Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry  

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How to clean your Sterling Silver Jewelry with Baking Soda, Salt, and Foil:

These cute peapod earrings are a favorite of mine but after time they can start to lose that shiny silver sparkle to that dreaded enemy of silver - air. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (which gives it added strength but makes it prone to tarnishing). When exposed to air, sterling silver will tarnish. This occurs more quickly in damp and foggy weather (like Oregon), but is inevitable in any climate.

When cleaning wire wrapped stones and pearls it is often difficult to get between the wires with a silver cleaning cloth so I have found another solution that works great. The one warning that I would give is to be careful of the temperature of the water. Depending on the value and material of the stone/pearl that is wrapped, adjust the temperature down. I would recommend boiling the water, then turning off the heat before adding pearls or soft stones. I have melted one Swarovski pearl by having the heat too high but that has been my only jewelry fatality. So, proceed at your own risk, but in "most" cases you should have excellent results.

Aluminum Foil, Baking Soda, and Salt:
Place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a pan, add 2-3 inches of water, 3-4 Tbls. baking soda (or more- you can't really use to much), 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil (disolve the baking soda/salt) and turn heat off. Add silver pieces, making sure the water covers the silver pieces. With a wood or plastic utensil, gently move the pieces around to ensure that all of the silver surfaces come in contact with the aluminum. Remove silver, rinse, dry, and buff with a soft cloth. This method cleans the design and crevices of silver pieces.

Why this works: Sterling silver reacts with moisture to create a layer of tarnish or oxidation on its surface. Baking soda activated by boiling water in the presence of aluminum, will dislodge the tarnish by making it bind with the aluminum, leaving the sterling silver clean and shiny again. The baking soda/aluminum combo pulls sulfur off the silver by a small electrolytic current set up through the "salt bridge". This is why contact with the aluminum is so important. Both Silver and Aluminum loves to accept sulfur, but aluminum does it quicker and will pull atoms of it off the item (reverse electroplating) as long as the electrolytic current remains. The silver is left all alone again. The heat of the water is just a catalyst and makes the reaction occur faster. lThis is the simple, organic way to clean and polish your sterling silver jewelry.

Product Spotlight: Fridays at the Farm  

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I wanted to spotlight my favorite soap seller- Friday's at the Farm.
They have a booth at the Eugene Saturday Market and Holiday Market and make wonderful soaps and lotions. Their soap is handmade from non-gmo olive oil and other all natural vegetable oils. It is made from scratch in small batches and hand cut, and trimmed. They are then wrapped with handmade paper, and labeled with our old family photos. With wonderful scents like Gin Martini, Chai Tea, Red Currant, Double Chocolate and Orange, and my favorite Cherry Almond Poppyseed, they are a great gift to yourself or someone else for the new year. You can purchase these great soaps on their website or if you are in Eugene, at the Holiday Market.

Cool new find!  

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How cool are these?? I just found these new coasters which are appropriately named, Spill and fell in love with them. It's too late to order them for Christmas but after Christmas, I might have to break down and get a set. This fluid shaped coaster provides a much needed place to rest your teaspoon or drinks stirrer. The sculpted surface draws any liquid into the center, ensuring any spillages stay where they belong. Added bonus- they are dishwasher proof!

Holiday Market 2008  

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Shop Handmade this Christmas Season!

This is a great year to buy handmade and what better place then the Eugene Holiday Market. This is a picture of my booth this year (an ever evolving project). If you are in the Eugene, Oregon area be sure to stop by Holiday Market (at the Lane County Fairgrounds) for some great Christmas shopping. I'm located in booth #20 for the next two weekends. We are open from 10-6 on Saturday and Sunday. Holiday Market is a collection of over 300 artisans. All of the items for sale are made and sold by the artist. Be sure to also check out the great food booths and live music.

Merry Christmas!!