Sunday, February 28, 2010

Minnesota Hot Dish!

I'd never heard the term until we moved to Minnesota. Before we moved here, what I am about to show you was called a casserole. Here, the generic term for this mixture of hot food is called "Hot Dish."

This recipe is a recipe I was given here in Minnesota at an international fest hosted at my child's school when she was in 6th grade. I actually chased the maker of the "hot dish" down to get the recipe. To say this is significant because, as you can see, sauerkraut is a main ingredient. Until I tasted this magnificent "hot dish," I was a sauerkraut HATER!
Now, I love it!

All right, here's the recipe for this Minnesota Hot Dish. It only takes 5 ingredients, and it can cook up in 45 minutes to an hour. It is delicious!

Here's the finished product! ------->

Minnesota Hot Dish

1 can of sauerkraut
(You can use the smaller sized can, too.)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of uncooked shells or macaroni
1 pound of hamburger
1 small onion

How do you make this "hot dish?"

1) Brown the hamburger with the onion. Drain.
2) Mix together the hamburger and onion mixture with the soup, uncooked pasta, and sauerkraut.
3) Put in a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.

Easy peasy! And it tastes delicious! Now, you can join those of us who live up north and say,
"Yah, you betcha! Ya'll."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nikki Carollo - The Sheep Goddess

I absolutely love Nikki's work! I'd love to walk through her brain as she processes the ideas that become her wonderful beads. Now, you'll notice how small this photo is.---------------------------------------------------->
I'm sorry, but when I tried to hijack bead photos from Ebay, it wouldn't let me. Dang it! However, this sheep is just an example of why Nikki was nicknamed The Sheep Goddess on Ebay. Nikki will tel more of her story in just a minute. (I hate to admit this, but I borrowed the interview from her website.)

Here's part of the interview that I, uh hum, stole, I mean, borrowed.
Nikki makes so many wonderful beads, and I'll show them to you during this, uh hum, interview.
Look at her lizard bead! Wow! ---------------------------------------------->

Who are you, again? Why am I here?
My name is Nikki Carollo, and my favorite obsession is melting glass...

When it all began...
I started making beads in a roundabout way. My father wanted to learn stained glass, so he took a class, then taught me. We both worked on stained glass for about a year, and during trips to the local glass shop, I noticed the glass rods. They were mesmerizing, the colors, and the entire concept of glass work being instantly gratifying - well, I had to try it! I did, in January 2003, and I haven't looked back to my stained glass since...

So tell us about the beads and technique.
I am a lampwork bead artist, which means I make beads individually in the flame by shaping molten glass. I use mainly 104 COE glass and my trusty Hot Head torch hooked up to bulk propane - at least I used my Hot Head until May of 2009. I then switched to an M-15 oxycon and a Minor torch. I feel I have a range of bead styles, from sculptural silliness in sheep, aliens, frogs, and lizards, to sculptural elegance in dragonflies and goddesses. I'm also proud to have accomplished encased florals, which I wanted to do since I saw one.

I love her aliens! -------------------------------------------------->

And the sheep?
I was doing a demo at Artful Hands Studio, one of my homes away from home. At that time I was mainly making cat faces, fish, and plainer focal beads. Someone came up and asked if I could do a sheep. The first one was done as a sheep face - it involved dots and dots and dots, and about halfway through I swore I wouldn't do another. Until I saw how cute it turned out... I think I left with three sheep that night, and I've lost count how many since. An eBay group christened me as The Sheep Goddess - it's a title I proudly use.

Okay, so it's a cat and not a sheep. I still love it----------------------------->

One of the things I most admire about Nikki is her involvement in Beads of Courage.

I am so thrilled to say that I own one of Nikki's gorgeous butterflies! I cherish it, too.

Please read more about Nikki's work for Beads of Courage here. Her dedication to this organization is amazing! Nikki, you are an inspiration! Thank you!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) It took until the next day, but Pixie forgave me for leaving her at the kennel. The next morning, she was full of kisses at 3 AM!

2) I still smile every time I look at the beads I made in Caitlin Hyde's class! I am honestly impressed with the progress I made in her class!

3) It was 6:45 AM when I looked outside today. I saw the gray of dawn outside. It was actually light! There might be hope for spring now!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What I Learned in Caitlin Hyde's Class - Some of my class beads

We started out with faces. The face on the left is my class bead. The face on the right is the bead I made when I got home.

Oh, these beads are two sided. Stay tuned for side 2.

Here's side 2.

Skulls. The one on the left I made in class. The one on the right, I made at home.

I've learned that it's all about heat control. I'm working with the smallest flame I have ever used now.

How about a creature?
came about as a result of a doodle. I wanted to make a cell bead. It became a creature.

It's my first Pixie bead. It's cute, but I like the second one so much better. Remember what I said about heat control? I'm learning. I'm learning!

Now, this is my favorite. It was my last class bead. Caitlin's conference helped me so much!

Guess who this is?

I'm wire wrapping it tonight!

Thank you, Caitlin, your class was excellent!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Caitlin Hyde--Watch her Make a Bead!

If you aren't able to make it to the Austin Blue Moon Glassworks on March 13th and 14th, you will miss an amazing experience! You will miss a class with Caitlin Hyde. You will miss the opportunity to learn how Caitlin makes a bead using a few simple tools and amazing heat control.

I was able to be in Caitlin's class last week in Atlanta, Georgia. Not only did we have a wonderful time, but we were taught by an excellent teacher who could explain to us the why's and how's of what we were doing. We learned about drawing out our designs. We were invited to conference with Caitlin, who, by the way, helped me so much with my beads. Overall, it was an amazing experience for me.

Now, if you can't attend Caitlin's class at the Blue Moon, please watch as she makes a bead.

Caitlin uses very few tools. I think I counted 3 + stringers. She worked primarily in ivory and black. This was such a switch for me who loves to work with many colors.

(Notice the bead she was wearing! I wish you could see it close up.) It was a beautiful picture bead. We made silhouette beads. Wow!

Notice the glow of her bead? That's a part of her amazing heat control. She teaches this technique well.

Here Caitlin has added some basic colors to her bead. You should see this in person!

See how this bead has changed? Wait until you see the end product.

The round bead is now flat, and more is to come.
She teaches you how to make this bead look the way it does. I was truly surprised.

Here, she's adding some dots to the bead. Almost finished!

Wait! This is the tease photo! Where's the finished bead? Well, I have to tell you the truth. I forgot to take a photo of the finished bead. I have to say though, it was amazing!
If you want to see similar beads, be sure to visit Caitlin's website. You will see similar beads, or, if you're in the vicinity of Austin, Texas in March, you could sign up for her class. You will never be disappointed.

Oh, just a tiny bit of information about Caitlin, she's also a knitter. Marcy Lamberson, Caitlin and I went yarn shopping in Atlanta. It was fun! Caitlin was making socks! She chose some cute yarns.

Caitlin, did you finish your socks?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This is a teaser!

I have run out of time tonight to do justice to the class I took with Caitlin Hyde! Tomorrow, I will post more about the class. Just let me say now, it was AWESOME!

I also want to thank Marcy Lamberson for the invitation to visit and attend Caitlin's class. It was a blast!

Atlanta is a huge city, but it was so much warmer than here! Tomorrrow, I will blog about Caitlin's class. The next day, I hope, I will show some beads that I made in her class.

If you ever have a chance to take Caitlin's class, do not walk, but run to sign up! You will never regret it.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Look What Someone Did with My Shards!

Be sure to check out Bead A Little Dream by lizajayne on Etsy, and you still might be able to see this heart. She made it using my Blazing Sunset Shards! Isn't it great?

While you're there, be sure to check out the rest of her store to see more amazing beads!

How about this -----------------> bead? Isn't it gorgeous? You can also find this in lizajayne's Etsy store.

Look at this beautiful ring!
This is also in Lizajayne's store.
So, run, don't walk, and visit Bead a Little Dream. You won't be sorry!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ilse Meert - Lover of Lampwork and Amazing Designer!

Meet Ilse Meert! --------------------->

She's not a lampworker, but she loves lampwork beads! You should see some of the beautiful beads she has! I'm going to let her speak in just a few minutes, but right now, I want to show you some of her work! It's beautiful! You can find her dramatic and stunning works of wearable art on her website.

Please do not be surprised that her website is written in Flemish. You don't need to understand the language to navigate the site and see her beautiful designs.

Look at this necklace! Oh my goodness! Isn't it beautiful!
You just have to visit her web site to see more amazing jewelry, except for the jewelry I'm going to show you here!

I know that Ilse doesn't make the lampwork beads, but doesn't she do
amazing things with them?

I almost forgot to let Ilse talk. Here she goes!
Hi, I'm Ilse, born and raised in Belgium with one great passion in life: making jewelry and, by preference, making it with lampwork!

In my jewelry designs I use SRA lampwork from various artist over the world, and .925 silver; Bali silver, Thai Hill Tribe silver. Sometimes I add gemstones and swarovski but lampwork is my main passion.

I am a proud member of SRAJD (#582), a group of people who design, create and sell their own high quality artisan jewlery. No mass-produced stuff allowed in this group!

I hope you like looking at my jewelry as I love making it.

Ilse, do like to look at your amazing jewelry! You are a most talented artist!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Three Beautiful Things This Week

Three Beautiful Things This Week was inspired by a wonderful blog that Clare writes called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) Pixie continues to wake me up at 4 AM to tell me she loves me. I wake up to a cold nose on my face and lots and lots of dog kisses, until she sighs and goes back to sleep. Although I am not able to go back to sleep, I am happy to know that Pixie is happy and that she loves me!

2) I'm watching The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan. There are dogs barking, and Pixie's ears perk up as she tries to find the other dogs. She's staring at the TV in total amazement as the dogs bark and growl!

3) This morning there's no new snow, but the air is saturated with moisture. A thick fog blankets the surface of the river and the city in which I live. The trees are frosted in a thick sugar coating. I'd like to stop and see the city that's covered with fog and frost, but the traffic demands that I only a glance at the magic of Mother Nature!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I'm a Proud Member of Team EFA on Etsy!

I used to belong to several street teams on Etsy, now I belong to only one, and that is Team EFA. EFA means Etsy for Animals.

Michele Erez-------------------------------> founded Team EFA three years ago, " a way to bring together animal lovers on Etsy."

This statement is taken from the home page of Etsy for Animals.

What is EFA Artists Helping Animals?

EFA Artists Helping Animals is a group of more than 500 independent artists, independent craftspeople, independent vintage suppliers, and independent art and craft suppliers that combine their efforts to provide charitable relief to animals. EFA can be found as a Team on, an online marketplace for buying and selling handmade items. All members of EFA are also Etsy members.

Isn't that amazing? There are 500 members on this Etsy street team! Each and every artist has a deep commitment to helping animals. I'm proud to be a member of this team!

This little guy


was recently featured in the EFA blog.

This is another example of people helping animals.

As you peruse the EFA site, be sure to look at the monthly challenge link. You will see some wonderful works by artists who are members of Team EFA!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane for Caitlin Hyde's Class in Atlanta!

All right, this-------------------------> is a photo of Airforce One by the Boeing Corporation. I'm not riding on that, but I just needed a photo of an airplane. I am, however, headed out on a jet plane for Atlanta, Georgia to take a lampworking class from Caitlin Hyde. I'll tell you more about the class later.

I'm also very excited because I became a member of the Southern Flames, the Atlanta Chapter of the ISGB (International Society of Glass Bead Makers).

Another reason I am so excited is that I am going to have the privilege of meeting Marcy Lamberson (Studio Marcy) for the first time, in person! Woooohoooo! I will also get to see, again, Sylvie Landsdowne of Sylvie Beads. I had known Sylvie online for a short time before I was privilged to meet her in person at the Bead and Button Show last year!

Woooohoooo! This is going to be a wonderful trip! I will blog more about this later! Until then, enjoy the blog, and keep on reading and commenting.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lisa Rippee - What Goes on in Her Mind?

I would love to walk through the mind of Lisa Rippee, a glass artist who works in both borosillicate and soft glass. When you visit her Etsy store, Cloud Eleven Design Creations in Glass, and look around, you will begin to understand why I say this.
In a minute, I'll let Lisa speak for herself, but in the meantime, check
this out. ------------------------------->

Do you see what I mean? Wouldn't you love to tour the brain of the person who made this fabulous sculpture? I know that I would! Look at the detail in this sculpture vessel. Where do these ideas come from? Her creative gift is amazing!

Recently, I purchased this tutorial
--------------------------------------------> from Lisa's shop on how to make these fabulous vessels. You can read my blog about the vessels I made using her excellent tutorial here.
Then, off you go to Lisa's Etsy store to look at more of her work.

While you're busy looking, I'm going to let Lisa do a little bit of talking now!
In her narrative, Lisa will mention borosillicate glass. This is made from borosillicate glass or boro as it is nicknamed. It's a very strong glass.

Lisa Rippee of Cloud Eleven Design is a flamework artist in Kansas, where she creates humorous works using soda lime and borosilicate glass. She finds inspiration in simple things, such as things children say, annoying television commercials, and life’s subtle ironies. Her most rewarding work is that which elicits a strong response from the viewer. Lisa has studied with several glass artists such as Loren Stump, Sharon Peters, and Tink Martin. She teaches private lessons and will be an instructor at Glass Stock in Bend, Oregon in 2010. Lisa’s work can be found in Bearden’s Glass Gallery in Overland Park, Kansas, and in her Etsy store at

So, don't waste time. Take a trip over to Cloud Eleven Design on Etsy. You won't be sorry you did, then ask for a tour of Lisa's mind. That would be amazing!

Monday, February 15, 2010

And the Winners Are!!!!!!!!

There were 214 comments left in this blog. I am now drawing the numbers for these hearts using a random number generator to choose the winners.

Heart #1 ----------------------->

Heart #2 -------------------------->.

Using the random number generator the winner of heart #1 is:

#155 -

The winner of heart #2 is: #33

Congratulations to the winners. I will be in touch soon!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Will you be my Valentine?

I heart you!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bringing Spring Home - Look What I Found!

If you've read my Facebook posts, you know how much I've been whining about this EXTREMELY LONG AND COLD WINTER.

It just doesn't seem that this winter will EVER END!

Al right, so that was another whine, and I should find some cheese to with my whine!

As you can see------------------------>
here is something green. I found it on Etsy at Miss Mossy's Live Moss Terrariums and Other Observations! Whew! That's a lot to say! If you visit this store, you will find a lot of ways to put a little green into your life when you need it--like me! I need green!

This store is so interesting, you should check it out, especially, if you need green! There are tutorials, kits, and completed terrariums.

Not enough? How about some terrarium jewelry?
Check this out. -------------------------------------------->

It's a moss terrarium from Warm Country Meadows on Etsy. Isn't it great?

In my search for spring, all I did was put the words moss terrariums into the Etsy search. Try it! You will probably find more than you can imagine! The Spring Man cometh!

How do you bring spring into your life? Let me know!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Three Beautiful Things This Week

The Three Beautiful Things This Week is a result of a wonderful blog by Clare called Three Beautiful Things. Everyday, Clare writes about 3 Beautiful Things that happen each day in her life. It's a wonderful blog! I can only hope to imitate her in a very small way.

1) Another storm hit us hard. When I went outside this morning to retrieve the newspaper, I saw the aftermath of the storm,
bunny tracks----------------------->
It brings me joy to know that, in spite of the storms, life will find a way!

2) The virtual Bead Soup Party, hosted by Lori Anderson, was a rousing success! Lori, with her idea of hosting a Bead Soup Party, managed to bring together 84 bloggers, host an exchange, and keep us organized so that the party would happen as scheduled. The storm raged, but the party went on!

3) We experienced two days of bright sunshine after the storm. The reflection of the sun on the snow actually felt like a fire burning on my eyes. It's a foreshadowing of the warm, hot days of summer to come.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

There is still so much suffering! Let us not Forget Haiti!

I never cease to be amazed and impressed by the artist communities who come to the aid of those in need.
I am concerned that we are beginning to forget those who are in such great need in Haiti!

I applaud those artisans who are helping us to remember. Here are a few samples of the work that is available on Etsy.

Deb Batten of Firebird Flamework is making Hearts for Haiti. The more hearts you buy, the more she will make. Thanks, Deb.

Meadowbelle Market on Etsy is also contributing income from the sales of their goods to help Haiti.

Isn't this heart beautiful?

Please shop Etsy for those who help Haiti.

Last, but not least, is Craft Hope for Haiti. This store is made up of items donated by artisans on Etsy. This store supports Doctors Without Borders. I even have an item in this store.

This little vessel is perfect for carrying a small amount of whatever you like. I usually put a drop or two of scented oils, and the scent stays with me all day!

Thanks for looking. Please don't forget!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bead Soup Party--Here's what I Made!

Sandra Neights of Marabella Jewelry Designs on Etsy was my Bead Soup partner. Be sure to visit her store. She has some beautiful pieces of handcrafted PMC pieces in her store. Gorgeous!

I was the lucky recipient of one of her pieces in my bead kit! Look at that focal! Because of that beautiful focal, I decided that it deserved to be the center of attention in my design.
As per the rules, I used the focal bead and the clasp in my design. Oh, my, it is beautiful! I can hardly wait to wear this bracelet!

Thank you, Lori, for such a wonderful match!

Here are a list of all the party participants. Have a look. I've seen some amazing works of art already this morning.

There are a total of 84 of us participating in this party... here's a list of the other blogs... go check them out, I am!!
1. Lori, An Artists Year Off (our hostess!)
3. Terri, Blooming Ideas
9. Adrienne, Adrienne Designs
11. Laurel, Rue's Daftique
14. Cassie, The Glass Beadle
17. Lisa, Lo and Behold
19. Judith, Judith B.
20. Debbie, Prairie Emporium
24. Marianna, Pretty Shiny Things
25. Lisa, Joolz by Lisa
26. Cristi, 2 If By Sea
30. Leslie, Bei Mondi
31. Loretta, Designs by Loretta
33. Kathie, The Bead Cult
34. Patty, Plays With Fire
35. Nicki, Nicki's Reef
36. Anne Marie, Heart's Desire
39. Emanda, Artemesia's Studio
40. Whitney, Whitney Lassini
41. Marcie, La Bella Joya
42. Suzann, Beadphoria
45. Janiece, J Birds Garden
47. Laurie, The Mermaid Tale
49. Sue, Sue Beads
51. Nancy, The Rabbit Muse
52. Kristie, Artisan Clay
53. Regina, Regina's Writings
55. Lyn, Lyn Foley
57. Cathryn, Chile Cats
60. Juli, Jul's Beads
61. Julie, RockerJewlz
70. Lynette, Rock Hill Designs
73. Ruthie, Rose Works Jewelry
74. Elizabeth, Turquoise Sky
75. Maire, Maire Dodd
76. Janet, Singing Woods
77. Eileen, Dorset Hill Beads
79. Joann, Jo's Jewels
80. Patti, PJ Clark Designs

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today is Tomorrow is Another Day

As I write this post, it is today. When you read this post, it will be tomorrow, another day. This is what we woke up to this morning. The meteorologists were predicting this for a couple of days. By the time we are finished we will have about 12 inches, if forecasts are correct. Tomorrow, today, though we will have strong winds and blizzard conditions. I think I'm staying home.