150+ and Growing

At the beginning of the year my blog celebrated it’s third birthday. I began the year with only 60+ subscribers. In just a few short months, word has spread and continues to spread about my Tool Time Tuesday Posts. It thrills me beyond belief that people feel my blog is worthy of subscribing to and reading. I must admit that I am a pretty selfish person. I try not to be, but in the end, it is all about me. This blog is just one more example of that.

The blog began as I participated in a challenge called the Year of Jewelry. I was very new to jewelry at the time and knew only the basics of how to work a torch and just a little about wire wrapping. In three years time I have taken an unknown talent have turned it into a career. My career is a very lax one as I am just letting it takes it course while my children are young. I already know what it is like to live in this world without one child, I figured I would do my best to spend the time I have with the children I do have here. But even letting my business takes its course by word of mouth, I am able to afford my “habit.” That is a good feeling. But I digress. This blog was a way for me to document my journey in jewelry, and what a journey it has been.

Continuing in my selfishness, moving to Ohio has been very difficult for me socially. I am a very social butterfly, but when we moved here, I gave up my career in computer training and software development to be a full-time stay-at-home mom. We moved to Ohio in October… the weather was already bad and we didn’t know a soul. As a way to gain friends, I started a guild here in Ohio called the Ohio Jewelry and Metal Arts Guild . In just one short year we are already 80 members strong and are getting ready to open up two new regions in the state.

My Tool Time Tuesday posts are another selfish thing, it is totally about me, even though there might be some benefit in it for you. I was getting lazy and not blogging. I was not getting into my studio to work on my craft and develop my talent. I wasn’t accountable to anyone. Now that I know that people are actually reading this thing, it gets me into the studio and I am learning new things and trying out new tools. It is so much fun!

I told you all that once I hit 150 subscribers I would do a celebration give-away. As promised and as a way to say “Thank You” for spreading the word, here it is.Β  I don’t know who is subscribed as I only see a number, not an email address, username, ip address, nothing…. just a number. The only way that I actually know who is reading this little blog of mine is if they actually leave a comment, and I read them all…. and try to respond.

I have identified a couple of audiences however, and have a few gifts for you to choose between should you be the lucky winner.

For my friends that are in the jewelry making business, there are two great items to choose between. You can choose a pair of beautiful faceted Amethyst pear briolettes AND faceted heart shaped Periodot. These are not poor quality. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a better quality or cut as these. I paid a pretty little penny for them, and the picture just does not do them justice. They are top drilled.

If stones aren’t your thing. Then I am offering one of my FAVORITE hammers. This is a little goldsmiths hammer. Both ends are slightly rounded. It is lightweight and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I use it a lot when I am doing my rivets or adding texture to a piece. In fact, I just ordered 11 more of these if anyone is interested, just let me know. The hammer below is actually mine. I just sold my last one and placed my order for the others today. So if you choose the hammer, you will have to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week before I can send it out.

I also have a lot of friends and readers that just enjoy reading the blog to see pictures of my progress. So I am offering one of three choices of finished jewelry. The first is a pendant in sterling silver and Agate (though I forgot the type of agate). The second is a pair of Sterling and Fire Agate beads. And the last is a pair of earrings, similar to the style that was presented in the new 30-minute-earrings book.



So how do you win?

Well, as I said, I don’t know who has subscribed and who hasn’t, so just leave a comment on this post. I will number them in the order in which they are entered and use a random number generator to pick or I might just write the numbers down, stick them in a bowl and let my girls pick the number.

As something kind of fun, in your comment, tell me about your favorite tool or piece of jewelry (doesn’t have to be one of mine. )

I will draw and announce the winner on Friday night. So you have until Friday at 6:00 pm EDT to get your comment in. Good luck!

You do not have to be subscribed to the blog, but if you like it, then think about entering your email address in the upper left corner under the caption “SUBSCRIBE.” You will receive an email every time I make an entry on my blog.

And again, THANK YOU!


  1. Liz

    Melissa…I love your blog site and seeing all the interesting projects you come up with…you are marked as a favorite!

  2. mah

    Well, Melissa, you may think your Tool Time Tuesdays are all about you, but they really help all of US~ I am a novice jeweler and have enjoyed learning something from each of your weekly posts.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  3. Cathy

    I love everything about your blog and all the information that you provide keep up the good work Melissa

  4. Maz Simpson

    I bought an inexpensive wooden ring clamp when I first started playing with metal – I have to say it’s one of the most useful tools I have!!

    I love reading your tool reviews! πŸ™‚

  5. Delia Stone

    Wow, congrats on your readership! That’s wonderful. You make me consider taking my own blog more seriously. I have enjoyed your tool time posts. They have inspired me to own new tools and try new things! πŸ™‚

  6. Karen

    Congrats on 150 subscribers! I too have little ones, although you seem to make much better use of your time than I do…I can’t imagine how you manage to complete all the things that you do! I rarely manage to scrape together the time to work on my own “hobbies” but I look forward to every one of your posts and study your TTT’s avidly!

  7. Nora

    Very exciting! I really enjoy the tutorials and appreciate all of the effort you put into your blog. I’m a hammer girl myself because of all the amazing things you can do with them. Here’s to the next 150!

  8. Margaret Weiss

    Hi Melissa,I was delighted to find your website and more importantly Tool Time: I have been looking for a disc cutter and did not whiich one to buy. Thankfully your tool time has helped me decide on the Swanstrom, which I am about to order (and some other things as well) and have it sent to Australia. Have added you to my blog and subscribed to your website. I hope I win. Thanks, Margaret

  9. Linda

    Melissa, I love your Tool Time Tuesday, am also inspired by your work. I too, love swirls and curls. My favorite tool is the one I have in my hand at any given time, be it a jewelers tool or any tool. I,m a tool girl.

  10. Julie

    I really enjoy your blog.
    I have been doing metal work and wire work for about 3 years now and it is very refreshing to have someone willing to do all the initial work of discovering tools and techniques and then sharing it with others.
    You are a wonderful person.
    My favorite tool is one of your favorites, the helicopter punch. I have fibromyalgia and it is the only punch that I can work and have it come out perfect.
    Keep on blogging. I am a fan from Petaluma, California.

  11. Cynthia Frazee

    Congratulations on reaching 150! After first class really enjoyed going through your website, tool time and all. I suppose my favorite “tool” is the creativity that has been unleashed when I first started beading in October of 2008 – though I am looking forward to getting the 3 texturing hammers, etc. you’ve ordered for me! Keep up the great work!

  12. Angie

    I remember when you joined the Year of Jewelry, and you have certainly flourished in your work! If I had to choose between the hammer & stones, well, I’d have to go with the hammer. Maybe then I’d finally get around to learning how to rivet!
    Thanks for all you do Melissa!!!

  13. Judy

    Thanks Melissa for your work on this. You have really helped me grow with what I create. My favorite tool is a texture hammer that has little circles on one side and straight lines on the other. Its fun and helps me work out my stress!

  14. Tamara Wright

    Tamara Here: I didn’t get to finish my e-mail before it ran away from me somehow. I would love to have one of your goldsmiths hammers.

  15. Carmen

    Thank you so much for sharing the information in your blog! I am VERY new to metalsmithing and jewelry making and have found all your posts most helpful. I am so new that I really don’t have a favorite tool yet but my dog has taken a liking to my new rawhide hammer and I have had to retrieve it from him several times.
    Thanks again and Blog On.

  16. Deb

    Melissa, Congrats on your 150 !!! That stone is a red lace agate… and I would love to have that or the hammer… Probably hammer though… My favorite tools are my hammers, just love to pound on stuff… But I just finally set up my flex shaft so it might be taking over as fav…

  17. Maggie Mehaffey

    Hi Melissa, I love your blog and I love YOU! I’ve been a big fan of yours for a long time. I have also been on a very similar journey to yours, learning to make beautiful things with metal and tools, and now teaching. I took part in the year of jewelry two years ago. What an awesome experience that was! Keep up the great work. Your awesome content is what keeps us coming back!

  18. Jeanne

    Love the tool tips and your work. It is nice to see email from you once a week or so. My favorite tool is my hands. You can do so much with them, from bending wire to threading a needle or holding a mandrel steady. Keep the tips comming.

  19. Micki

    I also love this news letter. As I love tools like so many of us but don’t always know how to use some of them even after I buy them, you letters help me out with what to do with them. Your work is also fun to see.

  20. Valerie Heck

    I don’t want to win anything. I just wanted to say that your blog is awesome and it’s helping so many people learn new skills and learn about tools. It helps you and it helps others! Starting the guild has helped so many people as well. You are fantastic and definitely a social butterfly! : )

  21. Melissa Boos

    Melissa you have been an inspiration of mine for a very long time. I love reading anything you write and especially love looking at the eye candy. Hmmm…my favorite tool for making jewelry? Got to be my koil kutter for chain maille and jump rings! For quilting??? My wireless iron!

  22. Nickie A

    My favorite tool would have to be my tumbler. It takes hours off of the polishing process, and everything comes out of it so shiny and sparkly, just like magic.

    Thanks for the generous giveaway, but also for your wonderful blog. I have learned so much from it already, and look forward to each new entry.

  23. Beth

    Melissa I am in awe of your talent and rapid progression through your various skill levels. I still hope to study with you when my life has calmed down.

  24. Fran

    Firt, I am from Ohio now living in DC area. Enjoy. Second, I have only received a few of your Tool Time Tuesday Posts, but I do look forward to them as I am VERY new to jewelry. So many makers of pliers, hammers, gadgets, I welcome comments about good/bad, worth the price/not, etc. I’ll keep looking for info about the hammer you love, love, love.

  25. Kara

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful information you share! I love seeing your updates in my Blogger dashboard! As for my favorite tools, it is hard to pick just one, but mine would have to be my Fretz hammers….that is as far as I can narrow it down! LOVE ALL of them so, so much! Congratulations on seeing your business grow! Enjoy those sweet little ones. They grow up so fast! πŸ™‚

  26. Lisa Goldberg

    I recently found your blog and subscribed. I always love getting into conversations about jewelry making and reading your thoughts is kind of the same. I’ve been doing jewelry/hand engraving for over 30 years. I recently purchased a jump ring maker and have been playing with chain maille. This is a fun tool! Aloha

  27. Linda Sorcie Smith

    Hello sweet Melissa
    I very much enjoy reading your blog, my friend. And your jewelry always takes my breath away. I would love to start a guild like yours here in Western PA! Come see me at the YSU Summer Arts Festival? Hugs!

  28. Lisa Weber

    Hi Melissa,

    I heard great things about your blog, and I love it! I subscribed to it just a few weeks ago, and I enjoyed reading your back posts. Great job!

    Favorite tool? So hard to say. usually, hammers are a big favorite. They are so fast to use, and offer so many options. I really like to get some at flea markets and cut them up for texture. Some can be altered really easily. Love your hammer, too!

  29. Nancy Layer

    I love love love TTT! I save every one of them and swear you can publish them when you think you are done putting them out.

  30. Corinna Metters

    “Melissa- I tried to add a comment and subscribe to your blog, but couldn’t seem to do it.. i do like your tool tuesday stuff… my favourite tool is ‘swage bolts’ for ‘flaring’ sheet metal rings to make ‘spinners’… easy to use, by a designer of gadgets – I have had the honour of attending workshops by him.. :)”

  31. Julie Sakai

    Although I am new to jewelry-making I have already become a tool junkie! I would love to win the hammer!

    I think my favorite tool right now are my new Tronex flush cutters.

  32. rita

    I love your blog and the new tools you talk about. I am a lampworker and am getting into metalsmithing. Keep up the great work!

  33. Ursula

    Hi Melissa,

    I have been subscribed to your blog for quite a while now and I love the information you provide. My favorite tools are my pliers, all selected and bought with great care and attention.

    Happy jewelry making and best regards

  34. Valerie Jewell

    I really enjoy the tool time Tuesdays as well as seeing all the new things you do in your jewelry designs. I have just started doing riveting and texturing so hammers are my new friends. I have a couple of the new texture hammers and I loved the article about rolling mills and the texture patterns that can be done with it. Keep up the great work.

  35. LeisaB

    Hi Melissa. Like you I am a stay at home Mom with a passion for all things jewelry… stones, wire, metal, tools, display, storage, beads, pliers… I’m crazy about it all. I love to read you blog and especially like checking out the pictures. Your blog does a good job of getting me into the studio too. Your work is gorgeous and inspiring. Keep up the awesome work. Sincerely, Leisa B

  36. Lois

    Absolutely love your work, but you already know that. One of my favorite pieces was the tube set pendent you blogged about, but then again I love your filigree work too. I really need to start playing with fire!!!

  37. Vicki Lee

    Hi Melissa, congratulations on reaching 150 subscribers. I have really enjoyed your tool time blogs and look forward to your new works. My favorite tools are my Burfitt pliers from burfitt.com.au – a West Australian company. Keep up the good works and blogs, regards from Vicki in West Oz.

  38. Kim Anderson

    I love the fact that you are so selfish you are willing to share your talent and knowledge.
    You’ve come a long way baby!!!! And you will go a LOT farther!
    Congrats on 150.

  39. Pam

    Tool Time Tuesday is my favorite but whenever I get a post from you, I read it immediately. Your passion shines through whatever you do.
    My favorite tool is the helicopter punch.
    All the pieces I have created in class are dear to me but the one I wear the most is the forged silver bracelet.

  40. jenherbert

    Your post reminded me that I need to comment more on the blogs I read- I read all your posts and enjoy them very much. As a fellow blogger, it means a lot to know that people are reading. As far as a favorite tool, I’d have to say that I am really happy with my little eggbeater style hand drill. I got it from monsterslayer, and I love that I don’t need electricity to make jewelry!

  41. Ebren

    I think my fav new tool is the wet/dry sandpaper which was recommended to me recently. For someone who has no workshop, but a table in the hall this helps cut down a lot of dust and therefore vacuum time afterwards! *lol*

  42. Liz Stern

    I loved your article about the punches – I can’t wait to get some to play with! I look forward to your email every week – thank you!

  43. Jill Catherwood

    In your very own words, I “love, love, love” your blog! It’s the only one I read regularly. It is a major source of info and inspiration for me in my jewelry work. I have made jewelry for many years but have just begun the process of setting up a business. My latest favorite tool is a wooden salt shaker that I bought at the thrift shop for 39 cents. I’m going to try it out as a dapping block because it has a lot of cool curves. Congratulations to you on your amazomg success!

  44. Jill

    Hi Lisa,

    What a great idea: altering hammers! What do you use? A Dremel tool or…? Please answer! Love your etsy site.

  45. geopam

    My favorite tools right now are my steel piece (I just spaced out the actual name!) that I hammer on with my jeweler’s hammer. I love texturing but I also like doing wire work and work-hardening pieces. I’m still pretty new but I love doing everything really – and there’s nothing I don’t want to learn! πŸ™‚ (please pick me! hehe)

  46. Carmen Garling

    Looove your blog! My favorite tool is pretty simple. I got a pair of skinny pliers in a set when I first started making jewelry. I just love the pliers. Wore out the cutters a few years ago, but those pliers are so skinny they’re just perfect for anything!

  47. Rose Ann

    I am hard pressed to name a favorite tool, since I’m a tool punky as well. Guess I would have to say my disk cutter. I struggled for so long to cut out perfect circles when I needed one for a design. Now it’s a breeze. I also love my texturing hammers. I would love the peridot briolettes if I am so lucky. Thank you. I love reading your blogs.

  48. Terre

    Melissa, your posts are wonderful … not only do I learn but you inspire me. Favorite tool of the moment is my round nose Baby Wubbers.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experience!

  49. Amanda

    Melissa, you have such a great blog going on here. Congrats on 150! My favorite tool is my LIndstrom flush cutters…they give a precise, clean cut every time and I know I can rely on them all the time.

  50. Vicky

    Greetings to you – I am a self taught jeweler/metalsmith of about a year and I find your many tips/examples useful and info on your blog sooooooo helpful….. thank you, for making the time in your busy schedule to help all us new beginners. Look forward to more good stuff. The tool of choice right now is a new texturing hammer – love patterns, no two are the same. Congraduations on your success. VEK

  51. Laurie G

    Hi Melissa,

    Your work is truly amazing! When are you going to come to Oregon and teach some classes?? Or, maybe I’ll have to plan a trip to the midwest (just not in the summer).

    Beautiful work and I wish all the success it deserves!


  52. Joyce

    Melissa, love you blog! Your Tool Time Tuesday’s have so much useful information and love seeing the prictures of you girls too. Keep up the good work!!!

  53. Kathy Mc

    Melissa, this is my first visit to your website. Wow-I love your work. I especially love how you wrapped the triangular shaped agate! Your creativity is inspiring!

  54. Shaiha

    My favorite tool would have to be any of my Wubbers. I have other pliers but these are the ones that I find myself reaching for the most.

    And I am so glad that I found your blog!

  55. Mary K

    I really enjoy your blog. I guess I have become a tool junkie as I keep adding a new one to my tool box every chance I get. But my favorite tool is an old pair of round nose pliers I have had forever. They are not top of the line but I like its feel. I hate when I misplace them and have to use one of my other pairs.

  56. Jules

    Hi Melissa,
    I love your work, very beautiful and inspiring. After reading your blog entry on butane torches I replaced my old cheapy with a blazer and wow, I know why this is your favorite. I love it, thanks for recommending it. My favorite tools are my jump ring maker by Pepe Tools and the database I use to organize everything from Bejeweled Software Company “Jewelry Designer Manager Deluxe”. Keep up the great blogging.

  57. Shona

    Big congrats on 150 readers, I love your blog and get excited each week waiting for tool time. I have learnt so much. As for favourite tools my pliers, flat, chain and round (sorry couldnt just pick on) I just use them all the time and love them.

  58. Amie

    Happy 150+, and thanks for moving to Ohio and bringing the Guild together! Right now my favorite tool is my torch. I loved your Tool Time comparing torches and am interested in a micro torch to see what fun it can do!

  59. Karan Parker

    Congrats on all your success. Your ‘lax’ makes the rest of us look like slugs! I would really like to here more about how you got your Guild started.

  60. CaryAnn

    hmm..my favorite piece of jewelery? Probably the sapphire necklace you made for me and also the sapphire necklace I got from my friend in Australia. How many girls can say they have a sapphire necklace from Australia? Or one that was made for them? I Can!

  61. Marcy Bell

    I love your Tool Time Tuesday, and I’d love to win your prize, lol. My favorite tools, so far, are my bent chain nosed Lindstrom pliers…oh, and I love my large, round nosed Winners for heavy wire!

  62. Jen

    I have a secret interest in metalsmithing, and I find everything you do so interesting! Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the energy to pursue it just yet. Maybe someday. The Arts Center here offers classes, so I definitely have local resources available when I do get a chance.

    Anyway… My favorite piece of jewelry is my wedding ring. It’s handmade of strands of different colors of gold, twisted loosely together like vines. There are three small, round diamonds in it. It was made by Kim Maitland of Creative Metalsmiths in Chapel Hill, NC. I actually have one other ring she made, which I also wear daily. It’s got a beautiful opal and two tiny emeralds. I just love twisty, open, viney things! That’s why so much of what you do impresses me.


  63. Crystal

    You truely have a wonderful talent! Can you make things in stainless or mostly sterling silver? I’m allergic to silver and I have a hard time finding things I like that are in stainless…I may just have to go the call a friend who does jewlery route πŸ™‚

  64. Lori

    I love your swirls, aka as Melissa swirls.
    You are one of the people that finally convinced me to work with wire. I haven’t done much lately but ready your tool time posts are inspiring

  65. Karen Sutton

    This question has been asked of me many times and I think every time I answer it it changes. I am a total tool junkie and at the moment my favourite is my new propane/oxygen micro torch.
    Flame on πŸ˜‰


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