Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm Disappointed In You

Oh, postal are a vital part of our lives, you are a vital part of my business. Why, oh why, dear postal service, must you do inane things? I had a package I ordered take months to arrive because you sent it first to the wrong house, then back and forth over creation apparently. More recently you made a package disappear somewhere between here and Canada. This package contained a one of a kind face mask. I did not make a prototype. I did not write down my pattern. What I did do was spend the majority of yesterday pouring over, thankfully well detailed photographs of said piece, trying to faithfully reproduce it. Look, postal service, I'm not angry, but you can't go around doing this sort of're better than that. Point A to point B...this is your mission, your purpose. Don't screw it up again.

Moving on then...well there really wasn't much else going on yesterday as I labored on the above referenced project. Lucky for me the customer is understanding rather than accusatory. I will get that piece done today and hopefully I'll get back to some secret work as well. Did the month just sneak by for anyone else? I woke up this morning with the, 'crap, it can't be time to pay bills already can it?' screaming in my ear. Silly February and your lack of days.

A couple more things before I shut up for the week. I was asked to participate in a giveaway and I decided to go ahead and do so. You can find the giveaway for one of my Templar pendants in gray on the Fire and Ice blog. The giveaway is open until March 25th, so feel free to sneak over there and enter. Also, I am now just 4 sales away from the magic number 1000...yes I will continue to count down until I hit that number. That is it for me for the week, see you Monday!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yes, Another Secret

The cough has started albeit slowly and with less ferocity than my family experienced. I just hope this doesn't mean that it wants to last longer with me. I'm definitely working slower than usual, but I am still definitely working. I decided to put the new pendant on a micro bead chain and got it listed in the afternoon after I finished remaking a Ladies Who Lunch choker. As I was making that it occurred to me that while I do occasionally refer to my pattern notebook and pictures, I have a ridiculous number of patterns memorized. Sure, they tend to have tons of repeats, but still the sheer brain space these things must be taking up...I shall blame that for all my other memory failings for this point forth.

I know I have mentioned this in the past, but a super secret project that was actually initially imagined over a year ago is moving forward as I type. Now, I can not speak to the nature of the project as it has been established that we shall 'sit on our genius' until the concrete realization of the project. I am truly tickled by the possibilities that this project may bring and I promise you that I will share more when I can. I further promise you that you will LOVE it. Yeah, I know bold statement, but I think it might be true.

While most of the details and the true nature of the project must remain under wraps I can share some of the beginnings. Yes, I'm that certain that you won't guess from this. What are you looking at? Well, a pile of small hearts. I am currently trying to design just the right heart. I know many people write this sort of stuff out first, not me. I just start tatting and see what happens. In fact you might notice some stray threads in the picture from pieces abandoned before completion as they were not working out at all. I actually think I have already found the winner of the heart off, but a few others are just fine as well and might by re purposed to pendant status or even earrings as they are small enough for that. I have to admit that even though I designed these blind, without so much as a peek around at other designs...I fear that they might resemble others designs...I really should go look around at this point and see. I mean it's a heart, we've all made these and there are likely dozens of existing designs for them. Meh, I probably won't go look. I know I made them, what other proof do I need.

There are a couple of other small pieces that I bet you can't make out in the picture at all for various stages of the project and I have a few more small designs that I need to come up with here very soon. Seriously, this will be big...I was going to say epic, but I think I may have been overusing that word so, I'll stick with big. Oh, and don't do trying to guess, seeing if I'll allude to the truth. I think this one will be better as a surprise. So that is what I'll be working on today, unless I hear back from my custom order customer. Yes, I started this one before I was paid too...I don't need a lecture. I'll be able to use these designs either way too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Pendant

So, yes I was sick yesterday and while my sore throat has left me I feel worse this morning. It's mostly tired, you know that all over drained feeling. I of course have no time for such nonsense. I have things to do. I spent the portion of yesterday when I was not attempting to rest, tatting up the custom necklaces. They are now done, but I'm waiting to hear back on one more issue before I finish the last piece in the custom package. While I was sitting about I looked over at the pile of lace and saw a new design sitting in there.

This happens all the time and I figured since I was so busy with secret stuff I would go ahead and make the pendant I saw in the pile and get that up if for no other reason than to have something new to share. By itself the motif, created by basically mirroring an edging I was working, was a little plain. So I decided to dress it up with a little filament embroidery and a sew on swarovski. I still can't believe I bought those on a whim thinking I would never use them. I haven't quite yet decided whether this one will hang from a simple bead chain or something, well...nicer, but it's new and I'm sharing.Well, that's almost all I have for today. Just one last thing.

I neglected to mention an interview post that was put up Monday evening. It was another of those things I did a while ago and nearly forgot about until I received the message that it was up. You can find it on Unofficial Etsy Featured Sellers. I think I actually said a few clever things, so if your bored or something, check it out. That my friends is all I have to give for today. Hopefully this illness doesn't morph any further, but I know that it will, I still have uncontrollable coughing to look forward to, so yay! Oh, more thing. I am now down to 8 sales before 1000. It's okay to keep counting down all obsessive like...right?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So Many Secrets

I started the day with a poor choice. I read a comment indicating that there was more to the tatting drama I alluded to the other day, so I went and read it. I should have realized that it was going to further infuriate me for a host of reasons. I vented with sharp cryptic comments attempting to avoid the full barrel blast of logical arguments fine tuned with far too many classes on the subject. I do so love to argue, but I didn't. I held my tongue, waited until my husband was back for lunch and then let it all out in a high speed stream followed by a deep breath. I debated presenting some of those arguments here, the points of flawed logic and plain rudeness, but again it serves no real purpose. In fact, I should have really said nothing at all, but then again, I am not perfect.

Moving on...I do have two brand new designs done. Since I'm trying to keep the design something of a secret, this is all I am going to show you off of one of the pieces. Once they are out of my hands I will be making them both for the store as well. I think I mentioned that the design started as a doily edge, like so many good necklaces. Of course his one had much work on additional rows to create the right wearable shape, but I can still see that doily edge.

Let's see, what else for you today. I so want to tell you about this other funny tatter thing, but I'm trying not to be the mean gossip. Okay, I'm not gonna do it all blatant like, but basically someone presenting themselves contrary to their other, well established online presences on etsy. Most amusingly adding tags to their work indicating that they are a member of a street team which they are not a member of and doesn't suit their work. I assume that the tag was used in an attempt to perhaps snag my customer base again. I of course do not know the truth of the situation, it could just be a fundamental misunderstanding of the system. It could have nothing do do with me at all. I hate to jump to conclusions, but that was my first thought and it made my shake my head.

During the evening the sore throat and cough that has been plaguing my household finally got it's claws into me as well. I have the ever famous, 'it'll hurt if I swallow' throat and if family is any indication in a day or so I will have uncontrollable coughing. This might slow down my tatting for a spell, or at least my creativity. I also had a phone call with an old etsy friend about a super secret collaboration that is cooking slowly. I am ridiculously excited about its potential, but sworn to secrecy until it is revealed. It might be some time until then as well, since it is the most involved project I've worked on as well.

One last thing before I stop typing, I am now just 10 sales away from the illusive 1000. It has taken nearly four years of constant work and evolution of my style and skills to reach this point. Please accept free shipping until I hit that milestone. Just mention 'blog1000' at checkout, pay as normal and I will refund your shipping costs. You know, should anyone need anything.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Hookah Smoking Caterpillar

The caterpillar spent Friday morning being embellished by dozens of little blue dots and you know what? It worked. Yep, as soon as I stepped back and looked at the finished piece I felt that sensation, that knowledge that it was done. Whew. It got listed quite quickly after that and has been added to the Wonderland mix.

As I was working on that I got a request from a photographer for a white mask. She wants to use it in a Lady GaGa inspired shoot. Normally, I'd loan out the mask for this sort of thing, provided I liked/trusted the photographer, but white & makeup do not mix, so a deal was struck. I will be sending off my incredible, crazy, sequins and crystal whole face mask to finally get the photo shoot that it so desperately needs. I've wanted to list it forever, but I just don't have the skills needed to due it justice. So, hopefully I'll have some amazing pictures in the next month or so.

I'm also hard at work on the two custom and secret choker designs. I feel weird not sharing them with you all, but eventually you'll get to see them. One is a bit of a collar one only a little the portrait chokers little sister or something and the other is a variation on my Gothic Princess design made to match the other. I really like them both so as soon as the secret is spilled, I'll post both here.

On Saturday, we spent much of the day supporting some friends who had the grand opening of their comic book shop. Since the owners of our local shop passed away about a year ago we've not had one in town. We've tried to be as helpful as we can with the shop as our entire family enjoys comics. Obviously this meant no tatting, but I did have some very interesting conversations, most notably with a friend who happens to be a world class comic artist who was doing a signing there. He offered much advice on dealing with multiple Internet presences and dealing with the crap people say on the web. It's nice to know that we all deal with this stuff no matter what our art is, plus he is really fun to talk to. Unfortunately, we never go out, so this one day of activity left me with a Sunday of headache and exhaustion. I did manage to get one of those custom necklaces done and the design prototype for the other is finished as well, so I can work on that today. Oh and remaking a few things...and there's a mask on the list too and did I mention a White Rabbit mask...yeah, it might be a busy week.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Drama and Lace

Ah Friday, that magically day. Only one more day worth of stuff that has to be done before there are couple of days where stuff only 'should' get done. Yeah, there's barely a difference, but I am wiped this week so I'm clinging to it. Yesterday was another odd one, sure it was my own fault for being curious and diving into the tatting drama that I stumbled upon. I'm not going to go into details as it serves no other purpose than to drag out the issue which I honestly think was someones intention...sorry, I'm stopping. Anyway the drama brought up other fairly non related drama and my morning was spent in a search for the truth of that matter. I ran into a phrase I had not actually heard before in reference to needle tatting and that was 'faux tatting'. This set me off more than I would like to admit and after much research I came back to a phrase I saw not so long ago though I can't remember who said/wrote it first. 'The knot does not care how it was made.' I thank that person who I can't remember the name of immensely for that peaceful thought and that it where I would like to leave all of that nonsense. Again, sorry for the cryptic, but as much as I needed to vent, I was not about to start even more drama as a result of it.

Back to the caterpillar. I've been staring and hoping that it would say to me in plain language, 'I'm done.' but it hasn't happened as of yet. I did fix the issue I was having with the lace folding with a small piece of wire. I thought about the questions brought up in the comments and here are the answers. I stopped the spots because they are only on the head portion of the 'real' caterpillar and as to the other question, I can devise no way to add eyes that wouldn't come off as creepy. Back to the dots though, just now, I looked over at the piece and I think that might actually be the ticket. I got caught up in reproducing that I forgot that this is suppose to be inspired by the character, not a reproduction of him. I think adding the dots all the way around would give the piece that finished look that has alluded me. Thank you, oh readers for your comments, they are useful...especially you victats for the questions.

Though I remained stumped on the caterpillar I moved full steam ahead on the new necklace design. After faithful reproduction of the original pattern, I busted out the scissors to cut away a useless row. Then I was back to my old ways of making stuff up as I go. I came up with a few adjustments and a whole new row. This actually shrank up the piece a little, so I'm now in the process of devising a continuation of the pattern that makes up for a small amount of space. Seriously, sometimes the hardest bit of a necklace design is adjusting for the right length without completely mangling the design.

After I get that worked out and apparently after I make a zillion little blue dots for the caterpillar, I'll work the piece up in black and them it's final color combination that is part of the secret so I won't be sharing that. Then I need to design a variation of the necklace. One that matches, but is different. I already have a good idea of how that is going to work, but as we know, things don't generally work out as planned. Now I shall leave you with yesterday's picture from my 365 project, because I liked it a lot and thought you might too.
Tunnel of Lace

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not Quite There Yet

I think I had another off day. Something just wasn't know when you can't quite put your finger on the problem, but it still manages to soil the day. I did spend a little time trying to get the caterpillar just right. I made a few more adjustments to the metal bits and I think I'm almost there. I just have one more little problem with the way the lace will behave hung like this. If I can suss out a solution to this issue, the caterpillar might get it's photo shoot today and get listed...if I can suss it out. I like the way everything hangs, but it put a little stress on the bottom of the lace to bend. I may just insert a bit of wire to solidify the piece, but that is so not fun.

In other designing news, I started work on a set of custom necklaces. The only odd bit is the customer wants to remain a bit in the dark concerning their design as one is a surprise and apparently she is not so good at keeping those a secret. The less she knows, the less she can share. Makes sense. So I shall do my level best to remain a bit cryptic on the design work, but I have to share a bit don't I?

This little section is the edge of a doily that I plan on doing a bit of reverse engineering on to create the final design. I of course had to make a section of said doily before I could begin to break it down and use the elements properly with a few other ideas to create the final design. It's always hard to follow the exact pattern in the first place. I always want to start modifying right off the bat, but the process works so much better if I have a correct representation of the original. I am likely to axe the extreme picot party of this design and there is much work to do to join it to the other sections, but I have already tested the design for shape and it's perfect on that front.

Oh, one more small bit of news. In a continuation of the fashion blogging news I've already shared, yesterdays google alerts brought me another feature., this time at trend hunter. This time it is perfectly clear that they have mistook the 'tats' in' TotusMel Tats' to mean tattoos and again are assuming that my attempt was to create non permanent tattoos. I mean, sure I'll take all the press you want to give me, but I'd much prefer that they 'get' what it is. So...

Dear fashion blogging world, thank you for the notice, really it is wonderful, but it's tatting, not crochet or knit. It has absolutely no relation to tattooing except in your perception that it resembles it. Thank you again, please continue to mention my work at your convenience and I am available for interviews.

There, that ought to do it right? Maybe? Anyway, I'll be working more on the custom pieces as well as hopefully putting those final touches on the caterpillar today and maybe it will be a 'normal' day.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Well, yesterday was a bit off. I spent a very long time on the twitter discussing a custom order. Not that I mind the custom order, nor the venue of discussion, only that I got little done in the morning. I went straight from that discussion to the child's schooling for the day, so it wasn't until much later that I made any progress on the caterpillar.

Trying to stick with the whole, use up the stash theme, I gathered a few beads and a headpin to attempt to create a hookah. I think I said I wasn't going to do that, but he is the hookah smoking caterpillar, so it was worth a shot. I made the chain using large jump rings twisted to make two rings out of each. Again, that whole using only what I've got thing. When I presented the hookah for opinions on twitter, they ranged from,'that's perfect' to 'nope, looks nothing like a hookah'. I made a few adjustments after this picture on advisement of a twitter follower who I'm going to assume has more familiarity with the hookah than me, which is to say he has any at all.

I had accepted that the necklace looks little like an actual caterpillar, only that it feels inspired by a caterpillar...or perhaps snake. Anyway, I wasn't going to try and give this thing a face or anything, but I did decide to add a few more details. here we have one of those. The blue dots that one can see near the head of the caterpillar. I made small rings and sewed them onto the piece with rainbow filament. The result of the filament is a very subtle shine, which is good since I didn't really want any other bling after the hookah.

I still don't feel like the piece is done, but I'm not sure what else it needs. I'm certain that it will come to me at some point and I do have a custom piece to deal with so I might move onto that for a spell so I can come back to this one with fresh eyes. I'm also not entirely pleased with the clasp either so it might get moved as well. I guess what I'm saying is it is a work in progress until I say otherwise.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Caterpillar

I know I should do something epic today, but I just this moment noted that this is my 500th blog post and all I can really think is, yikes. So, I shall just leave it at the acknowledgment and move on. Usually, I rely on my google alerts to share features with me but it was the analytics that alerted me to a new French. A lovely facebook fan apparently shared my work on a fashion networking site and this is actually the second article to result from that. The very similar wording leads me to the conclusion that they originated at the same place as does the comparison to Chanel's new rub on tattoos. This one is at The Trendy Girl and the first one was at Set Your Style. So thanks to the fashion blogging world...keep it up, no really...go right ahead!

Back to the tatting world now. I did decide to get on with the caterpillar. I went with my new hand dyed green thread as the base color then set it aside to work out a pattern. I could have sworn that I had a vintage edging around here with the proper undulating effect that I wanted, but after a search through my abandoned and prototype tatting box, I came up empty. I did of course run across several older designs that might be brought back to life at some point. I do hate to give up on a design. Anyway, with no preexisting design to work off of, I started by modifying the basic vine pattern to make it curve in and out. Then I added a second row that switched from one side to the other further enhancing the curve. It kind of reminded me of drawing a ribbon.

Once I was happy with the prototype, I switched to the hand dyed thread. I hate to waste any thread, so I wanted to be sure before I began. Here, you can see the wave forming with the vine pattern. I made a fairly long length, but I think I should have gone longer since the second row really does pull the curve up making the overall length shrink up. I have a clever idea for joining the necklace, but I'm not certain how to accomplish it yet. Yes, this is another of my just tat it and see how it goes moments. I am not a good designing role model...don't do what I do.

When I started the second row, I added rings at the joins on a whim. I thought perhaps they would give the impression of little caterpillar feet. In a subtle way though, not the 'there's a bug on my neck way'...okay maybe a little like that. So this is where I left off. My Grandfather who had just visited from two states over came right back to bring us some things. I think he was insane to do so, but I thank him for the visit as well as the things. We took him out to dinner and he was already back on the road this morning before I woke up and I wake up early. Today is finally a school day again and though I do enjoy a bit of a break, I relish in the routine to get things done around here, including my tatting. So hopefully I'll get some more done on the caterpillar and then I feel compelled to create some new fashion pieces to play to the blog attention. Can't let trend potential slip me by, now can I?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Tweedle Brothers

So when is a Monday, not a Monday? When ones spouse has managed to create a five day weekend from Thursday to Monday of course. It is further reduced by the sheer magnitude of the 'weekend' I just had. Seriously it was so very long. I shall give you a quick recap so that you may understand my fatigue at this early hour. Friday began fairly normally, but morphed in the afternoon as we attended a field trip that included the Great backyard Bird count followed by an impromptu trip to the zoo. Then during nap time there was cleaning to do as Saturday evening included the most insane thing this house has ever seen. My point is it the whole thing was already off on Friday.

Saturday began with yard work as the sun was shining and we had much winter to undo, including the destruction the backyard landscapers reaped on the front yard. Weeds to pull everywhere and and cleanup while entertaining the children. More cleaning inside the house and then the hour arrived when we were to babysit my sisters 4 children overnight, but wait there is more. The spouse thought is would be fun to invite his brothers 2 children to stay as well for a big old cousin sleepover. If you're keeping count that equals 8 children between he ages of 2 and 10 including my own. My mother in law stayed to help and my brother visited for a while in the evening with my mom's dog, but lets just say, I am exhausted. As the children departed Sunday afternoon there was still the matter of Valentines to attend to, mostly for the kids and now I am left with a Monday of more cleaning to prepare for a guest tonight and...well...I'm tired.

I did manage to get some tatting done over the weekend. I listed The Cheshire Cat mask on Friday to many views. In fact I think it was my fastest item to receive over 100 views with no feature of some sort. Then I finished up the Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum piece. The tatting had already been done, so only the chain was left to make. This one used seed beads and glass pearls and then I added a few more random red beads of which I have no more, to flesh out the piece. I got that one listed as well.

Then I proceeded to remake a couple of sold pieces, basically busy work during the few moments of rest I got over the weekend. The last denizen of Wonderland that is on the list to be made for certain is the caterpillar. My delay with this piece is attempting to get the right color for him. There are fewer pictures of him out there and he seems to be that same turquoise blue that I used for the cat, but I keep thinking that he should be more green. I already have a concept in mind for him, so once I settle on the color it shouldn't be too long to come up with the right pattern to realize it. I keep thinking about the rabbits as well, but not sure what to do for either of them. There is no one telling me that I need to make something to represent them, so I suppose if I can't think of anything I'll just let it go. This Wonderland stuff has been fun though, it gets my mind off the competitiveness Ive been feeling with a few newer tatters...all up in my Internet space...doing the same things I have done...anyway, deep breath and moving on.

I have a picture from the museum display I helped on for my aunt, but I'll save that for tomorrow since I'm not likely to get much done today worth talking about tomorrow. One last note though...I'm just 15 sales away from 1000 so be warned that celebration is coming soon.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dee Dum

The Cheshire Cat, he is done. The finishing touches turned out to be the thread outlining. I added a couple of these subtle stripes at the eye edges and in a few spots along the forehead. Oddly enough I think the embroidery strengthened the lace. I mean, I went ahead and very lightly stiffened the ears, but they were standing just fine once the outline was complete. It also seems to have helped the joins to be a bit stronger. In short, good idea. I'll be getting the mask listed in the shop later this morning. I gave a quick preview to the facebook fans and I was a bit overwhelmed with the response. Again, I have to say what great fans and friends I have!

Immediately upon completion of the photos for the mask, I began to drift to the next Wonderland denizen to be done. There are no pictures of me wearing the mask incidentally...I was having a bad skin day. Anyway, I wanted to do the Caterpillar next, but Wonderland had other ideas for me and I began work on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Long ago I made a pendant design I called the faux Faberge. It was egg shaped and I thought perfect for the boys. Now, I did take one liberty with their design, the boys are identical, but I chose to make these opposites, at least in color. I have only gotten the motifs made up thus far and the plan is to attach them onto a chain with perhaps some shinies so that they hang sort of crooked, one higher than the other sort of like they are posed here.

I've got a bit of adventuring to do with the family today, so you'll have to wait until Monday to see what I do with them. I'll likely post it up on the fan page though, if I do get anywhere. Then I might try another stab at the caterpillar. If I had an actual watch face lying around, I might give the white rabbit a go as well, but I don't think I have any. This project started as a way to use up stashed materials, so it would defeat the point to go and get anything that wasn't already here. Though I think we all know, that it moved way beyond that quite some time ago. Anyway, I'm off, enjoy the new Wonderland member.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Cheshire Cat

I remember a time when I would not tat anything that could not be done in less than a day. In fact if it took more than a couple of hours, it was certainly low on the list. I made and sold only things that flew off the needle. Then you flash forward just a few short years and I'm adding steps to pieces to give them a finished look. I spend extra hours embroidering edges and I'm working with color and what the hell has happened to me? I have theories on the subject of course. In fact, I like to think what happened was I went from being a crafter who simply liked the act of making to an artist who is no longer just satisfied with my fingers simply being busy.

I realized as I wrote that sentence that it came off horribly pretentious. There is absolutely nothing wrong nor inferior about creating for the sake of creating. The mere act of bringing forth a finished piece from a ball of string has all the merit in the world. I just suppose that wasn't enough for me anymore. I suppose I wanted to impress people, mostly myself with what I could make with tatting. I used to think that I needed to avoid using other methods with the lace to keep it pure or some such nonsense, but clearly I've outgrown that thought as well.

Of course all this babbling is brought on by my newest project, the Cheshire Cat Mask. You see the old me, the 4 years ago me, would have laughed at the idea and brushed it off as either impossible or far too much work to bother. The new me is cursing tangling thread and muddling though.

I had the idea to use the same triangle motif as the center for the ears, but attaching them was another matter entirely. I added them on with a second row, but they honestly looked ridiculous, so I added another row. The last one was one of my, 'oh just start tatting and see how it goes' moments. Thankfully, I think it went well. They have that sort of outside bent that the pictures show even.

I could see the cat at this point, but I still had to wrap the eye wires and decided to do them in black to give the eyes more definition and separate the green from the blue. I believe I had mentioned the prediction that this was going to be difficult. I was not wrong. This was a painstakingly slow operation attempting to hide all the other threads. I know that I did not completely succeed there, but I'm okay with the results.

Next, I actually outlined the eyes on the center sides, again a painstaking process, but I really wanted the eyes to stand out. The last thing I started on yesterday was the embroidery. I opted for plain black sewing thread and took the line all the way around the outside of the design. I think that I might add some lining on the forehead section as well, but it is of course forming organically and I'll do whatever it looks like it needs to get it just right. I thought a bit more about the whole embellishment, cat smile thing and have decided that the mask will be basically what you see here. No pearls, they looked ridiculous, nor other shinies, I don't think they really fit. Besides, I think after the embroidery is complete there will be enough extra details to make it fit in with the other pieces just fine...of course I'm a bit worried now about getting proper photos of this one. Meh, one step at a time.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Here Comes The Cat

The Universe has brought the sales back, though I fear by mentioning it I will have jinxed it entirely. The other issue is what is the Universe trying to tell me...that if I whine the sales will return? That seems like a bad message to send Universe. Perhaps you were actually telling me that if I work hard and focus on other things that the sales will return. Yes, I think I shall choose that answer. What was I working hard on you ask? Why, my next Wonderland piece, of course. Yes, the mask that was suggested...I am making it.

At first I thought you were mad, but as I could not come up with a proper pendant or necklace design...I though maybe you were not so insane after all and I sat down during the children's nap time and began to think. The first hurdle was to design the great green eyes. I took a triangle motif and tatted it on the inside of the eye wire. This was not an easy task. In fact, this was the point where I cursed your suggestion with great vim and vigor. I managed to get both the eye created after much fancy crochet hook work.

The second challenge was of course the striping on the the cats head. I am working off of the new Tim Burton designs. If you haven't seen them yet, go look now...I'll wait. Anyway, this bit meant that I was going to be using two colors, which I don't enjoy doing with the needle. This is the one time I wish I could shuttle tat better. The long cut threads are always tangling and making things more complicated than they really are. I decided to not reinvent the wheel and used an existing mask design and merely picked the spots for the colors.

Next challenge up for today are the ears and a second row that will reinvent the wheel a bit. For this piece I am using all hand dyed threads as well. They seemed to be the perfect colors to make this one come to life. Once that second row is done another challenge will be to wrap those eye wires with the tatting on both sides. I predict that there will be cursing. I am not certain how comfortable the mask will be with the green on the eye, but it will be wearable and I suppose most masks are particularly comfortable anyway.

I did get an order that I need to make up, so the cat might be on a break for the day, but I feel like the design is working up so quickly that it should be done very soon. Of course I still haven't decided what embellishments if any this one will have. It seems only right given the other jewel encrusted pieces in the collection that this have some sort of shiny, perhaps some filament running through the blue, or I could hand a string of glass pearls from the corners making a smile...though that might be terrible annoying to wear. Well, as you can see, I'm not done with Wonderland just yet. I hope you're enjoying my trip down the rabbit hole.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Well, let's see. we can start off today with the photo of the new Mad Hatter style piece. I decided to call the piece, To Pick A Perfect Posy, because who doesn't love a little alteration in their titles. To those of you who swore that making the chain would get were right. The second go around, my hand was only slightly numb from the plier grip and the links are more consistent as well. I'm not saying that I'm going to start making chains for everything, but it does give the piece that added extra something. It is always nice to extend ones skill set a bit as well. I keep saying that I will take that wire wrapping class one might never happen, but I'll get the skills eventually.

Once this piece was done, I sat around wondering what I should do next. Sales have been unmercifully slow. In fact, had it not been for that etsy moment on their fan page, I would have just had nearly a week of no sales. I really do hate complaining because I know so many wonderful sellers that can't seem to crack into regular sales and I seem disingenuous when I know that they have never gotten sales like mine. So what's a gal to do? Anyway, I did remember that I hadn't remade the slave to the starburst slave bracelet, so I got that one made as well. Then I made a grand daisy pendant in the new turquoise shade to be listed later today.

I still have masks that are listed as custom that I should get made and I could get back to the tatted gloves. I'm also still toying with something to make for the Cheshire Cat and a few other Wonderland creatures, but even though the reception of the pieces has been lovely here and on the facebook page, I'm not sure they even have buyers out there...that's probably just the lack of sales bringing me down though. I shall have patience, things will turn about eventually. In the meantime, I shall keep working and creating and moving forward. Ah, there's nothing like a pep talk to yourself in the morning...I feel like I should follow with some , 'You are a good person, people like you'...nah, that's just weird.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Good morning Monday. I'm afraid that it wasn't an amazingly productive weekend. No surprise features, no spikes in views and this crazy no sales for days thing is beginning to get me down a bit. So much so, that I am actually starting to do something about not having any advertising. Not something swift of course, but I'm moving on it. I have to remind myself that it is generally slow this time of year, though I have not been selling masks for Mardi Gras, nor have I made any heart related sales. I guess lace is not the gift of the year.

I did get a little work done as I received a package of hand dyed thread I had been anxiously awaiting. Initially, it was just to be replacement for the much used deep purple, but I got a light purple, a emerald green and a turquoise. The turquoise is a special one, since this is the first time I have acquired a shade specifically because it's suppose to be the color of the year. Yeah, I have no idea how many people buy into this stuff, but it can't hurt to at least attempt to represent the color in my shop. I used it first for a custom order, then I decided that the best first step was an Immortal Corsage bracelet.

The thread has a bit of variation in the color which I do like. While, I don't generally like variegated hand dyed thread, I like the subtle variations on the solid colors that seem to give the piece just a bit more depth. I also got started on the first 'normal' colored version of the Mad Hatter piece. I think I was right, the design seems to have translated well to a more subtle version. Oh, don't get me wrong, it's still a big piece with a lot going on, but the color scheme will make it more wearable I think. I did this one in purples using the new and old hand dyed shades, along with a lavender. I don't have any pictures as I made this one yesterday over at the in-laws house...waiting for the commercials to begin. Okay, yes I watched that game thing too, but we go for food and commercials. I've still got the chain to make yet, so it won't be finished until tomorrow most likely.

I will be pulling a winner on my first facebook giveaway later this morning. I'm pretty impressed with the number of entries and the ego boost from the comments is nice. I think I will plan to do these at every hundred fans. I suppose that's a fairly good incentive for people to stick around and follow my meanderings. I am also starting to gear up for a load of anniversaries coming up, the etsy store is turning 4 in April, this blog is almost 2 and the Wunderkammer turns 1 about the same time. Funny, how time flies. There will likely be a HUGE TotusMel event to incorporate all these events...something that will span all the sites, what that will be I have no idea right now, but it will be something. Now, onto Monday I suppose.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Whirl Wind

Well, that was one heck of a day. My Grandfather who had been staying with us left early in the morning, so by 7 it already seemed late. Then I fretted on twitter that my last few listing were not showing up in a was relevancy Thursday. The day chosen by etsy to etsy out a new search engine on the site. What happened then was odd and fortuitous...etsy responded. Yep, Anda took the time to test some searches for me and give me some tips on the search. I was pleasantly surprised. I mean, I am an apologetic defender of the site, I have seen it through dozens of changes and growing pains and I don't plan on leaving. That said, every so often I wonder if the deserve my loyalty...they do.

That wasn't all Anda did for me that morning, she also posted my Shoe jewelry to the Etsy fan page. I thought, 'well, that's nice'. Then a while later I went to check it out...dude. They have nearly 100,000 fans and there stands over 40 comments on the post of my piece. The final tally of views to my etsy shop from this single post, 3500. My average daily views currently stand somewhere in the 175 range and even when I was on the front page for an hour the views only hit 1600 or so. Better yet, I actually got sales, many of them. All of this because I whined just a bit out of frustration.

It would have been a perfect day, but I had the mother of all headaches most of it, sapping the joy from the events. Oh right...event(s). There was one more. Through the power of the facebook post, as well as a few twitter friends, my fan page broke through the 300 mark that I had set for a giveaway. I get a bit jealous about others with many more fans, but I take pride in knowing mine are not etsy sellers there to acquire reciprocal fanning and most have found me in a pleasantly organic fashion. In short, I am proud that most of my fans are actually fans. So to thank them I will be giving away a piece, starting a little later today there will be a giveaway post that fans can post on to enter to win. I'll keep it open until Monday when I will choose a winner or two...we'll see.

The Mad Hatter piece is also now listed and I think I might be done with Wonderland...though honestly if I can think of anything for the Cheshire Cat or the Caterpillar...I might go back. I'll probably be playing catch up all weekend to get things remade. Though I'm kind of getting addicted to having new pieces to show off. I feel like a kid stuck in a class of perpetual show and tell and I must have something to show. This might be a problem...I'll just take a deep breath and see you all again on Monday.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yep, Mad As A Hatter

Each detail I added to the Mad hatter piece got me more excited about it. Seriously, it began almost as a throwaway after the first failure. I was only continuing simply to put the task behind me. I mean, let's face it, these are ridiculous colors here, they are bold, bright, garish even, so I was not entirely invested in the thing. I kept referring back to the Hatter pictures and saying to myself that it was right, these were the colors and I should keep going.

The base of the piece is the same as before, but this time, I used a large central flower with two extra layers. Then I added small rings around the edges the instead of flowers. Each of those was sewed on with a brass swarovski round and then embroidered around. I added some more filament embroidery around the center flower and then I popped that hat pin back in. Then I was in a bit of a pickle. I though I had some brass chain around here, but I did not. So rather than wait and buy some...I decided to make my own. I reshaped large brass jump rings to hold a brass round and then used smaller jump rings to connect them together. My fingers are still a little sore from it...and I remember when I thought I wanted to do chain maille...I'm over that now.

So to recap, insanely colored piece, hand made chain and I am still boggled on pricing the thing. It is one of a kind for no other reason than the pin was a found object. So, I might try to get the pictures done to list it today, but I will probably stress out more on the pricing for a bit, well that and wonder which bold individual will wear such a piece. Here's a secret though, I wore it around the house to test the weight and hang and I actually like it...really. I mean, you'd have to wear it with black because any other color would probably cause clashing, but it certainly makes a statement...even if the statement is 'I'm a bit off'. I think I might recreate the piece in more complimentary colors at some point. Maybe reds, or purples or maybe even greys with steel colored beads and silver filament. Yeah, that might be nice.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

As Mad As...

As you can imagine, most of my day was devoted to hosting duties as my grandfather did arrive mid day. I managed to get schooling done beforehand as well as remaking my Salome piece. It is much more difficult to get anything of consequence done when one is following around two small kids to ensure that none of their daily shenanigans leaves no physical destruction. Once nap time rolled around, I retreated to my computer room to work while my Grandpa got settled in the guest room.

At this time, I did begin work on take two of the Mad Hatter piece. This time I had a much clearer idea of where I was going with it. I didn't get very far of course. Actually I'm shocked that I managed to get anything done. As soon as the children awoke, relatives descended on us. There were cousins, and dogs and pure unadulterated chaos from that moment until it was nearly time to retire for the evening. Sure, it was a great time and the children enjoyed themselves immensely, but I awake this morning nearly as tired as I was before I went to sleep last night.

It seems another secret project has presented itself while I am still waiting to see the previous ones come to fruition so they can be secret no longer. This one is mostly out of my hands, requiring the smallest of efforts from me, so no worries if it too does not pan out. Though honestly, I am getting tired of getting worked up for no reason. I think I have lost count of all the things that could have been.

Hopefully I'll get a bit of time to work on the Hatter piece and I've a few other bits and bobs that need tatting, but until my house is guest free, I must accept that I may get little done. One more small thing to bring up. I think I have entered the home stretch to 1000 etsy sales. Though they have been aggravating slow lately, I have less than 30 to go. This should mean that hopefully by the end of next month I should be at that milestone. I know that is still quite some time away and even mentioning it could jinx sales even further, but I had to tell somebody as I am starting to get excited to get there. I won't mention it again until we're really, really close though...I promise.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I was fortunate to get a custom request from a friend yesterday, so I was making that most of the morning. Then I spent a little time working on remaking some pieces listed as custom, which is code for I haven't gotten off my lazy bum to get one made yet. Then...then my friends I got creative. Not the good creative, the regresty, craftastrophe sort.

I wanted to continue the Wonderland theme and after I got a Disney email to enter their related sweepstakes emblazoned with the Mad Hatter, I decided to give that a go. I had an idea, but it really needed more fleshing out. Did I flesh said idea out before I began? I think you can imagine that I didn't. I just started tatting. I grabbed balls of thread and random supplies, sat down and, well basically threw up all over some lace.

The concept was the black lace hat mixed with the flamboyant colors. I figured I was make small flowers and add them sparingly to the black base. Maybe add a bit of sequins sparkle and I had a hat pin that was a free gift with purchase that I thought I'd add. What happened however was the afore mentioned vomit. Perhaps I was distracted, unfocused, whatever...the point is I think I went overboard covering the whole piece with the flowers when I intended to layer them a bit making sure that you could see the black. I wish I could have warned you to brace yourself before looking, but you've already seen it.

Don't let the artistic angle of the photo fool you either, this thing is a mess. I was going for random, I ended up with off balanced. Sure, I know the Mad Hatter is off balanced, maybe it does tell the tale well, but I can't imagine this thing selling. So, no I'm not listing the Hatter piece as is. So why did I bother sharing all of this? I suppose I wanted to share proof that I am incredibly fallible, that I am fully aware that not everything that comes off my needles is genius. Maybe, I was just amused and thought you might be too. Anyway, I will begin again. Perhaps this time I will add a single flower to the center to begin and give the whole thing focus before adding the madness. I think I will still use the awful hat pin even though that makes the piece completely one of a kind and I think instead of random sequins, I might just bust out the filament again so the pieces remain related. See this is the sort of fleshing out I was referring to earlier. Note to this first, then tat.

I hope you've enjoyed this brief glimpse at tatting disaster. My Grandfather should be in town today, so there may be a distinct lack of tatting to share tomorrow...I never know. I hope the next time I have a Mad Hatter to share, he is...genius.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Alice In Wonderland Collection

Another weekend of furious activity. There was an entire day of cleaning floors, an evening of convincing my five year old to let me help her second loose tooth out and tons of tiny tatting besides. But first, yes, she got that tooth out, it was hanging by the little vein, which of course meant to bled and she had a minor meltdown. She is fine now. The house is clean now as well. Every last tile scrubbed, carpet cleaned and bathrooms washed. I think I am ready for my guest for the week...I think. You know, I'm fabulous at providing a space for people, but I am an awful host as I lack cooking skills or desire and I have so much to do during the week that my version of entertaining is handing someone the television remote and showing them the fridge. I know, classy.

On to the tatting for the weekend. Well, I made the White Queen piece and decided that she needed a foil. So I made the Red Queen piece. Each piece used the same vintage motif. As you can tell, I quite love the motif. For the white queen I went with a clear swarovski & pearlized beads, for the red queen, black swarovski rounds and a collection of small glass beads I had stashed away. Then I used filament to embroider the lace of each silver for the white and gold for the red.

I decided though, that I couldn't leave the Wonderland family quite yet and I set about trying to find the right piece for Alice. I have the perfect blue colored thread, I just needed the right delicate motif. I decided on a simple rose, added swarovski crystals around the edge, embroidered the petals and hung a small key charm from the edge. All the pieces have a black diamond swarovski sewn into the center as well to tie them together just a bit more. Of these pieces, only the Red Queen can not be reproduced exactly since I have no more of the glass beads.

Recently, I've been feeling the pressure from a few more tatters on the etsy with what I shall call, a similar aesthetic. Basically they are starting to get all up on my firmly established niche. Rather than panic, I have been inspired to continue to expand my niche with more pieces like this. They certainly aren't black, but they still appeal to my audience of fantasy loving folks I think. Plus all this rooting around in the supply box will hopefully reduce the stash of things I thought I'd never use. I think I have a bunch more one of a kind pieces to work out in the coming weeks. Never fear though, the day any other color out numbers black in my shop is the day ...umm, yeah it's just not happening. I know who I am and my tatting will always reflect that.

I did also get a bit of work done on the gloves, but no pictures and got more edgings made for the museum display, but no pictures. I'll make sure that my aunt provides some once the display is up though. I am curious to see how she puts this together as well. I think that is it for me today. I think I might be looking at another long day trying to keep the children from undoing the cleaning and maybe I'll get a sale, it's been days...what's up sales fairy? Have I offended you in some way? Eh, I've gotten so much done with the time, I shall not complain. See you all tomorrow.