Peeps poppies, paper, and pink

Peeps poppies, paper, and pink. Easter time is peeps time. It's become a personal tradition to craft a Peeps project this time of year. I've been making paper flowers lately so they became the perfect perch for Peeps. You can find my past Peeps projects; Crown of Peeps here, and Tower of Peeps here. 

I recently saw this quote:

I challenge you to find any other food product where a full one-third of the purchases don’t go to their normal, intended use: eating.

— Brian Bachrach, senior marketing manager of innovation at Just Born

Is that not the truth? I've eaten at least as many Peeps as you see on my tree. I found the above quote on the ultimate Tumblr Peepikidia; Peepin it real.

It's a Peeps bush! The flowers themselves are attached using floral wire to a Christmas decoration I've repurposed. In trying to find a storage place for this branch turned ornament tree I realized it could be kept out of a closet if I nestled dried Starflowers in the branches to springify it. 

The wooden box is covered in silver washi tape and is evidence of it's holiday past. Luckily silver is a neutral.

Callingrams

Today I'm headed to Craftcation and taking some newly letterpressed business cards with me. Or should I say callingrams? Each one has an image from my Instagram feed.

I came across this fun sticker product from Social Print Studio and was inspired to design something with them. My other cards don't have my social media contacts on them so it was the perfect project to incorporate these little stickers with my photos. Plus I do love to make labor intensive cards.

I tend to hoard end cuts of paper from printing projects thinking I'll find a clever use for them some day. Well I finally did when I cut them even smaller to make these miniature polaroids. 

I tend to hoard end cuts of paper from printing projects thinking I'll find a clever use for them some day. Well I finally did when I cut them even smaller to make these miniature polaroids. 

These stickers are so fun and I'm already finding other things to use them for. Each order has two booklets for $10 but I would recommend getting two orders because the shipping is $7. They're printed in Taiwan but that shipping rate does make them arrive speedily. Mine arrived just 3 days after I ordered. I was super impressed. I do with they had other slightly larger sticker sizes. I'm sure I'd find many more projects to create with them. 

Don't forget the pets

There are a lot of friends in my life welcoming new little humans into their families for the first time. Many of them have pets so when attending baby showers I've been including an extra gift for the furry friends. I figure some extra love in the form of treats and toys is helpful because they might perceive the new bundle of joy a little differently than their owners. 

I have plenty of handmade cat toy options in my Etsy store but I've had a hard time thinking of a handmade gift for pups. Handcrafted and dog has never sounded too durable to me. But in thinking of dog gifts there is one that can be hand gathered. Sticks!

If your neighborhood is lacking in sticks there's always the classic tennis ball. Bonus if you've got some doggy paper for this super simple wrap.

So I encourage you when gifting parents to be; please don't forget the pets!

Baking my first loaf of bread with The River Cottage Bread Handbook

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You're in the right place. I have not turned into a food blogger. Baking bread is very much a handmade activity so I'm sharing my experience baking my first loaf of bread. I only wish I had gotten a photo of my sticky fingers. 

The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Daniel Stevens was published in 2010 and I've owned it for almost a year. It's true I'm just now getting to baking bread from it's pages but the first weekend I owned the book I was fully engrossed and read it cover to cover as much as one can read a recipe book cover to cover. The book is a nice size and kind of feels like you're reading a loaf of bread. There is actually 70 pages of content before you even get to a recipe. 

Grinding hard red wheat berries in my Vitamix to make fresh flour.

Grinding hard red wheat berries in my Vitamix to make fresh flour.

The book is dense with information revealing the wonders of gluten, details of various ingredients, the differences between mass-produced bread vs. handmade bread (spoiler alert, the later is easier to digest), photos of step-by-step bread making, and tools including a section for making your own brick oven. You can get real deep with your bread making. So, you can see, conceptually I've known how to bake bread for a while. I didn't want to ruin the mystic that I could bake a nice loaf by actually, you know, baking a loaf of bread.

Keeping the book close at hand/Kneaded ball of dough.

Keeping the book close at hand/Kneaded ball of dough.

A week ago a friend gave me a sour dough starter that he harvested from the neighborhood air of Bernal Heights, San Francisco. Since I now have a pet yeast called Thing Dos, taken from it's originator named Mother Sues it was time for me to learn to bake bread. 

I decided to hold off on baking sourdough until my Thing Dos starter is a bit more mature. Perhaps when it's old enough to read R.L. Stine I'll bake sourdough. 

Bread dough after it's first rise. It didn't quite double in size OR I was too impatient to get to the baking of my first loaf of bread.

Bread dough after it's first rise. It didn't quite double in size OR I was too impatient to get to the baking of my first loaf of bread.

The basic bread recipe in the handbook includes the option to add some starter so I did include it along with dry active yeast. An important note about this book is that while The River Cottage is of British origin there is a U.S. printing of the book which has standard U.S. measurements and temperatures in Fahrenheit.

Bread after proofing and right before going into the oven.

Bread after proofing and right before going into the oven.

I'll be experimenting more with bread making. I'll be trying out the variations that can be made using the basic bread recipe, different flours, add-ins like nuts. Most importantly I'll be more patient. This first loaf I only allowed to rise once (twice including the proofing stage). I'd like to see the results of multiple rises. Rainy spring days will be perfect for this activity if California doesn't skip over them to full blown summer drought.

Looks like bread. Tastes like bread. Not the best bread I've tasted but not the worst. Definitely the bet bread I've ever made.

Looks like bread. Tastes like bread. Not the best bread I've tasted but not the worst. Definitely the bet bread I've ever made.

The book definitely instills the confidence that anyone can make bread. I may go slowly into this bread adventure but I know the handbook will be a guiding resource to successful bread making.