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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer = Free Time!


Whew! The end of the school year has finally arrived, and I have been able to let go enough of the stress that I can relax and get some creative work done. First out of the gate: Scrabble tile pendants!

My dear mom started collecting Scrabble tiles for me quite some time ago, and for the most part they have just sat, lonely, in their bin in my office. So after a very stressful Saturday, I stopped in at my local Big Box Craft Store (when they start offering me discounts to name them, I'll name them!) and bought some supplies.

I bought: a paper punch with a lovely scalloped edge just SLIGHTLY bigger than the tiles, a package of floral patterned chigoyami paper, a set of decoupaging brushes, some stamps and a glue stamp pad. Yes, a GLUE stamp pad! More on that later.

So here's the introductory pic:

This picture is one of 7 designs I punched out of one single square of chiyogami paper that measures about 3" x 3". You can see that a small fuzzy made its way into the glaze, but I think that will sand away after the glazing is finished.

Here's another; same packet of papers, different sheet. I love the roses on this one! Another part of the sheet has tiny pink roses and a big white rose.
Here's one final solo tile:

What's funny about THIS one, is it's the sheet I liked least, but I really like the way the pendant is turning out. The colours of the orchid really pop with the sealer! 

And here's the whole haul so far:


You can see the light from my flash glaring more on some because of the angles, but I really like how shiny these look after only 3 coats of sealer! After dinner, I will put a few more coats of sealer and start a second batch. After all: I cut 7 tiles out of 2pieces each of four designs!

(Be the first to comment with the math correct and I will send you a finished tile necklace on a black satin cord!)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bold new look...

So blogger has a new template designer...how do you like it? I was playing around and this is what I came up with. I am pretty happy with it so far, but that might just be the cough syrup talking....Good night!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wow...

I just got my first look at the profile feature that Diana from painted Lady fingers wrote about me in her blog. For those of you who didn't get here from there, here's a link! I think I'm blushing....

As always, comments are welcomed and will ALL be answered!

My, how we are growing!


Over 100 of you along for the ride now...gee!!! I feel a sudden onslaught of performance anxiety! I always do better under pressure though, so I'm sure I will be fine! Well now that we are ALMOST to the halfway point of 2010, I took on a task today that I have been putting off forever!

"Put thine own house in order", right? I needed to get my office/jewellery studio in order so I knew what was what and what was where and what I needed and what I wanted to use. So, after I twisted my SUPER organized Mom's arm until she found a day to come over to help, it finally got done.

I freely admit that I am my father's daughter in most things. I adore my mom, but we are nothing alike in our thinking. She is concrete linear/ I am random abstract (we are both creative though...) So I told her what we needed to do and then she decided how to do it and broke it down into small chunks for me, and we got it done! It's not that I am a slob: I have a learning disability that makes my organization skills in general those of a hyperactive toddler on RedBull...if you give me a huge job to do without any ideas of how to break it down, I will either become completely overwhelmed or I will do it the least efficient way possible and may be distracted thirteen times before I ...oh look! A shiny thing!

So...this was the result. A wonderfully organized workspace!


There are two side by side racks here: the left one is for paperwork, packaging materials etc. The right hand one is jewellery supplies, tools, wire, etc.

A closer look at the jewellery rack shows the Swarovski rack, pearl rack, gemstone rack, some still to be bagged and sorted stones, Scrabble tiles for pendants, many MANY pairs of pliers and cutters, the world's largest collection of steel wool, hundreds of dollars worth of sterling silver wire, and a train case FULL of unset stones for ring making!

Here's a closer look at the plastic case at the top right...It is full of sterling silver clasps, toggles, findings and charms!
 Wow! There was a work table under there...who would have guessed?? You can see my magnifier there to the left, some stuff to be sorted, some silver jumprings, and...a table!








This is where the magic happens, kiddies: that's my desk top, and my desktop, complete with pen and paper journal, blogger dashboard, and about 150 pens.







And finally, here's the payoff...my sweet new (used) iPod touch! I've been wanting one forever, I found this one lightly used, and I grabbed it. And I may never take it off again...












 Sweet dreams all!

As always, I welcome and respond to any and all comments!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Giveaway Time!

I appear to have the plague, so no new creations right now, since I find typing an exhausting endeavour right now. But for those of you who don't already follow paintedLadyfingers' blog, here's a link to her amazing spring beauty giveaway! You should all check it out, and enter as many ways as you legitimately can!  Good luck, lovelies!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Giveaways Galore!

I love being given the chance to win something by blogging about something I already enjoy! It helps spread love about Etsy shops that I love, for one thing, and for another...well,  who doesn't like a chance to win free stuff?

The current blog offering the giveaway is called Life's Recipe and her current giveaway features soy wax melting tarts from the fabulous Auntie Di! It's Auntie Di who gave away a pair of my earrings last week in her blog, so I'm helping out by cross-promoting the tart give away you can find right here!

Good luck everyone!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What's for Dinner, Wild?

Tonight I bring you: Homemade (nearly) from Scratch Chicken and Biscuits!

In my defense, I have, in the distant past, made this dish entirely from scratch: cooked the chicken breast, chopped the veggies, made the white sauce flavoured with bouillon, made the baking powder biscuits....but in all honesty, I really prefer this version. It takes far less time, tastes better, and is probably in the long run FAR more economical!

Here's what you do:
 Purchase one (or better yet, two!) rotisserie chickens from your favourite place to buy them. I get mine at Costco: the chickens are bigger, cheaper and better tasting than those at either of the two big grocery stores around here. What you see in the picture above is the skin and scraps I save for my dogs, 2 breasts saved for sammiches, and about 4 cups of torn up mixed white and dark chicken meat. I tear it by hand, because I think you lose less of the juices that way.  Set the meat aside, preheat the oven to 375 and start the sauce.


This is what it looks like: the drippings from the bottom of the package the chicken came in, and a small piece of cchicken fat. Whether it's chicken, turkey, beef or pork, you can't make proper gravy without fat! Heat this until it's almost all liquified. If you want, substitute butter or margarine for the chicken fat. In a real pinch you can even use vegetable shortening or oil, but the taste won't be the same!

When it's all liquified, shake some flour over it. There are places where you can buy special flour shakers and they tell you this will stop lumps, but I just dip a clean hand into the bag of flour usually, pinch up a small amount and sprinkle it fairly evenly across the surface of the heated fat, like so:
Now I use my nonstick whisk to whisk this into a paste. This is a roux, and it's essential to good gravy or white sauce. It looks kind of unappetizing even when it's done right, so let's skip to the next step: add your liquid. In this case, we're using milk.Whisk until all the large lumps are gone and it's got a nice smooth consistency. Don't worry if you have a few small lumps left at this point: they will likely cook down in the next steps.

What we have now, if we want to get fancy about it, is a chicken sauce veloutine.  Let it cook until it's slightly thickened, then add in my secret ingredient, the Better than Bouillon paste in chicken flavour.
I really like this product for a few reasons: no MSG, no artificial colouring or flavours, and much lower in Sodium than powdered or cubed bouillon products. Whisk that in. Now comes the time for your first major cheat:

I use about half a container. Mixing this with the homemade base makes for a better tasting sauce than either tastes on its own. Whisk until thoroughly combined and bring to a bubble, but not a full boil. Add frozen veggies to your taste. I used about 1.5 cups EACH of Peaches & Cream corn and Peas & Carrots mix. Add liberal amounts of fresh cracked black pepper. Use about as much as you think you need, then turn the crank on that sucker a few more times. I really prefer fresh cracked pepper, as I think it tastes spicier!

Let that bubble merrily away over medium heat for a bit. Take your chicken meat and place it in the bottom of your baking dish. Usually, I use a Pyrex dish but every once in a while, after Hubbs has busted his hump cleaning the entire kitchen, I will buy a disposable foil baking dish. That way, there is a lot less mess for me to neglect to clean up right away!  I used about 2 cups of my cooked chicken, and poured the sauce/veggie mix on...If needed, to distribute chicken and vegetables proportionally throughout the dish, stir with a wooden spoon. Then, set the mixture aside to mellow while you get the biscuits/dumplings ready.

 Yummy, huh?


In tonight's version I used prepared biscuit mix. Sometimes I use the buttermilk fridge biscuits, but I use the store brand, not the laughing little fat guy in the baker's hat brand, and I didn't want to go to THAT particular grocery store, so I went with the baking powder version.



I like to tinker with the flavour, so I added black pepper, grated parmesan, and mozza cheddar mix to the basic recipe on the box for drop biscuits. I confess...I don't like my dumplings all doughy on the bottom, so I always pop them on a baking pan and into the oven for 5-7 minutes just until the bottoms set. Then I pull 'em out and set them on the chicken mixture. Sprinkle some paprika on top to make it look pretty! (I really don't think it affects the taste much, but it does look nice!) Bake at 375 until the biscuits are browned and ready!
Dish up and enjoy!