Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New, New, New

Yay, so much tatting done and there are even photos to share. First up we have the wedding lot that includes the new tatted moth and a fine bevy of boutonnieres. There is a little finishing work that still needs to be done on these before they are off, some jump rings, a little stiffening and a few pressed petals. Otherwise though the pile is complete. I think I might post up the pattern to the moth once I get some time to write it out properly.

Next up we have a brand new set based on the Tenebrous pattern that I mentioned yesterday. Sometimes all I need is a good reason to muck with a pattern. First I came up with the choker version by converting half the design into an edging. It is very similar to other edgings but this one matches perfectly. I was over thinking the conversion at first with split rings and other nonsense. In the end it was just moving a picot, dropping another and adding a strategically placed chain and done.

Last was the conversion of my Petite Goth bracelet into a matching piece. This one had to be over thought and once I had the plot I started the bracelet. This wouldn't have been a problem except my original idea was to make the little edge motif first and then tat it into the bracelet when I reached the center. Rather than stop and start over once I realized I jumped the gun, I just figured out a new way to work it in. Surprisingly the unholy union of the two designs seems to have worked. I still need to lengthen the piece and make its mate as well, but I'm happy with the matched set at this point.

Lastly today, I would like to thank everyone who offered suggestions and help regarding the Wunderkammer both here and elsewhere. I appreciate the advice and the offers. I had a handful of folks willing to do guest curations and my response was that I am too much of a control freak to keep my hands off of them at this point. Rather than abandon the idea though, I will be brainstorming for a way that I think they might work. I also think that the posting dates of the Wunderkammer will be shifting to Tuesday through Saturday so I don't have to do them on the weekend at all. It was also suggested that I do some in advance and schedule the posts for later. I have tried that in the past and almost every time something featured would sell in the meantime and I disliked having sold pieces there meaning I'd go back and redo the whole thing. So that's the plan for now...crap it's bill day, I've gotta fly.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Photo Unrelated

Well happy Monday my friends and a hearty Huzzah, I have slept. After my husband took over the weekend sleepover duties in the kids room, last night I returned only to stay for a mere half hour. They appear to have slept though the night, as have I. Of course there's all that sleep deficit that I'll be working through for the next week or so added to be a weekend full of weed eradication that gave me claw hand, but the task is complete and we have just those backsliding days to look forward to now.

I'm afraid I have no shiny tatting pictures to show though it is not for lack of working. There was much tatting over the weekend as I made up many moths and boutonnieres for an upcoming wedding. The only sad news I have to report, is while the hand dyed yard arrived and it is stunningly gorgeous, my monitor lied to me and it is far lighter than the pictures I saw. My husband kept chirping wysiwyg at me, but in the past the color difference from the images has been so slight as to be irrelevant. It's not a problem though, I had ordered some commercial thread in advance as a fall back position and it's shade is just fine if not as exotic, so that is what I used.

I also had another customer return to ask for a custom colored set. The pieces she wanted, while similar didn't really match so I offered to design her set a little more cohesively. She accepted so after today's home school sessions, I'll be designing a nice simple new necklace based on the Tenebrous sets. They themselves are based on a vintage diamond or square shaped motif so all I really need to work out is the best way to chop them in half and string them together. I've already got that worked out in theory, so it's really just about doing today.

In other news, I'm getting sick of my other blog, the Wunderkammer. Well not really sick of it, but rather enslaved to in. I've made both of my blogs Monday through Friday endeavors and with the Wunderkammer that means writing the day before. So the only day I have off completely is Saturday. I know, I don't 'have' to do it those days...it's not like I'm getting paid or even have more than the one project wonderful paid ad. Point is I'm starting to think of that one as a job...that I don't get paid for. It started because I was always making treasuries at etsy and this way they might actually get seen by an outside audience. I wanted to not only help out sellers that I thought were talented, but help other people wade through all the crap at etsy to find the interesting gems in this niche, but I guess I'm starting to feel like I need to get 'something' out of it. The simple satisfaction is not cutting it so much anymore. Is it wrong to want a little, I don't know...something? There really wasn't a point to this ramble, I just needed to vent. Now it's off to the tatting and I promise there will be pictures of tatting in the morning and hopefully a lot of it. In the meantime please enjoy this picture I took of a pair of dragonflies...in love.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kuroneko Sama

Night three of sleeping on floor...tired...shall attempt complete sentences momentarily...yawn. You know what's funny, I really did just yawn while writing that sentence. This isn't fiction people, I'm exhausted. They were better last night and while the youngest did come down for cuddling, there was no sad whimpering. Tonight I trade with Daddy and we can see what they do without Mommy and more importantly, we'll see how I do on a real nights sleep.

Yesterday wasn't an amazing day, but it did have several moments of wonderful. From the early morning 'thank you' from a customer telling me how her earrings made her outfit to the lovely bride two weeks from her wedding telling me how much she loves her necklace and can't wait to wear it. The day was full of pleasant sentiments. I went about reading a few blogs as my cat had bit through my finger...again and I needed to stall a while before I could tat again pain free. I commented and received a few more utterly sweet responses. In fact all my dealings with people yesterday were wonderful. Twitter people were funny, etsy people who just wrote to say they liked something and my moth was shockingly well received by it's commissioner. I don't know what was in the kool-aid yesterday, but please keep drinking it, I like this world.

I did get some better pictures of the cat mask and I kept thinking that it looked just like an anime cat, but which one was alluding me. When it came time to name the piece I thought harder and the answer came to me. It's the cat from the Trigun series. So that's what I named it, Kuroneko Sama. I'd also like to point out my...interesting picture here. I wanted to show what it would look like were you to wear black makeup around the eyes when wearing the mask, but I did not want to muck up the mask with makeup, so I drew it on the picture in gimp. I know, sad right? It actually looks fine in the thumbnail, but as the picture gets bigger, well you can tell how 'awesome' I am. I also didn't wear any extra makeup before taking the pictures, didn't put on anything interesting. In other words I totally phoned these in. Luckily I think the mask looks neat anyway.

I didn't get my thread in yet, but I didn't really expect to. It might show today, more likely tomorrow, but I did start work on the wedding piece anyway as they are all two color and I can get some stages knocked out while I wait. On a side note, needle tatting with a band aid on my index finger is quite cumbersome. On another side note, the fellow who initially sparked the boutonniere in the first place with a request and then vanished, reappeared this morning. I guess I'm not the only one who, if I don't respond immediately, will forget my head only to remember it many moons later. This is of course why I reply to things so very quickly. In fact if you ask me something and don't hear from me within a day...you might want to ask again or you never will...seriously. Well that's it, I'll be working on wedding pieces and perhaps a little remaking over the weekend, but otherwise no big plans. After last weekends massive party, I look forward to a little nothing. Oh and never think you're speaking out of turn when you offer a friendly opinion or comment. I mean, I may not listed to you, but I love that you shared, really!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Black Cat Mask

Night two on the floor was a bit like night one, nearly identical actually. So I sit here with two nights of ineffective sleep, but knowing that it won't be much longer until I have two independent sleepers. Of course I had my own little emotional freak out last night after realizing that I have cuddled a child nearly every night for over six years and that is about to end...that gives me the sad. It's okay though, I suppose this is just one of many 'letting go' moments of motherhood and I best present a stiff upper lip and deal with it. Besides since I home school I've got all day to sneak in extra cuddles.

Know how I said I wouldn't get around to the cat mask? Yeah, I lied, I totally got it made yesterday. Without all the extra colors and embroidery that I used on it's Cheshire cousin, it worked up fairly quickly. I opted for the hand dyed light emerald for the eyes and the hand dyed gray for the ears. Oh, what would I do without all this great hand dyed thread about...thanks Heather! I also ended up changing the section around the ears quite a bit from the Cheshire. Of course I made it all up as I tatted so I wrote nothing down again. I also tried for a more almond shape in the negative space of the eye. I didn't keep the change though because even though it did indeed look more cat like, seeing out of the mask was...challenging. It's always an interesting balancing act to keep functionality along side design without losing too much of either.

As I don't really expect my thread for the moths until tomorrow, finishing the cat leaves me in the position of deciding what to do with my day. I have been very good about keeping the house at a maintainable level of clean as there are more guests on the way at the beginning of the month. No major clean ups needed. There are still a couple of pieces waiting to be remade, but nothing terribly popular so I hesitate to get into production mode. I currently have over 160 pieces in the shop and not counting simple color changes or slight differences that still leaves well over 100 designs sitting about, so I don't really need to design anything new. Of course when have I let 'need' dictate that sort of thing, but I have no pressing ideas either. Maybe something will just come to me, or maybe the thread will come early or maybe I'll just be too tired to care.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On Sleep and Moths

So, something you might not know about me is that I've been a bit of an attachment parent. What does that mean? Well for us, it meant extended nursing, carrying my children in a sling rather than a stroller and for over six years now, a family bed. Last night I tried the impossible, to get my kids to sleep in their own room at night. They take their naps in there with no problem and they are just getting too big for us all to have a useful nights sleep together. I decided to sleep in there with them on the floor as a transitional thing. As you might have guessed, I did not have a great nights sleep. The oldest slept perfectly, the youngest woke up and wanted to cuddle once during the night and whimper cried a bit, but I think it shouldn't take too many floor sleeping nights to get them settled. This is where you tell me I'm right and this is really easy.

Back to the tatting, I sussed out the design for the graduated arm band and was pretty proud of myself, but the larger the piece looked like it was going to be, the higher I had to raise the price. When I shared that bit with the customer, though understanding, they were unable to agree to the price. I might still make one up to sell at some point just to see how it would turn out for certain. Then it was more Luna Moth madness. There were a couple more prototypes and then this one. It laid the way I wanted and a couple of inward facing picots pulled the body together nicely. There is just one more adjustment I made on another prototype and that was a tension thing to make the lower wings a bit straighter on the inside bringing the tips closer together. Now I wait until my perfectly hand dyed thread arrives and I get these made as well as a few other wedding pieces.

My goal today is to first of all stay awake, then I have a necklace to finish remaking and list. I still want to get a black version of my cat mask done, but I still haven't decided what color to make the eyes, green, I suppose.Oh and then there are the ears, do I use the dark gray for a subtle color difference or go all the way to pink...likely gray I think. I will likely not get to the mask yet and there are a few too many of them listed as custom orders anyway. I do think it's time to pull out the spider necklaces from last year and get them listed as everyone has mentally moved onto Halloween...yeah, who knows what I'll get done today, if I stay awake.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Moth

It was one of those days where I was waiting for something to happen so I would have something to share with you in the morning, but it was a fairly dull day. Of course it started out with my cat unintentionally biting my index finger as I gave her medicine...hard. Then as I neglected my coffee to nurse my wounds, a fly decided to go for a swim in my coffee of course. Lucky for me there was a bit of coffee left in the pot, but this is how you set a negative tone for the day.

Then there was school and I spent much of the rest of the day working slowly on a mask because of my finger wound. The mask is going to take a Gothic cruise. I know, goths and a boat seem like an odd idea, but hey why not. I did get my new boutonniere pictures up and they do enhance the listing a great deal. It was a fabulous idea to get more colors made up to show in the listing, but I was just too busy, so I used pictures of the existing colors and called it a custom listing. I keep thinking I should take a large 'color choices' picture to link to in the shop, but that would mean I'd have to dig out all the balls of thread and take said pictures...yeah, I'm too lazy for that.

I've also got a couple of custom orders waiting for me to suss out design details. First I have a wedding that wishes for Luna moths. I could have just phoned it in and used the simple butterfly pattern that we all know, but I decided to go ahead and try for moth. The first go was not it, so I stopped after the first side. Then I tried again and while this one is definitely almost there, I think the top wings need to be a bit bigger and I wish I could get the body to flatten into itself a bit better. Though I haven't pressed it yet and I can fix that bit there.

I'll probably fiddle with this design a bit more this morning and then I've got another bride to take care of. This one is a pair of long gauntlets and so I get to work out the best way to graduate a design over 8 inches to look natural. This is the same challenge I faced when making the gloves which I stopped doing from stress. The one I worked on is still about here somewhere though, so if I figure out this arm thing well, I might pull it back out and try to finish it. Then I've still got a couple of pieces waiting to be remade. I do love being busy when it has nothing to do with cleaning anyway.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Week Ends With Drama

Welcome to Monday, I hope your trip here was pleasant. Personally, my weekend was chock full of daring, drama and food. Let us start with Friday shall we. More drama was on tap for me as a search through a blog revealed the terrible accusation of stalking and copying upon my person, though not named, it was clear enough to me. I immediately contacted the accuser and defended myself as it was all misconstrued and twisted up. Though I feel like the air was cleared I fear there will be lasting damage to my reputation from the incident as I didn't immediately catch it and many read, believed and consoled. I imagine if you're here you're not likely one of them, but please believe that while I troll the tatting on etsy endlessly, I do not watch any one's every move. I also imagine if you're here you know where my ideas come from and the pieces in question were fully explained here as old ones that if you go further back in blog, in fact to nearly the beginning to will discover the first time I made them. Also I am not a hoarder of knowledge, I care about the future of tatting and have done what I can to help more people learn and keep it alive. Lastly, I do not believe that I am a 'queen of tatting'. I am proud of what I have done and I have found my niche and I work hard at it, but there are a great many tatters that greatly exceed not only my skill level, but my design ability as well. Point is, it was a bad day and thanks to a wonderful tatting/twitter friend I was able to survive and eventually laugh at the issues and move on.

The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind of activity leading up to our house anniversary party. Cleaning, preparing food, cleaning, and well, more cleaning. The party itself was the busiest I've ever thrown even though only half of those who said they would come did. Even more surprising is the groups of people we were afraid would not get on, already knew each other in that 'this town is too small' sort of way. We stayed up late, the kids had fun and we spent Sunday back to cleaning and eating all that leftover food. I though about letting the house go to pot for a while, just to relax, but my brother and his fiance are visiting in a couple of weeks, so I might as well attempt to at least maintain this level of clean for a while.

As you can imagine I tatted very little, though I did get to show some of it off to friends who had no idea what I did with my time. I also learned that my needle holder is an irresistible object to smaller children than mine. I picked them up on more that one occasion after a toddler had let spill the contents. I did sell a mask over the weekend, so that's on the agenda for today and I received the very nicely modeled shots of my boutonniere. I will have to get another in that color scheme made up so I can list it with the great pictures later. I also need to suss out the best way to indicate that the piece is available in any color combination. I mean, I say that, but I think people tend to be visuals shoppers and it's more effective to show them than tell them anything.

Here's my wish for a nice busy, but drama free week complete with much tatting, chatting and ending with a sigh of contentment. Please forward to any stars, deities or wishing wells in your vicinity, thank you.

Photo credit: J Catli, model: Ryan Howard

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mad Woman Makes Masks

I am so ridiculously sore this morning. Even my typing appears to be affected by the aches. You see, I did all my floors yesterday. That means I vacuumed and then I busted out with the Bissell and did a great majority of our carpets and the tile floors. The Bissell has a trigger you squeeze to release the cleaning liquid and apparently using it for hours on end has given my claw hand this morning. Not to mention the sore back and shoulders. Oh and do you know what two of my cats did just as I was finally sitting down after everything was clean and drying? They yakked on the carpet of course and in three different place for good measure. That's love...pure love.

If you constantly troll the tatting on etsy like I've done since the beginning, you might have a ulcer from the discoveries. No, I kid, most of it is quite nice and in no way upsetting to me. Just recently I blathered on cryptically about an issue with someone and despite their promises, they continue to step on my toes. Yes, this is me cryptically complaining again. and on top of that there is also yet another new seller busting out with the tatted masks. Don't get me wrong, I know I have no control over what people choose to sell and the fact that they try the same product lines as me is likely that they see I am successful and they want to copy my shop model. Just because I understand however doesn't mean I can't be miffed about it and I do get worried that customers could mistake their work for my own.

Since I can't be bothered to get even and being mean gives me an upset stomach, I've opted to saturate my shop with so many masks that customers can easily tell who the original creator is without me getting all snippy. I re listed one as a custom yesterday in burgundy and I'm working on a white one I used to have listed today. I have some great modeled pictures of that one, but I want to have it made up so I can get extra photos done. I also have plans to make my Cheshire cat mask in just black maybe with green eyes. That one is a tough one though with the tatting both inside and outside the wires, so I likely won't get to it for a while. With Halloween fast approaching it actually makes sense to stock up on the masks, so I'm not just being bitter. I of course have no idea what will actually get done with the house anniversary party tomorrow and the inevitable cleanup that with follow, but the plan is in place.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dainty Daisy

How did I do all this last year? I am running on empty over here trying to get all the things done in a day that need doing and three days out I already miss my summer vacation. The morning is spent with the kids doing school, once that's done it's laundry, dishes, housework then somehow it's already lunch time. Then I've only got the afternoon left to write up the Wunderkammer, work on orders, tat and there's still dinner to worry about and more cleaning, oh and lest we forget all the random errands and whatnot that intrude on my time. Just three days of this and I am spent. I suppose I'll get back into the rhythm of it and I'll be fine, but right now I'm a mess.

So given all that whining up there you might be shocked to learn that I did in fact get something new done and listed. I'm calling it the dainty daisy. It's the smaller of the two daisy motifs that I use in all those Grand Daisy pieces. This time I added smaller crystals and used smaller thread and made up three of them for a necklace and earring set. I felt they needed something a little more to hang them from than just a picot so I also strung some sterling silver beads and another crystal onto a pin to hang the daisy from. I think it makes the piece look a bit more finished and well, fancy.

Don't expect anything interesting tomorrow though as I am scheduled to do the floors today. By that I mean that I am vacuuming, carpet cleaning and scrubbing all the tile as well. The children will be off while I accomplish this feat and I am crossing my fingers that the cats have all their fur balls out of their systems and keep any that remain in until after Saturdays house anniversary party. We've been calling it a house warming, but anniversary is more appropriate. In fact yesterday marked one year since we became home owners. I am never doing that again...we're living here until the end of time barring sudden millionaire status of course. While I have no real desire for this day to begin I haven't the power to stop it, so I'm off to it then. Wish me sanity.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Saw That Coming

The day was a slow crawl of making and teaching. No major sales, no interesting anecdotes,nothing. I was hard at work getting the days school taken care of, cleaning again and getting those ankle corsets made up. I had little time for anything else until the children napped.

This is the point in the day where all those sales from the day before left me starved for attention, a condition commonly suffered by Leos. So I went on a google trip of discovery. Well first I checked out and tweeted all the recent treasury collections from etsy that I was included in. There are quite a few as Halloween is already in peoples minds and my fancy mask was pretty popular. Then I went a-googling. What's funny is when I did a text search all I found was the same old links that I am familiar with, my shop, blogs and a few old features from more popular places. When I did an image search however, I found a treasure trove.

What I discovered as I scrolled down the page were a bunch of little collages or collections of my listing images that I never put together. Clicking on them revealed several articles including my work from exotic locals. Well, exotic to me anyway a few in Russian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Portuguese and Spanish. I think there were more as well, but you get the point. They're all a little dated, but I never knew they existed. I also ran across some tatting blogs with pieces made from my free patterns and even a few just talking about something I had written, which was a little surreal to say the least. I am disappointed in my google alerts for not finding an alerting me to all this goodness. Perhaps some settings need tweaking. It is nice to know that I did make wave however small, a few months ago...yep, that sates the ego for a spell, but just a spell.

I fear today will be more making as I did not finish the ankle corsets and I have at least two necklace that need remaking. I was thinking about making up some simple daisies as earrings and a pendant to list later. I can knock out fairly quickly and I'll keep the shop fresh. Speaking of fresh though, if you haven't stopped by etsy lately, they're widening the shop pages in a slow roll out, so you can head over and see if you can see it yet. Let me know what you think of my announcement section and new tag line above the banner. I made some adjustments to fit the look better, but not everyone can see it that way yet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tuesday Has A Hard Act To Follow

I know I said I would get that bracelet listed yesterday, but I didn't. I never even got the camera out to try better pictures. Well, I did take a picture of what turned out to be a huge katydid on the side of the house, but that is really neither here nor there.

I started the day remaking the small things I sold over the weekend, the pity birthday sales. Not that I am not grateful for each and every one, but I was honestly a little sad that an incentive like a free gift only netted a few tiny sales. In fact it contributed to the overall low mood during the weekend. That was all undone last night as the sales began pouring in for no apparent reason. Even this morning as I look over the analytics data I can see nothing out of the ordinary. There was no spike in traffic from any source, it just seems that more of the people visiting had just gotten paid or something. What else was so nice about Monday's sales, even though I had to cancel a large one this morning because the customer misread the listing and thought I was selling the shoes and that would normally be devastating, I still feel fine. So, go Monday, you rock.

Today will be spent making a pair of sold ankle corsets and since they generally take two days and I started them late yesterday, that is all I will be doing. Tomorrow will be spent remaking the necklaces and bracelets that sold and after so much new creation lately, it's nice to get into production mode for a spell. It also coincides nicely with the home school jump start I'm up to. After several failed attempts to get into the newly redesigned online school, we were off like a rocket yesterday. At two weeks until the official start to school. I'm hoping we can earn ourselves a nice safety bumper against those off days where nothing is bound to get done.

I'm also working with my thread dying genius to match a color for a special wedding party. The kicker, the color is the same as my hair. No, not the purple part, the blue and yes, that is the color they are trying for...well it's not just my hair that is this color, but it is the hair dye shade that they want. I actually ordered some commercial thread to see if it would match and while it's close, I think we'll keep trying to dye it. Oh and a special thank you to Barbara Foster at Handy Hands for superb customer service. Along with the blue thread I had ordered some other colors to try and was sent one wrong ball. I used the simple order contact form and was quickly responded to and offered the correct color. I have always recommended their site to new tatters and will continue to do so. So for all your tatting needs that's hhtatting.com.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another Grand Daisy Choker

Well, it's Monday. I wish I could say that I had the best birthday ever yesterday, but it wasn't. Oh, there were no major disasters, but I suppose the mental weight of financial issues, getting the house ready for guests and aging one more year without any notable achievements weighed heavily on me. It also did not help that my oldest was in a particularly self involved mood and wanted to do nothing. The day picked up as it went along, but I guess I add another to the crap pile and move on.

What I do have to show you though is a most pleasant new design. The new ankle corset design was expanded a bit to make it longer and the chain portions in the front were adjusted a smidge to lay better on the neck, but otherwise this is just an ankle corset around my neck and I think it looks great. I am also unnaturally in love with that black and white image there. Sometimes I just can't believe how lucky I can get with a picture taken in my dining room with the camera remote in hand. Man, I love that picture...anyway. The necklace was listed on Friday I think.

I didn't do much but clean on Saturday hoping to avoid it on my birthday...I didn't. I did get something made up on Sunday though it's not really new. I had ordered the wrong size crystals at one point. They are a little too large for my mask and I hadn't found a proper usage for them. I thought adding them to the extra picots in the daisy design might be fun so I made the cuff bracelet complete with crystals. This one isn't listed yet and I wish could really capture the shine in pictures, but that is my weak point. I might try a couple of outside shots to see if I can get a little gleam later, but don't count on it.

I've got much more to clean and put together this week along with getting a head start on the home schooling. It's going to take some time to adjust back to that as I had gotten used to extra tatting time over the summer and that will be gone at least until the dust settles and we get back into a comfy routine. Off to it then and may my next trip round the Sun end on a higher note.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Grand Daisy Ankle Corsets

A good Friday the 13th to you all. This was definitely my favorite non holiday when I was younger. I would dress all up in black and try to scare or at least disturb everyone around me. Of course as I got older I was dressing black most days anyway and it sort of lost any sense of strangeness. This Friday I do have something in black to show you though. The newest ankle corset design was completed after some trial and error made possible by my Internet friends.

After the first one was done I asked for opinions as it didn't feel finished to me. After some opinions on facebook and twitter I decided to make up the second with another flower at the side. Then it was proffered to the people again for further analysis. It was much better filled in. Here's where making it almost entirely out of separate motifs came in handy, I just cut out the last bit of the first and made it exactly as the second and I was done.

I also placed one of the corsets on my neck and realized that along with the bracelet I had already decided I was making, this would make quite a dramatic choker. So as you might have guessed that is on tap for today. The bracelet I already made up, but haven't listed yet as I like to keep new pieces to one a day.

The last thing I'd like to share is the birthday deal I decided on yesterday as I accidentally made a few too many daisy motifs. We're going to go with a gift with purchase. Every order from today through Sunday the 15th, my actual birthday will come with a free small daisy pendant. I'll be announcing this on twitter, facebook and in the announcements of the shop. To get the free pendant you must wish me a 'Happy Birthday' in the notes to seller. No 'happy', no freebie. I will talk to you again when I am another year older...sigh.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another Ankle Corset

Ah, yesterday was exactly what I needed it to be, calm. My grandfather had himself a round of golf in morning leaving me some time to pick up and then relax. The kids have been thankfully addicted to their legos for days and with no further news regarding money or the cats health. I got to focus on work.

While I did spend much of the day finishing up a pair of sold ankle corsets and remaking a few necklaces that just needed hardware attached, I did get round to the new design toward the evening. I thought about making the whole piece a very dense design, but decided to make it more like the mask and added a simple chain edging to tie the pieces together. I did get more done after the picture here as well. I added chains climbing between the three lengths of daisies and I think I might have finished with the first of the pair. I'll lace it on later today and see how it lays. If it works, I'll move onto the second and perhaps if time allows go back and get the bracelet made from the start of the design.

I have to tell you these ankle corsets, like the masks used to be much more fun to come up with as no one else was making them for sale and they were a pure creative endeavor, but now I feel more motivated by a competitive spirit. I don't like that spirit honestly, I prefer creating for the sheer joy of discovery, not so I can come up with better or more designs than someone shadowing me. I don't enjoy the feeling of constantly trying to, I don't know, defend myself I guess. Yeah, I'm just annoyed, but I won't let that stop me from creating what was my own idea in the first place. Sorry, I got all weird there for a minute.

So, moving on...my grandfather heads down south today to visit more family and the house will want to get cleaned even more more for the upcoming housewarming thing. Hopefully, I'll be able to simply maintain this level of clean, but the children are likely to cooperate only for so long. There is also the matter of my birthday on Sunday, which I haven't yet decided how to handle online and off. Should I just let is quietly slip by as I'm inclined at this minute, or make it a sale day with lots of 'look at me'? I probably won't decide until it is here as my mind has elsewhere for some time. In the meantime, let there be tatting.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Such Great Heights

What a day. When I say hat please believe I am not exaggerating...well maybe a bit, but still. The kids were entertaining my Grandfather, the weather was lovely and I was getting plenty of work done on the new ankle corset design. In fact things were just humming right along. I saw what will be the bracelet in the design and reached a fairly good point. Then grandpa left to get his brakes looked at which would eventually take him all day as they kept getting the wrong parts. This is where the day took a turn...I went to fetch the mail.

This is the point in the day where I learned that due to increased taxes, my mortgage is going up three hundred dollars a month. I don't know about you, but I really haven't budgeted for that sort of amount. Sure, we'll figure it out, there are worse things that could happen, but it still turned my stress levels up to 'yikes'. I resolved that I must maintain more consistent sales in order to combat the new bill, unfortunately I'm not certain how. The stress level remained there as I was kindly consoled by twitter friends and several people offered up the sentiment of hoping for more customers for me.

Oddly enough it worked... I think. I sold a pair of ankle corsets fairly quickly after all this and abandoned my ankle corset design to begin work on them. Then the roller coaster took me down one more peg with the news that though kitty's thyroid was being perfectly controlled by her medication, her urine revealed a large bacterial load despite a course of antibiotics. This of course means more expensive tests to determine the exact bacteria so I can give her the best expensive medicine to get rid of it. So one up and one down. Also had the entire family over for dinner which always magnifies everything.

At this point I am emotionally exhausted, but I received one more sale before bedtime and word of a potentially large wedding sale on the horizon if I can acquire the proper thread color. I was also contacted to be included in a design journal and I'll let you know more details about that one when it gets closer. So to recap, the day was a roller coaster and I am hoping for a smoother going today because when the ups are paired with such great lows it really never evens out, does it?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Monday Down

First thing in the morning I got the new mask listed, then I took to remaking a few things all the while trying to keep the kids from making any new messes. Then there was a trip to the vet for my oldest cat to get new blood work done. I will hopefully be receiving word about her today. I', just hoping that her infection is gone and her medication is working so I can relax, though I fear it is more likely that I will hear that her kidneys are failing or something all tragic.I shall put that out of my mind for the time being.

I decided in the afternoon that I wasn't finished with the Grand Daisy stuff. Sure, I have the pendant, the two different chokers and now a mask, but since I'm revisiting the motif why not keep going. The next idea was for an ankle corset design. The idea is unformed right now, but will feature the larger daisy in the center surrounded in some capacity by the smaller ones. I really have no idea if this will work out. but I'll give it a go. Using separate motifs also lets me shift gears in the design by cutting out a small piece of the work rather than having to start all over, so that's nice. I was just thinking of perhaps knocking out a simple bracelet first too, that should be pretty simple if the sizes work out alright.

I also have my house guest here safe and sound for a few days which means I'll be busy entertaining, or rather supervising my children entertaining. I've got some babysitting to do for my sister and a family dinner this evening. It is entirely possible that I will get round to doing nothing on my to do list, but I suppose there is really no rush on anything except the self created one anyway.

Monday, August 9, 2010


First off, I'd like to point out that over the weekend I received my 300th follower here on this blog. This number is both ridiculous and humbling. So, thank you to all the folks out there that think enough of my rambling to bookmark me in their favorites. I'd like to say that I will try to never disappoint you, but that would be a bold faced lie...I ramble mostly for my own sake so I am bound to disappoint occasionally.

So, I'm working steadily on cleaning up the house and putting it together a bit more since my Grandfather arrives today for a visit and will be staying here for a spell. I know I don't have to impress him, but honestly it gives me the motivation to take care of things that I would otherwise put off. If you're wondering, the ants seem to have retreated though I have no idea if it is merely a brief respite or if they've really gone for the season. I did resort to spraying good old Raid around the exterior of the house, so perhaps the barrier is holding. I am now knocking on wood.

What I was trying to get round to saying in that last paragraph before it took a turn was I did find time to tat and when I did I had one of those precious 'a ha' moments. I was working on remaking a necklace when I looked over at a motif 'mistake' I had on the table. I had been making a center flower for one of the Grand Daisy pieces when I made it with a 6 based flower instead of a 5 which made it all warped. Turns out the warp made it perfect for a nose piece of a new mask. I had tried a daisy mask before, but my method was fatally flawed and I gave up on it before I ever shared. This time I think I got the plot.

I didn't list it straight away though. Instead I asked for help naming the piece. I am seriously running low on appropriate Labyrinth lyrics, but I got 'A Land Serene' and 'Brighter Than Sunlight' as possible ones. So put to a random vote, 'A Land Serene' won in a landslide. I think partly because it's not a bright mask. I do, however think the design would lend itself to color. In fact, I think it might even be able to handle several colors of flowers, perhaps still with the black around the outside and the inside making it a bit of a stained glass look or maybe green for a more flowery look. I'm really just brainstorming out loud here. I have reached another point where I don't know when I'll have the time to get around to trying out any of these ideas. I will get the mask listed today though...hopefully.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Here we are at the end of another week. I'm afraid I have nothing new to show to today as I was lucky enough to sell a mask yesterday and went straight to work on that. I did notice something interesting while I was making it though. There are some patterns I have done so many times that I could do them in my sleep. In fact my familiarity with them as they are prevents me from attempting anything new with them at all. You see, if I change anything then not only would I have to unlearn the previous method, I would feel compelled to get new pictures and loose what I now think of an an iconic image for me.

I thought about this as I questioned a few on my creation methods and while I did not actually have any radical ideas that would have necessitated all of the above, I did do one small thing different and it was quite refreshing and resulted in one of those, 'why haven't I been doing this all along?' moments. What, you ask? I simply made the free floating rings first and attached them while creating rather than making them last and contorting myself to get them attached. I guess the next trick would be to see if I can learn how to neatly throw off a ring...it always looks more like it was puked off when I try, though honestly I've only tried a couple of times. That's the major drawback to being a bit of a perfectionist, if it isn't perfect straight away and there already exists another way to accomplish something, I just move on.

I do have quite a busy week ahead and I will likely drop a few balls. My Grandfather is coming to visit, there are vet appointments and people to call and more cleaning to be done as we've set a date for our long postponed house warming. We've only lived here a year now come mid month, but there are so many people we haven't had over to see the house. Of course before those people arrive everything must be enviably perfect. Ok, that is so not going to happen with two kids, but I can still at least get pictures on the walls and make sure the carpets and toilets are clean. As you see, I am obsessing a little on this so expect periodic updates on the final putting together of the house. Now off to it then.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


So the day was slightly less chaotic though my oldest cat, the one recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, was a little extra vomit happy...minus the happy I imagine. I've heard tale that the medication she's on can do that. Knowing that it is common does not however help me clean it up.

I did get back on track, tatting wise anyway. I got that sepia boutonniere made up. I had bought some gold plated lapel pins just for the purpose, enough though I generally dislike working in that metal. The browns came out lovely in the design, though I knew they would as they have made such lovely pieces before. I really will be sad when the discontinued light brown finally runs out. I really don't know what these thread companies have against darker browns. It's likely little demand, but I like them...not as much as black of course, but still.

I got one other sepia piece made up and then I sold a bracelet so I shifted gears to make a second of those. Oddly all my recent sales have been international. I wonder if it has anything to do with the new currency conversion on etsy allowing customers to browse in their own currency. I imagine it's easier to shop when you don't have to do any complex math in your head. Yes, I consider multiplication with decimals complex, I am that awesome.

I've also been fielding some interesting and strange questions via email and formspring lately. They range from pattern help to item requests that never seem to result in sales. What I find most odd are the requests for patterns I haven't made. No, not ones for piece people like, but random requests for simple patterns. Since when did I replace google? Seriously, I do like to help people and I don't want to come off like a witch but you type in 'free tatted earring pattern' and like magic, they appear. Okay, that was snarky, I apologize, but you get the point. Now it's back to battling the six legged menace and the unsettled stomachs of my cats...wash my hands and then tat.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I had another one of 'those' days fraught with ant incursions, various cat messes to undo and an unpleasant desire to clean and fix things I ought to have left alone. Sure I started the day off well enough, got one sepia edition piece remade and listed then went onto get photos of the newest necklace. Once listed it was surprisingly well received. I thought perhaps I'd gone a little crazy with the chains and was going to receive the 'that's um...nice', but it seems folks liked the dramatic draping, go figure.

This however is where the day began to go south. Well that's not entirely true, I actually woke to a two front ant invasion, but one thing I could handle, it's the piling on of things that drives me batty. While cleaning up one mess I was confronted with a destroyed looking kids room, so I cleaned that. Then I felt compelled to finish hanging pictures. The day went on like that well into the evening discovering another cat mess, cleaning, fixing, etc. Each time I sat down I was again beckoned to another minor disaster. Remember when I said I 'liked' staying home', well some days not so much.

I worked a bit more of the scarf, but not enough to show you, thought about getting a Sepia edition boutonniere made, but never even started, unless you count getting out a gold label pin to work on. I'm also dealing with the aftermath of the worst sales month in some time, I made half of what I did last July which given my advertising efforts makes my doubly sad and so far this month shows no sign of improving. Since August is usually a very dry month I don't actually expect it to either, so I need to shift into production mode mentally and physically for the impending holidays and try to ignore it. Now if only the ants and cats and kids would get on board with the plan, we'd be golden.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Not Nearly As Good As Yesterday

I did spend much of Monday with my efforts directed elsewhere. Made beaded bracelets with the girls and I got some newly acquired supplies integrated into their boxes. While I was in there though, I took to piecing together something from some bits and chains and I kept coming back to it throughout the day until I had this. Yes, I know it's a bit odd and contains very little actually tatting, but I for some reason I can't quite put my finger on I decided I liked it. I will likely get some real pictures today and get it listed.

Then toward the late afternoon I was trying to decide what to do next. There is actually quite a list of things I need to make up again in brown, but my thread is almost depleted and I am waiting until I get an order of it in. I know, weird that I ordered brown thread, but I found such a deal online and my local JoAnns is pathetic in it's supplies, but I digress. I decided to make a scarf. Yes, I am aware that it is August, but I haven't made one in a while and I thought it might be nice to try another pattern for one.

I grabbed the basic pattern from one of the vintage pattern books and adjusted it for my purposes. It's a fairly common clover zigzag pattern and will make a very skinny scarf. This means that I will have to compensate for the width, by making it ridiculously long. This also means that this will be the fall back project. You know the one you work on when you have nothing better to do. I'm making it with a sock weight hand dyed wool yarn that was actually gifted to me by a lovely etsy seller when I was making my first few scarves. It's a large skin, but it has a break in middle which is likely why it's mine.

Also, isn't it funny how bad my in progress pictures are as opposed to my listing one. Well, that's because these are taken at, what is it...5 in the morning with no natural light next to my computer screen. Oh and I also wrapped up my latest giveaway on facebook with a promise to do another when I reach 1000 fans. Right now, I'm thinking it might be a mask, but we'll see how busy or distracted I am when the time rolls around. I have no idea what I'll be working on today, but hopefully I'll at least have better pictures of these to show you.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Busy, Busy

So for once I have ready to share all the things I said I would on Friday. First up was finishing the veil I've been working on. Satin, silver veiling, feathers, swarovski crystals and tatted lace, oh my. As a late addition I actually created two pieces in one. The top fascinator portion was assembled onto a snap clip so that it may be removed from the veil portion and worn separately for the reception. It was a bit tricky to assemble, but I think it turned out well and I will hopefully have some fabulous action shots of the piece next month.

Next up is the redesign of the 'whole heart' choker whose picture was so bad I couldn't count stitches so I just made it up again in the same basic design. I renamed it 'With All My Heart' and I do like it better than the original.

I was sure it would make a fine tiara so I tatted the design up again in a light gray color. Of course I didn't realize how long I would have to make the piece for it to go round my head. I ended up measuring it on my freshly dyed hair and soiled it with purple dye, so the first one is mine and it's listed as a custom order for the time being. Makes sense that way anyhow as I'm sure my head is not a universal size.

I didn't stop with that though, I dug out one more old design, fiddled with it and remade it in black. The original was in red and called the Grand Crimson Daisy, no longer red, I renamed it as well. This one has the same basic construction as the other grand daisy piece, but with a center drop and fewer chains.

So as you can see I had a busy few days and I didn't even tat on Sunday as I was recuperating from a sleepover with the nieces. The only drawback to all this activity is the inevitable let down when my energy wanes and I start babbling about nonsense again. Well, I did get a few new supplies in and I think there might be a few more pieces to resurrect still so maybe I'll still be busy this week. I guess we'll see. Oh and a quick thank you to modistamodesta for the blog award. I appreciate the sentiment, but I don't post or pass them on mostly because I'm too lazy for that.