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" :)


Here's the Dish: Fresh Raspberry Cream Cakes

There’s never been a recipe that I’ve been more sure that you’ll *LOVE* than this one! It comes from the Cake Mix Doctor ~ she has several cookbooks on the market and I own four of them. I would strongly suggest that you get one for yourself because they are extremely easy to follow, and her recipes yield fantastic results. Seriously, I have never made one single thing that hasn’t been downright fabulous. I made these delectable “cupcakes” for a pre-Memorial Day gathering and they were a huge hit. They are the perfect light summer dessert ~ frozen, not baked, so you never turn the oven on! And the fact that reduced fat cream cheese and fresh berries are used means you don’t have to feel guilty for not skipping dessert ;) Keep in mind that the below recipe yields 12 mini cheesecakes, so feel free to increase the quantities if you require more. Trust me, you’ll probably want more! You can even use strawberries in place of the fresh raspberries, if you prefer.
Fresh Raspberry Cream Cakes


12 foil cupcake liners (2 1/2" size)

3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs

1/4 c. finely chopped pecans

3 T. butter, melted

1 c. fresh raspberries, washed and drained*

8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed


1. Line 12 cupcake cups with the foil liners and set aside.

2. Place the graham cracker crumbs, pecans and melted butter in a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Spoon about 1 T. of the mixture into each liner, pressing down on the mixture with your fingers to make the crust.

3. Reserve 12 raspberries for garnish. Place the remaining raspberries in a food processor and pulse the berries until pureed, 10 seconds. Measure out 1/2 cup for the filling and set aside. Place the remaining puree in a sieve over a small glass bowl to catch the raspberry juices. Push down gently on the puree to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solids. Cover the raspberry juice with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

4. Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese until creamy, 30 seconds. Turn off the machine and add the sweetened condensed milk and the reserved 1/2 c. pureed raspberries. With the mixer on medium speed, blend until just combined, 20 to 30 seconds. Stop the mixer, add 1 c. of the whipped topping, and blend on low speed to combine, 15 seconds.

5. Top the crusts with the berry mixture, dividing it evenly among them. The liners should be very full but not overflowing. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in the freezer until firm, at least 3 hours.

6. Remove the pan from the freezer 15 minutes before serving. To serve, peel away the foil liners from the cakes and place the cakes on serving plates. Dollop with 1 heaping tablespoon of the remaining whipped topping. Drizzle with the reserved raspberry juice and garnish with a reserved raspberry.

*It took me more than 1 c. of berries to make enough juice, but I found that these were just as excellent with just a dollop of whipped cream on top.


Shop Update: Lots of New Items and a Temporary Hiatus

I hope everyone is enjoying this Memorial Day Holiday ~ whether it is with family and friends or just quiet time on your own. Let us not forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our great country!
This is just going to be a quick note from me, to remind you to check my shop if you haven't lately. I've been busy creating and adding new pieces. These are just a sampling; I have more left to go! I hope to list them in the coming week.
As a second line of business, I will be closing shop on the 1st of June for a few weeks. I have an important event that will be taking up most of my attention and time, followed by a much needed vacation! I plan to re-open in late June.
Thanks for your understanding; but don't worry, I will be back in full force after that!


It's Feelin' Like Summer!

To me, the one sure sign that summer is in full "swing" (no pun intended) is a day spent at the ballpark. Even though summer hasn't officially started, there's nothing I love better at this time of year. Today we met some friends at Comerica Park for our first live Tigers game of 2009 ~ unfortunately they lost the game, but it was the perfect way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Here are some of the highlights:
An outing to the ballpark must include a kosher dog ~ yum!
Amazing Pewabic tiles ~ these are one of my favorite architectural details
These ferocious Tigers greet you at the park entrances ~ look out! There's my Tiger, #30 (Magglio Ordonez) in action :)


My Little Friend

Help ~ I'm turning into my mother!! First it was the oddly domesticated behaviors, i.e. cooking, baking and gardening. Now, I'm becoming a bird watcher!
Last weekend while we were planting, this guy sang to us for most of the day. It is a male Baltimore Oriole, which is not a terribly common bird to see in Michigan, although they sometimes vacation here in the summer. I haven't seen one in person since I was a little girl. They make unusual nests and I remember bringing one to show-and-tell at school, after the birds had decided to fly South for the winter.
This one has decided to build his summer home in a large tree that stands in the yard of the house behind us. This was the best picture I could get of him, seeing that the tree is extremely tall and he was high up in it. I haven't spotted his mate yet, but the females are not as colorful. I'm assuming he has found himself a mate, although he croons an awful lot, so maybe he is still looking for her!


Here's the Dish: Thai Grilled Chicken

Here’s a bonus recipe for you this week, since there’s a good chance you’ll be grilling out during the upcoming holiday weekend. At least, I know I will be! I recently made this Thai Grilled Chicken ~ I really do think it is the best grilled chicken I have ever had, at least in recent memory. The meat was so tender and flavorful. We used chicken quarters, but if you have an aversion to bones, then I think chicken breasts would be mighty tasty prepared this way. Cut them into cubes and put them on skewers for a change of pace! Serve this chicken with my Thai Pasta Salad, and you’ll be loving life :)
Thai Grilled Chicken
4 chicken quarters (or any cut you prefer)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced chili
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1. Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl, mix thoroughly.
2. Add chicken and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours (the longer, the better!)
3. Grill chicken until center is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend, everyone!!


Found Garden Art

My grandparents grew up during the Great Depression and came from large families where even the most basic necessities were scarce. As a result, they saved everything in their later years. When my grandpa passed away, it took a crew of us to go through his house. It was quite a task, let me tell you. At the same time, it was also interesting to see some of the things he collected, such as these glass insulators. They were used on telephone and electric power lines. My grandpa lived in a very rural railroad town and he loved to go venturing through the woods. We discovered many of the items he found on his ventures, including a cannon ball, antique bottles and other remnants from Prohibition times. He had amassed quite a collection of these insulators and we were not even sure what to do with them. It turns out, they are quite collectable. When we held a garage sale, many of them sold. However, I wanted to save a few for myself, because I found them intriquing and oddly beautiful. Grandpa obviously found them special enough to keep, which made them feel sentimental to me. It then dawned on me that they would make excellent candle holders, but they are pretty heavy so I decided to keep them outside, in my garden. I place citronella candles in them and they look lovely when lit up.
Here are some photos I snapped this evening of the latest happenings in my backyard:
My lilac is in full bloom and it smells heavenly! This is a lupine ~ it's getting ready to open up, but not quite yet!


Here's the Dish ~ Southwestern Pasta Salad

If you’re planning to attend any gatherings this summer where you’re asked to bring a dish to pass, chances are you’ll first think of some rendition of the standard potato or macaroni salad. Not that there’s anything wrong with the good ol’ standby’s, but more than likely someone else will have thought to bring them too. Here’s a tasty dish that I recently made ~ it’s not your average spaghetti salad with Italian dressing that we’ve all come to know and love (or maybe not). Instead it has a creamy dressing that is made with salsa. I suspect you can kick things up a notch by using spicy salsa, if that’s what you prefer.
Southwestern Pasta Salad

8 ounces bow tie pasta (or whatever you happen to have on hand)
2 hardboiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh salsa (the kind in the jar is fine as well)
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Mayo ("Miracle Whip" works too)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water until tender.
2. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
3. Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
4. Add pasta and stir until the pasta is coated.
5. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.
Yield: Roughly four (good size) servings, but can be doubled for a larger crowd.
*Side note* These recipes are good because you can make them up ahead of time. I’m always in search of delicious recipes for all types of side dishes, so if you know of any, please send them my way!


Digging in the Dirt . . . and Lovin' it!!!

This past weekend marked the beginning of planting season for us. We kicked it off by venturing on down to Detroit’s historic Eastern Market. Sunday was their 43rd annual “Flower Day”, but we got a jump on things by going on Saturday, when the vibe is still great but there are about 100,000 fewer people in the market. After a few hours of shopping, we ended up with a vanload of annuals and perennials. Some of it went to my parent’s home ~ they came on the trip too. Lucky for us, Sunday was an absolutely perfect day for planting ~ sunny, low humidity and not too warm. Thanks to our time spent digging in the dirt, in a few months we will have a harvest of tomatoes (three varieties), hot peppers (six varieties), and nine different types of herbs. It’s amazing how much you can fit in a small, suburban, backyard garden :) Aside from those veggies and herbs, I now have beautiful scenery to gaze at from a patio lounge chair as I sip cold beverages on a warm day ~ one of my favorite summertime activities.
Here are some of our beautiful finds . . .
I love to buy my bedding plants from this flower stand, which is located roughly one mile from where I live. As you can see from the photo, there is now an office building next door, however this area used to be nothing but farmland at one time. The family still owns a farm about 20 miles away, where they grow everything that is sold at this market. In late July they have the best sweet corn in the world. My PSA for the day is to support your local farmers whenever you can! You can learn more about how to do that here.


Shop Update: Bringing Back Some Old Faves

If you're familiar with my Etsy shop, then you know that I hardly ever make the same thing twice. I've never been a big fan of repetition, and I truly love coming up with new designs. My customers benefit from this by knowing that they are truly wearing a piece of jewelry that will never be duplicated. Once in great while, however, a particular design is so fabulous that it warrants re-creation. This past week I brought back two designs that have been seen in my shop before, but even they are slightly different from their predecessors. This is a new take on my "Jennalee" necklace, which I named after my sister. She just happens to be the biggest fan of my stuff, so I wanted to honor her by naming this sweet necklace after her. It has the most unique vintage pendant ~ I was so happy that I stumbled across another one of these! I've changed the design up slightly from the original, but still used white and aqua blue vintage glass beads and brass findings.
The "Miriam" necklace is one of my signature pieces. It has been a fan favorite, but the unfortunate part is that I can only create it until my supply of these fabulous Miriam Haskell beads runs out! I recently listed this piece, which is named "Miriam's Sister". It also features vintage Haskell beads, only they are slightly different in color from the ones used in the first necklace. It is absolutely stunning and perfect for Spring and Summer!


Seal Your Meal and Save $$

I never would have foreseen the need for a vacuum sealer in a million years. First of all, I don’t have much storage space in my kitchen and I dislike excess clutter, so I don’t keep many gadgets around (except for the small ones that fit into a drawer). My thoughts changed when some friends of ours brought back salmon and walleye that they had caught on a fishing trip in Canada. The fish was neatly vacuum sealed in these bags ~ I actually put them in the freezer and forgot about them, until the friends asked us how we liked the fish . . . six months later! I felt really bad about our non-consumption of their catch but I was sure those fish would look like blocks of ice after that long. The question reminded me that they were somewhere in the back of the freezer and I should probably defrost them for the next night’s dinner, so at least I could tell my friends with a clear conscience that we ate the fish. I was thoroughly amazed to find that they weren’t covered in freezer burn and they tasted as if they’d just been caught ~ no kidding. It was all because of the fact that they had been vacuum sealed prior to freezing, which kept the air out and prevented freezer burn. I am notorious for tossing something in the freezer, only to forget about it until it’s way past its prime. I’ve wasted more food than I care to admit by doing this. That’s a lot of money down the drain, for one thing.
The Christmas following the above mentioned incident, I added a food sealer to my wish list. I’ve had the basic, bottom of the line model you see in the picture for about two years now, and I wonder how I ever lived without it! You can probably pick one like it up for less than $50 at Kohl's or Tar-jhay. The days of wasting perfectly good food are long gone. Yes, the bags are made of plastic but they can be used several times, depending on what you put in them. Food that is sealed takes up far less room in the freezer, which is great if you are short on space, like we are. I save money by buying in bulk and then dividing things like meat into 2-3 servings and freezing them that way. You can seal just about anything and everything ~ I love to seal and freeze ripened fruit to be used to make smoothies and adult beverages at a later time. I’ve bought expensive cheese for use in recipes and sealed the unused portion for later ~ it keeps much longer that way. There is no end to the things you can do with your mighty vacuum sealer!


Start Their Shoe Fetish Early

I was surfing Etsy the other day when I stumbled upon the cutest shop ever called bitty chou chou. I couldn’t help myself from going ga-ga over every single pair of pint sized baby booties that this seller creates by hand. If only I knew someone with a baby girl, I would surely buy these "Party Cupcake Shoes":
I also love the "Rosey Red Darby Shoe" and these "Brown Floral w/ Flet Flowers and Pearls" ~ you can even get a hair clip to match them! Many styles are available in colorful prints and with snazzy embellishments to add to the cuteness factor. I gather that these stylish baby shoes can be made to fit 0-18 months. They are priced affordably, especially when you compare what you would pay in a high end baby boutique for something not nearly as unique.
All of the little girls in my family are too big for these booties. If only I would have known about bitty chou chou when they were little ones. Oh well, I guess this gives me the perfect gift idea next time a baby shower rolls around. :)


Here's the Dish ~ Whole Grain Corn Bread

Remember when it seemed like everyone was doing the Atkins Diet? In case you don’t, that’s the plan that forbids you from eating “bad” carbs ~ i.e. baked goods, pasta and breads. Although I know many people who lost a lot of weight on this plan (most of them put it back on, however) ~ I could never bring myself to jump on the bandwagon. I love bread, rice and pasta way too much to ever give them up completely. However, I also realize that there is some method to the madness of cutting them out of one’s diet to achieve weight loss. The information on good carbs vs. bad can be somewhat confusing and misleading. It makes sense to cut out the refined sugars and white flour, but I for one could never stop eating carbs altogether. Not in a million years! Many healthy eating plans encourage lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. So, I’ve been trying to replace those white flour laden pastas and breads with whole grains. I found this recipe for corn bread, which happens to be a favorite in our house, and decided to give it a try. It is made with whole grain corn flour and whole wheat flour. The addition of honey gives it a hint of sweetness which is balanced by the zing of cayenne pepper. The husband and I both thought it was great, but it made so much (9 servings) that we weren’t able to eat all of it before it got a little hard on us. That was no problem ~ I simply used the leftovers to make homemade croutons!
Whole Grain Corn Bread
1 1/2 cups whole-grain corn flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Coat an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flours, baking powder, seasonings, and honey with a wire whisk. In a small bowl, combine remaining wet ingredients. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into squares to serve.


Happy Mother's Day!

I want to wish all of you beautiful moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day :) I will be spending tomorrow with my wonderful mom (and my dad ~ it's his birthday). Today I was out in the garden to check out the latest happenings, and I caught this unopened bleeding heart flower. Have you ever seen anything so perfect? It reminds me of the unconditional and infinite love of a mother.
In fact, I found this quote that pretty much sums it up perfectly: "The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness." ~ Honoré de Balzac


New Shoes Cure the Blues . . .

. . . At least that’s what the magnet on my refrigerator claims. A bit of birthday money has been burning a hole in my pocket, so last weekend we headed to the outlet mall in search of work appropriate sandals for me. Mission accomplished . . . times three! I had great luck finding cute pairs that actually fit at the Bass outlet. When I think of Bass, I used to envision these stupid loafers that were popular among the preppy crowd in high school (back in 1990-something). Actually, Bass has evolved from those brown leather loafers with the green tag to some really great styles. I have trouble finding shoes that are somewhat stylish and comfortable at the same time. My feet are pretty small (size 6 ½), but wide, so shoe shopping can be a challenge. I’m not ready for orthopedics yet, for crying out loud, but I am not willing to suffer for the sake of fashion either. What’s a girl to do?
I almost always have luck at this store, so it was worth the hour long drive to go there. I found these strappy wedge sandals that have a bit of a heel. I can’t do skinny heels but I do like some height. I got a great deal on them, too! They were 55% off the retail price. I’m a member of their rewards club, so I brought along coupons to help me save more. On top of that, the outlet mall was running a coupon for 10% off a purchase of $50 or more. The sales gal let me use all those coupons! I am finding that many retailers are bending their rules just to get people to buy. That definitely works in the favor of the consumer!
I was overdue for some retail therapy. We’ve really been curbing our spending on non-essential items over the past few months. I do think you need to treat yourself when you can. If you’re smart about it, you can do it more often than you think!


Here's the Dish ~ Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce

Talk about a deal! The other week my favorite local produce market was selling these boxes of Delallo gnocchi for 69 cents each. I made sure to grab a few. Ever tried gnocchi? They are little Italian dumplings that can be made of flour, semolina or potato. I would love to learn how to make them. Someday, I plan to, but for now I will settle for the ones that come in the box and only take about four minutes to cook. They're actually not bad, and these are whole wheat, which is supposed to be better for you than pasta made with white flour. When I've had gnocchi in the past, they've either been served with a tomato based sauce or a cream sauce. I wasn't in the mood for tomato sauce, and I didn't want to eat anything really heavy, like an alfredo sauce. I happened to notice a recipe on the side of the box for Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce. I already had many of the ingredients and it sounded pretty good. Ya know what? It was deeeelicious!! The recipe is below, if you'd like to try it for yourself. As you can see, I went a little heavy on the cheese, but that is because I am a cheese freak. Yes, it's bad, I know. Actually, it wasn't even necessary ~ this dish would still have been great without it.
Whole Wheat Gnocchi with Mushroom Sauce
1 16oz package Whole Wheat Gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter (1/4 stick)
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
12 ounces fresh mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (porcini, portobello, or shitake)
1/2 cup diced shallots
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
Cook gnocchi according to package directions and drain.
Heat butter and olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat until butter begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and shallots and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add stock and sage; simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add hot gnocchi to sauce in skillet and toss to coat.
Serve with cheese sprinkled on top.
Serves 2-4


An Etsy Fave ~ Verbena Custom Fragrance Blends

I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to a terrific Etsyan ~ Tina of Verbena Custom Blends. It happened quite by accident while I was searching for items to add to my Treasury of all things bridal. I stumbled across this shop filled with scrumptious bath and body products, which I love. I chose this adoreable cupcake soap for the treasury, and the rest is history. I received some of this super sweet Seller's wonderful homemade goods this week. My favorite of all is the Whipped Yogurt Cream (pictured). This luxurious cream contains lots of wonderful ingredients that will pamper your skin, including chamomile, aloe and avocado oil. It is rich and creamy and feels marvelous. I chose the Lemon Verbena and Rose scent, which is heavenly. I am totally hooked on this great stuff! The best part of all is that the 4 oz. container you see here is a great value at only $8, making it a very affordable indulgence.


May Flowers Are Here!

The sun was shining today, so I ventured out into my little backyard with camera in tow. The rain showers that seemed never ending this past week really did help to bring May flowers, as you can see from these photos!
I just love this bleeding heart! I planted it last year, after my other one died. It seems to be loving its new home
Lily of the Valley ~ just starting to poke out their little heads
Lungwort ~ I love these little pink and bluish purple flowers!
Happy Spring and Happy Gardening!!