Sunday, October 15, 2017

Loving Fall but Thinking Christmas

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but FALL is my absolute favorite time of year.  Sweatshirt & jeans weather, still no winter coats to lug around - and watching the leaves change color is spectacular! I wish it lasted longer, but a little rain and wind and POOF! we have bare trees for a few months.

I’ve always admired Renulek’s beautiful tatting and patterns for doilies, Easter eggs and Christmas ornaments.  I’ve tried to cover Christmas ornaments, but they just never fit right - so I purchased a couple of Renata’s patterns.  My biggest problem is figuring out which size ornament will work with which size thread! Why is this so difficult for my brain?

This pattern is beautiful, though size 20 thread requires a huge ornament.  I usually tat fairly tightly, so I’m not convinced it’s my tension.  This ball is a bit larger than 3” diameter (it never says on the dang box!) and still not large enough for the tatting to fit nicely.

The bottom piece should also be further away so the bare thread can zig zag up and down.  I’m not getting nicely rounded chains either. The pattern does call for size 20 thread, but the ornament doesn’t look this big on the pattern photo. I need to ask Renata what size ornaments she uses.

Good thing I’m thinking about this EARLY - I need to try some smaller threads and practice some more to make these beauties before Christmas!  

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Twin Cities Tatters - WOW!

Our Twin Cities Tatters group has GROWN this year - and today we had the largest group ever!  We've been increasing in numbers all summer, and finally decided to switch to a meeting room at a local library.  Thank heavens we did - we had 14 today.  14!  We may have beaten the Tollway Tatters gatherings with this one, though that wasn't really the goal.  😂

Good thing we switched to the library meeting room, or we would have taken over the Caribou Coffee.  (Well, we have done that before too.)  But it's certainly not quite as comfortable.

We had tatters from not only the north metro, but from even farther north as well as south-central Minnesota.  Fun!  These are tatters from beginners to . . .  AHEM . . . experienced - all willing to share ideas and good conversation.  Michelle and I just have to laugh at all those times we met and it was just the two of us, or sometimes 3 or 4.  The Twin Cities Tatters (Michelle and I) met the first time on 11/13/2010.

And here we are, 7 years later.  Thanks to all for joining us!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Adding Cloud Photos to a Blog

It is simple to add photos to your blog - but I have been trying to figure out where to store them and then have the ability to retrieve them from any device I use.  Which, as Jane mentioned, means storing them in the "cloud".  I've got my photos stored, but in my last post, one photo wasn't visible, and one was.  I'm not sure why, because I added them both the same way from Google Photos. This shouldn't be that difficult!  But it prevents me from blogging as much as I'd like to sometimes when I want to just add a quick little post.

Now I'm obsessed with figuring this out, so I thought I'd test what I think will work after a little more research.

The following two photos were added using the option from "Google Album Archive".  This brings up photos from Google Photos, but only if they are in an album.  If this works, I will need to be more diligent about my photo organizaton! 

How do you store and add photos to your blog using an iPad?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Lucky Pennies

Another Lucky Penny down!  I gave this one to a gal at work who is getting married in a week.  I figured today was a good day to get it to her (she's at a different location), since she will be busy early next week and off the end of the week.  She loved it - the day hadn't been going great, so she said it made her day.   It's a good feeling to brighten someone's day wth something like this - small, but thoughtful.

I also posted this on the Facebook Ice Drop Addicts page, and someone asked about Lucky Penny traditions for brides. The only one I know of is in the Bride's shoe - which my daughter did as a bride  last year.  I did a little research with Mr. Google, and found  a few poems about pennies, but nothing that specifically caught my eye that I could use when gifting lucky pennies for various occasions.  It would be fun to add a little poem each time I give a penny away, but at the same time, I like writing a personal note for each one I gift.  Tomorrow I give my hair stylist a penny for the baby she's about to have, and an ice drop for the big sister.

Well, I think I've figured out how to have my photos accessible on all devices so that it's easiest to share via blogging, texting and emailing. I do love my iPad and iPhone, but Google Photos seems to be the best storage option. I'm still figuring out how to access my photos the way I want to - shouldn't be that hard, but sometimes it just doesn't work the way I want it to!

No worries.  This stubborn Scandhoovian will figure it out.  Blogger doesn't work the way I want it to either, but eventually I get it to do something :)

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Crazy Life and a Dog

Crazy Life lately!  Not really, it just seems that way with everything that has been going on all summer.  We've got a new street, a new driveway, a new little camper for State Park adventures, and some new furniture.  Ruby is a little put off that she can't be on the new furniture, but she's not pushing it.  Yet.

And, speaking of Ms. Ruby, she's been looking thin lately, and when she acted as if she was dying, we discovered she had lost 8 lbs since March (which is a LOT when you only weigh 58 lbs or so.)  She also had a UTI, and once we got that cleared up, we started coaxing her to eat and working on gaining some of that weight back.  (I should have that problem!)  We've put her on a sensitive stomach dry food diet, and then tried some canned food . . . until she was actually spitting out the dry food in favor of the canned. We decided we'd go broke feeding her the canned food, and finally found the right solution - a little olive oil gives her calories, and a bit of low-sodium chicken broth adds enough flavor to her dry food so that she's eating better than ever.  So, here I am, twice a day, heating up a little broth and scientifically preparing the Queen's meals (we call them her casseroles!)  She's had some blood work, so we know her organs are all good.  This could be an irritable bowel issue, or a gastric cancer of some type.  Neither would be strange, as she is old for a boxer and has always had a sensitive stomach.  I'll be bringing her in every month to check her weight - hopefully she'll at least stay the same and not lose any more. Worries me like my kids did when they were little!

On top of all of that, I'm still tatting ice drops, buttons and pennies!  And had a garage sale that I said I'd NEVER do again.  And shouldn't have - waste of time and ended up donating most of it anyway.  However, it's quite liberating to clean out closets and PURGE!  I guess it just feels good to get things in order as summer is coming to an end - I know it won't be long until the snow flies. Maybe now I won't feel guilty spending so much time on tatting and sewing over the winter! My cave needs cleaning, but no purging - ha ha!

Oh yeah, and I have a new iPad.  The latest and greatest! So I'm getting it set up and testing out my new keyboard - hoping I can figure out how to blog more conveniently. Now if I could just get my photos coordinated with blogging on the iPad.  All these gadgets have me crazy. [Crazier, maybe?]

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Lucky Pennies and Magic Buttons

I’m still working on 2017 lucky pennies.  My most recent ones are for expected babies - one of unknown gender, and one expected girl.  

I like the Springtime Lizbeth – it has the perfect colors for any baby!  Not many leave the gender unknown anymore, but I like using variegated thread vs. a solid color.

And more button tatting.  I don’t have many buttons, but these are just cute little enjoyable pieces to tat.  I can only imagine tatting on an antique or heirloom type button – but I don’t plan on searching for more buttons! I did have this pretty button – and as I was tatting, I realized it just didn’t look as nice as I thought it should.  

Originally, I had taken a quick look at Fox’s button tatting, and saw that there were 4 beads on each of the outer picots.  I usually use 3 beads, but hers looked so nice, so I used 4. [Copycat skills!]  Now that I’ve made a few buttons, I noticed my button placement was not as nice.  I saw that there was one bead below the picot between the stitches, but being unsure about how to do that, I asked Fox. She was kind enough to point me to this little pattern, which explains the placement.  (More than likely, others have done this for a long time - but it's just like me to only notice it now!)

We had our Twin Cities Tatters gathering on Saturday, and my goal was to figure out that bead placement. Ta Da!  Got it.  I usually talk too much to get any tatting done, but at least I conquered the beads.

See the difference?  The "new" way is above and the "old" way below.  

The finished buttons look nice either way, and most people probably wouldn’t notice – but I like how it looks with the more precise placement.  And, there’s more opportunity for some creative color placement if one chooses.  Sometimes I feel like really planning ahead, and other times I just string the beads however they appear - ha!

These small projects are perfect to get a quick tatting fix!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Little Dare?

I’ve been admiring Fox’s button tatting lately, and knowing my obsession with Ice Drops, she proposed a little dare.  That I try a tatted button.  It’s only taken me about 2 weeks, but I finally got it!  I do see how these are addicting – but I don’t need to start collecting buttons now on top of fabric, beads, gems and charms.  Yikes!

I love this one, it’s one of my favorite color combinations – brown and turquoise.  I may have to make some more and play with other colors!

The first couple tries just gave me knots – not sure why, but I think I didn’t give myself enough thread.  Frustrating though – I knew it couldn’t be that hard! After a few knots, I decided to try one without beads.  Once I got on a bit of a roll, I attached to the wrong hole in the button.  Aaaaaagh!  Sheesh, I always learn the hard way first.

I’m still working on making lucky pennies for a few brides and babies too – and was having a hard time finding 2017 pennies.  A kind tatter on one of the Facebook group pages offered to send me some, as she had TWO WHOLE ROLLS of 2017 pennies!  I now have enough pennies for all those I want to make.  

This is the latest penny for a new bride:

Between all the sewing I’ve been doing and the tatting projects I have planned, there’s no time for work!  Just kidding – the job gets in the way of the hobbies!  

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Tatting, Sewing and Thankful

It's been a busy week!  I finished another Ice Drop – this time with a faceted gem from Diane.  I love the royal blue, but I ended up running out for the rings to enclose the gem – a little darker blue worked just fine.  Which, of course, makes me start thinking about using a different color on purpose for those last 6 rings!  Thread color combinations are so enjoyable to me.  While I love blue, I think this needed a different color for beads and those enclosing rings.  It's OK - it's still pretty!

I also love putting together color combinations in fabrics. I’ve got a new obsession making these bags.  Well, OK, a bag making obsession is not NEW for me, but this pattern is!  I tend to like bags/pouches that I can zip closed, and these are perfect!

I’ve been making sets of 1 bag with 1 small pod to match, and extra pods as stand-alone items. It’s fun to dig out coordinating fabrics, and all the while I’m sewing I’m trying to think of all the things one could use these bags for.  The little pods would be perfect for throwing small tatting projects in my purse to have on hand. Something I don’t normally do, but found out at our tatting retreat that everyone else does!   I will most likely be using these for gifts, and maybe to sell as well. 

The end of July always brings Quilt Minnesota – fabrics by Minnesota designers featuring Minnesota!  I ALWAYS have to get some of this fabric – I just love it.  I love that it represents my home. This year’s purchase included these lovelies – birds, fish, dragonflies, agates, wild mushrooms and cute turtles. 

More bags?!!  Hehehehe.

It’s also been an emotional week here -  for the Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul as well as for my own family.  Indirectly, thank heavens, but it still affects one’s being.  We had the awful Minnehaha Academy explosion and collapse killing 2.  My tatting friends Michelle and Katie both teach there, so I was a little panicky and then thankful to know they were OK. Their sadness of losing coworkers and part of their workplace is a reminder of how fast life can change.

We also had a construction worker hit by a distracted teen driver.  The gal was flagging traffic, and was thrown 70 feet.  She has suffered both broken legs, a broken arm and pelvis, as well as a broken skull.   She was just doing her job.  You may not know this, but I work with road construction contracts and compliance.  I didn’t know her, but this was on one of our projects, and while I only visit project sites once or twice a month, my coworkers are on these sites daily.  My own neighborhood has been under construction all summer as well – by the same contractor.  My husband and daughter are also involved in traffic on the roads every day. The mood at work, at home and on my neighborhood streets was very heavy all week. Please drive safe in construction zones, no matter how irritating road construction can be.  These folks are just doing their job, and deal with angry AND distracted drivers every single day.

Other tragedies in the cities involved a murder of a woman, again, just doing her job. Random killing.  Another lovely person that was a friend of a friend.  

Today, I’m thankful just to be here.  

Thursday, July 27, 2017

TCT Retreat Deemed Successful!

Well!  We all agreed that our FIRST Twin Cities Tatters Retreat was successful, and that it should be an annual event.  We didn't want to leave - we may have to add a winter retreat!
We found ourselves tatting and chatting so much that we lost track of time.  Time flies with such good entertainment - ha!  We were so busy creating and sharing ideas, it was wonderful.
I didn't get pictures of all 8 bags, but we spent time decorating our own tatting bags.  As I said, we started by using Frivole's Twinkle Twinkle pattern - and then the ideas got to flowing.  Some didn't finish, some of us want to do it over as the ideas kept surfacing.  Eventually, we will all have our bags adorned :)  

Lotsa pictures - but excuse the quality! I thought they were better, but  maybe putting them into collages had something to do with it.

There was so much sharing of information - how to . . . where to . . . which book . . . etc.  And all the beautiful work that was happening was so fun to see.  We each had our own table to spread out our stuff (and boy, did we have stuff spread out!)  We had a table full of items to share, as well as the occasional "Hey, does anyone have ____ colored thread?" Let's just say it was a well-stocked room ;)

There was a nice mowed walking path to be able to get up and take a short nature hike, which a few of us did a couple of times.  Of course I found this an opportunity to take a few photos - plants are so beautifully intricate when you really look at them.

Back to the reality of tatting in my chair with my stuff piled onto an endtable!  And so many new ideas.  It was a pleasure spending a couple of days with experienced tatters and sharing so much information.  What a great group of ladies!  Tatters are truly wonderful, generous, kind.  I am SO glad we have plans to do this again.

Monday, July 24, 2017

TCT Retreat!

Twin Cities Tatters First Annual Retreat is underway!  And what a beautiful retreat spot we've found.  There are 8 of us here, and we have chatted and tatted our first day away!  

We arrived late this morning, and dove right in to tatting, chatting, sharing “supplies” (Diane’s generosity was unstoppable!) and laughing a lot!  The retreat center is wonderful – even better than we had imagined!  Well-lighted craft room, huge kitchen, comfy living area, and plenty of room in the bedrooms for each of us to have our own space. 

We worked on LaCossette’s Twinkle Twinkle pattern to adorn our first annual Twin Cities Tatters retreat tatting bags – and the creativity was flowing!  I will have to take photos tomorrow of everyone’s bags.  AND Frivole ever so generously donated one of her beautiful shuttles for our first annual retreat raffle.  We jealously congratulated Heidi for winning!

I’m certain tomorrow will fly by as quickly as today with this fabulous group of women and our common love of tatting, among other crafts.  There’s so much to talk about and so many ideas to share.

I bet you wish you were here!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

2015 Spring Doily - DONE!

The Doily Dilemma

Remember THE doily I started back HERE?  Yes, February 1, 2015.  2015! I started the final round (#11) by May 8 of 2015. I was keeping track of the time it took me to work each round.  Just because I thought it would be interesting.  Approximately 89 hours total.  

Don't EVER do that.  Keep track of the time it takes, I mean. Really, it completely took the joy out of tatting this piece.  I think it jinxed me!  I put this beautiful doily away for 2 years - I'm sure it's because it just made me nervous thinking about how many hours I still had left to finish it.  Daunting. After 10 rounds, I had 62 hours into this doily.  That is a LONG time.  I'm a fairly slow tatter, but sheesh!  Just don't even go there.

I went to get this doily out for our International Tatting Day gathering, and COULDN'T FIND IT. Yikes!  Knowing how many hours went into this bugger made me sick thinking it could have been thrown out by mistake while cleaning out my sewing/tatting/craft cave.  To my relief, I found it, and then made it my goal to finish it while on vacation so that I could enter it into our county fair.  Maybe even the state fair if it turned out to my liking!

Woo Hoo!  I'm getting there! And I have all week to get it done.
So close!
I was so excited!  It was moving along well and I was making great progress, relaxing in the fresh breeze off the lake.  Almost to the end, and . . . what?  Seriously?  You've got to be kidding me.  What the HELL?  How could this happen?  I have an extra ring to attach to.  Somehow, there is one too many rings on the previous round. I'm not sure how this could happen since everything else has seemed to work out exactly right.  

The only way I know how to "fix" this without throwing it out the window, is to just add another ring where it doesn't belong.  I'm so deflated!  I can't even look at it anymore to figure it out.  Now that I know it took me 27 (yes, 27!) hours to do this last round, I can't even THINK of ripping it out to find the goof.  It. Is. DONE.  

And while blocking it, I found many other places I'm not pleased with if I could have entered it into the fair competition, but it's still beautiful.  And I will still put it on a table to use.  I will just have to do something else for a fair entry. For next year maybe!

Major lesson learned.

NEVER keep track of the time spent tatting a piece. NEVER, EVER, EVER.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ruby Goes on Vacation!

Well, she was able to go with us, anyway.  She doesn't usually get to go along, but this time we rented a little cabin in northern Minnesota where dogs are allowed.  She was a nervous wreck for the first couple of days - she just wasn't sure what was going on.  All these strange people and strange sounds. A scary dock to walk on. Dad disappeared across the horizon, and people zoomed in and out of the area all the time in some kind of vehicle that splashed.

Of course, we spoiled her and made sure she wasn't out of our sight.  [Or rather, we weren't out of her sight, ha ha!]

What IS this place?

Hubby was able to do a lot of fishing, while Ruby and I stayed on shore.  I grew up fishing, but really have no interest in it anymore, other than EATING the catch. 

My goals for the week were to finish my 2015 Spring Doily (Renulek), finish one book and start another.  All 3 accomplished!  More on the *!@#$%@!*&! DOILY tomorrow.  

On the LAST round of this monster doily - the largest doily I've ever made!

Finished A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.
On to the 2nd book - The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  What else do you do in the woods?

Sunset views from our cabin were spectacular!  A picture just doesn't do it justice.

And when it rains, what else do you do but play cribbage or nap? [I won - ha!] Thankfully, we only had two half-days of rain - otherwise, the weather was beautiful.

We were able to do a little hiking, too.  The "Suomi Hills" is an interesting name, and made us think of our friends in Finland.  (Suomi means Finland, and this is an area in Minnesota with many Finnish settlers as well. There is a nearby town named Suomi.)  This area was established as a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the 1930's, and then became a Prisoner of War camp during World War II.  I never knew we had a POW camp in northern Minnesota during WWII.  There are still some stone/concrete foundations from the old shower house and mess hall in these woods. Interesting stuff.

This trail is "primitive" - no kidding.  We were almost carried away by the nasty flies, and Ruby had a little reaction to bites as well. This one wasn't a pleasant hike - we weren't sure we were headed in the right direction. We much prefer our beautiful state park hiking trails that are well marked and nicely groomed - even if they do have as many bugs!

Poor Ruby and her swollen face from bug bites!  
And Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig.  After a couple of doses of Benadryl, Ruby's face is getting back to normal.  I feel like a terrible dog-mom!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Ice Drops and Lucky Pennies

Well, I continue to enjoy making Diane's Ice Drops.  I love matching thread to gems to beads.  Sometimes they turn out even better than I expected - sometimes not so much.  

I've even had requests for specific colors, and have been able to sell a few to support this hobby! 
[It certainly relieves a little of the guilt of having an abundance of gems - ha!]

I also decided to try out the lucky penny stitch count Diane suggested - I love it!  
Her ice drop tutorial and update on the stitch count are HERE.

Notice how the year of the penny shows in the ring!

I started thinking about using pennies for significant year's events - specifically for 2017 graduations - and decided to add a little tassel and use school colors.  I made this prototype for a 2015 graduate - but I'm having a hard time finding 2017 pennies for current graduates.  DARN IT!

I'm also pondering different ideas for the penny for bridal and/or baby showers.  I could add a "veil", use wedding colors, add pink or blue ribbons for babies, etc.
My brain can be an overactive designer occasionally :)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Where did April Go?

Here in Minnesota, we went from Winter to Spring to Winter to Fall to Spring again in April!  Sheesh! One doesn't know what to wear from one day to the next!

I've still been working on Ice Drops - nothing fancy, only two variations.  I love this one though:

This one was made with thread that my coworker brought to me from India.  It's fun with a little metallic twist and a somewhat "mirrored" gem.

Over the weekend, my two daughters and I had an "Artsy-Fartsy" afternoon making some signs at a "Brushes and Boards" event.  This type of event is pretty popular around here - making signs, painting on canvas, planting terrariums, etc.  Fun to get out and make something with a group - even if I don't need anymore crafty decor!

I also went to a little "Intro to Nature Photography" class at a local Nature Center.  I'm not really a "beginner" but I always think you can get some tips from other photographers, no matter how experienced you might be!  We also had a chance to get out and take some photos of some spring budding going on.

And then there's that crazy Snapchat app so many are talking about.  One daughter and I have been sending eachother crazy pictures on there, testing out all the newest possibilities.  Such a waste of time, but, boy - do we laugh!

Oh dear.  I like some pictures better than others - ha ha!