Beads, beads, beads, beads, more beads.... and a few observations about life and other things, too

You can find my beads here Bead Up A Storm

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Green Man

As well as being a hare-loving household, we also seem to have accrued quite a few Green Men over the years!  My husband, Tracy is currently carving his interpretation, which I will share pictures of when he's finished.

My 'Ancients' series of mask beads led me to explore the Green Man in glass.  I used handpulled stringer and ribbons to decorate the base bead, and like most designs it has developed the more I've made.  'I wonder if?' is a question I often ask myself and the best answer is to 'Try it and see!'..

My second Green Man bead (I'd show you my first, but he's AWOL, I expect my son has appropriated him!)

Here's number three - I was so happy with the way he turned out!

I was eager to make more on Thursday but have been plagued by headaches, which don't make for a good day at the torch!  Happily, on Friday I got back into my studio and made some more!

I was delighted to see their benevolent faces when I opened my kiln on Saturday morning.  They kindly lined up for a photo!
Two of them will be headed out to foreign shores next week, the others will make their way into my Etsy shop.

Late summer greetings to you, thanks for reading!  As always, I welcome your comments.
Ness xx

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Ancients Series 2014 - Face/mask beads

I hadn't realised how long it's been since I posted!  Time flies when you're making beads and keeping up with a 6 year old boy!

My favourite series of beads this year has definitely been my mask, or face beads.  I started with the goal of producing a serene Buddha head.  I'm not there yet, I have a tendency to go off on a tangent and I have a low boredom threshold.  I don't enjoy making the same thing over and over, hence my concentration on focals - rather than sets.  But I will make a Buddha head one day!

This is the first of my Ancients - I wanted him to look like a stone relic.

with more work they developed the serenity I was after -

I had to bead around one - it was the perfect time to use the sleek Czech spikes I'd been hoarding.  This is a mixture of little Miyuki cubes, Miyuki seed beads in sizes 6, 11 and 15 and some lovely little pearls in the perfect colour (I can't resist this sludgy green!).

 I'll show you my Green Man beads next time!  Please feel free to leave me a comment or contact me.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Spicy crusted tofu

 My son started gymnastics last summer, it's been great for him - and great for us, as I discovered a Chinese supermarket in the unit beneath the gym.  Their fresh tofu is amazing and has become our regular Saturday night meal.  We ate tofu fairly regularly before, but now I don't pass up the chance to grab some when we are there.  It's less than half the price of the tofu available in the supermarket.

This is my favourite way to cook it.


Block tofu cubed and dried as best you can.
3/4 tsp Garlic powder (granules do not produce the same result)
3/4 tsp Ground cumin
1 tbsp Soy sauce
2 - 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
oil of your choice for frying (I wouldn't use olive oil)


Rinse and drain tofu.  Cut into small chunks and leave to drain sandwiched in kitchen paper.  It helps if it's as dry as possible.
Heat a tablepoon or two of oil in your frying pan and add tofu a few pieces at a time.  You may need to fry in two batches (once one is done pop them in a low oven to keep warm while you fry the remainder -  you can them add the tofu from the oven to the pan and the spices can be added all at once).

I add mine clockwise around the pan so I know the order to turn the pieces.  To start with I cook the tofu on a high heat to drive off the moisture.

Starting at the first pieces you put in, get some plastic tongs and start turning.  Work your way around the pan turning each piece carefully.  You may be able to put a fish-slice underneath a whole load of them and turn them, but this often results in broken up pieces.  Your choice.

At this stage you can turn the heat down - you don't want to burn it.  Keep turning the pieces until you have them nicely browned.

Doesn't that look good already?
Nows the time to add the spices.  I put them in a small dish to prevent the first spice burning while I faff about with the second jar.  If you have cooked your tofu in two batches, now is the time to reunite them in one pan.

Turn the heat right down to low and add the spices.  Shake pan tossing the tofu to distribute the powders.

Now add the soy sauce (shoyu is preferable, but use what you have - it will be delicious!).
I also put this in a dish - tipping a bottle of soy over the pan is a recipe for disaster for some of us...

Oops - I see I had a pan escapee!  Now shake that pan!  Toss the tofu over and over until everything is coated.  I usually have to retrieve pieces from all over the stove top at this stage.

Now shake in the first tablespoon of nutritional yeast - I use Engevita.

The heat under your pan should be minimal - shake/toss it again until the flakes 'disappear'.

Now add the second lot of nutri-yeast and shake/toss to coat evenly.

Now your tofu is deliciously crusted and ready to eat. 

My favourite way to enjoy it is to stuff a panini/ciabatta with tofu and mushrooms, roasted red peppers and some greenery - lamb's lettuce or cos.  So this was the end result.  Some sweet chilli sauce went in there too.  It was delicious!

Any questions or comments are welcome.

This recipe is adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian - my most favourite cookery book.