Mardi Gras bead art
Art made entirely of Mardi Gras beads - amazing! Huge murals - some as long as 8 feet in length. Designed and executed by New Orleans-based artist, Stephen Wanger.
Maybe it's just me, but I think this is hysterically funny!
So, that's a simple answer. As a little bonus, here is a photo of plated vs. "filled" jewelry. Pretty big difference. If I couldn't get a solid metal, I would go with filled as opposed to plated - easy to see the difference with this photo, right?
Ok, this is an absolutely wonderful way to clean sterling silver using ONLY things you have around the house - no chemicals! yay!!! Best of all, it really does work great. Just to prove it, I did a little experiment this week with some pretty grungy sterling silver jewelry - you can see what I started with at left - nice earrings but boy are they nasty looking! Let's see if we can clean them up a bit! Following are the results of my effort! Click here to see the previous posts on cleaning your jewelry!
WHAT YOU NEED:
1. baking soda
3. aluminum foil
4. boiling water
That's it. You are ready to clean!
Scrunch up the foil (is scrunch a word??) and put it in the bottom of your container. Just make sure the foil is bumpy, NOT smooth. The silver will get cleaned where it touches the foil so you want a lot of "surface" foil for the silver to lay against. With me so far?
Sterling silver on top of the foil - it's kind of hard to see the earrings here but they are laying on top of the foil - sort of nestled down in there - see??
NOW, we get to the fun part. Sprinkle baking soda on top of the jewelry. This is not a science....I am liberal with the soda. Just dump some on - you can add more later! Then pour boiling water on top, just to cover it. It will immediately start to bubbly & fizz & you may smell a sulfur type of smell - getting rid of the oxidation - hurray!! Move the jewelry around a bit with a wooden spoon or chopstick - whatever you have on hand. Remember that it gets cleanest when it comes into contact with the foil. At this point, I let it do it's fizzy thing, then I add a little more water & maybe some more soda - I want it to fizz as much as it can & baking soda is cheap so I keep adding it with water until it stops fizzing & bubbling - then, rinse well and........
WHOA! Check it out! I would probably now use my sweet little Sunshine Polishing Cloth to finish it off but it is not really necessary - these babies are clean & shiny!
So - that's it - so easy, so cheap, so GREEN - Give it a try & let me know your results!! :D
Ok, Bright Idea #3 ------ this is really the simplest of all, although you may have to go buy it; the very easiest way to clean silver back to it's "bright & shiny", like new form, is silver "dip". There are several on the market - easy to find. Jewelry stores & just about any place that sells jewelry sells this stuff & it does work great. HOWEVER, it can damage your silver over time so only use it occasionally. Hagerty's Dip and Spray Polish for sterling silver do a really nice job so, if you want to go the "dipping" route, pick up one of those products & give it a try. Go here to see the final suggestion for cleaning sterling silver jewelry with things you already have on hand!
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Bright Idea #4
This idea is an oldie but a goodie - good old baking soda! Everybody has baking soda around the house & it's good for cleaning all sorts of things, even sterling silver! Make a paste of baking soda and water, rub it GENTLY into the sterling silver piece you are trying to clean, rinse WELL and repeat as needed. You can use your fingers, a soft cloth (cotton is best - think old tee shirt.....) or a soft-bristled toothbrush. Same warning as with some of the other methods - baking soda, used in this way is somewhat abrasive so you don't want to use it often. Next tip includes baking soda but in an entirely different way. Look for it!
"Love your jewelry - how do I keep it clean?"
I get this question often from happy customers - over the next couple of days, I'm going to post about several really good ways to clean silver jewelry or anything else silver. I'll start with the simplest ways & move on to ideas that are slightly (but only slightly) more complicated.
Ok - Here is Bright Idea 1:
Wash your jewelry gently with warm water and soap now & then AND then use a really excellent polishing cloth often to keep the metal really nice & shiny. Personally, I prefer the Sunshine Cloth and here is the reason - it cleans all metals, not just silver. That's right - it cleans silver, copper, brass, even gold (even though you didn't know it was dirty!). You can purchase a Sunshine Cloth here. A free Sunshine Cloth comes with every bracelet or necklace purchase from Laura Teague Jewelry.
Ready? Bright Idea 2:
You can do a pretty good job cleaning your silver using toothpaste -just plain old toothpaste - you have some of that laying around, right?? :D Be sure to use non whitening, non gel toothpaste. Rub it on (and into all the little crevices with your rings, a soft cloth or a soft toothbrush, rinse, repeat as needed. Toothpaste, of course, is slightly abrasive, so you don't want to get too enthusiastic with this nor do you want to do it everyday. But, it does work - give it a try!! Nothing to buy, nothing to lose - see what you think & let me know your results in comments below! Go here for more information about caring for and cleaning your jewelry!
I am Laura Teague, a metal smith, knitter and sewist living and working in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and traveling the western US whenever I can!