When you start out with something as expensive as jewelry making...you get by with what you can. Granted, you just HAVE to have some tools and supplies. But usually there are some things that you can just ad lib. Here's a couple of the things that I get by without:
1. A super duper nice camera: In other words, my dream camera the Canon Digital Rebel.
I have a Canon...a very nice one indeed. However it's 35mm and as much as I love using it, it's not practical to develop every single roll of film. Believe me, I take a TON of pictures and this is not the way to go. However after I discovered the "macro" setting on my dutiful little Olympus, I've been doing fairly well. There are a few tricks to getting my camera to behave and produce fairly good photos. I have to hold EXTREMELY STILL when taking the picture. And since it has a little "delay"...I have to hold my breath too. Oh and don't forget to wait until you hear the "beep" that lets you know it's actually focused on something.
The point is: I'm not going to invest in a super duper nice camera unless I know that it will pay for itself. And right now, it won't.
2. A light box of sorts
I found a method that works for me...and everything else seems to, well, not work! My workbench is by a window. So I just cover it with a white piece of cardstock or my infamous red piece of fabric. Too much light? A little glare? hmmm let's see if I can position my hand or another piece of cardstock juuuuuust right so that it will filter the light. Nope, nothing fancy about that. And while I know a tripod could help me immensely, I can't seem to find the one I had lying around! So propping my camera on my stamp box or anything else similar works pretty well. I was using a yellow pitcher/vase that I had, but I found it was putting a yellowish hue on my silver. I retired that thing really quickly.
3. A "real" jewelry bench. Yes, I've looked at them. I drool over them. Am I going to pay for one? Heck no! When we were living in NC we kept this corner tv cabinet out in the garage forever. I had intentions of turning it into a wine storage thingy or even something else....so I didn't want to get rid of it. Well lo and behold I started getting into silversmithing and this was the PERFECT height and size for a little work bench. Even now I'm so happy I didn't get rid of it.
One last little thing that I thought was super cool: When I bought my flexshaft I wanted to buy one of those contraptions that held up your motor. I found that a plant hanger worked extremely well. AND I already had it stashed in the closet. How perfect.
I love repurposing things and making do with what I have. It's always a sort of challenge that keeps me interested and motivated. I guess it's also a result of my packrat tendencies.
I'd love to hear anybody else's repurposed ideas or uses!