Friday, December 18, 2009

Some Like It Hot!!

My son, Justin, daughter, Shawna and my brother, Bob, are all chili heads. They like EVERYTHING hot, hot, HOT! I am not kidding. I've seen Shawna put hot sauce on popcorn. And she wouldn't think of eating mashed potatoes without cayenne in them and more hot sauce poured over the top. So, with that thought in mind, and the fact that I just happened to have some are some South of the Border spiced pecans!

4 C Pecan halves

Tequila Glaze
6 T Tequila (I don't need to tell you to not use crappy tequila, right?)
3 T Unsalted butter
1 T Brown Sugar

Spice Mix
3 T Sugar
1 T Kosher Salt
1 t Cinnamon
3/4 t Ground Cumin
3/4 t Ground Coriander
3/4 t Cayenne (less of you're a bit timid...more if you're a freak like some of my family members!)
3/4 t Garlic Powder

Follow instructions below for Rum Spiced Pecans.

Rum Spiced Pecans

They are amazingly addictive. I usually need to make 3 batches so no one feels deprived!

4 C Pecan halves

Rum Glaze
2T Dark Rum
1T + 1t. Vanilla (try to use the real thing as imitation gets bitter when boiled)
2t Brown sugar
2T Unsalted Butter

Spice Mix
1/4 C Sugar
2t Kosher salt (the large crystals work nicer, if you only have table salt reduce the amount)
1t Cinnamon (I always heap my teaspoon cuz I love cinnamon!)
1/2 t Cloves
1/2 t Allspice

Mix together Spice Mix in a medium bowl and set aside.

Toast pecans in a preheated 400° oven on a lined cookie sheet for 7 to 10 minutes or until they smell nutty. Rotate and shake the pan half way through.

Bring Rum Glaze to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stirring well.

Using liner (parchment paper works best) as a funnel dump toasted nuts into rum glaze stirring well to coat. Continue to stir over the heat until all the liquid is absorbed and the nuts are shiny.
(lean over pot and take a deep breath! It is amazing!)

Dump into bowl with Spice Mix and stir well to coat. Transfer back onto cookie sheet to cool and air dry.

Now make another batch to share with someone as you've just eaten most of this one!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thanks Santa!

Dear Santa,

Thank you for the time off! I made some beaded leaves. The process
was more about enjoying the colors than what the final outcome
would be, but I had beautiful dreams last night on what I can
do with these leaves, so they may end up becoming a piece of jewelry.

The therapeutic process of beading never ceases to amaze me!
I've shared with many of my friends in the beading community,
the story of my Grandmother beading. It fits here so well.

When I was young I would spend my summers with her. My parents
both worked full time and it was easier to just send me to stay
with her. I didn't mind. She taught me so many crafty things
as well as how to cook with bacon grease! ;o)

She knit, crocheted, did paper quilling, made knick-knacks out
of seashells, made apple faced women, made toilet seats out of
resin with seashells and other inclusions, whittled, you get the
picture, right? But most of all she beaded with seed beads!

It was when she would pick up her seed beads that I would notice
a calm come over her. As is evident from all the crafts she dabbled
in, her mind was restless and she was always striving to occupy
it with busy work. It was only with the beading that I would
notice this change in her.

So, being a curious eight year old, I asked her once, "Nana,
how come when you play with your beads you get so quiet?"
She called me over to her side and said, "Look down here
at these beads. See those little tiny holes?" I remember
leaning over her arm and looking down as clearly as if she said
this to me yesterday. She had on a blue shawl and I can still
smell her if I close my eyes and breathe deeply. I nodded and
said, "Yes, I see the little holes". She said, "When
I am beading, I climb inside that little tiny hole and there is
no room in there for anyone else, or anything else. It is just
me and the beads, nothing to bother me or worry me, no noises,
no cares."

It was at that very moment that I fell in love with beads and
my love has only grown as I've gotten older. There was no greater
gift she could have passed on to me.

And now, when my life becomes too stressful, I reach for my seed
beads. I sprinkle them into a dish, gaze into the little tiny
holes and climb in. There is not another place more peaceful
and comforting to me.

To me it explains a LOT about why beading can be so addictive. Who wouldn't want to find that place of peace!

Thank you Nana!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Santa,

Can I please have a day off? How about 1/2 a day?

I am feeling over worked, under paid and frustrated. That is no way to enjoy the holidays!
Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love the colors of my tree (Burgundy & Gold), the food, the smells, the smiles on my families face when they open a special present. But right now I am just feeling stressed out. I need that feeling to go away!

Maybe I need to bead! Yes, that is what I need to do! I think I'll go to work this morning and get the ball rolling and then just sneak out and head back home. Maybe build a fire, put on some comfy slippers, make a cuppa tea and BEAD! If I accomplish this wish, I'll post my results!

In the meantime, I hope your holiday season is much less stressful than mine!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Autumn Inspirations

I absolutely LOVE Fall!

I love the colors, the smells, the sounds, the angle of the sun and the way it lights my yard in the morning and at dusk. I love the foods of autumn, rich stews, warm soups, baking bread and pies. I love building a toasty fire and settling into my chair to bead while I listen to the fire crackling and warming my home. I love sweaters and scarves and boots!

And most of all I love how all of these things inspire my beadwork. It seems every Autumn I am overwhelmed with beady ideas. It is like my Muse just awakens completely when the weather changes to a slight chill in the air. And I always head for these shades of beads:

Here is a bracelet and accompanying tutorial I created inspired by this image:

And a few years ago, I created this necklace, also inspired by that same image and also beaded in the Fall:
I ended up making this project into a kit and it has sold very well for several years now. But just recently I looked at it again and thought it would be fun to make similar leaves (and maybe even in those same colors because they are so freakin' beautiful!) and make a new necklace...maybe a lariat style with the leaves falling down one side that twines around the other side?

I think I need to get a pot of soup on...maybe a nice crusty loaf of bread in the oven? Light a crackling fire and GET THOSE BEADS OUT!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bay Area Bead Extravaganza!

The BABE! show is just around the corner now! I love this show! I know I am partial because it is in my own backyard, but even still, it is an amazing show. The show organizer, Trarie Kottkamp does a fabulous job of selecting her vendors. She strives harder than anyone I know to ensure you get a fabulous selection of product to shop from, plus the Studio Artisan's are heavily protected in that mass produced Chinese lampwork beads are not flooding the show floor competing with these highly skilled artisans in this venue.

All that work on her part pays off in the long run not only for those of us who have the honor of vending there, but also for the attendees who get the cream of the crop in beady related vendors to shop from.

I try to thank Trarie often for the energy she puts into this, as few shows go to these extremes. You can thank her, too, by attending this year! You'll always find her out and about on the show floor, she's the redhead!

There is also an amazing lineup of classes offered at the
BABE! show! I'll be teaching my Intro to Fine Silver Metal Clay again, it seems popular enough each year to repeat once again, and I certainly LOVE teaching this class. I'll never tire of the amazement I see on peoples faces when they see the magic of Metal Clay.

And this year I have a brand new 2-day class, An
Intro to BRONZclay & COPPRclay! You'll get to learn how to create with both of these new great mediums in one class!

I hope to see you at the show!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beadwork from Bead & Button 2009

Well, another year has come and gone for the Bead & Button Show. Even with the economic issues, it was a good show for us this year. Attendance certainly seemed down, both on the show floor and in the classrooms, but those who did attend were buying beads and learning new techniques and sharing their beautiful beaded creations just like always.

I had a great time! And I really enjoyed seeing all of the entries of beadwork this year, too. The Bead Dreams competition, the ISGB Convergence, and entries from the ToHo competition were all on display.

I sent Shawn off with the camera, and while he managed to get an image of every single item in each of the glass cases, I am not able to retrieve everything off the disk. =o(
However, I did get a lot of them! Some with the artists name included in the photo, some without. Sorry about that! I guess I didn't send him off with explicit enough instructions. LOL

Please enjoy these lovely creations! And if you know who created something that does not include the name, let me know and I'll add a credit to them by the photo. (Click images for an enlarged view)

High Caliber Collar by Rebecca Starry

Created by Tatiana Van Iten

A collaboration between Heidi Kummli & Sherry Serafini!

Created by Maria Thresa Ferreira of Portugal

Trippy transposed image with Shawn's hands and camera. There are a couple of these from the cases where he needed to face the incoming light from the windows.

The images below are part of the ISGB Convergance. If they do it again, I think I'd like to play!

The above is titled Pahoehoe Pools
created by
Pamela Wolfersberger & Tracy Van Niel

And last....but most certainly not least, this beaded box from Japan. Just the mere thought of the stress of having this piece of artwork shipped over here for display! I thank, Satoko Toyoda, of Japan for doing that so that we could all see it in person!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Too much plastic!

I had such a horrendous nightmare last night. First my head was stuck in a plastic bag and with each breath I would suck it further and further down my throat. Then my hands were covered with plastic and wrapped up tightly so I couldn't use them to pull the bag off my head. I struggled so hard to break free.....I finally woke up!

For me it was only a nightmare. For the animals on our planet and in our oceans and waterways? It is a living nightmare.

I have always been a firm believer that my dreams are a source of inspiration for me. And many times the message is one that I need to really pay attention to. You know, suffocating has a way of making you pay attention, right?

So, I am blogging about this issue, I've posted about it on my Facebook, I'll post about it on All About Beads....wherever I think I can get anyone to pay attention.

When I couldn't fall back to sleep easily, I spent the time thinking of ways that I can reduce the amount of plastic I use in my everyday life. Now mind you, I run a beadstore.....plastic is in abundance...sadly. All the seedbeads and packaged in plastic tubes, the little doodads and sparklies people pick out one by one get stuffed into plastic ziploc baggies for the trip home where they are most likely moved from there to a plastic storage box of some sort. Ugh!
Is everyone taking the time to recycle all those ziplocs?

If you're going to go home and sort your beads out anyway, why does every single style you just bought at the store need to be sorted into individual bags for you? Enjoy the sorting're a beader because that type of activity feels good. The tiny little bits of glass being put into their own special place, whether with needle and thread or with your fingers when you place them into their own compartment in a case.

From now on we will encourage our customers to let us put as much as we can into as few ziplocs as we can.

You know that jumbo soda you got from the drive-thru? Why not take the cup home, wash it out and put it right back in the car. When you order your next soda, tell them you brought your own cup! These cups can be used many, many times over.

If you shop at a grocery that still uses plastic bags, encourage them to switch to the soy based bags. NEVER opt for plastic when asked. Or, if you will be using it, return to the store with them! They can be used again, too!

I have several of the reusable bags I've purchased from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Safeway, wherever I've shopped...and up until today I also spaced out and left them home. I vow from today forward to put my groceries away and immediately take the bags back out to the car....along with my plastic drink cup!

What other ways can we reuse this stuff? Cut back on how much of it we use?
I know there are a million and one causes out there. But this one doesn't have to cost you a single penny (altho there are many places you could donate financially to help clean up the mess we've made)! All you have to do to help is to be a little more conscientious. Just a little bit....please?
For more detailed information on this issue, here are some links:
The Planet Archives

Friday, May 1, 2009

Bead Unique Tahoe Mountain Bead Retreat

This wondeful event is underway! The website is live so go sign-up for your seat!

The Bead Unique Tahoe Mountain Bead Retreat will be taking place at the picturesque Squaw Valley Resort & Village just 5 miles from beautiful Lake Tahoe!

The beading fun begins on Thursday, Oct. 1st with several Free Unique Workshops being taught by Pamela Hawkins, editor of Bead Unique Magazine and Laura Timmons, a Swarovski CREATE YOUR STYLE Ambassador.

All of the products for these Free workshops are sponsored by some fabulous suppliers in the beading industry. TierraCast™, Parawire, Out On A Whim (hey! that's me!) , Alacarte Clasps™ WireLace®, Vintaj Natural Brass Co, and CRYSTALLIZED™—Swarovski Elements.

Pamela Hawkins will be teaching how to make a pair of earrings, a bracelet

and this precious little commemorative charm for the event.

Then Laura Timmons will teach this Crocheted Wire & Swarovski Crystal necklace.

After you've beaded the afternoon away, there will be a scrumptious dessert social and Meet the Teachers event that evening where you'll receive your gift bag loaded with goodies from some very generous sponsors and donors. plus the raffles begin with some awesome products also donated by many wonderful companies and individuals!

Then classes will be taught on Friday, Saturday and Sunday by Sherry Serafini
Marcia DeCoster

and me! (Yay!)

If you're interested in joining us, go get your reservation in now! The seats are selling really quickly! Check out the Bead Unique Tahoe Mountain Bead Retreat website for complete details!

See you there!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Beading For A Cure Auctions

The auctions are underway! Wow...what fabulous beadwork is available!
Go look and bid, bid, bid!

New auctions are listed every Sunday at Noon Pacific Time. You can see which items will be up for auctions next from this link:

The kits for the 2010 BFAC auctions have all been spoken for. I'll be posting an image of the kit here soon. Check back!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tucson & More Bead Away Project Colorways!

We're heading back to Tucson! We haven't sold there in several years, but now that the kids are old enough to stay out of trouble, we're ready to return!

We'll be vending at The Best Bead Show in the North Patio (Atrium) which is just before you enter the main lobby.
This show is held at the Kino Veteran's Memorial Center on East Ajo way. It's on the shuttle schedule so easy to get to if you're in Tucson without a car.
The dates are Feb. 4th thru the 8th.
100's of exciting vendors!

Hopefully we'll see some of you there! Make sure to stop in and say Hi!

Bead Away-Las Vegas

I have been having so much fun creating samples of different colorways for my
Bead Away classes! What a great excuse to get out of housework. "Sorry, kids, Mom just HAS to finish these projects. I have no time to mop so it looks like you'll be doing it!"

I've beaded just the centerpiece (no time to bead the entire necklace but this gives a good example of the colors) in two more colorways for my Dazzling Rivoli Necklace. This first one has all special coated stones and crystals.

And this one, that did not photograph well at all...(what is with camera's not liking these shades?) is Volcano and Chili, hot, hot! It still needs one more layer of fringe.....I ran out of beads! Can you imagine!

Two more colorways in the Sparkle Links bracelet. This are so comfy to wear, btw!
Purple and Silver...

And Green & Gold..
Here is one of three new colorways in the Beaded Beads. Turquoise & Black with Bronze seed beads. I may just need to make myself an entire necklace out of these. They're like potato chips, you cannot make just one!!

In addition to more images of the Beaded Beads coming, I also have 6 new colorways in the Sunflower Pendant. Sadly, photography of beadwork doesn't look so good with just one light and one of our bulbs broke last night. =o(

I ordered a replacement and as soon as it arrives I'll chain Shawn to the camera again. So be sure to check back over the next couple of weeks for more images!

And most importantly, DO NOT delay in signing up for this Retreat! Seats are filling up quickly. Don't miss out!