Sunday, June 02, 2013

Ginger Tea recipe

Ginger is one of my favorite flavors - I love its warm spicy flavor no matter where I find it - as a kid, I loved gingerbread, ginger ale, and ginger candy. As I got older, I discovered new ways to enjoy this fantastic rhizome - Thai dishes, Japanese stir-fries, and Moosewood Restaurant's yummy ginger-miso dressing (I'll post that recipe too, I promise).

Beyond ginger's obvious culinary delights, ginger is also a fantastic traditional remedy. I've been drinking lots of it lately, and have found that it helps with inflammatory stuff (like the arthritis in my back and those naughty monthly cramps), as well as helping to clear chest congestion when we caught that nasty cold a while back.

Ginger's use as a traditional medicinal goes back more than 2,000 years, so there is a wealth of information on its uses. I encourage you to do your own research and decide if ginger is right for you.

For starters, here's what WebMD has to say about ginger.

One thing you need to know: If you have a chronic health condition or if you're on prescription medications, DO check with your healthcare professional before ingesting ginger in quantities greater than that used for culinary purposes. Ginger interacts with many different medications, and it acts as a blood thinner too.

Following is how I prepare my ginger tea:

  • You'll need about 9 ounces of fresh ginger for 3 quarts of water, or 13 ounces of ginger for 4 quarts of water.
  • Refrigerate what you don't drink immediately, and consume within 24 hours of making.
  • For best results, ginger tea should be drunk warm.
  • Re-heat carefully - do not allow ginger tea to boil.

Peel ginger.

Cut into chunks.

Pulse-chop in food processor into tiny bits. You can also chop it with a knife if you don't have a food processor. The idea is to get it as finely chopped as possible.

Close-up of afore-mentioned tiny bits.

This is a 3-quart pot, filled with water and brought to a boil. Add chopped ginger and re-heat, just shy of a boil.

Turn heat off. Cover ginger tea. Allow to steep 2-3 hours.

Pour ginger tea through strainer.

Press chopped ginger with back of spoon to extract all the yummy gingery goodness.

I like to add a generous splash of almond milk to my ginger tea - the ginger tea is very strong and spicy, so the almond milk helps tone it down a bit and make it more of a "special treat" drink than a medicinal sort of thing.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Soup's On! (the big reveal!)

Please visit my partner Christine's blog, Sweet Girl Design, to see what she created with the Bead Soup I sent her!

Here they are - my finished Bead Soup pieces - at least the ones I have finished so far! I've got another *this* close to done and beads pulled for yet another piece featuring Christine's lovely alternate focal. I'm still reeling from how much beady goodness she sent to me - it was such a lush, generous package filled with all kinds of gorgeous!

Note: I'm having a really difficult time loading pictures to the blog tonight - tried to load pics of the soup Christine sent, but it's just not cooperating. You can click here to see what she sent me.

When I first opened Christine's box of Bead Soup, I really wanted to turn some of the briolettes into a pair of dangly sparkly earrings - but wound up shelving that idea, because the holes on the labradorite and sodalite briolettes were just sooooo teeny tiny. It was impossible to get sterling wire of a sturdy-enough gauge through those holes, so I just went with super fine beading wire and made strung pieces instead - and I'm thrilled with the results!

Christine's handmade vintage rhinestone and filigree focal is absolutely stunning, and I really wanted to do it justice. I sketched out 4-5 different ways to work with it - I wanted to try it with everything, but in the end, I had to pick one and roll with it!

I wound up taking inspiration from the vintage Czech enamel necklaces pictured in one of my favorite eye candy jewelry idea books, Fabulous Fakes, by Carole Tanenbaum. The necklaces each feature a lovely large embellished filigree pendant, accented with dangly bits, suspended from lovely beaded strands. I thought about making it symmetrical like the necklaces in the book, really I did - I laid it out so everything matched, but it was just, well, just *too* symmetrical, and really kind of boring.

I decided to play up the blue and brass tones, so I found some great brass chain at Shipwreck Beads, and dangled Christine's lovely blue rondelles from every third link. On the other side, I used some of my etched handmade lampwork beads in a "brassy" color (transparent light brown) and strung them with a bead soup mix I already had on hand from a prior project. (A while ago, I used this same color scheme on a lanyard, and I really like it - it's elegant and stylish without being fussy.)
The grey-blue of the sparkly briolette crystals Christine included in the alternate focal package were perfect for the dangles from the filigree pendant. I used 22 gauge annealed steel wire to wire them to the dainty brass chain (also found at Shipwreck Beads). Let me just state for the record that I LOVE briolette/drop shape beads, but goodness gracious, they sure are nerve-wracking to wire-wrap, aren't they? Christine's lovely filigree toggle clasp finishes off this necklace perfectly.

This next piece is actually the first one I finished - the result of one of the many sketches I made based on Christine's soup.

This one features the afore-mentioned lovely labradorite briolettes with tiny holes, as well as some smaller blue rondelles that Christine sent, the brass rounds and dyed impression jasper, and one of my own handmade lampwork Nebula Series beads in a dark oceany blue. I used one of the "woven" round links Christine sent as part of the clasp, with a brass S-hook for the other part - had to bend the S-hook though, so it would lay properly.

The final pieces are a set of three stacking bracelets, all based on the color scheme that  Christine sent, and incorporating as many of her beads as I could manage.

The first bracelet features one of the four vintage chandelier crystals that Christine sent me, which I combined with two of my etched lampwork beads, brass chain, some milky white faceted Czech beads and some of Christine's brass rounds. The second bracelet is very simple, but I love it: Christine's bright blue freshwater pearls and more of those yummy blue faceted rondelles (have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE faceted rondelles? No? Well, I *do* love them!). The third bracelet incorporates mixed media - wire, recycled sari silk fiber, one of my Desert Dreams series lampwork beads, and more of those great milky Czech faceted beads, with some cool brass spacers. I suppose you *could* wear just one bracelet at a time, but so far, I've worn all three bracelets together - I think they are happiest that way.

Christine, thank you SO much for being my partner for this Bead Soup Blog Party - I really appreciate it, and had a wonderful time designing with all the lovely treasures you shared with me! (And I'm pretty stoked that I got a new friend out of it too!)

Lori, thank YOU for hosting this incredible project. This is such a labor of love and life-force, and you handle it with style, class, kindness, and love. You are putting good energy into the world. Thank you!

As soon as I get the other pieces finished, I'll post pics and write-ups for them. In the meantime, you've got plenty more eye candy to check out - here's the link to the rest of the (more than 200) Third Reveal posts. Please visit as many posts as you're able, and do leave comments!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What she got/What I got

My fabulous partner Christine and I rescheduled our reveal for #3, this coming Saturday, April 20.

Find all of the other Second Reveal folks here.

Which means I should probably get pics of our respective soups posted without delay, right?

Here goes:
First up is what Christine sent to me - she very generously sent two soups! (and a delish chocolate bar!)

The main soup has a blue/brass/crystal color scheme. The focal is a scrumptious vintage rhinestone/filigree piece that she made herself (!!!) (anyone who knows me knows how I feel about something handmade! swoon!), a lovely brass filigree-style toggle clasp, 4 chandelier crystals, dyed impression jasper, sodalite briolettes, tiny shimmery labradorite briolettes, brass accent beads (plain and fluted), blue dyed freshwater pearls, and lots of blue crystal rondelles, along with four brass "woven" ring links, some cool blue big-hole beads, some blue/white/light blue plastic star spacers, and a couple of lengths of fiber cord - blue silk and brass-tone satin cord. WOW! What a pile of lovely stuff to play with!
The second soup Christine sent has a purple/red/blue color scheme - the focal is a decoupage tile, which I just love, accompanied by dyed red and blue agate beads, and some gorgeous sparkly blue/grey brolette drop crystals for some serious bling. I've decided to use gunmetal findings with this color scheme - hoping I get this piece finished before the big reveal!

Christine - thank you thank you thank you for all the fun new beads I've gotten to play with these past few weeks! I hope I'm doing them justice!

OK, now for what I sent to Christine:

Here's the sneak peek pic I posted a few weeks ago:

Here is the unaltered view of the "sneak peek" pick:
And this picture tells you what everything is:
DO be sure to check back on Saturday, April 20, 2013, to see what Christine and I made with our piles of beady goodness!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Introducing my BSBP partner, Christine Stonefield!


Breathing new life into vintage finds is Christine Stonefield’s favorite approach to making jewelry. “I love to make pieces that are unique, but not so extravagant that you couldn’t wear it with anything,” says Christine, whose elegant work has a timeless appeal.

Christine’s grandmother and uncle started her on the creative path early in life, with painting on china and canvas. As she got older, she began 4H and ceramics, followed by additional painting classes.

Christine’s art jewelry journey began in the spring of 2008, with a pearl-knotting class. In order to experiment with new techniques and materials, and to build her skill set, she’s taken many more classes including chain maille, wire wrapping, and kumihimo.

Early in her journey, Christine’s niece Erica fell seriously ill. Wanting to cheer her niece, Christine focused on making jewelry for her. Years later, Christine still finds inspiration in Erica’s spirit. “She was beautiful and delicate,” says Christine.

Christine’s favorite techniques are stringing and wirework. “My next goal is to learn how to make my own clasps and toggles,” says Christine. Her close attention to quality and detail is evident in the pictures of her work. In fact, Christine reports that her biggest challenge is that she’s her own worst critic. “Often, I’ll drop off some jewelry at Zodiac, only to go back the next day to pick up a piece or two, in order to “tweak” it. I’ve even done this to friends and family!”

Christine sells her work locally at Zodiac, in Gahanna, OH (near Columbus), and she’s in the process of opening her Etsy shop, Sweetgirldesign1. Keep up with her latest adventures through her blog, Sweet Girl Design.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pssst...can you keep a secret?

After much trial and tribulation (mostly due to my back issues which are finally, thankfully, starting to resolve), I gleefully mailed my Bead Soup to my partner, Christine S.. She and I have been chatting back & forth via email, so I've kept her updated. Christine has been very understanding, but still - what a relief to get it OUTTA here! She posted mine to me on the same date, so now all I have to do is stalk my mail carrier.

Hope she likes what I sent!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Bead Soup Blog Party #7 - I'm in!

Between kids, home, and developing new designs for my lampwork beads, I haven't been making much jewelry lately - yeah, there hasn't been a lot of time for jewelry making, but even more - there hasn't been much motivation, oomph, or even inspired spark. I think I really just needed a break.

I knew that the next Bead Soup Blog Party was fast approaching, and was really on the fence about participating, given my lack of creative mojo. (I first participated in the September 2011 Bead Soup Blog Party and had a blast! I made a few new friends, not least of whom was my partner, Ambra Gostoli - annnd, I got booted waaay out of my comfort zone and came up with some exciting new (for me!) designs.)

Then I learned that Lori Anderson, creative mastermind behind the increasingly popular Bead Soup Blog Parties, is hosting just one of these massive events per year now. (Really, I'm not at all surprised - coordinating this online festivity is an insane amount of work and stress - Lori is truly gifted and amazing to be able to pull this off, time & again. She inspires me, that girl does.)

Suddenly the inner child in me stood up on the chair and loudly declared that she did NOT want to be left out.

So...I signed up this past weekend.

Now I'm trying to figure out what kind of bead soup to send my partner - I sent Ambra one of my tulip beads and some coordinating spacers last time, and I've got some great calla lily beads happening now...but...gosh, maybe something other than a floral theme? Hmmm. Sounds like a GREAT excuse to head out to the torch!

In any event, break time is over and I'm hoping my creative muse gets the memo.