Friday, May 13, 2016

More Breast Milk Beads

At the risk of blogger TMI: I was convinced a month ago that my breastfeeding days are nearing their end. I'm disappointed because the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for a year at least and Elora is just nine months. We'll be supplementing with formula these last few months since I can't just will my body to produce more milk. A month ago when I started writing this post, I didn't think we would make it another month. I'm still hanging on, but just barely. It's time to move on. That makes this project that much more important to me.

Our breastfeeding journey started out pretty rocky. I couldn't feed her in the hospital at all. When my milk finally did come in, nursing was excruciating due to her shallow latch for the first three or four months. Then, we both seemed to figure it out and I looked forward to feeding my baby and giving her the one comfort that I have that no one else can offer. It is ending too soon for me; I'm definitely not ready to be done and she's not at an age where I can explain that there simply is no more milk. But it seems she is ready and I've no choice but to follow her lead here.  

In my last post, I mentioned round 2 of my breast milk bead experiment. I wanted to redo a couple pieces that didn't come out as I had hoped and I finished mounting the rest. I also learned a method for creating a galaxy-like background and wanted to play with that.

This is the tutorial I found for the galaxy effect. It looks super awesome! I skipped the glitter step, though I might try one with the glitter too. It might be neat.

 So here they are, set in their molds, colored and curing. I popped them out after three days. The thing about the galaxy background is that it involves "painting" the mica powder on the back of the first layer of resin while it is still tacky. I messed up and waited a day instead of a few hours so my resin, while still curing, was completely dry and the powder did not stick. I gave it a quick burst of resin spray and worked on that. It still wasn't all that sticky and I was sure it wasn't going to work, but I trudged ahead (and made some more clay pieces just in case. I'm almost out of milk clay!). The tutorial also says to use black as the final layer. I used a blue glass paint to color my resin. I think it worked wonderfully.

Fresh out of the mold! 
 The pink heart (this is actually mica powder that is a mix of red and blue) was a redo because my earlier padlock wasn't exactly center. The blue lock was also a redo, remember I tried to color it brown in the previous attempt (yep, it's not exactly center. Redo!). The key has the gold background I wanted but didn't get in the first round. And, despite my mistakes, the galaxy effect looks awesome behind the cameo and the buttons. These pieces still need to be sanded and glossed.

 Again, wet sand paper is best when working with resin, but I don't have that so I just used what I had. Long sides were sanded with the round sandpaper and small bits and details were sanded with my jeweler's file. The pieces were then coated with resin spray to make them shine.

A hand drill is handy! 

This owl was from my first batch. I picked up some larger split rings at the craft store so I could actually make it through the thick resin pieces.

It takes some wiggling, but it will fit!

Even with larger split rings, I had to almost completely straighten one end to get it through the resin. It worked and now all my original pieces and most of my new pieces are pendants!

I didn't want to drill through some of them. The placement of the clay charms or how I wanted them to hang wasn't conducive to drilling on some pieces. For those, I used flat-backed bails and glue. I've had good luck with Weldbond, so I just used the bottle I already had.

 And here they are! I have to say the cameo is my favorite. The key on gold is for my daughter, in that time many years from now when she will wear necklaces (even if she never wears this one).The one with two hearts (representing her father and me) in the drop is for her as well. And now I have a variety of pendants to change out and coordinate as I wish!

Some of these are just fun shapes: the owl, the ducky, the flower. The two different locks represent me, the key is my daughter. The cameo is both of us. The two buttons are for my family: my husband and daughter, and the three buttons are all of us. While the breastfeeding journey is definitely hers and mine, I couldn't have done any of this without my husband, without his support, his care, his patience, his love.

Faux Opals
 Bonus! Faux opals! I love opals and I'm lucky they are my birth stone. One of the resin videos I came across was how to make faux opals. They turned out great! I haven't mounted the top three yet. I'm not sure what I want to do with them. I used the glass paint again to color the backgrounds on these.

A while ago, my mother saw me pressing more milk clay into molds. I want to use all the clay I have, even if I never set these pieces in resin, and its storage life was coming to an end. I told my mom about the artists who make breast milk jewelry and how I figured out a way to do it myself. She really liked the two pieces I made with the silver charms. She said the milk clay looked like mother of pearl. It kind of does!

For my full breast milk bead tutorial, see this post! If you make milk beads with my method, I want to see! And I'm happy to help if you have any questions.


Clarissa said...

I think I'd love to see a combo of the milk clay with the faux opal! Thanks so much for your tutorial! I'm definitely going to use this method when I attempt my own soon. I only have 8 ounces left over so I was scared to try and fail. Did you boil your milk before making the clay or no?

Kaede Fyrecreek said...

I did not boil the milk first; I just started mixing. My unfinished beads do not have a funky smell or appear discolored now almost a year later.
Milk clay in a faux opal is a fabulous idea! I was trying to put one in a faux amber but got a little side-tracked. I will try both!