Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Recipe: The Best Pancakes in the Whole World!! (And they're made withOatmeal!!!)

Now that's a strong statement, "The Best Pancakes I'm the Whole World!!" But it's the truth! I'm not one for homemade pancakes! They tend to be thick and too dry for me.  I envision myself looking like a dog trying to get peanut butter off the roof of my mouth when I eat them! So I've been sticking to a boxed mix, preferring Krusteaz. But last weekend, while camping with the fam, Aunt Sharon broke out with THE BEST PANCAKES EVER!!!! Homemade, from scratch, the moistest (is that a word?) pancakes! So here I introduce you to ....homemade Oatmeal Pancakes!!!
Ingredients for about 12 pancakes:
2 cups of oatmeal
2 cups of buttermilk
3 eggs
2 Tbs sugar
4 Tbs oil
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Step 1: Soak oatmeal in buttermilk over night!

Step 2: Mix dry ingredients!

Step 3: Add in wet ingredients including oatmeal mixture!

Step 4: Cook

Step 5: Eat and Enjoy! And please let me know what you thought of this recipe!!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Inspiration in Soap Packaging!

I'll be honest... I was nervous about the idea of taking a vacation for so long.  As I teacher, I look forward to my summer break (any break actually!) This time though, I was nervous about being away from my soap!!! (A little wierd huh?)  On any other vacay, I would take my craft with me: knifty knitters, art supplies etc. But soap making supplies aren't that easy to transport. So I went through withdrawals... Salivating on other soap makers projects I found on Facebook or Pinterest.  But by day three, envy turned into inspiration.  I got out a pen and paper and started planning what I would make when I got home, creating a calendar of what would be made and when, and getting to things I never could find time for because I'd rather be making soap.  I redesigned labels/ packaging, blogged, and rewrote product descriptions! I started to exercise!!!!! (I just walked 4 miles and am participating in a squat challenge!).   I'm actually finding out that time away from my passion is exactly what I needed! I needed space to think and plan so that when I come home to my oils, I'm off and running! Here are some great packaging tutorials that I found. This one is from: http://ohhappyday.com/2012/08/print-on-brown-paper-bags/
And this one is from: http://www.diywedding.org/diy-wedding-ideas/free-downloads/diy-wedding-favor-bags-with-a-twist

Friday, July 4, 2014

Craft Beer: Savor Growl

First day in Ohio and where did we have to stop? Of course, a craft beer store! Thanks to today's wonderful advancements in smart phone technology, we quickly discovered Savor Growl in Clintonville, OH!  We were quickly greeted by friendly knowledgable staff that gave detailed answers to all of our questions.  Their selection of beer and wine was impressive. They even had a bar to fill your own growler with a minimum of 35 beers on tab!
So if you're in the Columbus area, check out this great craft beer store and don't forget your growler! It's exciting to see such a cool craft beer store use innovative ways to get great beer to people! I hope this becomes the norm. I haven't seen it in California (correct me if I'm wrong!) This girl was impressed!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Getting to Know Your Local Businesses: Panic in Polkadots

It's time to get to know your local businesses, so I introduce Katie McKinnon from Panic in Polkadots. I met Katie at a local craft fair in Oakland. I fell in love with her owl stuffies and was intrigued by how she upcycled everyday items into works of art!   Here is what she had to say about her craft:
Who are you and what is your business about? My name is Katie McKinnon, and I create things. My shop is Panic in Polkadots and my most popular items are my stuffed animal friends, ice cream cones, robots, and cupcakes! I create everything in my home studio, by hand and by sewing machine, using my own patterns. I strive to use fabric scraps and reclaimed fabrics wherever possible, as well as buttons and bottlecaps, playing cards and ribbon!
What inspired you to go into your business? I have always been about creating things, and I would give a lot of my creations away as gifts to friends and family. One day, a friend encouraged me to start selling my items, and my Etsy store was born. Pretty soon, I was getting all kinds of custom orders! My passion is to create things that are truly unique, that come from the heart, and that are fairly affordable. Everyone should be able to enjoy handmade Panic in Polkadots!
What are some random facts about you? I collect umbrellas of many kinds: whether it's the real deal, in earring form, in paintings, in tattoos that I have, and even in my nickname "Umbrella!" I have an orange fuzz cat named Lucy, she is a redhead who gets in trouble a lot! I work at an ice cream shop, and have worked in various ice cream shops ever since I was 16! I love analog photography, and I still shoot with my many film cameras to this day! My birthday is 5 days before Christmas, and I have never had a surprise birthday party!
What's your favorite local place? I will have to say Alameda Theatre and Cineplex.  They are always showing films for the Classic Film Series and if you get the 8 pack of tickets, they are like 5 bucks each!  The Historic Theatre is beautiful and makes you feel like you have stepped back in time.  If only the popcorn were more timely priced!

Thanks Katie!  You can find out more about her at: www.panicinpolkadots.com , and www.facebook.com/PanicinPolkadots , and http://www.etsy.com/shop/panicinpolkadots

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DIY: Handmade with LOVE

I made this about two years ago.  It currently hangs in our hallway.  And it's quick and easy, and would make a great Valentines or Mother's Day Present!

How to instructions:
1) I found cardboard letters at JoAnn Fabrics,
2) I painted them black
3) I Mogpogged (sp?) old pictures to the letters!

Today as I walked by, I took a minute to admire the people that hang on this LOVE...  family, friends, people who have past, and many "firsts"... (wedding pictures and the births of our girls).  It gave me  a warm fuzzy.  I should stop to look at it more often!  What handmade item gives you LOVE?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Time to Slow Down

It's June...and we all are running around like a chicken with their head cut off!  Graduations, parties, and the summer are right around the corner.  And there's the stuff to finish.  I got to help my daughter finish her end of the year project, and get her registered for summer camp by Tuesday.  Then I need to finish writing a report for work by Wednesday (or was it Friday?  Please let it be Friday!!)... and Oh... I've got 5 soap shows coming up, did I make and wrap enough?   It's like 'we' (the collective we) have been running a marathon and we are one mile away from the finish line.

Yesterday, I got a reminder to slow down.  I burned my arm on a hot pot while I was pouring rebatched soap into a mold.  It didn't seem like a big deal at the time.  I just put cold water on it and rushed to the next thing I had to do.  But now, a day later, it hurts, it's peeling, and turning black and blue.  I can't rest my arm on anything or lift my youngest daughter up to snuggle with, as the pain in unbearable.

Rushing around oftentimes leads to mistakes, accidents, and takes us away from the very things that are the most important to us.  I was reminded to ask myself, "Is it really important to do all these activities?  Can't I say no to some, and yes to others?  Why am I doing this activity?  Am I happy?' 

And so, I give gratitude to my burn.  It reminded me to slow down.  It has FORCED me to stop.  And as a reward, I am completely present...  I'm enjoying watching my kids ride their bikes. I'm actually 'listening' during a conversation with my husband (don't tell him that though!)  

But I'll be honest, I have started a list of To-Do's for tomorrow.  I'm only human!!!

What remind's you to slow down?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

DIY: Fabric Teaches Gratitude

I don't sew.  I'm afraid of the sewing machine.  It looks like a high tech monster. But I have the amazing ability to accumulate fabric, yarn, lace, and the stuff you sew to the bottom of clothing (I think it's called hem?) It's been collecting in my 'art' room for years.
Recently, while in a yoga class (I go about twice a year), I noticed my thoughts wandering to the windows.  Usually I would try to refocus on the pain of the pose that I was in, but I had discovered the COOLEST window curtains/coverings... prayer cloths! This discovery ruined any benefits I knew the class would give me.  All I wanted was the class to be over so I could examine these prayer cloths.  They were handmade, and I needed to see how they were put together.

Of course they were sewn together... which made me feel defeated.  But then I realized that I could do what I always do when I have to "sew" something, use HOT GLUE!!!  My defeat turned into exhilaration and I went home to make these window coverings.  

Once home, all the 'sewing' stuff came out. I decided to use any lace/ hem/ shoelace to hang the fabric off of. I got my fabric and glue gun out, and was set to go.  I cut 2" x 3" squares of fabric making piles by like material.  Then I started noticing that much of the fabric I was using was coming from old clothes and  table cloths that I wanted to repurpose.  With each square I cut, a memory would arise.  I saw my daughter's first step as I cut a dress she wore when she was one.  I remembered the feeling of being impatient on Christmas Eve as I cut the tablecloth my Grandma always used for that holiday, and I recalled the stupid (yet wonderful) jokes my husband told me on our first date, as I cut up his old shirt.  

Honestly, I wanted to create a prayer cloth window hanging for its coolness factor. But, it turned out that it did what it was intended for.  As I put the prayer cloth together, I got to mediate on a lot of great moments in my life. By the time I finished, I was calm, feeling refreshed and grateful for my family, friends, and the beautiful city I was born and raised in, Oakland.  

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Getting to Know Local Businesses: From Garden To Jar

I LOVE LOCAL!  I’ve met many amazing artists, crafters, food artisans, and small businesses doing fairs in the Bay Area.  I thought it would be fun to get to know them better.  Today, Judy Cardiff, custom food preservationist extraordinaire, shares her story and love for all things local! (By the way, I’m in LOVE with her Carrot Cake Jam!)
Who are you and what is your business about?
I spent 20 years in corporate America and gave up my career for my "calling" (motherhood) when my son arrived 3 months early back in 2007.
A big part of embracing the roll of a homemaker after two decades as a ladder climber and ceiling breaker was reigning in our budget. We are HUGE proponents of organic and local...so much so that we grow almost all of our own produce during the summer. I come from a family of canners. My grandmother and her sisters would "Put up" and divide their respective harvests every year. So putting up our harvests was a no brainer. After having a friend join me to can tomatoes one summer, it was suggested that we offer a class for my son's preschool auction. It was a great success and we developed a few canners from that class, but I also had a few women tell me that for as much as they loved the tomatoes we did, they didn't see themselves ever doing all that work on their own.
All this time I'd been working for a friend's home based business. I had start up experience and we'd done some great things to grow his business. But, adages about working for friends being true, that relationship didn't last and last September I found myself trying to figure out what to do with myself when a neighbor asked for ideas on what to do with the passion fruit that was taking of their yard. I offered to make jam and split the yield. She used her share for gifts and mentioned to me "I'd LOVE to have all home canned stuff in my kitchen...especially with all that's growing in our yard, but I don't have the time."
So my business is actually custom food preservation. You grow it or source it, and I'll preserve it for you. I do canned produce, frozen produce, dried produce...I'll make jams, jellies, salsas, pickles and I'll re-create old family recipes. I also do lessons. This year I decided to do some jams to bring to craft fairs to introduce myself and my abilities and much to my surprise, I sold out of everything each time. So now I offer a few seasonal jams and jellies year round. Soon they'll be available on my website (www.fromgardentojar.com) and (hopefully!) at a small venue near you!
What are some random facts about you?
1) I was a competitive figure skater for 10 years -Early in my career I traveled internationally quite a bit. So much that I flew 200,000 miles in 6 months!
2) I hate grocery stores!
What’s your favorite part of Oakland?
My favorite part of Oakland is Fairyland! This little, unassuming playground was the impetus for Disneyland. And that kinda sums up Oakland to me...unassuming, full of charm, and a place where big dreams are launched.

Thanks Judy!  You can find out more about her at www.fromgardentojar.com and www.facebook.com/FromGardenToJar. 

And remember, From Garden to Jar is Oakland!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Being Schooled in Selling Wholesale Part 2: Making a Soap Catalog

I need a soap catalog?  I learned it the hard way (or the quick way depending on how you look at it.)  I finally got the email that I had been hoping and waiting for…  “I would love to carry your soap in my shop, can you please send me your catalog?”  My response: “Well, of course I can!”  But inside my head I thought, “Oh crap…. I needed to make one, quick!” At that moment, I had to thank god there’s the Internet because I googled ‘soap product catalogs’ and I was led to many soapers with great catalogs and order forms  (see for yourself: Freckles Soap)  but this is what I learned:

Cover page:  You need to have your logo, contact info… and your story…  Again, I’m learning so much that not only is your business about your soap, it's about you:

Product Listing:  Like on your website, pictures of your products, descriptions, and suggested retail price in contrast to wholesale price. And finally… the most important: 

Order Page and Form: Try to have it easy for them to fill out.  Honestly, my first catalog didn’t ever have an order form, and I was wondering why I wasn’t getting a response back.  I only got a response after I emailed the business…  'Can I help you place an order?' I got a response within hours…  I need a clear order form… Duh!!! 

So here are examples of mine…  They’re not perfect, but I figure that whatever I create in my life is like fine wine; it always gets better with time! 
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