Thursday, October 21, 2010

Soldering 101 & a Rainbow

Look what I woke up to this morning...
do you think it's a sign??
Or maybe just the start of something unexpected & new.
Whatever the reason for it's appearance, it made me smile & GRAB my camera! ;)

I have been afraid to try something new for quite some time now. You may say to yourself..."Is this the middle aged woman who drove half way across the country by herself so she could see some coooool junk & the largest ball of twine?" I'm sad to say, yes, it is.

For years now I have longed to solder. I ADORE double sided, glass pendents with awesome vintage images in them. With sayings & lace & cool tiny elements. I bought a wonderful little starter kit a while back with a cute pink iron & all the components needed to start creating, but it sat on my shelf in my studio at the shop for wayyyyy toooooo long. Then I moved & voila, here it sits in my kitchen waiting for me to be brave & just TRY!

And so with the rainbow & all, I thought today should be the day. I knew exactly what I wanted to put inside my glass pendent. A favorite tin type I got at Round Top, with the image of a sweet little girl from the civil war era. I found a great vintage photo to put on the back & trimmed them both, ever so carefully, using the glass as my pattern.
Easy Peasy!

Next comes the copper foil, which has tape on the backside to stick to the glass & hold everything in place. That was fun, although I was a bit disturbed that it wasn't completely even on all edges & sides. This is where my OCD & anal as a rooster with a stick up it's butt, comes into play. {I have no clue where that disgusting analogy came from & I'll try to never use it again! lol} comes the hard part!!! I have the iron holder together, I have the iron plugged in & warming up, the solder & flux are ready for me to get down to business, when suddenly I realize...I need 3 HANDS to do this job & I was only born with TWO! 1st hand to hold the soldering iron...2nd hand to hold the bottle of flux...3rd hand to hold the glass piece I'm working on.

At this point, I'm stumped...truly, I was stumped. While standing there, staring at all the things I'm suppose to be holding at the very same time, looking completely, STUMPED, in walks my remarkable & talented hubby. Off he goes to the garage & comes back with a small suction vice for me to use as my other hand. Yeahhhh...I can do this!!!

Well, maybe not! I did try my friends, boy did I try. I soldered this for hours, which is probably why it looks so awful. I couldn't make it flat, I couldn't make it even, I couldn't get the jump ring straight or even to stay on, I somehow got flux under the glass & it was now on my treasured tin type from Round Top, it smelled like smoke probably from burning the copper foil & my OCD'ed, anal self, just couldn't take it another minute.

Quietly, like a robber in the night, I snuck into my bedroom & took the whole thing apart! I cleaned my little civil war girl & told her how sorry I was for the abuse. See the charring on the glass? Obviously, I need a lot more practice before I use something I love in one of these pieces. But, I will try again...

I'm not afraid to fail...

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."
Mary Anne Radmacher

So, I will try again tomorrow...

& I only hope by the next time I wake up to an amazing rainbow, I will have mastered something that today, I can not do. Sweet Friends, here's to the learning curve & in knowing that, 'The journey is the thing.'




OmaLindasOldeBaggsandStuftShirts said...

You can never fail if you learned something from the experience. Olde Bagg wisdom....throw it away if you don't likeeeeee. tee hee
i love the cards, photos and you have the whole set up to try, try again. I know hush.

Andrea said...

At least you tried something new. Just get back on the horse, and try again!

Alice said...

Good for you for trying something new. I've always been a little timid at doing something I've never done before, especially when I have to learn it all by myself--no one to hold my hand or guide me when I make a mistake. One of these days you'll get it, and then wonder why you had so much trouble to begin with.

Suz said...

I think that the rainbow is an omen! Just keep trying. I have had two mini-classes and I am still scared. In nineteen days, I will have a class from Sally Jean Alexander, the Queen of Soldering! I did better the second time and I am trying not to be intimidated by the upcoming class. I have heard she is kind and very helpful. You will do better and better, I know! Don't forget the rainbow, OK?


P.S. Have been under the weather. Will get back to you about the blog!

Anji Johnston said...

Absolutely hilarious!! This sounded exactly like I was the first time I tried to solder - a complete failure! But I persisted for weeks and weeks and...nope, not for me! I truly hope you have more luck than I did and that rainbow shines bright for you everyday.
Thanks for the laugh!

Lucy - By the Hill said... usual, you put add enough humor to make us all laugh.
I took an afternoon workshop in Arizona last winter and was I glad I did! Of course I haven't had time to make any more, but "one of these days".
Here's the link with my workshop pendants I made By the Hill: Soartful Challenge and a catch up
Just scroll down through the first part of the post.
Keep on trying, you'll be an expert in no time!

Beach House Living said...

Bravo to you and for keeping at it for two hours. You will prevail as long as you try it again.

nacherluver said...

Good for you! Don't give up. Practice makes perfect. As for the OCD/anal retentive tendencies? I understand all too much. I think that's what stops me dead in my tracks a lot. I think everything should be perfect all the time, even on first tries. How come we hold ourselves to higher standards than the rest of the world?
I think the rainbow was a beautiful sign for you to seek. That's what you did and will continue to do.

trash talk said...

This is why I buy other's art work. I tried to solder my own too, but talk about frustrating! Folks don't realize the true art is in the framework and holding your mouth just so!
I did a post on my feeble attempt where Jenn and a friend came over to teach me. Even with 4 extra hands, I still couldn't do it and get this. During my college years I worked at Collins Radio doing what? You guessed it...soldering tiny components to a board! Go figure.
Don't sweat the small stuff. You're so talented in other ways (like those signs!) that in time...knowing'll work it out in your head and try it again!

suesueb said...

Wonderful post! I know you can solder, you are a brave soul!! I still burn myself, burn things, and make a total mess. My kids hate it because the house stinks too! It's so much fun though-looking forward to what you make!

Sandi~A Cottage Muse said...

I love that you tackled this project...I would like to try myself some day!

That rainbow...sigh!

she dreams big! said...

I think it is that pink soldering iron that is bad luck cuz I have the same one and I have the same problem! I've taken a class, bought the t-shirt, yada yada yada and still cannot get a jump ring on to save my life! Oh well, I'm good at other things. Keep trying and now I think I'll go dust off my glass pieces and try again myself!

Dianne said...

I've tried to solder too... I just can't seem to get it right! Nice try though. It looks better than mine did.

carol s said...

Don't you just hate flux under the glass?? My first experience ended up like that too...and I haven't tried since. But Lynn is coming to town in Nov and will give me a lesson as I really like the idea of soldering and the look of the goodies you can make. I will definitely have to get myself one of those great vices!! I remember when you were going nuts trying to learn Photoshop and your OCD self was all over the map (kinda when I first started following you). And look what you do with that now!! So, Ms. Very Talented, OCD...keep at it and you will prevail and turn out fantastic stuff as you are waaaay talented. And it's true, it may be the pink soldering iron. I don't think Lynn likes her pink one either. Mine isn't's orange. I think the old baby blue Wellers (sp?) are the best. Never mind I threw one away before I realized I was going to be creative. Yes, threw it away. Lord have mercy. Good luck and I look forward to your soldered creations!!!

Unknown said...

Hey, Girlie!!!
Practice, practice, practice!!! Use old photos that you don't care about at first-or xerox them. I burned a hole through my soldering iron tip! I bought a cheapie one and burned a hole through that tip in the first day!!!!
Jump rings are the WORST!!! But they will go on, eventually. I have learned to go over the soldering only after it has cooled. You will over heat it and then the foil comes off if not. I tend to get impatient and go over it several times at once....I am learning to put it down and breathe...then pick it back up!
good luck!
p.s. LOVE the look of the blog

Cindy said...

What a wonderful post. I felt I was living vicariously while reading about your experience as this is, honestly, probably something I would have never attempted to do without being in a clas with a live teacher. For some reason this seems quite intimidating and I'm kind of a chicken I guess. Different than the chicken you referred to in your post (by the way, I've never heard that phrase!). I think you are really on to something here. After all of this practice, I bet you'll get the hang of it very soon.
My, oh my I do love your Civil War tintype as well. I took one close look at this sweet girl and I felt such a tug of emotion inside. Just look at her face - her expression. So sad we will never know her story...but look at the care you are giving her precious picture and memory now. :-)

red.neck chic said...

Okay - when you do figure this out... will you clue me in? I almost burned my laboratory down trying to learn myself. LOLOL

;-D I say - keep at it - and enjoy that GORGEOUS rainbow!!!


Attic Rat said...

I think soldering is almost like learning to write beautifully with your left hand when you are right-handed. With lots and lots of practice, you can eventually master it.

Keep trying. You have some wonderful ideas!

- Teresa

Charlene said...

So what's the problem sweetie? I gave you ALL the answers while we chatted yesterday. Let me know how it turns out. Can I "borrow" a couple of those religious images from this post? HUGS!

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