Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another year . . .

OLDER.  Yep.  But when I consider the alternative, I'm happy to add a digit to my life! 

In our office, we have a traveling birthday frog that sings an annoying rendition of Happy Birthday.  Everyone pretends to hate the frog, but really he's a fun office tradition.  (Fun when it's someone else's birthday.)  Here is  how I expressed my "love" for this guy today:

OK, so there's my sick sense of humor again :)

I spent part of my day working our fair booth today.  Every year I enjoy seeing the kids' faces intrigued by the clown making balloon animals, the teens wandering by thinking they are so cool, and the 4-H kids wandering the fairgrounds until it's their turn to show their animals.  So much involvement on so many levels.

For some reason, today I was getting a kick out of the various footwear.  I didn't get pictures of all of them - because it was weird to be taking pictures of people's feet and shoes - but I got a few.  I wish I would've gotten some pictures of the chubby little kids feet in sandals - they are the cutest!  It's fun to notice the trends though, and this year it seems to be cowboy boots with shorts.  Great on some people, not something I could pull off!

And, I saw my tatting entries and received a blue ribbon on each of my 4 entries.  I love the ribbons, but once again, there wasn't much competition.  Only one other tatted item!  My goal is to keep entering, year after year, and hope it sparks some interest!

Now I can get back to tatting.   Wonder what I should start next?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Win BEFORE the Fair :)

While I was finishing this edging:

and preparing  my fair entries:

The mail was delivered.  And my PRIZE arrived:

I WON LadyShuttlemaker's Bookmark Hook Pen :)  I've been wanting one of these as my hook is forever rolling off my lap and either in between the cushions or onto the floor.  And Hubby regularly says, "Drop your hook again?" as I stand up balancing shuttle, thread, tatting and pattern in two hands looking around like an idiot.  Woo Hoo!  Thank you Sherry for helping me look somewhat more refined while I tat.

And of course, I NEEDED some of her beautiful thread.  You know, as long as she was mailing something to me anyway.   I decided on Helms Deep (blues!) in size 20, and Kopper Patina in size 50.  I am looking forward to planning out what to make, but I will probably hoard these while I make the perfect choice :)

No tatting today, though!  I'm off to get my fair entries submitted, and then I will be enjoying this beautiful day celebrating Hubby's birthday.  Family fun and steaks on the grill on a very perfect July day in Minnesota :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Frog Break

I realized last night that I need to get my county fair entries ready to submit this weekend.  Yikes!  So I'm scurrying to get just a few tatted items finished and ready to go.  Nothing too fancy, but I'd really like to keep entering what tatting I can, since it has historically been so scarce at the fair. 

I had to take a little break tonite and get outside though - we have had record-breaking heat and humidity this week, and today was back to a normal summer temperature of about 85 F.  Finally, a beautiful summer day - and weeding was calling me once again.  (Stupid weeds love that humidity!)

We have these teeny-tiny little frogs outside.  They are everywhere!  Barely as big as my pinky nail, a couple of them made it all the way up onto my living room window - about 20 feet in the air.  Peeping frogs! 

They are cute, but they sure made me jump when they jumped from flower to flower as I was weeding.  (Cute as they are, I don't want them to TOUCH me.  Ick!)  I had to get the camera last night though - I just had to get some pictures of them in the lilies.  Arent' they cute?

Back to thinking about fair entries rather than frogs :)

Stay cool!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Zinfandel Obedience

Finally!  Once I got one wing tamed, the other one fell right into place!  A little obedience training goes a long way :)
Introducing my first dragon, Zinfandel.:

He is the 22nd motif of my 2nd 25-Motif Challenge, in size 20 Lizbeth Vineyard Harvest. (Or she?  No, must be a he with all the obedience training he needed.)  In any case, I missed Wine Wednesday, so "Thankfully Thursday" rolled in :)

It seems as though once I accomplish a pattern, it all becomes so clear.  All I need to do is pay very close attention to the pattern, and do exactly as it says.  (Duh.)  Somehow I always end up trying to turn, reverse work, switch shuttles, etc. when I don't really have to. (Who is it that needs the obedience training?)

Finishing this dragon feels like an accomplishment - and gives me more confidence to keep trying new patterns.  But the perfectionist in me wants to make another dragon so I can do it right the first time!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Well-Kept Secret?

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my frustration with continually breaking needle threaders.  I'm not sure how many I've destroyed, but it was getting frustrating to think I had to keep spare threaders on hand - as if sewing in ends on my tatting wasn't already the worst of tasks.

Fox mentioned using Calyx-eye needles (per a tip from Jane E.) or trying Chenille needles with a longer eye. Well!  I set out to find those calyx-eye needles, and found they have them at JoAnns.  Only they didn't specifically say "calyx-eye", so my oh-so-specific brain was having a bit of a time finding them.  They are simply referred to as "self-threading" needles, and I found them in both the quilting tools and the general sewing tools.

I can tell these will be a definite improvement over using those flimsy needle threaders!  With all the sewing I do, I can't believe I never paid attention and noticed these. 

Just pop that thread into the top of the needle, and ta da!  Ready to sew in those ends.

Is this a well-kept secret, or am I the only one that didn't realize this option existed?  The secret is out on this one now - I had to share my enthusiasm for this alternative to those blasted needle threaders!  The companies that make needle threaders will probably go out of business without me.

Oh, and I found the chenille needles too - on the other side of the store with the embroidery floss.  I believe those long eyes will work well with my bifocals too :)

Great tip - thank you Fox!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It's Wednesday . . .

I really thought I could get a dragon done by today.  Wine Wednesday.  I have the wine, and a beautiful evening to sit and enjoy it.

Last week it was mentioned that maybe I would use a "wine" color thread to tat my dragon.  Ha!  That gave me a chuckle, and when I went digging in my thread for the perfect color, I found a beautiful variegated Lizbeth.  I started thinking about what I would name the dragon, etc., etc., and looked up the name of the thread color.  Guess what color Lizbeth #131 is?  VINEYARD HARVEST.  Totally unintentional!  But totally funny, if you ask me!

So, I got to work on this dragon. I thought I would name this one Zinfandel, since it's one of my favorite wines.  I got this far only starting over once:

Not too bad, I thought.  I only have a little glue on the neck.  Oops. Not sure what I did, but one of the threads I had already cut somehow became un-hidden, and of course now the thread was too short to re-hide.  Zinfandel was beginning to get a little feisty, but I was ready to start on the wings. (And by the way, I'm still trying to find those self-threading calyx-eye tapestry needles Fox mentioned.) 

On with a wing.  Well.  I was moving right along, and then attached something wrong.  Then I did the chain so it curved the wrong direction.  And then I attached a ring to the wrong place.  It wasn't going so well.  I started to do more retro-tatting than tatting.  More picking than I care to admit.  The dragon has been renamed several times - "Oops" or "Retro" were becoming more appropriate than a good Zinfandel. 

And then, just when I thought I was on a roll, I realized the chains were going the wrong direction again. 

Aaaarrrgghh.  I only had one glass.  Really.  I believe I shall start this wing over.  And reconsider the name of my dragon.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not a Fairy Tale . . .

Once upon a time, four tatters met at a Chinese restaurant for lunch.  Two of these tatters know eachother after getting together every month as the Twin Cities Tatters.  And one of those tatters is lucky enough to have a daughter that tats.  Now, the fourth tatter traveled a looonng way to meet up with the Twin Cities Tatters. 

Well, I guess the fourth tatter really had other reasons to travel such a long way, but it was a good start to the story.

It was a pleasure to meet Diane, the Lace-Lovin' Librarian today as she & her husband rolled into town for a visit with her daughters.  She agreed to meet Michelle of Tela-Magistrae and I for lunch.  Michelle brought her daughter also (who is, by the way, a great new recruit to the Twin Cities Tatters.)  And Diane is now officially an honorary member of the Twin Cities Tatters.

Here we are - proof that this is not a fairy tale story!

Michelle, Cindy & Diane

In true tatter fashion, we shared show & tell, ideas, techniques and tools.  Honestly, it is so much fun to meet other tatting bloggers in person! (I'm sure the restaurant proprietors wondered if we would ever leave . . . )

Diane brought this - all that way - for me.  What fun to get such goodies! 

An All-American Diane-made shuttle (woo hoo!) with matching thread and patriotic beads, and a Diane-made scissors fob - all in a great little tatting pouch. As if she didn't have enough to remember traveling to visit her daughters & grandies!

And, Michelle brought some of her Aunt Rose goodies to share. I certainly came home with more than I left with.

What a fabulous day!
Now, I think I should tat.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Guess . . .

. . . what I did this morning?

and with those, some peaches,
and the remainder of my rhubarb, 
I will be doing some of this:

AND . . .
I've started this:

I believe it's going to be a productive weekend.