Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mostly Better

Happy Halloween all! I'm actually feeling pretty good this morning. I awoke with the ability to breath through my nose and it seems all that's left of the horror that took me down over the weekend is an occasional annoying cough, a bit of built up gunk and a little pressure. So I'm giving the zinc lozenges two thumbs up for cutting the duration f this thing at the very least.

I still didn't get all the things I wanted to get done taken take of yesterday, but I felt motivated to tackle a couple of small things. A few weeks ago a package appeared lost, it seemed stalled in Sacramento for days, so we assumed it was a goner. I remade the order and sent it out. After the new order arrived, the first order arrived too and was promptly returned by the customer. I think I mentioned these earrings when I made them. There's nothing new about the pattern, but since I never work in golds, they definitely feel different. The findings are brass because I don't keep gold on hand. Personally I don't much like gold myself, I don't own any and I think brass works and has more innate warmth. Of course I could just be trying to justify my opinion here.

Though I didn't finish up the linen chokers like I wanted to, I did tat something. I decided I needed to make something I hadn't made before even if it didn't end up in the shop. So I busted out my vintage books and made this little motif. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, but I do love the inside illusion that it's four clusters when it's not, but maybe that's just one of those things that only another tatter would find clever. I'm sure I'll think of something to do with the piece, but the point is that it was something new to do and it got me focused again.

All that new found focus will be useless today as the holiday takes over much of it. There is schooling as usual of course, but then there is the annual trick or treating at Daddy's work in the afternoon. It's a chance for the husband to show off the kids to his work friends and they get candy they don't have to work hard for. Then it's my mother's birthday dinner followed by trick or treating with one set of their cousins all the while hoping that the 10% chance of rain doesn't beat the odds and rain us out. All this smack in the middle of the week means the rest of the week will have to fight to get attention. Fun.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Almost There

I was about as useless yesterday as I supposed I would be though the cold did seem to lessen in strength over the course of the day. I managed to get one piece remade and a couple of cat ear headbands almost remade. I somehow managed to get distracted halfway through their creation and only remembered that I was working on them hours later. So guess what I get to finish this morning? Yep, the cat ear headbands. I already listed them as if they were done because my brain fog made me do it. Hopefully I am more acutely aware of myself and my surroundings today. If my spelling is any indication, it should be a little better, not nearly as many red lines popping up while I write this morning.

Though I was lost in my own little world yesterday, I was aware of the scary weather beating down on the east coast and I hope everyone on that side on the country is staying safe and I'm equally grateful for the boring, if hot weather that our area generally receives.I don't think I could handle it if the sky started attacking.

So today, it's more resting up so I can kick this cold and more cat ear nonsense, but not much else. I'm crossing my fingers that this is the last day of illness so I can get to the art project sitting untouched on my dining room table. I don't have much faith that I'll get round to it, but writing about it does put it squarely in my thoughts so when the fog clears I can at least address its existence. So off to it then. Have a safe day weather beaten world.

Monday, October 29, 2012


I have been taken down by that great and evil cold weather menace...a cold. The oldest daughter had it first, then my nieces arrived and traipsed around the house all Friday with a nasty cough of their own. I suppose it was just too much for my immune system to fight and I went down like an elephant. Friday evening it was the tell tale sore throat and by Saturday morning it was in full swing and consequently, I got nothing of importance done over the weekend. Why, you ask, didn't I just take some cold medicine and mask the symptoms? Well, I have an odd allergy to acetaminophen. Yes, Tylenol, which is an ingredient in most effective cold medicines, so I take what I can and it tries, but I'm currently living with cold induced brain fog. I am obsessively sucking on zinc lozenges in an effort to keep this thing short, so I suppose they're a chance that the entire week won't be a wash.

This is the last linen piece I made before the cold took me down. Once my brain is functioning again, I'll get some hardware on it and list it. It's a nice long choker. There's just enough curve in the design that it sits nice at the base of the neck. I wanted to make it in all three linen colors I acquired, but in my current state, I just want it off the table so it doesn't get destroyed in the meantime.

So today all I intend to accomplish is schooling the kids. Any other tasks completed will be icing since I'll be lucky to successfully communicate their lessons with my brain fog. Hell, if it weren't for spell check you'd be reading a jumble of letters right now with now relationship to real words. So here's to a quick return to health and tatting.

Friday, October 26, 2012

So Busy

Yesterday was so very productive. I have no such aspirations today, but yesterday I managed to school the children, finish making a pair of ankle corsets for the shop, do the laundry and dishes and I cleaned bathrooms, the kitchen and the spare room for our overnight guests and took care of the garbage. There was a period in the afternoon when I'm pretty sure I didn't sit down at all. No, I'm not certain how or why I stuff so much of this into one day, but I do know that I won't get anything like it done today.

Of course when I did sit down in the morning the cats, particularly Halo here, were extremely curious about the flurry of activity not to mention that I was wearing socks for the first time this cold season. I say cold season because I'm pretty sure we don't actually have a fall or winter, just a quick, unceremonious switch from hot to cold. So any way the cat's are quite interested in my socks which is cute and painful at the same time.

Then we have Chi Sai the three footed cat who rarely comes too close to anyone sneaking up to me on the couch. She was apparently attracted by both the socks and the ball of thread during my ankle corset tatting time. Generally they could care less about my thread..yarn is another story though. The light streaming in the window turned her into a cat of pure energy. At least in the photograph and I did promise photographs.

Since the cousin will be over much of the day I'm not certain that I will get much done at all. It's not that they require my constant attention so much as the combination of them and my children is quite loud and distracting. If I get some peace though I do still have a few pieces to remake and I need to start designing for an art project I had previously been asked to participate in. The project isn't due until summer, but it's always better to be on top of things I think. So off to it then, it's going to be a long day.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

This And That

Another day, another remade piece. I've already attacked the smaller pieces, so that leaves me with only substantial ones to make. Yesterday I tackled the last small piece, a pendant necklace and then moved onto a pair of barefoot sandals which used up much of the day. As soon as I was finished with them and got them back up in the shop, I got another order, again with a large piece in it that will now need to be remade. I'm seriously not going to complain about the sales. I am so very grateful for them, but the timing is a bit odd making me feel a bit like I just can't get ahead.

I guess I'm just getting a little exhausted as I move into what I've referred to in the past as production mode. It really is normal this time of year to shift into that gear, but it always takes time to adjust. Summer is full of time to do what ever I want and take care of the shop business, then suddenly I have to focus on only keeping the shop stocked, there is no time for any other nonsense and if I somehow get extra time I have to remind myself that I need to use it to get ahead not wander off in another direction. So I'm going to try to focus more, nose to the grindstone and all that. In the meantime I'll try to snag a picture of something interesting during the day to liven up these posts.

So as you've probably guessed today's plan is schooling and remaking. I do have to steal some time soon to do some adjustment to the kids costume pieces. They just want to be cats so we picked up cheap bits from the Target and they have small issues I need to address before the big day. I'm quite glad they wanted to go simple much cheaper and less time for me as well. We also have the pleasure of an overnight babysitting job tonight. Three cousins will be sleeping over and staying  much of the day tomorrow. I don't have much hope for productiveness then, so I really have to make up for it today.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Forgot

Sometimes I can be such a scatterbrain. Usually I answer emails, messages and convos quickly and efficiently. In fact usually they are responded to as soon as they are received. If for any reason I don't do that, the likelihood of me remembering to answer decreases exponentially with every hour I wait. I just had one of those, 'Oh, crap!' moments and whipped through and answered half a dozen people that I had probably forgotten about due to my focus on our trip. So be aware if try to ask me something and it's been two days, I have totally forgotten and feel free to remind me...please.

I spent yesterday getting back into the swing of things with both schooling and tatting. I managed to stay on task and get two whole things remade, a mask and another pair of cat ears. I even remembered to post on Facebook that I was upgrading shipping of Halloween orders, though I'm not certain why I bothered as the post was only seen by about 300 people. I am seriously considering just dropping the page because I have no interest in paying to have people even see my posts, but I'll probably just stick it out until a better alternative reveals itself. I just have to accept that it is no longer the tool for exposure that it once was.

So today, it's more remaking and more remaking and maybe I'll get back to the linen pieces as well. I'm really waiting for the sun to come back so when they're done I can actually take pictures of them and I think I've got another day of cloudy skies ahead today. So I guess we'll just see how the day goes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wasted Days

Isn't it odd how one appointment in the middle of the day can put off the whole day? Of course it doesn't help that I was waiting to see the doctor for an hour. I suppose that's not so unusual except that this doctor is usually on top of appointments and this was hands down the longest I've ever waited there and the whole thing just sucked the life and energy out of me. It was so bad, coupled with the rainy, lazy day the rest of the family was having that I stalled for hours before finally making something. Even then it was the smallest thing on my to do list.

To make matters both better and worse, I received more last minute Halloween orders. This time mask and necklace combos. It's better because they are sizable orders and after our weekend expenditures and the car bill I could certainly use the money, it's worse because now I have even more large pieces that will need to be remade. School is back in session today so hopefully the return to routine will keep me on task for the day. I really need to focus and get the shop back in order before the holiday shopping begins. I'm personally hoping for a ridiculously busy season, but I know how much the whole thing takes out of me and I really want to be properly prepared going forward. This of course means very little new pieces will be born until the new year, but that's just the way of the world.

So today, it's schooling and tatting up those sold pieces until my fingers blister. Well, that has never actually happened, but I do get sore shoulders after a particularly long day of tatting. I do have interesting calluses on some of my fingers where the thread passes over them. I have no idea why I'm telling you any of this, it appears that I may have lost the plot. I think it's time to move along now and get on with the day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Out Of The Desert

Good morning Monday. While I'm fairly certain that I could have slept in another few hours, the cats had other plans, so here I am greeting the world exhausted and sore from car rides and revelry. The weekend recap goes something like this.

Friday morning we rose as early as usual and headed out on the road well before the sun rose. We luckily timed things very well and our first stop was the Insect Lore Bugsuem. It's one of their distributions centers and the Bugsuem is a company store as well as a museum of insects, live and otherwise. We all enjoyed the stop very much, but then it was back on the road. We stopped for lunch in Barstow and then kept right on going, arriving in Las Vegas in time for dinner and a trip to the Pinball Hall of Fame. Yes, that's a thing. We all played some pinball and killed an hour or so before crashing for the night in a comfortable, well priced, off the strip hotel.

Saturday we awoke early and started the day at Shark Reef, a small, but impressive aquarium at Mandalay Bay. Then we wandered beneath the casinos for a time before heading back to the hotel to get ready for our friend's Wedding renewal event, which was the reason for the trip. The wedding was at a fantastically decorated place called the Artisan. Paintings hung on the walls and ceilings and we're told the place is quite a hopping late night spot. Lucky for us we were there fairly early, so it was just lovely to look at. The event itself was wonderful, fun and even the children quite enjoyed themselves to the point of exhaustion. We met some wonderful, much more interesting people than ourselves and were humbled to be invited really. I fear there were people there that I should have met, but didn't as well, so I'm waiting for the good pictures and a post event, "who was that?" discussion. Obviously I got very few photos of the trip as I often fall into habit of experiencing rather than documenting. The husband usually takes care of that, so if I find some good photos he took to steal and share, I'll do that.

Sunday morning we again rose at the crack of dawn and headed back. We didn't stop anywhere good on the way back, we just drove. We did learn that if you want to avoid Sunday gridlock in the desert between Nevada and California, seven in the morning is an ideal departing time. We'd heard such horror stories which is why we left so early, but our drive was uneventful. After about eight hours we were home and it was unpacking, laundry and taking care of the orders I received while I was gone. I've got a healthy stack of those here ready to ship.

Today, it's a no school day for the kids and the husband took the day off to recuperate. I have a doctor's appointment in the afternoon, but then I really have to get back to tatting business. I have linen pieces I want to make, sold pieces that need remaking and all I did was crochet in the car. Three days off always means three days of working much harder to make up for lost time. Deep breath and begin.

Friday, October 19, 2012

To The Desert

I'd love to say that I got wonderful things done yesterday, but I really didn't. Instead I got chores upon chores done in anticipation of leaving for the weekend. Extra schooling, laundry, cleaning, packing, setting up a kitty sitter, making lists, checking said lists and this is only for the weekend people, imagine if I was leaving for a longer period of time. I didn't tat a single thing all say because every time I sat down for a few minutes I'd remember something else that needed doing. It's like I feel the need to do three days worth of work to get those three days off. Except I won't actually have any time off. There is no time off for Mommy, ever. It's alright though, I generally like my lot in life and I hope at least some of the trip is fun. I'll try to bring back some pictures of something or other that you might enjoy. Here's to a safe, sane trip into the desert.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More Linen

It was another sale free day so I was allowed some more time to play with the linen thread. As I tatted up a set of bracelets I learned a few more things about the thread and how working with it more slowly and deliberately is important especially when pulling through stitches. All the bracelets worked up without a hitch, but when I started on a necklace I learned yet another lesson.

I had chosen a design with a larger ring and about two elements into the design I pulled the thread and it snapped, dramatically. I suppose that's due to the looser fibers in the thread, but I didn't want to chance it again and worked up a different design for the necklace. I only got one done though. With these pieces I'm trying to get all three colors worked up before listing so I can comfortably use that variation tool I told you about.

In other news, it seems Facebook has gotten worse again. I've seen a message going around other fan pages sharing that without paying to have content seen by people who have liked the page, posts are only being seen by 10% of them. I will likely share the message there as well though apparently no one will see it. Here's the deal as I understand it, in order to receive all the posts from Facebook pages that you like you need to hover over the 'like' button near the top and 'add to interest list' You can create a list with all the pages you want to be updated on and you will apparently, actually get their posts. Now again, this is info I've gotten from other pages and I can very implicitly the veracity of that 10%, but I know views of my posts has been down. So if you actually do like a page, add it to an interest list so you see it and if it works, pass it on, if not, please feel free to ignore me.

So today I have much to do as we are headed off to Las Vegas for the weekend for a wedding, with the kids and we're driving. There's packing and prepping and extra schooling so we can skip work Friday while in the car for like 8 hours. I might bring some tatting, but it's more likely that I'll work on the afghan instead. Mindless crochet is less likely to trigger my latent car sickness. I will try to get the other two linen necklace done before we go though there hasn't honestly been much attention to them yet. I wanted at least three pieces so I could start a shop section for the linen specifically and I also ordered some more black linen thread from a different source, this time 3 ply so it might work up closet to size 10. If so, I have a whole lot more pieces that can potentially be more Eco-friendly. I feel all over the place this morning, so I'll just go now and get this day started.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Organic Linen

I worked so hard yesterday to finish a pair of ankle corsets so that I could finally, really play with the Lithuanian linen thread. After doing some actual making I have more information to share on how it know, if you're interested. I got a three ball set in black, dark and light gray. It's that combination that finally got me to try it. After more work with it I would definitely put it in the size 20 range. I say range because unlike the perfect Lizbeth or DMC cotton thread that I've gotten used to, there is a variation in thickness throughout the thread. It reminds me a little of hemp or twine in that respect. It is also rougher on the hands while working with it.

I decided to use the opportunity of the new thread to also try out Etsy's new listing variations tool. It allow you to make one listing with a drop down menu the customer has to use before checkout with options like color and size, among others. My one quibble is that we have recently gotten a 'ships in' tool as well where we indicate the time before shipping and since I have black pieces ready to ship I've selected 1-2 days for the listings I've updated, but if I add color options those would need more lead time to be made to order and there isn't a way to separate those in a single listing yet.

I made up a rose tattoo pendant in each color for this experiment. I was trying to find something that would still look nice sized down in size 20 since most of my work is done in 10 and had that whole Eco-friendly vibe to it. I also tried to be as forthcoming about the differences in the thread in the listing. The lace works up less evenly with the thickness variations and there is a slight fuzziness to it as well. I was quite worried about it being scratchy as well since that's how it was behaving when I worked with it. According to Internet sources, linen softens over time and with washings so I was hoping that a nice press with steam would help and boy did it. The pendants are quite soft now. It was this worry that kept me from starting with barefoot sandals which were suggested as an Eco-friendly feeling pattern. Now that I know they will be comfortable to wear I'll have to devise a pattern that works well in size 20.

Of course I don't mean to imply that everyone who wants Eco-friendly products has a certain aesthetic. I personally want more organic and natural things in my life and I clearly have a darker aesthetic than the stereotype. This is part of the reason for the black thread, to try to provide that option to people who don't always get it, but it seemed a nice place to start was closer to the stereotype. I should have some time today to work on another set of something in the linen since I was order free yesterday and I'm trying to avoid remaking a mask right now. I just want things that work up quickly for a while, so I should have something to show you tomorrow too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More Ears

Sometimes all you can say to describe a day was that it was a Monday. I was a bit overwhelmed with tasks, both tatting and housework and I don't feel like I even made a dent it everything I wanted to do. School is getting easier to finish as the kids have finally reached a nice even pace and settled into a routine, but I'm still not getting to any of my tatting work until after lunch.

Once again the kitty ear headbands reared their heads. I know I must have said this before, but I am in shock at how many of these I've been selling this season. This stack represents the last ones put together until I get my headband order in on Wednesday. At that point the plan is to make them all black and get ears made for all of them as well. It's exhausting trying to make them as they sell, so I'm going with stock piling. It's likely I'll end up with a surplus as this can't keep up much longer, right? Of course I'd rather have too many on hand than not enough. All this cat ear nonsense is keeping me from remaking a couple of big things, a mask and some ankle corsets, and I'd really like to get back to them at some point.

I'm also being kept away from playing with something new I got in the mail a few days ago. I am not particularly adventurous when it comes to thread. I've upgraded to better thread over the years, but I'm one of those people that doesn't like to mess with something that's working well. I find a brand I like that is easy to acquire and I become a damn loyal customer. Sometime though curiosity outweighs routine and I try something new. I ran across a shop selling organic linen yarn from Lithuania that looked much more like thread than yarn. There was no size associated with it just a weight so I took a chance and bought some. I did steal a few minute to play with it and it seems to be somewhere between size 10 and 20 which works out fine for me. It's much stiffer and less uniform than cotton, but it still works up okay. I figured when I crawl out from under all these cat ears I'll put together some pieces with it as a 'organic linen' line. I know that there are plenty of people that would appreciate that. I wish I could find organic cotton threads. It seems that the yarn market has plenty of it, but it hasn't trickled down to the threads that I've been able to find anyway.

So today I work on remaking and possibly more cat ears so they're ready when the headbands arrive. I guess Tuesday will be a little like a Monday too, that is unless I switch gears and play with the linen, then it might feel more like a Tuesday. Whatever that actually means. Well, I won't know until I start the day, so I'm off to it.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Recap

It was indeed a pretty booked weekend with much family activity. We had a Lowe's clinic on Saturday morning followed by a trip out of town to our favorite pumpkin patch and lunch. Then it was back to the comic book store and home where tatting tasks were awaiting me since I had gotten a sale on the way home. I used the time in the car to work on the crochet afghan and I think I'm on the fourth stripe now. Yes, it will take forever at this rate, but that's pretty much what I figured.

Sunday started out with our normal coffee and doughnuts trip, but we added a trip to my sisters house for haircuts. This meant cousin chaos much of the morning and then it was back home with more tatting tasks I acquired while we were out. Basically it was a pretty good weekend sales and family wise. Sunday evening was rounded out with dinner out for my Mother-In-Law's birthday which is actually today and back to our house for cake which meant more cousin chaos from the other side of the family.

All the chaos did keep me from getting all the tasks done over the weekend that really ought to have been done, but I suppose that gives me something to do today besides schooling and cleaning and preparing for next weekend when we adventure far away for a few days. I think this might be the sort of week that I really need to take a deep breath before beginning. A really deep breath.

Friday, October 12, 2012


I got a little sidetracked with my crochet project yesterday. I had forgotten the compulsion, when knitting or crocheting, to finish a row before setting it down. Unfortunately when one is working on an afghan, the row is quite formidable. I suppose that's just another reason why I'm so suited to tatting. I can stop whenever I please without concern that I will have forgotten where I am or the row will accidentally be unraveled by cats or kids. With tatting I can just stop at a ring and pick right back up when I need to.

I did promise a photo and though I'm not sure it looks like anything yet, I guess you could get the basic idea. I'm not going to get much time to work on it today however as I have a few projects in queue. Let me back up though and start with the nice thing that happened. Whenever I get a direct email from a customer, I immediately panic. Is it a lost package, a destroyed one? Do they want to return it, they hate it? I live in near constant fear of these scenarios. This time it was a lovely thank you for a mask arriving quickly and so I posted on facebook that I much enjoyed these sort of correspondences. The conversation there was wonderful until I got a convo on etsy with the dreaded, 'my package hasn't arrived yet, did you mail it?'. I had of course mailed it, but the tracking shows it stuck in Sacramento since the 27th...a lost package I assume. So I have lost items to remake and send after apologies were made. Sometimes i really hate having to rely so heavily on a service I have no control over.

I suppose that's a good news, bad news sort of story. After that I received a request for a modified necklace and I've decided that the best was to do so would be to just make a fresh one in the new dimensions rather than cobble together the extra length. So that's first up today. The other task is back to the kitty ears that I didn't get round to doing yesterday. See the afore mentioned sidetracking project for my excuse. I'd like to say, at least it's Friday, but I think this weekend is pretty booked which means no rest for the wicked. Well, at least it finally feels like Fall.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Switching Gears

I only got done about half of what I wanted and then I started an entirely different sort of project. More on that later. After schooling I did one painful thing, I ordered more black thread. Seriously, you have no idea how much of it I go through. I try to buy it in bulk, but inevitably whatever site I choose has less than I actually want to buy. This time it was far fewer so it was a less painful purchase than I had intended. Of course that just means I'll be making the same purchase again in just a couple of months. I've bought from so many sites over the years trying to get the best deal because each time I go back it seems they've changed their prices...probably to avoid me again. Sometimes I think I ought to get a wholesale license just so I can buy it direct, but I'm pretty sure what I do wouldn't qualify me for that deal. Oh, well.

I got a couple sets of kitty ears tatted up and it's a good thing too because I woke up to a sale of one. I'll probably do even more of them today just to stay ahead of the curve. Too bad they're not a higher ticket item. Yes, I considered raising the price on it, but it just seemed unwise as I'm perfectly compensated for my work and supplies as it is, so it would just be greed and a bit mean I think. So onto that entirely different project. You know that we recently acquired some ill timed new furniture. Two of those pieces were chairs with lovely textured upholstery. You also know that we have six cats, 3 of which are white. They have sat in the chairs and the result is ridiculous. The current solution is throwing whatever blankets we have over them. Said blankets don't really match though so my new solution is to crochet up some better throws for them. Better, as in more complementary in color. So I picked up some bulk, cheap yarn which is generally against my taste and got to work. Why the bad yarn? Well, cost is a factor and when the general purpose of the finished item will be 'fur catcher' you really don't want to break the bank on quality yarn.

So today more cat ears and time with the afghan. I figure it I devote a couple of hours a day it should work up fairly quickly and the pattern is much more mindless that tatting for me so I can do it in the evenings when I normally put away my tatting for the night. I'll show it to you when I've made some progress, but it won't be too fancy, just an old school ripple pattern. There's no school like the old school. Well, off to it then and thanks for the lovely comments on yesterday's post. it's been a while since I got that many!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I had almost forgotten that I had made an arrangement last week to make up some bracelets for someone using their own hand dyed thread. That was until I got the box in the post yesterday and I got terribly excited not least of all because it was something fresh and new to do. The thread and request was from the lovely Jess.

It's painfully obvious that I prefer to tat in black and solid colors. The black because, well, that's just me and the solid colors partly because I've had limited success with variegated pieces selling in the shop and partly because again, I don't wear them and even though I tat to mostly to sell the result I still apply my own personal style whenever possible. That's not to say I don't think hand dyed thread is beautiful. It most certainly is and I love the sense of discovery you get when working with it. You get to learn what the thread will do, when the color changes and how best to maximize that with the design and joins. In all honesty, I have used some poorly done thread in the past with color changes that were too abrupt or just not complementary enough, but these worked up just lovely. Also I kind of love these bobbin things the thread is wound on. I got both pieces done and they're on their way home today. Of course that means I really didn't do anything else at all yesterday afternoon.

Today I really must make up some more kitty ears and if I get enough done I might just make up some bits for the shop with the HDT that is left over. The kids loved the pretty colors too, particularly the top one. I worked with that first and the transition to the other shade made me feel like summer was changing to fall in my hands, but I digress. I was trying to say that I might make up some bits for the kids too as long as their requests are reasonable...they often aren't. So here's to another great day, hopefully with more surprises and projects!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I didn't manage to do much else than the mask that was on order. I never really can pace myself when I know that something has been bought and paid for. I just have to make it as quickly as possible. The result is people often get their orders far faster than they think though occasionally more than one custom order crops up at a time and then I feel quite glad that I tell people things will take up to a week. I didn't get to try any of the new things I blathered on about yesterday either. I guess I don't really have all that much to share then.

Today school is back in full session, so after that it's onto more kitty ears as I've sold another set. I really never thought they'd sell so well particularly given how many really cheap cat ear headbands are out there, but I guess some people really do want something more original. This is of course wonderful news for me. Other than that I think I have just a couple of small things to get remade and maybe that second mask, but I am still itching for something new so maybe not. Well now, don't I sound terribly decisive today? It's going to be a long one, I can feel it. Hopefully it will be a good one too, hopefully.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Finally Fall

The weather turned this weekend leaving summer behind in a hurry. Last week we were still complaining about 100º weather, but the weekend required sweaters and jeans. It did, however,  afford us the opportunity to do a little fall cleaning and gardening. Of course when I say gardening, I don't mean a skilled practice, I mean I attacked an overgrown rosebush with clippers and planted a couple of things that had been sitting in pots for weeks. Don't worry about the rose bush though, it got its revenge as my arms look like I was in a knife fight. There were boxes taken to the goodwill and rooms picked up and organized.

We also got up our Halloween decorations. We don't do the outside at all and honestly much of our decorating is merely collecting our everyday decorations into displays. We're those people who buy everyday housewares in the clearance section on the 1st. With the weather and the decorations it finally feels like fall around here which is perfect for me to curl up on the couch and get some work done. The girls have the day off of school though I'll probably still work a couple classes in as the oldest is still playing catch up with new courses.

I was lucky enough to get two orders over the weekend. The shop is still painfully slow, but at least it's not entirely dead. One of the orders was for a mask that needs making so that's the task on hand today. When it's done I'll likely make another for the shop as it's the only one besides the custom fancy mask that's not made and ready to ship. Though honestly I've been feeling inspired by a few of the tatting blogs I silently visit to try out some techniques. Fox is tempting me to bust out my large pile of random supplies and play with wrapping them for pendants and there have been several other little things I've seen that I don't currently have in my repertoire that I really ought to learn from those interlocking rings to cluny leaves which have never really appealed to me, but it irks me that I haven't even bothered to learn them. I don't know if I'll actually get around to learning anything anytime soon, but writing down does tend to better compel me. Well, here's to a nice busy fall week ahead!

Friday, October 5, 2012

What's Old Is New

I just wanted to start off by thanking a few people who sent their comments on yesterday's rant straight to my inbox. There is nothing more important after a rant than a little 'here, here!' and I very much appreciate it. Alright then, on with it. It was actually a pretty short day for schooling as both of them had a few tests and they always knock those out fairly long as I'm sitting next to them to prod them forward anyway. If I left my oldest alone with a math test, she'd take 4 hours to do it.

I finished up the new version of the old choker and got it listed as well. It really did turn out nicer than I expected. Perhaps it's time to take a good look at a lot of the pieces from my past. I'm starting to feel like I'm logging a lot of years of creations and I'm certain I can redo at least a few of them with lessons learned since then, not that I actually need more designs in the shop, it's already a giant labyrinthine mess.

I guess that brings us to today's plans. After schooling I still have one necklace to remake and I think a few more spiders to tat up and maybe I'll get a few more cat ears made up as well. They've made it into quite a few etsy treasury lists lately and I like to imagine that means they may someday grace the front page of the site which my imagination further supposes could lead to more sales of them. Did I mention the huge car repair bill? I know I did, I'm just being whiny like I warned you I would be.

I shall leave you with a picture of some of the new furniture we purchased some time ago, you know before we knew about the car stuff. It was all recently, finally, delivered. This is the new kitchen table with an advanced kitten shelf feature that replaces out 15 year old discount furniture store table which is now the school table. We also acquired some nice sitting room chairs also with hidden kitty shelf features underneath them and a coffee table that opens up for cat or child storage. The children have been warned not to actually store the cats in the table. We'll have to see how that goes. I wish you all a lovely weekend and here's to a busy shop and a creative burst of energy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Make Good Art

Yesterday was a bit of a blurry mess due to a morning headache that I suspect might have reached migraine strength. I can only guess because up until about a year ago I had never had the pleasure of one of these extra strength headaches that come with extra prizes. This time the headache came with the free gift of light and sound sensitivity and apparently turned me into a monster as well because I lost all patience with the kids during school. Not my finest hour, but we carry on.

I didn't have any tatting tasks in queue, but something sent me looking through my old feedback on etsy and I kept running across pieces I stopped selling some time ago. I assume I stopped because I was sick of remaking those particular pieces, but I thought I might resurrect a couple of them. So I went to work on a choker I used to make. Of course since then my tension has improved dramatically making that particular piece tat up smaller so I had to do some fiddling to make it the proper length again and so it looks too different from the original pictures to list it from them. This means that I'll need to take new listing pictures before I can get it listed. At least it's something that needs doing and sice my headache appears to have finally been exorcised I'll try to get on that today.

On another note, I received an email this morning from one of my blog readers and gist of it was, when asking for a pattern they mentioned that they were a needle tatter and would the pattern work for the needle. The reason I mention this is the response received along with the pattern. She was informed that 'needle tatting is NOT tatting, go online and learn to tat'. Now I have a pretty good idea who said this without even asking, but who doesn't really matter. I just wanted to, yet again, go on record to say and I quote, "The knot does not care how it is made". When we needle tat we distinguish it with that word there, 'needle'. We do not diminish the work of shuttle tatters by tatting using a different method, we're not trying to pass off our work as some elaborate forgery to dupe people and I think that the result of the work speaks for itself. Of course don't get me started on all that 'embroidery tatting'. If you're going to draw a line in the sand I suggest it there. I'm getting away from the point though. That person was rude, insensitive and I'm pretty sure has broken the spirit of a number of needle tatters with that harshness. If you want to steer people to the shuttle, then invite them to learn don't try to shame them into it. Of course the best revenge is living well and creating good art. So to steal another quote, get thee to a needle or shuttle and "make good art".

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Third and Final

It seems I just can't win. I spend a week remaking things for the shop and my blog is boring. I come up with new designs and variations which gives me something to talk about and my blog posts are still boring. I'm starting to think that it's only external events that inspire interesting posts otherwise I'm just a giant ball of repetitive, 'what did you do today?'. Oh, that's not going to stop me from doing it though. It is far too much a part of my routine for me to stop with the daily blogging, boring or not.

Again I got everything done during the day that I wanted to despite schooling going past lunch time. First up, I finished and listed the third, and probably final variation of the most recent design. This time I added a clover to the top edge, dropped some picots along the way and beaded the whole thing with copper seed beads. It seems to have a more finished look with the top clover, but I really like all the versions so far. I also managed to get the bracelet that sold relisted and spent a little time tatting up spiders.

I was making spiders because I've decided to offer a few free with every purchase that mentions 'spiders' at checkout during October. We took our car in for a check up and wouldn't you know, it 'needed' things done...expensive things and I need to encourage some substantive sales to offset the cost. Honestly, there is just no way I can actually offset the cost with lace sales unless someone decided to buy one of my super fancy masks plus a bunch of other things, but I felt like I had to put in a little extra effort. I probably won't offer a coupon code though because we're getting close to the holiday season and I always do some kind of deal then, free shipping usually. I will however, probably start to get whiny about the lack of sales since I will be hyper-aware of them for the time being. So, I'm sorry about that in advance. I have no tasks in queue for today, so I have no idea what I'm going to get up to after schooling wraps. Maybe one of those external events will grace me with a visit. Oh, and remember, if you want a few free spiders, buy something in my etsy shop and mention 'spiders' at checkout.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Another fairly productive day, once schooling was over anyway. We had been racing through 3rd grade art and holding off on 4th grade history so we could start 4 grade art with the history class. This was at the recommendation of our teacher because the two courses reinforce each other. Yesterday we were ready to start, but in order to get caught back up with the two courses I need to double up on them for a few weeks so schooling is going to be a giant for the time being.

After all that though I actually did what I needed to and got the two new pieces photographed and listed. It's always harder to do that photography step when ones face is still suffering the ill effects of a massive, discoloring cold sore, but thanks to editing tools, I think I managed to eek by. I really love how the bracelet in particular turned out. I sits right over my hand all dramatically thus the cathedral name. I might even have to make one for myself. I very rarely bother since I don't go out all that much and I hate to waste the lace.

The choker looks nice too. The only drawback to it as a necklace is that it really needs to sit very close to your neck to look nice since it is such a straight design. The header row in the original pattern pulls the design into an arc, but without it, the piece is a rail. The one here is actually too big for me and the clasp is pulling it down in the back so it looks fine, but I figured out that if I use the adjustable clasps I can make it in two different sizes by using one less repeat, but that's it. Of course it will also sit differently without a center point.

Already the bracelet has found a home so I have one to remake this morning. Well more like this afternoon since schooling now owns my mornings, but as soon as I can anyway. I'm also working on a third version of the design, this time another choker in the shorter length in brown with copper beads and a few changes. Its a lot of beads since there are so many picots in the design, but I just used singles so it's still subtle. Hopefully I finish both of these tasks today, but in the 100º+ October weather I may just melt instead. Seriously this temperature is ridiculous, I need Autumn already. Now that that's out of my system, on with the day.

Monday, October 1, 2012

New and Almost Interesting

Over the whole of the weekend I managed a burst of creativity. Well, it started with the next best thing to a creative thought, an inspiration. When I feel the need to make something new, but I haven't a clue what that should be, I flip through antique and vintage books. No matter how many times I do it, there is always something I missed or which simple didn't click with me before and now does. I saw an edging and thought it would make a nice bracelet. Even though it was very similar to another edging I'd already used, the resulting silhouette was different enough to get me to list it as well.

As is often the case with working an old patten, I change a few things on the spot and then other ideas begin brewing. There is always something else living within the design or parts of it. Sometimes I discover them as I work the pattern. After the second row of the first bracelet I found part of this new one. Then I added a bit to make it really my own. There will soon be a choker and bracelet with this new pattern in existence.

Of course as I look at it again this morning, I see another element I could change for a different look. If I'm being really ambitious, I see an even larger change I could make as well. I guess we'll just have to see how ambitious I'm feeling after a Monday morning back to schooling. Whether I make all the changes rattling around in my brain or not, at least I made something new and I feel good about that. I need to get the finishing work on the two pieces and hopefully get them listed today so there are tasks ahead for the day as well. Would you look at that...I had new things to share and the blog spot just wrote itself. Here's to a week full of more of the same.