Thursday, April 16, 2015

Granola Bars!

For awhile now, I have been thinking about making granola bars. Is that weird? It's something that I keep going back to and last night I finally bought the ingredients. It was kind of fun.  I went to the grocery store that's run by the local food cooperative.  This grocery has an entire wall of bulk bins and a decent selection of natural dried fruits. I needed a few other things from there that I can't get as easily from the regular grocery so I decided to go for it with a new baking adventure.

First home made granola bars
Yesterday before shopping I looked up several granola bar recipes.  Most of them were very similar.  I wanted to sort of figure out a kind of base recipe to go from.  I saw that most recipes included honey, brown sugar, and butter.  I read some blog entries with a few of the recipes and I had a moment; high fructose corn syrup is not the devil. All of the recipes I read included the addition of sugar. Some of the recipes pointed out that commercial granola bars contain high fructose corn syrup and the authors of these posts went on to say that they did not feel good about consuming HFCS. It's fine to have opinions, but they still chose to use sugar in their recipes. If the goal of making your own granola bars is to reduce the amount of sugar you are eating, great! However, eating sugar is still eating sugar and sugar intake of any kind should be kept low. Anyway, I like sugar. I know I usually eat too much of it and this statement about HFCS, just like what I read written in the blog posts of others, is an opinion.  

The recipe that I used can be found here and you know I didn't follow it exactly because for some reason I can't. I made a few substitutions for a vegan version (you can decide for yourself how you feel about honey). I used Earth Balance instead of butter, carob chips instead of chocolate chips, and dried cherries instead of cranberries. Carob chips have improved so much from what I remember eating. The ones I bought yesterday tasted like dark chocolate. I don't even think my daughter (who has never had a carob chip) would have noticed any difference. I just stirred all the chips into the warm mixture instead of leaving some out to press in. The directions said the melted chips would act like glue and I wanted glue.

They were super simple to make and more affordable than expected. I'm enjoying the tartness of the cherries with the other flavors.  These have a nice texture and a range of flavor, chocolaty, nutty, and tart.  I'm planning to try some other variations.

nom nom nom, xoxo,

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Break, Easter, and the Bedroom

We had a few very busy weeks recently. Last year for spring break we went to the rain forest, this year we stayed at home. Of course staying at home and "doing nothing" involved bargaining to keep the child happy. The result is that we blew up spring break with a mini Indiana tour.
Wayne White speaking at the FATE Conference.
The first photo doesn't have much to do with spring break, but it's how I kicked off the start of it (which doesn't mean much since it was not my spring break). The 2015 FATE Conference was held at Herron School of Art and Design this year and artist Wayne White was the keynote speaker. So much happy. This is my art nerd equivalent to having front row concert seats or something.
Food and photography
The lady likes food and photo documentation. I took two days off work to make for a four day weekend. The first day of urban exploration we went to a brunch place called Milktooth. She got latte art and a giant pie of a pancake (I guess it was actually a Dutch baby pancake).
Kale pastry; the name is long and starts with an f.
Out taking photos
The final day of my four day weekend we went to a doughnut shop and then walked around to take photos. She kept telling me to get out of the picture.
Mirrors! Finally mirrors!
On Easter we took a lady trip to Ikea. I can't seem to get any photos of that to move on over here. I bought the last piece of furniture for this room and it took me until the next Sunday to finally unload the car. Last Saturday though, I finally got the courage up to wrestle the mirrors again. The first time I tried this (maybe 5 weeks ago?), it did not go well. I didn't have the right supplies and I got frustrated. I spent many hours on a Saturday measuring, drilling, wiring, and lifting only to end the day with sore arms and lots of discarded, broken wire.  I gave up and went to bed. The next day I bought the proper supplies: heavy gauge picture wire and heavy duty mounting tape. It still took awhile to get it right, but this time was much better. I knocked a screw out of the wall while trying to hang the mirror on the right. That had me worried, but it's been 4 days now and they're still holding.

Maybe I'll get the Kallax together by this weekend (just looked at the Ikea website and noticed a price increase on the Kallax).

Monday, March 16, 2015

How Not to Follow Directions

Salted Caramel doughnut and coffee at the General American Donut Company.
I'm doing a book review for the site Cut Out + Keep.  This means that I receive a craft book, look through it, tell them what I like, and then make something from it.  That seems straight forward and easy enough.  I chose a project that I felt excited about and I got all my materials together.  I even learned what a hand cranked knitting dolly is.  Nothing knitting comes naturally to me; that thing was/is confusing.
I spent a couple of hours sitting in bed watching a movie and cranking out cord.  Clearly I was over excited about this because I have cord for days.  Really, I have made the project twice and I still have a pile of cord.  Also, don't make cord in bed, sit at a table or something.  My back and my arms were sore.
Okay, back to the project; I made it and it was frustrating.  Then I looked back at the book and found directions that I did not follow.  I made it again, it was less frustrating, and again, I found myself not following all of the directions.  Maybe this project was written in a general way so that the person making it would be encouraged to take a little creative license?  Maybe I'm just not good at following directions?
I already know I'll be making a third version of this project (I just can't let go!) and I want other people to make their own versions so I can see if they follow the directions or do something more like I did.  This has become less about crafting and more about a curiosity of how each person interprets things differently.  Obviously, I need to get back into grad' school. I'm even carrying the book around with me so I can study it.
Soy latte at the Foundry.  They have great diy OSB tables.
Anyway, in between making versions one and two, I went to a doughnut shop and a coffee shop.  The Lady Bean wanted to explore her home city and we were out of coffee.  I probably needed the break because I think I'm obsessing.  Wanna' come over and make a tiara?  Bring yarn.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Alligator Pinata

It was birthday time again and this year that called for an alligator pinata.
The candy went in an opening in the mouth.  The alligator is based on the one from Oh Happy Day.  If you'd like to see more photos look on my Instagram.


Monday, March 2, 2015

One finished corner...

Valentine surprise
I have a bedroom update, but first, have you ever tried to gift balloons on an extremely windy day?  It doesn't work.  All the strings tangle and won't separate.  So my two bouquets of six became one room's worth of ceiling balloons.  I grabbed the scissors and right before I gave into cutting the strings, I decided to just release them.  I think this worked much better.

One completed corner.
I have one corner (and most of a wall) of the bedroom finished.  I tried to hang the mirrors I had just finished painting, but they're very heavy and one of the wires kept snapping.  I put them away and bought the proper supplies when I went out to run errands.
The art wall has been up for awhile, no changes there.  Her back ordered West Elm bedding finally came and I steamed it in the dryer.  I couldn't handle the thought of ironing it.  I think I might hate ironing so I was procrastinating about putting on the bedding.  I survived though and I finished these little mountain pillows.  I read a tutorial for making these pillows, but I ended up just sort of doing my own thing.  I had a sweater dress that shrank and some felt scraps so I made some chalk shapes and cut them out with a rotary tool.  I sewed the felt and sweater into place at the same time.  After they were stuffed and together, I tacked down the felt edges with a buttonhole stitch.  I cut out the rest of the dress and decided to make more.  It's very satisfying.
The side table is the same one we've had for awhile.  It's from Urban Outfitters and I think it's for record storage, but it's also good for books.  The wall sconce is new and also from Urban Outfitters.  I had to finish the headboard before I could decide where to hang it.  It doesn't look like they sell the table anymore, but I kinda' love the little light.
The headboard is what I would call one of my major projects for the room.  The main project, other than painting and papering, was refinishing the dresser.  I looked for some headboard inspiration for awhile.  I know that beds don't have to have them, but it makes it look complete to me.  I love tufting and I saw a great tutorial for a faux tufted twin headboard on Vintage Revivals.  Mr. Husband is a painter so we have a variety of large frames around the house.  I looked around and chose the one I liked best.  I got real excited and bought all the supplies.  I found some great remnant fabric and learned that it's cheaper to buy a foam mattress topper than it is to buy foam (Joann Fabric coupon + twin eggshell topper = best deal I could find).  Alright!  I was ready to go and my materials sat there for a few months.  Um, meh.  I have no idea why I'm this way, but I am.  I think I was intimidated by the thought of messing it up.  When I finally did decide to conquer it, everything went quick and smooth (until I realized that I didn't have access to a nail gun-- we're working on that).  I had another person to help for everything except the tufting.  The directions are easy to follow.  I had some trouble getting my faux tufts to staying so I pressed down harder with my stapler and put 2-3 staples in for each tuft.  I used the same button kit as the tutorial and it worked well, but thicker fabric will take a little forcing.  I used a hammer to press the button backs in (be careful not to flatten the button face when doing this).  I kind of love it.  I would make another.  I'd actually enjoy having a reason to make another.

Right after I finished.  See my scissors?

Here's a bonus photo since the pillows are stacked in front of it in the other photo.  My next big DIY for the room is to cover a bean bag chair in faux fur.  The pre-fab versions that were adult size (Miss Lady is 5'5 and growing) were way too pricey so we got a cheaper chair with the intention of making a cover.  I just ordered the fabric. 
The room should be done in April.  I'm slow and I need to make a trip to Ikea before I can complete it.  So much to do.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

This Room

Hello!  I have been obsessing over Miss Bean's room.  I have filled myself to capacity on Pinterest and various online searches.  Can't. Look. Any. More.  I've reached my visual fill and now I just need to get in there and work, but, um, I have to work so it's going slow.

Way back when--moving in.
 The image above is from almost 4 years ago when we were moving in.  The Lady Bean was little then.

The same wall a week ago.
This is that same wall; the space to the right of the window.

Detail of gallery wall.

This is a little bit of wall art DIY.  The empty frame in the previous picture became the home for a happy little salt dough cloud.  I made some ornaments in December (and then I wondered what to do with them).  I put printable paper from Mini Eco in the frame and glued the cloud on the glass.  Boom!  A little bit'a cute.

The new dresser when we first saw it in the store.
Another update since the first picture is a new dresser.  She's 13 and 5'5; I think she could use some grown up furniture.  We replaced the two pieces of children's furniture with one large dresser and I love it, but this finish wasn't going to work.

Our inspiration
The "French Maid" dresser was the inspiration for the new finish on her new dresser.  It's pretty great.

The room in 2015.
This is how the bedroom looks currently.  You can see that it's still very much a work in progress, BUT...  The dresser is done!  Look to the left, that's 5 feet of lovely.  Oh how I love to do finish work.  The decorations hanging from the ceiling are nice, but they need to be taken down.  The Lady doesn't do pink anymore so while I love paper decorations, we are going to move on to something similar, but different.

There are mirrors to paint and more frames to hang, cords to hide, etc. and so on, and so on...


Monday, December 29, 2014

Featured Member on Cut Out + Keep

It's finally up!  I'm horrible at the interviews, but check it out here!