The Moment is Now

I spend so much time thinking about what next that I often don't notice what I am doing at the moment. I am working on relaxing my mind so I can be open to the flow. Seems like when I am creating something the hours in my studio fly by.

My creative process, great learning resources, and ways to help the planet by repurposing are the theme of this blog. You are about to enter "the world according to Jan." Hope you find it a-musing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cleaning Jewelry with Products from your Kitchen

Being a jewelry maker I have a heap of necklaces.  Often when I go to wear one it is so covered with tarnish that I just put it away and change my outfit instead.  I was so thrilled to find this jewelry cleaning recipe I just had to write about it.

Not only did I clean my jewelry, but all my mom's silver that we use every day got cleaned as well. The silverware looks brand new.  Wish I had known about this as a kid when I used to have to polish the silver before Thanksgiving dinner.

My neighbor told me this trick then I found it on the internet. had an article about it on their site.  So here's what you need.

                                                                                    1 tablespoon salt
                                                                                    1 tablespoon baking soda
                                                                                    1 tablespoons dish soap
                                                                                     1 cup boiling water
                                                                                     A piece of aluminum foil

Take a piece of aluminum foil that roughly covers the bottom of a small bowl.  Pour the boiling water into the bowl.  Add the other ingredients and swish them around.  Put your brass, sterling, silver, german silver, or goldfilled jewelry into the bowl.  The metal needs to be touching the aluminum foil . Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  Take it out, rinse in water and dry.

I tripled the recipe and put it in a baking pan to do an 8 piece place setting of silver.  It only took minutes.  The more tarnished the piece the longer it takes of course.  There is a point when the solution no longer works.  I could actually smell the chemical reaction and saw small bubbles when I put the items in the water.   If you like to know the science behind why this works you can read that here.  In fact after reading this article seems like all you really need is aluminum foil and baking soda.  The dish soap does help clean up the beads and gems however. I'll probably leave out the salt next time.

If you have pieces of jewelry with porous gemstones like turquoise and pearls this seems to be safe.  At least my gemstones didn't seem to suffer.  On some large pieces that were really tarnished I had to leave them in the whole ten minutes.  Others I just dropped in and pulled out almost immediately.  You don't want to leave items that have been antiqued with liver of sulfur in too long or it will remove this black as well.  The chains were the best because some of them are so delicate that they are difficult to clean by hand.   Time to get off this computer and go gather up all those tarnished earrings.  Happy cleaning. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Healing Power of Sound

     As a child my friends and I would often chant, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."  Oh, how wrong we were.

 Sounds can hurt as well as heal.  In medicine,  ultra sounds are used to obtain visual images as well as heal tissues. While gentle sounds soothe the nervous system,  loud, angry dissonant sounds agitate and stress it.  The picture to the left was created by sounds and is the cover of a book about cymatics.

 A mantra  is word, a symbol, or a group of words that can bring spiritual transformation through their repetition.  Scientist believe the cosmos was created with a big bang in other words a sound.  The bible states that in the beginning there was the word. To some, the sound of creation is the word "Aum."

Tibetan prayer wheels have mantras  inside that are sent out into the universe when the wheel is spun.
After looking at the hand held prayer wheel I bought while traveling in Nepal, I was inspired to create a piece of adornment.  I call this pendant a prayer package because it looks like a little gift and a word is hidden inside.

I use recycled tins, recycled copper flashing and bench scraps to make my prayer packages.  The word sits next to the wearers heart and is activated by the breath or prana.  This is much like spinning the wheel to send out the prayers.

Click on photo to see more prayer pendants

While many of my prayer packages have the word already selected by me,  For instance the one below  says "Light",   I also like to give my customers a chance to choose a word that has meaning for them.
Click photo to view pendant
 One custom order was for the word, "wealth" as in plenty-more than enough.  I had wanted to use the word abundance in the past but six letters is about the maximum that words in a prayer package.  Wealth became the perfect substitute for abundance and I ended up making a pendant with that word inside. The top picture is of the pendant containing wealth.

I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.” ― Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Copper and Health

Copper is an essential mineral for the health of all living organisms.  Because of its role in iron uptake, copper deficiency can lead to anemia like disorders.   Many swear by the healing powers of copper for arthritis which may be due to its ability to conduct electricity.  What I know is that copper makes beautiful jewelry and here are some of my picks from the CJUIN guild on Artfire. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Find Direction and Balance with the Stacking of Stones into Rock Caiirns

Image via bamwester
 Balanced stones can be found through out nature where just the right elements of wind and water leave a stone or boulder in a state of balance.  These stones are so intriguing that many people have taken to balancing stones as artistic expression.  

Check out his site Gravity Glue
Michael Grab of Colorado stacks stones using nothing but gravity. Just like in life if he tries to force the balance point, the rocks tumble to the ground.  Balance requires trusting nature and being willing to let go of control.

The balancing of rocks into cairns has been used for centuries as directional markers.  When hiking in the Cascades the trail can often be across rocky terrain.  Cairns are built by fellow hikers to help show the direction to follow.  So cairns show us the way home, a path to follow and help us connect to the earth. 

Oregon beach rock cairn in jaspers and recycled copper - Om Rock stacked stone pendant
Om rock cairn by janeojewelry
I love cairns and spend time stacking stones whenever I am camping along a river.  I also love the beach and find my coat pockets full of rocks after a visit to the coast. I have combined these two loves into a  piece of zen jewelry.     

I stack and balance the stones I have gathered on my bench and drill them the way they naturally want to balance.  I listen to kirtan music and the chanting helps me find my own inner place of balance where I am both connected like the stone and flowing like the sea. The stones spin on the wire and can also be used as a contemplative device.

 Om is believed to be the vibration of creation so I call my line of beach stone jewelry Om Rock Beach Stones.   These are an earth friendly product as the rocks are a gift from the sea and the metals are either bench scraps or recycled copper flashing.. You can read about the process of making Om Rocks on my indiemade blog. (Making beach rock jewelry) 


Monday, October 29, 2012

How to make a necklace display

I wanted some displays I could use for a number of necklaces.  In addition, I wanted to be able to store them without having to remove the necklaces and  they had to fit in my plastic tote.

I went to the local hardware store and bought 5 feet of 4 inch drain pipe, three end caps and three knock out caps.  The end caps were over 7 dollars a piece and the knock out caps which I found later at Home Depot  were only 38 cents.  So if you want to save money you can buy the knock out caps for each end.  However, the end caps do add some weight to the bottom of the display.  I have also placed a bean bag inside for more weight.

The pipe was cut into length with a chop saw, but any hand saw would do the job as well. I wanted mine stepped so they were cut 22,20, 18 inches.  The necklaces displayed are on the shortest one. For foam I used a carpet pad which I also purchased at the hardware store.I

First end of pad duct taped to pipe.
My initial thought was to use Contact Cement to glue the carpet pad onto the drainpipe.  However , the carpet pad was pretty stiff so I decided to just use good old duct tape instead.  I rolled the pad around the pipe and cut it to fit.   With the thickness of my carpet pad it turned out to be 17 and a half inches. I then rolled the pipe onto the pad and duct taped the other end..  Not all that attractive, but it is going to be totally covered up by the velvet.

Old velvet curtain that I used in my booth for a number of years came in handy to make a cover for the tube.  The velvet was very slick on the back and also had some stretch to it so it worked perfectly.  After I made the tube, I pulled it over the pipe with foam.  I put some glue along the bottom and top of the foam to hold the velvet.  I cut the velvet long and also tucked it down behind the foam at the top so there was a nice edge.  I wanted the tops to open because I plan on having them double as storage for other jewelry. 

Measuring length and width needed.
Sewing the tube on my old singer sewing  machine

I wasn't happy with the contrast between the white knock out caps and the velvet.  I considered gluing velvet on the caps, but I had run out of glue and just so happened to have some purple spray paint.  So I sprayed some paint on the white tops and called it good enough for now. Might have made another decision if I lived in town, but I live in the back woods and wasn't willing to drive 15 miles to buy glue.

 I used the couple of feet of foam I had left into bracelet displays.  Again I used duct tape and made them into an oval shape.  My bracelets are oval , not round like the bracelet displays I have so they never look quite right on them.  Really look lots better on the oval displays.  Hope this gives you an idea of a way to make a display for yourself.  Love to hear about displays you have made. 

Three displays should hold 20 pieces all together

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Shade is the Secret to a Nice Pond

I love sitting by my pond and was not a happy when it turned totally green this summer.   I have other ponds around the property that require a cleaning now and then but this one requires continual maintenance.  The difference is  direct sunlight. 

 Last spring we had a freak snow storm and lost a huge oak tree. You can see it on our house.  When the summer rolled around the pond was getting hit with direct sunlight during the heat of the day.  After a month or so of this the water was a nice green color.  You could only see the fish when they were on the surface. Time to get on line and see what was happening with my pond. Here's what I learned:

The secret to a nice pond is shade plants.   Here's the same view of the pond now that I have added shade plants.  I dropped one in the pond and added some around the edge to give it more shade.  I like water lilies because they give you shade in the summer when you need it and die back during the winter months.

However, the plants alone did not clear up the water.  I purchased some enzymes to help maintain the water quality.  While the product said it would take a month, my water cleared up in two weeks. 

In addition, I cut back on the feeding of my fish.  I probably have too many fish for the size of my pond. Thanks to the blue heron last year I only have half as many goldfish as I started with, but they are growing which means they are taking up more space in the pond.  If you have expensive koi and don't want a  heron in your pond, the statue does work.  

In a nutshell, the secret to a good clean pond is shade, a working biofilter, probiotics, and limiting the amount of fish.  By clicking on the links I have provided you can learn more about all of this for yourself. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Being Transformed in the Shiva Shop

 Welcome to the land of Jan E O Jewelry deep in the woods in the Oregon Coast range.  I know the journey was long and dusty so have a seat by the pond while I get you a glass of iced tea. Hope you like dogs because there are a couple that love the Shiva shop and are waiting on the trail to take you there.  So sit here for a minute and wait by the water and let the last two miles of dirt road slip away.  You can contemplate the fish or just listen to the sounds of the water. You might even want to look at the crazy yard art I made to cover up where the satellite dish was.  A few Goodwill finds and a broken rake have been transformed into something else.

Hopefully you are refreshed now, because the dogs are ready to take you the rest of the way to the studio.   Here's the old brick path leading the way..  I am constantly having to fight back the wilderness to keep this path clear.  We are headed towards that red door you see up the path.  On the top of the studio is a statue of Shiva in a Ring of Fire.  Shiva transforms and in my studio I transform wire, stones, tin, and other found objects into jewelry.  This shop is made out of items we recycled from somewhere else.  The screen door came from my childhood home and is hundred years old.  This door was once on a friend's house.  You can see where we patched the mail slot.  I added some metal to dress it up.  Think you are getting the picture that I like to reuse. So please come on in and visit the inside.  I have made a few changes since last year.
Here are a few shots of what you might notice inside my studio. First view as you step inside is my desk for pricing and shelves.  The tins all hold different baubles, broken jewelry, rocks, shells, tins, and other found objects I hope to transform into jewelry. Now on the other side of the studio by the  door there is a ton of stuff stored.  I have most of my power tools stored on this cart as well as my kiln for working with metal clay. While I love that the studio is full of windows it makes storing things difficult and I have finally just decided it is okay to have shelves in front of windows. Most of the work happens on my eight foot long bench.  Like everywhere else it is crammed with tools  and objects to be made into something.  A friend commented that he had never seen so many pliers in one place before.  His wife said, " I bet she uses them all." and she was totally right.  Of course, I do have my favorites, but there really is a right tool for every job and it helps if you have it. Here I'll let you check it out for yourself.  
                                                                                  Now the exciting new addition is another bench for the metal working.  So I no longer have to move all the bead supplies away to cut and pound on metal.   I even bought a rolling mill which is really exciting to use.   My husband has a sawmill so he made me this bench out of wood he milled himself.  You can see it is a really thick sturdy bench and I really love having it.  I seem to always leave the pliers I need on the other side of the room, so I guess I will need to get more of them or attach them to the bench with a wire like the pens at the bank.   The dogs sleep under the bench and while they aren't happy about all the pounding overhead it keeps them out of the way and makes more room for me in this very small shop.  If you read my blog last year you might remember that  I have lots of little cabins all over the property so I can move equipment I don't use that often like the tumbler into one of them.  
The sun streaming through the window makes it difficult to see, so here is a close up of what I am currently working on .  These are earrings made out of some of those tins I was talking about earlier.   Well that gives you a flavor of my little studio in the woods.  Like I said last year, I actually try to be outside as much as possible in the summer so I love to take things outside to work on them.  This blog is being written at the little table where we stopped to have tea.  Thanks for stopping by and can't wait to visit the rest of the studios in this blog hop.  Just click on the link below to be taken to the land where beauty is created.  .