Banana Cream Cheese Frosted Muffins

I’m pretty sugared out from the holidays but when I had some bananas going ripe I decided to make some banana bread. I have a recipe passed down from my family but when I was missing some ingredients I decided to improvise and I am so glad I did because these turned out AMAZING. Check out the very simple recipe below and partake on this dreamy conquest filled with bananas, cream cheese frosting, and full bellies.

Banana Cream Cheese Frosted Muffins

Banana Muffin Ingredients

1 1/2 cups ripe bananas mashed

2 eggs

1/2 cup whole milk or whipping cream

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. Mix all liquid ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl.
  2. Add mashed bananas to the liquid ingredients.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Slowly stir liquid mixture into dry mixture.
  5. Grease muffin sheets and pour mixture in, leaving about a half inch from the top.
  6. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until knife comes clean.
  7. Mix all frosting ingredients in a small mixing bowl while muffins are baking.
  8. Refrigerate frosting for at least 30 minutes
  9. Remove muffins from oven and promptly take them from tray to let cool.
  10. Once muffins have cooled it is safe to frost.
  11. Store muffins in refrigerator while not enjoying, which will be often.
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DIY Trinket Holder

I saw a DIY jewelry holder from A Beautiful Mess blog a little while ago and instantly loved it. The only problem with it was that I don’t really wear jewelry! So when I was organizing and decorating my new office/craft space and my son kept getting into my pile of paperclips I knew I had a purpose for this beautiful dish.

Jewelry Dish by A Beautiful Mess

The great thing about these dishes is you can really make them to look any style you want. As you can see, A Beautiful Mess made theirs very high fashion looking. Although I think they are stunning, my style is a little more rustic. So I got colors I liked and made it a little more “rugged.” The end result? I think it looks like a beautiful shell and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, I’m kind of already looking for a reason to make another dish!

Check out the tutorial on A Beautiful Mess’ page and have a go at it for yourself. The only thing I would add is that I cooked my dish at 300 degrees for 30 minutes as opposed to the 275 for 15 minutes which was the recommended cooking time and temperature. It really depends on the heat of your oven since some ovens run hot and some run a little cooler. Play around with it and see what works for you. The type of clay you use should also have cooking directions on the back as a guide. I used Kato Poly Clay which I really liked but it did take a little handling to warm it up and get it movable but you can use whichever one works for you. Good luck and have fun making beautiful things!

Jewelry Dish Tutorial by A Beautiful Mess

http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2014/11/marbled-clay-ring-dish.html

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How To Be Happier Right Now and in the New Year

Happiness seems to be an elusive myth like Bigfoot or Unicorns. If you ask the people in your life if they are happy most usually respond with “sometimes” or “it depends”. In fact, according to one study done on happiness only 1 out of 3 people said they were “very happy”. When I was younger I was very unhappy and couldn’t understand why. One day someone told me, “happiness isn’t something you just have, it’s something you pursue. You must actually do things to promote happiness in your life.”
So what is happiness and how do we achieve it in our lives? Better yet, how do we become and stay happy? If you aren’t as happy as you would like to be or would like more happiness in the upcoming year(s) then read on for some tips on how to achieve the highest level of happiness in your life.

#1 Let It Go

You know that person who broke up with you? The people who didn’t value you? The dream job you didn’t get? Whatever your “it” is that puts a pit in your stomach at the mere thought of it, it’s time to let it go. We all have disappointments and things in life that seem unjust, but holding on to these things become poison in our minds and body. Did you know that thinking bad thoughts actually releases toxic chemicals into the body? By not letting go you are literally making yourself sick. We hold onto the past for so long it becomes our story that we can’t escape. It can be very difficult to let go of but this is absolutely crucial for your happiness and growth as a person. Start letting go so you have room for new, more beneficial things. If you’re overflowing with the old there simply isn’t enough room for the good and even if it manages to squeeze itself into your life it’s never fully appreciated.

#2 Shed the People and Things Which No Longer Benefit You.

We all have or have had someone negative and poisonous to our well being in our lives at some point. They could be negative, put you down, are unreliable, cruel or even down right abusive but whatever it is, it needs to stop now. There’s a quote I heard a long time ago that changed my life which was, “People treat you the way you allow them to treat you.” It made me sad because I had to realize and take responsibility for the fact that in all of my bad relationships I wasn’t a victim, but someone who allowed myself to be treated as one. If you don’t like the way someone is treating you then now is the time to change it because you will never be happy if someone in your life helps you feel unhappy. Send your negative friend on their way and break up with the person you treats you as less then a King/Queen. If it’s a parent that you do not want completely out of your life then start making some boundaries to keep your own sanity. There are great books such as ‘Boundaries’ by Henry Cloud or ‘Toxic Parents’ by Susan Forward, which can help you regain your power while still working on a relationship with them. But you cannot allow people to treat you badly. Not today and not ever again. No ifs ands or buts. If you truly want to be happy you must only keep things in your life which reflects that which includes the people you surround yourself with.

#3 Gain Control Over Your Money

Money is one of the biggest stresses in the world. Therefore, you cannot truly be happy if you’re constantly stressing about it. The best way to gain control over your money is to start a budgeting binder and learn to budget. There’s tons of free info on Pinterest on budgeting along with free printables. You’ll be amazed how empowering it feels to see where your money is going, where you can save, and watching money pile up in your bank. It seems like a simple thing but very few people actually feel good about their finances and bank accounts. Just by realizing you spend $5 a day on Starbucks 5 times a week can help you to realize you’re spending $100 a month just on coffee! By seeing these spending patterns you’ll be able to make adjustments such as buying a coffee machine, making your coffee at home, and putting $100 into savings each money. That’s $1,200 a year savings just on coffee! Who wouldn’t be happy watching their savings build for their future?

#4 Change What You Don’t Want

If you’re unhappy with anything in your life, then change it! If you don’t like your body, join a gym or fitness class or hit the pavement outside your front door. If you would rather work from home then work for someone, start researching how to make that possible and build a clientele while you still have a steady income to help you. If you’re unhealthy and need to eat better, see about volunteering at an organic food bank where they let you take organic produce leftovers home. See about budgeting in yoga or massages and if you know someone who has a service you could use and don’t have the funds yet, maybe see if they can trade or exchange for something you have to offer. If you’re lonely and want to make friends then join Meetup.com for free and start having some awesome experiences with people just like you. Sometimes we have to get crafty but there’s always a solution to every problem. If you don’t like something then don’t wait for it to change because I can promise you it won’t. Change comes from within and works its way out so start there and see what transpires!

Happiness is easy but it sure isn’t simple. It does require work and persistent and even in the worst of times staying positive. It’s something we feel should be handed to us but it’s not, it’s something we must search for and attain through understanding of ourselves and the process. But once you start putting things in motion your happiness will start unraveling like a ball of yarn. The undoing of all that’s been done will begin and overtime you’ll be happier while requiring less. Your happiness is in your hands so now is the time to take the reins and create the best, most amazingly happy filled life you can possibly create.

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Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have the most amazing day filled with love, family, and happiness. God bless and I’ll see you after the holiday!

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Genevieve Sweater Update: Cable Band & Skirt

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/1ec/63032955/files/2014/12/img_3186.jpgI finished the band and started on the skirt about a week ago but with all the holiday hustle and bustle I didn’t post it. I had to use mattress stitch to bring it all together and I can’t honestly say if in my twenty years of knitting I’ve ever done that stitch before. Crazy how that happens right? I watched a video and got a pretty good understanding of it but with the yarn I am using it left little holes. I checked on Ravelry and some of the pictures from other people who had done this pattern showed that they too had little holes while some chose to forgo that and just leave the v in. I chose to do the latter and am not 100% in love with it yet but I want to knit a good amount before deciding that I don’t like it.

For those who also haven’t done mattress stitch before this is the video I watched. It was very helpful although I do think it would work better on the lateral stitching instead of the horizontal stitching of the bind off.

I’m looking forward to the skirt starting to take shape so I can see how the rest comes together. There’s not much worse than taking knitting out… except keeping knitting you’re not happy with!
We’ll see how it turns out! I’m so excited to watch it turn into a little sweater for my girl.

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Organizing Your Office/Craft Space Using Feng Shui

Feng Shui Bagua

Do you ever notice when your office or crafting space is clean and organized, ideas and work flow effortlessly? Or that when it’s messy or disorganized your get a mental or creative block? This could have a lot to do with your Feng Shui.  Feng shui is one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics and s a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. It can best be described by Catherine Brophy, Feng Shui expert, from Real Simple. “It’s a practice based on the idea that our homes are a mirror of what’s happening inside us, says Brophy. The purpose of feng shui is to get your environment in alignment with who you are and where you want to go—to harmonize your energy with your home’s energy. How do you do that?
“By carefully considering what you bring in. how you arrange your rooms, and how you maintain the place. Everything has energy, even inanimate objects. Feng shui helps guide that energy and let it flow freely through your home.”

I, like many crafters, have a “dream office” in mind but due to space issues it can put a huge damper on the existence of that dream.  With the help of Feng Shui (and inspiration from Pinterest) I’ve been able to collect ideas that create space and organization even in the little allotted space I do have. If you’re like me, and have a lot of stuff in a little amount of space, then here are some ideas for getting the most out of what you’ve got using Feng Shui and good old fashioned organization skills. I hope creatively and magic come pouring through your studio very soon!

Feng Shui Tip #1 Keep It Clean

I cannot stress this one enough. When a room or space is cluttered, it clutters everything else that comes into it, be it thoughts, finances, feelings, ideas, etc. Too woo woo sounding? Think of it in the simplest of terms. “What you put out, you get back” or “what you give, you receive” However it’s worded it all comes down to the same principal: If you’re space is cluttered, guess what’s going to come back to you?” Don’t have a lot of space? Check out these tips on how to stay organized in a small spaces and you’ll have a big changes in no time. Aside from being able to find things much easier…

This gal’s craft room at Jeanne’s Paper Crafts, is AMAZING!

BHG Style Spotters Tucked Away Workspaces!

Mamie Jane’s Office is old fashioned & lovely

Craft Room Organization From ‘In My Own Style’

Feng Shui Tip # 2 Color

Colors are one of the most important aspects of Feng Shui and there’s a few really great options to increase mental flow and productivity along with financial abundance and prosperity. One really great color is any shade of green, especially if you’re craft room or office is a profit making room. Since green is the color of money it helps attract money along with increasing flexibility and change. Another great color would be white, grey or a blueish grey. White is the color of mental focus and intent so the off white colors help attract more of these things. These are also the number one colors for an office just for that reason. Another great color is an apricot shade. Red is fame and reputation and yellow brings warmth and radiance so a combo of these brings all of the above along with balance and productively. It’s also a nice warm, bright color so it helps stimulate inspiration and growth. Here are some samples of great colors to put on your walls or around your office/craft room.

Green room by Louis Lemaire and World of Driftwood

Benjamin Moore Balboa Mist

Apricot walls from ‘Positively Splendid’

Tip #3 Decor

Put decor that inspires you. For me it’s Payapa Art! I have loved her work since she first started and she’s now a highly successful company with a multitude of products. Her art inspires me along with her story so when I look at her work I feel motivated and positive. You can also use plants for this. Plants are a great increase to the oxygen in the room and increase the life of the room. There’s tons of way to incorporate plants into your space and here are some examples brought to you by The Sill.

HomeOfficePlants

There’s a mini intro to Feng Shui using some of the top ideas on how to increase profit, productivity, and creativity! There are TONS of other ways to use Feng Shui and you can use it in every room of your house. If you’re interest in a more in-depth look at Feng Shui and how it works you can check out this great best selling book, “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui: Free Yourself from Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual Clutter Forever” by Karen Kingston. Simple solutions can really make a difference. Just give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

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Last Minute Gift Guide for the Unique, Rustic, Old Fashioned, and “Difficult To Buy For” people in your life (Men’s Edition)

As promised, here is the Holiday Gift Guide Men’s Edition! As with the Women’s Edition, this is the holiday list for a different kind of man. The kind of guys I know aren’t techie and don’t own iPods, iPhones, iPads, or ianything and are lucky if they even know how to turn on a computer. They don’t have subscriptions to GQ or Maximum and would be offended by the thought of it. They aren’t hipsters and are confused when people ask what kind of mustache wax they use. They don’t own an tie, they don’t wear designer shoes, and they think golf is funny.
So who are these guys? They are diesel techs, Cowboys and rodeo champs, mechanics, mountain men, warehouse workers, fishermen contractors, farmers, stainable living experts, and every other hardworking, old fashioned gentlemen that doesn’t ever get a gift guide made for him! So this guide is for the guys I grew up with, the man I’m married to, and all the other men who fit into this category that most people don’t know even exist anymore. They are the backbone of this country and hold many of the same values today as they did over a hundred years ago. If you are, or know a man that fits this description, I hope you can find something awesome and fitting from this list!

Holiday Gift Guide For Him

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1. Leather book for notes, musings, and long trips away from home by Codice. Pick up a copy at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/111745840/personalized-leather-journal-handmade?ref=favs_view_19

2. While these guys might not read your typical “men’s magazines” it doesn’t get much manlier than Western Horsemen magazine. Give a subscription to the cowboy or equestrian in your life by going to the Western Horsemen site at: http://www.westernhorseman.com/subscribe

3. Many men, no matter what age, are loving pocket watches. Give them something old and something new by gifting them with this handsome wooden pocket watch from Humbert Creations. https://www.etsy.com/listing/185469830/pocket-watches-men-mens-watch-wood-wenge?ref=favs_view_18

4. Personalized, rustic, leather, wallet. Enough said. Styled By Deniss https://www.etsy.com/listing/182961163/personalized-men-leather-wallet-with?ref=favs_view_9

5. In todays busy life it’s all about faster results in less amount of time. But with something as simple as shaving, men used to take some personal time in the morning for their grooming that didn’t include tanning. Give your guy the gift of “me time” with this stylish straight razor from Mini Fab, that has him grooming old school in no time. https://www.etsy.com/listing/191231611/personalized-handmade-straight-razor?ref=favs_view_12

6. Deerskin gloves for the hardworking man who faces harsh conditions and tough jobs. No need to tear up your hands when they can be kept safe in the shelter of a strong pair of deerskin gloves. This pair is also known for holding up better then most. Protect your guys fingers by picking up a pair at: http://www.amazon.com/Mens-Leather-Deerskin-gloves-Leatherbull/dp/B0048846F0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418774947&sr=8-1&keywords=Mens+Deerskin+Gloves

7. Caterpillar is one of the oldest industrial companies in America and their hard work and steady backbone is a big cause for that. Their workwear is no different. Give your industry man, (or any other man with great taste) a pair of these CAT boots to keep him moving in safety and form by visiting: http://www.amazon.com/Caterpillar-Mens-Second-Shift-Brown/dp/B000CGOCTW/ref=sr_1_2?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1418775152&sr=1-2&keywords=Cat+Boots

8. This is just the coolest little contraption ever. A multi purpose tool is a must have for any guy (or girl for that matter) that does…anything really. There’s no end to what these babies can do and these are even personalized by Teals Prairie for an extra added touch. They also include a nifty carrying case. Give one to your handy man for him to keep on him or in his truck, by going to: https://www.etsy.com/listing/130493374/personalized-multi-tool-pocket-knife?ref=favs_view_4

9. How’s a guy supposed to keep all his tools and equipment organized? By getting him this sturdy, useful, and oh so good-looking Carhartt tool bag with molded base. Give him the best of everything, made by one of the most trusted names, by heading over to: http://www.amazon.com/Carhartt-10148102-Legacy-18-Inch-Molded/dp/B00ES8KW1C/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1418775055&sr=8-3&keywords=Carhartt+Tool+Bag

10. Grooming doesn’t need to be fancy but it can still be impressive and manly. Lone Woods accomplishes this by making great smelling, all natural, and incredibly masculine products for men such as this shaving cream and after shave set. Pick up a set of “no frills or gimmicks” grooming supplies by going to their site at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/211452644/lone-woods-natural-shaving-cream?ref=favs_view_5

11. A hand knit beanie is just the thing for any guy who works outside whether it’s in the field, on a boat, or under the hood of a big diesel truck. Give him one made by the grizzly looking Abrahams Son Co, a manly man and knitter! https://www.etsy.com/listing/180427169/mens-knit-hat-grey-dark-grey-knit-beanie?ref=favs_view_1

12. Last, but certainly not least, is this grilling gift set from Denver Spice. Nothing beats the flavor of a charcoal grill but this spice set will take your grilling to a whole new level. Taste the difference at: https://www.etsy.com/listing/114054463/americana-grilling-tour-seasoning-gift?ref=favs_view_10

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And there you have it! The Dowdy Shepherd’s Holiday gift Guide Men’s Edition! As with the women’s edition, there are a lot of small businesses mentioned on this list. I do not endorse these businesses, am not sponsored by them, nor do I receive any sort of kickback from any of the companies mentioned on this list. I do however strongly support small businesses and hope you can support them as well by passing this list on, liking it, sharing it, or even spreading the word about one of the merchants in particular. This country was built on small businesses and these people are living their dream by making and selling the things they love so your support, and the support from people just like you, gives them the ability to do so.

Thanks for checking out our gift guides! We hope you’ve got some good ideas for this year or even for future holidays. Merry Christmas!

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