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.


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.