Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday, it's Office Depot who's my friend

So close...SO CLOSE...

But on the home stretch of printing, we've run out of toner - we literally down to 60 more patterns to print. Yet now it's going to cost $300 in ink to get that accomplished. ARGH!

On the other hand, please note that I do not leave Austin until Sunday. And we'll be finishing on Saturday. Do you realize how big of a deal that is??? And I'll have every single kit ready to go. None of this "I need to run by XYZ vendor and quick buy ABC supply to put in the LMO kit" stuff. Not for me, not this time. I even have a larger number of each type of kit made up, so I shouldn't be running out of anything. I'm very conscious of the fact that I will have a San Antonio show just 2.5 weeks after returning from Tucson, and then the Santa Fe Bead Fest show is another 2.5 weeks after that. Not a lot of time between gigs this year so being prepared up front is essential.

With all of my "extra" time tomorrow, I think I'll do something wild and crazy like laundry. Clean clothes might be good, hmm? Even that is something I can work around this year, though, since my little home away from home in Tucson has a washer and dryer too. The luxury! A trip to the grocery store for snacks is essential too. When I get sleepy while driving, the first line of attack is listening to books on CD. The second line is eating. And finally, I just pull over at a rest stop and nap for 30 min. in the car which refreshes me and off I go again, just like the Energizer Bunny.

Maybe I won't NEED to sleep on the road if I actually get some normal people sleep before I leave. I think I'll try it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

UPS is my friend

Oh, how I love our various delivery services in the US. The Post Office, UPS, FedEx - they're all my very dear friends. How would I ever manage a business without them? And today UPS became my special friend for delivering a big ol' package of beads a whole day early. I'm rejoicing! I may manage to get everything done before I leave on Sunday after all. Maybe. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

I have rented an adorable guest house called Casa Bonita for Mom and I to stay in for the week. It's much cheaper than a hotel, plus you've got all the comforts of home including a kitchen.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

After a day of printing patterns with Mom, and working on last minute jewelry samples on Sunday, I got a very special break from work on Monday night. I actually made time to go out to dinner with a friend I've known for more than 25 years now. As happens with most friendships, we go in and out of phases of spending time together - and lately - mostly because of my crazy schedule - visits have been few and far between.

But with my reduced teaching schedule freeing up many of my nights and weekends, and some changes in her personal social schedule, I have a feeling we'll be rectifying the "seeing each other once every six months" problem. Tonight was like old times, and we talked nonstop for hours to fill each other in on the events in each others lives. It's so nice to have people like that in your life. Someone who knows all the secret nooks and crannies of your head and your heart. Someone with whom you can pick right up where you left off so long ago. I'm really glad that our friendship has survived some really hard times.

After I got home tonight, I worked on finishing up a new Butterfly Kisses kit contender - I'm going to leave it out for Mom to vote on in the morning before she goes to work. I'm obviously running out of time to have anything new for the Tucson show at this point, but that doesn't mean I won't be introducing even more new kits post-Tucson. There are several that are almost right, but not quite. So I'm holding on to them until they make the grade.

Jill McKay is at the Craft & Hobby Association (CHA) Show in California this week, and reports that Paris Hilton was there one day, and Jane Seymour another. I asked what day Brad Pitt would be attending. Surely he's into crafts, what with all those children around...right? (Please don't burst my bubble.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Glamorous day

I did not get out of my jammies all day today. I did not leave the house except to pick up a UPS package on the front step, and spend five minutes in the back yard, enjoying the 80 degrees out there with the dogs. What did I do instead?

Well, I spooled WildFire and Fireline for kits, mostly. A LOT of it. Like 1,380 yards of WildFire. I can't even remember how much Fireline at this point. 10 hours of doing nothing but winding thread onto bobbins in 20 yard increments and catching up on TIVO shows. What's sadder is that I'm not even finished! But I did run out of material until my HUGE restock shipment comes in, so Saturday I'm off to other tasks.

I'm teaching my second-to-last class for a while at Nomadic Notions Saturday afternoon - it's Parisian Lights, which has been such a hit, it's quite astonishing. I took like 75 kits with me to the bead retreat last weekend in Temple, and even though there were only 100 folks there, I came home without a single one left!! I'm working on making an equal quantity for the Tucson show, just in case. And if they don't sell quite as quickly there hopefully I'll have some for the San Antonio show two weeks later, and/or the Santa Fe show two more weeks after that. A lot less time for me to restock between shows this year, so I'm trying to make larger quantities at the outset to hold me over for a few shows. It's always a guessing game/balancing act that sometimes I hit dead on, and other times I miss entirely.

Anyway, after I'm done with class, Mom and I are headed over to my brother & sister-in-law's house for dinner with them and the Munchkin. It will probably be the last time I get to see her until I get back from Tucson in four weeks. It's hard to go that long without seeing her at this age because they change so rapidly at this age. She's 19 months old now.

I also desperately need to update the website with new kits and new teaching dates. And I have an illustration project that has a Monday deadline. I guess that year-end holiday stuff is over for really real now!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Be afraid. Be very afraid

They've already passed my house and made a direct hit with Peanut Butter Patties and Lemonades.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's my Birfday

Monday was such a lovely day. I had birthday wishes from so many friends and family (including Donna Mehnert of Blackberry Beads who said it was my "Birfday" - that sounds SO much like me, so I'm stealing it!) I was able to sleep to my heart's content with no guilt over things I should be doing. Mom & I went out to dinner tonight, followed by an intent viewing of the latest episode of "24." I had threatened to go out and book myself a massage for today, but when push came to shove, the Jilly hermit chose a simple day of secusion. I was supposed to go to a friend's house for a beady play day, and I'm sorry, Gwen! I simply couldn't make myself leave the house and the bed.

Tuesday I'll be glued to the tv all day, enjoying the festivities. My personal forcast calls for 100% chance of tears of joy.

And then it's back to the grindstone! I've gotta get a bazillion or so packages out to the Post Office, dash to the bank, and then get all my supply orders finalized and sent in. I'll have three or four days before the beads arrive, and then it's massive production time again. In the down time, I'll be working on printing patterns. I'm worried whether our Color LaserJet printer is going to make it until after I get back from Tucson. It was giving me fits before the Retreat - that mechanisim which picks up the next sheet of paper from the tray and feeds it into the paper path is not working properly. Sometimes it can't grab the paper and says it's jammed. I finally discovered though trial and error that if the paper try is half-full (not ALL full, and certainly not barely full) it will work. Sometimes. I'd really love it if I could nurse it along another few weeks and then I'll put it out to pasture. We'll see who wins this battle of wills.

Also on the agenda is to do a mock table set up for the new display. We need to make sure it looks okay, and that everything fits. I'm also going to purchase some new fabric to create a table runner down the front that will inject a splash of color into the display.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More from Temple, Texas!

I'm pretty sure we all managed to pack several week's worth of fun and gabbing and beading into a single day today. At least that's what it felt like! As a regular at the Texas and Shreveport retreats for the last few years, it's like a mini-reunion each time. The only time I get to see most of these spirited ladies is at the retreats, and then we have to do all our catching up in such a short time frame. This year there are a few who are dealing with some pretty daunting physical challenges - seems like more than usual - but they're not letting it stop the all important therapy of beading! And you know what I mean.

I taught a class Saturday afternoon of Parisian Lights, and will do another session Sunday morning since there were so many folks who wanted to take it. Most of them finished their bracelets by the end of the evening, and it was fun to walk around the room and see everyone wearing them en masse!

I also set dates to teach at the Dallas Bead Society (August 29 & 30) and another teaching day in Spring (Houston) at Beadaholique on April 18th. We're working on figuring out the exact projects, and we'll update you on that as it comes together.

I tried going to bed at 10:30, but pretty much tossed and turned for a few hours. Now I'm up again and hoping to lull myself to sleep playing Solitaire after I finish updating here. 7am is going to come all too soon. On the other hand, one of the benefits of being only an hour away from home this time is that I'll get back in time for a nice nap in the late afternoon!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tip: Don't be late to a bead retreat

So a lady walks into a bead retreat....okay, it was a little later than she thought she'd be wasn't really her fault...okay, really it was. But she had good intentions. And she was THERE after all. And she sees some of her very best beady friends and is so happy and starts giving hugs and catching up. And then something catches her eye. Her friend, not named Jill, is wearing a Jill Wiseman name tag. Ha ha. Very funny. Giggle. Wait...what is this?? Here's another friend, not named Jill, wearing a Jill Wiseman name tag. And slowly but surely, the lady realizes most of the ROOM is wearing Jill Wiseman name tags! This is what happens when you're late to a bead retreat. Be warned.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Texas Bead Retreat, here I come

Ah, best laid plans. I had scheduled myself to leave the house today at 10am for the quick, 1 hour drive up to Temple, but then the alarm went off, and I'd only gone to bed at 6am, and I was so comfy, and zzzzzzzzzzzz....

So here it is, almost 3pm, and I'm finally out the door. I feel so good about the things I got accomplished, though. I re-organized our patterns file with new file folders (all shiny, new, and a single color!), and because I'm space challenged at the retreat, I attached tags to each sample to give the name of the project, the kit and the pattern costs. I like the way it looks. Thanks to Anne for letting me rip off her idea.

All the kits are full and complete - no last minute, oh, when I get there I need to buy xyz from Jane's and put it in Yadda Yadda kit. Nope. They're READY! Simple things like this make me happy.

Without further babbling, I'd better get out the door. Those ladies will be calling me soon asking where the heck I'm at! Beady friends all weekend. Life is good. I'll try to post from the retreat at night. Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Another sneek peek

Ladies, I present to you, another peek at one of the new kits we'll be debuting shortly: Ramblin' Roses. Gorgeous, isn't it? Mom's been doing a great job all of a sudden, cranking out new things that have been percolating in her mind over the last year. I love collaborating with her on new designs! Two Wisemans are better than just one.

As for me, I'm a last minute goober, as usual. I have one or two of my bead supply packages arriving tomorrow, and the last (and biggest) doesn't get here until Thursday. So I'm doing what prep work I can before they show up. Labeling baggies, getting organized. I'll start printing patterns tomorrow too.

It's also that time of year for my annual round of doctor visits. My eye doctor and I had a visit today, and tomorrow is my more general check up. I think I'll book a massage this week too as a reward. I have this running dilemma with my massage therapists, though. I find someone I like, and then over time they start getting chatty. UGH! I'm good with "Hi, how are you..." for like the first couple of minutes. But then I want to zen out and NOT talk and just enjoy the massage. I've actually stopped going to more than one therapist in the past before because they simply don't get the hint. And I find it so hard to be direct about this for some reason. My current plan is to explain that I won't be chatty this time because I need to concentrate on relaxing. And then just say that every time until we're all clear on my expectations. Silence. Sweet, simple silence.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Surviving Saturday

It took 19 hours of sleep, but I'm finally recovered from the preparations for my Kumihimo classes, and my first ever two classes in one day on Saturday. It was both harder and better than I thought it would be.

Harder because I had to work much more than usual on class prep. When I'm teaching seed bead weaving, I've got the flow down. I plan out the class in my head before teaching it the first time, and do adjustments as needed after that, but for the most part, I've been doing it long enough now that it comes fairly effortlessly. By changing mediums this time, I had to think and plan and run through the whole class in my head a LOT more to get to a good comfort level prior to the day. I think it's good to stretch those mental muscles periodically so I'm really glad I did it. And the flow and class went just great, so it was a successful exercise in growing my teaching skills.

Speaking of which, everyone had a GREAT time and loved the Kumihimo! They were almost all folks who'd bought the loom before, but then got intimidated by the instructions and unfamiliar things. When I stepped them through it, they realized it wasn't so scary after all, and now they're all dying to jump in to even more advanced techniques. Guess that's my next class to develop!

I do plan on proposing some "poor woman's Kumihimo" classes for the national shows next year that will incorporate not only the Japanese braiding technique, but also some seed bead weaving components too. Unfortunately, I can't even do any Kumihimo tonight during the season premiere of "24", because I sold ever last loom I had in the house! Drat it!

But it's probably a good thing too. Because I have ten billion or so things to do before I leave for the Texas Beader's Retreat on Friday. If you tried signing up for my Parisian Lights class at the retreat and found it was already full, try contacting Sandy Pardo again as I offered to teach a second session of it on Saturday afternoon since there were so many who were interested. I'll have plenty of kits too...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I have been one upped

Peggy tells me that I am not sufficiently blinged out until I have these and I think she's right. I'm jealous!

I have been off and on with being focused and working the last few days. One day I'll get absolutely nothing accomplished, and the next I'm a whirling dervish. I need more of those productive days! So last night I actually went to bed at a reasonable hour, and got up at 7:45am. As soon as I stop wasting time surfing the internet, I'll get to work on kit assembly again. I've got another big seed bead order to place, and I need to make sure I've got everything I can on it. I'm sure I'll forget a few things - but a few things at the last minute I can handle. It's EVERYTHING at the last minute I can't deal with!

Who's going to the Santa Fe Bead Fest in March? I'm really looking forward to it - I've never been to Santa Fe before, and I hear simply wonderful things about it. I still have seats available in my Ring Around the Rosie class too - we're going to make earrings or bracelets or necklaces or all three!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A few photos for fun

First, let me show you how super duper tricked out I am in my car these days! I mentioned a few months ago on the blog that I'd gotten my very own personalized license plates - BEADS, of course! Well, one of my Christmas gifts this year was a Swarovski studded license plate holder!! OMG. I'm so geeky cool. I be rolling. Ya'll be hatin'. I know.

Next, as promised, the photos of the three colorways for Parisian Lights. The first one is one of my favorite combos ever - I did it with Illumination, and had to copy it again in Parisian Lights because it's just so classic. I give you - Bronze and Blue.

Second, a Victorian-inspired soft rose look. Pink, without being screaming. A classy, understated, yet attention grabbing pink.

Lastly, a bold green. This one isn't photographing at all true to the 4mm bicone color - it's a double AB coated one, and it winks and flashes like crazy at you. Plus it's got more of a pink undertone than a yellow one, but I can't seem to manipulate the colors in Paint Shop Pro to bring it out. So I think folks will be amazed when they see it in person because it's so much better than the photo. And the photo is darned good.

Bead by bead

I got to check two whole things off my immediate to-do list. Yes, I have different levels of to-do. Something along the lines of:
  • To-do before I die
  • To-do before someone else yells at me
  • To-do or I have to go back to having a day job
  • To-do when I'm trying to avoid other to-dos
That Day Job threat one is the one I'm focused on for the short-term. It includes finalizing the color selection for the eleventy million new kits we're debuting in Tucson, getting the beads ordered, and getting the samples made.

I've spent more than 15 hours in the past week trying to get the kit colors ready for my new Parisian Lights kit. It's an important one because I'm teaching it at the Texas Bead Retreat in Temple next weekend, and everyone is going to go ga-ga over it if the reception it got at Nomadic Notions is any indication. I had two classes of 10 people there last quarter and both classes filled within a few hours of registration opening. Both classes ended up with waiting lists of another 10 folks ea. Crazy!

Now I have to agree with them - it's really a beautiful piece. And you could use almost any beads to make a pretty bracelet. But I think one of my important jobs is to make sure the colors I choose for the kits make it a FABULOUS piece. I need to do the work to pick out the unexpected...the hard to visualize...the spot on combos. Most of the time I don't have to work THIS hard at it, but for whatever reason, this bracelet was fighting me. It finally, thankfully, all came together tonight and I now have three kick butt combos that are worthy of kits. All three samples were made tonight (another reason to love this bracelet - it's quick!) and the beads will get ordered before I go to bed. I'll get photos posted tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I'll have to take those photos with my trusty old flatbed scanner, not my camera. Why? Because I killed another one. Mom will tell you that I have quite the talent for killing cameras by dropping them on cement. This camera was a replacement for the one I knocked off the kitchen ledge the weekend we tore up the carpet in our old house, right on the newly exposed concrete floors. Yesterday, I was hauling in a bunch of stuff from my car along with a very important Chik-fil-a Cookies & Cream Milkshake, and as I got to the front step, the whole pile of "stuff" went sliding...right out of my arms on onto the concrete front step. The camera still works! You just have to hold the battery door shut when you do it. Methinks it will be going to the camera hospital soon to see if it's a candidate for surgery. Moral of the story: Don't hand Jill your camera if there's concrete around for her to fling it upon.