Sunday, November 15, 2009
Where can I purchase your items?
You can find my jewelry at http://shijewels.etsy.com
Do I need to have an account on Etsy to buy?
Yes -- it's a quick and painless process. Once you click on my shop link http://shijewels.etsy.com click on "Register" located at the top right side of the page. Fill the requested information and after a few short minutes you'll be ready to shop!
How do I pay for my items?
All payments are accepted thru Paypal. Even if you don't have a Paypal account, you can pay by using a credit or debit card . Once you've added your items to the cart just follow the easy checkout instructions. If you have any problems at all, feel free to contact me via Etsy or on Facebook.
What if the item I want has already sold?
Just let me know what item it is and I'll work with you to get another piece made. I also happily accept custom orders!
I'm buying this as a gift for my friend, will you ship it to her?
Yes! Just be sure to note the name and address in the "Message to Seller" box. Also include any note you might have for the gift recipient and I'll write it on the gift card for you!
Do you ship internationally?
I love to ship internationally! All International sales are shipped via First Class.
What are your shipping cut off dates for Christmas?
USPS has listed the cut off dates here. Though USPS lists the domestic mail cut off as December 21st, after last years snow storm I would feel more comfortable saying that December 17th would be a better cut off date for shipping within the US.
For international packages, December 4th is a better cut off date for all countries. It's far better to err on the side of caution than take the risk that your item won't arrive in time for the Holidays.
I hope the above FAQ's helped answer any questions that you have!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I'm excited to announce that Gift Certificates are now available in my Etsy Store!
Need a stocking stuffer, last minute gift idea or a little something for that "hard to buy for" person? A gift certificate that never expires is the perfect solution.
Currently listed: $10, $20, $25, $50, $75 and $100.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
In an attempt to try to be more organized I will be posting all of my newest listings for my Etsy shop on my Fanpage, but will continue to use my blog for ramblings and everything else.
On the agenda for November is really just prepping for the holiday season! I can't believe it's already that time of year, so be on the lookout for special discounts exclusively for my Facebook Fans. I'll be rolling out a special holiday discount on November 15th!!
A big thank you to all of my customers who helped me reach a milestone of 500 sales last month! These last two years have been fabulous and I look forward to seeing what this next year has in store for me!
Friday, October 9, 2009
My kids are home for the weekend, I have pink extensions in my hair, it's a 3 day weekend for me and I just made a $108 donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation!! A big thank you to the girls at work who purchased the Cancer Awareness Necklaces !!! I'm so appreciative for their caring and giving nature. What a wonderful way to start my weekend!
I hope you all have a great weekend as well!
Monday, October 5, 2009
October is the National Breast Cancer Awareness month. In honor of the women and families who's lives this disease has affected, I've made this necklace! The ribbon is made of Sterling Silver, and is adorned with a petite Mystic Pink Topaz gemstone. The pendant drops from an 18" sterling silver chain. A simple necklace that packs a lot of meaning.
For each necklace sold $12 will be donated to NBCF (National Breast Cancer Foundation)-- http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/
Your donations will be made on every Friday this month, and I will keep a running total of the amount donated in my shop announcement.
If you'd just like to simply make a donation you can visit the link above. For every $100 donation you help NBCF provide an uninsured woman with a free mammogram!
Thank you all for your support!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Rooster Inn Primitives is having a giveaway! I'm personally hoping that I win it....but I want you to have a chance at it too. It's a wonderful prize to decorate your home during the upcoming Fall Season. Click on the picture for more details!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I never thought I'd miss the noise of the TV always being on at obnoxious levels of loudness, the shouting during their Xbox gaming....just the all in all ruckus that's in your day to day life when you have kids. Boy I really miss all of that....I find that I turn on the TV now just to have the noise...and I don't really like the TV! The boys were able to come home the first couple of weekends and I couldn't wait to see them, I'd cry during the week, I'd cry when I see them, then I'd cry when they'd leave...uugghh I've been such a mess!! Brandon's dog Kula even gets depressed when they leave. She recovers quickly though and it only lasts about a day or so, I wish I could say the same for me.
I think I've always had this grand idea that when the boys left for college that my best friend and I would be able to pal around a lot more...more road trips...rock and gem shows...beach trips...just more time together. We really were attached at the hip....so much so, my parents call her their daughter and my boys call her their 2nd mom. She just lived up the hill from me and though there were some days that we didn't see each other...I knew that she was just a hop, skip and a jump away if I ever needed her. We still talk quite a bit...I still call her on my breaks at work, and we talk a few nights during the week, but it's just not the same. I miss our late coffee nights sitting in the Starbucks parking lot sipping on our drinks, people watching and just bs'ing about anything and everything. I just miss her!
Friends and family have been great....all being very supportive and trying to find ways to bring me out of the depression, or giving me helpful articles on how to cope when your kids go to college. It's funny because you never really realize how wrapped up in your kids' lives you are until they're gone. Then all of a sudden there's nothing...well not "nothing" but you get the picture. What was the norm is gone and everything foreign is in it's place. I've been trying to think of things that I put off when I started my family....things that I've always wanted to do, but couldn't because I had kids....I haven't really found anything yet, but I'm sure as the fog lifts those things will come to light.
Things have gotten better though, I'm not crying as often, and I'm even starting to work in my studio again. Just a little at a time but that's definitely proof that I'm heading in the right direction! I'll be driving up to the University on Friday to see the boys and to take them to dinner. I'll smother them in hugs, kisses and I love you's and after a couple of hours say goodbye again. I'll memorize every new whisker on their chin and notice again how much more they're looking like men rather than the young boys that left home just a month ago. Instead of thinking about the quiet home that I'll be going back to, I'll think about how proud I am of them and how blessed I feel to be their mom. Now that'll be a step in the right direction!
Friday, July 31, 2009
Well I'm off to catch some Zzz's before the alarm goes off at 8am. Ohhh...I finally listed my Goddess pendant in my shop, here's some pics of it below. Her name is Selene....Goddess of the Moon and she's made from Precious Metal Clay.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Saturday, July 25, 2009
I've finally listed a new necklace for my Etsy shop. This new line is called Knotty Girl Necklaces, based on a wood grain design using Precious Metal Clay. I'm hoping to get some Knotty Boy necklaces made and listed soon as well, but I think they may wait until I'm done with my other commissions and back from FaerieWorlds.
I have some more necklaces that I will be listing tomorrow....again hopefully, these are one's that I've already made and I just need to take the time to photograph them and write up a description.
I've had all of these ideas as of late that I haven't taken the time to sketch out either and I really need to do that before I lose them....my memory isn't what it used to be! Well all I'm off to work on my commissions, I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!
Friday, July 24, 2009
Well, we're just a few weeks shy of moving the boys into their dorm rooms. We've gotten them registered for their classes and are just ironing out that last bit of financial business for them. We've got a lot of stuff to purchase to get them settled, and they are so looking forward to being on their own. I'm so excited for them...we've made a few trips to the campus and it really is quite lovely...oak trees surrounding the campus...everything close by...they will definitely have a great time.
FaerieWorlds Festival is right around the corner and though I won't be going for all 3 days of it, I will at least be attending one day of the most magickal festival ever!! It's an annual week long trip that I make with my best friend and I was hoping we would be able to do it again this year, but with her moving and the boys heading off to college, we're both just happy we can make it for a day!
Business is still doing well, and I have some very creative commissions in the works so that's going to keep me busy for a bit. I know I've said this before, but I really need to say it again...I have the bestest customers ever!!! Seriously...they are the best...and I am honored to have been chosen to create pieces either for special occassions or just simply a treat for themselves, whatever the reason....I am one lucky girl!
Well I should probably get to bed....I hope this finds you all well and I promise that I won't stay away for so long!
Monday, June 15, 2009
The 3 graduates arguing over who was going to get the cap decoration.
I think Chris ended up with it....how I have no clue!
The boys were recently invited to play on a wood bat summer ball team. The league is filled with collegiate and semi-pro players...it should be fun, if nothing else they'll learn a lot I'm sure! Some of the games will even be played at their college field too, so we have a lot to look forward to within the next few months. I'm looking forward to a wonderful summer with my kids before they head off to college!
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Well I guess you can say there's been a couple of milestones both reached and approaching.
First, my boys graduated high school on the 6th. It was a bittersweet occasion but most of all a joyous moment in time. I know that whatever path they choose in life they will be successful in their own rights. I just love my boys and wish them all the happiness the world has to offer. Okay gotta move on before the tears start to fall again!
The second milestone that's approaching is....I'm about to reach 400 sales on Etsy!!! Woohoo!! I'm just 2 sales away and completely ecstatic! In just over 9 months I will have 300 sales....holy cow! You'll have to excuse all of the exclamation marks but I really am excited about it :) In a market where the jewelry competition is quite fierce, I am thankful and so very appreciative for each and every one of my sales.
My first year was such a struggle (just barely reaching 100 sales), trying to find my niche, and trying to stifle those feelings of wanting to throw in the towel. I don't know why I didn't...but I'm grateful now that I found the strength and the ability to hang in there. It definitely helped having the support of not just my friends and family but fellow Etsians as well!
Here's a little shout out to my bestest Kweenie Toni of ToniDesigns! I will forever be thankful we found each other on Etsy! You have been my pillar of strength on so many occasions and I love our short novel conversations! You're the best and I just love you girl! Kweenie Karma activate!!! LOL :)
To my little Etsy sis...Debora of Beadinbythesea! You can always use me as a sounding board :) Thank you for your support and for the lovely ring that I have yet to take off of my finger. I wish you continued success on Etsy!!
Now I'm off to make a little something for my 400th customer!! Weeeeee
Friday, May 29, 2009
They received numerous awards and left there with an additional $6,000 is scholarships. We knew of 2 that equaled 1/2 of the total they won...but the rest was a complete surprise to all of us. One son is just shy of having his 1st year of college paid for and the other just has a few grand left.
Afterwards we all enjoyed a celebratory dinner...filled with joyful smiles and tons of laughter. I couldn't have asked for a better ending to a beautiful day!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Sales on Etsy have been right on target this month so I have no complaints there! I've made a bunch of PMC pieces, fired and polished them anyways, now it's just a matter of oxidizing them. I'll be sure to get the pictures up here as soon as I've finished them. The majority of the pieces I've made are for graduation gifts that people have ordered. I really love PMC...it's such a forgiving medium to work with..thank goodness or else I'd have a lot of wasted pieces. I tend to start making something...then half way through it I change my mind. Sometimes it's just because the piece isn't exactly what I had imagined or I'm just feelin' wishy washy and want to make something different..hehe
Well I'm off to fire up my torch and make some rings! I hope everyone is having a fabulous week...it looks like the sun is finally back in my neck of the woods...yay!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Some of you may or may not know what I do for a day job...no it's not jewelry...I wish, maybe someday, but for now my official title is Administrative Assistant...unofficially I'm a debt collector. Before you get your hackles up because of my job...finish reading the post. I'm hoping this will give you some tools to help.
How I got this job: Well there were a couple of factors but the main one being because of my own personal experience with debt collectors. My boss thought that because of my experiences that I would have the empathy to do a job that would help people.
I've had my own rash of dealing with debt collections...being on the other side of it especially after my car accident and losing half my wages. I didn't know how to handle it all...I felt overwhelmed, I was literally drowning in a sea of debt. Out of 6 debts only 2 would work with me. I was made to feel like I was less of a person...often yelled at and cussed out on many occasions. More times than not I got off the phone crying and feeling like I wasn't worthy to live on this planet. Dramatic maybe, but anyone who's been through it has probably felt the same way at one time or another.
How I do my job: I listen. I understand. I've been there. That's how I do it...plain and simple. I'm not about to kick you while your down. My job is to help you during a tough time. The only thing I need from you is communication and kept promises. Keep the lines open, talk to me, be open to suggestions. If you can only pay $15 a month on a large loan...so be it, I can do that....but if you can't make that payment, call me....let me know. I can help you through this tough time, but I can't do it all by myself...I need you too. I don't want your car, I don't want your house, the only thing I want is to help you get back on your feet again!
My advice to anyone who needs help: Know your rights as a consumer!
There is a law called the Fair Debt Collection Act
READ IT! I wish I would've known 1/10 of it when I was going through all of my hardships. It tells you as a consumer what the debt collectors can and cannot do. It's the most invaluable tool you can have. You can report any violations to your State Attorney Generals office (www.naag.org) or at the Federal Trade Commissions ( http://ftc.gov)
If you need to call your debts to do a workout have some things ready. Know what kind of payments you can make per month. Make sure it's an amount that you can do. I can't stress that part enough! Make sure it's an amount that still leaves you money to feed your family, put some gas in your car so you can get to work or search for work and pay for other essentials.
If the person you talk to isn't willing to work with you, keep climbing up the ladder until you find someone that will. I can't make any promises that they will all work with you, but you have to try.
Also, don't avoid your debt. It's not going to go away...trust me on this one, I've tried it...it didn't work out so well. If you have avoided your debt and it's been turned over to a Collection Agency, then when you get that first letter from the collection agency there will be some small print that states if you think the debt is in error you need to send them a letter within such in such days...normally 15 days of the letter. Do it! Ask them to show you the original documents in writing. Even if the debt is yours this will buy you a little bit of time to get your bills together and figure out what you can and can't afford to do. Once they've received the letter they cannot contact you again unless it's just to tell you that they've received it. If they provide the documents of proof then you need to call them for a workout. At this point most agencies are willing to work with you....again I say most because there are still some that may not. If you run into someone who won't, then like I said before keep climbing the ladder until you find someone who will.
There are many other scenarios that I didn't cover here, for example what do you do if the lender files a small claims against you, or when a lender sues you. If these things have happened to you or you would like more information on, let me know and I'll write up a post about it.
Take this time to empower yourself as a consumer. More than likely you're in a situation that is of no fault of your own, so stop beating yourself up! Get yourself into a position where you can say that you're doing the best you can with what you have and that's all that you can do!
Monday, May 4, 2009
And yes I cried! As soon as I stepped back from putting on their cuff links, and straightening their ties...my eyes started welling up. High school is almost over for them....I hope that they've enjoyed it as much as I did when I was in school. Don't get me wrong...it wasn't always roses...but my friends were the best and I walked away from school with some great memories!
I'm still working on some gifts and was only able to list a new pair of earrings in my shop:
Just in case I don't get the chance....Happy Mother's Day to all of you fabulous mom's out there!
Friday, May 1, 2009
Let's see what's new with me, well I got my boys senior photos back and I'm torn. The photos are great, but one of my sons decided that he would wear a ballcap in each and every photo...uugghh! Even the one's for the yearbook...aye! But...and here comes the part where I'm torn....it's totally unequivocally him! He always wears his Boston ballcaps...he has a nice collection of them in all sorts of colors so the Leo in him can match them with all of his different shirts, shorts, etc. So on one hand I'm bummed that there isn't one photo of him without his hat, on the other hand it wouldn't be "him" if he didn't wear it! I guess that's what I get for not being present at the time they had them taken...but I had a good excuse...a gem and bead show was going on LOL! Sheesh...what was I thinkin' :/
I'm happy to say that business has been going well. I exceeded my goal for the month, which is always a pleasurable surprise! I've had the sweetest emails from my customers and I tell you they make everything worth it...I'm so thankful for each and every one of them.
I've got some new projects (for jewelry) in the works...and I can't wait to finish them up, I'll hopefully have them listed before Monday. I'll be sure to post them here when I do!
Ohh and my little friend (in my earlier post) whom is actually a Red Breasted Sapsucker, has been at my bedroom window like clockwork always between 6:15 and 6:30 am...pounding away at my ladder. When I wasn't feeling well this week...he wasn't so cute and he wasn't my friend! Because a friend would know that I'm not a morning person at all...let alone when I'm not feeling well. Hey...you've gotta kind of feel sorry for the guy...he's just a confused bird trying to suck sap out of a darned aluminum ladder!
Well all, I'm off to slap some vicks on...I just love the smell of that stuff...brings back childhood memories....I'm weird I know :)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
So after a couple of late nights I was really looking forward to sleeping in this morning...but no...it wasn't meant to be. At first I thought I was waking up with a pounding headache...nope, that's not it. Then I thought someone was using a jackhammer on my house! Again I was wrong (it's early and it took awhile for memories of the previous years to come back).
This noisy little guy is back...he brought his friend too! My bedroom is on the second floor of my house and for a fire escape the previous owners had put up a collapsible aluminum ladder right below my window. Well I think this little woodpecker is a bit confused...he doesn't peck on the house...no he pecks on my ladder. Not only that but his friend pecks on my downspout! It's almost as if it's a competition of sorts. The woodpecker on the downspout drills a bit and the one on my ladder answers right back with the same amount of pecks...oh and yes I counted!!
As usual this will become humorous as I listen to them pound away on the various aluminum fixtures that they find. It'll shortly become a melody that I can sleep through...but today I would've loved to have that extra bit of sleep!
You know...come to think of it, I don't recall the woodpeckers ever pounding on my house during the work week when I have to be up early. Hmm....nooo...they couldn't be doing that on purpose.......could they??? LOL
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
We've had beautiful weather and were able to watch some ballgames. There's only about a month and a half until the boys graduate....time sure flies! They each were accepted to 4 different universities and have chosen Pacific University, expensive but definitely a good choice for the different medical fields that they're going into. Plus, they're baseball program is really good. The cost for this university is $40,000 a year *gulp* I know...scary huh?? But, Chris has received nearly $30,000 in grants and scholarships and Brandon has received almost $26,000 which cuts down the costs significantly! They're still waiting to hear back on a few more scholarships so the outlook is pretty good. I'm proud of them...they're determined to follow their dreams and they continuously strive to achieve them! I wish I had been that motivated when I was their age :)
Well I'm off to package up my donation pieces that need to be delivered in the morning. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
So far I have 5 necklaces made and will hopefully have about 5 more done by tomorrow, then get everything packaged and delivered on Thursday. If I have some extra time I'll get some earrings made as well.
If you'd like to see some totally cute and adorable animals you can visit their site at http://columbiahumane.org/
In other news....my laptop is still dead and at the pc doctors as we speak...I miss it terribly! It looks like they're going to have to wipe my system clean.....Uuuggghhh! Why do I purchase virus protection if it's not going to protect?
Let's see...what else? The weather has been beautiful...perfect for baseball games :) The boys had a game in Astoria last weekend. We went to Seaside afterwards and walked the beach then on our way home stopped and took pictures of the sea lions on the docks. It was nice being able to get away from home to enjoy the sand and sea breeze. So I leave you with some pictures of the beach...
Sunday, April 19, 2009
I just got back from the Rings and Things Bead Show! Lot's of beautiful gems, but I was a little disappointed that they didn't have more high quality stones, they only had 1 table this time. If I remember correctly the last time that I went they had quite a bit...not this time though :( I only found a few things on my long list of desired stones, and bought some that I didn't need but couldn't help myself!
Here's the list of items I purchased:
Faceted Biwa Pearls
Larvikite (aka Black Labradorite)
The best prize was a strand of eye clean brilliantly faceted briolettes that included Smoky Quartz, Lemon Quartz, Citrine, Peridot, Swiss Blue Topaz, and Amethyst. Nummy!!
I also picked up some sterling and some misc. findings, but I was really hoping to pick up some more tools for pmc...but again for some reason they didn't have them there this time like the last. Oh well...saved me money I guess :)
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Also, my 20th Class Reunion is coming this year...and I'm not going. Not because I don't want to see everyone...actually I don't have a good answer as to why other than I really have no desire to go. Is that weird? So many are looking forward to it...but I see a lot of people that I graduated with still. Sometimes high school seems like just yesterday...but here lately it seems like a lifetime ago. I've just in a sense been reunited with some of my classmates via an online community and of course cell phones. I've had a lot of fun talking with them and we're planning our own little get togethers. It'll be nice catching up and just reliving our younger rebellious days. Maybe I don't want to go to my reunion because it seems like it would be so impersonal? Does that make any sense to anyone other than myself? For me the difference is...getting together with 6 of my old girlfriends versus 200 of my classmates...eek...smaller gathering is definitely more appealing to me LOL!
Well my eyelids are heavy and my head is about to hit the keyboard....so before I start typing jibberish I'll get off of here! I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I have a hair appointment tomorrow...woohoo...and maybe I'll be able to sit down and make some new pieces to share with you!
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Normally I take this time to make some jewelry, but tonight I'm looking for cultural garb to wear to the FaerieWorlds Festival ...yay...it'll be here 3 1/2 months and I can't wait!! My friend will be flying back from Minnesota and we'll stay in Eugene for about a week. If you don't know what FaerieWorlds is here's an excerpt from their website:
WHAT IS FAERIEWORLDS?
We believe that the revitalizing, healing and transforming spirit of faerie is alive and moving actively in our lives: faerie inspires and provokes, heals and reveals, illuminates and transcends. At Faerieworlds, we invite you to enter the Realm as your magical self and release the beautiful, magical faerie spirit that’s inside you!
Array yourself in your best faerie finery! Join us and find new friends and discover wonderful enchantments of art, music and dance. Surrender to the glamour of faerie and let your heart and spirit soar in the woodland and under the stars!
In the words of internationally acclaimed faerie artist, Brian Froud:
“To dress as a faerie, donning wings, is to actively join in the dance, to be connected to creative spirit. Graceful or ecstatic dance; the radiant, rhythmic heartbeat; friendship; music; all these move easily across the boundaries, transcending language, race, and time. Such activities extend a joyful hand across the threshold. At Faerieworlds, we ring the bells of faerie invitation. The people come. More importantly, the faeries come too.”
Come and answer the call!
FAERIEWORLDS: A GREEN EVENT
• 100% Green Electrical Power throughout Event
• Event Promotions printed on 100% recycled stock with Soy Inks
• Organic and Vegetarian Food Vendors
• Use of Biodegradable Foodwares
• Utilization of web-based Rideshare and Spaceshare programs
• Onsite Glass, Plastic and Paper Recycling Program
• Local and Organic Hospitality Area for Guests
It really is a wonderful event, each day holds a surprise of entertainment and beauty in the costumes found on the people attending them. I've found a bunch of great shops on Etsy that I will definitely be purchasing items from to complete some of my outfits...I'll share those with you later!
It's after 3am and I'm finally feeling tired enough to sleep....I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Well I finally broke down and bought myself a new printer...I didn't want to, but my old one is on it's last leg. So after some research and talking with some people...everyone said to get a Kodak, even the gal at Office Max said to get it. I was a bit surprised that she had said that because she would lose a sale, but she said they don't carry Kodak products and it was better than the HP and others that I was interested in there. I ordered the ESP 9 All-in-One through Kodak, and I'm sure it'll take me forever to learn how to work it because I am so not a techie kind of girl ;)
I'm thinking it will take care of everything that I need it to do for my business and hopefully brew me a cup of coffee too...hehe!
I also just received my order of PMC today so I'll be busy tonight making some new pieces...Yay! I'll be sure to share all of my new creations with you and hopefully I'll have some listed in my shop before the weeks out. The boys have baseball games for the next 3 days so it may not be until the weekend before they get listed....I'll keep you posted!
Sunday, April 5, 2009
PMC has opened up a new world for me...I have been busy sketching so many designs of flowers, vines, tree's and so much more. The possibilities seem endless and I can't wait to see the results. I can't draw worth beans but I have great hopes that my jewelry pieces will end up much prettier than my drawings...emphasis on hope..haha!
Today is an absolutely gorgeous day! The boys are at baseball practice right now and I think I'm going to venture outside for a bit to soak up some sun :)
I hope you all have a wonderful day!
Friday, April 3, 2009
Here's my pendant after oxidizing it last night! I just love the way it turned out...it's exactly as I had envisioned it in my minds eye. I love it when things turn out the way you picture them too!
I just wanted to tell the gals at Delightful Divas in Business thank you for the wonderful feature that they did on March 30th!
Here's a little information about DDIB from their blog:
Delightful Divas In Business (or DDIB) is an online community that promotes, connects, and inspires independent business women. We have a forum where you can meet other indie divas and wahms, share your business info, show off products, and announce sales and discounts.
These wonderful ladies do a great job promoting fellow women entrepreneurs. On their blog you'll find a large variety of handmade items by various artisans and plenty of giveaways and contests...it's definitely worth checking out! If you're interested in reading my feature you can see it HERE
(For those of you that follow my blog and my business you may notice that some of what I talk about in the feature seems a bit off...it's because I actually did the interview for this feature around the middle of September....though it's a little outdated as to what I'm currently doing now, I'm still very thankful for the feature!)
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I use 1/2 cup luke warm water, with about 1/8 cup distilled white vinegar and 2-3 grinds of Sea Salt (using a salt grinder I turn it 2-3 times). I keep it stored at room temperature in a plastic glad container with a lid. After firing and quenching I drop it in the pickling container for about 1/2 hour...you can keep it in there longer to remove more fire scale, but as I've said in previous posts, I tend to be a little impatient! ( You may have to play around with the mixture a bit to find what works for you, but the one listed above is what I use)
For oxidizing there are a few different options chemically, most popular being Liver of Sulfur, again a very toxic chemical. The option I use is eggs. I hard boil 3 eggs, put them in a glad plastic container, crush them with a spoon (shells and all) . Another thing I do is take some stretchy plastic threading for beading or you can use thick thread (you can get creative here), I tie knots in it to act as a stopper or a divider to keep the metal from touching then lay it across the top of the plastic container and put the lid on it. It suspends the metal from the eggs and allows me to reheat the eggs for a darker patina without having to dig out the metal. I normally only reheat the eggs in the microwave once (about 30 seconds) and leave the metal to oxidize for a total of an hour. The great thing about using a clear container is you can decide how dark you'd like your pieces to be. I had a really cool rainbow effect on one of my pmc pieces that I thought about keeping like that but went ahead and let it sit longer to achieve a very dark patina.
These are just methods that I use to give me my own peace of mind and are in no way meant to put someone else down for using chemicals. Actually using chemicals makes the whole process a lot faster, but I just choose to use these methods.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Here's some information that I've gathered on torch firing gemstones or lab-grown gemstone in pmc. You'll see where some stones survived and some were damaged. I'm thankful that someone else has tested this before I went on to suffer more losses. Even some stones that have a Moh's hardness of 7 or higher still aren't safe to fire unless they're gem quality of A or better. One lab-created stone that I was shocked about was Moissanite...I definitely would've thought this stone could've withstood the heat.
Also, I was surprised to really find only one site that mentioned allowing the piece to cool rather than quenching it in water to keep from damaging the stone. This was definitely a rookie mistake on my part, which I hope to never happen again.....though I happily wore my pendant with the cracked cz's today to work and even received compliments on it :)
I've hyperlinked the pictures to the sources where I found the information. By clicking on the pictures it'll take you to the sites that offer kiln firing information as well.
Hope this info helps!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Well here's one of the pendants, and I'm just not happy with the results of either one of them. At least not happy enough to sell them. I think I figured out what I did that ruined the stones, I quenched them, when I should've let them cool down slowly :( I haven't researched this to know for a fact, but it seems logical.
Though it was a loss as far as being able to list something totally new in my shop...I've got 2 new pendants that I will be happy to wear!
So here is a picture of them after being fired. I meant to take a picture of them prior to firing but my batteries for my camera were dead and needed charging. The impatient person that I am couldn't wait for the batteries to be done charging before I fired the pieces.
I found that colored CZ's also tend to change color during firing. The daisy with the single stone was fired face up. The other pendant was fired face down...but the stones were still affected by the heat. Also as you may or may not be able to tell, I could've done a better job at sanding the pieces prior to firing them. The bezel settings definitely could've used more attention, but yet again the impatient part of me didn't want to wait....I really need to start listening to the more patient side of me :)
Right now as I type this, these pieces are being oxidized. I'll try to touch them up a bit more after their done, and I'm really hoping the flaws or imperfections are less noticeable when I'm finished. If not, then I guess I have a couple of new pendants for myself, or I guess I could list them in my shop as "Oops" pieces...we'll see!
I'll post more pictures of them after they're done oxidizing...see you soon!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Here are a couple more additions to the Soledad Collection in my Etsy shop:
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Named after my beautiful filipina mother, whose name means solitude. The Soledad collection features a single gemstone necklace where the stone speaks for itself, big or small they all have beautiful attributes, as do each of us.
This necklace features a blue Chalcedony drop, wrapped in fine silver, then strung on a 16" sterling silver necklace.
When I showed my mom the collection that I named after her, she was thrilled...she glowed, which of course just thrilled me to death. It's nice that I can pay homage to her in some way. She is an extraordinary woman who would literally give you the shirt off of her back before you went without anything. She's stunningly beautiful with her raven black hair that has silvery moon kissed streaks . She's sacrificed a lot (though she wouldn't see it that way) to give her family what she lacked as a child. I'm so thankful that she's my mom, I love her more than words could ever say.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Yay!! The verdict came in while I was at work and I should receive my settlement within a few weeks! I spent the day celebrating with my co-workers...lots of group hugs and then on the phone with all of my loved ones...all of us were crying tears of joy! I'm so ecstatic and so very thankful and I have so many more emotions running through me that I can't even explain! All I know is that it's over...and I finally...finally feel like I have closure!
Friday, March 20, 2009
The whole arbitration process was very surreal, lasting 8 hours. The most difficult part was having people talk about me as if I didn't exist all the while I was sitting right there. Often the words spoken were harsh, but I didn't show any emotion. I couldn't for some reason...until today. Replaying it in my head today, I broke down. I'm exhausted. I thought I would feel closure with my part being done, but I don't. Maybe after they come back with their decision I'll feel it....I sure hope so.
I'm off to take a nap in hopes that I can regain some much needed energy. I'll be sure to post the results later.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
So now I'm thinking of a free gift to go with that sale....hmm...maybe a pair of the Itty Bitty Rustic Hoops?
Or...maybe a pair of stud earrings...I don't offer the stud earrings in my store, so that might be a little nice surprise. I guess I'll just wait for the sale and ask my customer then...hehe
I'm not sure what my 2nd year anniversary goal will be....I think I'll just be content with reaching each 100 sales milestone! A huge thank you to my customers, friends and to my dearest Etsy friends.....thanks for being with me every step of the way! Hehe...it almost sounds as if I'm receiving some sort of award...honestly this feels better than that and couldn't have come at a better time :)
Monday, March 16, 2009
I even gathered myself together enough to make a new pair of earrings. I have to admit that I don't really want to part with these, and while the war goes on within myself over them I will keep them listed in my store...but if I have my way I may end up pulling them before the weeks out :)
They're inspired by both the saga Twilight (I just read the whole series last week) and by the poem Into The Twilight by William Butler Yeats. I've used London Blue Topaz gemstones and naturally oxidized (using the egg method) Sterling Silver hoops to create these earrings.
~Enjoy...and again thank you!
Sunday, March 15, 2009
With my upcoming arbitration this Thursday, I find myself scattered. My emotions are everywhere, my stomach is in a constant knot and my nerves are completely frayed. I thought I was more prepared emotionally, but it would seem otherwise.
It's been exactly 4 1/2 years today. Who would've thought that a hit and run accident would impact my life so. I personally feel like I've come a long ways. Especially when it comes to my emotions, to my mind. I can live with the pain, it's just a fact of life that has come to be, but my emotions have wreaked havoc on my family and myself over these last years. It has been an emotional roller coaster that seemed to have evened out over this last year, as I put the tools that I've learned to work. But now....I feel like I'm at the beginning again....that I'm shattered and pieces of me are everywhere and I'm scrambling to put myself back together again. Reminding myself of the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty.
How do you convince a complete stranger that you're in pain? How would they know if they don't live with you, if they haven't been there to see the before and after, or if they've never experienced this pain themselves?
Whatever the outcome...whatever happens on Thursday, this particular part of my life will be over. I will move on to the next chapter and I'm looking forward to what the future holds.
Sitting here deep in thought, I hear the powerful gusts of wind against the trees behind me....I think I'll go outside for a bit to allow the wind to sooth my raw nerves...to help bring me back to center again.