Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pause ~ take a moment

Everywhere I go, I see people frantically rushing, standing in long lines, trying to finish their tasks before the Holiday. Is this what it's all about? Take a moment, take a breath....pause.


Why not shop from the comfort of your home? There are so many lovely handmade and vintage items available on Etsy. Perhaps a bit too late for them to arrive by Christmas Day, but it beats braving the parking lot at the mall.  Stop that frantic rushing to and fro~ just Pause.

Great Streets of silence led away
To Neighborhoods of Pause --
Here was no Notice -- no Dissent
No Universe -- no laws --

By Clocks, 'twas Morning, and for Night
The Bells at Distance called --
But Epoch had no basis here
For Period exhaled.

~Emily Dickinson

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Sale! 15% off all jewelry

Sale at Shadow Jewels

Holiday Sale! Everything in my Etsy shop is 15% off.  Many of my items are made in the shabby chic style, using vintage beads, rhinestones, and components. The best way to upcycle and be eco friendly!
Just use the coupon code when you check out, and get that list finished up!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Potato Leek soup on a dreary day

It's cloudy and cold and dreary here today, so I thought I would make a nice big pot of soup. I never use a recipe to cook  soup, but this is too good not to share.  So I'm writing it down for you as I go along.

Potato Leek Soup

1/2 stick butter
2 leeks
3 medium carrots
2 stalks celery
12 cups water
"better than bouillon" vegetable base
herbs de provence
12 cups diced potatoes

First prepare the leeks.  Cut off the very bottom, and a couple of inches from the tops.  Now remove the white part in one chunk, rinsing well, and dice into small cubes.  Start to peel the leek apart one layer at a time, discard the tough outer layer of greens.  Rinse thoroughly as you work, saving all of the lighter green parts.  Dice into small pieces.

Rinse and chop the carrots and celery.
Melt the butter in a large soup pot and add the chopped vegetables.
Cook over medium heat until the vegetables start to turn translucent and the flavors are well blended, about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the water, salt and pepper to taste, 2 spoons of the better than bouillon, 1 tsp dried sage leaves, 1 tsp herbs de provence, and 1 tsp dried rosemary (or a few sprigs of fresh rosemary if you have it).
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Add the potatoes, bring back to a boil, then simmer 30 minutes more, or until potatoes are tender.

At this point, you can leave the soup as is and serve chunky style; or you can make a cream soup by blending  it with a hand held mixer, or in your blender.   Then stir in  a small carton of cream or half and half.  Reheat if necessary, but do not boil once the cream is added.  Serve with grated cheese.
Bon appetit!

This is where I party:
Delightful Order

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My emerald rhinestone earrings are featured in Etsy fashion!

Emerald rhinestone earrings
Etsy fashion
My emerald rhinestone earrings have been featured in the "emerald jewelry" section of Etsy fashion.  I'm so proud of you, my little darlings!  Isn't emerald green the perfect color for the holidays?

Holiday Sale! Check off that Christmas shopping list!

Shadow is having a sale! Just enter coupon code HOLIDAYSALE at checkout for a 15% discount on everything in my Etsy shop.  Good until Christmas Day!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tutorial: Christmas Berry Necklace

Christmas Berry Necklace

Christmas Necklace Tutorial

This sweet necklace can be made with any kind of beads, chain, and connector.  The possible combinations are endless, and easy to make. Stringing the beads on metal pins makes a very sturdy rosary style necklace that will last a lifetime.  For this necklace, I am using some vintage West German 8mm pressed glass beads, and brass findings.

Difficulty level:  beginner/ easy

Tools and Supplies (see figure 1)
*round nose pliers
*flat or chain nose pliers
*jump ring tool (looks like a ring)
*shears or wire cutters
*Seven  8mm beads (more if you are using smaller beads)
*One bird connector
*Ten 4mm jump rings
*Seven eye pins
*One lobster clasp
*One 7 or 8mm jump ring for clasp
*about 12 inches of chain

A. Place a bead on one of the eye pins. Using your shears or wire cutters, clip off the end of the pin, leaving about 1/4 inch sticking out.

B.   Using the flat nose pliers, bend the sticking out part of the pin at right angles, getting as close as possible to the bead.

C.  Grasp the beaded pin by the eye (loop) with your left hand. Using the round nose pliers in your right hand, twist your wrist to curl the sticking out part of the pin to make an eye.  This is not difficult, but it takes practice.  Make several before you start, so you feel comfortable doing it. You can cut the pin to remove the bead and start over if needed.  Your goal is to make an eye that looks just like the first one~ same size, same orientation, and closed completely.  Use the flat nose pliers to straighten and tighten your eye loop.  Repeat until all 7 beads are on their pins.

D.  Now we are going to hook all of the beads together in a rosary style chain using the 4mm jump rings.
Using your left hand, hold a jump ring firmly with your flat nose pliers (see figure 3).  Using the jump ring tool on your right hand, twist your wrist to open the jump ring. Add 2 of your beaded pins. Twist your wrist to close the jump ring, making sure the ends line up tightly.  Twist back and forth to line up the ends of the jump ring if you need to.  Continue this process until all of your beaded pins are hooked together in a chain.

E.  Hook the bird connector to one end of your beaded chain with a jump ring.

F.  Using a ruler, measure your beaded chain.  You should have about  5 or 6 inches.  If your beads are small, you will need more of them to make a chain this long; or less beads if they are larger (see figure 4).

G.  Now the hard part~ you need to do the math.  I want my necklace to come out about 18 inches long.  Subtract the length of your beaded chain from 18, and that tells me I need 12 inches of chain, or 6 inches on each side.

H. Measure the chain and cut the necessary length for each side of the necklace. The chain I am using has links that open using the jump ring tool. If your chain has soldered links, cut it with the shears.

I.  Hook the chain pieces to each side of your beaded length using the jump rings (see figure 5).

J. Attach the lobster clasp to one end of the necklace with a jump ring. Attach the 7mm jump ring to the other end (see figure 6).

And you're done!

This is where I party:
Skip to my Lou
The Shabby Nest
Keeping it Simple
Vintage Wanna Bee
Beyond the Picket Fence

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shabby Cranberry Earrings, Shiny Brites, and a vintage Candy Dish

I've always loved vintage glass.  Love the colors, the endless varieties of items, the memories of forgotten times.  Working with vintage glass beads is just a natural extension of that obsession.  These Cranberry Peach earrings are made with vintage two-toned German glass beads. I love the way the color shades from light to dark pink, and the tiny bubbles in the glass.

Cranberry Peach Earrings

Now take a look at this delicious vintage candy dish from Rebecca at MeadowView Vintage.  Isn't the fruit punch color just divine?  What a lovely addition to your holiday decor, or a wonderful gift for someone special (Oh Santa! Been a good girl all year!)

Ruby Depression Glass Candy Dish 

Stop by Rebecca's blog and say hi! You'll find lots of vintage goodies there, so you can work on that Christmas list.
Shiny Brites 

And let's not forget the vintage glass ornaments.  These Shiny Brite ornaments from Martha at OpenDoor Studio are just the ticket to make the season bright!