Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Again, I've Been Stalked

I've been quietly fuming for days now as etsy rolls out Halloween find after Halloween find. This is not because I hate Halloween, no it's because I have not yet been included in any of them...not a one. Just as I had decided that they were simply saving me for closer to the holiday because I'm just that awesome (yeah, I know what I said) I got stalked again. Yep, the wonderful ladies at Etsy Stalker have again chosen one of my pieces to grace their pages. This time it's my little spider joining a great selection of other pieces depicting our eight legged friend. It's a great list so go check it out and Thanks!

I've only got a couple of the neck wires I used for the piece, so I might make up another, but then they will no longer exist, at least not the way this one does. I have to say that this has put me in a rather pleasant mood. I'm starting to get that attention that I so desperately crave and you know what that means. My head will swell and I will become obnoxious and full of myself, that is of course until my inevitable fall that leaves me devastated, doubting myself and feeling ignored. Man, how I adore my fragile ego formed by a childhood of rejection.

Anyway, I've been doing pretty good with my new schedule of homeschooling. In fact, I've gotten
settles enough that I've been getting a decent amount of tatting and cleaning in everyday. There is still a lot of unpacking and settling we still have to do around here, but as I've been reminded it's a marathon not a sprint. Speaking of advice, I got some great advice the other day in regards to my "missing" piece issue. I have now started taking pictures of my orders before I finish wrapping them in tissue. I think this will go a long way to putting my mind at ease. So, thanks for the advice, it was well received.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Rebel Yell

I am a rebel, an outcast...not is the most interesting uses of the words of course, but rather in the sense that I like to do things my way. This includes how I choose to learn new things. I do not seek out teachers nor generally ask for advice. I am self taught. Now, I know those who will say that term is a misnomer. No one is truly self taught. We all find sources to help us learn, weather they are websites, books or simple illustrations. There are many drawbacks to this type of learning, but I've decided that I enjoy a few of them.

I remember my English teachers saying that as writers, you cannot break the rules until you know them. I find that it's much easier to break them when you never knew them in the first place. By breaking them here, I really mean transcend them creatively. I spend a little time at intatters, an online tatters group and I lurk in the forums. The questions asked that I have no answers for are many. There are many procedures that I have never even tried to follow, like blocking. Then I spent some time looking through the selection of photos brought up in a google image search of TotusMel. I thought to myself, wow, I really have been all over the place.Would I have tried any of these things if I actually knew the mechanics of designing tatting? Would I have ended up with the same pieces if I had followed rules or structure? Probably not. This isn't to say that my way is any superior. It's just better...for me. Anyway, I just had to wax poetic on this point for a bit, hope I didn't bore you silly.

I did get a couple of pictures of the mask with the new eye shape. It really is a fairly subtle difference, more angular. Even though it appears to be a slight change, there was considerable difference in the final construction to make the mask lay correctly. It definitely does not warrant it's own listing like this, but it does give me ideas for a new creation based on the shape, rather than retrofitted to it.

I also have been given inspiration for a design from my husband. Every so often he comes up with an idea for me. So far, all of these have been video game based, but I'll take it. This one might require a little more creativity and more wire work. I still haven't got my mind around how it will work, but I do enjoy the occasional challenge.

Oh, and one more thing. Yesterday the Wunderkammer received its first donation/tip. I installed the paypal donation button on the off chance that someone would want to compensate me for my time, though I knew it was an extreme long shot. Well now someone has. It wasn't much at all, but it's the thought that counts and it really made my day. So, thanks so much my first tipper, you're awesome!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Yep, It's Monday

I know you were wondering whether I survived field trip day. Clearly survival was achieved and yes, we did indeed have a good time. All the worry about meeting the other local families was for naught. This is not because they all turned out to be wonderful but rather because so few local ones showed up.

Apparently families may attend any field trip by any teacher and since this one was in Fresno, the majority of the families in attendance were too. This meant that while we and the children had a good time, we were not meeting potential friends, but simply spending time with other people we're unlikely to see again. That took a lot of the strain off the day which was capped with a visit to a comic book store, though that wasn't as cool as my husband thought it would be.

I have been hard at work on the mask I mentioned the other day. The cat shaped eyes did prove a bit more of a challenge during the wire wrapping phase. I actually had to iron the piece before I started to get all the elements to line up around the eyes properly before I started to wrap with the thread. I sill need to get it pressed once more and get it on my mannequin head for pictures before I send it off. I promise I'll post a picture here probably tomorrow. It really is a subtle difference from the other mask, but I wonder if I should list it as it's own design or perhaps as an option when ordering the basic design. Like along side the message about thread and crystal colors, I add eye shape to the options. Yeah, I think that's what I'll do.

We're still waiting for our backyard to be completed, but we are almost finished with the blinds and curtains. All that's left is a pair of tiny windows in one bedroom and the damn window in the kitchen. What is up with kitchen curtains? Seriously, I just don't get the tiered curtain thing and when you add all the lacy, patterned ridiculousness, well I just can't do it. I may end up just sewing my own damn curtains, though I'm not certain where I'll wedge in that project. Anyway, here we go into another week.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Know I Packed It

I woke up in a good mood and then I got one of those messages that puts a cramp in the whole day. It was the 'something is missing from my package...are you sure you sent it?' message. First one reacts with sheer, 'oh, crap', then I do a little looking to see exactly what transaction and the second I see it, I know for certain that everything was in that package. Just to be extra sure, I spend the next 15 minutes tearing apart every corner of the office to see if I don't 'find' said piece, the whole time chanting, ' I know I packed it'. I DO know that I packed it, and I sent a message back asking them to please recheck the package to see if it somehow slipped away from the rest of the pieces. This has actually happened before and the second piece had done exactly that as they tore open the package. Even knowing, I will spend the rest of the day doubting myself and flinching in anticipation of negative feedback, worrying that she has already tossed the envelope or tissue and there's nothing to be done for it. See, great way to start the day.

I shall try to move on here though, I got a special order for a mask yesterday. It's only a slight variation on my 'A Pale Kind Of Jewel' mask. Instead of the clear crystals, it's being made with black diamond ones for a more subtle sparkle and I have reshaped the eyes to a more catlike shape. They now come to more of a down point in the center and are a bit more flattened across the top. I shaped the wires first and am now tatting the design onto them. So far I'm made few changes to the actual pattern to adjust for the new shape. I have separated a few rings that were connected in the original design and will better space them when I wire the wire at the end. I figure that way I can keep the shape without losing the core design. I'll take some pictures when I get further along, or at least when I'm finished so we can all see how I did.

See, I wrote one whole paragraph and I'm already back to thinking about the lost piece...grrr. Anyway, the family is off to a 'field trip' with the other students in the virtual academy today and boy I am overusing the fake quotes today. All the families simply meet where we are going so that's why I hesitate to call it a real field trip. I don't mind telling you that I'm a bit nervous and uncomfortable about the whole thing. As you might imagine, my appearance occasionally puts people off, Generally, I'm perfectly fine with that, as the people I, umm, upset are not usually those that I care to spend time with anyway. If I am going to continue attending these events for my daughters sake, I would really like to not be a pariah. This is compounded by the fact that I am not what you might call, social. I'm painfully shy in new situations particularly when taken away from places that I know well. You know, like on a field trip, to a museum, I've never been to, in another city. I think you get it. Yes, I will suck it up and might even end up enjoy myself. That is, if I can forget about that damn lost piece message...sigh.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Slave for Love

I promised a photo of the bridal slave bracelets should I actually finish them and I did and here is one. They aren't much different than my other slave bracelets, but I listed them as a custom wedding piece anyway. They really fit best when they are made to specific hand measurements. In fact even though the customers hand measurements were only slightly larger than my own, these ones bunched and were not the most comfortable to wear even to just get the photos done.

In other news, I have five words for you...hula hoop in a corset. Since we busted out the Wii Fit again for the child both me and my husband have also been using it just a bit. Mostly the continue to encourage the child to keep at it. She chose to have me do the Super Hula Hoop...and I was indeed wearing a corset. While it did improve my form, I was so super sore and exhausted after just one session...yeah, seriously out of shape. However, I can now add virtual hula hooping to the ridiculous list of things I have done whilst wearing a corset.

I was fortunate to wake up to another nice sale. Things have been so horribly slow for everyone lately that I was getting terribly disheartened. After a nice little me too session on twitter yesterday, I already felt much better. Some times it is just so nice to commiserate with others and that can be so hard to do when people look at my sales and say I shouldn't be able to complain. I talked to another seller yesterday who blamed the slowness of her signing a new lease & I blamed it on buying the house. It was our own fault, you see, for beginning to rely on the etsy income. Anyway, I digress. What I really wanted to do was tell you that I am now just seven sales away from 800. I'm hoping that I make it to the 1000 mark by the end of the year, but the slow down puts that in doubt even with a holiday rush. I was going to do something for the 800, but I think Ill wait for the big one instead, what I don't yet know.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Shifting Gears

Yes, I am alive. Everyone I know in the real world checked in with me to see if the homeschooling did me in or not. I assure you, we all survived. We started the class work in the morning and met with the teacher right before lunch. My biggest fear, that she would be particularly heavy handed, was allayed. Looks more like I have a sufficient structure of support without the feeling of always being watched. Exactly the sort of arrangement I was hoping this would turn out to be. This is definitely a shifting of gears for me however. No more mornings tatting and mindlessly twitter stalking. That must now be relegated to the afternoons while the children nap. I think it's going to be alright though. I felt more productive all around yesterday. I don't know how long that feeling will last, but it's good enough for now.

I finished up my bridal slave bracelets, but I want to get some pictures of them today so that I might list them as a custom set made to fit. I did have to make a few adjustments to this pair to fit the customers measurements. That was a nice exercise for me. I now know the best way to create extra length without disrupting the design. Speaking of custom orders though, the onslaught of questions has not stopped yet. So many questions from potential customers that have yet to result in sales. What scares me more than the lack of sales, is the possibility of all of these people returning at the exact same time to get their custom pieces swamping me with more orders than I can handle.

I thought I'd give you a quick corset update this morning as well. Yes, I'm still doing that. My current corset has reached the comfortable stage, but not the loose stage. I think I may still go one size smaller, but that's as far as I'm willing to go as I'm afraid any smaller would be a little too side show for me. We busted out the Wii Fit last night for the child's P.E. and we all got on to see our stats. This was...umm, painful for all of us. It's clear that even though my waist and stomach are obviously smaller, I'm still very out of shape. My broken toe is getting much closer to healed so onto my already hectic schedule, I shall soon add some real exercise. Oh, how the gears keep shifting.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Well, I was going to start off the morning droning on about all the school materials my daughter got yesterday afternoon, but I woke up to a nice little surprise so I'll share that instead. I got a message from the folks at Etsy Stalker. I have been stalked. Yeah, that's their fancy was of saving one of my pieces was chosen for one of their features. I am featured in the piece on statement necklace with my Viva La Reine necklace.
I've been following them on twitter for a while and they have a nice witty writing style and they're taste isn't half bad either. After curated the Wunderkammer for a while, I'm a bit impressed by how many pieces they manage to find. Just getting 4 a feature can stress me out some days, So, I'm honored to be stalked and I proudly display their icon over there on the left column. Honestly, I'm really happy to get a of that attention I so desperately crave.

Okay, so back to the three boxes I got yesterday for my daughter. Yikes. The sheer massive size math book make my skin crawl actually. I'm certain that once we get started the scale with feel smaller, but right now it is crazy. We're behind by a couple of weeks because of their enrollment cap. We had been wait listed until just last week. I'm sure if I had gotten the materials earlier and was able to read through all the introductions at my leisure instead of in one sitting yesterday I wouldn't feel so overwhelmed today. We meet the teacher today, so maybe she'll put my mind at ease...or freak me out even more. One or the other I imagine.

On the tatting front, I have a custom order that has actually been paid for that I'm working on as well. A lovely woman in France is having me make a pair of slave bracelets to match her wedding dress. I do so love the idea of being a small part of someones most memorable outfit. As I get closer to finishing them, I will post some pictures. I went with the cebelia white thread because it is the closest to ivory I could find. I've noted that while shades of ecru vary, they are all rather brownish and her dress while ivory is much closer to white. I figured a little brighter is better than darker. Sometimes i fell so restricted by the number of colors actually available to me in the size 10 thread I like to use. I so want a dark gray and deep purple, but they are nowhere to be found and all the folks who dye thread focus on the variegating shades. I have no desire to branch out into hand dying myself, so I'll work with what I've got.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Faire

We made our annual migration to the Ren Faire held at Casa De Fruta. My oldest daughter has been dressing up for a couple of years, but this was the first time for the little one. So all gussied up in the fantasy versions of period wear, my husband claims he goes as someone from the future, we headed into the hills. The day was fairly cool, the faire not too crowded and we had a nice time.
The kids love to pet the lizards, turtles and snakes that have made up the petting zoo the last couple of years. The husband and in-laws go for the food and the...ummm...interesting people watching opportunities. Seriously though, if you've never been to one of these, the watching is totally top notch. There's the 'period perfect', the 'try too hard and got seriously messed up', the 'what, my Halloween costume from Target is rad' and everything else in between. Of course I would be remiss if I didn't warn you about the boobs. They're everywhere, on a platter, nearly breaking free of their bodice strapped bonds...however, this is not necessarily a good thing as there is absolutely no age, weight, nor beauty requirement for this behaviour. Consider yourselves warned.

Anyway, that was Saturday. Sunday found us trapped in the house as our patio was finally being poured. I'd complain about the concrete truck blocking our cars in, but I'm just glad to finally see some real progress in the backyard. We did manage a field trip to the home depot in the evening for some more blinds. This time, we had one chipped when they cut it. Horrible right...yeah, no. This means they gave us a generous discount on them. I got them up last night and if anyone can spy the damage I should offer them ten bucks or something. We still have several more windows to buy blinds for, this is going to be a never ending task.

This week will see the beginning of official homeschooling, a first meeting with the teacher and hopefully a lot of landscaping in the backyard. I'm tired already just thinking about it.

Friday, September 18, 2009


It's going to get really real over at my place soon. My 5 year old in now officially enrolled in the virtual academy. I've received a call from her assigned teacher, whom I get to meet next week and her materials should arrive early next week. This means my lackadaisical approach to homeschooling will now be overseen by an actual public school entity. Part of me dreads the attention and another part of me welcomes the support. At least if I fail, it's only kindergarten and I won't have caused and irreparable scars to my child. I know I can put in the hours for her, but I'm fairly certain they will now be in a nice little scheduled block. Just having the two year old to look after will take care of that. I guess the only thing for it, is to give it a go.

The children went off with their grandparents yesterday for lunch and visiting. This left me all by my lonesome and aside from freaking out a bit over the schooling thing all I did was catch up on television I'd been dvr'ing for weeks. I did work on the ankle corsets some more, but decided to take a break to make something new. Well, now to be honest, it the worlds second easiest tatting pattern, the first being the flower doodle and well everyone has made one I'm sure, so new it's not. All I did was add a small ring to the other side of the web to attach the spider to metal necklace and there you have it, a spider necklace. Simple as a dimple. If you haven't made one of these doodles yet, give it a try. All you need to do is make a ring of whatever amount of double stitches you like with 4 really long picots, close with a long tail, then cut the picots to make the legs. Perfect little Halloween decoration. Of course you could add a second ring for a more elaborate spider, which is what I plan to do for the next necklace.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've not much for you this morning, except to say that some people are so nice. Really, all my whining about sales and a lovely twitter friend pops by with a small custom order even though she tats as well. It might have been small, but it broke the streak of no sales...hopefully I won't wait another 8 days for another.

The rest of my day was homeschooling and knitting a pair of fingerless gloves for my father in law. I had made pairs for all the men folk back before I was tatting every moment, but he has since lost one. Poor little kitten, can't have just one mitten...ahem, anyway, it had been so long since I made the first pair, there was no replacing just the one glove, so I'm making a pair. I'd forgotten how hand cramping my cast on method is with the small needles and how many small steps were involved with the fingers and whatnot. It other words, it's taking forever.

Then as a nice cap on the day, I got an email this morning telling me that I had helped inspire her to tat as she how found my video and she blogged her first adventure in tatting here. It is always really neat for me to see these first attempts. It reminds me how far I have come with my tatting. Though I know I've much further to go to reach some of the much more talented lace makers I've run across.

The landscapers should be back today with concrete pouring and I shall try to finish a pair of ankle corsets today...maybe. Or I might just work on those gloves again...oh and there's the laundry. Yeah, I don't know what I'm doing today aside from the routine anyway. Ah, routine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One Step Forward

There was a mighty glorious sound in the backyard yesterday...the sound of a bobcat hard at work. The tractor, not an actual cat...though I'm sure you figured that out. Finally work has begun on our backyard, though ironically it has done so at the very great expense of the front yard. Having the tractor delivering sand from the front has ripped the yard a new one. The landscapers said that was to be expected and they would of course fix the damage as well. I don't doubt them, but it still looks sad out there.

Another interesting life twist also occurred yesterday, or rather came to a point then. If you remember all the drama with signing my 5 year old up for online school, she was put on a waiting list because they had already reached their cap on enrollment. I panicked and eventually decided that since kindergarten was not mandatory, I would just go it alone with her. Well about a week ago the school sent out a, 'we're trying to get the cap lifted' email. Then just the other day they sent one that said the cap was indeed lifted. I basically ignored this as I had gotten used to the arrangement we had going, but yesterday I actually got a call about finishing the enrollment process. As usual, I panicked when faced with talking to an actual person that wanted a decision. In the end I finished the enrollment process and now I await their decision on her acceptance. This will change the way me day is structured, but you just can't beat the material support they can provide. I'm still not shifting gears until I hear back, but...yeah.

I feel like a broken record, but damn, it's been well over a week since I made a sale. Yesterday, I had even more questions and requests without further response. Sure, I know they could still get back to me, but I'm starting to feel desperate over here. I've been slowly working on remaking a couple of things, but as you can imagine, I've been a bit distracted by other things. Without a fairly steady stream of orders, I'm finding it harder to justify tatting time. I know, I'll just keep on keeping on, but this is getting ridiculous. I'm starting to revert to newbie etsian wondering what I did wrong or who I pissed off. Meh, it'll turn around eventually right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

With Crystals

I got to actually do some tatting yesterday. In fact, I even finished a project, though that did require me to say on more than on occasion to my five year old, 'no, I'm not playing that with you right now.' I'd feel bad, but these last couple of weeks of homeschooling have illustrated that my days now revolve around her learning something. Sure, I get in some time to play with her sister and some cleaning, but it's mostly about the learning.

Of course, what I chose to get tatted might turn out to be a mistake. Breaking my own rule of not making up custom orders before they are bought and paid for, I made this purple mask with ab and deep purple crystals. The customer had said she could pay on Tuesday and I had every intention of waiting until then to proceed, but with no other orders to take care of and the supplies already on hand, I made it anyway. So, I suppose it's my own fault if I end up listing it for general sale. I had a devil of a time getting the crystals to shine for the picture, so I mostly gave up and settled for this one, Again, I do miss my old backyard with the jasmine in just the right light for pictures.

I think I might actually make up another in perhaps a different color with crystals added just to have an embellished one listed. That way people with know that they can ask for that as well. Though as I think I mentioned, I'm really getting burnt on requests and questions lately. Not because I don't want to make special orders, but because nearly every time I respond quickly to said requests and questions I am left with stunning silence. Dozens of them lately that never even respond with a 'never mind'. I think I might add a 'let me know what you decide either way' to the end of my messages to see if I get closure on any of them. Just as much as I don't like not getting the job, I also hate the thought of people returning after weeks with a 'remember what I asked for, do it now'.

Okay, that's enough of that for now. I feel like I've been writing just to hear myself speak lately anyway...figuratively of course. Luckily, the new house has plenty of tasks to distract me from my self pity and lack of sales. The ants returned the other day after a week or so of silence. This time, I was ready for them with a bait trap and the new trail has nearly dried up as well. Of course with the season change upon us soon, I assume this won't be the last invasion attempt. This is just one example of the new house giving me things to do...which I probably better go do now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Update

It wasn't a bad weekend, but it was sure all over the place. Friday we got invited invited to one of the new neighbors houses for their 3 year olds birthday party the next day. I don't mind saying I was nervous. Sure we had met and talked to them briefly, but aside from location and having children we had no idea if there was anything else we would have in common.

Saturday morning we went to the Fall Festival one town over for a bit and then arrived at our neighbors house which is the exactly the same as our house only opposite. I suppose we spent more time getting ideas from there layout and backyard than we did socializing, but then again we're not the best socializers anyway. The kids got on great with the other children and I even ran into my twitter nemesis. Okay, not really nemesis, but rather the other person in my town that shares the top twittergrader spot with me. He works for the newspaper so he socializes as part of his job. So, I suppose we had an unofficial tweetup across the street.

Sunday we finally had my brother in law over with his kids to see the house. This was nice, but it totally messed with our Sunday routine and I feel like I missed a whole day really. We managed to visit the hardware store...again. This time for more ceiling fans. Oh, and the landscapers actually called to apologize for delivery delays that prevented them from starting work. Of course the rain that started last night is likely to postpone them again, I imagine. This has been one colossal bout of bad timing.

Then onto the etsy world...its slow...really slow. I don't think I've yet recovered from the time I took off to move. Momentum was great right before that and now the only thing I'm getting in large doses is lengthy inquiries that have yet to result in sales including a wholesale request that never responded back. It's hard to want to answer a zillion questions when I never hear back either way. I know there are several things I wanted to share that I'm missing this morning, but that's all I've got right now.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Yesterday was thankfully uneventful. We discovered that the delay on the landscaping was that sand and concrete are on back order...really. Of course don't get me started on how easy t would have been for them to simply call us and tell us that rather than just not show up for two days with us in the dark, but anyway. Since I have so few mundane details to share, I'll take the opportunity to share something less mundane.

You might recall that last month I made some rather unexplained items. If you don't remember, go ahead and refresh here...I'll wait.

Well, the final project has been revealed by its creator the lovely and talented Diana of Paynesgrey. She has created this amazing art doll named August. He needed some accessories and I was asked to create what I imagine is the first tatted whip. I also made him a hat band.Clearly, my contribution to this amazing piece was small indeed, but I'm honored to have had a small part in his creation. Please visit her shop and read the story of August, it's a good one.

After all my recent whining and ranting it is really nice to share something pleasant that has little to do with me really. Let's see which direction the weekend takes me in...will Monday bring rant or rave? I'm taking bets.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Imp

Here is a picture of my darling angel. My two year old. My baby.Adorable, isn't she... all dressed up, innocent and sweet as can be...yeah.


This is what my little devil child did in a 30 second span to three days worth of work.Yep...can't fix it at all. She managed to cut through every motif. Not even the center fill in was's complete trash, and yes she still lives.

I was working with her sister in the loft when I heard a dreadful snipping noise from below. I had just looked in on her peacefully watching t.v. not seconds before. She had snatched up the tatting scissors and went to town on the piece I had finished all of 15 minutes before. No, it doesn't normally take me three days to make an ankle corset, but I've been working slower lately due to the home schooling and house work. I spent the morning ignoring her as the safest punishment for both of us. This put me in a depressed mood enhanced by contractors not showing up to work on the yard, and several other small...setbacks that cropped up. Apparently karma read the post yesterday and was not amused. So, to karma, I apologize, please forgive me and kindly affix your attention elsewhere for a bit. I'd really appreciate that. Thanks.

Oh, I did manage a brief conversation with the object of yesterdays rant and all is taken care of. It went alright, though I never like confrontation at all, even if it's just someone apologizing as it makes me want to apologize and, well it's just awkward. It's over for now anyway. I almost don't want to start another day right now, for fear of what is now in store for me, but you can't go back...only forward, ever forward.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I know that the concept of karma really refers to a much more expansive ideal spanning lifetimes, but most of us have adopted the idea for everyday use use. We've appropriated the word to mean a literal tit for tat exchange of good and bad fortune. I've found, particularly lately, that every time something goes well, something else smacks me down, a sort of balancing act to keep me from getting too cocky perhaps. For instance, we find a nearly perfect house to buy, we are then tortured with delays and aggravations so many that we nearly give up before we finally get said house. Sure we got an amazing deal and we paid for it mentally and physically for months.

So, I have a rather lovely weekend, things are going swimmingly. I get sales and my much looked for attention, but then I get comfortable and do a little competition searching. I usually only do this on etsy, but yesterday I searched artfire for only the second time and, annoyed. Looks like someone else I gave the barefoot sandal pattern to, is trying to sell them as well as a bracelet eerily similar to one of mine, save for the clasp idea. I'll cave on the bracelet, it was designed using a vintage pattern I have no claim to. It's only the idea of turning into a bracelet that was mine. In fact I might even have brushed that off as coincidence had it not been for the sandals. So here's the end of my rant on the subject, PERSONAL USE...that's what I wrote on the bottom of the pattern in very nice, clear language. If you're going to ignore that, which I of course have limited control over...could you at least grant me design credit, or try to ask permission. I mean, if I just sold patterns, not finished pieces, it wouldn't matter as much, but I do and that's how I make my meager yeah, stop it.

Now, a reflection: I know that many other artisans have suffered this much more than I have. So many, in more accessible mediums face the copiers and the 'might be' copiers on a daily basis. I've gone out of my way to help others learn to tat with tutorials and patterns because I believe that art should be shared and passed on, but I realize that in doing so, I put myself at a much greater risk of imitation. My experience has also been that these folks are more 'I wasn't thinking' than, ' I shall undercut her prices to steal her customers'. They appear to have been relatively innocent trespasses. Doesn't mean they're not annoying, but I don't feel so much attacked as I do tread upon.

To seal the karma balancing, I also got a nice sale yesterday. It was immediately followed by paypal putting the payment under review. Just couldn't let me get one in without a caveat could you karma. It's cool...I'm alright. I'm not really angry, annoyed maybe, but not angry. I can go with the flow and not let it get me down. Here I go on another day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Look Who Got Tatted

It was another 'up' day at the TotusMel household. Husband was home for the holiday and we spent time cleaning up our shared computer room, took a walk with the kids after lunch and had my sister and her kids over for dinner. My brother even popped by and we all had our hair sister used to be a hair stylist, yes, it is very convenient. Oh, and the ant invasion appears to almost be over with no new incursions and the bait trails waning quickly. It was a nice day in the real world, but the Internet day was pretty nice too.

I was already happy to have gotten all my wunderkammer stuff done early and I had time off and on to check in to twitter, but in the evening, I was met with a pleasant surprise that spawned more pleasant. The very lovely Jennifer Nicole, whom I've been very lucky to have gotten acquainted with after she won the pair of ankle corsets I gave away back in March, finally blogged some pictures of said ankle corsets. Check it out on her blog Awakened Aesthetic. I had to show you this sexy photo, they look great.

Her post got some very flattering comments that of course made my day. Then one of her readers hopped over to my shop after making a comment and bought a few small things. So, yeah the day ended on the same kind of high note it began on. Simple, but nice.

We're back to normal...ish this morning. I should get to work remaking some sold pieces and I want to start planning out my next instructable soon as well. I have the pattern written out for the barefoot sandals, so I just need to make a set to take pictures of. It might be a bit before I get around to it, but it's on the agenda...the very long, never shrinking agenda.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Turned a Corner

Well, since Friday morning, things have been looking up a bit. I took the day off from cleaning and got much done for the etsy shop instead. I took photos of the pieces I had made for the magazine shoot that never got their 15 minutes and got those listed including the Portrait of a Crimson lady. I do miss my old backyard and the lovely jasmine plant I used to take photos in front of, but they'll do for now.

Speaking of backyards though, we had a meeting with our landscaper to start work this week on what will be a brand new & hopefully beautiful backyard. We did fork over quite a bit of cash to make it happen, but I think it will be well worth it to have all that lovely space to play and work in. We've also made a bit of progress getting more boxes into the house, unpacked and into final resting places. In fact, it appears we might actually be able to park in the garage soon, yay!

Oh, and the ants...the pesky little devils. After many, many people suggested using borax, I went on a search for the stuff, finally finding a box of it and right next to it on the shelf was a premixed borax bait trap. So instead of trying to make the sugar mixture myself, I bought the bait traps and the borax for future use. When I got home, I went on a house wide search for a new trail and they did not disappoint. I laid down the trap and after what seems like forever the ants began to venture inside. After about an hour, the small trail had become a super highway. Now, we wait to see how long it takes for them all to die. I've heard tale that it can take anywhere from 24 hours to 7 days. The trail is no where near the kitchen, so I'm content to let them slowly poison the whole colony. Just to be clear, I have nothing against ants really, so long as they stay out of my house.

I also did get a sizable order this weekend as well as an interesting wholesale request for an Art gallery in Spain. I don't do traditional wholesale, but made a discount offer. I don't know yet whether that will be sufficient or not, but honestly, if it's not, I wouldn't want to do it anyway. My pieces take far too long to make in bulk and I certainly haven't priced them with enough of a markup from labor to justify a 50% discount to anyone. In fact, I had to turn down another offer to have my pieces sold in an online store, because I know I can't make enough, nor discount enough. Besides, I kind of feel like wholesaling to another online site is just hurting myself. Customers pay the same price at both places, but I just get less money for it. Sure it might work out if the volume was high enough, but I can't make that volume anyway...oh, well.

So, I've high hopes for the coming week. I feel like I've turned a corner and can safely move forward from here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Get Ready For It

I'm tired, really tired. Like down to my bones and soul tired. For some unknown reason, I decide that yesterday would be the first big, I'm gonna clean the whole house day. My new house is twice as big as our old rental and that was more than twice as big as the apartment we left over three years ago. I remember as we were looking for a house to purchase saying many times, 'are you sure we need a two story house?' His mind was set on it and I do like have the space, but I knew the cleaning day would come. The downstairs has a lot of tile floor through the kitchen, living room and hall, this makes the daily cleaning a bit easier, but not the whole house clean. Now I have to mop what feels like half the house and vacuum the other half. I now also have an upstairs and downstairs kitty litter to change and all the bedrooms are upstairs with the laundry room downstairs. So as you might imagine, my day was all about the stairs, which I have no idea how to properly vacuum either.

When I woke this morning, my feet both ached, partly due to the cleaning and then there's still the matter of the broken toe and compensating for it by walking on the side of my foot. Apparently that too, takes its toll on ones body. I am so whiny today, I apologize, but here comes some more.

Sales in the etsy shop picked up for two days and then quite suddenly disappeared again. Normally this would just have me, well...whining, but now I'm getting worried as my income was figured into our ability to comfortably afford this house. No, not for the loan or anything, but for our own budget. With my income, we don't have to worry about the occasional silly purchase, without my income, we have to live a bit more frugally than we want to. I'm not sure what the problem is, as usually things begin to pick up in September, not the other way around. Oh, and to further stress the money issue, we got an estimate on landscaping our barren and goat head spur laden backyard. We honestly had no idea what to expect, but the big backyard that we loved so much about the house...well, it's gonna cost us dearly, many thousands of dollars, dearly. We have to get it done for the kids, for the family and for us, but damn...concrete and grass are expensive particularly when put over hard clay soil.

Let's see, have I gotten all the complaints out? Yes, I think so...wait, I also didn't get to tat at all yesterday. Is that it then...yeah, that's all of it. Here's hoping the other side of the weekend will bring a tad more joy so I will bitch a bit less.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Second day of the homeschooling regimen was, well survived anyway. We purchased a duplicate crayola dry erase board for the two year old, so I was spared the drama associated with the sharing of that object, but we're a long way from both children being happy. That being said, I think we'll be fine with the arrangement...eventually.

I got the rare opportunity to run errands in the afternoon as the children were off with their grandparents. I learned that even though it is my small toe that done broke, driving is still unpleasant. My entire foot began to ache only a few minutes into the task. I needed to get to the bank to change my address 'in writing' and then I ran downtown to get my business license updated. No, the tasks aren't difficult, but very time consuming. They're done now, of course there are many more of these tasks likely to crop up in the future.

I did go ahead and list my new necklace yesterday evening. I set the price rather high in my opinion, but I felt like it need the the premium price tag. This morning when I checked the listing though, no one had favorited it and the views weren't as good as I had hoped, so perhaps I have over priced it a bit. I'll give it a while though before I admit defeat.

I've got a mask to remake today as well as many household tasks. Busy, busy...oh and the landscape fellow should be by this evening to get an estimate done on our backyard. It's quite odd to be doing such home owner tasks.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Metal & Lace

Another day, another long day. Started education for the 5 year old. Though that's not entirely accurate as I've been teaching her informally, you know like a mom should, since she cared to learn anything. This was a bit different and the challenges tot he process began to reveal themselves. First, her sister...who would like to do everything her sister does. No, that's not a bad thing really, but means I need to get two of everything so she can have the same stuff as sissy. Other challenges include, the household chores that still need to be done, sorry kids, I have to change the litter now, keep writing. You get the idea. Then there's the simple issue of keeping both myself and her motivated for such a large chunk of time. I'm sure we'll ease into it, but I don't get how it's possible with one adult and 30 of these small kids...what brave people kindergarten teachers must be.

During nap time, I got to again work on my challenge piece for the steam team. I guess I was particularly excited because I actually finished the piece already. I ended up choosing to modify the same pattern as the "chain" for the center section. I then decided it needed something to hand from the bottom. This meant a search through my bin of supplies. After much digging, I opted for a couple of gray swarovski rounds for the sides and did my best impression of a wire wrapper to add them. It still needed something at this point, so i dug some more and found a large clear crystal drop. I did an awful, but utilitarian impression of a wire wrapper and added it to the center flower.

I was going to stop there, but decided to go ahead, iron up the sucker, get a clasp on it and get a few real pictures. It might sound weird given the huge and elaborate collars I make, but I was afraid this one was a bit much. It's bold, long and a bit heavy, but I really do like the way it turned out. My husband still thinks I ought to add crystals to the divots in the filigree piece, but that's another skill set, like wire wrapping, that I don't yet really possess. I think it looks fine the way it is honestly.

The necklace has put me in a pricing quandary, which is why it's not listed for sale yet. I rarely make pieces with so many components. Hell, I don't even remember where I got that crystal let alone how much the thing cost me. It took a couple of days to make, but that was more design time than actual tatting. So, I have no idea when I'll work that out and get it in the etsy store. There are a couple more pictures of the piece on my flickr if you'd like to see more of the piece until it gets to etsy.

Not sure what I'll work on today. I sold a mask that need remaking, but I also need to run a few errands. I can't remember how long it took for me to settle after I moved the last time, but I'm ready for all this address changing and home improvement store tripping to fade away. Yeah, I know, it's gonna be a while.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is That A Challenge

One of the fun things about being in an etsy street team, in my case the steam team, is creative challenges. I haven't been able to participate in many of them, though I've enjoyed watching and voting on entries. This time, I can. The theme is a challenge of metal and cloth and lace counts as cloth. I found in the clearance section of Micheal's these large metal filigree pieces and saw something in them that I could work with.

I started yesterday by setting the piece with several different tatted necklace to find the right partner. I settled on the flower garland design and began tatting it directly onto the piece, which is not as much fun as you might imagine. The metal is heavy and pulls on the work so I have to hold it in my palm to avoid drama. Next up is figuring the best way to utilize the four rings at the bottom. I was going to do triangles to match a motif in the design, but they did not turn out well, so I'm rethinking that later.

Other events yesterday include getting another dozen boxes out of the garage to prep for more unpacking. Then smashing my already broken toe against a box when the 2 year old panicked over cats in the garage. I stopped pulling out boxes after that, but went ahead and started opening the boxes and managed to stab myself in the finger with the utility knife when I failed to pull the blade in all the way. This is when I decided to go ahead, sit down and just work on the tatting for the rest of the day. Yeah, I know, I just need to cut it out and let my foot heal, but there's just so much to be done.

Today, I add one more thing to the list of things to do, start the homeschooling of the 5 year old. If you've been following that drama, you know that I managed to wait too long to sign her up for formal Internet based classes and found they were full. This was followed by panic over my extreme parent fail. Then, I discovered that all was not lost as kindergarten is not required. This means that I can do kindergarten informally and get her signed up in time for first grade in the spring. I decided that the first of September was a great time to start and that's today so we'll see how this goes with all the tatting and house cleaning and everything else my day brings. Here we go.