Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye '09

Ah, my friends I thank you kindly for your video game confessions both here and on twitter yesterday. While I really don't need any enabling, it is certainly comforting to know that I am not alone in the struggle of video game triumph versus actually working. Sure, I picked up the game a couple of times during the day, but I am proud to report that I did indeed get much work done as well.

I got in some production time to remake some smaller sold pieces and I got the first round of my sold mask done and I should get that finished in time to ship out on Saturday. I am determined to get that out of the way and back to the sequins mask. I also had a number of interesting and unexpected conversations yesterday that may or may not result in news in the coming year.

Speaking of the coming year, I have started to give some thought to my future plans. I hesitate to call them resolutions as I never keep those. Rather I can them goals, some more ridiculous than others of course, but I like a variety. The next few months should see me reach the magical sales number called 1000 barring any unforeseen circumstances. I'd love to hit 1500 by the end of 2010 because I like round numbers. The past year had me reaching 5000 hearts in my etsy shop and I hope to gain another 1000 in the new year. I want to see my tatting worn and photoed on someone much more famous than I. I also want to get at least one more instructional needle tatting video up and get the actual Instructables for the last two free patterns I offered up as well. I tried to think of something even more ridiculous than the famous person thing, but the only thing I could come up with is a major magazine or televisions feature of my work.

Will I work to make any or all of these a reality? Maybe. I really do try not to get caught up in my goals, I like to let them happen organically. If opportunities arise I will seize them, otherwise I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing and hope that I can at the very least maintain the levels I've reached already. Good luck to all of you in the new year too!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm Ashamed

Zelda won. That's right, the video stole away my 'free' time yesterday. I knew that it would as I get a nagging feeling to finish the game. No, it's not done yet...I have to do more quests so I'm strong enough to beat the final baddie. Go ahead...mock if you must, but I'm bound to be back at it today as well.

I didn't touch a single sequins at all yesterday. I feel awful about that really, but I did finish a pair of barefoot sandals and began work on a new mask order. This one is my 'A Kind Of Pale Moon' mask except the customer wanted black seed beads instead of crystals. I don't usually have those on hand as I'm not really fond of working with beads in the first place, but I bought some to try out with the sequins. They didn't work out for that so now they've a second chance at being in some lace. I started using a single bead for each picot, but it just looked so lonely. It had no majesty at all, so I switched to the three per picot and got that really neat triangle design that other tatters and bead weavers use so much. It looks perfect to maintain the same feel as the crystals do without the sparkle.

I'll try to get back to the sequins today, but as the ordered mask is already paid for, it gets priority over pet projects. I always give myself up to two weeks to work on custom orders, but I hate myself when I know it could be done faster and I'm doing other things. Not that other things don't need to be done. Such is the life of a stay at home artisan. There is still much housework and, well life that must occur and it's ridiculous to even simply say that the line gets blurred. At this point there is no line, it is only myself that gets blurred. Yeah, I just watched the Matrix the other day on blu ray. Sometimes I wonder if I would stick to any kind of schedule were it not for me blurting my plans out everyday here.

My mind is already wandering to the next custom request though, trying to work out the best way to create it. No, I'm not telling you what it is yet. You'll see it when I start actually making it. It is another entirely new thing though and it needs to have a certain amount of drape. Most of my pieces are more, well...structured and this one might end up being so as well, but I'm trying to see if there are any patterns to start with that are more drapy. Okay, I am totally babbling now and repeating myself, making up words and whatnot, so I'm just gonna off now.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Sequins

I wanted to slowly settle back into routine yesterday. Instead I began the day with domestic duties galore, a couple of loads of dishes followed by what seemed like an entire day of laundry. I even threw in some garbage duty and kitty litter to round it all out. Yes, my life is very, very glamorous. While I managed to finish tatting a mask that had sold during my vacation, I only did a few minutes of sequins. You see, my two year old likes to help me with the sequins by picked them all up and then handing them to me one at a time. This is not particularly productive, cute as hell, but about as helpful as a heart attack, so I must remember to engage in sequins only while she sleeps for the best use of time.

As I am struggling with sewing them to empty spaces, I got a comment on an earlier post suggesting the use of black tulle to sew them to. Damn good idea...just a little too late for this piece though as I am not starting over with this. I am also feeling a little bit of remorse as I cover my tatting with these little shiny disks, though I knew I was going to do so all along, it seems a shame to hide the tatting. I have to remind myself that I did the simple split ring chains so they could be hidden. I find myself also beginning to doubt that this piece is becoming what I was commissioned to make in the first place. Sure, I don't regret making it either way even though I know that if it does make it into the store, the price tag will be ridiculous and it's likely to never find another home. I could call it a waste of time...if it doesn't meet approval, but instead I'll call it a challenge, an art piece if you will. Then, I will never make another...ever.

I do want to get this thing finished soon as I think I've mentioned that I have a few custom requests pending that will both require a prototype created first I think. As much extra time as that always takes, I really like having the ecru colored prototype sitting around for future projects. The only problem with using the ecru thread is it is slightly thicker than the black thread. I've been told that the different colored dyes used on thread or yarn all create a slightly different sizes, while I have no concept of why that is, I can tell you that it sure seems to be true as the ecru pieces made in size 10 thread are always larger than my final pieces made in black size 10 thread. But, I digress...I just want to get to work on those pieces, just not at the expense of the mask. There is no more laundry today, so maybe I'll make some headway today...maybe. Of course, I'm really close to the end of this Zelda game so maybe not.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday Recap

Ah, back to normal...well, almost anyway. We spent solstice and the days that followed in Monterey. We returned home on Wednesday when my brother and his girlfriend arrived from San Diego to christen our guestroom. Then of course it was straight into the holiday with Christmas dinner hosting duties and the subsequent cleanup. Many members of the family caught some bug or other even my daughter managed to contract fifth disease. That's not as bad as it sounds, she just has a rash on her cheeks, but it sure looks scary.

All the while I managed to actually stay on vacation. Sure I worked on some sewing some sequins in the hotel and Christmas eve I did tat a couple of things, but as soon as I received a Zelda game for Christmas, my needles were down. I decided that all the signs pointed to me wasting a little time. I have not done that is many a moon. Of course Sunday night I had to play catch up. I got orders ready, curated the Wunderkammer and caught up on emails and convos. Then I even had a little more time for Zelda...I love Zelda games.

I did get one tatting related gift and I was glad to receive it. A lovely wooden needle case I had eyed on etsy. Like many tatters, my needles have been existing in their plastic tube since purchased. Said tube was not standing the test of time. All my needles fit in this thing. There are even a few steel crochet hooks and beading needles in there. I have to appreciate my husbands ability to search through my massive favorites list, which contains mostly future Wunderkammer picks to find something I actually wanted for me, it had to be a chore.

I did get more sequins done on the mask project as I mentioned, but I haven't gotten any new pictures yet, so maybe for tomorrow. I also sold a mask that needs making so as you'll imagine I'm back to work today. Oh and my freshly inked neck, which is driving me batty with the itching should be ready for a proper picture soon as well, so you can see what I bought myself for the holidays. I'm sure to take a few days to really get back into the swing of things. Vacation always does that.

Oh, crap, I almost forgot to tell you. I know I mentioned that the mimics shop had vanished. Well, I did finally get that official message from the etsy legal team stated that they had removed the infringing material and informed the "user". It was a very formal, canned response, but that was all I needed. Also, though the mimics accounts still exist at Artfire and that other site, all the listings are gone. I'm still in that 'waiting for the other shoe to fall' mode, but I think I am now prepared should this sort of business rear it's ugly head again thanks in no small part to the legions of tatters and artisans I have had the pleasure of knowing online, who offered support and advice. What drama the Internet creates, it may also be used to destroy...and now I'm back to work.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tattoo & New

Back from the coast freshly tattooed and with apparently good news. No, you don't get a good picture of the tattoo yet. I posted one on facebook and twitter Tuesday morning, it was done late Monday night, but that picture is quite bad and it was very red, swollen and well, not as pretty as it really is. So, maybe in the next few days as it looks better, I'll share a better image.

Now the apparent good news. I say this with a slight bit of trepidation because I never did hear anything back from etsy one way or the other, so I am left with guesses as to the nature of this event. On Tuesday morning, I noted that the mimics shop stood empty. Without official confirmation as to why, I was still left wondering if it would turn out to be an opossum move. Then Wednesday before I headed back to the valley, the shop had vanished. No longer does that username have an active account on etsy. Still with no official confirmation, I can only guess that it is all over. Though I also admit to some fear over possible future events. I really can't dwell on all of that now.

I would again like to say thank you to all of you who sympathized with my plight, offered advice or support or just stood by me in your thoughts. I really appreciated every bit of that and it has made this easier to deal with. I know in the wider scheme of things this was just a minor annoyance. I haven't lost my perspective or anything, but when it first happened it could hardly have been any bigger.

Onto a few more things. I did get some time to work on sequins in the hotel, but I didn't take any new pictures. As I finished up the bottom edge, I realized that I am going to have to redo that whole section. I have not gotten the proper spacing on the sequins, they were far too close together and manage to warp the bottom chains into a much less desirable shape. I will probably save that horrible cutting and retatting until the end, but it must be done. I have done the top edge, the eyes and have begun on the netted section of the forehead. Trying to get sequins to fill the empty spaces is also proving a challenge. I'm still trying to work out the best method for that to happen, but I think a break though will be coming soon.

I also have a couple of new custom project ideas on my table, but I really need to get this mask done before my brain heads in other direction. I don't want to spoil the surprise on those so I'll share them as I get to work on them. The holiday shopping season is of course over and though there is usually a smidge of the 'what I didn't get' shopping after, I should be slightly freer to get these custom things worked on. I just hope at this point I don't forget any of them. So if I'm supposed to be working on something for you and you don't hear from me...fell free to nudge me as that might be in your best interest.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sequins

I'm off this morning on a holiday adventure. I will be scarce this week and most likely terribly off topic, I hope you'll forgive me.

I decided that I was indeed finished with the tatting phase of my mask after adding one more line of split rings, this time in the opposite direction. This was done to create a web upon which to string on the sequins. It also pulls the separate elements together in a fairly strong way and the mask almost stays on my face without a ribbon. I pressed the piece by draping a towel over my mannequin head and used much steam to tame the chains. After the sequins are added I see no way for the mask to be further pressed or washed, so I needed it as best as I could get it.

Next I spent like an hour trying to decide which method of sequin application to employ. As a former dancer, I have worn a lot of sequins...a lot, but I've never had to sew on rows of it before. I got loose sequins and started with the bead in the center technique, which was immediately too bulky and not flashy enough. So it was onto the simple rows. It took a while before I got into any kind of rhythm with the work, but now it's humming along. I might take it with me on my adventures, but I don't think a lot of work will get done this week. Hopefully next week, I'll have enough to show the commissioner of the project. At this point It really doesn't matter to me whether it works out for what it is intended as it has become a little of a mountain climbing expedition. Only done to see if I can reach the top.

One last thing before I off, my Mimic. Proper information has been provided to etsy to see if they can remove the seller, though I don't know how long before I will know one way or the other. In the meantime however, the mimic has set up shop on two more venues, Art Fire and glcmall.com, which I've never heard of, both under another store name, but with the same exact pieces. I don't know whether I should be more pissed off at this point or sad that they are trying so very hard. Anyway, that's all I'm saying about that and if I don't talk to you anymore this week, have a blessed Solstice, a happy Yule, a Merry Christmas...basically, yeah...happy holidays.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Mimic

I know that I promised not to dwell on this, but my copycat issue apparently runs much deeper than I had first assumed. Perhaps I was just so shocked that I didn't bother to take a closer look or maybe I have a had time believing someone would do this at all. Anyway, the Mimic has not only taken a design that I offered for free, but is now copying other pieces in my shop, I assume by counting stitches from my photos. It does not just end there though. The Mimics photos are styled to resembled my own including the border that I use to unify my images. Wait, there's more, the Mimic has also literally copy and pasted my store policies with the exception of available colors because I have more thread. This is ridiculous, blatant and tacky. Some of my policies indicate that I have had to recently change my policies due to fee changes at etsy that occurred before they even opened shop.

The mimic is easy to find, just search for tatting, I won't give them the satisfaction of a direct link. While the mimic has yet to garner any sales, the store has earned a few hearts. I am worried less about my possible loss of business than I am my reputation. It seems many of the Mimics moves are designed to fool my customers into thinking that the Mimic is me. I am not amused. Much of this is puzzling to me. Why be so dishonest? Why not use some of the great effort that is going into the ruse to simply make designs themselves? What motivates someone to do this sort of thing? Sure, if it had stopped with the Mimic thinking it was okay to sell the piece made with my pattern, I might have let the whole thing go. I might have accepted that that was my mistake, but this...this is not getting away from me. I have already sent off an email to etsy detailing the situation and I am preparing to send off a letter to their legal department as well if needed. Any educated advice on this subject would be well received.

I am of course complaining loudly here so that others know what is going on. I talked with other sellers who have experienced similar mimicry, copied item descriptions, policies, store announcements all along with copied designs. I even heard tale that one mimic added their victims name to the item tags in order to get customers that were looking for the original creator. Seriously, what is wrong with people?

I did manage a little progress on the mask despite the crap storm I just described. I decided to go with just a few split ring chains to attached the center motif to the outside edge. Though I might add a few more for stability, I think that that section will largely be covered with sequins anyway, so any design would be obscured anyway. I am supposed to try to create some large spiders to lay over the top, but I am beginning to doubt the practicality of that. The spiders in the original 'not a mask' were metal and jewel and I'm just not certain that I can do that with lace without it looking like a flea Market knockout. I'm trying to use that as an inspiration, so that the final mask will give the same basic effect as the 'not a mask', but I also want it to stand on its own as a piece.

I will likely try out some sequins methods today after I figure out how to press the mask. Then I think my blog posting might get sporadic. I'll try to pop in on a regular basis with updates, but my vacation from home school starts Monday and husband is home as well. Then there is of course all this holiday business, so try not miss me too much and so I don't forget, enjoy your holidays too!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coming Together

As the holiday shopping season begins its inevitable decline, I've mostly gotten my store back to pre-holiday levels. With the exception of a few collars and a couple of masks everything listed is made and ready to ship. Which of course means I have time to work on my new mask project.

Have you ever created something that you knew you never, ever wanted to remake again even at the beginning? Yeah, this piece is already one of those. My brilliant idea to start with the wire assembly completed has made things, well...complicated. Every stitch required that I do a little hand aerobics to get around the thing. Anyway, yesterdays first success was deciding on the center motif. It needed a focal design and I had originally thought I would go with a simple rounded center like a flower base, but that was not 'focal' enough so I picked one of the motifs I've been working with a lot lately and worked onto the eye portion. Here I'm just holding it trying to determine how much space it needs to attach to the forehead wire.

Once, I had that done I started working the vine pattern across the sides and top. I started before I did any math. This, like the wire thing, was probably a mistake. I did some measuring as I reached the center to try and attach correctly, but on the way back down the second side I still managed to throw symmetry out the window. I also realized about this point that pressing this piece is going to be a little troublesome. You see, my masks honestly look like a mess right off the needle. It takes an iron and steam to coax the rings and picot where they belong. I know this is not the preferred method for blocking a piece, but it works for me. In this picture I'd not quite gotten around yet, but I thought I was done for the day anyway.

I was wrong. I had one more section to work on. I finished the vine on a different section of the design that I had begun, so I made some adjustments. Sure, I could start all over with it, but I'm not gonna. Instead I decided to add a simple scallop along the bottom edge. This will eventually be embellished with black sequins filling in the space the scallops are creating. The 'not a mask' that I'm attempting to recreate covers a very large portion of the face, but I think another row on the bottom would be overkill particularly given that addition of sequins.

So what's left is to fill the space left and that task is hurting my head a bit. Working with a curved design always stretches my skills to their limit. I must keep placing the design on my face to get a sense of the actual space rather than the flat measurable space. I do have a mannequin head, but her face is just enough smaller than mine to be a poor substitute for a real head. I'm not sure I want to work too hard on these spaces as I know much of my work will be covered in the afore mentioned sequins. Then there's the spiders...but I'm getting ahead of myself. I promise to show you the 'inspiration' for this project when it is complete, but I don't want spoil the end result with a preview and there is much work left before it is what it is suppose to be.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shinier Things

Now, I promise not to dwell on this for too long, but I felt a short update was in order. No, I did not get a response from my admittedly strongly worded message to the person using my design to make tatted necklaces for sale. Instead, the seller renewed their entire shop in an effort, I suppose to get more exposure, or perhaps as a taunt to me personally. Either way, my annoyance continues. I heard more tales yesterday of crafters who will never share having heard mine and other stories like it. It makes me sad. I also thought about engaging in a childish game I would have called bury the listings by renewing myself. I though better of it and just a few hours later it was done anyway just by the natural flow of product listings. So yeah lady, go ahead and keep spending that money to renew...it's clearly working.

Moving on to shinier things. You might be wondering what the hell it is that I'm making here. Well, it's a brand new mask design. I was given the charge of recreating a mask that isn't a mask at all using tatting and sequins. Yes, I said sequins. The 'wasn't a mask at all' looks like it was actually glued right to the models face. Yeah, sequins and giant spider appliques just tacked right on to her impossibly beautiful face. Anyway, I decided that I needed more wire support for the larger face coverage so I added that forehead wire. Then I decided that instead of wire wrapping the whole assembly at the end I'd crochet around the wire in the beginning. I'm still not sure that was the right call at all. In fact my only relief at this point is I know that I will be adding a copious amount of sequins to the design, thus obscuring any mistakes I make at the start.

As you can tell, I've not gotten very far yet and in another possibly foolish move, I've decided to just design as I tat. I gave the mask a simple vine base and the top portion is likely to be basically a section of a doily design that appears in my head as I create it. Again, I am aware this could be disastrous, but I really hate the paper and pencil design process. I'd rather just get the thread out and sink or swim. Why am I even engaging in this craziness? Well, first I was asked and often I run with things like this regardless of the consequences. Second, because I've really been looking for an excuse to make another 'art' piece. You know something ridiculously complex that will likely never sell, but it's mere existence make you feel like a real artist rather than a sweat shop employee. It of course is going to take some time to get finished, but I will keep you abreast of any progress and wish me luck with this one!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Irony

2. a. Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: "Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated" (Richard Kain).
b. An occurrence, result, or circumstance notable for such incongruity. See Usage Note at ironic.

[French ironie, from Old French, from Latin īrōnīa, from Greek eirōneia, feigned ignorance, from eirōn, dissembler, probably from eirein, to say; see wer-5 in Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Right after I posted my pattern here yesterday, I went trolling etsy as I'm wont to do. I search through my competition which is becoming quite the sizable group. I'll tell you one thing most of us appear to have in common, mutual respect. Each tatter has their own style and niche. While we technically compete against each other, I find out work more complementary and rarely do we cross over into anothers core demographic.

I've also offered a nice handful of patterns now with just a few strings, clearly noted. While i have never minded competition that drives me to create new things, I do not want to compete against, well...my own things. As a precaution I try to state that my patterns are for personal use only. I hope this does not make me appear stingy, but it seems prudent to do so. I say all these things merely as the set up for the aforementioned irony.

So, as I mentioned, was trolling etsy, when what do my eyes spy, but necklaces worked up in my patterns. Yep, one of the ones I offered to help people learn needle tatting on Instructables. Then I checked the whole shop, which while containing original pieces also contained a couple of collar necklaces with the same pattern as my Portrait pieces. Now on that note, I must add a disclaimer. Those collar necklaces were in fact one half of a vintage pattern, so there is every possibility that another person saw those patterns and did exactly what I did to make them necklaces. Though in conjunction with the clearly mine necklace, it looks a little more like a case of, oh I could do that too. Again, I do not own that pattern, but I did in fact come up with the exact stitch counts in the other.

You'll notice I'm not naming names...yet. I've sent a rather stern message to the offending pattern and though I've not yet heard back I'm looking into having etsy remove the listings. I know that in the end they are probably only hurting themselves. I hate to be all negative, but as I mentioned on the twitter yesterday, the greater issue from all of this is the inclination to never offer a pattern again and to remove what I have offered. I'm not going to do that at this point, but the thought occurred. The thought also occurred among other crafters to not share their designs in the future to avoid this sort of thing and that's a shame. As a maker, I think most of us feel inclined to share our knowledge, to pass down information, to be a community, but the rampant theft of ideas make us pull up the welcome mat and lock ourselves inside.

To those who would take ideas and claim them as your own, simply disregard the original creator as irrelevant or profit from others hard work without acknowledgment thinking that there is nothing wrong with that, I have a moral lesson for you.
Often the shortest path leads nowhere.




Monday, December 14, 2009

Slave Bracelet Pattern

I promised you one last free pattern as a holiday gift. Yes, I'm aware as gifts go, it's a little lame, sort of like handing someone stereo instructions and no stereo. However, I think that some of you out there will like it a bunch. This pattern was written up as a request from someone, so it's not been tatted up by a bunch of people who tell me what I did wrong, so be warned and feel free to share any mistakes you find and I'll correct them here with a note as to the changes if any. This was my first slave bracelet design, recently featured as my bridal slave bracelets in the Etsy Storque. As always I provide the pattern for personal use only, if you'd be so kind!

Slave Bracelet Pattern:

Size 10 thread, size 5 needle or two shuttles

You will need two hooks closures, size 3 I believe. Instead of using the eye portion, I hook directly onto the lace to close the bracelet.

R 3-3-3-3 cl rw, Ch 6 cl rw, R 3-3-3-3 cl rw, Ch 6-5 join to first loop of hook 2 join to second look of hook 5 cl rw, R 3 join to last picot of previous ring 3-3-3 cl rw, ch 5 add hook 2 add hook 5-2-6 cl rw, R 3+3-3-3, ch 6-2-6-6 cl rw, R 3+3-3+3 cl rw, Ch 6 cl rw, R 3 join to side picot of first ring 3-3-3 cl rw, Ch 6 cl rw, r 3-3-3-3 cl rw, ch 6 join to opposite ch 6-2-6 cl rw, r 3+3-3-3 cl rw, ch 6-2-6-6 cl rw, 3+3-3-3 cl rw, ch 6-6-6 cl rw, r 3+3-3+3 cl rw, ch 6 cl rw, r 2-2 join to side picot of ring 2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch4 cl rw, R 2-2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 6 join to opposite chain6-6 cl rw, r 2-2+2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 6-6 cl rw, r 2-2+2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 4 cl rw, r 2+2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 4 cl rw, r 2+2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 4 cl rw, r 2+2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch 4 cl rw, r 2+2-2-2-2-2 cl rw, ch6 join to opposite chain 6 cl rw.

Continue working as a mirror to the first half. When you get to the end, instead of adding hooks just tat the picots instead.

Center Motif: 8 rings of 5p sep by 2ds and 4ds chains. Join to bracelet by center picot of rings.

Finger loop: R 3-3 join to center motif 3-3 cl rw, Make a josphine knot ring of about 150 jk. You can adjust the number to fit your hand.

This bracelet will fit a smaller wrist, to make it fit larger, I've used several methods depending on the size needed, A row of three split rings attached to either end is the easiest, but if you plan on doing so, you will need to add your hooks to this section rather that the main one. You may of course leave off the hooks entirely and use a ribbon to lace and tie shut eliminating the sizing need. If you've any question or comments, please do leave them!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Half The Story

I hate to ramble two days in a row, but I fear that is exactly what I'm gonna do. Let's see...I did have a potentially horrible situation arise yesterday, but I don't want to go into too many details as it resolved itself in my satisfaction. Something that had appeared to be blatant theft seems now to be more of a coincidence coupled with an honest mistake. I am glad that I did not over react, but I did confront the situation and I am glad that I did. There are far too many incidents that do turn our to be that blatant design theft that I feared and to any of you that have suffered that, I feel your pain.

I also had another no sales day in the etsy shop. No I'm not crying in my coffee. Some days it rains and some days the sun shines. I've just gotten so used to the recent sales volume that these hiccups along the way send me into a bit of a panic. Of course I then I think about how my sales journey began, how few sales occurred and how excited I was about each and every little one and I calm down and get back to work. Sometimes we have to remember where we've been to get where we're going.

And that last sentence is the clever sort of thing I was trying to think of yesterday as I made my 10,000th tweet on the twitter. It's okay, you can mock that one all you like. I do love the twitter and believe it or not the experience has been rewarding. I've met lovely people both as friends and customers, I've won stuff, I've given away stuff, but I do know that I can sometimes twitter my day away. Lucky for me, I can do that and tat at the same time.

You'll notice I added a picture today that I haven't talked about. It's just a bracelet I made yesterday that I haven't done up in a while and thought I'd add a picture to the post. The design was originally created for a wedding bracelet in white and each picot held a swarovski crystal. Actually telling you about it now makes me want to remake the bracelet the way that I did for that. Hmm, maybe later, the wedding section is a bit bare.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ummm

Okay, so it's one of those morning where I've got just about nothing new to contribute to the conversation. Nothing too terribly fancy has happened, no news to share, so all you're going to get is babbling .

Yesterday was a day of remaking, I abandoned the barefoot sandals as they were taking too long and I fear the holiday season makes me nearly as impatient as the drivers on the road that I want to dismember for their horribly unkind behavior. So instead I made a couple of necklaces. I did sell one of my newest creations, the tatted spine, so I got to start on making that one again too, though I still need to get the hardware on that one.

I have long finished my holiday shopping, but as I curate the Wunderkammer, my thoughts are with handmade giftable items. If you're inclined to like the Steampunk or goth side of life or you need to gift someone who does, stop by the Wunderkammer during the next week as I focus on those finds there. That totally sounded like a commercial, ha. I've also been wanting to say something like this one, Every woman loves lace, why not get her some of mine for the holiday. Whew, that's been killing me. I keep thinking I should tweet it, then that little voice in my head simply says, "laaame" and I know the little voice is right, so I shush. Apparently the little voice is not quite awake to stop me and the rambling has won out. Please forgive me.

More tatting today as I try to catch up with sold orders and wish for more of them. I think I'm beginning to look forward to the quiet of next month, but just for a little while. I really do prefer to be busy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Found

I feel certain that the good karma should be wearing off soon. Again yesterday, I was surprised with a lovely bit of news. I had just gotten up to do something, came back to the computer to see a bunch of messages all of a sudden. Their subject, the etsy finds email. So I open the email to discover that my bridal pair of slave bracelets were among the many winter wedding themed finds. The other messages in my inbox were friends alerting and congratulating my luck! Once many moons ago, one of my masks earned a feature in the finds email, though I was contacted before hand that time, so I prepared to spend the day counting views and whatnot. This time was a complete surprise.

If you're wondering what a feature like this can do, I have prepared some comparisons. First off, it didn't do anything for sales really at all, this time nor the last. What does happen is a lot of convos are received with mostly, "I love your work" or "I didn't know anyone tatted anymore". Your views on the item featured and your store do in fact go through the roof. On a typical day I get between 150 and 250 store views, yesterday the number was nearly 1200. That's good news as are the nearly 60 new hearts on the shop. I do not mean to undermine the excitement at being featured somewhere with such great exposure, but this feature had a large amount of picks in it. I figured sharing the data would put a realistic spin on it. This is awesome, but not the same as say being the featured seller which does result in tremendous sales for anyone that gets that spot.

In between all the extra conversations including one where I was asked to make pieces 'exclusively for her brand', I declined, I mostly worked on sold pieces. My eyes did wander a few times to the beads in my tatting jar, teasing me with potential, but I must stay the course. This is turning to to be one extremely long and busy week. And to karma, here's hoping it just gets busier, but only in that I have tons of sales to take care of way, not more cleaning or errands or anything though. On a karma related note, I do plan on offering up that other pattern I teased about on Monday or Tuesday next week, so be on the look out for that as well. Back to the salt mine for me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

900

Yeah, you knew it was coming. Yesterday, late in the afternoon I received my 900th sale. Then as evening worn on two more graced me. So, I'm well on my way to my next goal, the illusive and coveted 1000 sales. When I set up my last group of unrealistic goals that was a larger than life one. With the end of the holiday shopping season looming it is unlikely to be achieved by the end of the year as I had set forth, but I'm still very pleased at how far I've come in recent months. My other goal was reached not too long ago too. That one was to hit 5000 hearts on my etsy store by the end of the year and I'm close to getting 5200 at this point. In fact the only goal that I placed upon myself that has yet to manifest, is the big celebrity client that gets my pieces photographed or on the big screen. So we'll just shift that one to next year and cross our fingers shall we.

I did get photos of the purple set I went on about yesterday, though the weather and my enormous cold sore precluded me from getting modeled shots at least they are done and listed. They were a frustrating set to create mostly because of the amethyst pieces. They are side drilled at seemingly random spots at the tip, so I had to get more creative with the wire wrapping than I actually possess the skills for. Seriously, there were teeth involved and one amethyst did not survive the process. Apparently they are more fragile than I thought when I started. So as you can imagine I will not be making any more just like these, though I think I might make some more sets in other colors with other bits I've not used yet.

I'm on a steady diet of remaking sold pieces trying to alternate between larger ones and smaller ones to get them listed as quickly as I can. I know I could just list them all as customs and then work on them, but at this time of year having customs listed is almost useless for sales as people haven't much time to wait for things. So, I'll just keep plugging along hoping I pick the best pieces to remake first before the magic window of online holiday shopping closes for the season and I have to get used to a sale every other day...or so. I'm just prepping myself now for the downturn so I don't totally freak out and oh crap...is this another cold sore? I hate winter.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wow

Well, that was one whirlwind of a weekend, no really. On Friday I managed to create a pair of earrings to match my recent Tenebrous Pendant. It was a little fiddly with the top part. I ended up using the dreaded split ring just to keep the earring in one piece. Then after that I found some amethyst briolettes that I bought eons ago and made another set using those, purple swarovski rounds and the hand dyed deep purple thread. I don't have any pictures of those as I finished them after the sun had set for the day.

I fully intended to get pictures on Saturday and get the one of a kind set listed, but I was derailed by the most pleasant of distractions, a huge sales day. TotusMel Tats sold 13 items on Saturday, an unprecedented event. First was a customer that found my store "randomly" as she put it and then proceeded to purchase 8 items. Then a few more customers the same day. I know there are etsy sellers out there that make these kinds of sales often. I am not one of them. I had just gone two days without a single sale and if that had occurred outside the holiday shopping season, it would have not been unusual at all. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, Woo Hoo!!!!

Of course this did stop my design a day adventure. Though most of the pieces sold were already made and ready to ship, I did have to make a custom sized slave bracelet and a pair of ankle corsets to get these, and the 3 additional items ordered on Sunday out as soon as possible. Now I sit here with just a bit more to make on these orders which will then be followed by a mass re making of the sold items. I will try to get pictures of the purple set though we are suppose to get snow here today...snow. If you're not sure where I live, snow only occurs here once like every 10 years, so this is all bizarre and a bit freaky really. Anyway, it means no sun and no sun means bad photos. I might try anyway since they are made and aren't doing anyone any good just sitting here.

The sales of the weekend have put me just 2 shy of 900, so expect another woo hoo style post when that occurs, hopefully soon. I just want to get on my way to 1000...and here I go.

Friday, December 4, 2009

And That's Three

As I thought about my recent ability to create a new piece a day, I somehow got it into my head that I should keep trying to do that. One new piece a day, for as long as I can manage it anyway. I never know when I will get derailed by other obligations, but I figured it definitely couldn't hurt to try and get a small piece out everyday. They may not all end up listed for sale, but I will keep sharing them here at least so we can all learn from the successes and failures of the day.

Yesterday's piece was a motif I chose out of a DMC tatting book circa 1972. Now, I asked the twitterverse whether this was considered vintage and though many people created during the seventies and before were reluctant to agree, we decided it was. I know that's not really all that important as a book put out by a thread company probably contains a lot of recycled patterns anyway. Anyway, I tatted up the motif as it was written intending to break down the elements to create something new, but I liked the motif so much by itself that I chose to make a pendant out of it. In the pattern it was part of a luncheon set and the picture was so bad, I couldn't tell how pretty it really was.

I couldn't leave it be though, so I added some beads in deep red shades using my less that stellar wire wrapping skills and hung it from a ribbon. It has a very Gothic feel to it and is the perfect contrast to the more modern designs of the last couple of days. I still plan on dissecting the design for some more pieces. I could see the elements tease me as I worked up the motif the first time. I think today might be a simple pair of matching earrings, but I've some interesting choker ideas as well.

I had zero sales yesterday and though I'm not crying in a corner weeping over it, it did get me to thinking about advertising my shop which aside from my "social networking" I do not do. I've no ads anywhere and I'm starting to think that I might want to get on that. Every time I sit down to design one though, I feel like it's coming up short and then I just stop. I've also been thinking of sponsoring a giveaway on another site, but am not sure where would be a good place. Then of course there's the fear of asking where I think I might like to do one. I may be a perfectly competent lace maker, but as a business person, I am seriously lacking. Well, that's enough of that for now.

One last piece of news for you this Friday morning. You might have noticed the large badge in the right column stating that I am a Wishpot expert. If you don't know what wishpot is, it's a social shopping site. What is truly nice about the place is the interface with which to share ones wishlists or recommendations with others. Like other similar sites, you download a button for your browser bar and use that to add anything you want from any site to you lists. Perfect for any kind of registry, the lists can be shared and there is even a feature to request contributions to a larger gift. Say you want a vacation for your birthday, so can ask all your friends to simply contribute money through paypal to the end cost. I still need to look around a bit and get more familiar with the site. I was recruited on twitter to be a handmade expert and though I really hesitate to call myself an expert at anything, I get some exposure for my etsy store and I'll be able to add my Wunderkammer finds to a larger venue so they get exposure. My blog also syndicates over there, so again more exposure...maybe I won't need to take out ads after all. So check out the site, so far I like it much better than some of the others I've played with. Only time will tell.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Jeweled Spine

If you'd have told me that I would be making even one new design in December, I would have balked...there might have been laughter as well. Yet, here I am with the second design of the month and we're only a few days in, so what gives? Honestly, I think that I have been so into production mode, hoping for sales to keep me going that any down time requires an immediate task to keep me at that level. I've cleaned and done homeschooling, but the kids nap time in particular, must be busy tatting time for me.

I did a little remaking yesterday, but by nap time, I was mostly done with that for the day. I decided rather than go for a whole new design, I would search though my pile of UFO's...I think that's the term I've seen bandied about, unfinished objects. Anyway, I found one intended to be a pendant, but it still needed something. It's a motif I call the spine. It was an attempt at turning a vintage one shuttle pattern into a needle tatting pattern. I turned what were thread spaces into chains and for added effect made them celtic in that the weave around each other.

The pendant was also done in size 20 thread, a bit smaller than my usual pieces, so needed a more delicate display. I dug through my unused supplies and found some mis-ordered micro bead chain. Ridiculously thin and fragile looking, it was perfect for the design. I added a single swarovski crystal to the bottom to, I don't know , complete the look. All in all, it was an easy project since the tatting part was already done, but now I have another brand new necklace to present to the world. I call it the Jeweled Spine.

I should at this point make no more predictions as to what I will get done today. It's becoming clear that I am not in charge of my scheduling lately. I seem to be moving at whims beyond my normal household chores. Though sales have been good, they have not been as brisk as I had thought they might be. This of course is a blessing as well as a curse. More time for these spontaneous design adventures, but less money for, you know, shopping and what not. So, I might get to dig through more UFO's or I might be stuck in production mode, either way...I will be tatting my fingers off.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Bubble Lace

I continued to have one of the best days online yesterday. No, really...it was really nice. Of course it started with the beading gem feature, then I had a prominent place in The Michon Jewelry 5th day of Christmas gift guide. Really quite pleasant. Then as I tatted my fingers off, I got a sale off of twitter.

As my shoulder began to ache for just a bit too much speed tatting trying to remake all that had been sold recently, I decided to go ahead and spend some time designing. Using my brain more that my needle if you will. I thought back to a necklace I'd seen in the front page of etsy recently. You've seen them before I'm sure. One attaches a piece of vintage lace or more likely a mass produced lace applique to a necklace, perhaps adding a second to the other side and there you have. As a lace maker, I've never been too impressed with the skills it takes to make them, but I do like the look. So, I decided to make my own with hand tatted lace designed specifically for the purpose.

I started with the half Starburst motif and tatted it to another to make new shape, a bit of a zigzag. Then as I placed it on the mannequin, I puzzled on what to make the second piece to give the piece the proper balance. I went with a simple split ring design using the same stitch counts as the motif. The hard part was actually working with the chain to create the asymmetric look. Once I got everything properly measure out, it all fell into place.

I should get the piece listed later today and we'll see if my version gets any love. I want to try out a few more motif ideas, but I like to see if the concept falls flat or flies first.

Oh and there was one last little 'yay!' for the day. I uploaded one of the pictures me and my daughter took for Poppy's Wicked Garden to a flickr group of some friends fashion blog, The Demoiselles. You, know, my modeling gig with my new top. Anyway, they were picking a winner from the current crop of photos and mine was their choice. The photographer being 5 might have cuted them over the edge, but whatever...I won. I'm not the most fashionably forward person, but their blog is honest speak and they are most wonderful people, so I'm pleased. Oh, what did I win? A pair of panties...awesome ones.

So, I'd like to extend a thank you to karma for the great day that I had. I really needed that one. Now, it's back to the production line with the tatting. The Holidays come but once a year and people only shop like this now, so I must take full advantage. I paid the bills the other day...and yeah, I'm getting back to work now.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Tuesday To You

Cyber Monday was almost a big old bust, for me at least, but leave to the night to fix everything. I woke up to a couple more sales and I'm feeling great. I'm also really happy about how the barefoot sandal pattern was received. I hope all of you who give it a go, share your work. I also got one more nice little convo this morning on etsy. A lovely jewelry blog has featured me today. You can see the piece at the Beading Gem. Thanks to those familiar names which suggested me to the author after her last post on tatting.

Now, if you'll direct your attention to the right hand column, you'll see a brand new set of links. Now, this is just the beginning of my tatting resources overhaul. These are the links to both my patterns published in blog posts as well as the ones on Instructables. At some point, I will add a few tatting blogs that I frequent as well as other important tatting locations for those wandering souls that land here looking for guidance. What is sort of funny, I had started the blog as a recommendation from other etsy sellers as a promotional tool. I never thought that I would ever be helping people enter the world of tatting, but I do enjoy doing so.

Speaking of tatting, I've another discovery to share. I use the google alerts to check on my tatting and I also have one to check out tatted jewelry in general. In Sunday's alert, I got a strange link to Anthropologie of all places. I clicked through to find a pair of metal filigree looking earrings named Silver Tatting Drops. What does it all mean? Is the technique starting to gain enough popularity for a chain store to co op the name to sell something? That can't be. What reason, then? Anyway, I thought was an interesting find even if it really has nothing to do with the tatting you and I are familiar with.

I did want to also share that I do have one more pattern to publish here before the year is out. I didn't want to give them out all at once, but I did want to let you know there was another one coming in the next few weeks. Now, I happily have some tatting to get to myself.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Want A Free Tatting Pattern

You'd think after a five day weekend, I'd be ready to just get back to it, but you'd be wrong. I stalled on several projects meaning this morning has already been a whirlwind of tasks and it's not even 6 am yet. Rather than dwell on it however, let's just get to it. To summarize everything, the etsy store now has free worldwide shipping throughout the holidays. If you've a custom order or just a gift that needs purchasing, you might want to do sooner rather than later. I did not place in the Instructables Halloween contest this year and while I'm slightly bummed, the competition was amazing, so no worries there and today I have an early holiday present for you.

The Queens Feet- Barefoot Sandals

Size 10 crochet cotton, size 5 needle, size US7 crochet hook

Center:
4 rings of 5ds, p, 3ds, 9p sep by 3ds, p, 5ds close join each ring together by the 1st and 11th picot.

1st Round:
R 3ds p 3ds p 3ds join to the 3rd free picot before the join of the center ring, 8ds cl do not reverse, *R 8ds join to 3rd free picot of
next center ring, 3ds p 3 ds p 3ds cl rw
Ch 6ds p 3ds p 3ds cl rw
R 3ds p 3ds join to 2nd p of last ring, 3ds join to next p of center ring, 3ds p 3ds p 3ds cl rw
Ch 3ds 6 p sep by 3 ds, 3 ds cl rw
R 3ds p 3ds p 3ds, skip next picot and join to the next picot of the center ring, 3ds p 3ds p 3ds cl rw
Ch 3ds p 3ds p 6ds cl rw
R 3ds p 3ds, skip one picot of last ring, join to next picot, 3ds join to next picot of center ring, 8ds cl do not reverse
Repeat from * around.

Corners, make 2 (see photo for joins to motif):
R 6ds join to motif, 3 ds 4 picots sep by 3ds, 3ds cl do not reverse
R 3ds join to last p of previous ring, 3ds 7 p sep by 3ds, 3ds cl do not reverse
R 3ds join to last p of previous ring, 3ds 3 p sep by 3ds, 3 ds join to p of motif, 6ds close, tie and cut

Straps:
R 3ds 8 picots sep by 3ds, 3ds close joining to the corner ring at the center 2 picots, tie, do not cut
Begin crochet chain of approx. 125 - 150 stitches at the close of the ring. Make chain shorter or longer for size or look. At the end of chain make R 3ds 8 p sep by 3ds, 3ds close, tie and cut

Toe Loop:
Make Same as Corner but join the first ring to the 3rd picot of the 6-chain and the third ring to the 5th. Note: this is intentionally uneven.
Ring 3ds, 6 p sep by 3ds, 3ds close, joining to previous ring by center two picots, close rw
Josephine Ring of 140 stitches or as many as needed to make large enough loop, tie and cut

I've been emailing this to anyone who asked for so long, intending to eventually do up an Instructable, but I've not had the chance to take pictures for that. I will get around to it, I'm sure, but until then feel free to make as many of these as you like for personal use and gifts only please, though I could care less if you sell them locally, just not online if you'd be so kind, thanks.

If you have any questions or if I've made any mistakes, please do not hesitate to let me know. I've no illusions of pattern writing perfection. In fact I'm right awful at it which is why I do so few of them.

F.A.Q Update: To make the join for the center motif, first I make the last ring up to the final join, then I pull those stitches off the needle being careful to not pull the thread all the way through. Then I use a crochet hook to make the join and work the last stitches. Pull those stitches through, finish and close the ring.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Coma

I am slightly less than lucid this morning. There was of course much cleaning, cooking and chaos. The house filled with 18 people and 3 small dogs and shockingly returned to n almost normal state in very little time. The turkey roast far to quickly thanks to out lack of knowledge regarding my new houses convection oven. Though the warming featured allowed us the time to create the rest of the meal before any damage was done. However, I actually had to prepare food and that was not our standing arrangement. I provide house, tables, dishes and workspace...I do not cook, I babysit and baste, but that is the extent of my skill level. Perhaps one day I shall take on these responsibilities from the "real" adults, but not yet man, not yet.

I did manage a little tatting between basting. I got a custom order the other day for one of my slave bracelet designs. I always state that they can be adjusted to other sizes upon request, but I always forget how challenging that can be. Let's face it, a design is created in a certain size. If the adjustment is exactly two motifs large, everything goes swimmingly. If the adjustment is very slight, I usually add a splint ring section to the edge that doesn't disturb the existing design. It's when the adjustment length is in between these sizes, that my brain cells are taxed. It took me seemingly forever to create an appropriate half motif for either side of the bracelet to keep in the design and the function. The saddest part, I will forget what I did next time and have to do this all over again. I know, I could just take a picture of the piece, but yeah...that would make it easy.

If you're looking for my black Friday/Cyber Monday deal...I'm afraid you won't really find one. I have given the entire store free worldwide shipping through the holiday shopping season and that's it for me. I may still put up the occasional one day facebook sale, but honestly it gets tiring maintaining those as well. I'd rather put my efforts into creating pieces as quickly as possible. Once the holidays have past, I'm looking forward to more designing and creating more tutorials for Instructables and maybe I'll actually submit something to the new Stampington publication on string. I really wanted to do that for their first issue, but I just don't seem to have the patience to do the step out photos and get all the instructions together for anything. It's just such a hassle to photograph everything one step at a time, when I've so many other things and people demanding my attention, but I digress. This babble fest is over for the week. I'll be back Monday, hopefully fresh and revived.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And Here We Go Again

Oh my dear friends and anonymous readers, I have been informed that I am in point of fact, mentally unstable...yes, it's true. I can be...wait for it, defensive when attacked, self conscious and even occasionally proud of my hard earned skills. I have also been informed that many of the people I have been fortunate to call friends are actually a childish mob who defend me even when they are not actually emailed to do so.

Apparently after I finished venting and letting the issues of the weekend go, someone else chose to pick a fight. Perhaps they have far too much time on theirs hands, perhaps they haven't found the right video game on which to unleash their aggression. I really couldn't say. In fact, they could be a perfectly reasonable human being in real life. Who's to say If you have no idea why I'm being so odd this morning, please feel free to read the comments of Mondays post, but don't bother feeding the troll. I have sadly had to enable comment moderation to avoid having a public argument with someone I don't even know.

I don't even really know what else to say about the whole thing. It just seems ridiculous at this point. What kind of person goes to a new blog and then almost immediately attacks the writer? It just seems like a waste of time. Look around, you don't like it, you leave and never bother again, right? Oh, look at me I'm being all mentally unstable again. My initial problem has been handle in the way I chose to handle it. I'd like to again say thank you to all the members of my "childish" or "kiddie" mob. You make me feel all safe and warm...kind of like friends. For all of you bothered or made uncomfortable by all this business, I truly apologize. I didn't like to engage in playground battles as a child and it's a shame I was dragged into one here where all I really like to do is create, share and occasionally vent to a sympathetic ear.

I'm going to go back to tatting now and spending the day with my family and living a contented and fulfilled life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One Up

As you might imagine, I was in a mood yesterday. Of course, this did not stop the world from turning and my days seem to be getting busier by the hour. I wish I could think that things will settle down after this weekend, but I know better. I imagine that I won't get a good breath until after all the holidays have come and gone. Please don't take that as a complaint however. I am absolutely grateful for each and every sale I'm getting that keeps my needles perpetually threaded.

To add to my already down note of a day, I'm still waiting on several orders of random stuff I need. Seriously, at this point I have so many different things on order, I've almost lost track of it all, but I know that I need it now. I wish I had a random picture to perk up the blog post today, but I've got nothing. I would like to throw out a thank you for all the support I was given yesterday everywhere. I've been working at remaking things as soon as they sell so that I can immediately relist them. I'm just now finishing up a pair of slave bracelets that I sold yesterday.

Wait, I have something nice I can share. A few months back there a call for donations to contributor gift bags for the online magazine VivaLaModa. I offered up some pendants and was promised reviews int he magazine. The issue is out now and if you flip to page 69 you'll find the gift reviews. Each one contains one of my pendants and thus is reviews on every one of those review pages. I've no idea if this will help out as far as advertising, but it seemed an inexpensive way to get a little bit of exposure, plus I was in one of those strange, overly generous moods. I can't really post a picture as it is a magazine format, but it's free and an enjoyable magazine, so you can go have a look see if you're so inclined.

On that higher note, I shall stop writing now.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What The?

Oh, weekend...so full of drama both good and confusing. My household was abuzz with preparations for the coming holiday week. All cleaning and the children uncleaning. We had dental appointments and shopping for table wares. We had playtime with the cousins and delivery of the dining set we'd waiting over two months to receive. I finished knitting up a gift and tatting all weekend long. We bought one set of dishes and acquired another which all needed washing as well. It was mostly ups, but there was one very odd down.

I awoke rather early on Saturday and did a random google search for ankle corsets. I often do this sort of thing to see if anything has been featured anywhere, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a pair of my corsets for sale elsewhere. I was shocked and annoyed that I had not been informed that a pair I had sold would be for sale. I had been asked about wholesaling to the site, which I have never really done anywhere. Why let someone pay you less for something & then charge the customer the same amount, particularly when it is online as well. Not to mention that I can't make enough stock for that sort of deal. I suppose it would have been fine had I known, but the other weird detail was the renaming of the piece to something I find silly. The full and initial rant is located on my facebook fan page. I have calmed and I think that it might just fade into the sunset, but yeah, that was my weekend, 'what the...?' moment.

This week should be full of more tatting, the start of the free shipping season and hopefully the arrival of my belly dancing piece supplies, so I can get that made in time. There of course will be eating and whatnot and my posting here and at the wunderkammer mat be interrupted, but I don't know how busy I will actually be yet. Just don't be shocked if I seem to disappear for a bit, like I'm going to do right now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday

See now, I fully intended to start on all that tatting link business yesterday, but I completely spaced on it. I knew it was wise to say that it would happen in the coming weeks. There is just so many little things piling up around me. Yesterday we had the dental appointments, followed by impromptu shopping for dishes. Of course we got home and found a broken plate, so back those go, but at least we know which ones we like. Then there was the Michaels trip where we got to see the line outside the movie theater for the twilight movie...I laughed so hard and...well, loud. I felt mean for a minute, but man, funny.

Off the comedy for a moment though and back to the Michaels trip. I saw on the front page of etsy last week a silver bracelet made from crocheted lace. It was stunning and ridiculously expensive. I had always thought about making my tatting into metal or clay or something more, well, solid, but it seemed prohibitively difficult. I've no metal working knowledge, but from what I've read, lost wax casting something as delicate as lace is nigh on impossible. I inquired with the seller as to her methods and though she held on to her trade secrets, and I don't blame her, she got me thinking hard about a way to make this happen again. So after Internet searching, I think I've acquired a method to try. I won't give away much just in case I've stumbled upon my own trade secret, but I have supplies and in the coming weeks (see what I did there) I plan on giving it a go. The chance of failure is of course high, but it's certainly worth an attempt.

That of course isn't happening today as I have tatting and cleaning for a dining room table arriving tomorrow. The facebook sale that I put up today will last through the weekend so I can not have to deal with it then as I'm sure there will be much to do for the impending holiday. Sometimes I wonder why we offer to host these crazy event. Oh, that's right, so we don't have to go anywhere and of course we have the 'big' house.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Week

One week...just one week left until the turkey drops. In between frantic creations, this is all I can think about. One week to clean the house, though I can't really start until a couple of days before as my children are expert destroyers and it would be more work to keep clean for the extra days. One week to prep for the "Black Friday/Cyber Monday" onslaught. Though in all honestly I don't really plan on doing much of anything except free shipping. I'll leave deep discounting to those of greater means and hope that customers will look past that to the high quality handmade gift. See, now I'm mental obsessing again. I've got a week.

Yesterday was a wonderful mail day, though I still don't have the supplies that I really need, I got several other things that perked the day right up. Most important of those was the black bamboo/cotton yarn I needed to complete my new Art Deco 2 scarf. The 2 is because I did have to change the edging to accommodate the size of the yarn. I think it still has the same basic look though. My photographing assistant was napping, so the pictures are all my fault this time. The scarf already has a home. In truth, I think it always did. I may relist this one as a custom order as well, but I though I had ordered a second skein of the yarn and I had only ordered one...so again I must order more yarn to have on hand before I relist this one.

I just received a mask order, so that will be on the agenda today. I did try out a new pattern yesterday out of a 1972 tatting book. I did not like how that one turned out, but I hadn't seen the book in a while with the move and all and now I think I shall try to get something else out of it. I also signed up for a Christmas exchange on the tatting forum that I need to get something put together for. I think I might actually have something perfect lying in my expired listing pile, though I still might make something a little more Christmasy...we'll see. Of course I won't be able to share that until after the pieces have been received by my mystery partner. I would hate to spoil the surprise just in case they read the blog.

Speaking of tatters though, I have noticed that I get an inordinate amount of traffic here from people looking for all sorts of needle tatting help. While, I do have a lot of information here, it is scattered around. So in the coming weeks, I plan on creating some helpful tatting links in the sidebar both within my blog and externally to help them find their way. I haven't collected a lot of tatting blog addresses as I usually visit via other blogs, so if you got any great lists, go ahead and share. Thanks and see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Carry On

The seas calm calmed a bit as I have chosen to focus less on the back steps and just keep swimming. I've been hard at work getting stock up and will continue to do so. When things that have been on order do finally arrive, I will just move in that direction. It is of course maddening to have so many projects waiting on the mailman. Not to mention the sudden realization that Thanksgiving is next week and there is much house cleaning that must occur before that holiday arrives and my house fills with relatives to the ceiling.

Honestly that is about it for me lately. I've got the homeschooling thing pretty much down, though we a having a rough patch with the whole phonics things. We're having a run of doctor appointments lately that are ever so much fun...though I thank my lucky starts that these are just eye and dentist visits and not ones associated with illness...knock on wood. It is of course getting colder and we're discovering new things about the new house in winter, there's a mice in the walls and we have just discovered how to use the gas fireplace thing. We've done most of the holiday shopping for the children, though we haven't even started on the adults yet. We will probably end up copping out and letting the gift certificates rain down on everyone, but who knows.

Sales in the etsy shop have been consistent if not brisk, so I can't complain much. I'm hoping for an acceleration after Thanksgiving so I can justify all the gift buying that needs...okay not needs, but that we going to do. I'll keep up the facebook sale for a spell especially since my last three sales were because of that event. I don't know if that will continue, but I would have been without sales had I not done it, so it's a win for now. For having nothing more to say, I seem to have babbled quite a bit, so i'll leave it now and get to some more tatting.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Aaaarrrggghhh

Again yesterday I was charged with babysitting my niece of the broken foot. While the first go round was pleasant and calm, apparently a weekend at her fathers house got her all crazy like and it was impossible to get her and my children to slow down. So I wrote off school for the morning and tatted instead. First I managed to create enough small pieces to get my listed items up to 100. This was of course a pointless endeavor as I actually want to sell things, so the number hopefully will drop soon. It was still something to work forward to, so in that respect, job well done.

Next up was the first day of my item a day facebook sale. I chose one of the selected items and put it on sale for $10 off. I suppose you could count that as a success as I did sell two of the sale item. Only time will tell how long it will be worth the effort. My original plan was to extend the sale a day through the holidays. but I can't imagine that just 150 people are going to buy at least one thing a day for the next month and a half. So, I guess we'll just see how it goes.

Oh, and to add to yesterdays tatting tragedy, you know where I ran out of yarn, I had an important package of supplies returned to sender as undeliverable. Of course said package was chock full of things I needed, oh, yesterday. Sure I could order more, but them when I do get this package I'll have too much and I'd still have to wait for that package. I might just head over to Michaels and overpay for a small amount of the rings, but I really don't want to. I know, stubbornness is not attractive. Again, oh, well.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Runway

First off this morning, I have horrible tatting news to share. About halfway down the second side of my Art Deco scarf in black...I ran out of yarn. Now, this wouldn't be so tragic except the yarn I used was acquired elsewhere and not carried in my neck of the woods. I prompted ordered some more from a quick shipping company, but it will still be days before I can finish the scarf...I am sad.

In other news, you might recall how I purchased a top on etsy and was cajoled into providing models pictures of said top to the maker. No? Well, I did and the shirt arrived on Friday along with a great many extras thrown in as a bribe. I am in love with this top from poppyswickedgarden. Honestly, it looks great, feels better and well, here is a picture. You can see more if you click the image as it links to the listing at etsy. I always feel goofy "modeling", but my 5 year old helped with the pictures and it was a bit more fun than I thought. So, if you'd like to send me free handmade clothes to "model" for you...feel free. No? Fine, be that way.

Again I fall into the task of remaking pieces. I did manage to get a few new small ones listed in the store over the weekend and I even got a front page feature...at 4 in the morning. I didn't it because I sleep, but it got me a few views and a couple of convos all about the listing picture that was not done by me, but still. Here's hoping for a feature in a more prominent time slot some time soon.

Last bit of news here. I plan on starting an exclusive facebook fan sale today. It will be one item a day on sale advertised only there, available only to fans. So if you're there and not a fan yet, click over there in the left column to become one so you might be privy to such goings on.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday

Ah, Friday, that glorious day that says to you, 'hey, you still have one more insanely busy day before you get to relax!' and then kicks you in the rear for thinking otherwise. On today's butt kicking agenda, eight hours of babysitting my niece...who has a recently broken foot and shall need to be carried to the bathroom. Also today, we have the laundry which I failed to put away yesterday, several more pieces that need making, normal homeschooling duties and all the other miscellaneous tasks that rear their ugly heads during the course of an average day. To help me deal with this list, I have...well, I have nothing, just me. It's going to be a fun one indeed.

Going back to yesterday for a moment though. I listed both of the new slave bracelets and while they were well received on twitter, there was a shiny new view bug on etsy, so all my new listing were showing '0' views. I know that in the wider scheme of things this is but a minor annoyance, but it is a really annoying annoyance. It seems to be fixed now, but I have no idea whether the views during the bugs reign were counted. Again, I know silly problem, but I really like to know what my views are really like...I'm obsessed like that.

I mentioned that I have a few more pieces to remake today and I still haven't gotten back to that scarf. Unless I get another custom request that requires me to make something new, I think the next new item will be the belly dance necklace that can not be started until my supplies arrive. The shipping times on the site I ordered from are ridiculously long, so it will likely be a rush job anyway. Well, the sun is now rising and I must prepare for the day.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Slave

So turns out, I was a big old liar yesterday as I wrote that I would accomplish nothing during the day. I assumed a days worth of activities coupled with sheer exhaustion would preclude working. On the contrary, the husband wasn't feeling well, so the activities changed to movie watching on the couch and I can work with that.

I finished the collar I was working on during our blu ray screening of Up and then I started work on the slave bracelet design during a Spongebob marathon. My accepted task was to make a slave bracelet design that was less flowery and girly. My first attempt was to take the starbust motif that I've tuned into a pendant as well as a necklace and work it into the bracelet base that I already use.
It was basically a this for that exchange so it worked up quickly and I posted it for the customers approval as well as on the facebook fan page.

It was rejected as being still a little too girly, so I began work on take two. This time I took the same design as my heart pendant and further modified the pattern until it was large enough to be place on the hand. This was not a simple this for that exchange and I spent quite a while looking cross eyed at the pieces trying to see how to marry them together. Once the idea clicked I had the new one made up before the children woke from their naps and this time it was approved. Since the first was one a prototype and the customer wanted a pair, I made up two with some slight variations to match. That means that both of these designs will be making a debut in my etsy store today. I know, two new things in one day...amazing.

In other news, I appear to be doing rather well in the voting phase of the Instructables contest. There are still three days left for the voting, so go and vote for my mask tutorial if you haven't yet. I think I might actually have a shot at winning at least a second place in this thing. I wish I could see how many votes have actually been cast, but that's not an option. Anyway, link is here if you still need to go and vote!

I'm going to try and get back to that scarf today and I have at least one mask that wants to be remade as well, but we'll see. I think today might be a fall out day after all that progress yesterday. Yeah, I might just try and relax and you know, do some laundry, dishes, or really get crazy and vacuum something. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sleepover

Sorry if I lack the chipper this morning, but we hosted a sleepover last night. I know you're thinking, aren't your daughters really young? Why, yes they are. We had their cousins over along with Grandma to help. This equals 4 girls between the ages of 2 and 7. Now, I remember the destruction of teenage girl slumber party, but was different. This was, mommy has to sleep with us too and even though we're tired, we're going to fight the actually going to sleep until you're ready to explode with uncontrollable rage tempered only by the fact that you're so tired too. So, yeah...not so much with the chipper this morning.

Today is also a holiday, no homeschooling and husband is home from work. So even if I wanted to get work done, it is unlikely to occur. I did get a request for a slightly different patterned slave bracelet so I might carve out some time to work on a new one. It won't be completely different, but I need to change the motif that sits on the hand and perhaps the bottom edge of the bracelet to match better with whatever motif I go with.

Still on the remaking kick as well as working on the new scarf. Since no one is technically waiting for the scarf I'm not in a huge rush to get it done. I keep telling myself that scarf only sell during the winter, but then I have to remind myself that the world is round and it's only winter up here. I do have quite a few Australian customers so, yeah no rush on the scarf.

I'd continue to go on about stuff, but I am exhausted and can't remember if there was anything else worth sharing. Oh, but thanks so much to everyone that took a minute to go vote in the Instructables Halloween contest for me. I really appreciate it, if you haven't yet, the link is here. Since I'm feeling a bit attention deprived lately this is a welcome salve and now I shall try to go and wake up some more.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Instructables Contest

And a happy Tuesday morning to you. No, I'm not in a ridiculously fine mood today, just felt the need for a greeting. Oh and I have a small favor to ask of you. Don't worry, it's a small one. last year the slide show of my tatted mask won third place in the Instructables Halloween contest co-sponsored by etsy. It was my introduction to the site and a month later I had completed the tutorial for the mask making it eligible for entry in this years contest. So as you might have guessed it has been entered, now I need you to go and vote for the Mask Tutorial so that I might have a chance to win...please. You'll find the contest page here and you only need to login and vote since I know many of you have already registered for the site. If you haven't, there is a free membership and you can find tutorials on almost anything you should ever want to know. Thank you for your time.

Moving on, I spend most of yesterday working on an Art Deco scarf with Panda Cotton yarn. It's a bamboo, cotton blend and is slightly thicker than the wool I usually use for the pattern. The motifs worked up just fine, but as I began the edging, it was clear that the size difference was going to require a different pattern for the edge to work. I made some on the fly changes and Ive still a way to go before it's done and we see whether the changes result in a nice pattern or not.

I might take a break on the scarf today as I now have a few pieces that need remaking. Here's hoping that this is the beginning of a brisk holiday shopping season. The last few years, I've used nearly all the money made during the season for our holiday gifts, so the more I sell, the more I get to shop. Though we are nearly done with all the kids gifts, we haven't even started on all the adults that we need to gift.

So today, remaking pieces, cleaning the house for a cousin sleepover, ordering up some promo stickers from somewhere. Ooh and I still need to get those beads and check my supplies for any other things I need. I'm also waiting for some new supplies to arrive so that I can make a piece for a belly dancers costume. I'm really excited about this one, since I seem to have made the acquaintance of quite a few dancers and I'd love to be able to make a line that appeals specifically to them. Wow, I'm meandering all over today. I'll stop now so I can again get to work.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Xerces Blue

I am a tatting machine lately. First, I got all those ordered pieces worked up. They were ones I can really do in my sleep, having remade them quite a bit, though they are larger pieces. Then I set about making a couple more of the new gray quadra bracelets only to realize that I did not order any more of the black swarovski rounds at their centers, so I'll need to get that done soon or no more of those bracelets. By Sunday I was fiending for something new to make that I could get done quickly, so I opted for a bracelet based on the same motif as the fringe arm band, but without the fringe. I used some of the hand dyed purple and came up with a new piece.

I had a fun little jaunt using my twitter friend to help my name this one too. Each motif looks a tiny bit like a butterfly, so after some help and a wikipedia search, I came up with 'Xerces Blue' which is an extinct purple butterfly with a nice rounded wing. Of course if I make the design in other colors it won't make as much sense, but I still love the name.

After I was done with that for the afternoon, I busted out some black bamboo blend yarn and began work on another Art Deco scarf. We all know how long it will take me to finish that, so no breath holding anyone. I do have enough yarn to make another in the same purple wool as the last one, so I may just relist that as a custom piece today just to have the option up, but I was more interested in seeing how this bamboo yarn turns out. So far, it's much more, um, solid I guess. We'll see anyway won't we? I've got this feeling that I've a rather long week ahead of me though I've no good reason to think that. I want to keep tatting and get as much done as I can hoping that it will result in a nice self fulfilling prophecy of holiday sales running amok. I can dream can't I?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Strike That, Reverse It

I can not believe that I started out the day with that whole, 'no sales, no motivation'. No, wait, i can believe that, what I can not believe is how the day turned out. First I get the scarf photos. Nice right? Then I decide to hold off listing it until the afternoon so that the facebook page had a proper preview. It was listed and then sold in just a few hours...I was in shock, happy, but in shock. Should I start another straight away? No, I decided to work on something smaller.

I got out the hand dyed gray thread and decided to make a quadra bracelet with swarovski rounds in black. I was really happy with the way this one turned out. I mean, it's a very familiar pattern, simple, basic, but change up the thread and it really looked amazing. I listed it, tweeted it and just a few minutes later, it was sold...damn.

I was already working on the opposite bracelet in black with gray rounds, so I finished that one and started on another gray one. I really wanted to keep it listed. Nice, isn't it? That's not all either. I heard in the afternoon that etsy is no longer going to refund fees from returned orders. This isn't huge, except that I just agreed to a return of two expensive, for me anyway, pieces. I was a bit annoyed and I changed my return policy to reflect the change. This really just means that I needed a real return policy, so I have one now.

Then in the evening, I had an inquiry regarding a piece that didn't have made and for once the inquiry turned into a sale. A sale full of custom pieces. See, now I have all the motivation that I need. I guess it's a 'be careful what you wish for' sort of situation. I am sure not complaining, but I am now getting back to work.