Archive for the ‘Jewelry’ Category

Thanks to all of you who entered my contest by venturing your best guesses! Although some of you obviously have some pretty fantastic imaginations, no one has won the contest yet, so the contest continues on! By the range of your guesses, I am flattered that many of you think so highly of my photographic skills. I am now going to offer a little bit of information to guide your future guesswork. And in all fairness, with the additional information presented below, everyone who has already submitted a guess, gets another chance to submit one more guess! Read the information and send your best guess via email to me.

#1 – Contest Redux
Keep in mind that photos posted on my blog are taken by me, a point-and-shoot photographer. The contest photo is no exception. Not only was it taken by me, but it was taken inside my home. That rules out any intergalactic subject matter. And other than the macro feature on my camera, no other fancy camera equipment was used. That rules out serious magnification photography.

The only other thing I can say is that I took an Ambien that night to help me sleep and while I was downloading and color adjusting the photo, the Ambien kicked in!

Here are a few samples of the fabulous, but incorrect guesses from the first week:

A drop of water, 1000 times magnified
Water combined with flash photography
Flash freeze photograph of an atomization process
Cellophane Easter grass on a light table
The Universe
Blown glass
A burst of confetti
Paint spray
Illuminated crinkled plastic wrap

Don’t give up! I want to award the prize to someone!

#2 – Comparing Apples to Oranges
From my local newspaper comes this nutrition quiz:

1. Oranges contain how many more calories than apples?
a. 4
b. 24
c. 44

2. How much more of the recommended daily percentage of vitamin C does an orange contain?
a. 78 percent more
b. 8 percent more
c. 128 percent more

3. Which fruit contains more fiber?
a. apple
b. orange
c. same amount

4. Both apples and oranges pale in comparison with bananas (422 milligrams) for potassium, but which fruit contains a higher level?
a. apple
b. orange

5. How much more water is present in an orange compared with an apple?
a. 13 grams
b. 53 grams
c. 103 grams

1: a; 2: c; 3: c (3 grams of fiber); 4: b (orange 232 mg; apple, 134 mg); 5: a

#3 – Kitchen Equivalents
Did you know that 8 ounces of uncooked pasta makes 4 cups cooked or that a 13x9x2-inch pan holds 14 cups or that 1 tablespoon is the equivalent of 3 teaspoons?

This information plus more kitchen equivalents is right here at your finger tips.

#4 – Tips for Cleaning Silver
Note: These tips are for silver only and for silver items that have no stones.

Place jewelry in an aluminum pan. Cover items completely with baking soda. Pour boiling water over jewelry. Although you’d like to watch the process, it is better to not lean over the pan, since a chemical reaction is occurring! After five minutes, take items out and rinse with water. Dry. If items are severely tarnished, repeat the process.

If your silver items are larger, put aluminum foil in the bottom of your kitchen sink, shiny side up. Fill the sink with enough boiling water to cover the silver. Add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda. Stir. Place your silver pieces in the solution for about five minutes. Make sure each piece is touching the aluminum foil. After about five minutes, rinse off the silver and dry.

#5 – Changing The World
“As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person.”
– Paul Shane Spear-

Make your best guess and have a great weekend!


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I’m posting the mystery photo again – The contest is still on to see who can guess the subject matter in the photo and win a one-of-a-kind necklace. Read about the contest in my last post. On to other topics! St. Patrick’s Day is next week, so here are a few green facts and some thoughts about rainbows and what’s at the end of a rainbow. Although, it’s not what’s at the end of the rainbow that matters; it’s really everything gathered along the way that’s important. Right?

#1 – Colors of the Rainbow
How quickly can you name all seven colors found in a rainbow? Here’s a mnemonic that I learned decades ago when I was a school girl that will help you remember the sequence of rainbow hues: Think of Roy G. Biv also known as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.

#2 – Leprechaun Lore
A bit of leprechaun lore from Irelandseye.com, “If caught by a mortal, he will promise great wealth if allowed to go free. He carries two leather pouches. In one there is a silver shilling, a magical coin that returns to the purse each time it is paid out. In the other he carries a gold coin which he uses to try and bribe his way out of difficult situations. This coin usually turns to leaves or ashes once the leprechaun has parted with it. However, you must never take your eye off him, for he can vanish in an instant.”

#3 – What Color Gold Is At the End of the Rainbow?
Pure gold (24K) is yellow in color, but, because it is generally too soft to be used for jewelry, other metals are added to it to form stronger alloys. As a result, many different colors of gold are made. Here’s a quick review of the different “golds” used in making jewelry.

White gold is a combination of yellow gold and white metals such as zinc, nickel, or silver, or palladium.

Pink or rose gold is an alloy made of yellow gold and copper.

Green gold is created by adding silver to gold.

Purple gold is created with gold and aluminum.

Gold can also be colored by creating surface oxide layers. Because gold does not oxidize in its pure form, base metals have to be added to create blue, brown, and black gold.

#4 – Eating of the Greens
Here’s a list of must-eat greens from Wholeliving.com’s article called Healthy Eating: Greatest Greens:

(Beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C)
The potent peppery flavor makes arugula a great salad green that needs little company; also good on sandwiches.

Beet Greens
(Beta-carotene, calcium, iron, vitamin C)
They can be found in bunches or still attached to the beets. Saute in olive oil with garlic, then serve as is or mix with pasta.

Collard Greens
(Beta-carotene, calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin C)
Long a Southern staple. Boil the chopped, stemmed leaves until tender, and serve with olive oil, lemon juice, or vinegar.

Dandelion Greens
(Beta-carotene, calcium, iron)
A member of the sunflower family. The tangy, slightly bitter flavor can come across as too potent when raw, but the greens are delicious when steamed, sauteed, or stir-fried.

(Beta-carotene, calcium, folic acid, iron, vitamin C)
Stalks and tough center ribs should be removed from the piquant leaves, which come in many shades and textures. Wonderful in soups, mashed potatoes, or sauteed in olive oil.

Mustard Greens
(Beta-carotene, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin C)
These greens pack a bite that’s sharp and peppery. Prepare them as you would collard greens, kale, or broccoli rabe.

(Beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C)
The slightly bitter leaves may be curled or smooth. Serve raw in salads; use steamed or boiled leaves in lasagna, stuffed chicken, or baked or mashed potatoes.

Swiss Chard
(Beta-carotene, iron, vitamin C)
This member of the beet family has celery-like stalks that are usually white or red. Like many greens, chard can be sauteed in olive oil and served with lemon; it’s also nice in soups and savory pies.

(Beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C)
Small, crisp member of the mustard family that’s slightly bitter with a hint of pepper. Delicious in salads; also good in sandwiches and soups.

#5 – Golden Quotes
“Remember, people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold — but so does a hard-boiled egg.”

“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.”
Douglas Pagels

Make sure you enter the contest by submitting your best guess and have a great weekend!!

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To celebrate the six-month anniversary of What About This? I’m holding a contest! Who doesn’t like a contest when you can win a cool prize? Be the first person to identify the subject matter in the above photo. Not the header photo, but the one below it.

Send your best guess via email to me. To keep it fair, only ONE guess per email address, please. The first person to correctly guess the subject matter of the photo will be the winner and will win a one-of-a-kind, sterling silver, hand-stamped affirmation charm – which you help to design – on a sterling silver chain. It will be somewhat similar to the What Would You Say design and the Walls Have Doors design that were previously posted on this blog. I’ll work with the winner to come up with a short affirmation consisting of up to four words, but I do reserve the right to select the final artistic design. So that I can mail the winner this fabulous prize, he/she will have to provide me with a name and address.

Good Luck! Be on the look out for notification of your win in a future post! The winning affirmation design will be featured in an upcoming post on my blog, too!

Sorry, this contest is restricted to people residing in the continental United States only.

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Building walls to exclude others is something people do to protect themselves. Emotional walls are constructed the same way as physical walls: brick by brick, slat by slat, or incident after incident. To protect our hearts from further hurt or abuse, we build up emotional walls and once erected they can be very hard to tear down.

Rejection is a tough emotion to deal with, especially if it is repeated throughout life. I have a friend who has dealt with these issues and builds walls as a result. Thinking about my friend and her upcoming birthday, I thought, “What about designing an affirmation necklace for her?” In January I wrote a post about affirmations and the making of affirmation necklaces for my nieces for Christmas.

The most difficult aspect of designing these necklaces occurs before I pick up a single silversmithing tool. It requires a lot of brainstorming to distill the feelings into thoughts and then to transform the thoughts into three little words.

For my friend I chose these words, “Walls Have Doors.” Although she may build walls, she must remember that walls have doors, too. She ultimately holds the keys to her doors; she chooses who she shuts out and who she lets in.

I designed her necklace to allow her to wear this affirmation with a modicum of privacy.

I placed a sterling silver leaf over the affirmation word charm. This way, she can wear the necklace without a lot of people questioning the meaning of the words. A wonderful thing about the leaf charm is that stamped on the reverse side of it are the words, “Love Life.”

I don’t know if she will ever wear the necklace or not, but I think it has given her food for thought and a bit of joy. For me, the whole thought process gave me pause to reflect. Have I built any emotional walls and if I have, do my walls have doors?

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If you could only pass on three words of advice to your child, what would you say? Last fall a silver charm at a craft fair caught my eye. It very simply read, “Spread Joy.” With a blog tag line of “sharing and encouraging joy in life,” this charm was meant to be mine. I put it on a chain and started wearing it as an affirmation of what I was trying to accomplish in life.

According to Wikipedia, “Affirmations in New Age and New Thought terminology refer primarily to the practice of positive thinking – fostering a belief that ‘a positive mental attitude supported by affirmations will achieve success in anything.'” More simply put, an affirmation is a positive thought that you keep in your mind and the more you think about it and believe in it, the more likely it will happen.

I thought about buying my daughter a charm, too, but what words or saying would inspire her? One thought lead to another until the idea grew into, “What about making one-of-a-kind affirmation necklaces for her as well as six of my nieces for Christmas?”

To do so I needed a little help. I asked each of my sisters-in-law to come up with words of advice that she would like to pass on to her daughter(s). The moms had no idea why I needed these words. I felt that if I told them it was for a piece of jewelry, it would cloud their word selection. The exercise proved to be challenging, because it forced the moms to reflect on the unique qualities of each daughter and to choose from their life’s book of wisdom one concept to distill into a mere three words. Of course, it didn’t help that I presented them with this assignment during the hectic holiday season! In different forms, they all managed to give me food for thought.

My husband, my daughter, and I spent an evening interpreting and shortening the mothers’ information, until we were satisfied we had captured the essence of what each was trying to convey to her daughter(s). That was the difficult part of the necklace-making project.

The easy part came next. My husband and I cut pieces out of a sheet of sterling silver, filed the edges smooth, hand stamped each letter of every word, oxidized, punched holes, and polished them. The stamped affirmation charms along with other specially selected charms were attached to chains and a loving letter of explanation was written to accompany each necklace.

What three words did I choose for my daughter? After a little thought, the words came easily to me. In Amy Tan’s book The Joy Luck Club there is a recurring theme: Know Your Worth. These are words I want my daughter to carry in her heart – she must never undervalue herself in any relationship or in any circumstance in life.

When all seven of these young ladies wear their affirmation necklaces, I hope they’ll believe in the positive power of the words written on their charms and that they appreciate the wisdom of their mothers.

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Some things are too pretty to throw out. Cracked or chipped teacups fall into that category for me. Recycling or reusing them in different ways seems to be the best compromise and for years I have looked for ways to do this. After much thought and research, I have compiled this list of ways to reuse mismatched cups and slightly damaged teacups:

1. Teacups as Planters
Pack crocus corms tightly with point side up in water over a bed of tiny pebbles. Or drill a drainage hole into the bottom of a teacup and pop in an herb plant. Plant three or more of these and line them up along your sunny kitchen window.

2. Teacups as Storage Caddies
A teacup set in your guest bathroom makes a cute container for small guest soaps.

Teacups can also be used in a bathroom to store small items such as nail clippers and hairpins or used in your bedroom as jewelry sorters for earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

What about using an old tea cup at your desk for storing paper clips, rubber bands, stamps, etc.?

3. Teacups as Pincushions
I’ve seen old teacups converted into pincushions with attached saucers used for holding buttons, bobbins, etc. Just make a compact ball of stuffing, cover it with fabric and hot glue it to the inside of the tea cup.

4. Teacups as Candy Dishes
Collect and group an assortment of teacups. Place different colored candy in each cup. This would be especially sweet for a springtime luncheon.

4. Teacups as Candle Holders
Put votive candles into an array of teacups for an instant candle-scape indoors or out. Varying the heights of each teacup and saucer set would add visual interest.

5. Teacups as Candles

I haven’t made these myself yet, but I plan to. Basically, a wick is attached to the bottom of the cup, wax is melted in the microwave and then poured into a tea cup. Complete instructions for this project can be found here: http://www.designspongeonline.com/2008/11/diy-project-kates-teacup-candles.html

6. Teacups as Bird Feeders

Check out this website for ways to convert teacups into bird feeders for your garden.

7. Teacups as Decorative Items

Broken pits of teacups can be used in mosaics and in jewelry designs.
Teacups have been converted into bangles, wind chimes, and chandeliers. Look at these clever ideas.

Now that you know what to do with those misfit teacups, don’t forget that tea leaves can be recycled, too. Throw loose tea leaves into your compost pile. Composting tea bags is a little trickier, depending on the type of tea bag fabric used. Used tea bags can also be placed in the bottom of plant containers, especially in hanging plants, to help retain moisture. And remember the old beauty tip of using them as eye compresses. Warm or cold, teabags can help to relax tired eyes. Lastly, donate dried, empty teabags to native artists who use them to create original artwork that they sell to raise money for themselves and their communities. Check out this company in Africa that makes art and useful items out of tea bags. Good for our planet and good for our souls.

Note: I created the photo mosaic teacup card at the top of this post for my Auntie Ella who is a lover of hearts and of tea, but more importantly, is a very special person to me.

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