Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Well, I'm afraid that I'm not doing any better. The wind has been ridiculous and that has brought my seasonal allergies to an extreme level. I can't breath, I have a headache, a cough, an earache and my throat hurts. I know, whiny right? Sorry, but it's killing my creativity dead. I spent the day finishing a mask and getting started on remaking a pair of barefoot sandals. It is a damn good thing that I already scheduled all the post on the new blog or I'd be dropping the ball on it already.

I did do a little Internet searching yesterday trying to remember all the things I did to get the word out when I started this blog. I even ventured into the etsy forums...the promo section even, to try and drum up a little support and more potential finds. What happened there? Well, a whole lot of nothing. I got just a few responses and only a couple of them had any potential to be featured. My favorite was someone who claimed that their 'bookmarks' were different. Talk about grasping at straws. It's okay though, I remember how hard it was there to get any attention especially when you're just starting out. It's been nearly three years for me, so I guess I'm just over it.

I'll keep doing the legwork myself and I figure that if the blog takes off and continues to get attention, then people will find me. I have no illusions that it will become the next big thing, it's far too simple for that, but it would be nice to get enough attention to at least warrant it's continued existence. Of course I'm getting way ahead of myself as per usual. I think I'm just going to go and rest a bit now. Hopefully Spring is short this year and I can breath soon.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Need A Nap

The weekend saw yet another flurry of activity. On Friday, I spent what seemed like hours picking a choosing etsy items for my new blog. Once chosen, I snagged photos and links and put together 2 weeks worth of Monday through Friday posts. I hope by doing them in huge batches this endeavor won't take up too much time and make my husband give me the stink eye over yet another project. I can't even claim this one will earn us any money, so I'm walking a fine line here. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who are already following the blog. Of course some of them are loyal friends, but there are a few I've not heard of at all, which leads me to believe that this blog may potentially fill a real void rather than just be another "finds" blog. Of course only time will tell.

On Saturday, I finally got the last skein of bamboo yarn I needed to finish the tatted scarf I've been working on. It actually took very little time to tat up, but waiting for yarn has stretched out the project to an annoying length. I finished it up and got it all pressed and it look wonderful. It's always amazing to see the warped and messy tatting turn into an intricate complex design with just a bit of heat and steam. It will be sent off to its owner today and I really hope she loves it. I do have most of the last skein of yarn left, but I think I might just crochet a little something with it rather than subject myself to tatting with it again so soon...though there might be enough for a simple collar. I don't know.

The mailman also brought me my winnings from ladyshuttlemaker, a drop dead gorgeous skein of purple silk thread. I'm a little torn though, do I make something to sell or something to keep? It is a moot point right now though, since I have a mask order to complete and since I've sold both pairs of my ankle corsets and my barefoot sandals, I've got a lot of making to do. On top of that, I think I came up with a new hairpiece design that I want to put together and I need to get back to making some simple pieces for the Maker Faire at the end of May as well. Add my crazy allergies, and my kids allergies to the list and I really am surprised that I am still upright. Oh well, it could always be worse, I could be bored.

Friday, March 27, 2009

TotusMel's Wunderkammer

I got completely sidetracked yesterday and started myself a brand new blog. I had thought about doing this for a while, but it was just idle speculation really. I decided to say something 'out loud' on twitter just to see what the reaction would be and it was good. This sent me on nearly a day long quest to design and create the thing. I didn't think that I would actually get it up and running by the afternoon, but I did and now you can visit my Wunderkammer.

The name was a gift from Libby Bulloff of exoskeletoncabaret , well mostly, so thanks Libby! It means a cabinet of curiosities and since I plan on finding the dark, romantic and steamy amongst the items at etsy it seemed a perfect name. The first post is up with some quick steamy finds and the second features some more Gothic beauties. My husband is afraid that this venture is going to take too much more of my time, but I'm hoping to keep it quick and clean. If it seems like I need a little help, I might seek some guest posters of like taste to keep the stress down.

The reason I wanted to do this finds was because though there are plenty of blogs featuring etsy items, mostly they stick to the cute or kitchy and rarely are they dark and sumptuous. While I am certainly no amazing archeologist, I shall dig and find what I like and probably what I cannot afford. I hope that I can provide a unique place to find some of the more unique things that etsy has to offer and perhaps elsewhere if I get adventurous. It's still pretty bare and I haven't filled up the sidebars with anything yet. I still haven't decided whether this would be a good spot to try out ads for the first either. I guess what I'm saying is it's a work in progress. If you have any suggestions for finds, just let me know through the email in my profile, I'm certain to need a little help now and again.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Well, That I Could Have Done Without

Yesterday was what you might call a wash. My oldest daughter woke up with a leaking ear, yep again. She just got over one ear infection only to get one in the other ear. So my day included getting an appointment at the doctor's office only to find that another doctor was covering the day and they were already booked. They squeezed us in, but as you might imagine that meant our wait was significant. Then because it was just that sort of day, the pharmacy was extremely busy and it took over an hour to get her medicine. All that adventure ate up most of the afternoon, leaving me little time to do anything. Earlier in the day I managed to remake a couple of sold pieces, so the day wasn't a complete loss I suppose.

I was reminded by a friends tweet that I had purchased some black feathers last weekend with the intention of creating a more embellished hair piece. So I keep trying to figure out how to attach feathers and tatting. I mean, do I use 'clever' stitching as was suggested when it was just tatting or do the feathers require a little hot glue or something. I have zero millinery experience, so I just muddle through. Of course I don't know whether I'll get to this project today or even tomorrow though I do have some free time since I am still waiting for my last skein of bamboo yarn. As I shared yesterday, I managed to sell a pair of ankle corsets and I'd like to get a pair done enough to list them again since I already have too many "custom" pieces listed as it is.

I also noted that I have not done a personal reveal post this week. I don't think I managed one last week either. So I thought for kicks I would ask you what you want to know about me, my life, my craft or whatever. I always pretend to answer a question because no one has ever asked a thing. I mean, it's fine if no one is curious about anything that's fine. I don't live the most glamorous or amazing life and I never have, but if you do have any question, throw them at me. Seriously, anything at all. I can't promise that I'll answer them, but I'll do my level best.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Murphy's Law

Yesterday continued to be a fairly productive day. Flower after flower, I tatted my bamboo scarf at quite a clip. The children, though a bit sick were awfully well behaved and calm. I even came back to a couple of sales after lunch. While the kids slept I kept tatting, completing the flowers with my first skein and moving onto the edging. Then apparently I got a bit too comfortable with all the gifts karma had bestowed upon me, for he tagged in Murphy.

As I rounded the corner of the edging and moved onto the second side one thing became painfully clear. The skein of yarn fell apart and became a small pile, I was going to run out of yarn. I took a break and ordered another skein hoping that their quick shipping last time was not a fluke. I did finish up the skein about a fourth of the way down the second side. If the yarn arrives on Friday, I could have it done and shipped by Saturday. On the up side, it is definitely going to be a gorgeous piece. It is heavier than the wool, soft and the sheen is lovely.

I also woke up this morning to find that I had sold the first pair of In Bloom ankle corsets. They had received way more than their fair share of attention and hearts, but I was beginning to think that it was going to be a while before they found someone who actually wanted to wear them. I've got a bunch of thing to remake today while the scarf is on hold and I picked up some shimmery brown embroidery thread last weekend that I'm using to make some pieces for the upcoming Maker Faire. I hope that I have seen the last of Murphy for a while so I can get all this done before the new yarn arrives.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Good Karma

What a karma-riffic day I had yesterday. It started with getting weekend orders in the mail, which despite the effort involved, is a wonderful way to start the week. Then I started working like a madwoman to get a Portrait necklace done before the mailman came because I was crossing my fingers that he would be bringing me my bamboo yarn for my custom scarf. Just a half an hour after I finished the necklace, the yarn arrived along with an etsy purchase. Then right before I turned off my computer for the night, I got informed that I had won some hand dyed silk thread from Ladyshuttlemaker. So Huzzah for things going just as I hoped and then some.

Let me now back up for a minute to that bamboo yarn. I had initially ordered from another store which had said it was in stock, then it wasn't and it was going to take another week to get. Annoyed, I ordered from another store on Friday and that is what arrived yesterday afternoon. The yarn was for a Grand Daisy scarf that was ordered during my anniversary sale, so I was extra anxious to get working on it. In my listing I state that I will make the scarf in any appropriately sized yarn the customer wants, she chose this specific bamboo yarn. I had never worked with it before and since I live in a town with no real yarn shop, I'd never even held the yarn before. I had no idea what I was in for, tatting with this stuff. To say that it has a light twist would be a severe understatement. Really it is more like a dozen or so threads held together through the sheer will of the manufacturer. It has a lovely sheen and it is very soft, but my needle keeps separating the yarn and it my tension is just a bit too tight pulling the yarn through is quite difficult.

I am so used to tatting the same designs with the same thread that I barely have to pay attention and I still get the same consistent work, but not with this stuff. I need to work very deliberately to get good results with the bamboo. I am about halfway through the core flower strip of the scarf and I should at the very least get flowers done today. Of course my other issue it that I literally have no idea how much yardage I need for this design, so I am crossing my fingers that I bought enough yarn to finish it as well. At least I know where to get it quickly now if I need more and I can add bamboo tatting to my list of achievements.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Process

Over the weekend, I started working on a choker that was actually inspired by that Irene Waller book I spoke about. It is almost complete and as I worked on it, I realized how different my process is from, well everybody else who has shared theirs. I read stories of people going into their studios, sketching, laying out materials. I hear tale of people who document their patterns as they create and listen to music and basically create for hours. Yeah, not me.

I have a spot on the couch my husband not so lovingly refers to as my nest and I stop and start my tatting all day long as I go about all my other household and motherly duties. Then comes the golden hours after lunch when, if I'm lucky, both of my children will take a nap. At this point I can work albeit with 3 of 4 of my cats on my lap. If I am creating something new, I start by looking through my vintage pattern books until something "inspires" me. Then I go over the pattern to see what changes are immediately needed. I begin working with my ecru thread. Once I have enough of the design worked out, I tend to take a picture with my laptop, cause I can't move and ask the twitterverse how it's looking.

Once I have obtained opinions, I start working with the final thread, usually black as you might have guessed. If nap time is enduring and I finish the tatting portion of the piece, I might take another picture to get final opinions. If I've happy then I dig myself out from under the cats and go to my desk. All my supplies live there and I put on the hardware and take real pictures. I might even run outside for better pictures if the weather is cooperating. All this is done at warp speed to complete it before the children wake. If time allows, I get the piece listed as well.

My weekend piece did not progress to the hardware/picture stage. I hope that I can get that done today, but I'm also crossing my fingers that my yarn order comes in so I can get to work on a custom scarf. I despise making people wait any longer than necessary for their tatting. I also made a few nice sales over the weekend so I've got a few pieces that need remaking as well. I'd complain about all the work, but it is so much better than the alternative. Guess I'll be in my nest for a while.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Before I Was Even Born

It was another long day yesterday. For those of you that have been following my dental drama, I got the permanent crown put on yesterday. It was shiny and pretty. I don't know if the guys down at the dental lab that make these things to custom fit consider themselves artists, but I do. When I got back my youngest started running a fever. It's probably just a cold, but she slept for crap last night. That means I too slept for crap. I got a hold of all but one winner yesterday and the prizes will start going out today. If you want to take me up on yesterdays pendant offer, remember it is only good until Sunday.

So I do have a tatting confession for you. I am not well versed in its designers nor the intricacies of it's history. Sure a few names are familiar, but for the most part, I just thought it was something interesting to try and flew from there rarely, if ever looking back. Every time another tatter mentions a book that is apparently indispensable, I must admit ignorance. Though I have begun to amass a small collection of vintage tatting books and PDFs, they are mostly from the turn of the century and the 40's. Of the more recent creators I know very little.

A few weeks ago a tatting friend I became acquainted with over at the flickr directed me to a book after seeing my new footwear pieces, so out of sheer curiosity, I bought the thing for $7 and it just arrived. It is simply called Tatting by Irene Waller. Since I bought it I did come across some information suggesting that she was a major influence in the evolution of tatting particularly in adapting the work beyond doilies and edgings. As I flipped through the pages of the book, I realized a few things. First, this lady was a little loony in her enthusiasm. She appeared to truly believe that tatting could be anything and she knew it was art. Next, I guess I am a little like her in that respect though I do not share her love for rough and odd fibers. The book was published in 1974 in England and it is VERY 70's and though I'm glad I picked it up, I don't see myself using it all that much except as inspiration.

Actually it makes me a little sad that even though I try to come up with my own new ideas and avoid being influenced by other current designers, I'm not as original as I thought. She attached some very bulky tatting to wedge sandals and has a few choker designs as well as some even more wacky ideas in the book. I knew I was no tatting expert, but this confirms that my visionary status in on weak footing as well. That won't stop me from trying though, you'll see.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We Have a Winner!

Or more precisely, winners, six of them. Once my husband arrived home from work yesterday, I had him pull the numbers. He was actually quite annoyed that the random number generator didn't pull a diverse enough grouping and went back to try again. He ended up going with the first set because he felt that trying again would taint the results even though he never actually saw the entries list. I'm telling you all this partly so you'll blame him if you didn't win and partly because I wanted you to know he took his job seriously.

So without further ado, the winners. First the winners of the 3 Fully Bloomed pendants are Wychbury, RockLove and Crites.

Next up the winner of the Viva La Reine necklace is Nullalux.

The winner of the Queen's Feet Barefoot Sandals is beri03.

The winner and the very first person to own a pair of the coveted In Bloom Ankle Corsets is Jennifer Nicole.

Congrats to everyone that won and condolences for those that didn't. Even with the fairly even odds there were bound to be a lot of people on that list. As a bit of a consolation prize, I've decided to offer all entrants my In Bloom pendant for just $5 including shipping until Sunday. If you choose to take me up on the offer, just purchase the pendant and leave your entry name and mention 'prize' in the notes to seller. I will refund the discount through paypal.

If you won one of these amazing prizes, you should be hearing from me soon, if you haven't yet and I hope to have all the prizes out by Monday. Thanks to everyone for helping make this giveaway a grand success. My shop has garnered quite a few new hearts, my blog a healthy dose of new followers and I even got some sales out of the event. Let's hope many of you stick around after the free stuff is all gone. I am now quite done will all of this nonsense and am ready to get back to some calm quiet tatting and stop checking my comments and email every 2 minutes. Maybe I'll host someone elses giveaway next...anyone?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Alright children, pencils down. Wow, that was quite a week of giveaway and sale madness. I've already mentioned several times my shock at getting so many entries. I got a few more over night so I don't have the final tally ready yet, but we passed 151 yesterday. That means I added another pendant to the prize pool, giving us a total of 6 prizes. I will compile all the entries today and my husband has been charged with pulling the winning numbers using a random number generator since I don't want to be blamed for any ones loss. I should be able to list all the winners tomorrow morning.

Aside from a couple of folks, everyone followed my rules very well. The funny thing about the ones who didn't follow the rules is that they also failed to make sure I had contact information for them so I guess it doesn't matter anyway. Since we're talking about the rules and you still don't know who won, I have a few questions for you. What did you think of my rules, particularly my little twist? Were they clever, or did I simply try too hard? I'm certain I'm not the first to try prizes based on entry levels, but since I've not seen it before, I want to know what you thought. Were the prizes good? If you didn't enter, what would have made you do so? Did I do anything really wrong, really right? Any opinions are greatly appreciated. I hope to also provide some details about the success of the giveaway after its all said and done.

I'll keep it brief today. I haven't been tatting and they giveaway has taken a lot of energy. I'll probably even limit my ever increasing twitter time today as well. As soon as the winners are announced, I'll start sending out the prizes and that should keep me busy for a while too. I guess what I'm saying, is that I'm tired.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Blogaversary To Me

Well, here we are one full year of blogging. So as I am obsessed with statistics, I thought I'd take a look at mine. When I first started this project, I had no idea what were considered good numbers. With no basis for comparison I tried to get the biggest numbers as quickly as possible, a completely pointless endeavor. I'm now happy with my modest, but consistent numbers. In the past year there have been well over 22,000 from 11,800 visitors from 92 countries. I know theses numbers are far from amazing. I'm just writing a little tatting blog about me and my craft, but they are amazing to me.

Today is also the last day to enter my giveaway and take advantage of my sale. If you haven't yet, click the huge purple link above and get yourself entered to win one of 5 different tatted prizes. In fact if just 8 more people get entered today, I'll add yet another pendant to the pool for a total of 6 prizes. My anniversary on etsy is about a month away so this event is acting as a celebration for that as well. I tell you this just so you get that this is the only event of this kind I'll be having for another year.

So I'm sitting here not only thinking about what the past year brought for me, but also thinking about what plans I have for the future. I'm certain that I will come up with many more designs and lines of tatted goodness. I plan on putting together a few more needle tatting instructables, one of those in the next month or so. I hope I can continue to write occasionally interesting things that keep my small number of visitors consistent and I hope that all the new eyes that I have lured in with my giveaway continue to come back and visit me once the free stuff is all gone. Thanks to all of you that have read my ramblings and commented over the last year. Your support and feedback has been wonderful and I am lucky to have met so many wonderful people through this experience. So even though I never thought I'd be a blogger and I still don't consider myself a real one, I am glad that I gave it a go.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Almost Over

Good Monday morning my friends. I had quite a busy weekend, not crafty busy, just the regular kind. Saturday began with the family attempting to undo what winter had wrought on our backyard. My father-in-law joined us as we all swept and cleaned and my husband mowed. My tasks were cut short when my youngest decided to take a header into our swamp water pond. Not sure why she decided to dive in, but she was quickly rescued and my day shifted from yard work to child cleaning, drying and consoling. Sunday was a family birthday party at my sister's house. The children ran amok with their cousins until, despite long naps, they dissolved into whiny fusspots.

As you might have guessed, I got very little tatting time. I did manage to participate in a little experiment over at intatters (formally etatters). Ever since I learned to tat I had seen quite a few conflicting opinions regarding the speed of needle and shuttle tatting and which might be better for what. A few people were willing to time themselves and get some numbers to see if we could answer the question. There have only been a few results thus far, so no real answer yet, but I am so happy that I am finally in a position to ask the question.

During the weekend, I had a few more entries trickle in for my giveaway landing us safely past 121 entrants. This means that I have added another pendant to the giveaway pot, so there are officially five prizes. Remember the giveaway ends tomorrow at midnight PST, so if you haven't entered yet, click that enormous purple link abouve because you are running out of time. If it turns out that there is a glut of last minute entries that takes us up to 151, I will add yet another pendant.

I'd also like to remind you that the 15% off anniversary sale also ends tomorrow at midnight. If you've known me a while you're probably aware that I don't generally do sales. I don't like them, they make me feel guilty. This will probably be the only sale that I do until winter, so if you want a deal, your time is almost up to get one. Remember, you must mention 'anniversary' at checkout to get the sale, no mention, no deal.

Friday, March 13, 2009

And I Didn't Even Know It

I've no tatting to show you, since I've been quite distracted by this sale and giveaway nonsense, but I can toss out a personal reveal post before the week is out. As has become my custom, we shall start with a recap. I first shared the origin of TotusMel, the name. Next I laid my first dead dream out for you followed by the origin of my crazy hair color and how I met my husband. Then you got the painful story of my first tattoos. Last week I showed you a little taste of one of my other talents, though I use the term loosely. Yesterday, I got my copy of Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman and reading that amazing poem helped me decide what fictional question to answer.

What's with the poetry you hinted at last week?

I discovered angst at the tender age of thirteen, the same age that I found Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails. This angst carried me all the way through college. It encouraged me to don a signature black wardrobe, to listen to dark music and to express myself through writing. I do have one favorite poem, but I am always ashamed to admit that I never followed any one author. I never even studied poets to learn their lives or writings. I never tried to emulate anyone with, well anything I do. I had no structure that I clung to, no consciously created deep meanings. I just wanted to get all that built up angst out.

I do remember thinking that I would be a published poet one day. I would contemplate sending my poem in to those poem publications advertised in the back of teen magazines. I of course assumed the were perfectly legitimate, just like those Who's Who books. Though I admit to falling for one of those ridiculous thing, I never did sent a poem.

I kept writing them up until the most horrible thing that could happen to an angst ridden poet happened to me. Yep, I met my future husband and became happy. I know, horrible right? I tried to keep writing, but all that came out was sappy drivel that I should have burned the second it hit the paper. Really, truly awful. Clearly my writing was fueled by pain and though I've not tried to write in a while, I imagine that parental stress is not the same.

I realize that I cannot write a post like this without proof, so I shall now subject you to a little of my prose.

Do you understand, do you even fathom
The destruction in my soul
Caused by want, fought by desire
It's blacker than this coal
I try to rhyme, to conquer time
To set the fire burning
But my phoenix dies with open eyes
A kiss of winter mourning
Do you understand, do you even fathom
The Spring inside my heart
My brightened eyes fraught with cries
Love is chaos burning

Whole, complete
Lies, discrete
Open Madness
Take and give
Grasping Passion
Life's a series
Of extractions
In terror he stood...
The night surrounded only him and the clouds covered him
To the sky he looked and in vain he cried, for he knew his god was dead
He screamed for help, but no help would come, for he knew his love was dead
To his knees he dropped upon moistened ground and reached for a tangible joy, for he knew that he was dead
But to this night he remains right there, for he knew then that death was dead

Well that's all you get for now. Don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't yet. It is over on the 17th along with the sale.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

That's It Then

Okay, I get it. I should have set the bar much higher. I have a confession, when I set the last entry level at 91 people, I assumed that was a ridiculously high number that was likely not to be reached. I thought if I put the ankle corsets up as a prize, there was a slight chance that toward the end of the week it might be reached, but I wasn't holding my breath. It is absolutely crazy that there are well over 100 entrants just three days in...three days.
The last prize has been added, a pair of In Bloom Ankle Corsets! I'd just like to point out here that I sell these suckers for over $90, I'm just saying.

The sale portion of my anniversary event is doing fairly well now too. Of course now that I've said something, I'll get no more sales. That's just the way it works. Since we've reached the final prize level, I can also stop going on and on about the giveaway everyday, but I do have one more little bit to share. I have decided that I will continue to add additional pendants to the giveaway with every 30 entrants. Since I can't really add any more large prizes to the pot, but I don't want the entries to dry up, this seems the best way to continue a bit of momentum. I guess that means your chances of winning something are about one in thirty no matter what, so keep spreading the word.

I guess I should go add that info to the giveaway post now so everyone knows what's up. I did also want to say how happy I am that I am also getting word from several people that my work is prompting them to either start tatting again or to pick up a needle or shuttle for the first time. If you're new around here, you haven't heard my grand plan to make tatting the next crafting craze. I know that it's not very likely, but one should always maintain at least one nice unattainable goal and this is mine. Every time I hear one of these stories, I think that it's not as ridiculous as I thought, so thanks for sharing!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Almost There

Great Gatsby people! Yesterday afternoon the entrants on the giveaway passed the threshold for prize number three. You didn't stop there though, this morning as of 7 the entrants stand at 81 and we've only started day three.

A pair of The Queen's Feet barefoot sandals have now been included in the giveaway and I have no doubt that you will reach the number needed for the ankle corsets very soon. So, I have to wonder now if I should have set the bar even higher. I have seen a lot of blog giveaways and I assumed that my numbers were already quite a stretch. Is my giveaway structure actually that clever? Are the prizes just that inciting? Am I just that cool and I didn't know it?

I'll probably never know for sure what has made this giveaway a success already, but it is. Sure, the entries started with very familiar names, but more recently the names are entirely new, which is of course the hidden motive for any giveaway, exposure to a new audience. The sale portion of my event is not doing so well though. So far, only one sale tied to the event. I had hoped that this would help jump start my sluggish sales, but it's not over yet, so I'm still hopeful.

One last thing for today, I put together two different hair clips and listed them yesterday. I know I want to come up with at least one more design for this line before I stop making them.

This one is called Crimson and Clover. I asked for name help over on twitter and that one was perfect for this design that combines three different tatted flowers. The black one is a four leave clover design and I added a crystal to pull the whole thing together. Again, this is new territory so I struggled with attaching it to the clip. I opted to stitch the piece on using the tail. It slides a bit on the clip, but not much. I might add a dot of glue for security, but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One...make that Thirty One

Wow, what a day. I just got entrant number 31. That means we now have two prizes for the giveaway!!! The Viva La Reine necklace has been added to the pot.

Remember it's unique individuals that make up my prize system, not entries. I didn't think that we'd make it there quite this fast, but this does mean that if you wonderful people keep sharing the giveaway we've got plenty of time to get all the way to prize number four, the ankle corsets! 30 more until prize number 3 is added! Oh, I forgot one more thing, I will be having my husband pull the winners with a random number generator so I can stay out of it.

While there are still many of my internet friends that have yet to enter the giveaway(I'm looking at you steamteam) I'm flattered at the number of not only twitter and etsy friends, but fellow tatters and complete strangers. Thanks everyone for the kind words about my work and for wanting a piece enough to play my game. I still haven't had any sales with my accompanying discount. Be sure that you check out the giveaway post for details on the sale and get entered to win if you haven't yet.

I'm going to keep the post brief today. I did get in my clips and combs, so I might get working on my tatted hair piece today. Of course it is just as likely that I will just compulsively plug my giveaway on twitter and check my blog comments all day long. I know I should have patience, but I save all of that for complicated tatting and my children.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Super Awesome Anniversary Giveaway & Sale

Well, that's quite enough stalling from me. With my blog's first anniversary fast approaching and my third year on etsy next month, now is the time for my big event! This event is just my way of saying thank you to everyone who has visited, read my ramblings and offered their opinions and whatnot. I've decided to go with a two pronged attack to the event.

The first prong is a SALE. Now don't get too excited, it's just a small one. My entire inventory is on sale 15% off until my anniversary on March 17th. This sale will NOT be noted at my shop, it is only for those of you who visit my blog as a thank you for all your help and support. You must mention "anniversary" in the notes to seller to receive the discount which will be refunded after you pay through paypal. If you forget to mention the sale, you don't get the discount, simple as a dimple.

The second prong is a GIVEAWAY and I've decided to take a slightly different approach to the standard blog giveaway, but let me first lay down the entry options for this sucker.

The Rules:
-Visit my etsy shop and peruse my tatted offerings.
-Pick your favorite item from the shop and then come back here to this blog post, and leave a comment telling me about what you liked (if you can't find anything perhaps this giveaway is not for you.)
-Your comment profile must include contact information, if it doesn't be sure to leave a valid email address in your comment or your entry is void.(if I can't tell you that you won, what good is entering)

Want more chances to win...well, I've got a few

-For an additional entry, tweet this giveaway, then leave a comment with a link to your tweet (you can follow me on twitter too...if you want)

-For another additional entry, blog about this giveaway and sale on your own blog (complete with links and pictures), and come back and leave a link to your post.

-Finally for two entries, buy something from me (don't forget the sale!) and come back and comment with your purchase. (this is the flagrant self promotion portion of the event)

-This contest is open to residents of the Earth only, seriously all humans welcome, aliens not so much.

-Contest ends on Tuesday March 17th. Winners will be announced by that Friday.

Did I say winners... plural? Yes, I did. Here's where my giveaway is a bit different. You see, I always found it a bit anti productive to plug someone else's giveaway thus reducing my chances of winning. What if, however, more entrants meant more prizes? Here's my solution, for every 30 unique individuals entering another prize will be added to the list. So if 31 people enter, I will add a second prize, 61 a third and if by some chance 91 or more people enter a fourth and final prize.

I know these sound like extremely ambitious numbers given my average blog traffic and that is the whole point. The more people enter, the better the prizes are for everyone so I'm hoping that this is the proper incentive for a bit of a viral effect, I guess we'll see. Oh, right the prizes...

First up is a Fully Bloomed pendant in any color of the winners choice. This is the only guaranteed prize.

With entrant number 31, I will add the Viva La Reine necklace to the pot.

With entrant number 61, a pair of The Queen's Feet barefoot sandals are included.

The last prize will only be added if 91 or more unique individuals enter the giveaway and it's a good one, a pair of In Bloom Ankle Corsets!
So that's it, remember the more people that enter the better the prizes get and this is not counting the extra entries each person can get, just actual people. If you want a chance at all four, you best help me spread the word about the sale and giveaway. I will make an announcement every time a new prize level has been achieved. You only have just over a week, so you better get on it!

***More prizes will be added, every 30 entries another In Bloom pendant will go into the prize pool***

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wait For It

Okay, okay, I'm a big old tease. I didn't do anything to set up my anniversary event yesterday. I had a headache after my dental appointment and I chose to watch the backed up shows on my DVR instead. So here's the deal, Monday morning I will launch my anniversary event. As a little heads up, the event will include not only a sale that will run until my actual blog anniversary of March 17th, but also a substantial giveaway with multiple ways to earn entries running the same length of time. I thought that it might be tacky to hold a giveaway on my own blog, but then I decided that I didn't really care.

I did get a little tatting done yesterday. I finished up the motifs for another pair of barefoot sandals while I was waiting in the dentists office. Then while I was waiting for laundry I decided that I would try another layer to flower hairpiece. I decided to layer the two different designs that I came up with the other day for to see what the effect would be. I do like the way it turned out, but I also realized that this color clashes horribly with my hair!

I figure when I finally get my clips and combs in, I'll have to use my "normal" colored wigs for the photos. I don't think this one would get me any sales. I think I'm gonna call this a short post so I can work out all the details for Monday. I hope that you come back to get what I have in store for you.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Looking Back

I've been reminiscing a bit since I realized that my blog is coming up on its one year anniversary. Then yesterday one of my new friends did a post with advice to start an etsy shop to make extra cash. In the post she linked to one of my early posts, so I went back to read it again. I was a little amazed at where my blog began as opposed to what it has settled into.

When I began this little space, things were just a bit different. There was no twitter to waste my time, back then it was in the etsy forums that I spent far too much time. I went there to learn, to network, to read all the drama that cropped up on a regular basis. At that point I had been around long enough to see most of the complaints come and go and come back again. I was truly sick of most of it and it really became a situation where either I had to say something or just get the hell out of Dodge. I did one and then the other. I used my fresh space to vent and rant and offer up some blunt advice. Then I went to the forums and started a thread linking to my blog post. I would literally spend all day babysitting those threads in order to drive traffic to my blog because I was sure that was how all this worked. I got tons of hits on those posts, ridiculous amounts on some. Then I got a little tired of it and really I had gotten all the complaints out.

You'll notice that my list of popular posts hasn't been updated in quite a long time. It turned out that even though I still had plenty to say and share, nothing was nearly as interesting or polarizing as those first threads. I think I'm going to go back and read them all again and see how many of them stand up nearly a year later, I'm not sure that they do, but they sure seemed important at the time. Check them out if you weren't reading my ramblings back then. If nothing else, they're pretty entertaining as I was channeling my inner Simon Cowell.

Well, I'm off to the dentist again this morning. This time it's for my first crown prep, which I suppose means at least one more appointment until I can be done with my tooth drama. I have also worked out what I'm doing for my anniversary event. Though I didn't know whether I'm going to start it tomorrow or Monday. I guess it depends how I feel after this morning since I think I'll need to do some prep work for the event.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Secret Artist

Previously on Needle Tatting and other Nonsense. You first learned the origin of TotusMel, the name. Next I shared my first dead dream, followed by the origin of my hair color and how I met my husband. Then you got the painful story of my first tattoos. We are now back at the time in the week, yes I know it changes every week, where I answer a question no one actually asked. Though if you actually want a question answered, I'd be glad to do so. Anyway on to the question.

Do You Have Any Secret Talents?

I thought about this for a bit. I can whistle, so can most people. I can pick things up with my feet, not really interesting enough for an entire post. Then I got one. I used to think of myself as an artist. Yep, far before I was a tatting madwoman, I held a pen to paper and created. Way back in high school, the same time I fancied myself a poet (another time), I started making black and white images. I did this off and on until my first child was born and creation on paper became increasingly difficult. I've done all sorts of pieces as I found one day I could draw a portrait and the next I couldn't seem to draw a stick figure. I settled best into a style I don't know the name for.

I never took any classes and since I'm surrounded by really talented artists I never really took very seriously. My brothers are insanely skilled artists, my grandmother was an incredible painter and I always seemed to hang out with artistic types that made whatever I did look like a fourth grader did it. I did enter my art in the county fair, yeah I know, several times and even won a few ribbons and like ten dollars. I remember the first time I did it, I thought that I was going to get offers to buy the pieces and I was shocked when none came.

I ended up giving one of the winning pieces to the head of the fair, she was the mother of a good friend. and since then, I have given away almost everything I've ever drawn. They've been birthday presents, Christmas presents and oh, you like that, you can have it, presents. My family and friends own almost all my art and I see it when I visit their homes. Though I'm convinced that it's displayed out of a sense of obligation rather than some intense love of my talent.I did dig out some pieces left around the house because I knew I couldn't do a post like this without a little proof. The small ones are the few left from back in high school. The larger pieces are much more rounded than most of my other pieces, but they are all that is left in my possession. I'm certain that I will one day day pick up a pen again and make art. I doubt I'll ever try to sell it though. I'll just keep raining it down on my relatives as cheap gifts or giving it away to anyone that tells me they like it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Flower For Your hair

I have to say Monday was a huge let down after the flurry of attention I received from my tatted footwear over the weekend. On top of that my husband is gone until Wednesday evening at a conference so I'm alone wrangling the children who oscillate between sad and uncontrollably crazy. Oh and they both have a nice little cough to add to the challenge.

During their nap, I sat down in front of twitter and bounced ideas for a new tatted item off those inclined to pay attention to me. I decided on doing some hair pieces. I have generally avoided the hair accessory idea since there are many others doing the small bobby pin flowers. So I knew that I needed to come up with something different and bold. This project sent me back to the 40's, where I found a vintage carnation pattern worn in the hair. I held it in my hair with my tatting needle when I was finished and snapped a picture with my laptop. I left off the final row of the pattern since I was using size 10 thread, it was already quite large.

Once I was finished with that one, I tried out a magnolia pattern I had found online, but it was a single shuttle pattern that lost something in my translation. The attempt taught me a technique that I used to modify yet another vintage flower motif into a three dimensional design. I ordered up some barrettes and hair combs and when they arrive I will figure out how to attach the flowers to them. I might even embellish with some feathers to make them more of a fascinator than a simple hair clip.

I've got one more easy flower idea on deck, then I want to try my hand at a three dimensional rose. I've seen a few about, but I'm still trying to figure out the basic construction so I can design around that. I also want to see if I can create something inspired by a dahlia because I know someone who might like that a lot. I'm probably making it harder than it is since I refuse to buy modern tatting books. The last thing I want to do is steal patterns intentionally and make things to sell with them. I don't even like to look at too many patterns for fear, I'll unintentionally borrow too heavily from the designs. That's why I love vintage patterns so much, I can use, modify and completely rework them without stepping on anyone's toes. More on the flowers as I get them done and don't worry I haven't forgotten about my anniversary event, I just don't know what it is yet.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Almost A Year

On Friday, I left you with a hint of a surprise. Well, that and lots of feet pictures, but let us talk of the surprise. I've been feeling very good lately about the amount of feedback and help I've been getting from my twitter friends, but also from my blog readers. I wanted to do something special as a bit of a thank you, but I wasn't certain what or when. Then I was looking at my Google Analytics data, which I do compulsively, and realized that we're coming up on my blogs one year anniversary this month. Honestly, I find it hard to believe that I've had something to say most weekdays for an entire year, but apparently I have.

So, the when is taken care of with that realization, but I am still working out the what. I share all this as a bit of a heads up that soon, in conjunction with this anniversary, I will be having perhaps a sale, perhaps a giveaway, perhaps something else I haven't quite thought of yet, but something interesting is coming. If you've got any great ideas, feel free to share them with me. I'd love to know what you would like.

Now, because you have gone a whole weekend without a new photo of my feet, here's my next barefoot sandal design. I think that this is it for the footwear line, unless I strike on something truly amazing. I really am a little tired of showing off my feet at this point, but I am fairly proud of what I've created and they've certainly gotten enough attention this past weekend with views of the listings being very high. I even sold a custom pair of my first barefoot sandals the first day, so yay!