Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Judy!


It's my Sister in Law Judy's birthday today - wishing you a special day and a joy filled year. Click the preview to view this pretty animated birthday card.

Love you!

SIL and Smiles!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tatting up a Storm!

I am having such a wonderful time basking in the presence of my Mother and Father in law who are enjoying their third of three weeks of a visit here.  How wonderful to be the one to lick the beaters of whip cream just like when I was a kid, and to watch Mom in the kitchen.  She’s an accomplished cook of all things “comfort” and I’m lapping it all up.  Unfortunately its work to keep a balance because I have an issue with a sore heel which inhibits me from working out as much as I would like.  I do have an appointment with a podiatrist who specializes in sports injuries so that soon I will be able to know what I can and cannot do.  Anyways…




I’m taking advantage of some “sit-around” time to tackle some tatting projects.  This is the most challenging so far – a choker and earrings set I designed (in my head) and then carried out.  I used a very simple repeat of split rings (3 ds, bead, sm P, bead 3 ds – both sides, close.  Add another bead in between each picot.  decrease each row by 2 rings, making sure you start with an odd number so it will come to a point)   and added beads in, two things I needed practice on.  The beads are all a tear down from a piece of costume jewellery I bought at a yard sale recently.  Somehow it all just came together and I still have extra “gems” for another project.  I know that I will learn how to finish projects off a little nicer in the future and I have more ideas for the future. 







I’m happy my daughter was here to model it for me for its really hard to judge how it looked on myself.  I’ve already been dreaming of my next project!

Ahh – I almost forgot, I took a macro of this tatted butterfly I made (its about as big as a quarter in real life) and turned it into an element for my digital scrapbooking visitors.  I created the elements to be about 3 inches in size.    Feel free to re-use it as you like, though it would be nice for you to credit me! 




Just click on the preview to download.  I’d just LOVE to see how you use this if you could send me a link to your projects.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Melody’s Tatting

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Melody and Stinson

This is my friend Melody and her darling little dog Stinson.  I recently met Melody through a mutual friend of ours who put us together through our interest in tatting.  In case you are a first time visitor and do not know what tatting is, its basically a type of lace making using knots achieved by using either shuttles (made of plastic, wood, metal and shaped like an eye) or it can also be done using a long needle or even your fingers.  It takes a bit of patience to learn and you must develop a love of UN-doing little teensy knots.  If you did not like sorting out your shoelaces (before velcro came along) as a kid, then chances are tatting won’t be for you.  But, if you like a beautiful craft which lends itself well to travelling, is inexpensive and is very elegant then I’d suggest you give it a try. 

I learned my VERY basics from searching YouTube, but spent two months trying to do “the flip” – an essential little manoeuvre best seen in real life, first hand – trust me.  For the two months that I was YouTube-ing it, I had it all down except that “flip” and it meant that I had little piles of thread hanging all over the house, tired eyes and sore fingers.  Then, my Mr took me to the Shuttlbebirds workshop in Spokane and I took a beginner’s class, got “the flip” down pat and have been going ever since.  Then, I met Melody and she has been kind enough to work with me ever since. 

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Melody’s First Doily

I mentioned in my last post that I would “interview” Melody as I did Krystle as Melody has been tatting in a traditional fashion for years upon years – here’s what she had to say:

What age were you when you learned to tat and how did you find out about it?

“I was 20 and I lived on the farm with my husband.  It was 1978, we had been married for two years and there was a lady’s group and we would meet for tea once a month.  This elderly lady, she was almost 90, said ‘I’ll teach you girls how to tat – bring some heavy crochet thread and the first thing we will do is finger tatting.’  So she did that for two months and then she handed each of us five ladies a shuttle and by the end of four months we each had a doily made out of this heavy thread.” 

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What is the favourite thing you have ever made?

“I made a rectangle doily for my Sister in Law, it was white and it was the first big pattern I made.  I’ll bet you it was about 16 x 20 inches.  I stretched it and pinned it to shape – it took me almost 400 pins!”

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Was there ever a project that messed up on you?

“Oh yes, it was one Christmas and I was trying to put some tatting on some Christmas Ball decorations, and I could get the top done, but I could never get the bottom and I simply gave up!”

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You told me you learned to tat, then you put it away for a few years, what got you started again?

“Just decided to do ‘something different’ one evening and I’ve been going ever since. I just do it when I’m in the mood for it. ”

What is your favourite kind of shuttle to work with?   Has anyone given you a shuttle?

“I had an aunt give me a shuttle once, it was a silver metal one with a really, really pointy pick on the front and it was one you had to twist open and wind the thread around and then twist it shut.  I’ve got it here, I’ve used it, but I don’t know where it is in the house.  Generally I use the inexpensive WalMart ones and I have a lot of them so that I can work on several projects at once.”

Do you have a piece of advice for anybody who’s already a tatter or thinking of taking it up?

“CHECK YOUR RINGS – before you close them.  Its almost impossible to re-open them after closing them off.  A few moments to check them over can save you grief and time later.” 


So, you can see that though tatting is a time tested craft, its also very flexible (re: Krystle’s jewellery making)  and that is the direction I plan to take myself.  I’ve always had an eye for little bits of the older jewellery – brooches and earrings, particularly fond of the aurora borealis items.  I hope to learn to incorporate some of these pieces into new creations.  Here are a couple of the small projects I’ve completed.

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  I took this denim apron -        melody_tat (8)

added on some simple daisies, put a bead inside each one…

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Daisies are the first thing I learned to tat!

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Such a simple little decoration can turn an ordinary item into something pretty!

I gave this to my Sister in Law Judy for her LAST YEAR’S birthday present as I’d put the apron away and LOST it… guess it was meant to have some tatting put on it?

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Fun Little Beaded Bracelet


I salvaged this stone from an old broken necklace.

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It worked in nicely with the pretty green thread.  I did not follow any pattern, just made it up as I went along.  I have a million ideas brewing in my mind.  I’ll keep you updated!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

"Hair's" a GOOD thing!


I heard this very interesting news article this morning on NPR - about how hairdressers all across the country are saving castawat hair to help with the oil spill in the gulf.  its coordinated by a group called "Matter of Trust"  You can read the article (or click on the audio button and HEAR it) by clicking on this hair photo and it will take you to NPR.  Who knew? 

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tatting Interview No. 1 - Krystledawn Tats

Hope this post finds YOU having a good week! 

I'm off to take another tatting lesson today and so I thought I would feature a small 5 question interview with Krystledawn who I met at the Shuttlebirds workshops this past month, in Spokane, Washington.  I was impressed with Krystledawn's enthusiasm for this wonderful craft - and also a bit curious as to what inspired her to take it up - because honestly from what I have observed is that tatting is largely made up of older women (and the occasional man too!)  So, I asked Krsytle she would not mind to share her story with us in the form of a short interview - and she said yes.  She has also allowed me to feature some photos of her beautiful tatted jewellery so you can see what is possible.  I'd like to eventually be able to do this too. 

(click any photo to be taken to Krystle's blog - links to her ETSY store available there!)

When did you learn to tat?

It was about five or six years ago.  

I tend to migrate between craft projects during the year, and at one point I was wandering the craft store looking for inspiration.  It was there that I happened upon a book about tatting which brought back a memory of a little sweater vest I had when I was a kid.  My mom had tatted a white edging onto the neckline.   That may have been the only tatting she ever did, but at that point I was curious.  

So I took the book and a shuttle home, made a few snowflakes, and then moved onto whatever crafty fancy struck next.  It wasn’t until Jan of 2009 that I dug out my shuttles again, but once I did, I got involved in the online community of tatters, and I have been almost exclusively tatting for a year and a half now.  I guess I’m bitten by the bug.  

There is a certain charm to tatting, isn’t there?

What is the favourite thing you've made?

I would have to say the Lady in the Garden jewelry set that I made. 

It’s gone already though, sold on ETSY the first day I listed it.  I’ll have to make another one I guess….  My favorite part about it is that I was able to incorporate some new techniques that I learned from Bina Madden at shuttlebirds.

What is the most unusual thing you've ever tatted?

That might be my flipflops.  The edging I attached was actually needle tatted in the first year I learned to tat. 
After that I’d say some of the failed attempts at designs qualify as quite unusual.


Who is a mentor to you in the tatting world?

She runs the Online tatting class which can be found at  She has been teaching new tatters for years, as well as spurring us all forward to learn and discover and create new things.


What is your favorite shuttle - why is it?

My ceramic shuttle from Ladyshuttlemaker

Shuttles from different materials have a different feel to them.  I love how it warms in my hand but still has weight to it. And it’s very individual.  I was able to choose and play with all of her shuttles and this one is like it was made for my hand.  That’s my current favorite.  A close second is the little pointed clover shuttles.  They are my workhorses.

Thank you, Krystle!

I had actually one more question for the interview, about what was Krystle's favorite tatting pattern online, however the link was not functioning when I posted.  I will post it when she resends it.  I hope this interview has given you a small taste of the magic of tatting - inspired you in some way.  You might even find something in her ETSY store too! 

I mentioned that I am going to my tatting lesson today - I hope to interview the lady who is giving me instruction.  Melody has been tatting for years and years and it will be interesting to find out what her perspective is as well. 

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