Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

When I opened my Blogspot app to write an entry today, I found this one in the saved 'local drafts' area. I must have never posted it? If so, sorry for the repeat, but enjoy the flashback to last year's Thanksgiving. I must really want to write in this blog on Thanksgiving...probably has something to do with the fact that it's towards the end of NaNoWriMo (which I don't participate in but I really enjoy living vicariously through all the writers).

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 far fewer stress-induced accidents during the holiday season.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:wapwallopen pa

Thursday, August 16, 2012

99 SALES!

I'm currently ONE sale from hitting a major milestone in my shop!  I can't believe I'll be part of the group of shops that have triple digits in their 'sold orders' section. 

If you're reading this and you want to help me reach this milestone (you are awesome), please write 'BLOGGER' in the 'Notes to Seller' section upon checkout and you'll get a surprise item in your order!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Keyboard

So I have a Bluetooth Fold-Up Keyboard for my iPad that I'm worried isn't charging correctly (or at all) but I'm testing it out now because apparently the LED light won't show up if the keyboard is fully charged and it can hold a charge for typing up to 500 hours with it. So maybe my issue right now isn't that the thing isn't charging, but that's it's still fully charged. It has taken a charge once from what I can remember, and I'm trying to trick myself into thinking that I haven't really used it much since it took that charge. Maybe my solution is that I just have to use it for a little while, drain up some battery, and then try plugging it in again. So when I was trying to decide where I should try out my keyboard for a while, I realized I hadn't made time to write here for a few weeks, so what better way to use my keyboard than a blog posting?

School started for me yesterday and I am feeling as organized as I possibly can be at this point. I have two classes and 4 weeks in which to complete them, and they're both online. So basically, 3 months worth of material (theoretically) is being crammed into these next 4 weeks. Luckily, one of my professors is being a saint and is only assigning two major tests and ten small quizes (and discussion work), and is leaving out two major projects he usually assigns during the regular semesters. The other professor hasn't made the semester too impossible and I feel like I'll be able to manage okay, especially with the fact that I'll be taking a day off of work each week throughout the semester.

I'm just now realizing that I haven't given you my most important news!! Steve found this out a couple of weeks ago! Probably just after I wrote my last post. We're going to Phoenix, Arizona!!! I couldn't be happier. My jewelry will need to take a break the three weeks or so that we have between moving and settling. I'm also going to have to get a pretty decent humidifier in a room down there once I start working with my metal clay again. It dries quickly and in an arid dry desert climate, I can't imagine how difficult it'll be to work with.

We're hoping to be able to live at base housing when we get there so that's a new thing I'm waiting to know for sure, but at least the waiting is over on the where and when (October 5th is my last day of work, we leave October 13th). I am so very much excited for this next chapter of our lives in the military. We get to discover a new city, a new state, and a new part of the country. The Grand Canyon is within driving distance, as is San Diego :), Los Angeles, Las
Vegas, and I guess we'll be going to San Antonio every year for his 'Annual' (where the recruiters all get together and party for a couple of nights). And Phoenix itself is the 8th largest city in the United States. There are FIVE Apple stores. FIVE. I've never lived nearer than two hours to ONE. And there are 8 Barnes N Nobles. Who knows how many Targets and Best Buys (yea, i'm pretty messed up on my priority list of 'good' places to shop...I can't really explain it but I love big places with either LOTS of technology or LOTS of books...and preferably a great cafe-and any store that has a combination of the three with clothes to boot).

So aside from the stressors of moving a 2 year old and a rambunctious 55 pound dog from Pennsylvania to Arizona I'm pretty damned excited about the whole thing. Steve and I already sat down and mapped it out and from my unreliable memory, we plan to stay in Dayton, Ohio the first night, Nashville the second night, Oklahoma City? the third night, and Albuquerque the last night before arriving to Phoenix. I will probably start actually applying for jobs in September so I might not really have one by the beginning of our stay there, meaning that I could have between 3 weeks and a month off of working other than what I do with the jewelry shop. How thrilling!!

The last time this happened was when we moved here, and I tried learning to play guitar in my free time. The time before that was when we moved to Shreveport, LA, and I tried baking things like Apple Pie in my free time (which, from scratch, can take almost a full work day to do-for me at least). This time, however, I'll be finishing up my last semester as a graduate student with Clarion University. I'm hoping the classes I'll be taking next semester in no way suffer due to my moving. I'm thinking I'll have time to do school work before and after the actual physical move, and then I'll work on homework like I normally do once we're settled in Phoenix. The fact that December is the finale of the whole program for me should help drive the motivation to do well until then.

I guess I've used enough keyboard time. I'm feeling pessimistic about whether it will really charge now that I'm sitting here anticipating actually plugging it in. 500 hours is a really really long time. I wonder how the battery can even hold that much life? I'm doubting it's realistic, which probably means the darn thing just has a faulty charge port and won't work unless they replace the whole thing. That would be a huge bummer.

I'll close here, since I'm getting really tired and I have to go to the bathroom. Sorry for all the extra information! Just trying to use up those keystrokes!
:)





- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Blues??

Goodness my shop had a drop in sales.  I went from consistently selling 2-5 things a week for over a month to not having one sale in over a week and a half!  It's not terrible timing for it to be so slow, but I never want a decline in success.  My husband and I put our house up for sale this past Friday.  I don't remember if I mentioned that he will be getting transferred to a new location with the recruiting job he has in the Air Force.  We still aren't sure where we'll be going next, but we should find out in the next few weeks (then my daydreaming will really start).  We will also find out when we're leaving and we already know that the soonest we could go would be November and the latest we would go will be March of next year.  In any case, we have to be proactive so we're (hopefully) not stuck with an extra mortgage when we end up in our next location. 

To make matters more stressful, my summer semester is starting in 2 weeks.  I will be taking 2 classes in 4 weeks that are normally spread out over 3 months.  So I suppose a slow down in sales isn't the worst thing in the world.  I'm still busily producing new products, even if I am finding it difficult to photograph them and list them on the shop.  I have that on my list of things to do tonight. 

Like I said, I'm still busy making new jewelry.  Something about the summer weather gets me feeling very creative.  I made an infinity charm that I'm excited to polish and add to a leather chain for a bracelet.  I also made a few more of my 'My Life' charms and the spacers seem to finally be working out so I just need to polish them and get them photographed and listed.  If time were abundant, I'd be so much more accomplished.


^^^Here's a toering I made with Sterling PMC.  I twisted it in the middle^^^

  ^And here's an experimental type ring of Sterling PMC.^

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Life Charms and trouble with photography

I'm trying my hardest to make this 'My Life' charm line a reality and I want it to reflect how much I believe in it.  I want it to have the best photos, the most reflective prices, good accessories, and I want it to be something I can continue to promote with confidence.  I haven't had a product line that I've invested so much of myself in since my 'Breastfeeding Reminder Rings' .. and I think I've topped the effort I put towards them with this project.  One of the accessories I envisioned with these necklaces didn't work out too well on my first run.  I want to add silver beads as 'spacers' so it sort of separates each little charm so people can see each of them.  I made quite a few (6, actually) small silver beads but their holes turned out to be way too small and I can't realistically spend the time using my bead reamer to try and make them wide enough to fit over a chain.  I have to just give up on the 6 I made and make new ones and wrap them around a wider surface to dry (like a small cocktail straw or something).  I decided to use fine silver PMC 3 for all of these charms because it's only slightly more expensive than sterling silver PMC and I can fire it with a torch.  So instead of having to fire up my kiln to finish a charm or two on short notice, I can just quickly fire them with my torch in 10 minutes. 

I love the way the first ones turned out:


The below (and above) image was taken with my iphone...it's a little blurry. 


The little fine silver beads I want as spacers would help separate how close together the charms fall so people can see them all easier. So if you have a man, woman, two kids and a dog, you'll be able to easily see that there are 5 charms instead of all of them jumbling up together. I feel like 5 charms won't look too gaudy either...they're all extremely small....(like half an inch tall and maybe 1/4 inch wide).

Jogging, Running Girl Charm - Charm Only - My Life Charms - Free Shipping in the US

I am getting much much closer to seeing this all become a reality.  I just have to make a few of the spacers, photograph the charms again (I photographed them all separately last night but I looked at the pictures this morning and I don't really like any of them, haha) and then get them all listed.  I have to use my regular props for my photos..which is frustrating, because it's about an hours worth of work that I have to redo all because I thought my regular props weren't good enough. But I'll tough it out and get them right, because I'm not half assing this part of the process. 

Anyway..I'm determined to make this work.  Any advertising advice would be more than welcome!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

McDonald's ... Ewwww

I stopped at McDonald's this morning before taking my daughter to daycare..it's becoming sort of a routine (or addiction) that I get an iced coffee before work everyday during the hot summer mornings.  This morning, my experience was was less than desirable. 

When I got around the drive-thru (I never appreciated a drive-thru until I had a child), I noticed a loud truck blocking the window to pay at.  I thought it was someone actually getting breakfast too and felt a little peeved that they wouldn't just go in, since I couldn't hear over the noise coming from the truck.  When I drove around, I realized the truck was working on the side of the building.  I guess the septic tank needed emptied?  Just thinking about it makes me want to throw up.  The smell was unimaginably bad.  It smelled like someone was holding a platter of human feces mixed with other human waste right under my nose.  Ew. Gross. 

I got an iced coffee and a fruit and yogurt parfait.  I took my daughter to daycare (she didn't seem as upset about the putrid stench McDonald's was giving off--maybe because she still poops in a diaper and is forced to smell it for a little longer than most people have to deal with their poop?), then got to work and brought out my Fruit n Yogurt Parfait and discovered that the whole bag of granola (the part that really MAKES the whole thing) was completely empty.  I guess it had a hole in it before they even put it in the McDonald's bag since there was no granola anywhere to be found. 

I'll still probably go back tomorrow...I swear these iced coffees have some seriously addictive qualities. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Etsy Ups and Downs

My shop had its best month last month, and it ended with the absolute best week my shop has ever seen.  Unfortunately, it slowed down to almost a standstill with the coming of June.  I'm fine with it, but I really get a little car sick from all the ups and downs this business has.  Luckily I still have my day job.

For the record...the absolute worst feeling comes when someone 'favorites' an item in your shop, and then for whatever reason, they take it off their favorite list.

Hopefully things pick up?

My Life Charms - The launch

So now that I'm finally really close to being able to list some of my new line of necklaces, I'm going to blog about them. To premise, I've been thinking about making these necklaces for months and couldn't even make my first attempt at them until last week when I finally got my stampmaker. The line of necklaces is based around the little people that are becoming so popular as car details (the ones that people get that sort of reflect their lives...man, woman, kid playing baseball, dog, etc). I'm titling the line of necklaces 'My Life' jewelry. So far I have a woman walking a dog, a 'tree hugger' and a pair of flip flops.


 The tree hugger and flip flops ^^  Can you tell that's a girl hugging a tree? 

There's the one of the girl walking her dog.  Is it as obvious as I feel like it is?  I'm afraid I've been staring at these too closely and now I can't judge them right at all.

 painters/mom holding baby/pregnant mom/graduate/baby girl/baby boy


These will all be made into silver charms soon enough.  I hope the painters show up okay in the silver...and the book with the heart around it.  Can you even tell what that is without me specifying?


So yea, this is something I've been working on for a while.  I drew all the photos on my iPad using ArtStudio, then shrunk them, inverted the color using InfiniFX on my iPhone...then printed them out and made them into stamps with that awesome Stampmaker I spoke of last week.  I had to tweek the suggested times from 3 seconds and 3 minutes to 10 seconds (to create a solid base-my stamps kept falling off at 3 seconds) and 2:45 (enough time to get the detail of the tiny little photos). 

I love that this idea I've had stuck in my head for months now is finally becoming a reality.  I had been imagining the charms doing really well and now I don't really care either way, I just look forward to finally getting them all listed in my shop in the next week or so.  I will then continue adding new 'little people' as I think of them (and for custom requests and holidays). 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jane's Footprints on a Necklace


Here's a photo of Jane's footprints!  They turned out great (in my opinion) and I love them.  I've been wearing them daily since I finsihed them last week.

I've been working with the stampmaking kit all week and almost have it figured out (after having failed attempts with many of the imagepac polymer packs--so that's a bummer).

Friday, June 1, 2012

Where have I been??

It has been a busy May!  My shop definitely had its best month so far this May and I couldn't be more excited about it!  Thanks to Mother's Day and Father's Day, I have had a consistent amount of sales on my fingerprint jewelry.  I've even been able to invest in a new piece of equipment that I wanted to talk about today. 

On Wednesday of this week I ordered a StampMaker Kit from Metal Clay Supply.  Basically I'll be able to take most images (I hesitate to say 'any' image) and turn them into a polymer stamp that I can then stamp into my precious metal clay and create a beautiful little silver charm with that image.  Because I have wanted this kit since I started working with metal clay, I have a whole lot of ideas of what I want to make, but the absolute first thing I'm creating is a piece of jewelry with the tiny footprints of my daughter when she was first born.  I just have to find them (I know they're in my house somewhere, haha), scan them, and turn them into stamps.  I can't wait to have a necklace (or maybe bracelet?  or maybe both?) of her actual footprints! 

So aside from that addition to my shop, I think I might start getting scans of fingerprints instead of sending out the mold kits.  The lines of the scans will probably work a little better (especially for adults), and the whole process would be easier and faster for the customers.  Maybe I'll request the scan first, and if I feel it isn't going to work well on the silver, I'll send a mold kit.  I'm also going to print sayings in fancy fonts that I'll be able to use and reuse (for instance 'Forever and always, no matter what', which is the last thing I tell Jane before bed every night).  I might even sell the stamps themselves as supplies for other metal clay users who don't want to invest in the stampmaking kit.

The last thing I have in mind with this new stampmaking equipment is to add a new line of necklaces.  I don't want to reveal too much just yet but I'm really excited about it.  I'm also trying to fine tune my drawing skills so I can add a good variety for this line of necklaces. 

So stay tuned!!!  Happy June!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Early

Our daughter must seriously have either our room bugged or is psychic.  I don't know how else she does it.  We stayed up unusually late last night (Steve playing The Sims on the computer and me listing new jewelry to my shop) and decided to be out of the ordinary and sleep in today.  She woke up over an hour earlier than normal!!  At 6:15 she was up screaming (I wonder if she's getting a new tooth?).  So on about 6 hours of sleep, Steve and I are forced to start the day with that bitter 'we should be asleep still' feeling.

Jane is totally cool though...she's looking cute in one of the new shirts she has from this weekend's trip to Pittsburgh with Grandma and Pop-Pop.  I literally can't help but think that she's the best person in the world when I look at her, haha.  Even when Steve has to give her life lessons like "you shouldn't rub your toast from breakfast on your belly".

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ahh!!! The # 13!!!

I have never had good luck with my shop and the number 13.  When I had 13 sales I was also stuck at 13 admirers and that lasted for over 2 weeks (at least).  The day I had my 14th sale I also had TWO new admirers of my shop, bringing that number to 15.  I currently have 13 followers on this blog, which is why I think my shop has had a bad couple of weeks of business for the most part.  PLEASE follow my blog if you're reading this!!!!

Sincerely,
Carmella

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Thank you!!

I'd just like to thank Katie McCurdy for her amazing blog post complimenting my jewelry and my Etsy shop!  I couldn't be more flattered!

I also love to read and write so I am glad to have discovered Katie's blog titled "Legacy of a Writer".  Katie is an author and keeps up with her postings on her blog daily.  She has giveaways and amazing book reviews!

Thank you again, so much, Katie!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Renewed Motivation

It's not like I lost my motivation for making jewelry...far from it...but all the hicups along the way in the past couple of months have definitely put a wrench in my outlook on the jewelry shop.  I had a great weekend this weekend as far as sales and my kiln is now finally pretending to work on a consistent basis.  I made the following three rings:

The one on the left and the one on the right are both adjustable.  The one on the right will be a new nursing reminder ring for my shop (it'll be easier to get as a gift when people are sort of guessing at the mom's size...this way they can feel more confident that it'll fit regardless-and for mom's that know they'll be losing weight through the year or two that they're breastfeeding). 

The one in the middle is just for me, haha.

The next photo is of the things I made that are still drying (including one of the rings).  Apparently it takes this sterling silver PMC a little longer to dry..I actually found that out the hard way when bubbles appeared in that middle ring.


These all fired just fine in the kiln.  I still need to polish and finish the round discs (they're for earrings) and the flower charm, which is one of two flower charms I need to photograph and add to the shop.  Maybe I'll accomplish all of this tonight?  We'll see!

Either way, the shop is keeping me busy, along with my efforts at entertaining my 18-month-old daughter by taking her around to all the local parks to enjoy this gorgeous early spring weather we're having.  My house is a mess, but oh well--as long as I'm not there to see it, I don't mind as much!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Unlucky luck..

After all the stuff I went through to exchange the Speedfire Electric Mini Kiln (which didn't work for me, but did work for the company and it took a few emails/phone calls to get them to exchange it for the Paragon Digital Firefly) I finally received my more expensive and HOPEFULLY more reliable kiln on Friday. 

AND wouldn't you know it...it had an error right off the bat that wouldn't let it fire anything or even start running.  So apparently I either have to replace the thermocouple (thing that measures temperature) or the digital box that shows what the temp is and regulates everything for the firing process.  Here's my gripe about this...I received a brand new and quite expensive (in my budget) piece of machinery that didn't work, not once, properly.  And now I'm expected to replace parts of this machine to make it work...but I'm not confident enough to do this because for one, the parts have to be taken apart with weird screw drivers that are drilled into the fiber walls of this kiln and also because I have no experience whatsoever with kilns or machinery.  But that's just the way it's going to go.  I know they won't pay for me to ship this 40lb thing back to them and then pay again to ship it back to me.  It just gives me such a sinking feeling.  And my husband is the one I'm counting on to help me with replacing these parts and running the tests to see what it is that is actually broken and he's not feeling well today.  So there's a broken and expensive piece of machinery that I REALLY REALLY want to use just sitting in my house.

:(

Maybe I'll give the company another call and see if there's anything they can do before I run this test that I don't feel comfortable doing without my husband..who is out of commission until further notice. 

BOO....since I first ordered the speedfire kiln and it didn't work, I've had this uneasy disheartened feeling and it has gone on almost continuously for about 3 weeks now.  I hope some good luck comes my way soon with this whole ordeal.  But I am certainly not optimistic about it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What a February...

I realized this year that February is by far my least favorite month of the year.  Especially in an area that has winter.  I know this year was a mild winter for Pennsylvania, but I hate any type of winter so I have still been daydreaming about the day I get to wear a pair of shorts and drive with my windows down.  Speaking of driving...my daughter and I were in a car accident Wednesday, February 21st.  We were both fine, thankfully!!  A 17-year-old boy without a license, was driving his mothers car and failed to stop at a stop sign and drove right into my moving vehicle (I was going almost full speed-35mph).  He wasn't hurt either.  I also found out the next day that a package I ordered from a metal clay company was lost in the mail (USPS).  I thought that the mail found it a couple of days ago bc it moved locations again finally, but now I'm not so sure again.  It hasn't moved since.  It was supposed to be delivered 2/15...so I'm pretty hopeless about it. AND I didn't get insurance, of course :(

Well, yesterday was the last day of February...Leap Day, in fact...and it was like February was trying to make it up to me for putting me in a horrible mood all month.  I got a new car (a Chevy Equinox-I LOVE it!) and I had my first NEW sale on Etsy in WEEKS!  So yay!!  Still no sight of that package though...Oh WAIT!  I just checked it to be sure and it is now OUT FOR DELIVERY.  YAY again!  --it was over $60 worth of products, so I feel a little justified for this enthusiasm.

Now it's march, and my birthday is this weekend, so I'm in a much better mood :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Waterproof!

So I finished it up yesterday without any issues and then wore it overnight and on a walk this morning with my dog (after that wine, I felt extremely tired, but my new goal in the fitness section of my life is to do some form of exercise 6 days a week--I'm reading Spark, by John Ratey and it's making me think a lot more about how important exercise is for the brain).  When I got home from the walk, I took a shower without taking off the necklace.  The extra epoxy made the photo completely waterproof!  Hurray!


Definitely my favorite necklace of all time.
I also feel like the photo itself shows up much clearer.  I could stare at it all day. 

Okay, lunchtime is coming to an end...only 3.5 more hours until the start of a 3 day weekend :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I'm loving this necklace

So though my photo necklace hasn't gotten much attention on my Etsy shop, I am loving my own personal one more every day.  I am actually doing it over right now because I have an epoxy stripper that works really well and because I felt like the photo itself was too hard to see.  I lightened it up on my computer and reprinted it and am currently in the process of redoing it.  I'll probably replace the photos on Etsy when I'm done.  I'm watching old episodes of Monk on Hulu on my iPad and am drinking red wine while I work.  It's kind of an awesome night.

I should probably mix the epoxy now and put a layer of it on the charm before I get too tipsy.

Perfect.

I hope.

To be honest, I'm afraid I didn't put enough epoxy on last time and the top part of the photo took in a little water.  I made sure to pile it on this time and if it still takes in water, I'll post in my listing that it isn't waterproof (but is for sure water resistant--I just wouldn't suggest taking a shower with it on).


I figure I should add some photos of what I'm doing.  Man, this wine is making me chatty.

The reason for the 8 repeats of the photo I'm making into a necklace is because I printed ONE earlier and messed it up when the glue I was using made it stick to the paper and pealed off a little bit of the photo.  So I wasn't taking any chances the second time I printed it out.  Now it's hardening and I am hoping it is perfect when it's all solid and epoxy like (I seriously LOVE epoxy).  This whole concept of putting a photo  in the center of a beautiful silver charm gets me really excited.  I wish other people felt the same way.  Eh, maybe eventually!  It doesn't hurt that I have always loved this particular photo.  I took it with my iPhone when Jane was only a few weeks old and I remember thinking at the time that it was one of those fluke awesome looking photos.  Plus I'm extremely and madly in love with my daughter.  I am more excited than I can express with words that I might be able to experience the whole childbirth/nursing thing again sometime soon.  Which is pretty ironic, considering if you know me, you know I HATED being pregnant. I hated the actual childbirth process too until I can look back with hindsight.

Anyway, this post is getting way off track and out of hand.




Here's a fun photo of Jane goofing around with a fun little paper watch that came on a Valentine's Day card my parents sent for her.

And here are a couple of the charm and epoxy hardening...


I really hope I can be easier on myself with the results on this one.  I'm already over-critiquing it because I put it on a slant to harden and the epoxy slightly sloped toward the bottom of the heart and it a tiny bit thicker at the end than at the top of the photo.  I turned the charm around so I'm hoping it evens out a tad bit but I think the real problem is here that I'm too picky of my own work.  I guess that's not a terrible thing but  it's really not helping my stress levels.  More wine, maybe...


So i'll close here.

PS,
My shop had a freakin awesome week last week and this week it has been dead for about 3 days in a row..which is KILLING me.  I ordered a better and more expensive kiln and I'm feeling really confident despite the lull this week, but whenever my shop gets a consistent amount of sales I keep expecting them...so are the woes of being a small business owner, I guess?

Well...night night!

Enjoy your Thursday evening!!  Tomorrow is the day before a 3-day weekend for me so I couldn't be more content :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New necklace and disappointing kiln

I got the Speedfire Electric Kiln a few nights ago and pulled it out to try it last night. According to the instructions, 30 minutes should completely fire my PMC 3. So I plugged it in, switched it on, waited thirty minutes and was disappointed to find that the kiln itself got lukewarm, at best, and the silver didn't come close to even burning off the binder. I'm hoping (and am pretty sure) it was just a damaged unit but it got me to thinking I'd rather just spend the money for a regular kiln. I haven't called the company yet (Metal Clay Supply) but I'm hoping they'll take this one back and exchange it for the Paragon Firefly digital version. I'll call them tomorrow because I assume they aren't open on the weekend.

As far as my shop goes, I'm feeling really confident lately. After complained about fewer sales in the last post, I ended up having the best week since I opened. And tonight or tomorrow I hope to add a new listing that should hopefully get a lot of popularity (I love the sample I made for myself so much).

Here are some photos of my weekend projects:






These were the pieces ready to fire on the SFEM kiln...sadly I spent about 30 minutes firing them with my torch today since this obviously didn't work.











Necklaces for a custom order :) these photos were taken with my iPhone.





And my new and soon to be listed item.....






A fine silver frame of an epoxy covered photo of Jane and I when she was just weeks old. My favorite photo is now going to be part of my favorite necklace :D

I'm still letting the epoxy cure and then will add the jumpring and chain, photograph it and add it to my shop as a featured item :)

I've wanted to be able to do this since I started working on silver clay and finally stumbled upon some directions on how to get the photo to set without worrying about water and daily wear by using epoxy (I never knew it was so easy to use).





I can't wait to wear it!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Ideas...

So I've been keeping my eyes and ears open about ideas for jewelry that people would appreciate.  One thing I'm thinking to make is a 'family tree' puzzle charm.  It'd be perfect to fire in the new kiln because I will keep the whole 'tree' together to fire it and it'd be too big to use a torch with.  Here's a very VERY rough draft of my idea:

Each piece will individually look like a puzzle piece (after I design it better than the above photo, of course) but together would form a tree.  It would have little holes in each so it would go on a chain for each member of the family and each chain can be chosen by the buyer.  They could even use a keychain for members who don't want to 'wear' it.  And I could even add the birthstones to each as sort of an upgraded version. 

Another idea is for a puzzle charm for mother and daughter (this idea came from one of my very good customers :).  I'll have to come up with that one soon so it's ready for Mother's Day but I am not sure yet how I want it to look.  I don't think I want it to be a heart puzzle. 

I'm getting the kiln tomorrow, so that's exciting :).  I need to order some sterling metal clay so I can experiment with that.  It's stronger in its metal form so I'll make things like bangle bracelets and keychains with sterling as opposed to fine silver.  I think I'm going to hold off until the summer before I start experimenting with the white bronze from Hadar's but I don't even know if it'll work with the Speedfire Kiln.  I sure hope it does..it'll provide me a way to offer the fingerprint jewelry at a lower price (turns out Sterling metal clay is only about 5 dollars less than fine silver...I was disappointed about that).  I'm going to actually email Hadar herself to see if she has any advice on firing that particular metal clay in this particular kiln.  I hope she emails me back!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Busy busy busy

School started two weeks ago and I already feel like I've been back in classes for months.  I have 12 or 13 weeks left?  I am going to very much enjoy having the summer to look forward to when assignments start getting more intense.  So far so good though.  Only one year left after this semester finished and I'm officially past half way.

Just a reminder, since I can't remember if I posted this, I'm going for my Masters in Library Science through Clarion University (the online program, though the school itself is only about thirty minutes from me).

This past week was rough.  On Saturday night when I checked on Jane for the last time before I went to bed, I was unhappily surprised to be welcomed by an awful stench and a baby with vomit all throughout her crib.  It was almost midnight, and she was awake, so daddy took care of cleaning her up and playing with her in our room while I cleaned her room and blankets.  The next morning was my turn.  I threw up and then felt like I would never move again for about 12 hours straight.  I slept almost 20 out of the 35 or so hours between Sunday morning and Monday around lunchtime.   Monday evening, after finally feeling better, daddy and Jane were goofing around and Jane hurt her wrist so bad that we took her to the hospital. They couldn't tell if it was a sprain or break so they casted it just in case.  Everyone who knows me on Facebook already knows this, but it was no fun.  I am much less worried about it now though since after giving her a bath Wednesday night I took the cast off and she acted like the wrist was completely fine.  Thursday the daycare called to let me know she banged her bottom lip against her tooth so hard that it made a deep cut that they wanted me to look at.  That was also thankfully not as serious as it could have been but I'm hoping she has filled her quota for accidents and illnesses for a while.

On the jewelry shop topic, I completed my first huge order a couple of weeks ago!  I made 10 of those bracelets that were in my last post and it wasn't terrifying or overwhelming, so that was a relief.  Otherwise, I've listed new items that aren't getting as much popularity as I had hoped, but I'm still feeling confident about the whole thing.  Since a couple of weeks ago I have only sold one thing though so the confidence is waning again.  I have a lot of potential orders that sounded promising, so I'm still hopeful that the success I was seeing before and after the holidays wasn't just temporary.


On the actual jewelry making topic, I found that a less expensive and practical kiln exists.  It's through Metal Clay Supply and only costs 189.99 (compared to the 600 the others all cost).  I have to buy add ons for it like a pyrometer and temperature controller so it'll realistically cost around 300 but I have several ideas for things I want to add to my shop that I could only make if I owned a kiln.  Dog tags made from bronze (MUCH less expensive metal clay), keychains made from white bronze (if I can fire that in this kiln, we'll see), sterling silver bangle bracelets.  Oh the possibilities.  I want to keep focusing on personalized items because they're more meaningful to make and are more on demand (making a fingerprint charm of Jane for myself was something I wanted more than anything when I first discovered precious metal clay).

Those will all be summer projects though.  I'll only do mini experiments with the kiln until I'm done with the semester.  I hope to order it today or tomorrow because the site has a deal where orders over $150 get a free fancy scale. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

School Starting Again

In less than a week, I start my online classes for the spring semester.  I'm only taking two, but along with working full time and taking care of my awesome 16 month old, I'm going to be thrown back into a busy lifestyle.  Not that my lifestyle hasn't been busy, I just enjoy the things I've been doing this past month a little more.  Maybe these classes will be extremely fun and interesting (I truly do hope so) but either way, I will have less time for my jewelry shop until mid-May.  After I complete these two classes I'll only have 4 to go before I have my Master's (just next fall and the Spring of 2013, you know, as long as the world doesn't end on December 21st). 

My shop is still seeing some steady business, which is thrilling!  I feel like I just need to find better ways to advertise my items.  Social media is probably responsible for about 90% of my sales so I hope to start getting more traffic through that route.  As far as adding new items, I've been able to do that more often because of custom orders.  I made a bracelet over the past two nights that I hope will become popular:


I'm actually wearing it right now and was really happy with how it turned out.  I have an order to make 10 of them, which I'll be starting tonight and hope to get done by Tuesday of next week.  I think it'll give me a good idea of how well I do with big orders like this, since this is a first for me.  I also have two of the fingerprint heart charms to make but am waiting on the molds of the fingerprints before I can start those. 

Jane's bedtime is slowly moving up from 8 pm to 7 pm due to a cranky attitude we've been experiencing every night around 6:30.  Though I love my evening time with my beautiful little girl, it isn't pleasant for anyone to experience an hour's worth of crying and the short temperament makes me think she just needs more sleep.  It'll definitely help me with time management for school and jewelry. 

Hopefully I'll be back with good news on how well I work with this fast drying metal clay when I'm trying to use a lot of it! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hello 2012!  I am excited to see what you have to offer!

My shop is still doing well.  Still buzzing with activity compared to just a month ago.  I am feeling more confident about the business as well, which is comforting considering every time I make a sale I feel a little apprehensive about the whole experience.  I can't really explain why I get this feeling, maybe I'm afraid my shop will get to the point where it's almost successful enough for me to quit my job (which is not anywhere near where it is currently) but not stable enough for me to quit, which would mean I'd become a very very busy mom/student/etc.  I think it's just a mixture of a lot of feelings.

For now, I still LOVE every sale.  Every moment where the little notification on my phone says "New Order Place by..." I get this overwhelming feeling of happiness.  Even when a person 'favorites' one of my items is a thrill.

Hopefully 2012 is a good year for the shop.  Since I only opened about 6 months ago, I look forward to seeing what it will look like this time next year.

Jane is asleep currently.  She's taking her afternoon nap and she has been asleep for over 2 hours.  I love long naps.  She wakes up cheerfully (usually) and I get lots done.  Speaking of which, I have to go move the laundry from the washer to the dryer and start a new load.  One more day off of my beautifully long vacation from work, and I hope to spend it relaxing and reading.

Have a Happy New Year Everyone!!!

PS

I went to Joann Fabrics a few days ago after having someone order a charm.  I worked really hard to get it finished so I could ship it out next day (takes about 4 hours total to make each charm) and the chains I usually use with all my necklaces were no longer on the shelf at Joann.  Not only that, but NO sterling items were hung in their usual spots.  I discovered by a rude worker that they were all jumbled in a couple of large crates at the end of the aisle and I was forced to rifle through them for about 15 minutes before giving up and walking out.   Without the chain to add to the charm, I wasn't able to ship the item.

So since that was pretty much the last item I've been buying at Joann Fabrics they have officially lost a customer.  Both because of their rudeness and carelessness with their products but also because they are too unreliable.

Also, Jane is still asleep...she has been napping for over 3 hours!