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Thursday, April 23, 2009

I restocked!

A quick note, my shop is restocked on snack and sandwich bags. I don't know when I'll be able to restock again, so get your order in before they all disappear!

http://mamamade.etsy.com

And the Winner is...

The winner of MamaMade's Earth Day give away is...


From Random.org's Random Number Generator...

Comment #22 - Amber!

Congrats Amber! I'll be leaving a comment on your blog, but please email me at MamaMade@LNSDesigns.net with your mailing address so I can send you your bags!

Thank you to EVERYONE who left a comment for me during this giveaway! I am so excited to see the variety of ways that everyone is trying to live a simpler, greener life. Thanks to a great Etsy article that showed my sandwich bags, I sold out the shop a few times today. I'll be listing lots of pre-order bags tonight, so if you didn't win this bag, consider checking out some new listings.

Thank you again!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Earth Day Giveaway - Win a Reusable Sandwich Bag!

***This contest is now closed, but I still have bags available in my shop!***
Over the past year or so I've seem to become hyper aware of what I'm throwing away. Every time I take out the garbage (or make hubby do it), I think what is in there that I could have saved, reused, or gone another route to avoid throwing it away in the first place.

One big change we made is to completely eliminate paper towels from our house. That was a change, but our dish towels love the use they're getting! We switched over to more eco-friendly cleaning products and detergents (like Crunchy Clean Detergent) and even stopped using dryer sheets (thanks to Fuzzy Wuzzy Dryer Balls!)

I also started to realize I was using LOTS of plastic zip-top baggies. With a 3-year-old in pre-school and a 1-year-old with a big appetite, I am packing lunch and toting snacks on a daily basis. I'd reuse the plastic bags filled with cheerios as much as I could, but I figured there was a better way. So I checked out my studio and realized that the seemingly simple combination of a cute cotton print, a waterproof lining and some velcro would make the perfect reusable sandwich bag!

After a few trial and error bags (those that I could barely get open, lol!), I made the perfect bag, in two sizes too! The bags are completely reusable, waterproof (so put in a handful of grapes, carrots, celery or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich), AND they're machine washable.

When the bag gets too dirty, just toss it in the washer (and dryer if you need it right away)!

As Earth Day approaches, I know we all start to become more aware of ways to preserve our majestic planet, and I want to hear your ideas! I'd love to know what you currently do or would like to do to be more Earth friendly! Leave a comment with your ideas and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a sandwich bag set (like the bag pictured above!). One lucky winner will get a Sandwich size (6.5" x 6.5") AND a snack size (6.5" x 4") in my new favorite batik print - Recycle.

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How to Enter:
1) Leave a comment on this post between now and April 22nd at 11:59 pm MST. Tell me the ways you have become more Earth friendly, or things you'd like to change. One comment per day/per person please! If you leave an anonymous comment, be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner!

2) Blog about this contest to win another entry - just leave a comment with the blog link.

3) Mention this giveaway on a message board to win yet another entry! Just let me know which message board in your comment.

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I will randomly select one comment as the winner for the giveaway and post the winner on my blog on April 23rd. Good luck!! :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Monkey has a Girlfriend!

After several requests for a girly version of my classic Sock Monkey tee, I designed this sweet little lady.
Of course, her bow can be any color, and she even has sparkly genuine Swarovski crystal "earrings".

20" of Snow - Day One

This was the snow at about 10 am on Friday, April 16th. Many more inches to come.
That was the final total (pictures of that coming soon). 20". In April. I am a very happy woman. I love snow, and knowing that it will be close to 80 degrees in just a few days, I savored every moment of my snow days.

Hubby worked Friday (the first day of the snow), and took my SUV to work, so the kids and I were stuck at home. We stayed busy...

The kids played with every toy they had, napped, ate lunch (and some dinner), and I baked. I made challah and chocolate chip cookies...drool.

Since I always use a warm oven top as a place to rise my bread, I figured I'd actually use the oven while the bread was rising, hence the cookies.

My all-time favorite book on baking, with a fantastic recipe for challah. Williams Sonoma, "Baking"

For those that don't know, challah is a traditional Jewish bread, with a wonderful sweet flavor. It can be topped with poppy or sesame seeds, and is almost always braided (at the Jewish New Year, it comes in a round loaf to symbolize the circular nature of the New Year). The ingredients are basic: yeast, sugar, water, eggs, flour and butter:
I bake bread by hand. I refuse to ever own a bread machine. I love the process (as is a common thread in my life). (I will admit I LOVE my stand mixer though, and it has wonderful bread kneading abilities).

I always proof my yeast. Let me tell you, I never skip this step. I've learned that the hard way.

Yeast

Water at 100 degrees F

A little sugar sprinkled on the yeast, add the warm water and it looks like this.

Wait 5 minutes

The yeast should look like this: (if it doesn't, start over with new yeast)

Measure and add ingredients - and a good time to tell you how much I LOVE my kitchen scale. Measuring flour on a scale is really the only way to do it. It's a million times easier than counting out 5 cups of flour. (I also use the scale for brown sugar, sugar, butter, and more).

Once the bread was ready for rising #1...

It was time to make the cookies:

Pretty sure chocolate chips are the BEST part of the cookie:

Tempting not to eat the dough

While the batches of cookies were baking, I took a quick peak at the bread - almost half way there!

Three dozen cookies made, time to finish up the bread:

The bread is put on a floured surface (see my pastry scraper? Another favorite/essential tool). I cut it into four pieces and roll each piece into a long strand. I then place all the strands together into a...

...braid!

It rises for another hour (or less), and then gets an egg wash. A quick trip to the oven, and...

And of course a sink full of dishes...but those would have to wait until Saturday.


Friday, April 10, 2009

A New Lunch Bag - Opinions Please!

For a long while I've been thinking about making reusable lunch bags, and lately have started to get some requests for them. I want to make something fairly simple, but practical, and of course, cute!

So, I've come up with this bag:

It is approximately 7" wide x 11" high x 4" deep, a perfect lunch size.

The tabs you see will have snaps (poly resin snaps), and the snaps will have two points to snap.

First, they will snap here:

And then if you want to fold the top down further, they will snap here:
The bag outside is 100% cotton with a ribbon embellishment, and the inside is lined with a PUL, waterproof laminated knit.

The entire bag is machine washable, lightweight, and oh yah, also comes with a cloth napkin! I'm expecting retail price to be about $18. I also plan to offer a set with matching snack and/or sandwich bags too.

What I'm looking for is opinions! I want to know what you like, what you don't like, what you think the bag needs, what it doesn't need, etc. I want to make a great lunch bag, and that requires hearing from more than the voices in my head (lol!).

So let me hear what you have to say!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Passover

Passover started last night. We had a wonderful seder dinner with hubby's parents. Complete with brisket, latkes, matzoh ball soup, haroset and matzoh, and more...I was stuffed when dinner was over.

(The Monkey trying out some matzoh ball soup - he loved it, and actually did a great job eating it with a spoon!)

Generally the diet for the week is simple (especially pre-kids, when we didn't have to worry about feeding others). It was mostly this:
But that gets boring really quickly, and once the seder leftovers are gone and you're on your 5th day of peanut butter and honey sandwiches or cream cheese and matzoh, you're looking in the cupboards for something that you can eat that won't riddle you with guilt for breaking the Passover rules. Especially when it comes to curing our sweet tooth.

I was inspired last year, and made the most wonderful (and easy) dessert...Matzoh Buttercrunch. Very simply, it is matzoh, brown sugar and butter topped with chocolate. Hubby and his dad devoured it last year, so I made a double batch and kept some and sent my father-in-law home with a batch as well.

(It is an old Cooking Light recipe!)
I decided to try something new this year as well and made brownies! I picked up some tasty looking cake meal, and with the help of a lot of eggs, a lot of sugar, and a lot of oil, the brownies were quick, easy, and kosher for Passover!

(The Monkey was smelling them and reported they smelled, "Delicious!")

They looked really good, and actually tasted really good too! I gave some to Small Fry, and he LOVED them. When I wouldn't give him anymore, he threw a classic-1-year-old temper tantrum, complete with high-pitched screaming!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Shhh...it's a secret!

Well, it's not really a secret, but I've been making some new items to have at the Hopscotch Hustle on Sunday and I couldn't wait to post a preview. Anything that doesn't sell at the show on Sunday will be listed on Etsy, and I may remake a few of them as well, so let me know if you're interested!

I made a new black and white and red baby quilt (it will have a coordinating tummy time pillow) with a luxurious Minky (super soft velour) backing. There is a nice batting in the middle (a Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly blend batting - durable and still soft). It's large too, 42" square, so something that will be great as baby gets older.


I've also made lots of new ribbon play balls. My favorite is this eco-friendly play ball, using bamboo fabrics and even a super-soft bamboo/organic-cotton velour.


Even this adorable baby boy version has a little touch of tie-dye green Minky.


And of course, I can't forget the girls:


Sock monkeys, always a classic: