Very Important News!

Well, as doesn’t allow certain things which are part of my beginning to sell my jewellery, I’m moving to a new address!¬† I’ll still be using WordPress, but in a different incarnation ūüôā¬† I’ve migrated everything that I can over to the new address and I’d be delighted to seee you all there in future!¬† I hope that you like what’s happening and will continue to follow me at my new home.

The all new A Gem Of A Blog can be found here.


Apps for Beaders and Gem Lovers

I’ve only been a convert to the value of m0bile apps since the end of June 2011, when my family bought me an iPod Touch¬†for my birthday. ¬†Now, I’m lost without that or my iPhone. ¬†I did try a Blackberry but was utterly unimpressed – compared to Apple’s mobile idevices, Blackberry is unbelievably limited and cumbersome. ¬†I’ve not had the¬†opportunity¬†to try an Android or ¬†Windows ‘phone.

With the birth of my interest in beading and gemstones, I started looking around for good apps. ¬†First on my list has to be A Text-Book of Precious Stones for Jewellers and the Gem-Loving Public¬†by Roger Lichfield. ¬†In fact, this work was authored¬†by Frank B. Wade¬†(in 1918) and I assume that Roger Lichfield simply convrted it into an app. ¬†If you’d prefer, you can download the free¬†ebook here. ¬†This work is an excellent reference for anybody who wishes to know more than just the names of gemstones! ¬†Priced at just ¬£0.69 (GBP), it’s worth every penny!

Second on my list is Gemstones by Varietal by Darren Gates.  A pictorial database with over 2000 entries, this app is another excellent reference work.  It supports searching, editing entries and adding your own entries.  This is again priced at just £0.69.  Finally, for now, is jtv from Jewelry Television.  This free app includes the very useful Gemopedia which provides more information on gemstones.  It also includes some very useful videos.

I hope to bring you news of more apps in the future.

A Chain Of Flowers

I’m finding Mary Ellen Harte’s book, A Treasury of Beaded Jewelry: Bead Stringing Patterns for All Ages¬†(published in 1999 by Eagle’s View Publishing Company), a great resource! ¬†The patterns provide what amounts to a set of excellent tutorials. ¬†The concepts are suited to adaptation, opening up limitless possibilities. ¬†So, apart from providing attractive projects, it inspires growth as a jewellery designer.

My first project was the Pansy Necklace:

Pansy Necklace

Pansy Necklace


This can, of course, be made in any combination of colours, to suit tastes and bead availability. ¬†This was my first experience in using two beading needles! I’m now working on the Princess Necklace¬†pattern.

St. Valentine’s Day

With St.¬†Valentine’s Day closing in, I reckoned I should do something about it! ¬†We actually rarely do much at all about St Val, as we feel we don’t need a special day to confirm what’s true every¬†day. ¬†However, with the Hell that’s gripped us over the past two years, with my health worrying poor Jenny so terribly, I thought that some small gesture would be appropriate. ¬†I decided to make her a necklace…




I just hope that Jenny likes it…

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…

Looking to Christmas

Well, I’ve definitely gotten hooked on jewellery making ūüėČ. Today I ordered Christmas presents for both Jenny and myself ūüėĄ. Placed the order with, for a chasing hammer and steel block (Jenny’s) and a small tool set (mine – shame they only do pink ūüėĚ). 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 ūüėĄ

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

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