August Meet & Greet

August has absolutely flown by here in Michigan. I've been getting my oldest ready for kindergarten, as well as planning my sister's bridal shower, and designing all-new art for my paper goods shop. I haven't yet introduced you to the two new sponsors of She Makes a Home - they're both amazing and represent everything this blog is about. I am so happy to have them here!

First, let me introduce you to Artsy Clay. Artsy Clay has been on Etsy since 2006! Based in North Carolina, the Artsy Clay shop has almost 200 creations to choose from, including whimsical polymer clay jewelry; ornaments; magnets; wedding charms; and more!

For She Makes a Home readers, Artsy Clay is offering 15% off any purchase of $12 or more! Use the code FALL2014. It's good until November 30th.




 I know some dog and cat owners that would love a custom pet portrait or ornament like these. The wheels in my head are already turning for holiday gift ideas.

Thanks so much to Artsy Clay for sponsoring us this month - you really help to make this whole site possible!

Next I want to thank Picklist.me, a new app designed to bring together artists from different online markets, and help people discover and support these talented creators. Browsers of the site are able to buy directly from the online shops of those creators, and share their favorite finds with their social networks.


It's free to join Picklist.me as a seller and a buyer; however there is also a Pro plan for sellers who want unlimited listings for their creations.

I love Picklist.me's mission in supporting independent creators, and encouraging handmade shoppers to discover new talent. Thank you so much to Picklist.me for not only supporting She Makes a Home, but the entire handmade community!

My New Favorite Tool for Healthy Eating


I've been hanging on to 20 lbs of baby weight for almost 5 years, and at this point I don't really think I can call it baby weight. I actually eat pretty healthy foods, but my problem is that I usually eat too much of them. Yes, there is such a thing as too much hummus.

I've had some good success lately just counting calories. I haven't added any additional exercise to my weekly routine, I've just limited my calorie intake, losing 5 lbs in the last 4 weeks. It's been pretty painless, and I know I can keep it up.

The hardest part for me is knowing exactly how much I'm eating when I cook for the whole family. Looking up the exact calories for every part of the recipe, down to 2 tablespoons of flour, then dividing by number of servings is annoying for me.

I was so excited to find the Calorie Count Recipe Analysis tool from About.com. You just copy and paste the recipe into a little box, input the number of servings, and it calculates it all for you. So nice!

Tonight I am cooking cold lentil salad - one of my favorites:



This recipe is from A Sweet Pea Chef, and it's a staple at my house. It's so nice to know that I can eat 1/4 of it and it's only 215 calories. I try to keep dinner at around 450-500 calories, so I know exactly how much more I can eat.

I like that this tool also grades nutritional content. This cold lentil salad got an "A", which is not surprising considering it is just lentils, vegetables, seasoning, and a little olive oil.

On the other hand, I might be a little bummed when I find out just how awful some of my favorite recipes are. Information is power though, right?

So, now that I shared my favorite new online tool, do you have any sites/apps/tricks you use to encourage healthy eating?

The Best Way to Break a Bad Habit


Are you one of those people who have a lot of ambition, but little motivation? Or maybe you wonder how others get so much done in one day. I certainly feel that way some times. 

I definitely feel like I have two jobs, between the kids during the day, and my business at night. I decided to scale back my work this year so I could replenish my energy levels, learn new skills, and find new inspiration. 

The trouble, it seems, is that when you have no work deadlines, and you're free to work and learn as you please, sometimes it is difficult to actually be productive. It had been so long since I could just "be". Yes, I did pick up some new skills this year, but I also picked up some bad habits. If I could break free of my new habits then I know I would have a lot more time to work on my art.

While watching Brain Games on TV last night (one of those nasty new nightly habits), I gained a new perspective on breaking bad habits: the best way to break a bad habit is to create a new, healthy habit. You can't just quit a bad habit cold turkey and expect to be successful. Habits are habits for a reason - they're powerful, and it can be very difficult to break free from a cycle; however, adding healthy activities to your life may slowly push out the unhealthy patterns.

That is exactly what I needed to hear. At the beginning of the year, I very much needed to relax and rest. Well now I am rested, and perhaps a bit too relaxed. At this point it would probably be very difficult to forbid myself from watching Mad Men or reading internet forums, but it would not be difficult to establish a nightly regimen of painting and sketching for an hour. With time, I'd like to see that develop into two hours, and then three hours.

So I ask you: what is a bad habit you would like to lose, and what is a good habit you'd like to replace it with?

A Little Girl's Bedroom Makeover: Prepping

mood board sources: sheet set: Target; wall decal: Land of Nod; book case: vintage; bunny lamp: Land of Nod; fox pillow: Target; moon painting: me

I never decorated a real nursery for my daughters. We moved three times between 2008 and 2011. Our first daughter was born in 2008 when we lived in a one bedroom apartment. Soon after we moved to Chicago to a 2 bedroom, but it wasn't for long. We moved to Naperville, IL in 2009 when I was expected our second daughter. I could never bring myself to paint or put much money at all into space I knew we wouldn't being living in for long.

When we moved into our first house in 2011, I jumped right into painting. I've painted almost every room in the house, except the girls' room. For quite a while the girls shared this room, which was light green when we moved in, and I kept it that way:


Their toddler beds and most of their toys fit nicely in there. I might have kept them in that room, if this hadn't happened:




A very old, very tall tree stood next to their room, and we had to wait a while before we could get it cut down. I couldn't stand the thought of another ice storm with them sleeping under that tree, so we gave them our room while my husband and I moved into my office.

Of course, just a few months before the ice storm, I had painted my room black:


So the girls have been sleeping in a room with black walls and brown light-blocking curtains. A little depressing.

Last week I started with the re-decorating. Of course, the first step was priming the black walls:


Next, the girls graduated from toddler beds to bunk beds. Much to their disappointment, we are not bunking them yet. I specifically picked out beds that could be unstacked:


I did leave one wall black. I won't yet reveal why, but I'm really excited about it - can't wait to reveal!

I let the girls each pick out their own bedding. Luckily, I think they go together pretty well. Since these are their first twin-sized beds, we had to buy everything - mattress protectors, sheet sets, comforters, etc.


The next step will be painting the walls white. I moved some grey curtains from another room into the girls' room and combined with a valance. I'm not totally thrilled with them, so I'll probably update those as well:


What an awful picture! It was raining like crazy today and this was the best I could do. Anyway, I'm really excited to continue this project, and give the girls a beautiful room they can grow into.

Citrus Salt and Sugar Recipes + Printable Labels


Flavored sugars and salts are a wonderful way to add a new dimension to your every day recipes, from hot to cold drinks; baked goods, and savory dishes.

You don't have to spend much money on them, and you can easily make your own. Flavored salts and sugars are also great for gift giving, so I've made some printable labels that you can download for free.

Citrus Sugar
Makes ~8 ounces

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSP citrus zest - choose from lime, lemon, and orange, or use them all!


Place zest and sugar in a food processor for 30 seconds, or whisk together very thoroughly. Spread a thin layer across a baking sheet, and let dry for 24 hours. Store in an airtight container.

Lemon Salt
Makes ~4 ounces

  • ½ cup course grain salt
  • Zest of one lemon



Mix lemon zest and salt together, and allow to dry on a pan overnight, or in an oven set to 225 F for 2 hours. Store in an airtight container.

Free Printable Labels


This free, citrus salt and sugar label printable features 11 labels in 4 different styles: 3 citrus salt labels; 3 citrus sugar labels; and 5 blank labels for your own customized blends.

Print these labels on sturdy white card stock for best results, with your printer set to portrait mode; Fit to page; and best quality print.

You can cut them out with scissors, or use a large round punch, if you have one. Thread them through a sticker machine, or turn them into gift tags with string.

Enjoy!

These recipes and labels first appeared in the 2013 issue of Snowed In Magazine. You can read the entire magazine here.
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