Wednesday, December 16, 2015

time to decorate

Yes, it's that time again.....

The tree is up and I've realized that I have too few ornaments. So, I've been working my way through the patterns in Nadine Nunelly's book

Pattern # 1 by Nadine Nunelly
Pattern # 1 by Nadine Nunelly

I’m pleased with how the ornaments are coming out so far.

It’s been interesting to see how the lace behaves as I try to attach it to the ball.

Pattern # 14 by Nadine Nunelly

I have a long way to go and I feel a bit as though I’m reinventing the wheel. But, the gifts will be treasured for many years. Or so I hope……

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dobson organ in and playing and loved

I’ve been remiss. I haven’t put much on this blog about the new organ in town. It’s fantastic! This blog has been about tatting for so long. And I still plan on talking about tatting…mostly. But, I would like to digress to share this link:

I’m an organist. That will always be my first love. I was very thrilled to find St. Dunstan’s when I moved. They have just completed the installation of a new organ. It was exhilarating to be watching, and helping, with the final push. There will be pictures posted soon plus a time elapse video of the unloading and construction of the organ in the space. The crew from Dobson was so great. Not only did they work diligently, but they were so helpful and approachable. I know it will be a wonderful asset to the area. I can’t wait to get the chance to play! It won’t be anything approaching a concert. That doesn’t happen anymore. But, to just sit down, explore, and share the organ. That would be fun!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Progress on ball covering(s)

Well, it’s finally happened. I finally understand covering a ball ornament with tatting. The ladies at the Lace Museum in Sunnyvale crank these out by the tree full and sell them as a fundraiser for the Museum. They kept asking me to try and I’d make an attempt and get nothing but a bunch o’ knots. It was embarrassing. I’d ask for help. They’d give me pointers. I found patterns online. I even tried to order a book from Handy Hands but alas, the day I set aside time and money to do that, the computer broke….literally. I think the first book I spied balls in was one I picked up while browsing at Lacis. It looks so easy! I’m good at adapting patterns. I can do this.
Just last spring, Nadine Nunelly published a book. It was recommended by Georgia Seitz so I knew I had a fighting chance to actually succeed. So, I used some gift money to order a copy. Yet again, this simple concept eluded me. It wasn’t until I was preparing for the Doubleweave workshop that the light bulb flickered in my brain. I won’t say anything made sense. Just that I was having success with the edging to the sampler piece. Something sorta clicked.

I picked up a bunch of small balls to cover for gifts for friends this Christmas. Now the fun begins!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A successful workshop

I’m back from the Doubleweave workshop. I gained so much knowledge, a bit of skill, a huge amount of understanding, and a few friends. I have so many ideas running around in my head, there won’t be time in my life to try them all. Today, I’m going to sit down with my calendar and sift through the “to-tat” pile and “to-play” pile and “to-design” pile and “to weave” pile and come up with a reasonable plan.

Now before you fall off your chair laughing, I ask you to remember that I’m no longer cooking, cleaning, and chauffeuring for kids. That’s worth about 25 hours a week. Time enough for me to make a dent and accomplish something.

I truly enjoy workshops. When organists gather, we always give each other great support. Tatters always encourage each other as techniques are explored. Weavers are right there with the support of each other. For the Doubleweave workshop, the group of weavers included 2 tatters, several spinners, and a few quilters. It was great fun just to bounce ideas off each other. Getting encouragement from friends and family is important. Nothing can replace that. Getting encouragement from people who love what you love and maybe don’t know you well enough yet is a real shot in the arm for getting ideas into thread.

One weaver brought a few pieces she had done designing a cloth to represent music. I’m not saying that well. Her pieces were quite beautiful. Rather like abstract art in one sense, but very recognizable in another. She began with analyzing the music; similar to my idea with the Saint-Saens. Then she set up the thread on the loom to weave a representation of the melody and harmony. Wonderful work!
Another weaver took breaks by picking up her shuttle and working on a house warming gift: a very nice doily. The 3rd round is motifs that are small doilies themselves. Her picots were so even and lovely. I plan to ask her to mentor/coach me on my tatting. She retires soon and will be traveling and creating up a storm.

My sampler is still on the loom. I just ran out of gas working on the last few sections. The lace section is a bit fiddly, so that will take a bit longer. Then the pick up section. I want to try some Christmas designs just to see what they look like. Maybe for next year. I realized that I’ve never woven a Log Cabin type design. And Overshot is simple in Doubleweave. More to play with!

I’d better get crackin’ on the plan. Otherwise, I’ll be spinning my wheels and nothing important will get done.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

workshop starts in _____ minutes......oh boy!

I haven’t mentioned much about who is leading the workshop: Jennifer Moore. She is a phenomenal weaver. I found out yesterday during the presentation she gave to the public that she studied organ in the same area of the country I grew up in. I’m still processing all she presented yesterday. And the workshop starts in a few hours. Better get crackin’ girl!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

finished and in use

The final step in the weaving process is “finishing” the piece. For me, it’s always gifting it or putting it to good use. But then, I usually have a use in mind when I’m creating something. In the case of the covers using leno technique, finishing was throwing in the wash and dryer. I didn’t want something fussy and wanted to see how the yarn/thread worked.

thwarting the cats and giving me enjoyment
In this case, things softened up and after a pressing, look quite nice. The holes created by the leno sections no longer are crisp, like tatted rings, but rather gentle lacy areas.

The workshop warp is almost ready. Deadline for that is looming, so I’d better get busy!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Leno (leeno or lehno?)

Lace in weaving. Lace on weaving. Weaving in lace. Mmmmmmmmm
One section of the sampler we’re to work on in the workshop next week is a technique called leno. (in all the pronunciations you know) It’s a little lacy as weaving goes. I’d never done finger manipulated warps before, so I decided I’d better at least fumble my way through a bit on this trial warp. The gist of the technique is to twist warp threads, lay a pick, and beat lightly. Sounded yummy. I think it looks quite nice. I could see curtains using this technique hanging to either side of the front door.
far left set is 3 threads twisted, the center 1 thread and the far right set 2 threads
It’s about as fiddly as a Lark’s Head Picot Join. Perhaps after the Holidays, say in February I’ll revisit this idea.
Mmmmm.  There was still a yard or so of warp. I was musing on that as I sat in my tatting chair. Now, one thing about moving with pets. The “rules” change. The cats began using the upholstered arms of the chair as a scratching post. “Out of sight, out of claws” works, so I just threw an old towel over them. Not a permanent solution, but everybody was calmer.
The next time I passed the loom, I thought, maybe I could do a diamond pattern of leno in the midst of plain weave. And an idea was hatched.
cover for arm
I also wanted to brush up on hemstitching. I like tatted edgings on hemstitched fabric. So, if I’m going to weave and tat together, I wanted to hemstitch also. Turned out quite nice.

On to the next warp.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Twill sampler sample

The twill sampler is off the loom. It’s always intriguing to see what the different treadling combinations look in the different threadings. 

For instance, the straight twill in the left section looks very different from the M’s and W’s section (which is next to last to the right). When they work out looking nice here, I try to make a note next to that treadling combination.  

Now the decision of how to finish it. Leave it plain? Practice my hemstitching? Tat an edging? Fringe or no fringe. It’s a sampler, so I’m leaning to just leaving it.

Incidentally, I’m partial to M’s and W’s as those are my initials prior to marriage.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Interrupted progress

Well, yet again, the house took over my life. Don’t get me wrong. It’s all good. Just not what I anticipated working on when I woke up yesterday. But then, that’s life. I won’t bore you with details. If I could make it all sound humorous. I would spend time trying, but trust me…it’s nothing that important.

I did spend some time sorting through what’s on the shuttles. I’ve made good progress on the flag. I’m close to finishing the edging for the overshot sample. The next step in the angel is cleaning the thread. And, I’ve made good progress getting the computer sorted. (I like that word for the activity. It sounds much better than filing which I associate with scraping away.)

So, I need to set aside time to work a plunger on a toilet today. Then, to figure out what the treadling for the twill sampler will be. Oh, and design discussion. Better get to it!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Still working.....

I’m still working on the edging. 

I got distracted yesterday trying to pick drapes for the studio. It’s a task you only do every once in a while…like every 20 years or so if you get it right. So, I want to get it right! 

I did get around the 3rd corner, so I will be finishing the tatting today, washing everything to encourage shrinkage BEFORE I sew the edging on. Yes, lesson learned with a previous project!

Oh! I should mention that we made it through step 4 of 5 in the process of getting a Historic designation on the house. I can’t wait to get things in place for the completion of those projects.

Back to working on… 
oh yeah, the edging. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

an edge to a sample

A big advantage of this house is that I can spread out and have room for all my projects. Well, not all, but I’ve set up the loom, 

ready to warp

moved an organ in, 
ready to play

set up a tatting room

ready to tat
and a computer room.
ready to document

Hee heee. I’m using everything. Really.

I’ll be taking a workshop in November on Doubleweave.
More on that later.How am I working that into my tatting? Well, I create this sample of pick up on plain cloth:
Unknown cotton thread for warp and weft (probably 10/2)
And will add an edging tatted in the dark blue thread. 

Chain Reaction by Mary Konior
It should all come together Thursday.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Remember the angel

Remember the angel requested for shawls by the group at St. Andrew’s?

Well, I finished trial #5. It’s still not quite right. I’ve been approaching the design properly. There are just so many factors. I’m trying to create a “fabric” with multiple straight of grain. Or so I’m thinkin’ now.

You see, in preparing for the Double Weave workshop in November, I’ve been puzzling through the structure of fabric. That opened the door to looking at the skirt of the angel pattern a little differently and low and behold, I realized how complicated the execution of my idea will be. Funny how that happens!

So, I dug out my “book” on alterations. The sewing notes that I absconded with from my Mother’s library eons ago. We share the same build type. And we altered many a pattern to fit that build. Mixed in among the specific notes are reminders of “rules” to follow. That’s what I was looking for. Low and behold, when you have a flared skirt that needs adjusting, you have to work with the straight of grain to maintain the drape. Duh!

Since the printer/scanner wasn’t scanning, I have no picture to share prior to the snipping I did yesterday. I do have a working scanner today, so if I repair the swirl section, you’ll see a scan soon. I know the s word…soon……

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

frustrated yet again

Ok…today I’m   frustrated  !

I know, I know….nothing new, right?

Well, just in case you haven’t been around me, I’m frustrated because….

It’s taking a long, long time getting to the point where I have pictures to share on the blog. I try to share pictures with this blog. And I have been working on getting the studio functioning and the designs finished. It’s just that the tasks that are most important are complicated and are impossible to photograph.

So, dear reader….

No pictures yet again. Hence my frustration.

Guess I’ll just have to go create something. Maybe I’ll have a picture after I set things down today. 

We’ll see what I can post Thursday.

Monday, September 28, 2015


Whenever I make big changes in my life, it always takes me awhile to put thoughts into words regarding those changes. I still haven’t really expressed what’s happened lately. I have been trying. I wasn’t succeeding very well until I made myself set an appointment with myself to write. I figured out part of the problem is the computer is still in the “set-up” stage. So, I picked up pencil and paper. Now for the task of putting those scribbles into the computer and loading them into the blog software.

                I guess I’m just that old fashioned!

Rodgers organ in place
I’m old fashioned enough to really love playing the organ. Since I have moved an organ into the home, I’ve “wasted” a great deal of time just playing. I did try to make a clip to load into the blog stuff, but it was less than enjoyable. So, here’s a picture instead:

I find that I’m grabbing music at random to play; mostly just playing. Not really practicing or designing. It’s been very enjoyable! I think I’ll indulge in this randomness through September, and then get more disciplined in October.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The pipes have arrived

Has it been a week? Yes, and what a week! We’ve been meeting with local people who help owners make Historical residences their home. Sounds pretty simple, but there are still a host of choices and decisions to make. I can understand now why some people just demolish the house on the lot and build a new house. It’s coming together and we’re making progress.

I’m making progress on the angel pattern. The learning curve will be very steep getting this one written down with diagrams using the computer. I’m slowly getting there. If I’ve learned anything after 35+ years of playing the organ, the learning of a skill is tedious and needs to be taken slowly enough your brain and body learn good habits.

I’m also making progress in the studio set up. Last weekend, we transported the pipes. They are resting in boxes on the living room floor waiting for the rest of the instrument to arrive. Next week I should be getting everything put back together. So much to do, so much to do……

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Finding some quiet

Have you ever been in a house, or a building, big enough that you can’t hear what other people are doing? Our house is that big with plenty of places to run to. It’s also been a noisy mess. Dust, yeah! Smells, yeah! But today I was looking forward to it all. Today, the brick restoration crew came in and cleaned the brick in the studio space. 
as they are drying, I shall tat

If you’ve stood next to a running shop vac, you know why I wanted to run! Upstairs it wasn’t bad though. I worked my way through more computer set up tasks. Then the fans started. I can’t hear them upstairs. They’re not that loud in the tatting room/study/piano room. So, I think that’s where the rest of the day will be spent. I’m impatient waiting for the brick to dry! Guess I’ll just have to tat some.

I’m working on ideas for an edging to frame a cross stitch picture. I’m starting with established patterns. My designing brain is too taxed with coordinating the studio work. Nothing seems to fit just right. I’ll get it though. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Focused Dreams

Time off-line has allowed me to dream more. I’ve been able to slow my energy down enough to focus. When I create, I tend to lose track of time. Needless to say, when my energy was focused on raising small children, I didn’t create much. I did try to keep my fingers in it a bit. Efforts along those lines usually got tossed in a box unless they were given as gifts. I spent a couple of happy hours looking through one of those boxes. Of course I have many more ideas now. Once I start putting those ideas into thread, I’ll feel like I’m not dreaming so much. That will be a good feeling!

Today I get the pleasure of helping the Carmel Craft Guild set up their display for the Fair. I’ve yet to really grasp what this Fair will be like. I can’t wait to discover it all!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I'm back!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm back up with a computer. I hope the tablet won't get cranky when I type this, (and stop working!) but I do prefer a computer. I got used to the laptop just fine. I didn't use it except at the desk. So, I bought an old-fashioned desktop. I know the desktop will frustrate me in some ways, and I will grab the tablet, so I don't want to rock the boat. Listen to me…..I sound like I’m talking about favoring my children. Gheesh!

You would think with all the time off line that I would finish some tatting. Alas, nothing to show. I spent the time working on the studio. Two walls are painted. The glass is almost scraped of the old paint. The yucky shag carpet is gone. We still need to get the brick looked at and cleaned and sealed. Sigh. I know it will all happen in due time. I’m just being impatient.

So, what have I been doing? A trip to the library gave me a stitchery book to look through. Nothing very great to report. Two tatting patterns; those were very, very simple. The written directions didn't match the picture. What made the book worth a look-through was the section on Victorian picture frame decorations. Nice lace additions to very quaint looking photographs. That got me thinking. I'm always seeing photo frames in the thrift shops. Some have seen wear. How about decorating them with tatting? That got me thinking of Christmas. Well, you can see where this is going. More as it takes shape.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Forced schedule for posts

The events of yesterday will affect this blog for awhile. My aging laptop that I use for everything computer intensive broke a hinge. This aging tablet cannot handle posting to the blog gracefully. So, posting will be sporadic until I replace one or both electronic tools.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Sunday visitor

A good friend of mine commented the other day that posting twice a week to my blog was a good amount of writing. It caught me by surprise. I don’t think I write often, or that I put up pictures that often. Part of the reason for that opinion is that I don’t spend time “on line” for hours each day. I prefer to be at the organ keyboard rather than the computer keyboard. That got me thinking…..

I accept that computer literacy and such is crucial for kids and young adults. But, do we give them freedom to explore the world WITHOUT being at the computer? Do we shame kids who don’t prefer to be online? Do we value what kids do away from the computer?
To me, the computer is just a tool. A very powerful tool. Almost as powerful as the organ (hehehe). I value what the human driving the computer creates more than what the tool can accomplish with their effort.
Just sayin’

Rant over.

We had a surprise visitor last weekend. I love when folks drop by to say hello and see the progress on the studio. This visitor was more interested in the roses. Mind, there’s a lot of them on the property. I lost count at 40. Some are in the ground, some planed in large pots. I have been trying to nurture them; in my own black thumb way. So I wasn’t that surprised, with the drought and the place being vacant for those several months, that some of the more exposed roses were looking kinda grim. After I spied the visitor, I didn’t quite so guilty.

We have a good fence, but I doubt that will keep him out. Sigh!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

More Bach, more snipping, and more washing

I took in another concert at the Carmel Bach Festival. One of the draws for festival attendance is the events that are related to the theme of the festival, but not core literature that is popular to perform. You come to hear Carmel to hear Bach. You go to other locations around the world to hear Mozart, or Beethoven, or Wagner, or Marsalis, or Scaggs, or….well, you get the idea. There’s always an event that stretches you a bit. Last night was one of those events for me. Bartok and Dvorak were offered right alongside Bach. The pieces chosen are familiar repertoire; I just hadn’t connected them together with Bach. I’ll be looking over the concert notes and thinking about that connection a little more today. Perhaps during my walk, or when I’m mulling why I’m up to version 6.2 of the shawl angel.
Yes, 6.2
I know my idea is good. I know it will come together. I know even the best designers do quite a bit of snipping and binning. I know I will work it all out. I know I have as much time as I need to take. I know also I’m a bit weary of it all.

Off to wash some walls in preparation for priming. Yes, priming. We’ve decided the accent wall is just too bold a color for using the Swiss Coffee alone. We’ll be washing, maybe sanding, priming, and then the color coat(s). I don’t have as much time as I need for that, so I’d better get started!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bach at the Mission

I’ve finished tatting the snowman earring set. No pictures until the customer is happy though. I’ve been working on the pattern, so that should be up about the same time the picture can be released. It made me happy to get that project finished. I know I will make more pairs. Perhaps with different colored hats or different beads.

Progress on the organ studio? Not much to write about. Still gathering carpets and trying to get the brick rehab scheduled. Still getting the walls uncovered so that we can paint. But, I continue to practice and enjoy Bach Festival.
Altar in front at Carmel Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
Here’s a link to the organ I enjoyed for the second concert yesterday.
Pipework of the Casavant at Carmel Mission
 I must get copies of the music I've heard here at the Festival Concerts. I already have a doily in mind for one piece.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The best laid plans.....

I’m sure I’ve started a post with those words before. I use them often. Not to whine, but to remind myself that you can plan, but must respond to reality. Just like a conversation, there has to be give and take.

So, what happened? Not much

I picked up the screen we use in the kitchen sink to catch food particles. One of the wires has come loose enough to poke me. I was working quickly as I wanted to get to the tatting. So, you guessed it…it poked me good! Enough to draw blood. Terribly inconvenient for working with white thread. I’ve never successfully tatted with a bandaid on a fingertip either. So, set that project aside for a couple of days.

On a more musical note: I will be subbing this weekend. So, my practice time has to be very disciplined. I’m looking forward to playing for this group. They can sing! With gusto! The organ isn’t much. Several stops aren’t working, so I’ll need to be on my toes lest I pull one of those and expect sound!

I’m looking forward to a few musical days ahead…..

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

of hats and Bach

The snowman earring (both for the pair) is wearing a hat. Now for the beads that will make him smile and her eyes twinkle. I'll try to get a picture when they are suitably decorated, but they won't scan well with beads and well, you know my photography skills...or lack thereof. All in due time.
That is, when I can pull myself away from the Bach festival. Now before the Bach Cantata members that lurk here get all huffy……I know it’s not the definitive Bach Festival. It’s a darn good hometown festival that professional AND locals pull together to get more Bach into the air. I know it won’t attract those doing the most cutting edge research into how to perform Bach music, but the performances are darn good! And there’s enough variety of performance styles to appease just about everyone who isn’t so grumpy with “correct” to see beauty. Ok….rant done.
I still haven’t completely processed the concert I attended yesterday. It was THAT good. I’ve notes, but each time I’ve sat down to put into words what I heard, I end up getting out my scores and creating. Sigh. I promise more at a later post.

Today I plan to get those beads on and then take in the art raffle before the performance. Maybe I’ll get there early enough to catch the Tower Music. And then, there’s the stroll on the beach. I love Carmel.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Working vertically and horizontally

My binder is starting to fill. The projects are taking shape. I am knocking tasks off the lists.
For any of you that have lived in older homes, you remember just how many panes of glass there are. I lost count at 100 in this house. We discovered a couple of months ago that 6 panes had been painted over. The same color the walls were painted…..2 coats ago. And then repainted. The clerk in the paint store gave a wry smile when I asked how often “why did they paint that?” is heard. I know people make more than one decision when remodeling that doesn’t make sense later. I’ll probably make some of those same choices. But, seriously…..paint up a window? So my vertical work is scraping paint off the glass. I make sure that I get my tatting in before I start. And that I do the hand wash to clean up before I start cooking dinner.

The horizontal work? That’s finding what’s going on the floor in the studio. I want something removable and interesting. If you’re thinking carpet, you’re close. I’m thinking rugs. So, out came the tape measure and the role of blue tape. I could kiss the person who thought up blue tape. Much better than the masking tape I grew up with. I’m sure it was a woman! Yesterday I did some “thrifting” as my daughter calls it. I found a decent rug that will need cleaning. 1 down…..mmmmm……half a dozen to go. With 4 doorways into the room and 5 columns smack in the middle, smaller and a variety of shapes seems the way to go.

So, first up today: finish the snowman.
Then, scrape some paint.

Then, draw out the room to scale so that I can take it with me to the stores.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

one down and one to go

Thank you Jane  for the reminder of using coil-less safety pins! I remember you finding a use for them several years ago. And yes, they work well for that task. Thank you!

My challenge last week: find a way to use them with tatting size 80 thread. It didn’t work well. But…..

Metallic sewing thread works well. I picked up this thread years ago in a sale bin. Probably at the Lace Museum during one of their vintage sales. I loaded some of the thread onto a smaller shuttle, dropped the shuttle through as I was making picots to be used in the joining later, and voila picots marked plainly and Round 2 tatted gracefully! Sigh!!!!

I decided to tat the second earring before sewing the beads for the eyes and mouth on ANKARS style. I may even use something for buttons. I’m getting excited to see these guys dancing on the wires (earring wires that is).

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Progress on the snowman...

In white thread it’s looking more wintery and less quacky. I know, that’s not a word. But sometimes tatting turns your brain….well….quacky.

What’s making me squawk? The joins in the body section.
 I wanted lots of picots for fluff. I’ve got that. I wanted to use size 80 for proper scale. I’ve got that. I wanted to make the center dense. I’ve got that. I’ve been so effective in working those goals into the pattern that I can’t tell where to join! Nothing new in tatting, I know. So……

From my sewing experience, I yearn for pinning or some marking chalk to mark the joins. Think marking darts; ease points; buttonholes/zippers/fasteners. You get the idea. I understand there are stitch markers in knitting. Maybe……

Gotta come up with something or I’ll go completely quacky. Ideas anyone?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Progress on studio 1.0

Today’s task: start the binder
ready for "stuff"
I’m having great fun planning and executing the studio preparation. It’s exciting! It’s also daunting! And the first thing I do when I feel overwhelmed: get stuff written down and organized into a folder/binder/file….whatever! I’m addicted to getting thoughts out of my brain onto paper. 

Getting them into a computer just doesn’t cut it. I need to pick up the paper, hold it, stare at it, take it with me to the store, put it in front of the expert I’m trying to communicate with….you get the picture (on paper!)

So, I’ve located an empty binder and an empty folder that can go into the rings. Now I’m ready to figure out what to do next. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015


So, for years my blog has listed thoughts about organ music. I’ve not written much about organ music: the odd concert comment, a piece used as the basis for a tatting pattern, the occasional indulgence in playing for the fun of it. Well, I’ve realized that with an organ arriving for the studio, I’ll have to change that.  I have room in the “new” house to keep my music accessible. Maybe even at my fingertips. Now, if this had audio to where I’m sitting with my laptop, you’d here chuckles and chortles and sighs of anticipation. Even though it’s tempting to take music to the piano to polish up for the big debut, I’m forcing myself to keep focused on getting the house ready! Yesterday, I found more resources in a local paint store. I also checked some books out of the library. I found working on the last house, if you have no clue what questions to ask, you can't learn what you need to decide. So, the process has begun in earnest. Between organ pedals and tatting shuttles my life will be very busy. I must get organized (pun intended) NOW!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It all started with a snowman.....

Not the scary kind in Dr. Who. That was a creepy Christmas special that year! And since I rarely see snow unless I drive 4 hours to the mountains, the word snowman brings those images to mind.

No, this snowman was to be a tatted earring pattern. I came up with sketches; saw a few Open Houses for our house hunting; did a trial tat that got lost during those treks; redid the trial and amended the sketches; test tatted that thought; put the house on the market; packed up the household and unpacked the essentials; and then the duck came calling: 

I think the beads are too big, but these were just lying around. He’s kinda cute if I say so myself! Now to make this little guy into a snowman……..

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just another day in ......

The morning started out wonderful.

The sunrise was spectacular. The hills across the bay were tinged with red, the water looked glassy, and the sky through the pine boughs was getting lighter by the minute. I love sunrise. My little point and click cameras, nor my cell phone, do not do justice to the scene. I won’t make you grimace by trying to capture it that way. You’ll just have to find a place to enjoy a real sunrise! There out there. You’ll just have to look for them.

I’ve also made good progress in the project of installing the organ. I know what I need to do to prep the room. I’m finding people to help and advise me. Today I need to figure out the schedule for it all. I think I’ll leave the figure out the budget until after the trip to the hardware store. That may mean a loan. I hope not. That would make keeping the focus of my energies more difficult.
I’m still revising the written part of the angel pattern. I’ve tatted the “sketch” of the snowman pattern. I hope to finish both today. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I bought the.....organ!

So, June was a crossroads? Yes.

July was to be painting time? Yes.

After last weekend, I get to add a very big project to that list: Moving my organ into the house. 

The studio will be the central room in the house. Right now, it still looks like a converted courtyard. So, we’ll add flooring to the July task list.

Oh, and I discovered a huge pattern oops in the angel. You know how you pick up and set things down a certain way until you are forced to do things differently? Well, I watched a friend pick up the angel and hold it. The way she was holding it turned a light bulb on in my mind. I’m sure she would have been surprised to see my face at that point. I’m sure I looked rather silly. I’m sure the pattern will be a better pattern now; so, back to part of the drawing board on that pattern.

Right now, I’m off to research what flooring will work best for the organ.....

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June is half over already!

The week has been a crossroads for me in a way. I had the pleasure of celebrating a college graduation, assisting a young couple in the first stage of relocating, and connecting with people I know will be a part of the rest of my life. Realizing all that has settled a bit of the chaos in my mind. It’s also made it easier to focus. I’m liking it!

I’ve added a couple of organ related blogs to my read list. These are by no means the only organ blogs out there. I would welcome any suggestions as to other blogs related to organ teaching I could follow. I still feel a bit breathless that I am working towards an organ studio in my home. I know it’s a good idea. Working towards that goal is fun. The commute is easier. It’s still hard to focus at times, but that’s getting easier. Perhaps it’s easier now because I have accomplished enough to be established. I know I will continue to learn, but I no longer feel like I need to establish myself. We’ll see how long that feeling lasts.

June seems to be speeding by. I have 2 more weeks to explore and unpack and plan the scope of work for the summer. Then July will dawn and I will be starting the real work. The paint brushes will get heavy use. I will even change this blog in a good way.  Better get busy with that list!

Please use the comment section to recommend other blogs related to organ music and the instrument for my list to read. Thank you for that help.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Maybe that's why I like tatting....

The neighborhood we moved into has some truly historic homes. Well, as far as the West is concerned, they’re old. Anything over 50 years can be considered for informal or even formal historic status. Now, before the comment section lights up with arguments, I know there are some who view asking for a Historic designation for your house like asking for a hole in the head. Personally, I love history. I love old. Maybe that’s why I tat. Ya thingkkkkk

Anyway, the houses are mostly older. “Nob and tube” wiring, chimneys that no longer vent fireplaces, single pane windows that maybe seal, lots of nooks and crannies for “extra” residents, layers and layers and layers of paint, and so on. Getting to know your neighbors here means trading stories of figuring out when and how the house was remodeled, trying to “modernize” the house without ruining the character, and furry creatures that don’t purr or bark. It seems the bigger the house, the bigger the spiders too. All that said, the adventure has been fun so far. I enjoy rolling up my sleeves, putting on the gloves to keep the hands cleaner, and finding what there is under all that….whatever. At the end of the remodel work sessions, it feels good to sit in the window bench with my shuttles. Mid-century Modern has nothin’ on this!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

it did rain....really!

A smidge more than a trace. That brings our season total here to just under 15". "Normal" total is more like 21" if there could be a normal total. So, the drought continues.

I’ve had a request for a pair of “snowman earrings” for a hard working volunteer. I agreed. I mean, how hard could it be? 

Well, I’ve been enjoying my bead cap earrings for several years now. One thing I’ve learned is that the tatting must be very secure. It also helps to keep things looking nice if the tatting has multiple joins to distribute the stress of handling while putting the earrings in ears and taking them out again. 

A quick browse of the books I have, the online tatting class, the antique pattern library, and several other favorite designer blogs/website gave me only 2 patterns to try. So, here’s the body and head of pattern number 1:

head of snowman

body of snowman
The pattern has the pieces tatted separately and then mounted on felt. That could work well, but the tatting just didn’t look enough like snow for my eye. So, on to pattern number 2.

Oh and that storm that blew in? Oh and that storm that blew in? It did bring enough wind to blow things around and enough moisture to wet things down. The walking group I’ve joined walks through a couple of parks each morning. One has a small campground for hiker/biker guests. Several parties looked a bit chilled and damp that morning. Oh, and no fires permitted since we are in such a bad fire danger season. Fortunately, it just a short walk to civilization and a hot cuppa or meal.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Windy, windy day!

The angel is finally coming together. I’m finishing the write up of the wings today! Really!!
Right after I meet with people who will help us rejuvenate the garden. Right after I find the box with more checks for my checkbook. Right after……
I had planned to TIP today, but a mild summer storm is blowing in. Just windy. We hope for rain, but likely will see just wind.
Oh, what’s TIP? Tatting In Public. Since I need to try out a couple of patterns for a request, I thought I would change up where I try them out and find a chair in the library or someplace. Check back Thursday for a report on where I decide to TIP.

Friday, June 5, 2015

White deer visit

I seem to be discovering something in nature just about every day at the new house. One day, it was that 8 of the huge pots in the garden have a variety of orchid planted in them. They are severely crowded and need some love. I’m hesitant to touch them; I tend to kill plants I try to love.

from the garden
Yesterday I was taking a break from trying to figure out how to notate the pattern for the skirt of the angel. Right there, in the middle of the street, stood a white deer! I know that not all animals with white coats are true albinos. I had never seen a white deer. Just read about King Arthur chasing the white stag; the Kings and Queens chasing a white stag and ending up in a wardrobe; the Ghost Stag of some fairytale my son was reading; you get the picture. But, there…..just feet from my yard.

A white doe.
Neighbors I occasionally walk with confirmed I wasn’t imagining it. Seems it was born 3 seasons ago. It warmed my heart to think that it has thrived here in a rather urban setting. If you search the local tv station archive, you’ll find a couple of stories with good pictures. I have to wonder, as a mom, if she has raised any fauns and what color their coat is.
Ok. Enough distraction. I must finish this pattern. There are other tatters waiting to tat these angels for shawls. I also need to get started on Christmas presents

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What is that buzzing sound?

Closing day….a day to remember.

I remember the day we closed on our house. We were renters for the first time in years. (If the USAF counts as landlords) And then this happened:
bee swarm in white trumpet vine on trellis

Now, I don’t mind sharing our world with honeybees. They make sweet fruit and nuts and honey and lots of other yummies. I was just really not crazy about them camping out so close to our front door. Our guest had to leave by the back door and walk around the other side of the house to get to the bright yellow convertible she parked in the driveway. Fortunately, the swarm was more interested in checking out their chosen digs and such than in figuring out if the yellow was food.

Of course, bees swarming in a bush or tree have visited before at our house. It must be because we were close to a large county park. The difference this time is the bees decided to stay overnight. Two days later and several visits from a grateful bee keeper, we were grateful to not have that problem to solve. I’m sure the new queen and her workers are furiously building a new hive in a much more convenient location for all. We’re enjoying our new location also!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy June!

Well, May has come and gone. June is here. Happy June!

Thank you for coming along with me on the adventures I’ve talked about here. I like talking. I like listening more. Thank you to those who have commented. You know who you are.

I've learned a lot about myself writing for this blog. I've learned that while I enjoy working with thread; "hear" the patterns in music; and know that I have a good idea combining the two means of expression; I'm not a visual person per se. I express myself with sounds much better. Words come more difficulty for me. Pictures take even more of an effort. That doesn't mean I'm giving up on this whole Picotsnkeys venture. But realizing that has helped me fine-tune my efforts and redirect my energies.

So, what have I been doing the last few weeks?

Packing and unpacking
Saying goodbye
Saying hello

Fine tuning the angel pattern (sorry, no new scan)

I still need to purchase an organ to teach/play. I still need to finish unpacking. I still need to finish the angel pattern write up. I still need to do lots and lots of important tasks. Including writing down more of what is important.
Now, where is that to-do list.......

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Process and plans

The process of relocating is gathering steam. We’re signing lots of paperwork, writing a few checks, and making tons of phone calls and writing tons of emails. It’s a good thing there’s 2 of us working on this with 2 agents. I can’t imagine trying to do all this alone! I’ve been shopping for an organ, a different computer set up, clothes for cooler weather, furnishings for the older, bigger house, and lots more.
I’ve also finished a few tatted gifts and another angel, this time in size 80. It looks much more elegant in the smaller thread. And at just 7 cm tall (about 3 inches) it will fit nicely on the shawls. Now to figure out how long it will take me to tat one without writing down the pattern as I go. Should be much, much faster (snigger, snort, chortle) and without any cutting out mistakes, the next one should look much neater. I may even use a different color thread on the skirt edge. We’ll see.

I will be posting the pattern eventually. I just don’t have the computer power to make up a good diagram or the mental energy to write the pattern out into a word document. But, this is one to share and spread the healing and celebration! So, stay tuned.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

House is sold

Here’s the vision I’ve been seeing in my dreams:
Now I can start on the packing and such. Good thing the angel pattern is just about done. Next stop, Monterey

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Well, the house is in “contingent” mode….in more ways than 1.

We have accepted a strong offer, we have moved out quite a bit of furniture and stuff we’ve accumulated over the years. A car has been sold, another for sale, and the remaining cars are accounted for in our plans.

I’ve accomplished quite a bit of networking. Plans are in place for a studio space that will definitely make money for us.

So, every day I work on the list of tasks with a thought to “what if” and “in case of” and other scenarios. You would think after 30 years of work as an organist, half a dozen years studying tatting and designing for tatting, and several months of house hunting that it would be simple. The hard part is keeping focused to make sure what I really should be doing gets done. Like taking the car in for work on the GPS. It tends to freeze for no apparent reason.

Stay tuned for a picture of the “sold” sign….coming soon…..

Monday, March 23, 2015

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Consider yourself lucky…in a way.

First, the good news:

The Saint-Saens worked in blues is back and framed and hanging on my wall. I enjoy it so much! I don’t think I’ll ever sell this one. Call it my “first” that I consider a lucky charm.

Next, the shawl angel is coming along. Here’s the second version worked in some old size 20 (hence the stained thread).
I've still more work to do on this design. I'd like to see how big it will be in size 80, so I guess that's the next step.

Now for the whining:

This living in a house that is staged for sale is not fun. I’ve lost track of so much. The 2 hours each day I spend cleaning and primping is tiring. I’ve decided I will never try to be a full time maid. It makes the characters on Dowton Abbey that much more real to me. I know there are those who see such drudgery as a step up and a good choice for a career, but I’m outa here! I soooo want to be messy for a day or so!!!



Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Another step in the framing process

Ever find yourself in a loop of chores and repeating tasks? That’s how I feel right now. The house process is stuck right now. Everyone involved seems to be mulling over the next decision. I don’t mind that, but I mind the inactivity.

Today I plan to lace the blue Saint-Saens onto the foam core and get it back to the framer. We’ll see how far I get. I may end up getting distracted by house stuff. That wouldn’t be so bad if the sales/purchase was moving forward.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Well, in the process of finding my pattern sketches, I remembered that I still needed to finish tacking the Blue Saint-Saens piece to the black fabric so I can get the thing framed. Now this is usually when I struggle to finish a project; when the thing is almost completed. My perfectionism usually rears its ugly self and causes me to wish I hadn't made THAT mistake THERE and how should I FIX it. I’ve committed to framing it for my studio wall, which means there’s no deadline, which means I procrastinate since I feel a lower sense of obligation to myself than to other paying customers. BUT….

Yesterday I pushed through all that and finished the tacking down. Wahooooo!!!!!!!

Now, to get to my favorite frame shop and get a frame picked out so that I can measure the foam core that I’ll lace the black fabric onto. Then it’ll be time to get out the tweezers and magnifying glass and bright light to extract all the cat fur that has worked its way into the project. I’ll try hard to get a photo of it, but can’t make promises. The camera was packed away when we staged the house. Getting to it, getting things set up, and then tucked away again may just not be in the schedule.

Tonight I’m taking time to sing in an Evensong service. The ancient sung prayers have a way of creeping into my soul and calming my mind and centering my energy. Something a house hunter needs!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ain't house hunting fun!!!

Well, it is fun to imagine and see where other people have chosen to live at one time or another. It’s another experience to actually start the process of buying/selling and moving/relocating. It’s exciting, scary, and rather nerve-wracking. I have to keep telling myself that I can stay calm through it all. Tatting helps.

 I took the time to locate where my bead stash is. I have been itching to tat more earrings. I also need to clean or replace a pair that I wear often. My photo didn’t turn out well at all. When I finish the replacement pair, I’ll scan them before I finish them with the wire. I like using jump rings and such to attach the tatting to a wire. It seems to put the focal point of the design at the height that compliments most people. Just my opinion……

I think I’ll go pick a pattern idea from the sketch book. That should calm my nerves and focus my imagination.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

of flowers and angels appearing

Well, I did stop and smell the roses this week. I also had good progress with the angel pattern. I’m using a design technique that starts with a sketch (which can be quite amusing from my pencil) and then tat rings and chains to fill in your outline (which can leave lots of ends and waste lots of thread). The bottom of the skirt was a challenge, but I think I finally have something I can build on.

 I won’t amuse you with my photography skill or lack thereof. I just invite you to find a rose or other flower to stop and admire today. I wish you happy tatting and happy strolling!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Spring is here!

The plum tree is in bloom. The birds are starting to stake out nesting places. And the weeds are back. If you’ve followed this blog over the years, you know about our garden and weeds. post on weeding I didn’t do a real thorough job of weeding while the ground was soft from the rain. Now, the weather is turning warm and dry. So, I’ll just have to cope later. I really dislike using weed killer in the ground around the fruit trees. There’s just something off about that.

I hit another snag in the angel pattern. I struggle so with scale and making the motifs fit a shape I’ve determined. I hope to conquer this over the next few days; Then, on to tat a test in smaller thread to see how big it really will be. I may have to simplify the pattern to get it down to a manageable size.

I think I will take a walk around the yard to smell the roses first……

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Spring tasks

This spring I have a new task to balance. Normally, I take on the pleasure of spring garden tasks along with housework, tatting, and volunteering. The roses are in bloom now. All of the bushes made it through the winter. The climbing rose is actually doing better this spring than in other years.

My new task: watching the listings of new houses in our target area. Sometimes that means that I don’t get to tatting as my volunteering and housework and gardening take up the time left in the day. The good news is that if we decide to look at a house in person, it’s a couple of hours car ride. Time to tat!

I need to squeeze in a trip to the local plant supplier. We have 4 areas around our fountain that need plants. This is the only one to survive this winter. I’d like to replant with the same plant.
plants around fountain
But, I have no record of what this one is called as I didn’t expect it to do well. It did, so now I’m on the hunt!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

TIAS 2015 finished

It’s always fun to tat through the puzzles that Jane cooks up. I love the way her brain percolates. I think I’ll be tatting several of these for gifts to good friends.

TIAS 2015 by Jane Eborall

It rained quite a bit Friday and yesterday. The sun is out today. I'll be getting into the yard to pull weeds while the ground is soft. No tatting until my hands are cleaned up though!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Shawl angel coming along

I finished the head, body and wings of the angel.

Shawl angel head, body and wings

If my math is correct, when I work it in size 80 thread, it will be a little wider than the labels that are sewn onto each shawl and blanket and lap robe and scarf. It will be a tad longer I think. I’m not sure because I decided not to work on the skirt yesterday. I chose to work on tacking down the Blue version of the Saint-Saens. That task won out over sorting for the move as I decided that I didn’t want to move with the doily still in the hoop. I think with 2-3 more days it should be ready to go to the framers. Whew!!!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Here's my TIAS so far

TIAS 2015 up to Day 11

Each year I enjoy what Jane cooks up for us. I think I like that the pattern is released in small chunks and we are encouraged to guess what we’re tatting. I've guessed we're tatting scissors. She is so kind to post what folks send her on the blog. I'm in good company as many of the folks who have sent pictures guess scissors also.

Now I’m off to work some more on the angel. I’ll post when I have something interesting to show.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Another house hunting trip

Another house hunting trip


Picking a house to bid on is tough. It’s complicated. It’s emotionally draining. It’s exciting and terrifying.


I think what weighs on my mind the most is that I’m committing to something for years and years. Yes, I can change things. Yes, things will break and I’ll have to fix them. But, I stand in someone else’s home and try to imagine it as my home.

Now, I have a very active imagination. So, the imagining part isn’t that hard. We’ve remodeled our present home and I’m fairly conversant in handyman, so the fixing and changing isn’t hard to imagine. It’s just hard to think through everything and make sure I don’t get carried away with all the possibilities.


At least where we’re searching, it’s easy to take a long walk and let the ocean help calm down the thoughts and emotions.


More later.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

joining in with TIAS

I’ve been tatting along with Jane’s TIAS. Just not every day.
I do try to limit the sorting in our house, the browsing for the new house, and the general puttering. I try to tat each day. I’m still working on the flag. As soon as I complete another stripe, I’ll post a picture. I’m getting closer on the angel. Don’t expect a picture until February.
So, the only pictures I have to share are my TIAS: 
TIAS 2015 Day 5

back of button

I was tempted to use the back of the button. I like the little dark spot. But, not knowing how the pattern will turn out, I couldn’t decide how to orient the spot, so I used the front. But……

I have another button to use for the second sample!