Friday, 17 September 2010

beads, baking and Gramma

Hi everyone!

Things around these parts have been a bit emotional and hectic. My grandmother passed away last week. It's very difficult to be so far away from home at a time like this. Interestingly, I woke up that morning feeling very out of sorts. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong. I decided, as you do, to visit Canterbury Cathedral. While I was there, I wrote out a prayer for my grandmother (as well as for my sister and her unborn daughter and a friend who recently passed) which is then placed on the altar during mass the following morning. I asked that god watch over her and keep her in his arms as her health has been failing for some time now. (Some of you will remember I took an emergency trip to Florida during the spring to spend some time with her.) A few minutes after returning home, my sister called to tell me that Gramma had passed in the night. I believe it was her spirit that moved me to make the trip and I am so glad that I did it. I'm sure she'll always know how much I love her.

I felt inspired to create a series of beads in Gramma's memory. She was always very supportive of my art and always asked how the beads were going :) She would tell me how proud she was of me and she was so excited when my beads and artist profile appeared in Bead Magazine (I took a copy with me to Florida and we read it together). So I created the above series which I entitled Granlee Gardens and I am so pleased with how they turned out. I think she really would have loved them.

There are two things I do when I can't sit still with my own thoughts: make beads and bake. I've been doing lots of baking this past week! The above shot is of my Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies from Bakerella's site. I iced mine with chocolate fudge icing and WOW are these awesome! The brownie is gorgeous and chewy while the cookie is more like a standard chocolate chip cookie. It has wonderful textures and they are so ridiculously easy to make that it's almost embarrassing!

Next up are Jelly Donut Muffins. I made these from a fantastic USA compilation cookbook that contains loads of wonderful American recipes. The downside, of course, is that it's also full of ingredients that I can't get in this country. I've been looking into importing certain things and, failing that, making some components from scratch. Did you know you can make homemade Cool Whip? Yeah, I didn't either! Anyway, back to the muffins! These were very, very tasty but not really worth the extra effort of putting the jam INSIDE the muffins, if you ask me. They bake up light and fluffy with a gorgeous, slightly crispy top. Next time I'll make the muffins and just serve them with jam, though ;)

I've been craving cinnamon sugar-y stuff lately so this morning I whipped up a batch of Cinnamon Sugar Muffins. These are FANTASTIC! The muffin is a basic recipe which I added nutmeg to for an extra bit of flavour. Once they're baked (but still a bit warm), they're dipped in melted butter and rolled around in cinnamon sugar. HEAVEN! The cinnamon sugar becomes a bit crisp and complements the airy muffin perfectly. Also: everything in my kitchen is cupcake-themed. In this shot you can see my sugar, coffee and tea tins as well as my cutting board and coffee mug. You should see the other side of the kitchen!! Cupcake stuff EVERYWHERE! I even have a little cupcake bank for loose change.. lol :)

Lest you think that I've been doing nothing but baking, here are some beads I made the past two days. I also made a massive number of lovely little earring pairs for the show, too! I try very hard to stick to a relatively simple sounding rule when I have an upcoming show: for each bead I make for a customer, I make a bead for the show. Sounds simple, right? Welllll, not so much! Both days I had to quit before I really wanted to because my kiln was too full! I think it might be time to invest in a bigger kiln ;) I seem to have outgrown my Paragon SC2 :( Poor baby.. lol :)

As always, I have new beads (and old favourites) in my by keiara Etsy shop (including one of the Granlee Garden focals) and in my by keiara webshop (including a Granlee Garden necklace which is so pretty I desperately want to keep it for myself!)

Have a wonderful weekend!


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Happy Tuesday - have some links!

Hi everyone!

Yesterday my little Munchkin turned 15! I can't quite believe it. Kaia is growing up so fast and she's such a great kid. I'm a lucky girl :) She asked for some lil bits, kooky kritters and classic cats, all turned into jewellery, for her birthday so now she has even MORE cuteness in her jewellery collection. It's nice to have such a loyal fan.. heehee ;) Above is a picture of some of my latest lil bits. They've proven quite popular so I added their own made-to-order section in my by keiara webshop. Check it out!

This cute kooky kitten, Blossom, is now available in my by keiara Etsy shop. I created her with one of my favourite frit blends. I just love those colours!

I also listed this big hole bead, Faerie Whispers, in my by keiara Etsy shop. My big hole beads fit Troll, Pandora, Biagi and similar bracelet systems. Of course, I wear mine in my dreads! They're a great accessory :)

So how was your weekend? I had a nice, relaxing time catching up on episodes of True Blood and Doctor Who. My favourite Doctor is still Christopher Eccleston with David Tennant in second. I'm still not sold on this new Doctor although his companion is quite darling! Redheads rule ;) I also ended up making some lemon cupcakes and a super yummy chili. I really should have taken some pictures but, ummm, it didn't last long enough for that ;) I'm in a baking mood today but haven't decided what to make yet. I called my mother and got her American biscuit recipe (similar to scones) and I've been dying to make some so maybe that'll win out. I also have a craving for brownies, though, so maybe it'll be both! Ohh, I have all the stuff to make the chocolate chip cookie topped brownies. If you haven't had these yet, PLEASE do yourself a favour and make some up! I spread some chocolate fudge icing on top and they were super yummy :) I used the recipe on Bakerella's website. She's my hero :)

Ok, off to bake! Have a wonderful day :)


Friday, 3 September 2010

game nerd.. beads!

Hi everyone!

As many of you already know, I'm a serious game nerd. I wear the title with pride and have met SO many wonderful people through gaming. Having said that, I don't actually play Worms, a game that consists of ridiculously adorable little worm armies fighting each other. However, plenty of my friends do so I decided to make a little worm bead to make them giggle ;) There is an option for your little worm army to wear halos, hence the angel worm above. I think he's SO cute!

I've also been working on lots of orders and holiday-themed beads. I added some of these to my by keiara Etsy shop so if you like what you see, go have a peek!

I can never quite resist the pictures of these beads. Whenever I do the Big Bead Show (which is coming up in October!), I always make tons of earring pairs like the ones pictured here. As a matter of fact, these pretties will be joining me at the show :) These simple designs always strike me as so elegant.

With Christmas right around the corner (heehee), I've started in with my Christmas collection, too. This is my traditional Christmas tree focal and I really love making these. This one is currently for sale in Etsy shop along with my Snowfamily Set and my Christmas Friends set. I LOVE holiday beads!

My Twilight Tree is one of my most popular tree focals and one of my lovely customers requested that I turn it into one of my spiral ribbon necklaces. I used one of my all-time favourite ribbons and I love the way it turned out.

Any weekend plans? I have students the next couple of weekends so I'm going to take some time to relax this weekend. I have a new cookie recipe that I'm dying to try out, too. I've also been debating between lemon cupcakes or my family's chocolate cupcake recipe (which is absolutely TDF!!) Knowing me, I'll probably just end up making both! I'm really glad I have a decent-sized freezer ;)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


About Me

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Folkestone, Kent, United Kingdom
Hi! My name is keiara and I'm a native Floridian currently living in Folkestone, England. I am a hot glass and jewellery artist and I'm passionate about what I do! I love to 'talk shop' so feel free to contact me. Thanks for stopping by!