Monday, June 29, 2009

Snail Mail and Butterflies

Look what flew in from Kansas today! I haven't received such fun snail mail in a long time. This is the Southwest Butterfly from my InTatters exchange partner. What gorgeous colors and beautiful work! I tried to take pictures, but it's very hard to capture how really nice it is. Hopefully I will be able to participate in more tatting exchanges - seeing how many people participate, I now know I'm not the only one "obsessed". Many thanks to Wanda for all her work on this beauty. She is waiting for my butterfly to arrive in Kansas - hopefully she'll get hers today also.

I also found a pattern for a quick cross bookmark that I've completed and will send to my friend Jeanne in Texas for her upcoming birthday. I haven't seen her for many years, but we correspond via email regularly. Jeanne was the wonderful host mother of my very good friend Jaana - an exchange student from Finland - waaaaaay back in high school. I have to admit, it was kind of a relief to work a little smaller and a bit easier level pattern!

Apparently I must've been too involved in my photo sessions - Ruby got a little jealous and got her head right in there as if to say "I've been waiting for you all day and all you're doing is playing with thread. Again." I think she even sighed!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Butterfly Exchange

I finally finished my butterfly for the InTatters June exchange, and got it in the mail to my exchange partner in Kansas yesterday. I chose this pattern because a) I thought it was really pretty, b) it would be perfect for some new variegated thread I have, and c) it didn't look too difficult. Oops! Silly me. I didn't notice it was rated an "Intermediate" pattern until I was pretty much done. I kept cutting off thread and starting rounds over. The more I completed, the more I realized I was too far to start something else for the exchange. Then, the farther I got, the more things I saw that I didn't do properly. Picots too large, tension not even. (I think I got the frontside/backside thing figured out though!) Maybe I should have used the variegated thread throughout instead of doing a round in white? I am new enough to tatting to not quite understand how I should and should NOT use variegated thread :) My exchange partner is a much more experienced tatter, but I'm sure she'll understand. The pattern designer may put INTERMEDIATE in larger letters on her patterns after seeing this, but I guess everyone has to start somewhere!

It is still an accomplishment!

I have to wonder what it might look like if I did it again after much more practice. I shall now go back to tatting "BEGINNER" patterns!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Finally Some Color!

After what seems like a long wait, this hot, humid weather we've been having is helping the flowers start to give the yard some color. I enjoy the anticipation of wondering what will bloom next, and have to make evening rounds after work to inspect everything.

Can't wait to see these lilies open - there are tons of blooms. I would call them a salmon color - not really peach, but not really pink. There's Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Buttercups, Speedwell and Lilies here.

And here's the bird's eye view from the birdbath . . .

There will be some pink & red Yarrow, Black-Eyed-Susans, Phlox, Bee Balm and Daylilies in here soon.

This is one of the two Hollyhocks blooming behind the garage right now. The other hollyhock hasn't bloomed yet, and the clematis is just starting.

Someday I might figure out how to plant everything so there are blooms all summer long. It's so pleasant to sit outside and have a colorful view. I love to plant new things, but I have to admit I'm not much for the weeding! I really don't understand how anyone can 'enjoy' working in a garden when the 'work' consists of pulling weeds while sweating in the hot summer sun. I really just want the pretty view.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Talk about love/hate relationships. Love/Hate my tatting. I just get ripping along, feeling pretty smug, and wham. The thread hates me. Or maybe it's the shuttle. In any case, I find myself wondering "Do I attach here? Is this the right direction? Frontside or Backside here? Dang, I think I missed a stitch. Pick it out. Relax and do it again. Dang, now I think I attached it to one picot over too far. Pick it out and try again. Whew. That looks right." All for a very small portion of tatting, mind you! I'm finishing my butterfly for the InTatters Exchange. I think I chose a pattern that was a little bit too much for my beginner status, but it's been good practice. (Thankfully, it seems that the tatters in the exchange are pretty tolerant of beginners!) Another session of Love/Hate tomorrow evening. Someday I will be able to laugh at this. Today - not so much!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

This "blogging" thing . . .

OK, so I'm going to blog. Gotta try it, you know. Actually, I tried it once before, but it got to be too much, so I stopped. But it still seems like a fun thing to do, so I'll try it again. What do I write? All about me? I guess I'll write about things I like and keep track of my life in this way. Maybe I'll remember what the heck I did last week. Ha! I guess it will be the most narcissistic thing I've ever done.

For starters, I've recently been tatting. Or trying to anyway, with some good progress. I've spent the last three years working on the T.A.T. (Tatters Across Time) program, which involves receiving a binder of information and instructions on learning the craft of tatting. I finally finished the required projects for the Apprentice phase, and submitted them by mail the end of May. I should hear by the end of July if I completed the requirements with enough points to "pass" the phase. There are two more phases - Artisan and Master. (Considering the first phase took me three years to complete, I may be retired before I become a Master!) In any case, I have also found a wonderful group of tatters online - InTatters - and am participating in their June exchange of butterflies. So . . . I've been working on some various butterfly patterns and getting some good practice at this art. I will have to post some pictures of my accomplishments - my butterfly exchange will need to be mailed by the end of June, so I can snap some pictures before I mail it off.

On the family front, we just returned from a long weekend trip to Chicago to see the Twins play the Cubs at Wrigley Stadium. The Twins won the series, but lost the game we attended (where were their bats?!) Was great fun to see that old stadium and participate in the rival fun. We made it to the Navy Pier and got to visit with a cousin who made us a wonderful dinner and brought us on a guided tour of downtown - Millennium Park, the Buckingham Fountain, the "bean", etc. Was a fun trip, but now we are back to reality.

Enough of a start on this "blogging" thing. More another day.