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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Work

rutilated quartz ringFair trade rutilated quartz, recycled 14k gold, and recycled palladium sterling silver ring, size 7.5

golden rutile jewelryIt's a chunky one! :-)

pink tourmaline ringCalifornia pink tourmaline and recycled sterling silver ring
{ custom order; sold }

oxidized silver bandA simple oxidized band, recycled palladium sterling silver
{ custom order; sold }

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Change of Pace

I don't know what came over me, but the other day I felt compelled to try my hand at a new artistic medium - painting. Of course I had to choose a subject that is compelling to me - turkeys! More specifically, my dear Blossom, one of our two rescued turkeys.

Acrylic on canvas, 8" x 8"

It was really fun to paint. I think I'll be doing more of these - I'll probably do one of our chickens next. :-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Work

sapphire moissanite ringSapphire, moissanite, and recycled sterling silver rings
{ custom order; sold }

moissanite gold ring(I've made this one several times before, but I still love it.)
Moissanite, sapphire, and recycled 14k yellow gold ring
{ custom order; sold }

ethical moissanite ringThis is the first time I've used a sapphire in the back; in the past it's always been a ruby.

zultanite jewelryFair trade Zultanite and recycled 14k palladium white gold ring, size 7

orange opal ringFair trade Mexican fire opal and recycled sterling silver ring
{ custom order; sold }

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pumpkin Bread and Other Holiday Yumminess

I made some really delicious pumpkin bread today, and I thought I'd post the recipe plus list some links to other vegan recipes I've posted for the holidays in years past...
Pumpkin Spice Bread
Super easy to make and no added fat! If you're like me, your waistline will thank you for that this time of year!

16 oz. pumpkin puree
3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
egg replacer equal to two eggs
3 cups flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 large tart apples, shredded or very finely diced (optional)
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat two loaf pans with cooking spray.

In large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, applesauce, sugar, maple syrup, and egg replacer. Stir the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pour into loaf pans and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a butter knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Need more ideas for vegan holiday treats? Look no further...

Thelma's Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

No-Cook Mint Meltaways
Vegan Fudge (so good.)
Ginger Lime Cookies
Gene's Holiday Cookies
Lefse (I'm sad to say I haven't found the time to make any this year.)
Fat Free Vegan's Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
Cinnamon Rolls (a McFarland family Christmas morning tradition)

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Work

moissanite wedding setMoissanite, recycled 14k yellow gold, and recycled 14k white gold engagement and wedding ring
{ custom order; sold }

pink tourmaline ringCalifornia pink tourmaline and recycled sterling silver ring
{ custom order; sold }

recycled gold ringsRecycled 14k yellow gold engagement and wedding rings
(This was a custom order and the customer is going to supply his own stone and have it set locally; I just placed a moissanite in there to make the picture look better, but if it looks a little funny, it's because the stone isn't permanently set.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Work

moissanite gold bandMoissanite and recycled 14k yellow gold wedding band

gold wedding bandRecycled 14k yellow gold wedding band

moissanite mens ringMoissanite and recycled palladium sterling silver wedding band

alexandrite silver ringsFair trade amethyst, lab-created alexandrite, and recycled palladium sterling silver wedding bands

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Christmas Gift to You

You should probably go make these now.

vegan chocolate peanut butter bars
Thelma's Peanut Butter Bars (the new and improved vegan version)

2 sticks (1 cup) soy margarine, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup chunky peanut butter
2-1/3 cups powdered sugar
12 oz. chocolate chips

Combine first four ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Spread into a greased 9" x 13" pan. Melt the chocolate chips and spread them over the top.

Cutting these nicely can be a bit of a challenge - obviously you don't want to do it while the chocolate is still soft, but if you wait until it's completely hardened, it has a tendency to kind of shatter when you try to cut them into nice-looking squares. I recommend either cutting them after a short while in the fridge (maybe 45 minutes or so? I didn't time mine...) or chilling them completely, but letting them sit out for a bit before you cut and serve them.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Work

moissanite wedding bandMoissanite, recycled sterling silver, and recycled 14k yellow gold ring
{ custom order; sold }

sapphire wedding ringFair trade sapphire, recycled sterling silver, and recycled 14k white gold ring
{ custom order; sold }

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Work

sapphire engagement ringFair trade sapphire, recycled 14k palladium white gold, and recycled palladium sterling silver wedding set
{ custom order; sold }

rustic wedding bandRecycled 14k white gold and recycled sterling silver ring, size 7.5

recycled wedding ringRecycled 14k white gold and recycled sterling silver ring
{ custom order; sold }

moissanite earringsMoissanite and recycled sterling silver earrings

New Stones

I found a new source for fair trade gemstones - most of her stones come from mall-scale mines that are part of a local, nonprofit, non-governmental organization called the Tanzania Women Miner's Association (TAWOMA). TAWOMA educates miners on free-trade, ethical and sustainable mining principles. The Association's mission is to facilitate Women Miners to organize and access required financial, technical and marketing services so that they can carry out mining activities that are both economically viable and environmentally sustainable, thereby raising the standard of living of women miners and their families.

Rhodolite, 6mm

Aquamarine, 6mm

Monday, November 23, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Work

Yikes, two weeks since my last post - I think that's a record for lazy blogging on my part! Carlos and I were both sick for a while (swine flu, I suspect, but who knows), and since then I've been kind of overwhelmed with trying to get caught up with work. To top things off, our beloved rooster, Chuck Norris, is very sick (probably Marek's disease, for you fellow chicken keepers), and the prospects don't look good, so much mental energy is being devoted to him right now.

Anyways, onward and upward - I do have some new things to share.

tashmarine ringFair trade tashmarine and recycled 14k palladium white gold ring, size 6.5

oregon sunstone ringOregon sunstone and recycled 14k white gold ring
{ custom order; sold }

moissanite gold ringMoissanite and recycled 14k yellow gold ring
{ custom order; sold }

nevada variscite jewelryNevada variscite and recycled sterling silver ring
{ custom order; sold }


Please send positive vibes for Chuck...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New Work

white gold sapphireFair trade sapphire and recycled 14k white gold ring
{ custom order; sold }

New Stones

These are all available for custom orders; shoot me an email if you're interested. :-)

18mm x 27mm (6mm dome; 17.7 carats)

17mm x 23mm (7mm dome; 15.4 carats)

17mm x 30mm (7mm dome; 20.3 carats)

14mm x 19mm (6mm dome; 11.2 carats)

17mm x 18mm (6mm dome; 11.7 carats)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Crafty Holiday Time!

Since becoming a mom, I seldom have time for crafting (aside from making jewelry, obviously). When I think about the amazing quantities of quilts and knitted goods that I used to be able to crank out pre-child, I am awestruck. But every once in a while, especially for the holidays, I make a point to carve out some time for crafty pursuits. Here's a cool little advent calendar I just made for Carlos.

It has a little drawer for each day leading up to Christmas, so you can stash a cool little toy or treat in there. Can't wait for December to arrive!

One for me!

I've been wanting to attempt to re-work my wedding ring for a long time but have been scared to mess up the intricate band... finally today, after thinking about how infrequently I ever even wore it in its former version, I worked up the courage to try it.

Old version:

New version:

What do you think? I am really happy with it. I really don't like prong settings, and the old stone was just too small. I think the new version is much prettier, and I like how the line of the bezel echos the lines on either side of the band. :-)

Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese with Daiya

I threw this together a few nights ago and it was very easy and yummy. If you prefer lots of sauce with your pasta, either make more sauce or less pasta; it isn't super saucy in this incarnation.
Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese with Daiya

12 oz. pasta, cooked (I used whole wheat spirals)
2 tablespoons soy margarine
1 cup Daiya cheese shreds
1 cup plain soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

While you're boiling the pasta, combine all remaining ingredients in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for a few minutes, stirring often. Pour sauce over cooked pasta and toss well.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rants and Raves

We just got back from a fabulous trip to San Francisco and LA - we spent time with my brother and his girlfriend in SF, plus two of our best pals in LA. It was a really magical trip; by far the best we've had as a family since we brought Carlos home nearly three years ago. He's finally at an age where traveling is starting to be pleasant again.

So first, the raves -

The food was amazing. We ate so much fantastic vegan food, I'm not sure if I can remember it all, but I'll try. Sorry, I was too busy stuffing my face to take pictures.

Love & Haight Deli in SF - I had a delicious 'chicken' steak deli sandwich. I can't remember the last time I had a decent deli sandwich. Yum. My only regret was that I didn't think to add avocado.

Cafe Gratitude in SF - our meal was slightly marred by our very cranky and over-tired four-year-old, but this was still a fun experience. Definitely not mainstream, but worth trying at least once.

Rainbow Grocery
in SF - I went here for the sole purpose of purchasing mass amounts of Daiya vegan cheese. I ended up buying five pounds, and immediately upon leaving the store, regretted not buying ten. They only carry the Italian-style shreds (not the orange kind), but that's better than nothing (which is what I have up here in this rural wasteland I call home). When I told the cheese counter lady that I came from out of town to get the Daiya, she said she sees a lot of that, and wanted to know where I was from. She then declared that I won the long-distance award. I consider it a badge of honor.

Five pounds of Daiya cheese.

Pure Luck Cafe in LA - WOW. This place was incredible... they make an amazing marinaded mock-meat from jackfruit, of all things. I had it in a burrito, but they put it in all kinds of other things as well. The fried pickles, sweet potato fries, and Caesar salad were all also great.

Tierra Cafe in LA - decent vegan taquitos, crappy service.

Native Foods in Costa Mesa - I think this was the highlight for me. I loved the atmosphere (it's the only restaurant in North America that's in a yurt, who knew?), and the food was excellent (although I think the desserts could be better). I had pizza and salad, and also sampled Carlos' mac and cheese - everything was really, really tasty. So much so that I had to buy the cookbook.

Golden Mean Vegan Cafe in Santa Monica - this was enjoyable, but not the best I've ever had. I was excited to see a panini on the menu, and specifically asked if it included Daiya cheese (yes, I'm a little nuts over the stuff), to which the server responded yes; however, when I received my sandwich, there was no cheese to be seen. I still enjoyed it, but it wasn't the best thing I've ever had. I also thought that their cookies were kind of dry and just so-so. Of the four things ordered by my group, I definitely thought that 'the works' burger looked the best.

Cruzer Pizza in LA - it's neck and neck between Cruzer Pizza and Native Foods for top honors on this trip. We got takeout pizza with Daiya cheese (again! I know...) and it was totally awesome. I don't know what else to say about pizza... the crust was good? It was just an all-around spectacular pizza, vegan or otherwise.

Okay, that's the end of the raves. On to the rants. (Is anyone still with me?)

On the plane on the way home, I found myself reading the Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine. Yes, I was hard up for reading material. Anyways, the theme of this particular issue was how geeks are going to save us from our current environmental mess. For a split second, I was so thrilled to turn the page and see a giant headline stating that 20% of all methane emissions come from the agriculture industry. It's so gratifying to see this fact finally getting the public exposure it deserves. However, all too often, like in this case, the emphasis is all wrong. The solution that this particular magazine put forward was the work of some scientists to create genetically modified cattle who produce less methane.

Is it just me, or is this seriously messed up? It seems to me that absolutely the last thing we need right now is more genetically modified food. It truly amazes me to see how attached people are to the idea of eating flesh; so much so that they would rather mess with nature in bizarre and possibly dangerous ways to create animals who burp a little less, thereby making a small dent in the problem, rather than reduce (or eliminate) meat and dairy from their diets, which would make a much larger impact, as well as improve their health and the lives of animals in the process. It's such a no-brainer to me, I really can't wrap my brain around it.

On to rant number two...

I was listening to a (mainstream; non vegan) podcast this morning and was again momentarily happy to hear the host saying that it's becoming increasingly difficult to defend eating meat due to the increasing evidence of the environmental and health risks associated with this behavior. But then, of course, he has to go on to make some lame comment about how good it tastes.

So rant 2(a) is - why, oh why, is it okay to justify torturing and killing sentient beings for the sake of our tastebuds? Would these same people say that it's okay to rape an animal because they are horny? Seriously people, these are living, feeling creatures. The bottom line is that we don't have any dietary requirement for animal flesh or secretions; therefore, making animals suffer and die to become human food is just plain wrong.

After that, the podcaster said something like "but as it turns out, it's not such a great time to be a vegetarian either, because a recent study just listed leafy greens as the most likely food item to be contaminated by e-coli."

Rant 2(b) - Whaaaaaat? How in the world does this mean that it's a bad time to be vegetarian? I know plenty of vegetarians who eat very few leafy greens, and plenty of omnivores who eat lots of leafy greens. Leafy greens are not the sole property of vegetarians. Geez. What an idiotic thing to say.

Okay, I'm done now. I have to go bathe my skunky dog.