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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

When it rains, it pours.

Rowdy's cancer must have been very, very aggressive because this morning, just 2-1/2 weeks after diagnosis, we had to make the painful decision to let her go. Yesterday she took a bad turn for the worse and we couldn't bear to watch her suffer. Even super strong pain medication wasn't doing the trick.

Rowdy had a beautiful soul and brought lots of fun and laughter to our house during the six years we were blessed to have her in our family. She will not be forgotten. (That's her on the left in the above photo, with one of our other dogs, Otis. They were good pals.)

To make matters worse, Carlos has been sick for weeks with a cough/cold, and over the last few days he also developed a fever. Today we took him to see the doctor and found out he has infections in both ears. Poor little guy... we got him some antibiotics and ear drops and I'm fervently hoping the three of us will get some decent sleep tonight for the first time in several days.

Are there any experienced moms out there who care to share tips for keeping the ear drops in the ear???

Saturday, October 27, 2007

More Rings, once again

Here are a couple more I just finished, to be listed soon in my Etsy shop...

Round amethyst ring (the stone is SOOO beautiful, I'm tepmted to keep it...)

Pietersite ring (aren't these stones amazing? I have a bunch of them... can't wait to make more!)

More Custom Order Rings

Here are a few rings I just completed as custom orders...

(Don't forget, if you enjoy browsing my sold items, you can always also visit my Etsy sold items page!)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Soup's On

It's been a while since I've posted any recipes, so here you go! My brother used to work in an awesome local restaurant (which has since closed, sadly) that served this amazing soup...

Fire Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup

1 quart stewed or diced tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
2 large red bell peppers, roasted
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, grilled
1/2 cup garlic cloves, roasted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup soy creamer
1/2 - 1 bunch fresh chopped basil

Combine first seven ingredients (tomatoes through pepper) in a large stockpot. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes. Add soy creamer and basil and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Allow to cool slightly, then puree in a food processor. If soup is too thick, add more broth to achieve desired consistency.
Tomorrow I should have some new rings to post...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Birthday Post #3

No birthday is complete without a black eye and some vomit.

Well, to be fair, the black-eye-inducing injury took place a couple of days before the actual birthday (eye vs. coffee table, ouch!), but it was in its full multicolored glory for the birthday festivities.

As for the vomit, Carlos has thrown up twice in the last few days just from coughing too hard. Poor baby!

Anyhoo - here are some more pictures from the birthday weekend. I promise I'll get back to posting jewelry stuff soon. :-)

I think Carlos' favorite element of the entire birthday experience was the balloons...

...especially this Diego balloon, which I didn't get a very good shot of. (Otis looks pretty interested too, doesn't he?)

He also really loved it when the waitresses at his favorite Japanese restaurant came and sang 'Happy Birthday' to him.

One of the highlights for me this weekend was discovering some jeans that actually fit him. How cute are these???

Here's a close-up of the black eye (it's more colorful in real life).

I was also really impressed with all of our friends' and families' restraint when it came to gift giving. All of Carlos' grandparents (understandably) get a big kick out of spoiling him, but a couple of months ago, Matt and I attempted to gently set some ground rules for gift giving to try to help keep the crazy accumulation of toys in check, and to hopefully begin to teach Carlos the true meaning of holidays and gratitude, and lessen our environmental footprint all at the same time. Carlos' party invitations listed a couple of charities that people could donate to instead of bringing gifts, and many did just that - I was so pleased!

Everyone did a great job of coming up with creative, non-traditional gifts that were easier on the planet (and our small house!) than the usual crush of plastic, battery-operated toys. In addition to lots of donations, Carlos got some savings bonds, money for college, art supplies, books, fruit (truly his favorite thing), a pumpkin with markers to color it with, and the cutest second-hand shirt. It felt good to see the people we care about respecting and even appreciating what we were trying to do.

I imagine this kind of thing will be harder as he gets older, but at least at age two, he's 100% satisfied with some oranges and a handful of balloons.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Birthday Post #2

This morning we went to a wildlife refuge near our house (I've posted about this place before). The morning light was beautiful and the sun was out and I got some pretty pictures. It was a fun way to spend Carlos' birthday morning.

Birthday Post #1

Well, today is Carlos' 2nd birthday, and his party was last night. We had a blast, and there are more festivities to come, and my birthday is in a couple more days, so I'm thinking the theme of my blog posts over the next several days is going to be BIRTHDAYS!!!

So, first things first - food. Carlos' party last night had a Diego theme, so I tried to stay with a loosely Mexican-ish theme for the food, and I tried to make things that would appeal to all of our omni guests (all the food was vegan of course). I kept things simple because I didn't want to be stressed out about the food and overdo it like I have often done in parties past.

First I made a layered dip with refried beans, veggie taco crumbles, Tofutti sour cream with taco seasoning mixed in, ortega chilis, guacamole, salsa, chopped tomatoes, green onions, olives, and Follow Your Heart 'mozzarella'. I have been moving away from using many omni substitutes (such as the fake cheeses, sour cream, fake-meat crumbles, etc.) in my day-to-day cooking, but I thought something like this would be more recognizable to our party guests, and it was quite tasty.

I also made some tortilla roll-ups. The filling contained Tofutti cream cheese, Tofutti sour cream, Follow Your Heart 'cheddar', green onions, ortega chilis, red bell peppers... I think that was it. They were yummy too!

My mom brought guacamole and chips, plus there was a bunch of good fruit. And the crowning glory of the evening's culinary delights was the cake. I made an excellent chocolate cake (from Jennifer Raymond's book, The Peaceful Palate) and Matt's mom is a great cake decorator, so she slaved for hours to decorate this adorable cake. Isn't it awesome? And all vegan of course. :-)

That's it for the food, but more photos will follow of other festivities.

Friday, October 19, 2007

More things I made this week

Here are a few more rings that I made this week; unlike the last ones I posted, these are not custom orders, which means they are up for grabs! Hopefully I'll get them listed in my shop over the next day or so.

Labradorite & sterling silver ring, size 8.5

Ruby & sterling silver ring, size 4.5

Labradorite & sterling silver ring, size 8.5 {sold}

Turquoise & sterling silver ring, size 8.5 {sold}

Labradorite & sterling silver ring, size 8.75

I also put together a couple of simple strung jewelry pieces using some of my new labradorite beads - I love the simplicity of these pieces; it really lets the labradorite flash and shine.

Labradorite & Thai hill tribe silver necklace

Labradorite & Bali silver bracelet

Mmm... Vegan Pancakes

Pancakes are a pretty common occurrence in our house. We all like them, and I have a good vegan recipe for them. But I left my egg replacer at my mom's house last weekend and my usual recipe requires it, so this week I tried the VWAV pancake recipe, and it was delicious! I prefer a fluffier pancake so I omitted the water, and I used half the cinnamon called for in the recipe. Here they are topped with leftover homemade cranberry sauce and powdered sugar, on my beautiful brand new 'Vegan' plate by VeganDish, which was a gift from my good buddy Heidi (yay! my first birthday gift! and she chose so well!!!)...

Custom Order Rings

Here are some rings I created this week as special orders for some of my best customers, who have been very patient with me! These ones are spoken for, but if you'd like something similar, let me know!

Labradorite & sterling silver ring for Lucotte

Ruby & sterling silver ring for fullmetal

Labradorite & sterling silver ring for Lindsay T.

Ruby & sterling silver ring for sirpa

Labradorite & sterling silver ring for fullmetal

Moonstone & sterling silver ring for Wynna

PS - if one of these rings is for you, don't worry, I'll get them listed tonight - I'm rushing out the door right now but will be back in a couple of hours. :-)

Beady Beady Beads

More new beads (not surprisingly, heavy on the labradorite) - to be added to my shop soon...

Labradorite marquis briolettes

Microfaceted amethyst rondelles

Labradorite cushion briolettes

Gorgeous, colorful tourmaline ovals

Chunky faceted labradorite rondelles

Monday, October 15, 2007

For the archives

Here are a few things I sold at a craft show recently, which I am posting here so that they will be included in my gallery of sold items here on the site...

Spinel cluster ring

Magnesite, smoky quartz, & sterling silver necklace

Labradorite, aquamarine, & sterling silver necklace

Rose quartz (& other mystery stones) necklace

And the winner is...

momojojo is the winner of this month's $25 gift certificate giveaway! momojojo, email me to let me know what you'd like to spend your credit on - it's good on anything in either my bead shop or my jewelry shop.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and check back at the beginning of November for another chance to enter to win!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

New Cabs

These are the cabs I found at the gem show I mentioned in my previous post. They are available for custom ring and pendant/necklace orders...

Some pretty turquoise cabs - I love the darker markings on these!

And I bought a ton of pietersite...

This one has the most incredible color and markings of the bunch - it will make a gorgeous pendant.

aren't these amazing???


so pretty!


And here are lots and lots of smaller oval cabs that are going to make some beautiful rings. It was difficult to get good pictures without the white glarey spots - they are a hundred times more gorgeous than this picture shows.

This is a better photo, surprisingly... I normally don't photograph my stones in direct sunlight, but it looks like maybe pietersite likes direct light. All of the ring cabs have markings just as beautiful as this - I could truly sit with this pile of cabs and stare at them all day long...

And this amazing blue stone is pietersite too! Isn't it awesome?