Back from Bead Fest Philly

I don’t even know where to start reporting about the whole Philly trip! Should I start with how Mom got all irritated with me at 6am the day we were catching the plane because we had planned on leaving then, and I still hadn’t showered? We ended up leaving at 6:30 and it worked out perfectly, despite a small panic when we discovered the longest lines EVER at the Southwest counter and the security line. I guess it was all back to school traffic? Very unexpected at the Austin airport.

Then there was the woman behind us on one leg of the flight who spent five minutes explaining in great detail to her seatmate about the doll she hand felted with a tomato head, and the arms were the flower stems, and the hands were holding….a potato. At the point she said potato, Mom and I both burst out in loud, inappropriate laughter that made my stomach ache from the silly of it all.

I taught three classes while we were there, and Mom held down booth duty by herself on Friday while I was in the classroom. Saturday and Sunday we faced the masses of beaders together. What a wonderful show it was! Huge crowds, happy people, and LOTS OF BEADS! I got to meet a number of folks in person who I’d never been lucky enough to encounter at shows before, like the awesome Paulette Baron. We chatted away for the longest time, and if I hadn’t had to get back to the show floor, it would likely have been longer. I got to hug on friends, and make new ones. I think my Friday class of Night at the Opera students might have been my most fun national teaching experience ever! The ladies in the class all were funny and silly (my kind of people!) and we giggled our way through it. I adopted Leah Ready‘s mother, Joyce, who was in my class as my second mother because I adore her so. And getting Leah as a sister in the process ain’t bad either!

As we slowly sold out of many of our kits over the weekend, I discovered that I had underpacked for the show. Agh! So next year I’ll be making the trip to Philly a road trip and driving instead. That way we’ll be able to be much better prepared, with our full booth setup which includes lights and the cash register. I’ve already talked with two area bead stores about possibly teaching there the weekend before and the weekend after Bead Fest Philly 2011, which will not only be delightful, but help pay for the extra driving costs too.

This week I’m working on business stuff, to try to free up some dedicated beading time next week. I have orders to ship, some instructions to write, and some class info to send off to the ladies at Beadoholique in Houston.

Finally, the long awaited BnB Show stash

I think I promised y’all these photos about a month ago. Maybe even six weeks. But here they are! Now remember, I hardly had a moment of time to shop while I was at the Bead & Button Show this year, so it’s not as extensive a shopping haul as I would have liked. When I submitted my class proposals for next year’s show, I told them I can’t teach on Friday – my plan is to spend that day at least in the Expo Hall so I can help at the booth and both Mom and I can go browsing.

First off, one of the special things (among many!) about the Meet the Teacher’s event each year, is that Swarovski sponsors it, and they provide a special gift for the teachers. This year’s swag was the best ever!

You know it’s going to be good when you get a whole box…
OH MY! New colors and shapes and I’m feeling faint now…

I have to admit, I haven’t actually delved into the box yet to use the components because I get so much pleasure out of the whole treasure chest nature of it. I don’t want to open it up and find empty spots!

I also managed to do some quick focal bead damage.

And then there was my spree at the always awesome Green Girl Studios booth. I took an overall shot, and then some close ups of my very favorite clasps.

I couldn’t resist that cute Puffer Fish!

Green Girls Studios Flower & Bee clasp
Smaller scale flower & leaf clasp
The key to my heart!

 Excuse me…I think I need to go fondle them all again…

So much going on!

You know how when you avoid a task for a while, it becomes bigger and bigger in your head to catch up on it, and so you avoid it more, and then it becomes bigger yet and it’s a vicious cycle from which there is no escape except just DOING it and then you figure out it wasn’t so bad after all? Yeah. That’s me and this blog! So I’m declaring this clean slate day – no more blog avoidance!!

I’ve had a lot of good things to share with you, too. Rather than make one HUGE blog post, I’m writing several right now and scheduling them to post over the next week while Mom and I are away at Bead Fest Philly. I’m such a tease!!

Possible New Kit

From June:
For a while I’ve been  working intermittently on a lariat for a possible new kit. Since Jill left me all alone last weekend while she went and had fun at the Shreveport (LA) bead retreat, I had to entertain my self. I spent Saturday with my adorable granchildren, getting a pedicure, and running errands. But on Sunday, I worked like crazy on the lariat. It still isn’t done, but it’s close!

Design Time

I know it’s been a good couple of beading days when my right forearm is all achy. That’s also my signal to STOP and give it a rest already! Besides, I’m at that point in a design when I’m so twisted and turned in my thoughts that I realize I probably have no perspective left. I’ll leave it overnight and look at it in the morning. I bet I’ll like it lots more in the (mid)morning when I wake up fresh.

I have quite a bit of designing to do, but the ideas are popping up like crazy in my head so my only problem is time and physical limitations. It’s a lot better than when I’m up against the design wall and my head is E M P T Y like a balloon.

I have a lot of half-finished projects around the house that are driving me nuts. The reorg of the office space – I thought I’d be done by now! Instead I haven’t even finished unpacking the Bead & Button Show boxes let alone shift the current furniture and go buy and assemble more.  I owe you guys photos of my Bead & Button loot. (But notice that this is the THIRD post this week! Go Jill!) It will all get done…eventually…and by eventually I mean I hope before I die…

There’s a lot of socializing on the immediate horizon too! So unusual for me since I turn into a total hermit when I’m at home. But Thursday is the first of several farewell parties for my dear friend and former boss, Mick McNulty, who is moving to Florida. Friday and Saturday nights are my 25th High School Reunion. Did I really type twenty-five?? Holy Cow. Sunday night one of those high school friends will be performing in Austin and I never get to hear him sing any longer so that’s a must-see. After that point, I will need to retreat to my little beading cave for solitary confinement again. It’s a necessary evil.

A little OCD

I read a quote in a magazine tonight that spoke to me quite perfectly. “If someone told me that I could only eat the same 12 foods for the rest of my life, I’d be perfectly okay with that.” Which is not to say I don’t eat a variety of foods! But I do tend to get “stuck” on favorites. For the last few years, I’ve eaten edamame at least three times a week (and sometimes 5 times a week) because it’s my number one comfort food.

I also tend to get into these oddball cleaning sprees. All of a sudden, I want everything clean and organized and purged and I want it all done NOW NOW NOW. My beloved pile of magazines has been growing like a weed for quite a while now, so I sat down earlier tonight to go through it. It’s now 6 hours later, and I’m still going through them. I can’t bear to just throw them out without at least leafing through the pages and speed reading the occasional story. So I’ve worked my way through 9 of them (yes, I just went and counted) and I still have a stack of 27 left. I guess this will be a multi-night project.

What I’m supposed to be doing is sleeping so that I can get up Saturday morning and get to The Container Store for supplies. Mom and I have big organizing plans afoot for the weekend that include moving where we’ve been storing the kits, moving a bunch of office furniture, and adding more office furniture from Ikea. So naturally we have to put it together ourselves.

But right now, I just want to go through one more magazine…

In the meantime…

What a week! I’ve been hunkered down, working on a set of jewelry pieces I needed to make for a corporate client, and the deadline was today. Eight pieces in 10 days. AGH! How do I get myself into these things? Oh yeah…a complete and total inability to say “no.” I’m learning, though, I’m learning!

And what’s worse is that I can’t even show them to you! Some may be used in an advertisement so they have to be undercover. But I’ll keep you posted if and when I can show them off! I’m quite happy with the way they turned out.

Now my attention can turn to the rest of my urgent projects. Namely, getting ready for the annual Shreveport Bead Retreat in 4 weeks. And getting the new teaching proposal projects finished for Bead & Button Show 2011 submissions in 4 weeks. And a few other teaching proposal projects for a secret teaching gig I can’t tell you about yet. I’m full of secrets lately! But trust me…they’re good ones!

I had these lovely plans of showing you photos of my super quick shopping at the Bead & Button Show, but I was too down to the wire on the deadline and didn’t have time to get them done. But look for photos tomorrow! Really! I can’t wait to show you!

Bead & Button Show, Part II

At last. Part II. If I can still remember any of it. I spent the day today thinking it was Wednesday, and Mom spent the day thinking it was Friday, so we averaged out at Thursday. And you expect me to remember weeks ago???

So when we last left our plucky Bead & Button teacher (that would be me,) it was Wednesday – Meet the Teacher’s Day. Also known as Beady Chaos & Nirvana Packed into One Ballroom for Three Hours Day. But it wouldn’t be as easy as just showing up. Nay! (I’m channeling Barbara Cartland here, folks, not braying like a horse.) I had to teach the 3rd of 4 Kumihimo classes from 4pm – 7pm, and the MTT event starts at 8pm. If you can do the math, that leaves just 1 hour between those two events, which is where Wonder Mom comes in. Having a Wonder Mom is a critical component of my success. She would be in charge of getting all the kits and display items set up in the ballroom since I was going to be tied up with my class. We also enlisted the assistance of my Austin friend, Gwen Youngblood. We knew it was going to be a doozy.

But wait! Where are the kits and display items, you might ask? Why they are all still tightly jammed into the car in the parking garage! So Wonder Mom managed to unload everything from the car, using one small dolly cart in a bazillion trips back and forth through the skywalk from the hotel parking garage to the convention center ballroom. Uphill a disturbing amount of the way. It’s not for the faint of heart. Honestly, when I think about it, it make me want to give her a raise.

My class took a while to pack up, and by the time I got to the Ballroom, the table was set up to the point of perfection, and I had ten minutes to assimilate. And then they let Them in. The Hoards. The Ladies. The ravenous bead buying public.

At that point it all becomes blurry in my mind. I remember people being 3-5 deep in front of our booth all night. I remember periodically looking up and seeing some of my wonderful bead world friends. I remember laughter and excitement and lots and lots of kits being sold. Our credit card machine wasn’t working wirelessly in the ballroom this year, so before long we had a do-it-yourself kind of checkout line going. Gwen would pull the kits for the ladies and hand them their merchandise. Then they would get into the cash register line which Mom was in charge of. If they paid by credit card, Mom would hand them their receipt and point them to me so I could write down their credit card info by hand. We won’t be playing that game next year! I will have it figured out how I can store all the credit card info in the machine even if it doesn’t connect, but it was literally too insane to stop and have me play with the menu to get it fixed. There might have been a riot.

The three hours was over in a flash. All of a sudden we looked up and it was over. The circus had left town, and all that remained was the broken down wreck of a crew. We still had to pack everything up and move it back upstairs to the Expo Hall so we could set up the booth on Thursday. Not the easiest of tasks since we had schlepped SO much stuff to the Ballroom. Next year, two carts for moving stuff around for sure. It was midnight before we dragged ourselves back to the room. I’m pretty sure we said OMG about way too many times. But OMG!

So I managed to drag that day out long enough to be a whole post of it’s own. Guess there’s a Part III in my future!

Patience is a virtue!

I admit it…I’ve been missing in action on the blog lately! I can hear your disappointed sighs every time you pull up the page and find no new content. I mean it! I hear every single one of them!

Since getting home from the Bead & Button Show/Beads by Blanche trip last Wednesday night, there’s been little time for rest or catching up. I had three weeks of mail to go through, bills to pay, packages to ship out, as well as some important personal things like getting to see my niece and nephew. Mom and I drove to Fort Worth on Sunday to take a class with Maggie Meister (more on that soon!) and that entailed waking at 6am, and then not getting back home again until 8pm. At which point, I crashed.

By crashed I mean slept. For 18 out of the next 24 hours. Maybe 18.5. So there went Monday! And today I spent the whole day feeling ill. Too much travel. Too much greasy road food. Not enough normalcy. So it was day two of my body’s revolt.

Thank goodness I can feel the tide turning, though. Tonight as I type this, the energy is coming back and the stomach isn’t rumbling anymore. I’m packaging a bazillion receipts to send off to to be scanned and downloaded into my bookkeeping package. So actual WORK is happening!

It’s good there will NOT be a day three of the body revolt (are you listening, Body??) because I don’t have time for it at all. There are projects to be designed, MORE packages to mail out, beads to be ordered, and evidentally, some Part II of the Bead & Button Show blog post to be written!

So hang in there for another day or two with me….okay? I haven’t forgotten about you! I never forget about you. You wouldn’t believe how many conversations we have in my head.

Just Wondering

From June:
Do you suppose there IS a Part 2 to Jill’s Bead and Button Show report? Just wondering.