Monthly Archives: September 2012

Registration is OPEN!

Wow, I am still a bit behind on getting the websites all set up, but it is happening. Thank you for the support of those that have signed up already. I am so excited to have you in this workshop. I am sure there will be kinks to work out in this workshop as it is my first one in this venue, but it sure is exciting. I am smiling wide as I type this with all the excitement I feel.

How to register
I have created a listing for the workshop in my store:

Once you register I will send you the login information needed for the classes. As I said, I am still working on everything right now, but I should have it all finished by this weekend. And of course, the workshop will begin on October 8th.

Tell me more:
Who is it for?
This workshop is geared toward beginning and intermediate jewelers. If you have never worked with a torch, this will be a great course to get you going. We will cover the tools used in soldering, correct techniques and safety procedures.

What isn’t covered?
Soldering is rarely the first step in jewelry making. Most people start by working with wire, beads, stamping sheet metal, etc. I will not be covering any of those techniques. It is strictly geared toward projects with soldering as the medium.

So what can you expect to learn in this workshop? 
Below, you will see the projects we will complete in this workshop. There are seven projects we will work through from beginning to end. Listed  below each photo you will see the core goals and techniques covered for each project.

How does it work?
When you sign up for the workshop, you are not just getting access to the videos. You are getting access to me as your mentor and instructor. I have created an online classroom incorporating a Yahoo group and Flickr group where we will be able to converse and share photos, questions and answers and more.

Each project is made up of multiple videos. I have kept the videos shorter to help with download and streaming capabilities. Each video is filmed in HD and should be fairly high quality so you can see what is going on. The videos will be available starting on October 8th and through December 8th. The files will not be downloaded to your computer, but rather from a central server location and streamed to you. You can watch the video as often as you would like. If you have seen any of my YouTube videos you will already know that I am very thorough, and this workshop is no different.

What equipment do I need?
A list of tools required is listed on the workshop page and below. You can use any number of torches, but for this workshop I will be using a Jumbo Max butane torch. I have torches and some of the other necessary tools available for purchase in my online store. Workshop participants will receive 10% off tool and material orders. Use the coupon code: solderingWorkshop12

What is the cost?
The workshop is US$130.00. That is only $18.57 per project. You can pay by credit card through my website using PayPal. You do not need to have a PayPal account to use this function. I will also take a check or money order. Please be aware that access will not be granted to the course until the check has cleared if you choose this option.

What are the projects?
Let’s take a look at those now! In each case I list the materials used int he project pictured. You do not need to have the EXACT materials. Be creative and make the project your own.

Making Jumprings

Jump rings are a big part of this workshop. In the first section we will cover the tools used as well as various ways to cut your own jump rings in all sorts of shapes.

Silver Chain Bracelet


Even though this project is done in silver, you can use other metals such as copper or brass. The steps are going to be exactly the same.

  • Close your rings properly
  • Solder and assemble the chain – without soldering the links to one another
  • Reshape rings to add a different look
  • Create a custom hook


  • 18 gauge wire – 4 – 6 feet


  • Soldering set up (See below)
  • Mandrels for shaping rings
  • Jewelers saw
  • Saw blades (5/0)
  • Jump ring maker (optional)
  • Blade lubricant (CutLube, BurLife, Bees Wax, etc)
  • Tumbler or Brass brush


Ever wonder how to make a pair of post style earrings? What gauge of wire do you use? How long do you make them? Well, this project will answer of all those questions.


  • 2 – 5mm ID Jumprings
  • Copper or silver shapes (Copper washers shown)
  • 1″ – 20 gauge round sterling wire
  • 1 pair – ear nuts


  • Soldering set up (See below)
  • Texturing hammer(s) or tools
  • Sharpie, steel wool, or sandpaper
  • Center punch and hammer
  • Tumbler or Brass brush

wind chime earrings are named for their dainty and whimsical movement.
Learn how to place your solder so that you are left with clean seams and
no solder blobs. You will also learn how to make your wires straight and ball up the ends of a wire. In addition, we will be making our own ear wires.


  • 2 – 3mm ID Jumprings
  • 2 – 4mm ID Jumprings
  • Copper or silver shapes (Copper washers shown)
  • 16″ – 20 gauge round sterling wire
  • 6″ – 24 gauge round fine silver


  • Soldering set up (See below)

Ever want to know how I make such great looking open swirls and have such
great dimension to my pieces? Well, this course will show you exactly
how I do it. You may not be able to do them perfectly at first, after all, it took me 6 months of working on them before I got it myself, but you will at least know how I do it.


  • 3 – 5mm ID Jumprings
  • 12″ – 16 gauge round sterling silver wire


  • Soldering set up (See below)
  • Planishing hammer(s) or other smooth faced hammer

of the most difficult things to do is solder an item on top of a
textured backplate without having solder flowing everywhere. Learn the
tricks to having a good looking finished piece.



  • 4 – Copper Washers
  • 1 focal bracelet blank
  • 2″ pattern wire strip
  • 2 – side bracelet blanks
  • 2″ 16 gauge round sterling wire
  • 6 – 4mm ID jump rings

** Some materials will be available to purchase for this project **


  • Soldering set up (See below)
  • Texturing hammer(s) or other tools

a copper bracelet with silver solder and show no silver solder seams.
Take it one step further and add color with alcohol inks. This is a very fun project with TONS of potential and room for creativity.
** Textured discs are available in my shop. **


  • 20 – 4mm ID Jumprings
  • 5 – 9 – Textured copper discs (various sizes)
  • Alcohol inks
  • Clear spray lacquer
  • 2″ – 16 gauge round copper wire


  • Soldering set up (See below)
  • Planishing hammer(s) or other smooth faced hammer
  • Steel wool (I use #0000 – but any will do)

Class project is on the lower right. The others are variations to give you an idea of what can be done with the same techniques.

Soldering set up:
All projects in this course use the following equipment

  • Butane torch*
  • Soldering pick*
  • Soldering board or surface*
  • Insulated cross locking tweezers*
  • Fine tip tweezers*
  • Pickle (I use the swimming pool chemical Ph- or Ph Down)
  • Pickle pot (I use a small crock pot)
  • Neutralizing solution and  bowl
  • Flux* (I use both paste and liquid, but one or the other should be just fine)
  • Flux brush (I use a kids paint brush)
  • Hard sheet solder cut into small pieces
  • Quench bowl

*Items are available in my shop for purchase

Other tools:

  • Round nose pliers
  • Flat nose pliers (flat face – no grooves)
  • Chain nose pliers (flat face – no grooves)
  • Flush cutters
  • Sharpies
  • Ruler

Tool Time Tuesday – Let’s Talk Solder

When I first started making jewelry I had no idea that it would lead to where I am now. I played with wire and a few beads, but never thought I would actually make what I consider “real” jewelry. I recall going to the library to see if there were any books on jewelry making. There were two. I eagerly checked them out and brought them home. I quickly realized that I was so far over my head and put aside the notion that I would ever be able to accomplish the projects presented in the books. Why did I feel like that? Well, because they involved soldering…. with a torch. A TORCH! Like that was ever going to happen. *snicker*

I really enjoyed looking through the books and seeing the talent that the writers had and I envied them and their skill. I loved seeing the process of taking wire and turning it into a piece of art. Then they even took it one step further and added stones. It was like magic.

About 2 years ago, I found one of the books I had checked out from the library. I purchased it this time. I was amazed to look through it and found that not only could I do each and every one of those projects, but they were actually fairly simple to do. My what a couple of years and few hundred hours in the studio can do.

One of my first actual classes that I took was an introductory soldering workshop. It was a simple 5 hr workshop where we made a chain while learning techniques such as making our own jump rings and then soldering them with a small butane torch. It was then that I was introduced to the various types of silver solder. I also learned the invaluable tip of color coding my solder before cutting it up.

Wikipedia defines solder as: Solder (/ˈsldə/,[1] /ˈsɒldə/[1] or USA /ˈsɒdər/[2]) is a fusible metal alloy used to join together metal workpieces and having a melting point below that of the workpiece(s).

When working with silver solder it is considered Hard Soldering or Brazing. If you were to talk to people in the electrical field and told them that you do soldering, they will have a VERY different idea of what you actually do. When I tell people that I solder my jewelry, some will tell me that they also have a soldering iron and love to solder things together. Um….. yeah, totally different.

In my studio there are four grades or hardness’ of solder that I use. Hard (75), Medium (70), Easy (65) and Extra Easy (56). The number refers to the percentage of silver in each grade. I prefer to purchase sheet solder and cut my own pieces called pallions. You can also buy solder in wire or paste form. I have yet to have decent success with paste solder. That is an art unto itself that I have not yet mastered.

When I learned soldering, I was told that as you add layers or joins, you should drop a grade each successive soldering. However, later I learned that you could actually do your entire piece with nothing more than hard solder, even if you have 15 stages of soldering to do. The reason for this is because once the solder has melted, its melting point goes up a couple of degrees. Granted, it isn’t a lot, but once you get good, you can melt the new solder without reflowing the previously soldered joints. Also, because hard solder has more actual silver content, it is going to be more forgiving if you happen to over heat it, whereas the others will become more brittle and weak with multiple flowings or overheating.

Of course I did a video for this Tool Time Tuesday. So sit back and relax while I show you what I have been talking about.



Basic Soldering: An Online Workshop

Do you like what you have seen here? Want to know more about soldering? In my new online workshop, I will take you through 7 different projects while giving much more information, tips and tricks, detailed discussion and video demonstrating each step. Registration begins tomorrow, or just as soon as I get the listing set up on my web store. Be sure to check your inbox and my blog for the announcement when everything is live. In celebration of this being my first e-course, I am going to offer a scholarship to one lucky person. If you happen to sign up and pay for the class and then win the scholarship, I will refund your class fee. So be sure to enter. More information will be given tomorrow.

Tool Time Tuesday – Making Headpins

Today’s post took FOREVER for my computer to load to YouTube for some reason. So it is rather late tonight. But it is still Tuesday in my time zone and you can’t beat that. I was trying to think of different things I could show you and I saw a picture of a couple of headpins and that got my juices going. So today’s Tool Time Tuesday video is me showing you how to make five different headpins. It is a very short video. Enjoy.

Finished Filming

Today was a great day for me. I finished filming the last of the projects for my online workshop. WOOHOO!!!!!! CELEBRATE!!!! Well, I can’t really celebrate too much yet as there is still A LOT of work to do. I hope I haven’t done all of this work for nothing. But we will see what happens. The class is an introductory/intermediate soldering class. I am not sure how many videos there are yet, but I know it is more than 6 – 8 hours of material. I will have more information and pictures shortly, but for now, here is a picture of the projects that are covered in the class. Don’t be fooled by their simple looks. There are a lot of techniques and tricks covered to make everything look good. Like I said, more information and better pictures to come soon.


Tool Time Tuesday – Let’s talk Files

There are many types of files that are used in the jewelry making industry. But we don’t want to talk about electronic or paper files. I want to talk about metal files. Files come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There are some HUGE files that are longer than a foot. But who wants to use that to remove a little spot on a ring? Not me! There are two sizes of files that I routinely use in my work. I use 6″ bastard files (the poor illegitimate things.) And I also use 140mm needle files. In the case of the 6″ files, the 6″ refers to the length of the filing surface, the handle is not included in the measurement. In the case of the 140mm needle files, the 140mm is the length of the entire file. My needle files are only about 3mm wide, so they are perfect for getting into small areas. There are times when I use a 2mm wide micro file as well.

In both cases, the files come in different shapes and “cuts.” A cut refers to the fineness of the teeth. You can think of the cut being similar to the grits of sand paper. The most common cuts in files are 0, 2, and 4. 0 is the most coarse. This is going to be great for removing material much faster than the other two cuts. 2, of course is the middle guy. It is going to be good for removing material but not as good as a 0. It is also great for getting a more finished edge or surface, but not as good as a 4. A 4 cut is great for smoothing things out and removing fine scratches. I remember the first time I used a 4 cut, I thought it was the most worthless piece of crapola I had ever used. it didn’t seem to do anything. That was because I actually needed to remove metal at the time, not just finesse an edge of a piece of metal. I was also still a very new newbie at the time.

I have created a short video showing the different types of files and a neat little trick I learned today on how to clean your files.

There are files of all different shapes that will allow you to get into tight spots. There are large files that allow you to remove large amounts of material. I am pretty sure there is a file that is out there that will do the right job for you. Files range in price from very inexpensive to VERY expensive.

I learned a couple of years ago that some things are worth what you pay for them. I am now the owner of some VERY nice files, and I can attest to the quality of them. If I were to suggest a file to someone that is either just beginning or is starting to buy nicer tools, I would highly suggest the Grobet Swiss files in a cut #2. It is going to be a good all around file. I would first suggest a flat file and then second, a 1/2 round file. Although, having said that, the 1/2 round file is flat on one side and would make a great 2 in 1 tool.

For anyone interested, as of this blog posting, I have 5 1/2 round files and 6 flat files listed in my store. They are the Grobet Swiss files, which really are some of the nicest you can get. You can find them listed in my online store at:

Upcoming class:

I am so excited that today went as well as it did. As you know, I have been working on my online classes. I finally figured out most of the back end hosting and just about have that ready to go. Last week I was supposed to have a lot of filming days as the girls returned to school and the baby was to go to the sitter. However, I overlooked the fact that my husband was working the night shift and had to sleep during the day. So last week was a total bust when it came to creating the videos. Then today was supposed to be the day…. and the baby was sick…. AGAIN….. on the one day that I could do this stuff. Luckily, or not so lucky, depending on how you look at it, my sitter and another one of the kids also had the same cold. So she told me to bring the baby over anyway. What a great sitter. So today I finished up a project for my online class. It turned out pretty well, at least I think so. want a teaser?????


It might look simple, but we have a wide piece of silver soldered onto a textured copper backplate. That leads to all sorts of trouble.  It is a great project and teaches lots of skills. It is just one of the projects that will be taught in the class.

Do you want to be featured?

I have run out of Artists for my Featured Artist Friday posts. If you would like to participate, let me know. I am currently getting a LOT of traffic on my site. I average anywhere between 600 – 3,000 hits per day. It is a great way to get some exposure.

Kreative Blogger Award – a little about me

I have been awarded the Kreative Blogger Award from my talented new friend and Bead Soup Blog Party Partner, Kumi Fisher.


KreativBloggerAward So…when you receive the Kreativ Blogger Award, here are the rules to follow:

1. Post a link to the person who awarded you

2. Share 7 well thought-out random things about yourself

3. Grant the Award to 10 other deserving bloggers and let them know

                             ♥                       ♥                          ♥ 

Kumi was a wonderful partner during the Bead Soup Blog Party and if you didn’t see the pieces she made with the items I sent her, be sure to read her Reveal Post.

I must admit, I am quite envious of all the classes she has been taking and all the new skills she is learning. I was so excited when Kate was finally getting old enough to start into preschool because it mean we were just about to the age of Kindergarten. That was the year that I was finally going to start taking more classes and taking my skills to the next level. Well, just before we got to that point, we had another baby and I am back on hold for a few more years. LOL. So Kumi, I hope you have some extra fun for me.

So what 7 things can I tell you all that you don’t already know about me?

  1. When I was a little girl I remember seeing a McDonald’s commercial and I told my dad that I wanted to be a McDonald’s girl when I grew up. HAHA. I never did work for McDonald’s. But I did work in a little snow cone shack as my first “REAL” job.
  2. In high school I played flute and piccolo for the marching band. And in my Junior year, I began playing percussion. I went to college on a music scholarship. I currently own the MOST BEAUTIFUL Marimba. What is a Marimba? Think of a Xylophone on drugs. This thing is HUGE! My oldest is starting to play percussion this year. YAY!
  3. Once when I was in Jr. High, my cousin and I thought we would get a beautiful tan and put crisco on our skin and laid out for a little too long. Boy were we fried. LOL. It hurts to think about it.
  4. One of my favorite Authors was Dorothy Gilman. I have all but one of her books (it is out of print.) One of these days I am going to get her books on audio version so I can listen to them while working in the studio. I re-read the books every few years. I read the first one when I was in 7th or 8th grade. My oldest is reading them now and loves them too.
  5. I am a tool Junkie. Oh wait, you already knew that. But I totally am. I love tools.
  6. Jewelry making is a surprising new talent that I didn’t know I had. I was quite shocked when I found out that I actually did have a creative bone in my body. It is still new and while it is something that may be there naturally, it is not something that comes easily.
  7. I live on Chocolate these days. I love carbs – the ones that are SUPER bad for you. It isn’t a good mix when trying to drop baby weight, especially when you add my advancing age. LOL.

So now to pick 10 other bloggers…..

1. Valerie Heck. Valerie is my best friend and it breaks my heart that she lives 2,500 miles away from me now. She is super talented and an amazing jeweler. But even more than that she is just an amazing person. She is a genuine friend. Even with 2,500 miles between us, we talk at least weekly and the friendship is as strong as ever. Visit Valerie’s blog.

2. Joy Kruse – I believe I met Joy through my blog here. She is a very talented artist that teaches at a lot of the big shows back east. She has been very encouraging to me as I have struggled with various things with the move and kids, etc. I love her style and she was even one of my Featured Artists a while back. Be sure to check out her blog – You will LOVE the eye candy.

3. Elenor Buffington – Elenor and I have been “friends” for a very long time. I met her on another jewelry forum and she has been a great source of encouragement as I have walked this new creative path. She is amazing when it comes to anything creative. She makes the most fantastic cakes and delightful and whimsical foods. And that is in addition to all the amazing jewelry she makes as well. Be sure to check out her blog, Cake and Jewelry

4. Angie Simonson – Angie is another one of those friends that I have had for several years from another jewelry forum. Again, Angie has also been a great source of encouragement and inspiration. She is also a phenomenal wire artist. Her blog is full of fun things including jewelry, recipes and the fun antics of her family. Be sure to visit her blog Weirdly Wired

5. Susan Estrada – Susan is another friend that has been in this small jewelry circle that I live and play in. So again, I have known her for a while and really enjoyed her take on various designs. She has a great eye for color and design and a taste for super fine materials. Her blog can be found at cserpentDesigns.

6. Kathryn at Kat’s Custom Kreations – Kat has been a reader of my blog for a little while and a huge source of encouragement to me. She is one of my top blog commenters. Her Blog is full of fun recipes for, not food, but other household items. I have a few of them on my list of things to try. But check it out and let me know if you try any of the items. Kat’s Custom Kreations  You can also see some of her beautiful jewelry work on her website:

7. Melissa Meman – I have known Melissa Meman for a long while now too. She is up to some really fun things and I simply adore her style. Her blog is filled with fun posts about goings on in life as well as jewelry adventures.

8. Janice at Doxallo Designs. – Janice was one of the first jewelers I “met” when I got started with all of this jewelry stuff. It has been a lot of fun to get to know her and I adore her style. I actually spent a week with Janice and a few other ladies down in North Carolina doing nothing but jewelry. It was a lot of fun. Janice’s blog is filled with her designs as well as thoughts and posts about life in general. She has some of the craziest adventures. Be sure to check out Doxallo Designs.

9. Elise Thomas – Elise is a new friend of mine. I was introduced to her work when she offered to be one of my Featured Artists on my blog. She makes some wonderful glass beads. You should check out some of her glass birds and flowers.

10. Swati Nigam – Last and certainly not least, is a very good friend of mine, Swati. Her blog is a little out of date right now, but perhaps this little tag will get her posting again. Swati was one of the first people I met on my jewelry journey. We used to chat for hours and help each other come up with ideas, troubleshoot wire and metal issues and just have good conversations. We did that for a long time until she moved to California and we had a 3 hour time difference. Her wire work is impeccable. I actually bought one of her pieces as a gift for my mother a few years ago.

Thanks Kumi for the award.