Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Mother Of Invention

Busy like a bee, I tatted yesterday. Making and remaking. Trying to both keep my store stocked full of ready to ship items and get pieces made for the end of May. So engrossed in creating these pieces that I had forgotten a promise to make a mask for a family friends birthday...on Sunday. This was brought to my attention late in the afternoon and I panicked. I had originally settled on making her my "A Kind Of Pale Jewel" mask in purple, but I realized that would be pushing it. Even though I'm unlikely to see her on the birthday, I'd still like it ready in time. So I started making her a "Babe With The Power" mask. As I finished the first round, I decided that I would make an entirely new mask just for her.

I had been toying with adjusting the outer round of this mask for a while. I has a few different ideas swirling around, but no real incentive to try them out right away. I opted for a simple change with a dramatic result. I just added a small ring at the center of each chain creating a pointed effect rather than rounded like the original. I like the result enough so far to create another to sell. The points give it more of a Mardi Gras feel than the babe version so I have dubbed this mask, "The Power Of VooDoo" in keeping with my strict Labyrinth naming policy.

The mask is still not finished, but hopefully I will finish it up and make the one to sell as well. It might not be up for sale until next week though. I have been taking full advantage of a now three day absence of sales to focus on all this creating. I'm not certain what has caused this drought all of a sudden, but if I've learned anything from my own etsy-centric speeches over the last year, it's 'just keep swimming'. I have tons of stuff that needs to be made and who knows when I'll have the time again to really get into the manufacturing rhythm.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fashion Review?

I have never been known as a "fashionista". No, I have my own sense of self and style that rarely coincides with the current trends. When it does, I tend to buy out the items I like from the trend and wear them long after it has died. Though I also enjoy, let's say extreme pieces, I am usually found in a pair of jeans and comfortable shirt. As a stay at home mother, this is as far as I am willing to dress down though. I refuse to wear sweats or spend the day in pajamas, but I digress.

Through twitter, I have become acquainted with a handful lovely fashion blogging ladies. They are pleasant, fun and above all I would never use the word snob to describe a one of them. I often feel like a bit of a shlub seeing their daily outfit pictures, but that's fine. Though a practice on twitter deemed "followfriday" where people recommend others to follow, my connection with them has expanded to a connection with a few emerging designers. It is through this that I became acquainted with the woman behind Spun. I caught wind of a special sale of her organic cotton fitted tee and I decided that I could always use another black shirt. I shared the link to the sale and had a lovely conversation with her. Days later I participated in a little Earth Day contest she held and won a tank top as well.

Well, the shirt is here and I do adore it. It might look like a simple tee shirt, but it is more than that. It is an affordable, socially responsible, well fitted and comfortable tee shirt from a small company with a heart. So, if you have ever wanted to try and dress a little more "green", but the price outweighed the benefit, check out her line of clothes. They are simple, versatile and of a quality that appears to be far above their price points.

Okay, I know, first a music review, now I'm taking on clothing lines. It might be a little silly coming from me, but I just thought I'd share my findings. I've got a lot of tatting to do for this Maker Faire business, but I hope to get around to trying my newest idea for the shoe jewelry. Since listing the prototype pair, it has gotten very little interest, so maybe I jumped the gun a bit getting excited about the idea. I still want to get it to a final design before I abandon it though. Sometimes I just have to sit on my hands and wait no matter how impatient I am.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Busy Brain

I am running on empty again. All the little things are beginning to add up to become a mountain of physical and mental tasks that I must complete. The house hunt has reached a pause as we have caught up to the available homes in our specified range. We are waiting for a glut of foreclosures to come on the market that we've been led to believe will occur in the next few weeks, but that has not stopped my midnight busy brain thoughts about said house search.

Then there is the inevitable packing up of the household which has prompted a more aggressive and consistent approach to house cleaning in an attempt to maintain at a level of clean more easily packed. This has put me in a constant struggle with two small children who think that looking for their shoes requires them to throw every other shoe halfway across the room. I know that I have plenty of time, but it just seems prudent to begin now.

Then there is TotusMel Tat's, as a hobby tatting has kept my hands and mind busy. It has provided me with a much needed creative outlet as well as a gateway for adult networking and conversation which are sadly lacking in my stay at home mom existence. It is now, however, beginning to take on the size and shape of a real business. This has caused a bit of excitement, but far more anxiety as I try to make the right decisions to continue on this path without bad things happening.

Part of this is caused by my future attendance to the Maker Faire at the end of May. I have managed to fly under the radar thus far, but this will be me standing outside with my work being perused by hundreds, if not thousands of people. I am worried. Not only do have have an incalculable amount of work to get done in preparation, but this will be the first time in over three years that I've tried vending. The first and only other time was right before I joined Etsy. The experience was disappointing and uncomfortable. Were it not for the attendance by so many SteamTeam friends I'm dying to meet, I would be happy to remain ensconced in my house whilst selling.

So my busy brain has got me all in a state anticipating future events, many of which I have no ability to control. Now that I've throw all this out there, I shall endeavour to take a deep breath and move on. Hopefully this will have quieted my brain for a spell.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How Was Your Weekend?

The weekends have been getting...odd around here lately. Last weekend saw a huge surge of sales, well huge for me anyway, because of a inclusion in the stylehive newsletter. I spent the better part of the week making up ankle corsets and whatnot. This past weekend was much quieter until Sunday. I spend a good portion of my weekend offline with my family, so I only check in for any length of time during the kids naps. This weekend the surprise was first a google alert for an article at TrendHunter. Nope, I'd not heard of the site either, which makes the write up a little sweeter. At last check the article has over 1800 views and is currently featured and apparently the #4 hot item in the last 24 hours.. Though that only seems to have translated into store views from the site, it's still pretty cool.

Then a little later in the afternoon, I got a message over at etsy from a magazine writer informing me that one of my masks was going to be featured in their next issue. She requested some hi-res images of my Babe With The Power mask. I sent them off poste haste and I will reveal said magazine when and if it should actually come to pass. I will say it is a fashion magazine that I only heard of recently through twitter. This of course doesn't mean a thing as I am generally fashion illiterate.

One more little thing from the weekend, well Friday really, but anyway. I have been inpired by Haute Macabre posts before, they posted the pictures of the lace stilletto that led to my ankle corsets. Again they post and I... recreate. This time it was a post featuring shoe jewelry. These were pieces made of chainmail or leather bands attached by chains to be worn with heels. Of course I saw them with straps of tatting connected with chains and I completed the first prototype this weekend as well. I am having problems with chain length and making the piece adjustable. Though I'm thinking that perhaps it would be better ta add the chain after requesting customer measurments. I'm also aware that these are going to require excellent walking skills to avoid sngging the chains, but I assume that if you're probably not going to be wearing heels hiking or anything anyway. I will most likely be selling this pair at a prototype price very soon as I work on a refined piece.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Etsy Day

I don't visit the Etsy forums much anymore for a host of reasons I won't go into right now, but I do occasionally pop by. Recently I caught wind of "Etsy Day" a community inspired guerrilla style advertising event. A date was chosen, April 24th and people were asked to get the word out about Etsy in the real world. I dismissed it because quite frankly, I spend very little time out in the real world right now. Sad? Maybe, but it makes any of my efforts quite useless I'm afraid. Everyone I know already knows about Etsy through my three year long association with them.

What I decided I could do this morning was recall my Etsy story, though I imagine that if you're ready my blog you already know Etsy well enough too. It all started over three years ago...

I was always a crafty lass, knitting, crochet, art, whatever. When the store I worked at for 8 years closed it's doors and I was 7 months pregnant, I became the proud owner of lots of spare time. I used that time to, well watch a lot of television and learned a new craft, tatting. When my baby was born, I put down the tatting and didn't pick it up again for nearly two years. When I did turned out to be very fortuitous timing as I was just about to discover Etsy. On a G4 program called Attack of the Show, they showcased the Alchemy function of Etsy and I decided that it would be a good way to earn a little extra money, since I had chosen not to find a new job.

So I made of bunch of bracelets and bookmarks and I knitted up some teddy bears and I started listing. The very first day, I made a sale and I was forever hooked. It took me another month to discover the forums and over the course of the last three years I have learned more about the Internet than I had in the previous decade. I was forced to learn how to do so many things to maintain and support my new "hobby". I followed Etsians to many different sites and it was trough this experience that I began to blog in the first place.

It hasn't always been a walk in the park. I've seen Etsy through many changes and struggles. I've seen horrible forum behaviour as well as amazing acts of community. Do I think Etsy is perfect? No, but I've never had a need to complain. They provide me exactly what I need to build upon. The rest has always been up to me. So if by chance you've not shopped at Etsy, or you have a secret talent you should be selling, stop by, it might change your life a bit too.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Last Night

I dreamt of a wind storm last night. I vaguely recall feeling like everything was going to be knocked down around me, but when the wind abated I was left with a merely cracked overhang while all the neighbors were cleaning up destruction. As is often the case with dream, this one made me think about how it applied to my waking life. I'm been experiencing a lot of ups and downs lately, each seemingly more emotionally dramatic than the last. From exciting bits of exposure to periods of no sales and less inspiration. From the excitement of finally buying a house to the disappointment of an uncooperative real estate market. The dream pointed out to me that drama or not, I have been left fairly unscathed. I suppose you could say that I've been taking two steps forward and one step back. I may not be moving quickly, but I'm still going forward.

Last night and early this morning, I had a few lovely, if not difficult to understand conversations from a new customer from Russia. So I will be busy today making some tatted items to travel very far and remaking those same items to be relisted in the store. I also woke up to the sale of my husband's favorite piece, because it was all his idea. The Order of Ecclesia collar was inspired by a character from one of his favorite video games, Castlevania. So congrats honey, you made a sale and no that does not mean you get the money from it. I don't think I'll be remaking this piece anytime soon though. As it gets hotter I have less desire to work with yarn.

I have been looking for organic cotton or other sustainable material threads recently to work with. While the yarn market has begun to see more of this trend, I have been unable to find anything in my preferred size 10 thread. That is until yesterday when I discovered that Aunt Lydia's is making a bamboo thread. I got all excited only to be thwarted by color selection. I could only find white and black. So I embarked on a twitter based mission to find someone to dye the thread for me. Though twitter turned out to be a dead end, I asked one of the ever talented tatting thread dyers to tackle the task. Though she can't work on the project for another month or so, I am happy to say I have someone who will give it a go for me.

I've always liked the idea of using more socially responsible materials, but this is the first time that it is even an option for me. When that adventure begins, I will be certain to share the results with you. Well onto the tatting tasks for the day.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Saving Energy

I so have nothing interesting to share today. I spent most of yesterday making up the last of the weekends sales so I could get them into the mail as quickly as possible. I made up some new posts for the wunderkammer and after husband got off work, we went looking at houses yet again. While it was a better trip, it is becoming clear that this endeavor is going to not only take a lot of time, but also much of my energy.

I hate to just keep sharing my trips into the world of real estate, as it can't be particularly compelling for you to read. Since I haven't tatted anything new, I've got no pictures to post and honestly there's been little drama online recently to get my complaint on about. So I guess to celebrate Earth Day, I will conserve my own energy and stop writing until I have something much more interesting to say.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Did I Forget To Mention?

So it occurred to me that I didn't mention my weekend at all yesterday. Of course this was because I had already become determined to show off those customer appreciation photos. Since nothing of consequence happened yesterday, I think I shall go back a bit and share my whirlwind weekend.

On Saturday, I went out with my husband to go look at homes and though we found a couple we liked, we were more often bombarded with what I'm beginning to assume is the standard result of a bank repossession of ones home. Horrifying smells, ridiculously bad painting jobs, mystery stains, gutted kitchens and neighborhood that reminded us far too much of the apartment complex we escaped three years ago. When we returned we embarked on what would turn out to be a failed bid, though we eventually became relieved for it. While we waited for our real estate agent to return I checked in on my etsy shop.

I was surprised to receive a couple of new sales on my ankle corsets as well as a few other sales throughout the weekend. On Sunday the reason was revealed to me by one of the ankle corset customers. The ankle corsets, due to their popularity this past week were sent in the weekly email to stylehive members. This sent a few new people over and revived them as the top bookmark once again over the weekend. Again, I am amazed that my little idea has garnered so much attention.

By Monday they had disappeared again and everything was seemingly back to normal. I spent the day tatting at full speed to complete the custom orders I had received and aside from a little housework, did nothing else. It was ridiculously hot here as well, so I'm sure I had the desire to do anything else. Today will probably be more of the same as I'm still working on a mask and I want to get another pair of the ankle corsets made so they are not listed as a custom piece. So, yeah, it was an interesting weekend

Monday, April 20, 2009

Customer Appreciation

This weekend I passed the three year mark on etsy and since I started making tatted jewelry just a few weeks before I started trying to sell it, it means I've been tatting now for just three short years. As a bit of where I came from, here's the very first piece I sold. You might recognize the motif for this bracelet as the same flower that I used for my instructable. It was made with clearance thread and seed beads laying around the house. I used a nickle barrel clasp and I sold it for five dollars.

I don't often get to see what my pieces look like worn by their owners, but recently I've received a few customer appreciation pictures with my feedback on the etsy. So I thought that I'd make a nice little collage and put on a little display as a comparison to my 'early' work.So up top we have one of my masks with extra crystal embellishments, then one of my In bloom pendants that made it across the pond. On the bottom we have my Gothic Princess choker worn to a Vampire ball and a stunning picture of my Viva la Reine necklace. So thanks to all my amazing customers, they look fabulous and it makes me feel so great to see these pictures.

If you have a picture of yourself or others wearing TotusMel's tatted goodness, send them along to me care of the email in my profile and I would love to share them with the world, or at the least the small part of it that reads my ramblings. Every time I pass a milestone or anniversary, I think about my humble beginnings and wonder where I go from here. I hope I can continue to raise the bar on my work and keep moving forward. It's either that or I burn out and fade away.

Friday, April 17, 2009

On Solid Ground

I got really high this week. Things were going my way and I was getting the kind of attention that really fuels my hyper sensitive ego. Then I started falling, little thing were going wrong, but since I expected it, I was alright. Now at the end of the week, I feel I have landed very roughly on the ground. The first house we looked at and liked is already off the market. We realized that our lease is up a month later than we had thought, so our plans must also be pushed back unless we feel the urge to pay a months rent for a house we are no longer renting. On top of those small disappointments, I also still have not received payment nor contact from the person who bought the pair of ankle corsets that got me all the attention in the first place.

So here I am back on earth with little to show for the ride. It was a sugar rush for my ego and like all sugar rushes it ends with a crash that feels worse for the rise. I don't mean to complain, but I guess it's left me feeling a little blah.

Tomorrow however should be an interesting day. Since I do not blog on the weekends I'll celebrate a day early. Tomorrow is my third anniversary on Etsy. I can't even express to you how that one decision to sell a few things to help pay for my thread habit has changed my world. I have learned things I had no interest in before. It has led me to blogging, to desgining and a whole new world of friends I never would have known existed. So thanks Etsy for expanding my horizons for the last three years and here's to many more.

I'm still remaking some sold peices as well as tatting up a few that are listed as custom items. I can't seem to keep up with it all and I suppose that's an eviable problem to have. I doubt I'll have the time or energy to come up with any brand new designs until after all this house buying stuff is over with. So I guess I'll just go into producion mode instead. I know I want to do at least one more instructable before the year is out, but I think that can wait as well. The only other project I want to get done is on the blog. I want to create a section of links to all my tatting patterns and instructables so they're easier to find, but that means I have to find them first so it might be a while.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Music Review?

I don't usually mention my musical tastes online. Mostly because the music I love it not considered hip, nor in. I actually have fairly expansive tastes and musical knowledge fueled by nearly a decade at a music store. There are few genres that I truly dislike, but I have always come back to my favorites. Now, five years later I feel out of place when people begin to share their favorites and I rarely run into like minded music fans. All that being said, I was truly surprised recently by someone I met on twitter, yes it's another twitter story.

When someone follows me on twitter, like most people, I check out their profile to see we have anything in common. Social media and marketing experts are ignored, fellow artists and crafters are generally followed and every so often there's a band or musician and I go their site to check them out. This is a fairly easy marketing idea, people will listen, you catch a few, you miss a few, but there's not that much effort involved. Well, I was caught by one with the moniker driftingnsilenc, which is the shortened version of Drifting In Silence. After listening to tracks available on his website, I returned to twitter and followed him back as well as commenting my opinion to him.

Next thing I know, I am in possession of a generous handful of CDs that included not only the main project, but also a side project, Longthenight and a label mate and remixer Drev. I spent the afternoon yesterday listening to all this whilst my daughters slept and I couldn't believe that I had just now discovered them. Derrick Stembridge the man behind Drifting In Silence and Longthenight is a mad genius, really. He has mastered the perfectly beautiful ambient track as well as the industrial beat driven one. Rather than dissolve into meaningless noise, each piece has a defining structure, wrought with intelligence. The more ambient pieces let my mind wander and escape, perfect for designing to and the more aggressive pieces inspired me to work with focus.

I am no music reviewer, I am a maker of lace who likes my music ambient, electro and Industrial. I like music that is crafted by a mad scientist with the soul of an artist. I want music that can at once haunt my soul and move my feet. Maybe it's not the hippest music and it's devotees tend to be a bit darker and a little different, but I like it and you might too. Now brush off the fact that the tatter just attempted a music review and move on with your day. I'll be back to normal tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Spine

I had a moment yesterday when I was looking at some sample scraps of tatting where I had the, 'Oh, that's perfect' thought. I grabbed the scrap, searched for the pattern I had written down and began to work on a new pair of barefoot sandals. Unlike my other two pairs, this one was born from a more subtle place. This pair would only reveal its celtic weaved detail upon closer inspection.

I present then, The Spine, barefoot sandals. The motif might look familiar as it is the same one that I used to construct my throat corset. It was adapted from a single shuttle pattern, which for the uninitiated, means that initially there were simply short bare thread connecting the rings together. To avoid that, I added chains between, but that wasn't quite right. The chain butted up against each other awkwardly, so I wove them around each other instead. That make this motif particularly strong as well as more interesting visually. The best part of this design is it's relatively quick to create. This also means that it will be the least expensive item in the footwear line. I'll get them listed later today and hopefully the design goes over well.

In other news, my husband and myself met with a realty agent yesterday who is also a friend of the family. That makes the whole process slightly less terrifying, but we're still on pins and needles around here. We made an impromptu trip to see a house we were curious about and we were smitten, to use my husbands word. A few things became abundantly clear quite quickly, first, waiting until now to take this plunge was accidentally the smartest thing we've ever done. Secondly, in a sea of beige boxes, this house was a Mac. It has style, form and function and is slightly more expensive than we had hoped for. I know that it is folly to fall too hard for the first house we see, so we'll go out looking some more and hopefully we'll find a few more Macs to add to the wish list to avoid inevitable disappointment. Hopefully this search won't dominate our lives completely, but I think it just might.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Down Off That Cloud

At my husbands seemingly constant request, I have calmed the hell down. I did take quite a few opportunities to check on my ankle corsets on StyleHive and even through this morning, they are holding on strong as the top save. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't truly shocked by this development. Sure they look cool and I've been told by many that they love them, but to see them sitting next to very commercial products, well it's weird.

What knocked my off that cloud though was their sale in the middle of the night...without payment. I haven't lost hope that it might still come through today as it was a new buyer from out of the country, but I'm not holding my breath either. Now all those views and hearts are gone and when people click through from StyleHive, they will see that they are 'Sold Out' and will probably simply move on rather than look for the new custom listing I put up. So, here I sit floating down from the cloud as was the inevitable outcome of a soar so high.

In more personal news, I took a big grown up step with my husband yesterday. We went to get pre-approved for a home loan. We've been renting for over a decade and it's finally time to move on. Everything went well, now the search begins and then the worst part, actually moving. I hate very much. I guess it's a small price to pay for our very own space. Obviously, all this will keep us quite preoccupied over the next few months.

One last thing, I think I've come up with a new barefoot sandal design. While remaking the Queen's Feet ones yesterday, I thought that I needed to make something a little simpler and consequently cheaper before the warmer weather is upon us. Quite frankly, I just don't want to have to keep remaking the same large pieces over and over. I'll share the design just as soon as I come up with it. I've got a pretty good idea of how I want it to look, but my imagination and my ability to tat are not always on the same page, so we'll see how it turns out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Holy Crap People

I was walking along, minding my business when out of the clear blue sky...okay I'm getting ahead of myself. This weekend I noticed a lot of traffic coming from StyleHive. If you don't know what that is, it is a social shopping site. People see something they like and bookmark for others to see, they in turn can save the bookmark as well. I've been lucky to have several of my pieces bookmarked there, but nothing like this. My In Bloom Ankle Corsets got so many saves over the weekend that they are currently not only featured on the front page of the site, but the top save.

As you might imagine this kept me feeling pretty good all weekend long. Let's face it, we all love attention from out crafting peers, but to be noticed by the fashion community is an extreme step forward. It's much harder to impress people who have no idea how much hard work goes into a piece.

Then this morning I received a message over at etsy from someone who saw my stuff of twitter. I thought, that's nice, I have quite a few great friends over there so I assumed they had tweeted something, but no. This was much bigger. Someone had tweeted the link from StyleHive to MrsKutcher, otherwise known as Demi Moore, who then retweeted it to her followers. This is awsome not only because Demi Moore was looking at my feet, but because the woman has almost 500,000 followers.Did my weekend StyleHive fame result in tons of sales? Nope. Did Demi Moore's tweet make me the next big thing? I doubt it. I am however sitting here verbally vomitting all over my computer screen with excitement.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Do You Like To Watch?

Apparently I was not done sharing as I have now recorded a video of myself needle tatting my flower pendant, warts and all. It's not fancy and I got rid of all sound to avoid the lovely breathing noises I was making. I thought about adding music, but figured that I would be the one person to get in trouble for doing so. So if you need to watch hands to learn tatting or just want to watch for the sheer 'thrill' of it, I present: Me needle tatting.

The video is also available over at instructables as a companion to my beginners tutorial where you may comment and rate it to you hearts content.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Another Instructable

I've been getting some interesting correspondence lately both asking for tatting help and my patterns. If you've been around me a while you know that I am terrible about writing down patterns. I'm lucky that selling my pieces requires me to take many, very good photos that I am able to work off of when remaking things. Well, I decided that I needed to catch up on these things a bit. I took the morning after making yet another mask to write out the pattern for my slave bracelet for someone who asked very nicely. Then, since I was on a roll and needed a break from the dreaded remaking, I decided to finally do another instructable.

This one is slightly modified from my fleurette necklace to show off three new techniques after my beginners project of the tatted flower pendant. It will teach you how to do Josephine knot or spiral chains, split rings and clovers. This is my third actual tutorial on instuctables and if you ever feel the need to share a skill or project I highly recommend them. It's a very user friendly interface and I've found that it exposes me to an entirely new audience rather than the same crafters. This has gone a long way in getting tatting out into, well not quite the mainstream, but a bit closer anyway.

Here's the instructable for your edification, but please if you get a moment stop by the actual instructable to rate it and comment for, well let's be honest, my ego. Thanks!

Needle Tatting A Necklace - More DIY How To Projects

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Busy Brain

Okay, so I wasn't nearly as successful getting things done yesterday. I did get one mask done and started another, but as they are just the same ones I've made a dozen times over, I don't feel satisfied by that. Someone over at the twitter was commenting that sometimes they feel like their own little sweatshop stuck remaking old pieces rather than creating something new. I certainly get that. Sure, I want to have a fully stocked store, but make new things at the same time. The problem lies in my chosen craft. As fast as I am at tatting, it still takes quite a bit of time to make most of my items. My masks and ankle corsets need multiple days of my live to come to fruition, so here I sit remaking again.

So that was most of my day. I ran to the store for a bit to buy Easter for the kids, but that was it. Of course there was also the great rain coming in after such a nice week of sun, so honestly I didn't actually want to go anywhere. I'm using all my leftover energy to worry about things in the immediate future, Maker Faire, house buying, moving and a trip to Seattle/Tacoma in June. I'm known to have a busy brain, so all this stuff is really overheating my head as of late. I miss being a kid some days, when there was someone to take care of all these sort of things for me, oh well. There is no going back.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Win For The Day

I had quite a productive Monday, well for me anyway. I was determined to get a few things done and now that all this birthday nonsense is over I had no excuse. The sun was shining and I got pictures of my newest Steampunk creation. I really do like the way it looks, but I shall endeavour to save it for the Maker Faire. Then I sat down determined to figure out the best way to attach a flower and feathers to a hair comb. I had just about settled on the hot glue after a few failed attempts, then I turned to my old friend, the google search. Low and behold it resulted in a very explicit tutorial on making a feather fascinator, perfect.

The process was touchy, but had a great result. Using a sewing needle and heavy duty black thread, I wrapped a few feathers together piercing through the stalks for security. Once I had a nice bundle I wrapped the whole thing onto the comb. Taking the thread back to the end, I sewed on the flower. I had used some metallic embroidery thread in a deep brown for the flower, so it has it's own sparkle without adding any crystals. The whole thing seems rather sturdy and I'm fairly confident that I can repeat the procedure. This one is going to the Maker Faire as well, but I might be able to make up some to list soon.

I kept stalling, but I have started making masks again. I'm starting with As The World Falls Down, then I think I'll get a Babe With The Power done before moving on to the beaded ones. I really don't like working with beads. It might enhance the tatting, but it's just one more step to every section that slows me down and offers another opportunity for mistakes. I also got some scary paperwork done and I'm calling this a win for the day.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Yo Gabba Weekend

Well that was a heck of a weekend. It all started Friday with my daughters actual birthday, her party on Saturday and a recovery period on Sunday. I spent the majority of the weekend off the computer which caused a bit of withdrawal in all honesty. I've never blogged on the weekend, but ever since I enter the twittersphere I've spent most of my down time online. When I'm not posting you can be certain that I'm simply letting the tweets scroll by like a low rent sitcom in the background. Entertainment sure has changed since the Internet. Not this weekend though, I didn't even get any good twitter stalking in and I'm sure I'm out of some loop or other.

Saturday's party was a Yo Gabba Gabba theme, since we all like the show, mock me all you want, it amuses me. My daughter received not only the DJ Lance Rock dance hat, but also a Muno guitar. Suffice it to say, the house has been filled with Yo Gabba music ever since. It's not so bad really, she could like Elmo or something.

I did manage to finish my latest steampunk necklace that I teased on Friday, but I haven't ironed and taken pictures yet. I really like the way it turned out, but I think I'll be saving it for the Maker Faire rather than list it on etsy. I think I am going to make another in black as well, with silver gears this time. Of course the last time I got really excited about a new design and made a bunch as a "line" I never sold a one of them, so I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.

I'll try to at least get pictures up for tomorrow, but I really should start making some masks. I don't like have things listed for sale that I don't have ready to ship, even though I want to make sure people know I can make them again. Speaking of that though, I think I still need to make up a pair of ankle corsets and a few other things. Oye, one weekend of childhood enjoyment and I feel like I'm two weeks behind, off to work then.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Little Imp

Today is my baby's second birthday, so as you might imagine, I'll be a bit busy today and through the weekend. I thought that I'd try and get a few things made up before my slightly unproductive weekend begins, but the children had other ideas. People often comment to me that my youngest is going to be a handful and unfortunately this is an understatement. She enjoys exploring and getting into everything. She knows how to climb and use stools, so absolutely nothing is safe. To top it all off, she is determined to do everything her big sister does and her favorite new phrase is, 'I can do it myself'. If only that were actually true. Oh, well. We love the little imp just as she is.

I am also feeling a bit better thanks in part to one of the most revolting things I've ever done, nasal irrigation. If you've not experience this joy, I'll just say ewww. It did however make me feel almost instantly better. This would have resulted in me completing my newest necklace if not for the previously mentioned imp. I did get the piece about half done. It is another necklace based on that 70's era book. Like the Hands of time choker it is made with sections of split rings, but this time I made it in brown and began joining the pieces together with gears and brass rings for that distinctive Steampunk vibe. I doubt I'll get anymore of it done this weekend unless the children decide to sleep excessively.

This also marks the first full week of the Wunderkammer blog. If you'd visited, thanks and I'd love to here you opinions so far. Anything I should feature more or less? Is the picture layout interesting or are my limited gimp skills showing? If you've not visited I'd love for you to stop by, especially if you love dark, romantic, steamy handmade creations. It's mostly eye candy, so it shouldn't steal too much of your time!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I'm starting to feel a bit guilty that I don't have any tatting to share, any projects to stress about or events coming up to plug. Since I started feeling bad, spring allergies, I've let most things just slide away. I scheduled all the posts on the Wunderkammer before the pollen descended, so it's running all by itself, but old faithful here is suffering mightily. I also don't want to keep going on and on about the 'other' blog on this one. That just seems a bit redundant and unnecessary.

I did have one good, 'what the hell' moment yesterday that I'd like to share. So I'm trolling the treasuries at etsy looking to see if I'm featured anywhere. I know it's a narcissistic behaviour, but I do it regularly anyway. If I discover a feature, I write an appropriate compliment with my thanks for the feature. I figure it's only polite to say thank you, right? Well I did find a few yesterday and a few hours after my thank you's were left I received a convo.

The message said something to the effect of, 'your welcome. we hope that you will return the favor and feature us in one of your treasuries in the future.' Dude, really? I wanted to say that it was rude, but perhaps it was just terribly tacky. Sure I'm glad you liked my work enough to put it in your list...that lasts 3 days...and has 5 views...and a very slim chance of getting on the front page, but it's not really a favor.

I just kept thinking that the message sounded a bit like Fat Tony from the Simpsons or something. I'm certain that many people populate their treasuries and features with folks as a thank you for past features regardless of what the person makes, but I'm not one of them. I pick things because I truly love them and I think they make a good picture, not because of who made them. Let's face it, I like attention, I know you're shocked. I've found the best way to get attention is to make things worth paying attention to, not by jumping up and down and shouting, 'look at me, look at me!' Sure you get people to glance when you do that, but it doesn't last. That's what I'm trying to do with the wunderkammer, make lists people want to keep coming back and looking at.

So for future reference, featuring me in your lists will not gain you a future 'favor' from me. All you'll get is a heartfelt thank you, I hope that's enough.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You Put What In Your Nose?

I hope that you weren't expecting much from me today either. I spent most of yesterday in a bit of a haze, but as I twittered away the morning to avoid doing anything else something amusing happened. Very often my youngest, who will be two this week, gets into my supplies. Occasionally she will sit behind me on the couch and stab me with tatting needle or attempt to crochet my shirt and when I'm distracted she will grab for the baggies of beads that are in my little crafting jar. As soon as I hear one of those baggies, I get all freaked out and grab them away. I am super paranoid about her swallowing a Swarovski crystal and it somehow allowing its lead content to seep into her system. Well after getting the "harmful" beads away from her, she grabbed a baggie of plastic beads, I shrugged thinking at least she'll be entertained right?

Next thing I know, she is complaining about her nose hurting and since we're all sick or allergy ridden right now, I held a tissue to her nose and told her to blow. She did and when a slightly blood tinged mucus emerged it dawned on me that she had shoved a bead in her nose. Great. She proceeded to sneeze a few times eventually shooting said bead into the tissue.

Since my computer was right in front of me, I tweeted this event and what followed was actually a little mind boggling. Everyone began to confess stories of their children or themselves and suddenly there was a sprawling conversation about beads and corn kernels in noses and pebbles in ears. Not only did these stories serve to amuse, but they also demonstrated why twitter probably isn't just a fad. We all identified with a common experience and for a brief time complete strangers where interacting in a non judgmental candid conversation. I felt better because I wasn't a bad mother, turns out kids ARE just crazy like that. No, I'm not best friends now with all those people I talked with, but it was nice to have such immediate reactions to events.

I spent the rest of the day trying to avoid work and only completed a pair of barefoot sandals. I did talk to another of my new twitter friends about a custom project which I'll share more about as I feel a bit better and start actually working on it. I find that I lack creativity when I can't breath and/or move without my head hurting. Here's hoping for a short Spring...again.