Current Projects // Simple Crocheting Workshop.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

 When I'm not working on a million hats for my shop or working on custom orders I love to practice different crochet stitches and techniques. I find a lot of project inspiration by making tons of little swatches with different yarns, hooks and stitches. I've only been crocheting for eleven months so this is also a great way to brush up on my skills. Recently I picked up a few crochet books and magazines as a little gift to myself and I've been making the effort to read a little each day and work on a few simple projects. I've been enjoying Simple Crocheting : A Complete How To Crochet Workshop with Twenty Projects and becoming familiar with some of the stitches featured in the book. This book is super helpful because it does explain all over the basics and talk about choosing colors, yarns, and tools. It's always great to have these kinds of reference tools. I highly suggest this book for beginners and those of you who like to brush up from time to time. It is photographed beautifully and has some very cute patterns to follow.
 Recently I've been working with wool in very cool muted tones. I've been using this color pallet on a wedding commission and I thought the colors would make beautiful knitwear so I've been working away on a few different styles of hats, scarves, and mittens. The stitch below is called the rope stitch, I've been working with this stitch which is included in the book and I'm very happy with it. I love the texture it creates, especially with thick chunky yarn. This is going to make a wonderful scarf.
What are some of your favorite crochet stitches? I would love a few more to practice!

Foodie Favorite // Peanut Butter Banana Crunch Muffins

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Since apple picking over the weekend I've been making so many treats from them in going to start sprouting apples from my ears. I've made apple sauce, apple butter, apple chips, apple fritters, apples and chicken, and these delicious muffins and I still have a full bag of apples that I need to find use for! An apple a day keeps the doctor away so I think I'll be golden for a few years. These muffins were the biggest hit with my family, especially my kids. They gobbled up the entire batch and it was difficult to keep a few for the husband to enjoy.
These muffins are super moist, with a delicious crunchy topping and tons of banana flavor. I added my own apple sauce to the batter, which helped with the wonderful texture but I'm sure store bought apple sauce will work nicely. I suggest making a few batches of these because they will disappear quickly!
 Here is what you'll need:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
 Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease your muffin pan or line them with cute little liners.In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make sure that all of your dry ingredients are evenly mixed and set them aside. In another bowl, beat together bananas, apple sauce, peanut butter, sugar, egg and melted butter. Make sure that these ingredients are mixed thoroughly as well. The peanut butter takes a little bit of mixing to distribute evenly, make sure you don't have any huge clumps of it in the batter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Make sure that you dig to the bottom and that all of the dry ingredients are mixed in. Spoon the batter into your muffin cups. 
In a small bowl, mix together your brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Then cut in one tablespoon of butter until you have a thick and chunky mixture. This is your delicious crunchy topping! Sprinkle the topping over your muffins and pat down gently. Let these babies bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.
 These are wonderful served warm or room temperature, great for breakfast, brunch, or a snack on the go. I will definitely make these again and again. They are the best muffins I've ever made!
If you would like to make your own apple sauce for this recipe check out this one I found on The Pioneer Woman.
If you would like to try making your own apple butter I shared this recipe last year on the blog and it made a wonderful gift to send to my dear friend Sandra from Anchors and Honey!

At the Orchard // Adventures in apple picking.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

 This weekend we took the kids apple picking for the first time. They had an absolute blast and we ended up picking about thirty pounds worth of apples, so look out for some yummy recipes in the future. 
The kids had a so much fun running around the orchard and filling their bags with apples, we had to go back through them later because they weren't really picky on which ones they grabbed. I think Hunter probably ate about ten apples while we were out there picking, soon after we left he went into a food coma. 
This particular farm not only had an apple orchard, but they also had a petting zoo, rides, and you could even pick your own pumpkins, so we were occupied all day with fun activities for the kids. Marli had such a great time, she never wanted to leave and made me promise that we would come back next year. It looks like we have a fun new family tradition! 
Here are some of my favorite moments from the day, I had so many pictures but these really stuck out to me and made me smile. I hope that you all enjoy and that you had a fantastic weekend yourselves!
What are some of your favorite fall traditions?

23 // A birthday in photographs.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I mentioned that over the weekend I celebrated my birthday but I didn't speak too much about it because I was too busy swooning over my new baby Dottie. I won't talk about it too much but I will just say that I have the most amazing family and friends a girl could ask for and they made my birthday one of the most special days I've had in a long time. My best friend came up and stayed with us for the weekend and my hubby took a few extra days off work so that we could have a lot of fun and family time. I ate delicious food, hung out with amazing people, and was showered with beautiful flowers and lovely gifts. What more could a girl ask for?
Thanks to all of you who wished me a happy birthday on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It means so much to me that all of you are so sweet and kind! Here are a few insta-shots from my birthday festivities! I hope you all are having a beautiful week!
I do have to add, isn't my new MCM custom kitchen table amazing? I'll have to get some better shots of it to share on the blog but it was designed by me and my mom worked to have my vision come to life. The best part is that it is apple green with a bamboo motif on the top! It's so retro and amazing!

A new addition to the family!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

 Before we get into The Collective I wanted to introduce everyone to the newest member of our family! Her name is Dottie and she's a seven week old pot belly pig! Yesterday was my birthday and she was my sweet little present. We've been wanting to get a second pet recently, we've discussed possibly getting a rabbit or a dog but Dottie just sort of fell into our lap and I couldn't resist her sweet face. She is so well trained and so sweet and the kids have been absolutely obsessed with her since we got her home. She has warmed up so nicely to the whole family, she's already my lap pig.
I will probably be spamming my Instagram feed with pictures of Dottie so if you want to follow along on our piggy adventure check out #yourdailydottie on Instagram!
Now that I've gushed over my new piggy.....

We Love Fall!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

 Fall has been so good to us this year! The weather has been absolutely wonderful and cool! The kids and I have been embracing this season both in the house and on family outings, trying to get into the seasonal spirit. Last week for our homeschooling project Marli had so much fun creating little pumpkins from construction paper and then drawing Jack-o-lantern faces on them. She was very proud of how scary they looked! While Marli worked so hard on her project I was busy cutting out by hand bunches of leaves to create a cute little fall banner to hang in the living room. It turned out really swell if I do say so myself!
We also rounded up the troops and headed over to a pumpkin patch not far from our little town. We spent a good bit of time running around and looking at all the different pumpkins before settling on two pretty huge ones and two smaller ones for the kids. We are so excited to carve them! I will reveal the chosen designs on the blog soon but I will say that we are going with a very non-traditional theme. Here are some snaps from our lovely fall adventure!
I hope you all are enjoying this lovely season! Tomorrow I'll be posting a little recipe so if you're starting to get sick of pumpkin flavored treats I have the prefect solution!

Shop Update // Baby Gear.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Cool weather is on it's way so I'm starting loading up my handmade etsy shop with fun knitwear! Right now I only have a few things available because on the first day I announced it's re-opening on my personal Facebook I was swamped with orders! I did list these cute little baby hats for those of you looking for a sweet Christmas gift, baby shower gift, or a hat to outfit your own little! They are available in a bunch of different colors and sizes ranging from newborn to toddler/child.I love the texture of these hats, they are very thick and warm! They are made from a very soft yarn and can be purchased with or without the cute little pom pom on top. All of the hats pictured here are newborn size, and since I no longer have a little baby of my own Kewpie played dress up and modeled some of my pieces. For some reason I find these photos absolutely hilarious so I thought I would share the with you just for giggles.
I also have knit bows available for little girls and bow lovers alike and infinity scarves listed as well so check them out! I also take custom orders so if you are looking for something special you can fill out the form on my contact page or message me directly through etsy and we can discuss what you would like.
    I'm extending a special coupon code to my readers as well. Just enter the promo code GRANDOPENING at check out to receive 15% off of your order!

DIY // Instagram Photo Magnets.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hello everyone! Today I have a really fun and easy project for all of you. I absolutely love Instagram and I capture some pretty awesome moments of my kids and our adventures everyday. The downside to keeping all of these moments in a digital album like Instagram is that a lot of the time we forget to print them out to keep forever! Digital cameras and smart phones have taken place of film cameras and while these devices are really convenient nothing is better than taking film to get developed, flipping through photographs, and creating photo albums or framing all of these great moments. Ah, nostalgia!
I love forcing myself to print out my digital photos and find ways to use my Instagram photos in my home so I came up with these fun little Insta-photo magnets! You can stick them on your fridge, filing cabinet at work, or any cold metal surface that can be warmed up with pictures of your kids, cats, or food. This project is quick but the results will make you so happy, we all love a little instant gratification.
-Mod Podge
-Glue gun and glue sticks
-Scissors, preferably pink. It makes it more fun.
-Small magnets
-2x2 Mini canvases, I picked these up at my local craft store.
-2x2 Printed Instagram photos, I printed these on Epson Matte Presentation Paper.
-Paint Brush
-Paper Plate
First off, lay out all of your supplies, using your paper plate as your work space. Cut out each of your Instagram photos and have them ready. Pour a small amount of Mod Podge onto your paper plate and use a paint brush to coat one of your tiny canvases and then stick your photo to it. Make sure that you smooth out the photo so there is no bubbles and make sure you line up your edges the best that you can. Some of the canvases are a little funky on the corners so the white might show a little bit, no worries. Repeat this step until you have all of your photos glued to the canvases and let them dry completely. When they are all set brush a very thin layer of Mod Podge over each of the photos being careful not to glob it on. If you use to much you will smear the ink on your photo! Let these completely dry as well and then turn them over. Glue a tiny magnet on the back of each with your hot glue gun and voila! All done! I told you it was super easy! I could see these making very cute gifts for grandparents, everyone knows they love to show off photos of their grand babies! Honestly, they would probably make great gifts for anyone! Make them for your friends, siblings, parents, your neighbor, cat sitter, the guy who delivers your paper...okay maybe I went a little too far!
I really love the way that these magnets turned out! They add just the right amount of personality to my kitchen and I smile seeing the littles and their silly faces! Who doesn't love seeing happy little moments from their life when they go to grab a yogurt in the morning?

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