Thursday, January 31, 2013

Done For Now

I had a major bout of the 'clean the house' illness yesterday morning. It's a condition related to stress and since I was stressed I needed to clean and do laundry and dishes and vacuum. All this until I got a slightly stress relieving call just before lunch. Then I calmed and I tatted.

First up is day 7 of the TIAS. Jane certainly has a way with tatted structures. We're clearly, slowly, building something I would have never thought to build and in a way I probably would never have thought to do so. She loves split things and mock things and it has been a pleasure to work outside my norm a bit.

Then I got back to the art project. The next row went above just the two sides and again there were a bunch of small changes made so that it didn't change the basic shape of the piece. I was afraid some of the joins would pull the piece out of alignment, but I needn't have worried. It stayed just as I wanted it to.

Next up was the very last addition to the piece. This was the part I really liked as I added it to the smaller bits of prototype, the scallop edge. I've been playing with this design element in my other pieces for a while now and they add something frilly back to the lace that I often take away by decreasing the amount of decorative picots. It's tricky business though as they need to be just the right size and distribution to pull the lace into a small frill at the edge without disrupting the overall shape. I still need most of the width of the piece to lay flat.

I've got the whole prototype done and pressed now and so I'll take a break to share it with the artist and make sure we're on the same page before proceeding with the final pieces in white. I do have a nasty habit of getting ahead of myself and even though I think the design is pretty perfect, I certainly don't want to assume anything.

Since I have no orders to fill and the project is at a stopping point, I have no idea what I'll get up to today. Here's to something wonderful surprising me with something exciting or at least interesting to do.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More Art

Another day another length of lace. In fact until the evening when another bout of "family issues" reared its ugly head, the day went exactly as planned. After schooling I got a necklace remade and then almost immediately went back to work on the latest prototype for the art piece.

 Sometimes I worry that small changes won't make any difference with the final piece, so I'm often quite surprised when my choices add up to something even I'm impressed with. The first thing I noticed as I worked the first row to length is how much better it was laying already.  I made several stitch count changes and made more joins and the resulting piece has a much cleaner curve than the original.

I've now got the first row completed all the way around and again I'm quite pleased with the shape and the small details I've added already give the lace more character. Well, I think so anyway. I've got two more rows to complete on the exterior which should add some more dimension and pull the separate elements together better.

I don't have any tatting in queue today so I'll be working on this project again unless of course something pulls me away. I won't know for certain if the piece works until I get the prototype completely finished, so I'm a bit focused. I'm also crossing my fingers because it's an awful lot of work to do and then fail. I am cautiously optimistic that I've got it though. Now if only stitch count changes could fix the "family issues". Then I'd be onto something.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I'm not certain what finally made me pick it up again, it might have been the bright sunny day, but whatever it was I was back at the art project all day long. The project doesn't have to be completed until the summer so I've been kind of laissez-faire about the whole thing. The last time I worked on it, before the holidays, I thought I was done with the prototype. I figured the next time I picked it up it would be for a final pattern adjustment and just making up the pieces. Instead the time away allowed me to look at the whole thing with fresh eyes and realize that I was most certainly not done.

My part in this project was given certain parameters to work within. I needed to create something a certain size and shape to be added to the final project. When I worked on it before that was all I did, I used existing patterns as a base and adapted them only as needed to fit. What I didn't do was add 'me' to the project. When I looked at it yesterday I knew I needed to add elements that meant something and contributed to the theme of the project as well as made the pieces distinctively mine.

This meant I spent all day making and remaking elements of the design and re-piecing them together to keep the correct shape. So in essence I started all over. I used brown thread because I bought a load of cheaper browns before Lizbeth started making a similar color. The final project is going to be white, but I didn't want to waste good thread on all this planning and designing. I think I've managed to work out all the changes I will need to make, and there were a lot, so I'll make yet another full sized prototype next to see if it all fits together like it's suppose to. If it does I'll finally be ready to make the real pieces.

That might not get done today though as I do have a couple of smaller pieces that need remaking today and they'll be my first tasks after schooling wraps today. I am feeling really good about the art project changes though, so there's a good chance I'll actually want to get back to that and at least get it started today. It should be another sunny day as well so I have high hopes all around.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Another Weekend

I actually had to sit here for a few minutes just to remember what I got up to on Friday and not because my weekend was a fun filled adventure. No, I couldn't remember because it was a blur of little bits of not much that all together actually created a fairly relaxing couple of days.

I finished my careful tatting project on Friday after schooling the kids, so now I just wait patiently for the wheels to spin on that one. Then I decided on the next technique I would attempt to learn, the recently popular interlocking rings. I figured them out pretty quick, but again I didn't have anything to use them for so it will sit in my repertoire for the right design to come along.

Saturday was family errands and crocheting on the now sizable afghan. In fact I think there is probably only a week left to get it to the right size and then that one will be done and one more chair will be stylishly protected from the cat menace. Okay, maybe not stylishly, but I still like the look of an afghan draped on furniture.

Yesterday was another calm, normal day though I did get more disappointing family news. First thing in the morning I got day 6 of the TIAS worked out. It's funny I've been getting emails from handful of needle tatters for hints and help with the TIAS. I didn't think when I decided to play along that I would get to be the teachers assistant too! I'm not being sarcastic either, I really do enjoy teaching and helping folks, so if you've thought about emailing to ask a question and hesitated, don't worry about it. I wouldn't leave my email address in my profile if I was adverse to being contacted. Though I do prefer not to get crazy people emails.

I did have one order I made over the weekend, but I'm starting the week with nothing in queue though there are a few things I've been avoiding that I really ought to get to work on. I probably won't do any of that today, but writing it out over and over again allows me to eventually guilt myself into getting to work. Here's hoping this week is productive, interesting and full of sunshine.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Strange Week

Well yesterday went better than expected. Instead of fighting school, the kids were anxious to get it done so they could get round to doing other things. I sure hope that becomes a trend. I got the TIAS done with my coffee in the morning and just before school I got final direction on the white or teal issue, so I was set for work tasks as soon as schooling was wrapped. I guessed that the TIAS might be a basket of flowers partly because that seemed to be a common guess, but as I told Jane, she's awfully wily so I don't trust that guess. I've accepted that I just won't know until it's almost done and apparently we're only at about the halfway mark. I am pretty proud of my lock stitches though since I acquired the skill solely for this project.

I spent the rest of the day catching up with my DVR recordings and working more carefully on a piece than I ever have before. You might have noticed that I'm a bit of a perfectionist, though that trait has waned a bit since parenthood. I don't generally put up with any mistakes in my own work, no loose stitches and all that.  There are things I'm generally okay with though. I don't usually bother with front side/back side tatting and if I make a minor stitch count error that doesn't affect the look of a piece, I don't stress on it. This careful tatting has to do with that thing I almost mentioned a few days ago. I'm still not fessing up to what it is, but I'm making something with attention to every detail and not surprisingly it's slower going that usual.

I don't have any tatting tasks planned for today except to continue careful tatting, though the timeline on that is really long, so there's no real rush. It's odd to have today be the last schooling day of the week since yesterday was the first. It makes the whole week feel odd. Well, I'm sure I'll get up to something interesting over the weekend, or something anyway. Yeah, this has been a strange week.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Well, yesterday was decidedly less productive that the day before. I made my feet as pretty as possible in the morning, after months of hibernation, in anticipation of finishing the second barefoot sandal and getting pictures of them, but I didn't get that done until well after noon or so. It was a pretty dreary day and I was terribly unmotivated, but at least they were a success. They are probably the densest barefoot sandal design thus far. I'm, still deciding whether or not to list the slave bracelet version. I most likely will, but I'll go back and forth a bit on it first.

One thing I am certain of is that the necklace version I worked on much of the day was an unmitigated disaster. I mean it was a complete wreck. The saddest part is that I had to make the whole thing up to make that decision essentially wasting hours of the day on a failed experiment. I guess they can't all be winners right out of the box, right?

Looks like I have day 5 of the TIAS to do this morning and then it's back to schooling today. I have no idea why they decided to start the school week on a Thursday, but what are you gonna do? So then after that I might get the slave bracelet listed or I might get working on something else. It's also possible that I'll actually hear back from the customer who left a note on their order to make something in white 'or' teal. Why, 'or'? I don't understand why you wouldn't say something like 'I'd like them in white and if you can't do that teal would be fine.' Now I'm stuck waiting to hear back on which they'd prefer because they are of course both equally possible, before I can get the order made. Obviously I'm crossing my fingers that I hear soon so I can get that knocked out quickly. Man, it's been an odd week.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Back To Work

Perhaps I was subtly influenced by other tatters without realizing it, but when I went on a hunt yesterday morning for an interesting old pattern to adapt, I ended up in the pages of the Priscilla book No. 2. Of course I didn't realize that's what everyone else was doing until I was browsing blogs this morning, so maybe it was a psychic connection. Anyway I ended up picking a triangular motif that belongs to the center mat. First I always tat patterns as written because I've found with these older patterns that they always end up looking much different that the pictures so I can't make any modifications until I see what it 'really' looks like and how each element of the lace behaves.

The next step for me is to muck with the pattern a bit. First I change small things like the number of picots. For this one, there are just too many decorative ones for my liking. I also change the size of them so the joins are tighter where I think they should be and add joins to increase the stability. Floppy is fine for a doily lying on a table, not so much for a wearable piece. Then it's onto the decision of what it is to become. My first thought was barefoot sandal or slave bracelet and since my feet are firmly ensconced in socks I started with the bracelet idea and began further mucking the pattern on the outside row to give me the shape I needed.

The bracelet came out okay, but a little large and not just in the size of the motif itself, but too big around for my hand. That's not necessarily a bad this as I have ridiculously small wrists and making things to fit other people well is a good thing so it will likely end up in the shop. either way designing it provided me with the base for the barefoot sandals and after employing my daughter as a test foot since she wasn't wearing socks, silly child, I determined it would work well and got to work on that idea.

I did a few more stitch count changes and again added some more joins for the barefoot sandal version, but the biggest difference was simply the crochet ties. I wasn't too keen on pulling off my long, comfy socks to get a picture, but I did anyway. You will note though that I applied quite the filter on the picture to obfuscate the quality of my winter skin. I also sense a necklace in this pattern as well and that, as well as the twin to this barefoot sandal are on the agenda today. If only they could have imagined back in what 1915 that a small motif design for fancy tableware would be abused in such a fashion.

Before I go I wanted to say thanks for all the well wishes regarding my stomach bug. Clearly I was feeling much better yesterday though all this work was done firmly seated in a resting position. We have one last day of vacation from homeschooling so this is my last burst of creativity for a while. I also have one secret project in the works. It's nothing new that's making, but rather...well, I just won't say anything more until it's all finalized. In fact, forget I said anything. I had a good day and I'm looking forward to another one today. Hopes yours is good as well.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

That'll Teach Me

I really should learn never to tempt fate..."dodged a bullet", I said," I'm fine", I said. I thought I was so clever knocking on wood as I typed, but it took me down anyway. The morning was fine, but by noon I knew I was going to be sick and then I went down with the stomach bug too. I was determined to beat it though, so I rested the remainder of the day, didn't eat at all and I woke this morning feeling almost completely normal. Sure, I'm pretty hungry this morning and still a bit achy so I'm not at 100%, but I'll live.

Before the evil took me down I managed to get day 4 of the TIAS knocked out. This one was just the chains along the outside. In the pattern a catherine wheel join was suggested, but I'm pretty sure that's another shuttle only deal as I can just pass the needle through the picots and keep tatting, though it definitely does not result in the same straight line I noted on some of the other submitted pieces. Oh, looks good to me, even if I still haven't a clue what I'm making.

As you probably already guessed from my first paragraph, I got literally nothing else done all day. We did run errands in the late morning, but that's when I started to feel a bit nauseated and marked the end of my usefulness for the day. The cat picture here perfectly illustrates much of my day. The kids still have two more vacation days, so I'm hoping for a better today to get some things done. So here's to a healthy, productive day.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I feel like I'm always coming back on Mondays with some version of, 'what a weekend'. Though usually what I mean is ,it was crazy or emotionally draining or just too busy not awesome. Here I am at another weekend and yes it falls in the above set of categories. Friday afternoon the husband started feeling ill and went down with the same stomach bug the children had just gotten over. I still have yet to get it, or I did, was asymptomatic and became a carrier. Either way I think I dodged a bullet. Then Saturday while we were hibernating because of the sick, the family issue I mentioned last week ramped up to almost tragic causing my stress level to shoot through the roof. The stress of that wasn't relieved until late last evening when things settled down again. I'm honestly surprised I managed to get anything done at all.

So back to tatting then. Since it was on Friday and I haven't blogged it yet, this is day 3 of the TIAS. Day 4 was posted today so that's the first thing I'll do this morning. I already took a quick look at it and it's just chains so it should be a quick one. I like that doing this project gives me more tatting photo opportunities. even if they are basically the same as a hundred other tatters.

The only other tatting I got done over the weekend was finishing up a couple of small orders that are still sitting in a pile. Since today is a Federal holiday, there's no mail. I hate having things sit around longer than they need to, but I can't send them by pigeon, so they wait.

Most of yesterday I managed my stress with crochet. I'd say the afghan is just over half done now, maybe even two-thirds. While I couldn't concentrate on creative tatting while stressed, crocheting a blanket is meditative. Usually I can get to that place with tatting as well, but I'm also prone to mistakes when I'm distracted, so the mindless repetition of a simple pattern is definitely the way to go.

Today the husband has the day off work and the kids have no school and while everyone is finally healthy, I have a feeling we'll be spending the day inside with video games and maybe some movies. I hope now that the stress has mostly dissipated I can get some real tatting done, but no promises, it's still a Monday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Almost Normal

Well the children did indeed rise in good spirits yesterday morning bringing us one more step closer to a normal day. We still went ahead and did a light school day since it was the end of the semester and they're both a little ahead in their classes anyway. Once that was wrapped I went to work on a custom ring followed by getting the piece I was working on the day before finished up. I've been tatting so consistently the last couple of days that the base of my thumb is sore.

Since the kids were all healthy again we went to the bowling outing and both me and the husband decided to bowl with the kids...this was not my best idea. The last time I bowled not on a TV screen, I was young enough to get away with rolling the ball granny style. It was a sad display, comical, but mostly sad. I even managed to fall while trying to help the youngest and banged my knee. The bruise will be with me for some time as a reminder of my folly.

When we got home the Universe decided to answer my pleas and sent a slightly relieving phone call from the relative I mentioned yesterday. The stress isn't gone, but it's been taken down a notch. I was also sent another nice sized order that I will need to get made up today. Oh, and I was also made aware that the kids not only have this Friday through Monday off, but also Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. I'm not certain that's a good thing, but I can pretend that it means I'll get to relax a bit.

So today starts with day 3 of the TIAS, which reminds me, I got a puzzled question in my email yesterday asking what this nonsense was all about and it occurred to me that unless you read other tatting blogs you are likely completely in the dark, so let me explain. The lovely, talented, and occasionally deliciously snarky Jane Eborall designs a mystery pattern a few times a year and parses it out in small chunks over the course of several days. Those who participate have no idea what they're making, but are asked to share their progress and guess along the way. Jane then shares all those guesses and progress on the Tat it and See blog. I have watched it proceed for a few years, but this is the first time I'm playing along. I figure making something completely out of my wheel house is good practice and it's forcing me to learn techniques that I should have already learned years ago. So now you know and you still have time to try and play along as well.

Back to today though, after I get the TIAS piece done, I've still got two necklaces I need to make and then I was thinking I'd try to use some of my 'time off' to get back to the art project since it needs actual focus, but who knows what I'll actually get up to until it happens. Well, here's to a nice, stress free weekend...I can dream right?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What Goes Up

I'm afraid yesterday was fairly uneventful, unless you count bad news from family that will likely impact us in some way very soon, then it was a hoot. And by hoot, what I really mean to say is it was full of potential to be very, very...we'll go with inconvenient. Though to be fair, it's not technically our bad news and the person it belongs will likely be much worse off and I'm just imagining scenarios right now anyway. There's still a chance everything could work out and I'm worrying for nothing. No, I'm, not going to go into it, I just wanted you to be aware that there's extra stressors around here in case I get snippy.

Both kids woke in much better spirits yesterday and continued to get better throughout the day. We still did a shorter school session than usual so they could get as much rest as possible. That put me on the couch tatting pretty much the whole day working on a few larger pieces that needed remaking. Well, you know, between the servant work for the sick kids anyway. Some pieces I can ignore and put on the list, others are signature pieces and I feel like they need to be in the shop at all times and there were two of those in a recent order. I got one knocked out, but the second is still in progress.

Today I have a custom ring to tat up as well as finish that other piece I was working on yesterday. If the children rise in good spirits then we have an outing to go bowling this afternoon and they have Friday off for the end of the semester. I think it's time to ask the Universe for some good to be sent out to undo some stress causing events and just move everything forward in the best possible ways. The Universe knows what I'm talking about, so here's to a good day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What A Day

It's amazing how many things can change from the time I sit down to write in the morning and the time the kids get up completely altering the days course. I started yesterday with hope for the day, but the youngest was no longer feeling better when she woke up. At first I thought she would just get better as the day wore on, but that wasn't really the case. So school was short and I did up day 2 of Jane's TIAS quite early.

Of course that leads me to another tatting technique confession. I had yet to master the split chain either which was suggested for the pattern. I could have done it the other way which is how I avoided it for so long, but I guess I'm looking at this small project as an excuse to learn what I've previously ignored. Also the split chain generally just avoids cutting and tying which isn't such a hassle with the needle. Again a quick search revealed a lovely how-to and I was humming along in minutes.You might note that I ended with a split ring in anticipation of the next part climbing out the same way. I hope I'm guessing right here, not that doing it again wouldn't be excellent practice, but still.

Then I did indeed spend much of the afternoon stalling until my dental appointment, which was the fastest one I've ever had. They were ready for me when I walking in the building 15 minutes early and I had two cavities filled and was out the door in maybe a half an hour closer to twenty minutes. I still couldn't feel my face, but what a pleasant experience. Of course when I got home I was treated to the oldest child going down with the stomach bug as well. Her descent was dramatically fast and before I knew it there were two children sprawled on the couches with bowls and sad looks on their faces. The week took a turn for the worse and I fear it's only a matter of time before I or the husband goes down with it too.

Back to tatting though, I actually got a few sales yesterday that have bigger pieces that will need immediate remaking, so I have tasks lined up for the next few days at the least. The timing is unfortunate, but I have to say that the beginning of the year has been quite a bit busier than the same time last year and that's a good thing. So I'm off to a day of tatting and caring for sick kids. Here's to a speedy recovery for them and a miraculous avoidance of illness for me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

More To Learn

With the youngest child sick much of the day, don't worry she got much better in the late afternoon, I didn't want to start any big projects. I mean I had time, but I guess when you're watching after someone you want to stay more available to them for caring and cuddling and whatnot. So what did I decide to do with my time in bit sized chunks? First I thought, let's do Jane's TIAS. I'd never done one before though I always watch them proceed, so I read the intro message, saw lock chain and puzzled a bit. I had long discounted that technique as being a shuttle only trick, but thought I'd look about and see if it was possible. In the good old intatters forum archives, there it was, I think Carol sharing the simple how and a minute later I was making one.

I was feeling pretty good about myself, so I went ahead and pulled up the link to the day 1 of the TIAS and knocked that out as well with hand dyed thread from Jess. It's kind of unsettling as a control freak to be making a mystery, but I needed a little change.

I wasn't sure what I was suppose to do with the lock chain at this point. It looked neat with variegated thread and produces a pretty straight line, so I made a star. No, it has no purpose other than to see if I could do it. It's cute though, right.

Then I started thinking that if I learned the lock chain so quickly I'm sure it's time for me to tackle the cluny leaf. It was totally was time. Again the internet provided the step by step for the technique with a quick Google search. To be honest I had seen it before and looked at all the hand loom nonsense involved and moved on without even giving it a chance, but I was determined to get it this time. Five minutes later I have my first leaf. It didn't pull right up to the ring element, but a few more tries and I think I've got that issue beaten. What am I going to do with these new skills I acquired? Probably nothing at this point. I felt the same way when I learned to pearl tat. Sure, it looks kind of cool, but it's just not the most practical technique and I couldn't think of a way to work it into a pattern I would make. I think these two do have a better chance of making into a piece one day though. In fact I think the lock chain may actually solve a few design problems when I feel up to employing it.

Today I have a dental appointment because apparently I can't go a year without acquiring a new cavity. So after schooling I'll do up the day 2 of the TIAS and then I'm not sure. I'll probably stall until that appointment and then spend the rest of the day whining that I can't feel my face. With the youngest feeling better I'm actually feeling better about the week in general though, so maybe I'll get inspired and create.

Monday, January 14, 2013


I guess that Friday was pretty productive. I finished up the choker and got it listed. Right after that I played some more with the the other design. I ended up yet another small section on the sides of the center motif before thinning it down to the band section and I was pretty happy with the results. Then I decided to make the whole thing even more complex and add some beads to the design. I think it came out pretty fancy. Though I have yet to list it in the shop yet. With all the different cut and tied sections and the fiddly beads along the center it probably takes longer to make that it appears to. It is also the most original small piece I've made in some time. I might find more uses for it, but a choker won't be one of them, it bends like crazy with any head movement because of it's size.

The rest of the weekend was full of disappointments and drama. There was tire repair drama on Saturday morning luckily followed by a fairly relaxing afternoon and evening. Then there was Sunday. Oye, Sunday was a mess. The youngest woke me up sick at a quarter to 4 in the morning and spent much of the day tired with an upset stomach and by the end of the day we could longer deceive ourselves into thinking it was something she ate and have to admit she's actually sick. Which of course means it's only a matter of time for the rest of us. That was accompanied by my mother's house buying drama that puts everyone in the family in standby mode because we were suppose to move her next weekend, but now, maybe not. This was followed by a handful of communications with requests I need to say no to for various reasons. I dislike saying no and I try to be as polite as possible, but I've learned you must say no lest you get stuck doing things you really don't want to do. I still have a couple of those 'no' messages left to send out this morning, but I'm having a lot of trouble wording one of them. Funny any one of them by themselves would have been no big deal, but the combination of many at the same time gave me serious anxiety.

So we start out a fresh week with fear of sickness, confrontation and just a bit of exhaustion. Luckily it's a short school week because it's end of the semester, but I also have a dental appointment for fillings and a bowling field trip at the end of the week, so it's likely going to be a rough one. Time to steel my nerves and get the week started whether I want to or not.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Headaches and Motifs

Alright about 15 more hours and this week is behind me as the proof that vacations only lead to suffering once they're over. Okay, perhaps I'm exaggerating just a bit. I had a persistent, but dull headache for much of yesterday and when I have a headache I tend to clench my jaw which causes further headaches in a vicious cycle that apparently turns me into an unpleasant person, okay a more unpleasant person. I did manage to get a little work done though.

The choker made with the same design as the bracelet has been fully tatted up, but I didn't have the motivation to add a clasp and really finish it. Hopefully I'll get on that today. After that I continued to play with that little bit I showed you yesterday. There was a lovely idea in the comments about where the design might go next so I work on making that happen.  I still need to polish the design with a few adjustments, but the "Wonder Woman belt" shape was a great idea and I've already played with it as a bracelet and a headpiece. I'm not sure about a choker because the wide center is likely to be crushed by neck movements as it is, but I'm certainly not done fiddling.

The rest of the day was divided between solving shipping issues, answering emails and sitting under a pile of cats mindlessly stalling. Man this has been a long week. So today I'll try to get the choker done and maybe listed, work on the new bit and try to avoid stress. Sure hope this weekend has at least a few moments to really relax and just be because I am tired.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What a Day

Well, I stalled more than usual yesterday and I really have no idea why. Right after schooling, which was much longer yesterday I took care of the laundry and then got pictures of the new bracelet to list. I figured if I did all that before I even sat back down, it would get done. Problem was I was bothered by yet another Etsy issue. I was trying to ship an international package and it refused to let me saying, Uh, oh! over and over again. So throughout the day I was messaging the forums to get help and then finally with a support person who emailed me. Unfortunately the solution didn't solve. I was told the address wasn't properly formatted so their postage label partner couldn't print the label. Guess what, it was fine...I checked, repeatedly and still no label. So I have to ship it old school, which is fine, but there are just so many more steps and insuring it after the fact is more complicated. What an irritable day.

Of course now that I write that all out it's perfectly logical that I got so very little done. Oh and then I got the reminder in the mail that it's time to remit sales tax to the state. Of course they don't say it like that. They say you need to file your tax return by January 31st which freaks me out every time I get one. It takes me a minute to remember what it actually is and much longer than that to get it all done online. I think I finally have a good handle on it though, which likely means that next year the procedure will be completely different.

After I got all that taken care of, it was back to tatting. After staring at the list on my computer screen for far too long, I remembered that I wanted to make a choker with the new design, so that's the work I began. About halfway through it I saw something interesting in the lace and stopped to play with an idea. I'm not sure what it is nor what to do with it, but it looks neat to me. I think I might muck with the pattern a bit more and try to make it work as something, but for now it was just a nice little diversion.

Today I've got one piece that needs remaking straight away and again I will stare at the list and who knows what I'll actually end up doing at that point. It's strange that getting back to a routine with schooling has put me off my tatting routines so soundly. I guess it just takes me longer to readjust than it used to.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Just another day slowly getting back into a routine. Yesterday was in fact very much like the day before save for the surprise sales. Schooling was short, but full of complaints and when it was done the children went straight to their computers and I went straight to my tatting nest. I got the mask I've been working on done and then went ahead and listed on unmade thing off the list as a custom piece and remade another. That was pretty much the day.

In fact the only thing of interest I have to share is a bit of confusion. You know I haven't made a new tutorial video in quite some time for a bunch of reasons, but that's not the point. My little YouTube channel is stale and pretty boring looking, but recently I have been gaining subscribers like crazy. I began noticing an increase of notification emails around Christmas, but it wasn't until this morning that I popped by to see what all the hubbub was. I've gotten over 50 new subscribers in the last 30 days...why? The only thing I can figure is people like to learn new things at the beginning of the year, but how or why are they finding me? I'm puzzled and frankly every time I get notification of a comment there I'm just afraid they're going to start the whole, 'you're pronouncing picot wrong' thing again. I'm not sure what they want me to do about that...remake the whole video, dub it, because I don't have that skill set.

I'm really not certain what I'm going to get up to today. I'll likely stare at my to-make list for a while, stall for a little while longer while I silently wish for a sale to take the decision away from me. If the sun is out, I swear I'll get the new bracelet listed and maybe after all that stalling I'll start the choker design. All this is just speculation though, I'm feeling very aimless this morning. Very aimless indeed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Surprisingly Busy

Well, I got a monkey wrench thrown in my plans yesterday. It was a pleasant monkey wrench, but still. The first day back to schooling with the kids was fairly quick, but rife with complaints. I suppose we're all just going to have to ease back into it slowly. After that I had plans to get the new design made into a choker and list the bracelet when I received one order after another just as I came downstairs. One of them contained a mask that needed making so that became the task for the day.

I also had a most interesting issue to contend with for the afternoon. One transaction contained an order for two pairs of ankle corsets. I thought there was a possibility that the customer thought that each one was separate and the two pairs was meant to be just two pieces, so I contacted the customer to confirm. Turns out I was right and they had meant to just get one pair, so I set about to cancel that extra pair and refund the money. Refunding is easy enough through paypal and usually canceling the one item in the order at etsy is easy too except apparently when it's a quantity of the same item. Then you can only cancel all of the pieces in the order or none of them. So where does this leave me... I'm avoiding fees if I cancel both and I lose those same fees if I leave both in the order. I could have cancelled the whole order and had the customer order again, but that seems like an awful lot of hassle to make someone go through to complete an order. So in the end I left it alone and became a little irritable knowing that my accounting numbers will be wrong and I'll have to remember to manually adjust them later. Oh well, there's nothing for it.

So the new design remains unlisted and it will likely stay that way unless the sun comes out for me to get proper pictures. Not that I don't have plenty of other tasks to take up my time. There's the mask to finish as well as the remaking of the other pieces that just sold. I guess they just go on the list with the rest of them. I'm starting to think I'm never going to catch up and I'll just have to list the unmade things as custom, just to get them listed. That wouldn't be so bad really. Most people have the patience to wait for a piece to be made, just not during the holidays. I also have more time to work on demand, so perhaps that's the way to go here. I'll slowly relist the unmade pieces as custom, the queue clears out, and I can just work on what is immediately requesting my attention. Yes, I think we have a plan. Let's see if I actually do it now.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Little New

It's over...vacation is over. Not that it was really any sort of vacation for me, but it was a vacation from schooling he kids and sometimes a change of routine is what you need. The children have already expressed their sincere displeasure at not being able to play Mine Craft all morning and instead having to learn, so today promises to be...rough.

I didn't get a single request here for a specific new tatting pattern to be released for sale, not a one. Elsewhere I got a couple of comments, but not many. Since there isn't the demand I thought there was for me to list more patterns, I'm just not going to worry about it right now. I sold my first offering so quickly that I think I must have gotten ahead of myself. Maybe sometime in the future I'll revisit the idea.

I did get a little creative on Friday though. I was remaking a bracelet from a vintage pattern and since it had been a while since I had made this particular one, I pulled out the pattern book. I always make changes with each of the old patterns, sometimes a few, sometime a lot, but looking at the original pattern is the only way for me to remember what I did. Anyway, another pattern on the same page got me thinking and all that thinking turned into this pattern. It actually looks nothing like the pattern that inspired it, not even a little bit. This one is all me and at this point, not quite right.

I spent the rest of Friday playing with a few other choices and came up with this one as the final design. I turned the first go of it into a bracelet. It works up a little bigger than most of my bracelets, which probably means it's better sized. I'll probably get the design worked up into a choker as well, but as we return to a regular routine today, I have fewer hours in the day to work with. I still have a queue full of masks to remake, an art project to get back to and more end of the year accounting to tackle. So much for a restful start to the new year.

Friday, January 4, 2013


I am absolutely knocking on wood as I write this, but I am feeling much better this morning, much better. I can feel a few remnants of the virus lurking about, but that seems to be about it. I was feeling mostly better yesterday, but still tired so I engaged in some serious stalling between projects throughout the day.

First, I did finally assemble the crystal necklace I've been working on remaking. You've probably seen it before, but because I was asked, here it is again. I failed, last time I made it to take a good photograph of it laying flat so assembling it was a bit of a chore than it should have been. The front was simple, but I couldn't remember the configuration around the sides and I had no pictures to help. I spent way more time than was necessary figuring out where all the motifs wanted to live. In the end I got it and I still haven't taken that laid flat picture. Remind me to do that today.

Once that was finished I had another custom length bracelet to make for an order I got in the morning. It was a simple piece so that was done fairly quickly and then while attempting to stall, I instead did my end of year etsy numbers. This is the point where I remind anyone out there casually thinking that selling your handmade wares online would be fun that while it can be satisfying, it is also a royal pain. This was just the first pass at the books in preparation for tax time. I still have receipts to gather and record as well as several online account records to comb through. Thankfully I don't have to do it all at once. I'll dole it out slowly over the next few months so I won't fly into an accounting driven rage and slaughter the innocent in my path. I'm a much calmer artisan than I am a businesswoman.

I do have a question to pose to you this morning as well. I have promised to do a tutorial on tatting to a jewelry base and that will be something I put up for free on Instructables, when I get it started anyway...hopefully soon. I also want to get a couple more patterns up for sale in my etsy shop, but I'm not sure which ones to do. I know I don't want to do any ankle corsets, but other than that I'm not sure what to go with, probably something small though. So if you have any opinions or requests, please let me know and I'll use the weekend to sort out what to offer. No promises of course, but I am at a loss so any direction would be helpful. I thank you in advance for your help and hopefully with the sickness at bay it will be a productive weekend as well.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

If It Isn't One Thing

Another day of nesting and I'm cautiously optimistic this morning that I've past the worst of the cold. Yesterday it was a monster, changing its tactics constantly, keeping me off balance most of the day. My strategy was the same as before, nesting on the couch with a blanket of cats, tissue, cough drops and teas...oh and tatting, there was much tatting.

I started out the day making a custom length bracelet and followed that up with the sewing of a hundred crystals onto the motifs made the day before. I'm not exaggerating with the hundred number either, this piece really does have 100 crystals. Why I did that to myself, I couldn't really say, but I did. I do get into a nice rhythm with them, four to a motif and I use the same exact stitching with each one so it moves about as fast as it could.

This task took me almost all day, though I would have been finished earlier had I not injured myself. Wait, no this is a good one. I'm working on the very last motif on the couch as the youngest child is finishing dinner at the table. She screams 'Mommy!' in that 'something is really wrong' tone so I jump up to rescue her and hit my elbow on the very corner of the side table, hard. Not only did I have a solid lump, but I hit the nerve hard enough to crumble me to the floor. This is when I discover that the alarm was the cat had stolen a bag of kitty treats and was running off with it. It took an ice pack and a half an hour before I could effectively use my hand again as the nerve pain radiated up and down my arm. The lump is still there this morning and it's sore to the touch, but everything else is functioning normally now. Of course I couldn't crochet the evening away and I got to contemplate how important my hands are to my daily life, so strange evening.

So this morning I have that necklace to assemble and then its back to the tatting queue. I think I should be feeling a little better today so I hope that means I get a little more done and actually move from the couch a little more. I think I might finally be getting stir crazy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Nope, not better yet. Though it seems as I adjust to consciousness this morning that the illness may be adjusting its strategy a bit. It appears to be moving into the chest this morning. While my nose is pleased with the prospect, I'm not sure it will make for a better day at all. Oh well, the best way out is through and it can't last too much longer, right?

I did again spend the day snuggled under blankets and cats with the continuing Twilight Zone marathon on the television. The rest of the family came and went and it was kind of fun to see the children react to some of the more referenced episodes. Mostly I tatted though. I got a couple of small pieces done and then started work on remaking a lace maille necklace.

I have only made a few of these and this will be only the second time making this exact necklace. I had forgotten how much time this one takes to create. Some pieces I remember as complex because the design is tricky and time consuming. This one is not tricky at all. In fact it is just the same motif over two dozen times followed by sewing on crystal montees and finished by attaching them all together with rings. I haven't even finished making all the motifs for it yet.

So today I have a custom length bracelet to get made as the order came in overnight. Then I'll get back to the lace maille necklace. I'd like to imagine that I get that finished, but I really doubt it. There are no more marathons to watch and the husband is back to work. Heck, there are only a few more days left of the kids vacation and then it's back to the routine and trying to squeeze in time to get things made again. I'll just try to get as much done with the rest of the week as I can and hope for the best.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I'm afraid I'm not feeling any better this morning, so I shall again put off any traditional beginning of the year ruminations. I spent much of yesterday curled in a ball watching a Twilight Zone marathon either tatting or crocheting. I managed to knock two more pieces off the to-make list and it's down below a dozen now. I hadn't had a sale in the shop since Christmas so at least I had the sensation of getting that list under control. All in all December sales ended up being pretty good, though it couldn't entirely make up for the very sad November. I even got to end the year with a couple of sales that came in last night. That did bring my to-make queue back up to a dozen, but I won't complain about that.

Since I don't feel much better today, I will probably be spending the day much the same way I spent yesterday. I'll find a good marathon on t.v., the kids will play video games with the husband. Not the best way to start a fresh year, but certainly not the worst either. Here's to a quick end to this cold so the year can really begin.