Friday, December 29, 2017

Organizing and Staying Warm!

I hope everyone is having wonderful holidays - and we still have the New Year to look forward to!  I LOVE New Year’s - even though we don’t really do anything.  I just love new calendars, new journals, organizing my “stuff” and putting away the past year.  It always feels like I have a chance to do better . . . at something?!  Yep - I’m an organizing Geek.

I have some time off from work, so I’m planning new sewing and tatting projects.  I should probably clean the house, but THAT won’t go anywhere.  I’m also trying to cram in getting a book read - all the hobbies that working prevents me from doing as much as I want to.  The job pays for the stash though, so it’s a necessary evil!  

It has been cold this week - below zero (-18F) and now hovering around 0 F for the next few days.  Once it’s this cold, it doesn’t really matter what the actual temperature number says.  It’s just COLD. 

Stay warm wherever you are - and enjoy these last few days of 2017!

Saturday, December 9, 2017


Today we had our Twin Cities Tatters December gathering.  Historically we have avoided December gatherings because there’s just so much going on, but with our 2017 growth, we scheduled a gathering.  We had about 8 tatters join us today, so WOW - we HAVE grown!

We had a snowflake exchange for anyone that wanted to participate, and shook doubles with dice to select from the participants.  It was so fun to see all the different snowflakes -  I wish I’d gotten pictures of all of the snowflakes.  Maybe Michelle did?

In any case, I received this lovely pair of snowflakes when I FINALLY got doubles!

Aren’t they pretty?  It’s always so much fun to see what others come up with.  

We discussed how to stiffen tatting.  Some use Aleene’s Stiffener - there are a few kinds though, so be careful!  One is thicker and seems to be more for fabric, while another is thinner and perfect for tatting.  Some use equal parts Elmers Glue and water.  In the past, I have used liquid starch and water, and have found this easy to wash out and re-do if necessary.  

Another thing that came up today is protecting our crochet hook tips.  Use an earring stopper on those tiny hooks!  You know, those little rubber ends you put on your earrings to prevent them from slipping right out of your ear.  Perfect for those size 12 - 14 crochet hooks.  This is why we love to gather - so many great ideas for not just the tatting technicques, but the usage and storage of our supplies as well!  The ideas flow, and tatters are so wonderful to share.

After our tatting group, I made it to a local craft show.  Ruby ended up with some festive attire . . .

 I’m not sure she cares, but isn’t she fashionable?

One of my grand dogs will be sporting this very soon:

I’m not a huge sports fan, but one daughter and her husband are very big Minnesota Viking football fans.  Their little dog endures many game days, ha ha!  I will be sewing a few of these bandanas too - they just fit right over the collar.  Easy Peasy!

Here we go! Enjoy the Christmas Holiday season :) 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Ornament Testing

Well, now that it’s December (!!) I’m back to thinking about Christmas and ornaments and tatting and cards and gifts . . .  sheesh.  [You’d think the fact that Christmas comes every December wouldn’t be such a shock?]

I finally finished my testing of just one ornament pattern, and now I like the first one better anyway.  The ornament on the left was done with size 20 thread, the ornament on the right was done with size 30 thread.  Both are on a 80mm ball (slightly larger than 3”).

Originally, I wanted to see the bare thread that joins the top and bottom pieces onto the ball more - I liked that zig-zag look.  But seeing them side by side, I now like the look of the tatting that covers the ornament more completely much better.  Funny how the same pattern can look so different in two sizes of thread! Which do YOU like better?

I think I will use size 20 thread, and be sure to tat fairly tightly on the 80mm ornaments.  I will try the size 30 thread on the 70mm size.

Now that I’m done “testing” I should be able to complete an ornament or two!  No wonder it takes me so long to tat . . . anything.

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Holy Cow - I can’t believe it’s November already.  And we’ve had a few days of super cold weather here in Minnesota - only in the 20’s F, and a bit of snow.  Already.  Yuck - we have 6 more months of this!  But, one positive is all the tatting/sewing I can get done while indoors.  Ha.

I finally ordered a shuttle I’ve looked at many times.  Banyek on Etsy has such pretty wood shuttles - I love the wood inlay, though I don’t know how much I’ll use it.  I’m not a big shuttle collector, but I sure do like to have pretty shuttles! Fun to have from a shuttle maker in Hungary:

I’ve been working on the 3rd of my 4 quilts for the kids as they turn 30.  My son-in-law turns 30 in February, and to avoid the Christmas rush of quilting I have his lap quilt to the quilter!  Good timing, as I don’t need it until the first week of February.  His is flying geese, as he is a bird hunter.  More ducks than geese, but the fabric reminded me of him, and that’s the fun!  The backing is Labrador dogs, of which they have 2 for hunting.  So perfect!  I love making these simple lap quilts focused specifically on each one as they turn the “Dirty 30”!!  Son-in-law #1 was fish, Daughter was music, and Son-in-law #3 is bird hunting.  Just have Daugher #2 left, so I’m pondering her quilt already.  They probably think I’m nuts, but they’ll enjoy the personal quilts more as the years go by.

The bird hunting quilt, front of geese and backing of labradors.  I’m happy with how I was able to get the binding fabric of rust/black to pull together the front goose fabric and the back dog fabric.

Since sewing has been my main objective lately, my tatting has been on hold.  I’m making progress, albeit slow, on the tatted ornament.  We had our Twin Cities Tatters gathering today, so I got a little more done.  But my goal is to finish that ornament by tomorrow to see which ball the size 30 thread fits on best.  Time is getting away from me again as the holidays gradually sneak up.

Next Friday, Mom will come to stay for the week of Wisconsin deer hunting.  And you know what that means.  Eating out, shopping, eating out, and-did-I-mention-shopping?  Ha!  We have so much fun running around the cities to various stores and quilt shops.  And lunches all over town!  A fun, annual tradition for us.  By the time she goes home, it is December, and the holidays loom large.  I don’t have much to do for holiday preparation, but it just seems to come up so quickly.

Back to tatting on my ornament.  I’m using size 30 thread, and it’s looking like it will fit the large Christmas ball the way it’s supposed to.  I will know very soon . . .

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Fall to Winter in the Blink of an Eye!

Well!  We’ve gone from fabulous fall days to winter pretty quickly here in Minnesota!  Last weekend we were enjoying our sandals again, and yesterday we got SNOW.  Ugh - too early for that!  We were just enjoying Halloween decorations.

Our neighbors have a fantastic yard display, and they add to it every year.  This year they added a small airplane - we had to laugh when we saw the trailer pull up with that!  Anoka, Minnesota is considered the Halloween Capital of the World - and we are near Anoka.  The neighbors entered and won 1st place in the Anoka House/Yard Decorating contest - mostly bragging rights, but so fun!

The band plays and the fog rolls - and the cars pull up nightly to have a look!  Fun.  We go out to eat on Halloween - ha ha!

These photos were taken on Wednesday, and then the snow rolled in.

I’m still working on a size 30 Christmas ball cover, but have been sidetracked with another one of my kids’ 30th birthday quilts.  My son-in-law will be 30 in early February, so I’m getting that quilt done before the Christmas rush hits.  I can’t believe all 4 of the kiddos will be 30 in 2018 - I’m not older, so how can they be?  Ha! I haven’t gotten photos of that quilt yet - I’m still working on choosing coordinating fabrics.

And, another button was calling me.  This is a button made from an antler slice - fun to try working around the more oval shape.

Again - the color choosing of the beads and thread is my favorite part!  This thread is plain, but since I have a family of deer hunters, I used orange and a sort of “gunmetal” color beads.  Silly, but I knew what I meant :)

Friday, October 20, 2017

More Buttons

We are having a SPECTACULAR fall weather week here in Minnesota!  Upper 60’s and into low 70 degree temperatures along with beautiful fall color is a real treat - especially knowing that this is it until about April or May.  Sad, but true.  We know what’s coming.

I will get back to my experimenting with the beautiful Christmas ball ornaments, but I HAD to tat another button.  Mom gave me a little stash of pretty buttons to play with, and it’s about as addicting as ice drops for me - such a quick, easy tatting fix.

These beautiful leaves are dropping fast.  With rain in the forecast for the weekend, I’m thinking the trees are going to be bare and brown within days.  Must. Enjoy. 

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!