I’d Can That: A Canning Roundup

I'd Can That Roundup

Mason Jar Clipart from Creative Market / Click the photo for the link

Last year was the first year I ever attempted canning. It was actually the first year I ever thought about canning. My boyfriend got me a canner for my birthday (because these are the gift ideas I have nowadays) and a couple weeks before Christmas, I started canning like crazy, making apple and pumpkin butters for my family. That was the problem. I started way too late and became super stressed about the whole thing.

So, this year, I’m going to start a little earlier – making it a little more relaxing and enjoyable, and hopefully giving me time to try a couple new recipes. Luckily, canning recipes have been flooding all the proper social media channels, so there are plenty to choose from. I’m going to share some of my favorites today, in case you are also hoping to get a jump start on canning!

Photo Credit: Aubri / See Kate Sew

Pumpkin Butter / Photo Credit: Aubri / See Kate Sew

Of course I had to start with my favorite – PUMPKIN BUTTER!

I used this recipe from See Kate Sew last year and everyone loved it.

Photo Credit: Jackie / The Beeroness

Stout & Sriracha BBQ Sauce / Photo Credit: Jackie / The Beeroness

I know there are BBQ sauce connoisseurs and I’ll go ahead and tell you that I’m not one of them. However, I do love me a good stout and this Stout & Sriracha BBQ Sauce recipe from The Beeroness looks delicious!

Photo Credit: Annalise / Completely Delicious

Tomato-Basil Marinara / Photo Credit: Annalise / Completely Delicious

Ah, yes. The good ol’ marinara sauce.

This recipe from Completely Delicious is perfect because pretty much everyone uses marinara. I’ve always been a pesto fan, but my boyfriend likes marinara and so I’ll make a creamy marinara which is always yummy. Annalise made this recipe as part of a Canning Week link-up, which is definitely worth checking out.

Photo Credit: Becky / The Vintage Mixer

Maple Apricot Jam / Photo Credit: Becky / The Vintage Mixer

I can already imagine this Maple Apricot Jam from The Vintage Mixer spread atop a piece of freshly toasted bread

Raspberry Jalapeno Jam / Photo Credit: Leela / Rosemarried

Raspberry Jalapeno Jam / Photo Credit: Leela / Rosemarried

I adore jalapeno jam, and this Raspberry Jalapeno Jam from Rosemarried is the perfect twist on that

I can see putting this on top of my bagel and cream cheese in the morning!

Do you love canning? What are some of your favorite canning recipes? Share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest! Stay thrifty, my friends.

Meet the Maker: Amy Cluck-McAlister of Amy is the Party

meet the maker amyAmy Cluck-McAlister, whom I met two years ago when she donated some wonderful handmade jewelry to a fundraiser I was organizing, is a creative force to be reckoned with in the Sacramento indie community. She runs Amy is the Party, where she shares party styling ideas, DIY projects and the places and people she loves in Sacramento. She is also the founder of IndieSacramento – an online gathering of local creatives. She also happens to be doing all the behind-the-scenes design work on my new blog platform, which will be launched next week!

Today, I’m so pleased and honored to share a little more about her!

First, tell us a little about yourself!

Hello there, I’m Amy! I am a web designer with a passion for parties, decor, and desserts.

Some might say I was born in the wrong era. I believe in home cooked meals – in thank you cards – in baking from scratch. I strive to be the “hostess with the mostess”. I couldn’t agree more with Julia Child when she said “A party without cake is just a meeting” – although I think it’s perfectly fine to substitute cake with cupcakes or pie (or whatever dessert you find fitting). I also believe in creating memories – special moments of time that your friends and family will carry with them, long after the celebration is over. I believe in celebrating everyday with the little bits of joy that living creatively can bring.

As a blogger, entrepreneur, and web designer, I have been involved with both the online and local crafting community for several years.  A socially awkward socialite, I spend my free time supporting small businesses and events in my hometown of Sacramento, CA. I also enjoy searching for vintage treasures and indulging in the shenanigans of my husband and two cats.

Image Credit: Amy Cluck McCallister. DIY Tassel Necklace and Bohemian Bracelet. Click the photo for the full tutorial.

Image Credit: Amy Cluck McCallister / DIY Tassel Necklace and Bohemian Bracelet / Click the photo for the full tutorial!

How did you get into graphic/web design?

I took a commercial art class in high school. We mostly made posters and learned calligraphy but I knew that I wanted to use my artistic skills for advertising or something along those lines. I took a few graphic design and beginning web classes at American River (Community College) while getting my general ed out of the way. By the time I graduated, I knew I was specifically interested in designing for on-screen (computers). The closest degree program that Sac State offered was Graphic Design so I stuck with that for a year until I saw that a new Multimedia program was being added. I quickly changed majors! The Multimedia program sort of focused on making interactive CDs, which isn’t a really a thing nowadays. It’s hard to predict the direction technology will take us! When you get into something like graphic and web design, you have to be flexible and you have to continually educate yourself on new techniques.

What about entertaining and DIY’ing?

Both my parents and my grandmas on both sides were into DIYing different things. I grew up making handmade Christmas gifts and baking dozens of cookies for the neighbors. I lived for holidays and family get-togethers. I didn’t think about it much, plus I don’t think it was considered cool to be into domestic stuff when I was younger. After graduating college, I started to get back into crafting a bit. Then I started finding all these people online who were into making items that were actually trendy and I felt really inspired. This was about 10 years ago when sites like Craftster and GetCrafty were just starting.  I jumped right in and started making and selling jewelry. I gradually started to gravitate towards party planning since it incorporates all of my loves: baking, dessert styling, decorating, DIY, and graphic design.

What pushed you to start your blog?

Finding other people who were making crafts and selling them really inspired me. It seemed like a lot of those people were starting blogs and I wanted to be a part of it too, not just to show off what I was making but to show off what other people were making as well.

Photo Credit: Amy Cluck-McCallister / DIY Hostess Gift Tags / Click the Photo for the full tutorial

Photo Credit: Amy Cluck-McCallister / DIY Hostess Gift Tags / Click the Photo for the full tutorial!

What is your creative process like?

I come up with ideas, scribble them on post-it notes, lose the post-it notes, forget some of the ideas, and don’t have anywhere near enough time to follow through with all the ideas that I don’t forget about! Occasionally, I actually get to follow through on something. I’m an impatient crafter but I’m also a perfectionist. Sometimes I forget to enjoy the creating process because I’m so excited to get to the end result.

What inspired you to start Indie Sacramento?

A couple national craft shows (Bazaar Bizarre and Renegade) popped up that were different from any craft show I had been to before (“not your gramdma’s craft fair” as they would say). The vendors made trendy items that I would actually wear or display in my home. Both shows were located in San Francisco (as well as other cities) but not Sacramento. I had started networking with local crafters and I knew we had enough local talent to put a show like that on here so I started IndieSacramento.

I felt like IndieSacramento was a pretty successful event, but it was also A LOT of work and a lot of stress. I decided that an online collective of local crafters was the way to go so I quit holding craft shows and choose to expand the website instead. Of course, now I have other ideas of what I’d like to do with the site but there never seems to be enough time!

How do you feel about the creative community in Sacramento?

I’m really proud of how our creative community has grown in recent years. It wasn’t so long ago when we were in need of a venue for “alternative” crafters and artists to sell their goods at. Now we’ve got all kinds of events like the Indie Craft Fair and GOOD, just to name a couple. I’m also really impressed with the amount of networking I’ve noticed among talented individuals in different industries – we’ve got bloggers and crafters, boutique owners, restaurateurs, photographers, event planners, etc. all working together to promote each other to put on awesome events together.

Photo Credit: Amy Cluck - McCallister / Amy's DIY Wedding / Click the photo for the full details

Photo Credit: Amy Cluck – McCallister / Amy’s DIY Wedding / Click the photo for all the details!

Favorite places to get your supplies (craft, party, etc) in town?

Wrapped All Up is a really fun warehouse type place that carries every kind of ribbon or wrapping you could want. The Paper Garden is a great place to get inspiration for paper crafting – plus they also carry some fun washi tapes and baker’s twine that you can’t get anywhere else locally.

If somebody wanted to start working on DIY projects, where would you tell them to go first?

There are so many resources, it’s hard to say! Brit.co is one of my recent favorites because they feature a variety of trendy and easy projects. I would also suggest joining a crafty forum or two. Cut Out + Keep is one of my favorites. You can check out other peoples projects and tutorials, network with people, and upload your own projects.

My husband and I just bought our first home (yay!) so I’m sure amy is the party will start featuring more home decorating projects (just like I started featuring more wedding related content before we got married). I think my blog will always branch out to fit my current interests, as long as it’s still related to entertaining and creative living.

Click the photo for the full DIY

Click the photo for the full DIY!

My plan is for IndieSacramento to include small businesses of all types, not just crafters. It will be kind of a directory for people to shop local and to find unique and fun businesses to support.

You can find out more about Amy and all the awesome things she’s doing at Amy is the Party. Want to be featured in Meet the Maker or know a special someone who should be featured? Leave a comment here and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest!

A Thrifty Project

Let me tell you a story about an old barn window. An old barn window that I got some time ago from my stepsister. An old barn window that all the glass fell out of, and I later learned that that glass was actually some kind of fancy antique glass. An old barn window that sat around and sat around, collecting dust and being passed up for more pressing projects. An old barn window that, after many paint jobs, sandings, and more paint jobs – has FINALLY been repurposed into a chalk/corkboard! YES!

Step 1: Procure old barn window

Step 1: Procure old barn window

First, I sanded this bad boy down before I could repaint it. I used an electric sander because it’s way easier than doing it by hand, and I like easier. If you are getting into restoration, invest in a sander! Or buddy up with someone who has one, like I do!

Step 2: Sand down procured window

Step 2: Sand down procured window

Obviously, I could have sanded it down completely, but that’s unnecessary. You just need it sanded down enough to paint another coat over it.

Then…I got the plywood from a home improvement store and had it cut there. I also got the backing there too, it was a thicker cardboard that could withstand being hung on the wall or any other beating it would take. I measured the plywood and painted half of it with chalkboard paint. The other half, I used spray mount to attach the corkpaper and the foamy backing.

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Note…I had to apply quite a few layers of chalk paint to get it thick enough to write on.

Then it sat around. Sat around while I completed all of my Christmas projects. Sat around while I laid on the couch, declaring that I was too tired after Christmas to work on anything for the next year or so. Sat around until I finally decided that I really wanted a cork/chalkboard and decided to finish it.

Raise your hand if you can see the gap

Raise your hand if you can see the gap

Here was one problem, though….the wood was too small and didn’t fit in the frame! There was a gap on one side! But my stubborn self decided that I would just put something over the gap to cover it. Now that it was time to put it all together… I found some old fabric that I loved and cut enough of it so it would cover the cork portion and I could pull it over to staple it to the back with a staple gun.

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Note: I used a craftsmart chalk pen, and to be honest….I’m not too excited about it. I’m going to look around for a better quality one. Please let me know if you know of any!

It was my first time ever using a staple gun (I think) and I loved it. I wanted to staple EVERYthing in the house! Then, I got over that feeling and continued. I stapled the wood to the frame so it would stay put, since it didn’t fit perfectly. Had it been measured correctly, I probably wouldn’t have needed to staple it down. Then I stapled the back on, and it’s done!

I’m waiting to attach a hanger to it so it can go up on the wall, or I might keep it on top of the dresser. Not sure yet. But I do know that I love it.

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What thrifty projects are you working on? Post a link in the comments and share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google + with the hashtag #staythrifty. You can also find more thrifty inspiration on my Pinterest!

Fridays are for Favorites

fridays are for favorites

Yesterday, I shared some DIY/printable calendars that you could either add photos to in order to make your own, or even break out your needlework skills. Today, I’m going to switch it up a little and share some calendars from artists and small businesses that will not only help you organize your life, but also add some art to your home!

Photo from Carol Farrell

Photo from Carol Farrell

Eeek! I love this artistic calendar from Carol Farrell! Her illustrations are so beautiful and simple, and I also really love font she chose for the type. It’s $22 and holds 12 of her original watercolor illustrations. So you are not only getting a calendar, you are also getting 12 works of art. Pretty neat! And if you want some more of her work…check out her Etsy. It’s all wonderful!

Photo from Hello Small World

Photo from Hello Small World

Ok, this Jaunty Animals 2014 Calendar from Hello Small World is adorable and awesome! And check out that packaging! After taking my design class, I am really drawn to people and companies who put some effort into their packaging. The $16 calendar features 12 prints of animals partaking in seasonal activities (I love that description!) and it’s perfect for you and/or the fellow animal lover in your life. (gift giving does not need to stop after Christmas!) Their Etsy shop also offers a variety of prints, stationary and and totes.

Photo from Handmade by Kristina

Photo from Handmade by Kristina

This screen printed 2014 calendar from Handmade by Kristina is unique because she prints with acrylic ink on cotton rag paper. The calendar is $20 and comes with a green clip for hanging purposes. This is a technique that I haven’t really seen for calendars, and no two calendars will truly be the same. She also sells handmade jewelry and journals at her Etsy shop, and they are definitely worth checking out!

Photo from Two Hand Design

Photo from Two Hand Design

After receiving my beautiful cards and writing about Emmaline Lamond, I have quite the crush on Letterpress. To be honest, it’s slowly turning into an obsession. So, naturally, I was drawn toward this beautiful letterpress calendar from Two Hand Design. This $24 calendar is part of an edition limited to only sixty. It measures at 5 x 5.5 and comes with a repurposed cd case holder. Check out more letterpress goodies, like totes, greeting cards and journals at her Etsy shop!

Photo from Red Cruiser

Photo from Red Cruiser

Now, this 2014 Calendar from Red Cruiser has been on my radar since before Christmas. I am a huge fan of beer…and food…so this was a natural choice for me. But aside from that, I love the illustrations and learning a little more about food pairings. I’ve never really considered the science behind beer/food pairings, I typically just have an IPA with whatever I’m eating, when it’s available. But this is nice! All the info about food pairings, without the snobbery. This beer enthusiast is also offering a 15% off coupon on all purchases before Jan 7 so hurry into her Etsy shop and grab this! Now! Do it now!

Did you just get an awesome new calendar…and is it possibly one of these? Share with us! Also, if you offer beautiful handmade calendars in your shop, share the link with us in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google + with the hashtag #handmadecalendar. Find more calendars on my Pinterest and follow #fridayfavorite for more Fridays are for Favorites inspiration!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

We did it! We survived the Christmas mania! Time to venture back to reality – where we wash dishes, and clean floors and make dinner. We don’t survive on cookies for our only source of nutrition and we don’t participate in the A Christmas Story marathon. All of our money is gone, and we don’t want to think about making another gift or batch of sweets for another year.

I put so many of my projects aside to focus on Christmas, that I want to start getting back to them. Like, today. I officially have four weeks left of my vacation and I plan on getting a lot of crafting done before I’m back to the grind. So the first project on my list? My DIY Cork and Chalkboard!

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I got this barn window from my stepsister, and after all the glass broke in our car (fun experience that was), I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it!

Since the glass was already broken, I didn’t have to worry about what to do with that. I decided to change the paint color of the window, so I got a sander (I think the sander may be one of my favorite inventions) and sanded it down until it was smooth enough to paint over.

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Then I got a piece of plywood at Lowe’s and made a line in the middle. I painted half of it with chalkboard paint and I spray mounted cork paper (?) to the other side. I also mounted foam to the back of the cork to make it easier for pinning. Right now, I’m at the point where I’m going to staple some fabric I got to the corkboard and then it will be time to mount the wood to the frame!

Before the chalk and cork

Before the chalk and cork

I’m really excited to see this project finally come to an end, so I can use this bad boy! Hoping to finish it by next week so I can move on. I have a big bin of odd things I’ve been collecting to make stuff with, and I can’t wait to share all of my projects with you! I’m planning on keeping some of them and then either selling or gifting the rest.

What projects do you have in store? Is there anything you put aside for Christmas and are going to get back to now? Post your project link in the comments and share your progress with us on Facebook, Instagram, Google + and Twitter with the hashtag #staythrifty. You can also find more thrifty inspiration on my Pinterest!

Stay thrifty, my friends.

Weekly Wishes #8

 

weekly wishes 8Since my daughter has learned to walk, she has also learned to scoot her way off of anything she can scoot off – laps, our couch and sometimes even arms. So when she cried every time I put her down, I knew something was up. Turns out she was sick – and has been since last Wednesday. Therefore – my life has been full of cuddling, hugging, comforting, sleeping and doing homework, making gifts and cleaning when she naps.

This little break from blogging and social media has been refreshing and has given me a good outlook on what I want my life to be. I tend to sign myself up for every creative project under the sun, only to feel beaten down and exhausted when I never seem to get the results I want from them. This has seriously effected my wishes for this week.

Let’s just say that I did not get any of my wishes done last week. But I’m not going to worry about it. I had a little one who needed me more than anything else did. Now that she’s feeling better, it’s a whole new week. My business and fitness goals will clearly have to wait until after Christmas because making gifts at home is a whole lot more work than I thought. But it has pushed me to be creative every day, and I love it.

This week:

Tuesday: Finish Addie and Elena’s gifts (painting – my absolute favorite!). Get them wrapped and ready to go!

Wednesday: Finish my parents gifts (trying something new for my very first time. I’m excited to share my project after Christmas). Get those bad boys ready to go!

Thursday: Start canning (apple butter, pumpkin butter and sugar-free jam for my brother!). Start working on the rest of Sadie’s and Jackson’s gifts (screen printing – my other favorite!)

Friday: Do finishing touches on gifts that need them. Continue canning

Saturday: CANNING, CANNING and more CANNING! Finish the beanie.

Sunday: Make sure everything is wrapped and all of my canning is done.

Monday: Bake-a-thon (gingerbread cupcakes and a whole lot of cookies!) starts!

This list helps me put the week into perspective and by splitting up my projects like this, I think I can actually do it! My posts from now until the end of the season will be more Holiday inspired, since obviously that’s all on that’s on my mind right now.

Once all this is done, I will have a little more than a month off of school and I’m planning on working on my creative business ventures and really getting things done so I will not feel so overwhelmed when school starts. Less creative projects, more focus on the ones I already have.

So,  what are your weekly wishes? Write about them and link up to the Nectar Collective. You can also share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here’s to hoping all of your holiday goals and wishes will be rewarded!