Thursday, April 30, 2009

No urgent deadlines

Oh, how I fight being a deadline-driven person. (Some of you may know this phenomenon as "procrastination," but I feel that's a loaded word.) The one saving grace in my life is that I'm at least aware of it and can attempt to fight the strong urge to be a slug when I'm between frantic preparation tasks.

Sometimes the slugdom wins, though. I can't say I've accomplished much this week since I returned from Denver. Tuesday was spent sleeping. Tuesday night I worked on a beading project for hours and hours. Wednesday I spent a smidge of time on accounting tasks, and Wednesday night I spent tearing apart all the work I'd done on Tuesday night. It couldn't be helped - the colors were wrong and when it's wrong, it's wrong. That's what you guys pay me the big bucks for! Making sure the colors are just perfect and that they pop as they should.

That brings me to Thursday which I spent making lists of all the errands that I should do. Being as none of them are particularly time-sensitive (see paragraph one), none of them actually got done today. I like to think I'm taking our Vice-President's advice, and staying home to avoid the Swine-But-Not-Really-Swine Flu.

I'm looking at adding a few shows east of the Mississippi in the fall...there's not a lot in the Southeast going on after mid-Oct., and besides - you guys see me too much already! There's new beaders out there, waiting to be sucked into bead weaving, and it's my mission to find them...

Monday, April 27, 2009

It snowed!

Denver was one adventure after another - I had the best time! I'll certainly be making the Rocky Mountain Bead Society Show a part of my annual schedule, and I hope I'll be teaching a class or two up there next year as well. The committee puts on a heck of a show - thanks, ya'll!

Things I learned in Denver:
  • When you drive past the Purina Pet Food plant, the entire neighborhood smells like dog food. Can you imagine living nearby?
  • Renting a car in Denver is cheaper than taking a taxi to and from the airport.
  • Denver has dry air and static like I've never experienced before!!
  • Their weather is kinda, oh, shall we say, unpredictible. It was in the mid-70's when I arrived, and four days later, I woke up to a winter wonderland!
  • When you're driving around in an unfamiliar city and your GPS stops working, you're in a pickle and will probably arrive late for the opening of the show.
  • But the customers will be gracious and forgive you
Anne Mitchell and I were sharing a booth, and Anne made me laugh all weekend by describing our respective kits as "like Ikea" - I kept reassuring folks that our instructions were better and not in Swedish!

I'm safely home tonight, after an alarming flight from Houston to Austin with continual scary turbulence. An early bedtime is in order, coupled with a morning sans alarm clock. But I can't dally too much longer than that as I have a few samples to finish and get mailed this week, and some emails to send out. THEN I can have a day or two of leisure. Hangin' on until then!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Heading for Denver!

Got the bags packed. Peter Printer behaved, and everything that needed printing got printed. Got all my various confirmations and directions in a folder, ready to go. And I've got about eleventy million more projects packed to work on than I could possibly even touch.

Why do I do this every time I travel? Somehow I believe that by taking the projects with me, they'll magically and spontaneously be finished by the beading elves?? On the other hand, most beaders know the feeling of needing the "right" project to work on at any given moment. That's our excuse for having eleventy million projects started in the first place. Right??

I stayed up far later than I'd planned tonight because I was working on a piece I've been struggling with, and I couldn't admit to myself that it really wasn't going to start looking good at some point. Four hours later, I'm gonna have to face facts. It's just not pretty. Sigh.

Last night's insomnia was brought to me via the design brain that wouldn't turn off. I'm quite excited by the possibilities of that necklace, however, so it was worth it. I finally got up at 4:30am so I could sketch it out and try to nail down the engineering of the whole thing. I'm not there yet, but I'm close. I may have to dig in with the beads first and see where it leads. The finishing touches are so important and they can't be faked or it shows.

I'm taking my laptop, so I'll update from Denver this weekend. The show is Saturday and Sunday...I've got all day Friday there to play tourist!! Yippee!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The printer needs a name

I think it's time we named our printer. Really. The printer is an integral piece of my business world, so you might think it would be inappropriate to personify machinery. But here's the thing: it has a personality. Whims. Moods. Good print days, bad print days. It needs to eat, and it needs a doctor sometimes, and it even argues with me. It has a memory, and it has a temper. And so, I name my printer.....Peter. Peter Printer. I love alliteration. And now I can properly YELL at it when it causes me grief! Does it need a middle name too? You know how your parents always yelled your first & middle names both when you got into trouble? I'm pretty sure Peter's middle name would be a curse word, however, and that would be inappropriate in a business(ish) blog.

Can you guess what I've been doing today? Printing! I'm getting the last of everything organized and shipped for my Denver weekend. It's a bit of a guessing game when I'm attending a new show as to how much of what I should ship. Some shows have a larger proportion of experienced beaders than others, and for those I take a higher proportion of the more complicated kits. Other shows have enthusiastic beginners, and I'm their beading enabler, taking oodles of the easy kits. For this show, I'm throwing everything in boxes and taking it all. What the heck! I'm more heavily stocked than usual since I've been gradually building up inventory in anticipation of the the June-Sept season where I'm doing shows left and right.

I'm down to the last set of patterns that need printing - I'm watching the little bars on Peter's display panel that show how much toner I have left very carefully, praying they hold on for a few more (dozen) pages....come on, Peter, you can do it!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sisters and brothers

I have to share the cutest thing that's been going on between my niece and nephew. Alexis has always liked being the center of attention, and is a real actress, playing up to her audience. We all figured that when William arrived, she'd be quite put out at having to share the spotlight.

We couldn't have been more wrong. Our first clue to the sibling attachment was when she woke up before William one morning, and as my brother started taking her downstairs for breakfast, she got quite aggitated, saying "Baby! Baby" over and over again. Rich took her into William's room, where he was sleeping in his own crib, and discovered she didn't want to go downstairs unless William did too. Awww!

Then this morning, William and Alexis were both awake, and the baby was crying. Rich looked over, and Alexis was crying hard too. Big tears, streaming down her cheeks (she doesn't do this very often, so it was notable.) Rich figured it was because she was hungry, but when he put the food in front of her, he discovered she was crying because her brother was crying.

I don't know if I can handle more of this cuteness.

Mom and I will be re-playing Alexis' birthday party on Saturday. She actually turned 2 on Tuesday, but Mom was so sick she couldn't go, and I didn't want to leave her at home alone. Instead we have a plan for a second birthday celebration, complete with adorable cake, and her adoring Gramma and Aunt Jill.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Serious case

It's very bad timing. I have a serious case of the "I don't wanna's."

I had the second part of a class here at the house this afternoon, and it was a pleasant way to while away the hours. One of the only big things I miss about teaching at the local bead store (as opposed to here at the house) is seeing all the beaders. I still get to visit with some of them when they come here for class, but since I'm only teaching once or twice a month, that's a lot fewer than I used to spend time with when I was teaching more like 10-12 days a month.

Mom's been fighting a bad cold since last weekend, and she ended up coming home early from work due to her endless coughing. She took a nap, and clearly she needed me to be quiet so as not to wake her, right?? My own nap outlasted hers by a good hour and a half, as usual.

And while I should have been working on designing, making samples, or putting kits together the rest of the evening, I couldn't make myself do it. Bad Jill! I have a submission deadline of April 30 for teaching proposals for the Swarovski event in Tucson 2010, my kits and patterns need to be shipped off to Denver on Monday, and many other tasks are floating around in my brain. But I sat. And watched stupid tv. And did nuthin'.

Tomorrow is another day....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Things that make me happy

I was browsing beadweaving photos on Flickr last night (while I was working on my online defensive driving, naturally - hey! It's legit - the site I chose reads all the material to me!) and I found a couple of lovely surprises.

This bracelet was made from my Chocolate Twist pattern, which was published in Bead & Button in August 2007.

And this necklace was made from Mom's Everyday Venus pattern, which was published in Bead & Button in October 2006.

I LOVE seeing people making our projects! It's such a compliment for me. So thank you!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Updates aplenty

Needless to say, this has been the Week of The Baby. My new nephew, William, is an adorable, well-behaved doll so far. Alexis is transitioning to the role of big sister with grace - as long as she still gets plenty of attention! Mom and I were at their house today for Easter shennanigans and Alexis and Mom got into an intense game of "Follow the Leader." Mom also ended up being the one who dyed almost all the eggs. As I recall, that was true when we were kids too! Short attention spans and long dye times don't mix.

I had a smallish class here at the house on Wednesday afternoon, and it was such a pleasant way to while away the day. I sat and packaged more of the new Size 15s that arrived a few weeks ago while they worked on their Ramblin' Rose bracelets, and we all caught up on things. There are changes coming in our little beading community - Pat is moving to Tucson soon, and Aileen is also leaving us, but for Germany for a few years. On the other hand, we'll have Kathryn back in action soon! Her back surgery was a rousing success, and there are many more years of beading in her yet. She's home from the hospital now - next she's got to work on rebuilding her strength.

Honestly, I've barely touched any seed bead working this week. It surprises me still how it's feast or famine in that area. I'll go weeks where I'm beading for 12 hours a day, and then I'll go weeks where all the other ascpects of the business take over and there's no time for the mechanics of beading. I'm hoping that next week will bring more beading time, though, because deadlines are looming large, and there's samples to be polished and finished, photos to be taken, instructions to be written, and proposals to submit.

Coming up on the home classes front, I have a few spots left in two of the Encore Bracelet class sessions. Encore is brand spankin' new, and people have been falling all over it. I'm teaching it a few times here at the house, and then once to the Dallas Bead Society in Sept, and that's it until 2010 when it will hopefully debut nationally at the Bead Fest and Bead & Button Shows.

I've got one spot in the Saturday, May 16 & 23rd class from 9am to noon (two class meetings) and three spots in the Tuesday, May 12 & 19 class from 6:30pm to 9pm. Class tution is $40 and there will be an optional kit in several colorways available. I don't have the kit priced out yet (because I haven't chosen the beads) but will be less than $30. The classes will be held in my home studio in Pflugerville, Texas. Email me at if you want to reserve one of the spots!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Welcome to the world, baby boy...

May I introduce, William Frank Wiseman....born April 7, 2009. Somewhere around 2pm (we haven't had much time to talk with Rich!) and 8lbs, 12 oz. Not sure of length yet. Everyone is healthy and doing great.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fooled me!

Alas, my creative color combos for the Carol Wilcox Wells class turned out to be neither fabulous nor nightmarish. Instead, just a bit disappointing. But the good part is the the project techniques themselves are worthy of me dabbling in more colors to get a bracelet that's just right for me.

Here's a peek into the creative process...first up, a unique and very easy/cool way to bezel a rivoli. Here I'd just set the rivoli into the bezel.

Next up, I added all the embellishing...

This is the back - this photo turned out a little fuzzy, but you can still get the idea.

And last, I added the clasp loops on the sides.

I wish my colors popped more, and that's the part I'll be working on when I re-do it. I also worked on one of the tiny chaton (like a miniature rivoli) pieces, as well as the long band the entire thing is attached to. I'll be sure and show you guys when I get it finished.

Tonight I've been working on a new color combo for a Ramblin' Roses kit - this one will be in blues and purples.

It's shaping up to be a heck of a week here. Despite all odds, it looks like Baby Boy Wiseman is going to hold off on arriving until Tuesday, when his Mama is scheduled to be induced. I'm going to spend the night at my brother's house Monday night and all day Tuesday so I can stay with Alexis while her parents go to the hospital to have her little brother. I hope she doesn't blame me when they bring him home!

I'm also hoping to make a quick trip to the hospital Monday to visit Kathryn Duckett, my slightly older "sister." Poor Kath has been having excruciating back pain for the last four months, and diagnosis was complicated by her osteoporosis. But they finally decided on a procedure where they inject cement into her crumbling vertebrae to stabilize and re-inflate the space there. She had the surgery done on Friday and her husband reports that she is free of back pain. Woo-hoo! She was supposed to have gone home on Saturday, but was having some trouble keeping her oxygen saturation up. They discovered she has some blood clots in her lungs, and they're keeping her a few more days to deliver Heparin by IV to dissolve them. I haven't spoken with her yet, but I'm sure she's all hacked off at not going home! You don't want to mess with a fiesty 78 year old!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Fabulous or nightmare

Sometimes making color choices is a careful, studied art. And sometimes you just throw stuff on the wall and see if it sticks. It's either fabulous, or a nightmare...and I'm heading for one of those experimental moments on Saturday.

I'm headed to Houston on Saturday to take a class from Carol Wilcox Wells, and while she offers kits for the project, I decided to put my own goodie bag together. I was inspired by one of my regular students here in Austin, Padma. At our class last weekend, she happened to have some of the jewelry she will be wearing at an Indian wedding in London (England) this week. Indian weddings make me weak in the knees with lust over the profusion of bright, many-colored fabrics, the beautiful jewels, and the joyful music and dancing.

Which means I've put together a palette of orange and bright pink and emerald and lime green and gold and I can't remember what all else. Fabulous, or nightmare? Time will tell...

I purchased a new, itty-bitty camera to carry around with me all the time so I can share more photos on the blog. I still need to get our previous beloved camera sent off to Canon for repair, but it's a little on the big side to carry in my purse. This one is micro-sized for me to lose, er, I mean use.

I get to have dinner with the fabulous Beth Dewey in Houston this weekend. Beth is one of those who uses color schemes you swear are uglier than sin, and somehow they turn into jaw dropping works of art. I met Beth at the Texas Bead Retreat in Temple, Texas in 2008 when she was wearing a cashmere sweater. I didn't know her at all, but I couldn't resist petting that cashmere! We became fast friends after I got so fresh with her sweater, so I don't think there's a restraining order out there against me. I guess we'll find out this weekend!