Friday, January 25, 2013

New Tutorial: Mini Magnet Quilts

It's my goal to post one new tutorial in my portfolio each week and I almost didn't make it this week, but, hey! Look! A new tutorial! How nice. :)

Truth be told, I actually made this fun little play quilt last week, but didn't get around to editing the pictures and writing it all up until today. Which means you should mostly be impressed that this tutorial ever saw the light of day at all because I've worked on so many projects in between making this and publishing the tutorial that my attention has since moved on to a billion other things. Sticking with projects all the way to the end is something I'm working on. (Ahem, obviously.)

Easy Healthy Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

Lately I've been on the hunt for foods that are super tasty, super nutritious, and super low in calories. Rather than eating less of the junk I usually eat, I've been trying to replace those junky foods with the good stuff. There are so many great, healthy options of tasty breakfast treats to enjoy, but this one has been a favorite of mine this week.

Strawberry Fruit & Yogurt Parfait
191 calories (according to MyFitnessPal)

1 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup granola
1 light vanilla yogurt cup

Make it
Place about 1/3 cup sliced strawberries in the bottom of a small mason jar. Sprinkle with granola. Top with 1/2 container of light vanilla yogurt. Add another 1/3 cup strawberries and cover with remaining yogurt. Cover yogurt with remaining strawberries and sprinkle remaining granola on top.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DIY Business Cards I Like

Sarah - Armelle - Pugly Pixel - Melissa

As I slowly inch closer to being ready to submit my book to publishers, I've been thinking more and more about business cards. I've never been to Alt (or any blog conference for that matter), but I love that so many bloggers who are going to Alt have been posting the secrets behind their rad DIY business cards lately. Above are a few of my faves. (See more on my Business Stuff pinterest page.)

I really love the raw quality of my old sample and business cards, but now that I've moved away from selling the buttons in my shop, I think I'm ready for something new. I've really enjoyed making my business cards myself and using recycled materials, but maybe I'm ready for something new? Can't decide.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Fresh new week

Well, Bryan beat me fair and square on health challenge points last week. And by the end of the week we were both getting really pathetic scores. But not again!

This morning I started things off right with this delicious little jar of vanilla yogurt and fresh blackberries. Yummmm. (6 oz light vanilla yogurt + 1 cup fresh blackberries = 142 calories.)

Thank goodness for a fresh new week, a fresh new start.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

You know it's been a good day

This morning a really fun couple from our ward at church came over to take some family portraits on location here in our home. The husband does all the photography and his wife helped with setup and getting Olivia to smile. (It helps that she's Olivia's primary teacher at church, of course. Olivia loves primary.) The photographer is working on a project for his masters photographing Mormon families. If our family portrait turns out cool we'll get to be on his website. I know, I know, so famous of us. Mostly we were just in it for the free family portrait, but it's cool to help him with his project at the same time. Win-win! 

I braided Olivia's hair for the family pictures, which, ya know, required a little bribing. So after we were all done being models we went for cookies at the swanky grocery store. Then we went to a high school rummage sale. Then we went to the zoo. Then to the grocery store. Then to the library for movies. Whew!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Hmm... can you tell what she's been watching Mommy do for the past two hours? :) Luckily she was at preschool while I was working on it earlier this morning and last night she was sleeping while I was getting everything prepped. 

Most weeks I honestly forget what day it is during the week. But today I am so glad it's Friday. A year ago yesterday I found out I had miscarried and the memory of it all has come back in full force this week. Add in a few favorite friends being pregnant and you start to get an idea of what a bittersweet and emotionally overwhelming week it's been for me. 

Of course, on top of all that I finally started to buckle down and get back to book writing this week. Tuesday was, shall we say, a bit of a meltdown and reevaluation about what to do next. There were some tears. And then, slowly, bit by bit and with lots of sound advice from my good husband, I decided what step to take next, hunkered down, and refocused. Today was refreshingly on track, but also another reminder that this book writing process, much as I love it, is going to take a long time. As it should, really. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I admit it

I am in a weird funk. It's the same weird funk that's been coming and going for the past year, sorting out who I am and how big our family may or may not be and what on earth I'm going to do with my life. I wrote a whole post about it yesterday, but it wasn't what I wanted it to be. Sigh. Which was ironic because, there I was, having kind of a crap day and then I couldn't even write a decent blog post. But whatevs.

Anyway, lest you think life is all roses and books actually being published around here, think again. Someday, self. Someday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Tutorial: Valentine's Day Bubble Wand Tags

Hooray! There's a brand spankin' new tutorial up in the portfolio! Click HERE to go straight to the tutorial.

Olivia's preschool doesn't allow parents to bring food into the classroom (like, ever) so when I spotted these little bubble wands at the craft store last week I thought they'd be a great "treat" to share with her friends for Valentine's Day. And now with these simple little (free printable!) tags, she can still leave a little message for her secret admirer. Go check it out!

Also, speaking of the beloved portfolio, I am rather disappointed to say that the dynamic view on Blogger is currently down.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wasting Supplies

my little hipster and me

First of all, thank you so, so much for your overwhelmingly kind response to my new portfolio blog! I really was so touched by all of your comments here and in e-mails and on Instagram. (I'm @theredkitchenkatie if you want to be friends!) I may or may not have gotten a little choked up every time someone said something nice about it. Which is silly, I guess, but it really is so encouraging to be on the brink of something new and already feel so much love and support from such a wonderful community of fellow creatives. Thank you thank you!

I wish there were already hundreds (or even tens... or fives) of beautiful tutorials there for you to browse through, but, then, it's still the beginning. And, anyway, I was thinking about it this evening and I realized that if I keep posting at least one tutorial a week for even the next three years, then in three years I'll have over 150 tutorials! Won't that be exciting! So, anyway, I'll keep plugging away. So far it's been nothing but fun and challenging in a really positive way.

I think part of the reason it's been so fun is because I've been making so many random little things for no reason at all! Maybe that sounds simple and obvious for someone writing a creative blog, but for so long I've been held back by the (self-imposed) idea that I could only make useful things. Things we need, things I'm going to give as gifts, things for Olivia to wear, etc. And while I think that's a great rule for not overspending on craft and sewing supplies, it's not a great rule for trying to stretch myself and grow creatively.

I know that money is tight for a lot of people, so I'm sure you understand that it's hard sometimes to just mess around with supplies when--gasp!--you could be wasting it! It might turn out to be nothing but a big fat failure! Another messy bundle to toss in the trash! Money down the drain! This is, unfortunately, totally how I feel. I hoard supplies thinking that I'll never be able to replenish the shelves with more goodies. But as I'm learning to loosen my grip, I'm also learning that most failed attempts are the birthplace of really fun and exciting ideas.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Something New

Friends, I am so excited to share a little something new with you. A new blog! I've been plugging away at it for the past couple of weeks and, though there's still not much there, I am thoroughly excited about it. I hope you will be too! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me explain a little.

First of all, I love The Red Kitchen. It feels like my own little online home. But, much like my real-life home, it's not only an expression of my style and all the things I love, but it's also kind of a perpetual mess. I've known it for a long time and, though I've tried my best to clean it up now and again, I finally came to the realization that all of the mess has been holding me back from what I really want to do. This, of course, is not to say that I won't be writing here anymore. I will! I will! But this blog is going to transition into more of a personal blog, if that makes sense.

Looking back now, I wish I had done this a lot sooner. My style and skills have grown so much since I first started blogging and, while, as a person, I'm just fine with change, as a blogger it makes things so much easier to just start fresh.

For so long I've been watching new bloggers start up and over and over again I've found myself craving their easy start. They already know how to take nice, clean photographs! And edit them! And navigate Blogger! When I started blogging I had no idea how to take a picture, let alone upload it to my blog. But then, when I started blogging I was just writing nonsense. I didn't create this space as a dedicated craft and sewing blog, which, I think, is why I've struggled so much to smoosh it into that form. This blog was never really made for that.

Monday, January 7, 2013

This is the year

All week long I've been inadvertently thinking to myself, "This is the year." The year I finish the first draft of my book. The year I submit it to publishers and/or agents. The year I get really skinny and fit and look smashing in every piece of clothing I own. The year I finally finish the Old Testament. The year I pick up the guitar again. The year I learn how to really take nice pictures with my new camera.

In some ways, last year was supposed to be that year, but it didn't happen. Last year many of my goals didn't make it past January. In so many more ways than I expected at the outset of 2012, last year was the year of the miscarriage. Bad news, bad health, minor surgery, and an entire year of ups and downs and trying to wrap my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and all of my emotions around this new-found truth: life is fragile and plans often change.

Now, a year later, I definitely don't feel like I have all the answers, but I am, in so many ways, such a different person than I was a year ago. Maybe not on the outside, but on the inside for sure. There are certain things in life that I used to take for granted, that I used to expect, that I seek out gratefully now. And I'm not just talking about getting pregnant, though that's certainly one of those things.

Good health is also one of those things. More than ever before, I cherish the days when I don't get a headache or have a cold or feel extra tired. On the days when I feel like a powerhouse, like I can do anything, like I can clean up, make dinner, and check something else off my list, I try to remember what a rarity that is and kneel down and thank my Heavenly Father for it.

I think one of the other huge changes that I've experienced over the past year is how I view myself. Who I think of myself as, what I am, and how what I do does or doesn't define me. I think for a long time I felt guilty if I ever wanted to do things that were 100% for me and not for my family in some way. I'm a mom and a wife and sometimes it feels like everything around me is telling me that if I'm not spending every single second thinking about my husband or daughter or doing something for them or missing them when they're at school then I'm doing it wrong. Personal growth seems so selfish sometimes.