Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

I have had 5 total orders so far for the fingerprint heart charms and I'm loving the popularity my shop has suddenly been receiving.  It died down after the weekend but it's only Tuesday so I have my chin up.

I finished two of the orders tonight and started a couple of gifts for family.  My mother is getting two charms to add to her necklace (which already has one charm with my daughter's fingerprint).  I also ordered a bunch of Swarovski birthstone crystals and I hope they get here before Christmas so I can add them to her necklace (the fingerprints of her grandkids and the birthstones of her kids).  I hope it doesn't look too cluttered but I couldn't really think of anything else to do to avoid the fingerprint charms overlapping too much.

Along with the jewelry I still have to wrap a few more gifts, clean my house, do laundry, and pack for the holiday travels.  Oh, and work 8 hours tomorrow and Thursday.  And be done with everything by Friday morning.  Yay.

But for now, I'm relaxing for the next hour at least.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One More Thing

I really need to remind myself to be more patient when I order supplies online.  I rush through an order for who knows what reason (I'm afraid they'll suddenly run out of everything if I don't proceed to checkout immediately?).

After hurriedly ordering more metal clay last night I realized I could have gotten a better deal on a different site (my two favorites are Firemountain Gems and Cooltools and each of them have their own pros and cons).  Cooltools always seems to have better prices on their metal clay but they didn't have my favorite 16 gram pack so I ordered the clay from Firemountain Gems, which ended up charging me almost 10 dollars more than I needed to spend.  I could have gotten 18 grams for almost the same price on Cooltools.  Oh well, hopefully I learn from this mistake!

Fingerprint Heart Charms and a Busy Week

My 15 month old is standing next to me as I type and she's threatening to hit the keyboard of my laptop every 15 seconds so this won't be t-['=]\ <<-----see? the longest blog entry.  I'm sure no one will mind, my last couple posts were extra long after all.

My shop has finally found a popular item!  Actually, it would be more accurate to say the item found my shop. A friend I work with asked me to make her a custom item...she found it on Pinterest (a very addictive site, if you haven't already tried it).  The piece of jewelry was a print of her boyfriend and her own print molded together to form a heart.  I made it last weekend:



<---It is my first attempt at these and I hope to get better as I complete each one.  




I made another for a set of twins as a 
Christmas gift for their mother (super cute idea):

 

















I have three orders still to complete but I'm waiting on receiving prints and sending out a mold kit.

I also sold another breastfeeding reminder ring last week (these will always be my favorite items in my shop). So it has been a great couple of weeks for my shop!  I hope it remains at least slightly consistent like this for a little while but I feel the holidays are playing a large part in my recent success.  I even had my first international sale this week!  Someone in Finland purchased a necklace!  It was an exciting moment.

Each time I have a sale it's such a great feeling.  And instead of getting less surprising each time I actually get even more excited because it means I have a shot with this.

And to close on a superstitious note...I just saw that the heart charm had 33 views and 3 'favorites'.  Three threes and it just so happens that three is my favorite number.  When my shop only had 13 sales and 13 admirers I had 2 or 3 straight weeks of no sales.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sorry Blogpress.

After getting angry at Blogpress, I searched their site and discovered that the app saves your document every minute.  All I had to do was go into iTunes and find the shard documents area of the app in my iPad. The site wasn't lying.  There, hidden is such a strange place, were about 15 saved versions of that blog I wrote.  So here it is!


The Thanksgiving holiday has come to an end and I couldn't be less excited about the upcoming weeks before Christmas.  On Saturday, I have a 15 page conference paper due for one of my online courses.  My house is a disgusting mess at the moment.  I have another 15 pages to write about the 15 books I have read this semester.  And due somewhere around the middle of December, a webpage or something else technology related to benefit a local library and a 'final test'.  


I still have 6 full days to write my conference paper (and I truly do work better when I procrastinate like this) but I definitely do not look forward to this week, or the rest of today.  I got about 5 hours of sleep last night while visiting with family, having long conversations and fun debates, drinking too much wine, going to sleep at 1:45 and waking up by 7 am.  


At the moment, I have a baby whose diaper needs changing and a house that definitely needs cleaning before the 5 day workweek I'm SO not looking forward to.  They really should give everyone off every Friday the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It would give us all time to do everything and probably result in a lot less stress induced accidents.

I feel better about the whole situation now but my app still crashes every time I open it.  I think I'll try deleting it and downloading it again.

Now back to my homework...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Blogspot...or not...and PMC Sterling!!

I have an app known as 'Blogpress' and I think I even reviewed it here when I first purchased it.  As of right now, I'm not impressed.  I used it a couple of days ago just to talk about what's going on in my life at the moment and when I chose the option to 'save and preview' my blog, the app crashed and my 3 paragraph blog entry disappeared.  I'm very unhappy.  My time is relatively limited and when I spend even 15 minutes writing, I don't appreciate my thoughts disappearing into the internet black hole.  The app hasn't worked since.

Tonight, I have other reasons to write.  I went onto one of my favorite sites to buy a new batch of PMC 3 (the clay I've been using lately to make my jewelry) and the new heading was an option to pre-order PMC Sterling!!!  That means that FINALLY they have a clay version of Sterling Silver!!!  I feel bad for everyone who has used metal clay for years because I just happened to stumble upon it a few months ago and was initially disappointed that I couldn't make sterling jewelry with it.  I hardly had to be patient at all before it was finally available!

There is a catch, however, with this exciting new find.  The way I fire my jewelry now is with a torch, because it is sufficient to burn the organic binder (stuff that holds all the minuscule flakes of fine silver together) and get myself a piece of metal from clay in less than 5 minutes (after the hour or so worth of molding and sanding the piece, of course).  With the sterling clay, you need a kiln.  To say that kilns are expensive is an understatement.  The ones that I would need for this new clay are at least $580.  And that's not including the cost of electricity to run the darn things and all the weird supplies I would need to get to finish the firing process (something like a bowl full of carbon to actually sinter the metal).

I have thought this over all afternoon...it has consumed my thoughts since my discovery of this new opportunity...and I have decided that I will start saving money from my sales to buy a kiln.  So I'm hoping sometime in a few years I will have enough, haha.  In all honesty, I hope to buy a kiln sometime next year. That will give me time to read reviews on how this sterling clay reacts and how difficult the firing process is.

What worries me is that for the first 30 minutes of firing, the piece of jewelry is just burning off the organic binder...then I have to take the piece out and place it carefully in a bunch of carbon to complete the firing process.  So before the metal is at all melted and turned into a solid form, I have to mess around with a dry piece of jewelry that I put a lot of time into, and that has no binder holding it together anymore.  Sounds a little risky to me.  Hopefully people will review it in the next few months and say it's totally easy and risk free to move the partially fired and extremely delicate jewelry into the carbon.

The reasons I am definitely going to try this and invest a whole lot of hard earned money are pretty important to me.  Not only can I continue to make small pieces like I am doing now and offer them at a lower price (rings, charms, etc.), but I can start making useful things like sheet metal, my own sterling wire (expensive stuff), jump rings, and most importantly, bangle bracelets.  I have a bracelet my parents got me while they were on a cruise in the Caribbean that I have worn daily for the past 4 or 5 years:


I could technically make these bracelets with the metal clay I'm using now but I would still need a kiln to fire such a large piece and the clay is more expensive.  I don't mind the higher cost for the clay itself, but I would have to charge a lot more than I would be willing to pay if I were shopping for them, which I think would hurt my chances of selling them in my Etsy shop.

That brings me to the last and more obvious reason I'm excited about this clay.  It costs a decent amount less for 25 grams (enough to make several pieces of jewelry), so I could sell these items at a much better price.  And I could start selling supplies of sterling silver in my shop...strips, discs, wire...once I got good at it.

So now that this topic has taken a sufficient amount of time from me working on my paper for school (you would have known all about it if Blogpress hadn't dropped the ball), I am going to close out for the night.  I hope someone who makes jewelry from metal clay stumbles upon this blog in the near future and benefits from learning a little about the PMC Sterling so my hours of research on such a new item are helpful to more than just me.  I'm sure I'll suck up any newer information on it as it becomes available and continue writing about it until I can try it out with my very own kiln (so tune back in sometime in 2012 for that blog entry)!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

All Sorts of Jewelry

Maybe it's the holiday season or my refreshing break I took from it in October, but for the past couple of weeks I have been way more creative and obsessed with the jewelry making.  I have some orders for Christmas gifts as well.

I'm getting a lot more practice with the precious metal clay.  When I first started working with metal clay I got 'Art Clay Silver 650' and after having worked with several types of clay, the Art Clay is my least favorite.  I then tried 'Art Clay Silver 650 Slow Dry' because I thought it would be better for making projects that took a little more patience and detail.  That clay was a little better than the regular Art Clay but it was almost rubbery and still seemed to dry extremely quickly.  The past couple of weeks I have been working with PMC 3 (Precious Metal Clay 3) and it is definitely my favorite version of metal clay thus far.  It has the consistency of real clay and doesn't stick to your fingers as much as the regular Art Clay 650.  It has a bit of the rubbery feel of the Art Clay Slow Dry but doesn't dry out as quickly. 

Without further ado, here are my recent projects:


>>
I made the turtle last week and I am extremely happy with it.  I listed it on Etsy but it's a 'made to order' type item because I am keeping this guy for myself.  I love turtles.



<< The raindrop with the emerald was for a friend's daughter for Christmas.  I was really worried about firing that piece because I feared the synthetic emerald might crack or melt.  The heart on the right is for my daughter as her first charm on a charm bracelet I plan to add to as she gets older.  The heart is from a mold of a plastic heart ring I found in the parking lot of her first birthday party.  I carved a 1 on the back.




>>
I made all 3 of these rings (I can't express how happy I am that I can make my own rings now..I have always loved jewelry but rings have been my favorite).  The one on my ring finger was last night's creation.







<<  The stone is a White Spinel...the synthetic version of the diamond, which makes it safe to fire with the metal clay.  Aside from still needing to oxidize this ring, it's exactly what I pictured when I wanted to make a ring for my ring finger.





Not sure if I'll add it to Etsy.  I'll see how it turns out after I add the patina and polish it up again. >>











<<  And the emerald handled the heat beautifully!  I was really happy with the results of this charm.  I hope the recipient likes it!!
My stickers advertising my shop ^^  I ordered them on Etsy from: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mypapercrafts


So those are my recent projects!  I am almost in need of buying more clay, but it has been a productive couple of weeks.  I have even kept up with homework, baby, house and work. 

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can you buy motivation? I think I'll ask for it as a Christmas present.

So...

School: 2 online classes for my Master's in Library Science-one of which requires that I read 20 books.

Work:  Need I explain?  40 hours a week of actually being at work and about an hour a day of commute (including dropping the baby off and picking the baby up at the daycare)

House: Cleaning, laundry, dishes, (husband makes the dinners)

Baby:  Need I explain?  Diaper changes, food, play, baths, etc.


Jewelry:  What jewelry?

Hence my absence these past couple of months.  When the holidays are here I won't have school, but I will still be busy with wrapping, shopping, cleaning, etc. and then another semester will start in January.  By May, 2012 I hope to have more time for jewelry (and I also have the ambition to write a novel next summer...I've started with several attempts at this throughout the years and I'm trying a new approach for next summer but that is enough for its own blog).  If I could have a whole bunch of extra money and several extra hours each day I would be set.

So I guess a lack of motivation isn't really my problem.  It's more of a lack of time to relax, and my need to sacrifice my jewelry making in order to get this relaxation time.  Right now though, I feel that my desire to make a new ring is starting to outweigh my need to have time to relax after the baby goes to bed.


I did make a fingerprint charm necklace for my supervisor's daughter that I was really proud of:

 The birthstone was Alexandrite


Her daughter got a really good mold of her son's finger so this came out really good.  The whole fiasco of shipping the mold and having her ship it back went a lot smoother than I expected.

It's really a lot shinier in person.  And it's a Christmas gift so I'll have to wait to see how she likes it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Jane Elizabeth

I have been neglecting jewelry and posting. I sold my FIRST item to someone I don't know (and have no connection to) and the feeling of that sale was incredible. It was a man in New York City (for his wife) so that made it feel even better. since then, Jane turned one. I can't believe how fast the year has gone and I keep having flashbacks to last year at this time.

Today we put her front facing car seat in the car and she loved it. She was even bobbing her head to the music that was playing. It's nice to be able to see her while we're driving.

Right now she's eating dinner and I'm (like always) thanking our dog, Ike, for cleaning up all the pieces she keeps throwing on the floor. I think she's actually throwing the food down with the intention of feeding the dog. She loves Ike more than anything as far as I can tell. When we were at her birthday party last weekend, which was at a small lake near our house, she wouldn't take her eyes off of him and her first word was definitely "Dog".

Lately, I have been exhausted from school, work, house, and baby. I haven't made much of anything that could be considered jewelry (I made two bookmarks on Thursday night to see how well the new bead spinner I got would work, I approve). Everyday I have this crazy amount of motivation to make something out of fine silver clay but every night I am either too tired or too motivated to watch TV, especially now that all our favorite shows are new again. I'm not ashamed to admit that I love to curl up on the couch at night to do this. Here's a list of shows I really enjoy (since other than school, work and Jane I don't have much to talk about at the moment, haha):

Glee (watched the first season on Netflix for the past few weeks)
Modern Family (LOVE this show)
The Middle (only so-so)
The Office
Two and a Half Men (I was impressed with the way they introduced Ashton Kutcher)
Fringe
Revenge (watched this on my phone's Hulu app)
Parks and Recreation
How I Met Your Mother
The Big Bang Theory

Holy crap that's a long list. And I'm almost sure I missed at least a couple. Okay, at about Two and a Half Men on that list I started feeling a little ashamed. Oh well...I'm productive 90 percent of the day. Sue me.

So other than some homework and cleaning tomorrow I really do hope to make some jewelry. I even found a couple of small leaves outside that I'd love to imprint in the silver clay.

I love weekends. I wish they were longer but I'll never stop appreciating these two days a week.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Metal Clay and Jewelry

So I finally got my metal clay (it's actually called Art Clay 650).  I'm glad I waited until today to write about my experience with it because if I wrote about it on Friday night, I would have had a lot of bad things to say.  It dries up extremely fast so when I attempted to make my first piece of jewelry (a ring) I couldn't roll the clay out with my hands quick enough to get it wrapped around the ring sizer without seeing a zillion little cracks throughout it.  I gave up on that task after about 15 minutes because I noticed that even the pack of clay I had wrapped in cellophane was drying up almost too much to work with.  Instead of giving up on the idea of this clay that I had so highly built myself up on I forced myself to make a simple charm:


I was happy with this and LOVED the way the metal looks after it's fired with a torch (which is my favorite part of the process of creating things with this clay).  It's shiny and gorgeous and holds whatever texture was in the charm when it was just dried clay.  I have always loved sterling silver jewelry and am ecstatic that I found a way to create fine silver jewelry of my own (it's .999 whereas sterling is .925, so the fine silver is a purer form of it).

I then tried out the molding compound I recently purchased and created a turtle charm:


This was made from a mold of a gold turtle charm I had.  

These two projects kept me up until 2 am Friday night (which isn't the smartest thing to do when you have an 11 month old who doesn't normally sleep past 7:30).  Since I'm a mom, I'm used to working at almost 100% on not enough sleep so Saturday I made a pair of earrings:


And a calla lily that was a request from a friend in Louisiana:



I made it to bed around midnight that night.  

Sunday I decided to try again with the ring making.  The few video tutorials I found online and received with my kit showed people rolling the clay with two flat and clear acrylic boards.  I didn't have these and couldn't figure out where to buy them so I improvised by using two plastic picture frames you can get at Joann Fabric for a dollar.  This did the trick, I was able to roll the clay and get it long enough on my first try to wrap it around the ring sizer and make my first ever silver ring:


It's one of those two ideas I had when I blogged about this clay previously.  It's a 'breastfeeding reminder ring' and the arrow indicates which side I should nurse my baby on next.  I made one out of polymer clay (a much flimsier and in my opinion more childish looking clay) and it helped me a great deal until it broke after a few days.  THIS ring has been perfect and I never have a problem remembering to flip it over after each nursing session with Jane.  The silver seems much stronger than I anticipated after reading that fine silver isn't as strong as other metals.

I also made a couple of other charms on Sunday that I haven't taken photos of yet.

On Monday night I made two other breastfeeding reminder rings, one for a friend in Denver who is breastfeeding (Donna) and the other for a cousin in law who is just starting out with breastfeeding her baby girl (she's finally past the 6 week mark so I really hope it starts getting easier for her).  I posted all three on Etsy as custom orders for other people to purchase since I want to make sure I can create a new ring for whoever might purchase one with the correct size.  Sizing is actually pretty difficult because this clay shrinks about 10% while it's being fired.  

So the first 20 grams of art clay (I always feel like I'm talking about drugs when I talk about the amounts I can purchase of this stuff) got me a semi-decent amount of jewelry.  I ordered my second 20 grams this morning.  I really hope it makes it here before Labor Day Weekend!  Now I just need to stop neglecting my classes that also started this week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Metal Clay...come on FedEx

The metal clay kit should be here tomorrow.  I'm nervous that I'm going to be horrible at it.

I have been obsessively pouring over youtube videos and I can't wait to get started.  I'm a little sad because I think I'm overestimating how much I can make with one 20 gram pack of clay.  The latest tutorial I watched said only about 5 or 6 charms.  So I want to make at least 3 rings with this pack and maybe one charm.  Ideally I would have liked to make more but with the clay costing $45 before shipping, per 20 gram pack, I don't see me being able to do too much with this stuff.  I'll have to save up.  None of the first things I'm making will even go up for sale on my shop so hopefully I can save a little clay for something small to sell.  With a little profit I'll feel less bad about buying another pack or two of the stuff.

I wish I could just win the lottery.  But don't we all?

On a plus note, a local coffee shop said I can put cards up somewhere in their business.  I'm hoping they'll actually let me display some jewelry too.  It's called JavaJoey and has great coffee.  It's one of the only places I like to go around here to spend some time just relaxing.


    http://www.javajoeydubois.com/

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ideas for Precious Metal Clay

I have two really exciting (to me) ideas for when I receive this fine silver making kit

(which should be here on 8/26



..just in time to get a good weekend out of it before school starts).

I am trying to hold back on talking about these ideas until I can see how I actually do with them but I am terrible at holding back, so I'm at least going to talk about the second idea I came up with.  The first idea is simple and easy to talk about but I want to make one for a friend and not have her know exactly what it is before she gets it in the mail next week or the week after...and she's the only one who follows my blog.

So the SECOND idea...which I'm more psyched about because it took a lot more planning and spawned from me wanting this for myself anyway.

I'm going to find some molding clay at a local craft store.  With the molding clay I'm going to stick my beautiful baby's index finger in it and get a good impression of it.  Then I'll bake that batch of clay.  When it's hardened with Jane's finger print, I'll press more mold clay again so I have her impression almost as if she's touching the silver clay (bake it again) and then I'll press that onto the silver clay.  I can easily just put her actual index finger on the silver clay but I want to see how this works considering I hope to be doing this over Etsy and I can't very well drive out to Oklahoma to get someone's baby's fingerprint...um..if anyone has any better ideas of getting an impression into the clay please let me know. Because after a lot of thinking, this is the best I could come up with so far.

If you search for this on Etsy you will see that this has been done before.  A lot.  But my idea is to then make the finger print the back of the charm (they're meaningful and precious but not very pretty).  The front will have a raised up fun design, possibly with the child's initial in the center and off to the bottom right of the circular charm will be the child's birthstone (synthetic because only the lab created gems can withstand the torching I'll be putting them through while turning the silver clay into a real silver charm).

I can't wait to do this simply because I want one of my own so I can have Jane's fingerprint around my neck.  That will be the one I'll post on Etsy so people see what they're going to get but with their own child's fingerprint and birthstone.

I'm going to get the birthstones from Fire Mountain Gems:


They are the only seller that I could find a chart and a choice of synthetic for each month.  Apparently I'm not supposed to be able to torch Emeralds though, even if they are synthetic, so I'll have to figure something else out for that month.

Okay, I've chased my baby around enough trying to prevent her from eating every piece of dried leaf she finds on the floor...time to go play some games with her!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Weather.

I requested today off from work since everyone has been vacationing and I was dying of jealousy.  My plan: take the baby to the daycare, sit and read, pump around 11:30 then head to the pool for the rest of the day.  Today started out beautiful, not a cloud in the sky.  Now, of course, we have a thunderstorm almost here and a whole bunch of them apparently popping up around 2 pm.  All week they were just calling for scattered storms today with only 30% chances.

I love my child with my entire heart and then some but I just wanted an afternoon to relax by the pool, shut my eyes, enjoy the warm summer weather, etc.  It's not happening.  And my husband works constantly and a little bit here and there on each weekend so he's probably not going to be much help in watching the baby during the day tomorrow (when the weather is supposed to be nice).  I didn't think I'd mind so much if it rained today and I didn't get this wish, but it turns out, I mind very much.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Precious Metal Clay

I am ecstatic.  Tonight I ordered this kit:

http://www.firemountaingems.com/details.asp?PN=H203256TL


Unfortunately, I ordered it from Amazon, where for some unknown reason it is $40 more expensive than it is on Fire Mountain Gems and about $11 more in shipping (I looked on the Fire Mountain Gems site and couldn't find it until after I ordered it on Amazon).

Either way, I'm going to try and return it to the seller on Amazon to get it at the lower price.  I'm hoping the seller responds to my numerous emails and phone calls and either reduces their price or cancels the order.  

I couldn't believe there was actually a clay that could be fired with a torch and turned into a silver charm/ring/whatever my heart desires.  It's made up of a substance that creates the clay consistency and then after being brought under a great amount of heat the substance melts away and the silver fuses leaving just pure precious metal.  I can even use 22 karat gold.  

It can be polished and have lab created gems added to it (natural stones break from the heat but I assume I can add them if I glue them after the product is fired and cooled).  

Like I've said before, with school starting in less than two weeks I fear I won't get to allot much free time to making jewelry but I am trying not to worry too much about that.

One of the things I feared when I was considering making my own sterling charms/rings was that I have NO clue how to work with real metal.  There would be sawing and soldering and other scary sounding procedures that I have no experience with other than admiring finished pieces.  But with clay I feel extremely experienced.  In high school I had an addiction to making things out of Sculpey (http://www.sculpey.com/).  It doesn't really fit the style of jewelry I'm going for now, which is why I haven't worked with it since I was younger, but I used it for years and have a lot of experience with molding small things out of clay.

So as you can see, I'm pretty excited.  Now comes the compulsive tracking of this kit's shipping status.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another down time.

So I never really considered how much more vulnerable I would become by 'putting myself out there' so to speak with this Etsy business.  I constantly over think every piece of jewelry I post and then I am constantly personalizing every day that nothing sells (which, if you check out my shop, you'll see is pretty much every day).  When school starts my mind will be more occupied but I'm not looking forward to that. 

I feel like I'm not really looking forward to anything at the moment.  Maybe it's because my baby girl is turning 1 a month from today...I am sad that this year went by so quick (but obviously ecstatic that my baby girl is becoming a little lady).  Maybe it's because I only have two more years in this area before my military husband changes locations.  Or maybe it's just PMS.

Who knows...

Another pair of earrings coming up soon.  I plan on trying to bunch beads together with sterling wire...I'm hoping it goes well.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Babies and Jewelry

Making jewelry with a baby who can crawl is definitely a challenge.  I baby proof the living room (including a quick vacuuming because she has incredibly good eyes and a weird desire to eat every little thing she finds on the floor), put the baby on the floor (with toys scattered around) then sit down and start working on a bracelet (the one I posted today, which was a tedious project that would take a little over an hour....IF I was dedicating the entire hour to it).

I swear, every five minutes this baby somehow manages to find her way into every area of the room I would rather she not go.  One second she's in the middle of the floor chewing on a board book, the next she's in the crack between the bouncy seat and a chair chewing on my breast pump.  How the hell did she get over there?  And she doesn't even actually crawl.  She can get up on all fours but she prefers to drag herself along with her arms (so she's really not that fast).

So needless to say, the bracelet, posting the bracelet on etsy, and writing this blogpost have all had several postponements in order to save the baby from whatever potentially dangerous situation she has so eagerly gotten herself into.

Without further ado, here's the bracelet:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Another Few Weeks, of confidence and time.

I had my first sale in three weeks yesterday.  A pair of earrings sold in less than twelve hours! (thanks to a coworker!)  It felt really nice to have a bit of confidence again.  Last night I made a necklace out of light and dark blue dyed hemp.  The charm it connects to is a sterling silver twirled up in almost a disc of sterling silver (similar to the earrings I made that sold so quickly http://www.etsy.com/transaction/55057015).  There is also just a solid navy blue glass swarovski hanging bead next to the sterling wire charm and they connect with a toggle clasp (so the necklace itself connects in the front as part of the decorative charm, instead of at the back of the neck).  Whenever I decide to either post it on etsy or do something with it, I'll post a photo of it.  I was really disappointed in the outcome but it took almost an hour to finish it and my idea of what it would look like did not, unfortunately, become a reality.  Maybe tonight I'll take the two charms off the toggle and make it just a regular necklace with the charms just hanging on the hemp cord and the toggle connected in the back as it normally would.  That would be a simple solution.  Then I might actually keep this necklace :) (not that I need anymore necklaces).

In other news, I start school again in 3 weeks.  I'm a half time graduate student at Clarion University in their online program for Master's in Library Science.  I really enjoy my classes every semester but I have such a limited amount of time that I can't help but stress over the fact that I'm starting again so soon.  This will be my 3rd official semester (should be my 4th, but I took a medical withdrawal the semester my baby was born).  I can not wait to have the degree.  But I have another year and a half to go, I think.  I'm confident that it will definitely be worth the stress and lack of time.

Update: I fixed up the necklace and am keeping it for myself :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Etsy is rough. And 'The Hunger Games' books are addicting.

So I didn't create an Etsy shop with high expectations.  My expectations were extremely low, in fact. My only true goal has been to sell a piece of my jewelry to someone I don't know.  That hasn't happened (yet).  I guess if I reached my goal in less than a month and a half I would have made even higher expectations and been disappointed at some point.  I'm not exactly disappointed now, but I feel like this shop can really play with my emotions.

Posting items on Facebook and then not getting any feedback makes me a little insecure.  (NOT a plug to beg for feedback, just wanted to express the way this shop has been taking me on a roller coaster of excitement and disappointment).  When I only get a handful of views on an item that I thought would be a hit, it makes me feel like maybe I'm not really creating things others would want, just something I would wear.  Maybe I'll start asking people on Facebook to give me tips on things I should create.

I started adding things to Etsy more for the fun of it, wanting a way to make myself feel like I'm not just making endless amounts of jewelry that only I will ever wear (and the recipients of Christmas, birthday, etc. presents).  But it started out and has remained personal.  Everyday I check my shop and everyday I feel a little less excited about it.  I want to persevere, to continue adding things I make here and there and just let their time expire (the items posted on Etsy have 4 months to remain listed before you either have to relist them or let them expire).  I guess I have to just take a step back and try and remain impartial about all of it.  It's hard though, considering I can't help but wonder if my jewelry isn't all that I thought it was cracked up to be.

Thankfully, I have school starting again in about three weeks.  I'll be extremely busy and will have little time to get upset about the shop and the sales I am or am not having.

Also...for the past week I have been reading The Hunger Games trilogy.  I'm about 1/3 through the last book and can't put it down...the same as I have been with the first two.  I look forward to every moment where I have time to sit and read, and with a 10 month old baby, those times are often not very often.  But for anyone who likes to read, and who has enjoyed a good series such as Harry Potter or Twilight, please give these books a chance.  They're addicting in a good way.

Now it's time to go nurse my baby and read :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Forever Necklace

I have never spent more time making a necklace than I did for this one.  I started it Friday, I think, after work and it is now Monday evening.  In total I probably spent about 5 hours working on it, almost a full work day (except that while I'm endlessly stringing beads I can watch TV at the same time). There were two strands of beading wire the same length, and I pulled one out a little longer in order to string beads on each separately and then combine them and string beads so there would be the appearance of having only two strands around your neck.  I know...that made no sense...but if you look closely at the below photos you might see what I mean...



See how there are two strands past the silver hoops and then they magically come together on each side? I couldn't think of any other way to make two separate loops.





Next time I'll just skip the fancy two loops and go for one very long strand to make as a lasso necklace.  Either way I was really pleased with the finished product of this necklace!



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And I love my new $3.00 purple tank top from Rue 21 (any clothing that I get under $5 makes me extremely happy).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bathing Baby

So I caved and decided a photo or two of Jane enjoying an awesome bath would be pretty cool to post.















Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Harry Potter and the First Date Since Baby was Born

With my husband being active duty Air Force, we tend to live far away from our families.  With him recruiting right now, we also live very far from any military bases, so we don't have that support group or network of friends we had when he worked at Barksdale Air Force Base.  This is the reason that in the 10 months since Baby J was born, we haven't gone as a couple anywhere without her.  So it was amazing and a little terrifying when Steve's sister drove over two hours with her boyfriend and 19 month old son to watch Baby J while Steve and I went out to see the final Harry Potter movie last night.   The movie was excellent.  One of those movies that I can't stop thinking about the day after watching it (it was epic, emotional, closed the story exactly the way I pictured it, and pretty much everything I had hoped for after reading the books).

We got ice cream after the movie and then came back home to a houseful of sleeping babies.  Jane reportedly did very well with her Aunt, Uncle, and baby cousin while we were out on our date.  The adults all sat on the porch and compared fun stories for a couple of hours and well past my normal bedtime.  I wish the evening hadn't gone by so fast.

Oh, and I have a bathroom now!! It's gorgeous and about 95% complete.  I'm about to go give Jane a bath (such a more pleasant experience).  Pictures to follow (of the bathroom, not the bathing baby).

No jewelry this weekend, though I did start something Friday that I have been working on since.  It's a beaded necklace that has two strands of beading wire.  The reason for this was to create a loopy effect, unfortunately it's taking me forever to string the beads.  Hopefully I'll finish it tonight.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

End of Vacations

I cannot really express how sad I am that today is the end of my week off of work. And to add to my end-of-vacation depression I still have the problem of no bathroom. We hired someone at the beginning of the week (after the 4th of July holiday. I would never complain about a holiday but starting a huge project and then realizing it isn't a 'do it yourself' kind of thing couldn't fall at a worse time than at the beginning of a three-day weekend...well, maybe the day before Christmas Eve would have been worse, but who would tear out their only bathroom then?). The people we hired estimated that'd it'd be done by tomorrow. Today the guy was back again and with the four hours he worked in our bathroom this morning his total hours worked are about 7 or 8 hours...since Tuesday!!! His new estimate is 3-4 more days. Not happy.

As far as jewelry goes I made a pair of earrings tonight and then decided to use Facebook to prove that the friend they are intended for actually wears earrings. She doesn't. Ever. And she has lots and lots of photos on Facebook.

So they were added to Etsy:
http://www.etsy.com/listing/77546508/blue-and-green-crystal-sparkle





And then I made her a bracelet:




And now I'm done for the night. I wish I had been able to make more time for the jewelry this week. I love being a grad student but I'm really worried that when classes start again in August that I'll literally have no time for it. I've always made time for it before but I haven't really been a student, mother and full time employee at the same time AND still made jewelry on a regular basis. We'll see how it goes. Everyone needs to make time for themselves once in a while.

In twelve hours I'll be at work :( ...and nothing is worse than the first day back to work after a vacation.

On a side note, I bought the app BlogPress tonight and am using it on my iPad and it so far is well worth the money. As long as this post gets added to my blog without a hitch I'm going to be writing a nice review for the app!

Well, no nice review tonight. The first time I posted this my second photo was replaced with a completely different person's photo!! (someone holding their baby at a lake or beach...what the *??)

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jewelry stores and cities

I live in western Pennsylvania so I have no available Targets, Best Buys, Barnes and Nobles, not even a Starbbucks within about an hour of where I live (I know, it's a complete shock when you think of the cities that have two on the same block). So there are definitely no great bead or jewelry making stores. We do have a Joann Fabrics, which has recently taken over the adjacent out-of-business Movie Central so I do have three aisles of thoroughly browsed jewelry making supplies. But here in Richmond, where I'm visiting my sister and her family with my 10 month old, they have a great store called Bangles and Beads. I spent almost 15 minutes there yesterday (they also have a website, so I had already scoped out exactly what I was going to buy) and ended up feeling extremely out of place among the hippy and probably much more successful jewelry makers who were also spending their Wednesday morning in the store. Nonetheless I bought some sterling wire and two rose charms cut out of pyrite (I used to LOVE Fools Gold as a child, so I'm keeping one).

Despite my momentary depressing sense of low self esteem, I still came back to my sister's home and made two necklaces, one of which I'm proud of, the other (with the pyrite rose) I will probably take apart and think of something else.

Today I made two bookmarks out of very thin and small glass beads (seed beads, I think they're called...I swear I'm not as amateur as I sound, I'm just terrible with remembering labels and names of things like precious stones and types of pliers).

So bookmarks, when I get back from my sister's, will be my next Etsy items.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Failed Experiment

This weekend my husband started a project in our bathroom. His goal: remodel it completely. He accomplished gutting it to the bare minimum with his friend but when the two of them started the overwhelming project of putting it back together they realized quite quicky that they were in over their heads. So now we have one running toilet downstairs and no shower or bath. Hubby is already in contact with local contractors but we will be left without said shower and tub for the foreseeable future. Luckily tonight was also the night of the fireworks in our town, so we took our 9 1/2 month old to see them and I was able to put off thoughts of borrowing friends' bathrooms until I got back home to the house.

Whenever there's a remodeling project in my home the whole house seems to take part in the project. There are plumbing pipes, pieces of molding and tools scattered everywhere. Not to mention the things that used to find their home on the bathroom vanity. So to further take my mind off of the mess that is my house, I made a bracelet and pair of earrings while watching "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". And now it is one in the morning and sleep should hopefully take over the task of distracting me from this failure of a day.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Etsy Addiction

So two weeks ago at this time I was going on my merry way, not thinking too much about my jewelry making hobby. Then, on a Saturday morning, June 19, 2011 to be specific, as I was finishing up yet another piece of jewelry for myself, I felt a little odd about looking around my room and finding several small jewelry boxes full of things I had made myself over the years. I've made things for gifts as well, Christmas, for example, usually entails me making several pairs of earrings and matching sets of bracelets and necklaces. But throughout the year I haven't stopped making things, and getting all the supplies has become extremely expensive even with the spoiling from my parents during my latest visit with them and a stop at Bandgles & Beads. So on that Saturday morning two weeks ago, I finally made the time to check out Etsy, a website I learned about through a friend (Joyce) from work. After a quick and very easy bit of research, I realized how inexpensive and simple it was to start a shop on the site. Since then I have sold exactly six items, all to people I know. That's okay though, I'm getting good feedback built up and I'm still making and listing new items at least every couple of days. I love love love the website. It is very addictive, checking other people's shops, reading forums, learning new ways to list my items, etc. There isn't enough time in the day to do everything I want with my own shop. But I'm in it now, and I'm not giving up. I think I mint have a celebration when I sell my first item to someone I don't know!

Id really like to learn how to solder my own sterling pieces...I've been researching it, so we'll see!