Sunday, December 19, 2010

Participating in The Best Little Bead Box project!

Please forgive me for cross-posting, but I wanted y'all to know about this cool project I got to participate in if you don't know about it already!

I really don't know how he did it, but my postman managed to get both GIGANTIC Best Little Bead Boxes stuffed into one of our community mailbox lockers. I practically needed a crow bar to get them out of there! And I also thanked my lucky stars that I live directly across the street - because when you're carrying over 60lbs of beads, you don't want far to travel. Yep. That's right. Over 60lbs!!!!
I had a special message from Jean on my boxes too.

Coincidentally, the boxes arrived a day after a special thing happened regarding Beads of Courage, the charity that will be receiving the proceeds from The Best Little Bead Box auctions. I was out of town for the day, but my mother was at home Sunday morning and said she turned the TV on, looked up, and there was Margaret Zinzer (lampworker extraordinaire, and avid Beads of Courage supporter) on the screen! Mom thought quickly and started taping...whatever it was. Turns out it was a news story on CBS This Sunday Morning about the Beads of Courage program. What serendipity! And y'all, I'm embarrassed to say this, but I had no idea. Seriously. I really didn't understand what the Beads of Courage program was all about other than "sick kids get beads." And I'm willing to bet that a lot of you are in that same position. So please pardon my ramble, but can I tell you just a little bit about this program?

Kids with serious illnesses go through so much, both emotionally and physically, and it's often hard for others to understand everything they're dealing with. When a child enters the Beads of Courage program, they are given a length of string with beads that spell out their name. After that, as they work through their treatments, colorful beads, each representing a different treatment milestone are given to the child. For instance, they get a yellow bead for an overnight hospital stay, a white one for chemotherapy, and a glow-in-the-dark bead for radiation treatment. It's not uncommon for children to amass 10, 20 -- even 35 -- feet of beads. It helps young patients track and celebrate their progress, but it also gives them a way to get through upcoming procedures as well as a way of sharing and telling their story to friends and family. It's a visual representation of their courage. The CBS story brought both my mother and I to tears (please click on the link and watch,) but also immediately made us ask, "What can we do to help?"

Which brings me back to the Best Little Bead Box(es). As I opened each treasure in the box, fondled the beads, lusted after them and set aside a pile to keep, I kept thinking about that question: What can I do to help?" And slowly I repacked all the beads but one strand of beautiful purple lucite flowers from The Hole Bead Shoppe. I intend to make into a special, commemorative necklace from it to remind me of how honored I am to be participating in this project. But everything else? I decided I couldn't accept any more. I have more beads than I can use in a lifetime, and I'm lucky enough to have my entire world surrounded with them. So the beads in the boxes? Well...they are for the auction, and ultimately for the kids.

The spirit of sharing and giving also made me dig deep into my own beady treasures to add to the stash. And dig I did! Everything from crystals to glass, seed beads to pearls, and gemstones to lampwork. I've got it all in here. So please forgive the sparse commentary....but enjoy the BEADS!
Pearls (there are a LOT more of the green ones!), a silver chain, Ruby Zoisite, and some glass strands.

Cool side/top drilled pearls, and some interesting finish glass beads

The pink stash includes some Rose Quartz, Button Pearls, and a bunch of glass beads

All glass beads, some vintage

More glass - how cute are those butterflies?

Furnace glass I picked out for a bracelet I never made.

David Christensen Furnace Glass

Um, can you tell I really like Furnace glass?

All semiprecious gemstones

I threw a bracelet I made in there! Why not?

Some of my all time favorite seed beads, including Size 8 3-cuts by Toho. Sparkly!

Some of my specially coated 2mm Swarovski crystals

Green Girls clasp

Sterling Silver clasps

Fun beads from Susan Nestor!

The pendant on the right is polymer clay


Lilly Pilly, Dichro, and a stone pendant


Metallic lampwork beads by Donna Mehnert of Blackberry Beads



More lampwork

Adorable small set by Pam Way of Yellow Dog Beads

Another Pam Way set

Assortment of Tagua Nut pendants and beads

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holy Cannoli

Man, when I owe you a blog post, I REALLY owe you a blog post! I have yet to tell you all about the fun and interesting Beaducation video shoot (went great - I'm known as One Take Wiseman there!) And I do have stories and photos. But honestly? It's going to be next week before I have a spare moment to write a coherent account!

Why? Oh, because I'm INSANE! Wait. You knew that already. Why do I keep rediscovering it? At some point I have the nerve to actually convince myself things like "Oh yeah...I have a lot of down time in between Thanksgiving and mid-January." ???!!! NOT

So what I'm staring at right now is having roughly eleventy billion people over to our house on Saturday for our annual Tapestry Beads Open House (and if you're within driving distance of Austin, why aren't you coming??) and we've been rushing around like mad to get ready for it. The new bead cabinet and slat wall means having to fill it all up with fabulous things to buy, so I've been ordering vast quantities of seed beads, tubing and labeling them, and then getting them organized. Same goes for firepolish beads, crystals, needles, yada, yada....

We also have some (a lot of "some") finishing touches to the house remodel. Like hiding all the unpacked boxes we have yet to find homes for. But to hide the boxes, we had to clean out the garage because there was no place to walk in there, let alone hide things. So that's what Mom and I did all day today - and now we have a pile roughly the size of Mount Everest in our driveway for the Salvation Army to take away. Once upon a time, we'd planned to make money off it and actually have a Garage Sale. But then we got over it. The problem is, Salvation Army said on the phone today that they had room in the truck they were sending out for about 20 boxes. HAHAHAHAHAhahahaha....cough, gasp. So whatever THEY don't take, we hope the neighbors steal overnight. Because we need that crap, er, stuff, gone by Saturday!
Want any of this? Please? Car not included.

I've also got a big wholesale order I'm trying to get out the door by Friday, which involved making kits because I was out of some. I still haven't done any of the printing on that. I have to make a special trip to the fixtures store for hooks for my slat wall because when Mom stopped by there Tuesday to buy them, they were out of stock. Of course! So they had them brought in from the San Antonio store. Nothing like doing an errand twice. My last box of seed beads will not be arriving until Thurs or Fri, so Mom and I will be labeling like crazy at the last minute. Oh! And I'm also supposed to be updating the instructions for the Beaducation videos and sending those out, as well as deciding on 3 kit colorways for my class on Dec. 11th, because I gotta get those beads ordered like yesterday.

Meanwhile, proving that delusions are hereditary, Mom thinks she's going to bake brownies and cookies and stuff for the Open House, do all the Christmas decorating, help clean the house, and help label the seed beads, and install the knobs on her bathroom cabinets.

Down time. Yeah.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

BABE report

Bead people are SO MUCH FUN! I've discovered it over and over again as I travel to new places from coast to coast and it makes me happy. We share passion for color and texture and beautiful things. We have a joie de vivre that shows in our faces and interactions. We have a common language. A special "handshake" (consisting of going straight to the jewelry one is wearing and exclaiming upon it.) It's no wonder I adore bead shows so much!

And the BABE show in Oakland, California was no exception. I was able to hang out with some of my most favorite people on Earth - fellow bead teachers that live all across the country. I made new friends as well. And who knew how awesome the food was in Oakland??!! I had some of the most tasty meals I've ever encountered! It's hard for this Texas girl to admit the best Mexican food I have ever eaten was at Tamarindo in Oakland!

But let me tell you - this show was also not my finest organizational moment! I forgot: the tablecloth, the boxes that I use to make my riser, the credit card machine, my hair dryer with the diffuser (essential for a curly haired girl), and the display for my 2mm Swarovski crystals. AGH!!!! So I borrowed a tablecloth, used some aluminum pans from a store across the street to make a faux riser, hand wrote all the credit card transactions, and air dried my hair. The 2mm crystals stayed in my bag instead of being sold. I are all thinking "Packing list!" Yeah. I know.

Monday I spent sadly saying farewell to my hotel roomie, Barb Switzer, who was the best roomie ever, and then driving across the bay to Redwood City where I will be hanging out another week. Tuesday brings my first filming day for my online video classes with Beaducation. Eeek! I'd better go get some beauty sleep!

I will leave you with a variety of photos from this weekend's show...
Lavinia Touchton, Jill Wiseman, and Peggy Goldblatt. Some of my favorite students turned friends!

Tracy Stanley, Jill Wiseman, and Janice Berkebile adopting "The Pose"

Nikia Angel caught me working hard!

Beaducators gather together! Tracy Stanley, Jill Wiseman, Kate Richbourg, Dallas Lovett, Barb Switzer, Colin Mahler, Janice Berkebile, and Lisa Claxton

Monday, November 8, 2010

The annual technology meltdown

At least once a year you get one of these blog posts, don't you? The sad, frenzied madwoman, trying to cobble together a host of printers and faxes and scanners and whatnot to get her danged job done! Where's my IT Help Desk when I need it??

This time, it's still partially an after effect of the flooring redo. We had to unhook everything and rehook it up and we moved the printer to a farther away spot which necessitated a longer cord because I haven't stopped to figure out how to wirelessly connect it yet. So I finally got the longer cord and all should be well with the world, right? But no! We're out of magenta toner on our monster Dell printer. No problem. I skip off (drive) to Cartridge World and get a magenta cartridge. I've used them before in a pinch, and while it's not an official Dell cartridge, it worked and was $75 cheaper. Naturally, I let it sit there for days before I really needed it. Which was today.

Last night Mom and I both worked to get that new cartridge in the printer to no avail. It simply doesn't fit in the slot. I tried again this morning just to make sure. Hasn't shrunk overnight. So do I return it and get another one? What if I waste my time and it still doesn't fit? They are the ONLY place in Austin to get a toner cartridge on the shelf for this printer. Everything else is delivery only. Which doesn't help me TONIGHT.

Okay, I can work around this for the moment, right? My urgent need today is to get my Bead Fest Santa Fe Booth Rental Contract printed out, filled out, scanned into the computer, and then faxed. Because the deadline is today to keep my same booth spot. Because this is ME and I waited until the deadline day. You've been following along and this is expected, right??

Luckily I just bought a second printer for the house! The new desk setup in the Bead Room has a cheapie ($25 and I ain't kidding) inkjet. Go to Bead Room and print out contract. Fill out contract the old fashioned way. With pen. Move back to the Office to scan into computer so I can fax through email. No old fashioned fax in our household - we don't have any phone lines. All cell phones. Put contract page 1 on the scanner. Hit Scan on the software. Error! Can't communicate with the scanner. Look at scanner. Silly Jilly! Scanner not turned on! Turn scanner on. Restart software so it can "communicate" with the scanner this time. Hit scan button. Error! Can't communicate with the scanner. Waaaa?? Follow long and complicated cord snowball to discover scanner cord not plugged into computer. Plug into computer. Restart software again. Success this time!!

So it has now taken me 45 min (plus another 15 to write this post) to do something that should have taken 5 min. and I still don't have a working main printer.

Technology? Bite me.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A little of this, a little of that

I think I've mentioned before that while I used to be a great multi-tasker, age is taking it's toll, and I now function best doing one thing at a time. I don't actually hate it. I do think my focus is much better that way, and I don't make as many mistakes.

BUT! When I have a bazillion things to do, it's hard for me to switch around from project to project, because I would actually like to finish things sometimes. I had started working on getting the new bead cabinet all stocked up, and beads ordered, and on bead room organization of those beads (all one task) but I'm still not finished.

And it's killing me! Because I have to put it aside now as I'm getting closer and closer to the twin deadlines of leaving for the BABE (Bay Area Bead Extravaganza) show on Thursday, and finishing the preparations for the Beaducation classes video shoot which will happen while I'm out on the West Coast the week following BABE.

The boxes of kits for BABE will get shipped on Monday. I still need to burn some CDs to complete the kits for a number of designs. That will be Sunday's work.

And I'm also reviewing and tweaking the instructions for the 3 Beaducation classes, and making the samples for the video shoot. It's kind of like Groundhog Day. You make a sample up to a certain spot where you know you're going to want to do a demo for the video, and then stop and package it up. Then you make the sample again and go past that demo spot to the next demo spot. And stop and package it up and start all over again. For example the project I'm working on tonight I decided I need 6 different samples. I may be over-preparing, but I want everything to go super smoothly!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sluggin' and Chuggin' Along

Somehow I thought I'd be done moving back in the house by now, but I certainly should have known better. But massive progress is being made. Tonight I was up all night working on the monster known as The Bead Room. I need a trip to The Container Store and a trip to Big Lots for more storage containers. There are about 7 boxes of mishmash that need to be sorted through and homes found for the contents. I'm still contemplating whether I need to put a table or a couple of short bookcases back-to-back in the middle of the room. The room is already so small, and I quite literally have every inch of wall space taken up with shelves and the desk, so it's the center of the room or nothing. Maybe I can consolidate and purge a little more...

Saturday is also a BIG day because Mom and I are going to head on down to the store fixtures store and get our slat wall panel! This will go in the front room where I have all the beads for sale, and once we get that installed the the beads hung up, that room will be finished! Yippee!

So you know how I had that poll for what class you wanted me to teach at the Texas Bead Retreat? Yeah. Well. How about something totally different?!! Because the earrings class was the low vote getter. And after figuring out everything that's going into the Grapevine Bracelet, I decided I couldn't really teach that as a short class. And despite having touched nearly every bead I own in the last week, the Tila beads remain elusive little suckers. I guess they must be in one of the dreaded mishmash boxes. Where they could remain for QUITE some time.

My new plan since time is up for me to get the class info to Sandy Pardo? I'm going to teach Smadar Grossman's amazing Mumbai Masala bracelet!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blues Clues

From June:
The day before we were having the laminate floors done in the house, Jill convinced me to paint the bead room. I'm not sure which of us is crazier. She picked the Tapestry Beads turquoise as the main color. Not a color I'd normally use, but it's a room that only Jill and I go into, and that color makes us happy.

Of course I ran out of paint and had to finish the job after the floor was laid in that room. When I was done painting, I went into the kitchen and saw blotches of turquoise all over the newly-laid tile. I back-tracked, and found splotches of paint on the laminate too. I must have stepped in a drip of paint and tracked it all over. #@&%. It took a while to get it all up, but finally, finally, I was done.

It wasn't until later that evening when I saw that I was not the one who had stepped in paint!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Picking a class for the Texas Bead Retreat

I need your help again! It's time for me to pick a project to teach at the Texas Bead Retreat in January 2011. I've got a number of ideas, and I'd love to know what y'all think! So I created a poll over there <--- to the left. Please vote!

I've been wanting to do my own gorgeous version of a grapevine bracelet/necklace for years now, but I never finished the sample I started in 2007. Yeah - really 2007. In all the house ruckus, I rediscovered it, sitting sadly in a box, waiting for some attention. And now I'm reinvigorated to work on it again - especially since there are more options for drop beads these days and I will be making the grape clusters with several different sizes and shapes for a textured look.

Tila beads are all the rage at the moment, of course, and I'd love to have an excuse to play with them! I'm thinking of a layered 3-dimensional type of bracelet.

One of my Austin students has been pestering me for an all-earrings class. What do y'all think?? It would be three completely different styles of earrings. I think we could accomplish that in the time frame allotted there.

If you have something entirely different you'd like to propose, I want to hear it! Send me an email or a comment, okay?

On a different note: a further update with photos of the house renovations is coming soon! I can't believe what a change has gone on in this house in the last 30 days. Don't pinch me....I don't want to wake up if it's a dream!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Tile Work is DONE

From June:
Jill is still asleep (anyone surprised?) But she had a very stressful day yesterday. She had to deal with tile laying mistakes and non-English-speaking tile layers while I went to work. If you are friends with Jill on Facebook, you know a little of what went on during the last few days. But that's behind us now. Jill did a great job yestarday, and we are very happy with the results. On Tuesday we start the wood laminate installation, and we are SO excited.

When we were picking tile, we decided to go bold or go home. I guess you could say we went bold AND went home. So as promised, here are some before and after pictures. The front entryway did have plain tile (boring!) which we replaced. The kitchen and bathroom had linoleum.

Front entry. Our mosaic was had made in Beirut and shipped to us.

Kitchen (same tiles as the front entry).

Master bathroom, with the infamous blue glass accent tiles

And they installed the mosaic in front of the back door. This one also was made in Beirut, but from a different company. Are mosaics a big industry in Beirut??

Monday, October 11, 2010

Evolution of a bracelet

One of the things I worked on this past weekend while in my hotel room is a lovely bracelet by Martina Nagle. I purchased this pattern from her Etsy store a while back and I even bought beads for it in June, but haven't had time to sit and work on it until now.

This is the original design that I fell in love with...
Martina's bracelet uses alternating pearls and Swarovski bicones down the center. She added the embellishment with the Size 15 seed beads only on the outside two rows. Gorgeous!

And then I saw Petra Tismer's variation on Facebook, and fell in love with this one too! Can you see the difference? Petra's version used the Size 15 embellishment on every hexagon, and added a smaller firepolish bead in the center of each one.

I had decided to do Petra's variation, but look! When I added the Size 15s on all the hexagons, I decided I was already done. I adore the pattern of the beads without any additional embellishment. It's like a Wedding Ring Quilt pattern in a bracelet. I also left one middle hexagon without the Size 15 embellishment so I could use it as a clasp. Adore!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

And the winning name is....

Twining Vine Lariat! What's really freaky, is that Nikki's comment suggesting that name had just been published mere minutes before Mom stumbled out of bed from a nap and said, the name of the lariat is Twining Vine. I was sitting there trying to figure out how she'd seen that blog comment when I had JUST published it! But it was actually Nikki beaming it straight into Mom's head and bypassing all this comment business. Nikki - contact me with your email and address, and you'll be getting a special prize!

I'm sitting in a hotel room in San Diego tonight, eagerly anticipating a weekend workshop with the goddess of beading, NanC Meinhardt which starts in the morning. We're beading a stick. Yeah, you read that correctly. I flew to California to bead a stick. I'm working hard on keeping my mind open - those of you who know me well are laughing your heads off right about now. But I promised myself to go with the flow. I brought an entire suitcase full of beads - 35lbs of to be exact. I hope I have the right ones. It's all NanC's fault because in her supply list it says, if you're in doubt whether to bring a bead or not, bring it. So I did!

I apologize for the long blog absence. I'd been doing so good for a while there, too! In the month I've been gone I got the flu for 5 days, taught a bead class in Lake Jackson, Texas, got a cold for 7 or 8 days, taught at Bead Fest Texas, and now I'm in San Diego. I keep waiting for a break where I get to sleep and do nothing for a few weeks, but it's not looking too good for that.

I'll be getting home on Monday night, and on Wednesday the long anticipated floor installation will begin with tile guys on Wed, Thurs, and Fri. The following week, the laminate guys will be installing on Tues+. Then we have to get the house back to normal!! And I have to prep kits for the BABE show, finish prep for the Beaducation videos shoot in November. Open house and home classes on the weekends in December. Plus lots of new kits to make, designing to do, and the holidays. It all makes me very glad I chose to take a nice long nap this afternoon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fred: the Lariat

We are stuck, and we need your help. Mom and I have hit a brick wall as we've tried to come up with a name for Mom's new lariat design. Please keep us from naming it Fred. Or Larry Lariat (because we like alliteration). Keep in mind that there will be other colorways than just purple.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Procrastination techniques

I fully own up to my endless ability to procrastinate. It's something I've fought with all my life, and I don't see it changing any time soon. Because I'm such a professional at it, I realized I could actually pass along some of my favorite procrastination techniques for those of you who aren't quite so naturally gifted in this area.

  1. Facebook. The Internet in general, but really Facebook has taken over as the prime culprit in the last two years. I have 660 friends right now. That's a lot of people to keep up with. Granted, I don't actually know all of them, but that doesn't mean I don't want to peek into their virtual living rooms! 
  2. Sleep. Many of you talk about how you worry about me not getting enough sleep when I see you in person. But honestly, you shouldn't give it another thought. TRUST me. I am the Queen of napping. And in my world a nap ain't really worth anything unless it hits the 3 hour point. So, yes, I am up in the middle of the night. But I'm sleeping all day!!
  3. Suddenly feel the urge to clean out your closet. After all, that's work, right?? Okay, so technically it's item number 756 on the list. But at least you're being productive! 
  4. See Number 1.
  5. Eat. Want to take a break from beading/filing/paying bills/writing instructions/making kits? I'm sure you could fit some food in that tummy. And clearly you can't do both at the same time. All the weight loss wizards out there say you need to concentrate on the eating. Can do!
  6. See Number 2. Because I always feel sleepy after I eat.
  7. See Number 5. Because I always feel hungry like I need to eat something after I wake up.
  8. Chase the dog around the house with his Bear Bear in his mouth. Give up after 3 laps because you're tired. Get back on the Internet.
  9. Write a list of all the many things you have to do. 
  10. Wonder if anyone signed up for your next national class in the 2 hours since you last checked. Get on the computer and check.
  11. Update your Facebook status with how busy you are.
  12. Play Solitaire on the computer. You're "thinking." Promise yourself that you'll get up and accomplish something as soon as you win a game. Get up 2 hours later with a swollen hand from clicking the mouse, and a sore butt, but you DID finally win. 
  13. Watch something on TV that you have to actually WATCH as opposed to just listen to as you bead. Wonder idly where you know that actor from. Get on the laptop to look him up in IMDB. Look up 30 minutes later and realize you have no idea what's going on in the show. Rewind.
  14. Take a break - it's been a long, hard day of work.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hot news!

I've got to confess: I've been holding out on you!! But I can spill the beans properly now and I know you'll be as excited as I am. Drum roll please....

I am joining the staff of Beaducation as an online video class instructor! If you're not familiar already with Beaducation, you need to check it out - they are an amazing company! It's the brainchild of Lisa Niven Kelly, and has become a huge force in the industry. They have a superstar line up of instructors who create online video classes in wirework, chainmail, metalwork, PMC, mixed media, and of course - seed bead weaving! Everything from beginning classes to advanced, and there are even freebie classes. Let me repeat that: FREE CLASSES!

The lineup of instructors include:
I'll be filming four classes in November, along with two freebies (FREE!) and they should hit the Beaducation website by January 1. We plan on me doing several new classes each year. I can't wait to work with these Rock Stars, and I'm so thrilled at being able to provide classes in a video format for y'all!

This is one of Barb Switzer's classes - Figure S Bracelet

You'll have unlimited access to the classes, meaning you can watch the class again five years from now if you want to (actually, there's no time limit at ALL,) and you can watch it endless times over again if you want to giggle at that blooper I'm bound to make again. You will also receive a PDF file with a written handout too that goes with the class. You can either use your own beads, or I will have kits that go along with the projects available for purchase too. 

I know the next question is "What are the classes, Jill?? HUH??" Hey - a girl's got to save some surprises. Stay tuned!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

What happened to the home classes??

I know the local ladies are frothing at the mouth, wondering why I haven't had any home classes in months. Don't despair! They will be back! You might start looking at your December calendars....

What happened is that I needed to clear some space on my calendar to get my life back in order here at home. For five years now, I've been building Tapestry Beads and my teaching schedule across the country, and it's been nonstop go go go. I'm not complaining a bit! I thrive on being busy, and I love what I do, so it's been nothing bad for me. Except. I've finally come to the point where my disorganization was affecting my ability to grow and have design time, and not have a bazillion people waiting on me.

So putting the home classes on hold until December has allowed me to do a ton of catching up. When the ladies come back, they'll find a whole new house! New flooring throughout. A new bead cabinet and some slatwall in the bead shopping area. The bathroom they use will have been renovated (floor, vanity, faucet, lights, fixtures.) The bead storage room will (hopefully) be organized. And unseen, but critical: my paperwork and accounting will be organized and up-to-date. I'll have new classes ready to go, and I'll be much more calm than they've seen me in a long while!!

We plan on unveiling the changes in the house in our Annual Holiday Open House. And at least one class will be scheduled in December too. So hang on! It's coming!