Sunday, June 28, 2009

Anniversary Present

Lest you think that I haven't really been tatting recently, I thought I'd show you this little heart which measures not quite 2 inches across. I thought it would work well for an anniversary project but I wanted to do it in gold thread.

When I did it in DMC gold it came out 1.25 inches across which was just a bit small. So I had to re-do it again larger.

Here is the larger version entwined with a second heart and some gold embroidery on a satin backing and mounted in a 5x7 frame. We had a 40th wedding celebration for my sister Flo and her husband Allan, yesterday. I wasn't present when it was unwrapped so I have not idea whether they liked it or not. They probably did. My siblings are all wonderfully supportive.

In case the reflective thread makes it hard to read, across the top it says Faith Hope Love

with their names across the bottom Allan Florrie

DMC gold embroidery thread is the pits to work with especially on slippery satin. I tried working with 6 strands which just threatened to pull holes through the fabric so I switched to 3 strands. That still didn't work so I resorted to the spooled metallic gold that I used for the tatting. It worked better but I could only do 4 or 5 letters before the thread unwound and became impossible to work with.

In comparison, Gale Marshall at Tat's All carries a gold thread that's a dream to work with for many applications.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Catching up

Judging by the lack of posting here you'd think that my life has been utterly boring with nothing at all blog worthy for months and months, but you'd be mistaken. In March I launched into an online design course for the 4 or 5 people who might have thought I had something useful to teach. It turns out lots of people want some coaching on how to make their own designs. Who knew? I spent quite a bit of time creating a tutorial on using drawing software for producing tatting patterns. Then I spent even more time helping people refine the designs they created. Helping people be creative is harder than I thought. It's one thing to invent a design yourself, but quite another thing to help someone else do it.

I started several more rounds of round robins with group leaders so that I could manage insane amounts of hand holding and group nudging. 2 of my group leaders ran into lots of LIFE happening so I had to fill in where I could. Turns out I don't do well at "fill in". I'm still playing catch up and the round robins are done, I think, but I could be wrong.

The 25 Motif Challenge is still attracting a lot of attention and keeping tatters motivated. Thank God for volunteers who keep it moving. It has gone far beyond my ability to keep it current. Thank you again to Clyde, Laura, Aileen, Jeff, and Clyde, and Clyde who has almost single handedly kept things going. I received an email recently telling me he isn't well and I hope all the extra work he's put in keeping things up to date hasn't been responsible for his ill health.

We have been in and out of court this year. First as a result of an incident last summer where my hubby was assaulted. His assailant was one of our neighbours who had been drinking to much and wasn't thinking clearly. We didn't want to see him charged but when the police became aware of the bruising hubby sustained, it was out of our hands and we ended up in court as witnesses. He got a wake up call, and we were pleased that he didn't end up with a criminal conviction for one stupid action.

Then there are the ice cream trucks. I'm all for free enterprise and kiddies enjoying the delights of summer, but when you live in a neighbourhood full of young families you are a magnet for ice cream trucks. According to the city by-laws they are not permitted in residential areas but that doesn't stop them. All summer long truck after truck parades down the street stopping every few houses to peddle their wares playing their Pied Piper music until you are ready to pull your hair out and run into the street yelling stop, stop, no more, I can't take it. Of course it doesn't help that we work from home and get to hear it all. day. long.
Turns out that the offending trucks aren't licenced so they aren't afraid of being stopped by the by-laws officers. You can't pull a licence if they don't have one and apparently the province has liens on the trucks so you can't impound them..... By-laws can charge them with infractions but usually the fine is only $500. For that they don't even appear in court, they just pay the fine and keep on going. Unless of course you do all the paperwork and take the time to go to court and make the fines stick.

One company was a repeat offender and was under probation from 2007 when the by-law officer asked them for their licence. Instead of giving the officer the information the driver got into the truck and took off at a high rate of speed. The officer, not having a siren in the car was unwilling to pursue them in a high speed car chase through traffic. This information along with a picture taken of this same employee blocking our driveway while dispensing ice cream with the shot of the no parking fire route sign, right behind it, didn't hurt our case any. Pictures and documentation with all of the details right down to the minute the offenses took place were irrefutable. The judge wanted to send a clear message, so the driver was fined $10,000.00 and the business was fined $60,000.00. Score one for the good guys.
The next court case for a different vendor, didn't get that far. They met with the city prosecutor and agreed to whatever terms the city wanted to impose. All last summer the guy kept taunting us "Take me to court." So we did. Score 2 for the good guys. Of course all of this paper work, and preparation has taken a chunk of our time over and above the days we have spent in court.

During this time hubby's brother lost his wife to cancer. She had been suffering for quite some time and it was devastating to him to be planning her funeral while she was still alive. He's feeling lost and totally alone. He spent years being a loner alienating himself from people and only now realizes that he really does need other people. It's heartbreaking to know what he's going through and it's difficult to help him when he's 350 kilometers away.

Just for a change of pace, the brakes went on the car the other day. Hubby went out to the bank and when he stopped at the light he nearly slammed into the car ahead. Quick thinking and quicker reflexes let him grab the emergency brake and avert an accident. Fortunately traffic was light and he wasn't far from home. He limped back and put the car in the garage. It turned out to be a leak in the brake line which he was determined to fix himself. OK honey, I'll stand in front of the car here and direct you up onto the ramps, just give her a bit of gas... Not a good idea when you don't have brakes. They don't call him Mr Fix It for nothing. It's all repaired and working again.

Meanwhile back at the ranch work has been going ahead on beta testing the new software, creating the help manual with all of the attendant screen shots and setting up dummy files to show how it might be used in a number of scenarios. This part took about 7 tries to get it done mostly because hubby and I see things differently. I did the whole thing as a PDF file with full size pictures. Hubby wanted it done in HTML, then he wanted it in hlp, which I have never done before. I'm not too keen on HTML either mostly because while I can speak geek, I don't DO geek. It got done again. In HTML. Then it got re-written again and compiled in both .hlp and .chm. Then it got done again just for fun....please can we stop this merry go round so that I can get off?

Other stuff has been happening too. The garden is growing including several new vines I put in last year. I wasn't too sure about this scrawny thing I put in last summer the flowers were scarce and just a smidgen bigger than the Jackmanii that covers our front wall with small deep purple flowers. This new pink clematis is called Dr Rupple. For perspective, that large piece of timber is a to the right of the flower is almost 5 inches across which is about the same size as a fully opened flower. This itty bitty vine currently has 2 large clumps of flowers like this. I can't wait to see what it will look like when it's had a few years to grow. The other vine is an orange honeysuckle that makes up for in colour what it lacks in scent. Sadly the Chicago Pink Peace rose that I planted last year, didn't take and what came up in it's place is a wild rose bush that bloomed this year in tiny, lightly scented flowers. It's getting dug up later today to make way for a real rose bush.

We've had a visitor take up residence on our wall recently. He must like the location because he hasn't moved from this spot for days. Yesterday he was joined by a friend. Is there romance in the air? These guys are kind of pretty so I'm tolerating them, but if their offspring think they are going to munch on my garden, be warned I have bug spray and I'm not afraid to use it.

Lest you think that there has been a tatting drought here are a couple of things I have been playing around with. I am working on some designs for a book and a lot of tatting is going on that I can't talk about just yet.