Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beadweaving and Felting Fun

I have been wanting to learn more beadweaving techniques. I do use some simple ones, but I also felt a bit unknowledgeable about different types if threads, needles, etc. and though a good class might take care of that. WELL....The Bead Expo was here this weekend and I got to go! It was huge! I got to go bead shopping which I love - I just have to see beads in person before I buy - but best of all I got to take four classes!

My morning class was Beginning Peyote with Nancy Zellers. We learned tubular and flat peyote stitch and Nancy was a fantastic teacher. She spent the first hour talking all about threads, how to conditions them, what size to use, needles to use, how to finish projects off, and lots of other great beginner tips. It was a great start to my day.

In the afternoon I had a class in felting, "Felted Pod Brooch" with Gail Crosman Moore. I had absolutely no experience with felting (this class was in wet felting) and thought it was very interesting. I bought some wool to try to make some felted beads to use with my tatting.

I took another class with Nancy Zellers in the evening - this one was one of her kits and involved brick stitch - "Dragon's Treasure Bracelet" (you must go see the picture of her completed piece, it is gorgeous). I am totally addicted to brick stitch. When worked with delica beads it is so even and beautiful. I find it as relaxing as tatting! And it totally feeds those perfectionist, OCD tendencies I have. Here are the two beads I completed (only 19 to go LOL).

This was my Thursday. On Friday I just took and evening class with Rosita Pisarchick. I found this class, "The Best Beaded Cabachon" to be the most challenging and frustrating, but also to probably have the most practical application for my jewelry, as I have been wanting to do beaded bails on my tatting for a while now, and not use any metal at all (all fiber and beads). Rosita was a great teacher, I just had difficulty with getting the thing to look as "perfect" as I wanted it too. I know, I know it was only my first time! This is an imperial jasper cabachon in brown seed beads. It isn't finished, as you can see, because I ran out of thread as the class came to an end.

All in all, it was a great experience and great fun!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Well, It's Official

At the end of tax season this year I was offered a permanent full time position at the firm (for the last five years I have worked full time only during tax season and then sparsely the remainder of the year while I was busy with my craft shows). My first thought was "no way" because I couldn't imagine giving up all my shows and all that tatting.

But after praying about it and talking to my husband and family, we decided it was a good thing - an unexpected blessing I didn't even realize I needed.

First of all, I have two kids going to college in 3 years - yeah, twins, so all college bills come at one time - ick. Having a nice, steady income will be very helpful.

This year's shows, for the most part, have been really off. Everyone's discretionary income is getting sucked into their gas tank (and I don't see that changing any time soon) and it's an election year. Don't ask me why election years are bad for me, but they always have been. I'm doing ok with shows, but I'm stressed about the varying income, how much some of my shows are down, and my travel costs going through the roof.

And finally, my wrists are seriously showing the strain of 4-6 hours of tatting a day for 17 years. My eyes are not doing so well either, as I mentioned in a previous post. I'd like to do some designing, maybe write a pattern book, and tat for nothing but my own pleasure if I want. I've picked up my crochet hooks recently and remembered how much I love to crochet as well! With the business, I never have any time for anything but tatting jewelry.

So, I start my full time job September 2nd. Part of me is really looking forward to it - I love what I do, and the people I work for and work with are great. Part of me is scared to death (I haven't actually ever had a normal, all year long, full time job, and I'm 39). Part of me is really sad to say good-bye to being an artist *almost* full time.

Now, all of that being said, Elizabeth's Lace is not disappearing off the face of the earth. :-) I plan to cut way down on shows - from about 16 to 6. I still plan to sell online, where I can keep costs down and reach a large audience. I could never imagine not doing tatted jewelry; I love it - it's been a huge part of my life. But it's officially time to take a little break.

And now for just a little eye candy, for those of you that made it to the end of the post - you didn't think I'd leave out the eye candy, did you??

This is a vintage pattern...I shall have to go looking for the source, but I suspect I found it somewhere in the Antique Pattern Library. Then I sketched it in my book, but I forgot to write down where I found it. Duh. I'll see if I can figure it out. Anyway, this is done in one of Yarnplayer's threads (Tigereye), size 20, and the focal bead is a vintage style button. The button for the clasp is also very old-fashioned. I just love the way this turned out. It got lots of compliments at the show I took part in this last weekend.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Motif Twenty-Five!

I want to first of all say thank you to all the people who took the time to say such nice things to me about my grandmother. It really helped my get through a bit of a rough patch - obviously, it's still rough, but talking about it really helped, and receiving the responses I did helped even more. One person summed it all up by saying, "your grandmother will live on in every piece you create."

Well, I can't believe I made it all the way to the end...and it only took me 1 1/2 years! The final motif is based on the "Yorkie Dimple" - you'll find information on that here. Obviously, when you first look at a dimpled ring, it looks like a heart. So I just added a few picots, Swarovski crystals, and voila, it looks like a little heart with wings. I think it makes a sweet little earring.

Actually, I figure in the 1 1/2 years since I started this 25-motif challenge blog, I have made somewhere around 1000 pieces of tatting (this must be part of the reason I never seem to have any time to post). I was running the numbers the other day, and in the fifteen years I have had my tatted jewelry business, I figure I have made approximately 10,000 pieces of tatting, and sold about 9650 of them - I have approximately 350 pieces in my inventory at any one time.

It's no wonder my wrists are giving me problems. Chronic problems. This leads me to another subject I'll be talking about in my next post - I plan to keep the blog going, and I'd like to do another 25 motif challenge, although this time I really am going to do more designing of patterns - and I think I will have some more time to do that, as I'll explain in my next post.