Friday, December 28, 2012

Rosemary Orange Walnut Cookies: My Very Own Gourmet Recipe

Gourmet cookie recipe: toasted rosemary orange walnut



The other morning I woke up with an idea for a recipe. I don't know where it came from, but I couldn't get the thought out of my head. I kept wondering what it might be like to try a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe with rosemary and walnuts instead of chocolate chips. Wait...what?? 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

DIY Lemon Butter Lip & Skin Balm in Altoids Tins

DIY beauty: lemon butter lip & skin balm in Altoid Tins


This rich Lemon Butter Balm is amazing and extremely versatile. You can use it as a lip balm, cuticle cream, moisturizer for hands, feet, elbows, knees, body, etc. It is deeply moisturizing and will do wonders for your winter dry skin, and it has a lovely subtle scent, which reminds me of honey lemon tea. 

Of course you can play around with the 'flavors' by adding essential oils to the mix. I really only used the lemon extract because I had it on hand and didn't have any lemon essential oil around, which would have made for a stronger scent (you would probably only need several drops instead of 2 tsp of extract).

I poured mine into Altoids tins because I happened to have a giant stash saved up (I used to keep them for jewelry making supplies...back when my stock was small enough to fit in these tiny containers :). Plus I thought they'd be kinda cool and they're the perfect size to stash in your purse!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Peek inside my favorite Craft Book: Decorative Crafts Sourcebook review


For me, choosing a favorite craft book must be like what a mother would feel like to have to choose a favorite child. I don't have any children, but I do have a shelf full of amazing craft and hobby books full of project ideas and inspiration.  I cherish each and every one of them for different reasons, and they are all equally special to me. And they really do light up my life!

However, I don't think I'll hurt any of their feelings if I did have to choose, so for the sake of not having to change the title of this post, I'll go ahead and tell you what my favorite book is...for today.

Decorative Crafts Sourcebook, craft book review
This Decorative Crafts Sourcebook is one I almost always turn to first, when I'm in need of an idea. It is a 300 page encyclopedia of techniques with pages and pages of step-by-step how-to's in each category for Paper, Fabric, Metal/Wire & Wood, Ceramic & Glass.

But not only does it give you hundreds of incredible techniques, it goes on to give you projects which use some of those techniques within each category.

For example, some of the techniques are embedding leaves or other botanicals into handmade paper, or dyeing paper with tea or beets. These bars of handmade soap are wrapped in handmade paper embedded with leaves which is dyed with tea, and embellished with a pretty ribbon and sealing wax. So, it uses a combination of a few different ideas, and the result is simply lovely!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peppermint Schnapps Hot Cocoa {from scratch} Recipe

peppermint schnapps hot cocoa (from scratch) recipe


What better way to warm yourself right down to the toes this holiday season than with a rich, homemade hot cocoa spiked with Peppermint Schnapps? This tasty winter treat is an adaptation of my Bourbon Hot Chocolate recipe. I know I love chocolate and mint together, so I thought I'd sub the bourbon out for some Peppermint Schnapps and see what I got. 

Well? What did I get? Heaven. And here's the recipe! 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Musings: No Pressure, No Diamonds



"No pressure, no diamonds."

I love this quote by Thomas Carlyle, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite people to turn to for inspirational nuggets and tidbits of wisdom. He was a Scottish satirical writer and historian during the Victorian Era, whose social commentary was considered quite controversial.

This particular statement caused me to reflect upon my own habits and productivity, and if I'm honest, I do some of my best work as an artist under pressure. Restrictions force me into creative problem-solving mode - an area in which I can truly shine. And if it weren't for (self-imposed) deadlines, I would probably never get anything done!

How do you work under pressure?

Original photo by Paul Hocksenar via Flickr.com (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), adapted by Jessica Barst

Monday, November 26, 2012

Delight in the Little Things:: Monday Musings

"Delight in the little things" Rudyard Kipling quote. gratitude, thankfulness, simple pleasures


I took a little walk the other day. I was in a contemplative mood and the weather was glorious, and I found myself downtown with a little bit of time on my hands so I took a stroll. As I was walking I realized that the littlest things can bring me such great joy - something as simple as these beautiful little leaves on a rusty grate could bring a sense of happiness to my heart and a smile to my lips. I had to capture that moment, put a frame around that feeling to keep and remember forever. 

These simple yellow leaves so sweetly arranged as if posing for a painter and resting while he mixes his colors - French grey, vermilion, violet, and ochre - are now frozen in time as a reminder to keep my eyes and heart always open to make sure I don't ever miss another perfect moment just like this one. 

"Delight in the little things." ~Rudyard Kipling






Friday, November 23, 2012

Green Clean: How to clean a pot with baking soda

green cleaning tip: how to clean a pot with baking soda (no soaking or scrubbing!)

I love to cook...but I despise doing dishes. And it always seems that the things I like to cook the most leave behind the most terrible pots and pans to clean; like the kind that require soaking for days and still somehow take a 30-minute scrubbing. Well, I have a trick to share with you that will save you a ton of hassle; no soaking and no harsh chemicals required, and only a teensy bit of 'scrubbing' (which is actually more like just wiping with a sponge, you'll see).

The last time I made my Homemade Maple Pumpkin Butter (yes, you're gonna want that recipe) was when I really put this trick to the test. The process of cooking it on the stove and then baking in the oven in the same pan really left behind a horrible caramelized burnt pumpkiny maple sugary mess. This technique worked like a charm as you can see from the photo! 

I thought this might be a timely post, knowing there are probably tons of you putting off doing that pile of dishes you have soaking in the sink after your Thanksgiving feast - which I hope was amazing by the way!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

DIY Wine Cork Stamps - Mustaches for Movember

Thankfully, I am unable to grow a mustache of my own. But I can support Movember in other ways... I just made a donation and now I'm spreading the word! I hope you'll consider making a donation as well. Here's a peek at what Movember is all about:

During Movember, men (called "Mo Bros") grow mustaches for the month of November to raise money and awareness for men's health - very serious but generally un-talked-about issues such as prostate and testicular cancer. Read more about Movember here. You can sponsor a particular Mo Bro and his 'stache, or you can make a general donation to the cause.


DIY handmade stamps using wine corks - mustaches for movember

Now, let's make some mustache stamps!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

DIY Etched Glass Mugs {Tutorial}

How to Etch Glass (tutorial) - make your own etched glass mugs!


I've been collecting these glass jars for a while now. I love them! We use them as mugs for everything at our house: water, tea, beer, wine, and even my famous homemade Sangria (that's the beautiful berry-hued beverage in the photo). 

I always thought, they're jelly jars but they have handles on them. Surely I'm supposed to save these and reuse them, right? In fact, I think the only reason I tried the jelly in the first place is because I wanted the jars...but it turns out the jelly was pretty good, so now I have a full set of 12...at least. (BTW, if you can't find these jars of jelly in the store, you can buy the empty jars online here, at Amazon of course.)

And I've always wanted to try etching glass, but I was always a little scared by the warnings on the bottle of etching cream. Seriously...the whole side of the bottle is dedicated to hinting that terrible things can happen if you don't follow the warnings. "Call poison control immediately if"...and "seek medical attention immediately when"...and "wear gloves" and "wear goggles" and "use in a well-ventilated area". That's enough to scare off a clumsy dummy like me...at least for a bit.  

I finally got brave and bought a bottle of Armour Etch and tried it, and I'm happy to report that there were no injuries. Now, if you're going to try this at home boys and girls, PLEASE read all the info on the container before using this extremely harsh chemical. And be aware that the chemicals can also etch aluminum sinks and metal faucets, so have a plastic bucket of water ready for clean-up and be careful what you touch with your messy gloves.

NOTE: this is my experience with Armour Etch, and instructions may be different for other brands or products so do your research before you get started! In fact, I'll share my original failed attempt at this project using a different (horrible, awful) product that I urge you to stay away from...at the bottom of the page.


Now that I have those disclaimers out of the way...here's how I etched the glass mugs!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pyrite Stone Swing Necklace in 14k Gold Filled or Sterling Silver



This precious necklace is one of my new styles, and features 14 gorgeous natural faceted metallic pyrite nuggets and a lovely, delicate cable chain. It is part of my Yoga Inspired Jewelry collection, because Pyrite has so many wonderful healing properties:

Pyrite makes a wonderful energy shield, blocking out negativity and fortifying and strengthening the mind with positive, energized thoughts. It enhances mental capacity and protects on a physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. This wonderful stone activates the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus).

~ *Centerpiece measures 1.5" long*.
~ Necklace is 16" long and fastens with a handmade s-hook and eye clasp. 
~ All metal is your choice of 14k gold filled (shown) or sterling silver.

*PLEASE NOTE sizes described above, as close up photos may make items seem larger than real life*. Questions? Don't hesitate to ask!
All Bespangled Jewelry comes wrapped in a sweet organza bag tucked inside a handmade pillowbox, tied with a lovely ribbon. Your items are always ready for gift-giving!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Funky Finds: A Holiday Shopping Experience (Fort Worth, TX)


Well, I'm sad to say I won't be at this craft show after all. VERY sad, since I have been looking forward to this event since last March. It was a tough decision, but after a full day of random dizzy spells and light-headedness, it doesn't seem like the smartest idea to spend the weekend away from home and on my feet for 2 days. The idea of even loading up the car makes me slightly queasy, so as unhappy as I am to have to miss the Funky Finds Holiday Shopping Experience, I think it's best.

BUT... I hope that if you're in the DFW area you'll still stop by and see all my amazingly creative friends & get a jump on your holiday shopping while supporting handmade!



The Artful Bead
Barefoot in the Glass

Here's the scoop:

Funky Finds is held at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in the Amon G. Carter, Jr. Exhibits Center and is always FREE admission, family & pet friendly. This is a 2-day event that you won't want to miss! Dates and times are as follows:

Saturday November 10th, 10am-5pm
Sunday November 11th, 11am-4pm

I know my friends would love to see you there to kick off your Holiday Season!

❋ Thank you for supporting handmade! ❋

Monday, November 5, 2012

DIY Pillow Boxes - Make your own handmade gift boxes (video tutorial + free printable)



I am so very excited to share this tutorial with you for several reasons...

✧ This is my very first YouTube video EVER! (Mini backstory: I graduated with a filmmaking degree 12 years ago and this is the first time I have made a video since then...and it feels great!)

✧  This marks the first time I've told anyone about a very super duper secret project I've been working on for several months now...a brand new website dedicated to jewelry making tutorials! (still very much a work in progress, but this is a huuuuuge step!)

✧ I love to share my DIY tips & tricks! Enjoy :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rich Bourbon Hot Chocolate with Boozy Whipped Cream Stars {Recipe}

Rich hot chocolate with bourbon and boozy whipped cream recipe


I made some delicious Bourbon Fudgesicles this summer, and as I was whipping them up I made a mental note to come back and tweak the recipe for a yummylicious hot chocolate beverage when the weather was right. The recipes are very similar, but the main difference besides the serving temp is that this hot chocolate can have more booze because it doesn't have to freeze (too much alcohol would prevent popsicles from freezing, as the booze lowers the freezing point of the mixture).

This wonderfully rich chocolatey recipe is perfect for a sweet romantic night at home with your honey by the fire on a cold winter night. It is pretty strong, so if you want to switch out some of the bourbon for a bit more water, that would be just fine, depending on your preference.

I would also recommend making the whipped cream first if you want to make the cute little star shapes, since it needs a few hours in the freezer to work. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Carved with Cookie Cutters - Stars and Hearts

Halloween pumpkin carved with cookie cutters, stars and hearts shape


I actually carved my pumpkin several days ago, but I'm only just finally getting around to posting a photo. I figured this might be my last chance, since it's almost Halloween!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Homemade Maple Pumpkin Butter Recipe (with free printable labels)

Homemade Maple Pumpkin Butter with free printable homemade labels. Delicious fall treat that also makes great gifts!



Homemade Maple Pumpkin Butter with homemade labels. Great gifts!


This delicious homemade Maple Pumpkin Butter is a wonderful autumn treat - thick and spreadable, perfect on toast or apples or bagels, or even ( - if you're not afraid of a pumpkin overload - ) some warm homemade pumpkin scones.

Packaged in these sweet little canning jars and tied with raffia or ribbon, I think this recipe makes a wonderful gift for coworkers or hostesses, on its own or as part of a gift basket full of other goodies!

(I'm including the link below to download the free printable for the labels I made, in case you'd like to use them too!)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lucky Gold Hamsa Necklace: Beautiful Handmade Spiritual Jewelry



This lovely gilded Hamsa necklace is one of my latest creations, featuring carefully hand-wrapped gemstone rosary chain and a handmade hook clasp. I love the look of the satin finished vermeil on the hamsa charm, which is a fine layer of 24k gold over solid sterling silver.

Delicate gemstone rosary chain comes in your choice of garnet, green onyx, peridot, or amethyst and is 16.5 inches long. Other lengths available by request!




Symbolism of the Hamsa

The hamsa is a symbol which is associated with a code of conduct called “Ahimsa,” which means ‘do no harm.’ Archaeological evidence indicates that a downward pointing hamsa (meaning 'five' in Arabic and representing the digits on the hand) was used as a protective amulet, often worn around the neck to protect the wearer from the 'evil eye'. It has long represented blessings, power and strength.

This beautiful lucky hamsa necklace is in the Spiritual / Yoga jewelry section of my shop, where you'll find other handmade hamsa jewelry, ohm symbols, and Christian crosses as well.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Upcycled Plastic Water Bottle Planters {+ a Cool Spray Painting Technique!}


Every month, my wonderful Etsy Fort Worth street team hosts an Upcycling Craft Challenge Contest.

For September, the secret "Iron Craft" ingredient was plastic bottles, and I just happen to keep and reuse a lot of water bottles already. (Oh, what's that you're surprised?!? Surely not :)

My favorites to use are Vitamin Water bottles, because I like the way they add their flavor to the water when you fill them up! I also happened to notice that they have a pretty cool embossed pattern on them, under the label. Have you ever noticed? Take a look ⤵

Pretty neat, huh? And the larger bottles have a slightly different pattern, which is also kinda cool. I have my eye on those for my next planter pots.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

DIY Spiced Fabric Pumpkins: Fall Inspired Decor

DIY spiced fabric pumpkins fall decor (centerpieces)



With October just around the corner and my addiction to Starbucks Pumpkin Scones and Pumpkin Spice Lattés no secret, I'm just giddy about fall and clearly have pumpkins on the brain! In between the fall baking I've been doing, I still need to get my fix of Pumpkin Spice and these are a lovely (100% fat free) treat that seem to last a little longer...

This is a simple sewing project and not only is it a wonderful way to use up some of your scrap fabric stash, but you get to 'spice' up your decor with warm fall colors while making your home smell like Autumn! These lovely little handmade pumpkins make great Halloween decorations or Thanksgiving centerpieces, and would be perfect as a hostess gift if you're enjoying your Thanksgiving feast as a guest.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Starbucks Inspired Pumpkin Scone Recipe



I don't know about you, but I am just over the moon that it's Pumpkin Spice Latté season again at Starbucks. But both thankfully (for my pocketbook) and unfortunately (for my cravings), we don't have a convenient Starbucks in our neighborhood. I suppose at this time of year that's also good (for my figure) because every time I get a Pumpkin Spice Latté I have to complement it with a delicious Pumpkin Scone.

Now, as a former barista, it is not difficult for me to recreate the superbly aromatic and creamy flavored beverage at home, but up until now there has always been something lacking. You'd be right if you guessed that the missing ingredient was a heavenly side of Pumpkin Scone, the trusty ol' companion to my sweet beloved PSL!

Not only is it one of my favorite caffeinated beverages, but the arrival of the glorious Pumpkin Spice Latté means that we're on the cusp of fall...therefore nearing the end of triple-digit heat here in Texas...which in turn means that the (self imposed) ban on using the oven has been lifted and I can start baking again...and THAT means that I can bake my own Starbucks inspired Pumpkin Scones!

Well I did. Today. And guess what? Now you can too because I'm sharing the recipe :) Of course, I didn't do a side-by-side taste test or anything, but I swear these are just as good as the pumpkin scones from Starbucks. But I'll let YOU be the judge of that!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wire Wrapped Hoop Earring Tutorial

Learn how to make these fun wire wrapped hoop earrings with my best-selling jewelry tutorial!

Large high quality photos and step-by-step instructions will show you how to make a pair of 1.5" diameter hoops just like these (plus instructions for how to make other sizes) from scratch, including the hoops themselves. 

Tutorial is 8 pages including front and back cover pages and includes 19 detailed images along with written explanations. File size is 3.6MB.

A link to the downloadable pdf file tutorial will be emailed to you automatically upon purchase. 

$7.99 USD







TOOLS & SUPPLIES:

• 9.5” 20 gauge round wire, half hard
• 28” 26 gauge round wire, dead soft
• 34 faceted round 4mm beads
• round nose pliers
• flat needlenose pliers
• wire cutters
• 320 grit (extra fine) sandpaper
• 1.25” diameter cylinder or mandrel

• jewelry hammer (optional*)
• anvil or bench block (optional*)

* Optional items would be required if your preference is to hammer the hoops flat as shown in photos; it's not necessary but a matter of taste. Earrings made without this step are very similar, the wire will just be round and not flattened.



COPYRIGHT: 

 All images, text, and graphics within the tutorial are the intellectual property of the author and are therefore subject to international copyright laws. This tutorial is not to be shared or reproduced, in whole or in part, by any means without express written consent of the author. Purchasing this tutorial grants you permission to sell earrings made as a product of following these instructions.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DIY Grocery and "Honeydew" List Fridge Magnets

DIY grocery and "honeydew" list holder Fridge Magnet with popsicle sticks and mini clothespins (tutorial)


Are you ready for another fun tutorial? Let me show you how I made these cute "Honeydew List" or grocery list holder fridge magnets from popsicle sticks and baby clothespins!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Recipe: Peach Bellini Popsicles

homemade peach bellini popsicle recipe. yum!



I don't know if you've noticed, but I"ve been on an alocholic popsicles binge lately. The word "hot" no longer seems uncomfortable enough to describe this awful feeling like I put on damp hot clothes and can't escape, even inside my own house (where my A/C seems to have given up on this place too). I'm sure walking around naked is an option, but then again...it's really not

So, my answer to this obnoxious summer heat is to come up with delicious frozen treats that contain just enough happy juice to "take the edge off" the sweltering heat while I pretend I have a beautiful ice cold pool that I can float in anytime I want. Won't you join me??


HOMEMADE PEACH BELLINI POPSICLES

INGREDIENTS:
(Makes 6-8 pops) 

• 2 cups sliced peaches (fresh or thawed from frozen)
• 1 cup white wine* 
• 1/4 cup orange juice

• Popsicle molds
• Wooden popsicle sticks


DIRECTIONS:
Peach Bellini Popsicle Recipe - adults only alcoholic popsiclesCombine wine, peaches, and orange juice in a blender and process until smooth. 

Pour the blended mixture into your popsicle molds and place in the freezer for about 1.5 hours uncovered without the sticks or popsicle mold tops. 

Insert the wooden popsicle sticks after the pops have had time to set up a little, so you can place them directly in the center and they will stay upright. Allow to freeze 3-4 more hours.

NOTES:
* I used Pinot Grigio, as that's what I had on hand. You could also use champagne, as that's what traditional bellinis are made with, or another sweet non-sparkling white wine such as Riesling if you want a sweeter popsicle. Mine turned out perfectly for my own taste, as the peaches and orange juice add enough sugar to balance the wine well. 

Peach Bellini Popsicle Recipe - adults only alcoholic popsiclesI prefer using wooden sticks to the plastic handles that come with the molds I use, because they stick better; the plastic ones tend to come out when you're trying to extract the pops from the molds, or if you're swift enough to manage it otherwise, the popsicles fall off halfway through eating. Not good! 

You can use cling film to cover the end of each mold so they're not unprotected in the freezer; just wait until they are completely frozen with the sticks in place, then use the stick to poke a hole in the plastic and wrap tight.



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