Archive | February, 2013

back to basics: ear wire 101

11 Feb

I decided to actually make and embed a video for this and a few other blogs to help simplify the visual process of certain techniques. I could do as I have in the past and put many still images but I think this will help with understanding what I am doing far better.

For a basic ear wire set you will need:

20g or 22g wire

a mandrel of some sort (I am using a ring mandrel in this demonstration)

basic tools; flush style cutter, pliers (I used round nose, bent nose, and plastic tip flat nose)


de-buring tool or a good file

0000 steel wool


1) cut 2 pieces of wire to the exact same length (I did 3 inches)

2) with a set of round nose pliers place a nice circular loop at one end of each piece of wire as you would for a basic eye pin (I mark my pliers with a sharpie to know where I am working. The sharpie mark comes off with ease when you are done)

3) place your wire on your mandrel and wrap around till you are happy with the shape then repeat ( placed my wire on the size 8 mark on a ring mandrel)

4) take your bent nose pliers and give each of your ear wires a nice little bend or curve at the tip (this is the side that goes through your ear opening)

5) hammer or finish shaping both wires till you are happy with what you have. Remember earrings are not just the artistic aspect of what is being hung on the wire but the wire as well.

6) take your deburing tool or file and smooth out the tips of both wires.

7) finish smoothing out the tips with your steel wool. You want this very smooth before it goes through your piercing as the inside skin is very sensitive and prone to micro tears if you are not using quality smooth materials to pass through.



When you have stunning ear wires you may find that creating out of this world earrings comes with more joy and ease. If you would like to see a few pieces that we have used this simple steps to create, visit our studio at: Entwined Vines Jewelry


How we celebrated the Chinese New Year

10 Feb

Tammy and I have been experiencing many things over the past few months and have not been able to enjoy much in the way of the down time we tend to look forward to during the two months that the Portland Saturday Market is not in operation. Some of it has been good and some not so much but we have been getting through it all. When one of my (Tina) daughters asked to have a big meal to celebrate the first day of the Chinese New Year, we could not resist.  So to bring in the year of the snake, we had a feast…

The flowers :


Egg Flower Soup:

I browned a pound of ground pork then added sliced celery, cubed carrots, covered with chicken stock and brought to a boil. added an egg per person and a 1/4 C arrowroot powder to help thicken…


Beef and Broccoli:

  I took some sliced pre-seasoned beef that we picked up at Costco and dumped it in an electric wok and some oil beef stock and a bunch of fresh broccoli and sautéed till done.


Hum Boa (sweet bbq pork stuffed dumplings):

This was one of the hardest parts of the meal as half of us have to eat gluten free and most of us choose to eat paleo friendly foods. We took a gluten free pizza crust mix that had only; tapioca flour, sea salt, garlic, onion, and oregano and added eggs, oil, and water to make our dumpling dough. Then Tammy scooped a bit of dough into her hand to flatten then stuff with the filling that I made with diced pulled smoked pork that I mixed with a gluten free (but not paleo) bean paste. We then placed the dumplings onto parchment paper that was on cooling racks set into cookie sheets. Unter the paper we poured water to help steam the dumplings and put slashes in the paper to help with air flow. We then placed these in the oven to steam bake. I think they would have been a little better if we had a spare bamboo steamer to cook these in but our steamer was already in use for this mind blowing feast.

IMG_1293 IMG_1294This picture had a ton of steam and I could not clear it up as much as I had wanted but it is a great showing of that filling.

Shrimp With Vegetables:

In a marinading style container about 2 hours before cook time I place; 2# peeled shrimp, 3 TBSP Sake, 1/2 tsp salt, 3 TBSP arrowroot powder, and about an inch of fresh ginger that I peeled and sliced. In an electric skillet I then put a splash of oil, and a bunch of vegetables (my choice this time was; baby bok choy, carrots, celery, cabbage, snap peas (yes these are paleo approved), water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, leeks, and a little white onion), I turned the heat on as hot as it would go then added the shrimp stiring till it was almost done. I then added 1-1/2 tsp honey, 3 TBSP coconut aminos, and 1 TBSP chili sauce (I like the garlic rooster sauce for this). I continued to stir another minute before adding about a cup of chicken stock and in a separate bowl I mixed 3 TBSP arrowroot powder (yes more) and 2 TBSP of water to make a slurry that is then quickly added to the skillet and stired till the sauce is thickened.


Paleo Pot stickers:

2 cups cabbage , finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb shrimp , peeled, deveined and finely chopped
1 lb pork , ground
2 tablespoons coconut aminos
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon green onion , chopped
½ cup kelp noodles, finely chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons fresh ginger , chopped
2 garlic cloves , minced
1/4 cup Coconut oil
1 cup chicken stock (maybe more depending on pan)
Leaves from one cabbage (any kind will do)
1) Sprinkle salt over the shredded cabbage and let stand for 5 minutes, then squeeze out liquid.
2) Squeeze out any liquid from the shrimp.
3) Mix cabbage, shrimp, pork, coconut aminos, stock, onion, noodles, oil, ginger and garlic (“filling” can be mixed and refrigerated for up to 6 hours in advance).
4) Scoop a sizable amount of “filling” onto a sheet of waxed paper. At this point you can freeze them individually on a cookie sheet and them place in a plastic bag. Defrost in fridge before continuing).
5) In a large skillets place bamboo steamer and fill to just below slats with stock. Bring to a boil then lay out enough cabbage leaves to lightly cover each tier. Place as many stickers as will fit comfortable on each tier and steam for about 15 minutes till done.
6) If desired use cabbage to wrap your “filling” or toss in stir fry or whatever you wish.


Grilled Lemongrass Chicken:

place Chicken (any amount is good I made about 20 pieces worth this evening) in a container to marinade with 2 diced shallots, 3 lemongrass sticks cut and bruised, 1 inch fresh ginger peeled and sliced, a small handful of fresh garlic toes peeled and sliced, 1 TBSP red boat fish sauce, 2 TBSP coconut aminos, 2 TBSP oil, 2 TBSP coconut sugar (or honey or sweetner of preferance), 3 long red chilis slices, and 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro. After letting sit a couple of hours slow cool these on a medium hot grill till cooked through.


Asian Fried Vegetable Brains (aka fried rice made with cauliflower):

take a head of cauliflower and cut off the top parts into a bowl. Nuke (microwave) for about 4 minutes till tender then mash. In a hot skillet brown a pound of ground pork. Once meat is brown, add 1 egg per person and scramble. Once the egg is cooked add to the skillet vegetables of choice (we used carrots and celery). as well as the “riced” cauliflower. Cook till golden and then add a splash of red boat fish sauce and a coconut aminos to taste.


All in all we had an amazing time and had pleanty left over to eat Monday as a symbol of prosperity. What did you do if anything to bring in the New Year or just for the day in general?