A little of this, a little of that

I think I’ve mentioned before that while I used to be a great multi-tasker, age is taking it’s toll, and I now function best doing one thing at a time. I don’t actually hate it. I do think my focus is much better that way, and I don’t make as many mistakes.

BUT! When I have a bazillion things to do, it’s hard for me to switch around from project to project, because I would actually like to finish things sometimes. I had started working on getting the new bead cabinet all stocked up, and beads ordered, and on bead room organization of those beads (all one task) but I’m still not finished.

And it’s killing me! Because I have to put it aside now as I’m getting closer and closer to the twin deadlines of leaving for the BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza) show on Thursday, and finishing the preparations for the Beaducation classes video shoot which will happen while I’m out on the West Coast the week following BABE.

The boxes of kits for BABE will get shipped on Monday. I still need to burn some CDs to complete the kits for a number of designs. That will be Sunday’s work.

And I’m also reviewing and tweaking the instructions for the 3 Beaducation classes, and making the samples for the video shoot. It’s kind of like Groundhog Day. You make a sample up to a certain spot where you know you’re going to want to do a demo for the video, and then stop and package it up. Then you make the sample again and go past that demo spot to the next demo spot. And stop and package it up and start all over again. For example the project I’m working on tonight I decided I need 6 different samples. I may be over-preparing, but I want everything to go super smoothly!

Sluggin’ and Chuggin’ Along

Somehow I thought I’d be done moving back in the house by now, but I certainly should have known better. But massive progress is being made. Tonight I was up all night working on the monster known as The Bead Room. I need a trip to The Container Store and a trip to Big Lots for more storage containers. There are about 7 boxes of mishmash that need to be sorted through and homes found for the contents. I’m still contemplating whether I need to put a table or a couple of short bookcases back-to-back in the middle of the room. The room is already so small, and I quite literally have every inch of wall space taken up with shelves and the desk, so it’s the center of the room or nothing. Maybe I can consolidate and purge a little more…

Saturday is also a BIG day because Mom and I are going to head on down to the store fixtures store and get our slat wall panel! This will go in the front room where I have all the beads for sale, and once we get that installed the the beads hung up, that room will be finished! Yippee!

So you know how I had that poll for what class you wanted me to teach at the Texas Bead Retreat? Yeah. Well. How about something totally different?!! Because the earrings class was the low vote getter. And after figuring out everything that’s going into the Grapevine Bracelet, I decided I couldn’t really teach that as a short class. And despite having touched nearly every bead I own in the last week, the Tila beads remain elusive little suckers. I guess they must be in one of the dreaded mishmash boxes. Where they could remain for QUITE some time.

My new plan since time is up for me to get the class info to Sandy Pardo? I’m going to teach Smadar Grossman’s amazing Mumbai Masala bracelet!


Blues Clues

From June:
The day before we were having the laminate floors done in the house, Jill convinced me to paint the bead room. I’m not sure which of us is crazier. She picked the Tapestry Beads turquoise as the main color. Not a color I’d normally use, but it’s a room that only Jill and I go into, and that color makes us happy.

Of course I ran out of paint and had to finish the job after the floor was laid in that room. When I was done painting, I went into the kitchen and saw blotches of turquoise all over the newly-laid tile. I back-tracked, and found splotches of paint on the laminate too. I must have stepped in a drip of paint and tracked it all over. #@&%. It took a while to get it all up, but finally, finally, I was done.

It wasn’t until later that evening when I saw that I was not the one who had stepped in paint!

Picking a class for the Texas Bead Retreat

I need your help again! It’s time for me to pick a project to teach at the Texas Bead Retreat in January 2011. I’ve got a number of ideas, and I’d love to know what y’all think! So I created a poll over there <--- to the left. Please vote! I’ve been wanting to do my own gorgeous version of a grapevine bracelet/necklace for years now, but I never finished the sample I started in 2007. Yeah – really 2007. In all the house ruckus, I rediscovered it, sitting sadly in a box, waiting for some attention. And now I’m reinvigorated to work on it again – especially since there are more options for drop beads these days and I will be making the grape clusters with several different sizes and shapes for a textured look. Tila beads are all the rage at the moment, of course, and I’d love to have an excuse to play with them! I’m thinking of a layered 3-dimensional type of bracelet. One of my Austin students has been pestering me for an all-earrings class. What do y’all think?? It would be three completely different styles of earrings. I think we could accomplish that in the time frame allotted there. If you have something entirely different you’d like to propose, I want to hear it! Send me an email or a comment, okay? On a different note: a further update with photos of the house renovations is coming soon! I can’t believe what a change has gone on in this house in the last 30 days. Don’t pinch me….I don’t want to wake up if it’s a dream!

The Tile Work is DONE

From June:
Jill is still asleep (anyone surprised?) But she had a very stressful day yesterday. She had to deal with tile laying mistakes and non-English-speaking tile layers while I went to work. If you are friends with Jill on Facebook, you know a little of what went on during the last few days. But that’s behind us now. Jill did a great job yestarday, and we are very happy with the results. On Tuesday we start the wood laminate installation, and we are SO excited.

When we were picking tile, we decided to go bold or go home. I guess you could say we went bold AND went home. So as promised, here are some before and after pictures. The front entryway did have plain tile (boring!) which we replaced. The kitchen and bathroom had linoleum.

Front entry. Our mosaic was had made in Beirut and shipped to us.

Kitchen (same tiles as the front entry).

Master bathroom, with the infamous blue glass accent tiles

And they installed the mosaic in front of the back door. This one also was made in Beirut, but from a different company. Are mosaics a big industry in Beirut??

Evolution of a bracelet

One of the things I worked on this past weekend while in my hotel room is a lovely bracelet by Martina Nagle. I purchased this pattern from her Etsy store a while back and I even bought beads for it in June, but haven’t had time to sit and work on it until now.

This is the original design that I fell in love with…
Martina’s bracelet uses alternating pearls and Swarovski bicones down the center. She added the embellishment with the Size 15 seed beads only on the outside two rows. Gorgeous!

And then I saw Petra Tismer’s variation on Facebook, and fell in love with this one too! Can you see the difference? Petra’s version used the Size 15 embellishment on every hexagon, and added a smaller firepolish bead in the center of each one.

I had decided to do Petra’s variation, but look! When I added the Size 15s on all the hexagons, I decided I was already done. I adore the pattern of the beads without any additional embellishment. It’s like a Wedding Ring Quilt pattern in a bracelet. I also left one middle hexagon without the Size 15 embellishment so I could use it as a clasp. Adore!!

And the winning name is….

Twining Vine Lariat! What’s really freaky, is that Nikki’s comment suggesting that name had just been published mere minutes before Mom stumbled out of bed from a nap and said, the name of the lariat is Twining Vine. I was sitting there trying to figure out how she’d seen that blog comment when I had JUST published it! But it was actually Nikki beaming it straight into Mom’s head and bypassing all this comment business. Nikki – contact me with your email and address, and you’ll be getting a special prize!

I’m sitting in a hotel room in San Diego tonight, eagerly anticipating a weekend workshop with the goddess of beading, NanC Meinhardt which starts in the morning. We’re beading a stick. Yeah, you read that correctly. I flew to California to bead a stick. I’m working hard on keeping my mind open – those of you who know me well are laughing your heads off right about now. But I promised myself to go with the flow. I brought an entire suitcase full of beads – 35lbs of to be exact. I hope I have the right ones. It’s all NanC’s fault because in her supply list it says, if you’re in doubt whether to bring a bead or not, bring it. So I did!

I apologize for the long blog absence. I’d been doing so good for a while there, too! In the month I’ve been gone I got the flu for 5 days, taught a bead class in Lake Jackson, Texas, got a cold for 7 or 8 days, taught at Bead Fest Texas, and now I’m in San Diego. I keep waiting for a break where I get to sleep and do nothing for a few weeks, but it’s not looking too good for that.

I’ll be getting home on Monday night, and on Wednesday the long anticipated floor installation will begin with tile guys on Wed, Thurs, and Fri. The following week, the laminate guys will be installing on Tues+. Then we have to get the house back to normal!! And I have to prep kits for the BABE show, finish prep for the Beaducation videos shoot in November. Open house and home classes on the weekends in December. Plus lots of new kits to make, designing to do, and the holidays. It all makes me very glad I chose to take a nice long nap this afternoon!

Fred: the Lariat

We are stuck, and we need your help. Mom and I have hit a brick wall as we’ve tried to come up with a name for Mom’s new lariat design. Please keep us from naming it Fred. Or Larry Lariat (because we like alliteration). Keep in mind that there will be other colorways than just purple.

Ideas???

Procrastination techniques

I fully own up to my endless ability to procrastinate. It’s something I’ve fought with all my life, and I don’t see it changing any time soon. Because I’m such a professional at it, I realized I could actually pass along some of my favorite procrastination techniques for those of you who aren’t quite so naturally gifted in this area.

  1. Facebook. The Internet in general, but really Facebook has taken over as the prime culprit in the last two years. I have 660 friends right now. That’s a lot of people to keep up with. Granted, I don’t actually know all of them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to peek into their virtual living rooms! 
  2. Sleep. Many of you talk about how you worry about me not getting enough sleep when I see you in person. But honestly, you shouldn’t give it another thought. TRUST me. I am the Queen of napping. And in my world a nap ain’t really worth anything unless it hits the 3 hour point. So, yes, I am up in the middle of the night. But I’m sleeping all day!!
  3. Suddenly feel the urge to clean out your closet. After all, that’s work, right?? Okay, so technically it’s item number 756 on the list. But at least you’re being productive! 
  4. See Number 1.
  5. Eat. Want to take a break from beading/filing/paying bills/writing instructions/making kits? I’m sure you could fit some food in that tummy. And clearly you can’t do both at the same time. All the weight loss wizards out there say you need to concentrate on the eating. Can do!
  6. See Number 2. Because I always feel sleepy after I eat.
  7. See Number 5. Because I always feel hungry like I need to eat something after I wake up.
  8. Chase the dog around the house with his Bear Bear in his mouth. Give up after 3 laps because you’re tired. Get back on the Internet.
  9. Write a list of all the many things you have to do. 
  10. Wonder if anyone signed up for your next national class in the 2 hours since you last checked. Get on the computer and check.
  11. Update your Facebook status with how busy you are.
  12. Play Solitaire on the computer. You’re “thinking.” Promise yourself that you’ll get up and accomplish something as soon as you win a game. Get up 2 hours later with a swollen hand from clicking the mouse, and a sore butt, but you DID finally win. 
  13. Watch something on TV that you have to actually WATCH as opposed to just listen to as you bead. Wonder idly where you know that actor from. Get on the laptop to look him up in IMDB. Look up 30 minutes later and realize you have no idea what’s going on in the show. Rewind.
  14. Take a break – it’s been a long, hard day of work.

Hot news!

I’ve got to confess: I’ve been holding out on you!! But I can spill the beans properly now and I know you’ll be as excited as I am. Drum roll please….

I am joining the staff of Beaducation as an online video class instructor! If you’re not familiar already with Beaducation, you need to check it out – they are an amazing company! It’s the brainchild of Lisa Niven Kelly, and has become a huge force in the industry. They have a superstar line up of instructors who create online video classes in wirework, chainmail, metalwork, PMC, mixed media, and of course – seed bead weaving! Everything from beginning classes to advanced, and there are even freebie classes. Let me repeat that: FREE CLASSES!

The lineup of instructors include:

I’ll be filming four classes in November, along with two freebies (FREE!) and they should hit the Beaducation website by January 1. We plan on me doing several new classes each year. I can’t wait to work with these Rock Stars, and I’m so thrilled at being able to provide classes in a video format for y’all!

This is one of Barb Switzer’s classes – Figure S Bracelet



You’ll have unlimited access to the classes, meaning you can watch the class again five years from now if you want to (actually, there’s no time limit at ALL,) and you can watch it endless times over again if you want to giggle at that blooper I’m bound to make again. You will also receive a PDF file with a written handout too that goes with the class. You can either use your own beads, or I will have kits that go along with the projects available for purchase too. 


I know the next question is “What are the classes, Jill?? HUH??” Hey – a girl’s got to save some surprises. Stay tuned!!

What happened to the home classes??

I know the local ladies are frothing at the mouth, wondering why I haven’t had any home classes in months. Don’t despair! They will be back! You might start looking at your December calendars….

What happened is that I needed to clear some space on my calendar to get my life back in order here at home. For five years now, I’ve been building Tapestry Beads and my teaching schedule across the country, and it’s been nonstop go go go. I’m not complaining a bit! I thrive on being busy, and I love what I do, so it’s been nothing bad for me. Except. I’ve finally come to the point where my disorganization was affecting my ability to grow and have design time, and not have a bazillion people waiting on me.

So putting the home classes on hold until December has allowed me to do a ton of catching up. When the ladies come back, they’ll find a whole new house! New flooring throughout. A new bead cabinet and some slatwall in the bead shopping area. The bathroom they use will have been renovated (floor, vanity, faucet, lights, fixtures.) The bead storage room will (hopefully) be organized. And unseen, but critical: my paperwork and accounting will be organized and up-to-date. I’ll have new classes ready to go, and I’ll be much more calm than they’ve seen me in a long while!!

We plan on unveiling the changes in the house in our Annual Holiday Open House. And at least one class will be scheduled in December too. So hang on! It’s coming!

Plans vs. Reality

What I had planned on getting accomplished this weekend:

  • Finishing a Rosetta necklace sample, and possibly getting a second substantially done.
  • Mailing out all the packages that need to get mailed
  • Pedicure
  • Writing a bunch of instructions
  • Making some kits that we’re out of stock on
  • Installing my new bed headboard

What really happened this weekend:

  • Emergency babysitting of my nephew while my sister-in-law took my niece to the doctor for pink eye
  • Flooring shopping with Mom – we picked our laminate wood floor and two kinds of tile (one for the kitchen/laundry, and one for the bathrooms)
  • Working on the Rosetta necklace sample, but not until late Sunday night. I may stay up and finish it tonight just so I can check it off the list.
  • Installed the headboard – it looks so great! I haven’t had a headboard on my bed in over 15 years, and I’m totally glad I bought it.
  • Several naps.

Soo…can you guess what’s on the agenda for this coming week??? Lots of beading samples and lots of instruction writing.. A little cleaning.

It will be a few weeks before we can get the installation of all the new flooring scheduled because we have to involve a plumber (I’m going to replace my bathroom vanity at the same time) and an electrician (we’re going to run electrical under the laminate and have an outlet under our side table for lighting and computer) and lastly, we’ve got a mosaic medallion that’s going to be installed in our entryway that’s coming from Israel, so we have to wait until that arrives. Not a bad thing since I have to clean up the nightmare in the bead room. I’m not sure what I’ll have to bribe myself with to get THAT done. A trip to Italy, perhaps??? I’m thinking a piece of cheesecake ain’t gonna cut it.

Moving without moving

Mom and I moved into our current house three years ago, and while we love it to death (especially the natural light shining from a skylight that bathes the kitchen in a reverential glow) there have been changes we’ve wanted to make. The biggest one? Replacing the carpet and vinyl flooring throughout the entire house. The carpet was okay when we first moved in, but the wear and tear from our four critters, the heavy foot traffic from my home classes, and the light carpet color, have reduced it to a mass of stains.

The cats, dogs, and students won’t be going anywhere, so we need to come up with a replacement solution. We’ve always loved the look and durability of stained concrete floors, so we had a guy come to give us a quote this week. After he left, Mom and I looked at each other in shock and tried to figure out what Plan B might consist of! Why? Because not only was it going to cost $12,000, but they wanted us to move ourselves and all our belongings out of the house for 3-4 days. SHUDDER. I had moving. HATE it. Passionately and painfully. And to have to move and then move right back in the same place??? It kind of makes me want to cry.

We decided that if we did hardwoods and tile instead, at least we could take it in stages and not have to move everything at once. So now we’re researching that option. I tell you what…I think Mom may have finally figured out the only way to force me to clean the bead room…

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!