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: Blueberry Muffins

I've got over 20 cups of blueberries stocked away in my freezer, thanks to our blueberry picking trip earlier this month. My mom gave me this tasty recipe for Blueberry muffins. She has a recipe box that is bursting full with recipes people have given her over the years. I baked these muffins, and they were delicious and moist ~ the sour cream that's in them helped with that. You can't go wrong with sour cream :) Do you have a delectable recipe that uses blueberries? Pass it on ~ I'd love to try it. I'll be sure to include them in future posts.
Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups (16 oz. container) sour cream
2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs; Gradually add sugar. While beating, slowly pour in oil; add vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add alternately with the sour cream to the egg mixture. Gently fold in blueberries. Spoon into greased muffin tins. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.


Fun with Herbs

Don’t get any funny ideas . . . I’m not referring to anything illegal here ;) Thanks to a good friend, I’ve been learning some new ways to use the herbs from my garden, aside from just cooking with them. For instance, I have a bounty of parsley that is way more than I could ever use. I learned that you can make a homemade facial cleanser for oily skin with it. Perfecto! It’s very easy too. Here are the directions: Ingredients: · ½ cup chopped parsley · 1 tbsp. dried mint (or 2 tbsp. fresh mint) If using dry mint, add 1 tbsp. When using chopped fresh mint, add 2 tbsp. Combine the mint and ½ cup of parsley and add to 1 cup of boiling water. Allow the mixture to steep for one hour. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a jar or bottle. I tried it. It smelled good ~ very clean and refreshing. My sister told me of an herb farm that is near where she lives, and I plan to make a trip there in the next month or so. They are going to be having a seminar on using herbs to make chemical free cleaning products. I’ll be sure to pass along any good tips that I learn there.


Something to Make You Laugh

If you’ve even taken a road trip, then you know that half the fun is seeing different sights as you drive along the highway. As much as the towns, cities and suburbs appear to be the same from one place to the next, there is always something new to be discovered. I thought I’d share this photo of a huge statue of Jesus that faces Interstate 75, just north of Cincinnati, OH. I’ll never forget the first time I saw it. The reaction I had is best summarized in this song by comedian Heywood Banks. Watch the video ~ I promise it will make you laugh. Or maybe not . . . if your sense of humor isn’t a bit warped, like mine is ;) That’s it ~ I’ve got nothing else to blog about today. Just thought we could all use a laugh!!



The other day I was thinking back to my pre-jewelry making days. I had to laugh, because at that time, my personal collection was pretty small. I’ve loved jewelry for as long as I can remember, but there was a time when I wore the same pieces day in and day out. How boring! In fact, I still have the hammered Sterling Silver pendant on a chain that I wore around my neck every single day. It’s simple and pretty, but nothing spectacular. The same can be said for the hoop earrings that I would wear with it. I think at the time I kept things simple because I didn’t realize how fun it is to accessorize with jewelry. Eventually I acquired more and more pieces, and learned how to change my look up a little. Part of the fun of dressing each day is picking out a different necklace to wear. I love earrings too, but the necklace is my statement maker, since it doesn’t get hidden by my hair. Soon I started to get compliments from people. The look in their eyes told me they were both impressed and maybe even a bit envious that they didn’t own anything so unique and one of a kind. I can be having a bad hair day, my pants might feel too snug, or I might have a zit on my chin, but a stunning necklace can detract from all of that. I love hearing all the “ooohs” and “aaaahhhs” when I wear a new piece of jewelry to work. I’m not the snappiest dresser, so I don’t get nearly as many compliments on my clothes as I do my jewelry. But that’s OK with me. Let me show you an example of how you can dress up your look with pieces from my shop:
Take this basic brown dress. It’s perfect for the office environment, but it needs a little something, don’t you think?! "Grand Haven", Silver leaf jasper and Silver Necklace, $38, in complimentary earth tones.
"Simple Girl", $18. Long necklaces are hotter than ever, and this piece suits the dress perfectly.
"Solar Eclipse", $40. Brass necklace with Citrine nugget pendant. Stunning!


Shop Update ~ *FREE* Shipping!

I’m only eight sales away from the big 3-0-0! In order to make it that much easier for you to help me reach my goal, I am offering *FREE* SHIPPING to everyone until I reach 300 sales! This includes Canadian and International orders, too. Just complete the checkout process, and I will refund the fees to you via Paypal. Combine this offer with my current SALE items, and you’re getting a heck of a deal on some terrific, one of a kind handmade jewelry. Just my way of saying “thanks” for your support over these last 2+ years :)


Here's the Dish: Slow-Cooker Salsa

This weekend marks our annual Salsa Making Party, where we get together with friends and can enough homemade salsa to last until next year. It's a good thing too, since we have been up to our ears in tomatoes and hot peppers for weeks now. I've had to find some creative ways to use them, and some we've given away. A few weeks ago, I was craving fresh salsa, and it just so happened that we had a bunch of ripe tomatoes. I found this recipe for making it in a slow cooker, and that seemed like just the thing to do, since I love using mine. It's very easy, and takes no time at all to whip up. In fact, I made a batch this evening ~ put all the ingredients together, then we went for a long walk, ate Thai food for dinner, and by the time we got home, it was ready! What follows is a basic recipe that yields 2 cups or 8 servings. Somehow, I've ended up with closer to eight cups ~ go figure. Feel free to play with the ingredients until you get the flavor and level of heat just right for you.


10 plum tomatoes, cored

2 garlic cloves (or more!)

1 medium sized onion, cut in wedges

2-3 jalapeno peppers

half of a medium sized green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup cilantro or parsley leaves

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Cut a small slit in two tomatoes. Insert a garlic clove in each slit. Place tomatoes in slow cooker. The nifty tool in the picture is from The Pampered Chef, and it is good for coring tomatoes. Cut stems off jalapenos. Remove seeds for a milder salsa. Place jalapenos in slow cooker. Add chopped bell pepper. There's Mr. V ~ he insisted on helping with the hot peppers. This recipe is very "man friendly" ~ haha.
Looks so pretty! Cover. Cook on High for 2-3 hours. Cool.
In a blender, combine the tomato mixture, cilantro and salt. Process until smooth. Refrigerate leftovers.
The finished product ~ tastes so good with Tortilla chips, eggs, on a baked potato . . . even grilled chicken. The possibilities are many!


Know Your Stones: Fluorite

I would have to say that the reason I love fluorite is because it is purple. Actually, this mineral comes in many colors, including white, purple, blue, blue-green, green, yellow, brownish-yellow, pink or red. It can even be colorless. Fluorite is composed of calcium fluoride and has a hardness of 4 on the Moh’s scale. Its luster is vitreous, or glassy. The word fluorite comes from the Latin root fluo, which means “to flow”. It has a relatively low melting point, and is a soft mineral. Aside from its use in beads and jewelry, it is used in steel and aluminum production, and also to make telescope and camera lenses. Crystal healers consider fluorite to be one of Nature’s most powerful mental healers. Some of its mythical properties include bringing order to mental chaos, increasing objectivity, enhancing creativity, curing mental disorders, easing meditation and freeing one from bad habits. The beautiful slab of fluorite you see pictured above is from the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History. I would have loved to get my beady hands on it and the other rocks that I saw there!


Movie of the Year ~ "Julie and Julia"

Well, it may not be the movie of the year in some people's eyes, but in mine it is. After talking about it for weeks now, I finally went to see Julie and Julia. Have you seen it yet? Go. I think you'll love it too. Normally I do not rush out to see the latest release, but I knew I could not wait for this one to get to DVD. A nearby theatre runs a Monday thru Thursday special where all movies are only $4.75, which is half of what it normally costs for one admission, so I sprang for it. So glad I did. If you can't snag yourself a bargain on the ticket price, then no worries. You will not be disappointed. Not only is the film highly enjoyable and cleverly done, but I could relate to the character of Julie Powell on so many levels. I only wish I had beaten her to the punch and thought up the idea to cook my way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and then blog about it. If I had, I'd probably be living quite comfortably right now. Oh well. No offense to Julia, but I fancy myself more of a Paula Deen kinda gal anyway ;)


Road Trip 2009

We extended this past weekend by a few days and ventured down to Cincinnati, OH with some friends. It has become a tradition for the four of us to take a road trip every summer to someplace different. The great city of Cincinnati is less than a five hour drive and sits on the Ohio River, just across from Kentucky. Mr. V. and I went there back in 2005 and had a lot of fun, so we thought our buds would like it very much. Here are some highlights from our mini vacation:
Cinci is famous for its chili ~ this is a 4 way baked potato from Skyline Chili. Yes, there is a potato under all that cheese ;) We got up close and personal with all different kinds of aquatic life ~ from sharks and jellyfish to turtles and frogs ~ at the Newport Aquarium in KY.
Watched this amazing display of fireworks over the downtown after Friday night's baseball game. Oooh . . . ahhhh!!
Sampled authentic food, and other things, at the Hofbrauhaus, a German bier garten.
All of that sampling led to us doing the "Chicken Dance" while standing on our chairs!
The trip would not have been complete without seeing a game of baseball. The Reds lost to the Nationals, but I got a free Bobblehead out of it :)


Here's the Dish: Shrimp and Mango Wraps

Here’s another great wrap recipe . . . hope you don’t mind ;) I’ve been making a lot of these lately, since the weather’s been hitting the 90 degree mark with nearly 100% humidity. Who wants to eat hot food when it’s hot as blazes outside? Not I. These light sandwich wraps fit the bill on a warm summer day. I love this recipe because it lets me take advantage of the fresh herbs in my garden. I also like the exotic twist that the mango provides. My mom says mangoes taste like pine trees to her. I beg to differ ~ (not that I would know what a pine tree tastes like). I bet she’s never tasted a mango combined with shrimp and all these other tasty ingredients! After eating one of these, she might just change her tune.

Shrimp and Mango Wraps

Ingredients: 1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayo

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp in shell (16 to 20 per lb), peeled and deveined

1 (1 pound) firm-ripe mango, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes ~ click here for a nifty tutorial on how to cut a mango efficiently

4 (10 inch) flour tortillas

1 (6 ounce) bunch watercress (or romaine, or whatever ya got!), tough stems discarded


Pulse sour cream, mayonnaise, basil, chives, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a blender until herbs are finely chopped and mixture is pale green.

Bring 2 quarts water, lemon juice, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan, then poach shrimp, uncovered, at a bare simmer until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Let shrimp chill in water 2 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Coarsely chop shrimp, then add to dressing along with mango and stir to combine.

Toast tortillas 1 at a time directly on burner (gas or electric) at moderately high heat, turning over and rotating with tongs, until puffed slightly and browned in spots but still flexible, 30 to 40 seconds. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel as toasted and stack, loosely wrapped in towel.

Divide watercress among tortillas, arranging it across middle, then top with 1 1/4 cups shrimp salad. Tuck in ends of wraps, then roll up tightly to enclose filling. Cut wraps in half diagonally.

Yield: 4 servings


It's Zumba Time!

I’ve been wanting to take a Zumba class for a while now, and I’m happy to report that I finally signed up for one! Not familiar with Zumba? To quote directly from the source, Zumba “is a fusion of Latin and International music that creates a dynamic, exciting and effective fitness system”. It is a great cardio workout that is also fun ~ something I never thought possible! It’s suited for all ages and fitness levels, too. This is totally right up my alley, seeing that I’m not a fan of the standard gym workout, but I love to dance. I found a class that is being offered in the evenings, after work and near my home. It will be a great way to alleviate stress and blow off some steam after a long workday. If you would like to be part of the fitness craze that is Zumba, you can find out more by going here.


Put Your Eyes Back in Your Head!

A funny thing happened to me while driving to work this morning. I was stopped at a light, when an attractive female pushing a baby in a stroller crossed in front of me. I recall thinking she looked pretty good in her tight workout pants for someone who presumably just had a baby . . . bitch (just kidding!). It was obvious that she works hard at keeping her trim figure, so I can’t begrudge her that. Just as she was passing, I noticed a guy in a Saab who was driving by her. As he crossed the intersection, his neck turned and craned out to get a better look at this eye candy. Just then, he failed to see the stopped car in front of him, and he crashed into to it! While all of this unfolded, I sat watching helplessly in my car, sipping my coffee. At that point, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically! Nobody got hurt, thank goodness, but I felt sorry for the person whose bumper had just been smashed in by this gawker. I wonder how this sap is going to explain his newly damaged Saab to his wife/girlfriend/significant other? It was quite a scenario. The best part of all is that the pretty lady kept right on walking, oblivious to the fact that she had inadvertently caused the whole debacle. Men ~ what can we say about them?! I guess that’s what they get for being visual creatures :)


Shop Update: Lots of Lockets, and More!

If you've had your eye on my shop lately, then you know that I've been adding many new items. Believe it or not, I still have more to go, but for now I'd like to highlight some recent additions. I was fortunate to score some really special vintage lockets, and have used them in these latest creations. Lockets seem to be more popular than ever. I've always loved them, so take a look at these two new necklaces:
"Locket to You" is the name of this shiny brass necklace, which features a vintage locket with pretty raised floral design. It is priced at $25 and can be found here in my shop. Here is a sneak preview at another piece, which is unnamed as of yet. I probably won't get around to listing many items this week, so you are being treated to an advance showing ;) Many of my new bracelets feature tiny brass locket charms on them as well. You never know what might show up next in my shop, so keep your eyes open!
As a side line of business, I will be away from the shop starting this Thursday, August 13. Purchases made after 5pm EST on the 12th will ship when I return, which will be on August 17. I hope all of you are enjoying your weekend . . . it is sweltering hot and humid here, and I am not enjoying that at all!


How to Make Chipotle Mayo

One of my favorite sandwiches on the menu at Panera Bread is the Sierra Turkey. The thing that makes that one so irresistible to me, aside from the awesome Asiago Focaccia bread, is the zing of the Chipotle mayo that's on it. I just love that flavor, so I wanted to learn how to make it at home. It's actually pretty easy, so here are the instructions, if you'd like to try it too. You will need 1/2 cup of mayo. It must be the real thing, and not salad dressing or "Miracle Whip". Light mayo is fine; that's what I use. You will also need two chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and 1 Tbsp. of the adobo sauce itself. A chipotle pepper is a jalapeño pepper that has been dried and smoked. You should be able to find them near the other Mexican food items in your grocery store.
Combine all of the above ingredients in a food processor, and pulse until well blended.
Voila! Here is the finished product. It has a great spicy, smoked flavor. Use it to jazz up your everyday sandwiches, for a different change of pace.


Here's the Dish: Chicken and Avocado Wrap

Someday when I open my own Sandwich shop, this is going to be on the menu. If you like avocado, then you will love this. Even if you don't, I say give it a try. You might just change your mind after tasting it!
Chicken and Avocado Wrap


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1 clove garlic, pressed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 large green bell pepper, quartered

1 large red bell pepper, quartered

1 large purple onion, cut into 3/4 inch thick slices

2 large avocados, peeled and sliced

6 (10 inch) flour tortillas (Or lavash, which is what I use and it works well)

Avocado Mayo Ingredients:

2 small avocados

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 clove garlic, minced (use more if you like it!)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Directions: 1. Peel avocados, and mash in a small bowl; stir in mayo and remaining ingredients. Cover and chill.

2. Whisk together first six ingredients.

3. Place chicken breasts in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; pour half of vinegar mixture over chicken.

4.Place bell pepper, onion, and avocado in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; pour remaining vinegar mixture over vegetables.*

5. Seal bags, and chill at least 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

6. Remove chicken and vegetables from marinades, discarding marinades.

7. Grill chicken and vegetables, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350* to 400*F/ 175* to 205*C) 20 minutes or until chicken is done, turning once.

8. Remove vegetables from grill when done.

9. Cool; cut chicken and vegetables into strips.

10. Spread tortillas with Avocado Mayonnaise.

11. Place chicken and vegetables on tortillas; roll up. Cut in half diagonally.

* Marinating the vegetables ahead of time is not necessary. I usually let the chicken marinate overnight, for more flavor. When I am ready to prepare everything, I saute the veggies on the stove with some EVOO, balsamic, and a little salt and pepper for seasoning. You will probably end up with more of the Avocado mayo than you need for these. That's OK! It is good on anything and everything.


I Need One of These!

When it comes to the latest gadgets, I’m not exactly what you would call savvy. So that’s why I really flipped when I came across this while surfing the web a few days ago. It is a Gorillapod flexible tripod by Joby. Maybe you’ve seen one before? I had not. But now that I have, I know I must get one. The big tripod I have is too heavy to lug around, and the small one I bought a few months ago tips over from the weight of my camera. The Gorillapod is flexible and rotates 360 degrees in any direction ~ it can be wrapped around just about anything, from a tree to a chair to a fence post ~ you name it. They even make one for DSLR cameras. (I don’t have one of those . . . yet.) This means no more silly arms length self portraits of the hubby and I when we go on vacation. I’m marking this one down, because when the holidays get here I will probably forget to put it on my wish list. Mom, Dad . . . I hope you’re reading.


Know Your Stones: Tourmaline

Tourmaline is the birthstone for October and corresponds to the astrological sign of the Libra. Its name comes from a Sinhalese word, "tura mali", meaning "mixed colored stones". Although most commonly black, it can occur in a range of colors from brown, violet, green, pink, or in a dual-colored pink and green. Tourmaline is separated into several varieties, based on color. Perhaps you’ve seen or heard of Watermelon tourmaline? It literally looks like a slice of watermelon and is incredibly spectacular. Tourmalines were believed to be useful in relaxing the body and the mind, and to help in the treatment of many different diseases such as anxiety, blood poisoning, arthritis, and heart disease. This semi-precious gemstone has a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs’ scale, and is mined primarily in Brazil, Africa, Afghanistan and the US.
"Tourmaline Dream" necklace, from my Etsy shop


Shop Update ~ New Bridal Pieces

As promised, I've added some unique jewelry to my shop that is just perfect for a bride. Take a look at "Sabine", which are three coordinating pieces that are inspired by vintage romance, with a little French twist thrown in ;) Each features lovely Ivory Satin nugget pearls that are nicely sized at 10mm each. My obsession of the moment is pearls and brass together ~ I think they make a spectacular pair.
Bracelet ~ $32 Necklace ~ $20
These pieces would look awesome with this dress, which comes from Jones New York. The name of it is "Let's Elope" ~ love that! Soooo perfect for a beach or garden wedding. Who says you must have a big poufy gown? I love its simple elegance. At only $105 (on sale), it's ideal for the bride on a budget!


Revolving Door Sale!!!

What better day than a Monday to announce that I'm having a SALE?!?
I'm calling it a "Revolving Door Sale" . . . why, you ask?? Everything in this special section of my shop has been marked down, but the sale items could change from day to day, even hour to hour. So that means you should check my shop early and often for the best deals. You can handle that, right?! ;) Anyone who's known me for a while also knows that I don't do this often, so jump on the bandwagon while you can. These deals won't be around for long!


A Day of Blueberries

This post by Janna of jaC jewelry inspired me to do something I haven't done since my youth, and that was to go blueberry picking. Yesterday was the perfect day for it, so we grabbed my parents and drove to the countryside to a wonderful blueberry farm. The four of us truly enjoyed this adventure, which netted us boatloads of wonderful berries that we will enjoy for months to come (thank goodness they freeze well!). You can bet there will be many blueberry recipes on this blog in the near future, but for now take a look at some of our adventures from yesterday: On our way out of town, we stopped at the Shelby Township Farmer's Market to see my friend Kay, who is the creator of Wooly Bulle'. Take a look at her fabulous display of all natural lotions, soaps and laundry powder. They are wonderful products! If you live in the Metro Detroit area, be sure to stop by this market, which runs on Saturdays from 9-2. It is located at the historic Packard Proving Grounds, which is a wonderful setting. While not a terribly big market, it features a lovely range of items and some of the freshest, most delicious looking produce I have ever seen. There was even one vendor who would cut a fresh head of romaine lettuce for you, right off the plant, for only $2.25.
The Blueridge Berry Farm in Capac, MI is the place to go.
Look at those beautiful berries, just waiting to be picked!
These two buckets were mine and the hubby's. Between the four of us, we ended up with over 30lbs. of them!
They made for excellent pancakes this morning :)


Here's the Dish: Rustic Tomato Tart

I've been on a mad search to find new ways to use all of the tomatoes that are sprouting up around us. So, when this recipe dropped into my inbox the other day, I was on it. This one comes courtesy of Kraft foods, and it is amazingly easy, quick and delicious. It combines two things I love ~ pizza and BLT's, yet it looks like an appetizer you might find on the menu at a trendy restaurant. Gotta love that!
Rustic Tomato Tart
1 ready-to-use refrigerated pie crust (1/2 of 15-oz. pkg.)
3 plum tomatoes (1 lb.), seeded, sliced
1-1/2 cups Shredded Colby & Monterey Jack Cheese
1/3 cup *Mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat Mayonnaise (*I used regular light mayo and just added a few drops of EVOO, it worked)
6 slices Bacon
1 cup arugula
HEAT oven to 400ºF.
UNROLL pie crust on baking sheet. Arrange tomato slices in circular pattern on crust, overlapping slices as needed to fit and leaving 1-1/2-inch border at edge. Mix cheese and mayo; spread over tomatoes. Fold edge of crust over tomatoes.
BAKE 20 to 24 min. or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp.
COOL tart 10 min. Crumble bacon. Top tart with arugula and bacon.
Yield: 6 servings