Monthly Archives: February 2012

Studio is just about back up and running

It is hard to believe that we have already been here for two weeks. My house is still piled high with boxes. I am so tired of boxes it isn’t even funny. I am getting to the point where I don’t want to open another one. I just want to take them to the corner and chuck them. LOL. I won’t, but it is so tempting…..

We started my girls in school and they are both doing pretty well. However, there were some things that were more than less than desirable and both of them will be switching schools next week. I am so glad that we have the opportunity to do that as I really feel that both of them will do much better at the new schools and will have some better peers and situations, particularly Riley. Both of them have been making friends and are enjoying being the “new” kid. That is such a relief.

I have had the opportunity to meet with another emerging artist in the area. She came over one day and helped me get through some boxes and get things organized. Today we spent the day looking for unique buttons for the classes I will be teaching in Canada next month and then we relaxed by walking through IKEA! Oh, how I have missed that store. Thanks for hanging out with me Donna!

So, let’s talk about the studio. I finally have it to the point where I think I might be able to start working. I am still missing a few things, but we still have a few boxes that haven’t been opened. I also need to figure out the whole lighting situation as the lighting in the room is less than adequate. One last tool that I still need to put up is my flexshaft. But other than that, my surfaces are ready and are begging me to return to work….. not to find a babysitter for my super active baby. By the way, she took her first step last week. I am sure she will be walking and running in no time.

Look how nice and clean the bench top is. You can see the only light source in this room. It is supposed to be a “dining room.” I haven’t figured out if this is going to be where I keep my press or not. I used to have it next to my vise, but that is now against a wall, so I am still working on the workflow of the area.

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I moved one of the racks out into the entryway. Not my first choice place for it, but since it is temporary and I needed the space for my small bench, that is where it went. This bench used to hold my polishing machine. My polisher is now under the house in storage. I felt it was too “dirty” and didn’t want to have to repaint the room when I was done here. Besides, I really need the space in this place.

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You can see my shear off to the left. I put up another small set of the wire racks here in front of my cardio equipment to store some of the tools that  I have for sale. I still need to work on the organization, but it is coming along.

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Look!!!!! My wall of hammers has returned. Sigh…..

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So, there it is in a nut shell. It is good to have a space to work again. I haven’t done any working yet as I just got it to this point and my baby is took active right now to be able to turn my back on her for even a second. I am hoping to find someone to watch her for a couple of days a week. Not just someone, but someone that would be good with her and that I can afford. The latter being the current issue.  

Sneak Preview

I spoke with Kevin Potter earlier tonight. He has changed his press design a little. I am in LOVE LOVE LOVE with the new design of it. Due to the rising cost of metals his current press design would have to go up A LOT in price. He has tried so hard to keep the cost down as much as possible so people can afford it. Speaking as an artist, I really appreciate it when tool makers take my bank account into consideration and try to help me keep as much of my money as possible in MY own account. One of the things he noticed is that he was not getting the best possible use out of the materials. So there was a lot of wasted metal, which still had to be paid for. With the redesign, he is able to make 10 presses with the same amount of material that he was able to get 7 before. The best part of the redesign is that he has been able to make the press even stronger than before and they take up slightly less space.

He sent me some pictures so I could share my thoughts with him, and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing them, but I will give you a sneak peak at the new press design. I can’t wait to get one in my studio. I would LOVE to have a purple one… Just sayin’

 


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One of the things about the color on this is that he has worked out a deal with the powder coating place and he can get a deal on it if he takes whatever color they have at the time. That means that one run might be Red or purple, or black or who knows what? What are your thoughts on that? You wouldn’t be able to choose the color, just take whatever comes to you when you order the press. I actually think that is kind of fun. He promises that the color wouldn’t be anything too wild. The other option is for him to continue to paint them blue as he has to this point. So chime in and let me know what your thoughts are on this.

Here is one other tool that I am VERY excited about. I have been waiting months for this next one. Kevin has been talking about making a new jewelers saw. It isn’t super light weight. In fact, it is a bit heavier than the german style saw frames, but look how GORGEOUS it is. I told him I want three just so I can place them around my studio and look at them LOL. He said they cut STRAIGHT beautifully. They won’t make you a better piercer. The talent and work still has to be your own, but you will certainly look good whether you are good at cutting or not. HA! I like looking good! He is hoping to have a few of these done in the next week or so and I am one of the first on the list to get one of these, so watch for my review as soon as I have it in my hot little hands.

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So at this point, things are coming along. I am still trying to get my family settled and into a routine. Once that happens (and hopefully soon) I will get my class schedule put together. My goal is to have a full offering of classes for April at the latest. Hopefully I will have a few to offer in March before I go to Canada for the Fraser Valley Bead Show. I don’t think my classes are full yet, but they are getting pretty close. So if you are going, be sure to check them out.

And I am back!

Oh it is so good to have internet again. Hello Everyone!!!!

Well, we made it alive and surprisingly, very little damage found so far. So I will count that as a huge blessing. We pulled into town last Wednesday. Boy that was a drive. We actually didn’t have a whole lot of bad weather either. We hit a little the first day starting in Toledo and through the Chicago area. I don’t even recall where we stayed the first night. Somewhere in Illinois. The second day was great, just cold and windy. I think we stayed in Kearney, Nebraska that night. Then we were going to make it into and stay the night in Wyoming, but we were only 3 hours from my parents place in Salt Lake City, so we pushed through and hit a nice snow storm that made the trip an extra 4 hours instead of three. We were all so beat as we had driving probably 13 hours that day, maybe more. But then rested all day Monday. I got together with my best friend from middle school and did lunch, a little shopping, stopped by the cemetery to put flowers on my baby’s headstone for valentines and just relaxed. It was wonderful. We pulled out early the next morning (Valentine’s Day) and stopped in Boise to do some lunch with my Sister-in-law and her family and continued on through to Pendleton, OR. OH MY GOODNESS. The pass that you have to get through just before Pendleton was AWFUL! The road was SOOOOO icy, the winds were quick and the snow coming hard. And that pass? Well it was a 6% downgrade slope. We did okay, but my father-in-law had the trailer with all my equipment behind him. It was awful. But we made it through it and slept well that night.  HA!

Finally, Wednesday morning we pulled into Washougal, Washington where we are renting a house. The weather was simply beautiful all the way until we were about 10 miles out. Hahaha, figures. It hasn’t stopped raining since. LOL.

We got the trailer unloaded and then I took my husband to see the Dream House. The girls were LOVING it and even he agreed it was almost perfect for us. We even went back on Thursday to look at it once more. In the end however, we both agreed, neither one of us felt good about it. Once we decided to NOT buy the Dream House, we were both filled with a peace that confirmed we made the right choice. It is nice to know that we made the decision and didn’t just let it “slip through our fingers.” At least this way there won’t be any regrets or anything.

So for now, I am here in this house that is about 1,000 sq feet less than what we had before. It has only 3 bedrooms and the two older girls are now sharing a room. That has been interesting.

I am trying to fit my 1,000 sq ft studio into a living room that is 13 x 19. That has been fun…. NOT! I have absolutely no workflow in this room. It has been a challenge to figure out how to set up my tables, trying to decide which equipment I need and what can be stored for a year or more, and then trying to figure out how to make it work and be functional. I still have a lot of figuring to do. It isn’t fun. It is actually quite overwhelming, particularly when you add the fact that I have the rest of the house to unpack and had to get the girls into school, start a new routine, etc. etc.

I have been trying to take pictures every now and then, but my camera lens isn’t wide enough to get a good shot. So here is what I have.

First, the “living room/studio” was the dumping ground.

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Before the movers came, we put down cardboard and then plywood to help protect the carpet (it was a light creamy color.) My exercise machine didn’t fit in the room we were planning to put it so it had to go in the studio. That might not be a bad thing though, other than I really needed the space.

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Another shot of all the crap I have to work my way through.

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We have begun working on getting the tables together.

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The one for the rolling mill and vise are up and ready for equipment. This table used to be at the end of my big table.

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Take a good look. This will never be this empty or clean again….. or at least, not until we move again. LOL.

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See? I have already put it to good use and it holds all my crap until I can fine places for it all.

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The mill and vise have been attached, but of course, the surface just holds more of my crap until I can get it all sorted out.

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In my metals studio, I had one of these racks, I also had another one in my other classroom where I taught wire and beading classes. They were both filled then and I have even less storage space here. I can’t wait to get this stuff all organized and looking nicer than this mess.

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I still have to figure out the lighting too. There is one light in the room, because that is supposed to be the “dining room.” Well, it is crapola. So I am on the lookout for some good task lighting for the bench. I still don’t know where I am going to do my soldering. I need to find a good spot for my hydraulic press too.

I am hoping to have things set up in a couple of weeks so I can start getting some classes on the schedule. Of course, I need to get my name out there in the area so I can get some students. I will also be teaching at the end of March in Canada at the Fraser Valley Bead Show. Registration started today and apparently my classes are filling quickly. I like that. I will be teaching 5 classes.

Okay, it has been a long day of unpacking and cleaning. We actually got to use our dining room table tonight and the girls bathroom is just about done. We are finally starting to see some progress.

Good night all. 
 

Okay, Just One More

Well, the computer will be taken down tomorrow. I made them wait till the very last minute. hehe

Today the movers came. This is what it looked like out my bedroom window.

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The truck is HUGE! In fact, we will also be placing my husband’s car on there. We are happy about this as we will have his car at the same time our items arrive. That is a huge bonus. The movers are great. We really like the crew that is taking care of things for us.

Yesterday I had a “Clean out the fridge” party. It was so nice to see so many people, and get my fridge cleaned out at the same time. Tonight had to be one of the hardest for me though. I said good bye to one of my very best friends, Valerie. That made it all so real. My heart broke and now the tears won’t stop. I am so grateful for the day and age we live in. I am so grateful for the internet, and even the super evil FaceBook. Texting and Skype are great friends of mine and we are about to get even closer.

So the studio is completely done now. We just need to move things out and sweep up the room, touch up the paint, shut off the lights and go. I know this is going to be a great experience. I know it will, but it is always so hard to leave friends behind. So hard.

Okay, I really will get off this computer so it can be taken apart and packed up. See you all on the other side of this trip…. and country.


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Tool Time Tuesday – Soldering a Silver Ring

Well, here we are. My very last Tool Time Tuesday – Ohio Edition, even though it is on Monday. But there is a good reason for it being early. In just five days we will be driving off to our new adventure and life in Washington State. Funny to think that we went from one Washington (DC) to the Other.  They couldn’t be more different either. I hope I like Washington state as much as I loved the DC area.

The packing continues. The movers will be here Tuesday morning to start packing things up. The basement is pretty much done. Tomorrow and Tuesday we will break down my tables, finish touch up painting and clear everything out.

This is pretty much all that is left to pack up. Just some shelves and misc items that didn’t fit into a box.

 


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Look, you can see my temporary bed while we wait for our beds to be delivered. Gotta love the air mattress and sleeping bags.

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Okay, this is quite the shot for any of my students. My desk was always a mess. An organized mess, but a mess all the same…. now it is EMPTY!

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Even Kiari is trying to get in on the packing gig.

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Okay, a few people asked about the coloring in my hair. Here is a little better picture. I did some blonde highlights and red streaks. You can SORT OF see the red highlights. I am told you can really see them in the back. But regardless of what my children think, I do not have eyes in the back of my head and I cannot see them.

No, I didn’t spent a ton of time curling my hair either. Post baby hormones do funny things sometimes.

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On to the Tutorial! Soldering a Silver Ring

A little while back one of my “friends” asked about soldering a simple silver band. I told her that I had been working on a video. It didn’t go so well, so I started over. This tutorial is both still pictures and video, so let’s check out the pictures.

First, I figure out the size of ring that I am going to make. In this case, it was a charm for a friends bracelet, so it didn’t really matter the size. But here you can see that I have taken my calipers and marked my sheet for the width of the ring I am about to cut.

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Normally, I would cut my strip with my sheer, but since it has been packed away, I have to do it the old fashioned way…. with a jewelers saw. Be sure to use plenty of lube on your blade to help things cut smoothly.

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Next I want to form my ring into a “D” shape. So I use my ring forming pliers to get the first part of the curve.

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Then I use my flat nose pliers to bring the ends together and giving a nice flat spot. This helps to align my join the best.

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File the ends so they are perfectly flush. NO GAPS ALLOWED. Solder will not fill gaps. Think of solder as a glue. It will only glue items that are already touching.

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Sometimes there is a tiny spot that creates a tiny gap. You can cut through the seam with a jewelers saw to “shave” a thin area on both sides of the seam. If you do this correctly, you will have a perfectly flush seem.

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Now, let’s see how the rest of this works. Please check out my video on how to solder the ring. Once soldered, I will also demonstrate how to form it into a perfect circle. The end of the video didn’t get very focused. Sometimes the camera wants to focus on something else. In this case, my camera is obsessed with my scrap silver.  LOL. Then again, I don’t blame it. I am totally obsessed with my silver too.

 


Wish Us Luck

Okay, the computer is going to be packed away now. I will still have access to my emails and such, but I won’t be making any posts until we arrive at our new home and start setting things up. Wish us luck and pray for good roads and weather.

For any of you in the area, we will be having a “Clean out the fridge and freezer” (aka – Going away party) on Monday (Feb 6) from 6 – 9. I would love to see you and have the chance to say good bye. I can promise, the house will be a wreck and the food interesting, as what we will be eating will depend entirely upon what crazy things I can make with what is left in my fridge and freezer.

Tired Ramblings?

I am so ready for all of this to be done. I really am. But I think you probably already knew that. I am just about finished up down here in the studio space. Just the last little Odds and Ends. You know, the ones that are left over after you have been so organized all the way through and these things just didn’t seem to fit or whatever. So that is where I am. My basement looks so strange. All the little touches of love are now gone. It is really weird.

I am getting more and more excited to be on our way. My girls are having mixed feelings and that part breaks my heart and the things they say also make me laugh. For instance:

Me: Kate, are you excited to move to our new home?

Kate: Not so much.

Me: (snicker quietly at the response) Why not?

Kate: Because we have to leave all of our friends.

Me: I know, but we will make new ones.

Kate: But it won’t be the same.

Me: I know.

Riley (almost 12) informed my husband and I today that she was looking forward to going so she could find a boy friend. GASP?!?!?!?!? WHAT!?!?!?!?! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Maybe I will leave her here after all. LOL. I am SO NOT READY FOR THAT! She says she wants to find a nice boy that has a fuzzy head (Hair style) HAHAHAHA. We will be having her Birthday/going away party this weekend.

I think the stress of this might have gotten to me… then again maybe not. I went and had my hair done by a good friend of mine. I met Jerry in one of my metals classes at the University of Akron. He is so much fun and has cut my hair for the past couple of years. So today I went to see him for the last time. You might recall that after having my baby (number four, mind you) my hair went somewhat curly. Not too much, just some good waves, I guess. But it has had me doing different things to my hair that I wouldn’t normally do. So today, I can’t believe the words came out of my mouth, but I said “Layer it up.” And we did. Then I did something I had been thinking about for a while. I added blonde highlights. They were/are really pretty. I also wanted to do something kind of daring, but he talked me out of it. I wanted to add some purple streaks. Yes, I know. That is just crazy. They would be hidden in my SUPER thick, SUPER full head of hair. So they would just kind of peek out here and there when it was curled or what not. I wish I hadn’t let him talk me out of it, but I did. So instead of purple, we did RED. Not just red, but RED. I wish we had done a little more.

Okay, it is about midnight, so the hairdo isn’t great… and do you know how hard it is to take your picture with one hand held over your head with a heavy SLR? So the picture isn’t great and it doesn’t really show the highlights, except for one bold streak. The rest of them are much more subtle under the top layer of hair, but they are all over. But like I said, I wish I had done more or even done the purple. (Mid-life crisis?) So fun!


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It is still pretty conservative, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

So let’s check out the progress of moving. I can’t wait to get this basement finished up. That is the goal for tomorrow. The baby will be going to the sitter and a friend is coming over to help finish it up.

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The table in the corner is where I have had my photo setup. All the books are tucked away in boxes.

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My little stash of scrap copper and brass. Going to try to find a refiner this week.

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Catch trays have been removed from the tables, everything but garbage is now packed away from under the tables.

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The shelf is all packed up and all that is left on the table tops is pretty much packing material.

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Look it is the empty wall of hammers.

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My walls are all empty as are the shelves on the wall and lamps.



Oh, another thing that I thought was pretty neat, I was looking through my statistics on my blog last week. I happened to check the visits for the month to see what kind of traffic I was getting. I was amazed to find out that in December I had 18,000 visits. WHAT?!  If that wasn’t amazing enough on its own, As of the end of the day January 31, 2012, I had 19,500+. WOOHOO! Thank you all for visiting my blog. I am so honored that you would spend your valuable time here with me. I think that calls for a give-away. So, once I get settled, I will do a give-away. I like those! Not sure what the prize will be yet, but I am sure I can come up with something.

Okay, Good night everyone!