Favourite App For Blogging And More

A while back I came across Evernote. This app is superb! Basically, you can collect information from all over the Internet, or enter it yourself from scratch, and keep all related information in dedicated notebooks. I’ve been using it to capture bead patterns mostly but I’ve also got information in notebooks about knitting, gemstones and blogging, plus some general notes.

Quite simply, you install Evernote on your computer and other supported devices (e.g. iPod or BlackBerry). You also install a “web clipper” (I use Evernote’s own). Now, when your browsing, if you come across something you want to save you have options. My usual choice is to use extend select to highlight the part of the web page I want to capture. That done, I can right click on it and tell Evernote to clip the highlighted section. The clever part is that it even captures any pictures but ads are usually ignored. Opening Evernote, you can improve your capture, including providing things like the author’s name and tags. You can also edit out any unwanted parts.

If Evernote has a down side, it’s that you could end up with massive tomes of notebooks I’ve already accumulated a remarkable amount of free patterns for jewellery making, without worrying about PDFs. That’s particularly useful when there isn’t a PDF to download. I used to have to either perform a cumbersome web page (with images) download or do a lot of copying and pasting. All that laborious stuff is now a thing of the past.

Once you have it in Evernote, you can access it from anywhere that Evernote’s installed! Now you’ll see the benefit. In effect, you can take all that information with you (you may need an Internet connection, wi-fi or another form). I can, for example, access a necklace pattern on my iPod as long as I have a wi-fi connection. If I had an iPhone, I wouldn’t even need that!

All in all, I heartily recommend Evernote to anybody who acquires patterns, online articles or who blogs. It’s the tool that’s been missing for so long…


Tasty Treat For A Little Girl

Yesterday evening, I took it into my head to make a necklace that used seed beads.  Combining beads that are more colourful than I’d normally choose with gold ones, I came up with Jelly Garden.  The gold beads are used as either spacers (twisted bugles) or to make “flowers” of varying sizes.

Jelly Garden

Jelly Garden


This will go to one of our granddaughters.

Looking to Christmas

Well, I’ve definitely gotten hooked on jewellery making 😉. Today I ordered Christmas presents for both Jenny and myself 😄. Placed the order with JewelleryMaker.com, for a chasing hammer and steel block (Jenny’s) and a small tool set (mine – shame they only do pink 😝). I also ordered a bead mat and bead tray for myself (though Jenny will probably take them for wrapping with the tool set!). While I was at it, I also ordered a set of gemstone strands that had somehow survived being price slashed! Sodalite and jasper – beautiful set.

I really need to build up my stash of gemstones. I’ve very few left, mostly peridot chips. Of course, it would be so much easier to get a good size stash if I could afford to buy more – at the moment, I’m usually using up the few gemstones I’ve bought in no time at all 😄

That’s all for now. Hopefully the next post will be of more interest!

My Favourite Gemstones : Jasper

Jasper comes in many guises.  There are very few that I don’t like but there are some that I most definitely favour.  Picture, Landscape, Paintbrush and Picasso Jasper are very high on my “must have” list!  It’s a rare piece of jasper that has no markings but still it is amazing how often it manages to mimic other gemstones.  That’s not actually the attraction for me, though.  I love the patterns that this brand of Silicon Dioxide displays, thanks to the presence of other substances (“inclusions”).

I’ll admit that I’m not inclined to believe in the healing properties ascribed to various gemstones but I do find it fascinating that  I was drawn to jasper very early on.  I’ve been suffering from chronic pancreatitis and jasper is claimed to be of help in the pancreas, and against sciatica and toenail problems.  A strange coincidence!?!

I haven’t yet been making jewellery for long enough to determine a definite favourite stone shape or treatment.  So far, I’ve only been able to actually work with picture jasper rounds, but I’m definitely keen on obtaining other forms and shapes.  Priorities have to be rondelles and coins, as well as larger pieces than the 8mm rounds I’ve used.  I’d also like to obtain particular types: large picture, paintbrush, Picasso, Imperial and white-spotted-blue/blue-spotted-white.  Of course, if other varieties make themselves available at the right price…. LOL!

As I was born in June and find pearls not suited to me, as a male, I’d be very happy indeed to have jasper as a “birthstone”. Sadly, alexandrite and m0onstone have already been selected as alternatives…

Getting Started

Jewellery making is one of those activities where you can make a start without a huge load of stuff.  However,I really don’t recommend starting without certain basic items!  Yes, that means making a significant investment but you will not really hurt for it.

So what are the basics? I have no wish to be controversial about this, so just let me stress the point that this is my personal view. A good set of tools are going to be very important, however don’t be tempted into buying just any tools!  Poor quality tools are simply going to frustrate and dishearten you.  Also, you’ll usually find that it is more economical to buy a set rather than buying individual tools.

In addition to a basic tool set, a bead mat and a bead tray are going to be very useful. Bead mats are a soft, feltlike material, which stops beads rolling about.  Bead trays help in designing and preparing to start projects these two you should shop around as there is a ridiculously wide price range.  For example, we’ve seen bead mats priced at anything from £0.50 to £7.50!  The next thing is storage.  This can take almost any form but, personally, I like to use trays that have snap lids and several compartments, preferably the type where the compartments can be configured to suit.

That’s all for now.  Have beady fun!

To Boldly Go….

OK, so I’m not going where “no man has gone before” as in the quotation!  In fact, there are many men and women making jewellery.  Probably more than ever before in our history!  It is, however, very new for me!  I’ve spent years watching my wife Jenny working on various beading projects, from 3D animals and flowers to exquisite jewellery sets.  She’s tended to work mostly with seed beads and crystals as she loves their delicacy and flexibility.  Of course, I said on many occasions that there was no way I could do anything like it, especially with beads that I could barely see, let alone find the holes in!

A few months ago, in the wee, small hours of the morning (I have major problems with sleeping!), television was so entertaining that I was browsing through the hundreds of entries in the on-screen guide provided by Sky.  It was then that I discovered JewelleryMaker.Com.  I was immediately impatient for Jenny to get up LOL!  I just knew that I’d found a very valuable channel for her beading hobby.  What I didn’t realise, of course, was that my fate was sealed!  The more I watched, the more fascinated I became.  Before I knew what was happening, I was hooked!  I just had to get some gemstones and have a go…

I purchased a strand of purple/pink banded agate from Magpie Jewellery and a strand of peridot chips, of picture jasper rounds and a half-strand of faceted amethyst rounds, plus a set of antique gold tone heart-and-bar toggle clasps from The Crafty Beggar.  I’ve used findings provided by Jenny to produce several pieces, some of which are below:

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