Quite possibly the best Christmas bangle

I have stitched up a stocking full of these bangles for Christmas gifts. They’re really comfortable on the wrist, appeal to all ages, and would add instant holiday sparkle to everything from a flirty party dress to jeans and a t-shirt.

The gold and white bangle with Aurum 2x crystals is boxed and tucked into a Priority mailer, and will be on its way to my sister this afternoon. It’s guaranteed to coax her into the holiday spirit, even if she’s just bundling up on the couch for a night at home. I love the art deco look of the right-angle-weave band before it’s zipped around the rubber tubing.

The green bangle really stands out despite its muted palette and matte hex beads, with the addition of crystals in Black Diamond AB. It’s the chameleon of the bunch and looks great with anything.

And the season’s traditional red – that bangle’s staying with me! It’s the only sparkle I’ll need this holiday season. The pattern is Tamara Scott’s Infinity design, which can be found here.


Parsley. Sage. Rosemary and Chocolate?

The kids are coming home next week, and in preparation, my kitchen is filling up with the sweet and savory spices of fall. Parsley. Sage. Cinnamon. Allspice. And, last night the fragrant notes of rosemary and chocolate were wafting from the oven! Oh, we enjoy all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, but this year I wanted to serve up a few things that were a bit less conventional. And when I’m looking for an occasional sweet treat that I know will still be healthy, I turn to my favorite food blog, 101 Cookbooks, where I found this recipe for Rosemary Olive Oil Cake.

I knew it was going to be a hit when I sampled a bit of the batter before baking. Mmmm - olive oil (I used an organic extra-virgin), mixed with chunks of bittersweet chocolate and fresh rosemary! Last night, warm from the oven, it tasted to Dan like an exotic chocolate chip cookie. He left with a fresh slice this morning to savor with his Starbucks. I had a piece for lunch and found the texture was even lighter and the flavors more developed today. Rosemary and chocolate – a successful marriage in this cake, and definitely a new addition to Thanksgiving at our house!


October Challenge Reveal

When Andrew Thornton put the October Challenge together, he envisioned crisp, clear autumn skies. When I tore open the package, I saw stars. Sirius. Polaris. Fomalhaut. Fomalhaut? Sometimes called the Autumn Star, Fomalhaut is best viewed in October and November where you will find it shining bright, silvery and alone near the southern horizon. You can track its nightly progress here.

The base of my Autumn Star pendant, in silver and nickel delicas from my stash, incorporates a square and four elongated triangles from Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork. A simple star washer, embellished with the smallest silver-lined seed beads, tiniest rondelles and pearls from the challenge mix, adds an elegant layer, using techniques I learned in a Laura McCabe Master Class earlier this year.  

I loved that the luxury mix of beads embraced the spectrum of blue from lavender to sapphire to navy and inky blue-black. I chose a few in all those shades to highlight the artisan beads in my simple neckstrap, which uses another star washer as its toggle closure. (The gorgeous glass headpin by SueBeads and Andrew's silver skull bead, this month's mystery component, are being reserved for other pieces.)

Click over to Andrew's blog for links to the designs from all the October challenge participants.