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Sunday, April 30, 2017

We Almost Lost Cat!

Long time readers might remember, Cat, our tuxedo cat. You can read his back story here.



He's a wonderful animal, full of personality. Sometimes, though, he is just up to trouble.

He insists on being the center of attention.

Hey! You can't play darts without ME!



No, no working!

No surfing! Play with me, not the computer!


He loves to be around people. I don't think he has met one that he didn't like.

Most of all, he loves his human dad.


Here we are in 2017. He came to stay with us in late 2010. We still don't really know how old he is, but the vet says over 10. We've become very attached to our vagabond.

Curled up with my grand daughter


Cat started acting funny about 3 or 4 days ago. First, he couldn't seem to get comfortable. Then, he began meowing for no apparent reason. He kept licking his genital area. But, the real kickers were when he refused his tuna fish juice treat and slept under our bed, which he had never done before. We resolved to take him to the vet in the morning. That was yesterday. By morning, he was clearly in a lot of pain and moved from spot to spot trying to get comfortable. He was really pitiful.

My grand daughter wasn't aware of what our plans were, so when Cat wanted out in the morning, she let him out. Knowing that animals will go off by themselves to die, I was really upset. The whole household searched for him and called him all day long. I stayed up most of the night last night hoping to hear him at the door. Nothing. Not a peep or a glimpse. We began to suspect the worst. I felt horrible about how much pain he must be in. Of course, I felt guilty, too. Most of all, I was just worried and hoping against the odds.

He has a habit of sleeping with a paw lifted up

This morning, very early, my grand daughter was out calling for him and she heard him crying!! He was about three houses down. Interestingly, his favorite stray buddies were with him. I like to think they were comforting him or watching over him. He was just lying there crying in pain. DH quickly got over there and scooped him up. We got him into the carrier as gently as we could and DH whisked him off to the ER vet. I was still in my pajamas so I stayed home- no time to change. He was clearly in agony.

Doing what cats do best!


We had another male cat with this issue before, so we suspected that he might have a urinary tract problem. It can very easily be fatal. Luckily, he got to the vet in time! He wouldn't have lasted much longer. When DH reached the vet's office, he was seen right away because it was obvious that Cat was in a lot of pain. Our suspicions were confirmed. His urethra was over 90% blocked. His bladder is stretched out, too. After they got the catheter in and ran tests, they decided to treat him as if he had been 100% blocked because of his age and because his kidney blood tests were off the chart unreadable. They suspect kidney damage. However, after talking to the doc, we learned that he would probably just need a special diet and maybe supplements if there is damage. So, we agreed to treatment, which is costing an arm and a leg. He's worth it to us and, after all, he is our responsibility. How could we not care for him?

Cat will be resting in hospital for maybe 3 days. He is comfortable with pain meds and a heated cage. Cat will live! He is now down one of his lives, though. (And my hair is a little more gray!)

Cat will survive!!!
If you have a male cat, it is good to know about this condition. Males are more susceptible. One thing you can do is feed them urinary ph control specialized food. It helps. Cat had been on it, as a preventative, but DH stopped buying it for whatever reason. It isn't much more expensive. Lesson learned. I'm just happy that he is out of pain and will be returning to us.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My BRAND NEW Website!!

Hello readers! It seems I'm on a binge blog roll here, but I just have to tell you, I have a NEW website!!

Introducing the new and improved Tela Formosa Jewelry (optimized for mobile).

I'm very happy with the looks and functioning of this site. It has been a long time coming. I did use a template, but it was still a lot of work. I actually had to get into the code a bit which is always nerve wracking.

Many years ago, I signed up for Supadupa, a store and website builder. I got in on their early bird free for life plan. I waited for the company to get over its growing pains and watched as it grew into a very fashionable website plan. The templates are very well done and geared towards artisans. But, you do not need to use a template, you can build from scratch, too. I recommend them if you are looking into building a website. The process of building my site took 10 days of intense work, but it was worth it.

My jewelry shop on Etsy will either close completely or offer only a few items. Etsy has been a good place to be, but as they have gone public as a company and have allowed manufactured goods from places like China, it has changed. It is no longer the place for handmade. And, because they are public, they have shareholders to answer to. As a result, they are forcing ALL sellers into using their own unreliable payment system. I have never used Direct Checkout, as it was called, and I really don't to. I resent being forced into it. I will be shut down if I don't give them my banking information. To make matters even worse, if you accept PayPal, which I do, they will still route your money through their new Direct Checkout. This delays payment from PayPal which is almost always instantaneous.

Constant changes at Etsy make things more difficult for a seller, in my opinion. They run "experiments" continually, which generally effect sellers negatively. They run them without notice. They experiment on us! Contacting them for help is a nightmare with form response emails and little human interaction. I have many complaints about Etsy. But, I won't go on and on. Suffice to say- It is time to move on or at least stop giving them so much of my money.

Another aspect of leaving Etsy has less to do with Etsy and more to do with my muse, or lack thereof, at Etsy. I found myself not creating the kind of jewelry that I used to create. I was jumping through hoops trying to stay "relevant" in Etsy search. This constant pressure to sell took the fun and inspiration out of making beautiful pieces. I may be making less on my own, but I will be happier as an artist. To me, that is most important.

For the time being, my rock shop at Etsy will remain open. I haven't yet decided on where to go with it.

I have had and have now wonderful clients in both of my shops. I hope that they will follow me. They can expect an even better experience with me moving forward. I look forward to the journey ahead.  :)
 

  


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cold Toner Transfer Etching onto Metal

I hope the title made sense. What I am going to show you are pieces that I made following this video.



The key to success in using this method is to experiment with the ratio of alcohol to acetone. What you want is a liquid that will soften the toner ink, not melt it.

Begin by printing a design with a LASER printer onto glossy paper, which I bought at Amazon pretty cheap. When you print it, you'll want to use the inverse of it in order for it to transfer in the correct orientation. Most image programs have a simple command to do inverse. Cut out your design. Try not to handle the paper too much and make sure your hands are clean.

Scuff up your copper (or silver) with a 3m green scuff pad. Make sure it is clean. I used denatured alcohol as the last cleaning step. (The video calls for some hard to get alcohol. The stuff from the hardware store works fine- denatured alcohol.)

NOTE- this next step needs to be done quickly because the liquids evaporate quickly. Lay down a generous wet layer of your liquid mixture onto the metal. Place the image, print side down, on the liquid and metal. You can use a small instrument like a q-tip to gently push the paper down, if you need to, in order for the paper to become saturated. Wait 15-20 seconds for the toner to soften. Using a folded paper towel, push down on the paper and metal using a firm touch, but being careful NOT to move anything.

After you have blotted the liquid, let the paper flash off. You can actually see that happening. After it has flashed off, place it in a small dish of water for about a minute or two. You should be able to lift the paper off easily.

After the paper comes off, you will notice that the black toner looks white. That is the paper sticking to it. It won't harm your etch. If etchant can eat metal- it can certainly eat paper first. Trust me.

Now, all you need to do is to don some gloves and submerge in ferric chloride for etching. There are a ton of youtube videos for that part. My favorite is actually a clip of a video. (Lexi uses a stamp, just ignore that part.)

When you are finished with the ferric chloride, you can return the used portion to the bottle. You can use it over and over, but as it ages, it loses its strength. I started out with a very weak old bottle and then got some new. You'll want to use a baking soda and water to clean up any messes.

In order to hurry things up to meet my Christmas deadline and because I am impatient, I used the saltwater battery method, too. But, be forewarned-- IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO USE THIS METHOD WITH STERLING SILVER. No matter what the guys says. It is NOT possible. I spent a great deal of time and money trying to get it to work - it doesn't. And, you can't use ferric chloride on sterling silver, either.



After doing the saltwater etch, I have to say that I prefer the ferric chloride method. But, try both ways for yourself and see which you prefer.

I took some quick pictures of my finished pieces. The finishes came out extra nice, but they didn't photograph as well as they look. Two in particular, the rat and Dr G,  had an almost holographic effect.

Here's the paw from the last post. This time with the patina.



For my brother. The picture could have been better....

One of a few I made.
For my doctor. This came out real nice.


It has frosted letters.
For my grand daughter. This was a pumpkin carving template.
Front and back- Heating and Air Conditioning. The finishes look much better in person!
This is my favorite. I love how it came out. I experimented a lot with it. I love how the "fur" came out.

That's it. If you have any questions just shoot them at me in the comments. I know I just kinda skimmed this.

Go make something awesome!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Christmas in April- Etching and Piercing

I was very busy during the Christmas season. I made lots of gifts for family and friends involving pierce work and etching. I even remembered to take pictures of everything before they met their final destination. They aren't the greatest pictures, but I was quite proud that I got them in time. I fully intended to do a post about it sooner, but life got in the way.

I had a blast learning how to do Pierce Work. This particular skill set involves a very, very thin saw blade and a sheet of metal. It is as simple as cutting out a stencil type drawing with a jeweler's saw. Sounds easy, right? Well, no, not really. It definitely takes practice... and patience.

My first pierce work piece was a paw heart. It involved cutting out tiny paw print shapes in a heart shaped piece of copper. Well, let me back up, the heart shape was actually cut after I cut the paws. First I applied a pattern to be cut to the metal. I quickly learned that glue stick didn't work very well. Rubber cement did the trick.

Paper pattern glued to sheet metal
Next- drill very small pilot holes to insert the saw blade.

Did I mention the word small? That's an allergy pill.
The whole thing is just over 4" high.
After I cut away at this for awhile, I had a nice little piece. Yes, there were some mistakes, but I was very proud of myself.

Cut it out. Had to drill a bail hole and bevel the inside edge. See the pilot holes for the paw that was too small to cut?
Brush finish for some bite for the patina. Bail added. Edges filed and finished with a burnisher.

When I first started this, I didn't have any files small enough for the holes. I have since gotten some. While this isn't perfect, I like it and my daughter, who is a dog handler, liked it.

Here are a few more pierced pieces, not necessarily in order of completion. (They got better every time.)

This tiny pattern was attached to 2 pieces of of glued up 24g copper. Cut one time for 2 earring pieces.

I impressed me. LOL!

Cat in the Cat

Another paw heart- freshly patinaed and finished.

GODZILLA!
Mmmmm coffee....
Ridiculously tiny!
First one of many. I perfected this over time.
A little better this time.
Cut and etched
 Well, that was a few of my piercing projects. They were all nicely finished and well received gifts. I'll have to show you the etchings in another post. It was a little more involved.

Stay creative....