Tuesday, January 19, 2010

whoops! and a quandary

I completely forgot to post photos of the tatting I did for x-mess!

I don’t have a really good shot of it, and wont until the aunt that I gave them to comes back from Mexico. But here it is:

tatting (2)

This was adapted from a pattern I saw online at free-tatting.com
Forgive the wonkyness of it, I hadn’t stiffened it at this point, it was fresh of the needle.
This is one of those hard call pieces. Do I make more to sell, or is it too close to the original inspiration? At what point is a piece yours and not someone else's? I never looked at the pattern for this, I saw the image and made up my own version, is it mine, or is it still theirs? I have no idea how close the stitches are to the original, and I didn't use the multitude of beads that they did.. but..is it my creation?
I just don’t know, and I need to decide soon because I have several requests for this exact set.
I haven’t had to worry about this much because until I started tatting all of my work was completely mine. But, with something like tatting, I needed to look at other patterns to figure out what the hell I was doing. Now I can see a piece and make my own version of it… pull out that ring, add another here, up the stitch count…
Lately my work is adaptations of vintage doily patterns. Pull out the center part, add a bit here and there, and voila! brand new piece. There isn’t really anyone that is going to call me out on that.. and in some ways there are only so many things you can tat, only so many ways to make rings and chains that eventually you are going to come up with an original creation that someone, somewhere, also came up with as an original creation.
Example, I came up with a wicked cool cross a few weeks ago while playing around with old thread. I had never looked up crosses because they just aren't my thing, but my thought was that lace crosses would be very sellable to the Goth market. My intention was to make a choker out of them that could be worn either inverted or not. 3 days later I found the exact same cross on a tatting site that I had never visited before. I blew up the image, and sure enough it was exactly the same. So back to the drawing board I went, because the last thing I want to do is rip someone off, intentionally or no. But yet… I did come up with it all on my onesies… and I have not yet seen a repeating cross choker.

So what is a tattered girl to do?

As a side note, and update to yesterdays cake… the cake was apparently dead on to Sister’s, the frosting was not. Apparently it had the exact same taste, but the complete wrong consistency. In theory by the time my Aunt J visits, or my awesome Colorado cousin gets her butt back to VT I'll have perfected it. Anyone want to help me eat the experiments?

Monday, January 18, 2010

THE cake…

Have you ever had anyone in your family say “she/he made the best _____, if only I had the recipe” and then extolled the virtues of said food goodness? I’m sure you have. Everyone has someone that makes the best something or other… So In my family there are a few such as Frito Pie, Cheesecake, fudge, tamales… recipes that we could come close to, but never quite do right. But there is one that always eluded the fam. Sister’s cake.

Sister passed on when my mother was a kid, but she helped raise my mother, and she was a very large part of the family, though no one is exactly sure how or why… one of those old southern adoption mythologies. So for years I’ve heard about Sister’s cake, and had no idea what was in it… or even what it was. This week it got brought up again, and a recipe was found.

Sort of.

Yeah, you know these too. The ones that list all the ingredients but don't actually say how much of each. Yeah. That's the one. And it turns out that Sister’s cake was really only a red devils food cake (red velvet cake), with a bit of a twist, but it was the FROSTING that was so important, and that it apparently has to be a 3 layer cake. Here is the list for the frosting:

2 c milk
2 c sug
heat milk till hard, beat for a long time.

Um. yeah that doesn't help. So I did some digging, turns out that the popular frosting in her time, in that area was a roux frosting. Ok, I have never in my whole life heard of using a roux in frosting… but I looked in the old Joy and found a written note. The complete roux frosting, or Ermine frosting! But oh my god is it good! So here is the penultimate frosting.

2 cups milk
6 tbl flour
2 cups sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Wisk together flour and milk until well blended (you might want to strain it to get out any lumps), and heat on med until thick, whisking constantly. add salt and remove from heat, let cool to room temp.
Beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy, add vanilla.
Beat in milk one tablespoon at a time. viola!

Side note, you want a nice thick roux, it should be almost golden, but not quite. Secondly, make sure it is unsalted butter, and that it is real butter, not margarine or butter substitute because it needs to be something that firms up at least a little bit at room temp,(I would think butter flavored Crisco would work, but I haven’t got the courage to try it) it is much more important then you would think… and yes, I did mean 2 cups of it. This is super runny and frothy when its done, but hardens up a bit once you let it sit, if you want an added “crunch” factor, sprinkle a very light dusting of granulated sugar over the top.

So here is the cake in all its glory:


I love that it looks like something right out of the 50’s or 60’s. Hooray for Retro cake goodness!

One extra thing, I did finish the awesome skully scarf, and it should arrive in Ohio tomorrow… I can’t wait any longer to share it, and fortunately for me Michael probably wont check here before he gets his mail tomorrow…. so here is a little sneak peek at the skully scarf

skully (6)

and here is me looking like a dork wearing itskully (4)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

pretty pretty!

Choklit Chanteuse is doing a giveaway! I absolutely love love love her stuff. Lots of ruffles and beads and very steamesque. Is that a word? It should be, hell, it is now!

Seriously how could you not like something called “Adornments for Tarts???” Here is one of the prizes offered,

And here is the link to the giving: Raffle of Revealing Riches

Thursday, January 7, 2010

S&M Crafting

Yep, I’ve done it. No, I’m not talking about whips and chains and gags (alright, yeah I’ve made those, and an eye patch too). I’m talking about crafting that is so painful to do that it feels so damn good when you get it done that you… well. ehh.. yeah.. you know.

So that is my latest commission. Why do I say this? Because after all my trials at crocheting or knitting wire, around glass, or even cassette or VCR tape, I have never honestly tried tatting fishing line. By the way, for those that have not tried knitting the afore mentioned tape, don't. Don’t do it unless you have ears made of steal! Seriously! That sound of “Screeeeeee, screee scree screeeeeeeeee” even sends my cat into orbits so great that no amount of coaxing with cat-nip will draw him back into the house.
for days.
(hint to those whishing to take photos of their awesome craftiness with cats un-present.)
For fishing line, I know I can do it (I made a small rosette) but I have never tried the full deal. Now I have to. Now I get to see if my fingers can take it. Oh, the sweet pain of success!

Oh god.
what the hell have I just gotten myself into?
And what comes next?

Though, if I can do this.. then…
Bring It!!!

So as I commented in response to the loverly TotusMel on my last post, I decided against the TIAS idea. I basically came to the conclusion that people will give me crap no matter what I do. I can argue about it, fight it, so on and so forth, but it will never ultimately change their opinion. (as I have experienced in 90% of all my other untraditional art) I have far better ways to spend my time. Such as.. the afore mentioned hats!
Somehow I managed to convince my loverly and beautiful cousins and aunt to model their hats for me (as they are the only owners of the “slouchy” un-slouchy hats that I came up with {ie they are supposed to be slouch hats, but worked out as more of a skull cap which is much more fitting for VT weather, you can blame that on my “fuck the mainstream” crafty/artyness}) and I should have a few of them worked up to sell this week. Considering that I am one of the unlucky few in the world that have no hatatitude, it would be very good for me to have beautiful models. Fortunately my family is 99% beautiful and they all look good in hats! The great part about them (the hats, not the fam) is that they work perfectly in the “super saver” Red Heart yarn that my local crafty shop sells. (or, unless I want to spend a 20 spot or more on a hank of hand spun yarn this is what I get)

Finally. I have to ask, is no better time in the world to be working on crafty goodness then while listening to Emilie Autumn?
As a side note (not really)… for x-mess next year, speaking of Ms. Autumn… anyone who wishes to prove their love for me will buy me this!!!


and YES I welcome multiple copies.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

un update

I’ve been really busy. And i cant share any of it. Drat.
I’m making the wicked awesome skully scarf that I mentioned in my last post. The front side is about half way done, but because it definitely has a front and back I’m going to have to knit up a back for it. Which will take about 1/4 the time that knitting the entire front has.

One super cool thing? I discovered while I was sitting there getting annoyed about dropping one color and picking up the next, that there is actually a use for having learned to knit with both hands… Yep. I can knit with continental and english *at the same time.* Do you know how handy this is? Granted it only really works if you are using two colors and carrying them through pretty much the whole row, but, good god that is a time saver! Plus, I don’t think I’ve heard of a whole hell of a lot of people doing it. Perhaps I’ll post a vid at some point.

On the same note (that being yarn) I’ve decided to go ahead and use up every piece of worsted weight yarn I have on making the hats that I hate, but that everyone loves. (I’ve sold 4 so far, and told about 10 people that I wont make more… because I hate making them). I have a huge stash of yarn that I will probably never use otherwise, and will end up getting donated to the thrifty, so I might as well make something with it that will bring in some cash. I have to admit, I don’t like making them because they are easy… that’s kind of counter-productive.

I got my first official commission for tatted jewelry! On x-mess I had given my aunt a pair of tatted earrings, and wore some of my own work. She called yesterday saying that she wants me to make up a set based on what I was wearing for her sister. Cool huh?

Lastly, I decided to do a little experiment. I’m getting super super sick of hearing that what I tat is fake, that it isn't real tatting because its done with a needle and not a shuttle. Pooie on that. I’ve joined a few discussion groups and whatnot online, and been called everything from stupid to lazy, and been told that needle tatting can never hold up to shuttle in structure or symmetry. Again, Pooie on that. So here is what I decided. I’m going to do the TIAS, and I’m going to use both needle and shuttle, and the same thread. So I’m going to snap a photo of each one as I go, and see if anyone can actually tell which is done with needle, and which is shuttle. My guess is that it will be about half and half as far as who guesses right. This isn’t really going to be a priority for me, I have other stuff that is top of the list, but fortunately each day is only a small portion of the whole piece, so I might actually be able to do it in a timely manner. We shall see!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Give to mee!

So I’m starting to become a bit of a sucker for giveaways. I almost never win (The awesomeness of Dark Candles being the exception), but I still keep entering the damn things. Today’s is from Pineapple Mint.


She sells wicked cool vintage clothing in her Etsy shop, though I have to say that most of the things that I love love love are way too small.
Like these:
I mean really, how can you not love day-glow yellow vintage pumps??? But, they are a 6, and my feet are decidedly not.

In other news…. We are supposed to get a shit-ton of snow. Yes, that is a proper measurement. Its between a ton, and a fuck-load. So instead of bitching about living up in Vermont where everything turns white and bitter, I’m going to be working on a skully scarf for my dear friend, bestest bud, all around awesomely creepy guy Michael who will be having is birthday soon.  He does wicked awesome art, which he has up on Cafe Press, which more people should own. You can find his shop here. I’m still trying to convince him to branch out and sell on Etsy or Artfire, but no luck yet… (yes, that is a hint spooklings)

I hope everyone had a fun, and not too terribly eventful New Year, and that everyone got what they wanted for X-Mess!