Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thank you!

Thank you to my customers and friends for a great show this past weekend.  It was good to see so many people after the long, hard winter we've had this year. 

Many of my new pieces flew out the door this weekend.  I'm always happy when they find good homes with wonderful friends. 

So far, this week has been busy with family and dr. appointments.  Dad got a new pair of glasses, but is having issues with glare so I see another trip to the mall in our future.  My shingles is getting better and has not affected my eye.  I have another appointment with the eye dr. in 3 weeks so hope that will be the end of it. 

Lots more to do this week--orders to fill, clothes to wash, house to clean, friends to see, beads to buy, more jewelry to make...

So have a good week!!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Arts and Craft Show in Bloomington, MN

Arts and craft fair at Southtown Mall this weekend:

Bloomington, MN, I-494 and Penn Ave.; south of 494 across from Kohls,

Friday 10 to 9
Saturday 10 to 6
Sunday 11 to 4

Stop in!! Mention you saw me on Facebook for 20% your purchase

I'm in front of the Dress Barn, a good place for jewelry


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Finding the Right Torch for Copper Clay

I spent the past couple of days firing more copper charms.  My hubby bought me a cute little handheld torch that I was dying to try.  However, I had no pieces that were ready to fire.  So I spent Sunday playing with copper clay, stamps and molds.  You would think with the hundreds of stamps I have sitting around, that stamping would be easy.  Not so much.  You need stamps with deep impressions.  Most of my favorite stamps do not fit this description.  Also, you don't want the stamps to be too busy for the small shapes I intended to make.  I do have some neat cutter shapes so that I was able to make many charms in different sizes.  It took me all day.

Monday I sat in the porch and tried out the new torch.  However, it seems the cute little torch does not put out enough heat.  The whole piece is supposed to turn a peachy color; if there are spots of glowing bright orange, that is too hot and you need to back off a bit.  I had lots of trouble with this; even on a small charm, the metal clay heated up in spots.  Whereever the torch hit the charm, that spot would get bright, but the rest of the charm was dark.  I tried to fire several pieces, but it wasn't going well.  They were so brittle, that when I tried to burnish them, they broke into pieces. 

I tried to find the tank and nozzle I had used the previous weekend, but it was somewhere in the back garage and I couldn't find it.  So I had to give up until hubby came home and dug it out for me.

Tuesday I fired more charms with the old tank and nozzle.  That worked much better as far as producing an even temperature throughout the charm.  Two of the charms were pretty large so I heated them for an extra 2 minutes each (for a total of 9 minutes), but the color doesn't look quite right and the surface oxidation didn't come off like it should when I dropped them in cool water.  They are the flowers in the picture below on the top left and bottom left.  The top flower is still pretty red and the bottom flower looks more like darkened silver than copper.  I did use 3 different propane tanks and they each seemed to produce different results. 

I also pressed the stamps into the clay a little too hard in a couple instances where the pieces broke along the deeper grooves.  The bird on the left should have been in a larger oval; when a small piece of the background under his beak broke off, I broke of the rest of the background all the way around his lower body.  I might have to do the same on the top of his head and body.  Another piece broke when I drilled the hole (not shown).  The bird in the middle lost a small part of his tail, but otherwise he turned out pretty good.  I didn't drill a hole in him as I was afraid I'd break his beak.  So he may need a wire-wrapped "cage" of some sort.

Today I polished my charms as best I could with polishing papers.  Once I get some steel shot for the tumbler, I hope polishing will be easier and less time-consuming. 

So that's it for now!!



Friday, March 11, 2011

Whine and Cheese

I had something I wanted to write about yesterday, but the day got away from me and I didn't post anything.  Does it matter?  I have one follower on this blog:  me.  Of course, I'm sure that has to do with the fact that few people know about my blog. 

Yesterday I worked on a newsletter to send out to my friends, family and customers, with information on my Etsy shop, my blog and my show schedule.  I wrote it in Word.  My header, which was a banner with my company name, wouldn't copy over to the e-mail editor I use.  I really wanted my newsletter to look more professional, like some of the newsletter e-mails I get from stores and vendors.  I have Microsoft Publisher on my PC, so I tried re-writing my newsletter with that, and didn't get very far before it was dinner time.  I try very hard not to be on the computer after 5:00 p.m. in order to give that time to my husband.

So I didn't send out the e-mail with all the information on how to find me and read my blog and buy my jewelry.  I will admit here that I also haven't sold anything on Etsy.  I've only had my jewelry on there since January 20th, 2011, but it is still disappointing since it's been a lot of work.

Last Friday I spent quite a few hours taking my own picture.  I had a fresh haircut and told my stylist, Liz (, that I would have to go home and take pictures of myself for marketing purposes.  I am so NOT photogenic.  And SO much a perfectionist.  I even rearranged my library bookshelves so that the background would look good.  I had to make myself laugh before each shot so I didn't look so stupid.  I'm so glad I don't have to look at myself! 

Over the weekend, my husband set me up with a fire brick and a torch in the back porch, and I happily fired copper metal clay pieces that I had made a few weeks ago at a class.  I don't have the required pickle solution, so used vinegar.  It sort of worked.  I also polished the "charms" with my Dremel.  At the end of the weekend, I put the shiny copper charms away in a plastic baggie.  Apparently there was still moisture on the metal as when I took them out the next day, the charms were GREEN!  Which is not the look I was going for at all.  So I spent more time on Monday polishing them.  Then I lost one leaf charm.  I found it today when I ran the garbage disposal.  What a lot of noise a small little copper charm can make!  I don't recommend it as a way to polish metal.

I spent some time Tuesday and Wednesday with my Dad.  Took him to an eye appointment downtown St. Paul, and then we went to the optical store to order a new lens for his glasses.  He only needs one because he's now blind in his right eye.  Mom would never have allowed that to happen, the blindness in one eye.  She would also not have allowed Dad to smoke in the house or use the extra bedroom on the main floor for  wood-carving.  She would have thrown out half of Dad's wardrobe and burned the other half.  The house would be spotless, Dad would weigh more, his hair would be cut and he would never stay in his pajamas all day long.

I did make new jewelry this week, so it wasn't a total loss. 

Maybe I'll get some photos taken and posted next week.

See, I do serve cheese with my whine!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Goals and Schedules

After 3 months, I still can't seem to establish a schedule for getting things done at home.

Of course, anyone who worked with me during the past 10 years knows I had trouble following a daily schedule even while employed.  You cannot set a clock by me!  Now that I'm self-employed, why should it be any different?  Except that I would like to feel that sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a task; in not wasting time on things that don't have as much value as other things I should be or want to be doing.  How did I manage to work full time before this?

Setting Specific Goals
It's good to have goals, but not ones that make you feel like you will never check them off the list.  I need to be more specific in setting my goals.  Instead of saying I need to add more jewelry to my web site and Etsy store, I should quantify it.  For example, I need to add 10 new items to each site every week, and I need to design and make 10 new necklaces or bracelets this week, and I need to apply to 2 more arts and craft shows this week.

Prioritizing My Goals
Am I working on the tasks that are the most important tasks for that day?  If my next art show is in 3 weeks, do my customers know about it?  Do I have new items priced and ready to sell?  Do I have business cards and a show schedule ready to hand out?  Does my web site have the show dates and locations listed? 

Setting Obtainable Goals
Are my goals realistic?  Where does laundry fit in?  Making dinner?  Cleaning the house?  Paying bills, going to the post office, library, etc., and all the other things that need to be done in a week now that I'm home?  If I spend the time adding 10 new items to my web site this week, will I have time to make and price 10 new pieces of jewelry for my next art show? 

Scheduling My Tasks
If I know what my goals are and what is most important each week, I should be able to schedule time to work on them.  I should be able to look at my tasks for the week and know that I'm working toward something that I value, that I'm that much closer to realizing my goal, and that I've spent my time wisely. 

What is it they say?  Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration!

I just need to keep on task!  Which isn't always that easy for a non-task oriented person to do....

In fact, posting on my blog wasn't on today's list of things to do!  Hmmm. 

And now the laundry needs folding.  And I'm a little hungry.  Wonder if there's any mail?