Sunday 31 March 2013

Computer Improvements

So my computer problems last Sunday turned into a goodbye.  My baby was not salvageable.  My personal geek squad son came home for the weekend and gave the verdict.  He took her apart, cleaned things, moved thingamabobs, dohickeys and whatnot’s around, looked the motherboard up and down searching for the problem before pronouncing the verdict.

Since baby had been having problems for awhile I had put funds aside, just in case.  After chatting about how I use the computer and what my needs are, he and I went out on Saturday and bought a nice laptop.

The rest of the day was spent transferring data from baby’s hard drive to the laptop and playing with the laptop and new programs to learn how everything works.  I’m using a 30 day trial version of MS Office Pro right now.  It’s taking a bit to adjust.  I use Office 7.0 at work but my home PC was still running on XP!
With all of that, I have not had much chance to work on a new subject so more to come in April.
Now, for a good name for the pretty little thing!

Sunday 24 March 2013

Computer Challenges

Not a happy day for me!  My computer has decided to pick today to act up.  Except for the light turning blue, nothing happens.  My baby won't start up!  Nothing will run, not a single little bleep or code line.  No blue screen of death - does that still happen anymore?

The biggest problem is that most of my files are still stored on the hard drive.  I forgot to do a back up to our external hard drive!

And here I'm trying to get the last few applications for fall and Christmas shows out the door...arghhh....

It looks like I may be without my own computer until at least Thursday.  That's when my personal geek squad, my son, comes home for Easter.  Hopefully it will be something minor and he can fix it.  If not it looks like it'll be bye bye baby.

So, no pretties to show, no info to pass on, no news.  I hope your weekend was good though.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

More Silver Shine

My last post was about cleaning sterling silver with a baking soda bath.  For some folks this is a lot of effort or not feasible.
Here are some other ways to keep your jewellery looking pretty:
Resealable Plastic Bag
Plastic bags with a zip lock – Already mentioned in my February 17th blog, this is very effective.  It’s also an easy way to keep jewellery tangle free and to avoid scratches caused by different pieces
Anti Tarnish Cloth
Anti Tarnish Silver Polish Cloths – These cloths are impregnated with a special cleaning compound that removes the tarnish.  The only issue is they also can remove a thin layer of metal, especially silver.  Use sparingly
Anti Tarnish Squares
Anti-Tarnish Strips or Tabs – Mentioned in my March newsletter, these do a fantastic job of avoiding tarnish.  They last about 6 months so buy a good supply and keep the extras in a sealed plastic bag until you’re ready to use them
Silica Gel
Silica Gel Packets or Cylinders – These were also covered in my March newsletter and are as effective as the anti-tarnish strips.  Depending on the type of silica in the packets these continue to work even when full of moisture.  These can also be reactivated.  Check the web for instructions but be aware of the cautions included on the different sites.

Other options – Chalk, Charcoal, and Uncooked Rice all do the job too.  Wrap some up in a paper towel or light cloth bundle and place in your jewellery box.

Friday 15 March 2013

Silver Shine

About a month ago, I blogged about keeping Copper and Brass jewellery looking great.  One of the options mentioned is based on baking soda, hot water and tin foil. 
Sterling silver looks incredible when it is cleaned this way.  I decided to walk through how clean sterling silver this way:
1.      Gather up some jewellery that has tarnished:

Helm’s Weave Aventurine Earrings

Freshwater Dyed Shell, Carnelian& Quartz Crystal Necklace

Silver Plated Chain

2.      Line the bottom of a glass or ceramic bowl with tin foil.  It doesn't matter which side faces up.  Sprinkle some baking soda on top of the foil.

3.      Place your sterling silver items on top of the foil.  Make sure the silver is touching the foil.  I cleaned one part at a time for each item to display the difference that the cleaning makes.

4.      Heat water to boiling and very carefully pour the water into the bowl.  There will be quite a bit of fizzing as the mixture goes to work.  You will also get a faint smell of rotten eggs, a result of the sulphur in the tarnish transferring to the tin foil.
Note:  I removed the earring before adding water.  The Aventurine gemstone does not take kindly to extreme heat.  I was also careful to make sure the dyed shell beads of the necklace did not get wet.  The dye would have started to come out if they did.

In the second photo, I am holding the earring by the gemstone to keep it sitting in the cleaning bath.  Be careful not to burn your fingers if you do this too.  (There’s a little steam on the camera, obscuring the shot)
5.      Here are the results, with ½ done.  Look at the difference!

Helm’s Weave, Aventurine Earrings
Freshwater Dyed Shell, Carnelian
& Quartz Crystal Necklace

Silver Plated Chain
 6.   I finished cleaning the second half of each item.  I wasn’t totally satisfied with how the first part of the silver plated chain looked, so the whole chain went back in the bath.  Then came the challenge – how to get it out again.  Sometimes, you have to improvise to remove the pieces without burning your fingers.  

Rinse all items thoroughly in clean water and dry completely.
7.      This is what the tin foil will look like when the cleaning bath is done.  The tarnish has transferred from the silver to the foil.  The combination of tin foil, baking soda and hot water generates a mild electrical current that acts like a mild electromagnetic current, transferring the tarnish from the jewellery to the silver.

 8.      And here are the final results.  Beautiful!

Saturday 9 March 2013

Inspiring Organizations

My last couple of blogs have been inspiration themed; jewellery worn by celebrities and a site for an artisan that inspires me.  Continuing on that theme, here is an organization that I am impressed with:

Habitat for Humanity operates world wide.  Their mission statement is to mobilize volunteers and community partners in building affordable housing and promoting home ownership as a means to breaking the cycle of poverty.
Volunteers help in many capacities, from working at one their Restore locations to working at a house build locally, nationally or even internationally.  My husband has worked at many builds in the Toronto area and has been to a build in India.  He went there on a very rare business trip and suggested the company help sponsor the build, happening at the same time.
The best thing about Habitat is that it truly is not a handout.  The folks selected to receive a home must pay a mortgage and must contribute volunteer hours.  Not a handout but a hand up.
My favourite part?  The stores!  The Habitat stores, ReStore, are located in many many communities.  They accept donated items in good condition and also receive brand new items from many stores.  We have donated many things, from basic hardware we didn’t need, light and fan fixtures all the way to bunk beds, night tables and media cabinets that didn’t fit our purposes anymore.  It’s a great way to recycle usable items that might otherwise end up in the landfill.
We have also purchased many items from various ReStore locations.  Here are some of our purchases:

2 Bathroom Light Fixtures
Glass and Chrome Shelf, in the powder room
Floor Lamp and matching table lamps, in the family room
2 Office Chairs for my Studio
Large natural stone slab, plus wood plank
affixed to the slab, for my torching station