Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Needle Tatting Split Rings & Josephine Chains

I totally get a pass on today's blog. Why, you ask? Because I did a tutorial video yesterday and I get to post that for you. This one is on split rings and Josephine chains and is already linked over in the pattern list in the right column. I got the filigree pieces in to remake the Copper Princess necklace and used the the chain portion of that to film. Also, I talk in this one and according to early feedback this is a good thing. In fact, I may redo my other video with the talking as well since I apparently do not sound like an idiot...unless they're all lying to me and I do sound like an idiot.

The video is also posted at Instructables if you'd like to go rate it there. I may also go ahead and do a series of these though they do already exist by other folks. I suppose sometimes having a choice of who to learn from is a good thing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Black And White

As I predicted it was another solid day of making. I just got a couple of orders with custom pieces packed up to go out this morning. I also put all my cameo pendants on sale. I said it was one day only, but I think I will leave it up just one more day for you guys, should you be interested, but that's it and they're back to normal price.

I do of course have one thing to show you. I got pictures of the color variation of The Woman bracelet. It was made to match my black tie spats. While making these I nearly killed off my hand dyed gray only to remember that I had ordered a second ball. Unfortunately that ball is a bit lighter. It's still a nice color, but it's a damn good thing I finished before running out of the other ball as the difference would have been quite noticeable if in the same piece or outfit even. This just means that I should really get some sort of inventory system for my supplies...I won't, but I should.

I did get one half of my supplies to remake the Copper Princess, but I'm still waiting for the other filigrees. I tried to order them from the same supplier, but no one had both pieces I wanted. Hopefully they'll be in today, though I don't know why I'm in a hurry. I got another order for custom ankle corsets yesterday, this time in cream/ivory for a wedding. So that is what I will be doing today. If I get the filigrees I might take a break to make the piece, but we'll see. I'd also like to make the Woman bracelet in the Sepia shades as well. I might even add a third brown to the mix like the black tie version, I certainly have enough light shades to get a good gradation.

I've also been feeling the pull of the tutorial lately. I want to share something, but I'm not certain what yet. I thought about doing a set of short videos, but they already exist by someone else and I don't know that it's really needed. If I do a pattern at Insructables, I like it to actually teach a technique rather than just be a finished piece, but I'm not certain that I have another left to teach. I suppose I could make a tutorial for the cameo and teach Victorian Sets, but that's really just a slight variation on Josephine Rings and I already cover that. Oh, well, not that I have time right now anyway...I'll come up with something worthwhile, eventually.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Just Sepia

I feel like a bit of a cheater this morning. You see everything I'm showing you was done on Friday. The rest of the weekend was all just making sold pieces and hanging out with the family. Before I was taken by orders though, I finished the sepia mask. I made it with the discontinued light brown I love so much and used a darker brown for the outer row effectively giving the mask an outline. The only problem occurred around the eyes. Maybe it was too close to my skin tone, but it needed something there. I had covered the wire with the lighter brown because I thought it would be too hard to conceal the places where the lace attaches to the wire in a different color. So it add a bit of dimension I used a brass colored filament to embroider around the eyes. It is a subtle addition, but it seems to have worked giving the edge just a bit of darkness so it doesn't just blend it completely.

I figured I was done with the sepia collection at that point, but I still had some time and a few folk suggesting which pieces would benefit from the makeover. So next up I chose to do my Vive La Reine necklace. Though this time it was a little more work. With the mask it was separate colors for separate rows. This time I needed to do some two color tatting in the second row to separate the rings and chains at that point. Two color tatting is always a bit of a hassle with the cut thread, but I have found that if I work the rings like a single shuttle I can keep one color on the ball for just the chains. This would all be easier if I ever cut enough thread in the beginning of course.

This was the point in the day where I received a rather sizable order that contained items that needed making. In fact it was a pair of The Woman cuffs made to match the tatted spats in two grays and black. They turned out really neat, so I'm going to get pictures of them today so I can share them tomorrow. I also sold both my most recent grab bag necklaces including the Copper Princess. Luckily I had already ordered up more of those filigree pieces so when they arrive I will absolutely make that one up again. I will also be doing a few more pieces in the Sepia colors though I don't know when I'll get to those. Well, time to start this ridiculously hot Monday I suppose...I'll be in the cave.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Flames and Sepia

I am super exhausted this morning as yesterday ended with a large picnic thing for my husbands work and a rush home to watch the new Futurama and when I woke up it was raining. Sure that's only shocking in California when the predicted temperature for the weekend is like 102. Anyway all that is not relevant to...well anything. See I'm just so tired I'm rambling.

Moving on. I did finish up the flame mask I was working on and though you've seen it before I'm posting the picture again anyway mostly so you go and look at the name. I honestly think that I remade the thing so fast just so I could use the name. I knew what I was going to call it when I was making it up the first time, if it turned out right.

Once I was finished with that one I decided to go ahead with the brown version of one of my other masks. I haven't snapped any photos of it yet, but I should have it done and up later today. I think I'm going have this one keep it's original name, but then call it the Sepia Edition. I'm using that discontinued thread again so the edition cannot be immortal. It shouldn't be a problem though my colored masks don't sell nearly as rapidly as the black. I think though, that I might pick a few other pieces to go a Sepia Edition of. I'm not sure which yet, but I'm not in any rush.

I'm waiting for one last supply order and then I think I'm going to actually pursue the bridal giveaway idea. I might be a big old wimp, but I think the wedding pieces need to find their audience. Sure, a lot of brides have found me in the last few years, but I'm hardly the first place anyone looked, so I need to get out there a bit more if I want to let them know I'm here. I will of course let you know if I muster up enough courage to get the ball rolling something, but if you don't here anything...yeah, don't be surprised.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Bride And A Princess

I got some pictures of the custom veil for the listing yesterday morning so I thought I'd start today off showing you a better one. The listing is also up with a few more pictures though I feel compelled to mention that the price listed on it (that you can no longer see because it just sold) has a story behind it and it's not what I will charge in the future for a similar piece. The sole reason I have made a single hairpiece or veil was because this person asked and as a thank you for a brand new product line I knocked the price down. I actually wanted to make it even cheaper for her, but I had to order so much stuff and sewing a veil, very time consuming, so that's the story behind the price for this one.

Once I had that all sorted, I went back to the newest grab bag piece. This one started with a copper filigree piece and a few little copper bead caps. Again I just made it up as I went and actually the first go had to be ripped out as I ripped the thread to shreds trying to get it back through the first tiny hole. I was not amused, but I started over anyway. I flattened out the bead caps for the little swirled bits there and then I tatted the chain. I was going to add some copper rounds, but they're far too bright to match the antiqued copper of the other pieces.

I used a discontinued brown shade and this is what I came up with. I call it the copper princess and I personally liked it so much that I searched around to try and find the same bits again so I could make it again if it sells. Or maybe in purple with the copper. Of course it might not even sell. I tend to get ahead of myself with pieces. You just never know which ones will be big sellers and which sentimental favorites will just sit there like a lead balloon. It helps to just keep on making stuff until something sticks.

I got started on remaking the flame mask yesterday so I'll keep on with that one and again I have a more color combination ideas that won't likely see the light of day outside of another custom order. I also thought about making my last mask design in two colors a light and dark brown as well. I always state the option of changing the color of a piece, but I rarely get asked and I wonder if it's because people need pictures to see what the options are. I might try and get a few more different colored pieces up so they know it's possible even if they just sit there. I am finding that without having to home school in the morning that I have been getting a lot more done. So much in fact that I might stop tatting in the evening save for when there is a custom in queue and just relax a bit more then. That is of course if I can force myself to stop, it's kind of second nature to have a needle in my hands at all times now. Yeah, we'll see.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Grab Bag

Much tatting was accomplished yesterday. The first bit was to dive into that grab bag I told you about and get something made. I'd had my eye on this little ring bit here so I decided to just tat around it to begin. I added a picot every four stitched completely unaware of how that would leave me at the end. Well it left me a little uneven but I just kept right on making it up as I went around. When I reached the top I decided to keep on going and just weave in the chains. After that I reached into the grab bag again and came out with a little filigree ball. I dug out a black swarovski crystal and a montee...that's the sew on ones, added them all to the mix and put the whole thing on a chain.

That leaves me with another one of a kind creation. I tried to think of a clever name, but I just ended up calling it Filigree and Lace. That however was not the end of the day for me. About this time the mailman brought me the final ingredient to the veil puzzle, the blending filament.

Now, I don't have proper photos yet. I should get some today, but here's a peek at the motif anyway. It is meant to have a bit of blue to match the brides earrings and there was much careful cutting and sewing of the veil as this one is much longer than my previous attempts. I promise I will get some proper photos hopefully today and show them off tomorrow.

I did stress out for a bit as I waited for approval for the piece when it was finished, but it was approved and this marks the first sold headpiece from the line. I still haven't purchased any additional supplies to make more of them and I likely won't until I sell a few more. Just because I think they look great, doesn't mean they will sell. I started on another grab bag piece late last night, so you'll see that one rise today as well and then I think I might remake the flame mask so I can list it in the shop. Off to it then.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Woman Tatted Bracelet

Making, making, making...what's this on the table? Damn, I forgot that I made that. That's right, I was just tatting along when I looked over on the table and saw what I thought was a scrap of tatting. I picked it up and remembered that I had started making an anklet that had turned into a bracelet. All the piece needed was the finishing, a clasp or hook and a good pressing. So on a day that I assumed when have absolutely nothing new, I got to list this. I call it 'The Woman' since I started with the same edging I used for the necklace of that name. Then I added a nice ring and chain row that reflected the main design. The result is a nice little bell shape that hangs down over your hand a bit. Nice thing about the design is it's a tight repeat so I can make it almost exactly an inch smaller or larger without math.

I already had someone ask for the pattern on the facebook and I immediately stated that there was no pattern written down because I have not done that and I likely won't. Though to tell you the truth, I was a little put off by being asked so quickly after I posted it. I've been quick to give out patterns for simple designs, but the more complex the design, the more protective I get of it I suppose. Of course this is based on a vintage edging that anyone can make and it shouldn't be too hard to figure out the top row after that, so I guess I shouldn't be so defensive. I think maybe I just like a bit more praise before the 'gimmie, gimmie' or to at least let the design settle in a bit first.

I did get another piece of the veil puzzle in, but I am still waiting for one more vital component before I can begin to put the piece together. Right now I'm sussing out the best way to construct a longer birdcage veil. This one will be worn low at the top of a chignon, so the veil must go over the head and across the face without looking like it's suffocating the bride. I played with the wider piece of veiling yesterday and I think I have the concept worked out, but it will require cutting the veil into a bit of a trapezoid maybe so I need to get it right the first time. I might have some pictures for you tomorrow especially if I get that last supply. Otherwise I might try to get another one of a kind piece made up of some flavor. I guess we'll see how the day shapes up.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up

I did spend every spare moment over the weekend tatting, but nothing new, nothing interesting. Heck I was tatting so quickly and so much that I could feel it in my shoulder. Lucky for me, there were so many other things I got to do that I was able to rest the poor joint. So, Friday was the speed tatting, then dinner at the in-laws. I managed to finish all the custom orders still in queue so they were out in the mail Saturday morning. That was a goo thing because we went to see Toy Story 3 first thing Saturday immediately followed by a trip to the comic book shop and the county fair. By nap time there was another custom order to make and when the children were rested it was off to the Costco and the grocery over. Then of course there was Father's Day yesterday which began with a big breakfast and a long walk followed by more nap time tatting and a family barbecue sprinkled with gobs of cleaning throughout the day. As you might have guessed, this Monday morning finds me neither rested nor refreshed, but it is here anyway.

On Saturday I also got in a Fire Mountain order which is the first of several orders I expect to get in this week to make my first custom veil for a lovely twitter friend. Once all the random bits arrive I will get started on that one. It will be the same basic tatting design, but with some color added and some changed to the actual veil and feather design, but you'll see when I get to it. Also in this order was one of their 'boss bags'. Basically it's a one pound grab bag full of random bits and beads. I figured it was the perfect way to keep the one of a kind pieces flowing without stressing too much on the components. I sorted the bag into stuff I might use and stuff you couldn't pay me to use. Those last bits will be perfect for the kids to play with during the summer. There were wood and glass beads and a bunch of Christmas stamping that they can make ornaments with come winter too.

Since I have no tatting to show you, I shall leave you with this image of my family as sheep. Why? Because it is awesome, that's why.

I am finishing up a sold pair of anklet corsets today and then onto some remaking and hoping that a few customers which have me dangling on a line get back to me with yes or no so I know whether I have a few more things to do. Until tomorrow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

I Created FIRE

This week has been up and down and all over the place. The one thing that was fairly steady was the influx of custom orders. Every single order I received this week contained at least one if not more pieces that needed making. While I am in no way complaining, the re-listing of these items may prove problematic if only in an aesthetic way. You see I can list them all again straight away, but that would mean a large clump of custom orders right next to each other at the top of the store. I fear this may make customers think that everything I do has a wait time and they will move on. Of course I can just then rearrange the store to intersperse them between ready to ship pieces and of course I may just be over thinking the whole thing.

So, pretty picture for today. I finished the flame mask and was quite satisfied with the outcome. As you might have guessed I am not terribly comfortable working with too much color. so it was a challenge to wait until it was done to make a final judgment on it. After I got the pictures, I sent them to the customer and waiting for final approval...which did not come all day long to my great distress. Now I know what you'll say, 'Pam, why worry, you know your work is (insert complementary adjective here)' The thing is like many artists I oscillate from egomaniac to scared, insecure child. Waiting for an answer brings out the child. I woke up today to approval for the design though and sighed a breath of relief. I do wonder if I should offer this one in the shop as it did get a positive response from the facebook people who have already seen it.

It'll have to wait as I make up these custom orders either way. I also had the thought that I need to expose my more recent bridal pieces to the right audience. So I was thinking of doing a giveaway elsewhere, on a wedding blog of some sort. My first thought was Offbeat Bride, but I am still screwing up the courage to ask if they'd be interested. I can't really afford their advertising plans, though they do have some inexpensive options, plus I want to make a bigger impression than a text ad. If you can think of any other blog or site with good traffic that does giveaways of this sort, let me know and I'll check them out. Of course all this will have to wait until I catch up on orders anyway. Can't be giving anything away while there are paying customers waiting for their goods. Now off to Friday and then the weekend full of fair, dinners and movies, ta.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Shall Create Fire

Yesterday was infinitely better than the day which preceded it. It started with the very last day of my first year of homeschooling. It wasn't always a cake walk but there are dozens of reasons I'm glad I stuck with it both for me and my daughter...hell, even for the 3 year old. There's nothing like a little learning through osmosis. Now the summer represents a bit of a vacation or really just a shifting of efforts. I am now the summer referee keeping them from killing each other as they play each day away.

In the wonderful world of tatting I have begun a bit of a rush custom order. I was requested to make a mask and after a bit of discussion we came up with a flame reminiscent mask made in browns and reds. The mask starts out as the 'Power of Voodoo' mask in brown. Then I tried a burgundy and basic red for the second row and the flames...this was ill advised. Though you can't really tell in this picture the basic red makes the burgundy look almost purple and I ended up cutting out the whole edge. Lucky for me not only do I have far too many shades of red thread, I had also only done one side of the mask just in case.

Take two was the basic read as the second row with a orange/red acting as the top flames. The flames were just tat it and see experiments with the second go around I tried undulating the chains in some of them to create more diversity in the flames and I think it worked out pretty well. Also unlike the mask it's based on, this one has a top and a bottom. When I was looking at the first completed section on my face I realized the having flames toward the center on your forehead looks fine, on your nose it looks ridiculous. The tatting on the piece is done, but I still need to cover the wire and then I'll get some good pictures of the piece to post. I probably ought to run them past the customer as well, since they did make the purchase based solely on my ramblings about what I would try to make it look like.

Next up I have a pair of ankle corsets and a pair of slave bracelets that were just ordered that need making as well. So tomorrow you'll get the real pictures of the flame mask and not much else. That is unless the day provides something more interesting to share. I had another mask request, but the customer has yet to respond to my proposal so at this point I have no idea whether I will be making it or not. Another piece recently requested and not yet followed up on was the 'crown' wore by the Carrie character in the Sex and The City 2 movie. Not my bag and after seeing the picture, I concluded that it was a simple piece of custom Venice lace and could likely be replicated with a couple of pieces of said lace sewn together or perhaps onto a headband all for under $10. I did tell the customer this. I also told them that my tatted version would run between $150 and $200. I'm not really shocked that I haven't heard back. Though perhaps when I am less swamped I will make one up anyway just to see if I can.

Well, I'm off to my first day of summer vacation...from my other job at least. Have a great day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Just Off

You ever have one of those days where things are Yesterday started off with a severely failed iphone order that I won't go into detail over,but suffice it to say it put us all in a mood. Even a large order early in the day could not undo the 'off-ness' that had settled in. It continued unabated until my Mother visited and broke her foot and ankle leaving my backyard. Now I know that didn't happen to me, but it sure left me with a serious case of the 'guilt'. Nothing between those events could shake the mood that had settled in the house.

Let's see, any tatting to share...not really. I was making a mask I sold almost all day and I'm back to it today. I did get my other sequins mask listed though. You remember the other one, the big, fancy one that I made for a photo shoot on commission, but it was rejected? Well this one was the second try. The magazine fellow liked this one, but after several communications mostly including the phrase, 'next month' I gave up. This sucker has been sitting around for months, but now it is finally listed. This one is just my signature mask plus hours...make that days of hand sewing strategically located sequins to not cover up all of the tatting and maintain the same shape. Yep, this one is expensive too.

I also woke up this morning to more custom work and I've been getting requests for more time sensitive custom mask work. In short, I'm going from free time to design to not enough time to breath...and I like breathing. So for the next while I might be oscillating between overwhelmed and lacking anything interesting to share and overwhelmed with a bunch of custom projects to share. I'll try to keep my composure and get pictures while I handle these custom pieces so you have something pretty to look at, but I seriously need a nap already and I just woke up.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Between the Stars

I got dolled up early in the morning so I could get pictures of the new mask design before it got hot. I liked enough of them to go ahead and list it. I decided to call this one 'Between the Stars'. Yes, I am fully aware that I am seriously running out of Labyrinth lyrics to use. I think I am going to make this one again really soon and add crystals to the edge. I hate doing the crystals on the first version mostly because I have no idea whether it is really going to work or not and I don't want to have to cut out all those beads.

After the mask was done I was happy to receive an order for my tatted bobbies. I was beginning to think I had really gotten ahead of myself making so many before I knew whether any of them would sell or not. I have a nasty habit of doing that when I really like a new design. Anyway, I remade the sold bobbies and then started the search for the next project. As I mentioned yesterday, I can feel the slide downward off the creative streak. I did manage to start what was going to be an anklet at first then it morphed into a bracelet as I added another row that shrunk it up a bit. No, there aren't any pictures yet. I should get it pressed, add the hardware and get some pictures later today.

So that's about it really. I'm having issues settling on a direction and I might just take a short break from tatting and do something else. I have a stack of comics I could be reading, video games I've been neglecting and if I really need to change direction I could clean or organize or something equally horrifying. I guess I'll just leave it up to fate.

Monday, June 14, 2010

So Much Creation

Well thanks to the summer heat finally arriving in extreme style I got a hell of a lot of new tatting done. I turned my house into a cave and we barely left the cool darkness. Though in all honestly I much prefer the brightness, but with a tiny bit less heat. Though I am not complaining as it gets much hotter and when it's 113 I'll miss 95.

So I wanted to start with the last thing I made first. Do you remember not that long ago I said there was a new mask idea brewing. It has been brewed. It was the last thing I did last night so it hasn't had a proper photo op yet. In fact all you get is this blurred out partial image. It started with the same edging as my recent elytra covered necklace. My swatch was sitting on the desk and the idea struck me. The first round almost made itself with just some slight 'tat it and see' moments over the nose. The second required a little more patience and a bit more pattern rewriting to get it to lay flat, but it was relatively easy. Of course I think I just understand the mask construction now. It should get it's photo shoot today and get listed.

Already listed are I think four different color combinations using the brass and black bobby pins I got in on Friday. In fact I ended up adding a new section to the store for just the hair pieces. At least the ones that don't belong in the wedding section.

There was also another one of a kind necklace, this one with greens. I ended up using a smaller thread on this one, but it turned out just fine. I used up a bunch of beads and a stamping I thought I was never going to use. Most of these things were from beading challenges they used to have on etsy. You'd order up a collection of supplies the same as everyone else and see what you could make with it. Never came anywhere close to winning, but the supplies stretched my imagination and really help with my jewelry designing skills.

The last thing to show you today is another bridal necklace. This one was made after I made a pair of bobbies in white and cream on the brass. I used the same basic design as the 'Oh My' necklaces, but these flowers have two layers and the brass round in the centers. I really like the sort of antique feel of using the light cream with the white. It also theoretically means that it can be worn with a wider variety of white shades.

The side effect of my prolific creation is that the number of listed items in my shop is now higher than it has ever been, currently at 150. I am making far more than I am selling and I actually have many more little pieces whirring in my brain. Of course many of these are one of a kind so this is not a maintainable number as I can't just remake them as they sell. I am also getting a much more varied selection of styles and color palettes that will hopefully appeal to more people.

The other side effect of this last week is no matter what I do this week, I'm likely to look like a lazy bum. I can't possibly keep this level up for much longer so I will inevitably crash into a streak of nothing new for weeks while I rebound. I apologize in advance for the amount of boring I will soon embody. At least you can look back on last week at be a little impressed for a while.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Mess No More

What a fine motivation exposing your mess to the world is. Really without the need to show you that I clean up good...I would have likely not cleaned up at all. Now if you missed yesterday, you're gonna wanna scroll down to what this exact space looked like before I got my clean on. It wasn't easy but I pulled out every jewelry making supply I have acquired and no only got them put away in that slick snap together thing, but they are organized in there too. There's a drawer for silver, one for brass and copper, one for crystals and other for pearls and rounds. In fact I can actually work directly out of the cubbyholes since the snap apart.

I figured I would just clean on cleaning since that had worked out so well and show you the rest of the cleanliness. Now to be honest I spend little time actually working at the desk. I use it to blog, to ship and to assemble jewelry. The actually tatting is done in the comfort of the living room. Here on the right you'll see the three tubs that hold most of my thread and ribbons. There's also a box under the desk with just the black thread...remember the 50 balls. The other drawer sets are full of yarn and miscellaneous crap. The desk drawers there are where the finished jewelry lies. You can also spy my mannequin, my photo box and tripod. The point is that it's clean now, though it won't last long.

I did also tat a bit, but not as much as I hoped. While going through the supplies I found yet another large focal piece to add to a necklace. I had to dig through the thread to find just the perfect shade that would match both the pendant and the brass chain you knew I was going to use. I ended up with a creamy tan cebelia thread. There are hints of brass and copper flecks in the glass leave and it complimented those the best. Fair warning, I found a couple more bits and bobs in the supply box that might get this same treatment too. The tatting portion is simple, but finding the perfect thread and complimentary beads provides a fun distraction from more complex pieces.

I don't have any specific projects on tap for today, so we'll just see which way the wind doth blow. Seriously though it's been really windy here lately both metaphorically and actually. Whichever way though, it's been a much better week than last and here's hoping the trend continues.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Mess

I spent much of yesterday morning cleaning. No particular reason other than I hadn't done it in a while. Frankly there is quite a lot more of that to do and without the threat of house guests it is difficult to get motivated. I tend to let things clutter, take my desk here for example. This is just a small portion of my mess. baggies full of beads overflowing what was once an organized tub. The thread for the most part sits in tubs just fine until I start taking out too many colors and not putting them back when I'm done.

There was a reason I brought this mess up aside from just being a horror show. I dug thought this mess yesterday and came out with a large clear crystal teardrop and decided to make something all spur of the moment and I came up with this one. Again I used that same vintage pattern bit which is absolutely perfect to hand something from and I added the crystal. Then to make it a little more finished looking I added two glass pearls on wither side and attached the whole lot to brass chain giving it a slightly antique feel. I really love making these one of a kind pieces with bits I didn't even remember I had lying about.

When I shared the creation yesterday I was asked about the supply box which I said I had fished the crystal out of. I was forced to admit that it was more of a pile that started in a supply box and oozed all over the desk. So I was encouraged to pick up a new set of supply boxes last night and today I shall attempt to organize the supplies. I might even get my label on as they are snap together boxes and it would be nice to not have to dig though them all to find something. Such it might take away from the treasure hunt feel of getting findings for a piece, but then I can show you a picture of a clean desk with a neat box of supplies and you can be jealous instead of sad. I would like to point out that my finished pieces are neatly put away in tubs and then tuck away in a large drawer safe from the mess. That pile of lace you see in the picture is largely my own pieces and prototypes that I use while designing and then clearly toss carelessly in a pile.

So aside from the great organizing plan, I hope to get another spur of the moment piece started. I had a new mask thought yesterday as well, so there's a slight chance that might get some time today. It all depends on that desk pile bending to my will in a timely manner. So, yeah it doesn't seem all that likely, but one day soon anyway.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Purple and Silver

Well another good and productive day under the belt for the week. I got a couple of smaller pieces remade and back into the store and got the four new pieces that I had tatted on Monday assembled. I even managed to get them all photographed and listed, though it made me feel kind of spammy on Twitter to announce them all...didn't stop me, but I felt bad.

These are made with an old design that originated as a mistake. The mistake became the earrings and this was expanded from that design to make the pendant. I had ordered the wrong size of crystal way back when and it seemed the perfect size to hang in the center. This is also one of two colors of Lizbeth I decided to order when I ordered green for a customer. It's a nice grape purple shade and I thought it would go great with the brass chain as well. No sense in the brown having all the fun. I'm really liking how the brass does bring down the flashy factor that the silver has. Not that's I'm giving up on silver mind you, just a nice change of pace for a few pieces is all.

The other color I got was called silver and I was frankly curious as to whether it was actually silver or just a light gray. I decided that it is silvery gray. There is a slight sheen to the thread, but it is far from metallic in nature. I made earrings as well as the pendants in both shades. These pieces are some of the very few that I use size 20 thread on. Almost everything else save for the other earrings are made with 10. Which is why I always feel so ham fisted when I work with the smaller thread. Don't even get me started on how awkward it is for me to work with 'real' tatting thread sizes. Let's just say I only have a couple of balls of the small stuff and a couple of ridiculously tiny snowflakes that took far too long to make.

I didn't get any more bobbies done, but I did decide that I needed another shade to work on so I could make up some browns, so I orders some brass colored ones as well as some black ones just to try them out. These ones have a smaller glue pad, so I don't know how much I might have to alter the construction to make them work without slipping around. It might be as simple as adding a touch of glue before I tat them together, but it will have to wait until they arrive to test. Other than that, I have no pending projects so we'll just have to see what the day inspires me to create.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tatted Bobbies

I don't know if you ever fully appreciate how awesome you all are for putting up with my nearly manic depressive swings. I think a fragile, but easily inflated ego must be required of all those that create. We soar with the good days and crash at the drop of a hat. Lucky for me though, I have nice stable family and well...all you people to help keep me even.

Monday was a fine day around here. There were kind words, new customers and I finally worked out the last piece of the bobby pin puzzle. You see I had purchased some silver plate bobbies with a glue pad on them. They seemed the best quality to work with though I honestly had no idea how I was going to get my little flowers onto the end without either showing said glue pad or actually using glue. I think glue is fine and dandy, but it would still eave an unfinished looking back and I would be constantly afraid that they would be pulled apart once they leave my possession. So I tried a few different methods including cutting out a little ring of cloth to sew it to. Not happy with the results there at all. It's sturdy, but I wanted these to be inexpensive and adding the sewing adds to the time it takes to make them.

So what I ended up doing was tatting a single ring and putting it behind the pad. Then when I added the back row of petals I pulled the need through the stitches in the ring before I went into the picot. This effectively sandwiched the glue pad between the ring and the flower. No glue required, these suckers aren't going anywhere and it increases my creation time only slightly. Of course I still have to sew on the crystal. I did try just adding a bead to the center, but I wasn't happy with that either. Too much glue pad showing behind it. They are sussed out now and since they work up fairly quickly I've got three pairs done. I might get a few more color combos done today or later this week, but I don't want to make too many colors and waste crystals since they are the one thing I forgot to order more of this last go round.

I also worked on making some new colors of my Victoriana pieces, the necklaces and earring. I got the grape purple and a silver color of Lizbeth when I was ordering some for a custom order and even though I find the thread slightly smaller than others of the same size and it's a little stiff for my taste, they are lovely shades and I might as well use them. I need to assemble them and get photos today. You know it is funny that all it took was a single sale to get all this creative energy back. All the comments yesterday helped as well, thank you. Well I'm off to it for the day, enjoy yours.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rock Bottom

So I have a confession this morning, I had a bit of an emotional breakdown over the weekend. You see when I woke up this morning, I received my first sale since Monday...Monday. Now I know I have had these dry spells before and I was trying to keep up a strong front last week. I still had a list of things to make so I was going to be just fine. Then Sunday came and I think that was my creative limit. I had to face the fact that my ability to create is fed directly by the consumption of my pieces. If there is nowhere for them to go when finished, what is the motivation for creating at the volume that I do? Sure you can keep a few things, give away a few creations and I'd still be tatting a bit here and there, but eventually it becomes more of a hassle than it's worth. That is of course what happened to me and knitting. Eventually I had made everyone a scarf, a teddy bear, a blanket and I had made myself far too many things to justify buying more yarn.

My etsy sales are my justification, my excuse to buy new supplies, to try new things , to grow and expand without it being something others would call a waste of time. So thank you to everyone out there that has ever bought a piece from me. Thank you for giving me a good reason to create. I wish I could get all art for arts sake on you, but I have no desire to be a starving artist and I'm quite sure that my family wouldn't appreciate it either. While I'm at it, thank you for buying anything handmade that gives any artisan keeping creative works alive an excuse to keep going, because I am certain that I'm not the only one who needs the financial backing to keep on creating.

I did list a couple of new things over the weekend as I got new supplies in on Friday before I got too depressed. I had been trying to find brass colored chain for a while, but I only recently found some I liked. I wanted it so I could step away from the shiny silver for a bit and do some more Steampunk inspired pieces. Of course my version of a Steampunk piece is still really more NeoVictorian, but it's the color palette that is important with these pieces. The first one on the left here started with the same motif I used with the giant opalite only I couldn't locate the book again so I used the photo for reference and I'm pretty sure, rewrote the pattern in the process. I hung a flower from it rather than search for a color appropriate charm and I rather like the result.

The other piece is using that same flower again...I think I might be leaning on it just a bit too much, but it is awfully useful. This is the same design I came up with last week in black, only this time I added gears to the brass chain. Again I know the whole gear thing is overplayed, but I think the single gear is more of an accent and the flowers are still the main focus. I have also been told and I agree that this color palette is much more appealing to those that like natural or earth tones. It is much less flashy than the silver and black, but it still retains a bit of edge which is important to me.

I did also get my bobby pins in and had fully intended to get them made and listed, but that whole no sales thing really just sucked my will to create away. Thank the gods someone finally made a purchase. Hopefully that boost will be enough to keep me creating for a spell in case it was a fluke in a much longer dry spell. I did check out last years numbers and I suffered an eight day drought last June amongst an otherwise consistent sales pattern. I'm hoping this was just the one drought I was going to suffer. Okay, I have now talked about it far too much. I'm off to start the week on a better foot.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Little Less Drama, The Fascinator

Well, hello Friday, has it been a week already? Let's see, as I predicted I worked on the author pieces and got started on the white motif in the morning. Come afternoon, I got all tarted up, threw on the wing and got the listing pictures of the new fascinator. I should have done it earlier as the light was not all that favorable inside and my new backyard does not yet contain enough lovely plants to use as a backdrop. I don't think a bare fence screams 'fancy'. Half the ones I took turned out too blurry without the flash, which I hate using, but I got enough to get it listed anyway.

Then I got back to the white version. I managed to get that all put together as well, so I'll do those photos later today and maybe get it listed or perhaps tomorrow. I have the authors mask to make today as I got a message yesterday that she will be attending an event at the end of the month so I want to get it done and shipped. I also should be getting my bobby pins in the mail today, so I might try getting some of those made up as well. I'm sot sure how I'm going to put them together until I see the bobby pins. Why don't I have any of those lying around, you ask? Well, it's just another thing that I tend to lose and since I rarely if ever put up my hair, there's not much need.

I do have a question for you though, an informal poll, I suppose. Black was an easy choice and white was a no brainer for wedding, but if I were to expand into other colors or combos, which would you like? I figured for the bobby pins a wide variety of colors is simple with nothing wasted, but for the other pieces, I want to be certain that they would actually appeal before I start the long process of supply ordering and putting them together. Any opinions greatly appreciated and I'm certain to ask on twitter as well for additional data. Alright, off to it then.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What's New In Hair Pieces

So why is it that I am more exhausted this week than last? I mean I am not scheduled tail to head, nor am I running around with my arse on fire, yet I am spent. Perhaps this is just last week catching up with...yes, that makes sense. Last week has caught up with me and I have no energy left. That being said, I did get a few things accomplished yesterday.

After a fabulously informative twitter poll on the hair attachment device of preference, I got to work assembling the new hair piece. It seems the vast majority of people who would respond to my random question prefer the security of a clip. Lucky for me, I stocked up on these things when I tried my first failed hairpieces. I say failed because I think I sold two of them and eventually unlisted the lot. I think what it came down to is they looked too simple to carry the price tag I gave them. Of course they were time consuming and I felt that the price tag was correct, but I agree that they lacked pizazz. I think these new pieces have the sparkle required to look the part.

Anyway, I got the piece finished, but I haven't yet gotten pictures of it save for this quick laptop photo I used for a sneak peek yesterday. I'll get the old wig out again and get real ones a bit later. I just thought I would also share a bit of what I learned about constructing these sort of things. People seem afraid of hot glue's stability, myself included. I used it to stage the clip and then sewed the ends with holes to the feather pad. The rest of the piece is sewed together, but every tutorial I ran across was all about just hot gluing everything together. Just seems odd that there seems to be such a disconnect people d.i.y'ers and those who would buy things. Also this is a really cheap project as far as basic materials go. In fact if I hadn't spent hours tatting, sewing embellishments and had gone with a silk flower or applique and hot glue, this thing would be under $10. Since I did do all those things though it will be much...much more. I'm just saying if you wanted to make your own version, it is totally doable.

Today I'll try to get the white pieces ready to sew together. I am still working on the gift set for the author as well. Still no sales yet this month so I'll try to take advantage of the break and get all these hair things worked out. I ordered up some bobby pins as well, so I can get a few sets of those made up when they arrive. I really hope this isn't just another failed hair clip thing. I really like them and I hope they sell, but I'll make them regardless because that's what I do.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What I've Done & Will Do

It's always hard to stay on task when you're waiting to go to a dentist appointment. Since I knew I was getting a cavity filled, I was anticipating discomfort at an epic scale. Of course the reality of the situation was fairly uneventful. There was a bit of discomfort and only an hour of my life given away to the gods of oral hygiene, so when I returned I got to work.

I drilled up some some elytra and got the necklace completed again. I can make the first row of the design before the elytra are ready so I did that the day before. The hardest part of the design is the beetle wing part. I have to lay them all out in order making sure they all match in size and side and then tat them into the second row. I must watch out out for encroaching cats and kids as they threaten to disturb the carefully laid out pieces. Then I must deal with the thread constantly wrapping about the wings and tangling as I add each new one to the line. I tell you these things just so you see how hard I work lest you think I make this all look like cake.

I also sourced some bobby pins for the new flower bobbies to match the veils and I also got another set of the pieces that make up the motif done. I may get around to sewing them to the feather pad, though I'm still not certain whether comb of clip is the preferred method of wearing a piece like this. I did a little Internet searching and could find no conclusive information either way. Perhaps I'll do an informal twitter poll later to get a feeling of what people would prefer. Me, I'd pick the comb, but that's because I have ridiculously thin hair and can slide clips right out of it.

I also promised an author friend a mask and collar set that I finally started working on yesterday too, so I'll likely go back to that throughout the next couple of weeks. It's not a time sensitive project so it's on the when I have free time burner. I did May's sale numbers yesterday and it was a fairly sad month and June began sale-less as well. If things continue in this manner, I shall have enough unspoken for time to complete all these projects as soon as all the supplies have been acquired. Speaking of acquiring supplies...I made an order with Fire Mountain Gems wallet hurts, bad. That is all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Bride

So while yesterday wasn't normal, it was much closer than usual. There were bike rides and video games and copious amounts of plants acquired, but through it all, I managed to not only tat, but to actually finish something as well.

All sewed together and listed is the newest veil product, this one in white hopefully perfect for a bride somewhere. The tatted motif is the same as the black version except that it is in white. The feathers however are different. I couldn't find the ostrich in white at the shop I got them from, so rather that buy from multiple sources, I opted for coque saddle feathers. It's a much denser fringe of feathers and as I mentioned yesterday, there is an off white character to them. They are also a bit longer I think making the stripped feathers not stand out quite as much. I don't think any of the differences are a bad thing at all, just differences.

I then started work on making another elytra necklace so it can be listed again. I do have a dentist appointment, so I'm not certain if I'll get that done today or not. Then I need to decide whether the feather pad version of the hair pieces without the veils should have a hair comb, a clip or maybe even on a headband. Yeah, I probably won't bother with the head band idea, not versatile enough. I like the idea of being able to wear the piece wherever you want.

I do still need to make the motifs for the other pieces, so again, it might be a while before they are realized. It does feel good to get back to work and here's hoping that June is a successful month both creatively and fiscally.