Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cutting My Own Hair Again!

This morning I cut my hair again. This time I didn't want a straight cut at the ends - I really don't like straight cuts, I like them curved. Last year when I was researching how to cut my own hair on You Tube, I came across videos women were using with this tool. It was really cool, but I couldn't see myself paying that much for something I could make myself. Mine doesn't have the teeth inside for grabbing your hair, but it held enough for me to cut my hair, and it came out just the way I wanted it.

If you look at the pics in my first hair cutting post, you will see that the ends of my hair is pretty much straight. I did have a cool video link to how I cut my hair like that, but sadly, the video was removed.

Anyways, back to making this cool tool that I didn't want to buy - here is the one I made yesterday, it was so easy.

Here is how I made it:

I took a large piece of paper and something circular that I wanted the shape of the ends of my hair to be - I believe I used a large bowl (I drew the design months ago and set it aside, it might have been a large plate). I drew it about 1" wide and cut out the pattern. I then took thick foam core and taped the pattern to the foam.

I used an exacto knife with a straight, flat blade.

I held the knife straight, and cut down. If I use the regular angular blade, I have a tendency to cut in, which creates an uneven cut.

I went back to the angular blade and cut in between the cuts made with the straight blade - if you overlap your cuts, you can avoid this (I tried, but still had some areas attached).

Ready for the other side to be cut.


Now, repeat this process to cut another one that's identical.

I used a hole punch and simple office supply brads (shown above) to secure the two together.

Ta Da!!

It didn't feel like it could hold my hair, foam core is not rigid, so I ended up punching another hole in the center for hold.

I did buy a level that's used for RV's and thought maybe I could attach this somehow. That CreaClip has a level on it so you can get a straight cut and your hair won't be crooked, but I don't know if I really need it.

What do you think?

So am I crazy for cutting my own hair? I would love to know you're opinion? The tool is too wide for my hair - I have thinned out over the years, so I will shorten it for next time, which will probably make it hold better. My husband, Jim btw, said it wouldn't work because it needed to have a rigid backing. I will show him my hair this evening and see what he thinks. I bet he'll be impressed.

Thanks for reading!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Apple Rice Muffins

I've been gluten free since 2007. When I first started out, I was using mainly rice flour for all my baked goods. Years after researching and following many gluten free bloggers, I learned about almond flour and started using it - I fell in love with it. It was so easy to use - I made a lot of recipes with this flour.

Recently, I have been having several health issues and I took a food intolerance test. When I got the results back, almonds were high on the list of foods I should not eat - I was really bummed, I had to figure something out. What can I use? I tried the gluten free mix at Costco, but that has buckwheat, and buckwheat is on my list too. Not as high as almond flour, but it might as well be. I decided to go back to rice flour. I have to scrap all my almond flour recipes and start looking for rice flour recipes. On one of my searches, I found this recipe for Rice Flour Muffins. I also found a different recipe for apple muffins. I decided that I would combine the two recipes and make my own. Here's how I made it.

Take the half of an apple (eat the other half for a snack) and grate it on a medium sized grater in a bowl. Scoop up the grated apples and squeeze it in your hands and let the juice fall into the bowl. Place the apples on a clean paper towel and squeeze whatever is left in the apples. You really don’t want wet apples in the batter, it will make your batter too soupy. Pour the apple juice into a measuring cup. (Please read notes at the bottom regarding grating your apple).

 Add enough dairy free milk to equal 1/2 cup, I used *almond milk - I have also used rice milk in the past.

Dry ingredients in a bowl waiting to be mixed together (I had forgotten to add the cinnamon at this point and added it later).

This is how I do my nuts - I put them on a small baking sheet that will fit in my toaster oven and toast it like I would make toast (on the medium setting) - keep an eye on them, they can burn if your setting is too high. I let them cool on a cutting board. After it's cooled, I take a measuring cup (I used the ¼ cup) and lightly pound on each nut. I find chopping nuts better this way, no chasing after runaway nut pieces. Any larger pieces can just get broken up with your fingers. 

Wet ingredients.

All incorporated.

I used a 1/4  measuring cup so each muffin has the same amount of batter. Last time, I ended up with eight muffins, this time I had seven and a half. If you get less than one muffin cup worth, you can divide it among the other cups, or just bake it like I did.

7-1/2 cups filled and ready for baking.

Testing for doneness - I use a clean barbecue skewer I keep in my utensil caddy for this, when done, just wipe clean and put it back for next time.

Using the barbecue skewer to remove muffins - spraying well helps prevent any stickage. If you spray it well, it'll just dump out on your cooling rack - you don't even have to let it cool, it'll come right out.

Cooling off.

These didn't come out as big as the previous ones, that's my 1 tablespoon spoon (sorry, no pics of those). Each batch I make comes out differently - I do have a tendency to add things which changes the finished product.

They were sure yummy with some strawberry Earth Balance. I recently had a friend give me some homemade strawberry jam and I mixed it with some Earth Balance that I store in a small mason jar (no proportions, just mix the two as desired).

Printable Recipe   
Apple Rice Flour Muffins    

1 c. rice flour
2 tsp. baking soda           
1 tsp. cinnamon
up to 1/2 tsp. salt (I don't like a lot of salt)
1/2 c. toasted nuts of your choice (I used pecans)
2 tbs solid of melted coconut oil
1/2 a grated apple of your choice (I used a Gala)
1 tsp. honey
1 room temp egg
Apple juice squeezed from grated apple
Dairy free milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray 2 regular muffin tins with cooking spray, can also use a 24 cup muffin tin. Set this aside.

Measure and mix all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl, mix in nuts and set aside.

In a larger bowl, if your coconut oil is not melted, melt put 2 tablespoons of the solid oil in your bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Let it cool slightly, then add your egg, grated apple, honey, and enough milk to your app juice to equal 1/2 cup. Mix till thoroughly combined.

Dump your dry ingredients into the wet mix and using a spatula, incorporate everything together. You will be looking for a semi chunky pancake batter consistency.

Using a 1/4 measuring cup that's been sprayed with cooking oil, scoop a 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin tin.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, these took 13 minutes. Test the muffins to see if they are done by sticking a toothpick in the center. If there's stuff on it, put it back in the oven for another minute or so. Test again, in a different spot, it's done if it comes out clean.

Immediate take out your muffins (they should dump out easily) and let them cool. I store my muffins in a large zip top bag in the fridge. If you will be eating these everyday, like me, fridge storage is ok - for longer storage, I would put these in the freezer.

In the mornings, I cut them in half and schmear each with some strawberry Earth Balance - three halves do me nicely with my cup of tea.

Faith's Notes:

Don't grate your apples until just before using - they have a tendency to oxidize and that may effect the color of your muffins.

Despite what I said in the beginning about almonds, I recently went back to almond milk. Rice milk is twice the amount of calories as almond milk and I started mixing 1/2 milk and 1/2 water for my tea in the morning. I love the mouth feel of using milk with my Roiboos Chai tea.

In the future, I will just use 2 tablespoons in each muffin tin (half of 1/4 cup is 2 tablespoons), then I won't have to cut them in half and each one will have a nice top to it.

I will try and make these with an egg substitute to see how they turn out - that will be at a later time.

Happy Baking!!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Eyeglass Shopping Tip

Next time you go shopping for eyeglasses, don't just rely on the mirrors at the store or your friend's advice. Most of us have a camera readily accessible these days, so whip it out and take a selfie with the proposed glasses you're interested in. This way, you will see you as others will, and you can get a better look at yourself in your new glasses. 

This pic is me in Costco trying on what will be my new glasses. I was by myself and the sales lady just gave me a quick, "Yeah, it's looks great on you". You never know how sincere they are or if they are just doing their job. I think in this case, the sales lady was right. I'm so glad because I tried almost every small eyeglass they had on their wall and this one fit the best. 

So no worries next time you go eyeglass shopping, just bring your camera or whip out your phone and take a selfie with your proposed new glasses.

Another selfie tip: If you ever need to check your face or your teeth (after eating a green salad!) and you don't have a mirror, take a pic of your face - you'll spot any imperfections right away and can take care of it on the spot.

Thanks for reading and SMILE!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Email is the best way to contact me, and please be sure that your email address is sited so I can write you back. Thanks!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Hands Free Grocery Bag Part 2

How to use grocery bag

This how you will get my Hand Free Grocery bag. 

To use the bag - remove all the tags (keep the folding diagram for future reference) and you simply undo the snap and tuck it into it's loop (just above it).

If  you need to, shake the bag out, then you slide both sleeves on first.    

Then you hook the center loop around the center knob of the bag stand.

Now, fill your bag up with good stuff!

When you're done with shopping, you just reverse the process - undo the center loop firstif the bag is really full, you might have to lift from the bottom to get it off the knob. You then slide the sleeves out and off you go!

How to fold grocery bag

First off, on the front of the bag on either side of the strap loop, you will see two lines of stitching in the same color as the fabric. Remember those lines as they will come in handy in the next few steps.

After putting away your groceries, you want to shake out any debris from inside, if it's wet, hang it to dry. If it got messy, wash it. Then working on a flat surface, if you look at the bottom of the bag, you see a basic rectangle. 

You fold the rectangle in half, placing short ends together and . . .

it should look like an upside down house (to me anyways).

You fold the handles up onto the bag.

Next, remember that stitching line, well now it comes into play. That stitching line is your guide to folding the bag. You basically fold from the stitching line to just past the center (you can do any side first, it doesn't matter - you are folding the bag in thirds).

Next you fold the other side over.

Then you take the "bottom" (the side closes to you) and fold it up to where you can see the female part of the snap.

Take the center loop and tuck it into the bag somewhere.

Put on the snap and throw it into your bag or into the back seat of your car - your bag is now ready for your next shopping trip. 

Please remember to wash your bag after every few uses. The bag can go through the washer and dryer, and you can iron it to get the corner creases. It might take a few trys before you get the hang of using your new bag, but once you've mastered it, you'll see that it's a cinch to use. 

I want to thank Country Aire for their support of my bag and I want to thank all the wonderful women and men that work there. If you have not shopped there, you should go and visit, it's a really nice store. I am so glad that we have a great store like this in our town, it is a wonderful place to get some great organic foods and awesome products for our home.

Happy Shopping!!!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Email is the best way to contact me, and please be sure that your email address is sited so I can write you back.Thanks!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hands Free Grocery Bag Part 1

About five or six years ago, my daughter Dawn (who lives in Hawaii), gave me this shopping bag from a local grocery store there. I really liked the print, Hawaiian quilts, and I especially loved the bags's size and shape. I used this bag a lot (can you see the duct tape?)! I modified the handle so it wasn't so long and reinforced it to keep it strong. Although this bag is functional, it doesn't stand on it's own like most reusable bags are. So in 2012, I set out to design a bag that was practical and functional. 

Most people use bags they have around the house and with those, you need to use it with two hands (sometimes three) - not very practical. Even with reusable grocery bags you buy, you need at least two hands. Well, all that has changed with my Hands Free Grocery Bag. 

This is the first bag I designed, it had just the center loop and you needed an extra hand to load your groceries, not practical and difficult to use.
 I took a look at the function of the bag stand at my grocery store and thought that what my bag needed was a sleeve to hold it open so it could be loaded hands free. 

I tried button holes, but you still needed a hand to hold the bag open.

I tried to sew a sleeve and made a flap that you could slide on to the bag stand, but that was too cumbersome to use.

I then sewed the sleeve directly to the side of the bag and voila, genius!!

Storing the bag was another issue. I wanted the bag to be self contained to where you didn't need a separate pouch to store the bag in. I saw this bag and came up with a pocket in the front. You fold the bag and basically stick your hand in the pocket and invert everything into the pocket. That worked okay, but it didn't always lie flat. 

I even made a mistake and made the pocket longer which created a flap so you could close it with a button.

Then I started thinking of people who don't have the manual dexterity to invert the bag, so I went back to the drawing board and came up with folding the bag and putting a snap closure and it worked! 

When the bag is in use, you just tuck the strap into the strap loop.

I am so jazzed about this bag. Every week, I do my grocery shopping at Country Aire Natural Foods Market. Most of the girls there know how to use my bag and love it - hands free loading for them. I always do self check out at Walmart and Safeway and use my bag and it's so nice. 

My bag can hold about $50 worth of groceries (I actually managed $70 on one trip!). It is made of all cotton fabric and can be washed and dried in your machine - pressing for the creases is optional.

What is especially nice is that Country Aire has agreed to sell my bags at their store! I have been wanting this for years and it's finally happened. If my bags sell well, then they will ask for more and who knows, maybe they will be interested in my other products too!

My love of bags and my journey into designing them and others have come full circle for me. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to design and make bags. I can only hope that things will go up from here.

Thanks for reading about my bag journey.

Read part 2 where I demo how to use and fold my Hands Free Grocery Bag.

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Email is the best way to contact me, and please be sure that your email address is sited so I can write you back.Thanks!