Monday, May 31, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 270

We just got back from watching Shrek 4, which despite the number in the title wasn't half bad. I didn't have high hopes after #3, but it made me laugh and cry in all the right places. Munchkin highly approved.

The husband has been working on finishing up a drinking horn over the last couple weeks, and he's almost done:

drinking horn

Just needs to do a bit more sanding on the outside, then finish it with bees' wax. We were going to attempt some carving on it, but decided it probably would be wiser of us to leave it au naturale.

And I did some stringing today, a fused glass pendant I acquired in a lot of bits and bobs that's been sitting around begging me to do something with it:

Blue and Burgundy Fused Glass Pendant Strung with Pearls and Fire Polished Glass

Now we're off to do something nefarious and tasty to the leftovers from last night's salmon dinner.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 268

Mother Nature did, indeed, drool all day. But the weather was at least temperate, so we shouldered our Seattle rain stoicism and went out to the >Kuboto Gardens this morning. And this time, I remembered to put the memory card in the camera!

Bee on Flower by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Tree Sap by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Blue Orchid by *dbvictoria on deviantART

There's more pictures here.

We swung by the grocery store and got supplies for most tasty dinner that I'll describe shortly. When we got home, I spent a little time with the garnet box again, making more steampunk shinies and then editing pictures.

Steampunk Garnet and Sterling Silver Y-Necklace

Steampunk Garnet Waterfall Earrings with Antique Watch Parts

The husband then grilled us some quite tasty salmon and asparagus despite the gloomy weather. And then I treated us to dessert, one of the things I make very rarely because it's fiddly and also very not-good for the waistline:

Pears in Port

Pears, peeled and thin sliced, simmered in a port wine reduction with some of my homemade blackberry preserves, then spooned over vanilla ice cream. *urp* I'm sipping some more of the port as I type now. I am, again, a happy kitty.

A Year in the Making, day 267

I got all caught up in my project yesterday and forgot to post here! Of course, I do have a bit of an excuse. I went for a lovely lunch at the Crepe Cafe, but afterwards the stomach wasn't happy. Spent the rest of the day as a pathetic lump on the sofa. It worked out, though, because I finished a new parasol! This is a custom order for a friend. I'm calling it the "Cotton Candy" Parasol, for obvious reasons:

Cotton Candy Parasol by *dbvictoria on deviantART


I also got a new necklace completed before I went off to brunch yesterday:

Amethyst Necklace Hand Wrapped in Sterling Silver Wire

Be heading off to the farmers' market this afternoon for work, but hoping to get out and about and maybe take a few pictures beforehand. Mother Nature looks to be drooling today. We'll see.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 266

Memorial Day weekend! What are your plans for the holiday?

This weekend - through Monday evening - I'm having a sale in my Artfire shop, 10% off any purchase, still with free shipping for jewelry items! Just enter the coupon code "In Memory" when making a purchase.

I can't believe the end of May is just around the corner! That's month 9 of 12 in my challenge. I can't believe I've been doing this for NINE MONTHS. Three to go! Item count as of yesterday was 287, so I'm still keeping ahead of the curve. Starting to wonder what I'm going to do with myself once this is over.

I pulled out the garnet box today. My favorite stone. Expect lots of burgundy red goodness the next few days, as once I start playing with the garnets it goes on for awhile.

Garnet Briolette Multi Strand Necklace on Sterling Silver

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More to drool over on Etsy

The champagne is delicious! *hic*

Since you don't have any, here's something else for you to enjoy - jewelry and accessories by SatinDollCo:

There's some wonderfully unique accessory items in her store, as well as lovely jewelry. She's got colorful wraps for pilates or yoga mats:

What a great idea!

For a night out, this mocha clutch would be perfect!

And for summertime fun, there's these pink and black plaid earrings.

It always amazes me, the variety you can find in one person's shop on Etsy!

A Year in the Making, day 265

I'm celebrating today!


Last night, I had my 100th sale from my Designs by Victoria's Etsy shop! Hooray!

Weather continues to be grey and gloomy and a little too cool. But I shouldn't complain, because that's better than a little too hot, right?

Here's today's silver lining, a new steampunk piece:

OOAK Steampunk Pirate Queen Necklace with Freshwater Pearls

Now off to go play with electricity, because the lights just went off in half the upstairs for no reason we can determine. Booo.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 264

Still grey, damp, and gloomy. Told the barista that I was tired of the three months of March we've had so far this year when I was getting a toasty beverage this morning. It got just warm enough to open up the French doors to the deck for a bit this afternoon, at least, letting me get my fresh air fix.

I received an invitation vie email this morning to vend at the upcoming Erotic Steampunk festival at the Little Red Studio in July! It's the weekend after the 4th, and hopefully by then Mother Nature will have gotten the cranky out of her system.

So, I was inspired to do some more Steampunk jewelry this afternoon, another, slightly different pair of waterfall watch bits earrings:

Steampunk Waterfall Earrings with Freshwater Pearls and Antique Watch Parts

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 263

Weather was beautiful this morning. Finally, I thought! The munchkin and I walked to school sans coats, and it was good. And now it's cold and rainy again. At least we enjoyed it while it lasted.

A little bit of virtual summertime for you this evening. This necklace was made as a part of a beading challenge - 2 beads, 10 JETs. 10 of us on the Jewelry on Etsy team received the same two yellow-orange shell hexagons. They looked like honeycomb cells to me, so I went bee-hunting this afternoon, and I finished my entry this evening.

Bees Do It Black: Glass and Orange Crystal Necklace with Shell

Who knows what my 9 teammates will come up with!

For those who like sets, I also did these to match:

Light Topaz Crystal Earrings on Brass Leverback Hooks

Off to make myself a hot cup of tea, and snuggle into the blankets with the nice warm kitty.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 261

No post yesterday, no energy left after all the goings and doings. I hit a local farmers' market for my "day job" bright and early, fortified myself with a spinach and goat cheese omelet then headed off to spend the afternoon helping friends move. I expected to be much more sore today, as it was from a second floor apartment with no elevator, but I'm not all achey in my dignity like I was expecting.

Getting a slow start today, but I do have a big ole hunk o' pig slow cooking in the oven. Pulled pork for dinner again - YUM!

I'm looking around the house, thinking I need to clean, but putting it off, so you get today's blog post early today!

Milky White Quartz Y-Necklace on Sterling Silver

I did get one major thing accomplished, which compacted one bit of clutter - my business spreadsheet is now updated through yesterday's vintage sale. Go me!

Can't believe it's sunday afternoon already. Oh, how the weekends fly!

Friday, May 21, 2010

And more for the girls

Because, hey, why not? Here's some great chic, contemporary, handmade jewelry from another Jewelry on Etsy teammate, LotusStone.

She's got some great sets available, each matched by name in her listings. My favorite is the Kathleen set:

There's also the Adriel necklace, a delicate silver leaf:

And look! More garnets! A set of earrings with my favorite stones and matching freshwater pearls:

Something for the gents

I'm pretty much all for the ladies, I'll admit. Although I do a unisex piece from time to time, most of my styles are a little too frilly and delicate for the boys. So, a little something different from me today! Here's some handmade silver jewelry pieces by my fellow Jewelry on Etsy teammates Terry and Bob from Jewelry24Seven:

Firstly, check out this jade ring:

It's a gorgeous piece of nephrite jade set in a diamond shaped setting, such a striking piece!

For a little bit more color, there's this dichroic glass ring in a hand-cut bezel setting:

How about these black mother of pearl cufflinks?

I love the elegance of cufflinks, peeking out from the sleeve of a jacket. If you can't find a shirt that'll fit cufflinks, all you need to do is remove the button from the cuff and add another button-hole. I've done this with a couple of my shirts in the past, works like a charm! If you don't have a sewing machine with a button-holer, a tailor can do this for you quite quickly and reasonably.

If you're craving some major blink, their huge sterling silver rope chain will satisfy that itch:

Okay, I lied. This isn't just for the boys. How could I not show you this gorgeous garnet and silver ring? Garnets are my favorite stone - the rich burgundy color always makes me happy, and the setting is beautiful!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 258

I spent a fruitless evening trying to get Mass Effect I to install on my computer, and I've given up. What a waste of money. Very disappointed.

Here's a quickie tonight, and then I'm going to go drown my game sorrows in another bit of Dragon Age.

Sardonyx Necklace on Sterling Silver and Chain

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 257

One two three one two three ....

I went to a dance class and had my first lesson in 19th century waltz. I'm still dancing in my head! Looking forward to more lessons. Somehow I can find the time, I hope.

Two new pieces today, one I actually made last night before bedtime.

Green Jasper and Wood Necklace

Steampunk Necklace - Sardonyx and Sterling Silver

Now off to nomnomnom on something. What, I'm not sure yet, but it will have avocado on or in it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 256

In the midst of house-cleaning, as the clutter is threatening to overwhelm yet again. We keep getting rid of stuff, but it doesn't seem to have made a dent as of yet. Someday!

A simple piece today, but with a message to ponder:

The Princess' Pea Necklace

To remind you that the smallest of things can make a large difference.

Girding my feather duster and wading into the fray....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Top Handmade Creations feature

One of my hats was featured on this week's Top 10 Handmade Creations!

Black Velvet Hat with Pink Flowers and Trim

Recovering from too much fun this weekend. I have declared it to be a night of relaxation.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 254

We had a lovely day out at the Viking Fair in Poulsbo, Washington. It would have been lovelier if I hadn't accidentally left the camera on yesterday when taking pictures of the necklace I'd made. I'll be buying a camera bag sometime in the next few weeks, to keep the spare battery I'll also be acquiring, so I can carry both it and the extra memory cards that I bought in case I forget one in plugged into the computer again.

There was an unexpectedly lovely lunch while we were there, at The Loft. It's pretty unassuming in appearance, very bare decor, but it had a magnificent view so we figured even if the food was mediocre we'd still enjoy it, but aside from what the husband dubbed as the second worst bloody mary he'd ever experienced (he said it had a very bitter aftertaste, and if the camera had been working I would have taken a picture of the face he made, which had me giggling hysterically), everything else was delightful.

Calamari was selected for starters, and it was done to perfection with a garlicky mayo dipping sauce. The husband and the munchkin split the fish and chips, which was declared quite tasty (homemade fries!), and I had their turkey, bacon, and avocado club. It came on fresh sourdough, and it was a slab carved right off of a turkey breast, with thick smoked bacon and a light chipotle mayo. I also had a mai tai, which had only a passing acquaintance with the fruit juice component. Wowza! All this on the deck above the marina overlooking the water. No camera. Damnit!

There was a carnival with rides, which the munchkin enjoyed, and there was a ride on the ferris wheel, which all the ladies standing on the ground watching my kilt-wearing husband go round enjoyed:

Kilt Oops

We also got to see the lutefisk eating competition (gag!), and acquired a drinking horn at the Viking village, something the husband and I have been wanting for ages.

Home now, relaxed, camera battery was charged, and another new necklace has been made. I'm still playing in the green box, but hey, it's springtime! All about the green!

Vesuvianite and Freshwater Pearls Necklace

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 253

Day one of busy weekend. Today, I rousted the family out of bed (husband) and away from the Saturday morning cartoons (munchkin), and we headed up to Seattle for the University Street Fair. After we had our respective toasty beverages, a double short latte for the husband, a chai for myself, and a hot chocolate for mini-me, we wandered up and down University Avenue to see the sights. We got there as it was just getting started, and not everyone was completely set up yet, but we also avoided the crowds and got a parking space just two blocks over, so it was a good trade-off.

There are a few pictures posted to my flickr photo album here, but the favorites went to my deviantart account.

My favorites we didn't actually see at the fair itself, but on the side road where we were parked. There was a wonderful flowering bushy plant:

Red Bush in Bloom 1 by *dbvictoria on deviantART

And there was an old beat up fire hydrant:

Hydrant by *dbvictoria on deviantART

At the fair, there was a booth filled with more of the metal flowers made from recycled metal signs and cars:

Metal flowers by *dbvictoria on deviantART

Unfortunately, he couldn't find his business cards, and I can't match him up with any of the vendors listed on the fair's site.

We had to check out the vendors at the farmers' market, and I finally got a shot of the water tanks that catch the rainwater off the top of the University Heights center:

Rain Tanks by *dbvictoria on deviantART

I also happened to snag a shot of Gasworks park on the way home:

Gasworks from I-5 by *dbvictoria on deviantART

And now we're home, and the husband has mowed the back yard, and we have some wild-caught fresh ahi tuna steaks for the grill, and I also managed to make a new necklace and a batch of blackberry jam:

Hammered Brass and Jade Necklace on Sterling Silver Wire and Chain

blackberry jam

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 252

Short and simple today, because I'm wiped out. I had an opthomologist and a dentist appointment today, and while I don't feel like my upper lip is concave anymore, or that the sun has gone supernova, I still just want to pretend I'm a limp noodle. But it was a good day. I'll have my new contacts by Wednesday, and another of my mercury amalgam fillings is replaced by tooth-colored stuff (there was decay at the edges of an old filling, so my dentist drilled out and replaced the old while putting in the new!)

My new prescription is actually less strong than the contacts I'm currently wearing, as my lenses are thickening with age, which means that in another 10 to 15 years I'll be more worried about farsightedness instead of nearsightedness! And my prescription hasn't changed so much that I need new glasses, which is good because I really like my current frames and the ones that they had in stock right now did not please.

So something small for you, my very first, rather pitiful attempt at a herringbone weave:

Herringbone weave

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good Gravy!

Tonight's dinner, pre-carving:

Roast Chicken

Now that I have your attention, and as a follow-up to the previous post, and to add another entry to my Recipes sidebar, let's talk about gravy. We never had gravy growing up, with the exception of holiday meals at grandmother's, and I don't remember liking or disliking it at all. I probably never ate any, as it would have been brown and gooey, and I was a very particular (well, better to say picky) eater.

When we had a beef roast or such, we'd just use the straight juice from the pan, nothing added. This was usually pretty tasty.

Fast forward to college, where I met this guy that eventually became the husband, and he was from a gravy family. And he taught me how to make it. And it was easy. And it was good.

First step - make a roux. What is a roux, you ask? Well, according to Wikipedia, a roux is a cooked mixture of wheat flour and fat. I can't give you exact measurements, as I've been eyeballing it for over a decade now, but I start with a splash of olive oil and a spoonful or two of flour, whisked together in a 12" frypan. I've separated out the pan drippings and juices previously, and strained them into a fat separator, like this:

A fat separator

You let it sit, and the fat rises to the top. The hole for the pour spout is at the bottom. You pour till you've got just a little bit of the juice left, and discard the fat. Easy peasy! They come in a variety of materials. The one I have is just like the one pictured, and is actually made from the same plastic they use to make airplane windows, so pouring hot fatty liquid into it isn't an issue.

I let the roux simmer till it starts to bubble and brown, and then add the juice slowly, whisking all the time, until I go from the thick paste phase to the slightly gooey phase. I then let the gravy simmer some more and re-thicken up a bit while I add whatever herbs and spices I want. If there wasn't enough pan juice, I'll add chicken or beef broth to thin it out to the proper consistency. I've never had a lumpiness problem doing it this way.

Franciscan gravy boat

For chicken gravy, I'll take some roasted garlic and mash it through a sieve, then whisk the pureed tastiness in along with a quarter cup of vermouth, and maybe toss in a sprig of rosemary. For beef gravies, usually adding a little tomato paste if you didn't already cook it in tomato is a good thing. Serve with rice, taters, or egg noodles. Yum!

A Year in the Making, day 250

I just popped a chicken in the oven, stuffed silly with garlic cloves, then massaged lovingly with a lemon-garlic-pepper rub. In about 20-30 minutes, the house will begin to smell heavenly. Garlic is practically an aphrodisiac in our household. The timing will be a bit hit-or-miss, as there wasn't a weight tag on the bird, so I am guessing it to be about 6 pounds.

We have all the doors and windows open again, even though it's still a bit cool, because the fresh air is just heavenly. I'm not an outdoor kind of girl, but I'm a fresh air junkie. A bit of a contradiction there, but I'm a complicated girl.

Today I've got a remake of an earlier piece - I'd done a grape cluster necklace in brass some time ago, and today decided I needed a silver version of it. I've been on a grape kick, snackwise, lately, so it's only appropriate. And there are some lovely muscat grapes in the stores right now. I don't have any stones that match their green and red blushing beauty, so amethysts it is instead.

Purple Grapes Cluster Necklace with Leaf Toggle Clasp and Amethysts

And another from the vault, one of those pieces I made at night and then took daylight pictures of a few days later, but never got around to listing:

Bronze Dragon & Green Freshwater Pearl Necklace on Vintage Brass Chain

I lied, by the way. In the time it's taken me to write this post, the house has already begun to smell heavenly. Less than 10 minutes. Mmmmmmmmm.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 249

Today has been a wonderful day! It started off a bit hectic, as I had to leave earlier than usual for work and needed gas. I found out on my way out that the postal carrier had been unusually late delivering the mail yesterday (after 6pm!) and that I had a package from my mother in the box. I grabbed it and stuffed it in my bag, then hit the road. Stopped for gas, checked my lottery ticket from the weekend, and found out I won $30! Wow! There'll be a nice lunch in store for me later this week.

In between the different places I had to be for work, I got stuck waiting at a train track, and so I pulled out the package from mom, opened it, and was completely amazed and flabbergasted to find in it the necklace I'd mentioned in this blog post a few weeks ago, by my fellow Jewelry on Etsy teammate Shazzabeth. She included a tag, saying it was a "just because" present. The best kind! So wonderful, and thoughtful of her.

It's even more beautiful in person than I could have imagined. I actually cried when I opened up the box, and left my mother a rather incoherent thank you message on her machine, I'm sure. And I'm plotting finding a multitude of excuses to wear it now. It may need a gown made especial, to showcase its glory.

The day is absolutely gorgeous, to top it all off. Perfect springtime weather, Mother Nature making up for a chilly rainy Monday. We have all the windows open, and I'm watching the rose bush in the front yard sway through the picture window. And for lunch today, we had a bit of crab left over from our Sunday omelets, so I made sandwiches with it on french bread with smoked gouda. Mmmmmm ... tasty goodness!

In honor of springtime, which is also the start of bug season, today's necklace is perfect to help keep the little pests out of your home and garden:

Spider Necklace Swarovski Pearls on Sterling Silver with Pewter Charms

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Steamy Dance!

The Steampunk Film Festival fundraiser for the Museum of History and Industry was a smashing success, with one and a half times the goal raised! The clock will live again! (website hasn't been updated yet, but should be shortly!)

A Year in the Making, day 248

It's Monday! A fresh start to the new week. Been in a bit of a slump, but inspiration struck last night. I think it was all the beautiful sights over the weekend at Steampunk University, seeing everyone all dressed up and hanging with my vendor buddies. The steampunk community is very close-knit, and chock full of wonderful and amazing folks.

I was also well-fueled last night. The husband made me a most excellent dinner to top off the day:

My Mother's Day dinner

That's a kabob of barbecue shrimp, with green beans simmered to perfection in white wine, butter, and garlic, and little crab cakes, served with a glass of dry semi-sweet mead.

After that I started playing around, laying out bits, and started what became this today:

OOAK Steampunk Blue and Silver Multistrand Choker

Now I just have to keep the creative juices flowing. I'm in month 9 of the year challenge now. It's amazing how fast it's gone by. Of course, I'm going to have to be a bit more proactive about getting out and selling all this stuff I've been making this last year.

Plan for this week is to make up a batch of calzones to freeze at some point. But that was also the plan for last week, so we'll see. The bread machine is sitting on the kitchen counter, mocking me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Year in the Making, day 247

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

I had a wonderful day. First, my husband made me a crab omelet for breakfast:

My breakfast

Then, the munchkin gave me the mother's day card she made in computer lab. Here's the exact way it's typed:

der mom I love you I hop you had a gerat tim at werk hapermunderays [supposed to be happy mother's day, I'm told] i love you fum gwen ps you are a gat momy ps you are a gat mom i like the thing

And there are little pictures on it of a skunk, a rabbit, and a toad.

Afterwards, we headed out to the beach to enjoy the gorgeous weather:

The view at Alki

The view at Alki

I took a few pictures of the plants:

Red Flowers

Driftwood and Bushes 1 by *dbvictoria on deviantART

I tried to catch a crow in flight, and this is the best I managed (tricky little buggers!):

Crow in flight

The husband and the munchkin started a sandcastle:

Sandcastle operations commence

Sandcastle operations commence

Sandcastle operations commence

I hid from the evil yellow hurtie thing while they played:

Hiding from the sun

And then a big hole was done and the munchkin decided she needed to bury her feet:

Where's the feet?

Where's the feet?

Where's the feet?

Where's the feet?

The husband discovered that she was now just the right height:

Where's the feet?

We stopped for beverages and cuteness ensued:


Came home and I made a new necklace, and finally added a clasp onto a piece I made weeks ago:

Upcycled Brass, Copper, and Amber Glass Necklace with Vintage Parts

Amber Glass Pendant strung with Peridot and Freshwater Pearls on Brass

Then I went to go see Kick Ass, which kicked ass.

And now the husband is making shrimp kabobs for dinner and I am sipping a glass of white wine while typing this all up. It's been a good day.