Carmella's Jewelry opened in 2011. This blog will take you behind the scenes ...you'll see my process, new items I'm bringing to my shop, and some stories about my awesome and inspirational family (2 daughters, husband in the Air Force, and Ike..our lab/husky mix).
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 :)
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.
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.
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?
Enjoy your Thursday evening!! Tomorrow is the day before a 3-day weekend for me so I couldn't be more content :)
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).
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!
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. :)