Thursday, February 21, 2013

To Re-purpose Old Jewelry, Or Not

I often say I don't want to buy anything, but there IS one thing I desire: a charm bracelet. I have been thinking about it for a while and decided to begin an "investigation."

I have a 14K gold charm bracelet with one charm. It dates back to the 1970s and I never wear it.
My 14K Gold charm bracelet with one charm, a filligree heart with one tiny pearl and two Alexandrites. Both are birthstones for June, the month in which I was born. June actually has three traditional birthstones, the two mentioned plus moonstone.

My thoughts have been on a buying a sterling silver charm bracelet, as my jewelry taste has changed from gold to silver.

I took the bracelet to a jewelry store today to discuss the possibility of trading it for a silver one. 

The jeweler assessed my bracelet and offered to purchase it if I was interested; he also would give me store credit (double the amount he would pay to buy it) if I preferred.

The price of gold and silver is not comparable. Even if I decided to keep and add to the gold bracelet, the cost of each charm is prohibitive -- at least $250 (and up) for each charm. As I want a full charm bracelet, I do not wish to put that much money into a completed gold bracelet.

Another option is to have the bracelet Rhodium plated, a process whereby, in this case, gold would be electroplated in rhodium to give it a silver color. The process doesn't last forever, but with care can last for years. This is a relatively inexpensive process.

Monet sterling silver bracelet image found on line. I found nothing that is as ornate as my gold bracelet. I suppose the styles have changed a great deal since the 1970s, understandable since the costs of the metals are so much higher now.
I looked at the sterling silver bracelets available in the store and didn't see any that struck my fancy. Not even ones I was shown in the catalog that could be ordered appealed to me.

Many silver charms are available, of course. Sterling charms are much less expensive than gold ones. They start at aound $50 to $100 depending on size and intricacy of design.

Potential additions to my gold charm bracelet (clockwise from 6 o'clock):
Shamrock pin with diamond
My mother's high school class ring
My mother's dinner ring from the 1940s
Opal  pendant
Topaz  charm for Omega chain
Sapphire charm for Omega Chair
Filigree heart pendant (lying on top are blue topaz earrings which may be too small to be used with the other items on the bracelet)
Pearl charm for Omega chain
Amesyth pendant

In the middle is a locket pendant that opens

I left the store having told the jeweler I would think about it and decide what I wanted to do. All of a sudden, on the way home, I came up with what I think is a brilliant idea. Keep the gold bracelet and add to it some of the jewelry pieces (pendants, pins, ) I no longer wear. Viola, I would have a gold charm bracelet filled up and it would cost me nothing except the price of having the pieces soldered to the bracelet.

I placed the pieces around the bracelet to get some idea of how it might look. I rather like it! The jeweler would know how to balance the look. I think the opal pendant and blue topaz earrings may be too small to work with the other pieces.

If I should decide to take the jeweler's offer of store credit for the gold bracelet, the amount he allows would easily buy a sterling silver one and as many charms as I could fit in. And there would still be a credit left for further purchases. 

But I am inclined to keep the gold bracelet, since it is so valuable. I think I would wear it if it held these special charms I already own.

I could take my time to find the perfect sterling bracelet and gradually add charms that don't cost "an arm and a leg."

What do you think of my "potential" new gold charm bracelet? Also, since the rest of my jewelry is sterling silver, how would it look to add a gold piece into the mix?

In this particular case, I think two bracelets are better than one!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Crafty Me: Rosemary and Lavender Sachets

I haven't been crafty in a number of years. So many projects in my earlier years have caused me to believe I'm "over it."

But then I ran across a box of ribbons, or rather the box found me!

Give a girl some pretty ribbons....

Some shimmering organza fabric...

A stash of embroidery floss...

And greenery from the garden.


 And Viola, here are Rosemary Sachet bags I created.

No sewing required. Cut out fabric squares, gather and tie with ribbon and trim the top fabric evenly with scissors. This ribbon looks like pearls, but is multiple strands of white floss threaded through the gold ribbon.

I made these as little gifts for some special people, who will be receiving them next week.

How to use these sachets? Rosemary is an herb known for its many therapeutic uses. One is improving memory, thus the old saying "Rosemary is for Remembrance."

I read somewhere if you place Rosemary on your pillow at night your memory will improve. Who knows if that is true, but what's there to lose? Rosemary smells very good!

While prowling around in cupboards, I found a large bag of dried lavender buds that were purchased at least 12 years ago. It's hard to believe, but they have retained their fragrance all this time.

So I made Lavender Sachet Bags for lingerie drawers. I stitched the organza squares together with embroidery floss to make a bag, filled with lavender, tied with pretty ribbon and stitched down the raw edges at the top.

These are not professional looking at all - just little bits and pieces I cobbled together. They will make dresser drawers smell just as good as if sewed on a machine, however.

I had a few branches of Rosemary left over from the second photo above so I placed them in a jar to root. Below is a photo of Rosemary stems that have been in water for a couple of months. Note the abundant roots that have formed. They are ready for potting up.

Are you doing anything craft these days?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Style

I have never done a post such as this one, but there's always a first time for everything.

As mentioned previously, I have discovered Pinterest and spend time there browsing through the various categories of items that interest me. 

Some of my "boards" are dogs, books, gardening, flowers and thoughts to live by, to name just a few. I also have a fashion board and when I see something that appeals to me I add it.

Today I happened to find some clothing items that appeal to me very much. They reflect my style, my taste. To many people these items will be boring. No color and very classic in style.

Many of the clothes in my closet resemble these pieces, although I don't buy designer. I have no idea of the price for them.

Please feel free to comment on any of the styles and designers below.

Here, then, is "my imaginary wardrobe."

Little black dress (designer not listed)

Ralph Lauren Garner Charcoal Mélange Wool Cavalry Twill Skirt

Salvatore Ferragamo

H and M

Pinned Image
St. John 


Monday, February 18, 2013

Homemade Banana Chips

The instructions were simple: Slice banana into thin chips, dip in lemon juice and spread on a cookie sheet. Bake for 2 hours @ 200 degrees and flip. Bake for another 1.5-2 hours or until crisp. 

Who doesn't have a few overripe bananas on the kitchen counter once in awhile? You hate to throw them out.

I'd had this recipe a few weeks now and decided today would be the perfect time to make the Banana Chips. What could be easier?

Below is a photo with the recipe.

I sliced thin three bananas, dipped them in lemon juice and placed on a cookie sheet as directed. Since I feared they might stick, I lined the pan with aluminum foil.

I baked as directed and here's the final product. Hmm, definitely not as appealing-looking as advertised.

However, they are quite tasty, but do not taste like the ones you buy at the store. To me, those taste salty; these do not. 

But they don't taste like bananas either! They are tangy, like lemon juice. That's not too much of a problem because I love the taste of lemon.

But now I'll tell you the rest of the story:

The chips were stuck tightly on the foil when I flipped them, so much so that I had to take my fingers and pull them loose.

After four hours in the oven they were NOT crisp; just leathery. And they were stuck VERY tightly to the foil.

Since they're leathery (moisture still resides within), they'lll have to be refrigerated to prevent mold from forming.

And what the heck is all that brownish red stuff on the foil? banana juice? I didn't know bananas had juice. So it has to be the lemon juice. Did I use too much?

So I'm thinking about how this situation could be remedied, if there's a next time.

Maybe spraying the pan with oil would have worked better than lining it with aluminum foil.

Maybe cooking them on a cooling rack would allow the air/heat to circulate and would produce a crisp, not leathery chip.

And maybe I won't make them again at all.

Maybe I'll just make a banana smoothie instead.

Live and learn.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I'm Walking the Dog(s)

As I headed off for the first walk of the morning with Valerie and Kris, I called out to Claus that I was walking the dogs.

 I immediately thought of this old Country Music ditty popular way back when.

While the words to the song aren't exactly appropriate to the situation, the title is perfect!

Webb Pierce - I'm Walking the Dog
(Check out that jacket!)

Off we go!

What has been here?
 Could it have been one of the cats? a rabbit? another dog?

Oh boy! Lots of things to stiff this morning.

Valerie checks out the porch to ensure a cat's not perched there.

 Kris gazes into the pasture to keep the cows under control.

Valerie brings a gift almost every time she goes for a walk: always a leaf.
She is so proud of herself!

That was fun, but we're all exhausted.
 Let's just rest here on the floor and wait for the next one!

Valerie and Kris are wishing you a good weekend!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Worst Valentine(s) Ever: A Child’s Story

Today I got to thinking about past Valentines Days. They have been mostly special – colorful  cards with cupids and hearts; flowers; candy; dinners out; and the occasional jewelry gift. All very nice.

There's one Valentine’s Day burned into my memory, even after all these years. I was in third grade and February 14 was a day of excitement and anticipation at school. A card exchange followed by pink cakes, heart candies and sweet red punch in paper cups made the day special.


Remember those little boxes of small Valentine cards you bought at the five-and-dime? Twenty-five or so tiny cards with envelopes, each with a different picture and message inside, purchased for about a dollar.

Anyone who showed up at school on Valentine’s Day having forgotten to bring cards was allowed to scoot down to Otto Williams General Merchandise store in the village during recess to pick up a box. If he had any left on the shelf, he'd give it to the child on a promise they'd bring him the money the next day.

For the party, teachers provided lunch-sized brown bags, crisp and new, for the “Valentine Mail Boxes." They were distributed and each student lettered his or her name on the bag and pictures were added according to individual artistic abilities. The bags were then lined up and thumb-tacked beneath the row of windows on one side of the classroom. At the appropriate time, students would drop Valentines into each classmate's mailbox. It was customary to give a card to each student, like them or not.

Lunchtime in the school cafeteria came and the party would soon follow. I was a somewhat picky eater during childhood, and  known for trading a food on the school lunch plate I didn’t like for something better. Most of the time I was successful in this little game.

On this day, one item on the plate was a peach half canned in sugar syrup – one of my favorites. No sooner was I seated than I began bartering. Canned beef. Ick. Traded that for a peach half. Yeast roll: swapped with Larry for his peach. I had three peaches and only peas and carrots remained. I asked several children, but none were interested.

I was getting fairly desperate, as everyone was seated and the teacher had said the blessing. Eating was about to begin.

Sitting directly across the table was a plump little classmate named Louie. I had asked him once, then twice to trade. Nothing doing, he replied.

I should point out that I was a shy girl, not at all given to loud talking. But in a final act of desperation, I cried out, “Louie, honey, please give me your peach!”

Dead silence followed, for I had shouted loud enough that all 27 students heard. Immediately, raucous laughter erupted. I was mortified. Had I really said that?

And to Louie? He was a sad little guy, quite round and the class slow learner -- often ridiculed by the other boys (you know how cruel children can be!).

After the laughter died down, I slunk down in my seat and tried to disappear. I knew there would be much taunting to come. But at least it was over.

Or so I thought.

Back in the classroom, we were told it was time to distribute our Valentine cards. I noticed there was quite a bit of activity and huddling. It seemed everyone had waited until the last minute to prepare. Odd. Little did I know what was about to come my way.

You see, there was a plot devised by the “class clown” (everybody had one of those, right?) which consisted of having everyone pull from their stack their cards addressed to me, open it, mark through their own name, and write below: “Love, from Louie Honey.”

So that year, 27 Valentines placed in my third grade Valentine Mail Box bore the signature of Louie – one really from him and the others bearing the dreaded phrase I had shouted in the cafeteria. All for another silly peach half, which I didn’t get after all.

I don’t like peaches canned in sugar syrup to this day. Every time I see them I remember that day. Poor Louie, he left before the end of grammar school and I heard he died at a very young age. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love Letters

Many will give and receive various gifts on Valentine's Day. The most popular choices are flowers, jewelry  chocolates and cards. Those are very nice gifts.

The cards exchanged are in most cases beautiful, adorned with cupids, hearts, ribbons and lace.

But what could be nicer than giving or receive a handwritten love letter?

Whether delivered by hand, the postal service, carrier pigeon, e-mail, tweet, or romantically left in a secret location, the letter may be anything from a short and simple message of love to a lengthy explanation of feelings.
Love's Messenger by Marie Spartali Stillman
Love letters may express the widest range of emotions - devotion, disappointment, grief and indignation, self-confidence, ambition, impatience, self-reproach and resignation.

But a love letter on Valentine's Day will always express undying love and devotion.

Below are some love letters written by famous people (credit:

Amedeo Momo Simonetti:: Opening a love letter
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...