Thursday, 31 January 2008

Blue Sky at Night

storm front
The above picture was taken over Sainsbury's after M and I had finished shopping. The edge of a storm front, shame it wasn't over somewhere nicer than the grocery store really. I haven't gotten much crafting done today, as H is home but I did made the teal czech glass bracelet, the other two I made last night, before M and I went out to dinner like real people do, to Big Buddaha Thai Resturant in Belper, it was lovely and once the only other dinning couple left we were the only ones there, rather antisocial social outing, or soemthing to that effect. I didn't mind it was a great meal and the service was good, it was just very quite and off season middle of the week, so in other words absoloutly perfect for us.

tommorow while H is at preschool I will be updating the etsy shop, as well as painting, crafting, and baking. busy day.

teal czech glass beaded bracelet

amathyst and sterling silver bracelet

ice flake quartz and white onyx bracelet

Monday, 28 January 2008

A Paler Shade of Green

pale green prehnite pebble and silver bracelet
I have just made this during my coffee break time but now its back to cleaning the house. I was meant to paint some canvases today but had to take H for his injections this morning. He was very brave only cried a little bit, but I did too, I hate needles almost as much as I hate gondola (cable car) rides.

close up of the toggle

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Strawberry and Raspberry Short Cake

Raspberry and Strawberry Short Cake

2 cups self raising flour
1 ¼ cups caster sugar
½ cup butter or margarine (softened)
¾ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup Whipping cream
1 or 2 tbl powdered sugar
1 cup raspberries
½ cup strawberries (sliced)

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Then add half of the flour to the butter beating well.

Add half the milk and beat well then add the eggs one at a time.

Add the rest of the flour then the remaining milk and the vanilla mixing till smooth.

Fill two greased and floured cake pans half full and bake for 25 to 35 minutes.

When the cake has cooled whip the cream and if desired fold in a small amount of icing sugar. Crush the raspberries with a fork and sweeten with powdered sugar as needed, and place between the two cake rounds. Ice the cake with the whipping cream then place the strawberries gently onto the cream.

cooks notes: it was supposed to be Strawberry Short Cake, as that is what I promised the kids (we were babysitting Frizbe's daughters), but I had three strawberries, and the Co-op had no nice fresh fruit what so ever so I bought some frozen raspberries. As I forgot to actually defrost them slowly I decided they would be the centre layer of the cake and smooshed them with a fork. Yes that is a technical cookery term. I could have used jam but as the cake is already sweet I didn't want the kids to be buzzing about the ceiling. By all accounts the cake was very good. with my 3 little strawberries sliced as thinly as possible on top.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough

3/4 tablespoon yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups flour

In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, add the sugar and allow to set until it begins to foam, roughly 5 minutes. Stir in salt, olive oil and half of flour. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing well.

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Place in greased bowl and let rise until double, between 30 min to an hour.

Punch down the dough and let rise again until double.

Punch down the dough and divide.
Pat out on two pizza pans but any pan or baking sheet will do. ( I devided mine into 4 small individual pizzas and one large pizza)
Top with pizza sauce cheese and whatever toppings you desire.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes.

Tip: if you rub your hands together with a few drops of oil it stops the dough from sticking to your fingers.
cooks notes: the recipe is an amalgamation of different recipes that were basically the same recipe. This was the first time I ever tried to make pizza dough and I'm quite pleased with the result, M and H said it turned out nice and they are my harshest critics. The sauce was left over red pepper and tomato soup I made yesterday, if anyone is interested I can write up the recipe.

The Jewellery Tree

the jewellery tree
Today started out on a rather sour note but I'm in better spirits now, which migth have something to do with the can of coke I just swigged down, or the fact that I can see actual real sunshine for the second day in a row. In any event todays crafting hour could have gone better, I stuck with it till the bitter end but I'm a little frazzled now.
The only bracelet I made that I didn't manage to have some minor disaster with was the amathyst one, its very simple and went together beautifully. The ruby fuschite one has a rogue bead on the end that dosent match the rest, the garnet I measured wrong so its small and will only fit a small wrist. Which is definitly not mine. The coloured jade one was the 4th or 5th attempt at a new jade and amathyst that went horrifically wrong, and now its jade coins instead. They or at least some of them may go up in the shop later. I think I will get some nice safe knitting out and see if I manage to not poke my eye out.
I'm making pizza for dinner, from scratch, I made tomato and red pepper soup yesterday so that will be today's pizza sauce. I have never made pizza dough before but based on todays disasters I have some frozen pizza in the freezer just to be on the safe side. Oh I forgot to say about the little wire jewellery tree, I found it in the lovely little shop at Caudwell's Mill yesterday. Its very sweet displays my bracelets nicely.
oval shaped amathyst bracelet

three colours jade bracelet

ruby fuschite and silver bracelet

garnet and silver bracelet


Thank you very much to AnnieB for nominating me for this amazing blogger award, it has brightened my mood no end on this dreary day. As a nominee, I have to list 7 weird things about myself, I wonder how I will be able to narrow it down. Here are my 7 weird things about me in no particular order

1. I'm allergic to brocolli. No its not an avoidence thing, ever since I had H I haven't been able to eat brocolli without becomming violently ill. Sage either, but apparently sage intolerence marks me as a witch.

2. I have a small round scar on my forehead from a chicken. No I didn't forget to add pox, I got pecked by a rooster on the farm I lived on as a child. Aside from being terrorized by a gander, and loathed by a billy goat. But thats another story.

3. I'm a compulsive organizer, I'm not altogether an OCD mental case but I have a bad habit of straitening things out, in shops, or at other peoples houses. What stupifies my husband is that I will organize and straigteh things out but avoid vacuuming the house.

4. I love the smell of book stores in the US. I would bottle it if I could, that mix of new books and coffee, and i can't describe how it smells different in the States than here but it does.

5. I hate Cadbury's chocolate, absolutely loath the stuff, M is addicted, but I'm a purist I only like real dark chocolate, green and blacks or M&S, cadburys turns my stomach. I especially despise the cream eggs blahh!

6. I am almost painfully shy and introverted, I'm better now then I used to be but I still find eye contact difficult to maintain at times.

7. I'm terrified of cable cars. M and I once got stuck on Silver Mountain , we had gone up the mountain for M to take pictures of the snow and then when we hopped on the gondala to go back down to drive home to my parents who were watching H (then all of 4 months old). The gondola stopped halfway down the mountain, they had shut it down for the night two hours early, we were in a valley very high in the air with no phone reception and it was getting dark very quickly. We used the flash on M's camera for light and kept switching M's phone on and off to check the time and to see if there was any signal. After a few hours and starting to feel the effects of the cold and pain from not having breast fed H for hours we turned on the phone and got a single bar of signal to call 911. The call went like this

911 operator: "Hello this is 911 please state your emergency."
M: "we are stuck on the cable cars on Silver Mountain"
911 operator: "What"
M: "We are stuck on Silver Mountain Cable Cars."
911: "Are you Serious?"
M and me: "YES!!"
M: "We are stuck on a cable car on Silver Mountain"
Five minutes later the cars started moving again and we were back on the ground not long after. I haven't been on a cable car or gondola since.

In turn I nominate 23beechhill , LucyKate and Dingle for all their efforts in the crafts blogging sphere.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Teal is better than black

apatite and sterling silver bracelet

apatite and snowflake quartz bracelet

smokey quartz and sterling silver bracelet

Today I managed to make these three bracelets, which I love, I might be addicted to that lovely shade of teal that the apatite beads are. Teal is such a great colour and I would probably have as much teal in my wardrobe as possible, if M wouldn't object, I would say it is probably my second favourite colour, purple being first.

In other news I have been saddened over the news of Heath Ledger's untimely death, he was a good actor with so much potential. H's favourite movie is A Knight's Tail and I don't think I will watch it again without a feeling sad.

Monday, 21 January 2008


Today I managed to make two bracelets, the Tourmilinated Quartz in the picture above and the peridot one below. I've run out of some findings so will have to order more soon. The bracelets will be avalible at the etsy shop later tonight or tommrow depending on what I can get written up on them.

peridot bracelet

Guilty Displeasure

java jacket

Not a lot has happened this weekend, I knit two java jackets, with a third half done and I made the blue apatite stone beaded bracelet below. The colour is this gorgeous teal blue, I found the beads at Spellbound Beads in Lichfield on Saturday. It was a lovely bead shop, lots and lots of beads to choose from, and nice to be able to see real stone beads and handle them in person as you don't always know what you are getting when you order online. Which can sometimes be a pleasant surprise. I coveted the apatite beads as soon as i found the string, I just have to have them even though I had already spent my supposed shopping money on a beautiful rutilated quartz pendant from Kizon Jewellery. Its a great little jewellery shop in Lichfield and I always buy more than my husband would like. Normally I just hand over the item and say its for my birthday/mother's day/Valentines/Christmas so he can't complain too much.

As for the bead shop the only complaint I have is that they sold most of the semi-precious beads on strings only which meant that I could not afford most of the more expensive stones because £37.50 is just too far out of my budget, though I could have stretched to buy a half dozen of the beads. Maybe if the Etsy shop does well then I might be able to have a play with the gorgeous beads they had on display.

In other news I had my very first item sold on Etsy, the Madison smoky quartz bracelet in the previous posting! *happy dance* I'm off to the post office next to send it out. And later if I can get any decent photos I will add the java jackets and the apatite bracelet to the shop.

Now as to the post title.. guilty displeasure... last night M and I indulged in the essence of couch potato-dom... we sat and watched American Idol.. the auditions with the weirdos naturally... well he sat and grinned while I hid my face because I can only watch so much cringworthness... much to M's utter amusement on many occasions of watching comedy movies... I can sit through any horror movie just fine (well maybe not those Ring movies as they just not pleasant viewing), but make me watch some embarrassing scene and I'm cowering in the corner.

and to go with our cultural devolution our viewing was accompanied by Ben and Jerry's Half baked ice-cream, if you are going to fall form grace you should do it with style. or chocolate at the very least.

blue apatite bead bracelet

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Sweet Like Candy

Instead of going out anywhere today, as the weather was so grim, thunder lightning, hail, rain, and lashing wind H and I wisely decided to stay at home. He was exausted and I have a cold so it was a crabby and snuffly house today. Despite wandering around snorting olbas oil (sort of like vicks vapor rub on acid) I managed to not only do the previous post, but I also managed to get these three bracelets made, and a bit of knitting too.
It could possibly have something to do with H going for a two hour nap.... but nah lets jsut say I had an inspired day. The Ice Flake quartz is my favourite, its so clear and resembles crackling ice. If a girl can't have diamonds why not ice flake quartz instead. The smokey quartz is always a favourite of mine too, but the last bracelet pictured, the tri-coloured jade is something special. When I showed M he said it looks just like candy, it makes me think of GingerMonkey, I think she would appreciate the colour of the jade beads, so when it hits the shop tommorow I shall call it "Ginger".

ice flake quartz bracelet

smokey quartz rondelle bracelet

tri-colour jade coin bracelet


handmade plush pug by GingerMonkey

I want to say a big thank you to the lovely and extremly talented GingerMonkey for making the adorable little pug dog that I requested in exchange for one of my bracelets. Its for my mother's birthday next month. (please don't tell daddy) The pug is great and I know that my mother will love it. Below is the sketch I did to explain what I wanted and I coulden't have asked for a better end product, seeing as I can't sew to save my life and GM is uber talented at softie making. So if you haven't been please go have a peep at GingerMonkey 's blog and her etsy shop too.. and while you are there have a peep at my shop too!

my pug sketch

Today I have also been hard at work creating two garnet bracelets for Dior my very first order! Which I'm quiet excited about even if its not through my shop. I hope she likes them. Off to go take H to the library and get some packaging to keep the bracelets safe when I send them out.

three strand garnet bracelet

both bracelets together

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Java Jackets and Garnet Bracelet

three strand garnet bracelet

I've not done much crafting as I have a bit of a cold and am waiting on an order of beads but I will be adding this bracelet to the shop as well as the java jacket that I knit while in Idaho, I hope to try to knit a few more to add to the shop, that have to be more people out there addicted to coffee than just me and M... right? and its environmentally friendly to not take the cardboard one that is offered.

Idaho java jacket

Ooh I have just been distracted by the postman bringing me beads and a package from GingerMonkey!

Monday, 14 January 2008

Biting the Bullet

Its official the bullet is bitten, if you would all kindly look to your right you will find and little Etsy box. Do you see it thats me having my very own little Meridian Ariel Etsy Shop!

I'm still a nervous wreak that it will all go tits up and fizzle out on me, but its there all shiny and new and I'll see what becomes of it. I'm hoping that at the very least it sells enough to keep me in beads and paint! Wish me luck and tell me what you honestly think. If you want something and its not there tell me and I'll see what I do!

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Two Bracelets and a Toy's Scarf

three strand garnet bracelet

white onyx and chinese painted bracelet

Peanut butter's new scarf

I managed to make the two bracelets this morning while H was comatose curled up on M's lap watching the wonder of "How It's Made" on the discovery channel, it was swords and clocks so it was very very good. M has promised to take some "Proper" pictures of my bracelets with a "proper" camera for my forthcoming Etsy shop. He thinks its a good idea, and is considering doing something with his pictures too.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Creched and Burned

smokey quartz bracelet
Today was a bit of a mad flurry, instead of just having H I was also in charge of watching Frizbe's girls, DD1 and DD2. The house looks like a battle field, granted one for the very small with cookie crumbs, the battered and broken bodies of toys lying limp and forgotten on the juice stained carpet. The echo of screams fillling the air.
It wasn't that bad honestly, mostly H throwing tantrums because 1.) he was too busy talking to listen when I asked him to put his shoes on and it turned into a screaming fit or 2.) H wanted to sit with Frizbe's DD1 his best friend and she wouldn't cuddle with him which he took great umbridge to and ran on of the room using The Pouty Lip to full effect. In the end all turned happy with a game of tickle monsters, mainly me being the monster until all three decided it would be much better to attack me than be attacked.
I even managed to take a quick picture of the smokey quartz bracelet I made last night, I just love smoky quartz, its one of my favourite gemstones. I registered for an etsy shop the other day but haven't gotten any farther than that, partly because I'm petrified that no one will like my jewelry and/or paintings that they aren't good enough. I like the bracelets I have been wearing them so they can't be that bad, and I'm certain that M would tell me he dosen't like my paintings. I know I'm not the greatest artists but the important things is that I am painting right? and I want to do something with my sketches but I will need to scan them first and see what happens from there, I want to try doing a few t-shirts maybe some tea towels. I have ideas, the problem is in cracking my head open ripping the ideas out and running with them. That whole dream to reality thing. Which brings to mind that I have been utterly ignoring any attempts at writting beyond the quick scribblings on here, the last post on my drabble side was over a month ago. Sombody just give me a swift kick please....

Friday, 11 January 2008

Chinese Painting Beads

chinese painting semi-precious gemstone bracelet
My creativity has taken a bit of a nosedive today with the weather being so gray and miserably outside, and the onset of a headache that defies all medication. Luckily I made the above bracelet last night with Chinese painting semi-precious gemstone beads that I ordered with my hoarded Christmas returns money. I'd not heard of the stone previously but when I saw them on the bead website I was so intrigued that I had to have them to play with. I think they are gorgeous anyway.
I also finished knitting a small card holder out of a scrap of teal wool that was lurking in the bottom of my knitting box. If this headache recedes I plan to do some sketching for some paintings in the living room, M says the pair that are up that match the red/burgundy rug are too small for the wall so they must go. which is a shame because I like the pair even if they are too small.

knitted card holder

Thursday, 10 January 2008


oaties biscuits

3/4 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 egg (large)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 1/2 cups porridge oats

Pre-heat the oven to 375° F

In a small bowl mix the flour and the coconut, if you don’t have self -raising flour then use plain flour and add to it 1 tsp baking powder and half a teaspoon of salt.

In a large bowl beat the butter, vanilla extract, and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Add the flour and coconut mix until well blended. By hand stir in the porridge oats (old fashioned oats are best) . Drop the dough by teaspoon onto un-greased cookie sheet. For larger cookies drop by the tablespoon. Bake for 10 minutes, until the centre is puffed up and the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven, let them cool for a minute on the baking tray before placing on a wire rack to cool.

cooks notes: this recipe is for my dad, as Oaties are his favourite cookie/biscuit and every time we visit in Idaho I bring several packages back of an Scottish made oaties biscuits that we buy from Chatsworth Farm Shop. So for ages I have been experimenting with various different recipes for oatmeal cookies and attempting to create and oatie type cookie/biscuit and this recipe is the closest I have been able to get so far. H says the cookies were "Yum" so I guess that's not a bad review. They were also very simple to make I'm sure I will continue to adapt the recipe I have concocted but for now I'm just going to have to eat a cookie. or two.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Black Rainbows and Hail Stones

Labrodorite and black onyx bracelet

Although the image quality isn't too great I think this bracelet looks great, I'm a big fan of labrodorite I love the flare of luminious blues, as the light plays against the beads.

NOthing much else is going on here save the hail storm last night. M just had to go run out and stand in it while Alys the cat and I looked on in bemusement from the open doorway.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Red Agate

red agate bracelet

close up of the dangling pendant on the clasp

This is the first attempt at making a pendant, I think it turned out OK for not having done it before or having the proper tools. I love the vibrancy of the red orange colour.

Rainbow in Stone

rainbow fluorite bracelet with butterfly charm

Not as vibrant an colourful a fluorite as the beautiful set of jewelry Whizz made recently but these beads are very lovely and delicately coloured none the less.

Sinister Crafting

Anticraft: Knitting, Beading and Stitching for the Slightly Sinister
With my Christmas book voucher clutched firmly in hand I visited and ordered the anticraft book. If you haven't been to then you are missing out on something. Admittedly I'm more geek than goth, but none the less I fiercely coveted this book and it arrived today in a flurry of loan offers, bills and general rubbish. I have yet to read it but in a quick skim through the pages it looks to be very good or vaguely evil at least, and nice to have something that is a bit different than the usual happy bunny crafting books out there, not that there is anything wrong with happy bunny books but sometimes you just need something a little more sarcastic, a little more sinister than that.

Anticraft Knitting Beading and Stitching for the Slightly Sinister

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Blue Rose

Its a small knitted rose brooch, well it will be a brooch when i get the backing on. The image is clearly crap the lighting is no good and it defies any attempt on my part to get a decent picture so I have left it for now and am vaguely watching Mary Poppins with H. The rose was made with some left over silk garden that was hiding in the bottom of my yarn stash, its a beautiful yarn but the bottom edge does turn into that bright acid yellow/green that is all the rage now and that I can't wear without looking like a zombie out of a Romero film, that is half dead and not so fresh. I have more knitting to do that I have been all out ignoring in favour of beads, I'm sure I'll get round to it soon. If I can actually make up my mind on what to knit, and what sort of pattern.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Garnet and Freshwater Pearl Bracelet

garnet and freshwater pearl bracelet

I just finished making this about ten minutes ago and love the play of light on the garnet and pearl together. Its a delicate and small bracelet but I'm so in love with the simplicity of how things can be lovely and not terribly fussy and overly complicated. not that complicated is always a bad thing, except maybe for me trying to understand a knitting pattern.

more posts to come soon but off to Belper today for lunch at Fresh Basil and for H to play and Chucklebutties soft play centre... oh and did I mention that there just happens to be a bead shop in Belper? ;o)