The Wonder of a Vitamix

Breakfast is the most difficult meal when it comes to a healthy diet. Most breakfast options are usually high in carbohydrates and/or sugar, and often high in cholesterol. We purchased this book, Clean Green Drinks by Candice Kumai, while on vacation years ago and promptly forgot about it until recently. It contains 100+ cleansing recipes for juices and smoothies that are healthy and some are quite filling. Healthy ingredients such as avocado, kale, spinach, beets, and ginger are paired with yummy fruits (frozen okay) such as bananas, berries, melons, mangoes, pears, pineapples, peaches, and apples. Add almond milk, coconut milk/water, and/or yogurt, as well as healthy powders such as protein, green superfood, or spirulina, and you have a wonderful breakfast (or lunch) smoothie.


The trouble is the actual processing of these ingredients. Regular household blenders just don’t do the job right. So we finally broke down and got a Vitamix… and truly understand the value of the “you get what you pay for” concept! Beside a perfectly blended smoothie every single time and doing it automatically (as in press a button and it stops on its own when the smoothie is blended) – I don’t know if it’s true with every model (we have the Professional 750) – it self cleans!!!!! I kid you not. We prepare our smoothie. Once it’s done and as we are drinking our breakfast, we simply give the Vitamix a quick rinse, fill it half way with fresh water, add a drop of dish soap, set it back on its base, and start the self-cleaning cycle. It automatically goes through 30 seconds of various speed to thoroughly clean the machine. Another quick rinse and before we finish our breakfast, the Vitamix is spotless, drying, and ready for the next morning!

Now we want a simple self-cleaning functions on ALL our appliances in the future … especially the juicer!!!

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Leaf Wreath – Blattkranz Shawl Released!

Leaf Wreath – Blattkranz Shawl is the last of the “trilogy” of Herbert Niebling adaptations after Quadratische Decke – QD Shawl  and Peony – Pfingstrose Shawl. Niebling patterns can be extremely complicated but Blattkranz is actually one of the simplest Niebling designs and a perfect pattern for someone new to lace yet interesting enough for more seasoned knitters. If you have always wanted to knit a Niebling but are intimated by the complexity, then Blattkranz is perfect as an introduction to his incredible design!

Leaf Wreath – Blattkranz Shawl
Leaf Wreath – Blattkranz Shawl

Dinosaur Stone Pendant

Traveling always disrupts life and it takes a little time in order to get back into the swing of things. With my travel schedule ramping up again, the plan to keep a regular blog went right out the window! A short trip to Santa Monica, an incredible birthday trip to the north shore of Kauai, and a glass teaching gig at the wonderful Scarab Glass Works in Fresno, California, later – March flew by in a flash!

Fortunately routines are what ground us. A new session of metalsmithing class got me back into the groove. Having an incredible opportunity to purchase this amazing piece of dinosaur stone – a rough piece that was polished just front and back per my specification, I wanted a simple setting that would showcase the stone without any distraction. My teacher, Lisa D’Agostino was instrumental in helping me arrive at this perfect solution.

Back of dinosaur stone pendant

The exact footprint of the dinosaur bone was cut out on a piece of 18-gauge sterling silver. Six pieces of 14-gauge half round wire were soldered onto the side as prong. The trick was to cut the pieces much longer, file the ends to a point, and stick them into a soft soldering pad perfectly butting up against the back piece. Finally a curved tube was soldered onto the back in an angle so the pendant would hang exactly the way I planned.

dinosaur stone pendant




Austin Littenberg

Austin was one of my students at The Melting Point and is an incredible glass artist both in lampworking and furnace work. One day in class, he had a Toledo Museum of Art tee shirt on and we started talking about it. As it turned out, he was the nice fellow who was our go-to guy at the museum when I taught there two years ago!

If you are in Sedona, Arizona, and are interested in Austin’s fabulous work (and my jewelry!), stop by The Melting Point!

For one of my Scheherazade series bead, this is what Austin made for me:


To my stunned surprise, this also came in the package!!!


Fair trade? Not! But who am I to complain? 😉

QD – Quadratische Decke Shawl

QD – Quadratische Decke Shawl was my first adaptation of a Herbert Niebling’s pattern. Originally it was a square doily – its name, Quadratische Decke, in German isn’t really a name but a description for it literally means “square doily!”

It started with a Niebling KAL (Knit-along) on the popular fiber site, Ravelry (if you knit, crochet, weave, spin, or dye yarn and aren’t a member, check it out!) Majority of Niebling’s patterns are for doilies and/or table clothes, thus in circular, oval, or square shape. My very first lace shawl, Queen Anne’s Lace, was in a circular shape and not easy to wear as a shawl. Moreover, the old German pattern was not the most user friend, used unusual symbols in the charts, and in the case of Quadratische Decke, riddled with mistakes. So I decided to modify and rechart it into a triangular shape. In addition to changing the shape and creating easy-to-follow charts, I completely reworked the lace edge pattern so the motifs align properly. By popular demand, I published this pattern so more knitters can enjoy knitting this amazing design.

QD – Quadratische Decke Shawl
QD – Quadratische Decke Shawl

Cut Card Construction Pendant

This is a class project we did a year ago. The cut card construction technique uses tension without any soldering or glue. It’s done with three pieces of 16-gauge metal cut perfectly for the stone of one’s choice. I did mine in copper and onyx. Fun project!

Cut Card Construction – copper and onyx

Peony – Pfingstrose Shawl Pattern Released!

Very excited to release the much awaited Peony – Pfingstrose Shawl pattern today! It’s my second Herbert Niebling adaptation with a third, Blattkranz/Leaf Wreath Shawl, to be released next month. Herbert Niebling was a German doily knitter whose patterns are still very popular 50 years after his death. I started to adapt his design from circular or triangular to the more wearable deep-crescent shawl shape with Quadratische Decke – QD Shawl. 

I hope that by modifying these amazing designs into a shawl with well illustrated charts and clear instructions, more knitters will discover and enjoy the magic of Niebling.

Peony – Pfingstrose Shawl
Peony – Pfingstrose Shawl