Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Disasters, Injuries, and what NOT to do.


I have been a self taught metalsmith for about a year now. I am a dive in there, try new stuff, kindof gal. In this self guided journey I have learned many things, some the hard way, some the VERY hard way.

Luckily all of my injuries have healed (except for one blister I am nursing that was caused by the blunder that gave me the idea for this post). All my disasters have been cleanable, and any embarasments have been, well, lets just say I avoid those people.

I hope my experiences help you. And, before you read, I know you will feel the need to say "duh", "are you kidding" and "what was she thinking" but, know that whatever you say, I have said to myself ten times over.

  1. When you screw the washer on the top of your tumbler, make sure it is threaded the correct way. It WILL come loose if it is spinning the wrong way on the tumbler. It is no fun walking into your kitchen with a trail of soapy water all over your cabinet and dripping down to the floor.
  2. Don't try to hold your new buffing wheel on the mandrel when attaching it to your buffing motor while your motor is running. (yep, this results in the aforementioned blister). Push it on really hard then turn on the motor, no matter how many times it throws it off, don't hold it. ouch!
  3. Make sure your metal, whatever you are soldering, has been thoroughly quenched prior to touching it. (see this previous post for the results). Although, interesting burn patterns on your fingers can be a conversation starter.
  4. Don't plan on going anywhere after working in the studio (especially after polishing). Yes, people will wonder what the red smudgy stuff on your face is. Just tell them it is the new "minerals" makeup.
  5. Nothing is as big as it seems (ie. stones) or as small (ie. tools) as they are in pictures. Measure, measure measure. Darn those macro lenses. 3mm is reeely small!
  6. If it isn't right the first time, it won't miraculously fix itself during the process. A wonky setting won't polish off.
  7. Keep an eye on inventory. It's no fun to pay extra expedited shipping for a stone you need because you ran out.
  8. The flame coming out of your torch is bigger than you think, or, flammable items nearby WILL catch on fire if they are near your soldering station. (get a fire extinguisher. stamping out flames with your hand is only slightly effective)
  9. Dead soft wire is NOT good for ring bands. It will smash flat pretty quickly.
  10. Manicures are only good if received a few hours prior to going somewhere. They disappear within minutes of beginning to work.

These are tips that I hope will help you avoid problems, injuries and messes. Good luck, and, if nothing else, learn to laugh at yourself.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

London Calling


We have begun planning our summer trip. We have booked flights and are now planning our itinerary. We will be spending six days in London and five days in Paris. We are scouring travel books, websites and trip advisory sites.

As a family who, up until now, has not had the opportunity to travel far outside the U.S. borders, we are very excited but a little nervous and jealous of our time. We realize that there are probably some things that, while tourist attractions, really aren't the best use of time and money. We don't want to waste a minute of time on our trip.

I have even been encouraging my daughters to exercise so that they will be in good shape so we can see everything our short time will allow! No stopping...walk walk walk! We have also been teaching our kids some French so they can be polite.

If you have been and have any "definite sees" or definite don'ts" I would love to hear them! If you know of any good resources pass them on!

We are excited!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Still in Love...

...with my camera. I got my camera for Christmas. It is a Cannon EOS Rebel T1i and we bought a Cannon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lense to go with it. It is supposed to be for my jewelry photography, but I have such fun taking pictures of random things.

I don't consider myself a photographer, but I like how these pictures look. So, since I feel I have to be somewhat productive today, I am sharing these with you.





Saturday, February 13, 2010

Must Have Tools for under $20

Here are some tools I just could not do without. They were my first tools and provided a good foundation to build on. Click on the pictures and it'll take you to where it is available.

First, the third hand with the tweezers. This can hold just about anything so you can solder. It keeps your hands free to hold your solder and torch. It is still something I use every day. There are more elaborate styles out there, but this one is versatile for simple projects. These tweezers are also available without the third hand and are essential. They self close (you pinch to open) so they hold things for you!



This is a charcoal block. I love to use it to solder. It doesn't get as hot as a fire brick, it controls "atmosphere" so less firescale forms and it works beautifully to melt and ball silver. I have found it to be much more useful than a firebrick. I must say, however, since they are small, I work with a firebrick underneath it, just for safety.



Until I could really saw well I found using shears to cut out my bezels was much more time efficient as well as it allowed me to be more precise. I had to file more, but in the long run, these saved me a few ruined bezel plates! These shears are SHARP! so be careful. It's hard to work with stiches in your finger!
This next one is a little cheat: it costs more than $20.00, but only a little. This was my first torch and I found it to be more than enough for soldering thinner ring shanks, balling wire, making bezels, etc. It doesn't get as hot as my acetylene torch which was great. I melted fewer thin bezel wires that way!







I found that starting small gave me confidence so that I could build on my skills and venture onto bigger and better tools.

I hope this gives you aspiring metalsmiths a little info that will give you some confidence as well as information on great startup supplies.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Embrace the Snow



I know most of you are up to your eyeballs in snow. Even my neighbors to the north in Dallas had their fair share of snow yesterday. And while I am not struggling with feet of snow I thought that maybe I could help you a little to embrace your surroundings.


















Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fun to Wake Up To

I was featured on the front page today. First thing this morning. Very cool.

but then I saw this! they used one of my pictures for a header. it's very cool!




Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bringing Spring to You



I, honestly, can't remember the last time I saw the sun. While those of you north of me (which is most of you) may not sympathize with this, I am a southern girl. I am not used to being without the sun for this long.

Once january is over, it is time to start working in the garden...cleaning up the plants that survived, turning the compost and preparing to plant. Roses are pruned, usually with blooms already on them, new shoots are coming up from the mulch promising lillies in the summer.

We, however have had the coldest winter here in a long time. It has been really dreary for quite a while. I need the spring. Since I can't have it in my garden, I found it in pictures of my favorite flowers....and I will share with you.

Enjoy....








Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Making a Difference



I found this lovely shop I wanted to highlight. Her items are so beautiful I wanted to share them. However, after getting to know her more I am exited also to share how she makes a difference with her craft.
Here I'll let you read it in her own words:


Name: Lauren Gibson

A little bit about me
: I'm 26, and a dreamer. I am a stay at home mommy in The Woodlands, and love to do what I do.

I have always been creative, and learned to sew at a young age. I was taught by my grandmother (Nana) and my mom (Tama). I have always loved fashion, and at a young age moved to New York City. I had the opportunity to intern for designer Cynthia Rowley, which was an amazing experience.

To tell you why I became a designer would have to be because of my sweet memories of being a little girl (about 4) and dancing around in my Nana's silk bed sheets (my cape), adorned with her costume jewelry. I felt like a princess. My Nana has collected jewelry from my family generations back, and I felt like each piece had a story. This inspired me to use antiques in my pieces. I love textures, antiques, fabric and jewelry. Together,
these form my concepts for my collection-- Making every woman feel beautiful


I started the company in 2009, shortly after my mom passed away from Cancer. She was my best friend, and my biggest supporter. She was an artist herself, and she told me to follow my dreams and be creative. This motivated me to leave the marketing/PR world that I worked in for over 5 years. She has changed the course of my life, and I'm so excited for what the future holds. The name Rosebud Lips was actually the nickname that she gave me when I was little, then my little girl (her grand daughter).

My other passion is to support organizations that fight human trafficking. Set Hope Free. This is a project that I'm so passionate about. It's about redeeming women who have been held captive and have been sold into slavery. Human trafficking doesn't just happen in other countries, but in our cities. Please know that each item that you purchase contributes to a care package that is being sent to help these women reclaim their dignity. To make them feel beautiful again. To learn more, go to www.iamchange.org and see what we are doing.


Inspirations: I aspire to Set Hope Free. To make my mark on the world, one person at a time. To truly give so much when I'm here, that there's nothing left by the time I'm gone.

My favorite desert: This would have to be cool whip out of the can (is it bad that my 16 month old knows how to do this too?), or cheesecake!

My travel dreams: I would start by going to Thailand. I would take my camera, Chloe strapped down on my back, and a journal. I would keep a journal of pictures to diary my events. I would go visit the brothels and the red light district. See most of the places that I know most tourists don't visit. I have always wanted to just sit and absorb the surroundings, in a country that I'm not familiar with. I would then go visit "The Well" an organization that sets up safe homes for women to live in after they have been trafficked. I would show the women in the homes how to make my products as a means to emancipate them from sexual slavery. This would make me smile :) I would also pick up loads of the finest silk while I'm there. What a dream.




Why I do what I do: I do what I do because I love to make people feel beautiful. If it's a piece of jewelry, a hat, or a fun neck tie, I love to see people smile. It also enables me to be able to work from home to raise my daughter. I think that's the best gift that I can give her.

Where you can find me: You can see my Esty site at www.rosebudlips.etsy.com or go to my new site at www.rosebudlips.com. I'm also on FB (facebook.com/pages/Rosebud-Lips/115043623366). Would love to see you stop by and leave your feedback!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

According to you.....

This is a really popular song by Oranthi. Humor me...Do me a favor... Read These Lyrics


According to you
I’m stupid,
I’m useless,
I can’t do anything right.
According to you
I’m difficult,
hard to please,
forever changing my mind.
I’m a mess in a dress,
can’t show up on time,
even if it would save my life.
According to you. According to you.

But according to him
I’m beautiful,
incredible,
he can’t get me out of his head.
According to him
I’m funny,
irresistible,
everything he ever wanted.
Everything is opposite,
I don’t feel like stopping it,
so baby tell me what I got to lose.
He’s into me for everything I’m not,
according to you.

According to you
I’m boring,
I’m moody,
you can’t take me any place.
According to you
I suck at telling jokes cause I always give it away.
I’m the girl with the worst attention span;
you’re the boy who puts up with it.
According to you. According to you.

But according to him
I’m beautiful,
incredible,
he can’t get me out of his head.
According to him
I’m funny,
irresistible,
everything he ever wanted.
Everything is opposite,
I don’t feel like stopping it,
so baby tell me what I got to lose.
He’s into me for everything I’m not,
according to you.

I need to feel appreciated,
like I’m not hated. oh no
Why can’t you see me through his eyes?
It’s too bad you’re making me decide

According to me
you’re stupid,
you’re useless,
you can’t do anything right.
But according to him
I’m beautiful,
incredible,
he can’t get me out of his head.
According to him
I’m funny,
irresistible,
everything he ever wanted.
Everything is opposite,
I don’t feel like stopping it,
baby tell me what I got to lose.
He’s into me for everything I’m not,
according to you. [you, you]
According to you. [you, you]


I'm currently doing a Beth Moore Bible study about being free from captivity. One of the things we studied today was that God's truth gives us freedom but Satans lies keep us in captivity. I believe as women, no matter what our past is, Satan uses lies about ourselves to keep us in captivity to self doubt, self hatred, insecurities, etc.

Do me another favor...re-read these lyrics but know that According to HIM you are beautiful, incredible, you're everything he ever wanted...he is sooo into you~

here's the video so you can hear the song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pu1aQvm5MrU