Sunday, March 16, 2008


Friday morning found me in the heart of the Portland Pearl District where I made my way to the enchanting studio of Sally Jean Alexander. I had been looking forward to this day for a long time and was so excited to finally be there. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the studio to share with you (they were discouraged), but let me tell you that the term "eye candy" would be a gross understatement.

We were greated at the door by Brad (aka Mr. Sally Jean) and Sally introduced herself with a warm smile. I tried hard to pay attention to her, but there was just too much to look at. Shelves of all kinds of little treasures I could only imagine in my dreams. On the ceiling was the most amazing aqua vintage lighted snow flake. We were told another one was in their home. There were jars and jars of vintage goodies that I wanted desparately to get my hands on. And all of her wonderful creations, too many to see them all, but all filled with magical goodness.

This is Sally Jean, isn't she adorable? I felt a little weird about asking to take her picture, but she was very cool about it.

Here's a funny story (at least to me). As I was walking around I noticed an aqua blue folding metal chair that was chippy and rusty and I thought, hey, that looks like the chair I sold at a backyard sale Isabel and I had a couple years ago. I looked closer and hanging on it was a pink ribbon that I used to hang the price tag on. Same chair. Of course I had to tell Sally the story and that I was so happy to know that a little piece of me now has a home in her studio. I couldn't tell if she was amused by my story or secretly thought I was a wacko.

We spent the morning arranging our artwork and learning how to put the charms together in preparation for the soldering. I was pretty prepared and put my charms together quite quickly. Before we knew it it was time to head out to lunch where we went to a most fabulous restaurant called The Paragon. We had a private room in the back of the place where we were served appetizers of Rosemary French Fries (yum) and Gorgonzola Cheesecake with Crusty Bread (double yum)! For my lunch I chose the pan fried chicken cutlets with mashed potatoes and green beans. DELISH! (Okay, now I'm sounding like Rachel Ray, sorry!) It was fun listening to Sally and Brad's stories during lunch. They were so sweet together and really make a great team.

When we got back from lunch it was time to start soldering. This was the part I was nervous about, but Sally gave us demonstrations and lots of encouragement. Of course, she made the whole process look very simple, and it wasn't too difficult. The hard part is getting everything to look good in the end. As I have said in the past, I'm not much of a perfectionist and I was okay with the many imperfections in my charms. I know that I need to spend more time getting the tape even and burnished and next time I sit down to make charms (which I hope I will do soon as making them is highly addictive), I will do a better job at making them a little prettier. But, for my first attempt, not bad I think.
Tell me what you think. These are all the charms I made on Friday. Notice a theme? Sally says we really need to keep our first charms so that we can see the difference practice makes.

If you haven't checked out Sally's book, "Pretty Little Things," I would highly suggest you do so. I checked it out at the library, but have since bought a copy at JoAnn's (used my 40% off coupon too). It is filled with sweet little soldering projects that I can't wait to try. If you have ever thought about learning to solder, I would strongly suggest taking one of Sally's "Soldering for Virgins" classes. They fill up fast, but keep trying, it is worth it. I know I am sounding like a paid advertisement for Sally Jean, but seriously, it was so much fun. Okay, I am officially gushing, but I don't care. Soldering charms, my new favorite thing.

I want to shout out a special thank you to Joy for letting me borrow her soldering supplies. Thanks so much Joy!

I was originally going to call this post "Friday and Saturday" as I have a fun Saturday to share with you too, but as this one is getting a little long, I will hold off telling you about Saturday until my next post. I always feel like I'm a couple/few days behind in posting. Oh well, come back soon, I promise to show you some yummy pics.


Betty said...

How fun! I used to know how to solder. I've never heard of Sally. I'll have to google her book. I love the roses you used for your charms.

Mrs. Cherry Heart said...

I am so jealous! I would love to take a class with Sally Jean!

Last night my daughter and I were in Barnes and Noble and she came up to me with Sallys book {pretty little things} and said this looks like something you would like mum...
I opened it and said "LIKE...I LOVE IT"!!!!!
I started reading it this morning! Ouuu I can't wait to play!

Loved your post!

Hugz, Dolly

Adrienne said...

Lisa -
It was so much fun to meet you at Flourishes yesterday. And at the Antique Mall. What a fun day! I can't wait to go again. I'm looking forward to your post about your day yesterday. I'll be sharing pictures and memories tomorrow on my blog.

I hope to take my dear little mother to Monticello sometime soon. Maybe I'll let you know when we plan to go just incase you will be stopping by there, too.

I love the charms you made. I'd love to learn to do them. When will I find time to work that in?

Take care, ~Adrienne~

cherished*vintage said...

Hi Lisa! I think your soldered charms look great! Seems like it would be so fun to try. I'll have to add it to my ever growing "to learn" list. Oh, and by the way, I gave you a blog award - You Make My Day!

Rose Garden Romantic said...

OH, how fun!! You got to see Sally Jean's studio?? I would love to! I would also love to take a class from her! Sounds like you had a great time and the food sounds SO yummy! Your charms are so lovely and you did a great job for your first time. I wold love to learn to solder.

Pat said...

Lisa, Once again I go to your blog and am so pleased, both by your writing and visual "treats." I bought "Pretty Little Things" some months ago but have been very busy so have not tried to actually do anything with it. It hasn't helped that I am somewhat intimidated by the thought of trying a process so different from what I usually do..which is to quilt and embroider. It looks to me like you did a fine job on your charms, so showing us what you did in class and telling us the story has given me some inspiration to "get on with it." Thanks, once again, for your wonderful posts! Oh, and I love the story about the chair! Pat

Alison Gibbs said...

Lisa what a fabulous time you had at Sally's class. Your charms look lovely.

Anonymous said...

Am so jealous of taking Sally Jean's class. I have tried making some charms before and there definately is a technique to it...addicting tho! Would love to see her studio! Great to chit chat with you at Flourishes sale.

Bristol said...

Love the charms~ What a fun day. She has such lovely work. Seeing all this soldering makes me want to try~

Linda said...

Lisa, your day sounds fabulous and your charms are wondeerful! I'd love to do something like this....I'll be looking for her book. Hugs, Linda

Esther Sunday said...

What a great experience! What a talented whipper snapper she is! Love, Esther

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

What alot of fun!!!! Happy Saint Patrick's Day

Anonymous said...

Oh man oh man oh man! I wish so bad that I had been with you. Honestly I'm like a workshop s.l.u.t. (I know, that's so not politically correct to say but...). And then to attend a Sally Jean workshop besides. Makes me a little misty eyed that I had not known about this. So jealous!! Your charms are exquisite, fantastic job!!

Boxwood Cottage said...

Oh you are so very lucky that you could take one of Sally Jean's classes. It's great to see a picture of her too! I'm a big fan of her art work! After I read her book "Pretty little things" sometime last summer I just had to start soldering too it took me a while until I had all the needed equipment together and found the drill, but since that moment I absolutely love soldering, it's highly addictive indeed!
Great post!

Boxwood Cottage said...

Oops I totally forgot to say that I think your pieces are really well done! I know how diffiult the round pieces are! Oh and btw I have a thing for roses too!

Flea Market Queen said...

Lisa...What a wonderful way to spend the day! I adore Sally Jean & have been a fan for several years! I have never attempted to make these wonderful charms but you have peaked my interest!
You did a fabulous job bthw.
My thoughts are with you...

Sandi McBride said...

My goodness, haven't soldered in done good, girl!

Cindy said...

You did good on your the design elements. It just takes practice. I took a local course last year and I need to practice Big time...Sounds like you had a blast..I would love to take SJ's class.


Kristine said...

Your first charms are beautiful. I took a class with SJ last summer and we made little houses. It was great fun. Recently I have been making charms but not having much fun soldering the jumprings to the charms. Any tips you care to share? Did anyone mention pickling solution?
Also, loved the old photo of your family!

Anonymous said...

Oh...I am SO jealous! I HEART Sally Jean. I have so many of her pieces and her book got me through a very turbulent flight between PDX and San Fran! LOL.....I felt nothing....I just was DRINKING in those yummy pages. Lucky YOU!

Unknown said...