Friday, September 28, 2012

Lucky Day Giveaway

A couple of weeks ago I attempted to attend the online Craftcast presentation called “More I Love Tools”. It was live demonstrations by several artists and the subject was their favorite tools for jewelry making. I could never get the audio to work on my laptop or on my iPad, so I had to leave the class. I was so disappointed! The next morning I get an email from my friend Molli Koltun that I had won a prize during the presentation the night before! Oh boy! How lucky am I? Actually, I was very lucky that day and I should have bought a lottery ticket. In my mail I found an envelope from the North Carolina Department of Revenue and I thought for sure I was being audited. No! There was a check for $100 because somebody (either me or my accountant) made an error on my 2011 tax return. But, I digress… where was I? Oh, yeah, I won something. So I emailed Alison Lee, the brains behind the Craftcast presentations, and told her about my sound issues and that I wasn’t able to attend the live broadcast. In order not to spoil the surprise she only told me that I’d won something during Wanaree Tanner’s presentation and that I could watch a video of the entire presentation shortly.

I’m not good at being patient, but I finally got to watch the 5-part series on YouTube. Wanaree’s favorite tool is the Silhouette Cameo machine (an electronic cutting tool) and she demonstrated how to use it to create a texture in Scratch Foam. This machine plugs in to your computer and usually uses a small blade to cut materials like paper or vinyl. Wanaree had an embossing tool in place of the cutter and that made the impressions in the Scratch Foam. Then she engraved some words directly into dry metal clay. Very cool!

Then she announced that I was the winner of the Silhouette Starter Guide and a collection of Wanaree’s bezel wire designs, a package worth $60! Wah, wha, wha…. I don’t have a Silhouette Cameo machine! And, as I look towards the end of my career and to retirement, I’m really not interested in investing in a high-dollar tool. Darn. But it was still an honor to have won!

The bezel wire designs also come with instructions on how to alter the patterns to fit your stones and a shrinkage and resizing chart. Here are some examples of the bezels:

This is where I actually get to the point of this post: I am re-gifting these items to one lucky winner!! If you have, or plan to purchase a Silhouette Cameo machine you should enter this contest. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling everyone what you love about this machine. Who knows, maybe I'll be convinced to buy one after all. The contest starts today and on Monday, October 15 I will select a random winner from all the entries. Good luck!

Monday, September 24, 2012


I just want everyone to know that I haven't fallen off a cliff, or something. There just hasn't been much to blog about. But, I'm taking this opportunity now to give y'all some advance notice that there is a big give-away coming soon. Stay tuned. I'm working out the details right now.

The goldenrod is in full bloom, the Monarch butterflies are headed south, the hummingbirds have slowed way down and we had our first light frost this morning. I think it's about two weeks early, but I'm grateful for some cooler temperatures.

I'll post more about the give-away soon.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Tumbler Loves Me!

I use a tumber to make my jewelry all clean and shiny. For those of you who don't know what a tumbler is, or how it works, it's a plastic barrel that rolls around on a motorized base. The barrel is filled with these little metal pieces called "shot" and when I put the jewelry in I cover everything with water and a little liquid soap. As the barrel rolls around the shot and the metal jewelry rub together and the shot makes the jewelry nice and shiny. It takes a minimum of an hour and it's a low-effort way to achieve a high shine on several pieces at once.

This is the tumbler barrel
Way back when I first got the tumbler I mistakenly bought carbon steel shot instead of stainless steel shot. (Carbon steel was cheaper and that's probably why.) Since carbon steel will rust I have to be careful to completely let it dry before I store it until next time. So when the tumbling is finished I dump the shot and the jewelry into a strainer and rinse it all off and pick out the shiny jewelry. Then I spread out the shot on a kitchen towel to dry:

Shot drying on a towel

When the shot is completely dry I scoop it to store it in the tumbler barrel. I pick up the edges of the towel to gather it together in the center and every time this is what I see:

It's a shot heart! I mean, a heart out of shot...
Every time! I don't mean to make a heart out of my tumbler shot. It's the Universe telling me that my tumbler loves me. It must be.