Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tatted Earrings for The Market

So, having told you the "story" yesterday, here are some pictures.

Yesterday while I was dropping off an order at The Market, I asked Thomas to take some pictures of the display I have set up, and which travels from Market to Market throughout the week.  Each Market has a Farmer's Table where producers can leave goods to be purchased by customers, in addition to their orders.  The Girls are kind enough to take my display to each Market throughout the week, so folks can see them first-hand.  Thomas has been photographing most of the earrings as I finish them, so I have a picture to post on the Market website.  He got a little artsy with the angle, but it gives you a pretty good idea of the colors and styles currently available...

Interesting angle...

So, these are what I am offering so far at the Market, in chronological order.  Each one is made to order, so I can be just about any color you want.

I started out with a Celtic Snowflake pattern.

Celtic Snowflake

Then added beads for those who like beads.

Beaded Celtic Snowflake

Then came a five-pedal flower.

Five Petal Flower (photo by S)

I didn't like how it looked with beads, so, no beads for this one.

Then, I added pansies, in either light or dark lavender (again, no beads).

Two-Tone Pansies (photo by S)

Then I switched seasons, and came up with Autumn Leaves.  These I didn't like without beads, so I only offer them with beads.  I also just found a brilliant orange that will look great in this pattern.

Beaded Autumn Leaves

And, my last offering:  Demi Autumn Leaves.  A smaller version in a lighter-weight thread, in variegated colors.

Demi Autumn Leaves

So, that's what I'm offering so far.  I've got lots of ideas for other items - more ideas than time to implement them - and have another little project I'm working on commission, in addition to the table topper.  So, I'm almost as busy as the Heirloom Girls ;)

You can check out the Lilburn Market here, and see my current listings here.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A New Endeavor

I learned to tat from my mom about two years ago when William and I flew to California for a visit with her.  Since then I've been practicing it off an on, and have slowly gotten better at it, more confident in taking on new projects.  Last year I managed to knock out several Celtic flowers which I framed and gave to my girlfriends as Christmas gifts. 

After a long stretch of not tatting, I picked up the shuttles again and began working on a new piece, quite bit larger and more ambitious than I have done before - a table topper.  I have it in mind for a small, round table with a dark finish, and think the colors will be lovely.

Table Topper - only needs about a dozen more medallions       

Earlier this year, David met one of the founders of Heirloom Living Market, and started selling his fresh-roasted coffee through their "LocallyGrown.Net" website market.  If you don't know about, you can read about them here.  Basically, each market serves its local area by providing a way for customers to find and purchase produce and other goods produced by local farmers and artisans.  It is an on-line market system whereby you order the stuff you want, and then go pick it up on Pick Up Day.  It's the easiest way to get hold of local, fresh foods that are raised without chemicals, pesticides, etc., and support your local farmers and artisans.  The Heirloom Girls (as they are known) currently run four markets in our larger area.  They are very busy.

Soooooo, I told you those two stories to tell you this story. ;)

Shortly after I had started on the table topper, I was dropping off a coffee order at The Market, and I was introduced to the "Artisan of the Week" as she was setting up her display.  Heirloom regularly sets up a "Farmer/Artisan/Producer of the Week" during pick-up hours, so customers can meet the folks who raise/produce the stuff they are buying.  David has been Producer of the Week a few times, and that week's Artisan was a nice lady who sews aprons, pillow cases, etc.

Once I got home, I plopped down and started working on the table topper, and suddenly thought, "Huh, I didn't know they carried non-food items."  I pulled up the Market website to see what kinds of non-food stuff was there, and, lo and behold, they have an entire category for hand-crafted items.  So, I shot a note to the Heirloom Girls asking if they thought their customers would be interested in tatted items.

They were very enthusiastic.  They actually knew what tatting is, and wanted me to offer pieces through the Market.  They even wanted me to teach classes over the winter when the Market slows down a bit.

So, for the past couple of months, I've been busily tatting away, mostly finding and modifying patterns to turn into earrings.  I'll post pictures and links tomorrow....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Meet Cindy 8/18

Losing a beloved pet is one of the toughest things a kid has to face.  Thomas wholeheartedly loved and adored Buttercup, and her loss hit him hard.  Usually I suggest waiting a bit before jumping into getting another pet.  But, in this case, David and I agreed it would probably be good for Thomas to have a new friend sooner rather than later.  So, after spending a few hours doing some research, and making a list of requirements and pro's (no con's), and sleeping on it a couple of nights, it was off to PetCo.

Do pets look like their owners?
Thomas has wanted a ferret for a few years, now.  And, he certainly proved his commitment to caring for a pet with Buttercup.  A ferret is certainly taking it up a notch or two in terms of time and attention, but I am confident Thomas is up for it.

Hanging with William while her house is arranged
We already had a hutch suitable for Cindy.  Everyone pitched in getting it assembled, setting up her litter box, filling with bedding, and getting her food and water situated.

First snack in her new home
Because Cindy is still fairly young, she needs "wetted" food as well as dry food.

Bonding with Thomas

She and Thomas have already spent lots of cuddle and play time together.

Found a pocket

And she displays the typical ferret's knack for squeezing into small, cozy places.

It's been a big day ... time for a nap     

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Goodbye Buttercup 8/16

This is Buttercup.  Very sweet.  Very fuzzy.  She's been with us for just over a year.  David had taken the boys to WoofStock, an event for dogs and their fanciers, and Thomas came home with ... a rabbit.  Go figure.

Princess Buttercup

For a "prey animal" she was incredibly comfortable and trusting around the "predator/hunting" critters in our family. And, honestly, she never had cause to be wary around her furry sisters and brothers. Dogs, cats, rabbits ... They all hang out together at our house.

Grooming with the cat

Buttercup loved hanging out with her people and investigating whatever we were doing.

Workin' the iPad

I was in the parlor when I heard it.  "Bunny's not moving!"  That was Michael, who had taken a carrot upstairs for Buttercup to munch on.  Before I even got up the stairs, I heard the sobbing from Thomas and Michael.  She had been fine and lively in the morning when Thomas checked on her.  Now she was lying on the floor, not moving.

After an appropriate time for crying, we wrapped her up in a towel and laid her in a box.  David dug a hole in the back yard under the "pet" bush.  Michael put the ill-fated carrot into the box with her, and William added a flower picked from the yard.

Wrapped up and tucked in

Thomas and Michael, having been Buttercup's caretakers, filled in the grave.

Her boys performing their last service

Michael fetched a chunk of concrete from around the firepit, and I wrote on it with a large Sharpie to make a marker.

We will remember her

Final rest

This evening Michael made the best carrot cake ever, in honor of Buttercup.

We are not a religous family. We do not believe we will be seeing Buttercup or any of our loved ones in any recognizable form in the Afterlife. But we cannot deny the power of ritual and ceremony to soothe the breaking heart in a time of acute distress. We treat the inanimate, lifeless body with the same love, tenderness, and respect as we treated the living being. Not because we believe it matters to the departed loved one. But, because it matters to US.  It soothes US. It helps to fortify, strengthen, and burn into our memories the love and vital importance of this particular Life in our Lives. Like an emotional photograph that we can keep with us until it is our time to pass away. 

Goodbye, Buttercup. We will miss you.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mug Shot 3/15

This is Jenny.  We've had her for about six years.  She is sweet, loyal, protective, very large, and not too bright.

Her favorite game to play is "nibble the butt".  Anytime any adult starts tickling or wrestling with any kid, and the kids starts squealing and giggling, she will join in and nibble the kid's butt, causing them to squeal even more.  Jenny certainly knows how to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Home! Eventually. 7/16

Today was my last day on Retreat at Kit's place.  I've missed my family and home, and feel ready to dash back into the fray.

Just a few parting shots....

Amazing moth

Beautiful sky

Baily's parting gift

Parting view of the lake

Gimli's sad good-bye

The garden

Stow-away coming home with me for a little R&R

But, before settling back in at home, I headed to our homeschool group's Park Day for some visiting.

L and J hangin'

"What's up?"

"Very funny!"


G and her mama

Snugglin' with mama

Once home, we had a little preparation to do for a visit from out-of-town guests who were passing through.

Friends passing through
And then, finally, tucked into bed after a long, fruitful day.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Not Normal 7/20

This has been an unusually wet summer, even for Georgia.  Though I personally LOVE the rain, and don't mind having a good downpour every couple of days, the big drawback is the resulting proliferation of bugs.  Just about every bug we've got, we've got more of this summer.

So, one of the projects undertaken to get a handle on the bug population (and, specifically, the nest of yellow jackets that attacked me), was moving the camper off the drive and cleaning up all of the leaf debris that has been collecting under and around it.

Clean Up
Once the yellow jackets were located and eradicated (the little buggers!!!), it was time to start shoveling up debris, a job David and Thomas mostly handled.  Michael was helping out, but got a bit distracted by some of the "wildlife" they were uncovering.

"Look what I found!"

Mostly, he was fascinated by these guys:

Not a normal sized worm!
This was just NOT a normal sized earthworm.  It stretched out to about 12 inches in length.  Michael kept a few of them to be refrigerated and used on our next fishing trip.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tom's New Sexy Mower (7/29/13)

For a few years now, it's been Thomas' responsibility to keep the weeds --- I mean, grass --- in the front lawn trimmed and in order.  He also, on occasion, takes on jobs for friends and neighbors to earn a little extra cash.  This weekend was one of those extra gigs.  And, about half way through our lawn today, the old lawnmower just couldn't do any more.  Granted, we've had that mower for, I'm guessing, about eight years, at least.  And, it's really served us pretty well.

But despite, David's valiant attempts to resuscitate her, it was time to retire the old gal.

Here's her replacement.

Tom's machine

Another electric, self-mulching mower with a bunch of bells and whistles I really don't need to know about because I don't mow the lawn.  But, Thomas seemed pleased.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Guacamole Salad

We originally planned to make up some guacamole to go with dinner. It's one if Michael's specialties. But, having a main dish of flat enchiladas and a side of black beans, I decided that more fresh veggies were in order. 

I used everything from the Fresh Avocado Salsa recipe, plus a bit of extra stuff. On a bed of romaine lettuce I sprinkled the cilantro, some finely diced tomato and yellow bell pepper, and shredded cheese. I mixed up the "dressing" of olive oil, lime juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and threw in some very finely diced red onion. Half I mushed into the avocado and more tomato to make the guacamole, and the other half I drizzled over the salad. Guacamole gets plopped in the center, and globs of sour cream to finish off. 

Update:  Turns out when we were grocery shopping this afternoon, Michael accidentally grabbed Italian Parsley instead of cilantro.  Still tasted very good, but will be perfect next time with cilantro :)

Thought Process (8/5)

Some days Michael will come wandering in from somewhere to show me something, and my initial reaction is, "What the heck is he thinking?!?"  Okay, this happens most days.  And, no, I don't say it out loud.  I kind of plaster a Mom-smile on my face and ask an opening question that doesn't make me sound like I'm totally clueless about the inner workings of my youngest child.


Because I had taken the boys to see Despicable Me 2 yesterday.  And as William pointed out, "He looks like Gru!"

This one, on the other hand, I don't try too hard to understand, but just accept him in his total cat-awesomness.

Bagheera, the Great and Powerful

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Prepared (7/27/13)

Michael was invited to an overnight visit with one of his buddies.  It's been quite a long time since he's needed me to pack for him, so although I do throw out important reminders (toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear), he packs himself.  Granted, this pack is carrying his pillow and blanket in addition to basics.  But he also managed to get his laptop in there (critical in his eyes, so they could play MineCraft).  I'm really not sure what the flag is for.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Editing::Meeting Two

Had another great meeting with "my" author today.  I love saying that ... "my author".

Since our last meeting, Christin has been working hard at rewriting the prologue, and rewriting and fleshing out the first chapter (which will now be at least two chapters).  the primary focus has been on clarifying POV, though some story and character restructuring has been involved, as well as some style refining.  Having had taken more general notes during my last read-through, and having reviewed the revised prologue, we had a great conversation about further story points, character development, emotional weight of specific scenes, and overall style.  As always, Christin was very open to suggestions and specific input about style, construction, and flow.

One thing that I think has made this process much clearer in the past few weeks came from my asking Christin to provide me with samples of published authors within our genre/classification whose writing style she enjoys reading and would like to emulate.  She gave me a specific example, which I have been reading, and which will make the editing process much smoother for both of us.

So, Christin has her homework and a few pages of notes to refer to, and I get to wait with anticipation for the next rewrite.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Boys and Rain and Toads! Oh, My!

One of the reasons we moved to Georgia was to provide the boys with an environment where they could be BOYS! and have more and better access to natural spaces.  Which, as it turns out, now includes our yard.

It's been a really wet summer.  REALLY wet.  Like, raining every other day, for months.  Which brings out a variety of critters who thrive in the wet.  And, of course, one particular little boys has a knack for finding those critters.

"I found a toad" (and brought it in the house)

"Look at the toad I found"

"I am a Master Toad Finder"

"Can I go home now?"

Friday, July 19, 2013


One of the biggest editing challenges I have been facing is the issue of Point Of View.  Christen has chosen a format wherein the POV switches back and forth between the two main characters, with each character having a designated section of a chapter.  I've read plenty of books where this worked really well, and I think we can implement it nicely in this case.

The challenge for me comes when the POV "slips" from one character to another within any particular section.  Having been pondering this issue for several month, every novel I have read lately seems to have this subtle (or unintentional) POV slip, and I'm trying to put my finger on exactly why it sometimes works in an almost seamless way, and why it sometimes seems glaring and intrusive.

One example of how this POV slipping works beautifully is Good Omens  by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman.  We get a peek inside one character's head, then immediately slip into another character's head, and back and forth, with deeply humorous results.  We have the opportunity to watch a scene unfold, the exact same events being seen, translated, and understood in two completely different ways by two different characters, all in the same few paragraphs.  This POV hopping allows a distinctive and lovely humor to emerge as the story unfolds.

Another example is Catch as Cat Can by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown.  The fact that the author's co-writer is her cat should tell you something about the tone of the book.  In this case, the reader is privy to the thoughts and feelings of each of the non-human characters, as well as the human characters.  The animal's communications with one another are expressed in italics, right there in the middle of the humans' business.  Again, I felt this worked very well, and added to the humor of the story and events.

The rule-of-thumb for writers has long been, "Pick one Point of View and stick with it."  However, I am finding more and more this guideline being disregarded, either intentionally or unintentionally.  Sometimes it works.  Other times, not so much.

So, what makes a POV-switching story work?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Retreat Companions

Before my "Retreat Oops" yesterday sank in, I went down to the blueberry patch to do some picking.

Prettiness on the way to the patch...

Blackberries on the way to the patch

I'd never picked blueberries before, (yes, I know, "Where have you been all your life?"), and Kit and the boys were away for the day, so I was kind of on my own.  But, Kit had assured me there wasn't much to it, explained basically what to do, and trusted me to figure it out.  Which I pretty much did.

Reaching under the bird netting to snag berries

There are four different varieties of berries, each fruiting at a slightly different time.  So, some bushes had bunches of berries to pick, some only had a few, and some had basket-loads waiting to ripen.

Later-fruiting berries

I spent almost and hour and a half picking, and by the time I was finished there was a very large bowlful sitting on the kitchen table.

This isn't the large bowlful; it's the bowl that was too small

Around the time I finished showering after my exertions (it was hot and muggy and buggy, and I, naturally, was picking in my PJ's), my Oops made it's appearance.  Damn.  So, I wrapped up what I was working on, and went for a walk.

Accidental picture of my Sky Companion

Puppy Companion, Gypsy

Flower Companions on the dock

Geese Companions on the lake

Toad Companion

Kitty Companion, Electra, back at the house

Flowers in the kitchen

Today was much easier to stay in Retreat Mode, since my right hand stopped working last night.  A soreness and ache in my ring finger in the evening turned into restricted movement by night, and by about 6:00 am I was in enough pain I needed some Advil.  Doing a bit of research, it looks like a repetitive stress injury similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.  So, complete rest for the day and night.  Image that on a Retreat ;)