Thursday, 28 February 2008

Beadage

Last week I pulled myself up by the boot straps and submitted a bracelet to Beadage to go in their gallery. 5 minutes ago I checked my e-mail and found that my Iona prehnite and amethyst bracelet was approved and is now in the beadage gallery! I am so proud of that little bracelet.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Better Days

lavender jade earrings
I think my earrings are getting better. What do you think? I really like how these lavender candy jade earrings have turned out, I would be tempted to wear them myself if I actually had pierced ears. Yes I know I'm sad, 30 years old and untouched ears. I have a bit of an issue with needles, although I will sit and watch Maimi Ink, and LA Ink watching people squirm as they get tatooed with needles and I'm totally fine with that. Obviously I haven't had that particular pleasure either... I'm too indecisive to actually get anything that permanate done.
prehnite and amethyst pin
This pin is part of the Self Indulgence Challenge I posted on the Mumsnet Arts and Crafts Blog, I listened to Evenesence, The Open Door while I crafted, with a little bit of time I had been gifted by H going over to grandma's (my mother in law) house for an hour. I think it looks lovely, I love the colour purple, especially amethyst, and I think the amethyst and green prehnite look great together.
To make my day even better I got my Easter Swap present from Chloe, a lovely plush Easter Egg ornament, with my favourite "bruise" coloured buttons. She also stitched Meridian Ariel on the back, and included four faceted pear shaped amathyst beads, and a lovely little note too. Thank you Chloe!
button Easter Egg from Chloe


hand stitching of Meridian Ariel on the reverse of Egg

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

One Yellow Flower and One Blue Painting


sunshine yellow flower at Cauldwell's Mill today

I seriously lost my crafting mojo the other day when everything went all to hell but I have had a lovely day out today. We went to Caudwell's Mill in Rowsley, Derbyshire, one of H's favourite places in the world. It was all sunshine and gust of wind with the promise of spring in the air. I feel really refreshed and ready to throw myself into doing some crafting.

Before going to the mill M and I had a dig around in his mother's attic and I found this painting I did of Louis Brooks probably about 9 or 10 years ago... eek I'm getting old. Its not bad I'm not sure about the blue being a bit too blue. She is sitting on the mantle stairing at me daring me to do something with her as she had been forgotton for so long. I might se if I have give her a bit of a revamp and recycle her a bit, maybe darken the painting down a little so she fits in with the colour scheme of the rest of the house.



p.s. if you scroll down a bit you will see that I uploaded new pictures of the yellow opal bracelets.

Monday, 25 February 2008

One of Those Days

pink opal bracelet

Today is one of those days, where everything goes just a bit wrong. The light is bad, can't take any good pictures of my jewellery to upload to etsy. Etsy is messed up anyway as all my views have gone and disapeared. Not just me its happened to alot of people but damn I was so proud of the views on got on my little bits of jewellery and crafts. What else has happened, oh I started knitting a cabled scarf and it jsut went wrong... in a bad way I ripped it all out to start again, and really felt like tossing the ball of wool into the fire. I didn't as it would have been wasteful but I was sorely tempted to. On top of it all I have headache so I'm I'm going to go bury my head under the duvet and hope things take a turn for the better later.


Saturday, 23 February 2008

Lemon Yellow Sun

Yellow opal and smokey quartz

amethyst and yellow opal bracelet


Since the beads arrived this morning I have had Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" stuck in my head all day because of the colour, lemon yellow sun, though obviously not the sunniest of songs its still a good one. I must go dig out some Pearl Jam from the cd collection I haven't listened to them in ages. As it turns out I didn't need to get out the cd as Frizbe played it in the shop!



Friday, 22 February 2008

Where Has all the Sunshine Gone?

jade and amethyst earrings
Here are two more attempts at earrings... I'm not sure what to do with them yet, as I'm not sure they are up to scratch to sell yet, but I think I'm getting marginally better at bending the head pins. In any even I have ordered some more earring findings to play with and if I'm happy with them I will be putting them up for sale in the shop.
I also re-made the labrodorite and onyx bracelet, the chain was badly done and I wasn't happy with the clasp before. I think its much more effective now and I am very happy with the bracelet now. I have been working on doing some recycling crafts but that will need to wait for another day when i feel better and can finish the items and get them photographed.

garnet earrings


labradorite and onyx bracelet

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

ingredients:
1 tub Mascarpone cheese
1 package lady fingers (trifle sponges ect)
½ cup caster (white ) sugar (or confectioners powdered sugar)
2 tablespoons Tia Maria (brandy or coffee liqueur)
3 tablespoons cream
2 shots espresso (or roughly ½ cup very strong instant coffee)
Dark chocolate for grating (or you can use cocoa powder)

4 small glass ramekins for individual servings

First make the coffee and let it cool in a small bowl. Add the Tia Maria (or other liqueur) when cool .

Open the package of sponges and tear them up into pieces to line the bottom of the ramekin dishes. Drizzle the cake with the coffee and liqueur mixture and set aside.

In a medium bowl beat the cream, mascarpone cheese, and sugar.

Spoon the mascarpone mixture over the drizzled cake. Smooth over the top and then grate the dark chocolate over to top. Refrigerate until serving.

For a fluffier cheese mixture, use ½ cup whipping cream, beat it in the bowl until whipped and fold in the mascarpone and sugar mixture.

Cook’s notes: I have made this several times and each time I have varied the amounts of coffee and alcohol to taste. it’s a very quick and simple recipe without having to mess around with eggs. A lot of tiramisu recipes ask you to tip the cake fingers into the bowl, I find this unnecessary, messy and more work than you really need to do, Its easier to just drizzle the mixture over the cake until you have as much as you desire in the individual dishes. Even H liked the tiramisu, and scoffed his own little ramekin’s worth (I did put less of the coffee and liquor mixture on his though).

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Easter Swap Reveal

button egg shaped ornament


red coral bracelet

These are the items I made for the mumsnet easter swap, I am aware that red isn't your typical Easter color but its one of my easter swap partner Chloe's favourite colours. I'm quite proud of the button egg ornament, its only small but effective and is actually quite easter. I debated adding a bit of ribbon to it... but as I don't actually own any ribbon that was a bit of a moot point. I also made a card with the bits left over from making all those cards for the Studio. But I completly forgot to take a picture so you will have to have a look at Chloe's blog " Mee Crafty " where she has placed a teaser of what she has made for me.

The bracelet is red coral, silver, and silver plated chain clasp, I have had the red coral for a while and until now I just could not figure out how to best incorperate it when its such a stand alone vibrant colour.

first attept at earrings

nephrite jade and amethyst earrings



Here is the pair of earrings I made last night, the wire work is a little rough, but not too bad for a first attempt. Nephrite jade and amathyst on I believe stainless steel hypoallergenic backings i.e. the cheap ones as I dare not use silver just yet as I would most likely mess it up. And I would actually need to order silver findings first. This picture was taken in the 5 minutes of useable light when the sun almost peeked out from the fog this afternoon.


Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Frost

Lincoln Cathedral

frosted berries in the cathedral quarter

Perhaps not thest best weather for it but today we had a ride out to Lincoln for the day, We decided to do this a few days ago when it was supposed to be lovely weather for the day. Obviously that didn't happened, as it was positvely artic with freezing fog, everywhere looked like a winter wonderland, stright out of Narnia, H thought it was magical, magical and lovely until we made him climb up the hill to get to the Cathedral in Lincoln.

It was actually a great day out, despite the cold, I got to have a good nosey round all the independant shops, in the Cathedral Quarter, bought some marmite bread, and Lincolnshire Imp chedder cheese. We didn't pay to go through the cathedral just had a look around the exterior, I have been round the inside before, and you can see why it was used in the DaVinci Code, becuse it is a stunning building. H had no time for it as all he wanted to do was go back down the hill to go to Cafe Nero's for a hot chocolate to warm up. bless.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Nephrite and Cherry

amathyst and nephrite jade bracelet


Cherry Adventurine and sterling silver bracelet

Saturday, 16 February 2008

easter swap tease




a little teaser of my easter swap goodies

Friday, 15 February 2008

Corn Chowder

Spicy Corn Chowder

ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups sweet corn(canned is fine)
2 cups potatoes (diced small)
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
1 medium sized onion (chopped)
1 small clove of garlic (chopped fine)
1 1/2 cups water
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon marmite (or stock cube crumbled, or alternatively use chicken or vegetable stock instead of water)
1 chilli pepper diced small (or ½ teaspoon chilli flakes)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Fry off the onion and garlic in a large pan. When softened, add the corn, potatoes, water, marmite (or stock cube), chilli pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on a medium heat until the potato is tender.

Add the milk and bring to the boil for ten minutes. If you wish you can also blend the chowder until smooth to make a soup.

Top with sharp cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon.

cook's notes: I have been wanting to make some corn chowder for a while now, My dad makes the best one and I never really thought about trying to make some until the other day when I noticed I had three cans of sweet corn on the shelf. So I thought my not give it a go, and was fully prepared to cook M something else because he hates corn, but he ate it, loved it, had seconds even. I was completly shocked, well maybe not completely, after all it did have cheese and bacon. Cue Homer-esque food noises.


Recycle - Reuse - Re-craft a Challenge

Recycle - Reuse - Re-craft
This week’s challenge is to do some craft recycling! I started this challenge post on the mumsnet crafters site, but I thought it was such a good idea that I have added it here so that anyone can participate who wishes to in this recycling crafting challenge.
We all have excess bits of crafting materials at home, that seem to multiply so lets put those bits to good use. Repaint and old canvas, turn curtains into clothes, clothes into dolls.Alternatively have a rummage around your local thrift/charity shop and turn something unwanted and shabby into something crafty and chic. Pilfer the car boot box, Fight off the spiders lurking in the attic. Ask friends or family if they have any fabric, frames, junk jewellery, flower pots, floor tiles, anything you can get crafty with.


A Few Ideas:

Felt an old woollen jumper, or unpick it wash the yarn and knit something new.
Find an old wooden picture frame, sand it down and paint it and frame a painting, a drawing, scraps of fabric, old drawings in your sketch book that have been lurking under the bed collecting dust.

Recycle old beaded jewellery from something old and unworn into a newer more contemporary piece.

Recycle old jeans into toys, wallets, ornaments.

Recycle magazine or newspaper or old fabric into card craft.Paint old pine furniture, or boxes.

Anyone can join all I ask is that you take some before and after pictures of your recycled crafts and post them on your blog with a link back to me or mumsnet arts and crafts blog. You can use the recycle reuse recraft image if you choose to participate. And no cheating and buying new!
Most of all have fun and Recycle, Reuse and Re-craft.

Peppermint Tea Stained


The above picture was a sketch I did this morning, that I decided to do some further expirimenting with tea staining. She was drawn quick from an image in a magazine and I'm not really happy with her. I asked M, who was pottering in the kitchen to put the kettle.

me: "can you put the kettle on?"
M: "What for?"
me: "a cup of black tea, no milk, for this sketch."
M: "Tea staining?"
me: "yup"
M: "ok tea is ready."
I get up and go into the kitchen and look at the cup. "that isn't very black."
we both look down at the tea and M says:"I know I think I made green tea instead. give it a try."
so I shuffle off with the cup, a tray, and the sketch. A minute later I shout back. "Its not green tea its peppermint tea."

So now I have an ever so slighty peppermint tea stained sketch, that I still dont really like but I have been busy none the less.



rose quartz bracelet



square cut garnet and silver bracelet

I love the garnet even though the poor image quality dosent show the vibrance of the gemstone beads. Plus they are square and I love square beads. Better pictures soon I hope.



Thursday, 14 February 2008

Red Velvet Valentine's Cupcakes




Red Velvet Valentine’s Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing


Ingredients:


2 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 ½ cup caster (white) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons red food colouring
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Grease 12 cupcake cups or line with paper liners.


Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl mix the milk and one tbl balsamic vinegar. *

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla and food colouring and blend well. One at a time, add the following ingredients: the milk and balsamic vinegar mix, and slowly add in the dry mixture. Pour the batter into the cupcake cups.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cake springs back when touched.
Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes, then turn out of pan and onto a rack to finish cooling completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

ingredients:


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 to 1 teaspoon red food colouring.


Place the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and food coloring in a bowl and slowly add in the powdered sugar as you mix. Blend until smooth and ice the cupcakes. As its Valentine's day I added some heart shaped chocolates.



*Why is there vinegar in the cupcake batter? Baking soda, the ingredient that makes these cupcakes rise, starts to work only when it comes in contact with an acidic ingredient. Some common types used in baking are lemon juice, buttermilk and vinegar. Balsamic vinegar, which has a sweet flavor that goes well with the rich flavor of cocoa. It gives these cupcakes a deep, full flavor. They wont taste anything like vinegar after the batter is baked.


cook's notes: The cupcakes turned out great.. the first time I have used a recipe for cakes that needed vinegar of any kind, I adapted the recipe from several variations found on the vast cookbook that is recipezaar, I may even add my version some day. H thought it was fantastic that the cake batter was a rich deep red-brown colour.


We aren't big heart's and flowers type people but I made cupcakes and M bought me this




my own domain name meridianariel.com ... isn't that sweet

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Lulu

I have been expirementing with ageing a quickly drawn sketch with tea. The sketch is of Louise Brooks from a book about her that M has. I may re draw her again, I have drawn her sevral times in the past because I love that 20s style, and the lighting used in old hollywood portraiture. I'm quite happy with the result, although I'm not sure what I shall be doing with her at the moment.

Bobbi's This n That

blue and clear jade and silver bracelet
close up of the beautiful beads

Lavender Candy Jade (dyed) and silver bracelet


another view

The beads for the above bracelets arrived in the post early yesterday morning. I ordered them from Bobbithisnthat etsy shop the other week and have been watching the letter box for them to arrive. ITs a lovely etsy shop with so many tempting beads, if only I had more money to spend on her georgeous beads. I shall be uploading the bracelets to the etsy shop later today, and posting more on my neglected blog. And hopefully getting in some sketching time and working on a write up for the next Mumsnet Arts and Crafts challenge.

oh and bake some valentine's cupcakes!


Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Maple Pecan Muffins



Ingredients


2 cups self-raising flour
1/2cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
½ cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans


pre heat oven to 400F.


Place paper baking cups into a muffin tin, or grease and flour the muffin tins.


In a medium bowl mix all the ingredients except for the pecans the batter will be slightly lumpy. Carefully fold in the pecans.


Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups filling them about two thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of brown sugar before placeing them in the oven.


Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Immediately remove from the pan and place on a wire rack.

Best served warm with a small amount of butter.



cooks notes: The intention was to serve the muffins with some bacon, but as there was none in the house they were served on their own. Very nice and not too sweet the recipe is my own, alother there are several diffrent versions avalible, most of which including Nigella's version used vegtable oil, which I rarely ever use as I think it makes cakes very heavey and greasy with a not so pleasant aftertaste.



H was slightly bemused by the muffins and said "Mummy why do these cupcakes taste like pancakes? " though he never thought to question why I would give him cupcakes for breakfast.



I have finished making the valentine's cards for the studio, the floor is a mess but have made all 40. time for chocolate. The picture is jsut a quick snap, they do look nicer than that.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Hearts and Cards

Today M has given me the job of making some Valentine's cards for the studio, to be the presentation for some free portrait vouchers that will be one the table at a local (and very nice) Hotel. the above image and the little heart below are my crafting designs. I have made cards before, I once had a stint of them, many moons ago and as it has been so long it took me about two hours to design these and get them how I thought they should be... Simple, yet pretty, with the element of hand made, arts and crafts movement type of thing. I love the buttons anyway.


black water jasper bracelet

I was also asked to make this black water jasper and sterling silver bracelet for C at the studio.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

uninspired day


onyx and silver bracelet



prehnite and amathyst necklace


same necklace diffrent view

I have managed to make the bracelet and necklace above, despite feeling at a loss today and very uninspired. I'm not quite sure about the necklace as it does match the bracelet in the previous post but I don't know about the silver wire.... it does look quite nice I suppose I just seem to have lost my mojo today so I think I will go in search of coffee and cake instead...

On a positive note M did scan a few sketches for me, I have more that need doing but as to what I will do with them then I don't know, I would like to do a few t-shirts but I need to figure out how to make the backgrounds transparent and other such technical things I am not in the right mind for today.

and blogger hates me too...

Sunday, 3 February 2008

purple and green


prehnite and amethyst bracelet

ruby in fuschite beaded bracelet

I have added the prehnite and amethyst bracelet to the etsy shop,.. otherwise I might be tempted to keep it, and that will get me nowhere in my sales. The other bracelet is ruby in fuschite, which is a reworking of a ruby in fuschite bracelet that i made a while ago that went a bit wrong. It had a rogue bead on it that didn't match the other silver beads so now I have re-worked it as simply as possibly. I'm not quite sure about it yet.. its a very delicate piece, as the beads are quite small but they are vibrant and I love the green with hints of well fuscia I guess. let me know what you think if it should go up for sale or re-worked yet again.

M has taking the paintings in the last post into the studio to scan for me along with a few sketches. The sketches are for a few t-shirt ideas I have if it all pans out in the end.


Saturday, 2 February 2008

Darkening

golden

lotus

cherry blossom


three

The above paintings, acrylic on canvas, I painted months ago and dragged them out yesterday, and darkened them down with a watered down layer of dark brown mixed paint. I think it gives them more of a dark brooding quality. They do look much better but I couldn't get a decent image with the light being poor yesterday. M says he will take them and scan them properly for me on monday so that I can possibly put them up in the shop. they are only miniscule 7in x 5in, I love them but they need to go so I can make room for the blank canvases I have that need painting! let me know what you think.