Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Speaking of Tucson...

Who's going to the Gem Shows in February? Did you know that you have an incredible opportunity to take a full-day class from the combined brilliance of Gail Crosman Moore and Anne Mitchell? It's a special workshop they've put together just for the Tucson shows and it will cover techniques to apply color patina(!) to metal, as well as exploring cold join and fusing techniques. You can find more info at:

New Year's Eve Day

I haven't left the house in days, and I love it. I think Mom's starting to get worried that my butt might grow into the sofa or the desk chair. Alas, I'll have to venture out on Wednesday - to the Post Office, the bead store, and I think I'll treat myself to a Chinese food lunch which I'm craving mightily.

I'd planned a vacation to visit the mighty Anne Mitchell in Tucson over the holiday, but my fear of not having enough days to get done all that needs to get done in the month of January made me balk. Happily I won't have to wait much longer to visit Tucson & Anne anyway - the infamous Tucson Gem Shows are only a smidge over a month away.

Mom & I are turning over about half the kits for 2009 - that's a lot of new stuff! And we're finalizing samples, ordering beads, and writing instructions. I also have to restock the kits we're keeping, and do some juggling of resources to find places to organize it all.

I also sent out an email to the Home Classes email list about classes which will be held in Jan, Feb., and March. I give them first shot at signing up - and then if I still have any slots available by Friday, I'll post the info here on the blog. If you want to be added to the Home Classes email list, just shoot me and email at and tell me so. I've already started doing two sessions in one day to try to accommodate folks - I've got room for 8 per class, so by doing two classes in a day I can fit in 16. Even then, I'm pretty sure we're going to be filling both sessions most of the time. I appreciate ya'll so much!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jill Taking Photos

(From June)
What's funny about Jill taking photos on Christmas was that Rich's camera is a pretty high-powered one, and the shutter is very sensitive. Jill couldn't take just one picture - everytime she took one, it took a second one before she could get her finger off the button. So there are doubles of all her shots. We were laughing at her, and Rich said, "Here, I can adjust the sensitivity higher on the shutter." So he took the camera, looked at it and said, "Oh, it's as already high as it will go."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Photos from our Christmas

Alexis, running for the tree when we finally let her loose. All the presents were for her. Mom and I exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve, and the rest of us agreed to forgo gifts this year. Rich & Becky got an amazing full kitchen renovation instead.

She was a determined kiddo - taking this new gift to Daddy for assembly. And she made it!

The rest of us enjoyed watching her flit from toy to toy. It was a complete overload for her. Becky is enjoying her non-alcoholic Mimosa here. In other words: orange juice. I'm sure Baby Boy Wiseman loved it.

I was busy taking photos with Rich's crazy professional camera. Talk about not having a clue.

After presents, naps for all, and dinner, we worked in their new kitchen to make Christmas cookies. Here's Mom, Alexis, and Becky making the frosting. Please note Alexis and Becky's matching aprons!

This is actually the first cookie Alexis has ever eaten. She liked it. She's a Wiseman, afterall.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Back to freezing again

I had such high hopes of what I'd get done today. Working in the bead room on the reorganization project, a bunch of laundry, and finishing up a bangle for myself. Sadly, it was not to be. Instead I spent a good portion of the day huddled under blankets. The temperature here in Austin never got above 35 or so today, and the wind chill made it much colder. As I sit here, I hear sleet hitting outside. Mom & I have both remarked that this is the windiest winter we've known in Texas - for the last six weeks or so, the winds have been howling around 20+mph with great regularity.

I did finally work on that bangle, and I'm almost done. Why is it that a beader will always end up having to add thread when you're just a few rows shy of completion?? WHY, Universe, why?? I'm disheartened enough to be bad and leave it for tomorrow. I'll hate myself in the morning, but I promised Mom I'd get to bed by 2am, and I'm up against that deadline now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

This, and that, and the other thing

So much to cover tonight! Hold on - it's gonna be a long blog! We'll start with a pretty picture... These cases hold 4 hours of my life. My Size 15 seed bead drawer was out of control. OUT OF CONTROL! I couldn't find anything - couldn't close the drawer - didn't know what I had. So the Tapestry Beads Reorganization Expert (ahem, me) came to the rescue. She repackaged them all in flip top containers, made sure they were properly labeled, and then stowed them nicely in these 8 containers. So lovely. So organized. But what? I only have 127 colors of Size 15s?? Oh no! Must. Buy. More!

Now for the true confession. This is why I don't let people into my studio. This is one tiny corner of the chaos. And I wonder why I can't find things? There's probably more Size 15s buried on that table! So this afternoon, flush with my success at taming the Size 15s problem on Thursday, I marched into the studio with high hopes, garbage bags, and determination. What? You thought I was going to declare it's all better? Get real! Do you see how much stuff is there? But I did make some significant progress and there will be more made over the weekend. I'm retiring a bunch of kits from the current lineup, and working on moving in the supplies for the new 2009 kits. If I don't organize now, it will never happen. Never.

A few really cool opportunities have been brought to my attention recently, and I'm dying to share them with you guys -

First up - I'm just too excited to find out that the phenomenal Gail Crosman Moore is coming to Central Texas (New Braunfels) to teach an Intro to Borosilicate Beadmaking class, as well as her cool Felt as a Sculptural Vehicle class. Gail is a delightful woman with creativity that just oozes out her pores. I own a number of her Boro beads, and I'll probably own a few more after her Texas trip. Sigh!

You can find more details at: , but the quick download is this:

Intro to Borosilicate Beadmaking
Saturday, January 10, 2009
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

A great selection of Northstar clear & colored rod (approximately a pound) is included in your class fee and will be yours to take home after class. Torch, tools, all supplies and a delicious lunch is also included.
$225 per student

Felt as a Sculptural Vehicle
Sunday, January 11, 2009
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

$195 per student Your class fee includes your felting kit and a delicious lunch!

Honestly, this post is getting so long it's crazy. So more opportunities to be posted tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm the boss!

Everyone can breathe easy again - the big ol' honkin' pile of Failures is now a distant and picked apart memory. Today, I regained control of the beads - the herringbone necklace has been tamed and is totally gorgeous. I'm still gonna tweak a little on the embellishment, so it's not quite ready for an official unveiling yet, but the basic structure and lovely soft drape is there, and that's what was elluding me the last eleventy billion hours. Maybe I will actually be able to drift off to sleep now without chasing design problem remedies in my head for a few days.

So much to organize and prepare for and get put in place before the regularly scheduled chaos erupts again after the new year, but I'm realizing that it's probably not ALL going to be accomplished within that time frame. Picking what the most important pieces are and working towards them will have to be the revised goal.

Mom managed to dance with the devil long enough to cut some hair from around Winston's eyes tonight - what a difference! I'll try to catch him in a photo tomorrow. In the meantime, Maggie's been sporting this lovely sweater during our redonkoulsly cold weather. I think I'll finally spring her from it for a few days....but then we're back to highs of 45 by early next week again. So confusing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When Beads Misbehave

I sometimes tell my students that you've got to let the beads know who's in charge when you're working. And sometimes it's the beads. That's the little battle of wills that's been going on in my home the last two solid days! And so far, the beads have won. I've spent roughly 15 hours making this pile of fail. Anne specifically requested a photo of the detritus, so here you go.

I now understand why you see so few FLAT herringbone necklaces. Because they're almost impossible! But I know I can make it happen and I will. For the moment I might have to step away from the beads, though - or they might be flung with great force at the wall.

On the other hand, we have a success photo to share also! This lovely red bracelet is something Mom whipped out recently for herself. When the ladies at the Open House saw it, they all begged for it to be a kit, and the customer is always right! So the beads have been ordered and this will be in our 2009 lineup.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beading comes back

Ah, what a wonderful and productive day, despite a good 3 hour nap in there. Mom and I spent time reviewing our current kits and figuring out which ones to discontinue for our new goodies. Making sure we had a good mix of beginner to more advanced, bracelets to necklaces, etc. We still need to do some color analysis to make sure we're not going to be surprised next month when we put everything out and realize it's all green. Sometimes you get on a roll with a certain color palette and don't realize it.

We also spent some time going over our display and how we plan on changing it up next year. We ordered a few new display pieces to check out how they make everything look before we order tons of them. One critical piece was on back order - of course! But we can work around it for now. I need to call and check on when they expect them back in stock though.

And then this afternoon, the designing muse struck, and I've been beading since probably 7pm straight through until now - 3:15am, so a little over 8 hours. This is what happens when I'm designing. Chaos on my end table in the living room. And this is a pretty controlled version of it! Note the all-important Diet Coke right in the middle of things. And you can see one small sample of the too-curvy version on the left.

I've gone through approximately 7 different iterations of the design, but I'm pretty sure I've finally got the real thing. First I was experimenting with different bead sizes to get the right necklace curve, and once I finally got that figured out, I was working on colors and what kind of dangles to hang off it. (Keshi pearls did the trick on the gold/green one, and turquoise on the blue/sage one.)

When I get the necklace finished, you KNOW I'll show it off to you! Perhaps Monday. I'm not sure I'll have time to finish it Sunday since I'm teaching Sunday evening. But I have something else to give you a preview of on Sunday! Oh, happy days...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Isn't Christmas over already?

I confessed to Mom today that more than once this week, I've found myself confused in a store because all the Christmas merchandise wasn't on clearance. After all, MY big party is over - and that was the big Holiday event happening around the Wiseman household, so the same is true for everyone else, right? Oh - wait! Nope! Christmas is still two weeks away! What's even funnier (or more scary, depending on your view) is that I discovered Mom's been having the same problem. Peas in a pod - that's Mom and me!

I've been so very bad this week and haven't even picked up beading a single time. Instead I drug out an old cross-stitch project I five years ago! And I've been having fun doing that instead in the evenings. I taught one class Wednesday night, and babysat for Alexis on Thursday night and will again Friday night. It's all so strangely normal. ish. Oh! And reading! I've been reading too! I remember those days when reading was my primary activity. Mom used to joke that the explosion of bookstores opening in Austin around 1995 was due to the fact they knew I was graduating from college at that time and would finally be able to read for pleasure again. I did my best for quite a while to keep them all gainfully in business. Until the arrival of beads in my life in 2001.

So I'll get to play regular person for a few more days, but then necessity will make me get back to 2009 preparations. The beads won't order themselves. The kits won't get delivered to me by Santa's Elves. The instructions won't be left on my doorstep with milk and cookies.

But it sure is nice to visit Normal at least once a year. I'm even going to have plans with two different friends next week! If they still remember me...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Post Open House Report

I know ya'll have been waiting, breathlessly, for a report on the Open House. I'm sorry it took me so long to post - I had to sleep ALL DAY Monday to recover!

We had so much fun and I can't wait to do it all again. Maybe next weekend? Okay, not until next year, but still! We had a good turn out, and some folks just dropped in to say hi, while others sat and beaded all afternoon. The dogs were well-behaved. The food got thumbs up (Thanks, Mom!) and the new wall in the Studio was a big hit. Now I can unveil it here too!

Isn't that cool??? They're decals I got on Etsy. The Swirly Tree is from DaliDecals, and then I had the Tapestry Beads logo custom made by Elephannie. They were pretty easy to put up (with two of us) and if we get tired of them at some point, we just tear them off the wall! I love that wall to death now, and it used to be a big blank eyesore.

You know all those holiday party photos I promised? Yeah. Well. I got kinda busy, and then before I knew it, the party was over, and the camera hadn't been touched once. Hopefully my brother got some shots when his family was here for the first hour. I'll check.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Open House on Sunday!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...and they really are!

We've decorated. And we've cleaned. And we've baked. (Yes, I mean Mom's baked.) And we've organized. And we're near collapse. But we're finally ready for tomorrow's Open House. Wheee!

A few early starters showed up this afternoon, getting the date wrong, but given the fact that I was covered in grime and stinky, they only stayed a few moments and I wisked them out the door again, hoping they can come Sunday. Kathryn's mad because she had planned on being the first one to arrive for the Open House and here she got beat by a whole 25 hours! Next year I'll expect that she sets up a tent in the front yard to hold her spot in line.

A few more tasks before bed tonight - figuring out what the rest of the door prizes are, and straightening the office. Then a little last minute cleaning and vacuuming in the morning, some sandwich making, and we're set!

Oh! And if any of you haven't taken the Russian Splendor class at Nomadic Notions or the national shows and still wish you could - you have another chance. Two of my early birdies talked me into a private class on Friday, Dec. 19 here at the Tapestry Beads Studio, from noon to 3pm. Class tuition is $25. If you're interested, drop me an email so I can put you on the list.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Beads, beads, and more beads!

Ah, I do love my UPS man. Today I came home from a hair appt to find 20 pounds of beads on my doorstep. And 40 pounds of bags. Yup. Plain ol' bags. 2x2 baggies, 2x3 baggies, 6x9 baggies, and on and on. It's amazing how many I use in a year.

Mom and I managed to get half our new artwork up on the studio wall, but pooped out before we could finish the last quarter of the job. It's nerve-wracking to install. You'll understand this weekend when I'm able to unveil it to the world. I was a little worried I wouldn't like it, but fears have been put to rest. It totally rocks!

So I'm sitting in the living room tonight, watching random tv and tubing up beads. You get a lot of tubes out of 20 pounds worth.

I'm informed that Rich, Becky, and Alexis will be at the Open House for the first 45 min. to an hour on Sunday - after that we're interfering with nap time, and one does NOT mess with a toddler's nap!

I'm also informed that if you guys don't come and see me and eat up while you're here, I will be eating little sandwiches and chips and queso and veggies and dip and yada, yadda for the next month. Save me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sneak Peek

Here's the sort of thing Mom & I have been up to for the past week.

Santa hanging out in the front hall

These are the new tables for the studio. I love them! And that blank wall on the left won't be blank for much longer. I can't wait to see how the new art works there!

The framed illuminated manuscript page is from 1460. How cool is that?

The pine cones are an homage to our former place in Bastrop - 2 acres of pine forest.

Holiday Open House Details

First Annual Holiday Open House
Sunday, December 7
Noon - 5pm
Tapestry Beads Studio
914 Wild Petunia Way
Pflugerville, TX 78660

We'll have food, punch, soft drinks...
If you've got a fabulous dish that you want to bring and show off, feel free!

Hourly door prizes, with one grand prize at the end of the day.
Grand prize will be one free Tapestry Beads Studio class, including a free kit.

Come and spend five minutes, or all five hours!
Tables will be set up for beading, so bring a project to work on...
Or just a bunch of show and tell!

Special celebrity guest appearances by:
Alexis Wiseman
Winston Wiggles Wiseman
Maggie Wiseman

Show & Tell

It's been been a long time since I shared any jewelry photos with you - mainly because I've got about eleventy million projects partially worked up, but nothing actually completed. I'm working away on rectifying that situation as I've got more beading time available to me this time of year. So more photos will be arriving throughout December.

For today, though, it's Mom's fabulous project I get to show off! She has loved the look of freeform beading since the very beginning of our beady journey, some 7 years ago. It's the kind of thing you either love to do, or it really stresses you out. I'm sad to say, I'm the "stressed out while working on it" type. I wish I could be more loosey-goosey, but in this family, Mom's the one with the freeform mojo.

She purchased the cabochon this past February at the Tucson jewelry shows, and then picked out most of the seed beads for it at the same time since we had access to the amazing choices at Beyond Beadery right there in front of us at our show. She set it aside for many months during the mid part of this year, but then pulled it out again last month and she was a woman on a mission! She almost finished it at the Houston Bead Society Show, but then we decided it needed a tiny bit more length, so the real finish happened Sunday night while watching The Amazing Race.

I'm so proud of her! It's completely awesome and I can't wait to wear it myself. I'm sure she'll be wearing it this Sunday at the Holiday Open House - you're coming, aren't you? If you need the address and directions, email me at - and feel free to bring anyone you think would enjoy it!

We're still working away on preparations. I got all the gifts ready today (yes, you get a gift just for showing up!) and made progress on the things like taking the wrappers off candles, hanging ornaments, etc. We picked up our new classroom tables on Sunday and I'm about to go attach the legs to them so we can set them up properly in the room.

Still on my to-do list: Decorating the trees outside, mowing the lawn (it is TEXAS), making door prize certificates, making door prize drawing sign ups, finishing decorations around the house, grocery shopping, and then taking photos of our festive home to share with you guys!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mystery in Round Rock

We had a strange thing happen to the Wiseman Family this Thanksgiving.

While my brother & sister-in-law were visiting her family in Dallas over the holiday, someone took it upon themselves to add Holiday lawn decorations to their house. It's a "complete mystery" who might have done such a thing. Personally, I think it was brilliant. Genius, even.

The Elves left a Santa doll that's as big as Alexis, two lighted spiral Christmas trees, and a Snoopy holiday light. Rich sent some photos to us tonight showing how much Alexis loved the surprise. Is she not the most adorable munchkin ever??

Whoever the Elves might have been (giggle) have big plans for the future. Like maybe NEXT year when they go to Becky's family for Thanksgiving, additional lawn ornaments will be "anonymously" added to the display. Wouldn't that be awesome? Those Elves are the funniest people I know!

Friday, November 28, 2008


Woof! This is Winston, taking over the blog for the day because it's MY DAY! (wag, wag, wiggle) Today is one hooman year since I came to live with Mama June and Mama Jill and my step-sisters, Maggie, Piper, and Josie. It's great being the only man in the house - I show them all the time how manly I am and they kiss and cuddle and coo at me.

Okay, so maybe when they call me Winnie the Poo I'm not feeling so manly. Or worse, Winnie Poo Poo Head. I get Wookie, and Boo Boo Bear too. But eventually I'll train them that when they call me that, things get eated. Socks, beads, leave it, I'll eated it. Now THAT'S manly!

Actually, Mama Jill was noticing that I'm having a maturity shift the last few weeks - whatever! I've got her snowed! But I realized that if I calm down more, then the destruction, when it comes, is much funner because it's a surprise! Wheeee!

Anyway, Happy Adoptiversary to me! I sure luv my hoomans. And I think they finally luvs me too. I had to bat my long eyelashes at them. Works every time.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lost a post?

I'm so confused - I just looked at the blog to remind myself of what I'd last told ya'll about the doings around here, and the last post I made is missing!? I KNOW I wrote it - but it's just gone. Well drat.

Okay, that means it's catch-up time! Mom and I are planning on spending the holiday weekend eating (naturally,) napping (just as naturally,) finalizing the menu for the Holiday Open House, and doing our decorating. My brother's family is with the in-laws over Thanksgiving, so that means it's just Mom and me on this holiday. But then we get them, and the ever entertaining Munchkin!) on Christmas - and get to see her open her gifts. I think it's a good trade off.

I got another round of good news today - unfortunately it's too early to share with you guys. But I'm hopeful it won't be too much longer before I can tell all! 2009 is shaping up to be quite the year and I'm really looking forward to it. Great classes coming...great new kits...fabulously fun opportunities...Wheee!!

A Thanksgiving quote:
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
—Melody Beattie

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stimulating the economy

Mom and I sure did our part today to help alleviate the economic crisis. Shoes were purchased (two pair for Mom! A record! And a pair for me as a "commission") which was the critical component. We tried to clear out the holiday aisles of Hobby Lobby, but their reserves are more than we could handle. I think we made a tiny dent. You've got to love 50% off.

There were two things that really struck us both on our shopping excursion. First, the lack of bodies around us. The weekend before Black Friday and yet the stores were painfully empty. Which leads to the second thing - aggressive sales people. I've never in my life been as worked by sales staff as we were today. They were clearly hurting for business in a BIG way.

I couldn't sleep last night because the hamster in my brain was running along on that wheel as it likes to do sometimes - but the good news is that I think I got a potentially really great project idea out of it. I drew it out to describe it to Mom at lunch today, and she liked it too. Now if I can simply make it reality.

I have SO many projects to bead right now - but I haven't really been able to plop down and dedicate the time to do it. My Thanksgiving week is looking beautifully devoid of places to be, however, and while I need to finish painting my bedroom before the Open House, there should also be time to get some designing work done too.

Bead Brunch at Nomadic Notions in the morning means I should be crawling into bed about now...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Falling down on the job

Kelly R. told me in class last night that I was falling behind on the blog, and I'll be darned, she was right! Know what's funny? I think about what I'm going to put in the blog all the time - the trick is sitting down and writing all the good material that's in my head. Couldn't ya'll just plug into my head once a day instead??

Preparations for the Holiday Open House are coming along fast and furious. Mom and I have a big joint shopping project scheduled for Saturday. Priority #1 - shoes. Priority #2 - holiday decorations, big and small.

And it's a good thing this day o' shopping was planned like a week ago. Because this 50 degree weather is kicking my butt! I haven't wanted to do anything at all today because it's too darned cold. It's really quite amazing to me that I ever lived in Wisconsin where today would be a veritable heat wave.

Thursday was a really awesome day for me. I had lunch with an old friend I haven't seen in four years. Derek and I worked together back in 1999-2000 at a high tech company, and kept in touch for several years afterwards, but eventually drifted apart. Interestingly enough, we both left high tech for self-employment around the same time. He went to grad school and became a licensed counselor and now has his own successful practice. We'll definitely stay in touch this time.

We ate at The Shady Grove, which is a big Austin favorite. They have a really peaceful and lovely outdoor seating area, which is where Derek & I ate (given that it was 75 degrees yesterday!) and all the tables are gracefully sheltered by an ancient, amazing pecan tree. (It ain't called Shady Grove for nuthin') But there was one little thing marring the atmosphere. Dive bombing pecans falling at breakneck speed from the tippy top of the tree, and hitting everywhere! I got hit by three pecans personally - others landed in food, on the table, one hit just right so that Derek's tea spoon was catapulted from his tea glass across the table. Every three minutes or so, you'd hear the sharp crack of another landing ring across the patio, and we'd all take stock of the damage. It was so absurd, it kind of made up for the annoying part. We vowed to bring our own umbrellas to protect us next time!

Now I should get back to counting out little tiny crystals. Yup! They arrived! So that's also on this weekend's task list - getting them photographed and put up on the website for sale. Soon, my friends, soon!

Monday, November 17, 2008

What a great weekend

This whole weekend turned out to be so fun. Getting to spend some time with Alexis - she's a little sponge, absorbing everything she sees - it's fascinating to watch her experience the world and figure it out.

We had an absolute blast with class Saturday afternoon at the house. It was a super group and they picked up on the project right away which means we could spend most of our time laughing and talking. Winston went purse-diving a few times, and scored the last bite of a granola bar, and a crackers wrapper. Next class we'll have a purse table so they're up and out of his reach! He seems to have a purse fetish, though, as he also was sleeping on Kelly R's purse several times.

It was such a lovely afternoon that it made me sad that I didn't have any home classes scheduled in December. What to do? I know! Let's throw a Customer Appreciation Holiday Open House! Yippee!

First Annual Holiday Open House
Sunday, December 7
Noon - 5pm
Tapestry Beads Studio

We'll have food, punch, soft drinks...
If you've got a fabulous dish that you want to bring and show off, feel free!

Hourly door prizes, with one grand prize at the end of the day.
Grand prize will be one free Tapestry Beads Studio class, including a free kit.

Come and spend five minutes, or all five hours!
Tables will be set up for beading, so bring a project to work on...
Or just a bunch of show and tell!

Special celebrity guest appearances by:
Alexis Wiseman
Winston Wiggles Wiseman
Maggie Wiseman

Mom and I are having a blast, working on the open house - why didn't we think of this earlier?

And lastly, on Sunday, I taught the first class of Parisian Lights, and things went smooth as silk. The first one done was Padma - in 90 minutes! And everyone else finished their bracelets by the end of class, save one. And she was only 15 or 20 min. away from finishing. It's always a relief when a first class like that goes well.

Today I'm at home all day - no reason to leave the house at all. Downtime, that's so necessary for me. Not that I'm sleeping all day. So much to do! I'm ordering a bunch of really cool new beads and goodies for the Open House and new kits, working HARD on a big outline I need to finalize, and I'm surrounded by piles of paperwork that need to be taken care of. So I'm off!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

Fact: One of the suitcases in the living room is actually empty. Just hasn't made it to the garage yet.

Fact: Mom really never does sleep past 7am. So what was up with that whole 10:20am thing? She's trying to encroach on my Vampira territory!

Fact: I'm now reconsidering my decision to let her have the password to the blog!!


I spent the evening finishing up a Hula Hoop bracelet, embellished with my lovely little 2mm Swarovski crystals, and it's so fabulous I may just wear it to bed. I was smart enough to put all the crystals on the outside of the bangle where they show, and use only seed beads on the inside part that lays next to your wrist. More comfortable and less pricey that way.

What I should have been doing is cleaning up around the house in preparation for Saturday afternoon's class here. Not a lot is likely to be accomplished in the morning because Mom agreed to babysit Alexis here from 7:20am (AM??) until noon. A toddler and cleaning do not mix well, even with two adults here. We play "pass the baby" as we run out of things to amuse her and as we need to get things done.

I got two new tables ordered for our teaching studio today - unfortunately they won't arrive for 10 or so days, so the gang tomorrow will have to deal with my makeshift setup one more time. I'm basically creating a large, double-wide square in the center of the room that will have room for 8 to sit really comfortably, and in a pinch, we can fit in as many as 12 by separating the two tables.

Word is leaking out a little bit, so I want to go ahead and let everyone know that starting in Feb. 2009, I'm going to be taking a six month leave of absence from teaching at Nomadic Notions. With everything I'm juggling in 2009, I simply can't keep up the amount of teaching and class assisting I was doing there too. The last year I've spent an average of 12-15 evenings a month at the store, teaching. That's a LOT of teaching! And freeing up that time during Mom's knee surgeries, the busiest of my annual travel schedule, and when I need to be designing a bazillion projects will make me more sane. That's the plan anyway. Remind me of that later, when I'm going crazy, will ya'?

I'll still be teaching at most of the national shows, 1-2 classes a month here at my home, and I'll be doing some guest teaching gigs for various bead clubs and bead stores. So it's not like I'm going into hiding! I'm simply trying to reclaim a little bit of having a life.

If you're not already on the email list that receives the announcements for my home classes (in Pflugerville, Texas - a few miles north of Austin) and you'd like to be, just send me a note asking me to add you to the home classes email list. (

Friday, November 14, 2008

What Jill Didn't Tell You

From June:
First, let me totally agree with Jill's most recent post. Any flat surface? Covered in 24 hours. Even though I told her the table was lava. Covered. Unpacked suitcase from the Houston show before the last Houston show in the hallway. Unpacked suitcase from the last Houston show in the living room. Sob. It's about the only thing Jill and I clash on with living together, but I guess it could be worse. And I really do like living with Jill.

What Jill didn't tell you about our last Houston show was our Sunday morning episode. You have to know that I am typically a morning person. Even on weekends, I'm usually awake by 7 a.m. Occasionally I'll sleep until 8 or after, but not often. So the bead show opened at 11 on Sunday morning. We were both exhausted Saturday night, and went to bed about 9. (Yes, we are party animals.) Neither of us set an alarm, counting on my usual early morning wake-up.

The next morning I did wake up at one point. Vampira, of course, was snoring in her bed. The clock in our hotel room was broken, and the nearest cell phone to check the time was too far away. I was still sleepy, so I turned over and went back to sleep. The next time I woke up, I did break down and grab the cell phone. Looked at the time with a mixture of incredulousness (is that a word?) and panic. It was 10:20, and we were at least 20 minutes away from the show site, and were a shower and make-up away from being fit to be seen in public.

I woke up Vampira, and she reminded me that on Saturday, it had taken shoppers a while to get down to the lower level where we were, so I relaxed. We laughed about it as we were getting ready. I'd slept for over 13 hours! I don't think I've ever slept that long unless I was sick. Go figure.

We will not count on the June alarm clock in the future as it is obviously faulty!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One pile after another

Anyone who's spent any time with me knows what a Messy Bessy I can be. I'm one of those people who walks into a room, and within five minutes I have my stuff spread on every available surface. I'm not quite sure how it happens. There's a gremlin that follows me around and does it when my back is turned.

As a result, my coping strategy is piles. Can't find a space to put something? Take all the papers that are all over the desk and put them in a neat pile! There! Look at all that space. Repeat for six months and what have you got? Piles covering every available surface. Can't ignore it any longer. Must work on piles. Finding homes for filing items. Throwing out all the out of date stuff (oops!) Freaking out when finding important things in a pile that should have been taken care of a long time ago.

And boxes - how in the world do I have so many boxes in my life?? I do a lot of ordering via the internet and the boxes come several times a week. I should set up a box store. Reuse and repurpose all these myriad of boxes so I don't have to deal with them.

A WildFire shipment arrived today, so I'm restocked after the flurry of buying at the Houston Bead Society Show last weekend. Everyone adores this stuff.

The new 2mm Swarovski crystals are being shipped, and yet, I still haven't gotten the first batch up for sale on Etsy or the Tapestry Beads website. Sigh.

I'll be teaching two classes in Philadelphia at Bead Fest next year - Piazza Perline and Ring Around the Rosie. Excellent choices!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blink, blink - home again!

The 2008 shows are done for me. Deep exhale. It's putting me in a reflective mood - as Mom and I were discussing over the weekend, this year has been a flurry of activity and good news for the most part. Sure, there have been some speed bumps. Several popped up in the last few weeks. But overall, I am so very pleased with everything we've accomplished this year. I set some crazy goals I had very little chance of making come to fruition, and I'll be darned if a few of them actually came true.

I think part of the success is that I'm getting so much better at forward planning and thinking. It's a trick to look beyond where I am this very moment sometimes. I have two sets of urgent items on my mind every day. First, I check in with myself on the immediate, short-term things that need to happen. What classes am I teaching this week? Where am I traveling next, and have I made all the necessary travel arrangements? Do I need to mail things out? And then there's the long-term planning - what do I need to be working on for 2009? Is the schedule filled? What new designs will be coming out next year? What are the teaching proposal deadlines for 2010 and do I need to be working on samples for them? What are the trends, colors, styles that customers are wanting to see and am I meeting those needs? Which projects should I submit for magazine publications?

A million questions like these run through my mind every day. It's a little less daunting and scary overall now that I've been through a few cycles of it. It's still surprising to me that I need to be thinking NOW about what kind of classes I want to be teaching in 2010, but if I don't, I'll be caught in a frenzy of last minute scrambling when the teaching proposals are due. And I don't like that one bit.

So now that I'm home for two whole months (minus a few vacation days in Tucson) it's time to do all this big planning and getting ready for next year. I can't wait to dive on in there! I'm very excited about the things we have on the list, including (but not limited to):
  • Revamping our show display
  • Adding WildFire, 2mm Swarovski crystals, and good quality & cool clasps to the website
  • Submitting a bunch of projects for magazine publication
  • Updating and selling discontinued kits as patterns only
  • Bundling patterns in booklets and/or CDs
  • More classes here at the Tapestry Beads studio
  • And much, much more! (said in a deep, important TV announcer voice)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blink - I'm back on the road again

Four whole days at home, and poof! I'm off to Houston yet again. Not that I don't love Houston. I do. But three weekends in a row?

You guys will be so proud of me. We actually had the Element packed and ready to go by 8:30 tonight. So totally a record - Mom tried to spoil it by saying it's just because we were too lazy to unpack from last weekend's show - but that simply ain't true! I bought some new storage containers, most importantly for our lighting which has been hauled around while bundled in a blanket. It was a tragedy waiting to happen. Now I've dodged it.

Winston has become a world class escape artist in the last few weeks, and it's resulted in more than a few neighborhood comedic moments with me running in various states of undress down the street, ineffectively yelling his name over and over again. We've taken to sneaking out of the house via the garage to keep him from getting out. Not a good long term plan. I'm worried about my brother getting in and out this weekend while he's pet sitting. I guess Winny and I will be having a date with a trainer after all. Of course, I bought the training book and the training DVD and have I done anything with them at all? Well, I did start the book this week. Yes, I realize its the owners in this home that need the training. All Winston is doing is being really good at dog behavior.

Come see us at the show this weekend! It's at the HESS Club on Westheimer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Catching up

An amazing surprise arrived on our doorstep this afternoon - nope, not a puppy - but our desktop computer! Back home from its spa rejuvenation at HP Tech Support. As we suspected, it was wiped clean, so we're in the process of reinstalling all the programs and files and yada, yada. You're tired of hearing about our computer woes, aren't you? So are we! Hopefully we'll get a break for a while now.

We're home for only four days before leaving again on Friday for Houston for the last time this year. The Houston Bead Society Show is Fri, Sat, and Sunday. I've attended as a customer before, but I've never had a booth there for various reasons. I'm happy it all worked out this year, although I admit some trepidation about sales in this economy. The Quilt Show was down for virtually every vendor I spoke with - not too surprising, really. People were still buying, but with lists of needs instead of simply picking up anything that appealed to them. I get it, because that's the way I'm shopping these days too.

I'll have some WildFire at the show this weekend, but not a lot of it since I sold some at the Quilt Show too. I have another reorder on the way to me but I doubt it will arrive before Friday. I can take orders at the show and mail them at no charge, though.

I've got photos to share, and stories to tell, but I'm fading fast tonight. What's this? At only 12:20am? I'm losing my Vampira mojo!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Half Time Report: Houston Quilt Festival

We're at the half-way point of the mighty Houston International Quilt Festival, and we're hanging in's been a show of challenges, for sure. Starting off on Wednesday when I dragged myself to the car with only a few hours of sleep on board, to load up all the paraphernalia necessary for the booth. Problem is, I haven't done a show with a full booth set up since June, and the various pieces and parts had scattered to the wind. What normally takes 20 min. to pack, took over an hour and a half. Leaving me late, late, late for the road trip....

I normally have Mom with me at this show to help with set up, but this year we'd decided to save one of her vacation days at work, and have her fly in on Thursday instead. Mistake!! Because by the time I drove to Houston, got stuck in rush hour traffic, unloaded the car from the farthest available parking spot to the booth, and got set up, the show's preview had been open for 20 min. already. I was mortified! And not only that, all the exertion combined with being ill made me shake in exhaustion the rest of the night.

So then I get to the hotel after the preview closed at 10pm, and I'm shocked to find myself in SkankyTown. Seriously. Within a block of my hotel, there are four stripper bars. The hotel itself has left its best days behind it. Smelly hallways, stains on the wall that I do NOT want to know the origin of, and tiny, lumpy pillows. Now, folks, I don't stay at Motel 6. I usually make sure I'm in a moderately decent hotel otherwise I don't want to keep traveling. It's not worth it to me. If I hadn't been so tired I would have checked out Thursday morning, but I didn't have it in me.

Mom got in on Thursday around 11am, and by noon we decided I needed to go back to the hotel and SLEEP. I was barely functioning. I was so grateful for the three blissful hours of napping before I went back and worked the last two hours of the show and picked Mom up. After seeing our diggs last night she agreed that a change in venue was in order. So on a whim, I checked the conference hotel, the Hilton, and sure enough I was able to get us a room for our last two nights in Houston for just $20 more a night than we were paying at SkankyTown.

I hereby vow that I have learned my lesson and will make my reservation early at the convention hotel from here on out. The five minute walk to the expo hall vs. the 30 min. drive is sweet too.

The show itself is always overwhelming. Being exposed to all the quilts and fabrics is inspiration at every turn. I've managed to walk about 2/3s of the show so far. I have to hold myself back from buying stuff - like I have time to take up another hobby! But it's hard every year until I shake myself and yell, "Get real!" Then reality returns and reason wins out.

Attendance seems to be slightly off, and spending is certainly down across the showroom floor. I'm not too surprised given the events of the last few months, but it's still not fun to see.

Houston is still showing quite a bit of hurricane damage too. Mom remarked about the sea of blue tarps covering roofs across Houston as she flew in, and in downtown there are still many buildings with windows covered by plywood. One building in particular has lost probably 4-5 contiguous floors worth of windows. Very striking to see.

Mom's snoring away as I write this, and I'm green with envy. But I couldn't wait another moment to update the blog! I know you guys are out there, wondering what's up! More later...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Better than I thought

Do you know how happy I was tonight to open up my Curly-Q kit supplies drawer, and discover 10 kits, already made up - simply missing the Fireline that goes in them? Which I'd already spooled off the other night? It was like finding a $20 bill in your coat pocket that you'd forgotten was there! It saved me a couple of hours of work, and has fast-forwarded my Houston Quilt Show preparations.

Mom helped a ton tonight too - I'm so lucky to have her! So overall, I find I'm in much better shape with the kits than I'd worried the other night. Even in my slow-motion, cold-hampered way, I'm going to get it all together after all. And what I don't have, I don't have. Can't worry too much about it. There's always next time!

It's 5am, and yes, I should be sleeping. But my stuffy nose kept me from getting comfy in bed, so I decided to get up and take some meds and then surf the net while I wait for them to take effect. I'll be going to dreamland about the time the sun comes up. Vampira lives.

I'm researching restaurants near our Houston hotel for later this week. The show goes until 7pm each night, so by the time we get out of there we want idiot proof decisions to make. In the past we've been at a hotel where there were zero food options on our way from the convention center there, and as a result we often simply skipped dinner. But I smartened up this year. THIS year we're staying in the Galleria area. Talk about dining establishments everywhere! One night will be Mexican, one night Chinese....maybe two nights Chinese....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Do you know where your vote is?

I voted today. Even though I have a terrible cold and only want to huddle miserably in bed until it goes away. Even though I live in a state that I know will make my vote useless in our current Electoral College system. I voted because I know how lucky we are to live in a country where we CAN vote. People still die for this privilege in our world. And all I had to do was drive up, twist and turn a wheel a few times, click a button, and drive away. It was busy at my polling location, but no wait.

So have YOU voted yet? What's your excuse? Get on with it!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

When Munchkins Attack

Wow. I managed to dodge Mom's flu bugs a few weeks ago. I was strong and fought off Mick & Laura's germy bugs that stole their voices. But Little Miss Alexis? That adorable niece of mine? She's the culprit! I babysat for her just two hours on Friday while she had a cold, and now I woke up in full-blown cold mode this morning. Noooo!!!

Despite my poor health, Mom and I made a day trip to the Houston International Gem & Jewelry show today. We haven't done that in a loooong time, and it was quite fun. I managed to snap up all the kit-critical components I was looking for, and I splurged on a long length of too expensive chain that was so cool Mom and I couldn't resist. Two years ago, you would have had a hard time finding a chain vendor at this particular show. Now there were at least 8 or so, some of them having truly amazing stocks.

When we got home around 6pm, I crashed in bed for a quick nap. I just woke up (11pm) and Mom's sound asleep in bed and I missed the whole evening. Bummer. There's some leftover Chinese in the fridge that's calling my name, though, and then I'll probably work for an hour or so before I crash for more sleep.

Oh! Mom and I stopped in Brenham for gas on the way home, which for those of you who don't know, is the home of the most excellent Blue Bell ice cream. Of course the gas station also had an ice cream parlor and we both induldged. I had their Pistachio Almond, and it's WONDERFUL. I wish I had a gallon right now. I've been loyal to my Ben & Jerry's Pistachio Pistachio, but the boys may have met their match with a herd of cows from Brenham, Texas.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm having a show in HOW many days?

Oh, my goodness. Panic has set in. This may actually be the most heinous act of Jillcrastination of all time. Why did it take until today for me to wake up to the fact that one of my biggest shows of the year starts in 6 days?? The amount of work I need to accomplish in the 5 days remaining until I leave for Houston is a shy bit short of building the Parthenon. With a spoon.

Which means I did NOT get the crystals photographed and listed today, as I'd expected. I'll still try to get it done in the next day or two, but I'm not promising this time. If necessary, we can all wait until after I get back from my two Houston shows over back-to-back weekends. On Nov. 10, I am officially free of all shows until January 16th.

I'm going to blame this state of affairs on the computer meltdown. Yeah...that's what happened. And the economy. And global warming. Anything but ennui...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sparkle * Flash * Wink

Oh, the Swarovskis are here! They are so gorgeous and tiny and fabulous and I want to keep them all for myself! Thousands of little crystal goodness! Alas, that's not the plan. I will share. I'm nice that way.

Entertainment should abound later this morning when I try to capture their brilliant sparkle in photos to post them on Etsy. Trying to photograph Swarovski crystals is always an exercise in frustration - they look so much better in person! But I'll try to do right by them. We'll see. I haven't grabbed my brother's light tent yet, but since I'm babysitting Alexis for a few hours Friday morning, I'll have the chance to get it then.

I also ordered more custom colors yesterday. It takes 2-4 weeks for production of them, so I'm trying to sneak the new ones in before I have to reorder from this first batch. Since it's a new thing for me, figuring out the ordering/reordering process and taking into account the production lag is going to be a learning process.

Mom and I are slowly but surely chasing the neighbors away. Last week the house next door to us went up for sale, and then last night we took the dogs for a walk and discovered the house in back of us is for sale too. That one even has the identical floor plan to our house, which we love so much. I teased Mom that I should buy it and we'll rip down the back fence so the dogs and cats can have full access. Identical houses, back-to-back. Now that would be weird! But convenient...

Photos later today as I have them. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Drum roll please....

We're having a boy! Okay, not ME. And not Mom. But Becky is! A nephew to torment my niece, just the way my little brother tormented me. But that's okay - I can give Alexis tips on how to deal with this intruder into her perfect world. Been there, done that! Seriously, though, I couldn't be more pleased for our family and can't wait to meet the little guy in April.

Until then, the main man in my life is obviously Winston. I created a monster one day not so long ago. He loves to take one of his favorite stuffed animals (which we cleverly call "bear") for walks around the house each night. He doesn't want you to play tug with it, nor fetch. Nope, it's just him and Bear, enjoying a little quality time. Enter Jill. She decides to mess with him one night, and proceeds to slow-chase him around the house. Up the hall, around the dining room table, back down the hall, and around the living room furniture. Up and down we go, rarely at more than a trot for him and a lope for me.

But what I'd envisioned as a one-time game has morphed into nightly ritual! Winston grabs Bear, comes up to me, and stares. Long and soulfully. Should I resist him, he comes closer. Still immune to his adorable charm? No problem - he gently places Bear on my feet to explain to the clearly dense human what he wants. I haven't been able to resist yet. We'll wear a path in the carpet, one slow cantor at a time, but he's got me well trained, so anything less is unthinkable.

I'm off to do some Christmas gift shopping via Internet tonight. If I don't get started soon, I'll get trapped into having to actually visit a mall. Or worse, do it after Thanksgiving. Shudder.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lovely weekend

What a sweet, low-key-but-fun kind of weekend this turned out to be here at Casa Wiseman. The cooling of the weather makes the dogs extra frisky and mornings find Winston and Maggie racing breakneck through the house, chasing each other. We call it "Thunder Paws" time, named for the distinctive thudding noise as they hit the carpet. Noooo...I wasn't trying to sleep. But who could wake up cranky when you've got these two to make you giggle?

Saturday's lunch with Alexis was perfect. I'll share a few photos as soon as I can figure out how to capture them off Shutterfly. She's such a doll. Totally irresistible!

Sunday was spent working on reclaiming computer files and backing them up in the morning (okay, I slept - Mom backed them up - I confess!) and this afternoon and evening I plugged away at loading needles (tucking two needles in a small piece of blanket that's been cut out, putting them in plastic baggies, and labeling the baggies,) and counting pearls for the new pink version of our Taupe Pearl Treasure bracelet. I'm heading off to bed before I get to the glamourous job of spooling off Fireline onto small cards for the kits. I'm going to be SO glad when I finish up all the Fireline I've got stocked up and switch over to WildFire. You should see my hands after I've finished a session of repackaging the Fireline - I look like I've rubbed charcol all over my skin. Ick!!

I got to spend a good hour or more on the phone with Anne, catching up. We often talk via instant messenger daily, but with my crazy work schedule combined with all the computer problems, it's been very hit or miss. Mostly miss. I'm going to go visit her in Tucson over New Year's and I'm really looking forward to it. I can't remember the last time I traveled for me, not for a show. Seriously. I can't remember.

And I also got to play some more with Kumihimo. I'm hoping to finish one of my projects Monday so I can wear it to assist Laura's class at the store Monday night. And then, of course, I'll share a photo here as well!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My car makes this noise...

You know how you take your car to the mechanic because it's been making this crazy noise for weeks now, and the moment you turn the car on to let the mechanic listen to it, the noise is gone? Turns out that computer fall into the same category of instant fool makers.

I finally get the computer taken to a local repair place so they can recover our data before we send it off to HP to get fixed under warranty, and daggumit if it doesn't boot up like a charm when he tried it. The "gotcha" part, though, is that after dutifully dragging it back home, it certainly boots up, but the keyboard connection doesn't work. So we can accomplish any function with the mouse, but none that require a keyboard. Mom has figured out that we can use our USB data drives (we have several) to copy and move our files from the desktop to the new laptop sans keystrokes, and once the transfer is over, the computer gets shipped off to HP anyway. But it did save us $90.

The WildFire in large spools in black is back in stock - Mr. UPS delivered it late today. I was hoping the crystals would arrive today too, but not yet. Please, Mr. Postman!

Susan K. is my mortal enemy as of today. Sorry, Susan, but what you did is evil, evil, evil. Susan was the one who suggested the Kumihimo class that's scheduled for January 10 (4 spots still available) and now I'm totally obsessed with this braiding! It's so addictive and meditatative in that same kind of seed bead weaving way. While running errands today I stopped to buy some more fibers to play with, and I have around eleventy million designs floating about in my head to work on.

After doing quite a bit of internet searching on what kind of Kumihimo folks are working on out there, there seems to be a huge amount of furry, fluffy, wacky necklace making going on, but less of the more restrained and detailed ropes that are what my aesthetic is drawn to. I like furry too, but how many furry necklaces does one need? And my practicality immediately thinks - I live in Texas - I don't need to wear the equivilent of a scarf around my neck in summer. So you'll see me working on more streamlined pieces that incorporate big beads as well as some seed bead weaving components. I can't wait until I have some photos of pieces to share.

By the way, there are 3 spots left in my Nov. 15th Celebration Collar class here at my home studio. Class is from 1pm-4pm, and runs just $30. Email me to reserve your spot.

Meanwhile, if you have any asperations of making it into my new Nomadic Notions class, Parisian Lights, the first session in Nov. is full but there's a waiting list if you'd like to be put on it in case there are cancellations, and as of this afternoon, there were 2 spots left in the January session, so work quickly. You can call Nomadic Notions at 512-454-0001 to sign up.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bead Retreat Registrations

Two of the excellent bead retreats I attend and teach at each year are both open for new registrants right now. They sell out every year, and those folks who attended the previous year get dibs on signing up for the following year, so having some openings for new folks is big news.

The first one is the Texas Beader's Retreat in Temple, Texas, from January 16-18. You can find the details at: . They just sent out an email saying there are 15 slots left, so you'll have to act fast to get in. There are around 100 attendees each year, and Jane and Robin from Jane's Fiber and Beads come with all their luscious wares to tempt you too.

The second one is a new offering from Ida Williams of the Shreveport Bead Retreat which I go to every August. There's been so much demand for more retreat time, that Ida's adding a new Mid-Year Shreveport, Louisiana (just across the Texas border) Retreat. Again, I'll be teaching, attending, and dragging my kits there for the general mayhem and beady madness. You can find info at:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sweet rain

Oh, how lucky we are in Central Texas today. Rain. Actual rain is falling from the sky, and it's a good, soaking rain. Not too hard so it all runs off and causes flooding. Not so sparse that the ground never gets penetrated. Nope - it's a good soaker. Now if we can just get several more days of it!!

I have the day off today. No teaching. Yippee! I'm working on getting caught up on emails and shipping out orders. Figuring out what supplies I need to order for kits for the last two shows of the year later this month. I just sent out an email listing the two latest home classes - let me know if you'd like to be on that email list. We're doing Celebration Collar on Nov. 15, and Kumihimo on Jan. 10.

I'm still coming to terms with the new haircut. It's a dramatic change and I'm still deciding if I like it or if I'm already "growing it out." So far everyone says they like it - but it's very different. And it's going to look different yet again when I style it instead of the professional blow out. So the jury's still out.

One of the local news stations did a segment at Nomadic Notions (the Austin bead store I teach at) and they have it posted on the website. That's Mick, the store manager, you see helping her make a necklace.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hot diggety, the computer works

Oh, how sweet the promise of a new computer is. No weird slow downs or pop ups. No "I don't know why I'm getting this error message" moments. A fresh slate. A blank palette. At this moment in time, it's a relief beyond words.

On the other hand, I also spent a significant part of the day just installing all the various software programs necessary for a day in the life of Tapestry Beads. I just located the last CD to install and took the initiative to throw out the old version's CD. I just knew we couldn't actually be using a 10 year old program, and indeed, the version we're using is only 7 years old! I know, a lifetime in software development - but we're only using it for some bare bones type of work. I just looked over the latest and greatest version's marketing materials and decided we didn't need to upgrade. It would be kind of like using a forklift to lift a feather.

Tomorrow's tasks include trying to get all the necessary files on the new laptop from a variety of sources, and updating the website with the new class dates at Nomadic Notions as well as the home classes.

This weekend was full of a fun group of students, including a micro-class Monday night that actually allowed me to sit down and goof off with them and simply talk with them as my friends. I love it when that happens. I love teaching too - but sometimes it's nice to be regular old Jill, sitting around the table and beading like the rest of the gang. One more class Tuesday night, and then I get a break from my five nights in a row teaching run. I usually don't schedule myself more than two nights in a row - I'm not sure how I managed to get five in a row on the calendar. A goof up for sure! My first one ever.

Kathryn emailed me tonight to tell me, "I am using WildFire for the first time tonight and have gone one inch and will sell my old Fireline to the highest bidder!!!!" I think she likes WildFire. Just a hunch on my part.

The new batch of 125 yard spools in black are due to arrive here on Friday and I'll post them on Etsy then, in case you got shut out of the first round of orders. I do have plenty of the 50 yard spools in black, though.

Big Day for me on Tuesday. After 4 years or more of wearing my hair long, it's getting chopped shortish. I've been going back and forth on whether to do it - you know how it is. You love it. You hate it. You have to get it off your face, your neck, out of the sink. But your friends love it and say don't cut it. But you need a change. After going round and round in my mind (it's a big sinkbowl in there) I finally decided to go for it. My hair grows alarmingly fast, so if I hate the result, it will only take 6 months or so to undo.

Naturally, a photo will follow. In the meantime, I found this photo of Mom & me at 2007's Bead & Button show. At first I was thinking it was taken at this year's show, but then I realized from the kits on display, it had to be the prior year! Plus we have higher profile lights now that aren't in the way so much.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weekends are for work

One class down (Friday night's sweet Foxy Mama group did me proud!) and four more to go. At least this weekend, they're all in Austin, and only one a day! Tonight we get to play with Piazza Perline. How I love that bracelet.

I posted on the Texas Beader's Yahoo group yesterday to let them know about WildFire and that I was selling it on Etsy, and I've been putting together packages to mail out today ever since! I'm almost out of the black in 125 yard spools, but I reordered yesterday so I should have more by the end of next week.

I also offered to them, and now I'm offering to you also, a free 3 yard sample of WildFire if you'd like to try it before you commit to buying. Just email me at, and send me your address.

I've got a BUNCH of those to mail out too - all the envelopes are addressed already - now I just need to go sit with Sickie in the living room and make the samples.

Yes, Mom's still dragging, but I'm seeing a bit of progress. She's got a little more pep in her step today as long as that step doesn't last longer than 10 minutes. We've been laughing at Winston this morning since he found a new "toy." He got his paws on a an empty 3 liter bottle of my Diet Coke, and is chasing it around the house frantically. He can't get his jaws around it, so it's the ultimate game of chase - he'll never catch it! I need a video camera to document the antics.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Come on now

People - PEOPLE! The Dow dropped another 600 points today? What in the world is going on?

Know what I'm going to do? I'm not pulling my money out of my bank (Washington Mutual/Chase) and I'm not selling stocks. I'm going to BUY stocks. Yup. I'm choosing this time to invest money in the stock market, because when are we going to see these kind of low prices again?

The sky is not falling, Chicken Little. It's simply sagging a bit. But if cooler heads prevail, and we all stop the panic, things will turn around. Seriously.

Mom's attempt to go back to work today lasted a whopping 90 minutes. Her workmates voted her off the island and made her go home. I'm hoping to make her take another nap this afternoon.

Meanwhile, I've started sneezing today. Please....nooo.....

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

All shipped out

A rather large pile of packages got mailed out for all corners of the US today. I love the Automated Postal Kiosk at the Post longer do I have to wait in lines to work with a clerk. And honestly, I can wiz through those screens faster than they do.

I do miss the days when I was able to print my postage out on my computer via, and then simply leave the packages for my wonderful postal carrier to pick up. Now that we're in suburbia, we have a community mail box across the street from us. There's a slot to drop of envelopes to mail out, but you can't leave packages. Bummer. Ah, well. It gets me in clothed and out of the house on a regular basis - Mom keeps working on me to get my time in the sun to absorb Vitamin D. I dunno. Do Vampiras need Vitamin D? I'm pretty sure that's a benefit of being the undead.

I had a miserable night last night, trying to design something that looks awesome in my head, but horrible in practice. I finally realized that trying to force yourself to design when the mojo isn't happening is not very smrt. It wastes time and causes frustration. It's not like I don't have a gazillion other things to do, so I just need to concentrate on getting those items accomplished until the mojo comes back from vacation.

Mom is going back to work tomorrow, but it's sure going to be a rough day for her - she's got very little energy back. Her coughing is not as bad, though, and her head isn't pounding quite as much. A bunch of folks have mentioned knowing people who have the flu already. Evidentally, flu season is starting early this year, so don't delay in getting your flu shot. So far, so good with me avoiding her germs. I do have a weird, gravely voice the last few days, but it's just from allergies.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Etsy store

The WildFire is here! Yippee! I have listed it in my new Etsy store, and have set up the 2mm Swarovski crystals in Crystal AB there too.

One of the nice things about the 125 yard spools of WildFire that I hadn't anticipated is that they come on the same size spools as the 50 yard - there's simply more wound on the spool. Easier for storage and transporting.

I'm running a system restore on my old laptop right now that I think will fix the problems I was having with it. Keep your fingers and toes and everything else crossed for me!!

Catching Up

Talk about your eventful weekend! I don't even know where to start...

I had a brilliant and wonderful time with the ladies of the Wild West Bead Society in Fort Worth on Saturday and Sunday. Not only are they good beaders, but they're good company too! Many thanks to Carol especially, who hosted the classes, took me to dinner, and put a roof over my head Saturday night.

Driving home on Sunday, things started getting hinky, though. First, a phone call to Mom delivered the news that she had been dreadfully sick all weekend (I think she has the flu) and that our computer croaked. AGH!!!! I accidentally messed up my laptop a few weeks ago (shouldn't have moved that one file. Ahem.) so it's not working. And now the desktop with ALL our files is in limbo. I'm going to take them both to get some professional help tomorrow, as well as look into purchasing another laptop. I managed to get our OLD desktop up and running in order to connect to the internet which is a temporary solution. I swear - I just need to hire a full time IT person. I can't believe the amount of time I've spent on computer and printer related meltdowns this year.

Mom came home from work early today, and I'm not going to let her go in again tomorrow. She sounds like death warmed over in the other room as I type this. She's also suffering from really severe lightheadedness - so I'm trying to keep her from moving around too much. In the meantime, I'm going to be washing my hands about every three minutes in an effort to stay well. You guys stay well out there too!

I did have a pleasant surprise tonight - the Bead & Button newsletter had a section promoting the availability of videos from Beads, Baubles, and Jewels, the PBS beading show, on their website. Specifically, they pointed people to the video showing a demo of my project, Pillars of Strength. Go check it out! This was the first time I'd been able to see it too, since my PBS station doesn't carry the show.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Missing the fall

Sigh. It's this time of year that I most miss living in Wisconsin. I was born there, and lived mostly in La Crosse until I was 14 and the family moved to Texas. Fall leaves turning colors in the most radiant and spectacular display. On the down side? Raking the falling leaves. On the up side? Jumping into the big leaf piles over and over again!

It's sweater weather already in that part of the country - highs of 60 degrees and lows down to 40. I'll be lucky to wear a sweater before Thanksgiving in Austin! Needless to say, I don't have the lovely collection of comfy, cozy, sink deep into them, sweaters I used to have. I usually try to keep one on hand to wear during our usual ONE true cold spell a winter down here.

I purchased some amazing beads at Nomadic Notions the other day that I simply had to have - they remind me so much of the fall tree colors that I long for. My sister-in-law saw them and adored them too and I briefly thought about making a necklace for her birthday with them. But maybe I'll use something else. I think these beads NEED to be mine.


This weekend will prove to be a challenge - teaching four classes in three days in two cities that are 170 miles apart! Tonight is Austin, Sat and Sun morning is Ft. Worth, and Sun. night is Austin again.

Gail L. emailed me to tell me she loves reading my blog because it makes her feel good to know that someone else's life is crazier than hers. I dunno - I know how crazy people with kids can get. Mine is certainly a different kind of crazy. I did offer to throw in a free Winston with her WildFire purchase, but she only wanted the cats. Lightweight! The cats are EASY. Winston is HARD. But so adorable and sweet and funny that you can't kill him. Survival of the fittest works again.

Speaking of WildFire, it's due to arrive on Tuesday. I've got half the first order of 125 yard spools reserved for those who emailed me, and I plan on letting the Ft. Worth ladies into the pre-order frenzy too. So if you know you want any 125 yard spools, be sure and email me soon. ( I still have plenty of the 50 yard spools.

Mom will work this weekend on getting a webpage up for the WildFire. Um, Mom - did I tell you that? :-)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2mm Swarovski Crystals ordered

Oh, wiggle! I got 5 new colors of the exquisite 2mm Swarovski crystals ordered today. It will take 2-3 weeks for production, and then they'll be on the way to me - and then to you! Here's what I picked for the first round. It was so hard to make choices!

From top to bottom, Chili pepper, Sahara/Sapphire, Rosaline/Light Rose, Champagne/Aqua, and Sphinx/Peridot. YUMMY (you can click the photo at the right to get a much larger image)

As soon as I have them ready for shipping, I'll post a link to the website where you can order them. I plan on having them both on Tapestry Beads, as well as my new Etsy shop. I already have the Crystal AB 2mm Swarovski's listed on the Etsy shop.

I also got the tracking info for the WildFire, and it's scheduled to arrive on Tuesday next week.

Teaching at Sun City yesterday was a true pleasure. The ladies soaked it up and asked for more and I really adored their high spirits and lovely projects for show and tell. I can't wait to go back!

Monday, September 29, 2008

WildFire coming soon

Oh goodie, goodie! I've got a stash of WildFire on the way to me, and it will arrive early next week. I'll let you know when it gets here, and I'll be selling it on my website. Kelly R. tried it yesterday at Bead Brunch, and she really liked it too!

The 125 yd. spools will be $18, and the 50 yd. spools will be $8. I'll have the 125 yard spools in black and mossy green, and the 50 yd. spools in black. Everything else is backordered until probably January (a clear will be available then in both sizes also.)

If you know you want some already, you might email me at to reserve what you want. I have a feeling I'm going to run out quickly...but then I can reorder again!

Teaching around Texas

Yesterday's Bead Brunch was a super duper blast, as usual. Lots of folks I haven't seen in a while, like Susan and Bobbi. And then the biggest surprise was seeing the sweet and wonderful Betty Rodriguez! Betty was a regular student in our classes for a long time, and she is a delight to have around. She also had several projects published in Step-by-Step Beads, and BeadStyle magazines! She got seduced by lampworking, and we haven't seen much of her lately, but I think I might be able to pull her back for a seed bead weaving class here and there soon. Even if not, it was great to chat and catch up with her after 2 years.

Today's tasks revolve around a bunch of teaching I'm doing in the next week. Tuesday I'm at Sun City in Georgetown, teaching Russian Splendor, and then this weekend I travel to Fort Worth to teach two classes with ladies from The Wild West Bead Society - Russian Splendor, and Piazza Perline. I need to get kits together, instructions printed, and supplies organized for transport.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I survived the garage

Okay, so maybe I was barely in the garage. (shuffling feet, guiltily) But I was up late late into the night working on labeling and repacking my seed beads into the flip top containers I purchased in massive quantities, as well as creating (finally!) a master list of what the heck we do own. I'm amazed to find far fewer duplicates in bead buying than I was afraid of.

All of which means that by the time I dragged myself out of bed at 11am, Mom had basically put in a full day's work in the garage and was ready to quit. We consulted on a few big items - what goes, what stays. Mainly everything goes. And then we moved the crib out of the Bead Room to be transported to my brother's house. The new baby (due in April) will use it. Which gives us a whole extra wall to put more beads in there! Woo hoo!

So tomorrow Mom's going to buy a few more shelves for the bead room, and project organization will recommence. I'm also working on getting my books and stuff into the new bookshelf in my bedroom and out of the garage. It's all such a domino effect kind of thing.

Mom and I are in like minds about purging the extra stuff out of our lives, though, which makes it easier. I also went through a hall closet today, full of bathroom kind of stuff, and threw out about 80 bazillion old shampoos and lotions and stuff that I just don't use. I know which products I like - so perhaps I should just stick with them!!

Anne is in fine form tonight on her blog. You've got to check it out.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vet visit

I figured I'd better report in after Maggie's vet visit this morning. I know she has a lot of fans out there!

They couldn't find any bone injury, and her x-ray didn't show any arthritis in either of her hind legs, which is great. So whatever is happening is probably a soft tissue injury, which we're treating with some pain and anti-inflammatory meds over the weekend. The vet will check in with me on Monday to make sure she's made progress in recovering. Other than that, we're supposed to keep her quiet and still as much as possible. No problem - she's been doing that herself already.

My hand is better, although still a little sore. Not nearly as black and blue as I'd anticipated.

Winston, predictably, is 100% fine.

Now, back to beading!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Preview of Parisian Lights

Oo la la...what is it we have here? Perhaps a little preview of my latest project, Parisian Lights, which will be taught at Nomadic Notions in Austin. Probably in November and again in January - I haven't set all the dates for my classes there next quarter quite yet.

Mom managed to name this project while brainstorming before falling asleep tonight. She hit it on the head pretty quickly - and I'm sure she was happy so she could stop thinking about it and fall asleep!

Winston zigged tonight while I was zagging, and his teeth collided with the back of my right hand, and now I've got a painful welt that promises to be a pretty bruise tomorrow. In the meantime, it's just enough to make me quit beading tonight. The hand motions keep aggrevating it.

And tomorrow it looks like I'll have to take Maggie to the vet's office. She attempted a small jump up on the sofa to sit by me this afternoon, and came up limping instead. She was in a lot of pain afterward, so I fed her a baby asprin in a piece of chicken and that made a big difference for her. We'll have to assess her again in the morning.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Product Review - WildFire

I received a sample from Beadalon today of their new beading thread product, WildFire. It's their competitive version of Fireline, but instead of being plucked from the fishing department, this thread was produced specifically for the bead weaving market.

At first I was skeptical that it was necessary or would be much different from Fireline. So what's the point? But I admit right here and right now, so far, I'm really loving it. You want to know why, right? Well, let me tell you...

  • It doesn't have the smoky coating on the thread, so no more messy hands. When you use as much Fireline as I do on a daily basis, you walk around with that coating literally ground into your skin. I'd rather not be mistaken for an auto mechanic...
  • It's more supple than Fireline - kind of a middle ground between the softness of Nymo, and the stiffer feel of Fireline. The WildFire is a lovely weight to work with, and I have yet to tangle it in a few hours of working with it. None of the kinks wrapping around your working thread that I always get with Fireline.
  • Even though WildFire feels softer, it still retains the non-stretch and water proofing qualities that are important to me.
  • I tested it against Fireline in how much effort it takes to get a crystal to saw through it, and the difference was indistinguishable.
  • The 50 yard spool is the same type of packaging as Beadalon - which means it comes with that clear plastic half-circle to cup around your spool to keep it unraveling. My Fireline spool is endlessly becoming unraveled and tangled when I travel with it. I haven't seen the 125 yard spool packaging yet to see if it also has the same packaging.
It comes in black (a true black), a mossy green, and crystal. I'm waiting for the wholesale pricing, but the retail pricing I've been able to find online is identical to the Fireline.

I'll keep playing with it, but I honestly think WildFire is going to be a winner and ultimately replace Fireline for me.

I've got plans to start selling some carefully selected beading items on the website and in my Etsy store soon - and WildFire will be joining them. Look for a big Grand Opening announcement in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

Caution: Week of work ahead

Something terrible is going to happen this coming weekend. It's so terrible, it makes me want to run screaming through the house to jump in bed and hide under the covers. So horrific, I can't even imagine what the aftermath will look like. So painful, I simply can't keep it inside another moment.

Mom wants to clean out the garage. I don't understand why - we can move from the garage door to the house door by negotiating a single-file path - with only a single location where we must jump over detritus. Good enough! Right??

When we moved last year we found that we had transported a bunch of big stuff at high moving van prices 45 miles from one house to the other, only to decide that we didn't really want it. At the time we weren't ready to get rid of it, but I think we've got to come to our senses now and JUST SAY NO to clutter. The thing I'm most embarrassed by is insisting on moving my old sofa from one house to the other. Now, I'm not ready to tell you just how old this sofa is. Or how 1990's huge floral the print is on it. I kept thinking, "but...someday I can recover it and it was the most comfy sofa ever..." Jill. Get a grip. Seriously. Although I really love that sofa.

I was hoping I could talk Mom out of garage cleaning duty in some way shape or form, but then she actually went and bought some shelving units today. Friends, she's serious. There is no escape.