Friday, May 29, 2009

Carnivale Mechanique

So, I'm off later today to San Mateo in preparation for the Maker Faire. The etsy shop is closed up, the outfits are chosen and most of the packing complete. I shall return with an account of what has transpired during my stay at the Carnival Mechanique. Hopefully there will be more good stories than horror.

If you're planning on attending the faire, stop by and say hello. I'm awful with names so please forgive me if I know not who you are.

See you all on the flip side!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


My minor finger injury resolved itself enough for me to pick up my needles yesterday and it's a good thing because I had an idea. No, not a new design, but rather an idea planted by one of the many craft fair checklist sites I visited in preparation for this weekend. I wanted to make sure I had everything I should in order to survive the weekend and I ran across a tip. One suggested that you make something small for the children to handle so that they leave other pieces alone. So, I made doodles and I NEVER make doodles. Small four ring butterflies, single ring flowers and spiders...for the boys.

They fly off the needles at a phenomenal rate, so I have dozens already completed. I still want to make more of them because I think they will in fact keep the children entertained and I know how much my kids like it when they are allowed to buy something small just for themselves. No, they aren't the most useful pieces. I've seen them used as appliques and I suppose a jump ring and they could be a small pendant, but the point here is distraction plain and simple.

I'm still stressing on the outfits for the weekend, oscillating between a desire to be comfortable on these 12 hours outside days and the desire to look over the top since I get so few excuses to play dress up. On the plus side, the corset training I've been doing ensures that I shall be comfortable in the most restrictive of corsets and the weather should be in the mid 70's and comfortable. Maybe I should just go all out...yeah, I still don't know.

I'll be pricing all my pieces today. I did a little price adjustment on the site yesterday to make everything a little easier over all, now it's just the physical labor of putting on those little tags. I made a few signs yesterday and gathered a few more things together, but I still have many details left to go over. The store will be shuttered on Friday morning to avoid any inconveniently timed sales, though sales have been slow lately anyway so it's probably a non issue. I haven't even thought about packing up the rest of the family yet...oye. I've got tot get to it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Dreamed A Dream

The dreams have begun. You know the ones you get right before any event that play out all the possible scenarios in strange detail, both relieving your stress and creating new ones at the same time. You brain imagines how things will play out and mine always seems to create many more awkward situations than my waking mind could fathom. So, my Maker Faire dreams have been torturing me with everything from looking like a fool to it's mostly just the looking like a fool one. I know, I know, suck it up , it'll be fine and it's not like anyone forced me to do this so I should stop my whining.

I'm still having wardrobe issues and I need to tag my stuff, but I think I've made all that will be made. Of course it really doesn't matter since I managed to slice the tip of my left index finger on the corn can last night. This makes tatting...problematic, so even if I wanted to make more, it would simply take too long. I still feel certain that I am going to come off horribly unprofessional amongst my peers, but at this point it can't be helped. I'm not a professional and I don't have a nice SteamPunk wardrobe to work with, so I'll just attempt to work with amateur as best as I can.

If you haven't guessed yet, I will be taking my entire etsy store inventory with me. So from the 29th through the 31st, the store will be in vacation mode...which I still need to set up. I also have no way of knowing what will be coming back nor how long it will take to remake what has sold. This is where I tell you that if you have your eye on something, especially the one of a kind sort of pieces, you might want to act know or regret it later.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Network It

This is going to be another 'I love twitter' post, so if you're sensitive to the subject, look away now. I began my twitter life the same way I've approached almost all of my Internet habit since joining Etsy, that is I followed etsians. They provide a ready made audience with at least one guaranteed thing in common. Eventually that got boring honestly and I ventured forth into worlds unknown. I followed those who followed me regardless of familiarity and soon I had a brand new group of twitter friends.

I'm not honestly sure how I happened upon a group of fashion minded bloggers, but I did and they have been wonderful people to talk to. They have also helped expose my work and tatting in general to a whole new audience of people, which is the most wonderful thing of all. It is easy to share my craft with other artisans, but it is preaching to the choir for the most part. To continue the metaphor, I want to leave the church and take it to the streets. Twitter, my friends, has done just that for me without me even having to be a promotion machine. I just tweet my blog posts in the morning and new listings as they occur and remain chatty randomly throughout the day.

I just got another google alert yesterday morning for another wonderful blog feature from a lovely gal I met through twitter. I love the surprise of finding features of my work I didn't know were happening. This one is at Broke & Beautiful, another great blog full of tips and finds that I would have never found without twitter. Am I saying that you NEED to get on the twitter to get attention? No, but it certainly doesn't hurt to network. I never enjoyed MySpace, haven't joined Facebook and there are half a dozen other places one can go for this alleged 'social networking' business so go where you like, but this socializing online stuff is here to stay and you might as well find a place you're comfy and settle in.

In other news, I am starting week two of the corset waist training and it's going well. The corset is now almost completely closed all day long and I'm feeling no discomfort at all. It continues to cause me to modify my behaviors, but not drastically so. I am finding issues with compatible clothing, particularly as it is getting hotter, but I will endure. My current plan is to go for a three month period and see if I can get this stomach under control. Speaking of clothes though, I am still going crazy over what to wear to the Maker Faire. I have this great bustle skirt, but will it be too much for a day long show, plus it's two days so I need two outfits of steamy goodness...aargh! I'll figure it out...I hope.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I'm Up, so...

I wasn't going to write this morning, but I'm up early so here goes. Yesterday was my daughters birthday. All due celebration commenced. The Pokemon themed party took all of my energy, first the set up and then the inevitable cleanup. My house is currently littered with balloons and Pokemon toys, but her favorite present had to be the Enterprise toy. How elated was my husband that his daughter, through no coaxing, requested said toy. The child is on her way to future geekdom and we didn't even really try to make her one of us.

For those of you just tuning in or detail deficient, I will be attending the Maker Faire in San Mateo this coming weekend. So May 30 and 31st, I will be trying my hand at vending with the Etsy Steam Team. We will not be in the regular vending area as we exist as a supplement to the SteamPunk contingent that will be know as the Carnival Mechanique. Really, I'm going to meet all these people that I have conversed with for quite some time, but I will have my wares with me and I am forcing my family to attend as well. Though they will be mostly on their own, since I don't think they are ready to be put into slave labor just yet.

I'm certain to not shut up about this event until it is well over and done with as it is taking up more than its fair share of my brain space. I apologize for the over exposure to it, but just a week more and it'll all be over. Of course then it is on to other things. Hopefully, we will hear soon regarding our house bid and that should take over a lot of space. Then there is a family trip to the Seattle/Tacoma area which we leave for on June 9th. I'll be strangely absence during that for a whole week. It'll be nice to take load off, but I'm afraid of a little blogging/tatting withdrawal that is likely to occur.

As is often the case, the day in which I thought I had nothing to say, I write a long winded monologue. Ah, it is my way.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Getting closer to the Maker Faire has got me a bit antsy. I'm working on putting the finding on piles of lace, pressing and taking inventory on what I actually have on hand. Not only did I realize how many supplies finishing up everything at once used up, I ended up having to order more clasps. I also finished up my suitcase display. I was hoping that it was the only thing that I would have to drag around during the event, but it's becoming clear that I'll need something else. Of course it's good that I've come to that conclusion now, with a week left, rather than next Friday as we're about to leave.

The suitcase isn't quite as cool as I was hoping it to be. I just really didn't have the proper skill set or base item to get it where I really wanted it to be, but having said that, it will work just fine. I'll leave some things inside and the pendants hanging. Then I'll place larger pieces that are now just tucked inside on the table. I know it's lazy displaying, but this is most likely not just my first fair but my last...unless of course it changes my mind entirely. I doubt though as doing any craft event requires that I travel and I don't like to travel when it's not fun or relaxing.

Just a few more details to finish up before then, but I won't have time for that this weekend. My oldest is having her birthday and party. So my weekend will be bounce house, presents and small children running about with wild abandon. I haven't even decided whether I'll write on Monday or not. Yes, I am still wearing the corset and now I can add yard work to the ever expanding list of tasks I've done whilst wearing it. I'm also maintaining a steadily increasing series of exercises in the evening. Here's hoping all these current events including a vacation to Washington in a couple of weeks and the potential move thereafter don't wreak my momentum.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2 Out Of 3 Ain't Bad

Well surprises abounded yesterday...okay, there were only two surprises, but still. First I received a google alert and a convo at the same time directing me to a feature on Mr X Stitch. It's a very flattering article titled, and no I'm not kidding, 'Stichgasm'. Nice. Then just a few minutes later I got a message from the lovely Kim of TopsyTurvyDesigns. I had collaborated with her on a set of photos quite some time ago. The set featured her amazing hats, a couple of my tatted chokers, authentic vintage wear all shot by Silent Shudder Photography. I have of course been using the images as the listing photos for the Ladies Who Lunch choker as well as the Portrait of An Elegant Bride. Anyway, the photos were submitted to Gothic Beauty Magazine and will be in issue #28 due in stores shortly. Unfortunately they do not post anything online so I can't share here, but please check the issue out at a bookstore near you.

I was waiting all day for the third amazing surprise to occur, but alas that appears to be the end of it though I did finish and get paid for a set of masks made for a friend. I suppose that counts as good news, but it wasn't much of a surprise. I made up some more pendants for the Maker Faire, though I'm fairly convinced that whatever I do have will either not be enough, or will be the wrong things. Ah, well we trudge on.

I am still wearing the corset and I am still going to keep mentioning that here, more as a public record to keep myself in line than anything else. The more people following my progress, the more likely I am to keep it up. It has already produced some results, but I'm sure that If I stopped now, they would disappear quite quickly, but I have to share one moment from yesterday. I had removed the corset for exercise before bed and then walked out into the living room where video games were being enjoyed. My husband asked if I was wearing the corset and when I said no, he responded, wow. That was nice and to continue getting that sort of reaction I will strap myself in as long as it takes to get permanent results.

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Three Things

Tatting, tatting, always tatting. Sometimes however, even I fail and it was bad. I made an attempt to adapt a pattern to be used as a barefoot sandal motif. Halfway through the design it became epically obvious that I did not accomplish this task and the thread was cut and the half piece discarded in disgrace. I just though that I should make a confession of complete failure for the benefit of all the lovely people who have been letting me know that I did indeed teach them to tat. Every one of your stories inspires me in my half crazy quest to, not revive a dying art, but rather bring to light a vibrantly surviving art that has merely remained under the radar for too long. I have every intention on producing more instructables and videos in the future, though current live conditions preclude me from doing them anytime soon.

We heard a little more news on the house buying front, though it gets us no closer really to an answer. Turns out, like many people during the housing boom, our sellers have multiple loans on the house. This means that we are waiting to hear from not one, but two different banks that must agree on out offer before we move forward. We care crossing our fingers that they accept the offer as written, not because we have no room to negotiate, but because we don't really want to go through the whole process again with a different offer. I tell you it's a good thing that if this house goes through we will never need to buy another house. This is madness...pure madness.

Last bit for today, the corset. I think I've eased into a nice corset schedule. I'm sleeping in the corset loosely, removing it for the morning rituals and then tightening myself in for most of the day. I've been taking it off in the afternoon for just a bit and then again before bed for exercise, then back in for sleep. I even went out yesterday to the Target wearing my black corset over my shirt. Yes, I got a few looks, but remember my hair is purple and my arms tattooed, so who knows if it had anything to do with the corset. It's hard to explain the sensation of long term corset wear. It's not painful, but I wouldn't call it comfortable. The corset is very supportive though restrictive. Mostly it is causing me to modify my behaviors to accommodate it, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I'll keep updating you on the progress of the experiment, already my stomach seems flatter when the corset is off and it is easier to keep the muscles engaged, so I'm hopeful.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Guess What I'm Wearing

All my recent custom orders are now done and I had a little time yesterday to make up some more pieces for the Maker Faire. Every day closer to this event increases my anxiety just a little. As I've mentioned more than once, this is my first in person event in many years. The last time I sold anything in public I was capable of tatting only flower pendants, simple bracelets and bookmarks. I did a microscopic fair with my Mother-in-law and I did not enjoy the many people who assumed that this was a flea market. I honestly didn't think I'd ever try this out again, but I really want to meet the other members of the Steam Team and so I will endure. I have no idea if I've got enough things or vastly too many things. Okay, I'll just let that all go for know before I drive myself insane.

In other slightly insane news, I am wearing a corset right now. First a little background, I have had two beautiful, but huge babies. This has left me with a condition known as diastasis, basically the inner ab muscle are no longer friends and the gap between them has made it impossible for me to get a stomach even remotely resembling the one I had previously. Sure I've exercised and I've lost all the weight I ever need to. I don't plan on stopping the exercise, but my limited research has indicated that short of a surgical correction, there's basically jack I can do about it. In some cases no amount of exercise will coax the things together. My solution: waist training with corsets. Before you start worrying about my health and well being, I have no intention of tight lacing to a 17" waist. I'm just going to wear a corset night and most of the day for months to see if the compression will help the muscles back together.

I just started this weekend and was pleasantly surprised that sleeping in a corset is not particularly uncomfortable. I've also noted another possible positive effect on my posture. I started to seriously loose that dancer posture I had maintained while pregnant and subsequently from carrying my children around. I tend to lean back and when I sit, I slouch like a teenage boy. The corset immediately corrects this problem while wearing it, but it also helps me maintain proper posture when it is off. I suppose it's a sort of muscle memory effect. It has slowed down my tatting a bit as I adjust to the new position, but as someone suggested yesterday, perhaps it will keep me from further back and shoulder injuries as well.

I need do to get myself a few more of these corsets, but as you can imagine a well made one is not cheap and with the house buying looming on the horizon(no haven't heard anything new yet) big purchases for me. I joked a bit yesterday that I need to find a corsetry artist that will trade for tatted lace, but I'm not really kidding...anyone? The nice one I have now I got from Timeless trends and it fits me well and is comfortable. Theirs are the least expensive quality ones that I've found, but until recently I've really only looked for "pretty" so I might have missed some. Anyway, more tatting for the faire today and cleaning, for my oldest is having a birthday this weekend and the family will again invade the home. Until tomorrow.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Long Weekend

Ah, it was a long weekend. A very long, hot weekend. On Friday I received a request from a friend for two masks and I spent most of my tatting time working on those, but I really spent very little time tatting. We were asked to sign a few more papers for the offer we put in on a house and the offer, apparently now signed by the seller goes to bank for approval today. I think the worst part of all this house buying business is the lack of freely given information. I know that the process is designed to be like a poker game, revealing only what is needed to continue so that no party really has the upper hand, but it is driving me insane. I am one of those crazy people who wishes I could know nearly everything at all times, and this process has sent me into blind conjecture. I'm making guesses and assumptions even though I really know better. The listing agent seems to be a man on a mission though, so hopefully we will know more soon...see more conjecture.

All the house stuff inspired us to do a little Spring cleaning in the form of what I'm calling pre packing. We let the girls spend the day with their Grandparents while we packed up winter clothes and took bags of discards to the goodwill. Though we spent hours on the task, one would hardly know we achieved anything. I didn't really want to start packing until we know for sure with this house, because if it falls through, we are back to looking again and who knows how long that could take, but I guess a little doesn't hurt.

We also had some sad news on Sunday. We went out to run errands in the 104 degree heat and stopped by the comic book shop. We usually visit on Saturday and when I say usually, I really mean it is a weekly ritual with the children that started before they were born. The shop was run by an older couple that we've gotten to know over the years and not long ago the wife dies from cancer. This weekend the owner died as well. The door was closed with the sad message on the door. He had been spending less time in the shop, but we were still shocked that he was gone and the fate of our family tradition is now up in the air. I feel a bit guilty to think about how this affects us, but regardless we're sad at his passing.

So, yeah, it was a long, hot, weekend. Here's hoping this week brings good news and cooler weather.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Little Surprises

I was all set to let yesterday pass unnoticed and unremarkable, but I did manage to fall into a few interesting moments. I started out just tatting again for the Maker Faire, then I got my first nice surprise, an email from another soul who learned to tat with my Instructable. They were asking for a little further direction, but that's not the point. It is so surreal to know that I really have virtually taught people how to needle tat. I have no real idea how many people have tried their hand at it because I'm not likely to hear from most of them, but I can imagine at least dozens right?

My next task was to actually write down the pattern for my Queen's Feet Barefoot sandals. I got a request for the pattern a few days ago and once it was complete I offered it to a few more people on twitter. Of course I ended up leaving off part of the pattern, which I had to correct this morning, but it's done now...I hope. If anyone else is interested in the pattern, feel free to shoot me an email. You can find my address in my blogger profile. I know I could just publish it here, but I figured I'd save that until I could do a proper instructable which might not be for some time.

Then whilst twitter stalking, I was informed that one of my mask was indeed published in the current issue of Du Jour magazine, the Vintage issue. I had been asked for images for inclusion in a future issue, but due to an email snafu I didn't know it was this one until I was asked if I like the spread. I was also led to an image of the page to share with you.
There I am, in the bottom right corner, and here's a close up so you can read the write up on the mask. It's quite flattering to be included in a magazine devoted to emerging designers. I have a hard time setting myself along side clothing and jewelry designers as I consider myself more of a...I don't know, crafter, artisan maybe. Anyway, it's nice.

The last bit of news for the day was an optimistic message from our real estate agent regarding the offer we put in on a short sale. I wish I could say that this alleviates some stress, but it honestly created much more for me. I was able to keep the whole house buying, moving business at arms length as long as it was completely up in the air. The prospect of it becoming a reality has me terrified. The logistics of moving, adjusting the budget to handle the much larger monthly payment and a dozen other little details are now crowding my mind nearly every minute. Needless to say, I did not sleep well last night and I might not for a while.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Twitter Fail

I've got nothing for you this morning. Really, absolutely nothing. It is merely my insistence that I write Monday through Friday that has me sitting in front of the computer right now while my mind races about trying to pull any little interesting fact from my mushy brain. My tasks yesterday, devoid of any sales, were more of the same. A couple of hair clips and then I asked the twitterverse what colors I should use & they of course provided answers. I, in turn, made things in the requested colors...oh, right, the twitterverse...something DID happen yesterday.

There was a significant uproar over on the twitter regarding the way that we see replies to other people. You used to have the choice to see replies to people you didn't follow from people you do or not. Basically, half conversations that oftentimes lead to organic discovery of new friends. This option was replaced with, well no option. You can no longer see them, even if you want to. Apparently there was a technological problem with the option, it was not scaling and we were told that was going to break soon anyway. Explanations did not stop myself and probably thousands of others from being annoyed and then working out a way around the problem.

This crazy twitter event took most of my morning after which I began to tat again and let it all go. Once my opinion is known, there's not much else I can do about it right? It is after all, a free service that I do enjoy using, so I'm pretty much over it. I'll keep annoying people with my reply fix that many others came up independently of each other, but that's about it.

Unless I am presented with a different project I will continue to tat pendant and bracelets for Maker Faire and I will continue to wait for word back about the house we put in an offer on. We were asked to sign a few more papers last night, so we're hopeful that indicates that they are, at the very least, considering our offer, but honestly we have no idea. I admit, I'm a little tense about, well everything as of late. I can hardly wait to be on the other side of all these events right now, but I have no idea how far into the future that would take me, so I wait.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Almost Healed

My foot is still bleeding a bit this morning, figuratively of course. There were no "make up" sales to relieve my project refuser remorse. Though I was quite lucky to hear many people confirming that I most likely made the right decision for now. The idea of an opera length glovelet has however entered my brain and you're probably correct in assuming that I will one day work out this piece, just not anytime soon.

I spent yesterday making hair pieces for the Maker Faire. Feathers and tatted flowers sewn carefully to hair combs. I made a half dozen of them and I barely avoided inhaling the bits of escaped feather that floated around my head. Yeah, I know, I could have worn a mask or something, but I didn't want to get up and look for one. I've also been breaking out the colored thread to diversify my collection of lace for the event. I've found that online I only sell a few select colors, but I think it might be much different in person. Of course if I'm wrong I'll be added a bunch of purple, green and red pieces to the store next month.

I'll probably be working on many more small pieces today and throughout the run up period to the Faire. I've been told the attendance to this thing is like 60,000. Whether that's the actually case or not, I'm trying to prepare for it. I'm mostly failing, but I'll keep trying, More pendants and bracelets and I think some simple hair clips. Then I figure I'll just bring along everything else I have made and close up theetsy store for the weekend. I know I still have three weeks, but I've always been one to prepare early.

In other emotionally charged news, we put in a bid on a house this weekend. The house fits us well and we really hope that everything works out, but it's a short sale. Of course I only have an internet education on what that actually means, but it appears that I can, at the very least, assume that this will be a long drawn out process. This also means that there is a lot of stress dancing just beneath the surface of my household, waiting for any answer at all. I even hesitate to talk about it at all for fear of getting too attached to a house that we may not get to buy. On the flip side, I'm still slightly terrified of actually buying a house at all. I've rented since I left home well over a decade ago and I know how that works. This buying thing is alien territory and has me scrambling for ideas to make more money...just in case.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I shot Myself In The Foot And It Hurts

So yesterday I was offered a small pile of money, but instead of stooping down to scoop it up, I looked at it and walked around it. Am I street rat crazy? I think that I might have even stopped, took out a cross bow or something and shot myself in the foot just for good measure.

What really happened was a custom order request. There are really two different kinds of custom requests. The simple modification request, color or size change, a slightly different take on an existing piece. Those requests are easy and I enjoy doing them, but then there is the other kind of request. These are the, 'This doesn't exist yet, can you do it?'. These are the kinds of requests that led to my mask line and my wrist cuffs. These are creative leaps that take a significant amount of time and trial and error. Yesterdays request was one of these and rather than leap at a sale, which due to house hunting, I desperately need, I decided to take a reality check first.

The request was for tatted opera length gloves. Sure, the idea is compelling, and if successful would probably be a stunning piece, but when I let reality in the door, it spat all over the idea with facts and math. The requester did not low ball the costs by any means, but after math was through with it, they would ultimately be nearly twice what was offered. The sheer logistics of creating a tatted piece the proper shape, smaller at one end then gradually larger is daunting and would require several failed prototypes before success was even remotely possible. The lack of any real stretch in the lace would mean very specific measurements. That would make it harder to make additional pieces for sale. The only solution there would be a lace up piece and don't even get me started on how to work around ones elbow.

Point is, I could have said yes, struggled for weeks and maybe come up with a finished project. I would have stressed myself out and still might have failed miserably all for far less money that the project was worth. Instead I realized that sometimes we just have to say no and hope that we get a few sales to make up for the loss. I'll be looking out for those make up sales, but even if they don't come I need to realize that I needed to say no to this one. Maybe in the future I'll work out a pattern for this idea, but not today.

Monday, May 11, 2009

So, Why Do I Feel Like The Bad Person?

I've told this story before, but for the sake of comparison, I shall tell it again. When I first began selling my tatted goods, I had the designing skills of an untrained monkey. I had a friend who wanted a large tatted heart, so I searched the Internet and came across an uncredited photo clear enough for me to suss out the pattern. I made two of them and after I gave one to my friend I listed the other for sale. Shortly after, I was contacted by etsy who had been contacted by the designer. I was told to remove the listing as it was in violation of the copyright. Head hung in shame and embarrassment, I removed the listing. This event was responsible for almost every design I ever came up with. I decided that I would never put myself in that position again. I became a designer and if I didn't design it, the patterns I used would be clearly vintage.

I tell you this story as I finally had this happen to me on the flip side. Now, I can't imagine that the person did it maliciously, but I still felt a horrible sting of, well, let's just call it irritation. I don't care if anyone makes my designs from either my written pattern or from figuring out the pattern from my photos, so long as it's just for personal use. Seriously, knock yourselves out, but I make my pieces for sale and it just seems wrong somehow that I should have to compete with someone else making my items with my patterns and selling them. I sent a message to the person who did this and the item was removed quickly and I am much relieved. You might notice that I am being intentionally vague in my descriptions here. I really don't want to start a fight, or imply that I now hate this person, who I am acquainted with. I assume that like myself, no harm was intended. I felt horrible about sending that message to remove the listing, like I was being evil and mean, but if I don't protect myself, no one else will, right?

What is interesting about the whole situation is that when I started on etsy, there were a total of three tatters selling their goods. I never worried about being copied, there was no threat to me. Now, there are dozens of tatters, both experienced and novice attempting to sell there and I guess it is now time for me to be on my toes and keep my eyes open. I am no longer on the outside of the great etsy copier debate that rages on nonstop, I have now officially been there.

On another subject, I came up with a new shoe jewelry piece that will be listed later today. It's name was offered up by another twitter friend, Achilles. It seemed like a good name for something that hangs around your ankle. This design uses the same base as my Immortal corsage, which has been getting popular lately. Here's hoping this one will too.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Square Thingies

Shocking news this morning. I did not get around to taking the listing pictures of my new bracelet and pendant. Yeah, I was lucky to make a nice sale early in the morning and I chose to spend most of the day remaking the pieces that left me so I could immediately re list them. The best decision? Maybe not, but it's what I did with my day. I figured that even though I do tend to get more views on entirely new pieces than re lists, this one is fairly subtle and not likely to catch the attention of window shoppers.

I did however collect quite a plethora of name options. Besides the small list I acquired here: "Tricordia, Hex, Dark Diamonds, Midnight Mysteries, Diamond of a Moonless Night, Black Magic Woman", the denizens of the twitterverse also provided several choices : "Square Rules, Hip to be Square, Cool to be Square,Tats Square,Times Square, Square Garden, Square Tats, Tatted Gems, The Inspiral Black Snowflake, tumbling blocks, squares of lace". Oh and I forgot the gem my husband came up: Square Thingies. I know, right? He's clearly a creative genius. Anyway, now I am faced with the opposite problem from yesterday, too many names to chose from.

I guess I'll come back the list once the pictures have actually been taken and compare them to the names and see what sticks. It needs to describe the single motif pendant as well as the bracelet, so that excludes a few of the names, but not all that many. It'll be a few hours before I can get to picture taking anyway, so if you want to help narrow the choices, knock yourselves out and thanks so much for all the feedback in the first place. It is lovely being able to get ideas from so many sources. I guess you'll have to check the shop later to see what name I ended up with, or I suppose you could wait until Monday when I'm bound to share that detail here anyway. Until Monday then.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What's In A Name?

From tattoos to actual tatting. I was in a surly mood yesterday from lack of a good night sleep. I had suffered from what I like to call busy brain. You know, when you've got a dozen different things to think about so your brain decides to get it all out of the way at once. Yeah, yesterday was not my finest hour. I worked on my newest goal, which is to get everything in the shop made and get rid of those pesky 'custom order' listings. I was rounding the finish line with just one mask left to make when I began stalling.

I even went so far as to bust out my vintage tatting books to find something new to make, something simple. So I made a new pendant from a square motif I found. Then I decided to create a bracelet design using the motif in a different way. Setting the center one as a diamond and the two side ones as squares I added another clover on each side to attach the hook and here we have a new unnamed design.

Since I was feeling so very meh, my creativity level was way down. Sure I managed the design, but it's got no name. I have the single motif pendant and the bracelet finished and awaiting listing save for that tiny detail. So, my friends, please pitch me some name ideas so I can get this sucker listed. I'll do my part and get some pictures done and then it's back to making some sold pieces while I await your creative input.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mystery Tattoo

I am an H.P. Lovecraft fan, well as much as I am a fan of anything anyway. I tend not to obsess over any one subject, but rather take from them what I like and move on. Lovecraft not only frightens me on a visceral level, his writings create such a full and dynamic reality that I often find myself believing his stories as truth. One of the concepts he shares with other pagan belief systems is the magical alphabet. This is a letter for letter replacement code that when written with deliberate strokes infuses the words with power. If you haven't gathered the connection yet, my tattoo is made with such an alphabet based on the work of Lovecraft.

The answer to, "what does your tattoo say?" is one I rarely share. During the summer the question comes out of the mouths of far too many people, most of which would probably never speak to me if their curiosity hadn't made them ignore social niceties. The requires all this background information that generally falls on deaf ears. If I choose to try and answer at all, I generally begin by questioning whether the know of Lovecraft. If the answer to that is no, I go to my old stand by, "It's a long story." If I think they might get it, I explain what I just have explained to you.

Then onto what the words are and why I choose them. Wisdom, Knowledge and Magick. Knowledge, because I spend everyday of my life in pursuit of information, anything from idle trivia to a greater understanding of the Universe. I think that a day where we have learned nothing is a waste. Wisdom, because without it, knowledge is useless. While knowledge can be obtained by anyone though many means, wisdom is only granted through experience and truly listening. Magick is a bit more complicated. I believe that everywhere we look magick exists and that it is only when we stop and look for it that it may be found. It is the unknowable that holds us all together. It is the thing that makes us wake up in the morning believing that we were meant for something more than what we seem. It is your God or gods, your universal energy and it is ignored by far too many of us.

I tattooed these words on my arm as a powerful reminder to myself of the value of these things. I hope that I am granted knowledge, wisdom and magick in my life every single day. Now you see why I don't explain them to everyone who asks, the answer is rather involved. People have said that it is folly to tattoo anything on yourself that you don't feel comfortable explaining to strangers on a regular basis. I accept that I will continue to be asked, but that doesn't mean that everyone gets the answer. So consider yourselves lucky to have heard the story because I'll not be repeating it here again, just another piece to the puzzle.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dirty Deeds

I certainly took it a bit slower yesterday. I did so in an effort to fully eliminate that nasty back/shoulder pain I told you about yesterday. It appears to have worked as all I'm left with currently is a slight soreness of the kind you might get after carrying a large bag on your shoulder. That doesn't mean I didn't do any tatting yesterday. I finished up my 'As The World Falls Down' mask early in the day. As I finished wrapping the wire with thread, I came to a conclusion. This mask and it's bejeweled sister are under priced. Since I created them, I have designed several new pieces that are priced higher because I thought that they took longer than the masks, but that's just not true. These two masks take a ridiculously long time partly because there are so many different elements that I need to take a break between creating.

So I did the deed, I raised the prices on the masks. Not all of them, the newest masks are remaining at their initial prices. The design for those is quite a bit more straightforward. In fact as I discussed the price change on etsy I toyed with the idea of doing an instructable for those. It was pointed out to me at that time that I have enough to do right now, which is absolutely true. So, that task can wait until after the summer and all it's inherent events, Maker Faire, house buying and the moving that goes along with it.

I did also work on a pair of Victorian lace cuffs though I couldn't finish them. Again I was reminded that some things take so much longer than their price reflects. I was so conscious about overpricing goods when I first made them. This was mostly due to other cuffs made with manufactured lace costing so much less. I need to constantly remind myself that tatted lace is very different from machine or even crochet lace. So again I raised the price a bit. I truly hope that I haven't bitten myself in the rear with this move. I hope that my smaller pieces with their smaller price points can help maintain sales. Attempting to buy a house this Spring has really got me focused on making sales to build up our cash reserves. We are trying to buy the only home we will ever own, rather than a starter home and obviously that move makes even my meager tatting earnings important.

Well this post has been a complete downer and for that I apologize. I will try to have something more entertaining occur today for tomorrows. Though in reality I'm just gonna finish up those cuffs and keep trying to get everything listed in the store to be ready to ship, so don't put any money on it.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Occasionally when the stars align, you ask a question of the Universe and it listens. It wasn't an important request, just a simple and somewhat silly request, but it listened. Friday morning I was the recipient of a superhero makeover courtesy of ClayMuse , one of my twittering etsy friends. I even received some amusing back story ideas throughout the day concerning poisoned tatting needles bestowing powers instead of death. I still think my masked image is worthy of a whole superhero hear that Universe...yeah, just giving it a go.

On the flip side, I discovered that tatting too fast and too much can actually result in physical injury. No, I didn't stab myself. I awoke Friday morning with a sore shoulder/back. It was annoying, but not too bad. I continued working throughout the day with nary a thought to what I assumed was the result of a bad nights sleep. When I woke on Saturday, I couldn't move my arm without horrible pain. It was shooting down my arm, across the whole of my back and even my neck. A little research and a few tweets later, I realize that it was in fact most likely a repetitive motion injury resulting in knots in my back so bad that they were radiating out.

Of course a few sessions with my wonderful massage pillow and some pain killers and now I'm almost right as rain. The lesson learned for me, was to stop working every evening and use the massage pillow to work out those knots before the become harbingers of pain. Who knew that a gentlewoman's art such as tatting or crochet could result in something of a sports injury? It would be silly if it hadn't hurt so damn much.

I have almost caught up with all my custom order listings. Only a few of them still exist, so once I've finished another mask and a couple of pairs of cuffs, I'm back to making for the Maker Faire and just remaking what has sold. Of course, now that I've said that, something weird will occur causing me to have to make something I hadn't intended upon. Oh, well, such is life and life is, well, it's alright.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Power Of Voodoo

Alright, so I lied. It's not as though I've never done it before. I assumed I would spend a leisurely day tatting and finish the second mask by days end, but twitter happened. Not in the way you might be thinking though. As I finished my gift mask, I asked the twitterverse if I should make one to sell in purple or black. The twitterverse answered and answered and answered some more. Purple was winning, but only by a small margin, so I became determined to create both colors in one day. The patterns definitely works up faster than my other masks so I was able to not only finish the masks, but photo them during the kids nap time and get some photos up to my flickr and list at etsy.

I'm particularly fond of the photos for the purple mask. My hair has faded to the perfect shades to compliment the mask and the sun was shining just so. I've often thought of how much easier and nicer my photos would be if I had a proper model and photographer at my disposal, but every so often I take a photo by my lonesome that I really like and this set I really like. I feel a bit like a superhero in a few of them, so now I really want to be a comic book character. Seriously, make me into a comic book

Anyway, this is also my 300th post. Don't think that means anything really. It's just a nice round number that I felt the need to point out. Every single milestone shocks me into reminiscing a bit and has me wondering how I managed to have something to say on such a regular basis. Can't imagine that I'll get much else done today and I really have no plans to get anything big done this weekend either. I figure the masks should hold me over for a bit, right?