# A pair of studs- earring base
# Scissors and glue (rubber based adhesive)
1) Taper one edge of the strip like in the picture. Make a knot and pull tight
2) Now fold and twist the strip as you go around the knot, making sure that the folds are neat. Keep gluing as you twist and fold.
3) when you are about 1 to 1.5 inches from the edge, stop and make a hole
4) Insert the stud back from inside so that the base is covered. Glue in place.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
- Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.
Cinnamon Spiced Sweet Potato and Carrot Chips
To Make Carrot Chips:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a mandoline or a knife and thinly sliced carrots into rounds. Lightly toss the carrots in olive oil and sea salt. Don’t over saturate the carrots with olive oil, only a light coating.
Bake chips for 45 minutes. Set aside and allow cool on wire rack.
To Make Sweet Potato Chips:
1 large sweet potato
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel skin off the sweet potato and discard. Continue to peel the sweet potato with peeler making lots of thin strips of the sweet potato. Put the strips onto prepared baking sheet and drizzle olive oil, sea salt, and cinnamon. Using fingers, toss the potatoes to evenly coat the strips of sweet potato.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are slightly golden and crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Take both chips and toss together with additional sea salt and cinnamon. Enjoy!!
I made this for an outdoor party this afternoon. I will pair it with blue chips and added a little fresh lime to the salsa!Black Beans with Tomato, Onion, Cilantro, and Garlic: Recipe and Photos by For the Love of Cooking.net
- 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp sweet yellow onion, diced finely
- 1 tbsp grape tomatoes, diced
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, diced
- 1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced finely
- Pinch of cumin
- Pinch of dried oregano
- Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
The Best of America’s National Parks
Spot a manatee… hike down a canyon… see how early Native Americans lived… go deep inside a vast cave… just plain get away from it all, with great adventures in 10 of America’s best national parks.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Best for watching wild waves and serene sunsets
Toward sunset, a long line of cars roll up to the summit of 1,530-feet-high Cadillac Mountain in Maine’s coast-hugging Acadia National Park, where visitors traditionally gather to toast the setting sun (champagne preferred). Acadia is a gracious, gentlemanly national park, created on land donated by John D. Rockefeller, who also paid for construction of more than 50 miles of carriage roads, part of a larger network of 125 miles of park paths. If you have to pick one, the six-mile bike trail around Eagle Lake, dotted with colorful canoes and kayaks, is lovely. Save time for lunch at pretty Jordan Pond House, circa 1870, and famous for its creamy lobster stew and popovers. Book a park-ranger-narrated boat cruise. Head to Bass Harbor, also part of the park, on Mount Desert (the locals pronounce it “dessert”) Island’s southwest shore, for great lighthouse photos. Watch the lobster boats roll in. Campsites sell out far in advance, but Bar Harbor, the island’s biggest town, offers rooms at a wide range of prices. The Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina ranks high for luxury.
In summer, the temperature in the 3.3-million-acre Death Valley National Park regularly tops 100 degrees, but, as the locals like to say, it’s a dry heat. Famous for fabulous contrasts, Death Valley is below sea level at Backwater Basin, yet also boasts towering snow-capped mountains. There are long stretches where nothing grows, and then sand dunes give way to fields of fuchsia, purple and yellow flowers. Visit Rhyolite, the valley’s most accessible ghost town, once home to 10,000 people and 50 saloons. Stop at the Harmony Borax Works, where borax (used in making soap) was hauled out by the “20-mule teams” of TV’s “Death Valley Days” fame. Book a room at the Inn at Furnace Creek for unexpected luxury (open mid-October to mid-May). The Ranch at Furnace Creek, open all year, even has a swimming pool (the water is very hot in summer), as well as restaurants and a general store. Don’t miss Scotty’s Castle, a white Spanish-style mansion in the middle of an oasis called Grapevine Canyon. The National Park Service guides bring history—including Scotty’s rather eccentric character— to life.
American school children learned to call it Mount McKinley, but today North America’s tallest mountain goes by its native Athabascan name of Denali (“The High One”). The mountain, like a wise old sentinel, totally dominates the six-million-acre wilderness park that surrounds it. Many park roads are closed to private cars, so book the 90-mile, 12-hour-long Kantishna Wilderness Trails Tour (a bus ride through the park, including a stop at an old mining town), well in advance. Sharp eyes can spot big grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall’s sheep and lively little red foxes. Splurge on a flight-seeing tour that lets you get up-close looks at glaciers and a different perspective on wildlife moving across the landscape below. Whitewater rafting, in a wet suit for warmth, is another option, as is hiking the handsome Savage River Trail. In summer, it’s possible to see as many as 167 different species of birds flutter in front of your binoculars. It’s pleasant to camp in the park, but a good alternative might be to book rooms at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge (outside the park), or Kantishna Roadhouse in the park.
That the Everglades National Park—the largest tract of true wilderness east of the Rockies—exists at all is a major miracle in over-developed south Florida. In fact, the park is thought to be so important that it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Once inside, highways and tract homes are forgotten, as you paddle your own canoe, hike, bike, and perhaps join a park ranger on a bird walk, seeing everything from massive anhingas to a graceful white ibis to the rare roseate spoonbill. Birds are just the beginning. The looks-like-old-men West Indian manatees, slightly scary alligators, and American crocodiles may also join your walk on the wild side. The adjacent Big Cypress National Preserve, protecting 729,000 acres of swampland, is a great place to kayak. The Oasis Visitor Center there lets you view massive alligators from a wooden observation deck. Take a naturalist-narrated tram tour, and in winter, catch the 50-minute Anhinga Amble around Taylor Slough (from Royal Palm Visitors Center), or the Early Bird Special, a 90-minute bird walk starting at the Flamingo Visitor Center.
There are as many different ways to experience the Grand Canyon as there are visitors. For some, the best choice is to book a room at the classic El Tovar Hotel, which has perched on the canyon’s South Rim since the railroad started bringing in passengers in the early days of the last century. For many guests there, strolling along the canyon rim and attending ranger-led interpretive programs are sufficient pleasures. Bright Angel Lodge is the place to stay if you have booked a mule ride down to the canyon floor, since it is the check-in point for the journey. Folks who choose to hike down to the canyon floor also tend to favor the Bright Angel Trail, as water is available en route, and you can rest under the shade of cottonwood trees at the pretty Indian Gardens Campground about halfway down. Some very tame deer there are likely to try to befriend you (rangers request that you not feed them). The Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch offer rustic accommodations on the canyon floor. Phantom Ranch provides separate, 10-bunk-bed dorms for women and men and 11 private cabins.
A lot of history is hidden in the half-million-acre Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee and offers a good look at 19th-century mountain life. Cades Cove, the heart of the park—and still home to deer and wild turkey—is now also a vast open-air museum. You can drive past original pioneer homesteads, barns, churches, and mills, but also save some time to amble through fields thick with wildflowers. Some eight to 10 million people pass through this most-visited national park each year. Many folks camp, and spend pleasant hours fishing, horseback riding, or looking for deer, elk, or black bear. From mid-March to late November, travelers who book in advance can hike the Trillium Gap Trail (watch out for the llamas hauling in groceries) for a stay the rough and remote LeConte Lodge. Sixty guests sleep in bunk beds in rough cabins or lodges complete with wash basin and bucket, kerosene lamps, propane heaters, and porch rockers. Family-style meals are simple and good. The privvy now has flush toilets. And the silence is so thick you can almost hear it.
Millions of years ago, five fire-spewing volcanoes created the Big Island of Hawaii. One of these, Kilauea, is still at it, making it a leading contender for largest active volcano on earth. Another, the more sedate Mauna Loa, ranks as the world’s biggest volcano, rising a mighty 56,000 feet above the ocean floor. Visitors can meet both of these powerful wonders with a visit to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Start with the exhibits and films at the Kilauea Visitor Center, and ask about scheduled ranger walks. Jagger Museum, a few miles from the park entrance, is a good place to see volcano ash and monitoring gear. Just outside the museum, you can actually peer into a caldera, seeing volcanic ash and smoke at work. Drive or bike the 11-mile Crater Rim Drive (sometimes closed by eruptions). Chain of Craters Road gives a good overview of volcanic activity, taking visitors down to where hot lava crossed the coast highway in 2003. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is hiker and camper friendly. Rangers are up to date on where to go to see smoke pour out of vents in rock and red molten lava flow. Guided bike tours of the national park and Kilauea are available. A helicopter tour gives you a bird’s-eye view of the steamy action.
Mammoth Cave, deep underground in western Kentucky, is, to date, the longest cave system ever discovered. Every year, some half a million people come to experience what it is like inside this vast limestone complex. About 392 miles of the caverns have been explored, and many more await investigation. Some visitors choose a short walk, typically the easy Mammoth Passage Tour, entering the cave in the same place that early Native Americans did 4,000 years ago. Frozen Niagara, with its lovely limestone formations is another favorite. The truly daring don helmets, headlamps, boots and knee pads to climb cave walls and crawl through narrow (some nine-inches-high) spaces, on the “Wild Cave” or “Introduction to Caving” tours (book in advance). Above ground, savor the quiet of the forest while going horseback riding, canoeing on the Green River, or birding. Families enjoy the evening campfire programs at the Visitor Center, and later, amateur spelunkers tuck into tents on 105 separate campsites, in rooms at the Mammoth Cave Hotel, or in motels in nearby Cave City.
While most of America’s national parks focus on natural wonders, Mesa Verde provides a rich dose of Native American history along with its splendid scenery. In fact, the park’s cliff dwellings—one might almost call them precursors to today’s high-rise apartments—are glorious examples of the ingenuity of the Ancestral Puebloan People. No one knows why the residents abandoned Mesa Verde about 800 years ago, but the site was forgotten until a couple of cowboys literally stumbled on it in 1888. If you have time to visit only one dwelling, take the guided tour through Cliff Palace, the largest complex, and the one that dominates most of the postcards (check for possible closings for repair this summer). The beautiful Balcony House, also only available with a guide, requires climbing a 32-foot ladder, crawling through a 12-foot tunnel and making it up a 60-foot rock face. It is definitely scary, but worth it. (You must purchase tickets at the Visitors Center for these two tours.) The handsome Spruce Tree House, the best-preserved dwelling, is accessible via a 32-foot ladder, is open all year, and doesn’t require a guide.
Yosemite National Park, California
Best for granite gazing (or climbing) and grand hotel stays
Yosemite National Park, in central eastern California, is one of the most visited parks in the entire system. Credit for that goes to its rich natural beauty; its nearly 1,000 miles of trails, some taking travelers deep into back country; and its lovely Ahwahnee Hotel, as grand as it gets. Add to that the immense popularity of rock climbing in this granite-rich park; the countless ribbons of waterfalls cascading over rock walls, and begging to be photographed; and the lovely green-and-gray scenery that has drawn visitors since before Ansel Adams snapped his iconic Yosemite photos. Visitors can also ride horses through Yosemite Valley, go on photo and art walks from spring through fall (pretty Bridalveil Falls is a favorite stop), and in winter can master cross-country skiing. Observe the tradition of watching the sun set over Half Dome, turning the granite into shimmering gold. Save time to savor the quiet elegance of the Ahwahnee Hotel, or book into the classic Wawona, a white clapboard inn harking back to the 19th century, with its old-fashioned long verandas. It is also possible to rent cabins and tents.
Hideeho-needed a project and thought these little concrete mushrooms would look darling around gals playhouse in the backyard. I found the tutorial on Crownhilldaybyday.blogspot.com. Here’s my progress in the first photo and look at the tutorial as I hope mine will reveal the magic…
Step 1: Add just enough water to the concrete to make the mixture stiff enough to stand up on it’s own. (The amount of concrete you use depends on how many mushrooms you are planning to make.) Mold the mushroom stem on a piece of plastic wrap, as seen below.
Let the stem dry. With our cool weather, I let it sit for a full day to dry completely.
Step 2: Fill your bowl with damp sand and cover it with plastic wrap.
Step 3: Using your hands, or a previously made mushroom, or any object that is mushroom-shaped, make an imprint in the sand on top of the plastic wrap. This will be your mushroom mold.
Step 4: Mix concrete that is softer than the concrete mixed for the stem. Then fill the mushroom mold with this mixture. As you can see below, I mixed too much water into the concrete and it is running over the edge of my mold. It will be ok because I can file down or chip off unwanted concrete after the piece is dry.
Step 5: Place the dry stem into the wet concrete as seen below. If it seems like it won’t stay in place, the trick is to simply hold it where you want it to be for 30 seconds or so. You will see that it stays right there after that. This also works if your mushroom-top concrete is rather thick and it seems like the stem won’t go in. Just hold it there with gentle pressure.
Here is the mushroom after it has been given plenty of time to dry in the mold:
Paint away! If you like the shiny look, use a super glossy paint, or spray them with a varnish after you’ve painted them. I like the vibrant colors of these mushrooms:
I’m having this for dinner tonight. Chicken has been marinating for two nights, so I better grill them later.
JERK CHICKEN & STUFFED MINI BELL PEPPERS with GRILLED GARLIC BREAD
SOURCE: Cooking Light Magazine, May 2012; p. 62. Recipes by Mary Drennan.
1/3 c. sliced scallions, divided
1/3 c. chopped shallots, divided
1 T. brown sugar
3 T. fresh lime juice, divided
2 T. olive oil
1/4 t. ground allspice
4 cloves garlic
1 large serrano chile, stemmed (seeded and deveined if you’d like less heat)
8 bone in chicken thighs, skinned (I used Sendik’s Boneless Thighs; Smart Chicken Brand are on sale)
1/3 c. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. light sour cream (Organic Valley Sour Cream is on sale in two sizes)
8 – 10 mini bell peppers
Preheat grill to medium high heat. After preheating, reduce one side to medium low.
Combine 1/4 cup scallions, 1/4 cup shallots, sugar, 2 tablespoons juice, oil, allspice, garlic, and serrano chile in a mini food processor; process until smooth. Combine half of scallion mixture and chicken in a medium bowl; toss well. Season with kosher salt.
Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Cover and grill 5 minutes on each side, watching carefully and spraying down flareups with a spray bottle of water **see note **. Move chicken over to low heat. Cover and grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. Brush chicken with remaining scallion mixture.
Combine remaining scallions, remaining shallots, remaining lime juice, cream cheese, cilantro, and sour cream. Halve bell peppers lengthwise; discard seeds. Divide cheese mixture evenly among pepper halves. Place peppers on grill rack and grill 7 minutes or until peppers are lightly charred and cheese is melted.