Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Air

This is, hands down, my favorite time of the year. The temperatures are just perfect...the tree leaves are all that new, bright, green...and in Texas, it's the season of the wildflowers blooming everywhere. We've taken to keeping our back door open most of the day to let the light and fresh air in, as well as the varied bird chirps and calls. Okay, and the occasional trash truck driving by too. It IS suburbia after all.

I had all these grand plans for working hard on Sunday and Monday towards a day off on Tuesday, but my lazy self decided to show up a few days early. I don't know that I did much of anything on Sunday at all. On the other hand, I really am enjoying the simple act of letting myself take a day off every week or 10 days. It's been literally years since I've done that, and I'm finding it really makes a difference for me. So all of those of you out there who have been after to me to take care of myself, I'm listening! I swear!

Mom and I went to her 6-week doctor's appt. for her knee Monday and she got cleared to return to work on Tuesday. It's going to be SO quiet in the house for a while as I adjust to her absence all day again! The doctor couldn't have been happier about her recovery, and said it was almost unheard of that she would already be mostly off the pain meds. Good job, Mom! And he also said that we could schedule the second knee replacement as soon as she felt ready. So we are tentatively setting it for June 16, after the Bead & Button Show. I'll be home to help with her care for three weeks afterward which is just perfect.

And in the meantime, I'm working away at The List! I had 34 colors of Size 15 seed beads show up today, so I spent some time this afternoon labeling and tubing them up. I'm short tubes, though - they're on order and will be delivered next week - so I'll put that aside for a bit while I move on to the next items. The urgent things are working up some new illustrations in Illustrator, as well as putting together a comprehensive list of the classes I'm available to teach. I've been getting more and more requests for that kind of info and simply need to sit down for a day and organize it all into a single document.

But tonight I'm working on samples while my butt is glued to the sofa watching tv. Tomorrow is soon enough for a bunch more computer work...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This and That

From June
Jill has, indeed, been busy, so I'll give her a pass for not updating the blog recently. Since it's my show today, I'll update you on MY stuff.

I am now nearly 6 weeks post-surgery on my new knee. Last week, my physical therapist released me from therapy. I met ALL my therapy goals, surpassing my knee bend goal of 110 degrees by 3 degrees. She is quite pleased with my progress, and said it's been a while since one of her patients met all the goals. I have to go back to work on Tuesday, and that makes me very depressed. Having 6 weeks off gave me a taste of what retirement might be like, and I like it! Now if I could just afford it.

When we lived in Bastrop, we had about a bazillion hummingbirds. The number of them was related to the number of feeders I put up, and at one point, I was going through a 10 pound bag of sugar a week. So when we moved to Pflugerville, I tried putting up a feeder, but the ants here are so bad, I couldn't keep them out of it. It's weird that the ants in town are worse than in the forest. So, reluctantly, I took the feeder down. On impulse, I put one up on Friday, and was rewarded Saturday with a tiny little hummingbird. I know very little about these birds, but it was definitely a different type than the much larger birds we used to get in Bastrop. I hope this little guy comes back with a lot of his friends.

We had a couple of classes yesterday, so today will be spent picking up and relaxing. Jill is expecting a huge shipment of size 15 seed beads on Monday that will need to be tubed up and labeled. Her "to-do" list is pretty long.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pedal faster!

The to-do list gets longer and more complicated even as I chip away at it with a pick axe. Today's cross-offs include most of my supply ordering (I have one more vendor left to do on Wednesday) working out a design for one of the class submissions I'm sending in for the 2010 bead shows (I'll show you soon!), and plugging away on email and paperwork. Much more paperwork awaits, and I'm also planning a trip to the post office Wednesday to mail off another bunch of kits and WildFire to happy beaders. There's been a huge flurry of orders on the website lately...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I can breathe now...

Things have been running in fast-forward ever since I got back from Santa Fe Tuesday night. Usually when I get back from a big show like that I take a day or two off and laze around the house, sleeping and reading and being a big slug. Not so this time around since I had two home classes scheduled for Saturday that needed a bunch of prep time.

Silly Jilly thought she was going to get the opportunity to go buy seed beads for the class kit samples when she was in Santa Fe, finalize the color selections, and order the seed beads so they would be delivered to home by the time she got back there. Ah, illusions! Instead, I didn't even get the chance to buy a SINGLE seed bead. I never even saw my friends, Jane & Robin of Jane's Fiber and Beads, or Betcey and Mark of Beyond Beadery. They were at the convention center site, and I was at the hotel site, and never the two did meet in my world.

Instead, on Wednesday I had to pick color selections from the seed beads I already had here at home in mass quantities. It took pretty much all day to bead up samples, tweak the colors, and then finally send out photos of what the kit options would be to the students.

Thursday was spent running errands (my usual...post office, bank, grocery store) and starting to clean the house. Friday was finishing the sample, writing the instructions, figuring out how I wanted to approach teaching the project, and lots more cleaning. It's amazing how beads inhabit every surface of my home. I don't know how that happens...

And finally, Saturday dawned and 15 beady women invaded the house in two batches, much to the delight of Winston who greeted them all with kisses and demands to be petted. As I suspected would be the case, this class was a little more challenging than usual for everyone. It's basic netting, but following a color pattern makes it harder and more exacting. They were having to read a chart for the colors and that required concentration, but of course, everyone also wants to talk and laugh and share, and next thing you know, you've lost your place again. In the end, I'm pretty sure they all got it, and we'll be getting together next Saturday to put the finishing touches on our necklaces, so they've got another opportunity for help from me if they need it.

I was exhausted by the end of the day, and went to bed for a nap...that stretched into hours...

Now it's Sunday and by golly, I'm declaring it a day off!! Mom and I are pondering a trip to go see Duplicity, and then dinner out. She's only got a week left before she has to return to work and is starting to stress about it. I think she likes this preview of retirement!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Arrived Safely

Just a quick note tonight to let everyone know I'm home safe and sound. You ladies are like having a whole gaggle of mothers! Not that I'm complaining one bit!!

Very tired, and very happy to be back with the family - two and four footed alike. Much more info Wednesday, once I've revived.

P.S. Would you believe I got a dang speeding ticket in Wichita Falls?? GRRR!! The irony is that I was paying close attention the whole way not to speed. But the ONE moment I did, POW. So online defensive driving, here I come...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Heading Home

I have the most wacky sleep patterns of anyone I know. Instead of being a good little girl, and going to sleep Sunday night, I've tossed and turned and turned and tossed, and now at 5:30am, I'm just giving up. I plan on heading out on the road just as soon as I update the blog. Don't worry about me - I'm wide awake, and I have made hotel reservations at three possible stopping places along the way, so I don't feel like I have to keep driving even if I'm tired.

Sunday at the show was slow, like a Sunday usually is. But you should have SEEN all the activity of vendors buying from vendors! I managed to scoop up a ton of really great clasps from Zoa Arts, Cristina Leonard, and Handfast. When I get home I'll show you photos (I still haven't gotten the camera fixed from that dreadful mishap on the front step.) And sadly, I spent more money than I made on Sunday! But what the heck...the entire weekend was good, and I needed some pretties for my collection.

I can't sit still a moment longer! Off I go...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Santa Fe, Update 2

One more day of the Bead Fest Santa Fe show, and then we all start packing up and heading for home for a little while. I have absolutely fallen in love with the city and the people who live here. The attendees at the show have been a delight and our kits and patterns have been wonderfully well-received. I met a bunch of crazy ladies from Colorado who make me laugh like a hyena - I can't wait to see them again next month when I'm there for the Rocky Mountain Bead Bazaar. What fun it will be!

Yet, for all the good of this show, it's been a mixed bag for me personally. There was a flurry of last minute arrangements that went astray that could have been problematic, although I managed to pull it all together. An attempt by me to be what I try to always be - a good person - was taken in the wrong way, and a friendship has been woefully damaged as a result. So my heart is in a bit of turmoil from the ups and downs of this trip. I guess that's life, isn't it? Some moments are fabulous, and others are challenging, and you have to learn to navigate between them with as much grace as you can muster.

You hope your friends know your heart and can see the good faith that was intended, even if it didn't turn out the way it might have.

Let's change subjects, shall we?? On a completely different note, I previewed a new bracelet design at Santa Fe, and reviews are glowing!! It's a project I'll be submitting for the 2010 national shows...I'll show you guys a photo as soon as I get the second prototype made up. There's a few tweaks I intend to make first. I have a second 2010 teaching proposal project in the works that mixes bead crochet and bead weaving in a bold, big, asymmetrical design. More project brainstorming comes after that!! I love seeing the vision come to life...even when what springs forth from my needle and thread isn't at all what I thought would appear! Remember - there are no mistakes - only variations!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Checking in from Santa Fe

Hey - I kinda like it here! Santa Fe is just as beautiful and artistic and compelling as folks have told me over the years. I'm dying to get free to go visit some of the eleventy million galleries and shops around here, but honestly that won't happen until Monday, after this weekend's show.

I taught my Ring Around the Rosie class today and we had a really wonderful time in class. Afterward I had an hour to zip from the convention center back to the Hilton hotel before the Preview Night started and booth hours officially opened. We were open from 5pm to 9pm, and it was a really good opening night crowd.

One of the women who came by my booth a few times introduced herself as a correspondent for the Voice of America. She asked if I would be willing to be interviewed Friday for a piece she's going to be doing on Bead Fest. You betcha! So after the show closes down tomorrow, we're going to find a quiet spot for a quick little interview. My first! I hope I have something worth listening to. I'll let you know when it airs, and I'm sure I'll be able to link to it on the web.

So I'm now back in my little rented Casita, catching up on the news of the day and nibbling some food before I collapse in bed. I'm a happy camper, with my own place, a Whole Foods Market nearby, and beading to do...it's the little things that make me happy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Playin' with Beads

From June:
Jill is on her way to Santa Fe. She called this morning to says that she was freezing, and radar showed rain the rest of the way to Santa Fe. I told her it was cold and raining in Austin this morning too!

So what does one do when it's cold and raining, and you're on leave of absence from work? Hmmmm.......I know! Play with beads!

I've been working on a herringbone spiral in shades of green/lime. I wish I'd have used a different color somewhere to pop it, as it seems too muted or something. I decided to embellish a bit and I like this better, but I'm still not sure that this is the final version. I think I keep playing with beads.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Santa Fe next week

I am really looking forward to the Bead Fest show in Santa Fe next week. I've never been there before, but everyone speaks very highly of the city and the show and I am happy I'll get to experience it all in person. I'll be traveling without Mom this time, but Anne Mitchell and I are sharing a booth area which means we can cover for each other when we have to do various important things like bathroom breaks, or go find food. Little stuff like that, ya' know.

I'm renting a guest house for this trip again, rather than pay the high hotel fees. I enjoyed that so much in Tucson and the place in Santa Fe looks smaller, but equally charming. And I have a hot tub which my aching muscles will surely enjoy immensely. But I'm gonna freeze my poor little Texas self there! One online source is even showing snow forecast for the Friday of the show. Snow?? In Texas, the city shuts down for snow. They do that in Santa Fe too, right? No?? What...I'm supposed to DRIVE in that stuff? Keep your fingers crossed for me!!


First things first...Kathryn promptly corrected me from my last post that she's 78, thank you, not 76. Dang! How did that happen?? She's been a part of my life since our first bead class together in January of 2002, and I'm grateful for beading bringing us together...my slightly older sister at heart.

I dragged Mom out on Tuesday to the weekly beading group meeting at Nomadic Notions for fun and frolic. It was Mick's birthday, so there was a big party and wonderful friends and food...and beads!

Mom's recovery is simply amazing. She's graduated to a cane most of the time from her walker, and she's whirling around the house like nothing ever happened. After her physical therapy appointment today, we made a stop at the new Target near our house and bought quite a bit. I sent her to the car to rest while I checked out. And when I got to the car to load up the groceries, she got out to help! HA! I told her to turn her tushie right back, or the other shoppers would gang up and yell at me for letting the lady with the walker haul groceries! But I loved the gesture, nonetheless...

Tonight was vindication for Jill the Vampira - what did Mom do?? She went to bed at 9pm, but woke up at 12:30am and said she felt like she'd taken a nap and was now wide awake! I exclaimed, "Welcome to my world!" And we watched stupid tv like Rich Bride, Poor Bride, and Millionaire Matchmaker until 3am. Now we're both off to bed again. I couldn't WAIT to blog about her very own Vampira makeover, though! (I seem to recall being a tattletale when I was a little kid, too.)

Monday, March 2, 2009

San Antonio is Bead City

Holy cannoli - where did all those people come from?? This weekend's show in San Antonio was, quite frankly, the busiest bead show I've ever seen. On Saturday, shoppers could barely move through the aisles. And Sunday - which is traditionally a much slower day - was as busy as a normal Saturday would be! Of all shows for me to be doing without Mom. I called her briefly on Saturday afternoon and told her I was NEVER doing this show without her again!! At one point, I had a booth full of customers and had to say "Ya'll hang out for a second because I can't wait another minute to go to the bathroom. I'll be right back!" They were very sweet and understanding about it, and two ladies helpfully appointed themselves booth monitors. I appreciate it so much! And I had to laugh that I sent Kathryn, my 76 year old wonderful friend with a broken rib, to get me a Diet Coke to tide me over. Talk about elderly abuse!! But she kept me company for a while in the booth and got to sit down for a bit too. Not that we had time to talk much since I was ringing up customers like crazy.

I have to admit, it was a total surprise (and a fabulous one at that) coming after the slow Tucson experience just a few weeks ago. San Antonio has always been good to me, but this was taking it to another whole level, and I'm happy to say it was that way for all the vendors. So we love you, San Antonio!

And my last customer of the day was another nice surprise. Jamar was there from Houston, and had read about the show on the blog which influenced her to change her plans to travel to San Antonio from Friday to Sunday instead. Hi, Jamar! The funny story about Jamar is this: she's one of these rare people who will just jump right in the deep end of the pool with all her clothes on instead of checking it out by dipping her toe in first. How can I know this?? Well, last year at the May Stafford show she admitted she's been interested in seed bead weaving for a while, but hadn't tried it yet. She decided it was time. Did she buy one of my beginner kits to see if she liked it? Nope! She bought five kits, including the most difficult one I tried to tell her she should work up to learning! Love that confidence! And sure enough, she is doing great. And why was she in San Antonio? To buy a kiln, of course! She plans on learning lampworking and PMC and even though she hasn't taken classes yet, she's jumping in that deep end and getting all the tools and equipment right off the bat. I can't wait to see the results - I know they'll be fabulous and ambitious!

Getting to catch up with my beady customers and friends is such a joy at these shows. I appreciate your presence in my life more than you know! Mom was jealous that she had to stay at home this weekend, and I'm still remembering and telling her how everyone is and what they had to say.

Normally I crash for a day post-show, but there's no opportunity for that today. Mom's two-week doctor appt is this afternoon, and right after that I take her to her PT appt. Which means I'd better go unload the car so I can fit her in there!