Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tips and Tricks

For the past several months I have had a contest running in the Puyallup Gem Clubs newsletter. Well we finally have an entry in the Tips and Tricks thanks to Khara Gunness. These are her helpful hints to keep your hobby organized and unbroken. Thanks Khara for the pictures and text.

Build a Sturdy Rock Storage System
Organize and store (at least part of) your growing collection!
By Khara Gunness

Start with a free‐standing pine storage unit that has 4 or 5 adjustable location shelves. These can be purchased unassembled at one‐stop‐shopping stores and measure approximately 32” wide x 20” deep x 63” tall. Take note of the various shelf spacing possibilities and shop around for some clear plastic tubs that will fit most efficienty within the dimensions of the unit. Tubs with lids can be purchased pretty reasonably in multi‐packs. If desired and to maximize usefulness, build additional shelves using the existing shelves as a template. After assembly, brace the back and two sides with a continuous piece of 1x2 lumber placed on the diagonal. Check for plumb and square all the way around before attaching each brace. The bracing is what allows for the heavier weight of rock by keeping the shelf unit from swaying. Slip a 4x6 index card into the front of each tub for labeling and load up the shelves with your collection! The system is quick and easy to build, fairly inexpensive, and most importantly, functional.

Cushion your Collection

Protect those rocks that you’ve worked so hard to acquire!
By Khara Gunness

Use Foamies or Fun Foam to cushion mineral specimens or to protect and separate slabs while in storage. Fun Foam is a soft 1/16” thick material made for use in kids crafts and can be purchased individually or in multi‐packs at craft stores. The foam is easily cut to any size and is flexible rather than rigid. I like the packs that look like a large brick, which contain around 65 sheets of 6”x9” size. The cost of the brick is about $8.

Organize Your Crafting Workspace

Take a little time now and more fully enjoy your craft for years to come.
By Khara Gunness

Perforated hardboards or Pegboards, traditionally used for hanging tools in the garage, are a handy organizational tool inside the house as well. A Pegboard near a craft workspace has endless potential and affords the crafter with much needed functionality and accessibiity. A Pegboard also takes up zero floor space and is quick and easy to install. It can easily be painted to match your d├ęcor and if your workspace is your dining room table, a curtain can be hung in front of the Pegboard to conceal its view when not in use. Pegboard accessories are numerous and include among other items: shelves, hooks, wire baskets, jars, book pockets, and paper towel holders (which can be used for anything on a spool). Don’t limit yourself though to these specific Pegboard accessories; use your imagination based on what it is that you want organized and play around with plastic bins, wicker baskets, wooden dowels, bungee cords, etc. As some of you may already be thinking, it turns out that I was not the first person to think of this idea. In a recent internet search, I came across numerous crafty bloggers showing off their too cute Pegboard workspaces. Check it out, be inspired!

I hope you have enjoyed these tips from Khara, I know I have and learned a lot.

Thanks for reading, Dana James, Editor, Puyallup Valley Gem & Mineral Club

Friday, October 2, 2009

Memorial to our Member Rob Stewart

Robert Cullen Stewart

On September 16, 2009, in Lacey, WA, Robert (Rob) C. Stewart went to be with the Lord following a short, but courageous battle with cancer. Rob was born to Doug and Deanna Stewart in Torrance, CA on November 24, 1969, where he, his older sister, Wendy, and younger brother Courtny grew up. Rob was an avid fisherman throughout his life, enjoyed participating in baseball, volleyball and recently added rock hounding to his recreational activities. He graduated from California Maritime Academy with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.S. in Marine Engineering Technology in 1991. He was honored as Distinguished Engineering student and Scholar Athlete of his class. Rob served with NOAA for 2 years then joined MEBA working primarily in the Pacific. Most recently Rob served as First Engineer aboard the Horizon 'Tiger' being a qualified Chief Engineer. Rob was devoted to his family, church family, fishing buddies and rock club friends all of whom are welcomed to celebrate his life at the Reality Church, 7th and Franklin in Olympia, WA., on Saturday, October 3, 2009. The service will begin at 1:30PM followed by food and fellowship. Family suggests donations may be sent in Rob's memory to The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Fund.

This obituary is from the Olympian newspaper along with the picture which doesn't really do Rob justice. I'm still looking through my vast collection of club photos for pictures of Rob to include in the newsletter. If you have any pictures, please feel free to e-mail them to me at djames50 at gmail dot com. Thanks, Dana James

Friday, August 21, 2009

Spiral Ring Tutorial

Thought you might like a new tutorial. This is also published in the Rock-A-Teer for August.

How to Make a Spiral Wire Bead Ring

Wire rings are very much in style this season. They can come in different shapes and colored beads to wear with different outfits. Twisting the wire is not difficult with the correct tools. All you have to do is make sure that the beads have holes in the center, so you can easily pull the wire through.

Supplies you will need:
• 1 foot (30 cm) 18g wire, soft. Hobby stores will usually have several suitable types (copper, sterling silver, etc.)
• 1 handmade bead with hole large enough to fit 2 pieces of 18g wire. (Rondell shape works best)
• Wirecutter
• Chain-nose (or needle-nose) pliers
• Ring mandrel or dowel in desired ring size - mandrels can be purchased through jewelry supply outlets and dowels can be found at your local hardware store. You may also be able to find something around the house of the right size and shape... a candle, broom handle, toilet paper holder, etc.


1. Place center of wire against your form (a ring mandrel or dowel) and wrap twice around leaving the tails long.

2. Bend the tails up sharply.

3. Place the bead onto both wires and slide down to the base of the ring.

4. Bend the wires to a right angle directly on the top of the bead.

5. Spiral the wires on top of the bead. This can be a bit tricky. Start by making a small circle with one of the wires where it emerges from the bead, then push the other wire behind and against it, being careful not to overlap the wires. If you see the spiral start to puff up, use a small block of wood and press gently but firmly on the spiral to push it against the bead as you turn the wires. Continue spiraling until the desired size is achieved. Be sure to leave a tail of at least 2" (5 cm) on each wire to complete.

6. Bring the tail wires down to the ring shank on opposite sides of the bead and wrap around the base of the ring to secure. Trim and tuck the wire ends down and you are done!

These are very dangerous if done just slightly improperly. Be careful - make sure to tuck the exposed sharp ends into one of the knots on either side to prevent being hurt. Imagine giving this as a gift and they start to bleed, not a good sight. Suffice to say just put it on and tough up to check for problems. You may want to use a small jewelry file to file any sharp points.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Leather Fringe/Gemstone Necklace Tutorial

So many people were commenting on this necklace at the last club meeting and when I wore it at the Billings show, that I decided a tutorial was in order. I have posted the supply list and the steps on my personal blog HERE, so check it out.

If you would like this offered as a hands on this Fall, please let me know and I'll get it on the schedule.

Don't forget that the club library has a copy of my new book "Gem Tree Sculptures".

See you at the next meeting which will be August 14th at the Fruitland Grange at 7:30 pm. Dana

Sunday, August 2, 2009

News from the NFMS/AFMS show

Well, here it is the last day in Billings, MT and we are ready to come back home. It has been a very busy few days here. The show started on Thursday, but all the vendors and exhibitors were setting up on Wednesday. We have seen a few Puyallup Club members here at the show, besides LaVon and Mike, Larry Hoffman and his wife along with Chuck Raup and his wife were here. Saw some old friends and made a few new ones.

I was able to teach 3 workshops and sell a few books, so that helped offset some of the expenses. If you are reading this and are wondering what book and what workshop, you'll have to ready my personal blog or my gem tree blog.

Obviously, if you have followed some of my posts on my gem tree blog and on the PVGMC newsletter, then you know that Paul and I came so that I could compete for my "Masters" in Gem Tree Design. I did get what I came for which was Masters at the Regional and National level, so two blue ribbons. I did not however achieve enough points to bring home the trophy...oh well, maybe another time.

I do have something new to share and that is the Rock-A-Teer was nominated for an award and received 2nd in the Federation for Large Newsletter and an Honorable Mention at the National level. The surprise this morning at the Editor's Breakfast was that I was voted into the American Federation Hall of Fame for Newsletter Editors. It was a great honor to be accepted and our ne
wsletter recognized at such a National level.

Here are a few pictures from the show. Hope everyone is well and surviving the heat back there in Washington and we will see you at the next meeting. Cheers, Dana James

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer is Here

Well we had a winner of our May photo contest and that was Khara Gunness. Here are her entries.

Our current contest is for you to write an article on your favorite rock/gemstone. This contest will run through August and a wonderful mineral specimen will be the prize.
On another note, the Puyallup show was a great success and the club made enough money to pay all the bills and add to the scholarship fund. We are now looking for volunteers for the Puyallup Fair and the sign up sheet is being circulated now. If you would like to sign up and are a member of the Puyallup club or another local Washington club, please contact John Gottschalk at wsrogue (at) hotmail (dot) com.
July's field trip will be to Red Top on the 18th. Please attend the July 10th meeting for more specifics on where to meet and the time.
If you are looking for the July newsletter, I'm working on it today and it should be out on the web site tomorrow evening.
Cheers, Dana

Friday, May 8, 2009

Club Members Rock Photos

The contest for May for our club members is a photo of their favorite rock or mineral specimen. We received these entries today from Glenn Ripper. Can you top them?
Electric Blue

Electric Blue
Electric Blue Cab
Mexican Rainbow

Fire Obsidian

Tiger Iron Butterfly

I think the Tiger Iron is my favorite....what's your?