Sunday, August 31, 2014

Star Links and Independence Greenway

Star Links
A cute new edition to my findings shop are these sterling silver star links! They are 22mm round which makes them a great size for necklace and bracelet designs as well as earrings. Available here.

Independence Greenway 
Independence Greenway is an old rail trail in my new town that has been converted into a paved trail for walking, running and biking.
 Parts of it show views of the Ipswich River.
I love the dotted line that is on the entire trail. Its total length is 8 miles (no we did not walk that far)!
 Wildflowers were everywhere, particularly the purple pretties.
 I love these little fuzzy things.

 More meandering water.

 The sunlight was perfect for seeing reflections on the water.
 A heavenly habitat to make the frog population very happy. 
This photo does not do the walk justice, but there are huge open areas that go on very far! There are a lot of power lines through here so it needs to stay open and maintained.
 Some areas have pops of multi color!

 I'm not sure what is going on here, but there was an outhouse in the woods with what appears to be a solar panel for energy. Maybe it is used by the maintenance workers?!
Thank you for stopping by! If you are in the U.S., enjoy your holiday Monday! Have a great week too. :) ~Val

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Black Onyx Earrings and A Life Update

Black Onyx Dangles
Black onyx is always a classic! These pretties are accented with sterling silver. Available in my Etsy shop.

Life Update
The summer flew by as usual! The house became really quiet as Jim's parents headed back to Florida after being with us for the summer. It was tons of fun getting to know them since I hadn't spent much time with them before.  

We will be staying in Massachusetts for a little while longer (not sure how long that is) before relocating to sunny, palm tree filled Florida. I know...we have been back and forth on this a bunch of times!  I'm certainly not looking forward to shoveling snow again. Ugh.

I got a cool task light!
It has a magnifier on top when I need it. The arm is quite flexible and can be moved all the way to the table.
I've wanted to treat myself for a long time with one but it is now a necessity in my new work space with the daylight becoming less and less each day. Forgive my messy work table. It was a super busy week with product orders arriving!

There has been a baby hawk in the neighborhood driving me crazy. It cries to mommy for food. The cry is a horrendous sound!
I think that is the baby in the tree and the mom flying behind it. This seemed to be the baby's favorite perch to cry from. 
We have a really good repuation in the neighborhood with the birds.
So good that even the nervous cardinals have joined in on the feasts we provided.

There are even some red winged blackbirds!
There has been talk of a shortage of honey bees but they are extremely happy here enjoying the nectar of the mint flowers! The mint has been covered with these happy little creatures.

One of my sweet customers sent me some of her handmade envelopes that are just the right size to fit my eyeglass chains! How cute are they? She does not have an Etsy shop but is seriously considering opening one.
Thank you for stopping by! I hope your summer was fabulous! ~Val


Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Fancy Jasper Bracelet and Veggie Sushi

Fancy Jasper Bracelet
I've always loved fancy jasper! It colors and markings are so perfect for the Fall season. This bracelet is available in my Etsy shop. 

Veggie Sushi
So Jim and I made vegetarian sushi a couple of times without proper tools (i.e. bamboo mats for rolling). We checked a few store nearby that we thought would carry them, but no luck! So off to Amazon I went and found this really cool tool...the Susheki!
I'm not being paid to endorse this product or anything, but we think it is awesome! We watched a Youtube video first on how to use it. I can be used for other things, such as making the perfectly round cookie.

We used it right away!

First we sprayed a little oil inside so the rice would not stick.
After filling both sides with rice (we used Jasmine), the plunger piece is used to create a gully for the filling.
Then the fillings of choice are added.

The tool then gets closed up. Now is was time for the plunging onto the seaweed!
It is the perfect size for Nori seaweed sheets.  The roll comes out ridiculously perfect! Seriously, how perfect is this?
Then it's time to roll. This was done with just some parchment paper on the table. Water on the side is recommended for wetting the ends of the seaweed so it holds when closed.
Then slice!  
Per the recommendation of the video, we refrigerated the rolls for 15 minutes before slicing with a wet knife. Otherwise the seaweed is difficult to work with. Of course we prepared vegetarian but so many other options like seafood and poultry that could be added! Same with dipping sauces!!!

Thank you for stopping by. Have a great week ahead!!! ~Val





Sunday, August 10, 2014

Whimsical Eyeglass Chains and Cheetah Print Goodies

Whimsical Custom Eyeglass Chains
One of my customers is a children's book illustrator. She requested a couple of fun asymmetrical eyeglass chains.
I was up for the challenge! With her overall preference of black, these are the 2 I created. Her current favorite pair of readers are red, hence the touch of color.
I love the look of the black with lots of metal. Very cool!

Cheetah Print Goodies
My niece recently celebrated the big 8. For a few years now she has had a serious love of anything cheetah print. So off to Etsy again I went for shopping!

This fun cheetah card is from Loving Expressions.
 How fun are these ears? They are from Fashion 4 Divas.
These headbands are for adults and children but can also be worn around the wrist! They are from Polka Dot Pineapple Boutique. 
Someday I would like to be proficient in resin. Until then I will enjoy others' creations! This necklace is from Le Petit Panda.
This pencil case could be used for so many things! It is from Isabella Bowtique.
My favorite is this cheetah print sock monkey! It is super adorable!!! From Girl Ice Climber.
Thank you for stopping by. Remember to shop handmade the next time you are seeking out gifts. :)  Have a great week. ~Val






Friday, August 1, 2014

Breakheart Reservation

Multi Gemstone Bracelet
This multi gemstone bracelet has different sized beads. I love the stars! Available in my Etsy shop. 

Breakheart Reservation
Breakheart Reservation is in Saugus, MA. 
It has a wide paved loop through the woods for walking and running. I love that it is wide enough so people don't get in each other's way!
I love the large boulders throughout!
Its a beautiful place for fresh air and exercise.
There are pine needles everywhere! I've always loved their color. 
There are benches along the walk if you want to take a rest.
Reading up on this place, it is apparently way larger than we saw!
There are high points where you can view Boston, southern New Hampshire and western Massachusetts. There are also trails off the beaten path in the woods.
This 640 acre forest oasis in the city boosts 2 fresh water lakes.
There is a beach on one of them. Turns out this is where my mom went as a little girl because she grew up in one of the nearby cities.
There are Canadian geese on the beach so I would not want to be on it or in the water with the way those birds poop!
We will be back here regularly since it is open year round and the walk is shady!!!

Thank you for stopping by! Enjoy your week. ~Val :)