Believing in America

I have posted patriotic song lists for use on July 4th before.  A new one with a message of healing for USA  that is being torn apart by so many lies by a few people who we used to trust. It is "My America (I Still Believe)" by Danny Gokey in music video below.  

America needs to be proud of our country again, we need to know the truth of our country's history and government.  we need our news to be fact-based researched by true journalists - NOT marketing-spin partisan PR folks.  We need our politicians to be ethical, smart, and truthful - NOT spreading falsehoods; NOT subverting or ignorant of our laws; and NOT building personal riches off selling influence.  We need more non-profit organization and for-profit companies flying USA flags - NOT promoting things that a micro-percent feel is relevant.  We need to enforce our laws, respect our constitution, and remember the 10 Commandments.   Most of all we need GOD back in America

If you know of other great America/USA songs (not in the lists or video above), please add the song titles and primary artist or songwriter in the comments of this post or that one.  We need more songs about real America, for military and veteran recognition, respecting the United States flag, to be memorized by patriotic Americans, and sung by people who love this country.  Proud to be an American - where I know I'm free and where we need to once again honor the Bill of Rights especially the first Amendment

Southern Pearl Girls Explain Mabe vs Blister Pearl

Since I do lots of pearl posts,I have been asked what is the difference between a mabe pearl and a blister pearl by people trying to learn more about pearls.  Typically they have seen one or the other offered on a TV shopping channel and want to know why they might want it in their jewelry collection.  

The way this Texas Pearl Girl answers is that a blister pearl is a pearl that is actually growing on the inside of the host mussel or clam shell.  Blister pearl jewelry usually includes part of the mother-of-pearl shell when they cut widely around the pearl to make a necklace or earrings.  The blister may be centered for a strand or it could be at the top or bottom of a large cut of shell for more interesting pendant  Sometimes you even get bonus blisters! If you like this natural look, then consider blisters for your collection.  Blisters may be just drilled holes in the shell to hang from an earring finding or a chain.  Or they may be in silver-tone, gold-tone, copper, or other metal settings - including sterling silver.

If you like a more classic look, then go for a mabe instead.  A mabe is typically a blister pearl cut completely off of the shell and then mounted without any shell around it.  Mabes are more expensive, possibly because of the precision cutting required.  However part of the cost is that they are in jewelry quality metals like gold or .925 silver.  Although most pearl mabes are often found in vintage or estate jewelry - it has been making a comeback in the last couple of years.  The natural blue and pink colors are the most prized but white is the most traditional. However, less pearl farmers are taking the time to culture mabes, so they may go up in price as they may end-up being rare again.   

Instead of looking for images of blisters and mabes, I thought a video would make it easier to understand. Below is a video by one of the southern Pearl Girls from Georgia with her explanation of mabes.  To find out more about their store and their repair functions, check out ThePearlGirls website or find their other videos on YouTube.

Pearls: History and Science Education

Pearls are the birthstone of June and a lot of information about pearl jewelry has been shared on this blog.  In case you want more education on pearls, you may want to view some  videos from experts.  Now to share a few good choices from GIA to increase your knowledge are shared below.  
The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) offers degrees and certifications in Gemology, including specialty in Pearls.  During the COVID shutdown, they offered a series of "Knowledge Sessions" via live webinars to help educate people in the jewelry industry and others who were interested in learning more about various gemstones.  If you ever wanted to learn more about pearls, you can still check out some of those webinars on YouTube.   Below is a list of the 1 hour video seminars from their series to check out.
If you want to view older and shorter videos, check out these from the GIA 7 Pearl Value Factors of around 2 minutes each. 
Or check out these GIA videos including the highly-valued saltwater pearl types and the less expensive freshwater versions of 1-2 minutes each.
Sea Pearls

Thrift Store Beading - Finding the Good Stuff for Jewelry Making

7 Turquoise Necklaces & 2 Pendants
You can find great beads at craft stores, gem shows, or on-line outlets.  However, if you are just starting to make jewelry or are a budget-conscious experienced jewelry designer, you may want to find a cheaper alternative for finding the valuable beads you crave.  Thrift stores often sell jewelry for really low prices and you have the benefit of helping a charity.  You may find a good piece you love to wear as is.  More likely, you will find a broken necklace, stuff with a few chipped stones, something missing clasps, or perhaps a badly constructed piece - all with some really great beads.  You can recycle these thrift store finds by cleaning and re-purposing the beads into new trendy necklaces with other beads in your stock or turn them into stretch or wrap bracelets.  Your jewelry making can then produce some fashionable new item for yourself, a special piece to give as a gift, or if you craft for extra income - an addition to your sales table.  

As an example of this idea, a few months back, I found some Hubei turquoise beads in some really ugly necklaces at the thrift store.  One necklace was short and extremely heavy (about 2 pounds), the other was free-form bead nuggets rounded and polished.  Both necklaces had a few chipped or cracked stones.  Since the store was having an extra discount sale that day, I decided to buy them and re-construct them into something more wearable.  I also thought I could use the bad beads to test some of the various stone polishing techniques I had seen on hobby sites.  I had also bought  a multi-strand necklace featuring green African turquoise on another trip to re-create into something new as well.  

Turquoise Necklace Design

Over the last 2 weeks, we have had several days of freezing rain, sleet, or snow, so I decided to start on my turquoise projects. I started by creating 2 traditional Southwest looks of graduated necklaces with the disc/tire beads and modernizing it with contrasting-color round beads as spacers/finishers.  Using all the disc beads still made the necklaces too heavy, so I left out the largest beads of each color and ended up with necklaces that weighed around a quarter-of-a-pound each.  Then I took two of the strands from the multi-strand necklace and combined them to create a longer southwest-style nugget  and chip necklace.  Since I still had beads leftover,  I thought I'd try a mixed nugget and disc necklace that would feature the matrix on the larger tire beads by treating them like a donut bead.  They were TOO heavy and broke the wire I used to test my design idea (see middle photo).  Instead, I decided to try wire-wrapping and corded necklaces for some boho-chic looks featuring the blue or green colored disc beads as focal points.  Finally, I took the miniature turquoise colored round beads layer on the multi-strand and combined it with small glass pearls to create a choker-length necklace. Details on each finished piece of jewelry may be found on my Pinterest page (photos of all new in top of this post, photo of original finds in bottom of post)).

After making 7 necklaces and 2 pendants from the original 3 thrift store finds, I still have a short strand of crystal bends, a partial strand of small baroque pearls, and many silver-tone spacers beads to use as spacers in future jewelry or craft projects. I also have 10 polished stones from the bad ones for my rock collection or cactus garden.   I re-purposed the clasps from the two Hubei necklaces in the new ones and will use the chain from the multi-strand in another project later.

3 Thrift Store Turquoise Finds
Speaking of re-purposing, the chain on the nugget necklace was an old pocket watch chain of my Dad's.  It still had the watch bow attached, so I'm guessing the watch fell and broke when the chain did.  The chain was in a small drawer of my Mom's jewelry box with other broken chain sections.  Before Mom passed, she told me she kept them there for Dad to use for repairing chains or when he needed to replace a clasp.  She said I could keep them or throw them away, so I dumped them in a plastic container because I thought they might be re-purposed as necklace extenders and heavy-weight clasps.  

Those Cute Beads Are Too Tiny

I bought this really cute 100-inch 2mm black spinel and 5mm pearl long endless necklace from a mail order site.   I thought it would go great with other black jewelry. The first time I wore it, I created an approximately  25-inch frame for a black stone pendant by looping it 4-times and putting it over my head.  The next time I wore it, I thought I would wear it alone as a messy multi-strand choker by just wrapping it over my head and around my neck several times - it looked great.  However, when I went to take it off, it was a tangled and knotted mess.  After working over half an hour to try to untangle it, I decided to just cut it off by leaning over a bowl to catch the beads and pearls.  I then put them in a small storage container to consider reconstruction options later.  

We recently had a day of rain and snow, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to create and repair jewelry.  I started with the longest strand left from the above necklace.  I removed a few beads to get it to look like it came built that way.  After knotting the thread ends, I quickly ended up with a 56-inch version of the first endless necklace.  I will use a looped necklace extender or pearl shortener (links are examples on Amazon) in the future when wearing it doubled or tripled to avoid the tangle issue.  Then I looked at the remaining beads to decide if I wanted to try to create versions of shorter things I had seen on various websites. 

Since they a fashionable, I had been thinking about making a jewelry tassel and decided these tiny beads would make a great beaded version.   Depending on how I constructed it, I could put the tassel on a chain, small beads, or regular-size pearls.  Looking through my remaining intact strands, I found four that were the same size which would create 8-strands once folded over and knotted on each end.  I removed the pearls from those strands to use on a shorter necklace.  I then added a large jump ring that could slide over small beads/pearls, thread wrapped around the top for tassel look, and topped it with a large acorn-shaped pearl. The 4-inch tassel took longer than I expected, but was pretty easy to do and I thought it looked lovely.

Finally, I decided to make an 18" necklace with a large center pearl and tiny pearl stations using the ones taken off tassel above.  If I had extra beads after the necklace I would try to create a bracelet.  I could not get any wire I had or a small needle with thread to go through the holes in the 2mm black spinel beads!  After going to the craft store and buying 28 gauge (tiniest size) wire, I started stringing through the teeny holes in the tiny beads.  This part of project took most of the day!  The bead holes were hard to find with the shinny facets confusing my eyes about what I was seeing plus I do not have a bead spinner.  While stringing, the beads kept spilling or coming off the wire!  So I lost some beads and had to use multiple tiny clamps to keep them from slipping around on wire.  I did have beads left over and my bracelet ended up at 6.5 inches so I added an extender to it for extra length.  I added an extender chain to the necklace as well, so it can be worn longer when desirable.  As a break from the tiny bead stringing, I created a pair of matching 1.5" hook earrings from other beads and pearls leftover from past projects.  

Lessons learned:  Do NOT buy extra long necklaces made with micro-tiny beads!  Do NOT try to make custom jewelry with 2mm beads.

Making Jewelry Tassels

Tassels have made a resurgence in jewelry!  To get the vintage feel of a tassel pendant, you can make your own or buy finished ones on-line.  

Thread tassels are big for light-wight earrings as well as finishing touches on a Y-style necklace o beaded bracelet.  To make your own thread tassels, check out Beadaholique 5- minute video

There are also chain-style tassels to add a more edgy look to necklaces or to create really dramatic earrings.  To make your own chain tassels, check out JTV 6-minute video.  you can get creative with the chain tassel and put  pretty bead at the bottom of each chain too.

What is really IN right now for necklaces is tassel pedants made with beads or pearls.  Beaded tassels should be a fun new idea for those who are already jewelry makers.  Or if you are new to jewelry making, have a beaded necklace that broke and saved the beads, you can restring it as it was or consider trying to create a tassel for an updated look. Below is a great 15-minute Potomac Beads video explaining an easy technique for creating beaded tassels.    

Holiday Baking for Buffet or Brunch

Was watching a YouTube video and another video showed up from a German baker.  So I watched the 100-year-old recipe from the grandmother for a strawberry pudding-based sheet cake turned into a layered pastry.  It was not a pretty cake but it appeared deliciously YUM! Check out Einfache Rezepte videos for some old-fashioned favorites to add to your holiday desert buffet or to finish out a family brunch.  Recipes include breads, cakes, and various pastries.  Be sure to scroll past the step-by-step video to click the MORE under description to get the ingredients list and pre-heat temperature for each recipe.  

You can find old-fashioned American recipes by searching this blog using the word "Grandma" to find recipes of my Grandmother's.  She loved desserts too. However, man of her other meal dishes and casseroles are also included on this blog.

Quotes on the Foundation of America

Below are a few quotes by four of America's forefathers related to the Christian foundation of the United States of America (USA).  These are often abbreviated. distorted, edited, or misquoted to achieve a political purpose other than the point the original speaker meant to make.  In celebrating the freedoms offered in this country and for the future of America, it is important to know and understand history, as well as what was actually said and done. It is important to know the facts and find the truth instead of accepting political incorrectness, which could lead to the tyranny of government the founding fathers warned about. 


"The God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" - Thomas Jefferson 

"The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God." - John Adams

"It can not be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!" - Patrick Henry

"Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each individual… Continue steadfast and, with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us," - John Hancock.

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge or gallantry would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution is designed only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for any other." - John Adams

“The First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state, but that wall is a one-directional wall. It keeps the government from running the church, but it makes sure that Christian principles will always stay in government.” - Thomas Jefferson 

Celebrate Independence Day (July 4th) and this country by learning the facts about the Constitution and the history of freedom and sacrifice.  For more, see posts:     


Common Sense on Abortion Alternatives

Is abortion a constitutional issue or a health issue?  Is the issue about federal direction or state legislation?  Or is the abortion question more about perception vs. common sense; facts vs. feelings, or crime vs. laws?  

As a human rights issue, there are people on both sides with different views.  There are many people on the pro-life side of the abortion issue trying to prevent fetal homicide.  There are also pro-choice groups saying it should be a woman's personal choice for birth control relevant to her health and her personal reasons.    

Looking at the issue from a birth control choice, there are lots of birth control options available to women, and many methods are free!  Choose a medical-based birth control that insurance covers under the Affordable Care Act and take as directed.  Another choice is non-drug over-the-counter protection and plan with partner that it will always be available.  Obviously there is also the choice to NOT have sex before being ready to build a family, since abstinence is the most effective method of preventing pregnancy.

What about rape where there was no choice? There are exceptions for when a woman is physically forced against her own will,  Emergency contraception is available at many medical facilities to prevent fertilization.  Reporting rape to authorities may help them capture the perpetrator so the crime will not happen again to someone else.  If this not quickly done and an unwanted pregnancy occurs, many states allow early-term abortion for rape victims as well as exceptions for mother's health risks.

If preventing unwanted pregnancy is really this issue, lots of common sense options are already available as noted above.  Are anti-life/pro-violence advocates uninformed or is there actually another hidden agenda behind their rhetoric?  Have they done any research into mental and emotional health of women who have had abortions? What do the protestors' words really mean?  

Why would anyone cry "not your incubators?" Using the term incubator in a derogatory manner is insulting to women who choose to use their womb to build a family.  Whether their own family or to bless another as surrogates do. Family leads to another alternative - adoption.   There are agency that will help with closed adoption, let the pregnant girl choose baby's parents, or even help her if she decides to keep the baby.  If others are truly for women's rights, how can they so callously redefine a machine that is supposed to be used for keeping babies safe, warm, and alive as bad?  Or are they instead implying that women are flightless birds (egg-to-chick-to-hen) with little brains?


For  more on fetus right to life, see Unborn Victims of Violence Act.  

To see who really benefits from pushing abortion, check out these articles:

The Other Side of the Story

Is the 1st amendment dead? Do news sources now twist and distort selected information to match a political or ideological narrative rather than strait-forward fact research and reporting? Mainstream media (#MSM) and politicians are often one-side biased.  What is the other side of the story they are not telling?  How do you get the full picture?  Sadly, you have to do your own research by going to other sources for factual reports, personal blogs, citizen articles, investigative journalism, and personal videos of people who were actually present.  The list below is some of the documentaries and research done before the distorted bits-n-pieces presented via political propaganda around this historical event was proven to be a really BIG LIE with full video evidence shown and truth reported as such by a news network.

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Note:  This blog seldom addresses political opinion, however it often promotes patriotism through interesting stories, poems, songs, and video. Sometimes a promoted one-sided story is so false, that you must offer alternative evidence to get to the truth.  

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Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions/examples:

  • PROTEST is the act of objecting or a gesture of disapproval, especially a usually organized public demonstration of disapproval.
  • REVOLT and INSURRECTION imply an "ARMED" uprising that quickly fails or succeeds.