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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yummy Vegan Breakfast Potatoes

Okay, I know all of a sudden I'm super chatty, and I promise after this post I will zip it. But I have to tell you about the most delicious meal I made yesterday (and ate leftovers of today). This was a pretty informal, thrown-together kind of a dish, but here's what I did...

My step-dad grew some delicious potatoes in his garden so I started with those (three large-ish ones). I cubed them and boiled them for a just a few minutes. Then I heated some olive oil in a skillet, added the potatoes, and cooked them for a while - maybe 10 minutes? Next, I added about one half of a large red onion, chopped, and a red pepper, also chopped, and plenty of minced garlic. I cooked that for a while longer - perhaps another 10 minutes - then added red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and about a tablespoon of soy margarine, stirred it all up, put some shredded Follow Your Heart vegan mozzerella on top, and covered the pan to help the fake cheese melt. Then I heaped it in a bowl and topped it with chopped avocado, Tofutti sour cream, and the most delicious salsa that I got recently at the farmer's market (very garlicky though, you wouldn't want to smell me right now).

It was SO good. I didn't bother taking a picture because it wasn't particularly pretty, but damn, it was sure tasty.

More New Earrings - Swarovski Pearl Studs - Vegan of course!

I've been meaning to add these simple pearl studs to my line of vegan pearl jewelry for ages and finally found the supplies I needed and got it done today - yay! I'll be adding them to my jewelry shop soon.

Large Swarovski Pearl Stud Earrings (Ivory, 8mm)

Small Swarovski Pearl Stud Earrings (Ivory, 6mm)

Small & Large Swarovski Pearl Stud Earrings (Ivory, 6mm & 8mm)

Large Swarovski Pearl Stud Earrings
(Charcoal, Misty Grey, Ivory, & Tahitian, 8mm)

Something New I'm Working On

Here's a new earring design I was playing around with last night. It's based on a beaded ring technique that I used to make a lot of, and I've been wanting to adapt it for an earring design for a long time.

I like them because they are unlike anything I've seen anyone else doing lately... now don't burst my bubble and tell me someone else makes something just like this. :-)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

I came up with this recipe today in response to a serious peanut butter craving! They aren't too overly sweet, although if you felt like it you could certainly increase the sweetness by using a bit more sugar and/or chocolate chips.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

1-1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup white flour (or more whole wheat pastry flour; I ran out)
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cups soymilk
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir the flours, oat bran, flax seeds, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine oil, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Add soymilk and molasses and blend. Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and stir in chocolate chips (do not overmix). Fill greased muffin tins almost full with batter (these don't rise much) and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until they pass the toothpick test.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Free Stuff!

My 'Freebies' section in my bead shop was getting a little picked over, so today I restocked. Here's a peek at some of what you can pick up for free when you spend $25 or more in my shop.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Some Simple/Fun Earrings & Rings

Just a few simple earrings and rings I made today...

I'm feeling like I'd better think of something more interesting to post about than just 'what I made today'... It seems like that's all I post about anymore. I guess I'm not feeling very chatty.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Blueberry Cluster Earrings

Here is a new style of upscale earrings I've been working on - misty grey Swarovski pearls topped with labradorite, moonstone, prehnite, aquamarine, iolite, and sterling silver beads - what do you think of them?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pietersite Necklace, Finished!

Well, I decided to antique this piece after all, and I'm totally thrilled with the result. Much better than shiny metal, in my opinion. That just makes it even harder to decide if I really want to sell it though, or keep it for myself!

More Bridal Jewelry

Yay! I got another bridal commission. My newest customer loved these earrings but wanted them in a more traditional white color scheme. She also wanted a matching necklace, and here's what I came up with.

I used large moonstone briolettes, Swarovski (vegan) pearls, tiny faceted aquamarine rondelles, smooth round labradorite beads, faceted moonstone rondelles, and tiny sterling silver beads and chain to construct these beauties.

I always have trouble photographing white pearls so these pictures aren't the greatest... does anyone have any tips for dealing with that? I wonder if it has something to do with the high contrast between the dark wood background and the light beads (since it looks better in the photo against my skin)... maybe I will have to play around with using different backgrounds with white pearl jewelry.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Prehnite and Sterling Silver Ring

Prehnite is fast becoming one of my very favorite stones to work with. I'm totally mesmerized by its luminosity and gorgeous color. I'm particularly fond of the strands of faceted AAA prehnite rondelles that I recently bought with the intention of selling in my bead shop - so fond, in fact, that after selling just one strand, I took them off-line so I can have the rest all to myself. They have the best color range I've seen so far, going from yellow to green to an almost aquamarine-ish blue. Well, here - I'll just show you the beads, although my picture doesn't really do them justince.

Anyway, I used these beads in vegan_noodle's bridal jewelry, and in the wire wrapped rectangular labradorite cab necklace I put together recently, and now most recently in this new ring I made last night.

I started with a plain square, hammered sterling silver ring band (purchased elsewhere; unfortunately I'm not a metalsmith - yet), then used very thin sterling wire to attach about 20 of these prehnite gemstones in a chaotic, clustered mass. I'm going to wear this one for a few days to test its durability before I add it to my shop, but hopefully, if it passes the Tamara torture test, you will be able to find it there within about a week.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Remember those new cabs I posted about a while back? Well, I finally got around to wrapping one, and I like it so much I'm not sure if I can sell it!

For now, it's for sale in my shop, but if it sits around for very long I might just have to snatch it up for myself. I still don't own one of these fancy wrapped necklaces yet, and I've been wanting to choose one to keep. Hmm...

I left the sterling silver shiny this time, but I'm somewhat tempted to oxidize it (like in this piece) - what do you think?

The stone is pietersite, which is new to me, and I'm so impressed with it's gorgeous swirls and color patterns; I'll definitely be working with it again when I can find some more of it. It was difficult to photograph though, and I'm afraid my pictures don't do it justice. I bought it from Ed at stonesinmotion - an Etsy seller who I highly recommend to anyone looking for unique cabochons. A quick Etsy search brought up several other pietersite items - I think this is my favorite:

And here's what Wikipedia has to say about pietersite...

While Pietersite has the lovely chatoyancy of tiger eye, it is not found in continuously structured bands or fibers, more in swirls, swathes and fibrous (sometimes linear) segments. Thus the structure of the fibrous streaks in Pietersite may appear rather chaotic, and can flow or exist in many directions side-by-side like bold paint strokes.

Colors include various blues, golds and reds, that may appear together or alone. Blue is the rarest color, followed by red. The blues range from a baby blue to dark midnight hue. Golds can be light to very deep and rich, sometimes having a reddish hue. All fibrous color variations will have a superb and striking chatoyancy, the bright and subtly changing shimmer of color that moves along the surface of a gemstone as it is viewed from varying angles.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

A Cooking Frenzy

Tonight I cooked up a storm. Not the best night to heat up the kitchen since it has been really warm here, but oh well.

First I made pizza for myself and Carlos with plenty of homemade pesto sauce (fresh basil, pinenuts, olive oil, and salt), Follow Your Heart vegan 'cheese' (I meant to get mozzerella flavor because when you run it through the food processor it makes a yummy ricotta-ish topping, but I must have spaced out in the grocery store because I ended up with monterey jack), walnuts, sundried tomatoes, olives, garlic powder (since I forgot to put garlic in the pesto), and Parma. It was really good, although I think Carlos prefers a traditional red sauce pizza.

I also made a loaf of my favorite bread. I've been trying to make homemade bread more often lately because vegan bread is so hard to find, and when you do find it, it tends to be really expensive. This bread works great for sandwiches, or for an indulgent breakfast treat, toast it and top with soy margarine and pumpkin butter - my favorite!

Spelt Bread

1-1/4 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons powdered soymilk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons unrefined sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2-1/4 cups whole-grain spelt flour
2 cups white spelt flour

I let my bread machine make the dough, but then I take it out after the dough cycle is finished, let it rise in a greased bread pan, and bake it in the oven (30-40 minutes at 350 degrees) because I don't like the loaf shape that my bread machine makes.

Right now I have a pie in the oven full of blueberries fresh from our very own front yard, and tomorrow I'm going to make a pot of Pa's Beans to take to Matt at work for dinner (along with the pie).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Labradorite & Prehnite Necklace

I decided to do something a little different with that last remaining rectangular labradorite cabochon and here's what I came up with:

I adapted that original wrapping technique (courtesy of an Eni Oken tutorial), previously only used on rings, to use as a pendant, and combined the gorgeous labradorite cab with some equally beautiful AAA prehnite rondelles. I think the color range in the prehnite beads accentuates the color flashes in the labradorite really nicely.

And now I promise to stop posting about labradorite, at least for a few days.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Completed Labradorite Rings

Within an hour or so of yesterday's post, two of the labradorite cabochons were spoken for. The third (#2 in my original post) is still available, and I thought it would be fun to post pictures of the two custom rings I have since created from the #1 and #3 cabochons in yesterday's post.

They are on their way to their new homes bright and early tomorrow morning. Yay!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Labradorite Ring Mania!

This ring has been generating a lot of interest, but everyone seems to need it in a different size, so this post is for those of you who have contacted me about your own custom wire wrapped labradorite ring. (This technique, by the way, came from a tutorial on Eni Oken's website.)

Above, you can see the original ring, which I have decided to keep for myself because I love it too much to part with it! The labradorite cabochon in this ring measures 15mm by 18mm. Today I was able to find a few more rectangular labradorite cabochons, but unfortunately they were from a different supplier and were more expensive than the originals. The first few I sold in this style went for $38 because I got an awesome deal on the cabs - these will be a bit more simply due to my increased materials cost.

I'm going to list photographs of the three cabs that are currently available to be made into custom rings. I've shown each alone, next to the original for size comparison, and sitting on my hand to get an idea of its scale. (Keep in mind that I have short, stumpy fingers!) These are going to go on a first come, first served basis so if you want one, please let me know as soon as possible.

Once again, here's the original:

And now the options:

Cab #1 measures 13mm by 18mm. A ring made with this cab will sell for $46. {This cab has been spoken for since I originally wrote this post.}

Cab #2 measures 15mm by 25mm. A ring made with this cab will sell for $60.

Cab #3 measures 15mm by 26mm. A ring made with this cab will also sell for $60. {This cab has been spoken for since I originally wrote this post.}

Thanks for looking! Please feel free to email me with any questions.