Workshops all over the place

I know that my in-person workshops have been VERY FEW and VERY FAR between, and that probably won’t change any time soon. So here is your chance to take some of my workshops in person.  I am pleased to say that they have been filling rather quickly and some are already full. But if you hurry, you can snag one of the remaining seats.

2016 Workshop Schedule

Tucson, AZ Gem Show – All classes at Potter USA

All workshops are limited to 6 students. So don’t wait too long to sign up. All workshops are in the evening (5:30 pm – 9:30pm) at Kevin Potter’s shop in Tucson. I will be using the JoolTool in each of these workshops, especially for the finishing details. So if you have been wanting to know more about the Hydraulic Press, JoolTool (you can even bring your own) and Sand Casting, these are going to be great workshops.

Feb 1 – Sand Casting
Feb 2 – Hollow Form & Shadow Box Jewelry (JoolTool and Hydraulic Press)
Feb 3 – Cab it, Form it and Set it (JoolTool and Hydraulic Press)
Feb 4 – Potter USA Open House
Feb 5 – Sand Casting – FULL

To Register, please visit my online shop

Tucson AZ Gem Show Workshops

February – March
The Makery Arts Jewelry Retreat – Texas.

Sunday Feb 28 – Friday March 4, 2016. 5 full days with 3 gourmet meals a day at the Sage Hill Inn. We will be learning all sorts of stone setting techniques including Stone-On-Stone, taught by myself, Francesca Watson and master maker, Jim Dunakin. This retreat is already more than 1/2 full. I was able to teach last year and it was SOOOO much fun. Nothing but jewelry making, creativity exchanging and lots of laughter. Everyone came out of there enthused, excited and creatively refreshed.

For more information and to register, please visit The Makery Arts Website.

Makery Arts Jewelry Making Retreat

March – April
Glass Craft and Bead Expo – Las Vegas, NV

This is a new show for me and I am so excited. I understand that the Glass Craft and Bead expo is the “Gem Show” for the glass world. And I am excited that it is only about 6 hours drive from my home here in Utah. I will be teaching 6 workshops, 4 full-day workshops and 2 evening workshops. Registration is now open. Again, space is limited, so I wouldn’t wait too long to register.

For more information, class descriptions, and registration, please visit the Glass Craft and Bead Expo webisteClick on the course titles below to be taken to each individual course for registration.




Melissa Muir - Glass Craft Expo Workshops


September – October
Makery Arts – Bulverde Texas

Workshops are still being determined, but classes will be held September 29 – October 2nd. More information coming soon.

Tool Time Tuesday – Get a Mirror Polish with the JoolTool

Hey everyone. Well the construction and remodeling continues. I keep saying this, but hopefully we are finally done for a while. I also will probably have a little bit of a break from the videos (as if the one I have had wasn’t long enough) because I will be teaching at my daughter’s school for two and a half weeks. I am pretty excited as this is a Jewelry Making Intensive, which means I will have 12 students for the 2 1/2 weeks for 6 hours a day. I have quite a few fun techniques planned. I have also been playing with the new sand casting kit by Kevin Potter and boy has it been fun. I am finally really comfortable with it and can’t wait to create the video for that as well as teach my sand casting classes.

In this Tool Time Tuesday video I even show you how I clean up a ring that has been created through the sand casting method. Sand casting does not leave you with a super clean and smooth piece the way lost wax casting does. There is a lot of clean up. But there are some benefits to sand casting and that is a topic for another day. But the clean up…. that is todays topic.


A couple of weeks ago I had the great pleasure of traveling to the Los Angeles area where I spent a couple of days with Anie of JoolTool by Anie. It was fun and VERY informative in terms of using the JoolTool. I was able to learn a lot about the tool and what it can do and I promise there are a LOT of videos coming soon. So this is just the first of many.

In this video I use the JoolTool for Metal Polishing. But I use one additional disc – the Flex Diamond. The flex diamond is a very coarse abrasive and will remove material quickly. As you will see in the video, it does need to be used wet to help preserve the diamonds on the disc. From there, I work through progressively finer abrasives to get a final mirror finish to the sterling silver ring.

Video link:

Tool Time Tuesday – Removing and Smoothing Metal

Last night there was a discussion in one of my hydraulic press groups on FaceBook about removing the burrs left from cutting out metal shapes with some pancake dies. Of course, this also applies to any rough metal edges that may occur with any cutting process. I had mentioned that I use a belt sander followed by a medium abrasive wheel on my polishing lathe. This in turn, brought about even more questions. So I figured I would do what I always do, make a video.

The abrasive wheels I love to use work well with a polishing lathe without any special attachment. They slip right onto the tapered spindle. If you use too hard of pressure, you will blow through them quickly. But if you allow the tool to do the job, they will last quite a while. I use mine quite often and am able to make mine last at least a couple of months, if not longer. They are basically a compressed scotchbrite type of material. In addition to deburring the metal, they are also great for imparting a nice satin finish.

Medium Abrasive Wheels

Medium Abrasive Wheels available at

Speaking of videos, thank you to those of you that have subscribed to my YouTube channel. I finally reached over 8,000 subscribers. There are almost 1.3 million views with my videos being watched on average 35,000 times a month. Once I hit 10,000 subscribers I will do a massive giveaway. So please help me reach my goal. I would really like to do this giveaway by the end of the year. That is just 2 1/2 months to gain 2,000 viewers. It is lofty, but with your help, I can attain it. If you have found my videos helpful, I would really appreciate your help. If you haven’t already, please subscribe: If you have already subscribed, please share on all the various media forums, with friends,s colleagues and other aspiring jewelers.

Video Link:

2016 Workshop Schedule

Stay tuned later this week as I will announce my 2016 traveling workshop schedule. I have some great places I will be visiting (including Texas, Tucson, and Las Vegas) and look forward to adding more. If you are interested in having me come to your shop or studio, let’s talk.

New Video: Anneal or Not? And Another Round Ring Mandrel Giveaway

After the my last Tool Time Tuesday Video – 9pc Fancy Shaped Disc Cutter, several people contacted me asking if they should anneal their metal before using a disc cutter. There are many times when annealing your metal is a good thing, like when you want to manipulate or form the metal, impart textures with embossing or roll printing, shape the metal with formers on the hydraulic press, or around a bracelet mandrel, etc. But when it comes to using disc cutters or pancake dies, you really want your metal to be hard. It will help in aiding the shearing action as the metal will be more rigid and easier to cut without leaving unsightly burrs that need to be filed.

Video Link:


As promised, here is the giveaway I told you about on Tuesday. This is for the
Pepetools Ultra Precision Calibrated Aluminum Ring Mandrel. This mandrel is round, not square. Even if you have entered the other giveaways, you are still eligible to enter this one. So, what are you waiting for? Click on the link below.

Pepetools Ultra Precision Aluminum Ring Mandrel

Just click on this link to enter for your chance to win.

Good Luck.

Tool Time Tuesday – Multi-Shaped Disc Cutter and Another Giveaway

It is Tuesday and that means it must be time for another Tool Time Tuesday Post. Today I am reviewing a 9-piece multi-shaped disc cutter.

DP2449 DP2449a

This disc cutter features 9 shapes, each about 12 mm in size. I didn’t know if I would like this one because it has a fixed base, and I typically don’t care for those as I find that my metal bounces when trying to cut it using a hammer. That will probably be the case for this cutter if I use thicker metal, but as long as the metal was thinner, I didn’t have a problem.  Just check out the video to see it in action and my review.

Video Link:

I will carry these, but only as a special order item as they are quite pricey to carry in my inventory. The cost is $240.00US plus shipping.


Another Giveaway

I have four more Square Aluminum Ring Mandrels by Pepetools to give away. And I have four of the Round Aluminum Ring Mandrels by Pepetools.

People have asked my thoughts about the aluminum mandrels. I think they are wonderful for wire wrapping, light shaping and sizing and great for finding out the size of an existing ring. When they first came out, I asked on several jewelry forums why people would want to use an aluminum mandrel. There were a couple of people that said that they would actually do quite a bit of hammering on theirs when they traveled. It is much lighter and more portable. A few answered that they would have it at the front counter for accurate sizing of customer rings. Wire wrapping rings was also a really good purpose. I have quite a few ring mandrels and 90% of them are steel, so I reserve the aluminum for lighter working situations as those stated above.

I do have steel mandrels if you prefer to purchase a steel mandrel. They are $27.00 plus shipping. They are shipped via UPS, so shipping is generally between $8 and $12 depending on where you live.

So how do you enter the giveaway? Well, I am running it through Amazon again. So  just follow this link: and follow the directions. Again, I don’t receive any of your information and Amazon fulfills the order. You must be a resident in the US to be eligible, sorry. I will try to do another giveaway soon for my international readers.

I will do another giveaway for the remaining Round mandrels on Thursday at 6:00 pm Mountain Time. Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss it when it goes live. Just enter your email up there on the right where it says “Subscribe To Blog Via Email.” Good luck!

Ring Mandrel Giveaway – ENTER NOW

Well, it is 6:00pm here in Utah right now and that means that the giveaway is now live at Amazon. There are four Square Aluminum Pepetools Ring Mandrels up for grabs. Just follow the link, log into Amazon and follow the directions to see if you are the winner. I will only be notified when the giveaway is completed. So if you win, I would love to hear from you.


Just a reminder, I will not receive any of your information. Amazon will fulfill the orders. These will go FAST.

Don’t miss any of my blog posts, just subscribe over there on the right hand side. It is easy to do and all of my blog posts will be delivered right to your email. There are a lot of great tool reviews and videos coming up. I will also be announcing my traveling teaching schedule for 2016 within the next week.

Good luck.

A Giveaway and A Good Cause

Hey Everyone, Two posts in one week. I know, it is a miracle. I am trying to get back into the flow of things now that the inside remodel is done. I still need to put my studio back together, but it is coming.

Into Freedom

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by an organization called Into Freedom about some of the videos I have done using t he Pepetools Superior Ring bending tool. She explained to me that they recuse girls and women from human trafficking situations and help to rehabilitate them, give them a trade skills and help to work through the trauma they have endured. She mentioned that they have a few jewelry tools and was wondering if adding the ring bender would be something the girls would be able to use. We discussed various projects and such. I was totally impressed that she was not asking for donations, but rather advice on how to teach the girls and women to use it. I was so touched by what they are doing, talk about true angels on Earth. I actually contacted Pepetools and they are helping me to put together a nice box of tools for the girls to use. In addition, I ordered hammers, pliers, wire cutters and a few other tools to send them. If anyone would like to help contribute to cover the expense of this, it would be wonderful and greatly appreciated. I have had a few friends that have gone through their tools and put together a box of things that they no longer use, or had duplicates of. I have also had some friends send generous monetary donations (all of which are tax-deductible.) If you would like to donate, please just let me know. You can also make a monetary donation directly to their site at: 

Giveaway and Exciting News

Speaking of Pepetools I am so excited to announce that I am now officially a Pepetools Distributor. So that means you can now purchase Pepetools equipment from me. I don’t have them listed on my site yet, but if you have something you have been considering, just let me know and we will work something out.


To celebrate, I am hosting a giveaway with four Aluminum Square Ring Mandrels. These are a lot of fun as it allows you to add new dimensions to your ring making. Check out the video I did a while back when they first came out. While they aren’t ideal for forging on, they are wonderful for light shaping and sizing.

Video link:

So how do you win one of the four ring mandrels? Well, just come back tonight at 6:00 (MDT) to for the link that will be posted at that time. The giveaway is done through Amazon Giveaways. You will follow the link posted here tonight and enter through Amazon. I will not receive any of your personal information. Amazon will fulfill the orders, so I never receive your address or anything.

Don’t miss the announcement that the giveaway has gone live. Subscribe to my blog and have the announcement sent directly to your email address. Just enter your email in the subscribe box over there on the right.

Tool Time Tuesday – JoolTool Review

Today is a very exciting day. Less than an hour ago my contractor left with a final check in his hand. This means that the inside remodel is DONE! WOOT! If you recall, we were flooded way back in May. I cannot tell you how nice it is to have this all done. Tomorrow the tree guys will come and remove almost all of our trees. That is going to be sad. But it is necessary for a number of reasons. I am just trying to keep in mind how nice this is all going to look when it is finally done, and hopefully my house will be dry from here on out.

I have actually been having quite a bit of fun in the studio lately. It has still not been put back together, but that hasn’t stopped me from playing with some new tools. In the past two weeks I have put together two new videos featuring the JoolTool. The first is my review, why I finally bought one and then I show how to polish some of my tools. I have NEVER been able to get a good mirror polish on my tools. And with the JoolTool, I was able to do it in under 5 minutes. And some of my hammers were a MESS.

JoolTool Polished Hammers

JoolTool Polished Hammers

After playing with it for a couple of weeks, I am ready to endorse this tool. Yes, it has a nice price tag, but it is still less expensive than a good polishing arbor, and certainly less than a cabbing machine. It is quite versatile, portable (HUGELY important to me) and very quiet. And, I also like that you don’t have to jump in completely, meaning that you can buy a “starter” kit and then build up as you go and adding only the things you need when you need them. I started with the kit for polishing metal and then added accessories to cut and polish stones, glass and enamel.

So here is my review and demonstration on how to get that mirror shine on my hammers and stone setting tools.

Video Link:

Once I saw what it could do for my tools, I was eager to try other things. A friend of mine had sent some fused glass cabochons and this tool was amazing on them also. I was able to reshape, smooth and polish the glass back to its previous glorious luster.

Video Link: 

For my blog readers, I am offering 5% off your entire purchase. You can either contact me or use the coupon code: MelissaM1 at the JoolTool Website.

Summer is over already?!?!

As you can guess by my long absence, things have been pretty busy around here. Some good, and some not so great. So much has happened that my head is still trying to figure it all out.

But before I get into that, I wanted to give a nice little plug for one of my good friends. Francesca Watson is a truly wonderful artist and talented teacher. I have had the fun opportunity to spend time with her first when we held a retreat together in Washington state. Then she came just to have some fun studio play time. I have also spent time with her in Texas where I taught for a week, and am looking forward to teaching at a retreat in Texas again next spring.

Francesca is also teaching this next weekend at Bead Fest in Philadelphia. If you are thinking of attending and are looking to improve your soldering skills, prong setting, Keum Boo skills and just plain having fun, I would highly encourage you to look into one of her workshops.

Francesca Watson workshops

You can find all of Francesca’s workshops at:

You can see better descriptions of these projects on the Art Jewelry Elements Blog where she is a co-author.

And if you happen to go, please give her a great big hug from me.

So what is happening here? Well, what isn’t? Back in June we were flooded, not once, but twice. Apparently the economy is doing much better and all of the contractors have been insanely crazy busy. We didn’t even start demolition until July 28th. Things are finally coming along. I had to tear out a part of my studio floor, which involved taking out all the big equipment and taking down my benches. I finally have most of the studio put back together and have been able to make a few things. We still have 2 bathrooms and a bedroom under renovation. I am hoping to be done in about 2 more weeks. I will post some before and after photos. We haven’t even begun to work on the yard. That is a project for next month.

I had an exciting opportunity which caused quite a bit of mixed feelings from people in the jewelry field. I was asked to be the Computer Science teacher for Riley’s high school. I was somewhat surprised as I have never taught on a school level, only professional. And, quite frankly, it has been a while since I taught programming. However, I was thrilled and accepted the position. Everyone thought I would be leaving the jewelry field, but I assure you that was never the intention. I was excited to be out of my lonely studio and among other living people, certain this would give me the creative boost I needed as well as some much needed human interaction. This all happened last week. Then this week happened. Yesterday Riley’s school was closed by the Board of Education. Apparently there was a LOT of mismanagement that happened and the kids got the short end of the stick. And, I no longer had a job… not that I was ever looking for one to begin with. LOL.

Monday we visited another charter school that had some promise in their STEM program offerings, however we were told that they had a HUGE waiting list and it wouldn’t be possible to get her in. So we turned and walked back out of the office and on our way to another school. Then we met Kelly, the marketing director for the school. He gave us a tour of the school and told us there may still be some possibilities of getting her into the school. We were encouraged to get her into an “At Home” program which would get her foot in the door and throw her toward the front of the waiting list.

I was also introduced to several people and have been asked to prepare some 2-week intensive courses in jewelry making and metalsmithing. I may even have some possibilities in teaching the programming courses that I was going to do at Riley’s original school.

Well, today we got a phone call that they were able to actually get Riley into the on-campus program as a full student. WOOHOO!!!!! I am so relieved and grateful. The timing of everything has been nuts as the other schools we have been looking at started yesterday and some on Monday. So we didn’t exactly have a lot of time. I am just so grateful for our blessings in all of this.

School starts next week and I am really looking forward to getting back into the studio. I have some fun new tools that I have been playing with and can’t wait to share. And I have a few new videos just waiting to be edited. So stay tuned and I will be back VERY soon.

How do you do everything you do?

Hello everyone. I know, it has been a very long time since I last posted. I will address that in this post. We have had a rather interesting time over the past month or so. School is finally out for the girls and we are starting to get our summer routine in order, which is anything but routine so far.  If you are friends with me on Facebook, then you will already have a sense of why I am so behind on Tool Time Tuesday videos, blog posts and new jewelry. It has been pretty crazy to say the least. As I post different projects I am working on, I often hear, “How do you do everything you do?” Well, as you have already seen, there are too many balls to juggle and some things get dropped, like my blog and videos.

So what has been happening at my house the past few weeks? Let’s take a look.

First, the girls had decided they wanted a play set out in the back yard. We found a few that we liked, but they were so expensive that we decided we would keep looking. In the meantime they found one they really liked, but again it was a bit out of our budget. So the girls decided they would help come up with the rest. They have a goal of $500 and have already made $200. They put their heads together and came up with some ways to help earn money. Kate has decided to make and sell jewelry. I have some wonderful friends that have also pitched in to make this happen by sending leather, beads, findings and such for them to use. Kate’s little business is booming and she is accepting custom order requests.

MakingJewelry6 MakingJewelry4

MakingJewelry5 MakingJewelry3

MakingJewelry MakingJewelry2

We didn’t want them to have to wait all summer without playing on their new play set, so we purchased it and have started the water treating of it. OH MY! What a chore. we still have one more box to open and inventory.


Well, just as we got started on that, we received some very much needed rain. I tried to enjoy it and love it. And I did….. until we started to get flooded.

Bedroom Closet

Riley’s bedroom flooded. As we tore into things, we found quite a bit of mold. *sigh* So we are in the process of tearing out her closet and part of the wall in her room. We will also be tearing out the bathroom on the other side of her closet as we are pretty certain there has been water issues there as well. So I started working on getting contractors to come in and give me bids.

In the meantime, I continued to get the flowerbeds ready to finally get our mulch. We have wanted to do it since we moved in two years ago and this year we could finally afford it. YAY!

Flowers_Kiarai Flowers

Flowers2 Flowers3


Then, we got hit with another heavy rainstorm. We ran from one end of the house to the other checking on things as the downspouts and drains were overwhelmed with the heavy rains. The placed that had flooded before, flooded again. And this time, it claimed a new victim….. my studio. *sob* I love that all of my tools  can be stacked on these little carts. They are easy to move.


However, there was a bit of damage and the floor had to come out. It is a laminate floor. The water flowed down the walls, under the plastic and foam where you could hear it squish as you walked. We drilled a hole to see how bad it was. Let’s just say, we actually had some fun making it squirt up through the holes. So out came the floor. Next, I will be moving all of the equipment and taking down my benches so we can tear into the walls. *cry* I now have a traveling dehumidifier. We swap it between the studio and Riley’s bedroom. It might be a while before I can get back to my videos and jewelry. BOO!


To let my head rest from some of this and just get a change of scenery we took advantage of a really nice day and took a mini hike. I picked a really mild one with instant gratification  – a waterfall at the end. I wanted to test out my foot to see if it has healed enough to do more strenuous activities…. it hasn’t. BUMMER! But we enjoyed the morning all the same.

Hike hike2

I have very exciting news. Even with all of these set back. I have finally finished the biggest phase of my book. A friend is working on the layout right now and I have a small group of people helping me with the editing. I am so excited, even if I am really behind schedule. It is getting so close now. This is what my bench top looks like at the moment. All my pieces laid out for photographing and getting ready to list some for sale so I can raise the funds needed for publishing costs and a studio remodel….. that was never in the plans.

Bench  Photos

Yesterday I received a new tool. A mini guillotine shear from Pepetools. It is so stinking cute. It has a 4″ cutting edge, so it really is small. In fact, with the exception of the handle, it comes fully assembled and weighs very little. I need to figure out how and where to mount it (as I will be taking down my benches here soon) and then I will be doing a video review on it. I can’t wait to give it a try. There are times that I would have liked having a smaller shear near my presses and I think that is where it is going to go.


So now you know how I do everything I do….. a lot of things get dropped. I think I am giving up on trying to get everything together and being on top of things. Because even when I do get in that mode, other things happen and it all goes out the window anyway. Whether is it someone coming into town that you need to get together with, parents or kids with medical appointments, floods, unexpected construction work, etc.

I am just so grateful that we are in the situation we are where we are able to handle the hurdles that have been placed before us. I have learned that just because there is a schedule, sometimes you just have to release control and go with the flow. I am also trying to get my head wrapped around the fact that I will never be able to move and will have to die in this house because we will never get our money out of this one. LOL. Oh well, it is a great house with an amazing view and great studio. How can I complain about that?