Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tool Time Tuesday – Potter USA Saw Review

I love good neighbors. We haven’t met too many of our neighbors since we moved in here in our rental home, but yesterday I met the gentleman that lives across the street. They have been living in Arizona over the winter and have just returned home a few weeks ago. We have waved, smiled and nodded when we or they are driving in or out, but that has been the extent of it until yesterday when I went over and introduced myself and asked him to break into my house. How is that for an introduction? “Hi, I am Melissa Muir. I live across the street, can you please help me break into my house?” Yes, that is exactly how it went.
I had to take my vehicle over to the dealership to have some work done on it and they brought me back home. I gave no thought as to how I would get into the house and had forgotten that we don’t have a keypad for the garage door. I don’t keep house keys on my keyring as I never use them and had left my keys with the dealer. Luckily, the night before I had left one of my windows unlocked as it is easily 8 feet or more off the ground and I wasn’t too worried about anyone climbing up to get in. Normally I do lock all the windows though, so I am lucky that this one time I didn’t.
So our nice new neighbor brought over a screw driver and tall ladder, popped out the screen and climbed in through my window to unlock the door for me. Like I said, I love good neighbors. It just goes to show you the kind of week I have been having. I just had to laugh.

On to Tool Time Tuesday, okay, so we will call it Tool Time Thursday for today. As you can see, my plans didn’t work out so well last week. Luckily, I have had a little bit of studio time, though not very much. This week I was all set to have 4 full days in the studio. My older girls are in Utah visiting with my parents and the baby was set to go to the sitter Tuesday through Friday of this week. It was going to be HEAVEN, until Tuesday morning when I woke up to the sound of a baby seal barking in my baby’s crib. Oh how I hate that sound. I walk in and there she was, looking up at me with red puffy eyes and a wheezing sort of breathing. My baby has the croup. I was really hoping it was mild, but we are now going strong on day 3. Day 3 of me not being able to do ANYTHING because I have a baby that will not let me get 5 feet from her.

I honestly have no idea how I was able to get so much jewelry made after Kate was born. I was able to blog, make jewelry, grow a great business with both finished pieces and teaching. With Kiari, I am not able to get ANYTHING done it seems. I swear, one of these days I will get it figured out again. Actually, I think I do know how I did it before. I worked from 10 pm to 5 am. However, I am much older now and I become a pumpkin at 10 pm and there is no possible way I can work in the studio after the girls go to bed because of its location and their bedroom location. Sigh. I miss my studio.
Today Kiari has taken a decent nap. I was able to quickly shoot a video that I have been trying to get since last week. It doesn’t flow as well as I would have liked, but hopefully it does the job. I am the proud owner of many beautiful tools. Most people (my readers excluded) won’t see the beauty I see in a pair of pliers, a dapping set, a grooved block or even a jewelers saw, but they are all pretty to me. But this jewelers saw goes beyond pretty. It is BEAUTIFUL. The style is graceful and it actually helps its function. Its solid frame helps its rigidity and keeps a constant tension on the blade, which in turn helps in controlling the cuts made, whether they be straight lines, curves or corners. It is a little heavier than some of the saws offered, but I didn’t find it to be so heavy that it was uncomfortable. In fact, I have other saws that weigh about as much. So for me it, it was a non-issue. Yes, it is heavier than the Knew Concepts saw, but that is because the materials are so different. And everything is heavier than the Knew Concepts saw.
Currently the saw comes only with a 3″ throat. If there is enough interest, larger frames may be available in the future. I found my cuts were true and straight and I had no issues that were related to the saw itself. I found it quite easy to control and loved the ridged frame. The wing nuts are larger and make it easier to get the correct tension on the blade.
Kevin makes no claims that this saw will help you in making you better with a saw. He says if you are good, you will still be good. If you are bad, well, you may still be bad, but at any rate, you are going to look really good while doing it. I must say though that I did find this to be a superior saw to some that I have in my workshop. I even had Riley (my 12-year-old) give it a shot and she too, noticed the difference and is a fan as well. The results of her trial are shown in the video.

I like this saw so much that mine will not be housed with the rest of my saws. I am currently working on making a piece of functional wall art that it will rest in. This way it can hang on my studio wall as a piece of art, but will be within easy reach so that I can use it when needed. I will be sure to post pictures when I am done. I love it when tools are so pretty that they can easily serve as art as well, and this one can certainly do that.

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. 

Not Quite According to Plan

Well, as you can see, things didn’t quite go according to plan last week. Again, I had high hopes for many things and lots of plans including more hikes, a biking trip or two and studio time. Instead it was replaced with a doctors visit, x-rays and ice packs.

On Wednesday, we went hiking as planned and visited 3 waterfalls. It was amazing. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of this place that we live in. It was the perfect day for hiking. The skies were clear and the air was cool. We set out around 9:00 am and returned home at 3:30 pm.
I will let the pictures speak for themselves. The pictures aren’t great as they are taken with my phone. Perhaps I will ask for a camera for my birthday today. Even with the best camera in the world, I don’t believe I would ever be able to capture the beauty of this place.


After a 2 mile hike up the mountain our reward for the final falls of the after noon was nothing short of awe inspiring. It is amazing to stand in a place and just feel the power of nature. The hike alone was like walking through a magical land where anything is possible. Kate and I talked about the fairies and magical creatures that surely must live in such an enchanted place.



I wish I could say that everything went smoothly on the way down, however, a rogue tree root got the better of me. I ended up with a severely sprained ankle. I know I have never had an injury this bad before and I hope to never have one again. Sadly, this happened only 1/2 a mile down, so that means I had to hobble 1 1/2 miles back down the mountain on a sprained ankle. It wasn’t fun and it took me an hour to get to the car. BUMMER! So for the remainder of the week and weekend my view had changed from the planned hikes to this…


The swelling has finally come down a bit, though it is still much thicker than before and it is now quite colorful with shades of black, blue, purple, yellow and green, all the way up my calf. I am being very careful and staying off of it as much as possible as I really want this to heal as best as it can so I can get back to the trails.
Today is my birthday. My baby is off to the sitter so my hubby can sleep after working the night shift and I don’t have to chase her around on this sore ankle. My 5-year old tells me she has a “show” that she is putting on. She has it all planned out and has lots of friends that “are going to help.” However, none of them have plans to come over. LOL. She also told me she was going to make my birthday cake. Perhaps with the help of my 12-year old, she just might accomplish that task. I need to get into the studio today to finish up a couple of custom orders. I hope to get a quick video filmed or at least some pictures for a TTT post. We will just have to see how things fair with weight on the foot.
Have a good day everyone.