Monday, February 29, 2016

Cooking with the JETS


I love this recipe, I make this almost every week.  It's so easy, made with simple few ingredients, fast, and soon to be your favorite! 


2 cups cooked quinoa
1 chicken breast, cut in to small pieces
1 small pkg of mushrooms, roughly sliced
1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
garlic powder, to taste
1 tbsp thyme
salt & pepper, to taste
coconut oil or butter

Start with cooking the chicken pieces in a pan with oil or butter with salt and pepper just so it's cooked with slight color.  When it's cooked take it out of the pan and keep aside in a separate bowl. 

In the same pan add oil or butter if needed and cook the mushrooms.   I like to cook the mushrooms on the medium high heat and making sure the pan is large enough so they cook nice without too much moisture.  At the end, lower the heat add fresh garlic and cook together mixing so garlic doesn't burn. Add cooked chicken, cooked quinoa and mix everything along with salt, pepper, garlic powder and thyme.  I use a lot of thyme, it gives a very earthy nice flavor to the dish.  

Taste the dish, if you are happy with the seasoning, lower the heat, add the heavy cream along with Parmesan cheese and mix.  I try to add as little heavy cream as possible.  It really depends on how fluffy the cooked quinoa is.  You wouldn't want the dish to be drenched in cream.  The point of the cream is to help bind the cheese and everything together.  So start with a little over 1/4 cup along with the cheese and you can always add a little more if you think it needs it.  

It's a simple dish and can be adjusted to your preferences.  Leave the chicken out, and make it vegetarian or use it as side dish. Enjoy! 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

What's on My Bench???


My last WOMB post I completed part 1 of a male customer's custom order for a bracelet and matching necklace. Due to waiting on a shipment of supplies you only got to see the completion of the bracelet. This WOMB post will be Part 2 featuring the necklace. This necklace was super easy but it's always the super easy ones that will drive you bananas!

Let's first start with the supplies. Just like the bracelet, the necklace will feature red, black and green wooden beads. Unlike the bracelet the necklace will be strung on wire and fastened with a lobster clasp and jump rings.

As per the customer's request he wanted the necklace to be 26 inches long. I first cut the wire to the desired length and then secured 2 jump rings with a crimp bead.

From there it's time for the beads. Here's where it got tricky. As you can see from the picture shown below I strung the beads in the desired configuration but what you don't see from the photo is I took and restrung those same beads at least 3 times! This always seems to happen to me on the simplest projects.Finally I got the bead configuration correct for the desired length.

And ta-da it's done! Super simplistic and perfect for a man.

I went back after completing the necklace and added a 2 inch chain extension. It's something I've been doing recently because you will never know with a customer. They might want to a lil' longer then they first requested and you have to restring the entire thing. So I added a chain.

I'm happy to report even though I wasn't there to give the customer his custom piece when I did see him he was wearing them. He had a big grin on his face and even showed me both pieces. Mission accomplished.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Happy ST. PATRICK'S DAY from the JETTEAM on Etsy

Another holiday is fast approaching. While it isn't a national day of rest, it is a great time to celebrate with those of Irish descent. Lots of green all over with clever ways to celebrate; green beer and corned beef to name a few. And of course, there is always the need to look great as you celebrate!!

The JETTEAM on Etsy has compiled a treasury of beautiful, handcrafted jewelry for sale in some of the team members' shops. Feel free to browse these lovely designs and perhaps you will feel the urge to brighten up your jewelry wardrobe. The links below the collage will take you to the jewelry in these members' shops. Enjoy!!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Book Review

Review of Mixed Metals Mania

With mixed metal works among the hottest trends going in today's jewelry design, I’m sharing thoughts on one of my all time favorite how-to books, which was recommended to me by a super talented jewelry making friend.

Mixed Metal Mania is aptly titled, especially for the metalwork maniacs among us, but also for other designers, connoisseurs, wearers and collectors of handcrafted artisan jewelry. Subtitled “Solder, rivet, hammer, and wire exceptional jewelry," Kim St. Jean’s book never fails to instruct, entertain, inspire and delight.

After a Foreward and Introduction, discussions of Tools, from the unconventional (think clothespin, paper cutter, chicken feeder) to the basic, and a studio tool checklist, St. Jean treats us to a survey of Basic Techniques - from cold connections and sawing to soldering and fold forming, from making holes and finishing to making findings - along with some helpful tips of her own.

St. Jean explores her subject in four chapters. Beautifully illustrated throughout with color photos and well written, unpretentious explanations and instructions, each chapter presents a step-by-step tutorials for a number of specific projects.

Project tutorials include, among many others:
Twisted Paddle Earrings
A Little Bit Whompy Stack Ring

Sweat Soldered Negative Space Earrings
Basic Sterling Silver Chain
Old Bones Ring
Copper Coral Bracelet
Nightmare Catcher (Eeeek! A Skull!)

Reticulated Brass and Copper Cuff
Pine Straw Casting Bezel Pendant

Whether you’re a maniac for silver, copper, brass or an eclectic mix, you’re sure to find Mixed Metal Mania jam packed with ideas, hints and helpful suggestions. And oh, those lavish photos!

The only fault I’ve found is that there is no index -- a small matter indeed, considering the many ways this book has inspired me in my own adventures in metalwork.

Published in 2011 by Kalmbach Books of Waukesha, Wisconsin, this 112-page paperback measures 10.75” x 8.25” - a lovely presentation all the way through.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Cooking with the JETS

Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Slow Cooker

My daughter-in-law makes this each year for Christmas Eve dinner following her church's candlelight service. Serve it up with tamales and either broken tortilla chips added to soup or make your own tortilla strips. I keep mine low-fat by cutting flour tortillas into strips about 1/2" wide, spraying them with olive oil cooking spray, and baking in the oven until crisp and slightly browned, then add them to the soup. Delicious, warm, and filling.

1.5 lbs. boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 -15 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 - 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
1 med. onion, chopped
1 - 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups water
1 - 14.5 oz. can chicken broth
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. chili powder
1 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 - 10 oz. package frozen corn
1 can black beans or pinto beans
1 T. dried chopped cilantro
Shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese

In slow cooker combine: chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chilies, and garlic. Then add water, chicken broth, and spices. Stir in corn, beans, and cilantro. Cover and cook on LOW 6 - 8 hours or HIGH for 3 - 4 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf. 

Serve in bowls with tortilla chips/strips and shredded cheese.

Nancy Russell

Saturday, February 20, 2016

What's On My Bench??

This feature was contributed by Judy of JemsbyJB&Company,  Captain of the Jetteam on Etsy.

Today, I would like to share a project that I have been working on for a few weeks now. Through another venue, I decided to participate in a Mother's Day Gifting to some moms in Hollywood. The list is not released as of yet, however the gifting requires that I create 25 items to send in sometime in April. The people who will be receiving my item, are ladies who have become a mom recently or are expecting to become one soon.

After signing up for this event, I needed to determine what I would be sending. Creating 25 of the same item required that I think about what would best suit the age group of the potential recipients. I also needed to figure out a budget for the project as this could become quite costly. The idea behind the gifting is that it will become a marketing tool which hopefully, will bring in some sales.

After some careful consideration, I decided to make bracelets with quotation charms. I looked through my inventory and found some beautiful aquamarine and carnelian gemstone beads which were dainty and perfect for the design I had in mind. I then decided to include some glass pearls and silver chain into the bracelet. At first, I decided to make the bracelet one that would require a clasp. However, thinking about "the ease of putting it on" while juggling a newborn, brought me to the conclusion that a stretch style bracelet would be the best way to go.

I gathered the gemstones, pearls, silver chain and elastic cord and made a prototype of the bracelet I had in mind. When I decided that I had the bracelet designed as I wanted it to be, I laid out the supplies needed for the remaining bracelets. Here is a photo of my work space with the components ready for me.

As I began to make the bracelets, I decided to use three different charms. The photo below shows both the carnelian and the aquamarine designs. I thought that these quotations suited the experience of motherhood quite well.
"Find Joy in the Journey"
"Those Who Reach Can Touch the Stars"
"Believe You Can and You Will"

Below is a look at the finished bracelet displayed with and without the charm. I think that the bracelet looks great either way. However, for the purpose of this project I will be attaching the charms.

I still need to determine how to package the bracelets. There are requirements that need to be met and I am going with the small organza bags with the ribbon ties.  I am relieved to have completed this in ample time to sit back and wait for the shipping date and recipient list. The bracelet will be available in my Etsy shop (JemsbyJB&Company) in the not too distant future.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cooking with the JETS!

Blue Chip GuacaMollie

As an uprooted Texan living in Maine for more than 25 years, I've learned that if I get a hankerin' for Tex-Mex, I'd better make it myself. So ... here's my "Mainer" variation on that healthful green favorite otherwise known and Guacamole.


2-3 ripe avocados, peeled with pits removed and set aside*

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce or freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

1 tsp. ground cumin
Sea salt to taste
Cucumber, peeled and sliced
Fresh baby spinach leaves or mixed salad greens, washed and spun dry
Blue corn chips

1 ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and finely chopped or minced**
Chopped ripe olives
Fresh cilantro
Sour cream
Shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese

In a small-medium mixing bowl, smash avocados with a fork to moderately lumpy consistency.

Add and mix in onion, W
orchestershire sauce or citrus juice, cumin and salt.

**Tomato may also be mixed in with avocados, onion, etc.

Serve on a bed or sliced cukes, spinach or salad greens. Spike with corn ships and add your choice of garnishes.

*Stay tuned for instructions on growing your own avocado tree ... coming soon to a blog near you ... this blog!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What's on My Bench???

Some of our team members live close enough to get together in real life.  I’m one of those lucky team members and so is Gloria of EarthEnergyGemstones!  In true JET fashion, we decided to get together and play.  Gloria was interested in learning how to create bezels and set stones in them.  And a play date was had!!

Fine silver bezel strip is most commonly used.  It’s pre-formed and comes in various widths to encircle various sized of stones.  Stones cut en cabochon are most commonly set, but you can also set faceted gems.
            • 1.       Select a stone to set.
            • 2.       Measure your bezel height.  Hold the wire next to the stone.  It should be about 1 mm taller than the juncture where the stone’s wall starts to form a curve.
            • 3.       Wrap your wire around the stone and mark where the wire starts to overlap.  Cut just past the mark with a pair of snips.  

            • 4.       Form the wire circle to closely fit the stone and make sure edges line up exactly.  No Gaps!
            • 5.       Dip your silver in a firescale prevention solution (2 parts denatured alcohol to 1 part boric acid crystals).  
            • 6.       Set on your fire safe surface.  Set the bezel such that the seam sits directly on top of a piece of hard solder chip paillon.  

            • 7.       Paint flux on seam.
            • 8.       Heat with torch until solder chip melts and closes the seam.
            • 9.       Pickle and rinse.
            • 10.     Cut sheet silver to make a back plate for the bezel.  

            • 11.     Repeat solder steps from above to solder bezel onto the back plate using several medium solder chips placed inside the circle where the bezel touches the back plate.  

            • 12.     Pickle and rinse
            • 13.     Using the snips, cut excess sheet silver and sand until smooth and round.

Now we have a bezel we can set a stone in.  You can do just about anything with a bezel.  You can make into a ring, and earring, or a pendant.   Today we’ve made a ring for our little moonstone cab.  We’ve placed our ring into a vice in order to push the bezel over the stone to secure it.
            • 1.       With a bezel pusher, push the bezel horizontally around the stone in a North, South, East, West fashion so that the stone is in the center.  Continue all the way around the circle. 

            • 2.       Now push the bezel down at the top edge, holding your bezel pusher at about a 50 degree angle.  It should be smooth and flush against your stone. 

            • 3.       Using a steel burnisher, smooth out the silver to polish the edge of the bezel. 

            • Ta-Da!!  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cooking with the JETs


Well let me just say first about how much I love my electric pressure cooker.  When you are busy taking care of the family and would like to cook fast healthy meals, an electric pressure cooker is a very big help!  It's like a slow cooker and you can use many of your slow cooker recipes, but everything cooks a lot a lot faster! 


1-1.5 pound diced lamb (I usually purchase the lamb shoulder chops because that's what I have available at my super market and dice them up)
2 yellow onions chopped
1 stalk celery chopped (optional)
1 tbsp fresh or dry parsley chopped
1 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
1 stick cinnamon or 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
5 strands saffron crumbled 
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Salt & ground black pepper
2 boxes (each approximately 32 oz) of chicken broth 
1 can (15 oz) of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
2 cups red lentils
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes

Some fresh cilantro and sour cream for garnish 

To make the soup: 

Simply get all the ingredients ready and place everything in the pressure cooker pot and mix.  

Close and seal the pressure cooker and put for 18 min.  Yes, for only 18 min! When the marker is at "0", for this particular recipe I usually release the pressure by turning the seal switch.  When all the pressure is out, I safely open the top and my soup is ready with meat very soft and all the ingredients cooked.  I check the salt and adjust it if need to and that's it!

Serve it garnished with some sour cream, cilantro and enjoy! 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What's on My Bench???

Finding the Flash in Labradorite

Labradorite is one of my very favorite gemstones to work with. Its mysterious colors that appear from such an unassuming neutral background are so beautiful, and surprising. It got its name from the Labrador Peninsula in Canada where it was found by Moravian missionaries in 1770 in the early 19th Century. The local Inuit people knew about it for much longer and believed that Labradorite fell from the frozen fire of the Northern Lights. They believed  this ordinary looking stone could transform into the extraordinary, since it holds the energy and the colors of the Aurora Borealis.

Labradorite is a mineral of the plagioclase feldspar group with a hardness of 6-6.5. The amazing play of color in the stone is known as “labradorescence”. The background color of Labradorite is usually gray to gray-green, brownish-gray, dark blue-gray or black. Since it is made up of aggregate layers that refract light, iridescent flashes in the  blue, green, gold or red range can be seen varying with the angle of light. There are rarer varieties of Labradorite that include Golden Labradorite which is a transparent gold or champagne color, and Spectrolite which can display the whole color spectrum and especially a vivid electric blue. This variety was discovered in Finland in the 1940s.

What’s on my bench today are some labradorite cabochons which need to be set. The challenge in working with labradorite is to find which direction you see the flash of color and set the stone so the color can best be seen. I find that  by “playing with them” and moving the stones around I can see how the light affects them. That will help me determine how to use these cabochons - in hanging settings, or in horizontal settings.

In the first photo the 10mm x 8mm stone appears dark, with no labradorescence. 

In the 2nd photo I’ve reversed the direction from top to bottom, and there’s the flash~ Now it will make a lovely pendant and the color can be enjoyed.

Looking at this group of small 7x5mm cabochons and another 10x8mm cab, some show flash but most do not. So I will move them around to see which direction they best show labradorescence. The pair at the lower right corner shows a match of color and flash on the front.  


In the second photo the same group is rearranged and shows the direction the flash is best viewed. I’ve reversed the direction of the corner pair so you can see they would not show flash if set in this direction.

Sometimes you want the pretty colors to be viewed from the side of the stones, so these photos show how the cabochons look from these directions. 

Some of the stones look more vibrant, viewing them from the side.

These are some larger, faceted and set Labradorite cabochons I bought. There’s not a lot going on when viewing them sideways. But the green and gold one shows some labradorescence.

Here’s the slightly domed side of the cabochons, viewed lengthwise top to bottom: 

And now here’s the other side. 

The green and gold labradorite has possibilities to be used horizontally in a bracelet or vertically as a pendant, and both sides are amazing. I would use the blue labradorite in a pendant since it looks best seen vertically.

And last, here are some earrings I’ve been working on.  By looking through the small cabochons from the group above and using the method of viewing them placed in different directions I was able to match a pair of labradorite 7mm x 5mm cabochons. They both show blue labradorescence, and because the flash is at the top and front of the stones I’ve set them vertically.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

One of My Favorites

Hi my name is Lora of DivineSpiritCreations and designer of Pyrex Jewelry in addition to other silver and gemstone jewelry. But I wanted to talk to you today about one of my favorite tools - my vintage muffin tins.

That's right muffin tins. I use them in my design process to hold materials as I create - the mini tins are the perfect depth to hold stones and findings and they're all right in front of you.

 I used the larger and decorative vintage tins to hold items that are "in process" since at a certain point I like to assembly line certain things.

 I've even used my muffin tins for travel to shows and for storage.

So easily found at yard sales and thrift shops at a cost-effective price, and when I can find cute vintage ones it just adds to the atmosphere in my studio

I hope maybe this is giving you a different outlook on some unusual items either in your home or when you're out looking at yard sales for items that you might be able to use in your studios. Cheers!