Rejects Revealed

Almost one month ago, I ran this post about my closet full of reject shop items, asking if anyone would like to get rid of their rejects and swap with me.  It was to be a blind swap, so you wouldn't know what you were getting, kind of like a goodie bag, but better.  Paige, Ayla, Amanda, Mary, and Kim took me up on my offer.  I asked them how many packages they wanted to send out- they'd get that many back in return- and who they'd best want to swap with, so I could match up styles and tastes as best as I could.  It felt so good to pass on some old stuff, and I'm so in awe of the packages I got back in return.

First came Ayla's:

Crocheted scrubbies, a granny square pincushion, 
a lovely necklace and earrings, and an embroidered zip pouch.
All useful and all lovely.

Kim's arrived the same day:

A butterfly car charm, stamped keychain, glassine bags, and blank tags.
Handy packaging, indeed.

A few days later, a package arrived from Mary:

Two adorable felt brooches.
Gus wore the butterfly immediately.  I got the flower.

Then Paige's arrived a few days after that:

The jewelry motherlode.
Can I tell you that I have wanted one of those bird necklaces forever?
Score!

As you can see, I made out like a bandit and now have a bunch of lovely and fun things to play with instead of having a closet full of paper goods that I could never possibly use on my own.  It was totally worth it, and I really hope everyone had fun with the swap.  We'd like to do it again in a few months once everyone's piled up some more rejects.  Maybe you'll decide to join us!

For anyone who is interested now, or who missed the original post, I actually have three more packages' worth of stuff I would be happy to see go.  Let me know if you're interested and I'll take a look at your shop!  What might it include?

Check out what the ladies got in return!
Mary 1 // 2 // 3

Lazy Sunday

Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  Were you super busy like me and are still wiped out from it?  We had company over Saturday night for appetizers and dessert and had a blast and were up really late, which we're not used to, so much of Sunday was spent sitting on the couch trolling the Internet, drinking tea, and hoping for a nap.  Here's what I decided:


This necklace is gorgeous, and I want it.


This is an awesome photo, and I'd like to be there.


This is a fantastic outfit:



The Weekender

The Weekender by archimedes16 featuring gold bangles


 And so is this:


Comfy Cardigan with Wide Leg Jeans

Comfy Cardigan with Wide Leg Jeans by cynthia335 featuring nars cosmetics


Gus needs this cake this coming year:

 via

This is the coolest shop:


I want this table (and this site is awesome):

 via

I want someone to make me this soup:

 via

 And this is just too cute:

 via

What did you do this weekend?  Did you make any lazy finds? 

(There's one day left to enter!!)

It's a Good Day


This morning I have woken up to 8 degree temperatures, after Greta woke up in the middle of the night needing a cup of milk, which hasn't happened in probably nine months, after Gus woke up earlier than that from a bad dream, and is now crabby and doesn't want to go to the playdate we scheduled, and it's not even 9am yet.

However, I've decided to think positive.  If I try and make it a good day, it can be a good day.  So much of our time is spent being negative, worrying, and complaining, the news is depressing, our days don't turn out the way we planned.  I'm going to try and push all that aside and make the best days I can for myself, the best days I can for my family.  I can be more understanding, more patient, and more calm with the daily bumps that come along.

It's a good day to have a good day.
I hope you have a good day, too.

Is It Spring Yet?

Is anyone else ready for spring?  
It's supposed to be 17 degrees or so here tomorrow,
 and I'm getting a little tired of being cold all the time.  
I went in search of a little spring-y inspiration. 
Maybe it will help warm me up.







What do you think of when you think of spring?


The winner of the Row House 14 giveaway is Paige. Congrats, Paige!

Eat: Olive Tapanade Crostini


When I was little, one of my very favorite things that my mom would make for me was cream cheese and olive, which was little more than green olives from the jar chopped up and mixed into plain cream cheese.  Spread on a couple of slices of white bread, or on top of crackers, it was the best treat.  It was a family thing- my aunt made it for my cousins, too- so I never thought it was an odd combination until I had friends who turned up their nose at it.  I'd think to myself, "It's so good!" and wonder why they didn't agree.  This version I've come up with takes all the elements of my childhood favorite and makes it a little bit more grown up.  It's a great snack, but would make an excellent appetizer for entertaining.


To make the tapanade, I hit up the olive bar at the grocery store, choosing Kalamata olives, large green olives stuffed with sun-dried tomato, and roasted garlic cloves.  About a half cup of each type of olive plus enough garlic to equal one head pulsed in the food processor for a few minutes makes a nice rough-chopped spread.


To assemble, cut a French baguette into half-inch thick slices and toast lightly in a 325 degree oven until the edges are lightly browned.  Spread each slice with herbed goat cheese and and a spoonful of tapanade.  Easy and delicious.




This Morning




This morning we woke up to four inches of wet, heavy snowman-quality snow.  So today instead of a playdate with school friends and afternoon class at preschool, we will most likely be making a trip to the library, cooking some chicken soup, and heading out to construct the first snowman of the year.

What do you like to do when it snows?

(Oh, and stop by Heidi's for a giveaway from me!!)

How to Successfully Achieve Goals

On Friday I mentioned that I had unearthed some old notebooks from the depths of my office closet, with the idea of making detailed shop and blog plans in them, as a visual map of what I want to do with both of those entities.  I figured if I could see where I needed to go and where I want to end up, broken down into smaller steps and with an outline on a calendar, I would be more likely to end up where I hoped.

Turns out that's exactly right.

Setting Goals Infographic


This graphic from Education Database Online basically proves that theory, that if you write down your goal or resolution and don't try to do it all at once, you are more likely to be successful.  Feel free to dig an old college notebook out of your closet to start you on your way.  Or maybe just buy a new one so you don't have to feel so old.

Super Smoothies

Lately I have been hungry.  It never seemed like I was getting filled up in the morning and I would be snacking on something early on in the day.  That's probably because I would start off the day with just a bowl of cereal and that's it.  Then we'd be out running errands and I'd need some kind of bar to eat once we got there.

I've never been one for a big breakfast.  Occasionally on the weekends when I was little we'd have pancakes or something like that for breakfast, but for the most part, I have never been able to force down much in the way of a big breakfast.  It's become clear to me lately that I need more, but it's hard to sit and eat a lot especially when there are days when we need to be out of the house quickly.  As all the New Year's resolutions smoothies started to go through my Pinterest feed, I decided to pin some of them to try and see if that would work.  Most of them are really easy and are packed with healthy ingredients.

I've got a basic formula down and am now just trying out variations.  I've seen a lot that add greens to them and I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet, although I do have some kale sitting in the refrigerator for just that purpose.  This doesn't exactly follow the Clean Eating principles because there is yogurt in it, but you could eliminate that and it would just be a little thinner.



Power Breakfast Smoothie

In a blender combine the following until smooth:

1 cup ice (I do the ice crush setting with this first)
1/4 cup frozen strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, etc. (but I will be doing this with fresh once they're in season)
1 whole banana
1/2 cup uncooked rolled oats (not instant)- these can be precooked if you prefer that consistency
1 6 oz container plain Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 - 1/2 cup almond milk to help thin it out
(I've also seen some that add almonds to the mix.  I haven't tried it yet.)


This makes a gigantic glass, and I drink it all, though it takes about an hour to do so.  It really is a full breakfast- a banana, a yogurt, and a bowl of oatmeal (which I would make with the oats, honey, and milk), plus some berries on the side.  There is no way I would be able to sit and eat all of that at one time, plus this is portable if I need it to be.  And I have to tell you, I drink this and I am pretty much not hungry until lunch time.  If you give it a try, let me know how you like it!

Homemade Granola Bars

I love bars.  Cereal bars, granola bars, protein bars, you name it.  They are portable, they are already made, and they are super tasty.  I have tried all kinds of brands and flavors and textures, and I definitely have my favorites, but I know the ones I really love the most are not the best for me.  They are loaded with hidden sugar and additives and preservatives, which I don't want to eat and I don't want the kids eating.  Even the ones with the best ingredient lists still have a sketchy ingredient or two, either that or they taste awful.  There is one fruit and nut bar in particular that when I think of it, I can't get over how dry it is and how tasteless it is.  I have passed my love of bars on to Gus, and so I decided that it was time for us to try and make some on our own.  Plenty of recipes have gone through my Pinterest feed so I looked them over and decided to give it a go.  I tweaked a little here and a little there and came up with a really tasty combination.  And they're really easy to make once you've figured out what you're doing.


Ingredients:

1/2 cup almond butter (I made my own- go here for the recipe)
2 mashed bananas
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup oats (old-fashioned or quick cooking are both fine, just not instant)

I used (about) 1/4 each of the following:
raisins
Craisins
apricots
dried cherries
whole almonds

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine your almond butter, mashed bananas, and honey.  As it heats up, use a whisk to smooth it out.  Make sure it's thoroughly combined (just a few minutes).  Remove from the heat.

In a food processor (this worked the best for me), add your dry mix-ins and pulse/chop until you have small, chunky pieces of everything.  Add the oats and your mix-ins to the saucepan.  Fold everything together with a spatula so it's well-combined but not over mixed.

Pour into a greased loaf pan, press down a little with your spatula to pack the batter down, and bake for 25 minutes.  The edges of your loaf should be slightly brown, so if it looks like it needs a few more minutes, adjust your time as necessary.  Loosen the edges and turn out onto a cooling rack.  Cool completely before cutting them.  Store in an air-tight container.  Makes around 12 bars.



 


****

I am actually really amazed at how well these turned out.  They are not crunchy in the typical granola bar way, but they aren't quite as soft as a cereal bar either.  They are a great consistency, and they taste so good.  As they were baking, the whole kitchen started to smell amazing.  The best way I can describe the taste is fresh.  Even though it's dried fruit, there isn't anything dry about them.  I actually couldn't wait to try them so I cut one pretty soon after taking them out of the oven.  Seriously, don't.  Wait until the are cool or else it's going to bust up into little pieces.  (Or, if you want it that way, then go right ahead!)  I actually used a pan that is 4 smaller loaves (I only used 3 of them) so I adjusted my cooking time to 20 minutes.

What I like about the recipe is that:

1. I know exactly what's in it.  I know the sweetener is honey along with the fruit, I know what grain is in it, I know it's healthy.

2. I can change them up to suit the flavor I want.  I want to try it with peanut butter (the more crunchy natural stuff, not Skippy or Jif), but I don't see why you couldn't try cashew butter or any other kind of nut butter.  Pistachio butter was suggested to me, and it sounds great.  You can make your own following that recipe above using roasted nuts.

Mix-in suggestions:

Dried fruit- raisins, Craisins, blueberries, cherries, apricots, dates, plums, etc.  Just watch the sugar content of some of those.

Nuts- almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, and so on

Seeds- pumpkin, sunflower, flax

Other- dark chocolate chips/chunks, coconut

The list is really endless.  They really are easy, they really are tasty (Gus approved).

If you decide to make them, let me know how they came out and what you added.  I'd love even more suggestions!


Monday Funday

Yep, I really did rhyme my title today.

There's a lot of ground to cover today!

1. If you are interested in the reject swap trade you have until today to decide!

So far we have the following shops ready to get rid of their old unsold, unlisted, forgotten about products: Milo and Molly, Dragonflight Dreams, Little White Chapel / Oh Nostalgia!, eyelah, justByou  If you'd like to be added, just leave a comment with you e-mail or contact me.

Interested shops, I'll be e-mailing you by the end of the day today!

(P.S. There has been mention of old, unwanted supplies as well.  If you would be interested in swapping supplies, let me know and I'll set it up!)

2. Liz at the Blue Eyed Owl is hosting a great Meet New Friends link-up.  You should stop by because there are some great blogs there, and I definitely found some new reads.  And thanks to those who have stopped in here, too!

3. I want to start a sewing series, so I need to know from you who are interested where you'd like me to start.  Do I need to show you how to thread a machine?  Got that but need to work on stitching?  Simple projects?  Where are we all at?  Please leave me some comments!

4. You need to get to know Andrea.


Andrea owns Bubblewrappd, which is one of the coolest shops I've found, and she's a pretty cool chick.  We met through a mutual friend who thought we might be able to gripe together about our wallpaper removals and kitchen renovations.  We did.  Check out her amazingly fun work:






I'm Andrea. Wifey to my hard working, hunky hubby. Mom to two very loud (and sweet) boys that are 6 and 7. Maker of blocks. 

I opened my Etsy shop at the end of November 2010 when my hubby bought me a Silhouette, and encouraged me to take a leap and make the shop thing happen, and then I let my shop sit empty through the holidays.  By January 2011, I had gathered enough courage to just go ahead and list some of my wooden blocks and signs, and I've been doing it ever since then!

My process all happens right here! My husband cuts every piece of wood for me. Then I do all the creating, and the sanding, painting, vinyl-ing, etc! I love it!

My shop name came to me when I was brainstorming ideas, and I remembered one of the very first "arguments" that my boys had ever had (using words anyway! Ha!). They were jumping up and down on a sheet of bubble wrap, and got into an argument about who exactly makes bubble wrap. I don't know why I thought of that situation, but once I did, then I decided that "Bubblewrapp'd" would be the perfect name for my shop.


You lucky ducks can use "NEWYEAR" for 13% off of your order through January 20th!
Now that is a deal.
 Go shop!  And have a great Monday!

Out With the Old, In With the New

I'm going to show you something.




I have extras.
Rejects, if you will.
Non-sellers, bad ideas, and so on.
Things I love, but apparently no one else did.

And I'm tired of looking at it.

Wanna swap?

I'm proposing that we send our old products out into the world to happy new homes 
in order to get them out of our closets and off of our shelves.

Print with a tiny ink blob?
Knit with a dropped stitch?
Lopsided pottery?
Tiny imperfections that no one would mind but you really couldn't sell?
Samples?

If you're a shop owner and have old product you'd like to swap 
for some other not-quite-perfect or rejected items,
this is the place.

I did this one time before with Heidi at Row House 14 and Rachel of RWKrafts
and it was a blast.  
I'm still using their stuff, there was so much of it.

Want in?
Sign up using in the comments below or send me an e-mail at miloandmollyshop (at) gmail (dot) com

All I need for now is your name, e-mail and shop link.  (US sellers only, please!)
And if I have those already, just tell me you're in.
I'll e-mail everyone in a few days for addresses and how many packages you'll send.
The more you send, the more you get.

*edited to add: I'll try and match you up with someone you'd like to swap with,
it won't just be a blind swap.

This will be FUN!