Thursday, May 23, 2013

Earing Swap Blog Hop - Part 2!

So, The US Postal service decided it didn't want to give my partner the earrings I sent her last week.  So, I made her a new pair!

I will add tracking to these! Let's hope they make it to her :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Great Earring Blog Swap - Reveal

One of the local shops that I try to support on Facebook is Whimsical Monkey, she makes neat things and is a craftsman located in my region. She posted about an Earring Swap Blog Hop in April and I thought that sounded like a great deal of fun. Here are the rules for the swap.

 1) Everyone must be paired with one partner. In special cases where there are an odd number of participants, they can be my partner or I will assign a group of three (but no more than one group of three). Partners will be randomly chosen.
2) You must create a pair of earrings. Any theme, any colors, any supplies, etc. Standard piercing sizes please (i.e. 18-20 gauge wire or earring hooks), no plugs, gauged spirals, etc. (Faux gauges are ok though). Clip on is allowed if your partner cannot wear pierced. 
3) You must have a blog or a Facebook business page for your reveal.
4) You must notify me 2 weeks before the reveal date if you have to cancel. This gives me enough time to find a new partner.

There were a lot of us who signed up! 
~Links of those participating. Check back on the reveal date (May 20th) and see what everybody made!~
Inge von Roos:
Nancy Smith:
Miranda Ackerley:
Shelley Graham Turner:
Ginger Davis Allman:
Nicole Valentine Rimmer:
Stephanie Weiss:
Spun Sugar Beadworks:
Beccy Peterson: Beccy's Baubles
Ani Forsyth: Veil Dancer
Marde Lowe: FanciMar Designs

I was matched with  Kayz Kreationz -  and I had to laugh - I, who am pretty much blue all the way through, got matched with someone who doesn't like blue and doesn't wear it.  It made me smile...and made this hard!

but...I gamely pulled out my beading supplies
 And got out the "Special Box"... :) And starting coming up with ideas.

The golden ones one the left were, pretty...but I couldn't get the attachment to the earring to look professional because the are beaded...and I didn't want to send something half-done - plus they would look much better on brass or gold colored hooks.  The white stars were pretty...but I had the same problem...I couldn't get the attachment to the earring to look right,  and ended up sighing in exasperation and frustration. 

So I walked away for a bit.  Several hours. And I did research online for how to attach earrings...and still couldn't find anything.  So I started messing around in my box again and somehow came up with these.  These I could send to someone...a pretty purple opalescent bead, silver chain, and some quartz crystal...I like them! they went - I hope Kay likes them!

I got my package from Kay and she sent me TWO pairs! Check them out! I love the pair on the right extra for the pretty hooks and the lovely colors.  I am so glad I did this and I hope others also enjoyed the blog.  Even though I think Kay did a much better job of her send out, they looked awesome.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I has the dumb - Explanation and Lessons learned

Here is the art design but with a 5 inch gap in front

On Sunday (Mother's day) I got a message from someone on Etsy that had their commission through another leatherworker fall through. They needed a custom armor jacket and they needed it for a convention (CON) in Chicago on Friday. Could I help them?  Thus begins the saga.
Yes, I can do it (Won't probably again without a rush charge and a custom job charge).  We chatted, we shared images, we discussed what could be done and what was wanted and we ended up agreeing that it was a strong possibility, which turned into a commission (YAY!). It was needed for ACen in Chicago on Friday, so it had to arrive by Thursday if they were still going to make it on time.
This took between 21 and 25 hours of work.  I did it around my day job.  I labored, Ray labored, and Kasha tried very hard not to pout that for two entire nights we pretty much ignored her.  Monday we worked till Midnight and Tuesday until 2:30 in the morning..and still had more to do on Wednesday which was my drop dead shipping date.  My total profit may end up being less than $10 and sadly, I am concerned that we did not end up creating exactly what was wanted.  Ray said the customer called with some concerns after we shipped it off and sent the final photo's and as of today we haven't heard a word confirming that it was received or that it fits.
Seriously. I worked my arse off and Ray's arse off and no one may be happy about this deal. I got nada, and the customer that I wanted so badly to help might be unhappy. That's what is bothering me so much.  But I have learned some integral lessons.
1) Don't sell myself short. I threw in shipping for free. And a Nerf Gun Holster (that turned out BEAUTIFULLY!). And didn't charge for the rush.  And I didn't charge for the custom commission.  And I ended up not charging him for my time...or less than a dollar an hour for my time...let alone Ray's.

2) Don't be nice/Don't be desperate. See above. I really wanted to be nice to this person, so I kept trying to sweeten the deal. And I think I really wanted to get a sale, so I threw myself under the bus to get it, when I should have priced it more reasonably for the supplies, work, and labor.

 3) COMMUNICATE.  With a custom job you can't be sure that the picture and the description you were given are exactly what they just can't. So next time I need to make sure I send more in-progress photo's and make sure that the person is getting exactly what they want.

4) Never take a custom Rush job on a completely new product.  If he had just wanted some bitchin shoulder pauldrons in a custom color with special pattern - EASY. I could have guaranteed his success and happiness.  With the rush I needed to put my head down and pull, working hard and long, rather than taking the custom work approach of sending each step in pictures and checking to make sure it would fit.  A custom job should have the customer trying on a paper version of the armor, should have adjustments as we work to ensure it's perfection...a Custom job and Rush job are not compatible in my work :(

5) Be happy with what you did. - Ray and I made some awesome armor. This jacket really is very cool and the nerf holster is amazing (I am sure Ray wants at least one of his own now).  The pattern for this armor will help me make others...and they will be awesome!

6) Learn and grow.  If I remember to apply these lessons I will have a better Etsy shop and be more effective as a business person.

7) Mr. Bear looks awesome in armor.

Monday, May 13, 2013

2013 Garden

 Last year we were shocked when spring ran into summer and our front yard exploded with 13 different colored rose bushes. It was the kind of surprise that new homeowners fantasize about...and it was awesome!

The area to the left of our driveway is a well established garden. Roses, filler flowers beneath them, and hopefully they are idiot proof (I have no clue where to get started with roses). Last year, my coworker came and spent HOURS cleaning up the roses for me.  And it showed, they were beautiful. It was awesome.

The rest of the yard? Not so much. It is this horrible silty - sandy poo.  It wouldn't grow zucchini. Seriously, Zucchini died here.  Last year I killed peas, zucchini, tomatos, berry plants, a new rose bush (or honestly 2), pansies, strawberries and a whole host of other assorted veggies I attempted to grow. It failed. 
 Now, its coming up on garden season again so we are trying again. I may be a demented optimist, but we will see. We are going to try doing small raised beds up front to see what we can do.  We are going to plant thorny berry bushes underneath the daughters bedroom, and hope they stick it out and grow into terrible beasty bushes :) Protection when she is a teenager.

We are also going to do several topsy turvey's - they did well here last year, and the house has a TON of the hooks for them along the back yard.  We are also doing all of this in a drought, with watering restrictions....

So..yeah - Nuts :)

I has the dumb

I just finished some 6 hours of armor work and tooling.  My hands and back and legs ache.  Pictures will come soon.

Along with an english language real update. For now... I has the dumb :)