q & a

Where did you get your social media icons?
Those were a lucky find. They only somewhat matching set I could find with Pinterest and Flickr. They were created by Kate from Marmalade Moon.

how do we make these dough knuts in kitchen aid stand mixer for those who don't have bread machine.thanks
I've never tried the doughnut recipe (http://make-happy.blogspot.com/2010/01/doughnuts.html) without a bread machine. You could probably do without by heating the milk to the appropriate yeast-loving temperature, but you'd have to guess at rising times. The bread machine takes care of that for me.

Your best bet is to do an internet search for a doughnut recipe from scratch. 

How do you make your scratch art paper?
Thanks for your question! You can find the scratch art tutorial here: http://make-happy.blogspot.com/2011/03/diy-scratch-art.html

Hi, how would you write letters/characters on a cake for decorating it? I'm thinking of three characters in capital.
I stay far away from this because I don't have a steady hand, which you need to do frosting lettering. In the past when I tried it, I just bought a tube at the store (in the cake decorating section, by the cake mixes), put a tip with a small hole on it, and squeezed away. Practice on a paper towel first.

You could also cut out a stencil or letters out of paper, place them lightly on the cake and use sprinkles in the negative spaces. (Then take off the paper.)

One fairly new idea is putting a tall skewer in either side of the cake and tying a paper or paper and twine banner with the word(s) written on the paper. Similar to this: http://make-happy.blogspot.com/2010/08/big-boy-birthday.html

One thing I usually do when I'm looking for ideas is to search Google Images and Pinterest. You could type in "cake lettering" and see the images that pop up, and add words as necessary to tailor your results. (Like "cake lettering child" or "cake lettering baby shower.") I'm very visual, so it helps me to see what others have done.

Good luck!

Marisa - are you from South Africa?
Nope. Never been. Born in the US and lived here my whole life. What an interesting question. . .  

How do you make your own scratch art?
I posted about making scratch art using holographic paper and acrylic paint here: http://make-happy.blogspot.com/2011/03/diy-scratch-art.html

what's the wood thing to the right of the door? looks cool!
It's actually a slab of wood—a bit weathered and curled, so maybe driftwood? Our house numbers are mounted to it, but I blurred those in the photo for security reasons. It was there when we moved in, and I love it! I probably wouldn't have chosen it myself, but it's unique and fits the character of the house, so it's staying. (Photo here: http://make-happy.blogspot.com/2010/10/autumn-home-tour.html) 

you lost me. where is the recipe for the cinnamon bread.
The cinnamon bread is part of a series, because it is part of a large batch of dough following the Bread in Five Minutes method by Jeff Hertzberg, MD and Zoe Fracois. You can find their method and the original recipe here: http://www.breadin5minutes.com/

The link is in the cinnamon bread post (where it says "...original bread in 5 minutes recipe.") It is also linked in the first two posts of my bread series (garlic cheese bread and original white loaf).

To make the cinnamon bread, use the original recipe and then follow the steps I outlined on the cinnamon bread post. Enjoy! It's really yummy.

I'm giving you my Grandma's doughnut cutter,been around for awile and I know you'll use it
Aw, thanks! That's so nice of you. But I bought one for myself since my first doughnut attempt. It's definitely easier cutting them in one step!

Is there a way to post a comment on your blog?
To leave a comment on the blog, there is a "Post a Comment" box at the bottom of each individual post. If you're looking at the main blog, you can click the "Comment" link at the bottom of each post--next to the posted time and just under the "share" bar--and it will take you to the comment section.

will it be just the same if you use gluten-free flour instead of getting the cake mix?
Sorry, but I have no idea. I'm not brave enough to try a gluten-free cake from scratch yet! But my go-to for GF recipes is http://aglutenfreeguide.com/ You could check there! (Click here for my gluten-free recipes.)

I love this cake...Great job on the fondant, mine always turns out sticky and I LOVE the cactus so creative. Did you print the cutouts on the table?
(This question refers to this post about Little Mister's 3rd birthday party.)
Thanks! It was a fun cake to make.

The cutouts were made from a printed template (http://family.go.com/disney/pkg-disney-crafts/craft-865533-lightning-mcqueen-car-air-freshener-t/). I printed the template, cut out the pieces and used those as a pattern to cut and piece cardstock. I took a little creative liberty (I didn't like the headlights, so I left them out), but most of it was copied right from the pictures on the web page.

How did you learn how to sew?
It was a combination of things, really. My parents taught me enough to mend a sock or replace a button. I used that knowledge to create Barbie clothes out of old socks and scraps of fabric.

I took a sewing class in 7th grade, and learned machine basics there, but forgot most of it.

I think I learned the way I learn everything else--I use what I know, and if I have a question, I research until I find the answer. (Much easier now with the internet!) Soon after getting married, I bought a basic Singer from the PX (Army store), because I thought wives were supposed to have sewing machines. I started with little projects, feeling my way through, and moving on to more advanced projects to challenge myself.

I still consider myself a novice. I can't piece a quilt square to save my life. I have yet to try zippers. But I'm not interested in taking a class because I don't learn that way--I learn best when I have to explore and figure things out by myself. And lots of trial and error. :)

If you had to be represented by an object in your home, what would you choose?
Great question. I would be a basket. I have lots of texture and tend to be a bit round. I have the capacity to hold a wide variety of things and keep them contained in an orderly fashion. Plus, I don't mind sitting and being quiet for long periods of time.

If you had an entire day with no commitments or obligations, how would you spend it?
Unfortunately, shopping. I wish I could say something more noble and grand, but whenever I get a day off (meaning no kids), I run to the big city and cram in as much kid-free shopping as I can. It's quite an indulgence for me.

What's the best job you've ever had?
The one I have now--being mama to two adorable kids. It's also the hardest job I've ever had. But every day I get to do something different, I am challenged repeatedly, and it's making me a better person.

How did you do your 3-column layout?
It's been a while, but I think I used this tutorial. But Blogger now has a revamped template designer that will give you a 3-column layout. I'm seriously thinking of trying it, but not sure I want to take the time to tweak everything again.

Your photos are great! Any tips?
Oh, I learn as I go. Whenever I have an obstacle, I google it and search for help.

I have what I call a "deluxe point and shoot" camera, a Canon S5iS. The macro setting is fabulous and it's what I use for 95% of my blog shots.  That combined with the right natural light will take you far. I never use flash, at least not for the blog, and I try not to use flash ever. (There's sometimes no way around it when you're trying to catch speedy kids.) When I don't have natural light, I use my Lowel Ego lamp. I love it. Couldn't get through the winter without it. I learned about it on Bakerella's awesome photo faq.

A steady hand helps, too. I really should use my tripod more, but am usually too lazy to pull it out. Sometimes I'll set my 2-second automatic timer to reduce the camera shake without the tripod.

Update: I now I have a DSLR, a Nikon D7000, and I love it. I was feeling limited with the old Canon, and the DSLR gives me so much more room to grow. I'm still learning as I go, and practicing as much as I can.

What do you use for your backgrounds?
You mean this one? And this? Like this? Or this? The background for all those posts was thanks to my Lowel Sweep. It comes with large sheets of colored construction paper that clip to the Sweep. I like that there's no break between the horizontal and vertical surface--makes for a nice, clean line. Some day I'll make my way to ecohaus for some poster-size paint samples to use as backgrounds. I imagine they'll be more sturdy than the construction paper.

What's your favorite thing to do on Wednesday mornings?
Oh, I'm so glad you asked. :) For the past four years, I've spent nearly all my Wednesday mornings at our local library for Storytime. "Heidi the Storytime Lady," as we affectionately call her, has the best storytime I've ever seen. (And I've seen quite a few in my time as a mom.) There are stories, of course, but also running and jumping and singing and musical instruments. And always crafting/toy time at the end. My kids will have luscious memories of storytime for the rest of their lives, and I'm so glad for that. It doesn't hurt to make library visits a weekly occurrence, either...I'm determined to make my kids lovers of books. (So far, it's working.) 

What's your favorite guilty pleasure?
Oh, goodness. I don't think I have just one. I love to veg out in front of the tv after the kids go to bed. I can't bring myself to pay for tv, so we just watch the broadcast channels. (If we had more options, I'd watch tv all the time!) When there's nothing interesting on, we have Netflix. Love Netflix.

Let's see...celebrity gossip, mochas, reading a good book or browsing blogs when I really should be working, meandering around Target or the mall on kid-free shopping trips.

Who are you in real life?
My only job since 2004 has been Mom (well, and all the sub-jobs involved in that). It's the best and hardest job ever. Before that, I worked as a residential treatment counselor for kids in crisis. I loved that job, but it wore me out and broke my heart.  My degree is in Psychology, because it was easy and fun, but I have dreams of working in the medical field (I've seen every episode of ER 5 times--at least, the first 14 seasons--so I practically have an MD already) or maybe something in graphic design. I'd love to open a bakery, but the business side of it scares me and it would be very difficult to maintain my weight. Actually, one thing I've always wanted to do is make those models that architects use to show off their plans. Miniature buildings with miniature landscaping and the whole deal. Anybody know how I could get a job like that?

For now, I'm quite content being Mom. We live in a very small town. We walk to school, the post office, the library, the grocery store. I have time to exercise and blog and garden and craft and be with my children. If this is a dream, I hope I never wake up.

Why did you start your blog?
I started a family blog to keep a record of our lives (like an online scrapbook) and to keep family members updated on the kids. Whenever I would make something I wanted to share, I would post it on the family blog, but it seemed out of place. So I started a crafty blog, which eventually turned into this craft + recipe blog, and it's been so much fun, I just kept going. I'm a little like Forrest Gump that way.

What's your favorite food? What's your favorite dessert?
Please don't ask me that! I couldn't possibly choose. It would be like choosing between my children. I'm an equal opportunity eater and I don't like to leave anyone out. It might hurt their feelings.

Favorite color?
Rainbow. As in, I like all the colors and don't really have a favorite. I'm especially drawn to things arranged in rainbow order, like these pancakes.

If I ask you a question, will you add it to this list?
Maybe. Probably. Especially if I like it. Send me an email and try it. Even if I don't post it here, I'll answer your email. Ask away! Or formspring me to ask it anonymously.