Archive for December, 2008

The Art of Cleaning Jewelry 0

How to Keep Your Jewelry Sparkly and Clean!

 

Keeping your jewelry clean is surprisingly easy, and very rewarding.  For just a little work and time spent, you can make your necklaces, rings, bracelets and other jewelry look like new.  If it seems like a silly idea or a waste of time, I urge you to give it a try. 

 

You may think that your silver or white gold wedding band couldn’t possibly be dirty because you look at it everyday, but I guarantee you that after you try cleaning it, you will see a difference that you never could have imagined before.  And, jewelry cleaners don’t have to be expensive – check out my review of some jewelry cleaners below. 

 

 

  • Silver Polishes – These are usually heavy creams or lotions in a bottle.  Simply apply and buff away the polish.  Does wonders for silver and white gold jewelry:  Exception – For intricate pieces, anything woven, you will want to use a liquid dipping jewelry cleaner to get into hard-to-reach places, otherwise the tarnish will remain in the creases and you won’t get the effect you desire.
  • Liquid Jewelry Cleaners – These are usually sold as a very thin liquid in a bottle.  You simply dip the jewelry into the bottle for a few seconds and the results are amazing.  The drawback is that they are made with very strong smelling chemicals, so the only time I use them is for intricate pieces or woven jewelry that can’t be cleaned any other way.  Here is something fun to do:  Dip your jewelry into the cleaner just halfway and pull it out, you won’t believe how well these liquid cleaners shine your jewelry! 
  • Jewelry Polishing Cloths – For any flat-surface metal jewelry, such as a plain wedding band, bracelet or earrings, my absolute favorite cleaner is a simple, inexpensive jewelry polishing cloth!  This one has two sheets attached to it, one for cleaning and one for polishing.  You can do this anywhere, in front of the TV, in the car, etc.  The best thing about this cleaner is that you can see the tarnish on the cloth as you clean, very gratifying!  Keep one of these tiny cloths in your jewlery organizer or box for on-the-spot polishing. 
  • IMPORTANT TIP – always read the instructions on your jewelry cleaner to make sure it was designed for what you are cleaning, ESPECIALLY WITH PEARLS – many jewelry cleaners will dissolve glue that holds delicate pearls in place and you can lose them!

Traveling with Jewelry 0

Tips for Getting your Jewelry to and from Safely and Conveniently (Plus my favorite Travel Jewelry Case Revealed)
 
Are you traveling this holiday season? Here are some tips so that you can get to your destination with your jewelry intact and actually be able to find it when you get there!
 
For air travel, you have two choices. You can check your jewelry with your luggage or you can bring it in your carry-on bag. Here are some pros and cons of both.

Option #1: If you keep your jewelry in your checked luggage, you don’t have to worry about keeping track of it. But, since it is out of your hands, any really nice jewelry is at risk of being taken, damaged, or lost, especially given today’s rigorous security standards and thorough bag searches. Also, if you have ever been in Germany and had your luggage somehow end up 700 miles away from you, your nervousness about checking luggage may be at an all-time high (sore subject, can you tell?)

Option #2: On the other hand, if you keep your jewelry in your carry-on bag or purse, you can check on it whenever you like to make sure it’s okay. But, here I see two additional potential areas for disaster. First, your jewelry is probably more likely to fall out of your bag, especially when you are in a hurry tossing your tote into overhead bins or your purse under the seat. Also, in my opinion, it is also more likely to be stolen. Think of how many people have access to your bags in common-storage areas on a plane.

Therefore, my vote goes for Option #3: LEAVE THE GOOD STUFF AT HOME!
Here is an awesome travel jewelry case that I have used for more than 5 years. It is very small, and can be hidden easily in your luggage, yet it holds more than enough jewelry for even a long trip, whether you are travelling by plane or car. There are many more travel jewelry organizers from StacksAndStacks storage experts.

 

Handmade Jewelry Gifts the Easy Way 0

A World of Handmade Jewelry at the Click of a Button

 

Handmade gifts are a fun, beautiful way to show your friends and family love during the holidays.  I have done small beading projects before and given them away to my family, but lately I’m really just too busy to get into lengthy jewelry making projects. 

So, I decided this year to purchase handmade gifts for my family.  At first it sounds like cheating, but when you really think about it, it’s actually not cheating, you are actually doing the whole world a favor.  Here’s why:

 

Entrepreneurial Spirit:  you are helping out a small business or entrepreneur, which you may think is nicer than helping out huge chain stores.  Who knows, you may even be purchasing something from someone who was laid off and is using their hobby as a way to make money.

 

Personal, Handmade Benefits:  Some crafters are really nice and will give you the story behind the piece you are buying.  And your family and friends will appreciate that it is handmade, even if not by you!

 

Quality:  If you find the right store, you can get unbelievable quality.  For example, I really like fused glass jewelry, and the stuff I bought this year was absolutely stunning – Trust me, the photos do not do these pieces justice.

 

Convenience and Price– With the internet, you don’t even have to go to a crafts fair, you can simply shop online and have it shipped to you.

 

Where to find handmade jewelry: 

If you don’t have time to go to a crafts fair, I highly suggest this website, www.etsy.com– it is basically like ebay but everything is handmade, from candles to clothes and jewelry and even jewelry organizers.  You can even search by zip code if you want to purchase locally.  It is totally awesome, in my opinion.  The picture above shows some handmade jewelry I bought as gifts this year.

Jewelry On-The-Go 1

Jewelry-Wearing Made Easy (for Busy/Lazy People)

My life is very busy, so it’s hard for me to remember to wear my jewelry.  I have three kids that I watch during the day and I also work.  So, my daily personal priorities include showering and brushing my teeth – everything else is just considered “extras” – icing on the cake, if you will.  This includes jewelry-wearing, and that, even is very low on the extras list. 

 

I think I’ve mentioned before that I have jewelry organizers (and jewelry in general) all over my house.  Upstairs, I have my first jewelry box with some of my nicer pieces.  In the back of the bedroom closet is the expensive stuff. 

 

But, you never can tell where I’m going to be doing my primping in the morning.  Sometimes it is upstairs where I shower, but more often than not, it is downstairs.  That is how I have come to neglect this finer point of appearance.  Once I am downstairs, brushing my teeth in the bathroom (yes, I also have toothbrushes all over my house too) it is not likely (to put it mildly) that I’m going to go back upstairs to get jewelry to finish my look, especially with three toddlers running around. 

 

So, I have willingly adapted to the life of a mother, and created a new system to make sure I leave the house looking respectable at least half the time.  I now keep a small selection of everyday jewelry in the downstairs bathroom.  That way I can either put it in on while brushing my teeth and hair or I can even just throw it in my purse or pocket and put it on when I get in the car. 

 

 

Here are some tips if you are going to try this method: 

 

1.  Rotate the jewelry selection once a month 

2.  Don’t expect a lot of organization – I literally use an old gift box and throw everything in it (see image) – a basket would also work. 

3.  Keep out of the reach of children (learned this one the hard way)  

  

 

 

 

Bead Organizers – Cheapo Divided Boxes 0

Making jewelry and beading are great hobbies, as you probably have probably already figured out if you are reading this.  I want to share my top pick for organizing beads.  It’s basically just a clear plastic divided box that can be used for pretty much anything, but makes a great jewelry organizer. 

You can find them at hardware stores because they are great for organizing screws, mollies and other hardware.  And you often see them used in bead stores without their lids because bead stores have figured out that they are great for this purpose also!

This is the 12 compartment box that I have had for years.  I like this one because it has different size compartments, so I keep wires and needles in the long compartments and beads in the smaller ones.  It can even hold really small vials of special beads.  But, the thing I like about this one most is that it’s easily portable.  It is small enough to fit in my purse so that I can take some beading with me when I’m waiting at the doctors office, for example.

Here are some things to think about when picking one:
1.  Size:  I’ve seen them as big as 10 x 10 with 24 compartments – great for lots and lots of beads, and also other crafts.
2.  Materials:  I prefer clear plastic, because, obviously, you can see the colors through the lid without opening.  Acrylic plastic is much more clear than typical cloudy plastics that you find which makes it even easier to see.
3.  Lids:  Some have sliding lids, some have hinged lids.  I like the hinged lids better because sometimes the sliding lids get stuck and make your beads “jump” and then they risk getting mixed up.

Another great thing about these boxes is that if you ever stop beading, you can easily find another use for them around your home.  From the nails in the garage to pills in the bathroom, you will never lack a reason to use these divided boxes.