Friday, December 31, 2010

The Monster At The End Of The Year

Well here we are at the end of another year. I have been babbling on a blog long enough to be able to go back and shake my head at my past thoughts, long enough to be proven both right and wrong about the future in a permanently visible manner. Every year, at its close, it seems I say the same thing. I tell you that I don't make resolutions, then I proceed to list things that I would like to see happen. Then the year progresses, I forget what I said I wanted and my list becomes a parody of itself. For example, here is last years bit of babbling forgotten until I looked it up today:
"Speaking of the coming year, I have started to give some thought to my future plans. I hesitate to call them resolutions as I never keep those. Rather I can them goals, some more ridiculous than others of course, but I like a variety. The next few months should see me reach the magical sales number called 1000 barring any unforeseen circumstances. I'd love to hit 1500 by the end of 2010 because I like round numbers. The past year had me reaching 5000 hearts in my etsy shop and I hope to gain another 1000 in the new year. I want to see my tatting worn and photoed on someone much more famous than I. I also want to get at least one more instructional needle tatting video up and get the actual Instructables for the last two free patterns I offered up as well. I tried to think of something even more ridiculous than the famous person thing, but the only thing I could come up with is a major magazine or televisions feature of my work."
 So, let's dissect that shall we. I did indeed hit 1000 sales, but didn't quite make 1500, but the math really didn't bear that happening out anyway. Next, I shattered my shop heart goal by garnering 2400 more. I think that might have more to do with etsy growing than me specifically, but I'll take it. I also did manage two more youtube videos and on a related note the views on my first video broke 50,000 views and the updated version with speaking broke 11,000. That my friends is a lot of people watching my hands. My last goal points were regarding fame and sadly, though there were a few hopeful sales and photo shoots that direction, there have been no major sightings. I remain relatively undiscovered...oh, well, we can't win them all.

So where do I go for next year then? As much as I do still adore the round numbers, they are not really a true gauge of my success, they are just reminders that we live in a base 10 world. Sure, I could ask for the fame thing again, but that is a wild crap shoot. If I made half an effort to make it happen of course, but we all know I am too lazy and much too chicken to go out on many ledges. So I guess I'll stick with practical this year. I will try to make another Instructable and another video. I will continue to design, grow and learn. I will watch kittens and children grow, take care of my family, make a few new friends, babble in my blog and try to be better person.

Thank you to everyone out there who reads this blog, checks the Wunderkammer, buys my lace, follows me on facebook or twitter. Thank you for commenting, consoling, commiserating and for ignoring my nonsense...or pretending to anyway. Thank you for being part of my year and I hope to see you in the new one.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Round Numbers

Yesterday began slowly, very slowly. While it seemed everything was quiet on the Internet, I worked. I remade a few small things and finished the headband, got it approved by the customer and listed it. The customer picked it up later in the afternoon so the listing is already gone. I do plan on making this up again for the shop, though I'm not certain which color I will do.

The two girl kitten had their vet appointment in the afternoon, but as part of the crazy cat lazy package, my mother-in-law took them so I was free for a bit. I caught up with my DVR and got some time to play my Christmas present video game...Donkey Kong. I only did that for a spell when the email notifications started.

You see I was sitting at 1395 sales yesterday and you all know how much I love round numbers, so I was thinking how neat it would be to get to that next one by the end of the year. Being that Christmas is over getting five sales in three days is more than a bit of a stretch, so I made a comment about it on facebook, then tried not to dwell. That brings be back to the email notifications. The custom headband sold, then another piece, then a few more and by this morning even a few more. So not only have I broken through that magic round number, but I soared right passed it and never even saw the roundness. I am elated to end the year on such a high note. Oh, wait...there are still a couple more days for it to all go to pot. I have knocked on wood and boy do I have some tatting to do today.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Have you ever tatted so quickly, so furiously that even your back became sore? Yes, that is exactly what I did yesterday morning in order to get that mask I mentioned yesterday made and in the post. I just couldn't sit on my hands when there was even a remote possibility of getting it finished and to the customer in time for the weekend. I'm not really sure what that says about me, but I did manage to finish it and in record time. It got placed in the mail and I whined about my back for a couple of hours before I felt better and got back to work.

 Before I got back to tatting I took down Christmas. We usually wait until the sixth, but the kittens have been wreaking havoc so it was time. Don't let the picture fool you. They were just resting before another epic play battle that would have destroyed many small villages...should there be any around.

It does always amaze me how I only realize how many bloody Hallmark ornaments we have when I have to carefully box them all back up and get them put away. There are a lot of them. Don't get me started on how many of them are Batman and Spiderman. The husbands response to that will be...but they're all different. Yes, they are, but that's not the point and he knows it.

After all that I did get back to the custom headband. I'm making it in a discontinued Ceblia color. It's a light silvery gray that my saintly Mother-in-law snagged all of at her local yarn shop for me. The picture was taken when I was about halfway done, but I managed to finish while the oldest played one of her new video games in the evening. Luckily I can read the game text to her while tatting. She can read a little now, but it's a Pokemon game and full of ridiculous words that she needs help with. Plus, me reading speeds the whole thing along better.

Anyway, the tatting on that is done, so today I add the ribbon and hopefully get some pictures taken so I can list it for the customer. Then I have a whole new pile of pieces that need remaking as well. I might make up another of the headbands for the shop too. I do really like the way it turned out I guess we'll just have to see where the day takes me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Victorious Headband

Well, talk about getting back into the swing of things. I had a custom request to work on, actually there are two of them, but one requires I wait for a special bit of supplies before beginning work on it, so more on that one later. This one was a request for a headband designed after one of my collar chokers. I told the customer what I thought would be the best option and once I received the word that it sounded fine I got to work on it.

I laid the beginning of it on top of the choker it emulates...and yes I was playing with my phone camera again. I had to adjust quite a bit of it so it would lay straight as I was going to double it for the end piece. I just used three large points, then I used the clover from the top edge of the necklace to finish the length on both sides. This is just the prototype as the customer wants it in gray, but I was so uncertain as to whether or not my first attempt would pan out, I thought I do the first try in some plain black as I clearly own a lot of black thread. There are a couple of things I will adjust when I make it up in gray, but for the most part I like the way it turned out. I will finish it with wide black ribbon on the ends so it ties on like my Rosette headband.

I was planning on getting that finished today, but I woke up to a mask order that wants to arrive by Friday. That is likely impossible as it's not made yet, but I have a feeling that the customer didn't notice that in the listing. So now I wait for a response to my message regarding that and I make the mask double quick in the meantime just in case. The whole shop is on free shipping right now, but I hope they understand that the free shipping is standard, not expedited. On the other hand, I hate to disappoint people when they want a piece for a particular gives me the stress. Oh and let us not forget about all the bad weather that is likely slowing down mail service anyway. Oye, the lesson here is always order early for the best service particularly in the winter. So, off to it then.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Almost Over

So as Christmas is finally behind us, it is about time to attempt to analyze what just happened as far as sales are concerned. As basically a worthless business person, I shall of course not use any of that information moving forward, but as a relentlessly curious person, I feel that I just need to know. Informal analysis shows the slave bracelet to be the sleeper hit of the year.  In fact I spent much of Sunday making custom sized ones that were ordered on Christmas. Why are these pieces so popular? I haven't a clue. None of them are particularly new designs for me, I think the newest has to be at least six months old, but they were all flying off the virtual shelf...relatively speaking anyway. Is there a new trend I'm unaware of?

I still don't know whether this holiday season was better or worse than previous ones as I won't run the numbers until the end of the month, but I felt pretty busy so I'll go out on a limb and say it was OK. Of course I am dreading the end of the year as it means doing numbers for the whole year and preparing for the dreaded tax time. Sometimes I miss when this was all just a hobby to pay for thread...well not really. I absolutely adore sending bits of my lace to the corners of the globe and imagining that right at this very moment someone is wearing something I made.

Anyway, I managed to again catch up on orders on Sunday, Saturday was of course lost to the ruckus that is the holiday. I still have a few pieces that need remaking and again I really must get back on the masks before the much smaller Mardi Gras mask buying begins. Oh and I wanted to get a few more Valentine themed bits made up before that hits as well. Once all those forward thinking projects have been tackled, I'm back to some designing to take advantage of the dead space that is January sales.

I was also thinking of culling down my inventory a bit. After some light reading and some thought, I decided that I need to keep all the designs I've created particularly from modified antique patterns listed, you know as irrefutable proof that I made them some time ago just in case some people decided to try and slap a copyright on their version of them. Yes, that was a passive aggressive rant that I won't further explain, though I will add a, 'been there, done that' just to get it all out of ms system. Ah, all better now. Here's hoping for a pleasant last week of the year.

Friday, December 24, 2010


I'm back, but not nearly settled. Usually when we take our Monterey trip, we try to stay three days. It males the whole endeavor much more relaxing. With two days, you feel a bit rushed and sort of like you're always packing. Of course it doesn't help that I come back to a house that needs to be presentable enough for a holiday and I'd much rather sit and tat for hours on end.

Since I clearly have no tatting to share, I thought I do a bit of a picture post instead. Yes, I did play with the edit bits on the phone camera, the ride home was quiet. I think I mentioned that this trip we had my brother-in-laws kids with us and that made the Aquarium even more more than usually for the kids. It made it more exhausting that usual for me. It didn't help that the Outer Bay exhibit was closed for renovation and we often could get away with sitting there for quite some time watching the big tank. This year it was all go, go, go.
It is always a little less crowed in the winter and if you get out at seven in the morning, you almost have the world to yourself.
Everyone have a wonderful Christmas, or just a nice weekend if that's isn't your bag and I'll babble at you on Monday.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

News From The Coast

Good morning all! I woke up this morning at bloody 4:30 because apparently I am incapable of sleeping in, vacation be damned. I do have another day out here on the coast, or the better part of one anyway. I have one day to clean and prep for the holiday and then more family chaos. I do mostly enjoy it though.

Yesterday was lovely, the addition of the kids cousins added another layer to the Aquarium trip and the addition of my brother-in-law added evening bar trips which is utterly out of character for us, but pleasant enough. 

No tatting of course, but I did receive an order for a custom mask, so as soon as I get a moment back home, it's back to work for me. This is already more than I intended to write, so off with me and have a good one.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No Focus

More remaking yesterday. I didn't even pick up the mask at all. I know it's going to require serious thought to rework it and keep the core design I was trying for and quite honestly I wasn't in the mood for serious thought.I just kept plugging away at things that needed remaking, which will include masks again soon as Mardi Gras is also fast approaching.

I scheduled up some photo posts and a story for Fridays Wunderkammer so I am on vacation from that until Tuesday. I also put a note up in the shop that I will not be shipping anymore orders I might receive until Monday. I can ship out domestic ones on Friday, but you couldn't pay me to head to post office for any International shipping on Christmas Eve...well you could pay me, but it would have to be a lot.

I feel like this post is totally ADD today, but anyway, I wanted to again thank you guys for all the supportive comments that keep rolling in regarding the youtube comment. Sometimes I forget how many people are actually out there lurking. I can't believe how many people have learned or been inspired to learn for my efforts. I do visit a few blogs myself and rarely do I make my presence known, so I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised. I need to remember that squeaky wheels are always louder and the silent majority is likely cool with how things are.

I'm off later this morning to the coast and the Aquarium with the family. It will be a shorter trip this time as our expenses have definitely gone up this year, but it is always nice to get away even for a bit. I might still drop a blog note sometime tomorrow, but don't count your chickens. I'm certain to be back babbling at you on Friday because as another tatting friend just wrote about in her blog, it's like morning porridge now and what would I do if I didn't blog.

Oh and a bit of strange advice...always turn the porch light on when answering the door in the dark.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It Has Begun

Aw, you guys are the best. Seriously, thank you so much for all the commiseration via comments yesterday. Sometimes I just need to let it out and you very rarely tell me I'm being a whiny baby. So on we go then.

I've managed to get nearly everything that flew during the holiday season remade and listed again. There are still a few pieces listed as custom and a couple more sold that should be remade, but nothing too interesting. I have been working so quickly the last few weeks that not only does my shoulder ache, but my whole back is a bit miffed at me. I've been getting large pieces that usually take more than one day, knocked out in one and it has clearly taken its toll on me. I shall be slowing down immediately and working at a more manageable pace.

I did finally start playing with the new mask idea. This was the beginning here and I really should have reevaluated the center bit, but I just kept working. Unfortunately it won' that is. Well I do know how to fix it, but I will need to start all over. From this point on the picture I just repeated the ring and chain pattern in the center of the heart all the way around. That was my intent from the start, but the stitch counts will need to be increased to make the design bigger without complicating it. I don't know if I'll get round to that today or not.

We have our winter trip to Monterey this week and of course the impending holiday and our dinner hosting duties, so I will likely still write, but I may be a tad erratic. I'm also considering putting the Wunderkammer on vacation as well, but I may just schedule up some link or flickr posts to keep visitors from falling off entirely. I'll likely get to that later today while I continue to fight the cold that my husband insisted that I try out. Oh zinc lozenges, don't fail me now.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ah, Comments

it was indeed a long weekend. There was a movie, Tron...I enjoyed that, then there was the birthday get together for a friend full of fabulous conversation, I enjoyed that as well. Then there was a visit from my sister and her children, actually that was enjoyable as well, loud, but enjoyable. In fact the weekend was so chock full of interaction that there was only enough tatting time to get some custom ordered pieces worked on. No mask for me yet. I'm starting to think that it will be put off until after the holidays are actually over so I can give it some actual attention. I guess we'll see how it goes.

I did want to do a little rant this morning. You see while I was out, I received a comment on my youtube video that teaches the simple flower in conjunction with the written instructions over at Instructables. Every now and again I get someone having a problem with the video, I tell them about the written portion and they are right as rain. This comment however was a bit of a rant itself, and I quote,  

"I find that your video isn't beneficial past the first minute because you go too quickly. It's so frustrating, trying to learn a new craft and the supposed best video for beginners(you're recommended, believe it or not) and having to repeatedly go back and back in the video trying to unravel how in the world to do something. You need to either slow down or reconsider making videos. Not everyone-especially beginners-can keep up with what apparently is your perception of slow."

Now, I get that I am not particularly slow, I didn't want to be, but what bugs me here is not the core complaint of speed, but the suggestion that I reconsider making free videos to the world because she personally finds it to not fit her learning style or needs. The biting sarcasm surround my video being recommended is also unnecessary for her complaint to be understood. Clearly those that recommended it did in fact find it useful and the fact that she does not doesn't negate that for them and insulting me is not going to get me to make her a slower video. It is instead going to make me rant, dear entitled youtube user, perhaps next time you'd like extra help or a slower video or have a request of any kind you will ask nicely and receive some help.

I am usually a nice person and I generally like to help, which is why the videos exist in the first place. You see, someone could not understand the written instructions and rather than tell me that my writing style sucks and why did I even bother, they asked for a demo video so they could also see what was happening. You know what, it took be a bit, but that is exactly what they got. My point is, why don't we all stop acting like we deserve everything we want and need handed to us for free on the Internet. On the flip side, I would like to thank every other person who has asked nicely, provided constructive criticism and thanked me for my meager efforts. For you all, I will keep making videos and Instructables and answering questions. I think I might start ignoring the entitled entirely.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Well, I did not get round to trying out the new mask idea as I did get one of those custom pieces ordered. Since I cannot stand the thought of making someone wait unnecessarily for something especially around Christmas, it was my priority all day long. I did manage a pair of heart earrings in the morning before the order was made though.

The rest of the day belonged to the cats however. I actually had to do a little litter training with the two new girls. They started peeing...everywhere. I think all it took in the end was getting the cover off the litter box as they seemed to right themselves after I did that. I am of course crossing my fingers that it worked since I seriously have no interest in cleaning up those sort of messes. Every other cat I've ever had litter trained themselves as soon as they were shown the box so this was a new one on me.

The new kittens are getting a bit more social though they still run and hide at the drop of a hat. Chi Sai, the three footed kitten was sleeping with me much of the afternoon along with one of my boy cats. When the kids got up from their nap, the oldest started bringing the other kittens down to the couch and they crawled on my lap as well. Isis, my old girl cat joined in bringing the total to six. The Seventh cat is not down with this much togetherness, but six is still a huge number. They then I had my husband take this picture in the evening. I was buried underneath this cat blanket for at least an hour. Good thing I had finished my tatting for the day huh?

Today is the last day of home schooling before the winter break. So there's that and I have a couple more pieces to add to my remake pile. I might play with the mask idea over the weekend, but there are movies that must be seen and a friends birthday to celebrate, so I guess it depends on how much kitten free sitting time I get. It's going to be a long weekend.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


 I swear, this week is just crawling by. Clearly it knows that there is a vacation at the end of it and feels the need to toy with us. I started the day yesterday with two quick sales, one I was expecting that needed expedited international shipping and another asking kindly for quick shipping as well. Of course I try to ship immediately when I get orders in the morning, so I spent the better part of the early hours shipping. This meant I had to remember what the silly EEL number is for the international shipment, which meant I had to tear apart my desk for it. It was under a couple of papers literally right in front of me. Note to self, put code in computer file blatantly named for next time.

Next up was home schooling, which has been taking up quite a bit more time now that we have started on subtraction. I kept checking messages all morning while she worked because there are two other custom orders that have been requested but not purchased yet and that is driving me up the wall. I will not start them until they are purchased, but I could be getting a head start on them. Sometimes I hate using my better judgment.

You are also getting the first bad phone pictures of the new kittens. The one on top there is Halo named for the black spot on her head. She is the braver of the two and came down to wander late morning. The older cats seem to be unaffected by the new arrivals, though their brother kittens are a tad annoyed and there has been much kitty hissing. The other here is Chi Sai, she is the one with only three feet. She was sleeping on our bed when my oldest snagged her and brought her down stairs in the late afternoon. She cuddled up to me and didn't leave for quite some time. As she is not as sure footed she seems to be extra shy and unwilling to get herself into situations she cannot run away from. I am hoping they both get more comfortable quickly, they had been isolated from the other animals at the in-laws, so adjusting to a full household just might take some time.

I only got a bit of remaking done yesterday, cats and school and all, but I did get another idea. This time for a new mask with my heart motif at the top center. I'm thinking this one will be a minimalist design aside from the center piece and I may even change the shape of the eye wires a bit to more of a cats eye shape. I'm mostly telling you this so that I remember that I wanted to do it when I actually have the time to do so. Though, unless those custom orders do get paid for I may have time today.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

With All My Heart

As I suspected, once it was time for the dental appointment, the day was lost to numbness and oddly enough acquiring more kittens. I know, I know, I just got two kittens. Well they were from a feral litter my in-laws rescued and they other two were living in their bathroom because they have a significant number of dogs. They didn't want to split the girls up because one of them was born with only 3 feet. So the in laws have slowly been working down my reserve and I finally gave in. We are now a seven cat household. I'm told this does not make me a crazy cat lady because I am married with children. I am not so sure.

Before all this occurred, I did manage to get the new heart design further refined and made into a pendant as well as a pair of earrings. They were well received, view wise anyway. I made up two pendants one in black and one in burgundy, but just the one pair of earrings in black. That is about all I got done yesterday though. Instead of working on other sold pieces, I vacuumed the whole of the house in anticipation of the added kittens. I figured it's always better to start them in a house free from strange floor bits to chew on.

As you might imagine, I will again be distracted by keeping the other cats from killing the new kittens. As soon as they get brave, venture forth and settle down I will share photos of them as well. They are both white, one with the missing foot and the other with a large black spot on top of her head, Chi Sai and Halo. I do have some major cleaning to do before we host Christmas and we have our winter trip to Monterey coming up as well so I think I am going to have to let the needle rest a bit in the coming week. Yeah, I know that won't last long, but it's what I 'should' do.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You Weren't Suppose To Be A Heart

I can feel the season winding down and the orders getting smaller. I can generally expect to continue getting the 'I'm shopping for myself now' orders all the way through the month, but then January is a dead zone. I'm been pretty good about keeping things remade so when the dead zone hits it will be time to design and work on a few more tutorials and videos that I have intended to do for some time now. My first video as now broken 50,000 views and the redo with me talking in now at 10,000. To say these numbers shock me is a severe understatement, but they also tell me that there is an audience out there for the videos.

I totally did not intend to go off on that tangent, I was going to show you what I made yesterday while I was suppose to be making something else entirely. I was making the base for a fascinator. It's the same motif I use for my corsage bracelets and was born from a vintage edging that I couldn't get to lay straight so I turned it on itself. Anyway, as I turned around the corner this time I decided that it would be a heart today. The one on the top was the first iteration and in the end I think my favorite. I made the second just to see if a cleaner line looked better. While some folk on the twitter preferred the second, most still liked the first better. I agree, it has more character.

I have schooling today and then a dental appointment, but I think I will get around to turning the heart into a pendant at least. I think I'm going to hang it at an angle rather than straight from the center. It was suggested that I might make matching earrings as well, so I might make some of those with smaller thread, since I think this size, almost two inches, in this shape might be too bulky. It was also suggested that it might be a great centerpiece for a choker. This I did try out yesterday and abandoned as I didn't like the way it was shaping up at all. That doesn't mean I won't give it another go of course, but down the line I think. I guess this just foes to show that busy or not, I simply cannot stop creating. I am always afraid that I will run out of new ideas, but aside from short lived cases of creators block, they always come back and boy do I hope that will always be the case.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Guess What I Broke

Good Monday morning my fine friends. It was one of those dragging weekends where not much of consequence happened, though lots did happen. Friday in particular was filled to the brim. There was the kitty vet appointment in the morning, followed by a quick finishing run on the holiday gifts. Then there was a field trip to the fire station followed by playing in the park. We then caught up with our DVR a little, had dinner with the in laws and I slept the sleep of a tired Momma.

Saturday was the trip to go see Tangled, cute movie, then a lot of nothing until I did something I never thought was actually possible. I broke a needle in twain. There I was tatting along and I had just finished a bit. I was running the needle under some stitches to hide the ends when, SNAP, the whole was now two. I think it was my first needle too. I have since acquired a few other sets for spares, but I think this was the old one, if seven is old in needle years. Has anyone else done this? Can you break a shuttle while working too? What's funny is this wasn't even a tight placement for me. I've run under stitches so tight that I've used the table to help push the needle through and no problems and this is what kills it. Oh well, I have more and I'm sorely tempted to pick up another set now that I know I can break them so I don't run out at any point. Could you imagine the horror of me being without a size 5 needle?

Anyway, I did manage a few sales over the weekend though not as many as I hoped. I will be getting those things remade and having the last week of schooling before a two week vacation. Of course it's just a break from one task replaced by keeping two bored kids entertained for two weeks, but a change of pace is always good. Off to it then and have a good day!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Knocked This Time

My hand is poised above my desk ready to knock just as soon as the next sentence has escaped from the keyboard. What a great sales day yesterday was (Knock, knock, knock). I assure you that those knocks were the written representation of actual superstition filled knocks. I had one customer order a single slave bracelet and request another to match and one of my best return customers requested a custom size and embellished necklace. These tasks kept me quite busy all day. Well that and the kids have decided that they are both sick again which makes them an extra handful. It doesn't seem likes its going to get too bad right now (knock, knock, knock), but it means they were extra needy and the oldest thought doing school was medieval torture. We did school anyway and yet she lives, so she is clearly not dying.

Hopefully they wake in better shape as our day is a full one. The kitties are getting carted off to the vet for more shots and then later this afternoon we have a school field trip to a Fire Station which means no nap or at best a short one. Luckily I am all caught up with the orders that needed making and they will all be in the mail today. Of course I really need a week of orders like yesterday to make up for not only the holiday shopping, but things like replacing bad hard drives and other 'but I need it' moments that I have succumbed to during the most expensive time of the year.

Before I head off into the day I wanted to send a thank you out into the world. Thanks to miss Tatting Chic. Her concern for me over protecting my work was greatly appreciated as was the end of our conversation where I was privy to a most enjoyable rant. Seriously people I love when people let their opinions out regarding certain nutters. No, I'm not sharing...that would be mean, but trust me, it's clearly not you. The point I was trying to make is a personal thank you and a general one to all my other tatting and crafting friends who look out for me and each other in this crazy Internet place. I'm wishing you much returned karma for your kindness. Now I'm off into the real world and the weekend. Have a good one.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Always Knock On Wood

I know it's what I get for talking without knocking on some wood, but I didn't have a single sale yesterday. Not one. Any other time of the year this would not be cause for alarm, but now, in the middle of the holiday shopping season, it's got my brain doing circles trying to figure out out to pull out of the nose dive. Did I do something wrong? Did I fail to do something right? No need to try and justify it to me, I know that it is likely just a fluke and even if it wasn't there is nothing to be done for it now. I suppose I just needed to get a little panic out into the open.

Even though I got no sales I was still busy of course. I had a pair of ankle corsets that needed making and I managed to finish them right before bedtime. I also got pictures of the ring I made the other day and got that listed. It always puts me in a better mood when I have something new to share, no matter how small.

So today I have the elytra necklace to remake. If nothing else I can get the lace tatted up and worry about attaching the wings later. If sales remain elusive, I'll just try and make something new to take the edge off. I still have a huge bag full of adds and ends to challenge my sense of design, so there's always that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Bubbles

So Monday, it seems, what a bit of an odd bird. Tuesday dragged a bit with no sales all morning. Though that did give me a little time to play with the wood beads like I wanted to. I  was going to split ring up each of these oval beads, but I got lazy. I also had to adjust the chains to accommodate the longer beads and since I had fewer matching ones, the spiral chains are longer too. Not that the pattern matters as this is yet another one off piece.

I had been working on remaking a pair of ankle corsets before I listed them again, but decided to put them aside and just change the listing to say they were custom instead. Then I started making a ring with a different ring base I picked up. I don't have any pictures of it as halfway through I got an order for those ankle corsets I was ignoring and had to get back to them.

I really have no idea how I manage to stay on top of so many tasks in a day. What is even more amazing is how, when the work load diminishes just a bit, I can actually feel bored during the day. Clearly that is not now though. Sales are fairly steady, home schooling is getting a might more challenging, the kittens are destroying and I'm trying to keep the house as clean as I can so I don' have to do any major cleanup right before Christmas. I might be failing at that last one, but I am trying.

Anyway, I do have those ankle corsets to finish up today and them I might get to remaking the necklace that sold as well. It was the one with the elytra so I might stall on it until I feel more like getting the drill out to prep more wings. I will also get photos of the ring I made today so I have something new to list at least. I'm already tired just thinking about the day ahead...that may not be a good sign.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Late, late, late. So it appears that I had my own mini cyber Monday yesterday. The orders started flowing in as I worked on the mask order I got. I had already started making a few of the mask bits and set them aside so for the first time ever I finished A Kind of Pale Jewel mask in one day. Good thing too because I still have a few things to remake and get listed as quickly as possible to take advantage of the holiday season.

I did get the photos for the green bubble necklace, so that is listed now as well. I think I already mentioned that this is a one off. That is of course unless my next grab bag from fire mountain contains more of these beads. I sure won't go and order them separately unless these pieces become popular. I also wanted to make a similar necklace with wood beads that I acquired in those same grab bags, but I am trying to stay focused and work on the things that are selling.

Speaking of selling, the oddest things are selling. Well maybe odd is the wrong word. Generally I sell very little in color over the year but I have sold like five bracelets in green in the last couple of weeks. I also had an interesting order for a bracelet yesterday where I was requested to remove the clasp because they were going to use it as a bookmark. I think you might have guessed why that might be ironic. My very first piece of tatted jewelry was made because someone mistook a bookmark for a bracelet and that light bulb went off. This was far before I had found any other tatters online so the idea was fresh and interesting and shaped my whole outlook. I know others experienced the same light bulb moment independently as well and look where those ideas took tatting.

So it's more remaking after home schooling today and that is the whole of my plans for the day. Off to it then.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bubble Necklaces

I can't even begin to go into the weekend we had over here. We had packed it with holiday shopping and events. Events were canceled and other things were scheduled to discuss why events were canceled. Those reasons became a huge drama regarding a place that is very important to our family, the comic book shop. I know it must sound silly, but we've gone once a week since before we had kids and they've been every week since they were in utero. I don't want to go into details since they are generally second hand and you'd have no idea what I was talking about anyhow, but the point is weekend...not as planned.

I did get some tatting done is small spurts over the weekend. I decided to make use of the large amount of big glass beads that had been included in one of my fire mountain grab bags. I started with the blue ones as I had the most of them. This gave me the first real excuse to try out tatting with beads where the thread is brought through the bead and not around. Usually the beads I use are entirely too small to attempt the maneuver, but these were perfect. It was another make it up as you go piece with chains around the beads and Josephine chains between them. I made the thing 24" long and tatted the final two beads together so it just slips over your head.

I also have similar beads in shades of purple and green, so next up I did some purple ones. While the blue were all the same shade, these varied a bit, but they all worked together well so I did the same thing with them. I also sold the first one of these within five minutes of listing it. Luckily I had just enough of the same sized beads to make one more. That is the last of the purple though. Then I went onto the green and I haven't photographed that one yet. It was made with two different sizes of the same glass beads. I only have enough of those to make just one. Both that one and the blue were made with hand dyed thread, the purple was a Flora that I got just to try out.

I just woke up to a mask order, so I'll be working on that today and hopefully I'll get the green bubble necklace listed. These things work up so quickly and since the beads came in the grab bag, I priced them to move. I do have plenty more blue beads and some smaller of each color, but I found I couldn't get the needle through the smaller ones, let alone a hook, so I might use them for something else entirely. I'm just glad I finally figured out a use for them at all, I hate having supplies going to waste. So of to it then and have a great week!

Friday, December 3, 2010

One Of A Kind

Here we are at the end of the week and boy did this one fly by. I did get a few sales yesterday but the first one was a big bummer. It was a mask order from Italy. Why is that a bummer? Well you see Italy has the strictest import prohibitions that I have run across. I assume that it is to protect domestic production because some of the things it will not allow are lace, needlework, sewn articles of any kind, hats and leather goods. So you can see why I had to cancel the order, refund the customer and hope they don't get too mad. I can send nothing I make to silly Italy. It's been said that I could send those things if I were in the EU as per their trade agreements, but since I'm here it's a no go. Luckily there were a couple more small orders in the evening to cheer me up.

I also got my creating on. I dug though that supply grab bag and came out with three different one of a kind pieces. This first up there is just a simple combo of split rings and a good old Josephine chain. The next one started with some different filigree balls and this time I had enough of them to make a pair of earrings to match. I stuck with the simple split rings, but added some little daisy flowers as well. For both of these I tatted directly onto the hardware. This made actually finishing these really quick too.

Last piece I made was less tatting and more mystery bits, but I think it's my favorite of the bunch. I took that flower diamond and tatted around it trying to mimic the design on the edge of the metal. Then I dug through the mystery bag some more and came out with a filigree ball, a small black crystal from regular supplies and some mystery metal chain. I know it's not silver, in fact it might be steel as it's ferrous, but I really don't know. I got these all listed as I made them and I'm pretty sure I confused a few people with my productivity, but making things you're never going to make again is much easier. I don't have to put any thought into the pattern as I don't need to remember it and since they are entirely unplanned required no forethought either. Just made them up as I went.

I do have a couple of pieces to remake today and then I think I might delve into that grab bag again. I only used black thread because I had put every other color back in their bins in an effort to clean up my nest. So I'll gather a few today from the bins and hopefully come up with a few more quick bits to keep myself happy. I know have a more than a few things to do over the weekend, but I'll try to keep the momentum going. The holiday shopping season is almost over.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Mess

I went and did it...something I have put off for months if not a year. I reorganized my inventory. Let me fist back up a bit. This is suppose to be the busiest time for retail of any sort and since working in traditional retail for years, I know how to psych myself up for that. Problem is what I am in that head space I must keep moving and since since sales have yet to reach the level my head is at, I am actually bored. I find myself searching my brain for something, anything shop related to do to keep me in the mode just in case the floodgates do open. I finished remaking some things and then I got out the supply boxes to clean them up a bit. They weren't as bad as I thought so I was done with that quickly. I did November's books...quickly and then I made a strange decision, to tackle the afore mentioned inventory.

So here it is in all it's glory. Four tubs and a big bag full of unfinished pieces. My challenge, to not only organize these into a search-able collection, but to also finish all the pieces that need their hardware put on. There were suppose to be 200 pieces in here, but as I dug it became clear that there were many moments where I couldn't find something in this mess and just made up another meaning there are many duplicates. A few hours of clasps and stacking in relevant piles and I was mostly done. I ran across more than a few pieces that are no longer listed that either could be or I might do some giveaways. I also separated out all the prototype pieces that somehow got mixed in and now there is a box full of that sort of stuff.

My goal moving forward is to actually take the time to finish the pieces once I've tatted them. To no longer let them become a pile of indecipherable lace. I think I need more tubs too, so that I can separate the types of pieces better for easier order fulfillment. Oh and I really ought to do a proper inventory so that I've never surprised by a missing piece that I thought I had. That's brings us to today and what I'll do with this store based energy now. I'm thinking of digging through the bad of miscellaneous stuff from Fire Mountain to come up with some one of a kind pieces, but again I hope to be distracted by sales which the Sales Fairy was suppose to bring. I guess she's busy or my kitty wasn't cute enough or maybe I need to start shilling myself like I dislike doing. Most likely I'll just whine a bit more and make something...ah, the life of a creative, we are so bipolar.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


So I do have something to share today. First I was being a good little girl, staying on point, making the sold pieces, but as I predicted I got bored. I decided to use some hand dyed thread to make another of Jane's flurry snowflakes, this time as a gift for an older lady that tried to learn tatting from me. Well, she did learn and then promptly forgot, but that's another story. As I rounded the side on the snowflake I became increasingly intrigued with just the tips. They would make great earrings...great clock hand earrings. I knew I really shouldn't muck with a pattern that didn't belong to me, but I couldn't help myself. This is the first one I made in the same hand dyed thread.

Then I thought, you know it does look like a clock hand, but the short one. I really ought to make the long one to match. This one took a bit more fiddling yo get just right. In fact I went through four iterations of the design. I know there are only three pictured, the first one was that bad. By the end I was working the inner round separate from the outer, but I think that gives it better symmetry. The last version is on the right here and is likely the one I'll stop with.

Now the sad bit, I won't be making these for sale at all. Since so much of the inspiration and design belongs to someone else, it was not meant to be. Let's just call it an exercise in adapting. I might of course start from scratch, excising the original design from my brain and  trying my own clock hand since I have become fond of the idea. Hopefully though I become so busy that I haven't the time to worry about it. This is another reason I do try to stay away from modern patterns as I tend to get every pattern I work under my skin and my natural inclination is to adapt them. I hope that you enjoyed looking a them though. I know I enjoyed making them.

Now it's back to a that remaking and the sales rain down dance as I have spent far too much money on the holiday gifts that are starting to be delivered and I must sell enough to justify my gifting. You hear that Internet Sales Fairy...send sales...please. I have inserted the requisite kitty picture offering. I hope that it is acceptable.