Tuesday Tip Day: Don’t Be Afraid!


I’m leading with this, because I actually spun something. I spun something that’s semi-consistent and it’s getting easier!  Craft-fear, begone!

I would think this tip would be unnecessary to even discuss if I hadn’t been experiencing my own “craft fear” for the last four years.  But, maybe you’re like me.  Maybe you’re the type who doesn’t open her books all the way for fear of creasing the spine.  Maybe you’re hesitant to use a fresh pack of colored pencils because they all have perfectly sharpened tips.  Maybe you have a cabinet full of the “good china” you received as a wedding gift and have never actually used it to eat.  Maybe you collect blank journals, only to shelve them and never, ever consider actually writing in them because that would be desecration or some such nonsense.

That’s right: nonsense!

I do this.  You should not.

Continue reading

Tuesday Tip Day: My Go-To Crochet Pattern

The very spirit of this blog is about trying something new: new patterns, new recipes, new substitutes for ingredients, and so on.  My personal desire to bring this back was to encourage myself to get back into the kitchen and to search for challenging patterns to try.  That said, I’m going to backtrack on all of that and give you a tip: find an easy, quick pattern you love and keep it handy.

Someone’s post on Facebook popped up in my feed yesterday and, beside a goofy cartoon character, it read: “There are 20 Fridays until Christmas.”  Without bothering to validate that claim, I felt the panic crawl across my shoulders.  Right now I’m practically made of time.  My cells are composed of free time, which bounce around and multiply into even more free time.  If I get a teaching job, school begins mid-August and my body will instead be replaced with anxiety, excitement, and ideas, but no time to do anything else.  What does this have to do with my tip?  If you’re like me, you favor handmade gifts.  There’s something extra magical about choosing the right yarn (whether for the charming name, the hand-dyed colors, or the pleasing texture) and pairing it with the perfect pattern.  In the past I have purchased skeins of yarn with no idea what to do with them.  This has led to an overflow in my yarn cabinet, as this yarn has simply been stashed away and labeled with invisible tags that read “someday.”  I read a lot about “stash-busting,” but I can’t just throw my yarn at any pattern.

Except this one.  Allow me to introduce you to this thoughtful Christmas gift I received Christmas 2014.


Continue reading

Tuesday Tip Day: iPad Bookmarklets and the OneTsp Recipe Clipper

I’m pleased to announce our very first guest blog post!  Monique is off on a fabulous Hawaiian vacation for her husband’s 30th birthday and I have been all sorts of slacking in the Blog Department due to school demands and the on-going celebrations for my 30th birthday!  So, Kathy psychically sensed my need for a hand and sent over this post.  We are currently finalizing plans for our just-the-two-of-us birthday celebration this coming Saturday, and while it may not involve Ray’s @ LACMA again, we’re looking for something equally wonderful. 

In the meantime, clip some recipes!  – Katie

We share a lot of things: a first name, a birthday month, emo adolescent memories, a first-row Tori Amos concert experience, our love of the ocean and Lolita’s Mexican food, but.. that pasta on her fork? That we did not share, no matter how hard I tried.

We share a lot of things: a first name, a birthday month, emo adolescent memories, a first-row Tori Amos concert experience, our love of the ocean and Lolita’s Mexican food, but.. that pasta on her fork? That we did not share, no matter how hard I tried.

Guest Post by Kathy Valdoria of faint.idea.

When I first approached Katie about writing a guest post about how to make iPad bookmarklets, she stared blankly at me, then asked, “What are iPad bookmarklets? Tiny bookmarks that look like iPads?”  I could very well get into a post about making a mini iPad bookmark, as I do love papercrafting.  But when I say “bookmarklet,” I’m talking about the little buttons you can save to your web browser’s toolbar to help add functionality to your Internet browsing experience.

Still not sure what I’m talking about?  Well, Dear Readers, let’s see.  Some if not most of you probably use Pinterest, right?  If you go to their goodies page, the thing they list at the top of the page is a “pin it” button. It’s super easy to install in a browser on your laptop or desktop computer: just click on the button and drag it onto your bookmarks toolbar.  Now you can surf the web and pin things at your leisure, without having to visit the actual Pinterest website to pin something when it lacks an embedded “pin it” button.

Alas, getting this bookmarklet onto your iPad isn’t as easy.  The kind of nice thing about Pinterest is that they have an iPad (and iPhone and Android) app… so if you just use Pinterest, maybe that’s enough for you and you can stop reading this post right here.  BUT… perhaps, like me, you’re the type of person who gets annoyed when Yet Another Website wants you to download Their Own Exclusively Branded App for your mobile device. Furthermore, there are other great bookmarklets out there you may want to use! In which case, read on.

One way to add bookmarklets to your iPad is to just add them to Safari on your computer, then sync your iPad to it.  I find this method clunky and annoying, as I pretty much never use Safari on my computer.  That said, there’s another method I prefer. I’m actually going to send you off to another website for just a little bit.  Load up this post on your iPad, then head on over to Chris Bray’s tutorial for adding bookmarklets to your iPad.

Chris Bray has a pretty comprehensive list of bookmarklets to choose from, but, as I write this, it lacks my favorite one: the OneTsp recipe clipper.   OneTsp is basically an on-line recipe box.  Yes, there are many out there: Recipe.com, SimplyRecipes.com, MyRecipes.com, AllRecipes.com, Anything-With-The-Word-Recipe-In-It-And-More-dot-com.   It’d be just dandy if you had a preferred website, but if your favorite recipes are scattered over a bunch of these, maintaining multiple memberships may be headache inducing.

Conventional bookmarking is easy enough, but if you bookmark a ton of recipes, it can take a while for you to sort through your folders to find a recipe.  Plus, if ever your preferred device crashes and you have to wipe your hard drive or reset your iPad or what have you, you can lose all your bookmarks.  OneTsp allows you to add recipes manually, via copy/paste, or with the clipper bookmarklet. It’s a breeze to edit recipes or add notes for variations.  You can then sort them alphabetically, chronologically, or by tag.  There is a search function in the event you forget to tag a recipe.  You can even easily download back-up copies of all your stored recipes in plain text, if you’re concerned about the accessibility of their website.

A OneTsp account is free for the first 150 recipes, which I think is quite generous.  Even though I haven’t hit my limit, I personally use it so much I think it’s worth the subscription to support the developer.

Anyway, if you try it and you’re not convinced it’s awesome or even just useful, no hard feelings. To each their own. But if you find it as useful as I do and your iPad is basically your cookbook like mine is, here’s how to add the bookmarklet to your iPad.

Happy recipe-clipping!

Tuesday Tips: Pesto!

It was 100 degrees yesterday!  1-0-0 degrees!  Thank goodness for central A/C!

Did you plant basil in your summer garden this year?  Do you have a bunch of it?  Because I sure do!  My sweet basil plant is thriving and healthy and I can’t keep up with it.

I decided to make pesto.   It’s something that’s been on my summer bucket list for at least the last two summers.

It’s really easy! And tasty!

You can mix it up with different herbs and nuts too.



Slightly Adapted from:  Giada De Laurentiis


2 cups packed fresh basil, washed and patted dry
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 large garlic clove, peeled
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, more or less to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper, more or less to taste
squeeze of fresh lemon juice (to keep color)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 fresh grated Parmesan cheese


In a food processor, pulse garlic a couple times.  Add, basil, pine nuts, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Pulse a few times until everything is well chopped.  Next, leave food processor on and stream in olive oil until all combined.  Add Parmesan and pulse a few more times.  Check for salt and pepper–pulse once.

Store in a jar or freeze for later use.  It should keep in the ‘fridge for a couple weeks.  It might separate because of the oil, but that’s okay.

Wouldn’t this be good on some crostini with a fresh tomato slice topped with Mozzarella cheese baked in the oven for a few?

Mmm!  Or how about an alternate to regular pizza sauce?  Maybe I’ll grill some pizza this weekend.

Make this vegan minus the Parmesan cheese.

And yes mom, this is 100% gluten free.

How would you use it?


Tuesday Tip Day: (Nearly) Guiltless Frappuccino!

The other day I got an e-mail from Starbucks announcing that, for the next week and change, Frappuccinos are half-off between the hours of 3pm and 5pm.  This is their “happy hour.”  I haven’t had a Frappuccino since giving up dairy last February (my waistline is seriously thanking me, I think!), but the allure of a deal plus the new Mocha Cookie Crumble flavor had me sliding through the drive-thru at about 4:51 yesterday.  Whew!  Just in time.

Also, you can order these with soy milk.  Since 2010.  Just in case this was still news to anyone (as it was to me, on Friday).

I think part of the yummy-factor is the chocolate flavored whipped cream they swirl on top so they can avalanche a pile of cookies before they slam on the lid.  I skipped the whipped cream, too.  So, what I ended up with was a not-quite-full drink that seemed pretty.. sloshy.  Maybe someone new was making them or maybe in the last year the standard for blended coffee drinks has changed, but I prefer mine with a little more ice.  It was just.. wet.  And way too sweet for my liking.  I’ll be fair and say that yes, the soy milk has more sugar than dairy milk, but I don’t think it’s the soy milk’s fault that a Tall size of this drink, with no whipped cream (and non-fat milk plugged into the nutrition counter) has a whopping 46 grams of sugar.

For reference, one teaspoon of white, granulated sugar is about 4 grams.  That drink has roughly 11.5 teaspoons of sugar in it.  That’s very nearly a 1/4 of a cup.

And just for fun?  Pretend you got a Venti.  That’s 90 grams of sugar.  Never mind the 560 calories spent on a beverage.

I could go on and on, mostly because comparing calorie and sugar amounts is entertaining to me (in a jaw-dropping way), but this isn’t a lecture on nutrition!  This is a way for you to make your own frapp in your own home, using drastically fewer scoops of sugar.  This isn’t the cookie one, though, but a recipe for my old personal favorite, the Green Tea Frappuccino (which has the same sugar content as the one we just examined, with the soy milk sugar content included).

That flower in the background is fushia. It's my new favorite!

That flower in the background is fushia. It’s my new favorite!

I saved the cup after discarding the remainder of my sloshy, sugar-fest so I could pour my drink inside and at least pretend.

Recipe: Green Tea Frappuccino

Adapted from Food.com


  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
  • 2 ounces hot water (not boiling)
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/16 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces non-dairy milk (I used soy for the thickness)
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla-flavored syrup (optional)


  1. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of green tea powder in two ounces of hot water. Whisk until completely dissolved.
  2. Stir in 3 teaspoons of sugar (or sugar substitute, your choice!) and 1/16 teaspoon of salt.
  3. Add 4 ounces of milk. Stir.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla syrup. (I happened to have Torani syrup on hand)
  5. Add ice cubes and blend in blender until smooth.

Number of servings (yield): 1

Looks pretty close to the real thing!

Looks pretty close to the real thing!

So, I suppose Tuesday’s tip is this: watch that sugar!  Sure, restaurants are now required to post calories and fat grams, but sugar content is still a big deal.  While they’re bringing their calories and fat down as to not scare off potential patrons, the sugar content is hiking.  You can drink a green tea frapp at Starbucks (the one with 47 grams of sugar) for only 230 calories and 2 grams of fat.  Doesn’t look too scary, does it?

But it is.  It is.