Wednesday 27 February 2013

Inspiration Sites

Sometimes I like to check out crafts and ideas from other folks.  If you’ve followed the links for any of the sites included in my section Sites I Like, you’ve already figured this out.
These individuals are artisans in their own right, whether they are professionals or simply create for fun.  I draw inspiration from all of them. 
I came across a new to me site this weekend.
Hello Lidy  is the brainchild of an amazing woman!  Almost every single day she posts something of interest.  Sometimes it’s for interesting items she’s tracked down, sometimes to talk about a slice of her life, often a new crafty fun item that she’s come up with!  Lidy has been posting since 2010! 

Have a look!

Saturday 23 February 2013

Awards Season Jewellery Fever

It is always interesting to see what celebrities wear, especially at awards ceremonies.  We’ve already seen several events completed, with the biggest one for North America, especially the US, tomorrow.
I thought it would be fun to check out some of the jewellery worn at past events. 

 I wonder if we will see these jewels at the Oscars.

Monday 18 February 2013

Copper and Brass Jewellery – Cleaning How To

Copper is pretty when it is clean-pink and shiny.  Brass has a golden glow.  The problem is that these metals will oxidize.  The metals can be coated with many different protective coatings.  Eventually though these do wear out.  It’s for this reason that I do not apply permanent protective coatings to the metal in my jewellery
With gradual wear you will notice a tarnish develop on the copper surface.  Brass will become dull first, before the tarnish is visible.  In a worst case scenario the coating can become scratched in one area, which can result in a deep tarnish developing in the scratched area.  This type of tarnish can be very hard to remove because any remaining protective coating interferes with cleaning
If you want to keep your jewelry shiny here are some options:
1.      Start by making sure to properly store your finished pieces in a zip loc bag.  It’s the oxygen in the air that causes jewellery to tarnish faster.  Just make sure they are completely dry before storing
2.      Clean your jewellery after use.  Just use warm water and a mild soap
3.      Avoid commercial products for cleaning copper or brass.  Many of these products will remove a thin layer of metal during the cleaning process
4.      Even when treated with care, jewellery will eventually need a deeper cleaning.  Try one of the following natural methods:
·        Baking Soda:  A simple solution of baking soda and water works well.  It will counteract the effect of salt and acids in skin that can cause havoc with many metals, especially copper and brass.  Start by placing aluminum (tin) foil in the bottom of a glass bowl and sprinkle it with baking soda.  Place your jewellery pieces on the foil.  Add near boiling water to the bowl.  The reaction will be almost instantaneous.  Bubbles with a sulphur smell (rotten eggs) will be released by the interaction.  The tarnish will be released from your jewellery and will stick to the tin foil.  When cleaned, rinse your jewellery and dry completely before storing
·        Warning:  Do not place gemstones in this solution.  Many gemstones, including Amazonite, Amber, Labradorite, Moonstone, Opals, Pearls and Angelite will be severely damaged by this method.  This is something I learned the hard way
·        Lemon Juice:  Use lemon juice poured straight onto a cloth and wipe down the metal.  If this doesn’t work, mix the juice with vinegar and/or baking soda.  Mix up a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice with a couple of teaspoons of vinegar.  Add just enough baking soda to turn it into a gritty paste.  Use a cloth to scrub your brass or copper items with the paste.  Rinse with lukewarm water and dry with a clean cloth.
·        Caution:  Avoid getting the lemon juice or mixture on gemstones or pearls.  Once cleaned rinse and dry the pieces completely before storing
·        Ketchup or Worcestershire Sauce:  Who ever came up with this idea?  Both of these will remove dirt well due to their acidic nature.  Start by using a soft cloth to rub the sauce onto your piece.  If this doesn’t work very well try coating the metal completely and leave it to sit for a minute or two.  Rinse with lukewarm water and dry with a clean cloth.
·        Caution:  Again, avoid getting the ketchup or Worcestershire sauce on gemstones or pearls.  Rinse and dry thoroughly before storing your items
·        Pepsi or Coke: Both types of cola contain phosphoric acid which is a well-known stain remover.  Soak metal pieces for approximately 5 – 10 minutes and they will come out bright and shiny.  If there are a lot of dirty pieces in the solution it may need to be replaced and the timer started again
·        My Experience?:  I have not tried this method myself and cannot vouch for its safety.  I have read other jewellers and bloggers comments where they indicated various gemstones and pearls were submersed in the cola without any issues.
Full disclosure:  I do apply a temporary coating to the metal in my products to protect it from the frequently harsh conditions experienced with craft shows.  This coating will come off with the first exposure to soap and water
Further disclosure:  Some of the components that I use have been protected by the manufacturer

Saturday 9 February 2013

Snow and More Snow

How did you fare with the weather yesterday?  If you are on the east coast, it’s probably not great because the storm hasn’t stopped yet.
North of Toronto, we had lots of snow but seemed to fare not too bad otherwise.  My full-time, pay the bills workplace is very accommodating, so I was able to stay put and work from home.  Despite the weather it was a non-stop day of conference calls, instant messaging, live meeting links, and document sharing to meet deadlines and produce updates to projects.
This week my husband is the emergency on-call manager for his company so he was in the office by 6:30 yesterday morning.  He said traffic was pretty good then!
I decided to measure how much snow landed here.  We got 13 inches (33 cm).  Thankfully it was a fluffy snow, not a lot of extra water in it.  We cleaned up the driveway and walking areas fairly quickly.
When we stopped cleaning up and caught our breath, the beauty of Nature was apparent.

Hidden at the bottom of these pine trees is a small pond.  It is widely used by the local wildlife and after these pictures were taken, my husband went out in his big felt lined rubber boots to make sure it was still accessible.  (The snow went right to the top of those boots.)  Up in the trees, dozens of birds waited until he was done.  The small animals will have to follow his path or make their own tunnels to get to the water.

Wherever you live I hope you are well and able to enjoy your day.

Spiral Train Earrings, Copper (Sold)
Spiral Train Bracelet, Copper

Crystal Drops, Brass 

Sunday 3 February 2013

The Groundhogs Say…

Well, the groundhogs had their day yesterday.  And the results of their winter predictions are….mixed at best.
Here’s how it breaks down:
·        In Pennsylvania, Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring
·        In Ontario, Wiarton Willie agreed with Phil.  He didn’t see his shadow either
·        In Manitoba, Winnipeg Willow was on board with Phil and Willie
·        But in Nova Scotia, Shubenacadi Sam called for more cold weather
·        Quebec’s Fred, locate up in the Gaspesie region (think almost as far north and east in Quebec as you can go) aligned with Sam.  He saw his shadow too

If you go by the majority then we are in for an early spring.  Myself, I would look at where these little fellas are stationed. 
·        Phil and Willie are located far from the coast, barely in the eastern portion of North America.  This is the area I live in and we do definitely have milder winters than other areas
·        Willow’s home is not that far from North Dakota and Minnesota.  As we all know these are also high snow, colder weather areas but who knows, maybe they will have an easier winter
·        Sam is in Nova Scotia, so what do I need say?  The maritime provinces of Canada are renowned for their long snowy winters, especially lately
·        And then there’s Fred.  The best way to explain Fred’s domain is just to show you a Google map.  He’s in the same situation as Sam!  

I flagged Shubenacadie too so you can see what I mean
Me?  I think I’ll just take their predictions for what they are meant to be, a fun event that’s also fun to talk about
Whatever your passion, Groundhog Day, football (Super Bowl today!), or something else, enjoy!