Sunday, August 24, 2014

Delicious "CHILI VERDE" !!

I love Mexican food, and I love trying new recipes. I found a WINNER the other day when I made Chili Verde from an old issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, which I don't think is in print any more. It turns out like a stew with broth, but the meat itself could be used in tacos or burritos. You can drink the broth, it’s SO delicious!

3 pounds pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup green tomatillo salsa (I used Herdez Mexican Cooking Sauce — Tomatillo Verde)
1 can (approx. 14 oz.) chicken broth
Salt and pepper, if needed
Fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

In a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot add pork, onion, salsa and broth. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer until pork pulls apart easily 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Skim fat off top. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Top with cilantro and limes to serve.
Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Enameled Beads

There's something so rewarding about torch firing copper beads. It's immediate. You have a finished bead in minutes. You can refire to correct a flaw. They are so funky and fun to make! Here are photos of four sets of enameled beads in my Etsy shop.

Robin's Egg Blue

Pumpkin Orange

Lichen Green

French Blue

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bird's Nest Pendants

I finished a sterling silver bird's nest pendant today. The wire is wrapped and interwoven around three white freshwater pearls. So much fun to make.

Here's one out of copper wire:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fold-Formed Copper Leaf Earrings

"Foldforming" by Charles Lewton-Brain. This book is full of exciting forms and ideas by the man who discovered the concept. The earrings I listed in my Etsy shop are very simple ones done by foldforming. They were cut from copper sheet, folded, shaped and textured. They were then annealed to soften the metal so the fold could be opened. The beautiful patina is a result of the annealing process. The earrings were completed with my own lampwork beads and handmade sterling silver ear wires.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Raku-Fired Clay Whistles

Making a clay whistle work is magical! I should say it has to be made perfectly or else it won't whistle. When you blow into it the first time and it works .... Wow! Right now I'm waiting for our heat spell is pass so I can fire more whistles outside. Here are two that I listed today:

Friday, June 27, 2014

More Broken Bottle Glass Plates

Let me tell you my right shoulder has been taking a beating with the smashing of heavy gauge wire and glass bottles! I need to stop for a few days. I'm sure my close neighbors will also appreciate it! Someone gave me a few large cobalt blue vodka bottles. These are bigger than regular wine bottles, so I wondered if I could get two plates out of one bottle. I did. The first plate got the larger of the broken pieces and the second one got handfuls of tiny pieces. Next time I'll know to divide the sizes evenly for two plates. But they both fused and slumped well and look great.

And here's another plate made from the beautiful green mineral water bottle!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


I recently ordered a bangle bracelet die from and it came with two options, a small wave pattern and a large wave pattern. I didn't know what to expect, but had seen their video and hoped I could make their wonderful bangles. Guess what .... I did!

I had a roll of 12 gauge copper wire and cut three 7-1/2" pieces. I smashed one flat on both sides and used a texture hammer to finish it. The texturing added 1/2" to the wire.

Here's my favorite texture hammer:

After flattening and texturing all three pieces, the wires were annealed and formed so that the ends met perfectly for soldering. I used my copper solder for the first time and it worked well. The pieces were then shaped into rounds using a bracelet mandrel and a rawhide hammer.

Then came the exciting part ... using the bangle dies. The dies came with a special weighted hammer. Each shaped wire was centered inside one of the dies, the top was added. Then the hammer blows formed the bangles.

Here are the dies ... first the small wave pattern, then the large wave pattern.

And finally, the three bangles which came out perfectly!

The three look so good worn together. I want to try brass wire next ... and eventually sterling silver!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Recycled Metal Button Earrings!

Inspired by the wonderful work of Christine Marie Davis, I had to try smashing a few metal buttons! It was so much fun. I made a few earrings using textured brass discs, buttons and sterling silver wire. They are held together with a center eyelet. Here is one pair.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

New Stained Glass Pendants/Necklaces with Lace

It's been a busy year so far. Finally got a few tomatoes and cucumbers planted; then on Mother's Day, my daughter brought me six more tomato plants. Now I have twelve (!!!), but have to dig up a long section of dirt and fill it with good planting mix and manure before these last six get planted.

In the meantime I've worked on a couple custom orders. I had to make some lampwork heart beads for a customer. Unfortunately, this was during our hottest 90-100+ degree week. I got a little dizzy a few times out in the hot garage ... with extra heat coming off the bead torch and annealing kiln in front of me. I couldn't justify turning on the AC. Finally got those mailed off yesterday, and right now am working on four fresh water pearl necklaces knotted on silk cord. Three different colors and one a combination of colors. Varied lengths so they can be twisted and worn as one ... or worn separately. The customer had a great idea for these!

Today I listed a few new stained glass pendants I had made with lace between the glass. They are so lovely.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

New Lampwork Beads with Frit

I received a few new jars of frit I had to try immediately. Here are a few sets of beds just listed:

Dark turquoise glass with a darker blue frit:

Light turquoise with blue frit:

Copper green with blue frit:

And finally my favorite lentil beads and spacers made with blue transparent glass and Triton silver glass: