Saturday, May 30, 2009

Off to the races!

Today was the saddest excuse for a quick exit that I've ever participated in. I had, at one time, hoped to be on the road to Houston for this weekend's Stafford Bead Market by noon. Whereupon I'd set up my booth leisurely Friday afternoon, and then spend a relaxing night at the hotel before the show opens on Saturday. Oh, the foolishness and folly of it all...

What REALLY happened is that after spending all day Thursday getting oodles of kits created, I still had a pile and a half left to assemble. What to do?? It was time to get practical and creative - something Mom and I excel at. I was trying to get a larger than usual number of kits made for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I'm doing three shows in five weeks, and the couple of weeks I'm home between shows 2 & 3 are when Mom's going to have her other knee surgery, and I'll be quite busy with hospital visits and helping her out the first few weeks. I don't anticipate a lot of time to restock.

Secondly, we got surprised last year at the Bead & Button show with a 40% increase in sales, which left us sold out of a LOT by the end of the show. We're trying to take more inventory this year to be prepared to meet the demand. (Please, let there be demand!)

But the reality is that I won't need that volume of kits this very weekend - I have everything in stock right now. I was working on making MORE stock. So instead of stressing about it, I simply packed all the supplies up for the kits that still need making, and brought an extra small suitcase with me. I'll be able to make them up in the hotel rooms at night between now and next Thursday when the Expo Hall in Milwaukee opens for Preview Night. No worries!!

Which means that I managed to go to the Post Office, the bank, Best Buy, Office Depot, a clothing store, Target, and Walmart to run errands that really needed running. My noon departure fantasy dissolved into an 8pm reality. But the good news is that I'm in Houston - I'll get up in the morning and set up the booth before the show starts, and all will be well. That is, if I get to sleep!!

I know there are a number of people waiting on emails and such from me. Those are my task for Saturday night!!

I'm really getting energized to get to Milwaukee and see all my friends. It's my very favorite show of the whole year.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


So I'm sound asleep Tuesday morning, like usual. Okay, maybe it was late Tuesday morning, but whatever. It's not like you're surprised by that, right? And all of a sudden I hear the doorbell ring. And without a moment's hesitation, decide to ignore it.

Back when we lived in the last house on a dead-end gravel road in nowhere'sville, I could hear visitors coming to the house from the gravel crunch of their cars. It happened about once a month. It was usually someone lost who turned around in our driveway and turned away. The only door-to-door folks I ever actually saw at the house during the day were Jehovah's Witnesses. Since moving "to town" 18 months ago, the people ringing the doorbell during the day has increased exponentially. And you know what? I almost never want to talk to them! Sometimes up to three times a day. A minimum of twice a week. I kid you not.

So ignoring it was absolutely the right thing to do. As I'm drifting back to blissful sleep...I hear something else...the squirrels on the roof again?? Grrr. The dogs hear it too and start barking. The squirrel sounds like it's gained weight. Like 150 pounds of weight. Whaaaa?

This, I can not ignore. Someone's clearly trying to break into my house via my chimney, and Santa's the only one allowed that entrance. I stumble into the bright light of day, my hair roughly akin to Medusa, mis-matched jammies, and really grumpy. And there he is. A man on my roof. A chipper man on my roof, smiling and CHIPPER. I want to push him off the roof. Instead..."You're on my roof."

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to alarm you."


"WHY are you on my roof?"

"Um, Cynthia Somethingorother?"


"904 Street Name?"


"OH BOY...I don't suppose you want a free roof estimate??"

Yup, Roofing Dude had the wrong roof. Now the ultimate irony of this is, when I told Mom all about it, the first thing she had to say was, "Did you get an estimate?"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Friday's Random Bits...a little late

When the heck did Friday sneak up? Doggone it all, I hate it when I lose track of the days.

  • I leave a week from today for a show in Houston and then leave straight for Milwaukee from there and I can't possibly get all I want to get accomplished in such a time frame.
  • I heart Adam Lambert.
  • And along those lines...that was the best American Idol finale yet! My heart was pounding from the great string of performances at the end. KISS! Queen!
  • I've been in an organizing mood the last few days. Not that you can tell much from the state of my home, but the projects I've been working on are going more smoothly than usual.
  • The new printer we bought this week is ginormous, but that baby runs like silk! Really, really fast silk. Mom says it's almost as good as getting a new car. Almost.
  • I finally got smart and hired out a data entry job that's been on my to-do list for months. I need to do more of that kind of delegating, but I'm really crummy at it. I'm too much of a control freak.
  • I miss Kathryn. A lot. And I want her to get better SOON!

Monday, May 18, 2009


...and finish something, darn it! Anything!

I'm the world's worst project finisher. Today, for example, I worked for a little while on a kumihimo sample for my Quick & Easy Kumihimo class proposal for 2010. Then I got bored. So I spent some time beading on a Hollywood Hula Hoop sample, since I got notification today that the 2mm Swarovski crystals I've been waiting for got shipped out - and now I will need the sample for the Bead & Button Show in a few weeks. But then I talked myself into actually having two color ways for the Hollywood Hula Hoop kit, which means I'll have to make another sample too. And then I got an email from the president of the Dallas Bead Society who's been patiently asking for a list of classes I could teach for them in August - so I switched gears and got that half done.

So now it's late in the day and while I've actually accomplished a great deal, I haven't finished anything. And while I got work done on several projects, I also managed to create several more for myself in the process (the Hula Hoop samples.) I'm spinning my wheels and it's so silly - I need to just FOCUS.

Which is why I'm thrilled to find out tonight that Google has now incorporated a task list in their Google Calendar program. I started using Google Calendar a few months ago, and I'm really happy so far with the functionality of it. But now I'm turning cartwheels that I can create lists galore and hold myself a little more accountible with due dates and everything. In times of great job stress like this, it's the only way I can hold my world together!!

It still doesn't do the work for me, however, so I'm off to finish the class options document for Denise so she doesn't come hunting me down from Dallas. And then I might work on my lists for a while. :)

***Update: I got the list sent to Denise!! Woo-hoo! And yes, I felt great joy at getting to mark the little check box on my task list.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Money making idea

I had two classes here at the home studio today, and as usual, we had a rip-roaring good time. We're going to be losing two of our regular gang of students to moves over the next few months, and they're already lamenting the loss of getting to attend our classes. So we came up with this great idea: Pay Per View, Live Streaming Video of our classes on the internet! It would be like you were right there, goofing off along with us! Okay, so maybe not really serious. For now! But I loved the sentiment behind the idea!

Susan K. brought a few pieces of show and tell - some Butterfly Kisses necklaces she's made recently. She's another crazy dog lover like me, and I adore this necklace so much! Priceless!
Sunday is scheduled to be strategic planning day at Tapestry Beads. The rest of the year is going to be a challenge to accomplish without major time management planning. Mom and I will have a meeting to see if we can figure out how many shows I can do in the fall, and still manage to keep up with the myriad of tasks at home. Announcements about exciting things in the works are coming soon, soon, soon!

You can vote for the next Bead Star!

Working on that Kumihimo necklace yesterday got me flexing some jewelry making muscles that have been long dormant. I'm feeling the itch. Perhaps I'll work on a few pieces over the months to put in my back pocket until the next Bead Star competition comes around.

In the meantime, however, it's your beady duty to go vote for the winners in all 9 categories. I'm so delighted to see the work of quite a few of my peers and friends represented as both designers, and the creator of various pieces and parts. It's a love fest of beads!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's Random Bits and a little more

Where did this week go? Well, parts of it went to:
  • A/C repair, and then a nap under the blankets because by comparison to our sweltering weekend, the house felt chilly
  • A class at the house Tuesday night which required whirling dervish cleaning techniques and last minute instruction writing
  • A trip to San Marcos on Wednesday, 30 min. south of Austin, for a relaxing dinner with a friend. I was getting a bunch of WildFire to her for the beady folk on her Alaskan Beading Cruise which departed today (I think.)
  • A trip to Donna Mehnert's studio on Thursday to plot and plan Bead & Button Show domination. It's her first year to sell her amazing lampwork beads at the show, and I was there as an "old hand" at the biggest bead show in the country to offer opinions and tips. I hope I was helpful. At a minimum, we had a great five hour chat and some nummy Chinese food!
  • A frantic Friday full of trying to pull together a few samples in progress to submit as Bead Fest Santa Fe teaching proposals. Only to find out the deadline had been moved from today to late June. SIGH. It's much better for me as I have several in mid-design, but few are actually finished.
  • And last, but not least, there was more preparations for tomorrow's 2 bead classes here at the house. 14 lovely beaders will invade throughout the day.
Care for a little show and tell? This is the necklace I worked on today for my Quick and Easy Kumihimo class proposal. I'm quite pleased.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Help is on the way

Oh, thank goodness! Mr. Air Conditioning Repair Dude is on the way. I won't have to suffer much longer.

And why is it we often make things so much harder than they have to be? I had an epiphany in the wee hours about how to make the new Encore bracelet much easier to make. So simple, it was staring me in the face the whole time. At least I figured it out before teaching the class for the first time tomorrow night!

No A/C in Texas is NOT FUNNY

Oh, what a weekend it's been at Casa Tapestry Beads. Oh, the misery. Around mid-day Saturday, I mentioned to Mom that we were already at the time of year where the air conditioning can't keep up with the heat...but even as I said it out loud, it seemed wrong. I recall that last summer the a/c kept up with the heat as long as it was 100 or less. This house is better insulated than our former house where we always had a problem. And sure enough, it was not the heat outside but the lack of cool air blowing inside that was raising our indoor temp! A weekend. Naturally.

Mom was determined to not pay the premium fees for a weekend fix, so we've been sweltering in our own little sweat lodge today. Honestly, it was okay for the first half of the day since it had cooled off quite a bit overnight. Around 2pm, though, the game was up, and it got up to 87 degrees indoors before sundown. We have fans galore placed around the house and we've made it through. Here's hoping the repair dudes will be able to come fix it EARLY Monday. Mom's escaping to work (where coincedentally - there's air conditioning!) while I'm at home in the sweat lodge. Since I have a class schedule here at home Tuesday night, we'd better be gettin' cooled off and fast, or I'll be looking for another location for our group! (Oh, Gwen???)

In the meantime, I'm still working away at samples for the flurry of class proposals due over the next two months. I'm going through a happy and wonderful creative explosion that's really nicely timed. As a matter of fact, I worked out one design engineering problem that I've been mulling over in my head for the last four months. What a relief! And then while playing with another bit of beading that was only to be a ring band, my mind took a mental journey that went something like, "What if I used this motif on the edge of a peyote bracelet? And what if I made the peyote ripple a bit just past the edging? And what if I used those 2mm Swarovski crystals in the edging? And then I could put a combo of sequins, the Swarovski sequins, and Size 15s as decoration down the center. Yeah...that could work..." And the next thing you know, it's 4am, and I've jumped out of bed and I'm beading away to prove that it will work out. It doesn't always, ya' know! I've been sorely disappointed before.

In this case, I'm happy to say it looks like this design will be full steam ahead. I just tried scanning the 2" piece I played with to make sure a full-scale sample was justified, but honestly, it's too raw and unrecognizable as anything cool to be worth showing. So far. :)

I plan on a day at Donna Menhart's studio later this week for beading and gabbing. It's Donna's first year at Bead & Button with a booth, and to be honest, I have some mixed feelings about it. Donna's amazing work has been my little secret for quite a while now! In the future, I'll have to fight harder to buy her wonderful beads. Sigh.

Anyway, I promise to give ya'll a peek as soon as I get the bracelet in shape for sharing, which will be by the end of the week since my first class submission deadline is the 15th and I'd like to include this new one in the batch.

Even Winston can't be persueded to leave the cool tile in the front hall.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday's Random Bits

  • I like the random things lists, so it's going to be a new Friday ritual. Until I forget or get bored.
  • Why have all the sleeves on shirts gotten so short? I'm a fluffy body type and I need sleeves. Not flutter wingy looking things. Not caps. Not super short short-sleeves that make my upper arms look like muffins. Surely the economic downturn can't be so bad it's causing manufacturers to skimp on t-shirt fabric.
  • Any moment is a good moment for Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
  • Mom and I are planning on painting our front door a bold teal. That ought to freak the neighbors out if the two cars in the driveway with BEADS and BEADS2 license plates with Swarovski crystal license plate holders didn't already do it.
  • I'm annoyed that Chase sent me a new business debit card with THEIR name on it instead of WaMu's name because they had the nerve to change my card number. Do you know how many places I already have the card number on file? Eleventy million. And now I don't have the cool "911" security number on the back of the card any longer. It made me giggle every time I had to use it. No giggles, no more.
  • The annual Mexican Haze event has started. Every spring, the farmers in Mexico burn their fields to clear them, and depending on the weather at the time, we either get a little or a LOT of smoke haze all the way up in Austin. 100% chance of watery eyes, stuffed up sinuses, and headaches for the next several days.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beading under the influence

Oh my. Do I feel dopey!! In an effort to help with my helpless sleep schedule, Mom passed along some of her sleeping pills to me, and I decided to take them around 3am. Yup, that's early for me. But I HATE the way they make me feel. Definitely drugged. Under water. Dry mouth. While a normal person would be giving in and letting herself fall asleep, the effects are driving me nuts enough that I'm actually now trying to stay awake to fight off the worst of it.

I threw together a quick project earlier tonight - I forgot how fast wire work is! My poor fingertips were aching for a while, though, as it's been a long time since they've been used in such a brutal way. (Yes, I hear you wire folks out there laughing at me.) Anyway, this project is in the current issue of Bead & Button on page 70. It uses 2mm Swarovski crystals, and since I sell them, goodness knows I have plenty of those! Plus I got a brand new batch in the mail today with two new custom coated colors and I desperately wanted to play with them. The bangle is completely fabulous!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Winston tried Kumihimo today...


Finishing projects - that's the plan

I find myself still fighting the lack of deadlines. (No, Mom, this doesn't mean you can set arbitrary deadlines and I'll follow them...) So I'm working at a super sonic S L O W pace. But I do manage to get items crossed off the list daily.

The suitcases from the Denver trip have been unpacked and most of the laundry finished. Taking two large and heavy pieces of baggage there and back resulted in a cluster of big ol' honkin' bruises on my right leg. Since I've got a doctor's appt Tuesday (yes... THAT one) I'm already anticipating questions about how I got them in a casual, "is someone beating you" kind of way.

I'm slogging away on finishing up a myriad of projects that have to be finished before the end of the month. Some I plan on wearing for the annual fashion extravaganza that is the Bead & Button Show, and others are the samples I'll be proposing for the 2010 national bead show classes. It's rare I have the samples finished in time to show them off prior to mailing them out, but I'm trying to get better about it because getting the feedback of my customers and students really helps me see which the big winners are, and which might still need some tweaking.

I'm also in study-mode, learning a new illustrating program to improve my diagrams. I managed to work through 4 dry chapters in a book tonight, and did learn a few critical things I'll need to use. There's going to be a certain amount of skimming I'll be able to do with the book since it's a far more complex program than I actually need. It has bells and whistles on top of the whistles and bells! I only need a few of them.

I should be finishing off my not-random, random bracelet Tuesday. I'm stopping a few rows short tonight, and will have to add the antique button clasp as well. Mom and I did a quick shopping trip last weekend that resulted in me coming home with the perfect top to go with the bracelet. One Bead & Button Show outfit all picked out and ready to go....four more to go.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Random Thoughts

  • I got the new issue of Bead & Button in the mail today and I'm dying to make the WIRE bracelet on page 70. I know, I know. Try to revive yourself from the fainting fit. But it uses 2mm Swarovski crystals. Which I just happen to have in abundance.
  • I am hot all the time now that our temperate Spring is over. Could it be peri-menopause? Is it weird that I'm hoping the answer is yes?
  • Mom and I are in need of an Alexis and William fix this weekend. I'm pretty sure their parents will hand them off to us and fall asleep in bed before we even pass the threshold.
  • A door I'd been trying to get in (apparently) closed this week. Their loss. In the meantime, Mom and I have been brainstorming an even bigger project that relies on no one else agreeing with our brilliance.
  • I'm working on a peyote bracelet using a great color mix of Toho triangles that Beyond Beadery put together. It's a random pattern bracelet. But random stresses me out. So I took the mix, and carefully separated all the 6 colors out so I can analyze and plan my random pattern more easily. This is how I know I am a seed beader.