Monthly Archives: February 2014

Who loves you? …. nobody. Bullied

I have thought and thought and thought about this post for about 2 1/2 years now. Perhaps even longer than that. But this feeling has been so much stronger lately that I can no longer ignore it. This is a very personal post and has very little to do with jewelry. So just be warned it is a step away for a moment.

People are so surprised when they hear my story of growing up. They stand there shocked and think that it isn’t possible and are stunned that I am the person I am today. In many ways that is the greatest compliment I can receive.

As a little girl, I was pretty darn cute. Big blue eyes, long strawberry blond hair and just enough pudge to be soft, but not too squishy. Then, in 3rd grade things started to change. I headed into that awkward stage, got glasses and somehow became REALLY uncool. So uncool that I WAS the ugly kid that NOBODY in my grade would play with or liked. I was always last to be picked for games and other group activities. I had “cooties.” I was reminded daily that nobody liked me. It was awful. I can only imagine the heartbreak that my parents must have felt watching their beautiful little girl develop a very low self esteem, constantly come home crying after school and just be crushed. They did everything they could for me to make certain I excelled where I had talents. I was in dance, I took piano lessons, I read a lot of books, I was even in counseling. They made sure I had friends outside of school, though still very few.

The comments from the kids still haunt me, even now that I am 37 years old. I still remember standing in line for lunch, already self conscious about the way I looked and always eager to gain the approval of others, one of the kids asked if I would like to know how to get rid of 10 ugly pounds. At this point, I was probably 10 years old maybe 11. I stupidly said yes. The reply? “Cut off your head.” I laughed. But inside, I was crushed. At night, I would lay in bed and build myself back up. I would imagine myself walking to class with my held held high and a smile on my face. I would imagine myself being successful in my classes and then making friends. Of course the next day would come. My held was held high, until I rounded the corner and bullies were lined up at the door waiting to go in and I would see their sneer as I joined the line. Then the comments would begin. My head would drop and I would wilt.

At church we are taught to love and support one another. We are taught that we should treat everyone as Jesus would. I didn’t have that with the kids my own age at church. One week when I was 13 or so, one of the boys prayed I wouldn’t come back. I went to girls camp and ended up staying in the tent with the leaders because the girls were so mean to me. In all cases it was the kids, and the adults did object. The adults went out of their way to make me feel loved and cared for. But honestly, the damage had been done. I felt worthless.

As a little girl my father would come in to tuck me into bed and talk with me. He would ask, “Who loves you?” Any loving parent would expect their child to reply with “you do.” But I didn’t. My response was “nobody.” I only recently learned how much that affected my dad. As a parent now, I can only imagine. My answer would remain “nobody” until he tickled me so much that I would give in and say “you do, you do, daddy loves me.” LOL. He is a good dad.

Once I was in junior high school, there were new kids from other schools. They didn’t know who I had been in the last school. Sure, I still had to deal with my elementary school and church bullies, but I had a new chance. But again, the damage is there. I don’t feel worthy of anything. I did make a few new friends. I even played flute and piccolo (a dream I had from the time I was 6.) But I still had bullies. I dealt with threats that people were going to beat me up. I dealt with awful prank calls. I constantly had a sick feeling in my stomach. I always looked for ways to keep people happy and give me their approval. I overcame those bullies with kindness and eventually was able to call some of them “friend.”

God has given me one of the greatest blessings he can give His children. A kind and forgiving heart. I am still hurt. But I have never really been angry. If at any time any of those “bullies” came to me and said they were sorry, or even if they just started to be nice to me, they were forgiven and we moved forward. People ask how I have been able to stay active and faithful in my religion after dealing with that growing up. In short, I knew it was the people, not the church or God that was doing this. My own relationship with God was strengthened as I looked to Him for support, love, peace and strength. He has given me ALL of that and more.

Now that isn’t to say that things were rosy. They weren’t. I dealt with feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness. I pondered the whole point of it all if nobody wanted me here. Suicide was thought about, never really attempted, but the thought was there, sometimes stronger than others.

By high school I had finally found some real friends. I developed somewhat of a “who cares” attitude about things. At least on the outside. But I still always sought approval and never really believed that people liked me. They were just being nice. You know, kind of how you might be if you don’t want to hurt someones feelings. Most of my true friends in high school were guys. I did have some “girl” friends, but they weren’t like my “guy” friends. I never really had close relationships with girls. At least not until later in life.

So why am I writing all of this? Honestly, I am not entirely sure other than the fact that I know I am supposed to. There are a lot of long term ramifications of bullying. We have seen more and more about these young kids who have taken their lives because of bullying. My heart aches for that child and their parents. I was very fortunate to have wonderful parents. They did what they could for me, but they can only do so much. Only what I would allow, if that makes any sense. The rest of it had to be done by me. Do I believe what I am told? Do I get angry? Do I get mean? Do I shrink down to nothing? It is all personal. And when you are dealing with this starting at age 8 and 9, I think it can go any way. My parents always told me how impressed they were with me. They said that if anyone ever had a reason to be angry and bitter, it was me. But I wasn’t. I remained forgiving and loving.

How does this all affect me today? I know that I am no longer the Ugly kid. In fact, there are times where I look in the mirror and actually see a beautiful woman looking back at me. That woman stands there only occasionally. The other woman that I see has a weight problem and anger issues from time to time. She still doesn’t feel worthy. She still feels that the compliments that come her way are because people are being nice. After all, every now and then there is a bad review on a video or a piece of work or whatnot (yeah, they get deleted. LOL) Because I can’t have anyone seeing the “not perfect” things that I do. I still seek approval and acceptance. But I still question the sincerity when it is given.

People ask me all the time why I don’t sell my jewelry much. The short answer to it is that I don’t really believe anyone would really like it and pay for what it is worth. It was made by me. Why would anyone ever value it. I know it is untrue. It is a battle that I fight everyday. There are two sides of me. One left over from the bullying and tearing down of a little girl nearly 30 years ago. The other that has grown and learned that it was all wrong. One side always tells me of my failures, imperfections, stupidity, etc. etc. The other side knows that she has become beautiful, talented and amazing. So why does the first one win so much? Why do the negatives affect us so much more than the positives? Why do we allow the Devil to win this war when any parent, including our Heavenly Father would only want us to know how much we truly are worth?

I don’t have an answer. I only wish that our children now were really able to see the damage that is caused by an unkind word or deed. I wish we could abolish all bullying. I wish nobody had to suffer the way I did, and still do. I also wish I were more eloquent with my words and conveying how I really feel about all of this.

Spend time with your children, your friends children, your neighborhood children. Build them up. Let them know how much they truly are loved, how much they are are valued. While it was an awful time to go through and I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy, I am so much a better person for it. I am strong. I have compassion. I have a real sense of the value of life, talents, love and relationships. I also have a great respect and love and gratitude for my parents for making certain I knew I was of worth, loved, beautiful, and could do better than what the bullies were telling me.

Today, I am beautiful. I am loved. I am worthy. I am talented. I am surrounded by friends and people who love and care for me. In another hour or two, my answer might be different, but I am happy with how I feel right now.

This is what has become of the ugly little girl. She is successful and has been in nearly everything she has tried. She is beautiful. She is strong. She is loving. She is forgiving. She is vulnerable. She is compassionate. She is passionate.
She is loved.

The inner bully that remains still comes out and my poor girls sometimes have to deal with the ramifications of her thoughts and words. It is a constant battle. I am working on building myself up rather than tearing myself down in front of my girls. They are the first to tell me how beautiful I am. How talented I am. And how excited they are that I am “famous.” LOL. After all children don’t lie, right?

My heart melts when I ask my three girls “Who loves you?” And without missing a beat they all reply…. “MOMMY!”
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.

Tool Time Tuesday – Prototypes, Bracelets and Electric Tools

I have been working so hard for the past three days trying to do videos, editing and uploading while also being a mom of little kids. So even though it is no longer Tuesday, I figured a little late is better than never. So for this edition of Tool Time Tuesday on Wednesday we have some fun things to look at…. including THREE new videos.

When I got home from Tucson I had a package waiting for me with a prototype set of mandrels for the Superior Ring Bender. Pepetools has asked me to evaluate these and ask YOU what you think of them. They are trying to decide if they should be put into production. I have had quite a few people ask me about the Superior Ring Bender. Is it worth the cost? Do I like it? Is it as easy to use as I make it look? Why would they need this tool if they can just hit their metal around a mandrel with a hammer? All are very good questions.

Is it worth the cost – are any of our tools? What do you want from it? What was the purpose for buying it? I know that as I have spoken with people who have purchased it, for the most part, with a few exceptions, they love it. The largest group of happy owners are those that have a hard time shaping their metal on a mandrel with a hammer. Some of them have shoulder injuries, arthritis or just don’t possess the hand strength. I have to say I personally really like it as it really is as easy to use as I make it seem. That doesn’t mean to say that you don’t sometimes have to apply a lot of pressure, but it is an easy tool to use.

The prototypes they sent me were the mandrels in Nylon. The Superior Ring Bender comes with Steel Mandrels and Formers. There is an option to buy the nylon formers. But now they have added the nylon mandrels. Why would you need that? I used it when I was forming pieces that had high relief patterns or very fine wires that are easily crushed and broken with the steel mandrels.

So here is my review of the tool and how I would use it in my studio. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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I have also had questions about making bracelets with this tool. They don’t have large mandrels specifically for that purpose, but in this next video you will see how I make a cuff using the Superior Ring Bending Tool.

Video Link:

Last week I shared my new press with you just a tiny little bit. Now let’s really look at it. There will be many more videos using the electric press coming soon. But for now, I introduce you to how it is setup and works. I show you very quickly how easy it is to use and how quickly you can create a bracelet from start to finish. Oh how I love this machine.

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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.

Tool Time Tuesday – New Tools in the Studio

My last post was so full of pictures that I didn’t want the videos to be lost in all of the other information. I did post about a few of the new tools that I brought back with me from Tucson, but let’s look a little more closely at them.

First, I am finally the owner of one of Potter USA’s Bench Top Shears. I know, I know, “But Melissa, you already have a guillotine shear. Do you really need this one too?” The answer to that is YES! And you should too.
The way that this shear has been modified by Kevin Potter is so that it will be a good alternative to a guillotine until you have the funds to buy one should you desire to go that far. It doesn’t cut the same way, so it really isn’t a replacement. But the table will support your material so that you can make more precise cuts. So why do *I* need this in my studio? Well, there are certain cuts that are much more easily made with this tool that I am not able to do with my guillotine shear. The throat in this shear is open so I can feed larger pieces of metal through it continuously. I can also make curved cuts that are not possible with the guillotine shear.
The bench top shear will curve your metal slightly, but for me that isn’t anything that my hands or a rawhide mallet won’t take care of. The shear will easily cut 1/4″ thick material all day long. There is also a hole that allows you to feed wire or bar stock through for cutting as well.
In this video I show you how I mounted it to my shear table and give a quick demonstration on how to use it.
The next tool that followed me home is a bright pink hydraulic press. Doesn’t it look so pretty with the others? I am totally not a pink girl, but I have to admit that the pop of color is fun to have in the studio. And that great big black thing on the side? It is the electric motor. There are a LOT of new videos coming soon.

So in this next video I show you some of the changes that Kevin Potter has made to the press frame. All the frames that are coming out now are upgradable to the electric cylinder. So even if you can’t afford to go electric now, and perhaps you never will need to or desire to, but if you do, it is ready to go in the future.

People have also asked how you get the darn presses together. Putting a jack into the press can be quite the difficult ordeal. Well, it isn’t any more. Kevin has made some great changes and I show you how to assemble your press easily.

Video Link:

Stay tuned for even more videos on the press coming soon.

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.

Catching Up – Tucson Adventures

Hello everyone. It has been a while, but what a trip I have been on. There are so many things to share with you. Tucson was fantastic!!!! I am already looking forward to next year, even though I am still recovering. It was completely exhausting, but SO MUCH FUN!

First, Before I left, I got a new hair cut. Of course, I can never get it to look how it did when the hair stylist does it. Don’t you hate that? I liked it when it looked like this, but you will see in the other pictures, it doesn’t normally. HA!


I am also making another big change. I have begun the process, and am nearly complete, to officially change my business name from Kelsi’s Closet Jewelbox to Melissa Muir – Metalsmith. I will continue to operate my shop of Kelsi’s Closet Jewelbox, but I will change the focus to more of my memorial line of jewelry and items. I will be working on my MelissaMuir.Com website more to showcase my videos, tools, tutorials and supplies and such. But that will take a little while.logo_MM_Metalsmith_horizontal

This is where I spent  my week in Tucson. This is Potter USA. It is an amazing machine shop. Kevin Potter shares his shop with a blacksmith, Doug Thompson who does amazing things!


I have never really been in a Machine Shop before, other than when I visited Kevin a couple of years ago. It was very different to work in here every day. This is also where I held my workshops during the trip.


And this is the man himself, Kevin Potter. He and his family are WONDERFUL people. He is as nice as he seems. It was a pleasure to work along side him in the shop. And he is a lot of fun to shop with when it comes to gems. That man knows his stuff!


On my last full day in Tucson, Kevin and I went shopping. We visited the “big” show, AGTA. This is where you go if you want quality! Yes, the prices are as high as the place is nice, but if you want to make certain you get the good stuff, this is where you go. I could only afford a little.


But that is only because I was saving my money to buy a gem from one of the MOST AMAZING gem cutter, John Dyer. He is so young. And he is just as beautiful as him gems are. Yes, I did buy a gem, only one. And even it was a bit over my budget, but it was so worth it. This is the gem that I will leap and make my first foray into using gold and a couple of diamonds that I have been hoarding. It may take a while to finally release my breath and make the gold purchase, but I plan to make the leap sometime this year.


Kevin graciously opened his shop to all visitors and even hosted a great open house where we had a great turnout. I have finally met some of the people I have been involved with for years online. It was wonderful to finally meet these talented artists in person.

Cristina Leonard –


From Left to Right –

Peter D’Enbeau, Maureen Brusa Zappelini, Me  , Emily Ruffin, Andrea (Magpie) Robinson


This next group of women are very special to me.  I know two of them from the retreat I attended in North Carolina about 6 years ago or so.

Debora Mauser, Eva Sherman, Me and Nancy Vantassell – I had my very first jewelry teaching gig for Eva Sherman when we lived in Ohio.


Okay, Yes, I am standing. I am short and these two ladies are VERY tall.

Me, Lisa Lehman and Annie Pennington from Art Jewelry Magazine.


This is a fun group. All of us are teachers. I haven’t joined the national circuit due to my children being young and the fact that we keep moving, but I look forward to that one day. I mean who wouldn’t want to hang out with the ladies?

Me, Eva Sherman, Kate Richbourg, Barbara Lewis and Debora Mauser.


I forgot to get pictures from my classes, but this is the group that took my class on the last evening in Tucson. We made our own silhouette dies. It was a lot of fun.


As I was getting into my car to leave Tucson and head back home, Melissa Cable stopped by to visit with Kevin Potter. I am so glad she got there when she did as we were both excited to finally meet in person. Melissa just came out with a book on making jewelry with Leather. I am now the proud owner of that book and will have a review of it in the next couple of weeks.


And what trip is complete without an adventure at Wal.Mart? Luckily, this wasn’t my car, but we pulled up and there was a tricked out car completely in flames. We even got there before the fire crew. I feel awful for the poor owner of the car.


After 9 days and 4 days of long drives (yes, I drove) Look who missed me? Awwww. I don’t get flowers very often, so it was really nice to get so many all at once. He is such a good guy. I may not get flowers often, but I know he loves me…. I mean, have you seen the studio he let me build? I love my man!


I brought home some new tools for the studio too. This is a bench shear from Kevin Potter. I have just posted a video on YouTube on how to mount and use it. I will post about that soon. Oh, and it was totally a fire in the fireplace kind of day the past couple of days. We may not have snow, but it has been a bit chilly in here.


And yes, there is another press. I know, I am totally spoiled. But this one is soooooo much fun. It is electric. I will be filming a bunch next week and will show you lots of fun things and features of this one. And even though I am not normally a pink girl, this one is so bright and fun here in its new home. I think I will call this the Potter Corner.


And remember when I told you that we had a couple of bathroom remodels going on? This one isn’t entirely complete, they still need to come and fix the grout on the tile, and I need to hang the mirrors, but I am so stinking excited about the new studio bathroom!!!!


And now you see why there haven’t been many updates from me. Hopefully now that I am back, the bathrooms are nearly done and we have settled into more of a routine you will begin to see more from me. I will be posting a few things, including videos over the next couple of days.In the meantime, it is great to be home again.

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.