Saturday, March 31, 2012

Crafty Saturday: Wire-Wrapped Head-Pin with Carnelian and Pearls

Today I planned a tutorial for a wire-wrapping technique which involves stringing beads onto a headpin and creating a loop. I thought this might be helpful for people looking to make jewelry at home!

Here's what you need:

* beads (I used faceted carnelian beads, gold-plated square beads, and freshwater cultured pearls)
* headpins
* pliers

 Wire-Wrapping Technique for Creating a Beaded Earring Finding

String your beads. I used faceted carnelian stones, gold square beads, and freshwater pearls.

Bend the headpin, allowing for about 1/4 inch of straight wire.
Create your loop.

Pass the free end across the main wire.
Now the fun begins: carefully wrap your wire down the main wire of the headpin.

Snip off the excess wire, but be careful to cover the wire with your hand so that it doesn't fly away!

Happy Crafting and Jewelry-Making!

I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial! Please let me know if you have any questions, or if you need any extra help! I would be more than happy to explain things further. Leave your comments below!

Keep a look out for upcoming posts this week. I have a lot of great posts planned!

And as always, thanks for visiting!

Jet Set Friday: St. Gallen and Santis

Happy Friday Everyone!

I hope that you survived the week and have some awesome plans for the weekend! I will be spending my weekend packing up our apartment and spending some quality time with my boyfriend before he starts his new job!

Its official: we are moving to Basel in the next week! While it has been wonderful living here in St. Gallen (near Appenzellerland and near the Austrian border), it will be nice to live on the borders of France and Germany!

Moving to Switzerland has been one of the most exciting adventures of my life. I moved here in September of 2011 to live with my boyfriend and to study at the University of Bern. I came to Switzerland with almost no knowledge of German. While I consider myself to be a very adventurous person, I found that it was a little difficult adjusting to life as an expatriate in a foreign country when I could not speak the language. I have come a long way since September, and while I am by no means fluent in German, I can happily ask for directions or help, and I can understand the conversations that my boyfriend's family (who are all Swiss) have during family gatherings.

One of the things that I love most about living in Switzerland is the rich culture of the Swiss people. From the food to the history, and even the different customs (like having all stores, including the grocery, closed on Sunday), life in Switzerland is very different than in the United States.

More of my favorite features of Switzerland include the sheer diversity in the languages spoken and the proximity of the country to some of Europe's finest destination spots. Switzerland boasts of having four national languages: German, French, Italian and Romansch and the country shares its borders with France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Liechtenstein.

With hot spot cities like Paris, Milan, Rome, Barcelona and Amsterdam only a few hours by plane or train away from Switzerland, this country is a perfect place to live for someone who loves to travel (like me!).

In honor of our upcoming move, I thought that I would share some pictures with you from and near St. Gallen, Switzerland. The first three pictures were taken in the city of St. Gallen. The last four pictures were taken on top of the Santis Mountain, about 30 minutes by train and bus from St. Gallen.

These are old traditional buildings in St. Gallen.
This is the clock and bell tower for the old Cloister in St. Gallen.
An old church bell tower in St. Gallen.
View from the top of the Santis Mountain.
Look at all of those mountains!
St. Gallen is covered in fog.
It is so bright and sunny on top of the mountain! Absolutely gorgeous!

Thanks for visiting! Keep a look out for some great new posts in the next few days!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Venture and Roam: News and Sneak Peak

Hi Everyone!

I've been hard at work over the past week creating and designing new pieces for my Venture & Roam jewelry collection. I've been experimenting with different styles, colors and metal combinations. I love every minute that I spend crafting and making my new pieces, even when I run into a tricky situation twisting wire or stringing beads.

I hope to have my Etsy store up and running in the next two to three weeks. I am currently waiting to open it until I have more pieces to list and until after my boyfriend and I move to Basel, Switzerland. I will keep updating more news and information as it becomes available. My new camera should arrive in the next few weeks as well (since my old one died in Barcelona, sad!), so my pictures should look a bit clearer.

I will also be designing a new layout for my blog, which I hope to uncover in the next few weeks as well.

Until then, here are some of my teasers from Venture & Roam:

Coral and Gold Earrings by Venture & Roam

Men's Boxwood Beaded Wrap Bracelet by Venture & Roam

Yellow "Turquoise" and Gold Beaded Necklace by Venture & Roam

Keep checking back for more updates and news from Venture & Roam! I have a bunch of great posts planned for the few days! Feel free to leave comments below.

And as always, thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Martha Stewart's Molten Mocha Cake

Today my boyfriend and I decided that we wanted to have a dessert-first night. We were having a chocolate craving, and so I thought it would be a great idea to make one of my favorite Martha Stewart recipes, the Molten Mocha Cake!

This cake is a spin on the traditional Molten Lava Cake, and it incorporates the flavor of espresso to give this chocolatey cake a twist! This recipe is perfectly designed for two servings, but can easily be doubled to make more!

Molten Mocha Cake

The Molten Mocha Cake!


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for ramekins and serving
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces (I used 60g of dark chocolate)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder (I used a smidgen more than 1tsp of instant espresso powder)
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

All of the ingredients!


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter two 6-ounce ramekins, then dust with confectioner's sugar.

Buttered and Powdered Sugared!

2. Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 20-second increments, stirring after each, until melted. It took my chocolate and butter about 1 full minute to fully melt. Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly. (I transferred my melted chocolate mixture to another bowl since the first bowl retained too much heat.)

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolk, sugar, espresso powder, and salt.

Adding 1 egg yolk to 1 egg.
Adding the sugar to the egg and egg yolk.
Adding the instant espresso powder.
Adding the salt.
This is what your batter should look like at this point.

4. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.

Adding the cooled chocolate mixture.

5. Add the flour, and whisk the batter just until it is combined (do not over-mix!!!). Pour batter into prepared ramekins. (Recipe can be made ahead up to this point.)

Adding the flour.
This is what your batter should look like before you put it in the ramekins! Your batter should be sticky!
Ready for the oven!

6. Bake the batter until a toothpick inserted 1/2 inch from edge of ramekins comes out clean, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out wet, about 10 to 12 minutes (do not over-bake!!!).


7. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Run a knife around inside of ramekins to loosen. Invert cakes onto serving plates. Dust with sugar; serve immediately and enjoy!

Ready to eat?

Have you tried this recipe? Tell me what you think in the comments section below!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jewelry Monday: Featuring Pyrrha Jewelry

Happy Monday Everyone!

Today I wanted to feature a great jewelry company called Pyrrha. Started by Canadian designers Wade Papin and Danielle Wilmore, the Pyrrha jewelry collection features designs taken from 18th century wax seals. The jewelry, especially the talisman necklaces, are cast in sterling silver, bronze and gold. The rich history behind the meanings of the wax seals and the natural imperfection of the wax seal itself make this jewelry collection unique. Every piece of jewelry from Pyrrha is absolutely drool-worthy!

Here are some of my favorite pieces of jewelry from the Pyrrha website. All of these images are owned by Pyrrha and I claim no ownership rights to them.

This is the "Gold on Silver Fox Head Wax Seal Necklace" by Pyrrha.

This the "Mother Bear Wax Seal Necklace" by Pyrrha.

This is the "Peace of Mind Wax Seal Necklace" by Pyrrha.

This the "Mini Rose Wax Seal Ring" by Pyrrha.

This is the "Butterfly Silk Friendship Bracelet" by Pyrrha.

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday Quote: Vincent Van Gogh and Nasa Images

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! We had a great time here in Switzerland this weekend, but now its time to get back to school and work. Here's a great quote to inspire you for the week:

Also, check out this really cool video from NASA! It shows Earth lit up at night! Its absolutely beautiful!

 Have a great week and thanks for visiting!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Crafty Saturday: Moss Agate and Snow Quartz Bracelet Tutorial

I have been having tons of fun making my new jewelry for Venture & Roam, and I wanted to share with you a fun little tutorial for a bracelet that I made this morning!

This is a beaded bracelet using a toggle clasp and elastic chord. I used moss agate and snow quartz stones with silver-filled rondelle spacers. Feel free to use any beads you want!

Moss Agate and Snow Quartz Bracelet

What you will need:

  • Beads (I used Moss Agate stones and Snow Quartz stones
  • spacers (I used silver-filled rondelle spacers)
  • elastic cord 
  • clasps (I used a toggle clasp, feel free to use your preferred clasp type!)
  • silver-plated jump rings
  • silver-plated clamshell bead tips
  • pliers (I used all three during the process)
  • glue (I used GS Hypo Cement)
  • small tipped scissors
  • a ruler


Applying a clamshell bead tip to the end of the knot.

 First I measured and cut my cord to be a little larger than 7 inches. I tied a knot at one end and strung on one clamshell bead tip so that its mouth was facing the knot. I then added a small amount of glue and used my flat nosed plier to close the bead tip around the knot.

Stringing the beads.

 Next, I began stringing my beads onto the elastic cord. I chose to add a spacer bead first, then followed by a moss agate bead. I continued the pattern by adding another spacer and then a snow quartz bead.

Finished stringing the beads!

After I strung all of my beads onto the cord, I added the second clamshell bead tip to the chord, the mouth facing the end of the string. I tied a knot closely to the mouth of the clamshell and cut the extra cord. I then applied a small amount of glue and closed the bead tip with my flat-nose pliers.

I stretched the chord tightly when I made my knot so that it sat inside the bead tip when the cord was relaxed.

Here are the two closed bead tips.

After I closed the second bead tip, I opened the two jump rings using my round-nose and chain-nose pliers to delicately open the rings. I attached each side of the clasp to the open jump rings and then each of the clamshell bead tips to the jump rings. I then closed the jump rings. That's the last step!

Here's the finished bracelet:

I hope that you've enjoyed this tutorial! Please check back for more tutorials, photos, posts and news from Venture & Roam! Feel free to leave comments below. And as always, thanks for visiting!

Jet Set Friday: Barcelona's La Boqueria

I hope that you've survived the week and have great plans for the weekend! I wanted to share with you some pictures I took while in Barcelona a few weeks ago. 

One of the most iconic sites in Barcelona (besides everything built by Gaudi) is definitely the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, more commonly known as La Boqueria

Situated on the famous street Las Ramblas, La Boqueria is a large farmer's market filled with food grown locally and imported from around the world. With stands featuring fresh fruit smoothies to smoked meat, this market place is certainly "must see" when visiting Barcelona.

Here are just a few pictures from La Boqueria!

This is the entrance to the marketplace. I loved the stained-glass awning!


A fruit stall in La Boqueria!


A spice stall in La Boqueria. I love all of the dried peppers hanging from the stall!

Have you ever been to La Boqueria? What was your favorite stall?
Tell me all about your experience in the comments section below!

Thanks for visiting!