And the Winner for the Craftsy Giveaway.

Congratulations to Robin S. the winner for the Craftsy Giveaway. Thank you all for taking the time to enter. This was the first time that I had use Rafflecopter for my giveaway and I will admit, it had a few bumps. I will figure out the whole giveaway thing eventually. LOL.

If you didn’t win, you can still get a great deal on the workshop. For the next week (Until March 5, 2015), you use this link: Creative Wire Wrapping Techniques and you will receive 50% off your purchase of this workshop. That makes the course only $15. Even if you just go to the Craftsy.com website it is on sale for $20. Think about what you pay for tutorials, most are upwards of $10 and that is just for a paper tutorial. This is a video, your subscription never expires, you can watch at your pace, rewind and everything. I am excited about the video platform, but you already know that.

I love doing videos. I can’t wait to get back from the retreat in Texas in another week so I can start on the videos that will be a companion to the projects in my book. I am currently in talks with several places to offer my video workshops. So there are some good things coming down the line and I hope to get them live this year. Now I just need to figure out how to photograph myself so I can get the projects for my book done.

Don’t Forget, I still have the Pepetools Jump Ring Maker Giveaway going on. We are just past our 1/2 way point. Please help me spread the word on this. Just copy and paste the link where you want to share it.  http://eepurl.com/bbI3kj

JumpRingMaker

Tool Time Tuesday – Bench Anvil and Steel Plate Reviews

Remember when I said it was always fun to go to Tucson and hang out in Kevin Potter‘s shop? Well, that is also a dangerous place for me to be as I fall madly in love with the tools he makes, and of course, those tools find a way to follow me home. But my studio will welcome all the new tools with open arms and graciously finds places for everything. That is certainly the case with these two new additions to my studio. They are similar, but still quite different in their function.

The first of these is a Bench Anvil. The bench Anvil is a heat hardened steel that becomes abrasion RESISTANT. This means that while it is extremely hard, it is still possible to leave little dings in it, especially if you haven’t properly dressed and polished your hammers (a topic for an upcoming Tool Time Tuesday post.) However this tool is HARD and glorious to work with. The Anvil is 6″, round and the hard top is welded to a 2″ high mild steel base.

The next tool is a larger Steel Plate/Platen. This piece is glorious as it is a fairly large working surface measuring 10″ x 6″. This tool differs, not only in size, but also in material. The steel is actually a Mild Steel, which means it is NOT abrasion resistant. You would be best to use a rawhide or nylon mallet with this one to prevent surface marking. So why have it then? Well, for me, I use it to flatten out larger pieces of metal, scribe designs and measurements, layout designs, etc. It is such a useful LARGE, FLAT surface for me.

One other really great thing about these tools is that Kevin will resurface them for the first time for free, and for life after that, for a nominal fee and shipping. I have only been working in my studio for a week since returning from Tucson and both have been quite well used already.

So if you are looking at buying a larger working surface, you may want to consider these.

REMEMBER – GIVE AWAYS!!!!!

Don’t forget, there is still time to enter my giveaways. I have two of them going right now.

Debora Mauser’s workshop giveaway has only 2 1/2 days left. Be sure to enter at the end of the linked post. Even if you aren’t able to leave a comment, fill in your information and mark it complete and you will be entered. If you are having issues entering, just send me a message and I will be sure you are entered.

Pepetools Jump Ring Maker Giveaway. We are just past our 1/2 way point. Please help me spread the word on this. Just copy and paste the link where you want to share it.  http://eepurl.com/bbI3kj

JumpRingMaker

Online Workshop Review/Giveaway: Debora Mauser/Craftsy – Creative Wire Wrapping Techniques

As I mentioned in my previous post I have an online workshop review and a giveaway. I am very excited about this one because the star of the workshop is one of my good friends, Debora Mauser. Debora and I met probably 7 years ago when I attended a retreat in North Carolina. We hit it off right away and she remains one of my good friends to this day. In fact, she was one of my roommates in Tucson. Since meeting Debora all those years ago she has become a sought after instructor teaching at events and locations including William Holland, Bead and Button, Tucson Gem Show and many more. She has recently teamed up with Craftsy.com to make a video on Creative Wire Wrapping Techniques.

I had the good fortune to be able to watch and review this workshop. I haven’t ever seen a Craftsy workshop before so it was fun to be able to see this in action. I have quite a few friends and colleagues that are currently filming for them and I am thrilled to see these professional videos available at such an affordable price. One of the things I like about the videos is that you have them for life. They never expire. You can return to the video and watch again and again as you would like. These videos also have the option of speeding up or slowing down the playback rate. This is really nice if you want to really see how something is done and need it just a bit slower. Or, if you have already heard the topic, but don’t want to miss anything, just increase the speed a bit. The videos are really well done.

Debora is very easy to watch and I love listening to her sweet Southern accent. See the picture above? She walks you through every little thing in that beautiful necklace. The workshop is laid out in 7 sections, each about 20 – 25 minutes long. Some of the lessons build on the techniques learned in the previous lesson. By combining techniques you can really step up the look of your components and end up with a truly artistic piece of jewelry.

She begins with hammering techniques to create paddles and chain links. You will learn troubleshooting techniques to address uneven hammer blows, texturing, proper wire working techniques and tools, along with the safe use of said tools. Learn multiple ways of creating coils and take that even further to created coiled embellishments. She also demonstrates wire weaving, lashing, and the proper way of connecting multiple pieces of wire together for a great focal piece. And there is so much more.

This workshop is technique based and not project based. At the end of the workshop you will have learned a number of wire techniques and be able to combine them all to create unique pieces, but you are not guided through an entire project from start to finish. You are left to your own creative devises for the execution of the final piece.

For the next two weeks (Until March 5, 2015), you use this link: Creative Wire Wrapping Techniques and you will receive 50% off your purchase of this workshop. That makes the course only $15. Even if you just go to the Craftsy.com website it is on sale for $20.

To enter just click the link below and fill in the form so I will be able to contact you when you win. I will do a random drawing for names of the entries on Friday, February 27th.  There is just one condition, and even then, not really. Please leave a comment on your experience with online workshops. Have you taken any? Plan to take any? What would you like to see? You won’t be added to any lists, your name and information won’t be shared. Good Luck! 

Creative Wire Wrapping Techniques with Debora Mauser GIVEAWAY

Tool Time Tuesday – Mini Hydraulic Press Review

I have been home from Tucson for just over a week now, but I think I am finally just now getting back on track. It is crazy how long it takes to get back into the swing of things when you have made a trip, let alone an 11-day trip. Sadly, the trip was rather difficult on my girls, especially my youngest. So I don’t think I will do much traveling for a while. I am leaving in just a week and a half to teach at the retreat in Texas and I will be gone for 9 days there. But that one has been in the works for almost a year, so I can’t exactly cancel, not that I even remotely want to. LOL. Speaking of the retreat, there are still a couple of spaces open if you think you might like to join us. :) It will be a great time with great instructors in a beautiful location with gourmet food (which is included in the price of the retreat.)  http://www.roadhousearts.com/spring-2015-jewelry-retreat/

My Giveaway is still open for the Pepetools Jump Ring Maker. So if you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to enter. http://eepurl.com/bbI3kj We are about 1/2 way to the goal for entries. So please enter and share it.

JumpRingMaker

Tucson was so much fun this year. I was able to share a room with some good friends from when I lived back east in Ohio. It was so good to spend some time with them again. I also got to meet many new friends. It was the most fun to meet some of you, my blog readers. It is always fun to put a face with a name. So thanks for stopping by to meet me and introducing yourselves. I am looking forward to next year already. I will have some really fun things to show you in the very near future. I got myself some VERY beautiful rocks, so be on the lookout for some eye candy. I also bought some copper sheet (at a discount due to being scratched and dinged a bit) and was able to get it cut into 6×6″ squares and will be destashing some of that very soon. In fact, I need to destash quite a bit. We have to put a new roof on our house and the bids are CRAZY for this big house of mine.

While I was in Tucson, I got to play with a lot of the new tools that Kevin Potter of Potter USA has come out with. And of course, I brought quite a few of them home so I can review them for you. That reminds me, I also have an online workshop I am reviewing and will be able to give one lucky winner a free subscription to the workshop. More details to come soon. Sometimes it is so hard to be me. *snicker*

One of the tools that I brought home was the Mini Hydraulic Press. This press is an 8-ton press that is meant for cutting pancake dies only. It will not do any kind of forming, it just doesn’t have the strength. In fact, the opening is too small for the bracelet pancake dies. So this is going to be for any of the other pancake dies that are 4″ or smaller. The nice thing about this press is that it has such a small foot print.

Press Size Comparisont

The Image above gives you an idea about the size of this little machine. It is so much fun to use though. This is a great tool for anyone that is wanting to get into a production mode and just punch out shapes. If you want to do anything other than that, you would be wise to move up to the next larger size.

Want to learn more? Check out this short little video.

Made it to Tucson

i just pulled in to my hotel here in Tucson and am ready for a week of fun working in Kevin Potter’s shop, shopping and teaching.  Speaking of teaching, I am changing the dates for a couple of my workshops. The components workshop is now on Friday, February 6th.  And I am canceling the Caught Ya! Pendant. I still have a few spaces left in the other workshops, so check them out if you are  in the area.

http://kcjewelbox.com/Workshops_c26.htm

NEW CLASS DATE: FRIDAY, FEB 6th. Melissa Muir - Hydraulic Press Components Workshop

NEW CLASS DATE: FRIDAY, FEB 6th. Melissa Muir – Hydraulic Press Components Workshop

I will post pictures of everything as I get the chance. See you all soon.

Tool Time Tuesday – Rotary Tumblers & Another Giveaway

Hey everyone. Yes, I know it is Friday. But, the video was posted to my YouTube channel on Tuesday, so technically it is still Tool Time Tuesday, right?  Hey, when you are a mom to three busy girls, you just have to roll with it sometimes. That, and Sales Taxes caught me off guard. I looked at the due date wrong. D’oh! So glad I looked again.  And, I owe a whole whopping $2.46 in Sales Taxes. LOL. That is good and bad, as it is an indicator of my sales for this past year. However, I believe I squeaked out a tiny bit of profit. Like maybe a hundred dollars or so. WOOT! Last year was probably my worst year emotionally and everything, so that tiny bit of a profit made me smile all night long, even now. :D <== See? Big Smile.

When I asked about topics for Tool Time Tuesday, a couple of people asked about Rotary Tumblers. I have a couple of them here in my studio so I thought I would give a quick comparison between the two of them.

If you are interested in getting a 3A Lortone Tumbler (the one featured in the video) and Mixed Stainless Steel Shot, let me know. I do sell those, however I do not keep them in stock. They do meet my minimum purchase amount from my supplier, so I can have it sent directly to you. Just let me know.

GIVEAWAY – Pepetools Jump Ring Maker

JumpRingMaker

That is right, Pepetools has graciously offered a Jump Ring Maker (JMR2). Same deal as the last giveaways. You are just giving us (Pepetools and I) to add you to our email lists. You can always unsubscribe if you would like. Pepetools only sends out a few a year. There will be a few more than that from me, especially as I would like to just have my blog posts go out to my email list. That way I can have everything in one tidy little place.

** Oh, and no worries. You won’t be added to the list multiple times. I know it says you are, but you really aren’t. So you shouldn’t receive two emails and such. But I do still need you to actually enter the drawing through the link provided below.

When will the giveaway be done? Well, that depends. Pepetools has asked that we have a certain number of entries before we do the giveaway. We are currently about a 1/4 of the way there. So please share and share and share. I am dying to find out who is going to get the jump ring maker.

ENTER HERE: http://eepurl.com/bbI3kj

Here are a couple of videos for you to get you excited about winning it.

Progress and feeling great

I want to tell you all thank you so much for all your love and encouragement over the past little while. The last couple of years have been so hard for me with the moves and trials we have had. I really suffered emotionally and it is crazy. The kicker for me was when my blog had to move and I lost all my subscribers, photos and had to redo them all. That was so frustrating that I just had to stop even visiting my blog because it just made me so mad. But, The fog has lifted. I am creating again. I feel great again. I have ideas again. I am ready to go and moving quickly. Thank you.

This past week my friend and jewelry artist, Mary Govaars, came and worked with me for 7 solid days. What did we do? We got my book organized. She helped me identify ALL of the projects. She also helped me to see that I have at least two books that I will be writing. There is just too much for one. That is a good problem to have, right? We laid out the sections and flow of the projects. All of the projects and steps have been written and are currently being edited and verified. The book progresses beautifully from beginner projects all the way to advanced. There are more beginner to intermediate projects than advanced, but the second book will pick up where this one leaves off and readers will continue to grow their skills. I am so revved up and excited, I am almost like a kid in the candy store and can hardly wait for my kids to leave for school so I can get in to the studio and play. I haven’t felt that for such a long time. It is wonderful.

Fold and Hydraulic Formed Pendant - Melissa Muir

Fold and Hydraulic Formed Pendant – Melissa Muir

This pendant is one that I started working on when my friend Francesca Watson came to visit in October. It actually had several melt downs and went through a fair amount of silver trying to make the bail. However, I changed it up, finally bought my acetylene tank and got my torch set back up, and there were very loud squeals of delight and celebration coming from my studio when everything worked and I didn’t melt it again. If you were within about 30 miles, I am sure you heard the squeals. I floated on clouds for the next two days knowing that I finally got this project done. It feels so good to be back.

Talkin’ Tools

If you enjoy Tool Time Tuesday, then I would like to introduce you to my friend Kathleen Krucoff.  She offers a feature on her blog Mystical Mytical Metalwork called Talkin’ Tools. In her first installment, in a long time anyway, she talks about chasing hammers. Her work has evolved and right now she is really into chasing and Repouse’, and she shares her favorite tools for the different techniques she is trying. it is always good to hear about tools from a number of people. Everyone has their opinions and way of doing things. So take a few minutes and check it out. You might find another blog you love to read and is full of great information and resources.

Speaking of Tool Time Tuesday, I will be back tomorrow with another installment. So I will see you all again tomorrow!

The Tucson Gem Show Is Right Around The Corner

I have finalized the dates for my workshops in Tucson. Some are starting to fill up. So if you think you will be in Tucson for the Gem Show, please consider taking a workshop with me. I promise it will be a lot of fun. All the workshops are in the evening from 5:30 – 9:30, so all the shopping will be done for the day. Each workshop is only $165 and includes everything. All you need to do is show up and have some fun. Most are hydraulic press related, but you don’t have to have a press at home to enjoy these classes. In fact, the components workshop would be a great one as you can come and make tons of components that can be taken back home and incorporated into your work.

And if you register for more than one workshop, I will refund $20 for each additional workshop you register for.

Register for workshops herehttp://www.kcjewelbox.com/Workshops_c26.htm

Dates for each workshop is listed below and on each photo:

Component Making – Feb 1, 2015
Silhouette Die making – Feb 2, 2015
Cuffs, Cuffs, Cuffs – Feb 3, 2015
Forming with a Swage Block – Feb 4, 2015
Caught YA! Pendant – Feb 6, 2015

Components SilhouetteDieMakingCuffsCuffsCuffs  SwageWorkshopCaughtYaPendant

Finally Making Some New Pieces

As you know, I have really struggled lately (like for the past 4 years) to get back into the groove of things. Between having a baby (now 4 years old) and moving across the country a couple of times, setting up a new house and trying to figure out what I want to do, it has been awful. But This year…. This year is going to be different. We are now in a  routine. The house still has a LOT of projects and I need to figure out how to get organized, but I am finding I finally have some time to myself. I have set many new goals. Utah isn’t the easiest place to have a jewelry making business. The people here are just different and value things a bit differently. Let me just say, there is a reason why I can do what I do. I grew up here. I knew the mentality of Utah when it comes to being creative and “crafty.”

Melissa_Muir_LabradoriteSwirl1

I have been approached by several online places to offer my workshops and videos. For a while now I have wanted to have my own video subscription service on my website with projects and such. This year, all of that is going to happen. Dates  have already been set for multiple national teaching opportunities. I will be teaching in Tucson at the Gem show next month. In March I will be teaching in the San Antonio/Austin area. Then in July, I will be teaching in Las Vegas. I am so thrilled to be “getting back to it.”

Melissa_Muir_LabradoriteSwirl

The other day my husband came home from work and I left the kids in his charge and retreated to the studio. He came in and asked what I was doing. I told him that I was tired of not creating and listening to the awful enemies in my head. So I figured that if I just came in the studio and forced myself to create something, then perhaps my creative muse would awaken and I could get back to “me.” The Me that used to sit and just pull out a stone or two and create. When I was that “ME” things just came together. That is where I am going to get back to. I am excited to get back to ME. This should be a fun year. Want to see what I have done so far? They aren’t perfect but I am sure pleased with them. It is a fabulous start.

Melissa_Muir_BlueLadyBugSwirl

 

I am also really excited that this week a good friend of mine is coming in from California to help me get the layout of my book going. I am  hoping to have the first volume of my book out in just the next couple of months. We will see how it all goes. I may be even further behind than I think. Then again, I may be further ahead than I think. Cross your fingers that things go well. :)

 

 

MelissaMuir-YOJ2015-Week2

Next week I may be a bit quiet as we get our nose to the grind stone and really push to get everything going.

I have been going through my studio and found that I have a lot of things I don’t use. This includes tools and beads and such. So in an effort to raise money for the costs associated with  publishing my book, and hopefully getting a few things in Tucson, I will be holding a destash. I haven’t figured out how I am going to run it yet, but I need to get some things cleared out. I just don’t use some of this stuff and it might as well go to someone who can use it.

But in the meantime, I am so excited to be back. Thanks everyone for the encouragement and support.MelissaMuir-YOJ2015-Week1

 

Tool Time Tuesday – Shears in the Studio

First off, let me tell you all THANK YOU for entering the giveaway for the mini hydraulic press from Potter USA. It was a great success, although, how can you not have a successful giveaway? Our winner was Lecia Woessner from Maryland. It is always so much fun to be able to  give away great tools. If you didn’t win, don’t worry, there are a few more in the queue that I am sure you will still want to check out.

In Addition, I still have room in my workshops in Tucson. Please check them out and consider hanging out with me for an evening or two at Potter USA. You won’t be sorry. You will leave with finished pieces and best of all, LOTS of inspiration. And, if you sign up for multiple workshops, I will take off $20 for each additional workshop.

You can register for workshops here: http://www.kcjewelbox.com/Workshops_c26.htm

I find it funny that questions from people seem to come in category waves. Lately, the questions are about shears in the studio, more specifically bench and guillotine shears and the difference between the two of them. I happen to have one of each in my studio. So I thought I would do a video showing the differences between them. I meant to make a really short one, but there was quite a bit of info, so it is just about 9 minutes long. But if you are considering purchasing one of these shears, you might just find this video helpful.

And yes, I know that this isn’t Tuesday. But sometimes when you are a mom, you just do what you can do when you can do it. And, I did do the filming and editing yesterday. It finished uploading this morning at about 1:00. Let me tell you, 6:00 came awfully early here at my house.