Thursday, March 31, 2011


Flower forms and things in the garden bring surprises to my eyes.  We are headed to some flowery things.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Butterfly Farmer !

Back some time ago on another bat channel I posted a blog called Butterfly Farmer. I found it, I thought I'd lost it. I thought you might enjoy reading it. From deep in the archives. I still get involved in butterfly farmer conversations. I still do some fold forming, too.
Where can I learn about fold forming?  SO   " Butterfly Farmer"
Well you started here. How about staying here a little longer? Many of us here do some fold forming, with a wide variety of results, viva la difference. There is much to learn. Hang on here we go! Over the years I've referred to myself as Artist, Jeweler, metal-smith, craftsman, and goldsmith. I've earned those titles. But always found them to be a bit pretentious, Real conversation killers and not very accurate. There needed to be a better term. I found a name for my career field quite by accident. I am a butterfly farmer. It's a difficult career choice to get ones head around. But basically I take something the rest of the world doesn't even see: an egg on the backside of a leaf, a caterpillar, or a piece of copper and I watch it change. When it becomes something cool, beautiful I release it. It's very hard work, but I've found it very freeing. Should you decide that you too are a butterfly farmer then here is my suggestion. Rush (it's the last time you ever have to rush) out and buy a spray bottle that will make a mist. fill it with water. Use this to spray your forehead, arms, upper body before anyone sees you working. It helps. Ah you laugh. That's good.  It's easier to see and learn when we stop taking this stuff and ourselves so seriously. Promise me right now that you'll never tell any one how much fun this is. It's work. Remember that. It's important, you know? For your first lesson you will need a sketch book, If you can't afford that, find a paper bag. The weight of the paper is important. Some Chinese take out food delivered to you in one of those paper containers. The biggest sheet of copper you can buy. Not a foil but just thick enough that you can still bend it with your fingers with a little effort. A pair of scissors and a tin snips are also handy to have. Has the take out food arrived yet? Ok in the mean time we can get started. Make your self a stack of papers about 4" sort of square. Fold one of the sheets in half, open it up easily lay it on the table in front of you and stare at it until you see that it's not flat anymore. Make two folds on another sheet parallel is good, open it up. Bring two edges together. Observe that from flat (bad) and straight (bad) you have made curves good. Take a break..Eat the Chinese food if you must. I don't care I want you to see the paper container that the stuff came in. If yours came in a Styrofoam thing that's vacuum forming and will not be covered in this class. Reorder until you get a box thing. Stare at the empty box thing pick it up let your mind digest it. Make one out of paper. It's a 3D solid it's a cold construction, it's origami. Origami is not where we are going. Make yourself some copper rectangles squares circles ect. 3" sort of. Fold one in half. A hammer is a good thing, a mallet it up..That's origani not where we are going Yet. Take one of your pcs of copper Long rectangle is best. fold it in half lengthwise. Hammer the folded edge. don't straighten it out you want it to curve.
open up this fold. resist flattening it out. Straight Bad curve good flat bad. Stare at what your hands have done. Repeat with a new pc of copper this time hammer the folded edge only until you have a real curve a circle maybe. open it up. Did the fold crack? You can prevent this if you like by annealing the copper before you open it. But from here on the condition of the metal is important. Annealed folds react differently from hardened folds when they are opened. Try it.
Reaching that point is the beginning of fold forming metal. Watch your hands watch the metal..every time your hands make the metal do something cool stop set it aside. This evening I want you to ponder those forms you created. You have made "line folds" basic line folds. You've also discovered that you have the ability to declare things cool. That's power! At this point you should use the spray bottle mist only. Take a sheet of paper square,fold opposing corners together to create a rectangle with a folded x gather the triangle shaped areas together so that the folds are on the outside should look like a folded x shape.
Do this in copper...pinch the triangles to the center. Forge those folds so that they curve. anneal forge, anneal forge..each time your curve should get greater.
The metal move more. Open it up declare it cool. do it with a circle an oval ect. We love pictures. ponder more. Get that take out Chinese food container. What would happen if? The answers to that question become your personal repertoire.
That concludes lesson one. next time T folds stay tuned there are many teachers here. Brad Butterfly farmer Might have a field trip.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

How to Take a Thousand kids Fishing On The 4th of July

Wow It's the 20th of the month. It's once again time to open up this blog to the greater Blog-o-Sphere. This is what happened if you are just joining us for the first time. There's this jewelry maker friend of mine on FB she has this wonderful idea. What if a group of us bloggers got together and wrote on the same topic each month and invited our readers to enjoy the resulting blogs. So I gave this project my blessing, "This will never happen, it can't be done, it's impossible, you're crazy"  That will make some sense in a while keep reading. You're going to want to check out the other players in this project.
Kathleen Krucoff
Laura Flavin:
Wendy Kelly:
Stephanie Nocito Clark
Brad Severtson:
Andrea Bell:
Natsuko Hanks:
Shaun Young
Pal Gooz
Beth Cyr Andes Cruz:
Andes started this project. Thank you Andes.
   So How do you take a thousand kids fishing on the morning of the 4th of July between the hours of 7 am and noon and love every minute of it?
   About thirty years ago two Iowa boys anchored their fishing boat in a quiet cove, on a nice sized lake, in Canada. The cove was about ten miles from the cabins the group had rented for the week. The two Iowa Boys started catching walleye. That's what they were there for. It didn't take very long to limit out, so we switched to catching bass and perch.  Mostly we watched the bald eagles feed their young. Mostly we talked about how we got there.  I made an important decision in that cove. I would open my first jewelry store within a couple of months. It was May s I remember. The store would open in September. We didn't realize it yet but come the 4th of July we were about to take a thousand kids fishing.
    Flash back five years. to three Iowa boys going to help Mike at his fishing contest. Mike was about twice our age. He had been hosting his small 4th of July kids fishing contest for a few years. He asked us to help him, you see he just couldn't do this by himself. I suspect there were about 25 kids at the contest. Not bad for an event his store was footing the bill for. The kids, we might have counted some twice, had a great time. The Fred, Ron and Brad fishing club held a meeting that morning, along the banks of the Iowa River.
 Fred was the other guy in the boat back in Canada. Any way we thought this fishing contest thing was a pretty neat idea.We could see it getting a lot bigger. Mike had told us that the contest wasn't just his it had really started as The Izaak Walton League fishing contest. The chapter was just about defunct. That morning it's membership quadrupled. BF@R became the Hardin County Chapter of  The Izaak Walton League of America. We had one goal take a thousand kids fishing on the morning of the 4th of July from 7 am til noon.
    At that time we didn't know what we had just jumped into. Mike thanked each of us that morning. BF@R
blessed the event with three statements we had often heard before. "That will never work. It cant be done and it's impossible, you're crazy. Since we had often heard these statements, we came to expect them, in fact things just didn't interest us much unless we heard them.
    Mike the old master mushroom gathering fool, (my ass) had managed to pass along his dream. In the statements above are the keys to taking 1000 kids fishing. Find what you think is a perfectly marvelous idea. It doesn't have to be your idea it just has to find you. Most people will think your perfectly marvelous idea can't be done, that it will never work and that you're crazy 'cause it's impossible. Get over it. Things are about to get interesting. I can not do this by myself. Understand for a moment Mike said that. It's not that there aren't things I can't do by myself. I could take two kids fishing. It might take 150 guys to take 1000 kids fishing. It did. The more times I can get the other guys to take ownership of the fishing contest the bigger it will get. If I teach them to ask for help because they can't do this themselves. 1000 kids get to go fishing. Mike did one more thing that morning. He thanked each one of us for our help and invited us back for next year. Saying thank you is a skill. If you're ever going to look for something to get real good at make it saying thank you.
   There's one more thing. Mike did. Mike purchased some green baseball type hats and sewed the Ike shoulder patch onto the front of the hats. At the next fishing contest he passed out those hats to our helpers. That's when BF@R got theirs. Hats were earned by the members. You couldn't buy one. They were earned.
Each time we signed up a new member and accepted their dues monies the chapter was actually investing $5 in the new member. Invest in your people and they will give back far more than they recieved.
    I've been threatening to turn this bit of writing into an E-book for years. It can get into some fine detail, all of it's fun. There's so much more to the story, There are lucky hooks, the every kid is a winner concept. The smallest fish caught won a prize, hot coffee would be nice, what if the radio station did a live remote,  you gotta chum the river and could I have your old pantyhose? your tackle boxes are here. It was a five year adventure. The news paper is going to run the winners photos as a double truck. How many times can you raffle off the same canoe?
    I was the president of the chapter for five or six years, R and F held other offices. My job was to write the monthly news letter, and arrange the speaker or program for the monthly meetings
 During that time I was given the national Izaak Walton League award as the recruiter of the year, only because they couldn't put three names on it. The chapter won the distinction and the National award for being the fastest growing chapter in the country. Cool plaque.
    BF@R  had one other rule. If ever we found ourselves the only guys at one of our meetings or events we would go fishing instead. They had fifteen minutes to show up. Never happened. 
    Flash forward back to the eagles in Canada. Fred gave the new store the ultimate blessing that afternoon. "That will never happen, it can't be done, it's impossible you're crazy! "
   Little did we know we were about to take 1000 kids fishing!  Didn't know that store, just a dream then, would go on to sell over a million dollars worth of jewelry in the next five years.
   Back to the present, I haven't been fishing in years. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The silver market game

     The following are three pieces of homework I think you should do to have a greater understanding of the silver market. Your estimated costs for these bits of knowledge  will vary.  File these costs under continued education.It's important that you actually purchase the items, because you will learn if you actually have skin in the game.First purchase  a cupie doll or stuffed animal at the county fair, state fair or any carnival. second purchase a tomato plant, your choice any variety you desire. Just make sure it's a healthy plant. Thirdly purchase a one troy ounce bar of .999 fine silver. It's not too important the order you do these lessons in. It's only important that you do all three.
     What you mean the guy at the state fair won't sell you a cupie doll or stuffed critter? Try the county fair or a carnival in your home town,.or you could play his silly game. Select one you have a history with. If you are good at throwing darts-cool. Shooting hoops, fine. shooting a squirt gun or tossing nickles.  Maybe you'll decide all of these games are easy and you'll  go for the skill game that has the finest cupie doll or stuffed critter. It's ok go for it.You have time, it's not a race. If you lack the ability to make a decision, allow your girl friend or mate to make the decision based on the fantastic stuffed animal he-she saw being carried around by some previous winner. After all that guy won one you should be able to, right?
    Well congratulations or my condolences, some people actually run out of available cash just when they were so close to having the largest stuffed critter their girlfriend ever had a desire for, today. I know, but it happens. Most of you did get the stuffed critter or at least a stuffed critter. Let's do a little bit of cost analysis.
I'll bet you feel you overpaid for the stuffed critter. I'll bet you didn't follow instructions. I said purchase one,
you decided to play a silly game for one. Here's the right way to purchase one from the guy at the fair. Offer the gentleman ten bucks for a stuffed critter you are sure would cost you a dollar at Wallmart. It would have been fast and sweet. You would have missed the entertainment portion of this part of the lesson. Let's look at what happened. Was the game rigged? No The game wasn't rigged or at least it doesn't have to be. You were rigged. All of your past experience and knowledge worked against you. The darts you used weren't like your darts at home. The distance you were throwing from wasn't the distance you usually throw from. Your muscle memory and aim were off. The seller sets the price of the goods. The faster you learned the new game the cheaper you won the cupie doll.   There is another way to do this lesson.  Observe your brother-inlaw  do your homework for you. That's secondhand education, you won't remember it. It's fun though.
     Well I have no idea how the first lesson turned out for you. Let's begin the second lesson. This one takes time but doesn't require much effort on your part. And you do get to enjoy your tomatoes. The goal of your purchasing a tomato plant is to make the tomato plant pay for itself and put some cash in your pocket.
Besides it shouldn't be too hard to do, right? A tomato sells for about a dollar right now at the grocery store. A small plant capable of producing many tomatoes sells for about 2 to let's say five bucks as the season progresses. The sooner you start the greater your chances will be of succeeding in this lesson. Cheating is encouraged!  Just remember to record all of your expenses. I said all!  First of all that plant is not going to survive outside right not, sorry. The pot is too small, too. So repot it into a bigger pot and bring it inside to live with you for a while. Remember to water it. Sure you can feel free to fertilize the plant, I recommend Miracle Grow. You did remember to use a sterilized potting soil, right? You may talk to it if you desire. Ok time progresses, congratulations you have a bountiful crop of tomatoes, Bravo!  Even though you did have to buy some insecticide to prevent the bugs from eating your crop. That was optional after all. You've done so well at recording your expenses pat yourself on the back. Let's sell some tomatoes!  It shouldn't be too hard. If you dilly dallied around as usual you didn't get started ahead of everyone else in your neighborhood. So what happens is this. The day before you decide to sell some tomatoes your neighbor lady drops off some extra ones she has from her garden. Damn it just about everyone has tomatoes to give you. So you start eating yours. They are sweet, they are awesome! They combine two rare qualities, they are both priceless and worthless at the same time. Perhaps you could market your product in a different neighborhood. Perhaps you could open an Esty store? Even though you would be eating your profits, perhaps you should just enjoy your tomatoes. The supply of an item determines it's selling price.
     Your third lesson involves buying a one ounce bar of .999 fine silver. since the markets are up right now This shouldn't be that difficult. Should cost you about $30 to $35 dependent partly on today's spot price for silver. You may have to pay a bit over spot price, when you add shipping and handling. Get a pretty one.
Got it?  Record your cost, write it down..The complete cost.
     Here's the fun part. Look at it. enjoy it's beauty. Appreciate it's rareness and the efforts that went into the creation of it. Watch it turn black if you like. Polish it if you like. Here's where today's lesson begins: Sell it!
Or rather attempt to sell it. Let's take it to the guy in town we bought it from. Silver has gone up up up..What he's not buying? What do you mean he's not buying? Let's take it to the bank, they'll buy it? Nope. Let's take it to Wall Mart they certainly know the value of fine silver? How about the guy at the pawn shop or the jeweler in the mall? They will buy it, correct? Yes they will. They will not pay you what you paid for it. but they will buy it. They will explain to you that they are always buyers for silver. at a percentage off spot price. This is their business. They do this to make money. They intend to resell your silver at a profit or they aren't interested in purchasing it. Take it or leave it. Well what if you sold it to a refiner? Short answer you don't have enough silver to make it worth their time. You do have another option, You could drill a hole in it and hang it around your neck. Will you need a chain? How about one of these nice bezels to put around it and a chain?  Your choice?
      Is it possible to buy silver and make money doing it?. Sure. Find the buyer before you make your purchase. Buy the silver for less than you have it sold for. Good luck with that one. Hint: learn to make the bezel or the chain. Invest in the knowledge, acquire the skills and purchase the tools.
     Have pie and consider these things, enjoy.  I purchased a grossly over priced item but had fun. I grew my own tomato. I enjoyed doing it. I now own a one ounce bar of fine silver, it's pretty. I like it, it's valuable ya know?