Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tripped Up Tuesdays: Heartbroken!

Although the household baking soda solution and aluminum foil method is one of the safest ways to clean silver jewelry, things get trickier if there are gemstones involved.  Most gemstones do fine in baking soda and water, but the method should be avoided for jewelry set with corals.  For opals and turquoise, there seems to be some controversy over whether saltwater baths are safe with some saying yes and others, no.  I don’t own any opals, so that’s not even on the table, but I do put turquoise in baking soda solutions.  It does fine, but I generally need to re-polish it when I am done.

Today’s piece is a near-antique, heart shaped Chinese Export pendant with, as you can see below, a delicately traced ink painting on ox bone.  What idiot, you might ask, would put *that* in a baking soda solution????  Well . . . given this is a blog about the stupid stuff I do, who do you think? 
I too was worried about the painting’s integrity, but the silver was incredibly tarnished. With all that silver mesh, hand polishing just wasn’t going to clean it well.  I know there are people out there who like their silver well-patinaed, but I’m not one of them.  I decided to carefully place the pendant into a warm (not hot) baking soda solution to a level just below the bone.  Unfortunately, thanks to the miracle of capillary action, all of the solution ended up on top of the bone painting anyway. 

Only, it looked great when I was done!  I mean really great.  The solution had lifted off approximately 100 years of grime and slime, and suddenly the painting looked vibrant and fresh.  Furthermore, by lifting all that grime, the soda solution had uncovered red accents in the painting that were breathtaking.
So  I did it again.  Because all the solution had ended up on top of the painting the first time around, the silver was still tarnished.  Therefore, this time, I didn’t bother with putting in a little bit of water.  I completely covered the pendant and let ‘er rip.  10 minutes later, I got what you see below.  Much paint, including all of the red, had been lifted away.  The ink that was left diffused out of the painting and settled into grooves in the bone.  In a word, I ruined the pendant.

Next time I will either remove the painting first or stick to hand polishing after all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tripped Up Tuesdays: The Wrong Trousers!

No, it's not because they're my fat pants (well, they are, but that's beside the point).

The problem is here, with the cargo pocket

Not once did Henrietta Virchick mention that cargo pants were a no-go in her classic book on bead stringing.  But take it from me, you want a smooth, form-fitting pant when you are beading.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tripped Up Tuesdays: Hacked! "Deal Keeper" is no keeper.

Here's how computers work in our house:  My husband gets a top-of-the-line gaming computer, uses it until it becomes obsolete (here, "obsolete" means "slower than the other guys' computers"), passes it off to me, and gets a new one.  I then use the old computer until he is ready for his next upgrade.  This has worked pretty well for many years, until this year, when the hand-me-down started crashing with every mandatory update, and my husband wasn't yet ready to give up his current computer. 

I now have my very first brand-spanking new computer in over 2 decades! Unfortunately, it came with a little extra "gift."  When I downloaded Google's Picasa, it came bundled with the "Deal Keeper." Whether "Deal Keeper" is actually malware or merely a potentially unwanted program (PUP) is up for debate, but I can tell you that, even though I deleted it within 3 minutes of it's installation, criminals still managed to hack my Facebook page and steal a credit card number based on information that was diverted to them. Also--and this is important--I had *used* the Picasa custom install and had specifically *not* given permission to down load Deal Keeper.  It still downloaded.

as you can see, Deal Keeper clogs your screen, rendering your web browser virtually unusable. Screen capture courtesy Alesya Orlova

 Recommendations and Resources:
  • Truth is, I can't live without Picasa.  Maybe you can't either.  If this happens to you, or if Deal Keeper piggybacks on to some other download, I recommend you follow the excellent advice from Stelian Pilici from Malware Tips.
  • However, *do not* use Mr. Pilici's links to access the various software programs you need to remove this nasty malware.  Doing so will, ironically, result in other potentially unwanted programs being downloaded. 
  • Instead, go directly to each software provider's site, and download the software from there.  The sites are:
              http://www.surfright.nl/en (for Hitman Pro)

Malwarebytes has just been rated number one for eliminating unwanted malware.  To learn more about how well various software programs performed, go to Patrick Allan's post on lifehacker:

10 Malware Removal Apps Tested, Malwarebytes Comes out on Top

Deal keeper is no keeper.  Kind of like this stinky fish. 
Photo courtesy Rupert Morris March 2007.  Flickr user.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tripped Up Tuesdays: Count those chain links!

I swear, swear, pinky swear that I counted these chain links three times before I cut them. It wasn't until I staged this necklace and took some close ups that I figured out why it was twisting.

See the extra link?
Count twice ( or in my case, four times), and cut once.