Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope all my friends out there are having a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2012

No Snowman Toy For Bubba!

I made the little snowman decoration somewhere around twelve years ago. The kids were still in middle school. So I've had him for many years. I woke up to Brian asking me this morning if I made a snowman toy for Bubba. Since this snowman was made about five years before Bubba was born, I have to say no.

Will he ever be able to tell the difference between his toys and mine?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

FREEBIE - Printable Earring Cards

I posted these last year and they were one of my most popular downloads, so I thought I'd bring them back this year for the new followers who might have missed them. 

They are in two different formats. If you want them in JPEG format, I designed them two up on a 4 x 6 sized graphic. That way if you want to have them printed at your photo processing center, you can easily do that. I also formatted them on a PDF file, four on a page. They also have a green border around them so you can make them bigger without losing resolution. You can include a portion of the border on your card. You can of course adjust the size of your print out as well for any size you want. They fit perfectly in those little ziplock bags that are usually found in the beading section at craft stores, or you can use them in a gift box.

For the PDF version, you can download them HERE
For the JPEG version, you can download them HERE


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Share the Love - Julie & Shawnna

Today in my "Share the Love" series you are going to meet Shawnna and Julie. These are such incredibly talented graphic designers who have both been such a huge inspiration to me.

First we have Shawnna. She is the talent behind LovelyTOCU. I LOVE her art! Her girls have so much class and style. She can make them look like you or anyone you want them to look like. I kinda think the one above looks a little like me, don't you think? I have seen a couple other artists who try to do similar work, but she has that something special that sets her girls apart from all the others. I think my favorite pieces of hers are her kitchen girls and her kitchen mixers. Oh, and her cupcakes! So cute! Stop by her shop and you'll see what I mean.

Shawnna's Etsy Shop
Shawnna's Blog
Shawnna's Facebook

Next we have Julie from Clementine Digitals. She has such a variety of clipart images and she sell's a lot of them so I'm obviously not her only fan. Her owls are so cute but the images above are my favorites. My mom's side of the family is from Wales, and that's what I think of when I see this kit. She also has an awesome collection of digital papers. So bright and colorful!

Julie's Etsy Shop
Julie's Blog
Julie's Facebook

Next time you will meet my two besties from the pattern designing world. And spell check doesn't like "besties" but if they say in on the Big Bang Theory, then it is indeed a word!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blog FREEBIE - Snowman Soup Bag Topper

It's time for a Holiday freebie! I've made you a Snowman Soup bag topper. It's sized to fit a ziploc sandwich sized lunch bag. Just slip a packet of cocoa, a couple Hershey's kisses, small candy cane, and some miniature marshmallows inside the bag. Cut out the topper, fold in half and staple to the top of the bag. Makes a cute treat for some special child in your life!

You can download yours Here. 


Images are from various clipart kits that are available at my Etsy Shop.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Preparations

Shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, cleaning, crafting! Do your days get as busy as mine? Fortunately Doc is out of town so starting next week, I'll get a few extra days off to catch up. I've been busy designing new graphics and patterns. Looking forward to another magazine publication this Spring. 

My son just bought his first house and we moved him in last week. It's a nice house, in a nice area which makes me a happy mom!!! Gotta say, I a bit jealous of that great big kitchen! I think I actually have them talked into having Thanksgiving next year.

Short post today, got to get back to busy. In case you missed my original post, or you forgot, you can still download your free Christmas ornament E-book with nine awesome projects including my lollipop ornaments. You can get yours at All Free Holiday Crafts. Be sure to check out their thousands of other craft projects too. If you like to craft, you'll be putting that site in your favorites!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quick Christmas Fix

Our living room is pretty big but we have almost an entire wall taken up by floor to ceiling windows. Since we live out in the country this isn't a problem and we have lots of privacy because the living room is facing the back of the house and there is no one behind us, just woods and cornfields. This does however create a few problems for decorating. We have a large ottoman that matches the couch and loveseat. I like it best at the side of the loveseat but with the tree up, I want lots of space for the tree, decorations and LOTS of presents!

We also have a big entry way that leads to the living room. Brian suggested we put the ottoman there against the bare wall. I like the idea because it's close at hand for any additional seating that will be needed during the holidays when the kids are all here. But that said, it just looked like a big, fat ottoman stuck against the wall. I happened to remember that we had an extra king sized pillow in the hall closet. I decided to make a cover for it that closes in the back with velcro so it can be taken off and easily stored until next year.

I'm actually happy with the way it came out. The last thing I wanted was for it to look like a bed pillow with a bed looking pillowcase. What do you think? I like the way it's a perfect fit for the ottoman too.

Images in the photo are from my "Waiting for Santa" and "Holiday Magic" graphic and clipart sets which are available at my shops.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sweet Shop Dining Room

So far it's been a productive and fun weekend. The halls are decked and we even found some time to go out and see the new James Bond movie. It was AWESOME! I'm a Bond fan, always have been as far back as I can remember.

Above is a photo of my dining room. I like to do that in my sweet shop theme. This year I did add a few new things such as the gingerbread tree topper, the garland, and the gingerbread napkin rings. I love the look of the pins and napkin rings in my glass dish!

If you like my gingerbread theme, you can visit my shops (linked tabs at the top) because I have LOTS of gingerbread patterns to choose from, including all of the above. Most of them are quick and easy. If you click on my tutorials tab you will find the free patterns to my lollipop ornaments and my gingerbread boy and girl ornaments.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sales - Sales - Sales!

 For those in the States, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We sure did! We had a feast! We always cook for an army no matter how many show up. We hosted the big event here. Brian cooked the turkey and it was fabulous! I even used the owl napkin rings that I made. Tutorial here.

I will not be shopping this Black Friday because I will be working. Not sure I'd be out in the crowds anyway. But I will be celebrating Black Friday through Cyber Monday at my shops with sales. Let the Holidays begin!

Turkey in image above is from my Halloween & Fall Clipart Set which can be found at my Etsy Shop, Teacher's Notebook Shop, Meylah Graphics Shop.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Digital Designers Freebie Download Hop

This facebook hop is now closed but you can still get my freebie on the FREEBIE page of my website HERE.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Share the Love

In the short time I've been selling at various Internet shops, I have come across the best people in the world! Many think of other sellers as their competition, but it doesn't have to be that way. I've made quite a few friends and have come across some unbelievable talent. I've also been inspired by many of them as well. I thought it would be fun to "share the love" and introduce you to some of them. There are quite a few on my awesome people list so I thought I'd start with two's.

Trina makes the most beautiful cake toppers for all occasions. She gets a lot of custom orders and I can see why. The incredible detail she puts into these little cuties is just the beginning. She will customize your cake topper to fit your guest of honor's personality, hobbies, sports, pets, anything. I have seen some of the requests she has gotten, and some are challenging as well. She delivers exactly what they want with a one of a kind item they won't ever get any place else. Definitely a keepsake to treasure. My personal favorites are her animals. They have the cutest faces!

Trina's blog
Trina's Etsy shop

Next we have Della. The things she does with shells will amaze you! Most of her pieces, with the exception of the masculine collection, are so soft and feminine looking. She has a unique way of pairing beads, charms, and other fun things with the shells to create these beautiful jewelry and accessory pieces. Every time I see a new piece of hers, I can just imagine what kind of clothing it would look great with. A lot of her pieces are so elegant, they remind me of something you would only see in a high end store in the city. In the piece above you will see what I mean when I mentioned how she has the unique talent of putting just the right elements together.

Della's blog
Della's Etsy shop

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mug Rugs - Too Fun!

Have you ever made mug rugs? They are so much fun! I thought I'd make a couple so I can list the patterns in my shops, but now I can't stop. All this hand applique I've been doing is nice, but machine applique is so quick. 

I have come to a couple of realizations while making these. First, the more you machine applique, the easier it gets and your skills improve very quickly. Second, the soft minty colors are so pretty and make a nice final product, however, they photograph like crap. And thirdly, I'm going to have to get online and order some more bobbins and another bobbin holder.

Oh yah, Punnkie helped me make them...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's A Gingerbread Christmas!

Since I mentioned that I've been on a major creative streak a couple of my friends have asked me to share some pictures. We'll you asked, and now I shall show!

Remember last year that I came up with the idea to have a Sweet Shop Theme for my dining room? It was cute too. The tree was decorated with nothing but candy and cookie ornaments. Surrounding my tree was a lot of peppermint and other sweets, real and fake. Last year I came up with all the ornaments which are on my blog as free tutorials (link at the top). I also designed the tree skirt and the stockings. 

I took it a step further this year with the addition of the gingerbread girl recipe holder, new ornaments, napkin rings, a tree topper, and a garland. 

So I can't wait to see my dining room this year! And of course I'll post pictures!

You can make all these items yourself because all these patterns are available at my Etsy Shop, Website, and Craftsy Pattern Shop.

Monday, November 5, 2012

FREE Ornament E-Book!

Have you ever stopped by All Free Holiday Crafts? Well, if you haven't, you are missing out on a whole bunch of fun craft projects!

I have a couple of items on their site (Christmas Tree Advent Calendar, Lollipop Ornaments, Felt Candy Cane Holder Ornaments). They approached me not long ago and asked if they could include my Lollipop Ornaments in an E-Book they plan to publish this Holiday Season. Of course I said sure!

The book has just been released and you can pick up your free copy HERE.

It has nine fun ornament patterns. And I am definitely making that Chocoholic's Dream Ornament!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Potty Pads - Any Advice?

Many of my readers are probably familiar with our little Bubba and his previous problems. For those who don't know, he's been blocked (bladder) twice, and had two emergency surgeries. He almost died when stones got stuck in the urethra, but he survived what many dogs don't. He gets bladder stones and even though he's on prescription food for that, they still come back. They aren't nearly as big as they once were, but they are still causing the little guy problems.

When I said in my previous post that life gets in the way, this is one of those obstacles. For the past week, he's been having off and on difficulty urinating. It breaks my heart to watch him struggle during those times. The vet had to catheterize him twice last week. I took him to work with me everyday because if he wasn't urinating, we could help him before I took him home. This is one advantage of working for his vet. Unfortunately, and of all times, Doc is out of town! We do have a substitute doctor, but he doesn't handle emergencies or surgeries. If Bubba has more problems, we might do another surgery when Doc comes back that will reroute his "plumbing." It's good answer for this type of problem and is very successful.

I bought some training pads and some special spray and I'm trying to get Bubba to pee on them but he shows no interest. Not only is this a way to keep watch on his medical problem, but I hate taking him outside, especially after dark. We have coyotes and other animals that would not make nice with my Bubba! Our winters are also pretty rough and it would be quite nice to keep him inside since I follow him in the yard in case of furry intruders.

So, I'm looking for advice. Has anyone had success using the training pads on an older dog? I'd really like for this to work for so many reasons.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween & The Bad Blogger Hall of Shame

I think it's official. I should be inducted into the Bad Blogger Hall of Shame! My postings are not as fruitful as usual, and I haven't been doing a lot of visiting others. Sometimes life gets in the way and you have to set priorities. Plus, life has just been busy!

I'm still on that big creative streak so I've been doing a LOT of creating in the graphics department and the pattern department. I recently added a whole bunch of clipart, papers, and printable to my graphic shops. I'm actually putting the finishing touches on a pattern that I will be releasing in the next couple of days.

I'm also happy to say that sales at most of my shops have picked up quite a bit so I've been busy trying to get my books organized. I'm also creating a business plan with actual goals and plans. I created some new spreadsheets to help me keep my items organized as far as what shops I've uploaded what items, as well as what items are selling at all the shops combined so I know where to concentrate my efforts. I'm also looking at some new accounting software to start 2013 with. Right now I'm using spread sheets that I created myself.

I'm doing so well on my healthy changes and am proud to announce a 30 pound weight loss! It feels good to be back on track with my healthier (most of the time) eating and my commitment to exercise.

So, I do have more to tell you but I'll save it for another day. I hope you are all having SPOOKY HALLOWEEN!

Images above are from my "Funky Halloween" papers and clipart images that can be found at my Etsy Shop, Website, and Clipart Shop.

Friday, October 26, 2012

FREEBIE November Calendar Page

 Your  November calendar page is ready. Can't believe it's already November! For those on familiar with my monthly freebie, it will print out at 5 x 7 inches, 300 DPI, Where you see my photos will be transparent frames so you can add your own photos. It's a PNG image.

You can pick it up at 4Shared HERE, or on the freebie page of my website HERE.

All images for this page are from my website, clipart site, and Etsy. Links are above and on my About Me page.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas (really!)

Many of my friends are probably wondering where I've been the past several days. Well, I'll tell you! Brian and I just returned home from a well needed vacation in Las Vegas. We had a great time! I won't bore you with photo after photo, but I did make a collage of some of my favorites.

We stayed at the Paris Hotel which was quite nice. Yes, we went inside the M&M store. I was in HEAVEN!!! We saw a great show, had some delicious food, did a TON of walking, and enjoyed ourselves every minute.

We aren't big gamblers so we didn't leave a nice chunk of change behind. I was down a wee bit but decided to play one more time on my favorite slot machine, and won it all back and then some. I cashed out immediately and headed back to our room for some sleep before our early flight. 

I'll be catching up on all my friend's blogs in the next couple of days. See you all soon!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Enjoying the Fall Colors

Is it just me, or are the Fall colors more vivid and beautiful than they've been in years past? My usual 25 minute drive home today took about 45 because I had to keep stopping to take pictures. But I did manage to get these beauties! Oh how I love the Fall! Are you enjoying the beautiful Fall colors in your area?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

FREEBIE - Mini Scrapbooking Kit for Halloween

It just dawned on me that I had planned on putting a freebie mini-kit out for Halloween, and I almost forgot! So here it is. You'll get the four images you see here plus the background paper (3600 x 3600 pixels). There's enough there to make up a cute scrapbook page, or even a greeting card. You can even decorate your blog or website with the images. I just made a cute desktop wallpaper with mine.

You can pick your freebie up at 4-Shared or on the freebie page of my website.

Note: 4-Shared has a bunch of download buttons, make sure you click the right one or you'll be downloading something else. Probably best to just grab it from my website.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Favorite: Goo Gone

It's been a while since I've posted about a favorite. This time I've chosen Goo Gone. It's a product I've been using for many years and it works like a charm every time! Everyone knows that it removes sticky labels from items but it does a whole lot more.

Back when the kids were little my son lost his favorite coat on the little league field. It was a cute coat too. It was blue with red accents. We did find that coat a few weeks later back behind the fenced in field. Unfortunately someone had taken a gigantic wad of purple bubble gum and ground it into the coat. I don't know why I decided to try Goo Gone to remove it, but I did. After I chipped away the big sections, I poured some on the gum area and let it sit. I went back about an hour later and wiped. I repeated this process throughout an entire evening. By the time I was finished (several trips later) there was NO TRACE of the ground in bubble gum.

Last week, after trying everything I could think of to clean my oil bottle, I decided to get out my trusty Goo Gone. Why oh why didn't I do that to begin with? If anyone has ever tried to clean an oil bottle, you know what a job it is. I even googled it and found tons of things people tried, but nothing worked until I got out my Goo Gone. See how sparkly clean it is!

The stuff is cheap, and it doesn't hurt to have some on hand. So pick up a bottle!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Freebie - Witch's Brew Hot Cocoa Printable

It's time or another freebie! Here is a fun printable for you. Just print it out, and tuck in a packet of hot cocoa mix. A cute little gift for you favorite little goblins.

You can pick yours up at 4-Shared HERE, or on the freebie page of my website, HERE.

The images are from my "Trick or Treat Graphic Kits" and my "Funky Halloween" Graphic Kits which can be found at my Website, Clipart Shop, and Etsy. Links at the right.

Friday, October 5, 2012

African Crowned Crane

We have a couple of zoos between here and Chicago. Every time I go to one of them, I always look for my favorite bird, the African Crowned Crane. I'm fascinated by his beautiful crown. Who would have guessed that this very bird would end up as one of our clinic residents. The adult bird in the photo is actually from one of the zoos that I've been to, but he now lives with us. The image on the right is a young crane that we are raising. When he's full grown, he will look like the bird on the left. Doc brought him out today so he can exercise his legs, so I took a few pics and some video. 

One of my favorite things about my job is how I can watch all the babies grow up to be such beautiful birds and animals.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On Creative Overload!

I've been on creative overload for the past couple weeks and I can't stop!

I found some old contracts (from publishing companies) from my designing days, and as I was reading them, I noticed that I had signed allowing them first rights. That means that I still own ALL rights to my patterns that I created for them. I'm just giving them the right to publish my project before I publish it anywhere else. So I'll be creating those items and releasing them in the future. I did get one finished earlier today and released it. It's the cute little gingerbread recipe holder you see above. It was in a Christmas book that was published in 2003.

I'm also mid-stream on another pattern that will be listed later this week. I also took some time to sew for myself when I made Ollie the Owl from my friend Heather's pattern (post below).

And it doesn't stop there. I've created a couple new graphic sets the past couple weeks. Just over the last few days I listed a whole bunch of Premade Etsy Banner, Avatar, and Graphic Sets which will be customized for my customer. That's something new for my shop.

So tomorrow it's back to work and my creativity must come to a slow-down. But I'm not going to stop!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

This Time I Was the Pattern Tester!

Sometimes a pattern designer just wants to follow a pattern that was designed by someone else. No stopping and taking notes, no photographing steps, no proof-reading, and no long, long hours at the computer writing up the pattern. Sometimes it's nice just to make a project! I did just that today. My friend Heather from the Sewing Loft was telling me about a pattern she was preparing to release. When she showed me the picture, I jumped on the opportunity to test it out for her. It was just too cute to pass up!

The pattern was well written, easy to follow, had lots of full color photos, and took well under three hours to complete. Naturally I decided to make it in the colors to match my craft and sewing room. Doesn't he look cute sitting up against my jar of beads? That is where he is going to stay.

I thought I'd take full advantage of National Sewing Month and work on some projects I've been wanting to stitch. I can't tell you what they all are though because some are Christmas gifts and my recipients are probably reading my blog!

If you want to make up your own Ollie the Owl, you can pick your pattern up at Heather's shops!

Sewing Loft Blog
Sewing Loft on Etsy
Sewing Loft on Craftsy

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hobby Horse Candy Cane & Lollipop Ornaments

free pattern download, free pattern christmas pattern, christmas ornament, free ornament pattern, hobby horse pattern, lollipop pattern, yo yo pattern,, sewing tutorial, embroidery tutorial

Last year I posted two Christmas ornament patterns that seem to be quite popular. If you want to see the tutorials, you can click the link at the top. Many people do like to keep a PDF pattern in their files so I have made them available in PDF format. You can pick them up for FREE at my Craftsy Shop. I'll leave the link (in the big red graphic) at my sidebar until Christmas is over if you want to check it out later.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Layla!

It was a year ago when I announced that I had become a great aunt for the first time. Well, it's hard to believe that it's already been a year! Yesterday we celebrated Layla's first birthday with family and friends. We had a Minnie Mouse theme, lots of presents, cupcakes, cake, and a healthy luncheon menu. The weather could not have been any better. What a cute birthday girl she is!

Image in photo is from my "What a Face" graphic/clipart kit which is available at my shops.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I'm Such A Loser!

Another goal has been met. As of this past weekend, I've lost a total of 20 pounds! At first it was slow going down a very rough road. Now, I've got a good grip on things and it seems so much easier. There are many things that have helped me along the way such as a supportive family, having access to our own elliptical (more on that later), and a husband who is a pro at watching what the eats and making sure that he works out regularly. Those are just to name a few.

One of the things that has been a big help to me is my (screenshot above). It's a website where you can log your weight, measurements, food, and exercise. They also have a community if you are interested. I don't join in on conversations or groups, but I find the smartphone app helpful to log my progress. It remembers the foods you use most often and it also stores your favorites so you never have to enter that food again, you just scroll down to it. It tells you how many calories you have at the start of your day, then adjusts as you eat and exercise. You know exactly how many calories you have left. My favorite part is at the end of the day when you choose "complete" and it says, "If you eat like this everyday, in five weeks you will weigh 135 pounds." Or whatever the case might be.

And it's all FREE!!! Free is good! This has been a big help to me. I think that logging and keeping track of my progress has added to my success. Whatever program you use, it does help to keep a log.

Images in the photo above are from my "Health and Fitness" clipart/graphic sets which are available at my website, clipart shop, and Etsy.

Monday, September 3, 2012

If Walls Could Talk

Do you ever go past an old abandoned house and ask yourself a million questions about it? I do! I'm actually fascinated by them. I wonder what the people were like who lived there, when was the house built, and how did it become vacant? Did the owner's lose it to the bank, did they die, did they just walk away from it? Were there kids and pets, and did they have parties out in the yard? Did they have electric when they first moved in, or was that added later? And most of all, I wish I could go inside to see if any of that old charm is still there. As we all know, they don't make houses like they used to.

This is an old house that I pass on my way to and from work. I know nobody lives there because the windows are out and I never see life or cars. I do question the lawn. It's neatly mowed all summer long. I wonder if it's the owner who does it, and why keep up the yard and not the rest of the house? You can't tell by looking at the picture, but the house sits on an amazing property! It's out in the country and there are no close neighbors. After looking at the photo I can see that roof actually doesn't look that bad. I wonder if this house is savable.

Breaking and entering is not for me, so now I'll just drive by and wonder...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

National Sewing Month

Did you know that September is National Sewing Month? If you've never sewn a stitch before but thought it would be fun to learn, now is the perfect time!

My friend and fellow pattern designer Heather, will be celebrating BIG all month long! She has some pretty talented guests that will be participating, as well as some incredible giveaways. She also has lots of fun projects planned. I for one will be stopping by her blog daily and you should too!

Look for the sewing machine graphic at the right side of my blog. It will be there all month long so all you have to do is click on it to take you there. 

The dress form graphic in the photo above is from my "The Sewing Room" graphic and clipart kit which can be found at my Etsy Shop, Website, or Clipart Shop. Links at the right.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thinking About Christmas?

OK, I can hear all the sounds of discomfort now, all the oh no's, and all the gasps. After all, it's only late August. But I would also imagine there are a lot of you out there that think there isn't enough time between now and then. Many of my friends are preparing for Holiday craft shows, and some are making Christmas presents and tucking them away.

I personally fall into both categories. I don't do Holiday craft shows but I've been working on some new Christmas pattern designs to introduce in my shops. I'm also working on a new free blog tutorial that would be cute for decorating, or gift giving. I've also got a little start on some gift making.

It seems as though my Internet life has taken a backseat for a while. My blog posts are further apart, and I rarely make to the Etsy teams. As for facebook, my business fan page is pretty much non-existent, and my personal one I just hop on occasionally to see if there are any new pictures from family and friends. 

So, how do you all feel about Christmas? Are you like me and think we need more time between now and then, or are you just waiting for the season?

Photo, bottom left: That quilt was just waiting to be hung on the wall. Yes, I waited until Bubba's nap was over.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Make Your Own Instant Mixes

 Brian and I love our banana nut muffins! While I watch the fat and calories, he's more into watching the salt and sugar. They really don't take very long when making them from scratch but when you are a busy person, you want to make them even faster! Especially when you want to throw in a batch so you can have one before leaving the house for work at 6:45 a.m.

I've thrown the dry ingredients together many times the night before so it would be quicker in the morning. I recently got this idea to make up several Ziplock bags of the dry ingredients, mark them, and store them in an air-tight container. This has worked so well! I always have ripened bananas in the freezer. I just put them in the microwave for a couple minutes on a very low (about 20%) power. Simply add the moist ingredients, and they can be thrown together in about 5 minutes, and cleanup is next to nothing.

This will also works well with cookie recipes, brownie recipes, and quick bread recipes. Between making up the bags and cleaning the mess, it took less than 45 minutes to make up four bags of his, and four bags of mine.

I recently posted my low-fat banana chocolate chip muffin recipe here at my blog. The link is here if you missed it.

If anyone is diabetic or has a loved one that is, I'll share the sugar free banana chocolate chip muffin recipe in the near future. Just let me know in the comments.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Walk in the Country

I love weekends! One of our favorite ways to spend quality time together is by taking our hikes and walks. We didn't feel like hopping in the car and driving to the Dunes or other trails, so we took a walk on one of our favorite routes near our home. This particular one is about a four mile walk. It takes us an hour to complete which is exceptional since some of the roads take us up some steep inclines. We live in a tiny little subdivision surrounded by country roads. This walk has lots of greenery and barns. There are also some beautiful properties where you see rolling hills between and behind the homes. 

If we take the roads to the west side of our home we will walk past farms where we will see horses and cows. Maybe we'll do those next.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Craft & Sewing Tip - Don't Rush!

It's probably one of the first things we learn but it's also the mistake we make most often. The photo above shows what can happen when we rush. I remember the moment exactly.

I thought I'd quickly finish up some bags while waiting for our homemade pizzas to bake. Yes, mine was healthy. Anyway, all I had to do was add the embellishments after they were completed. It was the final step. I grabbed my paint and didn't shake it very well, I didn't have much time, because I was in a hurry. I also didn't take the time to test the paint on some scrap fabric before applying it on my little bags. BIG MISTAKE! Had I waited until after dinner when I wasn't so rushed, I would not have ended up with the face you see on the ghost to the left. Needless to say, I had to make another bag, with another hand appliqued ghost later that evening. So my rush to finish the job quickly actually took about an extra hour and a half.

Have you ever flubbed like that because you were trying to SAVE time?

Witch grouping in the image above can be be found in my "Halloween & Fall Graphic/Clipart Set" that is available at my Website, Etsy Shop, and Teacher's Notebook Shop. Links at the right.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How You Want It Honey Mustard Dressing

I call this recipe my "How You Want It Honey Mustard Dressing" because you can make it low-fat, high-fat, or non-fat by simply using the mayonnaise of your choice. I always use the Kraft brand but you can use any brand you like. I first came up with this recipe some twenty or so years ago when I was looking for a good tasting fat-free honey mustard dressing. I could never find one that didn't have an aftertaste, or that was even close to delicious.

I've made this all three ways and it's delicious every time.

1/2 cup of mayonnaise (regular, non-fat, or reduced fat)
1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of honey
1 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar (actually white will work fine too)
1/8 tsp. paprika (I don't measure, I just shake and taste)

It will be less lumpy if you whisk your Dijon mustard and your honey first. Then whisk in the mayonnaise, followed by the remaining ingredients. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

SCORE! Mega Mushrooms

We made our usual weekend trip to the Dunes, but this time we changed things up a little. We decided to start on Trail 7, take it to the beach, walk the beach, then climb up the GIANT dune that takes us to Trail 9. What a smart move! Not only did we get a killer workout, I found that beautiful, big mushroom. I would definitely call this day a "Mushroom Search Success." The large one was at least 18 inches across. We found that one on Trail 7. I did have to climb down a little embankment to photograph it, but it was worth it. The smaller ones on the logs are actually in my own subdivision.

As you can see in one of the photographs, there was a big and steep hill we had to climb, and what you are seeing is only about a quarter of it! I have however, come to the conclusion that every dune or hill I climb, gets me that much closer to my goal of mastering Trail 8 once again.

I'm trying to remember to take more video lately. Photos are nice but sometimes it's nice to look at life in motion. Below is a super short, little video of the Lake. It sure was a nice change of pace to actually go down to the beach for a little ways. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

"Crafts 'n things" Feature - Trick or Treat Bags

The September/October issue of Crafts 'n things magazine is out. If you turn to page 16, you will find my Halloween Trick or Treat Bags. The bags are fully lined so they are nice and strong to hold lots of candy on Halloween night. After the night is over and the candy is gone, these make great little travel bags for kids! You can even make them out of plain fabric for all year round! Everyone who knows me well, knows that a it's my personal opinion that black cats are all year long! Just ask Punkie!

This magazine is also packed with so many fun Halloween and fall projects. I'll be heading out to pick up some polymer clay this weekend because I'm going to make the little "autumn owl pins" that I saw on page 31. I think I'm going to put magnets on the back of some as well.

If you want to make my trick or treat bags, super cute owl pins (looks easy too), or any other fun projects, pick up your copy at a magazine stand near you!

They also have a great website if you want to visit it:

Well, I'm off to hit the elliptical. Gotta get my 45 minutes in!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Beautiful Lake

Wow! What a stressful day! Instead of sharing all the details, I thought it would be fun to participate in Wordless Wednesday, and share a picture of something that reminds me of a happy time.

Above is a photo of a lake that we passed on our drive through the mountains. We were leaving Yosemite National Park (for my daughter's wedding) and heading back to the airport in San Francisco. I couldn't get over how blue it was.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thank You Pattern Testers

I want to say a big THANK YOU to my pattern testers! These five ladies took the time out from their busy schedules to test my most recent pattern which is now available on my website, at Craftsy, and in my Etsy shop (links at the right). The pattern is for three different drawstring bags that can be made in three different sizes. The smallest is perfect for a small gift, party favor, or treat bag. The largest would hold a nice sized gift. Below are their versions of my pattern. Be sure to stop by the blogs and shops of these talented ladies.

 LeAnn from Pasque Flower Creations

Kim from Tall Giraffe

Sarah from DeMoss Designs

Val from Valerie Daisy

Alexis from Hugs and Stitches

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