Mar 9, 2016

Breathing New Blood Into Your Pearls

I'm amazed when I hear people say, "I can't wear pearls. They're too stuff and just not my style."



Well, I'm here to tell you, "Yes, you can wear pearls!"
 


Today's pearls are anything but stuffy and they're definitely not boring like we've been led to believe. 




If all you've got in your jewelry box is your classic strand of 

Pearly Whites

 

then hop on over to SmartFem Magazine and check out the recent article I wrote in their beauty and fashion section
 



and learn how you can turn any strand of pearls into something fun and ultra stylish! 




Please add a comment below and tell us what ideas you have for adding some pizzazz to your pearls!




Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Pearls, Baby!!

Cheers,
~Shel~ 


Feb 28, 2016

Some Nature Eye-Candy For You Today

Since my jewelry supplies have been missing in my life for what seems like an eternity, I've been working on getting a few things unpacked and sorted; putting them in places I can actually get to so I can 'play' when the opportunity arrives.

In the meantime, my ever talented sister was tagged for a challenge on Facebook and in turn, tagged me to play along.

It's a simple and fun photography challenge and if there's anything that captures my heart like my pearls, it's photography. 

I'm not as proficient as I hope to be some day, and my cameras of choice and circumstance are still my point-and-click Panasonic Lumix (for most all of my macro shots!) and my Cannon, but I enjoy the entire process. From taking the photos to editing them, to seeing the final result, it's a very satisfying hobby. 

The challenge on Facebook is called Challenge on Nature Photography and the rules are simple. Once you've been challenged, you are to post one photo a day for 7 days of your most interesting Nature, Animal or Landscape photos and in turn, you nominate a different person for the challenge each day and then tag the person who challenged you and the person you challenged.

For those of you who might know me, it's no surprise that most of my pics are Macro shots of flowers or their leaves. Yes, I'm obsessed.

Not a Lady, Bug!

A Rose Like No Other



Purple Perspective


Raindrop Reflections

Sunset Water Blues


Everything Has a Season,...


Cheery!


Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Nature Photo Fun!!
Cheers,
~Shel~

Feb 24, 2016

A Tutorial For You On A Snowy Day!


Since moving from sunny Arizona back to my small hometown in central Illinois last fall (yep, I moved back to 'Mayberry'!) I've come to appreciate the beauty of winter again. 



Atlanta, Illinois - Photo Credit: Marsha Hindman



 

A while back, my brother-in-law asked me how I was adjusting to the mid-west weather and small town living again. 

 "I decided, no matter what, I'm going to find the beauty in every day", I answered. 

His reply, "Well then, don't look in the mirror, Shelly!"

LOL! 

Yep, gotta love 'Old Man River'.   He comes up with the best comebacks and can make you laugh at just about anything. Even yourself.

So today, as we started getting hit with freezing temps, gusting winds, icy rain and snow flurries, I saw the beauty in the snowy white scene outside and went to go look for some fun, white pearl earrings to wear today.

I came across these beauties in my jewelry box. 




 
These white, cascading Keshi Pearl earrings are the first piece of jewelry I ever had published in a jewelry magazine - BeadStyle Magazine - and I thought they were very appropriate for today. 
Just the way the snow is dancing and sparkling in the wind outside, these Keshi Pearl earrings will be dancing and sparkling on my shoulders, making today bright and sunny, even in the dead of winter! 

You can make your very own pair of these fun, flirty earrings and have a beautiful, winter-white day while still remaining warm and toasty!
 
Just hop on over to Kalmbach Publishing's Jewelry and Beading Store HERE and grab this tutorial and create a pair, or two!

And, created with white keshi pearls, this Keshi Necklace by Naomi Fujimoto would be the perfect one to pair with your newly created earrings!
 

Necklace by Naomi Fujimoto - BeadStyle Magazine



Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Fun with Pearls!
Cheers,
~Shel~




Jan 26, 2016

Returning to the familiar,...

Quiet for quite some time now to work on 'work', I've been asked recently if I will be returning to jewelry making and designing with pearls and to updating the blog with pearl and jewelry information any time soon.

The answer to these questions are, "Yes". 

In response to the above, I've been asked a few times lately about pearls and the 'do's and don'ts' of designing with them and thought I'd reach back in the archives and give you one of the 'good ones'.

The original blog post is 'here', with even more Q and A's, but here's the answer to one of the most frequent questions I receive in regards to designing with pearls.

Q: Can I 'liver of sulfur' my finished wire work piece with my pearls, or do I have to oxidize my metal first and then create my piece?" 

Great question!  And, safety first here, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on any solution(s) you are using whether it’s Liver of Sulfur, Silver Black, etc. and always wear protective eye gear.  
 

Here’s my answer:  You should not place your pearls or other porous gemstones (such as turquoise, etc.) or fragile beads (painted, AB coated crystals, etc.) into a solution of Liver of Sulfur.  
 
Technically, you should oxidize your metal (silver, copper, etc.) prior to working with or assembling your piece.
  
Now, have I ever placed my finished piece along with my pearls into a solution of Liver of Sulfur – yes.  
 
Should I have? No, not really.  
 
Why did I do it? Because I was lazy (just stating the truth here folks!) and I wanted to see what would happen to my pearls. 
(Granted, I didn’t do this with my ‘super-good’ pearls!!)
 
So, what happened? 
 
Well, my pearls came out just fine after about a 30 second dip in some LOS. Absolutely perfect. Not a problem at all. 
 
See?
 
Pearl, Turquoise and Sterling Silver Wire
Wrapped Pendant "Freya"
Before and After an LOS Solution Dip

Although, another time, when I left my pearls in some LOS solution for a couple of minutes, one of them had a dullness to their nacre that wasn’t there prior to the LOS dip and one time it even turned a white pearl a rather dull, gray color. 
It was hard to see right off the bat, but in certain lights you could tell it had lost its original white color and that something was a bit ‘off’. 



It's a bit hard to see here in this photo, but the pearl on the right has lost
a bit of it's beautiful luster. If I had a before and after pic, it would
probably be a lot easier to tell the difference.
 
So, if you have poor quality pearls with extremely thin nacre or chipped nacre (think large hole pearls that have chips around their holes, etc.) you will want to LOS your metal prior to assembling your jewelry if at all possible. If not, then a quick ‘dunk’ might be okay – but then it might not. So, ‘dunk’ at your own risk,…or well, at your pearl’s risk! 
 
A great alternative if you cannot oxidize your piece until it’s finished and you have stones in your design that you are afraid may be affected by a Liver of Sulfur solution is the eco-friendly, boiled egg method
Yes, you can boil an egg, peel it, cut it in half and pop it in a seal-able plastic bag or plastic Tupperware type bowl, seal it up, and the sulfur in the egg yolks will eventually oxidize/blacken your piece without harming your stones/beads.  Now, this does take time,…20 minutes to 2 hours or more, it just depends on the eggs.  So, this is not for the impatient crafter, but it is a great alternative that doesn’t harm your beads/stones (at least none that I know of so far anyway). 
 
*One word of caution if you use Silver Black to blacken your work: don’t let it touch any of your pearls/beads/stones.  Or anything else for that matter – clothes, fingers, your desk, etc. - I’ve had it turn mine black,….well, dark gray/brownish. It wasn’t pretty. So if you’re just using a dab of Silver Black to blacken some stampings you’ve done on metal and you’re just touching it to one small area, that’s fine, just make sure you avoid all of your pearls, stones, beads, etc. 

Okay, so now you're ready to go and have a little 'blackening' fun with your silver and pearl designs, right?! 



Go ahead - be brave and have fun! 

Until Next Time,
Peace, Love and Playing with Pearls!!  
Cheers,
~Shel~