Friday, August 31, 2012


I just couldn't do it. I couldn't go through another day of remaking with nothing to share with anyone all day long. So after schooling wrapped and I consumed some lunch, I started doodling. I seriously had no real intent at all. I just needed to make something new. The one on the bottom here was maybe the third bit I made up and that's when the idea gelled. The middle one has all the stitch counts worked out right and the top one was an experiment with beads which I decided that I liked, though I still had no idea what the doodle would grow up to be.

Okay, it wasn't hard to just go with earrings, but I figured I needed to have a pendant too and it needed to be bigger than the earring version. I'm not going to confess to just how many prototypes I had to work up before it worked. Suffice it to say, it was not an instant creation. Someone on facebook asked if this was a share. I assume they meant was I going to share the pattern. This led to me thinking about it and coming to an unfortunate conclusion that I wanted to share with you. No. It's probably not why you think though. I really can't share it because I used so many oddball moves in it's creation that I don't even know where to begin in writing it down. This is not the first piece I've made that I've faced this problem. I'm just not all that great at writing up patterns in the first place and when I do strange moves to solve design problems, I'm not thinking from a publishing standpoint, I'm just working it out in a way that works for me. I'm left with a pattern I couldn't rightly explain any other way than in person. I'm not even certain that a video would work.

Maybe someday my pattern writing skills will catch up with my pattern creating skills and the world will suffer through all my odd ticks, until then though I shall have to let some designs remain enigmatic. Though I'm fairly certain there are those out there who are clever enough to figure it out all by themselves or at least their own way of accomplishing the same look.

I'm going to try to get these listed today and maybe make another set up in some different colors if for no other reason than to practice the design. Then it's back to the salt mine remaking and maybe getting on one of those other tasks I've mentioned and then ignored like the masks or cat headbands. Man, I've been unfocused lately. Silly new school year messing with my summer routine. Hopefully the fall routine sets in soon.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I'm sorry. I've got nothing witty nor interesting to share with you this morning. I educated children, I tatted and I tatted and I tatted some more. There was also some laundry in there as well. There was, however nothing else of interest to share. No crazy cat or kid stories. No unexpected emails or phone calls. I had no good ideas nor made any plans. It was a truly uneventful day.

I mean I did get things done, two of my bigger bracelets, so that list of things that needs remaking is getting a little shorter. I think I'm down to just a half a dozen things now and none of the ones left are really big or important to have listed, so there's really no rush. I think I might spend the day making cat ear headbands. I had an awful time finding new headbands and I should really use them now that I found some that should work. I was just picking them up at the store, but I'm getting the impression, after a long internet search, that the manufacturer stopped making that particular kind. So I've got to try something slightly different and hope it behaves the same way. I need them to be thin and fabric covered so I can sew on the the ears securely since I just don't trust glue.

Well, look at that. I managed to find something to blather on about when I was certain there was nothing to share. It wasn't particularly interesting, but take what you can get, right? Maybe I will find some time to be creative today instead. It might just be time for something completely different for no other reason than for me to appear more interesting online for a spell.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Day

Another day, another tooth. I thought I'd lead with this this morning. Lunchtime and leftover pizza coaxed the second tooth out of her mouth and the proud child is now happily sticking her tongue into the new gap. I'm sure she'd want the internet to see her new trick. Of course I'm still reeling a bit over this and her starting school. You know, it's the whole, 'my baby is growing up!' thing. The thing I'm assuming most parents both desire and fear. Oh well, you can't stop time any more than you can speed it forward.

I made a little more progress tatting yesterday than I thought I would. I managed a pair of barefoot sandals, a pendant and one of my quicker to make masks. I also barely made a peep online once schooling started. I'm starting to feel a little more like a hermit than even I'd like. Between schooling, tatting and the occasional household drama to deal with I've little time to be social. Sure I still have twitter scrolling next to me, but I'm merely lurking, not engaging. My facebook fan page is sadly neglected and while I add at least one tumblr post a day, I can't remember the last time I popped by pintrest or flickr. I fear all this neglect is not helping my shop one bit either. I think I need to make more of an effort and I suppose that means I need to add these things to my routine. It's the only sure way to get them done. Also, to anyone who thinks running a cute little etsy store is easy and little effort, think again.

I still have quite a list of things that need to be remade, so my day will again be that of a hermit, tatting away all the time left over after teaching the children. I'll catch up one day...maybe.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Another long, crazy day at our house. It started out pretty normal with a morning of schooling and me working on getting a mask remade. I was ever so determined to get it finished in one day even though I know it takes longer than that. Of course I had started it the night before so I had a bit of a head start and that was enough to propel me forward.

Then the kids went off for lunch with grandma and I tatted faster because I knew as soon as they were back, the house would be invaded with cousins as I was booked to babysit for the afternoon and evening. Surprisingly, I was able to keep tatting while they were here and they even sat down and did their homework before they unleashed Armageddon on the household. They're good kids, but when you mix them with mine they all develop a special gift for chaos.

I didn't stop making the mask though and as the day was ending I finished it, placed it in the mask box and promptly got an order for a different mask. So guess what I'll be remaking today? I'm not complaining, just pointing out how I will seemingly never finish with the remake queue. Its become like some sort of sisyphean task. As much as I like keeping busy, I also enjoy that brief moment of relief when something is completed. Where you can sit back and say, 'Ah, I'm done.' and wonder what to do next, but I just need that for a moment. I do still prefer busy.

I do have one more little thing to share. The youngest just lost her first tooth. You see, the bottom two were both ready to wiggle out of her mouth, but like most kids she had developed a fear of the potential pain and we couldn't get her to do anything more than wiggle them with her tongue really. When the cousins were over they started plotting all sorts of ways to get the teeth out. You know, creative ones involving dental floss and thrown objects. Luckily once they left and before her sister could convince her to actually try one of said methods she pushed on one and it popped out. Still waiting on the other one, but I suppose we should stop and celebrate the one victory rather than jump right into another battle. One down and one to go...for now.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Again

Here we are at another Monday. There is another week of schooling ahead along with another week of saying I'm going to get things remade for the shop, but barely scratching the surface on the task. We did have an exhausting but pleasant weekend though. It started with an action packed Friday that ended with a trip to the zoo to see the new sea lion habitat. The children brought their cameras so there was a lot of 'slow down, I need to take a picture'. There weren't a lot of people so it was quite leisurely, but hot, very hot.

Saturday was our normal errand running on top of car washing, a nice dinner out and the children's first viewing of Monty Python and the Search For The Holy Grail.  Sunday had an extra visit to the cousins with much crazy playtime and quite honestly I'll be a bit surprised if the children have any energy today. Of course they will because that is the super power all children seem to have.

I did manage to get a couple of pieces remade and thankfully a couple more were sold and added to that list as well. Of course the one custom request that I got of Thursday didn't happen. I do so wish that people who change their minds would simply share that information with me. A simple, 'Sorry, I found something else' or, 'I changed my mind' would suffice. I hate waiting and wondering. Should I change the listing back now? Should I leave it just in case? See, a simple response would really be the polite thing to do, but it is so rare that I actually get one. The silly thing is, it really is no big deal either way, it's the not knowing that bothers me.

So this week as with last week I shall spend my time schooling the children and getting things remade for the shop. Once all the pieces I want to remake are done it's time to focus on getting extra masks and cat ears made before people start shopping for Halloween stuff though as I think I've mentioned before my masks don't actually sell very well this time of year. I imagine it's due to the deluge of very cheap alternatives, but following this holiday they do start selling as there are more winter holiday masquerade parties than you might image. So the plans for the day are made and now it's time to start the week since I can't just crawl into a cat pile and sleep the day away like some four leggeds I know.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Finally, the end of the week. Seriously this thing was starting to feel endless. I'm still out of sorts as far as my tatting time goes. I can't seem to really get focused and stay there. I managed to mostly finish the mask project. There's just a bit left to do there and that one will be off to its owner. I got a request for an order of multiple barefoot sandals, but the customer has not yet returned to make that purchase, so it may or may not happen.  If it does, that will be a few days at least of non stop work. If it doesn't I'll have to buckle under and get some more of those sold pieces listed.

Today is the first field trip for our homeschool, a park day. Then we, as a family are planning to head down to the zoo. It should be a nice day, full of something different to do. I'm hoping after this and a nice weekend that next week will start completely in the swing of things and that I'll have finally gotten the hang of doing most of my tatting in the afternoon. Now that school is here I'm also hoping for a bit of a cool down in the weather because it just doesn't feel like school when it's nearly 100º outside. At least we can say we survived the first full week of school. Though technically today just started, so I'm gonna knock on some wood right now and get the day started.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Almost Settled

Schooling is getting easier by the day around here. It seems that a full week is needed to really get up to speed and establish the all important routine that makes this sort of arrangement work. That's why I had really hoped that the school would have released the classes early so I could get a jump on it, but they didn't and I had to use the first full week of school for all the crazy flailing that ends in balance. Even though it has gotten easier it is clear that the mornings belong to the children and I get the afternoons for tatting and other work related nonsense. Aside from me having less time, I've also realized that I am far less productive in the afternoon. I'm getting tired by that point and I just want to watch a little television and relax a little. That however, is not the life of one who works creatively at home. If I want to keep my head above water I have to work every moment I'm given. Hopefully next week will bring the balance and routine to my afternoons as well.

I did get one custom order in yesterday that will keep me busy for a couple of days. Oddly enough it's one of the few masks I have listed that is not black, so it was requested in black. The tatting is almost done on it as I received the order at lunch time. This is one of my embellished masks though, so there is plenty of work still. I have crystals to sew on, embroidery to do and I finish this one with strings of beads cascading down from the mask. Working on something with a home to go to is so much more satisfying that working on sold pieces that might just sit in the shop for months. It also gives me a sense of urgency that keeps me on task.

So that's the plan for today, schooling and then the custom black mask. Then of course when that is done it's back to the pile that still needs remaking because it didn't get any smaller yesterday. I sure hope I don't need to do any housework anytime soon, because I think I'd have to do that in my sleep to get any done.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Look, Cats!

I think we're finally settling into a routine for schooling. Sure, it's really to early to tell whether we've really got this down, but the school's site was behaving better and the kids were complaining less and we even managed a science experiment without major headaches or drama. It now seems possible that I will in fact survive the school year fully intact and I might actually get some work done as well.

I knocked out another couple of pieces that needed remaking. I opted for one of the more complex ones so it was really just the two things I got done on that front. I also had the pleasure of babysitting nieces after they got out of school so there was another couple of hours where tatting was possible but ill advised.

Oh, I do have one silly story to report. You know the necklace package that went missing on it's way to Europe? Yes, the one I ordered the beetle wing cases for, so I could remake one to send. I finished it over the weekend and put the replacement in the mail Monday morning. Then, and this is not shocking, I received a message yesterday letting me know that the original one had just arrived. Let me put this in perspective, the necklace was ordered and sent in the middle of May...May. That's three months it's lost in the ether of the postal service. It was perfectly reasonable to assume that it was lost forever or stolen. When I ordered the beetle wings cases, I still had to wait like three weeks to receive them. The necklace could have showed up at any time, but it waits until the day after I mail a new one. Seriously, I don't even care...Murphy is a mean, mean entity.

In other news, I'm still waiting on a reply from the boutonniere customer that didn't list colors. Folks who don't answer their emails in 24 hours when the content is time sensitive confuse me. Of course I may be an aberration as I check my email nearly constantly and if I don't respond immediately, I usually forget entirely. I'll probably send the piece tomorrow morning regardless and then get a message the next day letting me know it was completely different colors that they wanted. See what Murphy did? He stole any trace of optimism I might have possessed.

So today is again just more of the same. More remaking, more schooling and hoping that my birthday sale wasn't all the sales I'm getting for the rest of the month. I'm catching up, I can handle more sales now Universe. Oh and I hope you enjoy the cat pictures even though one of them is really just a black spot with eyes. He kind of looks like a furby from that angle huh? Well, until tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day Two

I feel like starting today's post with, 'Day two of Hell week.', but that's actually a severe overstatement. Sure, it's been over busy and yesterday was occasionally nightmarish dealing with the schools website that just did not want to load in certain classes, but it has to normalize sooner or later...right?

Schooling wasn't over until lunch time and even then the oldest had a couple of things she had to do after lunch, but they did not require my supervision, so I was done at lunch time anyway. The picture is of her elite insect handling skills outside during lunch. She had caught a damsel fly in her net and retrieved it like this to show it off before letting it fly off unharmed. Gorgeous blue, huh?

I did get to work on those dozens of sold pieces and got one new order for a boutonniere sans color choices. I hate when people don't leave color choices on custom pieces. I made one like the listing photo and sent both an etsy  convo and an email to request further instruction as soon as I got the order and still no reply so I get to sit on the order until I do hear back. I think I managed to get three small pieces remade and listed. I've got only a few small ones left before I will have to start tackling the larger sold pieces. I always seem to save those for last and I can generally get only one of them done in a day so I feel extra boring those days.

I do have one more picture to show you though. I forgot my husband took and posted this when I got my beetle wings in over the weekend. It's the extremely glamorous job of sorting through hundreds of wing cases looking for matching pairs, or at least ones that make a right and left of similar size. I'm also sorting out the ones with completely different shades. Most of these were blue/purple/green, but there were a few with an orange cast that just stand out. Clearly I am also being photo bombed by my child who has developed a taste for being on camera. No, she didn't start destroying my work after the photo was taken. She just hovered uncomfortable close while I drilled holes in the elytra. Don't worry she'll get put to work soon enough.

So today is just more of the same. More remaking, more schooling, more household running...I guess I could call it day two of Hell week. Just know that this hell isn't really too bad.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nose To The Grindstone

I am being such a bad production tatter. I should be glued to my seat and working non-stop, but instead I'm wandering and being indecisive about which piece to remake next. I'm even guilty of busting out my phone and playing mindless games instead of working. I'm going to go ahead and chalk the weekend production lull up to exhaustion and call it a well deserved break, but this week I'm going to have to buckle down and get some serious tatting done even if I have to pay the kids to hold me down.

This is also the first full week of schooling for the kids so I'm hoping that by the end of the week we have settled into a nice groove. The youngest is picking things up at warp speed just like her sister did at that age. The oldest is going to be slowed down considerably this year by the sheer amount of work expected of her. The good thing for me is that much of it really is just her work and that leaves me slightly less chained to her side. Of course it really is far too early to tell right now.

So to recap, I must work on much remaking with about two dozen pieces needing to be made for the shop and I must get a routine nailed down for schooling. I'll try to remember to get some nice cat pictures or something to liven up what is likely to be a week of boring updates though. I don't want anyone to suffer too much along with me. That would just be cruel.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm Tired

The most obvious side effect a successful sale is marked tiredness. Between getting all the orders finished and out the door and starting schooling with the kids yesterday I don't think I stopped moving until seven in the evening and even then my brain was still working out things as I tried desperately to watch television mindlessly. Even after a full nights sleep, I'm dragging. The good thing is aside from one last order that had an additional request added to it, they are all on their way with free gifts. Now the fun part begins. Did I say fun? I meant the mind numbingly repetitive task of remaking dozens of sold pieces for days on end. Can you tell I'm really looking forward to it? Well, honestly how can I complain? I t was a successful sale and the only bad result is having to tat nonstop for days which I was probably going to do anyway, so there really is no downside, just a slightly more boring side if you will.

The other major task for the day was my first day homeschooling both kids. Sure that happened all the time last year, but not officially with two different curriculums to work into the day. We'll be fine, but there were so many glitches yesterday with the computers that it was quite a slow, frustrating start. It was funny because we started early and as soon as 8:30 rolled around the computer began have hiccups and minor heart attacks. I'm guessing because everyone else and their dog was on the system by that point. Hopefully it all settles down well. It's assured that the morning until lunch time will, from this point on, belong to schooling and I think perhaps some time after lunch for the oldest as well. This does put a dent in my tatting time, so you'll forgive me if my productivity suffers a bit. Turning my children into well educated adults really is a priority for me.

Sorry for yet another boring, picture-less post. Hopefully the weekend will bring some adventure and some sleep because I am exhausted.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I don't even know how to start all the thank you's this morning. Seriously, what a day! The sales began straight away and continued all day long. I was in complete shock by the sheer number of them particularly because usually my coupon codes are universally ignored. Also all the fabulously supportive comments on the blog made my day. I really was just venting and know not to take these things seriously, but having the support makes everything so much better. Sometimes I think we take our support systems for granted, but days like yesterday remind me how lucky I am. I have a wonderful husband, a loving family, friends that surprise me for dinner, with flowers no less, even though I know that they are beyond busy and a network of people online that support, critique, comment  and occasionally buy my wares boosting my self esteem and keeping me grounded. It was a wonderful birthday. Thank you all so very much!

As you might have guessed the sale was a rousing success. So much so that I will be ridiculously busy for weeks remaking pieces and I find myself a bit overwhelmed this morning. I kept up with them all day, but overnight the number of orders grew again. I've also got the first day of school to knock out today with the kids and since they didn't release any of the lessons early for me to prep for it's going to be a heck of a day there as well. I'm glad I have a fridge stocked with caffeinated beverages, because I'm going to need them. Thanks again everyone, really.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Fake Tatter's Birthday

I made the mistake of reading something yesterday that I really should not have. I mean, I really do know better. The person whose words I read is known for such rants and I don't even rightly know how I ended up there to read them in the first place, but once read, words cannot be unread and I was put off much of the day by being called, indirectly, a fake tatter whose chosen craft is apparently false and driven by profit. I said indirectly because I wasn't named or anything, but it sure feels like it was specifically aimed at me. If you don't know who or what I'm talking about I'm not going to subject you to it, but if you do, well then you probably understand. Suffice it to say that I don't believe that needle tatting is fake, their definition of tatting is unnecessarily narrow and belongs only to them and few others and they use so many beads that their admittedly pretty work it should be called beading not tatting because I can rarely see any lace. Okay, I'm done now.

No more effort shall be wasted in that direction because it is my birthday. Now, to be honest I have fallen out of love with my birthday over the years. Not because I'm getting older, I'm okay with that, mostly. It's the days themselves that haven't held any wonder in fact they've held a lot of stress and annoying events including, most memorably, the year we moved into this house which was horrible. The last truly awesome birthday I can remember was in high school when my mother took us to Great America and we saw the Star Trek TNG Earth Tour thing and I got my picture taken with a couple of Klingons. Sure, I've had good, happy birthdays since then, but that was the 'I'm not going to forget this experience' birthday. Though I'll likely remember something else awesome before the day is out...all these added years are clouding the memory a bit.

So just as a small token and even though they rarely get used, I've created a coupon code for the shop. Use the code HAPPYBIRTHDAY25 at checkout for 25% off your entire purchase today only and give me the gift of sales. Each sale today will also get a surprise free gift with purchase, but I haven't decided what yet...probably a nice pendant, but I might just make something to match whatever is bought. It'll be a surprise. So here's to a good day with no big plans and no big disasters and no reading anything mean on the internet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Yep, it's that time again. Time to share an anecdote of annoyance. You are probably aware that I often search the tatting on etsy. Why? Lots of reasons I suppose. It's a bit of a holdover from when there was a nasty run of copy cats and I do enjoy seeing what everyone is up to and of course the competitiveness in me is a factor as well. The point is I do it all the time as an after thought, not with any real intent to play tatting cop or anything. I'm not trying to squash all competition or anything, I promise, but every once in a while I run across something.

This time it was someone selling a necklace made with one of my free necklace patterns that's up on Instructables. I calmly messaged the seller beginning with a non accusatory, 'you might not be aware' and ask them to remove the listing because I ask that people not sell items made with my patterns. The whole time I'm a bundle of nerves because I absolutely hate these sorts of confrontations when I feel like I'm being the bad guy, but I feel like I have to hold the line. The seller was initially put off because she felt adding beads made it different and I disagreed of course. The next message I got back is the actual source of the afore mentioned annoyance however. She stated that she purchased the pattern from a friend. Well that's a whole different monster isn't it? So someone gets my pattern free off the Internet where I specifically evoke the language of copyright and blather on about personal use, turns around and sells it to an unsuspecting "friend". I put those quotes there because I'm pretty sure this is not something a friend does. No, a friend says "I got it online, here's the link", or "I can print you a copy if you like". A friend doesn't send someone off to make something to sell online likely knowing that the pattern asks them not to, so that friend is likely to raise the ire of the designer. That's just messed up right there.

The whole thing just made me shake my head in confusion. I ended the conversation by caving a bit and asking her to just acknowledge me as the designer of the item in her listing and to not use the pattern again for sale. I also gave her some names of designers that do sell patterns you can sell things from and some links to find free patterns as well as the most important advice I have on the subject, to design your own pieces or modify antique ones if you're going to try and sell them. That one thing will help you avoid all future drama.

I know not everyone has the same opinions on these sort of things and the copyright controversies will rage on for some time. The line I drew when I started giving out patterns was done to try not to end up competing with people basically selling my own work for less than I make it for, potentially confusing the customer base that I've spent years building up since tatting is my day job. Even if you disagree with my hardline stance on that though, you have to agree that friends don't sell friends free tatting patterns from the Internet. Please feel free to pass that message on because I know when I share something for free I mean to share with everyone...for free.

Monday, August 13, 2012


The heat this weekend was ridiculous and it's not even finished being that hot yet. There are several more days of it predicted which adds a silly element to the task I completed over the weekend. In 108º weather I finished a large batch of snowflakes coating them in glitter and adding whimsical hooks with pearls to each one. It's just too bad that pretend snowflakes don't have any sort of cooling effect. All they did was mess up my sense of how far away Winter still is. Of course everyone is talking about Fall and it's hard enough to think about that in this heat. My birthday is Wednesday and it's always marked the last couple of weeks of summer, but with the kids school starting the day after it, it feels weird and wrong and snowflakes and everything is just off. I must take a deep breath and focus.

After the snowflake project I had just one piece to remake for the shop as I'm still waiting on the beetle wings. I'm slowly losing patience for the mail service at this point. Anyway, once that piece was remade I made a supply order and began picking pieces already in the shop to make more of. Right now I'm just working on the pieces that are being renewed in the shop in the order they show up. What I really need to do is take a good look at what has been selling well now and what has sold well during past holiday seasons and get stock made of those pieces. That will require research and math and I'll probably just wait until I'm in the mood for that sort of nonsense before I do all that though. For now it'll just be remaking whatever strikes my fancy or whatever sells next. You've probably guessed that I'm just stalling until schooling starts and all my free time is reallocated. Shifting gears is hard work.

Friday, August 10, 2012

And Friday

I'm pretty sure I accomplished some things this week, but here on Friday morning it feels like it was pretty much a waste of a week. The temperature here is suppose to start spiking today to uncomfortably high levels and stay there for some time which means I don't have much faith for a productive weekend either. Of course I seem to remember it being the same when I was a kid and it was the week before school started. There's a sense of panic that you didn't adventure or relax enough and time is running out added to the fear of the unknown. Of course it might also be that I'm just annoyed because they made a lot of changes in the online school over the summer and aren't loading anything in until the first day of school. This leaves me with no time to prepare and you know how much I need to go into things fully informed. I can't even start my day until I rambled my daily schedule to the world. So just the fear of the unknown then.

I still have three more snowflakes to finish up and then that project moves onto the finishing stage which includes a dose of glitter modge podge and fancy hooks. I still haven't gotten my beetle wings in yet and as you might have guessed I'm getting impatient about that. It's the last task I still have in queue. Everything else in the shop is remade and once the snowflakes are done then it really is time to start working on extra stock for the shop with every free moment because I will lose a lot of hours to schooling very soon. I do wish it felt more like fall though, preparing for the holidays when it's 107º outside just feels wrong.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Another calm day really. Had a meeting with one of the girls teachers. I'm still waiting to hear from the other one, but I've been told she's a new hire so might be going through some training. I imagine going from traditional school to overseeing dozens of homeschoolers is quite an adjustment, but I'm so ready for school to just begin already. I just want to get all this preliminary stuff out of the way.

I did get the things done that I hoped after the meeting. The new strange motif was strung on some chains and listed. It took me a while to settle on the plain chains though. I kept thinking I should do something more with it, but nothing seemed to work. Sometimes the simplest solution is best one.

After that it was back to the snowflakes. This seems to be taking a lot longer than I thought. Of course it's probably not helping that I'm doing twelve things at once instead of just concentrating on the one task. I just get so easily bored of white thread. I know, I know, then why haven't I gotten bored of always working with black thread? I guess I just like it better so it doesn't bore me.

So today, more snowflakes and one necklace to remake because I got a sale this morning after a two day lull. Here's hoping it wasn't a fluke and sales remain good. I'm still trying to undo a very bad June and a worse July and I'm already thinking ahead to Christmas so I'm trying to squirrel away every dime. It can be really unnerving to try to live on the uncertain wages from an etsy shop. Luckily the husband still provides the bulk of our living expenses, but we really do count on my income as well, so I get stressed at the drop of a pin. Deep breaths and off to it then.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Too Quiet

I think I jinxed myself pretty good yesterday when I commented on the consistency of sales recently. I mean I am sitting at a sort of wood desk and I didn't even bother to knock on it after I wrote that sentence and the result was a calm and quiet day on the shop front. I got the new necklace listed and I cleaned the laundry room which doubles as the cat's bathroom. No, that really wasn't a great idea...litter gets everywhere, but it was getting ridiculous. The necklace turned out nice though. I really like the pointed ends.  It reminds me a bit of those fancy Venice lace collars only smaller.

Since I didn't have anything left to remake for the shop it was back to the snowflakes after that. I'm trying to do at least a couple of them a day, but I'm suppose to be making I think 20 of them so it's still going to be a while before I complete them. I'm also making up new patterns as I go so I don't get too bored making the same couple of pieces over and over. When I was doing one of the newer designs I thought I saw an interesting pendant shape within it. This seems to be happening a lot to me lately. I must be starved for a little creativity. Anyway, I stopped with the snowflake and made this little piece. The plan at this point it to attach some chains to either side for a necklace. I had tried extending the design out a bit, but my first attempt was not attractive, so it will probably stay as is.

I did have one disappointing moment yesterday to recount. I was messaged by a stylist on facebook asking to use some masks for a photo shoot this weekend.  The disappointing bit is that I felt the need to say no. They are located in New York City which is the home of everything I send there gets lost on its way. I just can't do it anymore. They always contact me with a week or less until their shoots and I rush out pieces using various shipping companies. Then I get the message that they haven't arrived and of course the shipping companies, USPS, UPS, FedEx all say they have been delivered. So it would seem that they get lost or stolen in these large, over populated buildings and I'm out opportunities and usually large, expensive pieces. It's just not worth all the stress. Heck I sent pieces to Canada with less trouble and they had a much more realistic time frame. I know I'm probably shooting myself in the foot here, but the last lost package to NYC was just a couple of months ago and would have been in one of the Vogue magazines from another county, but it got lost after being delivered and I lost a mask and a necklace so the wound is still fresh.

So the only plan for today is to get this tatted bit turned into a necklace and hopefully listed in the shop as well. Oh, and more snowflakes of course...many more snowflakes.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Earring To Necklace

It was a pretty rough Monday. That headache I woke up with was my constant companion even though I tried fairly hard to drug it away. Sure, I kept it at a dull roar so I could function, but it was still there and it is still here this morning. I'm not sure what I might have done or eaten to acquire it. Perhaps I was clenching my jaw in my sleep again, but whatever it was, it will not keep me from getting things done during the day. The world stops spinning for no one.

I had a couple of small pieces to remake in the morning and once those were done I tackled the idea that had come to me while I was remaking yet another pair of earrings. The earrings have been selling particularly well lately. Anyway, the necklace is basically the bottom half of them strung together with some stitch changes to get it to curve well. I actually finished and pressed it yesterday so I know it turned out like I wanted, but it was later in the day so I figured I'd wait until this morning to get photographs and get it listed.

So that's the first task for today, get this necklace listed and then it's back to the snowflake project until or unless something else comes along that needs doing. I'm still waiting on those beetle wings to finish the replacement necklace. I also really ought to make a supply order soon as I'm almost out of earrings findings not to mention several other small things. I've been putting an order off because sales still haven't picked up enough for me to have the cash surplus on hand I need to justify the order. The shop has been pretty consistent, but the orders have been relatively small and I'm always afraid that the second I spend money on supplies, the sales will dry up completely and bad things will happen. I'm an optimist like that, but I think I might have to bite the bullet anyway. Here's to a headache free day and getting things done.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Another Monday

It's never a good sign when I wake up on a Monday morning with a headache. It's a very, very bad sign actually. Of course there is no real reason that I should fret. It's technically the last week of vacation before homeschooling starts up again and I haven't managed to do anything spectacular with my extra hours. I caught up a little and made a few new and a few extra pieces to increase stock, but nothing that will take the edge off once the holiday season gets into full swing, so I suppose the summer was a wash for me.

The shop has managed to stay just busy enough recently to keep me focused on remaking things and answering messages. So between that and the snowflakes I'm determined to keep working on now, my schedule is full if not entertaining. The art project I was going to work on appears to be on hold as I've not heard back from the artist. This is why I never start working on something until the stone has been carved. I'm also expecting a few customers to return this month as I had several requests for wedding and costume things over the summer who said they'd be back in August to order. Again, I'm not holding my breath, just making space in my brain to actually accommodate them just in case they do come back. I'm not sure why I'm rambling on about all these little bits. Perhaps this is just a Monday morning brain dump to get everything organized in my mind so I can focus. Yes, that seems the most likely. I'll stop now and take something for the headache and maybe the day will only get better from here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I Love Busy

It was another beautifully busy day. I sold a larger necklace early in the morning giving me a day long tatting project right off the bat, but first I had to get the masks and eye patches ready to ship. Normally I press pieces in the laundry room on the counter, but there were a lot of them so I pulled out the ironing board. I then left the room for about a minute and this is what I returned to. Yep, two cats on the board. Lucky for them the iron wasn't on yet or they might have discovered what hot is.

Once they were shooed away I got the order pressed and packed. Then I decided to go ahead and do at least one rose tattoo pendant for the shop. I'm always trying to find more inexpensive pieces to add for the holidays to increase the gift giving possibilities for people. I might do up more colors just to show options, but I stopped with black for now because I did have a necklace to remake after all. I worked on that all day finishing late in the evening when the day was closed with a small ring order in a custom color giving me my first task for today.

With the large order done and everything in the store nice and caught up I shall be working on a snowflake request from months ago that's meant for the holiday season as well. It was one of those things I put on the back burner when I got busy because I knew I had time. Then I forgot about it when I did have free time, so that leaves me where I need to remember to work on it a little bit every day until I get it finished. That'll teach me to prioritize without reevaluating it every so often. At least I really know I'll be busy for a while regardless of sales in the shop.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

One Task Down

Yesterday was a stark contrast to the day before. The last day of July was hopping with orders and questions and all sorts of things. The first day of August was quiet as a mouse. That's not to say I didn't have plenty to do of course. I still had left over tasks to accomplish. I actually finished the tatting on the the mask and eye patch order so I will be getting all the finishing work done on it today. If you've been wondering what this finishing business I keep mentioning is, it's a bunch of little things. All the pieces will need to be pressed and rid of any cat hair that might have escaped notice while working. Then ribbons need to be cut and added to all of them. Because there are a bunch of new color combinations in the order I'll get some nice pictures of them to add to listings or just to have 'just in case'. Then there is the packing and finally shipping. So it's not something I can really get done early enough in the morning to ship them out today.

After that's done I'm all caught up in the shop so again I'll be hoping for elytra in the mail today. They're coming from overseas though and it's only been a week since they shipped so it will probably still be another week. I'm just trying to be optimistic. Yeah, I know that's not a good look on me.

I couldn't properly solve the rose pattern mystery yesterday either. I looked up my blog posts from when I used it and my first rose was actually designed as an anklet to match an existing tattoo of a customer. That, I do remember. It appears that I did in fact make it up myself by building up the design for the eye patch that came next and was designed to match. I still feel like I must have seen something similar, but it's been four years and exhaustive searches have gotten me nowhere so I'm tossing my hands in the air and giving up the search. Part of the reason for the search was I want to now make the roses as pendants for the shop, but I wanted to get the pattern origins nailed down first. I think I'm going to make them anyway. They're different enough from more recent similar roses that I've seen around to be safe in that.

So today is mask order finishing and rose tattoo pendant making unless the mail surprises me or August picks back up right away. Either way I'll make sure I'm busy again because I like busy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Here Comes August

Usually the end of the month is a dead zone. Yesterday however was pretty darn busy. Of course it's too early to tell whether it's a trend or a fluke, but either way I was busy yesterday. I started out the day working on my mask order, but was soon interrupted by a custom request to turn the rose motif from my rose tattoo eye patch into a pendant. So I was off to do that. When I posted this process photo on my facebook page, someone had noted that they had come up with a very similar pattern years ago too. Now, I'm pretty sure that I at least got the idea from another pattern that I must have found somewhere years ago, but for the life of my I can't find the original online anywhere. I know I'm not the only person that has probably done so either because we all seem to start the rose from the same stitch count and then they all grow organically from there into slightly different roses. Of course this design merely mimics how most people draw roses so it's probably just one of those cases where it was inevitable that many people were going to come up with the same or similar designs. It will continue to drive me insane until I solve the mystery though.

That wasn't the end of the busy day. After that it was back to the masks and once I got one more finished I got another order in the shop so I began remaking the sold piece. This repeated once more almost exactly when I finished the last piece and once more before bed so I will have some things to remake today once I finish the one mask on the schedule. That will hopefully leave me with the last mask tomorrow along with all the finishing work which means I should have this order in the mail by Friday. I'm also still patiently waiting on my beetle wing order so I can finish the replacement necklace for a lost package. I'm hoping it arrives about then so I have that project right after this one. I very much enjoy being busy. Now if we could only do something about the temperature over here because it is way too hot.