Category Archives: Sketching Challenge

A New Look

Well, what do you think? I have had that old template for a couple of years now and I just felt it was time for a change. It was kind of challenging and fun as I had to play around with Photoshop elements I had forgotten how to do and I even had to fudge with the CSS and HTML code for the blog. Oh how I miss hacking out code and knowing what I was doing. HAHA Hopefully things will go smoothly as I work on my Website next.

Sorry to be so late with my blog this week. My baby has decided she is ready to be mobile. That is not good for me as it means I will spend even less time in the studio and working on my blog and sites. However, next week my older girls start back to school and the baby will visit a sitter a couple times a week. YAY! Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, I am just a much better mom when I have had a chance to spend some time by myself, for myself. And that means spending some good quality time with my tools and creativity.

I have been working on my sketching challenge a little. Last weeks theme was Lines. Here is what I came up with. Again, they aren’t great, but at least it is a starting point.


1716 1717


This week’s theme is Fractured.

I hope to be back with some more Tool Time Tuesday Posts in the next couple of weeks. I am getting all the material ready now and figuring out how to get it filmed and photographed. I have also just made some plans to visit Tucson in early September. I will be spending some time with Kevin Potter of Potter USA. I am really really really enjoying my press and am going to glean as much information from his brain as I can so I can share it all with you. So if any of you live in Tucson and would like to get together, I would LOVE to meet up. I am also told there is a gem show there that weekend. What great timing!!!


Bead Soup

I sent off my bead soup package this last week. With any luck my partner will have her beads and hand made focal and clasp in her hands on Monday, if not tomorrow. Want to see what I sent her?


Well, I can’t really show you what I sent her. She might read my blog and see it. But I promise to show you what it all really looks like after I know she has it in her hot little hands. But I think it is safe to say, it is full of Copper and Silver. LOL.

Tool Time Tuesday – Storage & Organization in the Studio

UGH! What a day yesterday was. So Tool Time Tuesday is Tool Time Wednesday, but hey, at least it got on here right?

I had some emails and questions about storage options in the studio for various tools. So in this edition of Tool Time Tuesday I go through and show you how I have organized a few of my tools in the studio.

Here is the direct link to YouTube:

And here is the video.


Sketching Challenge

Okay, I know I said I was going to post on Monday, but as you can see, I didn’t even make it to my computer on Monday…. and barely on Tuesday. I didn’t get any more pages done in my personal sketch books, but I did meet my goal of at least 20 images, so I am happy.

This weeks theme: LINES

If you haven’t already seen the sketches from others on my facebook page, be sure to stop by. There are some GREAT sketches out there. Thanks to those of you that participated. It is fun and inspiring to see others sketches as well.

New Pieces

Wow, did I just write that? Why, yes I did.  The past two mornings (Monday and Tuesday) my darling baby woke up at 6:00 am. What is with that kid? Well, I couldn’t fall back to sleep and figured it would be the perfect time to play in the studio. That is just what I did. I have been so excited to work with this hydraulic press and I finally got to do more than just quickly looking at it or preparing materials.

The first piece has been pressed, pierced and riveted to an aluminum back plate. It is very light. The copper was 22 gauge. The aluminum and bail have been sandblasted. Have I told you all how much I LOVE my tools?!?!?!



The second piece was also done using my hydraulic press. This was a custom order for an online friend who was due the same time I was with my baby. They affectionately call their baby turtle. It was a lot more work that I thought it would be, but it was so much fun to work in the studio, I didn’t care. I hate it when the opening on a jump ring happens to be in the front and you don’t notice it until after the photo is done. ARGH! The heart is 1.25″. The little turtle is about the size of a dime.




Bead Soup

Bead Soup Blog Party

Yup, your read that right. I am going to participate in a blog party called Bead Soup. Basically people sign up and then they get paired up with a partner. Each partner sends the other a focal, special clasp and coordinating beads. They then have to make a piece with whatever was sent to them. I got paired up with someone that does work with seed beads. Let’s hope she takes pity on me and doesn’t send me a tube or three of those. HAHA

Once all the pieces are done, we will all post them to our own blogs on September 17. Then we all have a great big Blog Hop to view everyone’s finished pieces.

I have never participated in one of these before, but as you know from my previous blog posts, I really needed something to get me going. I figured this couldn’t hurt. Stay posted and I will show you what I get and what I come up with for a final design.

Tronex Order

Last item for this post. I am going to be placing an order on Thursday morning (8/11/11) for Tronex Tools. Because the order is a large one I am going to be able to offer 15% off the entire order. So let me know if you would like any of the cutter or pliers. They are fantastic…. but you already know how I feel about them.

New Challenge – Let’s Sketch

So you may have noticed that in the past year I have posted VERY LITTLE of my own work. There is a fairly good reason for that. One year ago today, I was sicker than a dog and doing nothing more than holding down the couch and attempting to hold down my lunch. HAHA! I had a very difficult pregnancy which led to a very premature baby and a long NICU stay. After bringing my darling baby home, we found out that she is just as much trouble outside the womb as she was in. Talk about HIGH MAINTENANCE!!!!! GOOD GLORY!  And that is being polite.

With that said, when I do have an hour to steal away into the studio (as if!) I find that I am creatively stumped. I can’t get anything to look remotely decent, I have no ideas flowing, there just isn’t anything. When I took a couple of classes at the University of Akron a few years back, our instructor had us keep a sketch book. We were to draw at least 12 sketches per night. Now, you might recall that all this artistic stuff is new to me. It is amazing that I can create jewelry the way I do, but I am HORRIBLE at drawing. I wish I could draw the piece I make, but I can’t. At least not at this time. I am not being modest either. I will show you what I mean shortly.

At any rate, I did find that the more I “Sketched” the more ideas I had. One idea spawned another and that led to another and yet another. It is kind of fun to look back through the drawings I was making at that time and see the pieces that have turned into something. Several of the finished pieces have been published and one was even turned into a magazine article. So you never know where these simple ideas will take you.

I posted on my Facebook page about an idea that I had to do a sketching challenge. I invite you all to join with me. Several people have already started and it is so fun to see how others think too. I am going to extend this to my blog, so if you would like to participate but aren’t on Facebook, you can just send me a picture of your sketches via email and I will post them here (we don’t have to use your name) but I am putting my bad drawings out there in all their awful glory. hahaha

Here is a page out of one of my sketchbooks (I think I have 4 or 5.) See what I mean about very simple? Fun thing about this page, there are at least 5 pieces that were actually made.


Okay, so here is the challenge. Take your sketch book/paper/napkin/ whatever. Draw a grid of 9-21+ squares (see pictures below) and draw at least one thing in the box. I will provide a weekly theme (please send suggestions) and then we will all sketch based on that theme. Don’t worry if you don’t stick with the theme, heaven knows my mind wanders and once you get started, let it go!

You have 7 days (Actually only 4 for this one as we started it on Monday) to take a picture of your page and either post it on my facebook wall ( or email it to me at and I will get it posted for you.

The idea is to take this challenge one step further and choose an item from our sketches and turn it into a finished piece.  If you can do one a week, that is great. I know I sometimes don’t step foot into my studio in a week’s time, so do what you can.

So please join in and let’s help each other get creative.

Who can join? EVERYONE! You don’t have to be a jewelry artist. So if you paint, sew, hit metal, bead, whatever, jump on in and let’s see what happens!

Here are my drawings so far for this week. My personal goal is to have at least 20 sketches per week. As you can see, I have far exceeded that this week… and that is a VERY good thing. Set your own goal or match my 20. Do what you can, but do something.

Week 1 – Theme: Dots

I did this at the hotel room just before turning off the lamp to go to sleep. Not my most creative day…..

I did this page last night (8/3/11) while watching a movie with my girls.


Featured Artist Friday

I need some artists. I am all out. Do you want to be featured? Yes? Please send me an email and I will send you the questions and information. jewelry @ melissamuir . com (remove spaces of course)