Friday, November 30, 2012


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

More Rings

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chokers and Rings

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Roller Coaster

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday, Monday

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

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

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

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's Done

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Chaos

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm A Genius

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Guest Cats

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday, Monday

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

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

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

That Could've Gone Better

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Have I Got A Deal For You

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


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

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

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


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

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

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

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Weekend

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 9, 2012

Another Gone

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

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

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

Thursday, November 8, 2012


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

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

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


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

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

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

One Off

Yesterday started out so calm, quiet and annoying. Not any special kind of annoying, but the kind that comes with a Monday after a holiday where the kids are being squirrely and not getting their school work done. There were many sibling battles and I just retreated into thread once school was wrapped. I had one custom order to complete and then I decided to take a look at last years November sales to see if I could infer a pattern from the holiday sales. I wanted to see if there was in fact something I should be making more of at this point. My research was inconclusive, but looking at some of my old one of a kind pieces inspired me to dig through my random bits and make up something nice.

It's actually quite sparse on the tatting, but folks seemed to like it. I used the last of my copper chain and the only three copper feathers I had so yes, it's another one of a kind and I am going to try to get it listed later today. Hopefully it finds a home quickly.

As of bedtime last night I was prepared to just play some more today with random bits when my sale notification went off on my phone. It makes a ch-ching noise that I've become quite fond of. Anyway, I heard that noise a few more times during the night. I've no idea where all these people came from all of a sudden. It's even more confusing because of the lack of views the shop has gotten over the last week. I'm not complaining, just commenting on the unexplained. So today I have a few pieces that will need remaking which feels really good to say and I'll hopefully get this necklace listed as well as the one linen necklace I got make eons ago that never got listed. Well, that's quite a list for today and I'm feeling pretty good about that.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Something's Missing

As the cold finally let go of my brain completely over the weekend, it because quite clear to me that there are tasks I seriously need to get on, both in the shop and at home. The first came with the realization that Thanksgiving is quite a lot closer than I thought. This year we're playing host to more house guests than we have in the past and though none of them are uptight about a spotless house I'm stressing on getting things as clean as possible. As I'm generally one of those, 'that'll do' sort of cleaners this is more work than I'm used to, so I started tackling some of the tasks over the weekend hoping that maintaining that level of cleanliness is possible with the kids and cats...I guess only time will tell.

After a day or so of playing the victim over my still mostly dead shop, I got back to work on the art project prototype. The entire shape has now been constructed, but I'm not quite settled on the design yet. It needs something more and I'm not sure what that is yet. There are also a few stitch count changes that I will need to make on the final pieces, but that pales compared to the feeling that something is missing. The shape is good, the width of the piece is good, but I think it needs something on the inner edge, a little frill or something. Oh well, I'll work it out. That is what a prototype is for after all. In fact as I'm writing here, starting at the image, I've gotten a couple of ideas to try out later. Man am I glad that cold finally freed my brain.

Other than the art project and the two weeks of cleaning ahead of me, I'm going to buckle down and work on the shop. It's no help to worry about sales, I just need to focus on what I can do. I've already gotten a few more listings changed to offer different colors with the variations tool and I finally posted a processing time on all my listings. I can always get more variation listings worked up and get some more stock made of a few pieces. Now comes the focusing on all this stuff. I think I've already exhausted myself this morning thinking about it all. Of course that could have more to do with the cats waking me up early because they don't 'get' the time change. Whatever it is I definitely have a week to start now. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Super Secret Art Project

I'm certain I mentioned this a bit when I was first offered the opportunity to participate in my first real art project, but since the project has a long timeline I had yet to actually get to work on it. Yesterday I finally got some time to sit down and really get to designing so I thought I'd share a little bit of the process. For this commission I've been given all the particulars of the art installation and a scale image of the shape I need to fill. The artist has been very communicative and I've been given free reign to design within those parameters.

The first step for me is to use what I have already made to approximate the shape. So I dig through my finished pieces and begin by laying out several different ones trying to see which designs comes closet to the right degree of curve. I's hard to see in the pictures, but at this point I have three different pieces representing different techniques I wanted to try. I don't plan on using any of these exactly as they are now. Everything will be modified and adjusted so I know I need to work up prototypes first.

These are something I rarely do, prototypes. I like to know where I'm going when I start tatting and I like the finished piece to just be there at the end of my first try, but this is something extremely different and it's worth the extra design steps to make sure the final pieces are gallery or museum ready, I'm not really sure where the final piece is going to be yet. I'll let you know when I do. Since this is a pretty large piece, I don't expect to have the prototype ready for at least a few days which is frustrating as well. I have little patience waiting to see if the design will work.

As expected I have already mucked up several times and have had to adjust my ideas repeatedly. I no longer regret going the prototype route at all. The exhibition isn't until next summer, but I thought getting a jump on it while the shop is a virtual ghost town was a good idea. Normally I would have complained about that this week, but with the cold, it was actually well timed. I'll keep working on this until the shop tears me away which will be soon...hopefully. Then I'll have plenty of time at the start of the year to work on it. It's always back to ghost town in January and February which is still ages from my deadline. I'm kind of ridiculously pleased about the idea of being named in an art exhibit so I'm crossing my fingers that nothing goes awry since there is so much time for it to do so. I'll just put my head down, get the work done  as perfectly as I can and knock on wood periodically. That should work right? right?

Thursday, November 1, 2012


As expected I got nothing tatted related done. Not a thing. My day revolved around the children and their Halloween based needs. After schooling it was into the costumes because they had to wear them all day and getting their nails done. After lunch it was a solid hour of getting them truly ready to leave the house, extra costume bits and make up. Then it was off to daddy's work to trick or treat amongst the buildings there. Honestly they get such a good haul there we don't even need to rick or treat for 'real', but they'll hear none of that.

I do have better pictures of them, but the pose here is so perfect that even though it's a bad camera photo, it's my favorite. Yes, I did dress up too though it was just in some of my black clothing and a fancy witch hat I picked up at the Target. In fact their costumes were just their regular clothing with some cheap accessories as well. They may not look fancy, but they were cute and happy and I didn't have to stress out on costume acquisition, but I digress.

After the first run out, we had my sister, her kids and my mom over for dinner as Halloween is my mother's birthday. Apparently this was awesome as a kid and not so much as an adult because everyone ditches you for free candy. Then we ditched her for free candy and trolled the neighborhood with our cousin menagerie. We tried to hand out candy when we got back, but few trick or treaters come over to our side of the neighborhood so as a result we now have what might be categorized as a ridiculous amount of candy in the house. I leave with one of the cats and her cat nip treated treats that they got for Halloween. She paused only briefly from rubbing her head on it for this picture. My entire household is spoiled.