My Craftsy Class is Live! And my JCK Review.

Well, my Craftsy class actually went live last week while I was on my way to the JCK show in Las Vegas. And right now you can sign up for 50% off the regular price. Just click on this link: Making the Most of Your Hydraulic Press. This link is good until Monday. And not only that, but you can use the same link to access hundreds of other classes that are all 50% off right now too. So this is a great time to enroll in any others that you think you  might be interested in. I have signed up for a few candy making and other cooking classes that looked like fun also. Craftsy has done a great job with their class line up and offerings. You can check out my last post to see some of the great projects presented in this class.

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Click here for 50% off all Craftsy Classes through Monday 6/13/16


 

JCK!!!!! Oh Goodness!

What an amazing time I had at JCK. I was working with the guys at Otto Frei and Pepetools. I had such a fun time hanging out with the best tools in the industry. I really want to be a high end tool snob…. I just wish my budget agreed with me.

This show started out hectic and crazy and stayed that way the entire time. I also had the great fortune of meeting some great people while I was there.

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This is set up day at the Otto Frei booth. You could hardly get to the booth the first day due to all of the crates and boxes everywhere.  But it ended up looking absolutely great.

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The first night I stayed on the 26th floor of the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. My room was on the west facing side of the building. It was SOOOOO hot. So the next night I switched rooms to the 8th floor on the north side of the building. It was much more comfortable. But it was fun to stay at the Luxor.

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These are probably my favorite people at the show. Andrew Berry and Anie from JoolTool. We had a lot of laughs and fun together when we weren’t too hard at work.

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This is where I worked my magic and demonstrated some of the Pepetools products we brought with us. By the end of the show, I had jumprings, copper discs and washers coming out my ears.  I think I am set on those supplies for a little while.

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This gives you a little tiny glimpse of how big the show was, but not really even. This is looking down the isle from my booth, there are two more isles behind me in this photo. Then they are probably 3 rows deep, at least. Then when you get to the end of the wall there at the very far right of the photo, it turns left and goes on at least twice as long as this photo or more. And that was just one floor. There were three. WOW! I didn’t make it very far away from my booth though.

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My lunch partner – Andrew Berry

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Bill Fretz was demonstrating in our booth.

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Mark Nelson from Rio Grande – A VERY talented jeweler and teacher.

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Andrew Berry, Kate wold and myself.

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The owner of Bonny Doon – Phil Poirier

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Dinner after the last night of the JCK show. Just a handful of the great team we had working in the Otto Frei booth.

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Some more of the great Otto Frei team

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I showed amazing restraint and came home with just two small Fretz hammers. My bank account likes me very much.

It is time!!!! My Craftsy Class will be Live 5/31.

If you are one of my faithful readers, then you know how busy it has been for me10612_Set_Stills_042_retouched_10612 lately, as shown by the scarcity of my blog posts and videos lately. This year alone I have been to Texas twice, Las Vegas, Tucson and Colorado, and I am returning to Las Vegas this week for the JCK show where I will be working with Pepetools and Otto Frei. It seems I have not had more than 3 weeks between trips and a few of them were every other week for a little while. I have been teaching an intensive course at my oldest daughter’s school for the past week and a half. And all in the mix of traveling, we made the decision to put my middle daughter into a new school that is far more intense than the school she was attending. To say that I have had a lot on my plate would be a complete understatement. I am hopeful that things will settle down a little after the girls finish school on the 10th of June. However, that brings up a whole new 10612_Set_Stills_005_retouched_10612thing…. SUMMER BREAK.  Kids home all day. But I did tell them that they are all attending “Jewelry Camp” this summer. It is time to get my minions working for me. HAHAHA.

 

 

Back in March I flew to Denver, Colorado to film with Craftsy. They are a TOP NOTCH company. It was so much fun and very different to make a film with a crew and support team. It makes my little operation here in my home studio seem so … so… amateur? But no worries. I will continue to make my videos anyway. I have been working on a schedule to get things recorded and out on a much more regular basis.

Instructor Badge

 

Well, the time has come and my Craftsy video will be launched on Tuesday, May 31st. I am thrilled and they did a great job with the entire production. They are even offering a chance for YOU to win the class for free. All you have to do is go and visit this link to enter:  http://www.craftsy.com/ext/MelissaMuir_Giveaway

What is my class about? Well, using the hydraulic press of course! There are six sections to the video and multiple projects in each. The class is 2 hours long and full of great information.

10612_Set_Stills_012_retouched_10612People have asked me if I am going to make kits for people who do not have a press so they can still participate and make the projects without a press. Yes, I will. But it will be after I return from the JCK show.

I have also been asked if I make more money on the class if it is purchased through my link rather than just the Craftsy link. Yes. I do. So I would really appreciate it if you purchase through the link I will provide. In addition, I will offer a discount link on Tuesday when the class goes live.

Here are some of the fun projects I show you in the video:

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Check back with me on Tuesday and I will give you the link for a great discount on the class.


YouTube Celebration Giveaway

Did you know that I hit my first goal of getting 10,000 subscribers on YouTube? Well, I did. Thank you all so much for your support. To celebrate I am going to be doing a HUGE giveaway. I have over $3,500 worth of amazing tools, supplies, classes and Gift Certificates to giveaway. I will be doing this in June after I return from the JCK show in Las Vegas. So stay tuned for the announcement on those. I will announce it here on my blog, in my email list, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Periscope.

Thank You and An Update

I absolutely love my blog readers. Already Tracey Johnson at Rolling Mills Resource has seen donations come in since I put up my video and blog post. Several people contacted me and asked if she would offer some lower donation incentives. I passed that information on to her and she did. So there are now several levels of donations on her Go Fund Me Campaign.

There are now the following levels:

  • $25 donation =  $35 credit
  • $50 donation = $75 credit
  • $100 donation = $200 credit
  • $200 donation = $400 credit.

Please spread the word and again, THANK YOU! I love our artist community.

Contact Tracey or see her products at the following:

Rolling Mill Resource Products, Review and Opportunity

Hello everyone. This year has been so unbelievably busy with all my traveling and teaching. I am finally getting back into the swing of things and have exciting plans for my YouTube Channel and online workshops that will be offered here on my own website. Watch for some big design changes on my website coming soon too. I am very excited to be getting things back in order and playing in the studio once again. I have a few more administrative things to take care of and then I hope to really get back into it and get things rolling. My book is finally making progress again and I now have 4 of the 5 Sections laid out in rough draft form and we will soon begin the final editing and proofing. I am so excited to see this finally starting to come together. And my Craftsy video will be coming out soon. I will keep you posted, but it is just a few weeks away.

A few years ago, when I still lived in Ohio a Facebook friend of mine asked if she could send me some of her new rolling mill patterns that she had finally perfected and was ready to introduce to the world. Tracey Johnson spent over 10 years developing, testing, tweaking and perfecting the process. She is the one that developed the products now offered through her company Rolling Mill Resource. Since that time several companies have copied her and even claimed that they work with her. But make no mistake, she makes the BEST product on the market. I have tried several of the others and they just don’t compare. The others have some great designs, but they aren’t cut deep enough for a really nice impression – at least that is my experience and opinion.

Tracey began when Lasers were still about $100,000. But she had an idea and really wanted to get it developed. It all began with the idea to create templates, but then she had the idea for textured papers that could be run through the rolling mill. Her first bid for setting up just one design was over $800. Seeing how that wasn’t feasible, she contacted several companies to see if they would let her use their laser. She did everything she could, including offering to clean their bathrooms. She finally found someone that allowed her to do the research and development needed until she figured it all out. For three years she tested different types of papers, different lasers, trying out the best designs and figuring out the proper settings for optimal depth of her designs and patterns.

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Diane Townsley

Eventually she was able to buy a 3rd hand laser. It worked for a very short while. She bought another 3rd hand laser (her current one) and it has begun to be very unreliable. Tracey has had to spend thousands of dollars to keep it up and running. Her laser works almost 24 hours a day. She will get a design set and started and set an alarm to wake her up so she can start the next design. She has been doing this for about 6 years or so now. While she has made a good go of things with her current set up, however, it is not sustainable long term. She NEEDS a new laser. Ideally, she will be able to raise enough money to buy a new laser (Currently over $13,000) and the parts to fix her current laser (About $3,000) so she can have two lasers running and be able to get some sleep.

LaserNowTracey has come up with a  great Go Fund Me Campaign. You can donate any amount if you don’t care to purchase but want to help a small business. But there are two great levels really benefit you.

  • Level 1
    • Donate $100
    • Receive $200 to spend in her Etsy shop.
  • Level 2
    • Donate $200
    • Receive $400 to spend in her Etsy shop.

Go Fund Me Link: www.gofundme.com/fundraiser4alaser

This is a serious WIN/WIN for everyone. Even $100 will go a long way as her prices are VERY reasonable. You will be able to redeem your gift certificate once she is able to procure the new laser and get it up and running.

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Diane Townsley

Over the next couple of weeks I will be releasing several videos that show different ways of using her patterns with a rolling mill. I love that Tracey does not run a fly-by-night shop. She has invested everything she has into this and has a superior product, as should be expected as she is the ORIGINAL Creator of the process. Let’s help a small business and artist realize her dream.

In the meantime Check out this Tool Time Tuesday video (even though it is Wednesday) on how to use the papers with your rolling mill.

Direct Video link: https://youtu.be/CAxciPgluhU

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

February
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.

March 30: CUFFS AND COMPONENTS – HYDRAULIC FORMED JEWELRY
March 30:  INTRODUCTION TO SAWING AND PIERCING

March 31: SILHOUETTE DIE MAKING FOR JEWELRY FORMING
March 31: INTRODUCTION TO SOLDERING

April 1: CAPTURED DRUZY PENDANT

April 2- CREATIVE FREEFORM SETTINGS
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.

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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: https://youtu.be/X56WJ9Ad1C8

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 www.Kcjewelbox.com

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: www.YouTube.com/kcjewelbox. If you have already subscribed, please share on all the various media forums, with friends,s colleagues and other aspiring jewelers.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/nT60g11ofrs

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: https://youtu.be/8Pb7KP1t4i8


Giveaway

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: https://youtu.be/B3cqVM1FZt0

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: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/cfc0fe41029352a5 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.

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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.