Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MORE weird adventures in resin jewelry making

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I wrote a post at the beginning of the month how I had this weird resin curing event happen.  The resin "cured" on top, but slid off the pendant and oozed goo from the sides.  At the time, I thought it was a one time event, so I didn't get to worried about it.

Apparently, I was mistaken.

When it happened a second time (only to one pendant), I thought maybe it was because I was at the end of the bottles of resin and hardener.  Resin HATES water, so I thought maybe some condensation had gotten in and messed with something.  I started new bottles for the next pour.

It happened again.

The entirely bizarre thing is that it's only happening to one (or this time two) pendants.  I do remember that one of the pendants this happened to was one of the last ones to get poured and had more bubbles than the others.  As a result, I had to spend a bit more time using the "straw method" to get out the bubbles.  (Sorry, won't explain that method as I don't want to be responsible for someone hurting themselves.  It can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.)  I'm still thinking it could be excess moisture.

Arrgh.  I obviously need to show some love to resin gods here soon.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Choose the Perfect Engagement Ring

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This great little article came up in my google alerts the other day. Lots of times, these articles are just a big sales pitch, but this one has some very useful information. It's even helpful if your considering ANY jewelry purchase.


How to Choose the Perfect Engagement Ring

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How To Make Bottle Cap Jewelry Using Resin

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I know I have a lot of resin jewelry making enthusiasts who follow my blog, so I'm always on the look out for useful jewelry making articles and videos to share. My google alerts let me know this video got added a couple of days ago and looked like a neat thing to share with blog readers.  (Video is below.)

As I started watching it though, I found this video showed some techniques that, in my experience, may not result in success. So if you're going to watch, here are my comments, precautions and recommendations before you get started:

1. I have not personally used ICE resin (as the video shows), but I have heard mixed reviews about it. Research before you try it.

2. Use separate mixing cups when measuring the resin and hardener. That way if you overpour one of the components, you won't have to waste any.  Pouring both into the same cup and not being exact means your resin won't harden correctly and you will be left with a gooey mess.

3. I like to pour the hardener (from its own cup) into the resin (in its own cup) in a slow stream while I'm mixing. I think you get a better mix and fewer bubbles that way.

4. I like to use my resin right away, even if there are bubbles. There is only a limited time you can use the resin before it hardens. I can always go back and get bubbles out.

5. I think there are safer ways of getting bubbles out of resin than using a torch. One of my methods involves using a hot air gun.

6. I would caution against drilling holes for findings BEFORE placing the resin the bottle cap. What happens if you change your mind and decide you want it to be a magnet? What happens if you place your art in there wrong and realize later that the hole isn't in the right place?

7. If I did decide to place a hole, I certainly wouldn't put the ring in the hole until after the resin has cured. If you spill some resin on your ring and you don't know it, your resin will cure and your ring may be in an unusable position. At least if you spill resin onto the hole, you can go back and drill it out later.

8.  Use extreme care when pouring the resin directly from the cup onto your project.  It tends to come out in big globs and will overfill quickly.  (at least that's what happens to me)

All this being said, I think this video is a great inspiration for a future project!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Resin jewelry I'm working on now

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Maybe you'll believe me. Maybe you won't, but I'm already working on Halloween jewelry.
Seriously lady? Like the kids haven't even gone back to school yet??

It's all about wholesale and being ready for the Thornebrook Art Festival next month.  I like being prepared rather than running around like the proverbial headless chicken (like I used to).

Here's what you'll see next month.  They're not available for purchase yet, but email me a request if you see something you like.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sterling silver filled wire

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I know I have some jewelry making readers of my blog, and I'm curious.  Have any of you used the sterling silver filled wire yet?  What do you think of it?

Here are my experiences and I'm curious to know if you are having the same:

1.  Harder than sterling silver
2.  Tarnishes VERY quickly.  I couldn't believe how quickly ear wires that have been sitting on my desk indoors (e.g. climate controlled) have gone from a clean, shiny metal to bronze colored.  (like two weeks!)
3.  Seem to be wearing as nicely as sterling silver.

How about the rest of you?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Coffee Cup Shopping Cart Creator and Designer review

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*Somewhere between Thankful Thursday and the Thursday rant......it's a shopping cart software review.*

CoffeeCup - HTML and Web Design SoftwareIf you've been following my blog over the last couple of weeks, you will remember that I've talked about upgrading my shopping cart system.  After doing some research and talking to friends, I decided to give the Coffee Cup software system a try.

Full disclosure:  I am NOT a paid spokesperson or am an affiliate for sales.  This is just my experience on using their product.

First, I should probably say why I wanted to design this shopping cart myself.  I talked to a web guy about doing it and well, let's just say it didn't work out.  Multiple reasons why it didn't, and I don't want to discredit what he does, but I was disappointed with how long it was taking to get some of the features I wanted and I was going to have to give up more "control" of my website than I was used to.  (The control was most important to me for tweeking SEO and such.)  So I've been using the Coffee Cart Shopping Cart Creator and Designer (both Pro versions) for about 10 days now.  Here's what I can tell you:

Good things about Coffee Cup:

1.  You can download a trial of their software.  This was a big deal to me.  It would have been a lot less likely that I would have bought it if I didn't get to use that trial first.
2.  Pretty affordable.  Buy what you want (like an a la carte menu) and use it.
3.  Their email support is very attentive.  When I called their customer support line and they said I would have to pay for an appointment, otherwise I could email for free, I was skeptical.  I was pleasantly surprised that I would usually have a response within a few minutes to a couple of hours.  Even on the weekend.  Pretty cool.
4.  I can use the shopping cart system with Paypal Websites Standard (the free version).  This one was a huge advantage.  Most shopping cart systems charge you $30 a month and up, PLUS you have to pay for a merchant account monthly at $10 per month (or more).
5.  You just pay for their software once and get free upgrades.  (At least that's what they advertise at the present.)  No additional monthly fees.
6.  Really useful user forums.  The staff and regular users of the product are pretty good at posting useful information in the topics forum.

Bad things about Coffee Cup:

1.  I had to call my web hosting provider (Go Daddy) 6 times in a period of 24 hours to get several issues fixed.  The issue was in the specifics of the servers my website was running on and the Coffee Cup software not liking those servers.  Probably an over simplification of the problem, but basically, it was stuff out of my control and stuff that I had no idea was going to be a problem.  Kind of annoying, especially since the last problem was an issue with the Coffee Cup software that Coffee Cup says was not their problem.  (Many thanks to Go Daddy for writing me the patch and emailing me the file to upload to the server to get my site up and running without a bunch of errors.)
2.  Everything is a la carte.  You buy only what you think need, only to find out when you want to do something else, you have to buy the upgrade or a whole new program together.  All of a sudden, what looks to be less than a $100 investment can turn into $300 to $400 pretty quickly.  (Now of course as I write this, I see they are running a special on a bundle of the best selling Coffee Cup software programs.  Isn't that always the case???  Buy something before it goes on sale.)
3.  It's kind of a weird system.  If you've never done web designing before, I would be concerned that it's over your head (even though it is the WYSIWYG system), but for someone like me who has used HTML editors, Frontpage and Dreamweaver to create websites, it was a bit annoying not being able to adjust everything like I had been used to.

So the bottom line, would I recommend it?

Well, I already started making sales with the new shopping cart, so something must be better from a customer angle or else it's pure dumb luck.  (Either way, I'll take it.)

If you're thinking about purchasing it, DEFINITELY download the the trial versions first.  I think if you have no experience with web designs, there might be easier systems out there (but maybe they cost more?)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hen party at studio of Linda Blondheim

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Here's some of my random pictures from my hen party at Linda Blondheim's studio on August 6. Thanks everyone who stopped by!

Scrabble tiles on their itty bitty racks.  Just an assortment.  (The snowflake pendant in the lower left was some wishful thinking on my part.  It was HOT outside!)

Elvis did not leave the building with anyone.  Surprising.  I always sell an Elvis at every show.  (until this one anyways)

In the couple of weeks before the event, I saved my mixing cups.  I loved the assortment of bright colors it made.  They look wet, but trust me, they're dry.  (It's a good way too for me to check to see if the resin is curing okay.)

A close up of one of the cups.  If it looks familiar, it's because I use dram medicine mixing cups.  (Like the ones you get on top of children's liquid medicine.)

Now, I will show you some pictures from Linda's studio.

This is one of Linda's "mini" paintings.  Fits easily on a desktop.

Linda's loft studio gives the feeling of your own living room.  Very comfy.

She's got a nice assortment of sizes of paintings.

Linda also has a recipe exchange.  Bring one, take one.  Lots of good ones in there!

What shopping excursion wouldn't be complete without a bargain bin?  Linda's got several paintings in her browse bin.  Great way to start collecting her art.

There was also handmade soaps and knitting at the hen party.

More paintings.  Lots of beautiful Florida landscapes to choose from.

This is the view as you go up the steps to her studio.  It's in the back of the store.

A personal invitation awaits at the bottom of the steps.

And what event wouldn't be complete without some tasty treats!
It made for a perfect afternoon in the loft. 

We all loved it so much we're doing it again!  Mark your calendars for the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving, except this time there will be cake! 

Details forthcoming....

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New resin jewelry shopping cart

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I'm think I'm behind a blog post or two, but here's my excuse:  I'm working on that new shopping cart I've been talking about for months now.  I only have a trial use period of the software, so if I have computer time (which doesn't happen much), I have been working on the cart.

Drumroll please...........

It's ready for its 'soft' launch.  Here it is:  http://www.kmsdesignsonline.com/shop

This is YOUR invitation to go over, view, and make comments here on my blog.  Any and all thoughtful insights are appreciated.  It is a functional shopping cart by the way, so that means if you want to buy something.....you can.  AND, if you buy something AND you're in the USA AND you want free shipping, select that as your shipping option at checkout.

I will be adding new resin jewelry pieces throughout the month, but will be making the official announcement on September 1.  (Free shipping on all orders going to the USA ends at that time too.)

I'll have pictures up from last weekend's Hen Party at Linda Blondheim's studio later in the week.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Resin jewelry by Katherine Swift - new locations

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Excited to share these new retail locations for my resin jewelry:

  • Serenity Bookstore, West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Coastal FX, Stone Harbor, New Jersey
  • Virginia Handcrafts, Forest, Virginia
  • Simply Elan, Versailles, Kentucky
  • Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio

Any by the way, if you're in and around Gainesville tomorrow, stop by the Hen party at the art studio of Linda Blondheim.  It promises to be a good time!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Thankful Thursday

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Thanks to Nancy Grossi and her blog Wife of a Dairyman, I am now inspired to write a Thankful Thursday post.  While the Thursday rant was cheaper than a therapist, I think I need to go on a different path. 

Wait, a minute...I've got one more rant in me. 

If you remember back from a few months ago, I lamented like a really old woman about what's going on with this generation.  We are once AGAIN looking for another babysitter (maybe my kids aren't as well behaved as I thought), and imagine my surprise when the first girl I interviewed this time was a really, really good fit.  She was ready to take the job until I explained I needed a copy of her social security card so that I could file this with the IRS and pay the taxes and such.

"Oh, so this is like a real job.  Taxes are a lot of money.  I don't think I'm interested."

Yes, this is a real job.  Yes, taxes are a lot of money.  and by the way, YES, it's the law.

Do you think you can run that by Target or Macy's?  "I really want this job, but ya know, paying those taxes is a big burden on me.  Can we just not do that?"

Wow, I feel better.  Maybe I'll just have to do mix it up a bit with being thankful.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The weird adventures of resin jewelry making

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Resin can be a fussy beast. I thought I had experienced every weird thing that could happen with resin, until I saw this.

I poured a batch of resin, which covers about 30 or so pendants.  After the 3 days curing time, I went to take them off the curing tray and noticed this one looked "sticky" around the edges.  I touched the top, and it slid off the tile.

The resin had "cured", but didn't stick to the image on the scrabble tile.  Don't ask me why; this was the only one that did it.  Lump that one into the bizarre adventures in resin jewelry making.
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