Thursday, November 3, 2011

30 before 30

It's been pretty drab here at this blog lately! Sorry. It's photo season and I've been very busy!

I've also been busy lately with a health challenge I'm doing with some friends. You throw $10 into the pot and then the person with the most points wins. You get points for eating 3 veggies, eating 2 fruits, not eating 2 hours before bed, not eating sweets, not drinking soda, getting 7 hours of sleep, taking a vitamin, drinking 48 oz water, and exercising an hour a day. So, I've been devoting more time to exercise and struggling to fight my sweet tooth addiction!

Also of note in regards to my hobbies, since this is a hobby blog, is my 30 before 30. I'll turn 30 in about 2 years. Yes, I'm young. Thank you for telling me.  I have a friend who made 30 goals to acchomplish before she turns 30 and I liked it so much, I did my own, too! Here it is:

  1. Visit 7 new states with Alex (Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland)
  2. Plan 10 year anniversary vacation
  3. Read President Monson's Biography
  4. Learn how to make homemade tortillas
  5. Go Hang-gliding
  6. Get my name in Amy's Christmas letter
  7. Run a 5K
  8. Read 50 books
  9. Do a 1 mile Nauvoo Handcart Trek with the family
  10. Attend the temple 30 times
  11. Read the Book of Mormon in Spanish (El Libro de Mormon)
  12. Learn to knit
  13. Publish 100 blog posts
  14. Print 2 blog books
  15. Rekindle a friendship
  16. Make a new friend
  17. Do temple work for 10 ancestors
  18. visit 3 new temples
  19. Decorate my house
  20. Finish basement on House
  21. be in a musical (Community Theater)...
  22. taste 30 different types of frozen custard (Ted Drews, culvers, Kill Devil, Rita's)
  23. Try 3 new Iowa City restaurants
  24. write a novel
  25. Learn to play 30 songs on the piano (15 hymns, 15 children's songbook songs)
  26. Write a song
  27. complete Faith in God program
  28. Try 30 exercise videos

Yes, it's not finished yet- I still have 2 years, right? And, it may be changing, too, because my goals may change, and that is okay! Some goals are rather easy and will probably happen on their own and some are really rather challenging! (ehem... writing a novel? we'll see if that stays...)

So, I'm trying out 30 exercise videos and I have a feeling that it will not take very long at all to finish that goal. Luckily, our library has a large collection! Here's what I've tried so far and my reactions to them:

  • Cardio burn Dance for weight loss with Patricia Moreno
    • Review: dancy-pants. If you really like dance, you may like this. It was basically learning a dance routine. For me it was too tricky and not enough exercise/cardio/strength
  • Hemalayaan Bollywood Booty
    • This wasn't particularly cardiovacularly (not a word, spell check? should be.) challenging, but it was really rather fun!
  • Women'sHealth Perfect Body Workout with Amy Dixon
    • I think this was my favorite. Good work out, but not ridiculously hard. (aka, they did planks, but only 4 reps) Also, the girl talks about loving your body no matter what type. And, she's from Utah, so she say fun things like "o my heck" and she challenges us to pretend speed skating and fencing. 
  • Dancing with the Stars cardio dance
    • This was probably my favorite dancing video. That's probably because I"m actually familiar/comfortable with ballroom dance more than hip-hop. 
  • Barefoot cardio
    •  When at home, I like to exercise barefoot, so this was good. It seemed like a mash-up of all things barefootish- ballet, yoga, pilates, all with a good cardio heartrate. I liked it.
  • 10 minute solution Hip Hop dance mix
    • Skinny white girl pretending to be a rapper? I just couldn't get into it.
Well, there's six so far!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Banana bars

Another recipe asked for- from the same book! Those toll-house people really know their cookies! I made a double batch of these for a choir practice, and people loved them... and I had leftovers!

Banana Bars
from Toll-house Best-ever Cookies

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margearine, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 cup (2 bananas) mashed ripe banana
1 egg
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate mini-morsels (I didn't have these, so I used about 1 1/2 cup ghiradelli's chocolate chips and 1/2 cup whit chocolate chips)
Sifted powdered sugar

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in bananas and egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Spread into greased 15x10" jelly-roll pan.

Bake in preheated 350degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into bars. Makes 6 dozen bars.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

recipe: swirl-of-chocolate cheesecake triangles

As a rule, whenever a friend asks for a recipe, I try to put it up here on the blog. Here is a great recipe for little cheesecake triangles. They are really easy and delicious. And still from scratch. And really rich and yummy. I kinda want one right now...

they're from this book:

 Which is full of really good recipes. I also love the mini chip snowball cookies. Apparently the book is only one cent... but in my cookbook library, it is a total classic!

swirl-of-chocolate cheesecake triangles
from Nestle Tollhouse best-ever cookies

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz can) Evaporated milk
2 eggs
1 T vanilla
1 cup Nestle toll house ghiradelli's semi-sweet chocolate morsels

For crust:
Combine crumbs, butter, and granulated sugar in medium bowl; press into bottom of ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan

For filling:
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and flour in large mixer bowl until smoth. Gradually beat in evaporated milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.

Microwave morsels in medium bowl in Hugh power for 1 min, stir. Microwave at additional 10 to20 second intercals, stirring until smooth.

Stir in 1 cup cream cheese  mixture into chocolate. Pour remaining cream cheese mixture over crust. Pour chocolate mixture over cream cheese mixture. Swirl mixtures with spoon, pulling plain cream cheese mixture up to surface. Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 40-45 min. or until set. Cool in pan to room temp on wire rack. Chill until firm. Cut into squares. Cut each square in half diagonally to form triangles. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bungalow Bazaar

A couple weeks ago, I participated in this Bungalow Bazaar. Basically, lots of crafting friends joined together to sell their wares. My friend who hosted us has the cutest little Bungalow near downtown. She took out all of the furniture from her living room and dining room, we hauled in some tables, and everyone sold their stuff. I just joined in last minute for this, but they were at work on this for months in advertising, organizing, and of course, making things to sell.

It was so fun and such an educational experience for me. I have real respect for those who can actually make money by selling their handmade items here or on etsy. (I also have a lot of respect for those who actually make money blogging :) Unfortunately, I actually lost money on this endeavor so far.... my husband has a great eye for business, but apparently I don't! I made Magnetic dress up doll kits, which included everything you need to make one dress up doll. They were pretty cool and I sold about half of them. They were for kind of a select market, though. The things that sold best were really general items for any adult woman, like Jewelry, pillows, handbags, and key fobs. It was pretty close to Mother's day, so that may be another reason.

For my kits, I'll sell the rest at the next bazaar. I also advertized my photography business there. It was great to get a little more exposure! To be honest, in my preparation for this event, pretty much everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. The printers were out of the photo paper I wanted and didn't print my orders on time, I sent other photos to the wrong stores, I had to run way more Errands than any person with a 2 month old should have, and I was scrambling to put everything together on the last night. It was kind of hectic to put it together in a week. It should have been easy, but it wasn't. But, saying all of that, it was still fun and has the potential to be really fun in the future!

Look at all of this beautiful stuff they made. Cute!

Beautiful quilts, cute bowties, lovely signs and home decor, lots of fun baby stuff... it was great!

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Magnetic paper doll tutorial

Over the Weekend, I participated in a craft bazaar where lots of fun ladies came together and sold items that they made by hand. It was way fun! I was selling these magnetic paper doll kits. These are a lot like the old ones, but with a few changes. I used to stick the doll clothes onto recycled magnets using modpodge. I found that after a bit of use, the clothes would ften come detached. So, I started using adhesive magnetic sheeting. I condensed the clothes onto one 6"x6" sheet. Here are the photo instructions for the people who bought the kits, as well as anyone else who's interested!

You will need:
1 boy dress up print out
1 girl dress up print out
6x6 square adhesive magnet
Altoids can
Colored pencils (or your coloring instruments of choice)

1. Color. I prefer using colored pencils. (If you use something else, test the crayon/marker/pen on a corner of paper and paint a little mod-podge on it to make sure the color doesn’t smear or run. )
2. Eat mints. Mmmm.
3. Cut. Don’t cut out the clothes individually yet! Cut along the heavy black line to make a 6x6 square. Compare it to your magnet to make sure it is the same size. Carefully cut out the Boy or Girl.

4. Stick. Very carefully stick the 6x6 magnet to the 6x6 clothing paper.

5. Cut again. Cut out the clothing very carefully. Tip: try to cut with straight lines as much as possible.

6. Cut some more. Trace the back of the Altoids can onto a piece of paper. Cut along your tracing. This will be your background. (An alternative to this step is to spray paint the outside of the Altoids can.)

7. Glue.  Glue the background Paper you traced onto the back of the Altoids can. Glue the paper doll onto the background paper. Carefully Paint over the paper doll and background. Paint over each of the clothing items with the mod-podge. (Painting the items with Mod-podge will make them more water resistant.)

8. Let Dry.
9. Play! This is perfect for doctors’ offices, car, church, or just to keep in your purse!

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Bunny Pizzas

During the Easter season, we came up with this really fun festive food idea. We make homemade pizza a lot at our house. Usually we just use the Artisan bread in 5 minutes a Day dough for the crust, roll it out, sauce and cheese it and stick it in the oven. It's pretty easy.

For Easter, we did the same thing, but after we rolled it out, we cut out these bunny shapes and threw them on a sprayed pan. Then, we just topped each of them. You could do it with other shapes- I just wouldn't choose anything with much detail because they stretch a little and rise a little.

Serve it with some edamame and of course, root beer. Everybody loved this little festive meal!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Craft Flashback: Blessing Dress

Our Aunt is the keeper of the dress. It arrived in the mail and I just wanted to hold my breath as I opened the box because it is so lovely and precious. This dress is about a hundred years old, so I'm told. It had delicate pin tucks on the yoke. It has beautiful, tiny flowers embroidered on the yold and the bottom. There is lace sewn all around the edges. Can you imagine making a dress like this? It is so detailed and gorgeous! The stitches are miniscule!

But the best thing about this dress is its history. Our three girls were each blessed in this dress. My husband was Christened in this dress. My Husband's Father was Christened in this dress. My husband's grandfather was christened in this dress. Each of their mothers and Fathers held them in this precious dress! There is so much family and love and history in this dress and that is why I love it.

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Friday, April 1, 2011

new taggie ball

I love these things! Great go-to gift. And, isn't the cutest thing of all that little blur of a girl?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Carseat cover and carseat tent

We were originally scheduled to be induced on a Friday. The night before, there was a big snowstorm and the weather caused all of the pregnant women in Iowa city to go into labor. So, there was no room in the inn... hospital. They put us on the wait list, so that if there was room, they would call us. Well, while I was waiting that morning, I made this carseat tent. I didn't get a chance to make it earlier because I borrowed this carseat from my Brother's family and my Mom brought it with her.
Then the hospital still didn't call in the afternoon or evening. So, I made up this carseat cover. I figured, since I am borrowing the carseat, it would be nice to have a way to prevent my kids from spitting up all over it. I'm very pleased with it. And, it was my first time making my own bias tape! I was a little unnerved, so this was a good bit of sewing therapy.

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Friday, March 11, 2011


I did a lot of nesting and decorating for this nursery. It gave me a new respect for all of those people who decorate their houses beautifully and all of those yummy blogs that I drool over... the decorating thing is hard. I finally decided a color scheme and got some stuff done, but the room still looks pretty bare. Oh, well! Let's celebrate what I did do:
I made a bedskirt and a crocheted blanket and a bird mobile (I've wanted to make one for a long time)! The wood for the mobile is driftwood that my husband and daughter collected from the Iowa River.
This dresser used to be green. I painted it green before I had my first daughter. By this time around, I was sick of that shade of green and decided to go with a neutral color so I wouldn't have to paint it every 4 years. Anyway, the planned painting day, we brought it downstairs and my daughter started bawling. She staged a full protest. She even made signs that said "Stop!" and taped them onto the dresser. I didn't realize that she was emotionally attached to the color of her dresser. But then I realized that she's had it all of her life and it was her favorite color, etc. Oh, my. Luckily, she is entrepenurially minded. By the evening, we'd settled on a deal. She sold it to me for $6. (in case you were wondering, we got the dresser for free from my brother back when we were in college.) I also very sneakily spray painted the knobs (which used to have ugly flowers painted on them) silver.

So, here it is in all of its not mint green glory against our boring beige walls. But what is that on the walls, you may say? A Sarah original painting? Yes. I can't decide if it's done or not. I also played with the idea of hot gluing flowers to it. Is it spooky or cute? I didn't want anything cutesy, but something that I would enjoy.
Oh, and my beloved snail pillow. Apparently, it wasn't really up to snuff, because it didn't get entered into the contest. Okay, so I can see how those experienced quilters spotted my poor craftsmanship right away. But I still love it!

(There aren't pictures of the rest of the room because it's mostly empty. A bookshelf. A rocking chair. Some white curtains.)
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Black apple doll - Princess Wanda

I've finally made enough of these Black Apple Dolls that I feel like I can whip one out pretty fast, especially with my little helpers stuffing the limbs! I use the pattern, but lately, I always use fleece instead of felt. The felt ones I made for my girls looked ratty and pilled pretty fast. The fleece is also very soft and machine washable. WINNER!

This is my favorite black apple doll yet, and if I can manage to get it done, I will be making one exactly like this for this sweet little baby that could come any day now.  We made this little doll for a friend's birthday. It was a princess party, so we thought it was only fitting that she should have a nice crown and skirt.
The crown was pretty easy and is stretchy and removable. If you are dying to make one, too, post a comment  or send me an e-mail about it and I'll try to put up a pattern. (Wouldn't it be cute to make one matching for your big girl, too?)
Here she is without her accessories. Still lovely and demure!
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Snail Pillow

This is another fun item I made for the baby's room. I'm trying to go with the color scheme of my favorite scarf- warm pink, peachy orange, yellow, and cream. In my nursery so far, I had pink things, orange things, yellow things, and cream things, but nothing that pulled it all together. I made this pillow in hopes of that, and I like how it turned out! When I finished it, I ran upstairs to find my husband asleep. So, I woke him up and showed it to him. His eyes cracked open and he said, "It's a snail." Then he went back to sleep.

Hopefully, whoever is reading this is slightly more enthusiastic about it.

If you're curious, the shell is made of cotton print scraps I had around. I sewed them all into one big tube, then ruffled them and pinned and sewed them onto the pillow. The sluggy body is made of fleece (very snuggly and easy to throw in the washing machine if anyone decides to spit up on it.) The antennae aren't sewn down, which makes him a little more 3-D. The body of the pillow is made from the
bottom of the curtain that was trimmed off. It has a folded closure in the back.

I know it's a longshot, but I'm entering this fun pillow in the pillow contest at Sew, Mama, Sew. Luckily, the photos don't show my less than perfect craftsmanship. They are having a pillow month, so if you're thinking of pillows, you can visit them and drool over the beautiful diversity of pillows showcased this month.
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

homemade toddler nightgown

My Daughter, Miriam, loves to dance. She is a ballet fanatic. The hilight of her week is her ballet class. When we go to the library, we go up to the non-fiction section and pick out a ballet on DVD. That is her favorite thing to watch at home! The above picture is her watching ballet.
Anyway, this girl loves ballet. I got this Angelina Ballerina Fabric for a nightgown and finally have gotten around to it in this super nesty phase I'm going through. I used the tutorial and pattern at gingercake. Hers was a pillowcase nightgown, but I just made a couple of adjustments to make it work for normal fabric. I made the sleeves longer because it's winter and COLD. (I still intend to gather the sleeves at the bottom when I get my hands on some really skinny elastic.)  I also did the back fasten with a tie instead of a button. I just had the bias tape go long in the back on each side.

 As you can tell from the picture above, she's thrilled about her new nightgown... (no, really, I just loved this picture- this is a classic pout from her. Why don't more people post pictures of their kids being grumpy? It's not like mine is the only kid who makes this face...)
 I'm especially glad to have made this for Miriam because her only other nightgown is really a hospital gown that the hospital let her keep when she got stitches this fall. It's kind of drafty.
I love my little girls and was really happy to take a break from baby stuff and sew something for this little princess.