Valentines Ideas  

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Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Check out Wear Me Jewels Valentine's jewelry!

Bottle Cap Tutorial  

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This lady bug ponytail holder is cute as a bug! You can purchase this cute little ponytail holder on Etsy seller , Carol Bryce's Bottle Caps Galore website, or follow her easy instructions to make sealed bottle caps of your own. The caps are new, unused and the image on the cap has been sealed with scrapbook quality sealer for a nice shine. You can use the bottlecaps for all kinds of projects: jewelry, scrapbooking, and more..... Have fun!

Sealed Bottle Cap Tutorial

Tutorial: How to Insert a Saw Blade in a Jeweler's Saw  

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This tutorial really should be called:

Threading your jewelers saw without slicing your finger.

Yesterday, I was threading my saw and ran my finger up the wrong way against the teeth of the blade. Ouch!!
Barb Macy from Accent Yourself Jewelry brings this much needed reminder of the correct way to thread a jewelers saw. Watch her Tutorial video for her simple and helpful explanation.

Thanks Barb, for this great tutorial! If you would like to learn more about Barb, listen to how she got started, in her own words:

"A few years ago, my friend introduced me to jewelry making, as we sat at her kitchen table and made simple beaded bracelets. After that, I was hooked and completely obsessed with beads and jewelry making...and I don't even wear that much jewelry!  I started out by using base metal components, glass beads and doing simple stringing & wire wrapping.

Since then, I've taken a couple of metalsmithing courses at a university and have continuously practiced and sharpened my jewelry making skills. Now, I primarily work with sterling & fine silver, but also can't look away from all the pretty beads. I enjoy cutting, soldering, doing chain maille, and anything that involves my torch & other fun tools."

Barb Macy's Etsy shop, has an ecclectic collection of sterling silver jewelry. To check out Barb's other fantastic jewelry making tutorials, please check out her blog at: A gallery of her work is available on her website,

Argentium Sterling Silver  

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Silver Metals- Defined
I was recently in a store and was asking if the store carried Argentium sterling silver. I am going to be transitioning to this type of sterling silver and needed a larger gauge that I had forgot to order from Rio Grande. Anyways, the store clerk told me that they don't carry it because it is a Rio Grande brand (which it is not) and is the same as Rhodium plated silver. I was pretty sure that this was way off the mark and came home to do some research. Here's what I found:

Argentium is a very innovative metal

Argentium silver, invented in 1996 by Peter Johns, like sterling silver is at least 92.5% pure silver. Unlike sterling which is 7.5% alloy copper, argentium has a small amount of germanium instead of copper. It is free from tarnish and firescale, more malleable, easily fused and fired with metal clay. Germanium is an element similar to tin and silicon.

Benefits of using Argentium sterling silver:
  • Highly tarnish resistant
  • Harder then regular sterling silver
  • Firescale free (awesome if you will be using in jewelry fabrication)
  • Purer
  • Brighter then sterling silver
Places you can buy Argentium Silver: Rio Grande, Rings and Things, Fire Mountain Gems

Metal Definitions:

Sterling silver items are made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper or some other metal (or metals). Those proportions are set by law -- change the proportions and those beads aren't sterling silver. A clue that you've got sterling silver beads? Over time, sterling silver will take on an antiqued look (called a ''patina''). Most of the precious silver you'll see in the beading world is sterling silver.

Argentium™ silver is a form of sterling silver where some of the copper alloy is replaced by germanium. This creates tarnish resistance in the silver, without lowering the purity of the metal.

Rhodium is a rare silvery-white hard metal. Rhodium is a member of the platinum group, is found in platinum ores and is used in alloys with platinum. It is the most expensive precious metal. Rhodium is a metal very similar to platinum, sharing many of the properties of platinum including its white color. Rhodium plating is used to make white gold look whiter. The natural color of white gold is actually a light gray color. Rhodium is very white and very hard, but it does wear away eventually.

Fine silver is the highest and most pure type of silver available: 99.9% silver. This pure form of silver is used by the Hill Tribes of Thailand to create beads, chains and findings. In addition, Art Clay® is created from the fine silver particles reclaimed from recycled film, and can be used to create jewelry of fine silver.

Nickel silver (sometimes called ''German silver'' or ''Mexican silver'') is made of a blend of metals -- mostly nickel -- and looks much like sterling silver. Side-by-side comparisons show that nickel silver has a slightly greyer color tone. Nickel-plated items are also available.

Common Types of Silver
Fine silver
99.9% silver, .1% other metals
Britannia silver
95.84% silver, 4.16% other metals (usually copper)
Sterling silver
92.5% silver, 7.5% other metals (usually copper)
Argentium™ silver
92.5% silver, 6.4% other metals (usually copper), 1.1% germanium
Coin silver
90% silver, 10% other metals
Nickel silver
0% silver, 100% other metals (usually nickel, zinc and copper)

Cool New Find - Pandora Internet Radio (Free)  

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If you are like me you love to listen to music while you work! I have had a paid subscription to Rhapsody for years , which I love but recently found Pandora Radio and am seriously thinking of switching over. The huge attraction of Pandora is that it is absolutely FREE! Whoohoo, I also am a big fan of free.
So, you're thinking that sometimes free doesn't get you the quality that a paid subscription does. However, so far I have been very impressed with Pandora. The format of the two is different. Rhapsody does give you more listening options. You can listen to whole albums, create playlists, as well as listen to "radio" stations of your choice of music genre. Pandora is more of a custom radio format- geared towards your personal music tastes. Their website describes their service as the following:

"Pandora is a music discovery service designed to help you enjoy music you already know, and to help you discover new music you'll love.

It's powered by the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken, the Music Genome Project: a crazy project started back in early 2000 to capture the complex musical DNA of songs using a large team of highly-trained musicians.

Just tell us one of your favorite songs or artists and we'll launch a streaming station to explore that part of the musical universe."

Try it our and let me know what you think!

My Bronze Grape Leaf in an Etsy Treasury!  

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I'm in an Etsy Treasury! Mine is the Bronze Grape Leaf necklace.

What is an Etsy Treasury?
The Treasury is a member-curated gallery of short-lived lists of 12 hand-picked items each. Members can feature their favorite items, items selected on a theme or just whoever they like.

Altered Scrabble Tile Pendant Tutorial  

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New Jewelry Tutorial- Altered Scrabble Tile Pendant

I recently came across this great tile scrabble pendant tutorial from Julia at The Spotted Sparrow Blog. For those that love decoupage or scrapbooking, this is a great use for all of those fun papers or digital images that you've been collecting. These are easy to make if you follow Julia's well written instructions. Also, be sure to check out her esty shop for some cute gift tags and the great valentines set pictured below!

Other tutorials that can be found on The Spotted Sparrow blog:

How to make an Envelope
Omni Gel Image Transfer
DIY Gift Box Tutorial

Valentines Giveaway: Don't miss checking out The Spotted Sparrow's Blog for this cute valentine giveaway. You must enter by January 21st. Click here for more information!

"When I was in grade school, all the children would exchange
Valentines on Valentine's Day. We would make little boxes to keep the Valentines in and have great fun exchanging them in the classroom. You may not be a kid anymore, but that shouldn't stop you from the fun of exchanging Valentines!"
- Julia from The Spotted Sparrow Shop

New Jewelry Slideshow  

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Policing Your Traffic- Hey you, stop!  

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Police what traffic gets counted : Google Analytics- Part 2
Well, I've officially signed up with Google Analytics and find myself fighting the tendency to pour over the statistical overload of numerical info like a nerd with a pocket protector. The first thing that I noticed is that a lot of the traffic to my site was from..... me? Hmmm...... I'm pretty sure that no good will come of that. So, that leads us to the next Google Analytics installment - excluding yourself or any other website that you do not want counted from your visitor and bounce statistics. After all, if you are going to analyze this preponderance of numerical craziness, you might as well be working with good data. Here's what you need to do:
1. Log onto your Google Analytics account and click on the filter manager (bottom, right hand corner). In addition to filtering out your own site from google stats, you can customize the way data is displayed on reports.
2. On the right hand side of that dark grey header - click "+add filter".
3. Now on filter type- click exclude all traffic from an IP address. Don't know your IP address? Find out at Anonymouse.
4. This should add your website(s)- click add. This will add them to the box on the right (selected website profiles). Then click save changes! Your're done!!

Bouncy, Bounce, Bounce- Google Analytics: Part 1  

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Bounce rate- What's that???
One of my goals in 2009 is to understand, track, and improve traffic to my various websites. One of the tools that I will use to do this is Google Analytics (a very powerful and free tool from Google). My first step in this venture was to sign up (yesterday) and get the ball rolling. I have been tracking traffic with hitslink but wanted to try out this more powerful tool. I have to say that it is a bit overwhelming at first. My first question, was what exactly is this "bounce rate"? Mine says 81% for the first day, that must be good right? Yikes, was that ever wrong. The bounce rate is basically all of those Attention Deficit Disorder people (you know you are one) who click on a site and click off within 10 seconds or less. So you could say the bounce rate is your abandon rate, your "nope, not interested" rate.
This is a very basic yet powerful metric to look at when analyzing your site. Once a visitor lands on one of your pages the clock starts ticking. You have only a few seconds to get their attention and convince them to stay on your site. How can you do that? What are the steps you need to take to change your bounce rate from a high percentage to a lower one? Those are a few of the questions that I will be exploring and discussing in future posts. Stay tuned!

New Earrings on Website  

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Finally, I'm getting caught up with adding the earrings that I have been selling at my local Saturday Market to my website. It is way past time to be updating my website with fresh new product. I'll be working on it for the next few months, adding product that reflects what I'm selling locally. It is wonderful to get the three months off before Saturday market starts back up to organize my website, my workspace, and all other business related things.

Next project- Clean and organize my work area. Stay tuned....

Click here to see my newly added earrings!