Monday, March 28, 2016

Cooking with the JETS

Roasted Pork Shoulder

This pork shoulder recipe is pretty easy and straight forward if you can't cook you'll be able to cook this one with no issues.

-pork shoulder
-9 garlic cloves (crushed or chopped)
-canola oil (not shown)
-apple cider vinegar
-black pepper
-garlic powder
-paprika (not shown)
-Lawry's Seasoning salt
-Goya Sazon seasoning packet

Now before doing anything else take the pork shoulder out of the packaging and rinse it in  cold water. Then paper towel try. 

Time to crush or ruff chop your garlic cloves. Depending on the size of the cloves more or less than 9 may be needed.

With a small knife create holes inside the pork roast all over for the garlic. 

Now stuff each hole with garlic . If there is left over garlic, it will be used later. 

Now it's time to season the meat. Taking the garlic powder, Lawry's Seasoning salt, black pepper, paprika and Goya Sazon packet sprinkle generously all over the meat. Then rub the seasoning into the meat.  

Place the pork roast in a bowl and pour a generous amount of apple cider vinegar and canola oil onto the pork shoulder and rub into the meat. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator to marinate. It can marinate from 1 hour to overnight.

After the pork roast has marinated, cook it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Pour the remaining vinegar oil mixture into the bottom of the roasting pan along with any leftover garlic. Also add a generous amount of water in the bottom of the pan too. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven. The pork shoulder will cook for 2 hours. Every 45 minutes baste with juices from the pan. If the bottom of the pan looks dry add a cup or two of water. After 2 hours remove the aluminum foil. Cook for another 1-2 hours. The meat should be brown on the outside. The pork is done when any juices running out of the meat are clear.

This is the pork shoulder roast completely done. Nice and brown and toasty on the outside. Tender and juicy on the inside. Well done. This one was one my best roasts I cooked even with constant stopping to take photos for this blog post. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

What's on My Bench???

Green Lantern Agate Turquoise and Leather Beaded necklace

A couple of months back I got my assigned person for my Secret Santa with the JET team on Etsy. With the specifications in hand I were put to the test. Let's just tell you the truth. It's hard. Creating a piece for someone who not only makes jewelry themselves but sells it too. So I got to work pulling all the purple and greenish/blue beads I had.

I grabbed a lil' bit of everything. From turquoise to agate to glass beads in all the shades imaginable. I played around with combination for days and each time walking away unsatisfied. Until one day I put my foot down and said to myself no I have to get this done and in the mail.

So finally I came up with this combination. Now with only a limited amount beads I had to think. Chain or leather cording. If I went with chain it would take the focal point off the combination of beads and color. So I opted out for leather cording. Now I went into my jewelry making stuff and no cording. It's like it grew legs and walked. So yet again I had to walk away and hunt down my leather cording.

I found it a couple of days letter in a stash of stuff I totally forgot about. Oh and my phone mysteriously fell off my desk so until I got my new one I lost all the other photos.

So let's speed ahead to constructing the piece. I strung the beads onto jewelry wire and secured it with crimp beads and jump rings to attached it to the leather cording. I finished off the piece with a lobster clasp and chain extension.

Voila the piece is complete. I made some howlite and glass earrings to compliment the piece and off into the mail it went.

Next time I'll do it the old fashioned way and use the camera!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fun at the Tucson Gem Show!

If you love rocks, fossils, gems, people and the desert then you need to take time to visit the Tucson Gem Show at least one year. The gem "show" is actually a series of shows that run from the end of January to the 2nd or 3rd week of February.  

This year there were 43 different shows that spanned the entire city of Tucson.  They ranged in size and set-up from the relaxed atmosphere of the Miners Co-op show (about 30 vendors with pop-ups, tents and motor homes selling in an open field in the north part of Tucson) to the more sophisticated and LARGE wholesale shows like GJX, Gem Mall and Holidome (with hundreds of vendors in what appear to be permanently placed "tents" that are the size of very large warehouses).  If you have a wholesale license you really have to visit these large shows.  I have never before seen plates of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and who knows what else lined up on tables sparkling up and down every row of the show.  Most of these shows don't allow pictures but I was able to get this picture at one of the more relaxed shows, with the cooperation of the seller.  Imagine this replicated over and over again as you go up and down the rows of vendors.   

On the other end of the spectrum is the rock (a/k/a rough) used to create the gorgeous cut and polished gemstones I use in my designs.  You'll find rough at just about every show in Tucson.  It ranges from the small nuggets of emeralds and rubies to large chunks of semi-precious gemstones like amethyst, tiger eye and lepidolite.  A lot of the semi-precious gemstone rough is stored and sold from buckets and big metal barrels.  Here is just some of the rough I've seen in Tucson over the years:

Lepidolite Rough

Tiger Eye Rough

Amethyst Geode

If you like to see the remnants of plants and animals from millions of years ago come to Tucson!  I know our planet has a lot of things hidden inside because the supply of fossils at the Tucson shows has never diminished in the years I've been going to the show.  Here are some of the cool fossils you can find in Tucson:

Although gems and minerals are the focus of the show there is always lots more to see.  Here are some cool metal sculptures:

You can also find items for home decor such as gemstone bowls and a table top made from rock. That is my mom standing next to the table top for perspective.

So, if you have some free days in February next year take a trip to Tucson and see all the amazing beauty and bounty that mother nature provides for all of us who love gems!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cooking with the JETS

Seafood Boil

My family, like all other families, loves to eat when we all get together.  We have some favorites that we’ve enjoyed regularly through the years, such as smoked pork shoulders, fish fries, and there’s always a pizza night.  

This past July, Larry and I decided to take the makings of a family size Seafood Boil to my brother’s house in the mountains for everyone to enjoy.   If you decide to do one yourself, be prepared, it’s not just a meal, it’s an event. We started with a recipe, but of course, ended up adding a bit more seafood than it called for.  Due to lack of availability, our crawfish and crab legs were pre-cooked, however the shrimp were raw.

We had our Seafood Boil outside, using a large turkey fryer, with a strainer basket, to do the cooking.  We also prepped a 5 foot table with paper ahead of time, to spread out our seafood bounty when it’s done cooking. 

Below are the ingredients, of course you can add or remove any seafood that you want to from the recipe, as long as you leave the base. 

2 Zatarain’s Crab “n” Shrimp Boil in Bags
Old Bay Seasoning
½ cup Salt
Thyme – 10 sprigs
3  - 4 large onions, peeled and quartered
8 sticks of Celery
2 whole bulbs of Garlic, peeled and top cut
4 - 6 Lemons, cut in half
8 - 10 ears of corn, cut in half
About 20 New Red Potatoes, either small or cut in half
3 lbs. of Andouille Sausage, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 - 4 lbs. large raw shrimp
                                                                                   4 - 6 lbs. of crab legs
                                                                                   6 lbs. of crawfish (I also added some                                                                                                                                crawfish meat for those that don’t want                                                                                                                              to pick the whole crawfish).

Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot.
·       Add garlic, Zatarain’s spice bags, thyme and salt.  Boil for 15 minutes.
·       Add potatoes – boil for 7-8 minutes
·       Add corn – boil for 5 minutes (if the corn is frozen you may need to turn up the heat to get the water boiling again).
·       Add Andouille sausage – boil 8 minutes.
·       Squeeze lemons into pot and then throw them in along with the onions and celery.  Boil 3 - 4 minutes.
·       Add shrimp, crab legs, and crawfish.  Boil for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink.  Don’t overcook.

 If you don’t want to eat right away, turn off the heat, pour a bag of ice into the pot and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then, lift the basket out of the pot and allow it to drain.  Immediately pour the seafood and goodies out onto your prepared table.  

We also had hush puppies and butter, because you can’t have a proper seafood boil without them.


Thursday, March 17, 2016


For the first time, the blending of two shades – Rose Quartz and Serenity are chosen as the PANTONE Color of the Year
Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate a balance between a warmer rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting a soothing sense of order and peace.
It's almost spring and thus, we've put together some inpiration for this year's fashions. We'll start with Rose Quartz today.
Combining pretty jewelry and lovely accessories and clothing, the items featured here are perfect additions to your wardrobe. It's a pretty, feminine shade and goes well with so many other complimentary colors like pale green and blues.
Rose Quartz Party Dress
Rose Quartz Earrings

Pink Amethyst Chakra Necklace

           Vintage 1950s Dress


Pink Spinel Ring

                   High Waisted Shorts 
          Summer Linen Sweater

 Judy Lott

Monday, March 14, 2016

Judy's Cream Cheese Cookies

One of the things that I make for  quick treat are Cream Cheese Cookies. I have been making them since my children were little and they always look forward to having some of them. The recipe is simple to make and they taste delicious. They are so light and luscious you'll bake them often.


  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese softened
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box yellow (or devils food) Cake Mix

Cream the butter and cheese. Blend in the egg yolk and vanilla.  Add cake mix (dry), one third at a time, mixing well after each addition. (If a mixer is used, add the last third of the cake mix by hand.)
Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Drop cookies by level teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool slightly before removing from baking sheet.

Yields 6 to 8 dozen cookies.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jewels from the Sea

Pearls? Indeed, pearls - whether freshwater, cultured or glass - are among the first components that come to mind when we think of elegant, sophisticated jewelry, as shown in all the lovely handmade creations by members of the Jewelry on Etsy Team.

While pearls are the stand alone waterbred classic beads for jewelry designers, the sea around us offers an amazing variety of other treasures to explore.

Right now, with boho fashion trending and the summer wedding season approaching, this is the perfect time to get started planning our new jewelry creations - with seashells!

Natural, organic, eco-friendly and often awe inspiring, shells add such a delightful bohemian flair to nautically inspired designs that they are widely available commercially as pre-drilled beads. Examples, as shown below, include (clockwise from top left) shiva eye, cowrie, moonshell, conus and river shells.

Prefer a bit more color? These colorful aquamarine and gold turban shells are a striking blend of nature and glam.

Being fortunate to live just steps from the ocean, I love exploring the shore at low tide to see what new offerings the sea has tumbled and tossed my way - always making sure that the shells I add to my collection aren't inhabited! Over the years, I've made necklaces, bracelets and earrings with my own hand picked beach shells. Here's my all time favorite design, an eclectic "boho beach" necklace combining a simple shell pendant on a double strand mixing assorted gemstones, Czech glass and tiny crystals.

If, like mine, your shells are harvested from the beach, be sure to soak them overnight in a water/bleach solution, clean them with a natural soft bristle brush, spread them on paper towels to air dry completely (check the insides, too), and store them in an open jar or well ventilated box. Remember: "You can take the shell out of the ocean, but you can't take the ocean out of the shell." 

You can incorporate your shells into your designs with glue or by drilling small holes for stringing and wire wrapping. For the latter method, I recommend submerging the shell in shallow water, making sure your drill is connected to the electricity through a safety plug with an auto-shutoff mechanism.  

Caveat: Shell dust is hazardous to your eyes, sinuses, lungs and skin. Whether you're sanding the surfaces in preparation for gluing or drilling holes, always wear safety glasses, a protective dusk mask and nonporous gloves. Clean up all dust immediately, keeping it well away from children and pets.

Before adding them to your design, protect your shells with a light coat of nontoxic sealant (I like clear, hypo-allergenic nail polish), and you're ready to go.
So, whether you'd rather buy your shells ready-to-use or prefer to go beach combing for your "jewels" ... let's all make some jewelry!

Feeling crafty? Hand harvested beach shells are great for beachy, cottage chic decorating projects - like this wreath I made for my own home.

Need help identifying your found shells? There are hundreds of beautiful books available on the subject, many with eye popping color photos. Me, I'm still relying on this tried and true little hardcover, c. 1939, with its black and white photos. 


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Serenity - Pantone Color of the Year 2016

Showcasing one of Pantone's Colors of 2016. A cross between aqua and a dusty blue, these are sure to be "In style" wherever you go.

Compliments of the artisans of the Jewelry On Etsy Team. Please view the links below to see these beautiful pieces of jewelry "up close" and/or to purchase your favorite(s)!!!




Monday, March 7, 2016

Cooking with the JETS!

Baked Beans in a Slow Cooker

1 lb dry navy beans
3 cups vegetable broth
1 onion diced
3 cloves of garlic
2 T soy sauce ( I used low sodium )
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T dijon mustard
2 T molasses
2 T garlic chili paste
1/2 cup bbq sauce any one to your liking
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt/pepper
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Let the beans soak over night in water, rinse. Add the beans to the slow cooker. Then add remaining ingredients except cornstarch and water into slow cooker, combine and cook at low for 8 hours. Add the water and cornstarch, stir, let sit for another 5 mins, serve. 

The house will smell so good, I know it's easier to open up a can and eat, but this recipe came out so good I would definitely make again.   This recipe brings me back to my great aunt. She used to make baked beans when we had the family get-togethers. She would have three slow cookers going. One time, I said to her "Wow that's a lot" and she told me "Let's see if there's any leftovers." There were not any leftovers and as you can see in my picture,there wasn't much leftover here! We enjoyed it very much, hope you will also.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Etching Made Easy


Brass can be an attractive and affordable medium for jewelry making, or if you’re like me, you deal in brass bullet casings as part of your design. No matter how you source your brass, acid etching can be an easy way to add some depth and detail to your designs. 

What You’ll Need

The great thing about etching brass is that it doesn’t require expensive or hard to find material. I was able to gather everything I needed in one afternoon while out running errands.
  • ·         Ferric Chloride Acid – This is available at most any Radio Shack
  •         Baking Soda – This will be used to neutralize the acid and stop the etching   process
  •         Plastic containers – ALWAYS, always use plastic as metal will be damaged by the        acid
  •           Wooden dowels – These can be used as floats to keep your metal suspended in the  acid bath
  •           Scotch tape – Makes masking super easy
  •               Permanent Ink – In either pen, marker or stamp form
  •               Latex Gloves – Safety first! This is acid
  •               Plastic tongs – I use a pair that came with a Chick-Fil-A party pack
  •              Black Rustoleum Paint – Available at Home Depot or Lowes
  •              Rubbing Alcohol
  •              Paper Towels
  •         Toothpicks
  •             And of course, your brass piece(s)

One More Thing...

Depending on the look you’re going for, you may or may not want to clean up your brass before getting started. I personally lean toward a more rustic look so starting with a little patina only adds to the cool factor. However, if you would like a little more contrast in your piece, now would be the time to use some Brasso or Penny Brite to give it a little shine.
Okay! Let’s Get Started!

Step 1: Apply Your Design

You can either hand draw a design of your own making or use a permanent ink pad and stamp to apply a more intricate or patterned design. Just know that anywhere you apply permanent ink, the acid will be resisted (in other words, that area will say raised and shiny). For larger areas, the Scotch tape is a life saver. It will resist the acid beautifully as long as the edges don’t get peeled back or bubble.

Step 2: Apply Your Float

Once you’ve got your piece marked and taped up just so, you need to make sure that it doesn’t sink and sit on the bottom of your acid bath. Since I etch primarily bullet casings, I’ve found that I can do one of two things: either plug the open end of the casing with a wooden dowel or simply tape tightly over the hole trapping air. It depends on if you want the etching to go all the way down. If you’re etching a flat piece you can simply tape the chunk of wooden dowel to the back of your piece.

NOTE: Be sure to completely tape up the blank or back side of your piece if you don’t want it etched! 

Step 3: Into the Bath

Simply place your pieces into the Ferric Chloride (which is definitely in a plastic container, right?), making sure that your non-taped or marked areas are submerged. If your container has a lid, put it on. If it doesn’t, place it in a larger plastic tub to safeguard from splashes and spills. Depending on how deep you want the etch, you can let your pieces sit for 30 minutes to an hour. 

Extra Tip: Vibration can help shake gunk off the brass as it etches as well as create some interesting waves on the metal. I put my tub on top of the dryer during an air cycle and this seems to do the trick. 

Step 4: Pull Your Pieces

After about 30 minutes, you’ll want to put on those nifty gloves, grab your plastic tongs, and check your pieces. You can take a toothpick and run the tip across your piece to feel how raised the etching might be. If you want more, drop your pieces back in and check them every 15 minutes.

If you’re ready to pull your pieces, you need to have a second plastic tub with about a cup of water and three tablespoons baking soda mixed. Take your pieces out of the acid and drop them into the water and baking soda. When everything stops fizzing, it means your acid has been neutralized and your pieces will no longer etch as they sit. Rinse them with cool, clean water.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Your piece may look somewhat funky when they come out of the bath but not to worry. That’s normal. After you peel off any Scotch tape you had on the piece, use rubbing alcohol to remove all of the permanent ink. At this time, I will typically take a polishing cloth such as a Sunshine Cloth and give the whole piece, and especially the raised areas, a quick buffing.

All that’s left is to add some black Rustoleum paint (or the antiquing agent of your choice) to really bring out your etching. I simply take a paper towel, place it over my finger and rub small amounts of paint over the piece until I’m satisfied. I then wipe away the excess and give the piece a good buffing again with a cloth.

Step 6? Stand back and admire your handiwork. Or better yet, get it in your Etsy shop!

One Last Thing...

You can continue to use your ferric chloride acid for quite a long time. Of course, as you continue to use it, it will decrease in strength. When it gets to the point where it needs to be replaced, you will need to dispose of it safely. While adding baking soda will neutralize the acid, it will not do anything to change the buildup of copper in the solution. Copper is considered an environmental hazard and can cause serious damage if dumped in a water system or in your yard.

The best and safest way to dispose of your spent acid is to take it to a facility that specializes in the disposal of hazardous chemicals.

Happy crafting to you all and good luck in all of your etching endeavors!