Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pretty Jewelry

Ah, the fruits of my labor. I've been working on a few jewelry projects this week, and here's a peek at what I've finished (or thought I'd finished) so far.

I strung these jade beads together for a simple bracelet to match (kind of) my jade elephant that I bought at World Market. Love that store, btw. You can also see I've got matching earrings. I'm not crazy about how the bracelet and earrings came out, and will probably end up re-doing them. I think my stumbling block is that I'd like to mimic the black string used with the elephant -- but I haven't tried my hand at using that before, so I'll make do with the beads and spacers I've got.

The second project has been a looong time coming. I bought this coral and fire agate necklace about three years ago (a Trisha Waldron design) and eventually found some stones that I liked to match. I'd wrapped them in craft wire because at the time I couldn't afford silver/silver-plated wire.

Not surprisingly, the craft wire tarnished and the earrings really looked like yuck. When I was home a couple weeks ago, I ran by a bead store I used to frequent and bought a couple feet of silver-plated wire. I definitely love these earrings again now that the wrapping looks so nice.

Last, but not least, is my little owl. What a cutie, and what a pain. I strung those amber and apple green beads onto two strands, thinking that would look neat, clean, and awesome, but I hate it. If I'm going to make this cute little avian into a charm, he should be paired with something just as cute, right? After thinking about it for a few days and rummaging through my surplus beads, I pulled out these apple green leaf-shaped beads that look really nice with the owl.

I may have to mosey down to to bead store this weekend or next week and find some more of those leaf beads, since I already know I don't have enough. It just so happens that I saw a commercial last weekend on TV (while I was beading, no less) for a shop in Helena. Google tells me there are other shops that are closer, but I'm superstitious, so I will probably end up in Helena.

More to come as soon as I can translate my ideas into tangible pieces.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Holy BBQ It's Hot!

Last Saturday myself and four other friends braved the unholy hotness of August to check out the "Stokin' the Fire BBQ and Music Festival" at Sloss Furnace.

Did I mention it was hot? But oh so fun:).
As much as Sloss creeps me out, it's a great place for events. They set up a music stage in the ginormous shed near the traintracks, and we hid out there later in the afternoon for the shade.

After walking around to check out where everything was and what all was going on, we headed to the two bbq vendors and grabbed lunch. Amy bought the chicken plate from Governor's BBQ and I chose the pork plate from Fat Boy's BBQ. As far as bbq goes, we thought the food was okay.

There were two super cute kids that sat down across from us with their parents to eat a shaved ice. When Hannah asked the little boy what flavor he had, he replied, "Red!" Ah, little kiddies. I would have taken a picture of these little goobers, but I was too busy wiping red syrup off of my legs after they knocked over their ice. Life lesson #35: Food should be eaten, not played with, especially when the table it's sitting on is slanted towards me.

After, we made a quick stop at the little gift shop, picked up our handy paper fans, and then headed over to a food demonstration. The owner of Chef U (why does that make me giggle?) was grilling up some pork loin with coriander and cumin. She topped it off with a really tasty peach salsa, and I have to say it was delicious. Her earrings were super cute too, and I just had to be that person and instead of asking her about her business, I asked where she got them.

Next on our agenda: making iron tiles. Huh? you say. For $7, you could carve whatever you wanted into a pressed sand block and hand it off to a group of ironworkers; they would then pour molten iron into your pressed sand block, where it would take the shape of your carving after cooling.

The most interesting part of all this was watching these men and women walk around (for obvious safety reasons) in thick jeans, welder's masks, and leather chaps, jackets and gloves, while they worked with the iron. They must build up a tolerance to the stifling heat as I'm sure a normal person would pass out after a few minutes.

Just about that time the People's Choice Tasting started, so we all headed down to the area where the bbq teams were passing out samples. To be short and sweet, there was some tasty bbq, and some not-so-much.

The thing I remember the most from the tasting is actually a sauce. It's called "Alabama Mud," and it's made by JCs Low and Slow. They sell on etsy, and I'm considering buying some. What does it taste like? Hard to say as I've never had anything like it. It's basically the child of a mustard sauce and bbq sauce. It's tangy and sweet like a tomato-based bbq sauce, but has more than a hint of what JC's calls South Carolina mustard. It's also yellow-ish, which threw me off at first.

Once we'd finished the tasting, it was after five o' clock and we were all ready to call it a day. So we picked up our cooled iron tiles and headed home.