Today on Etsy - February 28, 2013

Good Morning! Here we are at the end of February already.

Rather than feature just one item from Etsy, I've created a collage with different items. To see the complete collage, just follow the link by clicking on the photo.

See you in March !

The Beauty of Briolettes

Briolette you say? Is that some take on a French baguette? . . mmmm, no.

A briolette is an elongated pear-shaped gemstone cut with triangular facets. Approximately 800 years ago, the cut was very popular during the Victorian period. Although its popularity waned thereafter, this shape has enjoyed a recent resurgence to precious and semi-precious stones. To which I say, “YEAH !”
Because of its three dimensional shape and faceting, briolettes are not suitable for rings or styles of flat jewelry and instead lend themselves well to drop style pendants and necklaces.

Most luxurious example? The Napoleon Diamond Necklace. To celebrate the birth of his son in 1811, Napoleon Bonaparte presented his second wife, Empress Consort Marie Louise of Austria with a 263 (yes, that’s two hundred and sixty three) carat diamond briolette necklace. It consists of 234 diamonds; 28 cut diamonds on a single thread, off set with alternating pendeloupe and briolette diamond cuts. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Bonaparte returned to her native Austria with the necklace. Two of the pendeloupe clusters were removed from the necklace and made in to a set of earrings for her sister (today, the whereabouts are unknown . . . sad face). The necklace exchanged several hands before being purchased by Harry Winston (yes, THAT Harry Winston . . . of Harry Winston Diamonds) in 1960. Thankfully, he decided to keep the necklace intact rather than remove the stones and sell them individually, as was common practice at that time. The necklace was sold that same year, and then donated in 1962 to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, where it remains on display (I’ve seen it….two words . .  .A MAZING !)
Now, you may not be able to fit a 263 carat diamond necklace into your budget, but having a piece of jewelry with briolettes is worth the investment. There are many price point options, and briolettes are cut in a wide variety of different coloured gemstones. There is added life to a briolette cut, the facets allow for extra light to enter them and refract which makes them beautiful against any skin tone. Couple that with the elegance and extra sparkle and you’re sure to garner compliments and curiosity when wearing this gemstone cut.

Rum Balls for Valentine's Day

My mom loves rum balls. So the other day I thought I would pick some up from the local bakery as a Valentine’s gift for her. Oh My Word…..EXPENSIVE ! Yes, I know they are hand made in house. But at $3.50 each, I decided to pass.

Two nights later I decided to bake a chocolate cake. It was beautiful, it was moist. It was in a ring form pan. I turned the pan upside down too early, and the cake split in the center. Half stayed in the pan, the other half was on the cooling rack. Rather than despair, my immediate thought was “hey…I know, I’ll make rum balls.” So I left the cake to finish cooling completely, then put both halves on a plate, wrapped it and put it in the refrigerator.
The next day I took the cake out and let it come to room temperature. Then I crumbled the cake into a bowl and added dark rum. Don’t know how much; just kept adding rum a little at a time until the cake began to hold together when pressed into balls. Then I rolled the moistened crumb mixture into bite sized balls and set them aside.

Next I got out a couple shallow bowls and put my decorating finishes in each. One for powdered sugar mixed with cocoa powder, another for the traditional chocolate sprinkles, another for pastel and one more for rainbow sprinkles.
I discovered there is a trick to making the different coatings stick. For the powdered mixture, I could just roll the ball in the bowl to coat them, and then place them in the mini paper cups. But for the sprinkles I had to find a way to make them stick. I found the best way was to lightly brush the outside of each ball with a bit of the rum, and then roll it around in the bowl with the sprinkles. A bit tedious, but it got the job done.

I have a few candy and chocolate boxes I’ve saved. I find they are perfect for when giving a treat gift; you don’t have to worry about getting your container back and the packaging can be recycled by the recipient. So after placing each rum ball in a mini paper cup, I arranged them in a gold Godiva chocolate box. Tied the box with a pretty red bow and stored it in the refrigerator until the next day.
When mom got the box, she was confused, because a box of chocolates is not something I would normally give her. So when she opened it, she was delightfully surprised.

And for the next couple days I had to smile whenever I heard her say to a guest “Want a rum ball? My daughter made them for me”. It’s nice to have a gift appreciated, but even nicer to know it’s so well received that the recipient wants to share it with others.

And that’s the spirit of giving.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Today on Etsy - February 05, 2013

A few days ago I posted about hats and how they make people smile. Since then, I have come across these little lovelies by yellowfield7.

Perfect for Valentine's Day.