My Top Ten Favorite Posts' of 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

Interview with a local baker 
I can’t believe 2012 is over. It seems as though blogging makes the time go by so much faster—does anyone else feel that way? I've never really stopped to reflect on how I've spend my time within the year but this time around (as a blogger and shop owner) I can’t help but stop and think about all the amazing things I've accomplished; and, all the things I got to do because had a place to share all my ideas in. I’m super thankful for all those who visit my blog on the regular and leave comments. It really makes me happy to know that people are reading what I write and enjoying what I have to share. My main goal for this blog was to inspire, share, and meet new people—so far this blogging adventure has turned into something I couldn't even dream of and I’m so excited to have made friendships with all of you! There are so many talented people I've met in this virtual world that I would have never met otherwise. Hopefully, someday, we can all meet up and have a huge craft party! Imagine— wouldn't that be so cool? Haha. Well, I’ll stop there before this post gets too mushy and I’d like to share my top ten favorite posts’ of 2012. 
Aztec Hot Chocolate 
Paper bag house
Lace theme Thanksgiving Decor
Homemade Butter 
DIY coin purse
Green Enchilada Casserole
Last Minute Easter Cake 
Repurposed Necklace 
 Thank you for stopping by! I hope you have an awesome New Year & stay safe! 

Which Are Your Favorite Cards?

Friday, December 28, 2012

I can’t help but feel a little burnt out now that Christmas is over. This year I made over 600 Christmas cards and lots of tags as well. However, my work as a seller doesn’t stop here—I already need to be thinking about what I’m going to sell for Valentine’s Day and I need to be getting ready for Wedding season as well. But, I don’t know why I feel stuck right now, like I’m in a haze—the best way I can describe what I’m feeling is: a creative burn out. I haven’t had a sale in about a week so that was enough time for me to take a break (even though I didn’t want to because I can never manage to stop creating) but I think I really needed it. During that small break I did cheat and spend an entire day coming up with new V-day cards for my shop. This year I’m going to be offering 3 x 3 cards with Kraft envelopes so I’m super-duper excited about that—I think sometimes I get intimidated by a full 4 x 6 inch space; and, working with a mini space is always so fun for me. I also thought it would be fun for me to get some feedback from you! I’ve created 6 mini cards and I’d very much like it if you told me which of them are you favorite. You can list them all in order from best to worst or just tell me if you like one or two—either way is fine by me. I just think it would be sweet if I could get feedback from someone else for a change. 
This week I went to Joanns to spend use some of my gift cards and I found this amazing flower wreath stamp. When I saw it sitting on the shelf I was a bit in shock at its beauty—but then I quickly grabbed it because it was the last one. I didn’t even care how much it was—cute stamps are worth any price to me. 
When I was at the store I also picked up this baby shower stamp set, it’s SO cute + I also got a happy birthday stamp set because I realized I don’t have very many of those and I’d like to start creating birthday card sets. 
Isn’t the wreath gorgeous? I colored the flower and leaves in using stamp markers and I stamped this lovely ‘I love you’ sentiment. I think it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day. 
Here is a sample of a baby shower invitation I’m wokin’ on—it’s in the beginning stages. 
Lastly, I have these two birthday cards. I think they’re so dreamy and whimsical. Go ahead and let me know what you think in the comments, and let me know which of the mini cards shown above are your favorites too. I’d really love to hear from you! Take care and have a great weekend! 

Christmas Tree Reveal

Monday, December 24, 2012

I wanted to upload this little video I made super early today but Vimeo took so long to process a one minute video, hehe. Oh well, it’s here now. I’m revealing the final look of my Christmas tree with all the handmade ornaments on it. I added in some other shots as well; namely, because I didn’t want this to be a 2 second video, haha. I hope you like it—I also shot this in black and white because I feel it works well for the vintage Christmas vibe I was going for (for the tree). We’ll from here on out I’ll be making tamales, drinking, creating new memories with my family, and HOPEFULLY taking pictures. No guarantees though—because sometimes when I drink I forget I’m supposed to take pictures. I hope you’re all having a great time! I plan on posting some more photos tomorrow. Take care!

My Workstation

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last night, I decided to work on some sewing projects. It’s something that I wanted to do after I listed all my 2012 Christmas cards, tags, etc. but I never got a chance to do it; namely, because as soon as I started listing my Christmas things—they started selling—and I got really busy with orders. I planned on having some new tote bags, messengers, camera cases, jewelry cases, notebook cases, and coin purses in my shop just in time for Christmas but yeah, that never happened. So last night I was super excited to have the chance to get started. I also thought it would be nice to share pictures of my tiny work space because I’d realized that I’ve never shared them before. I have about three workstations right now, my desk located in a dark hallway, a closet that a visit many times while I work because my desk isn’t big enough for everything I have, and my sewing station (which isn’t pictured). 
I also decided to take all these pictures in B&W and I don’t know why I decided on that—I guess it just seemed right at the time, hehe. I wish I would make more time to make my workstation look a lot more beautiful and glamorous but I just don’t see the need sometimes, because nobody ever sees it. 

Interview with a Local Baker--My Sister

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today I have the honor of interviewing my younger sister, Melanie. She’s an amazing sister, best friend, and baker! She sells her awesome homebaked goods from home, and goes by the name of Melrose Baking & Party Decor. Plus she’s super, super talented at what she does. She makes everything from cupcakes, cake pops, chocolate dipped pretzel sticks and SO much more—and she’s self-taught. I’ve watched her grow as a baker and seller, and I love to see how her pastries taste and look better and better as time goes by. I remember when she first started this sweet business venture—she was always so nervous and had a shaky hand while piping the cupcakes for her first clients but now I can see her confidence and it even shoes in her work. It’s truly impeccable and I’m so proud of her! I’m also a little jealous that she’s doing something so cool at such a young age—I wish I’d of thought of creating my own business when I was that young, hehe. 
Isn't she so good at what she does?! She makes taking pictures so much fun because all of her creations are either super adorable or beautiful. My camera definitely loves her sweet treats, hehe. If you’d like to take a look at her Facebook; or, her website (for local ordering) you can click here and here. Now I’d like to ask her a few questions:  

1.    Tell everyone a little bit about yourself:
Well for starters my name is Melanie. I’m twenty-three years young, and the one woman
squad behind Melrose Baking & Party Décor. I’m a recent college graduate and I obtained my AA degree, in Psychology, about a year ago. It was in my break from school when I came upon the world of baking, I truly feel as if I woke up one day with the passion and talent for baking.

2.    What is your favorite thing about baking?

My favorite thing about baking is seeing my vision come to light. I can spend days even weeks planning out ideas in my head of how I would like to execute ideas for a specific order. I learned a tip from my sister, Nicole, to always draw and write down ideas on paper to help organize my thoughts. It’s with that tip I create each and every sweet treat at Melrose Baking & Party Décor. Another part of the baking process I enjoy is icing my cupcakes it's almost therapeutic for me to mix together simple ingredients and watch it create a silky, cloud like icing, as I pipe each cupcake I can feel myself become completely relaxed and in the zone…Cupcake zone ;)

3.    What are you favorite tools to use?
Does my hand count as a tool? Lol, If so my hands are my favorite tool--with them I’m able to create edible art. I hand roll each Cake Pop to perfection and do tons of intricate work with chocolate and fondant, all to create amazing treats. Another one of my absolute favorite baking items is my set of jumbo piping tips with them I can create amazing bakery style cupcakes.

4.    When did you realize you wanted to sell baked goods?
I realized I wanted to sell baked goods when I begin getting good feedback from my
family and friends, everyone loved the taste and overall look of my sweet treats. It was actually my sister Nicole who encouraged me a year ago to create a Facebook page showcasing my treats and the rest was history :-)

5.    What are you future plans for this business?
To be honest I haven’t really set out a solid future plan regarding my small business, I’m just enjoying the passion and talent God has given me at this moment in time. But I have thought of having my own bakery or even my own catering company for desserts or even my own Cake Pop food truck.

6.    Who is your favorite sister? Lol is this a trick question? Well I don’t have a favorite sister; I have a special bond with both my sisters, Nicole and Angie. They're both my go to gals, my besties for life :-)

     Thank you for stopping by for another blog post! Feel free to check out her websites!

Last Minute Homemade Christmas Gift Idea

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Today I have a quick, easy, and affordable last minute homemade gift idea! Making a few mini jars of your best jam, salsa, or treat might be the perfect gift to give if you've found yourself in a last minute shopping panic. This is great because it can be made the night before or even the day of. All you’ll need is some jars, a few food items from around your house, and some love.
Some of the things I love making for loved ones is my guacamole, salsa verde, and roasted salsa. They taste so yummy with tortilla chips, soft tacos, fish, chicken, eggs, and so much more.  So, I’m sure, in my family, this gift will be welcomed with open arms! I love the idea that this little gift can bring us all around the table—talking about things going on in our lives, and creating new memories. 

*Update: The mini jars were purchased at Walmart 4 for $3.99. Click here for the details. 

Christmas tree—Handmade Ornaments Update

Monday, December 17, 2012

It’s taking me awhile to get all the ornaments made; namely, because of have orders to do at the same time. I don’t usually do anything else besides orders unless I know I’m caught up—and this weekend I had a chance to make some red and green snowflake garland, vintage theme tree tags, more rosettes, and two other types of snow flake ornaments. This is the first time I’ve ever decorated a tree by myself and I’m so excited that 90% of all the decorations on the tree will be handmade. I didn’t know—at first—which direction this tree would go in; and, I’m so happy that its taken on this vintage vibe. I’m so geeky, but when I’m sitting at the table making my ornaments I’m always thinking, “This is how they must have done it way in the olden times”. So random, haha. Anywho, the tree still isn't complete and I plan on finishing it today after I’ve shipped out my last orders! I’m so looking forward to revealing the entire tree when it’s complete. 

Aztec Hot Chocolate

Friday, December 14, 2012

It never snows here in Los Angeles County but it’s still really, really cold, hehe—and when it’s cold I love to make Mexican hot chocolate. This is something I’ve had around the holidays since I can remember; and, it tastes’ so good! Marcela Valladolid, from Mexican Made Easy, on theFood Network has an amazing recipe for Aztec hot chocolate:

Hot Chocolate:
·         4 cups whole milk
·         One 3.2-ounce disk Mexican chocolate, chopped
·         1 dried guajillo chile, stemmed, seeded and deveined
·         1 cinnamon stick
·         1 vanilla bean
Whipped Cream:
·         2 cups heavy whipping cream
·         1/4 cup powdered sugar
·         Ground cinnamon, for dusting
·         Chili powder, for dusting
For the hot chocolate: Bring the milk to a simmer in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chocolate, guajillo chile, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly to develop some froth and completely melt the chocolate. Remove the chile, vanilla bean and cinnamon stick from the hot mixture.
For the whipped cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or in a large glass mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and beat to stiff peaks.
Pour the hot chocolate into a mug. Dollop with the whipped cream and dust with cinnamon and chili powder. Serve immediately.
Go ahead and give it a try & thanks for stoppin’ by! 
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