Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Soup's On!!

Today I woke up seemingly inspired by my own last post: time to cook. Oh, Boy! I love this time of year as it marks the beginning of Butternut Squash Soup Season for us.

Start with two really nice, big squash:


Since I still fight with hand and elbow injuries, it's impossible for me to peel and cube these tough bad boys when they're raw, so I roasted them in the oven for about 90 minutes, turning them over once and piercing the skin. Look how gorgeous they are now!

The bonus is the great roasty flavor they give the soup - yet another layer of great taste.


Open 'em up and scoop out the pulp


Am I weeping because of the sharp vapors from the onions, or because the dog just peed on the floor for the THIRD time today?


It looks like a lot of garlic and ginger, but I'm making a double recipe. (It freezes really well.)


You can't imagine how good this smells




While juicing these limes, I got an urge for a bloody Mary. :-)


My favorite kitchen toy - everybody should have one.


In goes the lime juice




Finally!! I had to wait so long for a taste. Now, it's officially Fall.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

When Autumn Leaves Begin to Fall...

Days like today make me grateful to be alive.

The air is crisp and breezy, the sun is out (although quite low in the sky), birds are singing, and fat little squirrels are scampering about busily trying to remember where they stashed their nuts.

Fall is in the air and I'm loving it. This may just be my favorite time of year. Thoughts of frosty air, snuggling into warm sweaters, pumpkin pie, butternut squash soup, and hot tea fill my brain. I can hardly wait! Sure, Spring is nice, but there's just something about the anticipation of hunkering down for the winter inside a warm room and a good book that really gets me going.

The coming seasonal changes inspired my recent work as well. For years I've been hanging onto some beautiful porcelain raku buttons by Rama. I bought them when I was still sewing, thinking they'd be fabulous on jackets or coats. Then I stopped sewing, but clung to the idea that I could use the buttons somehow, someday. That day is here! I'm using them as focal features for beaded necklaces.

Sure, they dangle a bit oddly now because the shanks are centered at the back. I'll give them a touch of epoxy where the bead strands meet the buttons at the back to give the connections more "ummmph" and they'll be perfect.

The colors in the buttons are so pretty: rusty reds and magenta, teal blue, soft celery greens, and a touch of copper. Perfect for Fall pieces.

This ginkgo leaf is probably my favorite. The necklace is a work in progress; hopefully it'll be finished by the weekend.

Gorgeous forest greens and soft neutral browns really set the tone in this piece:

I used leopardskin jasper and jade beads for the centerpiece.

For now, I think I'll put on some shoes and head out for a walk while I hum my favorite Nat King Cole song, Autumn Leaves. Here it is for you to sing along with:

Who cares that my bead tray beckons, or the dishes need to be washed? This day is just too pretty to waste inside!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Got the "Bug Eyes"

So, there I was two nights ago, minding my own business, dreaming my Johnny-Depp-is-dripping-with-melted-chocolate dreams, when I awoke around 3 AM and found Pooch tangled in the bedclothes, struggling to find his way out. In the process of helping him come up for air, he reared his hard little head straight back and popped me in the right eye. It was completely dark in the room, but I saw a large, and very bright, flash of yellow light, right before I saw little cartoon birds flying and chirping around my head. "Owww!" Of course, the little turkey went right back to sleep, while I lay back with my eye tearing up.

In the morning I checked my peepers in the mirror and imagine my relief when everything looked fine - no big shiner, no swelling, or red spots. But later on in the day I started seeing a great big old floater: back and forth, forth and back.... Then, today, as I watched the same floater tripping around in my sight line, I saw shimmering halos of light had been added to the show. NOW I'm more than a little bit freaked out; I'm seeing psychedelic light shows, and I didn't do anything fun to get them!

I called the optometrist's office to explain what was going on. The receptionist said "How soon can you get here? We need to see you ASAP." Wow. Way to reassure a girl! I got to the office at lunchtime. After shining a light with the intensity of a thousand hot suns in my eye, the doctor spoke the words I wanted to hear: "No retinal detachment", which had been my first concern. "Whew!" Then she said I have a vitreous detachment, which is not immediately worrisome, but possibly can turn serious later on. I have one in my other eye which I've learned to ignore over the years. Now I have a matched pair. *sigh*

Meanwhile, I have the bug eyes from all the drops and stains the doctor hit me with. I'm DEFINITELY not looking my best!

Oh Happy Day! It could have been much worse, I know. And I have a light show to keep me entertained when I'm bored. :-)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Getting Ready For the Show

My new earring card adapters arrived in the mail yesterday and they were just the ticket! The ugly frame is painted gold, the foamcore insert is finished and installed with the ribbons tacked on at regular intervals. The adapters are now on the cards, and the whole thing looks exactly like I had envisioned it would:


I bought some beautiful green and metallic gold silk organza to cover my table surface, as well as a gorgeous piece of chocolate brown silk taffeta embroidered with gold thread to use as an accent piece.


The necklace display easels are here, and I've done a practice display on the dining room table, using various cardboard boxes to build up a staggered height display.

I'd like to design something that'll transport easily and be more stable than stacked boxes, bricks maybe? All that's left is to find some nice small clip-on lights for highlighting displays, then I'm good to go.

My annoying habit of over-thinking things and tweaking details to death is something I strive to overcome. Here's hoping that this is all the planning I need to do for this little 7 hour show!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Purple, Blue... Or Both?

Thankfully, Hanna seems to have fizzled out. We supposed to get some rain and wind, but nothing more. Now we just have to worry about hurricane Ike, which doesn't look like it will hit us head on. Poor Florida, they do get more than their fair share!

Thanks so much to Kelly, from Boxing Day, for the Brilliant Blog nomination! Now THAT'S the crowbar I needed to pry me out of the "poor me" mood I've been wallowing in. If you haven't seen her blog, it's very entertaining - she makes art for sale on Etsy using recycled materials.

My list of nominees:

A Fanciful Twist
Collage Diva
Tea and Honey Bread
A Whimsical Bohemian

The rules for the nominees:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs!


On another note, I had quality studio time last night and made some bracelets. How is it possible, that after two years of jewelry making, I've neglected this huge corner of the market?!? In tough times when people don't want to spend for a necklace, I should have smaller ticket items like bracelets for them.

I started with some gorgeous lampworked glass beads, bought a few years ago on ebay (lovingly referred to as feebay around here). This was a set of three different groups of beads intended to be used together. When I bought them, I saw some black with purple and blue flowers, some purple with blue dots, and some were clear lavender.

After I made the bracelet, I stuck it in the light box to photograph it. I turned on the fluorescent spotlights, and...Holy Crap! Those clear lavender beads turned sky blue!! How freaky is that?

I checked with some glass workers on Etsy and found out there is a special Moretti alexandrite glass that will do this. But how is it possible that I had these weird and lovely beads for years and never saw this? I spent a half hour walking back and forth in the doorway from the den (which has incandescent lighting) to the kitchen (which has fluorescent), just to watch the color change back and forth. Simple pleasures, right?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I'm In A Bit of A Funk

... and MUST shake myself loose!

(Sorry SomePinkFlowers - you must think I copied your recent post!) It's been hot and buggy and we are bracing for hurricane Hanna's arrival. In 1996, after the spanking we got from hurricane Fran, we swore we'd never be caught unawares again. We live 3 hours from the beach (5 hours from the Outer Banks), and thought "No way can this come inland to get us". Then we watched her hit the mouth of the Cape Fear River and she followed that inland, right to us. We should have put jam in our pockets, 'cuz we were gonna be toast!

Anyway, it's time to stock up on the dog's medicines and special food, batteries, and some cookies (I hope) to get us through, should Hanna do what the weather guys predict.

Thinking about this all makes me tired. My brain is as slow as this fella I found snacking in our compost bin:


I get in these moods and want to listen to moody music too.


To perk myself up, I tried getting in touch with my Inner Tween and gave myself a pedicure. I'm not sure I'm sold on the blue polish, though. OR the flower and rhinestone decals!


Mostly I'm having trouble thinking clearly. Spending so much time snuggling up with Pooch has frizzled my brain. This is the way he likes me best: on the sofa with his head and paws on some part of me.

If I don't comply, he follows me around the house, whining and crying. And jumping up to hit me in the back of the knees. Thanks to his illness, his brain is fried and he has terrible separation anxiety.


I really should be in the studio coming up with new sparklies to sell in my store...

...but work time is hard to come by these days. Marble Man did takes lots of naps over this long weekend and I snuck into my workplace to make gift bags and earrings. Having time to myself put me in a selfish frame of mind, and I crave more. Maybe after the deluge this weekend, if we are not afloat (or airborne), I will slip away and steal some quality "me time".