Thursday, February 26, 2009

New stuff...

I have a few new things in my Etsy shop to check out. I decided to play around with some of the many rings/hoops I have aquired. I always seem drawn to circles and rings when shopping for jewelry supplies. I'm not sure what that says about me...I'm sure it has something to do with my OCD...ha ha. I have fine silver wire and a butane torch, so any day now I want to experiment with making my own rings. I own the book, "Jewelry Studio: Fine Wire Fusing" by Liz Jones, and it gives step-by-step instructions on how to do it. It's on my To-Do list...

I like the look of different metals together

Not circles, but still cool!

The one thing I like about these recent earrings is that they are versatile and will go with just about anything in your closet! So, that's all for now...hope to have more to share soon :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Feeling the Love...

I am honored to be awarded the Spreader of Love Award by Mary Harding Jewelry! This award serves as a reminder that I’m loved and that there are other very special people out there for me to spread this love around with! In turn, I would like to nominate 5 of my favorite blogs which I encourage you to check out!

1. Red Shoes Blog - This blog is filled with humor that I can relate to and beautiful, drool worthy photos. Wonderful decorating ideas, and tons of inspiration!

2. Summers Studio Pottery - I always look forward to seeing what will come out of Leann's kiln! She also has fantastic photos and great tutorials on how she makes her beautiful buttons!

3. Lorelei's Blog - I personally think Lorelei has the best time management skills of anyone I know! I have no idea how she finds time to do all that she does! I hope I learn her secret one day :) I look forward to her blog every morning, and she has great jewelry designs, beautiful photos, and creative swaps and giveaways. A must-see blog for inspiration!!

4. C. Gail Designs - Another very inspirational jewelry blog! Candace creates the kind of jewelry I aspire to make one day! Her designs are meticulously created with breathtaking jewels...drool!

5. Inside the Artisan (Birdland Creations) - Another medium I am dying to try is PMC. This blog REALLY makes me anxious to try it soon! Her designs are so creative with a dash of humor and perfectly sculpted! I never cease to be amazed at what she comes up with!

It was very difficult to only pick 5 blogs to nominate because I enjoy following many more blogs than that, so I will have to feature more in the future!

If you were chosen above, and want to play along, feel free to post the award on your blog, choose 5 blogs that you love, and blog about them...but, you are under no obligation by me :)

Speaking of things I love...I just love floppy Weimaraner puppy lips when they are sound asleep :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Day Revisited

I had a very nice Valentine's Day this year. Last year, Mark and I decided we were never going out to dinner on Valentine's Day again after we had a poor restaurant experience. We went to a fancy French restaurant with friends, and it was the worst restaurant experience that any of us had ever had. They had a set menu and would not make any substitutions, even though 2 people at our table were allergic to seafood. The service was horrible, and our dinner took almost 4 hours. We finally had to take our desserts to go because it was so late none of us wanted to wait any longer. All this, and the experience cost a small fortune!

Anyhow, this year we were invited over to his parent's house for a homecooked Valentine's dinner. I volunteered to make the dessert. I am addicted to chocolate, so I searched for the most decadent, chocolate, Valentine-like dessert recipe I could find. I made Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes from a recipe I found online by Better Homes and Gardens (see the recipe reprinted below). The only variation I did was instead of just covering the tops of the cakes with strawberry jam, I cut a cone shape out of the top of the cake, then filled the hole with jam, then cut the tip of the cut out piece so it would fit back on the top. I wanted the cakes to be filled with the jam. Overall, I was surprised at how easy these were to make. I like to cook, but I am not a baker, so I was intimidated at first.


Earlier that day, Mark and I went to a FREE wine, beer and food tasting at Downtown Produce, a local market. It was an incredible selection for free! They even had a chocolate fountain. I grabbed a few chocolate dipped strawberries, and went off in search of the perfect wine to go with my Valentine's dessert. The gentleman at the Argentinean wine table convinced us that his 2004 Familia Zuccardi Malbec Port Malamado was the best wine for our dessert. I do not normally care for port wine, but this was so incredible with the bittersweet chocolate! We had a delicious dinner consisting of tossed salad, herb-crusted pork roast with a citrus sauce, asparagus, and mouth-watering twice bake potatoes...and, of course, my dessert and wine. It was such a nice evening, I definitely hope it becomes a Valentine's Day tradition :)

Here is the dessert recipe:

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cakes
From Better Homes and Gardens


1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup strawberry jam
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache, recipe below
12 medium strawberries
3 ounces bittersweet and/or milk chocolate curls


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour or line with paper bake cups twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups; set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder until combined. Add egg and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, beat lightly just until combined.

3. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Alternately add flour mixture and milk to chocolate mixture, beating by hand after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full.

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the edges; carefully remove cupcakes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

5. If cupcakes don't have paper liners, trim a thin slice from top of each cupcake so they will sit flat. Turn bottom side up. Place cupcakes 2 inches apart on wire rack set over waxed paper. (For cupcakes in liners, peel liners down but do not remove.) Spread 1 teaspoon of the strawberry jam over each cupcake.

6. Spoon ganache over cupcakes, making sure to coat all sides. Place a strawberry on top of each cake. Drizzle each strawberry lightly with ganache, letting the strawberry show through. Top cupcakes with chocolate curls.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Make Ahead: prepare as directed through step 6. Place cooled cupcakes in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw cupcakes, if frozen. Continue as directed in step 7.

Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache: In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until ganache is smooth.

Now I just need to find an excuse to make this dessert again...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I survived...

...the half marathon, that is! I was so worried Sunday morning before the race because my back was still hurting, and I was afraid I would not be able to finish. By some miracle, my back didn't hurt too bad during the race, and I was able to run at my normal pace. I finished in 2 hours and 6 minutes, which is exactly what I finished Disney in! It was perfect weather, in my opinion (Mark's dad thought it was too hot), and the scenery was gorgeous! We ran a giant square that had a view of the river on every side. Between mile 7 and 8 we ran past the back of our neighborhood, and Mark, his mom, and Cooper were all there to cheer us on! I really enjoyed this race. Afterwards, Mark's dad and I enjoyed a free pancake breakfast and $1 idea of a perfect Sunday morning :)

Here I come!

Tossing my long sleeve was cold at the start

Mark's mom and a distracted Cooper

Mark's dad in the lead

I think I'll take some time off before I plan my next half marathon, but I do have some shorter races coming up.

Nothing new to show, but I got my most recent stuff listed in my Etsy store...check it out! I'm off to do more homework, but I hope to get some studio time in tonight!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Busy as a bee...

Where should I start?! Well, last Sunday I threw my back out during a run. Don't ask me grabbed after about a half mile, and I was planning on going 10 miles. The pain became so bad that I had to stop after 3 miles. I realized later, when I was hunched over like a 90 year old woman at our Superbowl Party, that I should have stopped immediately instead of running with pain. One of life's little lessons... So, I have the half marathon race the day after tomorrow, I haven't been able to train all week, and I am still in pain. I've been to the chiropractor twice, iced it, went in the hot tub, popped Naproxens, and all that jazz, but it still isn't better. I might be walking the race :( But at least I can still say I did it.

In other news, Cooper graduated from his puppy class! We are so proud of him :) We already started his intermediate class this week! He is a very smart puppy, just stubborn sometimes.

So proud!

This is our class. Not a good photo, but the blond Golden Doodle on the right is Cooper's girlfriend, Laila. He wufs her {groan}. Thank goodness Cooper will be getting neutered soon!

I recently bought some really cool porcelain heart pendants from Nancy of Round Rabbit. She opened a new Etsy shop called Round Rabbit Extra where she offers her handmade porcelain (and more recently etched copper) jewelry components. I really admire her finished jewelry, so I am very excited that she is offering supplies for designers. I made a necklace with one of the heart pendants so far. I realized I do not have a very big selection of deep blue beads, but these sodalite faceted rondelles work pretty well. I really like it, so maybe I need to make one for myself... I also bought one of Nancy's etched copper pendants which I am looking forward to using soon, so stay tuned!

I had a pretty productive day in the studio yesterday...I made SIX pairs of earrings, two necklaces, and two bracelets. I will be listing everything in my Etsy shop, hopefully, tomorrow. I need to dedicate a few days to just making bracelets, since everyone seems to want them, and I always forget to make some. Here are the new bracelets:

Lepidolite with pink tourmaline rondelles and a Green Girl Studios pewter dragonfly bead

I haven't decided on names for them yet, but the first thing that came to my mind for the top one is Cotton Candy Dragonfly! Pretty silly name, but don't the colors remind you of the sweet stuff?? The Butterfly focal bead in the second one was made by Beady Monkey. She creates very nice beads and jewelry. Check it out!

Well, that's all for now...hope you enjoy your weekend!!

Lucid Moon Studio


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