Try this Healthy Strawberry Banana Bread

Friday, July 25, 2014

My sisters and I have been taking our health serious lately; and, my sister Angie recently found a strawberry banana bread recipe that we couldn’t wait to try. What I love about this bread is that it’s flourless. Instead of flour this recipe uses oat flour—and instead of purchasing oat flour in the market she simply took some organic oat meal and ground it up in a food processor. Isn’t that so great?

One thing that really gets me, when I’m eating clean is my sweet tooth. I don’t think my sweet tooth will ever go away and I’m always looking for healthy alternatives to help satisfy that craving. I’ve turned to fruits when I get that ‘sweets urge’, and currently one of my favorite go to snacks when I need something tasty is cottage cheese with blueberries, raspberries, and diced strawberries. I also LOVE eating mangos—whenever I’m eating a mango I always think to myself, “ahh, nature’s candy”. For the most part I would only eat fruit when I felt like eating something sweet but my sister has been searching the seas of Pinterest and Instagram for more healthy sweets recipes that we could try. This recipe was found on the Instagram account @feelgoodfoodie. 

Camping

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's always nice to get away from the city once in a while and just breath. I'm lucky that I live so close to the Los Angeles National forest--a 45 minute drive can take me away from fast pace living and into the beautiful mountain wilderness. At times I feel like I'm not getting in touch with nature as much as one should, not seeing the night sky the way that it was meant to be seen; or, not taking time to live in the moment and recognize the beauty that's all around me.
The Los Angeles National forest has so many breath taking views and camp sites--I look forward to coming here every summer. The sites are clean, people are friendly, and we're always in good company.
This is Link, my boyfriends dog. He's such a cutie and this was his first time camping. 

The s'mores kits I made for the Lawn Fawn Youtube channel were at hit! I was so happy everyone loved them--some even mentioned how they didn't want to even open them because they were so cute, and to help out I grabbed one and ripped it in half (completely destroying it) to show everyone that it was perfectly fine to demolish them, hehe. Later, after we were all coming down from the sugar high, I snapped this picture of one of the s'more labels and I thought it actually looked pretty on the ground. They were scattered all over the floor and I was happy that they were enjoyed.
The night sky is something I always look forward to when I go camping. Since I could remember I've been so curious about the stars and night sky's--so you can imagine how pleased I was just by the camp fire staring at it for hours. I saw so many shooting stars it was amazing!
The next morning we went for a hike and were looking for as many great views we could fine. We definitely weren't disappointed. I feel like only 24 hours here wasn't enough but I just have to be thankful that I even got the chance to go and I'll be coming back a few more times this summer--that's for sure.

Answers to Your Questions

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a great Friday so far. Today I've been working on lots of orders and I wanted to take a quick break from working to answer a few questions from readers, of my blog. I always love talking about how I got started with my business and sharing tips with people who are interested in starting their own. The first thing that I always recommend when turning your craft into a small business is this great book, Craft Inc. Turn Your Creative Hobby Into a Business, by Meg Mateo Ilasco. This book helped me learn the things I'd need know about starting my own small business--all except how to start an Etsy shop--starting an Etsy shop is something completely different but it's still very easy to learn. This book will answer every single question you may have about starting a business--it's such a great investment. In this book Meg talks about creating a business plan, naming your business, company identity, packaging, photography--so many topics that small business owners need to know.

As I've mentioned before this book doesn't exactly tell you how to start up an Etsy shop, that is something all of us Etsy sellers needed to learn on own our; however, Etsy provides so much information on their website that will guide you in creating your own page.

I would like to dedicate a full post to tips for starting a business page--and please feel free to let me know if that is something you would be interested in. As for now I can provide you with a few things that I feel are needed to get the party started (selling your awesome handmade products):

-Figure out what you want to sell (your niche)
-Create short easy to spell name for your shop (discussed in the book)
-Open a business account (It's not as expensive to open as you think)
-Create a Paypal account (optional, now Etsy has Direct Checkout so you can have the money sent directly to your business account/checking account without the use of Paypal)
-Invest in a great camera to shoot your products
-Learn SEO (Search Engine Optimization)--that is super important, especially since Etsy items are listing be relevancy
-Create your shop policies before opening your shop
-Plan on always having at least 3 pages worth of merchandise in your shop--Before I opened my shop I made around 50-60 products that I wanted to sell and I took photos of them all, and created descriptions for each item. I've read in Etsy forums that potential buyers would like the shop be serious and run like a real online store and have at least a few pages worth of merchandise and not just 5-10 items.
Another question I received from a reader was about the printer I use to print my toppers and stationary. I currently use the Canon Pixma Pro 100. This thing is a beast in so many ways--for starters its enormous. I'm not even able to lift this thing on my own. I always have my boyfriend help me move it (when ever I need to). Before owning this printer I printed on a basic printer, like the types that simply print on computer paper but when I attempted printing on 110lb. cardstock with those little printers, the printer would be like, "No way, pal". So I did some research online and found that this Canon printer can handle heavy duty cardstock like no other. I'm extremely happy with this printer--it's wireless, it's has a decent print speed, it prints on heavy duty paper, and so much more. I really love it.
Those are the only questions I received but I would love to answer any other questions any of you may have--I just hope I can answer them all! I do plan on creating a more detailed post about having an Etsy shop and how you can make it thrive. So, if that is something you might like feel free to let me know in the comments.

Have a great weekend,

Nicole

Summer S'more Kits DIY

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Today I've got a great summer s'mores kit DIY on the Lawn Fawn blog! I'm going on a camping trip this weekend and I thought it would be fun to share how I made these kits using the stamps sets, Love you s'more, and Clarks ABCs, from the new release. You can create something like this for so many summer occasions; for instance, beach bonfires, backyard BBQs, and even late night camp fires--which is what I'll be using them for. For details on how to create your own, click the video play button below!


Thanks for watching! Stay tuned for Friday's post. I'll be answer questions that you asked! There were only a few but I'd still like to answer them all. 

Lots of Changes

Monday, July 14, 2014

Finally! I feel like I can breath again (when it comes to my blog). I've been wanting to give it a little make-over for some time now, and I've finally got around to doing it. I was beginning to notice that so many changes were happening in my life, including my look. I didn't even look like the same girl (in my old blog image) and I also felt like my over aesthetic as a designer was changing as well--so I felt that I needed to reflect that in all other areas of my social media sites. Well back to my new look! My short hair grew out and I was starting to fall in love with the ombre hair look--especially since it's summer, and I decided to get my hair done. It's been so long since I've my hair this light. I think the last time I had hair this bright was in high school (in high school I had hair color in almost every single color--the worst one being green, hehe). I also starting working out everyday and eating clean. I was getting so tired of being overweight and unhealthy--so that's also another aspect that has changed, in my life. I definitely feel so much happier, clear headed, and healthier since I made the decision to really take care of myself.

I was beginning to wonder if that may have been one (of the many) reasons why my blog took a back seat--there were so many changes going on in my life and I wasn't sure were my blog was headed. I think when I originally started this blog I wanted it to be a mix of food posts', posting about fun DIYs, my handmade items for sale, etc. but somewhere down the road I feel like it mostly became a blog about me making cards--at least that's how it felt to me. I think now I'd like to make it more about posting anything that I want, haha. The way it was in the beginning.
One other change in my life was the growth of my small business. When I first started my business I never thought I could actually turn it into a full time job. I guess I thought it would be nice if it did turn into something "real" but to me it seemed like a dream. Now it's real I'm so thrilled to be doing this full time and perhaps also getting a little freaked out, at the same time, because now I need make sure I really take care of it (not like I wasn't already taking care of it) but maybe what I'm trying to say is that I need to finally come up with actual branding for my company. Branding was something I always had on hold, I think because I never thought I would get this far. Below is an image of what I like to call the beginning stages of branding...I found a font I like that I feel represents my work--clean, fun, and professional.
 If you follow me on Instagram you may already know that I'm going to be selling made in the USA rubber wooden mounting stamps that I designed, and below is a sample of the first set that will be coming out soon--in my shop. Also, if you follow me on Instragram (@unifyhandmade) you'll notice I've been making lots of new items but you haven't seen them in my shop yet. That's mainly because I'm gathering a collection of items to release all on the same day. I feel that's more of the legit way to go, hehe, rather than my old approach of just uploading new things one by one when ever I felt like it. I would like to make these stamps for shop owners, and the occasional stamper; for stance, someone helping out with the party decorations for a wedding, or a baby shower. That's actually how I developed my love for stamps and papercrafting. I was in charge of a baby shower and I went to Michaels one day looking for bumble bee stamps for the 'Bumble Bee' baby shower theme I'd planned. After that party--I was so sad because I wanted to make more bumble bee tags, and favors but there wasn't a need for me to do them anymore; and, I decided to create an Etsy shop selling handmade tags, toppers, etc. because I loved making and designing them so much. Now Unify has taken off and I couldn't be happier. I'm literally busy from morning to night, working on orders, answering emails, posting on all my social media sites, packaging, taking pictures, listing products, driving to the post office, coming up with new ideas--it's endless. But I'm so happy doing it!
I've also got a new line of bridal cards coming out along with all the other new products--and I love them so much. I'm really obsessed with watercoloring right now and it's definitely coming out in my work, hehe.
I'd like to take the time now to ask if you there is anything you'd like to see me posting about? Whether it's about being a shop owner, what camera I use; or, any other questions you might have for me. I'd be happy to create a post and answer any questions you all might have. I would definitely like to post more about how I've changed my eating habits, and everyday things that are going on--what do you think? Let me know in the comments!

DIY Watercolor Wedding Table Numbers

Friday, July 11, 2014

If you’re a bride on a budget; or, the friend of a bride on a budget this simple DIY is perfect for you! I’m using simple, easy-to -find tools, to create some gold and watercolored table numbers—that are right on trend. This watercoloring technique has been taking the crafting world by storm and it’s only natural that it would start popping up in places like wedding decor. 
What you’ll need:
-Wooden Frame, purchased from Michaels
-Gold Spray paint, purchased from Walmart
-Watercolor Paper, purchased from Joanns—I used a 50% off coupon
-Watercolors, purchased from Joanns—I used a coupon for that, too
-Paint brush
-Pencil
-Scissors
-Computer
-Printer

-Photoshop or Microsoft Word
Step 1: remove the packing and the sample image from the frame, so that you’re left with just the frame itself. 
Step 2: Head outside with a few pieces of cardboard of newspaper, place the frame in the center and start shaking the spray can to prep. Once you’ve shaken the spray can enough being to spray with even sweeping motions and hold the can a few inches away from the frame to avoid puddles. Once you’ve sprayed once side—allow it to dry and flip it over and spray the backside, as well.  
Step 3: Go back indoors while you allow the frame to completely dry and take the sample image that comes with the frame then place it over a sheet of watercolor paper and trace it with your pencil. 
Step 4: Cut it out using your scissors, and prepare for painting. 
Step 5: This is where you will begin your watercoloring. Tip—What I like to do is dip the brush in clean water and apply that to the paper first. Once I’ve applied the desired amount of water to the paper then begin to add in the color. What’s great about applying the water first is that the paint will stay within the pre-watered area and you can work your way in and start blending with more colors. When you get the desired look, let it dry. 
Step 6: Once it was dry I went over to my computer (using Photoshop, but I’ve done this before with Microsft Word before, too) and created ‘table no.’, and number 5 and changed the print settings to 4x6—which is the size of the watercolor paper I’m using for this project and simply print it out. You can repeat this entire process for all the other table numbers needed. You simply write out the numbers by hand, use some stamps; and, even create matching cards, menus, and invitations with this method, too. The possibilities are endless. 
Step 7: Place the table number into the frame, and you’re finished! 
I really hope you enjoyed this simple yet chic DIY tutorial and feel free to leave me a comment letting me know what you think! 

Thinking of You

Monday, June 23, 2014

Last night, before bed, I had the urge to get out my watercolors and create something beautiful. I didn’t know what I was going to create—a card, table number, or just a big mess. I’ve been really wanted to sit down and let loose with watercoloring using a brush instead of my usual approach, which is using distress ink and simply smashing my paper in it, hehe. I have a palette with lots of great shades on it and I use a few of them for this card.
This was also the first time I attempted the iron off embossing technique but I totally failed at it. I don’t know exactly what I did wrong but the computer paper stuck to the embossing instead of removing it. Do any of you (who have tried this) know what I could have done wrong? I had the iron on a low setting, with the steam feature, off. I was wondering if it was my embossing powder. I wasn’t using the WOW embossing powder that I’ve seen most crafters use for this technique—so maybe that could be it? But anyways, since that didn’t work out I had to die cut that piece off of the card; and, instead I simply stamped the ‘thinking of you’ sentiment on a piece of white cardstock and inlayed that into the card. I did the same with the bird and the heart image as well. I actually really like how this card turned out even though I ran into a little problem with the iron off embossing. I think the pink text bubble stands out more.
I used nothing but Lawn Fawn products to design this card. I used the stamp set, Chit Chat, and its coordinating dies. Love you s’more (the “I love you”, sentiment), and the Lets Polka mixed sequins.
I’m so happy I took the time to create this last night, even though I was super tired. I feel like I can relax a little now that I’ve got that out of my system, lol. 
Proudly designed by | mlekoshiPlayground |