Wednesday, June 27, 2018


I've had the most wonderful distractions for almost five weeks now, but the fun is about to end. Joanne and kids will be heading home this weekend. I sure am going to miss having them around!

My sister and her grandchildren had so much fun visiting last week, they decided to come again this week. We had a day filled with wagon rides, lawn mowing, feeding chickens, playing in the treehouse, eating ice cream... everything kids love to do!

Needless to say, I was too tired to tat!

Some members of the Pin Loom Weaving Support Group on Facebook are planning a Tour de Fleece type challenge for pin loom weavers. I'm not sure of the details yet, but I think the plan is to weave one square a day for the month of July.

I haven't done any pin loom weaving since before Christmas, so I figured I ought to warm up a bit in case I decide to take on the challenge!

Sophia has been asking for a necklace, but we couldn't decide on how to make one. After reading Carollyn's blog this morning, I decided to play with her pattern to make Sophia's necklace.

Sophia chose the buttons, and I tatted... and tatted... and tatted. It took me all morning and part of the afternoon. I didn't mind, because Sophia was thrilled with it!

Kara is a little less patient, so I chose to crochet her necklace. It was finished in half an hour. Unfortunately, Kara broke her necklace taking it off, so I had to start over.

I chose to knot each button in place on a thin ribbon. It worked well, but Kara had lost interest in it by the time I was finished. That's the way it goes with little ones!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Crochet day

There was a beautiful breeze all day today, and the temperature was right around 80° for most of the day. It was the perfect day to sit and crochet on the front porch, so that's what I did! I made good progress on my grandson's granny square afghan. This will be his Christmas present. When I finish this, I'll have three Christmas presents done!

I am thrilled with my newest shuttles from Grizzly Mountain Arts! Dave made this shuttle and Jo painted it. It's as smooth as silk and wonderful to hold.

Not too long ago, Dave had a thistle shuttle listed. I missed out on it, but I was lucky enough to get this one. I love the way one leaf is folded down!

I would be thrilled to meet this talented couple, but that's not likely. I guess I'll just have to be happy with collecting their wonderful works of art!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Fun on the tollway!

Yesterday was another fun day of tatting on the tollway! I managed to tat two more of Wally Sosa's Itty Bitty Zoo animals. The mouse and turtle are so cute! I think the turtle is my favorite so far.

We haven't seen Carrie in a while, so it was great to catch up with her. Sue comes all the way from Michigan and can only come when we meet on a Saturday.

I did a second take when I looked at this picture of Nancy. I thought it was me! I think we could be sisters!

Sue Anna, Marilee, and Sue... all very talented ladies!

Barb has many talents. She sews like a dream, does bobbin lace, tats... she probably does a whole lot more!

We always have a great time when we get together. July is turning out to be quite a busy month, so we've set our next get together for Tuesday, July 17. I know weekdays can be tough with people working, but if you can join us, we would love to have you!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

More Itty Bitty Zoo critters

Yesterday was another one of those days that just flew by. I had planned to spend time practicing split rings, following some tips from my dear friend Stephanie. It never happened.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that Friday is laundry day. It's a habit I developed years ago after having a conversation with one of my colleagues (who was also a former student). We were discussing how it was so easy to feel like we worked seven days a week between teaching and mother/wife duties. Penny told me that she had started doing her laundry when she got up on Friday morning. She would wash and dry as many loads as she could before leaving for school, and then finish up when she got home. No matter how late she had to stay up, she finished her laundry on Friday, leaving her weekend free for family activities. I decided to try Penny's idea, and it worked so well for me, I've kept it up in retirement.

I usually set goals for accomplishing things between laundry loads. Sometimes they're housework goals, and sometimes they're craft related. Yesterday was fun with grandchildren! Lucky me... they're staying for one more week! Joanne's husband has had to travel for work, so rather than stay home alone, they've stayed home with me. Dave and I are thoroughly enjoying having them around!

During the kids' nap time yesterday, I went to visit Denise for her birthday. Of course we talked tatting!

In the afternoon, I managed to test tat two more little critters from Wally Sosa's upcoming book, Itty Bitty Zoo. Janko chose the colors for the dog, and Kara chose the colors for the fish. I think they both chose well!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Test tatting for Wally

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am test tatting patterns for Wally Sosa. Her new ebook will be released in July, and a print version will be available in August. I love the title of the book, Itty Bitty Zoo. There are eight adorable little Ice Drop animals in the book.

Sophia's current favorite colors are purple and pink, so she wanted a purple owl. I wish I had tatted this little guy in two colors as Wally did. I also think that if the main color had been brown, he would have looked much more like an owl!

My first kitty was a failure. I got distracted by the grandkids, and left off the face! I also learned from Wally that I was putting the gems in backwards. With these patterns, the gem is inserted flat side up. That way, the critters look much more like Wally's when they're finished.

Late last night (9 o'clock is late for me), I finished the kitty correctly. Isn't she adorable? I think I'll retat the owl with brown as the main color and the glass gem inserted correctly. Now that I have the kitty pattern down, I'll retat her with longer whiskers!

Wally does both needle and shuttle tatting, and these little critters are tatted in size 10 thread. I've had several requests for patterns that use size 10 thread, but I've never tried coming up with a stitch count since the thickest thread I like to work with is size 20. Wally also encases her gems differently than I do. It's always fun to learn a different way of accomplishing something!

You can follow Wally on Facebook to learn more about her patterns, or you can visit her Etsy shop to adopt one of her little critters. Wally also has a web site.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Time for two

Joanne, the kids, and I headed over to Carol's house today. Carol and Joanne wanted to do a little shopping, so the kids and I stayed at her house and watched Finding Nemo. The girls brought home lunch for us, and then we watched The Greatest Showman. It's been a long time since I've watched two movies in one day!

While watching movies, I tatted! It was easy to do since I've seen both movies more than once!

I have some studying to do. I'm doing some test tatting for Wally Sosa. She'll have a new Ice Drop book out in an ebook version in July and a print version in August. She has come up with the most adorable animal Ice Drops! I have to learn a SCMR. I think I understand, now that I've messed one up! I also have to learn to add a bead to the middle of a ring, something I've been wanting to try for a while.

If you're interested in seeing what Wally is up to, you can check out her Facebook page, Needles-N-Shuttles. She also has an Etsy shop. I can't seem to find the link right now, but when I do, I'll post it.

Update: Here's the link to Wally's Etsy shop, if you'd like to adopt one of her little critters!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ashley Snowflake

Today's tatting tried my patience! First I had two failed attempts at tatting split rings to climb out of the first round. I tried two different methods and after neither one worked for me, I chose to cut, tie, and hide my ends and go on to the next round.

"Ashley" from Teeny Tatted Snowflakes by Samantha Melnychuk looks pretty good here, but don't look too closely. I didn't know it was possible to mess up as many times as I did with this little snowflake. Except for the split ring part, I think it will be easy to tat this one again as an Ice Drop.

Yes, I will attempt the split ring again tomorrow. I am not going to give up! The split ring itself isn't what gives me fits. The problem comes when I try to join or add a picot on the second half of the split ring. It does me in every time!

My sister Janet came to visit with her grandchildren today. We had a great time! The best part for me was watching four little girls go through my button and glass gem stash to fill little organza bags with goodies. The funny thing is, they had bags of treasure and my stash doesn't look the least bit depleted!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Peony Ice Drop

My task today was to turn Samantha Melnychuk's "Peony" snowflake in to an Ice Drop. I think it turned out rather well! The pattern can be found in Teeny Tatted Snowflakes. My next challenge will be to take on one of Samantha's split ring patterns. I know I can do it!

Tomorrow is going to be another fun filled day. My sister is going to visit with her two grandchildren. I haven't seen Gavin and Abby since last summer, so it will be great to see them! 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Another fun day!

Before visiting my sister-in-law today, we washed cars. The little ones wanted to help, but they kept dropping their sponges in the gravel. Believe it or not, we did not want gravel scratches on the cars! So, we sent them over to wash the lawn mower. They loved it!

On the tatting front, I worked on "Peony" from Teeny Tatted Snowflakes by Samantha Melnychuk. I would love to say that I'm going to tat all the snowflakes from this wonderful book, but I'm not sure that will happen. The rest of the patterns have split rings in them, and split rings are not my friends! I did try, unsuccessfully, to tat two of the other snowflakes. I just could not make my fingers work properly. I won't give up, though!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Forget Raiders of the Lost Ark

How about Raiders of the Hidden Ice Drops?

Joanne and Sophia went through my Ice Drop stash, choosing the ones they just had to have!

See Joanne concentrating on the stash, while Sophia shows off some of her selections?

Sophia chose more than three, but these are the ones she smiled about!

Kara got in to the excitement as well.

All together, the girls chose 80 Ice Drops to take home. I guess it's time to tat some more!

Karen Parent started a Summer Snowflake page on Facebook. The challenge is to tat snowflakes in bright summer colors. While Joanne and I were reorganizing the other day, I found my copy of Teeny Tatted Snowflakes by Samantha Melnychuk. I'm not sure if I've ever actually tatted any of these designs before. I figured they'd be great for adapting to Ice Drops, because each snowflake starts with six ring, just as my Ice Drop patterns do.

The first one turned out great! This one is "Fan." I've been asked why I go to the trouble of adding glass gems, since the snowflakes are pretty on their own. The answer is simple. First, I like the added dimension. Second, the little bit of weight makes them hang nicely. Besides, they're fun to make!

In other news, today is my 66th birthday! What better way to celebrate than with a new blue shuttle from Tatting by Design? Thank you for this gorgeous shuttle, Rita! I will be putting it to use today!

Today is also my blogiversary! I started blogging eleven years ago on my 55th birthday. If you've been a follower of my blog, you know that I was motivated to start blogging by Sherry Pence aka LadyShuttleMaker. Without her persistent, enthusiastic encouragement, I'd probably still be lurking in Tat-land. I tend to stay in my own little world, and through blogging I have made friends who appreciate what I do and keep me interested in all types of fiber arts. I mainly blog as a way of keeping track of my accomplishments. I'm amazed at how much I finish, and I attribute that to wanting to finish pieces to present on my blog.

I don't blog for recognition, but I do appreciate the encouragement I receive from my followers. Thank you all for your kind words!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Skipping Wednesday's post

We had so much fun yesterday! Denise came over to visit in the morning and brought along birthday presents for me. My birthday is on Saturday, but Denise's volunteer schedule is super busy and she knew she wouldn't get to come over on Saturday.

Denise loves to give themed gifts, and this year she chose lavender... lavender sachets, lavender soap, a lavender candle... I love lavender! While attending a farmers' market, she found bits of antique lace presented in different ways. The one she chose for me is rolled on to a clothes pin and tied with a bit of ribbon. It's beautiful! She also gave me a skein of hand-dyed yarn that she purchased when she was visiting family in Oregon in January. She chose this color for me because of an eclipse t-shirt I purchased for last year's solar eclipse. The total eclipse was most dramatic in southern Illinois, but I still celebrated! Did you notice the pink tissue paper? Denise is my pink friend. We don't always exchange gifts, but when we do, the gifts are always something special. Denise spoils me!

The kids were very excited to show Denise the chickens. Luckily, Denise is really in to chickens! After a nice visit, Joanne and the kids took a nap and I took the opportunity to read. What a lovely way to relax! When the kids woke up, we decided to be totally decadent and have an ice cream lunch. We went to Buddy's drive-in in Beecher. It was sunny, warm, and breezy... the perfect day to be outside. The kids loved playing on the slide and swings.

I'm way behind in my Ice Drop count. It looks like June is going to be a bust for tatting Ice Drops!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Tollway Tatters

It's been a long dry spell, but the Tollway Tatters will be meeting again on Saturday, June 23, at the Hinsdale Oasis on 294. We meet at 10 a.m. and usually stay until somewhere between 2 and 3. We've even been known to stay as late as 4! We are a wild group! ;-)

If you're in the Chicago area and would like to join us, we'd sure love to have you! We usually try to sit near Starbucks and Panera Bread. Just look for us in our tie-dyed t-shirts and our tables filled with tatting supplies.

Joanne and I did some cleaning and organizing yesterday. If we had started two weeks ago as planned, my whole house would be in order!

My main goal yesterday was to organize my glass gems so that I could easily find the colors I wanted to use.

Most of them are on the benches in the sun room.

I think I have more than I can ever use, so I'll take some with me to share when I attend Tatting Corner's Tat Days at the beginning of July and the Twin Cities Tatters retreat at the end of July.

My newest shuttle from Grizzly Mountain Arts arrived yesterday. I LOVE this shuttle! Doesn't it look like a juicy slice of watermelon?

I was kind of tired from all the organizing, but I still managed to tat one Ice Drop before heading off to bed. Maybe I'll scrap the one-a-day goal for June. After all, once everything is organized, I'll be able to find my goodies more quickly and spend even more time tatting!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Rainy Sunday

We had showers on and off all day today. The kids didn't seem to mind. They played with their toys and watched Moana, their current favorite movie.

I'm in the mood to sew, so while Joanne and the kids napped, I prepared fabric for some lined drawstring bags.

I also started a new Granny Square afghan. This one is in Lion Brand Mandala, Serpent.

I'm going to have to do some serious tatting if I'm going to tat 30 Ice Drops in June. I only have four done, and it's already the 10th!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Catching up

Yesterday I did a little bit of catch up with my tatting.

It took a while to get back in the groove. I missed a picot on the chain... snip!

Then I forgot to tat a ring... snip!

I decided to leave off the picots, and then I achieved success!

Not wanting to take any chances, I decided to repeat the same pattern in Orange Crush. Time will tell if today gets better!

The little ones have been getting up between 5 and 5:30 every morning, which doesn't bother me. I'm usually up by that time. This morning they found the drawer filled with fidget spinners. What a great way to start the day!

Friday, June 8, 2018


I admit it. I've been a slacker for the past week. My last day of subbing was last Thursday, and starting Friday I just stopped doing things. It's been wonderful! I've spent time with the grandchildren, read books, and putzed around the house, but otherwise I've been a slug.

It's back to tatting, sewing, crocheting, knitting, and weaving starting today!

In the meantime, here's a video of Papa, the grandchildren, and the chickens. They have been a great source of entertainment. The funniest thing we've seen is the chickens eating bugs off the front grill of Joanne's car. To each his own!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Where do I begin?

The week has just flown by! I subbed two and a half days, while Joanne and the kids visited friends, took naps, and played with the chickens. We went shopping Friday and Saturday, a true adventure with the twins! After shopping on Saturday, we visited Aunt Carol, then we headed home for lawn mowing fun.

While subbing, I managed to tat two more Ice Drops. Sophia loves being my Ice Drop model!

Sophia and I counted May's Ice Drops. There are 24 on the tree, and I gave 4 away, for a total of 28. Not bad, but a bit short of my goal of one Ice Drop per day. ;-)

The kids were worn out from shopping, so the twins napped while Joanne, Sophia, and I visited with Aunt Carol.

Then Sophia crashed when I ran in to the grocery store.

The chickens have been a great source of entertainment for the kids this week. The kids love feeding them mealworms, something I won't touch! I love living in the country, but I don't interact well with nature.

The chickens have two favorite places... under the pine trees, and under the forsythia bush. Kara loves visiting the chickens under the pine trees. Last night she was talking to them and wagging her finger at them. They must have been doing something she thought was wrong!

Having company hasn't kept me from collecting shuttles! I love this painted beauty from Grizzly Mountain Arts. I wonder if I should find another job so that I can afford to buy all of the shuttles I want. There are so many!

This painted beauty is from Scotland. Orange Crush is the perfect color to use with this shuttle! :-)

I did miss out on a gorgeous painted shuttle called Mountains Sunrise from Rita Richmond of Shuttle by Design. I bid as much as I dared, but some luck shuttle collector outbid me. Shuttles are little works of art that warm my heart!