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!