Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bones Bonanza!

I've been messing around with some fantastic new glass colors, and first i made some heart beads as samples and then i made some little bones as samples. As most of the colors i was enthused with were actually kind of "gunky", they looked better as bones than as hearts. Check out the olive green ones, the ones with the surface sheen. That is a Vetrofond ODD called "verde muschio", if i got that right. It starts out as a transparent glass, but the more you work it, the more opaque and creamy olive it becomes. I can't seem to control the sheen, how and when it comes out, but i really like the transparent-opaque feature. Anyway, soon i had a small pile of bones on the table and they seemed to be sorting themselves into nice color combos. I listed a couple of "piles" of tiny bone beads in The Bead You Need this week.

Now, if anyone knows of some greyblue glasses that will give me this similar "gunky" look, please let me know-- i want 'em!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mmmm. Sponge Toffee.

I haven't made this since i was a teenager. I found two different recipes, both very simple. Basically, you boil 1 c. white sugar and 1 c. corn syrup until hard ball stage (300F). Remove from heat and whip in 1 t. vanilla, followed by 2 t. baking soda. Pour immediately into a foil-lined 9x13 inch dish. Cool, and break into pieces. Dip in chocolate if desired.

When making the first batch i used a recipe that called for less syrup, and partially substituted some honey for some of the corn syrup, and then proceeded to scald the mixture. But boy did it foam up (bottom stratum in the photo). Getting past the burnt sugar taste, i could tell that i didn't like how strong the honey taste came through.

So for the next attempt (middle stratum), i went to a recipe that called for equal parts sugar and corn syrup. I may have erred on the slightly undercooked side. The resulting candy was a little pale, and it didn't foam up very high at all, and lacked the tangy toasted sugar taste completely.

For my final attempt (top sample), i repeated the former recipe, but used a combo of vinegar and vanilla. I cooked the syrup mixture much more slowly and was more confident of the temperature when i removed the heat. The result was a fairly perfect color, texture, and flavor.

I dipped the pieces in semi-sweet chocolate, which is nice, but next time i would not coat more half of each piece of toffee, just a little bit of chocolate per bite being ideal.

Monday, December 19, 2011

And Yet Another Branch

Branching out still further, i have a new etsy shop, entitled GemBonz. It is a boutique for the pet lover. I only have a handful of items on the shelves at this point--mostly earings and bracelets. I haven't started listing the dog and cat collar charms yet. Instead of having these finished pieces in my The Bead You Need shop, mixed in with all of the loose beads i sell to jewelry makers, it makes sense to me that i offer them in a specialty shop. A shop that people who shop for paw print and dog bone jewelry can easily bookmark and find again and again. ;-)