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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My New Website is Live!

Well, I've finally done it - now in addition to this blog (whose new url, by the way, is, I also have a fully functioning website at

I have worked really hard on the new site and am pretty excited about some of the new features, especially the information on placing a custom order, as well as the detailed list of available fair trade stones, plus a directory of fair trade birthstone options.

Sometime in the next few days, I'm planning to do some kind of giveaway or promotion to celebrate the official grand opening of my new site, but right now I have to get back to my 'real' work of jewelry fabrication for a few hours at least...

In the meantime, check out the new site, let me know if you find any bugs, and check back soon for something fun!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Changes Ahead...

I think I'm just about ready to launch my new website (previewed here). Sometime in the next few days (I hope), you may notice something different when trying to connect to my blog.

Up until now, either url - or - would take you to the same place (i.e. my blog); however, once I implement this change, will take you to my new website, and, if I can get everything set up the way I hope, will take you to my blog.

Confusing, I know. But I'm warning you a little bit ahead of time because I really don't want to lose any of you in the transition. So remember to check back later this week and see how things are shaping up.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yummy Salad

So good!

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

Thoroughly blend all ingredients and pour over spinach salad with avocado, cashews (roasted, unsalted), dried cranberries, and oranges.

A straggler...

I made this ring several weeks ago but waited to post it so as not to ruin a customer's surprise. :-)

ethical sapphire ringFair trade sapphire, recycled sterling silver, and recycled white gold engagement ring

Friday, May 22, 2009

New Work

colorful ring setAmethyst, Afghan tourmaline, and recycled sterling silver rings
{ custom order; sold }

detroit motor agateWhat is Fordite?

paparadascha sapphire ringLab created padparadscha sapphire, recycled 14k white and yellow gold ring, size 6
{ to be listed soon in my Etsy shop }

A few words about that beautiful lab-created sapphire...

Lab created stones (also referred to as man-made, synthetic or cultured stones) are NOT fakes. They are chemically and optically identical to their mined counterparts, but by growing them in the lab, many of the environmental and humanitarian problems inherent with gemstone mining can be avoided. This particular stone was created by Chatham Gems, a leader in created gemstones. According to the company, "Chatham does not make gemstones, we make environments in which crystals grow naturally." In other words, these are real gemstones that are cultured in a laboratory - natural components are placed in an environment created to duplicate nature's. Once the required combination of chemical and environmental factors is created, the crystals grow over the course of a year, the length of time depending on the gemstone. As a result, quality diamonds and gemstones are developed with identical physical, chemical, and optical properties to those found in nature.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Work

fair trade wedding ringZultanite, moissanite, and recycled 14k white and yellow gold wedding ring
{ custom order; sold }

fair trade turquoiseFair trade Nevada turquoise & recycled sterling silver ring, size 6.5

Opal, pink rubellite tourmaline, chrysocolla, and recycled sterling silver ring trio
{ custom order; sold }

Star rose quartz, recycled 22k yellow gold, and recycled sterling silver ring
{ custom order; stone supplied by customer; sold }

Friday, May 15, 2009

New Work

I've been itching to make this ever since I received this piece of Fordite the other day and realized how cool it would be to make a reversible pendant out of it, since it is equally beautiful from either side, with different colors and patterns to complement varying outfits and occasions...

fordite necklace(the other side)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Muhammara Bliss

This recipe from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's just-released new cookbook, The Vegan Table is da bomb. I made some yesterday and have been enjoying the most spectacular sandwiches ever since. Here's tonight's dinner - foccacia with muhammara, sliced avocado, chopped cucumber, and shredded carrots. It would have been good with some chopped olives on top as well.


2 to 3 whole roasted peppers (from jar or roasted yourself)
2/3 cup bread crumbs (see below to make your own)
1 cup walnuts, toasted
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons clover agave nectar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more for added spice)

In a blender or food processor, combine the peppers and all the remaining ingredients. Taste, and add more spice or salt as necessary. Serving suggestions and variations:

* Garnish with toasted pine nuts

* To toast walnuts, just place them on a toaster oven tray and toast for 5 minutes; watch closely or they will burn.

* Serve with pita triangles, fresh bread, crackers, chips, carrots, mushrooms, cucumber, etc.

To make your own bread crumbs: Place some bread (stale bread works great) in the oven until it’s crispy but not really browned - at 300 degrees). Let it cool, then add it to your food processor until it is reduced to crumbs. Add Italian herbs such as dried oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, etc. Enjoy!

To roast your own pepper: Heat the oven to 525 degrees (or use your broiler if you have one). Place peppers on an oiled cookie sheet. Roast on the highest rack for about 30 minutes or until they turn completely black. It’s not necessary to turn them. Remove them from the oven, and put them in a paper bag right away. Let them cool before handling them. The blackened skin will then just peel off after only about 10 minutes in the bag. Roasting peppers over an open flame is also a great way to do it (and you don’t need any oil). Use your gas range or grill. Use tongs and just turn over an open flame for about 10 minutes until charred. Proceed as above.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Fordite Cabs

I just received some new Fordite cabs; all are available for custom orders.

fordite12mm x 22.5mm

14mm x 19mm

fordite cab13.5mm x 24.5mm

fordite cabochon(This is the reverse side of the one photographed directly above it - how will I ever decide which side to showcase? I'm thinking about trying to make a reversible pendant...)

Why my dogs are vegetarian

(via EtsyVeg)

"The US Deptartment of Agriculture uses the term '4-D' to indicate flesh that's considered unfit for human consumption. the 'D's' are: dead, dying, disabled, and diseased. In all but a few states, flesh from 4-D animals can be sold to pet food manufacturers ... (Jim) Mason and (Peter) Singer report an average of 15 million pounds of cancerous tissues a year (added to slaughterhouse reject piles - much of which is rendered into) 'by-products' on pet food labels."

~ Barbara Lynn Peden, Dogs and Cats Go Vegetarian

Closeout Sale

I've been working for several months towards having an entirely fair trade shop, and I'm getting really close. I only have a few items left using stones whose fair trade status I can not verify, and I've decided to mark these items down by 50%. I also have a few cabochons still lying around whose fair trade status is questionable, and I'll be de-stashing those soon as well.

Flashy Labradorite Necklace, Sterling Silver -
was $228; now just $114! {SOLD}

Garnet, Blue Tourmaline, Green Tourmaline, & Sterling Silver Pendant
(the only non-fair-trade stone in this one is the blue tourmaline) -
was $118; now just $59!

Chunky Blue Tourmaline Ring -
was $198; now just $99!

New Work

I've had a lot going on lately, and have been having trouble carving out much studio time...but I finally managed to finish a few rings today, and a bunch more are in the nearly-complete stage. Hopefully I can wrap those up over the next couple of days. Anyway, here's the newest stuff -

fair trade turquoiseFair trade Nevada turquoise & oxidized recycled sterling silver ring
{ to be listed soon in my Etsy shop }

chunky turquoise ringFair trade Nevada turquoise & oxidized recycled sterling silver ring
{ to be listed soon in my Etsy shop }

blue stacking rings
Kyanite, rainbow moonstone, aquamarine, & recycled sterling silver stackable ring
{ custom order; sold }

This is awesome - please watch.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The End of an Era (& the Beginning of a New One!)

Helen & moi

Well, it's finally happened - BestBeads has officially been transferred into the capable hands of Helen over at the new Etsy shop, 101BestBeads. I'm so happy to have found such a great buyer for my bead business - after spending several hours with Helen on Saturday, I can tell you firsthand that she is a truly capable and caring person who is enthusiastic about providing you all with great beads and super-friendly customer service. She's working over the next day or two to get all of the inventory from my old shop listed, so be patient - it's a lot of work! But it should all be up soon, and to celebrate the opening of her new shop, she's offering 20% off everything in the shop all week! So get on over there, say hello to Helen, and take advantage of the awesome sale!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Change is in the air...

As most of you know, I decided earlier this year to put my Etsy bead shop up for sale in order to devote my full time and attention to my jewelry shop. I am excited to tell you that I've found an amazingly sweet and talented buyer for the bead shop, and I'll be introducing you to her soon! We'll be working closely over the next few weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

My BestBeads shop will be closing temporarily this Friday night, May 8th, to perform inventory, and will re-open under a new Etsy domain within a few days. You can expect to enjoy the very same top-quality beads and cabochons you've come to rely on from BestBeads at the new shop, as well as friendly and attentive customer service.

Thanks for your incredible support over the last couple of years, and for your patience during this transition.

Get Your Fix of Chicken & Turkey Pix

We got a freaky chicken egg the other day -


Double Your Money!

Wow, some generous anonymous donors have pledged to match every dollar raised through the Team Vegan sponsorships! So that means that however much you donate to sponsor me will automatically be doubled - awesome! So what are you waiting for? Get on over there and help some animals!!!

I have a four mile run tomorrow and a (gulp!) six mile run on Saturday...

{read more about my running to raise money for Vegan Outreach}