Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This is the End

Another end of a year is here. The children are older and smarter. I'm fairly certain I'm just the same. It was a year of projects that didn't quite pan out and it ended with on a rather disappointing note. I suppose that's the best way for a year to end though. It gives you hope that the one upcoming can only be better. Unfortunately I am fully aware that it can, but I'll chose to the end the year thinking greatness is ahead.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/160810379/tatted-lace-collar-choker-necklace?Let's see, what did I actually accomplish this year. Well, there was that art project that I got paid for, but never heard if it was ever even displayed anywhere. Then I managed to create and list a new pattern for sale and I guess that went over fairly well. I can't think of any one piece that stands out, except for maybe my first completely original collar design, but I did design several new ones this year. I'm sure I'll think of other pieces I'm proud of as the day wears on, but it's early and this post is completely unplanned.

I think the highlight of the year for me was having a pair of my ankle corsets included in a museum show over the summer. I may not have made much money this year, but having something I made with my own two hands in the Denver Art Museum, well that feel pretty good. So maybe I will just dwell on that achievement today and block out all the disappointing.

Here's to a wonderful New Year ahead for all of us. May your thread never tangle, nor have one of those cut and tied sections in it that make me want to cut someone. May we all get frequent visits from the Muses and create new things for the world. Finally, here's to another year with the ever so slight chance for fame, wealth and glory. Look, I have to put that in here regardless of how silly it sounds. It could work one day...you never know.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Creature of Habit

Happy Monday all. I think we are about to get back to normal. The weekend was slightly more active than normal. More video game playing, Lego assembling and more shopping for things like storage. By Sunday I had put together two cube storage shelves and found a place for all the kids new games. I also managed to lure the children away from their new video games long enough to them Chess, adding another board game to their options.

There was no tatting over the weekend as I used any couch time I got to work on the newest crochet project. It's taking far longer than the knitting one, but I am halfway done now. That is I have one legwarmer made and I have yet to start the second. I decided I hated the way the pattern transitioned from foot to leg, so I rewrote the pattern. When I say rewrote, I don't mean I actually wrote it down as I changed it though. This means it'll take a little while to remember exactly what I did so that I can repeat it. Luckily it wasn't too long ago so I should be able to recall it and match the second to the first.

The kids are technically still on vacation for two and a half more weeks, but since the husband is back to work today, we're just going to get back to schoolwork too. It'll be a light load for them, but at least it'll feel like routine and we all need that back sooner rather than later.

Speaking of routine, as soon as I get the foot to leg crochet issue sussed out, I'm back to remaking thing for the shop. There aren't as many pieces missing as I would have liked, but there are still plenty that should get back into the shop. I figure getting back into production mode would be easier than trying to be creative again right off the bat. The rhythm of crochet is nice, but I am beginning to miss the meditative rhythm of tatting. So here's to a week of mostly routine for all the creatures of habit out there.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Almost There

Okay, we are still nowhere near normality around these parts. The husband wanted to hit the clearance shelves at one of the stores so we were up and out before the sun. The children got to witness first hand crazy in the holiday section as people grabbed past each other 6 bodies deep for heaven knows what. We strolled right past to the things we were there for and left within a half an hour. Then we were back out to the book store later to spend gift certificates. The book store was crazy people free. All this was followed by going out to lunch and concluded with a viewing of Pacific Rim, one of my Christmas presents, with the kids. In between there we played the first game of Monopoly with the kids. There were tears, but aren't there always.

Somehow around all those things I did get back to some tatting, though I didn't finish the custom order. I was just so bloody tired after days of cleaning and entertaining that I was actually tatting with my eyes closed for a spell. No, I'm not kidding, I really do that. I do have to open my eyes for the joins though I'm sure I practiced enough I could feel my way through those too.

So today I'll have to finish this necklace and get it in the post. There haven't been any other orders lately so I might work on some of the pieces that sold over the holidays, or I might work on the crochet tights that I bought yarn for. No, I really don't know if I will actually wear crochet tights, but making them sound like a bit of a challenge and I do enjoy one of those every once in a while. I also enjoy stepping back into the crafts that I don't get time to do much anymore. I would hate to forget how to do them. Thank goodness for muscle memory, it usually kicks right in. So here's to a nice, quiet weekend and back to a real normal by Monday.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Happy aftermath all. Yesterday went about as I expected. After the first round of gifts, it was finish
cleaning the house and start cooking. That was followed by a rather enormous gathering of family, loud raucous children, eating, running about, and wrapping paper flying. When they finally departed there were countless dishes and counters to clean, but then I was left with just my immediate family and my brother, who is staying with us, my new Tardis blanket and the Doctor Who special on television.

There was no tatting, nor knitting, but I ended the day completely exhausted. Today we're braving the shops again, then there are Lego kits to put together and new video games for the kids to play. I do have one custom order that came in on Christmas Eve that I need to get made. This is the reason I post a nice long lead time for orders, so I don't have to rush at a time like this. I'm certain to find something else to distract me from work again, but I really do love structure, so I'm going to at least start that custom order.

I hope everyone who celebrates had a lovely time and honestly, I'm just glad all the madness is almost over. This was a really bad holiday season for the shop and I'm glad to see the backside of it. Here's hoping it'll turn around next year.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry, Happy

Let me first start off by saying Merry Christmas to those of you that celebrate and a happy Wednesday to everyone else. I bet you're wondering why I'm bothering to write at all this morning. Well, it is a weekday and it is my deeply ingrained routine. Besides, the cats refuse to let me sleep in for more than a half an hour even on weekends, so I'm up and the rest of the household, save for the cats, still slumbers.

I'm afraid the only tatting I managed yesterday was another snowflake for a gift. The rest of the day was a ton of cleaning and the family trip to the dentist. Yes, I am aware going to the dentist for just a checkup on Christmas Eve is a little weird, but what else were we really doing? Nothing, but cleaning. We ended the day with a viewing of Scrooged followed by the cartoon version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The youngest said the title was misleading as he didn't actually steal Christmas. She's awesome like that. She also lost on of her front teeth yesterday making her one tooth shy of a perfect holiday cliche. This also brought on several comical conversations regarding the meeting of Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

So there was yesterday and today will likely be a complete wash. There will be cooking and cleaning, then too many people and cleaning up after those people when they all shuffle off home. Then of course there's the Doctor Who special, winding down for the day and getting ready for normality to attempt to return on Thursday. I really do miss those days as a child when all I had to do for the holidays was show up. Those were simpler times. I guess it's time to get on with it all and again, I hope everyone just has a lovely day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

More Warm Legs

Yesterday almost felt like a real vacation day, almost. We had a couple of errands to run, so we braved the shops. It honestly wasn't that bad out, save for in the parking lots where the worst of humanity is on full display with its lack of patience and epic rudeness. We survived though and came home to go on a walk and knit while the kids played video games. Sure, I had to do the laundry, but I saved all the cleaning for today. Perhaps not my best ides since we also have dental appointments today and there are still a bunch of little things I should get done, but we're here now and we'll make it work.

Speaking of knitting though, I finished the legwarmers that the oldest child wanted. The colors are a little brighter in real life, but they are quite similar to my own with the self striping yarn. She is so pleased with them that she slept in them. I hope I can still make her this happy when she becomes a teenager in a few more years, because with the yarn on sale, these cost all of maybe $4 and a couple of days worth of knitting time.

Oddly enough yesterday saw a few sales in the store. I really can't explain it, but maybe it's just the Universe messing with me. More probably it's folks who were finished shopping for others and decided to get a little something for themselves. Either way, I won't get around to restocking the store with anything that's sold until next week, at the earliest. I did get round to tatting up another snowflake gift though and I ought to do another today somewhere between all the cleaning. Really, today is looking like it's going to be much busier than I want it to. Oh, well, the best way out is always through.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Projects

While there were a few significant events over the weekend, it was pretty lazy. Sales in the shop have completely dried up, but I was at least expecting it this time. Halfway through Friday I decided it was time to start the tatting vacation,  winter project. Every year when the people stop shopping, I return to the crafts from whence I came. Back in the days before tatting took over my life, I knitted, cross stitched, crocheted and drew. So when the shop goes quiet around Christmas, I look for something to make myself or the kids. This year, it's leg warmers. Okay, so the pattern called them stirrup socks, but I'm an ex-dancer and I grew up in the 80's, so I'm very familiar with leg warmers and these are those. I finished them on Sunday morning and then headed to Michael's for more yarn to make a pair for the oldest child. I should have those done today. Maybe I should have picked a longer winter project, but I'm certain I'll find something else to make soon.

In other weekend news, we attended our annual gathering of friends on the Solstice. This means I can show you the tatted gift that nearly kicked my butt last week. I might have mentioned that I like to make one of a kind gifts. For this one, I took one of my existing bracelet patterns and tatted it onto a strand of rhinestones. The pattern itself is extra tricky to work in one round, since one side has to be worked, well, backwards is the only way I can this to put it. The chain did not want to stay put and I managed to not notice when I made one join on the second side in the wrong space until I was finished. Then I had to back up and do that section again. Suffice it to say, I have no interest in making this one again without significant recompense, but isn't it unique and pretty? I even stiffened just the backside so it keeps it's shape better yet still looks like soft tatting on top.

The rest of the weekend was either knitting or playing with the early gifts the children received. Today marks the official start of vacation for the kids and the husband is off the week as well. We're hosting Christmas so we'll need to clean and the kids have promised to continue doing reading classes during their break so they don't get too lazy. While I'm not closing the shop or anything, there will likely be nothing new there for quite some time. While some shops do well right after the holiday with people spending their gift money, that has never been my experience. So I guess what I'm saying is, get used to odd craft posts until normality has been restored.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Free Motif Pattern

I was trying to fight my slow shop induced boredom and/or depression when I decided to work on the motif I used for some recent gifts. After some fiddling around I thought I'd turn them into a small gift for all of you. So without further ado, your free tatting pattern gift.

Four Or Five Motif

ds - double stitch
p - picot
rw - reverse work
sp - small picot

Four Point version in two rounds

Center: 4 rings

Ring: *3ds 1p 6ds 1p 6ds 1p 3ds close, do not rw
Repeat from * 3 times joining at first and last picots, cut and tie

Outer Round:

Ring: 6ds join to joining picot of center round 6ds 1sp 6ds 1p 6ds close rw

Chain: 2ds 1p 2ds join to top picot of center round ring 2ds 1p 2ds close do not rw

Split Ring: 6ds join to joining picot of center round 6ds / 6ds 1p 6ds close do not rw

Repeat chain and split rings around joining last chain to picot of first ring.

Five Point Version in two rounds

Center: 5 rings

All stitch counts are the same with just an extra ring.

Outer Round:

All stitch counts are the same with one extra repeat.

Notes: The five ring version will need to be either pressed or blocked to lay flat. I used size 10 thread and a size 5 needle for mine.

Both version can also be worked in one round by using a split ring of 3ds 1p 6ds / 3ds 1p 6ds as the last ring in the center round and starting the next round with a chain and working all rings in that round as split rings.

Like all my free patterns, I'd appreciate it if you would please use it for personal use, gift giving or off line sale only. I do hope that you like the gift and yes, I will try to let a few more of my patterns out into the world in the new year. Also, I just saw that this is my 1500th blog post. Yikes that's a lot of posts... thanks for reading them.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


There was schooling and an early morning run to the store to get things I don't want to have to go to the store to buy next week when everyone has lost there grip on sanity and common courtesy. Years in retail trained me to avoid shops the week of the holiday if at all possible. Though sadly, this year all the stores seem less crowded. At least that leaves me feeling a bit better about my own shop being so sadly slow, knowing that it is a universal trend not a personal shunning.

Anyway, I didn't make anything for the shop because I was working on a few gifts. Given our current lack of disposable funds I felt a real need to supplement the few gifts we bought with something. I only wish I could tat up something appropriate for some male friends as well, but I am at a loss for something that would be well received. The first piece I made I can't show you yet, but I can tell you that it was too clever for my own good and fought me into creation. I will make sure to takes some pictures of it though, so I can show you next week after it's made it to its new home.

Next up I made a couple of necklaces for some other gals. When I do gifts, I try to make them special so I tend to not just make something that's already in the shop. I made this purple one in size 10 thread, but I also made another in size 20 teal. The giftees don't know each other, so I felt okay using the same pattern. The design is actually the center of the necklace I called Quandary that I designed back in September. I remember loving the center and then not doing anything with it. This may be further revised and make it's way into the shop, but I don't know when.

I've got snowflake gifts to finish today and maybe a couple more jewelry gifts. I'm feeling a little foggy since I caught the cold the children were passing around. It's mostly a sore throat, but there's a certain extra level of tired that comes along with it as well, not to mention the token cold sore. I'm doing my best to destroy it because I have no interest in making time for illness. I'd make time for more orders, but not for a bloody cold.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

So Lazy

https://www.etsy.com/listing/173262673/black-and-silver-one-of-a-kind-tatted?I was super lazy yesterday. Sure I got schooling done and I listed the black necklace fairly quickly after, but then I just stopped doing much of anything. The black one is still in the shop by the way. In fact it made so little impact as far as feedback or views that I think that spiraled me into a state of laziness that was hard to pull out of.

After doing nothing for quite some time I finally pulled myself together and again asked for color suggestions. This led to me making a pendant with a gold filigree and teal thread. Of course you can't really tell the thread is teal because no matter how hard I tried, every camera changed the color of the thread to better match the turquoise stone. It was very frustrating. Luckily, this one did sell so I don't have to keep explaining that the color in the photo is definitely not the exact color of the piece. There was also no chain for this one as I don't keep any chain in gold on hand. Personally I don't much care for the color of gold and it's just too expensive to take a risk on anyway. Any gold toned bits I have on hand were from the grab bags I buy.

Oh, I almost forgot the other reason I was so lazy yesterday, the pile of cats. In case you can't tell, that's three cats on the right and one on the left. Every time I sat down, two or more would immediately take a place on around me. Sure, it was warm and cozy, buy I couldn't reach anything from this position.

I've got errands to run today along with schooling, so I'm not certain I will get round to any tatting at all. I'm having issues deciding on what piece of jewelry to make a few people for Christmas. I'm always afraid of disappointing folks with things they would never wear, but simply asking them to pick from the shop seems, I don't know, wrong somehow. I am running out of time though, so I might just have to bite the bullet, make a decision, and just live with that not happy looking thanks you get when you choose poorly.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Green and Pink and Black

Well there was no sales hurricane, but I did sell what I made yesterday and that's nothing to sneeze at. The first one for the day was another in green. When I do a second one off in the same color, I try to make sure that I do so in a completely different way. This one used a center bit I didn't even know I still had some of. I found some largish green glass beads and surprisingly, enough matching bead caps to give it a nice cohesive feel. Of course I cut out the tatting on this one at least three times before I got the design right with no mistakes, but it was worth it. This one sold so fast, it nearly gave me whiplash. I had just finished posting it on Facebook and twitter when I went back into the shop it was gone.

Clearly I couldn't sit on my laurels, so I went to work on one in pink.  I chose pink because someone suggested the color. Definitely not my go-to shade, but the stone I used was one that I had wanted to use for a while. I have no idea what it is, but it's lovely. I found some small pink glass beads to match and again the bead caps were found in matching sets. I don't usually use those from the grab bags, so I have quite a backlog of them. This one sold pretty quickly too and I was pretty burnt out after making them, so I stalled for a while, Tapped Out and Simpsons are my stall of choice lately.

I didn't stall for long though since I'm still pretty desperate for sales. The last one I made up for the day hasn't made it to etsy yet. By the time I finished there was no light anywhere for a decent photo. I did this one in black and it felt nice to be back in my comfort zone for a spell. It's got more glass beads and bead caps and like the green one, it fought me the whole time. I cut it apart three or four times. Sometimes it was because I had chosen the design poorly and sometimes it was because I messed up the round royally. Honestly I'm kinda shocked anything good came out of yesterday's tatting with the number of times I screwed up, but I am a determined little maker.

As per usual, the black one will get listed either this morning before schooling or after if I'm feeling lazy this morning. Then I'll decide whether I want to keep at this or not. I probably will because they're all that's selling as of late. At least they give me plenty of things to show you each day instead of the boring, remaking, posts. Well, here's to another creative day and maybe that hurricane as well.

Monday, December 16, 2013

More New

Let's see...it was a pretty long weekend full of all sorts of tasks. On Friday morning I finished up the purple necklace. It took another day, but it did sell. Then my mother-in-law, who was picking up the kids for a baking adventure, requested a couple of snowflakes. I thought about putting them off until next week when the shop is likely to be completely dead, but really it's been nearly dead all season, so I took the afternoon to make them and missed nothing in the shop.

Saturday morning, I was determined to get another piece made before we started our family adventuring. I went with burgundy again because the first one got so much attention. I actually have a couple more of the filigree flower I used on this one, so there might be a couple more in this basic family forthcoming. Anyway, it's listed and still available in the shop. Then we were off to Lowe's to build a train followed by the rest of the day at the most recent Hobbit movie. Seriously those movies are crazy long and we were still disappointed when it was over because we know there's more.

Sunday saw the kids again adventuring with their grandparents and cousins. They spent almost all day over there baking and decorating, so we came home and wrapped all the presents. I was going to make a snarky comment here about the husband, but I may have already mocked him enough on the subject, so I'll leave it be. We also managed to finish all the shopping save for a few last bits and the things I'm still making.

The weekend saw just a couple of sales in the shop and unfortunately I don't have high hopes for this week getting any better. It has certainly been a rough holiday so far, but I will keep tatting up as many new pieces as I can handle and cross my fingers that I'm wrong and a shopping hurricane is about to begin. Yep, that's what I need a shopping hurricane to come through the shop. I'm crossing my fingers for that now.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Burgundy and Purple

Yesterday was almost a repeat of the day before. I had a snowflake to finish in the morning with my coffee and then after schooling I remade my mustache necklace that had sold while I was teaching. Instead of doing the asymmetric piece like I thought I would, I opted to ask for color suggestions and dug through the mess of beads and findings match. It is much easier to match thread to beads, but eventually I found some that worked with the suggested burgundy thread.

This one was a pain in the neck to make though. I had tried a whole different tatted edge to begin with and it wasn't until it was done that I knew for sure that it didn't work. So I cut all the thread off and started again. I also added some larger glass beads the first time around and decided that they didn't work either and fell back on the old standard swarovski rounds. At least they're uniform. I'm starting to get really spoiled making these one of a kind pieces as they keep selling within hours of me listing them. It's kind of wonderful.

It was already getting late when I finally came up with a second one to start. I had the thread and the findings, but I only got this far in the making. I'll have to finish it up and get it listed today. I have a handful of the filigree pieces left that I used for the green piece, along with some other random ones, so I should be able to keep this up for a little while longer at least. Hopefully by the time I run out I will be burnt out from making them and ready to go back to production work and just remake things. For now though I am definitely enjoying the making and the selling. This week started pretty low, but it picked up. Hopefully there is still some momentum left because I can keep shipping for the holiday up until the 20th according to USPS and I don't want it to end yet.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Browns and Greens

https://www.etsy.com/listing/172653357/brass-and-mocha-brown-one-of-a-kind?The day started out pretty quiet. Right after schooling I went ahead and listed the mocha necklace. I was too warm (and lazy) in my layers of shirts to take the photos on myself, so for the first time ever I exploited child labor for modeling purposes. I did have to ensure her that her face was not going online. She is always hiding from being photographed for fear of Internet exposure. I usually have to promise that a picture won't go online to get her to smile. What a strange generation she is growing up in.

Anyway, I waited until after lunch to attempt another one of a kind piece. It takes me forever just to suss out the perfect bits and choose the right color of thread to compliment it. Never mind how many time I cut out a first attempt that wasn't quite right. This time I used evergreen thread with an antiqued silver finding and a green glass bead. There was a hole in the center so I tatted a bit there as well. I've had a few people of facebook ask for patterns for these pieces and well, they don't exist. I just wing it, making the whole piece up as I go and then I proceed to immediately forget exactly what I did. Since I usually only have one, maybe two similar findings, remembering is useless. Even if I have the same filigree, I won't have the same bead. I's better that way, makes the pieces special.

So the green one did sell, yay! The mocha one is still in the shop though. The evening was wrapped up with one other order and it contained the most recent asymmetric necklace I made. So I think today I might make another of those unless I stumble upon some inspiring findings again. I am definitely finding that focusing on making things is a much better way to spend the day when compared with the days of worrying if I'll sell enough. There's little chance of catching up with last year's sales at this point and I think I've accepted that and moved on. That doesn't mean I won't start the day hoping for another good one!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


First thing after schooling wrapped, I got the new asymmetric necklace listed. Once it was up, I just felt like it was time to dig through the grab bag supplies and see if i could come up with anything worth making. Since I had recently bought supplies, probably a mistake, I had a brand new grab bag to search through.

What emerged was a brass filigree piece and a mystery blue stone. I found just the right shade of thread, I think it's an old ball of flora I got for a custom order years ago. Sure there's not a lot of tatting on it, but I thought it looked just right. I listed it right away and it was sold in less than an hour. You can imagine how happy that made me especially given the current state of my shop.

I couldn't let the momentum go to waste so I dug through again for some more inspiring pieces. This time I came out with a diamond shaped filigree that I've used before and another mystery stone. I tried to match some of the colors in the stone with the mocha thread and then added some more chain pieces to give it some more interest.

While I did share this one, it was too late to get good pictures so I will get it listed today after schooling wraps. I was also fortunate to get two more orders before the evening was over, so I also have a couple of pieces that I can remake. I may keep doing more small one of a kind necklaces instead though. They give me something to immediately share online and the feedback makes me feel better about the slow shop. So even if yesterday was a fluke at least I have something positive to focus on. So, thanks to the Universe for the inspiration and sales yesterday,  let's go for a day two.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's Something Anyway

Yet another long day with no sales. I spent the first part of my tatting time on yet another snowflake and even though I still have a few more to make for gifts, I am getting quite sick of the monotony. So rather than dwell on the shop, I had to make something new. Granted it clearly did not distract me enough as it's all I seem to be writing about. I have never, not in all the years I've been selling online, went more than a day without a sale during December. Alright, I'm done, no more whining today...at least not in writing, back to tatting.

I decided to use some of the smaller rings I have on hand and make another one off necklace. I ended up with a couple more rings after this point and it's actually sideways int he picture, but you get the idea. I'll get the chains on it after schooling and get it listed. I doubt it will make much difference in the shop, but it certainly did wonders for my focus. It took just enough creativity to distract me for  small while anyway.

After that I imagine I'll get back to the snowflakes unless I get any other ideas. We've been having some winter ant invasions in the house, so I might have to fight on the front lines for a while. They're in the walls again, so we just never know where they're going to pop out of next. It's like whack-a-mole, except there are thousands of them.

So here's to a nice creative day, free of ants and hopefully full of sales.

Monday, December 9, 2013


While I had a fine family weekend with the usual errands and visiting, I also had to accept the harsh truth that as far as business goes, this year is the worst ever. No, now I'm not being dramatic, I made the mistake of checking the stats against the last few years and this December has already done only a quarter of the sales I did in the same time last year and down even further from the year before. I suppose I could jump on the bandwagon and just blame changes at Etsy for the downturn, but I know it's always much more complex than that. So I apologize in advance as I'm likely to use this sounding board to evaluate what to do about all this.

I know you'd much rather come here to see what I'm tatting and not hear me complain about selling it, but the two are inextricably connected. I can't make new pieces if I haven't sold older ones and made money enough to justify spending more on thread and other supplies. I'm currently making more snowflakes as gifts to round out the paltry ones we've been able to buy, but after that I'm relying on the shop to give me projects to do. I can't say I've seriously contemplated shutting down, but I have wondered how much worse it will have to get before I do have those thoughts. So, again my apologies for my 'woe is me' attitude that may continue for a while.

I will try to keep busy and make things as I can't really live with idle hands anyway. I have plenty of other tasks with the children and schooling at least for the next two weeks. I am of course hoping that I am being premature and everything will pick right up, but after a weekend with no sales in December it doesn't seem very likely. So let me leave you with cats attempting to either eat one another's heads or clean each other, I can never tell which, and hope for the best. Oh, and if you want to shop to help or share with friends who do, you can sill use the code, 'FBFreeship' at checkout for free shipping.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Another quiet day and quiet days in November are odd and a bit uncomfortable. I managed to convince myself to remake a couple of pieces rather than focus on the silence, but I'm really no good at that. So after perhaps being influenced by blog posts, I decided to go ahead and make some black snowflakes. I went where I always go to find snowflake patterns, Jane's page. Two years ago I went on a Flurry snowflake kick and made them for everyone I know. Last year I designed my own ornament and made those, but I suppose I'm feeling lazy, so instead of designing, I'm making snowflakes again.

I only managed to finish one and I was a little unhappy with the split chain section because my split chain skills are sad, though I suppose you can't really see it in the picture. It took me a good 10 minutes before I even remembered how to make one. So when I started the second one, I decided to climb out of the row with a split ring instead and I'm already much happier with the result.

In case you're wondering this is Jane's Snowflake2004 pattern. I'm likely to fall back on making these during these quiet times. At least it gives me something to do that a couple of people will appreciate. Of course I'd prefer filling orders, but there's really nothing for it. My hands must stay busy, so I'll just keep on tatting.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Yesterday was unfortunately, the opposite of the day before. It was quiet, too quiet, and once I had finally finished the custom order I had in queue, I just couldn't convince myself to do any more tatting. There are still a few pieces I haven't yet remade, but I just kept sitting around waiting for an order that never came. Well, that's not exactly true. I did fill up quite a lot of time with dishes and laundry and that sort of nonsense, so I suppose I was technically busy, just not the busy I like.

The order I worked on was a pair of barefoot sandals in dark Iris purple. It's actually much darker than the picture would suggest, but since I did take a picture in an effort to document, I thought I might as well post it. Wow, I'm even sounding a bit too snarky to myself this morning. I blame it on the cold. Sure, our cold doesn't even touch the cold of even the East coast, but for us, it has been ridiculously cold, especially overnight the last two days. I don't really do well with the cold. I much prefer hot, or nice and warm.

I have nothing in my order queue at all and so I must try to convince myself to either remake the few things that need it or make something new today. I can't let myself get moody, I've got to stay focused. In case you're wondering, yes I do sometimes use this blog as a pep talk to myself and it occasionally does the trick. So here I go, off to the day. Here's hoping for an amazing one.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Busy, Busy

Well, I have to say that Karma was quite kind to me yesterday. Shortly after schooling wrapped and I started wondering what to do with myself, someone bought a nice big necklace. That gave me something to begin remaking. Then, just as I finished that, I received another small order giving me something else to remake. In fact the whole day was like that. One task completed, one more task added. It was wonderful.

I spent some time drilling holes in all the elytra I had one hand because I had a pair of earrings to remake. I ordered all the supplies I had been stalling on. My supply of clasps, hooks, and jump rings was getting dangerously thin. I also ordered more stickers for my packages. I felt like I was really getting business things done for the first time in a long time.

Right after dinner, I got one last order for the day and it was a custom pair of barefoot sandals. That gave me something to start the day with today. I'm still feeling a bit uneasy about sales, but this time it's because I spent so much money on supplies yesterday. Here's hoping that everything stays this busy or busier for the rest of the season. I much prefer overworked and tired to bored and stressed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Well, it was a one step forward, two steps back sort of day. After schooling I went straight to work on the custom pieces for the order I had gotten Monday evening. I was busily tatting away on some wonderfully colorful pieces including a two color version of the dream catcher when I got the dreaded convo at etsy...a package that hadn't arrived.

Aarrggghhh...I hate missing packages. Sometimes the tracking on a package leads me to believe that it is just taking it's own sweet time, but this one looked a lot more like it had been lost or stolen shortly after it was dropped at the post office. Of course it was an International package and it was suppose to be a Christmas gift and to top it all off, everything in the order was a custom piece. This meant I didn't have any of it made.

So I hurriedly finished up the custom order and followed that up by working on the missing package. The cutoff date for shipping first class to Europe isn't until the 9th, but with so many things that can hold up a package, I didn't want to take any chances. By the evening, I was just wiped out, but I managed to finish all the pieces and I will be able to get everything out in the mail today.

I still have a couple of small things to remake for the shop, but I'm hoping that karma rewards me for my swiftness with some more orders. That would really make up for the crazy day I just had, well that and no more lost packages ever would be great too.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Post Holiday

So the rest of the weekend...it was long and occasionally lazy and honestly I'm glad to be back to a nice set schedule today. The sale in the shop did okay, though it couldn't pull me out of this year's rut. I got one last sale last night with some custom pieces in it, so at least I have plenty to do today.

On Friday, we did very little throughout most of the day. After working in retail for years, I avoid all shopping on Black Friday like the plague. That evening we did have a fun Thanksgiving 2.0 at our friend's home. Even the children had a fine time and didn't mind that we stayed out far later than they are used to.

We were mostly hermits on Saturday, only venturing out to the comic book store. We did pull out and assemble the tree, but it didn't get decorated until Sunday evening. Sunday, now that was a long one. We were at the in-law's, my sister's house and then my mother's house. I think that's enough family for a couple of weeks.

As you probably guessed, I didn't get too much tatting done, save for a special ordered white tiara that I should get in the mail today. I'm hoping that my coupon code sale at least jump started the shop into busy mode. It's really not a very long time that people will shop online. They fear things not arriving on time, so they seem to stop earlier than they really need to. Thank you to everyone who did shop over the last week and to everyone planning to do so soon. There is an active code for free shipping that you can use. Input the code FBFreeship for free worldwide shipping in my shop if you do pop by. Alright then, it's off to start the week, here's to a great one.

Friday, November 29, 2013


So tired...I suppose I'm not the only one though. We had a lovely, but loud gathering of family. There was, as you might expect, food, laughter and perhaps a tad too much hard cider. It was actually a smaller gathering than usual, just a few family members short this go around. The best part of that was how much easier the cleanup went. No, it's not all done yet, there's at least one more load of dishes waiting to be done this morning, but it was still easier. This is a picture of the oldest child waiting to be allowed to eat the yams...her love for them is strong.

I didn't pick up my needle and thread once during the day, but here's the custom bits I made the day before that need to be shipped out today. That will also be one of the two times I plan to leave the house today. There is absolutely no way that I am going out to shop today.

Speaking of shopping though, one last time, here's all the info for my etsy shop sale. Ending on the 1st, get 25% off any purchase of $40 or more with the code 'Holiday2013' or get 10% any purchase with the code 'Holiday10'. Again this is only good until the 1st. Please do shop from the safety of your home or share the coupons with others who might be so inclined. This will be my only sale code for the holiday season.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


As I feared, I have nothing really interesting to share with you today. Instead you get to hear all about my day of cleaning house. Yep, that's all I've got, take it or leave it. There was copious amounts of laundry as I cleaned all the afghans on the furniture. Yes, I have afghans I made on all my chairs. Then there was the dishes followed by hours of cleaning floors. I took it upon myself to try and get all the cat fur out of the rugs. Not the carpet mind you, but those nice dense, mostly black patterned Indian looking rugs. I figure out that the upholstery tool scrapes it up...one small section at a time. It took forever, but the white cat fur that made the rugs mostly gray has been removed...for the most part.

I pause here to complain that I am sore all over this morning. Apparently using this cleaning method on two room sized rugs and a hall runner takes it's toll on ones body.

After all that I did take a break to work on a couple of custom orders, but I didn't stop for pictures. Then I was back to cleaning counters in the kitchen and there are quite a lot of those. Late in the evening my brother popped over to stay for a few days over the holiday and much of the family will be over later today to eat. I imagine that I won't get to tatting today at all since after we eat, I clean and clean some more. I will be massively sore tomorrow I imagine.

I thought I'd leave you with this video I saw yesterday of 25 little know facts about Thanksgiving. Some of it I knew, some just amused me. It was either this or cats with wigs, so here you go.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


You would not believe how chaotic it got around here with three extra kids on vacation. I suppose you would if you either have that many kids or were at any time tasked with babysitting them. The point is, I am very lucky to have gotten anything done at all. Schooling required extra concentration as the other kids were already here and playing while I forced mine to learn for one last day before their vacation. As soon as I let them stop, the volume of the household rose.

Since I knew I wouldn't be getting anything new and interesting done, I went for mindless and repetitive. That way I could still pay attention to the chaos in case intervention was required. So I made another split ring necklace. This one with the last of the middle sized green glass beads and some older hand dyed thread again.  Basically, I'm trying to use up what I have on hand, rather than spend money on new supplies to make things. I still haven't ordered any more findings for the pieces that need them on hand. I'm waiting patiently for things to continue to pick up before I spend a cent on anything not vital.

Today has been earmarked for cleaning, so I'm not certain that I'll get around to any tatting, though it definitely makes my day nicer to spend at least a little time with the thread so I might carve out a little time. Thank you to everyone that has shared my sale information around. I really do appreciate the support. Now I'm off to household duties, reminiscing about those childhood days when vacation meant doing nothing at all.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Bit Better

I had a fairly busy day yesterday, though I'm not certain that the coupon code sale had anything to do with it. I just managed to keep adding tasks to my own queue. There was schooling and laundry and dishes. Laundry is getting particularly annoying as winter creeps up and there are so many more clothes in there. It seems doing it now lasts the whole of the day.

During schooling, I sold a few patterns and a dream catcher. So right after, I had plenty to do. I listed the new purple split ring necklaces. Both are in the same listing since they do look remarkably similar. After that I worked on making up another dream catcher while becoming a bit of a pest online with the sale announcements. I made up the graphic at the bottom of the page to post around in an effort to be eye catching.

I was also handling a shipping request issue. I had a potential International customer that was looking into expedited shipping. I assumed it was far too expensive, but after some back and forth, I was off on an errand to the post office to fetch the right boxes to ship their order. People occasionally surprise me. Then I got a call from my sister with a request to watch her kids today. This of course means that today will be chaos and I will likely get little done. I did start another split ring and bead necklace yesterday that I can mindlessly work on if given any time. This one is in light greens.

So I leave you today with this large sale image that includes the active coupon codes and links to the shop. Please do share the sale with anyone who might be interested and since I didn't put the etsy shop address on there it's: http://totusmel.etsy.com

Monday, November 25, 2013


Much of the weekend was planned out for us. There was the Doctor Who thing on Saturday that me and the oldest daughter just couldn't miss. That was followed by dinner out of town for my father-in-law's 75th birthday. Sunday was errands in the morning, but by the afternoon, I had a little free time to get tatting.

While I was out in the morning, I promised my nieces that I would make them earrings. The youngest has a Christmas recital and needed earrings to match. Since she's wearing black and white, that's what she requested. Then I offered her sister some as well. I'm always afraid I'm forcing my pieces on relatives as I rarely get an enthusiastic response to them. It's as if they think because I made them myself, it might as well be plastic and yarn hot glued together at camp or something, but I digress.The blue and white ones didn't photograph well, they're actually an ocean teal that she asked for. When I shared these online, someone suggested they'd make a nice broach. It occurred to me that I do have a baggie of pin backs, so no supplies need to be bought to try which means I might give it go later.

After the earrings, I decided to use up some glass beads I had bagged up and made another, metal free, split ring necklace. I actually had just enough beads to make two similar ones. The beads are all a slight bit different so they have that nice random feel and I used some hand dyed thread I've had around for some time. I have some beads in green and I think some blues as well, so if I've nothing else to do, I might get some more variations of this made as well.

The shop still hasn't picked up and honestly, I'm really starting to really stress out about it. The only thing I can think of to do is keep making things. I'm just not good at aggressive marketing, probably because I find it annoying myself. I think I'm going to go ahead and offer up a coupon for the week as well because I can't shop unless other people do. So, for one week only, get 25% off any purchase of $40 or more with the code 'Holiday2013'. The code will expire on the 1st, so use it or lose it. It also occurs to me that many of you tat yourselves, so you might appreciate a coupon good for smaller purchases like patterns, so for that you can have 10% any purchase with the code 'Holiday10'. Again it's only good until the 1st. Please do shop or share the coupons with others who might be so inclined. I really appreciate it!

Friday, November 22, 2013


https://www.etsy.com/listing/170178801/tatted-lace-statement-necklace?Yesterday definitely calmed down from the previous one, but it wasn't all bad. It was nice to send off a few packages in the morning and after schooling I decided that I was going to go ahead and remake the asymmetric necklace for the shop. It did turn out differently than the last one just like I thought it would, but it still has the same basic feel. It took a lot of kicking my own butt to get it finished and listed but I did.

Once that was done, the dread of nothing to do started to creep up on me. Luckily it was mere minutes before a customer purchased a custom bracelet. I had gotten the inquiry on it the day before, so I really wasn't expecting it to come. Making this one up gave me something to do for the rest of the afternoon. I do love it when I get unusual color requests. It gives me a chance to play with color since you know I always go straight to the black thread unless otherwise directed. I think the turquoise and charcoal look smashing together.

Again, I start the day with no real tasks at hand. Sure, with Thanksgiving less than a week away and us hosting again, I'm sure I could find some cleaning to do. I'm not really there yet though. Plus, with our carpet cleaner out of commission, that's one less major cleaning task on my plate. There are other floors though and counters and...no, I'm not cleaning, I have next week for that. I will find something to tat, someone must buy something and give me plenty to do.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Good Day

I had quite a lovely, busy, rainy day around here. First thing in the morning, after I wrote, I got a request for three dream catchers. Then right after schooling I got an order in that included a custom purple one. So it's fairly safe to say that just like I thought, I was making dream catchers all day. Instead of it being busy work though, they all have homes to go to and you know how much better I like that work.

I didn't do much else besides them though. They take around an hour to make each. Covering the ring and weaving the web are both more time consuming than their size lets on. I was also very pleased  to be sending off another of the asymmetric necklaces to a wonderful new owner. It really was a lovely day in the shop and I am really hoping that it's the beginning of a nice streak and not just a fluke.

I think I'll use today to make another asymmetric necklace to replace the one that sold. It was the smaller design, so the next one likely to be very much like the last one. It won't be exact, but the fewer the rings the easier it is to recreate. Aside from that, the day is wide open. It's still pretty rainy out which I am actually enjoying, but it does mean I need more external forces to keep me on task, so here's to another day just like the last one with plenty of motivation.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


It was another busy day of weaving webs. Seriously, they are tough on my hands, but they look so neat when they're done. I sold one more yesterday morning, so after schooling I got to making again. Then I figured while I was at it, I would go ahead and turn a pair of them into earrings. I'm not certain that I would wear them, mostly because I catch large earrings on my own clothing and everything else I come close too, but they definitely make a statement. I put these ones on some black earwires I had laying around, but I think I only have two more sets of those.

Sales are still really weak, so I don't have any pieces in queue to make. I might make some more dream catchers, just because, but that's about as much of a plan as I have for the day. I though about making them for holiday gifts, but the husband wasn't too enthusiastic about that idea, so I probably won't do that. I was just trying to come up with a less expensive way to gift people for the holidays given that lack of extra cash round these parts. I guess I'll just keep brainstorming until something sounds good. I really don't like forcing my work on people when they're not that interested in it.

I guess that's it then, nothing more to share, or plan. So, here's hoping the day brings something to keep my momentum going because the rainy weather certainly does nothing for my motivation.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dream Catchers

Monday might not have been perfect, but it was a great deal better than the weekend. I had a lot of housework to catch up on after the weekend of lying about all uncomfortable. There was schooling, laundry, dishes and various other small things I had let slide. I did however get the new necklace listed like I wanted pretty soon after schooling wrapped.

When I had a moment to sit down I started fiddling with another ring and decided to go ahead and try making a dream catcher inside. I used to make them all the time, the real way as a kid. My mother is very into our Native heritage and we made them with leather strips and sinew. Feathers and charms were all over the house. I even made a few more authentically with small branches twisted into the ring that should be around here somewhere, but I digress. It wasn't until someone over on Facebook made the suggestion that I even thought about combining tatted lace and a dream catcher.

It seemed to go over so well when I shared the first one that I rushed it into the shop and sold one fairly quickly. I started a second one right after the first so there's still one in the shop. They are a little hard on my hands to make. Weaving that tiny web, even with the help of my needle is a little cramp inducing. I really like the way it turned out though, in fact it may end up being one of my holiday gift pieces this year. It makes a nice big pendant, but it could very easily be an ornament, or used in the traditional sense. Just don't hang one from your rear view mirror. That's one of my mother's pet peeves. She says, unless you're sleeping while driving, this is a completely ridiculous use of something meant to rid one of bad dreams.

I did make the mistake of checking on my shops stats yesterday against the last few years at this same time. Turns out I'm not being paranoid nor whiny, the shop really is doing very poorly this year. I don't know if it's the economy or the recent changes over at etsy, but any ideas as to what encourages you to shop a little would be greatly appreciated. I'm mulling different kinds of discounts and gifts with purchase. Of course, I'll likely just ride it out with a frugal holiday and hope for the best and today, today I'm going to make more tatted dream catchers.

Monday, November 18, 2013

One Of 'Those' Weekends

https://www.etsy.com/listing/169407722/tatted-lace-statement-necklace?You know how occasionally the Universe throws so many small things at us at once that it snowballs into a really bad day? Yeah, I had one of those weekends. I was feeling a bit off by Friday morning, some pain, some unpleasant symptoms, but I was sure I could keep it at bay with copious amounts of water. Then the kitchen faucet broke on us. I thought I might be able to fix it. I'm fairly handy, but I'm also aware of my own limitations and I backed off after dissembling it and finding more broken bits inside. I spent much of the day with our friend who is luckily a skilled contractor, helping to fix it. He was in and out fetching parts so I got little done until late afternoon when I finished and listed the latest asymmetric necklace. The faucet is fixed though and man am I grateful to know people who will rescue us.

This necklace was much bigger than the last, and it's still in the shop. I'm not done making these yet either. Saturday seemed better, but I was feeling a bit worse. I got out to Michael's and picked up more metal rings. It does seem that they are regularly stocked, so you should be able to find them. They come in a variety pack with some hammered rings that are open, so I don't use those, but the others are perfect. I even managed to work on another necklace, this time much smaller. I haven't quite put this one together yet, but it will be just these three rings.

Sunday was a complete wash as I developed a new symptom first thing in the morning that encouraged me to spend the rest of the  morning in the Urgent Care getting seen by a doctor. It of course turns out that I do have an infection, the sort of which you don't really need more details on. To add to the weekend's joy, the medications I was given are giving me a horrible headache, they're clearly working, but the headache is certainly not. So as you can imagine the rest of Sunday was laying about trying to not cause any more issues. Today, it's back to schooling though, headache or not. Then I will get the new necklace completed and listed. I'm still waiting for the shop to pick up, though I have sold a few more patterns than usual. I need to get holiday shopping myself, but I really shouldn't until I have more, you know, money. Alright then, off to experience Monday, here's to wonderful week.

Friday, November 15, 2013


https://www.etsy.com/listing/169281576/tatted-necklace-with-wood-beads-wooden?A day full of housework kept me from getting bored as I contemplated making another asymmetric necklace. I got the last one off necklace listed. I know it's not typical of my work, but I had the bead and the idle hands and honestly these sort of repetitive pieces are relaxing to make.

Finally, late in the afternoon, someone left a comment expressing an interest in the sold asymmetric necklace, so I started making another. This was very late in the afternoon, so I think I only managed to finish one ring of it. They do take some time to work up. So I have that task on deck for today. I'll get another one made and then some time this weekend I'll need to see if I can find anymore of the metal rings I used so I can stock up again. It would be a shame if I couldn't find more, but findings do come and go.

I think that's about it. It was a bit of an off week and I'm still feeling antsy about he shop not getting busy yet. I think my patience will hold up a bit longer though, so I'll just keeping plugging away.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

One More

The morning was sucked away by schooling and errand running. Unfortunately the oldest child has reached a point in her math where I must be more attentive so I can help out more. So she waits to do math until I'm finished teaching her sister making schooling last at least an hour longer. I was so lucky that up til now she was able to get everything she needed from the computer and text book and still understand, but I knew this day was coming and I accept my role.

After lunch I got the new asymmetric necklace all finished up and listed. I made it longer initially, but quickly realized that longer is bad with all those metal covered rings. Every time I leaned down it folded in on itself. So I gave it less chain and it sits perfectly. Though I don't know why I'm trying to play up the design right now, since it did in fact sell last night. That is a rare enough occurrence, to sell something the same day,  that it always put a fine smile on my face. Now the question is, should I make another one straight away? I mean, they always come out different, but perhaps there were more than one person that really did want one. It's not like I have any other pressing projects.

Before this sold though, I used my time to make up another one off piece. I found these square wood beads that were in a clearance bag years ago. They're not really my style so I haven't bothered using them up until now.I just made a good long string of them between split rings. In fact I made it long enough that I closed the necklace and it slips over ones head, no clasps needed. I'll get this one listed later today, assuming that school doesn't take over the whole day.

I may have my mother-in-law over today for a crochet tutorial in the afternoon. When she wants to make something she hasn't tried before, she pops by for a consultation. So I'm not sure what else I'll get done while we do that. I'll go ahead and cross my fingers again for some great order or project to present itself. I am really getting antsy for the busy season to finally begin.