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Friday, July 26, 2013

Playing with Wire

I signed up for one of those online jewelry classes a while ago and have slowly been working my way through it -- you might remember that I first used some basics from the class for my project in the 7th Bead Soup Blog Party with the goodies I received from Mandi E. of Craft-o-licious.

Well, I've finally moved through a few more lessons, and I'm really excited with what I'm creating.  Here's what I've come up with this week.

I might list these.....or I might do up another pair using some sodalite and list

And I just finished these chandelier-style - in time for my niece's 18th birthday.  She likes dangling earrings and I used IU colors where she is heading off to in the fall.

Have to admit I was a little intimidated at first by the look of all those loops, but they were really fun to create. Looking forward to playing with them some more - maybe as a pendant base.

 Stay tuned - eventually, I have to get something listed in the shops!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Today's Aroma Brought to You by...

Remember yesterday's photo?  Well, today's aroma is brought to you by basil and garlic.  Just finished my batch of pesto - thank you, Ina Garten :)  I will say that Ina must like her pesto a bit thinner than I prefer - or more likely I didn't "pack" my cups as much as she would have?  Her pesto recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of olive oil and gives a 4 cup yield.  I only used 1 1/4 cups of the olive oil - really thought any more would have been a pretty runny pesto.  And that, of course, meant less pesto - but a lot less.  I ended up with 2 1/3 cups - big difference.  I froze 2 cups of it, in 1/2 c. portions using the method recommended here and kept the remaining for use now.  

The "pinky taste test" proved yummy, and I'm sure our plants will provide me with at least one more batch before the season ends.

The kitchen?  Oh, yeah, still gotta do those dishes...soaking.  They're soaking...I'm working on it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday...almost

I see pesto in my future...any favorite recipes you'd like to share?

Monday, July 22, 2013

It's Official!

I have been bursting with "Mom" news over this last week or so, waiting first to find out if things were really going to work out and then waiting for the news to become "Facebook official" after he notified family members.  Now I can let it out!  My son who has been living and working in Tanzania these last 5 years is coming home in October - and not just for a visit!  The organization he works for has agreed with him that the communication aspect of his job - which is really the most important part - can be done more efficiently and effectively stateside.  He had been planning a visit home in October with his girlfriend, but let me know when we last Skyped that there was a very good possibility that when he arrived he would have all his belongings with him -- and now it's official!  

I know he will be experiencing some very bittersweet emotions these next few months as he prepares to leave the country, friends, and family who have been his life for five years, and I know he faces quite a transition in this move, not just a visit, back to America.  We are not the same country we were when he left.  But, I also know that he will be surrounded by family and friends who love and support him.  And, I know he will continue the incredible work that he does and perhaps find new, exciting ways to share it here, bridging needs in East Africa with caring individuals and groups stateside. I, for one, am starting to count the days until I get to say, "Welcome home!"

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hello, My Name is Sue and I'm a Bead Hoarder...

Today I'm participating in a blog hop for bead hoarders - a very special group of people who like me have over the years find ourselves with beads, beads, and more beads (for me, kind of like books and shoes - you can never have too many).  The blog hop is once again hosted by the extremely talented Lori Anderson of  Pretty Things  who encourages us creative types in so many ways.

The rules for the hop were simple -- find some beads you've been "hoarding," create away, post today - July 20th - and then "hop" along to visit other participants in the the party.

I have had this beautiful set of lampwork beads from DerondaDesigns for longer than I can remember now and decided to center my necklace around that "find."  I also found that I had a lot of lavender crazy lace agate and amethyst rounds which worked well as I moved forward in designing the necklace.

I'm not sure yet whether I'll be listing this in one of the shops -- SignatureSterling on Artfire or SignatureSterling on Etsy -- or keeping it for myself :)  (I seem to be doing that more and more, lol!)...but I'm hoping that participating in the blog will keep the creative muse going so hopefully, if you check the shops over the next few weeks, you may see some new items listed.  Stay tuned!

Now, be sure to keep "hopping" and check out all the incredible creations by the other bead hoarders participating in this blog party!    Here's the list:

1.  Lori Anderson, Pretty Things
2. Nancy Dale, NEDBeads
3. Roxanne Mendoza, Roxi Designs
4.  Melissa Trudinger, beadrecipes
5.  Rana Lea, Rana Lea Designs
6.  Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
7.  Rita Avila, Jewel School Friends
8.  Linda Anderson, From the Bead Board
  10.  Erin Guest, Renlish

11.  Joan Williams, lilruby jewelry
12. Diane Hawkey, Diane Hawkey
13.  Jo-Ann Woolverton, It's a Beadiful Creation
14.  Sue Kennedy, SueBeads
15.  Lisa Cone, Inspired Adornments
16.  Kari Asbury, Hippie Chick Design
17.  Nichole Byers, Nichole Byers
18.  Lori Jean Poppe, Adventures in Creativity
19.  Linda Landig, Linda's Bead Blog and Meanderings
20.  Lori Schneider, Bead Addict

21.  Molly Alexander, Beautifully Broken Me
22. Cece Cormier, The Beading Yogini
23.  Niki Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
24.  Elsie Deliz-Fonseca, Eliz-Eliz and All That Craft
25.  Amber Dawn, Inventive Soul
26.  Heather Powers, Humblebeads
27.  Sarah Goode, Pookledo
28.  Monique Urquhart, A Half-Baked Notion
29.  JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
30.  Cheri Reed, Creative Designs by Cheri

31.  Robyn, Museiddity
32.  Catherine King, Catherine's Musings
33.  Jacquie, Bead Gypsy
34.  Janet McDonald, Singing Woods
35. Kay Thomerson, Kayz Kreations
36.  Tanty Sri Hartanti, TJewellicious by Tanti
37.  Hannah Rosner, Good River Valley
38.  Rochelle Brisson, A Creative Chelle
39.  Nelly May, Smelly Nelly
40.  Skylar Bre'z, Brising Beads

41.  Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
42.  Christie Murrow, Charis Designs
43.  Leanne Loftus, First Impression Design
44.  Valerie Norton, Hot Art
45.  Judy Riggs, Rigglettes
46.  Crystal Thain, Here Bead Dragons
47.  Terry Carter,  Tapping Flamingo
48.  Sue, Mid-Life Great Expectations (me!!)
49.  Nan Smith, Wired Nan
50.  Miranda Ackerley, MirandAck Arts

51.  Marie Covert, Creating Interest
52.  D'Arsie Manzella, This Here Now, Mamacita
53.  Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
54.  Lori Bergmann, Lori Bergmann Design
55.  Johanna Nunez, The Lovely One Design
56.  Mary Govaars, MLH Jewelry Designs
57.  Becky Pancake, Becky Pancake Bead Designs
58.  Alicia Marinache, All the Pretty Things
59.  Debbie Rasmussen, A Little of This, A Little of That
60.  Nat, Grubbi Ceramics

61.  Marjorie Savill Linthwaite, Bennu Bird Rising
62.  Cheryl McCloud, One Thing Leads to Another
63.  Heather Otto, The Crafthopper
64.  Candida Castleberry, Spun Sugar Beadworks
66.  JuLee Wolfe, The Polymer Penguin
67.  Ginger Bishop, Lil Mummy Likes
68.  Karen Mitchell, Over the Moon Design
69.  Jeannie Dukic, Jeannie's Blog
70.  Dini Bruinsma, Angaza by Changes

71.  Birgitta Lejonklou, Create With Spirit
72.  Shalini Austin, Jewellery by Shalini
73.  Jayne Capps, Mama's Got to Doodle
74.  Ile Ruzza, Ilenia's Unique Beaded Jewelry
76.  Annita Wilson, AW Jewelry 
77.  Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame
78.  Hannah Trost, PZ Designs
79.  Linda Inhelder, Must Haves Jewelry
80.  Miri Agassi, Beadwork

81.  Hope Smitherman, Crafty Hope
82.  Dyanne Cantrell, Dee-Liteful Jewelry Creations
83.  Susan Bowie, Susan Nelson Bowie
84.  Megan Milliken, MaeMaeMills
85.  Menka Gupta, Menka's Jewelry
86.  Ambra Gostoli, Chic and Frog
87.  Lori Lochner, Bloghner
88.  Gerda Jurimae, Gerda's Crafts Blog
89.  Susan, Mistheword
90.  MaryLou Holvenstot, MaryLou's time2cre8

91.  Mary Shannon Hicks, falling into the sky
92.  Karin King, The Sparklie Things Blog
93.  Christa Murphy, Adventures of One Beady Woman
94.  Jenny Davie-Reazor, Jenny Davies-Reazor
95.  Donetta Farrington, Simply Gorgeous
96.  Mallory Hoffman, Rosebud 101 - For the Love of Beads
97.  Danielle Kelley, Imbue the Muse
98.  Kym Hunter, Kym Hunter Designs
99.  Dolores Rami, CraftyD's Creations
100.  Marcia Dunne, 13 Alternatives

101.  Marlene Cupo, Amazing Designs
102.  Emma Todd, A Polymer Penchant
103.  Wendy Holder, Jewelry by WendyLea
104.  Michelle Escano, The Cabby Crafter
105.  Louise Glazier, Lily and Jasmine Treasures
106.  Dana Hickey, Wind Dancer Studios
107.  Lennis Carter, windbent
108.  Anne Betenson, Crystal River Beads
109.  Audrey Belanger,  Dreams of an Absolution
110.  Lisa Stukel, Carefree Jewelry by Lisa

111.  Janine Lucas, Travel Stories
112.  Claire Lockwood, Something to Do With Your Hands
113.  Kathy Engstrom, Catherine's Dreams
114.  Paula Hisel, Simply Beadiful
115.  Karla Morgan, Texas Pepper Jams
116.  Mischelle Fanucchi, Micheladas Musings
117.  Kim, Cianci Blue
118.  Linda Sadler, Ida Louise Jewelry
119.  Karen, Spokalulu
120.  Jennifer LaVite, Dry Gulch Bead and Jewelry

121.  Andrea Glick-Zenith, ZenithJade Creations
122.  Karen Martinez, Fairies Market
123.  Robin Reed, Artistry HCBD
124.  Amy Bright, LABweorc
125.  Jasvanti Patel, Jewels by Jasvanti
126.  Tammie Everly, TTE Designs
127.  Karin Slaton, Backstory Beads
128.  Natalie Moten, Running Out of Thread
129.  Sharyl McMillian-Nelson, Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections
130.  Jenny Kyrlach, Wonder and Whimsy

131.  LiliKrist, Handmade by LilK
132.  Jessica Klaaren, The Truth Space
133.  Cynthia Abner, Created Treasures
134.  Beth Emery, Stories by Indigo Heart
135.  Heather Davis, Blissful Garden Beads
136.  Jeanne, Gems by Jeanne Marie
137.  Sandi Volpe, Sandi Volpe
138.  Laren Dee Barton, Laren Dee Designs
139.  Steph, Confessions of a Bead Hoarder
140.  Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations

141.  B. R. Kuhlman, Mixed Mayhem
142.  Patty Miller, Cabari Beads
143.  Elizabeth Bunn, Elizabeth Beads
144.  Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
145.  Lizzie Clarke, The Need to Bead
146.  Christina Miles, Wings 'n' Scales
147.  Patricia, The Color of Dreams
148.  Marde Lowe, Fancimar
149.  Ev Shelby, Raindrop Creations
150.  Sarah Small, By Salla

151.  Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
152.  Laurie Vyselaar, Lefthand Jewelry
153.  Pam Traub, Klassy Joolz
154.  Lisa Harrison, Daisy Meadow Studio
155.  Anzia Parks, Anzi-Panzi's Work Shoppe
156.  Ingrid, Lilisgems Handcrafted Jewelry Inspirations
157.  Andra Weber, Andra's Joyful Journey
158.  Kelly Hosford Patterson, The Traveling Side Show
159.  Adlinah Kamsir, Dreamstruck Designs
160.  Marci, That Nothing Be Wasted

161.  Kris Lanae Binsfield,  Cherish Designs
162.  Stephanie Perry, Mustard Bead
163.  Birgit Klughardt, Gites Beads
164.  Inge von Roos, Inge's Blog
165.  Rebecca Sirevaag, Becca's Place
166.  Sandy Markley, Gypsy Spirit Designs
167.  Elena Adams, Lena's Beady Blog

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, July 15, 2013

An Unexpected Retreat

This is the road leading to the house where I am spending the next few days - just a short drive from the bridge leading to the UP of Michigan.  "Up North" as the locals call it.  My mother was heading here to visit with a close friend who has a beautiful vacation home nestled in the Northwoods - I got to "tag" along.  Let's see...time away with a couple of wise women, good food, wine, shopping (Up North promises unique shopping experiences), and no tv - wireless, yes.  How could I resist?  Although I probably should edit that last sentence and place the wine before the good food...

Last night as I lay in bed, I felt like I was a kid back at camp - sleeping up in the house's loft and looking out the window into the woods and hearing nothing but the noises of the night forest.  So peaceful.  And this morning, I realized how much I might improve my own daily "peace" at home by not operating on auto pilot each day and turning on the television immediately every morning to my favorite news station and having that be my background for the day's activities.  How much more serene the morning was enjoying my coffee listening to a radio - NPR news - and then just classical music for the hours as we shared breakfast and prepared for our day.  Seriously, do I really need that television on 24/7?  With as connected to the world as we all are, a quick check-in on Twitter today once or twice was all I needed to see if there was any "breaking news" that might be changing lives.

I brought my beads, some knitting, and reading with me - we'll see if anything gets accomplished other than our daily excursions.  Beyond those, I'm content to sit and "be" in the woods with this great company and our host, Marcel.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Eating Crow...Well, Actually Really Good Salmon

A little over a year ago, I bought hubby a Breville Panini maker.  Since then he has become a panini chef extraordinaire.  He also has tried on multiple occasions to convince me that said panini maker could be used for grilling, but I have poo-poo-ed this idea each and every time - instead opting for broiling or most recently (we don't eat beef often) having him fry burgers for our 4th of July supper.  So, yes, you can imagine my red face when I noticed our panini maker advertised this week, clearly titled Breville Panini Press & Grill:
The versatile appliance is perfect for quick weeknight meals and casual entertaining, doing double duty as an indoor grill and a sandwich press....Variable angle grilling surface allows for fat to drip away from food or, if kept flat, ensures extra-juicy steaks and chops.
Ahh, an indoor grill - what a novel idea and here it was sitting in our kitchen all along.  So, Tuesday night, along with a little crow, I enjoyed some wonderful grilled salmon!

Again, our healthy herb garden played a big part - for the chopped herbs, I used oregano, tarragon, and rosemary.  The sprigs were thyme, rosemary, and a couple of oregano.  The panini/grill worked great - gave a great sear and after about 22 minutes, perfectly cooked.  Hubby raved - even went to work the next day and at lunch, came home to raid the herb garden for his boss so she could fix the recipe that night :)

Grill on!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hell's Kitchen sans Gordon

Been awhile hasn't it?  Well, thought I'd rejoin the blogosphere by sharing how I heated up the kitchen Sunday night.  I'm finding that when I get stressed I don't just eat, I cook.  So Sunday night I took on a "Hell's Kitchen" regular for my first time - risotto.

First, let me say that our herb garden has been quite prolific this summer - despite the strange summer weather we are experiencing (will this rain ever stop???).  So I'm finding myself with a whole lot of not just basil but also lemon basil and looking for ways to use it.  Sunday night's menu was amended in various ways to accommodate that.

I used the lemon basil (rather than the called-for regular basil) along with our garden's rosemary and parsley with the chicken breasts.  No shrimp in the risotto but I did keep the asparagus (yum!) and again, used our garden's parsley and substituted our lemon basil for the lemon zest in the recipe.  Hubby was happy with it - I would give myself a B as I think it was still a little too al dente (I think "yes, Chef" would have come raging back at me with the pan).  Next time, I probably will do one more round of broth and simmering...but, not bad for a first effort.

Dessert was bliss.  Mint from our garden with blueberries we had picked up on Saturday at one of our favorite wineries (which is next to a blueberry farm).  And as you've probably guessed by now, lemon basil went into the cream - delish!

Tonight - the vegetable garden is overflowing with spinach and lettuce, so salad night it is - grilled salmon on top.