Love Craft

Hello there! It’s Friday, and I can’t even say how happy I am that it is! I’m ready for a weekend of crafting and relaxing, and maybe another one of those Modern French 75’s from Wednesday! Today’s gift is a fun handmade present that you can make with a lot of things you probably have on hand; it’s a favorite little love craft!

I don’t know about you, but I have a kagillion decks of cards laying around, and there’s no way I am ever going to need all of them. A while back I thought that it could be fun to make a flip book out of it, but make it more meaningful and crafty, it turned into a hand-made valentine. For inspiration, I started out by writing things that made me happy about my guy and went from there. The list came together pretty quickly and as I wrote each item, I remembered a funny story, or time in our life and wrote notes about what each card could look like. 53 cards later (I even used the Joker), I had a fun Valentines Day gift to share with him.

decorated deck of cards

First up, gather your materials. Pro tip: you’re probably just going to want to dump out all of your crafts on a table for this one. You’ll need:

1 deck of playing cards, new or old, doesn’t matter
brown or gold stamp pads (totally optional, I liked a weathered look to my cards)
Colored pens
Craft paper
Scissors-straight edge and decorative
Pictures of the two of you
Vintage ads
Glue dots or tape roller
A Zutter Bind It All and wires OR a hole punch and key rings
**Basically, grab what makes you happy and is fun to play with**

The method:
Start by stamping your cards lightly with the ink pad, all over the back side of the card, and let dry. If you find you have too much ink, or if you don’t like how it looks, you can take a dry paper towel and wipe off.
Next, decide where you want your holes to be. I made the mistake of decorating a few without figuring out where the rings would go, and messed up a card. Doing this in advance lets you know how much room you have to play with. If you’re using a hole punch, go about 1/3 to 1/2 inch down the card, punching one on each top corner, and top middle. If you’re using the zutter, you can use the standard press lines (about 1/3 inch) along the top of the card.

Now it’s time for fun! Remember that list of reasons you wrote up about how much you adore your special person? Go grab that and start decorating your cards; one for each reason. Here’s a couple of the pages I made, in case you want ideas! Last steps are below the pictures!

image6 image7 image2 image3 image4Once you’ve decorated all of your cards, you’re ready to assemble in any order you want, and then secure, using your clipping key rings, or using your bind it all to secure your binding wire. That’s it!

What’s your top reason you’re in love and how you do you show it?


Gifts You Actually Want

Hello, dear reader! We’re counting down the days until Valentines Day, and we’re back for Day 4 with a list of gifts you would actually want to receive.

We’ve all been there-we get a last-minute card, or some stale candy (weren’t we just on a New Years diet??) and while the intention was good, it wasn’t quite what we wanted. We’ve also been on the other end, trying to figure out what to give someone for Valentines Day-that perfect gift that doesn’t disappoint, and isn’t terribly hard to find. Don’t you worry, I’ve got you covered!  Read on for my top 4 easily found gifts, perfect for foodies!

BeFunky Collage

First up is the Instant Pot. Holy pants, this thing is awesome. It’s a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice maker, yogurt maker and 3 other things; it could probably even clean your kitchen, it is THAT fancy. Aside from cooking quickly and producing meals that are super delicious, it saves me on two important things: time and money. I love that this replaced multiple pieces of kitchen equipment, but i can  throw a whole pork loin in and a few hours later I have perfect pulled pork. It’s like my slow cooker on steroids. Lastly, clean up is a breeze. It’s like this thing was made for me. I have this version of the Instant Pot, and it runs about $115 (no worries, this isn’t an affiliate link, I just really love this thing).

Next up is a Gel Pro Elite Floor Mat, which is the perfect give for cooks, or anyone who has a standing work station.  I don’t know about you, but after cooking for hours my feet and legs hurt-blame sitting most of the day, but it is not comfortable to stand on hardwood floors all day! This is where this awesome mat comes in! I tested it out at the International Food Bloggers Convention, and fell in love. I was sent one to test out, and it’s a very welcome addition to my kitchen. It’s pretty, comfortable to stand on due to the therapeutic gel, and holds up to the traffic of a chef, a toddler, a sausage-shaped dog and me running all over it all day long. You can order them at their site, and they run about $120. They also make one for standing desks that I want to pick up next, it’s that helpful!  While I did receive one in return for my honest feedback, I would recommend this mat regardless; it’s really lovely!

Looking for something a little more on the cheaper side? I have you covered there, too! I love dishes that are unique and whimsical and I am always on the hunt for fun things to replace my old dishes. A few months ago, I ran into Carrie Lane who is The Bowl Maker at a holiday pop up show where she was selling her bowls and cups. She was nice, funny, and her bowls and mugs were incredible! I picked up a salad bowl, a mug (with a cat playing a fiddle-come on!!), and a large serving bowl, and everything was SO affordable. While I had intended to give them as Christmas gifts, I ended up keeping them all to myself! They are just that fun. Another added benefit was that my kiddo actually had fun eating out of her “bear bowl”. Anything that can get a picky toddler to eat is a win for me.

Lastly, is the gift of drink. I really enjoy supporting local businesses any time I can and well, I like happy hour. Every year, I travel to Finn River Farm and Cidery to pick up a case of ciders and spirits and to play in their farm. If I were able to have a full farm, this is pretty close to what it would look like. Imagine acres of gardens, filled with fruits, vegetables and flowers; add livestock and fresh air and blue skies and you have Finn Rivers’ grounds. I really like their ciders-they have a Habanero Cider ($9) that is amazing with pork, or a Dry Hopped Cider ($9) that is plain delicious for sipping. My two new favorites are their Artisan Sparking Cider, which is made in the champagne style ($23) and the Finnriver Cacao Wine with Apple Brandy ($20), which is sweet and outstanding with ice cream. This makes a great day trip get away via ferry as well, if you’re able to go. If not, you can buy these online!

So there you have it-4 fun gifts for the foodie (or yourself).

What’s your #1 gift idea?

Yours in food and sweet gifts,


Modern French 75

We’re back with Day 3 of Valentines Day Gifts that rock! You’ve made it half way through the week folks; you deserve a reward! I don’t know about you, but I love, love, love something that looks fancy, tastes fancy, but is really easy to put together. My modern version of the French 75 is just that, fancy enough for a date night, or a treat to get you through the week.

What makes this different than a normal French 75? I use limoncello from Letterpress Distilling, instead of lemon simple syrup. It adds a little more kick, but a nice lemon taste, without the extra sweetness. I really love the folks at Letterpress Distilling, a local Seattle distillery; they focus on simple, quality ingredients, avoid additives like fake color. I had a chance to visit with them and sample their vodka and their limoncello. Both have a clean, crisp flavor, and the price point is low enough ($34) that you can pick up a bottle (or three) without feeling guilty. To make it better, Skip and his staff are genuinely kind and love what they do. I can’t say enough great things about these guys.

Ready to treat yourself and your loved one to a special treat? Let’s do this!


Wet the rim of two champagne flutes, and dip in sugar (optional, but oh, so pretty)

Per glass, use the below ratios, but feel free to tweak as you want.

1/2 shot limoncello
1/2 shot gin (I recommend Hendrix)
Pour carefully into your flutes, and top off with champagne.

That’s it! Simple, pretty, and delicious.

Standard disclaimers: use sense when drinking and avoid driving, lifting heavy things, texting those you shouldn’t…you know, the basics.

We’re one day closer to the weekend, folks!

Slow Cooker Meatballs with Balsamic Reduction

I love food and for me, nothing says love like a home cooked meal. I also really love things that come together quickly and don’t require a lot of work, but still taste like I spent a lot of time cooking everything. Day 2 of Valentine’s Day Prep is just that; an easy to make, delicious recipe for Slow Cooker Meatballs with Balsamic Reduction!

This recipe is special enough for a date night, but it’s perfect for a relaxing get together with friends. The flavors are also mild enough that I can add to a pasta sauce for spaghetti, or add more BBQ sauce for a messy, delicious sandwich. You can also make them smaller and put them on picks, for a quick and convenient appetizer. They are that flexible. This recipe was also featured on Sidetracked Sarah as a guest post, and has received a lot of awesome feedback from Pinterest and plain hungry people! I also love that I can use my Instapot for one more tasty recipe!

slow cooker meatballs

The Recipe:

1 lb ground turkey-although you can use any meat you choose
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup bread crumbs or panko (I love using panko, the end result is a little crunchier)
1 large onion, sliced
1/3 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pinches pepper
1 tsp Salt
1 pinch each: rosemary, thyme and oregano, rubbed between your palms to break them up
2 TB red wine, or beef stock if you prefer
1 TB barbecue sauce (trust me here guys! The sugar breaks down SO well!)
Balsamic vinegar – 1/3 cup you’ll need this a couple times

This is a pick your own adventure recipe, guys!! If you want to make the meat balls up in advance, start with the meatball step and put them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them.

Not waiting? Here’s where you start: Place your sliced onions in the Crockpot-this will act as a little raised nest to keep your meatballs from swimming too much in the yummy liquid! Add your wine or stock and a good splash of the balsamic-about half.

Next, make up your meat balls. To do this, add your beaten egg, your minced onion, the garlic, your panko or bread crumbs, your ground turkey, and herbs and mix. The key is to do this all quickly and not handle the meat too much-you don’t want the fat to start melting from handling. Once everything is mixed, you’ll form the balls-I grab just enough to fit in my palm and roll. Place those on top of the onions.

Now, for the glaze! Mix the remaining balsamic with your BBQ sauce and brush the sauce over the meatballs.

Cook on low until you’re ready to eat (I find it takes 4-5 hours on low) or cook on high for 3. Check to make sure they are done by cutting one in half. That’s it! Easy, right?

Drizzle the liquid from under the onions on top of the meatballs, as it should have thickened up some from cooking! If you want to add another step, you can reduce the liquid even more and slather that on like a hearty, thick sauce. Don’t forget about those onions, either, they make a great addition!

Now for the last step-go enjoy those bad boys!

How will you eat these?

Yours in food,


How Lovely! Valentine’s Day Gifts That Rock.

I don’t know about you, but I am not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. I’d like to be, really, I would. There’s SO much pressure, and frankly, why only celebrate love one day a year?! Don’t even get me started on all the chintzy crap that comes along with the day. Sound jaded? You bet your sweet patootie I am. I don’t want to settle for mass-produced junk, and you dear reader, shouldn’t have to either.

I can hear you now, asking what the alternatives are!

Don’t you worry, I have you covered!  All this week, I’ll be setting you up with recipes, crafts, and cocktails that will make your sweetie swoon, but won’t break the bank. Sounds good, right?? Read on!

Here you have it, a week of love with Make, Mend, Grow!

Monday: Sugar Scrub (see below!)
Tuesday: Slow Cooker Meatballs with Balsamic Reduction
Wednesday: Modern French 75
Thursday: The Gifts that keep giving-good gifts you’d actually like to get (you know, in case you really need a hail-Mary!)
Friday: Up-cycled Cards!
Saturday: Kids craft-sun catchers
Sunday: A sweet adventure!

Phew, that’s quite the line-up, isn’t it? Sounds pretty awesome, right? Let’s get started with that sugar scrub.


Do you need a quick gift that comes together quickly and doesn’t cost much? This is it. Seriously, this scrub comes together in less than 5 minutes, and costs less than $10. Plus, if you can make it in large quantities for holiday gifts! How could you not feel lovely with this!

This one is a bit of a cheat post, and I am pulling on a post that I wrote a few months back, and darnit, I am all about recycling here at Make, Mend Grow! Check out my post for that scrub here, and let me know what you think!

Come back tomorrow for another post to woo your love!

Well hello, 2016!

Well, hello dear reader! Welcome to 2016!

We’re already part way through February and it’s been a busy 2016 already. I’m excited for the year ahead and all that comes with a new year! How about you? Before I get to all of the new year activities, let’s look at all that 2015 brought!

My biggest goal for 2015 was to eat more, and explore the world through food. I accomplished that goal (weight be damned). We traveled as well, to Kansas and we also hit the road to camp, and to explore. Kiddo aced her feeding issues, and we prepped for her last surgery. 2015 fed my soul and challenged my mind with new garden beds, becoming a certified Master Composter and Soil Builder (what, what!), and taking courses on herbalism, and teaching gardening and composting to children. It brought another year as President with South Park Arts, and all the fun events that came with that organization. I celebrated another year at my company, went through the transition of being bought out by a new company, and was even able to take back a program I used to manage. It was a year of growth professionally and personally and I am happy with all I accomplished.

2015 wasn’t all about me; oh no!  It was a big year for Izzy too! When the year started, we had specialists coming to the house weekly and then monthly to help us wean her off of the g-tube and to teach her how to eat on her own. 2015 also included numerous trips to Seattle Children’s, to make sure she stayed in great health and that she stayed well above her developmental targets (and boy, did she). We accomplished our huge goal of getting her to eat on her own thanks to the hard work of so many specialists and the support of her daddy and our family. She moved out of my bed, and into her own room and we mastered potty training. When I look back on all that she accomplished, I am blown away by how strong and resilient she is, and how willing she is to learn and change. This child is truly amazing, and I am so, so lucky to have her. I am happy to say that she rocked her g-tube removal and the surgery this past month went very well! It’s been so lovely to have that chapter of our lives closed.

On to the new year!  I love a new year; the excitement, the potential, the new goals! 2016 is about taking care of things; that old to do list, the myriad of home improvement projects, myself. I have a list of things a mile long, but I am slowly ticking them off, one by one. The year started out with braces (which are SO much more expensive for adults!), and bids on a new roof and chimney repair (for $32K-ouch). We’ll be rebuilding the chicken coop, and building up the garden beds. I want 2016 to be the year that the old projects are handled, to make room for the new (new studio in the back yard would be lovely for 2017!). I continue to map out road and camping trips and am exciting to bring Izzy to Yellowstone and on her first backpacking trip as well.

I won’t lie, 2015 felt like the year of just keeping up. I did great at work, but at home…it felt like there just wasn’t enough time to get to the crafts and the adventures that I wanted to. While I accomplished some pretty amazing things, I definitely took on too much and didn’t take the time to plan it all out. I’ll be glad to see that change as I minimize what all I take on, continue to map out goals, and actually taking the time to write-up the steps involved, so it’s attainable. To help support that, I’ll be hiring out quite a few projects, instead of attempting to do it myself.

So there you are-2016 is the year of getting things done, but not all the things this time, and with help. I feel good about that 🙂

Speaking of getting things done, I never posted my winter/Christmas pictures with you all, so please keep scrolling and see how much fun we had! Bam-two things accomplished with one post!! As always, thank you for sticking with me another year, keeping up with all things crafty, food-related and Izzy-ful. I am so grateful for each of you. What will 2016 bring you?

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Yours in happiness,