Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I just got back from having dinner with an old friend that I haven't seen in quite a while. It was nice to catch up - he's always been self-employed and now that I am too, I can relate to the challenges of working for yourself in a much more personal way. And my tummy is full of yummy Pappasito's fajitas which also makes me happy. They're my favorite place to get fajitas. I know they're a chain, but good is good. And it's great to have a place to visit in other cities where I know what I'm getting sometimes. Comfort food is a wise choice at times while traveling.

And speaking of food and traveling, a little cardinal mommie told me that the Arizona Diamondbacks stadium in Phoenix has the best Polish hotdogs ever. Since there's a group of us from Bead Expo attending Friday night's game vs. the Mets, I intend to check it out! Anyone who knows me well can imagine I'm not going for the baseball. It's not that I don't enjoy sports when I view them, but I don't follow them either. Baseball is low on the list of sports I do enjoy watching too. But people! THEM I love to watch! And the stadium food is always fun and sure to cause indigestion. And I plan on driving Anne, who's a baseball nut, crazy with stupid questions. "The Mets are from Denver, right?" "Are those pants they're wearing supposed to look that bad?" "Why does the catcher look like he's rubbing things he shouldn't in public??"

My plane doesn't leave until mid-afternoon tomorrow so I can play my usual staying up all night before I travel game and STILL get some sleep before the flight. I must be living right to be so lucky.

I added another important deadline smack dab on top of all my other deadlines in the next 30 days. If you see my head explode, just stitch it back together with some Fireline and send me on my way, would you? I'd really appreciate it.

Quote of the day: Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.
Dr. David M. Burns

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


What are the odds? I swear I'm not making it up. I've admitted right here on my blog that I knew my driver's license was expired and that I planned to get it renewed before I fly again on Thursday. So Sunday night I found where the nearest DPS office is, looked at their hours, and even printed out the forms I need to fill out. But then Monday got away from me and I didn't manage to get there before the end of the day. No problem. I'll go first thing Tuesday instead.

Except that was one day too late! Officer Wilson pulled me over two blocks from Nomadic Notions tonight while I was on my way to teach a class. Noooooo!!! And of course, there was no mercy. Sniff. I got a ticket. Actually, two tickets - the reason he pulled me over was for an expired registration sticker which he spotted when he was next to me at a stop light. SIGH. But I've got 30 days to get both violations taken care of and then they're supposed to dismiss them. I know I'm a deadline driven (ahem, fancy words for procrastinator) woman, but this is kinda ridiculous.

After class I got to chat with Gwen & Lydia at the restaurant next door for a little while - the girls will be in Phoenix with me this weekend. Or more correctly, I'm with them - they're allowing me to crash their hotel room! There's a bead pajama party at the show on Saturday night - I'm so there!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shipping beads around the world

Okay, so I'm really only shipping beads around the country today, not the world. But it's been done before! I've got some orders that are getting mailed, and then the big boxes that go to Phoenix for next weekend. I had to make a run to Office Depot to pick up some sturdier ones than I used for the Miami shipment. Always learning lessons...

Bead brunch yesterday was a blast, as usual. The day started out in a torrential downpour, that I had to drive to the store in, then go get goodies for the brunch in. I was a drowned rat. But then the sun came out and the beady women started streaming in, and a good time was had by all. I hadn't looked very closely at my work schedule so I was surprised to find that I had to stay until 3pm. That means from noon until 3, I switched gears from seed bead teacher to regular store employee and it's been a really long time since I've done that! When I first quit my day job to start Tapestry Beads I worked in the store 20-30 hours a week. Over time as I didn't need the income any longer, and I needed the extra hours to work on Tapestry Beads stuff I stopped working in the store except when absolutely necessary. It's hard on my back to stand all day, and it's hard on my temperament to be full-on customer service for long periods of time. Actually, I'm good for a day or two. It's the endless days of it that start making me cranky which I don't like for me or for you!

I'm teaching one last class tonight, then the rest of the week is all about getting ready for, and traveling to Phoenix. I may have to take an extra bag on the flight there since I'm not doing too good about being ready to ship everything today. I'll be one of those insane travelers you see in the airport with 50 bags piled high on a cart and demanding to be let to the front of the line. LOL! Excuse me, Bead Diva is here!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Got some energy to share?

I'm not sure what's come over me, but I feel like my energy level simply isn't what it should be the last week. Both emotional and physical energy. It's kinda like working underwater. I need to shake it off!

We had a lovely little class tonight and the baby beader in the group caught on super quick. I think she's hooked! So I closed up the shop tonight and I'm opening again in the morning for Bead Brunch. And when I get home mid-afternoon? Me and my bed have an appointment for a nap!!

The big news for the day is that the Size 15 Delicas are in the United States! Woo hoo!! Smaller is better! Of course, this first round of them that went to my supplier is pretty much already sold out from pre-orders. It might be a few more weeks before I get my hands on them. But just to know they exist...

My brother, the hero

And this would be a photo that was on the Stateman's home page yesterday - a story about how an oodle of firefighters worked for 3.5 hours to get a 6 month old cat out of a drainage hole in the street. Evidentally, the cat got chased down there, but was then physically stuck. She meowed for days and her owner was working with the City Water Dept, etc, trying to figure out how to rescue her.

I'm not sure how the Big Guns got called in - my brother is the one at the back in the photo - you know, the only one who looks like he's not breaking a sweat. HA! You know he's getting teased about that!! Anyway, he works at the downtown station in the Special Operations Unit, which means they're the ones who go out on technically difficult calls. Scaling the sides of tall buildings, rescuing people from caves, water rescues, etc. And dragging cats out of sewers. We'll call it a training exercise.

Don't get me wrong! I'm totally in love with the fact that they rescued the cat!! I have two special furry babies of my own and I'd move heaven and earth to do the same thing if they were in peril. I think it's kinda funny that it took 20 people and a paparazzi crush of media to do it though. And the kitty, aptly named Angel, is doing just fine after her ordeal.

I was having motivation problems today. Some days are just like that. I call it having a case of the "I don't wanna"s. Maybe I should write instructions - I don't wanna. Maybe I can bead on samples? I don't wanna. Run errands? Don't wanna. You get the picture. I finally managed to overcome the I don't wannas by the end of the night, but it wasn't the most productive day. Mom will be home Saturday and Sunday to crack the whip on me. Probably good.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Today's projects

I'm still in beading mode today, and here, finally, are the photos I promised the other day. I was making the sample for the new Bubbles & Bumps necklace kit which I want to match up with the awesome colors from the Curly-Q bangle. But I'm a little worried that the green is overpowering in the necklace. I love it - but will everyone else? Should I be using bronze seed beads instead of the green between the bumps? What do you think?

I'm also working on a limited edition lariat, which will feature Lydia Johns' fabulous fishie bead. How cool is this? The fringing on the sample is not finished yet, so it will be fuller (like at the bottom of the fringe tassel) - it's kinda like he's sitting on a bed of seaweed. I'm hoping to have these kits available by Bead & Button.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Peace and quiet

Today was lovely all around. I had lunch with a friend and it was a good talk and I'm always happy when I make the effort to find time for my friends. I'm not very good at it I'm afraid to report. Partially because my work schedule is all over the place, partially because I'm a hermit at heart, happy to sit and bead while watching American Idol. I'm working hard at making a better effort though, because I've realized I miss them. Sometimes it's good to remind myself there's a world outside of beading. Not as fun, naturally, but still.

I'm working tonight on finishing up some edits for a project that's going to Step By Step Beads in the morning. I'll do some more beading on the myriad of projects on my list. Just the repetitive samples tonight because I'm not particularly feeling the design mojo at the moment. It had better come visit me really soon, though. Deadlines are fast approaching. If I refuse to look at the calendar, will time stop??

For those of you in Austin, this Sunday is Bead Brunch at Nomadic Notions, and for the first time in several months I'll be there, so come by if you need help with any class projects or if you just want to hang out with the beading gang. 10am to noon.

I finally finished this class sample too and I'm really pleased with the result. It can be hard to see in a photo, but it has a dramatic swoop due to the use of two different sized beads. It's my Smashing Spiral Ndebele class which I'm teaching at Nomadic Notions May 6 & 13. There's still a few seats left.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why does my house look like a tornado has ripped through it? Oh yeah! It's because a 23 lb. one has been living here the past few days! Today was a little rough around the edges because Auntie Jill fumbled the nap by trying to put Alexis down too early. After that, the moment was gone. Cranky became the mood of the late afternoon and around dinner I escaped to go teach a class.

Mom's off to work in the morning and I think it will take all day for me to clean and gather Alexis' things for her to return home Tuesday night. It will distract us - she can "help" me!

And Wednesday things return to what passes as normal. Focus will shift back to beading and work and heavens knows there's a lot of it to focus on.

I spent a few minutes tonight reading one of my trashy serial killer novels (guilty pleasure) and there was a line in it that cracked me up. It reminds me of not only myself but also several of my friends. "You always did think too much to ever be completely happy." HA! I'm getting better at thinking less and coincidentally, my happiness level is increasing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

All present and accounted for

I'm delighted to report that all humans (small and large), felines, and canines are still alive and well in the Wiseman household. Adding in one rather compact wiggly baby girl to our usual mix of mild chaos is kinda like putting a cat in a hen house. All previous balance and order is instantly a distant memory.

When Alexis napped today, we ALL napped. Now that she's gone to bed (okay, actually a couple of hours ago, but don't let a good exaggeration get in the way of my story) we are all collapsing in bed. I know I promised photos today, and stories of beady pleasures, but dang, ya'll. I'm TIRED! How do parents do it day in and day out??

The good news is that I'm feeling an uptick in my health (I'm sure everyone is glad because they're tired of hearing about it.) I even stayed awake for a record 6 or 7 hours. At one time even! I tried to get a little work done today, but with the Munchkin here, fuggediboutit. She wants to get in to everything. Try it out with her five new teeth. Toss it in the air for the dogs. Throw it off the table. Especially that. Oh, that's good fun!!

Pray for me. I have two more days until her parents come home. I'm teaching Monday night and I'll NEVER have been so glad to do so. But man, she's so awesome. :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I hate it when that happens

There's little that makes me more upset than having to cancel a class because I'm sick. But doggone it, I had to do it tonight. When I woke up Saturday morning my throat was on fire and I knew the class probably wasn't gonna happen. It's a fine line between cancelling early enough to get in touch with everyone, but waiting as long as possible to see if I feel better. I finally decided that it was silly to take the chance on making a bunch of folks sick along with me. I'd be annoyed if I showed up at a class with an obviously sick instructor, so I'm hoping ya'll feel the same.

I'm glad I did it, though, as this evening has been no treat. I will feel better. I WILL! At least the store didn't have a class scheduled for next Saturday night so I will be able to have it next week instead. But there's always someone who can't make it and I feel so darned guilty.

Alexis (aka, Firecracker) is here and somehow she's confused turning 1 last week with turning 2! What a strong willed little girl! She's clearly going to be walking any moment, and I swear I heard her say "woof" twice. Mom told me she did the cutest thing while I was napping. Winston was laying on the ground and she scooted over to him and stared at him for a while. Then laid down with her head touching his and reached up to pet his head. Finally she turned over and did "mmmm...kiss" which all us adults do to have her give us kisses. Awww! Melt!

Mom, however, is already exhausted and she was only here five hours before bedtime. With me being quarantined, she's having to do it all, and I guess it's not as easy at 61 as it was at 24. Hee hee. Poor Mommie!

I unpacked the boxes that arrived back from Miami today so I can see what I need to make before they leave again for Phoenix. I also got a wholesale order from a bead store in Dallas that's pending - I'll let you know who they are as soon as we get it finalized.

I've been working on a Bubbles & Bumps necklace in colors to compliment the Curly-Q bracelet that everyone is so fond of, but I don't think the colors are working out the way I want. I'll show you a photo tomorrow so you can tell me. The bracelet is predominantly brown and the necklace turned out to be predominantly green, so... I may just be reworking that sucker again. I've got the pattern down so it's just the colors I need to tweak. I'd wear the green necklace, but I have a feeling not everyone will love it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hanging on

I'm not a sweet little sick thing. When I get sick I get whiny, cranky, and just plain annoying. I'm even annoyed with myself at this point. I made a break for it since I was feeling a little better when I got up this morning - decided to haul myself down to the International Gem & Jewelry show downtown in a futile search for a specific color, shape, and size of pearl. I should have known it was a wrong decision when my legs got rubbery walking across the street to pick up the mail.

By the time I was done at Intergem, spending a whopping 45 min. there, and that's only because I kept running into people I knew, I hightailed it back home and collapsed in bed. Not promising.

On the other hand, it was old home week at Intergem. I saw Eva & her mother, and Alex (Eva & Alex both from Nomadic Notions) in the parking garage and we walked in together. Then I ran into the triple threat of Kathryn, Beth, and Linda. I saw Sylvia and Aileen, and Nancy there too, but I didn't stop to talk because I knew by that time I needed to get home. Oh, and I saw Susan there and then ran into Claire on the way back to the parking garage. Like I said! EVERYONE!

I actually did make one more stop and that was at Joann's to pick out some fabric for my table top in Phoenix and beyond. Happily I found something I really like. And what else, of course, but ran into another beader there! Norma showed me the Hula Hoop bangle she'd completed from class last week.

I'm teaching Dazzling Dutch Spiral Saturday night and after that I'm going to spend the night at my brother's house since Alexis will be at my place. I don't want her to get my germies. I need to get better to take care of her on Mon and Tues when Mom goes to work.

The kit boxes arrived safely from Miami today and they all look like they had a good vacation. Time to take them out, take inventory, and restock. Right after I get a few more zzzzzs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I like this flying stuff

I think it's a measure of the progress of my career in beading that I suddenly find myself flying to shows instead of logging endless hours of driving cross country. I made the decision today to even fly to Bead & Button this year. Gulp.

The normal show set up comes with all manner of items I've deemed necessary over the years. Our carefully considered lighting contraption, lots of rolly carts to keep the kits organized, tables, tubs, yada, yada. It fills the back of the Honda Element with just a smidge of room left over for my suitcase and me. So making the decision to fly means throwing out three years of work on figuring out the perfect set up and starting over with what really needs to be there.

I can't say I'm sad I won't be spending 5 or 6 days driving there and back. The first day is great fun for me. I like driving and don't mind being alone. The running joke is that I'm happy as long as all I have to utter after the intensity of the B&B show is "Diet Coke, please" for 3 days afterward. And it's kinda true. But still - being away from home for three weeks straight takes an emotional toll.

I figure the cost of shipping my stuff there, plus my plane ticket will be cheaper than, or at worst, equal to, the cost of all those nights in hotels there and back, and, of course, gas. (Wow, can I throw more commas than that in a single sentence?) We'll see if that turns out to be true.

I didn't get much besides travel planning done today with this cold. A little beading. A friend swears Mucinex will kill what ails me before it turns to bronchitis. I'll stop at the store tomorrow to pick some up. Of course, last time I followed her medication advice, I tried Nyquil for the first time (I was 16) and it made me vomit all night. It's taken me 24 years to follow her advice again.

Got Vitamin C?

Bah. I've come down with a cold. I kinda felt it coming on when I was flying back home, but I was trying to ignore it and hoping I was wrong. Not so much. My voice lasted through last night's class, and today I sound like...well...a croaking frog? I'm going to try to take it a little easy today and rest up so I can rebound, but taking the day off totally isn't really an option.

I decided to add Bead Expo Phoenix on my schedule - I'm not teaching there, but I'll be in the expo hall, selling the kits and patterns. Come see me! It's in two weeks. Lots of my friends will be there so I'm really looking forward to it, and Arizona has always been nice to me. I can't seem to stay away.

I figured out for last night's students how many seed beads 8 kilos is - that's how much was here at home for me when I got back that needs to be transformed magically into kits. It's the equivalent of 267 tubes of beads, assuming they are 30 gram tubes. (Some are smaller.) So, a lot. And that's not everything I need before the month is out. UPS loves me.

There are still some seats available for my Bead & Button classes in Milwaukee in June. Come hang out with us and have fun!

The class sign ups at Nomadic Notions for the next quarter opened yesterday and my four new classes all got gobbled up. I was smarter this quarter and offered each of them twice, so there's still at least one space available in each of them, but not a lot. Don't dilly dally if you have your heart set on one of the earlier classes especially. When I left the store last night there was only one spot left in one and two spots in the other. I don't remember which ones exactly or I'd tell ya'. I was kinda dopey.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

The trip home was uneventful - I even mysteriously sailed through security for the first time in years! And blissfully, I had an empty seat beside me on both legs of the trip. On the first flight it was literally the ONLY empty seat. Even better, with Anne pep talk (she's so good at it) I was driven to be working on new designs while on the airplane and I accidentally hit on something really good! I mean, Really Good. It's not ready to share yet because I'm still working out design elements, but I'm so pleased with it. I should have bought a lottery ticket yesterday! But I was too darned tired to stop until I hit my driveway.

After being greeted by waggy tails and puppy dog kisses, a little purring from the feline contingent, and a quick run through Sunday's newspapers, I collapsed in bed. Only to have nightmares about showing up to teach a class and finding out that I'd lost the instructions. So I was trying to write and draw a new set while they sat there staring at me with nothing to do, getting madder and madder. I finally finished drawing them by the time the class was supposed to be over and the group was pretty livid by that point. Ugh!

I'm teaching the second part of a class tonight at Nomadic Notions and the irony is that I'm so tired and disconnected from life here in Austin that at this moment I can't even remember which class it is. But don't worry! I'll look it up and they already have their instructions since it's the second night of a two part - that I remember!!

I'm feeling very grateful today on many fronts.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Greetings from Sunny Miami

Happy first birthday my sweet niece, Alexis!! Aunt Jilly loves you!

Finally - a moment to catch up! This weekend in Miami has been a whirlwind, as shows usually are. The trip to Miami was uneventful despite American Airlines best efforts. I did learn, however, that traveling with an expired driver's license sucks because they make you go through the extra security check stuff when you do. Oopsie. Although I often have to go through the extra check anyway because of all the crazy stuff I'm carrying in my bag, so I just assume and build it into my airport time anyway.

The show was on the smaller side for me, but fun in ways I hadn't anticipated. I was lucky enough to have my booth next to Anne Mitchell, a fabulous chain maille artist and metalsmith. I've known who she was for years but had never had the opportunity to get to know her. After this weekend we're fast friends and I know we will stay that way. She's wicked funny and amazing at what she does and a generous soul to boot.

Sharon Hessoun was my roommate for the weekend. She and I met in Philadelphia at Bead Fest last August when we both were teaching there. She does this really cool wire knitting stuff and I even bought one of her kits to play with. In my spare time - you know. Ahem. She's a hoot and a half too!

We also hung out with the Jane's Fiber and Beads gals several nights - hilarity ensued, shoes were lost, the waitress was a saint. Good times with good people. I can't wait for the next show.

Usually I'm such a hermit at the shows, but this weekend has taught me what I'm missing out on by doing so. The beading community is awesome - welcoming, exciting, interactive, and slightly wacky. Just the way I like it. So I think I'm "doomed" to socialize with all my new friends at shows in the future. What a terrible thing! (I can't wait for Bead & Button!)

So later today I brave the trek back home. I have a huge seed bead order that will probably be there by the time I get back, so the rest of the week is focused on getting kits prepared for the back-to-back Stafford/Houston and Bead & Button shows that are closer than I can believe, making samples for 2009 class submissions, sending in a few submissions to magazines, and, if I'm lucky and the gods are good, a massage.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

PLEASE let me have a flight

So I wake up this morning to news of the 1,000 flight cancellations that American Airlines has made today, and warnings that they may continue tomorrow also. And while my flight from Austin to Houston is on Continental, Houston to Miami is American, of course. And now there's roughly 100,000 people who's flights were cancelled, trying to get to their destinations. Tomorrow figures to be interesting, eh? I figure I'm going to make sure I have a good bead project and a couple of books. Luckily I have some wiggle room in my schedule. As long as I get to Miami by early Friday I'm good. After that, I'm not so happy.

I wanted to share with you guys a photo that Daryne sent me a few days ago. She's a fast beader! She got the directions for Josephine's Fortune just a few weeks ago and has already completed this one for her mother for Mother's Day. She's planning on making one for herself now in greens and copper. Gorgeous!!

I'll try to keep the blog updated while I'm in Miami. The hotel has the nerve to charge $10 a day for internet access, but they also have a business center so if I can find the energy I'll post from there. Or I'll pop for the $10 a day. Because a Jilly without internet is a Jilly breaking out in hives. I don't know how people existed without it!

29 hours left to take off

Not that I'm counting or anything. I fly out of Austin at 7am on Thursday and I have so very much to do between now and then. I have a few last minute kits to put together, although not many. Laundry needs to be finished so packing can happen. I need to sort through all the samples and make sure I have all the ones I need safely packed.

The samples always go with me in person. No shipping. No checked luggage. Can you imagine if they all got stolen or lost? That's months of beading that would be gone! So I'm pretty protective of my babies.

I always try to get a seat on the aisle too, so on the longer segments I can bead. I don't bother pulling the stuff out if it's only an hour or shorter, but longer flights are great for beading as long as I don't pour out lots of beads at a time. You know I have that list of 25 beading projects I need to make some progress on!

And what have I been doing tonight instead of working on the beading project list? Well, first I taught a class tonight. And I was happy to see some new folks in the room - I love you "usual" gals, but we need fresh blood every once in a while too! When I came home I started working on a Laura McCabe kit that came in the mail today instead of doing my own projects. Sigh! But sometimes it's important to see how other folks in my world are doing things. Compare my kits to some of the big names out there. Make sure they don't have any great ways of doing things that I'm missing out on.

I'm happy to say that I still feel like my kits are great values and projects. Example: Laura's instructions are solely for those beaders who already have previous knowledge of a lot of beading techniques. She gives abbreviated instructions and the diagrams in this set of instructions are actually hand-drawn. Not even computer graphics like I do. They're hard to follow - I'm doing a lot of going back in forth in the instructions to catch what she's talking about. They reference using Crystal Fireline in the instructions due to the color of the beads being used, but the Fireline they included in the kit was Smoke, so I had to go track down my own. And the biggest thing for me is that she's got you doing things like making four passes of thread through a Size 15 Czech seed bead which I'm here to tell you is almost impossible. I tried it, but actually broke the bead trying to force the needle through. So I came up with a work around, but can everyone? And why do it if it's so hard to do? That's a design problem in my eye. I would never purposely do that to any of my customers.

On the other hand, the way she's put the project together is giving me some ideas for my own, so like I said, it's important to do this. I try to buy one or two kits a year from some of the big names and even if I don't have time to do the projects just reading through their instructions and seeing how they're putting things together is very useful continuing education.

I promised Kathryn tonight at class that I was going to post a photo I got from one of my fabulous customers of her Josephine's Fortune necklace, but I'm tired! So I'm off to bed right now, and I'll post it tomorrow. A little last show and tell before I take to the skies.

Monday, April 7, 2008

It's amazing what you find...

...when you clean! My bead room has been out of control ever since we moved into the new house in Sept. I'm finally making a lot of progress, though. Having the bead garage sale a few weeks ago helped weed out things I'm no longer using and forced quite a bit of clean up in finding the things that needed to go in the sale.

You know how you always have the best of intentions when you move? That you're going to pack in a very organized fashion. Like things will be packed with like things. Boxes will be carefully labeled with the contents. And then reality hits and you're out of time and things start flying into any box that's nearby with a smidge of room left and labeling? HA! Well, I had about six bead boxes like that when we first moved in. I'm down to two that haven't been gone through and sorted now which I call major headway. Those boxes are the pits to go through!

Once everything is sorted and more or less put in a spot, then I plan on doing a second round of organizing and sorting to make things more efficient. For instance, I keep all my beads in drawers, and right now I have several drawers labeled Gemstones, several labeled pressed glass - all of which could be consolidated and organized better. I need a list of what seed beads I own so when I go shopping I stop buying the same tubes over and over again like a magpie.

I bought one of those label makers that attaches to your computer and it's the best thing since Swarovski crystals. I love that sucker! Sit still for long enough in my house and you may find yourself slapped with a label!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mother/Daughter day

After a crummy night's sleep (my back was hurting and keeping me up) I woke up this morning and puttered around the house for a while. Then Mom & I decided to go see a movie. We saw "The Bank Job" which was really quite good. We saw it at the Alamo Drafthouse, which, for those of you not in Austin is a movie theater where they serve you food at your seat too. And not just junk, but really good quality stuff so it's a unique event when you go.

Afterward we stopped by a nursery that is so popular they have to hire parking staff to coordinate people in the parking lot. Seriously! The day was perfection so it doesn't surprise me how many folks were there. We managed to buy a few things for the yard. Mom's still in planting mode despite hobbling around in that bootie of hers. I'm going to have to sit on her tomorrow to keep her from doing too much. I'll do it, too - just watch me!

Then a drop by visit to my brother's house so we could get a baby fix. My niece, Alexis, turns 1 year old next week. I'll be missing her birthday party because I'll still be in Miami for Bead Fest, but the following week she's staying with Mom & me for 4 straight days while her parents escape to Las Vegas. I hope we survive! She's such a doll, though, and good natured almost all the time. She adores the dogs, so that's always fun to watch. She's learned how to give kisses now. Heart breaker!

So by the time we got back home, we were both wiped out. I haven't gotten much work done today which is scary since I've got to ship my boxes to Miami on Monday. All the kits need to be finished and packed by mid-day Monday. The good news is that I don't teach on Sunday so I've got all day plus Mom's help. Thank goodness for mommies!

Friday, April 4, 2008


I've always been a list-maker and it's more important now than ever before for me. I can't keep everything straight in my head and when I try, my head threatens to explode. Before it reaches the detonation point, I end up having a manic list-making session to organize myself.

I was up until 5am the other night doing just, I'm a night owl as we all know. But 5am is extreme even for me. I usually top out around 3am. But I couldn't turn off the wheels in my brain until I had everything safely written down, so the birdies and I greeted daylight together.

My lists were a simple "to-do" for my regular life, a "to-do" for Tapestry Beads, and the big, honkin' one - a beading projects that need to be made list. Samples make my world go around. I need samples for display at Nomadic Notions, I need samples for display at bead shows, I need samples to turn in to Bead & Button when proposing classes for the B&B Show annually, I need samples for any projects I submit for publication, and I need samples to wear. All of that has finally gotten to the point where I can no longer keep up making all the samples! My list that I worked up has 25 projects that I need to get made and that's not really including a lot of new stuff. Maybe 4 of them are new - things I'm working out the design on that I want to submit for classes for 2009.

Believe it or not, the deadlines for the national bead classes for 2009 are right around the corner. The first one is May 15. That means I've got to be on the creative ball NOW so I can have the projects worked out, photographed, blurbs and supply lists written, and all properly documented in time.

My calendars and my lists. My lifeline.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

If it ain't your mother, it's your dog

While Mom is hulking around the house with her ski boot foot and coming to terms with needing to let her foot heal, the new problem child is Winston, our puppy. He's 10 months old now - old enough that he needs to stop eating EVERYTHING. And I'm not even kidding one little bit.

We knew pretty early after getting him that we were going to have to be careful about the beads for a while until he grew up. And sure enough there was a famous Delica incident that caused him to have very sparkly poop for a day or two. And then there was the time I pulled Fireline out of his butt. He eats paper, books, stuffed animals, shoes, pens, hair clips, his brush, chewy bones that aren't supposed to be destructible, clothing (he's a total pantie thief), the tv remote goes on and on. It takes me 20 minutes to pick up everything at night to puppy proof the house before I go to bed.

But this is really the ultimate. Mom had gone to bed and left her beading tray on the coffee table. No problem - I was still up and he doesn't usually get destructive until no one's around. But then I was in the office for a while on the computer and all of a sudden I hear the noise of his tag clinking against the plastic beading I jumped up and ran in there and sure enough, he was on the coffee table, the tray was askew, and he was chewing. So I swooped in and stuck my fingers in his mouth and came out with a very beautiful pink beaded flower for a new project Mom's working on. Snatched out of the very jaws of destruction! Victory!

But not quite. Mom realized the next day that her bobbin of thread was missing from the tray. We searched and searched and couldn't find it. Verdict? Winston ate it. Would it come out? Come unraveled? Did we need to take him to the vet? He started having some weird action from both ends of him, but we never saw the spool of thread ejected. So now we're not sure. I'm keeping a close eye on him for signs of distress, but so far so good.

And he's got a cast iron stomach, it seems. We had given him some hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting to get it up that way and it didn't even phase him. When I did that to my late dog, Kirby, after he'd gotten into some ant poison, Kirby frothed at the mouth for an hour after.

Winston is something else. And with a little luck, he might even make it to adulthood.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What a difference a bead makes

I often tell my classes that not all beads are equal, no matter what the size number is. A Japanese size 11 is about the same size as a Czech size 10. Usually. Unless they aren't. I related how I was struggling with adapting my Czech bead version of the Leaf Tipped Lariat to a Japanese version, and I finally gave up.

Here's a photo of what I'm talking about. The top one is the reject. You can see much more of the core beads (although it's not as aparent in this photo), and see how much bigger those Size 6 beads are in the center of each loop? the lines of the light amethyst don't sit as well because of how big the Size 6 beads are at the core, and last, but not least, the dark amethyst is much darker in the Czech version on the bottom.

But it's not just that. I also have been working on a personal necklace from my Bubbles & Bumps class. (Kit version is on the way - beads to be ordered after I get back from Miami.) I'm doing it in Brown Iris, which is a favorite bead color of mine and as I was working along I realized that I had purchased some Czech one-cuts in Brown Iris not so long ago, and I should be using the one-cuts for extra sparkle. So I started over with the one-cuts. (Side note: I'd actually purchased some from two different vendors - and guess what? They're really different colors. I had to dump them together and mix them to get enough for this project.) And as I'm going along, all of a sudden the spacing on the necklace seemed quite different. I put the original version with Czech size 11s next to the new version with Czech size 11 one-cuts, and the size of those beads is totally different! AGH!! In this case it doesn't matter much. I was easily able to make the changes necessary for it to work, but it's not always that easy.

I'm a little worried about a new class I'll be teaching at Nomadic Notions this summer called Ring Around the Rosie. Making the circles ruffled the way they should look for this project calls for very exact bead sizes to make it work. But I know not everyone will purchase their beads at Nomadic Notions for the class. Some will bring beads in from the outside. And a Toho size 11 is twice the width of a Miyuki size 11. I've decided when I do the kit version, I'm only going to sell it as a kit because if you get the instructions and buy beads that don't work together, not everyone will understand that it's because of the beads and not the designer, ya' know?

A day in the life. Seed bead minutia.

If it ain't one thing, it's your mother

I swear! I've got to watch that woman every moment. We had some excitement at Casa de Wiseman this weekend when Mom decided to be Wonder Woman. She was building a new raised bed garden for some roses we bought the previous weekend, and of course those 75lb stones left by the masons who did our house would be the perfect thing. And they will look quite perfect! But getting them from one side of the yard to the other is the part that tripped her up. Literally.

We figured out that she could flip them end over end on to a dolly, then use the dolly to get them across the yard. We were quite proud at our ingenuity. Until the dolly hit a divot in the yard, the stone see where this is going, right?? Mom's foot happened to be in the way as the stone came crashing down.

Now the thing that saved worse catastrophe was that she was wearing socks and shoes (protecting the pedicure she and I had both gotten that morning) and that the stone hit the side of her foot rather than dead on top. But even so, it immediately puffed up to the size of a softball - it was scary - I didn't know your skin could stretch so dramatically. I took her to minor emergency and they loaded her up with a bootie and crutches. They couldn't tell right away from the xray if the foot was broken or not. Too much swelling.

She went to see her regular doc about it today, and she said they will treat it as if it's broken anyway, so Mom's getting a new, more stabilizing bootie to wear for the next 3-6 weeks. Sigh. Of course, it could have been so much worse.

In beady news, that darned lariat kit is giving me fits. When I made the first sample for the store I do a lot of teaching at, Nomadic Notions, I was using the Czech seed beads they have there. I was so thrilled with the way the colors flowed that I decided to use the same color scheme for the kit version. Easy! Except I use Japanese seed beads for the kits. And converting the colors over seems like it would be simple, but it turns out it's not. I've been working on the kit sample and the colors just weren't popping the right way. Plus a Japanese Size 6 seed bead is significantly taller than a Czech Size 6 which is effecting the way everything is laying. So I made the choice last night to stop trying to force it to work with the Japanese beads, and I ordered some Czech to use in the kit. Actually, I just ordered small quantities of several colors that appear to be the right ones. I want to check them in person before I order masses of them. So the lariat kit is delayed and now I won't have it for Bead Fest Miami in 10 days. Bummer. But I want it to be right for ya'll. That's what you pay me for!! To do the digging for the right beads and the goofing up.