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How to Macrame | a beginners guide

how to macramehow to macrame

Have you ever wondered how to macrame a plant holder, keychain, or other home item? I used to macrame all the time when I was a child. It was a common project in art classes, and summer camps, when I was growing up in Marin. When rewardStyle announced they were going to host a How to Macrame workshop in San Francisco, I immediately RSVP-ed yes!

Macrame brings back fond childhood memories for me; and about year ago, those macrame projects from my childhood fell back into my hands. My Mom moved a couple of years ago, and she had boxed up some of my childhood memories which I forgot to box up and take with me into my adult life. I cleaned out my room at the home I grew up in before she moved, but there were art projects, and other odds and ends that had ended up with my Mom’s things, and in kitchen cabinets; who knew! So, she boxed them up and they moved with her to her new home.

One year ago, my Mom sorted out these odds and ends she had found when unpacking in her new home. She gave me a box filled with them. Inside the box were a few of my old macrame projects I had made for our house. My middle child thought these macrame projects were “pretty” and she snapped them up, immediately asking if she could keep them. I said yes of course, and they now decorate her room.

She is extremely artistic, and asked me how to macrame so she could make more macrame items to decorate her room with. I was stumped! How could I have forgotten how to macrame when it was such an integral part of my childhood?! So, when this class popped up, I was beyond thrilled to take a refresher course in how to macrame; now I can teach my daughter how to make her own macrame decorations!

how to macrame

The How to Macrame class was held at One Kearny Club on Geary Street in San Francisco. It was so much fun to attend and see all the local bloggers I mostly interact with online. rewardStyle planned a fabulous and fun event. The event space was decorated with macrame and so many pretty flowers. There were passed appetizers, which were absolutely delicious, as well as an open bar.

After we socialized for a bit, our macrame class began! We all grabbed a chair, and then stood up in front of a wooden ring with sixteen ropes; ready to be turned into a macrame design. Out teacher, Jenny Lemons, gave us step-by-step instructions on how to macrame, and she walked around the room helping us with our knots, and our overall design. Our mission was to macrame a plant hanger. Later on, Dawn from Fashion Should Be Fun and I decided our plant hangers could double as iPhone carriers. More about that later on in this post.

Here are the steps for our macrame project:

how to macrame steps

Here is a little photo journal of the steps for making a macrame knot so you can see the steps in action. They are in order, steps one, two, then three.

how to macrame

When you get to this point, step three, pull the knot tight and wiggle it with your fingers to make sure it is symmetrical. I ended up making single knots on the top half of my plant holder, and then I went to alternating doubles knots on the bottom half of my plant holder. I think I defaulted to the single knot at first because it is the one I did most often when I was growing up. The single knot turns while the alternating double knot stays flat.

Below you can see my finished plant holder, and Dawn’s; which we found also makes a great iPhone case! Who knew?

how to macramehow to macrame

It was a fun event, and it was great to take a refresher course on how to macrame. Now, I can show my daughter how to macrame, and she can create her own home decor! I also plan to show her how to integrate beads into macrame. Love that!

Shop macrame supplies:

Do you know how to macrame? If so, what types of items do you like to make?

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy

*photo credits: some photos taken with my iPhone, some were taken by Andrea Posadas (hers are the good ones!!)

how to macrame


How to make Butterbeer recipe

how to make butterbeer recipe

How to make butterbeer recipe for the all of the Harry Potter fans out there! OK quick, which house are you? Although we are a Gryffindor family, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and even Slytherins, are welcome here. After all, a love for butterbeer is something we all have in common!

Last month, I took my family to Universal Studios. One thing on our agenda was to taste butterbeer! Harry Potter loved it, and it sounded like a fun, non-alcoholic drink the whole family could enjoy. So, we made grabbing a glass our priority. After we tasted our first butterbeer, we realized it was the most delicious drink! A butterbeer is part soft drink, part dessert; now doesn’t that sound amazing?! It really is; and you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy a yummy glass of my butterbeer recipe. If you are counting calories, never fear, I have a low calorie butterbeer recipe option for you here!

ingredients for making butterbeer at home like universal

First off, let’s talk about the tools and ingredients you will need to make butterbeer at home.

Ingredients:

  • Cream Soda: I recommend Henry Weinhard’s Vanilla Cream Soda for the most authentic taste. For a low calorie option which is quite delicious, I recommend Virgil’s Zero Cream Soda.
  • Torani Syrup: Classic Caramel or Butterscotch will do.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: This needs to be heavy in order to stay afloat. It is a crucial part of the froth.
  • Vanilla extract: My favorite is Rodelle, but any vanilla extract will work.
  • Whipped Cream: My favorite canned whipped cream is Clover.

Tools 

  • Mixing bowl: Use a small mixing bowl
  • Hand-held whisk: This one by Kitchenaid has been in my kitchen for fifteen years and they still make it. Best whisk ever!
  • 12 oz. glass or pint glass: How cute is this “Hello Beautiful” glass! Yes, Hello there beautiful butterbeer, you are delicious!

When we returned home from our vacation, I looked online to see if I could find a butterbeer recipe. Unfortunately, the recipes I found used odd ingredients, were too complicated, or flat out didn’t work. So, I decided to come up with my own special recipe for butterbeer. I hope you like it as much as my family does! Here are a few simple steps for making butterbeer.

non alcoholic butterbeer recipehow to make harry potters favorite drink

I always start off my glass of butterbeer by prepping the froth first. Measure 1/4 heavy whipping cream and put it into the mixing bowl. Then, add one tablespoon vanilla extract. Whip the two ingredients together using a whisk until they are well mixed and you start seeing bubbles in the liquid. (see above for example)

low calorie butter recipe

Set aside your froth mixture and measure one tablespoon of Torani Classic Caramel syrup. After you measure it, pour the syrup into the glass or pint you plan to drink from.

easy butterbeer recipe

After you have added your Torani syrup to your glass, tilt your glass to a forty-five degree angle and slowly pour the cream soda into the glass. It is important to tilt your glass because good cream soda (like good beer) will create a large head if you don’t pour it into the glass at an angle. If you have a head on your soda, it might spill over the sides and you will not have enough room for your froth. If you do get a head on your soda, let it sit for a minute so that the froth can settle in, or you can sip the froth from the head off the top.

If you are wondering what “head” means, it is the name for the white fluffy foam which ends up on top of soda or beer that is not poured into a tilted glass; or is poured too quickly.

butterbeer recipe

The froth mixture will pour into your soda too quickly without a barrier. This is where the canned whipped cream comes in handy. Put a small layer of whipped cream over the top of your butterbeer to create a floor for your froth. Be careful not to add too much or you won’t have room for your froth, and you might spill.

how to make butterbeer at home

Now that your butterbeer is mixed together, and you have a whipped cream floor, slowly pour in your froth on top of the whipped cream. The froth will sink into the soda, but that is part of the flavor and fun. I recommend adding a straw for easier drinking. 🙂

Voila! There you have it! If you have been wondering how to make butterbeer, this is my version of Butterbeer. I hope you try this recipe and enjoy it!

Calorie Count with Henry Weinhard’s Vanilla Cream Soda: 285

Calorie count with Virgil’s Zero Cream Soda: 105

Thank you for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy

how to make butterbeer recipe


LA summer road trip with the kids

There is nothing like taking a trip out of town as soon as school lets out. Since spring seemed so busy and stressful this year, we planned a one-week getaway after the last of school in order to relive any leftover stress from the spring semester. Our kids were just as ready as we were to escape the Bay Area, and have some fun!

We planned a five day road trip to Los Angeles. Our goal to was see things in LA we haven’t shown the kids yet. At first, we thought we would play tourist and show the kids all of the usual Hollywood tourist attractions. Surprisingly, our kids had no interest in any of that! So, we ended up finding things to do with kids in LA which were fun, new, and affordable.

Here is a recap of all the fun things to do in LA with kids which filled up our week and kept us busy!

Universal Studios-Harry Potter World

OK fine, this is not affordable, nor is it technically in LA, but we HAD to see Harry Potter World and try Butter Beer! Since Universal Studios is notorious for getting extremely hot, we looked at the weather report and visited on the coolest day during our stay; which was day one. Although the temperature outside was only 68 degrees, it felt like 80. There isn’t any shade there! We knew ahead of time that Universal can get long lines, and get very hot, so we splurged and purchased the “Front of Line” tickets. This was a life-saver since with these tickets, you don’t have to wait in long lines for rides. Some of the lines looked horribly long, and we were able to go right to the front. If you don’t mind spending the extra money, it is worth it to be able to cut the line. No-one should have to wait in line for an hour to go on one ride.

Harry Potter World was our first and most important destination. We quickly went on one ride, and then went over to Ollivanders. Rumor had it that your future wand chooses you! How fun is that?! They put you in groups of about fifteen people to go inside the famous wand shop. I thought we would watch every child enjoy watching a wand choose them, but this was not the case. Only one person in the room gets chosen to have a wand choose them. This would have been a huge letdown had one of our kids not been chosen. We got lucky!

My ten-year-old daughter, who is a HUGE Harry Potter fan, was the one person chosen in our group to have a wand choose her. It was so much fun watching the wand choose her! I was afraid my other two children would be sad they weren’t chosen, but they were OK because they knew my middle child was the biggest Harry Potter fan in our family.

After you watch the wand choose one person, they exit the group into the store. We asked a sales assistant inside Ollivanders if they could help find a wand to choose my other two kids, and they obliged! So don’t be afraid to ask, they will help you! Also, important note: we had no idea the wands were $49 each. Three kids, and three wands, turned into an expensive experience. Be prepared if you want to head into Ollivanders with your aspiring witch or wizard.

My favorite part of the Harry Potter world was eating at Three Broomsticks. They had traditional pub food and Butter Beer! Oh my, Butter Beer is so good! It tasted like cream soda mixed with butterscotch and topped with vanilla whipped cream. I found a few recipes online to make it at home, but they didn’t look quite right. I am going to try to come up with my own formula. So stay tuned for my version later this summer!

If you would like to visit Universal Studios and see “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter,” I recommend “Front of the Line” passes and to arrive when the park opens. If you plan to have a wand choose you, I recommend getting into that line first as the “Front of Line” passes do not work there. Also, don’t get your heart set on being chosen, they choose someone at random. Lastly, be sure to drink Butter Beer! It is really yummy. I had one while we were walking around, and one at lunch. Yum!

La Brea Tar Pits and Museums

The La Brea Tar Pits are an affordable way to enjoy the rich history of our Earth, and Los Angeles. My kids loved seeing the tar pits and found it quite impressive how many fossils were found in some of the small pits! We were also able to see an excavation in progress where archaeologists were finding new fossils right before our eyes!

I recommend arriving at the La Brea Tar Pits when they open in the morning so you can see the museum before it gets crowded; plus park close in the adjacent lot. There are also short movies at the La Brea Tar Pits museum. We watched one about the Ice Age which my kids found extremely interesting. Don’t you just love educational fun?!

There are a couple of restaurants across the street from the La Brea Tar Pits. We ate at The Counter and it was really good. Also, after you visit the tar pits and museum, the Los Angeles Museum of Art is next door and is extremely affordable. We took the kids through three of the four buildings. They ended up quite tired, but they did enjoy seeing the exhibits. I highly recommend visiting both locations in one day.

California Science Center-see the space shuttle Endeavour!

My son wants to be an astronaut when he grows up, so seeing the space shuttle Endeavour was a must! He was in complete heaven seeing the shuttle up close. This too is an affordable place to visit with kids while visiting LA. The permanent exhibits are free of charge and there are also IMAX movies you can purchase tickets to. We watched two; one about space, and one about the ocean. This is a must-see if you visit Los Angeles! It is also another educational stop which is fun for the kids.

Check to see if you need reservations for the space shuttle online here.

Santa Monica Pier

When you visit Los Angeles, you need at least one beach day! Normally I would recommend visiting a quieter, less urban beach; but if your kids get bored at the beach after a couple hours like mine do, then Santa Monica Beach and Pier is a good spot. We went to the beach before the rides opened on the pier. When we were bored with the beach, our hunger kicked in; so we decided to eat lunch before going on any rides. At the very end of the pier there is a fairly new restaurant named Mariasol. It was really delicious! I recommend the Salmon Tropical. It was delicious!

When we went over to the rides, we realized that the prices were quite expensive when compared to Santa Cruz; which is what we are used to. We decided to only send the kids on one ride each since they were $8.50 per ride; that’s a lot! They were OK with it since we had already been to the beach, and done a bit of walking around the pier. After the rides, we had ice cream at Soda Jerks Ice Cream Shop. I had a Cream Soda Float and it was so good! I highly recommend grabbing some ice cream here. They have limited seating inside which you can find by walking into the door next to the Soda Jerks sign; it will look like you are entering the Merry-Go-Round, but if you turn left after going through the door, you will see the ice cream counter.

Mentryville ghost town and hike

If you are local to the Bay Area, and take highway five up and down the state, there is a fun little pit stop you can make along the way to stretch your legs. Mentryville is right off five and only a few minutes drive from the highway. It is an old oil boomtown which is now a ghost town. The ghost town is at the beginning of the hike, so don’t use it as an incentive to get your kids on a hike; we tried that and whoops! The hike is after the ghost town.

There is a parking lot at the town which is only $5. You need to pay the iron ranger which is right at the start of the lot. There are about five structures left in Mentryville; and one is a movie set building built by Disney. As far as ghost towns go, this is quite small and nothing to write home about. It IS a great way to get out of the car and stretch, take a short hike, and learn a little bit about SoCal’s oil history.

A good way to save money when visiting several locations in Los Angeles is with the Go LA Card.; a three-day version is sold through Costco. We didn’t get one for this trip since we wanted to get the “Front of Line” passes at Universal, and this pass only offers regular admission. Although, you can load the card with attractions you want to see a la carte; and in hindsight, we should have done this.

What are some of your favorite affordable things to do in Los Angeles with kids?