Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cables are taking over my life

Oh, I do love a cool gadget. I'm not one of those tech geeks who buys the latest and greatest of every new thing out there. As a matter of fact, I'm absurdly proud of the fact that we don't even have a DVD player. I blame that particular circumstance on the emotional damage caused when we were early adopters of the late, great Betamax system instead of VHS. Oh, how I loved my Betamax. Sniff.

But I digress. There are a certain number of gadgets that make my life as a home-based small business owner who travels a lot much easier. My Verizon Blackberry Storm phone is attached to my body 24/7. I'd implant it in my body if it were an option. I'm down to 3 computers (from 4) - my desktop for the heavy duty stuff, the 17" screen laptop because it's fabulous, and the "Barbie" netbook computer because I discovered quite quickly that a 17" laptop is heavy to carry around as I travel. The 4th computer, my first laptop, was gifted to my sister-in-law for her birthday. I have a labelmaker that connects to my computer. I have an iPod. A speaker system for the iPod. USB cables to connect the iPod and phone to the computer. Let's not forget the charger cables too! And cameras! Yes, Mom and I both have them, along with a memory card reader to transfer the photos to the computer. Different chargers for both laptops. Car chargers for my phone and Mom's phone (yes, different.) And don't forget the cord that connects the iPod to the car speakers!

I AM DROWNING IN CABLES! We have a whole box - not a small one either - of various cables that's been sitting in the garage for two years and yet we're terrified to throw them away. I have two other hiding spots for cables that have been growing with wirey protrusions too (don't tell Mom.) I am currently using my handy-dandy label maker to make labels to attach to the identifiable cords and cables so at least I'll know what's what.

So what did I find it necessary to do today? Add to the list! A Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset has been added to the Tapestry Beads IT department! You know - I go on these regular road trips every year. Tucson in February. Santa Fe in March. Milwaukee in June. And that's not counting the trips to Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston that pop up. So it only makes sense that I should be safer and talk on the phone through a headset, right? Just nod your head yes, please.

At least it only came with one cord.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Moving right along

I'm so very confused! All of a sudden I stopped to look around me and discovered I'm better prepared for Tucson than I thought! Well, with the caveat that I let go of the illusion of having ALL the new kits ready by then. The truth is I'm still tweaking some of the designs. I have a bunch of samples to make up. And since the seed beads haven't been finalized I certainly can't order the supplies for them. Not to mention directions that haven't been written. So by letting go of being perfect, I'm finding a lot more peace and harmony. There's supposed to be a lot of that kind of learning for me this year!

While I was at the Texas Bead Retreat last weekend, I booked a teaching day at Beadaholique in Houston to teach the Night at the Opera bracelet. Glynna posted it on her website on Monday and by Tuesday all 16 seats had sold out! There's a substantial waiting list too, so I'm thinking we're going to have to plan a return trip in the not too distant future. (Glynna nicknamed the Night at the Opera bracelet NATO, and I love it!)

Additionally, I'll be teaching at Beads by Blanche in New Jersey in June. And of COURSE I'm going to have to tack on some additional days to schlep around in NYC while I'm there! Between the Bead & Button Show, and now the NJ/NYC trip, I'll be gone for about three weeks straight in June, but that's just how these things happen - in bunches.

So now that I have this "extra" time on my hands...I'm going to spend some time today shoe shopping! Woo-hoo! It's not even my fault, really. Living in Austin, like I do, my toes are pretty much exposed in sandals year-round. But it's looking like I'm going to be awfully cold again this year in Tucson with highs in the 50s and 60s and lows in the 30s. It's the only show I do where I'm outside in a tent, and it never warms up that much inside the tent. All of which means I need shoes with covered toes. And I only own one pair show-worthy pair right now. See how I HAVE to go shopping???

Monday, January 18, 2010

What happens at a Bead Retreat...

...should generally stay at a Bead Retreat. There's a vow of secrecy that should be required before you're allowed in. But since that didn't happen this last weekend, I'm telling ALL! Bwhahahaha!

Well, not really since I'm afraid of what they would do to me. But let's just say there were some amazingly inappropriate discussions that caused hooting and hollarin' in loud tones that included topics like: Just where is J pierced after all? What is up with G's yo-yo? And now everyone KNOWs that K is a slut for beads! There were some bottles being passed around and shots being thrown back on Saturday night. We didn't let the presence of a few guys stop us...poor fellows have now learned more about the female spieces than they'd ever wanted to know, I'm sure. And every once in a while, there was some beading done.

You'd laugh to see just how LITTLE beading I accomplished while I was there! Quite literally, one beaded end cap, and less than 2" of a beaded rope. Now, I also taught 2 classes, had about a bazillion folks from all over Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and who knows where else to catch up with. This group of ladies and I have been bead retreating together for years now, and it's such a joy to share their lives. And I was selling kits here and there too.

Sandy had tried to talk me out of teaching two classes this year because she wanted to make sure I would have enough time to enjoy the retreat. I resisted because I love teaching these ladies so much! But by the end of the weekend, I told Sandy that next year, I'm going to listen to her. One class only. There were too many conversations I missed. Too much exhaustion by the end. It's all part of my 2010 theme of finding more balance in my life. I'm usually either going on full speed ahead, or I've got the engine completely cut off. A happy medium is the new goal.

So I slept most of Monday in recovery. And Tuesday, there's something going is it again? Oh yeah! My birthday!

I plan on doing a slew of fun stuff all day long. Some personal shopping. A pedicure. Time browsing at the book store. Taking myself out to lunch (alone on purpose - no time constraints - sweet silence - I'm a good companion to myself.) A friend is taking me out in the evening to see Toni Price at the Continental Club and later, Malford Milligan at Antone's. Both are singers who used to live in Austin and moved away in the last few years. The fact that they're both performing here on my birthday is unbelievable!

Wednesday, it's back to work. Only 10 more days at that point until I leave for Tucson. Can it all be done? Will Jill maintain her sanity? Are there enough beads in the universe to make the number of kits Tapestry Beads needs? Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Frozen fingers

Hey...I just figured out that the warm spot on the bottom of your laptop that's such a pain in the butt the rest of the year is the perfect place to warm your frozen fingers so you can type a blog post!

I'm really quite over this coldest winter in decades baloney. I'm a hothouse flower, it seems, and my productivity is quite tied to the temperature. Which is why it was a really good thing I had so much to accomplish late last week when the wind chill dropped to the single digits in Austin. I didn't have the luxury of hibernating in my bed covered by blankets and fur children like I wanted to. So I layered on clothing until I looked like the Michelin Tire Man (remember him??) and toddled off to work away.

We had an open house of sorts on Saturday here at the Studio. It was a call for folks who had old projects they needed to work on and perhaps needed my help with to come and gather for companionship while beading. We had a full group all day, and lots of laughter and a couple of finished projects got standing ovations at their moments of completion. We had enough fun that we decided to do it all again in two weeks.

I'm getting ready to leave for the Texas Bead Retreat in Temple, Texas on Thursday. I'll be teaching the Kumihimo with Beads class, as well as a new class for creating your own beadwoven end caps for Kumihimo. I spent the day packaging up bobbins and S-Lon cord, and next I'm putting together the kits. I also found some new sources for base metal endcaps, and if I'm lucky, I'll be able to get them in my hot little hands before I leave this weekend.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Designing block - OVER!

What a complete relief to be back in the swing of work. I'm already behind on deadlines, buried in emails, and happy as a clam. I do so love my job!

I can't believe I lost so much work time in December, though, due to my own shut-down. I know I needed a break, but that was more like a forced work stoppage than a vacation. Now I'm scrambling to get all the new designs I assigned to me created in a sadistically short time frame, but I have no one to blame but myself. So I'm cranking it out like a little soldier.

Last night I had a design idea that I doodled with, and managed to get about an inch and a half of something I thought was usable. Today I worked on it for pretty close to 12 hours straight, and here's what I've got:

I'm planning on re-designing the clasp loop because it got too big and ungainly for the rest of the project. It's out of scale and throwing off the balance. Luckily I have an idea for that, but it's too late now for me to work on it any more. I need sleep!! I'm also thinking it wants to have an optional tassel hanging off the clasp area. What do you guys think?

Friday, January 1, 2010

OMG - So beautiful!

From June: I can't remember if I posted here of on Facebook that I was painting my bedroom. It was a hideous shade of intense yellow when we moved in, and after living with that color for two years, I was DONE. I painted it a soft celery green, and spray painted all my bedroom furniture a dark brown. That was topped of by a beautiful green, brown, and tan quilt.

I've been deciding on art. I wanted to get some macro flower close-ups, and surprisingly, there were quite a few to choose from. It took me a while to decide, but I bought the photos just before Christmas, and Jill framed them as my Christmas present. We finally got them hung this afternoon, and I couldn't be happier.

I did get some glare on the photos, but I couldn't wait to share them. These photographers are amazing. I found two of the photos on Etsy and the third on another site called Smug Mug.
From left to right:
"Tulip" by Andrea Lazar; closencounters on Etsy
Unnamed white flower by Rosemary; rojoimages on Smug Mug
"Tinge" by Jenny; flandersfield on Etsy