Saturday, January 28, 2012

DIY Glass Pearl and Swarovski Crystal Bracelet

I love pearls. It's too bad they are so ridiculously expensive. Luckily, there are an array of glass pearls that are available. They range in quality from extremely poor to the oh-so-gorgeous Swarovski glass pearls. The ones I used in this project were lower quality glass pearls and they still look pretty darn good.

This is a fairly easy project. It's great if you're trying to learn simple jewelry making techniques. Here, I show you how to use beading wire and crimp beads to create a bracelet. Once you have this technique down and all the tools needed, you can pretty much make any single stranded beaded bracelet you want. If you want to learn more simple techniques, I also have tutorials on how to use memory wire to make bracelets, how to use feathers in jewelry, how to cut and use chain for necklaces, and how to make simple eyepin earrings.

Ok, here we go:

Materials needed:

- 15-20 4mm Bicone Swarovski crystal beads (number depends on how long you want it)


Step 1: Cut about 9-11 inches of beading wire off of spool using cutters. You'll want to have a few inches of extra wire beyond your wrist size. I have really small wrists, less than 7 inches, so I usually cut about 9 inches off. You'll want to do more for larger wrists.

Step 2: thread crimp bead through one end of wire. Follow by adding one side of toggle clasp. thread wire through crimp bead again, making a loop around toggle clasp. See pictures.

Step 3: Use crimp pliers (location 1) to secure crimp bead. The crimp bead will look like it has been bent in half. Turn crimp bead 90 degrees and use location 2 to compress crimp bead. This will result in crimp bead folding over on top of itself where the original bend was formed. SEE PICTURE BELOW!

Step 4: Add beads. I did a simple pattern as you can see, but if you want to do something a little more unique, go right ahead. Continue to thread beads on until it fits your wrist. You can check by looping the unfinished bracelet around your wrist to see if it will fit, just be careful to hold on to the unfinished side so the beads don't fall off. Remember that the addition of the rest of the crimp bead will add on a few centimeters.

Step 5: Okay, this is the most difficult part. When you're done threading your beads, add a crimp bead on to the end followed by the other piece of the toggle clasp. Just as in step one, loop around the clasp and back through the crimp bead. Here's the trick. You don't want to crimp it too tight. If you do, you'll have a couple problems. First of all, your bracelet will be inflexible and a bead might crack or break when you try to wear it. Second of all, you won't be able to tuck the end of your wire into a bead leading to an unsightly wire sticking out of your bracelet. So, you'll need to leave a little room. I try to leave about 2-3mm between the last bead and where I secure the crimp bead.

Using the steps outlined in step 3, secure the crimp bead with a small amount of space left between last bead and crimp bead. Use cutters to trim wire so that there is about 3mm of wire left. Tuck wire into bead at end of bracelet. This is difficult, but keep trying until you get it in there. If you have a pair of chain nose pliers, you can use them to make this step easier by grabbing the end of the wire and forcing it down into the bead hole.

The photo below shows what it should look like after you trim the wire. Note that it looks as if there is no space between the crimp bead and the crystal bead but there actually is. The beads have just loosened up to fill the whole space but are still movable enough to push down and shove the wire into the last crystal bead.

Once the wire is pushed in, you're done! I think the addition of a small ribbon bow would be adorable somewhere on this bracelet. Any ideas?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Southwestern Falafel Pita with Avocado Spread

Whether you are a big falafel fan or not, this is a great recipe to try. It's an amazingly tasty and unique take on a Mediterranean favorite. I made it last week for dinner one night. I made 5 serving sizes and the two of us ate them all. Luckily, they are pretty healthy and low in calories.

I got the recipe out of Cooking Light Favorites 7. I have to say that Cooking Light has to be my favorite cooking magazine. I've never made anything out of an issue that I've disliked (although every once in a while there are things I don't love) and Cooking Light Favorites are even more awesome. Plus, they try to make everything healthier without compromising on taste.

Southwestern Falafel Pita with Avocado Spread

Servings: 4 (one half pita each)
Time: To prepare: 15-20 minutes To cook: 10 minutes


- 1 (15 Ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
- 2 TBSP finely chopped green onions
- 1 TBSP finely chopped cilantro (I omitted because cilantro reminds me of chemicals or soap)
- 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 large egg white
- 1-1/2 tsp oil
Avocado Spread:
- 1/4 cup mashed peeled avocado
- 2 TBSP finely chopped tomato
- 1 TBSP finely chopped red onion
- 2 TBSP fat free sour cream (I used low fat)
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 (6-in) pitas, cut in half crosswise


Step 1: For patties- partially mash pinto beans in a medium bowl with a fork. Add cheese and chips, green onion, cilantro, cumin, and egg white. Stir until well combined. Form into four 1/2-inch thick oval patties.

Step 2: Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add patties and cook 3 minutes on each side (or until browned and cooked through).

Step 3: prepare spread while patties cook by combining avocado, red onion, sour cream, lime juice, and salt. Carefully open each pita half. Place one patty in each half and spread 2 tablespoons of avocado spread in each. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information: Cal: 281, Fat: 9.5 g (3.4 g sat.), Protein: 12.2 g, Carbs: 37.4 g, Fiber: 5.9 g, Chol: 13 mg, Sodium: 625 mg.

Check out my other recipes:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

DIY Loop Earrings

Like them, Love them, but don't wanna make them?? You can buy them here. (If sold out, feel free to request a special order by messaging me via Etsy).

Making jewelry is one of the more rewarding types of crafts because you get to make everything exactly the way you like it and then wear you get to wear it!

Here we've got some great loop earrings that are simple enough to make quickly. You can use whatever colors you want and whatever beads you love. I used pastels and an assortment of Chinese rondelle crystal beads. I bought the loops at Michael's but pretty much any round metal piece will work.


- 2 metal loops
- 5 pairs of matching beads
- A pair of chain nose pliers
- A pair of round nose pliers
- A pair of cutters


Step one: insert one headpin into first bead. Using round nose pliers, grasp the head pin and bend around one side of pliers (see photo). Snip head pin so there is just enough metal left to finish the loop by grasping end of metal with chain nose pliers and pushing inward to complete loop. Repeat with all other head pins/beads.

Step two: open loops of beads and place them on metal loop. Make sure you like the arrangement and then close loops again using chain nose pliers.

Step Three: Using chain nose pliers, open earring wire loops and hang metal loops on earring wires. Close earring wire loops. You're done!

Like them, Love them, but don't wanna make them?? You can buy them here. (If sold out, feel free to request a special order by messaging me via Etsy).


I'm providing a 20% off code good for any item in my Etsy shop!



For a limited time, a previously featured shop is offering a discount for CookLoveCraft readers. Use the code CLC10 for 10% off products in

Check out some of my other DIY tutorials:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake

Sorry for the small hiatus in posts. I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately-first a sore throat, then a migraine, and now some nasty allergies kicked up by the Santa Ana winds. Okay, on to the food.

I originally threw this simple dinner together one night with ingredients I had on hand. It was incredibly easy and extremely tasty. The second time I made it, I tried to cut the calories by using the heart healthy version of cream of chicken soup and it was just as good.

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake
Serves: 3-4
Time: Preparation: 5-10 mins Bake time: 35-40 mins


- 1 can cream of chicken soup (heart health Campbell's if preferred)
- 3/4 C. shredded Cheddar cheese + extra for sprinkling on top
- 3/4 C. chicken, cut into small pieces
- 1 C. frozen broccoli
- 1 1/2 C. cooked pasta
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. pepper or to taste
- Water, if needed


Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: in a large baking dish, combine all ingredients together minus some cheese for sprinkling on top. Mix thoroughly, making sure all ingredients are moist, add a little water if mix is too dry. Top with remaining cheese.

Step 3: bake for 35-40 minutes or until topping is brown and chicken is cooked through.


Check out my other recipes:

Monday, January 2, 2012

5 DIY Winter Warmth Projects

You gotta love the internet.... How else would you know how to make your own personal fire pit?

I feel like I should post some sort of disclaimer stating that if you try one of these, and it catches you or your house on fire, then it's not my fault. That being said, fire is cool and these DIY projects allow you to play with fire the adult way- with some amount of carefulness.

Take a look.... (links are posted in the photos and descriptions)

We won't be needing any of this in So. Cal this week. It's supposed to be over 80 degrees today!!! I want winter back!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy 2012 everybody!

To celebrate new year's, I'm providing a 20% off code good for any item in my Etsy shop!



For a limited time, a previously featured shop is offering a discount for CookLoveCraft readers. Use the code CLC10 for 10% off products in