So the Starving (Jewelry) Artists sale on Etsy starts this Friday (April 24th) at 4pm EST. The promo is free shipping from the participating shops. I am looking into giving away a free gift or additional discount for my customers as well since my shop always offers free shipping worldwide. Remember Canadians, I offer at par pricing to the US dollar amount. So if you see something you like for $20 USD I’ll sell it to you in Canada for $20 CAD. Plus free shipping. Good deal! Check out or team blog for participating members: SATEAM on ETSY
SATEAM Mother’s Day Sale on Etsy this weekend…
Okay so, I am typing this half in the dark with a newborn laying on my chest…bare with me…but I am excuted to announce that SATEAM on Etsy is having our first ever sale! Details to follow…all participating shops will be offering free shipping. I’ll post updates as I have them or go to SATEAM on Etsy for more info…start time is looking like 4pm PST on Friday the 24th of April.
Simple & Effective Jewelry Cleaning
(NOTE: I originally wrote this post in 2009 based on my personal experience with my own jewelry and experimenting with jewelry cleaning. At present, new, engraved sterling silver items are hand polished as needed and wiped clean with a soft cloth before shipping. These are not the steps taken for new items you purchase from me).
Living in a virtually chemical free home myself, it became necessary to seek out ways to clean my jewelry without using chemicals. Here are some of the methods I use to keep my pieces sparkling…
STERLING SILVER CLEANERS
These methods are perfect for your jewelry which contains sterling silver components. The bonus is you don’t have to worry about them damaging your stones!
In a glass bowl, cover the bottom with a piece of aluminium foil, shiny side up. Place 2-3 inches of boiling water in the bowl (distilled water is preferred, but I have used boiled tap water as well and haven’t noticed any difference). To this add 1 teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of baking soda, & a squirt of dishwashing liquid. You’ll notice the mixture begin to fizz. Add your silver pieces, making sure the water covers them completely & that they are touching the aluminium foil. I find swirling the pieces around gently helps loosen any dirt. If you do this be sure to use a wooden or plastic utensil. The foil will absorb the tarnish from your silver jewelry. There may be a bit of a sulphur smell as you do this, which is okay. After a couple of minutes, remove, rinse with cold water & dry thoroughly. Buff with a soft cloth. An aluminium pie plate will work in replace of the foil as well.
Plain old white toothpaste! Do not use gels. To clean off tarnish, gently rub a small amount of white toothpaste on the silver, and then run it under warm water. Work it into a lather and rinse. An old toothbrush will help get it into all the crevices. This provides minimal cleaning. I still prefer the first method to this one. I do keep a tube of white Crest toothpaste around if I need to clean pieces quickly that only need a quick clean to become shiny again. Be sure to pat dry your pieces thoroughly before putting them away.
This is my least favourite method but it’s great if you just want to give your piece a little shine & only have a mild residue to remove. Place a tiny drop of baby oil on a disposable baby wipe. Be sure to use a VERY small amount, or it just becomes an oily mess. This method works on gold as well.
USING A JEWELER’S CLOTH
Of course, the best tried & true (and time consuming) way to keep your silver or gold jewelry sparkling is to use a rouge cloth, also known as a silver cloth or jeweler’s cloth. I do offer these as an add-on purchase to pieces, and they are very handy to have. I always recommend finishing your cleaning job with a jeweler’s cloth as it will give the silver or gold a bright shine & slow down the tarnish.
Gold-filled jewelry reacts much like its more expensive gold counterparts as the gold is bonded with another alloy throughout rather than just being electroplated to the outside like gold plate is. Therefore, it is considered a life-time product, as it has the same durability & characteristics of solid gold. You can expect to clean it much like sterling silver, so I find that the cleaning suggestions that I have listed for sterling silver work just as well on gold-filled components.
A NOTE ABOUT THESE CLEANING TIPS
Although these are tried & true methods, many jeweler’s would never recommend such products as baking soda & toothpaste as they can leave microscopic scratches on the metal. I have even heard jewelers go as far to say never use chemical dips or silver polishes either, and that the only tried & true way to polish your beloved metal is with a jeweler’s cloth. I can tell you from my own experience, that I have never noticed any scratches from doing these methods myself, and I certainly don’t have the time to sit and polish every piece by hand every time.
If you have a piece of jewelry that you have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars on, or if you are unsure because your piece contains a delicate component such as pearls, it’s best to err on the side of caution and have a professional do the cleaning for you.
Careful storage of your jewelry will equal less time cleaning it. In a future post I will write about storing your jewelry…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 55
Today I really wanted to work on something slightly more challenging than earrings. I am getting rather sick of making earrings. Well, that is harsh. More like, feeling uninspired to make earrings now. So I decided today was all about the cuff:
This hematite cuff was hard to photograph. In fact, I would like to try & get more shots of it if there is time & adequate lighting in the next few days. It is has such a nice, shiny lustre however that makes it hard to get a good photo without glare/blur. This angle seemed to come out okay. When I started out to make this piece, I really saw it as a earthy, wear it to dress up your jeans type of piece. But it really is shiny & bold, I think it would make a statement with whatever you wore it with…
These two are very similar, using the same materials. This was my way of using up these green tube fossil beads. I paired them with South Seashell beads. South Sea shell beads are man-made. Mollusk Shells are pulverized to a powder, an iridescent pigment added, and shaped into beads. I thought this was a clever way to transform discarded shells into beads. Fossil beads are formed from limestone, a sedimentary rock which is formed by the skeletons of tiny marine organisms (calcium carbonate). Since limestone is so porous, it is ideal for making into beads since it will easily take on dye. Get a closer look at these pieces on Etsy…
Well, that was fun. Now I have to think what to do tomorrow…I am sort of running out of creative steam since I have made so many things in the past little while. But tomorrow is a new day and a new set of thoughts. Until then…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 54
Another jewelry making blitz afternoon! Let’s get right to it, shall we:
This chunky fun red agate cuff was a cheat today: I actually made it last spring; and had unlisted it to get new photos of it. I just remembered it today & relisted it. It’s very bold & earthy. Fun!
This was my favourite piece today. I have had these 36mm onyx tubes for almost a decade! That’s right: one of those “these are neat” purchases and they never seemed to really work the few times I tried to incorporate them into a design. I realized today that simple is better, so I simply paired them with these 6mm stardust beads. The curved design of the pendants hug your wrist. I had six of these, so I made two identical bracelets, both available in my Etsy Shop…
I think as of today I am officially satisfied with exploring with Celtic influence! I have quite a few of these Celtic pewter beads so it’s easy to get many ideas for simply stated pieces. This is a remake of a pair of earrings that sold in this design with hematite. This time, I used faceted smoky quartz & added bead caps for accent.
Woohoo! The end of the amethyst chips. Simple yet fun earrings and that stash is officially used up! 🙂
These 25mm Celtic braid charms work well as a pendant, too! With 4mm onyx beads and sterling silver fine cable chain this piece is great for someone who wants a simple, dainty necklace that still makes a statement. I also made the piece full adjustable to a maximum of 20 inches so that it could be worn at variable lengths for variable neck sizes.
With that, I have broken the 90 item mark! So in a couple of days, I should make my goal of 100 pieces.
100 Days of Creativity: Day 53
Holy crick in the neck!!! This was a lot of listing…I got in the zone this afternoon and made these 5 pairs of earrings today:
For the sake of my neck I will try to be brief…I was inspired again by the up-coming St. Patrick’s Day…actually, I was happy to have an opportunity to work with malachite again! I have quite a bit of it and no opportunity to play with it lately. 🙂
I am putting the push on to get my 100 things. I am so close, so I am motivated to just get it done! I do enjoy making earrings when I need volume. It’s like a gratifying creative snack! Once the energy gets flowing I can usually churn out several pars in such a short period of time. They are also easy to photograph so there is not a lot of time editing pictures. Hence, 5 pairs in one afternoon…and afternoon for me with a toddler doesn’t mean the full 4 hours!
A very productive day. For more on malachite & these pieces please visit heavenly flower on Etsy…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 52
I wasn’t home much today, so I just was able to make this simple yet pretty pair of lapis lazuli hoops:
I have been hanging on to this hanful of lapis chips forever! I was happy to finally use them up in these earrings. These chips have many pyrite inclusions giving them pretty gold flecks throughout. Did you know lapis lazuli is the planetary stone for Capricorn? Learn more about the metaphysical properties of this stone by checking out the Etsy listing for this piece…
I am happy to say that two of the four Celtic earrings I listed last night sold almost instantly. I have an idea for a necklace I was hoping to get to today but I was just too busy. I am officially at 36 weeks today so I am giving myself another week of creating…then it’s all fair game when it comes to birth…anything that gets done after that will be bonus.
100 Days of Creativity: Day 51
Whew, I think my eyes are bloodshot tonight! Another busy day & I am still amazed at how much energy I have. Still, I also feel myself quickly fading…so on to the shiny happy things created today…
I was struck with the luck o’ the Irish today! 4 pairs of earrings in anticipation for St. Patrick’s Day:
I am really happy with how these turned out! Sometimes themed items can look a bit tacky but I think these are lovely if I don’t say so myself. The first pair I entitled “Celtic Wedding” as I think they would make a lovely bridal pair as well. I am happy to work in malachite with the other three pieces. I haven’t had the opportunity to work in this rich green stone for a very long time!
What I am not happy with, is my descriptions of the pieces in my Etsy listings. They were rather…blah…because I am feeling rather brain dead tonight. So tomorrow I want to rework the wording & also add a bit of information on the history of the Celtic knot symbol. But, that is for another day. I also have ideas for a Celtic themed necklace & bracelet. I have to run into the city tomorrow to the Naturopathic Doctor to pick up my herbs for birth preparation, so I’m not sure if I’ll get to that tomorrow or not…we shall see what my head comes up with tomorrow…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 50
Wow – I can’t believe I am half way through! Where did the last 50 days go? Time really does fly when you are having fun as they say…
I really wish I had something spectacular for the halfway mark, but it has been a busy day & I am lucky to even get one thing made, photographed & listed.
Here it is…still milking those 10mm faceted black carnelian beads I love so much! I decided I don’t have enough gold in my shop, so I put this pair together today:
Check out my shop for more info on this piece. I am thinking tomorrow I will make a few celtic themed pieces in honour of St. Patrick’s Day! That is the plan anyway…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 49
Despite being really tired today because my little was awake at the crack of dawn, I got quite a bit accomplished. This has to do with the fact I had my morning cleared as an appointment in the city has been postponed until tomorrow morning. So I was free to play amongst the beads. 🙂
First off I am happy to say my customer loved the baby birthstone bracelet I made yesterday, & bought it plus my tiny bubbles bracelet; which as I mentioned in previous posts I adore. It’s going to a good home, though. A milestone has been reached. I set a couple goals for myself at the beginning of the year. One was to have 20 things sold in my Etsy Shop by the time I have baby #2. As of last night this goal has been reached. It has been a really good month for me, considering how much time I can dedicate per day to jewelry making. Besides the Etsy sales I have had some off-line custom work as well. I am quite blissful with part time jewelry making & it is nice to see money in the bank again.
The second goal, was to have 100 things in my shop before baby arrives. Tonight I am pleased to say, I am 75% of the way there. Here are the three pieces I made today:
I am hard pressed to choose a favourite today. I so adore tiger eye & its metaphysical properties; yet pearls are always so classic & these are a light shade of violet; plus fluroite, another powerful stone…well, the cuff I am definitely proud of because of the tedious nature of this kind of work. No sore wrists today! Horray! 🙂
Anyway, I am very tired and probably incoherently babbling…so I bid you adieu for the evening…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 48
Ow, my wrist. Today’s creation was rather fun & used up a whole lotta agate chip beads. I bought a huge lot of chip beads about 8 years ago from a dude in Newfoundland with a rock hounding shop who was selling them out cheap. And, I have been trying to use them up ever since! I’m a lefty, so my left wrist hurts from holding 5 strands of wire steady while I added the beads…and then finishing it off is a very tedious task. The outer strands are easy to tie off; the inner ones are so tight together it takes a lot of patience & skill to get the wire wrapped.
I made this one 7 inches so it would be a nice snug cuff for most women’s wrists. It’s about 2 inches high, and priced really cheap considering how much tedious work I put into it this morning…
The second thing made today, was a custom order request for a baby’s bracelet. I was really excited to make this since it was yet another bloodstone request (who knew how popular that stone would turn out to be!) and it’s for a baby expected to be arriving in the world around the same time my next little one will. This was my first Alchemy request on Etsy, so I was very pleased to give this a shot. Even though she has not approved the request yet, I went ahead & made it and listed it as a reserved listing. If she decides she doesn’t want it then it counts as one of 100 pieces I want to get showcased in my shop. I also want an example of a bracelet that can be customized for babies for when my website will be up and running, so it’s all win-win for me. I have made a handful of baby bracelets over the years but never got one photographed! Go figure…
So this is a smaller version of my fully adjustable delicate bloodstone bracelet. I have two delicate bracelets in bloodstone currently for sale but I think something fully adjustable would make the most sense for a growing baby…
I can also customize this piece with a variety of different stones; I bought 4mm beads just for this purpose, and of course never got around to making any. My own baby goes jewelry-less…everyone says, “when are you going to make her something?” You know that old saying, how the cobbler’s children has no shoes…. 😉
100 Days of Creativity: Day 47
I had a pretty good day today: three things designed, made, photographed & listed.
I have a lot of pieces made out of hematite in my shop. A few years ago, I had a lot of requests for hematite pieces. It is a pretty, shiny, weighty stone that appealed to both men & women. Since it is an ore which is melted and molded into beads & pendants, it is also very affordable. So I stocked up…because of this, I have a lot of hematite odds & ends: 20 beads in this size, 10 beads in another size, 50 beads in this shape…I thought of starting a destah site & just selling them but really, the effort to photograph these & put them up for sale, well, I’d rather be making jewelry…
So I decided to challenge myself to make some pieces out of the smaller lots of odds & ends using up as many of the beads per piece as possible. These three creations emerged:
Piece #1: hematite & pink jade bracelet
Piece #2: hematite & moonstone bracelet
Piece #3: hematite & peridot anklet
Ah, pink jade. The controversy. I bought these pink jade beads several years ago from a distributor in China; before I knew that pink jade is awfully rare. I question whether or not this is the real deal, or simply dyed. No guarantees here folks, & that is reflected in the price. Either way, it is a pretty stone & makes for a great addition to jewelry making.
Check out these pieces, & my other hematite creations, in the “down to earth” section of my etsy shop…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 46
Moving right along…I decided to try & double up on my item per day idea. I really would like to have 100 items featured in my Etsy Shop before I depart to new baby land. It’s going to be cutting it close…but I am going to try & do two pieces a day if possible. Here are today’s offerings; item 68 & 69 in my Etsy Shop:
I absolutely love the cute turquoise hoop earrings. Turquoise is a stone I am partial to; I think it’s all the spiritual energy connected to it. However, I bought these chip beads ages ago & cannot guarantee 100% these are not howlite, so I have priced them accordingly. I know I would never buy howlite personally, but the colour of these chip is really blue rather than green-blue; I would hate to misrepresent something. Either way. they are a pretty pair of earrings.
The necklace actually started out as a ring, but I wasn’t feeling it. I started wire wrapping the focal bead, which is a 18×24 oval coffe brown cat’s eye bead. When it wasn’t working out I removed some of the wire & it became this pendant…and I fashioned a necklace out of coffee brown & olive cat’s eye beads.
Happy Friday everyone!
100 Days of Creativity: Day 45
I’ve been noticing this trend the past few days where I am just exhausted in the evening…so I am trying to stay ahead of the game & post to Etsy & here on my blog earlier in the day.
So today my focus is on these pretty black carnelian beads. I obtained them oh, ages ago and am just getting around to using them in designs. I don’t have very many, so I treat them like a rare gem. 🙂 They are 10mm and faceted…
I decided to pair them up with these crystal quartz rondelle beads, which I think I have almost used up. I bought them some years back for a custom project & over estimated how many I would need. I am delighted to breathe new life into them as new pieces; for many years I have not been sure what to do with them. 8mm Bali (AKA daisy) sterling silver spacers finish this bracelet, making a nice piece of bling if I don’t say so myself. Check it out closer in my Etsy shop…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 44
…tiny bubbles…in the wine…make me happy…make me feel fine…
Today was a “no-brainer” (I hate that term) as far as my creation of the day goes. Inspired by yesterday’s “pearly shells” necklace:
I thought the freshwater pearls looked like bubbles, and I had the song “Tiny Bubbles” stuck in my head from designing the “Pearly Shells” necklace yesterday. This bracelet looks good on my wrist if I don’t say so myself. It almost made its way to my jewelry box instead of stored in the inventory binder! Check it out…
Sometime ago I also designed “Pearly Shells” earrings…but I haven’t been inspired to make any other pieces around that theme until now.
…so here’s to the ginger lei…I give to you today…and here’s a kiss…that will not fade away…
More Work In Bloodstone…
As I wrote earlier, a customer on Etsy gobbled up my bloodstone dangle earrings shortly after I posted them. They then requested a bracelet to go along with it. At this stage in my pregnancy I am only taking custom orders that I can fill immediately, & rather than making the client obligated to purchase, it is easier for me to make a few pieces & list them on Etsy for the customer’s approval. If they like what they see, they purchase. If not, then no harm as I can always use more pieces in my Etsy Shop.
So the bloodstone beads I have are quite small, so this is what I came up with:
The piece directly above, is what sold. It contains 4mm & 6mm bloodstone, sterling silver & pewter accents. The other two, are now off reserve & available for purchase in my Etsy Shop…
You can also read the post on the original bloodstone pieces that inspired these by checking out 100 Days of Creativity: Day 41.
100 Days of Creativity: Day 43
Pearly Shells, from the ocean…shining in the sun, covering up the shore…
Today’s creation, came together in no time, & I am really happy with the results. It is inspired by all the vacation photos I have been viewing on Facebook…lucky friends I have. The sun was shining today and despite the winter temperatures outside, inside it felt very tropical to me. 🙂
The great things about this piece, is that you get 4 pieces of jewelry in one! Wear it as a full-length necklace, a choker, a lariat, or wrap it around your wrist as a funky chunky bracelet…
It is fashioned completely out of shells: the circles and the pearly type beads, which are South Sea Shell beads. I came across these beads as a cheaper alternative to pearls many years ago. Mollusk Shells are pulverized to a powder, then an iridescent pigment added, and shaped into beads. I thought this was a great way to recycle discarded shells. I have since grown to prefer to use pearls in my work, butI have a few of these leftover from past projects. Voila, there you have it. A fun, versatile piece that will go with many outfits. You can check it out in my shop as usual, as well as other pieces inspired by the sea in my “still waters run deep” section on Etsy…
…When I see them my heart tells me that I love you…more than all the little pearly shells… (I grew up with this song. Used to know the actions that went along with it, as well as “Tiny Bubbles”. Happy times!)
100 Days of Creativity: Day 42
I feel myself running out of steam. Although people remark that I “don’t look very pregnant” I can assure you when I sit for long periods of time the pressure on my back reminds me that there is pretty much a full term baby in there ready to come out in the coming weeks. So I can only sit for a few minutes at a time. So the designs have to come to me tout de suite from here on in. Today, no problem…
I must have been in an elegant, indulgent mood. I always like to make my pieces versatile so that they will go with pretty much anything you wear. At first glance this looks very dressy/elegant, but I think that it could really add to casual wear as well.
It contains 10x10mm faceted hematite squares & 9x4mm quartz rondelles. The 8mm & 4mm daisy (bali) spacers are sterling silver. Find out more about this piece in my Etsy Shop…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 41
There are three offerings in today’s creative challenge. I had a request to make some March birthstone pieces. Aquamarine is a pricey stone so I don’t stock it. Actually, I consider bloodstone the birthstone for March as it is the traditional choice, & also recognized as such still in many other parts of the world. So I came up with these three bloodstone pieces:
The dangle earrings (above) sold out in record time. I am now about to embark on a custom bracelet request for the same customer. Because of my limited time these days, I am handling custom orders by seeing what I can come up with, preferable more than one piece, for the customer to choose from, with no obligation on them to buy. I find this is working well, as there is limited expectation & I do not have to be tied into a certain price point. Besides I can always use more pieces in my Etsy shop.
Bloodstone is a very hard stone to come by. It is used in India as a medicine so it is definitely a commodity. Therefore I only have 4mm and a few 6mm in stock at the moment, so the pieces are very delicate & dainty. Still, the earthy & mystical properties of this stone make a bold statement without having to be physically large itself.
Find out more about these pieces in my “birthstone & lore” section of my Etsy Shop. There you will also find some background information on bloodstone, also known as green chalcedony.
100 Days of Creativity: Day 40
I’m feeling very introspective today. I think my body is starting to mentally prepare myself for birth…so I used this energy to make a more complicated piece this morning. The sun was shining so I wanted it to be bright & happy. This is the outcome. I describe it as fun, flirty & funky!
That’s 20 gauge sterling silver wire accenting the fiber optic cat’s eye beads. The aqua sqaures measure 14mm; the white rounds are 8mm. This is the newest piece in my ‘eye candy” section of my Etsy Shop. It was a lot of fun to make & photograph!
A Gesture that Made my Day: I Won a Lemonade Award!
Dawn, fellow jewelry maker & blogger, nominated me today for a lemonade award, in recognition for great gratitude/attitude. It may seem like a small gesture, but to me it means so much! Dawn is also a talented jewelry artist & a great source of inspiration for me. I am honoured to be a source of motivation & inspiration for her as well. Big hugs to you, Dawn!! Check out her Etsy Shop…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 39
I still felt like playing in hematite & those peacock blue fossil beads, but this time a slight variation. This piece emerged, and felt very earthy to me. I added it to my “down to earth” section of the Etsy Shop.
Despite the earthy quality, the hematite is still very shiny, so this piece would really add to any outfit. The hematite is 10x10mm two-holed beads; the dyed fossil beads are 4mm. Find out more about this piece in its Etsy listing….
100 Days of Creativity: Day 38
Um yeah…so I was doing the math today as today is exactly 34 weeks …there is no way I will make 100 days consecutively. I hope that I can at least get 100 pieces in my Etsy Shop before this baby arrives! We shall see…I’m over half way there now!
Today’s creation: I was feeling like adding more to my “eye candy” section. I just love these hematite donuts & think they look awesome with these peacock blue dyed fossil beads:
I added quartz to the piece to amplify some good energy!
I find fossil beads really interesting. They are formed from limestone, a sedimentary rock which is formed by the skeletons of tiny marine organisms (calcium carbonate). Since limestone is so porous, it is ideal for making into beads since it will easily take on dye. A very affordable way to add colour to my pieces.
Check out more about this piece in my shop…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 37
I”m tired tonight. Between running after my toddler I decided it was time to clean up my email. I am about ready to go cross-eyed!
I did sneak this piece in however:
I was in a quartz mood today. Quartz is so amplifying…I think because the weather has been so mild & sunny for February in Québec I wanted to capture that good energy within the quartz. I am also partial to clear quartz (AKA rock crystal) since it is a birthstone alternative for April, my birth month. Let’s face it, we can’t always afford diamonds! 🙂
The blue quartz is formed by a process called reclaiming. That’s where they take pices of quartz and fuse it into glass to make beads. I’m all for waste not want not so I think that’s a great idea. The clear quartz is the real deal, through & through.
Check out more on this piece as well as other birthstone pieces in my Etsy Shop…
100 Days of Creativity: Day 35
I had a rather hectic Monday as Mondays usually are. I ran out to mail my jewelry orders this morning…I wonder what the woman at the post office thinks, all these little packages from me lately…
This is what I put together today. I was very happy to be able to get something made earlier in the day to take advantage of the great sunlight for photos. What mild weather we are having! It certainly makes February more bareable.
These earrings remind me of the sea. In fact, I have a whole section in my Etsy Shop dedicated to pieces that remind me of the Ocean: still waters run deep. Growing up in Nova Scotia I have always been pulled to the Sea. Even now we live in a community outside Montréal that is right on the St. Lawrence so there are lots of boats & Yachts around.
I used 10x14mm faceted quartz rectangles (dyed), 4mm quartz beads (dyed), 4mm lead-free pewter bead caps, & 8mm sterling silver bali spacers. Sterling silver wire & earwires. The length is approx. 5cm (2in). Get a closer look including more photos in my Etsy Shop.