Your Aura is Blue
Spiritual and calm, you tend to live a quiet but enriching life. You are very giving of yourself. And it's hard for you to let go of relationships. The purpose of your life: showing love to other people Famous blues include: Angelina Jolie, the Dali Lama, Oprah Careers for you to try: Psychic, Peace Corps Volunteer, Counselor

About Me

My photo
This blog started out as a way for me to display and sell my handmade jewelry creations. I have set up shop on, where my shop name is "Dreamin of Beadin". The link to my Etsy store is located on the right hand side of this page. Please check me out!! If jewelry's not your thing, then check out the site anyway ~ there are plenty of talented artists selling lots of cool things there. For your reading pleasure, this blog will serve as a sneak peek into what's going on "behind the scenes" in my world. I love to cook, so there will be plenty of recipes, as well as product reviews and the occasional product giveaway (woo hoo!) I also love to take pictures of anything and everything, and I just bought a new camera, so there will be plenty of photos. And I like wine too, so things could get pretty interesting . . . Thank you for your support of me, Etsy and "all things handmade" :)


We Have a Winner!!

Thanks to all who entered my October Earring Giveaway :) I was pleasantly surprised by the number of responses. It was also a big bonus to open up my inbox and see your wonderful comments.
A winner has been chosen at random, and that lucky person is . . . (drumroll please!)
Entry #4, Tonya
If you didn't win this time, don't despair. I plan to do a few more giveaways before the holidays :) Stay tuned!
Happy Halloween!!!


Nine Years!!

I wanted to share a recent photo of my husband and I during our trip to Mackinac Island, in northern Michigan. We were celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary. I can't believe how time flies :)
The island is a great place to go to escape the stresses of everyday life. Motorized vehicles are not permitted there, so the only method of travel is on foot, bicycle, or horse and carriage. We truly enjoyed the beautiful scenery and the laid back pace. We also enjoyed some of the homemade fudge that the island is so famous for!
In this photo we were standing in front of the magnificent Grand Hotel. If it looks familiar to you at all, it might be because the film Somewhere in Time starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve was shot there. How romantic!


Earring Giveaway!!

With all of the negativity in the news and the media as of late, I figured there's no better time than the present to spread some cheer :) So, I am giving away this pair of earrings to one lucky winner! They are made with bright, cobalt blue Czech glass lampwork beads, along with shiny Brass links. They measure 2" in length and have 14k gold filled earwires.
To enter, just leave a comment on this post. Entrees must be received no later than 12:01 am EST on 10/31/08. This contest is open to those age 18 or older. Please enter only once, in fairness to others.
A winner will be randomly chosen and the results will be posted on this blog by 11/1/08. The winner will not be contacted, so you will need to check back to see if you've won.
Good luck everyone!


Shining the Spotlight On: Crickets' Creations

Scarves are my favorite chilly weather accessory. I've had the same black cashmere scarf with hot pink stripes for a few years now ~ it's probably time to change up my look. On my Holiday "Wish List" this year will be something from Crickets' Scarf Boutique on Etsy. All of her beautiful creations are handknit from cruelty-free, vintage and novelty yarns. They are colorful, unique and totally fabulous! They're even meant to be worn year-round. I recently discovered this Seller in the Etsy forums, where she can often be found handing out valuable tips and advice to other Etsy sellers. It is that spirit of generosity that prompted me to find out more about Celeste, the super sweet gal behind Cricket's Creations. Below is what she recently shared with me:
Tell us a little about *you*: My name is Celeste and I hand knit luxury, designer fashion scarves! I live in the Golden Circle near the Grand Canyon, so my tagline is, “Handcrafted in the Heart of Canyon Country, USA!” Because I live in the high desert (it’s either very hot or very cold), my designs are for year-round wear. You can even see a pic of me modeling one of my Skinny Summer Boas in 90+ degree weather, outside here. Tell us about your craft ~ How did you get started? What keeps you motivated and inspired? I took an elective class when I was eight years old. From there, I studied knitting books and tried out patterns. Now I design all my own work and can get really creative! My muse, inspiration & support is my sweetie, Nicky. I made my very first scarf for him. He loved it so much that he said, "You could sell these and people would love 'em!" And since August 2007 I’ve sold over 300 scarves, so I guess he was right. :) I love to play with texture and color, and typically make 2-3 scarves a night, whether for custom orders, special requests from the over 10 retailers I supply, scarves to sell online (I offer over 100 different styles, colors & thicknesses), or getting ready for craft fairs & expos. If you’re a professional crafter, too, please let me know if I can offer support or advice on how to succeed.
How did you first hear about Etsy? I saw it in the forums of the Crafty Critter online community for crafters who care about animals. What is the best piece of advice that you could give to a new Etsy seller? I could never choose just one piece of advice (as a Gemini, I find that an impossible request, lol)! Here’s a compilation of links to my success tips. Time to toot your own horn ~ tell us about your proudest crafting achievement (either on or off Etsy) I think that so far, my biggest thrill came when Better Homes & Gardens bought a scarf a few months back for a photo shoot! Please see the next question for details…
Tell us about your featured shop item ~
I felt like I'd landed on the moon when Better Homes & Gardens magazine bought one of my pieces for a June 2008 photo shoot (it will probably appear in one of their Fall 2008 issues)! If you'd like to see the scarf they chose, please go here. Because it was a one of a kind, I made this new scarf *almost exactly* like the original. The difference is that the new design is thicker, warmer, sturdier & includes some new yarns. There is even a bit of sparkle in one of the chocolate yarns. We all know there is Life outside of Etsy ~ what do you like to do in your “spare” time? When I'm not designing and knitting, I happily work for Best Friends Animal Society. I also enjoy gardening & Bikram yoga. See ya 'round, I'm looking forward to learning more about YOU!
Thanks for your insight, Celeste!!
Now, be sure to check out her shop, Crickets' Creations :)


It's the Creamiest!

I’ve been on a major comfort food kick lately. I suspect that has something to do with the change of seasons. The drop in temps is signaling to my body that it’s time to add a layer of insulation in preparation for winter ~ which I need like a hole in the head, but that’s another story.
What dish is more comforting that macaroni in cheese? It certainly tops my list. I recently made a batch using the recipe that follows. This is the best recipe that I have ever used ~ the result is rich and creamy, with a little bit of zing due to the cayenne pepper, and a wonderful flavor that is created by the addition of garlic. It really is interesting how there are so many variations on this simple dish out there. This version is by no means low fat ~ serve it on the holidays and it is sure to impress. Mac and cheese is filling, substantial and relatively inexpensive to make (and I’m not referring to the kind that comes in the blue box here). This recipe yields a pretty decent amount, so if you’re making it for one or two there are bound to be leftovers ~ and it tastes just as good, if not better, the second time around.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups milk
2 (10 ounce) packages sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
1 (10 ounce) package extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni, cooked
In a big skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
Whisk the flour in gradually until the mixture is smooth.
Cook and whisk continually for 2 minutes.
Add in salt, pepper, cayenne, and garlic; stir to combine.
Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk.
Cook and whisk continually for 8-10 minutes or until mixture is thickened.
Add in half of the sharp cheddar cheese; stir.
Add in all of the extra-sharp cheddar cheese; stir until smooth.
Take skillet off stove burner.
Mix together the cooked macaroni and cheese mixture; transfer to a greased 13x9 inch casserole dish.
Sprinkle with the remaining sharp cheddar cheese.
Bake in a 350° oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is crispy.


Be a Voter "In the Know"

Election Day is less than a month away ~ I hope everyone has registered to vote :) Record turnouts are expected this year (didn’t they say that during the last Presidential election??)

That being said, I just learned of a helpful site where Michigan residents can go to get all the details of your polling location; including hours, a detailed map, etc. There is even a sample ballot for you to familiarize yourself with! Click here.

I’m very glad I checked it out, since I learned that my voting location has changed. Hopefully this information will make your voting experience painless and free of unnecessary confusion. With any luck, the next four years will be, too ;)


A Salsa Soiree!

If you’ve read this blog more than a few times you probably know that I love to cook. As a descendant of a long line of good cooks, I come by this trait honestly. In my family, we show you that we care by feeding you.
When I was a kid, my mom was hard core ~ baking cookies from scratch, every night dinner was something different and definitely not from a box. By the time my parents finally gave in and bought a microwave, it was rarely used.
So, you can see that I inherited my culinary skills. The one thing I never attempted was canning or preserving food. I remember my mom canning jam in the summer ~ usually on what seemed like a sweltering hot day. My memory is of her slaving over a stove for what seemed like an eternity. As a kid I never fully appreciated the time nor the love that she put into each and every jar. As a family, we would often travel to the blueberry farm to pick the berries that would later become jam. Sometimes they would be strawberries or blackberries that were grown by members of my family who lived in Northern Michigan. I now know that canning fresh produce is a lost art ~ but at the time I just took for granted that we had homemade jam at my house while all of my friends had the stuff you buy in the store. You can probably imagine my reaction when our good friends suggested that we get together and can Salsa with the peppers we grow in our garden every year. I seriously thought they were insane ~ it sure didn’t seem like a fun way to spend a perfectly good Saturday to me at all. It took a little coaxing, but I finally gave in. After all, we end up with more hot peppers than we could ever consume, and I hate to see them go to waste. This seemed like the best way to make them last.
A few weeks ago, we all got together for our 2nd annual Salsa making party. These are some pictures of the fun we had, and the result of our efforts. Each of us has our own role, which seems to work out really well. The process took about four hours from start to finish, and that is with four people chopping, peeling, stirring and pouring. I think back to the days when my mom made that jam by herself, and now I realize how much work she put into it!
It is fully worth the work, though. We ended up with 18 jars of Salsa, which we can enjoy throughout the year. It is really good stuff, too. Slightly on the hot side, but fresh and wonderful!
If you’ve never canned before, give it a shot. Get together with some friends (preferably some who know what they’re doing) and let the fun begin!


An Etsy Favorite: Ceramics by Sumiko

I first discovered Sumiko's Etsy shop shortly after I opened up my own shop. Since then, I've made several purchases from this super friendly and talented seller. I can honestly say that I've been overjoyed with each one.
Sumiko makes lovely pottery creations, including vases, plates, pendants and even Sushi sets! Her shop announcement reads "I am an artist who likes to make pretty things". This is an understatement. There is not one thing among her creations that isn't beautiful.
This little plate with the dragonflies was a gift that I purchased for a dear friend who loves pottery and appreciates handmade treasures. Like most of Sumiko's designs, it is simple and sweet; however as simple as the design is, it is also a beautiful work of art. I just love going to her shop and browsing her wonderful creations. They are so pleasing to the eye.
I really love that Sumiko offers pieces in every price range. From this gorgeous Double Wall Clematis vase, which is completely stunning, to pieces like the dragonfly plate, which cost less than $10. There is sure to be something that fits your budget in this shop. Consider doing your holiday shopping at Ceramics by Sumiko, or from any of the other talented artists on