Monday, December 31, 2012

So This Is How It Ends

Ah, here we are at the end of another year. Normally I would use this opportunity to reflect on the past years achievements and ponder what might come in next one, but not this time. I just don't feel like it. Let me go ahead and back up though and do the weekend recap and you'll see why.

Friday was another great, on task day. I got a few more pieces remade and listed. I even started Saturday morning by finishing up one that I hadn't quite wrapped the day before. I've been making steady enough progress on the crochet afghan that I picked up some more yarn for it as well. I also picked up some new tatting scissors as I have dulled up yet another pair. They are so small and relatively cheap that I never bother sharpening them. It is amazing how happy a new pair of scissors can make me reminding me that I have reached a very odd point in my life. The rest of Saturday I worked on some gift projects and I felt pretty productive.

So Sunday is where things went a bit wrong. The morning was perfectly normal. I finished one gift and started another. We even managed to take down all the Christmas stuff because the cats had been threatening to take it down for us if we didn't get to it soon. I was tired so I sat down for a minute and that is when it started...that sick feeling in my throat. You see the husband has been sick for a week and the rest of us have been unscathed until yesterday when the cold hit like a brick.  Lucky for me all I had planned for the rest of the day was knitting mitts. This pair was knit for the husband, though after he spent much of the day mocking my fall into sickness, he didn't really deserve them.

So that brings us to this morning where I just don't feel up to reflection nor looking ahead. In fact I kinda feel like going back to bed, but we all know that's not going to happen. I do hope that everyone out there had a good year and I wish a prosperous new one to you all as well. Maybe in the coming days I'll get some reflection and prediction in, but for now I'll just be thankful that it's just a cold.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Boring

I thought about not writing at all this morning since yesterday was so awfully boring, but I just couldn't do it. I've been writing here Monday through Friday for...I guess it'll be five years in March. That's a fairly well established routine there. Sure there have been a few breaks in those years, but mostly they were because I was out of town before I acquired a smart phone, so a boring day is just not enough of an excuse to break with the routine.

I did stay on task yesterday and finished three things off the list that needed remaking. There are now plenty of things crossed off, but there are plenty more to go including some masks. I'm not getting round to those anytime soon though. I also managed a few more rows on my crochet afghan in the evening, but I fear I'm beginning to show some wear from the constant working. My hands were quite achy just before bed. The last time that happened was when I was trying to take care of the lost fashion show package and a bulk order at the same time a couple of years ago. I know it just means I need to take a bit of a break with my hands, but my hands like to be busy all the time and it's hard to let them stay idle for any length of time.

So today it's back to the list to try to cross a few more things off before we start a new year. None of the things I asked the Universe for yesterday were delivered aside from a little motivation. I think I was being too demanding, so today I'll just request a nice productive day and less achy hands. I'd also like a nice relaxing weekend with a little something interesting thrown in for an entertaining blog post on Monday. I think that will do for now.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Back To Work

When days go exactly as I predict in my early morning blog post, I don't assume I planned well, I assume that I'm getting prophetic, which is of course ridiculous. It does make me want to write that someone will make me rich and famous today though. Whatever explanation one chooses to describe it, I did indeed stall the morning away followed by getting to work as I said I would. I still took a few crochet breaks, but I'm now committed to the queue.

At this point, I think it's close to a couple dozen pieces on the list and unfortunately quite a few of them are larger projects like masks and collar chokers so no matter how committed I am or how fast I work, each day will only see the creation of one or two pieces. This has the side effect of making me extremely boring, not only during my blog post, but also during the day. When I'm in work mode I tend to get very quiet online. On a normal day, the kids snap me out of it, but they received very time consuming gifts and I'm pretty sure they couldn't care less what I'm up to right now. The other effect of remaking the slow to make pieces is that getting so little done leaves me with no sense of accomplishment. This turns into a lack of motivation eventually, so I must work fast before that sets in. So, dear Universe, I ask for those pleasant surprises I mentioned, energy and motivation to work and while you're at it a nice wrap up to the year for everyone that could use it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Idle Hands

Well, that was quite a day and I remain exhausted, sleepy kitty picture for emphasis. The morning was nice and fairly peaceful after the kids opened presents, they played quietly. I crocheted and cleaned, put out chairs and set tables and waited. When the family arrived they brought chaos with them. The house got loud and warm and generally full of joy. Then they were gone and I spent the next two hours cleaning, doing dishes, laundry and generally undoing everything I had spent the morning doing. I know I've said this before, but I miss the way holidays felt as a kid, you know when someone else did all the work and I just opened presents and ate. Those were the days.

Obviously I got no tatting done, didn't even try. I was however pleasantly surprised at how well my tatted gifts went over with the kids and the few others that received it. I guess I won't feel so bad about the handmade gifts next year. I am glad that all that is done though. I can now ride out the next week or two of the kids vacation getting things made for the shop and taking care of all the other start of the year projects I've been blathering on about. Or I could just get really lazy and get nothing done. Right now, at this moment I'm leaning toward the nothing, but we all know how long I can stay idle...not very. It is much more likely that today will be stalling followed by a streak of working that lasts days so I might as well get on with it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday

Happy Tuesday, Merry Christmas and I think Kwanzaa starts tomorrow, so happy to that as well. I suppose the point is, there is a lot of celebrating going on this time of year as we try to get through the winter with friends and family and look forward to the sun as the days slowly get longer. I can't wait for the days to get longer and I hope you're enjoying any time you're spending with those family and friends and if you're not, there's always the internet to entertain you.

So let's see, I got very little done yesterday as my brother is staying with us and adds an extra bit of crazy to household. He enjoys being uncle jungle gym and it gets loud around here. I did finish cleaning up the house for today and I even picked up my tatting corner a bit. It gets mightily out of hand with rolls of thread, random doodads and discarded bits that I can't quite throw away. I finished a week of Wunderkammer blog posts, crocheted a bit on the afghan and I made myself another pair of the knitted mitts I mentioned yesterday.

Usually I go with gray or black for nearly everything I make, but the purple matches my hair and I thought that might be nice for another pop of color. I did this pair a little different than the pattern, because I can't seem to leave well enough alone. I added a couple of stitches at the garter end and a couple on the other end as well to make them a bit longer and I love them like this. The pattern I used was brought on etsy here if you're interested in them. It was a really quick knit even though I kept starting over when I made a mistake. In fact I'm kind of hoping that more family or friends will request a pair so I can keep making them for a while.

The family will be over this evening for a non traditional holiday dinner and once our kids wake up and tear through their gifts, the house will ring with the sounds of video games and other playful noises. I plan on crocheting much of the day away until the meal when the house is bound to get beyond chaotic with 8 kids, pie and gifts. Tomorrow will be for recovery.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holidays

It was such a very long weekend that I'm having trouble this morning remembering what it was that I did first. On Friday I managed to get all the presents wrapped quickly and efficiently, leaving me plenty of time to work on the list of tatting, but I didn't. No, instead I fell victim to a cute knitting pattern I saw from the featured seller on etsy this week. It was a nice, simple mitt pattern and I dug through my stash of yarn, which is much smaller than my stash of thread and made a pair of them for each of my girls. Then we all stayed up late watching movies to celebrate the Solstice.

Saturday required us to run some last minute errands in the rain. Luckily the trip to the mall was fairly painless and all those last minute things were mostly taken care of including buying more, better yarn so I could make myself a pair of mitts. When were were home I knitted and tatted and waited until the evening when we heading to a friends house for a holiday get together. Again we stayed up late and had a merry time.

By Sunday I think I was suffering a little sleep deprivation, partly from the intentional staying up late and partly because our neighbors have this set up in their back yard. Yes, I said back yard, where it shines a light worthy of a stadium into our bedroom that no blinds can keep out. I'm all for festive lighting, but they don't entertain in the backyard and they keep adding more LED craziness. It's madness, madness, I tell you. I did manage some more tatting, some more wrapping and the final errands for Tuesday.

So I guess that brings up to this week. I got a few unexpected orders over the weekend that I need to send out first thing this morning and then there will be last minute cleaning, more mitt knitting which I promise some picture of and probably enough downtime to encourage me to pick a few more pieces from the list to tat up. I've also got to start on the tutorial for tatting onto jewelry bases soon. which will most like be a bobby pin flower. I want to get it up as early in the new year as possible so I can start the year feeling productive. I would send you a holiday wish today, but I'm likely to write again tomorrow as sleeping in is not an option in our house, but if you don't read tomorrow, have a Merry Christmas or if you don't celebrate, have a lovely Tuesday.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Free Time

I think it's fairly safe to say that I do not do well with free time. I thought for a while yesterday morning that I would do nothing for the day. I'd just get the laundry done and watch television. Wait, no, I'll get that list made up of all the pieces I need to get made and then I'll relax. Well, that got done, now I can stop working. Oh, I know I'll get the hardware put on the pile of lace I hadn't finished yet and then I'll stop. Maybe I'll just get one piece from the list made up. The day went on like that until I had gotten all those tasks done as well as made up four pieces from the list including this one that I had forgotten how much I liked.

I suspect today will be no different except as soon as the kids leave to spend some time with Grandma, I've got to start wrapping the present stash. Every year so much time passes between the purchasing and the wrapping that I often forget all the things we bought so they'll be a bit of a treasure hunt first. The pile is a little lighter this year than usual of course, but there's still plenty to do.

This weekend will likely see cleaning and preparing for the holiday, as well as some much needed gathering with friends. I am so looking forward to the aftermath of the holidays. The quiet while the children are still entranced with new things and I can work on things that have been waiting patiently. Of course I'm getting ahead of myself again, we're not there yet and there is still plenty of tatting on my plate for now.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Over

Schooling wrapped for the year yesterday. I put away all the books, moved the table out of the room and cleaned the loft. Sure it all starts up again in a couple of weeks, but looking at that clean, fresh room, ready to host Christmas presents was such a sweet relief. I do still have the rest of the house to clean up as well, but the children have been surprisingly good about cleaning up after themselves recently. Of course the last giant clean up was only a month ago, so they haven't had much time to do any real damage. It shouldn't be too much stress to get to ready for company provided I can manage the motivation to do so.

Of course once that was done, I just wanted to vegetate, but we had our family dental appointments right after lunch. By the time we were back it was clear that I was getting no tatting done at all. Instead I managed to finish putting together the few Christmas motif ornaments I made as coworker gifts for my husband. I was going to stiffen them, but then it occurred to me that they would do just as well as small doilies, so I decided to just put them on the hooks and let them be removable if them want to use them somewhere other than on the tree.

We drove around after dinner to look at Christmas lights then I spent the rest of the evening working on the latest crochet afghan. I've finally gotten back to where I was before I made the hook error and had to rip countless rows out. It's still going to be a month or two before it's ready to cover a chair though. I think today I'm going to make out a physical list of the pieces I need to remake for the shop so I can start checking it off. I don't know how focused I'll manage to remain as the children enjoy their first day of freedom, but it'll be a start I guess. Then I'll need to wrap gifts, revisit the art project, and get ready for taxes. Most of that list is really long term though...not today. No, today I'll just make that list and enjoy the lack of vital tasks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Weird Wednesday

I stalled slightly less yesterday, but only slightly. After schooling wrapped I was lucky enough to get a couple of last minutes sales giving me something new to do for a spell. That was apparently just the kick I needed to get back to work. After the orders were taken care of, I got straight to work remaking what had sold and after that and minimal stalling I picked something else from the queue to remake as well. I felt rather productive even with the stalling. I'm crossing my fingers for just a couple more last minute orders to come in today. Then I hope people start shopping for themselves, you know, reward themselves for good gift giving and whatnot.

I still have to make some more tatted gift decisions to make myself though. The kids are taken care of, but there are a few adults that I should probably make a little something for, but I haven't a clue what. I find myself racking my brain, trying to remember what, if any jewelry they wear. Is there a color they prefer? I know that it's suppose to be the thought that counts, but let's face it, there is nothing better than the look on someones face when you get the gift just right. Conversely that, 'you shouldn't have' look is physically painful to me. So I suppose that is what I am going to ruminate on today after schooling had wrapped for the day and we start our two week vacation. Then the cleaning begins. What a weird Wednesday this is bound to be.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Art Of Stalling

I stalled really good yesterday, getting next to nothing done. Well, that's not entirely true. I managed to successfully school the children, do the laundry and run some errands. Then I put together all the gift tatting with it's hardware and boxed it. However after I finished all these things, I did not start tatting things from my increasing large queue nor figure out what other gifts I still need to make. No, I stalled and I stalled some more. I stalled with video games, I stalled with crochet and I stalled with random acts of cleaning. I must have really needed a tatting break.

Toward the end of the afternoon I made a single sale so I did remake the lapel pin that sold. Of course I did that mostly because I can never remember the proper stitch count I use in the center to work around the odd number of beads unless I'm looking right at it. There are just some pieces that are best remade before I ship the existing one. Of course it doesn't help that I worked the original piece up from an old illustration without a pattern. All these stitch counts are made up nonsense that somehow ended up looking just enough like the picture to work for me.

So today is likely more of the same. That queue isn't getting any smaller, Christmas isn't getting any further away and at some point I really am going to have to buckle down and get stuff really done so I have half a chance to relax after the holidays are through. I have no illusions that today will be that day, but perhaps if I write it down for the world to see enough it will sink in soon. Man, I do miss the lazy days of Summer right about now.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Small Gifts

I'm not really sure how to start on the weekend recap this morning as Friday was kind of a terrible day for most parents I imagine. I coped by being able to hug my kids at any given moment and by keeping my head mostly off the internet and just kept tatting. I worked on several pieces getting quite a few smaller things remade for the shop, though not surprisingly, it was incredibly quiet there as well.

Saturday was a more uplifting day, we went as a family to go see The Hobbit. I personally had no complaints about the movie, except perhaps that we have to wait so long for the next part. Well that and it was so long that the entire day was essentially shot. We did nothing else really the rest of the day. I did discover as I sat down to work on the newest afghan that I had made a terrible mistake several rows ago. I had left two crochet hooks in the bag and at some point I picked up the smaller of the two to start working on it and hadn't noticed until I picked the whole piece up and saw the horrible distortion in size. So I got to undo much of the work until I got back to where I was clearly still using the right hook. I then removed the offending hook from the bag so it couldn't happen again. So that was fun.

Sunday was the day of gift tatting. As even views in my shop have gone from nearly 1000 a day to I think 300 something I figured most if not all the Christmas shopping has been done. I really still hope that's not the case because I still need  to make quite a bit more thins month if I want to come anywhere near last years numbers, but I digress. The lack of views and sales told me it was time to stop stalling and make all the tatted gifts I keep saying I planned on making. It's quite a little pile of bits. Mostly they are earrings for my nieces that have finally started to take a shine to what I do. There are a couple of other pieces hidden in the pile for other people too. They all need their hardware and to get boxed and wrapped. I think there might be a few more things to make, but I'm not sure what to make for the last few folk on the list. I always worry about giving tatting to people who haven't specifically mentioned that they like it. I'm always afraid they'll view it like it's macaroni art or something.

So today I'll finish work on the gifts and after some stalling I imagine that I'll get back to work remaking things for the shop. Sales may have dried up but that doesn't mean I don't have plenty of work left to do. There are only three days left of schooling this week and then it's onto cleaning the house for the holidays too. Man, it's going to be one heck of an exhausting week.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The End Of The Week

This was one of those weeks that felt glacier slow while it was occurring, but here at the end I wonder where the week went. I've been keeping fairly quiet with my nose to the grindstone trying to get things remade so I can take advantage of the quickly shrinking window of holiday sales. This has left no time for creativity, adventure or much cleaning either. I'm not really complaining about that last bit there, but I have definitely let things slide that I probably shouldn't. After all the next holiday is close and they'll all be back to our house. Well, not all of them. There won't be any out of town guests this time, but our family here is big enough as it is and cleaning will again have to occur.

So let's see what did I tat up yesterday. Five pairs of earrings, one bracelet and I finally finished those two masks as well. All the earrings are done in size 20 and since I generally work in size 10, I'm not as comfortable with the smaller needle and it strains my hands a bit. Every time I finish a piece in 20, I think how pretty and delicate it is and I wonder why I don't use it more. Then I realize my hands are achy and the needle is bent and I'm just too much of a brute when I tat to use 20 and that thin needle too often. I've mentioned that I break needles too, right? This one was a sewing needle I broke repairing a stuffed animal, but I've victimized a few tatting needles as well.

While I'm telling stories, I forgot to tell this one from a week or so ago. This is the only time of year that I get any significant number of sales from guys. They are much different shoppers than women and I get the occasionally odd request. This year I got one where I was left a note at checkout asking me to draw a kitty on the box. Well, I don't ship in boxes, but as I've seen other people do this sort of silly thing on packages and receipts, I thought, why not? So this is the kitty I drew on the package. It's not a great depiction, but I thought it was cute and I think we all need a little cute here at the end of the week.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Little To Say

I'm not sure how I managed it, but I stayed on task for most of the day. Unfortunately this means I was tatting masks all day which also means I have nothing off interest really to show or share. I started masks before schooling and after minimal stalling I continued them after schooling. I decided to tat two masks at the same time which means I was going back and forth between the two of them since they have the same base design. This left me with two almost finished masks at the end of the day. I just need to cover the wires on both of them which is my least favorite part of making them.

I also managed to make up a couple of small pieces as they sold yesterday. I felt so productive I really should have given myself a cookie, but I didn't. Yes, things sold yesterday. In fact I had a nice little day of sales giving me a larger queue of things to remake and the last order in the evening included some earrings I need to make before that order goes out as well. So another happily busy day ahead and nothing much else to share.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Distracted

Yes, I'm still tired, but man did I stall a lot yesterday. I sat down down to make a cuff bracelet before schooling with the intention of finishing it promptly when schooling was done. Now, I have an excuse as to why that didn't happen. During school time I was talking back and forth with a customer that wanted a necklace shipped express for Friday and then wanted it customized as well. Now luckily they were very communicative and what could and could not be achieved and how much it would cost was accepted. As soon as school was over I had to quickly work to add a long chain to a back drop necklace and get it shipped. All the rushing around put me out of my rhythm and I spent way more time than I'd like to admit stalling rather than working on what needs to be done.

Once I calmed down a bit I got that bracelet finished and then tackled another dilemma. There are a few color pieces I've been making for years and since I only had access to cheaper thread back then I've been remaking those same pieces in the old thread. Some shades I was able to easily switch over to better thread with no appearance differences from the existing photographs as it ran out, but yesterday I had a green bracelet to remake, I was out of the original thread and the none of the greens I had on hand matched well enough. Should I just not remake it at all? Should I attempt to edit the existing photos to reflect the new color? Eventually I gave up, made it in a new green and took new photographs. I am trying to make sure that all the thread I use is quality thread now that I know where to get any color I need...mostly.

Let's see, what else? Oh, I forgot to mention that I finished the afghan I was crocheting for our new chairs. The plan was always to make two of them with the same yarn so that they go together in the room, so I began a second one in a different pattern. I know, how do I even have time for this project too? It's my wind down project. Before the afghans, in the evening I would relax for an hour or so watching television with the kids and no tatting. So now I'm just crocheting while I do that. It's mindless repetition so it still has a nice relaxing effect and after a few months I'll have another blanket, so productive relaxation.

Today should be a lot like yesterday was suppose to be before the necklace distraction that started an avalanche of stalling. Remake, remake, remake, all day long. Now if I can only stay focused on that today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

So Much Work

Yep, it was as exhausting a day as I thought it was going to be. I worked on the last mask for the large order before and after schooling. I took a few short breaks from it to remake some small things for the shop, but that was pretty much my day. This wasn't the last mask, this was the one I finished yesterday that was done in custom colors for the same order. I have to say I like the fire mask with the black center a little better than the brown version. Maybe when I'm granted some more time, I'll make another up like this.

I don't have any time for that now though. I am caught up on all my orders, the big one goes out this morning, but I still have so many things that I should remake it's a little intimidating. I'm doing the whole, 'where should I start' thing that generally ends up with me stalling for hours. I now have six masks that need to be remade, two slave bracelets, and a large assortment of other things that have been piling up. At the same time I'm hoping for more holiday sales. In fact I just began offering a free upgrade to Priority shipping with all overs over $40, hoping to nudge a few more buyers to get ordering. I keep seeing people closing up shop for the holidays already or setting up shipping deadlines so they don't have angry customers whose packages didn't arrive in time. I never really saw the point of doing that. I figure just be up front about the possibility of things not arriving and let people shop when they want.

Man, you must be sick of all this retail talk lately. I'm sorry, but it's what's on my mind. I swear there will be more wonderful tatting talk in a few weeks...I hope. I have plans for more patterns for sale, tutorials and I will have to get back to the art project I began just before the madness started. All that should make for much better reading. For now though, you'll have to suffer the online retail drama that is the holidays.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Highs And Lows

Remember that slightly ridiculous Himalayas reference I made on Friday? Up one day, down the next? Well, it continued throughout the weekend. I got two amazing and large orders from the same wonderful customer giving me much to do and then the next day, crickets and more crickets. I'm not going to take a lot of time to complain about the crickets though because I do have plenty of work ahead of me and complaining about something I have no control over would be a waste of time, but I can wonder and work at the same time. I do so wonder why this holiday season has been so wildly unpredictable, much more so than any previous year I can remember. I'm surrounded by other etsy sellers on twitter and it seems to be a trend. Some people seem to be having a fine season while other veteran sellers are experiencing the same turmoil I am. Of course it may just be that there are so many more of us each year and the choices to buy handmade have grown so much that it's just getting much harder to get noticed. Well, that's enough wondering I do have much work to do.

The large order I received contained three masks that needed making and I've managed to get two of them done so far. I didn't have many other plans over the weekend so there was a lot of watching bad television with the family and working. I should get the last of the three masks made today, but my work is not done there. I have a new queue of pieces that need remaking and it is large and there isn't a moment to lose. As I'm fond of reminding myself, I can't sell it, if it isn't listed. There is very little time left to court holiday shoppers and I still need many more sales if I'm going to salvage the rest of the season. So it's nose the grindstone and thread in the needle, fingers crossed and tatting away the next couple of weeks.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Pretty Rings

This holiday season is killing me, seriously. There is no rhyme nor reason I can discern as far as my shop goes. One day it's terribly busy and I'm excited to get to work and the next, a complete ghost town. It's not like this is weekday versus weekend or anything that makes sense either. I'm trying to just go with the flow, but the flow is more like the Himalayas, steep, uncomfortable and occasionally deadly. Okay, that last part might be an extreme exaggeration, but I think I might actually be looking forward to January when the shop becomes consistent again. Sure, it's will be consistently slow, but at least it will be predictable.

I did try to ignore the silence, I did have a few tasks on hand, after all. First up was a custom order for two of my newer rings. The order was for the one in pinks and the one in purples. I just figured since I had more colors on hand when they were finished I'd take some new pictures for the listing. I still didn't have any natural light since the clouds are maintaining dominance here, a fact I think that is contributing to my general malaise, but I managed some fairly accurate color captures anyway. The ones I just made are destined to be gifts for a little girl. I'm pretty sure they will be well received as my own child loves the ring and if it can survive her, it's pretty sturdy too.

Then I did some grown-up tasks that I had been avoiding. I spent money on supplies, paid an unexpected bill and got the children's work samples ready to send to the teacher. I did not like any of that. I spent the rest of the afternoon remaking a choker. Well, the part of the afternoon that wasn't sucked away by a new casual game my husband gifted me for St. Nick's Day...damn him. Like I needed something else to distract me from what actually needs to get done.

As you likely guessed from my opening paragraph I got no new sales yesterday so I went to bed worried a little for today, but overnight I received one new order giving me something that needs doing this morning. So today, I'll add the new ring photos to the listing, remake a choker, the same one I remade yesterday oddly enough and then if silence prevails I'll get to gift making. I think that feels like a pretty full day. Off to it then.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What Happens When I Stall

I know this won't surprise you, but I thoroughly ignored those masks that need remaking. In fact I went to great lengths to do so. First I dug through pages of sold items to find things I would prefer remaking. I found two necklaces to be made up and tatted those instead. Then I pulled out the crochet throw I've been working on and started working on that instead of focusing on the lack of sales during the day. I think I only have about two more rows before I'm done with this one and then I want to make a second in an entirely different style though. In fact I may knit the next one just to mix things up.

After a bit of crocheting though I got a bit stir crazy. I'm watching my twitter feed, seeing all these other etsy sellers struggle to keep up with the deluge of orders in their shops and I snapped. I offered a flash sale code. They never work, I don't know why I bothered. This was around 3:30 I guess and all I could hear was crickets, then a weird thing happened. I had set it to last until 6 so at 5 I posted that there was only an hour left until it was over and people actually went shopping. It was lovely and busy for an hour and I wish there were some way to bottle that enthusiasm for other days. Of course flash sales lose all their meaning if you do them often, so that was the only one for the season. I sure hope I don't have any more days where the stress makes my contemplate off the cuff sales. I think the excitement of yesterday's should tide me over.

The sale left me with one custom order with two pieces I will get made up today as well as a couple of sold pieces that I enjoy remaking. So today is laid out well for me. I'm also getting back to that crochet throw because seeing the end makes me want to work faster on it. Then I really need to carve out some time to make some more gifts. I have a handful of nieces that are at jewelry age and some cute earrings are in order. Which reminds me I really need to bit the bullet and make a supply order as well. I'm nearly out of everything, but I was afraid to order things with sales the way they've been. These last few days have given me a little cushion to work with, so it's time to get on with that as well. Here's to a happy, productive day for us all!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Horror

You know how I was worried I would make too many mistakes in the first pattern I released for sale. the Christmas Ornament Motif? When a couple of days went by I thought I was in the clear, but I was wrong. I got a message last night while I was out letting me know that I had in fact allowed a few strange typos to live on. I seriously felt horrible about this...horrible, and embarrassed. The culprit was the auto correct function in the text program. I'm so used to those damn things I hardly pay them any mind, but every time I wrote a double stitch number like this, '8ds' it would try to change it to 'ads'. I should have stopped when I realized this and figured out how to turn that function off, but I didn't. I combed through the pattern and I thought I had found them all and corrected them, but I was mistaken and I converted the whole thing to a PDF warts and all. My husband asked if I should have had him proofread it, but I'm not sure he would have caught it not being familiar with tatting abbreviations. Next time I release a pattern, I will call for a test tatter to do that. Of course that won't be at least until the start of the new year, but my lesson is learned. I did fix the mistakes and send out a revised pattern to all those who purchased it so far with an apology and I hope that's the last time I need to do that, but at least I know how to handle it if it should occur again.

Other than all the pattern issues, I worked on remaking just like I said I would, stalling and all. I managed to even finish remaking one mask despite all my attempts to avoid the task. It was a much calmer sales day than it's been lately so I only have one more small piece in queue to be remade and after that I still have at least two masks that have sold over the last couple of months that I didn't bother remaking. I'm not sure if I'll get on task enough to tackle those masks, but I shall try to stay focused on work anyway. It'll take my mind off the rookie pattern mistake. Oh well, you can't go back right? Always forward, made wiser by our mistakes.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another Pattern For Sale

There is something truly gratifying about a busy day. Not just busy, but productive and busy. December has started well for me and I only hope being happy about that doesn't jinx it because I'd really love the rest of the month to follow suit.

I started the day tatting up a custom order ring which I didn't finish until after schooling wrapped. Then before I got on to the remaking tasks, I went ahead and worked on the other pattern I wanted to put up for sale, the Special Occasion pendant. There were a handful of folks that got this one as a print copy when they ordered a pendant during the deal I ran, so I thought I'd add to it a bit before releasing it for sale. Again, I hope I haven't made too many mistakes. I'm finding the process of selling PDF's strange as well. Instead of packing up a piece of lace, I copy and paste email addresses and just sent it into the ether hoping that it safely arrives through spam filters or whatnot. I've taken to sending a shipping confirmation through etsy letting people know it's been sent and to let me know if it doesn't arrive and so far it appears there have been no problems. I'm still waiting for me to accidentally send the wrong pattern. Even with just two, I fear it's bound to happen. I don't know how people juggle dozens of them in their shops. Though to be fair I'm sure my boxes full of lace sound pretty intimidating to manage too.

Once that was done, it was back to remaking things. There were a couple of small pieces and then a handful of sold masks that I've been avoiding. I really like to be able to finish things in a day and masks take longer, so I tend to avoid remaking them until I have tons of time or I really have to. The same aversion does not apply to designing large pieces. I love that sense of discovery even if it takes many days. I just don't like to remake things for days, but that's where I am now, on the masks.

I got a couple more sales overnight, one which requires a custom piece, so my tasks for today are set as well. Make one order, remake the sold pieces, hem and haw over remaking another mask, settle in to do it anyway all the while hoping more orders come in so I have something more urgent to do instead, stop working entirely to give the Universe more time to send more orders, get impatient, give up and get to work. Ah, it's nice to have a plan for the day.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Pattern For Sale

Happy Monday morning all. I had another busy, busy weekend, only this time it was also raining the entire time making all our adventures extra adventurous and all our returns home extra cozy. Let me start at Friday though because I actually did something I've never done.

After much thought and yammering on here and elsewhere online I finally made the decision to release a pattern for sale. So I carefully wrote up the pattern and took a few more pictures to flesh it out a bit. I haven't a clue how to do a proper diagram so I figured good pictures are the next best thing, then I listed it. Well, that's a bit out of order, before I listed it I read a dozen pattern listings on etsy to make sure I knew what information to include to avoid any issues. A big Thanks You to Marilee for such well written listings which I studied closely to write my own as i found them to be the best written there is. Anyway, the pattern is available for the Christmas Rose motif now. A few wonderful people have already picked it up and no one has told me I screwed up...yet, so I'm going to count this as a success so far. In fact I was thinking that I would add the instructions for the small version of the earrings to the pattern I gave out with the Special Occasion pendant and list that soon as well. I don't think I'll get in the habit of doing a lot of these, but a few can't hurt. And don't go thinking a book is coming anytime soon. I still don't have the time or skill set for that project. That's a 'when the kids are older' project.

The rest of the weekend was all that family adventuring I mentioned. We decorated the tree and put up lights inside. I like to say we don't decorate outside because we don't like to share and all our decorations are for us, really it's more cost and effort, plus it's not like it's a centuries old custom or anything, but I digress. We also left most of the ornaments in the the box this year because the cats were too aggressive with them last year and we have too many 'collectible' Hallmark ornaments that we'd prefer stand the test of time. I suppose if the cats behave this year, they may go out again. We also managed to knock out the bulk of our admittingly scaled back holiday shopping. Just a few more grown up gifts to get and some things to make and we're done.

I also had a wonderfully busy weekend in the shop. People clearly got paid and started buying gifts. In fact I woke up to a couple more small orders this morning and I'm really happy to get to work today. I have orders that need making and pieces that will need remaking. If I have time I should get that pattern I mentioned ready to list as well. I'm crossing my fingers that this is the beginning of a trend and I will be happily busy from now until Christmas. Here's to a busy day, week and month!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Ornament

Another quiet day in the shop so I set my sights on another task that I had been honestly stalling over. You see last year I made Jane's lovely Flurry Snowflake as a gift for, well everyone. I glittered them up and made fancy hangers and I was quite proud of myself. The problem was I couldn't do that two years in a row. While I'm certain there are a few people on the gift list that would love more than one tatted snowflake, I'm pretty sure they are an exception. So this year I need to design something new to give out to the husbands work friends mostly and I had decided on a nice big round ornament in red and green.

Having no idea where to begin, I sat around with pattern books for a while waiting for inspiration to hit. Luckily it didn't take long before I saw one element that would go nicely with another element. Rather than just piece two existing patterns together though, I decided to go more with an inspired by those elements and design them straight from the ground up. I started with a fairly standard rose motif expect with the long extra picots at the center. Then I went with a clover with a big center ring for stable joining. This is my first go at the design all in black. Can you see the mistake I just made and didn't notice until after I took the picture.

Initially I thought I'd do the whole outer row in green, but I thought it had more of  Christmas rose or holly look if I kept more of it red, so with the final piece I worked the clovers and rings as split rings. A pain in the neck to be sure, but it allowed me to much more easily add the green as just the outside chains. Yes, I am aware I could have worked the outside as designed with two colors but then I'd have those little tie blips and the two threads would have been even more of a pain in the neck than split rings. I chose the lesser of two evils.

I have no intention of listing these for sale in the shop. I used to make and sell snowflakes in the winter, but there are so many other tatters out there making and selling holiday decorations that I really don't see the point of adding mine to the already saturated market. What I am thinking about doing is writing up the pattern to either list or give away. Though I'm still wondering if I should write it up for one color and the split ring version or just the one color version. One color is clearly easier and I am fundamentally lazy. Speaking of patterns though, thanks for the feedback on the ring pad technique. I will put forth the effort at the beginning of the year to put together a tutorial and/or video for that.

Today I will likely make a couple more ornaments though I'm almost out of this green and it's old thread so that will probably be the end of them in these exact colors anyway. Then I will again cross my fingers for sales because I still have much holiday shopping that needs to be done and unfortunately I just can't tat a gift for everyone. Many will not be impressed nor delighted by that, they'll just think I'm cheap, so I need other people to buy some of my lace so I can get them what they actually want. It's a vicious cycle.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Rings

There was no sun to speak of yesterday so it was pretty hard to get good pictures of the rings I wanted to get listed, but I think I manged some okay ones. I might go back and redo the photos when the sun returns to the valley, but it's not likely. I went ahead and made it another variation listing where the customer can pick two colors from a drop down menu so I used photos from both rings in the listing.

Later in the afternoon I got some time to dig through my supply boxes and discovered that I have adjustable ring bases in silver tone on hand as well. The pad on top is slightly smaller so I didn't want to list them as an option until I worked up at least one ring one them to make sure the same pattern would work. I used Ocean Teal and Medium Charcoal Gray for this one and since my phone refuses to properly photograph the teal, I threw on a ridiculous filter. The teal is closer to what it actually looks like, but you still can't see any of the green tone in it. My real camera does better, but only when there is sun. So I won't likely add this to the listing until the sun returns either. Though the whole point was to see if the silver base would work and it clearly does so the original listing now notes that you can get it in either metal tone. I wish I could add a third variation for that choice, but etsy has capped them at two, so for the time being it has to be noted at checkout.

I've thought about doing a tutorial on the technique I use to attach the tatting to jewelry bases like rings and bobby pins without glue, but I think almost everyone has their own method at this point. If you think it's something people would like to learn, let me know and maybe it will be one of my after the holidays projects. For now I'll keep plugging away on new pieces for the shop to try and stay busy and relevant. Only a month left of extra holiday stress.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chokers and Rings

Normally I don't notice anymore if a day goes by without a blog comment. I rarely or almost never comment on the blogs I read so I just don't expect it here at all either. The exception is when I've designed something new and I really hoped for feedback like yesterday. Now, don't get me wrong this isn't some sort of fishing for compliments expedition, just an observation. If I need to fish I stop by the Facebook page and beg for attention outright. I'm in a lovely mood really, so no need to complain, I was just a little surprised. Plus I have plenty more to show you.

First off I did get the new piece all done up and listed. I don't know if you can actually see the things I changed from the prototype, but I really like the way it turned out and it's a really comfortable length...for me anyway. It sits at the base of the neck with the slightest curve. It does take a bit longer to make than some of my other choker designs, but that's what happens when you go ornate with the scallops.

I had of course hoped that having a new piece to show off would attract customers and the shop did get more views than it has been getting, but no buyers. Again, I didn't let that get me down and I decided to go ahead and make something else new.

I was pretty well stuck under a cat at this point and I could only reach one supply box so I decided to get out a ring base and make something simple. Yes, I am aware that I could have thrown off the shackles of the lap cat at any time, but it was warm and that would have been mean. I had the purple and black thread out, so I made this ring while trapped. I didn't use any beads partly because of the entrapment and partly because I actually prefer plain lace most of the time. I like the occasional over the top embellishment, but I think the lace generally does fine on its own.

As soon as the oldest daughter saw the ring she had to have one too. She adores rings, but she is growing at what seems like an alarming rate, though I imagine it's pretty normal, and she outgrows her favorite rings too fast. This is an adjustable brass base, so she should be able to wear it for awhile. I wasn't sure I was going to bother listing it, but at this point, I'm thinking why not. They're pretty fast to make and since there are no embellishments, I can probably list them at a fairly low price. Yeah, I guess I'll do that today. Hopefully the day throws me some new sales to deal with or some more ideas to work with. Here's to a great day ahead! Simply thinking positive works right...right?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Roller Coaster

At one point during the day I described yesterday as being quiet as the grave, well my shop anyway. After schooling was wrapped and the children remained uninjured...barely, I sat waiting for a sale, a convo, something. Nothing came and I spent much of the day unraveling a frightening yarn mess. The cats had befouled the bag which held the blanket I've been crocheting for ages. They missed the blanket itself, but got the two large skeins of yarn. I washed them in a garment bag, but I suppose it was naive to think they wouldn't still tangle. So my time was wasted in the pursuit of tangle free yarn. Once I was granted success in that endeavor, it was back to worrying about the quiet of my shop while the Internet declared that Cyber Monday was much busier this year. This is the point where I sucked it up and went to work.

 Most of the time when I design something I have a purpose in mind or a base design to start from. I generally know what I'm trying to make when I start. This time I just knew I needed to reach inside my head and pull out something new. Obviously the sale pendant and it's subsequent earrings were still in my head so I started with that.

It wasn't too hard to figure out how to connect the motifs, but the top row was something else entirely. It wouldn't stand on its own as is and I didn't think the point of the original motif would work at all. Honestly I'm not sure why I went with the inside ring, but I really liked it once the prototype was finished. I just did a three repeat section to test the idea here. I still had to go back and add joining picots to the first row and I tweaked the stitch count of the chains as well, but I managed to focus and get the entire choker made. There was however absolutely no light at this point, unless you count the neighbors garish backyard Christmas light display shining technicolor puke in our back windows. Sorry, got off track...it's really bright. Anyway, I'll get the new necklace finished, photographed and listed today. I really do like how the design turned out, it feels a little Art Nouveau to me. Of course my knowledge of art movements is seriously lacking, so I could be completely wrong on that. How about, I love the flow and flowery feeling of it.

Luckily after I started really working on this piece the Universe rewarded me with a couple of sales. I am renewed, reinvigorated and given fresh purpose for the week. I suppose that's just the life of a maker though, we ebb and flow. Once day we think the world hates and ignores us and we're crushed under that imaginary weight and the next we are inspired and the act of creation raises us up. I'd say it's like being bi-polar, but I'm sure it doesn't even come close to that. Instead I'll say it's like a strange roller coaster, sharply up, sharply down and occasionally it just goes around and around in circles until we almost lose hope and now I'm over analyzing. Time to get on with the day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday, Monday

Well here we are, back to normal. The house is empty of guests both human and cat, the leftovers have mostly been consumed leaving the refrigerator in a state close to what we remember and we face a week of routine. The kids are back to schooling, the husband is back to work and I am back to worrying if this holiday season will ever pick up enough to make up for a painfully slow November. I did make some sales over the weekend, but not as many as I had hoped and since I'm not engaging in this Cyber Monday nonsense that has already filled my own email inbox to bursting, I can't expect much today. Of course I feel like after the deluge of email marketing no one would even see my deal should I have one. It would just melt into the background. So we forge ahead.

Sorry, I'm in an off mood this morning. I was ready to start the week when I noticed a new tatting seller on etsy who has just a few pieces listed. The concern is two of them, a pair of barefoot sandals and a slave bracelet feel a little too close to home. They're not copies, but they are clearly, we'll go with, inspired by, my work. The slave bracelet however does use the same exact bracelet base and now I'm worried I have to watch for future 'knock-offs' and send one of those dreaded, 'please don't copy me' messages that I hate sending.  I do so appreciate the number of new tatters and I don't want to discourage anyone from being inspired by the work of anyone else or learning my emulating, but I really do wish people would work harder to find their own path and design fresh pieces if they are going to make a go at selling them. The weirdest bit for me is the thought that someone likes my work enough to emulate it, but disrespects me so much that they don't mind essentially ripping me off and potentially affecting my livelihood. Alright, I'm calming down...this could really be nothing, they appear to be attempting to design something kind of new just with the exact same silhouette and I'm letting the stress of the holiday intensify the situation.

I wish I had a new cat picture to take this all down a notch, but I didn't take any more before the guest cats lefts. So I'll just leave you with the hope that this week is all up from here, that sales will rain down, that I will be so inspired I'll create something new, that you will all have sunny, crisp days and the Universe will grant us all a little extra good fortune and happiness. There, I feel a bit better now...sorry for the Monday moaning.

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's Done

I'm alive! Okay, it wasn't that bad, but it was quite a busy, people packed day from dawn to dusk. We ended up with a total of 20 people for dinner. This after dinner photo should illustrate the level of chaos I was dealing with most of the day. My brother-in-law took the picture and my mother had already left at this point, but this is almost everyone. I'd name them all, but that would take forever. Suffice it to say that the house was full and loud, there was much eating and playing and much to my delight it is silent and clean now.



We still have a few guests left in the house, but today is going home day for all of them. As much as I may have complained about the extra chaos I'm going to miss having them all around I think as will the kids. i do love my family.

Also to my great delight I received a few sales during the course of the day lifting my spirits about this holiday season and giving me plenty of tatting tasks to get back to now that the great Thanksgiving feast is over and Hotel Quevedo is closing.

I shall leave you with some more after dinner photos of our guest cats, who I'm certain my cats won't miss at all, and the youngest child who wasn't tired...at all. It's been quite a week and with two family birthdays this weekend I don't think it plans on slowing down at all until Monday. Of course then it's back to schooling and the children will fight that with all their being and I will have entirely new things to leave me exhausted. For now I shall hide in the house far away from Black Friday and rest a bit.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Chaos

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and a lovely, probably less stressful Thursday to everyone else. This entire week has been one activity packed blur and yesterday brought it to a whole new level. At eight in the morning my sister dropped of her four kids and our last house guest arrived just after noon. That put the total house population at 6 kids, 6 adults and 8 cats for the day. Luckily the extra children were all gone in the afternoon and the chaos died down a bit, but just a bit. There are people coming and going, cats being territorial and the sheer amount of dishes I've been washing everyday is staggering. Amidst all this, I've still managed to pick up my needle and get a little tatting work done. In fact it has become something of a refuge allowing me to ignore the yelling children and stay out of a conversation or two thus maintaining my sanity.

Of course today might be the breaking point. In addition to the current house population there will be the 4 more kids and up to 8 more adults in the house for dinner. I say up to because some people have yet to confirm their attendance one way or the other. If you couldn't tell...this irks me a bit. This really isn't one of those, 'well I might pop by' sort of meals. Calming down now. I need all my patience and grace to get through the days cooking, eating, socializing and cleaning. I am truly grateful to have so much of my family here. I'm also glad this sort of chaos only rains down a few times a year.

This is a picture the husband took last night just after dinner. That's my grandfather there in the foreground. My brother just past him with my youngest and me and the oldest is sitting on the floor. We all have an electronic device. The girls their games and the adults and their computers. Even the husband was playing on his phone before he snapped this evidence of our electronic devotion. I swear we don't look like this all day.

I don't plan on doing any Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals in the etsy shop. They've never done well int he past. That's likely because people save their shopping on those days for the big boxes with much better deals than I can offer. Having said that I'm sure hoping that sales do pick up and with more of my listings including the color variation options, I hope it's soon so I can make sure custom pieces can be made and shipped in a timely manner. So I suppose if you're reading this and you plan on picking up something for holiday gifts I'm saying you might want to get on that soon especially if you'd like pieces in custom colors. Alright, it's time to wrap this up and steel my nerves for the chaos...have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm A Genius

So tired and to top it all off I woke up to the smell of gas this morning. My ambitious dinner for my guests apparently resulted in my knocking one  of the dials on the stove, so natural gas all night long apparently. Then the Internet scared the pants off me about it. It was very hard to find rational responses to it...most try to convince you the house explosion imminent and to run screaming from the house. The few rational responses were followed, the windows are open, fans are on, the smell has dissipated and it's freezing in here. I suppose this is one of those times that it's really good that we wake up so early. I can't believe no one else smelled it though...oh well, you can't go back can you?

I managed to get a little work done in the morning though mostly it was just the same pair of earrings only smaller as requested. This is the small one next to its big sister. I only made one stitch count change and that was because two beads in each scallop made it look ridiculous so I just used one per. That was the most creativity I unleashed all day safe for the creative use of gas last night...sorry, I just can't believe I did that.

I've got the last guest coming in sometime today and my sister requested that I watch her four kids today since they're out of school, but she has to work. The house will be beyond full. Of course it will be even worse on Thursday for the big meal. I'm pretty sure that Friday will find me collapsed in a ball somewhere. You know, after I finish all the dishes anyway. Which reminds me, I need to put the dishes up...sigh.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Guest Cats

I find it somewhat odd that just adding the task of being social with my house guests, my brother and his wife, left me more tired than usual. Aside from having more people to talk to throughout the day, it was a pretty typical day. I started out getting that last pendant order made so they could all fly off to their owners, then I remade a bracelet for much of the day. Of course I think that perhaps the energy suck was the guest cats who refused to hold still for good photos. They were very adventurous and kept us all on our toes keeping them out of places our cats know better than to tread.

The first one here is Penelope and the one below here is Abigail. They got comfortable fairly quickly, but our cats held their ground upstairs mostly. They came down to eat and check things out a bit, but mostly holed up in our bedroom preferring to claim the upstairs over reclaiming the downstairs from the new cats who were happy to wander.

There has been plenty of hissing and posturing, but no violence...thus far anyway and the children are having quite a time making friends with the guest cats. It will definitely be interesting to see how these relationships develop over the course of the week and then of course they'll be gone and our cats will be terribly confused over what we just put them through.

Toward the end of the afternoon once all my remaking was done I decided to go ahead and making a matching pair of the pendant design and turn them into earrings. I posted them on Facebook and a few people noted that they would prefer them smaller. I think they're a good size myself, but I've never shied away from large earrings. The plan was to get them listed today with the option of making them in any color. Now I'm also wondering if I shouldn't also make a small version to list. I don't have nearly as making colors on hand in size 20 thread, but I have enough that I could do it. Question is would it be confusing to have a large and small version of the same design? I couldn't put them in the same listing because of the colors unless I only had the colors listed that I have on hand in both sizes. Ugh, I'll figure it out I guess.

Aside from the earrings I'm as caught up with the shop as I plan on getting. There are still a few pieces that I have yet to remake, but they're bigger ones and I don't feel up to tackling them yet. I'm also expecting one more house guest sometime today, my Grandfather, so the kids are getting kicked out of their room for a few days, not that they actually care. I'm expecting one more either late today or tomorrow, my other brother, but he has chosen to crash on a couch. The point is that it's going to get crazy up in here and I'm already tired. What a week.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday, Monday

Happy Monday morning my friends. It was, as I expected, another whirlwind weekend full of cleaning, preparing and most thankfully tatting. It may have taken a while for the pendant sale to get rolling, but in the end over 20 were sold. In fact this morning I still have two of those to make and then the whole lot gets shipped out. There were also a few other pieces that went as well giving me a few more things to make. So, thank you to all of my lovely customers for getting me back to busy and many thanks to anyone who shared the deal as well. I really appreciate it. Now I just need to keep my fingers crossed that the momentum continues through the holidays.

The rest of the weekend was all the last minute cleaning and shopping that goes with house guests. Well that and waiting in line with the family to pick up the new Wii U system Sunday morning. We'd been saving money for it since it was announced and really that's the way to go with these things as they are not cheap. It's much easier to buy something like this when the money for it was squirreled away over the course of a year or more I think. I tried to convince the husband to buy it secretly to use it as a family holiday gift, but he has no patience to wait for something like this. So instead the children have been told that this was an early Christmas gift and to lower their gift expectations for the actual day. Sure hope that works.

So I really have no idea what I'll manage to accomplish today. Between our guests, their two cats, the fact that there is no school today and our new a new video game system, there are too many distractions to count. I know I should just go with it, but I'm still stressing on keeping up the sales momentum in the shop, getting prepped for the Thanksgiving meal and making sure that the house doesn't fall apart after all the cleaning I did. I think this might be an extra coffee sort of day. Oh and I'll try to snap some pictures of the guest cats for your viewing pleasure tomorrow, they really are beautiful and none of the cats have actually battled...yet. Wish me luck!

Friday, November 16, 2012

That Could've Gone Better

Before I laid down last night I was all ready to whine about how poorly my sale pendant fared over the course of the day, I sold only one. Actually I was trying to figure out how to share that information without whining because who wants to read that day after day, but it was still heavy on my mind. Then right after I laid down I got one more sale and I relaxed a bit. Right before I lost consciousness I got one more and that one was a really good sale and I went to sleep much happier with far fewer complaints. I know that it's probably unwise to wrap so much of my self esteem and happiness up in how my shop is fairing, but it's much more than that. It's my own personal economy and we fare only as well as it does at least to a certain point.

There are still three more days to pick up a pendant at the special price for yourself or as a gift or just for the pattern I'll give you if you mention that you want it at checkout. No one asked for it with yesterdays orders and I was a bit bummed because I typed it up all nice with a photo and everything. I swear it almost looks like I knew what I was doing...almost.

Other than all that nonsense there was much laundry and more cleaning. You know the worst part of all the cleaning, besides doing it I mean? No one will notice. The toilets are so clean they look new, I've dusted blinds and deep cleaned carpets, scrubbed the stove, vacuumed everywhere and cleaned window sills and mark my words no one will say a thing. I suppose that's better than people harping on how dirty something is, but it just makes the whole housecleaning ordeal just a thankless task. Oh, well.

So after the late night sales I do have plenty to tat up today. I have a few pendants that need making and that last order also included three other pieces so I  have those to remake as well.  Hopefully there will be plenty more pendant orders to take care of, but most of the rest of the weekend is set aside to finish cleaning and preparing for a week with no school, four house guests, two guest cats and Thanksgiving dinner with nearly 20 people. My blog posts next week might suffer as the week plays out or they might be terribly entertaining full of the ranting of a now crazy person, only time will tell.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Have I Got A Deal For You

I got a suggestion on my Facebook page when I asked what I could do to encourage some shopping. The suggestion was to offer a small pendant at an irresistible price for one day. Well, I thought on it and it seemed like something I clearly have the time for, so I worked up a couple of samples and let the Facebook fans pick one of them for the offering. Once it was clear which way the votes were leaning I went ahead and made up a small pile in different colors just so I had some examples for the listing. I am also utilizing the pull down menu on the listing so folks can pick whatever color they like from the shades I have on hand.

This won't be a limited pendant like the International Tatting Day ones, but rather a limited time at that 'irresistible' price. The price won't just be for one day either. I decided to run it through the weekend. I know selling pieces at this price won't fix my income issues, but I'm thinking of it more like priming the pump. You know like when street performers throw a little money in the hat just to get things rolling. I also made it so that there is no additional shipping cost for this item when purchased with anything else from the shop which will hopefully encourage people to pick up a few more things while they're at it.

So I'd love it if you'd pick one or two up if you like and/or share the deal if you think anyone else would be interested, the images are linked to the listing. I really do hate to be all sales oriented, but one has to bite the bullet sometimes and do what needs to be done, right? I'm crossing my fingers and hoping this helps. On another note to encourage more sales, if requested I will include the pattern to the piece with your purchase of one. Mind you it won't be a professional looking pattern, because my writing skills in that arena are limited, but I thought a few of you might appreciate that as well. If you do want the pattern, just make a note of that at checkout and I'll send you a hard copy with your pendant. I think this might be the closest to actually selling a pattern I've ever gotten and likely the closest I'll get for quite some time. Happy shopping...please!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gift

Nothing throws a day like a morning meeting. I tried to start schooling early enough to mitigate the effect, but it was to no avail. Once we were home and I tried to start classes again I was met with grumpy kid. Grumpy kid always turns me into ogre mom and the rest of her classes were a mighty chore which put me in a mood.

When I sat down to get back to tatting my mood shifted from annoyed to slightly depressed over the state of my etsy shop. Yes, again. It's November and I should be busy, but I'm not. I expressed that sentiment and I tried to think of some way to be proactive about it. All I could come up with was to make these and offer one as a free gift with the next three orders I got. I used the only hand dyed threads I had on hand. To be honest I also made them to keep my hands moving and the pretty colors have a calming effect as they swirl into the design. The two on the left are from Jess and the purple one is from Yarnplayer. Unfortunately the effort did not have an effect, at least not yet. All three roses are waiting to be gifted.

So that leaves me with no real tatting tasks unless I want to get back to the art project. I could of course tackle more cleaning, but I'd rather be tatting and filling orders and busily remaking sold things. I'd rather get my own holiday shopping knocked out, but with the slow sales that's unadvised as well. I think I'm due for the Universe to bring some joy. I'm going to attempt some positive thinking and I'm going to make things to focus my energy and I'm going to avoid cleaning too much because that just makes me tired. So here's to a surprisingly good day ahead...I hope.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Eureka

I don't know if I got the kick in the pants that I needed, but I did manage to get some things done yesterday. In fact right after breakfast I looked over at the bracelet from yesterday and had a eureka moment. I realized exactly what it was missing, cohesiveness. The original was simply the motif joined to two more modified versions of the same. It has so many picots that the join was perfectly solid and sturdy, but it still felt pieced together as an afterthought. So all I did was add some chains between the sections, effectively creating a border that hopefully makes the piece look more finished.

After that was complete it was more errands with the family, this time in preparation for next week. We have four family members staying with us for various time frames over the next week. The first set arrives on Sunday and the rest on Wednesday. They'll all be here through the end of the week. Now you see why I've been cleaning things I'd rather avoid. Speaking of which you'll be happy to know I found a solution to the toilet cleaning, let the much stronger husband use the pumice stone. Though this method did come with taunting afterwards about that being much easier than I let on. Still worth it. Of course I still had plenty left to do myself. I cleaned one room worth of carpets yesterday, but I still have a few more rooms I'd like to at least vacuum. I think I might save the bulk of that for the weekend though, just so that it can't be undone before the guests arrive.

Today we have another teacher meeting, this time for the oldest child. It's early this morning which means school will likely run long so I'm not going to plan any tatting. I'm sure I'll get round to some, but sometimes its best to focus on the tasks at hand and not think past them too far. The worst part about this time of the year is that just when you've finished one task, event, dinner, there is another one just waiting for you. It's a seemingly endless string of stuff to do with very little time to breathe.So we just take big breaths when we can and get to work.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Weekend

You know that there was something wrong with your weekend when you sit down to write about it and you can't remember accomplishing much of anything. I know I managed to remake a couple of things for the shop...oh, and I made this jewelry set for my niece whose 10th birthday was Saturday. I used Ocean Teal for it, but yet again my camera fails to capture the actual shade and instead it looks just blue. I'm fairly certain that the set will be abused or lost, but what kind of jewelry making Aunt would I be if I didn't attempt to provide the girls in my life with such things.

So, much of Saturday was errand running and a birthday party. Well that and some more cleaning. We have hard water issues around here and that coupled with my desire to not clean certain things like toilets resulted in those nasty rings that can only be removed with pumice. I tell you this only because after that cleaning my hands, specifically my thumbs were ridiculously sore. They were so sore in fact that when I sat down to do a little tatting, they objected, loudly. They're still sore this morning and my tatting speed has slowed to accommodate this. I will of course be more proactive with cleaning from now on to avoid this in the future, but who knew cleaning would affect my ability to tat.

Sunday brought more errands as the temperature around these parts dropped dramatically in the last few days and it became apparent that the children were in need of warmer clothing. The youngest sports an impressive wardrobe of hand me down shirts, but pants are needed because her sister is a knee destroyer and the oldest needs everything having grown quite a lot. Shopping like this, while necessary, makes me painfully aware of the slowness of the shop. Aside from the the one off pieces, I've sold about as much as I would in February when no one is shopping and I still have my own holiday shopping to tackle. Sorry to whine, but the stress level is rising and this is, after all, my place to vent. I did sit down to make this out of the motif I shared before. I don't know if I'm going to bother listing it though. It doesn't seem quite right yet. Or maybe it's just good old self doubt settling in. Aren't the holidays the funnest emotional roller coaster?

There's no school today and the husband is off work, but there are no real plans for the day. I still have a couple of pieces waiting to be remade and maybe I'll work on whatever is bothering me about this bracelet. Or maybe I'll try and make another one off piece in the hopes of drawing more attention to the shop. There's also still cleaning that needs doing. Of course it's just as likely that I'll let my general malaise drag me down into a lazy ball and nothing will be done. Here's hoping for a kick in the pants.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Another Gone

Well I have good news to report about the green necklace I showed you yesterday. Like the red piece, it was picked up quite quickly yesterday and will be heading to a good home this morning. It really is one fabulous feeling when something finds an owner so quickly. These are the moments that recharge my drive and remind me, after bouts of silence and slow sales, that there are people out there who do appreciate the work that I do. In fact these are the moments when I feel like a real artist as opposed to most days when I feel a little like an overworked thread slave or ignored cog in the household machine. I much prefer the ego boosting days.

Other than that though, we had a teacher meeting with assessments for the youngest at the book store. So I stalled until that because I knew as soon as we were home I was going to tackle some more bathroom cleaning. I love having three bathrooms except when I need to clean them. The worst one is the kids of course, not because they're horribly messy except for the toothpaste, but because I never go in there which means it's neglected until I clean everything in the house. I still have the kitchen to tackle and the floors in the rooms that will serve as guest rooms and I can feel time slipping away. Hopefully I'll get the bulk of that done this weekend.

Back to tatting though, I remade one piece yesterday afternoon and I got an order for a custom necklace from one of my favorite customers that I will be working on today. Of course I do have lots of favorite customers which is also a much needed ego boost. If I get caught up on those things this weekend I'm going to try to get back to the art project so I can try out my something more ideas before they slip right out of my brain. Man, is this time of year exhausting.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Green

Well I'm slightly disappointed to report that the purple piece I listed yesterday has not in fact flown off to a new home yet. Of course this does mean that you get to see a much better picture of it today. In fact I was so bummed that I didn't get a repeat of the red pieces success I almost didn't bother making the green one that I said I was going to make, but the idea was already in my head and it would be silent until I cracked open that bag of metal bits and dug around for treasure.

We are definitely at the end of these, or very close to it for now. While I still have more stones and the setting in both copper and brass, I have very few matching bits in either metal left and these only work if I have some of those. There is a chance that next time I do a supply order that I just pick some up so I can actually repeat a piece like these, but aside from the fluke of many sales the other day the shop is still too slow to justify me actually spending any money. Anyway, I did this piece in Lizbeth Evergreen. I had to use two different sizes on both this one and the purple piece. This one was was extra annoying because the round beads I used are the mountain jade too and that stone is incredibly soft. I snapped like three in half just trying to make links out of them. The ones I used are survivors though, so they are strong.

So today I have schooling and then a teacher meeting for the youngest that I didn't learn about until yesterday afternoon. I still have a few pieces that need to be made for the shop and I need to get this green piece listed as well. I'm attempting to be way more social online than usual as well in an attempt to get more attention for the shop and if I get any downtime there are still rooms left to deep clean and the art project still waiting for that something missing to be discovered. I guess what I'm saying is that I have plenty to do and I really have no idea what part or parts of it that I will actually get round to doing. Man, I'm tired just thinking about it and next week should be even worse with time slipping away.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blarg

I was having such a good morning, I got to sleep all the way until my alarm, the election is over and won't be dragging on for weeks and then I was distracted by a lost package to Lithuania. Now I knew it was hadn't arrive a while ago, but the recipient was still looking for it on her end. Yesterday she said they couldn't find it, but they'd know for sure in a day or so, so I offered to send another piece though I'm honestly worried about the same thing happening. This morning I get a message saying it can't be found since it wasn't sent in a method requiring signature so could I send the replacement that way. I never do that because on a regular first class shipment it raises the cost about $16 and I don't expect anyone to pay that for shipping unless the item is particularly expensive a $30 piece really doesn't rate, right? The customer who is also a seller says she adds that to her shipments, so my guess is the service is much cheaper coming into the U.S. Anyway the whole business has put me in a sour mood.

On a lighter and more tatting related note, I made another one of a kind piece yesterday. I listed the red piece yesterday morning and it sold immediately to a facebook fan who had expressed in interest in it the day before. So I thought I'd see if I had enough bits to make something else in the same family and I did. This time I used dark purple Lizbeth and did a little more tatting around the brass bits. This one was pretty well received too, so I'm hoping it flies off today when I list it as well, though it would be pretty weird to have that happen twice in a row.

Also when I posted this image, it was suggested by someone that it would look good in a dark green. Well, I just happen to have this same stone in green as well, so I'll be digging though the bits once again hoping to find something to make up another. I am running out of matching pieces though, so the green will likely be the last one unless I order some of these on purpose and not in a grab bag. Well, here's hoping today picks up from here.