel sexy, say no, be emotional and eat chocolate.
- providing health education – it’s amazing how many people are gluten-free but don’t know what gluten is.  Understanding a few key things about the body + nutrition along with a desire to take care of ourselves makes it much easier to eat well.
- reconnecting to their own bodies – Many of us have been led to believe we cannot trust our body, often feeling really uncomfortable in it.  Nobody knows your body better than you, so we will reacquaint you with that beautiful lady.

As a cook I help out in any way I can.  Right now I’m going to people’s homes to teach them to prep healthy lunches or make new dishes, to create a functional pantry, providing small catering services (office lunches, meeting snacks, girls night), helping host in-home cooking parties (this includes dancing + is super fun).  In 2015 I plan to be teaching more classes in the community.

How did you get into holistic healing?

I’ve been interested for as long as I’ve known about holistic healing, probably before I had even heard the word “holistic.”  I willingly chose an elective course in college on Chinese Medicine and loved it.  The idea that everything is connected – that my stomach aches growing up had more to do with my emotional state than anything physical and taking TUMS for the rest of my life was not an option, I needed my whole experience to feel better – was intuitive.  It just made more sense than anything else.

Photo from Nikki Stern

Photo from Nikki Stern

What made you decide to choose that path as your career?

I was a new mom, fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my son and as we were closing in on his 1st birthday something was pulling me.  I had this urge to do something and there was no defining moment, I just knew diet, nutrition, and food was the direction.

I couldn’t see myself in a traditional dietetics or nutrition program because I didn’t feel committed to the philosophy and pushing a version of the USDA food pyramid (or plate or whatever they were using this week).  When I discovered the Institute for Integrative Nutrition it was perfect.  My degree is in Psychology and that perspective is at the core of how I coach – not through diagnosis and “fixes” but through an understanding of each person’s human experience is the path to health and healing. 

The idea that we are more than just calories in and calories out is what I want us to model to the young girls in our lives and community.  Our health extends into the quality of our lives, how we interact with others, how we take care of ourselves, where we find meaning, and our relationship to the world around us.  It was a holistic model that made sense to me.

What inspired you to start your blog?

It was a strong suggestion on the part of the training program I was in.  Part of me was terrified to be seen that much but part of me knew how passionate I was about these topics and sharing them.

It definitely took some time to find a flow and to find my voice, sticking with it has certainly paid off.

Photo from Nikki Stern

Photo from Nikki Stern

Are you a self-taught cook or did you have any training?

I am self-taught.  The first Thanksgiving meal I made was almost a disaster because we put the lock on the oven (you know those old school levers across the door) and it got stuck – with the turkey and a giant wheel of brie cheese wrapped in puff pastry inside.  There were lots of tools and shouting (and drinking) involved, the turkey was fine and the brie was very, very toasty.  I have lots of stories like this.

I have poured over books, cookbooks, watched people cook, had lots of dinner parties, Sunday Sopranos dinners, holidays, I’ve made disgusting food, locked food in the oven and been willing to fail.  It’s where I feel most connected to my creativity, making something with my hands and then being able to share that love-infused goodness with people is powerful and I’m grateful to be able to do it.

What do you hope people will leave with after attending one of your sessions?

A sense of hope + calm.  And I mean that for a coaching session, a workshop, and after a cooking lesson.  I used to want to be right and be the fixer of all problems until I realized that makes this whole thing about me, when it’s not.  So when people leave, or I leave their kitchen, I want them to feel like, “I’m ok, there is nothing wrong with me, I can totally do this because I’m smart, capable and I feel heard and witnessed, I’m not alone.”

Photo from Nikki Stern. Recipe can be found on her Instagram!

Photo from Nikki Stern. Recipe can be found on her Instagram!

How do you balance work and family life?

Haha, the million dollar question.  The answer is sometimes I rock it out and sometimes I totally suck at it.  Life is about shifting, recommitting and accepting.  What I do is constantly work towards presence.  I don’t mean that in an ethereal way, I mean I literally just try to pay attention and catch myself when things begin to feel off kilter.

Just a few weeks ago I noticed myself trying to “get through” the mom stuff so that I could focus on getting a project done.  There is tension and anxiety that comes with that and as soon as I tuned in and felt it I recommitted.  I chose balance.

Favorite thing to do as a family when you have some downtime?

Spending time outside.  We love Sacramento because swimming season is so long, so we hang out by our pool mostly, invite our family and friends over and eat, of course!

We also love to hang out at the river and get to the ocean when we can – water is a bit of a theme.

Favorite recipe?

Not using a recipe!  I look at recipes as guidelines and then I do whatever I feel like.  This is why I prefer cooking over baking, the precision and rules is really hard for me.

I think the most bang for your buck is Roast Garlic.  This will make almost anything more awesome – plus it’s sweet and not as punch you in the face as raw garlic can be.

[Preheat the oven to 400] Cut the top (not the tip) off a few heads of garlic.
Set them on a piece of foil.  Drizzle with olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt.
Wrap them up tight.  Put them on a baking sheet and leave them in the over for 40-50 minutes – you’ll start to smell them when they’re close to done.
Take them out and let them sit and cool.  Open up the package, squeeze the soft garlic out of it’s paper into a little jar. Mash it up with a fork.  

This keeps in the fridge for about a week.  Add to soups, salad dressings, sauces, dips, any vegetable ever, eggs, on toasty bread.  It’s very fancy, very pro, and SO EASY.  Same goes for caramelized onions.  

Roasted Fennel. Photo from Nikki Stern

Roasted Fennel. Photo from Nikki Stern

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a working mom?

Like I mentioned above, it’s really important for me to practice being present.  It’s easy to talk about but much harder to do.  I’ve learned that I have to take hats off.  I know that after 3pm I need to put the work hat down, which is difficult because sometimes I get a burst of creative energy at that time. 

I’m working on channeling that into mom creativity such as cooking together or setting up an obstacle course outside – anything to keep me too busy to wander over to my computer.  It’s always a work in progress and I have plenty of moms tell me how quickly time goes and that little guy won’t want all of my attention one day, so I try to be mindful of that.

What do you think is the most important thing you hope your son will learn from you?

I hope he speaks up for himself (though judging by his 4 year old-ness, this probably won’t be an issue), pursue what matters to him, and stays connected to his creativity.

I hope he knows how to use a sauté pan before the microwave.  He’s been a pretty solid eater since he was a baby, so I’m confident that while he may have a pizza, beer and ramen phase he will always have an understanding of good food.

Photo from Nikki Stern

Photo from Nikki Stern

What is your favorite thing about what you do?

I get to spend my time with the absolute best humans.  The people I work with are ready, open, vulnerable and so, so strong.  They remind me that we all have the answers we are seeking and the capacity to heal ourselves.  The women I’ve met professionally also blow my mind daily, sometimes hourly.  I am blessed to be surrounded by so much love and passion.  

What have you learned about yourself from meditation/holistic healing?

I’ve learned there is no RIGHT answer and I’m a perfectionist that is afraid to make a move if there is a possibility of it not being perfect – that kept me still for a very long time.  My lesson in starting this business, in allowing good people into my life, taking care of myself, accepting each victory and set back is that if I don’t allow myself to feel the pain or struggle or take the risks I will never be able to experience the pleasure or power or joy or triumph that life can offer.

It’s impossible for us to have certainty and what heals, helps, or saves one person is not going to do the same for the next person.  I’ve learned to trust my instincts, listen with my heart, and meet myself and my clients where they are at.  The more I do that, the better we all feel.

Apple Cider Granola. Photo from Nikki Stern

Apple Cider Granola. Photo from Nikki Stern

What do you hope to do next, where do you want to take this?

Oh so many things!  I just rolled out a new workshop on Intuitive Eating + Healthy Living, which filled up in 24 hours and has a wait list.  That tells me it’s a topic women are connected to so I hope to make that a regular group.  

I am also really picking up speed with my cooking services.  I want to continue private in-home lessons as well as cooking classes.  I’m even doing some small time catering, for work lunches, book clubs, girls night, whoever wants some really tasty, surprisingly healthy food.

Future, I’m hoping to wrap this all up and create a retreat experience or co-create a retreat with some of the wonderful folks I’ve met on this journey who have a gift and commitment to spreading health and wellness and building community.

Soon my co-captain (Compliment.) and I are hoping to expand our space at Feel Good Studios and have a space for more workshops, classes, writing retreats, meditations, dance parties so we can showcase this amazing community we have in Sacramento.

If you want to learn more about Nikki Stern, you can visit her website or if you’re in the Sacramento area, you can catch her Holiday Edible Gift class at West Elm in Roseville this Thursday for $5. She also offers free coaching consults.

Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Posted in Life, Yo Momma Monday | Leave a comment

Friday Finds

As I was going over our calendar and how many weeks we have until Thanksgiving, Cecilia’s birthday, Christmas and Freddy’s arrival, I literally gasped. It’s crazy. I’ve started making lists. All kinds of lists. Home project lists, craft lists, gift lists and baby arrival lists. I don’t even know where all of them are.

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way right now because nearly every person I come in contact with expresses their disbelief in how fast this year has gone by. For this reason, I’m going to focus my Friday Finds (and the majority of my blog posts, to be honest) to the holiday season. I still surprise myself when I realize how important the holidays are to me now. I blame it on motherhood.

To make:

Pumpkin French Toast / Photo Credit: Dana / Minimalist Baker

Pumpkin French Toast / Photo Credit: Dana / Minimalist Baker

I’m going to admit something. I’ve never been a french toast fan. Crazy, right?! I’ve never loved syrup and the whole thing has just been too sweet for me. It’s been a while since I tried it, and I think this Pumpkin French Toast from Minimalist Baker might just be the thing to change my mind. It will also give me an excuse to make pumpkin butter, again!

DIY Chai Candles / Photo Credit: Lindsey Johnson / Hello Natural

DIY Chai Candles / Photo Credit: Lindsey Johnson / Hello Natural

I love chai as much as I love just about everything coming from Hello Natural. I bought a candle making kit recently and I can’t wait to use it for this DIY Chai Candles project. If I like what I make, this might become a Christmas gift idea!

To read:

This season is even more busy (like, insanely more busy) for creative business owners and I was lucky enough to stumble across two guides that will hopefully make this year a little easier.

Mega-Ultimate Holiday Planning & Market Strategy Guide / Made Freshly

Mega-Ultimate Holiday Planning & Marketing Strategy Guide / Made Freshly

The Mega-Ultimate Holiday Planning & Marketing Strategy Guide from Made Freshly is incredibly in-depth and I found it to be a really good resource.

How to Get Your Site + Shop Ready for the Holidays / Sarah Von Bargen

How to Get Your Site + Shop Ready for the Holidays / Sarah Von Bargen

The How to Get Your Site + Shop Ready for the Holidays guide from Sarah Von Bargen is a little more stripped down than the guide from Made Freshly, and it’s got a more personal approach. I think reading both are helpful, but if you are just starting out in your business like I am, then this one is perfect.

To attend:

Now, this one is for the Sacramento area only. We have so much good stuff going on this weekend that I seriously had to pick and choose which ones I can make:

Gypsy Chic Vintage Market

Gypsy Chic Vintage Market

Gypsy Chic Vintage Market in Lincoln: Friday/ Saturday from 9-5 pm and Sunday from 10 – 4 pm. It’s an indoor antique show that is open four days a month. There’s a variety of vendors with all different styles and goodies to share. I went last year for my first time and I’m in love with it.

Image from So-Cal Speed Shop Sacramento

Image from So-Cal Speed Shop Sacramento

Vintage Market and Car Show at Arden Garden market: Saturday at 9 am – 1 pm. Also, Schiff Estate Services is having a 25% off sale right now!

Arts and Crafts Swaparama at Arthouse: Saturday at 11 am – 3 pm. This event is put on by JKLM Nterprises and is $10 to attend. You can bring your art and craft supplies to swap, get some new stuff without swapping, or simply donate. If you won’t be taking any supplies, then it’s free.

Image from Delta Workshop

Image from Delta Workshop

Drop-In Simple Relief Printmaking at Delta Workshop: Saturday 12-3 pm. This class is open to adults and children who come with an adult. The cost is $10 and you will get all the supplies you need to make your greeting cards.

Have anything to add? Did you try any of the tutorials, read the guides or attend any of the events I posted? Leave me a comment and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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

The DIY Chronicles

DIY ChroniclesWhen I moved all of my craft supplies and half-finished projects from what is now Freddy’s room to my craft palace in the backyard, I could not deny it anymore. I have way too many unfinished projects. A feeling a lot of crafters know too well, I will start on a project, work on it for a couple days and then forget about it.

Christmas is a little over a month away and then our baby will be here, so I have decided to kick myself in the rear and get my projects finished. There are also some recipes I want to try out before the holidays so I figured there was no time like the present to start that.

I then got another thought…this would be so much fun to open it up to anyone who has projects waiting or would like to try something new. You can either do the same project I’m working on or do something completely different.

Every Thursday, I will post a new project and recipe, along with a list of supplies and ingredients and any helpful resources I find. That Sunday, I will work on the project and will post my results the following Thursday. And if it’s a success, I might even share a tutorial!

It will be a great way for us to learn together, and if anyone has worked on a specific project before, they can help with pointers. So, please feel free to join me in chronicling our DIY projects and recipes.

The first DIY project I want to start is screen printed totes. The tutorial I’m going to use is from Katie S. at Needle and Spatula.

DIY Screenprinted Totes / Photo Credit: Kate S. / Needle and Spatula

DIY Screenprinted Totes / Photo Credit: Kate S. / Needle and Spatula

I got a Speedball Screen Printing Kit a while ago and it’s been sitting in my craft room ever since. I looked at a few different tutorials and here is the supply list:

DIY Screen Printing Supplies

  • Tote bag – I’m going to get this set of 5 mini canvas tote bags at Michaels for $5. I found some on Amazon, too but since I’m just starting this, I thought I would go the route that would cost me the least money. If you want to go crazy, you can make your own bags.

If you don’t have a screen printing kit, you will also need this:

And then you’ll need this:

  • If you’re drawing your design, you’ll need black india ink and sketch paper
  • Computer and printer
  • Pencil
  • Plastic tape or masking tape to tape screen
  • Plastic spoons
  • Cardstock or thin cardboard to place inside the bags while printing

As for the recipe, I am loving the Baking Bootcamp from Joy the Baker. She shares a beautifully photographed step-by-step tutorial for whatever she is baking and also includes a supply list.

This week, she shared a recipe for Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls. I think this would be a lot of fun (depending on how you view fun) to make and something new to take for Thanksgiving! The best part is that you can switch up the cheese and olives for whatever you fancy…pepper jack and jalapeno rolls, anyone?

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls / Photo Credit: Jon Melendez / Joy the Baker

Gruyere and Green Olive Rolls / Photo Credit: Jon Melendez / Joy the Baker

Here’s the ingredients:

For the Starter:
    • 1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
    • 1/2 cup warm water
For the Dough:
    • all of the starter
    • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
For the Filling:
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese, or the grated/shredded cheese of your choice (sharp cheddar, or a mixture of provolone and mozzarella are tasty)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped green olives
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

 

She shares a lot of resources and advise so it’s perfect for the beginning yet adventurous baker.

Are you up for this DIY challenge? All you gotta do is share a link to your blog in the comments or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and I’ll share your progress next week when I share mine! Have some advice on screen printing? Share it with us!

 

Posted in Crafts, Food, Thrifty Thursday | Leave a comment

Crafting a Holiday Gift Guide

holiday saleIf anyone understands the plight of a babe on a budget during the holiday season, it’s me. And I also understand when you have the best of intentions of only buying from local or and/or handmade businesses or making your own gifts, but when it comes to forking over the bucks, you end up at some big store on Black Friday, getting $10 panini presses for everyone.

With this in mind, I am working on a holiday gift guide that will feature small business sales, both online and off, and any holiday craft faires in the area. Because, after all, if you are planning on Black Friday shopping, you will get your fill of ads from now until then.

So, this is my open call to any small businesses that will be offering specials throughout the holiday season. I would like to focus on brick and mortar businesses that are in the Sacramento area and online handmade/small businesses anywhere! I’m also opening this up to anyone who is working and/or hosting a craft event in the Sacramento area.

I’m planning the post for Friday the 21st so if you would like to be included in the gift guide, fill out this quick form or feel free to share any info you have with me through social media. I double-checked, but please let me know if you have any issues with the link for the form!

I will continue sharing any sweet deals I see from now until then, and I’m really looking forward to working on this gift guide! I’m also gathering information on the Holiday season for business owners that I will be sharing in a future post.

Want to keep up with all this holiday goodness? Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

 

Posted in Business time, Life, Local Love | Leave a comment

Life is good at GOOD

Yesterday, I did something I hadn’t done before. And I felt pretty terrible that it was my first time doing it. I went to the GOOD Design Market in Sacramento. It’s a local marketplace featuring makers of print, food, soap, jams and more, and it’s all organized by Unseen Heroes.

The market is held in an unsuspecting warehouse. As in, you wouldn’t suspect such an event was taking place when you pass by.  The warm, creative environment is a juxtaposition against the cold warehouse, and you feel like you’re wrapped in a giant hug the moment you walk in.

Boomcase Display / DIY Cocktail Workshop by Chris Sinclair. Click the photo for his recipe series!

Boomcase Display / DIY Cocktail Workshop by Chris Sinclair. Click the photo for his recipe series with Unseen Heroes!

I went with my buddy Amy from Amy is the Party, and it was like I was attending a party where I knew most of the people there. Upon entering, we stopped by our friend Rosaura’s Pigment and Parchment booth.

Pigment and Parchment booth

Pigment and Parchment booth

From there, we hit up the Graphic Anthology and Bistro Blends booths.

Graphic Anthology booth. Click the photo for her shop!

I got this super cute set of Canning Jar Recipe Cards for only $5 (on sale from $8) from Graphic Anthology, but I really could have purchased everything she had out, including hand-painted Vietnamese ornaments! It was my first time meeting her and I look forward to connecting with her more in the future. Her husband makes beautiful light fixtures from old bike parts! Quite the couple.

recipe cards

Bistro Blends Booth. Click the photo for the website!

Bistro Blends Booth. Click the photo for the website!

The Bistro Blends vendor was awesome with all the samples he gave us. Amy purchased from him before and could attest to the greatness. They’re out of Napa Valley, and every sample was just as delicious as the one before. I smell Christmas gifts in the future.

Then I caught one of my favorite ladies, Deb Ray from Rebel Confectionery, mid-sample offering, and she directed us to Handbrewed Soaps, a family-run business out of Oakland. She and her husband brew beer, which they also use in their soaps. She was also selling handmade wall-mounted bottle openers made by her dad. Way to keep it in the family!

Deb Ray doing her thing at the Rebel Confectionery booth. Click the photo for her website!

Deb Ray doing her thing at the Rebel Confectionery booth. Click the photo for her website!

Handbrewed Soaps. Click the photo for the website!

Handbrewed Soaps. Click the photo for the website!

I got the Pumpkin Spice Beer Soap, which I can’t stop smelling. I think we all know how strong my love for pumpkin is.

Photo from Handbrewed Soaps

Photo from Handbrewed Soaps

Finally, we checked out there there, where I spotted the most adorable California love onesies and we stopped by Semi Sweet Press so I could swoon all over Kristin’s cards, prints and of course…Kristin herself.

ThereThere. Click the photo for the website!

ThereThere. Click the photo for the website!

Photo from there there. Comes in toddler size, too!

Photo from there there. Comes in toddler size, too!

Semi Sweet Press. Click the photo for her website!

Semi Sweet Press. Click the photo for her website!

For me, this outing was more than supporting local, small, creative businesses. It reinvigorated my love for making. And it motivated me to focus less on making a bunch of stuff at once, but really focusing on making good quality items that make me proud.

If you live in Sacramento, be sure to check out the last GOOD Design Market of the year next month for their holiday market – I believe it will be open for the entire first weekend of December, but don’t quote me on that. I hope that I introduced you to at least one new business to support.

Want to share some local love? Drop a comment with a link to your favorite local business and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Posted in Business time, Inspired, Life, Local Love | 1 Comment

Happy Halloween!

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Illustration by Semi Sweet Press

After today, the virtual world as we know it will change. No more funny costume posts, no more pumpkins being painted or carved, the pumpkin recipes will start trickling away (except from here…they will always be here).

We will start focusing on Thanksgiving tablescapes, kids making paper turkeys with tracings of their hands, and the recipes will start transitioning into all things gingerbread and peppermint.

But for now…we will revel in all that is Halloween and pumpkin.

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10575341_10202018367260984_7470827156349371827_oCecilia and I painted pumpkins yesterday. I’ll let you guess whose is whose. I made the pumpkin muffins from My Baking Addiction that I shared yesterday, and today I’m moving onto pumpkin cheesecake.

And here’s what some of my favorite bloggers did:

Brittany Jepsen of The House That Lars Built shared some ridiculously cute DIY costumes that were simple, fun and looked like the kids could actually move around in. Which I love and would want to dress my daughter in. But what really blew me away was the cherry pumpkin tutorial that she shared on Design*Sponge as part of their designer pumpkin series.

Cherry Pumpkins / Photo Credit: Laura Sumrak / The House that Lars Built / Design*Sponge

Cherry Pumpkins / Photo Credit: Laura Sumrak / The House that Lars Built / Design*Sponge

Amy Cluck-McAlister from Amy is the Party shared a fun list of DIY Halloween Costumes. I’m partial to the ice cream cone and cupcake costumes. Because my sweet tooth is on a whole other level.

Image Credit: Amy Cluck-McAlister / Amy is the Party

Image Credit: Amy Cluck-McAlister / Amy is the Party

Chelsea from Lovely Indeed put together a list of last minute put-together Halloween ideas. I love the Halloween Celebration in a Box idea. Would be a cute something for Cecilia to do with her friends when she’s old enough to know who her friends are.

Photo Credit: Chelsea / Lovely Indeed

Photo Credit: Chelsea / Lovely Indeed

Jordan Ferney from Oh Happy Day shared a wonderful DIY monster ticket booth from Hello Lucky. I was thinking of throwing a Halloween party in the coming years, and this would be a fun project to try.

Photo Credit: Paul Ferney / Oh Happy Day

Photo Credit: Paul Ferney / Oh Happy Day

And for a couple special treats:

Rosaura Unangst, who runs Pigment and Parchment, is offering a 25% off sale for the love of Halloween. The offer is good through today so if you fancy yourself some hand-illustration and watercolor, or know someone who does, get your booty over there!

Image from Pigment & Parchment

Image from Pigment & Parchment

If you are local and are looking for something fun and adult-like today, Goose Island Beer Co. from Chicago started 32-city tour that began in Miami and March, and it ends at Samuel Horne Tavern in Folsom tonight. The brewer will be there for a meet-and-greet, and there will be fruit-fusion sours beers.

Photo Courtesy of Goose Island Beer Co.

Photo Courtesy of Goose Island Beer Co.

What were some of your favorite Halloween posts? Are you doing anything special today? Share in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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

Pumpkin Errything

Last night, I made a proclamation. I will only eat food with pumpkin in it for Halloween. If it doesn’t have pumpkin in it, I’m not interested. This is really how I would like to live my life in general, but since that could be a bigger challenge than I’m ready to face, I’ll stick to Halloween.

To prepare for such a day, I started by making Pumpkin Muffins with Cream Cheese that I found the recipe for on My Baking Addiction. I’m going to say that these are probably my favorite muffins I’ve ever made.

muffins2The recipe didn’t call for it, but I added chocolate chips on top because I will add chocolate chips to everything and it was everything I could ask for. Creamy, moist, fluffy and the streusel gives it a crunchy top.

And since the only thing my boyfriend will eat that has pumpkin in it is a cheesecake, I’ll be making a pumpkin cheesecake recipe I got from America’s Test Kitchen next. Cheesecake is a total labor of love, so it’s a good thing I love him – and cheesecake.

And because I can’t live on sweets alone (although I would love to), I am either going to make this Curried Pumpkin Soup from A House in the Hills or the Pumpkin Black Bean Soup from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes.

Curried Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup / Photo Credit: Sarah Yates / House in the Hills

Curried Pumpkin and Red Lentil Soup / Photo Credit: Sarah Yates / House in the Hills

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup / Photo Credit: Heather Poire / Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup / Photo Credit: Heather Poire / Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

And to continue with the pumpkin theme, Cecilia and I are going to give pumpkin painting a try today, and later I’ll scoop out the insides to make puree like I did last year. I would like to say that this will probably cure my pumpkin addiction, but I also know that’s a big fat lie.

Making anything pumpkin for Halloween? Did you make any of the recipes I shared? Drop me a comment and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Posted in Food, Thrifty Thursday | Leave a comment