Saturday, December 31, 2011


Earlier tonight (and by tonight, I mean 3am, naturally) I was working on a new design that will end up being one of my national class offerings, and I decided I needed a couple of Swarovski pearls for it. I walked into the Bead Room and picked my way through the piles to the special Swarovski pearl spot. And by special Swarovski pearl spot, I mean 3-4 random small boxes on top of some cabinets with mixed colors and sizes of pearls that make OCD sufferers start to shake.

It's already been pointed out to me that they're not in order.
All of a sudden, I just couldn't take it one more minute! Next thing you know I grabbed some storage containers, my labeler, and some baggies along with the Swarovski pearl stash, and two hours later I have this lovely pile of organized, labeled, sorted beads. And an unfinished design. This is my life - full of detours.

You may have noticed I've been absent from the blog lately. And by lately I mean a really long time. I'm blaming the detours. My last post celebrated the turning in of my last designs for The Book. You know the one - that big monster that took over my entire year? THAT book? Well, after the last box of beady fun went in the mail, the work was far from over. I still had instructions and illustrations to create for more then half of the 24 projects, and a technical editor (Judith Durant) and illustrator (Melissa Grakowsky Shippee) waiting for me to send them. So another solid month or more was spent with my hindquarters glued to the sofa and my hands to the computer getting every last title and intro and period written. Edits were made. Illustrations drawn. And then all of a sudden I was facing down...nothing. No urgent deadline. No people waiting on me. No. More. Book. Urgency.

Do you know what happens when the constant stream of adrenalin that has been coursing through your veins suddenly stops? You stop too. You crawl into bed for days. You stare into space. You spend one pathetic night crying and terrified that what you just turned in wasn't good enough. Poor Mom for having to deal with that insanity! I guess she gets Employee of the Month yet again!

I'm working on digging back out from the freefall by catching up on things that got pushed aside during the last few months. I'm slowly starting to design again. Thinking about all the fun and exciting things will happen in 2012. But I won't lie - I'm still deep in Post-Book Syndrome.

I learned so much while writing this book that as I start looking at the next book and how I want the process to go, I know it will be much better. Less detours.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Catching up and feeling human

The deed is done. Wait - my editor reads this blog and she's totally going to bust me. So let me rephrase that - the deed is partially done. I mailed off the final set of beaded samples for Jill Wiseman Teaches the Ropes, and now the design portion of my first book is complete. How I managed to conceive of and bead up the majority of the projects in the last six weeks is still a mystery to me. There was very little sleep. A few meltdowns (usually when the tiredness overcame any sensible thought.) A bunch of giddy, silly moments when something turned out even better than I'd envisioned it. And much heartburn for all involved as we wondered if the deadlines were obtainable.

As I sent the last bits in, though, and was able to take a moment and look it all over as a collection, I was really proud of the accomplishment. It looks like it all goes together. It looks like my kind of design aesthetic, which is so important to me - I feel like I have a slightly different style that I sometimes struggle to keep in line. It's easy to gild the lily! The harder part is editing it down to the more streamlined, graphic, modern sense I work for. But I feel confident that every piece in this book belongs in this book. And I'm teary and emotional about it from feeling like I did good.

And as happy as sending that box made me, it's far from over. I still owe them about a bazillion sets of instructions that need to be written and illustrated. I am finishing some samples showing variations of the book projects that will be shipped Thursday for the photo shoot on Friday. I have the Basics section and some other smart sounding words to write.

But all of that seems so much more manageable than the last six weeks of my life. I'm working on finding my life under the piles of beads again. I slept for roughly two solid days. I got a massage yesterday. I'm finally unpacking the suitcase from my trip to California four weeks ago. Laundry is drying at this very moment. And a pedicure is in my very near future.

But don't worry, Nathalie - I'm working on what I still owe you too! :-)

I leave you with a photo of Winston that I took tonight as he laid on my lap, keeping me company during the night shift. I suppose he thinks he deserves the Employee of the Month title now!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Great blog post re: inspiration vs. exploitation

I talk about the subject of design copy all the time...but Pat has put together a blog post I wish I had written, so let's let her do the talking! Check it out at: The Crafty Retailer.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The good, the bad, and the ugly truth

I'm discovering that writing your first book is full of one learning experience after another. And by discovering, I mean the hard way! Just when I think I have it together...well, you can imagine. Here are some of the lessons I've learned:

  • You make an outline at the start that has a visual description of each project that you have in your head. And when you actually start beading that design, it laughs at you and shows you what the real design is. Takeaway: Be flexible
  • When you sign that contract, the deadline for turning in your completed projects, instructions, and illustrations seems like a million months away. And then the calendar laughs at you and time speeds up and all of a sudden you're behind and panicked. Takeaway: Pretend like it's a race to get it finished as fast as possible and then you might make that deadline without having to take anti-anxiety medication.
  • The good news is that you've spent the last 10 years of your life collecting all the coolest seed beads, focal beads, clasps, and crystals, and it finally pays off as you're making the collection of your life for the book. But then the beads laugh at you as you discover EVERY SINGLE TIME that while you have the perfect beads, you don't have enough of them to finish the project in question. And remember that deadline? Yeah. Me too. Takeaway: Overnight shipping is your friend.
  • Above all else, trust in your vision. Because through the twists and turns, it will come together in the end - and you will look over the mountain of designs you created as you were feeling slightly out-of-control and off-kilter, careening down a steep mountain with no brakes, and like a miracle, the laughter stops and you realize it is beautiful and you couldn't imagine making a single project any other way. Takeaway: Dang. This is so much fun!

Monday, October 3, 2011


From June: I have now counted over 32,000 special color coat 2mm Swarovski crystals into individual baggies of 51, and I've updated the website. Yes, it was a lot of work, but only what you'd expect from Tapestry Bead's Employee of the Month (for 2 straight months!). If you haven't used 2mm Swarovski crystals before, they're about the size of a size 11 seed bead. Tiny. Yummy! Here's a list of the colors we have in stock.

  • Aqua AB
  • Black Diamond Vitrial
  • Champagne Aqua
  • Chili Pepper
  • Crystal AB
  • Crystal Copper
  • Cyclamen Opal
  • Emerald/Sahara
  • Indian Pink AB
  • Jet Doroado
  • Light Amethyst Verde
  • Light Colorado Topaz/Tabac
  • Light Rose Rosaline
  • Light Sapphire AB
  • Light Siam Iridescent
  • Olivine AB
  • Peridot Sphinx
  • Sapphire Sahara
  • Tanzanite AB
  • Tanzanite Light Vitrial
  • Tanzanite Titan
  • Topaz Glazier
What's your favorite 2mm Swarovski color?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

And the winner is....

Drum roll, please!

I used the online random number generator, and it picked number... 

So the first Natalie to comment (I'm sorry - it doesn't show your email address) should email me and we'll get you all set up with your free class!

I've been busy working on projects for the book like a mad woman. I'm so very pleased with the way things are looking and coming together at this point. It's an interesting challenge, not only in the designing of projects, but also having to keep an eye on the overall content and how it flows. Making sure the mix of bracelets/necklaces/earrings is good. Being consistent with a color story, but not making everything the SAME. Keeping true to my own design vision of modern, contemporary pieces that you'll wear in your daily life. It's keeping me on my toes!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!

I feel like I've been on a world-wide odyssey, but it's been less than that, of course. My three week trip to Shreveport, New Jersey, and Philadelphia was quite the trek, full of adventures like saving an ungrateful snapper turtle on the road, torrential rains, me sleeping through the Virginia earthquake, and lots and lots of fun beading moments. I swear I slept for days when I returned!

And as I finally recovered, it was all to apparent that I needed to be working on book projects like YESTERDAY. So I hunkered down to do that. A quick weekend trip to teach at Beads by Blanche in New Jersey last weekend broke things up, but now I'm back to book, book, book all the time!

BUT! I have something really cool and important to share with you before I start talking about book stuff. Because my next two classes with have launched! And we figured it was a good time to have another blog contest to celebrate!

Blog Contest

Ogalala Lace
All you have to do is leave a comment on this page, or if you have trouble, you can email me at to enter. I'll collect entries until Thursday, Sept. 23rd at 6pm CST. Then I'll announce the winner here on Friday! The lucky winner will receive a free class of his or her choice.

The new classes are Parisian Lights, and Ogalala Lace Bracelet. SO much fun! Check them out!

Parisian Lights

Friday, July 29, 2011

Workedy working

Do you know how much 12,000 baggies weigh? I do! I just ordered that many (in 6 different sizes) and the box that is due to be delivered tomorrow is 44lbs. That's around a 4-5 month supply for me. It's totally nuts, but also totally necessary for the kits.

I was doubly productive today with Mom's help. Not only did I work on finishing up some samples that needed to get shipped out, but Mom managed to knock out my entire backlog of shipping random things that needed to go out. AND I got my email inbox back down to under 50! My goal is to whittle that down to 30 before I leave on the road trip next week. Baby steps in getting caught up, but I'm really feeling the difference.

Now, if I could only spend the next week doing nothing but beading!! My one big freak out this week is getting the samples made and photographed to ship out to Bead & Button next Friday. I also have to price out the class kits and write descriptions... I only have one figured out for sure. I'm working on a few others, but they need some time and attention. Luckily with the temperatures hitting 100+ every single day in Austin, I basically don't leave the house at all so beading time is easy to come by that way.

Not the most exciting blog post in the world, but the reality is I'm just slogging away on chores for the moment!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Miami Report

The July meeting of the South Florida Jewelry Arts Guild
I just got back from a five day trip to Miami, Florida, to teach some classes for the South Florida Jewelry Arts Guild. What a wonderful group of women down there! On Thursday night was the monthly group meeting, which was attended by roughly 40 enthusiastic Guild members. I saw some really amazing pieces of jewelry adorning bodies! Artists doing everything from polymer clay to fused glass, and PMC to beadweaving - all facets of jewelry arts were well represented among the membership.

And I was lucky enough (and brave enough) to teach the group a new earring project that I developed just for them called Whirligig Earrings. Most of the women left with at least one earring completed, and some wore their finished set out the door! The earrings were definitely a hit, and I will be rolling them out as a new kit in the very near future. I have to restock first!! They bought me out!!

As is true all across the country, the weather was less than delightful. Hot. Rainy. Muggy. But we had beads, excellent food, and even better...BEADS! I taught a total of five classes in five days, and came back with a significantly lighter load of kits. I'm very grateful to the ladies of the Guild for inviting me to come visit and I hope they adore their new jewelry!!
Mariela Corte & I after the Rosetta Suite Class

So now that I'm home I'm facing 10 days to restock kits, develop my class submissions for the 2012 Bead & Button Show, and do anything else I need to do before I leave on a 21 day road trip. My goal for tonight is to take a kit inventory so I can figure out what kits need to be made, and what supplies have to be ordered pronto! Having Mom here to help is such a wonderful thing...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Drum roll, please....

And the lucky winner of our Free Online Class contest is.....

Sarah Dockery! 

Thank you to everyone who entered, and left such wonderful comments on the blog, and also those who have been so supportive on Facebook. Making the videos was initially quite a scary-feeling stretch for me, but in the end was such a fun and fulfilling experience. Stay tuned...because there are two more classes that are scheduled to release this fall!

Here are a few photos from our video shoot that I have been waiting to share with you...

We used some of my jewelry for a gorgeous display in the background!

Try not being intimidated by THAT camera staring at you!

The view from my chair. I would look in the monitor to see if my hands were centered.

My makeup crew!I'm ready for my close-up....

The mess outside the camera frame! That's how you know I was there!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trouble with comments?

Hey folks!
So I've been hearing on Facebook that some of you have been trying to leave comments on the blog post for the free class from Beaducation giveaway and have not been able to do so. I hate that! So I just made some changes to the settings that I hope will help. Try again. And if that still doesn't work, no worries...just send a quick email to me at, and I'll get you entered!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sleek Bracelet Class - ONLINE!

Today is a big, Big, BIG day! Launch Day for my first online video class with! And even better than a new class? It's on SALE this week! And even better than THAT??? I'm going to give away a free class this week to celebrate - any class they offer!!

Beginner level class!
$12.95 - but 20% off through July 15

To be entered in the contest, all you have to do is make a comment on this blog post. Easy shmeazy! I will then randomly choose the winning entry and announce it on Saturday, July 16.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

My Plate Overfloweth

How do I manage to do these things to myself? Oh yeah...because I like my job and it makes me want to do cool projects and go teach cool people and so that makes it hard for me to say no to things.

But seriously - I look at my "immediate" to-do list and feel a little crazy.

  • Kits for the Sleek Bracelet online video class which launches with on Monday (I'll be having a giveaway for a free class on the blog next week! Details on Monday's post!)
  • Kits for new Whirlygig Earrings which I will be teaching at the South Florida Jewelry Arts Guild Meeting in less than two weeks.
  • Instructions need to be written for Whirlygig too
  • Kits for the brand new Dew Drop Spiral Necklace that I'll be teaching there for the first time. Oh, and samples of the colorways need to be made.
  • Instructions need to be written for Dew Drop Spiral 
  • Restocking other kits for the classes in Florida
  • Kits for the project I'm teaching at the Shreveport Bead Retreat in August. Samples made. Luckily the instructions are done on this one! It's Deborah Roberti's design which I'm teaching with her gracious permission.
  • Figuring out how to send samples to stores in South New Jersey, North New Jersey, and California all at the same time when I only have one of some of the samples available. Plus I need the samples for teaching in Florida too. 
  • Designing/figuring out projects to submit for the Bead & Button Show 2012 - they have to be mailed by Aug. 8th
  • Still slogging away on book projects. I have about half done.
  • Plotting and planning a new joint venture with Sylvie Lansdowne - Two Babes and a Bead Party! We're going to do bead retreats - first one will be over New Years weekend in Georgia. More details coming soon!

Thank goodness that Mom is able to spend more time helping. She's been amazing! She's taken over shipping all the orders, and can help more putting kits together.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Poor neglected blog

Dear Blog,
I know it's been a very long time since I last posted and I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am that I have been avoiding you. It's not you - it's me. You are perfect. I know you can be a little needy sometimes, and I thought I had gotten used to that. But I needed a break! After a little therapy, and a better understanding of how you and I might communicate better as a couple, I'm back. I hope you'll find it in your little Bloggy heart to forgive me. I do love you. I always will. I'm going to work on showing you how much and I will make it up to you.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's a big, Big, BIG DAY!

Happy Retirement!

Today is Mom's last day of the corporate world, that is!

She'll still be assisting at Tapestry Beads - but we have extra special employee benefits like extremely flexible hours, doggie and kitty kisses, daily naps, and "I don't wanna" days.
Congratulations, Mom!

Friday, May 27, 2011


It's been awfully quiet here at Tapestry Beads the last few weeks, but not for lack of activity. In Beadville, May always means preparations for the massive Bead & Button Show. And that means making kits. Lots and lots and lots of kits. And then a few more thrown in for good measure. It's the time of year when my credit card starts squealing every time I pull it out for one more supply order, and my UPS man just assumes that he'll be stopping at my house every single day. We're known for over-preparedness - on Facebook the other day as I was lamenting (okay - whining) about the endless kit assembly, one of my long time students said,
"You're the only instructor I know who makes enough kits so the class attendees can choose any color and not worry about them being sold out, then you still have some to sell to non-class members."
It made me realize not only do I choose to make this many kits, I do it because for me, it's good customer service. I do it because I would be so sad if someone came to a class with her heart set on making a certain colorway and it was already gone. I've been that person before! It's not just about good business practices (the more kits I have to sell, the more I'm likely to sell) but much more it's about making sure my students and customers have a good experience.

And while I know this, that doesn't mean I don't have those blue mood days where I struggle with having to sit for yet another 12+ hours and weigh out beads, or put labels on baggies, or print patterns. It's mind-numbing after a while when I'm doing this kind of volume (not to mention butt-numbing. I think the sofa is permanently attached to my backside now.) And so for the last few days I've been fighting the urge to run away and hide for a respite.

And then I watched clips from Oprah's farewell show online tonight. And cried. And was reminded of how lucky and special my life is. What an amazing journey this last 9 years has been since I first encountered beads. I don't say Thank You enough to YOU. Because you guys out there, reading my blog, becoming my friends on Facebook, buying our kits online and at shows, taking my classes, and anticipating my books - YOU are the people who allow me to do this. You share your excitement and enthusiasm with me and keep me going through tough deadlines and canceled flights, and bad hotel rooms.

I think I have shared this before, but when I first started down this path of becoming a jewelry designer and instructor, I felt kind of silly making it a career. It seemed superficial at the time. An entire job revolving around something as non-essential as jewelry and crafting? I am ashamed to admit that now. But I couldn't know...I didn't understand just how the experiences I would have along the way would show me how something as "inconsequential" as beadweaving can change lives.

I have watched deep friendships form between women in my classes. The locals in Austin who started gathering twice a week at the local bead store for the company. The women who discovered in one of my classes at Bead & Button that they lived just blocks away from each other in Washington State and have become close friends.

I have worried about the woman over there in the corner who always came to class, but never participated in the chatter and laughter. Was she enjoying herself? A private conversation between us eventually revealed that she was a recent widow with no children and very few friends. Her only interaction with people happened within these classes. She came because she loved hearing everyone talk and joke and she loved the beads. And she didn't have to put on a brave face or do anything but just be in the company of others. It was an escape from her sorrow and her loneliness. That was the moment I felt for the first time I truly understood the saying "Art saves lives."

I have watched students work out bad days at work in beading class. Who have found solace from personal and family tragedies and illnesses. I have seen beading quite literally keeping two dear friends alive. The excitement and pleasure of artistic creation, the meditative motions of the beading, and the treasured friendships developed from their beading connections have combined to keep them going. When one thought she was going to be unable to bead any longer I could see the life-light draining from her eyes. But a medical adjustment allowed her to continue to keep her beady company, and all of a sudden - like the flip of a switch - she was back again with sparkle and laughter and I knew it was going to be okay.

Working with adult learners has taught me many lessons too. How hard we can be on ourselves if we don't master a new technique or stitch right off the bat. (Y'all, I failed learning peyote stitch several times when I first started out! Don't tell me you can't learn something!) So my job is often simply to remind people to be willing to goof up. To keep going. To be a personal cheerleader. And to stand there like a proud mama when they get that "ah-ha!" moment - because that's exactly how I feel! When a woman in one class pulled me quietly aside to thank me for being so patient with her questions and need for extra help, she brought tears to my eyes (then, and now) as she explained she had suffered a stroke a year prior, and relearning to bead was difficult, but important to her self-esteem. She had taken a class from someone else who had made her feel stupid and slow, and wanted to thank me for not making her feel like a burden at all. I was floored! Not only because I couldn't imagine thinking of her being a burden - but also because I could imagine what it felt like to be treated badly in the past. Her accomplishment in that class made me so happy for her! How sad that the other teacher missed out on that joy.

So all of this is simply me saying THANK YOU. Thank you for sticking with me through growing pains and grumpy days and spotty blog updating. Thank you for being the reason I love what I do so much. You all hang out with me every single day, whether you know it or not. My gratitude is endless.

Aw, man. Now I'm all weepy again. And if that's not a sign for bedtime I don't know what is! But I had to stop right this very moment and tell you what I was thinking. Thank you too, for listening.

Monday, May 16, 2011


I've been waiting, hoping, and and dreaming I'd get to announce this one day. And now it's the real deal - no more dreaming necessary! Because...

I will be one of the instructors on the
2012 Bead Cruise!

And what an amazing cruise it will be! Not only are there classes by Heather Powers (the mastermind behind the Bead Cruise and the fairy who has pulled it off for 7 years,) Beverly Herman, Tracy Stanley, Kerry Bogert, and little ol' me....but look at this list of ports of call: St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, and Hati. (I should be shot for the punctuation in that sentence, but oh well.) How decadent is THAT? And while the ship is at sea, you'll have the bead classes to enjoy.

It's limited to 60 bead cruisers, which means there will be only 15 in each class. I know so many folks who have been on the cruises over the years and said it was one of the best experiences of their beady lives. I am thrilled and honored to be asked to participate. And yes! Mom will be coming too!

More details as they come...but in the meantime, check it all out at! There's also more info at the Memory Cruisin' website. Pricing will be available in the next day or two.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I have a confession to make

Sometimes, I am late to the party.

When I first learned beadweaving everyone in the industry was basically using Nymo or Silamide. Before long though, one of the beading teachers at the local store started talking about this new thing - Fireline. She was such an advocate that she talked the store into carrying it. I resisted. More beaders converted. I tried it once and hated it and kept resisting. The WHOLE WORLD converted to Fireline, and I finally decided I'd give it another chance. It took a few projects to get used to this new fangled thread imposter - it had all this body to it! I had to flatten the tip to thread my needle! It left black marks on my hands! But before you know it, I was one of the converts too, and I almost never use anything else now.

Which brings me to the topic of thread conditioners. Or rather, my lack of usage of them. Baby Beader Jill faithfully used Thread Heaven and beeswax on her Nymo thread. But over time....they kept disappearing into the great Bermuda Triangle of my beading stash.Because I got tired of buying it over and over again I simply stopped using thread conditioner althogether! No problems arose, so the habit stuck.

Enter Fireline into the thread condition equation. I felt like it made absolutely no sense whatsoever to use thread conditioner on Fireline. It wouldn't absorb into the thread like it did with old fashioned beading thread so it would leave a coating on the Fireline that would then block up the bead holes, and get sloppy, and who needed it? Fireline already didn't tangle quite like thread did, and it was easier to get out the knots when you did. So no thread conditioner recommendation from me! I was surprised when I heard that other national beading teachers DID recommend it. I just didn't get it.

So here's the confession part. (You thought I'd forgotten by now, didn't you?) This week, I finally tried using Micro-Crystalline Wax (the synthetic stuff that doesn't go bad on you and lasts forever - or until it falls into the Bead Bermuda Triangle) on my Fireline., well. I liked it. A lot.

Not only did it cut tangling to basically not at all, but it gave the Fireline a bit of resistance which will be really helpful for beaders with loose tension who need to tighten up. It also cut down on the black marks on my hand.

There you have it. You CAN teach a resistant old dog new tricks eventually. I am now going to recommend using the Micro-Crystalline Wax with Fireline. Yes, you may laugh at me now.

You can purchase it from my friends at The Hole Bead Shoppe. Just $3 for a 4oz. cup that will last you forever. For the local ladies, I am now stocking it at the house for when you come to bead.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Head Shots!

Like many people I know - I hate having my photo taken. I've gotten better about it over the years, mainly because when my grandmother died many many years ago, one heartbreaking moment was my grandfather confessing that the day before she got so sick she had to go to the hospital, they were scheduled to have a portrait taken of the two of them for their 50th anniversary. He balked at the photo shoot and refused to do it, but regretted it terribly after she passed away. So I try to remember that it's okay that I'm fluffy or my hair is wonky that day or I don't love the outfit I'm in. Because that's not the point of the photo!

Still doesn't make it easy, though, when your brain thinks you're significantly skinnier than reality. Seeing those pictures can be a shock! So I haven't been enthused about having to get a head shot taken for the book. But yet, that's my first book-related deadline, so - grumble - groan - put off - reschedule - whine - I finally did it yesterday.

I picked Korey Howell as my photographer because I loved the informal tone of her website - kinda silly and chatty, like I tend to write. Plus I also loved her photos! Much to my surprise, the whole event was, well, a non-event! It was quick, and easy. I chose to do several different clothing looks so I would have a variety to choose from (again, thinking they were all going to suck!) and also so I would be able to use different photos for different things. The book, bead show websites where they post the instructor's bios, bead stores where they are showing what classes are being offered by national instructors, and magazines when I'm published. But guess what? I had a horrible time choosing photos because they were ALL GOOD!

Here's what I picked - and I may go back and pick one more big smile shot. But really, I feel great about them! What a relief!


Friday, April 22, 2011

Albuquerque Classes Report

I was lucky enough to be invited to teach Pitaya Necklace to some really amazing beaders in Albuquerque last weekend. It started out small. A regular customer of mine, Bonnie, saw me at my booth in Tucson, and asked if I might be able to teach a private class in Albuquerque when I was in the area for Bead Fest Santa Fe in March. I figured, why not? I'd stay over an extra night, and we'd do the class that Monday before I headed for home again. And I was thinking it would be 6-8 folks since it was a private class. Silly me! I underestimated Bonnie!

She lined up a store for us to hold the class (Bead Obsession), and filled it with 20 folks! Then, due a variety of issues, the class got pushed back to April, and Bonnie told me she thought she could fill a second class for Pitaya if I did one on Friday and one on Saturday. And doggone it, she did!
Friday's Class - waving hello!

So we had quite the weekend of beady love. The Albuquerque ladies (and Jerome!) are simply wonderful beaders, and they have a great time together. Bead Obsession is only open two days a week, but she has a super selection of seed beads and Delicas and books! Wow!

And this was my favorite part - the owner made Delica sample mats of all the Delica colors (before the store was opened) and they are available as a reference. Can you imagine the hours this project took? I'm in lust for them!

I'm delighted that I'll be going back to visit them again the first weekend in November for more classes and beady love. I made them all promise to bring show-and-tell jewelry to share with me!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Secret news - not secret any longer!

I have been holding some really important secret news close to my heart since mid-February. It's been KILLING me to not be able to share with you! Because you guys know, I share everything! But today I got permission to announce it....

I'm writing a book!
(Two books, actually!)

I have signed a contract with Lark Publishing to write two books. The first will be part of the amazing Master Class series on beaded ropes. I couldn't be more honored to be included in this series of books by designers like Diane Fitzgerald, Laura McCabe, Marcia DeCoster, Sherry Serafini, Rachel Nelson-Smith, Maggie Meister, Sabine Lippert...and me! 
It will be released in the fall of 2012.

And then I go right back to work! Because I'll have a second book focused on advanced herringbone coming out 12-18 months later. 

Way back, as far as when I was 8 years old, I said I was going to be an author one day. And now I will be. Dreams do come true!

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Simple" Designs

The simplest of designs are often the hardest to accomplish. When there's not a lot of layers and extra beads to hide behind, every single stitch counts. The beads must lay just so. Be exactly right. And sometimes it's easy to mistake an elegantly conceived piece as simple.

But let me tell you about that simple piece. I have been working for six hours now on a simple piece. I've changed bead sizes. I've tried out different bead shapes. I've added two beads at a time, then tried three, then tried four.... I've ripped and reshaped. I've played with color. I've tried more than one type of stitch to get the drape I'm looking for. I'm finally closing in on the best way to make it. I think. But there are hours more of this type of experimentation to make sure that it's perfect.

So when you get the instructions for the project, of COURSE you're going to think it's simple. Because I worked up all the wrong ways to make it the right way for you.

You're welcome. :-)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Whirl & Twirl

At last, I arrived back home Wednesday afternoon. It seemed like twice the distance I drove getting to Santa Fe! The strong pull to be home home home was the culprit, I'm sure. I spend much of the next 10 weeks getting to BEAD! And DESIGN! And, oh yeah - there's this little thing called the Bead & Button Show that I need to get ready for as well.

I made Mom laugh like a hyena today as I was describing my spending spree on filigree components at Artworks by Cathy J. It's all Mom's fault. She emailed me a shopping list that included the note, "I like the stuff at this vendor - this piece in particular." Except she hadn't attached a photo of the piece she liked so much! I managed to get over to the booth in the last 30 min. of the show, and doggone it, I liked it all. So I bought it all. Almost all of it, anyway. Seems like. I'm a heck of a power shopper! Now if Mom had sent me the photo...I would have gone with a specific purpose! Instead she sent me shopping for "pretty." Mom asked if I was buying thinking about using pieces in kits. Um. I dunno. Actually it's probably mostly stuff for my personal jewelry. You know - the jewelry I haven't made in FIVE YEARS!!! But I have the perfect filigree for it when I get around to it. You're laughing like a hyena at me now too, aren't you? I can feel it.

I am tired and tried going to sleep at 9pm tonight. But the brain is dancing about - whirling and twirling. So I was back up by 10, and making lists and paying bills and ordering supplies and Facebooking and Tweeting. Listening to the new Adele album which I love and adore. But at last I feel sleepy eyes coming on. I think I'll be dreaming of filigree jewelry designs tonight.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bead Fest Santa Fe: By the Numbers

766 - miles from my front door to the Santa Fe Convention Center
14 - hours it took me to drive nonstop on Thursday to get there
12 - the time of night I arrived
2 - the time of morning I went to bed because I was glued to the Japan earthquake/tsunami coverage on tv
6 - the hour the alarm clock went off
3 - number of curse words used when the alarm clock went off
20 - happy students who now can make Kumihimo with Beads
4 - vendors from whom I made purchases (Beyond Beadery, Alacarte Clasps & Wirelace, Oak Grove Studio, Artworks by Cathy J. )
28 - new colors of Delicas I purchased to add to my stash
0 - number of times I got to walk the whole show - too busy!!
2880 - number of 2mm Swarovski crystals I spilled on the floor of my booth
7 - number of curse words used when I spilled them
2700 - approximate number I managed to pick up
1 - burnt out headlight that I have to get fixed Monday morning before I head home
47892093457 - number of happy exchanges I had at the show. (Approximately.)
1 - tired Jilly
4- puppies and kitties that need their Mama Jill to come home for lovin's. And Winston wants his bed back.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Packin' up the suitcases again

One more big trip to get through, and after that, while I do have a quick overnight trip to Lake Jackson, and a vacation weekend visiting a friend in Phoenix, I will be HOME until the beginning of June.

And what do I plan to do while I'm home, you might ask?? Well! Let me tell you.

First, I intend to play with the beads. Lots and lots of time sitting  and designing the beautiful items I've dreamed up in my head over the last year but haven't had time to bring to life. I have a list of projects that's so daunting - but I am excited to dive headfirst into the pile - like when I was little and dove into the pile of Autumn leaves, giggling and laughing and screaming. Exactly like that.

And I have a new bead cabinet that Mom and I scored from a fellow beader who needed to downsize a bit. We have plans to put it in our personal bead room to organize our personal bead stash, but naturally that requires moving pretty much every item in the room. Again. Organizing never ends!

And while I think they're gorgeous, I think Mom and I might break down and put the Christmas Ornaments that have been hanging in our front hall for the last three months away.

First, though? A week in gorgeous Santa Fe for Bead Fest 2011. I'll have a booth in the Convention Center, and my Quick & Easy Kumihimo with Beads class is sold-out for the second year in a row. (As a matter of fact, we just added a fourth session of that class for Bead & Button in June - on Tuesday night.) I'm also teaching a private class in Albuquerque the Monday after the show, and plan on being home by Wednesday. SWEET!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pretty Tucson photos

I still owe you the STORY of Tucson Tales, The Finale, but in the meantime, here's some fun photos!
We have a LOT of fun in Tucson!

The top photo is an overview of the loot I brought home. Smaller photos are close-ups. Most of this is for kits!

The artisan beads and buttons I couldn't resist. From top left going clockwise, buttons from Raven's Journey; lampwork by Ellie Mac; lampwork by Isis Ray; and a spectacular wooden bead by Gerry Kmack

I loooove pearls!

Beading Shortcuts

I'm probably about to disappoint you. Because I'll bet you read the title of this post and got all excited to learn some tips to make your beadweaving faster and more efficient. But guess what?? Nope.

Instead I felt compelled to tell you all that I'm not a big believer in beadweaving shortcuts. Gasp! I know! It's not like I haven't tried them - I do, all the time. And what I find is that taking two stitches at once in a peyote stitch piece inevitably causes more tangles than usual, and the messes are bigger to out of. Cheating on a herringbone stitch by pulling the thread only once through both the downward and upward strokes pulls your beads out of a pristine, straight alignment, and makes for a sloppier looking project.

You are a beadweaver. You're not in this for speed. Take the slow road, enjoy the process, and your beadwork will thank you by being more beautiful in the end.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Writing the Blog

From June:

I know it’s been a while since we’ve updated the blog. That’s partly because life is comparatively calm right now, and I can’t think of anything to write. Well that’s not exactly true, stuff is going on, but it’s stuff I can’t talk about yet. So…..oh look! What an amazing sparkle.

Okay, I’m back now. Trying to think of something to write about. Winston! Winston, drop that! Winston……!

Back again. Oh, there’s the phone. Out of town number. Probably about an order. I’d better get that.

Hmmmm….maybe I’ll check Facebook while I think about what to write.

Ahhh…maybe I could write about…..oh, just got an order in. I’d better go get that ready to mail.

Okay, now! Although I am a little hungry – I haven’t eaten anything yet today. My brain will probably work better once I get some nourishment.

Wow, lunch made me really sleepy. I bet a nap with all the dogs and cats will refresh me.

Oh-oh. Know how sometimes you wake up in the wrong sleep cycle, and you feel like you’re just underwater? That’s me right now. Ugh. Maybe I can update the blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tucson Tales, Part II

The buildup before coming to Tucson is immense. So much planning and creation and anticipation. The appointed day finally arrives and it's instant and pure joy! Seeing my beady friends from across the world, vendors and customers alike. I miss them mightily between shows. They are my tribe! My family! The people that get me and my obsession with tiny beads and the beauty we can create with them.

So for five days, we all gathered at The Best Bead Show (among other shows) and laughed and hugged and bought beads. We played at night, dining and dancing. A few hours of sleep were all we could spare before getting up to do at all again. And then, suddenly...POOF! It's over. My friends stop by to say farewell before they leave for their own little piece of the country, and I pack up all that's left behind. Sometimes I get what I call the Post Show Blues from the letdown of intense adrenalin.

But not this time! Because for all the wonderful WONDERFUL things that happened at the show, it was a rough one this time around too. The frigid temperatures left the vendors outside in tents and on the patio in dangerous conditions. Pipes around the city at hotels and show venues burst, leaving many without heat and water for a few days. I wrenched my back, and dug a huge gouge in the back of my hand while setting up. OUCH for the rest of the show. And to top it all off, I came down with a cold the last day. Tucson, I love you. But you're testing my patience this year!

Back to the good stuff, though. I treated myself to some fabulous lampwork beads from Isis Ray, Bernadette Fuentes, Ellie Mac. I'll have to wait until the sun comes back up to take photos to share. I placed a project in Bead Unique Magazine - I'll keep you posted on when you can find it! And it looks like I'm going to be adding a bunch of teaching weekends around the country soon. Chicago, Albuquerque, Phoenix, and more!

I spent a day in the hotel, sleeping and trying to shake the remainder of this cold that's got my energy low. Because while MY show is over, there are many others out there that need some of my spending money! So tomorrow I'm off to shop. POWER SHOP!! I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tucson Tales, Part I

I sat down tonight to write an email to Mom to tell her all about the craziness of this day, but then I decided y'all would want to hear it all too. So now it's a letter to ALL of you! may not have noticed this, but it's C O L D outside. I don't care where you are in the US, it's way colder than usual. And I live in Texas, therefore, I do not have cold weather clothing. Sure, it gets chilly for a few days a year, but it's not a big deal most of the time. I don't even have a real winter coat these days. I lost mine a few years ago somewhere, and I've been making due with some sweater/wrap type of things. I own only one pair of closed-toe shoes.

But then this cold front came through. BIG ugly, hairy, wicked cold front. So evil, that as I was driving to Tucson yesterday, I just couldn't bring myself to keep going when I got to the point where I was driving through snow, sleet, and 30mph winds. Enough! So I stopped for the night at a hotel, and made the rest of the trip on Tuesday. When I left the hotel that morning the windchill was below zero, and I was out getting gas in the car in my sandals. I'm not the brightest bulb in the box, ya' know. Luckily I drove out of the worst of the weather and got myself to Tucson, albeit much later than I'd wished.

I did a power shopping whirl around the To Bead True Blue show - so fast and furious that I'd already racked up a security hold on my debit card in the first 45 min. You veterans of the bead show shopping will know what I mean... When you're at the bead shows and buying from different vendors from all across the country/world, it looks like there's credit card fraud going on to the credit card companies and they kindly put a security hold on your card. It's not a huge deal as you just have to call them and confirm that you're really the one making all those purchases. But it is annoying in that moment when your card gets declined!!

Kelli Burns & Jill
I got to hug on Kelli Burns from the Hole Bead Shoppe - we were so excited to see each other we couldn't sit still for the photo! She's one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. I also got to meet a whole bunch of my Facebook friends in real life - it's so much fun!

After the show closed at 6, I had to run by MY show to unload my car into the booth. And it was like a bad Marx Brothers skit. I am using a new set of bins to hold all my kits under the table instead of my usual rolling carts. The table is only 6' instead of my normal 8' setup, so I had to get creative. Unfortunately, the new bins are a nightmare to transport! They all fell apart and spilled kits all over as I tried to get them in the hall. I left a trail of kits and bins behind me as I dropped them over and over again. Rolling carts? I'm SO sorry I strayed! Please forgive me! I'll never do it again! By the time I finally got most of them into the hall, I was so annoyed that I just left them in shambles. I'll have to get to the show extra early in the morning to sort it all out again. Sigh.

I was rushing (surprise) because I still needed to go check into my hotel, freshen up, and then head out to the Interweave party to meet up with a bunch more friends. So I find my hotel. Go to check in. And.....wait for it....they have given my room away. And they're full. And everyone else in the area is full. I feel dizzy with visions of having to sleep in the car for the next 10 nights. When I made my last set of changes with dates on the room reservation online, it evidentally didn't take, and poof! There goes the room. Thank goodness, I had the sense to call Kelli Burns first and she said she thought the hotel they were staying at had some rooms available. So in one phone call, Kelli saved the day. I love Kelli!!!

Stephanie Dixon & Jill
At that point I no longer had time to find the new hotel and freshen up before the party. So I did a little primping in the car. Good enough. The heck with being cute. I was THERE! And I had SO much fun!

I finally FINALLY got to meet the amazing Stephanie Dixon, The Dixon Chick & Swarovski Ambassador from Toronto. We've been Facebook friends for a while now and ADORE each other and it was so great to discover we love each other in real life too!!

I could name drop like crazy and tell you ALL the folks I met and talked to through the day, but I'll spare you. Because I'm in serious need of a bed right about now. I'm going to have to wake at dawn to get ready before the show opens at 10am, and wouldn't you know it, Wednesday is the day we're open until 8pm too. I have plans with Tracy Stanley and Janice Berkebile for dinner afterwards, and we'll probably have others join us as well.

There are a bunch of vendors who are having trouble getting to Tucson with all the weather issues. And the saddest for me is my dear Anna Draeger. Her flight was cancelled, and now she can't find another flight down here. She plans on spending the whole day Wednesday trying to find a seat. I'll cry if she can't make it!!

And hopefully...if I'm really lucky...I will survive it all. Cold weather? Booth disasters? Hotel room chaos? No problem. I got it covered!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Same Song, Same Verse

From June: It seems like no matter how much we try, we can't seem to get ahead when getting ready for a big show. Originally we weren't going to do a show at Tucson this year - Jill was just going to shop. But at pretty much the last minute, we decided to do the Best Bead Show again. So Jill's been working long hours ordering beads and making kits for the last couple of weeks.

But it wasn't enough. It's never enough. We had our traditional Pre-Big Show Printer Meltdown, for one thing. And that's a whole other story. I'm still working, so my help was limited in getting ready - Jill was pretty much on her own. A last minute push, and Jill delaying her departure twice, got it done. I was up until 3 a.m. on Saturday night (Sunday morning?) and was up again at 7 a.m. Last night, bedtime was after midnight and we were both up well before 5 a.m.

In our business, Jill designs most of the complex, special works. I'm not as good a beader as Jill, and I design a lot of the beginner stuff. We always take great care with our instructions, and never is that more important than with instructions for a beginner. We want to make sure a new beader can succeed and be sucked into Bead World with the rest of us. Here are two new beginner kits that I've recently done. I don't have them on the website yet, because Jill has taken all the kits to Tucson, but I'll pull the trigger on that as soon as she gets home.

The first one is called Center Stage, and we have it in several colorways, including an orange/pink combination.

The one below is a wide bracelet - it's called Harmony. It comes with a fabulous button from Sonoran Beads. I'll do another colorway on this one, too. What do you think? Red/orange/pink?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy 2011!

You know, I was thinking last night, wasn't Y2K just a few years ago? How did we end up in the double digits of this century so fast??? It kind of makes my brain hurt!

You know what else makes my brain hurt? Preparing for all the new things happening here at Tapestry Beads this year! It's the time of year where we're finalizing a bunch of new kit designs, and picking colorways and making samples of them all. So I've got colors and supply orders on non-stop rotation through my brain. In addition to our regular kits, I'm also working on colorways for some of my national teaching projects, like the Pitaya Necklace, Rosetta Suite, and Evening Song Set. There will be kits available later for these, but for now I'm just scrambling to get colors picked. Luckily I have my beady minions to help me make samples, including my German co-Pitaya instructor, Martina Nagele!

And sometime in February you can expect to see my online video classes debuting with! I am working out kit colorways for all three of those projects as well.

All together, I'm working on about 25 new colorways between them. AGH! No wonder I was just in bed, but not able to sleep! I decided to get up and work if I wasn't going to be snoozing. And I've missed talking to y'all!

My next blog post, I've got something to show you....It's 3:30am right now, so my photos wouldn't turn out great if I took them now. But in my best procrastinating way, I found it absolutely imperative to organize my entire Delica collection the other night....and tonight's dodging efforts centered on completely reorganizing my Swarovski stash. I know. I know. Believe me...Mom's already given me "that look." You know the one. But the good news is that they're organized! And it will make a huge difference over the long haul. I can't wait to show you my pretty new system.

I leave you tonight with this photo of Santa Jill. My elves were a little too interested in food and Play-doh to smile for the camera, but I guarantee you, there were lots and lots of smiles that day.