Category Archives: Personal

A Special Musical Number

Some of you may know that when I was in high school and the first couple of years of college I played the Marimba (think a xylophone on drugs.) Well, I purchased one many years ago (before I even had children. Sadly, it doesn’t get played often. But my oldest daughter, Riley, has started to play it the past couple of years. I love the sound of this beautiful instrument. I used to sit outside the practice rooms for hours listening to my friends practice. I love it on the rare instances when I can get Riley to practice. She had her Christmas concert at the middle school last week. I am very unhappy with the music program (or should I say lack of) at the school. I am hoping I can keep her playing until at least next year where she will have an amazing band instructor.

About a week and a half ago Riley and I played two songs for our church Christmas party. It is quite an ordeal to move the instrument, but it is such a rare treat to hear it, that we thought it would be fun to do a couple of pieces. I told her that if she signed up, I would also play a song. So she bit the bullet and signed us up. I had my husband record it on my phone, but the sound didn’t carry very well, so after Riley’s concert last week, I moved the marimba (normally it sits facing the wall with the mirror) and we recorded our own little concert. This took about 8 or 9 takes. Between us messing up and the two little girls screaming in the background we have quite the gag reel. LOL.
Anyway, here it is. Merry Christmas from my family to yours.  May your Holiday Season be a wonderful one.
Video Link:


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Catching up – iCreateFlix Featured Artist

Hello everyone. I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July. Our Fourth was wonderful. I hosted the first of many (I hope) parties here at our new home. It was so much fun to have a large group of family and friends here. Of course that also meant that I spent quite a bit of time cooking and cleaning…. and unpacking. Yes, I am still unpacking and trying to get this house in order. There has been so much work to be done. With the girls out of school for the Summer I feel like I am a chicken without a head running around. I know that I am busy, I know that I am getting a lot of things and projects done, but I feel like I am not making progress. I am sure that I am really making progress, but it just doesn’t feel like it. I am so far behind in my blogging and videos. I was hoping to have my business up and running, but I can’t even afford to get my business license yet. Sigh, Hopefully soon.


I have had the opportunity to host my video workshops and tutorials with a new website called They invited me to be their featured artist this past week. It was kind of fun where I was even interviewed for my first podcast. If you would like to listen to it, you can find it here: It is kind of long. So I just opened another browser window and let it run while I was doing other computer work.
In addition, they featured me in a blog post. That can be found here: They did a nice little write up.
I was also asked to participate as a guest blogger where I  talk about my Top Ten Metalsmithing Tools.
It was a lot of fun. In fact, the podcast came out on Tuesday, July 2nd. Which also happened to be my birthday. What did I do for my birthday? Well, I got to sit around in the hot house while I waited for the AC repair guys to fix our BRAND SPANKING NEW AC. Oh that was loads of fun. But some of my new friends were sweet and took my girls to a water park and brought me lunch from one of my favorite cafe’s. My oldest made me Red Velvet Cupcakes and we had pancakes for dinner. LOL. It was a very low key and restful day.
What am I working on now? Well, I was working on getting a piercing workshop filmed. But you know how you get rusty with your skills if you don’t use them? Well, that is where I am. Between having three kids at home, two moves within a year, setting up a new house and everything else, I feel like I am so rusty. So I have halted the filming for right now and am trying to just create in the studio. Of course, as I work in the studio, I am finding what works and what doesn’t, as far as the flow goes. I am also finding that I am still missing some tools. That is frustrating.
So bear with me. I am getting back into the swing of things. People often comment on how amazed they are that I am able to do all the things that I do. Well, let me tell you, there is an awful lot that isn’t getting done right now. And sadly, that includes my blog and Tool Time Tuesday. But my house is getting a little more put together and that makes me feel better. And hopefully once I get it in order, I will have more time for creating and working in the studio.

Utah Studio is Coming Along

Wow, we have been here for a full month already. In some ways it seems like we have been here forever and in others it seems like just yesterday we were just learning we were even going to be moving to Utah. I haven’t cared for the weather here so far. It seems, just as in other places in the US right now, that winter does not want to leave. We get various teasers, but for the most part, winter weather is what we have had. I am really missing my bike rides and am anxious to get them started again.

Next week I have the opportunity to participate in a medical study related to the issues that I had with my last baby that resulted in her having 9 blood transfusions (4 of which happened before she was even born.) I will be in Indianapolis for a couple of days, with one day being completely open. Does anyone live in the area and would like to get together? Let me know and I will give you the particulars. Otherwise, I will plan on just hanging out at the mall and nearby art museums.

In other news, the studio is coming together. I am starting to get really excited, no I am not, I have been excited for a long time. But I am getting more and more antsy to use the place. Some parts of the room actually look like it is getting close to being done. I love looking at the end of the room that has the fireplace. Just a couple more boxes to remove and that end of the room will look great.

Look, you can even see part of the table tops on the student work bench. YAY! I still need to paint the coset doors and attach the handles. I found these really cool forged iron handles that I am going to use as door pulls. But I need to get some new hinges as the originals are all brass.

We also figured out how to use the fireplace. It had to be wired for the switch and everything. But when we flipped the switch, only the pilot light would come on. But I found the remote for it and now I can have a beautifully inviting fire in the fireplace. (obviously, I still have a few things to clean up on the mantle.)

The forging area and equipment tables are finally finished as well.


It is still a big mess right now, but that is just because I am still trying to figure out where to put everything and all the associated accessories. I can’t wait to have it done and do the proper studio tour.

I even have a little helper. Our new home has central vacuum. I haven’t had one of those before. But my baby LOVES the fact that she can now help out. In fact, you should hear the screams when we make her stop. HAHAHA


Now if only I could get her to keep that love of cleaning. Why is it that they want to help and do the cleaning when they really aren’t able to, and when they are old enough to do it and do a good job at it, they refuse to? Sigh.

One area that hasn’t really had any attention paid to it yet is the sink area. In fact, there isn’t a sink yet. I still need to do some shopping for that.


Sigh, what a mess.

But all in all, it is coming together.

What a move… (long)

Well, we have been here for 2 weeks now. I cannot believe that much time has already passed. It has been an interesting move to say the least. Our items came and some made it unharmed, and others, well, not so much. The house is big and that has taken a bit to get used to. There are a lot of projects to do in here as the house is 13 years old and some things haven’t been maintained as they should have been. So that has been keeping us VERY busy.

Today as a reward for getting one bathroom unpacked and finished, my closet almost finished and a few other boxes unpacked, I went on a bike ride. There are biking trails all over the place here. It is an extremely family friendly and bike friendly place. It isn’t the Columbia River Gorge, mind you, but it is nice and accessible.

We are finally starting to work a little bit on the studio. The walls were already up with the electrical run. But that is pretty much the extent of it. There are can lights in the room (21 of them to be exact) and some of those need to be changed out as it isn’t good lighting for working on detailed projects like I do in my classes.

I started to put things together in my studio, but then realized quite quickly how dumb that was since the walls aren’t finished. So this is what it has looked like for the past few days.






I unloaded several boxes, but you could barely tell I had even made a dent. And you know what? It took a lot of time to empty these boxes….


I bought a 5 gallon bucket of primer and will be working on the walls and ceiling tonight. Kiari is enjoying the carpet with the tarps on the floor.


It looks like I have a great blue whale in my studio at the moment. HAHAHA


I have really been having a hard time with this move since we have run into several issues with the house that the inspector should have caught and didn’t. So we have had to put out a lot of extra money that we weren’t planning on to take care of some BIG issues. It has been difficult, mentally and emotionally. But yesterday as we were outside taking care of one of those issues, we saw this….


How can that not make you feel even a LITTLE bit better? It was actually a double rainbow, but the second one didn’t really show up with my cell phone camera.

Also, Kate’s school is only about 1/2 a mile from here, so we have been walking and yesterday morning as I was pondering all the issues we are having and my feelings, I saw this….


The sky was totally gray and cloud covered and then there was one little spot that opened up and the sun was so bright. It was just beautiful.

Okay, so this didn’t get posted last week as I had planned. So let me show you what I have accomplished….
















Tomorrow, I will tape the rest of the room off and paint the rest of the walls. I have chosen a light gray color to go with the dark gray on the walls you see above. My Father-in-law will be here starting tomorrow and we will build the rest of the tables and then I can get putting things back together. I am getting closer and closer each day. YAY!


I will be back one day….

My head just spins these days. I went from moving in June, to moving in April, to moving in mid March. In just 3 1/2 weeks I will leave Washington and begin life in our new place in Utah. I think I have been caught off guard a bit because of the rapid changes in the timeline. We didn’t expect to find a house so quickly. Although, I have to say that I am so glad we did. I was actually quite concerned about being here on my own with my girls for 3 months while my husband was in Utah workings and house hunting. I am also very excited and rather antsy about getting there and settling down.

The studio is now probably more than 1/2 packed. I should have it all finished up by wednesday, I would think. That will give me time to get some of the deep cleaning started and will make it easier for me to clean the house once the movers get all of our belongings loaded onto a truck. Last time we moved, it took them two full days to pack everything up and one solid day to load it all on the truck. This time however, we have a lot of things that are already packed. So I think that it will all happen much faster.
I am really going to miss the Columbia Gorge area. I have been driving around just soaking it all up and trying to commit as much of the scenery to memory as possible. I need to start researching hiking and biking trails in Utah so that the girls and I can hit the trails as soon as the wether gets nice. They have some really pretty areas in Utah, but it will be hard to replace the beauty we have here in washington. One thing that makes this move pretty nice is the view from my front yard.
That will be pretty easy to look at every morning. And the best part…. the view will never be obstructed. That is the view forever. *sigh*
We called ahead to some of the leaders of our church there in Draper. It has been wonderful this past week as we have had several members of our new ward reach out to us to welcome us and offer any assistance when we get there. It is nice to know that we are moving into a place that has such caring people.
It may be a while before I am able to get the studio back up and running once we get there to the new place. There is a lot of work to do to finish the room. And unlike when we bought the house in Ohio and built my studio there, I have a SERIOUS lack of funds this time. So it might take a while. But I hope not too long.
I will try to get on and blog a bit when I have something good to share. But thanks for being patient in the meantime. Wish me luck!

Moving… Retreat… Workshops…

Let me just start by saying that there certainly is never a dull moment in my life. Those of you that are long time readers of my blog know that already. I often joke that my life is so crazy that you just can’t make this stuff up.

Well, we have a timeline for our move. However, stranger things have happened, so we will just have to see how it all plays out. Last week my husband went to Utah to hang out with my little brother. While he was there, he took the opportunity to meet with our realtor and look at houses. Our plan has been that he would start his new job on March 1st (or thereabouts) and the girls and I would stay here in Washington until June and they were finished with school. We also said, in the unlikely case that we found a house, we might move sooner. Well, wouldn’t you know it? He found a house. It is a great one and the studio spaces (yes, plural) are fantastic. I will start out inside and then once we get the detached garage plumbed, heated and cooled, I can move out there. Here is what I am starting with… So excited! Eventually this room will become a family room, so I am going to finish it with that in mind.
I think my wall of hammers might look good on the wall next to the fireplace.
I would like to install a Kitchenette type of set up along this wall with a sink and counter top for working on projects such as etching, patina application, wire wrapping, etc. I will probably put my bit table there in the nook by the window on the left.
I honestly don’t know how big this room is. I haven’t seen the house yet. I will be flying out next week to attend the inspection and see it in person.
The house itself has great bones and quality construction. The other elements inside?…. Well, let’s just say I am going to be VERY busy for a couple of years with various projects. So, when do we move? During spring break, the first week of April, also Easter weekend. OH. MY. GOODNESS!!!! Do you know what that means? Only 7 1/2 weeks left. You know, I could swear I just wrote this message…. Oh wait, that’s right, I DID. Almost exactly one year ago.
But this time, I am not renting a house. I am going straight to a purchase and I am not moving again for at least 6 years. If he hates his job, too bad. LOL. Of course we also feel more comfortable buying without renting as we are already pretty familiar with the area.

So at any rate, I guess, Let the studio packing begin… again.

Pacific Northwest Metal Retreat

A good friend of mine, Francesca Watson, and I are hosting a retreat of jewelry artists. It will be held in beautiful Trout Lake, Washington. We have rented a rather larger house from September 9 – September 15.

Registration opened yesterday and it is already just over 1/2 way sold out. The retreat is going to be so much fun. I was really excited about it being only about an hour away, but now it will about 14 hours away. Oh well. But I am excited that I know I will be returning to Washington. Hopefully I will get some really good hikes in at that time.

Would you like to join us? Please check out the information. But don’t hesitate too long or there won’t be any spaces left.



Just a reminder that enrollment has begun in my Basic Soldering Online Workshop. Class begins February 15 and ends April 15.

Learn how to cut your own jumprings, one at a time or hundreds. Learn the basics of your soldering set up. I will introduce you to a butane torch, essential tools and chemicals. Once we have gone through the basics, there are 6 projects for you to hone your skills. Learn how to solder copper with silver solder and without having a silver seam show on the finished piece. I even share my secret of how to make perfect swirls. We play with alcohol inks to add interest to textured pieces. Learn the secretes of soldering silver onto copper and not having the silver solder flow all over your copper piece.

The entire workshop is only $130. Or you can take each individual project for only $30.

Work at your own pace and ask questions along the way. I have a flickr and Yahoo group set up so that we can easily communicate.

View more information about the projects:

It’s a New Year

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all had a great holiday season. I am ready for the holidays to be done and on to life with all of its upcoming changes. One year ago, I was preparing to move in two months time. This year, I am preparing to move, but I don’t know when. I just know it is going to happen. I am still a bit apprehensive about moving to Utah, but I am getting more excited about it. I like the prospect that this past Christmas is the last one we will spend alone. I am looking forward to having my family over for Sunday Dinner, or better yet, at my mom and dads place. My mom is the best cook ever! House hunting is also difficult when you live 750 miles away. It doesn’t help that there really isn’t much on the market there that fits our needs and desires. But as I have said before, We have always been put where we need to be when we need to be, and I am sure it will happen once again.

Kelsi’s Birthday

If you are new to my blog, you may have wondered about the name, Kelsi’s Closet Jewelbox. Kelsi is my second daughter. Her birthday was 2 days ago, December 30th. She would be turning 8 years old this year. However, 8 years ago today, January 1st, she passed away in my hands.
This picture was taken at Thanksgiving. It was the first time I have had all four girls together at the same time. Kate is holding up 6 fingers because that is how old she is. LOL. Silly kid.
Every year I have made a special piece of jewelry for myself. However, this year I have not made much jewelry and I didn’t make one for her birthday. But I did have something special made. A long-time online friend of mine started making lamp work beads a while back… and she does some beautiful work. I asked her if she would make an angel for me. They were all so pretty that I have ended up having her make 4 of them. Each one of my girls will be getting one of these pretty little beads. I had her make little teddy bears as they go along with the teddy bear that is on Kelsi’s headstone.
Sally Sutherland of Soul Silver is the artist behind these little beauties. I am very excited to get them.  Aren’t they beautiful? Just the quiet reverence that portrayed with their sweet little faces…. Please be sure to visit her Etsy Store for more beautiful eye candy.
Another thing that happens every year for Kelsi’s birthday is that my mom will make a luminary out of a milk jug and decorate it up beautifully. She does this because it keeps the wind from blowing the candle out. It is really neat too because more than once, she will put it out on Kelsi’s headstone on the 30th and the candle will still be going when she goes to pick it up on the 1st, each of the days Kelsi was alive. This year my mother made a white bow and flower for it. You see, at the age of 8, we believe that children have reached the age of accountability, when they are able to know right from wrong when making choices. It is when they reach this age that they are able to be baptized in our religion. The baptismal dressing is all white. We won’t be having a baptism this year, and that actually makes me really sad.


It is strange to think that it has already been 8 years. There are some things that I remember so vividly. I remember going down to the NICU at about 1:30 in the morning to see my sweet little baby. All the nurses were wearing 2005 crowns. And some of the little isolets were decorated up with tinsel and Christmas ornaments.
I have been really thinking about a lot of things lately. This weekend I have been helping a friend of mine move. She is going through a heartbreaking divorce and has had to sell her beautiful home and is facing a totally different life than she had imagined. Through it all she had kept her faith in the Lord and is a genuinely beautiful person. It is sad to watch everything that she is going through. I have seen others go through similar and they have allowed the sad situation taint them with a spot of ugly, if you will. They become cynical and angry. And while it is normal for people to go through that as part of a grieving phase, some allow for that part to stay. Then they get angry and start to ask why God has done this to them or allowed it to happen.
When Kelsi passed away, I went through all the various phases of grieving. I got angry, I was sad, I was confused and broken. But I honestly never really felt angry at God and asked Why Me? Because really, why  not me? It has to happen to someone, if that makes any sense. To tell you honestly, it is okay that it happened to me. It took a little while, but I can easily see that the most loving and merciful thing that God did for me in this situation, is to allow my precious little baby to leave this life. Had she lived, her quality of life, and ours too really, would have been VERY different than what it is now. It would not have been fun at all. We knew she was in for a long line of surgeries, possible and likely blindness, possible Cerebral Palsy and a long list of other things including lung issues from being born so early. So while I would have taken that life and loved her all the same, life is so much better for all of us by her not having to deal with any of it.
Also, I am fortunate that it happened to me as I am one of those people that can take something like this and have it make me stronger and hopefully a better person. If not better, perhaps more mindful. I was also very fortunate that Kelsi was not my first child. I had Riley, 4 years old at the time, who still needed me to be a mom. I didn’t have time to withdraw and allow the situation to suck the life out of me. It was also interesting that at the same time I was dealing with her death and making all the funeral arrangements that the company I worked for at the time was HORRIBLE about the whole thing. I can assure you that at the time, I was sitting there going “Why me?!?!?!” But within 2 weeks I knew that that too was a HUGE blessing as I was able to get a better job, with a better company with a huge pay rase and MUCH better benefits. From that experience alone, I have become much more mindful that even though some things REALLY REALLY SUCK, a lot of times it is just a blessing in the works.
We have been dealing with a couple of really difficult things for the last year in our family. It still hasn’t improved and sometimes gets worse. I am still waiting for the time when we can sit and look back to see why those things happened and which blessings they have led us to. And even though we are in the throws of “suckyness,” I can already see several very obvious blessings.
I am really sad about this next move as I was really hoping that Washington was going to be my home. But I am so grateful that I got to live here and experience this at all. I have made some wonderful friends, including the special friend that I have been helping move this week. She has opened my eyes to MANY things and helped me to look at things in a different light. I have met some other people that have taught me some other things and I look forward to taking those lessons and putting them into action in our new home, with our new neighbors and new friendships that are to be developed.


I want to thank every one of you for subscribing to my blog and helping it to grow as much as it has. I was looking at my site stats the other day and was simply blown away. Last December I had 18,000 hits (which was AMAZING in and of itself) but this December I had nearly 86,000 hits. OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am currently averaging over 1,000 views per day. I have nearly 700 people that subscribe to my YouTube channel and nearly 700 here on my blog. While I feel that I am still a small fry, I am truly humbled that you feel that it is worth your time to have my blog be a part of your life. So Thank You!
I hope that 2013 is a great year for all of us. Thank you for letting me be a part of your 2013.