Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mystery in Round Rock

We had a strange thing happen to the Wiseman Family this Thanksgiving.

While my brother & sister-in-law were visiting her family in Dallas over the holiday, someone took it upon themselves to add Holiday lawn decorations to their house. It's a "complete mystery" who might have done such a thing. Personally, I think it was brilliant. Genius, even.

The Elves left a Santa doll that's as big as Alexis, two lighted spiral Christmas trees, and a Snoopy holiday light. Rich sent some photos to us tonight showing how much Alexis loved the surprise. Is she not the most adorable munchkin ever??

Whoever the Elves might have been (giggle) have big plans for the future. Like maybe NEXT year when they go to Becky's family for Thanksgiving, additional lawn ornaments will be "anonymously" added to the display. Wouldn't that be awesome? Those Elves are the funniest people I know!

Friday, November 28, 2008


Woof! This is Winston, taking over the blog for the day because it's MY DAY! (wag, wag, wiggle) Today is one hooman year since I came to live with Mama June and Mama Jill and my step-sisters, Maggie, Piper, and Josie. It's great being the only man in the house - I show them all the time how manly I am and they kiss and cuddle and coo at me.

Okay, so maybe when they call me Winnie the Poo I'm not feeling so manly. Or worse, Winnie Poo Poo Head. I get Wookie, and Boo Boo Bear too. But eventually I'll train them that when they call me that, things get eated. Socks, beads, leave it, I'll eated it. Now THAT'S manly!

Actually, Mama Jill was noticing that I'm having a maturity shift the last few weeks - whatever! I've got her snowed! But I realized that if I calm down more, then the destruction, when it comes, is much funner because it's a surprise! Wheeee!

Anyway, Happy Adoptiversary to me! I sure luv my hoomans. And I think they finally luvs me too. I had to bat my long eyelashes at them. Works every time.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lost a post?

I'm so confused - I just looked at the blog to remind myself of what I'd last told ya'll about the doings around here, and the last post I made is missing!? I KNOW I wrote it - but it's just gone. Well drat.

Okay, that means it's catch-up time! Mom and I are planning on spending the holiday weekend eating (naturally,) napping (just as naturally,) finalizing the menu for the Holiday Open House, and doing our decorating. My brother's family is with the in-laws over Thanksgiving, so that means it's just Mom and me on this holiday. But then we get them, and the ever entertaining Munchkin!) on Christmas - and get to see her open her gifts. I think it's a good trade off.

I got another round of good news today - unfortunately it's too early to share with you guys. But I'm hopeful it won't be too much longer before I can tell all! 2009 is shaping up to be quite the year and I'm really looking forward to it. Great classes coming...great new kits...fabulously fun opportunities...Wheee!!

A Thanksgiving quote:
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
—Melody Beattie

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stimulating the economy

Mom and I sure did our part today to help alleviate the economic crisis. Shoes were purchased (two pair for Mom! A record! And a pair for me as a "commission") which was the critical component. We tried to clear out the holiday aisles of Hobby Lobby, but their reserves are more than we could handle. I think we made a tiny dent. You've got to love 50% off.

There were two things that really struck us both on our shopping excursion. First, the lack of bodies around us. The weekend before Black Friday and yet the stores were painfully empty. Which leads to the second thing - aggressive sales people. I've never in my life been as worked by sales staff as we were today. They were clearly hurting for business in a BIG way.

I couldn't sleep last night because the hamster in my brain was running along on that wheel as it likes to do sometimes - but the good news is that I think I got a potentially really great project idea out of it. I drew it out to describe it to Mom at lunch today, and she liked it too. Now if I can simply make it reality.

I have SO many projects to bead right now - but I haven't really been able to plop down and dedicate the time to do it. My Thanksgiving week is looking beautifully devoid of places to be, however, and while I need to finish painting my bedroom before the Open House, there should also be time to get some designing work done too.

Bead Brunch at Nomadic Notions in the morning means I should be crawling into bed about now...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Falling down on the job

Kelly R. told me in class last night that I was falling behind on the blog, and I'll be darned, she was right! Know what's funny? I think about what I'm going to put in the blog all the time - the trick is sitting down and writing all the good material that's in my head. Couldn't ya'll just plug into my head once a day instead??

Preparations for the Holiday Open House are coming along fast and furious. Mom and I have a big joint shopping project scheduled for Saturday. Priority #1 - shoes. Priority #2 - holiday decorations, big and small.

And it's a good thing this day o' shopping was planned like a week ago. Because this 50 degree weather is kicking my butt! I haven't wanted to do anything at all today because it's too darned cold. It's really quite amazing to me that I ever lived in Wisconsin where today would be a veritable heat wave.

Thursday was a really awesome day for me. I had lunch with an old friend I haven't seen in four years. Derek and I worked together back in 1999-2000 at a high tech company, and kept in touch for several years afterwards, but eventually drifted apart. Interestingly enough, we both left high tech for self-employment around the same time. He went to grad school and became a licensed counselor and now has his own successful practice. We'll definitely stay in touch this time.

We ate at The Shady Grove, which is a big Austin favorite. They have a really peaceful and lovely outdoor seating area, which is where Derek & I ate (given that it was 75 degrees yesterday!) and all the tables are gracefully sheltered by an ancient, amazing pecan tree. (It ain't called Shady Grove for nuthin') But there was one little thing marring the atmosphere. Dive bombing pecans falling at breakneck speed from the tippy top of the tree, and hitting everywhere! I got hit by three pecans personally - others landed in food, on the table, one hit just right so that Derek's tea spoon was catapulted from his tea glass across the table. Every three minutes or so, you'd hear the sharp crack of another landing ring across the patio, and we'd all take stock of the damage. It was so absurd, it kind of made up for the annoying part. We vowed to bring our own umbrellas to protect us next time!

Now I should get back to counting out little tiny crystals. Yup! They arrived! So that's also on this weekend's task list - getting them photographed and put up on the website for sale. Soon, my friends, soon!

Monday, November 17, 2008

What a great weekend

This whole weekend turned out to be so fun. Getting to spend some time with Alexis - she's a little sponge, absorbing everything she sees - it's fascinating to watch her experience the world and figure it out.

We had an absolute blast with class Saturday afternoon at the house. It was a super group and they picked up on the project right away which means we could spend most of our time laughing and talking. Winston went purse-diving a few times, and scored the last bite of a granola bar, and a crackers wrapper. Next class we'll have a purse table so they're up and out of his reach! He seems to have a purse fetish, though, as he also was sleeping on Kelly R's purse several times.

It was such a lovely afternoon that it made me sad that I didn't have any home classes scheduled in December. What to do? I know! Let's throw a Customer Appreciation Holiday Open House! Yippee!

First Annual Holiday Open House
Sunday, December 7
Noon - 5pm
Tapestry Beads Studio

We'll have food, punch, soft drinks...
If you've got a fabulous dish that you want to bring and show off, feel free!

Hourly door prizes, with one grand prize at the end of the day.
Grand prize will be one free Tapestry Beads Studio class, including a free kit.

Come and spend five minutes, or all five hours!
Tables will be set up for beading, so bring a project to work on...
Or just a bunch of show and tell!

Special celebrity guest appearances by:
Alexis Wiseman
Winston Wiggles Wiseman
Maggie Wiseman

Mom and I are having a blast, working on the open house - why didn't we think of this earlier?

And lastly, on Sunday, I taught the first class of Parisian Lights, and things went smooth as silk. The first one done was Padma - in 90 minutes! And everyone else finished their bracelets by the end of class, save one. And she was only 15 or 20 min. away from finishing. It's always a relief when a first class like that goes well.

Today I'm at home all day - no reason to leave the house at all. Downtime, that's so necessary for me. Not that I'm sleeping all day. So much to do! I'm ordering a bunch of really cool new beads and goodies for the Open House and new kits, working HARD on a big outline I need to finalize, and I'm surrounded by piles of paperwork that need to be taken care of. So I'm off!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth

Fact: One of the suitcases in the living room is actually empty. Just hasn't made it to the garage yet.

Fact: Mom really never does sleep past 7am. So what was up with that whole 10:20am thing? She's trying to encroach on my Vampira territory!

Fact: I'm now reconsidering my decision to let her have the password to the blog!!


I spent the evening finishing up a Hula Hoop bracelet, embellished with my lovely little 2mm Swarovski crystals, and it's so fabulous I may just wear it to bed. I was smart enough to put all the crystals on the outside of the bangle where they show, and use only seed beads on the inside part that lays next to your wrist. More comfortable and less pricey that way.

What I should have been doing is cleaning up around the house in preparation for Saturday afternoon's class here. Not a lot is likely to be accomplished in the morning because Mom agreed to babysit Alexis here from 7:20am (AM??) until noon. A toddler and cleaning do not mix well, even with two adults here. We play "pass the baby" as we run out of things to amuse her and as we need to get things done.

I got two new tables ordered for our teaching studio today - unfortunately they won't arrive for 10 or so days, so the gang tomorrow will have to deal with my makeshift setup one more time. I'm basically creating a large, double-wide square in the center of the room that will have room for 8 to sit really comfortably, and in a pinch, we can fit in as many as 12 by separating the two tables.

Word is leaking out a little bit, so I want to go ahead and let everyone know that starting in Feb. 2009, I'm going to be taking a six month leave of absence from teaching at Nomadic Notions. With everything I'm juggling in 2009, I simply can't keep up the amount of teaching and class assisting I was doing there too. The last year I've spent an average of 12-15 evenings a month at the store, teaching. That's a LOT of teaching! And freeing up that time during Mom's knee surgeries, the busiest of my annual travel schedule, and when I need to be designing a bazillion projects will make me more sane. That's the plan anyway. Remind me of that later, when I'm going crazy, will ya'?

I'll still be teaching at most of the national shows, 1-2 classes a month here at my home, and I'll be doing some guest teaching gigs for various bead clubs and bead stores. So it's not like I'm going into hiding! I'm simply trying to reclaim a little bit of having a life.

If you're not already on the email list that receives the announcements for my home classes (in Pflugerville, Texas - a few miles north of Austin) and you'd like to be, just send me a note asking me to add you to the home classes email list. (

Friday, November 14, 2008

What Jill Didn't Tell You

From June:
First, let me totally agree with Jill's most recent post. Any flat surface? Covered in 24 hours. Even though I told her the table was lava. Covered. Unpacked suitcase from the Houston show before the last Houston show in the hallway. Unpacked suitcase from the last Houston show in the living room. Sob. It's about the only thing Jill and I clash on with living together, but I guess it could be worse. And I really do like living with Jill.

What Jill didn't tell you about our last Houston show was our Sunday morning episode. You have to know that I am typically a morning person. Even on weekends, I'm usually awake by 7 a.m. Occasionally I'll sleep until 8 or after, but not often. So the bead show opened at 11 on Sunday morning. We were both exhausted Saturday night, and went to bed about 9. (Yes, we are party animals.) Neither of us set an alarm, counting on my usual early morning wake-up.

The next morning I did wake up at one point. Vampira, of course, was snoring in her bed. The clock in our hotel room was broken, and the nearest cell phone to check the time was too far away. I was still sleepy, so I turned over and went back to sleep. The next time I woke up, I did break down and grab the cell phone. Looked at the time with a mixture of incredulousness (is that a word?) and panic. It was 10:20, and we were at least 20 minutes away from the show site, and were a shower and make-up away from being fit to be seen in public.

I woke up Vampira, and she reminded me that on Saturday, it had taken shoppers a while to get down to the lower level where we were, so I relaxed. We laughed about it as we were getting ready. I'd slept for over 13 hours! I don't think I've ever slept that long unless I was sick. Go figure.

We will not count on the June alarm clock in the future as it is obviously faulty!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

One pile after another

Anyone who's spent any time with me knows what a Messy Bessy I can be. I'm one of those people who walks into a room, and within five minutes I have my stuff spread on every available surface. I'm not quite sure how it happens. There's a gremlin that follows me around and does it when my back is turned.

As a result, my coping strategy is piles. Can't find a space to put something? Take all the papers that are all over the desk and put them in a neat pile! There! Look at all that space. Repeat for six months and what have you got? Piles covering every available surface. Can't ignore it any longer. Must work on piles. Finding homes for filing items. Throwing out all the out of date stuff (oops!) Freaking out when finding important things in a pile that should have been taken care of a long time ago.

And boxes - how in the world do I have so many boxes in my life?? I do a lot of ordering via the internet and the boxes come several times a week. I should set up a box store. Reuse and repurpose all these myriad of boxes so I don't have to deal with them.

A WildFire shipment arrived today, so I'm restocked after the flurry of buying at the Houston Bead Society Show last weekend. Everyone adores this stuff.

The new 2mm Swarovski crystals are being shipped, and yet, I still haven't gotten the first batch up for sale on Etsy or the Tapestry Beads website. Sigh.

I'll be teaching two classes in Philadelphia at Bead Fest next year - Piazza Perline and Ring Around the Rosie. Excellent choices!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blink, blink - home again!

The 2008 shows are done for me. Deep exhale. It's putting me in a reflective mood - as Mom and I were discussing over the weekend, this year has been a flurry of activity and good news for the most part. Sure, there have been some speed bumps. Several popped up in the last few weeks. But overall, I am so very pleased with everything we've accomplished this year. I set some crazy goals I had very little chance of making come to fruition, and I'll be darned if a few of them actually came true.

I think part of the success is that I'm getting so much better at forward planning and thinking. It's a trick to look beyond where I am this very moment sometimes. I have two sets of urgent items on my mind every day. First, I check in with myself on the immediate, short-term things that need to happen. What classes am I teaching this week? Where am I traveling next, and have I made all the necessary travel arrangements? Do I need to mail things out? And then there's the long-term planning - what do I need to be working on for 2009? Is the schedule filled? What new designs will be coming out next year? What are the teaching proposal deadlines for 2010 and do I need to be working on samples for them? What are the trends, colors, styles that customers are wanting to see and am I meeting those needs? Which projects should I submit for magazine publications?

A million questions like these run through my mind every day. It's a little less daunting and scary overall now that I've been through a few cycles of it. It's still surprising to me that I need to be thinking NOW about what kind of classes I want to be teaching in 2010, but if I don't, I'll be caught in a frenzy of last minute scrambling when the teaching proposals are due. And I don't like that one bit.

So now that I'm home for two whole months (minus a few vacation days in Tucson) it's time to do all this big planning and getting ready for next year. I can't wait to dive on in there! I'm very excited about the things we have on the list, including (but not limited to):
  • Revamping our show display
  • Adding WildFire, 2mm Swarovski crystals, and good quality & cool clasps to the website
  • Submitting a bunch of projects for magazine publication
  • Updating and selling discontinued kits as patterns only
  • Bundling patterns in booklets and/or CDs
  • More classes here at the Tapestry Beads studio
  • And much, much more! (said in a deep, important TV announcer voice)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blink - I'm back on the road again

Four whole days at home, and poof! I'm off to Houston yet again. Not that I don't love Houston. I do. But three weekends in a row?

You guys will be so proud of me. We actually had the Element packed and ready to go by 8:30 tonight. So totally a record - Mom tried to spoil it by saying it's just because we were too lazy to unpack from last weekend's show - but that simply ain't true! I bought some new storage containers, most importantly for our lighting which has been hauled around while bundled in a blanket. It was a tragedy waiting to happen. Now I've dodged it.

Winston has become a world class escape artist in the last few weeks, and it's resulted in more than a few neighborhood comedic moments with me running in various states of undress down the street, ineffectively yelling his name over and over again. We've taken to sneaking out of the house via the garage to keep him from getting out. Not a good long term plan. I'm worried about my brother getting in and out this weekend while he's pet sitting. I guess Winny and I will be having a date with a trainer after all. Of course, I bought the training book and the training DVD and have I done anything with them at all? Well, I did start the book this week. Yes, I realize its the owners in this home that need the training. All Winston is doing is being really good at dog behavior.

Come see us at the show this weekend! It's at the HESS Club on Westheimer.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Catching up

An amazing surprise arrived on our doorstep this afternoon - nope, not a puppy - but our desktop computer! Back home from its spa rejuvenation at HP Tech Support. As we suspected, it was wiped clean, so we're in the process of reinstalling all the programs and files and yada, yada. You're tired of hearing about our computer woes, aren't you? So are we! Hopefully we'll get a break for a while now.

We're home for only four days before leaving again on Friday for Houston for the last time this year. The Houston Bead Society Show is Fri, Sat, and Sunday. I've attended as a customer before, but I've never had a booth there for various reasons. I'm happy it all worked out this year, although I admit some trepidation about sales in this economy. The Quilt Show was down for virtually every vendor I spoke with - not too surprising, really. People were still buying, but with lists of needs instead of simply picking up anything that appealed to them. I get it, because that's the way I'm shopping these days too.

I'll have some WildFire at the show this weekend, but not a lot of it since I sold some at the Quilt Show too. I have another reorder on the way to me but I doubt it will arrive before Friday. I can take orders at the show and mail them at no charge, though.

I've got photos to share, and stories to tell, but I'm fading fast tonight. What's this? At only 12:20am? I'm losing my Vampira mojo!