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 :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Unisex Eyeglass Chains, Eyeglasses and A Yard Update

Unisex Eyeglass Chains
I've added 2 more styles of unisex eyeglass chains. I tend to struggle with men's items since I question if something is too girly or not! I was shocked that one of each sold within 24 hours! 
These are available in my Etsy shop. However I'm currently out of the crazy horse stone now since I ran out of the beads. They are on order as well as a couple of other stones that I think will be perfect for the unisex chains!

Some of you noticed my new photo! The time came that I needed to fill a prescription. I knew this was coming and I was starting to get headaches. The prescription is extremely mild but is making a huge difference for me when working! Reading glasses were no longer cutting it.
I had Lasik surgery in June 2013. However my eyes were really bad so there was no possibility of 20/20 from the procedure. I could have gone back for enhancements later but did not want to go through that stress again.

Needless to say, I knew I would be wearing glasses again. These are only for working. My other day to day activities don't require glasses so I'm still super happy with the results....and no contact lenses EVER AGAIN!  I picked out the least expensive pair of frames available and love their boldness.

Yard Update
A snake left its skin behind on the steps in the yard.
What awesome texture these creatures have. While Jim protects me from spiders, I have to protect him from snakes!!!

The hostas are dangling their flowers.
Three bunnies grazing together! I took this photo through the screen door so I would not interrupt their feast.
Thank you for stopping by!!! Have a beautiful week! ~Val

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lake Quannapowitt and an Anklet

I treated myself!
Since I'm barefoot 90% of the time in the summer now, I decided to make myself an anklet. It will complement most of my summer outfits!
It's full of gemstones including white howlite, turquoise, hematite, onyx, jade, autumn jasper, rose quartz, chrysanthemum stone, crazy horse stone, green aventurine and red mountain jade. 

Although I don't have anklets listed in my shop, they are available by custom order. 

Lake Quannapowitt We took a walk around Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, MA. This lake has a paved walkway 4 miles around it for a great workout! 

We took a detour through a large cemetery by the water. 

We saw this really cool old tree starting to grow through the fence.
These lucky residents get a water view.
While the lake itself is not too picturesque, it is great for people watching!
This pretty plant was growing along the water.
We also saw turtles sunning themselves.
We've walked the lake twice so far and I'm sure we will do it again. However, not on a hot sunny day since it is a shade free walk and I thought I was going to pass out the first time we did it!

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