Monday, September 16, 2013

Wonky Bead Blog Hop

Kristi Bowman creates beautiful clay and metal clay components.  Her style is earthy, fun and unique.  She achieves these awesome textures and shapes in her beads that I could never imagine.

About a month ago, Kristi decided to host a wonky bead blog hop.  She created different shapes and sizes of beads sets and invited her readers to create something amazing with them.

I ordered the red set of beads.

This is Kristi's photo.  I forgot to take a picture of my beads when they arrived because I was so excited to play with them.  My strand is the 3rd from the left (the one with the red disc and the blue cylinder bead).

I knew right away that I wanted to use the black beads in earrings.  I wasn't sure how, though.  After sifting through my beads, I found the perfect match -- a few clay beads from Staci Louise and two head pins from Nancy Schindler.

I thought the green and black needed a lighter color, so I added spacer beads from Genea.

These earrings are not for the faint of heart, but I adore them!  Along with Kristi, the ladies represented are some of my favorite artists.  Check out their shops: Staci's shop, Nancy's shop and Genea's shop.

I wanted to use the other beads in a bracelet.  I paired Kristi's beads with a beaded bead from Malin de Koning and a beaded bead I made from this pattern by Heather Collin.

Malin's beaded beads are perfect in so many ways.  I love how the shape and texture of Malin's bead works with the clay beads.  Take a few minutes to visit Malin's store to see all of her beaded beads and her jewelry.

I know you've heard me talk about Heather's patterns before, but I'll say it again, I love Heather's designs.  You can find more in her shop.

I've been on a chain maille kick lately, thanks to Rebeca Mojica of Blue Buddha Boutique.  To finish my bracelet, I used Rebeca's "On the Edge" bracelet pattern, featured in the Spring 2013 issue of Wirework.  (This pattern is also sold on Blue Buddha's site as "Zeela.")

I added an ammonia patina to the larger rings.  The patina just happened to match both my beaded bead and Kristi's clay bead.

I strung the beads on a bit of leather and knotted between them.  A handmade s clasp rounds out the bracelet.

I really had fun with these beads.  The blue cylinder bead is still sitting on my desk, staring at me, a little sad to be left out.  I'll find a home for him, though.

Kristi, thank you for such a fun blog hop.  If you want to buy some wonky beads of your own, check out Kristi's store.

Please visit Krist's blog to see what the other participants did with their wonky beads.  Or you can check out the links below.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Focusing on Life - 36 of 52

This week, Sally asked us to look for pairs.

I thought of a pair of tennis shoes, but thought that photo worked better for last week's challenge.

Instead, I thought I would dig out an older picture.

My favorite pair!

Please take a look at Sally's blog to see other wonderful pairs.

Paleo Protein Cookies

I've been playing around with this recipe.  I made a chocolate version and it turned out beautifully.  (That is coming as soon as I get decent photos.)

With bars and brownies out of the way, I had to try cookies.

Keep in mind, these are a treat (and sometimes a good breakfast on the go).  They freeze really well and I don't mind letting the kiddo have a few for dessert.  :)

The cookies made with vanilla protein powder produced a delicious chocolate chip cookie.  The texture was very close to "flour" cookies.  At least, I think so.  (I haven't eaten a wheat flour cookie in ages, though, so I might be mis-remembering.)

I used these chocolate chips which, while not really paleo, are a nice treat.  (I also used about half the amount I typically do for cookies).

The cookies made with chocolate protein powder were just as yummy.  I added chopped cherries to the mix (cherries and chopped walnuts/pecans would be delicious also).

The only thing I don't like about this recipe is that I use both the food processor and the mixer.  The two combined create more dishes than I really want to wash.  However, the results are worth it.

Be warned, also, the batter/dough is really wet and almost a cross between cake batter and cookie dough.  My "before photos" didn't turn out, so I can't show you, but don't be worried.  They bake up wonderfully.

Protein Cookies
(makes about 3 1/2 dozen)

1 cup pecans
1 cup walnuts
one 8 oz bag of dates
1/2 cup almond flour
1 and 1/2 cup whey protein powder (I use Mark Sisson's Primal Fuel)
1 and 1/2 stick (3/4 cup) butter, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
4 oz (or a half of a bag) chocolate chips OR 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chopped cherries

Preheat the oven to 325 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse the walnuts and pecans until they are the consistency of coarse crumbs.  Add in the almond flour and protein powder.  Pulse again to mix well.  Add the dates and pulse again.

In a separate bowl (a standing mixer works great for this), cream the butter with about 1/2 cup of the nut mixture.  After the butter is creamed, mix in the eggs and vanilla.  Add the rest of the nut mixture and mix well.  Finally, add in the chocolate chips or chopped cherries and mix until just combined.

The batter will look like a really wet cookie dough, or something between a cake batter and cookie dough.

Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, drop about a tablespoon of dough per cookie onto the parchment lined cookie sheet.  These spread a bit, so leave some room.

Bake at 325 for 11 minutes.

These cookies do not brown, so they will not look "done."  Also, stir the batter before starting a new sheet of cookies.  

Focusing on Life - 35 of 52

For week 35, Sally asked us to focus on growth and change.

This was another hard one for me.

The kiddo started first grade this year -- and is now at school for a full day.  This is a big change for her.  She is tired in the afternoon and doesn't have as much "play" time as she did.

It's also a change for me.  I now have almost seven hours to myself every day.  What to do with all that time?

My mother said she would clean the house.  I seriously thought she was kidding.  Clean the house?  Maybe for an hour, but not all day.

I tried sitting around all day and beading or watching tv, but that gets boring in a hurry.

Finally, I decided to try something new -- running.

So, I always said that "I don't run."  What I really meant was, "I don't like to run because I can't run for more than a few seconds."  I have allergies and asthma, neither of which is conducive to running long distances.

I started reading about Zombies, Run! and thought, "this might be fun."  I downloaded the 5k  training app and went for a run walk with some jogging sprinkled in.

I was a bit discouraged that first day, but I am getting better and can run for almost 3 minutes without stopping!

More than that, though, I am looking forward to getting outside and running a bit.  This might have more to do with me wanting to play more missions on the app, but, hey, anything that works, right?

Please check out Sally's blog to see how the other participants interpreted their growth this week.