Wrapping up 2013 in Jewelry

I really didn't want to end this year with yet another food post. Instead, let me leave you with some eye candy. . .my favorite pieces made each month this year.













Honorable mention (since it's not completed jewelry)

I definitely like the direction this year has taken me and I'm looking forward to many more creative endeavors in 2014. Here's hoping you are too!

Happy New Year Y'all!!

The Last Menu of the Year

While I'm a huge fan of the holiday season: the gatherings, the merriment, the giving, the good food, and the celebration; I'm always ready for it to come to an end simply because of the way it gets my eating schedule off. And by off, I mean that I need to stop eating all of the things with total lack of portion control. With a new year almost upon us and a new set of goals pending, I'm looking forward to eating a little more healthy and regimented. It'll be a lot easier once 'the holidays' are over! For now, here's what I'm hoping we'll consume.

Breakfasts: Oatmeal/cheese grits, Smoothies, Cheese omelets, French Toast, Scrambled eggs w/toast (all w/fruit)

Lunches: Cheese quesidillas, Tuna Noodles, Cheese pizza (from freezer), PB&J, Sesame noodles, Soup w/grilled cheese, Leftovers (all will have fruit and/or veggies on the side)

Ham steaks w/Black-eyed peas & Spinach Salad
Guiltless Cheesy Mac (1/2 recipe)
Pan-cooked chicken cutlets w/Boiled red potatoes & Green Beans

Doesn't that sound heavenly!? I'm linking up this menu for Menu Plan Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Recipe Review

Baked black bean Mexican spaghetti squash: I added soy crumbles and onions to this with some homemade taco seasoning. The casserole smelled DIVINE, tasted good (a little spicy), but there was just something about the texture that was off. I'm still trying to find my spaghetti squash mojo. I'm wondering if I had pressed out some of the liquid from the squash if it would have been a little better. I don't think I'll make this exact recipe again.

Italian chicken soup: This was AMAZING! It made enough for me to bag up and freeze two additional meals. We've actually already eaten one of them. I will definitely make it again.

Tempeh and brocolini stir fry: This was pretty tasty. I ended up using regular broccoli. I'll admit that we're still getting used to tempeh, but we enjoyed it overall. I may make this again.

I hate that most of my posts lately have been about food, but I guess that's the one constant I can guarantee. In fact, most of my gifts from my family were food-related (cookbooks, a mortar and pestle, and a cutting board). However, I'm not exactly keen on my year ending with a blog post on food, so I may post again later today. I hope you understand. And, if I don't get to it. . .I hope you have a WONDERFUL New Year!! Wising you all the best for 2014 and beyond!

Christmas Table Favors (and the Candy Cane Legend)

I am fortunate enough to be an advisor for the International Order of Rainbow for Girls (a Masonic Girls Organization). We recently had our state-level Christmas party and (because of the position I currently hold) I needed to have favors for the party. Me being me, I knew I wanted to make as many of them as I could.

If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, or Tumblr you might have gotten a glimpse of what I made for this event.
These are basic peppermint sticks dipped in melted chocolate and rolled in festive Sprinkles

I combined the dipped peppermint sticks with several other fun items to make goodie bags.
The bags are simply closed with Christmas washi tape.

In each baggie were two zip-top jewelry bags. One bag contained two chocolate-dipped, sprinkle coated pretzels and the other held one of the peppermint sticks. The Merry Christmas labels were printed onto cardstock and attached to the baggies with a staple.

These tiny stained glass coloring books and markers from Oriental Trading Company were also included in the bags.

Lastly, I threw in a little more candy and some holiday stickers. (oops, that fancy penguin's upside down!. . .the top hat makes him fancy, obviously.)

I wanted to be sure to give each of the girls that attended a little something special as well, so I made up another set of little baggies as pedicure kits.

They're just a small bottle of nail polish and a set of pedicure tools, but the label is what makes it for me. I found the "For Your MistleTOES" labels via The Crafting Chicks.

Favors were also made for the devotional breakfast. This time I went a little more simple with baggies of homemade hot cocoa mix (with marshmallows), a printed Candy Cane Legend bookmark, and some candy canes.

I don't recall exactly which cocoa mix I used, but you can simply find one by searching for 'homemade hot cocoa mix' on the internet. I topped the cocoa with another homemade label that included the instructions.  The Candy Cane Legend bookmarks were found HERE on Scribd. To add a little more pizazz to them once they were printed, I punched a hole at the top, stuck on a clear reinforcer, and tied a bit of red ribbon to it (though green would have been nice too.)

I also read some information about the Candy Cane Legend to the girls. It's a legend that I just really love so I thought I'd share with you what I shared with them.
I’ve used this Legend many times because there’s just something so innocent about a candy cane, yet it is packed with meaning. You’ve probably heard me or someone else tell this legend before, but it’s still hard to find a consistent story about where the candy cane derived. Some stories say that in 18th century Europe public displays of Christianity were forbidden so a candy-maker used the candy cane to covertly display his love for the Lord. Another story is that the first maker of the candy cane was in Indiana. Yet another story is that a Choirmaster in 1670 Germany gave hooked candy sticks to his young members of the choir to keep them quiet during the service. In all of the stories I found, the symbolism of the candy cane remains the same: 
**The hooked shape is a symbol of a shepherd’s hook to remind us that Jesus is our shepherd and we are his flock. When turned upside down, the cane becomes a “J” for Jesus’ name.
**It is a hard candy to remind us that Jesus is the rock of our salvation.
**It begins as a pure white to represent the virgin birth and the sinless nature of Jesus.
**The stripes on the candy cane also have meaning. Most often, the candy has one main stripe and three smaller ones. The large one represents the blood shed on the cross for our sins. And the smaller three are the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
**Even the flavor of the candy is symbolic. The peppermint is similar to Hyssop which was used for purification and sacrifice just as Jesus sacrificed His life for ours. 
Unfortunately over time the real story of the Candy cane has been hard to find and its meaning all but lost in the busy-ness of the season. It has become nothing more than a piece of candy. However, you now know what it truly means and can share it with others. For when you share a piece of a candy cane, you are sharing Jesus with a friend.

I'm not positive I'll have time to post again before Christmas, so let me go ahead and wish you a most magical and blessed Holiday however you choose to celebrate it!

Just a Quick Menu Plan

Once again, I've gotten behind. Since publishing the Creative Spark Glossi I've done nothing but try to catch back up. I'm totally not there yet. For today, I'm just going to quickly share this week's menu (which should have been done yesterday) and then try to move on down my to-do list. As well, it's not a massive menu as we've got a busy week ahead. I hope you understand.

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Cereal/grits/oatmeal, muffins

Lunches: Cheese quesidillas, tuna noodles, cheese pizza (from freezer) w/salad, PB&J, grilled cheese w/soup

Spaghetti w/salad

I'm linking this up at I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday (even if it is Tuesday).

Recipe Review
(for the few recipes we ate last week)

Pasta with mushrooms: I love, love, love this recipe. The mix of the touch of Parmesan and cream and the truffle oil make it decadent without getting too rich. Yum!

Thai chicken tacos: These were really tasty and pretty easy to make overall. I will possibly make them again.

And that's it for now folks! I hope the winter and the holidays are treating you well, and I hope to pop back in soon (but the way things have been going I can't make any promises right now.) Enjoy yourselves!

ZnetShows' Creative Spark Glossi for Winter 13-14

The last few weeks I've been preoccupied with creating another issue of Creative Spark for ZnetShows. It was a ton of work, but getting to feature the fabulous designers of the ZnetShows Team is definitely worth it. Inside Creative Spark is all kinds of beautiful pearl inspiration, some tutorials, peeks into creative spaces (including my own), and so much more. You should definitely go take a look.

ZnetShows is also having a giveaway for simply sharing the Glossi. Information about the giveaway is on the ZnetShows Blog.

Tidbits and Bobbins

I know I've been a bit absent here lately and I feel like all I've had to share was what I am eating. I do apologize. I've been really busy on a project and can't seem to focus on much else. While relaxing a little this morning, I've been going through my neglected blog feeds. Since I don't have much of my own stuff to share with you, I figured I could at least share some of the other online bits that caught my eye. (Many of these are Christmas related so I apologize to those of you who don't celebrate the holiday.)




So that's what's caught my eye so far. . .and now it's time to get back to my busy-ness. 
Thanks for bearing with me. 

Menu and What-not

So much for getting back on track. If you are in the US and celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope it was a good one. If you aren't/don't I hope last week was good for you. Now, I hope that covers everyone.

Moving on. . My eating and exercise habits of late have been quite horrendous. As such, I'm feeling all kinds of flabby. That's really not so great as we enter the season of food. So, last night I pulled the below out and plan on using them AND the MyFitnessPal app/program to get serious again about losing some of this excess poundage.
My exercise routine options
I even got up early this morning to do some yoga. Yay me! Of course, along with exercise, I need to make sure I'm eating right/better. I know the MyFitnessPal will help me keep track of the calories. So, that's somewhat of a relief. I'll try to be sure to watch my portions and snack healthy. Here's most of what I'll be eating this week.

Breakfasts: Smoothies, Cereal, Raspberry parfaits, Ham & egg sandwiches, PB&J muffins (from a cookbook)

Lunches: (options) Ham sandwiches, Pita cheese pizzas, Tuna noodles, PB&J, Bean burritos, Cheese pizza (from freezer), Leftovers, or Soup and grilled cheese

Veggie burgers (w/fixins') w/sweet potato fries
Tofu stir fry w/veggie potstickers
Thai chicken tacos w/mixed steamed veggies

I'm linking up my meal plan at Menu Plan Monday on I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Recipe Review

Fancy mac-n-cheese (w/mushrooms): I made this without the meat. This was a repeat and was awesome as always.

Lemon-thyme chicken with sauteed veggies:  We really liked the chicken. I liked the simplicity of the flavors and the whole dish really. I left out the tomatoes for the sake of Pat. The vegetables were great to me, but Pat thought they were a little overcooked. I'll reduce the cooking time the next time I make this.

Pad thai soup: I've made this before and loved it then. I loved it just as much this time too. I doubled the recipe and have frozen the leftovers. This recipe comes together SO QUICKLY. I will make it again for sure.

Whole wheat waffles: I used white whole wheat flour and really enjoyed the texture of it in these waffles. I was only able to get about 5 waffles out of this recipe and not the 8 the recipe says. I'll likely use this again.

So that's it for me today. I would love to hear your tips, recipes, and exercise routines to stay thinner this time of year. Thanks for swinging.

Menu and Recipe Review (trying to get back on track)

I don't even know where the time has gone. Wait, no. . .I do know. I was preparing for this past weekend. I'll share some of what that entailed later. For now, it's been a whole heap of too long of a time since I shared my menu and recipe review with you. Here goes.

Breakfasts: Cereal, Smoothies, Cheese omelets, Raspberry and Oatmeal Swirls (parfaits), Whole Wheat Waffles, Eggs and toast
Raspberry and Oatmeal Swirls
Lunches: Soup w/grilled cheese, Tuna Noodles, Pita cheese pizzas, Turkey sandwiches, Leftovers, Cheese Pizza

Fancy Mac and Cheese from The Pioneer Woman
Fancy Mac and Cheese (1/2 recipe w/no meat) w/steamed broccoli
Veggie Burgers w/Sweet Potato Fries
Spicy Peanut Butter Tofu w/Green beans & rice mix


Recipe Review

While I haven't shared my menu in a few weeks, I've still been making the menu. As such, I have quite a few recipes to review. I do apologize for getting so far behind. 

Pasta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce from The Mushroom Channel

Pasta with creamy mushroom sauce:This recipe came together pretty quickly and was tasty indeed. I did add a touch of wine with the cream for some additional flavor. This is supposed to be for 4, but I think it could feed 6 or more. It's a TON of food! I'm looking forward to the leftovers. I will possibly make it again, though only as a splurge as the fat and calorie count on this one is pretty high.

Lettuce wraps with peanut-hoisin sauce: These were pretty good, but really made a mess of the kitchen. If I could find a way to narrow down the number of pots, pans, and dishes used then it would totally be a winner. I might make it again.

Roasted cauliflower & butternut squash: I'll admit that this was a recipe just to see if we even like Butternut squash as neither Pat nor I had ever eaten it. I felt we were safe to try it with the cauliflower as I knew we would eat that. In the end, we liked it pretty well. I probably won't make this exact recipe again unless feeding a crowd as it was a ton of food. Tasty, but just too much for the two of us.

Roasted broccoli & cheddar soup: This was okay. It wasn't as thick or as creamy as I had hoped but it was super easy. I will continue to search for an awesome broccoli soup recipe.

Caprese Cordon Bleu from The Fit Cook
Caprese cordon bleu: I think Pat really liked this one. As soon as he bit into it, he started nodding. Of course, I'm not sure if it was the stuffing or the general fried-like texture of the chicken that he liked. In any case, I also really enjoyed it so I may just make it again.

Baked mac-n-cheese: It was okay. It came together quickly, but the cheeses just didn't meld together. It wasn't creamy. The best part was that I accidentally added too much granulated garlic and that gave it the best flavor.

Slow cooker black bean soup with shredded pork: Meh. It was edible. The pork was good, but the beans just didn't seem to be done. There was very little flavor. I probably won't make it again.

Sauteed tofu (minus the greens): This had a really good flavor and I may use the marinade again.

Amish breakfast casserole (1/2 recipe): This was really yummy. Super rich, but really yummy. We even ate all the leftovers. I will make it again sometime but rarely because of the richness.

Pecan Pie Muffins from MissAmy on Tasty Kitchen

Pecan pie muffins: I have made these before. They are really yummy, but so very sweet they really are just about a dessert. I'll make again, but also rarely.

Fontal polenta with mushroom saute: I have made this before and loved it even more the second time around. Here's the link to my first review. I'm still not sure Pat's convinced about it, but he ate it. I will likely make again.

Thanks for letting me catch up a little. Now that I've finished that list, I'm feeling a little famished. I'm so excited about the fancy mac and cheese, it's one of my favorites!

On and Off the Craft Table

Is it just me or is it the nature of a Monday to progress out of our control? And, now I'm thinking Tuesdays have a similar ability as it is now Wednesday and I can't figure out where all my time has gone. In any case, it's past time for a blog post and I thought that today I'd show you some of the items that have recently come off my desk and what's currently on it. Let me start with the completed bits.

As I was organizing the bead cabinet last week, I pulled aside any beads that were just down to pairs and bagged those up for earrings. While watching college football over the weekend, I turned those pairs into some earrings.

This bracelet and necklace (not a set) were also pulled together recently. The pendant on the necklace was one of the resin pieces from last week.

I worked on some decoupaged pendants from Tim Holtz tags and book images. One quickly turned into a necklace.

I still have to finish the backs on the other two.

So that's one of the things to do on my desk, another is to finish working on this. . .concoction. 
That's some kind of hardware piece that I found (somewhere) that I'm working on altering. It started as just the hoop portion with the outer prongs.

Where my arrows are (above) I filled in the prongs with some jewelry clay, inserted head pins into them, and sprinkled with some matching Pearl X Powder. It's now cured so I can start deciding what to do with the rest of it. I'm totally thinking more resin-ating inside the circle as well as the outer ring. I'm kinda excited about it.

Last, I really need to sort through my recently made jewelry and get some pictures of it. This is my 'bucket' of new jewelry that hasn't been photographed for the shop yet. Yeah, I'm real organized with my PILE of jewelry.
I don't know how I let myself get so far behind on these things. Taking pictures of these is going to be an ALL DAY process. Sigh!

So that's what's been going on in my corner of the crafty world. What about in yours?

Currently I'm. . .

Bookmarking: Most recently, I shared/re-pinned the following on Pintrest
Lemon Chicken Parmesean
DIY Faux Druzy Necklace

Creating: I’ve been making all kinds of stuff this week, but the major thing(s) was my resin-ating of these beauties.
I like all of these and have a few favorites, but how cool are those Christmas lights!?

Enjoying: The cooler weather. I can actually wear my fun, colorful tights again. I do love some brightly-hued legs.
Feeling: Really good about our diet this week. We got a Ninja blender last weekend and have made a ton of green smoothies. In addition, we also packed in a lot of other healthy foods.
I learned how to get the fruit out of a pomegranate yesterday, but not without this massacre scene.

Giggling: Over this picture. It’s not appropriate in the least for its language and content, so I won't share it here except for the link. But it seriously cracks me up. Be warned.
Hoping: My sunflowers last a good long time, they do brighten my kitchen so!
They were an impulse purchase at the grocery store. I couldn't resist their beauty!

: To get organized. Something about Fall hitting full force has had me straightening the house and craft room. You might have seen my bead cabinet post, but I also organized my washi tape collection.
I really love this tape, despite not finding a way to use it consistently. I can't help but buy it though!

Reading: Pat got me Allegiant for my birthday and I’m really close to finishing it. Other friends who have read it seem desperate to discuss it. So I’m interested in seeing how it all ends.
Watching: It’s a Saturday in the Fall, so College Football obviously! Roll Tide!!
Wearing: Again, it’s college football Saturday so I’ve got my favorite Alabama t-shirt on.
Wishing: The days didn’t seem so short since the time change. I really don’t like it getting dark so soon in the evenings, but I do love the golden color as the sun starts to set.
I had to pull onto the side of the road when I saw the golden light in the oak trees. It was spectacular.

Wondering: If I can eke in some jewelry-making while I watch the games today.

Since there was a great deal of interest in the last blog post I wrote in this format I thought I'd share a longer list of topic prompts that I compiled. Here ya go!


What have you been up to lately?

Bead Box 18 - Reveal

 Hey y'all! I'm popping in to share the completed jewelry pieces that came out of Bead Box 18 . I've actually already stocked an...