Friday, August 27, 2010

Delicious Whole Wheat Crackers!!!

Eleanor loves to eat animal crackers and she finished up our box from costco and I thought to myself, I bet I could make something even better! So I found this recipe on and I really love that site, so I tried it out this morning and they came out so incredibly delicious, I had to restrain myself from eating them before Ella even got to try them. It took about an hour to make and I did it while she was taking her nap. So if you like graham crackers or animal crackers you have to try making these because they are very easy and made from whole wheat so they are better for you.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk


In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the vanilla. Combine the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Cover and chill dough until firm.

*Note* In place of 1 cup of wheat flour you can use 1/2 cup ground flax seed which is super good for you and 1/2 cup wheat germ. Also I chilled my dough in the freezer wrapped in plastic wrap while I got all my baking pans out, greased them, and my cookie cutters. It doesn't need to be really cold.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 

Grease cookie sheets. Pull your dough from the freezer and cut off about 1/3. Wrap the rest back up and put back into freezer.
 On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness (you want them really thin so they come out crispy). I then sprinkled a little cinnamon and sugar on and rolled it into the dough. Cut into rectangles.Or use cookie cutters for fun shapes. 
Place 1/2 inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Put that set in the oven then pull out the dough from the fridge, cut off another third and repeat the steps above. If you try to roll out the whole thing it will be too much and they won't come out thin enough.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp. Edges will be golden brown. Remove from baking sheet to cool on wire racks. My pans never cook everything evenly but my browner ones still tasted delicious.

    Thursday, August 26, 2010

    No baby

    I had a miscarriage this morning. I'm doing fine, I was kind of expecting it because I've had spotting for the past two weeks and I never felt that good so I thought something was wrong. It just wasn't the right time. I cried and said good bye and it will be alright. Thanks to all my friends and family, Sorry I won't have a project today, I need a little quiet time.

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Delayed craft Day

    Hey people,
    Sorry I don't have my craft day up. I just got the 3rd book in the hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins and I've been reading that, felt like total crap today, and I had to take my mom to a doctors appointment so it has been a bit hectic. Hopefully I can get it up this afternoon. If you haven't read the Hunger Games series, YOU HAVE TO!!! They are so awesome, I thoroughly enjoy them so check em out if you can. Have a great day!!

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Lighting Tips #2 Night Shooting!!

    Alright!! Some of the funnest stuff you can do is to shoot night photos so here are some tips to explain why your photos come out crappy not so great and how you can change that.

    1. Everyone wants to take a photo of them in front of something at night, we have this all the time here in Las Vegas. The lights on the strip are awesome, so are all the statues and things outside the strip so you have these tourists who use their little cameras to take a photo, they get home and they have a a photo of a bunch of people in front of a black background Awwwww. You have to understand some light. Your camera is setting up for a flash photo, which is usually 1/60 at a 2.8 aperature. That is a standard for shooting with a flash, but what it is doing, is capturing just the light from the flash, not the light in the background.
    How to fix it: I tried this out with my little point and shoot camera and I tried my manual settings and my automatic settings.
     On your camera you have a little picture of a person with a moon and the eiffel tower. This is your night shooting setting, if you use this you have to hold very still because it is changing the shutter speed to a 1/8 which will capture the light in the background as well as the light from your flash, so you will have a properly exposed photo. You can do the same thing with your manual settings, but the little night setting is pretty handy.

    One more tip on this section, say you are taking a photo of something at night, like I've taken photos of hoover dam at night and you want one with you and your honey in it. Set up a tripod, and set your shutter speed to like 10 seconds and put your flash up. Put your camera on a timer, stand in the photo, once the flash goes off, run out of the photo. So the camera will only get a shot of you with the flash then it will have the rest of the time to absorb the light from your background image. It might take a couple tries, but it will look good.
    Here is my wonderful model, my husband. This is with the automatic setting on my camera.

    This is with the night setting on my camera, see how you can see more of the tree, now if I had some lights or something behind me then that would show up even better.
    2. Painting with light: A really fun thing to do is essentially painting with light. You will need a tripod to set your camera on, then you set your camera to a long shutter time like 13 seconds. Next, get a flashlight. You can use the flash light on an object or on yourself. My friend Trina did this with a creepy house at night and it made it look very spooky. Here are my examples.

    I turned the light on for a second, turned it off, moved, turned it on again so you get a ghost image. Cool huh?

    I turned on my flash light in two different areas so it lit up my bench.

    Here I did it from the bottom left corner and the bottom right corner so I got a good shadow in the background.

    And here it is with my camera set to black and white.

    Now you have a bunch of different options with this technique. You could use a warm toned flashlight and use it to draw on a building so it only catches where your light goes. You can also use this to write stuff in the air. Or you could make a creepy old looking photo of someone, you know have them laying on the ground or on a bench and then use the flashlight to highlight certain areas like their face and hands. That would be awesome!

    Baby photo idea: So say you don't want a background with your baby photo, you could set up your camera, in a dark room with your tripod, put your cute sleeping baby on something soft, like fur or a crocheted blanket, set your shutter speed to some thing like 5 seconds and try out a couple different flashlights. The LED lights are cool blue tones, while the old school bulbs are warm. Just try shining the light on just the baby from above and count how long so do it for 1 second, next shot 2 seconds, next shot 3 seconds etc. So you can look at the photos and see how much light you like on them. Also check your camera settings, if you want the photo more natural toned and you use a warm toned flashlight, find the white balance setting on your camera this is the temperature of your light, set it for tungsten(looks like a light bulb) that will tone down the warmth of the photo.  Just make sure to zoom in on the baby or move the camera close so you have at least 1/3 of the photo is the baby. You should come out with a really great photo with a very easy setup. But you have to do it when they are asleep because otherwise they will move and you will get a blurred shot.

    Alright, have fun trying this out and let me know how it goes or if you have other questions with this. It is a really fun technique that can yield surprising results. Have Fun!!

    Sunday, August 22, 2010

    Busy Saturday

    I didn't get a saturday project posted, I went on a road trip with a family in my ward, she has 8 kids!!! Thankfully it was just 4 in the car, I can't imagine having that many kids. We had a ton of fun! We went to Cedar City UT to go school shopping at the Deseret Industries. It was a long day, we didn't get home until 9:30 pm but it was really enjoyable and Ella had a great time too. Then Friday I was trying to finish up my peach canning do it would be done before I left. Soooo I didn't get a kids craft done for yesterday. I will try to do 2 for next saturday.

    Today I am grateful for:
    Friends: It is great to make new friends, that was the most enjoyable part of the trip.
    Peaches:Sooooo tasty
    Talents:Everyone has some talent, make sure to develop it rather than bury it.
    Hot Chocolate: Has been my comfort this week, so I don't eat ice cream
    People who stand up for right: A very difficult thing these days with all the arguments that go back and forth but I'm grateful to those people who stand strong.
    Music: One of the ladies in our ward wrote a song for girls camp and we sang it last week for church and it truly touched me. I am amazed at people who can do that.
    Netflix for the Wii: It is great being able to watch something without any commercials and they have a bunch of old stuff on there that I watched when I was little.
    Babies: Figured I should share that I am pregnant, super excited, now I look at all the little babies and want to hold them more because my daughter is already getting very independent. It has been an annoying pregnancy so far, this one makes me nauseous, cranky, angry, and craving weird foods in the middle of the night, so it will be interesting to see how this little person is.

    Well thanks for joining my little group of friends, I love doing this blog and keep checking in, we will have some great stuff this week.

    Love ya!

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Sweet and Sour Sausage stirfry!!!

    Ohhhh yes, it is so yummy!

    Sorry my post is a little late, I was up last night doing book club and then we had a doctors appointment this morning so I didn't get this going when  wanted to.

    Alright, a friend of mine just had her baby and I wanted to make them dinner, I had some hillshire farm sausage and I thought, Mmmm that sounds good but I want to try something different so I came up with this and I had some and thought, Ooooo this is good, then I took it to my friend and she loved it. Her 2 year old said Mom, this isn't good, it is great!! So there you go, endorsement by a 2 year old is pretty good.

    Sweet and Sour Sausage
    1 package cooked sausage(I used hillshire farm Beef sausage)
    1 green pepper
    1-2 red peppers (I had some already cut up so I think I tossed in extra)
    1/2 large red onion
    1 20 oz can chunk pineapple drained(save the juice)
    For Sauce
    1/4 C brown sugar
    1/2 C white sugar
    1/4 C pineapple juice
    1/4 C. Ketchup
    1/3 C white vinegar
    1/4 C Soy sauce
    2 Tbs cornstarch or flour
    1 1/2 C rice
    3 C water
    1 chicken bouillon cube
    Put water, rice and bouillon cube on to boil in a medium pan. Once it boils, turn to low and set timer for 20 minutes.
    Cut the sausage in half lengthwise and then chop into 1/4 inch slices. Add to large Saute pan and start cooking. While cooking chop up onions and peppers. Continue cooking sausage until it is getting browned spots on it. Drain grease or wipe it out with a couple paper towels, leave a little bit of grease. Add peppers and onions. Stir every couple minutes. Get out a small saucepan for the sauce. Add in the sugar and ketchup, let it liquify a little then add all your liquid ingredients, use a wisk to stir. Add drained pineapple to sausage mix. Let the sauce come to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. Get a little cold water, about 1/4 cup in a glass and stir in the 2 Tbs of cornstarch or flour, I used flour, stir until combined. Add to the sauce and turn the heat up a little, watch so it doesn't boil over. Let the sauce thicken a little and then add it to your sausage mix. Your rice should be done and you are ready to eat!! I love those little chinese noodles that add a little crunch to it. Have fun with the recipe.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    My mom explained to me how to make your own crib sheets. I am a big vintage fan so I have some great daisy sheets that I bought a while ago from an estate sale. I used these and made sheets for Eleanor’s crib. 
    Instructions: Measure the length and width of the mattress, add on the depth of the mattress sides. Example: Bed is 55 inches long by 30 inches wide, Sides are 5 inches deep. You have 4 sides so it is an extra 10 inches for your length and width so your dimensions are 65 x 40 inches. Add on an extra inch on each side for the hem(Ex: 67 x 42) Make a square template from a piece of paper that is the same size as the depth of your mattress. (Ex: Depth was 5 inches plus 1 inch of hem so you cut out a square that is 6x6 inches) With the measurements of your mattress cut out a rectangle that size from your fabric (Ex: 67 x 42) Then in the corners of your rectangle place your square template and cut that size square from your corner. 
    You now have a rectangle piece of fabric that has the corners missing, now we are ready to sew. On each corner match up the two sides of your square hole with right sides to right sides. Sew along this edge about 1/2 inch inside, do that on all 4 corners of your sheet. Now you should have 4 corner pockets. Along the edge of your sheet roll it in 1/4 inch (I iron it to make it easier) then roll it about 3/4 inch (again iron it) Now if your sew along the hem about 1/2 inch inside so you have a casing. Do that all the way around but leave a 2 inch hole on one side. Now you can put elastic all the way around the sheet or you can just put it in the corners. You can use whatever elastic you want as long as it is thinner than 1/2 inch. Attach a safety pin to the end of your elastic and push your elastic through the casing of your sheet hem. If you want to just do the corners than pick a hole on each side of each corner, insert your elastic and pull it through to the other hole, do some stitches on top of the elastic to hold in place, bunch the sheet till it gets to your desired tension, sew the other end of the elastic, snip it off and sew over the hole, repeat for each corner. 
    You can make your own sheets out of all kinds of fabric and it is nice because then you can make flannel sheets for the winter, or you can pick any patterns your want to go with the room. It is a lot of fun and really easy. 

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Flower Power Barrette style #2

    Alright!! On saturday I came up with this type of flower barrette, then I went nuts and made a bunch of them to wear to church on Sunday and I got a bunch of great comments on them so I thought I would share them with you! You lucky people you. 

    Here is the completed clip, so pretty huh, well then check out my instructions!!
    1. Pick a color of Large ribbon, like a 1 1/2 inch ribbon. The best is the satin ribbon that is 100% polyester and the ribbon from Michaels curls in really well like a real petal. It has something to do with the thickness of the ribbon.
    2. I used a tea light, trace 8 circles onto the back of your ribbon. It won't show up as well on the shiny side.(change because of all the ones I have done now. Draw 1 circle and then fold your ribbon like an accordion and put a pin in the center so you only have to do one cut but you can do all 8 petals at once. 

     3. Trace 8 more circles in a smaller size, I used a fat glue stick.

     4. Cut out your circles.

     5. Now get a tea light or some other candle that you can reach the flame easily. You're going to hold a circle and rotate it next to the flame which will seal and curl the edges a little. Do this to all your petals.
    Note* If you put it too close it will create dips in your petal, which can look cool. Also if you do it when there is a little air movement, your flame will move which will make singe marks on your petals, some people might like that.

    6. Now you need a needle and thread, you can use the same color as the petals if the thread shows on your button, otherwise you can use any thread you want. You want it doubled and knotted on the end.

    7. You want the shiny side of the petal facing up and you come from underneath just inside the edge of the petal. Do this with 4 of the big petals.

     8. Arrange the petals so they are evenly spaced.
    9. Your next row of petals you need to insert the needle farther in on the petal, about 1/4 inch or a little more. Do this with the other 4 big petals.
    10. Now we move on to the smaller petals, again poke through 4 petals close to the edge.
    11. Add your last petals by poking through farther in, what this does is create layers to your flower without having to cut 4 different size of petals. Smart huh?

     12. Now move your petals around a bit until you like how it looks.
    13. Pick a button that goes well with your flower, I have a ton of vintage and antique buttons so it is always a hard decision as to which one looks the best.
    14. If you pick a button where you can see the thread then hopefully you chose a thread that looks good with it. I like to use the buttons that are a single hole underneath so you don't worry about the thread.
    15. Sew your button onto your flower, when you go back through the petals try to come up in a slightly different spot so it holds your petals together stronger.

     16. Tie it off and the flower part is done!!!

     17. Pull out a hair clip and cover it in ribbon like we did on last week's tutorial which you can find here.

     18. I like to cup the flower in my hand and squish it into a ball so your petals will curve and look more realistic. Hot glue your clip onto the back of your flower.

    19. I've been seeing some really cute thin headbands around in the blogging world and I don't have one so I decided to make one, SO EASY!! Find a piece of ribbon that you like and put it on like a headband so you know how long to make it. Cut it off about 2 inches shorter than that.
    20. Cut off a piece of elastic that is about 1 1/2 inches long that is the same thickness as your ribbon.
    21. Do a zigzag stitch to join the elastic to the ends of your ribbon, I just went back and forth a couple times. And Voila! you have a headband.

     And the great thing about putting hair clips on your flower is that you can position them wherever you want on the headband or you can just stick them in your hair.

    And there you go, so pretty huh? I altered this photo in photoshop but I did take it with my macro setting so you get a nice close up of the flower without all the boring back ground.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Using light!!

    My sister in law, Sandy, brought up some great suggestions for photo topics I could cover so I thought I would do a post about those. I was talking to my husband and it is really interesting to get his opinion on things because I've been doing photography so long that it is just second nature for me so I think that everyone knows this stuff, he kindly explained that no you don't so I will share some of my tips and tricks with you.

    Lighting can make the difference between a good photo and a great photo. There are two ways that your camera takes in light. One is in time that is your shutter speed. That is how fast your camera takes the picture. 
    Second is in how much light it lets in, that is your aperature. Aperature is the hole in your lens that looks like little overlapping leaves, the smaller the number the bigger the hole. So when you are using your digital camera and it says 2.8 on the screen, that is the size of the aperature. 1/60 is the shutter speed so you are taking a photo at 1/60 of a second. 

    Most people just leave their camera on automatic because they don't really know what else to do with it. Let me explain a couple of the settings and what they are used for.

    Most cameras have aperature priority. Usually it is an AV on your camera where you can change settings. Aperature priority means that you can control the aperature and then the camera will adjust the shutter speed so you get a correctly exposed shot. Why this is cool is because aperature has to do with how much light your camera lets in, light is also your image. If you have your aperature at a larger number like an 11 it gives you a sharp photo, if your aperature is at a small number like a 2.8 it will only have part of the image in focus, because of how big an opening it is, it is letting in so much light that the image is loose and not completely in focus. 

    What all this stuff means. 
    If you want a photo of something and you want the background fuzzy, use a smaller number on your aperature. It works even better if you aren't in bright light, like a nice morning light, that is how I do all my flower macro photos so the background is completely fuzzed out.

    More tips
    Say it is the afternoon and you need to take a photo of something but you don't want that harsh light. First, put your object or person in the shade or in a shadow, next get a big piece of white paper or something shiny like a car window shade, recruit someone to hold the paper and bounce light onto the object or person you are photographing. This will brighten up your subject without burning them out and it will still give a good overall exposure because the person is in the shade.

    Thinking in Black and White.
    When I did my undergrad in photography we didn't use digital cameras, we used black and white film on SLR cameras. After you do this for a while you can almost see the world in black and white and it gives you an understanding of the value scale. The value scale is the complete range from white to black including all the grays in between. When you take a photo of something you need to pay attention to the lighting, where are your bright whites and where are your shadows and do you have a full range in between, if it is very contrasty than it won't be as enjoyable similarly if it is just the grays in between with no solid whites or blacks then it won't feel complete.

    So here is your challenge for the next week. On your camera see if you can change it to black and white. My point and shoot has a little symbol that looks kind of like a bell with off, v, bw, C listed. I picked BW and now I can shoot in black and white. Take 50 photos in black and white and look at them closely, look for ones that have a full range from complete black to pure white and compare those to the gray ones then you will see how it can effect your photos. Try it out and then email me at with your favorite one so I can post some photos next week of your shots. Have fun shooting!!

    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Organic line fun

    Organic line is a line that is found in nature, not a geometric line or straight line.

    I know you are thinking HOLY CRAP! I can't do that! Seriously it is way easy and I had my middle school students doing it and they came out great. I did this on a letter size paper and it took me about an hour I think. But you could do them with your kids on much smaller pieces of paper and with different colored markers, maybe do one a day and then arrange them into a bigger collage piece. Way cool!

    Here is how you do it.
    1. Get your piece of paper and choice of writing material. Draw a curvy line from one side to the other. I would make mine even curvier next time so it is more fun. Place a dot every couple inches on your line. You can adjust that depending on the size of your paper.

     2. Just above that line follow along and then when you get to a dot, dip down to touch it. It is fine if your spacing isn't even, you could even do a pattern like try adding a little more space each time you draw a line and then slowly take that space away, it will become an optical illusion where the lines will appear to pop out of the page. Also try using different colors.

    3. Keep adding lines, it is fun to see how they change and progress because of how you draw them.
    Make sure that you dip down to touch the dot, otherwise it won't look as good.

    4. Take a little break, I took a picture of my chicken salt and pepper shakers.

    5. Keep going.

    6. You might lose a dot along the way, that is fine, see how my two dots in the middle got connected.

    7. When you get to the top make sure to fill in the space even if you can't draw one continuos line.
    When you finish one side, turn you paper around and do the other side the same way.

    8. And you are done! I am going to try doing these on different materials and with different spacing because there is a lot of variety you can do and they can look really neat. Have fun!!

    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Mmmm Home made corn tortilla chips.

    I got to take home a 100 pack of corn tortillas from girls camp last week and I thought, what am I going to do with all these tortillas? We got together on Sunday for a birthday party and the food was mexican themed so I fried up a bunch of tortillas and they were delicious! If you haven't tried them, they are super easy and way better than store bought chips.

    First, chop up your tortillas into triangles, you can do a good stack of them each time.

    Get your oil super hot, I like to use the term, burn your face off hot. I just used vegetable oil and I used my wok.

    Toss your tortillas in. If the oil is hot enough you will have lots of bubbles and action going on, if it isn't hot enough then pull them out and wait otherwise you will have greasy chips.
    I waited till they were
    golden then I pulled them out, you can use a metal slotted spoon or a small metal strainer, you need something that has holes for the oil to drip out and it needs to be metal so it doesn't melt.

    I place them on some paper towel, sprinkle with salt, you could even add some seasoning to them like a lemon salt or some chili powder. Then I put them into a paper bag.

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Make your own lampshade!!

    Alright, so it was my brother in law's birthday the other day and they just got a new apartment so they asked for a lamp and they were cool with it being used. I have this awesome brass floor lamp from my aunt but it doesn't have a shade. So, being low on money I tried to think of a way that I could get a shade for the lamp. It is one that uses a glass upward facing shade then I thought, Why don't I make one?

    So here it is for your viewing and crafting pleasure.

    I love to collect scarves and I have this beautiful scarf that had a radial (circle) design and it looks very antiquey so I thought, that will be perfect!! The shade only cost me 2.25$ to make because I had everything except for the interfacing. OK lets get to it.
    First I took a piece of newspaper and folded it into a quarter then made a circle line from one corner to the next. The newspaper is just the right size for my scarf. I tried forming it into a cone and testing it on my lamp to see how it would look.

    Here is my lovely scarf. I had to iron it first by covering it with a dishcloth so it wouldn't scorch it. I was doing this on my stainless steel island, yeah, don't do that. I guess the metal is super thin and it started to warp so I had to move onto my glass table.
    I bought extra wide interfacing at Joanns, make sure to get the thick stuff because that gives your lamp its stiffness. You place it on the wrong side of your fabric and then iron it from the inside out so you don't end up with creases. I emptied the water out of my iron and set it on the highest temperature because the temperature where it doesn't use steam was too cool.
    And here is is all smooth and stuck together.
    I placed my newspaper circle on top and when I was testing it out I figured that if you take away a quarter of the circle then join those together it makes a cone.
    I left a little extra instead of taking out a whole quarter, looking back now, take the whole quarter out.
    I used my little maraca to measure a circle in the center. It is about 3 inches across.
    Cut that out.
    I'm going to edge the top of my lamp with red satin 1 inch ribbon so you have to fold it in half and iron it so it stays that shape. 

    Then I formed my cone, checked it on my lamp and adjusted it. Then I clipped it with clothespins and Warren assisted me in glueing it together. We used an epoxy but I would recommend using gorilla glue or sewing it instead. The epoxy got really hard and where we applied it a little thick it seeped through. Then I placed coasters on it to hold it while it dries.
    Ok, cool thing. My husband has been working on his dune buggy and is almost done so when I told him about my project he's like, I have a bearing ring that will work!! Pulls it out, tries it on the lamp, and boom it fits perfectly inside. So I was pretty lucky, otherwise you should check out your local hardware store. You could cut a piece of PVC pipe or you might just find some kind of metal ring that will work. So I placed it on the bottom of my shade and then drew a circle to mark where it evenly lay.
    Then I cut snips in my shade that went up to that line. So I can flare those out to fit on my ring.
    So then I moved in by my sewing machine and I opened up the ribbon and fitted the shade inside. I made sure to start my ribbon in the back where my overlap is, see you can see in the corner of the picture where the epoxy seeped through. Lovely huh?
    OK, now we sew it on. Sadly I didn't do so great in this department because the shade is curved so your ribbon has to curve with it and that means that it has to gather together in areas and I thought it would do it really easy but it didn't, so I had to re-sew  a couple spots where it didn't catch the ribbon. I just kind of squished it up so it would gather it when it fed through the machine. I'm sure my incredibly talented sewing queen Sister in law Sandy, would know how to fix this but I didn't. If you have any tips Sandy, please clue the rest of us in. Thanks!!