Sunday, September 14, 2014

Apoxie Sculpt and a Multi Gemstone Lanyard

Gemstone Lanyard
I made another multi stone lanyard this week! These are always fun to make. This one is available in my Etsy shop

Apoxie Sculpt
Apoxie Sculpt includes both workable clay and adhesive so things can be stuck to it!
So I was curious to give it a try. I bought a package of silver color.
The one of the left is the clay. On the right is the epoxy. You simply take equal parts of each and mix them together with your hands until fully combined.
I like to freeform things when I can and clay is perfect for this! I'm experiment first with what I can do with it and how it looks hardened. Here was my first try adding a red jasper cabochon. Ok, I need to work on texturizing!!! Not my favorite.
With this piece I first rolled out a tube thinking of a donut, but my hands decided to try a ribbon shape. I like the idea of maybe creating awareness ribbons with appropriate colors. I should have done more smoothing here.
That last one is my favorite. I had a thicker piece that I twisted and stuck a cabochon of leopardskin jasper to.

I like how this came out with some texture since I don't want it to look machine made.
So I will be experimenting more and looking for tips online. There wasn't much on youtube except monster creation (apparently this sort of material is big in the monster world)!

There are many positives to this clay including:
  • no baking required (hardens rock solid in 24 hours)
  • allows a work time of 1 - 2 hours so you don't need to rush
  • 0% shrinkage
  • design ideas are endless with stamping, molding, painting and more
  • different materials will adhere to it including stones, crystals, polymer, metal, plastic and wood
  • it also comes in a variety of colors
Thank you for stopping by! Enjoy your week. :)  ~Val

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Wine Charm Hoops and Popcorn Balls

Earring Hoops for Wine Glass Charms
I used to carry earring hoops that are just the right size for wine glass charms. But at some point the costs went up and I could not keep up with competition on them! 

I found a new supplier who makes these in stainless steel. They are a thicker gauge at 21 versus the ones typically on the market at 24 gauge. Sturdier is better! Another benefit to these is the metal will not change color like the silver and gold plated ones over time. 

These are also great for earring hoops since stainless steel can be worn by most people with metal sensitivities. 

The only drawback is that the end of the hoop comes bent which will require unbending, then re-bending to add smaller hole beads on. They are perfect for simply adding charms which would slide right on! These are available in the earring wires section of my Etsy findings shop in different package sizes.

Popcorn Balls
These are delicious and healthy! I've had some snack type things pinned on Pinterest waiting to try and this was one of them!

Ok, they did not exactly come out round like the recipe I pulled from the internet. Mine actually look quite different. Different is ok by me. The original recipe is here.
Luckily I had all but 1 ingredient (shredded coconut) in the cabinet to make these.
First the dry ingredients were mixed:
8 cups of popped popcorn
1/2 cup almonds, chopped 
1/2 cup peanuts (I chopped mine since they were "super large", said so on the package)
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups of rolled oatmeal
2 tablespoons of ground flax seed
2 tablespoons chai seeds
In a separate bowl I mixed:
1/2 cup agave syrup (the original recipe called for maple syrup or honey but this worked great as a substitute)
1 cup of peanut butter (I only had 1/2 of smooth in the cabinet so I added in a 1/2 chunky)
Then the dry and wet ingredients were thoroughly mixed after using some muscle!
The mixture gets formed into 2 inch balls before going into the refrigerator to firm up. I used 2 large cutting boards with parchment paper on them.
The balling part was tricky. Maybe the missing coconut was necessary for cohesion! 

The recipe didn't mention if the nuts should be salty or not. The ones I used were salted which may have made a difference in holding them together. On the other hand, the salty is great for satisfying the salty and sweet craving all in 1 bite!

Anyway, they are delicious and a quick easy snack for an energy boost. I also loved the bake free aspect of these since I made them on a super hot, humid day. 

They are being stored in a container in the fridge to keep fresh and together. I will definitely make these again in the future. I think they will freeze great too to keep them longer.

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

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