My Favorite Things - Homemade Caramels and Marshmallows

Extraordinary Vanilla Marshmallows by Have It Sweet
Have you ever had homemade marshmallows? Chances are, you haven't.  I hadn't before I purchased some from Have It Sweet on Etsy.  Because I love lemon, I purchased the lemon swirl flavor but she has so many others.

In addition to the fluffy sweet goodness of marshmallows, there is also caramel.  Oh caramel!
You have not had caramel the same way you have not had marshmallows!

These would make a great gift (for me) and are available shipped monthly to your (or my) door if you choose to participate in an of the month club. These would be great for Valentines day too, be sure to take a peek for some sweets for your sweet ones.

Drunken Salted Pecan Turtle Caramel Bars by Have It Sweet
Everything is handmade to order with exceptional quality ingredients  in a licensed commercial kitchen.  They came beautifully packaged too, like the lovely gifts that they are.

If there are other people living in your home and you don't plan to share these, do have a good hiding spot.  If you don't have a hiding spot, get a few selections.

We chose the Fleur de Sel along with my marshmallows and it was gone much too quickly. Next time I want to get the Drunken Salted Pecan Turtle Caramel Bars and the French Pistachio Nougat.

My Favorite Things - handmade cotton napkins

Oprah has her favorite things, so why can't I?  Granted, you have to purchase these yourself, but the majority of them will be from small business hand makers so you can feel great about where your money is going.

I'll be adding new lovely favorite things as I see fit.  These are all things I have personally used, so it's a bit of a product review too.

Unpaper Towels, eco friendly napkins from LoveForEarth

These eco-friendly napkins made of 100% cotton and perfect for everyday use.  They are a great replacement of standard throw away napkins and help save space in the cabinets too.  Not only are these great for adults but they can teach little ones the value of reusing materials rather than the waste created with a disposable society.  Just toss them in the wash (yes you can bleach them if needed) and the kids can help with folding when they are clean.

Get them on Etsy from favorite seller LoveForEarth.  While there, take the opportunity to check out the other great handmade and reusable products offered. There are sandwich baggies, produce bags too, which I also have that are great for farmers markets!

LiciaBeads Vault November sale and $50 giveaway!

Happy Holidays to all my sparkling friends and family! 

The Holiday sale is going on now in my Gemstone bead store and plenty of lovely friends have entered to win the giveaway.  See, they get the newsletter and it comes with all the bonus features.  You should really subscribe for your fair warning and unfair advantages.

I send it out about 6 times a year and always when major events happen like giveaways, sales, amazing finds and bargains.  If you change your mind at any point, simply unsubscribe.

 I'll be continually listing new items throughout the sale so add me to your circle to see the updates!

Now the fun stuff you have been waiting for...  FREE BEADS!  $50 worth to be exact! 

Enter to win a $50 Gift Certificate from LiciaBeads Vault!

Please take care with the details so I can keep track of your entries. And really, if you go for it the number of times you can enter really adds up and gives you a great advantage.  After about 10 of these style giveaways, I can tell you, most people don't enter more than a couple times so take advantage!  :)

*5 entries per treasury: 
Include one item from LiciaBeads Vault in a new treasury with tag LBV (for tracking purposes)

*3 entries per favorite:
Favorite a treasury with a LiciaBeads Vault item and leave a comment (add #LBV to your comment for tracking).
*5 entries:
"Like" LiciaBeads Vault on Facebook and write on my wall, already like me? (*blush, thanks!) just leave a note on my wall and I'll add 5 entries!
*1 entry per day:   
promote an item from my shop on Twitter using the hashtag #LBVgemstonesale

*10 entries:
Blog about my store between now and Thanksgiving (Nov 24) and link to my shop (send me a note with your blog article and I'll promote your blog/article here too!)
THE FINE PRINT: Winner will be drawn the first week of December.  The winner has the option of using the certificate on a previous purchase if made during the month of November 2011. Certificate must be used via Etsy purchase (you must have an account to purchase, it's easy and free to sign up). Not valid for cash and may not be combined with coupon codes (but is valid for posted sale prices).
Questions, comments, suggestions, one liners, word of the day and hilarious cat photos, etc. can be noted below :)


I don't know what it was like for most people to get started doing craft shows.... but it's exciting and scary all rolled into one for me!  I don't typically feel shy (and sometimes I don't shut up, case and point:  this blog) around people most of the time and when I know what I am doing, nerves are not an issue either.  

However... I'm not sure I know what I am doing.  The money part is not an issue, I can count well having been trained as a teller and vault cashier (Is money dirty, heck yeah, and it stinks) and I know how to manage plastic.  
Side note:  For those who want to take CC's in person, do check out  I'm hoping for awesome things and lots of credit card sales!

The hardest part is the transit of the booth setup (er... just tables so far, no tent yet) that allows me to transport everything I need in a single load.  It also must fit easily and quickly into a VW New Beetle...  So I am crafting a display setup and have decided on a subdued color pallet of creamy white and soft celadon greens (♥ celadon).  So far I have compiled an assortment of unique and decorative bordered picture frames, mostly from Value Village because frames are pricey (and I don't want to paint nice ones)!  I plan to paint them a soft flat white and center them with batted (that's cushiony underneath) fabric over sturdy cardboard and cork.  Then hopefully (if all that works) I can pin up some select pieces of jewelry. 
 All the frames will be arranged on a vertical base (I'm thinking fireplace screen) so that everything is at about eye level.  Having different levels and vertical surfaces allows more display space... although there is such a thing as too much for the eye to handle...  I know there is some psychology behind it too.

I've also collected a  selection of fabrics (also Value Village) that range from shower curtains to sheets to pillow cases to drape over the table and hide all the unmentionables.
So far, that is where I am.  I also need to think about getting a smallish box that is open on the back side so I can stash my latte, calculator and other work necessities.  It will be a riser from the front and a useful space from the back.  

Time to find some paint! 

I know, I know! Long time no free stuff!

Dearest peeps, it's been a very very long time.

Might I encourage you back for a little with some free beads?
Maybe you prefer free jewelry?
A little of both?

Drop a comment and let me know!

Pantone Spring color trends for 2011

Each year fashion designers converge in New York City to partake in New York Fashion Week and each year the top colors are forecast for the following season. Following are their chosen colors and just a few selections from the over 400 jewelry options at the LiciaBeads online store.

A tip to fellow sellers, if the color applies to your item, don't miss out on using it in the description or tagging! I've been contacted by a writer from Niche and American Style Magazines to have Honeysuckle included in an article. I'll keep you posted how it turns out!

Visit Pantone here. Visit my Etsy store here.

The Centipede Story - adventures in Maui by James

The Centipede Story
One of our adventures in Maui was when I almost killed several people I was driving across the barren roads of south Maui.

One of our excursions was our day trip to Hana on the East side of Maui. Hana is completely different from the more touristy sides of the island. It’s lush and green and less populated than the drier sides. It’s a good few hours drive from where we were staying. Licia and I had been there before but this time decided to take the loop road around the south side of the island.

Now the roads on the south side of the island are not recommended. In previous years, the roads have been known to wash out in places after a heavy rain. They have gotten better in recent years, so we decided to see what we missed the first time around.

We spent most of the day driving the switchbacks to Hana. We stopped at many sites along the way including waterfalls, wave crashed lava rock beaches, black sand and pebble beaches, the airport so I could take a powered hang glider flight, and every fruit stand along the way to find the mythical perfect banana bread we remembered from our first trip. This took up most of the day. By the time we officially hit the south side road it was getting dark.

What are the south side roads like? Narrow for one. Unpaved, gravelly, or probably more accurate to say badly paved. There was a section where the road appeared cantilevered over a cliff. There was no allegiance paid to the word “straight” but plenty to the word “narrow”. It was all switchbacks and roller coasters with potholes as large as the bald right front tire our rental van came with; just to remind us this wasn’t an amusement park. When we crested a hill the headlights would shine into the sky illuminating nothing about the road below we were about to plunge into. This did not sway Shelley’s enthusiasm as we would accelerate blindly over a crest into a steep curve she would say “Wheee”!

The outside temperature was just right and we had the windows open until we saw a bat fly around our minivan so close that we closed the windows so it wouldn’t fly in. We had short-range walky-talkies that we could warn the trailing van about obstacles ahead. For instance warnings like “Look out for the rabid bat!” or later “Watch out for the cow in the road!” We brought 2 minivans, the Maui Intruder and the Maui Invader inspired by some of the worst (or best!) RV names we have seen in the past.

Finally, the road started straightening out into what would be considered no longer third world quality. So I rolled down the window and put my arm on the doorframe in a more relaxed posture. Immediately I felt a fluttering sensation on my arm and a biting sting. As I used my other arm to shoo away whatever had sunken its teeth into my arm I was so focused on the biting that I swerved the van to the left toward the edge of the road. Luckily Licia, in the front passenger seat had the presence of mind that I had momentarily lost and grabbed the wheel to straighten out the van before we went crashing off the side of the road. Not one of my prouder moments.

I stopped the van at the “side” of the road and got out to see what had bitten me and if it was under the seat as I felt something flitter across my leg during the whole biting-swerve thing. I looked at my arm and there were two bleeding bite marks, to my mind like the fangs of a bat, on my arm and it stung badly, like a hornet’s sting. This had me worried because we couldn’t locate what bit me. We were thinking it was a bat because of the earlier incident but why did it sting so bad? I started looking through the guidebook to see if there were poisonous snakes on Maui, but luckily not. This was a little comforting but now I thought, “oh great, probably a bat and I’ll have to get rabies shots”. The guide book also said one of the worst creatures on the island was the centipede as the bite was so bad that the only recourse was to “stay drunk for three days” as the locals would have it because there is no antidote, even though it is harmless aside from the intense pain. However, we didn’t think it was a centipede because how could it get in the van and be on the doorframe. It didn’t seem in it’s personality.

Licia took over driving and we headed, in the dark over unfamiliar roads, to the nearest hospital, which was up country several miles. My arm started swelling up a bit prompting Licia to rush a bit, when we came across the part of the road dedicated to the night cattle. Right there on the road were mostly cows and sometimes their calves, apparently foraging for roadside goods, sometimes laying down resting right in the road. We even passed some horses trotting along the road in the pitch black, so close you could reach out the window and pet them. It was a very memorable sight appreciated despite our tense mission.

We reached the hospital and to add to my dread was the thought of how much this would cost to visit the emergency room. I have insurance but it’s a high deductible for my individual ‘catastrophic’ plan. I would probably have to pay every cent for this visit.

I walked in to the quiet hospitable, the guard directed me to the e-room where a nurse and a doctor were sitting by their computers chatting. I showed the nurse my bite marks and without missing a beat she said “Oh that’s a centipede bite… and it looks like a big one too!” I asked if she was sure and related the bat story and she took a closer look and said nope it was a “classic” centipede bite, I could ice it and take ibuprofen for the pain and the itching that would happen in a few days but there wasn’t much else to be done. I was relieved because I was more worried about rabies, or it being a poison snake someone imported and got loose or something, plus they didn’t want to charge me anything for their diagnosis. Did I mention I love the island attitude?

We still had to drive the van back home to the other side of the island and since we narrowed down the culprit to a centipede, we knew it was likely still inside the van, hiding in some dark corner. So, under the headlights of the other van we completely unloaded the Centipede van and its contents. Licia’s parents, John and Marie, and for some reason my brother John decided they wanted to ride in the bad van back to the condos. Needless to say I had enough centipede bites for the evening and didn’t want any part of that van.

On the way back, I kept an eye on the centipede van in the rearview mirror. About 10 miles from home, I see the van suddenly swerve onto the shoulder of the Piilani highway! We tried to contact them from the walkie-talkies but they had gone dead. There was no cell phone reception. Technology failed us. We pulled over to the shoulder too, but by that time were about a quarter mile down the road. We could see the interior lights were on and some movement in the van but were left to wait and wonder what happened. Surely it was that dratted centipede causing havoc once again!

It turns out this is what happened in the other van. Johnny was driving and Marie looked over and saw numbers on the dash disappearing. She realized that it was the centipede walking across the dashboard. She told Johnny to pull over but he insisted on continuing to drive. Then she saw it walk across the top of the dash, and said ‘Johnny it’s walking across the top of the dash’, but he insisted on continuing to drive. This was a very persistent centipede because next Marie said “Johnny it’s walking across the steering wheel!” This time he switched driving to one hand the other side of the steering wheel while leaning over to Marie side of the van. This time he pulled over.

The centipede is apparently a night dweller and goes into hiding when the lights come on but my brother John saw it skittering across the driver’s seat whereupon he took off his shoe and attempted several smacks to kill it dead as it zipped around the van. We later found no evidence of a dead body but John did get a look at a 6-inch long, ½ inch diameter mischief making insect zipping around the van before disappearing once again. They decided to leave the interior lights on and continue driving back the final stretch home.

The next day, I called the rental company and demanded a new centipede-free van. The guy at the office was very understanding and he related a story about when he moved into a ground floor apartment and was woken up three times during his first night there by a centipede walking across him in the night. We got a new van, delivered free of charge.

We had other fun adventures during our stay in Maui and over the year but they would probably be anti-climatic. And take up more pages.

Or, you could use morse code...

Since the other bazillion modes of communication are much too easy and fast.

I'm just messing with ya!