Friday, December 31, 2010

The Monster At The End Of The Year

Well here we are at the end of another year. I have been babbling on a blog long enough to be able to go back and shake my head at my past thoughts, long enough to be proven both right and wrong about the future in a permanently visible manner. Every year, at its close, it seems I say the same thing. I tell you that I don't make resolutions, then I proceed to list things that I would like to see happen. Then the year progresses, I forget what I said I wanted and my list becomes a parody of itself. For example, here is last years bit of babbling forgotten until I looked it up today:
"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."
 So, let's dissect that shall we. I did indeed hit 1000 sales, but didn't quite make 1500, but the math really didn't bear that happening out anyway. Next, I shattered my shop heart goal by garnering 2400 more. I think that might have more to do with etsy growing than me specifically, but I'll take it. I also did manage two more youtube videos and on a related note the views on my first video broke 50,000 views and the updated version with speaking broke 11,000. That my friends is a lot of people watching my hands. My last goal points were regarding fame and sadly, though there were a few hopeful sales and photo shoots that direction, there have been no major sightings. I remain relatively undiscovered...oh, well, we can't win them all.

So where do I go for next year then? As much as I do still adore the round numbers, they are not really a true gauge of my success, they are just reminders that we live in a base 10 world. Sure, I could ask for the fame thing again, but that is a wild crap shoot. If I made half an effort to make it happen of course, but we all know I am too lazy and much too chicken to go out on many ledges. So I guess I'll stick with practical this year. I will try to make another Instructable and another video. I will continue to design, grow and learn. I will watch kittens and children grow, take care of my family, make a few new friends, babble in my blog and try to be better person.

Thank you to everyone out there who reads this blog, checks the Wunderkammer, buys my lace, follows me on facebook or twitter. Thank you for commenting, consoling, commiserating and for ignoring my nonsense...or pretending to anyway. Thank you for being part of my year and I hope to see you in the new one.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Round Numbers

Yesterday began slowly, very slowly. While it seemed everything was quiet on the Internet, I worked. I remade a few small things and finished the headband, got it approved by the customer and listed it. The customer picked it up later in the afternoon so the listing is already gone. I do plan on making this up again for the shop, though I'm not certain which color I will do.

The two girl kitten had their vet appointment in the afternoon, but as part of the crazy cat lazy package, my mother-in-law took them so I was free for a bit. I caught up with my DVR and got some time to play my Christmas present video game...Donkey Kong. I only did that for a spell when the email notifications started.

You see I was sitting at 1395 sales yesterday and you all know how much I love round numbers, so I was thinking how neat it would be to get to that next one by the end of the year. Being that Christmas is over getting five sales in three days is more than a bit of a stretch, so I made a comment about it on facebook, then tried not to dwell. That brings be back to the email notifications. The custom headband sold, then another piece, then a few more and by this morning even a few more. So not only have I broken through that magic round number, but I soared right passed it and never even saw the roundness. I am elated to end the year on such a high note. Oh, wait...there are still a couple more days for it to all go to pot. I have knocked on wood and boy do I have some tatting to do today.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Speedy

Have you ever tatted so quickly, so furiously that even your back became sore? Yes, that is exactly what I did yesterday morning in order to get that mask I mentioned yesterday made and in the post. I just couldn't sit on my hands when there was even a remote possibility of getting it finished and to the customer in time for the weekend. I'm not really sure what that says about me, but I did manage to finish it and in record time. It got placed in the mail and I whined about my back for a couple of hours before I felt better and got back to work.

 Before I got back to tatting I took down Christmas. We usually wait until the sixth, but the kittens have been wreaking havoc so it was time. Don't let the picture fool you. They were just resting before another epic play battle that would have destroyed many small villages...should there be any around.

It does always amaze me how I only realize how many bloody Hallmark ornaments we have when I have to carefully box them all back up and get them put away. There are a lot of them. Don't get me started on how many of them are Batman and Spiderman. The husbands response to that will be...but they're all different. Yes, they are, but that's not the point and he knows it.

After all that I did get back to the custom headband. I'm making it in a discontinued Ceblia color. It's a light silvery gray that my saintly Mother-in-law snagged all of at her local yarn shop for me. The picture was taken when I was about halfway done, but I managed to finish while the oldest played one of her new video games in the evening. Luckily I can read the game text to her while tatting. She can read a little now, but it's a Pokemon game and full of ridiculous words that she needs help with. Plus, me reading speeds the whole thing along better.

Anyway, the tatting on that is done, so today I add the ribbon and hopefully get some pictures taken so I can list it for the customer. Then I have a whole new pile of pieces that need remaking as well. I might make up another of the headbands for the shop too. I do really like the way it turned out I guess we'll just have to see where the day takes me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Victorious Headband

Well, talk about getting back into the swing of things. I had a custom request to work on, actually there are two of them, but one requires I wait for a special bit of supplies before beginning work on it, so more on that one later. This one was a request for a headband designed after one of my collar chokers. I told the customer what I thought would be the best option and once I received the word that it sounded fine I got to work on it.

I laid the beginning of it on top of the choker it emulates...and yes I was playing with my phone camera again. I had to adjust quite a bit of it so it would lay straight as I was going to double it for the end piece. I just used three large points, then I used the clover from the top edge of the necklace to finish the length on both sides. This is just the prototype as the customer wants it in gray, but I was so uncertain as to whether or not my first attempt would pan out, I thought I do the first try in some plain black as I clearly own a lot of black thread. There are a couple of things I will adjust when I make it up in gray, but for the most part I like the way it turned out. I will finish it with wide black ribbon on the ends so it ties on like my Rosette headband.

I was planning on getting that finished today, but I woke up to a mask order that wants to arrive by Friday. That is likely impossible as it's not made yet, but I have a feeling that the customer didn't notice that in the listing. So now I wait for a response to my message regarding that and I make the mask double quick in the meantime just in case. The whole shop is on free shipping right now, but I hope they understand that the free shipping is standard, not expedited. On the other hand, I hate to disappoint people when they want a piece for a particular event...it gives me the stress. Oh and let us not forget about all the bad weather that is likely slowing down mail service anyway. Oye, the lesson here is always order early for the best service particularly in the winter. So, off to it then.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Almost Over

So as Christmas is finally behind us, it is about time to attempt to analyze what just happened as far as sales are concerned. As basically a worthless business person, I shall of course not use any of that information moving forward, but as a relentlessly curious person, I feel that I just need to know. Informal analysis shows the slave bracelet to be the sleeper hit of the year.  In fact I spent much of Sunday making custom sized ones that were ordered on Christmas. Why are these pieces so popular? I haven't a clue. None of them are particularly new designs for me, I think the newest has to be at least six months old, but they were all flying off the virtual shelf...relatively speaking anyway. Is there a new trend I'm unaware of?

I still don't know whether this holiday season was better or worse than previous ones as I won't run the numbers until the end of the month, but I felt pretty busy so I'll go out on a limb and say it was OK. Of course I am dreading the end of the year as it means doing numbers for the whole year and preparing for the dreaded tax time. Sometimes I miss when this was all just a hobby to pay for thread...well not really. I absolutely adore sending bits of my lace to the corners of the globe and imagining that right at this very moment someone is wearing something I made.

Anyway, I managed to again catch up on orders on Sunday, Saturday was of course lost to the ruckus that is the holiday. I still have a few pieces that need remaking and again I really must get back on the masks before the much smaller Mardi Gras mask buying begins. Oh and I wanted to get a few more Valentine themed bits made up before that hits as well. Once all those forward thinking projects have been tackled, I'm back to some designing to take advantage of the dead space that is January sales.

I was also thinking of culling down my inventory a bit. After some light reading and some thought, I decided that I need to keep all the designs I've created particularly from modified antique patterns listed, you know as irrefutable proof that I made them some time ago just in case some people decided to try and slap a copyright on their version of them. Yes, that was a passive aggressive rant that I won't further explain, though I will add a, 'been there, done that' just to get it all out of ms system. Ah, all better now. Here's hoping for a pleasant last week of the year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Monterey

I'm back, but not nearly settled. Usually when we take our Monterey trip, we try to stay three days. It males the whole endeavor much more relaxing. With two days, you feel a bit rushed and sort of like you're always packing. Of course it doesn't help that I come back to a house that needs to be presentable enough for a holiday and I'd much rather sit and tat for hours on end.

Since I clearly have no tatting to share, I thought I do a bit of a picture post instead. Yes, I did play with the edit bits on the phone camera, the ride home was quiet. I think I mentioned that this trip we had my brother-in-laws kids with us and that made the Aquarium even more more than usually for the kids. It made it more exhausting that usual for me. It didn't help that the Outer Bay exhibit was closed for renovation and we often could get away with sitting there for quite some time watching the big tank. This year it was all go, go, go.
It is always a little less crowed in the winter and if you get out at seven in the morning, you almost have the world to yourself.
Everyone have a wonderful Christmas, or just a nice weekend if that's isn't your bag and I'll babble at you on Monday.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

News From The Coast

Good morning all! I woke up this morning at bloody 4:30 because apparently I am incapable of sleeping in, vacation be damned. I do have another day out here on the coast, or the better part of one anyway. I have one day to clean and prep for the holiday and then more family chaos. I do mostly enjoy it though.

Yesterday was lovely, the addition of the kids cousins added another layer to the Aquarium trip and the addition of my brother-in-law added evening bar trips which is utterly out of character for us, but pleasant enough. 

No tatting of course, but I did receive an order for a custom mask, so as soon as I get a moment back home, it's back to work for me. This is already more than I intended to write, so off with me and have a good one.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

No Focus

More remaking yesterday. I didn't even pick up the mask at all. I know it's going to require serious thought to rework it and keep the core design I was trying for and quite honestly I wasn't in the mood for serious thought.I just kept plugging away at things that needed remaking, which will include masks again soon as Mardi Gras is also fast approaching.

I scheduled up some photo posts and a story for Fridays Wunderkammer so I am on vacation from that until Tuesday. I also put a note up in the shop that I will not be shipping anymore orders I might receive until Monday. I can ship out domestic ones on Friday, but you couldn't pay me to head to post office for any International shipping on Christmas Eve...well you could pay me, but it would have to be a lot.

I feel like this post is totally ADD today, but anyway, I wanted to again thank you guys for all the supportive comments that keep rolling in regarding the youtube comment. Sometimes I forget how many people are actually out there lurking. I can't believe how many people have learned or been inspired to learn for my efforts. I do visit a few blogs myself and rarely do I make my presence known, so I suppose I shouldn't be that surprised. I need to remember that squeaky wheels are always louder and the silent majority is likely cool with how things are.

I'm off later this morning to the coast and the Aquarium with the family. It will be a shorter trip this time as our expenses have definitely gone up this year, but it is always nice to get away even for a bit. I might still drop a blog note sometime tomorrow, but don't count your chickens. I'm certain to be back babbling at you on Friday because as another tatting friend just wrote about in her blog, it's like morning porridge now and what would I do if I didn't blog.

Oh and a bit of strange advice...always turn the porch light on when answering the door in the dark.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It Has Begun

Aw, you guys are the best. Seriously, thank you so much for all the commiseration via comments yesterday. Sometimes I just need to let it out and you very rarely tell me I'm being a whiny baby. So on we go then.

I've managed to get nearly everything that flew during the holiday season remade and listed again. There are still a few pieces listed as custom and a couple more sold that should be remade, but nothing too interesting. I have been working so quickly the last few weeks that not only does my shoulder ache, but my whole back is a bit miffed at me. I've been getting large pieces that usually take more than one day, knocked out in one and it has clearly taken its toll on me. I shall be slowing down immediately and working at a more manageable pace.

I did finally start playing with the new mask idea. This was the beginning here and I really should have reevaluated the center bit, but I just kept working. Unfortunately it won't...work that is. Well I do know how to fix it, but I will need to start all over. From this point on the picture I just repeated the ring and chain pattern in the center of the heart all the way around. That was my intent from the start, but the stitch counts will need to be increased to make the design bigger without complicating it. I don't know if I'll get round to that today or not.

We have our winter trip to Monterey this week and of course the impending holiday and our dinner hosting duties, so I will likely still write, but I may be a tad erratic. I'm also considering putting the Wunderkammer on vacation as well, but I may just schedule up some link or flickr posts to keep visitors from falling off entirely. I'll likely get to that later today while I continue to fight the cold that my husband insisted that I try out. Oh zinc lozenges, don't fail me now.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ah, Comments

it was indeed a long weekend. There was a movie, Tron...I enjoyed that, then there was the birthday get together for a friend full of fabulous conversation, I enjoyed that as well. Then there was a visit from my sister and her children, actually that was enjoyable as well, loud, but enjoyable. In fact the weekend was so chock full of interaction that there was only enough tatting time to get some custom ordered pieces worked on. No mask for me yet. I'm starting to think that it will be put off until after the holidays are actually over so I can give it some actual attention. I guess we'll see how it goes.

I did want to do a little rant this morning. You see while I was out, I received a comment on my youtube video that teaches the simple flower in conjunction with the written instructions over at Instructables. Every now and again I get someone having a problem with the video, I tell them about the written portion and they are right as rain. This comment however was a bit of a rant itself, and I quote,  

"I find that your video isn't beneficial past the first minute because you go too quickly. It's so frustrating, trying to learn a new craft and the supposed best video for beginners(you're recommended, believe it or not) and having to repeatedly go back and back in the video trying to unravel how in the world to do something. You need to either slow down or reconsider making videos. Not everyone-especially beginners-can keep up with what apparently is your perception of slow."

Now, I get that I am not particularly slow, I didn't want to be, but what bugs me here is not the core complaint of speed, but the suggestion that I reconsider making free videos to the world because she personally finds it to not fit her learning style or needs. The biting sarcasm surround my video being recommended is also unnecessary for her complaint to be understood. Clearly those that recommended it did in fact find it useful and the fact that she does not doesn't negate that for them and insulting me is not going to get me to make her a slower video. It is instead going to make me rant, dear entitled youtube user, perhaps next time you'd like extra help or a slower video or have a request of any kind you will ask nicely and receive some help.

I am usually a nice person and I generally like to help, which is why the videos exist in the first place. You see, someone could not understand the written instructions and rather than tell me that my writing style sucks and why did I even bother, they asked for a demo video so they could also see what was happening. You know what, it took be a bit, but that is exactly what they got. My point is, why don't we all stop acting like we deserve everything we want and need handed to us for free on the Internet. On the flip side, I would like to thank every other person who has asked nicely, provided constructive criticism and thanked me for my meager efforts. For you all, I will keep making videos and Instructables and answering questions. I think I might start ignoring the entitled entirely.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Six

Well, I did not get round to trying out the new mask idea as I did get one of those custom pieces ordered. Since I cannot stand the thought of making someone wait unnecessarily for something especially around Christmas, it was my priority all day long. I did manage a pair of heart earrings in the morning before the order was made though.

The rest of the day belonged to the cats however. I actually had to do a little litter training with the two new girls. They started peeing...everywhere. I think all it took in the end was getting the cover off the litter box as they seemed to right themselves after I did that. I am of course crossing my fingers that it worked since I seriously have no interest in cleaning up those sort of messes. Every other cat I've ever had litter trained themselves as soon as they were shown the box so this was a new one on me.

The new kittens are getting a bit more social though they still run and hide at the drop of a hat. Chi Sai, the three footed kitten was sleeping with me much of the afternoon along with one of my boy cats. When the kids got up from their nap, the oldest started bringing the other kittens down to the couch and they crawled on my lap as well. Isis, my old girl cat joined in bringing the total to six. The Seventh cat is not down with this much togetherness, but six is still a huge number. They then I had my husband take this picture in the evening. I was buried underneath this cat blanket for at least an hour. Good thing I had finished my tatting for the day huh?

Today is the last day of home schooling before the winter break. So there's that and I have a couple more pieces to add to my remake pile. I might play with the mask idea over the weekend, but there are movies that must be seen and a friends birthday to celebrate, so I guess it depends on how much kitten free sitting time I get. It's going to be a long weekend.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Kitties

 I swear, this week is just crawling by. Clearly it knows that there is a vacation at the end of it and feels the need to toy with us. I started the day yesterday with two quick sales, one I was expecting that needed expedited international shipping and another asking kindly for quick shipping as well. Of course I try to ship immediately when I get orders in the morning, so I spent the better part of the early hours shipping. This meant I had to remember what the silly EEL number is for the international shipment, which meant I had to tear apart my desk for it. It was under a couple of papers literally right in front of me. Note to self, put code in computer file blatantly named for next time.

Next up was home schooling, which has been taking up quite a bit more time now that we have started on subtraction. I kept checking messages all morning while she worked because there are two other custom orders that have been requested but not purchased yet and that is driving me up the wall. I will not start them until they are purchased, but I could be getting a head start on them. Sometimes I hate using my better judgment.

You are also getting the first bad phone pictures of the new kittens. The one on top there is Halo named for the black spot on her head. She is the braver of the two and came down to wander late morning. The older cats seem to be unaffected by the new arrivals, though their brother kittens are a tad annoyed and there has been much kitty hissing. The other here is Chi Sai, she is the one with only three feet. She was sleeping on our bed when my oldest snagged her and brought her down stairs in the late afternoon. She cuddled up to me and didn't leave for quite some time. As she is not as sure footed she seems to be extra shy and unwilling to get herself into situations she cannot run away from. I am hoping they both get more comfortable quickly, they had been isolated from the other animals at the in-laws, so adjusting to a full household just might take some time.

I only got a bit of remaking done yesterday, cats and school and all, but I did get another idea. This time for a new mask with my heart motif at the top center. I'm thinking this one will be a minimalist design aside from the center piece and I may even change the shape of the eye wires a bit to more of a cats eye shape. I'm mostly telling you this so that I remember that I wanted to do it when I actually have the time to do so. Though, unless those custom orders do get paid for I may have time today.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

With All My Heart

As I suspected, once it was time for the dental appointment, the day was lost to numbness and oddly enough acquiring more kittens. I know, I know, I just got two kittens. Well they were from a feral litter my in-laws rescued and they other two were living in their bathroom because they have a significant number of dogs. They didn't want to split the girls up because one of them was born with only 3 feet. So the in laws have slowly been working down my reserve and I finally gave in. We are now a seven cat household. I'm told this does not make me a crazy cat lady because I am married with children. I am not so sure.

Before all this occurred, I did manage to get the new heart design further refined and made into a pendant as well as a pair of earrings. They were well received, view wise anyway. I made up two pendants one in black and one in burgundy, but just the one pair of earrings in black. That is about all I got done yesterday though. Instead of working on other sold pieces, I vacuumed the whole of the house in anticipation of the added kittens. I figured it's always better to start them in a house free from strange floor bits to chew on.

As you might imagine, I will again be distracted by keeping the other cats from killing the new kittens. As soon as they get brave, venture forth and settle down I will share photos of them as well. They are both white, one with the missing foot and the other with a large black spot on top of her head, Chi Sai and Halo. I do have some major cleaning to do before we host Christmas and we have our winter trip to Monterey coming up as well so I think I am going to have to let the needle rest a bit in the coming week. Yeah, I know that won't last long, but it's what I 'should' do.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You Weren't Suppose To Be A Heart

I can feel the season winding down and the orders getting smaller. I can generally expect to continue getting the 'I'm shopping for myself now' orders all the way through the month, but then January is a dead zone. I'm been pretty good about keeping things remade so when the dead zone hits it will be time to design and work on a few more tutorials and videos that I have intended to do for some time now. My first video as now broken 50,000 views and the redo with me talking in now at 10,000. To say these numbers shock me is a severe understatement, but they also tell me that there is an audience out there for the videos.

I totally did not intend to go off on that tangent, I was going to show you what I made yesterday while I was suppose to be making something else entirely. I was making the base for a fascinator. It's the same motif I use for my corsage bracelets and was born from a vintage edging that I couldn't get to lay straight so I turned it on itself. Anyway, as I turned around the corner this time I decided that it would be a heart today. The one on the top was the first iteration and in the end I think my favorite. I made the second just to see if a cleaner line looked better. While some folk on the twitter preferred the second, most still liked the first better. I agree, it has more character.

I have schooling today and then a dental appointment, but I think I will get around to turning the heart into a pendant at least. I think I'm going to hang it at an angle rather than straight from the center. It was suggested that I might make matching earrings as well, so I might make some of those with smaller thread, since I think this size, almost two inches, in this shape might be too bulky. It was also suggested that it might be a great centerpiece for a choker. This I did try out yesterday and abandoned as I didn't like the way it was shaping up at all. That doesn't mean I won't give it another go of course, but down the line I think. I guess this just foes to show that busy or not, I simply cannot stop creating. I am always afraid that I will run out of new ideas, but aside from short lived cases of creators block, they always come back and boy do I hope that will always be the case.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Guess What I Broke

Good Monday morning my fine friends. It was one of those dragging weekends where not much of consequence happened, though lots did happen. Friday in particular was filled to the brim. There was the kitty vet appointment in the morning, followed by a quick finishing run on the holiday gifts. Then there was a field trip to the fire station followed by playing in the park. We then caught up with our DVR a little, had dinner with the in laws and I slept the sleep of a tired Momma.

Saturday was the trip to go see Tangled, cute movie, then a lot of nothing until I did something I never thought was actually possible. I broke a needle in twain. There I was tatting along and I had just finished a bit. I was running the needle under some stitches to hide the ends when, SNAP, the whole was now two. I think it was my first needle too. I have since acquired a few other sets for spares, but I think this was the old one, if seven is old in needle years. Has anyone else done this? Can you break a shuttle while working too? What's funny is this wasn't even a tight placement for me. I've run under stitches so tight that I've used the table to help push the needle through and no problems and this is what kills it. Oh well, I have more and I'm sorely tempted to pick up another set now that I know I can break them so I don't run out at any point. Could you imagine the horror of me being without a size 5 needle?

Anyway, I did manage a few sales over the weekend though not as many as I hoped. I will be getting those things remade and having the last week of schooling before a two week vacation. Of course it's just a break from one task replaced by keeping two bored kids entertained for two weeks, but a change of pace is always good. Off to it then and have a good day!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Knocked This Time

My hand is poised above my desk ready to knock just as soon as the next sentence has escaped from the keyboard. What a great sales day yesterday was (Knock, knock, knock). I assure you that those knocks were the written representation of actual superstition filled knocks. I had one customer order a single slave bracelet and request another to match and one of my best return customers requested a custom size and embellished necklace. These tasks kept me quite busy all day. Well that and the kids have decided that they are both sick again which makes them an extra handful. It doesn't seem likes its going to get too bad right now (knock, knock, knock), but it means they were extra needy and the oldest thought doing school was medieval torture. We did school anyway and yet she lives, so she is clearly not dying.

Hopefully they wake in better shape as our day is a full one. The kitties are getting carted off to the vet for more shots and then later this afternoon we have a school field trip to a Fire Station which means no nap or at best a short one. Luckily I am all caught up with the orders that needed making and they will all be in the mail today. Of course I really need a week of orders like yesterday to make up for not only the holiday shopping, but things like replacing bad hard drives and other 'but I need it' moments that I have succumbed to during the most expensive time of the year.

Before I head off into the day I wanted to send a thank you out into the world. Thanks to miss Tatting Chic. Her concern for me over protecting my work was greatly appreciated as was the end of our conversation where I was privy to a most enjoyable rant. Seriously people I love when people let their opinions out regarding certain nutters. No, I'm not sharing...that would be mean, but trust me, it's clearly not you. The point I was trying to make is a personal thank you and a general one to all my other tatting and crafting friends who look out for me and each other in this crazy Internet place. I'm wishing you much returned karma for your kindness. Now I'm off into the real world and the weekend. Have a good one.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Always Knock On Wood

I know it's what I get for talking without knocking on some wood, but I didn't have a single sale yesterday. Not one. Any other time of the year this would not be cause for alarm, but now, in the middle of the holiday shopping season, it's got my brain doing circles trying to figure out out to pull out of the nose dive. Did I do something wrong? Did I fail to do something right? No need to try and justify it to me, I know that it is likely just a fluke and even if it wasn't there is nothing to be done for it now. I suppose I just needed to get a little panic out into the open.

Even though I got no sales I was still busy of course. I had a pair of ankle corsets that needed making and I managed to finish them right before bedtime. I also got pictures of the ring I made the other day and got that listed. It always puts me in a better mood when I have something new to share, no matter how small.

So today I have the elytra necklace to remake. If nothing else I can get the lace tatted up and worry about attaching the wings later. If sales remain elusive, I'll just try and make something new to take the edge off. I still have a huge bag full of adds and ends to challenge my sense of design, so there's always that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Bubbles

So Monday, it seems, what a bit of an odd bird. Tuesday dragged a bit with no sales all morning. Though that did give me a little time to play with the wood beads like I wanted to. I  was going to split ring up each of these oval beads, but I got lazy. I also had to adjust the chains to accommodate the longer beads and since I had fewer matching ones, the spiral chains are longer too. Not that the pattern matters as this is yet another one off piece.

I had been working on remaking a pair of ankle corsets before I listed them again, but decided to put them aside and just change the listing to say they were custom instead. Then I started making a ring with a different ring base I picked up. I don't have any pictures of it as halfway through I got an order for those ankle corsets I was ignoring and had to get back to them.

I really have no idea how I manage to stay on top of so many tasks in a day. What is even more amazing is how, when the work load diminishes just a bit, I can actually feel bored during the day. Clearly that is not now though. Sales are fairly steady, home schooling is getting a might more challenging, the kittens are destroying and I'm trying to keep the house as clean as I can so I don' have to do any major cleanup right before Christmas. I might be failing at that last one, but I am trying.

Anyway, I do have those ankle corsets to finish up today and them I might get to remaking the necklace that sold as well. It was the one with the elytra so I might stall on it until I feel more like getting the drill out to prep more wings. I will also get photos of the ring I made today so I have something new to list at least. I'm already tired just thinking about the day ahead...that may not be a good sign.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Late

Late, late, late. So it appears that I had my own mini cyber Monday yesterday. The orders started flowing in as I worked on the mask order I got. I had already started making a few of the mask bits and set them aside so for the first time ever I finished A Kind of Pale Jewel mask in one day. Good thing too because I still have a few things to remake and get listed as quickly as possible to take advantage of the holiday season.

I did get the photos for the green bubble necklace, so that is listed now as well. I think I already mentioned that this is a one off. That is of course unless my next grab bag from fire mountain contains more of these beads. I sure won't go and order them separately unless these pieces become popular. I also wanted to make a similar necklace with wood beads that I acquired in those same grab bags, but I am trying to stay focused and work on the things that are selling.

Speaking of selling, the oddest things are selling. Well maybe odd is the wrong word. Generally I sell very little in color over the year but I have sold like five bracelets in green in the last couple of weeks. I also had an interesting order for a bracelet yesterday where I was requested to remove the clasp because they were going to use it as a bookmark. I think you might have guessed why that might be ironic. My very first piece of tatted jewelry was made because someone mistook a bookmark for a bracelet and that light bulb went off. This was far before I had found any other tatters online so the idea was fresh and interesting and shaped my whole outlook. I know others experienced the same light bulb moment independently as well and look where those ideas took tatting.

So it's more remaking after home schooling today and that is the whole of my plans for the day. Off to it then.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bubble Necklaces

I can't even begin to go into the weekend we had over here. We had packed it with holiday shopping and events. Events were canceled and other things were scheduled to discuss why events were canceled. Those reasons became a huge drama regarding a place that is very important to our family, the comic book shop. I know it must sound silly, but we've gone once a week since before we had kids and they've been every week since they were in utero. I don't want to go into details since they are generally second hand and you'd have no idea what I was talking about anyhow, but the point is weekend...not as planned.

I did get some tatting done is small spurts over the weekend. I decided to make use of the large amount of big glass beads that had been included in one of my fire mountain grab bags. I started with the blue ones as I had the most of them. This gave me the first real excuse to try out tatting with beads where the thread is brought through the bead and not around. Usually the beads I use are entirely too small to attempt the maneuver, but these were perfect. It was another make it up as you go piece with chains around the beads and Josephine chains between them. I made the thing 24" long and tatted the final two beads together so it just slips over your head.

I also have similar beads in shades of purple and green, so next up I did some purple ones. While the blue were all the same shade, these varied a bit, but they all worked together well so I did the same thing with them. I also sold the first one of these within five minutes of listing it. Luckily I had just enough of the same sized beads to make one more. That is the last of the purple though. Then I went onto the green and I haven't photographed that one yet. It was made with two different sizes of the same glass beads. I only have enough of those to make just one. Both that one and the blue were made with hand dyed thread, the purple was a Flora that I got just to try out.

I just woke up to a mask order, so I'll be working on that today and hopefully I'll get the green bubble necklace listed. These things work up so quickly and since the beads came in the grab bag, I priced them to move. I do have plenty more blue beads and some smaller of each color, but I found I couldn't get the needle through the smaller ones, let alone a hook, so I might use them for something else entirely. I'm just glad I finally figured out a use for them at all, I hate having supplies going to waste. So of to it then and have a great week!

Friday, December 3, 2010

One Of A Kind

Here we are at the end of the week and boy did this one fly by. I did get a few sales yesterday but the first one was a big bummer. It was a mask order from Italy. Why is that a bummer? Well you see Italy has the strictest import prohibitions that I have run across. I assume that it is to protect domestic production because some of the things it will not allow are lace, needlework, sewn articles of any kind, hats and leather goods. So you can see why I had to cancel the order, refund the customer and hope they don't get too mad. I can send nothing I make to silly Italy. It's been said that I could send those things if I were in the EU as per their trade agreements, but since I'm here it's a no go. Luckily there were a couple more small orders in the evening to cheer me up.

I also got my creating on. I dug though that supply grab bag and came out with three different one of a kind pieces. This first up there is just a simple combo of split rings and a good old Josephine chain. The next one started with some different filigree balls and this time I had enough of them to make a pair of earrings to match. I stuck with the simple split rings, but added some little daisy flowers as well. For both of these I tatted directly onto the hardware. This made actually finishing these really quick too.

Last piece I made was less tatting and more mystery bits, but I think it's my favorite of the bunch. I took that flower diamond and tatted around it trying to mimic the design on the edge of the metal. Then I dug through the mystery bag some more and came out with a filigree ball, a small black crystal from regular supplies and some mystery metal chain. I know it's not silver, in fact it might be steel as it's ferrous, but I really don't know. I got these all listed as I made them and I'm pretty sure I confused a few people with my productivity, but making things you're never going to make again is much easier. I don't have to put any thought into the pattern as I don't need to remember it and since they are entirely unplanned required no forethought either. Just made them up as I went.

I do have a couple of pieces to remake today and then I think I might delve into that grab bag again. I only used black thread because I had put every other color back in their bins in an effort to clean up my nest. So I'll gather a few today from the bins and hopefully come up with a few more quick bits to keep myself happy. I know have a more than a few things to do over the weekend, but I'll try to keep the momentum going. The holiday shopping season is almost over.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Mess

I went and did it...something I have put off for months if not a year. I reorganized my inventory. Let me fist back up a bit. This is suppose to be the busiest time for retail of any sort and since working in traditional retail for years, I know how to psych myself up for that. Problem is what I am in that head space I must keep moving and since since sales have yet to reach the level my head is at, I am actually bored. I find myself searching my brain for something, anything shop related to do to keep me in the mode just in case the floodgates do open. I finished remaking some things and then I got out the supply boxes to clean them up a bit. They weren't as bad as I thought so I was done with that quickly. I did November's books...quickly and then I made a strange decision, to tackle the afore mentioned inventory.

So here it is in all it's glory. Four tubs and a big bag full of unfinished pieces. My challenge, to not only organize these into a search-able collection, but to also finish all the pieces that need their hardware put on. There were suppose to be 200 pieces in here, but as I dug it became clear that there were many moments where I couldn't find something in this mess and just made up another meaning there are many duplicates. A few hours of clasps and stacking in relevant piles and I was mostly done. I ran across more than a few pieces that are no longer listed that either could be or I might do some giveaways. I also separated out all the prototype pieces that somehow got mixed in and now there is a box full of that sort of stuff.

My goal moving forward is to actually take the time to finish the pieces once I've tatted them. To no longer let them become a pile of indecipherable lace. I think I need more tubs too, so that I can separate the types of pieces better for easier order fulfillment. Oh and I really ought to do a proper inventory so that I've never surprised by a missing piece that I thought I had. That's brings us to today and what I'll do with this store based energy now. I'm thinking of digging through the bad of miscellaneous stuff from Fire Mountain to come up with some one of a kind pieces, but again I hope to be distracted by sales which the Sales Fairy was suppose to bring. I guess she's busy or my kitty wasn't cute enough or maybe I need to start shilling myself like I dislike doing. Most likely I'll just whine a bit more and make something...ah, the life of a creative, we are so bipolar.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Adapting

So I do have something to share today. First I was being a good little girl, staying on point, making the sold pieces, but as I predicted I got bored. I decided to use some hand dyed thread to make another of Jane's flurry snowflakes, this time as a gift for an older lady that tried to learn tatting from me. Well, she did learn and then promptly forgot, but that's another story. As I rounded the side on the snowflake I became increasingly intrigued with just the tips. They would make great earrings...great clock hand earrings. I knew I really shouldn't muck with a pattern that didn't belong to me, but I couldn't help myself. This is the first one I made in the same hand dyed thread.

Then I thought, you know it does look like a clock hand, but the short one. I really ought to make the long one to match. This one took a bit more fiddling yo get just right. In fact I went through four iterations of the design. I know there are only three pictured, the first one was that bad. By the end I was working the inner round separate from the outer, but I think that gives it better symmetry. The last version is on the right here and is likely the one I'll stop with.

Now the sad bit, I won't be making these for sale at all. Since so much of the inspiration and design belongs to someone else, it was not meant to be. Let's just call it an exercise in adapting. I might of course start from scratch, excising the original design from my brain and  trying my own clock hand since I have become fond of the idea. Hopefully though I become so busy that I haven't the time to worry about it. This is another reason I do try to stay away from modern patterns as I tend to get every pattern I work under my skin and my natural inclination is to adapt them. I hope that you enjoyed looking a them though. I know I enjoyed making them.

Now it's back to a that remaking and the sales rain down dance as I have spent far too much money on the holiday gifts that are starting to be delivered and I must sell enough to justify my gifting. You hear that Internet Sales Fairy...send sales...please. I have inserted the requisite kitty picture offering. I hope that it is acceptable.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ummm

Well, I have like nothing of consequence to share today...nothing. I did get a couple of sales yesterday during the Cyber Monday shopping and this time the coupon code got used, so I guess my earlier assessment of failure was premature. Perhaps the lesson is that Cyber Monday is a real thing and next year I'll just wait and have the one day sale event instead. Of the orders I received a few were pieces quickly remade and again we have a custom sized piece. I marvel at the ability I seem to have developed over these last few years to slightly adjust a pattern to size without upsetting the overall design. I do not marvel at my complete inability to note any of these changes for future use however. I will just have to make it all up again if I ever need to make similar adjustments in the future.

So today is more schooling, a bit of cleaning and trying to keep everything made. There will of course be more than a couple of pieces that will fall through the cracks until after the holidays and I admit to a hankering to make a few one of a kind pieces lately. In fact the biggest obstacle to that is my lack of desire to take pictures in the relatively sunless winter. I guess we'll see how it goes. Well, look at that, nothing to say and I managed two full paragraphs. I sure can babble with the best of them. See you tomorrow with perhaps something interesting to say.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend Recap

Good Monday gentle readers. My weekend was long, full of shopping, mostly online and cleaning. Though I managed quite a bit of tatting over the weekend I have nothing new to share I'm afraid. For some reason most of my recent orders have been custom made pieces. A pair of barefoot sandals sized up to fit a mans size 12 foot, masks sized down to fit a smaller face and my most recent was a mask made in Ivory with a few crystals added. Of course the ivory bit leads me to my first embarrassing confession for the day. I've been asked a  lot recently for pieces in ivory and I kept saying no thinking that not only did I have no ivory thread, but that I had not been able to find any. Then while cleaning I found a ball of it in my possession and then I began to recall when I did find some and bought it. Yeah...I feel a little foolish, but I've purchased more and now I really need to revamp my available thread list in the shop.

One more embarrassing confession, my communication skills are seriously failing me lately. I am usually the kind of person that responds immediately to correspondence. This is not out of some overinflated sense of the worth of my thoughts, but rather because not doing so inevitably results in me not responding at all. I forget, put it off and finally decided it has been far too long for a proper response. If I have done this to you I apologize, but it appears to be happening at a much increased rate as of late. I suppose with all the stuff I have to do particularly around the holidays, something is bound to fall through the cracks. If I have ignored you, feel free to shoot me another message, I won't be offended, I promise and I will respond straight away.

Last thing before I get to work for the day, an update on the weekend sales event. It was a complete bomb. I did have a few sales, about the same amount I would have any other week. I also only had one person actually plug in the discount code required for the sale. On one hand I count this as a failure of my ability to communicate a sale, on the other I don't lose any money to the discount, so I'm calling it a draw. I'm finished up some pieces that needed remaking today and I have a handful of orders to go out this morning. School is also back in session today so I have a few less hours than I had last week to work, so I best stop stalling and get on with it.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Look At Me

So tired. We tend to host the family meal events since we have a bit more table space than the rest of the family. I originally thought this was a great thing. I don't have to go anywhere, I still don't really have to cook, I just babysit a turkey all day, but in the end it is so much more work. I have to clean the house first, then set up for everything followed by cleaning everything up again, so even not having to cook, I feel like I did way too much yesterday and the cats only let me sleep in a half an hour this morning, so here I am already.

I obviously have little to report tatting wise, but I do have a couple of things to share. First off, I totally forgot to share that the day before Thanksgiving, when we were out fetching pies, a treasury I was featured in made it to the front page of etsy. I know, I've been there before, but it is always a nice surprise, always. This one came from the treasury here which had already garnered me quite a few new hearts for the shop and many new views as well. The treasury was made by akaCINDERS who is a wonderful twitter and etsy friend with not only wonderful taste, but a lovely shop as well.

Next up a feature that I was alerted to by my Google alerts. Have I mentioned lately how wonderful that little feature is? Wonderful. Anyway, this one is on a blog called, This Is Just Cool. I had not heard of it, but it looks like it features a wide variety of things, not just another etsy seller site, so that is is of course very awesome. I get extra excited anytime tatting and my work can get potentially exposed to a brand new audience. Oh and thanks Just Cool for not putting me on your sister site which is apparently called. This Is Just Stupid...I appreciate that.

We have more family time this weekend, the traditional putting up of the Christmas decor and hoping that the new kittens are not tree climbers. Actually, that's a real worry as we put the tree in the loft which has a balcony and I really don't want to see if a kitten can land on it's feet from 18 feet up. I did get a mask order on Wednesday that I really need to get on just in case people do start shopping soon. Speaking of which, do not forget the code through Monday is THANKSGETTING2010 for 10% off in the etsy shop. I think that's quite enough self promotion for today, oh and before I forget, Thanks for the chuckle from the comments yesterday Jane, my husband now understands why I adore you!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Look What jane Made Me Do

Just as Jane was apparently getting sick of them, I embraced her flurry snowflake. I didn't get a sale yesterday until bedtime so early in the morning I asked my daughters to pick out some thread and I made them snowflakes for the tree. Yes, I am aware that they lack a sense of the color scheme of the season, but hey they're kids. The first one I made was the pink and after a bit of fiddling with the shuttle talk and translating it a bit in my head they were quick to work up. I only made one small change at the ends, increasing a stitch on each side of the bit before the top ring. I don't know if it was because I used size 10 thread on most of these or just a tension difference between shuttle and needle work, but it looked much better for me after the change.

I didn't use beads on any of them, mostly because I don't have a large supple of seed beads since I don't use them in my work generally. I did dig out some pearly bluish white one for the last snowflake though. It's still being worked in the picture here in white size 20. I did finish it though and it's so pretty. Now I could really kick myself for not trying the pattern out earlier, I could have gifted this to many folk, but I fear that tomorrow will bring the busy season that keeps my tatting strictly business for most of the coming month. Perhaps next year and maybe I'll even try a two color version then...maybe.

If you hadn't guessed, or cared, I did not start the sale early and after a bi of talk on the twitter with other Etsy sellers, I decided that I could indeed just offer a small discount and not be the only one not slashing prices. So you're officially the first to see the coupon code that will be good through Monday morning. Everything already has free domestic and reduced international shipping, so the deal is just another 10% your entire order. I will not be doing another sale period for the season, so if you're so inclined the code is THANKSGETTING2010. I may or may not write tomorrow, it all depends on how I feel after the feasting, so Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends and a happy Thursday to the rest of the world!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks

The Internet Sales Fairy giveth and she taketh away. Seriously, sales disappeared after the spectacular weekend, just poof, gone. I am going to take a leap and guess folks are waiting for the weekend and its potential sales to do any more shopping. That being the case I may launch a weekend sale a little early, but it's five in the morning right now and I really haven't made any solid decisions about that. If I do, I'll tweet it and edit the post here to add the coupon code at the bottom.

Thank you for all your comments and opinions yesterday. I really appreciate that there wasn't a lot of placating, just honest opinions. In the end I think that I will leave what is up, up and perhaps be a little more cautious when I offer something new as a pattern. I know that those who maybe aren't ready to sell will either give up quickly or get better quickly and those that are ready to sell will likely embrace designing themselves, so it really should cause me too much worry. It was also suggested that I write up a book of patterns for sale. Actually that has been suggested to me before and I always have the same response, not now. There are a lot of reasons for that of course, one I am no pattern writing genius, sure they make sense to me, but... and I have zero illustration skills. I still do have all that homeschooling, raising small kids and housework and being a bit of a perfectionist means that if I can't devote all my energy to something, I'm not going to bother. I also worry that even with a personal use clause that people will make the assumption that because they bought something they bought all uses of it. This, unfortunately, is a prevailing opinion, so for the time being, there will be no patterns to sell, but I am greatly flattered by everyone who suggests that I even could.

I have also been getting more questions in my formspring box lately and one of them was regarding an edging pattern that was referred to by someones Grandmother as 'bow and arrow'. I haven't a clue what that might be and since there are so few patterns with established and accepted names like hen and chicks, I thought I'd ask if any of you out there know what that might refer to so I can shuttle the answer back.Get it, shuttle? No? Did I mention it was five in the morning?

I did spend much of yesterday remaking the weekend sales and cleaning...lots of cleaning. The husband is off today, so there will be more cleaning and unless those sales pick up, not a lot of tatting. Though I did print out Jane's flurry snowflake pattern to play with. She keeps making more of them and they are so cute and, well I have never tatted a snowflake for my own tree, so if those sales can wait a day, I think I might see if I can figure that one out on the needle and make myself something for once.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rinse, Repeat

How is it that I can have so much more to do on a day designated vacation. The kids were more of a handful without the daily school routine. I had thought I'd get at least least one free day while they played happily, but no it was all battles and drama. I had a great pike of things to tat, but I kept being distracted by things to clean. I don't cook for Thanksgiving, but I do host the dinner since we have the space and most of that space needs a good cleaning. So I'd tat for a spell then do laundry and then tat some more and vacuum something, then tat some more and clean something else. You know what else is sad? I get to do the whole routine over again today and tomorrow, except tomorrow I get to add the family dental appointment to the mix for good measure. I think the yawing kitten photo fits perfectly for today, don't you?

So I'm having a bit of a moral dilemma lately. My needle tatting videos on youtube and the tutorial patterns on Instructables have not only continued to be popular beyond expectations, but appear to have resulted in quite a few new tatters. What's the problem, you ask? Well the problem does not lie in more tatters, that is wonderful and completely my intention. The problem is many of them, even ones who have not gone any further than those lessons are immediately opening up shop to sell their wares. Still not a giant issue, I realize. I guess what gives me pause is the number of them requesting to sell my designs or 'modifications' of them online. I try to be friendly and remind people that I make no money sharing those patterns and helping people learn, but my job, my business is selling finished pieces and forgive me, but I really don't want to create an army of competitors for my business. So where is the line? I've even thought to go so far as to pull all my free patterns  and videos down, but I really don't want to do that either. I like that people are learning and sharing. I like that people enjoy working my patterns, but I fear that I am just setting myself up for more copycat drama. Why do so many people immediately figure they can sell what they make, when they've just learned the craft themselves? There are a wide variety of crafts I make that I would never attempt to sell and it took a long time before I decided to sell tatting. Any insights or opinions on these subjects would be greatly appreciated. Am I making a mountain of a molehill? I know there have got to be plenty of folks learning from my efforts with the simple intention of learning and sharing and I would hate to take anything away from them, ever.

Well that was a lot of unintended drama for the morning. Now off to the planned cleaning, tatting and child rearing drama that I am so used to.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank You Internet Fairy

Well my deal with the Internet Fairy was a mixed bag. I am not typing here magically healed from what ails me. The cold, rather than disappear, has taken to morphing into different versions of itself. My ears got so clogged that at one point over the weekend I blew my nose, lost hearing in one ear and experienced some incredible vertigo. The Internet told me this was not an unusual occurrence and as everything quickly resolved itself, nothing to worry about. It was however, terribly unpleasant. I told you the Fairy was a mixed bag because on the sales front that gal delivered. I have had sixteen sales since Friday after I wrote. This of course means that my 200 has not stuck, though I did try and fight it at first, remaking as fast as I could, but as it turns out I m not actually a tatting machine.

I also got a great little bit of news from my first customer on Friday, there was a feature on tatting and tatters on Mr. X Stitch. It's an incredible embroidery and needlework blog that I have been fortunate to be featured on in the past. The post up on Friday featured not only myself, but had many kind words for the craft and features on some of my other favorite shuttle and needle slinging folk. So if you haven't run across it yet, go read it...I'll wait...Didn't she say some incredibly flattering things? I know...I'm spoiled.

Somehow over the weekend I also came up with a new earring design. This one uses the same basic pattern as the vintage one I used for my recent Scallop bracelet. I just took a single motif from the design added a bit at the top and there you have it. They are frickin huge, but I have already sold the first pair, so I'll list another later today. I also have a mask to make and as you might imagine quite a few more pieces on my plate. I also got to use the coupon code on etsy for the first time. I've been sending one out with orders as a bounce back discount, very small one, but I had one redeemed that I created for a large order. I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the way they work. Thanks etsy!

My daughter has the week off from school, but that just means I have a little more time to keep the house clean for Thanksgiving hosting duties and try my damnedest to keep the shop well stocked for the holidays. You can't sell what's not made and listed, so I must get my slave elf on healthy or no. The most wonderful time of the year.

Friday, November 19, 2010

200

I dislike being ill. I know, it's just a cold or something equally mild, but it is still annoying, uncomfortable and I lose my patience with the children who are also sick of course. So this is my public plea for this cold to hit the road already, I have crap to do. Oh and my kitty picture to make it all better...that's the tribute for health right...one cat picture sacrificed to the Internet?

Cold or no, I did get a few things accomplished yesterday. I started by using the latest design to make a necklace and earring set in white. I have a similar piece in the shop already, but I do really like the way the motif looks in the larger thread, very bold, yet elegant.  Then I received all the hat and veil making supplies I had ordered so I was able to finish remaking a sold hair piece I had begun work on the day before. This was an awful lot of white to hand out at the top of the shop, so I did a bit of moving around and then remade one last piece, a necklace in brown. This brought my shop listing total to 200! Now while I am quite proud of myself for sheer production quantity, I would of course love to see that number plummet with the sales of many things. I'm just typing that in public so the Internet sales fairy sees it.

While I was still on the white kick I had the idea to use the motif I made up from the 70's book I showed you awhile back. I made it up in white and attached it to a bobby pin. My idea to make it more 'bridal' while also hiding the huge silver pad was to cluster a few freshwater pearls there in the center. I might also add a couple coque feathers to the back side, but I'm not certain yet. I finished the piece late last night and that's when the cold really takes a toll on brain functions. I also think I really got the pattern down this time. If you remember, I made it up after looking at a simple illustration without stitch counts or joins, so it was all guess work. I might also add the design to a lapel pin in another color with swarovski rounds in place of pearls. I do need to keep working if I want 200 to hold...which  don't really.

One last bit for the day. Etsy has recently started rolling out coupon codes and though I don't have them yet, I think the plan is to have them out in time for the official holiday shopping season. Now, you know I don't like sales as it devalues the work, but I am looking forward to using this ability for possible return customer discounts as well as fan and follower special events. So if I get them in time, I may try out a Black Friday/Cyber Monday thing. I will of course let you know if that is going to happen. I hope to return to you Monday morning healthy and bragging about many sales...again that is for the Internet fairy...be well.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Keeping Up Apperances

I managed to stay on task yesterday despite the cold and the kittens. I finished up the pair of ankle corsets that needed making and all the pieces I sent off for the photo shoot returned, so I got those all back into the shop. I even managed to get a supply order out even though I always hate doing those. I always forget something and Murphy's Law seems to dictate that the ordering of seemingly essential supplies results in no sales rendering them useless for a time. Yes, I know that the opposite holds true as well, had I not ordered them, I would have run out of something important just as it was vitally needed. So in the end the ordering is really the best course of action.

I have a few more pieces on tap to be remade today and for one I have the white thread out so I was thinking of making the newest design in white for the bridal section. I won't lie though, part of the reason I'm making pieces in several colors is I almost have 200 items listed in the shop. I have never had that many before and the easiest way to pad the numbers is items in multiple colors. The other option is to go on a designing binge again, but I don't want to get too distracted in case sales do suddenly pick up.

Since I've already brought up numbers and you likely know I have an unhealthy obsession with them, though not as personal validation, I thought I'd share a couple more exciting ones. I have recently broken 2000 followers on twitter, this was hard to do as I often get followed by spammers and folks that just want a follow back so they disappear quickly and I rarely get followed back when I follow someone new because they are usually way cooler than me. I don't blame them either...I talk a lot. Second number excitement, I recently broke 7000 hearts or favorites for my etsy shop. Again I didn't immediately announce this one because the number fluctuates quite a bit as people clean out their favorite lists, but I've cleared far enough that I think it will stick. Now if I could only reach the illusive 1000 fans on facebook I would be set, well number wise anyway and since those numbers have little to do with sales, it's all just appearances anyway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Resurrected

My cold has advanced to that point where it is nearly crying out, 'see if you can get anything done now, woman!'. I mean I did get stuff done, but that's only because I really haven't any choice. Some days I really miss being a kid and being taken care of, allowed to stay in bed all day with no expectations put upon me. Instead I have a household to run, people to take care of and a business of sorts requiring my rapt attention. Oh well, moving on then.

Sometimes I forget why I ever stopped making a piece I used to sell. Perhaps I got tired of making it or it didn't sell particularly well so I let it go. At any rate, it's nice to resurrect them ever once in a while, refine the patterns and see if they find a new audience. This one was one of the only pieces I wrote out a diagram for. I had originally made it as a bridesmaid piece with smaller thread and hung it from chains. This go round I adjusted some stitch counts, made it with my standard size 10 thread and tatted the chain. I figured it no longer had that bridesmaid look so I renamed it as well. I did end up making the matching earrings in the smaller thread because they looked a bit off that large.

I also have a bit of bad-ish news, well disappointing really. I received the pictures from the photo shoot and only one of my pieces was used and you can barely see it in the photos. I'm looking on the bright side though as I will still get that magazine credit and hopefully I've made a contact in the stylist that might lead to more exposure in the future. I certainly don't regret the effort, but I suppose I dreamed a little bigger than I should have.

I also managed to get my exchange gifts made up for the Intatters holiday exchange so I should get those in the post later today or tomorrow morning. I do also have a simple veil to make up today and I am trying to get another pair of ankle corsets remade. I don't know how focused I will remain as the cold has clearly taken over my head space, but I shall of course try. Thank you all for the kitty comments and advice yesterday. They continue to demand my attention and the other cats are slowly adjusting. My girl cat has gone maternal, but the boys are still sharing their ire. Since you seem to not mind so much, here is yet another sleeping lap kitten photo. At least my lap is always warm I suppose.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Little Sepia

I know there will come a time when you will all be so sick of kitten talk that you will simply stay away, but as they are dominating my day currently...there will be more kitten talk.First though, here is one of the sepia things I did the other day. I got in some ring blanks in brass tone, so I thought that was perfect for the browns. I might also get one made in the deep purple as that shade looks good with brass as well, but my to do list is rather long lately.

Now back to kittens. We let them into the rest of the house and there was mighty chaos as the roamed, got hissed at and battled on the stairs. The most significant adjustment for me was this one. They opted to nap on my lap while the children slept. This meant I was twisted about in order to get my tatting done during what is usually my most productive hour and the second they awoke it was battle time on my lap. So far, they have shown limited interest in my thread, but this was just day one. I foresee much chaos in our future.

I do have many pieces still needed to be remade and I'm waiting on a customer to finish up their order. Sure, I could do it first, but I have recently learned my lesson regarding services without prior payment. I want to say I have something else to share, but I'm also rocking a nice head cold, so it could be nothing. So off to it then...I think.

Monday, November 15, 2010

See The Kitties

The weekend belonged to the kitties and birthdays. It went, play with kitties, fetch something for kitties, go to day long birthday party, play with kitties, clean up for kitties...kitties, kitties, kitties. This here on the left is JiJi and down there on the right we have Neko. They came to us with some flea hitchhikers so we have them isolated in our room to avoid a house wide infestation. The flea meds seem to have been ridiculously effective, but it's been a long time since we have kittens, our youngest is seven, so it all seems like magic from what we remember. We plan on letting them loose in the house today and hopefully the cats, who are royally pissed at us, will not kill them. Also I'm crossing my fingers that my tatting corner survives. I suppose I should get cleaning that up as well. Oh, kittens, what sweet little destruction you are.

In other news, I heard back from the stylist regarding the photo shoot and she says I should receive some pictures soon and all my pieces are on their way back to me today. Now that I've heard that, I am getting really optimistic to see them and I will also receive a copy of the magazine when it goes to print, so I'll be sure to share.

I did get a little time to tat over the weekend and I opted to make some sepia pieces. I made up a ring as well as an Art Nouveau set. If the kittens don't kill me, I'll get those photographed and listed today. What I am avoiding is the remaking of several pieces. I know I should get on it, but they are larger ones and for some reason I just want some instant gratification and they won't give that to me. I am also distracted by kittens of course. Speaking of, good gracious getting them all their shots and vet care is expensive, those pictures up there represent our Christmas presents, seriously. Anyway, I will attempt to get some more tatting done and those photos and the child's school and some more kitty proofing. Oh, Monday how I wish I could just skip you.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kittens

As expected yesterday was mostly family time. We a little early holiday shopping and on the way home I got a massive headache which actually prevented me from doing any tatting for hours. When that monster finally faded we headed to the in-laws to pick up two kittens to add to our brood. They are from a strays litter that they caught. Momma cat is feral, but the kittens are sweet as can be. I only wanted one, but I was outvoted. I didn't get any pictures as it was already dark when they got here. The other cats are of course not pleased, but no one has gotten any more violent than hissing, so I think they will all survive.

I am exhausted however, as the kittens 'slept' on the bed with us. It reminded me of having a baby in the bed, expect instead of wanting to eat, they wanted to play and chew on my hand and whatnot. So today, I get to try to have a normal school day for the child and get some work done while trying to keep the children from over loving kittens, the cats from killing the kittens and the kittens from killing themselves. It is going to be a long day and I hope that don't like to attack tatting thread.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Morning After

Already a little late this morning as it's a holiday for both my husband and my daughter. Sure, I could sleep in a  little more than this, but I still have three cats that beckon me forth from sleep with incessant mewing so I'm lucky I got a half hour. So first I though I'd say Thank You! to Marilee for her comment yesterday. I haven't gotten many of those lately, but since I am awful at leaving them, I can't really complain about not getting them. Anyway, she marveled at how I got that whole bundle of Art Nouveau pieces designed and put together so fast, so I though I would tell you how or why that happened.

Well first the design was born from an already existing pattern. Sure, I made changes, but they were organic ones that simply occurred to me as I was tatting. Then I had instant feedback on the twitter. Folks offered color suggestions and even said they thought it would look good upside down. It's exciting to get that kind of feedback while you're working, so I worked faster to show them finished pieces and as I worked other ideas formed that begged to be tried. Sometimes an idea is slow growing and needs a lot of care to develop and other times it's more like a weed that would have grown with or without you. This collection is a field of weeds.

Now onto my outburst yesterday morning. I had woken to a series of strange and potentially wonderfully email messages. I also had a couple of existing orders that needed to be taken care of and a dozen other thing that needed doing. I was simply overwhelmed with it all and much of it required further email conversation and I just couldn't get my head around how I was going to it all in the time allotted. Without going into too much detail because I'm always afraid thing could fall apart, there was a mask ordered to be used by a male Finnish 'television personality' in a music video. This required me to deal with increasing the size of a design, but just a bit. Then there was a message from a stylist asking for several of my pieces for a cover shoot for a magazine. The magazine is high end but distributed in countries like France, Canada, Hong Kong and the Middle East, so I hadn't heard of it. A little research and consultation with the twitter hive mind convinced me to go for it, so I had to send off a package overnight to L.A for the shoot tomorrow. If and when things pan out one either situation, I will of course go into more detail and share the results. The rest of the day continued in a similar fashion with a couple more orders that needed details changed until the sun went down and all was quiet.

Today will generally be family time and When I get some time, I have a ton of tatting to catch up on including remaking every piece I sent off just in case they don't come back. So cross your fingers that soon tatting will be on the cover of a fashion magazine, I know I am.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Art Nouveau Collection

Dear Universe, What the Hades? Seriously, I mean it looks like you like me, but do you want me to actually implode from the stress? No, I am not going to explain this outburst at this time. I will explain it at some future time when my head makes proper sense of the timing of it all. For now you will just have to wonder what the heck I woke up to that would make me want to write that first thing in the morning.


I promised you pictures of all the pieces that I came up with on Monday, but I don't want to overwhelm so I'll just share a couple. The rest are of course currently listing in the etsy shop for your veiwing pleasure. First up is the choker. I know you already saw the awesome photo of it yesterday held in my hand, but here it is worn. It is a fairly standard looking choker, but I do like the way the chains created the arches along the top edge. The next one here is the basic necklace that I created to match. I actually made two of these. The other is in pink with a slightly different chain section. I honestly still haven't decided which of those I like better.

The last one I wanted to show you is the inverted pieces. I turned them upside down, but I also lengthened the bottom side chains to give it a more chandelier look. Oh and I also adjusted the side rings so they appear a little more even. On this pair I hung some crystals, but I also listed a set in red without them and I think they look fine either way. Of course that could just be me being lazy as I am not the best wire wrapper in the world and it hurts my little hands a bit.

As you might have guessed from my earlier outburst, I'm going to be stressed out and likely quite busy today. No, it's nothing terribly awful...at least I don't think it is yet, but there are some timing issues that the Universe could work on. I hope I'm entertaining you Universe...I would hate it if you got bored. Anyway, I'm off to it all now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Don't Believe Me

Why yes, I am a big old lying liar. I said no more new, no more creative...I said I was getting down to production mode. So what do I do the second I get time to tat yesterday? Do I start making stock? No, of course not. I leaf through my stack of books again and and start playing with edgings. I found one that was a much more basic version of the Pomegranate edging I was so fond of form Anne Orr's book when I first started tatting. This one was in another 40's era book and as soon as I got through the first motif in the pattern I stopped. I though why this would make a fine earring. I thought it had made itself, but then I spent another twenty minutes trying to suss out the top portion. I had also added the bottom ring on whim.

As soon as that was done, I asked twitter for advice. Not only did they point out that the design might look neat upside down as well, but asked for a few colors. Since it was such a quick design, I obliged with a light pink and a green version. The green was another hand dyed by Heather and the slight mottle really adds to the art nouveau feel of the piece. It never fails to amaze me what a simple color change can do.

Once the other pairs were made up, I went onto the original idea, which was to make a choker out of the edging. Since I made the earrings first and I liked the way that the top arch made them look, I added a second row to the edging along with the other modifications I had already made. At this point it was quite dark out and even the phone picture is terrible awful, but since I did take one, I though I'd show you. I thought about adding even another chain edge, but then the design no longer matches the earrings, so I think this is the final piece. Then I thought I'd also try out a simple necklace, one with the motif at the center and the Josephine chains on the sides. I made one to match the green earrings, but by the time I finished that one, I had no interest in attempting a photo. So I'll share that one tomorrow after I have decent listing photos of everything. Then I think I will get a set done upside down as was suggested. I think there are a couple of little changes it will need to hang well and I might add some crystals from that set. I won't attempt a reverse choker, but the simple necklace might still work with the design inverted or perhaps that one will just be a pendant and I'll hang it from a chain.

See, I'm a big old lying liar, but hopeful you like what I make when I'm suppose to be working.