Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Well, I have like nothing of consequence to share today...nothing. I did get a couple of sales yesterday during the Cyber Monday shopping and this time the coupon code got used, so I guess my earlier assessment of failure was premature. Perhaps the lesson is that Cyber Monday is a real thing and next year I'll just wait and have the one day sale event instead. Of the orders I received a few were pieces quickly remade and again we have a custom sized piece. I marvel at the ability I seem to have developed over these last few years to slightly adjust a pattern to size without upsetting the overall design. I do not marvel at my complete inability to note any of these changes for future use however. I will just have to make it all up again if I ever need to make similar adjustments in the future.

So today is more schooling, a bit of cleaning and trying to keep everything made. There will of course be more than a couple of pieces that will fall through the cracks until after the holidays and I admit to a hankering to make a few one of a kind pieces lately. In fact the biggest obstacle to that is my lack of desire to take pictures in the relatively sunless winter. I guess we'll see how it goes. Well, look at that, nothing to say and I managed two full paragraphs. I sure can babble with the best of them. See you tomorrow with perhaps something interesting to say.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend Recap

Good Monday gentle readers. My weekend was long, full of shopping, mostly online and cleaning. Though I managed quite a bit of tatting over the weekend I have nothing new to share I'm afraid. For some reason most of my recent orders have been custom made pieces. A pair of barefoot sandals sized up to fit a mans size 12 foot, masks sized down to fit a smaller face and my most recent was a mask made in Ivory with a few crystals added. Of course the ivory bit leads me to my first embarrassing confession for the day. I've been asked a  lot recently for pieces in ivory and I kept saying no thinking that not only did I have no ivory thread, but that I had not been able to find any. Then while cleaning I found a ball of it in my possession and then I began to recall when I did find some and bought it. Yeah...I feel a little foolish, but I've purchased more and now I really need to revamp my available thread list in the shop.

One more embarrassing confession, my communication skills are seriously failing me lately. I am usually the kind of person that responds immediately to correspondence. This is not out of some overinflated sense of the worth of my thoughts, but rather because not doing so inevitably results in me not responding at all. I forget, put it off and finally decided it has been far too long for a proper response. If I have done this to you I apologize, but it appears to be happening at a much increased rate as of late. I suppose with all the stuff I have to do particularly around the holidays, something is bound to fall through the cracks. If I have ignored you, feel free to shoot me another message, I won't be offended, I promise and I will respond straight away.

Last thing before I get to work for the day, an update on the weekend sales event. It was a complete bomb. I did have a few sales, about the same amount I would have any other week. I also only had one person actually plug in the discount code required for the sale. On one hand I count this as a failure of my ability to communicate a sale, on the other I don't lose any money to the discount, so I'm calling it a draw. I'm finished up some pieces that needed remaking today and I have a handful of orders to go out this morning. School is also back in session today so I have a few less hours than I had last week to work, so I best stop stalling and get on with it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Look At Me

So tired. We tend to host the family meal events since we have a bit more table space than the rest of the family. I originally thought this was a great thing. I don't have to go anywhere, I still don't really have to cook, I just babysit a turkey all day, but in the end it is so much more work. I have to clean the house first, then set up for everything followed by cleaning everything up again, so even not having to cook, I feel like I did way too much yesterday and the cats only let me sleep in a half an hour this morning, so here I am already.

I obviously have little to report tatting wise, but I do have a couple of things to share. First off, I totally forgot to share that the day before Thanksgiving, when we were out fetching pies, a treasury I was featured in made it to the front page of etsy. I know, I've been there before, but it is always a nice surprise, always. This one came from the treasury here which had already garnered me quite a few new hearts for the shop and many new views as well. The treasury was made by akaCINDERS who is a wonderful twitter and etsy friend with not only wonderful taste, but a lovely shop as well.

Next up a feature that I was alerted to by my Google alerts. Have I mentioned lately how wonderful that little feature is? Wonderful. Anyway, this one is on a blog called, This Is Just Cool. I had not heard of it, but it looks like it features a wide variety of things, not just another etsy seller site, so that is is of course very awesome. I get extra excited anytime tatting and my work can get potentially exposed to a brand new audience. Oh and thanks Just Cool for not putting me on your sister site which is apparently called. This Is Just Stupid...I appreciate that.

We have more family time this weekend, the traditional putting up of the Christmas decor and hoping that the new kittens are not tree climbers. Actually, that's a real worry as we put the tree in the loft which has a balcony and I really don't want to see if a kitten can land on it's feet from 18 feet up. I did get a mask order on Wednesday that I really need to get on just in case people do start shopping soon. Speaking of which, do not forget the code through Monday is THANKSGETTING2010 for 10% off in the etsy shop. I think that's quite enough self promotion for today, oh and before I forget, Thanks for the chuckle from the comments yesterday Jane, my husband now understands why I adore you!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Look What jane Made Me Do

Just as Jane was apparently getting sick of them, I embraced her flurry snowflake. I didn't get a sale yesterday until bedtime so early in the morning I asked my daughters to pick out some thread and I made them snowflakes for the tree. Yes, I am aware that they lack a sense of the color scheme of the season, but hey they're kids. The first one I made was the pink and after a bit of fiddling with the shuttle talk and translating it a bit in my head they were quick to work up. I only made one small change at the ends, increasing a stitch on each side of the bit before the top ring. I don't know if it was because I used size 10 thread on most of these or just a tension difference between shuttle and needle work, but it looked much better for me after the change.

I didn't use beads on any of them, mostly because I don't have a large supple of seed beads since I don't use them in my work generally. I did dig out some pearly bluish white one for the last snowflake though. It's still being worked in the picture here in white size 20. I did finish it though and it's so pretty. Now I could really kick myself for not trying the pattern out earlier, I could have gifted this to many folk, but I fear that tomorrow will bring the busy season that keeps my tatting strictly business for most of the coming month. Perhaps next year and maybe I'll even try a two color version then...maybe.

If you hadn't guessed, or cared, I did not start the sale early and after a bi of talk on the twitter with other Etsy sellers, I decided that I could indeed just offer a small discount and not be the only one not slashing prices. So you're officially the first to see the coupon code that will be good through Monday morning. Everything already has free domestic and reduced international shipping, so the deal is just another 10% your entire order. I will not be doing another sale period for the season, so if you're so inclined the code is THANKSGETTING2010. I may or may not write tomorrow, it all depends on how I feel after the feasting, so Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and a happy Thursday to the rest of the world!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The Internet Sales Fairy giveth and she taketh away. Seriously, sales disappeared after the spectacular weekend, just poof, gone. I am going to take a leap and guess folks are waiting for the weekend and its potential sales to do any more shopping. That being the case I may launch a weekend sale a little early, but it's five in the morning right now and I really haven't made any solid decisions about that. If I do, I'll tweet it and edit the post here to add the coupon code at the bottom.

Thank you for all your comments and opinions yesterday. I really appreciate that there wasn't a lot of placating, just honest opinions. In the end I think that I will leave what is up, up and perhaps be a little more cautious when I offer something new as a pattern. I know that those who maybe aren't ready to sell will either give up quickly or get better quickly and those that are ready to sell will likely embrace designing themselves, so it really should cause me too much worry. It was also suggested that I write up a book of patterns for sale. Actually that has been suggested to me before and I always have the same response, not now. There are a lot of reasons for that of course, one I am no pattern writing genius, sure they make sense to me, but... and I have zero illustration skills. I still do have all that homeschooling, raising small kids and housework and being a bit of a perfectionist means that if I can't devote all my energy to something, I'm not going to bother. I also worry that even with a personal use clause that people will make the assumption that because they bought something they bought all uses of it. This, unfortunately, is a prevailing opinion, so for the time being, there will be no patterns to sell, but I am greatly flattered by everyone who suggests that I even could.

I have also been getting more questions in my formspring box lately and one of them was regarding an edging pattern that was referred to by someones Grandmother as 'bow and arrow'. I haven't a clue what that might be and since there are so few patterns with established and accepted names like hen and chicks, I thought I'd ask if any of you out there know what that might refer to so I can shuttle the answer back.Get it, shuttle? No? Did I mention it was five in the morning?

I did spend much of yesterday remaking the weekend sales and cleaning...lots of cleaning. The husband is off today, so there will be more cleaning and unless those sales pick up, not a lot of tatting. Though I did print out Jane's flurry snowflake pattern to play with. She keeps making more of them and they are so cute and, well I have never tatted a snowflake for my own tree, so if those sales can wait a day, I think I might see if I can figure that one out on the needle and make myself something for once.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rinse, Repeat

How is it that I can have so much more to do on a day designated vacation. The kids were more of a handful without the daily school routine. I had thought I'd get at least least one free day while they played happily, but no it was all battles and drama. I had a great pike of things to tat, but I kept being distracted by things to clean. I don't cook for Thanksgiving, but I do host the dinner since we have the space and most of that space needs a good cleaning. So I'd tat for a spell then do laundry and then tat some more and vacuum something, then tat some more and clean something else. You know what else is sad? I get to do the whole routine over again today and tomorrow, except tomorrow I get to add the family dental appointment to the mix for good measure. I think the yawing kitten photo fits perfectly for today, don't you?

So I'm having a bit of a moral dilemma lately. My needle tatting videos on youtube and the tutorial patterns on Instructables have not only continued to be popular beyond expectations, but appear to have resulted in quite a few new tatters. What's the problem, you ask? Well the problem does not lie in more tatters, that is wonderful and completely my intention. The problem is many of them, even ones who have not gone any further than those lessons are immediately opening up shop to sell their wares. Still not a giant issue, I realize. I guess what gives me pause is the number of them requesting to sell my designs or 'modifications' of them online. I try to be friendly and remind people that I make no money sharing those patterns and helping people learn, but my job, my business is selling finished pieces and forgive me, but I really don't want to create an army of competitors for my business. So where is the line? I've even thought to go so far as to pull all my free patterns  and videos down, but I really don't want to do that either. I like that people are learning and sharing. I like that people enjoy working my patterns, but I fear that I am just setting myself up for more copycat drama. Why do so many people immediately figure they can sell what they make, when they've just learned the craft themselves? There are a wide variety of crafts I make that I would never attempt to sell and it took a long time before I decided to sell tatting. Any insights or opinions on these subjects would be greatly appreciated. Am I making a mountain of a molehill? I know there have got to be plenty of folks learning from my efforts with the simple intention of learning and sharing and I would hate to take anything away from them, ever.

Well that was a lot of unintended drama for the morning. Now off to the planned cleaning, tatting and child rearing drama that I am so used to.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank You Internet Fairy

Well my deal with the Internet Fairy was a mixed bag. I am not typing here magically healed from what ails me. The cold, rather than disappear, has taken to morphing into different versions of itself. My ears got so clogged that at one point over the weekend I blew my nose, lost hearing in one ear and experienced some incredible vertigo. The Internet told me this was not an unusual occurrence and as everything quickly resolved itself, nothing to worry about. It was however, terribly unpleasant. I told you the Fairy was a mixed bag because on the sales front that gal delivered. I have had sixteen sales since Friday after I wrote. This of course means that my 200 has not stuck, though I did try and fight it at first, remaking as fast as I could, but as it turns out I m not actually a tatting machine.

I also got a great little bit of news from my first customer on Friday, there was a feature on tatting and tatters on Mr. X Stitch. It's an incredible embroidery and needlework blog that I have been fortunate to be featured on in the past. The post up on Friday featured not only myself, but had many kind words for the craft and features on some of my other favorite shuttle and needle slinging folk. So if you haven't run across it yet, go read it...I'll wait...Didn't she say some incredibly flattering things? I know...I'm spoiled.

Somehow over the weekend I also came up with a new earring design. This one uses the same basic pattern as the vintage one I used for my recent Scallop bracelet. I just took a single motif from the design added a bit at the top and there you have it. They are frickin huge, but I have already sold the first pair, so I'll list another later today. I also have a mask to make and as you might imagine quite a few more pieces on my plate. I also got to use the coupon code on etsy for the first time. I've been sending one out with orders as a bounce back discount, very small one, but I had one redeemed that I created for a large order. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the way they work. Thanks etsy!

My daughter has the week off from school, but that just means I have a little more time to keep the house clean for Thanksgiving hosting duties and try my damnedest to keep the shop well stocked for the holidays. You can't sell what's not made and listed, so I must get my slave elf on healthy or no. The most wonderful time of the year.

Friday, November 19, 2010


I dislike being ill. I know, it's just a cold or something equally mild, but it is still annoying, uncomfortable and I lose my patience with the children who are also sick of course. So this is my public plea for this cold to hit the road already, I have crap to do. Oh and my kitty picture to make it all better...that's the tribute for health right...one cat picture sacrificed to the Internet?

Cold or no, I did get a few things accomplished yesterday. I started by using the latest design to make a necklace and earring set in white. I have a similar piece in the shop already, but I do really like the way the motif looks in the larger thread, very bold, yet elegant.  Then I received all the hat and veil making supplies I had ordered so I was able to finish remaking a sold hair piece I had begun work on the day before. This was an awful lot of white to hand out at the top of the shop, so I did a bit of moving around and then remade one last piece, a necklace in brown. This brought my shop listing total to 200! Now while I am quite proud of myself for sheer production quantity, I would of course love to see that number plummet with the sales of many things. I'm just typing that in public so the Internet sales fairy sees it.

While I was still on the white kick I had the idea to use the motif I made up from the 70's book I showed you awhile back. I made it up in white and attached it to a bobby pin. My idea to make it more 'bridal' while also hiding the huge silver pad was to cluster a few freshwater pearls there in the center. I might also add a couple coque feathers to the back side, but I'm not certain yet. I finished the piece late last night and that's when the cold really takes a toll on brain functions. I also think I really got the pattern down this time. If you remember, I made it up after looking at a simple illustration without stitch counts or joins, so it was all guess work. I might also add the design to a lapel pin in another color with swarovski rounds in place of pearls. I do need to keep working if I want 200 to hold...which  don't really.

One last bit for the day. Etsy has recently started rolling out coupon codes and though I don't have them yet, I think the plan is to have them out in time for the official holiday shopping season. Now, you know I don't like sales as it devalues the work, but I am looking forward to using this ability for possible return customer discounts as well as fan and follower special events. So if I get them in time, I may try out a Black Friday/Cyber Monday thing. I will of course let you know if that is going to happen. I hope to return to you Monday morning healthy and bragging about many sales...again that is for the Internet fairy...be well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Keeping Up Apperances

I managed to stay on task yesterday despite the cold and the kittens. I finished up the pair of ankle corsets that needed making and all the pieces I sent off for the photo shoot returned, so I got those all back into the shop. I even managed to get a supply order out even though I always hate doing those. I always forget something and Murphy's Law seems to dictate that the ordering of seemingly essential supplies results in no sales rendering them useless for a time. Yes, I know that the opposite holds true as well, had I not ordered them, I would have run out of something important just as it was vitally needed. So in the end the ordering is really the best course of action.

I have a few more pieces on tap to be remade today and for one I have the white thread out so I was thinking of making the newest design in white for the bridal section. I won't lie though, part of the reason I'm making pieces in several colors is I almost have 200 items listed in the shop. I have never had that many before and the easiest way to pad the numbers is items in multiple colors. The other option is to go on a designing binge again, but I don't want to get too distracted in case sales do suddenly pick up.

Since I've already brought up numbers and you likely know I have an unhealthy obsession with them, though not as personal validation, I thought I'd share a couple more exciting ones. I have recently broken 2000 followers on twitter, this was hard to do as I often get followed by spammers and folks that just want a follow back so they disappear quickly and I rarely get followed back when I follow someone new because they are usually way cooler than me. I don't blame them either...I talk a lot. Second number excitement, I recently broke 7000 hearts or favorites for my etsy shop. Again I didn't immediately announce this one because the number fluctuates quite a bit as people clean out their favorite lists, but I've cleared far enough that I think it will stick. Now if I could only reach the illusive 1000 fans on facebook I would be set, well number wise anyway and since those numbers have little to do with sales, it's all just appearances anyway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


My cold has advanced to that point where it is nearly crying out, 'see if you can get anything done now, woman!'. I mean I did get stuff done, but that's only because I really haven't any choice. Some days I really miss being a kid and being taken care of, allowed to stay in bed all day with no expectations put upon me. Instead I have a household to run, people to take care of and a business of sorts requiring my rapt attention. Oh well, moving on then.

Sometimes I forget why I ever stopped making a piece I used to sell. Perhaps I got tired of making it or it didn't sell particularly well so I let it go. At any rate, it's nice to resurrect them ever once in a while, refine the patterns and see if they find a new audience. This one was one of the only pieces I wrote out a diagram for. I had originally made it as a bridesmaid piece with smaller thread and hung it from chains. This go round I adjusted some stitch counts, made it with my standard size 10 thread and tatted the chain. I figured it no longer had that bridesmaid look so I renamed it as well. I did end up making the matching earrings in the smaller thread because they looked a bit off that large.

I also have a bit of bad-ish news, well disappointing really. I received the pictures from the photo shoot and only one of my pieces was used and you can barely see it in the photos. I'm looking on the bright side though as I will still get that magazine credit and hopefully I've made a contact in the stylist that might lead to more exposure in the future. I certainly don't regret the effort, but I suppose I dreamed a little bigger than I should have.

I also managed to get my exchange gifts made up for the Intatters holiday exchange so I should get those in the post later today or tomorrow morning. I do also have a simple veil to make up today and I am trying to get another pair of ankle corsets remade. I don't know how focused I will remain as the cold has clearly taken over my head space, but I shall of course try. Thank you all for the kitty comments and advice yesterday. They continue to demand my attention and the other cats are slowly adjusting. My girl cat has gone maternal, but the boys are still sharing their ire. Since you seem to not mind so much, here is yet another sleeping lap kitten photo. At least my lap is always warm I suppose.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Little Sepia

I know there will come a time when you will all be so sick of kitten talk that you will simply stay away, but as they are dominating my day currently...there will be more kitten talk.First though, here is one of the sepia things I did the other day. I got in some ring blanks in brass tone, so I thought that was perfect for the browns. I might also get one made in the deep purple as that shade looks good with brass as well, but my to do list is rather long lately.

Now back to kittens. We let them into the rest of the house and there was mighty chaos as the roamed, got hissed at and battled on the stairs. The most significant adjustment for me was this one. They opted to nap on my lap while the children slept. This meant I was twisted about in order to get my tatting done during what is usually my most productive hour and the second they awoke it was battle time on my lap. So far, they have shown limited interest in my thread, but this was just day one. I foresee much chaos in our future.

I do have many pieces still needed to be remade and I'm waiting on a customer to finish up their order. Sure, I could do it first, but I have recently learned my lesson regarding services without prior payment. I want to say I have something else to share, but I'm also rocking a nice head cold, so it could be nothing. So off to it then...I think.

Monday, November 15, 2010

See The Kitties

The weekend belonged to the kitties and birthdays. It went, play with kitties, fetch something for kitties, go to day long birthday party, play with kitties, clean up for kitties...kitties, kitties, kitties. This here on the left is JiJi and down there on the right we have Neko. They came to us with some flea hitchhikers so we have them isolated in our room to avoid a house wide infestation. The flea meds seem to have been ridiculously effective, but it's been a long time since we have kittens, our youngest is seven, so it all seems like magic from what we remember. We plan on letting them loose in the house today and hopefully the cats, who are royally pissed at us, will not kill them. Also I'm crossing my fingers that my tatting corner survives. I suppose I should get cleaning that up as well. Oh, kittens, what sweet little destruction you are.

In other news, I heard back from the stylist regarding the photo shoot and she says I should receive some pictures soon and all my pieces are on their way back to me today. Now that I've heard that, I am getting really optimistic to see them and I will also receive a copy of the magazine when it goes to print, so I'll be sure to share.

I did get a little time to tat over the weekend and I opted to make some sepia pieces. I made up a ring as well as an Art Nouveau set. If the kittens don't kill me, I'll get those photographed and listed today. What I am avoiding is the remaking of several pieces. I know I should get on it, but they are larger ones and for some reason I just want some instant gratification and they won't give that to me. I am also distracted by kittens of course. Speaking of, good gracious getting them all their shots and vet care is expensive, those pictures up there represent our Christmas presents, seriously. Anyway, I will attempt to get some more tatting done and those photos and the child's school and some more kitty proofing. Oh, Monday how I wish I could just skip you.

Friday, November 12, 2010


As expected yesterday was mostly family time. We a little early holiday shopping and on the way home I got a massive headache which actually prevented me from doing any tatting for hours. When that monster finally faded we headed to the in-laws to pick up two kittens to add to our brood. They are from a strays litter that they caught. Momma cat is feral, but the kittens are sweet as can be. I only wanted one, but I was outvoted. I didn't get any pictures as it was already dark when they got here. The other cats are of course not pleased, but no one has gotten any more violent than hissing, so I think they will all survive.

I am exhausted however, as the kittens 'slept' on the bed with us. It reminded me of having a baby in the bed, expect instead of wanting to eat, they wanted to play and chew on my hand and whatnot. So today, I get to try to have a normal school day for the child and get some work done while trying to keep the children from over loving kittens, the cats from killing the kittens and the kittens from killing themselves. It is going to be a long day and I hope that don't like to attack tatting thread.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Morning After

Already a little late this morning as it's a holiday for both my husband and my daughter. Sure, I could sleep in a  little more than this, but I still have three cats that beckon me forth from sleep with incessant mewing so I'm lucky I got a half hour. So first I though I'd say Thank You! to Marilee for her comment yesterday. I haven't gotten many of those lately, but since I am awful at leaving them, I can't really complain about not getting them. Anyway, she marveled at how I got that whole bundle of Art Nouveau pieces designed and put together so fast, so I though I would tell you how or why that happened.

Well first the design was born from an already existing pattern. Sure, I made changes, but they were organic ones that simply occurred to me as I was tatting. Then I had instant feedback on the twitter. Folks offered color suggestions and even said they thought it would look good upside down. It's exciting to get that kind of feedback while you're working, so I worked faster to show them finished pieces and as I worked other ideas formed that begged to be tried. Sometimes an idea is slow growing and needs a lot of care to develop and other times it's more like a weed that would have grown with or without you. This collection is a field of weeds.

Now onto my outburst yesterday morning. I had woken to a series of strange and potentially wonderfully email messages. I also had a couple of existing orders that needed to be taken care of and a dozen other thing that needed doing. I was simply overwhelmed with it all and much of it required further email conversation and I just couldn't get my head around how I was going to it all in the time allotted. Without going into too much detail because I'm always afraid thing could fall apart, there was a mask ordered to be used by a male Finnish 'television personality' in a music video. This required me to deal with increasing the size of a design, but just a bit. Then there was a message from a stylist asking for several of my pieces for a cover shoot for a magazine. The magazine is high end but distributed in countries like France, Canada, Hong Kong and the Middle East, so I hadn't heard of it. A little research and consultation with the twitter hive mind convinced me to go for it, so I had to send off a package overnight to L.A for the shoot tomorrow. If and when things pan out one either situation, I will of course go into more detail and share the results. The rest of the day continued in a similar fashion with a couple more orders that needed details changed until the sun went down and all was quiet.

Today will generally be family time and When I get some time, I have a ton of tatting to catch up on including remaking every piece I sent off just in case they don't come back. So cross your fingers that soon tatting will be on the cover of a fashion magazine, I know I am.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Art Nouveau Collection

Dear Universe, What the Hades? Seriously, I mean it looks like you like me, but do you want me to actually implode from the stress? No, I am not going to explain this outburst at this time. I will explain it at some future time when my head makes proper sense of the timing of it all. For now you will just have to wonder what the heck I woke up to that would make me want to write that first thing in the morning.

I promised you pictures of all the pieces that I came up with on Monday, but I don't want to overwhelm so I'll just share a couple. The rest are of course currently listing in the etsy shop for your veiwing pleasure. First up is the choker. I know you already saw the awesome photo of it yesterday held in my hand, but here it is worn. It is a fairly standard looking choker, but I do like the way the chains created the arches along the top edge. The next one here is the basic necklace that I created to match. I actually made two of these. The other is in pink with a slightly different chain section. I honestly still haven't decided which of those I like better.

The last one I wanted to show you is the inverted pieces. I turned them upside down, but I also lengthened the bottom side chains to give it a more chandelier look. Oh and I also adjusted the side rings so they appear a little more even. On this pair I hung some crystals, but I also listed a set in red without them and I think they look fine either way. Of course that could just be me being lazy as I am not the best wire wrapper in the world and it hurts my little hands a bit.

As you might have guessed from my earlier outburst, I'm going to be stressed out and likely quite busy today. No, it's nothing terribly awful...at least I don't think it is yet, but there are some timing issues that the Universe could work on. I hope I'm entertaining you Universe...I would hate it if you got bored. Anyway, I'm off to it all now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Don't Believe Me

Why yes, I am a big old lying liar. I said no more new, no more creative...I said I was getting down to production mode. So what do I do the second I get time to tat yesterday? Do I start making stock? No, of course not. I leaf through my stack of books again and and start playing with edgings. I found one that was a much more basic version of the Pomegranate edging I was so fond of form Anne Orr's book when I first started tatting. This one was in another 40's era book and as soon as I got through the first motif in the pattern I stopped. I though why this would make a fine earring. I thought it had made itself, but then I spent another twenty minutes trying to suss out the top portion. I had also added the bottom ring on whim.

As soon as that was done, I asked twitter for advice. Not only did they point out that the design might look neat upside down as well, but asked for a few colors. Since it was such a quick design, I obliged with a light pink and a green version. The green was another hand dyed by Heather and the slight mottle really adds to the art nouveau feel of the piece. It never fails to amaze me what a simple color change can do.

Once the other pairs were made up, I went onto the original idea, which was to make a choker out of the edging. Since I made the earrings first and I liked the way that the top arch made them look, I added a second row to the edging along with the other modifications I had already made. At this point it was quite dark out and even the phone picture is terrible awful, but since I did take one, I though I'd show you. I thought about adding even another chain edge, but then the design no longer matches the earrings, so I think this is the final piece. Then I thought I'd also try out a simple necklace, one with the motif at the center and the Josephine chains on the sides. I made one to match the green earrings, but by the time I finished that one, I had no interest in attempting a photo. So I'll share that one tomorrow after I have decent listing photos of everything. Then I think I will get a set done upside down as was suggested. I think there are a couple of little changes it will need to hang well and I might add some crystals from that set. I won't attempt a reverse choker, but the simple necklace might still work with the design inverted or perhaps that one will just be a pendant and I'll hang it from a chain.

See, I'm a big old lying liar, but hopeful you like what I make when I'm suppose to be working.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Queen Of The Nile Rises

It was a long weekend. There was movie going, Megamind, and sleepovers with the kids cousins. Then of course there was the time change that all but destroyed us as we tried to stay up to our new bedtime. Throughout the weekend I was busy tatting though. First up, I finished the new collar necklace. I did end up making a prototype and then starting all over. The final version has the lengthened center point I was thinking of and I built up the top section with two rows to create a little more of the choker effect. This one sits nicely at the base of the neck with the choker part standing up which makes it much more comfortable than most chokers and I used an adjustable clasp on this one as well, so it fits nearly every one. I got it listed over the weekend.

I also began offering free domestic and reduced International shipping in the shop. I hate doing sales too often as it can create the perception that you're really overcharging in the first place and with a few obvious exceptions I try to keep my prices relative to the time it takes to make them, so sales are rare for me. However, during the holiday season one must compete with all sorts of sales and offering free shipping is a relatively painless way to offer a deal. That will likely be in effect through the end of the year.

I got creative again on Sunday as we lazed around after the cousins had gone home. This time I busted out with a tome from the 70's again, this one by Irene Waller. The book is mostly full of basic design information, ideas and drawings. I kept looking at the one here and finally decided that I was going to try and make it. There was no pattern and no stitch counts listed so I was making it up as I went. We'll call it a challenge to create what you see with imaginary numbers. I suspect that I got most if not all the numbers and joins wrong. I also suspect that the final shape would need to be manipulated with proper blocking and stiffening. All that being said I'm pretty proud of my attempt. In fact I think it might make a right pretty pendant or maybe a lapel pin. There are a few other illustrations and bits in the book I'd like to guess my way through eventually, but I know I need to buckle down and shift into holiday mode soon. I'll be trying to build up stock of simple items, earrings, pendants and whatnot with the time I have right now. So no more design work...unless I really need to.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Queen Of The Nile

I'm actually having a little trouble this morning remembering how yesterday started...which is odd. What I do remember is after the mornings schooling I got to picture taking and got the new necklace listed. There was some help with the naming and then she was ready to go. Did I mention that I was also playing with an edging from one of the antique books. It needed some minor reworking so after the prototype I went with a bracelet. It's a bit big on my wrist, but I really like having more diversity in sizing. If everything I made fir me like a glove, I'd be shutting out a huge section of the population.

I should have stopped at this point and worked on remaking a pair of barefoot sandals, but I have been having the best luck looking at these old pattern books with new eyes. I've scanned my stack of them countless times, but for some reason I'm seeing potential in things I previously dismissed. Like the good old bread tray edging from a 40's era book. I've looked at it before, hell, I've seen other people make necklaces with it before, but I didn't like the way they looked. I suppose it could be said that there is an actual art to re purposing designs and you have to see it in just the right way for it to work for you.

I saw this one as a choker high on the neck. In fact it reminds me of an Egyptian collar necklace. Of course that might be because my daughter is currently studying Egyptian history and art, but still that's what I see. So rather than drape the design by using just the pattern as written, I added a top edge to pull the piece together and up a bit. I still may add a bit more round the top edge. This is the point where I usually hem and haw for a few hours about the design and it's feasibility. Another fun thing about this one is since the back is such a simple design is will be much easy to size up as well.

So I'll be working on this today to see if I can get it finished enough to list. I might start over as well as one of my thinking points is whether I should lengthen the center point or not. It may add a bit more drama if I did, but then again it might take away from the collar look. Oh, decisions, decisions. I may also get round to making the necklace version of the bracelet from yesterday though I am a bit worried about the ability to size the design if needed. I t may be a one size only sort of deal to keep the design intact or I might get creative, who knows. Off to it then and everyone have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

In Which I Learn A Lesson

Such horribleness nearly occurred yesterday. I was remaking a necklace and thought I'd double check my stitch count so I looked at my table to grab my tatting notebook. It wasn't there. How odd. I spent the next half an hour in a frenzy looking for the thing and realizing how utterly irreplaceable it is. It is full of stretches, patterns and the small vital changes made to other patterns. It is an utter mess and completely unreadable by anyone else. It is everything I haven't memorized. I did finally locate it...in the small trash next to my nest. It apparently fell in unnoticed. Luckily I have a strict no wet garbage rule for this trash bin. So I needed to archive these pages immediately, you know like I should have done eons ago. I was going to scan them all in when it occurred to me that my iphone takes a pretty sharp picture. In a fraction of the time I would have spent scanning, the whole book was in my phone. Ah, I feel better now. Now, if I could only remember to write all the patterns down int he first place. One success at a time huh?

I finished the orders in queue and decided that I needed to make something new. Instead of giving it any thought, I just reached over, grabbed a vintage pattern book, quickly picked a pattern and went to work. This one was the corner of a rectangular tray mat and ever since I first saw it, reminded me of a macrame owl. The book is from the seventies and they were overly descriptive with their pattern writing. This would not be a bad thing, except what they describe in great detail is what's happening with each shuttle and thread. This made it very difficult for me, a needle tatter, to get to the heart of the pattern. All I need is the numbers people, just the numbers. I was able to make a few adjustments to make it work, but it was as if I was fighting the pattern the whole time. I opted to add a josephine chain and a few extra rings to finish this one. 

I made the whole piece a second time in gray to really get the pattern right and opted for Victorian sets instead. I think that's the one I'll get listed later today. I really do enjoy resurrecting older designs for new purposes. I might even play with this design some more and see what else it's got hiding within. Oh and I thought I should let you know that the mask shipping drama has been finally resolved. I wish that all my customers were as understanding and wonderful as this one was. Now off to tat.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Busy Day

As anticipated, I spent much of the day away from home, my computer and my tatting. The field trip we went on was to a science and technology museum and that coupled with a nice nice lunch out and a stroll though the Halloween clearance isles ate the morning away. We decided to sit sit down and finally watch the Walking Dead when the children napped as well, so there went another hour or so. By the time I got around to threading my needle the day was nearly over. I didn't even manage to settle the mask shipping fiasco like I had wanted to do. Well, that one might have been less about time and more about not wanting to deal with it.

I did however get to send my tatted mustache to a new home. Hey I was as shocked as anyone. Apparently the lure of a finely crafted mustache is a strong one. I did make another one and I think that when I get the chance I might write this one out as a free pattern as well. Not sure when I'll actually get around to it, but I though it might be a fun, something different, to put out there.

I think that is actually all I have for you this morning. I worked on the sold mask, but didn't finish, so I need to get that wrapped up today as well as a necklace and a pair of earrings. I think I also need to take a look through my supplies and get an order in on those soon too. I'm not running out of anything, but then again, that is the worst time to make an order. So, I'm off to tat then and see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Now this is more like it. Things were accomplished, conversations were had and I have to say it was a nice Monday. I haven't much hope for today, but once today is over the sun will shine on a phone that is not ringing off the hook and commercials that don't tick me off and hopefully the aftermath of last weeks mask shipping disasters will be behind me. On the creative side I have things to share. First up my gray snowflake necklace. It's a pretty simple design and even though I made it up as I went, I am fairly certain the same design exists elsewhere.

Next up is a set I made with the cats eye drop beads. This time I just wanted to highlight the beads by wrapping them in a little tatting. I just strung them on the thread and started tatting. A simple clover atop like a bow and a tight ring around the bead to hold it mostly in place. I though about gluing the bead to the lace and decided against it. The bead barely moves so there is really no point in over complicating it.I tried this design with a different color thread and it just didn't look right with the beads. I might try to see if I can get the cats eyes in a few other colors so I can make a couple more of these sets.

Then as the afternoon wore on, I started to get bored. I sat on twitter watching the stream trying to think of something to do when I saw etsy tweet about some blog feature of etsy mustaches. I then threatened the twitterverse that I would make a tatted mustache if I was not given something more productive to do. Instead of being greeted with fear, I was goaded on. So in the late afternoon hours I think I may have created the first tatted mustache necklace. I could of course be wrong and if one predates mine, please share. Of course after eliciting giggles and groans, I was informed that it also looks a bit like two whales smooching, or two lovebirds and of course that is now what I see when I look at it, but it gave me an afternoon of amusement that I sorely needed.

Today I have a field trip to attend with the family and then there is the matter of voting. We have dinner guests and hair cuts and hopefully the end of the mask shipping drama. I also got a mask sales just before heading to bed, so when I can tat that's what needs doing. I also ordered up some more ring bases even though I haven't sold any yet. I liked making them and I wanted some brass ones to make some sepia versions. I also picked up ones with a smaller base to try out a different design. Those won't be in for at least a week though so that's a task for another day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

In My Hole

You remember Friday's cautionary tale? Yeah, well it got worse. The customer who received their mask without paying for the shipping costs still has yet to reply to a single message. I am not shocked, but that is not the worse part. The worse part is the other customer that asked for expedited shipping for a Halloween mask and was a pleasure to work with had her package 'improperly routed' and it's delivery rescheduled for Tuesday. So I spent Friday in yet another ball of stress calling UPS and writing messages to the customer hoping they wouldn't want to yell at me. The customer was blissfully understanding relieving a bit of the stress in the evening, but I still have to wait until the mask actually arrives to contact UPS again to get a refund and to see if the customer just wants to send it back or keep it. Again, the moral of the story, no more expedited shipping and I should probably add that you should never just 'trust' anyone when money is involved.

Sales dried right up too. I haven't had one since the aforementioned drama. This has put me in one of those 'crawl into a hole and stay there' moods. It wasn't until that small window between taking my Mom to lunch for her birthday and taking the kids trick-or-treating that I felt any desire to be creative again. During my last supply order I picked up some clearance beads. They're gray cats eye teardrops and I really wanted to do something with them and the gray thread. While everyone else is getting their winter white holiday stuff put together, I thought I'd do a winter gray one. There was a time when I switched to white snowflakes for the season, but that was the time before there were a dozen other tatters selling them on etsy. My contribution to this cause is no longer needed, so I will put my own dark little spin on it with a little dark gray.

I did get a few small pieces put together in the traditional, making it up as I go along, method. I did not however bother to take any pictures, so you will have to wait until tomorrow to see what it is that I've done or at least until I get some pictures and list them in the shop later today. I also think that it's time to work on some more gift-able pieces, though honestly I generally fail at knowing what people might want and I end up making a dozen sets that sit until I give up and donate them to someone. This will not stop me from trying yet again though, the holiday season has already thrown up everywhere and time will soon be running out yet again. If there is one thing I learned from years in retail, it's that forth quarter is everything. You fail then and the whole year is a loss. I know, I'm terribly upbeat this morning. Here's to a better week, a nice fall day and no drama.