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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Take Credit Earrings

I was down to only one pair of my credit card earrings in my Etsy shop and decided it was time to make more. These are earrings I make from expired credit cards, used gift cards and used hotel keys. I got a start by making three pairs, but ran out of jump rings and need to get more to continue. Here are my three, to be listed in my shop very soon.

Pink Take Credit Earrings
Aqua Take Credit Earrings
Silver Take Credit Earrings

Monday, May 25, 2009

Strawberry Desserts

While I was at the grocery store Sunday, I couldn’t resist buying a 4-pound package of strawberries that was on sale. I love strawberries! And I knew they would get eaten, mostly by me. But I decided I wanted to make something different with my strawberries so I started looking through my Cooking Light cookbooks and found two very easy things to make that required no additional trips to the grocery store for additional ingredients. On Sunday, I made desserts for both Sunday and Monday and they took no time at all. My kind of recipes!

In the 2004 Cooking Light cookbook, I found a recipe for Chocolate Strawberries with Mint Dip. This was so easy. The recipe called for 16 strawberries and 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped. For the three of us, I used 12 rather large strawberries and found some dark chocolate chips in my pantry. I used maybe ¼ cup or so – I didn’t measure them out. I washed the strawberries and left the stems on. The recipe pointed out that you need to let the strawberries dry completely. Then I melted the chocolate in the microwave on high according to the package directions, dipped the bottom part of each berry in the melted chocolate, placed on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and cooled in the refrigerator. They said the strawberries are best served at room temperature, which is how we ate ours.

The recipe called for a dip made of ¼ tsp. peppermint extract mixed into an 8-oz. carton of vanilla fat-free yogurt. (I think yogurt only comes in 6-oz. containers now.) Although I actually did have some vanilla yogurt, I decided I wanted pure undiluted chocolate and strawberry flavor without the dip. And the recipe says 4 strawberries makes one serving, but I think you should be able to eat as many of these as you want! They were very good.
Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Then I made tonight’s dessert, Strawberry Granita. This was from the 2005 Cooking Light cookbook. It, also, was super easy.
Strawberry Granita

Mix ½ cup sugar (I used part sugar, part Splenda to cut down on the sugar) and ½ cup warm water in a blender until the sugar dissolves. Then add 3 cups sliced strawberries and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish. Cover and freeze for 3 hours, then stir well. (I forgot to stir after 3 hours. It was much longer than 3 hours before I thought of stirring, then it was frozen too solid so I skipped the stirring.) After you stir, cover and freeze 5 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Scrape with a fork until fluffy and serve. The recipe says this makes four 1-cup servings, although I think it looks like much more than four servings. This was very good - a light summery kind of dessert.

If you like strawberries, try one or both of these recipes. They are SO easy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Last Jewelry Class

Last Wednesday was supposed to be my last jewelry class, but because my son’s high school baseball team made it to the championship game of the district playoffs on Wednesday (lost pretty badly but we set a school record for number of wins – 16 – this year) and because his Memorial weekend tournament was cancelled that his summer team was going to play in, I did my last class on Saturday. This was good because instead of my regular 2.5 hour class, I was able to work in the studio from 10 – 3 and got a lot more accomplished than I would have on Wednesday. (See what my projects looked like a week ago here.)

This is the pendant I made in my first class I took at the community college. There were a couple places on the sides of the pendant that needed more polishing, so I got that done.Denim lapis pendant

I made the bail and attached it to this turquoise pendant. I still need to push the bezel down a little more to make sure the stone is firmly attached. But that’s all that’s left.
Turquoise pendant

I was hoping to finish this pendant with the dichroic cabochon, but when I was polishing it, the stone came out of the setting. I need to push the bezel down on this one a lot more, then I will have another round of polishing that this one will need.Dichroic pendant

And here is my M pendant. I got a lot of the polishing done on this, but it still needs more. Then I will need to drill a larger hole in it. I need to be very careful on this one because one edge is starting to get rather thin. M pendant

Since my class is over, I’ll need to figure out how to get these finished. I have some other projects that are not quite as far along, also, like my two pairs of earrings, the rose quartz and the tiger’s eye. I’m able to schedule additional studio time with my instructor. But what I really want to do is make some progress on planning my Mother’s Day gift from my husband. He’s giving me a soldering torch and the ventilation that needs to go along with it. Now I just need to figure out what I really want/need and get it all planned. And I’ll probably look into what I can buy out of my Prized Possessions business funds to take care of polishing. So I have some work ahead of me to figure out how to put this all together, but it would sure be fun to have some of my own equipment to do this at home!

P.S. Happy Anniversay to me! I opened my Prized Possessions Etsy shop one year ago today!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Custom Soccer Bracelets

Last week, I received an inquiry about making 12 bracelets for a soccer team, a red and blue version of my Team Spirit Bracelet. After some communication back and forth, I learned that some of the moms were interested in bracelets, too. The order came through for 17 bracelets! I put them in the mail yesterday. Here is a picture of my finished order.

Custom soccer bracelets
These bracelets are adjustable to fit a wide range of wrist sizes. The knots used can be retied to make the bracelet larger or smaller. And the excess cord can be cut off if there is too much excess. This is a fun way for a team player to show off their team colors and their player number! And they were fun to make, too!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Saturday Metalworking Class

A couple weeks ago, my metalworking instructor wasn’t able to meet for class, so I made up the class yesterday. I got LOTS of soldering done and had a wonderful time! Here’s a pendant I cut out at home on Friday and soldered on Saturday. The top piece is copper and the bottom silver. I still need to drill a hole at the top for a jump ring and polish it.

I only have one class left so hopefully I can get this polished in class.

I soldered all these bezels in class. I sawed off some of the excess backing last night. Hopefully I can get a lot done on them during my last class.

The rose quartz on the left and the tiger's eye on the bottom are planned to be earrings. Unfortunately, I got the second bezel for the tiger's eye too hot and melted it. At least I learned that lesson on my smallest bezel and not the large one!

I love this class! I’m hoping I can do a lot more metalworking in the future. My Mother’s Day gift from my husband was the promise of a soldering torch and vent (yet to be chosen or even determined where to put it!). I would love to be able to work on these projects anytime I wanted to and not just once a week during class. I started talking to Gennie, my instructor, about how to set up what I need at home on Saturday. I would LOVE to be able to do this at home, so it’s a high priority of mine to keep researching what I need and how to get it set up. Stay tuned…

Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Sweater!

Here's my new sweater! I finished joining all the pieces together last weekend. I spent some of my Mother's Day weaving in the ends and just finished doing that last night. So now I have a completed sweater. It really went pretty fast, although you wouldn't know that by how long ago I started it!

Here's a picture of my new sweater.

My new sweater
And here's a picture of me wearing my new sweater. The sleeves are kind of big, but at least it's got plenty room to go over other sleeves! I'll probably either take it to work so I'll have something to put on when it gets too chilly at my desk or just wear it around the house. We have one room in the house that is a little too cool when the air conditioner is on. It would be great to have something like this to pull on as needed. I'll have to decide where to keep my sweater...
Mary Ann wearing her new sweater
And then I'll have to decide which of the sweaters in my book I should try next. I want to learn to shape the back neckline and I think there's a sweater in the book that teaches you how to do that. So until then, that's my knitting update!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rose Quartz Pendant

I finished my rose quartz pendant in class tonight! I really like the way it turned out. I set my stone in the bezel tonight, bent over the top of the silver to form the bail and had to do a little more polishing. Here are some photos.

Rose Quartz Pendant on Chain

Rose Quartz Pendant

Rose Quartz Pendant

I can't wait to wear it! Tomorrow will be one of those days where I pick the jewelry to wear first then find the clothes to go with it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Basil and Flowers

I guess I'd forgotten how busy spring and high school baseball season are! The blog posts just aren't happening as often as I'd like.

I hope all you moms out there had a wonderful Mother's Day! I enjoyed my Mother's Day. We had my mom over for dinner and had a nice, relaxing evening. Here's a picture of the pretty flowers my husband gave me on Friday to start out my weekend. They're just starting to open a little more and are still very pretty!

My Mother's Day flowers

I love fresh basil! This is the third year I've planted basil seeds. I planted them maybe three weeks ago or so. Here are all my little plants! They grow pretty quickly...before you know it, I'll be needing to put them in bigger pots. I need to try to put them out on my deck when they get bigger. Maybe I'll try with a pot or two and make sure the squirrels and raccoons don't eat them. Otherwise, my basil will take over my kitchen windows and window sills again this year!

My basil plants

My son had a baseball game Friday night and two on Saturday. We won all three of those games and the varsity record is now 14-5. It's been a pretty good year for them! Last night were the spring sports awards at school.

Tonight I had a night off to work on my cabochon projects before I go to class tomorrow. The instructor wasn't available last week, so it's been two weeks since my class. I'm ready for another class...they're so much fun!

And I had some exciting news this evening...I was contacted by someone who is interested in buying 12 of my Team Spirit Bracelets from my Etsy shop for their soccer team. I sure hope this purchase happens...business has been rather slow for me after the first of the year. This would be very nice!

Team Spirit Bracelet

I only have a few yarn ends to weave into my sweater and I'll be ready to show pictures of it. And hopefully I'll have lots of progress at tomorrow's jewelry class. And Friday's my day off...I'm ready for that! Hope you enjoy the rest of your week!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Spring Wall Hanging Done at Last!

Spring has finally come to my craft room! I finally finished my Debbie Mumm spring wall hanging! I had the quilt assembled weeks ago. I just never quite could find the time to do the quilting. I finished it about 20 minutes ago, sewed some loops for hanging onto the back, took down my winter wall hanging and hung up my new spring one. Here it is...

Spring Wall Hanging
Guess I'd better get started on the summer version if I ever think I'll get it completed before September!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Update on my Jewelry Class

Well, finally I have an update on all my jewelry class projects.

Polished pendant from first class Remember the denim lapis pendant that I didn't quite get finished when the first class I took ended? (Here's the original post about this pendant.) I spent my entire class time last Wednesday polishing. My first class pendant was one of the items I polished. There are still a couple spots I need to go over again, but it looks much better than when I last posted its photo!

Polished ringAnd here's my polished ring! Looks much better...and it's even round now. (Here's the previous post.)

Rose quartz cab and bezelThe third item that I worked on polishing is the bezel I made for this rose quartz cabochon. I need to cut out a "V" shape at the top and then I will bend it over to make the loop that slips onto a silver chain or wire necklace.

Denim lapis and bezelWhen I bought my denim lapis for my first class, they were sold as a pair. I haven't polished it yet, but I made this bezel for the second denim lapis cabochon. I want to make a wire bracelet for this stone.

Rose quartz and tiger's eye cabs and bezelsThere was a gem and mineral show in town last weekend, so of course I had to go. I bought some new smaller cabochons that I want to use for earrings. I cut the bezel for these first two pairs (rose quartz and tiger's eye). I need to make sure the bezels are the right length and then I'll be ready to solder them.

My new cabochonsAnd this weekend there was a bead show in town. I bought these great cabochons...can you tell I'm kind of into the cabs right now?
Dichroic cabochonAnd I found this pretty dichroic cab that I'd like to try. So stay tuned for more updates on all these projects!

And other updates that will be coming soon...I finished knitting all the pieces of my sweater. Just need to weave in all the loose ends then put the pieces together. And I'm almost finished quilting my Debbie Mumm spring wall hanging. I was hoping to have it finished by now (well, long ago, actually). I was going to work on it a lot this last Friday (my day off) and Saturday, but I came down with a cold or something and after sitting through my son's two baseball games Saturday (we won them both!), I was really tired and didn't feel like doing much of anything. But I made a lot of progress tonight. It's close.

The frequency of my blog posts kind of slipped there for a while, but I'm ready to change that. Hopefully, I'll keep them coming much more often now! Stay tuned...