Thursday, September 17, 2015

My First Workshop in My Workshop

Hee hee.  By that I mean I've taught classes in other venues and online, but this is the first time I had a scheduled, specific workshop in my own studio.

And it was SO MUCH FUN!!!

We ended going over the time limit a bit so I didn't want to ask the ladies if I could take photos of their rings in the light tent (I'm not a fast photographer), but they were nice enough to let me use images they took themselves after the workshop.

Here are some of the textured stacker rings they made in the workshop (not the one with a stone in it).



These ladies rocked it!  Their rings turned out beautiful and they will be back to make more and to learn other techniques.

If you will be in the Sacramento area and would also like to learn how to make these rings in sterling silver or 14k gold fill, sign up for one or more of my classes here.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Made in My Workshop Not By Me

So I wanted to share with you some rings that were made in my workshop this week but not by me.

My friend Kristi made this awesome "secret stamped message" band ring in 14k gold-fill.  What a beautiful texture she gave to it.





And my friend Dawn made a couple spinner rings.  We'd been talking about spinner rings for months, but y'know... life kept getting in the way.  But last week we finally put the nose to the grindstone and started working on them.

Here's the first one she made...




I love how it looks totally handmade and totally awesome.  That's something I look for in jewelry.  I don't want anything that looks machine-made, nor do I want jewelry that looks like it's uncomfortable or going to fall apart any time.  This ring says "I was made with quality materials by someone who knows what they're doing."

The second one she made, there was something about it she didn't like so I don't have a photo of it before she changed it, but it was a cool concept and I'm going to ask her to revisit it.

I'm having fun watching the jewelry that comes out of my workshop. I hope you are too!




Thursday, September 10, 2015

Benefit of the Doubt



Some people say you can’t change, but I disagree.
I think there are two ways to change.
I think it’s possible to change by working on yourself, slowly and steadily.  I’m a great believer in the neuroplasticity of our brains and their ability for us to re-condition learned behavior.  I didn’t say it’s easy, just possible.
I also believe in “aha” moments that change us.  I believe in them because I’ve had them and they did profoundly and permanently change me.  Well, my experiences themselves weren't profound; I merely mean they really had an effect on me and since I think change is NOT the path of least resistance, I’m impressed when it happens.
One “aha” moment that made a permanent change in me was very much like an anecdote I read in Reader’s Digest when I was about twelve years old.  In the story, a man was riding a public transportation bus and his two kids were being kind of wild and disruptive.  Another passenger snapped at the man saying something like, “Can’t you keep control of your kids?  They’re driving everyone nuts!”  The man  looked startled and almost bewildered, like he was coming out of a dream as he began to apologize to the other man and the nearby passengers.   “I’m so sorry, “he said.  “We’ve just come from the hospital.  Their mother just died and I guess I don’t really know how to handle the situation yet.  Again, my apologies.”  Needless to say, the complaining man felt a little… small… and ashamed… and suddenly felt great empathy for the widower and his sons.
Although it's something that really happened, it didn't happen TO ME and I think EXPERIENCING an event has more impact than reading about someone else's event. My own, less dramatic story, did.
I went to pick up my four-year old son from day care one day and I could hear commotion in the next room.  It was one of the baby/toddlers and she was fussing at Gabe, I could tell.  As I rounded the corner I was already chastising him.  “Gabe!  What are you doing to Sophie!  You’d better come here this instant.”
He did come, a few seconds later, and said, “Sophie was crawling up the stairs and she’s not allowed to so I held her back and she didn’t like that.”
Oh my gosh, I was mortified.  I’d yelled at my son for trying to protect a baby from harm.  Gah!  What kind of mother am I?!
But it served as a wake up call to try to remember that I don’t ever know what’s going on in someone’s head or life.  Actions and behavior, even words, may not always be what they appear to be, so I try not to snap to judgment or assume I always know what’s going on, and I try give people and situations the benefit of the doubt.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ring Size Charts to Hoard

So apparently school is kicking my butt.  I studied all day today and will do the same most of tomorrow.

Forgive my lack of proper blog blatherings of late.

I can at least share something useful with you.

Two of my most used tools in the workroom.

First, a chart by Jewelry Making Daily
(http://www.jewelrymakingdaily.com/blog/ring-making-essentials-make-a-ring-band-in-5-steps-plus-ring-sizing-chart)

This chart tells you how much metal you'll need for ring size X if using metal gauge X.

The next must have chart is a ring size conversion chart.
(http://www.ringsizes.co/)

This chart tells you what size ring you've got.

There are many on the internet, but I find this one easy to print and understand.  I use it constantly (now that I know the best way to find a ring's true size... see this blog post).

So short, but very, very sweet.



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Homework, plain and simple

Another "no blog post" day.

I wasn't paying close enough attention to the homework assignments for one of my classes and now I have a LOT of catching up to do so that takes precedence.


Monday, September 7, 2015

First Monday of the Month New Listings

First Monday of the month.  All my new listings will be going up today.

Here's a sneak peak of some of them.

http://brackendesigns.com/

http://brackendesigns.com/

http://brackendesigns.com/

http://brackendesigns.com/

Sorry to cut it so short today.  Will try to be extra verbose in the coming days.  Ha ha ha!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Know When to Quit

Was working on spinners rings again today.  Got a late start so at 7:30pm was still in the workroom going at it.

I was working on a particularly complex ring (for me... don't laugh when you see it) and was 95% done.

It would have been nice to finish it, but as I tried to do the last step, I dropped it twice (took me ten minutes to find all the parts each time... they're round... they roll), melted one of the components once, and tried unsuccessfully to solder three times.

I know me.  I wanted to stop before that stage.  Next time I will.  Always follow your intuition and know when to stop.

Luckily, there was not permanent damage to the ring (I don't think) and I'll have a fresh start tomorrow morning, when I'm bright eyed and bushy tailed.

So yeah, know when to quit.  It's okay to leave things unfinished.

And sometimes, it's not even the end of the day.  I've had times where I was trying a technique (enameling, soldering, etc) and things just do NOT fall into place.  What I'm trying to do fails over and over.

It's not a matter of "don't be a quitter"... sometimes you just need to step away for even a day or two and come back fresh.  Almost always I can accomplish what I want easily the next time I try.

So I give you permission to quit.




Saturday, September 5, 2015

Two Rings and a Rose

This will be short.

Spent all day Friday in the workshop with my friend.  We were making rings, and lunch, and rings, and dinner... then watched a little bit of Property Brothers.  Good times!

Here are the rings I made.  One is a spinner ring, the other is soldered together.


And the rose bush started blooming.


And that's all I've got for the moment.  Have a great weekend!  Talk to you tomorrow!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Reserve Your PayPal Me Name NOW

On Sept 1st, PayPal rolled out a new feature.

According to this article...

"PayPal today announced PayPal.Me, giving people personalized links for getting paid. If you’ve ever wanted to send a PayPal money request to a photography client in a single, easy-to-remember URL, that wish has now been granted. But first you’ll need to reserve your name before someone else grabs it."

If you'd like the info from the horse's mouth, check out this PayPal announcement.

Here's some of what PayPal says in trying to describe the new service: "Imagine how much time you waste chasing down friends, family and customers to pay you back. Today, we’re announcing for the first time you can name your money with PayPal.Me: your personal link to getting paid back.

"PayPal.Me makes requesting money from groups of friends, family and colleagues suddenly so much easier and faster. Rather than following up individually, you can email your PayPal.Me link to co-workers to chip in for an engagement present for another co-worker. Or stop asking each of your fellow bridesmaids for bachelorette party payments and just send a group text message with your PayPal.Me link."

And here's where you get your own PayPalMe link. (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/grab)

To finalize things you will need to log into your PayPal account (if you aren't already logged in).

You can only have ONE PayPalMe name associated with your account.

So that's my PSA for today.

Talk to you tomorrow!

(not mine... I wish!)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Another Finch... Time To Buy More Window Stickers

When a child or an animal acts suspicious, there's usually a reason.

Today I was out watering and I see Tennie's little paws up on the outdoor glass table.  So I ask him, "Are you stretching?"  Then I got closer because I was watering the plants on the table and see a finch just sitting there.

Well, duh... the thing probably hit a window and bounced onto the table and eagle-eye Tennie thought he was going to have a little snack.

So I snatched up Mr. Finch.


Walked down into the orchard.


Sat on the ground and opened my hand.


As they always do, he sat there doing nothing.  Well, nothing externally.  Inside he was probably trying to gather his wits and demeanor.  So I put him on my leg and we sat in the orchard together for a little while.


Then I told him I had work to do so I gave him a wee nudge just to check and happily he flew off into a neighboring apple tree (where he could finish out his R&R).


To rub even more salt in Tennie's wound, he couldn't accompany me on my evening "changing of the sprinklers".  He tried, but I had the mower with me and he and the mower don't get along, thank goodness.  I'd mow, then turn it off to move a hose or turn on a sprinkler and Tennie would let out a plaintive cry and come running toward me, but then I'd start the mower up again and he'd high tail it up the hill and sit under a tree waiting.

Sigh... good little doggie... er, I mean cat.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Interesting Video by Art Curator on the Subject of "I Could Have Done That"

Oh me oh my oh.

Still not in the swing of three classes at the local college (and keeping up with a blog).

So you get no ranting opinions today.

But I feel I should pass on SOMETHING useful, so... let's see.

Oh, here's an interesting video.  Have you ever looked at a piece of art and thought, "I could do that."?

Or maybe overheard someone else say it... maybe even about a piece of YOUR art?

Click here to watch a video on the subject... and then come back and leave me a comment.  I'd love to hear your opinion.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Kindle Unlimited... not so unlimited... And What's a Wine Rack Doing in My Studio?

Learned something the hard way today.  Kindle Unlimited isn't as unlimited as my mind was trying to make it.  Ha ha ha!

Since it's the first of the month I was going over my charges from various accounts and saw that all the books I ordered from Kindle Unlimited at $0.00 I was actually charged for.

Eek!

A quick call to Amazon only to find out that one shouldn't gloss over the small print when signing up for something.  Or one shouldn't wait so long to use a service or use it so infrequently that they forget the rules.

Apparently it's Kindle Limited... to ten books at a time.  Anything over ten and you get charged the going rate.  I could EASILY have "returned" previously loaded books had I known this, but since Amazon can't "convert" the new purchases to the Kindle Unlmiited versions even after I delete/return previous books... they are just now considered purchased, not borrowed.

At least it wasn't a super expensive lesson.

But seriously... even though the onus is on me to know how the system works, I told them it would go a long way for customer service if a little notification came up saying something like, "You have reached your Kindle Unlimited limit (kind of an oxymoron, huh?) and this will be a purchase instead.  Proceed?"

Sigh...

Third world problem... I'm not going to stress about it. 


On another note, I entered two photos in two (similar) Facebook contests.  One is for showing your workroom mascot.  If you like the photo, click on it and give it a FB "like".  Thanks!

https://foto-app.appspot.com/app/foto/item/97877003156/5241134667268096

There's also this contest to show something weird in your workshop.  I chose to show my wine rack because I think it's pretty darn handy and is a wonderful addition to the workshop.  Others may want one too! 

This is my "stamping station".  And it stores wire, pliers, bracelet mandrel, necklace busts and way more.

https://rapiderapps.appspot.com/app/foto/item/97877003156/5336135073005568

And that's it for me today.  See you all tomorrow!