Monday, December 29, 2008

Teal Me No Lies

Pure, honest, luxury. These were the words that came to mind when I designed these earrings.
I paired peacock/teal green mystic quartz cubes with lustrous white pearls.
I loved them so much, I made myself a pair too :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Choco-licious Chewies

That's what I would name these yummy little bites.

They're actually called Almond and Chocolate Clusters (I substituted cashews). They were super easy to make but may be hazardous to fragile dental work. The caramel portion was really chewy. I don't know if it was the caramels I used or the fact that I let the caramels bubble a bit when they were melting. The recipe warns not to let the caramels bubble as they will become too hard. They weren't hard but they were chewier in the finished clusters than they were by themselves. I of course tested a few of the caramels prior to using them in the recipe ;)

I also had a problem with the cream causing the melting chocolate to ball up (did I say these were super easy?). I added a bit of skim milk and the chocolate became smooth and velvety. I think the cream may have been too cold when I added it, but the milk came right out of the fridge, into the double boiler and tamed that chocolate mess lickity-split. So, I'm not sure what the problem was. Next time I may just use the milk and skip the cream. Less guilt too.

The photo shows the clusters before I put them in the oven. I did let them cool completely in the fridge and I did dip them in chocolate. What I didn't do was photograph the finished product. Oops! I thought of this as I was munching down the last delectable delight. Oh well, maybe next year :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rib-sticking Goodness

Quick Pierogie Bake

This yummy tummy filling casserole was easy to make, but not exactly quick. Not for me. I think the problem may have been that I put all of the ravioli in the pan to brown at one time. I've since learned from watching the Food Network (sorry I can't remember which show) that one should not over-crowd the pan when browning.

I couldn't find pierogies so, as the recipe suggests, I substituted cheese ravioli for the pierogies.
I used two varieties of mushrooms, brown button and shitake. And, so I wouldn't set off the smoke detector, baked instead of broiled at a temperature of 375 for about 15 minutes.

I love casseroles, especially this time of year, if you have a favorite you'd like to share I'd love to hear it.

*Eagle-eyed readers who regularly visit my blog may notice the date on this post is the 11th. It's the 21st and, yes, I've been a bit delinquent in keeping up with my blog. Thanks for sticking with me!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ruby Treasure

I adore pomegranate seeds; their gorgeous crimson color, their sweet tart taste.
It took me a while to figure out the best way to get to these little gems.

First, cut about an inch off the top or crown.

Next cut the pomegranate into quarters.

Now scoop out the seeds removing pieces of the white pith as needed. I use my fingers and the tip of a knife for the really stubborn seeds.
There are other methods for getting at these juicy little treats. If my suggestion doesn't work well for you try, try another :)

My favorite way to eat the seeds is by the bowl full with a spoon.
I've also sprinkled them on salads and on top of vanilla ice cream. YUM!

Here is a link to a large variety of recipes. If you try one or if you have a favorite way of using pomegranate seeds I'd love to read about it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Good Hair Day (and warm ears too)

I love this headband. It keeps my head and ears warm without that 'compressed' feeling I sometimes get from a hat. A little kinder on the hairdo too :)

This is the Cable and Bobble Headband from Winter '06 Interweave Knits. It's knit in a bulky weight yarn, which makes it a super fast project.
Very beginner friendly for those who've never made a cable pattern, this is a great first project.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sweet and Squeaky

Spottedcowsoaps are so yummy looking one might be tempted to attack them with a spoon.
Whipped soap with sugar added promises to make your skin feel squeaky clean and moisturized. And add in the tart sweet fragrance of cranberry, I'm sold. What a treat after a long day of shopping, work or whatever.

Want to know more about this wonderful seller, please visit her blog!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Winter Blooms

I rescued these three Christmas cacti from the local grocery store several years ago. They were terribly water-logged and headed for certain doom. I just couldn't leave them in that state. I took them home and sopped all of the excess water out of their pots. They've rewarded me with lovely blooms every November/December since.

Also called Zygocactus or Schlumbergera, these plants require minimal care. Which is great for me! I don't exactly have a green thumb.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holiday Temptations

Here are some goodies from the Etsy shops of the Etsy Bloggers Team. Many of the shops have special deals through December 1st.

'Blue Serenity' necklace from TulipsTreasureBox will put you on Santa's nice list.

This gorgeous pink bag from TiLTcreations will make you the envy of the holiday party.

100% sweet goodness and 0% calories, Agoodwitchtoo's Sweet Pumpkin soap is a special treat. Great as a gift for yourself or that sweet (or even not so sweet) someone on your holiday list.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On the Needles

Another hand-knit gift.
I thought I had all of my hand-knit holiday gifts covered, but I just got another request.
There is no way I can refuse so here's a new project; well on it's way to becoming a hat.
(I actually feel very honored when someone wants something I make as a gift.)

Shop Stress Free, Shop Etsy.
Here are a few ideas for the knitter or knit lover on your gift list.

Sassalynne has the most beautiful hand-dyed yarns. My biggest dilemma is which one to choose.
This beauty even comes with a free scarf pattern!

Betani has these sweet stitch markers that knitters and crocheters could use to keep them stitching smoothly along.

Want a hand-knit scarf but don't want the work? Scarfitup has this blue beauty to add warmth and unique style.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stress Free Shopping

Shop Stress-free, Shop Etsy
That's my motto for this season.

I've always loved buying hand-crafted items from art fairs so when I discovered Etsy I was ecstatic.

I'll be featuring as many of my favorite artists and their shops as possible in the next few weeks.
I hope you find these posts helpful in making your holiday more fun and a lot less effort.

This unique necklace is by Roseworkjewelry. It contains real coffee beans. Very cool!

Coffee and unique appear to go together. Here's a cute card featuring 'Betty Jean, the coffee pot person'. And she can be found (where else) at CoffeePotPeople's Shop.

This gorgeous fine art triptych by Jenaardell is called 'Shooting Stars'. What a special way to decorate a wall.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Toast to Beauty

The turkey-stuffing, cookie-baking, gift-wrapping season has arrived. What better way to celebrate than with a beautiful toast.

These Whimsical Bella hand painted wine glasses are aptly named.
Beautiful? Absolutely.
Practical? Lead free and dishwasher safe.
Who wouldn't be totally wowed to receive this as a gift. (hint hint, Santa)

A sparking, colorful feast for the eyes, Vsilcoxdesigns has many beautiful hand painted glass pieces.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Twelve Days Promo

Kick off your holiday season with a bit of fun and a free gift.
EJDSS is having a great holiday promo. Click on the link for details.

Pictured is a sampling of some of their lovely work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Picture Perfect

I've been admiring this print for months.

I love hydrangeas and now that Jack Frost has claimed mine for the season I finally bought this beauty. I'm planning on framing it with a wide white mat and a simple black frame.

Yankeegirl's Watercolors has a variety of beautiful paintings, prints, cards and more. Perfect for adding that special touch to your home or as a unique holiday gift for someone special.

Thanks Yankeegirl!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not Red and Green

Wow, did these luscious lemon quartz briolettes catch my eye! They are super sparkly thanks to gorgeous faceting. They are so beautiful that I decided to keep the design simple; pairing them with deep blue/violet quartz cubes.
Simple elegance that dazzles.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jewelry on Display

I needed to do a photo display of some of my pieces for a gallery feature. I'm not much of a photographer. Perhaps practice will make me better, but probably not perfect. Some of these pieces will be available in my shop and some will be off to the gallery in the next week or so.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tell Me A Story

Poetry in jewelry, that's Storybeader's unique craft. Each one of her handcrafted items comes with a haiku written especially for that piece. The Christmas Memory Wire Bracelet pictured above would truly make a special gift.
Read more about her incredible work on her blog.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Project Runway"

Etsy Bloggers want to know - what am I working on?

I'm the featured artist at a local gallery for the month of December. So, I'm working on lots of new jewelry pieces for both the gallery and my etsy shop.

And I'm knitting:

Fingerless gloves in baby llama yarn. Soooo soft.

A scarf in alpaca yarn. My first colorwork project.

And a caplet in a kid mohair/silk blend that is a gorgeous shade of teal green.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Seven Secrets

Oh my! Barbara Beads has tagged me to reveal seven secrets. I'm just not that interesting.
This is going to take some thought.

In the meantime, take a look at Wyatts Magic Wagon. Now here's a secret worth spilling. Primitives, natural pet toys, Waldorf inspired balls and gorgeous ACEO's like the one pictured above; this shop is a treasure trove of unique items.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Decision '08

After much debate, hemming and hawing and general procrastination, I made up my mind. Amy of Amy Esther Ceramics doesn't make the decision easy. She has so many lovely items in her shop.

This bowl is not my usual color choice, but I really love the sunburst pattern.
I can hardly wait to see it in person :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scared Silly

Ghosts and goblins and princesses, Oh My!

An excuse to dress up, Halloween gives you one date. Emandsprout gives you a shop full of excuses. Like these adorable pink monster shoes. Ready to smile up at you and all you meet.

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Cupid's Darts, Venus Hair Stone, Fleches d'Amour by any name Rutilated Quartz is intriguing.
When I saw this strand of rutilated quartz I just had to buy it. Stunning! But what to do with it? I considered splitting the strand up; sprinking a bit of it's magic over several pieces. But I truely loved how all these little gems looked together.

And so, that's how the Bewitching Bracelet came to be.

Over 240 cts of top quality rutilated quartz crystal, poised on hand made sterling silver headpins, were carefully linked together to form this one of a kind beauty. Vibrant with the colors of warm russet red, gold, celery, peach and deep chocolate brown, this bracelet flows elegantly over the wrist.

Two stunning step-cut smokey quartz nuggets and a hand-hammered clasp are the finishing touch.

Saturday night sparkle. Bold weekday elegance. Yummy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Kitty Hat Finished or A Happy Ending to a Sad Tail

This is the third time I've made this pattern; the second time using this yarn combination.
My daughter left the first one in a classroom and when she went back to retrieve it, it was gone.
So it's twin is out there, somewhere.

Want to know all the 'furry' details? Check out this earlier post. It lists the yarn used and where to find the pattern.

Happy Knitting :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eenie Meenie

What project should I choose next?
I'm finishing several knitted projects and contemplating my next.

Something small?

The 'Enchanting Fur Hat' in Exquisite Little Knits.

The 'Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf' or 'Dayflower Lace Scarf' I found on Ravelry.

Or, the gorgeous but I-may-pull-my-hair-out-over-it, 'Nantucket Jacket' in the Winter 2006 Interweave Knits.

So much stashed yarn, so many queued patterns. Which one to choose? Maybe I'll just make a run to my LYS (local yarn shop) and buy something new ;)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spirit of the Season

Send someone you know a real treat. sMacshop makes these fun cards using a variety of techniques. Bold color on the outside and blank on the inside. This card is spook-tacular.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Birthday Gift

One of my 'Simply Charming' necklaces made for a very special birthday gift. This one is made with a sterling silver Hilltribe flower, a Swarovski crystal heart and a Fluorite nugget. I make the charms removable so the happy recipient can wear the necklace with one, two or all three of the charms, changing the look of the necklace as desired.

Hooray for freedom of choice :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pumpkin Sunshine

The cool snap of the morning air tempered by the warm fragrance of freshly baked pumpkin muffins. These little gems enticed me out of my warm bed today.
Despite the name, I decided to leave the walnuts and the dates out of this batch of Pumpkin Walnut Muffins. They were yummy just the same.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Rescue Me

A surprise, mystery gift for you.
I'm doing my part to boost the economy and your spirits. $6.00 plus shipping at my etsy shop will buy you a surprise pair of earrings, retail value of at least $20.

The earrings will be sterling silver and will feature either gemstones, artisan lampwork beads, pearls, semi-precious stones or crystals.

I get to choose; that's the mystery. You get the surprise.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Looking Good

Hot off the press and out of the oven, Amy of Amy Esther Ceramics, has just introduced her latest ceramic creations. She thoughtfully test-baked one of her new casserole dishes and the results are,well, picture perfect.

I just checked out her site and these new pieces aren't up yet. Oh, Amy, we're watching and waiting :)

I love the look of this wheel-thrown set of bowls. That guacamole's looking darn good too!