Monday, January 31, 2011

New York

What a weekend. So Friday afternoon I got a special payment in my paypal. I prepped a very large box of lace and put it in the mail. This morning it should be in New York on its way to a fashion house and quite honestly I am a bundle of nerves. You know the ones...will they like everything once they see it? Will they really use everything? Will it really get seen by all the people I am imagining that it will and will they like it? You see, I think this is one of those, everything on the line, sort of moments. It could mean everything or nothing and I won't know until it happens. As you might have guessed I've been giving this a lot of thought. I'd been keeping the whole thing at arms length, but shipping the package made it real...very real. So a few more details for you then, the show will be held at The Standard Hotel in New York city on the evening of the 13th. I'm still keeping a few details in for now, I guess I am still playing it close to the vest. I don't know whether it will be televised or streamed online, but given past events, there will be pictures soon after and likely YouTube videos as well. So I guess we'll see how it plays.

In other less interesting news, I did make up a few more simple one off over the weekend. I'm almost out of these metal bits I've been working around, but they are no nice for making up something quick and easy. There is another one up made over a tear shape in red as well. I think I am going to be working on getting some stock built up on a few pieces, you know just in case this whole fashion show business does attract a few extra eyeballs.

Then I have new project to work on that was presented to me over the weekend. We had a lovely night out with friends again. I tell you, it's almost as if we have a social life. Anyway, there was a request for an even larger bells and coin piece and I've been working out what base could create the desired silhouette and still hold the weight. I think this might need to be a new design, but first things first, getting that stock made and worrying about things in New York which I cannot control. The next two weeks might as well be months.

Friday, January 28, 2011

And Gone

 I listed the new necklace right before I started schooling and by the time I checked my phone a half an hour later, it already had a home. Every time I make up a one of a kind piece and it flies out like that I start wondering if I should go ahead and source similar supplies so it can be basically recreated. Though then I feel guilty for calling the first one a 'one of a kind'. Maybe I'll just look for similar bits of filigree, but not exact and call it version two or something. I did really like the way it turned out.

The rest of the day was quite busy with orders to make. I'm not certain who turned the blinking  'Open' sign on in the shop, but it was hopping all day and mostly with pieces that needed making. Either they were listed as custom or they specifically asked for a custom color. As a result of all the extra making I needed to do, I opted to let my family see the house the way it usually is and not the way it is when I clean well. Dinner went well with the family by the way...loud, but well.

I also got the other one of a kind piece listed. It's another simple one built around a mystery stone. I haven't a clue what it is, but there are lovely black veins running through it, so I chose to do a simple black edging to match. I also picked up a bunch of these snake chains in my last supply order. I'm actually thinking about adding them to some or all of the pendant listings and raising the prices, but I haven't quite made up my mind yet. Would it be better to keep the piece under $10 with a simple ribbon or would they sell better a few dollars more with a nice chain? I might just change a few and see, or maybe list a pendant or two both ways and see which does better. Not that I have a whole lot of extra time to play with any ideas, but it's out there now.

So the weekend will belong to some remaking and if I get some extra time, some supply sourcing, changing listings for chains and maybe even some more one of a kind pieces. I know, I set the bar high, but you've got to keep swimming or you'll drown...or is that just sharks?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Purple Cabochon

From a pure productivity stance, I had a near perfect day yesterday. I got most of a mask remade before I even started schooling. Then after I finished that, the sun had burned off enough fog to get pictures of the two new pieces. I got one of those listed, saved the second for today and then started to work on another one. My grandfather went out a couple of times during the day to adventure which allowed me time to run around and get a few other things done unencumbered. I even managed to get the dishes and laundry done and by the time I had wrapped up the new piece and my house tasks I received an order that needed making, keeping me busy the rest of the day.

So back to the new tatting. I had received these filigree settings for cabochons in a previous grab bag, so I bought some cabs to go in them. I initially intended to make a repeatable design, but I found some more copper filigree bits in the grab bag and another one of a kind piece was born. The stone was called 'mountain jade' which I have a feeling translates to, dyed piece of rock, but it's a pretty purple. I got some in green and red as well, but I have used up all the filigree pieces that match as well as all the copper chain I had, so the next cab piece will likely be pretty different. I also used some flora thread I had bought on a color searching whim. It's not my favorite thread to work with, but again the color was perfect.

While I was working on the new piece, I also managed to break a size 9 steel crochet hook. The hook tip just snapped right off and shot into my lap. So that makes a crochet hook and a tatting needle that I have managed to snap in twain. Either I am much stronger than I look or I have used these things to their literal breaking point. I guess I need to shop for some stronger tools...or work less. Yeah, I'm shopping. I'm using the size 8 now, but if that one goes, I will have a seriously bad day.

Tonight I'm hosting the family dinner for everyone to spend time with Grandpa, so I might try to get some cleaning done, though I have really let go of the illusion that the house stays clean for family. I mean really, these are the people who lived through all the messes of my childhood. I can't really be fooling anyone with a temporarily clean floor so do I really need to bother. I already got all the listing pictures taken for the new purple piece, so that one and the other one from the day before should get listed today and I will be working on the order I got yesterday evening for the rest of the day. Maybe I'll get to play with another cab, but who really knows?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Romantic Tatting

So a funny thing happened yesterday after I noted that my finger had healed up nicely. I was picking up a misbehaving kitten...I'm sure you immediately guessed that there was a claw incident and you guessed right. The silly kitten leapt from my arms using my palm as a springboard, ripping it across the palm. So there is yet another bandage on my hand and I spent yet another day learning a new way to hold my tatting needle lest it cause me further pain. Seriously, it's like my hands are under attack.

Of course I persevere and after I remade a couple of pieces and sold another one of a kind necklace, I decided that I needed to make something new, no matter how simple. o I dug into that grab bag of supplies and came out with a mystery stone flower, a couple of silver leaves and a teardrop wire base and made this simple piece with ivory thread. Then I got another mystery stone, this time a round one and a matching wire base and made another inn black though I didn't snap a picture of that one yet. I really do love how the grab bag challenges my sense of color and design in simple ways. It helps my work outside my comfort zone and stretch myself a bit. So I now have another bit of romantic tatting.

I also received my house guest yesterday afternoon so there was much visiting. My sister came round with her kids for a spell and my children were in rare form, performing...well, everything. Heck they were playing video games and started playing the music they unlocked so that they could show Grandpa the dances they could do to them. It was a perpetually entertaining afternoon. I will try to get the two new piece photographed and listed today though the fog here has been relentless, barely burning off after noon, so the lighting is an issue. There are also just a could more pieces left to remake for the shop before I am caught up. They are bigger ones of course, so I am stalling. Some days I just like to make thing that I know I can get done quick and easy. I think this is one of those days.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nothing To Say

I hate when I wake up in the morning to write and I know I have absolutely nothing of value or interest to share about the prior day or the one about to happen. I know that I will still down to write anyway and that as I do I will blather on about whatever comes into my head while I write. I do this because writing is my routine. I do it because it is what I have done for nearly three years now and the offloading of my thoughts is cathartic. I do it so that I do not have to blather on to my husband about lace and etsy and all the other things that one might call me obsessive about. Of course I also do it because there are a few people gracious enough to be my sounding board even when I have nothing interesting to say.

Speaking of gracious people, thank you so much for all the finger injury suggestions. It finally healed to the point where I can paint on some liquid bandage and work without it bothering me. Though after I remade a couple of pieces yesterday, I opted to work on a few extra Wunderkammer features instead. I figured that with my visitor here it would be more polite to tat and look up while talking than to stick my face in my computer to get those done. I got all but Friday's feature scheduled so I'm crossing my fingers that I don't end up with too many sold items between now and when they post.

So that's about all I suppose. I will try to get caught up on pieces that need remaking, but I doubt I'll have the creative space to work on anything new. I would really like to at least finish up the shoulder jewelry concept piece, but I fear that the break from it did not revitalize my energy for it, but rather convinced me that it was ultimately going to fail. Of course I won't know that for certain until I finish it, so eventually I'll have to suck it up and get back to it. And there you have it, three paragraphs and nothing to say.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Done And Done

Ah, the other side of the weekend and it was a long one. I finished up my pile of tatting on Friday and jumped right into a quick custom order. It was a bride who wanted a pair of barefoot sandals embellished and I got to praise the power of quilting thread yet again. I was on such a roll after my big project that they worked up in a blink of an eye. I should have gotten better pictures after I pressed them, but they're packed up now. Of course then minor tragedy struck...I injured my left index finger. A small split began forming on the ridges and I kept hitting it with my needle. This caused it to rip further and eventually it became red and angry and I was forced to admit it needed bandaging. Unfortunately a bandage make tatting cumbersome so after a few attempts at remaking some things, I stopped. With a half dozen things left to remake, I just stopped. Weird, right?

Let's see, what else? I had a fabulous time out with the family on Saturday and with friends that night. If you've been reading my blather for a while, you know that I have been lacking in physical friends that I am not related to, so connecting with people we should have been friends with a long time ago is quite pleasant. It's almost as if I'm starting to live a more well rounded life. Now if only I could stop boring people with the tatting talk, we'd be great.

This week my Grandfather will be down visiting, so I've got some cleaning to finish up and will likely be distracted by the visit much of the week. Honestly though, he's quite an unimposing guest, I just feel guilty for not being a more attentive host. I suppose I'm not a horrible host unless you want a lot of attention and activities and then I am absolutely at the bottom. Well off to it then and hopefully I can mange some tatting and not re-injure by poor finger.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Again!

Wow, it's another of those, 'It can't already be Friday!' weeks. So much done done and so little show for it yet. I talked to the fashion designer yesterday and it looks like I should have a bit more information on the show after today as they're doing a walk through today, but it will likely be on the 13th. I'll give you more info as I get it of course. What is funny to me, is being on twitter I've been inundated with fashion week chatter for the last couple of years every time it rolled around, but I never paid much attention. Now, every time I see a comment fly by about which of my fashion friends is going or even simple comments about it...I get excited too. I really hope I'm not over inflating all this in my head. It could still turn out to be nothing but one good sale and I suppose that's fine as well.

I start this Friday with just a few pieces left to finish and those should be knocked out easily today allowing me to get back to remaking some sold pieces soon. Of course I never thought I'd be relived to get back to remaking things. It's likely because I know at the end of that tunnel, I can start in with those dang new supplies I've been blathering on about. I also have a guest room to clean up though as our house guest is going to be here on Tuesday, I think. See, now I'm getting tired just thinking about it all so here's a picture of sleepy kitties. Yes, I did just use that as a excuse to post another kitty picture, but aren't they adorable?

I also haven't stopped getting notifications that more people are subscribing to my youtube channel and I have gotten more than a couple sweet emails with more requests for help, so I swear as this project wraps I will make time for at least one more video, hopefully a few more short ones on specific questions. I also want to get the barefoot sandal pattern that I have already written up done in an Instructable format for them with pictures. Again, I don't know when they will get done, but I'm writing it here as proof that I said I would do it, so I will.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Over The Hump

Halfway done, halfway done, thank the tatting gods I am halfway done. Unexpected dinner hosting notwithstanding, I managed to get past the halfway point on my pile o' lace. At this rate I should actually have it all knocked out by Friday and with just a bit of finishing work to do on a few pieces, I should get it on its way early next week. I am actually impressed with my own speed at this point...though that might change when I start the finishing work and see what potential mistakes I made in my haste. I mean, I haven't found any yet, but I haven't been looking all that closely.

Let's see, what else have I got for you? Not much else I'm afraid as I am ridiculously focused on getting this project knocked out. In fact I didn't even manage to scan in those pages of the Surface Design Journal. Nope, instead I just took a picture of the bits that mentioned me. I'm pretty sure I didn't need to tell you they weren't scanned though and yes, I played with a filter again, but you can still read it...if you click on the image. It was a really nice article and I was flattered to be mentioned along with a few other familiar etsy sellers.

So, I guess that's it for me today. I will be schooling and tatting and trying to keep the house clean for next weeks house guest. Sometimes the glamour of my live is just too much, I know.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Does No One Respect Routine

Yesterday, not quite as planned. Well it started out just fine or as routine as it could be, then there was the afternoon. We had a field trip to go bowling which was a load of fun for the kids, but it was there that I learned that the dinner we were going to casually host on Thursday was now going to be bigger and on Wednesday. Have I mentioned lately that I have seven cats and tile floors throughout much of bottom floor of the house? Have you ever seen how fur behaves under these conditions? The point is, I had to rush home and start vacuuming up everything I had been neglecting straight away and don't get me started on the slow mess forming in the kitchen that must be tamed.

So though I did manage to keep on task in the morning and get a few pieces done, the afternoon was a complete wash. This also means that today is likely to follow the same pattern. I'll get some stuff done in the morning, but I will need to finish the clean up this afternoon instead of tatting. Luckily I was far ahead of schedule, but there is still quite a bit left to do.

In other news, I was contacted by someone at the Surface Design Association quite some time ago for inclusion in an article for their quarterly magazine which I received a copy of yesterday. You can see the cover here, but it's not available online and it appears you must be a member of the association to get the magazine away. I meant to scan the pages I was mentioned on, but I was unexpectedly busy(see above), so I will try to do that today so you can see it. The article was about the rise of the DIY movement and I was one of the etsy sellers that they briefly mentioned and they included a picture of my ankle corsets. Even though it is a very specific audience, I am glad of any exposure I receive for myself and for tatting, so thanks for the mention SDA.

So here's hoping anything that happens today that could be called 'eventful' is the good kind and in the absence of that I'll take calm and productive.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Production Continues

So I have now completed four days of assembly line work. Saturday was the hardest by far as I tried to make the day off really count and gave myself a barely reachable goal for the day. I have since cooled my jets a bit, but I am still working much more consistently. This means a few tweets a day instead of...well, I don't know how much I usually tweet, but it's a lot and I've tried my hardest to speed up my other tasks. That will all change up a bit today as schooling starts up again and no matter the potential gain, my child's education takes a front seat.

Luckily for me this assembly line method has proved far more effective than anticipated and I should be done with my tatting in plenty of time regardless. Too bad this technique really only works when making the same thing in quantity, but I still may try to use what I have learned here in the future. Perhaps I remake two or three of a design at a time instead of just one. Yeah, I don't know.

I'm afraid I really don't have much else to share. I am trying to keep up with all my other projects since I believe routine is like a warm blanket, but there's nothing particularly interesting on any of those fronts. The wunderkammer, this blog, the 365 photo project are all still on schedule. I have even managed to not fully neglect the household, though there are a couple of guests visiting in the next couple of weeks, so I will eventually have to really clean as well. So boring routine coupled with excessive tatting will likely be my song for at least the rest of the week. I hope your week is more interesting and thanks for all the congratulations and support so far!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Assembly Line

Remember on Friday when I listed off my proposed tasks for the weekend? I mentioned that I had a few things to remake and then was hoping for a little downtime for creative pursuits. Yeah, that is so not happening. After I finished up the watch and a single necklace I received an email back from the fashion designer I mentioned before. Honestly when she said she would get back to me after meeting with her stylist, I assumed that my contributions to the show would end up minimal. Yes, I have been called a pessimist, though I prefer the term, realist. Anyway, it turned out to be quite the opposite and after a bit of back and forth regarding cost and whatnot, I had laid in my lap quite an epic list of tatting to accomplish on a deadline. Free time no longer exists.

First thing I did was add a note to the shop indicating that custom orders are going to take at least two weeks longer as I devote all my effort to this task, then it was back to assembly line work. I really don't want to reveal what I'm making exactly nor which designer house I'm working with just yet. Though I have little exposure to the fashion world, I get the impression that these Fashion Week shows are designed to reveal collections for the first time so I imagine a little discretion is in order, though I was not actually told any of this. It's better to ere on the side of caution anyway. This much I can tell you, unless something goes terribly awry, my tatting will be accessorizing a runway show during New York Fashion Week and I will be ridiculously busy until then.

On another note, not only am I busy with this project, but the shop has remained busier than a usual January as well. As soon as this project wraps, I will have much to remake and there was a list of tutorials and videos that I had wanted to get done this month that it seems will just have to wait. So my apologies to all of those out there waiting for videos and such. I have had quite a few new subscribers to the YouTube channel lately as well as many comments asking for help that I am not trying to ignore, but I'm just one person and there is just really only so much I can do and not ignore my family, housework, eating and sleeping. Sorry.

So, now I'm off to start my day which will be more assembly line work. I've been working non stop since I got my list of tatting from the designer and today is a school holiday, so I want to take advantage of the time to get as much done as possible. I will of course get you updates on the event when I have them and feel comfortable sharing. Hopefully this will be worth all the effort.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I really have no idea how we ended up here on Friday. Seriously, where did this week go? I only managed to accomplish half of what I set out to do this week. My pile of tatting is complete, save for a bit of hardware and now I await further instructions. The watch that I was so happy to finish has me perplexed as I woke up to it not keeping I will have to remake it with a different watch face. I can't have a broken watch sent off to a customer. Hopefully this was the only bad face in the bunch.

I did want to show one of the things I made in the previously mentioned pile of tatting. I did up another 'Such A Sad Love' mask, this time in ivory. I actually modified the pattern a bit this go around and though it might be a small difference, it made it work up faster, lay better and I think I like the increase in negative space. I also added fresh water pearls to the ends and I had acquired a proper beading needle before I started this one, so the beads are actually counted and I put them on last instead of first. Even will all the extra embroidery work, I think this one is sailing to the top of my favorite masks.

So, I guess this morning is a rush to make a new watch so I can still get it in the mail today. Then I can get back to remaking a few necklaces that have recently sold. Then hopefully I'll have a bit of downtime over the weekend because that box of new supplies has been calling my name for days. I sold a few of my one of a kind pieces not too long ago and I really want to replace them with something else interesting, but so far January has not been the mecca of creative downtime I had anticipated. Not that I am really complaining, busy works too, but I had plans that shall now have to wait.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

No, I didn't get to the shoulder jewelry again yesterday. I guess my limit is two separate projects at the same time. I did finish up the watch and sent a message to its intended recipient to ask for approval. It was accepted and I'll get it properly photographed this morning so I can get it listed for her. Then it was back to the pile of undisclosed tatting.

I am finally getting to the point in the assembly line creation that pieces are getting finished. I got one down late yesterday and I should finish another early today. Then it's onto the finishing work for three others. I'm also getting a tad uncomfortable with the number of pieces I have recently sold, but haven't gotten around to remaking to list again. I mean it's not all that many, but I guess that just speaks to how obsessed I've become with having everything listed all the time. It might be unhealthy, but the phrase, 'if it's not listed, it can't sell' keeps echoing in my head.

In other odd news, I received a returned International package in the mail yesterday that was originally sent out over a month ago with the 'no such address' box ticked. Of course they placed this sticker directly over the address so I had to carefully peel it back to confirm that I had not made a mistake writing it, I hadn't. I have already contacted the customer to acquire a corrected address. What is odd to me is that I heard no complaint from them regarding the lateness of the package while at the same time I get messages from folks who haven't even been waiting a week yet. I guess patience levels are different for everyone. I'm still waiting to hear back and I hope I do soon, because I hate the thought that I have someones order and their money at the same gives me anxiety.

So today's plan involves finishing all that tatting, hoping I receive a few emails and if the stars align getting back to the shoulder thing. What's sad is I think it's the weather that's keeping me from working on it. I need a fully bare arm to test the piece and I'm just not willing to wear a tank top all day in these temperatures. It's terribly difficult to strip down one arm out of warm nosy long sleeves just so I can check how the piece is laying. Alright, I'm babbling again...let's just say good morning and move on.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Are You Watching

If you read yesterday you can probably guess that I was doing quite a lot of tatting yesterday. I even brought it upstairs while I did homeschooling, which I never do. There is always some dead time for me while the child does things like math pages when my hands could be busy doing something else. I am opting for an assembly line method in making the pieces for the show since they are a few of the same type, this way I stay in the same groove though it does mean that I haven't finished anything yet as they are all in a halfway state. Oh, and just in case you were worried about me getting ahead of myself, I'm not making anything that I can't just put right in the shop so whatever the outcome, the time has not been wasted.

I know that I said I would make some time for the shoulder/arm piece, but it laid untouched all day. I did get to my other custom project. I had ordered some supplies forever ago from an etsy supplier in China and apparently they did indeed come over on a slow boat. They're here now and I could finally get to work. As you can see, it's a tatted watch. I was initially hesitant to agree to the project since I was uncertain whether the design that they wanted could support the weight of a watch face. I told the customer that they would have to wait until I got some in so that I could work one up and see. The watch face has a small hole on each side and that's it, so my solution for a stronger bond was to make a wire circle around the face to which the tatting would attach in four places. This wouldn't obstruct the back for battery changes nor the dial for changing the time.

I wish I could tell you that after I took this picture that I sailed to the end of the design with ease, but there was a fatal flaw in my wire design and it literally came apart as I was finishing the piece. So, I cut the whole thing apart, sussed out a solution and began again. This morning I have about as much work left on it as I did yesterday. I did send a note to the customer that I was finally on the project, but I have yet to hear back, so this may all be futile as well. The piece will end up in the shop either way and since most of the work is just a simple bracelet, there's no skin off my nose.

I'll finish up the watch and hope for the best this morning. Then I'll get back to my assembly line. I imagine I won't hear anything new until late Thursday as I was told there was a meeting with the stylist that day, then I should have more confidence in that project. Maybe I will get some time for the shoulder piece later today, though I certainly wouldn't put money on it. Alright then, off to it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tatting On The Runway

Every so often I get a convo or email that takes my day in a new direction. Yesterday was one of those days. I already had a day full of errands and a steadily growing list of things to tat when I received the aforementioned message. Now, I don't like to get ahead of myself announcing things because I have too often needed to explain how something fell though or was lost by the wayside. So, I shall instead speak cryptically, without too many details and try to avoid getting over excited.

What I will tell you is that tatting may make an appearance on the runway during New York Fashion Week. I spent much of the day in an email conversation that has me rushing to make a few things for this potential event in February. There are many details to work out and a few more conversations to be had before anything is truly settled and I can start being less annoying with my lack of details. Forgive me, but so many opportunities and collaborations over the past few years have turned into epic disappointments for me and the less I have to backtrack on the better.

Needless to say, there are a few other projects that are on hold while this one works itself out, most immediately the shoulder jewelry, though I think I will still try to work on it for a small amount of time each day to keep it moving. I also finally received in a special supply I had been waiting for to create a requested custom piece. That one shouldn't take too much of my time so, I try to put that on the schedule as well. I don't want a bunch of people just waiting on me while I work on something that still isn't truly set in stone. I'm sure there was something else that I wanted to write about this morning, but everything else has left my brain.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Head and Shoulder

So Monday, we meet again. Though I suppose I don't have much to show for it, the weekend was long and full of activity. The new mask was named, Such A Sad Love and listed on Friday. Then the general malaise that usually sets when I finish a large project settled in making moving on a bit of a chore, but move on I did. I finished up some custom orders and got back to the shoulder jewelry. Then I got a couple more orders in, so I set aside the project to work on those, then back to the shoulder jewelry. Clearly it has become my, 'when I'm not busy' piece.

I decided to stick with simple for the long section that will wrap around the arm and just started with a simple chain matching the one in the rest of the design. After I have it as long as I hope I need it, I started adding some character to the length. I will likely add a few more of these little outcrops and then the whole piece will either get attached to the memory wire or more like will just clasp to the end. Sure, it won't have the same look as the piece it was inspired by, but it won't be uncomfortable nor need to be glues to ones arm either. Though know that I think about it, I'm afraid it might shift on the arm and unspiral...I guess I'll need to test wear it for a spell when I get the length worked up before I settle on the means of attachment.

The rest of the weekend was spent running errands, taking the kids to the Lowe's build and grow thing, making crayons with their new Crayon Maker and watching every member of my family play video games endlessly. Of course I made a few spur of the moment decisions over the weekend too. I am doing another 365 photo project. I only made it to September last year and I am starting a week late, but I'm going to stick with using my phone this time and see if the convenience keeps me on task. I have also added another day to the Wunderkammer. I received a treasury notice from someone and realized that adding an already made treasury to the blog on Sunday wouldn't be too much effort and adds more content. I'll likely oscillate between the two etsy street teams I belong to and then I won't even have to look very far.

I did also get my supplies in, so I organized and got that all put away. When there was a clear space issue, I got some more tubs and some for finished pieces as well. I got every piece put in a label tub by type. No more digging through four of them to find one piece. I will just now have to dig through one. Of course it reminded me that when I started this endeavor almost five years ago now, I had one small box of pieces, one box of thread and one box of findings. Now, not so much.

So hopefully I will get more work done on the shoulder piece, though I am starting to doubt that the original requester is going to want it. It is quite large and likely expensive at this point, but since I started I have to finish it right? Then I want to get a few new one of kind bits worked up, but I do have a vet appointment for the boy kitties today and there's always school so really, I hope I get anything done.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Ice Queen Mask

 I ended up working on the new mask all day long. I know, I know...I t looked finished, but I added crystals and then decided to embroider the entire outside edge with metallic thread instead of filament. It was an excellent decision as the thread behaved much better than the filament usually does even if it's not quite as shiny. Other things I learned from this endeavor, putting the bead tassels on first makes embroidery and even sewing on crystals...troublesome. Oh and thinking I was going to sew seed beads on anything was a mistake. I think I got five on before I chucked the idea and decided to just embroider around the eyes too.

You can probably tell from the photos that I finished too late in the day to get any good pictures taken, so that is on tap for me today. I'm going to try my hardest to capture all that embroidery and the crystals shining, but I usually fail at that sort of thing. Sometimes I do wonder why I bother with such small details when I know I can't do them justice on film. It's like I have to keep saying, 'trust me, it looks better in person.' Anyway, I need to sing Labyrinth songs until I find it a proper name today as well and then decided how much two days work of tatting and embellishment is worth to price it. Though I think I have at least that part sussed out. There is a lot of time to think when carefully sewing a running stitch for hours.

I also got a nice little order at the end of the day, so I have a couple of custom pieces to get made up. Once those are done it's back to the shoulder jewelry, I swear. Of course I also have a supply order coming in with new bits to play with too, so I can't promise I won't get distracted by them either. Man, am I just the consummate professional or what? Always on task, never stalling on new projects...p r o f e s s i o n a l. No? Yeah, I know I'm scatterbrained, but I do like to try and at least make a plan. Plans are good even if they don't always work.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I blame the Internet...well, more precisely, I blame people on the Internet. I was focused, on task and then I get a well meaning suggestion from one person and an idea is formed. Still, I could have put it in the virtual to-do pile and moved on, but then I got a message from the street team I joined with a 'January Challenge'. I could have ignored that too, but the theme of the challenge fit the idea born from the suggestion and since the challenge had a deadline, I dropped everything to start a new mask.

To be fair, the shoulder jewelry had already been giving me ideas of what else to use it's pattern for. Like many other tatters, every pattern I make and adapt beacons me to shape it into as many things as possible. This one started with the same basic bit and then I mixed it with a vine pattern I've used in a few masks, though the stitch counts were increased to fit the other bit.

Unlike most of my masks, there were quite a few false finishes to the center bit at the bottom. I had an idea of how I wanted it to work, but the curve of the eye piece made more of a difference than I initially thought and I had to redo that bit several times to get it to lay right. Then came the fun part...and yes, I am being sarcastic as me and seeds beads are not the best of friends, I added beaded strands ending with cat's eye drops in a smoky gray. I know it's hard to tell in the picture because I played with filters again, but the mask was made with light gray and the beads are a pearlescent white.

I just realized that I didn't mention the challenge theme, Melting the Ice Queen. So it will be an Ice Queen mask. Yes, I said 'will be'. I am so not done with this one yet. Once I had all the shiny bits hanging from the lace, I knew this one was going to need the embellishment treatment. I haven't yet settled on what I'm going to use, but it will likely have crystals, silver filament and maybe even more seed beads sewn onto it. Hopefully, I'll get all of that done up today so I can get it photographed and listed by the weekend and then I will get back to that arm piece...I hope.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Shoulder Jewelry

I did it, I focused and actually started work on the arm piece. I think what was tripping me up is that I usually design whilst tatting. I don't make elaborate plans, I just start making and see how it goes. This technique works well when you understand the shape of what you're making. I've made hundreds of necklaces and bracelets, I know the shape of the foot and the hand, but this one was entirely new territory. I just kept stalling rather than trust my instincts. Of course I still have no idea whether it will fly or not, but at least I've started.

I took a bit from a hanky edging that I have already turned into a necklace. I changed the picots. added a few elements and used it as the basis for the design. Initially, I had though I was going to tat over memory wire or attach the piece to it for the whole length, but I decided that wasn't going to work at all. Instead I think I'm going to co-op the shoulder jewelry trend and have the lace drape over the shoulder and attach with a chain underneath. Then the lace will drape down the arm, hopefully in a spiral and likely end with a small bit attached with memory wire to keep it in place.

I've only gotten as far as the shoulder bit, so the rest of the design idea is just conjecture right now. I did manage to get the shape of the shoulder right on the first try, but there was a lot of hesitating before I worked that bit up. I'll try to tackle the next challenge today, the spiral bit. I have decided that even if it doesn't work as the piece it is intended to be, the work I've done so far would make a neat epaulet...again jumping on that shoulder jewelry thing, but we'll have to see how it all shakes out.

The other thing I recently decided to undertake is the retaking of listing pictures. I have many that were taken years ago, are horrible and I've just never redone them. They're mostly smaller pieces that just weren't a priority, but I should a couple yesterday and it got me thinking about it. Redoing pictures as I remake pieces would help pull the shop together and make it harder to tell which pieces I've been making since day one and which I created yesterday. I won't do it in a big group, but likely just as those piece sell and get remade. Now that it's in print, I am obligated to actually follow through...which is the reason I write much of this stuff down. So off to it then.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Always More Down

Yesterday could not have likely started worse nor ended better. The morning was an absolute train wreck. There was the cold that was not getting any better, the child who decided that math was out to get her and then there were the ants. Oh, mortal enemies, the ants returned and they went too far. They invaded the pantry and went straight for my box of See's dark chocolates...the ones I got for Christmas that I hadn't even opened yet. Of course opened or not, they were inside destroying my chocolate and they had to be tossed. I think I actually sobbed a little as I vacuumed all their evil little bodies away. The rest of the morning was a drag as I was definitely not in my happy place.

The afternoon picked up a bit as I got a few pieces remade and I spent nap time getting a giant supply order together. I had decided to wait until the new year and then make a bigger order than I strictly needed to get it out of the way for awhile. Though I am certain that I will have forgotten something that will need ordering soon anyway. I also picked up a few bits to try out for some new design ideas going forward.  I never did get around to trying out any designs for the arm band, but one of the pieces I remade will likely be a large portion of it, so I needed one of them done to help me visualize anyway. I will make a concerted effort to get some real progress on the piece achieved today.

The great ending was a friends birthday dinner and a lovely after dinner gathering full of questionable conversation, hilarious stories and lots of laughter. We tried not to stay out too late, but since we are generally in bed with the kids by nine...yes I know we're lame, I'm still a little wiped this morning. The cold is still hanging on, but it is losing steam and I was able to sleep without medicinal intervention. Hopefully today starts looking up and next time I try to say there is nowhere to go but up, please do remind me that there is always more down than you think.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nowhere But Up

Her we are then, the first Monday of the Year. I can't say that I am happy to see it, but time stops for no man. Home schooling starts up today and I must get back into a groove again. No more tatting whenever I feel like, no more snacking all day and mindlessly watching television. I must now focus and divide my life back into those little time boxes that make this all work. See, would you be happy to see this Monday if you were me?

My attitude is shaped by the year I've had so far. I started it with an worsening head cold, no first of the year sales and weather that would depress a unicorn. I'm surprised I made it to Monday without some act of depression, like crawling into bed at noon. Honestly though, it's likely for the best that the year has begun down in the gutter. This way it's easy for me to say that there is nowhere to go but up. Yes, I am aware that's not strictly true, but let me have this.

I have also begun work on a custom request. This is another without up front payment as I have no idea if I can even make it or not. I like to work the details out before I guess a cost on things like this. I have also decided that I enjoy a challenge now and again with the option to fail. If I always get that payment, I have no out clause. This way I can give it a go with a little less stress. Sure, I work well under pressure, but it doesn't have to be unbearable pressure, does it? Anyway, this one is an arm band that's meant to spiral around ones arm. I'm guessing that the one in this image, which is the basis of the request was made which some Venice lace glued to the models arm. The customer however, wants something more structured and wearable. So I am playing with a  few different ideas including memory wire and maybe chain straps to hold the piece. Unfortunately, I will have no idea if any of it will work until I have made up a sample and actually wear it around to see how it behaves, so this might be one of my longer custom trials.  I do have some ideas on patterns as well, but as my day is about to normalize, we'll see how much time I get to work on it.

At any rate, thanks for all the New Year's wishes and for coming back in this new year. Hopefully I won't disappoint too many of you!