My shop!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

it's been a while, eh?

Wow, I didn't realize the last time I posted was mid November...I guess life has been busy!  It's been flying by! 
In sales news:  I was in my first craft fair last weekend!  It was just a small one...not a whole lot of people came through, but I did manage to sell some pendants and quite a few sets of I'm happy with my first show!  And now I'm feeling a bit more confident for a bigger was a good small one to get my feet wet!

I'm also working on a couple custom orders for friends at the moment...they will be xmas presents for various family members.  That is going well, but slowly!  Winter is definitely not a friend to resin workers!  The resin takes a LOT longer to set when it is cold...and I work in an unheated some of my items have not set at all...even with the little space heater I bought.

Because of the cold weather resin difficulties, I'm branching out a bit to other materials.  I recently got some sterling silver wire, and made what I think are a fabulous pair of earrings with some jasper beads!

 I've also started felting a little bit (inspired by a fabulous felted pouch I got from a fellow Dlister - thanks Fiberpuppy!!)  I've made a set of felted drink tags, and some felted earrings (that I can't bear to part with I love them so much!)

So, perhaps felted and beaded items will be my winter stock, and resin will be the summer stock!

I'm not picky...I just really enjoy the creating!!!  And always having something slightly new is just fine with husband keeps telling me how proud/amazed he is that I've lasted this long with the resin...usually I go through bouts of activity and then lose interest...or rather my interest gets diverted to a new project.  But I gotta say, I don't feel that happening anytime soon with this one!  I think partly because every pendant/set of earrings/etc. is something slightly new and different each time!

If I don't post again before Christmas, have a very merry Christmas, a wonderful holiday season, and I wish you all the best in the new year!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

the last sale

well, the team sale last weekend didn't go quite as well as I was hoping for.  No "sale" sales for me...le sigh.  But I did have a bunch of sales to a very good friend who bought a bunch of stuff for Christmas that keeps my spirits up about this crazy adventure I've got myself into!

The HandmadeMN team is having another sale Black Friday through Cyber Monday...I'll be offering free shipping this time.  I hope it goes better!  *fingers crossed*

And I'm in a craft show in early December, so here's hoping to at least get the business out of the red!  And make a little Christmas spending money in the process!

I'll keep you posted on how it all goes!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Upcoming sale!!!!

Just wanted to let you all know about a sale coming up Nov 13-15th.  It features members from one of the teams I am on, the HandmadeMN street team.   Each participating team member has set their own sale conditions for the sale dates.  From my shop you will receive a 15% discount, reimbursed through paypal, on all purchases!  Just type SaleMN in the message to the buyer during checkout.

To see what other members are participating and to check out all the deals to be had, see the team blog at for more details!  Happy early Christmas shopping, spread the word, and thanks for supporting independent artists!

Just a teaser of some of the great things you can look forward to on your shopping spree!


Happy Shopping!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

my rookie mistake

As promised, this installment will be more productive...or at least I hope it will be helpful to anybody just starting out.  I'd like to retell the story of "my first mistake" with my shop...I'm sure there will still be many, many, many more to follow!

So back in May of this year, I set myself up with my shop etsy account...I picked out my shop name, I was hard at work making a banner, taking pictures of my items (the first set of pictures I took could be considered another mistake!  They were not some of my best work...).  I already had tonnes of stock...I had been making the pendants for while with the intention of opening an etsy shop, but it took me a bit of time (and prodding from my husband) to actually take the plunge and put my work out there for the etsian world to judge.  I don't know if that feeling is the same for all first time shop starters...but for me, even though you get to hide behind a cloak of anonymity with an online store, it still took a bit of nerve to actually put myself out there with my art/craft.  What if people don't like it?  What if people don't buy it?  What if people love it and they buy me out of all my stock right away...I won't have time to make more for a while!  (yah, well, that certainly didn't happen...who was I kidding?!?!)  But these are the thoughts that ran through my head.

But once I took the first part of the plunge, and actually set up my shop, then I became impatient to list things...big surprise...I was impatient  ;)

So as soon as I could, I listed my first set of items.  Only thing was, I was going to be out of town for 2 months straight...I couldn't very well have a shop with items and be gone for 2 months!  How would I ship all those items I was going to sell??  But, there is this fabulous thing called "vacation mode" on etsy for just that reason.  So, great!  I thought, well, I'll list my items, then just put my shop on vacation for the next 2 months and carry on when I return.  And that's what I did...and that was my mistake.  Doh! 

I didn't really take into account that when you search on etsy, the default for sorting items is by date.  So listing/relisting is a way to get items at the top of the search list.  By listing items, then putting my shop on vacation, my hard earned "top spot" on the search list was gone!  You can't find a shop that is on vacation.  So when I got back after 2 months and my shop returned to a searchable state, those items I had listed were WAY back in the page count.  They never even got the chance to be in the top!  Needless to say, I had to relist.

So, do as I say, not as I did...if you are about to go on vacation, don't waste your listing fee by putting up new items.  Wait until you are back to list those items and keep that top spot on the search!!


Monday, October 26, 2009

going postal

I received a message last week from somebody who bought a pendant from me.  It arrived to her broken!  I was so upset by this.  Needless to say, I'm making her a new one free of charge.  I always mail my pendants in bubble I kinda thought they were indestructible...given that I have dropped my fair share on the cold concrete floor of the garage and nothing happened.  So I think they are mostly indestructible...except for the rough handling of the postal system.  I will be sure to always have the post hand stamp them from now on...

Which leads me to my rant...I have nothing against the postal take stuff to them, they take it across the country/world for's great.  The thing that drives me absolutely crazy is the post office that is 4 blocks from my house.  I mail my stuff in the morning on my way to work, and every time I go in there, I leave incredibly angry and fuming all the way to work.  There is always a line out the door...and the main mail guy (who is ALWAYS there...can't he just be on vacation once!?!?) drives me CRAZY!  He always has a giant list of questions he asks every single customer...

"Do you want to send it priority?" No (that's why I asked for first class!!!)
"Do you want to send it certified?"  see above response
"Do you want insurance?" No
"Do you want a delivery receipt?" No
"How about stamps?" "Mailers?" "Bubble wrap?" "etc. etc". No .

And the list goes's a 5 min spiel per customer..meanwhile people in line are getting antsy...even to the point that every second time I'm in there it seems like people in line are verbalizing their annoyance and telling him to "hurry up there is a line".  Meanwhile the other postal workers are nowhere to be found...or they wander back and forth behind the counter but don't actually help any customers...and I know I am not the most patient person ever, but it got to the point that I refuse to go there anymore.  I found a different post that is 5 miles away instead of 4 blocks, just so I wouldn't have to deal with "the dreaded postal worker".

Oh, I'm all worked up just typing this!  GRRR!

Oh, and the first time I went in there, I asked for my package to be hand stamped and was told they didn't think it was necessary.  I should have said something...after all, it is not up to them to's my package!  But as far as I know this issue (the postal breaking of pendant) has only  happened the one time.

But, I'm happy to report I've been nothing but happy with "my new post office".  The workers are friendly and efficient...and willing to hand stamp my packages without question!

Thank you all for letting me rant...I promise the next installment will be more productive.


Thursday, October 22, 2009


Let me give you some background about how I started and what I do.  First of all, I'm a college professor.  I teach Geology at a community college.  Which means I have my summer free (yipee!).  But it also means that come mid summer I start to get bored.  Turns out I need to keep busy.  So in order to keep myself busy I started to craft.  My crafting has taken various forms, but this past spring I landed on making resin jewelry.

I found myself buying a lot of pendants (mostly resin) and got to wondering...."I'm crafty...I had to embed a lot of rocks in epoxy in grad school so this is not new to me...I bet I could do this!"  And off I ran with it!  I started with a non-toxic-have-to-measure-very-carefully-to-get-it-to-set-right epoxy....this was not for me.  So I bought the stinky toxic stuff...much easier to work with (for me, although I've chatted with others who have had great success with the first kind).  And spent a bunch of money (and by bunch, I mean <50$) on fancy molds...of which I only use 2 still.  And made a bunch of crappy pendants that didn't turn out and looked terrible...but I suppose it is a learning process.  And my learning took a turn for the better when I finally did some research into how to make resin pendants (see my grad school training was useful for something!).  And realized I didn't need fancy molds...plain old ice cube trays work beautifully!!! So this is what I mainly use now.

So in case you are wondering here is what I do:
  • mix up a batch of resin - I use the castin' craft clear polyester casting resin with hardener
  • pour a small amount in the bottom of the mold (each ice cube cup) - only a couple mm thick.
  • let it set - 20min to an hour.  It will set faster if it is hot out. This layer will be the top of your pendant.
  • cut your image to size - I draw all my images on the computer (in adobe illustrator) then print them on glossy photo paper on an inkjet printer - I don't seal them with anything and I have never had problems with colors bleeding.  Although I imagine that probably depends on your printer/ink combination.
  • mix a second batch of resin - put about the same amount to a little less than the you did the first time in your mold.  
  • Add your  image face down!  this has to be done fairly quickly so you get the image in the resin before it starts to set...this can be a challenge if you are working in big I suggest you start small at first until you get your speed down!
  • Tap down on the image to remove any trapped air bubbles and make sure the back of the image is covered in resin so everything is sealed.
  • At this point I like to add some glitter to the back...mostly to cover up the back of the paper so you aren't just looking at blank paper...but also because the shape of the molds is such that it creates a little frame that peeks around the image when you are done.  The glitter has to be added before the resin starts to set.  Again...start with small batches until you get the hang of it!
  • Then the waiting begins...and I'm impatient so this is the hardest part for me...
  • Once everything is good and hard...wait at least a couple hours to a day...crack your pendants out...just like cracking out ice!
  • sand the rough edges on the back (resin loses volume as it hardens so there tend to be a bit of a ridge where the resin was touching the edge of the mold) and drill a hole (I use a dremel for this)
  • The last step is putting a ring of some sort through the hole so you can put it on a necklace! 
Alright, well there was my long winded explanation of how I make my jewelry!

ttfn...I must go teach!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

It begins....

I never figured I would be a always struck me as something people who have a lot of time on their hands do, or something people who have a lot to say do...and I fall into neither category particularly...but here I am!  Somehow ready to share my thoughts with the world...or at least those few random people who happen to stumble upon this and read past the first sentence.

Let me apologize off the bat for the way I tends to be a bit of a stream of consciousness.  Hence the excessive use of ellipses.  And if you are an english major, or a grammar guru, please, please, please, don't penalize me for this!

The purpose of this blog is to share with you all (or you 3 if that's how it turns out) about my new adventure in life.  I took that brave new step, and opened an etsy shop.  To share my craft with the world, for better or worse.  For those of you that don't know, etsy is an online shop that supports local artists/crafters and the handmade movement.  And it is full of amazing and wonderful things!  So really this blog will kinda be a running commentary on that...meant to do 2 things: 1) share the trials and tribulations of my new craft and navigating the weird and wonderful world of etsy, and b) to inspire you all to give it a try!  If I can do it,  (albeit not with much success...yet!) so can you!

So begins "My life in the garage..."  I work with resin (necklace pendants mostly but also earrings and magnets) and it is stinky stuff.  So my crafting area has become the garage...which is unheated...we'll see how much I get done once winter arrives.  ;) 


click on the picture to the right, follow the links at the bottom, click on if you want to see more of what I make.