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!


Sunday, April 9, 2017

More Ice Drops and Some Zen

I finally branched out to another variation of the ice drop - I don't remember if this pattern has a name or not, but I like it!  I'm not sure what I'll try next - but I feel like I need to do several of a pattern before I move on.  OCD?  Ha ha.  

And it's been really nice outside here the past few days, so anything to get outside for a minute.  Even to get a photo - the yard isn't very nice looking yet, but it will do for a background - just to breathe in some fresh air :)

It's fun planning our summer tatting retreat - it's not until July, but I know it will come up fast.  We really don't want to plan a detailed retreat, but it helps to have some kind of outline.  I'm SO looking forward to it!


I've been back to a little tangling this week too - and playing with some colored backgrounds.  It's been a few weeks since I played with Zentangle, so I feel like I've "lost" a little that I had learned about lines and shading. Like anything else, you have to keep practicing to keep growing.

I like the black ink over a colored background - and making the background is almost as much fun as the drawing :)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Found it!

Whew - I didn't throw it away by accident! It's a relief, for sure, as I have about 60 hours into this doily.  I was so worried!  It was in a strange, unexpected place, but safe and sound.  And crumply.  But that's OK!

It's my sign to FINISH it.  I will continue to keep track of the time it takes to make this beauty, but I don't think I will ever do that again. I think that may be why I stopped working on it - the stress of thinking about the time I was investing in it took away the joy of tatting it.  

A new goal!  Finish this doily (finally) by the end of July.  Maybe by county fair time?  It doesn't matter when.  I'm just so relieved to have found it!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Happy International Tatting Day!

We had a BONUS Twin Cities Tatters Day today - just for International Tatting Day!  

We all brought some show & tell, tatted in public at our usual Caribou Coffee, and even enjoyed some chocolate, thanks to Marlene! 

I looked for my Renulek Spring 2015 large doily project (the one I stopped working on way back here and have yet to finish) to bring along to show, but I'm now in a panic because I CAN'T FIND IT! I will be tearing my sewing/tatting room apart trying to find it, but for now I'm afraid after all that sorting and cleaning of additional fabric I've thrown it away by accident.  Yikes!  I hope it's just put away nice and safe, but . . . until I find it I will worry about its possible tragic demise.

I'll tat another Ice Drop, and then I will look some more for that unfinished doily.  Calmly.  Maybe.  Actually, I may tear my cave apart.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Weekend Cave Hideout

Well, I spent the weekend in my cave, sewing away like a madwoman.  Who wants to do housework anyway?  Haha!

I've been wanting to finish this table runner since JULY - I picked it up during the Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop with Mom, and even though it doesn't match anything I have, it's just cute.  During that shop hop, Mom also got this bag pattern for me - I've been trying to decide what fabric to use.

I remembered I had a few scraps of this sock monkey fabric - too cute!  I was bad and didn't cut my binding on the bias, and darn it!  I can tell how bad it is, but I guess that's what I get.  I'll just use it as is!

I didn't get much else done, but I guess it doesn't matter.  The dust and clutter will wait for me, haha!  It was relaxing to putter around in my cave with nothing else pressing.  That's what weekends are for, right?!  Now, what should I put in this bag? ...

Friday, March 24, 2017

Tatting, Quilting and Photography = My Life!

Wow - it's been over a month since I was last here, typing away!  How fast time flies.

Last weekend, our Twin Cities Tatters met and had the biggest group ever!  I think we've had 6 or so before, but we had 9 (count 'em - 9!) tatters join us and filled the table + more in the corner of Caribou Coffee.  Such fun to have so many tatters in one place to chat and tat and teach and share! We are so looking forward to our tatting retreat this summer - it will be fun!

I've been tatting away at some ice drops - I really do love Diane's creation.  I don't usually like to tat so many of one item, but they are not only enjoyable to tat, they are somewhat addicting!  I haven't branched out much from the original pattern much - I like the simplicity of the original pattern, but there are some really nice variations out there.  So I'm a bore, ha ha.

All that fabric Mom and I gathered last month from my Aunt's sewing room has been sorted and resorted.   I spent a few days with Mom just going through the fabric and sorting it into colors and groups and donations.  We ended up with 3 large totes to donate to mom's church and a couple of other churches as well. Mom shared with her quilt group also, and my daughters collected fabric for their projects, too.  I'm sure my Aunt would be thrilled to know it's being put to good use and enjoyed by so very many.

I've also spent a considerable amount of time sorting the fabric that ended up at my house - but it's been good to go through my own stash and clean that out to make room for the additional fabric.  It's crazy what we can accumulate without even realizing it!

My Sorting Room (or Cave #2 as hubby has dubbed)

Looking good better!

I really do save every piece of fabric, thinking it  will be put to good use in SOMETHING.  Haha.  I have enough projects and fabric to last me at least 10 years!

My Zentangle practice has been suffering lately - I haven't taken the time I'd like to for drawing.  I've been playing with camera settings instead, and have taken a few refresher classes for digital photography - so on top of work, my time has been limited.  I am so anxious for wonderful spring weather so I can get out and play with my camera again - I've been a big baby this winter, avoiding going out in the cold weather trying for frosty photos.  I did enter my 'frog in the lily' photo in a local Nature Center contest, and won a spot on their wall! I've titled this photo "Frog Spy".

Frog Spy
 I need to get over there to see it and all of the other winners displayed!

TGIF!  I'm tired after a busy week, and ready for some power relaxing.  Or crafting, whichever occurs :)