Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Canadian Postal problems

Important news for my Canadian customers: I am not shipping to Canada at this time due to the Canadian postal worker's disputes.

How I was informed (by Etsy):
"Due to an ongoing labor dispute, Canada Post has informed us that it may halt acceptance of new shipments and delivery of mail and parcels beginning on July 2nd. At this time, all shipments to, within, and from Canada that are handled by Canada Post will be affected until the dispute is resolved. This includes shipments into Canada from other national carriers like USPS and Royal Mail" 

Sign up to receive Canada Post labor dispute updates in real time: www.canadapost.ca/web/en/comm/list.page?ecid=murl%7Cddn%7Clr%7C5

Visit the Canada Post press page for other news related to the strike: www.canadapost.ca/web/en/pages/aboutus/mediacentre/default.page

I'm hoping that the disputes are handled swiftly, and I can return to selling to my Canadian customers! Until then, I'm afraid I'll have to cancel all Canadian orders made during the strike.
thank you for reading this important info!
- Maureen BZ "Cosmo's Moon Jewelry"

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My PCC Metalsmithing Classes are filling fast!

I'm so Excited to see that my Fall Semester Metalsmithing Class at Pima Community College is 2 students away from being FULL!!
If you ever thought about taking metals lessons from me, here is your chance!
I run a fun class with lots of demonstrations and assistance; my students are from all walks of life with a variety of experience in the arts/metals. From "never worked in metal" to "I used to have a jewelry shop" and Art Majors to Hobbyists, with fresh out of High school to Retired wanting to play..
my metals classroom is a welcoming and exciting place to learn a lifelong love of metalsmithing!
One of my last demos for the beginning class is how to set up a simple home studio so students can continue playing with metals at home.

Over 55? Get a HUGE discount! A Lifelong Learner discount of 50% on the base in-state tuition for credit courses has been implemented. learn about the cost of taking classes at PCC here: https://www.pima.edu/paying-for-school/costs/index.html
To qualify for the Lifelong Learner discount, you must be 55 years old on or before the first day of classes in the semester for which you are registering. So there ARE advantages to my greying hair!

Classes are Held at Pima Community College's West campus, the Art building in the Metals studio is remarkably well stocked with metals tools and big benches. Students registered in the class can take advantage of the many Open Studio hours during non-class time.

As I said, Only 2 spots remaining! (and then you get put on the waiting list) This is really exciting, because if the administration sees that this class is filling (with wait list) the school will most likely add another class for the Spring 2017 semester! 

again, find the course description here: https://bannerweb.pima.edu/pls/pima/az_tw_subcrse_catalog.p_subjcrse_list?p_subject_code=ART

After years of uncertainty with a new teacher every semester, (due to their restrictive application requirements I never applied for the job) Pima Community College was in danger of losing it's Metalsmithing department forever! 
Thankfully, I have been given the chance to revive the class and return it to a thriving and exciting place for creative people to explore the art of small scale metal work.

 For the next two years my goal is to work on the re-building the metals department.
I'm creating new projects and demos this summer to share with my students next Fall- I hope that you are there to join the fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Studio news....Memorial piece for John H...

Hi There-
I admit, I've been neglecting my blog. I could offer excuses, summer vacation, too many responsibilities, not enough time...but really, I've just not felt like writing in my blog lately.
mea culpa.
In my studio....I'm starting to make a bunch of Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos pieces...when in Tucson, skull and memorial pieces are a must!

I DID get a "Dia de" memorial piece accepted in the Tohono Chul (Tucson botanical garden and gallery) show in October/November....here is a sneak peek...It's a piece I made in memorial for my dear friend John Henderson, who was killed while riding in the Tour de Tucson 2013...

a pic of John (seated) and his partner of 26 years(Bill) in my studio taken about 2010

RIP John- we miss you!

*sigh* every time my son goes on a bike ride (he is really into riding these days) I hold my breath... John was killed while riding in one of the biggest events in Tucson...under very controlled and "safe" environment. And yet, a driver (who had a diabetic event that blacked out behind the wheel) still found him, and that was that. You just never know.

OK, not wanting to put a bummer out there- just be safe while riding, and drivers...LOOK OUT FOR BIKES!
thanks- M

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Going Postal

I like to draw on my envelopes- these are some old letters
You know by now that I have a shop on Etsy, called Cosmo's Moon. I sell Earthy edgy silver and mixed metals handmade jewelry. I've been metalsmithing for over 25 years and have had my online shop open since 2008. (http://cosmosmoon.etsy.com)
I love to be able to work from home, in my sweet garden studio- with my dogs happily ambling around the yard and wandering in to visit me at my workbench. I have had moderate success with my shop, and have within the past year increased my shipments due to an increase in orders!

So, when things don't go as well as I planned, I take note- and adjust. The most recent adjustment is on my mailing procedure- and is meant to make my shipping more efficient, though a bit more expensive.

Why did I make this shift? I tell the tale below:

"Tales of a Wayward Shipment"
A simple silver hoop was ordered March 3. It was then Sent out on March 4, the day call "Missing Mail day" the day a bunch of my orders I sent out went missing. (I suspect they were stolen from my mailbox-which I don't send out from anymore)

My customer contacted me on March 20, letting me know that she didn't get her order yet. We checked the address, and it was fine. I asked if she lived on campus (many University orders have taken up to 2 weeks to get processed through a U's post office- not sure why.) nope- the order and info looked like it should have gotten there by now.

Hmmmm. Looks like a lost in the mail case to me. I decided to send another- and asked the customer to tell me when it got there. Checking the address once again (correct again) I put another in the mail, asking her to send the first one back if / when she ever got it. (I can always re-process the metal)

I sent the second one out on March 23. Today is March 31, and she still hasn't seen either of the two mailings!

And, back here in Tucson, I haven't had anything sent back to me from either of the posts.... However, I did get another customer's order sent back to me a few days ago that was originally mailed out on Feb 25.  I'm seeing that the whole US Postal Service system is really really slow now.

My pretty studio in my garden- (now I have more trees)


The US postal service recently had Tucson's primary sorting center closed down due to budget cuts.  Now everything is sent through Phoenix AZ (120 miles away)- Everything! Even if you are sending something within the city limits! so instead of 1-2 days it takes 3-5  days to get to it's destination. (UGH!). I was unhappy that they shut the Cherrybell station down - Many Tucsonans are mad about it - I never thought it would turn into such a cluster **** and be such an obvious problem. It is. But I live here, so I have to deal with it.

My solution?
I have invested in a different shipping protocol- where all shipments will be tracked and the padded envelope mailer is the packaging, (even for small flat things like the hoops). It ends up costing more than $3 each shipment. Plus I got a huge case of padded mailers, and have a (thermal printer)
postal label maker coming to me in ...oops..the mail (it Better get here!! lol)

 This ups my price a bit, but I'm going ahead and doing it anyways. (I am going to split the difference a bit and raise my shipping to 2.75 ) I'm hoping this small adjustment won't send away customers- I believe that the security of knowing your order will arrive will be worth it for my customers.

I just can't afford the stress of lost packages- and Hate when my customers have to wait because of shipping issues. I make every effort to send my work out as soon as possible - often within the day of order- so when USPS messes up an order by sending it on a round the world tour it really ticks me off.

Thankfully, Etsy has recently upgraded their shipping solutions too- and now I can download my postage directly from my Etsy account. They even have added ways to add extra mailing services to your order- so I can recommend shipping insurance and have a quick and easy way to let the customers add it when they wish!

As with all new things, it will take me a while to update all of my listings- until then.....
Here's to more manageable mailing!
SWAK! (remember what that means?)- MBZ

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Polishing and storing Silver

Hi there-
Here are a couple tips about jewelry care that I hope you find helpful! feel free to pass it along...

Polishing Silver:

is something that anyone who was born after the 1970's isn't usually familiar with. (Before then, we all had to polish our mother's silver tableware when getting ready for holiday meals) The fact is, Silver tarnishes. It's because there is a small amount of copper in the alloy- once it is exposed to humidity and air it darkens ("oxidizes") so, unless it is kept in a special container with anti tarnish chemicals, it will tarnish.
(I've added a few tips on silver storage below)

To care for your silver all summer I recommend keeping it clean by either investing in a ($5) polishing cloth aka rouge cloth, or investing in a tube or jar of old fashioned silver polish. 
Silver can tarnish from sweat, so use a bit of silver polish when you see it darkening- you can buy it at any hardware store. There are many types of silver polish- the more gentle the better-
IMPORTANT: I usually recommend to stay away from liquid "dipping" polishes, which are very aggressive and actually strip a fine layer of metal from your piece. (this is especially disheartening when you lose darkened details of older pieces, or pieces that are meant to have black details, so be careful to avoid those stripping products)
However, if you have a piece that just needs to be brightened (and it doesn't have any dark details)
You can try the easy DIY silver brightening method I describe in another blog post Here: http://mbzmetalsmith.blogspot.com/2014/11/tarnish-be-gone.html

 Silver Storage:
*Never wrap your silver jewelry in newspapers or plastic as these will cause your jewelry to tarnish severely.
*Add rubber bands to the list of material that should not be used to pack silver jewelry.
*Wrap each jewel in anti-tarnish tissue (available at most jewelry stores) and then seal them in polyethylene bags. (This is one way in which tarnishing can be minimized.)
*Tarnish absorbing cloths are also available and can be used in the same way.
*Anti-tarnish strips work in a slightly different way. These strips absorb tarnish producing gases and are made from paper that contains activated charcoal. They do not emit fumes or vapours but absorb the gases that cause silver to tarnish.
*even putting a couple sticks of regular white chalk (from the chalkboard) in your jewelry storage will help regulate the humidity and keep your tarnish under control.
*Finally, Silica Gel granules are man made and absorb moisture from the air. High humidity is one of the causes of silver tarnish and these granules that contain numerous tiny crevices 'suck' excess moisture from the air. They are used in medicine containers too and have been around for many decades.

The important thing to note about these materials is that they have a life span during which they will prove effective. Read instructions when using them and ensure that they are changed as and when recommended. Silica Gel granules can be made to change color when they are fully 'soaked' with moisture and become inactive. 

******************************************************************************** a lot of info! But if you are still interested, here's another link about the care of silver: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_and_restoration_of_silver_objects


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