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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.