Thursday, December 31, 2009

Getting back in the swing of things

I actually accomplished some things today. I was beset by the usual insomnia all night and tossed and turned and worried and stressed. Sleep finally arrived around 6am. Not ideal. I finally rolled out of bed and eventually out into the world by 3pm, and all of a sudden...I started actually getting things done. Ticking jobs off my to-do list which has been buried under a pile of books and beads and dust for weeks. And I started feeling...what is that feeling?...oh yeah, energized!

Worse yet - when I arrived home I actually worked out with my new Wii Fit for 32 minutes. (Please be sure and give credit where credit is due for that extra 2 minutes beyond the 30 I was supposed to do...they were hard minutes!) And get this. I felt MORE energized. Freaky, I know.

So the next big hurdle to cross is going to bed before dawn. I may even take a sleeping pill tonight to try to get back on track even though I hate them because I always feel groggy when I wake up. Yes, it's 2am now - but in my world that constitutes an "early" bedtime.

And then we jump back into work. Hop. There ya' go. Back on track. Might not be that easy, but I am starting to feel the thump of the wheels on the track that are alerting me that it's only 14 days before the first event of the year - the mighty Texas Bead Retreat in Temple, Texas, and only 30 or so days before I leave for Tucson. Gulp! I even made a hard, but grown up decision about Tucson today. Mom's birthday present this year is that she gets to stay home. I'm doing the Best Bead Show this year - all five days of it - by my lonesome. It makes more financial sense, and honestly the show isn't really busy enough that I HAVE to have help with it. It's been a luxury on my part to have Mom there for companionship and to allow me to run around and spend money and socialize. I'll be staying in Tucson three extra days after my particular show ends so I can run around and spend money and socialize, so it's not like I'm going to suffer that much. I already warned her I'll probably be text messaging her every 20 min.

Okay...about that sleep we go...wish me luck...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I haven't disappeared...

I know. Ya'll thought I'd forgotten about you, right? Not a bit!

I'll confess, though, that I've been doing pretty much everything BUT anything to do with beading. I've been spending time with friends, sleeping a lot, reading a lot, cross stitching, and generally goofing off. I know it's worrying Mom - she's seeing the days tick by and knows the new year and the busy schedule will be here before we blink too many more times. I haven't been able to get myself in the mood to do...anything.

I'd worry myself, but I remember this from years past. Every year I spend about 2-3 weeks around this time freaking myself out because I'm so uninterested and uninspired by beading that I wonder if I've lost the magic. And then every year, like clockwork, something finally springs in me and poof! It's back. I'm feeling a little more drawn to work the last day or two, so we may be close.

In the meantime, I haven't designed any of my new pieces for 2010 kits. (Sigh.) And I haven't set up any of the home classes for 2010. (And the students are starting to email, wondering...) And I haven't done any of the business improvement projects I'd planned. (oops.)

On the other hand, do I feel rested!!! (Giggle!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Your Turn

From June: As Jill and I look back over the last year, it has been absolutely amazing. The business has grown, and we've had to grow and adjust with it. I know it sounds corny, but our success has been because of you, our loyal beaders, and we appreciate you so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

As we plan for next year, we'd like to hear from you. We do have 2010 sketched out, but we're always tweaking. What do you want us to do more of? Or less of! What can we improve? What would YOU like to see in the upcoming year? Send us an e-mail at june at (Replace "at" with @.) We would love to hear from you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Quick drive-by post

An all night beading session left me sleepy at 10:30 am when I had to wake go get a 90 min. massage that I'm pretty sure I snored through. Poor fellow working on me. My last minute project got shipped out and will be in the right hands by 8am on Friday. A lovely and delicious dinner with friends rounded out the day. I'm desperately wanting to sit and bead some before bed, but I think I'll let my head prevail on this one and head for slumber instead. There's always tomorrow...

Oh! And Mom bought me some $1.99 gloves at the grocery store that are just perfect. I believe I'll be sleeping in them tonight.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm taking a hint

Darn it all...I keep meaning to change the blog password! Yes, Mom did a good job of outing my pathetic cold weather aversion. I become quite useless, it's true. Hibernation mode clicks in, and I want to spend every moment huddled under large piles of bankets and dogs. No problem - except nothing gets done! And while I've been crowing about the end of my teaching and traveling schedule for the year, that does NOT mean the job list is wiped clear. Far from it.

So I'm trying to cope because a look at the forecast tonight did not predict a stunning 80 degree December heat wave. Instead I'm taking the blankets with me from room to room (Snuggie, anyone? What do you suppose the odds are that I'm getting one for Christmas??) and bringing my small space heater too. I plan on buying some cheap gloves tomorrow and cutting the fingertips out of them so I can wear them while working on the computer or while beading, but still gain some warmth. I'm such a style icon! And the rest of the plan is to just buck up and deal with it.

Because those work piles are not goin' anywhere without me! I picked up an unexpected design job this week that's had me flexing some dormant stringing muscles. And in the process of doing some research for the design, I felt a desire to do some...gulp...wire work. I have a number of projects for myself that have been sitting around for ages, waiting to be put together. I plan on carving out some time to get at least one if not two accomplished before the end of the year. Like in 14 days, ya' know. As for the design project,'ll have to wait a while before I tell you the details on that one. :-)

Have you seen that the Bead & Button Show class schedule has gone live? Registration doesn't open until January 12, but you can peruse the classes now and plan your trip. I'm going to take at least one class since I'm there so early in the week this year. There are 3 that are vying for my attention. So far. I haven't even had time to finish looking through them all.

And I realized that I haven't yet told ya'll about this cool retreat I'll be teaching at in July! The Teton Bead Retreat will run from July 24-28 at the Grand Targhee Resort. Jeanette Cook, Kelly Wiese, Rashan Omari Jones, George O'Grady, and I will all be instructors for the retreat. I can't wait!!

Okay, off to do some more work if I'm going to allow myself the luxury of tomorrow's scheduled massage, and dinner with some friends. Both very important appointments!

It's Brrrrr in Texas

From June: Sorry Jill has not updated for almost a week. She is incapacitated by the cold weather. It's true that we have a horrible draft in the living room from the doggie door. How would she ever have managed if we had stayed in Wisconsin??? She would be a frozen popsicle. I need your hints on how you keep warm. Let me know - Jill's productivity is depending on you!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One last trip for the year

We're all safe and sound, back in the paws of our fur babies, much to their relief! Kelly C. does a lovely job taking care of them while we're away, but there's no Mama like your real Mama(s) and the dogs and cats are equally appreciative of our return in their own ways. As in demanding constant attention and reassurance that we are NOT leaving them like that again. Ever. Never ever. Um....

Las Vegas was such an interesting place - especially for folks like Mom and me who don't really fit in any of the usual visitor categories. We're not the gamblers. We're not the partiers in hoochey-mama dresses and sky-high heels. We're not the golden oldies who park themselves at the buffets and slot machines. Luckily, we're so easy to please. That's one thing I totally love about the way we travel together - we can do the silliest stuff and have a great time. So one afternoon was spent with the dolphins and tigers (non-golfing), another was spent taking silly photos at the wax museum and browsing at the faux European mall at the Venetian. We did spend some time at the slot machines, mostly losing (me) and sometimes winning (Mom). We toured the Titanic exhibit at the Luxor, and attended the smallest International Gem & Jewelry Show I'd ever seen (20 exhibitors, MAYBE - and we spent $20 in cab fare getting there.) We were amazed to see that Cher still looks fabulous and sounds even better. And without exception, ever single meal was completely delicious, no matter where we ate.

The photos are all on my Barbie computer, so I'll get them transferred over tomorrow. I really promise this time!

Today was the first day back at home, and it was seriously difficult for me to get back in the mood for work. The cold temperatures aren't helping a bit, because they make me want to go hibernate under the covers. I did get a bunch (BUNCH) of packages in the mail while I was away though and I spent the evening and into the wee hours of the morning getting the clasps and end caps and such all put in baggies and priced.

I've got roughly a bazillion pearls arriving on Thursday...some for the infamous Pink Pearl Treasure mixture, and some for custom Renaissance Revisited kits for the class I'll be teaching in Lake Jackson on Saturday.

That will be my last trip of the year - driving 3.5 hours down to Lake Jackson on Friday night, then teaching two classes on Saturday and driving back home. And then I go nowhere. For 5 weeks. FIVE WEEKS. Bliss.

I'm sure I'll be climbing the walls by Week 4. Ya' think?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Las Vegas Living

Hello! Fear not - we haven't forgotten about you! Mom and I are in Las Vegas on vacation, and having ourselves a grand old time.

We flew out here on Thursday - barely surviving the plane trip. Not because the plane was the problem. Because the twentysomethings in the row behind us were flirting up a storm, and talked non-stop for three hours. The girl laughed at everything (EVERYthing) the guy said. And then they played "The Question Game" for about 2 hours. So if you ever wanted to know, her favorite band is Modest Mouse, if he had to be a pizza topping, he'd be a jalepeno, the person she most would have liked to meet is Audrey Hepburn and his is Johnny Depp. I could go on and on, but you get the drift. Mom and I have vowed to never fly without music and headphones again. A crying baby would have been better!

We're staying at the Mirage, and it's a completely amazing hotel. Honestly, we've barely left it yet, although we're venturing out shortly to go see the Bellagio and the Venetian. I taught myself how to play on the slot machines the first night (Mom has a bit of a cold, and had zonked out in the hotel room) and while I wasn't really winning, I was proud of myself for figuring it all out. So Friday I sit Mom down next to me to show her, and gave her $5. Which she promptly turned into $68.25 within the first few plays! Show off! My immediate reaction was, "Cash out!" which she did. I gave her another $20, and I'll be darned if she didn't win on THAT money too. She ended our little 30 min. spree by turning her $25 into $118.50. And I lost. She's very pleased with herself!

We spent time on Friday afternoon checking out the dolphin and tiger habitat here at the hotel, and we're so easy - we had a blast. We played with Flipper and his cousins for quite a while, and then moved on to the white tigers. We got to see some adolescent tigers play and there are two 5 month old babies there right now too. So sweet! The lions weren't in the mood to pose or play for us, but that's okay because they're bad ass lions and they can do what they want. And lastly, there was Grandpa tiger, who's 18 years old and clearly has arthritis. It was kind of sad to see him moving gingerly around. They have a life span of 18-20 years, so he's pretty old.

Tonight we'll be going to see Cher! I'm sure she'll be putting on a heck of a performance for us. We're taking lots of photos, and I'll try to upload some of them to the computer tonight to share.

This is my kind of place - we're sleeping in until 10 or 11 am, and going until 3am, and we're the early to bed folks compared to the rest! Mom says we won't be moving here, though. Drat.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crazy Cat(s)

From June: I recently painted my bedroom. I've only lived for 2 years with the hideous intense mustardy yellow color that the previous owners had in my room. So I finally got the painting done. Art for the wall is on order. It's starting to come together a bit. Last week I bought a quilt in the new green and brown colors.

You may know that we have two cats - Josie and Piper. Hang with me here - this will tie together in a minute. Josie is the skitterish one; Piper is more social. Piper is also a fur shedding machine. You'd think that, with the amount of hair she sheds, she would be bald by now. But oh no - she keeps growing it and shedding. Piper sleeps on the bed with me (and Maggie). Because she sheds so much, I keep an old blanket at the bottom of one side of my bed to try to contain some of the hair.

So I get the new quilt, put it on the bed, and put Piper's blanket on the quilt. When I come back a while later, here is what I saw: Piper is laying on the new quilt, next to her blanket.Darn cat! Okay, I thought, I'll fix this. I unfolded the blanket so that it covered the spot where Piper had been laying. Hahaha Piper. A while later, I went into my room, and Piper had moved up the bed so she could still be on the quilt instead of her blanket. She said, "Hahaha Mom". Okay, fine. Whatever, Piper.

I moved Piper's blanket all the way to the top of the bed. And what happened? Yup, you guessed it.

Not only that, but now I have BOTH cats sleeping on the bed. Josie and Piper do not like each other, and rarely get very close together. I guess the quilt is bringing them together. I may have lost the battle, but for some, the quilt is a roaring success.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ah, Thanksgiving

From June: Okay, I think we're ready for the food orgy here. Of course, since when do we need an excuse to eat? Jill and I team-tagged the shopping. I went to the grocery store around the corner from work on my lunch hour and bought everything that didn't require refrigeration. And Jill went to our regular grocery store and bought all the cold stuff.

We have a very, very low key Thanksgiving. A few years ago, my son, Rich, and his wife, Becky, decided they were not going to keep switching holidays between parents and in-laws. The decided that they would spend each Thanksgiving with Becky's family, and spend each Christmas with us. Works fine for me, because I can't cook a turkey to save my life. Quite a few years ago, Rich and Jill asked me to PLEASE quit trying to cook turkeys. Don't know why....I'm fairly competent in other areas of cooking.

The irony is that my grandkids, Alexis and William, have both had lingering, snotty colds, and now Becky and Rich are getting sick. So they won't be going to her parent's house. And we don't want to go over there and run the risk of getting sick, either. (Vacation is next week - must not be sick!) Becky's birthday is Sunday, so hopefully everyone will be a bit better by then and we can get together.

We used to have several dishes that were traditional for Thanksgiving, but it's pretty much been narrowed down to one: eclairs. I make them from scratch using a recipe my mother used from the first cookbook she ever had. It's Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book, 1st Edition, copyright 1950. That poor cookbook is filthy, pages coming out, all ragged. But dang, I still use it occasionally. It makes me feel close to my mom, who's been gone since 1988. Still miss her.

Oh wait....this is a beading blog. Yes, well, Jill and I hope to be doing some of that too over the next few days. It's been so hectic getting orders filled that neither of us has beaded for a while. Jill is working on the most gorgeous necklace ever. Wait till you see it!

Hope you get some beading time over the holiday, too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Night at the Opera photo

Ohmigosh! I just realized I never shared my new professional photos with you guys here on the blog! I'll do them one at a time...the first is Night at the Opera...all glammed up! I'm teaching it at Bead Fest Santa Fe in March, Bead & Button in June, and Bead Fest Philadelphia in August. Registration is already open for Santa Fe....

Catching Up

As per usual, time is flying by at warp speeds. I've got a lot of catching up to do with you guys!

The BABE show in Oakland was a true delight. Not only did I get to have polymer class artist, Christi Friesen, as a neighbor, but her sister, Stacy, was helping her out in the booth too and we all had a blast! On the other side, Dawn Sklar had her treasure trove of buttons and laces and trimmings that I found impossible to resist. Damage: a big old bag of cool buttons, and one sequined applique that I don't know what I'll do with.

Just one row over I discovered a sweet little woman who was very nervous because it was her first ever show with her polymer clay beads. Folks, I was blown away. BLOWN AWAY! Her work is some of the most beautiful polymer class I've ever seen, and I can't wait to show it to you this weekend when I have time to take photos of the gazillion beads I bought from her. She is such an undiscovered artist, and I'm thrilled to have started my own collection. I'm sure it won't be the end of buying from Eriko, either! And before you ask, no, she doesn't have a website yet. I'll have to check with her to see if she's planning one. She and I are going to collaborate on a limited edition piece for my Kumihimo students.

I also snapped up some of Michele Goldstein's little pieces - I waited too long to grab some of her way cool lampwork buttons. Her colors are bright and lively and make me happy. I got to meet Rachel Nelson Smith and Barb Switzer for the first time face-to-face. We're all Facebook friends, but this was a real live meeting which is so much better! Unfortunately, both encounters were super quick. Hopefully we'll get more time to chat at the next show. A quick visit with Marcia DeCoster was equally too brief. Sigh. I hate it when work interferes with my social time!

In the last hour of the show, I happened to look over and saw a woman wearing a necklace that looked quite familiar! It was the Everyday Venus necklace Mom designed which was published in Bead & Button a few years ago. So I commented on it, and discovered that Kathy had chosen that necklace as her very first ever beadweaving project, and it launched her into a happy beading habit! And get this...because it's the best part...her last name is Wiseman! It was meant to be, obviously.

And then, poof! Before I knew it, the show was over and it was time to come home again. Since returning I've been getting the last of the kits I need to send to Fusion Beads ready, and on Thursday I have the last class of the year here at the Studio. As a matter of fact, I should be finalizing the instructions for that now, and getting the Studio ready for the influx. But catching up with you guys was much more fun!

So I promise - more photos this weekend - stay tuned!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I made it!

I knew there was a very good reason that I started flying in to show locations a day earlier than I really needed. Part of it is just being able to slow down a little bit - not trying to rush so fast that I end up frazzled and get caught not fully set up or ready when the show starts.

For instance, the BABE show this weekend is a short Saturday and Sunday only one. Which means I could have flown in on Friday and done my set up Friday night (which I can do until 8pm) and be ready for Saturday morning. BUT. What if the boxes didn't arrive in time? What if my flight is delayed? What if I miss my flight? What if I get lost on the way to the hotel? What if... Mind you, none of these things had actually happened to me before, but there was stress in worrying about it. And there was that one time when I was late enough to the airport that I walked up to the gate as they were about to close the door....

This trip proved my point. Somehow, someway, the Internet tricked me into buying a plane ticket to Orange County, not Oakland, where I needed to go. I'm absolutely positive it's the Internet's fault. The best part was I never even noticed until I was in my layover stop of Phoenix, and the plane was continuing on to Oakland so I shouldn't have had to get off, but the flight attendant pointed out my ticket was to Orange County - 6 hours drive away from Oakland. Whoops!

But the Southwest folks were so nice (I heart Southwest) and I was able to get on the Oakland flight (thank goodness it wasn't full) and they even got my bags aboard, and all in about 15 min. time. Of course it cost me moola, but since it was my fault, I mean the Internet's fault, I couldn't complain too much.

If I'd missed that flight, it was the last flight to Oakland that day and I would have either had to change airlines (goodbye baggage) or actually fly into Orange County and drive to Oakland.

The best part? I really wasn't too stressed about any of this. Annoyed at the Internet, naturally, but I knew I had a day to fix anything that needed fixing. And then when I told my sad story to the car rental peeps in Oakland and laughed about it, they upgraded me to a minivan. :-)

Now I'm off to walk a couple of blocks over to the court house - I didn't get my sales tax permit stuff mailed off in time to get it by mail, so I'll do it in person. Again - I've got the time! Yea me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last show of the year

2am. I'm surrounded by boxes and kits and suitcases. And potato chips, or what's left of them anyway. Winston on my lap because he's trying to keep me from leaving again. I have some more packing to do, and I need to get some orders ready for shipping, but honestly I'm not sure I have the energy in me right now to finish up. I think a short night's sleep is in order and I'll get the remaining tasks done before I have to leave for the airport at 9:15. At least I was smart enough to NOT schedule a 6am flight like I often do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Last week of schedule insanity

The only thing that's getting me through this week is the beautiful vista I see ahead on my calendar. Pretty little blank spaces which equal catching up and peace and harmony and organization to me. I'm dreaming of making headway on The List. I'm fantasizing about not waking daily with the awful knowledge that someone, somewhere, is waiting on me and getting irritated that I don't call/email/visit/bead/kit/ship faster.

But before I reach this elusive state of nirvana I must make it through the next seven days. Kit production is paramount - not that you're surprised by that. I'm working like a fiend trying to get some ready to send to Fusion Beads while still leaving enough for me to take to BABE this coming weekend. It would really suck to show up at a bead show I'm exhibiting at for the first time and not have any kits to sell them. Talk about a tease!

Which is kind of what I did to the members of the Wild West Bead Society last weekend in Forth Worth! I put out all my pretty little samples but when they wanted to buy kits I was pretty much out of stock of most of them. They were kind and purchased anyway, knowing it might be two weeks before they actually have them in their hot little hands.

Our two days of classes were absolutely great! Saturday's session with Night at the Opera was intensive and they did a great job of buckling down and working. Sunday's class with the Evening Song necklace was a little more loose, and at one point degenerated into 5 of the students pulling up the iPhone app "Cat Piano" and torturing the resident Chihuahua dog with endless cat meows. Ironically, Harley the dog mostly ignored it, while his mom, Carol, was threatening to take anti-anxiety medication and to send the pet therapy bill to the bead society.

We laughed. We ate. We teased. We beaded. It was a good weekend all the way around, and we'll be setting the dates for my return in 2010 shortly (I forgot to take my calendar.) Probably for late Oct. or early November.

I couldn't stand looking at that accidental non-post on the blog from last week any more, so despite my exhaustion and need for sleep I've managed to catch up with you guys. Now it's 5am here and I can't keep the eyes open another moment. Off to cat nap.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Progress report

I'm pedaling fast and trying to remember to stop and breathe and eat occasionally. And sleep. Can't forget about my beloved sleep. I used to joke about wanting to grow up and be a mattress tester. I'm not joking any longer!

My quick trip to San Antonio on Saturday resulted in a happy group of 8 ladies learning the joys of kumihimo with beads. Everyone enjoys this class SO much! If you're going to be in Santa Fe in March for Bead Fest (and why wouldn't you be? It's SUCH a cool place and an equally cool show) you should hurry and sign up for my classes, especially the Kumihimo one. It's gonna fill way before the show starts, I think.

I spent the bulk of Sunday revising my master spreadsheet that contains all the pieces and parts and quantities and suppliers and order numbers and yada, yada. It had gotten neglected over time and needed some love and attention, especially as I'm placing massive orders right now. It needs to be right.

Sadly, the prices also needed to be updated. I got the news over the last few weeks that both Swarovski prices and Miyuki prices have increased (as much as 15% on some!) and the new pricing had to be entered into the equations. We have always been committed to offering our kits at the lowest prices possible, and we remain determined to continue, but you may see some prices inching up a little bit. We love working for you, but probably not enough to work for free! I haven't finished evaluating the situation yet - you won't see any of the current kit prices increase before the new year.

We've also decided to add some of our oldie but goodie kits back on the website soon. For the first time we'll have a larger stock of kits online than we take to shows. We figured, why not?

I need to get some rest in before Monday starts in earnest. I have to pull together instructions for a brand new class before the gang shows up at 1pm on Tuesday. It's going to be a challenge, but I'll bribe myself with chocolate. Works every time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Overload: 95% complete

Let's review, shall we?

Bead kits are going over so well at Fusion Beads that they have placed TWO reorders this week. Massive kit making production line around here the next couple of weeks.

Bead Fest Philadelphia has made their class selections, and I'll be teaching three classes there next August. Hollywood Hula Hoop, Night at the Opera, and Quick & Easy Kumihimo.

I'm getting professional photos taken of many of my new and favorite pieces, and because printing deadlines for the classes are like NOW, I'm having to pay for expedited service. It will be worth it. I can't wait to share them! I should have them within 2 weeks tops.

Despite the fact that I'm teaching a class in San Antonio tomorrow that I'm totally not prepared for yet, as well as two class here at the Studio on Tuesday that I haven't written the instructions for yet, and having hundreds of kits to produce, I am determined to find time tonight for a couple of very important personal things.

First off, Alexis is going trick-or-treating for the first time this year, and I'm not missing it! She's going to be Snow White. Now, you may have noticed that I said this was happening tonight and you're thinking to yourself, "Does Jill know it's Oct. 30 and not the 31st??" Why, yes! But this is the crazy kind of thing that happens when you have a firefighter in the family. My brother has to go in to work at noon tomorrow and won't get off until noon on Sunday. So we get creative. He's gone around to a few neighbor houses and told them to expect us tonight. We do the same thing at Christmas if he's on duty. Either celebrate Christmas Eve, or wait until the day after Christmas. It works.

Secondly, I'm going to get to meet Indigo Cora McNulty Joseph tonight!

Isn't she a cutie?? Her mom, Mick, is the manager of Nomadic Notions in Austin - the biggest and best bead store in Austin.

See why I have to make the time? This is the stuff of life. You can't miss these moments without regret, so I'll sleep a little less and work a little harder and be happy I did.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

And yet more riches...

Mick & Adam McNulty had a healthy baby girl at 5:15 pm today. What a relief and joy! No name or details yet. I'm so happy for them, I want to cry.

An abundance of riches

And I don't mean the monetary kind.

The last few days have been full of the kind of events that can leave you breathless and pinching yourself to make sure it's all real.

First off, our kits are now available at Fusion Beads, and they're being featured on the home page.

Does that photo not look fabulous or what?? They went live on Monday afternoon and within 24 hours, they'd sold out of 8 of the kits!! I've been given the heads up that another order is on the way this week, so I'm starting to prepare kit-making central!

And then today Marcia DeCoster posted the most lovely words about the Night at the Opera bracelet on her blog today. It makes my eyes well with tears when I think about how far I've come, and what it means to me to have the respect of one of the very best designers in the country.

I'm full of gratitude. For the support and love of my students and customers. For the respect of my peers. And for the joy that I get from making my living this way.

Excuse me...I've gotta go find a tissue...happy tears...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thank You stamp

I admit to a pretty big crush on Etsy. I love supporting other artists. I love the inspiration I get from viewing a wide variety of craft and art. And I love making the world a prettier place.

To that end, I have ordered an adorable new Thank You stamp to use on all our web orders. I can't wait until it gets here! As you can see from the photo of our home studio below, we have a huge tree decal on the wall with a couple of little birdies in the branches. I think this guy mixes with our flock quite well.

Eye candy

I saw this on Etsy tonight while taking a break from instruction writing. How COOL!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Southwest Airlines, I <3 you!

For all those Austin area Bead & Button Show fanatics, guess what? Our annual trek northward just got easier. Southwest Airlines now flies from Austin to Milwaukee. Yippee! So airfares are more reasonable, which means MORE money for the important stuff - beads and classes!

Slow motion

This weekend has been completely different than planned, that's for sure. I was supposed to be in Dallas all weekend with the lovely and talented ladies of the Dallas Bead Society, along with the amazing Marcia DeCoster, but alas, my body had other plans for me. I knew I'd been flirting with danger, scheduling myself so tightly for weeks and weeks on end, and it finally caught up with me. Awoke Thursday morning with a fever, stuffy head, and sore throat. Goodbye, Dallas trip.

Waaaa! Okay, pity party over. Because I have to admit it's my own darned fault. The biggest irony for me is that I was planning on picking Marcia's brain about how she schedules herself so she doesn't go overboard. Whoops.

But I do already have a plan for 2010 that I'm starting to put in action. You'll see me at slightly fewer shows in 2010. Don't panic. All the biggies will still be there - the Bead Fests and Bead & Button. I'm still going to do the San Antonio Bead Market the last weekend in February. But I've already crossed my usual Stafford Bead Market in late May/early June off the calendar because it conflicts with my classes at Bead & Button this year. And no Houston International Quilt Festival in the fall. I'm still evaluating others...

You should see me doing more teaching engagements in the coming year, though. The biggest difference between the shows and the teaching weekends is the amount of time I invest. With a show, I'm frequently gone for 5 or 6 days. A teaching weekend is usually only 3 or 4. Believe me, those days away from home add up. By the end of the year, I will have spent over two months in hotels on the road. Actually, I should officially tally it - it may be more like three months. Regardless, a lot!

So I've been taking it easy on myself this weekend and only doing a bit of beading here and there. I'm relieved that this is not flu. Just a kick in the pants to do what ya'll are always telling me - take care of myself and slow down a bit. Message received.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Teaching in San Antonio

Did ya'll know that I'm teaching a few classes at The Bead Renaissance Show in San Antonio in a few weeks? You can send an email to Class Program Co-coordinator Sue Charette-Hood, San Antonio Bead & Ornament Society at or call 210-381-4167 to register.

Saturday, Oct. 31
11am - 1pm
Ring Around the Rosie earrings
Class fee: $25

2pm - 4pm
Kumihimo with Beads bracelet
Class fee: $25

Sunday, Nov. 1
11am - 1pm
Piazza Perline bracelet
Class fee: $25

2pm - 4pm
Twisted Sister bracelet
Class fee $25

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Mom & I moved into this house a little over two years ago. The bedroom I have was the former owner's nursery, and it was painted that way with a cute garden trellis kind of theme. But certainly too cutesy for me...and so I planned on painting. And I planned. And planned. And then last year, you may recall, I actually picked a lovely lavender color and started painting. I got one wall done before I ran out of time to work on it, the energy to work on it, and any surety that I'd picked the right color.

Fast forward to current day. I'm STILL sleeping in a half-painted (and badly at that) bedroom because I simply can't pick a color...a theme...ANYTHING! I've had myself paralyzed by indecision.

Finally, today, it all came together. As I looked lovingly at the newest colorway for the Ramblin' Roses kit in what we call Blurples (Blues/Purples) I realized that's how I wanted my room decorated. So Blurples inspiration it is.I bought 3 paint samples to put up on the wall on Wednesday because I want a gray-blue on the walls that's not too baby blue, yet not too gray. What? You thought this was going to be easy? You haven't met me, have you?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Home again...for a few days...

The Quilt Show is done again for another year, and I have to say I'm quite glad to be home. It was a long five days away with hard labor, long hours, and in the end, only a little bit to show for it. Yes, it's sad, but I worked out the numbers late Sunday and discovered that because this show is so expensive (booth, hotel, food, electric, gas to get there, etc.) I could have taught one class at the home studio, and made the same amount of money. Yup. That's that harsh, cold reality and it's not what you want to hear when you've been working so hard!

So while this is probably the last Houston Quilt Show we'll do, it makes me sad too because we have so many friends there. It's a cornucopia of design inspiration (and temptation) and I'm sure I'll now go visit it one day a year instead of working it like I have. I'll always have a fond place in my heart for this show, since the 2001 Quilt Show was where I discovered beads and bead weaving for the first time. I was enchanted from the very first moment. I couldn't possibly have imagined where it would take me...I still pinch myself that this is what I get to do for my JOB.

We also had a nasty thief (or two?) at the show who was targeting vendors. My dear friend, Maureen (The Bead Corner) had her wallet stolen out of her purse which was under one of the tables in her booth. Can you believe the chutzpah? She wasn't the only one. There were 4 or more thefts per day...on Saturday, 4 were stolen in just an hour. Heavy security presence didn't deter them. Can they possibly know the grief they cause? Maureen had $800 in cash in her wallet that's gone now. She worked HARD for that money, and was counting on it to, oh, pay bills! I sure hope somehow they catch the culprit.

I'm home Monday through Thursday, and Mom took Monday off too for recovery. I've got a little work to accomplish, but then I'm hoping for one sweet day off, as well as some beading time. Ironically, since it was so slow at the show on Saturday and Sunday, I got a lot of beading done at the booth. But that was "work" beading - ie, making samples - and I need some play and design time. I'm pretty sure Wednesday and Thursday are MINE!! Yippee!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Quick update from Houston

Hello world out there!

I always feel I'm in some sort of strange time capsule when I'm at a show, and the longer the show lasts, the more disconnected from the world at large I feel. I don't see news. I don't interact with folks outside of this insular crafting society. I basically work and sleep with the occasional dinner or blog posting thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday was brutally tiring, as predicted. The heat and humidity in Houston combined and threatened to turn us all into walking water faucets all day. Thank goodness for air conditioning! By the time Mom and I got back to the hotel at 10:45pm, we were so done in. I think we were both snoring by 11pm. (Note from June: I'm pretty sure I never snore.)

Thursday was hopping - I can really see the crowds back in force this year which makes me (and the other vendors) very happy. We've seen lots of familiar faces, and plenty more new ones too. The day really flew by because we were busy pretty much the entire time. I anticipate much of the same on Friday and Saturday. Sunday will be much slower, as usual. We all know that Sundays are pretty much "vendors buying from vendors" day.

I should be sleeping...Mom's already been snoozing for 30 min....but I couldn't wait another day to tell ya'll my news....

Gonna be teaching 4 classes at the Bead & Button Show 2010! I just got notification today. So happy! Mom and I started planning for 2010 over's not that far off any longer...

Night night, Friends!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Anything else?

If there IS anything else, it's too late now! I fell short on my to-do list by just a few items - specifically those not dealing directly with the Fusion order or the Quilt Show. I always wish I had one more day, but I don't, so that's that!

As for the Quilt Show, it's such a marathon. Mom and I will be leaving around 9am, driving to Houston (3 hours,) setting up the booth, checking into the hotel, hopefully napping for an hour, then back to the Convention Center for Preview Night from 5pm-10pm. Thurs, Fri, and Sat, the show is open from 10am-7pm, and Sunday from 11am-5pm. Last year was lighter attendance than usual with just 52,000 instead of the usual 60,000 due to the economy meltdown and Hurricane Ike which had hit the area a few weeks before. I think it will rebound nicely this year.

I hope to report in from the show, but forgive me if the updates are short! I'll be tired, tired, tired!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

List update

How is Jill doing on that list? Let's check in, shall we?

My List:
  • Find all the samples to take to Houston Quilt Show (HQS) - They are all in a big pile on the studio table. I haven't checked them off the list to make sure I have them all, though. Sometimes they migrate in the house.
  • Buy dowel to hang banner for HQS - Mom surprised me and took care of this yesterday. Thanks, Mom!
  • Finish making kit samples that need to be shipped to Fusion for photos - haven't touched
  • Finish making kits that need to be shipped to Fusion on Thursday - all are done that aren't waiting on beads. I have a delivery of some of the beads today, and two more deliveries to me at the hotel in Houston on Wednesday.
  • Finish making kits that need to go with me to Houston on Wednesday - close. So close. I've got to make some more Hollywood Hula Hoops, some Twisted Sister in green/bronze, and some Foxy Mama's in both colors. But that's it.
  • Laundry to cloth myself in Houston - Done!
  • Bank - deposit, and get change for cash register (closed Monday) - waiting until after the mail comes today because I'm expecting a few checks.
  • Oh yeah - get Mom to reprogram cash register - she'll probably do in Houston during set up tomorrow afternoon.
  • Pack and mail website orders that came in this weekend (closed Monday) - all packed - ready to mail when I leave for the bank.
  • Re-order Night at the Opera instructions- not gonna happen before I leave. Next week.
  • Write Crystal Bangle instructions and email - might still happen
  • Pack booth stuff to leave for Houston on Wednesday morning - tonight as we load up the car for an 8am exodus.
  • Pack personal stuff to leave for Houston on Wednesday morning (see "laundry" above) - always my last thing, although I've already set aside a few bead projects to take with me. Of course!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Adult Onset ADD?

I'm pretty sure I've developed Attention Deficit Disorder in the last few years. Or maybe in my case it should be called "Brain Spinning Disease."

There are so many balls in the air to be juggled that I often have trouble focusing on one at a time long enough to accomplish the task. I'm amazingly productive when I DO concentrate and am able to single-task (multi-tasking is no longer efficient in my muddled brain.) The trick is getting my mind to quiet down to that single event.

So I guess the answer for today is lists. I do know the coping techniques - and lists are a great way to quiet the mind because it keeps me from having to run the list over and over again in my head make sure I don't forget anything. On the other hand, one must keep track of the list(s) and that can be an issue too. But one thing at a time.

My List:
  • Find all the samples to take to Houston Quilt Show (HQS)
  • Buy dowel to hang banner for HQS
  • Finish making kit samples that need to be shipped to Fusion for photos
  • Finish making kits that need to be shipped to Fusion on Thursday
  • Finish making kits that need to go with me to Houston on Wednesday
  • Laundry to cloth myself in Houston
  • Bank - deposit, and get change for cash register (closed Monday)
  • Oh yeah - get Mom to reprogram cash register
  • Pack and mail website orders that came in this weekend (closed Monday)
  • Re-order Night at the Opera instructions
  • Write Crystal Bangle instructions and email
  • Pack booth stuff to leave for Houston on Wednesday morning
  • Pack personal stuff to leave for Houston on Wednesday morning (see "laundry" above)
And that's just the list for things that need to be accomplished in the next 4 days.

Tell you what, though - I already feel better for having a list!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Step by Step Beads - folding into Beadwork Magazine

I was sad to find out Thursday that Step by Step Beads magazine will be folding into Beadwork magazine after the January/February 2010 issue. I hate to see our magazine options dwindle...don't we all love the rush of seeing the new issue of "XYZ..." in the mailbox or news stand? Here's a link to the press release.

I'm up late again tonight because I'm feeling the need to wrap some of these projects up that I've been slugging away on all week and get them mailed out and out of my space.

In the meantime, the cold front that will MAKE MY WEEKEND is almost here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Boring Jill

Every day this week I've thought, jeez, I should update the blog. But the truth of the matter is I haven't been doing much to blog about the last few days. Merely slogging away at the piles and piles of work that have precious little to do with actual beading.

Mainly I've been concentrated on kit production, trying to get a comfortable stock in place for the last couple of shows this year. The Houston International Quilt Show is a five-day extravaganza that brings 60,000 attendees, so there's no throwing it together for THAT at the last minute. I've got 200+ kits getting shipped to Fusion Beads, and my last actual show of the year will be at BABE in Oakland, California in mid-November. I'll also have kits at the various teaching gigs in Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Lake Jackson that round out my last two months of the year. And then...

Oh Lord. And then! Then I have something like five or six weeks at home until 2010 starts and I'm off to parts unknown again. I don't dare look at the calendar right now and start dreaming about it so soon. I have to keep my head down and focused at the immediate tasks at hand so I don't mentally check out for the year too early.

Although The List is long, it's always long. So I'm taking the afternoon for a much deserved and needed massage and pedicure to lift my spirits again. Right now I've barely left the house since last week other than a quick trip to the post office. I indulge my hermit habits, but sometimes ya' gotta let the fresh air in.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Playing with colors

I'm teaching a Crystal Bangle class this weekend, and I've been having the most fun playing with colors to put kits together. So much fun that I ended up with 5 different colorways, when normally I stick with 3 or 4. I also think the Mega Jewels booth at Bead Fest Portland was having fun with me last weekend as I made my umpteenth visit to buy more crystals. The project is by Gerry Milton who owns Bead Crazee in Tyler, Texas. She graciously gave me permission to teach it here at the Tapestry Beads Studio.

Here's what I came up with...

That last Rose one hasn't been made up yet...but I'm about to go fix that right now!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bead & Button Show survey

Bead & Button has a survey running about your favorite classes and teachers at the Bead & Button Show - you should participate! You can fill it out here.

As for me, I'm still waiting to hear if my class proposals have been accepted. Some teachers have already been notified of acceptance, others have been notified of non-acceptance...I'm still in limbo, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It generally means they're still working on the scheduling and filling in all the eleventy million slots.

Blood test results were pretty good today. Sugars are just fine. Same for thyroid. Cholesterol is a little high, but not by much. Overall, I'm pleased.

Portland is one bead town

Bead Fest Portland was just a great time from start to finish. What a wonderful group of happy and sparkly beaders live in the Northwest! My two classes were absolute delights to teach, and I know they had a great time, because they all kept coming to my booth to tell me so afterwards! I also had the rather amazing experience of reading about myself on someone else's Facebook update.

Saturday night was the Moonlight Bead In, where anyone could come by and spend the evening beading and socializing. Karen Keegan, who is one of the Interweave staff who makes all the Bead Fest shows happen like magic, posted on her Facebook account:

At the Moonlight Bead-In in Portland. Jill Wiseman is getting rave reviews on her class as is Tracy Stanley & Janice Berkebile. Happy students!!!

And a little later -
People are still pulling out Jill's kits to show everyone. ready for some visitors to your booth tomorrow!!!

And indeed, they DID come by! There is nothing that makes me feel better than leaving students and customers with new knowledge, a cool project and a fun experience. The warm fuzzies for all the beady love directed my way from Portland are going to stay with me for a long time. Thank you ALL!

I survived the 8am Monday flight that brought me back home, (8am?? What was I THINKING when I booked myself an 8am flight?!) and now I get to sleep in my own bed for a few weeks before heading out for 4 weekends in a row of traveling.

The beading ladies get to come by and invade the Tapestry Beads Studio this coming Saturday - I'm teaching both a morning and and afternoon class. That's what I was working on prepping for today. Making kit samples, making instructions notes, and such.

Wednesday afternoon I have a follow-up doctor's appointment to go over my blood test results. I'm a little nervous about what they'll show. I'm not the healthiest of eaters...

Have you ever seen the tv show Hoarders? Well, it's inspiring me (SCARING me) to weed some things out of the house. Tonight's task was going through magazines...I'm an addict...and lately I've been too busy to keep up with the inflow and read them all. But the pile keeps getting taller and taller, so I'm making the tough choices tonight. I hope to tackle the books by the end of the week.

Mom got over half her bedroom painted (celery) while I was out of town last week, and she's shaming me into making some progress on my own. It was a full year ago when I painted one wall and stopped. I've been in color indecision ever since. The time for bold action has come. A choice must be made. I'm keeping my eye open for an inspiration room or two while I'm going through all these magazines....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I can adapt

So my hotel in Portland is located in the middle of IH-5. I can adapt. I can pretend the incessant highway noise is the ocean, right?

So I got all ready for set up at the convention center today and made the drive downtown only to discover that set up didn't start until 5pm. Which I would have realized if I had actually read the paperwork provided to me. Ooopsie! Instead, I took a little driving tour of downtown Portland (also known as being hopelessly lost) and took in the sights. My GPS finally figured out where I was and brought me back to the hotel neighborhood - I found a Target to stock up on munchies and some heat wraps.

Heat wraps, you ask? Yup. Because when I got into my micro-mini rental car today, I twisted my head at a weird angle and ZING. I did something funny to my head. Or my neck. Really, it's right at the base of my skull. Feels like a muscle pull and it hurts every time I move my head. Lovely.

What a day! Now I'm in the hotel room, heat wrap on my neck, eating Sun Chips for dinner. I'm reviewing my Bubbles & Bumps instructions to prep for the class I'm teaching in the morning. Then I'll have the afternoon to grab some lunch and get the booth set up for the 5pm opening.

I think this heat wrap might be

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nirvana has been located.

I am on the plane to Los Angeles right now, and I'm ON THE INTERNET! On my new Barbie Computer, which, have I mentioned lately that I love and adore? Anyway, I'm on the Internet, Ladies! This is true Nirvana for a three hour plane ride and an Internet addict like me. So sweet.

My luggage was 1.5 pounds over the 50lb weight limit, but the very nice lady at the AA counter and I both ignored the fact, and no extra $50 charge for me. Phew!

Aw, they're making me close up the computer now...but man! It's been awesome!

Live, from the stratosphere...


In a few hours I'll be headed toward the airport again, this time for Portland and Bead Fest. I'm teaching two classes there, and I'll have a booth in the expo hall too, so as usual it will be a jam-packed week. I've learned the importance of getting into town a day or so earlier than I think I should have to - it saves a lot of wear and tear on my mental and physical status. The downside is that I'm away from home another day.

So those instructions last week that weren't gonna write themselves? Well, they really were NOT in the mood to take it easy on me! I spent more time on those instructions than on any other set in the past. While the technique isn't difficult, to illustrate it took roughly a bazillion diagrams with eleventy billion beads per graphic. I'm proud to say that the class only found one boo-boo in all 12 pages, so I'm thinking I did good. :-)

Sunday became one of my infamous Sleep Coma days. My body sure does tell me in a very noticeable way when it's done with all my shenanigans. Complete and total shut down. I slept for roughly 24 hours out of 36 between Saturday night and Monday morning. Every time I'd wake up and get out of bed, I'd feel like there were lead weights on all my limbs, and soon after I'd go crawl in for more shut eye. It's the weirdest feeling. Even weirder is when I finally wake up and just like that, it's gone. I'm wide awake with plenty of energy and I'm ready to go.

I spent the day getting packed for my trip and working on emails and teaching logistics and buying airline tickets and supplies. I'm pretty sure I will finally beat the "over 50lb limit" curse this time around. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

These instructions aren't gonna write themselves!

I actually got to bead last night and today. Joy! It's actually been weeks since I've had the opportunity to sit down with my needle and thread - too much of the other pieces and parts of this job were more critical and time sensitive, so the beading had to wait. I designed a new piece that I'm going to wait a bit longer to unveil (I'm so mean!) but I can show you some of the color options for my new Evening Song necklace class that I'm teaching for the first time on Saturday.

The original sample was done in deep amethyst colors that are perfect with the purple trend that continues in fashion this fall.

Then I really like this one with teal and copper - Mom knows I never met a green and brown combo of any shade that I don't like. Please pardon the attached thread! I'm still working on it.

And lastly, a lady-like pink and brown combo. I had tried it with pink and cream, but it looked too much like a wedding necklace at that point.

So now that I have verified that I have the right colors of beads in stock to make kits for the class, I have to shift to working on the instructions. It won't be a hard piece, but the diagrams will be buggers to draw, so I'm sure I'll be spending quite a bit of time on them.

I can't stay up too terribly late tonight, though, because I'm going to lunch with a friend tomorrow at Mandola's Market, an Italian place I've never been to before. I was just looking online at their menu and you wouldn't even believe their pastry case. OMG!! The heck with the entree...just bring me one of everything in that pastry case. STAT. I think Lori picked this place on purpose just to make sure I wouldn't bail out on the lunch. She knew that pastry case AS BIG AS MY HOUSE would lure me in.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who, me? Mr. Cutie?

Just when we think Winston has grown up, he proves he's got plenty of sass left. He's 2 years old now...we've become a bit complacent. We have even been leaving our shoes out in the living room for the last six months because he's learned to leave them alone.

Seems like we've been fooled by his insidious puppy plan to lull us into doing just that. Because this is what Mom found him dining on at 3am this morning.

Who, me?? Mr. Cutie?? Needless to say I'm keeping a close eye on him for signs of distress.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ready, set, ship out!

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Unintentional day off

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 11, 2009

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

No longer in Dallas!

I'm very ashamed. I just got this email from my dear friend:
I have read about your leaving for Dallas 4000 times........yes, we need an update on Jill. Hugs, Kath
And all of a sudden I realized it's been like a WEEK since I posted. And yet it really feels more like one very (VERY VERY) long day.

So after I got back from Philly on Monday night, I faced a daunting task: getting ready to leave on Friday to teach 3 classes of 20 students each for the Dallas Bead Society. Teaching wasn't the hard part. The hard parts were:
  • Knowing I was sold out of many of my best-selling kits from Philly so what would the ladies in Dallas have to buy?
  • Creating new kits with multiple color options for 2 classes that had never been kitted before - which meant coming up with 8 different brand new kits. In three days.
  • Did I mention the three days part??
  • And my boxes shipped from Philly didn't even arrive until Thursday night, at which time I was scrambling to unpack and repack
  • In three days
So in those three days (3, only 3) I labeled and weighed and printed and stuffed and panicked a few times. I barely slept, and in the end, it was only my wonderful mother coming to the rescue by leaving work early to come home and help me on Friday that allowed me to leave Austin for the drive to Dallas at 10:30pm. I got to my hotel there around 1:30am, and collapsed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dallas, here I come...

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Philadelphia folks are SERIOUS about their beads!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bead on...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Making a list and checking it twice

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

Not what I expected

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Accounting 101

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


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

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

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

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

PS - the email box is down to 77!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Accomplishments, big and small

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

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

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

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

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

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

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