Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all My Friends!

faceted purple amethyst gold filled post earringsWow, yes it has been quite a long time since I have blogged! It was such an incredibly busy month for me. All I can I am sorry! I was very busy with my day job..which is NOT metal smithing. As a matter of fact, my family owns a mailing shipping store..UPS store like and it was seriously very busy. Yes, this is where I work a few days out of the week. (cat out of the bag!)

I am sure you heard of the term "going postal"..well I know what that means..literrally. ON top of 12 hour work days, I would stay up till 1:00 am to get some jewelry orders done before Christmas. I won't complain about my jewelry orders, as I love making jewelry...but I am completely utterly exhausted.

I have not had much time to make any new designs, except I have been working with gold filled metal now and I am pretty excited about it. I just recently made the faceted amethyst gold filled earrings shown above for my lovely mother in law. She loves jewelry...and the color purple...and yes gold.

kyanite, rainbow moonstone, sky topaz sterling silver stacking ringsI also have been trying to perfect my bezels. I am making smaller and smaller ones, which are not always that easy. When I first set this kyanite oval was very difficult. It really is beautiful in a handmade bezel as oppose to the pre-made ones. Making small bezels takes a lot of practice. I feel this is what I really really want to be good at in my jewelry making I have been practicing a lot!

So now that the dust has settled I will be focusing on some new designs and some new cabs for the bead shop!

I hope you all have a Happy New Year! Much love, good health, peace and joy to all my friends!

Lucky Winner of Helenes Dreams Sterling Silver Stacking Ring Giveaway!

Today the picked lucky entry #323 which is SoccerMom1! Yeah! Congratulations to Soccer Mom 1 ! I will be contacting her by email and congratulating her and requesting her ring size!

Thank you so much to all of you who made kind and wonderful comments and also for participating in the giveaway. Please check back, I will be doing another giveaway in January 2010 to start the year off just right!

Wishing all of you a wonderful and happy holiday season!

Metal Smithing 101 - Setting a Square Cabochon Or A Gemstone with Corners

fire agate chunky sterling silver square ringFire Agate Chunky Sterling Silver Ring

I did it! I finally learned and persisted on learning on how to set a stone with corners. I definitely wanted to share my experience with you! After taking a few classes at my community college, I learned primarily the basics of metal smithing. I learned how to use my saw, my disc cutter, my files, and my flexshaft tool..which does all kinds of things, but most importantly how to get that polished shiny shiny look.

The one thing I did not really get is how to set a square cabochon. The detailed technique of it is not so easy to grasp or even explain. I tried filing the corners down first, but that is not all you have to do. It really is technique and it needs to practiced to be a master at it.

First of all setting a square cabs with corners is very tricky. It really is important to practice your technique and use the right tool! YES, the right tool helps. I have been using a bezel pusher...but I really never used my bezel rocker. At first this tool was so strange to me. I wondered ..what? How the heck does this thing work? So, I threw it back in the drawer and that was it for the next few months. After struggling with the bezel pusher on square cabs one after the other...I thought..what am I doing wrong? Of course nothing in metalsmithing comes with instructions..have you noticed?

bezel rockerBezel Rocker - Nifty Tool

The next step is to understand the technique used with this type of tool and to follow through with it. Honestly, I can't explain it in such great detail. But if you go to this site here:,1738.0.html this kind gentleman will show you EXACTLY how it is done. Oh my really works! Once you get this..PRACTICE!

Okay so I will show you some improvements on my square settings:

blue flash faceted labradorite cabochonFaceted Labradorite Square Sterling Silver Ring

If you go back in my archives, you will see my before photo's of this exact ring style and well, I would say...what a difference! I love square cabs..and now I can set them. YAY!

blue flash labradorite cabochonLabradorite Cabochon 12mm

Here is another ring, I have this for sale in my shop as well. No pinched corners...I just love it. This ring is so amazing in real life..very very pretty this labradorite gemstone is. If your looking for some great cabs you can also stop in and check out my Cab shop: 101 Best Beads on Etsy!

In a few weeks, I will be gathering some information on how to polish and research what types of tools to use for you newbies like me. I will be posting that information here too. Of course experimenting is what I do best. So please stay in touch. It is a learning process.

Have a great holiday season with your family! Any comments are welcome..let me know you stopped in! Thank you!

Helenes Dreams Etsy Christmas Blog Giveaway!

red jasper sterling silver earrings
Helenes Dreams - Red Jasper Sterling Silver Earrings

Hey Everyone...its that time. I have been meaning to post a giveaway. With life being so busy lately, I know I have been neglecting my blog a bit. But I would like to make it up to you! As you all know Christmas is around the corner and it is that time of the year again!

These earrings above are some of my newest additions to my Helene's Dreams shop. They are a lot of fun to make. A bit challenging trying to solder a bezel in the center and keeping it there as you heat up....but somehow I learned to pull it off. These have that rustic "worn" look. Really earthy and goes nicely with a pair of jeans and a warm sweater!

labradorite gemstones
Helenes Dreams - Labradorite Copper Sterling Silver Earrings

I really love the way labradorite complements the tones of copper. Labradorite has some copper tones within its blue to green flash. Honestly, I can look at these all day. It really feels like eye candy!

Some of you may know that I have recently expanded my techniques and incorporated metalsmithing into my designs. It has been a great adventure and lots of living and learning on how to get the job done just right. It has been nice to have a venue like Etsy to sell some of my work, because the investment in classes and tools have been extensive!

sterling silver stacking ringsHelenes Dreams Giveaway - Four Sterling Silver Stacking Rings

I would like to kindly invite you to visit my shop and check out some of my new designs. In honor of the Christmas season I am going to giveaway a set of Four Sterling Silver Stacking Rings made to your specific size. These rings are simply beautiful and versatile. They can enhance any ring you may already wear now or even worn alone, they make a nice statement. My intentions are to have them made and sent to you before Christmas!

Here is what you have to do to enter this contest:

You do not have to be a blogger to enter.

It is open to World Wide Entries!

PLEASE NOTE: Each entry must be posted separately to count.

1. For one entry please go to my Etsy store, Helenes Dreams and check it out. Come back here to my blog and post a comment on your favorite thing from the shop. Also, please be sure to leave your email address so I can notify you if you are a winner.

2. For a 2nd entry subscribe to my blog by email in the upper left side of my blog.

3. For a 3rd entry if you would like..follow my blog, or link back to my blog, or blog about this great giveaway! ( You can post this entry if you already follow my blog or link to it. Please post the url link if you blog about this giveaway.)

4. For a 4th entry ..follow me on Facebook. I am on Facebook. Okay it needs some help..but getting some more followers there will allow me to have my blog on there too, and inspire me to keep that going.

This giveaway will end on Monday, November 30th at midnight. A winner will be picked using Up to four entries are accepted per person. I will post the winner on Dec. 1st 2009. I would like to thank all of you for taking a moment to participate. I greatly appreciate it.

Have a great day!
Updated: December 1st, 2009 - Contest Winner

Today the picked lucky entry #323 which is SoccerMom1! Yeah! Congratulations to Soccer Mom 1 ! I will be contacting her by email and congratulating her and requesting her ring size!

Thank you so much to all of you who made kind and wonderful comments and for participating in the giveaway. Please check back, I will be doing another giveaway in January 2010 to start the year off just right!

Wishing all of you a wonderful and happy holiday season!

Lots of new things today, cabs and rings!

chunky sterling silver moss agate ringTake a look at one of my newest creations. This is my first chunky ring. A tree agate aka moss agate sits in my own handmade fine silver bezel. This ring was fun to make. It was nice especially because I had something of a real size to handle in my fingers. Its easy to see why some metalsmiths only like to make big pieces!

I am still learning to figure out the corners on square bezels. In some cases it appears that one would have to file down the corners so you don't get that pinched look. I did do this here. Just a tip for all you beginners. Hey any tips for me would be so kind of you, as well!

turquoise sterling silver ringOkay and here is the next new ring...bling bling! A beautiful turquoise cabochon sized at 14 x 10mm sits in my very own handmade bezel as well. I have to say..this was fun too! I really like this size for myself. It is not a huge ring, but it isn't tiny either. Really a lot of deep color and pop to this sweetheart.

Both of these rings are on sale here in my Etsy shop ...Helenes Dreams.

lavender jade cabochonOkay so I just recieved these yesterday and I do have them listed in the shop! These are beautiful lavender jade 10 mm cabochons. Just a gorgeous color. My supplier states they are dyed, but most colored jade are. They really have a royal purple to them. I can't wait to set one of these somewhere!

faceted chalcedony sea foamOkay, so I have a lot in mind with these absolutely beautiful sea foam chalcedony faceted cabochons. The lapidarist cut these very nicely. The facets are precise and catch much light, not to mention the color is mesmerizing. I can see one of these in a gorgeous sterling silver ring myself. I am going to get my "b" tank for my acetylene torch...where I can soon start to work with wider thicker sterling silver.
cherry quartz cabochonI will just post one more addition here today..not to bore you all to death! But these cherry quartz are fabulous! They measure a 10 x 8mm and have beautiful rich coloring to them. They have a peachy look to me..just pretty pretty. Yes, I can't wait to set these too! I wish I had more time.

Please vist 101 Best Beads and you can find all of these gorgeous cabochons and much more there! Thanks for taking a moment to leave a comment, to let me know you stopped by! Have a great day!

Some new goodies for Helenes Dreams Shop

faceted pink peruvian opal ringFaceted Peruvian Pink Opal Sterling Silver Ring

Yes, I am exploring the world of making my very own bezels now. It is a practice type of thing I would definitely say. But I am finding some hope and slowly but surely in its own unique way, something pretty shows up. Yes, I set this 8mm faceted peruvian pink opal, and well, I guess it has its own style! I think of this as a princess pink and pretty! I still need to work on my pinched corners, but I am finding that some of my customers actually like this style!

Blue Chalceondy Sterling Silver Post Earrings

I really like making post earrings too. It is a great way to learn to use your torch because you don't want to melt the bezels when you solder the post and vice versa. It also is a good project to practice using the stick solder, and learning to hold tiny things when you polish..and all of this good stuff.

Even back in the days before I started beading and wire wrapping, I really only wore post earrings! Although I love dangles too, I missed wearing a good post earring. Now, I can make them and it is great. These blue chalcedony are super gorgeous. Just a fun all round glow of blue to lighten your day. At some point, I am going to get a bit more extensive with my designs. Now that I can use my saw more efficiently ...

smoky quartz sterling silver post earringsSmokey Quartz Sterling Silver Post Earrings

Now that I am taking my community college course in precious metal fabrication, I am waiting to learn all kinds of new things that I too can also share here with you. So please keep tune to the beginners world of metalsmithing with me. One book that I just recently purchased to help me with setting stones is called " Creative Stonesetting" by John Cogswell. I can't wait to get the book. It has a 5 star rating and lends a lot of ideas and techniques on how to set certain stones and etc.

I know that most of what I will learn will be basic stuff in class. There is just so much to learn, it is really overwhelming. The key for me is to plug away on something new, but make sure that what I am learning ..I get right. So yes, I am still stuck on the fabrication of square bezels. Not perfect, but it is getting better. But I have the round smaller ones down..which I am happy to say. No glues, no adhesives. Just simple pressure metalsmithing techniques are used.

Metal Smithing - Learning to Use the Jewelers Saw

This 9 minute video is by "Susan Lenart Kazmer". She discusses how a jewelers saw can be used.

Okay, so I took my first class at my local community college. And today, I learned how to use my jeweler's saw. I will tell you that up until now, I have never used my saw. Why? Because I am not comfortable with it. But, I am now! So I thought I would scope out some other tutorials for my blogger friends here to share a few things I have learned as well. These several video's will give you a better perspective of how your jewelers saw can work for you.

A Few tips from my personal instructor which helped me out a lot:

1. The teeth of the blade need to face down towards the ground. The cutting action happens on the down stroke, so apply the most pressure during this movement.

2. As you are applying the sawing action, turn your piece of metal as needed if you are wanting to cut out a curved line or corner. This will be easier then turning the saw itself.

3. Don't cut yourself. Build good habits while your learning how to hold your pieces of metal and watch your fingers.

In this 5 minute video you get a more quick perspective of how to use the saw in curved lines when your cutting out your design. I think watching Susan's video first will put this into a better perspective.

Another great place to learn how to use a jewelers saw is this website called, Beaducation. Here you will find a free online video class that really walks you step by step in detail on how to set up your saw adequately. It really is worth it. While your there, check out their free class on how to use a micro torch. It is a very good video that also walks you through the basics of a micro torch.

Have fun making beautiful things. As always, there are some great quality and affordable gemstones at 101BestBeads on ETsy!

Brand New Cabochons for Metalsmithing!

green onyx, green chalcedonyGreen onyx also known as green chalcedony have arrived today! I can't wait to list them in the bead store. They are absolutely gorgeous. They reflect light with the many facets in their cut. They measure about 7mm if I remember correctly. I can see a few pretty designs made with these!
smokey quartz cabochonSmokey quartz always seem to be a Fall/ Winter favorite. These particular stones are very very pretty. They are not so dark and reflect light with a light warm brown. I can't wait to set a few of these myself. I have a few ideas just crawling to get out of my sleeve. If only I can find the time!
I actually will be carrying these in a 6mm and 7mm size cabochon.

faceted carnelian cabochonBeautiful carnelian..what a hot color! Brings any design alive. These are some pretty faceted carnelian cabs. As if the color was not enough..we add facets and waaalaaah! They certainly catch light and remind me of a sunset every time. They are 7mm as well.

purple amethyst cabochonsI finally broke down and ordered some AAA amethyst smooth round cabs. Aren't they just beautiful? They really capture purple royalty perfectly. The color is so lively and they are really a nice color. They are not overly too dark, so once you set them you will not see sort of a black purple..NOPE, not these. They are just the right tint. I think these are 6 mm's too!

In the next week I am expecting a lot of new pink opal, whiskey quarts and lots of other beautiful cabs. Please check back for more goodies in my etsy bead shop 101 Best Beads!

Metalsmithing - learning to set a bezel story.

rhodolite garnet cabochonAs some of you may know I am just learning to expand in the craft of metalsmithing after all these years of beading. I have been making and hand forging my own earwires for dangles, but recently, I actually made some post earrings! The key here for me, is learning how to set a cabochon in a tiny 6mm sterling silver bezel .

Okay well...this is tricky folks. I will tell you that this is not exactly what I thought it was. It is really much harder then it looks. You have to apply a tremendous amount of pressure with a rolling action onto this tiny tiny set up ...without bending the earring post in half. I have been using my vise to securely clamp the earring, but I feel like I am going to break the whole thing!

It does come with a bit of practice and I finally get how to do this. But, the trick is really how the cabochon fits. Even if it fits, it maybe too tall and the bezel wall will not secure itself around the cab correctly. It really makes you think in terms of architecture and structural engineering. So the bottom line is, not all 6mm cabochons are going to work in those pre-made commercial bezels. You simply have to make your own if your gonna want to use that particular cab.

antique cushion faceted labradorite cabochonSo, I decide to try to make my own bezel. Now please don't laugh ..yet! I have no formal training and I only own one book here " The Complete MetalSmith". It took me literally four tries to make this bezel for this ring, and to me it still does not look right. Oh gosh, yes, I am so frustrated! The bezel wall is probably too high here and therefore it cinched around the stone! Although I must say, this baby is not going anywhere. That gemstone is firmly secured in this setting. ( I say this proudly, because a lot of my smaller practice settings have this tiny rock to them. It drives me crazy!)

Maybe I should have tried a more simpler round bezel, but instead since my patience is not my virtue and I assume that I can make this happen no matter what. I simply go for the harder piece in trying to set a antique cushion cut labradorite gemstone.

So, I show this thing ( the ring above) to my husband and he giggles..yes giggles. And, because I wasted so much silver and it's price is going up like crazy I really want to scream...yes scream! But instead, I just start laughing really hard! I guess its better then throwing a tantrum. Geez, have you ever felt this way? I tell you that I love a challenge, and learning to metalsmith has its moments. I hope I can do this, I do.

faceted labradorite cabochon
This ring is not complete yet. I just needed to blog about it, to relieve my stress! It actually wears really nice and it is quite pretty in its own unique way. It really appears handmade which I think is the beauty of this whole thing. I mean, why am I trying to make everything look machine made. Whats the point here?

But, back to the ring. I am contemplating if I should list this in my shop. It would make a pretty cocktail ring. The photo's of this are not that great. I am thinking of darkening the silver and polishing it after for that aged look. I will have to see after that.

prehnite cabochonAnd then I also recently made this prehnite simple ring. It will be added to one of my stacking ring sets soon. It came out nicely as planned.

Thanks for letting me share my work and ventures with metalsmithing. Any comments, advice or tips are highly appreciated. Have a great day!

Good bye Summer Vacation!

Yes, summer is slipping away here in Central Oregon. Honestly, feels like we never really get a real summer here. Just last night it was 32 degrees. Yes, freezing level. It makes me sad to see the cold weather come back so quickly. I guess I could reminisce and tell you some fun things we did this summer with the kids.

Amongst some simple boating and fishing trips..relaxing in our great lakes around here is always a winner. We never catch any fish though! We hang out and chat about nothing and eat junk food all day, but the kids like it! They might swim, not me, its way tooo cold!

We somehow pulled a trip off to Disneyland and Sea World on the California coast! Thanks to a ton of airline miles and free hotel (donated by our kind parents timeshare) ....all we had to pay for was tickets and food. This photo above is Goofy's dream home. I can relate to Goofy. I really wanted to go to D-Land just to see Goofy! Don't you think his house is just a work of art?

We literally spent 5 days at theme parks and 2 days on the beach on this trip. When we returned to Oregon we were exhausted, and guess what? We caught the flu! YES, we were all so sick for about 2 weeks. Summer July fun. Hot, we were really hot. Was this the swine flu? Well who knows..we survived and I guess now were ready for the next flu season!

I think whats most important is having some fun memorable times while the kids are young. I have two children who are ten years I really feel how fast it goes by. Being nearly 40 now I just want to enjoy them and do what I love ... Most importantly I really want the kids to have fun and be happy. Summer always brings fun times.. for me. I hate to see it go by again.

Thanks for letting me share with you. I guess I better get going and get the kids ready for school tomorrow! Back to school...

101 Best Beads Time to Stock up for Christmas SALE!

sunstone cabochon 8mm

Yes, it is time! Did you know Christmas is less than 4 months away? For all of us handcrafters, we have to think about shipping time and the time it takes to make your beautiful items! So, instead of a Labor day sale..I am having a "Stock up for Christmas Sale"...for ten days only! There are lots of goodies...check it out! All regular priced items are 20% off!

You can contact me with your order and I can create a new listing that will reflect the 20% off. OR, you can check out with Paypal and I will refund you the 20% discount. Thanks for your patience with this Etsy does not have discount codes for the check out process.

Bulk discounts do not apply during this promotional offer.

Thanks everyone...have fun making beautiful things!

MetalSmithing Adventures - What I have made so far.

Hey there blog friends! I have been pretty busy lately with new designs. I am having a blast learning metalsmithing. I am loving this! It is incredibly fun. I have made several things now and I am really getting the stacking ring thing down. With the help of a few good friends of mine who have been metalsmithing for quite some time, I am able to practice some of my techniques. I have to admit that setting these tiny stones in the bezels are NOT easy. Wow, I think my first one took nearly two hours to set. Oh my gosh..there are things to learn.

I have recently signed up for a community college course in precious metal fabrication. I can't wait. The cost is $149 for a 10 week course..not bad actually. I will tell you that if you are teachable, a lot of this can be self taught. Of course you practice practice, live and learn, waste some metal (but recycle it)start over, and try again. Well, this is how it works for me anyways!

Hand Forged Hoops with Chocolate Pearls & Copper Wire

I am proud to have made my very own soldered hoops for this design. Pretty simple yet the beads add a lot of texture and some color. They are really pretty on. My husband thinks they are "sexy"..LOL! Funny, that's the last thing I feel! I had to make several pair of these already, one for myself of course! These are in the shop right now..ready to go. I have ton's more ideas with this design floating in my head. It really is just finding the time to get to it all!

rainbow moonstone bella earrings twilight inspiredRainbow Moonstone Post or Stud Earrings

I have always always wished I could make post earrings and guess what..I now can! Setting the gemstone in this tiny bezel takes effort, but I am slowly getting the idea and techniques down. I have made several studs now..and they are looking better each time. I do not have these in the shop yet, but I wanted to show you my progress here.

A few things that I need to work on are polishing and deburring. I really want seamless joints. This comes with time and figuring out all of my grindstones and polishing mandrels..confuses me really! So for me, back to practicing. I can't wait till my classes start now.

I am planning a Giveaway for my own HelenesDreams shop in the next week, please check back!

As always you can find many great cabochons in my 101 Best Beads Shop. All gemstones seen here are listed in the bead shop.

Have a great day!

My first metalsmithing project - Copper stacking rings!

hammered copper stacking ringsHey Everyone! Okay so here is my very very first metalsmith project. I have never used a torch or soldered until today...finally. And, this is what I made! I started off using 16 guage pure copper wire and some copper solder wire to make these rings come together.

So.. this is what I did: I cut lengths of wire for 6 rings using 16g copper wire for size 7. I sanded down the ends. I then hammered them into a circle shape using my mandrel and hammer. I brought the two ends together using some pliers. At this point I may have filed the ends a little more to make sure they were flush and completely touching. I then actually dipped the ring in the flux..(no pre heating for me). Using the micro torch, I heated the circles and the two joints and used the copper wire solder for the very first time. When the flux started to turn white with some bubbling action I applied the wire solder to the joint and WOW..that was easy! The solder just balled up and melted in the joints. You can see this event neat! I tried one ring using a cut piece of solder, but I find it harder that way trying to keep it where it needed to stay. I dig wire much easier for me. I then put the rings in the pickle and almost instantly they became the red copper tone.

shiny copper stacking rings
Now, the tricky part was filing sanding and polishing. I have a flex shaft tool and I used a grind stones for metal deburring first to remove extra solder in the seams. Then, I used another polishing wheel medium, and then used sand paper 600 grit. I had nothing higher then that. I have the buffing compounds and the buffing wheels but I did not have time to go that far. I then proceeded to put the rings in a tumbler with steel shots for about an hour. I had a bit of trouble holding the rings during the polishing process. I am not sure what people do in this part of the process. I think I am going to buy a flex shaft holder from Rio now..that I tried this.

hand forged copper stacking ringsI have to say it did take me pretty much all day...whew! I hope at some point I can perfect my new found skills fairly soon with some practice. The seams are still showing in silver even though I used copper solder...I am not sure why? I still want to learn to get that super high polished look with the buffs and tripoli. Next on my list.

Any advice? Any comments? Any tips? Learning to be a metalsmith is so fun, but I know there are alot of tips and great techniques out there. These are all greatly appreciated..thank you! Have a great day everyone!

faceted rose cut garnet cabochonFaceted Rose Cut Garnet Cabochons 8mm

Please visit 101 Best Beads for beautiful high quality affordable cabochons and gemstones!

Metal Smithing - Free Online Tutorials

You Tube has been amazing. You can learn a lot from all kinds of friendly people willing to share a tip or two!

Two places online I look to for metalsmithing info are Ganoksin and YouTube ! Simply insert the technique or term you are looking for in the search window and hopefully you will find something of interest.

Here are just a few interesting tutorials I have also found online:

Bezel Setting Tutorial

Making Strong Secure Jumprings from How-To-Make-Jewelry

Making a lot of Headpins Free Tutorial from Etsy

Jewelry 101 - Making Headpins from Michon Jewelry Blog

Making Headpins: Video demo from Beading Daily

Patinas - Using Liver of Sulphur from Holly Gage

Pantinas from Ganoskin - this site here alone is filled with immense amounts of information from serious jewelry artist!

Fold Forming from Ganoksin

Lost Wax Casting from Expert Village

Viking Knit Chain Making from YouTube

Beginners Corner from Ganoksin
- on the left hand side of this site you will see the word "Articles" under this word click "Browse by category", this will open up a great list to chose from.

From Beginning to Very Complex - Tutorials by Hans Meevis

Bench Jewelers Television Network - some of this is free or for a small monthly fee you can attain some great tutorials here.

MetalSmithing from Art Jewelry Magazine

MetalSmithing from Jewelry Artist Magazine

How to make a tube bezel setting for faceted gemstones

As you know I am just learning about metal smithing too! Please visit my Blog archive for other posts on the tools, equipment, and experiences on what I have been learning.

As always 101BestBeads is a great place to get your high quality, affordable cabs for setting in your lovely designs.

Thanks everyone!

Adding some Loose Gemstones in my shop!

loose garnet gemstonesIf your looking for beautiful high quality affordable gemstones, check out my bead shop! These gorgeous 7mm Square Garnet loose gemstones are sure to complement any piece of jewelry. They are even more beautiful in real life.

swiss blue topaz loose gemstonesSwiss blue topaz is a beautiful staple in every designer's closet. These are really blue and crisp and really have the "ice" about them that everyone so loves about Swiss blue topaz.

purple amethyst loose gemstonesOkay. So as many of you know that I am gathering all of my tools and equipment to start my new adventures in beginning metal smithing. It has been a little bit of effort trying to shop for affordable tools and equipment. I really love these purple amethyst gemstones and hoping someday soon I can learn to set one of these in a pretty ring for a friend of mine. What do you think?

All orders over $50.00 will have FREE shipping! Just contact me letting me know you saw this special coupon. Visit 101 Best Beads on Etsy!

Giveaway by Kalicat Jewelry - Gorgeous Blum Sterling Silver Ring

18k gold band ringsKalicat all the way from London, United Kingdom is offering a great giveaway today! Above, you see one of her beautiful set of gorgeous 18k beaten gold band rings, she calls these "Rhianna". I absolutely love the earthy and rustic look of these rings..simply beautiful.

Kalicat has learned her art of jewelry design and metal smithing at Central St Martins and Hatton Gardens, in London. Not only is she a jewelry designer, artist and illustrator, she is also a mother of 2 children.

She enjoys jewelry-making, fashion, painting and illustrating, eating chocolate and dreaming about all the things she will create in the near future. She loves to do custom work and is open to your design ideas as well!

tourmaline gemstone ringAll forged and made by Kalicats hand, a lovely pink oval faceted Tourmaline gemstone 6x4mm is bezel setted with recycled 18K yellow gold. You can find this ring in her shop made to order here.

I would like to invite you to visit Kalicat's etsy store. Check it out! She is offering one lucky winner to this contest one beautiful handmade stackable sterling silver ring called "Blum". They come in either shiny silver or a darkened version, made to size. See the image below. These are simply adorable!

sterling silver bloom ringHere is what you have to do to enter this contest:

You do not have to be a blogger to enter.

It is open to World Wide Entries!

PLEASE NOTE: Each entry must be posted separately to count.

1. For one entry please go to Kalicats Etsy shop and check it out. Come back here to my blog and post a comment on your favorite thing from the shop. Also, please be sure to leave your email address so I can notify you if you are a winner.

2. For a 2nd entry if you would like..follow my blog, or link back to my blog, or blog about this great giveaway! ( You can post this entry if you already follow my blog or link to it. Please post the url link if you blog about this giveaway.)

3. For a 3rd entry ..follow me on Facebook. I am on Facebook. Okay it needs some help..but getting some more followers there will allow me to have my blog on there too, and inspire me to keep that going.

This Giveaway ends on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 12:00 Midnight PST. A winner will be chosen randomly using We will disclose the winner on, Thursday July 30, 2009 here on this blog post. Good Luck, have fun and ...Thank you for participating!

This Giveaway Has Ended!

The lucky winner chosen by Random.Org is entry # 51 which goes to Lilly in Brazil!

Congratulations Lilly!

I want to thank all of you wonderful blog readers who took a moment to enter! Please stay tune for more giveaways to come and stay tuned to my own adventures in metal smithing as well!

My New Workbench - Beginning Metal Smithing

metal smithing jewelers work bench
Okay, so I am not sure this is all so important to be sharing, but, I thought what the heck! I found my so called "new" work bench for applying my newbie metal smithing skills to. I still am waiting for much of my equipment and the desk sits a little lonely. But, at least you can really see it right now and check it out!

I found this great steal on Craigslist for $50 bucks. It's called a "bankers desk". It has 6 drawers and two pullout shelves on each side. I pulled one out for visual purposes. This desk is solid wood and really really heavy. It is 5 feet wide and 39 inches deep for a table top..lots of space! It is a bit beat looking, but I think it might do the trick while I get started with this endeavor.

beginning metal smithingMy sweet husband Chuck, cleared out a space in his shop/garage for me so that I can pursue my endeavors with a bit of space. Now if I had it my way, I would rather him build me a cute work studio outside of my house instead. But, maybe later...hopefully!

You can always check out your own community craigslist. It seems to me that there are a whole lot of great deals going on. You might be lucky enough to catch something for free even. Really.
jewelers workbenchOR, if you can afford it,maybe, you would like to purchase a jewelers workbench shown above. This one is on sale at for $369 not including another $70 to $90 for shipping. At some point I hope to attain one of these, I think. If you are shopping for one, make sure it is solid wood built. For now I will make do and save this money for a nice rotary Foredom Flexshaft tool instead.

So, I have to admit, I am drooling to set this beautiful oval kyanite cabochon gemstone in some creation of mine. My mind is going coo coo about learning how to do this. I also have to add a picture of something pretty on my blog..these old pictures just don't do it justice! But of course if your looking for a cab or two you can always check out 101 Best Beads!

oval kyanite cabochon
I will be going on vacation for a few days so when I return I will continue my journal in metal smithing adventures here on my blog. By then I will have my space set up with some equipment and tools. STay tuned..and thanks for your comments always!