Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vacation, Get Away, Vacation

Fresh back from vacation and I'm ready to get back to work.  I did find time while gone to work on some custom bridal pieces.  I must say being away allowed time to think, create, and process.  It was so good to hit the "reset" button.  How can anything negative be said about sleeping in, eating out, watching movies, and playing board games?  We were lucky to stay at the beach so, of course, sand castles, kite flying, and hot tub time was in order. 

I must say the ocean is my favorite place to be.  I enjoy the sounds of the surf, waves crashing, smells, and fog.  I find something soothing about the functions of the water.  The only drawback to the Northern California surf is it is trecherous and cold.  No body surfing for this lady!  But that is the only negative to what I find to be a perfect place on earth.

Here is evidence of the greatness of the Pacific Ocean.

So after playing in the sand, playing a couple rounds of "Fact or Crap" with the kids (yes, it is a real game - lol), I finished a custom wedding project. 

All around it was a great week of vacation, work, and relaxation.  We can't wait to go again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Joy and Happiness on a Chain

Lately I've been obsessed with tropical, exotic locations.  I can't seem to get them out of my head.  Dreams and thoughts always drift to white, sandy beaches; crystal clear blue water; warm breezes; peace and quite.  Perhaps it is because I have 4 children, 2 cats, a dog, husband, and two businesses.

I may not be able to physically escape to my fantasy world but I did try to recreate it.  In an earlier post I commented about a dress I purchased and how much it reminded me of Rio.  Using that fabric, pictures of Rio, and my imagination I created a stunning necklace.  Yes, I did say my creation is stunning because I absolutely love it.  I used the colors of Rio - bright purple, aqua, silver-lined blues, golds, and reds.  The strands of beads are connected to a chunky, sophisticated gold link chain which gives the multiple colors in the necklace a neutral to contrast against.  To finish the piece off, and one of my favorite elements, a large focal teardrop stone in turquoise color magnesite.

Yum.  This necklace shimmers, shines, and sparkles.  It also makes me happy every time I look at it.  It is impossible to not feel happiness when wearing joy around your neck!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Now That You Own It How Do You Care For It?

Excitement bubbles over as you open the anticipated package.  Inside is the beautiful gold necklace and earrings you purchased.  They are lovelier than the photos suggested.  You couldn't be happier with you choice.

Now that the jewelry arrives and you love it how do you care for it?  You want the pieces to last so they can be enjoyed.  Here are some tips to use for the cleaning and care of your jewelry pieces.  A word of caution -- some stones will scratch easily or react to chemicals.  Use care when cleaning any jewelry with faux pearls, natural gemstones, crystals, or precious stones.

Typical cleaning items:  100% cotton cloth, non-bleach powder laundry detergent, non-bleach or anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid, baking soda, salt, aluminum foil, soft tooth brush, and warm water.

Sterling Silver: 

Sterling silver will natural tarnish over time.  It requires attention to maintain its shine and luster.  The tarnish is caused by contact with pollutants in the air, skin oils, heat, or moisture.  To clean use a soft, smooth 100% cotton cloth or flannel.  Gently rub off any makeup or dirt from the jewelry piece.  Silver is a soft metal to treat it gently.  A cleaning cloth for sterling silver can also be used.  Chemicals or rough cloth can scratch and damage the silver. 

Silver Plate: 

Silver plated jewelry is very delicate and requires care.  Frequent cleanings will help prevent tarnish and rust.  To clean use baking soda, salt, hot and cold water, aluminum foil, soft toothbrush, and a soft 100% cotton cloth.  Mix equal parts baking soda and water to create a thick paste.  Use this paste on the jewelry piece.  Allow it to sit for about an hour.  Using a soft toothbrush gently scrub the jewelry piece.  Rinse the piece thoroughly in warm water and dry with a soft cotton cloth. 

Now for the fun part.  Remember chemistry in high school?  Well we're going to do a little bit of that here.  Place a bit of aluminum foil in a shallow bowl (do not use a metal bowl).  Place 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1/2 a teaspoon salt on the foil.  Place your silver-plated jewelry on top of the foil.  Ready?  Pour hot water into the bowl to cover the jewelry.  Now cover the bowl and wait 5 minutes.  Remove the jewelry.  All done!

The chemical reaction causes the tarnish to disappear.  Voile! 

Gold Plate aka Gold Vermeil: 

To clean use a soft 100% cotton cloth, water, mild dish soap (not antibacterial), soft toothbrush for filigree elements, and a gold polish cloth.  Gently remove any visible dirt with the wet cotton cloth.  Dissolve soap in a bowl of water -- not hot water.  Soak the jewelry in the soapy water for about 15 minutes.  Use the toothbrush to gently brush away dirt in crevices.  Rinse under warm water.  Dry the piece with a soft, cotton cloth to prevent water stains or mineral deposits.  Finally gently rub the jewelry with a gold polish cloth.

An option to restoring the jewelry is taking it to a trusted jewelry and have the piece re-plated with gold.

Gold Filled: 

To clean use a soft 100% cotton cloth, non-bleach powered laundry detergent, non-bleach or anti-bacterial dishwashing detergent, and ammonia.  Wipe visible dirt from the jewelry piece.  Dissolve a drop of ammonia in a bowl of water.  Dip the cloth in the solution and use to carefully clean crevices on the piece.  Rinse in water and pat dry.  Add a teaspoon of non-bleach powdered laundry detergent in a bowl of warm (not hot water).  Soak the jewelry for a few minutes.  Rinse in warm water and pat dry to avoid water marks or mineral deposits.

Resources:, 2012.
Jewelry photos: French Robin Designs, 2012.
Cleaning photo:  naturalwaystowhitenteeth

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness. 
John Keats (

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Celebrating the 4th of July

The fourth of July is one of the best parties I've ever been too.  The day is filled with family, friends, food, and fireworks.  What could be better?  I love the 4th of July from the corn on the cob to the red white and blue desserts.

In our small town we celebrate the holiday with kids parades, events at the park, and a fantastic fireworks display.  The first time I went to the fireworks show my husband's family brought blankets, coffee, and pie.  My mind was blown away.  It was incredible to me that we sat on our blankets and ate pie waiting for the fireworks show.  I was sold on small-town America.  Not that I didn't come from a small town but the unity of this new town was incredible.

So this year I will be taking the kids swimming, bar-be-queing, and a fireworks show.  We will have brownies and blankets to watch the show.  It will be a night of joy and pride to be part of America.

Happy celebrating!