Saturday, December 19, 2009
With all the Christmas orders, many of them custom, I was on a roll and decided I wanted to make myself a little something. The custom skeleton key I did was too time-consuming for yesterday afternoon at 4pm with my workbench still full of unfinished orders, so I opted for a simple hammered 10k gold band. My first! And I am truly pleased with the result. Price is $169.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The Holidays are here and even though it's a wilting 102 degrees outside, I still had a craving for good, old-fashioned sugar cookies. These come out lovely and chewy and you can, of course, use any and all types of colored sugar to roll them in or to sprinkle on top after baking.
Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies
2 3/4C Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/4C Butter, softened
2C Sugar, Granulated
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/4C Granulated or colored sugar for garnish
Combine flour, baking powder, salt. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, add vanilla. Mix dry ingredients into wet. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls, roll in sugar. Refrigerate balls for 20 minutes or freeze until ready to bake.
Place 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until edges turn barely brown.
Cook's Notes: I don't flatten the cookies and I use parchment paper underneath.
*Photo courtesy cooksillustrated.com
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
well, i made my first wedding set today. okay, i started days ago, but finally finished today. i've never made a basket setting for a trillion-cut (faceted triangular cut) stone and quite frankly, haven't made very many basket settings. this was my first for a real grown-up girl ring. i like it so much i want it back! alas and alack, it was only finished and in my presence for a couple of hours. but it looked very lovely on my client's finger. i'm quite taken with the simple band as well. thinking i'll be making more of those for sale . . .
Friday, September 4, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
i spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to make them mildly original, totally handmade, and affordable. here's what i came up with, and low and behold, i love them! i'm wearing all my samples today. (i didn't make 26.)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I just finished my first Tamarindo beading class! I had four fabulous students ages 10-12 and had so much fun i'm already planning my next one!
This was a basic stringing class in which each student makes a necklace (two also made bracelets!) and learns what materials to use and how to use them for professionally stringing and finishing a piece of jewelry!
I'll be offering another class soon, but anyone interested in having a class, please contact me at 8376.6417 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set one up! There is no minimum amount of students needed for a class, and price is $30 for an hour and a half.
In addition to classes, I am also offering bead parties for birthdays or just for fun. Call or email for more information.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
i am finally starting my line of art installations for the home and garden: mobiles, chimes, bowls, sink design, sconce design, book covers. basically, art pieces for indoors and out, for use and for beauty. i'm starting the line with copper, but figure i will integrate other types of metal as well as found and natural objects. here is my first prototype for the mobile/moving art collection of the line.
Monday, June 1, 2009
we lazed and drank and snacked while discussing the possibilities of the day: marbella? rincon? a farm to which steve's been wanting to take me? (this is much more fun and romantic than it sounds). so many choices, but i tend to be predictable when it comes to my favorites (i suppose that's the nature of favorites) and so i chose a stop at the french bakery, and a trip with the doggie to my favorite beach.
tide was mid, so we swam-waded across the estuary to a nearly deserted beach. there was a nice little eddy where we could all swim and play without being rushed out to sea, and so that's what we did. i got out for a beach-glass search, but came up empty handed, which is a rather unusual event for the day, but the cloud show was enough to make up for it and perhaps the universe was telling me my treasures were in the sky not on the ground.
i had made noonish plans with a couple of girlfriends to bake myself a bday cake, so we headed home. the girlfriends came, we baked, steve made coconut-cocoa-rum ice cream, which only finally set up today - too much rum, maybe?
then steve and i had to peel ourselves and said girlfriends off the very comfy couch to go get ready for a party, not one in my name, but one full of lots of friends, folks i like but don't get to see all that often, a live band, and tons of food. it was a great party, with more happy birthdays than i could have possibly expected - word travels fast in a small town at a large party! the food, company and music were great, but steve and i had to head out around 6:00 p.m. to get ready for our own little bday celebration here at the house.
some of my very closest friends came over for drinks and appies and we all lounged around, talking and eating. my friend lock played the piano for us, which i dearly love, and christi managed to talk (read: beg) me into playing as well. it was actually fun, once i got my hands to settle down and i think i'll try and do it again soon. that about wrapped up saturday night, we went to bed happy, tired and amazingly not too tipsy!
sunday brought a fabulous overcast morning, to which i awoke late, was poured coffee AND a bloody mary and proceeded to bake some coffee cake muffins for the continuation of saturday's festivities. the nice thing about a small town is you can and will see most of your friends at any given party, wedding, real estate opening, beach cleanup, etc. sunday's party was a baby shower for two of our good friends and about 40 people showed up to a table full of incredible food, good music (not live this time), a gorgeous thunderstorm and a fabulous patio on which to enjoy all of the above. we stayed for nearly four hours, at which point, i finally had to stop drinking, eating and talking! i came home happy and tired and spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching reruns (downloaded without commercials of course).
a perfectly fabulous bday weekend! though i just realized there are no photos to commemorate any of this, so i might have made it all up and just lazed around in bed for two days being brought food, drink and entertainment at my whim.
Friday, May 22, 2009
so i found an unopened bottle of poppy seeds in our freezer last night and got a bee in my bonnet to make muffins. the recipe below was for Lemon Poppy Seed muffins, but alas and alack, we have no lemons and they turned out really to be much more scones than muffins. fine with us, i've never made scones before and it was very easy. so here ya go:
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
From Food Network Kitchens
Inactive Prep Time:
* 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
* 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus up to 1 tablespoon for topping the muffins, if desired
* 2 large eggs, at room temperature
* 4 teaspoons poppy seeds
* 1/2 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly brush a 12-cup muffin tin with butter and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with an electric hand-held mixer in a large bowl, cream the butter, zest, and 2/3 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Stir in the poppy seeds.
Fold the flour in 3 parts into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk in 2 parts, until just combined. Take care not to overmix the batter. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool muffins in the pan on a rack. Serve warm.
Cook's Note: Poppy seeds can go rancid easily and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
* Copyright 2001 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved
Jocelyn's Note: I changed the lemon zest to the same amount of grated ginger, which was nearly imperceptable as a flavor to me, but i'm sure it added something to the overall flavor. i would use lemon zest if i had it. I also used much more sugar on the tops, a large three-finer pinch-full.
Photo Credit: Elise Bauer's Simply Recipes website
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
in my ongoing quest to never buy another commercial cleaner for my house, i looked up "natural drain cleaner" online and found something quite like what i expected:
From eHow.com: Put a tablespoon of baking soda into the kitchen drain about once a week, then slowly pour in 1/4 cup of vinegar or lemon juice and let it stand for 30 minutes. Next run run hot water through the drain to eliminate minor buildups and odors.
they recommend this same procedure for clogs but with different amounts: Alternatively, consider a natural drain cleaner even for blockages. Remove any standing water then pour 1/2 c. baking soda into your drain. Follow this with 1/2 c. white vinegar. The baking soda is basic and the vinegar is acidic, so they will react with a churning action should break up the blockage without using any chemicals.
viola! i'm going to go see how it works on my studio sink drain.
image courtesy Signnetwork.com
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
i get easily distracted by the moon, but my real point here was bratton's love of my thai recipe and the fact that i promised him and others that i would post the recipe and my changes/additions to it.
so here ya go:
PREP TIME: 10 MIN. TOTAL TIME 30 MIN. (i have no idea who prepped or timed this, but i'm thinkin' prep is about 20 min., cook time anywhere from 15 min. to 45 min.
1 package (8 ounces) dried rice noodles
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1 3/4 C homemade (or low-sodium store bought) chicken stock
1 C loosely packed fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1/2 C loosely packed fresh basil, plus more for garnish
4 garlic cloves
1 piece (2 inches) peeled fresh ginger, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
2 small fresh red chiles, halved, stems removed
2 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
1 fresh lemongrass stalk, bottom 4 inches only, crushed
1 Tbs. sugar
1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt. Cook noodles until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water. Set aside.
Bring coconut milk and checken stock to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. meanwhile, precess cilantro, basil, garlic, ginger and 1 chile ina food processor until coarsley chopped, 5 seconds. Add cilantro mixture, fish sauce, lemongrass, and sugar to broth. Simmer 6 minutes. Discard lemongrass.
Add noodles, cook until just heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. STir in lime juice. Finely chop remaining chile. Divide noodles among bowls, top with cilantro, basil and chile.
I usually use rice instead of noodles and if I'm using rice, I make this more of a sauce than a soup. I either add more coconut milk, or leave out or reduce the chicken stock, depending on how many people and/or how I'm feeling. The soup is also delicious, I just want soup less often here in the tropics.
I always use homemade stock.
I generally add chicken and/or big chunks of carrot, bell pepper and onion.
I double the cilantro and the basil.
I triple the lemongrass, and chop it up finely, leaving one stalk whole. I add all of this to the coconut milk when I add the cilantro mixture, only removing the single whole stalk of lemongrass.
I usually let the whole thing simmer for about 20 minutes or so, it helps boil it down and thicken it for a sauce rather than soup.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
so snopes got written up in reader's digest. and for all of you non-believers out there, this is proof enough (at least for me) that snopes is the real deal.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
I received a compliment on my cloud photos the other day and feel compelled to spice up this entry with some more photos. I always want photos when I read someone else's blog.
Speaking of other people's blogs, I am totally enamoured of Anna Nalick's 2006 album, "Wreck of the Day". I'm even more delighted with some live acoustic versions of the songs on that album recorded in a session with Rhapsody. I can't download them here in CR, and forgot to do so in the states, so I have to make do with listening to them on youtube every few days. Ahhh . . . the things you all take for granted in what we like to call The Land of Plenty. Dowloadable music, fish emulsion for your garden that you don't have to make yourself (we're still putting this one off), Epsom salts you can buy in any and all drug stores. Amazing things you've got up there, truly. Take a walk through your local Walgreens and think about all of the products there, at your fingertips, clean and pretty and ready for you to take home, generally in a rainbow of color choices. We don't have drug stores here (a pity, as they are one of my favorite places in all the world), we do have pharmacies, but you can generally only buy drugs there, maybe some lotions or shampoo, but you can't open the bottle and smell the flavors while standing alone in the aisle at 2 a.m. And, we do have stores that sell all manner of things you don't need, but you really don't need (or even want) a lot of what you find in these stores stocked with age-old cans of tuna fish, notebooks that are dry and browning at the edges, horse saddles, and foam bedding for your peones (workers) to sleep on and plastic plates with uneven and vague asian-type patterns on them. Not to mention all of these items are covered in a layer (usually thick) of dust. Every once in a while you find a treasure here, like rubber bands (amazing, as I'd never know where to buy them otherwise) or Hanes underwear in the three pack in just his size and not too dusty!
But I digress, Anna is great, check her out if you haven't already, and my other current favorite album is Scott Matthews' "Passing Stranger". The second song, "Dreams" is my very fave (I put it on repeat and can listen to it for at least an hour straight), but I have learned to love every single other song on the album. I'm excited to hear his newest release which features Robert Plant on at least one of the tracks.
And on that note, I shall leave you with some photos:
A fabulous shot of me on an old-fashioned dial phone - too bad you can't see the dial in the photo. But this one is true vintage, with the 415 area code on the sticker in the middle of the dial still in tact, as is the sticker on the back that tells us the phone is the property of Pacific Bell. I love this phone. The olive green one is still in storage, and carries the 408 code and will join it's brother down here soon.
Our very clean pool. Took me nearly six weeks to get it this color, and damn, I just remembered that I forgot to put a chlorine tab in for the second day in a row.
The view from our lovely blue (at least for today) pool.
Another lovely view from somewheres around these parts. Steve took this while out and about for work.
Ah. My most favorite thing to eat. I can't go much more than a day (and that's under duress) without a tomato. And these are from our very own back yard (or patch of dry grass with barely-holding-on-after-a-crazydry-dry-season plants). Steve took this photo too - gotta give credit where it's due.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
it has come to our attention that folks might wonder if we felt the big earthquake in san jose last week and/or if we were are okay. we didn't, and we're fine. we are generally blissfully unaware of earthquakes and other natural disasters that hit san jose, as we're about 150 miles west and two mountain ranges away.
i realized that people ask me all the time what pieces i wear or which pieces are my favorites, so i thought it high time i posted a little note about what i'm wearing. i can't seem to get enough of the necklace to the left, on a longer, 30" chain, combined with just about anything, but usually a piece like the one on the right (this is one of my older pieces, but still a fave).
Friday, January 9, 2009
we were lucky enough to have katie and bradley visit us for a whole week over new year's! we went camping; we briefly stopped by a fiesta (bradley had never been) and got the requisite meat on a stick; we collected shells and rocks at marbella; we built a sandcastle with christi; we swam at conchal; we had a bonfire and we made jewelry.