Friday, December 24, 2010

And All Through the House

the Tree was in place, and so was the lace ....

VICTORIAN DOLL HOUSE - purchased in 2000

I thought Christmas Eve would be a good time to show photos of the exterior and interior of the doll house that I take to all my tatting events so you can see how I've decorated it in 'Victorian' style, with Victorian furniture and, of course, tatted lace. I will be describing this lucky find more fully in a future post, and also how and where I found the furniture.

This is the front view.

The door actually opens, and normally you can see into the house through the clear (acetate) windows, but I wanted you to see the detail on the windows.

Here is the side with the double window, which I find charming


Here is the side with the single window

And here is the interior, which is the way it looked a few years ago (a photo of a photo).

I've made a few changes since then, but you get the general idea.

The tree is all beads, which I found at Michaels.

Note the hardwood floors on the 1st level!

In a future post, I'll take you on a more detailed 'tour'.

At the moment the interior is not 'photo ready' because the house just came back from two events, and the furniture is still in disarry, as I always put it in positions that make it safe to carry, and I haven't had a chance to get it all back in place!

* * *

On this Christmas Eve 2010, I wish those of you who celebrate
the Christmas holidays
a Very Merry Christmas!

* * *

As a record of the weather here in Pittsburgh on Dec. 24, 2010, there's about 3" of snow on the ground (from previous snowfalls) - but none on the roads - with temps in the low 30s, no precipitation, no wind. Perfect. This kind of weather doesn't often happen on Christmas Eve, but this is how I remember every Christmas Eve during my childhood in the 1950s! It was a magical time - waiting for Santa! I'm feeling quite nostalgic this evening!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Tree Pin - 1991

- Multiple Uses for Edging Patterns
- Black Wool Cape (from my costume wardrobe)

I recently wore my Christmast tree pin (circa 1991) during our recent Festival events, and I was reminded how it came about. And when I wore it on my black wool cape, I also added another piece of tatting to it to make it more noticeable (see below).

Here is the pin I made in 1991

It is from the same edging in Ann Orr's Classic Tatting patterns that I used to form the star shown in my Feb. 17, 2009 post. I noticed that each point of the edging looked like a Christmas tree. So I tatted one motif in white thread, then glued it onto a card, and it did look like a tree.

But I thought the motif looked the right size to put on a pin backing that I had purchased from a craft store. The pin backing (about 2" high) is made for inserting a separately purchased cameo. However, I cut a velevet oval from gift ribbon to fit into the center of the pin, then glued the tatted tree (in gold metallic thread from DMC) onto the velevt.

Then I glued tiny rhinestones to add bling. I made several of these pins for friends and family

Wearing pin on Black Wool Cape

When I went to our recent tatting events on Dec. 4 and 11, I wanted to wear the pin on my black wool cape that I purchased a few years ago at a consignment shop (a very lucky find!). But the pin by itself didn't stand out, so I found a piece of tatting in my stash to 'frame' it. It is an ecru tatted edging which I had formed into an oval. I pinned the edging to the cape (didn't have time to baste it down), then centered the Christmas pin inside it. I received lots of compliments on it!

Here is a close-up of the pin on the cape
framed by the ecru edging.

Here is a photo of the entire cape. There is red piping around the neck and down the opening, which is a part of the red interfacing inside. I pinned back the interfacing so you can see how nicely the cape is made.

I have no idea where the cape came from, but it's a welcome addition to my costume wardrobe!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snowflake Inside a Clear Ball Ornament

Sharon's Merry Christmas snowflake!

Because I'm having blogging/computer problems (long story), I'm going to publish a REALLY short post (aren't you glad?) to show you that I was able to get Sharon's pretty snowflake into a clear Christmas ball ornament.

Sharon generously gave us this excellent pattern last year in her December blog. I loved the pattern and her easy diagram, and I posted about it in my own blog on Dec. 24. (In fact, this IS the snowflake that I made last year.)

The ornament is plastic - not glass, as they usually are - and is very well made. I got it at Michaels, and it is 3-1/2 inches in diameter. They also have smaller ones. I like this one because it has a larger opening, which made it easier to 'roll up' (not fold) the snowflake and drop it down into the ornament.

The hanger on the snowflake is wrapped around the 'knob' on top of the ball, and the metal top is clamped over top of the hanger, holding it in place.

I made the snowflake with Lizbeth white, size 20, and it didn't need any sitffening. It easily rolled into a 'tube' (not too tight), then it unfolded when it got into the ornament after jostling it a little bt.

It is displayed here on an 'egg holder', so that it can sit on a table.

* * *

During the past two weekends, our group demonstrated tattig at Vicary Mansion (Dec. 4) and Old Economy Village (Dec. 11). Considering we've consistently had 'snowy-blowy' weather for the past few weeks, we were lucky to have had good weather both Saturdays. Today we're back to snow!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tatted Angel in Snowglobe !

Product Alert:
This unique snowglobe has a place for inserting photos (2" x 3"), but also has plenty of room to insert a small piece of tatting, and it can be seen from both sides. It is also magnified.

I want to alert you to these snow globes that I found in the Photo area of the big discount store whose intials are W-M. These globes are also advertised on the internet.

The large snow globes (which are not glass but some kind of soft acrylic material) allow you to insert two small 2" x 3" photos back to back. The photos get magnified and look as if they're floating in the snow globe, with the usual 'snow' swirling when you shake them. Cost: about $10.

The base stand just pulls off, and the photos are placed inside the plastic insert (shown in the photo below), which then slides up into a protected area of the globe. Very clever!
I knew exactly the tatted piece I wanted to showcase.
I'm sure you've already guessed what it is:

Motif #20 - Second Round
Hairpin Lace and Tatted Angel - by Martha Ess

Of course, it's Martha Ess's excellent and innovative angel pattern, which can be found on the internet.
For some reason I'm not able to paste the link to the URL here. If you Google "Tatted Angel Hairpin Lace" it will be the first listing on the page. I apologize for the inconvenience!
For size comparisons, here is the angel outside the globe, next to the clear plastic insert (2" x 3") which slides into the globe from the bottom, and holds the photos (or in this case tatting) in place.
I tatted the angel with size 30 Cebelia thread.
I first saw Martha's lovely and unusual pattern (combining hairpin lace and tatting) on the internet in 1998. I was very much intrigued by it, and finally decided to try to make it, possibly around 1999.

Somehow I had a hairpin lace loom among my craft supplies, but had never used it other than to practice making a small sample of hairpin lace, using a crochet hook.

I was quite pleased with myself when I finished the piece (minus halo - I hope to add it soon!), and it's the only hairpin lace I've ever made.

As most of you are aware, Martha has gone on to design so many other fabulous designs, has written several tatting books, and has taught classes at Hector and Palmetto. Thank you, Martha, for your total dedication and innovative contributions to the art of tatted lace !
These snowglobes are a great showcase for your smaller tatted items, which can easily be changed according to the season.
I hope to put a printed gold label on the base, and definitely plan to buy a few more globes!
* * *

In the United States we are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, a very pleasant holiday to share with friends and family. i hope you also have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

More Treasures from Wanda!

Part 2 of 2

In addition to winning Wanda’s fabulous Pumpkin Vine Bookmark (see prior post), I was stunned that there were so many other items hidden in the pretty red gift bag that she handed me at the restaurant on Sunday (Halloween), all part of a very generous Giveaway Prize for her 2nd Blogaversary!

Imagine my total surprise at receiving all of THIS, in addition to the Bookmark!

I certainly appreciate the time and effort that Wanda made into gathering, and in some cases, making or decorating, these items!

The attractive candle contains three scents: Maple Sugar, Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple Crisp. How yummy is that?!!! I can’t wait to light it up! (I didn’t even know there WERE ‘three-scented’ candles!)

Next to the candle is a lovely tea tin, decoupaged by Wanda with a pretty fabric (in my favorite colors), all around the sides and on the lid! I can now rescue my teabags from their cardboard boxes!

Inside the tin were all the items you see in front of it! I was amazed to pull all these things out of the tin while we were visiting!

- Lizbeth #20 Autumn Spice thread (one that I don’t have!)

- Three cute wood ‘paddles’ with Lizbeth solid thread samples
in Fall colors: brown, green and orange (the last two were used in her pumpkin
bookmark!) She labeled them with a green glitter pen! I notice these things!

- Three matching items (pictured below) all decorated with the
same pretty 'Falling Leaves' fabric:

An unusual ‘fine’ crochet hook with a cylindrical handle, again decoupaged by Wanda. I’ve never seen this kind of hook before! I have one that has a flat handle, but not cylindrical. Very ergonomic!

Clover shuttle, also decoupaged by Wanda, which makes it so special and unique!

Wonderful Needle Keeper, expertly sewn by Wanda!

Inside the needle keeper, complete with needles!!!!

This is so nicely made, and will be VERY handy!

And there were even MORE items! (shown in the first photo above)

A cute postcard from Kansas, which shouts “Hay! from Kansas”, also showing a big sunflower (the State flower)! :)

Pumpkin Seed Recipes”! Very handy for this season!

And another BIG surprise: Karey Solomon’s “Here be Dragons” book, which I have never seen before. It has amazing patterns in it!

I am so overwhelmed by all of this, from getting the notification that I won ‘something’, to making arrangements to meet, and to sharing that wonderful and special time together!

And she still had to continue on with her long road trip to Kansas (over several days), whereas I was only 45 minutes from home!

Wanda is such a delightful person – she is so cheerful and enthusiastic, and seems to have endless energy, not to mention her exceptional creative talent! Her blog, only two years old, is brimming with her own beautiful tatting designs (several of which she has shared with us) plus excellent ‘travelogues’ about her travel adventures!

And her devotion to family, friends and work is obvious. I’m so glad I got to meet her in person - plus her daughter and grandson! Quite an amazing day!!
I can only say: THANK YOU SO MUCH, WANDA!

This has been a very wonderful experience!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I'm doing a quick post today because I just HAD to explain how Wanda's Pumpkin Vine Bookmark is now in MY possession on this Halloween Day 2010 !!! :) :) :)

This is Wanda's actual bookmark designed and tatted by Wanda herself! (Wanda of “Wanda’s Knotty Thoughts Blog”), and it is now in my house, where I just took the above photo!
It is Wanda’s prototype, first edition, one-of-a-kind bookmark, based on Heidi Sunday's innovative and clever 'pumpkin vine' pattern found at

Here's where you saw Wanda's bookmark first - On October 26:

Wanda had been fascinated by Heidi's vine pattern and designed a full bookmark from it with lots of twists and turns and lots of ‘pumpkins’!

This bookmark is nothing short of brilliant and I can't believe I now 'own' the actual bookmark that she posted on her blog!
However, GET THIS !!
The bookmark was handed to me IN PERSON
TODAY - by Wanda herself!!
How did this happen, you might ask, considering I live in Pittsburgh, PA and Wanda lives in Kansas !

Well, here's the 'short' story! :)

Wanda recently held a giveaway to celebrate her 2nd blogaversary, and - I WON!

The giveaway was announced in her post dated Oct. 12, where she described making her amazing "Doily with Antique Motif.” (Please check that out, too!)

All you had to do was leave a comment in that post, and you would enter a drawing for a prize. The drawing would be held Oct. 26. Of course, I commented on the doily, which is gorgeous! (And to tell you the truth, I completely forgot about the giveaway!)

On Tuesday, Oct. 26, she notified me that I won the drawing ; and, of course, I was delighted, even though I had no idea what the prize was! She was keeping it a secret!

I sent my address to Wanda so that she could send the prize to me.

When she received my address (I live in the Pittsburgh PA area), she realized that she would be in my 'neck of the woods' on Sunday (today - Halloween Day), as she would be driving from Washington D.C. back 'home' to Kansas, and was taking I-70, which passes very near Pittsburgh! (This gal really gets around, which you already know if you follow her blog!)

She asked if we could possibly get together, and - long story short - that's what we did this afternoon!

We met at a restaurant off I-70 and had a GREAT time and an enjoyable tat-chat while having lunch at the restaurant! What's more, I got to meet one of Wanda's daughters and her adorable 2-year-old son (one of Wanda’s grandsons) who were also on the LONG ride back to Kansas!!!

To my amazement, Wanda's giveaway has several parts to it, which I will post about soon, but when I opened a card with this fabulous bookmark in it, I was totally in shock, as I recognized it right away!!

I asked if she tatted a second one so soon after the first, and she said "No, this is my first and only one". I protested that I couldn't possibly accept it! How could she bear to part with it!??? But she insisted it was now mine!

I am truly honored and delighted to have this bookmark!!! It is amazing to see it in person!

And, as mentioned there were other amazing surprises! It was like Christmas on Halloween!

Stay tuned for Part 2 - and more photos! Just wanted to get this posted ASAP!!!
In our neighborhood, 'Trick or Treat' night was on Thursday, so I was able to do this post without interruption from 'Ghosts and Goblins!' Hope you get to enjoy some leftover candy, especially CHOCOLATE!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fluttering By - finally!

- New (to me) butterfly pattern
- Necklaces for pendants

I’m finally doing a post again, and never intended to be away this long! I’m ‘late’ in finishing my second round of the 25-Motif, so I’m getting back in the game with Motif #19 today to show that I actually am doing some tatting, and I hope to finish posting six more motifs soon, to complete the 25.

Motif #19 – Second Round
from “Butterfly Twins” designed by Eliz Davis

We’ve been traveling and having some fun adventures (except for a flat tire on the turnpike - long story there!) and while on the road or at a motel, I like to tat 'easy' things. I happened upon this sweet butterfly pattern on the internet, and I was smitten! I knew it would also be a fun and quick way to ‘test’ the colorways of variegated threads

Clockwise from Upper Right:
Caron Wildflowers ‘Twilight’ ;
Lizbeth #20 Vineyard Harvest;
Lizbeth #20 Vineyard Harvest;
Lizbeth #20 Spring Garden

Center of Photo:
Caron Wildflowers ‘Harvest’
This three-ring section is the first round of the butterfly pattern, but I made a slight modification (see below).
The original design, “Butterfly Twins” by Eliz Davis (“Tat Knot”) goes back to 1998, is a diagram, and is located in the sidebar in her blog where she has generously shared other free patterns. Thanks, Eliz!

As the title implies, the pattern is written for two little butterflies to be joined together, and attention must be paid to the outer chains (the wings) on the diagram for placement of the picots and connections when forming the wings. However, because I made individual butterflies, I used the same stitch count for forming both wings, with no picots.

Also, in order to do each butterfly in one pass, Liz indicates a split ring for the third ring of the 'clover' in the first round, which would be very convenient for avoiding extra threads to hide.

However, I didn’t want to wrap two shuttles to do the split ring, so I did a normal ring instead (5 total picots: two joining and three showing - always being careful not to twist the final joining picot to the first ring). For the most part, hiding threads is not a big problem for me, and I usually encapsulate the beginning thread. Also, I could choose the color for the beginning small ring on the second round. (I didn't do front-side/back-side tatting on these!)

The antennae are quite easy to add (with a crochet hook), but as you can see, I have so far only added antennae to the ‘blue’ butterflies.

Of course, I had to put one of these butterflies on a pendant!

This is a duplicate of the
‘Twilight’ butterfly shown above, although the colors aren’t quite exact in either photo.

I obtained the Caron Wildflowers threads at my local cross-stitch shop. They are equivalent to size 30, but are a little tricky to tat with – not as smooth as Lizbeth. I have to use less tension.

The little butterfly is also perfect to add to cards, such as the one I made for my mother-in-law for her recent birthday.

These were made with Lizbeth ‘Jellybean’, and were easily attached to the card with gold brads (from my scrap book supplies)

“New” beaded necklaces for my pendants

My recent posts have shown small motifs I’ve put on scalloped black velvet ‘paper’ discs. I recently attached four of them to some colorful beaded ‘necklaces’ that I found at – of all places - the dollar store!
They were eyeglass leashes! I cut off the parts that go over the eyeglass ‘temples’ and joined the ends with a jump ring and bail (which necessitates putting the necklaces on over my head, without a clasp).

I was amazed at the variety and colors of beads on the leashes, which happened to match my pendants!
I did add my own green beads and spacers to the necklace on the far right.

My next posts should be coming up soon! I’m getting much more done around the house with the cooler Fall weather, and always marvel at the changing colors of the leaves – which sometimes happens overnight! It really is a beautiful time of the year, and I'm not missing the hot, humid weather we had this summer!
A blogging note: I edited portions of this post (the next day) to 'improve' some of my sentences (that task could go on forever!), and I also tried very hard to make the spacing the way I want it to be. The written edits indeed were reflected, but I just can't seem to control the spacing. And it may get even worse! I know it has something to do with 'html' codes, but I have no intention of learning them. So, unfortunately, my posts will continue to look a bit 'wonky' and not up to my standards! I'm amazed that blogging can be done at all and I find the technology wonderful - but also frustrating!

Friday, July 23, 2010

More Quick Pendants

Motifs #17 and #18 - Second Round

Because my 2nd Blogaversary is coming up at the end of the month (amazing to me!), I realize that after this post, I need seven more items to complete the second round of the 25 Motif Challenge. I may not make the ‘deadline’ of July 31, but I’ll be posting them at least by early August. My problem isn’t tatting them ( as I’ll be showing items I made back in the 1990s) - it’s finding the time to photograph and write about them!

Motif Counts: I had neglected to include Mary Konior’s cross (post of April 4) as Motif #16. So I’ll continue with #17 and #18 below.

Here are two more fun pendants on scalloped black velvet paper discs. This is a quick way to display 'practice' motifs that I usually stash away.

Motif #17 (second round)
Rings and Chains
Lizbeth Turquoise, size 20

This basic ring-and chain motif which I tatted up quickly (and is far from perfect!) was the first item I made to ‘test’ my first ball of Lizbeth thread over a year ago. So I retrieved it and now enjoy wearing it!
Again, I used small ‘scrapbook’ embellishments, which are self-adhesive.

Motif #18 (second round)
Dimpled Rings
Lizbeth Vineyard Harvest, size 20

This is a recent first try at dimpled rings, which I saw in an antique pattern. Not exactly perfect here, but fun to do.

It takes practice to make these dimpled rings, as they take a little finessing to close properly.

I've had a good experience with Lizbeth threads and enjoy working with them. I'm not always crazy about some of the variegated threads, but many are becoming favorites, such as this one.

Unfortunately, I haven’t done much tatting recently because of so many things to do in the summer months. After being cooped up all winter, I longed for summer, so I want to be out and about as much as possible! I do enjoy surfing the blogs for relaxation in the evenings, though! So much talent out there!
* * *

I know you’re curious about the slipper pattern, which is coming along, after some fits and starts, but I can’t promise a finished booklet until later in the year as I just don’t have the blocks of time I need right now to fully concentrate on it. Many ‘learning curves’ still lie ahead for me, as I very much want to have a professional-looking presentation. I must live up to the standards that many of you have set!

* * *
Enjoyable Summer Distractions

Below are some of our ‘fun’ distractions this summer , which are pleasant respites from the usual chores of yard work, fix-it home projects, and our continuous de-cluttering efforts. We’ve enjoyed several picnics and family events (a Christening and birthday parties, plus picnics), all of which, fortunately, were held in nice weather.

This summer has been hotter than in recent years (although to me it is similar to the summers of my youth in the 1950s), and we have had to ‘cave in’ and turn on the whole-house A/C more often than we would like – but I’m sure glad we have it available! I’m not looking forward getting to the electric bill, though!

We enjoy visiting this local lake (an hour away) to watch sailboats and enjoy an
afternoon picnic during the week.
(Great to be retired!)

Unfortunately, we don’t own the pontoon boat - or any boat!

Of course, we continue to attend many car cruises.
Here is a photo of our ’69 GTO sitting next to our cousin’s fabulous 1974 Bricklin - a rare automobile, as few of them were built (in Canada) between 1974-76. Note the ‘gull-wing’ doors!

The weather has been both good and bad for the cruises this summer. It's either been perfect, or very hot and humid, or unstable, causing some events to be cancelled – or interrupted! We recently attended one which started out with great weather, then was interrupted by a sudden downpour of heavy rain! It wasn’t unexpected, but came up fast and caused everyone to run for cover! At least there was no lightning or wind, and it was over in 5 minutes, but everyone tried to get their cars dry again. We, unfortunately, had to drive home in our slightly damp clothes!
It is sometimes too humid to tat, so I just walk around, take photos, and generally chat with people.

However, this weekend we plan to attend the annual Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, where sporty vintage race cars compete in a specified road course on a winding country road. It brings thousands of spectators from around the world and is considered a major auto racing event. We will be in the car show which is a separate part of the event. I’m hoping to be able to tat at this one, since there are shade trees to sit under!

I hope you’re also enjoying favorite outdoor summer activities!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fun Pendants Using Motifs and 'Scrapbook' Supplies

I’m fascinated with variegated and hand-dyed threads, and I like to test them out by making quick motifs – easy ones that I can tat while riding in the car.

I like to think of ways to use these little motifs, rather than stash them away

Mary McCarthy’s Butterfly (again!)
(pendant shown on black T-shirt)

This one in Lizbeth Vineyard Harvest, size 20

Mary’s butterfly appears to be floating ‘freely’ on this black T-shirt . . .

...but in reality it’s glued onto a velvet paper circle (made with a scalloped circle punch). The paper also gives it stablity.

I like to justify the purchases of these craft supplies, like the scalloped punch, that I just 'had' to have! :)

The hinged bail and snaps together through a small hole punched into the velvet paper. The bail easily fits over any necklace

This is a basic
ring-and-chain pattern

from Catherine Austin’s “A New Twist on Tatting” book, page 115 (first round of the doily)

Thread: Lizbeth Jellybean, size 20

The dark velvet paper shows to good effect the colorways of most variegated threads, so the motif is always is defined, no matter what color background fabric the pendant rests on.

As usual, I added some gems for ‘bling’. I’m looking forward to trying out smaller thread sizes so that I can make more detailed motifs, such as those in Patti Duff’s book. Adding beads would be fun, too.

Loving the Warmer Weather!

I’m not complaining about our hot weather, as I wait for it all year. The travel bug has ‘bit’, and we’ve already taken an overnight trip to Lake Erie – a delayed 46th anniversary celebration (from snowy January). Beautiful sunsets at dinner, and a wonderful room overlooking the Bay! Love to be by the water!

It’s much more pleasant to travel in warmer weather, with longer daylight hours, and a privilege to be able spontaneously to go during the week when a spectacular day is forecast! Retirement does have its perks.

We’re ‘almost’ done with the yardwork, but not quite. New mulch is on the agenda. The decluttering project continues, and there may be light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s always bittersweet to ‘look back’ over the years when we accumulated these things and realize how fast time has flown. I'm having a difficult time deciding what craft supplies to part with!

We had beautful weather here for the Memorial Day weekend, (Sat. and Sun.), and although we had heavy storms Monday evening (the official holiday), at least it held off until all the local parades and memorial services were completed.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Embellished 1990s Gift Boxes, and New Bookmark

- Update on the Lady’s Slipper Pattern
- Recap of two recent tatting events
Fabric Boxes from the 1990s

Boxes of this type would certainly make a nice Mother’s Day gift!

Back in the 1990s, during the early days of my tatting, I embellished these ready-made fabric boxes, which were available at craft stores.

Of course, as usually happens, the stores will only have these kinds of items for a few years, then they disappear.

In addition to the tatting and trims on top, I often added cording or other trims on the sides

Although I gave several of these away as gifts, I kept a few for myself, and use them for jewelry.

I was disappointed when these boxes were no longer available in the craft stores, at least in our area.

Bookmark with Mary McCarthy’s butterfly

I’ve always found it relaxing to tat Mary McCarthy’s butterfly, and I often tat it when riding in the car. I’ve slightly altered her pattern, and I’m enjoying now tatting it in variegated threads. I am also now making it front-side/back-side, as I like all the knots to face forward (especially in the size 20 thread) when only one side is visible, as in the bookmark below.

I like to put tatted motifs on bookmarks which I make with velvet paper mounted on card stock (in this case, metallic gold).

This is Lizbeth “Spring Garden”(size 20), which really ‘pops’ on a black background – similar to “Springtime”; (which has has blue in it).

The small butterfly was made from the thread that was leftover on the shuttle.

The curved line is a gold sticker.
I added adhesive gold half-beads in the centers of the butterflies.

I don’t mind using glue stick on my tatting, as it is easy to wash out later, if I wish to remove it.

When giving this kind of bookmark as a gift, it’s easy to write a note on the back of the cardstock. The sturdy plastic sleeve (barely seen in the photo) keeps the tatting protected, yet allows it to be easily removed to see the tatting clearly. I obtained this plastic sleeve at a specialty ‘stamp’ store in the area.

Packaging Hint: I have also discovered (in the candy section at the craft stores) some clear plastic ‘pretzel stick’ bags, which are a perfect size for protecting tatted bookmarks or displaying them for sale.

Update on Lady’s Slipper Pattern
I am slowly making progress on writing the pattern for the lady’s slipper (post of March 3). Various family and other events (including tatting-related ones) and normal chores are distracting me, plus the welcome arrival of some beautiful spring weather has beckoned me outdoors (there’s still a lot to do in the yard! .

I have started tatting a model of the slipper, and will photograph each ‘section’ as I go along. I’ve decided to use contrasting thread for each of the different ‘rounds’, so it will be clear (especially to me!) how it’s constructed.

I thought once I started tatting the slipper, a feeling of ‘familiarity’ with the pattern would come back to me; but in fact, I feel as if I’m tatting the pattern of some mysterious person, except I know that I’m the mysterious person! I wasn’t quite as thorough in my notations as I would have liked, so I’m muddling my way through, guessing at knot counts.

I’ve also had to learn a new drawing software, and it's taken me some time to get comfortable with it.

I appreciate your patience while I work this through!

Recent Festivals
Here is a recap of our group’s two recent tatting events – the Maple Festival and the ‘reopening’ of Old Economy.

Maple Festival (Brady’s Run, Beaver, PA)
The weather for the Maple Festival (Apr. 10-11) was excellent, and there were thousands of visitors, as usual. There is always interest in our tatting,
Many young children also accompany their parents, and they enjoy looking at my dollhouse with Victorian furnishings (to be shown in the future). Evelyn, Peg (Carol Lawecki’s mom), and I were kept busy demonstrating and talking about tatting both days. I admit that I’m quite exhausted after these weekend events! Did I mention that Evelyn is 82? !!! She has more energy than I do!

Old Economy Village Reopening
And the Old Economy event the following weekend (Apr. 17-18) was also very successful. It was well advertised, and many people came by who had never visited the historic site before. We were honored to be invited to demonstrate tatting at this reopening event You can read more about Old Economy at this site:

Silk Exhibit
This was the first time we were in a large room on the first floor of the huge two-story Feast Hall/Museum, and we happily shared the space with three gals who had an excellent exhibit / demonstration of the silk manufacturing process, for which Old Economy became famous. The manufacture and weaving of silk at O.E. was developed by Gertrude Rapp (1808-1889), the granddaughter of George Rapp (1757-1847), The story of silk manufacture at Old Economy is absolutely fascinating, and their high-quality silk was prized around the world.

It is hoped that Old Economy Village will continue to be a major attraction, with volunteers working hard to preserve it.
* * *

Mother’s Day (in the United States) is celebrated this Sunday, May 9.
I wish a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ to those of you who
have raised and are raising children!
You are to be applauded and recognized for all that you do!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter - April 4, 2010

I hope all of you who celebrate Easter are having a pleasant holiday weekend with family and friends.

Some Easter Tatting

I'm sure you recognize Mary Konior's cross pattern from her Visual Patterns book. I have often made this cross as a keepsake gift, and it always receives compliments. She was such a wonderful designer.

This is a cross I made several years ago, and stiffened (to hang in a window); however, I've decided to put it in a frame, so I’ve added a gold metal embellishment, plus a small crystal in the center. The diagonal gold 'ribbon' stickers add an interesting effect.

Now I have to find the right frame for it!

Below is my small 'Egg Tree" which is several years old. It is part of my demonstration display, and, of course, is a decoration for my home during the Easter holidays.

On the tree are several of my 3-D eggs (all the same design), which I created back in 1992.
The other eggs on the tree are pastel flocked eggs or metallic ones, with tatted motifs on them.
I'll go into more detail about the 3-D egg design in a future post.

Memories of Easter holidays in the '50s-'60s
Easter memories of my childhood always come flooding back to me at this time of year, and I recall how my friends and I were SO excited to get dressed up in our pretty new dresses and new shoes (usually white leather or black patent leather), plus, of course, the obligatory new hat and gloves - which we LOVED to wear back then!
We kept our Easter outfits on all day and 'paraded' around the neighborhood showing them off.
I always looked forward to getting my newest stuffed bunny rabbit or other animal. Believe it or not, I still have my big bunny (about 2' tall) from about 1953 (I was in pigtails at the time – 4th grade). Her name was ‘Carrots’ (as she was orange), and these days she’s a bit – well, ‘tattered’!!! Definitely not fit for a photo-op at present.
I also had a big teddy bear (sadly, long gone), named Christopher (for Christmas?), and I used to make clothes for Christopher and Carrots, which was considered a little strange by my friends! (I was way ahead of my time!) I kept the stuffed animals on my bed for a long time - through high school(!) and have a photo of them around here somewhere! Just remembered - there was also a floppy-eared dog named 'Cuddles'. Kind of embarrassing that I'm remembering all this, not to mention the fact that I continued to collect stuffed animals for a long time, even after I married! One of my prized possessions is "Larry Lion" (a gift from DH around 1968) who fared much better than Carrots, and still says his 11 phrases when you pull the cord under his chin. Wow, I'm really getting carried away!

As I recall those years in the 1950s, the weather always seemed to be warm on Easter (no matter the date between March and April), and flowers were always in bloom.

However on April 2, 1961 (I was a senior in H.S.), we actually had snow on Easter, and I was shocked! The year before, on April 2, 1960, I passed my driver's test (first time around!) and got my license at 16 years old - BIG DAY! It was 80 degrees that day, just as it was on April 2 this year - first time in a long time!

I simply can't believe I have been driving for 50 years!! (Yikes!) Little did I realize that a few months later in the summer of 1960 I would meet my DH-to-be at a local swimming pool (he was from another school and had graduated the year before. I was about to start my senior year (and it was a magical one!) Talk about being young, at 16 and 17!

Now here we are at 66 and 67, and we’ll be going to DH's 50th class reunion in September! We recall that when his parents went to THEIR 50th reunions, we thought they were SO old !!!!! (Can you tell I'm having trouble dealing with this?)
* * *
Two Beaver County, PA Events coming up:

- Maple Festival (Apr 10-11) AND (amazingly)
- Old Economy (Apr 17-18),
which has been re-opened (on a limited basis) by volunteers!
(More about this soon)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Three Cheers for the Irish!

Plus - the Ides of March and thoughts of - Hawaii ?

It's that time of year for me to honor my Irish ancestors - the Flanagans on my maternal grandmother's side – as well as my English/Irish ancestors on my maternal grandfather’s side, who lived in Ireland.

When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, PA, my Irish aunts, uncles and cousins all lived in New England - 600 miles away - so I missed out on 'family' St. Patrick’s celebrations. They LOVED to sing all the Irish songs! Although my mother missed living near her family, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a large Irish population and it has one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day parades, so she felt ‘at home’ here also! My husband and I were in the parade a couple of times back in the '80s in our GTO convertible.

Hearts to Shamrocks - Motif #15 (Second Round)

It was fun to learn in elementary school art class that three green heart shapes can form a shamrock!

Here is a representation of a shamrock, which I recently made using three heart motifs (by Monica Hahn) and a ‘stem’ which I added.

These tatted hearts have almost a Celtic look to them!

In the future I'd like to join the hearts and stem at the appropriate places to make a one-piece motif.

The 'heart' pattern is actually a section of a 'Grapevine' edging from page 31 of Monica Hahn's popular book , "Christmas Angels and Other Tatting Patterns."

In looking over this book again, I was amazed how many items I've made from it.

Below is how I’m showcasing the Shamrock – in a ceramic Celtic frame, which matches my newly purchased Irish cup and saucer!

The motifs are lightly attached
(with glue stick) to velvet

(Glue-stick adhesive can easily be washed out of the tatting.)

I’ve added gold stickers in the corners for an extra effect

Although I'm not a big tea drinker, I'll have some green tea on Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day!

The popular "Shamrock" plant (called oxalis regnelli) in the background (difficult to see here), with the straight-sided leaves and sweet white flowers , is actually not native to Ireland at all, but to South America!

I'm not known for my 'green thumb', so I'm pleased that this plant has survived for the last three years. I bring it inside during the winter months, and it continues to bloom. It always folds up its leaves overnight!

The 'real' Irish shamrock plant is actually similar to the clover that grows in our yards here in America. I spent many hours of my youth hunting for the elusive 'four-leaf clover' - the symbol of good luck!

March 15 - Ides of March (meaning middle of the month)

Speaking of luck, today happens to be the “Ides of March”, which wasn’t a lucky day for Julius Ceasar in 44 B.C., but WAS a lucky day for me in 1971 A.D. I was 27 years old, and after being in the work force since 1962, it was my first day on my new exciting job at a major corporation, where I was hired as a private secretary to a patent attorney, who happened to be - Irish! He was a great boss with a wonderful sense of humor, and I felt lucky indeed to work for him for the next 14 years.

To celebrate my 10th anniversary at the company in 1981, my boss and his lovely wife took my husband and me to dinner, which was so nice of them!

Then as icing on the cake, DH and I boarded a plane the next day for our first trip to – Hawaii (!) where to my surprise and great delight on the 17th, we were amazed to see a rather large St. Patrick’s Day parade! There we were, under palm trees and in the vicinity of fabulous Diamond Head volcano, hearing - Irish music!

Our luck continued the next year, as we had the opportunity to return to Hawaii on a charter flight, at a very nice price!
Wonderful memories of those two trips!
We've been to Oahu and Maui.

As a reminder of those lovely Hawiian trips, I have an hibiscus plant, which keeps my shamrock plant company in the dining room during the winter months!

It rewards me with beautiful red blooms, which seem to pop out unexpectedly! This photo was taken between one of those goofy snowstorms in February this year!

One little side note:

On our return to work from that first Hawaiian trip in 1981, I was greeted with the news that the company was going to make a major investment in some 'new equipment', which turned out to be monitors (called CRTs), keyboards, and ink-jet printers the size of washing machines)!

I was among the first secretaries in Pittsburgh to use this ‘futuristic’ Word Processing equipment! Little did I realize that it would lead to the end of the secretarial profession as I knew it (which at that time included lots of shorthand and typing).

Of course, it did lead to the internet and something called ‘blogging’, which I never could have imagined back then!

Wishing you a 'little bit o' luck' and an enjoyable St. Patrick's Day 2010 !