Monday, May 31, 2010

Elytra Necklace

And here we are back at Monday. Of course this week has far less that needs to be accomplished. I have a dental appointment tomorrow and that, aside from the child's schooling, is the only planned event. Over the weekend, we had the birthday party, some gardening, I planted star jasmine, and a movie, we went to see the Shrek movie with the kids. So I am absolutely still tired this morning, but since it's a holiday, the husband is home and the kids want to go on bike rides.

So I gave you the start of the new elytra necklace and it was not only finished, but sold on Friday. Of course it sold to the fine customer who had requested it, but I shall make another as I too loved the way it turned out. I made several modifications to the pattern so that the elytra would hand at the right intervals. I had also initially tried to tat the elytra directly to the lace, but no matter how loose I made my tension it just immobilized the wing cases, and I wanted them to hang nicely and click together. So in the end I opted to put them all on jump rings and tatted those on instead. I prefer tatting on the rings as opposed to just hanging them from picots. Even though they are very light, I worry about stretching the picots all out of shape with time. Hopefully I'll get the second one done this week so I can list the piece again.

I also got my white feathers in the mail and have started the task of sewing all the elements together for the bridal veil. At first I was a little taken back by the off white of the feathers I received. I was afraid they would look awful with the stark white of the thread, but I was mistaken. The color adds another subtle dimension to the piece. You'll see when I get it done and get you some photos. I also got some feather pads upon which to build the version without the veil. We'll see how that goes. Then I need to pick up some bobby pins to try out the simple flower bobbies that were suggested. All of this may of course take weeks to get all together.

Also one small rant this morning. Dear customers with time sensitive deadlines. When you ask if I can make something in time for event and I reply that I can it would behoove you to make your purchase immediately. Every day you wait, makes it that much harder for me to complete your order because I am damn sure not making it until you make and pay for your purchase. Also, if you decide any time during the course of our conversations that you have changed your mind, you could also drop that bit of information on me as it would relieve quite a bit of stress as I sit here wondering if I'm going to have to knock out a piece in a day or two. Thank you and have a great day.

Friday, May 28, 2010

At The End Of The Week Again

Oh Friday, I'm so glad to see you. I of course have to use you to clean so I can have Saturday for a birthday party, but that's okay. I'm just glad that you're here and they're are no more meetings or appointments, really, thanks for coming.

So you might not believe it, but two days in a row I got my creative on. On Wednesday I got a message asking me if I was interested in making a larder necklace dripping with elytra. Why, yes I had intended on doing that quite some time ago, but as I didn't seem to have anyone waiting for it and I am easily sidetracked with other things, it has not yet been attempted. Since I was given a reason and Thursday gave me some time, I started to work on it.

First I used my brand new extra tiny drill bits to drill holes in a bag full of beetle wings, then I set about trying to find the right style upon which to lay them. After a search though my existing pieces failed to invoke an a-ha moment, I started the search through the vintage books. You see, even though I can design my own pieces, I prefer to start with something tangible, that I can see before I start. Often this results in a slightly modifies vintage pattern and of course something I go all crazy like and just start tatting to see what happens. This time I found the edging of a hankie to have the right amount of curve to lay where I want it. I always tat the pattern as written the first go around. It's like what the teacher always said about writing, you have to know the rules before you can break them.

I've already started work on the final piece. I made several stitch count changes and they'll be some rearranging of of picots so that the elytra hang just right, but I think I might be able to knock this one out today...maybe. I do still have a tile floor to clean and as that is most of the downstairs floor, it takes a bit. Then there is the kitchen and I still have laundry and well let's just say I will not much miss this week when it is finally gone.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The News

Well, what do you know, I kept my word. I did something yesterday worth a mention...a tatted something. Though I had plenty to keep me occupied I was inspired by the necklace round the newscasters neck in morning. I know, right? We are HLN watchers, every morning without fail and I have often thought of making and sending something to Robin Mead as she seems to favor large and interesting jewelry, but this is actually about a piece worn by one of the other ladies, whose name escapes me at the moment.

It was a simple chain piece with a bobbles of some sort spaced out along it. I looked over saw some of the new small flowers I've been using on the veil and decided I had a little time. I made up a few flowers then gathered some chain and some pewter beads and made a new necklace. I may eventually do another version with more flowers and no pewter beads, but I was strapped for time and I wanted to get something created. It's not listed yet, but I will get it up later today.

After all the morning chaos I also got a couple of hours to get some other things done including getting photos of the veil for listing. After my stress over the mannequin versus real head shots, it was suggested that if I had a wig to wear that for the photos. Of course I have a wig, three actually and the most realistic one was sitting on my mannequins head in the first place. So I put it on, remembered how much I had grown to dislike them after having to wear them to work so long and got my pictures. I'm not over the moon about them, but they're done and the first veil is listed. I think that the white feathers might be here today or tomorrow, so I'll get to do it all over again once I make that one up too.

I also spent the evening moving the girls clothes to their new drawers. I had forgotten how allergic I am to whatever happens to clothes when they're stored for any length of time. Is it dust? I don't even know, but I'm still sneezing and snuffling this morning over it. Today is the rare unplanned day for the week. Tomorrow I must clean before the birthday party, but today should theoretically be a 'normal' day. I'll try to get the white veil sewed together in anticipation of the feathers arriving...if I can find my whit thread. I know I have at least two spools around here somewhere. I'll get the new necklace listed later and maybe if I'm feeling adventurous, I'll start drilling some more beetle wings for another project that was handed to me yesterday. Off to it then.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's Only Wednesday?

One more insane day down and another just on the other side of sun up. If you didn't know I write the blog just before the crack of dawn so that makes sense to me. We headed out of town yesterday for the final field trip of the year to a John's Incredible Pizza. We'd never been and the kids had fun. There was an awards ceremony and I figured we'd meet more of the home schoolers in the area, but it was the same groups of family that we had seen at most of the field trips. Here I thought we would be the horribly anti social ones, but no.

We headed back home in the early afternoon and a new chest of drawers was waiting on the door step for me. Well, a box full of parts was waiting for me to assemble them, since my children have outgrown my old childhood set. I spent another two hours or so doing that. My hands hurt, my muscles ache, but it is done. Of course I still have to transfer over the clothes and move my old one out of their room, guess what I'm doing later today?

Before all that starts again, there are doctor visits to attend and one last teacher meeting for the year. Then after the clothes thing, I can rest for about a day or so until Saturday when my daughter has her birthday party. Well, maybe not rest since the house will be needing a cleaning as well. This is honestly the longest week in recent memory.

One thing that a busy family weeks reminds me of is that ones etsy shop needs constant attention. Without my twitter talking and updating with new pieces, it immediately languished. Normally this is when the panic and worry would set in. Lucky for me, I actually have no time to dwell on such things and a break works out for me just fine so long as it remains on a temporary basis. I'll try to do something worth writing about in the morning today, but as always there are no promises.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Crazy Day Number Two

One crazy day down, like five more to go. The daughter had a lovely birthday, though I made unfortunate shoe decisions on a day that required me to walk far too much. There was toy shopping, the park, zoo, comic book shop, dinner out then we took the girls out on their new bikes until nearly bed time. My feet are seriously perturbed at me, seriously.

I managed not a single task for 'work' except that I stole a few minutes to get the Wunderkammer made up during their nap. Today they're is a slight chance I'll get something tatting related accomplished since we have just the field trip and kindergarten graduation firmly scheduled for today. Late last night the UPS man brought me my massive black thread shipment. This is suppose to wean me off Michael's trips and is a better quality anyway. Though speaking of thread, I ordered up some Lizbeth for the first time. I had a customer who wanted a dark green color in a piece I tat with size 20 thread and that was the brand with the color I needed. I had often heard such high praises for it, but I don't get it really. Maybe it's just a personal taste thing, but I like my thread firm, but soft and this stuff was stiff to work with. On the other end, I hate perle cotton with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. It's too soft and falls apart when you look at it, but I hear about people using it all the time. Is it a color thing, I know both those extremes come is wide variety of colors. Yeah, I just stick to what I like using I suppose.

A big thank you to all of you who commented on the veil yesterday. I got a few moments to check them throughout the day and I was truly touched by all the praise. I'm now getting rather excited for the whole line to develop as well. I've got the tatting done for the bridal version and the feathers are on their way this week, so if I do get some time, I'll sew up the veil and have that ready to put together when they get here. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the best way to photograph the piece for listing. I know it would look better on a real head, but I worry that some people will be icked out by the thought of it already being worn. Meh, I guess we'll cross that road when I actually have some time to get to it. Now onto crazy day number two.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Tatted Veil

Good Monday morning to you. My insane week will begin just as soon as the rest of my family awakes, but since that will be a while yet, I have time to share my newest piece with you. So, I shared the creation of the motif and the veil itself, well on Friday, I received in the mail the last component needed to make the piece complete, the feathers. First a quick lesson I learned about feathers during this process, there is a dramatic difference between 'craft' feathers and good ones. I had picked some up at Michael's thinking they would do. They shed and I just wasn't happy, so I ordered some from a supply shop on etsy and they were magnificent. So, what I'm saying is look for the good stuff even if it takes a while and costs a bit more, it is so worth it.

After a brief consultation with Twitter using a picture with the pieces laid out together, I started the laborious task of sewing everything together. It was suggested that I fan out the feathers from this configuration, so I pinched and sewed the strip they were on to give them a bit of a fan. I didn't even tat the flowers to the base, but sewed them as well, adding crystals to the centers as I went. In this first shot, you can't see them, but there are also stripped feathers stretching out beyond the soft Ostrich ones and those I tried to fan a bit as well. I thought about just gluing the whole thing together, but that seemed lazy and if one is going to make a high end product, one must make a concerted effort to make it as high quality as possible.

The end product was praised enough on Twitter that I felt confident to go to my favorite Milliner for advice and opinion. Lucky for me, she is kind enough to answer my questions regarding pricing and design so I think I have that sussed out. I was humbled by her responses that it was in fact well constructed. Every time I try an entirely new product with my tatting, I freak out over whether I am qualified to make the piece at all. Seriously, I used the Internet to get tutorials on birdcage veils. Then I just guessed as to which feathers might work and I tried to make them look nice enough that I would wear the piece.

I am so lucky to have experienced people around me to ask in the end or I would be stumbling in the dark. She also suggested some additional pieces to add to create an entire line of hair accessories. So as soon as I receive my white order of feathers the bridal version will appear and then pieces without the veils on clips that match and if I can figure out the best way to construct them, bobbies with the matching flowers. Clearly none of this is happening this week, but in the near future. I'll try to get listing photos of the finished veil this week so that I can list it, but with the crazy, I don't know that it will happen. Yeah, I'll let you know. Now, I'm off to celebrate the daughter's birthday.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thank You

You guys are wonderful, really. Thank you so much for all the reassuring comments. It had just been long enough that I wondered if something was actually broken. I try not to be too needy, the Internet is already narcissistic enough as it is, but every so often I guess I still need that feedback.

I want to say also how wonderful both you and twitter has been to me over the past couple of years or so. Mock Twitter all you will, but the instant feedback, the diverse opinions and networking there has been invaluable. Yesterday I asked about more eco friendly bath product that I could find in the convenience of my local Target. Sure, I'd seen some things, but why experiment when I know someone out there has a great recommendation. I was sent by many to try out the Burt Bees selection and was given several other options available in the health food/vitamin store should I need to further experiment. Heck Twitter is the reason that I carry Baggu reusable bags in my bag at all times. It's the reason I now have a pair of Simple sneakers, which by the way are ridiculously cute and comfortable. I've learned, I've shopped and I've grown with exposure to you and twitter and etsy. Sadly most of these connections exist only online as they are physically way too far away. Lest you like I am completely lonely, I do have a wonderful family, beautiful children and a supportive husband. I just wanted to say how much I appreciate my virtual world.

As a bit of an impromptu gift, please enjoy a $5 credit on any purchase at my etsy shop though the weekend. If you are interested just mention the blog and the credit at checkout. I will refund through paypal. I wish I could offer a less retail based gift, but it's all I've really got except, Thank You!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Is There Anybody Out There?

Wow, it's been over a week and I've not gotten a single comment...not one, I must be boring the crap out of you all or something recently. If something was broken you'd find me on twitter and tell me right? right? Anyway, I'm going to write as if someone is still reading so here goes.

I didn't get back to the veil project at all though I didn't really expect to. At this point I'm waiting for the nice feathers to arrive so I can finalize the design. It's just as well though, as you might recall I've been trying less than successfully to potty train my youngest. I went for the no net method of just switching her to panties and while the first day was just a lot of clean up, since then it's been working. Though it does require me to be at her beck and call and never far away nor too involved in any project that I can't literally drop it and run. We still have a bit more work to do before I trust her new skill well enough for me to relax and focus on anything else, so convenient timing of all elements.

I more personal news which you likely don't need to know, I am again back in the corset. Last summer of waist training was fairly successful. Taking the rest of the year off, not so much. I still find that no amount of stomach exercises is taking the edge off that leftover baby belly and the kid is three now, so it should be ancient history, right? Oh, if only insurance covered tummy tucks, I'd be all over that mess.

Speaking of mess, here's just a bit of a warning regarding next week. It will be a complete wreck. The week begins with my oldest daughter's birthday, contains a school field trip, doctors appointment, teacher meeting and ends with a birthday party that is threatening to occur during rain...though it's still too early to tell. Point is, I'm likely to be very distracted. After than though there are only three more weeks of home schooling. I haven't decided if that will be a good or bad thing for my personal productivity. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I think that's enough nonsense for today.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Motif

I couldn't do it, I could let yet another day go by without putting some effort into the veil. So I stopped with the remaking, albeit briefly to get a bit of progress done. Thanks also go to the lovely sewicked on twitter who steered me in the perfect direction to acquire a lovely selection of feathers. I managed to pick up a few different varieties for a reasonable price and since they already shipped I imagine that I should have them by the end of the week.

So this is the basic concept for the tatted section. The flowers aren't sewed onto the background motif and I plan on adding swarovski crystals to the center of each flower as well. Then I'll add some selection of feathers to the back to give the whole piece a little more weight and add that to the veil. I still haven't decided whether the whole piece needs to be backed with felt before it's added to the veil or just sewed together. I am definitely no milliner, but I will keep at it. Once I have the structure down, then I'll give the bridal version a go. It will likely have pearls rather than crystals, but I think the same design should translate over to white just fine.

In other news, my massive order of thread has finally shipped, so I will be weaning myself off of the Micheal's stuff. In fact since I order so much from Fire Mountain now, I will rarely have a reason to even go in there save for the occasional supply. I had gotten so used to basically weekly thread runs, buying their entire stock of black thread. I'll be spending a bit more, so I'm still debating about raising a few prices to absorb the thread increase, not everything mind you, but a few up a dollar should take care of it over time, I think.

I'll put aside the veil again today, in favor of orders, then once the feathers arrive, I'll go back to documenting the process. See, I am much more interesting when I have something tatting related to say. Oh & I got an email this morning that I'm featured in a Wordless Wednesday post on So I Was Thinking... It's a nice collection, if you wish to stop by and take a quick look.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nothing To See Here

I didn't lie yesterday when I said I wouldn't get back to the veil, I didn't. I was lucky to have a few orders over the weekend and I am still making those things that sold. In fact that was about all the tatting I did yesterday as I had chosen this week as the most recent potty training attempt. this go round we're removing the convenience of the diaper and trying to let her feel how uncomfortable it is to wet herself so she'll tell me first. As you most likely already guessed, it was a messy day. I am truly fortunate to have tile floors throughout my first floor. I'll be back at that again today and likely until it either succeeds or I start getting annoyed and have to switch tacks again.

I'm over here racking my brain to find something, anything else to share with you that would be remotely interesting and get that potty talk out of your head, but I am so drawing a blank. No new tatting, no new features, sales have been alright recently, so no new complaints. Everyone is relatively happy and healthy, I just got a haircut, but it's just the same one, not not really entertaining. Still reading American Gods for's still good, but you don't need me rambling about that particularly since I'm so far ahead of schedule it would just be one big spoiler. No, I guess I should just stop trying for now. Yes, that's what I'll do.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Good Monday

I warned you that I wouldn't make any progress over the weekend and I was right. You see on Saturday we rented a scissor lift. Why? Well as soon as we were able after we bought this house we outfitted every room we could with ceiling fans. The was however one room that eluded us, the living room. It's ceiling is 19 feet high. No we could see that it was wired properly for a fan, but the logistics of getting a fan up there were daunting. Finally we bit the bullet, bought a six foot down rod and rented a scissor lift. Saturday was challenging as I was tasked with keeping the children out of the way while also running various errands. The lift was surprisingly difficult to get into the house and we required the help of family, a friend and a neighbor. Then while patching small holes in the ceiling which look as if the previous owner played a round or two of darts, husband runs the lift into the entry way wall. Luckily he struck a metal bracket so fixing it wasn't too much of a drama...though it became my drama. It is done now, but no time for tatting.

I did say that I would show you one of the birdcage veil attempts today. This was the longer version and it seems to sit well in her thick hair. Perhaps I was right in assuming that these veils are not completely ready to wear, but require doing ones hair just so to situate the piece on your head. Here's hoping. I started making up the flowers in black on Friday and started embroidering them in silver filament. I figured they needed some highlight to let then stand out from the black motif base as well as the veil itself. It might be some time before I get the rest of that finished so I can assemble the pieces. I think I might end up ordering better feathers as well since the ones I got at Michael's are 'craft' quality. Usually that's not a dirty word, but I think it's appropriate here.

Speaking of ordering, I did send off an email regarding the large thread order and apparently I bought more than she or her supplier had in stock. So I get to wait just as bit more as she should receives hers on Tuesday and will be shipping them to me as soon as they arrive. The lesson here is of course not to wait until you need something to order it...oh well. It was still a fine deal so I shall not complain further.

One last thing that I forgot to mention last week. Yet another lovely person I met on twitter has done a feature on my work for her blog. She the author of a new Steampunk book and imparted to me that she wishes to help expose other artisans in support of handmade. The article on me is on Caught in the Cogs. It is already listed in the 'where I'm featured now' column. That's it for today I think...yes.

Friday, May 14, 2010


The mail wasn't a complete disappointment yesterday, I did receive the veiling I was waiting for though don't get me started on the thread I ordered nearly three weeks ago now. Before I get into all that though, Your attention to the is done. That's right the mask that took weeks of my life and then sat about whilst waiting for first pictures then me to actually list it, has been listed. The pictures I think do the mask great justice and yes, the price tag is high. Honestly, though it would be wonderful, I do not expect to sell this mask. It shall simply serve as an art piece for the shop, a representation of what can be done if one is willing to suck that many weeks of their lives away on a single project.

Now back to the new project which suddenly feels small and insignificant next to that one. I started out by modifying the same motif I used for my Corsage bracelets into a nice square. Never mind that after mail came and I checked out the combs I had, I realized that the original sized motif would like be a better size to cover the comb.

Next up was the flowers. I know that most veils and fascinators use big silk flowers, but I'm a tatter so and I wanted a smaller design anyway. I started by skimming old pattern books for different designs and made a couple up. As happens so often, I sat one under the other, made a few stitch changes and came up with my own hybrid version shown here on the bottom left. Then I made up two smaller ones to flank it, made the afore mentioned realization regarding the base motif, made a new one of those then moved on to the veil itself.

Remember how I said the construction is simplistic...yeah, well it might be a this, then that process, but the devil is in the details. The first one I made seemed far too poofy, the second time I used less veiling and still it doesn't lay the way I want. Of course this may be the sort of thing that is solved by the wearer with an assortment of bobby pins and I'm just over thinking things. I'm also not settled on the feather base for the design. You see, I figured adding feathers under the tatting would give the lace the majesty needed, but the loose feathers I bought to play with are not cooperating either. This is definitely a project that requires working out all the details before one can easily create. So Monday I will likely show you some of my veiling attempts, but the weekend has a list of household projects that must be attended to so I don't know if I'll make any further progress here.

Whew, it was nice to actually have stuff to share...on Friday...after a week of rambling...nice.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Again, I come to you with a fat load of nothing. I finished with the ankle corsets and went on to remake a bracelet and am still in the process of making a sold choker. The mail again disappointed, though I have high hopes for today. Of course whether my unmentioned supply arrives or not, I shall begin work on the designs for the new piece. Since I have nothing else I shall at the least tell you what it is that I will be soon attempting to make and the reason that I wait.

I have on occasion had the fortune of working with Brides to create something for their wedding day. While lace is a perfect fit for a wedding, generally my customers are a little more off center which of course is the way I like them. I have sent much black jewelry off to brides, even made a set in purple and green for one who wanted everything to match her tattoos. This time an idea was tossed out to make a birdcage veil. Initially, I dismissed the idea as I had never made one before, but as the time line was long and my interest was piqued, so I took the gig. After a surprisingly brief search I discovered that they actual construction of the veil was quite simplistic. It is of course the embellishment that will make the piece unique and challenge my design skills a bit. I have been waiting for the veiling so I can determine the best size of the motif to adorn it, but that is probably just me over thinking things. I did order up enough to try it out and for potential listing in the store should I succeed.

So I will work on the motif designs today and perhaps get as far as working out the feather placements as well, if inspiration should hit. Then I can get some pictures and have something more interesting to show you tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I've Been Reading

The mail was an utter disappointment and so I simply continued tatting a pair of ankle corsets. I engaged in no creative thought and as such have nothing creative to share. You'd think given that I would not bother writing anything this morning, but that is not my way. I function on habit and if I do not want to upset the precious balance I have set over the last few years I must stick with it. So again, I will just talk about something else.

I mentioned a few times that I was participating in the One Book, One Twitter event. Today begins the second week of the discussion schedule. You see, rather that schedule the actual reading which everyone seemed to agree was going to be rather difficult, they scheduled the discussion of the chapters so that folks wouldn't be unleashing tirades of spoilers upon their slower reading brethren. While I have not contributed much to the discussion, I have been following it and it is quite entertaining. Honestly my favorite so far are those that are over thinking every detail. I mean, sure it is possible that Mr. Gaiman was that hopelessly detailed and that every little thing means something deep, but I rather think that it is more what it seems with just a few things baked in for subtext.

Just in case I didn't say before, we are reading American Gods, which I have read before. I read the book as soon as it was out, so I have forgotten much of the details and it is almost as if I am reading it for the first time with a healthy dose of deja vu. In fact I am becoming so engrossed in the story that I'm at least halfway through at this point and it's killing me not to answer some of the discussion questions or comments with the truth revealed further in...I just keep wanting to shout, 'just wait!' I don't do that though, I just keep reading. What is wonderful about this whole thing is I think I needed a bit of a distraction from the days habits. Sure it's slowing my tatting down, but maybe that's a good thing for a while. It's almost like a vacation without going anywhere.

So in a repeat of yesterday, I shall tat, hope for a better haul at the mail box and I shall read. Also, if you are reading American Gods with us, stop by the Wunderkammer today as I curated it as a tribute to one of my favorite moments in the book so far.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I Didn't Mean To Rant

Do you ever love and curse a creation at the same time. You know, something that you were so proud of when you first made it that you showed it off to everyone like a five year old at show and tell. Then as time went by and other people began to appreciate the creation and you had to recreate it dozens of times. Seriously, I am beginning to groan a little when people order certain things. Now, don't get me wrong I adore the sales, I want the sales, but the weird thing is that certain pieces seem to sell in spurts. Once one sells after a decent hibernation period they seem to keep selling over and over again until I get to this point and then they stop cold turkey for a long time. Right now, I seem to be in a rare double cycle with both the Portrait collar necklace and the ankle corsets being the repeat sellers. Again, I must make it very clear that the sales are appreciated, but man have I made a lot of these lately. Usually the repeat piece is a mask and I think they only get to me because these are the pieces that need a full day at the least to complete and generally two leaving me little time for...well, me.

So now that that is out of my system, they released another new feature on etsy yesterday, the suggested shop tab. This is located in your favorites section and is apparently created using a complex algorithm that suggests shops based on what you have favorited and what other people who have favorited those same shop have also favorited. Apparently and to much complaint, the list seems to contain what people are referring to as 'popular' shops. I quote because others do. You see if someone has been favorited by a lot of diverse people they will be suggested more. This seems like a fine thing to me. I mean generally when a lot of people love something it can't be all bad, but there is a prevailing sense of 'if it's not helping me personally as a seller, it's a useless or harmful tool.' Honestly, I think some sellers in their quest for equality forget that creating the best shopping experience for customers is better for everyone and forgive me, but there is no equality in a free market. There do in fact exist better shops than others and it does not help the cause if everyone regardless of skill level, professionalism or talent is given the same weight in this environment. I specify because there are many areas in which that sort of equality is paramount.

It's funny, when I used to post these sort of opinions I would run to the etsy forums and link to them for maximum opinion exposure, but no more. I wonder at this point if there are even any other etsians that pop by here anymore without that sort of prompt. It's fine though, sometimes we just need to get it out even if no one listening is concerned. I did not mean for today to be a giant rant fest, but it's off the keyboard now. Today there is more ankle corset tatting and more hoping that ordered supplies come in. Until next time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekend Nutshell

Let's see...weekend, weekend, yes. Not much tatting I'm afraid. On Friday I had caught up with everything again and I spent much of the day cleaning in anticipation of hosting the Mother's Day dinner for the family. In fact in a rare non vacation related event, I did not tat at all. I did discuss it toward the late afternoon, I even got a new commission, bu this one I will need to wait for some freshly ordered supplies to try out. I thought about getting started on the designing, but I really need the proper dimensions first. I hope I have you curious and/or confused at this point. Don't worry, this is most certainly a show as I go sort of experiment.

Again on Saturday, there was cleaning, but mostly there was Iron Man 2. I'm sure that I have mentioned that I and my family are geeks. My two daughters just as eager to see the film as the adults. In case you were wondering, my opinion is in the 'if you liked the first movie, you will like the second' camp. Sure, there are more plot points relating to the eventual Avengers movie which might confuse some folks, but still a generally rousing good time. I came back from the movie to a custom order, so I did spend the evening tatting on that.

Since I seem to have structured today's post as diary entry from some unknown reason, I'll stick with it. On Sunday there were the gifts in the morning and an unplanned shopping trip for my sisters birthday when I realized that this was likely the last time I would see her before her birthday next week. Yet another younger sibling passing the 30 mark, fun. Then the family arrived for a barbecue that timed well with a fairly unexpected Thunderstorm meaning instead of playing outside all the children destroyed the house. Ergo, I spent the last part of Mother's Day doing what I imagine most mother's do, clean up the mess everyone else left behind.

So that's about it in a nutshell. I'll start documenting the new project as soon as supplies arrive though I still have yet to receive the thread I ordered...gah, how long ago. I think it might be time for inquiring emails. Anyway, there's that and not much else for a spell I think. We're coming close to the end of the daughter's school year and her birthday, so I might be a bit unfocused as I shift to family things. Of course it is just as likely that I'll get on a giant creative rampage. I'm unpredictable that way.

Friday, May 7, 2010

So, It's Sea Opal Glass

First off shall we flash back to yesterday's 'opal' piece for a moment. After a conversation with one of my readers and twitter/etsy friends and a bit of the old google magic, we determined that what I have here is in fact sea opal glass. While it is sometimes referred to as Opalite which makes it sound like an actually rock, it is in fact man made glass while an opalescent quality while true opalite is actually a rock and a blue one at that. Oh and to further complicate, there is an iridescent paua shell also called sea opal. The point is the mystery was solved and the one of a kind necklace was listed properly described. If the seller that sold that to me in the first place was still active on etsy, I'd be pretty pissed about the misrepresentation of the piece, but they're not and there is nothing for it but to move I shall.

The only other things I managed to make yesterday way a Salome anklet. That's the one that I made that laces up and is covered in bells and coins. I had several people mention that should I make pieces with just bells that they would like that, so that is what I did. Problem became evident early on in it's creation. You see the coins are light and easy to attach at picots, but the bells have quite a bit more heft and in the other pieces were at strong points in the design. So this time I had to find a better way to add them. Sometimes my mouth gapes at a new tatted piece on etsy where they have hung heavy objects from picots...I mean they do realize that it is a single piece of string right? Maybe it's because I'm so rough on my own things that I have become paranoid, but I ended up stringing the bells over the the ring, the same way I did with the sea opal pendant. I figure better safe than dealing with a broken picot and an instantly ruined piece.

My legs were in no condition for a photo shoot yesterday, so I gave my feet a little attention last night and I'll get them taken today. I guess I need more mannequin parts to take myself out of the photo equation. It is wrong that I've thought how wonderful it will be when my daughters are old enough to be slave labor models? Anyway, if I get a chance I might also start drilling elytra today. Too bad it's such a time intensive process since I cant just drill the lot of them and they need to be individually and carefully clamped to insure a nice hole. Of course this is why I paid so little for the lot of them...I wondered why they were selling so few for so much on etsy. It now makes perfect sense, those ones are paired and are paying for convenience.

One last thing, the facebook giveaway will be closed and a winner chosen a little later this morning. I do have to say that the one thing I absolutely get out of these giveaways is an ego boost from the entry comments. Also laughs, I occasionally get those from the comments as well. There is one entry that is comprised simply of the word 'locomotive'. Why? No idea. I absolutely adore reading the comments. I got one that shared how one of pieces survived an encounter with a one year old. There were some about how I inspired them to take up tatting or revisit it as the case might be. These comments are the reason that I will continue to do giveaways. They allow people an opportunity or excuse to speak out and the things they share are priceless. So, thanks for all the entries.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Two Colors & New

So yesterday mail was a partial success with the remaining books I ordered arriving. Of course again I was generally disappointed with the contents. There was another Coats and Clark book from the 40's. I have decided that the company had all of 40 patterns and just chopped and pasted them into different orders for all of their books adding only maybe one or two that hadn't been seen before. Still, it is nice to create a collection and since I avoid modern books like the plague, they will have to do. I also bought a lot of 4 books which were mostly filet crochet with one being a crochet and tatting book from 1916. Unfortunately the fairly thick booklet contained four whole tatting patterns, so basically a bust there too. While not as nice as having the actually books in my possession, I think I might just stick to the antique pattern library and my handy collections of pdfs for future's less disappointing.

I felt extreme relief yesterday to finally pack up all my custom orders including the two color slave bracelet you see above. See, it looks neat in two colors...I just wish it wasn't like tatting molasses to make them in two. I'm guessing it must be an easier process with a couple of shuttles, but no matter it is done now.

So I rummaged through my jewelry bits to find something to match with one of the new patterns I did get out of my books and found this large silver and glass pendant. Now, when I bought it quite some time ago the seller described it as Australian white fire opal. Sure, it's pretty and it has an opalescent quality, but this huge thing is most assuredly not opal. I bought it for a gift, then when I saw it I couldn't bring myself to giving it. Hell I'm not even sure it it is really silver as there is no marking. Anyway, it is lovely and I tatted it onto the new piece, added a silver plated chain to it and we have another one of a kind piece. I haven't listed it yet. I want to try and get one modeled photo first and then get it up today.

Then I'm back to remaking a few sold pieces that have been languishing in unlisted limbo. I also promised that there would be an anklet embellished with only bells soon and I got new ridiculously tiny drill bits so I can proceed with an elytra based collar at some point. I think that there is at least one more new piece to be pulled from these book pages, but you knows when it will arrive, so that's it for now.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Less Of This And A Bit Of That

I started the giveaway on the facebook page yesterday morning and it will run until Friday, if anyone over here is interested in an elytra tatted came pendant. You only need to comment on the giveaway thread to enter. After that was set up it was tatting and child schooling until noon when the first of the vintage tatting books I ordered arrived. I won't lie, I was a little disappointed. Don't get me wrong it was in superb condition only it was a giant repeat book. It was by Coats & Clark from 1942 and seemed to contain not just patterns from their other books, but exact page layouts as well. There were a few ones I hadn't seen though even those appear to be derivatives of other patterns I am familiar with. I did eye a couple of things I will twist to my own devices here soon. In fact I did make up one prototype piece that I might do a final of today.

Still no new thread or word on it either. I think perhaps I have been spoiled by excellent online shopping experiences. You know, where they constantly update you on the status and you are never in the dark. Yeah...I like that better than this sitting around wondering crap. I have however, ordered so much stuff lately that I might have actually forgotten about some of it myself. See, this is why I need status updates.

I am currently working on a custom ordered set of a slave bracelet and a Quadra. The customer asks about some different colors and I immediately offered up a two color option. Why do I do that? I mean, it was my idea...I always seem to forget that I dislike working with two colors. It is such a pain in the...well you know what it's a pain in. As long as I'm doing the rings in one color and the chains in another I can easily work with one thread on the ball and cut only the other, but that's still one enormously long thread getting all up in my face and tangling and whatnot. Then there is the inevitable point where I realize that the cut thread wasn't long enough and I have to cut and tie new ends meaning new thread ends to hide later. I know...if I hate it so much, why do I even bother? Well, 1) It looks cool and 2) I do it so infrequently as to forget my disdain between projects. Surely then I will remember for next time as I write this out...yeah, no. I'll do it again and I'll complain again, it is my way.

Hopefully, I'll have that one knocked out today and I can get to the finishing work on all my recent custom orders and they should all be in the mail tomorrow. Then I can play with my new patterns while I wait for the other books and the thread. I'm crossing my fingers that there is a gem in one of the books that inspires me to greatness, but either way at least it's something me anyway.

One last bit for the day. One Book, One Twitter officially kicks off today and I jumped the gun a bit yesterday. I wanted to see if I could read and tat at the same time. Guess what? I can. Sure, it slows me down on both fronts, but it is possible. I managed the first three chapters while propping the book open with my remote control. I think they make little weight things for this purpose and I might pick one up. I used to be an avid reader, but between the children and reading kids books all day and tatting not being conducive to reading, I haven't read a novel in ages. If I can manage to do the two things at the same time, then I can claim nap time in the name of reading and getting work done. I also remembered why this book might not be, um appropriate for all audiences. I mean, I love it, but I can't fault anyone for being all, 'what the hell is this mess?' It is still in my opinion a wonderful book and superbly written, so again it's not too late to join in. Follow @1b1t2010 and use the hash tag #1b1t to participate. There is a discussion schedule up to avoid spoilers and it gives a generous eight weeks to complete the book...just saying. Now, that's it for me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A bit of This And Less Of That

As I implied yesterday, I have no new tatting to show you...I am sorry about that. I did have hopes that one of the many vintage tatting booklets I ordered would arrive in the mail so I could play with a little something, but no.

I finished up one mask, made up a matching collar and then I got to start on a Power of Voodoo mask in the hand dyed purple thread. I'm not certain why, but I was plenty happy to just be finally making a mask with this color. So happy in fact that I might need to get a photo shoot done with it before I send it off so I can list it as a custom option. Yes, I love the purple thread that much...I might have issues.

I other news, I have finally gotten past 700 fans or "likes" as they're now calling them on facebook and while I'm beginning to very much doubt my presence there given recent privacy issues, I am still holding out hope that civility will win out. But I digress, the reason I bring that up is that a bit later on today, I will start another giveaway. This time the prize is a tatted cameo pendant with the beetle elytra center. I may also add a Love Insects pendant to the mix if the participation is high. The link to the facebook page is in the right column...yeah, over there. The giveaway will likely be open until Friday to give the most people a chance to throw their hat in the ring.

One book, One Twitter officially starts tomorrow and I feel compelled to share that Neil Gaiman is one of my very favorite authors. I have read most of his books, including Good Omens a ridiculous number of times and thankfully he also writes amazing children's books so I have an excuse to keep reading him even when I can't read for myself. No, I still haven't worked out how I'm going to fit in reading time to my schedule, but as with all things I take on, I'll make it work somehow.

So to recap, nothing new tatted, but there are books coming. 700 fans on facebook means a giveaway you might want to enter and get ready to perhaps hear way too much about a book I'm going to try to read with Twitter. That's it and I'll see you on the 'morrow.

Monday, May 3, 2010

One Book, One Twitter

It was a Spring weekend, the sun was out, the birds were singing, the urge to clean and renovate was entirely too strong to ignore. There was an impromptu out of town shopping trip that yielded $5 bookshelves, free comic book day and yard work. It was also one of those times Murphy warned you about when not one but several items were sold from my etsy store and all of them are custom meaning of course that my work is already laid out before my for the week...yes, the whole week.

So instead of talking about tatting I shall use this moment to tell you about One Book, One Twitter. You can read all about the origins of this social undertaking here on Wired. Basically it is a twitter wide book I'm not usually one for book clubs for so many reasons, but when I caught wind of the event all the books in the running were ones I would actually read or re-read. So I followed @b1t2010 and started actually using the hash tag #1b1t to recruit a few people in my corner of twitter to join in. Now the book has been chosen, American Gods by Neil Gaiman which I will quite enjoy re-reading and the start date is set as 5-5-10.

So what I'm trying to say here is if you use the twitter and are fond of reading books like Gaiman's, join in. I'm not certain what sort of discourse will arise and as I haven't discussed a book with other people that wasn't found in a comic book store or the children's department in ages I'm not sure how much talking about it I'll do. It will be interesting to see how many people finally do join in and see what else this social media is good for.

As you can see from the articles I linked to, they are still hashing out all the details. It seems like it should be rather laid back and trust me the book is a fascinatingly quick read despite the sheer size. I find Gaiman's ability to weave a realistic world out of myth, reality and pure fiction to be utterly breathtaking. So that's my take on it and I'm off to tat my fingers off on these custom orders and I will start reading on Wednesday...hopefully.