Jewelry

Fourth of July Earrings

I found these cool fiber optic beads at Shipwreck Beads forever ago. Fiber optic beads are cool and remind me of cat’s eye beads in that they kind of reflect the light, but fiber optic beads have a more metallic reflection. I thought that they would be great for some sort of patriotic jewelry, but I didn’t have any particular design in mind. Then one day it came to me and I made these awesome earrings that look like America (minus the hamburgers and fried chicken). Since I had two different styles of fiber optic beads, I made two different pairs of earrings.

Stars and Stripes Earrings

The fiber optic beads are the ones in the middle, and you can see the stars at the top and the stripes below. There is also a cluster of red, white, and blue Czech glass beads dangling from the bottom. I used gunmetal findings because I thought it looked better than silver.
The fiber optic beads are the ones in the middle, and you can see the stars at the top and the stripes below. They kind of remind me of Captain America. There is also a cluster of opaque red, white, and blue Czech glass beads dangling from the bottom. I used gunmetal findings because I thought it looked better than silver.

American Flag Earrings

This pair has the same basic design as the previous one, only the beads are different. The fiber optic beads in this pair have mini American flags on them. And the Czech glass beads are transparent, not opaque. These really remind me of the Fourth since the transparent beads look more like fireworks to me.
This pair has the same basic design as the previous one, only the beads are different. The fiber optic beads in this pair have mini American flags on them. And the Czech glass beads are transparent, not opaque. These really remind me of the Fourth since the transparent beads look more like fireworks to me. These too have gunmetal findings.

Unfortunately, Shipwreck Beads has stopped carrying the fiber optic beads shown in this post, but if you’d like to buy the red, white, and blue mix, the link is below. Happy Fourth of July to all my American readers!

Red, White, and Blue Czech Glass Bead Mix

Books and Beverages

Books and Beverages (#4)

I had trouble finding time to read this past month, but I managed to read two books. It’s also been quite warm where I live, so I’ve been drinking lots of cold beverages while I sit out in a nice shady spot and read.

Books

My Book of Life By Angel by Martine Leavitt

This book is written in verse and is based on a true story of a man who was accused of murdering sex workers in Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s told from the point of view of a girl named Angel, whose mother has recently died. She starts stealing shoes from the mall and meets a man named Call who gives her “candy” that makes her feel like she can fly. She goes home one day high on this “candy” and her father basically kicks her to the curb. She goes to Call, who turns out to be a pimp, and she works for him as a prostitute. One day a friend of hers goes missing and she learns about other girls who have gone missing and never return and about a man named Mr. P who might be involved with the disappearances. Call hires a new girl who is only eleven and tells Angel to teach her the ropes. Angel refuses, saying that the girl is too young. Angel finds a purpose in this girl and tries desperately to get her out before it’s too late. I enjoyed this book and since it’s written in verse, it reads very quickly. I also thought that poetry was the best medium for such a dark story and that it would have been much different written in prose and not as effective.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I had tried to read this once before when I was in my Twilight phase, but couldn’t get past the way it was written. It’s written as though you’re reading someone’s diary. I found the first half of this to be rather slow and there were a lot of journal entries that I couldn’t figure out why the author had chosen to include them since they seemed unrelated. First, we are introduced to Dracula through the point of view of Jonathan Harker. Then it switches and follows the story of Jonathan’s fiance, Mina, and her friend, Lucy. There are also some news stories that are included that seem unrelated to the story. However, when Dr. Van Helsing enters the scene to help Lucy who has fallen ill, things get interesting. Finally things start to come together and make sense and the book is much more interesting after that point. Sometimes, though, it seems as though the characters are rather stupid and you wonder why they aren’t picking up on these things that they’re writing in their diaries.

Beverages

Luzianne Sweet Tea
If you’ve never heard the term sweet tea before, it’s just sweetened iced tea. Anyway, Luzianne tea leaves make the best and I’ve been drinking it a lot since it’s been hot.

Starbucks Frappuccinos
Just writing about this makes me feel really white, but I love to treat myself occasionally to a Frappuccino. Last summer, they had a flavor called mocha cookie crumble, but they discontinued it. That was one of my faves, but oh well. I have yet to try their fan flavors. I’m worried that some of them may be a little too sweet for me. I’ve also been trying to make my own Frappuccinos at home, but so far I can’t get them quite right. I might do a post on it if I finally figure it out, so look out for one of those maybe.

Jewelry

Stylish Summer Jewelry

I picked out two pieces for this post based on recent trends and summer themes. I think they turned out quite well, but go ahead and have a look for yourself.

Metallic Teardrop Earrings

Metallic Earrings Metallic Earrings

Metallics are a growing trend and they match with just about anything, so I figured I’d make some metallic jewelry. I’ve had these big copper beads for a while and never was able to find a use for them until now. I framed them in the teardrop earring components and they fit perfectly. I combined copper and silver tones in these and I think it turned out quite well. They would match great with any sort of metallic accessory like a clutch or watch. I had to put a seed bead at the end since the copper beads’ holes are much larger than the head pin.

Seashell Bracelet

Seashell Bracelet Seashell Bracelet

Seashells, beaches, and summer are peas in a pod. I’ve also had these seashell beads for a while and not known quite what to do with them. I saw them in the store, thought they looked cool, and bought them without specifically knowing what I was going to do with them. I finally realized that they would look great as a bracelet, and I decided to keep it simple since the shells pretty much speak for themselves. I alternated them with simple Czech glass bicone beads that represent the water. The gold components nicely complement the gold tones in the shells.

Bonus Blog · Books and Beverages

Gadgets for Books and Beverages

LED Reading Light and Tea Buddy

I wanted to lump these in with my last Books and Beverages post, but it would have made it a bit too long. So here they are in their own little bonus blog.

LED Reading Light (Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Light)

I bought this for my trip to Hawaii, in case I wanted to read at night while my friend slept in the same room so that I wouldn’t keep her up with a bright light. It worked out well, and I even use it at home in the hopes that less light won’t prevent me from sleeping (melatonin and all that). The light has three settings, bright, less bright, and off. The less bright setting is still pretty bright, but doesn’t use up the battery as quickly.You can even buy an adapter separately if you don’t like using batteries. To use the light, you clamp it down to a bunch of pages, or the back cover for hardback books. It doesn’t mar the pages and stretches far enough up that it doesn’t get in the way of page flipping. I really like it and it can also serve as a flashlight. It’s pretty compact and can even stand on its own. Makes a great gift for book lovers and I think it would be great for in a dorm room. It comes in several different colors.

Tea Bag Buddy (Primula Tea Bag Buddy)

This thing is great. I use it mostly to put on top of my mug so that my tea doesn’t go cold as quickly. (So when I get distracted by a good book, my tea is still fairly warm.) It’s also great for holding the tea bag string so that it won’t drip tea down the side of the mug while steeping. On the packaging it shows that you can also use it to squeeze the last drop out of the tea bag, and as a place to set your tea bag down. It comes in pink, green, and white and is made from silicone. It’s pretty great, and I’ve had mine for over a year, so it’s pretty long-lasting too. And it’s easy to clean; you just need to give it a good rinse. It works best with tea bags with strings, but can still be used to keep your tea warm with string-less bags and loose leaf teas. Great for tea lovers.

Baking

Delicious Berry Smoothies

Okay, okay, this isn’t technically a baked good, but it is sweet and yummy like one. And since it’s summer, you really can’t go wrong with a delicious cold drink. The recipe below makes one 16 fl. oz. smoothie, so double it if you’d like to make smoothies for two.

You Will Need:

  • 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries (Any berries or berry mix of your choice – I used fresh raspberries.)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek or regular yogurt, whatever you prefer.)
  • 1/2 cup white grape juice (Use more or less depending on your desired thickness.)
  • Ice cubes

Directions:

Combine ingredients in blender and blend at high speed for 30-45 seconds or until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

I love the color of this smoothie. I used only raspberries and it came out this pretty shade of pink.
I love the color of this smoothie. I used only raspberries and it came out this pretty shade of pink.

That’s all there is to it! I love smoothies because they’re nutritious and delicious and can really hit the spot on a hot day.

Usually on Fridays I blog about baked goods, but I really couldn’t resist sharing my simple smoothie recipe with you. Next Friday will be baked goods, I promise. TTFN, ta ta for now!

Jewelry

Cute and Fun Earrings

Earrings are the one piece of jewelry that I’ve found can be expressive of your personality without going overboard. I love to get in the holiday spirit for Halloween and Christmas with earrings. They get the point across without having wear only orange and black or red and green, which would probably receive some pretty odd looks. Anyway, I have two pairs of cute and fun earrings to share with you today that are simple and just enough to make a statement.

Popcorn Bucket Earrings

Movie fan earrings

These earrings are fun to wear going out to the movies. I love popcorn and movies, so I made these earrings for myself. I have yet to wear them, but I think I will the next time I go out to the movies. The popcorn beads are Peruvian ceramic and came from Shipwreck Beads. You can get them here. (If you’d like a recipe for dessert popcorn, go here.)

Koala Earrings

Cute koala earrings

I love koalas, which is why I made myself these cute little koala earrings. I chose a green bead to go at the bottom to represent the koala’s lethargic life in the eucalyptus tree. The only complaint I have about them is that the koalas are not mirror images like you typically see in earrings, but that’s only a minor detail that few tend to notice. You can get the koala beads here. They’re also Peruvian ceramic and came from Shipwreck Beads.

I love the Peruvian ceramic bead selection at Shipwreck Beads. There are so many cute designs to choose from that there’s practically something for everybody. I highly suggest checking it out, even just to browse. The beads could also be used in fun and whimsical charm bracelets.

Come back next Tuesday for another jewelry post! If you like baked goods (or dessert popcorn), check out my Friday posts!

Baking

Pintertest #1: Rolo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a new type of baking post that I’ve been talking about doing for a little while. I settled on the name that Yvette suggested, Pintertesting. I believe that those odd yet creative recipes on Pinterest need testing and someone needs to test them to make sure they actually work. There won’t be pictures of all the steps of the recipes in these posts, but they will focus more on the end product.

I was skeptical about these Rolo stuffed cookies, so I decided to make them to see if it worked. It took me a little while to click all the links to find the original post, which is here. You can also view the original recipe there as well, but I’m not going to post it here since someone already has on their blog.

My Thoughts

I have only a few minor complaints about this recipe. It makes way more than 30 cookies, in fact it makes about 48. When I made these, I halved the recipe because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with 4 dozen cookies. My second complaint is that it says to preheat your oven at the beginning, but then in the middle of the directions it says to freeze the cookie dough balls for 15-20 minutes. So I preheated my oven when I put them in the freezer to avoid the oven being on unnecessarily.

I put the Rolo-stuffed dough balls all together in a loaf pan. They didn't stick too badly and fit into my freezer better.
I put the Rolo-stuffed dough balls all together in a loaf pan. They didn’t stick too badly and fit into my freezer better.

The good news is that the cookies were delicious. They come out and they’re all gooey and warm and chocolate gets everywhere. Then there’s the little caramel-y Rolo surprise in the middle. I made these with the optional pecans, which go great with the chocolate and caramel.

So gooey and delicious. This recipe is well worth trying out.
So gooey and delicious. This recipe is well worth trying out.

I imagine you could also make these with store-bought cookie dough if you don’t feel like making the dough from scratch.

If you want to see what other recipes may be appearing in future Pintertest posts, check out the sidebar where there’s a link to the Pinterest board, which is a collaboration between me and Yvette. If you know of any other recipes on Pinterest that look skeptical, let me know and maybe it’ll appear in the next Pintertest post.