Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As a reminder to everyone, in the lower right is last week's Where in the World photo #1. It was taken at the Liberty Memorial and World War 1 Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. What is so interesting about this place is that it is only American museum solely dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of WW1. If you visit you will find it a very interactive educational experience that will leave you emotionally moved. More information can be found by clicking here. You can also take an elevator to the top of the memorial for a spectacular 360 degree view of Kansas City.

For this week's photo we will go somewhere a little more exotic. Anyone know where this was taken?
Where in the World Photo #2:

Let's go over the contest rules to win my Argentium Sterling silver "Modern Simplicity" earrings from my shop Beadin By The Sea on the left:

1. Leave your name and email address or a link to your blog along with a wild guess of where the "Where in the world" photo was taken. You don't have to be correct to win! Click on "comments" at the bottom of this post to see the comment box.

2. Come back on Valentine's Day, February 14th to see if you've won. You will have 3 days to claim your prize.

Feb 4th UPDATE: If you'd like a hint where this is or to see next week's photo #3 and another chance to enter click here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Just a quick post today. I got some more wire from Rio Grande to play with yesterday. This time it is Fine Silver wire for fusing. Last summer, I bought a book called "Silver Wire Fusing" by Liz Jones and had dabbled with it a little. I really wanted to try soldering silver this year, but I thought I'd give fusing fine silver wire an honest effort first as I have most of the tools necessary from working with PMC.

After making all of these rings last night in gauges ranging from 14 to 18 gauge, I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. It certainly is different fusing fine silver wire than firing PMC. They are both done with a micro torch, but when firing precious metal clay you have to be very careful not to let the silver get to that melting and shimmering point. So it's a little alarming for me to see the fine silver get "flowy". I guess I feel like it's going to curl up in big messy ball and have to be thrown in the scrap pile! Now I have lots of ideas for making earrings and necklaces. Here's what I've put together so far for my shop!

Here's to trying something new! I love these quotes on TRYING:

The best angle from which to approach a problem is the Try-angle.

Unknown Source

There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) British statesman and philosopher.

Monday, January 26, 2009


What is it about Monday that makes it so hard to get out of bed? My guess is that we have such a difficult time realizing that our weekend is over; the two days we get to recharge our batteries, spend time with our family and have the freedom to do the things we love to do! I suspect that even those who love their jobs find it just a little more challenging to be motivated on Monday mornings.

Monday morning grumpiness has been much more pronounced at our house ever since last September when my son started Middle School with a start time of 7:30 am. That's way too early for 12-14 year old kids in my opinion and me too!

Monday has really gotten a bad rap.
Here's one quote I found:
"Monday is an awful way to spend 1/7th of your life"

and Recall these songs:
1. "Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down" by the Carpenters
2. "Monday, Monday" by the Mamas and Papas!

I couldn't find any specific POSITIVE quotes about Monday but I did find this:
"A year from now you may wish you had started today" Robert Schuller

Maybe it should read, "A year from now you may wish you had started today even if it's Monday" (altered by Me)

As I'm waking up this morning I'm trying to get motivated to start my day and create some new designs for my jewelry shop Beadin' By the Sea. I made a pendant like this one to remind myself of my love for creating. I just renewed it in my shop, to get it to the top of the searches, because it hasn't found a home yet. Maybe it would be better as a keychain?

Anyway, I'm off to do some more creating. How about this for a happy Monday motto:

Monday is like getting a fresh sheet of paper every week on which to create something beautiful and make your mark! by Debora

Try to have a great Monday everyone!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


This picture I took of my cat Ace yesterday really got me to thinking that I really don't get out much. Since moving back to our small town, I rarely ever leave the island which is accessible by a large bridge to the mainland. The closest shopping is about 25 minutes away and sometimes it just seems so far!

I get pretty engrossed in my everyday activities, making jewelry, promoting my shop, blogging, and all the usual household tasks, and there are days that the only time I go outside is to check the mailbox. To remind myself that there really are some cool places to go and see in this world, I thought I would take every Wednesday to post a picture of some of the places I've been. I'll tell you the following Wednesday where it was taken.

I also think it's time for my first GIVE AWAY CONTEST!

Here are the instructions to enter to win my Argentium Sterling silver "Modern Simplicity" earrings on the left:

1. Leave your name or a link to your blog along with a wild guess of where the "Where in the world" photo was taken. You don't have to be correct to win! Click on "comments" at the bottom of this post to see the comment box.

2. Come back on Valentine's Day, February 14th to see if you've won. You will have 3 days to claim your prize.

Where in the World Wednesday Photo 1:

Sunday, January 18, 2009


...actually it's science and some work, but PMC is a pretty amazing stuff. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, PMC stands for Precious Metal Clay. PMC is a rollable clay made up of tiny particles of pure silver, an organic binder and water. When fired with a torch or kiln, the binders and water burn away and you are left with pure 99.9% silver. I've been working with PMC since last Spring and I'm still amazed how you can turn a rolled piece of pliable clay into a strong piece of metal.

However, with all of it's versatility it does have some drawbacks:

1. It is quite difficult and messy to work with -some people just never get the hang of it or get very frustrated because it just sticks to everything! There are ways to work around the stickiness factor, though.

2. It's extremely expensive. The price for 25 grams of clay is about $35 which translates to $39/oz. Compare that to sterling silver which is about $11.46/oz currently.

3. Until I invest in a kiln ($650) I am limited to making small pieces that are under 1 inch diameter.

As I write this I realize there are times (Gasp!) that I wrestle with continuing to work with PMC. I have sold some of my metal clay pieces but I seem to have more success with my gemstone and Swarovski jewelry which can withstand a higher markup. With the high cost of PMC and the labor involved, buyers will need to more educated, before they are willing to pay the prices needed to make it financially viable. Here is the breakdown of just my Etsy sales. If I factored in my off-Etsy sales the "gemstone" number would probably be higher.

52% Gemstone or Swarovski
43% PMC or using PMC components
5% Other

By mid December last year, I was at a point where I had decided I would really limit my use of PMC. That was until I received a custom order and was reminded once again how wonderful this medium is. Here is a pendant I made for a gal's son for Christmas.

She had seen a pendant in my shop ,that was sold, of a different Hawaiian Petroglyph, and wanted a picture of a Kukini Runner. I was inspired once again to get out my clay. This is what I came up with and she loved it. Within a couple of weeks I had another request to make another one! Could this be the secret to sales, using the versatility of metal clay to engrave personalized characters or maybe lettering? I'll have to delve into this idea further and maybe offer some custom order listings.

As for now, I'll still continue my experimenting with different techniques of jewelry making. Recently I picked up a book that I bought last summer on fusing fine silver. I had thought about learning to solder but I pretty much have all the tools I need to fuse silver. With soldering sterling silver, I would need to invest in soldering boards, pickle, flux, soldering paste and the list goes on. Fusing can be a topic for another day, so stay tuned!

And as far as PMC goes, I'll continue to use it because, well, I really enjoy it. As long as it still intrigues me to turn clay into metal I'll keep at it whether it's financially worthwhile or not!

Oh, and lastly here is the magic of PMC. My finished jewelry using the unfired pieces shown at the beginning of my post all fired, dipped in patina, and polished. Click on this picture if you'd like to see more jewelry in my shop Beadin By The Sea.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I guess it must be... I think I forgot what it looked like! On the way to the mailbox, I just had to snap this picture. I'm sorry I got the corner of my neighbor's rooftop, but this photo actually showed the sun's rays. I was excited to see my shadow and I almost took a picture of that too!

I know this is a silly post but if you live in the Pacific Northwest you can probably relate to my musings. There are times that I miss living in Kansas (where there is so much more sunshine) and when I am sun-deprived this is one of those times. Now if we could just do something about those freezing cold temperatures in the midwest winters. On second thought, I better stick with the rain!

I hope you had some sunshine in your day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


If you've reading my blog at all you're probably beginning to know how my mind works. I have all these ideas swirling around in my head just waiting to be executed. That's why I was so excited to get this wire order yesterday and a new hammer from Rio Grande. It doesn't look like much for what it cost me, but I see it as a source of endless possibilities.

It's amazing what you can do with some 20 gauge Argentium sterling silver wire, a chasing hammer and a steel block! Oh, maybe I should have also shown you all of my 10 pairs of various jeweler's pliers, polishing cloths, tumbler, micro torch ... I could go on and on. And not to mention the AA Energizer battery that I used as a mandrel to make these earrings here. Sometimes it is necessary to rummage around the house in drawers and cupboards looking for just the right tool to improvise!

I made a pair of earrings similar to this last week and listed them in my Etsy shop. I showed them to my husband and he said "Oh, they look kinda plain". Well, to my amazement, they sold in less than 24 hours. That's pretty quick for Etsy, trust me. No, they are not some fancy cascade of jewels but isn't this what we like to wear everyday? Something that goes with anything and we can slide in our ears before we head out the door.

A year ago, I purchased all of my own findings. I never even knew that you could make your own earwires, not to mention hoops! Thanks to the help of many experienced silversmiths and Etsy sellers and their blogs I really have learned so much. This year, I'd love to expand on my bit of knowledge of silversmithing to include soldering. That way I can make closed rings without having to do a wire wrap. Oh, and then there would be even more possibilities! I already have many more ideas forming now!

If there is anyone reading this blog that knows of a great book on soldering silver or taking a basic class in the Seattle area please let me know by leaving a comment. I'd really appreciate it!

Meanwhile, back to playing with wire!

Friday, January 9, 2009

YIKES, I've been tagged!

Now what to do?
First I'll give thanks go to a gal I've just met through the world of blogging named Magriet Moss. She has her own website named Babushka Jewellery Design. Yes, I did spell "jewellery" right. That is for the UK! She lives in Kent and designs beautiful handcrafted pieces from her own home based workshop. She has left me some wonderful encouraging comments on my blog which I so appreciate! You will find her blog by clicking here and her website by clicking here.

Okay... now the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write six random things about yourself
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person know they've been tagged

Here we go with the six random things (oh, where do I start?):

1. Both of my parents are British and I grew up in Canada. Sometimes I feel more British than Canadian. Now that I'm living in the US, I really miss the great biscuits like Peek Freans (I mean cookies for Americans) and the wonderful candies you can get in Canada like Licorice Allsorts and Maynard winegums. For my birthday and at Christmas, my family usually gives me a "care package" filled with all of these rare "delicacies" which I really appreciate.

2. I love Math! I know it's really strange but I just love numbers. I am able to do calculations in my head and I seem to remember number related things very easily. I'm not sure how useful this is except my son thinks I'm really smart when I help him with his Math homework and he's a pre-teen!

3. I don't like to cook. There are so many other better things to do, don't you think? I do enjoy cooking special dinners for entertaining guests and trying out new recipes but the everyday kind of cooking is mundane and I'd rather be creating something else.

4. I always have to have a project going. Whether it's knitting, sewing, home decorating, digital scrapbooking or keeping up with jewelry designs for my shop, if I'm not creating something I feel like there is something wrong with me.

5. I definitely got my creative gene from my Mom. She sewed all of my clothes for me and my sisters while growing up. I think she must have bought yards of the same fabric because she would dress us in all the same outfit but just in different sizes. Since I was the smallest I could wear the same outfit for years! Seriously though, I don't remember getting a lot of hand me downs! I would sit and watch her sew until I could start making things myself.

6. I've had my jewelry shop online for almost 9 months now and I still get so excited when I get a sale! I get such a thrill when someone buys one of my designs because it is something that I just love to do. I've heard it described as a "transfer" of delight". I delight in each piece of jewelry I make and my hope is that each person who receives their purchase shares the same delight in wearing it.

Well, there you have it! Thanks Magriet, I was wondering what to blog about today...

Here are the six blogs I will tag:

1. Shi of Shi Jewels
2. Sharla Of Beaded Tail
3. Rozanne of Scrap Girls
4. Kim of ForeverWherever
5. Julie of Oak Leaf Hollow Primitives
6. Jennifer of Deckled Edge Bindery

This is a great way to get to know one another!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What is Argentium Sterling Silver?

Morning Frost...Rock Crystal and Button Pearls in Argentium Sterling Silver

Since I have been using a lot of Argentium® Sterling Silver in my jewelry designs lately, I thought I should share with you what makes it different from traditional sterling silver. Argentium sterling is more expensive, but I feel that it's worth spending a little extra so that my customers and I can spend less time polishing our jewelry.

I love the look of a new, shiny piece of silver jewelry, don't you? It seems that it doesn't take very long before it takes on a goldish patina and then gray. There are some pieces where the tarnishing adds a richness or antique look to the piece so I do leave those alone.

Here is an excerpt from a very detailed explanation at, a great resource if you'd like more information on this metal:
"How does Germanium prevent tarnish and firescale?
Germanium loves oxygen! Germanium in Argentium oxidises preferentially to the copper and silver in the presence of air, forming an invisible protective Germanium oxide surface layer. The oxide is able to continuously replenish itself at ambient temperatures through the migration of Germanium atoms to the surface preventing the formation of both tarnish and firescale."

Medium Organic Hoops in Argentium Sterling Silver

Okay...before your eyes glaze over, here is my simplified explanation that I include with my item descriptions:
Argentium® Sterling Silver is a patented and trademarked alloy that is at least 92.5% pure silver, just like traditional sterling silver.What makes it different from traditional sterling silver is that a small amount of germanium replaces some of the copper that is usually the other 7.5% of sterling silver. It is the copper in sterling silver reacting with oxygen that causes it to tarnish.

So there you have it! As the website I mentioned earlier says:
"Silver, the way it was meant to be!"

If you'd like to see my jewelry using Argentium Sterling Silver, please visit my shop Beadin' By The Sea by clicking here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


When we need a laugh we don't have to look very far do we? Some of our funniest moments occur compliments of our loving pets.

Sorry, to disturb you, your highness"

Well, this is our new guest bed that was just delivered for our guestroom. Ace seems to think he's the guest in our house because he has discovered he has a new favorite place to sleep, complete with cat sized pillows! Hopefully, when we have real guests they won't mind sharing the bed with a furry critter!

"Can I try it?"

Ace was very curious one day when I was doing my Christmas baking. Maybe he just wanted to lick the bowl?!

"I'm ready for my picture now"

This is my light tent I had before the one I received for Christmas. I was comparing the two, put this one on the floor and of course Ace had to go see what it was all about. Maybe he thought he'd found a great new place to sleep. Originally, I had made a lightbox out of cardboard and tissue paper. You can take a guess how long that one lasted!

Have a great day everyone!