Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays my friends! I am just checking in to say a quick hello! It has been snowing here for nearly a month up here in the mountains! The skiers are finding their way in and so are the deer! I wake up every morning and this is what I get to see out my back yard! They are beautiful..but they will eat everything you plant in the summer!

I am proud to say that I am finally caught up with all of my orders and the last piece will go out on Monday! Whew! It sure feels good to be finished. I am busy working at the retail store for now..and if I get any free time..will start to build up a "ready to ship" section. I am trying to be ahead for Valentines Day..since I am missing out on Christmas sales!

Just finished these up yesterday. I just love copper and labradorite together..seriously beautiful!

And also this cornflower blue chalcedony sterling silver ring..already to go too!

I will be back after Christmas ready to go. It will be nice to visit with family and relax when the dust settles.

Just thinking of you all. I hope your all having a good month too! I know it is hectic, but take a moment to reflect what it really is about. I am so grateful for my simple yet blessed life..and I thank a lot of you all who help me keep it this way!

I am still selling check it out at

❤ Helene

Happy Thanksgiving from HelenesDreams!

rose cut garnet labradorite sterling silver earringsRose cut garnet with labradorite gemstones Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings!

Well, Happy Turkey Day my friends! Wow, does the time fly by? These last few months I feel like days just swish by me so briskly and then I realized it has been a bit of time since I have checked in last.

I have to admit that Thanksgiving is my most favorite holiday of the year. All of the good foods, turkey, potatoes, salads, and yum yummy desserts with your family and friends...makes it the very best. Although Christmas is just as does seem hectic too when you work retail or create jewelry..because for me..I am frantically working very very hard and my whole world just seems chaotic. I m just not sure it was meant to be that way, but yet it is what it has become.

moonstone sterling silver dangle earringsMoonstone Dangle Sterling Silver Earrings

I have decided to put my shop on "Vacation Mode" which I truly hate to do! Uugh! But this year I have absolutely NO choice. Last year I had to work at the retail store full time and make jewelry for the month of December and I thought was going to keel over. I spent many nights up till 2 am making was just way way too much!

So this year I am going to focus on my family obligation to the retail store working nearly 60 hours or so and give my jewelry store a bit of a break. It is a serious bummer but I have to do it for my sanity.

opaque jasper gemstone sterling silver earringsJasper Gemstones set in Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings

My hopes for the last few months was to start working on one of kind already made items for my jewelry shop, but I barely even get enough time for that. So ..I will have very few pieces for sale when I get back for Thanksgiving with my family. Oh yes, I am leaving for Turkey day..and that will be the whole visit with my mom. Remember she was very ill in these days are extremely precious to me. I have decided to make time and not think that time will ever allow it. Because I have realized I must guide my time and not let it take over me.

turquoise sterling silver earringsTurquoise Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings

In a way I feel like maybe this is okay. I have been very consumed with making the same few items in my store over and over and well frankly...I get a bit tired of that! I have discovered many new stones that I am so excited to work on ..I just can't wait to show you in the beginning of the new year! My hopes is to offer more one of kind unique pieces that will allow me to fire my creativity. I have taken a lot of this year to solidify the basics of metal smithing and I am grateful for it!

SOOO, I am greatly wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season! Cheers and a toast to all of the wonderful people who make this dream come true and fun I must say! Thank you for all of the wonderful support. I am certain to be very Thankful this holiday I must say!

Enjoy your friends, your family and your life!

With much Love!

Learn to solder correctly - Beginning MetalSmithing

I wanted to take a moment to share with some of my friends in the jewelry world what I discovered! Because, I pretty much taught myself how to use a torch by reading bits and pieces here and there on the internet, I knew that I had room for much more improvement and thus, I found this wonderful DVD for sale.

This DVD is called "The Heat Zone" A Revolutionary Soldering Helen Blythe Hart!

This is a very simple to follow, interesting to watch and very informational DVD on learning to solder using the heat zone method! Helen the instructor is very knowledgeable as she holds degrees of a BFA in metals from Indiana University, and an MFA in Sculpture and Metals from Georgia State University. She is also a Graduate Gemologist (GIA) and a member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.

With all of that..there is even she is an amazing artist and you are welcome to read more about her in her ETsy shop! But.. even better she has been instructing students for over 18 years now..and she is VERY good at it! So this DVD is worth paying for!

There is actually a lot to learn ..but most importantly she explains the anatomy of the flame and all of a sudden it clicks and this is what the foundation of the heat zone is based on. Once you have a true understanding and depth of makes more sense.

There are at least 5 or so exercises along with her own professional tips and tricks, that you will go through to learn how to solder better..make simple and complicated things that you often questioned before. There is also a .PDF loaded with written information for your starved mind! But, also, since I own the DVD..I can watch it over and over..and not forget some essentials. The cool thing is the camera gets right down into the area you really need to visualize and see..which is hard to see even in real life!

So now after trying these methods I notice that my work is cleaner and I feel and see a difference when I am working with my torch. I now can see some of my design ideas coming alive as before I wondered..just how do they do that.

There are a lot of experienced metalsmiths who are also benefiting from this as well...and finding some enlightenment!

I personally can't wait for "The Heat Zone 2" Dvd myself!

Well enjoy my friends. I hope everyone is having a great day and making their dreams come true!

Be sure to learn more and visit her shop here.


New Gemstone Cabochons In Shop!

milky blue aquamarine cabochonsLight Milky Aquamarine

vasonite gemstoneVasonite Gemstone

turquoise cabochonGorgeous 16 x12mm Turquoise Gemstones

pink amethyst, purple amethyst gemstonePretty Light Purple Amethyst or Pink?

Come check out to see more new stones!
Remember, Christmas is around the corner...time to make pretty jewelry!

Thanks..Have a Great Day!

New Pretties From Helene's Dreams

purple jade cabochonPurple Jade Gemstone Sterling Silver Stacking Ring

The days have been passing by quickly! With summer coming closely to an end, I am trying to find time to make new designs for the upcoming holiday season.

london blue topaz cabochonLondon Blue Topaz set in Fine Silver Bezels Studs

Absolutely my most favorite color and gemstone has to be the London Blue Topaz..truly gorgeous! Since I can't have blue eyes for myself..I just wear these instead!

My heart is still set on working with solid gold one day. It is just so expensive right now! But gold-filled has been filling the spot ..sort of! I just really like this very simple, yet elegant affordable gold -filled ring. So pretty brown and gold!

labradorite cabochons post earringsLabradorite Gemstones set in Fine Silver Bezels Studs

Okay so just one more pair of earrings to show you!

Thanks Everyone..Have a great weekend!

101 Best Beads is MOVING to Artfire on Sept. 30, 2010


After thinking long and hard about my bead business on Etsy..I have finally come to the decision that it is time to move the shop over to Artfire for several reasons.

Moving the shop to Artfire will allow me to provide my customers with much much better customer service for several reasons.

- On Artfire, buyers will now be able to order more then 1 quantity of a cab without having to convo me for a reserved listing on quantity issues.

- I would like to offer more sales, discounts and promotions. Artfire has a very functional coupon code system that works extremely well!

- Since Artfire gives me more room..I will have no problems displaying my sales and promotions on their site. It is definitely more reader friendly. Now that Etsy has just 3 lines for an announcement and a very skinny banner..I can no longer display my promotions.

- You do NOT have be to a member of Artfire to make a purchase. You can also pay with Paypal or Google checkout very easily.

BUT HERE IS THE BEST PART -----------------

For all of my loyal customers whom I am so very grateful for I want to do something special just for you!

I am offering the first 150 customers who email me at 101bestbeads (at) with "lifetime customer" as the title subject and I will give you a 10% off lifetime coupon code to be used anytime you make a purchase. The coupon will also be good on the final sale price of an on going promotion as well if there happens to be one! Remember, this is a lifetime coupon code for the 1st 150 lifetime customers who email me only.


This change is very hard for me, but Etsy has grown so much and I truly feel that they are not listening to me, and to those sellers who really need more functional tools to work their shops.

At this point I think I have to take this leap of faith. I have been testing Artfire and the shop has been working exceptionally well!

Once I get settled..I hope that all of you who enjoy 101 Best Beads gives my Artfire shop a chance!

I have a a lot of new beautiful cabochons in stock and will be listing all of my new cabs in the Artfire shop from now on. Please check back as new cabs will be listed daily through the transfer of my shop.

Thank you to all of you and truly...thank you for understanding my position with this move.
As much as I do not want to do it..I truly feel this will be a better situation for my customers and myself.

Please leave any comments and also check back in for my official "Grand Opening Sale" on Artfire!

Etsy's New Website Look

helenesdreams jewelry
I am sort of going crazy with the new website look that Etsy has going on! They are not leaving us any room for personal announcements and it makes me nervous. If you have to announce current turnover times, or family emergencies, or anything of importance we better hope our readers decide to click on "read more"!

I really feel disheartened with Etsy right now. As a seller with two shops there I pay a lot of fees every month and I can't for the life of me understand why they would give us this open announcement option for all of these years and then decide one day that it is not important for us to have.

They say people complain about having to scroll past the announcements. I have to ask if these are the same people who are afraid to walk too? Because scrolling does not consume very many calories and simply... people are this lazy? It really is very ashame.

I truly believe that Etsy has grown to be so successful because 1st of its community feeling. And being a community means we can express ourselves ..our personality. I truly believe each shop had its opening narration to the artist or seller of every store. Some used their announcements with very few words..some told you a story ..but still it was the words that brought personality to each store.

Now, when I look at our shops all I see is stuff...LOTS of stuff for sale on Etsy now. It is blinding to me. There is no white balance and basically after the 1st page..I can't wait to stop looking. Before Etsy was a it's the opposite. It literally changed poles on me.

I rarely allow things to get to me, but for some reason I am going to have to pray for peace on this one because it really does make me mad.

I think what really makes me most upset is that Etsy does not give us the option. It really feels like Etsy is running my store and not myself. Even though, I know the day's in and out's of what my customers ask and need..they feel they know more. It really is hard to believe considering they run a web store business and I make custom made to order jewelry. There is quite a difference.

Please make sure you click "read more"...because you might be missing out on something else.

Just want to say thanks to Etsy..for all the editing I have to do now on over 2oo or so items..when I already have so much jewelry I need to make.

Family Reunion Time

Okay.. so I have the blogging blues! Blogging blahs..what do you call this? For those of you who read my last post, my mom is doing well. Thank you for all of your kind comments, prayers and wishes for her.

As you know I left sort of abruptly to go be with her in Nevada, about 3 to 4 weeks ago. My mom was feeling very ill, sort of numb like and then she lost her ability to walk. This is when she decided time to see a doctor? She has bad arthritis so she thought maybe this was her problem. Most of us thought she might of had a stroke or something, but guess stroke!

What she did have was a benign tumor on the T4 spine putting immense pressure on her spinal cord. We did not know if it was benign until after the surgery, but before the surgery we were all seriously depressed and scared for her.

Here is a photo of my parents a few years back when they came to visit me here in Bend. They are so sweet, such kind simple people. I really miss them.

Anyhow, my mom is on the road to recovery and she should be walking again in the next 2 to 3 months with a full year of 100% healing time. I guess we are lucky, and blessed and truly grateful it was not worse then it was. Its not cancer..and its not coming thank God!

During this time of the year my dad's family gathers up in Trinity Lake, California. Its a place for serious fun, if you like water skiing, camping, fishing and friends and family of course. So this is where I am going for the next few days..hang out with family and try to have fun. It won't be the same without my mom and dad.

I have a lot of new jewelry I have yet to talk about on my blog. I am just lazy about it right now. I feel like I need to be off the computer sometimes. After I photo my work, describe it, edit photos, and post it to the etsy store, I am done. Online shops consume you in a mental way and before you know it the whole day has passed. Does this happen to you?

Thanks for letting me express myself. This summer is seriously going I have to make the best of whats left. I hope you all are enjoying time with your family and friends.

Check back soon. I promise to post a few new things!

Happy Summer. ( I will be out from Thurs. 7/29 to Sun. 8/1 - 2010) see ya!

Its one of those days.. ( out of the studio 6-28 to 7/5)

I took a walk this afternoon, after working super hard these last three days I feel exhausted. I have been trying to get caught up with all of my orders before I have to leave. I needed to breathe fresh air and feel the sun for just a moment. On Thursday morning, I received a phone call from my father stating my mom was hospitalized ..and possibly she may have had a stroke. Although it looks like she did not..there is still something wrong, as she can not walk right now and is feeling very sick still. So, I am taking the kids and we are going to visit with her for a week.

It's really hard right now wondering what's ahead with my mother parents. I know we all go through this but I have a really hard time thinking about not being able to have my parents around. It really scares the "shit" out of me..sorry for my lingo..but it just does. I really love both my parents so very much.

I guess for now I can at least be happy our weather for summer seems to have finally come. Oh my gosh, it literally was 56 degrees here just over a week ago. Today we hit 80 degrees..thats summer here. For six months literally we have had nothing but cloudy, cold gloomy days. There have been very sporadic moments of sunny spring days but not really much at all this year. We supposedly get 300 days of sunshine here in a years average, but this year we have had half that amount or less it will seem. This is my little Sophia, wading in this seriously cold river. Only children born and raised here can do this I tell ya! All of this water is melted snow run off from the mountains near by.

I will be out of the studio all of next week from June 28th to July 5th. I hope all of you have a great 4th of July! I will be with my folks and kids, while my husband tends to our animals and the homestead. It will be good..I am hoping it will.

A few new adds to the shop!

aquamarine ringMadagascar Aquamarine Gemstone

I found this plump juicy aquamarine gemstone and I could not wait to get into a setting..oh my gosh. I think it has to be one of the most prettiest rings ever. It sure makes a beauty cocktail ring. It measures 14 X 10mm. It blows my mind that this is a natural stone..meaning no enhancement at all. Wow..most stones need a little help from man, but I am truly amazed with this one.

It was quite fun making this ring. Lately, I have wanted to do something more different. I have been taking some private lessons from a professional metal smith named Jim Dailing here in Bend. He actually was a professor in Portland as he reports a "Masters" degree in metal smithing.

Okay, so I am not wanting to put pressure on myself, but I certainly want to expand my be on the look out!

sterling silver stacking ringSterling Silver Stacking Rings

Stacking rings are still my favorites. They are versatile and wear comfortably. They make every day just fun. I am accumulating a lot of scrap and I am trying to find ways to recycle my silver scraps here and there. I am going to be sending my scraps in eventually at some point.

With patterned ring bands, I am still challenged as how to solder them without much of a seam. These thinner ones, I can sort of get away with it..but the wider ones are much more tricky. Any advice anyone? Sure would appreciate it.

rose cut citrine ring10mm Rose Cut Citrine Gemstone Sterling Silver Ring

So a very nice lady back East ask me to please fabricate this gorgeous ring for this was going to be her wedding ring! Wedding ring? Oh my ..I felt so honored so, I thought how in God's name was I going to really do this? She wanted an earthy ring and liked the feel of my style and really wanted a simple rose cut ring with a large citrine stone.

My big concern is I know why for all of these years they never cut clearish stones into cabs. Well, when you set them you have one problem...that is. They can allow the viewer the visibility of the back of the bezel and yes it can be a problem.

So with this ring, I implemented a piece of gold filled sheet metal on inside of the bezel. This allows a more "yellow" reflection and basically enhances the stones coloring. was really fine by itself, gold was a better option then silver. Sure would be neat if someone could invent some colorful metals for enhancement purposes. Anyone?

Nevertheless, the ring came out looking incredible and so I felt lucky to pull this off. I explained to her the risk of a see through cab..she did not seem to mind a bit. Hey, I am happy too. I get to look at this photo for a awhile.

My work is rather simple lately. I know this. I really wanted to perfect the bezel making thing which I feel better about these days. My hope is to start setting faceted pointy stones in tapered bezels..I can't wait!

Any tips, or comments is always appreciated. Have a great day everyone!

Hello from Helenes Dreams! Happy Summer!

stacking rings sterling silver peridot citrine sunstoneSummer Stacking Ring
Whiskey Quartz, Peridot and Oregon Sunstone on Sterling Silver

The month of May has been hectic! Well, in a good way. I truly can't complain, but it has been a very busy month. First, there was Mother's day, then I hit a milestone birthday..I can't tell which one! And then, Memorial Weekend brought many friends and family well as the birthday party did too! So yes, between working a day job, being a mom and making my jewels..I have been so very busy.

goldfilled stacking ring moonstone sterling silverEarthy Organic 14kt Goldfilled Stacking Ring
Moonstone and Sterling Silver

Although, living up here in the mountains can be beautiful it does have its downfalls too. Well, at least for this last 6 months it has. Our weather has been so cold and gloomy. We rarely can shake our clouds. Getting a good photo is tough with our lighting situation. The photo below is a sunny day ..the way it should be. But, it has not been this sunny. I would rather look at this instead of the May grey we are having...blah! I am seriously cherishing this photo right now. I swear the weather has been so weird this year. We typically have 70 degree weather around this time with lots of sun..but this year we are averaging 58 to 65 degrees ...on the chilly side....with no sun!

central oregon campingA Nice Day in Central Oregon- May Picture

But, we did have one very nice weekend in May which allowed us to go on a quick camping outing with our new RV on a last minute basis. The weather can change daily here, but we were lucky to find a spot that was open that weekend. 20 minutes away!

central oregon campingOur new travel trailer. Its about time we go camping around here!

My scruffy honey has always wanted one of these, and NOW is the time to buy one. He says this is my birthday present. But, I think it's a real present for him.. really! We have lived in the Central Oregon area for over ten years and we do not camp out as much as we would like. It's way too much work, but hopefully we will now. I guess it doesn't help that our son played serious soccer all over the place every summer for the last ten years as well! We are excited. I have to admit, this is our first real big toy. We had to save up for a very long time to get this..I hate being in debt!

We also inherited a new puppy..his name is "Hops"..Hopson Barley that is. My husband loves beer! But, the name "Hops" suits this dog..because he is very acrobatic and literally can hop or jump very high. My daughter is enjoying her new friend..and we are enjoying him. He is a mini Australian Shepard. He is a red merle with blue eyes, super smart and intelligent as well! Our other adorable Shitzu is still hangin is hard to see her age. My children are ten years apart, and so are the dogs!

Well, thanks for letting me catch up with you all a bit. Believe me ..I could tell you more. I don't want to bore you with my life! Ha Ha!

But, I hope you are all enjoying your warmer weather. We are praying for some here, but it feels like it's not going to come here for a while. I will check back in when I get a chance. Being so busy keeps blogging on the lag lately..but I try my best!

Have a great summer season my friends! Cheers! hugs, Helene

101 Best Beads. Etsy - Sterling Silver Photo Pendants are Back!

sterling silver photo pendantSterling Silver Square Photo Pendant

The sterling silver photo pendants are back in stock! They no longer have the open slots in the bottom. They are closed pendants. They are very high quality sterling silver pendants. They are not thin and light. These have some thickness and weight to them. Above is the 16mm square sterling silver photo pendant.

sterling silver oval photo pendantSterling Silver Oval Photo Pendant

These sterling silver oval photo pendants measure 16 x19mm. Most crafters who make photo jewelry use a clear resin material to preserve the quality of the photos in their jewelry projects.
They are priced to sell at $7.00 on 101BestBeads which is very reasonable with today's silver prices. They are thick high quality pendants.

sterling silver square photo pendantSterling Silver Square Photo Pendant

Photo jewelry make some of the best custom personalized gifts. They have a tendancy to sell out before Christmas. So get them while you can now. My supplier takes nearly two months to have them made, so I may not order anymore for this year. Just a reminder that these are now closed sloted pendants. They no longer have the open slot on the bottom of the pendant. I had a few customers request closed pendants. Check out 101BestBeads for more great deals!

Happy Mothers Day! Custom Handstamped Personalized Moms Jewelry! Enjoy 15% off discount!

helenesdreamsHappy Mothers Day to all of my blog friends! I hope all of you out there are enjoying time with your families and friends on this special day. Although, the truth is "everyday" is mothers day, I truly enjoy my children..I love them greatly! My husband will be making a nice dinner this evening, while I work in my studio to fill some orders.

personalized handstamped jewelryRecently, I have added some new custom personalized jewelry to my shop! I have had a lot of local request for personalized jewelry for friends and family and their friends. I really enjoy making it..something different for a change and fun too!

mothers jewelry, mothers dayThis necklace in particular is for mothers, but there all kinds of great things to say to a new graduate, teacher, or that special friend as well. They make a great keepsake gift and truly can last a very long time.

custom personalized ringsThe rings above are also another way of showing some form of personalized saying. I really like these bands in particular. They are very comfortable, stack well and are very pretty on too! These rings are so sweet for anything you want to say! I have had request for moms rings, engagement rings, friendship rings and so forth. They are my favorite personalized items..well I have to admit I love rings. I plan to add a personalized version with a gemstone as well. I just have to find the time to do it!

Okay, well since its also Prom month, I wanted to post this photo here so I can just adore my son who is now 17..can you believe it in the upper left hand corner. As a mom, I love these moments! Its hard getting pictures with this kid anymore..he is so busy! A lot of events are coming up in the next year with him as he will be trying to go to college, hopefully!

For all you Moms out there..enjoy the children! Cherish your mom, as each day is truly a blessing! I would like to extend a 15% discount on any of my stores (both the bead shop and/0r the jewelry shop) to anyone who may want to take advantage of it. Just leave a note that you read my blog in the notes to seller box when you check out and I will refund you through Paypal. This discount will be good for one week!

Thank you for being my blog friend and enjoy this day!

Another Etsy Giveaway - Key To My Heart Sterling Silver Charm Necklace

Hello my friends! Yes, another great Etsy giveaway! Can you believe it? Well, please let me introduce to you my new friend Challene from Blue Moose Creations all the way from Wasilla, Alaska! It isn't cold up there is it? I know its still cold here in Oregon, generally speaking. It just snowed today!

Challene is just getting started on Etsy and I offered to help her with some awareness, because she honestly is an amazing beader... her work is truly gorgeous! You have to check out her beautiful Etsy shop!

Labradorite Briolette Gemstone on Oxidized SS Necklace by Blue Moose Creations

Challene is a mother to a little boy and is happily married to the best guy she says! She loves to care for and play with her son and spend quality time with her family. She also loves to make and create jewelry and tend to her ETsy shop!

In the summer she and her family love to go fishing and be in the seriously great outdoors of the mighty Alaskan nature! And, in the winter..cold and long there..she loves to read, and have a cup of chai tea by the fire place. Well, me too Challene. tea time! I will say it is a blessing to have the ability to keep warm...woowee!

You can also learn more about Challene and stay in touch with her by visiting her blog:

Key To My Heart Sterling Silver Charm Necklace by Blue Moose Creations

So today, Challene would like to kindly invite you to visit her Etsy shop! She is graciously offering this beautiful Key To My Heart Sterling Silver Charm Necklace to one lucky winner of this giveaway! A beautiful quality rainbow moonstone, delicately wrapped in sterling silver wire, and suspended on a sterling silver chain with a sterling silver heart key charm. It hangs 18 inches long.

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 visit her Etsy store, Blue Moose Creations and check it out. Come back here to my blog and post a comment on your favorite design 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. ( I only blog about once a week or so..well I use to!) Oryou can be my Facebook Fan- HelenesDreams.Etsy.Com here please.

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 or twitter about this giveaway.)

4. For a 4th entry this blog giveaway link on your Facebook and invite your friends to a great giveaway!

This giveaway will end on Sunday, May 16th at midnight. A winner will be picked using Up to four entries are accepted per person. I will post the winner on Monday, May 17th in the evening. The prize will be sent out to a winner who has claimed their winning within 3 days of being notified.

I would like to thank all of you for taking a moment to participate. I greatly appreciate it.

Please have a great day! can't win if you don't play!


Today, the generator picked lucky entry #315 which is entry name Tiffany! Yeah! Congratulations Tiffany ! I will be contacting Tiffany by email and congratulating her!

Thank you so very much to all of you who have made such kind and wonderful comments and for participating in the giveaway. Thank you as well to Blue Moose Creations for sharing her gorgeous jewelry shop!

Please check back, I will be offering another giveaway in a few weeks or so.

Have a great summer and please stop in and say hello! xo Helene

Helenes Dreams & 101 Best Beads On Vacation 4/7 to 4/18 !

Yay! My sweet hubby, Chuck, booked a vacation for our family as a surprise this year to Cancun, Mexico. His company kindly passed on a ton of airline miles to help us afford this wonderful trip this year. They told us we needed to use them by the end of May this year, and well... we go!

So, I can't complain about this. I feel like I really could use a vacation..or something new for a change. It has been snowing all week long here up in the mountains. We have had grey skies for weeks and it is seriously chilly all of the time. Yes, I am ready for some sun and happiness!

I am planning to list a bunch of new cabs when I return for the 101BestBeads shop and also I have some Mother's Day jewelry lined up as well. So please check back for all the new and exciting fun items coming up!

I will be gone from April 7th to April 18th!

P.S. I will be back soon. Thanks to all my friends! Have a great week!

Also, I am having a giveaway that will end when I get back! Please check out the post below this one to enter! Thanks again!

Etsy Giveaway , London Blue Topaz in 14k Gold Filled Studs by Helenes Dreams

faceted peruvian blue chalcedony in wide sterling silver ring band"Faceted Peruvian Blue Chalcedony Gemstone
on Sterling Silver Wide Ring Band"

Okay well, I admit it, I have not been the best blogger lately. Somehow just fell off those tracks..and trying to get back on board! So lets start this one off with a bang! I am going to promote my own giveaway...hey why not!

But first, let me tell you what I have been up to lately. For the photo on top, I finally was able to set a few of my chalcedony gemstones. Here is my first wide ring band, hand forged, 1/2 inch wide over 1mm thick ring band with a set peruvian blue or sea foam chalcedony gemstone. It was a challenge getting the bezel to stay on the ring band just right when I was soldering it..NOT easy at least for now.

pink topaz in sterling silver tube bezel setting"Pink Topaz Gemstone in Sterling Silver Tube Bezel Ring"

I have been teaching myself how to set simple round gemstones. Well, since I am a rock fanatic, I need to know more about pointy stones too! So this is one of my first challenges. Here I have created a tube bezel with heavy wall tubing. I bought lots of setting burs and made this ring 5 times before I felt like I finally have it down. The hardest trick for me was learning to solder the shanks on to the sides of the bezel, instead of the bezel being on top of the ring shank. After numerous painful trys..I finally figured it out. I need to recycle a lot of metal..its true. I am now moving on to cushion shape and oval tube settings. Wish me luck.

By the way the trick here is to not have any hard pressure holding the ring shank to the tube bezel and practice!

london blue topaz in gold filled studs post"London Blue Topaz set in 14 Gold Filled Bezels & Posts"

I have started to seriously work with a bit of gold filled metal now too. Soldering is slightly different with gold filled. It works more like regular gold, but it is very limited in what you create with it. Gold is so expensive right now, that it is almost untouchable for someone who is learning a lot. So, I am practicing with Gold Filled for now. I use boric acid and denatured alcohol with flux to keep firescale from accumulating. I also keep the heat more centralized at the point at which I am working. It does take more time to melt the solder so it seems with gold filled.

Gold filled jewelry is considered lifetime jewelry and it certainly shines up beautifully just like the 14k gold with very little difference at all. I hope to graduate to just gold someday! But for now I am working a few new designs with gold filled and personalized handstamped jewelry please check back!

So now for the giveaway........................

I would like to kindly invite you to visit my shop and check out some of my new designs. In honor of spring season and Mother's Day, I am going to giveaway to one lucky winner, a pair of 6mm Genuine London Blue Topaz Gemstones set in 14k Gold Filled Studs or Post Earrings!

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. ( I only blog about once a week or so..well I use to!)

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 or twitter about this giveaway.)

4. For a 4th entry this link on your Facebook and invite your friends to a great giveaway!

This giveaway will end on Sunday, April 18th at midnight. A winner will be picked using Up to four entries are accepted per person. I will post the winner on Monday, April 19th. The earrings will be sent out to a winner who has claimed their prize within 3 days of being notified...just in time for Mother's Day!

I would like to thank all of you for taking a moment to participate. I greatly appreciate it.

Have a great day!

Updated April 20th, 2010

Today, the generator picked lucky entry #149 which is Snowflake07! Yeah! Congratulations to Snowflake07 ! I will be contacting Snowflake07 by email and congratulating them!

Thank you so very much to all of you who have made such kind and wonderful comments and for participating in the giveaway. Please check back, I will be offering another giveaway in May 2010 as well.

Please check in for some new designs soon coming to my shop! I am working on them now!