So… I physically survived my nephew, who really is a good kid, but he’s been two for nine days now, so he’s a pretty busy little guy who can’t really communicate his every need (though his vocabulary is impressive and continuing to grow.) We spent most of the day splashing in two inches of water in a kiddie pool in the backyard because it was oppressively hot and humid, or sitting inside in the air conditioning, playing with mega blocks and watching Despicable Me.
I was out cold by ten PM after being on nephew duty until my mom got home at 4, though I was still helping until 9 when my brother took him home. I woke up at 6, and have been trying to go back to bed as I am still mentally exhausted, but the dog has taken over the bed and he’s a challenge to convince that no, he doesn’t need to sleep DEAD CENTER in the mattress and sleep horizontally. That’s my job.
I’ve come a long way on my charms; they’ve all been fused and now I’m working through sanding them. I’m hoping to be done with that part today and able to get the quick jewelry cobbled together today or tomorrow, so I can focus on more intricately beaded pieces from them on, as those are the things that are worth more and sell best. The more individual characters I can create, the better I should do.
Man, the fusion process was interesting. The last time I made these, I was using an electric oven, and the batches took 15 minutes and were pretty uniform. My mom has a gas stove, so it gets obscenely hot; the first batch were definitely puddles, and I quickly discovered that it only takes ten minutes in a gas stove. Despite putting things in one after another and timing them all the same, I still managed to over-melt some of the charms, so the picture distorted and the hole melted closed. Other batches came out so crisp I honestly didn’t think they were even finished; usually the ink disappears somewhat during fusion, so the lighter colors fade. The extremely vivid pink I use tends to nearly disappear, but both batches are still bright flamingo pink. The batch of purple sigils turned out pretty much completely perfectly. What’s interesting about the whole process, is even though the circles are punched out and thus perfect circles when they go in to shrink, they often shrink into irregular, lumpy egg shapes, which becomes even more pronounced when I fuse them. One of the charms came out a hexagon, in the end, and another is a perfect oval. It was very odd. Sanding the edges helps most of them look mostly circular, and it’s definitely obvious that they’re all handmade.
I still love it when people start complaining about how they’re not perfect and I get to detail exactly how much work goes into each charm, and how I make them in batches of 250 or so, which can take weeks to finish, and encourage them to make charms themselves if they are unhappy with mine. It usually sparks a bit more appreciation for my hard work, and if I lose a sale, I don’t care; if they’re going to complain, I don’t particularly want to sell to them anyway. There was one lady at the last BotCon I attended who wanted to go through all of the earrings by hand to match the sigils better. Mind, I matched them all as best I could by shape and color, so they look as even as possible, but I let her shuffle through all twenty-five pairs or whatever I had on hand, and she decided that my pairings were probably the best after about twenty minutes of sorting. I don’t think she ended up even buying any because they weren’t perfect. After that, I decided that if people were going to act like that, they probably aren’t going to buy them anyway, so I’m not going to have my time wasted.
I also hate it when people demand I give them a reduced rate because things don’t match perfectly or there are bubbles or distortions or, y’know, they look handmade, which they ARE. Um, no. I know for a fact I don’t charge enough, but I’m at a toy convention surrounded by toy collectors, so I try to keep things cheap so people don’t just keep walking and spend their money on toys as they intended. I’m not going to undercut myself further because you’re a cheapskate. I don’t haggle, because I made these things with my own hands, and I have blisters and cuts and have otherwise suffered for my work. I’m not going to give you a discount because you have a bad attitude or yell at me or try to intimidate me. (That actually happened to one of my assistants when I went to the bathroom once; I returned and she looked scared, and said “I gave him a discount so he’d stop screaming.” I couldn’t even believe it.)
In conclusion: my nephew is fun but exhausting, I am making things, and people are awful.