Friday, August 7, 2009

Cleaning Silver & Being Green

I recently spent a lot of time looking for ways to clean sterling silver without using chemicals. I work with lots of chain and wire and hate using "products". My friend Maryann at THE RED BEAD in Napa told me one time how to do this, but I didn't write it down at the time, so I had to go on an internet treasure hunt. I found lots of different recipes, but this is the one that worked for me:

Clean Silver Without Chemicals
You need the following:
A baking pan ( I used a glass one)
Baking soda
Aluminum foil
Boiling water
Tarnished silver

Line the pan with foil. Lay all of your silver into the pan, making sure the silver comes into contact with the foil. While you are doing this, boil your water. I did mine in the microwave. You need enough water to cover all of the silver.

Pour the boiling water over the silver and immediately start to sprinkle the baking soda on the silver. (you will use a lot!) It should start to bubble right away! For lightly tarnished pieces, the tarnish bubbles right off. Some of the pieces required moving around. Use a spoon so you don't burn yourself! It should continue to bubble for a while. When the tarnished is removed, take it out, wash it off in water, then polish. It's amazing!

If you are really lucky you will have a helper who can stand astonished while you do this. Then they will start going through their jewelry and handing you stuff to clean while they watch. My daughter and I spent some good quality time doing this. It was really fun!

Some notes.

1. Use new foil to line the pan for every batch of silver
2. I put my silver with pearls and stones right in. It worked, but don't do this if it is a family heirloom. I can't promise safety of the pieces.
3. Not for silver plated jewelry. The silver will come right off. Remember this is a chemical reaction with the aluminum and the silver.
4. Don't leave it in for longer than 30 minutes.

Have fun!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Where has the time gone?

Good grief! I have been so busy with the end of the school year and the start of summer, that I forgot about this. Where have the days gone? I have been really busy learning new techniques to use in my jewelry lately. I have been fusing fine silver and hammering earwires. I will post some pictures as soon as I can.

The whole family is here and that means our dog, Frankie, is very relaxed. He spends his time laying around with whoever is on the couch. He relaxes by licking the hand or foot of the person he is sitting with. Then he will perch on your chest and try to lick your face. Kind of gross, huh?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Wish I Knew What To Write About...

I just went down to visit my mom and help her clear out a house she is going to rent out. We had a big sale and I got to go through all of her stuff. And she has good stuff! Lots of good stuff.

Lots of dishes, linens, furniture, you know, house stuff. Well, she also buys hardback books. (I am too cheap and mostly buy paperbacks or get what I want from the library) One of the books she has is called "The Artist's Way". It is all about developing your creativity by writing a daily journal. I was really curious because it is one of the few in paperback. I found out my mom writes everyday, for 30 minutes. Everyday. Have you ever tried to write for 30 minutes everyday? I couldn't fathom it.

I tried to think of what I would write about if I did try & write everyday. Stephen King does. And look where it got him.

So, I started to wonder, do I even have 30 minutes of thoughts that have some kind of cohesive nature. I could write about what jewelry I am making, new techniques and all. I could write about my family, what my kids and dog have done that are interesting. My husband works around winegrapes all day. That is interesting. The weather, cool and breezy. My house, messy.

I was going to write about Obama's dog, Bo. He's cute.

I guess I will try to write a little each day. There is always something going on around here, and I do make reasonably nice jewelry which people seem to like.

I think I'll try for about 10 minutes and work my way up.

see my mom's children's books at

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh My God, I Can't Believe How Many Earrings I Made...

It's that time of year again. Time to get ready for the farmer's market. I have been selling at our local markets as an "artisan/crafter" for 5 or 6 years now. I have finally figured out that my biggest selling item is earrings. I sell a lot of them. They are reasonably priced, and really, you don't make a big commitment when you buy them. They're small, can fit in your suitcase if you are traveling, and everyone likes getting them for gifts. I take pride in my earrings. They need to last for years (I mean I love stores like Clare's, but really). I want customers to come back and say, "those are my favorite earrings, I never take them off!".
Anyway, I started making earrings, and I must have gone into a little trance, because before I knew it I had made a couple of hundred pair! It was great. I wondered, did I take some kind of drug? How did this happen?
I am so excited and ready for the market! I have dangly pairs (is "dangly" spelled right) and sparkly pairs. Something for everyone.
Now I have to start on necklaces....Hmmm...

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Yard...

I love working in my yard. It is so rewarding to pull weeds, prune, fertilize, etc. But I haven't had a lot of time for a year or so to do any yard work. I decided the yard looked like crap and I was going to tackle it. The trees in the front are too big to prune myself, so we hired a professional to prune them, remove an ugly sycamore and prune our tall dogwood. This is the first spring we have had an abundance of flowers on it! It is so beautiful. Happy, happy spring

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I am a little confused about Twitter. Maybe I am too old or out of it to get it, but I just don't. I am actually on twitter, but don't actually know how to use it on my phone, which is how you are supposed to do it. I do it online.
It is really kind of silly. It asks you "What are you doing?" and you type in what you are doing now. A lot of people type in their website address and use it for advertisement, and I have done that several times. But really, it is weird.
The funny thing is, supposedly all of the stars are doing it. You can "follow" Brittany Spears if you want to, but is that really her? And my daughter is in college. She should be really up to date on all of this kind of stuff, but she doesn't even know what it is.
Oh well. Follow me on twitter and I will follow you. Maybe we can figure it out together.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic...

I went to see "Confessions of a Shopaholic" yesterday. Stars Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy and Krysten Ritter. I have read several of the Shopohalic Series books by Sophie Kinsella. They are hilarious and sweet. I read the first book while on vacation in Cabo and could hardly put it down to drink a margarita. The book centers around Rebecca Bloomwood who is the most creative liar I have ever heard of. She can justify all of the shoes, bath salts, purses (you name it), so anyone would be convinced.

But the movie missed much of the book. The book takes place in England, so the movie misses the whole charm of the english countryside where her parents live. She also writes these hilarious letters to the credit card companies as to why she can't pay her bill and the letters back to her cracked me up.

Cute, and I enjoyed myself, but I wouldn't take a guy to this. They would not get it at all. Not as good as the Devil Wears Prada, but still cute.
Probably 3 out of 5 stars

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Etsy Shop...

I make jewelry.
I sell what I make at our local farmer's markets and a cute little boutique called "Daisy".
Now, I have a storefront on
Give it a whirl.

Self Promotion or...

I decided that it was time for me to start blogging. I am doing it to promote my etsy site (, but after I thought about it, I decided it would be more fun to brag about my kids and talk about the important things in my life. Things like I just got back from seeing my daughter sing in her sophomore recital in college. She sang 3 songs in spanish, 1 in italian & 1 in english. It was so beautiful that I couldn't speak afterwards. Ever feel like that about your kids?