RSS Feed

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kitchen Reno!

Kitchen Reno!

So! In the midst of all the job hunting and working and commissions (finished one today, awesome!!) I have decided that I hate my kitchen. Well, hate is a strong word. I vehemently dislike “greige.”I know, there are tons of “greiges” out there, and I probably haven’t met the right “greige” yet, but I know that is not Mr. Right on my kitchen walls.

I really wish I’d thought to take a before picture, but I forgot. If I find an old photo, I’ll try to update!

Anyway. There are a number of things that I’ve been wanting to do with my kitchen, and this has been the week for it. I’m on a tight budget, so everything had to be super affordable.

I found my paint at Habitat ReStore just down the road. I got lucky! There was half a gallon of dark yellow, and two tiny sample containers of a much lighter yellow. Together, they mixed together to nearly match the swatch my husband and his sister and I loved from Lowes! (My sister-in-law is living with us right now, so of course she gets a say!)


All three paints were satin, interior latex paints, so they could be mixed with no problems. Together the three cost me about $7. Not bad at all for a gallon of paint! Here are a couple shots of the painted kitchen. The first was indirect sunlight. It looks much lighter at night, but really becomes golden when we get the full afternoon sun.


Another thing we wanted to do was fix the laundry nook in the kitchen. There used to be folding doors covering the previous owner’s washer dryer set, but our set was just a little too deep. When we took off the doors, we found that the kitchen was first white, then green, then greige, and you could see all three in a neat little line around the nook. Yuck. Now it’s all yellow!


I also took the time to swap the positions of the washer and dryer, and flip the door on the dryer so you don’t have to haul laundry over the washer door. It wasn’t a big deal when we moved in, but I’ve noticed that wet laundry pressing on the top of the door for the past two years made the door loose, and we had some leaking. Fixed that too though! The door just needed to be tightened up.



If you haven’t seen my Home boards on Pinterest, I have some gorgeous things saved! One of them was the diy table top to fit over a washer and dryer. I need this! I picked up a sheet of cabinet-grade plywood at Home Depot for $24, and cut it down to fit the nook. The extra bits from the sheet are going to be used for another diy project: an aquarium stand that will house my husband’s mead while it ferments. Nothing says love like hobbies sharing space!

Back to the laundry nook. I made a ledger out of  1×1’s I found at ReStore for $.50 a piece. I cut it down and attached it to the studs in the wall, then screwed the table top to the ledger. Eventually I’m going to add a wire or chain to that farthest edge to keep it safe from gravity. For right now, I have a bit of the plywood underneath to help it stay propped up. It doesn’t really need it, but just in case I put down something heavy on the edge, I wanted a little support. Oh! And I finished the table top with polyurethane (also ReStore) that I got for $1.

One last thing! I found this awesome little cabinet at a garage sale for $3. Painted it white, and I’m going to do a faux frosted glass thing since the windows are acrylic and I don’t really want to see my cleaning supplies in it anyway. It’s going to be attached to the wall above the laundry table with some l-brackets I got for $3 at ReStore. Can you tell I love ReStore?


All in so far, $39. And my kitchen looks completely new! It’s not done yet. I want to paint a faux backsplash with the teal paint I got for free from a curb alert. I also would LOVE to pull up the linoleum tiles. Previous Owner slapped them down on top of the original linoleum, and they’re starting to slip and come up. But that’s when I have money to do real tile. For now, it’ll just have to stay as is.

Keep tuned in for the finished kitchen! Hopefully I can get a hold of some nice plants too.



Bronze and CZ Ring Fun!

Bronze and CZ Ring Fun!

I have had so much fun doing these rings! I’ve been obsessed with Dragon Age: Inquisition lately.

Besides doing what I LOVE doing, I also work part time retail, and drive for deliveries. And sometimes do transcription work. And study HTML, CSS, and Java. Those are so awesome!

So, the point is, Dragon Age has been an awesome get away from reality. Every choice I make is acted on, and all the characters just want me to succeed. And if they don’t feel that way, they have a health bar, and I can kill them. It’s awesome.

The more I play, the more Cassandra grows on me. She’s just awesome! Of course, I needed to make a ring.  I decided to get a little fancy with it, and go for a two part ring that stacks, and looks awesome one part at a time. Here’s my original sketch:


I had to change a few little things as I went, because I knew the look, but I forgot to think about the way the stones would actually fit. Whoops. Turns out, it wasn’t a huge deal.

I started with the bottom ring, the one with the sunburst, sort of like the Inquisition eye. The bottom ring was really supposed to be more of her shield. It’s a little chunkier than the top ring, and it’s definitely got more of an armor feel to it.

I forgot to take pictures of making the little sunburst, but basically I rolled out a few snakes, let them dry to leather-hard, then wet down the ring, and put the snakes where they needed to go. Since I dried them flat, I wet down the whole thing with my water pen, and pressed lightly until the snakes formed to the ring. I added snakes to the edges, and sanded down until they were flat on top instead of rounded.

Second ring! I made the top ring, and then cut out the hollow where the bottom stone fits in. I got really into it at this point, and forgot to take more pictures. Sorry! Basically, I added the stone, added snakes to match the trim on the bottom ring, and made little divots for the design.

All fired! I’m always blown away by the kiln colors. They did no disappoint! Look at those amazing rainbows! I’m sad, because every time I try to preserve the colors, they dull. But I guess they’re more beautiful because they won’t last.

All polished up and ready to go! I was so nervous that they wouldn’t fit nicely after they went through the kiln. There’s always shrinkage. But they all shrunk the same amount, and everything looks awesome!

Maker Monday is Local!

Maker Monday is Local!

This Monday’s Maker is a local that I actually know! Well, she’s local if you live in the Raleigh, NC area. Otherwise, she’s not very local to your locale. Anyway, enough of that, here she is!


This is Amy Richards, and this is her wonderful work!

She has a fantastic aesthetic. I met her at a holiday show this past Christmas, and really fell for her watercolors. If you’re a Maker who hangs out with other Makers, you’ve probably done a trade or two. For those who haven’t, trading is a nifty thing we like to do when we really want someone else’s work, but the only thing we have to offer is our own talent. An easy trade is when you value one of your Doojiewingits at the same value as someone else’s Thingamabob, and you trade one for one.

Amy and I did that at the show, and I got these lovely prints! I sort of gave the NC coffee one to my husband as a gift, but really, that was just a formality. It’s still mine.




What we did recently was way too cool not to share. Amy saw the ring I made for this year’s Valentine’s Day treat, and she loved it so much, she asked if we could do another trade. This time, I custom made her heart ring, and she custom painted a dog portrait of my little man! Of course, I couldn’t be normal about it. I wanted to showcase Odin at his absolute dorkiest. Amy said to send pics, so I flooded her phone with all the most adorable shots of Odin. Fancy Odin, Dorky Odin, Sleepy Odin, more Odin than you’d ever care to see.

Our dog is just the most ridiculous little thing ever. Think dog version of Draco Malfoy. A purebred whose bark is much worse than his bite, and goes crying to daddy (and mommy) when things don’t go his way. He’s such a little dork though! When he plays with his toys, sometimes his lip gets stuck and he forgets to put his teeth back in. It’s the cutest. So that was my only wish for Amy’s portrait.Please show his teeth!

She totally delivered.


This is so Odin! This is the face he makes when he’s in the middle of playing, and looks up to see if you’re still paying attention to him! She caught his perfect little face without even meeting him. Awesome.


{Amy, I’m sorry Odin’s still on the mantle in plastic…I haven’t gotten the right frame/mat combo yet! I will soon, I promise!}

Well, that’s Amy! I’d love you to check out her website, and her Instagram is amazing too.

Maker Monday! Donna Kato

Maker Monday! Donna Kato

It’s Maker Monday again! Yes, I know Monday is usually reserved for our man crushes, but I couldn’t find another alliterative day of the week. (Tinker Tuesday? Not so much.)


Really, how fantastic is she?


This week’s wonderful maker is Donna Kato. As some of you might know, I didn’t start out working in metals. I started a shop on Etsy called Lyssa’s Stuff in college to help with tuition, and it was all polymer clay. I love polymer clay to this day, and Donna Kato was a huge part of that. Not that she knows this.


Look at these colors!

Her work is colorful and creative, and I’ve loved learning from her books, and from just seeing her work online and being inspired by it. When I was first starting out, I just looked up tutorials online, but when I became serious about expanding my techniques, I immediately went out and bought her book “The Art of Polymer Clay: Millefiori Techniques.” If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at polymer clay, I highly recommend it!


Donna Kato also created her own brand of clay, which is probably the best one out there. Just my humble opinion. When you bake Sculpy, sometimes the colors shift. Reds, blues and purples tend to get really dark, and if you were counting on the color that’s in the pack, you’re out of luck. Kato Polyclay doesn’t do that. What you see is what you get.  Another great thing about the colors is that they’re based on the color wheel, unlike Sculpy. When you’re mixing new colors with Polyclay, it’s like mixing paints. It’s also amazingly sturdy! The strongest pieces I’ve ever made are Polyclay.

You can pick up Kato Polyclay online here, or at Hobby Lobby. (Not that I shop there very often; I’ve read of some rather questionable business practices of theirs. )

If you’re ever in need of a visual pick-me-up, just look up Donna Kato’s work, and the colors alone are guaranteed to make you happy.

That’s it for this Maker Monday! I wish you much creativity, and if you do try polymer clay, look for Donna Kato!




Flourish and Thrive’s 20 Sales in 20 Days Challenge

I don’t usually do challenges, but I figured it was about time I push myself out of my comfort zone a bit. I also figured I’d have time! HA!
Things have gotten insanely busy! I really couldn’t be happier though; more hours at my part time job means more funds towards getting a new and better torch, and the other busy part is custom work. I absolutely love throwing my heart and soul into a custom piece for someone. Getting to know them and connect with them on that level is amazing.

Just got the prototype for a custom ring in from Shapeways! She lost an earring, so we're turning the remaining one into a new, beautiful ring!

Just got the prototype for a custom ring in from Shapeways! She lost an earring, so we’re turning the remaining one into a new, beautiful ring!

Anyway, back to the challenge. Day 1 is about making a “special of the day.” I decided to do a flash sale, since I’ve never really done one before. I always allow about a week for my coupon codes, but this one is a one day only! Using the coupon code NIGHTOWL at, you can get $15 off your purchase of $100 or more, so today is the day to grab something for you, your friends, and your mom, all at the same time!

Go to MelissaDawnDesigns and use coupon code NIGHTOWL for $15 off a $100 purchase! Oct 12-Oct 13 only!

Go to MelissaDawnDesigns and use coupon code NIGHTOWL for $15 off a $100 purchase! Oct 12-Oct 13 only!

I shop for other people all the time, but rarely for myself, so this offer was my little way of trying to get you to treat yourself, while still mostly shopping for gifts. The gift you give, you give yourself!

Happy Anniversary!


Tomorrow marks one year of marriage for my husband and me. One year of being a wife. Honestly, I can say that things haven’t really changed at all, and I love it! We are still best friends, still madly in love, still on the same page. Sure, jobs changed and we redecorated a bit. But as far as our love goes, it’s strong and only growing stronger. We have so much respect for each other, and that allows to understand the other’s quirks. I’m really fortunate to have found someone who loves and accepts me for who l am and doesn’t judge me when I’m socially anxious or a complete workaholic.


Every challenge we’ve faced so far, we’ve handled like Amy and Rory I “Together, or not at all.” He and I are constantly changing, but we always grow together. Happy Anniversary, and may we always love who the other becomes!0293_www.BlueBoxWeddings.com_IMG_5389

The (Finally) Finished Arkenstone! (Pic Heavy)

The (Finally) Finished Arkenstone! (Pic Heavy)

This stone has quite a history for me. It’s not exactly a rare find or anything. It’s just a simple 10mm 5 ct mystic topaz. Mystic topaz are treated to give them their rainbow look. Anyway! I found this one at a stall in the Philippines while visiting my mom. Most of the stalls just had pearls, but this one had a lovely array of faceted stones, and I couldn’t resist. I brought home quite a few, including this one.

The Arkenstone, my 5 ct mystic topaz.

The Arkenstone, my 5 ct mystic topaz.

I grew up loving Tolkien, and still do, so as soon as I saw it, I thought it would be a great Arkenstone. I bought it knowing exactly what I wanted it to be, but no idea how to do it. I’ve been trying to come up with a design for the past 3 years, and have finally come up with something I liked!

The templates are ready and cut out using the Cricut Explore.

The templates are ready and cut out using the Cricut Explore.

So many times I tried to come up with a setting and couldn’t think of a thing. So many scrapped drawings. But it’s finally done! I made the templates in Illustrator, and cut them out with the Cricut Explore. I used a medium grade cardstock so that it would be a bit sturdier and not warp as much when it’s on the metal clay.

I prefer Goldie Bronze Clay Hard, but I’ve been trying out the 50/50 mix of hard and soft to see if that captures better detail. Since I do most of my carving when the clay is dry, I think I’ll stick to just hard. The dry clay tends to be more flexible when it’s got soft in it, so I always feel like I’m about to snap the piece.

Here's the underside of the setting, before I decided it was way too plain.

Here’s the underside of the setting, before I decided it was way too plain.

The prongs are all on, and the knot work is carved and secured.

The prongs are all on, and the knot work is carved and secured.

Remember how I said the back was too plain? I fixed it with more knots.

Remember how I said the back was too plain? I fixed it with more knots.

Working on the bail now.

Working on the bail. I kept thinking I was going to snap it while carving.

It's all ready to go in the kiln now!

It’s all ready to go in the kiln now!

The patina, fresh out of the kiln! I always take pictures because the colors never last.

The patina, fresh out of the kiln! I always take pictures because the colors never last.

The seat is cut, and the stone is set. After 3 years, it has a home.

The seat is cut, and the stone is set. After 3 years, it has a home.

The back, all polished and bright!

The back, all polished and bright!

And one last finished shot! Now to design the clasp for the chain.

And one last finished shot! Now to design the clasp for the chain.