Friday, June 29, 2012


First off, I got a couple comments regarding the dog eye patch project that basically said I should do it anyway. I'm not going to for a few reasons and I thought I'd share those. The reason I got the request in the first place was because I had already made an eye patch and it's listed in the shop here. Of course that one is for people and was a special request itself, but the dog one would be no different except it would have been sewn to an existing patch. So honestly there is no good reason to make another patch and list it as a dog patch in the shop. It really is the sort of thing that has one buyer in all the world. Part of the reason my etsy shop is so important to me besides the obvious, I need income, is that it gives me an excuse to try new things, both my ideas and customer requests and keep making. I've designed hundreds of pieces that I never would have without an outlet for them to go to good homes. The crazy ideas are great, but not if they just gather dust.

Moving on...I didn't do much yesterday, but make some stock up for pieces that I was relisting. I did get out the brown thread and make some brown versions of those same pieces though including these earrings I made with some gears for dangles. I've acquired so many different supplies that get so little use, I thought it would be good to get something slightly new at least.

While digging for the gears I did also run across the crystal I need to make the white version of the back drop necklace that I didn't think I had, so it is entirely possible that I will tackle that one today. I'm also hoping that today or tomorrow will bring the ribbon I need to finish the sash. I guess that's all for me. No big weekend plans for us so I might get some tatting done to share on Monday. So then everyone have a pleasant weekend.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

For A Dog

As expected, I did no tatting yesterday. We gave presents, we shopped, we ate, we got our phones checked out at the Apple store and we came home. The husband appeared to have had a good day. This does not mean that I don't have an interesting story to tell though.

Before we left for the day I got an interesting query. Without going into too many details, the request was one for my tatted eye patch, but for a large dog who was losing her eye. Quite honestly I balked at the whole idea partly because I've actually repaired lace destroyed by a dog. So I shared my concerns with the customer and after some back and forth we settled on a modified version with the lace attached to an existing eye patch. By the end of the day the project request was rescinded due to new circumstances. Of course this is only the surface story, it's the one under it that I really wanted to tell.

I've been presented with a great many odd requests over the years, some became popular pieces like my mask and other times the request was met with so much skepticism on my part that I never even tried to make it happen. Now of course often that reaction was the correct one. After a while you begin to understand the lace and what it is capable of becoming or doing. I generally know what is truly impossible. This eye patch query put me in a strange position though. While others agreed it seemed kind of crazy, they all encouraged me to do it because it sounded cool. Eventually I believed it was actually possible and once I did the method to create it became clear. So I suppose the moral of the story is, don't give up on an idea just because it seems crazy. Think on it a while, ask someone else if it's crazy. Work through how it could be done before you emphatically deny its possibility.

I'm actually kind of bummed that I won't get to make one now, but I'm not going to do it just because. It really is a project that needs a reason to be created, but at least I know that I could have done it. So today I have nothing planned as I wait for the arrival of my ribbon to finish the bridal sash. I'm toying with the idea of making a bridal back drop necklace as well. I figure that might flesh out my wedding section in the shop. Of course I'm not sure I have a crystal that will work on hand and I might have to go shopping for that. Yeah, I guess I really don't know what I'm doing today, but what it turns out to be is likely to be less interesting that what I almost had to make.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Sash Grows

I honestly thought this piece was going to take much longer to construct, but once I had the pattern down it really worked up quite quickly. Here we have the tatting all done with seven repeats of the medallion. Since they're all facing the correct way I'm pretty proud of myself. I also think I worked out a good way to attach the ribbon. On each end I skipped the long, twisted crossed picots at the edges. That leaves me with a section that the ribbon can fold over. I'll sew the ends down and I think I might add a bit of embroidery there to give it a nice finishing touch, but I won't be sure of that until the ribbon arrives. I thought I might be able to find it in the fabric shop, but the one we have in town is sad beyond the telling of it, so online works better.

Once the tatting was done I started work on the crystals. Again, I found a nice pattern to sew them on. By that I mean I got a nice order to work in, up one side and back up the other. I even worked out how to go from crystal to crystal without cutting and tying the thread. I wove through carefully chosen stitches to make that happen. It still took hours to sew, but again, I'm quite pleased with the way it turned out. It has a nice sparkle, but not an overwhelming one. It's perfectly clear that the focus is on the lace. Of course now that that's done, I have nothing to do with it until the ribbon arrives.

Today is the husband's birthday for which he took the day off work. So as you might have guessed we'll be off adventuring the day away. So unless I want to tat in the car, I'm not working on anything today. I will still be thinking on how I'm going to best present this piece to be photographed though. In the end I'll probably just wing it as always, but it's nice to pretend to prepare anyway. So have a good day everyone.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Bridal Sash

One more large necklace has landed in the 'ready to ship' pile yesterday. That just leaves me with a set of slave bracelets to make, but they are listed as a custom fit bridal pair, so I'm still deciding whether or not to make a pair up. It seems if anything should stay listed as a custom piece, it's this sort of thing, or maybe I was just avoiding more remaking for the day. Those collar necklaces are big and exhausting.

So with my dial firmly set on stalling I opted to seriously consider a suggestion that has now been made by several people, the bridal sash. Honestly, I had no idea what that was when it was first suggested. I've been married for almost 14 years now and really have no desire to keep up with  bridal trends. I've since learned they are quite the popular accessory and their construction is a section of lace, beading, floral designs or appliques attached to a long length of ribbon for tying around the waist. So basically a larger version of the headband I already made. I wasn't sure I had a design that would work under my belt until I made up the ottagono bracelet. It's dense, strong and has several places to sew on crystals to make it the right degree of fancy.

I started on it late yesterday and took this photo oblivious the the giant mistake I had made. You don't see it either, do you? I only caught it as I tried to join the second motif to the first. The center clover is in the wrong configuration. I guess I thought that it wouldn't matter whether it was a "+" or a "x", but it did. The joining was awful and it became just another piece of lace hacked from the working thread and tossed in the trash. I did manage to get the work redone last night a little past the point where I discovered my first screw up.

The plan is to make a section consisting of an odd number of motifs probably 5 which would give the design about 11 inches. Though I'm a tad worried about the beast way to add the ribbon and it would be better hidden around ones back so I might make it longer. The decorative sections seem to vary in size on the other ones I've seen. Once  I make that decision and the lace is done I'll sew on crystals to the center of every small ring and another to the very center of each motif. That should supply sparkle without overwhelming the lace. Once that's done I'll have to head to the fabric store for nice ribbon. So this project if likely to take a few days. Then there's the small matter of photographing it, since my own wedding gown hardly fits and is silver. Oh, and I can't tie a lovely bow to save my life, so that's gonna be drama even if I find something to photograph it on. Of course I'm getting ahead of myself, it might not even turn out in the first place, but at least I have another project and you guys can stop making the same suggestion, thanks.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ottagono, The Bracelet

Most of the weekend was pretty busy with family adventuring. Movies to see, Brave and family haircuts from my sister which meant a full afternoon of all the cousins at the house. Luckily I managed to achieve a few things on Friday that I can share. First I finished a gray version of the new pendant necklace. Again I thought about making it up in another set of colors, but changed my mind. When this one was finished I had three pendants to play with and after a few minutes I realized that I could in fact get a bracelet out of the design.

The bracelet required some interesting design changes. I had to add several joining picots and eliminate some rings altogether on the two side medallions. Even then it was still bulging a bit at the joining sides and I was worried it wasn't going to work. Lucky for me, I never consider a piece failed until after I press it. If the iron doesn't make the lace behave, it never will. This one behaved just fine. I must say this is one of my favorite cuff designs so far. The twisted, crossed picots make it one of the densest pieces of lace I've done in a long while. It's also a tad bit longer than I usually make bracelets, so when I wore it, I had to hook it further into the lace. I don't think I'll be offering to size this one because that would be the biggest pain in the neck.

This morning I have just two more pieces in the shop that need to be made and then it will only be the large fancy mask that is listed as a custom piece. I also got one sale in yesterday so I have a piece to remake and get listed as well. I'm personally hoping for a wonderful, eventful week full of sales, surprises and the husbands birthday. That last this is real, the rest are just wishes, but they could all be true.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Long, Crossed & Twisted

Now, we're cooking with butter. It's just a small thing, but it gave me something new to focus on for a spell and it was lovely to feel a bit of inspiration again. Also, I have plenty of pictures to share for once and not one of them is of a cat. First we have my second attempt at the design. I thought that the different center would give the design a fresh look. Well, it was different and well, bad. It changed the entire dynamic of the design and just had to go.

The poor thing ended up in the scissors so I could retrieve the beads I had given it. I know that sometimes we just have to cut out the bad bits and start over, but is it just me or does the snipping sound the scissors make when cutting through lace cause everyone a bit of anxiety? I likened it to the sound of finger nails on a chalk board. There was also some talk of the lace screaming and now I'm going to hear imagined screams when I cut future pieces.

Of course I wasn't done yet. I decided that the center was fine with the four leaf clover, but it needed something to enhance it's structure if it was ever going to be wearable. I opted for long crossed twisted picots. They look interesting and provide a net between what used to be weak spots. I also added beads to the joining spots between the center and the outer design. A little chain and we have a necklace. I got this one photographed and listed early in the afternoon.

I enjoyed making the design so much that I asked yet again for color suggestions. The first offered was a two color sepia one. Since I too was curious how it would look in two colors, I got it made up pretty quickly. Though not quickly enough to get it photographed and listed. That will have to wait until later today. I finished this one with brass beads and chain. I even started on a third in two shades of gray. I almost grabbed for the crazy bright colors, but they haven't flown out of the shop like I hoped, so I'm not going to bother unless asked. What's crazy to me looking at all of these photos right now, is how different the piece looks than the original design even with so few adjustments. I'm racking my brain trying to see if there is anything else I can do with the design, but I think this might be it. If so, I move on and maybe mess with something else or just play with more long crossed, twisted picots because I think they're fun.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's Something At Least

Just as I suspected yesterday contained a complete lack of anything worth noting. I'm about to give up on my blog pleas to the Universe. Yes, I will probably keep doing those anyway, but I'm getting seriously bored. Working on getting the shop stocked by remaking things is all fine and good, it's just not mentally stimulating. In fact I think I'm beginning to miss the daily schooling of the child. Sure it was a lot of time out of my day, but even if I didn't get anything else done, at least I learned something. Occasionally I was relearning of course, but it was interesting and my brain was on. I think that my brain is running on empty at this point so I'm making a note to actively seek out something new to learn every day and breaking news on twitter won't count.

I did do one bit of tatting yesterday. I randomly picked up a pattern book and chose a design to make up. This one is from one of those Italian magazines and it's just the base motif that makes up a table cloth. I've already mucked with the design a tiny bit, but today I'm going to change it a bit more and possibly embellish it for a new piece for the shop. I figure doing some simple adapting might just give me some brain exercise and something new to list without taking me away from the stocking task on hand.

So I guess that's the whole of the plan for today. Play with this design and then get back to work on getting stock made. Well that and just hoping things begin to pick up sometime soon. This feast or famine cycle I've been dealing with is very frustrating. I could cope better if the feasts were bigger, but they've been more like small snacks. I will soldier on though because that's what I do.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's The Bells

Apparently the Universe feels that it's already indulged me enough and didn't supply me with anything interesting nor exciting yesterday. Instead it was a day very much like the one that preceded it. A walk with the kids in the morning and tatting to the sounds of the children playing video games much of the remainder of the day. Uneventful, but fairly productive.

Again, I stayed on task for a while, getting one of the three necklaces done that I had planned on, but then I got all listless again. I simply didn't want to make the next necklace on the list right then and since there's no one to tell me to stay on task, I didn't. First I thought I wanted to make something new, but that wasn't it either. I just wanted something else to make, so I flipped though a vintage book to get focused and one pattern reminded me of something I hadn't made in a while, which reminded me of something else entirely that I also hadn't made in a while, so I got out the bells.

Tatting with bells is such a pleasant experience. Sure, they're heavy on the lace and the thread before I add them, but the jingle just makes me happy. Now, not just any bell will do that, these Indian bells have just the perfect sound that immediately puts me in a better mood. Sure, I didn't get too much done yesterday and what I did get done wasn't particularly interesting or new, but from now on I'll remember just to get out the bells when it's clear that I need them.

Today is the family dentist appointment right smack in the middle of the day, so I will likely get even less done than normal. I do still have that list of pieces that need to get 'ready to ship' so I will want for no task until that has been done. Of course I'm still holding out for some Universe delivered goodness to reinvigorate me.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Some mornings I really ought to just forgo writing. I know that I have nothing of value to share. The day before was completely uneventful and the day ahead looks to be the same. Yet here I am because it is my routine, I am a creature of habit and I must respect that routine. When I do not, it falls away quicker than a house of cards and I must build it back from scratch.

So the uneventful recap is, I remade one sold piece and one mask listed as a custom order is now ready to ship. Sure, I went on a nice walk with the kids and we spied an otter and a fresh owl pellet. Then of course there was the children fighting much of the day because they have finally reached that age where they are both independent minds and no longer do what the other wants all the time. That last thing was accompanied by a headache, some punishment and the horrifying thought that they will someday be teenagers and I will long for these simpler times. So, that was my day. There were no wonderful or even vaguely interesting events or communications.

Yesterday's tatting does mean that I finally have all but one mask listed in the shop ready to ship. The only one that isn't is the first fancy mask design that I sold. I just can't let go of the awesome photos so I keep it listed. Today I'm tackling the necklaces that are listed as custom pieces. I think there are three of them, but of course they are the larger collar style ones, so I'll probably only get through one and half of them. Then I think there are just a few more pieces to get made after that and I'll get back to increasing stock on the good sellers. Here at the end of my very pointless recap I call on the Universe again to bring me something new and interesting, a project or surprising sale because these people deserve to have something much more compelling to read than these boring ramblings.

Monday, June 18, 2012


What a weekend. A hot, busy weekend. Sure Friday was okay. I was on task and got things made that I wanted to and then I got a message that the magazine I sent stuff to, can't find it. I've got the USPS tracking info and it was of course allegedly delivered days ago. This is not the first time that things sent to a large New York building have somehow become lost in the ether. The first time was the fashion show pieces, but then I had enough time to replace them. This time, not so much. So I shrugged, gave my contact as much info about the package as possible and let it go. I reminded myself that I sent things I could afford to lose and had said no to sending my large fancy mask and I'm moving on. Serenity and all that.

The rest of the weekend was friends on Saturday and family on Sunday. That of course is a gross understatement, but you get the point. Saturday we went out after a comic book store signing with our good friends and some other folk. The good friends are the ones that count though. We managed to break the final straw to get one of these friends to join twitter. I only mention this because it was part of our Sunday entertainment to watch his follower count explode and suck a year away from his life like the machine in Princess Bride. Oh sure, it'll even out after a week or so, but for now, man is it entertaining.

Sunday we went to see Prometheus with the Fathers of the family. May I never need abdominal surgery. Then there was dinner and more family time. Sorry about the almost total lack of tatting. I did get a couple of orders in yesterday which will give me some lace making to do today. I'm pretty pleased because one of the pieces sold was my newest barefoot sandal design. I get a bit nervous about new designs until they start moving. I've certainly had plenty of ideas that were greeted with complete indifference, but I'm started to babel now. Here's to a slightly cooler week with plenty of good surprises from the Universe.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Fair

I wish I could say that I got a lot done yesterday, that I stayed on task at all, but I so didn't. I did have a fairly nice day regardless. On out morning walk along the creek we spied a river otter which led to great excitement for the kids and then we ran a few errands before locking ourselves up in the house to avoid the increasing heat. I tried to tat and I got one piece made up, but I was just drained so I opted to try my hand at doing nothing for the rest of the afternoon. I even ignored email I really ought to answer.

Once evening rolled around it was time to get moving again and head to the county fair. We go every year even though the animal displays we've always loved have apparently gone away save for the major FFA categories. We eat bad food, look at the art and wander a bit. This year was thrown a little curve ball though. As we ate, a fair photographer asked to photograph the kids and as we saw no harm, she did. Then she gave us free ride tickets. This means the kids rode their first amusement park rides. We all went on the big Ferris Wheel together and then the girls went on the mini roller coaster. There was much joy and now it seems we will not be able to get away with avoiding the rides any longer. Not that I don't love rides, I just prefer mine at amusement parks with a better sense of permanence.Though not much beats looking down on the world from a Ferris Wheel.

So today, let's see...I guess I have to finish up all the pieces I was suppose to finish yesterday. The weekend is booked for comic book store adventuring, Father's Day and movie going. I doubt much else we'll get done. I hope the Universe is still listening to me though because I really need to make some good sales for vacation and to save for a fall adventure as well. I'm willing to work for it, I swear.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I had plenty to tat yesterday and I still have some left over for today as well, but that's not what took up a huge chunk of my afternoon. No, that was etsy's fault, yet again. As you probably know, I've been selling my goods there for quite some time, over six years actually. I've seen a ridiculous amount of changes over there, mostly good. Heck I still remember when it was run by like 6 people and I was the only tatter on the site, but I digress. They had recently made yet another change in introducing an 'About' page. The page is set up with fancy fonts and layouts for more pictures and we are encouraged to fill it out. Honestly I'd been stalling because the ones that I had seen already made were, you know, perfect. They have long, clever stories and perfectly cropped photos and I just wasn't feeling up to the task.

So yesterday, with no more orders in queue I thought it was time to tackle it. I've already gotten some opinions from twitter and facebook on the results, but I'd love yours as well. See, I figure most of the folks in those two locations are either other etsy sellers or loyal customers/fans/friends. My guess is that more of you might look at it more as a shopper. So if you get a chance, check out the page here and let me know what you think. You know I crave constant feedback on so many things and I appreciate you indulging me.

So today I have at least one or two more pieces that need to be remade and listed. After that it's back to project 'stock the shop'. I know that it's quite some time until the holidays, but I keep thinking how wonderful it would be to have multiples of well selling pieces by that point. I don't know how long I can keep it up of course, but it doesn't hurt to try. Except for my back, that is killing me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Thank you so much everyone for all of your comment support yesterday. Sometimes all I need is to know I made a logical decision and that I didn't overreact too badly. So now this whole mess is in the rear view and I'm nice and busy again.

I know I mentioned a bit about the custom order I was working on and that's what I got up to yesterday. The idea was to create two specific lengths of lace with a similar look to my 'queen' pieces on one side and a simple chain and ring edge on the other with the task of providing a space to lace through. The two pieces will eventually make their way to a costume jacket. So the challenges were to make sure the pattern would fit the length right and that the design would provide the strength needed to be functional.

The first challenge was defeated through dumb luck. I made up a length of lace using the same pattern as the outside edge of the 'queen' pieces and with a slight modification to the ends, it was the right length. The second challenge was a bit more of an adventure. I decided to tat the entire edge over a length of wire. Now, I do this all the time for a few of my masks, but it's a small bit over the wire, this was every chain along the edge and it was a pain in the neck. You can see the wire there curving's about two feet long. I bet you're wondering how you do that with the needle. Well, you set the needle next to the wire and then pretend that the whole wire is the needle and tat over it and the needle at the same time. Yes, it is tiresome, clumsy and slow work, but it is effective.

The final pieces are perfect. I mean that in the, 'it will work perfectly', not in the 'it's entirely flawless' sense. It's the right length. There is plenty of lace to sew to the garment with a decorative edge. It also holds it's shape and with so many lacing points it should function well and not distort at all. Working on this piece also reminded me of one of the reasons I charge so much for some of my work. It may look simple, but making it was anything but.

I still have a couple of pieces in queue to be remade today, but I have caught up with all my recent orders. The Universe has been extraordinarily kind and I do so appreciate it. I hope that kindness continues as it's past time to start saving for our annual vacation and other adventures in the future. My work is never done.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Excuse Me While I Vent

I was going to say that I had a lesson to learn to impart to you today, but it's not really. It's more of an anecdote that has a few interesting points I'd like to get out. So, it starts like this, I get an email a week ago from someone looking for feathered accessories for a photo shoot asking my location. The email is signed with a name and a studio name, but no further information. I find it odd since I don't make feathered accessories, but I dislike ignoring messages, so I respond with just that. I receive further response asking for a link to my available pieces because she works with 10 different photographers and pulls often. I still find it odd that she doesn't know what I make and my shop link was already in my signature, so at this point I do ignore it.

Let's then flash forward to yesterday when I receive a couple of messages back, one that just says hello? and another that says they work with "all" the magazines and could she get a list of what I have available. I should have ignored it but I didn't and this escalated into me being called unprofessional and "very small", which quite frankly upset me more than it should have. How did it end up there? Well here's the points I wanted to get out. When I looked up this person online, or tried, I should say, there was no information, none. Nothing on the studio name either. So the first point is, even if you're supposedly used to contacting "80 accessory designers" you should be more forth coming with information. Tell people who you are, what you do and most importantly, low profile or not (that was her excuse) you must have a web presence that allows one to trust you. I am small potatoes and I might need help getting my work exposed, but that doesn't mean I should trust that you know better than me and will treat me kindly. You can tell me repeatedly that would work with over "20 photographers" or returns "millions of dollars" worth of product, but unless I have some tangible proof of that or even some actual names, I'm not biting and I don't think anyone should go on faith alone.

The second point. Not only were her emails lacking in information, but they were full of what I call text speak, 'u' and 'pls' and unnecessary ellipses and you know I love ellipses, but this is no way to expect a professional response from someone either. I don't care how "casual" a person you are. In the back of my mind, I still feel like I might have botched a potential opportunity, that this person was everything they said they were and I even fear some sort of black balling backlash, but they still created a situation where the risk involved was too high in my opinion. I have been taken advantage of in the past by people who probably knew I had no idea how the industry worked and I lost pieces. Since then I have worked with several legitimate magazines and photographers and they all were generous with information from the beginning even when things didn't work out. So the moral of the story is, as one of my twitter friends stated, when in doubt, opt out. There was some more advice on twitter too, but the language was too salty to repeat.

On a more pleasant note, while all the above was stressing me out and draining away my sunshine, my special order customer made their purchase and I got a couple more sales as well. It was almost as if the Universe was telling me all was well and I was not losing anything. I still have doubts of course, but I feel better now that I've vented a bit. I have tatting to do today and that feels good as well. Also I have gotten a few responses regarding the Canadian tatter call and have sent them off to meet the reporter, virtually anyway, so hopefully that article has enough relevance to move forward. I'll let you know if I hear anything. Here's to a fresh day with more of that pleasant stuff and none of that other nonsense.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Mask & A Request

Another long weekend, this time with visitors from out of town. Well, they weren't actually our visitors, but my in-laws. However, as is the usual practice, our house was utilized for meals, which means I spent a great deal of time Friday and Saturday cleaning and then sneezing because dust is not my friend. So there was little tatting to speak of over the weekend, then again you haven't yet seen any proper pictures of the new mask unless you frequent my shop.

I'm not overly pleased with the photos, but I am so impatient to get things like this listed that I had to work with what I got. I named the mask Metropolis because it reminds me of the old movie, particularly when you look at the top edge while it's worn. Making it also got me thinking that I should done one in a similar fashion that is also a bit of a headdress, or that has chains like a circlet over the top of the head. There would of course be a lot more work just figuring out all that additional detail, so another day or week I think.

The other bit of news you might have already heard about from Fox, if you frequent other tatting blogs, but just in case I have a few of you that don't, I'll share a bit too. After apparently being talked up by a few other lovely tatting folk, I was put in contact with a journalist from Canada working on an article for a major publication about tatting. After a nice long conversation with her and a few follow up emails, I was kindly asked to put her in contact with any young, especially, Canadian tatters. Of course I'm in California, so I kinda skew the focus away from the point of the magazine, which is geographically inclined. So, if you're reading this and maybe I helped teach you to tat with my videos or tutorials and you're in that around 30 and under crowd and from Canada, please shoot me an email, my address is in my profile, and I'll get you contact information so you can be interviewed. I know there are a few of you out there, even if you don't comment here and she's not looking for experts either, just young people who have picked up the craft.

Well, that's pretty much it for me. The custom order I was waiting on has yet to return, so I'm doing what I said I'd do in these cases and working on increasing stock for the shop. This month has been ridiculously slow for sales so far, but I'm not going to complain. I'm just going to keep working and hope the customer for the custom order returns and that things pick up before too long. The Universe is clearly granting me some attention and that's great. Hopefully that attention mutates into sales sooner rather than later.

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's Finished

I remember thinking, when we bought our house, that it would be nice to be able to host all the family events. Now I keep thinking that if I have to clean the house for company one more time I'm gonna scream. I think you can guess what I did a lot of yesterday. Yes, I cleaned. I also weeded the yards so I'm horribly sore this morning. We went on our morning walk, I forced them to clean their toy room and on top of all that I had a very busy communications day. There were emails and etsy convos all day. In fact they started while I was blogging yesterday morning and I answered my last one right before bed.

So let's start with the first one shall we. A few days ago I got a request from a stylists assistant for the loan of a few pieces for a magazine shoot. After I responded to the request, I heard nothing back, until yesterday morning when I got a confirmation about the dates with none of my questions answered. So I responded to all the folks that were cc'd in the email and was promptly answered by someone else. So early yesterday I sent off a couple of pieces to New York to potentially be in another fashion magazine that will be named only if they are actually used and published, because that's how I roll.

I won't go into all the other emails and communications, because I have one last sneak peek of the new mask to show you. This is just the beginning of my adding on the swarovski crystals. I got a couple of questions asking if I sewed those and the beads on. While I usually don't sew on beads, I did for this. On the other hand these crystals are always sewn on as they are montees, or mounted crystals. They have two channels under the setting to sew them down and they are much prettier than crystal beads which is why I use them for my fancier pieces. Of course sewing them on takes a lot of time and patience which is one of the reasons it took days to finish it. Yes, the mask is finished and if I can manage it this morning I will get it properly photographed and listed. There is a chance I won't be able to because of the reasons that also made me clean, in which case it will have to wait until Monday. I try not to do photo shoots on the weekends as I am mocked by my husband.

Theoretically, I should be getting a custom order in today and if it does, I'll be working on a piece for a costume. The customer is looking for a metal free way of creating a closure for a jacket that laces. The solution, a strip of tatted lace on either side with the lacing going though the tatting like it does in my ankle corsets. I do have some design details to work out for it though and I plan on adding some thin wire to the inside of the lacing edge for strength as it only has to appear metal free. I have a feeling I'm in for a long weekend. I hope yours is lovely.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sequins and Beads

I made much good progress on the new mask yesterday. The wires got covered and then I moved on to the sequins. The first fancy mask was covered in them as per the customers request. Never mind that that particular customer disappeared, the point is the mask was covered in sequins and while that was pretty shiny, I though that is took something away from the lace. The last one I did had less, but still over the center of the design. This time I decided that they would do better as an outline to the lace, offering a finished edge and sparkle, but not too much.

Once that was done I sat back to marvel at how much better I have become at the process and think about my next step. First I pulled out baggies of crystals, then I changed my mind. Then I pulled out some metallic thread for embroidery, but I ripped it out as it just wasn't right either. The last thought was beads. Now before you say that I could have added those while tatting, remember I was making it up as I went, so loading beads really doesn't work so well. So I decided to sew some on and I really like the effect so far. Yes, I am sewing them into the picot spaces, so I suppose if I ever make this one again, I can bead while tatting, but not on this one.

So clearly I am not yet done with the mask. I have more beading to work on today and then I will likely stare at it again until I decide if it does need crystals or something else entirely. It's possible that it will be finished today. It is also possible that I could stall on it and not have it done until next week. Who knows at this point. I did have one customer yesterday that I discussed a custom order with and they said they would make their purchase on Friday at which point I will have another project to switch gears to anyway...hopefully.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Mask Evolves

I am now burdened with glorious purpose...OK, that's overstating of course and I have clearly seen a certain movie too many times, but I do have a project and thus purpose. No, I didn't get some great order. I'm simply focused on making the new mask. These large masks are like giant puzzles where I have to not only fit together bits and pieces, but figure out how to make other bits and pieces to fill in spaces.

Sometimes I find the perfect pieces straight away and other times, I find myself snipping out my work to start a section all over. This was the first picture I took of my progress on the piece. This was after working on it most...OK, all of the morning. I had figured out the top edge and the bit about the existing mask, but I still had a couple of spots on the sides to deal with. Then I just kept staring at the piece I filled into the center. The more I looked at it, the more I hated it. Out came the scissors and I was starting that puzzle piece again.

Once I figured out a new, and much better center motif, the two side bits I needed filled in quickly. Then I just wasn't in love with the way the mask fit on the outside edges and had to think on that problem for what seemed like an eternity before another simple solution presented itself. I removed the outer wire and replaced it with a longer one so I could add some work on the bottom edge. Then I began the long process of covering the wires. Speaking of the wire though, you have no idea the wrench the added top wire throws into creating. It creates a solid barrier that makes tatting inside it an acrobatic feat. Since much of the work is done between already tatted sections, my hands are all contorted trying to not only hold onto the work, but even making stitches is difficult. I guess what I'm trying to say is that these things are terribly hard to make.

Today I shall endeavor to finish covering the wires and then move onto the embellishment phase. I'm thinking a sequins edging, assorted crystals and honestly I'm not sure what else at this point. Again, I am just making things up as I go. There is at the very least, one more days worth of work on this, if not two and I'm talking full 6-8 hour days here. Though I am getting much faster with these, so it could be done today. I guess we'll see. After I finish this project I have come up with a plan for future down time. I think I'm going to actively make some stock for the shop. At least then I have something to fall back on without all the 'woe is me, what shall I do' nonsense, right?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Wasting Time

We knew that the weather was going to turn, so we were out on a walk early in the morning. These morning walks are not only my way of keeping the kids out and moving, but it also keeps me from focusing too much on what I could make with the time I'm wasting sitting on the couch without an idea. Once we were back though, that was a different story. Someone in the comments mentioned that perhaps I need a vacation because I seem to put too much pressure on myself to create. I so do. Part of that is it's just in my nature to keep moving and part of that is a very real economic reason. Once I moved tatting from the hobby column to the profession column, things changed. It was a slow change, at first it was just a little extra income, but now it's my job and my income is a vital part of our budget. With a family and no 'real' job' to my credit, I don't have the luxury of creation when I want. To keep people engaged in my work, I have to keep creating new pieces. Even with a catalog of hundreds of designs, if I stopped now and just sold the designs I already made, they would stop paying attention. It's just the way internet attention spans work.

So yesterday I asked facebook what I should make. The first response was a headdress. I have made small circlets and I suppose they count, but a real headdress is something I've only thought about. The problem occurs with the base. You see I have no milliner skills and I think if you're going to make something extravagant, you should really know how. That brings us to the second suggestion, the bra or bikini top. Sure, I can make lace that with look like a bra top, even though I can sew,  I lack the seamstress skills needed to make sure it's properly lined and actually wearable. Not to mention the nightmare of sizing. I'm very small and I would naturally make something that would fit me, but there's no way I'd be able to properly size up that sort of design. Last idea was a bridal dress sash. That one is almost tempting as they are apparently about a foot of design work attached to a long ribbon and I could just re-purpose other designs to the cause like my headbands, but I just wasn't feeling it right now.

What I did end up starting though was another fancy mask. This time I thought I'd break with my previous design and work with the scroll motifs. This is a picture of the simple mask portion joined to the motif from my back drop necklace as I work up what I'm actually going to do. This will be another ongoing project that will hopefully fill the increasingly long void between sales. I'll do the whole sequins or crystals stuff at the end, but I'm not even thinking about embellishments yet. Right now, I'm just making it all up as I work so hopefully it will in fact turn into something that wasn't a waste of time. That's the one thing I actively avoid doing, wasting too much time.

Monday, June 4, 2012

I'd Be Fired

Some days I'm reminded why it's a good thing that no one besides me employs me. While most days I can be fabulously productive, there are others that I pass without leaving any mark at all. The whole weekend was one of those days. Sure on Friday I managed to make up and list a pair of the yellow barefoot sandals like I wanted to, but that's is about the total of my weekend accomplishments. Seriously, that is all the tatting I got done.

On Saturday there was a morning coffee machine incident that needed cleanup and a cabinet that needed fixing was emptied, so I got to fix it. That was followed by a minor ant invasion that just happened to end in our dirty clothes basket meaning I had the privilege of an unscheduled laundry day. Next the children helped wash the cars which was immediately followed by me washing the kids. Then there were many errands. At least we ended the day on a high note, out with friends for a movie and dinner...never mind that it was the third time we saw The Avengers. We had a perfectly pleasant time.

Sunday was pretty active in the beginning, visit to the in-laws, another bike ride with no new bruises this time. Once we were home though it was a terribly listless day. I couldn't think of a dang thing to tat and sat there like a lump. I really don't like doing that. I need to be creating something, but as has become so usual after a brief bout of activity in the shop, it has gone ghost quiet again. I even put up a sale section to clear out a few designs I probably won't make again as well as a few one of a kind pieces. Not a peep.

Here we are at the first full week out of schooling for the child. I hope I can come up with a plan for today or the week. I think I need to make something new again. I have no idea what that might be, but it's swim or drown right? So, dear Universe, please send me a project, an idea or an unexpected and pleasant adventure...I'm ready.

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's Summer Now

I tried to be lazy, I swear. Of course it was pointed out to me during the course of the day that I might not actually know the meaning of that word. It's true...I mean I know what it is as a concept and I often describe myself as lazy for not doing what I don't want to, but you know that I can't stop moving, or doing for any length of time. Yesterday began with laundry and dishes and then when it would have been school time, me and the girls went on a nice walk. We saw bugs, a freshly downed tree, a ridiculous number of swallows and finally something we have never seen around these parts...a raccoon. Squirrels, rabbits, hares, even evidence of serious beaver activity, sure, but this is the first raccoon.

When we got home, I tried to be lazy some more, but there was still laundry to do. I did manage to waste some time playing a ridiculous iphone game, but then I beat it and I had to do something else with my time. So I picked up some yellow thread and made another pair of the new barefoot sandals with teal beads. In a wonderful twist, after I showed just this one on facebook the pair was already spoken for and it was purchased before I could even list them. So there is a good chance that I'll be doing up a pair of them again today so I can list them. Apparently the color combination is quite appealing and seasonally appropriate.

So that was my lazy day and now here we are at Friday. We will probably go on another walk very early this morning because it's supposed to break 100º and that means I'm hibernating. Or the opposite of that. What's it called when you hide inside an air conditioned cave to avoid the heat? I'm not sure there's a word for it, but that's what I'll be doing from noon on. Then I'll make up another pair of yellow barefoot sandals and hopefully have a pleasant weekend.