Sunday, January 08, 2017

10 Easy Jewelry Care Tips

After spending some of your hard-earned money on a special piece of handmade jewelry for yourself, don't you want to keep it looking beautiful as long as possible?  It's easy to keep your jewelry looking good for a lifetime if you follow some easy practices when caring for it.

Most of these jewelry care tips, such as removing your jewelry at night or putting jewelry on after applying makeup, will become habit after a while and you will do them without even thinking.

  • Remove jewelry before showering, bathing, or swimming. Any prolonged exposure to water can weaken your jewelry, and swimming also exposes it to chemicals in the water.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your jewelry. All you really need is some warm water and a drop or two of mild dish detergent. Rub gently with your fingers or a soft cloth, pat dry, and lay flat on a towel to dry completely.
  • Use a polishing cloth to shine metal jewelry. A polishing cloth, such as the Sunshine Cloth, is good for shining and removing tarnish from metal jewelry. It does a great job while still being gentle.
  • Store metal jewelry with a tarnish strip. Keep your jewelry from tarnishing in the first place! A tarnish strip absorbs moisture from the air that causes metals to tarnish. Store your jewelry in a small plastic baggie with a tarnish strip. If you are out of tarnish strips, a piece of white chalk will work in a pinch until you get more.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleansers while wearing your jewelry. Remove jewelry before doing household chores.
  • Remove jewelry when doing heavy work. When cleaning the yard, gardening, or even doing some types of crafts, remove your jewelry so that it doesn't get caught on something and break.
  • Don't sleep in your jewelry. I have to admit, this is tempting and I have done it, but then I have the tools here to fix my jewelry when it gets weak and breaks from sleeping with it on. Best to take it off before bed.
  • Apply makeup, perfume, and hair spray before putting on your jewelry. This keeps powders and sprays from coating your jewelry.
  • Inspect your jewelry regularly for breaks or weak spots. If you see a spot that needs attention, ask the maker to repair it before it gets worse. There may be a small charge for this, but that's better than losing a piece of jewelry if it breaks and falls off.
  • Wear your jewelry often! Don't save it for special occasions. Even a pair of earrings will make you feel special every day!

Do you have any favorite jewelry care tips that I haven;t mentioned here? Please share them with us in the comments.


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Just a short post today to say merry Christmas and happy whichever holiday you celebrate. I'll be back with more posts after the new year.

You can purchase a tutorial to make these cute trees here


Wednesday, December 07, 2016

A Book of Beaded Fairies

I'm always looking for something different to make with beads.  So, when I saw a book called Mini People available from The Beadworkers Guild in England, I knew I had to buy it. And I have certainly not been disappointed with my purchase. I am having so much fun with it!!/The-Beadworkers-Guild-book-of-Mini-People-Rest-of-World/p/64913750/category=5705017

The instructions in the book are fairly easy to follow, but you should have some beadweaving experience if you buy it. That is because there aren't any line-by-line tutorials. The author, Ann Mockford, calls her instructions "recipes", which feels accurate. There are brick-stitch graphs for the clothing, and the individual doll recipes say to use this or that skirt, jacket, arms, etc. for a particular character, so you are thumbing back and forth through the book. They aren't difficult to make or put together, so if you are adventurous, give it a try!

There are eight different characters in the book, plus a baby doll sized fairy.  They are all put together in basically the same way, but there are different ways to make their clothes which turns them into different characters. Once you've made a couple of these, you can expand on the ideas in this book, and make hundreds of different styles of fairies, elves, and more.

I have made two figures so far. I really enjoyed making both of them.

The first one I made was this little fairy. She is based on the fairy that you an see on the cover of the book, above. She even has a petticoat under her skirt, but you can't see it in this picture.

The next one I made was this elf in Christmas colors. He is very loosely based on one of the elves in the book, the one that you can see on the cover, above, holding the umbrella.

I made both of their faces myself by using Sharpie pens to draw on a wooden bead.

I hope you enjoyed my book review. If you have any questions, ask away in the comments.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My new kitty!

I can usually play with kittens and resist bringing one home. Booger has been enough cat for me. But my neighbor had a small litter of feral kittens, and one of them just broke my heart. This little tortoise-shell is the one who broke and then captured it.
The first day she was so scared! But she was also very hungry, so I hand-fed her little bits of cat food at a time. It was only a couple of days before she would happily run to me whenever I called her.

I named her Pippa. I had been calling her pipsqueak, so I just shortened it.

She was about 10 weeks old when I got her. Now she is about 14 weeks old. She loves to play and she follows me everywhere I go in the house. No animals allowed in the bead studio though (for their safety and my sanity), so she sits outside the door when I'm in there. I've been leash-training her, and it's actually going pretty well. She's been getting her shots, and she has an appointment to be spayed on Dec. 20. The animal league here, Peggy Adams, does the spay, microchip, and rabies shot for $75. Oh, yeah, we're going high tech, she's getting a microchip!

And now both Pippa and I say goodnight and sleep tight.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The BEST Fireline Cutting Tool!

One question that is always being asked on beading forums and chat groups, by new and old beaders alike,  is "What do you use to cut your Fireline thread?". And up until now, the consensus was to use a pair of children's Fiskar-type scissors. They do work well. At first. But if you bead with any regularity then you know that they get dull almost immediately.

So, I had way too many pairs of those scissors laying around, then I spent way too much on a super-duper scissor sharpener, and then I ruined a wire cutter thinking I'd had a great idea. But I still couldn't get a clean cut on a piece of Fireline thread. And it was really making me mad.

I saw a review in one of the bead magazines of a new fishing line cutter sold by the Boomerang Tool Company. So, of course I ordered one. They had a choice of small blades, small blades with a light, or long blades. Not knowing if this thing was even going to work, I chose the long blades, for $15.99 plus $5.00 shipping.

Can I just say...WOW!!! These really are the best thing since sliced bread! They cut Fireline effortlessly. I'd bet that I could throw a piece of Fireline in the air, snip it with these things as it floats down, and still get a clean enough cut to thread a needle!

Everybody, and I mean everybody, needs to buy themselves one of these things immediately. It is always at my side. I can tell it will not go dull because it has serrated blades, not smooth ones. So no sharpening them either. You can thank me later, just go buy yourself one of these things NOW. Here is a link to their search page with the different cutter styles. All you have to do is pick one.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Why, hello there!

Hi everybody. *Yawn* I feel like I've just woken up from a long hibernation. What's the date of that last post? June 2015? ?!?  Well I'm awake now, and I'm posting. I just will not give myself impossibly lofty goals for myself and the blog this time. I'm going to post at least once every other week, and in between if I think of anything else interesting. I should be able to handle that much without going off schedule.

Along with coming out of blog hibernation, I'm giving my Etsy shop a new push. I renamed it - Bead Street Studio - and I've been photographing and adding a new product every day or two. If I spread them out like that, then later I'll be renewing every day or two also, so constantly having new activity in the shop. I don't really need the income, but I bead all the time anyway. There is only so much that I can wear, or even give away, so I'm hoping to make some scratch for more new beads by selling some of my projects. We'll see how it goes.

I made a new shop logo. I gave up on trying to think of cat names for the store, so named it for what it is, and just added a cat byline underneath. I like it now.

And I renamed my Facebook page to match the Etsy shop, so pop on by and say hello to me over there.

And...that's it for now! See you in a week or two!


oh, yeah, P.S. - how could I forget? I got a new little kitten too!  Her name is Pippa. Pics and story coming in a future blog post.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy Equality Day!

I don't know which is more cool...

That our Supreme Court today affirmed the right of all our citizens to marry whomever they want, whether a member of the same or the opposite sex, in all fifty states, beginning immediately!


That this is the White House in Washington DC tonight:


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Gourd Stitch - Discovered!

I always knew that gourd stitch and peyote stitch are two very different stitches, I just didn't know what the difference was. But every time I googled gourd stitch, all that I came up with were peyote stitch tutorials.

But not this time! I finally found a tutorial that shows the difference, at a website called Native American Beadwork. They describe peyote as being a "unit of two" stitch and gourd as being a "unit of three" stitch. You can see the difference in these two pictures from the website.

Gourd stitch on the left, Peyote stitch on the right
Gourd stitch gives a much sharper diagonal line than peyote stitch does. This allows for a wider range of designs in your stitched creations.

The Native American Beadwork website also offers some blank graph paper so that you can design your own patterns. There are two types - one with spirals descending to the right and one with spirals descending to the left. To get you started, here is a page at another website, Pow-Wows, that offers graphed patterns for some traditional designs. 

I haven't used the stitch yet, but I have the tutorial on my "to-do" list, because I really want to give it a try.


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Trying Something Different

Bead-weaving is definitely my first love, but as a money-making venture, it is very labor intensive. I am using very tiny beads and weaving them into a design one bead at a time. I enjoy doing it, and it's relaxing for me. I just put so many hours into making a beautiful piece of jewelry and I know I can't charge enough for that piece to pay myself more than a few cents per hour for my labor. That's quite alright, I'm not selling them to become a gazillionaire, I'd just like some money to replenish my bead stash.

However...I was thinking that if I could make a few things to sell that weren't so labor intensive, maybe I could buy even more beads!

I bought some glass cabochon and bezel sets from Annie Howes on Etsy. They came with instructions telling how to make the pendants, and when I received the kits I was very pleased with the quality. Here is a picture of the glass cabochons, the bezels, and some photo paper that I painted with nail polish and then punched out into one-inch circles.
Couldn't resist resting the glass on top of some of them

At first I tried painting the nail polish directly on the back of the glass, but then if I didn't like the way it looked, it was a pain to take it off the glass. I finally settled for painting it on some photo paper that I had because then if I didn't like it I could just throw it away. Easy peasy.

Then I used the glue supplied by Annie Howes to glue the round paper circles to the back of the glass Cabochons. Here they are, resting while the glue dries.
The one in the back is just a piece of paper, no polish
Now, all I have to do is glue them into the metal bezels and hang each one on a chain, all conveniently supplied by Annie. This was a really fun project and it didn't take me much time. The longest part was waiting for the glue to dry.

And here are two of them sitting in their bezels.
So pretty!
I think they're really cute and I hope other people think the same. I'm going to have to make more variety, though. Not everyone likes glitter and sparkles as much as I do. I've been experimenting with cutting circles from all the junk mail I get at my house. You'd be amazed at how pretty junk mail can look when it's reduced to a one-inch circle!

So now you know how they're made. If you feel crafty, you can hop on over to Annie Howes, get your own kit, and make necklaces for all of your friends and family. Or if you don't feel like starting yet another craft (and don't I know that feeling!), I'll be putting them up for sale in my Etsy store as soon as I settle on a fair price to charge.

I am also trying another necklace idea that is different from my usual. If that one doesn't flop, or maybe even if it does, I'll blog about that one soon. Have you tried making something totally different from your "usual"? Was it fun for you? Let me know in the comments.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Where Do They Find The Time?

I don't even have an outside-the-home job, and it seems I'm always playing catch-up. I do babysit for one of my grandsons, so I don't get a whole lot of work done when he's here. I also have an elderly stepdad that I take out to do his errands once or twice a week because he can't drive. Between those things and all the normal household stuff, I can barely find time to get as much beading done as I want to.

So how do other people do all of that, spend (seemingly) more time on their crafts and listing items for sale than I do, and still have time for Facebook and/or forums? You know the people I'm talking about. No matter what time it is, they are answering a question or replying to a comment on Facebook. Or they are over in the Etsy forums answering question after question there from new or distraught buyers and sellers, all day long. And some people are in both places!

I only visit Facebook once a week, at most, because once I open it up I may as well just throw the whole day away. By the time I skim through my news feed and all of my groups, hours have passed.

I try to visit the Etsy forums once a day, just so that I feel like I'm up to date on anything that's happening over there, because Etsy sure doesn't announce everything they're doing. I think that might be the place where I am most puzzled. Take a look, and you'll see that the same people are there posting all day, and sometimes all night, long. When do they find the time to make their crafts, photograph them (another all-day task for me), list their products, and ship their sold items? Not to mention taking care of their family and their house.

I just don't get it. I must either work very slowly or have terrible time management skills. I cannot spend as much time online as everyone else seems to and still hope to have any time for beading. But then I don't have a smart-phone, either, I have to do everything on my computer. Maybe these people who appear to be online 24 hours a day are the ones who I see out and about multi-tasking on their smart-phones while shopping, eating, driving, etc. Maybe that's how they do it!

How do you find time to spend online?