Thursday, June 30, 2011

Taking Shape

Still working on the new mask with little to distract me except the most recent freak storm to roll through California. I'd complain, but I enjoyed the cool weather this time knowing that triple digits are headed this way by the weekend, but I digress...back to the mask. I finished up the outer edge working on wire I added to the sides. The shape was great, but it is always a challenge to work in three dimensions. I worked the outside loosely to make sure that the mask rounds over the face. I was stumped on these diamond shaped holes for quite some time. With the last mask I didn't bother with fill in because I was working all those areas with sequins. This time I wanted it whole.

I tried a bunch of different motifs before I recalled another lesson I've learned. Stick with the same motif. Instead of looking outside the existing design, look into it instead and pull out the elements that can be adjusted to accommodate the space that you're working in. I borrowed a clover from the center motif and then used the same vine pattern with some creative attachments. I also added an additional row of scallops on the bottom edge and the tatting was complete. The last mask took a few more days before I reached this point. I guess the lessons learned are really paying off.

Next up was the time consuming task of covering the wire. I wrapped the eyes in the usual fashion, though even that was slow going as getting a good grip on the piece was difficult due to its size. On the top wire I opted to cover it with actual tatting as you would a ring. I did this so that I could keep a constant stitch count between the attached elements. Since they were so loose, I couldn't rely on them to stay where they were put and I needed an even spacing. As you can see, once the wires are covered the pieces seems to have an established shape and despite working on the fly, it fits like a dream.

Now it's onto the sequins. I already started on the eye edges and I will do the outside edge all the way around. Then I think I will added them to the fill in sections and see how that looks. After those it's many crystals and embroidery with the silver thread. After that I get to see if I can stumble upon another fabulous photographer and model to get it properly photographed. I may just ask my brother, because I am ridiculously paranoid about putting it in the mail after all it's predecessor went though. Wow, I am totally getting ahead of myself. Sewing sequins should at least take a few days by itself and I'm visualizing tons of embroidery and that should take some time as well. So that's the plan anyway and we'll just have to see how it goes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It Has Begun

I worked diligently on an ordered mask much of yesterday. I wanted to be more active online, but instead I got all focused like and though I had the computer up next to me, I only managed a few off handed comments. One of those comments was that I was thinking about starting another 'fancy' mask. By fancy, I am referring to my Masquerade mask, the one that was covered in sequins, crystals and embroidery that I priced so high I honestly though it wouldn't sell, but it did. The comment was sort of a throwaway, but as I finished the mask I was working on, it had worked into my brain and I had made my mind up to go for it.

PhotobucketThe first time I tried this mask method, I really racked my brain on how to start and every choice I made taught me a lesson. Even though it's been almost two years since I made it, I remember the lessons. Sure, I don't remember the pattern and even my meticulous picture taking is only getting me so far, but I think using what I learned instead will get me there much faster. I started by making the eye wires slightly larger and used a familiar base to the mask. This time however, I increased the stitch counts. Then I added the same motif I used on the last big mask. You might have noticed if you saw me work on the last one, that I haven't added the large piece of wire yet...that was a lesson learned.

PhotobucketThe next step was a complete departure from the first one as well. I remember that adding elements to the empty top sections was ridiculously fiddly, so I decided to start with another row of the same basic edging to fill in before adding the top edge. This filled in more of the top as well as added the bottom edge. I also chose to go over the nose a bit more with the bottom though I might add another row before I'm all done there as well. The next step will be to add the wire for the top edge and start the edging that arches over. This time around I will save the wire covering for the end...another lesson learned. Also this time around the structure is coming along much faster, but I know there will be a slow down when I start to add all the crystals, sequins and embroidery. I have however learned lessons about all of those as well, so hopefully it won't slow down too much. This mask will have fewer sequins as I'm not making it for any other purpose than to make it and I prefer the lace to have the staring role.

PhotobucketThis mask will be a side project meaning that if I get orders or simply feel the need to make something smaller for the shop, I will put this aside. Right now I'm free to work on it so I'll try to work fast. If you missed the construction of the first fancy mask, or have no idea what I'm taking about, the posts begin in December of 2009. They continue for a few weeks and the mask was finally listed here after a professional photo shoot when the original requester of the mask disappeared. It was then lost in the mail on the way way to the fashion show and returned in the mail weeks later and then ultimately sold this past February to an author and artist. Hopefully this one will have an awesome an end without all the middle drama. I leave you with yet another kitten, Halo.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Morning All

We had a fairly nice day yesterday, but all the adventuring does mean there was little tatting. Of course I knew that was going to happen so before we started in the morning I got to work early. I fished up the chain on the mocha colored pendant after digging through the grab bag for matching beads. I'm actually pretty shocked that I came up with four of the same bead that compliments the center stone.

I decided to leave the black one on a ribbon like the first version. This makes it less expensive as well even though it had more silver. Making the chain takes some time and since I can make more exactly the same this way it seems like a good plan. I renamed it as well to reflect the additional beads make it look studded.

After all this it was off on a bike ride. Then there was lunch out and a trip to see Cars 2 with some more family. When we got home we sent the children up to nap and that's when I got an order for a mask that will need making. I got to work on it, but I really didn't have much time before the family was over for the husbands birthday dinner.

The dinner ate up the rest of the day so today it's back to working on the mask and that will likely be much if not all of the day. The rest of the week should be back to normal, but then there's the Fourth Of July holiday coming up and after that we have our annual anniversary trip. So basically nothing will really settle into a rhythm again until school in back in session. Oh and here's the cat picture for today. This one is JiJi lounging in the bathroom as he often does and I am out.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I am so tired this morning and it's all because I stayed out late on Saturday. It wasn't even real people late, but for me it meant 4 hours of sleep that night and even though I got a full nights sleep last night, my body is still not satisfied with the amount of rest I have given it. I am however, getting ahead of myself. Friday was exactly what I thought it would be, mask making and errand running. I did very little else as I wanted to get the mask in the post on Saturday. I did get one more pendant made up, but I was too distracted to get a chain made for it. I think it might be a jasper stone in the center, but that's just a wild guess and I don't even remember whether I used Lizbeth or cebelia for the tatting.

On Saturday I did receive one set of the silver filigrees I ordered. They do match the first one I used perfectly and as a free bonus, the seller included two of the same finding in brass. I had one customer inquire about me making a similar pendant in purple, so after I confirm which purple they would prefer I'll get that made up. I did work up another black one, but I added more beads, so I'll have to take pictures of that before I can list it. I added the beads so that the first one can retain its one of a kind status. Though honestly, I forgot the exact stitch count I used on that one anyway since I knew it was a one off, I didn't pay any attention, so it was probably different enough anyway.

After having an absolutely wonderful time out with friends too late on Saturday, we had a cousins sleep over to work. Only the Sunday morning bit, but it was cleaning up sleeping bags and then off to Starbucks for morning drinks and the doughnut shop and over to Grandma's house. By the time we got back home, I was so tired that I actually took a nap. Of course when I woke I was immediately reminded why I don't nap. My eyes hurt and I felt wonky not rested for the remainder of the day.

So onto today which is the husbands birthday. We'll be off doing celebratory things for that much of the day, but if I get a little time I'll at least get these last two pendants finished and listed. The rest of the week I'll need to really buckle down and do some promoting as I'm on yet another multiple day gap with no sales. One last thing for today, I was reminded that there haven't been any kitten pictures lately, so allow me to remedy that with cat sleeping on my legs. This one is Neko, but I'll try to get some of the whole lot of them for you soon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Two Again

Starting the day with no plan is odd for me. I usually have a clear plan minutes after I wake in the morning or at the very least have formulated one by the time I start to write. Consequently, with said plan, yesterday was a little haphazard. The day started with too much laundry since I hadn't done it the day before due to the heat and me being lazy. Then I started digging through those grab bags for something to inspire me. That's when I decided that maybe the same basic design I've been creating with the filigree bits could stand on their own with just a few beads for character. This first one used a mountain jade bead in the center and on the chains along with some seed beads I've had lying around forever.

Then I dug around some more and found a few purple Russian Charoite beads. I bought these ages ago too. I've used a couple of them before, but it's been awhile. I adjusted the design a bit to accommodate the oval, but it's still the same basic design. Both pieces are worked in size 20 thread which is smaller than I usually work with. The center rings are worked in node stitch or Victorian sets or whatever name you have for them. I just thought it gave them a little something more interesting. Then the outside chains have an inward facing picot that makes the chain undulate a bit. I also fancied up both of the chains with beads to create more of a cohesive piece rather than the typical pendant on a chain.

I've got scads of random beads as part of the grab bags so I might just turn out a whole mess of these. I wish I could say that they work up fast, but they were slow going for a small piece with joining the beads and making the chain bits. I'm also used to working with the thicker needle and I am heavy handed which means I bend the hell out of the thinner needle. I also had to resort to using a beading needle in a few places to get the thread through the beads the second time which meant un-threading and re-threading repeatedly. I still love the simple design though, so yes, there will be more.

I might try to run some errands this morning, or not. I haven't really made up my mind on that one. I do have a mask that was sold last night that needs making, so that is my primary task today. The temperatures are suppose to be back to normal for this time of year as well, so no more cave dwelling for me. Maybe I'll sit outside for a spell, watch the swallows build and tat. Yeah, that sounds like a good plan. let's go with that.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Two More

Nope, yesterday was not nearly as awesome as the day before. I scrambled around the house early in the morning to get things done before the heat arrived. It arrived very quickly and the house was shut up like a cave. Add to the cave two of my very active nieces and my daughters switched on all the crazy they possess. It was therefore, a tiring morning. After lunch my charges were gathered up by my sister and my kids went down for a nap. Then I got some things done.

First up was this small one. I just tatted round a ring and added the small diamond shaped piece to the center as I went. Then I added a couple of other silver beads from the grab bag to the top and bottom and it was done. I was asked after I posted this if I had plans to do a video of tatting around a ring. I want to say someone has already done that, but google didn't immediately find it for me. I guess I'll put it on the list for later. Of course this is yet another technique that I worked out for myself, so I could do it completely wrong...or at least very different from the usual method. I really have no idea, but it seems to work for me.

The second piece I got done was more of a challenge. The grab bag had these large three dimensional  flowers. I have two others, but they are gold colored and I won't use gold, so this brass one is the only one you'll see for now. The first row just followed the contours of the petals and the second row was similar to the design I used on two of the pieces I showed you yesterday. Then I tatted up a flower for the center with a couple more beads and spent forever getting it securely attached. I hung this one from brass chain on two sides to distribute the weight and let it hang nicely. I am quite fond of this one and I know I can get more of these flower components in brass as well as silver. I think it even comes in copper. So if this sells, it might come back, at least a similar one anyway.

Speaking of components, after more searching, I did locate a small amount of the silver flower filigree from the first pendant in yesterday's post and ordered those up. I was also directed to another silver bit that I liked enough to pick up a few of as well. Both of these necklaces are still in the shop by the way, no crazy sell off for me again. I don't have any real set tatting plans for today, so I guess we'll just see where the day takes me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Three For Three

While I will admit to some momentary sprawling in the heat, it was mostly a very productive day. I got to work as early as possible and had the mask I was working on completed before the heat started to creep up. Then I dove into the grab bag and got to work on some simple one off pieces. All these pieces were done with grab bag bits so I can't remake any of them unless I happen to stumble upon the same filigree pieces. For this first one I tatted a full piece with petals you can see under the metal, added turned in picots and sterling beads. It sold in 20 minutes.

Though by the time it sold I was well into making a second piece. This one started with some  copper bits and ivory thread. I did a simple tatted edge, decided I wasn't done and added some more. Again I decided it didn't feel complete even after I added the chain, so I dug through the grab bag and added what I think is a quartz bead. It's a creamy color with some peach colored inclusions. I thought it matched well anyway.

Since the first piece had sold so quickly I thought I'd try for a second in the same vein. This time the metal is brass and a bit larger than the first bit so I only tatted around it. I used hand dyed purple thread and brass colored seed beads. I also added some brass rings to connect the first round to the second and the filigree at the turned in picots. The hole in the center of the filigree was really large so I added some more tatting and another small filigree there to complete the look. These pieces were quite fun to make and it's a shame I don't have any similar filigree bits to make more. I started looking for them last night, but so far no luck.

What is not a shame is that for the first time ever, everything I made yesterday sold. This is completely unprecedented. I have to say there is not much that feels as good as having your work fly out of the shop right into hands that love it. I'll probably spend some time looking for similar filigrees again and I might play with some more grab bag pieces. I haven't had any really big ideas lately, so the small pieces keep my brain and my hands working. Also bracing myself for today's predicted heat, but it's suppose to cool off after this. Today's can't possibly match yesterday's whirlwind, but I will try...I will try.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

As you likely guessed it was another boring day in tat land. The rush mask order did appear though, so that was the tatting task I engaged in as soon as it arrived. Before it did though, I opted to craft a bit with the vacationing children. my brother, the former photography instructor, had given us some empty film tins. We used the contents of one Michael's grab bag full of scrap booking stuff to cover then since I don't scrap book.

I figured they could be jewelry or keepsake boxes for the kids. Beside playing with Modge Podge is fun and eats away at least an hour that would have been spent watching TV. Sure, they didn't turn out great and I made the mistake of using a paint soiled drop sheet that transferred it's colors to the tins, but hey, the kids had fun and it cost me nothing but time.

I also thought I'd use this tatting free day to share a few other things that have been going on round these parts. Right behind the houses across the street from us is a creek and a bike path. This is wonderful for walks and it attracts a wealth of wildlife right to us. We're currently raising tadpoles as they morph into little frogs and our house, just yesterday, began to host grasshoppers all over it's exterior. Not in a creepy, swarming, locust way, but there were still dozens.

The last bit I wanted to share is about the Cliff Swallows. Just a couple of weeks ago, large quantities of the birds began swarming our neighborhood. When I use the word 'swarm' here I am not being overly dramatic. There have been clouds of them that easily reached triple digits. I took this video of them on the back of our house almost a week ago and it is tame compared to what we've seen everyday since then. They are now building mud nests on dozens of houses in the neighborhood. Personally I enjoy them, but the poop is a factor and we'll see how the summer goes I guess.

I do still have that mask to finish up today and hopefully I won't melt in the heat. I might get around to the grab bag for a new piece or I might craft with the kids again. Then again I might just sprawl on the couch and lament the heat. Really, it could go either way. I hope you enjoyed this diversion from the usual today. I just figured it would be more entertaining that babbling.

Monday, June 20, 2011


The weekend is over and I have so little to show for it. I have completely caught up with pieces that needed to be remade and I made peace with the listed ones that should be done that I clearly am not doing until they are ordered. Saturday was a day out with the family. We went out to lunch, saw Green Lantern and did some needed shopping. By the time we were home it was already time for dinner. Sunday, being Father's day, was a trip in the morning to the in-laws, then a bike ride for the kids which is speed walking for me and cleaning the house before we had the previously mentioned in-laws over for dinner. The whole time we were just trying to enjoy the wonderful windy weather before this weeks predicted 108º destroys.

When I sat down to write this morning I couldn't even remember what I had talked about on Friday...right, the video. I appreciate the kind words I've received and I'm glad a few of you were amused by my picot comment. Though I really should have, I didn't script the video. So that was just me rambling while attempt to convey a concept. I keep thinking that one day I'll do a proper class, but I worry that no one would even show up. I'm not certain my town would care at all and so I don't even try.

I had a message waiting for me this morning regarding a rush mask, so if that customer returns when the sun is up, that's what I'll be working on today. Unfortunately, I have had a run of bad luck in that department lately. After I thought all the drama with the Italian customer was worked out, I put those items on hold, only to not hear back from them for a week. I sent a message last week and nothing, so those items are back on sale. There have also been a few other disappointing developments here and there. More folks making inquiries and never returning. In fact it's reaching a level that makes me not want to bother answering any one's questions for fear it is just a waste of my time. I won't do that though. I have an overdeveloped sense of customer service. Anyway, if today's customer bails too I think I might dig through the grab bags and try to get inspired. I admit as much as I love the heat, it does suck the creativity and motivation right out of me so I need external inspiration. Well, I better go enjoy the morning cool while it exists.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Tatting Video

In lieu of chatting today, I'll just show you what I did yesterday. Well, I'll chat about it a bit first I suppose. This isn't my best video by a long shot, but after being hounding by many folks I thought I'd do up a quick demo on two color needle tatting. This is of course just one method and there are several and I should have gone into the differences between tatting off the ball and with the cut thread, but I didn't really plan it out in advance, so this is what you get. I suppose I might go back and do it again better, but it really does take forever to make these videos. Oh and don't anyone go thinking it was their fault for pestering me into doing this. There were literally dozens of requests over the last few months and after I make a quick video of the swallows visiting my house, I guess I was in the mood to give it a go.

I hope this is at least a little helpful. If you're looking for a quick written explanation on two color needle tatting, I'd suggest Barbara Foster's book Learn Needle Tatting Step by Step because that's where I started. I do think the next video will be on tatting with cut thread by working up a one shuttle pattern. I just need to decide on a quick one, maybe just a string of rings.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer's Here

I'm still sitting about in a sort of haze this week. I'm not sure if it's the return to California's real summer weather, the end of schooling, something else or a combination of factors. Whatever it is has me feeling fairly unproductive and a bit rundown. My broken toe is feeling better. It's still achy and sore and doesn't like be touched, but that seems to be rarely a problem due to its protected central position. When I broke my pinkie toe I seemed to hit it on everything and the kids were constantly stepping one it. I dare say that this one might actually heal up quickly and quietly. Yes, I knocked on wood.

I did get a few things finished up yesterday. I got photos of the new necklace and the embellished barefoot sandals. I ended up adjusting the picot count on this pair so I could use a few less crystals. They were going to be so close together that the outside chains wouldn't have laid down at all. I'll pop these in the mail this morning and that completes all my outstanding orders. I also got a new asymmetrical ring necklace tatted up yesterday. I didn't have the energy to do another photo shoot though since at this point the temperature was threatening triple digits, but I should get around to that this morning while coolness prevails.

Next up is my spat looking ankle corsets that need remaking. I've saved them until last since they are the most complex of the remakes. Okay, maybe not entirely last as I do still have several masks that could use making, but since they are already listed, there is no urgency there. I'll work on the spats today and this evening we're heading to the county fair. Every time we visit the home arts building I think that one day I ought to enter some tatting, but I never do. There is only one lady that ever does and she lives out of town. I am such an isolated tatter, but at least I have the Internet and you guys to keep me company electronically.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SteamPunk Day

Well, I did manage to stay busy yesterday. I started the day with a custom order pair of barefoot sandals in white. I mention the white because it meant I was tatting out of a plastic bag. My house has reached a degree of cat friendly that white thread is not safe around unprotected. I was further entertained by he discovery that yesterday had been dubbed International Steampunk Day. The twitter was buzzing with mentions and contests and all that jazz. I personally used the opportunity to find new folks to follow, have a twitter giveaway and enter a few other giveaways I was seeing.

I also took a break from the custom order to indulge my need for an occasional steampunk themed piece. I had bought a ring full of these keys at an antique store in Monterey one year. I have always loved old keys, but these are replicas I believe. They were on a tag from an old furniture store as if they were some sort of display piece. They're still vintage at the very least and I have been meaning to work them into a piece for a while. I opted for something assembled rather than a huge piece of tatting. This is what I call my Cross Of Ambrosius...that's the dog knight from Labyrinth. I work the gray rings separately and then tat the outside black. The design can be worked in one round, but then I'd have to work with cut thread to do two colors and I don't like doing that too often as it's terribly cumbersome and invites kitten intervention.

After I finished that piece, which should get photographed and listed today, I got back to the custom order and managed to finish tatting that as well. I do still need to press it and I want to get pictures of it as well because these ones are embellished with crystals and I want to be able to show people that option without them just having to believe me that it looks good. Then it's back to some remaking. School is out for the summer, but I told the girls that we would be working on a few things over the summer so all that learning doesn't fall right out of her head and the youngest is eager to learn s I thought we'd get the alphabet and numbers truly taken care of. I thought I'd give myself the rest of this week as a pseudo vacation though and just let them play outside aimlessly. I deserve a little break, even if it is just a couple of hours for a few days, right?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Yesterday was one of those days that if erased from memory would have little or no bearing on the future. In other words it was generally boring, uneventful and dull. Of course I'm going to tell you about it anyway because that is what I do.

The one memorable event came courtesy of my four year old. As I leaned over to hug her early in the morning as we sat on the couch, she burst into tears. I thought I had accidentally hurt her, but no, she was upset because she had shoved a small spongy butterfly up her nose. She only told me because it had started to hurt. I imagine it hurt because it had made it all the way into her nasal cavity. Lucky for me I had learned many things during the previous nose incident which involved a crayon and I had falsely assumed had taught her not to do this sort of thing again. A few minutes with the nasal irrigation thing and the bright red chunk flew out and all was right with the world.

After a short schooling session, I spent the rest of the day remaking a pair of ankle corsets. It's funny sometimes I start to question why I charge so much for a piece, then I remake it. Seriously, some of these things take forever and have fiddly bits that come close to enraging me as I work them up, never mind that I designed the them that way. I am instantly reminded of the logic behind the prices. There was little else that happened yesterday. I tried to catch up on my reading for 1book140 on twitter. Even though I never engage in the conversation I lurk and enjoy very much knowing what is happening and the various, sometimes overly analytical interpretations. I also want to get it finished quickly because I have another strange book I just picked up that I want to read. When I was younger I would have read them at the same time, but I just have far too much going on now to jungle another separate plot line especially when The Blind Assassin already has three of its own. I barely have the brain power available to deal with one book anymore and its a shame because I was once an avid reader. now if it's not a kids book, a comic or online I don't read much.

I did hear back from the custom order customer and their piece has been ordered. I will work on that one today and hopefully tat or do something worth mentioning tomorrow. Thanks for the toe commiseration and other comments yesterday. I really don't think I'm a wonder woman, as the amount of things I don't get around to is large, but it feels good to hear it. I just try to do what needs to be done and hope the things I chose to focus on are the important ones.

Monday, June 13, 2011


Have I got a story for you. So I'm starting the task of gathering up all my daughter's schools supplies on Friday to send them back,we have just two days left of school, I'm carrying a stack of books and manage to walk into the couch, smashing my foot into the corner. It hurt, but I kept right on working. I went downstairs a little later and tried to put on my flats to go outside, it hurt. I just put on sandals instead and didn't think about it more. Then later after I had been sitting a spell, I looked down and saw my toe engulfed in a bright reddish purple bruise. I stood up and the pain shot down my foot. Oh, I broke my toe...damn. I thought about posting a picture, but you really don't need to see that.

It's really not a big deal, it's a middle toe at the top and it aches when I walk too much and I can't walk fast, but nothing like two years ago when I broke my pinkie toe really bad. That one was a coffee table and was horrid as I use the pinkie toe for balance. This little middle toe is pretty much useless and out of the way. It doesn't feel good, but it's not too bothersome. As it was pointed out on my facebook page, I am truly glad it wasn't a finger. As rough as I am with my hands, it is certainly a possibility, but could you imagine? Oh, the horror that would be. Shh, let's just stop talking about that.

On the other side of luck, I was fortunate to get a few sizable orders over the weekend. It hasn't completely pulled me out of the rut, but close enough for me to stop worrying. I spent much of the weekend working on custom orders and getting a few sold things remade. I still have a few in queue for today and I need to remind one custom customer to come back and make their purchase if they want it by the deadline they asked for. I will never understand why people with the firmest deadlines take the longest to make the actual purchase. Do they not realize that when I said I could do it within their time frame that I was referring only to the time from our conversation to the deadline, not a week or two later, but what do I know? Hopefully I will be working on that custom order today, if not I still have a nice queue of tatting waiting to be remade. I do so like being busy with lace.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Copper Queen

While I was not granted any more sales yesterday, I did keep myself busy. I finished up a bracelet and got that listed in the morning before schooling. Then after, I got some listing photos of the new necklace and got that up. I had worn it around the house all morning and it laid quite well. I was initially worried it was just going to fold up on itself, but using multiple chains on the sides appears to have done the trick. Also the weight of the chains hanging from the design seem to give it further stability. Making jewelry isn't just about pretty, there is always practicality as well. I know that seems silly coming from someone who makes so many useless and some might say ridiculous pieces, but they can all be worn.

I didn't get around to doing anything else new yesterday though. I remade a pair of barefoot sandals and that pretty much ate up the rest of the afternoon. One of the pieces I sold the other day was one of my asymmetric ring necklaces. I'm not going to try to exactly replicate it as I really did just make it up as I went, but I do want another one similar back in the shop, so I'll likely start off the day with that task. After that there is one more mask I want to get remade. Though honestly there are quite a few of those listed as custom pieces that should get made. I just don't seem to get stressed over them this time of year. Though come fall, I'll be tripping over myself to get them made so perhaps I should use some forethought. Yeah, I wouldn't count on that happening either.

I did want to say thank you one more time for all the recent comments. It really is quite humbling to know how many people really do read my nonsense and I hear some of you have even made a routine of it. While the self deprecating me would like to remind you that there are far better things to do with your time, I think I'll just stick with the thank you and I do hope that I can continue to be helpful, or entertaining, or whatever it is you see in me for many years to come. Well, I guess that's it from me for the week. It should be a fairly low key weekend so maybe I'll have something to share on Monday.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thank You

You guys are so sweet to respond so kindly to what was, I'll admit, quite a whiny call for attention. Not that I didn't need it as everything was just piling up and weighing me down all at once. I truly appreciate every comment and kind word, but please don't feel like you have to keep it up...I really do know you're out there. Sometimes I just need a little reassurance that I honestly haven't begun just talking to hear myself speak...metaphorically of course, I don't actually narrate the blog out loud.

Yesterday was more than just a turning point for comments. After I had to tell the Italian customer no, I had quite a back and forth with them and eventually a solution arose with a relative in Europe that could receive the package and then send it to them. I was terribly relieved not only because I didn't scare away the customer completely, but I also had no desire to ship to Italy regardless of the customs rules. Their postal system has a horrific reputation. This did put me in a better mood to start the day and though the customer won't be making the purchase for a few days, I began remaking the pieces I was putting on hold for them. Then I felt busy and productive.

I took a break from that to play with the motif I showed you yesterday. I had an idea in mind, but then I ran across this large copper bit from the grab bag stuff. It fit so well in the center that rather than work a new piece I added some rings to attach it to the already existing piece of tatting. There was a hole in the center of the copper bit that I also tatted a sort of flower into and then I added some chunky copper toned chain. I'm not quite done, I still need to add the clasp and make sure the whole piece hangs well. It seems to, but it needs wearing to make certain.

I still plan on playing with the motif some more, but it will have to wait because just as I finished this, I finally got a sale of substance. This gives me a few pieces that need to be remade and there is also still one more piece on hold that I can also get made again. So, this morning I feel busy and loved and generally ready to take on the world. Thanks again for the attention. It should hold me over for quite some time.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hello Out There

I am feeling much better this morning, though the distinct lack of comments over the last week and a half has me wondering if anyone was listening when I said I felt bad in the first place. Not that I comment often on blogs that I read either, even the ones I read daily so really ought not complain, but man it's been a complete ghost town in much of my online existence.

I finished up the pair of ankle corsets I was working on, but not before I realized that I had made a huge error in the center that had to be fixed. The piece I thought I had started and abandoned was actually an attempt at a bracelet version and was two rings and chains shorted than it was suppose to be. I didn't notice until I had finished the first two rounds of both pieces. This caused me to have to cut and redo the center of both the pieces, add more motifs, cut out a few in the wrong place and then add the edging. This of course took longer than I had hoped and I just didn't have the energy to play grab bag tatting. Instead I decided to do a twitter giveaway for old pieces and play with vintage patterns.

Most of my attempts were complete washes as I didn't have the focus required to interpret the thickly written patterns. Usually with the help of the photos I can figure them out, but I failed at several of them before I finally found one straight forward enough for my tired brain to get. I think I might begin morphing this one today. I see a few adjustments I could make to strengthen the design and work it into a choker or bracelet. I might even look into replacing the center motif with a filigree bit. It's really too early to tell what it might or might not become.

The saga of the ghost town shop continues and this morning as I was writing, to add insult to injury, I received a few messages from a potential customer requesting that I hold a few items for them. What's the insult there, you ask? Not an insult really, but since I'd already used the phrase...anyway, they're from Italy. Yes, silly Italy that will not allow me to ship lace there. I know they are just trying to protect their native industries, but since etsy does not allow us to block individual countries from purchasing, I have to say 'sorry, no'. At least this time I got a message first instead of having to cancel an already completed sale. So it seems that I am turning people away left and right with the not copying another persons work and this Italy stuff. I guess that makes it my own fault then.

So I'll probably play with the new motif today and there was a couple more patterns I might try again with a fresher brain. Without any pending projects I'll just let the day go and roll where it takes me.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday's Not Much Better

I'm tired...and I still feel sick. I'm still thinking the whole thing could be allergies though. A month or so ago we had a snap of rain and as son as it was over I had the worst allergy attack ever. It was so bad that I thought I was sick then and it sort of feels like that again. Since we just had a three day rain, I suppose it is likely that the rain just brought out too many allergens for my system to handle. Not that it really matters, I feel like crap either way. It didn't help that I was answering custom order questions that will probably not result in sales. I had someone ask, after they requested a custom color of one of my pieces,  if I could make a necklace that another seller made because my 'hand seems neater'. I appreciate the compliment of course, but had a hard time trying to find a way of saying 'no I won't make copy of another artist's work' without insulting the customer by implying that their request was unethical. I don't think I was successful in that regard as they have yet to come back and purchase the initially requested item...oh, well.

When the sun came out yesterday I made myself presentable or at least less sick looking and got the new choker photographed and listed. I seriously contemplated adding a little hanging something from the center as well as the other end rings, but decided that I should start with the plain and repeatable design. I might go back and do a second embellished one at some point. I've also thought about doing the design in graduated colors since its worked in three rows not counting the center motif. It's always nice when a simple design can be morphed so many times over. It's almost as if I intended to create a cohesive line from the begining. It's not true, but I can plausibly claim it.

I started remaking that pair of spat ankle corsets yesterday as well. I thought I was ahead when I found that I had already begun work on a pair and then likely abandoned it for another project. Turns out though that the hand dyed gray I used in the second round was the end of that particular dye batch and so I had to cut out the work I had already begun and settle for an already begun center round. This would be the real drawback to having colors dyed for me. I really wish there was a consistent, manufactured steel gray that I like so I don't have to worry about this sort of thing, though I do like the mottle in the hand dyed stuff.

So I should finish up the ankle corsets today and I'm thinking I might dive into the grab bags and come u with some one off pieces to get made and listed. I've been making such large and complex pieces that some simple lower priced ones might be in order to balance everything out and hopefully inspire some sales to get this June rolling. Here's hoping that the allergies subside soon and I can start feeling good again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Monday, Monday

I wanted to start off the day with a nice, 'Happy Monday', but as luck would have it, I woke up with the sensation of something dead in my throat. I started feeling bad last night thinking it was allergies, this morning I'm not so sure anymore. I suppose I should just thank my lucky stars that whatever this is waited until after my busy, overbooked week to strike. That however does not make me feel any better this morning with the sore throat, stuffed and simultaneously running nose. I know that you love all these

I was busy much of the weekend, but I managed a little time for tatting in the evenings. As such I managed to finish up the wide choker design that I've been yammering on about. It's basically the same as the 'Midnight' slave bracelet, which is what this is a picture of since I was feeling too lazy to get a picture of the new piece when it was finished. Well lazy and a little sick anyway. I will make an effort to get the clasps on and get it photographed today. Of course that does depend on how sick I feel later once the morning gunk has passed. I'm still holding out a little hope that it's just a bad allergy attack brought on by the unseasonable weather we've been having...rain in California...what the hell is going on round here anyway.

There is also just one more week and a couple of days left of home schooling for the year. It's weird to be so out of sync with the other schools who are already on vacation, but the days should be short as we were ahead in most subjects. I'll try to also get some tatting done today. I'm working on remaking a necklace and I sold a pair of my spat looking ankle corsets over the weekend and I should get those made up as well. Of course that was one of only two sales recently. Seriously, it's almost like a ghost town over in my shop, but my stats show that May has always been a down month and June continues to have some serious down time before sales get better. So at least it's a consistent pattern. Doesn't make me any less uneasy about it though, but I digress. Tatting, hoping I feel better and perhaps later on today a new listing. Here's to a fresh week.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Done And Done

Yikes, what a long day. I started off by getting a cameo pendant remade as that was what sold yesterday and when that was done it was still too early to get photos of the ankle corsets so I opted to make something instead. During my last supply order I picked up some new silver filigree bits exactly like the copper ones I've used before and some others that were just similar so I could eventually make this necklace. It's such a nice quick piece, but the metal bits really make it a neat know in my opinion anyway.

Then it was off to get schooling done for the day. When I finished that up my house guests decided to go out for a run which gave me the perfect opportunity to get those photos done. I hate doing them in front of people because when I do, I am mocked for looking ridiculous. I really do look ridiculous, but the picture usually come out relatively good so it's worth it in the end I suppose. Anyway, I got that done and the ankle corsets finally listed and then I proceeded to accomplish nothing for a couple of hours.

I started to get productive a bit later and worked on the new thick choker design, but with my dental appointment getting closer, I was a bit distracted. It's not that I still get nervous at the dentist, I was just afraid of getting too engaged in work and losing track of time. So next up was the dentist and a small filling. I managed to get a lot of reading done there. I'm doing the the twitter book club thing again, it's now called "1book140" and we're reading The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, but I digress. When I got home the anesthetic started making me incredibly sleepy so I think I got a whole ring or two done on the choker before I called it a night.

Today it's off to the mountains to get my Gold Rush on with the family. In fact we're leaving in just a couple of hours so I really ought to get my tush up and going. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Well, That's A Relief

Well, the ankle corsets are done. They each have 60 swarovski crystals sewn into them and hopefully sometime today I'll get the time and light needed to get them photographed and listed. I also woke up this morning to my first sale in days. It was small, but I went five whole days without a single one. That may not seem like too long, but I was really beginning to worry. I hope this sale has lots of close friends soon. So, I suppose I start the day on a positive note. It won't last long though as I get to go back to the dentist today to get a filling done. In fact the pace at which I seem to get cavities despite decent brushing habits prompted my dentist to send me home with prescription toothpaste. I didn't even know there was such a thing. Apparently is has high levels of fluoride to help strengthen teeth and prevent future cavities, fun huh? The rest of the family escaped their dental appointments with approval and smiles.

Also yesterday was the end of year ceremony for the virtual school my daughter does home school through. She received every award they give out, perfect attendance(yeah, I know), high honor roll, reading and progress. The program also included their 8th grade graduation as well as a kindergarten one. It's so nice that the school does these events to give the kids a sense of public accomplishment. I know it's a bad picture, but she's the one in the middle with the butterfly shirt. I don't remember which award this was for, but the husband got pictures of them all.

We've got the last field trip of the year tomorrow to Columbia State Park for a gold rush thing. I hope I really do get some tatting done today because clearly that day will be a wash too. Like I keep saying, there are a couple of fairly quick remakes and then I want to do the thick choker, which will likely take as long as the ankle corsets, but at least it will be new right? The plan is laid out and and now to get to it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Keep On Swimming

I didn't get as much done yesterday as I had hoped. We're coming down to the wire on my daughter's schooling for the year and that seems to mean a lot of wrap up and making sure she actually remembers all that she's been taught over the last few months. She does...remember a lot, that it, but I still have to make sure.

I did manage to finish sewing the crystals on the first ankle corset and I got all the motifs done and assembled for the second one. I have very little free time allotted to me today, but what little I have will be sewing crystals on the second piece. If I'm lucky I should have this one finished tomorrow and hopefully I'll have some time Thursday to get photographs and get them listed. As I mentioned yesterday, sales in the shop have been m.i.a. since Friday and I need to get something fresh in there to draw some new attention or something. These should do the trick if I can get them done and listed anyway.

There is really nothing else to speak of today as you know the while of my tatting focus and I'd just be repeating myself to list those things that I will do next. They are of course the same things that I said I would do next days ago. This is why I typically avoid long projects as they not only take too much time, they also make me an exceptionally boring person. I am much more interesting to read when I am juggling a handful of projects or at a different one every day. It shouldn't be too much longer. I'll be more fun next week...I promise.