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.