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" :)


White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

This recipe comes from Kraft foods. They have a very useful website chock full of tasty recipes that are simple, quick and made with ingredients you are very familiar with. It is worth checking out ~ they have a virtual recipe box where you can store and organize the ones you like. You can also print out a shopping list for your next trip to the market. If you sign up, they will send handy tips and meal ideas right to your inbox. I really find this site to be the perfect place to go when I am short on time but need to make something that is delicious, such as these White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake bars. I made them to take to work for a co-worker’s birthday and they were a hit. If you are intimidated by the thought of baking a cheesecake, don’t be. You really cannot mess this one up, I swear:
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bars


12 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (i.e. Oreos), finely crushed

2 Tbsp. butter, melted

3 squares White Chocolate, divided

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1/4 cup red raspberry preserves


Heat oven to 350ºF. Mix cookie crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 8- or 9-inch square pan. Melt 2 chocolate squares as directed on package.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.

Bake 25 to 28 min. or until center is almost set. Cool 5 min.; spread with preserves. Melt remaining chocolate square; drizzle over cheesecake. Cool cheesecake completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Yield: 9 servings


The Best Kind of Gift

A few weeks ago I met my friend Kay for dinner to celebrate my birthday. Among the many wonderful gifts she brought me that day were the scrumptious homemade chocolate chip cookies you see pictured above. I think they are quite possibly the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted. Even the hubby couldn’t keep his hands off them, which is saying a lot considering that he’s not one to favor sweets.
Many of us cringe at holiday time or any gift giving occasion, especially right now when we are trying to save what pennies we do have. Somewhere along the line, someone got the idea that buying gifts meant you needed to be extravagant and go out of your way to impress the recipient. I’m here to tell you that that’s not really so.
Those of us who are crafty have bestowed many a handmade gift on our friends and families. Sometimes it is to their delight and others . . . not so much. There are those who appreciate the time and effort that goes into a handmade gift. I consider myself one of those people. Personally, I am much more touched at the thought that was put into something vs. the price tag.
If you don’t consider yourself the crafty type, never fear. If you find that you are short on cash, you might be surprised at the number of creative things you can come up with to do for someone. Got a green thumb? Offer to plant a garden in a friend’s yard. If you can cook or bake well, then make them their favorite meal. Perhaps you have a friend who is stressed out and short on time ~ offer to help with cleaning or child care. In these times when most of us are super busy, the gift of one’s time is surely as priceless as the gift of friendship itself.


Shining the Spotlight On: Susan Olivio Jewelry and Supplies

Someday I hope to make my own headpins and earwires. Until that time, I like to buy handmade finding on Etsy ~ I just think they add a little something special to my own jewelry creations.
A few months back, I first discovered Susan Olivio’s handmade creations, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Her seller name is “Solivio”. Susan creates lovely earwires and other findings with copper, brass and sterling silver. She also offers beautiful gemstone beads at reasonable prices. You can even purchase one of her jewelry tutorials and learn some of the techniques that Susan has perfected. I’ve actually got my eye on these fabulous “Chloe” earrings and wouldn’t mind learning to make a pair like them for myself.
I love Susan’s unique style ~ I recently learned more about what a dynamic person she is, including her very interesting hobbies aside from Etsy. Read on to learn more about Solivio:
Tell us a little about *you*:
My name is Susan Olivio. I live in the Tampa, FL area with my husband Jim and two children. I have always been a crafter since I can remember. My father dabbled in painting but found his true calling with leather work. I guess we have an artistic family. My sister likes to paint and sew. My daughter is a fantastic artist, much more experimental than I am. Besides jewelry, I love to work in Photoshop and am trying to learn Corel Painter. I just purchased a very good polymer clay pendant tutorial from Etsy shop Naftali. I highly recommend it! The pieces I made were fun and actually came out wearable. I used the soldered rings I have available in my shop as the frames. The large for a pendant and two smaller ones for earrings.
Tell us about your craft ~ How did you get started? What keeps you motivated and inspired?
I’m not sure how I stumbled into jewelry making. I’ve tried many other art forms prior to making jewelry, but never stuck to one thing for very long, until I discovered jewelry. I’ve been doing it for about 10 years. I started in wire, and moved to metalsmithing. I worked in this medium for probably 8 years before I came across Eni Oken's work and re-discovered wire once again. Her work opened my eyes to the possibilities of wire. I stay inspired by looking at other artists work which helps spark ideas of my own. My favorite artists are Iza Malczyk, Eni Oken, and fellow Etsyians – Magdalena, SuzyQJewelry, AnandaKhalsa, TigerBurningBright, and Julidadesigns.
How did you first hear about Etsy?
I found Etsy by accident through Google. While searching for handmade jewelry for ideas, I came across the site.
What is the best piece of advice that you could give to a new Etsy seller?
Take clear pictures and list often. Create things that are unique.
Time to toot your own horn ~ tell us about your proudest crafting achievement (either on or off Etsy)
I don’t really have a proudest crafting achievement. Each piece that I make becomes my proudest crafting achievement replaced by the next thing I make.
Tell us about your featured shop item:
I was playing with wire one night and it dawned on me that there really wasn’t anything different available besides the standard ear wires. I came up with several designs that night and have continued to add to my line since then. The featured design “Hayley” (pictured) is a newer design and is available in several formats; a hook style, a circular hoop, posts, headpins or charms.
We all know there is Life outside of Etsy ~ what do you like to do in your “spare” time?
Besides spending time with my family, I am an avid reader. I’ve been stuck on vampire stories; my favorite series is The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine.
My newest hobby is brewing beer. My dad used to brew beer and I love micro brews so I thought I would try it myself. I’m on my third batch. It’s a lot of fun to wait and see how each batch is going to come out.
Thanks for letting us get to know you, Susan. Be sure to check out her shop!


Chicken Shwarma with Garlic Tahini ~ Your tastebuds will dance!

I am lucky to live in an area that is filled with a very diverse assortment of restaurants. There's Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Polish ~ you name it, just about every type of cuisine one could want is readily available. I especially love Middle Eastern food, so we eat it as often as possible. Recently, I was inspired to re-create a favorite dish at home.
The Chicken Shwarma I'm used to getting is thinly sliced, deliciously seasoned, and usually wrapped in pita with pickles and the most heavenly garlic sauce I've ever had in my life. I was so delighted when I found "Chicken Shwarma Seasoning" at my local spice store. So, for the dish that is pictured, I cheated by simply marinating some chicken breasts in the seasoning along with white vinegar, olive oil and water. I would imagine the seasoning contains spices like cardamom and allspice. I'm still searching for an authentic Chicken Shwarma recipe, so if you have one, please share!
I will happily share the recipe used to make the Garlic Tahini, which is the sauce that puts this dish over the top. Tahini is a sauce or paste that is made from ground sesame seeds. It is a common ingredient in many Middle Eastern dishes. You should be able to find this in a speciality food store or even the ethnic food aisle of your grocery store.
Garlic Tahini
5 garlic cloves, coarsley chopped
1/3 c. tahini
1/3 c. lemon juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. water
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
In a blender, puree the garlic with the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, water, salt and pepper until smooth. If the sauce appears thick, add water. Scrape the sauce into a bowl and serve. Can be refrigerated for one week. Bring to room temperature and stir before serving.
This recipe will result in a sauce that is a bit runny (compared to what I am used to, at least). Plain yogurt can be used in place of the EVOO and water, if desired. You really can't go wrong with it!
Serve the chicken and sauce on pita bread with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers or pickles ~ whichever you prefer!


Shop Update: Inspiration, Frustration . . . and Javier?

As my recent posts have suggested, I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated by the lack of free time I’ve had lately. Beading is truly therapeutic for me, so when I am unable to do it, I start feeling anxious. My mind is constantly whirring with new ideas and creations that I want to make. I resorted to carrying a notebook with me to work, so I could jot down my notes and sketches rather than try to store them in my brain. Oddly enough, my mind races with new ideas when I am at my regular job. But I digress . . . There are close to a dozen new pieces that haven’t made it to my shop yet. I sat down this past Tuesday evening to list a few of them, but my computer decided to freeze up on me. I gave up, and watched the movie “Vicki Christina Barcelona” instead. Have you seen it? Really cute movie. I loved Javier Bardem in the lead role ~ what a departure from “No Country for Old Men”.
I recently obtained the baubles in this photo during an outing to the antique market we like to visit on Sundays. I cannot wait to start playing and working them into some new creations!
I’m also trying to teach myself the art of pearl knotting. It’s a slow go, but I hope to become good enough to where I can post a tutorial. Ha ha ~ we’ll see.
My friend Jenny has asked me to create the bridal jewelry for her upcoming June wedding. Expect to see a future blog post showing the finished product. I will also be featuring one of my favorite Etsy sellers in the very near future. Wonder who it will be??
I'm having a major block when it comes to naming a few of those new pieces I spoke of earlier. I may need some help in that area. Hmmm . . . I feel a contest coming on :)
Lastly, one bit of shop talk. I will be closing my shop for a few days toward the end of next week. I expect to re-open late on the 22nd or first thing on the 23rd. No worries, I will be back full speed after that!
Have a terrific weekend!


Word of the Day: Snit

I don’t know if it’s the time change or what, but I’m in a snit today. After a weekend of continuous rain, it looks like the sun might be starting to appear. Maybe I’ll go for a walk on my lunch hour to try and shake these blues. March is an odd month anyway. The saying “In like a lion and out like a lamb” is very true. Right now winter is starting to loosen its grasp, although I am expecting at least one more dumping of snow before too long. Spring officially starts in a few weeks, but it will be a while before we really start to feel the thaw. This cabin fever is really getting to me!
May flowers ~ will they ever get here?
I think my problem is that I’m feeling stuck in limbo. I’m overdue for a vacation. Usually just knowing that there is one on the horizon is enough to shake me out of the doldrums. Like a lot of people, we’ve put our future plans on hold due to the uncertainty of jobs, the economy, blah blah blah. Please don’t think I am whining about not being able to take a vacation when there are many people who are losing their homes and don’t know how they will afford their next meal. Seriously, I think I’ve figured out what is troubling me ~ I’m so fed up with the negativity that’s in the news and on TV every minute. It’s so hard to escape, even if you try.
My question is: What do you do to shake the “blah’s”? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected in some way by everything that is going on in our nation and in the world right now. I’d love to know what you are doing to keep your spirits high (besides getting high ~ haha).
Go ahead, cheer me up :)


Zuppa Toscana - Just Like at "Olive Garden"

Anyone who knows me well knows that I favor indie restaurants over most chains. The one chain restaurant I do like a lot is the Olive Garden, and one of my favorite things on their menu is the Zuppa Toscana. It's got a creamy base and a nice kick from the spicy Italian sausage that's in it. A few weeks ago, I was seriously craving this dish, so we took a spin over to OG and had lunch.
As I was enjoying my soup, I was thinking to myself, "I could make this!". Really, the ingredients don't seem complicated: potatoes, sausage, and some type of leafy green . . . spinach maybe? I made it my mission to find a recipe that was as close as possible to this delicious soup.
I had no problem finding copycat recipes on the web. They all seemed very similar to one another, which told me that I was probably close to finding the real deal. Each claimed to taste "exactly like" the Zuppa Toscana found at Olive Garden. I picked the one that suited me best and gave it a whirl.
The outcome was fabulous!! Kid you not, it tastes just like the soup at OG (maybe even better). Serve it with crusty bread and it makes a tasty lunch or dinner. I love it, and I plan to make it often ~ well, in between trips to the restaurant, anyway.
Zuppa Toscana
1 lb Italian Sausage (I used half mild and half spicy, to give it that "kick")
2 large Russet potatoes, sliced into thin cubes
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 of a 3 oz. jar of real bacon bits
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups kale or Swiss chard, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
1 quart water (equal to about 4 cups)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1. Cook sausage in a 300°F oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until done.
2. Drain sausages on paper towels and cut into slices.
3. Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water, and garlic in pot. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done (approx. 30 mins). If you prefer, you can saute the onions and garlic in a little bit of butter or EVOO to "sweat" them out before you add the other stuff.
4. Add sausage and bacon bits.
5. Salt and pepper to taste.
6. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
7. Turn to low heat.
8. Add kale and cream.
9. Heat through and serve.
Serves 4-6
Total cook time: Approx. 1.5 hours


A Little Rant

I am a buyer as well as a seller on Etsy. In reality I probably buy more than I sell ~ ha! I have a little pet peeve that I’ve kept quiet about . . . until now. I just have to vent about it, but I won’t call out any particular sellers, because I don’t want to offend anyone. I just hope that if you’re one of the guilty ones, this post might help you. This is really important “Customer Service 101”.
Scenario: I make a purchase from "Shop A". A few days go by, and nada. No convo, no email, no communication WHATSOEVER. I go into “Purchases” and it says “Payment received”, which really tells me nothing. Has this seller even checked their Etsy account lately?? Are they aware of the sale??
I’m a very patient person, so I wait . . . sometimes a few days, and in those rare instances, a few weeks. However, I am very, very anxious to receive said thing-a-ma-bob. In my haste, I check the seller’s shop. Sure enough, it appears to be updated, which is a good sign that they haven’t fallen off the face of the earth.
Finally, the blessed package shows up in my mailbox. I open that trusty yellow manila bubble mailer to find that thing-a-ma-bob, but . . . there’s no message scribbled on a piece of scrap paper, no handwritten card, no thank you of any sort.
Yikes, that’s a big turn off, folks.
So I check my Feedback to see if "Seller A" decided to leave me positive feedback thanking me for my stellar transaction.
Bummer . . . no feedback either.
I’m a stickler for customer service. I suppose this comes from having worked retail in a past life. As a seller, I aim to make all of my customers feel special. For me, it is all about the personal connection. I want them to know that there is a living, breathing human being behind all of this. So, I guess I just do not understand the lack of personal service on the part of some sellers. Are you that busy? I’m not saying you need to jump through hoops. Just a quick convo to acknowledge the sale would be nice. Really it is just common courtesy. I do realize there is that little section where you can look to check the status of your purchase, but not everyone who uses Etsy knows this. Plus, I think most people appreciate it when you go the extra mile, at least my customers have told me so.
I’m not saying that you have to bend over and kiss my behind for buying from you. A nice handwritten message inside the package will win you brownie points, though. It shows that you care, and that this was not just another sale to you.
Am I completely off base here? I hope I never get to the point where I am too busy to convo my customers to personally thank them, or to add that nice extra touch to my packages. I am so humbled by every sale that comes my way that I seriously doubt this will happen.
I’ve purchased from many Etsy sellers and I am glad to say that most of them have given me the warm and fuzzy feeling when I’ve ordered from them. Trust me, it matters just as much as the items that you sell. In fact, it might make a difference in whether or not I return to your shop.


I Got a Treasury (Finally)!!!

Mark this one down in the history books ~ I finally snagged a Treasury on Etsy!! I owe it to Alison Kelley, who sent me the heads up that TW was about to open, just as I happened to be online. I must say, I can see how people get addicted to curating treasuries ~ it's so much fun! And, it's nice to be on the other side of the fence for once.
Here is a screen shot of it ~ it expires on Monday but for now you can see it live here.
It was tough to narrow the selections down, but all of the featured artists are people whose work I really admire, or who have shown kindness to me in some way. So, thanks to you all!