Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Bees

Winter Bees

It's been a busy fall (it always is).  There's herbs to collect, a billion leaves to rank and turn into leaf mulch, a garden to pull out, and now, bees to prepare for winter.  The bees are all settled in.  We've given the apiaries insulating roofs and insulation panels to help keep them warm. Inside, the bees will form a tight cluster around the queen, shivering their wing muscles to keep one another warm.  Think of how penguins in the Antarctic form one large group, taking turns on the outside and then moving back into the group to warm up.  Bees do something similar, and this cluster moves slowly through the hive in the winter, the bees on the outside of the cluster picking up honey and feeding it inwards.

They'll be dormant probably until sometime in April, and I worry.  I know people in Alaska keep bees, but still, the winters are very cold and long.  Hopefully they'll be okay!

We also acquired a new honey jar for the house.  It's small, which is awesome as I try to use it sparingly, but also fits perfectly in the pantry.

The reviews on it often complain about it being messy, but I haven't had an issue with it.  I just let the honey drizzle back into the jar until it stops for a second, then move the wand over the lip of the jar. 

Ficcare Update

I've got updates on the Primavara Project coming, so sit tight :)  It's just been super-busy, but I'm plugging away!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

More Updated Packaging!

As some of you might have noticed awhile ago, we started updating some of our packaging.  Salve was the first product to get a big facelift, but we've got more changes!


First off, our logo.  It's cleaner and much easier to read at very large and very small sizes

Old Logo:

New Logo:

We gave salve a lift first because not only were the labels the most out of date, the product names were confusing.  For the rest of the products nothing is changing but the look, no name changes, no ingredient changes.  We're just trying to unify the look of our little product family!

Triple Moon Oil

The 4 oz size is all updated and the sample size will be getting its new label soon.  Here you can see the progression of our labels from 2008, to 2010, to 2014!  I'll be a good many of you don't even remember the first one.


Same thing here!  The sample lid is done, but you'll see the jar label and refill bag label updated in the near future.  The listing said 2oz, but to be more specific it'll be changed to 75g, and the base refill amount for the refill bags will be 75g.  Just keeping everything consistent for units and then one refill bag will be enough to totally refill the jar.  At the moment it only fills it halfway and that seems confusing to people.  :)

Old Label:

New Label:

Herbal Color & Conditioners

This was the next big product area to take on after the salves!  The very first labels looked like this:

And then I did a short term upgrade on the 100g packs so they had the ingredients on them:

But now they look so lovely.  I'm so proud to have these on our products now!

Thank you cards

This was the old one.  A few of you have seen many, many of these.  And then I'd scribble a thank you on the back that you may or may not have been able to read:

And here's the new one :)  Still my signature, but you can actually read it now!

Some of these, like the herbal hair color labels, are so new that I haven't even gotten updated product shots yet, but I was so excited and wanted to let everyone know about the changes on the way!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Silver Strike Ficcare Repair

I had a lovely customer (who said it was okay to post about this) send me a Small Silver Strike Ficcare where the enamel had broken off the tip:

She wanted to know if, perhaps, I could decorate it somehow and cover up the end.  But the more I looked at it the more I thought I could actually just repair it.  I asked if I could try, and my customer agreed to let me have at and see how it went.

Here's a few more pictures of how it looked before I got started:

The biggest challenge was the height difference.  It wouldn't be enough just to paint silver and black streaks on the metal because the enamel itself is thick so there'd still be a ridge.  You can see that ridge pretty well here, where I've put a primer coat on the bare metal:


From there I started with painting over the primer with black, and then adding in some silver streaks.  It wasn't looking super-promising at this point, but it wasn't bad enough for me to give up, either.

Over top of this I put a coat of ice resin.  Once that had dried I dry-brushed on more silver and black streaks, taking care to match the angle of the ones on the existing enamel.  It was starting to look like something and the height difference had diminished a bit.
Five layers of ive resin and paint later, the ridge had been nearly evened out:

Then I brushed up over the existing enamel a bit to blend it better and then gave it two more ice resin coats to make the entire surface uniform.  And here's how it turned out!  I'm very pleased with it, and don't think you'd be able to tell it had been repaired even if you had it in your hands:




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pretty but not Perfect Sale: LotR Avian Clips

We have a few items going up that are pretty, but not perfect. I didn't want these still generally lovely components to go to waste despite some imperfections. So if you've wanted a Lothlorien Leaf or Evenstar clip but couldn't afford them before, this is a great chance!

Please note that all these items are discounted! They are sold as-is and its flaws are detailed in the listing and photos.

Evenstar $65

Lothlorien Leaf 1 $55
Also, just a reminder!  December is coming up quickly, so if you want some LotR goodies in time for the next movie, you'll want to get on the custom order list soon!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Making a Primavera Part 2: Icy Resin Coat

While waiting for my art metal clay to arrive I was thinking two things
  1. that if I do get the art metal clay to work, it'll be REALLY expensive to do per clip.  Roughly, I think I'll need 20g of silver metal clay per clip, which is $60 + shipping on top of a $44 clip.  So that's already clearing $100 in materials, to say nothing of time, consumables and whatever else that'll entail.  And that's assuming it works at all
  2. I was really antsy to try out my new mold.
When I coat the the other Ficcares I make I use a compouned called Ice Resin.  It takes 8-13 hours to set and 3 days to cure.  It's a pain to work with, but dries crystal-clear, hard, and doesn't yellow.   I wondered, since metal clay will shrink when I fire it, if perhaps I could make an Ice Resin topper that I could then epoxy down / paint silver (not sure which order is best yet). 

So while I was working on a bunch of custom orders on Saturday I mixed up some Ice Resin and loaded it into the mold.  Because it takes so flipping long to set I had to keep tilting the mold back and forth to distrbute the resin as it set up.  Thankfully the longer this went on the thicker it got, and the less I had to tip. 

But here we were:

It was very thin and I took it out carefully, mostly worried I'd ruined the mold that had taken so long to make.

And then set it atop a blank clip I had to finish curing.
It still needs to finish the curing process, but it's hardening up nicely.  Then I can clean up the edges and see what there is to see.  As it stands, though, I do think it's pretty this way.  It has a frosted glass look to it that I think has a unique amount of depth to it.
I'm not sure about the best way to paint it silver and then secure it down on a clip.  An antiqued/colored look might be best because I think I'm going to lose the textured recesses with a bit of primer and paint.  But we'll see.
In any event, this is shaping up to be a much more cost-reasonable approach than the silver art clay, and at least let me prove to myself that my mold works as desired!