Friday, March 23, 2012


Today has been sort of a boring day. There wasn't much to be done. I finished the book I have been reading last night, I cleaned the house, and although I wanted to try and make something today I just wasn't in the mood. I sat there for a moment and decided to just go sit in my little craft room. Kind of hoping it would spark something. I only have a tiny amount of silver sheet left and knew I wasn't ready to finish it off. I pulled out this large thick sheet of copper and just looked at it in my hand, turning it over. I remembered a video I saw one time before I even took silversmithing classes on how to make a hollow form. I believe in the video they were making a hollow silver bead. I was actually thinking about that video last night before I went to bed. I tried to look for it today, but couldn't find it. I decided to give it a try anyways...with copper because I knew I would mess this up on my first try for sure. And I did. Over and Over. It seemed like every part of the process went wrong. I managed to get silver solder everywhere. Most of my copper looked silver by the time I was done and even though I filed and sanded I just couldn't get it all off. It seemed so bad I decided to stop right there and move onto something else. That something else actually ended really badly(oh boy it was bad!) too and as I sat there in a totally terrible defeated sort of mood for having wasted a lot of time and materials(I used some silver for the second project and a stone) I knew I just needed to walk away and find something else to do for a while.
Later on I stepped back in and picked up my first piece I worked on. It was ugly, but sort of cute and I had the energy to keep working with it. I am glad that I did because some how, by the grace of  God, it actually turned out pretty cute. Liver of Sulfur really saved this piece by blending all the silver and copper together in a not so obvious way.
Here she little heart ring.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One Thing Leads to Another

I love how one idea can lead to another.
I made this necklace for a friend (gave it to her last night so now I can post it).
Which inspired this necklace.
Which inspired the design for this ring.
Which just might be inspiring another idea....I hope so!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Adventures in Silver-Smithing

I made this little pendant yesterday. It was a good learning experience because I encountered a bunch of problems. For someone who knows what they are doing I bet this would be a simple task, but unfortunately that isn't me....not yet anyways. Maybe someday-I hope so.

I am having trouble with bezel making. And... I didn't have the right height of bezel wire that would be appropriate for this stone. I tried to work with what I had and it's not the best. I first made a bezel that was too small and then made another that ended up being too big. I then cut and re-soldered the second bezel for a fit that is so so. Then I pulled my hair in dismay! Ha ha...well not really, but I felt like I would never get it right.

My second issue is that I have been punching holes with a Europunch and it's creating a mess that I don't know how to fix. I think I need to buy some small drill bits for my Foredom. Drilling holes-Is that what you are supposed to do?

Oh...and then there was trying to make a decent satin finish. Ugh...

Anyways, I am really enjoying working with silver and I can't wait to make something else. Maybe a ring will be next.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I am sitting here thinking about pizza. How I wish I had some this very moment!
It reminded me that I had made these homemade pizzas a few weeks ago and wanted to share the results with you.

We have tried a few times to make homemade pizzas and they just never turned out very good. A few months ago I got a Better Homes and Gardens magazine that listed recipes for different pizza doughs, listed a sauce recipe, and tips on how to make your own gourmet pizzas at home. I am searching their site right now and can't find the exact article...shucks. Well, looks like I will have to type out the dough recipe. I will just list the ingredients with some very short instructions because the original article is a bit long.

All-Purpose Pizza Dough
Makes 4 small/medium pizza crusts (I halve the recipe and make 2. One for me and one for C)

5 c. unbleached bread flour
1 Tbsp. sugar or honey
1.5 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast (aka fast-rising yeast)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 3/4 plus 1 Tbsp. water, room temp.
nonstick cooking spray

Basically mix this up like you would with any homemade pizza dough recipe. Spray a bowel with the cooking spray, lightly coat ball of dough with either the spray or olive oil, and place in bowel with plastic wrap over the top, but not touching. Let dough stand at room temp. for 30 mins. and then stick bowel in fridge overnight. Make sure you leave the dough out for 2 hours before using the next day. Divide into 4 pieces and form your dough. Before you put your toppings on stick your cookie sheet or pizza stone in the oven while it's preheating(bake one at a time). Once assembled with sauce and cheese and what not slip your pizza onto your preheated cookie sheet. Bake at 500 degrees for 5-7 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and cheese is also golden brown.

PS. I am not positive why it suggests you put this in the fridge. I have followed the directions, but have also just used the dough right after the 30 min. were up and it turned out fine. I also like to add some seasonings into the dough when I mix it up for some added flavor.

These instructions are majorly condensed so hopefully they still make sense. I am not real thrilled with their homemade sauce receipe so I would suggest either buying one at the store for convenience or maybe checking out All for a simple sauce.

Happy pizza making!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wedding Band

I have been married a wee over 8 years now.
Years ago my husband gave me a really beautiful engagement ring and then I went and picked out a fairly cheap wedding band that I never really loved. Unfortunately, I am just not the kind of gal who wears a diamond ring everyday and so I heavily relied on that little wedding band for a long while. That is, until my finger started to react to it all of a sudden. It was awful and painful and weird! I felt a bit guilty to part with it, but I knew I had to look for something else. We didn't really have a lot of money at the time for me to buy something expensive and so I purchased a wide sterling silver ring from a gal on Esty. I had her stamp a phrase on the outside and had her put our initials on the inside. It was supposed to be slightly adjustable because it didn't form a complete circle. Unfortunately, the way it was made caused all kinds of things to snag on it. When I would run my fingers through my hair or push my bangs out of the way about 10 hairs would yank out of my head. Every single time! I have worn it for a few years now and would probably have a lush head of hair if I wasn't for it, ha ha.

As a beginner metal smith I figured I might as well give a simple wedding band a try since I am due for a new one.
It's not perfectly soldered, but I really like how it turned out. It's dainty and because I hammered the heck out of it it sparkles a lot. I don't anticipate it injuring my figure nor pulling out my hair so I think it will be a winner.

It was really hard to photograph something so small. It was also difficult to capture the sparkle. If you know of any tricks please let me know.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Token Bracelets

I have been working on these bracelets for days and I finally finished them!
I love all the color and metal!

Hand stamped discs with a satiny finish and lots and lots of beautiful beads.

Here are a few individual ones:
I usually would put new jewelry into my Etsy store. However, I might be selling these in a local shop. If you happen to see one that you would like to purchase please send me an email.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


It is so beautiful outside today!
This morning we took our dogs, some subs, and cookies(for a picnic) to this really neat walking path close by. It felt so good to be outside in the fresh air.

Afterwards I spent a few hours rummaging through every drawer, bin, and box in my craft room. Its a small room with a lot of stuff crammed in. I managed to clean most everything out and re-organized things so that I will be able to actually find something when I need it. I even found some things I didn't even know that I had! It always feels good to clean things up. Makes me more motivated to get in there and make some fun stuff.

PS. I am reading this book right now and it's really good so far. I think I finally figured out what type of books I like to read- historical fiction about woman or told from a woman's perspective. I never read much when I was younger and had no idea what I was missing out on. Now I enjoy it so much. I read a little most every night before I go to bed. Seems I usually end up dreaming about the story. Last night I had a dream where I was staring out at this huge wheat field. Just watching the wheat sway in the wind. Really peaceful feeling. It was nice and I believe it came straight from looking at the cover of this book before sleeping.

Are you reading anything good?

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I have a confession!
I buy hair products from the grocery store!

You might be thinking," Umm..So do I. Big whoop."

Well, I am a licensed hairstylist who vowed to never buy those cheap products that don't work... and are awful... and give you build up and all that jazz. Or at least that is what we always had to convince our clients of when they sat in our chairs. I might be breaking a rule here, but No you don't actually need a $30 shampoo to look half way decent.

Over the years I have stepped away from the salon and out of laziness and cheapness(is that a word?) started buying a shampoo here and there from Walgreens or Kroger. It started with shampoo and now I use store bought everything!

I thought for the fun of it I would show you a few products I have found that I REALLY actually think are great that will fit into anyones budget. Everyone's hair is different so these might not work for you as well as they do for me- so keep that in mind. Also, my hair is in this weird in between bob-ish stage and doesn't require a lot of products. I am just showing the products I currently use.

Let's start with shampoo and conditioners.
My favorite so far is Aussie. This one to be exact.

I don't really need a moisturizing shampoo, but if a brand makes one I usually buy it. I like the way it smells and most of all it doesn't seem to build up or eventually leave my hair feeling brittle.I also like the conditioner that belongs with this shampoo. I try to use conditioner every other wash or as needed to prevent possible build up.

 PS. A lot of these cheaper shampoos you find at regular stores are basically made with similar soaps you would find in your dish cleaner. They can be too harsh and might be why your hair doesn't feel good with repeated use. Keep trying different ones until you find one that works for you. Also, sometimes using two shampoos that you alternate between, from day to day, can give you better results.

Hair Products
Leave in Conditioner: In my opinion everyone should use one in some form or another. Especially if you use heat on your hair.
Right now I am using the Dove brand and I REALLY like it. Its moisturizing without being too heavy ,plus it has a heat protectent to help prevent damage from the blow dryer and flat iron.
Styling Product:
I was selling my jewelry at a craft show in downtown Nashville( in a hip part of town), when this really beautiful girl walks in with a really great funky cut. It was one of those weird girl moments where every girl near me stopped to take a stare. I mean she had great hair! An A-line platinum bob that was cut perfectly. This lady walks up to her and asks where she gets her hair cut and what product she uses. I leaned in a little to hear what she would say and she spurts out, "Garnier Fructis Surf Hair." I would have thought for sure she was a salon product type gal, but turns out she is in college and chooses to pay more for a great cut and save on products.

I did some googling on the product and it had a TON of great reviews. I figured I would try it out.
So, here is the thing. I personally can't really get a beachy look out of it and I would in NO way say it has a strong hold unless I got a bad jar of this stuff. It's kind of a thin pasty/cream texture and I have to use a lot of it to even see a difference. Its great for taming fly-aways and for making hair a little bit piecey looking. I am including it in this list because I do like it, just not what it says its meant for. Let me know if you use it and feel differently.

Next will be my search for a good hair spray. Know of one?

Thanks for reading

Adventures in Ring Making

I drew up a pattern for a ring and wasn't sure how it would work out in the end since I am kind of new at this. I made one ring and then made some changes and came out with the one above. It's awesomely huge, but is actually comfortable to wear because it tapers to a smaller band. This one is copper, but I hope to make it in silver some day.

I stamped the quote from George Eliot that says, "It's never too late to be who you might have been."

When I came across this quote it instantly spoke to me and where I am at in life. In turning 30 a month ago, I couldn't help but look back on my life and make some observations. You know- what was good, what was not so good, what do I want to do, and who do I want to be in the coming years ahead.

On another note- I came across a muffin recipe that I am LOVING. It's really versatile and simple and I would love to share it with you soon.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Poem to Share

A long while ago I checked out a tiny book from the library that contained 4 really beautiful poems by Maya Angelou. I read those poems over and over while I had the book in my possession. The poem below is one of my all time favorites. I ended up buying this little book just so I could read this poem anytime I wanted. Something about this poem really has the ability to lift me out of a funk. It's kind of sassy to and I like that.
I hope you enjoy it.

Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.   
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

C's Birthday Cake

I never use to like to cook or bake. I never thought anyone would ever use the words "she is a good cook" when referring to ME! Occasionally this has started happening and I am really surprised at myself!

Unfortunately-this cake was not one of my finer creations.

My good friend signed me up for a gift subscription of Better Homes and Gardens and in the latest magazine was a really yummy sounding recipe for Malted Milk Ball cake with Chocolate Malted frosting. It's making my mouth water just saying the title in my head!

I wanted to make something special for my husbands 35thy birthday and thought making a home made cake would really be nice. Baking cakes and making frosting from scratch takes a lot of time. I think I forgot why I usually just buy the cake mixes from the store! I thought it was all going pretty well. Well except for the fact that it's a bit lopsided...

And...when I cut into it the whole inside crumbled into a thousand pieces all over the counter top. The driest cake EVER people! I am not sure what happened! It still tasted good and the frosting was amazing, but it was such a bummer!

Have you ever spent a good amount of time on something only for it to turn out a disappointment?

Friday, March 2, 2012


I finally bought a bracelet mandrel and have been playing around with it this week.
Being pretty new to metal smithing I wasn't exactly sure what mandrel I should go with. I ended up getting a stepped oval one. It has been fine, but I think I should have bought one that was not stepped. Oh well. I do like the oval shape though and am happy with that.

I also finally purchased a bit of real sterling silver. I could only afford a 3"x 3" square, a 6"x .25" piece, and I also bought some 8 and 10 gauge wire to make bangles and ring shanks out of. It's a shame it's so darn expensive! I have to say though-I REALLY like working with it! I also bought some 8 gauge copper wire which was sort of hard to hunt down.

Here are my first few attempts at bangles!
Well-these are cuffs I guess you would say...

 I believe I was in denial about how weak my little butane torch is. I thought I could solder the ends together to make a continuous circular bangle, but it wasn't happening. So, hence the shape of these silver ones. I actually kind of like it though because it makes them adjustable.
 I hammered the silver ones using two different sized hammers to see what the effect would be. A little soak in some Liver of Sulfur and a little rub with some steel wool really brought the texture out.

I made a total of 4 bangles. 2 copper and 2 silver. I am wearing them all now and I believe I will keep them all to myself. ;)