How to open a ball chain

This is something I take for granted – I use (and wear) a lot of ball chains, the simple chains that are used in the military to hold dog tags – and out in the jewelry world, to also hold dog tag pendants. Plus a lot of other necklaces and pendants.

They’re easy to open and close – once you know how. But if you aren’t used to them, they’re probably maddening! They don’t have a typical clasp. Instead, they have a connector as shown in the sketch below.

sketch showing how to open a ball chain

I think that shows it pretty well – basically, you find the little connector, hold it securely with your thumb and forefinger – and with the other hand, snap the little round balls out of the connector. Or slip the little ball back into the slot, to re-connect the chain. it’s easy – once you get used to it. And if it’s still difficult, drop me a note – we’ll figure it out!

How to freeze green beans – without blanching!

Talk about a useful Tip of the Day ! I just got a lovely big supply of garden fresh green beans from a dear friend (somehow my garden didn’t happen this year). I was getting ready to blanch most of them, because much as we love green beans we can’t eat them all up in a few days.

Then I had an attack of brains and thought, I ought to doublecheck the best method – you know that’s one of the reasons we love the web. And I found this most wonderful article on how to freeze fresh green beans, without having to blanch them first.

how to freeze green beans without blanching first

I am trying this TODAY.

A huge thank you to Jami, of An Oregon Cottage, who kindly gave permission to share her idea with a link to her blog. She has some wonderful advice – and project articles there – you are going to have so much fun!

And I’ll share pronto, how the beans turned out 🙂

PS! Edited (days later) to add this: the beans turned out to be very tasty. I did need to spend a little longer cooking them (they were chewier than usual) – but they really were good. And easy to prepare: I tried two different ways. First time, I steamed them for several minutes. Second time, I microwaved them with just a smidge of butter, for about 2-3 minutes. Both methods worked. Save yourself time – freeze those wonderful fresh green beans!

How to add tiny stones to a two-jewel setting

This may sound like something you’ll hardly ever do – but if you end up buying stones and settings separately (rather than having the stones pre-set before you buy them) it’s handy to learn these little tips. Your crimpiing pliers are really helpful here.

In many settings, the tiny stone is 20ss (or “stone size”) – and 20ss is about 4.5mm. I did a little sketch to give a few helpful tips when setting them.

tips on setting tiny glass stones in settings ... part 1
tips for setting small glass stones in settings...part 2

One of the most important things to remember, after you squeeze (flatten) the little prongs, is to close them *slightly* over the stone. Don’t try to flatten them all the way down to the glass – you’ll chip something. With all the prongs gently leaning toward the “closed” position, your stone will be protected and secure.

And if this isn’t your cup of tea, you can always – you know – buy stones already in settings. Like in my Etsy shop 🙂