Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye '09

Ah, my friends I thank you kindly for your video game confessions both here and on twitter yesterday. While I really don't need any enabling, it is certainly comforting to know that I am not alone in the struggle of video game triumph versus actually working. Sure, I picked up the game a couple of times during the day, but I am proud to report that I did indeed get much work done as well.

I got in some production time to remake some smaller sold pieces and I got the first round of my sold mask done and I should get that finished in time to ship out on Saturday. I am determined to get that out of the way and back to the sequins mask. I also had a number of interesting and unexpected conversations yesterday that may or may not result in news in the coming year.

Speaking of the coming year, I have started to give some thought to my future plans. I hesitate to call them resolutions as I never keep those. Rather I can them goals, some more ridiculous than others of course, but I like a variety. The next few months should see me reach the magical sales number called 1000 barring any unforeseen circumstances. I'd love to hit 1500 by the end of 2010 because I like round numbers. The past year had me reaching 5000 hearts in my etsy shop and I hope to gain another 1000 in the new year. I want to see my tatting worn and photoed on someone much more famous than I. I also want to get at least one more instructional needle tatting video up and get the actual Instructables for the last two free patterns I offered up as well. I tried to think of something even more ridiculous than the famous person thing, but the only thing I could come up with is a major magazine or televisions feature of my work.

Will I work to make any or all of these a reality? Maybe. I really do try not to get caught up in my goals, I like to let them happen organically. If opportunities arise I will seize them, otherwise I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing and hope that I can at the very least maintain the levels I've reached already. Good luck to all of you in the new year too!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm Ashamed

Zelda won. That's right, the video stole away my 'free' time yesterday. I knew that it would as I get a nagging feeling to finish the game. No, it's not done yet...I have to do more quests so I'm strong enough to beat the final baddie. Go ahead...mock if you must, but I'm bound to be back at it today as well.

I didn't touch a single sequins at all yesterday. I feel awful about that really, but I did finish a pair of barefoot sandals and began work on a new mask order. This one is my 'A Kind Of Pale Moon' mask except the customer wanted black seed beads instead of crystals. I don't usually have those on hand as I'm not really fond of working with beads in the first place, but I bought some to try out with the sequins. They didn't work out for that so now they've a second chance at being in some lace. I started using a single bead for each picot, but it just looked so lonely. It had no majesty at all, so I switched to the three per picot and got that really neat triangle design that other tatters and bead weavers use so much. It looks perfect to maintain the same feel as the crystals do without the sparkle.

I'll try to get back to the sequins today, but as the ordered mask is already paid for, it gets priority over pet projects. I always give myself up to two weeks to work on custom orders, but I hate myself when I know it could be done faster and I'm doing other things. Not that other things don't need to be done. Such is the life of a stay at home artisan. There is still much housework and, well life that must occur and it's ridiculous to even simply say that the line gets blurred. At this point there is no line, it is only myself that gets blurred. Yeah, I just watched the Matrix the other day on blu ray. Sometimes I wonder if I would stick to any kind of schedule were it not for me blurting my plans out everyday here.

My mind is already wandering to the next custom request though, trying to work out the best way to create it. No, I'm not telling you what it is yet. You'll see it when I start actually making it. It is another entirely new thing though and it needs to have a certain amount of drape. Most of my pieces are more, well...structured and this one might end up being so as well, but I'm trying to see if there are any patterns to start with that are more drapy. Okay, I am totally babbling now and repeating myself, making up words and whatnot, so I'm just gonna off now.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Sequins

I wanted to slowly settle back into routine yesterday. Instead I began the day with domestic duties galore, a couple of loads of dishes followed by what seemed like an entire day of laundry. I even threw in some garbage duty and kitty litter to round it all out. Yes, my life is very, very glamorous. While I managed to finish tatting a mask that had sold during my vacation, I only did a few minutes of sequins. You see, my two year old likes to help me with the sequins by picked them all up and then handing them to me one at a time. This is not particularly productive, cute as hell, but about as helpful as a heart attack, so I must remember to engage in sequins only while she sleeps for the best use of time.

As I am struggling with sewing them to empty spaces, I got a comment on an earlier post suggesting the use of black tulle to sew them to. Damn good idea...just a little too late for this piece though as I am not starting over with this. I am also feeling a little bit of remorse as I cover my tatting with these little shiny disks, though I knew I was going to do so all along, it seems a shame to hide the tatting. I have to remind myself that I did the simple split ring chains so they could be hidden. I find myself also beginning to doubt that this piece is becoming what I was commissioned to make in the first place. Sure, I don't regret making it either way even though I know that if it does make it into the store, the price tag will be ridiculous and it's likely to never find another home. I could call it a waste of time...if it doesn't meet approval, but instead I'll call it a challenge, an art piece if you will. Then, I will never make another...ever.

I do want to get this thing finished soon as I think I've mentioned that I have a few custom requests pending that will both require a prototype created first I think. As much extra time as that always takes, I really like having the ecru colored prototype sitting around for future projects. The only problem with using the ecru thread is it is slightly thicker than the black thread. I've been told that the different colored dyes used on thread or yarn all create a slightly different sizes, while I have no concept of why that is, I can tell you that it sure seems to be true as the ecru pieces made in size 10 thread are always larger than my final pieces made in black size 10 thread. But, I digress...I just want to get to work on those pieces, just not at the expense of the mask. There is no more laundry today, so maybe I'll make some headway today...maybe. Of course, I'm really close to the end of this Zelda game so maybe not.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Recap

Ah, back to normal...well, almost anyway. We spent solstice and the days that followed in Monterey. We returned home on Wednesday when my brother and his girlfriend arrived from San Diego to christen our guestroom. Then of course it was straight into the holiday with Christmas dinner hosting duties and the subsequent cleanup. Many members of the family caught some bug or other even my daughter managed to contract fifth disease. That's not as bad as it sounds, she just has a rash on her cheeks, but it sure looks scary.

All the while I managed to actually stay on vacation. Sure I worked on some sewing some sequins in the hotel and Christmas eve I did tat a couple of things, but as soon as I received a Zelda game for Christmas, my needles were down. I decided that all the signs pointed to me wasting a little time. I have not done that is many a moon. Of course Sunday night I had to play catch up. I got orders ready, curated the Wunderkammer and caught up on emails and convos. Then I even had a little more time for Zelda...I love Zelda games.

I did get one tatting related gift and I was glad to receive it. A lovely wooden needle case I had eyed on etsy. Like many tatters, my needles have been existing in their plastic tube since purchased. Said tube was not standing the test of time. All my needles fit in this thing. There are even a few steel crochet hooks and beading needles in there. I have to appreciate my husbands ability to search through my massive favorites list, which contains mostly future Wunderkammer picks to find something I actually wanted for me, it had to be a chore.

I did get more sequins done on the mask project as I mentioned, but I haven't gotten any new pictures yet, so maybe for tomorrow. I also sold a mask that needs making so as you'll imagine I'm back to work today. Oh and my freshly inked neck, which is driving me batty with the itching should be ready for a proper picture soon as well, so you can see what I bought myself for the holidays. I'm sure to take a few days to really get back into the swing of things. Vacation always does that.

Oh, crap, I almost forgot to tell you. I know I mentioned that the mimics shop had vanished. Well, I did finally get that official message from the etsy legal team stated that they had removed the infringing material and informed the "user". It was a very formal, canned response, but that was all I needed. Also, though the mimics accounts still exist at Artfire and that other site, all the listings are gone. I'm still in that 'waiting for the other shoe to fall' mode, but I think I am now prepared should this sort of business rear it's ugly head again thanks in no small part to the legions of tatters and artisans I have had the pleasure of knowing online, who offered support and advice. What drama the Internet creates, it may also be used to destroy...and now I'm back to work.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tattoo & New

Back from the coast freshly tattooed and with apparently good news. No, you don't get a good picture of the tattoo yet. I posted one on facebook and twitter Tuesday morning, it was done late Monday night, but that picture is quite bad and it was very red, swollen and well, not as pretty as it really is. So, maybe in the next few days as it looks better, I'll share a better image.

Now the apparent good news. I say this with a slight bit of trepidation because I never did hear anything back from etsy one way or the other, so I am left with guesses as to the nature of this event. On Tuesday morning, I noted that the mimics shop stood empty. Without official confirmation as to why, I was still left wondering if it would turn out to be an opossum move. Then Wednesday before I headed back to the valley, the shop had vanished. No longer does that username have an active account on etsy. Still with no official confirmation, I can only guess that it is all over. Though I also admit to some fear over possible future events. I really can't dwell on all of that now.

I would again like to say thank you to all of you who sympathized with my plight, offered advice or support or just stood by me in your thoughts. I really appreciated every bit of that and it has made this easier to deal with. I know in the wider scheme of things this was just a minor annoyance. I haven't lost my perspective or anything, but when it first happened it could hardly have been any bigger.

Onto a few more things. I did get some time to work on sequins in the hotel, but I didn't take any new pictures. As I finished up the bottom edge, I realized that I am going to have to redo that whole section. I have not gotten the proper spacing on the sequins, they were far too close together and manage to warp the bottom chains into a much less desirable shape. I will probably save that horrible cutting and retatting until the end, but it must be done. I have done the top edge, the eyes and have begun on the netted section of the forehead. Trying to get sequins to fill the empty spaces is also proving a challenge. I'm still trying to work out the best method for that to happen, but I think a break though will be coming soon.

I also have a couple of new custom project ideas on my table, but I really need to get this mask done before my brain heads in other direction. I don't want to spoil the surprise on those so I'll share them as I get to work on them. The holiday shopping season is of course over and though there is usually a smidge of the 'what I didn't get' shopping after, I should be slightly freer to get these custom things worked on. I just hope at this point I don't forget any of them. So if I'm supposed to be working on something for you and you don't hear from me...fell free to nudge me as that might be in your best interest.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I'm off this morning on a holiday adventure. I will be scarce this week and most likely terribly off topic, I hope you'll forgive me.

I decided that I was indeed finished with the tatting phase of my mask after adding one more line of split rings, this time in the opposite direction. This was done to create a web upon which to string on the sequins. It also pulls the separate elements together in a fairly strong way and the mask almost stays on my face without a ribbon. I pressed the piece by draping a towel over my mannequin head and used much steam to tame the chains. After the sequins are added I see no way for the mask to be further pressed or washed, so I needed it as best as I could get it.

Next I spent like an hour trying to decide which method of sequin application to employ. As a former dancer, I have worn a lot of sequins...a lot, but I've never had to sew on rows of it before. I got loose sequins and started with the bead in the center technique, which was immediately too bulky and not flashy enough. So it was onto the simple rows. It took a while before I got into any kind of rhythm with the work, but now it's humming along. I might take it with me on my adventures, but I don't think a lot of work will get done this week. Hopefully next week, I'll have enough to show the commissioner of the project. At this point It really doesn't matter to me whether it works out for what it is intended as it has become a little of a mountain climbing expedition. Only done to see if I can reach the top.

One last thing before I off, my Mimic. Proper information has been provided to etsy to see if they can remove the seller, though I don't know how long before I will know one way or the other. In the meantime however, the mimic has set up shop on two more venues, Art Fire and, which I've never heard of, both under another store name, but with the same exact pieces. I don't know whether I should be more pissed off at this point or sad that they are trying so very hard. Anyway, that's all I'm saying about that and if I don't talk to you anymore this week, have a blessed Solstice, a happy Yule, a Merry Christmas...basically, yeah...happy holidays.

Friday, December 18, 2009


I know that I promised not to dwell on this, but my copycat issue apparently runs much deeper than I had first assumed. Perhaps I was just so shocked that I didn't bother to take a closer look or maybe I have a had time believing someone would do this at all. Anyway, the Mimic has not only taken a design that I offered for free, but is now copying other pieces in my shop, I assume by counting stitches from my photos. It does not just end there though. The Mimics photos are styled to resembled my own including the border that I use to unify my images. Wait, there's more, the Mimic has also literally copy and pasted my store policies with the exception of available colors because I have more thread. This is ridiculous, blatant and tacky. Some of my policies indicate that I have had to recently change my policies due to fee changes at etsy that occurred before they even opened shop.

The mimic is easy to find, just search for tatting, I won't give them the satisfaction of a direct link. While the mimic has yet to garner any sales, the store has earned a few hearts. I am worried less about my possible loss of business than I am my reputation. It seems many of the Mimics moves are designed to fool my customers into thinking that the Mimic is me. I am not amused. Much of this is puzzling to me. Why be so dishonest? Why not use some of the great effort that is going into the ruse to simply make designs themselves? What motivates someone to do this sort of thing? Sure, if it had stopped with the Mimic thinking it was okay to sell the piece made with my pattern, I might have let the whole thing go. I might have accepted that that was my mistake, but this...this is not getting away from me. I have already sent off an email to etsy detailing the situation and I am preparing to send off a letter to their legal department as well if needed. Any educated advice on this subject would be well received.

I am of course complaining loudly here so that others know what is going on. I talked with other sellers who have experienced similar mimicry, copied item descriptions, policies, store announcements all along with copied designs. I even heard tale that one mimic added their victims name to the item tags in order to get customers that were looking for the original creator. Seriously, what is wrong with people?

I did manage a little progress on the mask despite the crap storm I just described. I decided to go with just a few split ring chains to attached the center motif to the outside edge. Though I might add a few more for stability, I think that that section will largely be covered with sequins anyway, so any design would be obscured anyway. I am supposed to try to create some large spiders to lay over the top, but I am beginning to doubt the practicality of that. The spiders in the original 'not a mask' were metal and jewel and I'm just not certain that I can do that with lace without it looking like a flea Market knockout. I'm trying to use that as an inspiration, so that the final mask will give the same basic effect as the 'not a mask', but I also want it to stand on its own as a piece.

I will likely try out some sequins methods today after I figure out how to press the mask. Then I think my blog posting might get sporadic. I'll try to pop in on a regular basis with updates, but my vacation from home school starts Monday and husband is home as well. Then there is of course all this holiday business, so try not miss me too much and so I don't forget, enjoy your holidays too!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coming Together

As the holiday shopping season begins its inevitable decline, I've mostly gotten my store back to pre-holiday levels. With the exception of a few collars and a couple of masks everything listed is made and ready to ship. Which of course means I have time to work on my new mask project.

Have you ever created something that you knew you never, ever wanted to remake again even at the beginning? Yeah, this piece is already one of those. My brilliant idea to start with the wire assembly completed has made things, well...complicated. Every stitch required that I do a little hand aerobics to get around the thing. Anyway, yesterdays first success was deciding on the center motif. It needed a focal design and I had originally thought I would go with a simple rounded center like a flower base, but that was not 'focal' enough so I picked one of the motifs I've been working with a lot lately and worked onto the eye portion. Here I'm just holding it trying to determine how much space it needs to attach to the forehead wire.

Once, I had that done I started working the vine pattern across the sides and top. I started before I did any math. This, like the wire thing, was probably a mistake. I did some measuring as I reached the center to try and attach correctly, but on the way back down the second side I still managed to throw symmetry out the window. I also realized about this point that pressing this piece is going to be a little troublesome. You see, my masks honestly look like a mess right off the needle. It takes an iron and steam to coax the rings and picot where they belong. I know this is not the preferred method for blocking a piece, but it works for me. In this picture I'd not quite gotten around yet, but I thought I was done for the day anyway.

I was wrong. I had one more section to work on. I finished the vine on a different section of the design that I had begun, so I made some adjustments. Sure, I could start all over with it, but I'm not gonna. Instead I decided to add a simple scallop along the bottom edge. This will eventually be embellished with black sequins filling in the space the scallops are creating. The 'not a mask' that I'm attempting to recreate covers a very large portion of the face, but I think another row on the bottom would be overkill particularly given that addition of sequins.

So what's left is to fill the space left and that task is hurting my head a bit. Working with a curved design always stretches my skills to their limit. I must keep placing the design on my face to get a sense of the actual space rather than the flat measurable space. I do have a mannequin head, but her face is just enough smaller than mine to be a poor substitute for a real head. I'm not sure I want to work too hard on these spaces as I know much of my work will be covered in the afore mentioned sequins. Then there's the spiders...but I'm getting ahead of myself. I promise to show you the 'inspiration' for this project when it is complete, but I don't want spoil the end result with a preview and there is much work left before it is what it is suppose to be.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shinier Things

Now, I promise not to dwell on this for too long, but I felt a short update was in order. No, I did not get a response from my admittedly strongly worded message to the person using my design to make tatted necklaces for sale. Instead, the seller renewed their entire shop in an effort, I suppose to get more exposure, or perhaps as a taunt to me personally. Either way, my annoyance continues. I heard more tales yesterday of crafters who will never share having heard mine and other stories like it. It makes me sad. I also thought about engaging in a childish game I would have called bury the listings by renewing myself. I though better of it and just a few hours later it was done anyway just by the natural flow of product listings. So yeah lady, go ahead and keep spending that money to's clearly working.

Moving on to shinier things. You might be wondering what the hell it is that I'm making here. Well, it's a brand new mask design. I was given the charge of recreating a mask that isn't a mask at all using tatting and sequins. Yes, I said sequins. The 'wasn't a mask at all' looks like it was actually glued right to the models face. Yeah, sequins and giant spider appliques just tacked right on to her impossibly beautiful face. Anyway, I decided that I needed more wire support for the larger face coverage so I added that forehead wire. Then I decided that instead of wire wrapping the whole assembly at the end I'd crochet around the wire in the beginning. I'm still not sure that was the right call at all. In fact my only relief at this point is I know that I will be adding a copious amount of sequins to the design, thus obscuring any mistakes I make at the start.

As you can tell, I've not gotten very far yet and in another possibly foolish move, I've decided to just design as I tat. I gave the mask a simple vine base and the top portion is likely to be basically a section of a doily design that appears in my head as I create it. Again, I am aware this could be disastrous, but I really hate the paper and pencil design process. I'd rather just get the thread out and sink or swim. Why am I even engaging in this craziness? Well, first I was asked and often I run with things like this regardless of the consequences. Second, because I've really been looking for an excuse to make another 'art' piece. You know something ridiculously complex that will likely never sell, but it's mere existence make you feel like a real artist rather than a sweat shop employee. It of course is going to take some time to get finished, but I will keep you abreast of any progress and wish me luck with this one!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


2. a. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: "Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated" (Richard Kain).
b. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.

[French ironie, from Old French, from Latin īrōnīa, from Greek eirōneia, feigned ignorance, from eirōn, dissembler, probably from eirein, to say; see wer-5 in Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Right after I posted my pattern here yesterday, I went trolling etsy as I'm wont to do. I search through my competition which is becoming quite the sizable group. I'll tell you one thing most of us appear to have in common, mutual respect. Each tatter has their own style and niche. While we technically compete against each other, I find out work more complementary and rarely do we cross over into anothers core demographic.

I've also offered a nice handful of patterns now with just a few strings, clearly noted. While i have never minded competition that drives me to create new things, I do not want to compete against, own things. As a precaution I try to state that my patterns are for personal use only. I hope this does not make me appear stingy, but it seems prudent to do so. I say all these things merely as the set up for the aforementioned irony.

So, as I mentioned, was trolling etsy, when what do my eyes spy, but necklaces worked up in my patterns. Yep, one of the ones I offered to help people learn needle tatting on Instructables. Then I checked the whole shop, which while containing original pieces also contained a couple of collar necklaces with the same pattern as my Portrait pieces. Now on that note, I must add a disclaimer. Those collar necklaces were in fact one half of a vintage pattern, so there is every possibility that another person saw those patterns and did exactly what I did to make them necklaces. Though in conjunction with the clearly mine necklace, it looks a little more like a case of, oh I could do that too. Again, I do not own that pattern, but I did in fact come up with the exact stitch counts in the other.

You'll notice I'm not naming names...yet. I've sent a rather stern message to the offending pattern and though I've not yet heard back I'm looking into having etsy remove the listings. I know that in the end they are probably only hurting themselves. I hate to be all negative, but as I mentioned on the twitter yesterday, the greater issue from all of this is the inclination to never offer a pattern again and to remove what I have offered. I'm not going to do that at this point, but the thought occurred. The thought also occurred among other crafters to not share their designs in the future to avoid this sort of thing and that's a shame. As a maker, I think most of us feel inclined to share our knowledge, to pass down information, to be a community, but the rampant theft of ideas make us pull up the welcome mat and lock ourselves inside.

To those who would take ideas and claim them as your own, simply disregard the original creator as irrelevant or profit from others hard work without acknowledgment thinking that there is nothing wrong with that, I have a moral lesson for you.
Often the shortest path leads nowhere.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Slave Bracelet Pattern

I promised you one last free pattern as a holiday gift. Yes, I'm aware as gifts go, it's a little lame, sort of like handing someone stereo instructions and no stereo. However, I think that some of you out there will like it a bunch. This pattern was written up as a request from someone, so it's not been tatted up by a bunch of people who tell me what I did wrong, so be warned and feel free to share any mistakes you find and I'll correct them here with a note as to the changes if any. This was my first slave bracelet design, recently featured as my bridal slave bracelets in the Etsy Storque. As always I provide the pattern for personal use only, if you'd be so kind!

Slave Bracelet Pattern:

Size 10 thread, size 5 needle or two shuttles

You will need two hooks closures, size 3 I believe. Instead of using the eye portion, I hook directly onto the lace to close the bracelet.

R 3-3-3-3 cl rw, Ch 6 cl rw, R 3-3-3-3 cl rw, Ch 6-5 join to first loop of hook 2 join to second look of hook 5 cl rw, R 3 join to last picot of previous ring 3-3-3 cl rw, ch 5 add hook 2 add hook 5-2-6 cl rw, R 3+3-3-3, ch 6-2-6-6 cl rw, R 3+3-3+3 cl rw, Ch 6 cl rw, R 3 join to side picot of first ring 3-3-3 cl rw, Ch 6 cl rw, r 3-3-3-3 cl rw, ch 6 join to opposite ch 6-2-6 cl rw, r 3+3-3-3 cl rw, ch 6-2-6-6 cl rw, 3+3-3-3 cl rw, ch 6-6-6 cl rw, r 3+3-3+3 cl rw, ch 6 cl rw, r 2-2 join to side picot of ring 2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch4 cl rw, R 2-2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 6 join to opposite chain6-6 cl rw, r 2-2+2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 6-6 cl rw, r 2-2+2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 4 cl rw, r 2+2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 4 cl rw, r 2+2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 4 cl rw, r 2+2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 4 cl rw, r 2+2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch6 join to opposite chain 6 cl rw.

Continue working as a mirror to the first half. When you get to the end, instead of adding hooks just tat the picots instead.

Center Motif: 8 rings of 5p sep by 2ds and 4ds chains. Join to bracelet by center picot of rings.

Finger loop: R 3-3 join to center motif 3-3 cl rw, Make a josphine knot ring of about 150 jk. You can adjust the number to fit your hand.

This bracelet will fit a smaller wrist, to make it fit larger, I've used several methods depending on the size needed, A row of three split rings attached to either end is the easiest, but if you plan on doing so, you will need to add your hooks to this section rather that the main one. You may of course leave off the hooks entirely and use a ribbon to lace and tie shut eliminating the sizing need. If you've any question or comments, please do leave them!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Half The Story

I hate to ramble two days in a row, but I fear that is exactly what I'm gonna do. Let's see...I did have a potentially horrible situation arise yesterday, but I don't want to go into too many details as it resolved itself in my satisfaction. Something that had appeared to be blatant theft seems now to be more of a coincidence coupled with an honest mistake. I am glad that I did not over react, but I did confront the situation and I am glad that I did. There are far too many incidents that do turn our to be that blatant design theft that I feared and to any of you that have suffered that, I feel your pain.

I also had another no sales day in the etsy shop. No I'm not crying in my coffee. Some days it rains and some days the sun shines. I've just gotten so used to the recent sales volume that these hiccups along the way send me into a bit of a panic. Of course I then I think about how my sales journey began, how few sales occurred and how excited I was about each and every little one and I calm down and get back to work. Sometimes we have to remember where we've been to get where we're going.

And that last sentence is the clever sort of thing I was trying to think of yesterday as I made my 10,000th tweet on the twitter. It's okay, you can mock that one all you like. I do love the twitter and believe it or not the experience has been rewarding. I've met lovely people both as friends and customers, I've won stuff, I've given away stuff, but I do know that I can sometimes twitter my day away. Lucky for me, I can do that and tat at the same time.

You'll notice I added a picture today that I haven't talked about. It's just a bracelet I made yesterday that I haven't done up in a while and thought I'd add a picture to the post. The design was originally created for a wedding bracelet in white and each picot held a swarovski crystal. Actually telling you about it now makes me want to remake the bracelet the way that I did for that. Hmm, maybe later, the wedding section is a bit bare.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Okay, so it's one of those morning where I've got just about nothing new to contribute to the conversation. Nothing too terribly fancy has happened, no news to share, so all you're going to get is babbling .

Yesterday was a day of remaking, I abandoned the barefoot sandals as they were taking too long and I fear the holiday season makes me nearly as impatient as the drivers on the road that I want to dismember for their horribly unkind behavior. So instead I made a couple of necklaces. I did sell one of my newest creations, the tatted spine, so I got to start on making that one again too, though I still need to get the hardware on that one.

I have long finished my holiday shopping, but as I curate the Wunderkammer, my thoughts are with handmade giftable items. If you're inclined to like the Steampunk or goth side of life or you need to gift someone who does, stop by the Wunderkammer during the next week as I focus on those finds there. That totally sounded like a commercial, ha. I've also been wanting to say something like this one, Every woman loves lace, why not get her some of mine for the holiday. Whew, that's been killing me. I keep thinking I should tweet it, then that little voice in my head simply says, "laaame" and I know the little voice is right, so I shush. Apparently the little voice is not quite awake to stop me and the rambling has won out. Please forgive me.

More tatting today as I try to catch up with sold orders and wish for more of them. I think I'm beginning to look forward to the quiet of next month, but just for a little while. I really do prefer to be busy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I feel certain that the good karma should be wearing off soon. Again yesterday, I was surprised with a lovely bit of news. I had just gotten up to do something, came back to the computer to see a bunch of messages all of a sudden. Their subject, the etsy finds email. So I open the email to discover that my bridal pair of slave bracelets were among the many winter wedding themed finds. The other messages in my inbox were friends alerting and congratulating my luck! Once many moons ago, one of my masks earned a feature in the finds email, though I was contacted before hand that time, so I prepared to spend the day counting views and whatnot. This time was a complete surprise.

If you're wondering what a feature like this can do, I have prepared some comparisons. First off, it didn't do anything for sales really at all, this time nor the last. What does happen is a lot of convos are received with mostly, "I love your work" or "I didn't know anyone tatted anymore". Your views on the item featured and your store do in fact go through the roof. On a typical day I get between 150 and 250 store views, yesterday the number was nearly 1200. That's good news as are the nearly 60 new hearts on the shop. I do not mean to undermine the excitement at being featured somewhere with such great exposure, but this feature had a large amount of picks in it. I figured sharing the data would put a realistic spin on it. This is awesome, but not the same as say being the featured seller which does result in tremendous sales for anyone that gets that spot.

In between all the extra conversations including one where I was asked to make pieces 'exclusively for her brand', I declined, I mostly worked on sold pieces. My eyes did wander a few times to the beads in my tatting jar, teasing me with potential, but I must stay the course. This is turning to to be one extremely long and busy week. And to karma, here's hoping it just gets busier, but only in that I have tons of sales to take care of way, not more cleaning or errands or anything though. On a karma related note, I do plan on offering up that other pattern I teased about on Monday or Tuesday next week, so be on the look out for that as well. Back to the salt mine for me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Yeah, you knew it was coming. Yesterday, late in the afternoon I received my 900th sale. Then as evening worn on two more graced me. So, I'm well on my way to my next goal, the illusive and coveted 1000 sales. When I set up my last group of unrealistic goals that was a larger than life one. With the end of the holiday shopping season looming it is unlikely to be achieved by the end of the year as I had set forth, but I'm still very pleased at how far I've come in recent months. My other goal was reached not too long ago too. That one was to hit 5000 hearts on my etsy store by the end of the year and I'm close to getting 5200 at this point. In fact the only goal that I placed upon myself that has yet to manifest, is the big celebrity client that gets my pieces photographed or on the big screen. So we'll just shift that one to next year and cross our fingers shall we.

I did get photos of the purple set I went on about yesterday, though the weather and my enormous cold sore precluded me from getting modeled shots at least they are done and listed. They were a frustrating set to create mostly because of the amethyst pieces. They are side drilled at seemingly random spots at the tip, so I had to get more creative with the wire wrapping than I actually possess the skills for. Seriously, there were teeth involved and one amethyst did not survive the process. Apparently they are more fragile than I thought when I started. So as you can imagine I will not be making any more just like these, though I think I might make some more sets in other colors with other bits I've not used yet.

I'm on a steady diet of remaking sold pieces trying to alternate between larger ones and smaller ones to get them listed as quickly as I can. I know I could just list them all as customs and then work on them, but at this time of year having customs listed is almost useless for sales as people haven't much time to wait for things. So, I'll just keep plugging along hoping I pick the best pieces to remake first before the magic window of online holiday shopping closes for the season and I have to get used to a sale every other day...or so. I'm just prepping myself now for the downturn so I don't totally freak out and oh this another cold sore? I hate winter.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Well, that was one whirlwind of a weekend, no really. On Friday I managed to create a pair of earrings to match my recent Tenebrous Pendant. It was a little fiddly with the top part. I ended up using the dreaded split ring just to keep the earring in one piece. Then after that I found some amethyst briolettes that I bought eons ago and made another set using those, purple swarovski rounds and the hand dyed deep purple thread. I don't have any pictures of those as I finished them after the sun had set for the day.

I fully intended to get pictures on Saturday and get the one of a kind set listed, but I was derailed by the most pleasant of distractions, a huge sales day. TotusMel Tats sold 13 items on Saturday, an unprecedented event. First was a customer that found my store "randomly" as she put it and then proceeded to purchase 8 items. Then a few more customers the same day. I know there are etsy sellers out there that make these kinds of sales often. I am not one of them. I had just gone two days without a single sale and if that had occurred outside the holiday shopping season, it would have not been unusual at all. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, Woo Hoo!!!!

Of course this did stop my design a day adventure. Though most of the pieces sold were already made and ready to ship, I did have to make a custom sized slave bracelet and a pair of ankle corsets to get these, and the 3 additional items ordered on Sunday out as soon as possible. Now I sit here with just a bit more to make on these orders which will then be followed by a mass re making of the sold items. I will try to get pictures of the purple set though we are suppose to get snow here today...snow. If you're not sure where I live, snow only occurs here once like every 10 years, so this is all bizarre and a bit freaky really. Anyway, it means no sun and no sun means bad photos. I might try anyway since they are made and aren't doing anyone any good just sitting here.

The sales of the weekend have put me just 2 shy of 900, so expect another woo hoo style post when that occurs, hopefully soon. I just want to get on my way to 1000...and here I go.

Friday, December 4, 2009

And That's Three

As I thought about my recent ability to create a new piece a day, I somehow got it into my head that I should keep trying to do that. One new piece a day, for as long as I can manage it anyway. I never know when I will get derailed by other obligations, but I figured it definitely couldn't hurt to try and get a small piece out everyday. They may not all end up listed for sale, but I will keep sharing them here at least so we can all learn from the successes and failures of the day.

Yesterday's piece was a motif I chose out of a DMC tatting book circa 1972. Now, I asked the twitterverse whether this was considered vintage and though many people created during the seventies and before were reluctant to agree, we decided it was. I know that's not really all that important as a book put out by a thread company probably contains a lot of recycled patterns anyway. Anyway, I tatted up the motif as it was written intending to break down the elements to create something new, but I liked the motif so much by itself that I chose to make a pendant out of it. In the pattern it was part of a luncheon set and the picture was so bad, I couldn't tell how pretty it really was.

I couldn't leave it be though, so I added some beads in deep red shades using my less that stellar wire wrapping skills and hung it from a ribbon. It has a very Gothic feel to it and is the perfect contrast to the more modern designs of the last couple of days. I still plan on dissecting the design for some more pieces. I could see the elements tease me as I worked up the motif the first time. I think today might be a simple pair of matching earrings, but I've some interesting choker ideas as well.

I had zero sales yesterday and though I'm not crying in a corner weeping over it, it did get me to thinking about advertising my shop which aside from my "social networking" I do not do. I've no ads anywhere and I'm starting to think that I might want to get on that. Every time I sit down to design one though, I feel like it's coming up short and then I just stop. I've also been thinking of sponsoring a giveaway on another site, but am not sure where would be a good place. Then of course there's the fear of asking where I think I might like to do one. I may be a perfectly competent lace maker, but as a business person, I am seriously lacking. Well, that's enough of that for now.

One last piece of news for you this Friday morning. You might have noticed the large badge in the right column stating that I am a Wishpot expert. If you don't know what wishpot is, it's a social shopping site. What is truly nice about the place is the interface with which to share ones wishlists or recommendations with others. Like other similar sites, you download a button for your browser bar and use that to add anything you want from any site to you lists. Perfect for any kind of registry, the lists can be shared and there is even a feature to request contributions to a larger gift. Say you want a vacation for your birthday, so can ask all your friends to simply contribute money through paypal to the end cost. I still need to look around a bit and get more familiar with the site. I was recruited on twitter to be a handmade expert and though I really hesitate to call myself an expert at anything, I get some exposure for my etsy store and I'll be able to add my Wunderkammer finds to a larger venue so they get exposure. My blog also syndicates over there, so again more exposure...maybe I won't need to take out ads after all. So check out the site, so far I like it much better than some of the others I've played with. Only time will tell.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Jeweled Spine

If you'd have told me that I would be making even one new design in December, I would have balked...there might have been laughter as well. Yet, here I am with the second design of the month and we're only a few days in, so what gives? Honestly, I think that I have been so into production mode, hoping for sales to keep me going that any down time requires an immediate task to keep me at that level. I've cleaned and done homeschooling, but the kids nap time in particular, must be busy tatting time for me.

I did a little remaking yesterday, but by nap time, I was mostly done with that for the day. I decided rather than go for a whole new design, I would search though my pile of UFO's...I think that's the term I've seen bandied about, unfinished objects. Anyway, I found one intended to be a pendant, but it still needed something. It's a motif I call the spine. It was an attempt at turning a vintage one shuttle pattern into a needle tatting pattern. I turned what were thread spaces into chains and for added effect made them celtic in that the weave around each other.

The pendant was also done in size 20 thread, a bit smaller than my usual pieces, so needed a more delicate display. I dug through my unused supplies and found some mis-ordered micro bead chain. Ridiculously thin and fragile looking, it was perfect for the design. I added a single swarovski crystal to the bottom to, I don't know , complete the look. All in all, it was an easy project since the tatting part was already done, but now I have another brand new necklace to present to the world. I call it the Jeweled Spine.

I should at this point make no more predictions as to what I will get done today. It's becoming clear that I am not in charge of my scheduling lately. I seem to be moving at whims beyond my normal household chores. Though sales have been good, they have not been as brisk as I had thought they might be. This of course is a blessing as well as a curse. More time for these spontaneous design adventures, but less money for, you know, shopping and what not. So, I might get to dig through more UFO's or I might be stuck in production mode, either way...I will be tatting my fingers off.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bubble Lace

I continued to have one of the best days online yesterday. No, was really nice. Of course it started with the beading gem feature, then I had a prominent place in The Michon Jewelry 5th day of Christmas gift guide. Really quite pleasant. Then as I tatted my fingers off, I got a sale off of twitter.

As my shoulder began to ache for just a bit too much speed tatting trying to remake all that had been sold recently, I decided to go ahead and spend some time designing. Using my brain more that my needle if you will. I thought back to a necklace I'd seen in the front page of etsy recently. You've seen them before I'm sure. One attaches a piece of vintage lace or more likely a mass produced lace applique to a necklace, perhaps adding a second to the other side and there you have. As a lace maker, I've never been too impressed with the skills it takes to make them, but I do like the look. So, I decided to make my own with hand tatted lace designed specifically for the purpose.

I started with the half Starburst motif and tatted it to another to make new shape, a bit of a zigzag. Then as I placed it on the mannequin, I puzzled on what to make the second piece to give the piece the proper balance. I went with a simple split ring design using the same stitch counts as the motif. The hard part was actually working with the chain to create the asymmetric look. Once I got everything properly measure out, it all fell into place.

I should get the piece listed later today and we'll see if my version gets any love. I want to try out a few more motif ideas, but I like to see if the concept falls flat or flies first.

Oh and there was one last little 'yay!' for the day. I uploaded one of the pictures me and my daughter took for Poppy's Wicked Garden to a flickr group of some friends fashion blog, The Demoiselles. You, know, my modeling gig with my new top. Anyway, they were picking a winner from the current crop of photos and mine was their choice. The photographer being 5 might have cuted them over the edge, but whatever...I won. I'm not the most fashionably forward person, but their blog is honest speak and they are most wonderful people, so I'm pleased. Oh, what did I win? A pair of panties...awesome ones.

So, I'd like to extend a thank you to karma for the great day that I had. I really needed that one. Now, it's back to the production line with the tatting. The Holidays come but once a year and people only shop like this now, so I must take full advantage. I paid the bills the other day...and yeah, I'm getting back to work now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Tuesday To You

Cyber Monday was almost a big old bust, for me at least, but leave to the night to fix everything. I woke up to a couple more sales and I'm feeling great. I'm also really happy about how the barefoot sandal pattern was received. I hope all of you who give it a go, share your work. I also got one more nice little convo this morning on etsy. A lovely jewelry blog has featured me today. You can see the piece at the Beading Gem. Thanks to those familiar names which suggested me to the author after her last post on tatting.

Now, if you'll direct your attention to the right hand column, you'll see a brand new set of links. Now, this is just the beginning of my tatting resources overhaul. These are the links to both my patterns published in blog posts as well as the ones on Instructables. At some point, I will add a few tatting blogs that I frequent as well as other important tatting locations for those wandering souls that land here looking for guidance. What is sort of funny, I had started the blog as a recommendation from other etsy sellers as a promotional tool. I never thought that I would ever be helping people enter the world of tatting, but I do enjoy doing so.

Speaking of tatting, I've another discovery to share. I use the google alerts to check on my tatting and I also have one to check out tatted jewelry in general. In Sunday's alert, I got a strange link to Anthropologie of all places. I clicked through to find a pair of metal filigree looking earrings named Silver Tatting Drops. What does it all mean? Is the technique starting to gain enough popularity for a chain store to co op the name to sell something? That can't be. What reason, then? Anyway, I thought was an interesting find even if it really has nothing to do with the tatting you and I are familiar with.

I did want to also share that I do have one more pattern to publish here before the year is out. I didn't want to give them out all at once, but I did want to let you know there was another one coming in the next few weeks. Now, I happily have some tatting to get to myself.