Saturday, January 31, 2009


Did you ever have one of those days where you just wander around getting nothing accomplished because you are in the middle of so many things and you don't know where to start? Here are a few things on my partially-finished list that I have been struggling with today:

*A partially completed beadwoven bracelet
I tend to do this type of work at night in front of the tv. Although I haven't given up my tv time (amazing, huh?!), I have been too beat to pick this up and bring it with me. You know how heavy a needle can be.... (oh boy!)

*A bunch of items to be photographed and listed on etsy
I can't sell 'em if they ain't listed, right???

*The top of my seed bead/glass bead dresser (yes, DRESSER--not box, DRESSER!) needs to be cleaned up
The upside is that I DID clean up my craft room a bit... just didn't get to the dresser.

*A bunch of items to be sanded, drilled and glued--including one special order that was ordered and paid for a while ago (sorry Tronsgirl!)--the star doggie
I have no excuse! I MUST mail it out Monday morning!!!

I did get some more resin pieces made--yes, that means they'll hit my sanding pile tomorrow morning, most likely--why do I do it to myself?
Those pink things are bottle cap magnets! I like how they turned out, they were a lot of fun. They are sea life and look very 3-D because I used several layers of resin. Fun!

And I have been thinking about this delightful mix of bead soup I ordered. Crystals and fire polished beads galore. But I'm not allowed to touch them (figuratively) until I finish what I already started. Although you can see that I poured them on a plate and looked through them. I also accidentally dumped half of them over, but that is another story... Anyway, ideas with these beads are cluttering my brain!

ALSO, found these adorable brads! I can cut the backs off, and solder them to my glass pendant frames, so THAT is also on my mind and something I am not allowed to start until I get some of this other stuff finished! They are SO CUTE!!!
Other things I accomplished today (maybe it will make me feel better to list my accomplishments):
*Took a shower
*Watched episode of Clean House on cable
*Went to hardware store with family and talked husband to going through Wendy's drive-thru
*Organized icons on computer desktop
*Watched last half of an episode of Top Chef and first half of an episode of Housewives of Orange County
*Updated blog with a rather whiney post
Sigh--NO, not making me feel better, I think I should stop now! Well, tomorrow is a new day, right?!?! And this sure beats having a creative mind block! ;-)

Friday, January 30, 2009

CPSIA Petition

Please consider adding your name to this petition in regards to amending the CPSIA law. You can also send an e-mail with the content provided to declare your desire for a closer look at this law's details. You do not need to be a member of MomsRising to sign or send this petition and/or e-mail. It doesn't get much easier than that to give an opinion. And if there are enough of us--our opinion WILL count! Your involvement will mean a LOT to a lot of people!!! Thanks!
Sign petition here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More on the CPSIA

Check out this great link to a blog I follow with more discussions on the issue. It is worthwhile to check out the blog she previously wrote that she references.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Save Handmade, Amend the CPSIA!!!

There is a new law due to be enforced on Februrary 10th called the CPSIA. This is a VERY important law which came about after so many toys were found tainted with lead. This law requires a great deal of testing for any product (including clothing) made for children 12 and under. Yay, let's keep our kids safe!!

BUT--this law is having unintended consequences. Many people who handmake items for children will no longer be able to do so due to the expensive testing requirement. While this might be fine for Mattel, Grandpa Bob who makes toy trains out of wood in his basement because he loves to see children smile can no longer do this (well, he can make them, but can't pass them out!). MANY shops on etsy have had to close their doors, or about to due to this law and being unable to afford testing (which includes items such as handknit mittens, which are not typically found to contain lead!). With the way the economy is going, it seems to be a backwards decision.

It needs to be amended!

Here are a couple of great links to learn more...

And this can not only give you more information, but give you an idea of how to take action to save handmade!

Besides really feeling for those who have to close their shops, and those of us that will miss out on some wonderful, delightful handcrafted items, this does directly affect me. Later this year I was planning on opening shop on some name art that I have been making for years for friends and relatives. My father, who has handmade the frames and cut the mats for my artwork, has been teaching my husband and I to take it over to handle (hopefully!) a higher volume.

Sadly, this dream of mine may never take place if this law is not amended--because even though it is to be hung on a wall, not to even really be touched by a child (even though the paint I use IS non-toxic!), it is included in this blanket law. And my dream is only one of many that will be defeated.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why I Started Beading

I thought today I would take a moment to credit the person who inspired me to start beading! She may not even know just how instrumental she was! :-) One of my husband's group of friends includes a bunch of guys from high school, the neighborhood, and their friends... well, one of these friends married a girl (This goes back more than a decade--I believe she was the second girl in the group, we really had our work cut out for us, taming these beasts! ha ha!!) and she made beautiful jewelry. She now has an etsy shop called Farfrumplainjane. Well, at get-togethers she would sometimes bring some of her finished work to see the reaction--to know if people liked it, they would do well at craft fairs, etc etc. Well--in all of her beautiful work which I admired there was one bracelet that especially caught my eye. It was called "tennis bracelet" and weaved with gorgeous AB Swarovski crystals. The depth of the black crystal spoke to me. It was more than I was used to spending for a bracelet, but I couldn't get it out of my mind. I went to her next craft fair, deciding that I would fork over the money--but it was not there!!! All of this I kept to myself.

So I decided to learn to make it. After a year or so of learning to bead the various stitches and learning about the various beads, I finally found the pattern and did learn to make it... but here is the funny thing! I have not yet made one for ME! :-) That is how it goes with beading--many gifts get made. (Don't feel sad for me, ha ha! My jewelry box is overflowing!). But she has always been very generous, willing to share and teach, and I appreciate that. Even though I never owned that bracelet, it went one better. Because I couldn't purchase it, I found a passion that I have never found for an art or craft before. It gave me something far better, it gave me my Love of Beads... and for that, Jane, I thank you!

Check out some of Jane's gorgeous work, and be sure to visit her etsy shop!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Isn't This Cute?

I know I've mentioned my friend and fellow jewelry-maker, Tronsgirl, before. Recently she asked me to make a little special order for her--some small resin charms. She had been asked to make a "Nightmare Before Christmas" charm bracelet! I love how it turned out. She glued little cabs to the resin charms, and I think it looks great--she make the "backs" into fronts--and solved the problem of the resin pieces having "backs." Now either way looks great. Had to showcase it here, because I just love it!! Too bad it is not for sale because it was a special order--but maybe she would make another! :-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hoard Much?!?

What was I thinking? 250 size #000 bubble envelopes!! *sigh*
Well, it was a really good per envelope deal. It's a lot, isn't it?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The "Free Shipping" Decision

Well, today I have decided to make both of my shops as "free shipping" shops (as I write this, one is changed and one is not). I took a lot of thought with this, and quizzed my seller-pals on Twitter... We thought together as sellers and consumers. Times are just tough--for BOTH sellers and consumers. So I decided, even though I didn't raise my prices to try to eat some of the shipping costs, to just offer free shipping. If people decide to buy when they wouldn't have--sometimes those extra $2 are the tipping point--it is win-win for both of us, isn't it?

I know I am going to keep making stuff even if no one buys it, so I thought I would try to make it easier on both of us. ;-) We'll see if I make more sales or not, I don't know if it will make a difference.

Thanks to my Twitter pals for discussing the issue with me! Sheltie19 and SuperTeeTee!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Any Thoughts?

So.... as I was going through stuff, trying to clean clutter out of my life (you are talking to a certified pack rat here, the rattiest of the bunch!!) I came across a silverware holder... Well, I like the way it looks, and got to thinking that maybe it would somehow make a good jewelry display for my upcoming craft fair. I need more necklace display, and I thought I could hang them from it. I double checked my sanity with craft fair pal, Tronsgirl and she agreed it had some promise--tho' it is not quite ready as-is. I was thinking it would be cool to wire wrap some beads around it, but I think it also needs some sort of backing--makes my eyes cross to look at it from far away...... I will have to give it more thought, but any ideas or suggestions would be welcome!

Here it is with some sample necklaces. The metal pieces in back kinda bug me, and also would make it harder to put something up against the back....

Also, you can see how it looks so "busy" being able to see through it!

Here is a close up... I think the jewelry looks nice against the mesh.

Here is something behind it (obviously nothing I would actually use, it is just propped up) just to give you a clearer picture... and it just looks better, doesn't it? To break the space up? But ok, WHAT do I use, and how do I do it???? I did think about turning it around and maybe hanging some bracelets from the metal pieces, but it really doesn't give me enough necklace room then, and I really already have a nice bracelet display (and not a ton of braclets). Hmmmmmmm....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Back In the Saddle

Well, I have spent most of the past two days getting back into the groove of things with my shops. I have listed many new items in both my ArtFire and Etsy shops--besides finishing the items, there is taking the pictures, editing the pictures and listing the items. It can be quite a process as many of you etsians know! I feel such relief to at least have my Valentine pieces out there! I have a number of other pieces ready to photograph and list as well... but one step at a time.
One change is that I pulled my ball chain from my shops. It is at a point where my fine customers have helped me pay for some of my bulk purchase by sharing it with me (thank you!), but I want some left for ME! :-) I don't feel that I want to make that big investment again. I have yet to be "in the black" with my supply purchases vs. sales, especially after my big ball chain investment! Sad but true!
And doing this means my house is a disaster! Can't seem to focus on both at the same time. Either my house looks decent and my shops are neglected, or my shops are updated and my house is out of control! *sigh* If someone has a magic balancing act to teach me, I would be so grateful!
I took some time of from my shops, I was feeling discouraged and overwhelmed--I really am having issues with balancing my "work" and home life. Plus post holiday, perhaps?? But I felt some renewed vigor and enthusiasm for what I do today!
So I guess I am back in the saddle!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Time for Some Elbow Grease--More Resin Tips

Ok, as promised, here is part 2 of my resin tips--finishing the resin. I think perhaps the biggest thrill is popping out the resin piece from the mold to see how it turns out. Perhaps the smallest thrill (or no thrill at all!) is sanding the piece--but it is a very important part of the process. Even if tedious. I want to take a moment to again recommend Sherri Haab's book--it is the resin bible, and certainly worth a read!

Here is my sanding set up. Now, I accidentally reversed two of my sandpapers. Normally I do it in order of roughest to finest grit. The higher the grit the finer the sandpaper. The 600-1000 I purchased at an auto supply shop. The others are from a hardware store. Also, please notice the mask. I do NOT enjoy wearing it and breathing my own breath over and over--but it is far better than breathing in resin particles which are NOT good for your long-term health. Please be safe!!

Sometimes when I've been sloppy with my resin, I have some really big, rough, edges. In that case I use a scissors to trim them. I also only use the 100 grit if it is really gnarly. Take care because it will really remove a LOT of resin. Also, the more you use the sandpaper, the finer it becomes--my 100 is probably finer than that by now because it is pretty well used, as you can see. I will be showing you this on one of my new Valentine's Day pieces! My friend sent me some really cute heart sprinkle candy, and I used them in heart shaped molds--I think they turned out sweet!

Once I have trimmed, if needed, I go down the line of sandpapers... yawn yawn, boring boring. You will see the edges getting nicer and nicer. Please note that once you hit 600 grit, this becomes a wet sanding experience. I keep an old Cool-Whip container for the water. Choose an icky container because once you use it, it is no longer suitable to contain food. I think some people actually sand right in the water, but I dunk my piece in the water and then sand. Works for me! By the time you hit 1000 grit, it is like polishing the edges.

Sanding, la la la!

Dunkin' la la la!

Wet sanding, la la la!
There! Nice and smooth!!
Now, at this point some people glue bails on (these bails will be pictured later). Personally, I usually drill a hole and make a wrapped loop. If you are a bail gluer, you can skip these drilling pictures, or just look at 'em for fun! Personally, I think both ways look nice! But you are saving a little money on supplies, and can control the size better with the wire.

I put the piece into a regular vise that we have in the basement. I use a rag in there to protect the resin from scratches.

Then I drill with my beloved Dremel tool. It is not a fancy one, but can do so very much. If you do not have one, I would strongly consider it--for many areas of home improvement and crafts. I prefer the 1/16" bit, but I am sure that is a personal preference--I go down a bit, maybe a quarter of an inch, not an exact science. Only use the low speed setting because if the resin heats up too much it will adhere to the drill bit. Not a huge deal, but a mess. And personally, I am surrounded by enough messes! I find that the wire fits, but also leaves a little room for glue, as well.

Our nice little hole!

Above is the glue on bail--little silver leaf-looking piece. I have found this on etsy. Just search under supplies, "bail." You would put glue on the little leafy part, and adhere it to the back of the piece. I use wire to make a wrapped loop bail.

There are many tutorials on making wrapped loops. This is a nice one. One day I sat down and made them over and over and over until I mastered it. REALLY, it is worth learning if you don't already know how. Once your hands and tools know what to do, it is very easy. It is like riding a bike!
As far as glue goes, I am a BIG fan of 5-minute epoxy. Did you know it is a type of resin? You can get it at the hardware store OR the craft store. Usually they come in little syring-y applicators, but I happened to find a big amount at a hardware store. Simply mix two equal portions on a notecard or scrap card for a bit with a toothpick. I also use the toothpick as an applicator. It will set up in about five minutes, and has an excellent hold.

And there you have it. Be sure to position your loop so it hangs correctly on its chain. At this point it is a nice touch to polish it with carnuba wax--which is the same wax that is used on cars! I found this at the local hardware store. You can pick some up when you are getting your sandpaper! :-)
Good luck and most of all, HAVE FUN!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happiest of New Years!!

Happy New Year!
I hope everyone had a nice new year! We enjoyed our movie with the kids. Kung Fu Panda was pretty funny--but I am a long-time Jack Black fan! Though animated, it was a great role for him!
I almost fell asleep while reading a book--I turned my light off at 11:58pm. How anticlimactic!! Couldn't I just wait the two minutes? I didn't feel like I needed to. I have had a "new years" feeling for a little while now, and didn't need the clock to show me. It feels like a year of changes for me, but in a good way! I feel that things that have been stagnant for a while are moving forward. It is a good thing!
Today I visited my parents (my father currently has a low immune system, so we have to limit his exposure to my kids and their germs!) while my husband took the kiddies to his folks'. Had a nice visit, and came home to an empty house where I worked on some soldered pendants and got some Valentine's Day resin started, as well as a resin special order from my pal, Tronsgirl.
All in all a mellow but productive start to the new year. Doesn't need to get better than that!! :-)