Category Archives: Personal

Long over due post – TONS of Videos

I could go on and on about how busy I have been, but that doesn’t really help anything at all. As you can see, I still haven’t figured out the balance between motherhood and work. There seems to be so much going on that every now and then something has to be dropped. Sometimes that is a video, or a blog post, or a piece of jewelry. I have tried very hard to make sure that I don’t drop the balls that involve my family, though sad to say, every now and then one of those gets dropped as well. Luckily, my girls have been very forgiving up to this point.

So what is going on? Well, all three girls are now in school. We still struggle with how to help Kate work through her learning disabilities. It sure makes things difficult when doing homework and trying to keep up with the other two. She just doesn’t seem to retain the information. And I am not sure how to help that. She is making great improvements in school, but we are still so far away, it feels. Riley has finally hit that maturity level where I finally feel like I can just let her take the reigns and do what she needs to without much oversight and prompting from me. That has been a relief. She is doing really well in school. She hates the “B” days when she has Gym and LOVES her “A” Days because she has calculus. I am not entirely sure she is my kid, LOL. Kiari is making huge improvements as well. It is so fun to watch her learn and grow. She is so sharp. I remember back to when she was born (10 1/2 weeks early and only just more than 3 pounds) and thinking what her future would be like. I am so blessed that she is sharp as a tack and picks up on things quickly. She sure has gotten fun.

Fun Family Trip to Las Vegas - M&M world

Fun Family Trip to Las Vegas – M&M world

 

I have finally been able to work a little in the studio. I try to get everything done during the day while the girls are at school so I can spend all my time with them when they are home. That gives us the opportunity to work on homework and our new family VLOG on YouTube. We even already have four videos out there. Our channel is called MUIR MANIA. It is still a work in progress, but the girls are thrilled to have a channel they can be a part of. If you would like to follow some of our crazy antics and just know about what is going on in life, please subscribe. They are thrilled with each new subscriber. And once we hit 100, we get a personalized channel name.

Link to subscribe to our Channel: http://bit.ly/2eD3itt

And be sure to check out our first four videos. We will have lots more crafts, treats and just family updates. It is a family video blog, so there will probably be a little of everything.

5 Fun Halloween Treats:

4 More Fun Halloween Treats:

Kelsi – Our story of Preeclampsia and Infant Loss:

Muir Mania – Vegas style:

Tool Time Tuesday RECAP

Well, I have been severely lacking in posting my Tool Time Tuesday Posts. So let me catch you up. Because while I am behind there too, I have at least made a few videos. Here is what you may have missed.

Fun tip: Removing a pancake die tab quickly with the hydraulic press:

Sand Casting: From Start to Finish

Using the JoolTool:




There are so many files. What is the difference?

You know I love Tube Setting:

See you all tomorrow for an actual Tool Time Tuesday Post. ūüôā

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.

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:¬†https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/106987/francescawatson

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

Back from Texas

Actually I returned home on Monday evening. But it takes so long to get back into the swing of things. I haven’t even started on the laundry yet. I got to spend a week in Beautiful Kyle, Texas at the Sage Hill Inn. The weather was wet, the skies were dark and the temperature was cool. It actually reminded me of the weather when I lived in Washington. I really liked it.

Texas night sky

I had the good fortune of working along side Connie Fox, my good friend Francesca Watson and her business partner, Gail Stouffer. Connie taught the first two days of the retreat where we covered all sorts of things such as what inspires us, what is our design style, is there a message we wish to portray with our art? etc. It was filled with¬†great exploratory¬†¬†exercises. We had 7 attendees, there were supposed to be 8, but one got sick at the last moment and wasn’t able to attend. Sometimes these retreats have difficult personalities, but this one was absolutely wonderful. Everyone was so much fun, laid back and eager to learn.

Retreat Setup

The last two days of the retreat were spent working on our designs. I introduced the ladies to some of my favorite tools…. they hydraulic presses. Of course!

Hydraulic Press Center

We had four of them to work with along with a handful of silhouette and pancake dies. We played with textures and forming and it was a huge hit. ¬†The ladies were wonderful and worked really hard. Nobody really finished a piece, but they did all walk away with a handful of components ready to be incorporated into their work, so sadly, I don’t have any finished pieces to show.

Once the retreat was over and everything put back into its place, Francesca, our friend Kimmy and I had a studio play date with a local metalsmith, John Meyer. He showed us how to create our own hand tools. I have had people tell me how simple it was to do, but for some reason I was still intimidated by it. However, I am here to tell you, I am no longer intimidated and can’t wait to make more of my own.

Tool Making

I was able to create a handful of texture punches with my own designs and a couple with a design transfer from an old file. In addition, I created a center punch and beautiful scribe.

Custom Steel Punches

The part that has always intimidated me is the tempering. I had never seen it done before and was always worried about taking the heat up a little too high. The picture above shows some beautifully tempered tools where you see the straw yellow at the tips. You can also see the one on the far right didn’t quite go as well. I had to heat this piece again to harden it and then temper once more. But I was so proud of the others. once I get them all cleaned up I will post some photos of the tips and the textures they make.

My girls were excited to see me when I returned. They did so much better on this trip than they did when I was in Tucson. But I have still come to the decision that I am going to do very little teaching, especially out of state. So if you see a workshop offered by me, you might want to snag a spot fairly quickly, because they are going to be few and far between. At least for a few more years.

I am working really hard on this book of mine. My goal is to have it finished this month. Next month I will spend the time editing and finalizing the layout and hopefully getting it published. Because it is so image heavy, it has been difficult to find a publisher. I am looking into many options and I may have to go the route of something like Kickstarter or Indigogo. But I will keep you all posted on that. I am also going to do something that I rarely do, I am going to sell a bunch of my jewelry. I know, that is something I should be doing anyway, but that just hasn’t been my focus. I have ¬†several trays of jewelry that have stuff I made, but is no longer my style. So I am going to get it photographed and offer it up for sale. Whatever doesn’t sell will be pulled apart and scrapped. I can then use some of the money to help with publishing costs.

I am also getting my list together of online workshops that I will begin filming next month. So if you have a project or technique you would like to learn, let me know and I will add it to my list. This is different than Tool Time Tuesday. These are workshops that will be quite a bit longer and in far greater detail. I am very excited about this avenue as it will allow me to teach and still stay home with my girls.

 

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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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. ūüôā

 

 

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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

 

10 Years…. Already

Ten years ago today was a very emotional day for my sweet family. I was 24 weeks pregnant exactly with my second daughter. The pregnancy had already been wrought with complications and a roller coaster of emotions. The day after Christmas I had been admitted to the hospital due to blood pressures of 170/110 (nope, not a typo.) I also had elevated liver enzymes as my liver was beginning to shut down. I had severe preeclampsia. I had had preeclampsia with my first daughter a few years prior, but it was pretty mild and I had to deliver her three weeks early. So I was shocked to learn that I had developed it so early in the pregnancy and that our goal was to get to me to the 24 week mark of the pregnancy, still nearly 4 months before my baby girl’s due date of April 18th.

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We had been diligently watching my baby with the ultrasound to see that the steroids for her lungs were working and were excited to see her “practice breathing” in the womb. Her movements had been active and she seemed to be doing well despite being very sick…. we both were. The various doctors had all come in and talked with me. I knew that she was sick. I knew the odds of a micro preemie surviving, and the odds of a sick one not.

That morning during the ultrasound my husband was with me. The tech, who was normally very excited about the baby’s movements and breathing was very quiet. As we went back to the room I told my husband that the ultrasound hadn’t gone well. He hadn’t been there for the others, so didn’t have anything to compare it to. When we returned to my room, the nurse quickly took away the food tray that had just been delivered. My doctor came in and told us that ¬†my sweet baby was in distress. Her organs were beginning to shut down in an effort to keep oxygen and blood flowing to the brain. We had to deliver… and NOW!

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It was all surreal. I remember sitting on the table in the O.R. as they did a spinal anesthesia procedure. I was leaning against a nurse and just over her right shoulder was an isolette prepared for my sweet baby. It was then that I lost it. The sobs that washed over me as reality hit shook my entire frame. I couldn’t get the shaking under control. They layered blankets from the warmer, but still, the adrenaline coursing through my body fought against the efforts to remain calm. A sweet tender mercy of God happened at that time. My bishop had arrived and was given permission to enter the OR and together with my husband I was given a priesthood blessing. Immediately a calm and warmth washed over my body. The shaking and tears stopped. My bishop was rushed out of the OR and the surgery began.

The room was nearly silent. And then the silence was broken with what sounded like two little kitten yelps. The doctors were shocked and then excited and said, “Did you hear that? Did you hear her? That was your little girl.” ¬†But really, the words that struck me most were spoken by my husband at my right ear as he whispered, “She is so small.” And she was. My sweet baby weighed just 13 oz and was 8 1/2″ long. You can’t even imagine it. The only thing I was able to see of her before they whisked her away to the NICU was the smallest foot I have ever seen.

My sweet little girl was strong and fought hard. I asked her to wait for me, and she did. I was still very sick and was unable to see her for more than a day and a half….. half of her short life.

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It is amazing to me that even after 10 years, I still remember so many of the little details. I remember meeting people who had also lost their babies. One had lost her baby 9 years prior. I couldn’t imagine 9 years. That was a lifetime away. And now it is 10 years.

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Happy Birthday in Heaven Sweet Kelsi. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, miss you and wish you were here. I will always wonder who you would be, what your interests would be, what our family would be like if you were here with us.

October 15 – A day of awareness

Many of you may know that my second daughter, Kelsi, lived only a few days. She was born 16 weeks premature. Yes, 4 months early. She was so small. I have never seen a smaller living human. She weighed only 13 oz and measured a mere 8 1/2″ long. My little girl fought hard, but in the end, we had to let her go. There isn’t a day that goes by that she isn’t in my thoughts at some point.

Today is October 15th and it is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness day. I am so glad that I live in the time I do. Had my baby been born 100 years ago, it would have been a very taboo subject. And it would have been a common occurrence. By having my baby now, I am met with others that can also empathize with all that I have been through. I am able to help them as they walk the path of grief that I walked just prior to them. The subject is still slightly taboo to talk about. There are a lot of people that dismiss the death of a baby, especially when it comes to miscarriage. I am so fortunate that Kelsi was born alive. It throws me into a different group of women where my grief is acceptable and I don’t have to fight the fight of grieving a baby that has been lost. My heart breaks for my many friends that delivered a still baby and watching their grief somehow not be as acceptable. Any loss is horrible at any stage. The lost dreams. The lost memories that will never happen. The lost love and experiences. All of it is a loss. All of it is heartbreaking.

Tonight at 7:00 in every time zone there will be a wave of light that passes over the nation, if not the world, as mothers and loved ones light a candle for our sweet babies that were taken from us too soon.

My dear sweet Kelsi, I will always wonder who you would have been. I will always miss you. And most of all, I look forward to the day we reunite.

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Who loves you? …. nobody. Bullied

I have thought and thought and thought about this post for about 2 1/2 years now. Perhaps even longer than that. But this feeling has been so much stronger lately that I can no longer ignore it. This is a very personal post and has very little to do with jewelry. So just be warned it is a step away for a moment.

People are so surprised when they hear my story of growing up. They stand there shocked and think that it isn’t possible and are stunned that I am the person I am today. In many ways that is the greatest compliment I can receive.

As a little girl, I was pretty darn cute. Big blue eyes, long strawberry blond hair and just enough pudge to be soft, but not too squishy. Then, in 3rd grade things started to change. I headed into that awkward stage, got glasses and somehow became REALLY uncool. So uncool that I WAS the ugly kid that NOBODY in my grade would play with or liked. I was always last to be picked for games and other group activities. I had “cooties.” I was reminded daily that nobody liked me. It was awful. I can only imagine the heartbreak that my parents must have felt watching their beautiful little girl develop a very low self esteem, constantly come home crying after school and just be crushed. They did everything they could for me to make certain I excelled where I had talents. I was in dance, I took piano lessons, I read a lot of books, I was even in counseling. They made sure I had friends outside of school, though still very few.

The comments from the kids still haunt me, even now that I am 37 years old. I still remember standing in line for lunch, already self conscious about the way I looked and always eager to gain the approval of others, one of the kids asked if I would like to know how to get rid of 10 ugly pounds. At this point, I was probably 10 years old maybe 11. I stupidly said yes. The reply? “Cut off your head.” I laughed. But inside, I was crushed. At night, I would lay in bed and build myself back up. I would imagine myself walking to class with my held held high and a smile on my face. I would imagine myself being successful in my classes and then making friends. Of course the next day would come. My held was held high, until I rounded the corner and bullies were lined up at the door waiting to go in and I would see their sneer as I joined the line. Then the comments would begin. My head would drop and I would wilt.

At church we are taught to love and support one another. We are taught that we should treat everyone as Jesus would. I didn’t have that with the kids my own age at church. One week when I was 13 or so, one of the boys prayed I wouldn’t come back. I went to girls camp and ended up staying in the tent with the leaders because the girls were so mean to me. In all cases it was the kids, and the adults did object. The adults went out of their way to make me feel loved and cared for. But honestly, the damage had been done. I felt worthless.

As a little girl my father would come in to tuck me into bed and talk with me. He would ask, “Who loves you?” Any loving parent would expect their child to reply with “you do.” But I didn’t. My response was “nobody.” I only recently learned how much that affected my dad. As a parent now, I can only imagine. My answer would remain “nobody” until he tickled me so much that I would give in and say “you do, you do, daddy loves me.” LOL. He is a good dad.

Once I was in junior high school, there were new kids from other schools. They didn’t know who I had been in the last school. Sure, I still had to deal with my elementary school and church bullies, but I had a new chance. But again, the damage is there. I don’t feel worthy of anything. I did make a few new friends. I even played flute and piccolo (a dream I had from the time I was 6.) But I still had bullies. I dealt with threats that people were going to beat me up. I dealt with awful prank calls. I constantly had a sick feeling in my stomach. I always looked for ways to keep people happy and give me their approval. I overcame those bullies with kindness and eventually was able to call some of them “friend.”

God has given me one of the greatest blessings he can give His children. A kind and forgiving heart. I am still hurt. But I have never really been angry. If at any time any of those “bullies” came to me and said they were sorry, or even if they just started to be nice to me, they were forgiven and we moved forward. People ask how I have been able to stay active and faithful in my religion after dealing with that growing up. In short, I knew it was the people, not the church or God that was doing this. My own relationship with God was strengthened as I looked to Him for support, love, peace and strength. He has given me ALL of that and more.

Now that isn’t to say that things were rosy. They weren’t. I dealt with feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. I pondered the whole point of it all if nobody wanted me here. Suicide was thought about, never really attempted, but the thought was there, sometimes stronger than others.

By high school I had finally found some real friends. I developed somewhat of a “who cares” attitude about things. At least on the outside. But I still always sought approval and never really believed that people liked me. They were just being nice. You know, kind of how you might be if you don’t want to hurt someones feelings. Most of my true friends in high school were guys. I did have some “girl” friends, but they weren’t like my “guy” friends. I never really had close relationships with girls. At least not until later in life.

So why am I writing all of this? Honestly, I am not entirely sure other than the fact that I know I am supposed to. There are a lot of long term ramifications of bullying. We have seen more and more about these young kids who have taken their lives because of bullying. My heart aches for that child and their parents. I was very fortunate to have wonderful parents. They did what they could for me, but they can only do so much. Only what I would allow, if that makes any sense. The rest of it had to be done by me. Do I believe what I am told? Do I get angry? Do I get mean? Do I shrink down to nothing? It is all personal. And when you are dealing with this starting at age 8 and 9, I think it can go any way. My parents always told me how impressed they were with me. They said that if anyone ever had a reason to be angry and bitter, it was me. But I wasn’t. I remained forgiving and loving.

How does this all affect me today? I know that I am no longer the Ugly kid. In fact, there are times where I look in the mirror and actually see a beautiful woman looking back at me. That woman stands there only occasionally. The other woman that I see has a weight problem and anger issues from time to time. She still doesn’t feel worthy. She still feels that the compliments that come her way are because people are being nice. After all, every now and then there is a bad review on a video or a piece of work or whatnot (yeah, they get deleted. LOL) Because I can’t have anyone seeing the “not perfect” things that I do. I still seek approval and acceptance. But I still question the sincerity when it is given.

People ask me all the time why I don’t sell my jewelry much. The short answer to it is that I don’t really believe anyone would really like it and pay for what it is worth. It was made by me. Why would anyone ever value it. I know it is untrue. It is a battle that I fight everyday. There are two sides of me. One left over from the bullying and tearing down of a little girl nearly 30 years ago. The other that has grown and learned that it was all wrong. One side always tells me of my failures, imperfections, stupidity, etc. etc. The other side knows that she has become beautiful, talented and amazing. So why does the first one win so much? Why do the negatives affect us so much more than the positives? Why do we allow the Devil to win this war when any parent, including our Heavenly Father would only want us to know how much we truly are worth?

I don’t have an answer. I only wish that our children now were really able to see the damage that is caused by an unkind word or deed. I wish we could abolish all bullying. I wish nobody had to suffer the way I did, and still do. I also wish I were more eloquent with my words and conveying how I really feel about all of this.

Spend time with your children, your friends children, your neighborhood children. Build them up. Let them know how much they truly are loved, how much they are are valued. While it was an awful time to go through and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy, I am so much a better person for it. I am strong. I have compassion. I have a real sense of the value of life, talents, love and relationships. I also have a great respect and love and gratitude for my parents for making certain I knew I was of worth, loved, beautiful, and could do better than what the bullies were telling me.

Today, I am beautiful. I am loved. I am worthy. I am talented. I am surrounded by friends and people who love and care for me. In another hour or two, my answer might be different, but I am happy with how I feel right now.

MelissaMuir
This is what has become of the ugly little girl. She is successful and has been in nearly everything she has tried. She is beautiful. She is strong. She is loving. She is forgiving. She is vulnerable. She is compassionate. She is passionate.
She is loved.

The inner bully that remains still comes out and my poor girls sometimes have to deal with the ramifications of her thoughts and words. It is a constant battle. I am working on building myself up rather than tearing myself down in front of my girls. They are the first to tell me how beautiful I am. How talented I am. And how excited they are that I am “famous.” LOL. After all children don’t lie, right?

My heart melts when I ask my three girls “Who loves you?” And without missing a beat they all reply…. “MOMMY!”
All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.

Catching Up – Tucson Adventures

Hello everyone. It has been a while, but what a trip I have been on. There are so many things to share with you. Tucson was fantastic!!!! I am already looking forward to next year, even though I am still recovering. It was completely exhausting, but SO MUCH FUN!

First, Before I left, I got a new hair cut. Of course, I can never get it to look how it did when the hair stylist does it. Don’t you hate that? I liked it when it looked like this, but you will see in the other pictures, it doesn’t normally. HA!

MelissaMuir

I am also making another big change. I have begun the process, and am nearly complete, to officially change my business name from Kelsi’s Closet Jewelbox to Melissa Muir – Metalsmith. I will continue to operate my shop of Kelsi’s Closet Jewelbox, but I will change the focus to more of my memorial line of jewelry and items. I will be working on my MelissaMuir.Com website more to showcase my videos, tools, tutorials and supplies and such. But that will take a little while.logo_MM_Metalsmith_horizontal

This is where I spent  my week in Tucson. This is Potter USA. It is an amazing machine shop. Kevin Potter shares his shop with a blacksmith, Doug Thompson who does amazing things!

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I have never really been in a Machine Shop before, other than when I visited Kevin a couple of years ago. It was very different to work in here every day. This is also where I held my workshops during the trip.

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And this is the man himself, Kevin Potter. He and his family are WONDERFUL people. He is as nice as he seems. It was a pleasure to work along side him in the shop. And he is a lot of fun to shop with when it comes to gems. That man knows his stuff!

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On my last full day in Tucson, Kevin and I went shopping. We visited the “big” show, AGTA. This is where you go if you want quality! Yes, the prices are as high as the place is nice, but if you want to make certain you get the good stuff, this is where you go. I could only afford a little.

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But that is only because I was saving my money to buy a gem from one of the MOST AMAZING gem cutter, John Dyer. He is so young. And he is just as beautiful as him gems are. Yes, I did buy a gem, only one. And even it was a bit over my budget, but it was so worth it. This is the gem that I will leap and make my first foray into using gold and a couple of diamonds that I have been hoarding. It may take a while to finally release my breath and make the gold purchase, but I plan to make the leap sometime this year.

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Kevin graciously opened his shop to all visitors and even hosted a great open house where we had a great turnout. I have finally met some of the people I have been involved with for years online. It was wonderful to finally meet these talented artists in person.

Cristina Leonard – http://www.cristinaleonard.com/

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From Left to Right –

Peter D’Enbeau, Maureen Brusa Zappelini, Me ¬†, Emily Ruffin, Andrea (Magpie) Robinson

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This next group of women are very special to me.  I know two of them from the retreat I attended in North Carolina about 6 years ago or so.

Debora Mauser, Eva Sherman, Me and Nancy Vantassell – I had my very first jewelry teaching gig for Eva Sherman when we lived in Ohio.

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Okay, Yes, I am standing. I am short and these two ladies are VERY tall.

Me, Lisa Lehman and Annie Pennington from Art Jewelry Magazine.

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This is a fun group. All of us are teachers. I haven’t joined the national circuit due to my children being young and the fact that we keep moving, but I look forward to that one day. I mean who wouldn’t want to hang out with the ladies?

Me, Eva Sherman, Kate Richbourg, Barbara Lewis and Debora Mauser.

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I forgot to get pictures from my classes, but this is the group that took my class on the last evening in Tucson. We made our own silhouette dies. It was a lot of fun.

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As I was getting into my car to leave Tucson and head back home, Melissa Cable stopped by to visit with Kevin Potter. I am so glad she got there when she did as we were both excited to finally meet in person. Melissa just came out with a book on making jewelry with Leather. I am now the proud owner of that book and will have a review of it in the next couple of weeks.

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And what trip is complete without an adventure at Wal.Mart? Luckily, this wasn’t my car, but we pulled up and there was a tricked out car completely in flames. We even got there before the fire crew. I feel awful for the poor owner of the car.

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After 9 days and 4 days of long drives (yes, I drove) Look who missed me? Awwww. I don’t get flowers very often, so it was really nice to get so many all at once. He is such a good guy. I may not get flowers often, but I know he loves me…. I mean, have you seen the studio he let me build? I love my man!

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I brought home some new tools for the studio too. This is a bench shear from Kevin Potter. I have just posted a video on YouTube on how to mount and use it. I will post about that soon. Oh, and it was totally a fire in the fireplace kind of day the past couple of days. We may not have snow, but it has been a bit chilly in here.

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And yes, there is another press. I know, I am totally spoiled. But this one is soooooo much fun. It is electric. I will be filming a bunch next week and will show you lots of fun things and features of this one. And even though I am not normally a pink girl, this one is so bright and fun here in its new home. I think I will call this the Potter Corner.

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And remember when I told you that we had a couple of bathroom remodels going on? This one isn’t entirely complete, they still need to come and fix the grout on the tile, and I need to hang the mirrors, but I am so stinking excited about the new studio bathroom!!!!

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And now you see why there haven’t been many updates from me. Hopefully now that I am back, the bathrooms are nearly done and we have settled into more of a routine you will begin to see more from me. I will be posting a few things, including videos over the next couple of days.In the meantime, it is great to be home again.

All content and images on this blog are the property of Melissa Muir and use of them in any context is strictly prohibited unless written permission is first obtained. Please feel free to repin any of the pictures of pieces done by Melissa Muir only.