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 off...it 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 post...it 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 numb...how 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 all...it 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 forever...so 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.