Thursday, May 31, 2012

Waste A Day

And it is done. Well, actually it's more like they are done. I managed a wholly productive day. First there was the last day of school which consisted of tests for history, math and science. She knocked them out so quickly that I was done and tatting in no time. Then I tatted and tatted and tatted some more. Seriously, I think that I was tatting for six or seven hours straight with time off for lunch. Normally I say that I tat all day, but that's often an interrupted activity. On any given day I still manage to take care of children, keep the house relatively livable and waste a fair amount of time with random internet silliness all while tatting on and off. Not yesterday. I was determined to not only finish the medallion order, but also the custom order that came in right after I wrote yesterday. I was successful in that quest. That also means I did little of anything else and the house looks like a kid based hurricane hit it.

So that brings us to today. Since I worked so non-stop I have nothing interesting to show you. I don't even have a new bruise picture. Not that you need to see another of those... ever. Since these last two orders were custom pieces, I don't even have anything to remake today. Today is a blank slate and at this moment I really don't know what I'm going to write. If I could take naps I just do that all day, but since I can't I might just find something lazy to do and pretend I'm back in school and it's my first day of vacation. I used to know how to really waste a day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Last Day

Ah, sweet relief. Here we are at the last day of schooling for the year. I remember the first year of home schooling and my wide eyed optimism. I was going to keep it going through the summer because who needs all that vacation time? Turns I do, she does and we all do. It also turns out that once you start homeschooling your brain goes to a different place where everyday things become mini lessons without any effort and the children actually enjoy that type of constant learning. So aside from casual reading and some serious math flash card practice over the summer, formal learning is over until August. I feel I need to celebrate...not for her, but me. It's been a long year.

In tatting news I did get that custom order I mentioned yesterday so I was busy all day making large medallions. I enjoy the pattern, but I had forgotten how long it takes to make, so they'll be at least another day of them if not a couple. I also got to experiment when I realized that I only had mauve, one of the requested colors, in size 20, not size 10 thread. I don't have enough time to order up some so I decided to double up the thread and see if it would work up to a comparable size. Well, it took some tight tension, but it did. I was also reminded as I continued to work with the other colors that they all work up slightly differently despite their 'uniform' size. I'm using six different colors for the order in three different brands and even the ones in the same brand are slightly different. I'm just crossing my fingers that the customer isn't looking for exact replicas in all of them.

After the husband got off work we headed out for another short family bike ride. On one hand it's much easier now that we're not running behind kids with bikes. On the other, going incredibly slow behind the five year old is not surprisingly incredibly hazardous with all the weaving to stay on balance and whatnot. Again I whacked my calf with the pedal. Since I don't have any lace pictures for you, you can see what my calf is looking like now. Oh, and keep in mind that there are a couple of other small ones surrounding these as well. They are really lovely, no?

So today then. Well, I'll still be working on the medallion order once school is wrapped and I just got a custom request in the shop, so if that purchase gets made I'm right onto that. Then I'm going to find some way to celebrate the last day of school if it kills me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

What A Day

What a Monday. To be fair I knew it was going to be an odd day from the start. I try so hard to get normal Monday things done, but when it's a holiday and the husband is home and there's no schooling, there is a limit to what I can do. I managed to finish the teal barefoot sandal and get all three pairs photographed and listed early in the morning. I opted for some outdoor pictures too. I thought they might be received better in context.

Next up was a bike ride with the family as predicted. We live about a block from a nice bike path, so we did a whole circuit around before coming back in time for lunch. I feel surprisingly good this morning despite the exercise. I was certain my legs would be annoyed since I got one of those cruiser bicycles with no gears, but they seem okay with it. I'm sure it helped that I spent much time coasting and stopping and going so the youngest could catch up.

Then we ran a few errands and I bought a bunch of seed beads just in case there are color requests for the new sandals. I have very few colors on hand because I use them so little, but it's always easier to have things on hand than to have to run out should the need arise. After the errands it was home again for the rest of the day. I got a few small sales throughout the day and actually had time to remake much of what was sold. It was quite the day indeed.

So what's on the agenda for today? Well, schooling is in session for two more days and the oldest has her annual doctor visit this morning. Those always throw the rest of the off a bit. I got a custom request yesterday for a half dozen medallions, but the customer hasn't made their purchase yet. If they do, I've got that to work on. If they don't. I might make yet another pair of sandals. I know I should wait until one sells, but they're kind of fun. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how the day goes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

I'm Barefoot Again

Well hello there Monday, it's been another long weekend. Saturday was the last family birthday party for the year. Sure, both me and the husband have birthdays yet to come this summer, but we hardly count. There are no balloons, bouncy houses nor streamers to set up for us and I am so happy to be on the other side of all that for one more year, whew.

What's crazy is I was able to come up with a new barefoot sandal design and make a couple of pairs over the weekend among all that craziness. Let me back up though because this is all a friends fault. I used to do a lot of blog  interviews and they always asked what my influences or inspirations were. I always wished I had some intelligent, educated answer, a list of designers or art movements, but I didn't. I would try to fake it and tell people it was the Victorian era or some such nonsense. The real truth of my inspirations are much more mundane. A stroll through the internet, a random image on the television, a comment or request from a customer, or just flipping through a vintage pattern book with a wandering mind.

This time it was an email forwarded to me by a friend full of barefoot sandals. One detail of one design caught my eye and I proceeded to figure how I could use that one detail to create something completely different. The detail? It was a pair with two toe loops. You also know how I love to beat a pattern to death by using variations of it on as many different kinds of pieces as possible, so I used the same vine like pattern as my last necklace and anklet. Of course all I have right now are these phone pictures of them, but I made the first pair in black without any beads and the second I did in white with silver plated beads.

And before you ask, they are surprisingly comfortable. When I do an entirely new design element, I like to test it out a bit so I wore the prototype pair about the house for a while. I crocheted the loops this time too because I figure while most people are used to flip flops with something between their two big toes, the loop around the pinkie would be a tighter fit and I just didn't think a spiral chain would be comfortable. I also started making a third pair in teal with some matching beads. I asked on twitter and facebook for color suggestions and that was the only repeat color. Man there were a lot of color suggestions though.

Hopefully I'll get a few minutes today to finish the teal pair, get them all photographed, and get them all listed too. We picked up some cheap bikes yesterday so we can ride with the kids, so we're certain to do that today. On a side note while you may never forget how to ride a bike, after a decade or so the first few minute on one again are kinda hairy. Though it will certainly beat running along side the kids so they can ride their bikes. There's no schooling today, but we have our last two days tomorrow and Wednesday and then it's technically summer, so be prepared for me to go mad in a couple of weeks.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Day At The Zoo

As predicted it was a tatting free day and not only that it was a completely non-stop day as well. We don't skimp on kids birthdays around here. We were up and out the door early headed for the zoo a few towns over. We spent many hours there and had quite a pleasant time especially after the zillions of school groups had gone. Seriously it was like an ant invasion, there were everywhere, but luckily only for the first couple of hours. After that the zoo was practically empty and the girls got their run of the place. They're actually posing for their dad here which is why they're not looking at my camera, but this exemplifies them so well.

Also it is here that I pause to show you what I did to their hair on Wednesday. Yes, I did that to both of them. Yes, I had to bleach the hair first. They both ended up wanted red even though I got pink for the youngest and they can always go purple or blue if they want. The piece of hair we dyed is under the part for both of them, but it's much more obvious on the oldest which is why you get her picture. Also it was her birthday and she is clearly quite happy with it. I'm currently waiting for the first, 'You're a horrible mother for doing that to their hair!' I'm certain it's coming, I'll be patient.

The rest of the day was spent shopping at stores we don't have in town like Toys R Us and a JoAnn's that makes ours look like a stand at the swap meet. The children came home with a couple of toys and adventures under their belt. The day wasn't quite done though. Once we were back in town it was a couple errands and out to dinner and then ice cream. By the time we were home for good it was almost time for bed. I managed to quickly get the Wunderkammer scheduled up and answer a few emails, but that was it. To demonstrate my level of exhaustion, we turn to the king of sleep, the sloth, who according to the zoo keeper, sleeps about 20 hours a a tree. Are you jealous? I kind of am.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Last Anklet

Let's see, what did I actually accomplish yesterday? Well, I managed to get the last anklet photographed and listed. I think that's going to be it on the anklets at least until I actually sell one. On a side note, if you look at the picture larger, you can see my awesome nail polish. It's magnetic and I just discovered it existed. You hold a magnet over the polish when it's wet and the iron particles align into patterns. It's like nail polish with *science*. Hush... it's fun.

I also managed to get one sold piece made as well as get some of the cleaning that needs to be done, done. The rest of the day I just tried to stay in out of the wind. I love wind, but even the weather service put out an unsafe air quality announcement because the air was so full of crud, so I knew if I wanted to keep breathing I must stay in. The wind is supposed to be less chaotic today which is good since we'll be off to the zoo for my daughter's birthday. That also means there will likely be no tatting to tell of tomorrow, but maybe you'll get some zoo pictures. Oh, and you'll want to see what I did to both girl's hair yesterday. I don't have any pictures yet, so I'll just save the story for tomorrow too. Of course that means that I have nothing left to share today, so that's it for me then. Have a nice day.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Wind

Well I started the day on task. I got orders in the mail, finished and listed the anklet in black and got to work remaking a couple of things. Then I started feeling distracted. I had laundry to do and I really ought to get he house cleaned up for the weekend for my daughter's birthday party. I did the laundry, but not the cleaning as this was the point in the day where the lovely windy day outside delivered its massive payload of pollen through our open windows and I began to go down like a tranquilized elephant.

I remember a time when I had no idea what pollen count was, when I could frolic outside on a Spring day and breath at the same time. Those days are gone and this Spring has been the worst in recent memory. The allergy pills can't even seem to make a dent it some days. On a related note, my rash finally cleared up, so there's that at least.

All my allergy related stalling leaves me this morning with quite a few tasks to complete today. There are still a couple more pieces to be tatted and I managed to make up, but not finish a raspberry pink anklet. You know I'm not overly fond of pink, but this is the shade that the purple portion of my hair fades to, so I have a soft spot for it...but I digress. I need to get that listed today. I will definitely need to get on some cleaning before things get out of hand as well. I won't have time to do much tomorrow as it is the child's actual birthday and there will be adventuring. That will just leave today and Friday to undo what my laziness allows to occur around here. So here's to a day free from allergy haziness. May my mind stay focused and may I stay on task and while I'm at it may the wind always be at your back.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Plan

Yesterday was a bit of a surprising day. I had resigned myself to getting nothing of consequence done, but as I expressed my malaise on twitter at having neither inspiration for new pieces nor sales in the shop, I was given a suggestion. It wasn't a complex idea, but rather something I could focus on for the moment and rather than wait for something perhaps more interesting to tackle, I chose creating the idea. A nice simple anklet. Even the colors were a suggestion. It's made with Lizbeth in Ocean Turquoise and silver plated beads. Since it was the same pattern at the chokers I made last Friday, it went fast and just as I was finishing a second pleasant surprise appeared.

That's right, I finally got a sale in the shop. This meant that I actually had some things to get remade and some honest to goodness motivation to create. I finished and listed the anklet and then got to work remaking the sold pieces. I can't tell you how good it felt to have focus after the last few days wandering aimlessly. As you might have guessed, I like keeping busy.

So today leaves me with a couple more pieces to get remade and I'm going to do another anklet, this time in black. I might do another in Raspberry pink as well,  mostly so I have something in the shop with the shade so people can see what it looks like. It's so nice to start the day with a plan.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Recap

Yikes, am I wiped out this morning. No, I didn't stay up late or go out and adventure. What I did do was go outside for a couple of hours yesterday evening to watch the eclipse and the air was full of crap. By crap, I mean it was an extremely high pollen count day and allergy medication was no match for it. This is why I can't make Spring my favorite season, it can't be a favorite if I can't breath, but what I wanted to share, is we did watch the eclipse and while we were busy watching a projection, I had my phone streaming video of it from Nevada where they got the whole annularity, ring of fire thing. We were too far off the center line to get that, but it was one heck of a partial eclipse with a nice eerie glow outside and plenty of weird shadows to play with. The picture is from early int he event, we were out there for quite some time and even saw the end of it as the sun came through the blinds and projected little eclipse shadows on the wall.

So what of the rest of the weekend, you ask? Well, I did get the reticule properly photographed and listed. There are some nice closeup photos in the listing too, if you're interested in a closer look or just want to gasp at the price point I ultimately chose.

After that was listed, I tried to think of another big project. I flipped through books for inspiration and I even worked a couple of random patterns to see if something would click. I ended up going simple instead. I made up a simple vine type edging that I had just worked up as a square motif. It's nothing too interesting or complex, but I think that was the point. I needed something to make and complete in one sitting and this most assuredly fit that criteria. I made up two of them, one in black and one in Iris purple.

I haven't had a sale in the shop in almost a full week, so I literally stop tatting after I got those two necklaces made. I am uninspired and unmotivated by circumstances to work on anything. Someone suggested I get back to the gloves I tried to make so long ago, so I pulled them out, stared at them for a spell and remembered why I had stopped. The creative brick wall on those is still standing quite strong. This week is the other daughter's birthday and subsequent birthday party. It is also her last full week of school. There are a few days next week and then we are on vacation...sort of. It just means my job shifts from teacher to entertainment organizer. Honestly, I think the teaching might be easier. So I start the week exhausted and I will likely end it the same way.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tatted Reticule

You'll never guess what I actually finished yesterday. Well I suppose if you're reading this you can see the photos as well so there's really no suspense here is there? I finished the tatted reticule or bag. I had stalled out during the sewing in of the muslin lining. While I do love clear quilting filament for it's strength and the fact that you can't see it, that same fact makes sewing with it a bit more difficult, but I managed to get it sewn in anyway. Then I decided that I was going to add another row of tatting along the top edge and add some brass colored beads. The additional row created an even more interesting ripple along the top. In fact when the bag is pulled shut it looks a bit like a rose if roses were brown and covered in beads.

It was at this point that it occurred to me that I should have done the tassel at the bottom before I sewed in the lining, but since one can't go back, I dealt with it. I decided to dig in my bag of random supplies and see what would inspire me and I came out with a brass cone bit, a couple of bead caps and a length of chain. It took a bit more effort that I thought it would, but I managed to make a chain tassel, attach it to the bottom of the bag and secure it further with a bit of sewing all without being able to really get to the other side of the work easily.

I did think about adding some embroidery to fancy it up even more, but I think it's actually done now. It's big enough to hold my phone, sunglasses, money and keys, so it's pretty useful, you know, in certain situations. Today I get to think on how to best photograph it for a listing and how much I should charge for it. That last thing is going to be the most difficult. This was a lot of work even if I don't account for the prototype phase and other designing issues. I mean it's just a lot of tatting. I fully expect this to be another one of those pieces that just sits in the shop for ages eliciting that shocked, 'you want how much for that?' response. That's fine, I'm glad I finished it and the shop is the best place for me to show it off. I am now completely out of tatting tasks to finish. No orders in queue, sold pieces are all remade, I've got nothing. I think this is the point where I again ask the Universe for a grand idea, an interesting customer or an adventure so I don't have to resort to cleaning. What do you say, Universe, help a girl out?

Thursday, May 17, 2012


If it's possible I think that the warm weather is sucking the life or perhaps just the energy out of me. I did get all the orders in queue completed yesterday, but that's about it. Then my nieces were over in the afternoon to play with their cousins and I couldn't have gotten anything of consequence done even if I wanted to. Of course it could just be that I'm feeling a bit burned out again. I can see the finish line for the child's schooling and since that will eventually result in boredom for the household I'm brainstorming things to keep them busy that won't overtax me either. Sometimes staying at home is rough.

Let's see what else can I over share? Oh yes, the rash is still with me and if the Internet is to be believed and it is an allergy based rash, it could be with me for two to three weeks! Seriously. Anything else? Ummm, not really. I'll get a couple of thing remade today and hopefully get back to the reticule. I do want to actually finish it some time before I stop caring about it. Then I don't know what I'll get up to. People keep asking for a video of the barefoot sandals being made and though I think that's far too long a video to make, there might be something to be said for doing one on the very center motif as joining that last ring to the first one seems to be a stumbling block for a lot of people. Problem is, I don't really feel like doing one right now, so I probably won't and I shouldn't have brought it up at all. And now I have nothing else to share so I'll just move on with my day. Sorry for wasting your time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It certainly was a long day around these parts. We were up and schooling early so we could finish before we all headed to the park for the end of year thing that included an awards ceremony. The child received a gold award for progress, one for study island a test prep site and finally one for perfect attendance. I're wondering who doesn't get perfect attendance when they're homeschooled? Well, you'd be surprised how many people forget to mark attendance or let their kids have a full sick day. Even when mine is sick she does school. I mean it's not like she needs to get out of bed to read a book or listen to a history lesson. While we were out I got two good sized orders in the shop, both having pieces that need to be made so that's what  started on when we were finally home( Thanks Universe).

I also apparently brought home a rash from the park. I have seasonal allergies as well as one to some kinds of grasses, which ones I cannot say, but usually they just result in hives. Those are annoying, but quite temporary, this rash is still with me this morning. Of course I attempted to self diagnose with the internet and it seems that it's quite possible that those seasonal or grass allergies have just evolved to include a rash. It also seems that I could use an antihistamine to fight it, but do you know what I don't have in the house? Yep. So I'm terribly itchy and I know you didn't need to know that, so here's a picture of cats to counter the over sharing.

Today I'll be working on the order I got yesterday so I can hopefully get them out tomorrow morning and if I finish early I'll get back to the reticule. That should keep me pretty busy and that is all I ask. Well, that and the rash to go away. I would like to continue to be busy and free from itching.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Almost Done

It was another nose to the grindstone sort of days. There was laundry and dishes, checking on the plants and schooling. When I wasn't doing all of that, I was working on the last pieces that still needed remaking for the shop and I finished, I think all but one of them. Once all that was done, I thought about making something new, maybe a one off, but the thought of having to not only come up with something new to make, but also to photograph it and get it listed was quite frankly, exhausting. Then I remembered the reticule.

I was bopping around etsy looking for a bit of embellishment inspiration when I ran across a newly listed tatted one and I was a bit bummed that I was beaten to the punch. It's a completely different pattern of course, but it is similar in shaping. I'm still going to finish mine though and since the one already listed looks like it was priced based on time to create as well, I won't feel so bad about listing it. I still need to finish sewing in the lining which is just muslin. I did think about going with silk, but I think muslin is actually more usable. Sure you can put your gloves in a silk bag, but your keys and cellphone? I did make a nice double drawstring out of crochet chains instead of ribbons too. That means there's no color contrast there, but I think the lining will take care of that. Then I'll buckle down and decide on the perfect embellishments to the design. Right now I'm thinking about a chain tassel off the bottom and then maybe I go back and add a beaded edge on top.

We have the an end of the school year thing to go to for the oldest this morning which should take up a decent part of the day and then hopefully I can get much of this bag stuff done. Once that's off my plate I'll need something else to fill the big project void, so dear Universe, I'll need a great idea or a big custom order. Either will work or course, only one of them does pays better and it's been a slow month so far.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Spring Fever

The thing about having a nice family gathering on a Sunday night is, no matter how early they early in the evening they leave the premises, you are left a bit wiped out with no more days in the weekend to recover from it. This is especially true when that family contains eight children between the ages of 5 and are they loud, and a bit insane. Other than that though, the weekend was fairly calm and mostly relaxing. I had an order come in on Friday and then nothing else the rest of the weekend. I was inspired to remake a couple of pieces I had been stalling on because I finally got feedback from the customer who bought one of them. When they're complimentary it reminds me that other people might like that piece as well and it gives me the kick I need to get back into production mode.

I really wish I had more to share, but I didn't even touch the bag project all weekend and most of the other things I did this weekend involved manual labor like adding a fresh coat of stain to the kids play set outside. Definitely not a glamorous task. I don't have much planned for this upcoming week either. The oldest has her end of the year gathering tomorrow though we technically have about two and half weeks of schooling left. Next week is her birthday and the subsequent party and then the next week we may be having house guests for a few days. I kind of feel like I'm just riding out the end of school being as noncommittal as possible. Maybe I should think about some big project to tackle when it's finally wrapped for the year...or maybe I could look forward to that extra free time in the mornings. Clearly I have some sort of Spring fever issue that is seriously affecting my productivity. Here's to getting back into gear, getting some work done and giving the Universe a good reason to keep right on giving.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Universe Gives

Seriously, you're not going to believe this, but the Universe delivered...again. I was graced with an idea, perhaps not great, but just what I needed to make a nice gift. I can't share that one with you until Monday, just in case, but I had to let you know that it happened. Then my second request was granted with a nice little custom order. It was nothing that was going to keep me busy for days or anything, but it kept me busy yesterday which is all I can really ask right? I don't know what I'm doing right, but I sure hope I can keep it up.

And now because I have nothing better to show or tell you, I present the new shoes I got in yesterday. That's right, I posted a picture of shoes. I'm really too practical to be a real 'shoe person'. I love them, but I need a reason to buy shoes or they must be wearable on a regular basis. While the husband thinks they're ridiculous, they were inexpensive and I'm totally wearing these all the time. This is just another thing I can blame the internet for. There is always someone showing off something awesome and useful and occasionally they do so right when I want or need something like that.

That leaves me this morning with one bracelet to remake and then I can get back to the reticule, you know unless the Universe has other plans for me. I tried to formulate a new request for this morning. I mean, if it's been working so well, shouldn't I up the game and ask for money to rain down from the skies or something? I decided that it really is better to stay where possible things live and to treat this like an experiment in positive thinking. So this weekend, I'd like pleasant company, a bit of relaxation and an especially interesting customer in the shop. Oh, and for everyone out there that remotely believes all these Universe requests are working, I ask that you too get something unexpected and wonderful.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On Task

I started yesterday completely on task. I had a bracelet to remake and I went straight to work on it even before the days schooling.  When that was over for the day it occurred to me that Mother's Day and my sister's birthday were this weekend and perhaps I could make some things for my mom, sister and mother-in-law. Don't worry, they don't read my blog, but I won't spoil it with too much information...just in case. So I went to work making them some tatted items. It was taking a wee bit longer than I had intended and I had to stop to remake a bracelet that sold during the day. I actually ended up taking the bracelet with me to our Monthly comic book store round table thing and finishing it there. I'm glad I brought it too because there were fewer people and thus less entertainment than usual.

I never got around to picking up the reticule at all yesterday and I still have one last gift piece to make up. So those are the two tasks on hand for today. I know pretty exciting huh? Oh, before I forget, if anyone out there reading this saw my story about the production company that was looking for an antiques, oddities or history expert for their show and thought to themselves, 'I'd like to do that', shoot me an email. My address in in my blogger profile and I'll get you the information. After I replied to the email with a friendly, 'well, not me, but if I can help in any way', I was asked if I could share it with my online circle. I know a few of you out there meet those criteria pretty well, so I'm sharing. I guess that could count as an opportunity than I can actually take advantage of. Not really all that amazing for me, but why whine and spoil the streak. Dear Universe, today I'll request a great idea or a custom order. Hey, I'm not going to stop asking until it completely stops working.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Not Exactly What I Was Hoping For

Let's see, I started yesterday with a large measure of stalling. The mask I needed to finish is white and there is just so much more effort when working with white thread. I can't scratch my nose, I need to make sure my hands stay extra clean and I have to constantly shoo away very persistent cats with various shades of contaminating fur. So I stalled until after schooling when I could prepare my area. I got that finished and I managed to get pictures and list a pair of lace maille ankle corsets. These ones were meant to be a special order for someone who was going to come back for them. I didn't want to be rushed when and if they did so I made them between other projects. Yes, I should know better. Clearly they changed their mind, so I listed them instead. They're the same as my other pair expect without ten tons of crystals sewn into them.

After that there was more stalling as I was trying to think of something more interesting to do. It was at this point that I got the opportunity I asked for in the blog yesterday morning. I should have been more specific in my request however since it was an opportunity that I not only didn't fit, but would never be able to do anyway. In case you're curious it was a production company casting for one of those Pawn Stars sort of shows, I got the email because of my work on the Wunderkammer. Sure it would be flattering expect they're looking for people with antiques and history expertise and they want said persons to travel the country buying antiques and oddities. I have no such expertise and I homeschool two kids, so clearly they aren't really looking for someone like me, but it was surely an unexpected opportunity.

I did get back to the reticule in the evening finally finishing the second round and starting on the first round of the top edge. In the prototype I made three rounds on the top for that frilled look so I still have a way to go. Then there will be the lining and a few embellishments I think. I also got one sale yesterday so I do have one thing I can remake as well. Then since we are at the end of the blog I will more specifically ask for an amazing project or opportunity that I can feasibly take advantage know, something actually within the realm of possibility. That would be awesome Universe, thanks.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

That Was Unexpected

Well, it wasn't a spectacular day, but I asked for unexpected and I got two nuggets of unexpected. First, one of those custom inquires I mentioned returned and after some discussion an order was placed giving me a custom mask to make. You know I've sent my pieces to all sorts of interesting people to go all sorts of interesting places. It's a true pleasure to imagine the life some of these things get to have after they leave my hands even when I haven't been told any story. This custom mask request did come with a story though and it is going to be part of a living statue. See, that's unexpected. So that mask was my task much of yesterday and it will be today as well.

Now onto the other unexpected thing. This one was another story and it was posted on my facebook page wall. Since that's already pretty public, I hope it's okay that I share it here as well...and I quote:
"Flew from Bellingham, Wa to Bloomington In to see my son graduate from college....took my tatting along (yes they allow it on airplanes, now). All I brought with me was black thread, so when I got here, stopped by the yarn store for more color. Nothing....said to the owner, "Just need something to tat with". "What's tat?" The little clerk spoke up, "This is tatting", and showed off her beautiful necklace. Asked if she had found it on Etsy...."yep"...."by TotusMel?"...."Yep!"
You're getting around!"
I have to say that I was, to borrow a British phrase, a bit gobsmacked. A few years ago I went to The Maker Faire in San Mateo and was recognized by a few people who had seen me on the internet and this is kind of like that only without me actually being there.  It's weird, but also wonderful and most assuredly unexpected.

Since yesterday's plea for unexpected things bore fruit I think I'm going to ask for an amazing project or opportunity today. It could work two days in a never know, right? As a fall back I still have the bag to work on once the mask is complete, so no harm in throwing that out into the Universe. We'll alliteratively call it the power of positive posting.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oh, Weekends

I tried to come up with a phrase to describe the weekend as an opening line to the blog. Trouble is, the weekend was so all over the place, I really have nothing that works in my vocabulary. The German probably have a word for it, but I don't speak German. Of course, that's neither here nor there, I shall just break the weekend down by days instead. Friday was quiet with the kids spending a long afternoon with Grandma. I tatted, watched bad movies on television and got little done. I was working on the reticule since I had no other tasks. The shop is getting really slow so I'm happy to have a large unwieldy project to work on. I figured out the bottom bit and doubled the height, so even after working on it off and on all weekend, I'm still only maybe halfway done.

On Saturday we left the house around 10:30 to go to an early lunch and catch a showing of The Avengers. Yes, it was am awesome movie completely worth waiting in line for. Then to cap off the comic book spectacular we headed down to the comic book shop. It was Free Comic Book Day and not only were some of our lovely friends who we see much less than we would like there, but we also got our copy of the new Dark Crystal Novel doodled in and signed by Alex Sheikman. Of course when I say 'doodled' I really mean a gorgeous sketch done so quickly and expertly it's crazy. I am so jealous of that kind of talent, but I digress again. After that we headed home and rested up a bit, but the day was really over by that point.

Sunday we opted for yard work. After a normal Sunday morning we headed outside to work on plants and then I got the crazy idea to stain the kids play set. The paper wasps have been at it since we put it up a couple of years ago. I only meant to test a bit of it, but then got into the project and kept going. This left me tired, sore...and oh, so very sun burned. Ah, the first sun burn of the year, it there anything else, uncomfortable. The job isn't even done yet. The whole top half that will require a ladder to complete waits for another day and on that day, I will wear sunscreen and a hat.

So what awaits this week? I really don't know. I've fielded a couple of custom inquiries, but haven't heard back, so I'm not holding my breath there. I guess I'll keep working on the bag knowing I probably won't even put it up for sale because the price will have to be way too much for something that appears so simple. Here's hoping for something unexpected and pleasant to occur today and the rest of the week. I need a jolt of unexpected about now.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Winner & Reticule

Know what the hardest part about giveaways is for me? Not increasing the number of winners based on who amused me so much that I really want to give them something. Seriously, read through some of the entry comments and you'll see what I mean. There was 'creepy' Fox and Victats trying to undermine all the other entries and a few others that had me in that quandary. In the end I must, must, must rely on the random number generator to save me from myself. The winner it unemotionally picked was Dreaming Tree Soapworks. If you haven't heard from me yet, you will be later. I really do appreciate all the entries and the kind words contained within them. Some of the best were the ones that admitted that I had some part in them wanting to tat or my loyal customer who actually confess to loving the pieces they already own. That is so incredible to hear, really...thank you!

Now onto what I got up to yesterday. First, I thought I'd show you the box I got yesterday from my friendly UPS man. I'm not going to tell you how many balls of thread are in there, but I bet you guessed it's a lot. When I opened it my oldest looked over with that, 'what did you do?' expression on her face. I needed to replace some colors and thought I'd use the opportunity to get a few new ones as well. I get more custom color requests than you think and the more colors I actually have on hand, the better.

What I really got up to yesterday was finishing the bag prototype. I learned quite a few more things from it too. I knew about halfway through the second element that there were more issues with the design that needed to be addresses, but I was determined to finish it regardless. First off, it's too squat, the side element needs to be longer. Then there's the joining of the bottom and the side where there is too much space that needs to be filled in. I didn't line it yet, but did stuff some muslin in it to see how it might look filled in. Lining is going to be particularly annoying. In fact before I start the next version, I think I'm going to get the liner sorted by estimating the size from the prototype so I don't have to figure it all out in the end.

I added a ribbon to the end there, but I think it might do better with a crochet chain as the tie. Of course that just adds even more creation time to the piece. I think I mentioned embellishments before and I was thinking about some sort of dangle from the bottom of the bag. Probably not a traditional tassel, but definitely something in that family. I don't have any other projects to work on, no orders recently either, so it's likely that I'll start on a final bag. That is unless I get frustrated, then there are still a couple of pieces I have yet to remake. It should be a busy family weekend too with yard work and movie adventures and Free Comic Book Day. Thinking of the weekend really shouldn't tire me out, should it?

Thursday, May 3, 2012


You still have one more day to enter the giveaway by comments on yesterday's post, but today I thought I'd address some of the questions and comments I have already received. First of all thank you for all the lovely compliments of both me and my work. Yes, it managed to mostly cheer me up, though I confess, the malaise is still hanging about. It'll pass soon enough, now onto the comments.

Let's see first my hair, it is currently blue and purple and it has been for quite some time. The inconsistencies in the shades are due to the natural fading of the vegetable dyes I use. When freshly dyed both colors are so dark they seem the same. I was also asked about the bridal veil I made. It was not edged in tatting I'm afraid though. The tatting was the clip or fascinator bit of the design and it was added to a simple birdcage veil. I though that way, the tatting would be more of the focus. You can see it here.

I got a couple of questions about needle tatting too. First, yes, it tends to be faster than shuttle tatting at least in the beginning. I call it an Othello craft after the game from the 90's with the tag line, 'a minute to learn, an a lifetime to master'. I think there's a greater learning curve with the shuttle, but once both crafts are mastered, I imagine one can hardly tell the difference in speed. That being said, speed is relative to the person and the amount of practice. I tat everyday, sometimes for many hours, so I better be fast. On a related note, I was asked if I recommend any books to learn. I only bought one, Learn Needle Tatting Step By Step by Barbara Foster. It was exactly what I needed. After I devoured that, it was just me and the Internet as my teacher. Of course nowadays there are a plethora of online tutorials including my own at Instructables.

One last thing was a recommendation by two different people to tackle a small bag or reticule. Now, let's be honest there are dozens of vintage and antique patterns for those, but where's the challenge in doing what's been done. I was going to do one, changed my mind since there were so many and then changed it back after looking at tons of patterns and not seeing one like I would make. Most of the design are either a rectangle folded upon itself or two motifs sewn together at the sides. What I saw in my mind was a drawstring pouch that was basically a circle drawn up to a gather. I did realize that it might be a little much so I compromised and started making a bit a bowl shape.

A few things are immediately clear about this piece. One, it is going to take some time and the first one is likely going to bother me something fierce with it's inaccurate proportions. Second, if I do get the piece past prototype, lined and ready to sell, it's going to be one pricey little bag because this is a lot of work. Don't worry though, I will at the very least finish the prototype and get it lined so you can see if it works. I even have some ideas for some possibly interesting embellishments for it.

I hope I addressed everything I wanted to, I do have a nasty habit of forgetting to respond to people if I don't do it straight away. So, remember one more day to enter the giveaway in yesterday's comments and the winner will be pulled tomorrow morning. I guess I'll be working on the reticule today unless something else strikes my fancy and this was a rather longer post than I had initially intended, sorry.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Want A Bracelet?

Lately I've been a little out of sorts and I'm not at all sure why that is. Things are generally fine around here. Sales are slow, but not frighteningly so and I'm getting things done both new and old. Could it be that I see the end of the child's school year just ahead and Spring fever is manifesting itself as malaise? Or could it be as simple as allergies and the headaches they bring putting me in this mood? I really have no idea, but I certainly hope it sorts itself sooner rather than later because I don't like it...not one little bit.

So to raise my spirits a bit, I thought I'd have a little giveaway. In order to do my latest Instructable, I had to make another bracelet so I could photograph it at the different stages of construction. The result is that I have an extra Immortal Corsage bracelet lying about. Want it? Well, if you do just leave a comment at the end of this blog post with an opinion. I'd prefer the opinion relate to me or my work, the easiest would be to tell me your favorite piece that I've made, then I would know that you've actually been paying attention, or you could tell me what you'd like to see me try and make, but I digress. Leave said opinion in the comments and I will use a random number generator to pick the winner on Friday morning.

Sure, I have a few more things I could talk about, but I'll leave it here with the giveaway. Don't forget, it you actually want to win, I must have a way to contact you other than a public announcement. Acceptable means are an email address noted on your blogger profile, a twitter handle, an etsy account or just note your email in your comment, otherwise I'll just pull another name. Thanks in advance for playing and hopefully pulling me out of this hole.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Free Pattern: Tatted Lace Corsage Bracelet

I'm not certain why I got it in my head to release a pattern yesterday, but I did. Even before I started schooling for the day i was hard at work making up the sample piece so I could take pictures the entire time. I know I could just publish the pattern, but I really do love the format at Instructables that allows a much more comprehensive approach so that even non-tatters can give it a go. I didn't finish writing it up until well into the afternoon, but it is published now. You can find my newest free pattern here: Tatted Lace Corsage Bracelet. The link has also been added to the sidebar with my other free patterns. The reason I chose to do this one was because a few days ago someone had asked for it in order to make a gift. Of course I didn't have it written up, but I really had no objection regarding this pattern. I suppose I felt it was the perfect excuse to get something new up. Please do let me know if I've made any mistakes or anything.

In other news, I also managed to get both the new Peter Pan collar necklaces listed. In fact I felt rather too productive for the day even though all I did was get photos taken since the camera was out anyway. I was pretty proud that they looked like they were supposed to when worn. Sometimes I'm just not sure I got it right until its really too late to back out. Once all this nonsense was taken care of I even got back to remaking things. I got some supplies in the mail that I needed to remake one piece, so I worked on that. If I hadn't had an allergy induced headache most of the day, I would have been extraordinarily happy, but I did so I was merely pleased.

Today promises to be a much less productive day. We have the last face to face teacher meeting of the year with our homeschooling teacher this morning. They're always pleasant and relatively short, but it throws my precious schedule off a bit. I'll likely use the rest of the day for more remaking and perhaps thinking on my next possible project. No, I have no new ideas, just trying to seed them by putting that out there in the Universe.