Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls on a Wonderful Day



Are you thinking you may have had enough carbs over the holidays? well.........
Here's a little treat. Or maybe a big treat. ;-) We were so fortunate to be able to visit our son Mike in Michigan for Christmas. Then our daughter Lauren and her husband Matt were also able to travel to Mike's. We had all kinds of fun. On Christmas Eve we visited friends in Canada for a wonderful dinner, with lake perch that was caught and frozen this summer. YUM! and then on Christmas day, Mike cooked up some wondrous food also and I got to help!

We also baked a batch of cinnamon rolls. They weren't as good as usual because I had decided to cut back the sugar in the filling by a half cup. wrong! LOL I guess when it comes to cinnamon rolls a lot of sugar makes them just that much better! But they were still good. We put icing on them to add a little more sweetness. Sometimes I make these into pecan rolls and they are addictive. Totally addictive. I am warning you! People will beg you to make them again. You will eat them until you want to burst and then... you'll eat one more.

This is a great recipe I found in the newspaper years ago, and have modified it here and there, and baked it over and over. My Mom's side of the family, has many recipes for breads and they were bakers, not by trade, but they made some really good breads, and pastries, and whatever. My love for carbs must have come from that side of the family!

Grandma Ott used to visit and bake breads all day when she came. She would make a little tin of bread for me when I helped her. My own small loaf which I could have straight out of the oven with lots of melted butter. So fragrant, I can picture it to this day in my mind, coming in from playing out on the swing set, to a warm kitchen with these incredible smells, Grandma in her apron, and warm bread lining the counter top.I feel that I learned from a 'master baker' because she would teach me how to stir in the ingredients and let me help knead the bread. (and let me say here that a stand mixer with a dough hook is a real blessing) Grandma always had a big bin of flour in her closet, my Mother always has the same in her cupboard, as I do too. It was fun to see that Mike also has a large plastic bin full of flour, and so does Lauren. And my son Joe, who was not with our side of the family this year for the holiday, is great at baking too. The baking 'gene' has been passed on!
Here is the recipe for these cinnamon rolls. They take about 4 or 5 hours to make so it's best for some lazy day that you are around the house. It's worth it! (Then you'll have to plan some gym time too!)





Susan's Cinnamon Rolls

rolls:
1/2 c sugar
2 t. salt
2 c milk (warmed)
2 pkg yeast dissolved in 1/2 c lukewarm water
2 eggs (beaten)
6-6 1/2 c flour
1/2 c butter melted and cooled

stir sugar and salt into milk, mixing to dissolve. Add yeast/water mixture to milk. add eggs. gradually add 3 c flour mixing well by hand. Add melted butter, mixing well. add additional flour to make a soft dough. Place dough on board and cover and let rest for 10 minutes
knead about 10 minutes, adding only enough flour to keep dough from sticking
place in a large bowl cover and let rise until double (about 2 hours)
punch down rise about 45 minutes

stir together filling

1 c softened butter
2 c sugar
6 t cinnamon


Divide dough in half
roll out 15 x 12 x 1/2 inch spread with half of the cinnamon mixture. roll up, seal, and cut into slices about 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick.

grease a baking pan (about 12x 14 with sides on the pan)
in the bottom of the pan put a layer of pecans, then sprinkle a light layer of brown sugar over that. sometimes I sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on that too.
then put the cut rolls on that layered goodness, with the spirals facing up and down.
do the same thing with the other half of the dough
cover and let rise about an hour

bake 350 for 20 minutes. watch them. if they are browning too fast on top, put a loose piece of aluminum foil over them.

when done, invert pan on top of foil and let sit for a minute. remove pan.

you can omit the pecans and when they are done drizzle a glaze over them

glaze
1 c powdered sugar
3 T milk
1/2 t vanilla

makes about 32 rolls

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Reduce- Reuse -Recycle


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, always have been in use in my parent's house. Probably it was a carry over from being 'depression babies'. But as a child, I was taught to figure out how to make do with what you had. There were so many uses for left over 'things' and we also used 'things' until they totally wore out and couldn't be fixed. Our trash barrel rarely had much in it. The food scraps went to the compost or to the chickens. The papers were burned in the fireplace to start the fire. Scrap wood was bought at the lumber yard to burn for heat. The tin cans went to the dump, but most of our canned food was 'canned' in glass jars from our garden. The jars, of course, we used year after year.. The bottles from soda or beer were returned to the store for that 2 cent deposit. If we could find two bottles to take back, it was enough money for a popsicle. We rode our bikes and walked, covered our school books in brown paper to preserve the covers so they could be resold, and used both sides of our notebook paper. We cut the buttons off clothing that was worn out, so the buttons could be used again. The clothing became cleaning rags. (and we did wear out clothes due to being a large family, hand me downs were a fact of life)
When I grew up, as an adult, it was and is hard to believe what people throw away. Now not throwing things away can also be a bad thing because saving 'stuff' isn't good either since storage is expensive. Think of how much you pay for a shelf!
But you can take what you don't use to Goodwill or charity of some type. Resell your books on Amazon. Take your recycle-able items to the recycle center if you don't have recycling in your city.
Sometimes clever things can be made with old items. I am especially in love with felting wool sweaters and look for them when I take a trip to the Goodwill. And something interesting is that you can take some wool sweaters if they have a seam that is not a cut weave and unravel them, wash the yarn, and reuse it.
It would be so good for our environment if everyone tried to do their part. Think of ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Pictured is a pendant I make using coca cola bottle necks. The remainder of the bottle goes to recycling. It's a fun way to reuse something and remind myself when wearing it to at least try to remember my shopping bags when I go to the grocery!
What do you do? It's great to hear ideas and practices that will help us live in a clean and healthy world.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas without Snow



Before we moved to North Carolina from Northern Michigan, we did a bit of research on line. Wikipedia was a great help with all kinds of information on population and weather, transportation, location, you name it. It was a big help in deciding where to live.
Then after we found jobs, we looked at the city itself. At the time, we looked at the town we were going to work in. There were pictures of events and one of those was the annual Christmas parade. "Look at that!" I exclaimed. "The people are wearing sweatshirts!!" It was hard to imagine a Christmas parade that wasn't so cold you needed electric socks. (yes there really are electric socks and they work great)

It seems that almost every town around us has a Christmas parade. It's so charming. It seems more people are in the parade than the people watching it. There is every princess of any event possible riding in an open convertible and waving. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Dancers, Church groups, Bagpipes, Bands, Shriners in mini cars, Monster trucks, some Floats, and all the Local Politicians. Throw in a few fire engines with sirens going, and some police cars, and you have a two hour taste of The South.

It may not snow here, but Christmas in the South is a special flavor. My husband says it doesn't seem like Christmas without snow, and I say what makes up for the snow is all the lights and decorations people put out.

Nearby, we have a town called McAdenville. (check out the link!) The entire town is lit for the month. Everyone there has Christmas lights. Everyone. I have heard they don't pay their electric bills for the month as the city (??) pays for it. Cars line up all the way out to the highway to drive through. We avoided it for a few years thinking the traffic was too much. Then we 'toughed it out' one year. It's awesome. Not only is the city totally lit to the point you keep saying 'wow!' But the people in the traffic driving through are celebrating. There are open wagons, trucks with their truck beds full of people, people walking, cars with people out the sun roofs, all calling out "Merry Christmas!"
Very very awesome. Well worth driving in traffic, and you want to drive slow anyway since it's such a memorable evening.

So we gave up snow but we have found some wonderful ways to enjoy the holiday season... and wearing sweatshirts while we're at it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Masked dots in lampwork


These are so much fun to make. You start with the base bead. In this case, I started with gray glass. Then you dot in a pattern.I started with a light turquoise. You melt that in. Then you overlap the existing dots with a new color (in this case the pinkish coral) and melt that in. Then you can add the light turquoise again. Then onward... The result is a pattern that is created by being covered by another color. I think the best example of a new pattern is the bead that is the second from the right. You can go on and on in covering the dots alternating two colors. The best bead artist to do this, in my opinion is Brad Pearson. Click on his name to see some incredible examples of masking. The first time I saw this technique was when I met Brad at a glass 'gathering' . I have one of his early beads made in blue and white, and it's a treasure, displayed with other treasures. Brad's marbles are beautiful examples of masking also.
This is a good bead to make when you want to get to that 'zen' kind of place in melting glass. You can go to infinity and beyond......................

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Memories of Melting Glass


This image was 'lifted' from another site. It is a little gift shop in Houghton Lake, MI. It's so typical of the area when we moved there in the late 1970's. The area was rather desolate, 'up North' as we called the area. Where the up North boundary is, who knows? It seemed dark there after living in a much more populated area. Dark and cold, with more winter than I'd ever experienced. And it was a small town. Very few stores, one movie theater that showed the same movie for a month before they got another. Nothing really much to do except outdoor type sports. We went ice fishing and cross country skiing.
My husband and I would want a fast food burger and sometimes would drive an hour to the closest McDonald's to get one. The stores closed on Sunday but one grocery was open from 1-4. If we weren't organized, we'd have to scrounge for food on Sundays. If you needed clothing, you ordered it or you drove for an hour to a store to buy something.

When it was time to buy a gift for someone it was difficult, unless you had time to go 'down state' to a shopping center. So upon occasion, I'd shop at the tourist stores like this one that is pictured. This little shop was actually about a mile from where we lived and just shut down maybe 7 or 9 years ago. They sold moccasins. I'd take my daughter there to buy little white moccasins with soles and beads and fringe. She loved them when she was a little girl. I loved buying them for her. When the owner of this shop passed away, a surprise was given to our community in the form of a very large endowment for scholarships. Who knew that the little old lady running this shop had left so much for our students! To this day every student who lives in that particular township can receive some money toward college.

One shop I loved. The Fife and Drum gift shop is long gone. There is no picture to share. But it was a teeny shop that housed another big surprise. The front of the shop was the normal 'stuff' Little boxes made of cedar, postcards, ashtrays, shot glasses, pencils, trinkets with the name of the lake. A bit of jewelry here and there. Wandering into the second little room was amazing. A Christmas tree filled with glass ornaments. Intricately made trees, bells that rang, candy canes, icicles, stars, snowflakes, manger scenes, all made of clear glass. Behind a screen, wearing dark welding glasses, was an older man working with glass behind a torch. He melted these clear rods into his beautiful ornaments. People ordered them from all over the US. I didn't know that at the time, (nor did I know his wife had a large organ in the very back room and she would practice it when there were no customers).

My husband and I were scraping along paying college loans and surviving on small beginning teacher wages and there was no extra for glass ornaments. I looked at them often and finally began to buy one every year, which was all I could afford. I kept thinking 'someday there will be no more of these ornaments'. My kids gave them to teachers for Christmas gifts, some kids gave them to me too :-) and every year, I bought one, plus an icicle.

The older gentleman finally closed the shop. I think it's still empty although maybe something is there now. That teeny store. I used to think "I want to do that!" "Sit behind a screen and melt glass into beautiful creations" I would take my kids to watch him, and some teachers would take their class to see him melt his glass. The man never spoke to us, he just quietly sat and wove melted glass into filigree-like art. In some way this man was an inspiration to me to begin to work with glass. I think of him. Especially every Christmas when I unpack those special white boxes, marked with 'Fife and Drum' and hang my clear ornaments next to lights on our tree. The glass reflects the colors and sparkles like ice.

I've been making glass icicles. They are nothing like the beauties in the white boxes. Maybe sometime they will be. It's a struggle and I think of how easily this man melted and twisted the glass. A hidden gem in a little town 'Up North'

Friday, October 28, 2011

Felted slippers



The weather is cooling down.




It seems each autumn my thoughts go to knitting.







Since moving to North Carolina, our need for mittens has reduced to pretty much nothing. Once in a while we wear mittens, but mostly I wear hand warmers when it's chilly. What a difference from when I'd wear gloves inside mittens and still have cold stiff fingers just from coming in from the parking lot at work.

The floors are chilly here though and I love my felted slippers. See the ones on the right? I'm not much for the sheep on the side of that slipper, but it's the only example of what I have that I could find on line. Mine don't have sheep on them. (can you imagine 'me' wearing 'sheep' on my slippers???? .... NOT!) It's a crochet pattern and when you crochet the slipper in 100% wool, it is HUGE. Then you put it in hot water in the washer and as it agitates, the wool felts. You have to watch it for size and shape it , then air dry it. I stuffed papers in them to shape them. Those slippers are cozy and comfy and don't feel like ridges are on the bottom as some knitted, crocheted slippers do. I made them when we lived in Michigan so they are at least 5 years old.

So, on the left is a knitted felted clog. I have one almost knitted. It just seemed like something neat to make although my slippers are still good so they may be a gift. The pattern has been in with other patterns I have purchased and looked like fun to try. It's an unusual pattern, and according to the web site for fiber trends, very popular. If you can read a pattern, they aren't real difficult, although I wouldn't suggest it as your first knitting project.
One slipper is almost knitted, and the next will be started this Sunday at a friend's house. She sets up a little knitting group and feeds us snacks and wine. :-) It's a nice time to visit with friends !

If you click on the pictures, they link to the sites with the patterns. Just in case you want a pair of toasty slippers that are comfy and last for ages. Just think of all the gifts you could knit or crochet up for the holidays!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bead Crochet






Isn't this pretty? It's bead crochet. It's a pile of bead crochet ropes by Judith Bertoglio-Giffin. Her work is so admirable, plus she writes instructions and patterns for bead crochet.
This particular pattern is called Urban Stripes and you can purchase the pattern here.

I have tried and tried and tried to bead crochet ever since I saw a fellow lampworker wearing a fabulous focal bead on a bead crocheted rope made of matte gray/silver beads. Just beautiful. So, being quite an avid fiber arts person, having knit and crocheted since childhood, this should have been a snap. But everytime I tried it, the threads covered the beads. Cruising the internet the other night, I saw Judith's new tutorial and was inspired again to try the technique. Ok. I read. I looked at my books. I watched YouTube tutorials. OHhhhhhh......
I was basically working inside out. Makes sense! The threads are hidden in the tube.
You can see my paltry little sample. But it's correct! Woo Hoo!
Now I'm wondering if I can tackle the Urban Stripes. If you click on Judith's name above, you can go to her blog and see some wonderful samples!

gotta dig out the seed beads. next step matte gray/silver!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Honeycrisps


October. That means cider and apples. Caramel apples rolled in chopped up peanuts. Apple pie, apple crisp, and just a good crisp apple for lunch. We had several apple trees on our property when I was a kid and my mother always had a good warm homemade applesauce cooking. We used to sprinkle cinnamon candies into our bowls and stir them in, watching that red dye become a part of that warm, cinnamon-ish treat.

Living in Michigan, the fall harvest of apples is wondrous. My favorite eating apple was/is the Macintosh. Then a few years ago, my daughter introduced me to the honeycrisp.
"Mom.. meet the best apple you've ever had"

"Honeycrisp... prepare to be bought year after year, and sliced, diced, and shared"

For a while, I couldn't find these apples after we moved to NC. I ordered them from Michigan each fall. Having them shipped is no small expense but worth every penny. I'd share. Then the person who received the apple would come back to me and say 'where did you find that apple? It's the best one I've ever had"
juicy and sweet and just the right amount of 'crisp', whoever came up with this apple is a genius. So I looked it up.

Honeycrisp apple trees were derived from a 1960 cross of Macoun and Honeygold, at the University of Minnesota apple breeding program. The University was looking to develop winter hardy cultivars with high fruit quality. The original Honeycrisp apple seedling was planted in 1962 at the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center. In 1974 it was excepted as a possible new and exciting variety. Honeycrisp then know and evaluated as MN 1711 was tested at locations Minnesota, Michigan and here in New York at the Cornell Research Station in Geneva. In 1982, research scientist Dave Bedford rediscovered the tree and really loved the apples. As the story is told "He and Researcher James Luby went back to the records that had been kept on "1711." According to Luby, its data sheet had "DISCARD" scrawled across it." In 1988 a plant patented was applied for and in 1991 the apple we know as Honeycrisp was released for commercial propagation by the nurseries around the Country.

I now have a bunch of these apples in my refrigerator courtesy of my friend Ruth. I gave her a Michigan honeycrisp last fall and she said the usual 'wow where did you get that apple?" And then she has been on the prowl for them. Ruth can find anything! She heard they had them at a local discount store, made the trip over, called me and asked if I wanted some. They're all packed in a bubble plastic holder and yes indeed, they are close to that deep flavor from the Michigan apples. Ruth just saved me a whole bunch of money. :-)

Now to find good crisp cider. I did find some the other day, but it was a gallon size. Too much cider for this girl. But it's out there somewhere! Maybe the farmer's market? They have good mountain apples there.
and the best caramel apples? I found them at the mall at a chocolate shop. I mentioned to the girl at the counter the apples tasted like some we bought in Michigan at Uncle John's cider mill. (home of the absolute best apples, cider, doughnuts and caramel apples yum!) And this young lady was from Michigan. LOL She also would go to Uncle John's for cider etc.

In the long run. Michigan must have the perfect climate for apple growing.The abundance of fall apples made me into someone who depends on them for lunches and when it gets a bit cooler, the apple hunting commences. Then the apple cooking. :-) and enjoying!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wedding


This past weekend was the joyous occasion of a wedding. I am now the lucky Mom/Mom in Law of a lady we've loved and are so happy to have as part of our family.

No beads this week, but some will be posted within a few days. In the meantime, I'm basking in 'happy' .

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Signature Tablecloth


Isn't this neat? My Mom has a tablecloth like this, but this isn't hers. It's just a picture I lifted . off the internet. Years ago, my Mom bought a white tablecloth and whenever we had a family gathering, she would also 'gather' signatures. I thought, ... eh..... it was cute, but whatever.

Well. She brought that tablecloth to the 50th anniversary party we had for she and my father. Wow. what a treasure. Each signature embroidered. My kids when they could barely write, relatives who we loved and now have passed away. It's bright , it's beautiful, and full of memories. I'm thinking about picking up a white tablecloth of my own. We have a family gathering coming up, and it will be fun to do some 'gathering' of my own.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Acorn beads

This has been a lot of fun. :-) I have an upcoming show in late October and decided to go with 'autumn' pendants. Acorn beads have always appealed to me, so I have been making acorn after acorn. Some color combinations aren't 'all that' and some work beautifully.
This color is called pumpkin. I made pumpkins with it and that just wasn't a winner. But it sure makes a warm pretty acorn. The top of the beads have also been challenging in color, but it seems reactive silvered glass add some nice interesting depth.
It's been so nice to have time in my studio and time torching. Ideas that have been floating around in my mind can finally be approached. Good or bad. Some turn out and some ... not so much! Like the pumpkins. But it seems the things that don't turn out still lead to something good. Click on the picture to go to my Etsy shop to see acorn beads and this particular necklace.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apple Crisp


Recipe Time!! Here is our favorite apple crisp. A super easy recipe to make on Sunday afternoon in the fall. And a little bird lampwork bead to watch you cook. ;-) click on him to get to the Etsy listing.

You might get some vanilla ice cream to put on top of this! (or better yet, use my recipe and make your own)

This is an easy recipe

Use a 10 x 6 baking pan
butter it
peel, core and slice apples until the pan is almost full.

in another bowl mix

1/2 c oatmeal
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c flour
1/2 t cinnamon
dash of salt
1/4 c butter or margarine
you cut in the butter until this mixture is crumbly

then put this over the top of the apples
bake 350 about 40 minutes you test it with a fork to see if the apples have baked to tender.
different apples bake at different times so you have to check it.

I like to use Rome apples. a mixture of different types is good too.

serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream or just on it's own.

enjoy!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Enjoying the moments



It's wonderful to have time to work with glass, and metals. I am so blessed to have some time at home and to have a place to work. It's a dream come true for sure!

This is what I've been playing with. Silvered glass. It does all kinds of wonderful things. The rod of glass that looks black, and easily could get lost in with my other glass if not marked. Marking it is a good idea since it isn't cheap, that's for sure! But look what it does! To bring out the color, you melt the silvered glass onto the base bead, and then you let it cool until the bead doesn't glow with heat. Then, turning the oxygen down in the torch produces a reduction environment which brings the silver in the glass out, producing deep colors. So you turn down the oxygen and slide that bead thru the flame, which some people call a 'dragon's breath' and you watch the colors lift.
It's great fun to watch, if it's going good. If it doesn't bring up color, then you can try holding your breath, or looking at it crosseyed, tapping your feet, hanging upside down. It is temperamental.

In the past, with working full time, I didn't have time to work with this glass. I have some stashed in a little pile to try out and have wished to try it for about a year!
So now it's time.
This beauty is in my Etsy shop. Help support my retirement. Buy ALL my beads. ;-) LOL

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Great finds!


I'm excited to be featured in Great Finds made for me by Oaklie.
You can view it here
and I hope you'll stop by her site and vote for my bead. She has a great collection of autumn colors. You can vote every day! It ends next Saturday.

Yesterday I went to Lincolnton, which is not far from me in NC. They had their annual Applefest. They had all kinds of apple stuff, cider and apples. It sure felt like autumn since the temperatures had dropped. People were in jeans and jackets which was so different than our 85 degree temperatures earlier last week! The picture is one I lifted off their website, as it wasn't t-shirt weather. But see the background of the picture? Isn't that a beautiful building? It's not a large town at all but they have a beautiful square in the town with that building which is, I think, the town hall. It has streets that go around it in a square. This is the apple guy who was there though! Time for applesauce! or apple cake. or crisp.

I set up my booth and sold some jewelry. It's always fun to meet fellow artists and people out enjoying the festival. The guy next to me had pottery he made from clay dug up on his property. So I bought a small bowl to add to my collection. Who can resist?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cuff bracelets from Beadfest


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of teaching a class at Lapidary Journal Beadfest. It was a long drive to Pennsylvania! Flying wouldn't have been all that easy either since i had a lot of kits and tools to carry. It was great fun to see friends there and even though teaching classes is enjoyable, meeting the new students a great experience, staying with Joy and Kathleen, and Susan was the icing on the cake..
Here's a picture of some of the finished bracelets. I didn't think to get a picture until almost everyone was gone. Everyone finished their bracelet and they all looked great. The skill levels in the class varied from a total newbie, to others who had been working in metals for quite some time. So here they are! brass, leather, and stones from Lake Michigan.
I have a few kits left with complete instructions in my jewelry and supply Etsy shop. It's hard sometimes to keep up with two shops but I want to keep the lampwork shop just for lampwork, although the patterned copper washers should be in this shop and not lampwork, it's hard to transfer them, so that's how it is. They'll stat there!
Anyway that's the musings today. It's time to get cracking on the jewelry for the Lincolnton Apple Festival next weekend. Today is 'earring day'
see you soon!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

back to beadin'


I'm back from Beadfest in Philadelphia. It was a great time. I stayed with friends Joy Cichewicz and Kathleen Robinson Young -- fellow beadmakers, for one night and then onward to Susan Feeley's for the remainder of the time. Susan also makes lampwork beads and some fabulous jewelry. She helped me teach the classes and was great. I will put pictures up soon but need to unpack the camera!
and now the first days of school. The first time since I was in kindergarten, starting as a 4 year old, (almost 5) that I haven't gone to school in the fall. My husband is still teaching Math, and I am grateful to be able to stay home and play with glass. And unpack, and uhhh a bunch of other things that have been put off. There is a list which includes all those things I haven't gotten to because of travel and work. Like paint the bench outside. That kind of stuff.
There are still a few boxes in the car, the suitcase almost unpacked and treasures from the vendors to play with. But I am, for sure, finding time to torch. Here's a set of simple beads from yesterday. There are some focals coming up to. But those will go into jewelry at first for a couple shows coming up.
Maybe you will all see a few more postings now that I am not doing yearbook (YAY!!!!) and interim reports and report cards!! (Yay again!!))

Sunday, August 14, 2011

homemade ice cream


It's always been a goal of mine to eat foods as close to natural forms as possible and it's surprising to see how many kids I taught ate all kinds of processed and fast foods. Unbelievable actually. We so need to educate our young people on nutrition. That said (ha ha!) How about some ice cream?

I can make ice cream with half and half, sugar, vanilla, and fresh fruit. (recipe below)

or....

I could go to a fast food place................

A typical artificial strawberry flavor, like the kind found in a fast food (not saying names here) strawberry milk shake, contains the following ingredients: amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamyl valerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl acetate, ethyl amyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl heptylate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerate, heliotropin, hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone (10 percent solution in alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butyrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbonate, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl salicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobutyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, rose, rum ether, g-undecalactone, vanillin, and solvent.

Want my recipe?

4 c half and half

1/2 c milk

1 and 1/8 c sugar

1 1/2 t vanilla. (or more if you like)

put this in your ice cream maker. Add some fruit if you want or slice some fruit over it.

fresh stuff. natural flavors. :-)

spread it on graham crackers. yah................


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fire Divas Treasury Giveaway

Bead Jeweled - A Fire Diva's Treasury Give Away

This month, the Fire Divas are breaking out all the stops and creating a great collection of beads to be featured in the Fire Divas first ever Etsy Team Treasury Giveaway.
Your are probably familiar with Etsy's treasuries, which are collections of items chosen by individual curators, often with a theme. The Fire Divas are doing something special. Not only are we creating a treasury featuring many of the Fire Divas showing off their interpretation of a "Bead Jeweled" theme, but we are giving them all away to FOUR very lucky winners!
Each winner will receive four awesome beads from this collection. All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment on our treasury HERE and "heart" or add all the featured shops in it as a favorite. Only one comment/person, please! Winners will be chosen at random on August 21, 2011.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Interesting day in Mt Holly


This has been quite a week.

I remember asking my Grandmother years ago about what she did when she got home from vacation, and she told me it took her about a week to get her energy back. Well, that seemed strange to a young woman in her 20's but now I 'get it' .
My husband and I talked about that this morning how we just now are feeling 'normal' again after that whirlwind tour through Michigan, etc. in the month of July. I think my car has 3000 miles on it!

So this week we've unpacked, washed absolutely everything and now have some yard work to do. Check out the picture! This is within a mile of our house. In about 2 hours 5.5 inches of rain fell on our little town. It's hilly and the water ran down a block of hill, through parking lots to the lowest spot. This block of buildings is across the street from a large berm that a railroad track is on. The berm acted like a levy, held the water, and the people pictured here were trapped in a building. Water blocked the back door and the front door. The rescuers broke a window and pulled the people out to safety. Rumor has it there was 5 feet of water in the building. The buildings next to it also were flooded. There was all kinds of water in Charlotte too, with major streets shut down.

Our own little yard had rivers running through, down the hill and into a small drainage/creek, which became a river. Now the koi pond still looks muddy after 2 days of running two filters, but it is improving, and we can see the fish again. Some mulch needs to be replaced, since it washed away, and we need to bring in a bit of soil where our grass was just starting to seed in and grow. (hubby put weed killer on the grass and killed the weeds, which left lots of spots to reseed)
Feeling like Noah that day, watching the rain and marveling at the power of water.... it gave us a day we stayed in and really just watched a few movies, baked a loaf of bread, and ignored the laundry. We should all have that kind of a day and sometimes the weather just insists that we do!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hooray! Home again!

Wow I could be at a loss for words on how busy last month was, but hey, have you known me to be quiet? ever? haha
My husband and I were very lucky to see our kids, our parents, our friends, this past month in a whirlwind kind of vacation.
Since we got out of school, we've been to too many states (including the state of confusion!) and haven't had much down time.
Now we're home. we're unpacking, and I'm trying to get myself together!
Laundry abounds since our clothing has a bit of campfire smell :-). There are still a few things in the car to unpack, but luckily some bins we brought in are now empty.
How do you unpack? My husband brings everything in and puts it in one spot. I bring it in bit by bit and put it away. Packing and unpacking isn't something I enjoy. And usually something important is forgotten. Like the time I went to Chicago in December and didn't pack any socks! oops! Or the time I went to Detroit in the winter and realized as my husband drove away from the airport (without his cell phone) that my winter coat was in the front seat of his car. That was interesting since it was about zero degrees when we landed. A sweatshirt purchased at the airport, was handy and I put on my gloves, and ran as fast as possible to the car rental place.
Anyhoo.... we're back! Stay tuned for a few pictures and hopefully... soon.... some new beads etc.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


















Here are a few pictures showing what I've been doing. Yes indeed, I have been quiet here on my blog. Around the end of July, there will be pictures of new beads, and hopefully some of the metal work that is being made while visiting a cabin in the woods. In between family, friends, travel, weddings, luncheons, and lots of driving.
tomorrow is a class with Cindy Moore that looks like it will be fun. It's neat to have a vacation and fit in a little time to work with metals. We'll be soldering copper. The new copper solder is our material and it will be interesting to see how it flows, how it works with strength and how pretty it can work up. I'd say I'll keep you posted, but internet service isn't real easy to work with. My phone is the modem and it can be spotty.
I'll be around though! The large parts of travel are done, and we have a bit of time to relax. It's all relaxing anyway! since I don't have to go back to work in August. I have plans!!! :-) and hope to share some nifty new things here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


This morning, I read my friend Mallory's blog posting about her awesome dog Pixie. Pixie hurt her foot and had to have some work done on it at the Vet's office. Poor Pixie. :-( She's a cool dog and we all love reading about what Pixie is up to.
So after they fixed up Pixie's foot, since it was raining, they told Mallory to protect the dressing with Press 'n Seal.

It made me think of how great this stuff is. I use it when transporting beads and jewelry to art shows. See the hamburgers on the press n seal box? Picture them as beads. yah. I use about a 18 inch piece of press n seal, line up beads on half of it, roll the other half over and press. then roll up the sheet and put it in bins in my jewelry case. They arrive safely snug in their wrapping.

You can also line up necklaces and press but you need to carefully separate the press 'n seal since it's so strong. Good Stuff! Especially if you are flying with a case full of jewelry. No worries when putting that bag up in the carry on bin, or worse yet, having them tell you they need to stow that bag since it won't fit in carry on.

Thanks for the reminder Mallory. I sure hope Pixie is feeling better!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Retiring from teaching




Yes indeed. This is what I've been up to. I am ending my career of teaching. It's been good. It's been difficult. It's been a super job with the benefit of having time with my family as the kids grew up. It's time to move on. 35 years in a classroom. Whew!


I'll be doing 'something' else in addition to really being able to focus on glass and metals. Some part time job that could be fun in other ways. Maybe work in a flower shop, or a sporting goods store. A hardware could be fun! Something like that.


But for a few months, I am going to BASK in the glow of not setting my alarm clock for 6 a.m. , dressing in my teacher clothes, correcting papers and dealing with kids who just haven't learned how to respect others.


I will miss, the light that goes off over a child's head when they 'get it'. The kids who show talent in Art as they learn the basics. The kids with fun stories, the ones who do love and respect, the love and hugs, smiles and fun. But that's ok. I can think of it as I sleep in. :-)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Cuttlebone Casting


I'm thinking about this. A friend has been doing some cuttlebone casting. Wouldn't this make some good components? So I have bought the largest pieces of cuttlebone I can find, and then downloaded a free tutorial here.

I have scrap silver and think this would be fun. I have also read that it really smells when you pour the molten silver, so it's a good idea to do this outside or in a very well ventilated space.
If this turns out, I'll post some pictures. Have you tried it?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Eye love it!


This is boring if you aren't interesting in my struggle with lasik. But in celebration of better vision, these EYE beads are 20% off in my Etsy shop. Just send me a note on Etsy and tell me 'Good Eyes!' for the discount.

now you don't have to read this! Unless you want to.

Sooooo, yesterday I had a re-do/enhancement of my lasik which was done in December. Both of my eyes responded to custom wave front lasik with 15% less correction than was supposed to happen. I have mono-vision, so it doesn't really matter with the 'up close' eye. I can see well up close which was a real concern in getting this done. optivisors are a must when doing close up work, but I had to change them from a 2.5 strength to a 1.0 so that's pretty cool. I was so near sighted that everything up close was extremely crisp and I lost a bit of that. Like working with little teeny beads is still fine but better with magnification. But distance... I was beyond frustrated. This was out of pocket paying for eye surgery, and my vision was still -1 to -1.25 20/40 or worse. I couldn't see to drive without glasses, and really needed them for pretty much anything. I refused to get contact lenses since, I didn't do this so I could have a new prescription! I got glasses.. paid for those. Had to take them off to see up close, and put them on to see far away. Lost the first pair out for a walk and had to get glasses again! not what I expected either since isn't lasik supposed to help you save on prescription eye wear? I was so frustrated to think I had expected better than this, paid many dollars for it, wanted to do it for ages, and this was 'IT' ?? ugh.... I was told the day after surgery that I may need an enhancement. and all along knew yes indeed this would have to be done.
They made me wait 6 months for an enhancement. Again a surprise, since in the brochure and anything I read said 3 months. Frustrating. Very.
So FINALLY I got to get the check up for the enhancement and they told me I had to have PRK rather than having a simpler, 'lift the flap and laser' procedure.. which I'm telling you... it's easy.
sigh.... another 'surprise' this is just more and more frustrating. notice I'm not telling you where I had this done, but it is reputable with a well regarded surgeon.
I was pretty unhappy about that! but I 'would' like to see. So ok.. I am expecting 'significant pain' (stated on sheet from the lasik center) and 'light sensitivity' d#*n it!
I had it done yesterday morning and it was way past easy ... I mean EASY to have done. This is what the armed forces use and I can see why. simple to do. simple. But.... ahem, if you look up how it's done, (I won't mention it here because it's not for the squeamish even if it doesn't hurt a bit when being done) I know why it 'should' hurt.
yesterday... not a bit of pain. did the 'sleep all afternoon' thing. got up. made myself go to bed early.
Today I don't feel anything either! nothing!
maybe it's the massive amounts of vitamin B and C I've been taking.
My vision is supposed to be bad for a week, then improve slowly for weeks. I am not to expect anything for 6 weeks.
But today... I CAN SEE BETTER! woo hoo!!!
according to written information from the lasik center, it will get worse before it's better, so I'll enjoy this today and hope for super good healing (say a prayer for me ok?)

No torch work for a while. I wasn't told that but figure I'll wait a bit. I'll probably do some metals. But I have plenty of beads to post so keep an eye out (hee heee)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Color ideas


You may know that color is important in my designs. I am very drawn to bright color combinations. One person in my booth at an art show last weekend said 'You must be happy, because your jewelry looks happy!'
And yes, I'm usually a happy person. Why not? It's a choice to be happy or not happy since we have plenty of life to draw upon, and some days could certainly influence my 'happy' because of everyday difficult moments, but I try to focus on the good stuff.
Anyway..... here is an example of how I find my color combinations. Clothing and home catalogs reflect what colors are in fashion, and we want our jewelry to match that, yes?
This catalog came several weeks ago and has sat next to my lampworking area ever since, to remind me of colors to use. I matched my rods of glass to this catalog and sat down to torch. The bead pictured is one that resulted.
So, if you like to work with color, make a folder or notebook and keep pictures of combinations you like. Then have fun and while you're at it, be happy. :-)
Check out my Etsy shop if you like the bead.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

wire and lampwork


Hmmm I have been messing around a bit with steel wire. Makes me think of some urban-punk-ish kind of thing. Steel wire in jewelry. For this girl who grew up in farm country, I think of barbed wire, but this is much easier on the skin! With the price of silver, it is an alternative worthy of exploration. It's also a fun way to use my 'orphan' lampwork beads. I can't decide though, if they are something to put in my booth at the art show coming up. what do you think?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Southern Fried Chicken


Today we were out and about, and went to the farmer's market for some plants.
Then decided hmmm... let's go to Price's Chicken Coop! It's not real easy to drive over there after work if we ever want fried chicken take out because the traffic leaving Charlotte is formidable around dinner time. But easy on a lazy Saturday afternoon. So we stopped by. This place was mentioned in Gourmet magazine as .

Avisit to Price’s Chicken Coop is the fried-chicken-eating experience of a lifetime. Once inside the door of the little South End storefront, two thirds of which is dedicated to cooking and the rest to ordering, the first decision you need to make is which line to stand in. At peak mealtimes there are six or seven of them leading to a counter with three cash registers, each of which is flanked by white-uniformed, hairnet-wearing servers.

And they are right. :-) Today there were 5 registers going and a line at each register. You get in and out fast enough, but have enough time to soak up that 'old South' kind of ambiance.
We're lucky enough that this is close, and probably lucky it is far enough away to not be easily accessible! Our arteries most likely thank us for that.

In my refrigerator right now, are a few pieces of that tasty stuff along with some fresh local strawberries for a bit of shortcake later tonight.

and now.... off for a long walk with the husband which I think we need!




Saturday, April 9, 2011


This spring, a fashion we're seeing quite a bit here in North Carolina is a certain type of espadrille.

A very popular item is a line of espadrille's by one company that has a rather expensive product. $49 for a pair of these canvas shoes.

I have always loved espadrilles and am so happy to see them back on people's feet. :-)
If you like them and want the 'real thing' handmade in Spain, you can buy these shoes for about $25. I just bought a pair from here. The sizing may be a tad 'off' In European sizes their comparisons are a number larger. I ordered the regular European size that I wear and they fit great.

So maybe you'd like to support the 'real' shoe artists and pay directly to their company rather than for a 'label' and 'name' of a popular shoe for twice as much (made in China)

and in the meantime... you could make a wonderfully colorful piece of jewelry using some bright salsa colored discs from my Etsy shop. (yah!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Customer Appreciation Sale!

I am a member of the Fire Divas Team. It is a group of talented lampwork artisans. This week we are having a customer appreciation sale.
The sale begins this Friday, March 25th and runs through Saturday, April 2, 2011 for the team. You can find some wonderful handmade lampwork in our shops.

I am offering, in my Etsy shop, specially marked sets of beads for $10 with free shipping. Use the coupon code "DIVATHANKS" when you check out and your total will be adjusted to reflect the free shipping

Check out our group blog http://firedivas.blogspot.com/ for many many more deals!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Made in America dinnerware


The Homer Lauglin China Company makes my most favorite dinnerware. Fiesta ware.
I loved it when I was a kid, and bought it for our own table a long time ago. It's so fun to set a colorful table. My kids all had their favorite color plate. Joe liked the black plate which always amused me.
Whenever you want to add a color or a place setting or just get some cool piece of china like a water pitcher or new mugs or a casserole, you just go shopping. The price is always right and many times there are sales. And there continually are new colors which makes it so tempting to just keep adding plates and bowls.
You can also look for vintage fiesta ware if you shop secondhand, but it's hard to find.
And to quote from it's web site, "The company has experienced continued growth and is poised to move forward with the Wells Family’s pledge to continue producing quality, American-made china and provide jobs for potters of the Ohio Valley".

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Made in America


Today I will start a new blog series. Made in America. If we all would buy an American Made Product at least weekly, making an effort to buy American, we will move our economy forward. The show I watched by Diane Sawyer on TV showed many US made products are the same price or cheaper. That was eye opening to me since I thought US made products are more expensive. Diane Sawyer and her team emptied a home of all it's foreign made products. All that was left in the living room was a candle. The kitchen, the kitchen sink the only 'appliance' left. The home was refurnished with US made products. It was beautiful and cost effective. Except for the kitchen appliances, and they suggested buying 'half made' in the USA products for cost savings, rather than the high end appliances they had to buy. At the end of this news clip, I was wishing it was 'my' home they refurnished!
So today's comment from me is 'ask' if something is made in the USA. You can watch this clip here. clip.
And since it's Sunday, I am today featuring some of my own beads, made in the USA. But the next post, something else. :-)
check out Etsy also. I try to buy items there to support US artists. Many Etsy sellers augment their family income with their sales, and many make their living from their on line sales. It's a good place to start.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jeri Warhaftig Creating Glass Beads


Here's a new book about lampworking by Jeri Warhaftig of Jeri's Beads
It's a fun book with innovative techniques for lampworkers. I like the cute face bead pictured on the front of the book. Cute eyes and smile.
Jeri has projects in the book that work with hollow beads (She is the inventor of the 'puffy mandrel') She uses tools to ruffle the hot glass, glow in the dark frit, silver foil, resins, and just a bunch of interesting ways to use soft glass.
If you don't have Jeri's first book, you should check it out. It's one of my favorites. This book has me thinking of new things to try also. There are so many things to do with soft glass, and Jeri's books can open up a new way of thinking.
and.... ahem..... while you peruse the book, do check out the galleries and see if you might find a few things from me. ;-)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bracelet with disc beads by Caffeine Girl Beads

Isn't this cute? Deborah of Caffeine Girl Beads made this bracelet. She uses the money from her jewelry sales towards tuition for her kids. College certainly isn't cheap! (but oh so worth it)
Deborah ordered a set of disc beads from my Etsy shop, and I am just loving what she does with them.
Stop by Deborah's blog/web page and see her other pieces. She has a wonderful sense of color and her jewelry is playful and full of color. A great thing to wear in the winter, yes? It'll perk up your day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lampwork Hearts


I love making heart beads. Here's a little sample of what beads will go on Etsy today.
It's so much fun to make them and maybe that's because the surface is just right for making some simple designs and trying out new glass and color variations.
There are a few in my Etsy shop already. I hope you take a look at them!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Beadfest Philadelphia


Have you ever been to a Beadfest? Lapidary Journal gives a wonderful show in Philadelphia each August. Sharon Driscoll and I will be teaching two classes there this year. We haven't taught there for a few years, taking a break because of my moving, and then she had lots of 'life' happening too. Now we're baaa-aaaack! And happy to be there! It's so much fun to meet new people in our classes. And the vendors!! Whew! Lots of vendors, more beads than you can imagine. :-)
Take a look at the Beadfest site and maybe you'll sign up for a class or two or three!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lampwork and Metals studio



Yay! It's basically done! My own little corner of the world. A place to melt the glass and pound the metals. There is room to teach too.
The ventilation system works perfectly. hooray! Bryan did a wonderful job. The 'box' to lampwork in is lined with metal, and the outer section is handy for hanging tools. The ventilation is through the top, and well lit also. I love lighting my torch and watching the flame getting pulled toward the vent.

You see my work bench is already in use, as is the bead kiln. Beads are annealing and a piece of jewelry is being created on my bench.

This is the best ever spot to work. There is still organizing to do, dusting and mopping, and a long shelf to hang, but it's taken shape beautifully.
It's good to be back in the swing of things too, since I haven't been able to work on my torch for a bit of time while this was taking shape.
Happy 2011 and hoping for much beadie goodness! :-)