Laminating One Side of Earring Cards

Laminated earring cards

Yesterday I tried laminating my earring cards and punching the earring holes with the sideways U’s, but it wouldn’t work because the plastic is too thick to be able to punch through. Last night I thought, I wonder if I was able to laminate 2 cards back to back so both cards are laminated on the front only. If I could laminate one side, perhaps it would be thin enough. I was right, because it worked.

Today I took half of my earring cards and placed them all back to back inside the business card laminating pouches and ran them through the laminator. I actually ran them through several times. When they all came out the other side, I cut them around the edges of the cards and then I used the earring display card punch to make the holes, and it worked without any problems. I watched my show and then decided to run more through doing the same thing, but this time it didn’t work the same way. I kept having the same issues I was having when I was trying to punch the card with a full lamination. It just didn’t want to cooperate with me anymore.

The business card laminating pouches are 5Mil and the full size sheets are 3Mil, so I think I will just toss the ones that I have and just work with the ones that I have already punched and not worry about trying to make any more since I haven’t actually sold any earrings in a long time. So it’s really just a waste of my time, but I wanted to see if I could get it done, and I have, so I’m happy. Who knows if someone will buy earrings in the future. It might happen, or it might not, I don’t know. All this work could be for nothing, or perhaps it might bring me a lot of referrals if one person buys earrings.

So I’m happy I was able to figure it out, and hopefully I can get it to work again in the future.

Crafting Pains

I am a crafter. I think I was born a crafter because I love making things with my hands from raw materials. Everyone loves something that was made specifically for them to enjoy.

When I was 9 years old in the Cub Scouts, I learned to make keychains with 2 strands of Rexlace, or as some people call it “Gimp”. I made a few here and there at that age, but never went further with the craft until I was in my early 30’s when I remembered how fun it was to make, so I decided I wanted to learn all over again. I played around with the 2 strand keychains, but still didn’t know how to finish them, so I did what we did as kids, we burned the strands to melt them together with a lighter. That of course was the wrong way to do it.

Fast forward 10 years to a couple of years ago when I broke my arm and decided I wanted to make keychains again, but this time I learned how to properly finish them. I also learned how to make keychains with more than just 2 strands and in many patterns. I went overboard and opened an Etsy shop to sell my keychains. I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, but it was fun.

I recently had an order for 200 mini DNA red and white keychains. Unfortunately my carpal tunnel syndrome got in the way, and I was only able to complete half of the order before I was forced to take a break. I shipped out the first 100 in the first week of October, and I just finished the second 100 and am going to ship those out in the morning.

This is a casual business for me. I’m not living on the profits, in fact, when I do get an order, which is very rare, it helps me buy some groceries, or it may help me pay for a new video game, or jewelry that I wanted to buy. I never intended on huge bulk orders like this. It’s nice that someone thinks highly of my work that they want a huge order, but my hands can’t handle the constant torture from pulling strands of plastic lace.

My hands are in so much pain that I wake up every morning in agony. When I go to the gym, if I have my hands up on the bars or on the top of the treadmill, the pain in my thumb is excruciating and I have to bring my arms down to swing.

As of right now, I’m retired from making anything in bulk. I don’t mind making up to 10 keychains,  10 mini or 5 regular size, but that’s it. I’m going to have to just stop the torture on my poor hands. I love the work, and appreciate the groceries and winter cycling gear I was able to buy, but it’s just not worth permanent damage to my hands.

Actually, as of right now I am on vacation from my Etsy shop lol. I honestly don’t even want to think about making keychains and earrings, or even the Friendship bracelets or anything that is repetitive.

Come to think of it, my hands are killing me from typing this blog post. I have to rest my right hand from typing every few minutes, so I’m just going to stop typing and get in bed.

‘Tis the Season

christmas coupon

Every month I try to make a coupon for my Etsy shop to give people a reason to buy my craft items, on top of my already low prices. I am always adding new items, like this month I am creating packs of 4 pairs of studs for $8. I currently have several of those already listed and more to come. Of course I still have the single pair of studs with your choice of color 1 and color 2 for the new low price of $2 a pair.

My Etsy shop items make great stockings stuffers. The friendship bracelets are a nice gift to give to someone, the studs are super cute, if I do say so myself. I wear mine every day. The coasters are adorable and they last for years. I am still using the same coasters I made more than 10 years ago. My keychains are a nice addition to your keys. They help you identify which key ring has which keys.

I am still in the stage where my sales have not paid for my materials, so it would be awesome if people would buy my stuff so I can make a profit so I can buy Christmas presents this month. I don’t want to have to just give away my craft items, I would love to be able to pay off my credit card so I can buy presents. So you buying something to give as a gift, or keep for yourself, helps me give gifts and pay for my materials. It’s a win-win situation.

No PS4 for Christmas

PS4

Well, I am a bit sad and disappointed tonight. My dream of getting a PlayStation 4 for Christmas has been squashed. It’s at its lowest price, $399 with FREE shipping on Amazon for Black Friday, but unfortunately, there is no money for it. I highly doubt it will be this cheap for the rest of the month, but it wouldn’t matter anyway because we just don’t have the money for it. I was considering putting it on my credit card, but I don’t want to end up having to pay for the interest. The credit card that I have doesn’t charge interest for 3 months. I could pay $100 off every month, but as it is I already have $200 charged and my limit is only $500. It was a nice dream, but it will have to be put on hold for another time. Perhaps next Christmas.

black friday couponIf for some reason people feel like buying some of my jewelry and/or keychains in My Etsy Shop, then perhaps I might be able to buy it. I have a coupon code for Black Friday for 35% off which is TGIBlackFriday with a minimum purchase of $10. I will have a new holiday coupon available soon.

I have some really good quality items and they are not too expensive. Everything I make is made with love and most everything is custom-made, so it is made however you want it to be made. Think of me as the crafter version of Burger King. Have it YOUR way! It’s not made until you order it, unless it’s already made, and in that case it will be easier for me.

So help a fellow gamer out. All of my shop items make great stocking stuffers, and there is something for everyone. My stud earrings are plastic, so anyone can wear them because plastic is hypoallergenic. My hook earrings (dangle or hoops) are surgical steel hypoallergenic. I’ve tested them out on myself to make absolutely 100% sure they are safe for everyone. I have really bad metal allergies, so if it doesn’t make me break out, then I feel comfortable selling them.

So for now, I will just continue playing with my PSP games. There are still a few I want to buy. I have my PSP Wish List on Amazon and I found out that the digital download versions are cheaper, and I don’t even have to wait for them. For anyone wondering, if I have a PSP, why would I want a PS4? Well, the PSP is nice for playing with on the bicycle trainer and for trips, but I would also love to play the games on my TV. I’ve never owned a TV console. I mean, I had an Atari 2600 in my bedroom when I was 13 in 1983, but that technically was a loan from my parents, and I didn’t have it for very long. I would love to have my very own TV console gaming system to play games in higher definition and to be able to play games with other people. I don’t need it, it’s just something that I wanted because it’s a cool thing.

Rainbow DNA Keychains on #Etsy

rainbow

I recently bought some new neon colors for my keychains and earrings for my Etsy shop.  I made 5 of each style of the neon rainbow keychains and 5 of each style of the regular dark rainbow keychains.  When I say style I am referring to the color in the middle.  I have glow in the dark, gold, black, white and tie dye.  I also offer clear in the middle.

Because I have all these new colors, I will be able to offer so many more options for studs and hoops as well as dangle earrings.  I will be making the rainbow dangle earrings to match all of these styles.

I have totally changed my listing for the rainbow keychains.  Before you had the choice of rainbow A and B and so on, but now you simply choose the color like Neon Rainbow or Dark Rainbow, then choose a pattern which is the color in the middle.  I think that makes it so much easier to buy these keychains.  I will be changing the rainbow dangle earring listings so they are similar to this.

I have many listings for stud earrings, but I will be changing that as well to make buying all of the different color combinations in one listing.

When I read how to make a successful Etsy business, I was told that the more listings you have, the more successful you will become, but I just can’t see how that is true.  I think they just want you to have as many listings as possible because that’s how Etsy makes their money.  I want to offer a lot of choices, but at the same time I don’t want to confuse anyone, so I think having 1 listing for all the many color combinations is easier.

So if you would like to buy a pair of earrings, or a keychain, please look at my color swatches and read the notes below them and please visit my Etsy shop to make your choice.  My keychains and earrings are reasonably priced and are great quality.

My Year In Review

my year in chalkboard

before and after morro bay 2013 was a very good year for me.  I started out not wanting to make a new years resolution out of fear of the disappointment that would always come from breaking it.  I decided to make one after a few days, and I stayed with it, well, until July anyway.  I said I wanted to lose weight and I did.  By July I had lost 70lbs with an android app called Noom, but then the weight stopped dropping and I gained 10lbs back, but fluctuated throughout the rest of the year.  I started out the year at 264lbs, went down to 194lbs and as of today I am 205lbs.  I will make another resolution to get back on my diet so I can get down to the weight that I wanted to get down to.  I know how to do it, I just need the willpower.

xray1 On March 16th I had an accident while riding the bicycle home from the grocery store at night and I broke my arm.  It was the ball of my left arm that fits into the shoulder socket.  I didn’t have a cast, instead all I was given was a sling from the emergency room.  By that time I had already lost 35lbs, and as you can already tell from the previous paragraph, the broken arm didn’t stop me from reaching my weight loss goal.

etsy banner While I was recovering from my broken arm, I decided that I wanted to start a new craft.  Well, it wasn’t really a new craft, it was an old craft that I learned when I was 9 and in the Cub Scouts.  I had some materials, so I wanted to use them up by making a couple of keychains.  I had so much fun that I decided that I wanted to learn a more complicated pattern.  I got so good at it and I was having so much fun that I ended up with about 40 keychains, so I opened up an Etsy shop.  I started out with keychains, and I added dangle keychain style earrings, studs and hoops and I already have plans on making and selling dream catcher earrings.

On June 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled DOMA to be unconstitutional and Prop 8 was finally repealed.  HURRAY!  What a glorious day that was for the gay community in California.  In fact, 18 (or 19) states made gay marriage legal in 2013 and legal on a federal level.  The reason I said or 19 is because Wikipedia doesn’t include DC, but says eighteen states AND District of Columbia.  Whatever.  18 or 19, it’s still a huge victory for us.  Illinois is in that 18, but theirs isn’t legal until June 2014.

IMAG2002 In late July I started having pain in my parotid gland, which happens at least 2 or 3 times a year for I want to say the last 10 years, but I am not positive.  It’s been going on for a very long time.  The parotid gland is the saliva gland and for some reason the saliva doesn’t release into my mouth, instead something blocks the way and it swells up to the size of a golf ball or bigger.  I try to milk it so the saliva goes into my mouth, and that does work, but it hurts really bad.  The doctors usually give me an antibiotic and it clears up in a week, but this time it didn’t clear up.  My doctor sent me to an ear, nose throat doctor and to have an ultrasound which showed that I had a stone inside of my parotid gland.  The ENT doctor sent me to have a cat scan with contrast which showed that I had several stones in both of my parotid glands, but the ones on the right side were much bigger than the left.  I had surgery on November 20th to remove my parotid gland.  The area is still numb and I was told it will probably be numb for another couple or few months.  YAY!

My back has caused me tons of pain for so many years and this summer I finally found out what was causing it.  Apparently I have scoliosis in my spine.  I told my aunt about it and she told me that my great-grandmother was born with scoliosis and she lived her entire life with it.  I remember she had a hump on her back, that was the scoliosis.  My doctor sent me to physical therapy for a month and that halted the pain, but it didn’t correct anything.  I have an appointment in January to start treatment up again, and it’s a good thing too because the pain is already starting to come back.  My first treatment was a shock, no, seriously, they put these electrodes on my back and it shot electricity to my nerves to dull them.  They had me do exercises for half an hour and then they would give me a deep tissue massage. The electrode was only applied to me on the first visit, all the other appointments were just me laying on the table doing exercises and then massages.  The last couple appointments didn’t include a massage.

bread slicer pumpkin bread We went to a thrift store in October and I found a bread machine for only $6.  I can’t say I have ever had homemade bread before, like ever, so that was quite an experience.  I did learn that I was doing it wrong for a very long time when I had such a horrible stomachache which felt like I had a 10lb brick sitting in my stomach.  Apparently the bread was too dry.  I read the instructions.  It clearly stated that I was to use exact measurements, no more, no less, so I was only doing what I was told to do, but apparently rules are made to be broken.  Now the bread is light and fluffy and it actually tastes better than store bought bread.  My favorite bread to make is Spiced Pumpkin Bread with raisins.  Have you ever had a ham sandwich or a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich with pumpkin bread with raisins?  It’s quite awesome.  Although I will have to cut back on the bread when I start my diet up again.

We also helped feed a couple of neighbors for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which frankly is what the holidays are all about.  It’s nice to receive presents, but it’s even nicer to do a good deed for someone.  I guess those were our good deeds for the year.

Of course we exchanged presents.  I got a Nook HD+ 32GB tablet from my partner, and I gave him a Google Chromecast so he can watch Netflix and YouTube from his tablet, plus I got him Netflix.

I don’t know what will happen in 2014, but I’m sure it will be as memorable as 2013.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Ring Sizer

ring sizer

I have been having fun making keychains and earrings with plastic lacing aka gimp, but I also have fun making bracelets, chokers and rings using hemp.  Before making too many rings, I needed to buy a ring sizer so I knew exactly what size the rings were after I made them.

When making a ring using hemp, you have to measure the gimp on something round, like say your finger or a ring sizer, but I have found that the size you start out with, isn’t always the size you end up with.  Like take the 2 rings in the image above for example.  I started making both of these on the size 12 mark, the thicker hemp ended up being a size 9 and the smaller hemp ended up being a size 9.5.  That’s why I wanted a ring sizer.

These rings are specifically made without anything added, they are plain hemp rings.  I would like to make the rings with beads, but the problem that I am facing is that the seed beads that I bought are too tiny for the hemp to go through.  They are the perfect size on the outside, but their holes are way too small for the hemp.  My purpose for wanting to use beads was so I could make rainbow hemp rings with beads.

I am not sure anyone will want to buy plain hemp rings, but I will list them in every size (after I have made them in every size with both thicknesses of course) and see what happens.  If they sell then they sell, if they don’t then they don’t.  I will keep searching for the right size beads so I can keep trying what I wanted to try in the first place.

The ring sizer mandrel only cost $3 with free shipping from Etsy from DarcusTori.  It was a ridiculously low price with free shipping, but I figure I should take advantage while I still can.  Supplies end up costing me a lot more money than I am getting in profit, so the less expensive everything is, the better it is for me to be able to continue making things that probably won’t sell lol.

Anyway, I want to see about getting some better beads and I will go from there.  I think rings with rainbow colors would look awesome.  I’m thinking that I may still get some use out of the beads that I have by beading them alone.  Of course I will have to find a good pattern for beading now lol.  Ugh so many crafts, so little time.