Today’s Canning Project

Last weekend I bought some pears because they were on sale and I wanted to try my hand at canning pears.

So I brought up my pressure canner and prepared to can the pears. I love this website pickyourown when I’m looking online to find out how to can something.  This site has tons and tons of recipes for canning and I’ve not found a single thing that you can put in a mason jar that isn’t listed.  It’s absolutely fantastic.

Anyway I looked up how to can pears and to my delight I found out that you don’t pressure can pears, you use a water bath.  So that’s even better.  I peeled the pears and cored them.  Then I sliced each pear into quarters.  I didn’t want to use anything but water to put my pears in so I mixed up a batch of citric acid (I have a huge bag of this for making bath bombs).  Use 3T (or 1/4 cup) for each cup of hot water.  Bring it to a boil.  Pack your pears into your jars, I am using pint jars, pour the water solution with citric acid to keep the fruit from turning brown.  Leave 1/2″ head space, wipe off the rim of the jar, put on the lid and place the sealed jars into your water bath canner or large pot.  Make sure the jars are covered with the water.  Process in boiling water for 20 minutes for the pints.  Remove the jars from the hot water using you tongs and allow them to cool.  As they cool you will hear them popping as they seal.

I always write on the lid what I canned and the month and year I canned it.  I always remove the ring from the jars just in case something went wrong and the food spoils.  If you don’t have the ring on the lid will simply pop and not explode like it will if the ring is left on.

My next project for canning was green grapes.  I had some in the fridge that weren’t getting eaten fast enough for me so I once again looked up online how to can green grapes.  It is again a water bath process so I just left the water on the stove and got the green grapes ready to can.  Simple process, take the grapes off the stem, rinse the grapes, add the grapes to your jars.  I used pints again.  Leave 1/2″ head space, wipe the rims and pour hot light syrup, water with citric acid, or juice like white grape juice or apple juice over the grapes, remove air bubbles, wipe off the rim of the jar.  Place the lid on the jar and tighten.  Put the jars in your water bath canner and process for 20 minutes for pints.

Now that I have these two things canned I’m all ready for the salad that I make for the upcoming holidays.  My mom always made this salad for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.  Here’s the recipe:

1/2 pint whipping cream, 1 pint pears cut into bite sized pieces, 1 pint green grapes, 1 pint pineapple chunks.  Drain the fruit.  While the fruit is draining whip the whipping cream to very stiff peaks.  Pour the fruit into a bowl, add whipped cream and stir to mix.  DO NOT add any sugar to the whipping cream.  That’s all there is to the salad, hope you enjoy it.  You can use purchased fruit just get the 15 oz sizes for all of these.


One Step Crimper

One Step Crimping
So I purchased the one step crimping tool after reading about it and seeing it in magazines. I purchased this not because I find crimping to be a pain but really there was so much talk about how great it is that I had to find out for myself.

First of all there are no instructions with the one step crimping tool except a couple of photos on the package showing how to place the crimp in the top and squeeze the bottom levers.

The one step crimping tool has three handles; the top one is short and used to hold the crimp in place while the two larger handles are used to squeeze the crimp closed. Sounds easy right? That’s what I thought too.

At first when I used this tool I had a heck of a time keeping the crimp in place on my wire so that it was next to my beads and clasp. Several times I got so frustrated I reached for my usual crimping pliers and finished the piece as usual.

Sometimes I would get the one step crimper to work but the crimp was loose and my wire came out causing me to waste the crimp and use my standard crimpers again. Other times I couldn’t even get the large crimping handles to work.

I thought boy was this a waste of time and money; why is everyone just raving about this tool? So I turned to the internet to find some more instructions on this tool. What I found was that I was making it very hard on myself and I learned by watching a video on how to use them the correct way to use this tool. Like my dad always said, “If all else fails read the destructions.” Another thing he would say to me is “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up” but that’s another story.

So here I will try to write out some instructions to help you use the one step crimper.

1. The small lever on the top is used to hold your crimp in place. Push down on the small lever with you hand holding the top large lever and the small lever and place your crimp in the groove. Center the crimp.
2. Let go of the small lever and move down to the two larger levers. Squeeze these together and allow the one step crimper to do its thing.
3. Once you have done step 2 move back up to the small lever and squeeze it and the top large lever. This releases your crimp and resets the one step crimper.

That’s it! After I watched that video from Rio Grande I really felt stupid for not being able to work the tool. The first time I got the tool to work after watching the video the crimp was not tight and the wire came undone. I tried again, this time making sure my crimp was centered under the small handle and the one step crimper worked like a charm. My crimp was nice and tight, exactly where I wanted it to be and smooth.

My biggest concern with this tool was what the crimp would look like when I used it. Did it make my crimp flat like I had used a flat nose pliers to press the crimp in place or was it going to look similar to what my crimps look like when I use my crimping pliers. Turns out this tool sort of rounds the crimp tube and while it is bigger than my crimps are when I use my crimping pliers, the edges of the crimp tube is smooth to the touch. So whether you use your standard crimping pliers or the One Step Crimper is up to you but to me it’s worth the price to make crimping one step instead of two or three steps using the standard crimping pliers. Chances are that I will reach for my standard crimpers out of habit but eventually I am determined to make the switch and put my standard crimpers in my show tool box for good.

Musings from Kris

This week I went out shopping at my local bead stores because I wanted to do some wire work with Artistic wire.

A while ago I bought the Lazee Daizee viking knit tool kit and it came with copper wire. I haven’t played around much with it but I will be today.

What I wanted to talk about today was the Wyr Knittr. I read a ton of really bad reviews about this tool but when I came across it in one of the stores I picked it up to give it a try. I found the little instructions that came with the tool easy to read but the photos are not much help and I happen to be one of those people who rarely reads the instructions because I look at the pictures. If I can’t figure it out by the photos then I read.

Anyway I ended up going to their website and they have much better instructions for using the Wyr Knittr.

The first time I tried to use it the stitches just wrapped around the hooks. I searched the website and found this information and thought yep that’s what I’m doing wrong.

Q. My knitted wire gets bunched up around the top of the Knittr! What am I doing wrong? (This happens only if you have a Wyr Knittr with one clip.) Mine came with three but I was only using one.
A1. Pull down gently but firmly on the nose of the clip that’s holding the wire more often.
A2. The weighted clip may not be hanging freely. Be sure that it does not rest on the table and there is weight on the wire coming out of the machine.
A3. The stitches being knitted are not falling below the latches. Make sure you push EACH STITCH below the latch (see close-up of instructions) or the wire will not knit properly.
A4. It could be that your wire broke around the needles while you were knitting. Look down the tube to see if this has happened and, if so it would be best to just start again.
A5. If you are using 28-gauge wire, you will need to pull down a bit more often since this wire is thicker and less resilient.

Okay so thanks that makes a little more sense, but when I tried it I found that the stitch on the hook didn’t drop below the clasp so I had to find out about that and what to do.  Here’s what I found out, if it doesn’t go below you clasp on your hook you have to push it down.  No other solution for that problem and I had to push it down on every single stitch.

Push down stitch

I started using the Wyr Knittr but I quickly found that holding the wire in one hand and not putting tension on it, turning the handle with the other while holding onto the Wyr Knittr, pushing down each stitch and making sure I didn’t bump the weights and cause them to fall off was just too much to do.  I don’t know about you but I was only born with two hands and even though all moms learn how to multi-task and do things that used to take two hands with only one because the other is holding the child, I still couldn’t do all this.

So when my husband, Steve, got home from work I told him about what problems I was having and the looked around my studio work bench and said, “If you have a dowel that will fit the spool of wire you could put the dowel in your vise and drop the spool on that.  Then you wouldn’t have to hold the wire and your hands would be free.”  Genius, I knew there was a reason why I’ve kept him around for 32 years.

This morning when I got to my studio I got out one of my dowels and put it in the vise, dropped the spool of wire on it and just looked at it and the Wyr Knittr.  I was thinking okay I don’t have to hold the wire but I still have to turn the handle, push the stitch down, hold the Wyr Knittr, and not bump the weights causing them to fall off.  Still too many things with only two hands. 

I have figured out what to do with it and here is what I did.  I got out the clamp I use to hold my rotary cutter when I am making jump rings, placed my vise on one side of my bench and the Wyr Knittr on the other side; I angled the Wyr Knittr so that the handle was free to rotate and the wire could drop through the center without restriction.  Now all I had to do was guide the wire with one hand and turn the handle with the other.  As I said before with every stitch I had to push the stitch down but found I simply turned the handle, pushed the stitch down, and turned the handle.  While I would rather that I didn’t have to push the stitch down each time I found it was easy and quick to do.

I did have  a problem of the wire breaking.  I was using the wire that came with the Wyr Knittr and the only thing I found on their website was that it breaks when you are using too thin of a wire.  What I did was when it broke at the beginning I just kept going and cut it off when I finished, but when it broke in the middle I had to quit and I ended up with a shorter piece than I wanted.  Since I work a lot with wire I know that sometime I’ll need a smaller piece of this and I will get it out of my scraps and use it so it’s not a waste.

Now it was just like it should be and I was free to stuff beads into the mesh or coil it or do just about anything with it.  I decided to draw it down using my Lazee Daizee Viking Knit draw plate.  I pulled the mesh through the draw plate drawing it through a smaller and smaller hole.  I ended up with a slightly longer piece of mesh than I started with but what was the best is that is looks like a chain.  It’s very flexible and just beautiful.  I can’t wait to use this tool with all the colors of 30 gauge wire I have and see what it looks like.

For what it’s worth I would recommend this tool.  It’s so much easier than actually knitting wire in the round and what you end up with is so versatile you are sure to come up with thousands of ideas for your designs.

Here are some photos of my Wyr Knittr set up and the mesh I ended up with.

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KL Jewelry Design Closing Shop

Okay so this has been a really tough week. On the 9th of August I was notified by SSA that they are denying my disability claim again. Second time for that. When they did that it meant that for me to appeal I have to ask for a hearing which also meant it was time to get an attorney. Did that on Wednesday this week. He’s great and I’m very confident I will win this time.

Got the request for a hearing done, he sent a letter to my doctors, I’ll go see my doctors every few months to follow up on things and now I just get to sit and wait for up to 22 months!!!! This has been going on for 9 months already. Our government at work.

Anyway part of this process meant that I am no longer allowed to be self-employed. I never really thought of myself as being self-employed but turns out that’s exactly what I was. I had to close my website store, take all my inventory off of Artfire and Etsy, untangle myself from a bunch of groups and websites that I showed my goods on, cancel all my fall shows, cancel hotel rooms, and I’m down to the last two shows that I have to call the schools to cancel and I’ll do that on Monday.

Talk about depressing. I don’t think my meds will help much today. Trying to keep my chin up and so I thought I’d just post this quick blog.

I’m not doing away with my blog so you’ll see news from me. I’ll keep making jewelry for that day when I’m allowed to start earning some money again. I can’t just not do what I love. I’ll show photos of my work and keep everyone informed of upcoming shows in the area but I just can’t be part of selling things there.

Thanks for following and reading my blogs and don’t forget I’ll still be here just not selling.

KL Jewelry Designs’s First Jewelry Giveaway!

Read my post about my giveaway for your chance to win.

Women Supporting Women in Business

Welcome to Women Supporting Women in Business!

In an effort to encourage growth and participation in this group I’ve made a few changes that I’d like to update everyone on. Please read on:

1. We are changing our name to: Women Supporting Women In Business. We are no longer limiting membership to the Nebraska/Iowa area but opening it up to Women in Business throughout the US. I know we have a few ladies already on here – and we welcome you! Please feel free to participate and add events & activities that you participate in. We’d love to see you be successful and hopefully you will find some new clients too.

2. Tina Peterson said, “I have asked Kris Penney of KL Jewelry Design to join me in moderating this site. She and I have come up with a few guidelines that will be required of everyone. These guidelines are now in place to help with advertising our group, encouraging participation and hopefully improve our site.”

So, here we go:

A. Email/blog/facebook: Everyone is required to have something similar to:

A member of Women Supporting Women in Business, where women support and encourage each other in business. For networking and the opportunity to find events to showcase and demonstrate your business, go to:

To add your ‘signature’ to your email in gmail or yahoo – do the following:

Gmail: Go to Settings (top right corner), click, scroll down to signature and put your contact information in the text box. Here is what mine says:

Kris Penney
KL Jewelry Design
Order online: .
Blog: or
A member of Women Supporting Women in Business, where women support and encourage each other in business. For networking and the opportunity to find events to showcase and demonstrate your business, go to:
Yahoo: Open your email account, click on Options (a drop down menu opens), click on Email Options, click on ‘signature’ in left hand corner, add or change your signature. When finished click on ‘save changes’, and you’re done!

B: All members should post something about WSW on Twitter and Facebook a minimum of once a week. I will admit, I have not been real good about doing this. And I am starting now. Remember Twitter only allows 140 characters. Our goal is to help each grow and expand our businesses. I will be posting a group site and we can follow each other’s face book and/or twitter site. (Note: No example – I used the same signature for both accounts)

C. Please feel free to use the blog function, list your blog, website, face book and twitter addresses on your page. Ideally I’d like to see people using the blog function for sure. Please let Kris or I know if you need help with this.

D. Please create a photo album of your business. I’m planning on figuring out how to have those in a visible place for each business. Each person should have at least 1 photo album on the site. If you don’t know how to create a photo album or load a picture from your website or from your camera – let us know and I’m sure we can figure it out. Personally, I highlight the picture I want to download to my computer, right click on it and save picture as and go from there to save it. Then all you need to do is upload it to your album. Easy Peesy.

E. Member photo. Each member needs to upload a picture of themselves or their product (I don’t own a camera so I understand if you need to use your product in place of a picture of you). Please don’t leave a grayed out picture – it’s awfully hard to know who that is a picture of without something downloaded in place! No more gray people allowed! Need help? Just ask.

We would really like to see more growth and participation on this site. If you have any great ideas or would like to start up a group – please feel free to or send us a message and we can do some brainstorming.

Thanks! Tina & Kris

Tina’s email:
Kris’s email:

KL Jewelry Design Summer News

New Bracelets!

I’ve been working on my wire wrapping skills and the things that are the most fun to make are bracelets. 

Not to disappoint anyone that loves gemstones I’ve also been making bracelets with only beads and no wire. 

All of these newest pieces are available online at my store or stop by any of these shows and see the piece for yourself.

2010 Show Schedul



 Event Title




Benson Craft Happening

Downtown Benson
Omaha, NE 



Cottonwood Festival

Brickyard Park
Hastings, NE



Artisan Market

12th and Leavenworth
Omaha, NE 



Artisan Market

12th and Leavenworth
Omaha, NE 



Artisan Market

12th and Leavenworth
Omaha, NE 



Art Fair

Rockbrook Village
Omaha, NE 



Art at the Pointe

Village Pointe Shopping Center
Omaha, NE 



Cider Days Craft Show

Topeka Event Center
Topeka, KS 



Millard West Craft Show

Millard West High School
Omaha, NE



Silverhawk Arts and Craft Fair

Lincoln SW High School
Lincoln, NE



Clarinda Craft Carnival

Page County Fairgrounds Cow Palace 
Clarinda, IA 



 Ashland Craft Show

Mahoney State Park
Ashland, NE



Fall Craft Fair

Lewis Centeral High School
Council Bluffs, IA 



Beth El Fall Boutique

 Beth El Synagogue
Omaha, NE



Fall Craft Fair

Papillion-LaVista South High School
Papillion, NE

Introducing the KL Jewelry Design Home Jewelry Party!!

$25 of Free Jewelry!  

 Enjoy a personalized shopping experience at home with your friends when you host a fun and easy jewelry home party.

 You’ll earn FREE jewelry designed and handcrafted by Kris Penney. 

You’ll find jewelry treasures to keep and gorgeous, one-of-a-kind gifts to give!

Prices begin at $10.
Custom orders welcome!
Cash, Checks, Visa, and MasterCard accepted.

Plus . . . an additional discount of . . 15% of your guest total of $800+, or 10% of your guest total of $100-$799.

Plus . . . another $10 of FREE jewelry for each party booked from your party! (redeemable at or after that party) 

Plus . . . another $10 of free jewelry if you have 20 or more guests! Redeem this certificate at your Home Jewelry Party!

Schedule your Jewelry Home Party today!

Just give me a call or e-mail me:

KL Jewelry Design

by Kris Penney

Papillion, NE



Chrysoberyl – Crafting With Gemstones

This article features my jewelry!!!

This is the first article that has been published featuring some of my jewelry!! I’m excited.

Spring Fever

Wow was this show a bomb. A fair amount of traffic but people just walking around not really purchasing from anyone. Most of the vendors thought it was a huge waste of time.

It was a real learning experience for me. My first outdoor event and my first time using my canopy. I have sides for it but since I couldn’t stake them down I put weights on them but the wind was so gusty that it blew my displays over so I laid my jewelry on the tables. But then the wind gusted and took the weights off the back wall and the side knocked a table with rings, bracelets, and pendants over. Luckily nothing broke and no one was near the table. Sure cleared out my booth in a hurry.

First time taking credit cards too. The first one I scanned I did it wrong and didn’t capture anything. Thought I saw the green light but it was so sunny I guess I didn’t. Anyway after that I scanned them correctly and processed them when I got home. The one I did wrong I just called the man and told him about it. He laughed and gave me the number and I processed his payment. I did let people know that it was the first time I had ever used my scanner.

I have to go get something to hold my tablecloths down today and figure out something to do with my walls. They are supposed to be for an ezup but they are too big. I wonder if I can’t sew up the seam in the middle and weather proof it to make them fit the sides without a lot of slack and bagging.

My Tials for Out of Town Shows

Last weekend I was to have a booth at the Tulip Festival but on Thursday I discovered that I would not be able to attend. I had a scheduled set up time on Friday and the show was Saturday and Sunday. I called the Chamber of Commerce for the town and called and emailed the hotel I had reservations at.

The next day I got a really nasty email from the hotel telling me to never stay with them again and it’s because of people like me that hotels overbook and give your room away.

I’ll tell you the name of the hotel after I’m done with this story.

I was shocked by the email and took most of the day to think about what I would write back or if I was even going to reply. In the end I sent them an email telling them that they were rude, I didn’t know about the 1 week cancelation policy, and they didn’t need to worry because I would never stay there and I would be sure to post on everything I post on (and I post a lot) about how terrible the hotel was.

The next morning the hotel started calling me and emailing me trying to make up for the nasty email I received. It turns out that the owners of the hotel didn’t know anything about what was going on and they emailed me to apolgize for the manager they had just fired. They told me they have owned the hotel for 18 years and the last two years they have had nothing but trouble with their managers and the owners are now running the hotel again. They apologized for what the disgruntled employee had said to me. I thanked them and told them I understand but they had still charged me for the room and overdrawn my account. (Car broke down and had to be fixed leaving me without the money to go to the show.) Anyway I have since been refunded all the money including the overdraft and I now have a free room either next year for the show or for a get away weekend in their suite with the jacuzzi in it.

Turns out it will be a fantastic place to go and stay, just far enough away from my husband’s family in Kansas but close enough to visit for the day. I have since decided to go ahead and recommend the Simmer Motel in Wamego, KS.

I just thought I’d write this showing that if you are polite and don’t fly off the handle like the manager did you can usually work out a problem without damaging your reputation as a business person or the other business’ reputation.

Do give them a try and I’m sure you will enjoy your stay.

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