"But, really, why does anyone create? You feel a... a restlessness inside, a need to make something new, something no one has ever seen before. You want to add to the beauty and the richness of the world with a gift, an offering that is uniquely yours. It's an act of selfishness and generosity, all rolled into one."

-- Bruce Coville,
The Last Hunt

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Final San Diego Post

One final photo from our trip to San Diego. This one's not from the zoo, but from an exhibit of Dr. Seuss's work at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park (Dr. Seuss lived much of his life in nearby La Jolla). Click the photo to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I promised you elephants, and here they are.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

More from the San Diego Zoo

Here are a few more photos from the San Diego Zoo.

Yes, this koala is sleeping.

I got a kick out of the warning sign.

 The rhino is slightly blurred here, but I think it captures how fast he was moving. This was taken in the late afternoon, when many of the animals were getting frisky.

Next post: elephants!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


My family went to San Diego over Thanksgiving. You can't go to San Diego without going to the zoo. I'm still working on editing my photos, but here are a few of the best so far.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Earrings Improved

In the last post, I said I liked Marilee Rockley's Kinetic Earrings, but I wasn't happy with the way I had tatted the pendulum section of either earring. The pendulum in this design is the little secondary part that dangles in front of the main motif. Last night I retatted just the pendula. Each one is tiny and takes only a short time to tat; and if you make the top ring as a SSSR with the second thread encapsulated, there are no ends to hide.

These came out much better. Most importantly, I paid more attention to my tension on the lock-stitch chain, so they both came out the same length. I was also more careful with where I started in the colorway; I was hoping to get at least two colors in each pendant, but I actually managed to get all three colors in both of them.

Here's a photo that shows the two separate pieces better.

Probably anybody else, especially a non-tatter, would have thought they looked just fine before; even I thought they were OK, they just weren't as good as I wanted. And if you're not happy with your own work, then you have to do it over, don't you? I'm glad I did.

I always tat sitting in my recliner with my feet up, and a fleece blanket over my lap. I use the blanket even in summer because Squijum likes it; this time of year, of course, it's very cozy.

Funny thing. He won't sit on my lap without the blanket, but he won't sit on the blanket without me.

Friday, November 21, 2014

More of Marilee's

Yesterday I whipped up a couple more of Marilee's designs. I had a nice relaxing day with no obligations, so I was able to do nothing but tat.

This is the Rotation Pendant. All the examples in the pattern are made in solid colors, so I wasn't sure how it would look in a variegated thread. I wish the colors hadn't pooled quite so much, but I don't really mind. I think, in fact, that it came out pretty well.

This one was fairly easy for me because the first two rounds are constructed similarly to those on the large medallion of the Nouveau necklace that I just made. Nonetheless, I had to scrap the first one and do it over because I didn't have enough thread on the second shuttle. Marilee does tell you how many yards of thread to wind on; but instead of measuring it accurately I just estimate it with my arms, and I have short arms. I prefer not to join on a new thread in something this small-- too many ends in too small a space sometimes come out looking lumpy-- so once it became clear that I wouldn't be able to finish the final repeat of round 2 even by finger tatting, I cut it apart to retrieve the beads and started over with an extra arm-length of thread on shuttle 2. If I had been using expensive hand-dyed thread, I might have gone ahead and joined a new thread, but since Lizbeth is like a million yards on a fairly inexpensive ball, I didn't feel too wasteful starting over.

For the top ring where the jump ring is attached, I made a loop-tatted ring so as not to have to wind a second shuttle for just that little bit.

Next, I did the Kinetic Earrings pattern.

No problems tatting these, but I might just re-do the pendulum parts of both of them. The one on the left came out all in one color, so I'd like to do it over starting elsewhere in the colorway; it's so small, and the colors are so long in this thread, that you have to be very careful if you want it to end up in two colors. I'm happy with the way the colors came out in the one on the right, but my tension must have been off on the lock-stitch chain because it came out a little longer than the other and thus hangs too low over the main motif.

I really like this design, with the two separate things hanging off one earring hook. It's the unique little touches like this that make Marilee's designs so special.

These two patterns are not intended as a set, but if you make them in the same thread with the same beads, they end up going very well together.

The navy satin cord that I put on the pendant looks fine, I think, but that was just something I threw on it this morning so I could wear it today (I got lots of compliments, too:)). I think I will change it to a chain with a clasp that will allow me to shorten or lengthen the necklace depending on the top I have on.

The thread is Lizbeth color 122 Caribbean. Just in case anybody has failed to notice, I really like purples and turquoises, so this colorway will go with nearly every article of clothing I own!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Complete Set

Well, it's not technically complete-- there's also a bracelet, but I'm not planning to make that. I find bracelets just get in the way.

I finally figured out that the best background is the turquoise t-shirt I was wearing when I tatted and photographed the first motif. It is just the right contrast to set off the purple so my camera will capture it accurately. Should have paid more attention to that first photo when I took the others. As you can finally see here, the thread is Lizbeth 633 Dark Purple.

The set looked great with my belly dance set, and the party was lots of fun. A few people from my class chickened out and didn't show up, but those of us who were there did our little dance pretty well. The teacher didn't announce we were the beginner class till afterwards, and a couple of people told me they never would have thought we were beginners.