Friday, May 31, 2013

DooDad Tatting

I finally got around to tatting something with a doodad .  Thanks to Diane and her double-doodad dare last year, I had been trying to figure out first where to get these doodads, and second, how to attach some tatting.  I admit I was only skimming blog posts about it for lack of time, but I love the filigree findings and the idea of attaching tatting - particularly for jewelry.
Fox included some doodads in a package to me recently, so it renewed my curiosity.  I happened upon some doodads in a unique bead store just by chance, and realized what I found were called 'filigrees' or 'filigree findings' and ARE for making jewelry.  Duh.  I guess I really wasn't paying attention.


I didn't make any jewelry, but I decided to try Jon's pattern "Toshti" found HERE.  (See Dianes' modified version HERE.)  I used size 20 HDT, but I think I should have used size 40 thread with this particular doodad.  I guess it doesn't really matter, as I have no particular use for it in mind.  Yet.  And this pattern seems to work with round or square doodads.

I also picked up some odd shaped filigree findings - diamond- and crescent-shaped, but I don't exactly know how to create something with them.  (Can't take me into a bead shop looking for doodads, I guess - I come out with things I don't need.)  I still need to follow a pattern, and hesitate to even try modifying an existing tatting pattern.  

So I'm a year behind with doodads.  It's fun to try new things - but maybe I should try some goal-setting to pare down my to-do list.  Ha!  Setting goals can be my first goal.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Make a Needle Keeper

My little needle case has turned out to be the handiest little accessory to my tatting, embroidery, sewing, etc. It's a nice, small size to plop in any project bag, and yet be able to find the darn thing.  I like to decorate the cover with a little tatting - originally I did this to cover up the stitching from adding the velcro, but if you use the fusible velcro there isn't anything to cover up.

Since I like it so much, I decided to make several to keep on hand for gifting as well as for myself to have a few to scatter around the house.  It's such a simple, handy little thing to make that I thought I'd share the way I do it.  They could be any size, but this is what I find to be the size I like best.

1)  From a 9 x 12 sheet of felt, I cut a piece about 2-3/4" wide by the shortest dimension (9").  I didn't realize that the felt sheets were so different - some are nice and thick, and some are fairly thin.  Doesn't really matter, but the thicker ones just seem nicer.

2) Fold from the bottom up about 1-1/2"

3) Make an accordion fold underneath that first 1-1/2" fold and pin through all layers.

4)  Stitch close to the edge through all layers where there are 2 folds (what I would call the 'bottom').

5)  Then open the folds and turn so you can stitch the other side that has just one fold.

6)  Then, I fold down the 'cover' to see how long it needs to be.  Since the first fold was 1-1/2" up from the bottom, the cover usually needs to be about 1-1/2".  Sometimes it needs to be a smidge longer if the felt is thick.

7)  I like the case to close, so I add velcro. Sometimes I've stitched it on, but the iron-on velcro seems to work just as well.

Simple, quick and easy, handy dandy little accessory :)  I don't remember what gave me the idea to do this, but something online somewhere in my web surfing experience.  There are endless ways to decorate the cover, but thinking about what I COULD do gives me a headache.  I just like the idea of a little tatting without spending too much time thinking about it.

Now if I would just learn to think ahead about the size of the motif I want to put on the cover.  Oopsie.  I loved the shape of this Jan Stawasz Mirror motif, and thought that the beautiful Blue River Glades Lizbeth matched this needle case just perfect!  

I should've had size 40 thread instead of size 20 . . .

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Backyard Birds

I never thought I'd enjoy birds so much - but since moving to this house 8 years ago, I've fallen in love with the bluebirds we get, and have started noticing all the different birds more and more.  

May 2013 Bluebird

I noticed right away when we moved in that the bluebirds are sweet little birds, perching anywhere they can find something to hold on to.  They perch on the corner of the house, the deck, the boat, the tops of trees, signs, etc., seemingly watching the world go by.  They seem forever happy and content - thus the name of my blog. 

We learned that if we don't have more than one bluebird house, the swallows take over.  We now have a trail of 4 bluebird houses, and have pairs of bluebirds in at least 2, maybe 3 of them.  The swallows have been chased to the 4th and farthest away house, much to our pleasure since they dive-bomb us (and the poor dogs) every time we get near their house!  This was not enjoyable when they took over the house closest to our deck and patio :)

We do have large hawks in our area too, so the prettiest birds are somewhat scarce.  We enjoy their presence when we do see them, and lately we've been enjoying the Baltimore Orioles.  They don't stick around all summer, but we keep them as long as possible with oranges.

Male Baltimore Oriole

Female Baltimore Oriole -(Queen of the Orange, perhaps?)

We watched the bluebirds relentlessly chase this large pileated woodpecker away from their home this morning.  The only time the bluebirds are at all aggressive is when they protect their home and/or their babies.

Pileated Woodpecker

We wish we'd see more of the Grosbeaks and less of the Cowbirds!
Rose-breasted Grosbeak and a Cowbird

No good shots of the yellow finches or cardinals yet this year, but it's fun to see the color when all of them choose to gather on the deck at the same time.  

So, the birds (along with my alcoholic beverage of choice) inspired this week's crafty project:

Wine bottle bird feeders
Now I just need to get one filled with bird seed and out into the back yard!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

FREE magazines at the Library :)

One of my mottos is NEVER PAY FULL PRICE.  Imagine my surprise today when I realized my library participates with Zinio, "the world's largest newsstand"!  This means that the library has purchased rights to a specific number of digital magazines - the library system around our metro area has 50 magazines - available for free - to read on your computer or iPad.  Slick.   You can purchase magazine subscriptions through Zinio, but if your library participates, you can get them for free through the library's website.   Maybe YOUR library participates too :) 

I've been meaning to look into a Piecework Magazine subscription, especially after seeing a blog post about the current issue having an article called "Discover a Master Tatter".  I was pretty sure the library wouldn't have that particular magazine included in their 50, but guess what?  It's there!  I came home from work happily chattering about this great new thing that the library has, and hubby informed me that yes, it's been in the news the past couple of weeks.  Hhhmpph.  I never saw that.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tatting Pouches - New (AND Old?)

I've added a tab at the top of this blog for items I will have for sale.  To start with, I have a few tatting pouches.  I intend to add things to that page based on interest, so check in here and there :)

Since I'm thinking about tatting pouches, I thought I'd share this interesting OLD pouch I have.  This is a pouch I have been wondering about recently, and is very old.  I inherited this from a bunch of old stuff given to my dad, so I am not sure who the original owner was.

Indian Hannah Pouch and beadwork

 The card says "Presented to my grdmother by Indian Hannah, the last one of the Leni-Lenipe tribe of Cheska Co. Penn'a.  Deposited by Mrs. B. Taylor (?) No. IV."  It appears to have been on display at some time, somewhere.  I don't know if it's true that she made it, but I have looked up Indian Hannah and found that she was indeed the last of the Leni Lenape tribe in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  

Records say she lived from 1730-1802, was familiar with the white society, and also went by Hannah Freeman.  There are historical markers in Pennsylvania in her honor.

Hannah Freeman 1730-1802
Everything matches up - the initials and year embroidered underneath the front flap.  I am hoping to get in touch with an appraiser to see if it could be authentic.

Hand stitched

I wonder who Mrs. B. Taylor was?  And I wonder what the pouch was for?  I'm thinking it was for money or papers, but maybe it was the original tatting pouch!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

May - Whoa!

May has been an interesting month!  It started out with good news from the cardiologist, and I haven't stopped since.  I finished my classes and started some new ones, got back to some embroidery, learned Nordic Walking, got my sewing machine back after a little tune-up, and started a few wine bottle craft items for a local boutique. And it's only May 19th!  But then again, holy cow, it's already May 19th!

Earlier this month, I had a surprise package in the mail from Fox, suggesting some more NEW creativity.

I was the lucky recipient of my favorite LaCossette shuttles, some doodads, and some other fun things to get the creative juices flowing.  I've been wondering about those doodads and where to find them!  Now I need to get busy and figure out how to tat with them :)

AND . . .
Another new thing I've decided on recently is to offer my tatting pouches and needlekeepers for sale here on my blog.  I've made a few for Michelle and her young tatters (see HERE) and also one for Fox (see HERE).  I will have some ready in the next few days and will post some pictures.


Besides all the craftiness around here, we also spent the day Friday in a historic Minnesota city on the St. Croix River.  We celebrated my brother-in-law's life at his favorite place - the historic Stillwater Public Library.  It was a wonderful toast to his life!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

An OLD Girl Scout

I was compelled to switch gears and work on a dishtowel pattern that I bought a few years ago.  In fact, I've collected almost all of these patterns and bought the dishtowels, but haven't gotten around to actually making one because I was CHICKEN.  Ha! Scared to embroider.  I haven't embroidered since I was a Girl Scout, and that was a few years ago.  Let's just say I barely remember being a Girl Scout.

I finally decided to dig in and give it a try.  I was amazed at how fast I finished - compared to tatting, it's a fast accomplishment.  I couldn't really remember how many strands of thread to use or how big the stitches should be - all I knew is that I had to be consistent.  It all came back to me, but not until I was on the LAST vine, so my first try is less than wonderful.  But, this practice dishtowel is going in my own kitchen.  Good practice!  

I finished the towel by fusing the fabric "basket" and handle on, and then giving it a simple zig-zag around. Then I added a binding around the entire towel.  The corner basket is the basis of each pattern, with the embroidery different for each one.  When I saw these towels a few years ago, I liked them so much I picked up a pattern whenever I saw one.  Finally, one is complete - so this is a great accomplishment.  Now I'm ready to work on some more - no fear :)

To see the rest of the patterns, click HERE.

AND, in cardiology news, I'm free of it all.  No meds, no check-ups, no worries.  The ablation procedure that I had was apparently effective, and I had no signs of arrhythmia during the torturous 30-days of wearing that monitor that I really disliked. [It's amazing how they can gather that necessary information, however.] The stress test did not produce any arrhythmia either, so I'm back to doing anything I did prior to my hospital visit.  Yahoo!  I could've hugged everyone that came within 5 feet of me for two days after that cardiologist visit.

Instead of passing out hugs to complete strangers, my girls and I took in a class on Nordic Walking.  It's more of a workout than you think - and enjoyable through the beautiful parks we have available to us.  I could get hooked on this type of exercise. 

Now, if the weather would just cooperate and act like spring.  My tulips are confused!  We are expecting frost by morning, and a high in the upper 80F degrees on Tuesday.  

Only in Minnesota!