Friday Finds

Social media can be such a time suck. I won’t say how many times I found myself staring pointlessly at a computer screen while my daughter’s napping – ignoring all the other productive things I could be doing – and that’s mostly because there are too many to count. On the more positive side, social media and networking can also open up a whole new world to you, filled with people, things and food that you were unaware that even existed. As a stay-at-home mom, I don’t get to venture out to find new things like I used to, and I rely primarily on my social feeds to deliver them right to me via my phone or computer.

Such is the case with all the finds I have for this week:

Image from Sacramento Flea Market

Image from Sacramento Flea Market

Sacramento is getting a Flea Market! Opening in January 2015, there is over 16,000 square feet of indoor and over 20,000 square feet of outside vending. There will be new and used stuff, produce, food and drinks and even live music on the weekends! Triple score! Oh, and the entrance, parking and even the concerts are all free. Yes. I’m so excited to see how this progresses and I’ve already got my list ready.

Image from Hops and Dots

Image from Hops and Dots

I am really digging how the craft beer scene in Sacramento is expanding, and this also includes craft beer bloggers. Hops and Dots is a beer blog run by Nat, who covers breweries in Sacramento and beyond. I was introduced to her blog by Beers in Sac by way of Facebook, and I’m so happy that I found it.

Image from NellieBellie

Image from NellieBellie

I spent a good while looking up sugar free cakes on Pinterest yesterday. Not because I’m on a sugar-free kick – that would mean I would have to give up the pints of ice cream and cookies I’ve been devouring lately – but because my brother can’t have sugar. And it happens to be his birthday next weekend, so I’ve decided to make him a cake. This might be the first nice thing I’ve done for him. I love this recipe from NellieBellie because I can use pumpkin (it calls for butternut squash or pumpkin – and pumpkin wins all, for me) and it’s all real ingredients – no fake sugar stuff over here! It looks super delicious.

What are your favorite finds of the week? Share them in the comments and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramGoogle + and Pinterest!

Meet the Maker: Kate Payne

meet the makerSometime last year, I was virtually introduced to Kate Payne, the author of The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. I don’t remember how the introduction occurred, but from the moment I visited her website, I’ve been hooked. I was so hooked that I purchased her book last November, and I love reading it in the little snippets of free time that I get.

I’m hoping to put a lot of her homemaking tips to use when we get our house, so I will do a full review of the book then. But for now – I just want to share her amazing story.

Photo from Kate Payne

Photo from Kate Payne

Before this book, Kate was what she calls “a flashy cook” – cooking food that would excite, but was not necessary by any means. She has also donned titles such as grant writer, half-assed homemaker, nanny, after-hours poet, doodler and gardener. She studied anthropology and sociology in the Sonoran Desert and once worked on an organic tomato farm.

Kate started the blog in 2009, when she was living in a ground floor apartment in Brooklyn, NY. She wasn’t making the money she was used to, but she still wanted the comforts of home. She dug inside for a little creativity and improvisation, and there the blog – and subsequently the book – were born.

“I started the blog specifically with the intent to write a book. The blog was a sort of sounding board for me to see if what I was thinking about writing was of interest to anyone besides me. I was not a blog reader at the time and my background in grant writing didn’t factor much into my blogging endeavors. I think the rigors of writing well–proofreading, syntax, punctuation, grammar, etc.–should go into any style of writing one does, whether it’s books, blog posts, magazine articles, or grants. “

She decided to write a book because she felt like there wasn’t enough resources out there for women who weren’t so hip on homemaking and keeping a clean house. Aside from that, she found herself questioning if it was normal for a modern, empowered woman like herself to actually enjoy the domestic life.

Image from Kate Payne

Image from Kate Payne

“The stigma and history surrounding women and domesticity fueled my intrigue in exploring my own relationship with the kitchen and household chores. With my book and approach I hope to shed a new light on DIY and eco-oriented homemaking. We all need somewhere to call home and shifting our attitude toward our homes is a good first step.

I’m of the opinion that you should pick and choose what you do yourself based on what you actually like doing, and then dedicate money you save there on quality items or services you don’t particularly enjoy. What makes the most sense for certain people to do themselves, doesn’t make sense for others. “

On top of maintaining her blog and writing her books, Kate also writes grants part-time for a nonprofit and maintains a quarterly column for Edible Austin. She works with her Marketing Coordinator Christina Valentine on the blog, tour event planning and managing workshop preparations. And because that is clearly not enough, she also works with a local farmers market group and helps maintain their website and social media.

“Freelancing means I’m working nearly all the time, but working on things I feel passionately about makes it worth it. I always carve out time to eat dinner with my wife, who does most of the sustenance cooking around our house. (I manage the fermenting, canning, desserts, ice cream and bread making, the projects we love, but can ultimately live without.)”

Meyer Lemon bath salts. Photo from Kate Payne

Meyer Lemon bath salts. Photo from Kate Payne

Kate started canning in 2009 and peach jam was among her first projects, which she was afraid to eat because she was terrified the jars were full of botulism. She also made a triple citrus marmalade, from Eugenia Bone’s book Well Preserved.

“As I endeavored to learn more about canning, I soon discovered that all the hype surrounding your imminent death by canning was not really likely if you followed USDA-approved canning methods and practices. The National Center for Home Food Preservation is a great resource for beginners.”

A self-taught cook, she gets a lot of her recipe inspiration from Joy of Cooking and many of her gluten-free recipes will start from there and from pastry chef David Lebovitz. She will then make the recipes gluten free-friendly by substituting the flour for a flour blend based on what she is making. As for her preserving projects and recipes, she’s inspired by Linda Ziedrich, Eugenia Bone and Sandor Katz.

She and her friend started the Food Swap Network, which provides hosts and attendees with a bevy of resources and information. Existing swaps that are registered on their site are searchable for anyone nearby who wants to join the fun.

Gluten-free Cinnamon Cake. Photo from Kate Payne

Gluten-free Cinnamon Cake. Photo from Kate Payne

Kate’s new book The Hip Girl’s Guide to the Kitchen comes out next month and is available for pre-order now. She says it will be in the same style and format as her freshman book – it will just focus completely on the kitchen, which really is a world of its own.

“I took over the cooking for the year I wrote the book as evidence that even someone like me who doesn’t enjoy daily sustenance cooking can reasonably and affordably incorporate cooking into their busy lifestyle.”

She hopes people will just simply focus on doing their best, and will relax when they hit the learning curve that comes with working on new projects. And as for the best compliment she’s received:

“A single mom told me how she’s never had time for any household things, but my book and small-batch preserving recipes on the blog inspired her to try doing some kitchen projects with her daughter. They now spend more time together cooking and canning, which means the world to her.”

Photo from Kate Payne

Photo from Kate Payne

Kate will be kicking off her HGGK Book Tour (hooray!) on May 24 in Ann Arbor, MI and the tour will close in Albuquerque, NM on July 1. I have listed the dates and locations of her book tour, and you can also see her full classes, demos and signings schedule by visiting her at katepayne.net.

      • May 24 – Ann Arbor, MI: Literati Bookstore, time TBD
      • May 27 – Austin, TX: BookPeople 7:00pm
      • May 28 – Houston, TX: Blue Willow Bookshop, 7:00pm
      • May 29 – Brooklyn, NY: Greenlight Bookstore, 7:30pm
      • June 13 – Tucson, AZ: Antigone Books, 7:00pm
      • June 17 – La Jolla, CA: Warwick’s, 7:30pm
      • June 23 – Seattle, WA: Book Larder, 6:30pm
      • June 28 – San Francisco, CA: Omnivore Books, 3:00pm
      • June 30 – Phoenix, AZ: Changing Hands Bookstore, 7:00pm
      • July 1 – Albuquerque, NM: Bookworks, 7:00pm

You can find Kate Payne by visiting her on The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking website, you can find neat stuff in her store and you can connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. If you know an awesome maker who would be perfect for this series, please leave a link in the comments, share on my social media or e-mail it to me!

Thrifty Thursdays

thrifty thursdays

Since becoming a mom, I can definitely say that my idea of a good time has tremendously changed. While I still do like going out with my friends, it’s usually to thrift store or yard sale instead of the bar. The only shows I go to anymore have the word “antique” in front of them. Don’t get me wrong – if Atmosphere comes to town, I’ll be there in a jiff. But that’s very rare. I like craft fairs and street fairs over house parties, and I want to go to the Sacramento Antique Faire for my birthday rather than 2nd Saturday.

In the last few weeks, I have been lucky enough to go on many a thrifting adventure. It all started with the estate sale/yard sale/ antique store adventure on the “Mom Day Out” I had with my friend a few weeks ago. That’s right, we had a few hours all to us, and we spent them going thrifting. That’s how we roll. Then there was the Lodi Street Faire (aka…crack for crafters) and last weekend was the Stockton Swap Meet. This was all topped off by the Galt Flea Market just a couple days ago.

Side note – taking your baby for a stroll through anything like that is amazing. They love being strolled around outside while you get your thrift on! And, the undercarriage of most strollers can double as storage for your smaller items! Someone without a stroller can push around a cart for bigger items.

I also recommend taking out a specific amount of cash and leaving your cards at home or in the car. Somewhere that is not easily accessible – by you, or anyone else for that matter. You can usually talk the sellers down a little since they generally overprice for that reason. And if you can’t, maybe it just wasn’t meant for you that day.

Luckily for me, I can only afford $20 or less per adventure, so there is no way for me to overspend. I wanted to share with you some of what I got. Now, this isn’t everything. A lot of my stuff is being used for projects, but this will give you an idea.

thrifty finds

1. Cheese graters – I think my collection is up to ten right now. You can buy vintage cheese graters like these online for anywhere from $5-15 each. Or you can buy them at a swap meet/flea market/yard sale for $1-2 each. I have only found a couple at thrift stores, but when I do, they are pretty cheap. I’m going to share a tutorial for turning them into earring holders soon.

2. Suitcase – I got this vintage suitcase and another one at the estate sale for $5 each. You can find these suitcases pretty much anywhere – you just need to be cautious that some of them can be pricy. Bring your cell phone and research each suitcase if you can to find the worth.

3. Records – This pile is from my sweep. A few were gifted, but most of them were purchased at the swap meet and street faire. You can find records everywhere. Again, some will be more expensive and others will be cheap. It all depends on the artist and the condition. I will be sharing a tutorial on how to upcycle records into all kinds of things soon. Before you begin crafting with records, check the worth. I don’t craft with any records that could mean something to someone. Always check that first. I also play my records when I’m crafting, so I have a “keep” “sale” and “project” pile.

4. Apron – Got this for $1 at the flea market. Planning on tie-dying it but I’m not sure what I’m doing with it just yet. Whatever I plan to do, I will be sharing it with you for sure.

5. Oil cans – I got these as a package with 7 records, all for $8. I really want to learn how to make vegan candles (I’m not for messing with animal or human fat) and I thought these would be perfect inspiration/motivation for doing that. I want to use these as candle holders.

6. Loteria cards – I got these at the flea market for $3. I definitely could have bartered for them, but I have been wanting them for a while and haven’t been able to find a used set. The sets sell online for anywhere from $5-20, so I did get a deal. There are so many projects I can do with these, and I also want to teach my daughter how to play with these, along with other card games. I think it’s good for her to embrace all of her heritage (Mexican/Italian/Irish/etc.)

7. Three-tiered fruit baskets – I got this set for $10. Again, probably could have bartered a little. Apparently I’m not the best at that. I’m planning on cleaning them and restoring them a little. Then, I will use them as bread and snack baskets in the pantry. Our landlord (aka my boyfriend’s dad) isn’t so hot about me hanging anything from the ceiling in the kitchen so to the pantry they go! Still looking for a three-tiered fruit basket that stands on the kitchen table. If you know of any that are handmade or vintage/thrifted, let me know!

So, everything in this suitcase (suitcase included) cost me less than $40. And they are all things that I’m going to either use on the daily, restore or use for projects. What are some of your favorite thrifty finds? Share in the comments and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest with the hashtag #thriftyfinds. Who knows – your thrifty find could show up on my blog, with your permission of course. Stay thrifty, my friends!