Friday, October 30, 2009


Well, the great twitter experiment to get fans to pick the wunderkammer there failed miserably. There were a couple of people that gave it a go, but perhaps my timing was poor. I'm taking another tact and giving it another go. Head to the wunderkammer to see the details for the newest version of the great Wunderkammer experiment. If it works, it will be an ongoing feature, if not...we'll try to forget that I tried this at all.

I finished up the arm band yesterday and used facebook to debut the pictures. I did end up putting fringe along the whole piece. I took a photo of it as a necklace first and I wasn't certain it would make a good arm band, but after biting the bullet and changing out of my warm clothes for a photo shoot, I decided that it does indeed work as a convertible piece. It might be listed as early as today. I'm still wavering on the price. It's not a particularly complex pattern, but the extra steps, like the fringe and the ribbon make it more time consuming than it might appear.

You can see the other photos on my fan page on facebook or you can wait until I list the piece and they will all of course be there. I've got to get back to the task of remaking now that I've gotten a few new things made. I think I'll use my new gray to make another arm band with black ribbons after this one has been listed a while. I like to see if it has any chance of selling before I start making more and I imagine this one might need to find a niche audience since it's not exactly every day wear.

One more quick thing. I was excited this morning to discover that my brand new facebook fan page, less than a week old has already acquired over 100 fans including one really, there is one, go look. Also, the etsy store is just a few hearts from getting 5000. Of course those go back and forth so much that it might take another week or so before that's still pretty cool.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Deep Purple

Have I got a surprise for you. Yep, I have a picture...oh, wait...I have two pictures. I know, I know, you can hardly contain your excitement. The first here is my slave bracelet pattern made with my brand spanking new hand dyed thread I've been speaking of. Now, I'm not normally a fan of variegation in thread. I'm a solid colors sort of gal, so the offer of hand dyed thread made me a little leery over those "natural" color variations. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the subtle color variation with this thread. It seems to give the piece and depth rather than the rainbow color effect that I am not so fond of.

I was going to start a brand new design with the new thread as well, but as I also mentioned, it's way more costly than the off the rack thread. I decided rather than fair an experiment with it, that I would bust out the good old black thread to work out a new design. This one was prompted by a comment by Kersti...the tatting queen. She said arm band on twitter when I asked what I should make. I thought it would be easy after a sample of arm sizes also from my twitter friends, but the design proved elusive. I wanted a little, you know luxe, fancy, indulgent, but I couldn't settle on an elaborate thick design or a thin band. Of course there's also the question of how to close the piece so that's it's easy to wear.

What I finally did was settle on a pattern. After combing through vintage books for inspiration, I found a frankly horrible looking edging with potential. How anyone wants to tat with stretched out, uneven images like this beckoning them is really beyond me. I took the basic design and tweaked it a bit for a much more stable and less stretchy structure and yes I am adding the fringe. I think I am going to fringe every other motif rather than all of them, but I'm still in the planning stages here. I also noted that many of the fiber based arm bands currently for sale are marketed as convertible pieces, meaning that you can wear them multiple ways, as necklaces or bracelets for example. This led me to an idea for a ribbon closure idea that may have the ribbon running the length of the design. Again, planning stages, so it could go either way.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Contest

I just noticed that there have been a striking lack of photos here lately and well it because I've nothing new to show you. All the mask making was the same old, same old. Of course you will have noted that this non pictureness is not changing today, but I shall try to make something with one of my new thread colors today, so I have something to share on tomorrow. Though I believe a blog need not be crammed with pictures to be interesting.

As is my way, every time I enter a new space, I blather on about it until the shiny wears off. So today, it's back to the facebook. Look, it's not amazing, or groundbreaking, but I do like this whole fan page business. It allows me to be unapologetically self involved. People are there to see what I'm tatting, selling, etc. so I don't have to feel guilt that this is the only thing that I'm talking about in that space. I mentioned a contest yesterday and it has been started. It's really a win win for me. Basically, one becomes a fan, acquires some of my tatting, not necessarily in that order, takes a picture wearing it, uploads it to the fan photos and I randomly pull a winner after the first of the year. See, I get a gallery full of customer images that I've always wanted and the "fans" get a chance to win free stuff. Well, that's the plan anyway.

I am also being put into a state of constant shock at the speed with which my "fan" base is growing there despite my lack of efforts to that end. I suppose I just waited so long to jump over there that everyone who liked me was already there. I always assume that I will reach a saturation point at some time. You know the point at which anyone who would like my work has already seen it and there are no more eyes to reach, and though the hearts on my etsy shop have slowed in recent months, they continue to grow as well. In fact, I'm less than 20 away from 5000 of the suckers. There are towns around here with fewer residents. Anyway, shocked, I am...happy of course, but shocked. I'm sure that I will be a ball of annoying ego as soon as that 5000 rolls around, so you best prepare for it...or maybe just avoid the blog post entitled 5000. That should keep you safe anyway.

So, enter the contest if you have some of my tatting and you've succumbed to facebook. I want to see all your pretty faces and wrists and necks and whatnot. I can't promise you'll win anything, but it could be fun right?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Well, I'll Be

Well slap me on the rear and call me Nancy. No, I have no idea what I just said...I was merely trying to express my shock at the immediate response to my brand spanking new and frankly unfinished facebook fan page. Only two days after its inception, TotusMel Tats has over 60 fans. I'm not going to discuss the weirdness of the term "fans" here, but I am excited that people actually want to keep up with my tatting and the store. In the next couple of days I will announce the inaugural contest for that space. So if you're at all interested and have already succumbed to the 'one of us' call, go ahead and fan the page, of course only if you really want to. I'm also working on a way to somehow integrate my other spaces there so there, but I think it's going to take a lot of time and poking around, so don't hold your breath.

Mask season is over I think. Today would be the last day to buy a mask and receive it in time for Halloween, so I don't think I'll be selling anymore for now. The shipping upgrade will disappear this evening before I slumber and I'll relist those that have sold as custom pieces, since they no longer 'need' to be ready to ship. There are also a few more pieces that I've yet to relist or remake that will soon make an appearance again and the push for holiday shoppers shall begin. If you've been around a while, you've probably already gathered that marketing is not my strong suite. I try to announce things of course, but I rarely make a concerted that thing I just said about a push for customers was of course all hot air. Just thought I should clarify.

So along with some of the other contest like ideas I've been kicking around, I've been thinking about getting other people more involved in the Wunderkammer. I have thought of having guest posters, but with the speed that some things sell, I don't know who'd be up for a one day deadline. The newest idea is to use twitter to get other people to pick the theme and then populate it with their own picks. I might give it a go in the next week or so and see if it's a viable option. If it works without too much hassle, it could even become a regular occurrence. I find that people love having a sense of ownership to a place, even if it is small. Though, again, it all depends on whether this idea makes more or less work for me...because I sure don't need to make it any harder.

That's it for today, though I keep thinking that I wanted to mention something else. I got in my new threads, the gray and purple. Though that's not what I wanted to tell you. They will get used as soon as I catch up with ankle corsets and all that other stuff I already mentioned. The colors will get added to the custom color list that anyone may choose from right away. I was going to increase the cost of pieces made with the hand dyed, since it cost me much more, but I think I'll eat the cost for now. Still, that wasn't what I wanted to share and I can't think what that is, so I'll off anyway.

Monday, October 26, 2009

About Face

I did it...I know I tried not to. I avoided it like the plague. I even reveled in my avoidance, but I suppose now that it was inevitable. I have joined...facebook. I know, go ahead and mock if you wish. I clicked through to the damned site on more than one occasion, only to back away quietly then promptly run. Finally I reached the point where my curiosity outweighed my better sense. i bit the bullet and joined.

It took forever and a lot of poking around for me to even get my confirmation sent to my damn phone. I've decided that the site is needlessly complicated. There are links littered around like toys in a toddlers room. I was so annoyed that I almost gave up and shut the whole thing down, but I persevered and set up a fan page for the etsy store. You can find the link for that over in the left column here. There's not much there I'm afraid as I've no clue what I've doing, but it's there, you can be my fan should you wish and I'll try to get it together soon. If you've any advice on this front, feel free to spew it forth...I've no illusions of competence here.

Some more etsy store news for you though. It's not too late to buy a mask for Halloween. All the ones listed are ready to ship and I've added priority shipping at no extra cost so they can arrive on know, should you actually want one. I'm still working overtime to get a few pieces remade. I wanted to get some stock ready for the winter gift giving holidays, but I don't know how I'll do at that either. I work fairly good under pressure, so perhaps I'll just wait until I'm under fire. If any of you were looking for holiday gifts, particularly custom ones, order early so I can get on it...I beg of you.

Alright, I think that's it for now. So to recap, facebook sellout, masks ready to ship, get holiday gifts ordered early, yep that's it. Hopefully tomorrow will be less promoty.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Instructables Again

I know I've been talking a lot about Instructables lately. Yeah, I'm going to keep doing that. I was over there yesterday to answer a question and I noted that my mask tutorial has been viewed...wait for it...over 33,000 times. May I just say, damn. Now, I know that not all of those eyes liked what they say, some clicked and left, but my etsy traffic is showing an upswing due to those eyes. They added my mask to their newsletter this week and just yesterday my etsy views went from an average of, oh 150-175 a day to 450. Sure they aren't buying right now, but that doesn't mean they won't come back later and get a little something. I guess the point that I'm trying to make is Instructables...good.

On a related note, I have at least two more Instructables planned for when I get a little down time. I've been wanting to put up the barefoot sandals for some time, but just haven't had the opportunity. I have also decided to do one on tatting the other way, with a cut thread. This method mimics tatting with a single shuttle and while I tend to avoid it, often rewriting a pattern with chains instead of thread spaces, it is still sometimes necessary for some patterns. So, I will share, when I get the time. I imagine that might mean after the first of the year, but I'll try to get to it sooner. There might be a nice down time after the Halloween rush.

I abandoned a pair of ankle corsets yesterday to start work on a Kind Of Pale Jewel mask after I had an inquiry about it. I don't usually start work on something after such a uncommitted comment, but I figured that it needed to be made anyway. Of course the inquiry has not yet turned into a sale and time is short before Halloween is upon us. I wonder why it is that folks with the shorted deadline seem to take the longest to actually place the order, assuming of course that it gets placed at all. Sure, people have the right to change their minds and take their time. That's fine really, but I am one of those people that just wants to get to work, to get immediate answers, you know, terribly impatient. Then I fear that someone else will order the same thing and my claim that it can be done in time becomes void because the customer is no longer first in line. But, hey it's first come first serve right?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Busy, Busy

I feel like I'm almost too busy to stop and write down well, anything really. I shall not complain about busy though...busy is good. Anyway I want to thank everyone for their support yesterday. Your comments not only undid the negativity I started the day with, but shot me right back into positive space. If you didn't catch the end of the story, the comment was removed after a wonderful friend flagged the comment. So my instructables presence is no longer marred, in fact I'm featured in the weekly newsletter as well. So, yay.

In more 'yay' news, I mentioned that I got some samples of hand dyed thread recently, unsolicited. What a lovely surprise it was and it led to my acquisition of a dark purple and gray thread. I just ordered them, so I shall have to wait to get them, but I wanted to show you the shades. The thread is dyed by Heather of hajdesigns31. It has been a pleasure working with her and I can't wait to get these new colors.

Sure, I don't know when I'll get some time to make up new pieces in the shades, but at least I finally have the option. I do get frustrated by the lack of deep colors in size 10 thread. So now, I've got a supplier for those colors I get asked for the most.

Yes, I'm still working on masks and ankle corsets and I see no end of the tunnel yet. I still have pieces to make for a photo shoot next month and the holidays are right around the corner. I'm out of breath just thinking about the list. Well, here I go now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Too Mean

I'm up, I'm up. Seriously, I haven't a clue as to why I am so ridiculously tired lately. Of course I suppose it might have something to do with my daily task list getting longer by the minute, but still.

So anyway, I have a story to tell. I have again garnered much attention due to my original tatted mask on Instructables. It was almost a year ago when I first joined the site and since then I have produced three full tutorials and one video. They've been viewed a ridiculous number of times and I've been able to help and answer questions from dozens of people trying tatting for the first time or just trying my pieces. The comments have always either been encouraging or questions, but never mean...until today. Now, I'll grant you that it's not all that mean and I really ought not take it to heart especially given the sheer number of those who have made, admired or purchased one of my masks, but it still burns a bit.

You can see the comment here as it is probably still the first one there. If not, I imagine a short scroll and you'll see it. I'd spend a few paragraphs arguing the point made, but really that's a waste of energy, so instead I'll just share and let you be the judge. Really, it would take much worse than that to scare me away as the site has been really nothing but good for me and well for tatting. So many people who like to try new things have been exposed to something they probably knew little or nothing about, so still lands in the positive column.

I'm still tatting as fast as I can to keep masks in stock and I will keep doing so until the holiday is upon us an the mask fades away. I just wish that paypal would stop flagging my customers payments. Seriously I've had two flags just this week and there was another not too long ago. I feel like they're watching me not watching out for me as the flagging system claims. This seems to only happen when I have things that need to go out on a deadline. Never when I have tons of time, no that would be convenient. So know, when people are ordering masks for Halloween or a masquerade ball around the corner, I get to sit on my hands and not ship their pieces for at least another day. Yes, I am annoyed. Gotta keep moving forward though, no time to dawdle.

update: The "mean" comment has now been removed! Thanks for the support.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Short and Sweet

I'm off to the pumpkin patch today with the family. I hope I'll still have time to tat as I've several pieces that I really want to get done. A couple of sold masks, a few necklaces and two pairs of ankle corsets are all on my invisible list of things to do today. I'm running a bit on empty with all these tasks, not to mention doing the homeschooling and keeping the two year old from destroying the house while I'm busy with her big sister. Oh, yeah, this is turning into a whine fest. I haven't quite got to that point of overwhelmed yet. I think that is due to actually finishing all the urgent house tasks that we wanted to finish. Sure, there's tons more on the list, but most of it is not time sensitive.

I've got a ton of tatting to get to today as well, a ton. Masks, ankle corsets, necklaces, all need to be remade sooner rather than later. So rather than tell you about all of it, I'm just going to get to work. I'll be more talkative tomorrow, I promise.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Out of the Bag

I guess I'm still a little wiped this morning. You see, for the last month we've been planning a surprise party for my mother-in-laws 60th birthday. The event was on Saturday afternoon and my house filled with people I may have met once and a few that I knew well. The surprise went over well and my husband ran several tours through our house. I have to tell you I'm equally proud and embarrassed by all the compliments we received on the house. Sure, we got a great deal and yes, it's a nice house, but dang, I think they all wanted to move in. Aside from a pink and purple icing incident on the berber, the house survived fairly well.

I've also been tatting up a storm. While masks haven't been flying off the shelves, they are moving as are ankle corsets for some reason. The only issue this creates lies in the creation time needed for these pieces. I've been trying to avoid listing unmade pieces, but as I keep saying, if it's not listed it can't sell. So to that end, I keep re listing the sold masks and whatnot hoping that I don't end up with twelve projects at once or some such craziness.

I know that there was something else I wanted to share, but now I can't remember what. So, I suppose I'll just let it go and move on for the day. Of course this means that I'll remember it in a few hours and kick myself. Oh, well.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Back to the tatting. Against my own rules, I had started this mask before it had been purchased. This tends to happen when my curiosity for the final product outweighs my better fiscal sense. I needed to see if I could create what I claimed that I could create. Lucky for me the purchase did eventually come and now I'm on the home stretch of the project.

The mask, as I'm sure I mentioned, is meant to match a dress that also has silver embroidered embellishments upon it. I thought the effect could be mimicked by using a blending filament held with the thread while tatting, but a quick experiment nixed that idea. The filament blends far too well and only peeks out every few stitches, not a bold enough look. So I finished the mask as normal and then began the task of, well actually embroidering the edges.

Using a much smaller needle, I am stitching the filament right on. I've only finished one eye and I plan to also do the entire outside edge. It's a much harder thread to work with as it is prone to stretching, but I really like the way it is turning out particularly from a distance. When it's done I'll get some more pictures and share the dress it's to match so you can see how well I did.

This project as well as surrounding myself with makers of extreme bits of frippery has inspired me to slowly work on a very high end line of one of a kind pieces. I think this is just a vanity project and I've no illusions that I'll be selling many $500 pieces, but I thought it would be neat to try something ridiculously detailed. I plan on working with some silk thread and layering several different elements to create these pieces. No, I have no idea when they'll emerge. Obviously they will take more designing and time. If you have any ideas of which direction these art pieces should go, feel free to share. I'm not certain whether I'll start with neck pieces or cuffs or something else entirely so all your ideas will gladly be stolen.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today is my mother in law's birthday and yesterday, for some unexplainable reason, I decided that I should draw her something for the occasion. I haven't picked up my pens in...well quite some time. I used to draw a lot. I never really thought of myself as an artist particularly because both of my brothers are unmistakably artists. Comparably speaking, mine pieces are child like doodles. Yes, I know that we work in completely different styles that really cannot be compared, but still the difference is clear. Anyway, now that I've digressed into self loathing in order to make myself feel better about my achievement, here's my present.I don't really think she is gong to stumble onto the blog today and ruin the gift, but if she does...happy birthday, I hope you like it!

I didn't get as much tatting done yesterday as I had planned.I was sidetracked by not only the gift making intermission, but also a much longer school day for my daughter. I've learned that I need to take advantage of those days when she seems not only willing to learn, but actually focused. I taught more lessons than I needed to since she was still in a good mood and we still have plenty to catch up on with our nearly two week late start to the school year. Hopefully today should be another productive day in one way or another. Still not getting a whole lot of sleep with all the coughing around here, but it's getting better and time stops for no man... or mom in this case.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Raining

Well, the skies opened up yesterday and spilled their contents upon our corner of the world. We're also still sick around here, so rain and illness kept me from really doing much at all for the first part of the day. I was waiting to see if a few different people would come back and make purchases after earlier inquiries. Nothing. For the first time however, a customer did in fact update me on the situation rather than let me twist in the wind, so thank you. I don't think you understand how much I appreciate that simple gesture.

I did start tatting a custom mask using some of my new hand dyed thread. I have never used a small skein for anything large and I wasn't certain that it was going to be enough. I usually tat off a large ball, so this was unnerving. It was unwarranted however and now I know how much thread I actually use for at least one of my mask designs anyway. I need to pick up some silver filament to add to the edges to help it match a dress. I was sure I had some around here, but it is not letting me find it. If the weather is better today, I might venture out...though that's not likely. I'll be sure to post pictures of this one along with the dress it is meant to match when it's done. I think it's going to look really neat.

I did wake up to another of those customers making a wonderful purchase. This time the pieces are headed to a Masquerade ball in Detroit. The combination of pieces bought are going to make for a striking image and I really hope I do get to see how it turns out. Of course this also means that I have a whole mess of pieces to remake and get re listed. I've also got to keep the house as clean as possible for some visitors we're expecting at the end of the week. The children are not being helpful in that all. On to it then.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


You know the whole doctor mom thing where they say you need two things no matter what you're sick with? What were those things? Yeah, plenty of fluids and...hmm, rest, right, rest. So, I didn't get any of that yesterday nor last night. I got sicker and the "sick" kids jumped around like crazy people. Then the two year old proceeds to cough all night long, effectively keeping me from getting any sleep. To make matters worse, I have an allergy. A very special allergy, to one single medicine. Acetaminophen. Don't know what that is? That's because it's Tylenol and it is in like 75% of cold medicines and 100% of the ones that we have in the house. This means no throat numbing, no cough suppressant, nothing. I had a cup of tea and while that worked for a few minutes...yeah, I'm running on empty over here.

I also discovered that even though my ability to talk is compromised, I can do the five year olds schooling okay. That is of course until I'm suppose to read aloud to her, then I become useless. Lucky for me I got a substitute in the evening to take up the slack. Though I managed to get a few things tatted as well, I fear today will not be much more productive. As I function on less sleep, I make far more mistakes with the tatting. I keep having to stop and pull out a chain or ring...or three. I even had to scrap a whole bracelet when I discovered my mistake far too late to effectively fix it. I am waiting on a few customers with custom requests, but as usual, I've no idea when they might manifest. I am definitely not starting work until they make those actual purchases. I still have another piece to make for the photo shoots too, so I'll get on that today...I think.

Oh dear, I hear the child coughing upstairs, she will wake soon and then I'm back on duty. Here's to a better day ahead.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Take My Picture

We're sick, the entire female lot of my house anyway. We've sore throats and there's coughing and the children are whiny. So forgive me, if I'm not chipper this dark and dreary morning.

The weekend was filled with more housework and I finally pulled all the boxes of figurines out and began the task of finding them new homes. I saw figurines, but the bulk of them are my useless collection of dragons...yeah, I like dragons. Surprised? Yeah, didn't think so. Many of them are now in temporary homes as my husband is not liking my ideas. Hell, he doesn't seem to like any of my ideas as far as the walls in the house are concerned. He's afraid we'll make the wrong decisions with the holes in the walls and so he appears to erring on the side of no decision. Don't say anything to him but I think he thinks that if he waits long enough, the wall fairies will do it perfectly for us. If you think I'm being too snarky, well suck it up, I'm sick.

We were about to enter another full week without a sale, but I awoke to one, so I'll spare you the whine about that. Also this weekend, I made a connection with a twitter photographer friend and arranged o send her a few pieces for a photo shoot. I'll say more as it develops, but I'm really excited. She does amazing work and my listing photos for the pieces will get amazing all of a sudden. Then, I got a message from another photographer who I did not have the pleasure of already knowing, you asked if she could also borrow a couple of pieces for a photo shoot. As I checked her website, I was surprised to see a few familiar and fabulous images there. I happily agreed to the arrangement and again you will find out more as the story develops. I hope all these new pretty pictures will bring the inspire people to become customers. That would be just lovely.

Now, I'm off to pretend I'm not sick too, so that I can care for the sick's going to be a very long day.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Day Away

At the risk or getting all tmi on you, yesterday was my annual doctor's appointment. You know, the *girl* one. Don't worry, I mention this only as a segue. Since it was early, I rushed through the five year olds school work very early and even got all the laundry and other chores started. When I got back from the doctor, my day was fairly clear. So, I tagged along on "Grandma day", went to lunch and did a little shopping.

I have to tell you, I forget how nice it can be to break away from my routine even for just a little while. Since I'm caught up on orders and sales have been...well, let's just say inconsistent, I didn't need to be full speed tatting either. I did manage to finish a mask in the doctors office, but only because there's nothing else good to do there to kill all that waiting. I started on the last mask I'm going to make for now yesterday as well. When it's done, all the ones listed in the etsy store are made and ready to ship. Though that whole inconsistent thing has me worried that I've already sold all the masks that I'm going to for the season. I know mine are much more expensive that many that can be acquired. I've also noted a few lace ones popping up at etsy. Of course they are manufactured lace and even one made on an embroidery machine, but they're cheap and I suppose have the same general look.

In other news, the folks over at Instructables have again placed my mask in a nice and visible position. This time on the craft page with other Halloween themed craft guides. They used the image for the icon of the mask guide, where my instructable sits along side many other interesting mask choices. So, thanks for the attention again Instuctables, you know how I love the attention for both myself and tatting. It really is a great site for anyone who wants to learn how to do almost anything and of course if you haven't yet, you can learn to needle tat too.

What's on the agenda today? I have no idea. After I finish this last mask, I guess I'm waiting for a sale to appear to give me something to work toward. I mean otherwise, I'm going to have to focus on cleaning or something and I'm saving that for next week.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Yeah, I've got nothing, but more of the same really. I speed tatted and finished up all the custom orders I had on deck as well as a couple of pieces that had been started and never finished. I slapped up a little not about Halloween in the store. I figured a polite warning to buy masks early, should they be desired was in order. Then I waited...and waited. Sure I picked up the needles and got to work some more, but after I get a bunch of inquiries, I tend to sit on my hands for a while wondering when or if they might return. You see, I get worried that if I start work on something else then I *will* get a custom order that will cause me to abandon what I've started. Then again, if I start to work on the piece inquired about, they are likely to never return to make that purchase. So I waver back and forth with little direction. I generally opt for working on small pieces, but currently it's the masks that are most in need of remaking.

The afternoon and evening was spent more on home matters. Looking for a new kitchen table that can actually be used by small children, still look nice, not be a stain magnet and well made and not ridiculously expensive. It is a task we are failing at. We did get the last of the light switches rewired with the help of a contractor friend. So with that, the completion of the backyard and the window treatments,we're about halfway to settled. The front yard is still a mess and we still have not adorned any of our walls. Then there's the dining table that won't arrive until the end of the month and the front sitting room that is currently only a pair of bookcases. We've discovered that big comfy chairs are far more expensive than we could have imagined.

Thanks for all the moral support after yesterdays episode. I do get great joy out of knowing how many of my pieces have traveled the world, especially since I haven't. That doesn't mean that I still don't long for the day that my pieces take a trip down the red carpet or in front of a movie camera or something as equally immortal. I imagine that after my own desires for fame were destroyed my my lack of the ambition and drive needed for it acquisition, that might be closest that I'll get. And now back to my actual and much less glamorous life...which I love, I promise.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cooler Than Me

While not as busy as Monday, yesterday was another constant working sort of day. I got one mask finished and another started. Then I got two separate people asking after the same pieces and again with the 'no crystals' questions too. I got all excited and terrified about all the pieces that I was going to make should both those inquiries turn into sales. Alas, neither have. They could return at any time I suppose, but I've learned to not try to anticipate these sort of things. It inevitably ends in both me making something that is not going to sell immediately and grand disappointment.

I had a bit of a moment on the twitter yesterday. Even though I'm busier and spend far less time commenting, I often leave the window open and twitter stalk as a background to my tatting. You know how you admire certain creators for one reason or another? Then you decide to follow their blogs, shops, twitter, etc. Well, anyway, I do that and for some odd reason, several of the most successful, famous, get the point, were all chanting at the same time. This brought out my jealousy monster that prompted me to state, 'I fear I am following too many successful creators...I feel like a schulb in comparison.' While not actually fishing for compliments, many returned with them any how and a few recognized the situation. It's all about perspective. No matter how high we many appear on the ladder to others, all we can see are the many far above us. We often forget to look down to see how many are below.

The whole thing reminded me of an interesting Jr. high incident. I was in the g.a.t.e. program (nerds), we sat on one of two benches behind a baseball field at lunch. The popular/jocks/cheerleaders/etc. sat on the other. There was little or no interaction between us. In high school our group dynamics had changed and while I was still a geek of the highest order, I had occasion to speak to one of those popular kids. During a conversation we admitted to sitting on that bench to be close to the popular kids. The response was unexpected, 'really? We sat on the bench to be next to you guys...we thought you were the popular kids.' It's all about perspective. Right now, all I want to be able to brag about so and so famous person wearing my pieces, or a full spread in such and such magazine on TotusMel's pieces. Would I be able to deal with the aftermath of such an event? I really have no idea, but I really want to find out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


You remember that last paragraph yesterday where I mentioned my tasks for the day ahead? Let me just say...damn. That was one exhausting day. Just packing and labeling the winning pendants took almost two hours of constant labor eating up all of the kids nap time. I wish that I could tell you that I'm used to that sort of volume, but not so much. I'm happy to send away all these pendants, but I won't be doing that sort of free for all again any time soon I'm sure.

I also had a bit of a mask windfall yesterday leaving me a few to remake quickly. The Halloween season is approaching rapidly and there is only a small window for me to get these things sold for the holiday. So guess what I'll definitely be making for at least the next week or so. I'm going to go ahead and re list the sold masks as custom pieces even though I generally hate doing that. If they're not listed, they can't sell and most people won't ask after a sold piece.

As you can imagine, I've been spending less time on the computer and I'm sure that trend will continue. I did read the comment on the blog yesterday and I wanted to say thanks for all the vocabulary support. The customer did return and make a purchase so perhaps I blew the situation out of proportion after all. After homeschooling in the morning, I get to work on tatting while trying to keep the children entertained. Then there is the never ending list of household chores. I feel like I'm just repeating myself here, but then again that's what I feel like most days. Well, back to it then.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Zombies, Curtains and Tatting, Oh My

Ever since homeschooling began, weekends have taken on a strange aura for me. As a stay at home mom, weekends are irrelevant, except that my husband is home. I still have tons of work and no break in sight, but with the addition of weekday teacher to my chores, the weekends bring an actual break. It's weird and really only a small break, but I like the way it separates things. This weekend, while I did get some tatting done, was more about the house...again. This time t was rewiring light switches and finishing up some curtain issues. Remember the kitchen ones giving me so much grief. Well, I just went and got some normal damn curtains with a valance and hung them higher to fit. I really would not have dealt well with the tiered curtains one is "supposed" to hang in there. I feel they might have driven me subtly mad over time.

Now here's my embarrassment for the weekend. I had a customer make an inquiry about whether on not something had crystals embellishing it. The piece had none, so I responded that it was "sans crystals". Yeah, I didn't think anything of it, until the customer responded that they didn't know what sans crystals were, but she wanted hers without any crystals. Oops. I've always had the problem of large vocabulary. I've used it as a social cushion, a way to deal with bullies as a child, and even to intentionally make customers feel stupid...when I worked in retail. Don't judge me, you try retail for nearly a decade and tell me how much you still 'love' people. Anyway, that wasn't my intent here and I felt really awful, but how do you even apologize for using a word someone doesn't know? I tried, of course, but I haven't heard back form them. I fear I may have doomed myself with a poor choice of words. Why couldn't I have just said 'without'? Oh, can't go back right?

Also went to see the movie Zombieland, like much of the population. I do so enjoy a violent movie, particularly one with this amount of comedy mixed right in. There was one point in which the film threatened to get emotional, but rallied past it with a ridiculous joke. I enjoyed it so much that when I realized that I had yet to create the Wunderkammer post for today, I just used the movie as a platform. Though I do apologize that one of the pics is a bit of a spoiler.

Along with schooling today, I'm going to get those pendants I gave away to twitter friends ready to get into the mail. I also have at least one mask to tat and I think I shall stay on the mask track for a bit, just in case Halloween does actually bring the customers around even without an etsy feature. Yes, I'm still harping on that...they've got 25 days to throw one of my masks up somewhere, I'm just sayin'. Then of course there's the house work and hoping that the landscapers come around soon to fix the front yard grass and sprinklers and check on the back which they did actually finish though it took forever. So onto the week I suppose.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gave Away

I had a rather long and productive day yesterday, but not for tatting I'm afraid and it's a shame because I have an enormous to do list in that arena right now. I didn't mention this yesterday because I had already written the blog post when it occurred, but I had a fine little event on the twitter. I was feeling unfocused so I thought I would do a quick giveaway to give me something to make. I asked my twitter friends...or followers if you prefer, to tell me why they deserved a free piece of my tatting and to please amuse me. It started slow, but after a few minutes people were coming out of the wood works with stories and, well...amusing the crap out of me. I left the contest open for only a brief time, declared a winner and then decided to offer all those who played a free pendant. So if you ever want to win random free tatting, you must follow me on the twitter and listen to me drive all day. Yeah, I don't know how soon I'll do it again though. The winner chose to apply the dollar amount I offered to a mask, so that has already been sent away to her. So, I now have a mask to remake and several pendants or various colors to create. All this and I am still working on a bracelet ordered in a custom length two days ago.

What did I do instead of tatting, you ask? I cleaned. I know I lead a glamorous life and you are all terribly jealous. I also did some book keeping, my favorite, and realized that while September was a terrible sales month at least it was leaps and bounds over August. Still, I wish I knew what made July sizzle so much for me so that I could recreate those conditions. Of course it could just be seasonal...yeah, I have no idea. After over three years of this, I still have only the most tenuous grip on sales trends. I really should do some research, start advertising and try out all this SEO business people keep blathering on about, but I just can't seem to get motivated to do all that. I think I've said it before, but I know I can only grow so much and then no further. I can't outsource my labor and I can only tat so fast before I'm neglecting my stay at home mother duties, so I guess, yeah, I'm ignoring all that stuff I just mentioned.

One last this for Friday though. I got a little package in the mail yesterday. I knew the package was coming, but I had no idea what it was going to contain. Thread, my friends. Hand dyed thread in a dark gray, a plumy purple and a deep wine shade. They were made just because I complained about wanting dark colors. My most favorite is the gray and while the purple is a gorgeous shade, I still want darker. Anyway, I think I have now acquired a source for some additional colors and for that I say thank you! I'm gonna tat up some pieces in the new colors when I get some time and then I'll know for sure whether these are perfect. I'm just tickled that someone took so much time and effort just for me, without me asking. I'll out her later if it's okay with her. Maybe Monday will have something new to share.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Free At Last

You know the other day when I was talking about all that creative rule breaking that I do, well what I didn't mention are the self made rules that I have a hard time getting past. I do a lot of different craft type activities and when I first started my etsy shop it was full of various crap I had created. Crochet, knitted bears, macrame necklaces, beaded bracelets...all kinds of stuff. Eventually I was confident enough and focused enough on my tatting to say no more and turned it into a tatting only emporium. Okay, maybe not emporium, but it's a cool word. So know I sit here attempting to create a mask based on a video game image my husband showed me. It was a trailer for the game Bayonetta and one of the characters sports a lacy looking butterfly mask. I was then charged with attempting to recreate this piece.

I printed out the screen cap and started drawing potential motifs upon it. When I though I had a good section to attempt I began a bit of free form tatting. It was an utter failure. Besides the long unruly chains, the rings are well...too round to recreate the feel of the mask. After much musing I realized what my problem was. I was thinking inside my own little box. Who said every element needs to be tatted? Well...I did when I tatted my first mask. I only used wire for the eyes to give the piece structure.

No more! I shall break free the chains of my own oppression. I have in my hands a spool of wire and with it, I shall create the mask. Upon the sturdy base of metal I shall place any tatting that shall occur. Sure it feels a little wrong, but just because I'm a tatter, doesn't mean that it my only means of creation. I know that I put myself in this box. I've no one else to blame and I shall set myself free. Not all at once though...maybe just a step or two at first, but I'm moving, I swear.