So many beads!

I honestly thought my days of blogging were over, but I guess I was wrong! Because here I am! While my use of Facebook really took over all of my time and attention the last few years, sometimes there was info that just didn’t quite fit on a Facebook post. Or at least it seemed awkward. So I’m turning my attention back here for some info and stories and I have to say I’m pretty excited about it. Maybe the blog and I just needed a break – not a break up!

For one thing, I thought the blog would be a great place for me to let everyone know about the new products added recently to our website. I’ll also be sharing new YouTube video content, and of COURSE sharing family and business stories too!

The first of our recent shop additions are some cool new SuperDuos with what they call a “tweedy” finish. It’s multiple colors dappled on the beads. I really like them!! We’ve added 10 colors – my fav being the Violet (surprise!), but all of them are super cool and interesting.

Tweedy SuperDuos

We’ve also added a new type of beading thread called Hana Thread. The story on the development of this thread is interesting. The founder, Midori Matsui, started and ran a thriving wholesale ribbon business until she turned it over to her daughter who continues success with it. In the meantime, Midori became a beadweaver and realized that if she could make ribbon, she probably could develop and make thread too – and Hana Thread was born!

The colors are vibrant, colorfast, and rich looking. Each spool is 109 yards, and is 330DTEX which is the equivalent of about a B size thread. It is pre-waxed (YAY!) and has the strength and quality of KO and SONO threads. So far I have used it only on a single project, but I was very pleased with the performance – there was no fraying, and even though a B weight thread is a little thin for me usually, I had no issues with the Hana. (And let me just say here that my only B thread experience was with Nymo, a thread I don’t use at all any more because there are so many better ones on the market now.) And because a B weight thread is thinner than a D weight, that means a few more passes through a small bead are possible too.

There are 12 colors and we’re carrying them all.

All 12 colors!

We have many more products sitting here, waiting in the wings to be bagged, priced, tagged, photographed, and entered on the website. I have been buying far faster than we can keep up with adding! So I’m trying to be good and taking a pause on the new product acquisitions. But it’s really really really hard! Because I love buying!!

It’s coming – our biggest ever Garage Sale!

Bead Garage Sale at Jill Wiseman Designs

What’s a Bead Garage Sale you might ask? Well, it’s lots and lots of beads at super bargain prices! Sometimes Jill makes ordering mistakes and orders WAY too much of a particular bead. Or maybe it’s some products we’re discontinuing so we can move fresh beads in. And it’s a lot of the little odd bits that accumulate over 12 years of a beading career.

Read the rest of this entry »

Reunited (and it feels so good)

Operation Refresh was a complete success! What a relief to get a break for a few days and see some people I adore, meet new people to adore, and acquire far too much fabulous yarn! I left home without a single bead project and while it seemed scary, it was the right decision. It meant I could truly relax and not stress about the beading I should be doing back at the hotel room. I’ll have to try that on vacations again in the future!

I definitely took the weekend at my own pace. Slept late, skipped a class (or two) because I felt like I’d rather be sleeping. I was able to snag my wonderful friend Marly Bird, who is a superstar knitting and crochet teacher, for dinner one night – a super special treat for me! I love my Marly. I splurged on some special yarns, including some Baby Alpaca that’s beyond soft – it’s like touching a cloud! And by Sunday I was ready to head back home to the fur kids and Mom and yes, even the beads.

So Monday I spent time ordering supplies (I do this several times a week these days to keep up) and then was able to stitch and finalize one more of the projects that must be done before I leave on Thursday for Toronto and BeadFX. Today I’m going to be at the office quite late, working on the other four that need to be done. One is just figuring out the colorway. The other three will be quickies, but they have required some new tools that have left me making several trips to the store to pick up as I figure it out. The good news is that I AM figuring it out, and this will all be good info to share with y’all on a future YouTube project.

I’m heading out for a workout at the gym with my trainer now (I’m so fancy) so I can keep up with all the bead ladies! I promise pretty pictures on the next post. Really. Pinky swear.

Arguing with the beads

I feel like I’ve spent the last 10 days arguing (and losing the argument) with my beads. It happens. You’re going along perfectly happy in your relationship, and suddenly you hit a snag, and for a while you can’t stand to be around each other. That’s where things are between me and the beads. We’re not breaking up for good, mind you. We took a lifetime vow long ago and we’ll stick to it. But we do need a little time apart so we can both breathe and get back to a better place.

So this weekend I’m cheating on the beads with yarn. Lots and lots of soft, fluffy, colorful, happy yarn. I’ll be in the Dallas area for three solid days at Stitches Texas, a knitting (and crochet) show – taking classes – and SHOPPING (I was looking at my credit card balances a few minutes ago, planning my limits *cough*) and spending time with knitting friends. And for the first time in probably 10 years, I did not bring a single beading project with me. I packed a Bead On It Board at the last minute which is kind of funny since I don’t have beads, thread, or needles with me…(shaking my head.)

I love the various projects I designed over the last few weeks – it’s been the colorways that have been fighting back and refusing to cooperate like a tired two-year-old. My hope is that by the time I return Sunday night, the beads and I both will have gotten over our temper tantrums and be back to partners like we should be.

In the meantime, expect some yarn porn photos coming to this space soon.

Is there still a place for blogging?

I miss blogging. There. I said it. I’ve thought about it for quite a while – usually when I have a good story to tell, or some cool news to impart. Sure I can do that on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – but for a story, nothing beats the format of a blog post.

And there’s a lot more of you out there to tell stories to now that the YouTube channel has taken off so well, and I find I have even more to share. Not only the personal stories about my family (many of them covered in fur) and the backstory of being a national beading teacher, but now I also have running an online bead store info to impart – for instance, sharing what new products we’ve added lately, and what our plans are for the future.

So let’s start meeting back here for a cup of coffee and catch-up a few times a week, shall we? I can’t wait.

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Super Bowl Sunday – at home

I have a lot of new readers and new beaders coming to my blog now thanks to the traffic on my YouTube channel. So Hi there! That also means I need to explain to the newbies what Tucson is. Yes, a city! But in February, Tucson turns into the biggest and best bead and gem shopping experience in the US. There are 40+ shows that run in the city – everything from shows specializing in high-end cut gemstones and jewelry to the shows with rough rock for the home and hobby cutter to cut themselves. Tents full of pearls and bead strands and findings and artisan materials. There are bead shows, strand shows, wholesale only shows, and an African Art Village show.

This is the first Super Bowl Sunday in 10 years that I’ve been at home. Normally by this time of year I’m in Tucson, with my booth all set up at the show, and missing the first half of the game. I’ve managed to see the second half (minus the half-time entertainment) most years by rushing back to my lodging after the show closes. But not this year.

I am still going to Tucson, but as a shopper and schmoozer instead of a vendor. It feels weird. I’m partially giddy at the thought of being free from my tethers at the booth. But I’m also a little freaked out at the trip being 100% expense and no income. After all these years of building a business it’s hard to turn off the “don’t spend a dime more than you have to” mentality.

My plans are to meet with various friends and acquaintances to network and talk about new and potential projects, to discover the coolest fresh products that are out there in the bead world, and to buy roughly a ton and a half of pearls for kits. Okay, maybe slightly less than that. But a lot. I’ve got a very long shopping list.

People sometimes ask me why I’d go to Tucson to shop when there are so many online options these days. My answer is that there is nothing like seeing it, fondling it, and picking out the exact strands you want in person. How many times do you order online and discover you’re disappointed with the quality, or color, or size of what arrives? (This is why it’s SO important to support your local bead stores and buy there. We count on them!) Now multiply that disappointment by 10x and you’ll get an idea of my dismay when I’ve purchased 50 strands of pearls and have them arrive scratched, or pitted, or badly dyed.

Being in person at Tucson also means I can talk to the vendors face-to-face and find out the stories behind their product. How it was created, what the production is like, what’s new, what’s selling best, and how I can get my hands on it the rest of the year.

So tonight I’ll be watching the football game from my comfy sofa at home but I’ll be working on fleshing out that shopping list as I do it. Tuesday I hit the road. Wednesday I arrive in Tucson. If I don’t see you there, I’ll see you back here as I report on what I find!

Challenges bring opportunities

You guys know me – I don’t sugar coat things. I try hard to be realistic about what it’s like being a designer and business owner and human being. I tell the good, the bad, and the ugly. And honestly, 2013 has been the embodiment of the Charles Dickens quote, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

I had show income and class sign ups down significantly from prior years. But I also had some of the BEST classes and emotional (happy) conversations with students, customers, fans, and peers. And while I could have rolled over and dramatically thrown a toddler fit over the challenges of this year, instead I decided to act like an adult, analyze the situation, and figure out how I could

adapt.

As a result of the adaptations

I’ve put in motion, I’m so excited for 2014 that I feel like bouncing up and down on the sofa as I write

this. The biggest and most visible, of course, is the YouTube channel, which is taking off like a rocket. There have been so many pairs of Whirlygig Earrings  made and posted on Facebook, I think everyone must have a pair by now!

Linda Hanssen made these Whirlygig Earrings!

Linda Hanssen made these Whirlygig Earrings!

I’m having a blast dreaming up content, filming the segments, and turning a whole new set of peeps into beadweavers! While the content so far has been pretty beginner-based, I will also start adding some more intermediate to advanced options.

I’m on a video roll, as I just got back from very chilly Colorado, where I visited the Interweave offices and spent a few days filming two video classes which will be released in 2014. One is my Kumihimo with Beads class, and the other is Beaded Ropes, with me covering five different types of beaded ropes and variations of those five. I got to wear false eyelashes for the first time – having your own makeup artist doesn’t suck. 🙂 1487991_10202115763550832_563548871_o

And now I’m home for two solid months. My own bed. My own fur babies. Yippee! On the agenda is lots of napping, lots of designing, a little filming for YouTube, lots of new products put up on the website for sale, completion of the garage purge, and more napping. I’ll end 2013 with 78 nights in strange beds. Which is actually down from 2012, so that’s a nice trend.

I can’t wait for more. This job? I love it. You guys?? I love you. Now, let’s bead!

 

 

First YouTube Project Releasing!

Hi Beaders!

I have never been as excited about my job as I have been the last two months. Between being able to roll out a whole new website design with a spiffy new shopping cart system that makes my life and your shopping experience about a bazillion times better, I’ve also been conjyoutube graphicuring up this whole new YouTube Channel for beaders!

Here’s how it works:

I’ll be posting a brand new video every Wednesday. Yes. Every. Single. Wednesday. Rain? Hail? Sleet? Sloth? Doesn’t matter. There’s gonna be a video. Yes, I’m nuts – but you figured that out a long time ago. What will the videos be? Well….

  • Basic Beadweaving Techniques
  • Tips, tricks, info about materials, tools, patterns, resources
  • Interviews and beader-at-the-show glimpses of my travels to the best bead shows in the country (and internationally!)
  • Free projects
  • Project Companion Videos

Let me talk for a second about that last one…

I discovered this great concept when I stumbled onto it via a knitting pattern I purchased from Very Pink Knits. When I purchased her Learn to Knit a Sweater pattern, not only did it come with the usual written pattern via PDF (or e-Book) but it also had links in the pattern to videos on YouTube. And in those videos, she demonstrated exactly what she was talking about in the pattern! I thought it was absolutely genius to marry the two mediums into a perfect way to learn a new project.

You know how no matter how good the instructions and illustrations or photos are in a pattern, sometimes you really wish you could see it being done? Well, now you can! It’s like having me demo the steps right there with you!

The Project Companion Videos are not meant to be stand-alone videos. You will still need the instructions for the details. I’ll have those instructions available for purchase on my new website, along with optional kits that include the materials too. I think this is a huge added value to the instructions and kits, and I can’t wait to keep building that content!

Last week I launched the channel with the first three Technique videos. Today, I’m releasing the first Project Companion Video for my beloved Sleek Bracelet. Sleek Bracelet

I hope you will check it all out – the new website, the YouTube Channel, and the Sleek Bracelet. I feel like I’m giving birth to a bunch of 10lb babies all at once. But the pain is worth it. I’m a very proud Mama.

PS, Winston sez it ain’t a blog post until there’s a fur baby photo too. So here you go – the gratuitous cute doggies picture.

help

Cha-cha-changes!

There’s always room for improvement in any business, and this one is no exception. I’m addicted to lovely, beautiful organization, but ironically haven’t ever really had the time to implement it. Things happen so fast around here that Mom and I are always throwing together a system that works in the moment, but might not be the best for the long term.

So it’s finally time to slow down a bit and uncomplicate my life a little bit. That’s the focus word I have finally chosen for 2013. What does it mean to me? Well, it means I have to stop pretending I’m some super human being who can do more than I say I can. I’ve had to make some hard choices in the last few weeks about postponing some big events in my life so that the quality will be the best it can be instead of me just rushing through it to hit a deadline. Making those choices was emotionally very difficult, but now that I’m on the other side of the decision, I see blue skies, sunshine, and the opportunity to build an even better and stronger business with stronger designs, more internal organization and structure, and a less frantic Jill.

Two of those changes are going to be happening in the next few months and I’m so excited (and a little terrified.) On Tuesday, Mom and I are going to start pulling every last little thing out of our infamous Bead Room so that we can sort, purge, catagorize, organize, and put it back in. Seriously – do you have any idea how much time I spend looking for stuff? It’s STOOPID how much time I waste doing that! But when you keep bringing new things in the room and a specific place never gets established for it, well, you’re asking for this kind of chaos. Yes, there will be plenty of photos to share as we go through it. I’m hoping the whole process won’t take more than a week.

The other big thing I did today was hire a website designer. As you know, Mom has been my magnificent webmaster all these years, and she will continue to be the main worker bee behind it. But we want to add all sorts of products to the site (3 & 4mm crystals, chatons, rose montees, more kumihimo stuff….) and we really need a better shopping cart system to do it. A whole site revamp is due too. And I don’t want Mom to spend any more long hours than she already does slaving away for me on all that! So if all goes according to plan, I should have it all ready to go by mid to late May. So excited! More on that as it progresses too….

And of course, there’s more Beadwork Designer of the Year stuff to design….more work on the second book to be done….more teaching projects to be worked up… But in the midst of it all, Mom and I will be taking a vacation!  A cruise is in our immediate future, along with excursions to swim with the dolphins, play with the monkeys, and take an airboat ride! 

So hang around…it’s gonna be a really cool Spring season around here!

Crankies

Mom mentioned today that I’ve been cranky for a while now. Dang. I was  hoping I’d been hiding it better than I obviously have been. Even so, I do think a little cranky is way better than the deep depression I am usually overwhelmed with in December/January. I’ve had a few days here and there with the blues, but overall it’s been nothing at all like years in the past and I’m very grateful for that.

While I love taking a break from the traveling life for a while, the truth of the matter is that I’m such a hermit at home that it gets ridiculous. I don’t leave the house for two weeks at a time. Seriously. Which I love, but it also means a LOT of together time for Mom and me and that’s where my crankies come in. I have only recently figured out how much I love silence a good part of the day. Isn’t it funny that it’s taken me to this point in my life to figure that out??? Where have I BEEN?? So the interruptions from the dogs and the staff start to get me – um – cranky – though no fault of their own. It’s my problem and I

Can I put a crystal on that?

I’ve been bit by the bug. We all know that I’m a crystal slut. After all, one of Poppy’s middle names is AB2X. Need I say more? But my newest fun is gluing flat back Swarovski stones on things. Basically anything that doesn’t move away fast enough is at risk. So far I’ve crystallized my iPhone case and a piece of wall art. Actually, strike that. I’ve started both those projects and finished neither. Now THAT sounds like me, doesn’t it???

And yet I’m looking around the house with a new eye towards covering all the surfaces in crystals. What’s next??? The fan blades on my bedroom ceiling fan would be cool. So would the edges of the shelves on my Elfa desk. But what if I got tired of it?? I guess I could buy more shelves if that happened. Hm.

And what an expensive little hobby I picked up! Sheesh! But really – I love sparkles.

I’m totally excited that Mom’s been working bit by bit on reorganizing our bead room. She took out the corner desk I used to have in there which is giving us more wall space for book shelves. Now the entire room will be ringed in them. And the best part is that we realized that we will have space in the middle of the room to put the bead storage case that’s been sitting in our garage for two years. YEE HAW! Photos as it starts coming together. Heck, I may even do a little video for y’all!

Back to the grind with me for the remainder of the night. I’m behind on writing instructions so I’ve got to concentrate. It’s hard with these sparkly beads everywhere, though.

Procrastination perfected

Things I found to do instead of writing the two sets of instructions due by morning:

  • Ate the leftover baked cauliflower from dinner
  • Caught up on my blog reader – which had 272 posts
  • Discovered I enjoy Baazar magazine now as long as I don’t think I’ll be able to purchase anything in there
  • Checked Facebook 33 times
  • Played Solitaire until I win at least one game. Okay, two.
  • Contemplated yet again a  more vegetarian diet and starting yoga
  • Chased Winston and his Bear Bear
  • Did a load of laundry. Oh, okay – at this moment in time I’ve only thought about doing that load. But I’m gonna. Really. 
  • Made a list of the Christmas gifts I have purchased to make sure I’m really done buying.
  • Started this blog post
  • And then, and only then…I finally buckled down and started writing

Details make a difference

I have been doing a LOT of beading in the last week. As in, nonstop during the waking hours. I’m thisclose to catching up on my deadlines for various projects and I am so excited about it! But as I’ve been working away, I have a lot of mental free time and I’ve been trying to pay attention to some of the little things I do as I work that can make a big difference in the quality of the beadwork I create.

First and foremost, I cull my beads. A lot. When I was first starting out beading, I didn’t like to cull. Who wants to throw those precious little beadies away??? But as my stash of beads got bigger and I felt less worried about running out (although I still have moments! LOL!) I started to let go a little bit. And I began to push aside those beads that were much taller or shorter than the rest of them.

As time went on, I also started noticing that if you look at the beads from the top, down through the holes, there can be big differences in hole sizes, especially if you’re working with galvanized, color-lined, or Czech seed beads. At first I figured if I could get my needle through the hole, it didn’t really matter. Except sometimes it DID matter – like at the ends of a piece where my needle and thread must go through each bead many times to secure my clasp. So now I cull out the small hole guys too.

My Bead On It Board is a lifesaver when it comes to helping me cull, because most of the beads will pour out so the holes are all up. And they don’t roll around as much. I haven’t talked about the Bead On It Boards here on the blog, but they are now one of my must-have beading tools. You can purchase them at www.beadonitboards.com, and I’ll also have a permanent link on the sidebar for them.

Here’s an example of some “good” galvanized beads and some culled out beads. On the top are the good ones – they’re all the same height (which you can’t see at this angle of photo, but trust me) and the holes are all nice and big. On the bottom, you’ll notice some of the beads have tiny holes (especially that one in the first row on the left) and the others are height issues.

As a result of my careful bead selection not only will I have an easier time with finishing my project (no blocked holes) but when photographed there will be no oddball sizing issues that jump out. My project will flow more smoothly. And I’ll be a happier beader.

Don’t fret about those culled out beads either. You can make art with them! This is the large vase we purchased about two years ago in which we throw all our oddball beads. The layers of color tell a story about various projects we’ve worked on over time, and in some cases big bead spills or accidental bead combos that we didn’t feel like separating out. It sits on our fireplace hearth and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

Woosh!

I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that 2012 is almost over. This past year has flashed by at warp speeds, and I’m left shaking my head and laughing. Ironically, I still feel like I’m planning for stuff that’s going to happen in 2012! I guess I need to cross out that 12 and mark it a 13 instead!

The joy and excitement and every other emotion about publishing a book still hit me on a regular basis. Which is really a good motivator for me right now as I’m spending the last month of this year and the first month of next year doing much of the designing and writing for my next book! I need to remember how cool the outcome will be when I’m deep in the midst of writing minutia and design dilemmas and color combo frustrations.

One of the other really nice things about being home for more than two months straight is that after I slept for a week (I’m not really kidding) Mom and I have been making slow but steady progress on cleaning up the disaster areas in our house that the 2012 whirlwind left behind. Massive piles of beads in boxes left over from various shows. Massive piles of beads and paperwork on all horizontal surfaces. Just tonight I discovered more than one item that I must have purchased in a pre-show frenzy because I couldn’t find it when I went to go make the kits. Now that things are being put away, guess what??? I’m overstocked on some of those bits! LOL

Fireline Stockpile

One of our biggest goals for next year is to keep a larger inventory of kits on hand so that we’re not making so many of them in a short amount of time right before I have to leave town with them. That’s when the mistakes are made. It’s a big financial commitment. It’s not that I wasn’t aware I should be doing that all along, but it’s been much more about the ability to do it in regards to the cash flow of the business. Working so hard this past year has helped me have a better cushion so we can dial back some of the insanity.

So between working on various samples (that I can’t show you yet) I’m taking ten minute breaks to go pick something and put it away. And periodically I’m spooling Fireline in bulk quantities so that’s ready to go too.

Dang, I sound organized, don’t I??? Just call me, Mistress of Illusion. 😉

How Often Do You Bead?

From June:
As I sit here and read through all my Facebook posts and read the blogs I subscribe to, I feel like a failure. Why? Because everyone seems to spend a lot of time beading. As a designer, I feel like I should be beading ever day. And I’m not.

For example, yesterday after I took the dogs for their walk, I made kits and filled orders. I had (long) lunch with two people I used to work with – about my only social life these days! Went to the post office, cleaned up all the stuff I dragged out to make kits. Worked on a kit inventory so we know what to make for our next show, Bead Fest Texas. I spend the evening cutting a blanket into small squares to hold needles for our kits.

At least I picked out the colors for my next beading project, but don’t know when I’ll get to the actual beading.

What about you? How often do you bead?

The Story Behind: Butterfly Kisses

I was actually awake on Monday! During the day! And it may have been the power of suggestion, but I was more clearheaded and got more work accomplished than I have in weeks. Of course I’m already goofing up and it’s now 2:30 am and am I in bed like I should be? Um….look! Over there! Sparkly! (Did my distraction work???)

Today was a great day with exciting news for me on the book front. I found out that through the magic of being the author and asking for favors, I was able to get a shipment of books sent out to me at my hotel in Philadelphia! So next week when I’m at Bead Fest Philadelphia, I will have BOOKS to sell! Those who have already pre-ordered them from me will be able to pick them up there. I also have a shipment of books being sent to Austin, but unfortunately they will arrive a few days after I leave for Philly. So I will get all the pre-orders autographed and mailed out from Austin by August 27th.

And then, because I was able to get my hands on the books, Betcey from Beyond Beadery asked me if I would be willing to do a book signing at the show in their booth! So I’ll be hanging out there on Saturday, August 17th, from 1-3pm. My very first book signing! I told Betcey it was only fitting because she and Mark were literally the first folks I told about the book contract after telling Mom. They were in the right place at the right time and I just HAD to spill it!

So….wanna see another project from the book? (puts hand to ear to listen) I hear yes! So let me introduce you to the necklace known as Butterfly Kisses…

This is one of the few pieces in the book that have been previously out in the world. As a matter of fact, you may have seen me wearing it as it’s one of my favorites! I have this one in gold and another in silver and they go with anything and everything. The name Butterfly Kisses comes from the fact that it’s made with the ogalala stitch, which is sometimes known as the butterfly stitch.

Normally the ogalala stitch is a very light and airy, barely there ruffle. But I decided to put a new twist on it and make some adjustments that turn it into a more substantial, thicker rope. I think the look is feminine, but modern – not too precious.

I’d better work on that bedtime thing now. It was really nice spending the day with the fur babies wide awake. Poppy keeps us on our toes right now. She managed to escape through the smallest of holes in the fence to our back neighbor’s yard. She got returned by being passed over the fence top! And how nice is our neighbor – he even offered to come fix it Tuesday. Or maybe he just doesn’t want Poppy visits again. But how can one get too mad at this little sweetheart???

Can you hold on one more day?

This weekend did not go as planned by me. Mainly because I am SO tired lately! In an effort to switch things up and try to sleep on a more regular schedule I’m working on trying to go to bed between midnight and 1am, and then sleeping until 9-10am. Also included in the plans is a little exercise, but right now I don’t even want to think about that part. I do, however, want to go to bed now now now!

What I didn’t get accomplished was scanning in photos of the book projects so I can blog about them – can you hang on one extra day while I get myself sorted out?

I also had to place roughly a bazillion supply orders over the weekend for all the last minute stuff I’m preparing for the Bead Fest Philly Show. I leave a week from today (Sunday.) Teaching six classes this time – plus the booth – plus – well, I might have a little surprise too, but I have to wait for phone calls on Monday to verify everything first before I get y’all too excited!!

Sleep tight!

The Story Behind: Forever Tango

That blog post title sounds like a VH1 Special, doesn’t it?

First up for our walk through the projects included in my upcoming book, Jill Wiseman’s Beautiful Beaded Ropes, is a sleek little bracelet I named Forever Tango.

About the time I signed the contract to write the book, I was out shopping and found a cheap (bad quality) costume bracelet that had a really interesting intertwined rope. I shelled out $4.99 for it (told ya’ it was cheap) as an inspiration piece. My interpretation of it is Forever Tango.

I wanted to keep it small scale, so I chose to work with all Size 15 seed beads. The bracelet would certainly work with Size 11s too, so if the 15s scare you, don’t worry! It will make a larger piece, of course, but other than that there’s no difference.

I considered adding some sparkle in the center of the two knots – by way of a crystal ring around the middle section – but in the end I decided I was most taken by the intricate weaving back and forth of the ropes and wanted that to be the star. I’d love to see it with that sparkle, though, if you’re so inclined to add it!

One quick note: I found a small boo-boo in the text on this project – you’re fine if you follow the illustration, and I know that’s what y’all do most of the time anyway! But if you read the text on the section referring to weaving the ropes together, it says you add both circles the same way. In actuality, you add the second circle the opposite way to make them mirror image.

Is it time yet???

It’s so VERY VERY close to the moment where my little book springs into the world, and I finally get to start seeing what y’all think of the projects it contains. I’ve gotten some feedback over the last few months while I’ve been able to privately show some friends and customers as proofs and then my one hard copy came in, which has been so exciting – like showing off my newborn baby! And on Thursday I got to read my first formal review of the book from Jennifer VanBenschoten, of Beading Daily. You can read it here: go ahead, I’ll wait.

Isn’t that exciting! She gets me! And I have to tell you, I was worried that the peyote tube bracelet she mentions in the review was going to be one of the overlooked projects in the book, because unless you read the instructions you don’t realize how it’s made completely differently than you assume looking at the photo.

Which brings me to this – how about you and I have a little daily preview action while we all wait for the big release day?? I plan on showing you a project a day from the book, with any little stories I have about how and why I made the project the way I did, ideas for variations, and any other fun stuff I can dream up.

So don’t forget to come back starting tomorrow!!! Okay? Because I’ll be sad if you don’t.

And in the meantime, how about this?? Two FREE patterns from the book have been released (you remember this post about that, right?) and already folks are starting to send me photos of the projects they’ve made from them! So if you make anything, will you pretty please send me a photo so I can show it off??

Flirtation Earrings by Danielle McElroy Brown

Flirtation Bracelet by Julie Grossberg Glasser

Duh, Jill

I just had my second DUH moment of the day.

When I don’t leave the house all day, I rarely bother to wear my contact lenses. Instead I just work with my ratty old glasses which are not fashionable, but are functional. For years and years and years they have provided the best close-up vision quality for beading.

Plus, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll remember about a 18 months or so ago when I finally figured out that I needed to start using reading glasses in addition to my contacts to be able to bead or see my student’s beadwork up close in class. Bummer, getting old. And I figured if I was going to have to wear glasses anyway, I might as well wear the pair that gets me through the day. Because I’m lazy too.

Well I’ve been in a flurry of beading the last two days and it was all done with the contacts/reading glasses combo. When I just took out my contacts and reverted to my regular glasses I had an ephiphany. I CAN’T SEE! I tried to go back to beading and all of a sudden my focal point was dramatically changed and I’ve had to put the beadwork aside again because it was far too difficult.

So I wonder if this visual deterioration has been an unrecongnized reason for my lack of beading time??!! You would think I learned my lesson about this when I went through it with the reading glasses, but nope. Evidentally I’m not a quick learner.

Guess who’s going to the eye doctor for a new prescription REALLY SOON??

I relay this story to remind you that perhaps you should make an appointment soon too if you’re having trouble with focus. We don’t need to suffer it when there’s correction available.