Torch Solder and Jumping Rings

Greetings from my workbench! I hope, as you read this you are well and feeling at peace with your direction. I am looking at this document thinking about how to put into words what is in my brain space.

             I will start with jump rings…they may just be the end of my jewelry making career before it even truly gets off the ground. I have a couple of awesome pendent/charm pieces I have riveted and then designed chains for. Last Thursday night I began making coils and attempting to cut jump rings. After spending 45 minutes working on them I gave up for the night. They were not coming out even and it was getting my pressure up. It was Saturday before I cut anything else, however, when I picked up my saw checked the blade and began cutting into the sheet of metal I had sketched a ring design on it broke. Almost as soon as I attempted the first cut. I reached for another blade processed to attach it to the saw and it dawned on me…the whole time I was cutting jump rings two days prior the blade was on upside down. It is a wonder I cut through any wire at all. At least now maybe my next attempt at cutting jump rings will not result in my pressure going up.

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There she is! The first of what I hope will become many many soldered rings.

            You will be please to learn that I finally crossed the hurdle of the torch and soldering my first ring. As in everything I am learning it is going to take a lot of practice…but I am excited to have gotten over the nervous and can move on.  I spent my whole class period Sunday prepping and shaping my ring. Then to the torch bench I went. I am really looking forward to designing more pieces and practicing. I only have two classes left. That fact makes my very sad. Working with Ginny, as been the greatest gift of the last few months for me potential career wise. She has taught me so much about craftsmanship, the business side and creativity. I just hope I can do her wisdom justice.

            Un-jewelry related I have had two interviews for “real” jobs. Jobs that would make my mother happy. Jobs would actually give me a paycheck, instead of having amazing product that is not moving just yet. Jobs that would take me away from my home, my workbench and leave less hours each day and week to work on my craft. Not to mention less hours at home with my mini cave-girl. On the bright side I have had two interviews. I will possibly be able to lighten the stress load on my hubs…I want and need to do that. He has been so incredible taking wonderful care of mini cave-girl and I over the last six months. Then there is the downside of less time at my bench. I am going to have to learn to balance…I have shows scheduled and I am not giving up on this dream. Not even a little bit.

            So until next we meet at the workbench…keep creating, enjoy your moments and keep your chin up. As always thank you for stopping by and for being on this journey with me.

Big Love,                                                                                                                                                                                                 Randi 

Snotty Noses and Productivity

Greetings friends. Have you ever tried to be productive when you have a snuffed up nose? It is near impossible. I have come down with a cold and my productivity has gone down. I have sketched quite a bit more. I should scan some of sketches for you all one day and show you just how much I am not a sketcher. HAHA I blame the change in weather in Virginia. One day it is snowing feet of snow and four days later it is 50 degrees.

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The outcome of attempting to be productive. Not too shabby!
 I did spend the other morning while my mini cave-girl and hubs were gone to story-time at the local library sculpting some rings. I love working with 14 gauge wire and my pliers. It is my current favorite thing to do. This is what came of that quit work session. I do not get many of them. It is very rare I get a chance to be up before everyone in the house or get left in the house at my workbench alone. So I wanted to take advantage of it. Even though all I truly wanted was to lie on the couch. I think they turned out wonderfully!

              I am participating in two giveaways on Facebook. I am a little nervous. There are a bunch of small business owners who network and have giveaways; they build their fan-base and sales this way. I am hoping that is the outcome for me. I am looking forward to it, but still a little nervous. If you have not checked out my Facebook page now would be a good time, prizes to be won. Here is the link… https://www.facebook.com/createmickyann

               Well friends, since I did manage to get out of bed this morning before the mini cave-girl I am going to take this opportunity to see what I can accomplish while the house is still quiet. As always thank you so much for being on the journey with me. Until next time…

Big Love,

Randi

Burnt Finger in the Snow

Greetings from my Workbench. In prepping for the big snow storm Virginia got last week, having a blah kind of week and trying to get back to our normal routine I have gotten behind in my posting. For that I am sorry friends. The snow sort of shut things down around here…well at least in our house for a few days. I am sure in many homes across other parts of Virginia has well.

               Moving on…I mentioned in my last post (It’s My Born Day http://wp.me/p4hctG-19) about starting the process of learning to solder. So after that lesson during the class I am taking I decided it was time to break out the soldering iron I purchased about two months ago. Break it out I did. I designed this ring I was going to gift my hubs with for Valentine’s Day and set out to make it.

               Soldering irons get HOT! Hello, right they are made to heat and melt metal. So I am holding this 14 gauge silver plated copper wire in my left hand and the soldering iron in my right. The wire begins to get hot, so I am gently reminded to make other arrangements. Then I put it down and pick up my flat nose pliers to hold the wire…mind you it has been formed into this perfect circle. I am applying the solder but it’s not holding…I put the soldering iron down and grab the nearest pliers. The nearest pliers were my brand new nylon tip pliers I got for my birthday…yeah they have melt marks in then now! L I then went to pick the soldering iron back up to finish what I was doing. I grabbed it past the handle. WOW! Really?! That’s HOT! Those were pretty much my exact thoughts in that moment.

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My first attempt at soldering. Not perfect…but not too bad!

               The ring is finished…I am happy with it. I took it to class this past week and my teacher gave me some great fed back. She has this way of pointing out everything you are doing right and then having an entire class on what proper technique is for what you need work on without making you…well me anyway, feel like I am being put down or criticized. In fact I am challenged, enlightened and encouraged in a way I believe students should leave the classroom! She turned the lesson (maybe it was her plan all along, maybe it wasn’t) into ring shank making…changed my world! I have not stopped sketching and designing all of the rings I am going to make. I am so very excited!

               Now friends that is where my journey has taken me over the last week…sorry if you have felt abandoned. I have missed being here and present. But I am back. My workbench is wonderfully cluttered with all that I have been working on. My etsy shop has new things that have been added. And all is going well in my sphere. I hope the same can be said about yours. Until next time.

Big Love,

Randi

It’s My Born Day…

Hello Friends! Welcome back to my workbench. With today being my born day I wanted to share what I’ve been working on.  The last couple of posts have been pretty emotional and deep. I like emotional and deep…but today is about celebrating ME! HA Sorry I get a little carried away on my birthday.

But what have I been working on…well lately I have been hammering and forging wire into rings and bangles. I love this technique. I have been making a lot of swirl designs. I do not really know why…but they look cool and are fun.

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Hammered Ring

In the class I am taking we have been working on riveting. I am still trying to decide if I like riveting. The outcome is amazing. I’m just not sure how I feel about the process. We are also learning to use the torch to solder. I am little nervous. But I am sure I will get the hang of it. I will keep you posted as I learn more.

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First Riveting project from class.

           I did not want you all to think I had forgotten to post. I have been busy today celebrating me with family. I look forward to birthdays because we get to spend a whole day devoted to that person. It is such an exciting thing. I think everyone should have the opportunity to have a day devoted to them. So off I go friends to finish my day.

Big Love,                                                                                                                         Randi

Vivid Brain Space

I have spent every day of my conscious life vividly remembering memories, which are constantly being mocked, belittled or devalued. But you see the problem with that is an individual’s memories and perceptions of those memories are what shape them into the people they become. No one has the right to take them away from another individual.

            Let me explain what I mean by conscious life.  Because let’s face it, hopefully each day since your birth you have been conscious. I simply mean that there comes a time in (well again hopefully) each individual’s life where they become acutely aware of their everyday. Aware of each memory. Aware (once again hopefully) of each moment. I have been acutely aware of my vivid memories since my pre-adolescent stage of development. I did not grasp then the importance or even the significance of those vivid thoughts, memories, dreams, daydreams and recollections. I am not sure I have fully grasped them now. But I do welcome them.

           I do attempt every day to use them to better myself, to shape my mini cave-girl, to push myself farther than I have ever been, and not allow myself to fall into old traps. There are have been many days since I began this leg of my journey that I have wanted to crawl up in a corner of the closet, cover my head with a blanket and stay there. Stay there until things changed. Stay there until improvements in my life happen. But that is not how it works. We have to fight for ourselves (for often no one else will…but we have to remember they have to fight for themselves). We have to choose (sometimes multiple times a day) to make take control of our futures and turn the negative situations and experiences in our lives and make them positive.

            ImageI am reminded in those moments of weakest that I have overcome so many trials and walked through so many valleys. Losing people who are close to you breaks you in a way you did not know you could be broken. Being told without blunt words, that you are not good enough…begins to cut into you (One of the many reasons I believe passionately in being honest…even if it means being blunt).  When you allow those experiences and situations to empower you they no longer have that negative hold on your life. Remember the good moments with those gone and what the not so good moments with them taught you. Knowing for yourself that you are enough (live on your own away from everyone you know…most empowering thing you can do). I am also reminded that when those trails were occurring I made the choice to get up, pull on my big girl pants and push through. I found this image on pinterest.com, the blog is blocked so sadly I cannot give credit where it is due…however the words are of the most importance. “Don’t forget you’re human, It’s okay to have a meltdown, just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.”

            How are you using your memories to move you forward into your future? Demons and angels, smiles and tears all lay and wait for us as we stroll down memory lane. But how you maneuver down that street also helps shape your future. I have to remember every day that I have walked through some intense valleys. But I am still standing. You are standing my friend. Now chin up, buttercup, and look your future in the eye, and take control. Let’s enjoy this ride.

 

Big Love,                                                                                                                                                                                                   Randi 

Down the block…

Have you ever had a moment where the instant you looked at the outcome of your work you knew it was done? And it brought tears to your eyes?

I just did! I had this picture in my head of how the finished project would look. Then I looked at it and knew, I knew I did not need to bend another bit nor another hit with the hammer…I was done. And it made me cry. That is how invested in this journey I am. When it is right, it is right. I am daily washed in a peace has I doodle out designs, cut wire to begin to bending, tie knots on a bracelet or research a method that is bouncing around in my brain space.

I am finding myself drawn to locations swimming in the arts. Locations where walking down the street you can experience multiple concerts on several different corners. Locations that have allowed their streets to become art galleries. Locations that cause you to breathe in a little deeper because you are surrounded by such creativity, life and art. Locations where down the block becomes a therapy session because your senses are awakened. Locations like Downtown Richmond, Virginia, Downtown Saint Joseph, Michigan, Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, Saugatuck, Michigan and Chicago Illinois.

These locations have been therapy sessions for me. They have awakened my soul when I thought I had should it down. These locations somehow always find a way to bring me back to life. These places in my heart that in times of heartbreak, disappear, disappointment and letdown God always brings them back. Through pictures, a movie filmed in one of them, a random trip or dream. These locations hold memories and moments that will always remind me of creative greatness. They all signify stops along this journey that continues to reinvent itself. Yet somehow each one always brings me back to a place within myself that allows me to breathe a bit deeper.

Big Love,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Randi