Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Remember What I Said Yesterday

I got a whole lot of nothing done yesterday. The combination of the holiday, the house guests and the afternoon barbecue that lasted well into the evening sort of precluded getting any tatting done. At a few points in the day I was able to sit down and sew on crystals to the new ankle corset, but that was it. I've also learned, after years of selling online, that a day offline is generally a day when you sell nothing/ Aside from blogging, I've been basically offline all weekend and have the lack of sales to prove it. Hopefully I'll get some real work in today because tomorrow it's back to more offline with a family dental appointment and a school outing.

Tatting plans are the same as yesterday. Since I didn't even finish one ankle corset, I couldn't cross anything off the list I made yesterday. So, there you have it in a nutshell, we can just pretend that yesterday didn't happen and everything I said then applies to now and I better get to it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lace Maille Again

I'm taking a big breath as I look forward to the busy week ahead. My guests arrived overnight and are still slumbering of course. We planned a barbecue for this afternoon, not to celebrate the holiday, but to have the family get together and visit. This is slightly amusing to me because with the exception of my brother and his fiancée, they were all over here on Saturday for my daughter's birthday party. So to recap the weekend, there was cleaning, birthday party, more cleaning, Kung Fu Panda 2 and a little more cleaning.

I had an idea back when I made the first lace maille piece to use the design for a pair of similarly embellished ankle corsets. I draped them over my foot and this was what it looked like, so I assumed it would be a simple conversion. It kind of has a gladiator sandal look...though honestly I hate gladiator sandals except when they're on gladiators. But I digress, I had a little time of Friday to start working on the motifs and yesterday during nap time I was able to finish them all and get them assembled.

While, the conversion was not as simple as I thought and I did try a couple of different approaches before I settled on a split ring edge, it should be easy enough to replicate. With all the cutting and tying of individual motifs, it is a time consuming project already. It lays out nicely and fits the foot well and just like it's necklace cousin, the attachment of jump rings for connections makes it a bit more adjustable. Next up is the also time consuming task of sewing on all the crystals. I bet you're wondering why they need to be sewed on and not just tatted into the design. The crystals are in montée settings which have two crossed channels on the underside for sewing. The channels are two narrow to accommodate my size 10 thread once let alone doubled. I love the look of them which is far more sparkly than the crystal bead versions so I sew. I've been using clean quilting thread for this sort of task ever since I discovered it and I've worked out a way to neatly sew all four crystals to a motif in one go while keeping the visible thread on the back to a minimum.

I'll likely attempt to work on the crystals during any downtime I get this week, but will all the activity, that may be all I do get done. I do still have a couple of necklaces that need remaking and I still do want to make a thicker version of the midnight choker too. Those all all lined up to work on and after those I hope to get some time to really look through my newest tatting book acquisitions for new ideas and bits. Another deep breath and it's onto the week ahead.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Just Busy

I got next to nothing done yesterday, well next to no tatting anyway. First there was the rapid fire schooling session earlier than usual because we had to get to a doctor's appointment. The appointment was quite quick, just an annual check up for a really healthy kid. Then we ran some errands and home. This is when I realized that I had a lot more cleaning to do than I thought and began the slow process of picking up a two story house.

The kids left to lunch with grandma so that's when I had time to get some photos of the new piece. I didn't even bother getting dolled up like usual, but I got the new slave bracelet listed and that's what counts right? I didn't touch another bit of tatting the rest of the day as I mostly continued to clean after that.

I did get my supplies in and got them all sorted. I wish I could say that this means I will get on all those projects I mentioned yesterday, but the coming week is going to be more daunting than this one was. This weekend is the birthday party, then I have to clean up more to get the house back in order to host my brother and his fiancée for much of the week. Then there are dentist appointments, end of the year programs to attend and a field trip. Still I must get schooling done in the middle of all that too since there are still two weeks and some change of that left as well. I'm tired just talking about it all.

I will be sure to sneak some tatting in there as well. In fact I just woke up to the sale of the first twilight zone necklace, so I should make another of those. I'll probably try to get that done this morning and get a couple new pictures of it for the listing since the color way could make it look significantly different than the first. Or am I the only one who notices that sort of thing? So, off to it then and have a great weekend all.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Designs That Keep On Giving

I know I told you that I would be diving into the books I got, but instead I worked on the thin choker design that was born out of the Twilight Zone necklace. That's what I decided to call the piece made with the yarnplayer thread by the way...yes, because it's the name of the thread. Anyway,  It took two goes on the upper edge before I was happy with it. The first time around the stitch count was too low and it lacked some element. I was going to show you how it looked before I snipped out the new row, but I'd rather just share what it looked like after I fixed it. The chains have a nicer curve and I added a small ring to help bring the design up a bit. I got both this listed as well as the Twilight Zone one.

Then I decided to play with the design some more rather than go searching for something else. I stacked the undulating bit upon itself, added the same top edging and a similar bit as the twilight zone motif at the center. I thought about just leaving it like this, but after I asked the Internet what it thought, the consensus was to go ahead and turn it into a slave bracelet. I did get that done last night as well, but far after the light had vanished. Though there wasn't much yesterday to begin with...strange Spring weather we're having. Of course I wouldn't trade our weather right now at all. It's paradise compared with so many other places, calm, calm paradise.

My daughter has her annual doctor's appointment this morning and I really ought to get on some cleaning for her birthday party on Saturday so I'm not sure what I'll get done today. I did have a thought to take the new bracelet design and made a thick choker out of it, but that will be a bit of a long project. I should also be getting some supplies in today which will allow me to start back on the maille pieces with crystals. I still want to give an ankle corset in that style a go too, but again that will be a bit of a time suck of a project. Now, if I just didn't adore my sleep so very much.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not Much I'm Afraid

So tired. So very tired. I'm fairly certain that the kids had a wonderful time yesterday and truth be told so did I, but I could barely pull myself out of bed this morning from the exhaustion. We headed down to the zoo early and spent the lions share of the day there. Ironically, they have no lions. After the zoo, we headed to the toy store because as a member of their birthday club, she got a balloon and a $3 to spend on top of her birthday money. Again, very happy kids. We rested for a spell when we got home and then it was out to dinner where she not only inhaled her dinner, but a bit of mine as well. I'm going with growth spurt, it's going to be a long year.

As I had no time to tat I only have two bits of tatting related news to share. First, I petted the stingray...with the arm wearing my newest cuff bracelet. This was unintentional of course, but it provided me with some road testing for the jewelry that I rarely get first hand. I rarely wear my own pieces except for pictures, partly because I never go out and partly because I rarely take the time to make myself anything and actually keep it. Sure, I wear pieces around the house to test them out before I sell them, but I don't generally dunk them in fishy water. Anyway, the the purpose of the story is to say that these things are pretty darn durable. I rinsed it out there at the zoo and let it dry on my arm and it's fine. It could use a pressing but now I know first hand and I'll remember to use my other hand the next time.

The other tatting related bit is what I got in the mail yesterday. I am really picky about which tatting books I acquire. I know that even looking through them will inspire me to make and disassemble pattens and basically re-imagine everything I see, so I only buy old books. I have downloaded many from the antique pattern library and bought as many from the forty's as I can and I basically have all the ones that are generally for sale anywhere. This means it's hard to find anything I would want that I don't have, but I did find a couple and they arrived yesterday, so you can imagine what I'll be doing today. Yep, scouring their pages for things to change and manipulate and make my own.

Sorry for the lack of pictures in today's post, I left the picture taking to the husband yesterday, but hopefully today will will produce a few things worthy of sharing tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Inspirational Thread

Today will likely be a complete wash, tatting wise anyway. We'll be off early this morning to visit the good zoo which is about an hour away. Then we will cater to the whims of the freshly minted seven year old for the remainder of the day, but yesterday I did get some things done. I picked up some of Yarnplayer's lovely thread last week. Yes, I got it because it totally matched my hair. However, I was having a devil of a time deciding what to make with it, so I asked the Internet. Everyone had a different idea and to be honest, most of them were good ones, which was the opposite of helpful. So I decided that it just needed it's own new pattern.

This is the bit I cam up with for the piece. I started with the maille motif, mostly because I just needed a jumping off point. Then I just made stuff up as I went. The intention was to create a graduated piece that would be easy to add tatted chains to and in that I succeeded. I tried really hard to get a quick picture of the piece that would show you the colors properly, but the sun was too low and the flash is little help with accurate colors. There is of course a small chance that I will have a little time this afternoon to get it photographed and listed, but since the day does belong to the kid, no promises on that one.

Once that pattern was off the needle, I started to play with some of the forms I created in the new motif.  I had initially intended to string a few of them together for a thick choker design and I still might, but that's not what I got up to. Instead, it's working into a thin undulating chain. I think once I get it to length then I'll work out a top edge to make a thinner choker design. Since I really have no preconceived design though, it could go an entirely different direction.

You already know my plans for today, but if I get a chance, I will try to get the new necklace listed and work on the new design as well. If I don't, well then you already know what I'll be doing tomorrow.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday, Monday

Well, the Earth is still spinning this dark Monday morning and it follows quite a busy weekend. On Friday I did make some adjustments to the new bracelet design and I got it done and listed. It sold in ten minutes. That sort of thing happens so rarely that it is worth mentioning. I then spent much of the rest of Friday making another, so there is one in the shop now.

I also got the black bamboo in the post that I ordered from an etsy seller. Why did I order a black bamboo plant? Well, it's gorgeous and if I can managed to control it's growth properly, it should make an amazing privacy screen. Oh and I found it much cheaper than the $50 and up that it usually sells for. Mine is just a baby and still green, but this is what this stuff looks like when it grows up a little. It apparently has the ability to get to a good 35 feet if given enough room and good conditions.

Saturday was a crazy bustle of activity as we watched my sisters two girls in the afternoon and then had my brother in laws two girls for a sleep over. We also managed to plant the Purple Robe tree that we bought a couple of weeks ago which meant digging a huge hole in clay soil. Yes, I dug that hole and my back and arms are still suffering for it, but the tree is in the ground ready to grow for us.

Sunday was a trip to the in laws in the morning with the girls and a bit of errand running. Then it was home to try and relax the rest of the weekend away. That means this was the only time I had to get some tatting in and since I had a few pieces sell during the weekend, it was just remaking. I sold a piece of the shoulder jewelry, so when I remade that I used up all that particular chain I had on hand. I could no longer put off a supply order, so I sent in another ridiculously large order for chain and crystals and a few other odds and ends to get to the all important price break.

So what of the upcoming week? Well, my oldest turns 7 on Tuesday so there is a trip to the zoo. Her party will be next weekend and my brother and future sister in law are coming to visit next Monday for a week as well. So there will be much cleaning to get ready. There are also many other thing going on next week that make me want to get as much done for the shop this week as I can to keep the stress level down. To relieve your stress, I present two sweet looking kitties. Don't be fooled, this pictured was taken only a few minutes after a mighty battle.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hello Sun

It's official, the sun was actually back yesterday. We headed outside after schooling so I could pull all those pesky weeds that soaked up all that rain. It was a lovely day outside, but weed pulling has a way of sapping my strength...perhaps it's the plants revenge. Anyhow, as I came back in I was rewarded with a nice sale in the shop. That was just what I needed to get me back in focus. So I finished up the new choker and using the new found sun, got it listed. I did wear it around for a bit first and it actually works out just fine width wise. I was afraid it was going to curl too much, but it seem to match the curve of my neck and settled.

Energy rediscovered, I set about getting all the pieces sitting on my desk finished. Occasionally, I'll make a piece and them set it aside without adding the hardware. I had been doing this a lot lately, but once I got that done I felt so accomplished that I had to make more. I flipped back through the Italian magazine and found a motif to play with. Unlike the others though, I think I made this one almost unrecognizable with all my tinkering. Then it was the matter of what to do with it. I figured it was time for a bracelet.

Three motifs together usually does the job and a couple of hooks on the edge makes it easy to wear. It was so pleasant to wear in fact that I decided I was keeping it. I wore it out with the family on our evening nature walk. We have a creek that runs just behind the other side of our street and with the snow melt starting from the mountains it is high and the kids love to search for new bugs. So we walked. When I got back I noticed a bit too much curl on the free chains at the edge of the bracelet so I added another row to bind those motifs together better. I hadn't pressed it yet, but I really like it better already. I'll likely make some final tweaks to the pattern and get one made for the shop today. So if the world doesn't end tomorrow, I'll talk at you Monday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lack Of Motivation

The sun came out and it brought my energy with it. I got pictures of this piece as well as the lace maille piece in brown and the matching earrings for that one. All of this had to wait until after schooling since the sun hid until then. It also continued to play hide and seek once it was back which resulted in some interesting photos, one dark, one light and so forth. It might have taken a bit longer than usual to get decent photos, but I still managed enough pictures to list everything.

Then I stalled for a bit. I tend to get to a point when I'm making new things where I just need something to sell. It's almost a necessary justification for me to continue creating, but it's been a couple of days since I've sold a thing. I've also got several supplies I should order and after taking pictures of the brown maille pieces, I'd really like to get a nice brown over bust corset to take pictures in. So to recap, lots of money I want to spend, but can't since there is currently not enough money coming in to justify it and lots of things I want to make, but not enough motivation to keep me going. I'm sure it's just a phase and everything will be just fine soon enough, but if I can't vent here, where?

I did manage enough motivation in the evening to play with another bit from that Italian magazine. It's quite the challenge to work patterns in a language you don't read, but luckily the pictures are fairly clear and combination of the two makes it possible. I'm working these large flourish pieces together with the same motif I made the maille with only with more picots. Then I plan on hanging another from the center like a pendant. The design is working up very wide so I'm not certain it's going to make the most practical choker, but I suppose chokers are rarely practical anyway. I should get it finished up today and then I'll probably wear it around the house to see how it holds up. You know, product testing. If it works I suppose I'll get that listed too which would bring my items listed to 229. See, too many things listed. Alright, it's out of my system and I'll get back to work, people to take care of and lace to be made.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's Raining

I must have used up all my creative energy on Monday as I was just feeling production mode yesterday. I started with a necklace that needed remaking and after schooling was done, proceeded to debate my next move. Rather than make anything truly new, I decided to make another maille piece, only in brown this time. I decided to make just the simpler version, but attached with rings like the larger one. This meant I could just make each motif separately thus the stack picture. I did actually finish the necklace, but had no energy to take pictures.

I also made a pair of the earrings in brown and I did finish up the necklace made with the large medallion from yesterday. I originally hung it from a long chain as a diamond, but the piece is so big, the free swinging would just distort the crap out of it. So I shorted the chain, added a few little bead bits in gunmetal and was done. Again, I got no photos, I just did not feel like getting them done. I know I said I must've used all the energy on Monday, but I think it was this gloomy weather. I had gotten so used to being able to go outside and bask in the sunshine a couple of times a day, that this rain just sucked the life right out of me. Unfortunately the rain is suppose to still be with us today, so I may have to work extra hard to pull out of the funk and get these photos taken.

So the plan today is to fight the weather to get some photos taken. Then I have one necklace I need to remake. Most of my sales recently have been small or sale bits that I don't plan on remaking, so that's why I've been able to focus on the new pieces. I am however, ready for some good, big sales that I really have to work at. I sort of miss the feeling of a deadline...is that weird?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Starry Night and Morphing Earrings

I was a listing machine yesterday. Three pieces got up in the shop, but not until after some more crystal sewing, some ring adding and some facebook consulting on the new necklace. I did want to acknowledge the comment I got on the blog yesterday regarding the motif being similar to Frivole's quatrain piece. I had not seen that piece until the comment and I went looking for it. What do you know, the center to the design is just 2 ds different than mine which was itself modified from a pattern I saw in an Italian magazine. It's crazy how the same things are created independently of others. Of course hers has a lovely second round and I chained mine up together so the ends results are significantly different, but I did want to acknowledge the similarities.

Back to the necklace though, I ended up listing it without the rings on the edge I added, but you can see that version in the last listing photo. I noted that the rings were an option that could be added to the piece. Most people on the fan page favored the option to add them or not, some liked the addition, but others thought it took away from the tatting.  I still might make an even larger version, but my attention turned to earrings after I got this and the simpler version of the necklace listed.

The earring is just the corner of the motif with a couple of chains added and a ring to create a bit of a chandelier effect. After I made them though, they were sitting on the couch arm next to me and I knocked them into about this position. The light bulbs went off and I set about trying to figure out how to make the whole medallion happen. Sure, I could always cut and tie adding each section individually, but I decided to try for a one round version and I ended up with this rather large piece.

I'm still not entirely certain what I'm going to do with the piece. It will likely be a large pendant, but I can't decide whether it should hang like this or as a square. I'm also thinking about sewing some crystals to the design, but I used almost all of the ones I had on the lace maille piece. I suppose I should just order more, but again I haven't decided whether I need to order a gross of them and be done with them forever or if I just need a few packages. They are a bit pricey and I really don't see the maille piece moving too soon...cause it's a bit pricey as well.

I do have a piece to remake today and I think that the maille design might indeed work out as an ankle corset design, though it will require some more pattern adjusting to get it the right size. Then I still have to decide whether it should link with jump rings or be tatted together and should I embellish with crystals and if so, I'm gonna need to order those crystals. I really did not plan for this week to be a creative one, but it began with such a bang, I can't stop now.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Lace Maille

Well, everything looks okay around here now. I honestly couldn't believe how off my entire day was without the ability to start with a blog post. In a few short years this has become a vital part of my weekday routine, so thank you for being part of it. Now on to the tatting as I have a bunch of it to show you.

I had mentioned on Friday that I had an idea for the next big show piece. I was inspired by a vintage high neck stole I saw on etsy, so I searched about for a starting motif, something to give me a theme to work off of, when I stumbled upon a small square in an Italian magazine I was gifted. It wouldn't work for the big project, but it would work for another I had been contemplating. I had purchased a vintage necklace that kind of looked like chainmaille with links instead of just rings and I had been wanting to replicate it. I had not found the right size and shape motif, until now. This was the first build up using the motif and tatting it directly together. I did muck with the original pattern just a bit, but since I can't actually read the pattern in Italian, it's all a bit of a guess anyway.

I had initially intended on making the piece huge, but as I reached the sides, I decided that there could be two pieces made with the same structure so I opted to make this first piece simpler and likely easier to wear. This version sits a bit lower on the neck and closes with an adjustable clasp. No, it's not listed yet. Remember I mentioned that I got my neck punctured by kitten claws? It is healing fairly fast as they were luckily just punctures, not scratches, but I definitely wasn't camera ready at this point in the weekend.

Once this was done, I had some reevaluating to do. The motifs hang just fine together in this iteration, but I wasn't so sure they would do well in the larger version. The necklace this is based off of is joined by rings and the links don't all hang perfectly straight, but shift about to hang in whatever position they need to. So after consulting twitter, I further modified the pattern and decided to hang them together with silver jump rings. I spent nearly all day Sunday tatting motifs as the necklace continued to grow. At the point of this photo, I just had a couple more motifs I wanted to add to the back to flesh out the design. I had toyed with going another round, but at that point it really would just be a show piece and fairly unwearable. I may still go there of course, but I had a plan for this one to fancy it up too.

Crystals. Actually 100 of them sewn into the lace, four on each motif. For this photo I just set the crystals in place to see if the plan was going to work. I'm pretty sure it will be one heck of a statement necklace when I'm done. I am also still toying with the idea of dangles of some sort from the edge of the piece. Again, the necklace I am working from has small discs dangling from the edge. Of course that necklace is dramatically smaller than this piece. I still might give it a go and just see how it would look, but with all the crystals, it may not need anything else to make it over the top. I also have plans to use this same motif for several other pieces. I've already got the earrings worked out in my head and then there will likely be a bracelet and I'm even kicking around the idea of ankle corsets, but I haven't really thought about the logistics of that yet. I do so love how a simple motif can inspire so much creation, don't you?

Friday, May 13, 2011


Sorry for the late post. As you may be aware, blogger has been experiencing "issues" and now my whole day is thrown off. I can't honestly remember what I meant to post this morning. I'm sure I had something to say about my left shoulder hurting...it's better now. I was probably going to mention that I managed to get stabbed in the throat by cat claws(don't ask) so now I can't retake the pictures I had intended to take. In short, it was a bothersome day and add to that today's bother bloggerness and well, I'm just all floopy now.

I did manage to get both the one off set listed yesterday before the little bothers added up as well as the new cuff bracelet I had mentioned. It turned out well with three motifs being perfect for a six and a half inch bracelet. Of course this design can't really be scaled and I closed it with hooks. So I guess it's one of those that fits you or not.

I'm trying to think what else to share with you today, but apparently I am more coherent at 5:30 in the morning that I am later in the day. I do have an idea for my next big show piece project  kicking around today and I picked up a couple of vintage tatting books to add to my collection, so whenever they arrive, I'm sure to have a few more ideas. I hate to leave you for the weekend on such an odd note, but it's better I go now than babble on aimlessly, so until Monday my friends.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Lace & Silliness

In stark contrast to the day before, I did just about nothing I said I would yesterday. Not a single mask was made, nor even started. In fact between laundry loads I was just lounging about trying to think of what I'd rather be doing. After schooling time was over I began to dig through my supply bits for something to inspire me when I ran across these bead slide things I had recently picked up. I figured they would work out well int he quadra bracelet design. I opted to make it a little frillier with some extra picots since I was using fancy beads.

Once the bracelet was made I decided it should just be a whole one off set. So I made matching earrings and a pendant on a snake chain. I only bought one strand of the bead slides and even though I know I can get more, I think I'll just leave it at this one set. I didn't finish it in time to get pictures. OK, maybe I did, but I wasn't dressed properly and I really didn't feel like changing just to get proper pictures. So I will get around to that after schooling today and I might have another piece ready to join it as well.

I just happened across one of my vintage books on a trip through a pile looking for something else entirely. This one was from the 70's. Yes, I am aware that calling this book vintage means I am vintage as well. No, I am not happy about that assertion, but moving on. I thought I'd just work up one of the patterns for fun and when one motif was complete I though that three would be the perfect length for a nice cuff bracelet. I left off last night on the third so it should be wrapped this morning while I have my coffee.

One last funny before I go for the day. I was doing a search for ankle corsets. Yes, another one of those vain google searches, when I ran across a listing on Alibaba, a global trade site that hosts individual sellers. It was one of my listing photos for my In Bloom Ankle corsets listed there as 'ANKLE CORSET SOES'. They go on to describe them as corset pumps from Korea and Japan available in one color and several sizes from the Philippines. This probably isn't even a case of rip offs being made. I warrant it's just a lame attempt to scam people out of money since there simply is no way they can supply anything bearing resemblance to the photo, though I would be curious to see if there was an actual product. I did check into their flagging system on the site and it requires you to sign up for an account, provide documented proof of intellectual right holding and a copy of a valid photo id. Yeah, I'm not emailing a copy of my photo id to anyone, that would bring some bad juju for sure. A lovely friend sent an initial inquiry to the seller asking the price and materials used, so we'll see if she gets any response and I'll let you know.

Honestly, this is mostly amusing and I since probably shouldn't link to it and give the page more traffic, here's a screen shot instead. You click on it to see it bigger and read the awesomeness. I really can't imagine there are too many people who would fall for the 'payment by western union only' along with all the other sketchy details, but I do hope no one gets scammed by this. Well, off to the day then. I hope you all have good ones!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Single Shuttle

Well, look at that, I did what I said I would do. I set up a sale section in the shop. I didn't add as many pieces to it as I thought I was going to. There are still a few more pieces, mostly made in colors I usually don't use that might still end up there, but I do like people to see that they have a color option occasionally, so I suppose we'll see about that one. The section is called 'Retiring Designs Sale' and you can also get free shipping if you use the code 'FBFREESHIP' at checkout. That code is actually good for any blog read or facebook fan at anytime should you actually remember it exists. Right now the pieces in the section are all either one offs or designs I am letting go, at least for the time being. So in other words nothing in there will be remade anytime in the foreseeable future.

In other non news, I decided after finishing one piece that needed remaking to take break and make something new. I went with a vintage single shuttle pattern. Why? Not sure really, I have no use for the finished piece really and I hate working with cut thread. It tangles and argues with me and reminds me constantly why I never work these sort of patterns. This is just the beginning, I went ahead and worked the whole motif of five sprays. It's a five pointed star and way too big to be a pendant. I played with wrapping it around my wrist or foot and I might still figure out some way to make that work, but don't hold your breath. I might even just use a single spray for something or modify the pattern a bit for something else entirely. Then again, I might get distracted and forget I even thought about it at all.

I know there was something else I was suppose to share, but I'm not remembering what right now. Wait, maybe...no. Yeah, I can't remember what it was, but you know I'll be back tomorrow and if it was important I'm sure I'll mention it then. I've got a handful of masks on the remake list since I sent some to that magazine shoot. Usually they return from these things completely unharmed and the shoot was scheduled for this week, but it's always better to have things made and on hand. So today, it's either that or I play some more. I can't tell which way the wind is blowing yet, I guess its still too early.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Ankle Corsets

I was all ready to get the ankle corsets listed yesterday morning when I looked back at the pictures I had initially took of them. I decided that I didn't like one element of them at all. They just didn't lay right. This happens a lot when I use one piece as a base, in this case the In Bloom ankle corsets, and add new elements to it, a modification of the Victorious necklace edging. They just don't naturally line up...sometimes you have to make them behave. So I ripped out what I didn't like and made them again and with just a few differences, they were just right. The clover edging also made these ones take quite a bit longer, but I do like the result. Of course all this meant an unplanned photo shoot in the morning and as luck would have it we were having a cloudy day. I somehow managed to still get some good pictures and they are listed now.

I immediately started wondering if I should have bought red shoes to take pictures of red pieces with. I bought off white ones for all the future white & cream pieces since black was so harsh with them, but I ultimately decided that the red looks good with the black. Besides, as much as it would be nice to have a pair of red heels, I know damn well they would only be used for photo shoots and if the black ones work, there's really no point.

I received an order for barefoot sandals in a custom size yesterday so that was pretty much the remainder of my day. I've been trying really hard lately to get any custom orders in and out as quickly as possible. I really need to get a few things remade before the list keeps growing. At the same time I am contemplating doing a bit of a clearance sale on a handful of pieces that have been around too long. My little storage bins are getting full to bursting and since I can't seem to stop making new things, something has to give. What I'll likely do is make a sale section, mark those things down a bit and hope it's the nudge people need to pick up a few of them and I won't remake them when they're gone.

I've been very overprotective of my designs in the past, keeping them all listed just as public evidence that they are mine even though I was certainly ready to let many of them retire, if but for a while. That was because of certain incidents and people that have since seemed to disappear(knock on wood). I don't want to let my guard completely down, but I really ought not be so paranoid all the time. One day I will get a nice portfolio up with all my designs from the very beginning, warts and all, but I suppose there really is no rush.

So today is more remaking and if I get a burst of creativity, I might whip up another one off. That will of course remind me that I said I would make that clearance section. Then I will have to find a more eloquent name for a clearance section, perhaps Retiring Designs Sale. Maybe then I'll get another order to keep me busy. You know how much I like busy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What A Weekend

The weekend went basically the way I said it would with one small exception on Friday. Right after breakfast I received a message from a magazine asking to use some masks for a photo shoot. You know I'm not going to tell you which one in case this one falls apart too. Anyway, I did have to think about it a bit, but since they needed them for this week and they are shooting in London, I wasn't afforded the opportunity to think for long. I was offered the use of their shipping account to send them, making it an easier decision for me, so I went ahead and packed a few up, rushed down to the fed ex place and shipped them. In fact they have already arrived this morning. So, we'll just have to wait and see how this one plays out. Hopefully much better than the last one.

I did list the new mask I teased on Friday. This one points both up and now. I swear it actually stays on fairly good, but I do recommend a spot of spirit gum on the top point if you're going to be wearing it for a long time or going to be fairly active. I also have a new ankle corset design that used this same repeating clover motif. The new pieces started out with the edging from one of my collar necklaces, Victorious which is from a 40's era collar pattern. I was actually shocked at how well the design worked for both pieces. I will probably get the new ankle corsets listed later today. I had meant to do so over the weekend, but I was as busy as I thought I would be.

Let's see, what else? So, I get vain google alerts for 'totusmel' and I got one for a YouTube video yesterday morning. Huh? So apparently there were at least two of them and they are these spam things that used my 'totusmel' name in the title and a description of my tatting videos, not a cut and paste one, but they actually wrote one up and attached this to a clip with a static image of website link. I flagged them and guess what, they were actually removed. So, do me a solid, if you run across any of those whilst on YouTube, just flag them as spam. I'm actually kind of flattered that they bothered. I imagine that they do this sort of thing using all kinds of videos as jumping points to scam people doing searches for popular search terms. I just really didn't want people thinking I had anything to do with that and I've become pretty protective of my name.

I do have a few pieces that need remaking this week, but there are no pressing projects on deck. I just finished up a custom mask and a pair of pieces made in a dark blue, so I guess I'll just be rolling with the punches today and hoping that the week is a good one.

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's The Way Things Go

Well, I am a tad bummed this morning. I recently discovered that the secret project I've been yammering on about fizzled into a whole lotta nothing, as least as far as my contributions to it go. Basically, I was paid for some pieces for a project and they were not ultimately used for said project. I could dwell on that, spiral into the depths of self doubt because this sort of thing just keeps happening every time I get close to something great and whatnot or I could just say, 'Meh, at least I got paid'. I am going with the latter. I am also not going to divulge any details about the project as a precaution. The pieces are still out there in other hands and there is no sense in me burning bridges, you know...just in case. That being said I am also not holding my breath. Instead I am just moving on.

I've got a couple of new pieces on track to be listed this weekend. I think I might get one up today, but I'm not certain which one yet. I thought I'd add a teaser pic of one of them though. Clearly it's a mask and it was designed for the secret project, but I made another to list. I figured I'd wait until I knew one way or another to list it. Since I now know it went the other way, I might as well use the designs in the shop.

Other plans for today and this weekend include a whole lot of family geek. We'll head out to see Thor, make a project with the kids at Lowe's and head to a video game tournament at the comic book shop where it is also Free Comic Book Day. Then there's Sunday and the barbeque for the our respective Mother's which means I need to get the house into some semblance of order before it is overrun by cousins. So big, non tatting related weekend ahead and after that everything should be, well, back to normal.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Too Warm

I had a hard time staying on task yesterday. I think it was the weather...it was hot. Not as hot as it will get mind you, not even close, but 90 the first week of May is a bit much to take. It's suppose to be just as warm today before it cools off a bit the rest of the week. No joke, I actually found myself on more than one occasion, just sprawling across the couch like one of the cats. I did manage to make something new, but fairly useless at this point. I was using the corner of another design and morphed it into a heart. I really don't need another tatted heart design. I was hoping to come up with something more clever from the corner bit and I guess I still might, but since it is in fact new, I figured I'd at least share it.

I've been dealing with a small glut of improbable requests. You know, this with that sort of things. Can you make this piece, but with that there instead? Often these requests are more than possible, but lately they've been ones that would severely deplete my brain cells to figure out or we'll just stick with improbable. You know how much I love a challenge but I am just not in the mood for improbable right now. Perhaps it is the afore mentioned heat. So, I've been politely honest in my replies stating that the thing they'd like done is not something that will likely work out. After years of making what some might call ridiculous pieces, I have a fairly firm grip on the limitations of the lace and how it will ultimately behave. I suppose I just don't feel like fighting it right now.

The week is almost ended and I am still trying to get a necklace remade...I keep getting distracted. I will get that done this morning I promise and then perhaps get back to playing with that little corner. Maybe it will finally tell me what it wants to be and I'll get it made up into something more interesting. Also, I don't think I'll be making any decisions about that pattern gig for a couple of days at least. I need to figure out if I can honor the time commitment involved when I can't even stay on task for my own small projects. It could be Spring fever...I can blame that right?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Look At My Feet...Again

Wow, new two days in a row. Given my more recent lack of anything new, two days in a row can be considered a significant achievement. The piece I needed to remake yesterday was a slave bracelet and as I was working on it I made the decision to turn that sucker into a pair of barefoot sandals. I again abused that Betsy Evans heart pattern by changing all the stitch counts yet again, to make it large enough to sit on the foot. I added the toe loop and then puzzled awhile on how to best add the side ties. The other sandal motifs had easily repeatable bits that lent themselves quite easily to corner attachment, this one, not so much. I did eventually settle on a simple chain and ring combo similar to how I made the bracelet attach to the wrist portion. I know you're probably shocked that I made them in red too. It's a nice deep cranberry color and I just finished a mask with this thread and I guess I was in a red mood.

Other than the barefoot sandal business, yesterday was fairly normal. Schooling has about a month and some change left so I'm just trying to keep us both interested enough to get through it as the weather outside gets increasing pleasant. The sweet, cool breeze keeps calling to us and luckily we can just skip outside whenever we like. There is just not much else to report unless you want a laundry play by play.

I did have a few other ideas while I was off adventuring last week that I will try to get around to trying out soon. Just bits of other patterns that told me they could be something else. I'm not sure any of those ideas will properly manifest, but I never am, so I'll give it a go. Oh, I do have a question for you all before I stopped rambling. Has anyone ever worked with a company to design patterns for them to distribute? I was contacted by someone to do that and I'm thinking on it, but some experienced advice would be lovely. The patterns would be distributed for free and I wondered what one would charge for that service. I've never sold a single pattern so I'm in the dark here. If you'd prefer to message me privately, my email is in my blogger profile. I honestly don't even know if I feel comfortable committing to the time needed to design and create a tutorial, but more information before deciding is always good. Well, that's it then, off to the day.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

See, Look, Tatting

Well, that was more like it...a typical Monday. There was schooling and dishes to do. There were children playing roughly and loudly and there was tatting to be done. I'll start by showing you the new necklace. Again, it's just another tatting over rings piece. This time I just just joined them together in a stacking pattern after making up each ring as I went. I wonder if I will eventually be able to know how many stitches I can get on a ring, because right now I just keep going until I run out of space and plan the next round at that point. I hung a grayish bead from the end that was part of one of my infamous grab bag purchases. It's probably just glass, but it resembles a smoky quartz and fit the design well.

Next up was a custom red mask and I actually got it done fairly quickly. I think I might have been itching to get back to work so it was like my fingers were spring loaded. I even got to start work on another custom piece. This one is a pair of barefoot sandals for a wedding, complete with eleven coin pearls sewn into each one. That will be today's project and then I still have one more sold piece that needs remaking. Then if I have some time left I might try the stacking necklace again with different bits handing from it.

In other news, the large order I've been tracking on its journey away from me has been signed for. Half of me is still expecting something to go awry, but that is certainly one less thing to worry about. I'd also like to use this opportunity to state that it would take some serious flattery and likely many dollars to make me ever go through that sort of drama again. Weeks of tatting one order, communication issues, payment delays and very stressful overseas shipping...many, many dollars and much flattery.

In other, other news, my youtube channel has been steadily getting more subscribers and the total views on all my videos has well exceeded 100,000 views. No, I'm not bragging...this time, I'm setting the scene. Along with all the views have been more questions and comments recently, so I think it's about time to set up for another video. I'm thinking I might try sharing two color tatting, even though it's not my favorite technique to use. Doing so will also allow me to show tatting with cut thread which I also do not utilize often, but it is certainly useful to know. I have no idea when I might get around to actually making the video, but I will start be coming up with a small project that I can use both techniques on. I'm sure I have something lying around, but finding it is another story. And I think that's all for me this morning, have a nice, normal or amazing day.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Back To Normal

The very worst thing about the husband being home for a week was I got to sleep in. It started with a few minutes, but quickly stretched to an hour and the cats just let it happen. I actually had to set an alarm to make sure I got up on time today as normality is restored...yawn. Anyway, the family finished up some more adventuring, gardening and random house related tasks. I tackled the closet and drawers in the kids room on Saturday. Everything that is officially outgrown has been bagged and clothes have been passed from one sister to the other and new clothes were bought to supplement the oldest daughter's shrinking wardrobe. That child is getting huge and it just won't be that long before she is bigger than me.

By Sunday I was back to tatting. I even got something new made, but I didn't get any pictures yet so you don't get to see it. It's just a simple necklace made with the metal rings. I needed something new to do and though I do have a custom order to attend to, I'm waiting for pearls for that one, so I really had nothing better to do with my time. Later in the evening I made another sale that gets to be remade today and just this morning it looks like a custom mask order rolled in, so I am officially busy again. I did enjoy the mostly off week for a little recharging. I love when the Universe listens well and lets the orders slow just when I need them to and brings them back when I'm ready. I know it doesn't always work out like that, but thanks for it this time, Universe.

So, today it is back to normality. There is schooling to do, the wunderkammer to schedule, tatting to tat and I must get back into my normal schedule of laundry and dishes and all those other tasks that keep us from living in man made squalor. I swear there will even be tatting pictures tomorrow. I hope my week off from tatting hasn't bored you too badly. I will try to be more entertaining this week...if I can just get enough sleep.