Monday, July 28, 2014

DLPom Featured on Entrepreneur Site

I have been truly honored today with a feature by  They tell the stories of hardworking, inventive, and "gritty" entrepreneurs, featuring a new story each Monday, Wednesday, & Friday.  Read it -- you'll probably learn something new about me, and be inspired by other entrepreneurs across the globe!

Friday, July 25, 2014

DLPom Jewelry Giveaway: Trio of Interchangeable Leverback Earrings

There is nothing ordinary about this jewelry giveaway!

A pair of interchangeable leverbacks can sport my purple amethyst lotus drops, Bali sterling silver diamonds, or the ring drop freshwater pearls. Three pairs in one! All sterling silver findings.

This giveaway is hosted by my Etsy shop, DLPom Handcrafted Expressions.

This giveaway is open to adult, U.S. residents only. It ends on Monday, August 11 at 11:59 P.M. Central Time.  Be sure to check back daily for the most chances to win!

Just enter through Rafflecopter below.

TIP: Try refreshing your screen if the Rafflecopter box does not show.

Best of luck!

Thanks for participating!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fitness Friday: Now I Need the Recipes

My path to better health led me to the purchase of a NutriBullet this week. I've heard nothing but rave reviews from friends who are hooked on "green" smoothies. Now, I just need some tasty recipes to transform the notion of a "green" smoothie into something just a little more appealing and appetizing!  If you have a recipe or link, please share in the comments below!

~Dana Website

How to Choose the Best Oils for Cold Process, Handcrafted Soap: Teach Me Thursday

A batch of soap, not quite ready to pour
First of all, I hope you are buying cold process soaps for your skin rather than the melt 'n pour or typical store bought soap. That could be a whole different blog post! Then, once you are completely hooked on the superior goodness of cold process soap, what ingredients should you look for? And yes, all soap should be labeled with ingredients, beginning with the oil name that has the highest percentage in the recipe.

I prefer to use the common names for all of my oils on the ingredient labels, which makes the label reading much easier for the soap customer. For example, I will use "olive oil" rather than the Latin, species name Olea europaea. I'm guessing that not that many people will recognize Olea europaea as plain old olive oil. It gets even more complicated with the other oil names.

A good place to start for the first two ingredients in any handcrafted soap are olive oil and/or palm oil. Olive oil, especially, is very high in oleic fatty acids which produces a soap that has excellent conditioning properties for the skin. Palm oil is also high in palmitic fatty acids which helps produce a hard bar with lather that is stable.

Then, you might look for some ingredients that add a little "bubbliness" to the lather. Castor, coconut, and palm kernel oils do this job very well.

Keeping warm in the oven to start the curing process
While soap can be made with only olive oil (known as castile soap), you will probably want to find a soap that has at least 3-4 ingredients to give the bar some interesting and dimensional properties. But, be mindful of any skin sensitivities that you may have.

To take the soap "over the top," look for these additional oils toward the end of the ingredient list: sweet almond, avocado, cocoa, jojoba, sesame, shea, and evening primrose. These oils add additional conditioning properties to the soap - the "oh, so good for you skin" component! I often superfat my soaps with these oils so some of the oil molecules are left behind after the soap cures - going straight to your skin when the soap is used!

So there you have it - soap oils 101. If you have any questions, please ask!

~Dana @ SoapSense

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July: Cherry Pie!

Grilled turkey burgers, potato salad, and cherry pie are on the menu at my house today.  Clearly, "Fitness Friday" will return next week!  Enjoy your holiday, and be safe!


Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to Tell the Difference Between Argentium & Sterling Silver: Teach Me Thursday

And the answer is....{drumroll}....sometimes, you can't.  But that is not the end of the story!  Let's start at the beginning.  What do you need to know as a jewelry buyer to tell the difference between sterling silver and argentium?

Sterling silver is 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% copper.  The copper is what causes all sterling silver to tarnish over time from exposure to sulfides in the air, perspiration, etc.  Argentium is 92.5% fine silver, with the remaining 7.5% being an alloy called germanium and then less copper.  Argentium® Sterling silver is a registered trademark.

There are a number of differences for a silversmith working with one or the other.  Sterling silver often develops firescale during the soldering process - which has to be sanded away.  Argentium does not develop firescale and actually fuses to itself.  There are also some annealing and hardening differences between the two.  As a silversmith, I have to be very organized with my stock.  If a tag label falls off a coil of wire, or if sheet metal gets mixed up, I'll have a quandary on my hands to sort it out!

But for the buyer, the greatest advantage to a piece of jewelry made from Argentium is that it will often have a more brilliant shine, that is almost tarnish resistant over a long period of time.  Additionally, some people with sterling silver allergies can actually tolerate Argentium.

Argentium sterling can be hallmarked .925 or "sterling silver" since Argentium sterling is sterling silver.  Special "Argentium" hallmarks have been developed, but the stamps are usually pricey enough to cause a silversmith pause before making such a purchase.  In other words, you may not be able to tell which metal your jewelry is made from by the stamp alone.

Bottom Line:  The only way to tell the difference between traditional sterling silver and Argentium is through abrasion and/or heat analysis - which would likely ruin the jewelry!  Your safest bet is to purchase from a reputable artisan who keeps their silver stock well labeled and organized so they can tell you which product you are buying.  Jewelry designs from Argentium are often a little higher priced.