Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Speaking of Tucson...

Who's going to the Gem Shows in February? Did you know that you have an incredible opportunity to take a full-day class from the combined brilliance of Gail Crosman Moore and Anne Mitchell? It's a special workshop they've put together just for the Tucson shows and it will cover techniques to apply color patina(!) to metal, as well as exploring cold join and fusing techniques. You can find more info at:

New Year's Eve Day

I haven't left the house in days, and I love it. I think Mom's starting to get worried that my butt might grow into the sofa or the desk chair. Alas, I'll have to venture out on Wednesday - to the Post Office, the bead store, and I think I'll treat myself to a Chinese food lunch which I'm craving mightily.

I'd planned a vacation to visit the mighty Anne Mitchell in Tucson over the holiday, but my fear of not having enough days to get done all that needs to get done in the month of January made me balk. Happily I won't have to wait much longer to visit Tucson & Anne anyway - the infamous Tucson Gem Shows are only a smidge over a month away.

Mom & I are turning over about half the kits for 2009 - that's a lot of new stuff! And we're finalizing samples, ordering beads, and writing instructions. I also have to restock the kits we're keeping, and do some juggling of resources to find places to organize it all.

I also sent out an email to the Home Classes email list about classes which will be held in Jan, Feb., and March. I give them first shot at signing up - and then if I still have any slots available by Friday, I'll post the info here on the blog. If you want to be added to the Home Classes email list, just shoot me and email at and tell me so. I've already started doing two sessions in one day to try to accommodate folks - I've got room for 8 per class, so by doing two classes in a day I can fit in 16. Even then, I'm pretty sure we're going to be filling both sessions most of the time. I appreciate ya'll so much!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jill Taking Photos

(From June)
What's funny about Jill taking photos on Christmas was that Rich's camera is a pretty high-powered one, and the shutter is very sensitive. Jill couldn't take just one picture - everytime she took one, it took a second one before she could get her finger off the button. So there are doubles of all her shots. We were laughing at her, and Rich said, "Here, I can adjust the sensitivity higher on the shutter." So he took the camera, looked at it and said, "Oh, it's as already high as it will go."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Photos from our Christmas

Alexis, running for the tree when we finally let her loose. All the presents were for her. Mom and I exchanged gifts on Christmas Eve, and the rest of us agreed to forgo gifts this year. Rich & Becky got an amazing full kitchen renovation instead.

She was a determined kiddo - taking this new gift to Daddy for assembly. And she made it!

The rest of us enjoyed watching her flit from toy to toy. It was a complete overload for her. Becky is enjoying her non-alcoholic Mimosa here. In other words: orange juice. I'm sure Baby Boy Wiseman loved it.

I was busy taking photos with Rich's crazy professional camera. Talk about not having a clue.

After presents, naps for all, and dinner, we worked in their new kitchen to make Christmas cookies. Here's Mom, Alexis, and Becky making the frosting. Please note Alexis and Becky's matching aprons!

This is actually the first cookie Alexis has ever eaten. She liked it. She's a Wiseman, afterall.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Back to freezing again

I had such high hopes of what I'd get done today. Working in the bead room on the reorganization project, a bunch of laundry, and finishing up a bangle for myself. Sadly, it was not to be. Instead I spent a good portion of the day huddled under blankets. The temperature here in Austin never got above 35 or so today, and the wind chill made it much colder. As I sit here, I hear sleet hitting outside. Mom & I have both remarked that this is the windiest winter we've known in Texas - for the last six weeks or so, the winds have been howling around 20+mph with great regularity.

I did finally work on that bangle, and I'm almost done. Why is it that a beader will always end up having to add thread when you're just a few rows shy of completion?? WHY, Universe, why?? I'm disheartened enough to be bad and leave it for tomorrow. I'll hate myself in the morning, but I promised Mom I'd get to bed by 2am, and I'm up against that deadline now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

This, and that, and the other thing

So much to cover tonight! Hold on - it's gonna be a long blog! We'll start with a pretty picture... These cases hold 4 hours of my life. My Size 15 seed bead drawer was out of control. OUT OF CONTROL! I couldn't find anything - couldn't close the drawer - didn't know what I had. So the Tapestry Beads Reorganization Expert (ahem, me) came to the rescue. She repackaged them all in flip top containers, made sure they were properly labeled, and then stowed them nicely in these 8 containers. So lovely. So organized. But what? I only have 127 colors of Size 15s?? Oh no! Must. Buy. More!

Now for the true confession. This is why I don't let people into my studio. This is one tiny corner of the chaos. And I wonder why I can't find things? There's probably more Size 15s buried on that table! So this afternoon, flush with my success at taming the Size 15s problem on Thursday, I marched into the studio with high hopes, garbage bags, and determination. What? You thought I was going to declare it's all better? Get real! Do you see how much stuff is there? But I did make some significant progress and there will be more made over the weekend. I'm retiring a bunch of kits from the current lineup, and working on moving in the supplies for the new 2009 kits. If I don't organize now, it will never happen. Never.

A few really cool opportunities have been brought to my attention recently, and I'm dying to share them with you guys -

First up - I'm just too excited to find out that the phenomenal Gail Crosman Moore is coming to Central Texas (New Braunfels) to teach an Intro to Borosilicate Beadmaking class, as well as her cool Felt as a Sculptural Vehicle class. Gail is a delightful woman with creativity that just oozes out her pores. I own a number of her Boro beads, and I'll probably own a few more after her Texas trip. Sigh!

You can find more details at: , but the quick download is this:

Intro to Borosilicate Beadmaking
Saturday, January 10, 2009
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

A great selection of Northstar clear & colored rod (approximately a pound) is included in your class fee and will be yours to take home after class. Torch, tools, all supplies and a delicious lunch is also included.
$225 per student

Felt as a Sculptural Vehicle
Sunday, January 11, 2009
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

$195 per student Your class fee includes your felting kit and a delicious lunch!

Honestly, this post is getting so long it's crazy. So more opportunities to be posted tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm the boss!

Everyone can breathe easy again - the big ol' honkin' pile of Failures is now a distant and picked apart memory. Today, I regained control of the beads - the herringbone necklace has been tamed and is totally gorgeous. I'm still gonna tweak a little on the embellishment, so it's not quite ready for an official unveiling yet, but the basic structure and lovely soft drape is there, and that's what was elluding me the last eleventy billion hours. Maybe I will actually be able to drift off to sleep now without chasing design problem remedies in my head for a few days.

So much to organize and prepare for and get put in place before the regularly scheduled chaos erupts again after the new year, but I'm realizing that it's probably not ALL going to be accomplished within that time frame. Picking what the most important pieces are and working towards them will have to be the revised goal.

Mom managed to dance with the devil long enough to cut some hair from around Winston's eyes tonight - what a difference! I'll try to catch him in a photo tomorrow. In the meantime, Maggie's been sporting this lovely sweater during our redonkoulsly cold weather. I think I'll finally spring her from it for a few days....but then we're back to highs of 45 by early next week again. So confusing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

When Beads Misbehave

I sometimes tell my students that you've got to let the beads know who's in charge when you're working. And sometimes it's the beads. That's the little battle of wills that's been going on in my home the last two solid days! And so far, the beads have won. I've spent roughly 15 hours making this pile of fail. Anne specifically requested a photo of the detritus, so here you go.

I now understand why you see so few FLAT herringbone necklaces. Because they're almost impossible! But I know I can make it happen and I will. For the moment I might have to step away from the beads, though - or they might be flung with great force at the wall.

On the other hand, we have a success photo to share also! This lovely red bracelet is something Mom whipped out recently for herself. When the ladies at the Open House saw it, they all begged for it to be a kit, and the customer is always right! So the beads have been ordered and this will be in our 2009 lineup.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beading comes back

Ah, what a wonderful and productive day, despite a good 3 hour nap in there. Mom and I spent time reviewing our current kits and figuring out which ones to discontinue for our new goodies. Making sure we had a good mix of beginner to more advanced, bracelets to necklaces, etc. We still need to do some color analysis to make sure we're not going to be surprised next month when we put everything out and realize it's all green. Sometimes you get on a roll with a certain color palette and don't realize it.

We also spent some time going over our display and how we plan on changing it up next year. We ordered a few new display pieces to check out how they make everything look before we order tons of them. One critical piece was on back order - of course! But we can work around it for now. I need to call and check on when they expect them back in stock though.

And then this afternoon, the designing muse struck, and I've been beading since probably 7pm straight through until now - 3:15am, so a little over 8 hours. This is what happens when I'm designing. Chaos on my end table in the living room. And this is a pretty controlled version of it! Note the all-important Diet Coke right in the middle of things. And you can see one small sample of the too-curvy version on the left.

I've gone through approximately 7 different iterations of the design, but I'm pretty sure I've finally got the real thing. First I was experimenting with different bead sizes to get the right necklace curve, and once I finally got that figured out, I was working on colors and what kind of dangles to hang off it. (Keshi pearls did the trick on the gold/green one, and turquoise on the blue/sage one.)

When I get the necklace finished, you KNOW I'll show it off to you! Perhaps Monday. I'm not sure I'll have time to finish it Sunday since I'm teaching Sunday evening. But I have something else to give you a preview of on Sunday! Oh, happy days...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Isn't Christmas over already?

I confessed to Mom today that more than once this week, I've found myself confused in a store because all the Christmas merchandise wasn't on clearance. After all, MY big party is over - and that was the big Holiday event happening around the Wiseman household, so the same is true for everyone else, right? Oh - wait! Nope! Christmas is still two weeks away! What's even funnier (or more scary, depending on your view) is that I discovered Mom's been having the same problem. Peas in a pod - that's Mom and me!

I've been so very bad this week and haven't even picked up beading a single time. Instead I drug out an old cross-stitch project I five years ago! And I've been having fun doing that instead in the evenings. I taught one class Wednesday night, and babysat for Alexis on Thursday night and will again Friday night. It's all so strangely normal. ish. Oh! And reading! I've been reading too! I remember those days when reading was my primary activity. Mom used to joke that the explosion of bookstores opening in Austin around 1995 was due to the fact they knew I was graduating from college at that time and would finally be able to read for pleasure again. I did my best for quite a while to keep them all gainfully in business. Until the arrival of beads in my life in 2001.

So I'll get to play regular person for a few more days, but then necessity will make me get back to 2009 preparations. The beads won't order themselves. The kits won't get delivered to me by Santa's Elves. The instructions won't be left on my doorstep with milk and cookies.

But it sure is nice to visit Normal at least once a year. I'm even going to have plans with two different friends next week! If they still remember me...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Post Open House Report

I know ya'll have been waiting, breathlessly, for a report on the Open House. I'm sorry it took me so long to post - I had to sleep ALL DAY Monday to recover!

We had so much fun and I can't wait to do it all again. Maybe next weekend? Okay, not until next year, but still! We had a good turn out, and some folks just dropped in to say hi, while others sat and beaded all afternoon. The dogs were well-behaved. The food got thumbs up (Thanks, Mom!) and the new wall in the Studio was a big hit. Now I can unveil it here too!

Isn't that cool??? They're decals I got on Etsy. The Swirly Tree is from DaliDecals, and then I had the Tapestry Beads logo custom made by Elephannie. They were pretty easy to put up (with two of us) and if we get tired of them at some point, we just tear them off the wall! I love that wall to death now, and it used to be a big blank eyesore.

You know all those holiday party photos I promised? Yeah. Well. I got kinda busy, and then before I knew it, the party was over, and the camera hadn't been touched once. Hopefully my brother got some shots when his family was here for the first hour. I'll check.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Holiday Open House on Sunday!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...and they really are!

We've decorated. And we've cleaned. And we've baked. (Yes, I mean Mom's baked.) And we've organized. And we're near collapse. But we're finally ready for tomorrow's Open House. Wheee!

A few early starters showed up this afternoon, getting the date wrong, but given the fact that I was covered in grime and stinky, they only stayed a few moments and I wisked them out the door again, hoping they can come Sunday. Kathryn's mad because she had planned on being the first one to arrive for the Open House and here she got beat by a whole 25 hours! Next year I'll expect that she sets up a tent in the front yard to hold her spot in line.

A few more tasks before bed tonight - figuring out what the rest of the door prizes are, and straightening the office. Then a little last minute cleaning and vacuuming in the morning, some sandwich making, and we're set!

Oh! And if any of you haven't taken the Russian Splendor class at Nomadic Notions or the national shows and still wish you could - you have another chance. Two of my early birdies talked me into a private class on Friday, Dec. 19 here at the Tapestry Beads Studio, from noon to 3pm. Class tuition is $25. If you're interested, drop me an email so I can put you on the list.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Beads, beads, and more beads!

Ah, I do love my UPS man. Today I came home from a hair appt to find 20 pounds of beads on my doorstep. And 40 pounds of bags. Yup. Plain ol' bags. 2x2 baggies, 2x3 baggies, 6x9 baggies, and on and on. It's amazing how many I use in a year.

Mom and I managed to get half our new artwork up on the studio wall, but pooped out before we could finish the last quarter of the job. It's nerve-wracking to install. You'll understand this weekend when I'm able to unveil it to the world. I was a little worried I wouldn't like it, but fears have been put to rest. It totally rocks!

So I'm sitting in the living room tonight, watching random tv and tubing up beads. You get a lot of tubes out of 20 pounds worth.

I'm informed that Rich, Becky, and Alexis will be at the Open House for the first 45 min. to an hour on Sunday - after that we're interfering with nap time, and one does NOT mess with a toddler's nap!

I'm also informed that if you guys don't come and see me and eat up while you're here, I will be eating little sandwiches and chips and queso and veggies and dip and yada, yadda for the next month. Save me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sneak Peek

Here's the sort of thing Mom & I have been up to for the past week.

Santa hanging out in the front hall

These are the new tables for the studio. I love them! And that blank wall on the left won't be blank for much longer. I can't wait to see how the new art works there!

The framed illuminated manuscript page is from 1460. How cool is that?

The pine cones are an homage to our former place in Bastrop - 2 acres of pine forest.

Holiday Open House Details

First Annual Holiday Open House
Sunday, December 7
Noon - 5pm
Tapestry Beads Studio
914 Wild Petunia Way
Pflugerville, TX 78660

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

Show & Tell

It's been been a long time since I shared any jewelry photos with you - mainly because I've got about eleventy million projects partially worked up, but nothing actually completed. I'm working away on rectifying that situation as I've got more beading time available to me this time of year. So more photos will be arriving throughout December.

For today, though, it's Mom's fabulous project I get to show off! She has loved the look of freeform beading since the very beginning of our beady journey, some 7 years ago. It's the kind of thing you either love to do, or it really stresses you out. I'm sad to say, I'm the "stressed out while working on it" type. I wish I could be more loosey-goosey, but in this family, Mom's the one with the freeform mojo.

She purchased the cabochon this past February at the Tucson jewelry shows, and then picked out most of the seed beads for it at the same time since we had access to the amazing choices at Beyond Beadery right there in front of us at our show. She set it aside for many months during the mid part of this year, but then pulled it out again last month and she was a woman on a mission! She almost finished it at the Houston Bead Society Show, but then we decided it needed a tiny bit more length, so the real finish happened Sunday night while watching The Amazing Race.

I'm so proud of her! It's completely awesome and I can't wait to wear it myself. I'm sure she'll be wearing it this Sunday at the Holiday Open House - you're coming, aren't you? If you need the address and directions, email me at - and feel free to bring anyone you think would enjoy it!

We're still working away on preparations. I got all the gifts ready today (yes, you get a gift just for showing up!) and made progress on the things like taking the wrappers off candles, hanging ornaments, etc. We picked up our new classroom tables on Sunday and I'm about to go attach the legs to them so we can set them up properly in the room.

Still on my to-do list: Decorating the trees outside, mowing the lawn (it is TEXAS), making door prize certificates, making door prize drawing sign ups, finishing decorations around the house, grocery shopping, and then taking photos of our festive home to share with you guys!