Ready, set, ship out!

Making slow but steady progress in the mission to get the boxes shipped out on Wednesday for Bead Fest Portland. I’ve made eleventy billion kits and organized them all in their little bubble zip lock baggies. Another billion or so patterns are boxed up as well, and I’m both packing and creating a packing check-list for shows that I fly to. I’ve found myself in more than one corner of the map missing a critical component over the last year. Yup, it’s taken me a full year (that I’m willing to admit to) to actually create the checklist that will keep me from having to find an Office Depot, Post Office, or Bed, Bath and Beyond in ever major city in the US. I’m a little slow sometimes, but I get there.

And let’s not ignore the fact that a single packing list won’t do. Oh no. I must have the Flying packing list, and the Driving packing list, because they are obviously different. The Driving list includes things like tables and chairs and rolling carts and … well, that’s what the list is for.

I’m awfully proud of the fact that I’m getting these boxes mailed out in time to send them regular old UPS Ground…not 3-day, not 2-day. No last minute hysteria at the last moment (so far.) I won’t even be packing 51 pounds of kits in my luggage on the plane, either. My suitcase is ALWAYS over the 50lb weight limit. This. Must. Stop!

On the other hand, I still have instructions to write for Saturday’s class here at the Tapestry Beads Studio, the house to clean, and some samples to bead up as quickly as possible. Eh. Piece of cake! (mmmm….cake…)

Unintentional day off

When you’re facing down a pile of work and list of deadlines as far as you can see, you’re not thinking “day off” usually. And I wasn’t thinking that today…honest. It just kinda happened. First I slept late because I went to bed early (stick with me here…it will make sense in a second) which make me get up in the middle of the night and mess around on the computer for several hours before finally returning to bed at 5am. And then it rained all day and you KNOW that I’m not complaining about that because you’ve had to hear me beg for rain on this blog or Facebook so many times over the last few months. But rain does mean naps on Saturday afternoons, right? Of course it does!

Previous plans had Mom and I heading over to my brother & sister-in-law’s house to cook dinner for them and watch the two wee ones for a few hours while they attended a party next door. Alexis kept us entertained with her boundless energy, as usual. Five month old William charmed us with his smiles and giggles at his daddy’s goofy faces. By the time we returned to the homestead, I had a severe case of the I don’t wanna’s. I hate it when they come to stay with us! I have no choice but to kick them out tomorrow, but I did indulge the visit tonight.

The week ahead includes a dentist appointment, a hair appointment, getting my boxes of kits and supplies ready to ship to Portland by the end of the day Wednesday, and prepping to teach a new class here at the house next Saturday.

So anyone out there want me to send the I don’t wanna’s your way??

It’s Amazing What You Can Find in the Bead Room

From June:
A while ago I was in our bead room and stumbled upon a freeform bracelet that I’d started a long time ago. I just love freeform because there are no mistakes! It’s all a part of the design.

Anyway, I worked on the bracelet in between tending customers at the Austin Bead Society Show last weekend. I found a great antique button at Carol Willie’s booth, and I’m pretty happy with the way the bracelet turned out.

Nothing

Nothing – that’s exactly what I did on Labor Day, and it was blissful! I slept 18 out of 24 hours and feel mostly rested again. I caught up on reading the newspapers from the last week. I read magazines. Two!! And Mom and I made a trip to Best Buy so I could test out netbook computers, followed by a delicious dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. Nummm.

It was just what I needed. The Austin Bead Society Show was steady, but not packed, which was good for all. I got to see SO many of the ladies I’ve lost contact with since I left teaching at Nomadic Notions 6 months ago and that was a treat. I’ll admit, though, that getting out of bed Sunday morning for that last day of the three week marathon of cities and shows was one of the hardest things I’d ever done. My body was screaming, “I quit!”

So now that I’ve had my miraculous day of rest and relaxation, I’m back to the salt mines on Tuesday with a full, but not scary list of tasks. As long as I am steady through the next few weeks and don’t dilly dally, I’m gonna be just fine and hopefully avoid the time crunches that throw my world into silly chaos. Back to spending an hour a day on paperwork and an hour a day on cleaning the bead room to try to make headway.

I have some photos to share with you tomorrow…stay tuned!

No longer in Dallas!

I’m very ashamed. I just got this email from my dear friend:

I have read about your leaving for Dallas 4000 times……..yes, we need an update on Jill. Hugs, Kath

And all of a sudden I realized it’s been like a WEEK since I posted. And yet it really feels more like one very (VERY VERY) long day.

So after I got back from Philly on Monday night, I faced a daunting task: getting ready to leave on Friday to teach 3 classes of 20 students each for the Dallas Bead Society. Teaching wasn’t the hard part. The hard parts were:

  • Knowing I was sold out of many of my best-selling kits from Philly so what would the ladies in Dallas have to buy?
  • Creating new kits with multiple color options for 2 classes that had never been kitted before – which meant coming up with 8 different brand new kits. In three days.
  • Did I mention the three days part??
  • And my boxes shipped from Philly didn’t even arrive until Thursday night, at which time I was scrambling to unpack and repack
  • In three days

So in those three days (3, only 3) I labeled and weighed and printed and stuffed and panicked a few times. I barely slept, and in the end, it was only my wonderful mother coming to the rescue by leaving work early to come home and help me on Friday that allowed me to leave Austin for the drive to Dallas at 10:30pm. I got to my hotel there around 1:30am, and collapsed.

Knowing I was going to be spending the day with such a colorful and fun group of ladies helped me wake up with pep and vigor, though, and by 8am I was setting up the classroom. I took a couple of fuzzy cell phone photos, and that’s about it. There was a lot going on!

The second photo is of me wearing a purloined necklace. You’ve got to watch me every second! Carol Anne had a question which I came by to answer, and I noticed an organza bag in front of her with beading in it. I took it upon myself to investigate, and out came this gorgeous Marcia DeCoster design in colors that just happened to match what I was wearing like it was made for me!

The following day I managed to snag Denise’s Sherri Serafini choker to wear all day. I really appreciate them bringing jewelry for me to wear! Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of me wearing that one.

The Dallas ladies were excellent hostesses, and we had a lovely couple of days. It was frantic getting to that point, but once we were all gathered, the joy of being surrounded by beady folks made all the effort worth while.

I did treat myself to the luxury of staying over in Dallas Sunday night instead of coming home after class was finished around 4. I needed sleep so badly it was kind of scary. And I knew that if I came home Sunday night, I’d jump right back into work work work because I still can’t take the smallest of breaks yet.

Why? Because the Austin Bead Society Show is this coming weekend…and I have no kits left! And I have a low stock of seed beads to sell! And I have four (4, yes, 4) days to prepare! So after hitting home Monday night, I made a plan of action and on Tuesday I placed scary amounts of bead orders with overnight shipping charges out the wazoo because if I don’t, I won’t have kits on Saturday.

AND, because I also have a substantial wholesale order to prepare to ship out. (More on that later.) AND because I have the Portland Bead Fest two weeks later. AND then the Houston International Quilt Show a few weeks after that. AND I am thrilled to announce that I got into the BABE show in Oakland, CA in Nov, which is a whole new show added to my schedule. AND I’ve got teaching gigs in Fort Worth for the Wild West Bead Society and in Lake Jackson in there. AND I’m supposed to be finding time to go on vacation with Mom at some point too and now I’m just laughing because we haven’t even been able to pause long enough to plan the vacation let alone go on one. I’m still walking around with a temporary filling post-root canal for goodness sake because I don’t have time to go to the dentist to get the crown! Although I will be making time for that next week…there’s a limit to my denial. Oh, and I need to make time for an afternoon spent with an Illustrator tutor also very soon.

So. Kinda crazy, eh? I honestly don’t think it will be quite this insane all the time. If it is, I’m gonna drop dead from a heart attack before long. While Mom and I were anticipating a year of having to scramble to make a living due to the economy problems, what’s actually happened is a huge growth explosion that’s caught me unprepared and I’m working hard to catch up. Once I do, I know I’ll still be busy, but in a good way, not a frantic way.

Back to prep work for me. I’m sorry I made you wait so long for an update, Kath (& friends!)

Dallas, here I come…

It’s sometimes hard to put the last show behind me and refocus on the next one coming…but this week I’ve got no time for dilly dallying! I leave for Dallas on Friday afternoon to teach 3 classes over the weekend for the mighty Dallas Bead Society.

One of the classes I’m teaching for them I have not offered as a kit before, so I’m putting a few colorways together especially for them. I imagine they’ll make it to the regular kit line up eventually too, but my immediate need is to make sure they’re wonderful for the Dallas area ladies!

The Philly Bead Fest show was so busy that I had hardly any time at all to get in trouble by roaming away from the booth and spending money. Both a positive and a negative in that. But I did make sure to scout out and purchase some gorgeous Czech focal beads for the new Glorious Garland kits. I can’t wait to dig my fingers into beading up the samples on Wednesday.

Tuesday was spent getting Mom’s flat tire replaced and then doing a huge amount of supply ordering. The money comes in….the money flows out…it basically comes to visit me for a short amount of time.

I had my camera with me in Philly, but it never left my purse. Luckily, Jennifer VanBenschoten, the new Beadwork Guide on the About.com Beadwork site, took care of the photo taking! You can see her gallery of photos on Beadwork site. If you’re not familiar with the About.com Beadwork site, you should be! Lots of free patterns and reviews and information there.

Yowza!


Philadelphia folks are SERIOUS about their beads!

What a trip it’s been, and it’s not over yet. I still have Sunday at the Expo Hall, and then the madness of packing the remains up in a semi-organized manner when the party ends at 5pm. One more night in the hotel and lastly a non-stop (bliss!) flight home to be reunited with the family – human and furry alike.

My flight here was a breeze…I didn’t get lost with my rental car. Thank you Verizon Navigator (GPS)!! I found the mall where I could purchase the cell phone charger I forgot at home, the bed risers I use to raise the table height up that I forgot at home, and a lovely dinner from The Cheesecake Factory. I might have accidentally walked through the Nordstrom’s Rack store too, but didn’t find anything to buy there. Or maybe I dreamed that part. And I also stopped at a grocery store to grab some Diet Coke which I mainline into my veins as well as general munchies for the show. I’m really glad I did, too, because I’ve been too busy at the booth to run and get lunch each day. The munchies help me through until my one evening meal.

I spent Thursday putting some last minute kits together. I created two new colorways for Piazza Perline the night before I left that look great, so those kits needed assembly. There were also extra Butterfly Kisses and Hollywood Hula Hoops to make. The extra day in Philly was a bit of an extravagence, but it was nice and I think I used the time well. Originally I’d scheduled myself to get in that early because I was teaching a class on Thursday afternoon, but the Thursday class got cancelled because of low enrollment.

The Friday Piazza Perline class, however, was another story! We ended up with 14 in class, and I think an excellent time was had by all. I know I did! As per usual, I laughed and joked around the entire time. The ladies were great sports and played right along with me. I love a good class with energy!!

So after a solidly busy Friday at the Expo Hall during the day, and the class from 5-8pm, I stopped by the Meet the Teachers Event to talk with some folks for a little while. Why wasn’t I showing my kits at Meet the Teachers, you might ask?? In a word, exhaustion. Well, that plus I didn’t feel like I had time to get my class ended at 8pm, pull all my kits and samples from the Expo Hall in one hotel to the Meet the Teacher’s Ballroom in the other, attached hotel, and set up and be ready to go by 8:30. Additionally the event didn’t get done until 11pm, at which time I would have had to do a reverse schlepping of all the materials back to the Expo Hall to open on Saturday morning. I figured it would have ended up being around an 18 hour day in total for me, and honestly I didn’t have the energy for it when I was going to be faced with two more days yet in the Expo Hall. Next year, I plan on having Mom with me to help with the booth and logistics so I can participate.

I got the opportunity to catch up with several of the Interweave Magazine editors – Denise Peck from Step by Step Wire, Leslie Rogalski from Step by Step Beads, and Melinda Barta from Beadwork. I’ve promised some submissions to some of them, and I’ll be working on figuring out just the right projects in the next few weeks. It’s been quite a while since I did any magazine publication work, and it’s well past time.

Saturday’s crowds at the Expo were just awesome. I’m so happy to see that in a time of financial crunch, people are still spending on the hobby that gives us all much comfort and peace. Certainly I can see that that they’re watching their purchases a little more carefully. Planning. Bringing lists instead of buying everything that takes their fancy. Perhaps buying a pattern instead of the kit. Overall, however, my sales are up significantly over last year, and while I thought I came here better prepared with a larger quanity of kits, I still find myself sold out of several kits and patterns going into the last day. I’m not complaining! I just hate to disappoint anyone who wants to walk away with a certain goody.

I’ts 3:15am now and I’d better get back to bed. I crashed at 8pm Saturday night and slept until 1am. Got up to catch up on email and news and such. I fell asleep earlier to the sound of a lovely rain storm…a sound I haven’t heard in many months in Texas. Saturday was the 63rd day this summer of 100+ degree days, and the all time record is only 69 days. Clearly, we’ll be breaking it shortly. How I long to feel a cool evening breeze…

Bead on…

Making a list and checking it twice

  1. Massage to soothe the poor body which will be subjected to three solid days standing on a concrete floor. Check.
  2. Pedicure to soothe the poor feetsies which will also be subject to above torment. And to look cute. Check.
  3. New clothing to adorn the poor body which…yada, yada. Check.
  4. Group A boarding pass procured for Southwest Airlines flight in the morning. Group A! Check.
  5. Laundry and packing done. Umm…
  6. Updated Butterfly Kisses instructions printed out. Well…
  7. Facebook status updated every few hours. Check!

Not what I expected

I had PLANNED on having a full and fast-paced weekend. Right up until Friday, aka, the day Jill would like to have skipped. I had a more than full plate last week, between writing instructions for Saturday’s Evening Song class, getting my kits made and shipped out to Philly on Friday, and making some new color choices for Piazza Perline among others. I made a pact with myself to work on the accounting stuff for a minimum of an hour a day until I got caught up, so I was throwing that in there too.

And then Friday happened. First off, it was the day for the second half of my root canal. Not so great. But I can handle it. So I get up Friday morning(ish) and I’m packing up the boxes to take to UPS, and as usual, I slept a little later than I’d planned so I was rushing around a bit. I go into the garage to find something, trip over a box on the floor, and wrench my back. OUCH. For those of you who don’t know, I used to have very serious back problems that culminated in spinal fusion surgery in 2001. I’m in great shape back-wise now, but I do have to be careful. Honestly, it scared me to death at the time. I’m doing much better now and even had a massage today that worked out the remnants of the soreness.

So I limp off to the endodontist appointment. No big deal there. They got me fixed right up and out the door. I think they were a little overly generous with the nitreous oxide, though, because I was feeling quite loopy.

I get back home, trip over dogs while getting the boxes loaded into my car. The hatchback on my Celica won’t stay up any more, so I managed to get several impressive looking bruises on my arms and shoulders getting the boxes in. I’m too late to get the boxes to the UPS drop closest to me, so now it’s Friday rush hour and I’m having to drive a ways to get there.

And then I realize that in addition to my twitching eyelid from stress, I have the visual aura starting that precedes a migraine. A migraine. Now. Are you kidding me???? I called Mom, practically in tears, and she took charge. Met me at the UPS store to help me get the boxes in without further damage. Made me realize there was no way I’d be able to teach my class Saturday while in the midst of a migraine, sent me to bed at 7pm, and called all my students to give them the news and the rescheduled class date. Is there anything better than having your mom around when you’re falling apart??

So the weekend turned out much slower and lower key than I thought. Honestly, I didn’t get much done at all. Slept all day Saturday. Got a little accomplished on Sunday, but was quite lethargic overall.

Monday rolled around and I finally forced myself into gear today. I still feel like I’m dragging, but I don’t have the luxury of indulging it. I have a list a mile long of things to get done on Tuesday, and then I’m flying out for Philadelphia on Wednesday morning.

I’m SO looking forward to the show!! You know how I love to see all my beady friends, and I have some new ones to meet in person now from Facebook interactions.

So that’s why it’s been quiet in blogland the last few days – I promise to do better! But for now, it’s 2am and time for Jilly to attempt some rest.

Accounting 101

Basic rule of accounting for small businesses. Keep good records.

Whoops!

I’m making up for a world of hurt at the moment, however. I found two new online services that are thrilling me beyond what any accounting type program should. The first is a simplified online bookkeeping system (Outright.com) that I can wrap my head around. So many of them are way overloaded with features that I just don’t need right now. I don’t have a payroll. My needs are few. This system scales perfectly with my little business – and I can always transfer the records to a more robust system down the road if I need to. I just finished entering the 2009 year to date Website records, and most of 2008. It’s been a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to enter the data so I can get the info out later like I want to see it. For instance, being able to pull up a report that shows me how much of my income came from the website vs. shows vs. home classes vs. traveling teaching gigs. I think I’ve got it down now.

And then there’s this other cool service that links to Outright called Shoeboxed.com. One of the things I collect in massive quantities are receipts, and I never find time to get them entered regularly like I should. Well, Shoeboxed.com is gonna let me put them all in an envelope and mail them off to some magic place where little elves will scan them into the computer for me and I never have to see those pieces of paper again! (The IRS accepts digital copies of receipts, so this is all kosher.) I pull my receipts up on the website a few days later, dump the info into Outright, and categorize it properly, and voila! Done!

Less paper. Less work. More organized. I’m feeling my old administrative assistant days kicking in…The Clutter Fairy (aka, Gayle Goddard) will be so proud of me!

My eyes are growing heavy, no matter how much I’d love to play office worker a little longer. I need my rest too, since there’s a trip to Nomadic Notions on tap for Thursday. Rebecca, who took her first seed bead weaving class from me, and became a great beading teacher in her own right, is moving to College Station soon. We’re sending her off in grand style. With food and beads and beady friends. We’ll miss her greatly around these parts.

PS – the email box is down to 77!

Accomplishments, big and small


I have confessed more than a few times on this blog that I lack a certain amount of work ethic unless I’ve got deadlines to keep me on track. I think I may have found another thing that will kick me into high gear – getting so hopelessly behind that I’m about to lose my tenuous grip on control.

It’s finally gotten to the point where I can’t really even function in a reasonable manner – the scramble to get ready for the Shreveport Retreat was really the last straw. I came home to chaos everywhere. EVERYWHERE! So the last few days, I’ve buckled down and I’m making amazing dents in these literal and virtual piles. (Note: photo is NOT our actual house. Just an example.)

My email inbox was up to 200+ emails that needed action in some way, shape, or form from me. As of this moment, I’ve got it down to 82, and I plan on whittling away at it more every day this week. Goal: less than 20 by the end of the week. So if you’ve been waiting on info or a response on something from me, hold tight. I’m almost there.

I had every nook and cranny of the house covered with beads and boxes and paper and who even knows what else under all that. Class table in the teaching studio? Covered. Chairs around the table? Covered. Kitchen ledge? Unviewable under the beads. Coffee and side tables in the living room? Is there a surface under there??? Desk. Covered. Bead Room. I don’t even want to talk about it.

My poor, sainted mother. She’s no stranger to the messes that follow me everywhere, but this was TOO TOO much. She even voiced a desire to move to a two-story house where my clutter and I could be contained to the upper level. I don’t blame her a bit. In fact, it’s not a bad idea….

In the meantime, however, I had to regain the upper hand. I spent time on filing today. Email. Mailing packages. Putting things away (or at least consolidating them to a category pile so I can tackle those piles as I shuffle everything around.) And the boxes! Ohmigosh…you just don’t know how much packaging for all these supplies I end up tossing. Boxes within boxes containing bags within bags. I hauled two full bags out to the trash tonight of mainly paperwork and boxes and their wrappings.

Please don’t misunderstand me. This house is not clean yet. I have more days ahead of me. But I’m seeing progress and it’s spurring me on. Just don’t ask me where that one thing you gave me that one time to do something with is. I haven’t found that yet.

Pretty pictures

Oh, how I wish I had time to write the expansive and thoughtful blog post you all deserve to find here. But instead I’m sitting at the computer at 3:45am, chugging down ibuprofin and BBQ, trying to find a second wind to complete a myriad of supply orders that HAVE to be placed on Monday. I can barely reach the keyboard because of the beads and papers and samples piled in front of me on the desk. It’s a sad, sad sight.

So instead I’ll try to buy you off with a few fabulous photos.

First off, we have three amazing antique shoe clips that I purchased off Mary Ann at the Shreveport Bead Retreat last weekend. She needed to raise some cash to pay off her monstrous seed bead bill, and I was only too happy to take advantage of her plight. I have big plans for these pretty things. BIG plans.

Next, Mom and I took a trip to my brother’s house to have dinner with the family Sunday night. William is 4 months old now, and boy, is he a talker! Babble, babble, babble! And the sweetest smiles.

Alexis ran around like an over-wound toy, dispensing hugs and kisses and crazy dance steps. She also decided that Aunt Jilly’s lap would be the perfect place to get dinner tonight. Smart girl!

Her parents have taught her that this is the proper response when asked, “Who is the cutest little girl?”

It’s been one of THOSE weeks

Oh, how happy I am this week is almost over. It’s been one challenge after another, none of them bead-related for a change!

I had a restful drive home from Shreveport on Monday. I’m SO glad I stayed that extra night. I was tired and run-down going into the weekend, and then got even more so at the retreat. Next year I VOW to be more rested and ready ahead of time so I can get there earlier, stay up until 2am beading with the hard-core beaders, and I’ll plan up front to stay over through Monday so I don’t try to drive home tired. There! I’ve put it in writing! Ya’ll are in charge of reminding me of my VOW next year, okay?

So Monday, home. Tuesday – 8am – roofers arrive to replace our roof. Banging, pounding, clanking, barking, whining (both the dogs AND me,) and general insanity reign supreme for the next 11 hours. But we have a lovely new roof with a darker color and three-tab shingles and who could have guessed I’d become such a roof expert?

Wednesday – DirectTV dude arrives to reinstall our satellite after the roof replacement. Large shopping trip to Tar-jay.

Thursday (today) – rapidly scheduled dentist appointment. I had three old fillings replaced about six weeks ago, and over the last two weeks I’ve been getting increasingly intense hot/cold sensitivity back there, and some chewing discomfort. You know they were drill happy in the old dental days, and many of my generation have these HUGE metal fillings. Well, in this case, the darned huge filling replacement exposed a root tip and it’s not responding to the medication they put on it, so here we go. I’m having a root canal on Friday, and then a crown. And there goes $2200. I’m hoping to get the work all finished before I leave for Bead Fest Philadelpia on the 18th.

Needless to say, there hasn’t been a lot of beading going on this week! I finally started a sample of the new black and silver Twisted Sister for display in Philly and beyond. Even without a sample, the kit sold out at the retreat. It’s classic and super wearable. Can’t beat that! I have other samples to work up before too long also. I’m teaching the very first class of Evening Song here at Tapestry Beads studio on the 15th, and I need samples of the 2 extra colorways the kit will be available in. I’m also kitting Glorious Garland for the first time, and need to make my color selections there. It’s a class I taught several times at Nomadic Notions, and now I’ll be teaching it for the Dallas Bead Society at the end of the month.

All of which means, I’d better get off to work!!

Hanging out in Shreveport

Wow. What a retreat! The annual Shreveport Bead Retreat this weekend was a whirlwind of beady friend reunions and amazing classes and nonstop laughter, as per usual. There’s a reason why I look forward to the two bead retreats each year! We had a lot of new faces this year as some of our regulars had to sit out this retreat for a variety of reasons, and it was delightful getting to know and encourage them.

Julie, who sat near me, had never been to a retreat before and was nervous about entering the Bead Challenge. And guess who WON the challenge!! See, Miss Julie? Anne has been wanting to take my classes in the past, but they were always full by the time she got to do class sign-ups…this year she got into both of them and we are now fast friends! Leigh is a sweet, southern lady with the accent to prove it, but she’s sassy as they come! Love that! Rebecca came to the retreat from Arkansas for the first time after reading about it on my blog. We’re glad to have her! There are many more stories, but only so many brain cells left at this moment to tell them.

I taught two overflowing classes on Saturday, and they plumb wore me out! By the end of the day I’d lost my voice from talking nonstop. So after feeling completely worn out when I woke up Sunday morning, I made the decision to stay in Shreveport one more night so I could be fully rested before I take to the roads for my six hour drive. Driving sleepy is just too dangerous, and I’d have a lot of folks mad at me if I managed to kill myself by falling asleep behind the wheel. Besides, I have too many designs in my head that need to get out first. 🙂

A few teaching announcements: I’ll be teaching in Lake Jackson in December – classes to be determined. I’m going to teach a few class at the Bead Renaissance Show in San Antonio on Halloween weekend. I still need to pick which classes, but I’m pretty sure one will be the Kumihimo with Beads. We haven’t set the date yet for teaching in Ft. Worth for the Wild West Bead Society, but it will probably be in November. And I’ll also be teaching a class at Bead Crazee in Tyler – again, date and class to be determined. I’m gonna have a busy fall!!

Back to bed now so I can get an early start for home in the morning. Mom returns to work on Tuesday, so I’m going to take her out for a nice steak dinner Monday night. She’s got great timing – we’re having our roof replaced on Tuesday, and she’s going to miss the special excitement of being inside a house all day with all the banging and noise and insanity. I can’t wait to see how the dogs take it!

When Tools Attack

From June:
It probably says something about the state of (un)organization in our house that Jill could knock a whole rack of jewelry tools off the coffee table onto her foot. Or maybe the tools jumped. Who knows?

So we’re sitting there watching TV and calmly (I thought) putting together kits, when suddenly there is this crash and yelp from Jill. The first thing Jill says is (Jill being Jill): “Go get the camera.” Well, actually, that’s not true. The first thing she said was :”?*&@#%, that hurts” in an obvious ploy for sympathy. And THEN she said, “go get the camera.”

Now I don’t know about you, but when I get attacked by inanimate objects, I usually think “first aid”, THEN “camera.” It just goes to prove: anything for the blog.

So here are the photos, and please do not e-mail Jill that she needs a pedicure. She is aware.

Learning I’m normal

One of the great things about my job is that I get to work at home. But one of the bad things about my job is that I’m stuck at home. Usually alone and in a feedback vacuum. Logically, I know my beadwork projects and classes are good and that I have a large fan base. I know that we designers make it look easy, but the truth is that many of our projects are darned hard to figure out. I bead and rip it up. Bead it again and it’s still not right. Change a stitch. Change a color. Abandon projects altogether because it’s simply not the right time for that particular project to be born.

I deal with anxiety over wasting time going down these blind alleys – especially when I’m up against a deadline. I get frustrated and annoyed that I’m not a better beader. And God forbid that I go look at what other designers are doing – it’s always better than mine! I lost pretty much a whole day of productivity on Friday, moping about because I was feeling so unworthy by comparison to some new projects by a few of my favorite designers. (Poor Mom – having to deal with me.)

But Sunday, it was explained to me that I’m not alone in having these sorts of feelings by the one and only Marcia deCoster. She posted on her blog an entry explaining her quandary on these very kind of feelings that she’s been wrestling with. And then Rachel Nelson-Smith and Nan C. Meinhardt and Barb Switzer and Jean Power all chimed in on Facebook about it too. And suddenly, I wasn’t the weird one. I was normal.

I’m incredibly grateful that the beading community has found a way of coming together and sharing our stories and lives even though we live cross-country. The comfort and support is critical when you’re sitting at home for weeks on end and the inevitable self-doubt creeps in.

I like to joke with Mom that when I’ve been away from the shows too long, I need a “fix.” And it’s true! It’s a restocking of the creative juices, a reminder that I have a large league of fans who adore my work, and a face-to-face connection with the beaders (students and peers alike) who share my passion. I need you guys. I really do.

Let’s nickname them Vegas Rivolis!


Check out what Swarovski is coming out with…Ultra Rivolis! No info on a release date yet. Thanks to Dulcey Heller for the info!

Introducing…


….some unnamed necklace that I finally finished designing and beading tonight! Woo-hoo! I’m so very happy with it. As usual, it looks even a million bucks better in person than in the photo. I probably spent more time working out the details of this design than any other of my previous projects.

Simple and elegant is tough, you know. All the bits and pieces show – there’s no adding another layer of ruffles or crystals over here to hide that awkward bit over there. Nope. It all shows and it all counts and it had better be right. The necklace better curve properly. It can’t flip up when you wear it because it’s off balance. It took time, but it was worth it. And a full 10 days before the Bead & Button teaching submission deadline! (Gasp!)

My only problem at this point is a bit of “name the necklace” blockage. I’ve considered Crown Jewels. And Elizabeth (because it looks somewhat Elizabethan.) I think there’s probably something better though. What do you think? Help me brainstorm!!

On the mother front…I’ve got some good news to report. Mom’s knee is gradually getting better and better. It’s been such an elongated recovery compared to the first knee, but everyone assures us that this is a more normal type of healing process. We liked the freaky super fast one better.

So the tasks at hand for the week are to finish up all the B&B submissions and get those mailed out. Finish making up kits for the Shreveport Bead Retreat – I leave a week from Thursday for that. And to host the second part of a home class on Saturday. A hair appointment that I stole from Mom and a joint trip to get pedicures this week rounds things out.

*Note: I only stole the hair appointment because I am super duper desperate. My sister-in-law is my hair stylist, and she stopped working for a while because of this whole “giving birth to your nephew” thing, so my hair hasn’t been cut or colored in over 4 months. I can pretend the gray hairs glinting are highlights for only so long…

Winston likes class

One of Winston’s favorite things to do while we have classes going on here at the house is to pick one of the ladies’ bags to sleep on top of. Last week it was Nancy’s bags – what good taste he has!!

Stitching away

In two weeks, the big Bead & Button Show 2010 teaching proposals deadline arrives. Be there, or be absent from B&B teaching! Gulp.

I’ve already got a few things done and ready to go, but you can really never have too many proposals for them, so I’ve been working out at least one additional project this week. When I sat down with the beads my brain was a total blank. No inspiration at ALL. But I knew I needed to break through the beading block that was going on, so I simply started bead doodling. Making one tiny choice at a time. And I’ll be darned, but it worked. It hasn’t been the smoothest of projects, that’s for sure. I have a big ol’ pile of “not quite right” bits and pieces that I’ve been using to experiment with in order to find the right way to make it more beautiful. More streamlined. More elegant. Here’s just a small sneek peek – I have more beads on the way via mail order to finish it off and once I have it finalized I’ll share it with you, of course!

I’m not sure I’ll have time for yet another new project to be born since all the Bead & Button proposals require completed instructions to be submitted along with the physical samples. There will be some time spent writing the instructions for this new necklace (I dropped a hint!) that will probably be named “Elizabeth”. All the other instructions are completed, but I need to gather everything together, get it packaged, fill out the comprehensive teaching proposal documents online, and get it all mailed off by July 31st.