Recently, when working on MANY pearl earring gifts for the Holidays, I found that I had used all my black velvet storage trays so had to come up with another solution for separating all the parts for each pair of earrings. I decided against using the egg crates since I could not remove the lid because I save the crates for friends who raise chickens. The lid would only get in the way and be a bother. I had just finished making tarts for a celebration and spotted the tart pans in the dish drainer...light bulb moment! I had used muffin tins at one time, but these fit the bill as they were smaller and three of them easily fit on my work surface. After separating the different pearl shapes into pairs and threading them on head pins, the pairs were divided in the pans. Then all the ear wires and other embellishments were added to each well.
Since I did not intend to store the pans away to work on at a later time like I would with projects in the velvet lined trays, the tart pans were a time saver, as well as a sanity saver. No worries about the pearls rolling all over and getting mixed up. The earrings could be worked on as if doing production work (completing the same step on all of them before going to the next step) as it is easy to see which ones have been worked on and which still need to be completed.
Using the tart pans have given me the push I needed to complete projects I thought I might have finished several months ago. I really missed using my velvet trays. The non-reflective velvet is easier on the eyes than the tart pans, even though after so many years of use, the pans have a dull finish.