Friday, July 4, 2014

Contest! Win a Fingerprint Ring!

Well hello!  It has been a while!  I'm still busy writing and making jewelry.  Also started a new writing project a little over a month ago and it's going well (more on that in a future post)!

In jewelry news, my shop, CarmellasJewelry, reopened in April and I've been wanting to add a new fingerprint ring.  The thing is, I want it to be more of a man's width and I don't know any men that wear rings.

Since I haven't actually made the ring yet (I'll need the winner's fingerprint for that), I can't show you an image of what the ring will look like.  I can give you the basic concept though.  The below image is of a piece of metal clay that I wrapped around my mandrel.  It overlaps where the name Jane is displayed.  Picture that same overlap, but on a larger scale (a wider band) with a fingerprint where the name is.

So to be absolutely clear, there won't be a name on the ring you win.  There will be a fingerprint.

This general idea, but a wider band and a fingerprint in place of the name--
see above for more details


To win the overlapping pure silver (.999) fingerprint ring, you can enter by doing any of the following:

(1 entry)  ------- Follow my blog

(1 entry)  ------- Use that same account name to comment on this blog post (check out my jewelry shop and tell me what you like most or what you think I should add)

(1 entry)  ------- Share this contest on Facebook (mention my facebook page in your post @carmellasjewelry so I can give you credit)

(1 entry)  ------- Tweet about my contest (mention me @charms4moms in your tweet to get credit!)

This contest will start as soon as I make this post live and will run until Friday, July 18, 2014.  You can get up to 4 entries and I'll choose randomly from the pool of entries on Saturday, July 19, 2014 (get all 4 to increase your chances of winning!).


Upon being notified of winning, please email me an image of the fingerprint (let me know if you have trouble getting a fingerprint--an inkpad on white paper is usually the easiest method) AND the size of the ring.  The fingerprint MUST be the fingerprint of an adult.  The ink image of the fingerprint must be defined and I reserve the right to request a different image.  Keep in mind, the ring will have a wider band than the one displayed in the above image.  The above image is only to illustrate the overlap design the ring will have.  The ring will not be adjustable.  The winner must have an address in the United States.  The ring will be shipped at my expense through the USPS First Class.  I'll create a 3D stamp from the image of the fingerprint and the winning ring will be photographed and listed as a new item in my jewelry shop  I will create the winning ring and ship it within 3-4 weeks after receiving an acceptable image of the fingerprint.

Good luck!!!

Just another image so you can have a better idea of what it'll look like:
Fingerprint Ring - Band - Men's or Women's solid silver fingerprint band - Pure Silver - free shipping in the US
It'll look sort of like this, except the silver will overlap like a belt

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Being a Mom

They say that ‘life will never be the same’ and they recite it over and over again to young men and women who are considering sex, marriage, whatever it is that leads to a baby. But what do they know? No one takes that seriously until life is never the same already. Until you look down at that face you made and see those eyes. Until all the seconds after that moment are dedicated to that face, to that little person who wasn’t a person before. And there’s no looking back, nothing will ever be the same, and you get it. You understand completely why they say what they say. Life will never be the same. Ever. Not another single moment of your life will occur without this new little person in your mind. No matter what.
I never understood, and neither will you, until you go through it. Until the hours or minutes of screaming, the pain, the surgery, whatever it takes for that moment to come when this new person who wasn’t a person, wasn’t an anything before your body worked its impossible magic and created something so over-the-top perfect…until this little being is crying, or looking, or lying in your arms, you’ll never know what it’s like. Love. Pure, completely unfaltering love. And fear. An overwhelming love mixed with an overwhelming fear and worry and joy and terrifying, breath-stopping fear. This perfect little gorgeous and incredible being is here now, and completely reliant on you. And you’re completely reliant on her, or him, but in my case, just her, times two.
And then the days are revolving around something else other than you and you wonder things like ‘why did I ever complain about being bored’ because boredom is a word stripped from your vocabulary for the foreseeable future. There might never again be a time where I sit and think ‘I have nothing to do’. And things you may have thought were disgusting before have become a numb part of your everyday routine. I say numb because you don’t think twice about smelling a wet spot to see if it’s poop, or spit up, or vomit. You just do it.
Sleep has become so scarce that you consider your ability to function normally without it as a strength in your new lifestyle. Your new lifestyle, of course, being one that revolves around something else other than you. For the rest of your life.
You’d do whatever it takes to keep that new person thriving and even when you have no idea what to do, you do it. You listen to all the advise, you follow your instinct, you call the doctor, you call your mother, you call your friend who’s a mother, you express your concerns to the world and listen to the feedback, you wonder every moment of every day whether what you’re doing is the right thing or if you should be doing something else. And it’s never the right thing, but then you tell yourself, that’s not a bad thing. Or is it?
Where are the answers? Why haven’t we figured them all out yet? We’ve had millions of chances, billions of experiences with this, why isn’t there a concise list of undeniable answers to all of the questions I’ll ever have about how to do the right thing so my perfect little being can have the perfect life? Because we don’t have control over everything…anything. And that’s where the fear comes in. I can’t control the outcome, so my pure joy is always tinted a little darker with fear. And that’s okay, the trade off is totally worth it.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Contests Coming Up :)

I'm starting to come up with new ideas for my shop and I want to start making samples...and since I'll have sample pieces of jewelry or key chains lying around, I might as well put them to good use and promote my blog.  This blog is obviously a bit unconventional, considering I write about so many different topics (writing, breastfeeding, parenting, jewelry, even weight loss), so I don't know if I'll ever have a real audience, but it can't hurt to try, right?

So, in the next couple of weeks, I'm going to post photos and info about some sample products.  At some point, I'll start a contest that if people follow my blog, or comment on a post, they'll be entered to win the sample jewelry.

Sound good?  I've never done this before, and I'm too lazy (busy?) to really look into the proper way of going about it, but if you comment as yourself, or 'follow' my blog, it's easy for me to keep track and I can use the profile you comment with to contact you when you win.  There will probably be other ways to enter the contest (like sharing the blog on facebook, or liking my jewelry shop on facebook, I'll have to figure out the logistics before the contests really start).

Just wanted to plant the seed, since I've been considering this for a while.

Who knows, the odds will probably be pretty good that you'll win!  :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

White COPPRclay!!!

I LOVE it!  I don't have a ton of experience with it yet but the little experience I've had was excellent.  The clay right out of the bag has a bronze clay color (don't let it deceive you, the final fired product is deceivingly silver).  It has a good consistency, not as crumbly as the bronze right out of the bag, but not as soft and pliable as silver.  It didn't seem to dry out very fast either, but I only made flat keychains with imprints, so I didn't work with it long enough to have a reliable opinion.

So the reason I bought this clay in the first place was in hopes that it'll be a better medium to make sturdy silver colored keychains without breaking from the slightest tap against another hard surface like Hadar's White Bronze Clay (terrible excuse for a metal...I never had a good experience firing it, it's a waste of money, in my opinion).

In the clay form, White COPPRclay is just fine.  I didn't really care how it handled the clay form though, I was more interested in how it'd turn out after being fired.  I found a couple of sites instructing to fire it in two phases (ramp to 500 to 600 degrees and hold for 10 minutes...the only thing I changed here was having it hold for 15 minutes because my keychains were thick and I worried the binder wouldn't burn probably would have been fine at 10 minutes).

The second phase instructs you to ramp full to 1850 and hold for 2 hours.  And it specifies that temperature regardless of the size of the piece.  This gave me a glimmer of hope that it would turn out okay.  The other thing that made me confident was the fact that this metal is supposed to be able to bend after it's fired.  White Bronze specifically instructs the fired piece not to be hammered or bent (um, because the tiniest impact with this 'metal' breaks it into several pieces).  I found another article describing alternate firing times here.  So I went with a higher temperature (I'm jaded from all the problems with the White Bronze not sintering).  I set the kiln to full ramp to 1925 degrees for 2 hours, but I turned off the kiln at 1 hr 15 min because it started to smell like it was on fire.  Aside from the terrible fear that either a.) my  house was doomed to burn to the ground, or b.) my kiln was ruined, I waited several hours (about 8, to be honest) for the kiln to cool to room temperature (which is actually instructed with White COPPRclay, but I also was afraid I'd open the kiln to find a flaming melted steel box).  When it was all cooled off, I pulled out the three keychains I had fired...all three looked lovely.  A beautiful silver color straight out of the carbon.  And after carefully tapping the keychain I made for my husband on the dryer, I heard the sweet sound of the jingle of metal against metal.  I got brave and dropped it on the floor (basically cement with linoleum over it).  Not only did it stay intact, it actually bounced, like when you drop a coin and have to chase it across the room.  Success!! On the FIRST try!!!

So, I'm hooked.  Bring on the sales!  I guess to have sales, I'll need to make more samples to post.  And I'll need to actually renew items in my shop.  Currently, nothing is for sale.  Everything in good time.  I'm glad I wrote my previous helped me overcome some of the anxieties I had in the process of making these keychains.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I have a serious issue with this.  I mean, serious enough that I start to dread the easiest, most basic tasks that I know will only take a few minutes to complete.  If there's anything about the task that I'm uncomfortable with or anxious about (a piece of jewelry coming out less than par, a task I'm not 1,000% sure how to do, etc.) I put it off for days...even weeks sometimes.  And it gets to the point where I start feeling slightly sick when I think about it.  So that's a problem.  Sometimes I don't even realize it's something I'm procrastinating until it's already delayed or ridiculously close to the deadline.  Why can't I just get things done?  I know how much I hate worrying about them and putting things off will only make me feel worse.

So starting this week: 
I'll get the things I need to do DONE by the end of the week.


I'll start recognizing things I'm putting off before I let them go too long and I'll complete them as soon as I can. 


There's no way I'll automatically stop procrastinating, but if I make a habit of this, maybe I won't feel so uncomfortable about things like this anymore.  Seriously, just thinking about some of the things I have to do right now makes my arms go a little awful is that?  I should probably seek professional help about this, ha.  No, but seriously, I probably should. 

So tonight, I'll start one of the jewelry tasks I've been putting off and I'll finish the other jewelry task I've had ready to finish for a few days now.  Both things have aspects about them that make me nervous (I'm afraid they won't turn out as good as I want them to so I'm avoiding them...which isn't helping the situation at is what it is, putting them off won't change that). 

On a brighter note, I started writing a short story when I got that Asus t100 and I'm really happy with it so far.  It's giving me the chance to work on the voice I want my writing to have. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Trying to Get Healthier

When I had my first daughter, I lost weight much quicker than I'm losing now.  I know this because I used Calorie Count and I've gone back to check (since it keeps that kind of crap for I can easily go back and see how much less I weighed in 2008 than I do now).  Since Peanut Butter was born, I've been eating as much or more than when I was pregnant.  So I've lost about 5 total pounds since the water weight went away after labor.  That puts me at about 20 pounds more than I was before I got pregnant.  TWENTY pounds.

So, starting this past Sunday, I began calculating my calories again on Calorie Count.  It's not like this is the first time I've tried using this since it worked so well for me...back in 2008, of course...I actually lost 20 pounds then, keeping track of what I ate and exercising. I ate 500 less calories a day than I burned and lost that much weight in less than 4 months.

In just the 3 days since starting this, I've 'lost' 2 pounds.  FYI, I know this doesn't mean I actually lost that much weight.  It's water weight and it's probably about what I would be if I was eating a little less crap and a little more fruits and vegetables.  I've decided only to weigh myself every other day, hoping this'll keep me from getting discouraged when the weight isn't changing.  Weight isn't the only thing that matters, blah blah blah, but when you look in the mirror and see a size you've never been before, and most of your clothes don't fit, and the number on the scale calculates with your height to put you in the 'overweight' range, it's okay to want to worry and work on changing a self-destructive lifestyle.  My baby deserves a cleaner supply of breastmilk and I deserve to care about how I look and feel about myself.

There is a bit of talk that losing too much weight, too fast while breastfeeding can result in toxins in the milk, but trust me, I'm not going to lose too much weight, too fast.

On a total side note, I freakin love my new bluetooth.  Wore it running tonight with the dog, stayed put and didn't cut out at all...having something in just one ear gives me the chance to hear whatever I'm listening to (currently 'Dark Places' by Gillian Flynn) and the traffic.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

New Bluetooth Headset

Someone forgot their fancy Platronics bluetooth headset at our Legislative Day event at the AZ state capitol building this past Wednesday.   So instead of letting it gather dust in lost and found, I paired it with my phone and tried it out.  The thing has a thousand times better signal with my iPhone 5 than the one I currently have (which has such terrible range that if I put my phone in my pocket, or turn my head away from my phone, the signal cuts out).  I honestly didn't think I could get a bluetooth headset that would work better than the pathetic marginal connection I've been dealing with for over a year.  So I never looked.  Okay, it's not like I am just the type to accept something that has such poor quality, I had one before that had just as bad of a connection and range, and I also find the same issue happening with a couple of bluetooth speakers I've used.  I just thought, bluetooth must just not work too well with the iPhone 5.  Whatever.  And I love the idea of having a discreet little headphone in one ear so that I can listen to podcasts, NPR, an Audiobook, all without having the hassle of interrupting others or dealing with cords getting caught on things.  So I've dealt with the crappy signal.  Made sure to stick my phone in my bra (great signal there), or tuck it upright in my right back pocket (works well unless I bend down to pick something up), or in my armband on my right bicep (which, believe it or not, also loses signal quite regularly).  And I've trudged on...continuing to listen to my broken up podcasts or books, hoping the next iPhone would work better (and by next, I mean the iPhone 6, or whatever it'll be called).  Until I paired this Platronics Voyager Legend bluetooth.  No signal was lost with my phone in my pocket, or if I turned my head, not even when I put my phone behind my back and sat smothering it into the office chair at work.  So I decided all hope wasn't lost.  Maybe I just needed to research this more.  Finding pretty much the same reviews and mediocre possibilities as I now remember finding last year when I purchased the bluetooth I have, I decided to just walk around Best Buy and ask one of the people who are paid to know things like this.  She knew nothing.  Pointed to the platronics one I was borrowing from the lost and found (it's freakin huge and bulky, I'll post a photo...)
I mean, the microphone is just ridiculous, especially considering I don't ever intend to use this to make phone calls, unless it's too inconvenient not to.  So I had a little birthday money stashed away and figured, since that annoying Best Buy employee can't point me in the right direction, I'll just buy bluetooth after bluetooth until I find one that works this well.

I'm SOOOO happy I did.  The first try was the winner.  The box said something about having a range up to 300ft...sold.   It's a Motorola Boom and I did actually see some positive reviews for it during my research.  I'm so glad I made that choice.  When i finally figured out how to get it to work (I kept expecting it to have a little light show up when plugging it in to charge it but it turns out, the light is so tiny, I thought it was a speck of paint on the volume buttons...there's a much more appropriate looking spot on the outside that isn't actually a light).
So once I realized it was actually working fine, I paired it with my phone, and feeling a bit nervous, slid my phone into my pocket to test it out.  Expecting the typical break in signal, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I can have my phone in any pocket, turn my head in any direction, even walk into another room, and this thing never loses signal.  It does when the microwave is on (duh), or if I walk too far away, or have too many walls between my ear and my phone, but I seriously couldn't duck behind the couch before without missing most of what Ira Glass was saying.   So obviously I've been listening constantly.  I finished One More Thing by BJ Novak...which was less entertaining, in my opinion, after the halfway point.  Caught up on my favorite podcasts (Books on the Nightstand, Studio 360, some other NPR ones, I Should be Writing, All Write Already, Writing Excuses), started 'Dark Places' by Gillian Flynn...whenever I get back into doing something like this (which feels like a break for my brain while my body is doing something unpleasant, like folding clothes), I get all forgiving of myself for not doing everything I want to do with my life.  For instance, I haven't been writing much at all since I finished editing my book for the second time.  And this afternoon I decided, it doesn't mean I'm not a writer. It doesn't mean I'm giving up on myself.  I can take a damn break, for crying out loud.  The reason doesn't matter.  So I'm upset with my writing right now...that doesn't mean I need to quit for good.  I need to be okay with myself before I force myself to write when I don't want to, which will make it feel even more forced and horrible.

Okay, this was a lot more detail than it needed to be to get the simple point across that I got a new bluetooth, and it's awesome.  So, if you're like me and you like listening to talk radio, podcasts, audiobooks, and you have a smartphone (seriously, how did I exist before my iPhone?), and you want a good Bluetooth...try this one out.  It's freakin awesome.