Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Virginia Beach

If all is well, we are on vacation at Virginia Beach, VA right now. This is a picture from our room in 2006. It is the same time of year and the same motel, so, the picture should look about the same.
We, now (as of this writing) are carefully watching the weather forecasts. Fall is always apt to have hurricanes up the Atlantic Coast. All we hear is to keep watching. What ever might happen, we will be more fortunate than the people on the Gulf Coast with Ike.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Chain Maille Favorites

I have a few favorites in the bracelets I've made in Chain Maille. Here are two:

This pattern is Euro 4 in 1 - 5 wide. It is made with Argentium Sterling Silver. All sterling silver is required to have 92.5 % silver. What the rest is determines the characteristics of the silver. Usually copper and some other metals are added. Copper makes the material harder. In Argentium Silver, the element Germanium is added. The result is a silver that tarnishes very slowly. You can read more about Argentium Sterling Silver on my web site at www.bevsjewelry.com/argentiumsilver.html

I really like the sunflower clasp.

This pattern is Half Persian. It is also made with Argenitum Sterling Silver with the Sunflower clasp.

Here is a close up of the Sunflower Clasp.

Hope you like these selections.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Chinese shoes

Way back in 1897, my husband's Grandfather went to China to teach them modern farming techniques. How that worked out is another story but he brought back some things as souvenirs. It may seem strange, but (at least for my husband's generation) many of the items have been in storage in various places, like a trunk of his brother's barn for a long time. Anyhow, he got together with his siblings this summer and we took pictures of them. Here is one that just amazes me.
This is a picture of the Chinese shoes his Grandfather brought home. The size difference shows just how small the Chinese women's feet were when bound. The large shoe was that of a farm worker. We put a ruler in the picture to show how small but for me it is very meaningful to know that the size is about the same as my 3 1/2 year old Grandson. Fortunately, that tradition is no longer practiced.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New things

Our local bead store, Beadcache (http://www.beadcache.com/) is usually closed on Mondays. But this past Monday, they held a special 20% off sale for their regular customers. Plus they had some demonstrations and the owner, a lampwork bead maker, graciously made a free lampwork bead for anyone who wanted one. You could pick out the shape and colors you wanted. Because it takes time to make and anneal, we can't get them until the next day. I asked for a flat shape with blues, greens and cream. Can't wait to see what it looks like.

One of the demonstrations was making a (relatively) simple wire ring with 3 or 4 beads. I bought the mandrel and some wire to try my hand at something new. Problem is we are going on vacation and I'm not sure it will be worth it to take the "stuff" with me to make one. So, it will be on my to do list.

The second demonstration was wire wrapping a pendant without a hole. Hmmm.... another thing for the to do list. That one can wait a bit. Lower on my priority list.

I did find some things to take advantage of the 20% discount. You know some seed beads for new Kumihimo, wire and mandrel (for a ring) and some round Swarovski jet crystals for a new variation of Kumihimo (wire and crystals) I think that is the project I'll take on vacation.

(I realize that by the time you are reading this, I'm already on vacation - Nice to be able to schedule some of these posts)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chain Maille

One of may favorite pieces of chain maille is the one pictured here. It is the "parallel chain" or Helm pattern curved into a "rose" then attached to several other roses. One person recently said it had a Celtic look. This one is made with 18 gauge rings and it makes it rather delicate for the width of the bracelet.

We are getting into the Holiday gift season and I was reminded of that just the other day when I looked at our calendar. Particularly since we seem to have so many trips planned between now and the end of the year. I always take some jewelry item with me to do during down times. We are going on a trip this Wednesday to visit my oldest daughter and her family. They are on the way to our vacation spot, Virginia Beach. Makes a nice trip to see family and enjoy the beach. Sounds funny that I'm not really a beach person. Assuming that is a person who loves to sit on the beach in the hot sun. My type of beach person goes in the fall or late summer and enjoys the cool breezes, walking the boardwalk and the ocean. We are hoping that will not include a hurricane!

My daughter and family who live with us will probably enjoy having the house to themselves.

In the mean time consider your Holiday shopping at http://www.bevsjewelry.com/ (Just had to do that ;-)


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Morning Glories revisited

In my post on Sunday, September 14, I had a picture of our Morning Glories that were in the rain and as a result the blossoms were very droopy. Except for a few that had large leaves over them that were protecting the blossoms. I guess I was being philosophical because I asked for comments on what that might mean to you. I received several responses about Morning Glories in general and how we all like them. The response was not what I expected. I had indicated that others might have a different take on the picture than I did. I was right about that. The picture reminded people of their experiences and memories of Morning Glories. I was in the "protective" theme. The beautiful full blossom was protected by the leaves. I like both interpretations. Memories - I certainly have those - which is why I grow them at all. And I really love them - another reason I grow them and I really like the responses I got that confirmed those thoughts. The protective theme is just different.

Since the picture on September 14 was of droopy blossoms, I thought I'd share a picture of how they look on a non-rainy day.

My daughter took a new picture. She apparently thought they needed to be shown in their full Glory and not droopy.

There they are for all to enjoy in their full Glory.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Sidewalk sale

Saturday was the sidewalk sale at a local gift shop, Homespun Treasures, in North Easton, MA.

Three other local jewelry designers and I set up around 8:30 in the morning. It was the first day that we had frost warnings. So, I put on my turtleneck (I hate to be cold), a sweater and my long rain coat. The actual setting up made us all warm and off came the coat. Our tables were only 4 feet long and made for some creative display techniques (including not putting out everything we might have) In about 30 minutes off came the sweater. The sun was hot! In the shade (we were under a small roof over the sidewalk) it was very pleasant. It didn't take long to notice the sun made my chain maille a "hot" item. Anyhow, it was a great day weather wise and as it turned out a great sales day too. One of the other stores in the plaza is a nail/spa and many of the customers came over to scout us out.

Our procedure was to write up a sales slip and give it to the customer to take inside the store to pay. (Nice since we did not need to handle cash and nice for Homespun Treasures since people got to see the store if they had not already.) One lady who was new to the area, bought something for each of us and spent a lot of time in the store. Talk about win - win!

It is such a supportive group. We all make jewelry for Homespun Treasures but we have very different styles. In addition, it is a helpful, friendly group of people. Not the competitive group you might expect. Two are in the South Shore beaders group I belong to. We meet every month or so just to compare notes and share sources and techniques. Gatherings last up to 3 hours. We often make similar items but never the same. In fact, we discussed that it would be fun to give each person the exact same beads and see what we all would come up with. We decided no pieces would be alike. Part of the creativity and fun.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and profitable too. (All the more beads we can buy to make more jewelry)


Friday, September 19, 2008

Tagging jewelry

On Tuesday, I talked about my experience of leaving an Elephant Hyde dumbbell label on a piece of jewelry while I tumbled it to clean and shine it. Well, after you remove the labels to clean the piece, you need to put an new label on the piece. Great fun ... but a part of the business. One of my personal pet peeves is going to a store or craft fair and not having pieces priced. So... I need to bite the bullet and just do it!

That said, it is not the easiest thing to do. Maneuvering the little dumbbells (cute name) so that they stay on the piece with out sticking to it and still making that nice little round label. People ask me how I can maneuver my little rings for my chain maille. Sometimes that is easier than putting on those little dumbbell labels. (I'm getting to like that name, dumbbell!)

This is a break from putting on labels. (Did you guess?) So, back to work. The sidewalk show is tomorrow and no more putting it off! If you are in the area, the show is a Homespun Treasures in North Easton, MA from 10 AM to 5 PM Saturday, September 20, 2008. That is at the intersection of Rt 138 and Main Street. Near the Dunken Donuts. (Now that is a well known landmark)


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Adjustable necklaces

As I mentioned yesterday, I found some new beads when I went shopping at my local bead store. The actually matched a focal bead I had at home. That doesn't happen very often.

So, I put them all together and came up with another adjustable necklace. This one combines the focal bead I had and the round matching beads with some plain round black beads (yup, the ones I had to get to replace the chocolate beads I bought in error. I just love it when a plan comes together!

Anyhow the bead pattern is called cappuccino and they look good enough to eat or at least admire. I hope you all like the combination.

Here is a closer look at the cappuccio beads:

Well, I was on a roll and came up with this one. Some days are more productive than others. Today was a good one


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Heart adjustable necklace

Last week when I was making my adjustable necklaces, I was missing black round beads to finish this one. (I had purchased beads for the necklace but discovered when I got them home that they were chocolate brown not black - gheez!) So, I placed another order for black beads. I got them last night. Then discovered I did not have enough black cord.
Sometimes making a simple necklace isn't easy. But I think it was worth it. I like this one the best of the bunch. It has a very pretty red heart as the pendant with red ceramic beads, black rectangles and black rounds all strung on black leather cord. Plus it is adjustable with no clasp to worry about.
While I was getting the cord at a local bead store (Beadcache in Mansfield, MA - a great store!) I naturally had to look around. I, of course, found some other goodies.
But that is for tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cleaning Silver

I've written several posts lately about cleaning jewelry. I use tumbling to clean my sterling silver. With a show coming up this weekend, I decided it best to spiff up my silver items. So, I got the tumbler out and ran one batch of bracelets and then loaded up another batch of mostly necklaces. I use "Elephant Hyde" dumbbell labels made from Tyvek for pricing made .

I made a big discovery. You know how you should always remove any tissues in pockets of clothes before washing? Well, my discovery was to make sure you remove all "Elephant Hyde" dumbbell labels. They do not deteriorate as tissues do, quite the contrary. They are so strong that they managed to tangle two necklaces in a ball. The tag was still there hanging on for dear life!

The other discovery was that my sterling silver chain maille is also very strong! That is a good thing. They came out very shiny, as usual, and none the worse for any wear.

Just remember to remove the "Elephant Hyde" dumbbell labels before tumbling. Lesson learned.


Monday, September 15, 2008

New Adventurine Necklace

I've been working with "what I have on hand" lately. It always surprises me that I've purchased something for future use and never got to it.
So, I pulled out these lovely green Adventurine round beads. Well, guess what? I also had two matching Adventurine hearts.
Hmm... maybe they would go together. It can't be that simple can it? Yep! I just added some silver lined spacers, a silver clasp and I'm done. The necklace is a little longer that 18 inches and will retail for $24.95. (I only have one, however)
Looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.
I really need to go drawer hunting some more. I have two "shows" coming up and need some new items to show. This will go up on my web site soon. www.bevsjewelry.com

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Morning Glories

This picture was better a few hours earlier but the point is still there, I think.
We were backing out of our driveway when I noticed this scene of our Morning Glories. They grow on our front post light. (Can't even see the post lamp when they are at their "glory") This morning it was raining though not hard. All of the top blossoms were drooping. but there were a few that were protected by the big leaves and were just as full and beautiful as if the sun were shining brightly.
Now, I could make a nice "Sunday" point here, but I sometimes think you can come to your own conclusion. Your "take" on the picture may be better than mine. So, I'd like to hear from you.
What does this picture mean to you? Is is memorable or just a nice (though droopy) picture of Morning Glories? What do you think?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bev's magnets

When I first started in this business, I made message magnets. I had lots of fun and many people would give me their favorite message/funny/phrase. I have these magnets on my web site along with my jewelry and I often use one in a blog post when it is appropriate.

I thought maybe it was time to let everyone know, if you don't already, that they are on my web site and available for sale. Some of them would be a nice addition to a jewelry purchase for a gift.

For a good friend:


A few are serious:

You can see the rest of my collection at www.bevsjewelry.com/magnets

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More on Cleaning Jewelry

The subject of cleaning jewelry, in my opinion, is full of just that - lots of opinions and experiences mostly dependant on the composition of the piece.

Before, I go into what I've found for cleaning jewelry, I would like to offer two suggestions to prevent the necessity for cleaning.

1) For most pieces, using common sense is one of the best suggestions. Keep jewelry away from perfumes, dirt, and sticky things. Make sense? Keep the piece as clean possible and keep chemicals away.

2) When not wearing your pieces, protect them. Silver can be kept in zip lock bags (to keep the air away) or in silver protective, soft cloth bags. Other pieces should be stored in dust free places. Make sense? Protect them from the elements.

OK, now your favorite piece is dirty. What to do?

As a first step, usually items can be washed in gentle soap, rinsed and dried. I often wear my silver chain maille bracelets in the shower. Because I wear them all the time, they tend to get just everyday dirty - like me. A shower works wonders.

If you have copper in your piece, rub with a mixture of lemon juice and salt. Lots of salt. The new penny look will come right back. It is suggested that you then rinse in a mixture of baking soda and water. This stops the chemical reaction and avoids any possible pitting. I usually follow this treatment with tumbling which adds shine.

Then there are the dips and sonic cleaners and shining cloths. Leather is an entirely different ball of wax. Silver plate, gold plate and some other metals just wear out (in my opinion) and there isn't much you can do to make them brighter again. Ribbons might need to be replaced.

When I started this post, I forgot how many, many ways there are to clean jewelry. However, my first two points, I think are the most important. Treat your jewelry well. Then, call Bev if you need more ideas or suggestions.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cleaning Jewelry

After you have been selling jewelry for awhile you get the question: "How do I clean it?"

I specifically received the question from someone who purchased a Lexie's choker. There are several Bali silver spacers between the Swarovski pearls. Cleaning silver has always been easy for me if the piece is all silver. I just tumble the piece. It comes out nice and bright and shiny. (By the way, since I own a tumbler, if you live near by, I'll be happy to tumble your silver.)

Many people use the dip type of cleaner. That is sometimes the best but doesn't give a shine and does remove some of the silver in doing its job. But what do you do when you have a mixture of silver and say pearls as in Lexie's choker?
Well, I was visiting Miachelle's Blog yesterday and she posed the question of using Tabasco or toothpaste to clean jewelry. Her conclusion was that the Tabasco didn't do much but that toothpaste did clean well. I'm going to try it on the Bali spacers. Her recommendation was to use a gentle, nonabrasive toothpaste and use your fingers rather than a brush. That way, the pearls or other beads will not be harmed.
You can read the whole post at: http://inkslinginwoman.blogspot.com/ (Her blog is on my Blog list on the right hand column of this page)
Let me know if you have used toothpaste or now will try it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I won't bore you with my little ailments this week but this morning when I woke up and was lying in bed thinking about the things I had to do today - get up (without my back hurting), go to a wake to see a friend who is coming up from Florida; listening to the latest hurricane reports and the storm we will be getting this afternoon; I heard:

"Do ta do, do ta do, thump, thump (10 steps worth) one, two, three, jump" Thud. My youngest grandchild coming down the hall and going down stairs. Now if that doesn't bring a smile to your face! When he was two years old, he started with one, two jump - two steps to jump. Now he is three and it is three steps. He is going to be four in December - I wonder...

Now that school is started, the oldest is off to second grade and the younger (stair jumper) is going to preschool for two days a week. (Today is one) Things seem a bit quieter around the house. But, for my daughter, not so much. She is off this morning to go to breakfast with some of the other mothers after they drop the little ones off at preschool. Ah, a few hours of freedom.

We all remember our next door neighbor, a mother of four, skipping down the street after she walked the fourth one to school. Now, she denies that but both my daughter and I saw her.

Enjoy these days as soon enough they are off to high school and then, almost the next day, college.


Monday, September 8, 2008

More adjustable Necklaces

Here are three of the adjustable necklaces that I made from my latest bead show excursion.

One with a spring green pendant:

One with a medium blue pendant

And one with a maroon pendant.

They are all about 24-26 inches long and can be shortened to match either your clothing or your size. They are very comfortable to wear.

I have one more pendant, a red heart, that I have but I ran out of beads that I liked to go with the red. Reds are very hard to match but I found some nice shiny ceramic round beads. However, I ran out of black beads to go with them. Go figure. Those are fairly easy to find. I just have to do it!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Furnace Glass Cuff

I went to a bead show today, Innovative Bead Show in Marlborough, MA. I found lots of goodies mostly to go with the beads I purchased two weeks ago. So, there is no reason not to make lots of new pieces this week.
I had one rule for the day: Do not buy anything that does not go with the beads I brought with me to find beads that matched or would go with them.
I actually did very well following that rule. Except for the bracelet in the picture. This is not something I really designed other than picking out the beads. The silver "cuff" has two balls on the ends that screw off so you can add beads of your choice. It also includes two silver beads that are tight enough to hold the beads in place. These beads are beautiful Furnace Glass from Bergamini Beads in State College, PA (www.bergaminibeads.com) There were lots of choices but I decided to go with black and white. It is sort of a one size fits all cuff.
Hope you like it.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Half Byzantine Chain Maille

I made this necklace last year. I really love it. My friend, David Sproul took the picture when I was having trouble getting a good picture of the shiny silver rings. Another friend suggested having the focal pink bead be on the side. It just makes a different look to the whole thing and as they say "makes it".
I've been asked if the pink bead stays put. Well, the answer is, most of the time but it is not annoying such that you need to be adjusting it all the time.
This pattern is Half Byzantine plus one. Half of the byzantine pattern is attached to one larger ring and then another half byzantine and so on. It creates an open look and I feel is very attractive. It can be made with different focal beads and of course worn with the focal on the bottom if you prefer.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Kumihimo Choker

I made a pretty Kumihimo choker - no beads. This shows a different piece that can be made using the same technique. It is about half an inch wide and looks great with a red tee shirt. (Or blue or white ...) This type of choker can be made in many different color combinations. I should try one in fall colors. Fall is coming sooner than I would like.
The grandkids are all off to school and I can get back to a normal routine. Well, I never have a really normal routine. That is the beauty of being retired.
Oh, yes, my "Birthday" gas clothes dryer came yesterday and it was installed in the afternoon. Ah, clean - and dried - clothes again. While there is something to be said for line drying clothes, they are just not as soft as in a dryer. I'm sure that is not a "green" statement!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Another new necklace

It sometimes amazes me how I have everything I need on hand to make a "new" necklace. "Surprise, this goes with this and wouldn't it look good with this."

The style uses the same technique that I used with the necklace from the other day. It has no clasp and is adjustable. However, this one is very simple, just focusing on some pretty wooden beads. Again, a wear with everything necklace. Hope you all like it.