Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

So much to do, so little time to do it in. Halloween is not only a festive event for my family, it is also my Mother's birthday and tomorrow is my brothers birthday, so Happy Birthday Mom, happy Birthday Matt. Of course, I don't think either of them reads my blog, but I still feel it's only right to say it. The kids will want to dress up most of the day and we will visit Daddy's work for a little pre-trick or treating. It's a good thing too because here in central California, it is supposed to rain all day and I don't know whether will get to go out tonight at all. I just can't justify taking a 1 and 4 year old out into the rain to get free candy. Hopefully they are still young enough to get over the disappointment.

I don't yet have any costume pictures for you so I thought I would post a picture of me and the girls from last Halloween morning. So much has changed in the space of a year, the baby is a toddler, the toddler is a 'big' kid, not to mention my drastic hair makeover. I promise that I will have pictures of my tatted costume for you on Monday.

I'm just finishing up a pair of tatted cuffs right now. I realized after I got my copy of Belle Armoire with the cuff pattern, that I didn't have any currently listed and that looked a little off. I still don't know what my next new project is going to be. Should I keep playing with the wool yarn and hope people are in a scarf wearing mood or is it time for a new choker pattern. I'm sure I'll figure it out. Oh, speaking of tatted scarfs, the pattern I listed has been viewed literally hundreds of times. I hope all you free tatted pattern folk share the results with me. Seriously, I would love to do a post of random pieces made with my pattern, so do share!

Happy Halloween, Samhain, All Hallows Eve and since I won't be back until Monday, Day of the Dead, All Souls Day and All Saints Day and any other harvest or fall holiday I may have missed!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Slowest Week EVER

This has been the slowest moving week in recent memory. Maybe it's because I'm getting so much press lately coupled with no sales, maybe it's because my favorite holiday is sitting at the end of the week or maybe it's because I'm all nervous about my things being sold in person at SteamPowered even though I won't actually be there. I'm sure it's a motley combination of all these things, but I feel like the weekend should already be here. Let me back up a bit though and explain the press comment.

The week started out with me receiving my artist comp copy of Belle Armoire. My most recent article contains a pattern for my tatted cuffs and I got all giddy when my article had a cover mention. The cover art was from Bonzie, also of etsy fame. Then after I published my free tatted scarf pattern, it was picked up by the needlework editor of CraftGossip which sent me a little extra blog traffic. Then last night I was informed that I was the featured etsy shop on Fashion Me Fabulous. I thought that was plenty, but this morning I got a message that one of my tatted masks was featured on Rare Bird Finds. What makes all of these mentions so great, is I did not know about any of them except of course Belle Armoire. They were complete, pleasant surprises and I'm quite shocked at the convergence of so many fortuitous events.

I was going to complain about the lack of sales as well as how nervous I am about the afore mentioned convention, but I've decided to accept the trade off for the unexpected attention. I do have a funny little story to tell today though, an anecdote if you will. I found myself sitting in the dentists office yesterday for a half an hour. I reached into by bad to pull out my tatting needle and thread only to discover that while the small ball of thread was present, the needle was not. I decided that since the ball was small enough to act as a make shift shuttle, that I would again attempt to shuttle tat. The result of this was a string of sadly formed rings and a not so subtle reminder of why I am a confirmed needle tatter. The moral of this little tale is that while I receive a occasional accolade for my tatting skill, I have so much more to learn. When people tell me that they could never do what I do, I just think that there are probably many things they can do that I cannot. I will still try to 'get' shuttle tatting and eventually I might succeed, but for now I will stick with what I'm good at.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Nothing Of Consequence

It another of those mornings. I've nothing of consequence to share with you. I've been spending a little too much time shopping through Twitter. I downloaded a desktop widget called Tweetdeck that keeps Twitter in the background all the time so I seem to always be eavesdropping on some conversation or other. I also keep clicking on links for new listings and sales, it's a nasty habit that I need to squelch at least until my sales pick back up. It is so much harder to justify shopping when no one is buying from me.

I know it seems as if I've been busy since I actually listed two new pieces in as many days, but I had been working on those pieces slowly, off and on for a very long time and just finally finished them. I've been a little uninspired as of late and I'm finding it hard to get motivated to create. Perhaps it's just the letdown after sending so many pieces to the SteamPowered convention that kicks off this Friday, I don't really know.

Speaking of Friday though, I pretty proud of myself. Yesterday after a failed search for instructions on how to make a bustle for my costume, I figured one out all by myself. All I seemed to find in my search were wedding dress modifications, overly complex patterns with poor explanations and sad d.i.y. pieces with less than stellar results. My solution was a piece of leftover fabric gathered and tucked under my corset and it looks perfect. Now, hopefully the rain that is predicted for Halloween will not arrive and I'll actually have a reason to wear the costume to take the kids trick or treating. I promise, I'll share pictures if it turns out alright.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Free Tatted Scarf Pattern

I've been toying with the idea of offering up tatting patterns here for quite a while. I was always a little afraid that I would alienate my non tatting friends and since my skills at pattern writing are negligible, I assumed my experienced tatting friends would be completely uninterested as well. As I was finishing up a new scarf yesterday, I decided that it was the piece to cut my pattern offering teeth on. It's a very simple pattern, so all those just starting out or returning to tatting after a time will have something interesting to try out. The beauty of this piece is that even though it is simple, the finished project looks like much more complicated design.

First off a little yarn choosing information. I like to use hand dyed super wash merino sock yarn. If you search for that on etsy, you will find every possible color combination imaginable. Other comparable choices include, sport weight or baby yarn. You can certainly choose thinner or thicker yarns, but that will change the dimensions of the scarf. I'd also like to point out that I am a needle tatter and though I'm certain that shuttle tatting with yarn is possible, I have no expertise in that field as what kind of shuttle to use. For your needle, you want to pick the smallest needle that you can easily thread your yarn choice through.

Now the pattern, the scarf consists of two mirrored rows of a pattern I call 'simple vine'. While I came up with this pattern myself some time ago, it occurs to me that as simple as it is, it existed long before I 'designed' it, I just haven't run across it yet. I'm going to write this longhand just in case my shorthand version only makes sense to me.

Row 1:

Ring 6 double stitches, 1 picot, 6 double stitches, close and reverse work.
Ring 6 double stitches, 1 picot, 6 double stitches, close and reverse work.
Chain 6 double stitches, 1 picot, 6 double stitches, close and reverse work.
*Ring 6 double stitches, join to last ring, 6 double stitches, close reverse work.
Ring 6 double stitches, 1 picot, 6 double stitches, close and reverse work.
Chain 6 double stitches, 1 picot, 6 double stitches, close and reverse work.
Repeat from * to whatever length you desire ending with 2nd ring of pattern

The second row mirrors the first and joins at matching picots. The pictures should give you a good idea of where the joins are.

That's all there is to this one, I hope that all made sense. Just a few more bits of, well, let's call it wisdom. It you're not ready for yarn tatting yet, you can use this same pattern with size 10 thread to make yourself a bracelet or choker. Simply change the length to whatever you need. The reverse holds true as well. If you've got a nice symmetrical bookmark pattern the length can be altered to make a bracelet or choker and if you change to yarn it will probably make a great scarf. The whole reason I've been able to come up with interesting pieces is that I look beyond what a pattern is written for to what it could be and anyone can do that.

Please feel free to use this pattern for your own use and share the results with me. If you wish to make pieces to sell, please contact me first.

I hope this wasn't too boring to all those non-tatters out there. Maybe I have even inspired a few of you to take up tatting too.

The scarf will be on sale in my etsy store just as soon I finish here. The yarn used for this scarf was from

Monday, October 27, 2008

Last In Line

I am not a selfless person, I was always the first in line to eat. I wasn't only out for number one, but I certainly made sure I got mine. You know that person at the concert t-shirt stand that pushes through the crush of the crowd up to the front without blinking an eyelash, yeah that was me. Of course that was before I had kids, now I have patience, avoid crowds and I am generally the last in line for seemingly everything. I did do the line crush thing wearing my baby in a sling last year at MacWorld, but if you've ever seen the line for badge pick up there, you'd understand.

I can not even remember the last time I tatted something just for me. You see my list of priorities starts with the children/family and then my customers, then the household and then me. I am bringing in all this up so you will understand the event that me making my own Halloween costume pieces actually is. Over the weekend I decided that the finishing touch to me generic "goth" costume would be tatted edgings on my shaping corset.

I tatted two separate edging pieces and tacked them on the stretchy corset. Though I do like the way it turned out, I also decided that I am going to make a 'real' one as well. Since I have no desire to sew my own corset, boning scares me, I ordered a relatively inexpensive one that I will embellish when it arrives. Many moons ago I was approached by a corset maker to make lace for her to embellish her designs, but I think my price was a little too much for her and I never heard back, so I'll just do one myself. I figure I can offer it for sale as a made to order piece, since all the corset makers seem to do that.

I promise that I will post pictures of me in my Halloween costume after next weekend. I do plan on also wearing one of my masks and chokers, so I should be all tatted up.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Formulating A Response

I am not famous. I think you probably already knew that, but it was the best way I could think to begin this morning, so back to it. I am not famous, however I have unwittingly become a public figure. This is not the first time in my life that I have looked back and realized that I was living at least part of my life on a stage. The first time, that statement was literal. In my school days I was a drama geek with a very small circle of friends. I was taken aback as I was recognized by people I did not know on a regular basis. Somehow it did not occur to me that acting in all the shows and having my picture in the paper monthly would make me a public figure.

I was just thinking about this yesterday as I was watching my twitter feed on my tweetdeck. I thought how crazy it was that I was essentially eavesdropping on dozens of conversations. I think we sometimes forget how many people can and do see and read our words. We are becoming increasingly public with our lives. The reason I bring this up is one of the many side effects of this phenomenon. I am dealing with an increasing amount of correspondence from strangers. These range from simple compliment and trade requests, to bizarre opinions and tatting questions.

This is forcing me to formulate responses to very unexpected questions, to gracefully accept compliments without coming off as conceited and the hardest one, refusing trades without sounding mean. I actually like to trade, but I find myself asked by people who either make things I can make or quite honestly make things I don't like. Now, I am generally a bluntly honest person, but it just isn't a good idea to tell someone you don't want to trade because you dislike their stuff. How do you let someone down nicely without sounding patronizing and without lying. I know scads of other etsians get asked more bothersome questions, like how they make something or where they get their supplies and luckily I don't get those questions. I assume it's because people either don't tat or assume it would be too hard to try to copy me.

But I digress, the point I was trying make was living life on a stage, even if it is a small one next to a million others means I have an audience. I may not have the paparazzi following me about, but I guess that people are beginning to recognize me and that means I've got to get better at communicating.

In tatting news, I'm afraid I've just been recreating sold pieces and have had little time for the fine art of design. I have started on a new scarf design, but it sits neglected on the table right now as I try to finish yet another mask. I still have another mask design I want to try out too, but right now I'm trying to decide if I should make tatted snowflakes to sell this year. I noticed that some new sellers are offering them at really low prices, so perhaps I should just let them have it this time around. I might make some black ones just because I've done it the last two years and I'd feel a little weird about letting a holiday go by without a set in the store.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sphere of Influence

I think I have a problem. It's not a a bad thing really, but still, I could see it spiraling out of control. I have mentioned before that I love making milestone sales for people. In the last couple of weeks I've been someones first sale, 100th sale and 1000th sale. Although this has gotten me some sweet freebies in the past, I do it for the sheer delight of making someones day. To that end my sickness has spread to simply making peoples day with an unexpected sale. I keep seeing posts from discouraged sellers on etsy and twitter that exist in my list of favorites. There are so many people I love not only for what they create but also because I like them as people and I fancy that if we actually met, we could be friends. So I keep shopping, thankfully I've still got plenty of people to gift for the holidays so the shopping isn't frivolous, but the real reason I'm doing it is that I love the feeling I get when I receive a heartfelt thank you and I know I'm made someone happy.

In the same vein, I got a comment here the other day that got me thinking about my influence. I was so glad to hear that someone was encouraged to try tatting again because of my work and this is not the first time people have asked how to get started with the craft or told me they were gonna give it another shot after seeing what they could make with it. I've joked a lot about how I'm going to singlehandedly revive tatting, which I know to be a silly notion. There are plenty of other tatters around that are not only more talented than me, but also have a much larger sphere of influence having authored books and hosting comprehensive websites on the subject. I'm just one weird chick who picked up the craft a few years ago and sells my wares on one website and keeps a blog that gets all of 50 hits a day. Still, it makes me super happy that I have done a little to expose people and if you are one of those people picking up a tatting needle or shuttle to give it a go and you need a little help or encouragement, feel free to call on me. My sphere of influence may be small, but I'm amazed that I have one at all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Yesterday started out much calmer than Monday, but soon spiraled into a bit of an eventful day. But first I wanted to catch you up on something I didn't share yesterday. I met a lot of amazing artists when I did my tatting challenge and one of those artists was Waterrose. She creates beautiful embroidered felt cuffs and rings and she also keeps a very nice blog. She had approached me for an interview for her blog and I of course complied. Now, I've done quite a few of these blog interviews at this point and they are all pretty much the same stuff. I'm grateful for each one of them, but they get fairly redundant and boring. This piece is different. The questions she poses are unique, well thought out and frankly made me feel uncultured. So please check out the piece and share some love!

Now back to the eventful day, I had been approached a little while ago by someone on etsy to have one of my masks featured in an article they were writing for an Italian website. I was a bit hesitant as I assumed it was some elaborate scam, but I provided the details requested and promptly forgot about it. Well yesterday whilst looking through convos, I checked the link she had provided prior to her article and low and behold it was now updated and there was my face plastered on the front page of the design section of this website Style.It. Of course then I had to scramble around to all my ports of call attempting to get someone to translate for me. Thanks to twitter and the forums, I was provided with progressively better translations. The most readable one, I think, from SteamTeam:
Halloween is at the doors. In the anglo-saxon countries they begin the preparations of customs, disguises, you decorate. Here it is relished the world of the gothic Victorian one, with an imaginary one of mysterious appointment, ruthless lady, men from the sharp canines... An atmosphere of inextinguishable affectation (to care of Francesca Fornasari)
Mystery in glam
A refined mask embroidered that frames the I turn, to impersonate the part of the mysterious dark lady... A secondary bijoux realized to hand from Quevedo. It is gained on and coast 58 dollars (43 euro about).

Other than that, it was just remaking a couple of sold pieces and crossing my fingers hoping my box arrived at its destination safely. I did get word this morning that it has safely arrived and now all my worrying can focus on whether or not it will sell in person as this is the first time it has been attempted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Letting Go

It was a flurry of activity yesterday as I finally packed up a box to send to my SteamTeam friends. They will be selling my pieces for me at the SteamPowered convention in Sunnyvale. I tagged and pressed the pieces and packed them and tried my hardest to come up with some displays. That last thing may prove to be a complete failure. Then as I was ready to seal the box, I hesitated. I have never done anything like this as even though I trust the hands that will be receiving my things, I felt a bit of fear. Of course it passed and I sealed the box, set it out on the porch and waited for the mailman to pick it up.

As I watched him walk away with with my box, I felt another pang. I tried to imagine what I was going to feel like if I sold nothing or everything. How would I feel if it was all lost, or worse stolen. While the actual value of the thread and random findings and beads probably doesn't equal more than $40 or so, it represents countless hours of work and I don't dare tell you the potential retail value of the box. I decided the best thing for my mental well being was to say  goodbye to the box and expect nothing in return. Even after this mental exercise, I'm certain to be a little uneasy until the convention is over the first week of November, so send calming vibes my way.

Just after the box left me, I got another front page feature. It lasted only about 15 minutes, but I still got a few more hearts and about a days worth of views out of the deal. So a big thank to MistFlowerStudio for adding me to yet another of her front page snagging treasuries! I hope to here back from a alchemy customer today as well, she has asked me to make her a longer version of the collar I showed you all yesterday. I posted the pictures on etatters and after she saw it there she contacted me on etsy for the project. I never thought I'd get a sale through that networking site. I'm just there to get feedback from fellow tatters, so this was a nice unexpected event as well. I also went shopping again with some favorite shops that I think needed a little surprise sale. I hope I helped their days.

After all of that stuff yesterday, today should be a quiet and relaxing change of pace.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I am now among the many who have recently fallen victim to the twitter trend. I've added the stream over on the left here and spent the weekend tweaking my page, finding a few friends and generally getting the hang of this new toy. I actually got an account there forever ago, but it wasn't until an etsy friend of mine started "following" me that I revisited the site. I then discovered that there was a huge fan of etsians joining up for the potential promotion factor. I don't know if it will be any good for that sort of thing, but I'll tell you what I already like. I often have no one over the age of 4 to tell of my little successes during the day. My kids don't care that I was on the front page, but maybe if I tweet it to the world, someone will be listening. We'll see if I like it long term, but I'll give it a shot. Follow me if you like, or not, I've no idea how interesting I'll be.

In other weekend news, I tried my hand at rebranding myself. I just got new business cards and thought I'd give banner making a shot and made a new one here and at etsy that match the cards. I really have the graphic design skills of a rhesus monkey, so any opinions or advice will be taken without hurt feelings. I though that the tatting is similar to tattooing play would work for me and my style.

One last event for the weekend and this time it's tatting related. I got in some of the yarn I had ordered and since I had a dead sales weekend I got to work on one of my future projects. This one was the Victorian Lace Collar that was inspired by my husbands video game vixen from Castlevania.

I started with the yarn I got from Fearlessfibers , I picked one with a creamy colorway and made a thick band with three rows of my simple vine pattern. I added a small ruffle on the top edge and a longer one on the bottom. In the end, I will get a large ribbon to tie the collar closed like in the picture, but for now I just tied it with a small ribbon to take some pictures. I need opinions on the look and whatnot, so I'll probably post the pictures everywhere. I kind of like the way it looks without the ribbon as well, so perhaps I'll find a way for it to be worn both ways.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Let's Get Something Perfectly Straight

That's the title of one of those long running threads in the etsy forums. This one is discussing the inability of the average seller to make a living on etsy. I know that many people are disillusioned with their results selling their wares. Many of them thought that this was a list it and they will buy proposition, but that's simply not the case. Other people think that their meager etsy fees buy them an unnaturally large amount of services. Then rather than leave the site that they feel wrongs them, they simply complain ad nauseam.

I could go into the reasons why I think people are not making any sales or at least the amount of sales that they feel they should be making, but I've done that before. Instead, I just want to make a point about expectations. When I started on etsy, I expected to list a few things and make a little extra spending money. I understood that it was up to me to go get customers and to make my product as listings as good as I could. In short, I was only going to get out of this endeavor what I was willing to put into it. I knew that all my 20 cents bought me was a listing, nothing more. I enjoyed watching etsy grow and I suffered through many growing pains that new sellers never experienced and yet I've never thought of leaving. I was never tricked into thinking that I could make a living at tatting.

I often wonder if those who complain the most could, if given an unlimited supply of customers, actually make a living at their craft. That is, could they make enough product to actually support themselves. For the vast majority of sellers, I imagine the answer is no. I certainly couldn't keep up a supply that would allow me to live above the poverty line on my own. I know there are sellers who make things that could fetch a high enough price point and be produced in large enough numbers to make that happen, but I bet even they would not make a living if etsy were their only venue. I imagine they would sell in boutiques, at shows and in other online venues as well to maintain their income.

You see, it's a matter of having realistic expectations. I am happy with etsy not because I'm some kind of crazy etsy fanatic, but because I knew what I getting into. I continue to adjust my expectations to fit new conditions and I'm never disappointed. I know that I can't make a living with my tatting, but I can do my best and get paid for doing something I love and would do anyway. That's why I like etsy and that's all I expect from them.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm Shopping

Well, I not only survived my babysitting gig yesterday, but amongst the chaos, I even found time for a little shopping on the esty. First, I picked up some yarn. I had just sold one of my tatted scarves and I used that as an excuse. I HAVE to get more yarn, if I'm to tat more scarves, right? Then I decided to shop for my sister's Xmas gift and picked up a little something for her from my favorites. While I was browsing through my favorites, I stopped by one store for a potential gift for my brother and ended up buying two just so I coulf be the 1000th purchase. I have a milestone sickness. Seriously, if you are a couple away from a big milestone sale, don't tell me, 'cause I get all stressed out if I can't find something I like so I can get the big number.

I picked up three skeins of yarn from three different store, just doing my part for the economy, so i could not only do some scarves, but I still want to try out a scarflet and of course my husband's castlevania collar. I even bout some nice sreamy yarn for that one. Don't expect these anytime soon, but they're on the list.

Speaking of the list, mine is not written down, it's just a mental noting of future projects. Though I'm always afraid I'll forget one of them, I never do get to writing them down. I wonder if I'm the only one with a mental list problem. I do it for everything too. When my husband says that he wants something extravagant, I say, put it on the list. That list is full of tech gadgets we're likely to get only if someone wins something. In fact the only one in the house with a real list is my daughter. She has a Christmas list that is stuck to the fridge and everytime a new commercial intriques her, it goes on the list and then she is reminded that she is not getting everything on the list.

I wonder if I should just put a list up here in the sidebar...future projects. Perhaps witnesses would keep me on track. Boy, I got off on a tangent today. I'll be sure to post more about my purchases when they arrive and once I have created with them or given them away. Until next time.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Wise Cookie Once Said

There has been a little chaos in the family lately, which has resulted in me babysitting one of my nieces today. I don't really mind, but the addition of just one single child to my brood makes it, well, let's just say I don't have a lot of time today. So I thought I would leave you with a piece of fortune cookie wisdom that I acquired this weekend:

Speak less of your plans and
you will get more of them done.

So with that, I shall go. Be well and I'll be back tomorrow if I survive the day.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For The Love Of Zeus, Please Stop!

I was so excited about my husbands suggestion that I pushed back posting about the weekends events, but now that I got that out of my system. I spent a little time in the forums over the weekend, just for fun and/or curiosity. I noticed something I had observed before, but it seems so much more pronounced now. The competing threads of, 'Is this just a bad month' and 'I'm having a great month'. Each original post is followed by people agreeing with them in seemingly equal numbers. So, either half of them are liars or much more likely is that there is no great trend that we are all following. Sure, it's wonderful to commiserate with others, but there does not appear to be a universal reason as to why on either side of the spectrum. The whole system will have good times and bad times, but there are always exceptions to the trend.

In other news, Sunday night found me on the front page again while I slept and again yesterday. The most recent one was in the middle of the day and was one of those admin picked front pages that did not originate as a treasury. Somehow that makes it a bit sweeter. All this attention as of late has be a bit concerned though. You see I have ego issues, in my youth I was a social reject, thus developed self esteem issues. At the same time, I was too smart for my own good and therefore had a mighty ego. These two forces create a bit of a monster. When my ego is fed, much like it has been as of late, my head grows to an unnatural size and when I am given no attention, I delve into a state similar to teenage angst, all depression and self doubt. So I am afraid that when the other shoe drops and things return to normal, I will be an emotional wreck.

What can you do to help my emotional health? Easy, stop feeding the ego monster. If the attention slowly wanes I will be much easier to deal with. I mean the only other option is to somehow ensure that the attention continues unabated, to avoid the crash altogether, but along with my crazy ego dichotomy, I am also a confirmed realist, which is just a baby step above a pessimist. I feel much more comfortable with my future downfall than I do with accepting that I may have succeeded. Sad, of course, but it's the truth.

Monday, October 13, 2008


It's no secret that my husband has mixed feeling regarding not only etsy, but my tatting in general. That said, he sometimes jumps into my world with both feet. He expressed an affection recently for my masks and attempted to get me to wear one to the Ren Faire last week, though I ultimately chickened out because I was afraid of the attention. I know, silly given that my hair is currently blue and purple and one can't help but notice me. Anyway, just this weekend as he was fawning over screen shots and videos of the newest Castlevania games he called me into his computer room with an idea for my tatting.

This is such a rare occurrence that any hesitation on my part would have been foolhardy, so rather than stare agape at him making a suggestion for my tatting, I went to see what it was. Well, the newest star of the Castlevania games in a rather goth looking gal with an insane amount of hair, which would preclude her from fighting effectively, I might add. On her arms she wears long gloves with a lace edge and on her neck she wears what appears to be a lace collar with a ribbon tying it in front. The suggestion was of course that I should make these items with tatting. While it is hard to get past the origin of the suggestion, it is a good one. So onto the list of future projects are tatted Castlevania accessories.

The collar is quite similar to ones already found on etsy, but as with many of my projects, I haven't seen it in tatting. The projects will probably have to wait until after the holidays, like so many others, but I'll get around to them, if for no other reason than to involve my husband in my work. It just goes to show you though, you just never know where inspiration is going to come from.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Blogging Fool

I've been at this blogging thing for a relatively short amount of time, I don't even consider myself a blogger. I feel that term is reserved for people with a more journalistic approach to writing. So I was a little bemused at the inclusion of my advice in an Etsy Storque article about blogging. The advice was simply put and perhaps that's why it was appealing enough to include. Along side my short comment was plenty of very good advice on keeping a blog as a compliment to your etsy shop.

When I started, I had a literal ton of unexpressed opinions and advice to give out, but now that it's all out of my system, I find this space to be more useful as an outlet for more mundane musings on my projects and creative discoveries. When I had good advice, I got hundreds of hits a day, now it's considerably less, but that's okay with me. I've tried my hardest to not let this space become one long advertisment, to speak to other tatters and people who don't know what tatting even is. I like to think that I'm occasionally amusing or inspiring, but I'm mostly talking just to hear myself speak. I'm sure I'll keep at this regardless of the amount of comments or views I get as I've thouroughly enjoyed the people it has helped me meet.

I do have a little news on the store front to share. In just about a week, I will be removing many pieces from the store to send to the SteamPowered convention in Sunnyvale Oct 31-Nov 2. I'm hoping that they don't come back, so if there is something you've been coveting, especially if it's on the last couple of pages of the store, you might want to snatch it up or send me a message to hold onto it for you. Commercial over.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Riding On Coat Tails

I've never been one of those people who lets pride get in the way of a great opportunity. I've never minded getting help from others to pimp my wares. Maybe it's a sign of weak character, but I'm fine with it. Just a few months ago I was offered the chance to loan out some tatted pieces for a photo shoot and as I've already showed the results of that event, you know I did. The photo shoot was put together by Kim Brown-Dye for her amazing hats. You may know her better as the milliner behind TopsyTurvyDesign. She is not only a super talented artisan, but a really great person as well and I have enjoyed working with her immensely.

Part of the deal with the photo shoot was that we would cross promote with the photos in our listings, a mutually beneficial arrangement. These pictures have already gotten my pieces chosen for tons of treasuries and have landed me on the front page more than once. The benefits of this collaboration have already far outweighed any effort on my part by a mile. I'

Well, she just got the featured seller spot on Etsy this week. That means a prime front page location that guarantees scads of views, hearts and sales. You would think that this does nothing for me, but you would be wrong. While I've seen only a minuscule fraction of the attention that she gets, I now have clear evidence that the cross promotion works. Whenever I get a new heart, I check out their other favorites and yesterday three of my hearts were received right after they hearted TopsyTurvyDesigns. That means they saw her on the front page, hearted her, saw my pieces, went to my store and then hearted me as well.

I know it's not direst sale evidence, but it is still the clearest indication that I'm being seen via her site. I had a feeling that associating with such an amazing artist would be good for me and I have no problem riding on her more successful coat tails just as far as they will take me. So thanks Kim, I hope you don't mind the extra weight!

Photos: Silent Shudder Photography / Model/MUA Beaux Deadly / Hat & Styling - Topsy Turvy Design

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tatted Goggles?

So, I've been super busy lately, mostly making masks. I really did not anticipate having to make more than a dozen of these suckers. Not that I'm complaining mind you, but I am looking forward to making something, anything else after Halloween. To that end, I have finally broken down and purchased a pair of brazing goggles for future embellishment. They came in the mail yesterday and and I'm bursting with tatting ideas. The plan is to use tatting to encircle each eye cup and if I'm feeling adventurous, also covering the headband portion as well. I'm afraid right now that using black on black would lose all details of the lace, but since I won't be working on it for a while anyway, I can let the ideas percolate. I imagine if they turn out really good I'll make a few for sale, but the first pair is definitely mine.

Since that's about all that's happened recently on the creative front, I thought I'd give a product plug out for one of my recent purchases on the etsy. As I have repeatedly mentioned, I used to work at a music store. We received tons of promo tags to wear and these were always accompanied by piles of bead chains, which I collected. I would wear several connected together wrapped around my wrist and neck...because they looked cool. Anyway, as I was checking one of my fav stores, I saw this beauty. It is just so me, and I quickly snatched one up.

The description states that it will wrap about 10 times...mine goes 11 and it is so comfy and neat looking. I actually haven't taken it off since I got it. I can't really wear jelly bracelets or bangles because my wrists are so small, but this piece lets me rock the look of tons of jewelry easily. Allison from RockLove is also an awesome seller I've had the pleasure of being acquainted with for a while now and I highly recommend her as a seller as well as her fabulous edgy pieces.
Just for a bit of added kick, here I am rocking the bracelets.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Tatted Mask and The Eye Patch

I promised you a new tatted mask today and here it is. I call this one 'The Babe With The Power' and it was a custom request. I was asked to create a mask in more of a comic book, superhero style and at first it was a daunting task. I kept staring at the wires I use for the eye bases and then a scrap of tatting laying on my table caught my attention. It was my simple vine choker. This is a pattern that was adapted from a vintage edging pattern, it's a very simple pattern that bends easily and I was able to lay it around the eye holes and the mask was created. I added a little Celtic style piece to the bridge of the nose for support and it was done.

The name was driving me insane, even though this was a custom order and I have little time to recreate it for sale. I wanted to keep the Labyrinth theme, but I also wanted to convey the comic book style and then it came to be just as I was finishing the mask.

In other pictures, I wanted to show you a couple I received from the customer who requested my tatted rose eye patch. She's a doll of a customer and these pictures are great. I rarely get to see my pieces worn, so it's a real treat to see them with such finery including a hat by TospyTurvyDesigns.

One last thing for the day, Happy Birthday to my baby brother James. I can't believe the baby is 25...I feel old.

Photo credits:Copyright: Photographer- Timothy Harshman Photo of: Ang Harshman

Monday, October 6, 2008

TotusMel's Tatting, Bragging Blog

Well the weekend was eventful. After I wrote on Friday I snagged another front page spot. This time however, I was awake and able to enjoy the event. I spent over an hour answering convos and watching those views and hearts go up, up, up and I was even graced with a few great sales. Then I went into a bit of a etsy coma.

Sunday my family took a trip to the Northern California Ren Faire. We've been going for quite a few years now and we take my husbands parents as they enjoy the unparalleled people watching available. I spoiled myself and the girls a bit and brought home a few trinkets and a mealworm. Yes, a mealworm. After a visit to pet a dragon, or rather lizards, snakes and turtles, my daughter the budding entomologist was gifted a mealworm which she insisted we keep and raise until it becomes a beetle. It is currently living in a water bottle until more suitable accommodations can be acquired.

After the long day, we retired early and I managed to miss yet another front page feature. I woke this morning to more convos and requests and Daniel of Catherinetterings sent me a screen shot of the feature which was the lovely treasury by Insectus.

This one featured was curated and featured some of my SteamTeam friends as well as A topsyturvydesigns hat whose picture also includes one of my chokers. So it's like being on there twice, kinda.

It's been a banner week for me and I actually feel a little guilty that I've been granted such a streak of luck. I still see so many threads on the forums of people doing so poorly in the sagging economy. While I have no delusions that I will continue my current sales trend once Halloween has past, I still feel like I've reached a good point of saturation that will hopefully continue.

Tomorrow, I have a new mask to show you and I promise to stop bragging.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What A Nice Morning

I woke to a pleasant surprise this morning. I apparently got on the front page in the middle of the night. This is the second time in a row that I have been on the front page and missed it entirely. At first I was terribly put out that I didn't get to see it, but then I realized that the timing of the event exposed me to a whole other side of the planet. I received several messages from folk I didn't recognize at all probably because I'm asleep when they are online.

I wish I could show you a picture of my front page, but I can't find one. It was the same tatted mask that got featured in the etsy finds email so its views are ridiculously high and it has an insane amount of hearts (211 at last count). Imagine if all those people actually wanted to buy the mask. Of course my fingers would fall off if I tried to make that many, but still.

The other side effect of my front page in the middle of the night appears to be treasury saturation. I've been in a few treasuries at a time and then I'll be absent entirely for weeks, but this morning as I was trying to discover where my front page originated I stumbled upon not just a couple of new treasuries, but seven! Seriously seven treasuries all featuring my pieces. This knocked my on my arse. I'm just really humbled and grateful for all the attention and by way of thanks here are the curators of those treasuries: - - - - - - -

Check them out, they all did an amazing job and deserve a little love for their time!

I found a picture of the front page!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


It's gonna be one of those days. Sure, I have projects lined up, quite a few actually, but I'm feeling a little listless and unfocused. Part of the problem is that most of my projects are off etsy. I'm sure this is perfectly normal for many of you, but my tatting life began at the same time as my etsy life. They go hand in hand for me. Every time I make a piece it ends with pictures and being listed for sale. I'm still making pieces for the SteamPunk convention Steampowered in Sunnyvale at the end of the month. It is taking all of my willpower to not list them on etsy anyway. I know that if I do that, there will be no pieces for my lovely SteamTeam friends to take with them and I really want the exposure that this convention can give me.

I've also been making a couple of masks for myself and my mother. My husband thought it would be a great idea to wear the mask to the Northern California Ren Faire this weekend. This is only the second time I have actually made myself something I sell to keep since I started tatting. I've embellished a shrug with tatting for myself and I've made a few doilies and one huge centerpiece, but since I have a one year old, I can't generally wear my jewelry anyway so it was just as well that they were sent off to people who would love them.

So, I guess I shall get back to work and hopefully I will have more to say tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Why SteamPunk?

It is a fair bet that you have at least heard or seen the term SteamPunk recently. It seems everyone is talking about it, but if you've missed it, SteamPunk is just the most recent subculture to stray into the mainstream spotlight. I'm not going to try to explain the genre, that is best left to the countless SteamPunk blogs and other web resources. What I would like to do is try to explain why people go steam.

I am no stranger to subcultures, while I've never gone "all in", I've been part of one or another most of my life. All of them have some key elements in common, sure they all have distinctive fashion and style and many have a music genre to call their own, but where they are exactly the same is that they fill an emotional need and that is what draws in the hardcore members. The easy example to go with here is Goth. Most kids have a certain degree of normal teen angst, going Goth allows them to acknowledge and deal with that angst on the surface. Sure many people just like to wear black and listen to dark music, but the true Goth embraces the emotional support of others just like them. Even as they are rebelling, they are finding a place to belong.

So then to SteamPunk, just like Goth, it fills an emotional need to belong. What is different about SteamPunk is that it acknowledges a sense that we do not belong. The core of SteamPunk is a time that does not really exist, a time that is wrong whose elements do not belong together. That melding of past that never happened and a future not likely to exist has created a place where anyone, no matter how much of a social outcast can co-exist. It is not a depressing place like Goth can be, but rather a place of pure fantasy.

Sure, a lot of people have been adopting the SteamPunk aesthetic lately just because it is stylistically appealing. I know that I love the Victorian fashion and it doesn't hurt that my tatting fits right into that. Some people dig on the gears, leather and futurist tech, but like any trend its mainstream popularity will eventually wane. The lasting result will most likely be that when you see that goggle wearing freak on the street, you will know that she's into SteamPunk. The subculture will likely take its place beside Goth as something everyone knows about with goggles and geared jewelry featured in Hot Topic, but not something the masses will all adopt. This is of course just fine with me.

If you'd like to immerse yourself in some more SteamPunk info check out these links I've gathered.