Friday, July 29, 2011


Yes, I have dropped off the face of the earth. The only place that has seen me over the last three days is my kitchen. What that means, thankfully, is that I have finished canning 29 qts of sweet cherries and 93 qts of peaches along with 10- 1/2 pints of peach jam. YUM. But I am so done standing in one place for 14 hour days. Of course, my kitchen is still a mess. See for yourself :)
 I got done with the peaches around noon yesterday and thought I might have the afternoon off!! Sadly (and good timing!) the cherries came in the mail from Traverse City. Oh, wonderful cousin of mine.
 I opened them with trepidation. After all, 2 days in a box with warm, wet cherries is the perfect recipe for mold.

 But these fabulous insulated boxes did their job! I am so impressed. I will be keeping these and recommending them :)
My cherry pitter worked great, but made for stinky compost this morning. I think the flies love me. The neighbors, on the other hand, might not.
And my floor is spattered with cherry juice. My dog is pretty happy about that. My skin is not. Let's just say that my entire body looks like that floor. And, unlike the floor, cannot be simply wiped off. I've got extra special freckles for a week...
This was morning yesterday. By evening, the entire island, the table on the left, and the counter on the right (not in the picture) are also covered with sticky canned goods. And there are dishes piled sky high. And the floor is disgusting. Let's just say I have my work cut out for me. However, all of that will have to wait.

I am teaching a tatting class this morning. So I am dressed nicely, and I plan on ignoring my hideously dirty kitchen until later this afternoon. Mmmm, getting paid for sharing something I love. It's so wonderful.

Speaking of wonderful things, I got this package in the mail from the fabulous tatting-marie! I was so impressed. I've never done an exchange before, and to receive so many tatted things at one time... wow. Thanks to Aileen for putting on the exchange! And check out these goodies!

Thank you so much, Marie! I sent out something quite different... I hope it is appreciated, too. I'm a bit nervous now.

More tatting to get done this weekend, after running a 10K and other things. Hmm, I don't think I've eaten yet this morning. Have a great one, and hopefully I have progress to report on Monday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Feeling Lousy

For the last few days it has been a struggle to get anything done. I have been feeling lousy, to say the least. I have no new pictures to show, even though I did remake the earrings and made another bookmark. It's nothing you haven't seen already. And with impending canning, I need to feel better! I have 3 bushels of peaches sitting in my basement and sweet cherries in the mail...

So instead of griping, since that really helps no one, I thought I would share a few more pictures from the archives.

Three months ago I thought to try a local craft shop to sell my tatting and crochet. They charge monthly rent... and I ended each month paying them instead of getting a check for the things I sold. Maybe needless to say, I won't be continuing that trend. But that leaves me with a conundrum. The current employment I have at home is only through August. I either need to find a normal job which would limit my tatting time (heaven forbid!) or I need to actually start making money on the things I do. I tried Etsy a year ago for some crochet and had no luck selling anything. I think I'm going to give everything a go again, but it's very frightening and disheartening to spend so much time on all of these things and have people think I'm asking outrageous prices. (Which, for the record, I ask pretty much nothing for my materials and only about $3.00/hour for my time. I think that's outrageously cheap.)

 Interestingly enough, this is the only tatting from my shop that has gone home with someone. Sadly, they shoplifted it.
 These necklaces are just like the more recent one I posted with labradorite stones. I think they are just so pretty.

 ...and I designed some earrings to match...
...and several of the standby bookmarks.

Here are a few of the things I have in my shop until the end of July. Then I will be rethinking my life of crafts (again) and trying to figure out how to make a living on them...

Any suggestions would be appreciated! I really want to make this work since it's what I love to do... Advice?

...just keep tatting :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Little bits of progress

First, of course, I have to show you the finished set of bracelet, necklace and earrings.

Yay! I'm so happy it's done, although, as an amendment, I gave the set of earrings to a good friend of mine because she is helping me with website problems I have been having. (Not user error, thankfully!). So I actually have to remake the earrings.

On that note, I wrote out all of the patterns! Isn't that fabulous? I know from the last post how many of you understand what a big deal that is. Now I won't have to scratch my head for three hours while getting nowhere next time!

I spent a lot of time with Monkey this weekend, too. I've missed her a lot! Here's her "cute face"
 ...and here she is trying on the aviation goggles and jacket before she climbs in the plane at the Children's Museum. Hilarious!
I told her she looked like a bug, and she promptly started giggling and saying "bug!"

That's all for now. We'll see what happens today since I haven't been feeling well! Hope you all enjoy some tatting for me if I don't get to it!

Friday, July 22, 2011

working on the set

Yesterday was a bit of a crazy day. There was a work picnic for one of the moms whose child I watch, so we spent 3 hours in the heat in order to eat one sandwich and say we went. I was very nearly as crabby as the two kiddos I brought down there. Although, to be fair, they are fabulous kids and they enjoyed the prospect of the trip very much (before we actually started, of course :).
 Yes, you may play on the computer. But if you ever get past the password screen, I'm in trouble.
 Hi girls! Ready for a drive?
Yes, I believe we should practice driving already, Turkey. :) Good work.

In tatting news, I am working on a bracelet and earrings for the necklace set. I had some good advice from intatters friends, and here is what I came up with so far:
Doubling it seemed like a good idea for the bracelet, just so it wasn't too matchy-matchy.
I then wrote myself a pattern, which on here looks like a bunch of incomprehensible gibberish...
...and then set about making it. Which, by the way, I totally screwed up. Does anyone else do that more often than they'd like to admit? I think I know a pattern back and forth, I try to do it from memory and I find I've wasted a bunch of my time and some yarn... Although I did try to make this into an earring, just to see where that would go.
And that certainly went somewhere, although it ended up looking terrible because things broke. And I decided I should redo the entire earring so that it's split rings all the way up instead, just so that the thread would all end on the finding side of the earring. And I added more beads to give it a little weight for the dangling.
That idea got transferred immediately into the bracelet, and there are several more beads in the works. I hope to finish both the bracelet and the earrings today and have lots of fun things to show you on Monday.

Meanwhile, a couple of amusing photos I took of my dog and one of the cats staring each other down. It just makes me want to wrestle them both into being a little bit more sensible. But what are you going to do? Their brains probably don't understand much of what I say to them anyway!

Until Monday, then. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

On Saving Things

Yesterday should have been very productive. I had the time. But somehow I was very hostile toward all of my projects. I would try to start one and it would take too long (go figure, you think I'd be used to that after 20 years of tatting) or I would try to design a pair of earrings to go with my necklace and it wouldn't work when I tried it out.... so I did other things for the most part.

We had a woman call us out of the blue last week and tell me that they wanted to save some fish in their neighborhood, at an abandoned house where there was no running water for aeration in the pond anymore. Consequently, the last 2 days there have been about 10 new small additions to our koi pond. Although, sad story, 3 of them got so excited by the excessive aeration in our pond that they jumped out and died. Who knew, right? It was tragically brilliant, but we pitied them anyway. I wonder what they were thinking? "Ooooo, this air feels so nice, I think I'll jump around a bit! Wheeeeeeee! Wait, this isn't right...? I'm falling. Ouch! I don't understand! What's happening....?" Poor guys.
 However, the other little guys seem to be enjoying themselves immensely.

You can't see them here, but they're following the big fish around in schools. Trying to keep up with the cool kids. Silly fish.
 We're beginning to have quite the arsenal of saved creatures around here. Not only do we now have a resident dragonfly to add to the randomness (we have a bullfrog, too), but our friendly squirrel is still watching over the calla lily...
...and our stray dog Toffee has decided she's going to keep me. I've never seen a dog follow someone like she follows me! I feel slightly flattered, along with slightly annoyed at times. At least she's already trained! And she's so darn cute and nice, I don't know how anyone could resist her.
 See? Turkey loves her, too :) Although I think Toffee sees a squirrel. She's so easily distracted!
We have 2 more animals around, fabulous humane society sisters we call Opal and Lily. They are a little leery of the new dog, but they still manage to find time to hide my Lizbeth thread during the night. They must have known how frustrated I was with tatting in general yesterday. Opal is pretending to know nothing about it, but she won't take her eyes from the ball of thread, regardless.
Thankfully, after reading Bree's blog yesterday about her bookmarks (where she so graciously posted her stitch count, I was able to say to myself, I can do that! And I did. Thanks, Bree. That was the motivation I needed to save the day.

In other things, I am contemplating how to do a bracelet and earrings for the necklace I posted yesterday. Ideas? I posted on InTatters, too, so maybe someone will come to my rescue :)

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lizbeth thread, strawberries, old lace

It's nice to have a day with pictures that show progress! I mentioned a couple days that I made a motif that curled outrageously. That gave me an idea, since it was a pincushion pattern from Tatting for Today... why don't I actually try to make a pincushion? So first I did some creative "blocking," if  it can be called that.
I tried making my chains loose because I usually have a problem with tatting them super tight and the pattern not working. Apparently whomever came up with this pattern actually tatted tightly like me. Bah on trying to change my tatting habits, then!
I cut up some old linen napkins I had from antiquing, sewed them...stuffed them with random stuff aptly labeled by my meticulous hilarious mother...
and voila! Not done, but close. I got distracted. Here, take a look.
Here was a random motif I had no idea what to do with, so I sewed it on my first trial pincushion.
Then I got a little more creative and remembered I had another curling motif stored away. And instead of sewing this one on,
I decided to try tatting on a backing. It kindof worked, although it definitely looks like an amateur project. I think I will sew sequins or something around the midsection to make it look flat and more completed.
Then I got distracted by the Lizbeth again, and I tried a motif from Lyn Morton's Tatting Patterns. I like it. Although I'm not convinced about the Lizbeth. I find DMC is much smoother to work with, but I am also used to working with sizes 70 and 80, so that is a big difference.
It probably doesn't help that yesterday I tried to work with the Lizbeth on a cute motif and ended up getting so distracted, I have no idea where I went. Seriously. It was supposed to be a 6-point star... I was trying to think of something to make it into, but I got bored after about a minute and decided it will work just the way it is as a bookmark. I can't even figure out what it looks like. Apparently this is what happens when I watch Fringe and try to tat at the same time: I make weird unidentifiable things.
 I finished the necklace, too! I'm pretty happy with how it lays. And I love the light green freshwater pearls. Makes me proud to be a freckly red head :)
Yes, this is as tan as I get during the summer. See all those freckles? Half of them are my summer "tan." They'll go away in a couple months and I'll look translucent again!
 I found a few other goodies while I was rummaging around for material earlier. I also picked these up antiquing and I need some creative ideas for what to do with them.
 I can't quite give them away in this state... They're a little smoooshed. The picots would all need to be reopened. Heck, if someone wanted to spend the time doing that...? I think I'd rather tat a new one than bend over the ironing board for hours. Unless there's a trick I don't know about.
I love this one, although nothing in my house really works with this. I'm a modern Victorian lace kind of girl, and this one just tells me that it was under a vase for years. Makes me think of my cluttered grandmother's house, that's all. I don't want to think of dust every time I look at it.

Okay, enough about yesterday. I need to get moving on laundry, making strawberry jam, and cleaning today. Hopefully I'll have something new to show tomorrow!