Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crazy Cat(s)

From June: I recently painted my bedroom. I've only lived for 2 years with the hideous intense mustardy yellow color that the previous owners had in my room. So I finally got the painting done. Art for the wall is on order. It's starting to come together a bit. Last week I bought a quilt in the new green and brown colors.

You may know that we have two cats - Josie and Piper. Hang with me here - this will tie together in a minute. Josie is the skitterish one; Piper is more social. Piper is also a fur shedding machine. You'd think that, with the amount of hair she sheds, she would be bald by now. But oh no - she keeps growing it and shedding. Piper sleeps on the bed with me (and Maggie). Because she sheds so much, I keep an old blanket at the bottom of one side of my bed to try to contain some of the hair.

So I get the new quilt, put it on the bed, and put Piper's blanket on the quilt. When I come back a while later, here is what I saw: Piper is laying on the new quilt, next to her blanket.Darn cat! Okay, I thought, I'll fix this. I unfolded the blanket so that it covered the spot where Piper had been laying. Hahaha Piper. A while later, I went into my room, and Piper had moved up the bed so she could still be on the quilt instead of her blanket. She said, "Hahaha Mom". Okay, fine. Whatever, Piper.

I moved Piper's blanket all the way to the top of the bed. And what happened? Yup, you guessed it.

Not only that, but now I have BOTH cats sleeping on the bed. Josie and Piper do not like each other, and rarely get very close together. I guess the quilt is bringing them together. I may have lost the battle, but for some, the quilt is a roaring success.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ah, Thanksgiving

From June: Okay, I think we're ready for the food orgy here. Of course, since when do we need an excuse to eat? Jill and I team-tagged the shopping. I went to the grocery store around the corner from work on my lunch hour and bought everything that didn't require refrigeration. And Jill went to our regular grocery store and bought all the cold stuff.

We have a very, very low key Thanksgiving. A few years ago, my son, Rich, and his wife, Becky, decided they were not going to keep switching holidays between parents and in-laws. The decided that they would spend each Thanksgiving with Becky's family, and spend each Christmas with us. Works fine for me, because I can't cook a turkey to save my life. Quite a few years ago, Rich and Jill asked me to PLEASE quit trying to cook turkeys. Don't know why....I'm fairly competent in other areas of cooking.

The irony is that my grandkids, Alexis and William, have both had lingering, snotty colds, and now Becky and Rich are getting sick. So they won't be going to her parent's house. And we don't want to go over there and run the risk of getting sick, either. (Vacation is next week - must not be sick!) Becky's birthday is Sunday, so hopefully everyone will be a bit better by then and we can get together.

We used to have several dishes that were traditional for Thanksgiving, but it's pretty much been narrowed down to one: eclairs. I make them from scratch using a recipe my mother used from the first cookbook she ever had. It's Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book, 1st Edition, copyright 1950. That poor cookbook is filthy, pages coming out, all ragged. But dang, I still use it occasionally. It makes me feel close to my mom, who's been gone since 1988. Still miss her.

Oh wait....this is a beading blog. Yes, well, Jill and I hope to be doing some of that too over the next few days. It's been so hectic getting orders filled that neither of us has beaded for a while. Jill is working on the most gorgeous necklace ever. Wait till you see it!

Hope you get some beading time over the holiday, too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Night at the Opera photo

Ohmigosh! I just realized I never shared my new professional photos with you guys here on the blog! I'll do them one at a time...the first is Night at the Opera...all glammed up! I'm teaching it at Bead Fest Santa Fe in March, Bead & Button in June, and Bead Fest Philadelphia in August. Registration is already open for Santa Fe....

Catching Up

As per usual, time is flying by at warp speeds. I've got a lot of catching up to do with you guys!

The BABE show in Oakland was a true delight. Not only did I get to have polymer class artist, Christi Friesen, as a neighbor, but her sister, Stacy, was helping her out in the booth too and we all had a blast! On the other side, Dawn Sklar had her treasure trove of buttons and laces and trimmings that I found impossible to resist. Damage: a big old bag of cool buttons, and one sequined applique that I don't know what I'll do with.

Just one row over I discovered a sweet little woman who was very nervous because it was her first ever show with her polymer clay beads. Folks, I was blown away. BLOWN AWAY! Her work is some of the most beautiful polymer class I've ever seen, and I can't wait to show it to you this weekend when I have time to take photos of the gazillion beads I bought from her. She is such an undiscovered artist, and I'm thrilled to have started my own collection. I'm sure it won't be the end of buying from Eriko, either! And before you ask, no, she doesn't have a website yet. I'll have to check with her to see if she's planning one. She and I are going to collaborate on a limited edition piece for my Kumihimo students.

I also snapped up some of Michele Goldstein's little pieces - I waited too long to grab some of her way cool lampwork buttons. Her colors are bright and lively and make me happy. I got to meet Rachel Nelson Smith and Barb Switzer for the first time face-to-face. We're all Facebook friends, but this was a real live meeting which is so much better! Unfortunately, both encounters were super quick. Hopefully we'll get more time to chat at the next show. A quick visit with Marcia DeCoster was equally too brief. Sigh. I hate it when work interferes with my social time!

In the last hour of the show, I happened to look over and saw a woman wearing a necklace that looked quite familiar! It was the Everyday Venus necklace Mom designed which was published in Bead & Button a few years ago. So I commented on it, and discovered that Kathy had chosen that necklace as her very first ever beadweaving project, and it launched her into a happy beading habit! And get this...because it's the best part...her last name is Wiseman! It was meant to be, obviously.

And then, poof! Before I knew it, the show was over and it was time to come home again. Since returning I've been getting the last of the kits I need to send to Fusion Beads ready, and on Thursday I have the last class of the year here at the Studio. As a matter of fact, I should be finalizing the instructions for that now, and getting the Studio ready for the influx. But catching up with you guys was much more fun!

So I promise - more photos this weekend - stay tuned!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I made it!

I knew there was a very good reason that I started flying in to show locations a day earlier than I really needed. Part of it is just being able to slow down a little bit - not trying to rush so fast that I end up frazzled and get caught not fully set up or ready when the show starts.

For instance, the BABE show this weekend is a short Saturday and Sunday only one. Which means I could have flown in on Friday and done my set up Friday night (which I can do until 8pm) and be ready for Saturday morning. BUT. What if the boxes didn't arrive in time? What if my flight is delayed? What if I miss my flight? What if I get lost on the way to the hotel? What if... Mind you, none of these things had actually happened to me before, but there was stress in worrying about it. And there was that one time when I was late enough to the airport that I walked up to the gate as they were about to close the door....

This trip proved my point. Somehow, someway, the Internet tricked me into buying a plane ticket to Orange County, not Oakland, where I needed to go. I'm absolutely positive it's the Internet's fault. The best part was I never even noticed until I was in my layover stop of Phoenix, and the plane was continuing on to Oakland so I shouldn't have had to get off, but the flight attendant pointed out my ticket was to Orange County - 6 hours drive away from Oakland. Whoops!

But the Southwest folks were so nice (I heart Southwest) and I was able to get on the Oakland flight (thank goodness it wasn't full) and they even got my bags aboard, and all in about 15 min. time. Of course it cost me moola, but since it was my fault, I mean the Internet's fault, I couldn't complain too much.

If I'd missed that flight, it was the last flight to Oakland that day and I would have either had to change airlines (goodbye baggage) or actually fly into Orange County and drive to Oakland.

The best part? I really wasn't too stressed about any of this. Annoyed at the Internet, naturally, but I knew I had a day to fix anything that needed fixing. And then when I told my sad story to the car rental peeps in Oakland and laughed about it, they upgraded me to a minivan. :-)

Now I'm off to walk a couple of blocks over to the court house - I didn't get my sales tax permit stuff mailed off in time to get it by mail, so I'll do it in person. Again - I've got the time! Yea me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last show of the year

2am. I'm surrounded by boxes and kits and suitcases. And potato chips, or what's left of them anyway. Winston on my lap because he's trying to keep me from leaving again. I have some more packing to do, and I need to get some orders ready for shipping, but honestly I'm not sure I have the energy in me right now to finish up. I think a short night's sleep is in order and I'll get the remaining tasks done before I have to leave for the airport at 9:15. At least I was smart enough to NOT schedule a 6am flight like I often do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Last week of schedule insanity

The only thing that's getting me through this week is the beautiful vista I see ahead on my calendar. Pretty little blank spaces which equal catching up and peace and harmony and organization to me. I'm dreaming of making headway on The List. I'm fantasizing about not waking daily with the awful knowledge that someone, somewhere, is waiting on me and getting irritated that I don't call/email/visit/bead/kit/ship faster.

But before I reach this elusive state of nirvana I must make it through the next seven days. Kit production is paramount - not that you're surprised by that. I'm working like a fiend trying to get some ready to send to Fusion Beads while still leaving enough for me to take to BABE this coming weekend. It would really suck to show up at a bead show I'm exhibiting at for the first time and not have any kits to sell them. Talk about a tease!

Which is kind of what I did to the members of the Wild West Bead Society last weekend in Forth Worth! I put out all my pretty little samples but when they wanted to buy kits I was pretty much out of stock of most of them. They were kind and purchased anyway, knowing it might be two weeks before they actually have them in their hot little hands.

Our two days of classes were absolutely great! Saturday's session with Night at the Opera was intensive and they did a great job of buckling down and working. Sunday's class with the Evening Song necklace was a little more loose, and at one point degenerated into 5 of the students pulling up the iPhone app "Cat Piano" and torturing the resident Chihuahua dog with endless cat meows. Ironically, Harley the dog mostly ignored it, while his mom, Carol, was threatening to take anti-anxiety medication and to send the pet therapy bill to the bead society.

We laughed. We ate. We teased. We beaded. It was a good weekend all the way around, and we'll be setting the dates for my return in 2010 shortly (I forgot to take my calendar.) Probably for late Oct. or early November.

I couldn't stand looking at that accidental non-post on the blog from last week any more, so despite my exhaustion and need for sleep I've managed to catch up with you guys. Now it's 5am here and I can't keep the eyes open another moment. Off to cat nap.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Progress report

I'm pedaling fast and trying to remember to stop and breathe and eat occasionally. And sleep. Can't forget about my beloved sleep. I used to joke about wanting to grow up and be a mattress tester. I'm not joking any longer!

My quick trip to San Antonio on Saturday resulted in a happy group of 8 ladies learning the joys of kumihimo with beads. Everyone enjoys this class SO much! If you're going to be in Santa Fe in March for Bead Fest (and why wouldn't you be? It's SUCH a cool place and an equally cool show) you should hurry and sign up for my classes, especially the Kumihimo one. It's gonna fill way before the show starts, I think.

I spent the bulk of Sunday revising my master spreadsheet that contains all the pieces and parts and quantities and suppliers and order numbers and yada, yada. It had gotten neglected over time and needed some love and attention, especially as I'm placing massive orders right now. It needs to be right.

Sadly, the prices also needed to be updated. I got the news over the last few weeks that both Swarovski prices and Miyuki prices have increased (as much as 15% on some!) and the new pricing had to be entered into the equations. We have always been committed to offering our kits at the lowest prices possible, and we remain determined to continue, but you may see some prices inching up a little bit. We love working for you, but probably not enough to work for free! I haven't finished evaluating the situation yet - you won't see any of the current kit prices increase before the new year.

We've also decided to add some of our oldie but goodie kits back on the website soon. For the first time we'll have a larger stock of kits online than we take to shows. We figured, why not?

I need to get some rest in before Monday starts in earnest. I have to pull together instructions for a brand new class before the gang shows up at 1pm on Tuesday. It's going to be a challenge, but I'll bribe myself with chocolate. Works every time.