Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My New Obsession...

My newest obsession has nothing to do with jewelry making.  It's watching all the new panda cubs on Smithsonian National Zoo and Zoo Atlanta's Panda Cams.  I'll admit, my favorite to watch is the National Zoo's Mei Xiang and her little girl.  Don't get me wrong, Atlanta's Lun Lun and her twin boys are just as cute.  But I've followed Mei's journey for a couple of years now and watched last year as she cared for her little cub that died short of being a week old.  Mei has had her struggles and for some reason I feel for the girl.  I also know how important it is to save this species.  I've learned so much about the efforts to save the pandas.  Their reproduction cycles are a big part of why the species cannot keep up.  It's so slow and challenging. So far, this little girl is tough and very healthy. She'll be a month old Friday and she's doubled in size already!  I think it helps that Mei is an awesome mother.  She cares for that baby constantly and only in the past week has she put her down and wandered off to finally eat something.  Which is very common for pandas.  They don't eat or go potty for several weeks after giving birth.  So interesting!  

I captured this images from the Smithsonian National Zoo Panda Cam.  This is Mei and her female cub.

Only 5 zoos in America have panda bears and they're all on loan from China for reproductive purposes.  A specialist from China monitors all efforts.  It's quite an operation they've got going on.  Lun Lun has been interesting to watch and learn about because there are twins.  I learned from their informative site, Atlanta does have the better site for information and updates, that pandas really only know how to take care of one baby.  In the wild, one will most likely not survive if there are twins.  So the Atlanta team switches out the cubs every 4 hours.  So while Lun Lun takes care of one, the zookeepers care for the other.  Or as they refer to them, Cub A and Cub B.  Pandas are not named until their 100th day which is Chinese tradition.  Of course, the naming contests are underway!  And yes, I did enter to win the trip to Atlanta to be a part of the party.  The twins are a month older than Mei's little girl cub.  I'm just glad there's a girl this time.  San Diego had a boy last year.    

Image captured from Zoo Atlanta's Panda Cam.  Their view is smaller and darker.  I did lighten this up so it would show better.   This is Lun Lun and one of her cubs.  They sleep like this a lot.  I hope Mei will when little girl is bigger. 

These cubs grow so fast!  I check every morning and throughout the day, and then again when I'm home.  Told you, I'm obsessed.  When I'm feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, I switch over to the cams.   I feel so much better.   The National Zoo has good camera work.  They zoom in and even have sound.  Oh my goodness, that's so much fun to listen to.  These babies are very vocal.  I can smile and laugh at Mei's cub for hours!  She's a talker that girl.  The Atlanta zookeepers say the twins are too, but I don't know since they don't have sound.   Now for Atlanta, their camera is alright.  The dens tend to be pretty dark. But I've seen some pretty cute moments.  Both cameras are black and white unfortunately.  

I captured this image from the National Zoo Smithsonian's Panda Cam.  Mei and her female cub.  Thought this was a funny position.  These mama bears hold and carry their babies much like we do.  Except they will use their mouth.

Hope you learned a little something and thank you for humoring me while I talk about the babies!  Please hop over to the sites and learn more about the species, raising cubs, and what you can do to help their survival.  On those sites you'll see official color pictures.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I had a special guest over for a girl's overnight last weekend and I wanted to make her a special breakfast.  She always says I come up with the neatest things to eat.  Being that's she's 12, I still have to be careful not to go too overboard.  Then I remembered a recipe I saw on Lovin' from the Oven - Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

  1. First, make the pancake batter. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually whisk in the milk, oil, and egg until just combined. Make sure not to overmix– Lumps are okay!
  2. Now make the cinnamon filling. Mix all the ingredients together and pour into a ziploc bag. You want this mixture to be very liquidy. 
  3. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Scoop about 3/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Cut off the corner of your ziploc bag of filling and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip over and cook until just browned (an additional 1-2 minutes).
***** Sarah's Advice and Alterations *****
As usual when it comes to a Pinterest recipe, I always have to make some sort of alteration to make it work.  I made this recipe exactly as listed, but I struggled with it.  The batter was too runny and adding the filling made it worse since it's melted butter. With my slight tweaks, they were easier to make and came out just as tasty and the way I like them.

  1. Cut the cinnamon filling in half or make a double batch of pancakes.  I ended up with a ton of filling leftover.  I just saved it for the next weekend and made another batch of pancakes.  No harm done.
  2. Thicken up the batter and not use so much to make the pancake.  3/4 c. is a lot of batter when it's super thin like this recipe.  I added less than a quarter cup of extra flour.  But make it to the texture you like.  I think the third step is the most helpful.
  3. Don't add the filling rings to the pancake until it starts to bubble.  Swirl then flip.  I found the pancakes came out much better. 
  4. I made a sugar glaze from powdered sugar and a splash of milk and drizzled over the pancakes.  Totally optional.  

If you try these, let me know what you think. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Goodbye Google Reader, Hello Bloglovin

bloglovinIf you use Google Reader, you have probably heard that it will be saying goodbye July 1.  Solution to follow Finding Charm...Bloglovin.  I created a Bloglovin account quite some time ago.  I really like it.  I like that I can sort by groups.  

If you have a Bloglovin account, be sure to use the app that will automatically import Google Reader subscriptions!  Simply log in to your account and follow the instructions that pop up on the screen.  If you do not get the auto prompt, go to your icon in the upper right hand of the screen, hover your mouse over it until you see this:

Click on the "Import from Google Readers" and follow the steps.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Drive Traffic from Facebook to Your Product

Graphic courtesy of 3martinilunches
I came across this article from Handmade Success a while back and I'm finally get around to reading it.  I thought it was a very honest and accurate depiction of Facebook and the importance of content is King.  I encourage anyone who uses Facebook to reach friends, family, and customers to promote products to read Drive Quality Traffic from Facebook to Your Etsy Shop.  The rules apply across any market/product. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pinterest Meal: Light Summer Fare

I was recently talking to a co-worker about how I cook differently in the summer than I do in the winter.  The main difference is that I don't use the oven.  If it takes an oven, that means it's heavy comfort food (ie lasagna) and not something I'd want to be eating on a hot summer day.  She looked at me like I was from another planet.  I grew up that way.  We ate certain things depending on the time of year.  Now that the AC is on, I won't use the oven to cook meals.  Summer meals consistent of cold salads, tacos, and stovetop meals that are general lighter fare.  Desserts are of the chilled kind or just plain ol' ice cream.   Was my family the only family that changed their meal habits due to the weather?  Growing up in the Midwest, our summers are excruciatingly humid, so we're hot all the time and the AC doesn't detect humidity, so who wants to be turning on a hot oven to eat lasagna when it's 100 out with a heat index close to 120?  I know I don't.  Plus, it does heat up your house causing the AC to work even harder.  

I do know others who grew up around me who do cook that way, but was wondering what others do in other parts of the country.  Do you cook differently for summer vs. winter? 

Here are some new summer recipes I want to try this year from my Pinterest boards:

Watermelon Lemonade Margarita

Chicken Almond Salad
Seven Layer Ice Cream Pie

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pinterest Meal of the Week

I know I've been MIA lately.  I started a new job and had a loss in the family.  But I'll start coming back now...

How about a yummy Pinterest Meal idea?  It's warmed up and I was thinking light summer recipes.

Flavored Water Ideas

Chicken Salad
Rocky Road Pudding Mousse

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Random Musing: What Do Your Feet Say About You?

I came across a funny post on Facebook showing a picture of feet and how the shape of them tells you your roots - Greek, Roman, Egyptian, etc.  Well, I got to thinking about what my feet say about me at a more personal level.  I found this quick quiz that tells you what your feet say about you.  It's a simple 8 question quiz and you'll get a full synopsis of what your feet say about you.  I was surprised, mine was very accurate.  What about you? 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Get Seen on Facebook

I want to make sure that you see your favorite feeds on Facebook...including mine of course!  You may have seen that Facebook has made another round of changes - again.  Here's a couple of ways to make sure that you see my posts in your feed as well as your other faves.

Go to Finding Charm's Facebook page and hover over the "Liked" button.  A little window will show up with the following options:  Get Notifications, Show in News Feed, and Add to Interest Lists.

Be sure to click on Show in News Feed or Get Notifications.  I wouldn't do both because you will get duplicate content and that's not necessary.  Show in News Feed does exactly what it says, but if you select Get Notifications, you will receive a message that I have made a post.  Now you can better organize your Facebook feeds from your favorite pages.  

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pinterest Meal of the Week

I love Greek food.  I work near a cute little hole in the wall cafe that serves gyros, kabobs, and baklava.  I enjoy that he also puts a Greek spin on typical American dishes.  I had not been in the cafe recently, because I've cut back on extras like going out to eat.  I ventured in on Friday and it inspired me to make a Greek dinner post.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Pinterest Meal Idea of the Week

Starting to warm up outside, days are getting longer, and that means Spring is around the corner.  So we'll be busy outside and making fun and exciting plans to spend our time.  I've put together a meal that utilizes many shortcuts.  One is a crock pot meal, another a prepackaged item dressed up, and then for dessert something quick and easy to whip up - literally!   

Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan

Grab a mixed greens salad mix and your favorite dressing.

Parmesan and Herb Crescent Rolls
Source: via Finding on Pinterest

Snickerdoodle Mousse

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Stick to Your Ribs Meal Idea

It snowed over a foot at my house this week and I went looking through my recipe boards on Pinterest and found some yummy "I'm trapped in my house so I'll cook forever" recipes.  Feel free to follow any of my boards on Pinterest!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Handmade Artist: Wyndwalker Creations

Another crafty couple to talk about today at Wyndwalker Creations.  This creative duo make a variety of items from antler, bone, to weaving - beads and fiber. I particularly liked reading about how the crafting took off.  The two started participating in living history events of the 1840s.  They became so involved with the way of living over 150 years ago, that their items are inspired from the time period.  How cool is that?  Let's take a walk down memory lane through they eyes of Wyndwalker Creations.

Buckskin Leather Double Pocket Shoulder Bag with Butterfly bead work LG6

Antler smoking pipe (P-18)

Knife with Horn and Tulip Wood Handled and Hand Stitched Snake Skin and Leather Belt Sheath (K-48)

You can find sashes and shawls, jewelry, pet items, archery, and treasure boxes in Wyndwalker Creations Etsy and Handmade Artists shops

Wyndwalker Creations on Facebook
Wyndwalker Creations on Twitter
Wyndwalker Creations on Pinterest
Wyndwalker Creations blog

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Handmade Artist: Thunderrose Leather Shop

When I went browsing through Thunderrose Leather Shop, my first thought was - wow, this looks real.  It's unlike what we see in department stores, gift shops, or specialty ware shops.  John and Debbie are the artists behind Thunderrose Leather Shop.  Their creations are definitely old style made with Elkskin, Deerskin, Buffalo, and Deer Tanned Cowhide.  The leather pieces you see with beadwork - well that's all done by hand.  No production beaded appliques or work are ever put on their creations.  In their shops on Handmade Artist and on Etsy, you will find leather bags,  leather pouches, leather flute bags, leather smartphone and hip bags, and my favorite - the baby moccasins.  

Beaded baby moccasins Buckskin baby moccasins 6 month to 1 year leather moccasins
Beaded leather pocketbook case Smartphone case Buckskin leather wallet Handmade leather clutch
Wolf paw medicine bag Leather drawstring neck pouch with beaded wolf paw totem

Great bag for carrying dog treats on your walks!

Psst - and Thunderrose Leather Shop is having a sale!  You can get 20% off if you enter THUNDERROSE at checkout! 

You can find Thunderrose all over the net!  
Thunderrose Leather Shop on Handmade Artists
Thunderrose Leather Shop on Etsy
Thunderrose Leather Shop on Facebook
Thunderrose Leather Shop's Blog
Thunderrose Leather Shop's Website

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day Recipes

I want to start posting about my top 3 picks of recipes I've found through various places.  I'll aim to do this on a regular basis and thought starting with Valentine's Day would be a good place to start.  Of course, I'll use Pinterest to illustrate them to you!  I haven't yet tried these recipes, but they're on my list!  If you've tried any of these goodies, let us know what you thought.

1. Smothered Chicken Casserole.  2. Baby Greens with Grapes, Hot Sweet Pecans and Gorgonzola Vinaigrette.  3. Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies 3. Owl Always Love you Cupcakes

And because these gals are too adorable not to share

Monday, February 4, 2013

Handmade Artist: The Alchemist Vessel

I am totally mesmerized by chainmaille jewelry.   If you are too, the Alchemist Vessel is a shop to stop by.  Alix named her shop perfectly!  Alchemy is to turn something common into something extraordinary.  Extraordinary chainmaille it is!  Take a look at this Golden Spiral Gold Bracelet.  All that with a handful of golden rings.  Amazing!

In addition to the chainmaille artistry, the Alchemist Vessel also works with sterling silver and gemstones.  In this Rose Quartz Jewelry Set you can see that chainmaille doesn't venture far. 

For the lovers of far away places of make believe there you'll find sterling silver pegasus earrings - that of course, are chainmaille too.

Keep up with Alix and the Alchemist Vessel at your favorite online spot!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Handmade Artists: Reef Botanicals and Fabric of My Mind

Hang on tight, got another over achiever to talk about that juggles more than one shop to accomodate all the craft making madness that happens in their house.  Eric and Larissa are a dynamic crafting duo for Reef Botanicals and Fabric of My Mind. 

At Reef Botanicals this is where Eric and Larissa sell their handcrafted artisan pamper yourself products.  I added the artisan, because I think most of it looks like art. I also added pamper yourself products because all the goodies you'll find here are all that you'll need for that sweet bath you keep telling yourself you'll treat yourself too.  One thing sticks out about their products and that all of it from the base to the fragrance is all natural ingredients.  So natural that most of the products are suitable to vegans.  Inside Reef Botanicals you'll find soap, bath salts, candles, and even a men's line of bath products
The Serenity Fizzy Bath Bomb is so pretty.   I don't think I'd use it because it's just too pretty.

Now because I have lip balm everywhere, I just had to show off the Orange You Glad I am Your Honey Lip Balm.  Great Valentine's Day gift, right?

Want to know more about Reef Botanicals?  Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and keep up with them on their blog

Switching gears we'll now visit Fabric of My Mind.  This is definitely a shop that weaves the many different crafts that occur outside of the powder room.   Here you'll find handmade accessories, photography, toys,  and even patterns and tutorials.  Wear glasses when you're on the computer?  Keep them protected from all that desk clutter with this floral eyeglass case.  I love to color.  It's such an ageless activity.  I'd love to make the other kids jealous with these mini star crayons!  Hop on over to Fabric of My Mind and see what goodies you can find to make the other kids jealous of you.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Handmade Artist: Rasmussen Gems

For me, John at Rasmussen Gems has been able to do what I want to do.  Work hard while you can and then after that retire and do what you love.  John started his craft early studying geology.  He even taught it for 10 years.  Then he went into the emergency medicine field until he retired.  In his retirement he picked up his love of stones and minerals like he never left.  I'm sure he never really left 100% anyway, but it does add some drama to the story, right?  Anyway, John the lapidary and Debora, his wife and jeweler now work together making and selling beautiful stones and beaded jewelry.  In addition to lapidary and jewelry making, John also does metal work in the jewelry designs.

Rasmussen Gems also provides services that I do not often find in the handmade community.  He can provide jewelry repair services. He is well trained from attending the International Gem Society, Gemological Institute of America, and Penn Foster Career School to learn jewelry design and repair. 

Rasmussen Gems also provides gem identification and appraisal services.  Gems can be hard to determine - at least for me.  Especially the real from the fake or because gems are naturally occurring, the color variants can maybe lead to a different stone in particular.  I've run into that a couple of times.  I'll think a stone is one gem, but in fact, it's something else. 
I've never heard of picture granite.  I must live under a rock! 
Strawberry Quartz Oval
I just love this Faceted Topaz ring. The colors, the feminine qualities.  

Rasmussen Gems also blogs!  Join him.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Handmade Artist: LisianBlue and Reflections

One artist, two shops: LisianBlue and Reflections.  

There's no cold air getting in this cap!
At LisianBlue you'll find knitted creations  like scarves, booties, caps, and even bibs.  What I like about her shop is that she immediately calls out that her technique is a tight weave to make sure her items keep you warm!  So not just a fashion statement scarf, one that will keep that chill out!  Isn't that the truth anymore.  To fulfill the need of cool hats and scarves, they become loosely knit and then they don't keep you warm.  Nice to see LisianBlue has found that niche. 

My favorite color!!!
I love the colors in the pictured unisex beanie cap.  Can go with anything!  Crocheted wash cloths/dish cloths are also becoming more and more popular and you'll find some fun Sunny Yellow dish cloths in her shop...among others of course. 

Now if crocheting wasn't busy enough work to keep a shop full,  LisianBlue then becomes Reflections.  Reflections is a stained glass and painted glass shop.  Reflections is one of a kind because very few, and I mean few, are ever reproduced.  Reflections wants your stained glass or crafted glass creation truly unique.  My favorite section in this shop is the glass candle holders.  Very out of the box and unexpected.  I'll let the picture speak for itself. 

For the jewelry makers out there, she also makes really pretty glass pendants including handpainted!  I especially like the detail in this domino art pendant.

If you want to keep in touch with LisianBlue and Reflections - (Remember, they are the same person) but I do wonder if she's a Gemini can be found on Twitter and maintains a blog as well. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Handmade Artist: Lil Bit Sassy

Lil Bit Sassy has such a sweet shop.  It's a mini handmade department store.  She has Children's, Juniors, Mens, Womens, Housewares, Electronics, Health and Beauty, Pets and even more.  Lil Bit Sassy has so much going for it.  Since everything is handmade, she can custom make anything!  Love a bib, but want it in a different fabric?  No problem!  Take a look at her in stock fabric collection, contact her and tell her what you want.  You can't do that in a department store can you? Nope, and for an extra bit of bonus you can without leaving the house!  Shop Lil Bit Sassy all year long!

Now because I hurt a lot and love my heat to make me feel better, I have to show off a hot/cold pack.  Plus, I LOVE owls too. 

Are you hosting a baby shower and need cupcake toppers?


Get to know Lil Bit Sassy on her blog, Sassy News!

Follow Finding Charm on Twitter

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