31 December 2012

It NEVER occurred to me!

When I was re-jigging my pattern site a while ago I decided to 'pretty it up' by putting images on each page.  It was SOOOO boring before.  

First I had to find a way to do it and I found a free program for the iMac which would help to convert images to thumbnails.  This is SO easy as all I have to do is drag the file name onto the picture of the software in the dock and it's done.  

Then (using Seamonkey) I had to find out how to add them to the boring pages.  I used my age old method - hit and miss!!  Anyway job done - or so I thought.  

Just before Christmas Georgia said that some people found it frustrating that the thumbnails didn't have links to the patterns on.  It had never occurred to me that anybody would want/need that. This proves how my simple brain doesn't work!!!  So I settled down on yet another 'rain stops walks' day and fixed those thumbnails.  Most of them now have links to the relevant patterns.  Just a few don't as they really were there just to 'pretty things up'.

Here's a screenshot of the front page to show you what I mean.  All these thumbnails are now clickable and will take you to the patterns - same on all the pages!!!!  Well, fingers crossed, eh?

29 December 2012

Doily round 2

Here's round 2 of the mystery doily.  I wanted a complete contrast for this row so used Lizbeth thread number 691.  I think it makes the blue stand up quite well.  

It takes me a lot of agonising over which colours to use as I'm pretty sure I know what I want on the final round so all the others should lead up to that one.  Still it's quite a novelty working on a doily.  It'll never be used - just chucked in the usual box.

I really must find some time soon to make some smallies - little things I can give to people 'as and when' I need/want to.

28 December 2012

Oval pendant

So, after the earrings then there just HAD to be a pendant!!!  Here it is.  

I'm having problems with getting myself in the 'mood' to put the pattern together at the moment.  I will get there shortly.  I think the constant rain has caused internal rust!!!

I will have a firm word with myself and make sure I listen to myself too.  Hmmmm, I hope I don't bore me as much as I must be boring you!

I hope to get the TIAS up online over the next few days too and will announce the start date too.  No, I haven't forgotten!!!

27 December 2012

Doily round 1

No, this isn't what I was doing over the past two days!!!  I did it before the festivities but have only just got round to blogging it.  On this round I used Lizbeth thread number 658 for the rings and 665 for the chains.

I've (well, brain cell 3) has almost decided what he's going to work on next but I need to draw up a rough idea first.  This one feels as if it might benefit from a 'sort of' drawing first although I normally head straight in with the shuttles - armed and dangerous!!!  We'll see.  I'll not have much time today as we have a 'grandson invasion' predicted.  Least that's if the floods don't prevent them getting here.  

24 December 2012

A guessing game!

Before I start - a warning.  I've had to put the captcha test back on my comments.  I DO hope this doesn't put you off commenting but I was getting so much spam it was beginning to annoy the old git.

Now to my real post!  I was a war baby. Born in 1943 when rationing was on and things were tight financially.  

One of my earliest memories around the time I started tatting was that I could just afford to buy patterns and threads on a meagre amount of pocket money.  

Patterns (both books and leaflets) were few and far between 'back then'.  I bought every leaflet that was published during those teenage years and one doily really appealed to me.  I made it several times during my early years of tatting and a few weeks ago I decided that it was time to relax over the Christmas period and tat it again.

I'm not going to tell you which one I'm making - I'll leave you to guess over the next few days/weeks - if you want to.  I suppose it'll be good practice for the TIAS but in this case I'll be doing the tatting for you!!!!  I WILL tell you which one it is at the end, though.  

This time of tatting the doily I decided to use some of my new Lizbeth threads.  This part is made using size 20 Gold and the number is 611.

22 December 2012

Oval earrings

First of all thanks for all the suggestions yesterday - they all got my adrenaline going and I'm so grateful.

Now, do you remember these earrings from a few weeks ago?  Well I had one or two people who commented (and quite rightly) that they'd be lovely IF there was a version not on doodads because not everybody can get hold of them - or probably don't want to either!!!  I decided that they were quite right, of course so off I went on another journey!!!

Well this time I had to find a way of adding a bead to the centre of the earring but as I was using a self closing mock ring to start the design off I then had to wangle a way of doing that.  Well, this led to this new page having to be made!!!  I realise that this technique has been done before but the more places that techniques are shown then (IMHO) the better!

This has inevitably led to the 'need' for an oval pendant to go with them which is where my journey is now heading!!!  I hope to have both patterns ready shortly after Christmas.
http://www.etsy.com/shop/janeeborall - Etsy shop
http://www.janeeborall.freeservers.com/ - Tatting patterns

21 December 2012

In the doldrums

OK, so there's the TIAS to finish off (mainly uploading the links), a technique page to finish off (should be ready tomorrow) and then - nothing.  
I don't know what to do next.  I'm babysitting this evening so I have a hanky edging to take and do while I'm doing that but I've no idea what to make now.  

I want to start a new design but have no idea what to do.  I'd sort of like to do a new animal but have no idea what's wanted/needed.  ANY suggestions would be gratefully received!!

Inspiration, please contact brain cell 3 before he deteriorates into brain cell 2 or 1 and worse still, disappears altogether.

20 December 2012


Now a couple of days ago I had this Christmas card and gifts.

I opened the larger than normal envelope to find them inside.  Well, I thought to myself, what a pretty card.  I was just going to put it down when the 'alarm bells' went off from brain cell 3.  He said - yer daft old moo (or git - didn't quite catch what he said) - look closer at the Christmas tree card.

When I took another look I realised that it was a tree covered in trees!!!  Geraldine (blog link here) said she'd made 30 of this tree pattern for presents.  That lass has a lot more stamina than me - I got bored after about six!!!

Thank you, Geraldine - I'll be putting that in my 'to keep' drawer after Christmas.

19 December 2012

Two fantastic guys

I took part in a Secret Santa back in 2008 and was SOOO lucky to be paired up with Carol Amich (battatter) who sent me these little guys.

They remain hidden in a secret but safe place at the back of a drawer and only come out at Christmas.  Even then I put them somewhere safe when the grandkids come along as I find it very hard to resist pleas of 'can I have one, nanny'?

Aren't they just the cutest guys and isn't Carol just THE most talented lady in this free form tatting?  An even bigger question - aren't I the luckiest person in the world to receive these?

18 December 2012

An Ebay win

Sometimes there are things on Ebay that are soooo tempting.  Not because they're valuable or something I 'need' but just because they are cheap or SOOOOOOO pretty.

This collection of Milward shuttles and an England Aero just screamed out at me as nobody seemed to want to give them a good home.  There was only one other bidder.  I always worry that if something isn't 'won' on Ebay the seller just might throw the item/items away.  The brass shuttle also cried out to me as it's been very, very used and loved in the past.  

Now the 'thing' that puzzles me is the pretty tool that came with the collection.  Does anybody know what it is?

I've sort of got a feeling it might be for removing pins on a bobbin lace pillow but I'm not sure.  It's been hand painted and I love it for the reasons that it's been loved too.

17 December 2012

The Ice Queen

Today I'm going to show you Frivole's beautiful Ice Queen design.  Well it would've been better if I'd used smaller beads for the centre but then it was an 'emergency' test tat and those were  available in the cupboard and in a colour that would 'almost' go with the bugle beads.

The test tat really didn't involve any 'work' as such on my part as the pattern was great and easy to follow.

One thing however led to a discussion with Frivole on one part!!!  Just shows that two tatters can think in parallel ways!!

I must admit I was foxed by the term MR and then TR.  The MR (which I would also consider a chain)  and TR (which is a thrown ring - or in 'Jane' a ring on a chain) is a canny way of avoiding an SCMR for those of a nervous disposition.  Clever, lass is Frivole.  I worked it out though and instead did an SCMR!!!  I'm an awkward OG!!!!

Which reminds me - must finish a new technique page based on a new idea with the SCMR!

15 December 2012

Christmas ribbons

When I was out and about with my daughter and two grandkids about six weeks ago we went to a nearby garden centre.  They had a wonderful display of Christmas 'stuff' and the kids really enjoyed it.

They both spotted some bows which could be hung on a tree and were really taken with them.  I told them that I'd make them some if they really wanted bows.  This is what I made.  Nathan asked for orange and Abbi asked for - well, no guesses there - pink.  She's very, very pink orientated!!!!  In fact my daughter was  concerned that the school uniform has no pink in it so when she started school in September she wore pink knickers!!!!

This pattern isn't on my site yet but you can get it along with some really wonderful patterns from the Palmetto Tatters.  It's on this year's CD which they put together with all the Tat Days patterns.  

14 December 2012

Blue box

OK, so here's another box!!!  This is done in Lizbeth and this one is called 'Summer Fun'.  Sally and I saw this colourway when we were in the USA in September and both fell in love with it.  I've used that on the rings and a plain Lizbeth on the chains.  Can you tell that I'm enjoying my wonderful stash of threads?  This is an easy tat but you have to keep an eye on where the beads are on the tops of the buttons - after all you don't want them on the inside of the box, do you?

Ah, I bet you want the pattern, now!!!  Well, here it is in all it's 'buttonry'!!!!

13 December 2012

My sister is a pain!!!

No, not really.  Actually I don't know how she puts up with me so every so often when she asks for something I jump to and try to do it.
Having seen the box on a doodad Sally said that she hadn't got many doodads and would it be possible for me to do one on a button!!!!  Well there's a challenge I couldn't resist!!  Guess what?  The doodad pattern works for a half inch (or thereabouts) button too.  Yippeeeee.  Not a lot of work needed doing on this which was great.  Well, that's what I thought but using a button with beads on one side of it proved difficult to explain in the pattern.  Only so that you get the beads showing on the outside and not the inside!!! Still it kept me out of mischief for a few days!!

I'll get the pattern finished off today and then let y'all (going all southern here again!) have it tomorrow.  

12 December 2012

Another bookmark made

Now this was an order or rather something a neighbour asked for.  A bookmark.  They wanted another Fandango one but I think that it works up a tad too large in number 20 and I don't have much number 30 or 40 and certainly not in the colours required!!!

When they said they wanted it in black and white I thought 'how boring' but actually it was lovely to work.  I used a thread called Finca Bollilos which I bought off Pat at Roseground Supplies back in the dark ages.  Love this thread as it works up so easily and has a lovely finish.

I've only got black, white and (I think!) a sort of pale green colour but that's fine with me as it lasts forever.  Well, forever and a day.  

You'll notice that I allowed myself to 'play' with the tail and used SSSR's carrying the sedentary colour through the one I was working.

11 December 2012

A 'keep it tidy' tip

Do you have the same problem as I do?  Balls of thread that somehow come unwound in the box they're kept in?  See the top picture for the example!  I've found something which may help you as well as myself!!!!  I'm sure lots of you must know this already but it's taken me a mere 55 ish years to find the solution - well, an easy one that I now use.

First you'll need a dental floss threader like the blue one in the picture below.  The coilless safety pin is there ready to hook it back on to when I've finished as they tend to get lost.  I was given these in America but have found that you can get them online here in the UK too.  I'll check locally to see if the chemists and supermarkets sell them too but that will be later today.

So, following the direction that the thread is wound in (in this case from left to right in the picture), poke your floss threader through in the same direction and a little way down the ball.  See the picture below.  It's really easy to do as long as you don't try and go too deep into the ball.

Take the end of your thread and push it through the floss threader 'loop'.

Pull your end through and it will stay where it is until you want to use that ball of thread again!

Don't forget to add the floss threader back on the safety pin - just in case!!!

8 December 2012

The rest of the Fandango Button Snowflakes

Before I mention the snowflakes I must apologise that there was a missing chain between ring 3 and ring 4 on the new Doodad Box which I told you about yesterday.

I think this must have happened when I was setting the diagrams and text in the tables on the word document.  In fact it was Riet (bless her cotton socks) who told me about the missing chain and when I tried to put it right by copying another chain and pasting it in the darn thing wouldn't work.  Strange gremlins in this house at times!!  That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it - so THERE!!!!!  It's now fixed and I'd like to say a big thank you to Riet too.

So, here are some of the snowflakes all in one place.  Yawn, yawn, yawn!!!

7 December 2012

I blame several people for this!

First of all Irma who sent these.  Secondly Miranda who sent these.  Thirdly the lass who really got us all thinking about doodads again by challenging us - Diane.

I got to thinking about the doodads and wondered if anything else could be done with them that hasn't yet been thought about.  Well, actually, I sort of thought about this pattern that I did donkey's years ago.  I wondered if the same sort of thing could be made on a doodad.  Well, it can!!!  It's a whole new pattern but really, really easy as it's only rings and chains.  

Nick said 'very pretty, but why did you make it?'.  Good question - like Everest - it was 'there' (in my head!) so had to be conquered.  I know what he really meant was what on earth would you use it for!!! Well I think it would be a sweet little box for a gift for somebody.

As it measures only just over an inch in size a pretty ring or a yummy special chocolate would fit in it.  I haven't lined mine but it could be easily lined.  I leave you to decide if it's useless or if it's useful.  I'd love suggestions on what it could be used for, though!!!

Before I forget - the pattern's here!

6 December 2012

Last 3 button snowflakes

OK, now this is the last - I promise.  I may show you a couple of pictures with the whole lot together just so you can see how stupidly addicted I've been over the past few weeks.

I like the bottom one best but also the middle one in which I changed slightly how I've been working them.  For some reason I thought the best way to work the pattern was to use the plain thread on the outside as a sort of 'border'.  In the middle one I did it t'other way round and I think it looks better but maybe it's because I love that particular HDT!!!  

Who knows when you live with an entity like brain cell 3 who comes and goes with worrying regularity!!!!

5 December 2012

More of the same, sorry!

I'm afraid it's more of the same today but I'm hoping to shortly be able to share something I'm quite pleased with.   A new pattern which is very easy.  I do have a few more of the Fandango Button Snowflakes to show but I'll find something else for tomorrow - just to relieve the tedium!!!

I'm glad that yesterday's post helped a few people who may run across the problem of re-sizing photos.  Thank you for all the comments.

4 December 2012

More snowflakes and Information on Blogger photos.

Here are some more of the Fandango Button Snowflakes.  I must admit I'm still addicted to these but that is sort of beginning to wear off a bit!!!

Today I'm going to tell you how to reduce the size of photos (or scans) in your blog.  Blogger uses Picasa to store photos and there's a limit to how much storage you can have with them which is fair enough as it is, after all, free.    You can pay for more storage but for most of us in these lean times that's not something we want to do!!!  

Some people upload photos without re-sizing them which is part of blogging that a lot of people don't think about.  I've been lucky in that I've made web sites and know a bit about storage levels.  Anyway, the way to sort out the Picasa/Blogger problem with storage if you don't want to pay for more is like this.  Well, it's the way I found by 'poking around'.

First go to your Picasa album online and sign in, check your storage amount as in the first picture below - this shows the amount of storage I've got left after about six years of blogging and reducing my sizes along the way.  You can find this at the bottom of the home/first page in Picasa.
Now start the hunt for your over large photos.  You can see how big they are at the right -  picture below.  Now if it's larger than 500 pixels on either dimension I'd suggest re-sizing it.  For this you need to go to where it says 'actions' (top and slightly to left of this same picture) and pull down the drop down menu.  Choose 'edit in Creative Kit'.  

This will open up another feature in which you can see at the bottom left a link which says 'resize'. 
Now choose the size you want but don't forget to tick in 'keep proportions'.    I made mine 500 for the largest size.  Now use 'apply' and then go to the top right hand corner where it says 'Save to my album'.  Choose 'replace' and that's it!!!  Takes time to do it but will save you having to pay for more storage space OR giving up blogging!!!
Now for the boring snowflakes!!!!

3 December 2012

Oval earrings

Another shape of doodad - and another pair of earrings.  I made these a month or more ago but have only just remembered that I haven't 'blogged' them yet.

When I showed these to Sally she said 'oh, not sure about the orange and pink together'.  

It's more of a ruby colour in real life and I love the two together, sorry Sally!!!!

These are made on an oval doodad but I'm not sure if it's really worth finishing off the pattern properly as it will have limited appeal - what do you think?  Are these doodads easy to get hold of and if so does anybody want to make the earwigs?

Oh, another 'thing' while I'm thinking about it.  Some people seem to have reached their limit on pictures in blogger - this is cause a lot of their images are photographs and they take up a lot of space.  They're not allowed any more room in Picasa unless they pay.  Poor Sally was one of those who found out last week about her limit having been reached.  So after a bit of 'poking around' I found the solution.  It's not hard at all but is a bit time consuming and VERY addictive!!  If you want to know more email me - or I could do a blog post as well.  

1 December 2012

Threads, threads, threads

No guesses as to what's in the boxes you can see in the top picture!!!

Yes, I won two lots of thread again from Handy Hands.  Now it may seem easy to come up with thread suggestions but, believe me, it's getting harder and harder as there are SO many gorgeous threads in the Handy Hands shop already!!  One of my suggestions was brought about by desperation.  Yes, even I can do desperate!!!  I wanted a pure, plain cream colour to go with black.  I searched around the UK sites and there was nothing - well, only Cebelia and that was hard to get and it's a tad soft for me.  I bought one from an online shop in the end and it was OK.  Not the best - just OK.  I'd got the sort of off white that is in the Lizbeth range but it was true cream I needed so I wrote to Barb and suggested it.  The other balls were for coming up with a name for a new colourway.  

There's another plain shade I've been forced to suggest too as I'm almost out of the Manuela ball I've used for years.  It's one of my all time favourites and it goes with so many other colours that when it's gone I'll be very, very sad.  I hope it's considered as I'm sure you'll love it too.  We'll see, eh?

30 November 2012

Now a Fandango Snowflake on a doodad!!!

Just for a change I thought I'd try the Fandango Button Snowflake on a doodad!!!!  It works a treat and (of course) it's much faster to make as you don't have the beads to add over the button.  Well you could, of course using inner holes to join to but then you'd lose the prettiness of the doodad and the stitch count may have to be altered too.

The doodad has to be chosen quite carefully as it needs to be roughly half an inch in diameter and it also needs 12 'joining places'.  

I've got plenty of these in my stash and will be making more over the next few days - unless another idea that's been brewing in brain cell 3's part of my brain makes a takeover bid.

The new idea has to do with doodads too but not like you've seen them used before!!  Well, of course, that's if it works!!!  The best made plans of mice and men don't always work out!!!  As I use a good brain cell it does give me a slight advantage although number 3 has been somewhat overworked lately!!!

Oooops, just realised that the saying (best laid plans etc) is sexist - or should that be 'manist'?  Still it's not MY saying, is it?  Sorry, Mark and any other male tatters who waste their time reading my ramblings!

29 November 2012

Here it is!!!

Another three Fandango Button Snowflakes and now the pattern!!!

When will the addiction end?  I can't stop making them at the moment.  So many colours in my stash and so little time in my life.  I'm now dying to see if anybody else makes them and if so, what colours they use.  I know Sally's got the bug and I'm hoping others catch it too!!!!  

Right, after I've done the essential shopping etc for the day I'm going to make a few more and then I've got another idea I want to play with!!!!

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Happy Beaks

Happy Beaks
I beg your pardon? I didn't quite catch what you said.