Still Getting my Mojo Back

It’s been a couple weeks since I got to light my torch and I’ve been blowing out the cobwebs since then. I made a set, posted it, got no love, got discouraged, rinse, repeat. Yeah, I’m not getting any love in the Facebook groups. Lots of hearts but no love, so to speak.

0D83BDA3-87F9-4415-A944-F705F488A82A

Wanna buy me? No? Sigh.

I sold those hearts a couple weeks ago so I decided to make more hearts. They are loveless also.

D4E345F2-923D-4C99-BA6F-D0B1DB5201B4

How about these? No? You are not alone.

In the midst of all these non sales, I totally forgot about Mother’s Day.  Luckily my sister reminded me in time to make some beads and get a necklace together because I think my mom already has a strawberry necklace.

330B8B57-114B-4397-998E-AB95C20DA01B

Mom’s new Jenny Elisabeth piece. Shhh.  Don’t tell.

So far, I haven’t done anything other than the hearts and strawberries  I’m still scared to use my fancy glass or big presses.  It’s cool though.  No pressure.  Just slowly getting my mojo back.

 

Quarantine Blues

Patience isn’t my strongest suit. Typically, I want things right now and waiting is always a last resort. So, when I say that I’m trying to be patient while the pieces of my studio arrive, I do so with gritted teeth.

I desperately want to be melting glass right now, sweating in my garage instead of sitting on my couch in my air conditioned living room. That’s saying something.

Part of the problem is that, thanks to this quarantine, I haven’t done much of anything for a while. Anxiety and fear seems to take up most of my day.  And I’m one of the lucky ones. I haven’t lost anything due to the shutdown and nobody I know has gotten sick.  Personally, I’ve only experienced what can best be described as minor inconveniences. That doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to my psyche, though.

I really think that glass-working will improve my mental state. I’ll be flexing my creative muscle.  I’ll be productive. And there’s the possibility that I’ll be able to make some money doing it. I’ve been watching several lampwork auction groups for a couple weeks now and my style of beads have either gone out of fashion, or I’m going to to corner a new market.

And speaking of these lampwork groups, I’m just going to say, WTF?! I’ve seen some beads sell that I think were intended to be round but didn’t quite achieve it. Sell, as in somebody paid actual money for them.

Maybe I should just stop watching these groups because it makes me even more eager to get out and torch. If only my parts weren’t on the slow boat because my 2-day Amazon Prime shipping is now 2-week Prime shipping. **Gritted teeth**

I know, I know. Patience.

Turn, Turn, Turn

There is a season… It’s been pointed out to me that I do things in cycles, or seasons, if you will. I’ll go through periods of time obsessed with something, like glasswork or gaming, then not touch it for months and months. I burn myself out on it, I guess.

Honestly, I’m not likely to change that, so this isn’t going to be resolution post where I’ll swear that I will keep lampworking, or blogging, or anything else. All I will promise is that I will do my best at what I’m doing at the moment.

One thing I want to do better with this “season” is my photography. Photography can make or break a bead artist. This time around, I’m going to be marketing my wares through Facebook groups, like Lampwork Bead Market. I’ll be posting pictures along side amazing artists from around the world.

Not sure how this is going to work, but instead of my old point and shoot camera, I’ll be using my iPhone X. My sister gifted me with a tripod for iPhones (a necessity) and a grey card, which I’ve never used before but hear that it improves color balance. I’m going to need all the help I can get.

I may change focus, often… but one thing that never changes is the unwavering support of my family.  I couldn’t do this without them.

Cha-cha-cha Changes

My last blog entry was my first in five years and I mentioned that there had been a lot of changes in those years, but I didn’t specifically say what they were other than mentioning that we sold our house. I also left my job, so I’m hoping to make lampwork my full-time gig. I’m not delusional though.  I’d just like a hobby that supports itself. 

But the best, most awesome change has been the addition of this little guy.

To say that Charlie is the light of our life is an understatement. He’s going to be my little bead buddy.

Obsession of the Week – February 1, 2013 Edition

January is over!! Yay. January has always been a tough month in my family, financially speaking. We’re just coming out of Christmas and BAM! It’s a month of birthdays. No joking, there are at least 2 birthdays in my family every week in the month of January. Luckily, not all of the birthday peeps are in the gift-necessary column. The biggies for me are my dad and my sister. My sister’s obsession has been nail polish with glitter and not just any glitter, but big ol’ honkin’ glitter. Her best friend posted a link on Facebook to some cool nail polish (made cooler by its name – Clown Puke) so I went off on a hunt for it. I ended up finding it on Etsy of all places… It was more expensive than the Fergie Wet and Wild stuff my sister has been buying, but I splurged since it was for her birthday. I’m such a good sister. 🙂

My sister wasn’t the only one that got gifts last week. I ordered myself some stuff from Howaco, which sells all kinds of cool things for hot glass. (If that’s not their slogan, it totally should be. And I should get a commission. I’d take it in store credit.) I can’t wait to actually get it. I ordered some cubic zirconias which a lot of people put in their beads. I’ve never done it, but I saw a tutorial that uses them and super sparkle powder, so I ordered some. Shit is going to SHINE!! I hope.

I also ordered a new graphite bead shaper. This one is “tear drop” shaped but in my mind, I see Easter eggs. I tried to make eggs last year. It didn’t go well. In fact, I never even bothered to take them off the mandrels, that’s how bad they were and how disgusted I was. They’re still sitting in my water bowl, on the mandrels, looking pathetic. I should just take them off and throw them out. Or I can leave them as an example of how not to make Easter eggs.

But this week, I’ve still been on an etched copper streak, only this time I’m trying to find out how/why things went so wrong. The awesome, amazeballs etching solutions I was so stoked about totally fizzled out on me. It just won’t etch anything, or etches it so slowly that all the toner resist gets eaten off the copper before the etch can happen. Frustrated and kind of ticked off, I ended up chucking the “new” cupric chloride solution (responsibly, of course) and going back to the “old” ferric chloride.

I’m sure there’s some sort of chemical reason why the stuff isn’t working and it’s probably involves calculations with letters and numbers in there. Can I tell you how much I hate math that puts letters in the equations? Like, a lot. Who failed Algebra twice in high school? THIS girl! Anyway, this new stuff might be too difficult for me to maintain and reuse, being mathematically challenged and all, and you know, not in a laboratory. However, if I’m going to dispose of etching solution every two or three uses, darn skippy it’s going to be the new stuff. Fast (relatively) clean etch every time? Yes, please.

So, that’s it for me this week, except for this… Jenny Elisabeth Jewels and More had its MOST PROFITABLE MONTH EVER. This is thanks to my awesome, supportive co-workers. They are what keeps me at my job. Well, that and the pay check. 🙂

New Thing – Obsession of the Week

I’ve been told by my family that I have the attention span of a gnat. Because the common Gnat lives until the ripe old age of 10 days, I don’t think they meant it as a compliment. What ever.

I’ve made lemonade from those lemons and have collected a lot of different interests. When something strikes my interest I allow it to completely consume my thoughts. I read EVERYTHING. I watch YouTube videos for hours.

So, rather than try to come up with brand new topics all the time, I’m going to try a new thing and share what my current obsession is. Most of the time, it will be craft related, but a video game may slip in there every now and then.

My hope is that, even if nobody reads it, which, let’s face it, is a very real possibility, I can look back at my progress during this Year of Crafts. It might even help to keep me on track, especially if I start posting too much about video games. (There are some new ones coming out that I’m super excited about, but I digress.)

I’m going to aim for posting these on Fridays. We’ll see how it goes.

Dollars and Sense

I designated 2013 as the Year of the Crafts and so far, I have kept the resolution. (I know we’re only 4 weeks into 2013, but it’s about 3 weeks longer than I’ve ever kept a dieting resolution, so there!)

I’ve even tried some new stuff with copper etching, written a tutorial on making coasters and just spent time doing a lot of lampworking. I even kept the part of the resolution about posting stuff on Etsy and I already made a sale. Hands down, that beats 2012.

But this year is still fresh and I’ve spent a lot of my discretionary capital on crafting. Like, a lot. Like, don’t-tell-my-husband a lot.

I think the main problem that I have is that when I sell an item, I tend to spend the proceeds immediately by “re-investing” it back into materials. Unfortunately, I tend to re-invest the money at a rate of about 3 to 1. Make $40 on a necklace? Place an order for $120 worth the glass. Ugh. I don’t even want to think of how much money I’ve spent on lampworking tools and supplies. Seriously. I get queasy just thinking about it.

Another problem I have is that I tend to throw money at problems and hope they go away. Can’t master a technique? Buy a new tool, or a tutorial. Still having trouble? Buy new materials.

Crafting is not the only area of my life that I do this. I love video games; have ever since I was little and my dad brought home an Atari 2600 and PacMan. A couple years ago, I got hooked on Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMO’s for short). I played World of Warcraft for days at a time. When I wasn’t playing, I was reading forums and strategy guides. I was doing everything I was supposed to, but I still wasn’t “1337”.** So, I bought a new keyboard, a new mouse, new headset, new computer and now I’m…

Now I’m a mediocre gamer with a lot of nice stuff.

Nobody (and especially not me) ever wants to use the sense that God gave them and concede there’s only one thing that will significantly improve your skills, be them lampworking or gaming, and you cannot buy it in a store. It’s the dreaded “practice, practice, practice.” I know this in my heart, but it doesn’t stop me from using dollars before sense.

But this is something that I really need to do, and quickly. My husband is eventually going to look at my bank statements. Then it will be “Game Over.”

**1337 is “leet speak” for, well, “leet” as in “Elite.” Yeah, don’t ask me. I’m sure it was dreamed up by a 12 year old boy.

Weekend Update

I’d classify this as a very productive weekend. On Saturday, I started with some lampworking. I had oversold a bracelet during the week to my coworkers so I had to get crackin’ on some beads. (Isn’t it weird that you can have stock in your inventory for over a year and nobody is interested then all of a sudden BAM, and you need to hustle to fill demand?). So, I hit the torch early and hard and cranked out everything I needed plus a couple extras for insurance. I also prepped a couple plain spacer beads that I would put to good use later.

20130121-201046.jpg

I actually think these are better than the original.

Then the fun started. I broke out my brand-spankin’ new copper etching materials and got jiggy wid it. There were some rough moments with ironing my toner printed image onto the copper disk but I soldiered on. Soon enough, I had my copper disks soaking in a Ferric Chloride bath. Then I waited, then waited some more. I am soooo not a patient person. I checked them every ten minutes despite the fact that I knew they would take at least 45 minutes. Finally, I threw caution to the wind and fished them out of brown muck.

20130121-201320.jpg

I put a bird on it! And some etched lampwork spacers.

It wasn’t a deep etch, but it was enough. I slapped some patina on them, buffed them up then dapped them then punched them, then strung them… Wow. Tortured copper. Heh.

They turned out way better than I had hoped and I love them so much that I’m going to keep them, which is way out of the ordinary for me. I’ll eventually get around to putting some in my Etsy store when I get my process nailed down better and get some time to make something other than beads for oversold bracelets.