Friday, December 30, 2011

I just realized as I sat down that today is Friday and thus the last blogging day of the year. See, I had grand plans of doing a big end of the year post with a look back at this past years "achievements" and placing some goals for the coming year into print, but the week got completely away from me. So, I suppose I'll wing this a bit. I just went back and looked at last years post and this is what I discovered:
"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."
Every year before that post I laid out a bunch of round number goals for the year, but given my paragraph of goals here, this past year was a rousing success. This past year saw not one, but four new Instructables posted, a new video and plenty of new designs. The children and the cats kept on growing and everyone appears healthy and happy. I'm lucky to be online where I am constantly meeting new people and folks read and occasionally respond to my babbling. It's been a year full of getting really close to fame and not quite breaking through, but all of that had lessons to teach. Tatting made it to a New York runway and I sold not one, but two of the fanciest masks I've ever made. All in all it was a pretty good year and I won't muck up next year with a list of numbers either. In fact, that stuff I said last year, I'd like to do all that again.

One last thing for the year, a new mask. I was searching for more inspiration for my next project when I ran across a prototype mask made years ago. I was a complete fail, but I never tossed it assuming one day I would have the skills to resurrect it. Yesterday was apparently that one day.  The original is under the new work there. I made it with medallions all of the same size and it fits like it was made by a five year old with a pile of yarn. This time I decided to shape the design by not only decreasing the size of the center medallion, but also making the medallions on the side asymmetrical so they would grow out to the sides giving the piece the proper shape without losing the overall size.

In the end I also added more to the bottom giving the mask more coverage and I completely reworked the edging I used at the top to a more organic design giving the top more structure so the points didn't flop about. The new mask is on the bottom here. I know you can't really tell how bad the top mask is here without it being on a face, but trust me, this was a design achievement I thought I never get. I probably won't get it listed until Monday since I hate doing photo shoots with the husband around...even when he doesn't actually mock me, it is perceived.

So there you have it, the end of the year, a new mask and that leaves us at the weekend. Thank you to all of you who read this blog or the Wunderkammer, buys my tatting, follows me on twitter or joined the facebook fan page. Many thanks for commenting, consoling, commiserating, offering up ideas and for putting up with my occasional  nonsense...or pretending to anyway. Thank you once again for being part of my year and I hope to see you in the new one.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Crochet

Man was yesterday morning ever a wash. The extra children stayed until just after noon and it took a few hours before my sanity returned and I was able to accomplish anything. It's not like they're bad kids or anything, but when there are eight of them, it's just terribly overwhelming just to be in the same house with them and winter makes it worse because they can't go outside and run free. I suppose they'll have great memories of these sleep overs though, so it's all worth it then.

After all of that, I did get some things accomplished. First, I finally settled on a needle felting kit I found on etsy with a lovely assortment of colors and just an hour after I ordered it, I got an email saying it was shipped. I love it when sellers are, well...like me. Then I had a couple of small pendants to tat up and that got me right back into my groove. Once that bit of store business was concluded, I had a neck warmer to finish.

This one is my oldest, she picked out the yarn and the buttons. Man, does she love those buttons. I had just finished it and she put it right on and clearly she's pretty happy with it. In fact, she didn't tale it off until I made her get dressed for bed. I made both the girl's pieces as long as my own so they won't grow out of them. So I guess that's the end of the crochet projects for the winter.

I've got a couple more small pieces that need to be tatted up today, but after that I'm not sure which direction I'll go. I did recently acquire instructions to make ribbon cocardes. I have an etsy friend that makes them and I've gotten a few from her. It was driving me batty that I didn't know how to make them, then I saw a how to for sale on etsy and snatched it up. I tried the technique, but still haven't taken one all the way to completion. I might try that today. The process is simple, but time consuming which is much like most crafts I do, so it should fit right in. I also have another craft kit for a beaded, light up wrist cuff, but the instructions are ridiculously complex so I've been putting that one off. My week of almost vacation is almost over though and next week  I will likely shift gears to a new large project or at least something new in tatting. What a week.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Felted

So yesterday I made a mistake I had surprisingly never made before. We ran some errands in the morning and I dropped an order off at the post office heading to Canada. When we got home I pulled up the order on the computer to mark it shipped when I realized that I had packed the wrong pair of bobby pins. Yikes. In my defense the order came in Christmas day and you know I wasn't in the proper frame of mind to distinguish a white pair from a white and ivory pair. I sighed and thought and came to the conclusion that I best just remake the accidentally shipped pair and get the right pair ready to ship. I suppose it could have been worse. I could have not noticed at all and then the customer would have contacted me all upset in a week. At least this way I was able to email the customer and let them know what had happened and that I would be shipping the right pair today. I also figured letting them keep the wrong pair would be much easier than asking then to ship it back.

Since that was all the tatting I got done I thought I'd show you the needle felting project I did on Christmas eve. Go ahead and mock if you must, it was my first ever attempt and wings in articular leave much to be desired. After I worked this up I used some of the left over roving to practice the concept some more and I believe I have it down now. Sure, I should have done that first, but hindsight and all that, right?

I tried to find more roving locally so I could play some more. I know I probably won't have much time for it, but I'd still like to have some around. Shockingly I could find none anywhere. I suppose I'll just have to suck it up and order some online if I ever want any. There are lots of kits on etsy and I might even try to trade for some.

In other news, we had all the nieces and nephews over for a sleepover last night. They still slumber upstairs. That's eight children between the ages of four and twelve so as you might imagine it took hours for them to finally fall asleep, chatting and laughing just loud enough to keep us from sleep as well. We'll cook them a big breakfast and then they play all morning while I get nothing done. I still have one kid's neck warmer to finish and that's the end of the family projects. I'll probably stall for a while trying to figure out the next side craft to tackle. I might get a couple of pieces remade for the shop or maybe I'll start plotting my new year projects. I feel so adrift without my schedule and no one was around to comment on my mask yesterday...uh oh, the whine is starting, I'm off.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Secret Project 2

We started off yesterday with a shopping trip to take advantage of some holiday clearance racks. We ended up going far more places than our original intent, but we returned home with awesome wrapping paper, new lights and more importantly yarn and buttons so I could crochet up some neck warmers for the girls. I spent the rest of yesterday making one for the youngest and today I will likely spend much of the day making the one for the oldest. I know it sounds like a lot of work, but I swear it's almost like a vacation for me. You, however have other things to see today.

Here it is, the last secret gift project. I'm particularly proud of this one, so a few oohs and awws would be much appreciated. The wonderful friend who was the recipient of this one had expressed an interest in the first Day Of The Dead mask I made which was not surprising given the collection of them she possesses. I thought about giving her the existing one, but since I had the thought early enough I had plenty of time to make it a side project and she really did deserve her own one of a kind piece.

The first thing that is unique to this piece is the eye shape. These ones are patterned after actual eye sockets, not the almond shape I use on all the other masks. This did present an interesting challenge as it changed the dimensions of the face dramatically. I couldn't work off the other masks, but rather had to make it up as I went. This meant more than one session of cutting out and starting over.

The other change is the center motif on the forehead. Changing that also caused a ripple effect on the rest of the design. I went a little lighter on the embellishments this time, concentrating on a few key areas rather than all over. I embroidered the entire edge of the piece and found some interesting filigree pieces to use. The triangles or hearts on the sides there are actually from one piece that I cut in half which was less fun than it sounds, but I knew I wanted them. Of course there are plenty of Swarovski crystals in black and red and then some black and silver embroidery to finish. All in all it was a few weeks worth of work after store tasks were done.

The next time I make one of these it will definitely be with the new eye shape as I think it really enhances the skull effect. When I might do that is a complete mystery though. As I mentioned I think I want to do something completely new first and all that is after my week of nothing much here at the end of the year. So to recap, more crochet for me today and the day ends with a sleep over of nieces and nephews so forgive any insanity I might spout tomorrow as a result of that.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Holy Bats

Morning world...unless you're reading this at another time of the day, then I suppose hello would be sufficient. I am pretty happy to be seeing the backside of Christmas today. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my family, I adore giving gifts, but the seemingly endless cleaning that begins at Thanksgiving, well, it's a pain I can do without.

As you can imagine there was little, if any tatting over the weekend, but I do have something to show you anyway. When we came back from Monterey, we almost immediately headed to a friends house for the evening and since my secret gift projects were amongst those exchanged, you may finally see them starting today. I'm showing you one today and the other tomorrow, you know to spread it out a bit. Today's was created for a fellow who may well be the single most talented artist we've ever met. You might be thinking, is that a bat? Why, yes, but not just any bat, it is the Batwoman symbol. I could go into why I felt this was a good thing to tat up for him, but instead I will go into who I have to thank for the design.

When I got the idea to make this, I immediately knew where to look for the structure needed for the wings. I think it was last Christmas I received a dragon form Anne for the Intatters exchange and I knew I could use the lessons taught there to make my bat. Sure, there was math to adjust angles and stitch counts. I dropped entire rows and I spent much longer than I care to admit on the head, but thanks must go to Anne for the perfect wings. Still I was afraid I had not captured the image I was going for, that is until it was opened and immediately recognized and I was very much relieved.

The husband and the oldest are both on vacation this week, so expect less progress from me in every regard...see this is why I'm doing two days of secret project reveals. I've also been trying my hand at a few other crafts, you know, as a vacation. So far, you've seen the crochet project and over the weekend I tried out needle felting. That still needs work, but it was pretty fun, so I might do some more. I might show that off too, just to be more entertaining and of course I need to start thinking on my year end thoughts and goals for the coming year since it's become something of a tradition on the blog for me. Maybe this week won't be a bore for you after all.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Monterey

Well, this is my first attempt using my phone to blog and I'm certain it will be a short one. My thumb typing skills still leave much to be desired, but I promised that I would write.

We got to the coast a little later that I personally like, but it was a gorgeous day. The sun was out, all the kids had fun and we ended the day sufficiently exhausted. We'll be spending much of today here as well and then once we're back home it's onto cleaning and the holiday adventures.

I did actually tat in the car on the way to the coast, but just to pass the time and I'm sure to do so again on the way back. Sure, I could just sit in the car, but the sheer boredom. So I guess that's it for me today. I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful Christmas and that everyone else has a nice weekend. I talk at you again Monday.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thanks

I was about to wish you a happy Friday when I realized that today is in fact Thursday. Weird...I go from thinking the week is creeping along to jumping it forward a whole day. So, happy Thursday then. The family is heading off later this morning to the coast to spend a couple of days by the ocean with my husbands side of the family. I'll still post tomorrow as I have the fancy blogger app on my phone, though I haven't actually tested it out yet, so it may be a complete disaster, but I'll try.

I wanted to thank those of you who threw a few ideas at me for my next project. I spent hours thinking about making tikka after I saw this video posted by Crazy Mom Tats. While it wouldn't be the huge art project I want to do, it's definitely something new I could try out. I've done circlets before, but after a bit more research on the tikka's basic construction, I think I've got a few ideas brewing. I'll just have to save them up until after next week.

I also thought about the half mask idea though I have made a one eye mask, it was smaller and I haven't remade it since it sold. I designed it with an eye hook like the arm of a pair of glasses and it's a bloody pain in the neck to construct. A larger version, more like my Masquerade mask, but halved and perhaps further down the face may prove more structurally sound, but I do really want to make something altogether new.

The last suggestion I received was to make a scarf. Honestly I've already made a few of those and they take forever, look lovely and unique, but don't offer the wow factor I want to go for. Basically the idea of the art piece is to make something truly over the top. I generally strive to make things that are wearable by most people, but the art piece can be ridiculous and couture and I must accept that when I make one, it may never sell. I think I have another idea forming now and I'll revisit it when I have time to sit down and work out some potential details, then I'll share. Please, though do share some more ideas if you have them. There can never be too many of them!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One More Down

Another day down. This week has been and I imagine will continue to be a slow march. I refuse to start any new tatting projects with the moments of free time I have been given as the world slows though. As a result for the first time in a long time, I haven't been totally exhausted every evening. I am saving new for the new year. Instead I actually finished a mask in one day and should have it off to its new owner today. Of course this does mean I did little else. Sure, there was still schooling and I managed laundry and dishes, but mostly it was just the mask.

Today starts with a couple of necklaces and a lapel pin that need remaking and since our annual holiday trip to Monterey is tomorrow, I must get the house mostly cleaned as well. We'll still have Saturday to finish up, but who really wants to clean on Christmas Eve...not that we do anything else interesting, but it's the principle of the thing.

I have started to let my mind wander a bit on the subject of a new art piece for the shop. I need to make something striking and slightly over the top. So far my big pieces have been the Masquerade mask, the Day of the Dead mask and one large neck piece, but that last one was only halfway there. This time I don't think I want to do a mask, but I'm not sure what I want to do. I know that I will end up making it up as I go along, but I still need a picture in my head. Any suggestions are surely appreciated. The more brainstorming, the more likely I am to have an 'ah, ha' moment. But, for now it's remaking and cleaning...oh my exciting life. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I will definitely still be posting on my usual schedule through the holidays...just don't expect much tatting, or substance.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sigh

So as it turns out the headache was a pretty good portend of the day to come. There just wasn't much to it honestly. There were a few hours of schooling the child and then I spent some time cleaning as I think I had avoided it long enough. Do you have any idea how much fur seven cats leave on a tile floor? It's epic really. Almost the entire remainder of the day was spent trapped under a pike of cats working on remaking one of my neck corset pieces and staring at the computer screen hoping something else would happen to distract me from the doldrums. I even attempted a flash sale on facebook, but had no takers for three hours. Of course I don't know why I bother, I've never really had a successful sales event of any kind. It seems my customers are just not motivated by percent off sort of things which is actually a good thing as I don't really like doing them anyway. I guess I was just trying to change things up.

I did receive an order for a mask that needs making this morning. So that's what I'll be working on today. I want it done and in the mail by Thursday so I don't have anything hanging over my head for the weekend other than the holiday itself. That also means I'll be scheduling up a bunch of posts for the Wunderkammer and I'm still not certain whether I'll take a break from here or not. Writing in the morning is such an integrated part of my day, I might feel weird not doing it. It's likely I'll still be around posting. In fact theoretically, we should be gifting our friends with my secret projects soon...hopefully, so at the very least I'll get to post those pictures. So my day is mask making and probably a bit more cleaning and tomorrows post will be as boring as today's, but what are you gonna do?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Crochet

Well nuts, my after the holidays project has already been completed. I guess at a certain point I just found my rhythm and the neck warmer was done on Friday night I think. There were no sales in the shop all day so I just kept on going. I even cut the buttons off of an old jacket I had so I wouldn't have to wait for a trip to the store to get some. It is terribly cozy, though I do wish I'd had a bit softer yarn to use for it. I might still venture out after the holidays to find some, maybe to make them for the kids, if they decide they want them too.

Saturday was also a completely dead day in the shop, but we got errands done and I finished the book I was reading. Then on Sunday we accomplished the great wrapping event. We left the girls to play with their cousins for a couple of hours and got it all knocked out. Of course we still can't put everything under the tree for fear of the cats reactions to piles of paper covered goodness. I sort of miss that part from childhood. You know, the box shaking and guessing, but we're certain that it would not end well.

Sunday also brought a small influx of orders. I assume trying to get in just before the shipping deadline. That should keep me busy remaking today and I'll offer one last day of Priority shipping tomorrow. Then, well then the shop will likely turn into a ghost town for a month. Though there are always a few, 'I didn't get what I wanted, so I'm buying myself a present' orders right after the holidays. We still have most of the week homeschooling, but then she's off for three weeks. I doubt we'll stay that long on vacation, you know for our sanity reasons, but that's the official schedule. We also need to clean the house up again before we host the Christmas festivities for the family and I'd rather that was done sooner rather than later, so as soon as I've finished catching up with the shop, it's cleaning time. Sounds like I have one hell of a week ahead of me and I'm starting it with a headache...that can't be a good sign.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The days are really beginning to run together as the holidays sneak up on me. I think perhaps that is a side effect of completing the shopping so early. I really stopped thinking about it, at least in the way that affects me and my family, instead focusing on the store. I means, yikes...it's just over a week away until Christmas. Sorry about that, it's just an external realization and this is the place that those spill out into the open.

I spent most of the day focused on remaking sold pieces and I've basically caught up save for a few I really have no interest in remaking right now. So as afternoon rolled around and it became clear that I wasn't going to get many if any more orders for the day, I opted to crochet. Yes, I am aware that sounds odd. Before I discovered tatting I both knitted and crocheted all the time and had since my teen years. I found tatting when I had bored of those for a time, but it was turning tatting into a job that left no time to pursue those crafts any longer. Every so often when things are slow, I'll pull out a hook or needles and let my muscle memory remind my how to move the yarn.

I had purchased a pattern for this neck warmer I saw on etsy with an interesting stitch I'd not tried before. That's what this is the beginning of. I still have plenty of yarn about so I got started with some black alpaca. It's definitely going to take a spell before I finish as it's pretty slow getting any length with the scales, but it's fairly simple, keeps my hands moving and gives me a break from tatting. I will of course pause to work on the shop should that be needed, but if the last five years have taught me anything, January is a slow, slow month. That means it's perfect for side projects and maybe even another tatted art piece for the shop. You know, if inspiration hits. That's all still a couple of weeks away though, so rather than speed toward it, I'll just let it come. I hope that you all have a nice weekend.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Remember To Knock On Wood

It's my own fault really...I should know better. Yesterday when I spoke of the great sales day I had the day before I forgot to knock on wood and luck, she abandoned me...at least for the day. It wasn't a horrible day by any stretch of the imagination, but once you've had such a great one, you unfortunately expect it to continue and anything less is just disappointment. I was however, plenty busy with the task of remaking the pieces that flew out of the shop the day before.

I also have a short tale to tell about patience. Early in the morning I received an order for a custom item with a request attached to rush ship by Friday. Well, the piece not being made yet made that sort of impossible. So I sent a message to that effect asking politely if they would like to then cancel the order. I waited and waited and then I received a message saying it wasn't really a problem and that yes, they would still like it. The moral of the story lies in my initial reaction of, 'read the damn listing' and my own stress over it. What I should have realized was this was more of a, 'doesn't hurt to ask' sort of occasion. Luckily I had already learned the lesson to communicate with patience and kindness no matter my own stress so I didn't make the situation worse. I share this story to remind myself and others to continue to answer these sort of situations honestly and kindly and remember that without jumping into another persons head, we can't know their full intentions. Believe me, if it turns out that they are in fact entitled brats that will come out soon enough, but it's better to assume the best that the worst.

I still have more pieces to remake today so don't expect anything else too interesting for tomorrow. Again I'm hoping sales pick up a bit. The cut off for domestic first class mailing isn't until the 20th so technically there is plenty of time left for people to shop. I just hope they know that. I bet you guys can hardly wait until the season is over and I stop going on about sales and return to creative tatting, huh? Yeah, I know, have patience it's almost over.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Better

Yikes, I was so busy yesterday. It was a completely unexpected day full of many small sales. I think it may be crunch time for holiday shoppers. My first clue was the sheer amount of sales which is quite small really, but when you're used to maybe one or two a day, it was a lot. The second clue was that half those sales were to men. The rest of the year male shoppers pop by maybe once a month so I'm fairly certain we're in gift territory. I was even asked politely if I could wrap one order, I did. Also in the column of the gods on my side, all the orders were ready to ship pieces with no custom requests. Sure, that means I have a ton of things that need remaking today, but there is no real rush. That puts me in quite a pleasant mood.

Of course with all the work I was up to, I completely forgot to take some pictures for you guys. So instead, I took one of my secret gift photos and pared it down to a nice teaser image.  I hope that's enough to at least add some color around here.

I've got another dentist appointment today to repair a chipped filling that I didn't even realize I had. The rest of the day after schooling will be remaking the things that sold and crossing my fingers for a repeat of yesterday. A couple more days like that or even close to that and I can stop worrying about all that shopping I did last month. Yesterday was the busy I remember from years past and honestly, I love it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

At Least I'm Busy

Thankfully I found myself fairly well occupied with the making of sold items much of the day. The remainder was filled with comic book reading. I have a nasty habit of allowing weeks of books to build up before I attack a pile of them. Sometimes this allows me to read more than one issue of a single title at a time giving the story more continuity and sometimes it means I've read so many books with similar enough characters that I feel as if I might have been brainwashed as all the stories run together. I suppose that is not really all that interesing, but as I have nothing much else to share, it will have to do.

I woke this morning to a couple more orders and though most of the ones I've received lately have been fairly small, I am completely grateful that they continue to come at all. There was a time when tatting was a hobby and even my little shop was meant to do little more than feel my addiction for more thread and take away the finished products to keep them from cluttering the house. Then I had no worry of sales. Now, it is my job and while I love that, it still puts a lot more pressure on me to be a business person, not just a tatter.This means I get to worry about sales more or at least as much as I think about new designs. I suppose I am rambling on now so I shall get on with the day. I'll try for a picture of something for tomorrow as I'm not likely to have much more interesting to share then. Have a pleasant one all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Done And Done

Here we are at another Monday. It was a pretty busy weekend so personally I was hoping for another Sunday so that I can recover from the one I just had. We had decided that before more toys rained down on the children during the holidays we had to get into their toy room and purge or at the very least clean and organize. We didn't end up purging much, we are after all pack rats, but my back is killing me this morning from the cleaning. They now have a floor and couple more clear tubs with sorted toys in them. We just can't bring ourselves to get rid of so many things we collected for them and let's face it...ourselves. I mean there are a lot of toys I wish that I still had from my childhood, but aside from a bag of stuffed animals, I have nothing. So, we 'save' them so that the children have a chance to keep these or we will.

In other news I finished all the tatted gifts I wanted to make. I assembled snowflake ornaments, adding a little bling and a fancy hanger to them. This strange photo is the prototype for the final gift I made. Once they've been given I will treat you to more stories about their creations and show you some real pictures which I swear have been taken. I'm pretty proud of this one and I will make a public thank you to the pattern I got much help from once they are revealed, but man am I glad there are so many other creative tatting designers playing online for me!

The shop was pretty dead most of the weekend, but I did wake up to two customs orders this morning, so I guess that's what I'll be working on today. I'm still hoping for a nice big rush of orders before people start thinking they can't be delivered in time. Still trying to make up for shopping early, but at least we're done with it all.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Um...

See, right back to nothing much to share. I spent much of the day remaking the last sold order and that was it for orders all day. By the evening I was feeling like maybe I had it in me to make another gift for someone else. I rarely make tatted gifts for people because there are very few people in my real life that have shown any interest in my work let alone a desire to own any of it. I'd hate to gift people with lace just because I can knowing that it will not be appreciated or worse looked on as me being cheap or something. This year I do have a few people that I think will appreciate and perhaps even be happy to receive a bit of lace as a gift so I figure I better take advantage of that and make them something. Of course it doesn't hurt that I feel pretty broke right now too.

I didn't take any pictures of the new gift project yet, but if it works out and I have no idea if it will yet, it will be a static piece. I'm trying to be clever and recreate the shape of an emblem of sorts and I think I've worked out at least part of it borrowing from other patterns. So unless I get deluged with orders today, I'm going to suss out more of the shape I need and take some cryptic photos to show you. That is the whole of the plan for the day unless of course something changes. Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New and Interesting

Well, what do you know...something new and something interesting. I'll start with the new. I've been ranting on machine lace for a spell and even trying to mimic its designs just to show it can't do something that I can't. This is of course not true, there is plenty that machine lace can do that tatting cannot as there are no limitations like chains and rings for the machine, but I digress. My attempts were sloppy and entirely too focused on reproduction. Yesterday I was given far too much free time and so I doodled something out and tried to make it. Lo and behold, I did make it and I think it is good. I've used the scallops before and I honestly love the look of them. If given more free time I think I'll expand on the concept and see if I can't create some even bigger pieces using it as well.

Now the interesting surprise. I came back from the dentist with the family and then they off and left me to go on a secret adventure. Normally I'd be glad of some peace and quiet, but all I had to do was the dishes and that's just no fun at all. After I did them though I sat down on my computer and noted on twitter that The Gothic Charm School has put out a holiday gift guide. I was perusing her advice and link list when I saw my own humble shop listed among them. I am always happy to get a mention form anyone, but when it is someone I really like and look up to, it's always a special treat. So, if goth is your thing or perhaps a family members thing, pop by the list for some shopping recommendations from The Lady of the Manners.

I also woke this morning to a couple more orders that will need remaking. Seems the summer in the southern hemisphere is fueling a bit of a run on barefoot sandals. I admit sitting here is the freeze is making the creation of them seem a little odd, but I must make what they buy and as I'm sure I've made abundantly clear, I certainly need the sales. So, that's it for today, new and interesting...don't get used to it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Another Day

Another day, the same as before and little has changed. You might wonder why I bother writing every weekday when it is obvious that I have little or nothing of value to share. It's habit, my friends. When I began blogging I knew I had to make it part of my daily schedule or I would fail right out. I am a creature of habit and my day has a loose but clearly defined schedule that keeps me going from one task to another. Blogging is second in my day after feeding the cats. Seriously, you don't want to make them wait...I am severely outnumbered there. So every morning, Monday through Friday I sit down and my computer, check my email, look through a few other blogs and then start to write. I rarely plan what I'm going to ramble on about, I just know that I must do it.

Since it is my way, a quick recap of the day before is in order. Speaking of orders, I did have one, but that was it. Remaking the sold item was most of the day, but when it was finished I found myself staring at the computer waiting for something to happen. When it didn't I took to reading again. I finished the first book I downloaded and got a second based on a friend's recommendation. This one is a tad heavier with the first chapter written, um...it's hard to explain, but suffice it to say, it was a tough read with an outcome that seriously stays with you. I am not even finished with the second chapter yet and I'm certain it's not going to end well either. Point it, I'm reading...on my phone and I'm enjoying it. Today should likely be very much the same again. I have one piece to remake and then there is a family dentist appointment. Again, I hope for something interesting to happen to enliven my posts if nothing else. Once more into the breach.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Um...

It was a fairly busy day in the shop yesterday and that kept me busy tatting most of the day. I must have done something wrong though because halfway through the day I hurt my hand or wrist somehow. The injury manifested itself when I tried to open a jar and it sent searing pair up my wrist. It seems fine this morning so I'm hoping it was just something I did and not something you know...permanent. I live in terror of things like arthritis. I need my hands way too much.

I of course have nothing new and interesting to show you, but I did take a cat picture so I had something to liven up this boring place. This is one of the kittens, Neko and Isis, who is their de facto momma cat.

The only other thing I did yesterday was to complain about machine lace being called handmade. I keep running into it on etsy. They tag it tatting or crochet and sometimes you can tell they picked it up at the fabric store and sometimes its made on one of those home embroidery machines. Either way, it is most certainly not handmade...I might accept homemade, but the only thing their hands did is thread the machine and push some buttons. I know I sound bitter. It can be quiet pretty stuff, but I hate that people are misled into thinking it could in anyway be the same thing as tatting lace or any of the other time consuming lace making skills. So long as a distinction is made, I pretty much like all lace, but enough of that.

I'm all caught up this morning on remaking things for the shop. I've sold a few pieces I don't plan on remaking at all and I actually had doubles on another, so this morning it's snowflake making again whilst crossing my fingers that the shop keeps on humming giving me more to get done.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Little Better

Yes, it was another long weekend, but here at the end of it at least I feel better than I did most of last week. I'm still nowhere near 100%, but I think the worst of it is past. I just really don't have the time to be sick right now. There are things that need doing. The shop still hasn't gotten up to the speed I remember from last year and I don't mind telling you that I'm a mite bit worried about that. It's picked up sure, but not as much as my early Christmas shopping dictates. So I must then spend more time on the Internet trying to guilt people into spending their dollars with me. This is not my strong suit so I will likely just complain a bit, try to keep working and hope.

Over the weekend I did in fact finish the gift project I've been working on like I said I would. Should the light cooperate, I'll get some nice photos of it this week so that after it is gifted I can show it to you. I also had a few small orders come in giving me something to remake and I got all of that accomplished save for one bracelet which I will get to today. I'll also need to make up some more free snowflakes as my supply has dwindled and I've been less on task regarding those than my grand plans dictated. I really don't think they have helped get any sales I wouldn't have gotten otherwise, but I suppose it's a nice little treat this time of year regardless. I also have to try and keep the child focused on schooling for the next three weeks when I'm fairly certain she has vacation fever already. Sounds fun, doesn't it? Well, hopefully something photo worthy will happen this week so I can be more entertaining, though I promise nothing.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Still Sick

We had a nice busy day around here yesterday. There was school and errands to run while the insane wind threatened blown down our house. Yes, I'm being melodramatic, but it was some crazy wind and my cold has increased it's strength as well making me, well...melodramatic.

After errands I had the custom order to attend to and just after that another small order came in so I have a few things that will need remaking today as well. No, I didn't get around to the gift project. I shall have to make a distinct effort this weekend to get that finished, though if I remember correctly, the week before Christmas is dead as a door nail so if I don't get round to it before then, I'll at least have the last minute to pull it out.

So, that's pretty much all I've got for this morning. I did download a book on my iphone for the first time because I had plenty of credit and wanted to read something. I thought it would be a pain to read on it, but it was surprisingly easy and convenient. I can just set down the phone on the couches arm rest and tat while I read. I only have to pause briefly to 'flip' the pages. It's so nice to read something written for grownups without taking time away from what else needs to be done. Yep, that's it for me. Have a nice weekend all.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

They Always Come In Threes

I should have known what was coming the second the oldest daughter got a sore throat. I should have better prepared myself to inherit the germs that were already flying into my unsuspecting body, but I didn't. So yesterday morning when my own throat started to feel scratchy I uttered one of those long overdrawn, Noooooooooooo's. I am now the proud owner of a used cold. Small consultation is that after the husband mocked that he was fine, he too began the quick descent from scratching throat to mucus over producer. The daughter that gave it to me is already feeling almost fine, so here's hoping it's a quick one for the rest of us.

Despite the cold, there was still work to be done of course. I still had schooling and laundry and I was lucky enough to get another custom color order giving me more direction for the day. I had finished the boutonniere in the morning using a large skein of hand dyed thread. I mention this because I forgot to put it away and as I sat down to start on the custom order. The child held up the skein rescued from the cats. The picture shows me about halfway through rolling it up. They had luckily only broken through the thread toward the beginning and the end of the skein. How they managed that, I have no idea, but it's mostly okay now.

Since minor disasters always come in threes and I had already experienced the cold and the thread, I should have suspected the third incident, but as usual, I did not. I'm working on a pair of barefoot sandals in a custom color most of the afternoon. I'm finishing up one of the small side motifs and hiding the ends when this happens. Yes, you guessed right, my needle snaps right in half. What's sad is this isn't the first time I've managed to snap a needle. Sure, we've all bent the smaller ones, but I can't believe that I exert the amount of force necessary to snap steel while playing with thread. Clearly I do and I'm no longer sorry that I have several sets of needle lying around, just in case...it's not paranoia if they're really after you.

So, what's on tap for today. Hopefully more orders after I finish up the custom one. I might run some errands if I feel up to it and if no more orders come in, I really will work on the gift project. Here's to a quick death to my cold.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

That's Better

Yet another day with nothing new to show you, but at least the shop began to pick up a bit. Of course that didn't happen until the afternoon so I spent the morning after schooling staring into space waiting for a task to spill out of my laptop. It really is logical...I couldn't start working on something new and exciting because then I would just have to drop it should something actually require my attention. I was laying in wait, on standby...bored crapless.

Anyway, once an order came in, there was another following it and then another. The last though has me in a bit of a quandary as it was a custom listing and the customer didn't note what colors they wanted. I sent a message asking which hasn't yet been replied to. I suppose I'll make the piece up as pictured and hope that's what they wanted. It's just one of my boutonnieres so it won't take too long to make. If I'm wrong I'll at least have one in stock like the one in the picture.

So that's what's on tap for this morning. I have one other custom order to finish up and then the boutonniere. Then I suppose it's more finger crossing for another order to keep me busy. Though I think I'm finally in the mood to finish the large gift project. It just needs embroidery now, but it needs to be creative and I just haven't been feeling it lately. Oh and thanks to all of you who commented regarding my question. Seems that the single pattern for sale is good. If I can figure out how to best illustrate one I might cut my teeth on that idea after the holiday. On the same subject, just as a side note, all the patterns I have actually written up to share are over in the the right hand column. If it's not there either I don't want to share it, i.e. the Ankle Corsets(I know, selfish) or I simple haven't written up the pattern. I generally work off of prototypes or pictures so I don't usually write anything down. I'll have a few more free ones in the new year I'm sure, but for now, that's all I've got.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another Dud

Well Cyber Monday did not provide any more sales than any other Monday might have. It brought one sale, is what I'm trying to say, but that one was a custom sized mask meaning at least it gave me something specific to do for the day. So that's pretty much all I did, but I did get the mask finished so I'm feeling pretty good about that.

I do have a question for tat land though. I have been receiving a lot more messages on etsy and through formspring asking for patterns and general tatting instruction lately.  I was curious if this is a trend that's anyone else is seeing. I imagine it's connected to the holidays and the desire to be able to make unique gifts, but I don't remember the same thing occurring in years past. I have gotten so many request lately that I'm actually contemplating a book again. Don't get excited though, it's so not happening anytime soon. I just don't have the skill set required to put that together, but I digress, my initial curiosity is well, are you seeing more curiosity lately?

Let's see, for today, I did wake up to a few more messages on etsy asking for custom lengths and colors so hopefully those customers will provide me with something to do for today. Otherwise I'm, making more snowflakes for 'just in case' gifts. I do have a meeting with the home school 'teacher' this morning for the quickly approaching end of the semester, but that's the whole of my days plans. Here's to something wonderful and unexpected happening.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Recap

Well, it sure was a long weekend. You already got the Thanksgiving updates but the rest of the weekend was putting up the tree, eventually decorating it and other random family events. We went to a movie, avoided shopping and the husband played a lot of Zelda which the girls watched like it was a movie. I do want to back up to the tree story for a second though.

We had one last year with the kittens and they were constantly scaling it, but they were light enough to not cause too much damage. I picked up some deterrent spray this year thinking their increased size would make said scaling an epic disaster. This meant we put up the tree and left it undecorated for a day to test the waters. As you can see by this increadibly dark photo, it didn't exactly work. I saw the tree swaying from downstairs and when I got up in the loft, this is the sight I was greeted with. We did end up decorating anyway, though we opted to keep all the keepsake ornaments off the tree in case this was a portend of things to come. So far they have been good merely sleeping beneath the tree, but there's a month to go so I'm not counting my chickens yet.

I did work on some more snowflakes over the weekend and I had hoped that the shop would get busy, but it was a virtual ghost town. It's likely my own fault though. I chose to just stick with the free shipping and gift deal and I refused to spend a lot of time promoting on the social networks. I just felt so bombarded with promos myself, I couldn't add to the onslaught. There is of course still a couple of good weeks of holiday shopping time left, so I will cross my fingers that things pick up and yes, you can expect to hear more whining if they don't. This week everything else should be back to normal. I've got schooling to do and I'll keep using any free time for making gifts so I apologize in advance for the lack of new creations. Well, off to it then and a happy Monday to you all.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tired

What a day, what a day. There was cleaning followed by a house full of chaos, food and then more cleaning. I was exhausted by six. That was the point that the new Zelda game took over the television. I thought I'd tat for a spell, but I didn't, I stared at the screen and became a lump of nothing on the couch with a glass of wine...good times.

I did get a little tatting done in the morning. I'm still nowhere finished with any of the projects on my plate. The purple hair piece is currently just one round big and the ankle corsets I need to make are maybe halfway complete. I did get some snowflakes sparkled up, but I still want to make more of those so I have enough to give away should we find ourselves in such a gathering over the holiday season.

Should finishing all those projects not be enough tasks for me, today is the day designated to drag the holiday decorations out of the closet and decorate. See all the tables and chairs are out of the closet already making access easier, then after decorating all of those can go away for a month before I have to pull them out and repeat yesterday's chaos once again except with ham and presents.

If you are insane enough to go shopping on this blackest of days, I wish you to not get pepper sprayed...seriously it's already happened, and that you find what you seek. I'm going to personally stay the hell away from retail for the weekend, save for a quick grocery trip and enjoy that my shopping has already concluded. I shall also be crossing my fingers that the shopping picks up in my own little etsy store and I guess Monday it's back to normal.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Yeah...Thanks

[MCCALL'S MAGAZINE COVER, FAMILY ARRIVING IN KITCHEN FOR THE HOLIDAYS]Happy turkey and pie day to all my North American friends. Yeah, yeah, I know that's not what the day is all about, family, friends, giving thanks, forgetting about century's old oppression and destruction of indigenous people in favor of a pretty myth about people sharing. See, turkey and pie day is better isn't it?

I got most of the house cleaning done yesterday along with some tatting. I only managed to start the purple doily hair piece though so I have nothing new to show you. I worked on snowflake flurries while the husband played the new Legend of Zelda game and I have a pair of ankle corsets that needs remaking that I got started, but still have much work left on. Of course with all the cleaning, eating and cleaning I'll be doing today, I really don't think I'll accomplish much. Then tomorrow is the first official day of the Christmas season. The decorations and tree may go up and I will no longer curse when I hear holiday music, though the incessant toy commercials can cut it anytime. In fact I will sing, 'It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year', every time I enter a busy location...dripping with sarcasm of course. Years of working retail have tainted the holidays forever and honestly I hope this coming month flies by. If it wasn't for the time spent with family and friends and those rare moments of honest giving that are truly wonderful I'd forgo the whole thing.

I guess that's enough complaint for the morning. I'll be back tomorrow, likely in a better mood and I hope you all do truly enjoy any time off you're given this long holiday weekend. I am, as cheesy as it sounds, thankful for each and every one of you. That you read and comment and support me and my work is a great comfort and needed motivation for me. Thank You...really!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Damn Elusive Thread

Such a failed attempt to find the metallic thread I am running out of. I don't remember when or where I bought it and of course the label disappeared years ago. It's made up of two plys and each ply has what appears to be a black cotton thread wrapped with a silver filament making it about twice as thick as heavy duty sewing thread and it's on a beige colored locking spool. I searched high and low and nothing, so much nothing. Sure I found lots of beautiful metallic thread that all looked too thin or not remotely the same construction or color. I've used it a lot on my fancy masks and these new doily pieces, but it will be gone with just another project. I can live with not finding the same thread again if I can find a suitable replacement that serves the same purpose, mainly the same thickness and the dual tone. I know, good luck right?

In other non news, I got a lovely custom color order yesterday that I worked on much of the day and what time was left I devoted to working on snowflakes. I did start another doily hairpiece, this time in purple for it was requested.  I've got a couple of other things to remake today and then the day is devoted to the cleaning of the house in anticipation of tomorrow's meal. Yeah, I'm not looking forward to the rest of today, but one can't stop the march of time, so march I must.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In Black

In a lovely surprise, I got in the hat bases I ordered far earlier than I had expected them. It's always wonderful when you find a supply seller who appears to really care and ships quickly. I've found many of them to be, well...slow in that regard. Anyway, that meant I could get a red doily hair piece made up again and listed, so that's what I did in the morning. At this point I have the design down to a science, even the embroidery bits are flying, though I'm running dangerously low on some of the thread I use for that and I don't remember where I got it. Guess I'm playing the google game today and hoping it turns up quickly.

Then I turned my attention back to my gift project. I being very selective about which sold pieces I'm bothering to remake. I figure I can save many of them for January when the shop goes into its annual coma. I still have a little more work on the gift, but it's embroidery and is directly affected by the afore mentioned supply issue.

After I set that aside for the time being my mind wandered back to the flurries. I thought they would make nice simple gift for some friends, but I wanted to do them in black, so I needed to run an experiment first. I knew the sparkle modge podge worked on white perfectly, but I wasn't certain it would work on black thread. So I grabbed a prototype motif sitting on my side table, read 'rejected piece' and dabbed away, then waited. It really turned out neat. The sparkle on the white is a fairly subtle effect, but on the black it really stands out, but as I hoped the modge podge itself dried nice and clear and did not muddy the black thread at all. This meant that I was going to get to work on some black flurries. I apologize if you know me in real life, but you're likely ending up with a flurry snowflake should we exchange gifts. Oh and this little reject is likely going on my tree.

I've no other pressing plans for the day, no orders in queue nor pieces that need remaking. I thought about making another doily hair piece, but I got little enthusiasm online when I asked for possible color requests. I got about the same amount of enthusiasm when I suggested a black Friday or Cyber Monday type sale. Of course I'm okay with that as not having one means I don't have to spend my holiday running one. I will have a free shipping code up for the holidays, it's 'holiday2011' if you're interested, but I think that's all I'm going to do. Either people want to buy my lace or they don't, I certainly can't compete with deals like $200 flat screens, so I won't try.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Flurries And Kittens

Amongst all the errand running and general weekend nonsense I actually got quite a bit of tatting done. I finished up the gray doily fascinator and went ahead and made a mocha brown one with brass beads and got both of them listed. I managed to remake a sold mask that I was stalling on and then in an effort to make a little something for gifts, Jane's Flurry snowflake pattern was busted out. I got a little carried away making these last year and I fear that if I'm given the time it will happen again.

I made a set in white and then I discovered Sparkle Modge Podge. I wanted to sparkle them and I was all set to make some sort of unholy glitter mix when I stumbled upon it in the store. Ah, premixed unholy glitter goop, huzzah. I would never use this stuff on anything but an ornament that I wanted completed stiff, but it worked like a charm for this one purpose. I fear I will make more.

I'm not sure how much work will get accomplished this week as I prep the house for the family holiday meal. The guest list has grown to 20 and that has me a little out of sorts. It's just a very large number of people for a sit down meal. I just had a shiver thinking of doing the dishes after. I suppose there's a good reason why we only do this sort of thing a couple of times a year. Anyway, I do have some things needing to be remade and I will likely make some more flurries for gifts, so I suppose if I do find some downtime, it won't be down for long.

Now I leave you with my Sunday morning as I began work on the flurries. I printed out the pattern because I needed a refresher, sat down to work and this happened. If you were around last year when the kittens joined our household, this probably looks familiar. There was a point with more of them on my legs and let me tell you, they are much heavier and far more interested in my thread than the used to be. It's a wonder I get anything done.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Still On The Doilies

So black on white won the great, 'ask the internet what to do' challenge yesterday. I have to agree that was the way to go with the black thread. I think it has a very 'Old Hollywood' look to it. After that I decided on two more colors to try out, gray on a black base and Victorian red on a black base. Again, my internet social networks were consulted on which to make first and the red won.

I've been working each of these slightly different, playing with stitch counts and the number and placement of picots on the outer edge. I also noted that the different colored bases I purchased have slight size differences and that's making them each come out a bit different too. The red one has already been snatched up so I figure I'll make up the gray one today and then remake the red one to relist. Of course by that point I will have used up my new supply of bases save for an ivory one that I haven't decided on yet. I was thinking a brown one, but not sure whether I should go with chocolate or mocha brown. Also that I know there is a difference between those colors is weird. This is what Lizbeth thread has done to me, I've become a color snob. Albeit a color snob that still prefers black.

So that's pretty much the whole plan for today. I did sell a couple of other small things yesterday that I must also get remade and listed over the weekend. I will likely order up some more bases just so I can remake the other doily fascinators should they sell. I also still have quite a lot of finishing work on my gift project. Lucky for me, I started it early enough that I can take my time with it. Here's to a lovely weekend for you all out there.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fascinating

The morning was as expected. After schooling and some cleaning, I headed to the mailbox where I was happy to discover the new hat bases I had ordered like the one I used for the doily fascinator. A lovely friend on twitter had taken a shine to the design and had requested a white and black version. Sure, I should have asked again if she was sure before I made it, but I was desperate for something new to do. So, it's not completely new, but I really do love working this pattern for some reason. I used a black base to help the white pop and in pictures the black portion is hard to capture, but in person it stands out just fine. This one got a silver embroidered edge and a antiqued silver filigree with a black swarovski in the center. It should be off to a new home soon.

Then since I was in the mood and I have a few more bases, I started a black version. I still haven't decided whether to put in on a black base for the full 'goth' look or on a white one for the contrast. I think they will have two totally different looks so I think I'll post pictures either way later and hope the twitter or facebook can solve my dilemma. Of course I can always do it both ways, but which way first?

So today's tasks include a normal day of schooling followed by finishing up the new doily fascinator and getting it listed. Also I shall be actively crossing my fingers for the holiday shopping season to finally  find my storefront. Yes, I will continue to complain about it until things get in gear. I have holiday presents to pay for...I already shopped! I don't think there's anything else so that will be the whole of the day.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Um...

I'm sorry, but I've really got nothing for you today. Yesterday went like this: schooling, remaking, errand running, and finally zoo field trip and home. The Zoo we went to is the same one, about an hour away, that we usually go to. This time, since it was a field trip, we had a tour though and that was quite pleasant. I love hearing stories about about the animals, learning their names and quirks. We were also fortunate to be about while they had the 8 week old tree porcupine out and the 6 month old anteater. When I say out, I don't mean on display. They were out with handlers getting exercise and meeting people. I would have never guessed how cute and friendly a porcupine is, not that any of us was going to pet the cute thing.

But I digress, it was a lovely trip, aside from the oldest daughter dropping her sunglasses into the coati enclosure and then the husband dropping his keys in trying to retrieve said sunglasses. Both object were safely retrieved by zoo staff with a reacher grabber. Earlier in the day, I had only managed to remake two bracelets for the shop. There were no additional sales yesterday, so I imagine I'll be back to the gift project for a spell and then if nothing to do emerges I suppose I'll work on something new. This holiday shopping season has yet to get in gear and I'm fairly nervous about that, but all I can do is try to keep as busy as I feel like I should be and hope for the best. Fingers crossed

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Gifts

I sat sat around for much of the morning hoping that something would happen to spur me forth to some interesting project, or anything to tat really, but nothing came. Finally, I remembered the gift project I've been working on. I started it knowing it would be a project that I would only come back to when I wasn't otherwise busy and yesterday was perfect for it. It had been quite some time since I'd worked on it and I left off at a point where I needed to figure out my next move. It's one of those projects that is different enough from previous creations that I get to stretch that creative muscle, but not so different that I'm worried about it turning out. I wish that I could show you more of it, but as it is a gift and most of the people I know is real life do know where I live here, it is unwise. However, I thought this nice abstract photo would at least give a pop of color to the blog this morning.

I did get a couple of bracelet sales, so I have those to remake. One of them was the new gray one too, so I'm very pleased with myself that someone else liked the color palette. Other than that we have a field trip to the zoo out of town this afternoon and that is likely to eat up much of the day. Oh and I'll need to run some errands before we go, so I'm already tired thinking about my day. I hope your is a good one.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hats and Grays

It was another long weekend. Of course this time it actually was a day longer than usual. First I will start with the tatting. I sat down to try to make the doily fascinator fancier, but as I attempted to bead it, I realized that I liked it better the way it was. So, I undid the beading I had begun and got it photographed and listed. I liked the result so much that I went ahead and ordered some more hat bases in different shades so I can make a few more.

Then I got a couple small orders, so I spent a little time remaking things while thinking about what to make with the new charcoal gray thread. I truly love this color. I know, it's not really colorful, but it really is a gorgeous gray. Unfortunately, my creativity was on vacation, so instead of doing something interesting with it, I did something tried and true. I did get to use some new colored beads as well though. These are a beautiful light silvery gray that matches very well with the darker gray of the thread. I'm sure I'll think of something more awesome to make with it at some point.

So, other than tatting, there were two birthday celebrations for family and one nice little get together with friends along with the usual weekend nonsense. It was a busy, talkative weekend and I ended it with a ridiculous headache last night. This week should be fairly normal save for a zoo field trip tomorrow. I'm basically all caught up in the shop until I get some more orders or inspiration, so I guess we just wait and see where the day takes us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Medallions

I wish I could say that it was a terrible exciting day, but mostly it was just me and the new medallion design. Of course adjusting this pattern for size and style has taught or more likely reminded me of a few things. First, I totally take modern thread with it's tight twist and consistent thickness for granted. I'm working these with vintage thread found for me in a thrift store. It has that perfect cast of age that will give anything I tat that feeling of actually being vintage, which is the desired effect, but a bit of a hassle to work with really, sometimes thin, then thick and loose.

Second, it is truly amazing what happens when you change the stitch count in an element by just one or two stitches. The first one was the prototype and it cupped as I made it, though I was able to flatten it, and the edge chains stretched into a circle rather than a point. In the second version I reduced the chains in the middle of the design by two stitches and added two to the joining rings and finally two to the outer chains. These small changes don't seem like they should make enough of a difference on paper, but in the lace, the difference made the piece perfect. It worked up flat and pointed just enough and the adjustments made no further difference in final size which is exactly what I needed.

After I finished both final pieces, I kept playing with that slightly curved prototype. I just couldn't let it go to waste, since I like the design that way too. Then I remembered that I had picked up a few different hat or fascinator bases when I was making those little veils. I had one that was a simple round, black straw base. The medallion fit over it perfectly with just the points over the edge, so it's gonna be a hair piece. First I'm gonna fancy it up a bit with a little bronze filament embroidery around the outer edge and then I'll get it sewn to the based. I thought about adding some netting or fabric, but I think I like it just being a doily you wear in your hair. So, even though today is technically a holiday, I think I'll work on that and hopefully get it done and listed. There are still tasks that need doing and a nieces birthday party to attend so that may be all I accomplish anyway.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Busy Is Good

Well, yesterday was a much better...or less frustrating day anyway. No huge dramas or missing packages. I finished up the replacement pieces for the missing package so that's one looming task completed. Just as I was about to begin some remaking, I got some interesting project messages. Nothing too interesting, but something new to do. You might remember that I contributed some tatted medallions and hearts to a lovely lady that makes lampshades in the past. She contacted me for some more. The reason this is always a nice challenge is that she always has a specific size and shape that needs to be filled by the medallion. The large hearts were the hardest, but this time around it was just a specific size.

I started out trying to upside a simple snowflake design that she was partial too, but that was an unmitigated failure. I thought it might be, but I had to try. Then I thought I'd use my newest modified doily piece and do some further modification to give it a pointed edge and increase it's size. I think it's going to work out just fine, but I didn't have a chance to finish the prototype. I got another message on etsy. This one started with the oft heard, 'I didn't know anyone still tatted' and continued on to be a custom order for a couple of color pieces. So then I was off to that task.

Honestly, I adore the crazy days with multiple projects and interactions with people. They really break up the monotony that can form when one is home all day. So, today it's back to the medallion. Once I've finished that I'll hopefully get approval and make a second one. If I finish that it'll be back to remaking things for the shop. I didn't get my new thread yesterday, so hopefully today. It usually arrives quickly and I really want to see that gray thread. I know, I'm simple. I don't even know yet what I'll make with it, but it'll be something new.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ups and Downs

It's always best to start at the beginning so I'm afraid I shall start with complaining yet again today. You see, I started yesterday by attempting to call the postal service. The web page gave me a number I should call to 'document my issue' regarding the seemingly lost package, only nowhere in the automated phone line could I find a place to do so. I couldn't even manage to find a living human being. I ended my frustration by sending an email regarding the issue. I'm not certain that it will do any good, but I tried and I now truly hate that damn phone line.

On a positive note, when I relayed my futile attempt to my customer and offer a refund or replacement, they responded with grace and understanding. They offered to wait a while to see if it does in fact arrive this week and then they requested a replacement if it does not. If relying on the postal service is one of the low points of my little business, having customers like this is one of the highest.

So the rest of the day was spent remaking some barefoot sandals for the store and starting to remake the contents of the missing order just in case. I honestly have little faith at this point that it will, so I might as well get on it. The evening was a lovely trip to our monthly comic book store meeting. Really, it's a lot more engaging than it seems. It's a lovely break from conversations online and with kids. I returned late to a couple of orders and I'm crossing my fingers that the rush is beginning. Getting the holiday shopping done early felt great, but it left quite the hole in my wallet that needs filling.

So today, it's finishing up that missing order and then more remaking. I ordered up some of the new charcoal  colored Lizbeth thread from Handy Hands last week and it should be here today or tomorrow, so I might take a break when it arrives to make something with it. I have been waiting for a dark gray thread forever. Now, I just need a medium between their silver gray and this and I will be a happy tatter. Wow, that seems like a much odder statement than it is when you read it back. Oh, well...off to it then.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grrrr

I was lamenting that after a long day of fairly constant tatting that I would have nothing to say here. I mean I schooled and tatted and relisted pieces as they were finished. I chatted very little online and unlike the weekend had no new communications requiring my reply. However, I could have definitely done without the communication that I received a mere 15 minutes before bedtime.

It was the dreaded, 'Where the hell is my package?' message. Often when this one appears a quick check of the tracking shows that it was in fact delivered. Of course as they say it didn't arrive, I assume to the wrong address. This one was more mysterious and therefore more annoying than that. The tracking shows it left here and tracked for one more day on the 3rd and then nothing. Apparently it fell off the face of the earth. So today I have the singular pleasure of calling the USPS to attempt to track down the package. I get to hope that the customer does not blame me, but I will probably still have to replace the lost pieces at my own expense. I get to continue to lament that I must rely on a service I cannot control to get my packages into my customer's hands. I shouldn't have to feel lucky that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often. Oh and before you go suggesting that I use another delivery service, my luck with the other two hasn't been any better only more expensive. I already add insurance to packages that total more than $100, but I'm thinking I may have to adjust my shipping costs to include that on everything over $50 though I hate raising shipping costs as I personally hate paying large them myself.

I could of course just be overreacting to this one incident, but with the holiday season upon us, I am filled with shipping induced dread. These are also the situations that make me rethink running a little shop as well. I don't think I can ever stop now though as the income has become important to our household and tatting is important to my sanity. It's all this other mess that I could do without. Well, I think that's enough for today, I have much more tatting to do which apparently includes remaking a lost order to send so I best be off.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekend Madness

Oh, it was another of those weekends. You know the ones where you initially thought you might relax a bit and then you somehow managed to over plan the whole thing to hell. On Friday I finished the ankle corsets I was working on only to come back after schooling to them sold. No, this is not a complaint. I went straight back to remaking them and almost forgot to list the new earrings with the boutonniere pattern. So I took a quick break and got those up. All those mighty plans to make more were set aside though.

The rest of the weekend I was dealing with custom order inquiries. Those would lead to me making masks and not much else. So today I still have another mask to make and a couple other pieces that need remaking. Again, this is not a complaint, but I think the holiday season feeling may be creeping up on me. No, that's not a good thing. I generally only happily enjoy the holidays the week of. The rest of it is just too much. Speaking of too much, I do have one task I completed over the weekend that I am ridiculously proud of. I finished holiday shopping. Well, save for picking up a few gift cards. All the children in our lives are taken care of and I can now avoid much of the retail world for the next month and a half. Can I get a Woo Hoo?

So, there is much making on my plate today and the rest of the week I imagine. Taking a deep breath now.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ugh

What a day, what a day. Let me preface this story by saying that all involved turned out to be just fine. The husband called me early in the morning from work to tell me that he was headed to the Emergency room because he'd had a heart flutter. I took in this information, but did not process it quickly enough to ask pertinent questions before I was off the phone with him. This led to panic made worse by his obeying of signs to turn off his phone. So after a tense morning not knowing what was going on aside from random texts sent out between shutting his phone back off, he returns generally fine save for a soreness resulting from a brutal phlebotomist . Sure he panicked and I'm glad he went to the doctors to get checked out, but me and the girls were a bundle of nerves. In the future I hope I remember to ask more questions in situations like this because all that not knowing business just wound me up for hours.

Once I was relaxed I did manage to get back to work though. I made up a couple of these small boutonniere motifs that I'll get turned into earrings today and get listed. I might try a few more color combinations later if they are well received. Might even do a pendant too. Then I was ready to get back to some production work and I spent the rest of the evening working on remaking some ankle corsets. I'm still not done with those, so I'll be back to them this morning. After that I'm not certain which direction I will head, maybe back tot he simple boutonniere, but I do know I will try to stay busy.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Done With That

Let's see, I finished up the third piece born from messing with the hen and chicks pattern and I got all three listed. There reception has been lukewarm, but I needed to make some new things and I did. I was also thinking about making a slave bracelet as well, but given the lack of love for the design in general, I think it would be a mistake to toss yet another piece out so soon. Maybe as the holiday season gets underway and I need a creation break I'll get it created.

I was also lucky enough to get yet another etsy finds shout out. This time it was for Dia De Los Muertos. The link will take you to the web version of the email. Again, it was no great windfall of attention, but I'll take any I can get. After I ran my shop numbers for October I have to say that I am desperate for a fantastic November and December. October was absolutely dismal compared to last year.

I also got a custom request for my boutonniere in Christmas colors with matching earrings.  Since I took a picture of the prototype earring. I thought I'd share it here. I wasn't so sure it would work as an earring, but it seems to. I may get these made up for the shop, in more basic colors. No other great or interesting news for you and I think I've got a pretty good queue lined up of things that need tatting so I'll be busy today. Busy is good...busier, better.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hen & Chicks

Again I avoided making the one thing I've said needed making for the last two days. I just wasn't feeling it. I needed to do something different, something that required I figure out something. So I started flipping through my antique pattern collection for inspiration. It didn't take long to get a hit on the perfect project. I got so much satisfaction out of working the last one shuttle medallion into a needle pattern that I thought I'd tackle another classic, the hen and chicks pattern. I mean it doesn't get any more classic and well known than that. Heck it's the only tatting pattern I know of with a name. I've worked it with cut thread before, but I hate all that extra thread, so a little zig-zag chain and it's loads more fun to work.

Of course I wasn't finished with the pattern as worked. I decided to add the dropped rings on the other side as well and it worked up into a bracelet rather well. Of course I now saw a few more projects hiding in this newly revisited classic. First up was a simple pendant design made using just one repeat of the pattern. I love the way it looks, but I still haven't decided which way to hang it. I'm leaning toward the way it is in the picture because it looks more interesting, but it looks more natural hanging from the larger ring.Or I might use chains and attach them to the top small side rings.

I found one more project in the pattern and I'll be working that up today. I'm going to do a choker with the hen and chicks not doubled and add the pendant bit at the center. I've done this before with the original version of the pattern, hanging actual pendants from the center, but I think this should have a nice unique look to it. I also finally have a couple of other pieces in queue to be remade and maybe I'll feel like a little production work now that I've got the creation bug out of my system. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

After

Yes, I am just as exhausted by yesterday as I thought I would be. The children had a fine time with their multiple trick-or-treat trips and I even dressed up at the last minute to go out with them and my sister's family. I, however have no pictures of this event as I left all that to the husband and I have yet to steal some from him. It was a long night. Maybe I'll snag some today for tomorrows post so you can see the girls at least.

As I feared I got zero tatting done. There were just too many other things that needed doing. Laundry, dishes, floors and of course costumes and decorations. To save the display from being kitty killed, we opted for small window display and didn't put it up until late in the afternoon. Never mind that the display is mostly culled from bits that are up in our house all the time. One day when the kids have lost their Halloween fear, we'll go big. But I digress, today I have to finish undoing all that and hopefully I'll have some time to get back to tatting. I still have that one mask to make and I want to get a few more snowflakes done.

I have had a few custom requests lately that haven't returned yet, so I could theoretically get busy at any moment. I did also have one I had to say no to because I felt it wouldn't work. It is so hard to say, 'No, I can't do that'. The reality is I maybe could, but it would stress me out and I must remember that it is okay to say no. One does not have to accept every request and challenge just because you are asked. Sometimes I forget that when I need sales and things are rough in the shop, but I remembered this time. Well, off to it then...the holiday season is upon us all.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Another long weekend in the can. We had a nice movie outing, dinner with friends and the annual massacre of the pumpkins, but what I fear most is how today marks the beginning of the holiday season. This day alone is packed with Halloween things and a birthday. There's another birthday tomorrow and they don't stop the rest of the month. Much of our immediate family has birthday's in the months of October and November. This coupled with the regular holiday mess makes for one stressed out Pamela...you have been warned.

I did get some tatting done here and there over the weekend. I did up the new earrings in bells and coins and plain and got those all listed. Then I made up the Center Medallion pendant in navy blue, green and lavender and got those all listed. I've also been pretty good about making up a couple of small snowflakes every day. I figure I'll work on more this week and should have enough stockpiled to begin giving them out next week.

I do have one mask that needs remaking, so that's in queue for today should I actually find any time to do so. You see there is regular schooling, then I take the girls to their father's work for trick or treating. We then return home to a birthday dinner with the family for my mom and then more trick or treating. With the cleaning I'll have to do this morning to make the house presentable again, I'm not certain I'll have much time for anything. In fact, I'm tired just thinking about it and since I had to pay bills this morning I am also feeling poor and I don't have enough time to walk on the treadmill this morning. Wow, I am a fountain of complaint today, hope it's all out of my system now, I have things to do.