Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Photo blog!







Weeeeeeeeellllll, life's been good, and busy! I thought I'd give you a little photo collage to show you some of what's been going on in the last month. :)




Super storm!
Right at the beginning of March. Some days later, we had a flash thaw, accompanied by torrential downpours, and flash flooding of our sunken patio. Fun times!


Ah yes, a fiber weaver's pet peeve. Just about to finish a tam, 3 stitches to go, and I RUN OUT OF YARN!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRR!
LOL!

Alright, let's follow these first two photos with one of the coolest things to happen to me in a long while. I got a SWEETBOX from Jinny! Yeah! First off, let me tell you about this gorgeous lady's yummy goodies: They are To. Die. For! And I got a big box full! OMG!


Ooh, look at this assortment of sablés! And they're all gone! ;)


Oh! Oh! Oh! Will you look at THIS?????
A box of petits fours, just for Moi! Moi! Moi! ;)


It was hard, but I kept one of the two raspberry coulis filled brownies for my honey.
It was really, really difficult!
I mean, LOOK AT IT! A dense, rich brownie, made with nothing but the finest, natural, organic ingredients, slathered in organic raspberry coulis and topped with a thick layer of BELGIAN CHOCOLATE GANACHE! O!M!G!!!!!
ORALGASM! ;)

Yes, yes, let's get to the flash flood, shall we? See this? It's our new pool! It'll be all the rage this summer with the neighborhood kids. Well, only with the ones who don't have their own pool to dip in that is. ;) Lucky LUCKY us, we caught it before the water started seeping into the house. As you can see from this shot, Mimi was the only one having fun this day... "But Mooooooom, it's so cool! Can't we keep it like this????" No, no we can't!

Ankle deep in water. I love my gortex lined hiking boots, they certainly came in handy ;)

Well, we HAD to laugh! LOL! Here's D.H. pretending to take a dive.
I'm behind the camera reminding him that you should never dive in the shallow end. ;)


Two garden hoses (thank you Nana Jo!!!) is what it took to bring the water all the way to the street, so we didn't pump the water back into the front of the house...
Which was already filling up the garage... Yeah, I said it... fun times... NOT!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today's Treasuries

I'm honored to be in three gorgeous treasuries at the moment. The first one by AnnyMay, our Team French "coordonatrice" with the mostest. It's called "Bonne Nuit", and features an array of purple gorgeousness!

The second is by Lac'Okine, another Team French member, who chose the color green as her inspiration for this lovely T West, titled Spring Festival

And last but not least, we have Vicky's very first treasury, filled with a fantastic display of colors! In fact, it's called Colors. Colours. Couleurs.


Please click on the links to visit their shops, and I'm positive they'd love your comments on their treasuries. My Team French works SO hard at building these beautiful treasuries! :)

Merci Vicky, Geneviève et Anny!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Busy playin', with a little work on the side

Been toying with the idea of a new banner for Le Beadoir, so I was playing with my camera and some beads the other day. I've got a lovely array of simple white dishes. I like white, it's plain, crisp, and always looks clean. I especially like that I can go around and mix & match with any styles without them being in a set. I lucked out a few months back at a discount store, where they were unloading tons of what looked like restaurant ware. I found these fantastic little condiment bowls in the form of fish, and what I assume to be an olive or pickle dish in the shape of a nautilus. Not pictured are the awesome large pasta and fruit bowls I scored along with these. Bonus: Everything was white, and prices ranged between $0.50 - $2.00!
I've already got my fair share of condiment bowls, but I couldn't pass the fishies up. I thought they'd be PERFECT to hold my beads while I'm working, seeing as they were neither too big or too deep. Only problem was when hubby saw them, he snagged about half of them for himself. Which was my fault, really, since I suggested it might be prudent for him to keep his hooks and beads and weights in while he was tying some flies... Meh! Nothing another trip to the discount store couldn't fix! ;)
The fishies were sitting in front of me, filled with beads, and they looked so cute I thought they might be worth photographing. Of course, one thing led to another, and I started playing with other dishes and beads... And, well, you know how it goes.

Here's one idea, I've a few more shots, but blogger keeps turning them clockwise, and I didn't think you'd like to have to turn your head to see them, so I'll leave it at this one for now.

Besides playing with my camera, I've been having quite a bit of fun with my crochet. A friend wanted me to design a scarf for her toddler, and provided me with this vibrant orange yarn. The ball was SO BIG that I thought "why not add a little hat with that?", so I did! Though I didn't have the little man's head to fit the hat perfectly, I figured Mimi wasn't that much bigger, and if it fit her snugly, then it would fit him for a while.


I was going for a beanie, but then remembered how little ones sometimes like to pull their hats off. So I added a little chin strap, which buttons up with one of my prized vintage buttons which very closely matched the color of the yarn. My friend RAVED about it! Said I couldn't have made the little hat fit more perfectly! Yay!

Oooh! I also started making these super cute skinny scarves. I had just finished a hat and knew I didn't have enough yarn left over to make anything big, but had an inspired idea! A skinny scarf! But it looked SO plain, it just needed a little ooomph! So I hooked some giant pompoms to the ends, and VOILÀ! Some super cool skinny scarves! :)
Now if I could just get over this nasty cold so I could take some new shots and list these.



The hat and arm warmers, as well as the above bracelet were sent to my Beaders Without Borders partner Payton. The bracelet was for the swap, the hat and warmers and exchange for some of her fantastic lampwork beads. Oooh, wait 'til you see the beads I'm getting from her! Gorgeous, GORGEOUS hearts that I fell in love with at first sight!

Besides that, nothing much. Shoveling, nursing my sciatica, getting over a nasty cold, and generally trying to keep myself out of trouble. Which means no shopping. Though I did splurge on some beautiful buttons from Natural Resources a week ago. If you like natural material buttons, you should check these guys out. I am very very impressed with the quality of their wares, and I couldn't believe how fast they got to me. I ordered on the 14th, and they arrived on the 22nd
Oh, and caved and went and had my eyes checked. That was fun! *rolls eyes*. I'm so glad I had my daughter with me to lead the way afterward. Good Golly! Do they absolutely NEED to put those nasty drops in your eyes??? LOL! My daughter was in the examination room with me, (since she was getting her eyes checked for the first time, I wanted her to see what they were doing so she wouldn't be so nervous), and when the doctor put the drops in, I guess the dilation was instant. She made both the doctor and myself laugh so hard! She said "Mommy! You look like a cat!" I said "You mean my pupil looks like a line?" she said "No! You look like Milo when he's rambunctious!!!" LOL!
We went to the glass shop so I could look at glasses. My prescription is very light, but I do notice that my eyes get really tired after a full day of work (it's the tiny beads and stitches that do me in...). Then we went to see my D.H., and he couldn't look at me, said I looked "way too freaky" with my black eyes! I had to look for myself and heck, I freaked MYSELF out! I took a photo, but only 4 hours after the exam. Still, you can see how long the dilation lasts. I'll say this though, everything looked so pretty and blurry. And blue! LOL!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Breakfast!!!

Seems my blog has been sorely neglected for the last little while (MONTHS!!!), so I thought I'd give myself a little kick-start by introducing a different subject to my blog: COOKING!
Now, my disclaimer is I'm not a chef, but I AM a foodie! I love food, I love cooking it, preparing it, and most importantly, EATING IT! My favorite ingredient is Love (I know, cheesy, right?), and I strongly believe this is what makes my food taste so darn good. And I'm not just sayin' that! ;)
So, for my very first foodie installment, I thought I'd share my own French Toast recipe with you. This is one of our very favorite breakfast foods, and I've got a long list of friends and family members who'll vouch for their absolute deliciousness! (I'm not kidding, I've had personal requests for this breakfast...) Here's what you'll need:

Ingredients:
4 large eggs (5 if you like your toast a little more on the spongy side)
1 cup of milk (give or take, depending on the amount of bread you have, you may need to add a tad more...)
*About* 1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar
A dash of vanilla extract (I only use the real stuff)
A dash of ground cinnamon if you like
1 full focaccia loaf

Tools:
serrated knife
cutting board
large mixing bowl
mixing tool (egg beater, fork, doesn't matter...)
skillet
spatula
one seriously hearty appetite!

My one 'secret' ingredient, is the focaccia. My absolute favorite being the Ace Bakery Cranberry Raisin Focaccia. The one thing you want to make sure of when making French Toast is the density of your bread. When I was little, my Mom used to toast her bread slices ahead of time, this ensured that your bread would soak up more of the batter, and lessen the chances of your slices getting too soggy and breaking apart before you could get it in the pan. The reason I like to use focaccia is that it's already a dense bread, it's got a lovely thick crust, and the texture is akin stale bread. This acts like a super thirsty sponge and soaks up a LOT of the batter, making for the most deliciously moist 'cakey' bread on the inside that stays crispy on the outside.

Start heating up your skillet ahead of time, keep it at a medium-high heat. I use a non-stick skillet, with a touch of melted butter.

Cut your loaf in 1/2 inch thick slices (I usually get about a dozen or so slices at that thickness).
Thinner slices won't give you the (re: MY) desired texture.

Whip all of your ingredients together


*You like my little "Eggy"? ;)*

Then comes the messy part. I hope you're not squeemish, cause your fingers will get soaked! Push the focaccia slices down into the batter so they'll get nice and soaked, but don't soak them so much that the slices start breaking down.

Then just brown your bread in your pan, keeping a close eye on them to avoid burning them. If you keep the heat at medium, it should take about 4-5 minutes on each side for a lovely crispy brown toast. You want to make sure the exterior is nice and brown, but you also want to cook the interior thoroughly (no sogginess!).

Mmmmmmmm, can't you just smell it?????


Take two. At this point I've got two seagulls flying around the kitchen trying to snag a slice on the go!

The beauty of using this particular focaccia is that you don't really need any maple syrup with them, but you can if you want to! :) Another way to sweeten them up would be to lightly sprinkle them with powdered sugar. They're very hearty, so would stand alone very well for a full breakfast, but if I was going all out, I'd add bacon, potato patties, some lightly seasoned (sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and thyme) eggs, and a freshly brewed pot of coffee or tea.

Care to join us for breakfast? :)
There's more than enough!

I hope you like my very first 'recipe' installment, and look forward to sharing more with you.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Winter Wonderland!

Well, I guess we're lucky, by this time last year, we'd already been shoveling the white stuff for months. We had our first substantial snow storm this week, and I'm happy to report that this little downfall has helped me stick to at least one of my resolutions: To reintroduce fitness into my lifestyle. Yeah, I'm a bit sore, but I'm sticking to it. Oh, and remembering to bend at the knees. Here's our front porch on Monday. Right before my neighbor picked me up to go run a few errands. What were we thinking!? Oh, right, I needed groceries... ;)

I wanted to take a few shots of the aftermath. The railing got a massive covering of snow, that pile was about 10 inches high, and it must've thought it was soft serve ice cream or something? Here's what it looked like this morning, when things started warming up just a little bit. Pretty cool eh?


Even the clerestory got covered. Id never realized just how much more natural lighting those windows let in. It made the place look so dark with them all covered like this.

Well, with snow storms comes cabin fever. Though we haven't taken on any major renovations, we've been keeping up with the tiny little things here and there we just couldn't live with anymore. Here's one such project. Above our kitchen sink sat what I can only describe as a fake window. No really, see for yourself:

It's not the best shot of it, but let's just say that it wasn't one of the house's selling points... At least not as must as the built-in vintage food mixer was.

So, hubby and I got to work. I removed the 'pane' a while back, and found that it was just like a recessed shallow box. But the scenery, oh the scenery... I just couldn't take it anymore. Every day I half expected Heidi to come jumping out of the Alp-like scene... It was just, so, not... here! LOL!

So here was my bright idea: To remove the pane, scrape off the paper, give the whole surface a good sanding, then a few coats of chalkboard paint. Oh, and a few cork tiles. So we'd have a cork/chalk board :)

I played with a few ideas on how to divide the panel. This looked cool, but then would have left the chalkboard so high, the only one able to use it would have been D.H.!
Well, unless we kept a step-stool at hand for Mimi and myself... ;)

Ta-Dah! :)
Quick, simple, and EASY!
But MEHHHHH-SYYYYYY!
Everything in the kitchen had a slight coat of black dusting, since I used spray paint. (but I made sure the area was very WELL ventilated!!!)



And hey! Did I tell you I got to plan a short and sweet escape over the holidays? D.H. had some time off from work, and I seized the opportunity to get up and go! Yes! I left my husband and child to go on a mini vacation, just for Moi! :) It was *really* short, but I enjoyed it fervently. And yes, I did miss my family, but I also missed my Mom. And heck, I hadn't been away by myself in over 8 years!!! (Little Highness arrived a little over 8 years ago... you catch my drift?)
I got to spend some quality alone time with my Mom, enjoyed seeing my aunts and uncles, got to meet my cousin's new beau, and was in awe at all the hard work my Mom and Denis did in their basement, which was previously considered a 'catch all' kinda room, and is now a gorgeous suite with kitchenette, game room, computer room, and ANOTHER living room!!!! LOL!
Oh! Remind me to tell you about some of the gorgeous vintage yarns my Mom shared with me. She finds the best deal places for stuff like that I tell you!

On the day of my departure, I went for breakfast with Dad. I know he wishes we'd had been able to spend more time together, but the trip was planned so quickly, all I wanted to do was 'get outta town'. ;) Dad and I had a bit of a gift exchange. Nothing big, I gave him what could be considered a goodie bag of varied assortments. Some homegrown herbs (no, not THOSE kinds of herbs!!!! The kitchen kind! Sheesh!), some hand crocheted man-sized face cloths, some handmade soap from Chase Street Soap Co. on Etsy (you really should check her shop out, Jessica and I did a little trade for some of each others' wares, and boy was it worth it!!! Her soaps leave your skin feeling soft and silky, no scummy soap film left behind, and no dry feeling either! And the scents are TDF!!!)

I think Dad was mostly surprised by the nice fat cheque I was able to give him, since I sold a few of his bowls and some captive ring rattles. Here's one of the lovely babies he gave me: A wood turned crochet hook! He gave me 5 of them, to test out and enjoy for myself. This is my favorite prototype so far:

Feels fantastic in your hand, in either the pen or knife hold, won't make your hand feel fatigued after hours of handiwork. He says he's going to make me one out of deer antler next. Can't wait to see it! I also like that he can make them to my specifications. This one here is 7 mm in diameter. I'd been looking all over for a 7mm hook, and could never find one - do they even make them???


Speaking of crochet, here's my newest endeavors. I call them "Personal Spa Sets", and the set comprises three luxurious, thick, cozy crocheted items: A face cloth, a wide headband, and a lovely little "soap cushion" to wash your face with. I used to have such an extensive self-care routine, with all the different soaps, and creams, buffing this, sloughing that... With this set, well, I'm all set! The headband is wide enough that it holds every strand of hair out of my face, so no worries about getting my hair soapy. The soap cushion is just the right size and thickness to get the job done, and done well. The nature of cotton makes it so that the surface of the cushion is slightly exfoliating. Not too rough, and not to soft. You can either use the cloth to wipe your face dry, or as a general wash cloth. Either way, it too feels absolutely glorious on your skin. The soap cushion can be used with your favorite liquid wash, OR you can use the handy-dandy little opening at the back, and insert a tiny piece of your favorite bar of face soap (My current favorite is, of course, from Jess' shop, is the Oatmeal Honey Spice loaf). Smells good enough to eat!

Off White

Chocolate Brown
I've had so much fun making these sets, that I had D.H. go out and get me some more cotton in different colors. Which is bound to keep me busy for the next few weeks... ;)

But not just with crocheting mind you. I've recently started hanging out in my beading studio again, trying to get those creative juices flowing. I wanted to play with my pearls, but didn't want to make anything too complicated, so I stuck with an old favorite of mine, my Pearl Blossoms, but did something slightly different. Where I usually make them into a single pendant which can be transferred from chain to chain - or ribbon... - this time I chose to make them an integral part of the design.


I call this one Trinity.
Three deep red Pearl Blossoms hanging from an antique brushed brass finish chain.


This was the original one, called "Ye Ole Ball & Chain".
And D.H. named that one, 'cause that's what it reminded him of.


Now, on a final note, I want to share this news with you: Carol Dean Sharpe, of SandFibers, is having a lovely give away from her blog site to celebrate 1000 sales in her Etsy shop!! The giveaway is for a $100 gift certificate TO HER SHOP!!! Not only does Carol Dean create fantastic beadwork, she also sells some of the patterns for her glorious designs! Please do enter, Carol is an amazing bead artist and you will be sooooooooo glad you did. Click on the photo below to link to her blog.


Here's what Carol says of her contest:
"The winner can use this gift certificate in my Etsy store or to order a custom item. Or, because I will make the gift certificate transferable and without expiration date, you can give the certificate as a gift.

For your chance(s) to win a $100 Sand Fibers Gift Certificate, you can do one or all of the following:

1. Leave a comment here telling me what you would get with a $100 Sand Fibers gift certificate. (Don't worry: I won't hold you to your selections if you win.)

2. Blog about this give away and leave a comment with a link to your blog post.

3. Twitter about this give away and leave a comment letting me know you did. Be sure to reference @SandFibers in your tweet.

4. Link to this post on Facebook and leave a comment with a link to your link (does that make sense? lol)"

So? Whatcha waitin' for? Git!