No, I don't have too many pearls.  I can ALWAYS use more!
No, I don’t have too many pearls. I can ALWAYS use more!

I love using freshwater pearls in my jewelry. In fact, sometimes I think I make jewelry just so I have an excuse to buy pearls.

Today I got a newsletter from Beading Daily, an Interweave Press blog, about working with pearls. They suggested buying large-holed pearls for easier stringing on thicker cords, or using a hand bead reamer to enlarge smaller holes.

These are both great ideas, but there are even better ways to use your current pearl stash with leather cord designs.

I added this tip to their comment box, and thought I’d share it with you, too.

I love freshwater pearls strung on leather cord, too, but there are easier ways to enlarge the holes to accommodate.

Rings ‘n’ Things has a nifty battery-operated bead reamer (Item # 69-058 for $16) that speeds up the process considerably.

My first electric bead reamer.  I actually used it so much, I fried it.
My first electric bead reamer. I actually used it so much, I fried it.

It’s very safe to use–you won’t lose fingers!–and works quickly to enlarge pearl holes. I work with a small cup of water, submerging the bead and the drill tip, and use a ream/release/ream/release technique.

Once you are drilling so much, you can’t keep up with the fresh batteries, try a mini-rotary tool kit.

An awesomely amazing versatile tool!  And yes, the over-exuberance is warranted.
An awesomely, amazingly versatile tool! And yes, the over-exuberance is warranted.

Dremel is the most well-known brand, but you can buy nice lesser-known brands for $15-$25. They’ll come with a case and dozens of drill bits. They’re the same size as the bead reamer, with an electric cord instead of batteries. You can drill til the cows come home. (Sorry. I’m from the Midwest.)

BUT….the kits don’t have the wonderful bead reamer tip! Go back to Rings ‘n’ Things and buy these replacement bead reamer tips (item #69-058-A). Strip off the plastic tube casing that allows them to fit the battery tool, and they’ll fit your mini rotary tool.

And the amazingly awesome yet hard-to-find bead reamer tips.
And the amazingly awesome yet hard-to-find bead reamer tips.

You can actually use this tool to drill bigger holes in glass beads. Stone beads, too, but they take a little longer.

At one point, I was boring out so many pearls, I burned out my battery-powered bead reamer! Hence the switch to the small mini-rotary tool.

I’m betting once you try this amazing little tool, you’re going to find dozens of other uses for it.

P.S. For some reason, these don’t show up in catalogs or search engines under any variation of “drill”. Look for “mini rotary tool kit” and you’ll find ’em.


Something useful, something interesting, something funny and something wise. You get to decide which is which.

Instead of a loooooong deep heavy post today, just some little thoughts and things of interest I’ve read in the last day or so….

From the June 2009 issue of Real Simple magazine, Kristin Appenbrink in the “Moneywise” section calculates that the Lewis and Clark Expedition (St. Louis, MO to Oregon, with nine states in between) today would cost about $308 for gas, roundtrip. I wonder if L & C would think that was wonderful or depressing? Of course, traveling by car, they also never would have met Sacajawea, and she was pretty cool.

From the June 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine, “Health News” by Jane Bianchi features little D+Caf Caffeine test strips to see if your restaurant coffee really is decaf. Sort of like a pregnancy test for coffee.

I tried this cool little free tutorial from on how to oxidize sterling silver with an egg. It was the best one I found online, involving the least mess, with great illustrations. Thank you to Sarah and Jen from tae kwon do, who, when I described the method to them last night, pointed out that I might want to recheck the part where you put the egg and jewelry back in the microwave to heat up. Yep, you’re right, I missed the part where the author said to take the jewelry out first.

I’m at that point in life where, when I put on eye shadow, my eyelid skin stays where the brush pushes it. Scary, but funny, too.

And the words that jumped out at me the last week or so were, “Life is too short to lose good friends.”


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