Monday, September 5, 2011

Fun Stuff

My friend Jamie and I went to the local bead show a few weeks back.  We had a blast looking and oogling at all the pretties.  I ended up buying a good amount of beads.  The top bracelet is a triple strand of silver pyrite beads and a mix of stones.  I added some labradorite drops to add interest in the bracelet.  The second bracelet is also silver pyrite and just a mix of stones.  I like the simplicity of both.  The second bracelet was inspired by a bracelet I saw in the Sundance catalog.  It is my interpretation.

I was fortunate to be able to take a class this weekend to learn a new technique.  My class was on viking knit.  It was really fun and I love the look of the knitted piece.  The best part of the viking knit is pulling your piece through a draw plate and watching it get smaller and prettier. 

Friday, August 19, 2011


I have been trying to fine the time to do more jewelry work.  I have had these beads for quite some time.  The lava looking blue beads are from one of my mother in laws necklaces that I inherited.  I love the quirky look of them.  I little book pendant I found at my local antique store.  I love the patina on the pages.  The rest of the necklace is filled out with kyanite and Yayin beads.  I love the glow they give off. 

My friend Georgette brought these beads to me to make a rosary for her.  They are the millefiori style beads for the Aves and just red glass beads for the Paters.  The rosary turned out very nicely.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A New Necklace and My Mom

I have been working on some of my jewelry lately.  This piece is one I have had in my head for awhile.  The pendant is of Our Lady that was fashioned out of an old coin.  It was part of my mother-in-laws collection.  I like the blue accents on the necklace as well as the clear vintage rosary beads.  I am beginning to feel like life is getting back to some normalcy.  My mother passed away a month ago.  It had been a long, long fight with cancer and she succumbed to the disease mid last month.  It is still is hard to believe she is gone.  Yet she really was gone for me two years ago when they did brain surgery to remove the tumor and then whole brain radiation.  What an awful thing whole brain radiation is.  It took the women I knew as my mother away from me and my family.  Of course I loved my mom up to the end and I will always love my mother, but the essence of the women she was was gone after that.  I am sure it will hit me at some odd moment and I will break down, but I really feel I did a great amount of mourning two years ago.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Two of my new favorite recipes and perfect for warm weather entertaining.  The top pictures is from Dorie Greenspan and her cookbook Around My French Table.  It is a Savory Cheese and Chive bread and it is fabulous.  I have made it twice, it is very easy and the texture is so tender.  The key is to not over stir.  You can vary the flavorings by using different cheese and herbs.  The first time I made it I used Gruyere and Cheddar cheese.  This time I used Gruyere and Comte cheese, both were delicious!  I can't wait to try more recipes in her cookbook. 

The second picture is my new favorite salad.  I clipped the recipe out of our local newspaper.  It is a recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin.  It is a warm bean and bacon salad.  How can you go wrong? 

Warm Bean and Bacon Salad (adapted by Jacques Pepin)

8 ounces of Pancetta
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
two 15 1/2 ounce cans of Navy or small white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 avocados
1 lemon

Place pancetta or bacon in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Saute, covered, for about 8 minutes until the meat has rendered and is crisp.  Add the onion and garlic and cook, until soft and translucent.  Take care not to burn the garlic.  Transfer the contents of the saucepan and 1 tablespoon of rendered fat to a large bowl. 
Add beans, salt, parsley, vinegar, oil and pepper.  Mix well then serve warm or at room temperature.  Slice avocados and toss with fresh lemon juice.  Add  alongside the salad of toss with the salad.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Brownies and Rosaries

Interesting title huh!  Tells you all what I have been up to.  I have been really enjoying visiting my favorite antique shop this past week.  I found some gorgeous rosaries and pieces.  Some of them are not completed rosaries and I will probably turn them into jewelry pieces.  The other rosaries are complete and I will probably just use them.  I love the old world feel of the well worn crucifixes. 

I thought I would also include a recipe for Butterscotch Brownies with Brown Sugar Butter Icing.  It is from Pastry Queen Parties by Rebecca Rather.  I loved the name of the book.  One of my sons went crazy over this recipe.  It is full of sugar and butter, but it is quite yummy.  It makes a lot of brownies, so this would be perfect to take to a pot luck or for a bake sale.  Enjoy!

1 cup(2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups chopped pecans, toasted (optional)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups firmly packed golden brown sugar
4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup half and half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a half sheet (13 x 18) pan with aluminum foil and grease with butter or cooking spray.  Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 1 cup butter and 3 cups brown sugar on medium high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 tablespoon vanilla and continue beating for another minute.  In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture on low speed until incorporated.  Stir in the pecans.  Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.  Bake until the bars are set and slightly puffed, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.

In a saucepan set over medium heat, melt the 1 cup butter and 2 cups brown sugar.  Once the mixture is lightly bubbling, decrease the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes; set aside.  Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the powdered sugar, half and half and vanilla on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minutes.  Add the melted butter mixture and beat until combined.  Pour over the cooled brownies and spread evenly.  Let the brownies sit for about 30 minutes to allow the icing to firm up before cutting into squares.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rainy Day Goodness

This is comfort in a bowl!  I thought I would share with you a fantastic recipe for tomato soup.  I know it's not glamorous, but it is solid, dependable and immensely adaptable.  Here in Northern California we have had a bit of a rainy spell.  This soup seemed perfect for today.  I use the base recipe to start and then I went from there.  I sometimes add in shredded cheddar cheese or maybe some mascarpone if I have it in the fridge.  Since we are in Lent right now I used a vegetarian broth base, but I have also used chicken broth, whatever is in the pantry will work.  On a non Lent Friday, I would also add in some crispy pancetta to the top.  Use your imagination, the skies the limit.

Tomato Soup (adapted from Tyler Florence)

2 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 scant cup of extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 quart of vegetable or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons dried basil
Optional add in's:  3/4 cup cream or  1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, or 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, crispy pancetta crumbles

Heat olive oil in a stock pot.  Add onions and saute until beginning to lightly brown.  Add chopped garlic and cook an additional minute.  Add the tomatoes, 3/4 of the stock, basil, bay leaves, and butter.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has reduced by a third.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  Return soup to low heat, add cream or cheese and adjust consistency with remaining stock.  Season to taste.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Our oldest son made his Confirmation last week.  I tell you, I was so happy for him.  It was a lovely Mass and Bishop Soto was terrific.  We are so lucky to have the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist catechizing our children.  It made it so special.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I have been up too!

Life has been totally crazy!  One day I will have to sit down and write about what has been happening. Until then I thought I would share with you some of my recent work. 

This rosary was made for Renee.  It has the look of jade, but is actually glass beads. 

I just made this rosaries for a dear friend daughter's baptism.  I have made all six of her children's baptismal rosaries.  I was happy to keep up with the tradition.

This is one of my favorites!  I am keeping this one for myself.  I love the black and silver together.   It feels great in the hand too! 

I hope to have more pictures up this week. Our oldest son is making Confirmation this week.  What an exciting week we have.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I made this pretty little necklace for a dear friend of mines daughter.  I had made her rosary for her First Holy Communion in light amethyst beads.  The necklace reminded me of her.  I did change out the crucifix and added a Fleur de Lys medallion.  She and her sister were able to travel to Lourdes with the Knights of Malta.  Both girls are very ill and they were very blessed to be able to go and experience the healing waters of Lourdes. 

This rosary was made for a friend's niece, Caroline.  I love the yellow flowers with the soft blue beads.  Very girlish!

I was browsing one of my favorite local stores called Fleuri in Carmichael.  It is a beautiful little shop filled with French inspired home accessories.  It is the kind of store you need to spend a good amount of time in because there are so many things to see and digest.  I spotted in a corner some pretty antique bottles that had a vintage rosary wrapped around the neck of the bottle and decorated in the front.  The price tag was $85.  A little to rich for my blood.  So, I decided I could create my own version of the bottle.  I dug through my broken jewelry pile and came across this broken cross necklace.  I then glued some paper to the bottle and wrapped it with some burlap.  Finally I added a Miraculous Medal and Voila, my very own art bottle.

I had this wire basket that I bought from IKEA a few years back.  I love the shape of the basket, but I was never very keen on the wire drops hanging from it.  Since I had a lot of my beads out, I thought maybe I could jazz up the basket with some beads.  I like the new look of the basket. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy New Year to You!

I hope this New Year finds everyone healthy and happy.  I hope to be able to post more often.  The last 6 months have just been crazy for me .  Trying to help my parents adjust to their new living situation and clean out 45 years of stuff from their house, had been daunting at best.  This year will see a lot of changes for us.  Our oldest son will be going into high school (too weird!) and I am contemplating homeschooling our middle son.  In the meantime, I just wanted to make a quick post and share with you a new blog I found. It is called 100 days of real food.  I love the concept of this.  No processed foods, just real honest to goodness food.  I especially found her packed school lunch ideas interesting. 
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