Thursday, November 21, 2013

Secret Shuttle Exchange Arrived!

Okay not the best photo, but I could not wait to share my package from Maria in Portugal. I participated in  Secret Shuttle exchange. Believe it or not that was on October 21 almost a month ago to the day. I honestly though the post office walked it here from there.

Still I was so happy to get it and my how generous and clever Maria was. The shuttle which she decorated was in the cute little case she made from plastic shopping bags. Wow it is very nice and a nice way to carry my shuttles (I am a bit envious, they have "gold" shopping bags LOL). They sweet key chain was made from coffee or creamer containers and manipulated to make a star or flower pattern, a very Eco-friendly gift. A nice bookmark that tells of a Portuguese legend of a rooster, and a whole ball of the prettiest lavender thread. I have not used it yet but am searching for a pattern to try.

You were very generous Maria and a very talented lady. I was truly lucky to have you as my secret partner. Thank you again. (Also thank you Aileen for hosting)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Still at It

Yes, I am still tatting. I have completed the bag and even a few doilies. I have no teacher. Just a lot of You-tube and books. Although there have been some very nice ladies and blogs that have shared a lot of info. As always I was a bit surprised to find so many. Some very talented people both men and women, and all the beautiful tatting. I just wish I knew someone near me that taught it. For the time being I will plug along learning on my own. Hoping I am doing it right. I am trying my hand at an edging. This pattern from Jan Stawasz' book Tatted Treasures. It is the edging for a cap. The book has some fabulous work in it. Too bad for me it's all in Polish. Although the diagrams are there it isn't always clear,  I might have to guess on some of the repeats for a couple of the project. The photos of his work though are worth the price of the book alone.

I purchased some thread at a flea market to use for practice. Love this beige-tan thread, I think its a 20 thickness, nice and firm, not fuzzy like the white, very nice to use. The white however is thicker (maybe a 10) and although it is pretty next to the tan thread it's like using yarn. I doubt I will use it again (for tatting that is).

See my little snowflake in the box? That was done with size 80 thread. It was quite a difference, but I find I really prefer the thinner thread. So far I favor size 40 and 20 (20 being thicker, the larger the number the thinner the thread)

I have had to stop though and get crack-a-lackin on some soldering. So this will only get my attention when I get to watch my television (Friday night - Grimm and Dracula, yeah!). It has been hard though because once I start I do not want to stop until I see it complete.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Customizing Shuttles

As I mentioned below I purchased a couple shuttles from La Cossette on Etsy. She alters the areo-type shuttles for tatting. They are so pretty and of course I had to have more than one. They are a bit pricey though and for me at least, just having two wasn't quite enough.

Soooo, I thought perhaps I would take a stab at altering a few of my own. There are lots of "how to" posts. One on Decoromana's blog, and again on Knitpick's blog . They were a good place to start.
What do you think? Frankly I think I almost nailed it, that is all except the area at the top. that's where I can do better. that area was tricky I didn't go quite as tapered. As with all new things there is a bit of trial and error, but overall I am pleased with the results.
Okay lets see what you think, In the photo above the La Cossette shuttle is on top, mine below.......
In the above photo my shuttle on top, the La Cossette shuttle is below.....(I added a swarovski crystal to the center). Not to shabby, if I must say so myself. Although being a little OCD I will still want to fine tune it a bit. I think I can do better. I did the clover (post type) for my swap partner (post below), and I think I want to decorate a couple of my post shuttles next.

I am enjoying tatting and now have these pretty shuttles to tat with.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tatting along

Yes, finished the bag, although it is small and needs to be pressed (I will post then). Decided to try a doily. The one here is now done and I have actually completed two other small coaster size doilies, and the one above, and a yellow variegated one for my sister. This one and the variegated are 8" doilies.

I am currently working on a variegated fall colored one for another sister. The pattern is from Marilee Rockley called Arches. Starting the final row.

I am also doing a shuttle exchange and just sent out the package. It is on its way to Russia. Since no one really reads my blog I thought I might post the picture here of what I sent:

I have purchased a couple bobbin shuttled from La Cossette on Etsy. They are so pretty. I have been trying my hand at decorating shuttles and even did a few of my own (will post another time). I made one for the exchange but the person I am sending to wanted a post shuttle not a bobbin, and nothing bright or "acid" colored (her words). Soooo off to find a shuttle. Luckily I found the tortoise shuttles and applied a vintage image. A little holographic bling and wa-la. We only had a week to prepare and it was dicey, I would have preferred a few more days for the finish to completely dry to the hard stage, still it turned out quite pretty. Now I am thinking, I may need to do one for myself :)

We were also to send something from where we lived? This was too difficult and I had no time to search out something. Instead I opted to send one of the charm necklaces I make. I also was to send 10 meters of thread (any weight). My swap partner wanted 80w thread, which is very thin so I sent the entire reel. I picked a golden variegated to match the shuttle. I wish I could have found a variegated thread that had gold, mossy green, and rust. That would have been a good match to the shuttle.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Can you believe this? Well why am I not surprised. You see here the spoolie I made for a swap with Donna a.k.a. Tea Loving Lady. Oh she was "going" to swap, until the very day the swap was to go out she emailed me to bail. I had sent her a few emails updating her, and again when I mailed it. She did not respond.

Now let me start with she knew at the time we decided to exchange that her father was ill, yes things happen,we had over a month to make our project, so she had plenty of opportunity (this started the end of Jan and went out March 21, 2013) to say "hey its too much, can't do this right now, etc". No, she insisted this would not be an issue. I was perfectly clear about how strongly I felt about keeping my word, fulfilling my promises. I never led her to believe I was one of those who would be "okay" with mediocre work, flaking, or poor communication. I shared with her my disappointment with other swaps (having been flaked on a couple times). I wanted her to know what she could, and what I would expect.

Sooooo like I say she emailed me on the DUE date with her reason. Could she mail it back to me? Could she have more time (although she did add she didn't know when or "if" she would get it to me). This left me in an awkward place, after all I had already done all the work and mailed it out. At first I was just a bit shocked.

Yes I was understandably sympathetic, but after I read it again, all I could think of was "really? now you want to bail now?" So yeah, I told her to send it back, so what if it cost me $15.00 to mail it, spent hours doing my best to fulfill my end of the swap. Yes I was a bit miffed. Frankly I do understand, things happen, but really does this give people and excuse to "blow" off an agreement so flippantly? I let her know I was not happy about it. I was not rude, I did not swear, I let her know I was not happy that she waited, and then left it "up to me" with no real solution other than, too bad, so sad. I didn't get it she knew what was going on, she knew the date was right around the corner. Yet now tell me  that it has been getting bad for the last couple weeks? Now you decide to email me? Perhaps I am supposed to pleased that I wasn't left hanging for days thinking it was on it's way. (keep in mind I had emailed her earlier in the week to say I was sending mine out. I mailed it early, like 5 days ago)

Sure there will be those who will say its only a swap, well to them I say, no its more than just a swap, it is also about your word, your integrity. Maybe for those who have the funds to "give-away" things, it isn't a big deal. Perhaps you place no value on your time or work, I do. For me it is a breach of faith and trust. I do not lack sympathy for those struggling with illness, or adversity, but when is it acceptable to "void" an agreement or promise without taking the other party into consideration.   This was the part that really got my dander up, so to speak. She was angry with me, called me rude and inconsiderate. Yeah, apparently I had not right to get upset with her. It was all about her. No she didn't feel bad after all her father was dying (yes he went from ill to dying in one email), and wasn't I a terrible person for expecting her to consider my feelings. Is this a sign of our times? Yeah it's okay, "they" should understand after all it's about "me". Well let me be the first to say no, if (I feel can say if because I have never done this to anyone, regardless of what is going on in my life) you are the "offending" party you do not maintain the right to be offended when the person you are "screwing" over calls you out on it.

Shame, Shame, Shame on her for not only bailing but emailing me, in response and trying to make me feel guilty for "not understanding her situation". Yeah, made a half-hearted apology and "kept" the items, and that should be good enough. Now she is out there signing up for swaps again. I have not heard from her once, nor did she return of fulfill her part of the swap.

This post for is for those who wish to swap with her, be warned!

Monday, July 29, 2013


Hmm, where to start... I guess at the beginning. A couple years ago, oh I want to say 2010, I participated in the OWOH giveaway. I won a tatting shuttle, with a book and an invitation to learn to "Tat". As I was busy doing other things I set it aside thinking I would start "later". Well here is is almost three or four years later, and while unpacking (we moved last year) I found the book, along with some crochet curtains I had started (15 years ago, yikes).
I finished up the curtains first. That was something of a trial as I didn't keep the hook with them so I had to try and figure out which size I had used. So this meant "several" rows where I would crochet then tear apart and start over. Well at least now they are done! I finished them up while working at a friends shop on Friday.
Now to try "tatting".  It was learning how to hold the thread in my hands, coordinating my fingers to move the correct way, which turned out was for me the most difficult, that and maybe learning to read the patterns (Still working on that).
So after several practice butterflies, and four bookmarks, I of course felt taking on a "mignonette bag" was what I wanted to do next. WARNING!  I'm just stating here that this may or may not have been a wise (probably not) move. I have had to, and still need to learn a lot, and no I probably (probably? no definitely) should have tackled something a little less daunting, but after seeing them on Gina Butlers YouTube channel I wanted to try.
There are many good videos on how to tat. The book I had was good, but for me seeing someone in action can be so much more helpful. Gina is one of these gifted and talented people who offer many videos explaining stitches, techniques,  It was seeing the mignonette bags she made that really made me push myself to learn.
Of course here is where I tell you that I contacted her for help, and I could not ask for a kinder more sharing person. She has been just an email away anytime I am not sure, have a question, or need to learn more about this art.
So here is the bottom of my bag. I was stuck here, had to bother Gina as I could not for the life of me figure out where to go from this point. Like I said reading patterns can be tricky. There may be portions that a more experienced "tatter"would know. In this case there was a part missing from the pattern I had.  She was great, and I am getting to the second round of this band on my bag.
I will update the photos later. I know I have not posted in a while. So much going on with work, family and the house. But that's another post....

Friday, March 22, 2013

Easter Spoolie Swap

One day I was perusing blogs, and came across 521 Lake Street blog. She was hosting a "Spoolie" swap and i thought wow this looks like a fun swap. One problem, I was late to sign up. I wasn't the only one who was late. Donna, Tea Loving Lady was also late. So we got together and decided to swap with each other.
Since we agreed though Donna has had some devastating news regarding a family member. So I will post what I sent her, since she is will be unable to do one for me.

I made this card a while ago. Yet is was very much the girlie-pink style Donna indicated she liked.

 I bought a sweet box at Michaels with pretty pink water colored flowers and a magnetic latch. Inside I placed some pretty washed pink pearls, a silver teaspoon and a floral pic in pink. I also tucked a necklace I made her.......
 You see here some of the items I sent, some yummy teas, some sweet cards, and Easter pin (this was supposed to be Easter but I favored a more everyday pink fun theme. the pin and the sweet little chick were all the Easter I included. You can't see the lovely crocheted doilies and the little embellishment's I made..
 Here is the "Spoolie" I made. She is one of my sweet little mice. She is sitting on a larger spool I purchased at the Urban Merchant, a lovely shop in Romeo MI. I wrapped a several feet of lace around it.
 She is dressed in Spring Pinks and and he little tuffet does double duty as a pin cushion. On her head is a little crown, she is bedecked with jewels and hold her scepter is a lovely pin. Donna is a quilter and she can keep this sweet little lady nearby to hold her needles.
So there it is. another swap completed.  I am hoping this brings a little joy into my partners day. She is facing a difficult time in her family right now. we are going through something similar here with my Mother-in-law. I happy to be able to finish this up and send it before things get too crazy here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Getting back to It....

So I have been trying to get back into the swing of things. Having been commissioned to make some gifts for the baby shower of my niece, it gave me the motivation I needed. Still it will be a while until I reach the same state of comfort I had in my previous house. Doesn't feel "right" yet. Like I am visiting, rather than "this is home" feel I had. I miss that feeling of comfort that comes from living in a house 15 years. Which by the way was our longest period in a house since I left home at 18.  It was the home all our children "left" from, which also adds to the feeling of loss, and nostalgia I have for it. Changes, big ones like moving while having some excitement, are very hard for me. I think this was the hardest move so far.  Still we are here now and working each day to make it ours. So I decided, once done with the shower gifts to make a small banner. Something with a Valentine feel. Seeing the decorations at the local shops, and online put me in the mood for something shabby, pink, and (of course) glittery sweet.

 So I cracked open the dies and cut some shapes out. Love the paper soft pinks, peaches, and greens, a creamy scalloped backing, glittered letters and trim...but not really loving the plain. So I made these crepe rosettes, hmmm not sure I like them with these letters. Maybe another font?
 Here the version with nothing behind the letters. Sweet, but just too "plain". I want simple but this way doesn't give me that shabby feel I want. I am going to have to think about this a bit.
 All the shower gifts ready. I die cut the boxes from the cardboard waste they throw away at work. Yep, our condiments come layered between these nice Kraft colored chipboard sheets. I thought I can use that. They turned out so nice, all I had to do was glue pretty bows on them.
 Inside some shredded paper and a necklace with one of my handmade charms. In the previous picture the boxes with the white bows are special. They contain pins, one for each of the Great Aunts, the boxes with the cream bows contain a pin for each of the soon to be Grandmothers. You cannot see them but the boxes with the green bows have pins for the two Great Grandmothers. My niece will be giving them out at the shower.
I also made two soldered and hinged bottles. One will have a chain on it eventually (the smaller, it has the loops on the sides). These were fun to do, although cutting them is a bit of a challenge. I was actually thinking I could put some pretty beads, or even calling cards in the larger one.

So that's it for now. Steve loaded all the pictures of the work we are doing on the house to his computer. Hopefully I can sort it all out and post a few. We have made some nice changes. The carpet is out (yuck! the owner had a large dog, nuff said), and Steve has painted. Cannot wait to show you the before and after.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I'm Back....

So we have finally moved, actually we moved the begining of November. Unpacked (some not all), and immediately started ripping the place apart. Why? Well for one it was dated, had weird Moroccan 70's elements to it, and once the previous owners stuff was gone, you saw all the repairs that needed to be made. Second the owner had a dog, not a small dog but a big Newfoundland "moose". The thing was huge, and no real surprise here, he made several spots his personal "potty". I have three small dogs and am no stranger to "accidents". what I was not ready for was the amount of damage one dog could have. Seriously, this dog must have been a chronic offender. Some areas were black (removed) others we could treat. There was an area where the carpet was discolored, where I expected (must have been a favorite spot) some damage but I wasn't really ready to see that he had several areas, most around the windows and doorwall that needed attention. While it appears the owner did have the carpet cleaned on occasion, because you didnt smell it, it had not been enough to prevent damage to the base. Another reason to clean, remove, repair, and paint was that the owner was a smoker. I would call her a "discreet" smoker as the place doesnt reek of it. I think she favored the bathrooms and just outside on the back porch. Still I am one of those who can pick it up at 100 yards. I washed everything down, and hopefully new paint and floors will help.

So all the carpet, and the four floors in the kitchen (yeah, I said 4, a laminate, then three layers of vinyl and sub floor, with the last two layers glued to each other. Oh and I should mention they leveled the flooring with SHINGLES. Yeah they nailed shingles to the floor between layers) had to come out. They had installed new cabinets once that were in decent shape.....except they needed to be really cleaned and they had (I have stopped trying to figure out why people SHORTCUT on jobs) put them and the counters OVER the Formica back splash they then put some ugly tile over. So the tile came out and we are now mulling over pulling everything out to remove it, or cutting it out?

We had the house inspected, but now realize the one that inspector who tested the water, drew the sample from the kitchen tap. Really? So no surprise now we learned we needed an iron filtration system. Yeah she had the softener cranked up and a small unit attached to the line but the water smelled funny. I have had well water before and it never smelled like this, sort of sulfur and mineral, yuck. Which is also why we had to remove and install a new water heater. We also think we found the late Jimmy Hoffa. His remains were/are in the duct work. We removed the vent covers (yet they had some rust issues - doggy maybe?). Behind them we found enough dog fur to knit a new dog out of,  and so much dust and dirt they could be the remains of the late Teamster Leader.  We removed as much as the length of the shop-vac would reach, but will need to have them checked and cleaned.

Shouldn't complain, but boy did it make me homesick for our old home. When we updated that house we took it to the frame and did it all right. Yet for me it seems we always manage (as I told my husband) to get someones cobble-job. Now, I know that houses are all money pits, and even a job well done can have problems. Still after three homes it would have been nice to have one that only required paint and decor. For the most part the house will be fine, although I question having an electrician out to check out the system (it appears they tapped into lines and did some changes with it. We have switches that do nothing. I think they may have screwed up some of it).

So we have removed and scraped, treated and replaced parts of the floor. We ordered and picked up our new bamboo hardwood flooring to be installed. Steve has painted the main floor, and we will be painting the bedrooms and bathrooms later. Then maybe, just maybe it will start to feel like home. Well thats all for now, but I will be posting pics later. Like with the other three homes we have owned, we like to take before and after photos.