Thrifty Thursdays: Halloween Edition!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Hi friends! I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as I have some last-minute costume preparations and decorations I need to get to! In true Thrifty Thursday fashion, I wanted to share some awesome pumpkin recipes and Halloween printables that I found, and also shared on Savannah Attic!

Photo from how sweet it is

Photo from how sweet it is

Jessica from how sweet it is (a deliciously wonderful blog that is about all things food – healthy, comfort, indulgent – she’s got it all) shares a recipe for making homemade pumpkin puree, along with beautifully crafted photos of her process. She says that it’s best to use pie pumpkins (I actually never heard of this until now) as the ones we get for carving may be more stringy. But hey, if you’ve already got the pumpkins – might as well use them!

Image belongs to Pumpkin Seeds Benefits

Image belongs to Pumpkin Seeds Benefits

Allison from Oh She Glows (a vegan food blog – yum!) shares a recipe for roasting the perfect pumpkin seeds and even shares her unfortunate experience of burning her seeds the first time she tried to roast them (oh no!). She also links to six other pumpkin recipes at the bottom of her post. All of her recipe development and photography is self-taught, so she is definitely an inspiration!

Photo from Spoonful

Photo from Spoonful

Pecan Pies in Pumpkin Shells from Spoonful – These look so delicious! You just need a few small pumpkins and all of the ingredients for the pecan pie for this recipe! This will be perfect for the small pumpkin I got Cecilia this year! Just imagine how good that pecan pie is going to be when it’s baking in your oven. Yum!

Image belongs to The Blissful Bee

Image belongs to The Blissful Bee

You can find this free printable and more over at The Blissful Bee – a fun DIY blog

Photo from Fancy Designs Blog

Photo from Fancy Designs Blog

This is one of two free printables available at Fancy Designs Blog – a blog dedicated to celebrations

if you are in need of some last-minute Halloween ideas (much like myself), you can check out my entire Homemade Halloween series over at Savannah Attic. If you have some DIY Halloween fun to share, post the link in the comments and show off your stuff on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #homemadehalloween! Find more Homemade Halloween inspiration on my Pinterest!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Creative Business Journey

creative business journey

A few years ago, a friend told me that she wanted to get into food photography. I chuckled to myself a little because I could not imagine for the life of me how hard food photography would be. I previously worked at Picture People where my subjects were constantly moving, crying, screaming, sneezing, coughing, everything. How hard would it be to take a picture of food? It just sits there.

In the last few weeks or so, my view of food and product photography has been quite the opposite. When you’re selling photos of children to their parents, your main focus is to make sure the photo is centered, the lighting is good, and the child looks halfway decent. But when you’re trying to emphasize how special and amazing your products or the cookies you made are through photos, it can be tough to make a person feel connected enough to want more. Really tough.

I have been setting up makeshift photo studios in my kitchen, my living room and the baby’s room/office, driving my family crazy. I spend countless hours in front of my computer, trying to make something of what I have. I have all of these amazing editing programs because of my school, and I can’t figure out how to use any of them.

I just want a sharper photo and a plain white background. Is that really to much to ask?! Apparently, yes. I look at all of these amazing blogs with all of these amazing photos, and sometimes I just want to break down and cry. That may be a little over the top, but I know there is something I’m missing.

I was at the point where I wasn’t going to post anything today, just so I could work on editing my photos but I figured this would be a good time to seek advice from anyone who has gone down the same road before. So, while I try to make any sense out of Photoshop right now…I have this to ask of you.

What photo tutorials have you used that you find the most helpful? What are your favorite photo editing programs and why? And how the hell can I remove my ugly background? I’m going to check out my favorite blogs for inspiration and will share the tutorials I find the most useful. But in the meantime…help!

Fitness Fest: MyYogaPro

Me and the little one doing our yoga

Me and the little one doing our yoga

Today, I’m taking a little note from Elizabeth on Delightfully Tacky. She shared her experience with yoga on her blog the other day, and it totally rang true with me. I also started taking yoga when I was in College and needed some kind of fitness class. I’ve always been relatively active but unlike Elizabeth, I was never big on doing anything too strenuous. So when I saw that a yoga class was available, I snatched it up immediately.

I went back and forth on taking yoga classes around town but it never really felt right. Since the yoga community in Sacramento is so small, everyone in my classes always knew each other and even if I took beginner classes, they all seemed to be more advanced than I was – which was probably true. I know I shouldn’t be comparing myself to others – especially in a yoga class – but it’s hard not to do that. So I just stopped going. I wasn’t feeling it anymore.

I started doing yoga on my Wii Fit when I moved to Stockton, but that also just didn’t feel right. Yoga is a lot more than just doing the moves – it’s an experience. A spiritual journey, if you will. So I looked online for yoga classes. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Erin Motz and DoYouYoga.com that I finally felt a connection. That’s why I have always promoted what they are working on, and love what they are doing.

Image belongs to DoYouYoga.com

Image belongs to DoYouYoga.com

Erin is so down-to-earth and does not have that “I’m more in touch with my body” attitude that I get from a lot of yoga teachers. Not to mention, DoYouYoga.com is a really fun site that is user-friendly and also houses articles on yoga and the lifestyle behind it. The articles are all written by normal people, and anyone who has a connection yoga and healthy living in general can sign up as a contributor.

So when I saw that they were launching a Kickstarter for their new site – MyYogaPro – I got on board immediately. I signed up as an Ambassador and started spreading the word. I have been following the journey of Andreas Zolton (DoYouYoga founder) and Erin Motz – and I am excited to announce that the Kickstarter has officially launched!

As I’m typing this, the campaign has only been live for 2 days and they already have 664 backers and have raised an astounding $33.341 of their $20,000 goal. That’s insane! The campaign will be live for 38 more days so there is still time to pledge, and if you pledge $15 or more, you get a sweet soundtrack!

Image belongs to DoYouYoga.com

Image belongs to DoYouYoga.com

My Yoga Pro will the first-ever social online yoga platform that combines online yoga classes with a social network and a video game-like rewarding system. Andreas and Erin are hoping that this new concept will change the way people view at-home yoga sessions – making it fun an rewarding. For some of us, at-home sessions are the only way we can practice.

This idea was born after Andreas and Erin launched the 30 Day Yoga Challenge, which was also backed by Yoga Trail and  had over 20,000 participants in just a few months, myself included. With MyYogaPro, there will be 16 yoga courses and over 200 exclusive HD videos of yoga classes. Yogis can sign up for Challenges with friends and earn badges together, or can update their status to let everyone know that they’ve been practicing for a week straight.

Needless to say, I’m really excited to see what’s to come with MyYogaPro. I’m a huge fan of both DoYouYoga and Erin Motz and I think that the yoga world needs a website like this. If you are looking for a new yoga site and you have not gotten yourself acquainted with DoYouYoga, then I think that you should check it out. You can start the 30 Day Yoga Challenge at any time, and can learn more about MyYogaPro.

Follow DoYouYoga on Facebook and Twitter to get all the scoop and updates as they happen. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy inspiration!

Yo Momma Monday: Alison Butler

yo momma monday

IMG_0509Meet Alison Butler, 31, from Newfoundland, Canada. She is a beautiful mama who recently launched her shop The Petit Cadeau, which is centered around celebrating and creating traditions. She creates handmade heirloom celebration countdown calendars for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and other special occasions. She loves to create and support handmade, and is usually happiest with a cup of tea and a book.

Alison cultivated her love for creating thoughtful gifts since she was a child and made homemade gifts or cards for her family, something that she says was fostered and encouraged by her mom. She took creative extra-curricular classes, such as art, pottery and cartooning but never took art in high school, something she still regrets.

“As an adult, it’s my “escape” – I love to make things, it calms my mind and body.”

As a mother to a  2 1/2 year old who works a full-time job aside from creating, she admits that she is constantly trying to find a balance, and that nothing ever really feels normal. (I second that notion). She usually spends a few hours each night creating and blogging, after her daughter falls asleep and tries  not to schedule anything on the weekend so her family can enjoy each other.

Image belongs to Alison Butler

Image belongs to Alison Butler

Alison credits motherhood for her inspiration to create things for children and to give more thought about the way she does things – like keeping celebrations simple and thoughtful. Most importantly, being a mom has taught her to slow down.

“Everywhere I look, I see parents trying to do everything bigger and better. It seems to stress most people out.,” she says. “Why is it really necessary?  It’s not. My message is always – they won’t remember the gift (most of the time) It’s the memories and experiences that are important.  I want my daughter to remember feeling special.”

It was this idea that prompted her thoughtful gifting manifesto, a beautifully and thoughtfully written post about why she buys handmade, and/or from local businesses. Never a last-minute shopper, she keeps a birthday book and starts planning and preparing well in advance, thinking about what that person would really love.

She also started Thoughtful Celebrations, a monthly e-mail newsletter that focuses on just that – planning thoughtful celebrations. Recipients are privy to recipes and tips for throwing parties and different handmade shops to support. They also get special coupons and previews to new projects she’s working on.

celebration-bags-2

“I think I have a lot of internal drive to keep working at something I love, even when some days don’t involve anything creative and lot’s of the time I feel completely exhausted.  I’m building something that makes me happy and joyful.”

After a Twitter chat with Oh My Handmade – the amazing handmade community that she belongs to – she wanted to do something fun to promote handmade busineeses. Since she also happened to be training for the NYC 2012 Marathon, and decided to name her series The Handmade Marathon. She selected 26 handmade business participants, one for each mile of a marathon. The marathon was subsequently cancelled, but since the series became so popular, she decided to keep it going.

“I feature one handmade business per month, and changed my interview questions to reflect the direction my blog is heading.”

Alison gets a lot of her inspiration from beautiful magazines and all of her favorite blogs. She reads Oh My Handmade daily and also loves Susannah Conway and Alisa Burke. One of her favorite shops is Herriott Grace – a father and daughter team who started selling gorgeous hand-carved wooden objects online five years ago – and Alison is a proud owner for the cloud cookie cutter!

Image belongs to Alison Butler

Image belongs to Alison Butler

The personal touch is Alison’s favorite thing about the handmade community and she loves being able to connect with others through Oh My Handmade and share her interests and passions with like-minded people.

“There is a real THRIVING supportive community around handmade.  It’s wonderful to be a part of that.”

As an only child, Alison says that she embraces quiet and enjoys sitting in coffee shops to sip and read. She unwinds at local yoga classes and is excited about a new studio she just found and she and her husband recently took a chocolate making class. FUN! She also loves to craft in her downtime and loves learning new trades. One craft she hasn’t learned but would love to try is letterpress.

“I haven’t found anywhere locally where I could learn, but it just looks so beautiful and interesting. Knitting is also high up on my “must-learn” list,” she says.  “I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years – most recently bookbinding/making, wool felting and art journaling.  I’ll try almost anything once!”

Image belongs to Alison Butler

Image belongs to Alison Butler

Alison says that her favorite thing about running her own business is interacting with new people and collaborating on projects and posts – and she has some great ones in the works in late 2013 and early 2014! She hopes that her blog will inspire people to make small, thoughtful changes. She wants people to feel inspired to make a gift when they might feel like they don’t have the talent and she wants people to start simple family traditions that will last a lifetime.

“Inspired to think about where the money goes and instead of buying five plastic toys, invest in one beautiful  toy – something that’s quality, made by hand.  Most importantly, I want you to feel like my blog is for you, because it is!”

As a mom, Alison works slower on her projects than she did in the past. She’s constantly planning new ideas for the shop and has  several in the works right now and she says she is learning to embrace the newer, slower pace of finishing projects or getting things completed.

Image belongs to Alison Butler

Image belongs to Alison Butler

“My hope for the future is to be able to incorporate creativity more into my everyday life.  I want to continue to slow down, listen, be present and enjoy my family to the fullest.”

You can find more about Alison, her thoughtful gifting manifesto through The Petit Cadeau blog and you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you know of an awesome mama who would be a perfect fit for this series, please leave a comment or share the link on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Meet some more amazing mamas on my Pinterest!

Weekly Wishes #2

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Image belongs to the Nectar Collective

Last week I started a new weekly series called Weekly Wishes that I found on a pretty amazing site, The Nectar Collective. It’s a weekly link-up where participants write a post (such as this) and link it up to the post Melyssa writes on Nectar Collective, then you leave a motivating comment on the person’s post who linked up directly before you.

In doing so, I actually found Andrea Lui, who runs a handmade jewelry shop on Etsy called Oh! Jewelicious. Her work is beautiful and while I’m not much of a jewelry person, I can see myself wearing her stuff! I especially love the sparrow earrings. It’s hard for me to wear necklaces or anything that dangles because Cecilia has quite the grip and I wouldn’t want it to break. Look how cute these sparrows are…there is also a necklace to match!

Image belongs to Andrea Lui

Image belongs to Andrea Lui

I shared my weekly wishes for my business, creative, fitness and home wishes last week, and

Last week’s wishes:

Business wish – Create buttons for both my Sweet Mariposa shop and my blog. Read through Ch. 9 in The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin.

Creative wish – Finally finish these cheese graters! I’m going to share the tutorial on my Linkouture when I’m done!

Fitness wish - 15 minutes of exercise + 15 minutes of yoga each day

Home wish – Start canning all my vegetables from the garden

How I did:

I did end up creating my buttons for Sweet Mariposa, but have decided against making buttons for my blog at this time. I don’t think they are really necessary right now, and I have some projects in the works for this blog and may create a few buttons then. After looking through loads of different tutorials – only to be unsuccessful at all of them – I took the easy route and just copied the code from a button I got from another site and entered my information. Simple, eh? You can see the button on my sidebar – hooray!

I’m also through Ch. 10 in The Handmade Marketplace so I’m pretty sure I will finish the book this week (there’s 12 chapters). I’m going to jot down some of the information I got from the book and see how much of it I can incorporate in my own work. I will be writing a review in the near future.

I also finished the cheese graters, and I sent my tutorial over to the wonderful Bev at Linkouture, so it should be up soon! It was a big challenge of mine to get these done, so I’m relieved I finally did it! You can also find them at my Etsy shop. I can do different colors and styles if you fancy one.

SONY DSC

I was able to squeeze in a couple bodyweight workouts through Fitness Blender, and I treated myself to a couple restorative yoga sessions at night, but I find it really hard to stay on my fitness goals. So I’m really focusing on what food I’m putting into my body and getting exercise when I can – which isn’t hard with how mobile my little one is now! We’re always walking and exploring so that certainly helps. I lost a few pounds in the last week so it’s working!

And finally, I put all those crazy peppers to good use and made some homemade hot sauce! I used a recipe I found on Pinterest and I’m still having trouble finding the original website. I’ll share the recipe this week but here’s a photo for now! I also made homemade apple butter with that recipe I shared last week that I got from My Baking Addiction and it was amazing! I put it on my toast this morning and topped it with banana. I could have eaten the whole jar but figured I better save some for tomorrow. I will share my experience with making both later this week.

IMG_0652 IMG_0654

Now moving on to this week!

Business: Get together with Heather to go over her Press Release (very exciting stuff!) and get her into some awesome author communities! After becoming an Oh My Handmade member, I am true believer in how important it is to be a part of a community. They help you go over ideas, and will support your work and everything you are doing any chance they get. We need to get all of her bases covered so we can continue networking and promoting all of her wonderful work.

Creative: See that three tiered basket in the picture? (hint: it’s #7) I want to restore that this week. I’m going to hang it in our pantry an use it to hold all of our bread and snacks. I just can’t decide if I want to paint it all one color or use multiple colors. Let me know your thoughts! Last week, I also started to work on a serving tray that I was upcycling into a chalkboard cheese tray. I’ve since changed my mind and decided to use it as a prop for photos. I just need to make a few little fixes and I’ll be done…so I wanted to finally finish it this week!

thrifty finds

IMG_0642

Fitness: I’m going to continue working on my goal of getting a 15 minute workout along with a 15 minute yoga session in every day. It’s challenging but I feel so good after I’m done that I want to continue working on it. It’s also such a lovely feeling to not have to cringe every time you try on an old pair of pants. I’m also making it a goal to get rid of the white sugar and flour in the house, and find good, healthy replacements for sugar.

Home: Well, it’s time to switch out the garden. I’m going to work on moving all of the old stuff out, cleaning up the garden area, and starting planting new veggies. I’m going to look up what will be good to plant right now and look into planting some succulents and flowers. Of course, I will be sharing my journey with you along the way! Although my garden had its ups and downs this season, I learned a lot – and I was able to make so much from it! Hoping to get a pressure canner soon *fingers crossed* so I can more and more good stuff!

What are your weekly wishes? Write about them and link up to the Nectar Collective. You can also share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s to having another lovely and productive week!

My first knitting project

Me in my way oversized beanie

Me in my way oversized beanie

Today I’m going to share my first knitting project with you as part of my participation in the Your First Knitting Project: Blog It to Win It contest through Interweave! Participants also get to choose up to five products they want in the hopes that they win, and here are my choices:

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Intentional Printing $17.90

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Paint, print, Layer, Collage $19.96

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Screen filler and block out $10.99

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Inktense pencil set $31.99

Image belongs to Interweave

Image belongs to Interweave

Handsewn $18.11

So, here is my story…

My poor mom. She tried so hard to get me interested in sewing and baking, but it never panned out. Ever. Until now. Now I wish I had all of that free experience at my fingertips, but I’ve always done things my own way. For some reason, the one craft that my mom taught me that actually caught on was knitting. I think it was because I could do it while watching TV, and I am a huge fan of attempting to multitask.

I really wanted to do a big, baggy beanie, so my helpful mom looked through ALL of her knitting books (she has A LOT) and we finally picked a beanie. She took me to the yarn store to choose my yarn and I started right away. I made all the rookie mistakes – picking up extra stitches and then dropping the ones I needed.

I would get frustrated and just put it down for a while, and once I came back to it, I was refreshed and ready to try again. That was one of the biggest lessons I learned from crafting – sometimes you just need to step away and revisit it later. I was really excited, and slightly relieved, when it was finally done.

I wore it every chance I got, and my friends had a lot of fun with it, too. As a result, it’s super stretched out now and is pretty much unwearable at this point. But I still keep it around, because it’s my first completed knitting project – and I just love it so much!

My mom can pretty much knit anything under the sun, and now that I am becoming more and more domesticated, I hope to learn some more from her and see what else I can make! I’m thinking scarves, mittens, pouches, and maybe even a beer koozie!

This post is for the Blog It to Win It contest through Interweave. You can enter the contest by clicking on the Interweave link. Share your post in the comments or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #firstknittingproject. Find more knitting inspiration on my Pinterest!

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

With Halloween a little less than a week away, I figured it was high time for me to do the obligatory Halloween post. Since we’ve had our share of the Halloween costumes, crafts, printables, recipes and party ideas by now, I thought I would do something a little different. I love all of those posts as well, but since my little one is hardly at the crafting age, and we certainly aren’t throwing a party, I’m going to share some awesome art-inspired pumpkins that have caught my attention.

We’re going to the pumpkin patch tomorrow, and to be honest, I’m most excited about getting a pumpkin just so I can puree all of it’s guts and toast the seeds, I figured I might as well use it for all that I can and paint that sucker! I found these painted pumpkins to be most inspiring, and I hope you do too!

Image belongs to Studio DIY

Image belongs to Studio DIY

DIY Donut Pumpkins from Studio DIY – We actually have two small donuts that would be perfect for this project! You just need a couple of pumpkins and some acrylic paint to get the job done. You can see more at Studio DIY by clicking on the link or the above photo. I happened upon this site through Pinterest and it seriously makes me want to throw confetti in the air. I won’t because I just cleaned in here, but I seriously want to. Kelly, who runs this site, has done a beautiful job designing it. She shares all kinds of DIY projects, parties, supplies and events on her page – and even accepts submissions!
This may be one of my new favorites.

Image belongs to Alisa Burke

Image belongs to Alisa Burke

Frida inspired pumpkin from Alisa Burke – I’m a huge fan of Alisa Burke, so obviously I love her Frida-inspired pumpkins. This definitely gives me some inspiration for the big pumpkin I’m going to get tomorrow. She also includes 11 other painted pumpkin projects she has done over the years in her post, including this sketchbook pumpkin, where she shares photos of her process from step one. If you are needing some artistic inspiration, this is definitely a good place to start.

Image belongs to Oleander and Palm

Image belongs to Oleander and Palm

Southwest Inspired Pumpkins from Oleander and Palm – I love the simple and clean design on these pumpkins. Jeran has a nice theme going here, just like her modern and geometric pumpkins she did last year. This post is part of her Halloween-centric posts, and there is plenty more to find. She has pumpkin recipes, Halloween decor and more. Go check out her entryway and fox photo booth – both very fun!

If you have any fun painted pumpkins to share, post in the comments and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #fridayfavorites and #paintedpumpkins. You can find more painted pumpkin inspiration on my Pinterest! If you used any of these pumpkins as inspiration for your creation – share your project and photos with us!