Sunday, January 23, 2011

Out to Lunch

I wanted to let you know that I'll be without internet access for the next week.  I'll fill you in on everything when I get back to blogging!
I hope you are all blessed with a wonderful week!

Love, Bethany

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Calling All Shipping Pros!

I need your help!

I just had the most ridiculous time at the post office.

A month ago when I started looking at shipping costs, I got really excited to find out about USPS's $4.95 flat rate shipping.  I also got really excited to see that they would send any boxes to you that you requested.  So I requested one pack each of small, medium, and large flat rate shipping boxes, totaling 30 boxes to mail my items to customers who purchased things on Etsy.

When I went to use my flat rate shipping boxes for the first time today, I packaged two sets of items lovingly in medium sized boxes, tucked them in gently with tissue paper, and set a card inside each box with a note to the recipient.

I was proud of myself for packing everything up at home, and doing it in such a nice, presentable way.  I was also happy to cut out the hectic packaging in line at the post office.

But when I set my boxes in front of the man behind the counter, he put labels on them and promptly charged me $10.20 each.  Each?!?  What happened to the $4.95 flat rate shipping?  I still don't quite understand what he said to me as he briskly tried to finish with me and get on with the next customer.  Apparently I picked the wrong boxes.  Apparently, the $4.95 flat rate shipping applies to an envelope.  What's the point of that?

I was flustered, embarrassed, and completely confused.  Thankfully, he allowed me to step out of line and shovel my beloved items into smaller boxes that only cost a little over $5 each.  I still don't understand the difference, though.

Etsy ladies, how do you do it?  I always see low shipping/handling costs in Etsy shops, but don't know how you pull it off if the USPS wants to charge me ten bucks to mail someone 50 miles away a hat and scarf.

What am I doing wrong?

Can you please share your wisdom with me?  How do you ship things?  What do you charge?  What's the secret knowledge that I'm missing out on?

Date with God

Our 2nd annual "Date with God" is coming up soon, and I'm excited!

What is "Date with God?"

It's an evening of chocolate and roses, Scripture, music, candles, and being reminded of God's love for us

Our first " Date with God" went beautifully last year, and I'm already looking forward to the one we're having this February 4th.

Friends and I began it last year at our church, fashioning it after a similar Date with God idea that is done every February at Concordia University, Irvine.

We adapted ours to be for jr. high and high school age young ladies.

The girls dressed up for their "date," and we hand each one a pink rose when they come in.  The night is filled with worship music, devotions, and prayer.  I love seeing these young girls share their hearts with Jesus.

One thing we learned the hard way last year is to never plan an event like this during Lent!  It hadn't even occurred to us, and we had so many lovely little desserts for the girls to eat (most of whom had given up sweets!)

It was such a lovely evening.

Invitations were sent out this week to all the girls in our church, and I can't wait for this special night!

If you're interested in doing something like this at your church, I have many resources I would be happy to pass on to you.

It's a blessing to be a blessing ♥


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tape and Rollers

That's what my day will consist of.

I'm excited.

Farewell, 40 year old aquamarine colored paint.

Soon to be...Hello, Craft Room of my dreams!

You probably won't hear from me much today.  But when I return, I will return victorious!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Psalm 111

We read this psalm in church today.  It resonated with me, and I wanted to share it with you:
1 Praise the Lord!

I will thank the Lord with all my heart
as I meet with His godly people.
2 How amazing are the deeds of the Lord!
All who delight in Him should ponder them.
3 Everything He does reveals His glory and majesty.
His righteousness never fails.
4 He causes us to remember His wonderful works.
How gracious and merciful is our Lord!
5 He gives food to those who fear Him;
He always remembers His covenant.
6 He has shown his great power to His people
by giving them the lands of other nations.
7 All He does is just and good,
and all His commandments are trustworthy.
8 They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
9 He has paid a full ransom for His people.
He has guaranteed His covenant with them forever.
What a holy, awe-inspiring name He has!
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom.
All who obey His commandments will grow in wisdom.

Praise him forever!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Perfect Day

I had been looking forward to yesterday for weeks.

Friday was the first day that Jesse and I were able to spend together--just the two of us--since early November.  It was the first day we didn't have a church event, church-school event, youth group event, family event, or anything else.  We were so excited!

We needed a day like yesterday.  Two months is way too long to go without getting to spend a full day with the one you love.

It was perfect.

We slept in, enjoyed a lovely breakfast and a slow morning together, and then we spent our afternoon at The Huntington Library.

I had been looking forward to it for so long that I was practically giddy with excitement.  I love him!

Here are some pictures from our perfect day:

We enjoyed an audio tour of the Huntington Art Gallery.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a harp in the museum!  A single action pedal harp from 1800.  So crazy cool.


After paying homage to some of my favorite paintings, we went back outside to see what the rainforest glasshouse had to offer.

It was an absolutely perfect day.

Friday, January 14, 2011

An Etsy-Perfect Home: Birds

I've had so much fun looking at items on Etsy lately that I decided to build up a dream house with things from some of the amazing shops found there.

I think I'll do this as a series.  It's so much fun!

Here are some things that are making my heart sigh today.  (Be sure to click on the links so that you can see what other little lovelies are in each of these shops!)

Come on in!



Gem Bird

Handmade By Sima


The Shabby Home

Fun Vintage Living

Swamp Yankee

Stone School Vintage


Sadie Olive

Bella Chic Boutique

Lucy and Ellen

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Daily Inspiration: Doily-Covered Soaps

I love this idea from Kootoyoo.  Aren't they pretty and elegant?

I like that it's a very versatile project.  You can follow Kirsty's vintage doily repurposing steps, or you can crochet you own little covers for soaps (you can even make the soaps!)

I'm tucking this idea away.  I totally want to make some of these.  When I come up with a crochet pattern for soap covers of my own, I"ll share it with you!

Happy Homemaking!

♥ Bethany

How do You Use an Apple?

How exactly do you USE an apple?

Just curious.

I usually just eat them.

I thought it was funny :-P

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jalapeño Jelly

I've been holding on to this recipe for a long time. I haven't gotten a chance to make it yet, but it really makes my mouth water!

One of the ladies at one day brought in the yummiest treat!  She made jalapeño jelly at home and brought it in with stone ground wheat crackers and cream cheese spread.  It wasn't the healthiest thing in the world, but it tasted just wonderful!

I haven't gotten to try the recipe myself, but I wanted to save it so that I don't forget it (and I figured I'd share it with you!)

♥ 1 large green bell pepper
♥12 jalapeno peppers

♥1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

♥1 pinch salt

♥4 1/4 cups granulated sugar

♥4 ounces liquid pectin

♥4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1.Combine the green bell pepper and 12 jalapeno peppers in the container of a food processor or blender. Process until finely chopped. This can be done in batches, if the peppers do not fit.

2.Transfer the peppers to a large saucepan, and stir in the cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the mixture through at least 2 layers of cheesecloth, and discard pulp. You should have about 1 cup of liquid.

3.Return the liquid to the saucepan, and stir in the salt and sugar until dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the mixture comes to a rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred down), boil for one minute, then stir in the liquid pectin.

4.Stir in the remaining jalapeno peppers, and ladle into sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Seal jars in a hot water bath. Refrigerate jelly after seal is broken.

If you get to try it before I do, make sure you tell me about it!
P.S. Along with the jalapeno jelly, she also set out a platter of tomato slices soaked in balsamic vinegar.  Balsamic tomatoes on top of cream cheese crackers?  Who know that would be so tasty?!?
Give that one a try, too!

Happy Homemaking!
♥ Bethany

Tweet Tweet!

Happy Homemaker Me has moved to a new level:  twitter!

I still feel pretty shaky on these new legs, but I'd love for you to hop over and help me out!


Don't you love it?  HappyHomemakerME is one character too many.  When I originally signed up, it said, "Welcome, HappyHomemakerm!"  And I was so confused.  Did I actually miss the "e" when I was signing up?  Oh No!!!

But no matter how many times I tried to correct it, the e wouldn't show up.  Oh well.  Hopefully HappyHomemakerB isn't too hard to remember, since I am Bethany after all!

If you have a twitter account, please let me know!  I feel pretty measley with just 3 people to follow right now.  I'd love to add you!

And I'd really appreciate any support in figuring this whole thing out!

Apparently, I'm a very wordy gal!  140 characters?  That's IT?!?



p.s. I have the day off today!  Which is wonderful since I'm sick and wouldn't be much good to anyone anyway, but I'm excited just the same.  My goals for the day:

♥ Create at least 5 items to put on Etsy

♥ Do some laundry

♥ Write at least one handwritten letter

♥ Do some reading

♥♥♥Drink lots of tea (that's not quite a goal of mine as much as it is Dr. Handsome Man's orders :-) )

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Missing Seagulls

Do you want to know how I know it's been too long since I've lived near the ocean?

I miss seagulls.


They used to be the bane of my existence.  A nuisance.  An all-around pain-in-the-butt way to detract from a gorgeous day spent at the beach.

I used to laugh at people who thought seagulls were pretty.

"You know they're scavengers, right?" I'd ask scoffingly.  "They're disgusting.  They're annoying.  They have no pride--they steal food right out of your hand!"

And yet, when I was at the beach for a church youth group beach day on Saturday, I--Bethany Elise-- took pictures of seagulls.

coronado del mar

There is something about them, though, if you wash away all memories of being pooped on from above, or the pathetic "Caw" as they swirl around looking for their next victim holding a sandwich.

Something pretty.

Something forlorn.

A lost pride.

I feel for seagulls.

A bird with such beautiful markings should be reserved for something majestic.

And yet, they roam the sands looking for left-over bits, contenting themselves with scavenging.

And I am the ridiculous person at the beach that little me would laugh at.  I think seagulls are pretty.

corona del mar

Seagulls on the prairie
always seem ridiculous to me
Why confine themselves to my left over french fries
When they can sail the winds above the sea.

Have they like humans forgot their pride?
They give up their seagullity for an easy ride

They're now common crows
with a forgotten past.
The sound of the sea
is myth at last.

--Jessica Callele

My New Favorite Cookie: Vanilla Chai Spice

Can you tell that I made these for Christmas?  :-)

Vanilla Chai Spice Cookies

♥1 stick unsalted butter, softened
♥1/2 cup sugar
♥1 large egg
♥1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
♥1 3/4 cups flour
♥3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
♥1/2 teaspoon fresh ground cloves
♥1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
♥1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
♥1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and mix well. Add to the wet ingredients and mix just until barely combined. Using your hands, use a kneading motion inside the bowl so that the dough starts to come together. Flour your hands if the dough is sticking to you. Divide into two parts, flatten into disks, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Take out one of the disks and roll out to 1/4" thick on a floured surface. Using a small, scalloped cookie cutter, cut out cookies (I used a miniature Wilton Christmas tree cookie cutter to cut out the middle of half the cookies) and bake for 8 minutes, until edges are just slightly golden brown.

Cardamom Cream
♥1 stick unsalted butter, softened
♥1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
♥1 teaspoon vanilla extract
♥1 teaspoon cardamom
♥1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
♥1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until soft and smooth. Transfer to a piping bag with plain tip about 1/2" in diameter (or, if you don't have one, just use a zip-loc bag and cut a corner off like I did). Ice in a side to side motion to get the pattern--I loved the way it made my trees look!   Sandwich cream in between two cookies.

These cookies are very rich, so the smaller you cut them out, the better.  Of course, my Handsome Man didn't complain about the large ones I made!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Handmade Giveaway

A friend of mine changed her status on facebook to let all of her friends know that she would send something handmade to the first five friends who commented on her status.  I thought it was a really fun idea, so I'm doing the same!

Visit Happy Homemaker Me's facebook page and be one of the first five people to comment.  I love sharing my handmade things, and I think this is a fun way to begin 2011.

No strings attached!  I have cute things in mind that I'd love to send to you :-)


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Problem with Real-Life Friends

Oh no...

I'm sick.

I woke up with a sore throat and a terrible cold.

And it's all Stacey's fault!

This is the problem with blog friends who are your real-life friends.  They get you sick.