Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hang on Gulf Coast, hang on...

The news about Gustav is getting more worrisome by the hour. It's exploded from a tropical storm to a Catagory 4 hurricane in just 24 hours. I'm glad to see people taking the evacuation orders seriously - it takes a long time to get that many folks out of harm's way and time is running out. Terrible flooding is likely for East Texas also. I'm thinking of all my friends thata' way - I had to giggle a tiny bit at Bev Herman's blog - she spoke of having to choose which beads to pack. She filled a large suitcase and it was so heavy her husband could barely move it! They've left for Michigan. I'm pretty sure they're safe there. LOL-

Mom spent the bulk of the day steam cleaning the carpet in the house in advance of the class here tomorrow. What a lovely difference it's made!! We're now kicking ourselves for not having done it earlier. I worked on cleaning up the office and the classroom and figuring out what I need. This reminds me of when I did my first show with the kits - we needed everything from scratch. It's a big job, to be sure! I know the next home classes won't be this much stress. I've had to go buy everything from extra chairs to a white board and easel to drinks and snacks. I stocked up on beading mats and scissors. I've got exension cords at the ready. What am I missing? Oh yeah! Instructions! As per usual, those shall be written in the wee hours of the morning on the day of class. Ahem.

We took time out of our preparations for a quick trip to The Bead Jamboree at the Crockett Center and got to visit with our friends there. We saw Maureen from The Bead Corner, Jane & Robin from Jane's Fiber and Beads, Doug & Pam from Beadstuff, Kirsten from Kipuka Trading, and Dean and Connie from Two Crane's. We scored this amazing pendant from Dean & Connie - it's got small inclusions of druzy sparkles.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Of course

It's been at least a few weeks since I had a technology meltdown so I guess I was due. One moment I was on the computer, checking email. I stopped and had dinner before I returned to the computer to respond to my emails, and when I did, I discovered the monitor had died. Adios! Hasta la bye bye! Via con Dios! Gone. Just gone.

Last time we bought a new computer, we didn't get a new monitor though, so the poor thing had been used and abused for many years. Mom and I had been talking about upgrading to a bigger widescreen monitor, but it just never seemed like the best use of money. Until now! So off I went this morning and we're now proud owners of a 19" widescreen, flat panel monitor. Sweet. No more scrolling left and right on the internet.

I'm hosting a class this Sunday afternoon at my home - the first time I've done so at the house. And there's so much cleaning and organizing yet to be accomplished. Agh! We've lived in the house a year now and still have unopened boxes sitting in the room that will be the classroom. Typical of me, also, is the fact that the instructions haven't been written yet either. I guess I'm going to be kinda busy the next few days!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bead Jamboree this weekend in Austin

Before I forget again, let me remind you that there will be a bead show in Austin this coming weekend. The Bead Jamboree is being held at the Crockett Center Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm each day.

Two of my favorite seed bead vendors will be there. Jane and Robin with Jane's Fiber & Beads, as well as sweet Maureen with The Bead Corner. I plan on swinging in to visit everyone too!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Photos of goodies

I really need to break down and get a better camera/photo studio set up for taking good photos. Right now I slap things down on a flatbed scanner, and sometimes it works out and other times - not so much.

This photo represents the not so much type! Because the beads aren't flat, it's hard for the scanner to do any type of justice to them and they deserve so much more.

The large bead at the top is a Lori Lochner piece - I'm blaming Charlene Abrams for making me so green with envy at her big Lori bead that I had to try to compete. Charlene will be happy to know that hers is still bigger.

The bottom three beads are treasures from my sweet and sassy new friend, Gail Crosman Moore. She and I had so much fun being booth neighbors all weekend, and having her next to me was temptation more than I could bear. She had me dreaming about sequins after our first day together. I have some great creative plans for these beads...I can't wait to show you when I get them transformed into Real Stuff.

I found this short poem on the internet tonight and love it. I'm a sucker for those small hours - small moments. I keep them tucked safely away in my memory to take out and live again as needed. There were many such moments with my friends at the show this weekend.

Our lives are made in these small hours
These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate
Time falls away but these small hours still remain

That was interesting

Well, I'm back at home and have been greeted properly by plenty of boisterous wagging, barking, and licking. It was quite an interesting journey home, however.

A 3 hour plane flight filled with a typhoid Mary coughing up a storm all the way, a small child in the seat behind me throwing temper tantrums the whole way (his mother alternated pleading entreaties to stop with yelling at him that he is just like his father - oh my.) The passenger who sat at the window seat on my row on the previous flight had been "sick" - the seat cushion was gone and the flight attendant assured me it had been cleaned. But ick. Oh, and let's not forget the little screaming tyke getting a diaper change right there mid-flight, and then for the crowning touch? After I got off the flight and went to the Houston airport bathroom, there was a woman who was traveling with her small dog who was letting her dog pee in the bathroom sink. I kid you not.

Maybe driving to Philadelphia next year wouldn't be so bad....

The weekend was so amazing in every other way that it's hard to let one little flight bring me down. I got to spend time with Anne Mitchell, Gail Crosman Moore, Susan Nestor, Jane Overman and her sidekick, Robin, Charlene Abrams, and many more. We almost got kicked out of the restaurant one night for our loud and hearty laughter. Really, can we be blamed for losing it when Erin managed to spike her dessert cannoli four feet in the air? Alas, most of the merriment I must keep to myself under the "What happens at the bead show stays at the bead show" rule.

I can tell I'm fading as my typing and spelling mistakes increase. Must be time for restorative sleep. Photos coming tomorrow!

Monday, August 25, 2008

And poof! It's over

The circus is leaving town today. It's so sad. I saw some of the folks off last night, and this morning there's more trickling as we all take planes, trains, and automobiles to our homes and next shows across the country. I just saw Anne off to Chicago in the lobby. I'll get to see Jane & Robin of Jane's Fiber and Beads next weekend in Austin at the Bead Jamboree show. Good times! And especially good since I didn't get to shop with them this weekend here. There are two floors of vendors at the Bead Fest show, and Jane's was upstairs and I was downstairs, and I barely got to visit the upper level. Sniff. Probably just as well. I managed to do enough damage downstairs.

When I get back home I'll take photos of my new beads and share with you. It's a long day of travel today - my plane doesn't leave until 5:30 today, so I'm hanging at the hotel for a while and resting. I'm very eager to see my puppy dogs. I miss my sloppy Winston kisses and my sweet Maggie staring soulfully into my eyes!! Josie and Piper (the kitties) pretend they don't even notice I'm gone, but I'm sure Josie will give me a talking-to when I get home. She loves to have meowversations with me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Philly Rocks!

Ohmigosh - I can't believe what a fun and crazy weekend this has been. Getting to hang with my friends is such a joy. I drink it all up as much as I can since I know I won't see many of them until Tucson in February. And I've been busy making new beady friends too. I'm happily sandwiched between the amazing Gail Crosman Moore, and Amy of Hip Chick Beads. Gail and I share a Diet Coke addiction that can't be underestimated, and Amy brought her ipod of groovy tunes to keep us entertained.

The crowds have been fast and furious and kept me very busy. My suitcase will be much much lighter on the way home which is the way it should be! The only problem is that I've been so busy, I haven't had time to go shopping myself! Waaaaa! I need a bead fix. Well, actually that's not totally true since I bought beads from - who else - Gail Crosman Moore, and Hip Chick Beads! HA! But I'm cutting this post a little short this morning since I want to go wander the hall before it opens to the public to spend some moola.

Much more later!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sleeping in Philly

Ohmigosh - did I crash yesterday afternoon when I arrived at the hotel in Philly. I didn't get a lick of sleep the night before as there were so many last minute details getting stuff together for the trip. Wasn't it only a few days ago that I was bragging about how together I was for the show? I totally jinxed myself. Or fooled myself. Or something. Because I wasn't!!!

So after 36+ hours of wakefulness, I checked in the hotel and crawled into bed for a nap before Anne arrived in town too. I figured we'd go off for dinner and catching up. But when she called we both decided that sleeping and rest were the word of the day. I rolled back over and now it's 4am and I finally woke up. 12 blissful hours of sleep.

Today is largely a day of lesiurely organization and
socializing. I have to set up the booth - but I'm so lucky that my set up only takes 60-90 minutes depending on how well I packed my stuff. Anne and I have plans to go find a grocery store to stock up on some healthy food for the show days. It's so hard to eat like a real human at these shows. Of course, I have extra calories to spare since I never ate anything yesterday but a handful of almonds and a piece of banana nut bread!

And here we goooo! My last national show of the year is off and running....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Yippee, skippie!

Ta-dah! I am finally done with the stitching portion of Rachel Nelson Smith's Endless Cuff, er, Ootheca Cuff. I had no idea when I vowed to not go to bed until I was done that adding the clasps (there are 3!) was going to be a several hour endurance test. But they're on the bracelet and all that's left now is adding the crystals with wire.

I soooo hate to admit it, but I think Mick, the store manager at Nomadic Notions, was right about my crystal color. I chose something nice and neutral when she suggested go dramatically contrasting. When I added the first three crystals it was a total blah moment. Daggumit! When I'm out and about and running errands on Monday, I'll stop in the store and experiment with a few other color options. I ain't spending this many hours on a blah cuff. Now ya'll will have to wait a little while longer for the unveiling of the masterpiece.

Sunday was a lovely, slow-paced day just the way I was hoping for. I got up late, read the Sunday newspaper (or at least looked at most of the photos), got a nap in this afternoon, and then beading done in the evening. Mom and I finished up some kits that are getting shipped on Monday and all that's left for Philly prep is some packing and errands. Sweet! It feels pretty strange to not be in a tizzy up to the last moment. Will I really sleep more than 3 hours the night before I leave?? I can't even imagine what that would be like!

We got rain tonight. Approximately 3.5 drops. I don't think the grass will be saved. Meanwhile, in Bastrop, where we used to live, 2 inches of rain caused a main downtown road that was under some construction to sink up to 3 feet in some places. Bet that was a little exciting!

Friday, August 15, 2008

100th post

Blogger kindly informed me this evening that this is my 100th post since switching over to blogging on this format rather than on my website. How quickly the time has gone! I was quite worried about my dedication to blogging on this regular of a basis. Would I have anything to say? Would I quit when it got boring? Would anyone read it or would I be talking to myself?

Instead of dreading it, I find I can drum up any old random thing to talk about when necessary. I'm even sometimes amusing. I let myself go a day or three at the most before posting again - I know I'm much less likely to read a blog on a regular basis when there's no new content for ages. The numbers of those who read it are climbing steadily higher on a monthly basis as they find it through the Tapestry Beads website, or classes, or links from my beady friends. Since beginning the blog in April, there have been visitors from 27 different countries.

One of the things I find endlessly fascinating is looking at the search terms people use to get to the blog. Many are appropriate like "bead tapestry how to" or "bead show Puget Sound." Others are downright baffling. What on earth caused someone to search "tapestry dog suitcase" and how funny is it that my blog was where they ended up? "Stupid beads" is another favorite search that ended up here. Was someone having a bad beading day? Kelly R - that wasn't you, was it??? And then the winner of all time - "Winnie the poo head." What else can you say to that??

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Juggle, juggle

Wednesday is my "day off" this week - meaning it's the only day I'm not having to go into the store to either teach or assist a class between Monday and Saturday. Instead I'm going to be at home, in my jammies, juggling the thirty hundred things that need to be done here.

For starters, my last big box of kit supplies arrived a day early today (yippee!!) so I spent the evening (after teaching a class) putting clasps in baggies and labels on baggies and bagging them up together into bigger baggies for mass kit assembly later. I worked on spooling Fireline off the big spool onto the little spool. And putting it in baggies, putting labels on get the picture??

I now have every horizontal surface in the house covered in beads and bead related supplies. The kitchen island and the living room coffee table were lost in the last few days. I'm hoping to reclaim them by the weekend. The difficulty with the goodies on the coffee table is that it's in the Winston Reach Danger Zone - so we're purty smart here at Casa Wiseman (Anne would say SMRT, and I have to admit this was Mom's idea, not mine) - we're covering the loaded down table over night with a table cloth to hide it from Winnie. And it works. I'll be darned.

I'll be bingoing back and forth from working hard on some written material that needs big thoughts and big ideas (a secret project!!) and therefore, brain power, to my assembly line processing of the bead order stuff. Breaks for puppy petting and eating. I'm hoping to get everything shipped to Philly by the end of day Thursday so I can avoid higher shipping fees, but we'll see. The written material is really important too.

Monday, August 11, 2008


The weekend disappeared when I wasn't looking - how did that happen? I assisted one of Mick's classes on Friday night, taught a class on Saturday night, and treated Mom to a much-deserved steak dinner on Sunday. The rest of the weekend was spent happily with beads (weighing them, labeling them, moving them to and fro) and a nap here and there.

Suddenly it's 3am on Monday morning and I've lost my cheap labor for the week to that day job thing again.

Many of the millions of beads I ordered last week arrived early (!) on my doorstep on Friday which has certainly helped with a more steady but not frantic pace with making the kits that will get shipped to Philly later this week. What a concept - doing things on time! I'm hoping the rest of the goodies will arrive on Monday. At least the BIG box. There's much more to do once it does and I'm eager to dig in.

Have you been watching the Olympics? I saw the opening ceremony and was bowled over by all the pageantry and gloriousness of it. The drummers were mesmerizing. The boxes danced! The glowing body suits. Tai Chi in perfect formation. A visual feast - as a matter of fact, Mom and I have it on our tivo and we're not ready to delete it yet. I need to watch it again and drink in the splendor.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Random stuff

I forgot to tell you that last night's Piazza Perline class was evidently drinking at the Mexican restaurant next door before coming to the store. They decided en masse that my class was to be renamed Pizza Praline. Umm....nice try!

And remember how I told you that everyone was busy making sure I'm taking care of myself? And how Kathryn was feeding me her left-over half sandwich at the classes? Not only did I NOT have a sandwich Tuesday night, but she fed me a left-over chocolate chocolate chip cookie instead! I warned her I was gonna tattle on her and I don't think she believed me! But it was okay since I had a vitamin later that night. tee hee

Austin is now on it's 46th day of 100 degree or higher weather. We usually average 11 a year. We only had 3 last year, but this is some pretty severe payback! And there's no end in sight - every day for the 7 day forecast is showing 100+. Heat indexes of 105. No wonder our electric bill is so painful - we've been setting the a/c on 79 at home and using the ceiling fans pretty much all the time to try to cope.

Don't sleep with your cell phone

I have gotten into a bad habit lately, and it almost caused me to miss my blissful 90 minute massage Thursday afternoon. First, to explain, I have to admit that I stayed up all night Wednesday night and didn't finally sleep until 5:30am. I just wasn't sleepy! Plus I was working on the devilishly addictive cuff and didn't want to stop until I got it half done.

Back to the story...I usually use my cell phone alarm as a wake up alarm these days because it's faster and more reliable than setting my bedside alarm clock. No worries about power outages, which we have on a strangely regular schedule here in suburbia. Many more than we had when we were out in no man's land. I set my cell phone alarm for 11:30 so I could shower, shave, yada, yada and still have a leisurely drive to the massage. But me being me, when the alarm went off at 11:30, I was like, "I don't think so!" and so I grabbed the cell phone and hit the snooze button. (Yes, this phone was designed JUST for me.)

Great! Five more minutes! Except for the fact that I fell back asleep so fast, I still had the phone in my hand. Unconciousness brought upon muscle relaxation. Which brought on cell phone falling from hand. On to the floor. Under the bed. Zzzzzzz...has it been five minutes yet???

BOING! I jump from the bed, run to the nearest clock where I realize that it's now 12:45 and the massage place is 20 min. away and I stink and my teeth are fuzzy.

The good(?) news is that I have all too much experience in such matters. I was showered and scrubbed and brushed and dressed and only five min. late for my appt.

Some say the moral of the story is don't stay up until 5:30 am. Others might proclaim that you shouldn't hit the snooze when your alarm goes off. Me? I'm just not sleeping with my cell phone any more. Unless I happen to doze off before I set it down on the...(snore...)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Catch up day in progress

Finally - a day I don't have to leave the house (although I will go to the post office) and no urgent matters at hand other than catching up on the 3,000 urgent matters that have been pending for weeks. I'm emailing, packaging orders, organizing, doing paperwork, and if I'm lucky enough, I'll carve out some time to work on the beading project I started at the retreat.

It's a "just for fun" project - not my own design, but genius, just the same. Rachel Nelson Smith's Oothaca Cuff has been singing its siren's song to me for years, but I've resisted the temptation until now. It's fun and not a little addicting to work on, so I really want to sit and bead all day until it's finished. But that's not in the cards right now. I'm using it to bribe myself to get all the grunt work of the day accomplished, though, so it's useful in an unexpected way.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ganging up on me

There seems to be a plot afoot to get Jill healthy!

I've been hearing from Mom for a while now about how badly I'm eating, and that I need to sleep on a more regular schedule, yada, yada. But now the word has spread and everyone seems to be making it their mission to make me follow the rules!

Kathryn regularly saves me half of her eggsalad sandwich from lunch and makes me eat it while I'm teaching class that night. She knows I often don't eat anything all day until I get home from teaching around 10 or 11pm. So now I've got her feeding me.

And at the retreat this weekend, my roomie and friend, Janet, brought extras of her vitamins to make me take while she was "in charge."

And then Anne Mitchell is chiming in all the way from Tucson, telling me I need to eat and sleep better or she's going to "kick my butt." And I believe her!

The good news is that I'm listening and HAVE been making some good changes. I've been eating better the last few weeks and it's making a big difference in my energy level. I had also gotten my sleeping schedule on a more normal and even pattern, but that got significantly disrupted again by the workload chaos of last week. I'm working on getting it back to manageable again this week.

I vow to TRY to be more healthy - but I also know that there will be times when I'm going to revert to old patterns. None of us are perfect. When I have a crippling work schedule, the sleeping is the first thing that will end up off kilter. When I'm stressed, reaching for munchies is habit. But I'll try!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Creative Beadweaving, Vol. 3

Mom and I both have patterns featured in the new book, Creative Beadweaving, Vol. 3. The book comes from the publishers of Bead & Button magazine, and is a compilation of the best projects from a year of the magazine.

I'm thrilled that both Mom & I got in at the same time - now that's mother/daughter power!

One of the ladies at the Retreat this past weekend surprised me with a copy of the book - she'd bought it the day before at the bookstore - I hadn't even seen it yet! So I autographed it for her, and I was happy to see it in person. My copy was at home when I arrived.

Post retreat crash

What a whirlwind weekend this was. 6 hours driving on Saturday morning, laughing and beading and catching up with my beady friends, teaching Saturday afternoon, more beading and laughing and catching up on Sunday morning, and then another 6 hours drive back home. Blink and I might have missed the whole thing! I'm determined to not show up so late again next year. I really enjoy hanging out with the gang and I need to make sure it happens more in 2009.

I also spoke with the women from the Wild West Bead Society while I was there, and we booked a weekend - Oct. 5 & 6 - for me to come up to Dallas and teach a few classes for them there. We'll do an all day class of Russian Splendor on Saturday, and a shorter class of Piazza Perline on Sunday morning.

So my class proposals are off to Bead & Button. The retreat weekend is behind me. What's next? Well, I'm teaching two new classes this week - and only one of the sets of instructions is written. So I've got the Glorious Garland instructions to churn out before Saturday. And then there's getting ready to ship my boxes to Philly within 10 days. Yikes! And I have beads to order, which means I need to go do that NOW!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bead Retreating!

I swear, there was a group cry of greeting as I finally walked in the main room of the bead retreat yesterday - "Jill's here! We were getting worried!" I feel guiltier than ever! But we managed to make up for lost time with lots of fun all day. There's 102 attendees this year - bigger than ever before and the newbies seem to be having a blast. Of course they are!

This is my third year at this bead retreat so folks are used to me bringing the kits and patterns. Before I could even unpack the samples, I was surrounded by women asking where they were. They're so sweet and complimentary about their experiences with our kits, and I just LOVE seeing what these wonderful beaders have done with them. Lots of variations and eye candy. Unfortunately I forgot my camera - I can't believe it! DRAT DRAT DRAT

The hotel has had a renovation since last year and one of the things they replaced was all the beds. They are now about 4.5 feet tall. I'm not kidding! Janie, one of our most height-challenged (but fiesty!) members had to run out and buy a stool so she could make it up in the bed without her roommate acting as a catapult! They're really comfortable, though and I felt like I was living in a princess and the pea fable - but without the pea!

It's a quiet and slower start this morning - most everyone is either in class already, or sleeping in. After lunch we'll start seeing people trickle out for their travels home. I plan on leaving around 2 or 3pm for my 5.5 hour drive home. I'm a lot less stressed out now so the drive should be more pleasant this time around!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Here I am...

...still at home! Oopsie.

I realized after I wrote my post earlier today that I was simply too exhausted to get everything done, plus drive safely for 5+ hours. So I decided to wait until the wee hours of Saturday morning to head out - I'll get there by 8 or 9am, and be fine for a full day of retreat fun. I know my limits and driving when I'm that tired crosses them.

Instead, I slept all day. ALL DAY. When Mom got home at 5:30, I finally managed to rouse myself and spent the evening getting the odds and ends done for this weekend. The car is mostly packed. I still need to throw some clothes together, but at this point I'm only going to be gone one night! So it won't take much to pack me.

For those of you in Austin - don't forget that this weekend is Nomadic Notion's vintage beads trunk sale! I snagged some for me last night.


I got the post office yesterday with five minutes to spare. Okay, maybe three. But I made it! (And I had a back up plan involving UPS in case I missed the PO.) So the samples and instructions and the last few weeks of my life are now off to the Bead & Button staff and I can put it out of my mind for a little while. They make their class choices over the next few months - it takes that long to sort through the thousands of applications they get!!

I let myself sleep in late this morning to recover from the last few sleepless nights and now it's time for me to finish up details of a few kits for the Shreveport retreat. Then I pack the car. Pack me. Have to stop by the bank to get change for the cash register. And then I'm off to Shreveport! 5.5 hours in the car and I'm looking forward to doing nothing but driving and listening to my music.

I'll update from Louisiana over the weekend!