Check back, because I have quite a few new ones that I'll be listing over the next few days. I've got some focals and some sets, some cutie beads and some organics.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A few weeks back, I was feeling down. Business was slow, personal issues were piling up, I'd just been targeted by the 'Fraud Police', etc... Anyway, I visited Lisa's blog and absolutely fell in love with one of her 'Abyss' beads. I commented on it and asked her about purchasing it. I felt like I deserved a little pick-me-up, and I just knew I had to have that bead.
Well, instead of letting me buy it, she made a gift of it. So sweet! Imagine my joy when it arrived and, not only was my dream bead in the package but another, equally gorgeous creation and a goody bag of fabulous supply samples.
Wow! I have to say it was the most generous, thoughtful thing anyone has done for me in a very long time.
And the beads!!!
If you're a beadmaker, you've probably had this happen: You see someone else's beads -whether online or in person - and you say to yourself, "I could totally make that" and then, very quietly inside your head, you say, "And I bet I could make it better."
Right??? You know you have so don't even try to deny it!
Well, I took one look at these beads and for one of the few times ever, I absolutely knew that not only could I not make these beads better I couldn't make them at all. In my dreams, I make beads like this!
Here are pictures, though they in no way do justice to the true beauty. I'm serious. In person, the color blending is perfection and they're so deep and sparkling you could get lost in them. The details and design are outstanding. They're just...wow.
If you've ever, for one second, contemplated purchasing one of Lisa's beads... DO IT! They're even better in person than they are in pictures - true works of art in miniature. (Although, not that miniature. These are substantial focals.)
Thanks again, Lisa. You're the best.
Of course, now I have a severe inferiority complex and can't even make myself turn my torch on. I mean, seriously, why even bother? : )
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
After a visit to the doctor informed me that I have borderline high cholesterol, I've been much more careful about my health. Well, not much more careful, but definitely slightly more.
I walk and swim every day, I cut down on caffeine, I don't eat pork and almost never eat red meat (this is hard. I don't like steak, but I might commit a felony for a cheeseburger), I have replaced most dairy with soy-based products, etc... But how, some of you might ask, do you get your family on board? Is it possible to turn a cheese-loving, french fry gobbling seven year old around once you've let him walk on the wild side?
Well, the truth is, I lie to them. Well, not lie. I omit. I haven't tried to break all the bad habits. I'm easing them into it slowly. I thought I'd share a few of my 'omissions' with you.
* And please understand, we are actually a pretty healthy family anyway. I try to grown most of our veggies in my organic garden. The kids eat virtually no fast food, processed food, refined sugars, or white flour foods. They do drink, maybe, a soda every couple of weeks. We eat very little red meat, no processed lunch meats, and they get plenty of exercise. And veggies. I've always made the kids eat what we eat, like it or not. I've never been about tricking them but what I'm doing in the instances listed below is really more of a 'replacement plan'. I'll tell them about it, but it's easier to deal with after than before.
So, here goes.
1. I switched all eggs to an egg substitute. Unless we're having Eggs Benny, that is. They know about this one, but don't care.
2. I refill the Half & Half carton with soy milk. My husband never knows the difference.
3. I make 'chicken' stir fry using seitan. Seitan is a gluten-based meat replacement. It doesn't really have any flavor of it's own but if you cook it with veggies and other great seasonings, it takes on that flavor. Unlike tofu, it has a chewy, meaty sort of texture. I cut it into small pieces and everyone thinks it's chicken. I'm probably going to tell them about this one in a couple of weeks.
4. When I make lasagna, instead of ricotta cheese, I use a little bit of fat-free cottage cheese and silken tofu. Blend it in the food processor until it's a puree and mix in some egg substitute, a little Parmesan cheese, garlic and spices. Blended together, no one can tell the difference. This way, they get some extra protein and vitamins. When I make 'white' lasagna, I add spinach to the food processor, too. My kids don't like spinach lasagna normally, not because of the taste but because of the texture. By blending it up, it just becomes a puree with no texture at all.
5. I make my spaghetti sauce with V-8 juice. I use tomato sauce and paste, too, 'cause toms are good.
6. I add pureed veggies to virtually every baked good. I've actually been doing this ever since Anna was a baby. She'd eat her veggies, but this way she'd get an extra serving or two. It's just a way of adding some extra vitamins and fiber without having to think about it or add it to a meal. They can have a helping of veggies in their after school snack. Some of these they know about, some they don't. Like the beets in the chocolate cake. (Which is weird, because my kids love beets. I should tell them this one. They'll probably think it's hysterical.)
7. I use silken tofu to replace 2/3 of the fat/butter when I'm baking cakes, cookies, etc.. You can't taste the difference at all.
8. I make frozen 'pudding pops' with flavored goat milk. The kids actually like them better than ones I used to make with skim milk. They're sweeter and thicker.
9. I add milled flax seed to almost everything. You can add it to your breading if you're frying or oven-baking something. You can put it in bread, baked goods, smoothies. It can also be used as a fat substitute. Very handy and it tastes kind of good, too. Sort of nutty.
9. I don't use sugar substitutes because they are just full of bad stuff. However, I don't use refined sugar, either. I use turbinado or raw sugar. It's more natural, tastes sweeter, and has fewer calories than refined sugar. I have also tried stevia, but it's got a funny after taste that I don't like. Agave nectar is o.k., but not my fave. I just like plain old sugar, but in limited quantities.
10. And here is my number one tip. My kids like vegetables, but they don't like salad. I don't know why but I do know a trick to get them to eat it. It's actually sort of a trade off - you get them to try something good, but you have to add something not as good to the deal. What? Goldfish. Make a small salad, with a nice variety of veggies that they like, put on a small amount of a good quality, low-sugar dressing, and then add a sprinkle of Goldfish crackers to the top like croutons. My kids love it and we've branched out to trying different flavors of Goldfish. It's not too much of a compromise and they do make whole grain Goldfish now.
Got any tips of your own? I'd love to hear them so c'mon, share.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
If you saw my last entry, you know that we recently got the kids some new pets. One of those pets was a sweet little lab puppy named Titus. What a great little dog - smart, good natured, beautiful and absolutely lovable. Sadly, Titus died on Saturday. He had hookworms when we got him and, for some reason, even with treatment he became dangerously anemic, requiring the vet to administer a blood transfusion. At first, it seemed like this would work but then he began to deteriorate and passed away. We think that it was a negative reaction to the transfusion.
No matter what the cause and even though we only had him for a short time, we all loved him very much and he is being missed greatly.