Category Archives: Uncategorized

And The Winners Are….

I had a great response to my giveaway. Thank you all so much. The past two nights I have gone to bed with the best self esteem ever. Thank you!

The drawing for the Superior Ring Bending Tool, donated by Pepetools, will be held on Sunday, December 14, with the winner being announced at 7:00 pm MST. If you have entered into this drawing, you are automatically entered into the next one. No need to do anything more.

Okay, interestingly, I had exactly 100 people enter. Some people had two chances while others had up to seven chances. I took each of your names and entered it into a spreadsheet with your name repeated as many times as your chances. Then I went into Random.org to get 5 random numbers. I matched up the names that were associated with that line on the spreadsheet. So here are the winners.

#180 – Maureen Connolly
#270 – Ray – rgwolney
#243 – Kathleen Krucoff
#288 – Michelle – JewelrybyJaws
#7 – Cynthia – hlokoff

I will let you each choose your prize in the order that I drew your names. So I will be contacting you individually with the prize options. Thank you again for all of your support. I have a full page and a half of ideas for new workshops and Tool Time Tuesday posts. I am very excited to get working.

My Giveaway Just Got Better

I am so excited to announce that Pepetools has just made my Giveaway even BETTER! They have offered to add a Superior Ring Bending Tool.

The Superior Ring Bending Tool winner will be announced Sunday, December 14, 2014. 

To Enter: Just leave a comment on this blog post. 

Of course, I would enjoy having you as a blog reader, so if you don’t want to miss a post, tutorial, or video, just enter your email on the right where it says “Subscribe.”

Thank you so much to Pepetools for sponsoring this Giveaway and making it a great one. I know that some jewelry designer is going to have a FABULOUS Christmas for sure!

The Newly Redesigned Pepetools #301.00A Euro Ring Bending Tool

This PepeTools strong, versatile ring bending tool out performs all other bending tools. The base and handle performs at a high level of torque while allowing the user to exert less resistance in bending metals. Matching outer dies included!

Creativity is the only limit with this product.

Improvements over previous edition:

  • Aluminum machined & powder coated base
  • Dies and post machined from solid steel, then hardened 40-44 HRC
  • Includes 14 dies
  • Round: 12mm, 14mm, 16mm, 20mm, and 22mm
  • Post : 60deg and 90deg
  • 24mm shank for increased durability

Fold Formed Copper Cuff Bracelet

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine went by rather quickly. The girls and I got the Christmas tree up, I put up garlands, bows and wreaths along the fence out in our front yard. It does look rather nice if I do say so myself. However, it is unseasonably warm here. Today we hit 55 degrees. That doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. It is so strange.

I haven’t even really done any Christmas shopping. I saw a lot of good Cyber Monday deals, but my bank account has kept me from making any purchases. That is okay, I will just be patient. It isn’t like I really need anything at this point anyway.

Oh, I did want to pass on a deal however. Today is the last day to save 20% on my workshop at CraftCast. The workshop will be live on Thursday, December 4th. Use coupon code: harvest2014 

https://www.craftcast.com/classes/learn-make-lily-pendant-and-earrings-melissa-muir

CraftCast workshop for Melissa Muir - Using a Swage Block

CraftCast workshop for Melissa Muir – Using a Swage Block

I had a rather good response to my last video showing how to make the copper flower and I thought I would do another showing one way to make a copper fold formed cuff.

I will be doing a give away this week to celebrate several things, 1) I finally hit over 1,000 likes on my Facebook Business page – Are you a fan yet?  If not, stop on by and give me a like. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/Melissa.Muir.Jewelry.Artist

and 2) As of Thanksgiving Day, I have been open for business for 8 years. It doesn’t seem that long at all. But I think that is because there have been quite a few moves, a baby and all the stresses that come with those items. It is still quite a milestone for me. Thanks for making the journey with me. Keep your eyes open for the give away. I will do it soon.

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Blog Moving and new video

Hey everyone. Dang, it has been a few weeks again. I honestly think I blink and 3 weeks have disappeared. We had a fantastic spring break. We took our girls back up to Washington to visit some friends and see some new sights. It was wonderful to be back. I seriously need to figure out a way to get my husband to retire up there. I miss it sooooooo much. I also had the fantastic opportunity to meet a few other metalsmiths and was even able to stay with Melissa Cable and her family. Her studio is just about as amazing as my own and it was so inspiring just to be in her space even though we didn’t get the opportunity to work in there together.

Just as I returned home I was informed that my blog host will be canceling their service. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I have hundreds of posts on here and all of it will be removed. So I am frantically trying to figure out a new service that will work well. So be watching for the new blog home coming soon.

Last week I finally got into the studio to work for a little bit with my new extra large disc cutters from Pepetools. I have wanted them for YEARS and finally have 3 sets. They have been really nice to have. I did a quick video showing how I care for them and even show the process I use to create a fun little pendant.

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.

And the Winners Are…..

You know me, I can never just give away one thing. So I decided to give away a block AND a pair of earrings. YAY! 

Beth Millner – You are the winner of the Cherrywood Swage Block. WOOT!
Jenn Killam – You are the winner of the earrings. Let’s create them together. 
Thank you all so much for your support the kind comments you left for me. They really let me know how much you all appreciate the time and effort I put into making the videos. I promise to get back to it really soon. 
If you didn’t win and would like a swage block, I would love to have your support. You can order them from my website at www.kcjewelbox.com
Thank you all again!
<3 Melissa

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.

Year of Jewelry and 30 days of Art

I have felt like I have really been out of sorts for a long time when it comes to making jewelry. For 2 1/2 years it has been even worse. It started when I found out I was pregnant with Kiari. I thought for sure I would just change the medium I was working with to  make it safe during the pregnancy. However, I was so sick and then on bedrest at 18 weeks and then she was born at 29 weeks, and then the 2 1/2 months in the NICU, and then having a preemie home (so we couldn’t go anywhere and nobody could come over), and then the sleepless nights, and then the move, and then the studio that doesn’t work. Whew, that literally sums up the past 2 1/2 years.

In 2007, I was VERY new to making jewelry. I had had a couple of simple workshops that taught me how to properly use a small butane torch and a wire wrapping workshop. All the rest was learned by trial and error and asking questions online. I learned about a challenge called the Year of Jewelry. Unfortunately, I learned about it after the signups were over. So I started this blog so that I could document my own progress as I continued to learn. It is so fun to go back to my first posts and see what I was working on. Then again…. some of them I cringe at seeing. LOL. I really have come a long way since that time.
This year I am doing the Year of Jewelry Challenge once again. I tried to do it last year and the year before, but it was just too much with the baby and the move and such. But this year I am hoping to be better and use it once again to springboard my creativity and skills.  There is also another challenge that I was invited to participate in called the 30 Day Art Challenge. It started January 2nd and ends January 31st.
I am off to a great start and it has been so nice to be in the studio and working once again. Things I don’t miss…. ragged fingernails, fingers that feel like sandpaper or velcro and dirty fingers. LOL.
This first bracelet I actually made a little while ago. It was made for another challenge on another forum, but I never got it photographed. So it isn’t technically a part of either challenge, but thought I would post it anyway.
flowerCuff

The flowers are made from one of the pancake dies I have from Potter USA. They are riveted together with a leather rivet, and then riveted onto the bracelet with scrapbooking eyelets.

flowerCuff2

This next piece is my first entry into the Year of Jewelry Challenge and Day One of the 30 days of art challenge.

piercedformedcuff1

This cuff is 20 gauge sheet and has been formed with the anti-clastic bracelet formers for my hydraulic press. The entire face has been slightly textured with a planishing hammer. Of course it has also been pierced. And what a chore that was. I think I went through no less than 8 blades on this one. Mostly because the bracelet was long and it was awkward working with that and the deep throat saw frame, that and I am pretty rusty with my saw.

piercedformedcuff

 

For my Day Two of the 30 days of Art Challenge I did a little sketch with watercolor and regular pencil.

day_1

I didn’t think about this piece being a zentangle, but I guess that is kind of what it turned out to be. But it was fun, especially where this isn’t a medium I really ever use. I am really hoping to get some other art skills developed so that I can decorate the walls of our new home when we move.

For Day 3 of the 30 Days of Art I did another cuff.

Day_3_Criss_CrossCuff

Made with 20 gauge sheet and 18 gauge wire. The cuff is about 2″ wide and has been formed with the anti-clastic bracelet formers with the hydraulic press. A slight hammering texture adorns the edges.

And for Day 4 (today) yet another cuff.

harlequinCuff

Once again, 20 gauge sheet, 22 gauge wire is used for the outer stitching and 24 gauge is used for the middle stitching. Once again, formed with the anti-clastic formers, but this one I altered further by taking it to a stake to bring out the edges just a little bit more.

It no longer looks like this though. One of the things I wish I had done was to oxidize the bracelet before doing the stitching. So I oxidized it afterward and polished up the inner stitching. It looks great, but not as great as it would have been if I had all the interior stitching completely bright. I will post a picture of it later.


Speaking of Hydraulic Presses:

Kevin Potter has come out with a new one. It is MUCH smaller than his previous models. It is only about 45 pounds and I am very excited about that. The best part of this press??? It fits into the large Flat Rate Shipping box for the USPS making shipping under $20. AMAZING! How does he do that? Well, the press comes apart completely. Instead of being one solid piece for the frame, it comes in parts that you just simply bolt together. It is really simple to do too. Check it out for yourself.

I made this video demonstrating how to assemble the press. The video takes you from me opening the box all the way though the finished and assembled press. Another great feature of this press? It is several hundred dollars cheaper than the other models.

 

From Teacher to New York Fashion Week

Things have been busy here in my studio. I have a Tool Time Tuesday Post that I am working on, but it may end up being a Tool Time Thursday. The baby is at the sitter today so I hope to get it photographed today. 
I am working hard on my first online course which is a basic soldering class. I am finishing up a few projects and then people can vote for the projects that will be offered in the course. This will be a great class for people who are completely new to working with a torch and also those that are at an intermediate level with lots of tips and tricks. I hope to have those project photos for you to vote on by tomorrow as well.


I wanted to introduce a friend and artists who has been really fun to watch as she has overcome some big hurdles and is really going places with her jewelry. She could also use some help if you are able. 
Back in 2009 my friend, Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, lost her job as a teacher. Instead of letting that hold her back she pursued her childhood dream of showing her jewelry on the runway at New York Fashion Week. I don’t want to give the whole story away:
She has 2 days to go on her Kickstarter Campaign to make it to New York Fashion Week. Be a part of the dream, anyone who pledges $10 and up will be listed in her look book. The more you pledge the bigger the prize, all the way up to tickets to the runway show!
It is a joy to help a fellow artist attain her childhood dream! Michelle is also helping local models in the Cleveland area attain their dream of participating in New York Fashion Week for the first time. 
Another great aspect of this Runway Show is that it is the first time a NYFW event has been partnered with a women’s right organization. The Show is partnered with MADRE : We advance Women’s human rights by meeting urgent needs in communities and building lasting solutions to crisis. 
Good luck Michelle! Thanks for letting me be a part of your success. 

Tutorial and Swage Block

Well, that took a LOT longer than I thought it would, but I am finally done. I have just uploaded my tutorial on how to make the Cone Earrings and Lily Pendant. It is 12 pages long and features 48 full color images. It is a step by step tutorial on how to make the items mentioned with nothing more than the material, a hammer and swage block.

The tutorial is a PDF and downloadable immediately. You will have three days to download the document. The price is only US$8.00.

You can find it listed here: http://www.kcjewelbox.com/Cone-Earrings-Lily-Pendant-Tutorial-ConeLilyTutorial.htm

tutorials195


I have also created a listing for the beautiful Black Walnut swage blocks. I have a small shipment of riveting hammers coming in next week and I will list those as soon as I have them. They are the hammers that I used to form my earrings and pendants. Next week I will also have a video on how to use the swage block, so it will be a great compliment to the tutorial and block.

The swage block can also be purchased for $40 on my web site. You can find the listing here: http://www.kcjewelbox.com/Hand-Made-Black-Walnut-Swage-Block-BW-SwageBlock.htm

I am also offering a bundle deal until April 9th. First of all, until the 9th, shipping is free. And on top of that, if you buy both the tutorial and the block, I will take US$5.00 off the price of the total. So that is basically getting the tutorial for free when you count the price of shipping. *Insurance is extra*

To get the discount (which is more than 10% off) just enter the coupon code: ConeAndBlock during the checkout process. You will have three days to download the tutorial.

This coupon and the free shipping expire on April 9th.

If you live outside of the US and would like to purchase the block, please contact me first and we will arrange shipping and other necessary items. I can be contacted at: jewelry@melissamuir.com

A Cause Close to My Heart

A cause close to my heart

May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. I know there are so many causes out
there and you hear about all sorts of various conditions almost on a
daily basis any more, and now I am going to share mine with you.

Preeclampsia has affected my life in the most awful way it can. I have
had preeclampsia twice now and was just moments away from a third time.

My oldest (now 11 years old) was born 3 weeks early when I developed
preeclampsia. My blood pressure was being monitored throughout the
pregnancy as it was elevated from early on. Toward the end of the
pregnancy we began to notice a lot of swelling and I also began to spill
protein in my urine indicating that my kidneys were not functioning as
they should. The only “cure” to preeclampsia is to deliver the baby.
Riley was great and other than some jaundice issues, she had no other
problems from being born a bit early.

My pregnancy with Kelsi was an entirely different story. My blood
pressure began to rise around 16 weeks. We monitored it and I was told
that I was at a higher risk for developing it once again. I knew some of
the things to watch out for, things like headaches, vision changes,
swelling and higher blood pressure. At 22 weeks my blood pressure got
into the range of 150/100’s and I was started on a blood pressure
medication. Even with the meds it never really brought it down much. The
doctors continued to monitor me closely. I was totally naive though as I
had thought that when the doctors told me I might get preeclampsia
again, it would be toward the end of the pregnancy like it was with
Riley. I had no idea that I could get it at 23 weeks. But that is
exactly what happened. I was admitted to the hospital the day after
Christmas with a blood pressure of 170/110 and elevated liver enzymes
and a baby that was severely restricted in growth. Kelsi was born just 5
days later on December 30, 2004 weighing only 13oz and a tiny 8 1/2″
long. Our Sweet Kelsi lived just 2 1/2 short days and passed away in my
hands on January 1st, 2005.

Luckily I was blessed above all others and Kate was born only 4 weeks
early with no sign of preeclampsia at all. Truly a miracle, especially
when you consider what happened in my next pregnancy.

As you all know, my pregnancy with Kiari was anything but routine. She
was a surprise from the beginning. Now, most of you that  read this blog
know all about the transfusions and things we went through due to the
Rh Antibody. But what you  may not realize is that she was not born 2
1/2 months early due to the Rh Antibody issues. The morning I went in
for the 5th intrauterine transfusion my amniotic fluid levels were
dangerously low. Prior to that my blood pressure had risen. I had begun
spilling protein in my urine and my liver enzymes had begun to rise.
Preeclampsia was looming. The only thing that kept me from going into
preeclampsia this time was the fact that my doctor delivered my baby 10
weeks early. Had  he not done that, it is most sure that I would have
had a severe case of PE within days, if not hours.

The majority of the babies in the NICU during Kiari’s stay were born early due to preeclampsia. 

I have met some of the most amazing women through the preeclampsia
foundation. While PE has been horrible in my life, it has also been a
source of goodness. It has made me realize what is really important in
life. It has allowed me to help others as they go through their journey
of grief and loss. But the one thing that I cannot do is give others
hope that it won’t happen to them. Pregnancy is not a joyful thing for
me. It is a very frightening and fearful thing for me. As much as I
would like to be delighted for others in their pregnancy, I fear for
them too. Even a healthy pregnancy can take a very dangerous turn in
just a matter of hours.

Because of all I have been through I have done what I can to help raise
awareness for the Preeclampsia foundation. I have made numerous pieces
of jewelry for them to action off at fundraisers. 2 years ago I was
honored as an artist when they asked me to design a piece that they
could present to survivors at their annual fundraising gala’s.

Preeclampsia Awareness Pin – Designed by Artist Melissa Muir

This year they have taken that design and transferred it
onto the shirts they are selling for a fundraiser and also using as
their shirts for their annual walk-a-thons.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to work in the studio of
another amazing artist. It was a fun day and I created a necklace for
myself.

Everyone
has their causes that they believe in. This is my cause. Hopefully with
my story I will be able to help others that have gone through the loss
or experiences I have and they will know that they aren’t alone. If you
are able to help with a monetary donation, it really is a great cause to
donate to. The monies raised fund research and awareness programs so
that others might be aware of what to watch for so they won’t be like
me.

Both the pin and t-shirt posted above can be purchased through the Preeclampsia Foundation Marketplace.
The pin makes a great gift, just as a beautiful piece of art even if
the wearer doesn’t know the significance behind the piece.

Thank you for allowing me to share a cause that is very important in my
life. As I said May is the Preeclampsia Awareness Month. There are
numerous Walks being held throughout the United States. Please take a
moment to see if there is one by you. http://www.promisewalk.org/campaign

Preeclampsia: I AM A SURVIVOR!

Our Family is Together!!!

I was really beginning to think it would never happen. But after 64 long days in the NICU our sweet little Kiari has come home! She came home on Saturday, February 5th. Kiari was 2 months and 2 days old. She weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 22 inches long. She came home at 39 weeks gestation, so she is right on for her size and weight.

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We were finally able to meet with the new neonatologist that came on for the month of February and got him to change the required amount she had to take by mouth. That coupled with a new nurse that noticed that Kiari was having a difficult time swallowing the milk and had developed an aversion to eating. She thickened up the milk, we treated Kiari for reflux and within 48 hours Kiari was HOME!

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The first night was “fun” as we tried to get into the swing of things. One nice thing about the NICU is that she is on a regular schedule. So I know that every 2 1/2 – 3 hours she will be eating and already has her sleep patterns set. It was really fun to watch her once we got home. She just looked and looked at everything that was around here in the house.

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It still seems like she is just on loan. I have felt for the longest time that I just had visitation with this sweet little baby at the hospital. Now it seems that they have just let me take her home for a little while. But each day it gets a bit better and better. She had her first doctor’s appointment yesterday. She is doing great, but looking like she is already needing another blood transfusion. This will be her 8th transfusion. Hopefully she will only need one or two more after this.

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Speaking of blood transfusions. Blood banks right now are at a 10 year low. These past two months they have really noticed a decline in donors due to the weather. If you are able, please consider donating. I will forever be grateful to the people who have donated and saved the life of my sweet Kiari. It may not seem like a huge thing to the donor, but they truly are my heroes.

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Kiari also made it home just in time to celebrate Riley’s 11th birthday. Riley was so excited to learn that Kiari was due on the 12th of February because she would finally share a “season” with someone in the family. We really thought we would at least make it in to January, but she is happy with Kiari being in the “winter” as well.

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Happy Birthday Riley!

With everything that has happened and been going on, I realize that I have neglected to announce where my husband has accepted a position for work once he finishes his training here in April. My sweet family will be leaving the land of cold winters with perma-gray skies and go to where “The stars at night are big and bright.” We are going to TEXAS, Dallas, to be exact. He has accepted a position with a group in the North West Dallas area. Let the search for the new studio begin!

Speaking of the studio. I am really hoping to get into the studio this weekend. I have quite a few projects to get going and next week my new toy arrives. For Christmas my hubby said he would buy me a sand blasting unit. I have had the great fortune to find a killer deal on a new one and it will be delivered next week. YAY! I feel some new Tool Time Tuesdays coming up. WOOHOO! I am so ready to get back into the swing of things.

Thank you all again for your love, support, prayers, meditations, thoughts and best wishes. Thursday night we had put out the request for family and friends to join us for a special fast and prayer to help us bring Kiari home and Saturday afternoon we did just that. Thank you to all who participated. It has been quite the journey. Now the journey to pay the bills begin. This baby is a pricey one. We actually just got one statement for the NICU stay (and it isn’t for the entire time) but it was over $160,000. YIKES. I am hoping the majority of it, if not all, is covered by my insurance. OUCH. We are still trying to figure out how to pay our portion of the transfusions before she was born. I may be closing down my online shop and trying to sell my stuff through Etsy for a little while as I don’t have the money to pay the merchant and hosting fees. So if there is something you would be interested in, please let me know. Otherwise, I will be closing up shop for a while until we can get things paid off. Thank you to those of you that have recently placed orders. Hopefully you now have those in hand and are enjoying them.