Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cheerful Bloom

I just wanted to share this shot with you all. I don't know the name of this plant. If you do, let me know. They were just so cute and adorable.

Friday, May 21, 2010

author's alternations (AA)

One of the dreaded phrases Account Managers, Copy Writers or Art Directors in the advertising world have to hear -- AAs -- especially if they happen more than once (Yep, I was an Ad Exec in a past life). What it basically means is, you are in the final stages of say getting approval on a print ad proof from your client, and Mr. BrainFreeze thinks the headline is "Just not right." and this after he's approved and seen the print ad from the early stages of conceptualization to now when you are just a day away from the magazine print deadline. "Let's go with the other headline instead. That shouldn't be a problem, right." concludes Mr. BrainFreeze -- and everyone in the room just feels like tearing their hair out.

Segue now to my life as a jewelry artist and I'm Mr. BrainFreeze doing the author alterations I so keenly abhorred my clients doing. I have this bead pattern which I just kept changing and changing, over and over again. I have 3 "final" versions of the pattern. And this is only because I remembered to save versions of the "final" pattern.

I kept "tweaking" and "tweaking" (where did this word originate from?) till I forced myself to stop - ENOUGH! I even did one more "tweak" even AFTER I started working on the bracelet.

I have named this pattern KAOS!

Here's the finished bracelet which I will be listing in my Etsy store as a Made To Order Item:
And here are the 3 variations:
#1 - I didn't like the blue here.
#2 - I think the change from blue to beige made the design pop more. Then I hated there being too much orange in the lower part of the design.#3 - so I changed the lower part as you can see!

BAO Item of the Week May 21 - 27

My cuff links are my featured Bead Art Originals (BAO) Item of the Week for May 21-27. Nine other BAO artists are participating this week with their own special items and offers. Click on the image below or go to for details on each of these items and the specials available on them below.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Forgettable Cuff Links and E.T.

Fewer men wear cuff links these days. I think it's sad because somehow it signifies the decline of the art of fine dressing. But I'm hopeful and so I work on more cuff links. I've done about a dozen of these in the past and they have sold in craft shows and all have been bought by men. I noticed most of these guys were not expecting to find anything on my table and, therefore, surprised -- "Oh, are these cuff links?" They were even more surprised by how inexpensive they were.

I've made more of these cuff links just recently and posted them to my Etsy shop. So I can only hope there are men and women online who would look at these often forgotten but ever so fine piece of accessory.P.S. While in production, I happen to take this shot of a batch of cuff links while waiting for the glue to dry. Looks very E.T!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Heavenly Hummus

I know this shot is totally unappetizing but just to let you
know I didn't get a chance for a food shot because my guests
just scooped the hummus straight from this container.
So this is "bottom of the barrel" shot so to speak :)

Hello! Here's the recipe for hummus I promised to share.

2 cans chickpeas (I prefer to drain and rinse the chickpeas)
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
1-3 large cloves garlic, peeled (number of cloves depends on how much you love garlic. I do 3 but that might be too strong for most people)
2 tsp. sesame seeds
3-4 shakes of ground cumin
2-3 shakes of paprika (I like spanish paprika or pimenton)
1/4 c. water
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro or parsley for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend on low speed or pulse depending on your machine's capability. You may need to stop at intervals to push down the ingredients. If the mix is too dry, dribble in some olive oil or water (whichever you prefer. I love olive oil so that what I would use). I suggest adding a tablespoon at a time of the liquid so you don't make a mistake and end up with too watery mix. Be patient. I like to blend it to the same consistency as peanut butter.

When done, scrape the mixture on to a serving bowl. You can garnish it by dribbling just a bit of olive oil on top, a light sprinkling of paprika and the parsley.

Serve with corn chips or pita bread. I like to take pita pockets, toast them in a toaster and slice them like pizza. Then your guests can spread the hummus in the pita pockets slices and munch away!

You may also notice that I skipped the Tahini in this recipe. I didn't find any in my local grocer and didn't have the patience to run from store to store. You can make your own tahini by blending lightly toasted sesame seeds with olive oil in a food processor. You'll need to get the right proportion between seeds and oil in order to create the right pasty consistency. Again, adding the liquid little by little as you blend it is better than ending up with a watery tahini mixture.

Have fun!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So I'm Suppose To Take Care of the Bonsai?

You need to realize I DO NOT HAVE A GREEN THUMB. My DH, Mike, has always been the gardener growing tomatoes and peppers in our back yard. Me, I love rock gardens! But for some reason, I have been appointed caregiver for these bonsai. The last plant I had was a pot of English ivy which in fact is a WEED but it still died on me!
I flashback to ages ago when I had a boyfriend who did bonsai for a hobby. He blindly entrusted four precious trees to me which promptly died in my “care.” Are these bonsais to suffer the same fate?

My story starts when I was surfing the internet a couple weeks ago searching for flowers to send to a friend. As usual, I consult Mike for his opinion since we were sending the flowers from the both of us - he likes to be included in these decisions (men, right?).

Anyway, I'm clicking around the site and Mike cries "Stop!"

I freeze, "What?!"

"Look at that bonsai. Bonsais are cool," my husband intones.

"Uh, yeah. But I don't think Marcy will have the time and patience to care for them, dear. She travels a lot remember." I patiently pointed out.

"No, for us. It would look good on the coffee table or by the console." Oh, so innocent.

Anyway, we sent orchids to Marcy and I thought that was the end of it.

The following days, I was peppered with bonsai questions – “What type of bonsai is best?” “A bonsai would look good over here.” “Do they have to be trimmed a lot, you think?” It was HINT, HINT! for three days till I finally caved and bought NOT ONE BUT TWO bonsais (“L” sign on my forehead, I know!). Mike was ecstatic. I had ordered a juniper tree and a gardenia bonsai.

It was a huge production when they finally arrived. Mike was like a kid on Christmas morning. The trees were buried in a boxful of styrofoam peanuts and wrapped securely in foam and packing tape. After 20 minutes, we managed to extricate them every so carefully so as not to hurt the branches or leaves.

So I set them up, place the pots on the humidity trays, line the trays with the white pebbles, dust off the excess soil around the pots, etc. They are gorgeous I must say. The juniper was just staged nicely and the gardenia had young flower buds that would soon bloom. Both plants were taller than the web site description. Mike didn’t mind, but that now posed a problem on where to place them.

Plus, I didn’t realize that the juniper was an outdoor bonsai. Ergo, no other place for it but on our balcony – “But the cold wind might tip it over.” This from Mike. OH-Kay. At this point, I’m rolling my eyes at Grandma Moses.

The next day, I overhear Mike on the phone:
“Yeah, Regina bought some bonsai trees. Really nice!....Yeah, I guess she’ll be trimming and fussing over them……No, she hasn’t bought any fertilizer, maybe later…….She hasn’t decided where she really wants them, you know how that goes…..She hasn’t watered them yet, I guess she has a schedule for that….One is outdoor and one with flowers is indoor…No, she hasn’t done that…..Oh, I’m sure she knows that….. I really don’t know anything…….Honey, what kind of bonsai did you buy?”

I beg you to pray for these bonsai.

Monday, May 10, 2010

3 Stones in a Frame Pendant

To celebrate a friend's milestone birthday (Happy 5oth!), I thought I'd make her a pendant. I know I wanted to use purple swarovski crystals. I was sure I wanted to create a piece using silver and 24K gold delicas, so I started working on the stones while I tossed around ideas on how I wanted to complete the piece.

As most of my bead projects progress, I start bit by bit and then proceed with components piece by piece till it feels "right." The stones stayed on my work table for some time before I finally decided to frame 3 stones in a rectangular piece. I managed to shoot the work in progress as I made the "frame" but completely missed out on shooting the completed piece! I was just too excited to wrap the piece in a box to give to my friend. Here are shots as I made the piece.

I started with the desired number of beads in a circle then delineated the corners for the rectangle with herringbone corners.I worked around the rectangle for as many rows as shown. I didn't want to frame to be thicker than needed as I wanted a rigid structure for the pendant.I found it easier to work the piece into 3D by working on one side rather than working in the round. So once I hit the halfway mark on one side, I started with the gold beads for the design and continued on till I had completed one side.
I zipped the straight sides closed and kept the slanted ends open to be connected later as I completed each side. Now work on another side and zipper it shut.After the longer side has been zipped, your can weave the corners together.Complete all sides of the pendant. Finally mount the stones and weave the bail. I just did a simple bail, 4 beads wide, about 16 beads long. For chain, I used a gold filled snake chain with a lobster clasp to complete the necklace.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Saturday, May 08, 2010


My best friend from college, Cheryl, finally got a chance to come and visit me. Her last trip here to the US was about 4 1/2 years ago. She stayed over from Monday and left yesterday. Her son, Sean, who had formed a bond with my son, Iggie, was also here so the two had a marathon of gaming and whatever teens do on the internet these days that don't get them into trouble. Needless to say it was endless chatting for Cheryl and me, trying to catch up on the latest news. We had marathon chit-chats from early mornings till late nights with the usual eating binges and glasses of pinot grigio, reisling, cabernet sauvignon and morning mimosas!

Today, I'm trying to be good and put my eating back on track. I got out my juicer and citromatic. I juiced the oranges and the apples, strawberries and grapes went into the juicer. Heavenly breakfast!

For lunch I had homemade hummus (I'll share the recipe later this week), avocado, broccoli sprouts, lettuce, sesame seeds and tomatoes in a whole wheat wrap. I didn't think of taking a picture of that one, sorry :)

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and Mike wants to take me to my favorite Italian restaurant so the eating will take another step back but it will be worth it!

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms out there!
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