Sunday, August 25, 2013

I made Flyers!


I made flyers for the store! I'm thinking about posting them in high traffic areas around my campus, i'm hoping to drum up some attention and business that way. I also want to post some of them downtown. I'm trying to get the word out so hard! Does anyone who actually comes across my blog have any suggestions on how to get more awareness to my shop? Or would anyone like to soft of sponsor me???

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Shop Update #1

I'm already nearing 100 products in my store i'm hoping to sell more of them soon. Things are still getting too crowded with all my crafts so i'm hoping some of my items sale now. I'm planning on creating flyers to try and spread the word once I reach campus. I'm trying as much as i can to get the word out which is why i'm trying all social network platforms i can. So Far nothing seems to be working as i've only made sales to family and friends.

Anyway since Halloween is just around the corner i've decided to make a few Halloween inspired necklaces.
                       

The "Admit One" and "Vampire" necklaces are reversible and have different patterns so you can wear them any way you'd like. Click on the link for more pictures!

The Witching Hour can be either a choker necklace or a pocketwatch, on the customers preference. And of course the coffin rings are now for sale!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Freshly Made: Coffin Rings

I'm thinking of keeping the black coffin
Halloween is just right around the corner and I'm planning on expanding the shop with some great, spooky cute Halloween jewelry. First up in line are these awesome coffin rings. They've got to be my favorite thing i've made so far. They're too cute. I was originally planning on selling all three, put now i'm thinking about keeping one for myself!:)

Once i finish all my bone crafts which will hopefully be by the end of this week then i'll go into overdrive for creating the rest of my Halloween crafts. I have to do so before i head back to school anyway! I also have 1 out of...i'm thinking 3 necklaces down, and a pocketwatch soon to come. The pocketwatch will be simple but the necklaces require more work! I figure i could sell these rings at about 5 dollars:)
Three Coffin Rings in Black Coffin, Wooden Coffin and Mahogany Casket.


Friday, August 9, 2013

First Try at Taxidermy!

So about a few weeks ago i found a large goose in the middle of a parking lot that was really fresh! Unfortunately i was on the way to seeing the Lion King on broadway so my girlfriend and I got a bag from the store (to which the parking lot area is for) and slipped it in. We gave it to her mother to take home and set in the freezer. This was the first time I've ever cut up an animal or did anything taxidermy wise from scratch. I don't know what i expected but i came out realizing how much respect i have for people who do this to harvest the bones. I wanted the bones to make more bone jewelry, unfortunately i can't sell these bones so they'll just be for personal use.

Now I'm returning to college in a few weeks, about 2.5 to be exact so i did not have time to bury the body and get it before winter comes. Even if i did bury it a weekend would not be enough time for me to take care of anything. So pretty much i took off all the meat and feathers and go to separating chunks of bone areas. I spare everyone the gory hacking pictures but we did harvest the wings and feet for keeps! We didn't cut the wings too cleanly as is our first time and we aren't exactly experts on bird anatomy. but either way i think it's cool to see the bone.
We added a bit of borax and cornstarch to the bone to help dry out the marrow in the inside. The bone itself snapped before we could cut it at the joint so it's kind of sharp. I'm hoping to just hang it up so no one touches it and possibly gets hurt. The wings are hanging up to dry and have been for about a week now. Not exactly sure when they will be done but I'll most likely take it back from i head out to college. I'm also thinking about putting it in a shadow box. i really love the coloration of the wings and i don't want any of them to fall off. I want them to stay protected.
The feet still had some meat left on the bones so we soaked them in household hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide helps disinfect and kill the bacteria on the meat and bones while also softening it and making it easier to peel/cut away. We used chopsticks to help keep the webbing spread so that way then they dried it would be nice and presentable. The paperclips helped keep them pinned onto the chopsticks. the webbing feels really awesome. We added the same borax and cornstarch treatment to dry it out. With the humidity Ohio has been experiencing it will most likely take awhile to dry out completely.
This is where it may get a bit gross. We macerated the meat and bones, especially the neck which had a lot of muscles and tendons on it in hot water. We didn't boil it since boiling can give off a god awful smell as well as cause the bones to become brittle, which no one wants. a few of the bones we got out in then end were brittle(like the rib bones)because they were small or we didn't handle them carefully enough. The ribs are like thin little needles that needs special handling. they were a pain to get to but easy to take the meat off once we got them separated from the spine. The red in the bucket is blood. It was the first maceration so blood was still on the meat. after awhile the maceration mix (sometimes just hot water, other times hot water with some peroxide) turned yellow, then clear with only pieces of meat floating to the surface. Once the peroxide stops bubbling around the meat then it means it is thoroughly clean and disinfected and if the meat didn't fall off on its own, or easy to pull off then you're going to have a rough time. ESPECIALLY with the cartilage. it is a huge pain in the ass!
Here we have the bones getting cleansed in more peroxide. This is once most of the meat is off, and provides cleaning to the bone itself as well as whitening. So the bones will look kind of bright when they are made into jewelry. I'm farther then this now. I'm gotten a lot of the bones cleans out with all the meat of and just a few pieces of cartilage left. I might try and pick the rest off when they're dry. I'll have another post update once I'm done!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Skulls


 Skulls, skulls and more skulls. While i've only collected 2 animal skulls i love them very much! My raccoon skull is from Obscura Antiques and Oddities (yes, the Obscura!) and is completely intact. It's practically perfect and was at a decent price for a popular place in Manhattan,. If you're not looking to buy some medical antique for over 100 dollars then shoot for some skulls, snake wine, or a toad coin purse, even a turtle shell. These were all around $20-25. My second skull is an unknown rodent skull that's missing it's mandible. I bough it at a Native American powow my University was hosting. I also got a coyote pelt, turtle claw and bone spear as well as an awesome dreamcatcher with a bear charm. I'm planning on getting more skulls sometime in the near future, especially bird skulls. I've recently discovered my passion for them and want to make some much pretty jewelry with them.
Raccoon Skull

Rodent Skull

Together Forever





Pickles the Pig

Pickles

Pickles was my very FIRST piece of taxidermy so she holds a special place in my heart. At least i think it's a she. It has teats so i assumed it was a girl. Anyway Pickles in a fully grown piglet, past the fetus stage and most likely a stillborn. I got it off of etsy(i forgot where though) and had to BEG my mother to get it for me. At that time i didn't have my own credit card so it had to go on her card. I payed her back with my entire allowance and never looked back. I love her little hooves and her umbilical cord that swishes about when you move the jar. Her eyes are peacefully closed although you cant really see the top of her head unless you open the jar. The thought to buy a pig came at a whim but it's what got me into taxidermy and I've expanded my collection since then.
Her chubby thighs crack me up and her little tail is adorable!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Adventures in Soap Making: Cupcake Soap



I've seen it a few times: these adorable soaps in the shape of cupcakes. So cute you could almost eat them! Then i decided to try my hand at making some of my own. This was a very long and perilous journey, especially for my first time. You first start off with the cupcake mold. This creates the base of the cupcake, the kind of crinkled cupcake wrapper look. Something like this:

My mold only has the cupcake base itself.

The next step was to melt the Shea Butter soap. Shea butter is always good for the skin, especially for those with dry or sensitive skin. I have psoriasis so my skin is both dry and sensitive. Shea Butter helps bring back some of that moisture that we lose on a daily basis. You can purchase you own Shea Butter soap base instead of making it from scratch. The base looks like this:

Shea Butter Soap Base

I cut just a few cubes in order to make the first color base-pink. You melt the soap base blocks in a glass container or measuring cup. I have a set glass measuring cup for my soapmaking but if you use your measuring cup for other purposes it's still ok, after all this is soap. The worse it can do is clean your glassware. My microwave is pretty bad so i melt the soap in about 45 second to 1 minute bursts. Normally you would do about 30 second bursts. Peek in occasionally to stir the soap and make sure all the blocks have dissolved. Once the soap is completely liquefied you add your essential oils or "flavors" as i like to call them. I obviously used vanilla cupcake scent to match the theme! Now you add the colors. There are special soap dyes you can purchase. DO NOT use food coloring as it will stain the skin. Sometimes gel food coloring works but not the liquid. Either way i prefer the dyes intended for soapmaking. Food coloring can have certain types of sugars in them that aren't safe for all over body soap usage.

For pink i did about 35-45 drops of red soap dye 
Yellow was about 35 drops of yellow soap dye
and for orange you should use about 35 Yellow, 25 red.

My Orange turned out a bit salmon-orange because i did not get the right ratio and added too much red. To make each batch of different colors just clean out your glassware and melt the desired amount of cubes again.

Now here comes the tricky part, soap frosting. Its seriously a thing! A very hard thing especially if your not familiar with piping techniques. The Soap frosting came in two parts. One was a gelatinous base and the second part was a powder substance similar to meringue powder. You mix these two together quickly with a whisk then add melted shea butter soap base as well as more cupcake scent and whatever color you'd like for the frosting(i chose light blue) Then you whip the mixture together until u get nice peaks. Now it's time to put it in the piping bag.
Now i didn't believe the instructions when it said you have 5 minutes to work and frost your cupcakes. Any time after that and It seizes up and isn't as smooth and easy to pipe. My frosting did this and it struggled to come out of the star pipe tip. Then the plastic piping bag popped! Frosting oozed out the side instead of out of the star tip. I had to push the frosting mess through the tip manually which was messy as hell! Try and pipe your frosting as fast as you can so it's smooth and as perfect as possible. If not you can frost it like you would a regular cupcake and give it that "rustic" look.

In the end i think my cupcake soaps are still really cute! They create a really great foamy lather and you can use it from handsoap to body soap. They're not too bad in their little packages either!