December 30, 2010


For anyone who actually reads this.... sorry.
When I imported my entire blog from "" (because 've had nothing but problems with them), Blogger failed to recognize any of my pictures. Because that's what I needed. I will continue to sacrifice to the Blogger gods in hope that my dear pictures will return to their former glory instead of being little blank boxes thrown in randomly throughout my posts.
Until then, please forgive me.... I'm working on it.

All hail Blogspot,

Dear Gwen Stephani,

You know that song with that guy singing " yee hoo.... woo hoo.... yee hoo... woo hoo..."
Um, yeah, it's annoying. I really liked you until this song. Do you think maybe you could just re-do it without him? I think the world could really benefit from never hearing that background vocalist again. I'm sure I'm not the first to say so.


My Calling?

Usually this sort of statement isn't followed by a question mark. I know this. I do not however, know what "my calling" actually is. Does everyone have one? Lately I've been feeling quite calling-less in fact. I think we all believe that there is something we were just meant to do, and I have found a few things that were pretty close, until fate intervened.

Here is my current list of life-calling-almosts in no particular order:

:: pottery wheel instructor ::
I do still teach pottery wheel and am in my eighth year, but lately it has lost it's luster. I've been feeling that the kids don't realize/understand/appreciate that I am VOLUNTEERING my time and skills... Actually I had a kid TELL me to my face, in front of the whole class, that he could learn this anywhere. I took classes for 9 years and cost my parents hundreds and hundreds of dollars to learn what I am teaching you for free! What elementary school has a ceramics class anyway? These kids are so lucky! I had to go to a special arts school to learn this stuff. (sorry for the rant)
:: tea house owner ::
Ugh, I can't express how much I wish this had worked. However, I was foiled by the plummeting economy and a terrible business partner. I am still really sensitive about this one and tears come to my eyes... so nuff said.
:: artist ::
This actually still has potential if I just found my niche, but let's be honest.... being an artist just doesn't pay off unless you're dead.
:: belly dancer ::
I've performed all around the state and loved it, but since my troupe broke up I've had trouble finding classes to further myself. I've thought recently about teaching a belly dance class for kids (which could still happen I suppose).
:: seamstress ::
I love to sew! However, I think I'm a little too inconsistent in subject matter for it to be any real calling. I may test out the waters on Etsy. Maybe Etsy will love my odd sewing habits.

There are more almost-callings I'm sure, but these are the big ones. Perhaps I'm just whining... I don't know... I feel that there should be more to my life than just being a mother. Not that I don't enjoy it! I do! But I feel I have lost my own identity as a person. Lately I'm just Camster's mom. Surely I'm not the first new mother to feel this way. Sometimes I would like to just be "Sarah" for a little while.

Dear Starbucks,

I was recently taken into a Starbucks by my coffee loving husband and was impressed
O by your tea selection. Many coffee places only offer the ambiguous "hot tea" or "iced tea". Since I was in a fruit-mood I ordered the passionfruit iced tea. I only got one sip down before I decided it was trash can bound. To say that it was horrible would be an understatement. It tasted like antifreeze. Antifreeze!

Now, I'm sure you wouldn't want to break your connection with Tazo teas (even though they produce low quality tea made from the dust and fannings of real teas), but can you at least take the passionfruit flavor off your menu? The tea lovers of the world would appreciate it.

Also, I don't mean to harp, but would you consider making your chai from scratch? Chai is just spiced tea and steamed milk. Real chai is actually easier to make than most of your coffees! It's just that I can tell that you make it from a powder or some sort of "concentrate". Your chai is pretty sad... and that makes me sad. Again, the tea lovers of the world would appreciate it.

Sarah <---- tea lover

Christmas Eve 2010

The Camster's first huge family get together.... and we all survived through it. Thank goodness.
In one night: I consumed an ungodly amount of cookies, my cousin and I made lefse hillbilly-style (no one had a griddle so we made it in a roasting pan on the stovetop), I met our newest family member for the first time (my cousin's baby boy), Camsters climbed the equivalent of six flights of stairs in three stair increments, I ate the biggest piece of red velvet cake with peppermint buttercream frosting, I played about 142 games of Rummicub with various family members, Camsters was followed around by the paparazzi, and we somehow accumulated three more bags of toys.

I think the following compilation of pictures should sum it all up.

1. Camsters in her holiday dress. She didn't even spill carrots on it! I'm so proud.
2. Four generations in one picture.
3. My aunt's gingerbread man cookies... I had dibs on the cyclops.
4. The elusive horse hand puppet. It was almost as big as my niece.

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December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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Lefse :: A Family Tradition

Every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas my family makes lefse. For anyone who doesn't know what lefse is... I would describe it as similar to a tortilla, but made with potatoes and WAY yummier. That's right, way yummier. The last few years I've been passed the lefse stick as some sort of odd culinary torch passing. Maybe it's because no one else has the lefse flipping skills that I have (it's all about the roll). Or maybe it's because it takes so long to roll out and cook 20 lefse. I think I'll go with the idea of being especially skilled.

Now, traditionally you eat these rolled up with butter and cinnamon. However, I personally like to roll them up with either turkey or ham and homemade cranberry sauce.

Lefse Recipe --makes 20 lefse
(original recipe by an old Norwegian woman that is somehow related to my family)

You will need:
A potato ricer (looks like a giant garlic press)
A griddle
And hopefully a lefse stick... use a spatula if desperate, but a lefse stick really does make all the difference in the world... look online.
1 1/2 pounds of Russet Burbank potatoes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened completely
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour

Let's Get Started!
Peel potatoes and cut into quarters. Place into a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer. Keep potatoes at a low simmer until a skewers lips in easily, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and allow to sit until cool enough to handle.
Put potatoes through a ricer. Beat in butter, cream, sugar, and salt. Refrigerate overnight, uncovered.

Add flour. Stir until well blended. Divide into 20 equal portions. Heat electric griddle to 400 degrees.
On a floured surface, roll out the balls of dough until very thin, making circles about 10-12" in diameter. Using a lefse stick, transfer to the heated griddle and cook on each side. Stack between two terrycloth towels and cover with a plastic bag.

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Girls Weekend :: Day 3

After another yummy breakfast, the girls made their last trip to the hot tub. Camsters loved sticking her feet in and splashing everyone. When we sat by the pool she made a few attempts to hop in and swim around with her cousins. Then we went up to the room and packed up our.... I mean the Camster's junk.... I mean precious toys and extensive wardrobe.

Just when we were finishing up and looking around the room for stragglers, the smoke detector went off in the room across the hall. Then the big fire alarm started going off in all of it's loud flashing glory. Uh oh. I tried to tell my self it was just a bagel across the hall that someone over toasted. Uh, nope. We opened the door to the hall and it was filled -- literally filled-- with smoke. Uh oh again. My mom and I looked at each other and instantly picked up as much luggage as we could. We got the girls to carry as much as they could carry safely down the stairs. This wasn't going to be a two-tripper to the car like we had originally thought. So while carrying Camsters herself, my mom's game bag (brutally heavy), Camster's toy bag, the diaper bag, the booster seat, AND pushing the girls out the door and down the hall, I managed to grab the girls' rubber ducky left behind in the bathroom. Phew!

We all managed to make it out of the hotel with only one child freaking out (I won't name names... *ahem* Niece #4) and no one hurt. We just hopped in the car/bus/behemoth and left. The hotel had only one driveway and considering the size vehicle we were in, we didn't want to get blocked in by the fire trucks when they arrived. We had enough trouble parking during the week!

After we drove away I held up the rubber ducky in triumph. Exclaiming to the girls that I had saved their rubber ducky from a fiery death. The three of them gave me a look and then a group eye roll. My oldest niece informed me that they were just playing with it this weekend and it actually belonged to the hotel. Oops. Well... I STILL saved him from a fiery death!

Before heading home, we had to drive to Pescadero for some allolaberry (spelling?) pie to calm down from our traumatic morning. Pie fixes everything. We still don't know what happened though. I might have to google it.

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December 22, 2010

Girls Weekend :: Day 2

We started our day sneaking our way down to the breakfast buffet like little mice, which the girls enjoyed. Everyone (except Camsters) gobbled down cinnamon twists, assorted fruits, chocolate muffins, bagels, berry Danishes, bear claws, and hot chocolate. Boy we're spoiled. Breakfast was of course followed by a trip to the hot tub.

Before lunch we decided to take a long walk down the beach to the harbor. We found assorted pieces of assorted creatures along the way... I blame the seagulls... and made our way to a mini-indoor-mall on the harbor. It had a nice bookstore and yarn shop, but everything else was either closed because it was Sunday or a surf shop or lame. All three of which I was not interested in. So we walked over to Ketch Joanne's for some sea grub. The three girls had fish and chips, we two adults had crab sandwiches, and the one Camsters sat on my lap and hit a spoon on the high chair she was refusing to sit in. Whatever keeps 'em quiet, am I right?! Delish food though!

On our walk back Niece #3 discussed the similarity in appearance between "hobos" and fishermen. She came to the conclusion that they should be called "hishermen" instead. Funny as hell, but toy had to be there I guess. Upon our return to the hotel, another hot tub trip was in order.

We finished up the night with pizza (one olive and cheese and one gourmet vegetarian), "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", and the Survivor season finale. Go Fabio! You know, I was rooting for you from the beginning. For once someone who deserved it, won. I can't wait for next season.... I already marked it on my calendar. Yes, I love Survivor THAT much.

1. Group photo along our walk
2. Some-sort of cute beach flower in bloom
3. The harbor we walked to

4. Whale bone?
5. Our Sunday lunch spot was "Ketch Joanne"
6. Camsters had loads of fun on our walk, but it doesn't seem to translate here...

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Girls Weekend :: Day 1

8 am: I heard my mom pull up outside, but since it was pouring down rain so I told her to wait in the car. Luckily Camsters and I have a nice strong man to carry our extremely heavy luggage for us. Thanks Husband!

Two hours later we made a pit stop at my Grammy's (aka: G3) house. Camster adored the tree while Mom and I ate chocolate covered Oreos. Yum! 30 minutes later we stopped to pile into my sister-in-law's monster truck/bus because adding three more girls meant we needed a much bigger vehicle. Then, almost two more hours later, we finally arrived at the Beach House in Half Moon Bay. Finally. The first thing the girls had to do is test out the hot tub downstairs. As always.

For dinner we were invited over to my aunt and uncle's house nearby. My uncle made the BEST chicken wings ever! My aunt made some homemade mac n' cheese and a salad with homemade croutons. There's always good eats over there and my uncle is like the King of chicken. On the way back to the hotel we picked up some funky colors of nail polish which we used while watching "My Best Friend's Wedding". Camsters and I did our nails in this pretty reddish-orange color. We are SO matchy-matchy. Before bed, the girls made another trip to the hot tub. I swear they are part fish.

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Shortbread Buttons

Tell me these aren't cute!

1 1/4 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar (or 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice)
1/2 cup butter
Optional: food coloring of your choice

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter until in fine crumbs. Add food coloring. Knead dough with your hands until smooth.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/2" thick and cut out circles about 1 1/2" in diameter. Then use a 1" diameter cookie cutter to indent an inner circle (do not cut through). Use a small piping tip or thin straw to make four "button" holes.
Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

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December 18, 2010

Sign Language

While I was pregnant, I had read that teaching your baby sign language will help avoid the "terrible twos" since the main problem is an inability to verbally communicate. Now... only time will tell if this is true, but we are already seeing fantastic results.

Lucky for us, I took American Sign Language as my foreign language in high school... so I'm somewhat fluent... and honestly, also a bit rusty. Coincidently, Husband had a deaf friend in high school. So he's really picking it up fast.

Anyhoo-- using sign language with Camsters was an easy choice for us. Who doesn't want to try something that can help with the "terrible twos"?! We have been signing some basic words with the Camsters since she was first born: "love you", food, all-done/finished, kids, school, mom, dad, dog, cat, play, bath, grandma, grandpa, etc.
The article also said that babies usually don't start signing back until at least 10 months of age. And that was hard to keep in mind. At times it seemed that she understood even if she didn't repeat the sign. Kind of like when you say "daddy", and she looks over towards him... you know she understands.

Well the Camsters just hit 10 months old this month and I swear there has been a sudden increase in comprehension and repeating signs. It was amazing really. When we got our holiday tree the first week of December, she repeated her first sign... "tree". It was not a sign we do all the time either. Maybe during the summer a few times when we were sitting outside. But after showing her the tree and then the sign for tree, she started doing it too. It was unmistakable. Then last week she started signing "bath" and "dog". Then this morning signed "all-done" when I told her we were finished with breakfast and looked out the window at the tree on our patio and signed "tree".

I mean I can only tell you how amazing it is to feel like you're actually communicating with your little baby. It is incredible that at 10 months old my daughter can sign to me what she's thinking about. Wow!

The BEST and most important thing is that ANYONE can learn and teach sign language to any age child. You don't have to have taken classes or have a deaf friend. Once you see a few basic signs you will realize they are really just pictorial representations of words using your hands. "Dog" is just two hand slaps on your thigh... like you are calling a dog over to you. "Bath" is your right hand in a fist and crossed over your chest... now move your hand/fist in a scrubbing motion. Makes sense right?

There are multiple free resources out there for you to learn some basic sign language:
1. Library books... Duh!
2. I use this all the time... ASL video dictionary:
3. Download an iPhone app
Just do a Google search and get started! Seriously! It's probably the easiest second-language you could learn.

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Much Needed Girls Weekend

That's right folks! The Camsters and I are taking a brief vacation with my mom and 3 out of 4 of my nieces.... No boys allowed! Sorry Husband, we love you dearly, but we need a weekend of nail painting, Bridezilla marathons, "art studio" time, Indie music, and terribly fattening foods. I'm sure you will forgive us once we return and you see our darling little faces again. *wink wink*

This will be Camsters first trip to the ocean. Her first time getting attacked by hungry seagulls, first time putting her feet the cold Pacific, first time eating sand, first time poking sea anenomies. Fun! As you can see, I have high expectations for this trip.

I'm sure where we are staying has WiFi, so keep an eye out for updates... that means you too Husband.

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December 15, 2010

December Madness

Geez! I am so sorry I haven't been posting regularly. December has gotten the better of me. I usually don't have such a hectic time, but this year I decided to go handmade. As in I handmade everything... well, 8 out of 11. I could have just bought some handmade goods off Etsy, but I was also on a very strict budget. Plus I know how to sew. Buying things I can make just feels like I'm cheating on my machine.

So here is the list of handmade gifts this year:
1. Two framed sketches by yours truly for my Grammy of her two great-granbabies. One of the Camsters and one of my cousin's baby boy.

2. Niece #2's bat tote bag. Yes, that is a formed and stuffed head and wings on the strap. Oh snap!
3. Niece #3's Rummicub tote. It's a BIG game in this family. EVERYONE plays. This is the joker tile that I "embroidered" using a regular 'ol sewing machine on the zig-zag stitch.
4. You already know Niece #1's polar bear tote bag... Don't forget to make your own with the tutorial in the previous post.

5. Bacon and eggs pillows? I don't know either. My brother requested them. Whatever makes the kid happy. He's 18 and impossible to shop for so I was thankful just to get a request at all.
6. A sock dachshund for the Camsters. Look for the tutorial.
7 & 8. Christmas bears for Camsters and my cousin's baby boy. For anyone who makes the polar bear tote bag, I actually used the leftover polar bear skin. There was enough to make two 14" tall Teddy bears plus some scraps leftover after that!
9. (not pictured because I already wrapped it) A 24" tall hand-puppet horse for Niece #4 with rhinestone glimmers in his eyes.... and a moveable mouth. But it's the rhinestone glimmers that matter right?!

Good luck with your handmade holidays and share some pictures with me. What are you making?

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Etsy Love

I love love LOVE Etsy. There is always something cute in the clothing and jewelry categories and there is always something bizarre and adorable in the geekery. What I love most though, is the fact that it exists. A place where you can buy and sell ONLY handmade or vintage items. Awesome!

The thought of selling my own handmade goods has crossed my mind a few times, but I've always considered my "free time" taken up with teaching pottery wheel, Survivor Night, poi classes, and other random projects. But after all my holiday sewing, I am starting to see that I found plenty of time to sew for others without too many complaints from Husband or infringing on my other activities. So why can't I start my own shop again?!

Oh yeah!.... It's because I always want to keep what I make. Well that stops now! Kinda... Maybe... I mean we'll see...

With all that said, be sure to check out my past "Etsy picks". Just click the link in my tag cloud over there. ---->
Someday (when I get Internet again) I will start that weekly segment back up.

Love ya, love Etsy, gotta go,

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12 of 12 :: December

Why yes, I did forget 12 of 12 last month... Don't judge me...

1. "e" is for Cambodian temple elephant.
2. "i" is for super glitter iguana with sequins.
3. After --literally-- a year, I finally finished Camster's ABC Zoo book with flannel pages and felt animals (and a rick-rack jellyfish).
4. Pink legs and Pinkie Pie.

5. Laundry day means a rainbow of clean cloth diapers. All that's missing is her CalTrans orange SmartiPants diaper... which was on her butt.
6. A nap time game of Rummicub on my iPad complete with a hummus and crackers snack.
7. Camsters trying her hardest to be in EVERY picture I take today.
8. Drumming to our Bellydance Superstars CD.

9. Avacado turkey burgers for dinner.
10. We had to open a new jar of my mama's homemade bread and butter pickles from this summer.
11. Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownies which will be ready for consumption in mere minutes.
12. JCPenny delivery for me! The last of the sweaters I ordered with a gift card from my lovely mother-in-law. Thanks again!

For more info on "12 of 12" check last months post for the link because I'm too lazy to go look for it right now.

Sock Monkey-Style Dachshund -tutorial-

Thank god for spell-check because I have no idea how to spell "dachshund". Anyway, when I was cleaning out all my crap... I mean junk... I mean treasured items out of storage, I found four sock monkey socks. Score! And what 10 month old wouldn't enjoy a sock dachshund as a holiday gift?! And what busy mother wouldn't enjoy making such a quick and easy gift?!

Here we go..
1. Find two socks... hopefully of the clean variety.

2. For more clarification I have cut the left and right sock out of two different colored papers. Teal is the left sock and red is the right sock.

3. Take your left (teal) sock and cut out the heel. Then cut from the point of the heel to one inch ABOVE where the sock seems to bend. Cut again from the point of the heel to one inch BELOW where the sock bends making a triangle. Set scraps you just cut out aside.

4. Now cut across the sock two inches above your discarded triangles. The middle section will be your NECK and the bottom part will be your HEAD.

5. Take you top section and make it a proper rectangle/square thing. Then cut it in half so you have two fat FEET.

6. Now let's talk about that right (red) sock. Cut straight across from the bottom of the heel to where the bend in the sock is. Then cut straight across to create a square up top. You can cut that square in half creating two more FEET. The section with the heel is the BODY and the toe section is the dog's BOOTY.

7. Now assemble and sew. Remember to keep right-sides together when sewing and also to leave a gap somewhere to stuff. Just so you know, the HEAD and NECK pieces should be sewn together at the long sides and the short side (which makes the top of the head). Stuff the dog completely and then sew the side and bottom of the FEET before turning right-side-out, stuffing, and sewing onto the BODY.

I made his ears and tail out of brown felt and his eyes from black felt. But you could use buttons. So here ya go! A quick and easy sock dachshund.

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Polar Bear Tote Bag -tutorial-

You will need:
1/2 yard of black canvas or other heavy fabric
1 yard of black webbing for the strap
1/2 yard of polar bear skin (you won't use it all, but you need the width)
3x3" scrap of pink felt
2x2" scrap of black felt
(if you don't have a serger you may need 3 yards of white bias tape or skinny quilt binding to match the bear skin)
sewing notions

Okie dokie... let's get started!
1. Fold your black canvas in half to form a square. Feel free to cut it down a bit to make the size tote you want. Sew/serge down both sides.
2. Fold the top rim under and topstitch so the top edge looks pretty.
3. Squish (technical term) the side of the bag so that the side seam is in the middle. Then snip off a triangle piece and sew the opening together. This will be the side width of your tote. Turn right-side out.

4. Cut out a polar bear head from your polar bear skin fabric. My skin was conveniently already backed, so I just serged around the whole shape. If you don't have a serger you may want to sew some bias tape around it to keep his head from fraying.
Cut out two half-circle shaped ears and attach to the head only at the flat side so they are flappy.
5. Cut out two paws and serge/bias tape around them like you just did to the head.
6. Spend 10 minutes sketching the perfect heart and then cut it out of the pink felt. While you're at it... cut out two circle eyes and a half-circle nose from that black felt.

7. Now is a good time to start wondering why the he'll you're making a polar bear tote bag of all things. Oh yeah, crazy Niece #1 loves polar bears. Oh my.
8. Pin the head to the rear-inside of the tote to make it a flap. Check to make sure it looks right before you sew it on. A simple topstitch will do. Now position, pin, then sew on your paws and heart on the bag so the head flap won't cover them up. Then finish it off by sewing on his eyes, nose, and strap. Pin on the strap and try it on before sewing!
9. Done? Good! Now relish in your new creepy-cute Polar Bear Tote Bag-ness.

December 8, 2010

Our First Tree

Husband and I have been living together for five years and married for three yet this is the first year we've actually gotten a tree. Not that we don't love the holidays, we just never feel like decorating.

Well, this year we HAD to have a proper tree for the Camsters. So as soon as Husband got home from work we hopped right in the car with a blanket and high hopes for the perfect tree.

Note: don't go to Walmart thinking you'll just quickly "run in" and grab a box of lights. It won't happen. You'll be the next person in line and the woman ahead of you will ask the obviously troubled cashier how she's doing and the cashier will give her life story. She won't know how to give said life story while also scanning the woman's six items. Your "quick" trip into Walmart will take over fifteen minutes.

Even with a disturbing trip to Walmart we did manage to find the perfect tree at a lot next door. Our apartment is a tight fit so finding the perfect tree in both width and height is quite an accomplishment.

And so begins the holiday season...

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December 1, 2010

I'm a Winner! Needle Felting Virgin...

Dear Miranda,
I love love love my needle felting kit from Fancy Tiger Crafts! My daughter loved playing with the packaging...

And I loved playing with the kit...

I didn't realize how easy needle felting was! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to get addicted to something new and to load up my craft closet with large amounts of wool roving (against my husband's will).

Thanks again and I can't wait to get back to reading your lovely blog.


Christmas Bears

When my cousins and I were young, every year we would anticipate my grandparent's Christmas Eve party. Not for the obvious reasons: presents, limitless chips and dip, candy canes, dinner rolls (my main course), or homemade pumpkin pie.

We would peek into the living room -first thing- to see if Grammy made us Christmas bears. And like every year I could remember before, there they were, sitting side-by-side on the fireplace hearth. Almost like they were waiting for us too. Each bear would be sewn from a different holiday fabric: holly, ribbons and bells, poinsettia, or Christmas tree print. Each bear would be wearing a festive ribbon around his neck with a child's name on it. Their little button eyes would glimmer from the light of the tree. How magical memories can be.

This year, since two of us gran-kids have had babies, I thought I would start carrying on the tradition of the Christmas bear. No fancy wrappings. They will just sit on the fireplace hearth... waiting.

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Year of the Polar Bear

I'm not sure how it happened, but 2010 has become the "Year of the Polar Bear".

Thanks to my oldest niece I have somehow made a bagillion polar bear gifts in the last two weeks. From left to right: a polar bear Teddybear for the Camsters, polar bear rug I made a month-ish ago for living room play, a matching polar bear teddybear for my cousin's new baby boy, a needle felted polar bear from a kit I won off Miranda's blog holiday giveaway, and a polar bear messenger bag for said oldest niece.

Look for my kinda-tutorial on how to make your own polar bear messenger bag.

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November 20, 2010

Lessons Learned

Lessons I've Learned (so far) As A Mother:
01. No matter what, baby always ends up with the win.
02. Sometimes getting messy is half the fun.
03. Others will always tell you how to raise your baby better. Just smile, nod, and disregard.
04. Teething must hurt like a $!?#%... and it will make you sad that there's very little you can do.
05. They really DO grow-up fast so savor every moment.
06. Just because YOU think baby should take a nap (because she/he is obviously tired) doesn't mean baby agrees.
07. Crawling is the beginning of the end. This inevitably leads to speed-crawling towards objects baby shouldn't play with.
08. Sometimes the laughter from dog licks out-weighs the germ factor. The same applies to friendly cows.
09. Creepy people and/or old ladies will always want to touch your baby. In this department I firmly believe kung fu is appropriate.
10. Your baby will only hate wearing hats when they are actually necessary.
11. Baby kisses are sloppy, slobbery, messy, and wonderful.
12. A good-nights sleep won't happen again until baby is eighteen... or maybe never. I'm still waiting this one out, but that's my current theory.
13. Baby will like the toys that aren't really toys best: tv remotes, hair brushes, spoons, bracelets, packs of wipes, sunglasses, etc.
14. Always pack the diaper bag as if preparing for Armageddon.
15. Diaper explosions ONLY happen at the most inconvenient moments... refer to above lesson.
16. It's okay to be a shutterbug (even when people make fun of you taking 263 pictures of your baby in just the one pose) because you'll love that one perfect later.

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November 10, 2010

Busy Bodies

Granted, I've been described as a "busy body" myself, but some of these other bloggers who do tutorials and handmade gifts every other day for their blogs ARE busy bodies. How you folks get everything done I will never know.

As a (part-time...wannabe...) blogger, I should do SOMETHING for you guys as far as handmade gift tutorials for the impending holidays. Here is what I can offer you: odd-ball tote bag ideas. Yep! That's all I've got.

I have four odd-ball nieces (yes I said in 1,2,3,4) whom I informed could have anything they wanted for Christmas as long as I could sew it. Niece #1 requested a polar bear tote bag, Niece #2 wants a bat tote bag, Niece #3 asked for a rummicub tote bag, and I'm making Niece #4 a horse hand puppet named Buster after the horse she rode this summer.

These handmade gifts don't even include my mother, my grandmother, or the Camsters. You can see why I wont be doing blogs every other day with a variety of creative tutorials. I've got too much to do! Well... honestly, I'm lazy and if you include my tendency to procrastinate, I may barely make all these in time. I'll keep ya all updated on those projects as I get to them though....

Wish me luck.

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Music Moves Us

Music is a powerful thing. It makes us swing side to side, it makes us bob our heads, tap our foot, hum, break out in song, hop up and dance, and get our groove on. Music can make us laugh, can make us cry, give us strength, offer understanding, and create memories. Music is a powerful thing. Especially in this house.

YouTube Video

The Camsters bustin' a move to the radio.

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November 3, 2010

Upcycling Baby Clothes to Beanies

Does everyone call them beanies? I think so. Although sometimes while talking to people from other states it does sound like us Californians have weird names for things. Or maybe it's just my weird family...

Anywho-- since our "big move" the Camsters has grown out of all of her 6 month clothes and the majority of her 6-9 month clothes. It's not that she is hugemoungous (California word?), but she is long. She also needs some beanies to get through the chilly months before snow comes and no local stores seem to have anything lighter than a fleece snow cap.

Before having the guts to cut up a bunch of her cute outgrown clothes, I reminded myself of the 500 pounds of premie to 6 month sized clothes I freely donated. Ok... I think I'm karmicly set to hack up precious baby clothes.

Step 1: hopefully you have one beanie that fits already... if not, cry.
Step 2: take said beanie and trace it's general shape onto a piece of paper being sure to both a) allow a little room for seam allowance, and b) adjust the beanie while tracing to include the 'v' shaped cutout on top that tapers the head. If that made no sense, just draw something like this...
Step 3: sift through and pick out shirts and dresses that are a nice print, stretchy, and have enough space to cut out your pattern.
Step 4: hack 'em up!
Step 5: sew the two sides first
Step 6: then fold the other way and sew the top only going half way down the sides.


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November 2, 2010

Sarah's "Fly By the Seat of Your Pants" Strata

Did I not tell you about my miracle go-to dinner idea? Oh my. How can I ever expect to be a competent blogger without sharing these things? *sigh*

::Sarah's "Fly By the Seat of Your Pants" Strata::

Mix the following ingredients into a casserole dish. Feel free to use more greens and cheese if you like.
- 3/4 of a loaf of French bread, ripped into little pieces (secretly eat the other 1/4 loaf with lots of butter while preparing your strata)
- 5 large eggs, whisked
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 cupish of greens (I like spinach, but you can use broccoli)
- 1 cupish of meat (ham goes well with spinach)
- 1 cup of diced tomatoes
- 1 cupish of cheese (of your choice)
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- a big pinch of salt and pepper
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving so it can firm up.


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Hope you all had a spooky and happy Halloween!
We had a great time over here! Saturday we spent the day carving our pumpkins...

...then we roasted the seeds for a snack. Then we saw an ad for a $10 pre-cooked 10lb. turkey, so we had to rush to the store to pick one up for a family dinner on Sunday. We also spotted some cheap-thin-crust-garlic-chicken-pizzas... so two of those made their way into our cart for lunch and dinner. We were exhausted after carving pumpkins. Pity us.

Then I finished up Camster's hat and shoes for her costume and attempted to make popcorn balls. Let's just say bad projects come in threes and I've now payed my dues.

Sunday the three of us headed over to my parent's house with turkey, baby, and sad sad popcorn balls in tow. After lunch the Camsters hopped into her costume and posed for her Halloween photo session.

Yes folks, my daughter was a garden gnome for her first Halloween. There were about 382 more pictures, but I'm learning restraint so I will only post two. You should be so proud of me. It's hard.

Husband was proud that I (slightly) worked down my fabric stash by making this costume from scrap cottons and scrap felt. Honestly, I don't think it made much of a dent, but don't tell him that.

The Camsters was one of maybe five trick-or-treaters at my parent's house so she got all the good candy... which mysteriously disappeared into my belly.

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October 31, 2010

Le Petit Artiste

Today the Camsters and I decided to do some painting. I was sooo tempted to whip-up a painting smock for the occasion, but resisted. It took all I had.

Since the Camsters is only 8 months old and EVERYTHING goes in her mouth, I am not comfortable using real paint with her. Even if it is "non-toxic". Wednesday I looked up some "homemade paint recipes" online and most were either made out of flour and water or cornstarch and water with food coloring.

I started with one cup of flour and 1/2 a cup of water, but ended up adding more water until it was a more pancake-mix consistency. This recipe made a lot of mixture so I divided it onto three plates. Then I added gel food coloring (which I think results in brighter colors) until the colors were nice and bright. If you end up trying this project I suggest using colors that won't turn into "mud" when mixed.

Triple Color Combos That Always Work:
:: blue, green, yellow
:: red, orange, yellow
:: blue, purple, red

Notice there is paint on her legs, but none on her paper?
Splashing in the paint. Blue is the most appealing today.

This is sooo cool Ma!

Here is Camster's painting debut. We hope to have her other works in some local galleries soon. Perhaps even a 'red series' in the future? Depends on how much studio time Camsters gets in this month. In the meantime... Enjoy!

"Wind on the Grass"

"Meadow Flowers Along the Mountain"


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October 27, 2010

French Bebe

I've tried to make a cute baby beret three times now and they never seem to look right...
Does anyone know if there is a good free sewing pattern or tutorial out there for baby berets? I think my problem may be that I'm trying to convert an adult size to a baby size. Maybe I'm using the wrong material? Who knows.

Perhaps I'll try to learn to knit or crochet or whatever so that I can make nice looking baby beret. 'Cause you know I'll make like 50 of 'em!

It looks "okay", but there's something off about it. Hmmm.

I'm just striking out lately. Jeez... I'll try to bring you some GOOD ideas soon.

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Owl Cake Test

My little sweetpea's birthday is in three months which may seem like a long time to plan a party until you factor in Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas festivities. The wake left behind Christmas is worst of all for my procrastinating tendencies. I never feel like doing anything but snuggling up with a blanket and watching movies after December has come and gone.

Which is why yesterday I decided to start auditioning cake recipes. First up was this CUTE owl cake I found featured on with many many responses.
Picture here

You basically have to bake two small bowls of cake mix to put together for the round ball head and two slightly larger bowls for the body and -theoretically- they sit on each other with a dowel in the center to keep them stable.

Now, I will be the first to admit that I am no master baker. However, this beautiful picture, simple directions, and many many positive responses led me to believe this was do-able for a 1st birthday cake.


Yes, that IS a chopstick sticking out of his back.

One wonders if any of those people with the many many misleading positive responses ever actually MADE this cake. This my friends is all I could salvage. The four bowl-shaped cake pieces cooked perfectly. There was so much hope for the little guy until I stacked them on top of each other.

Tragedy struck when the weight of the head instantly broke the body in half. It was like in movies when the earthquake makes the ground crack with record breaking speed revealing nothing but a deep dark abyss below.

Husband told me to just glue it back together with frosting. But trust me when I tell you that no amount of frosting could have glued Humpty Dumpty... I mean Little Owl back together again. Then I tried trowing some glitter sprinkles at it hoping it's looks would improve --which only made it look worse. Remember that! Glitter does not fix all in the baking world.

I swear I can bake a decent looking cake...

Moral of this story: is living in a fantasy world of upright 3D cakes... don't listen to the many many responses.

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October 16, 2010

12 of 12 | October

I know I'm a little late with this one, but I have limited Internet access... so weep for me.
For more info on 12 of 12 look here and join in!

1. "Mornin' Ma!"
2. At Grammy & Grampy's digging up organic potatoes
3. Look at all them homegrown potatoes! (I feel like talkin' hillbilly today I guess)
4. Potater farmin' with my work gloves

5. Birds eye view of the Camsters
6. Birds eye view of her best buddy, Smokey
7. A very studious cucumber
8. Bacon wrapped apricots... Yum!

9. Homegrown "Mr. Stripey" tomato from my parent's garden
10. My mama makin' salsa
11. Camsters working her way over to Smokey the dachshund
12. Husband in true form: using my electronic toys whilst ignoring me. (You rarely get to use the word 'whilst'... so I do it when I can)

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October 13, 2010

Random Thoughts :: October

:: Isn't it fun to watch babies figure things out? This is the front of the book... this is the back of the book... this is the front...
:: Oh my gawrsh it's almost time for 12 of 12 again
:: I hope I don't forget
:: I'm sure I will
:: I feel bad that the only stuffed animals I make for the Camsters are weird, but I cant help it. Teddy bears are boring. Stuffie guinea pigs and creepy stuffie French men ROCK!
:: My eggs benedict with "fool proof" hollandaise sauce went over so well with Husband on Saturday that he has requested it again for tonight
:: And he thought I couldn't cook... ha!
:: I love Billy Holiday. "Gloomy Sunday" makes me want to dance slow-like. Maybe someone will buy me a 'best of' cd because they love me.
:: Christopher Walken is funny even when he's not trying to be.

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How do you type the sound a raven makes?!
"Crawwwk" is my best bet.

Last weekend I bought a set of 10+ hand puppet patterns online here. So far I've made the raven with moveable mouth and a simple horse. Of course I just happened to have black crushed velvet in my mondo fabric stash. What could work better? And black vinyl-leather for the beak and feet... score!

As for the simple horse-- I probably shouldn't have used fleece. I should have used flannel. Fleece just stretches too much when it comes to stuffing the head. Live and learn. I'm planning on making a movable-mouth horse next by adapting the donkey pattern. I found some inexpensive tan corduroy and some cute trim to use as a bridal. We'll see. I'll share of course when I finish it.

Even if you're cheap like me... I mean frugal... I would highly recommend this pattern set. You print them right from the site and it's only $15 for 22 puppet patterns total. So far I've found them very easy to follow and put together. Kudos to you puppet pattern lady!

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“Fool Proof” Hollandaise Sauce

Ok. You know you'll want to make this tonight. Don't lie to me. You know deep down it's true.

For a wedding gift we received Bride & Groom Cookbook which has nice big pictures, easy to follow recipes, recipe variations, and things I would actually WANT to cook. Hallelujah!

Saturday night we bought a small boneless precooked ham due to an eggs benedict craving and hoped to God we could pull off the hollandaise sauce. Let's just say I am not the best cook in the kitchen, but I nailed this one thanks to this cookbook. Give it a try and I promise you will not regret it... Just don't go anywhere near that scale for a few days... And go for a walk afterwards... that might help... maybe...

::Hollandaise Sauce from Bride & Groom Cookbook, Chronicle Books, 2003::
Serves 2

2 egg yolks at room temperature
2 tsp heavy cream to room temperature
1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
Dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and heated until bubbling but not brown
2 tsp fresh lemon juice at room temperature
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

Put the egg yolks, cream, the 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and cayenne in a blender. Blend on high speed until smooth and frothy, 2 to 3 seconds. With the blender still on high speed, add the hot butter in a thin, steady stream, then add the lemon juice and white wine vinegar. Season with kosher salt to taste and a generous pinch of sugar. Transfer the sauce to microwave-safe cup or bowl.

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The List

My family has a little ongoing joke about how the Camsters is going to have bragging rights on so many things. I volunteer with quite a few projects and programs around town and having a baby hasn't stopped me.
Camsters follows me everywhere I go and usually enjoys getting out of the house and meeting new people.

I've been meaning to compile this list for her baby book, but I'll start it here for all of our amusement. Enjoy!

I've been teaching potter wheel since before I as born.
I've been snoopy since I was 3 days old.
I've been breaking into houses since I was 3 months old.
I've been putting together art shows since I was 4 months old.
I've been teaching Chinese brush painting since I was 4 months old.
I've been running Summer Arts Camp since I was 4 months old.
I've been riding horses since I was 5 months old.

I've been eating otter pops since I was 5 months old.
I've been laughing at Grampa's bad jokes since I was 5 months old.
I've been teaching ceramics since I was 6 months old.
I've been playing percussion since I was 7 months old.

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It’s Getting Cold

Its getting cold, but we're keeping out little butts warm on our new polar bear rug!

My parents recently got new carpet in their basement. Since it's so dark down there they opted for white (and it still looks a medium beige in their dark cave). My mom and I actually had this idea at the same time... I had seen one like this on Etsy and my mom thought a rug like this would be a neat Christmas gift for my polar bear loving niece. What kind of animal is a polar bear for a favorite animal? Weird kids...

Luckily, my mom had two big scraps of her new white carpet. One for niece #1 and one for the Camsters. All we did was draw the outline on the back and cut it out with a box-cutter. Then we added gianormous (yep.. it's a word) buttons for eyes and a nose. The ears were just little carpet scraps with pink felt hot glued on.

Ta da!

Now I know that not everyone has just gotten carpet installed, but if you know someone who has... grab a big scrap and make an animal rug!

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October 10, 2010

Don't worry...

Don't worry... I AM alive. I know I haven't posted lately, but on Wednesday I have about a bazillion posts of projects I've working on. You will love me on Wednesday. I promise.

See ya soon!

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September 28, 2010

Frida Inspired Chair Cover

Wow... Sorry it's been a week since I last posted. Time has gotten away from me it seems. I would say that I've been too busy doing fun stuff to post silly blogs about my silly life, but alas-- that would be a lie. The Camsters and I have been sewing. That's really as good as my excuse gets... sewing. I know... it's lame. BUT! Wait till you see what we made!

A chair cover! A Frida Kahlo inspired chair cover! We also started an iPad case and a baby kimono, but that is a WHOLE other post. Remember how I was saying when we moved into our new place I wanted to decorate Fridaliciously? Well here is how you can do it too:

1. First find an old skirt with paint and bleach stains on it. Then hack it up.
2. Use the plain part as the seat cushion top. Set the ruffles aside.
3. Find a large piece of weird yellow-orange-ish fabric with pin dots and drape it over the chair.
4. Tuck and pin and hack and sew.
5. Cut the extra weird yellow-orange-ish fabric into strips and use to wrap around the side of the seat cushion. Pin and sew and pray it works.
6. Ruffles are good. Sew your extra ruffles onto the bottom edge of main cover. Make sure the green paint and bleach stains are towards the back. While ruffles are good, obvious wear and tear is bad.
7. Make a hideous red rose out of felt scraps and pin it to the cover. Don't sew it on otherwise when you wash it -and you will one day soon- it will get funky.
8. Lastly, put a cute baby on your hard work and take pictures until she cries. If you don't have a baby, steal one.

September 22, 2010

My Husband

My husband (aka: Husband, Sweetie, Babycakes, Whineypants) has recently read my blog and is being a "whiney pants" about my lack of Husband talk. It's not that I don't love the guy, he's just a private person. In light of our third wedding anniversary I thought I would make a list of why I love my husband. Here it goes...

:: gives us each a kiss in the wee hours of the morning before he leaves for work whether we know it or not
:: loves the Camster
:: washes dishes because he knows I hate to
:: brings home truffles for me when he thinks I need a fix
:: drives me everywhere... actually that may be because he hates my driving
:: listens to all my crazy belly dance music even though he would rather listen to Tool
:: pretends to like the outfits and stuffed animals I make for the Camsters
:: likes all the same movies I do
:: quotes Zoolander as much as I do and laughs when I make references to it
:: pulls out the bed at night
:: gives me the fluffiest pillow
:: dressed up in period-appropriate Ottoman Empire attire when I performed with my troupe even though he felt awkward doing it
:: cooks dinner when I'm feeling lazy
:: is a great father
:: always tries his very best
:: gives me encouragement when walking up our street... the street that eats out-of-shape weaklings like me for breakfast
:: does a lot of things just because it makes me happy

Happy Anniversary Whineypants!

September 15, 2010

12 of 12 | September

1. Breakfast from the Saturday market... Blueberries!
2. Jean Philippe is enjoying her Sunday morning too
3. Cake sketch
4. Faux guinea pig trying to escape Camster's crib
5. Playing with her new "big baby" toy
6. 'Look at me go Ma!'
7. A felt rose for a future project
8. Making paper ring chains for who knows what reason
9. The Camsters hangin' with the watermelon
10. 'The poses my Grammy puts me in for photos sometimes...'
11. Camsters checking turnip production
12. Yum! Homegrown watermelon!

Survivor Night!

In my family, the television show "Survivor" is a BIG deal. Every week Husband and I truck it on over to my parent's house with Camsters just to watch it (since we don't have t.v.). We make a whole evening out of it. We have been watching this silly show together every week as a family for the last five years. Even before the Camsters was born, even before Husband and I were married, and even when one of us is hospitalized. I'm just laughing to myself as I type this thinking of a few months ago when I had my gallbladder taken out.

I went into the E.R. with severe back pain two months after Camster was born thinking it had something to do with my c-section... Ha!... Not! It turned out my gallbladder was enflamed making my pancreas angry and --long story short, they wouldn't let me leave for five days while they tried to book me an O.R. Anywho, one of those nights was "Survivor Night" and so my mom, my dad, my grandma, Husband, and Camster came down to my hospital room and we all sat there, cramped and in the way of the nurses, watching Survivor. By the way, I apologize to the nurses who were trying to check my monitors and creepy hanging bags when my family was in the way. You probably thought we were all crazy... and you would be correct.

"Survivor Night" is beginning once again and I can't wait to see what insane predicaments the cast... or my family.... gets into this season.

P.s. This picture is of the Camsters in a ones I made for her first Survivor Night when she was just a couple weeks old.

September 12, 2010

Big Baby

Today Husband and I went out to buy the Camster some big baby toys. Lately she has seemed to be bored with her regular baby toys: rattles, little stuffed animals, links, and even her musical toys. So we decided to break down and buy her one of those small free standing activity centers. You know, the ones with different knobs on each side and the busy beads on the top.

I remembered seeing one at Ross and when we got there we spotted two. But since we downsized after our big move, we decided to buy the smaller 5-in-1 instead of the 8-in-1. I wanted to get the bigger one thinking it would last her longer, but Husband gave me one of --those-- looks. You know, the look that without words says, "Don't even bother asking because you know I'll say no."
You know, that one.

Anyways- it turns out the smaller one is the perfect size! The box said for 18 months and up, but Camster is playing well with it and it's the perfect height for her to sit at and still reach the busy beads on top. A great buy for $11 I'd say!

September 7, 2010

My Best Move Yet

A successful move had by all! It took us all day Saturday to move, all day Sunday to do donation and dump runs, and Monday morning to clean. What a great feeling to be somewhere new and fresh!

The best part is that our new apartment is a half mile to downtown where I can start belly dance classes again if I wish, take Camsters window shopping, meet up with girlfriends for lunch, or just enjoy a stroll. I'm hoping that living somewhere with sidewalks will inspire me go for walks. We'll see. My current excuse is that it has been in the high 90's or 100 degrees the past week, so I won't be going for a walk until the sun decides to quit frying us.

My mom came over yesterday to watch the Camsters so Husband and I could go clean the old apartment. While I was making the three of us sandwiches, my mom said "I think this move was your best one yet." I enthusiastically agreed. To clarify, in the last six years I have moved seven times. That makes it sound like I don't stay in one place for more than a year, but to my credit I did rent a cute house for a little over three years.... so HA! To my mom's credit, this was my best move yet. I was so organized I surprised myself!

This is such a nice place I hope to live here awhile... maybe even a little over three years. ;)

September 6, 2010

Macaron Trial Attempt #1

Okay... so I'm being a bit of a follower instead of a leader, but it is for good reason. Bloggers from across the nation seem to be addicted to these silly little cookies called French macarons. I have to admit, when I first saw these little cuties I was curious, so I started to look for different flavors: pistachio and matcha in green, raspberry in hot pink, lemon yellow, chocolate orange, coffee brown, who-knows-what-flavor blue and purple and white. With such beautiful colors how could I resist?

I will say, I am not much of a baker and certainly not much of a "direction follower", but I did attempt to make two batches last thursday... and it went surprisingly well. I followed this recipe. I liked this one the best because it has step-by-step photo instructions. I don't know about you guys, but I need to see what it is supposed to look like to do well.

My first batch went slowly I think because I was afraid. Every blog and every recipe I saw about making French macarons reported how finicky they were to make. I didn't run into many problems however. I just made sure to have all my ingredients measured out before I started since it goes fast... once you know what you're doing anyways.

Contrary to the recipe, I used a large ziplock bag with the very tip snipped off instead of a pastry bag. I also used gel food color and added it at the very very end of whipping the egg whites and sugar with good results. It also takes a great deal of patience, but let the cookies rest for at least an hour... I figure when the French make these, they go out window shopping for an hour, come back, then throw them in the oven.

I made a white chocolate ganache flavored with raspberry to go in the middle that turned out runny, so I whipped it. I liked the whipped filling better than my second batch with just plain 'ol melted white chocolate.

September 5, 2010

Etsy Picks of the Week V

Here are my late picks for this week:

For Sweetpea...
Educational chemistry crayon stickers. These stickers cover the traditional crayon color names with names of chemicals or minerals that create that color. Neato! Check it out here!

and for Me...
"Aliens abducting cows" earrings! Self explanatory I think. check it out here!

September 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Grammy

Happy birthday Grammy! My Grammy even helped us move on her birthday. What a great family I have! Camsters enjoyed seeing you and we hope you had a great one.
Sarah, Husband, and the Camsters