Enchantment Series

Have been busy melting glass getting ready for the International Society of Glass Beadmakers annual conference, The Gathering, in Las Vegas end of this month. This will be the debut of my Enchantment Series at its Bead Bazaar – an all-artisan-glass show on Saturday, 1 April.

Enchantment

This one is the extra large size at 40mm / 1.57 in!

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A group shot for size comparison:

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An Exceptional Evening at Benu!

There are six Michelin Three-Star restaurants in the Bay Area with three – Saison, Benu, and Quince – in San Francisco. Needless to say, reservation at these restaurants can be difficult. We were lucky to actually manage one at Benu last evening with only a five-week in-advance booking (neither Saison and Quince had availability thus making the decision easy).

Benu offers prix-fixe Asian-inspired cuisine and its offerings exceeded all of our expectations. It was truly an extraordinary evening of creative culinary delights.

We also did the (shared) beverage pairings and enjoyed sake, Riesling, Grüner, beer, Madeira, Pinot Noir, and Côte-Rôtie throughout the evening but for the life of me, I can’t remember what was served with what!

The evening started with “small delicacies” and there were many of them! Each was single-bite size yet Benu managed to introduce so many fabulous and complementary flavors within that one bite – we felt like a symphony was playing on our palates with each course!

First delicacy was a chicken “jelly,” mountain caviar

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It was followed by tuna “marrow” but none of us took a picture! 😉

Third delicacy was ankimo (monk fish liver), crispy bulgur wheat, ikura (salmon roe)

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Fourth delicacy was dumpling with pork belly topped with an oyster

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Fifth delicacy was Korean blood sausage wrapped in ika (squid) “sushi” (didn’t know blood sausage could taste this good!)

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Sixth delicacy was abalone and crispy abalone “liver”

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Last (seventh) delicacy was egg white custard, truffle, faux shark fin

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Whole-grain bread fresh from the oven served with tangerine-infused honey butter was followed – finally – by the first of our menu items! Wasn’t sure I was hungry at all by this time… but we did persevere! 🙂

Thousand-year-old quail egg, potage, ginger – it wasn’t quite 1,000 years but the egg did take six weeks to make

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Foie gras xiao long bao with house made soy sauce

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Uni (sea urchin) marinated in fermented crab sauce served with green onion Koshi Hikari short-grain rice

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Crispy frog’s leg, lettuce, vegetable sweet and sour (I skipped this due to my issue with frogs… don’t ask!)

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Steamed bass, fish maw, black moss

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Smoked quail (we were told that Benu works with a farm that has been raising these quails for the past 40 years, breeding them for a larger size, and picking the docile ones for their sweeter meats … )

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Served along with spring bamboo shoot

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Warm mantou (Chinese steamed bun) with truffle cream

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Sea of Okhotsk sea cucumber (I never liked sea cucumber until tonight!) stuffed with lobster

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Beef rib steak with assorted condiments – kimchi radishes, marinated fern with shaved cashew (sure wouldn’t want to be that sous chef shaving those wee cashews, one at a time?), and soy bean paste (the leftover from its house made soy sauce that takes 9-12 weeks – in the little celadon jar)

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Leafy crudités for dipping in the soy bean paste

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Consommé, shiitake mushroom, vegetables

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Omija (five-flavor berry – sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami), olive oil

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Fuji apple, bellflower root, acorn and chocolate (another miss on the photography!) rounded out our scrumptious dinner!

I recommend putting a Benu dinner on your bucket list – it IS that good!

First Online Bench Sale – Success!

My first online Bench Sale was week was a success! A heartfelt thank you for all your support! I hope to do one twice a year depending on my teaching, demonstration, and show schedules for I usually do not have enough inventory to do more than one venue!

I’d like to recap this momentous event with pictures of what were available. Happy to share that the majority of the items have already arrived at their new homes! 😀

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Enchantment Series
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Scheherazade Series
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Celestial Series
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Dragon Scale Series
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Forged Copper Leaf Shawl Pins

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Sterling Silver Interchangeable Necklace

 

 

 

Diana Shawl!

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We ran a special mystery knit (MKAL) on our enVision group at the fiber forum, Ravelry, in August. It featured my latest shawl design, Diana, along with Dye Diana Dye yarns specially dyed for this MKAL by my good friend, Diana, as an exclusive Celestial Kit. Now that the MKAL is over, the Celestial colorways – Sol, Luna, Venus, and Mars, and the Diana shawl pattern, are available as individual sales.

Moreover, I am able share pictures of Diana!

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Diana in Dye Diana Dye PurBamboo Heavy Lace, Sol Edgy
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Diana in Dye Diana Dye TussaLin Heavy Lace, Venus Edgy

 

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Thomas Mann Workshop

I had the opportunity to take one of Thomas Mann‘s workshop at the Mendocino Art Center this summer (after visiting his gallery and studio in New Orleans the month before!) and it was fantastic. Tom was a very generous teacher and shared with us all the different facets of his trade. We did various exercises – some basic, others thought provoking.

His book, Metal Artist Workbench, is an excellent resource for those who are interested, as well as experienced, in metalsmithing.

During this four-day class, we learned the mechanic of sawing and did a quick exercise (left). We learned and practiced soldering and did two skill-building exercises. The first was to solder a piece of six-gauge twisted copper wire seamlessly (right) – this was my second try and still was not done perfectly.

A more complicated project was Wire World – not only did we learn how to solder well, we did it in the most timely manner thus understanding how it was in the “real production world.”

img_1745_wireworldWe learned various cold connection techniques using rivets, machine screws, nuts, tubes, and “stitching” with wire.

After two and half days of demonstrations and exercises, Tom gathered a plethora of found beach debris and rocks down the nearby cliff and challenged the class to create a jewelry object utilizing the techniques learned using some of these found objects.

I picked a piece of broken shell that was etched by the ocean. While I was sawing it lengthwise, one of the halves cracked leading to a pair of asymmetrical earring using the shell pieces, sterling silver, brass screws and nuts, and base-metal findings.

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NEW! Enchantment Series…

 

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Enchantment Series

Hoping to have our first online bench sale next month, figure it should coincide with a new series so I have been working hard to creating something … ummmm… enchanting! 😉

These tiny worlds of shimmering swirls, bubbles, crevices, sparkles, millifiori, dichroic,mesh, etc., all encapsulated in a glass sphere, will hopefully be both enticing and mesmerizing! Some feel like an underwater oasis, others like hidden treasures… let your imagination take you into these tiny orbs and be lost in their mystical depths.

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Enchantment Series
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Enchantment Series

If you are not on our email list  and are interested in joining us for the first online bench sale, sign up on our website! We send about four email blasts a year and never share our list.

The Best New Bakery in America

On 10 August, bon appétit named Arsicault its Bakery of the Year. For 10 days, no matter what time of the day we drove by Arsicault, there was a long, long line out its door and down the street. So on Tuesday after our early workout (what better way to enjoy buttery baked goods guilt free?), we decided to check it out. We got there 15 minutes after it opened at 7am, waited 30 minutes (the line was actually short by comparison, others have waited upward to two hours!), and got our maximum allowance – one type per person, four items total (limit varies from day to day) – a plain croissant, a chocolate, an almond and chocolate with powder sugar on top, and a savory ham and cheese each for $18.50 (about the going rate for high-end baked goods in San Francisco).

The verdict? Let me simply quote bon appétit:

What does it take to stand out in a city of sourdough savants? One, and only one, thing: a croissant that’s simultaneously so preposterously flaky it leaves you covered in crumbs, so impossibly tender and buttery on the inside that it tastes like brioche, and so deeply golden that the underside is nearly caramelized.

And yes, it’s worth the hype. Most croissants this buttery and flaky get very greasy, theirs don’t. Have them fresh and enjoy a slice of nirvana!

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Clockwise from top left: plain, chocolate, almond and chocolate, ham and cheese