Category Archives: Weekly Blog Topics

Beautiful calligraphy

Stunning typography by Barbara Calzolari as part of a TEDx event in Bologna earlier this year.


Aquamarine – March birthstone


Vassil, Wikipedia

Aquamarine (Lat. aqua marina, water of the sea) is the March birthstone and a silicate mineral with the chemical formula Be3Al2(SiO3)6. All minerals of the beryl group consist of beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate and aquamarine is its turquoise or blue variety.

If this mineral has a very deep blue colour, you might find it called maxixe. The beryl minerals belong to the cyclosilicates, a sub-group of silicates, and as the name implies there’s a ring structure in the crystal.

The presence of iron ions alters the colour. Fe2+ ions cause a crystal to look pale blue, whereas Fe3+ make it yellow-golden. A combination of both ions produces a dark blue colour, maxixe. Sunlight or heat treatment lighten the mineral. Aquamarine is transparent and 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, with 7-10 being able to scratch the surface of glass, and 1-6 being damaged by a scratching knife along their surface. Diamond is the hardest at 10 and talc the softest at 1.

Aquamarines have been used in royal jewellery for hundreds of years and in the English crown there’s a 920-carat gem. Already at the end of 1300, the first pair of lenses was made from aquamarine for spectacles. The etymology of beryl is quite interesting and the German word for eyeglasses, Brille, might not be so illogical after all.

The crystals found in many locations around the world can become large and the heaviest one of gemstone quality found to date weighs 110.5 kg. The largest cut gem can be seen in the National Museum of Natural History, part of Smithsonian Institute.

Jewellery containing aquamarines can be cleaned quickly under running water. The gemstone is brittle so please treat it with care.

Spring means new beginnings

Hello hello! Are you looking to get organised and decluttered? Here are some tips then:

  • My blogging-themed Pinterest board; free printables and infographics on SEO, writing, etc.
  • I’ve heard great things about Project 333 and am intrigued enough to read blog articles on the website regarding creating a capsule wardrobe.
  • If cleaning is the natural word to put after Spring, look no further than my cleaning-themed Pinterest board. Personally I’m more into dealing with as I go, but there’s nothing quite like a home after a top-to-bottom cleaning frenzy.
  • Is your bank account screaming in dissatisfaction? A month-long project called 31 Days to Fix Your Finances might be the answer. It’s painfully thorough, but I’m never been quite as aware of my cash flow as after having finished my own project.
  • Since I’m a sucker for happy endings, make a cocktail or two! I’ve got you covered with yet another Pinterest board, Party | Drink. If you prefer something without alcohol, there’s Everyday | Drink, too.

Pinterest is causing mixed feelings in me and it is more meaningful to me when I can create the boards with someone else – you – in mind. All of the pins are there because they are pretty and/or useful, but many I will never use in my own everyday life.

They might inspire someone else, though, so I keep adding to each of my many boards whenever I think a pin is particularly nice in one way or the other. Happy Thursday!

Visual Thursday links

There’s so much to experience around us constantly that I don’t want to add to the overload, so from now on there will be a maximum of five links presented each Thursday. Short but sweet!

Today, the theme is colour and graphics:

Happy Thursday to you!

Topaz – November birthstone


Michelle Jo, Wikipedia

Last week we discussed minerals and concluded they are divided into two groups, the silicate minerals with silicon and oxygen in different ratios, and the non-silicate minerals. Topaz, one of November’s two birthstones, is a silicate mineral with the chemical formula Al2SiO4(F,OH)2. Its name originates in St. John’s Island in the Red Sea, Τοπάζιος (Τοpáziοs) in ancient Greek. Topaz is a semi-precious gemstone.

Topaz comes in many colours and mystic topaz means that a colourless gem has been treated to give its surface a rainbow effect (see if you can find it in the picture!). It is transparent and an 8 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, with 7-10 being able to scratch the surface of glass, and 1-6 being damaged by a scratching knife along their surface. Diamond is the hardest at 10 and talc the softest at 1.

If you want to see huge topaz crystals in real life, there are many natural history museums around the world that have them in their collections. The largest cut gemstone is The American Golden Topaz of almost 22,900 carat or over 4.5 kg, whereas in 1986 a crystal weighing a whopping 5 tonnes (2 x 1.8 metres) was found in Brazil, a significant source of topaz. Smaller crystals have been found in many locations around the world.

It is enough to clean a topaz quickly under running water. Apparently it’s also beneficial to place it in direct sunshine for a short while, to “recharge it”. Regardless of cleaning procedure, remember it can crack when forced through large temperature changes or when it is slammed hard against another object.

Topaz is the birthstone of November in both the U.S. and U.K.

Last day of October links


Thomas Backa, Flickr

Happy Halloween to those, who celebrate it! For the rest of us, it’s simply the last day of October and since it’s also Thursday, that means link time.

Have fun and stay safe if you’re trick-or-treating out there!

Weddings and Pinterest – Part 2

SolskenDesign - Organise wedding on Pinterest

In Weddings and Pinterest Part 1, I gave some suggestions on who to follow on Pinterest for great wedding-related pins. Now I’ll share my ideas on how to arrange your boards when you’re planning your own wedding or are helping someone else plan theirs.

I pin to boards of many different topics, so to find quickly what I’m looking for I’ve named them “Party | Palette & Theme” or “Party | Halloween” when it makes sense to keep pins of broad different contexts separated.

Another example is “Craft | Yarn” and “Craft | Paper” when I have sub-interests within that context (crafting) and like to keep pins on different boards. All craft-related boards sit next to each other, though.

When there’s a need to divide even further, I pin like this:

  • “Home | Decor”
  • “Home | Clean”
  • “Home | Organize” (general organising)
  • “Home | Organize, Kitchen” (lots of printables for jars, various kitchen helpers, tips, etc.)
  • “Home | Organize in 2013” (printables specific to 2013)
  • “Home | Organize in 2013” (printables specific to 2014)

When you look at the list of boards, it’s great to see which ones are related, since you can’t but scroll that list. What I mean is there’s no built-in feature at the time being to zoom in or out, so the icons for each board are quite large, and helping the brain register contexts quicker happens through streamlining the titles. It also helps to pick carefully the main photo in order to tone down visual clutter of the profile page with all the boards.

SolskenDesign - Wedding boards on Pinterest

Solsken Design boards on Pinterest

I’m not planning a wedding, but if I were, I would either drop “Wedding” from the titles entirely to increase available visible characters, or I’d shorten it to “W | Stationery” and so on. I’m also just starting with creating boards for this Wedding Wednesday blog series, so quite a few contexts are still missing.

The “Party | Wedding” exists as a general board at the end of the party-related boards and I’ve put pins there that don’t have homes elsewhere.

Personally, when planning a wedding, I’d like more sub-contexts available, so for instance:

  • “Stationery | Save-the-Date”
  • “Stationery | Invitation”
  • “Stationery | Menu” and
  • “Stationery | Guest book”

would be created. As you can see from the STD board in particular, its name is so long that you can’t fit many more characters or the title ends up not showing in its entirety on the profile page. The bride, depending on her taste, might also want to create separate boards for shoes, the gown, veil and so on. The reception in my case covers more contexts than I can count right now and according to venue, budget, amount of guests, etc. I’d split up in sub-boards.

The order of the boards is also a personal choice. I started with stationery because I perceive the process to begin from the save-the-date card, or rather the brainstorming and selection of it, but then I come from a country where engagement parties aren’t common right now.

Regardless of how you decide to divide pins and organise your thoughts, for your own sake be consistent according to an informed decision. The last thing you need is chaos at the wrong time, but pinning with care and making sure to add precise comments to each pin will help you use also the search function, if a pin by mistake has found its way to the wrong board. Weeding pins that turned out not to be keepers is another good practice!

Have fun pinning and happy planning!