Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Friday!

And Happy Anniversary to Me!

For 2 years today I have been a single girl. At least I think it's today... I'm not sure. I found out while riding the L train in Chicago (where I was trying out for a game show) that my divorce was final. I really can't remember what day it was, or what day the papers were actually processed and I haven't gone back to look, but today is the day I've chosen as the day I became single and I'm going with it.... so again, happy anniversary to me.

I never in a million years thought that I would think of it as an anniversary... and I'm not celebrating an ending... this isn't that sort of statement. I'm celebrating that I became, really for the first time, my own person 2 years ago.... and that's a good thing. I've learned a lot about myself in the past 2 years and am a richer person for it.

I hadn't been my own person since the age of 19 or 20... and I'm not so sure I was then... I was still my parent's kid, so it's definitely been a learning experience, getting to know ME... and I like the me I've become. The me that choreographs sing-a-longs on the way to school, the me that laughs A LOT with friends, the me that is strong, the me that is happy with herself, the me that my kids say "rocks" (guitar hero says that too, but it says that to everyone!) the me that GETS why people like to hang out with her. I didn't before. I do now. I'm pretty cool, if I do say so myself. :)

I still have a long way to go in my life journey, but I'm happy that I've learned that I'm a person of worth.... on her own.

Ok... for some reason that horrible Beyonce song "single ladies" just came into my head... I'm going to have to change the subject before I have that in my head the rest of the day... why can't that girl enunciate her words??? it sounds like she says "ah du singah luhdees" then "shudda pudda ree-gonnnit." oy! SO... I really don't think I want that song as my theme song. I'm SO not looking to have a ree-gonnit UNLESS it's a FABULOUS one that I bought for MYSELF!!!

But that's another Beyonce song isn't it???? Well... Destiny's Chlid, but STILL!!! NOW I'm singing "Independent Woman" - "the rock that I'm rockin' - I bought it" It's a funny thing that my life soundtrack today is Beyonce??? Add a little Aretha and Gloria Gaylor too.... and some Corrine Bailey Rae.... that was big part of the sound-track of the last couple of years.

so... no bead talk today... it's all about me today.....

think I'll go order my birthday cake now. :)

(cuz I can do that)

time for the tiny blah blah blah...

brought to you one more time by Rosemarie!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!! :)

coffee - Cinnamon Dolce Latte - full syrup with whipped cream. and it was yummy!

music - my FUN soundtrack. Right now... quite appropriately... "She's a Bad Mamma Jamma... Just as Fine as She Can Be." too true!!! :)

(couldn't resist adding the video links today... Carl Carlton on Solid Gold? Priceless!!! What other blog brings you the hits like me??!!!!)

Thursday, January 29, 2009


We're almost there!!!!!!!

I need need need a weekend! Not that the weekend is any less hectic, but I need to sleep a little later than 5:15. My dog has decided that he will now wake up every morning at 5:15-5:30ish when the heater starts warming up the house (I finally figured this out the other day)... he must not like it being warm... sleeps better in the cold???

ANYWAYS... I have the thermostat programmed so it starts to heat up the house before I wake up because if it's cold, I can't get out from under the covers. Well, the dog, apparently wants to wake up when the heater comes on NOT once the house warms up, so I'm either going to have to suffer and be cold OR suffer and be woken up to go outside at 5:30... I'm thinking being cold is going to win.

But I'm groggy and need some sleep and I'm HOPING that I can get a LITTLE extra this weekend!

It's also my pretend birthday weekend. My kids won't be with me on my birthday (February 7th in case you were wondering and should you need gift ideas, please refer to my Christmas list... I think almost everything there is still quite valid. .... snicker) But my kids wanted to have a "party" for my birthday, so we're going out with family on Saturday to celebrate. Other than that, it's organization weekend!!! Not fun, but necessary. I need to purge some stuff from the past (and present) and it's a good weekend to do that.

I'm HOPING that there will be a little bit of time left for beads, but I'm not counting on it.... maybe, but probably not.

Yesterday wasn't a beady day either... so nothing fun to report on with my new idea that's just spinning around in my head OTHER than the fact that I need to get my hands on another copy of the Russian beading book. Our dog (not the current dog) ate my copy of it. I looked at the bookstore the other day and as I stared at the shelves thought "duh... they are not going to carry a beading book that's entirely in Russian here!!!" And I forgot, until writing this, that I still haven't found one. I'm going to check amazon and some of the bead sites. I'm not patient... I want immediate book gratification!

But it has some stitches I need to look at... things I don't usually use, but will work great for this project..

More on all this later.

Tiny blah blah blah... brought to you today and tomorrow by Rosemarie!!! Thank you again and again!!!!!!!

coffee - CDL

music - NONE! oh no!!! forgot to plug in the ipod. Didn't notice until just now because I've been "singing" Jason Mraz "I'm Yours" in my head all morning!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's a rainy rainy Wednesday here in Atlanta.

I can see by friend's pictures, updates, etc. that LOTS of places are covered in ice and snow, so I'm not complaining about the rain... yet.

I'm SUPPOSED to get a little studio time in this afternoon between the time I leave the office and the time youngest child gets home.... BUT if it's raining, youngest child can't walk home from the bus-stop, which will cancel my studio plans. SO... here's hoping that the rain stops before 1:00 EST. (not TOO hopeful though... sort of Murphy's law... I have a great idea and I'm DYING to get into the studio to try it out, so anything that can go wrong... will)

Today's topic, however, is NOT will I get to make beads or not, it's about what I gave up my studio time yesterday to do... and it was SO worth it.

Tuesday was Dinner with Marcy (quite different from Wednesdays with Morrie or whatever that book was!) This is Marcy Lamberson of Studio Marcy. If you are a beady blog-reader, you might already read her blog. It's full of great tips/tricks and she's a great teacher... you will learn a lot just by reading her blog. While my blog is usually chatty (too much usually), hers is very focused on beadmaking... focused but comfortable. I think reading her blog is always like taking a little mini-workshop. She is very open and generous with her information. If you're a beadmaker ... check it out.

I am lucky enough to live in a city full of beadmakers. We have a wonderful group, The Southern Flames that meets monthly. I don't get to attend nearly enough meetings just because it's usually the middle of the school week and that just doesn't work for my family... but it's a great group.

Back in 2002/2003(?) Marcy and I were co-presidents of the group and working together, began a great friendship. Marcy is one of my role-models.... in bead-world and in life-world and I'm lucky that she lives less about 20 minutes away. SO this past year, we began getting together every month or so for dinner. Half the time is spent just talking about life and half beady/art stuff.... and it's delicious conversation! I SO look forward to these dinners.

We share a similar aesthetic, so we "get" each other design-wise. I love that I can bounce ideas off her, show her my doodles and what I'm thinking of... get feed-back and other great ideas that I might not have thought about. I brought her a collection of images that I thought would be inspirational to her, and she gave me great ideas for a project I'm ruminating on. Even though we both sell very whimsical things, I've never felt a competition factor between the two of us. Much more of a synergy. That's how things should be when you're following your own muse... even if someone else's sings a similar song. They might even sing harmony! :)

Last night we were talking about how valuable the time is to both of us and how we know we're lucky to have each other so close by. We were laughing about her husband and son saying they might come "eavesdrop" on our conversation from a few tables away... I think they'd be bored, BUT I think there are a lot of beadmakers who would have LOVED the opportunity... so here you go... a taste of dinner with Sylvie and Marcy... (if you REALLY want to feel like you were there... please imagine that your drink is not being refilled as often as you'd like... maybe just put an empty glass in front of you...)

SO... dinner with us...

We talked about the inspirations and how we get a lot from non-beady visual sources... greeting cards, magazines, etc. We discussed the magazine Artful Blogging which was being discussed on Lampwork Etc and that it's a publication that has some beautiful eye-candy. I also LOVE their Sommerset Studio publication. I think it's a GREAT resource for inspiration.

I talked about going back and doing bead shows again and the fact that I'd have to get my "show wardrobe" put together. I don't always get to dress like an artist in my "real-life" and we talked about an article that Lori Greenburg wrote on "How to Dress Like an Artist" that I really enjoyed. I do think that it helps when I look a little more like my beads than my regular wardrobe does. When I do shows, I have to wear things that mix well with my booth, my beads and my customers. Not a COSTUME, but something that is a little more "sylviebeads" and a little less "sylvie who is grabbing a starbucks on the way to car-pool line" OR "sylvie who is going out on a Friday night" This is an entire blog entry in itself, so back to our conversation...

We talked about classes we'd like to take and how taking classes from people who are very different from your own style can really benefit you. I told Marcy about a class I want to take in felt hat making (how different from beadmaking is that??!!) and that it's at my DREAM place, Haystack in Maine. I was telling Marcy about the time I'd spent there in 1998 and how just being there, not just the workshop I attended, but watching the work in the other classes, was very meaningful in my artistic development and led to a lot of my inspiration workshop. And this led to our next discussion...

An exercise I saw in one of the classes at Haystack that summer.... The instructor (wish I could remember his name! I've tried to google instructors from that workshop series, but can't find anything) had students make all the pieces for a teapot on the potter's-wheel THEN had each othem put their various pieces into piles... handles in one area, spouts in another, lids, bodies, etc. THEN he had each student go and gather all the pieces for a teapot taking any pieces that they didn't make.

The class was about altered shapes and he found that when you've spent so much time making a perfect pot on the wheel, it's really hard to "mess up" the shape, altering it into a less symetrical, but often more interesting shape. SO he found that manipulating a piece that SOMEONE ELSE had made was a LOT easier for students.

I've taken this idea and used it in bead classes... originally with the "pass the bead" exercise that I used to do at the end of my classes. I told Sharon Peters about it and I believe that she continues to do that exercise in her classes (other instructors might as well). It's fun to think that my going to Maine to take a class, and watching another class make teapots would be something that added to ANOTHER glass-bead instructors classes. Funny how things work isn't it?

But that's the great thing about being able to share ideas with another artist... conversation flows, ideas run amuck and before you know it, it's time to pay the check (deciding how much to tip the girl who left you thirsty) and return to our own lives.... BUT you leave a lot richer. Richer for knowing another person... more than just as an artist, but as the person who creates the art... richer for having shared ideas and received ideas in return. Richer for just had spent time with a friend.

I hope you all have a Marcy. :)

tiny blah blah blah...

brought to you ALL WEEK by Rosemarie and her generous "tip jar" donation. And, as promised, I have now added the "official" tip-jar to the side-bar. I think we might have to name it after Rosemarie or something... I'll think further on that! Thank you once again!!!!!!!! YUM!

coffee - CDL prepared by Omar (I told him he was mentioned in my blog.... I'm sure EVERYONE who gets coffee at my starbucks and blogs probably mentions him and his fabulous lattes. I think that Starbucks location is the best. Hooray for Alex, Yolanda, Omar and the others who I'm forgetting!!)

music - very Jason Mrazzy today. I'm listening to his live album "Selections for Friends" which has some really cool versions of his songs.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's Tuesday and I'm hopeful.

For lots of reasons...

1. My idea bank for seed bead projects is no longer clogged! I am SO SO SO happy with this idea I have brewing in my brain. It's one I totally see coming into fruition (there are lots that I don't... this one is FABULOUS, if I do say so myself). As my customers know, I love projects that do more than one thing... or are more than one thing... or can be worn more than one way. I'm really happy about this one!!! It wasn't one that had been brewing for a while... it just POPPED into my head and was a total "aha!" moment as I was making little beads the other day. I have a lot of research and trial-and-error stuff to do, but I hope to have a proto-type ready by Bead and Button. I will NOT have kits for this until the next year. It's going to take a lot of time to write the patter... but I have a GREAT idea!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!

2. I am fairly high on the waiting-list for bead and button!!!!!!!!!! I didn't have to be juried in because of my many years of doing the show. I'm glad to know that my doing the show for umpteen years meant something. I'm also very thankful to Anne who paved the way for my phone call. Thank you Anne!!! (waving at Anne... just in case she's reading)

3. Personal stuff that I'm not going to discuss here. (I'll just leave you wondering)

4. Starbucks has cupcakes. Ok... that's not really something I'm HOPEFUL about... but they are good!!!

5. OK... another not "hopeful" but very happy thing...It's 2 weeks till my birthday!!!! I LOVE my birthday. I think the only people who count the days to their birthday are children under the age of 10... and me. I spent 6 years having my birthday in Tucson during the bead shows. That was fun, but wasn't "all about me" I'm totally from the "my birthday is all about me" school of thought. SO, I'm beginning the 1 week of Sylvie starting on Friday!!!! It will culminate 7 days later, February 7th with a birthday night out. Hooray for me and my 42nd birthday (yes, I actually said my age "out loud" I don't usually do that)

ok... time for the tiny blah blah blah....

Today is sponsored, once again by Rosemarie and her week-of-coffee!!!!! WOO HOO! Thank you Rosemarie!!!

coffee - CDL (with all the sugar AND whipped cream... it was one of those days! Prepared by Omar... YAY Omar! This is deliciouso!!)

music - Colbie Callait and Corrine Bailey Rae - a mixed playlist with just them. Right now I'm listening to Oxygen by Colbie Callait... love that song. One of my favorites from the album. Just listened to Sexy Back pirated (gasp!) recording by Corrine Bailey Rae. It is GREAT and I wish she would really record it so that I could BUY it!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Monday World...

And I DO mean world!

I am a few countries and states closer to world domination!

bwa ha ha ha ha!!!!!!

2,800 visits since July 2008 (WOW!!! Who ARE you people???)

26 Countries

46 states - come on Alaska, Vermont, West Virginia and Delaware!!! Get to readin' my blog... you folks are hindering my blogging domination of the US!

I said the other day that the Google Analytics map reminds me of a Risk game... I want to fill in all the countries with my pieces and WIN!!! (what I win, I have no clue... and my mom used to have the rule "winner picks up" so I'm not sure that I want to win THAT job anyways!) But I still think it's fun to look at the map!

I had planned a beadmaking weekend, but it didn't go as planned. It was a nice weekend, but was not spent in the studio as I had hoped.

Friday night was spent taking beads off mandrels. There, I said it here, publicly... I did NOT have a date on Friday night or anything else fun and crazy social, as sometimes my weekends are.... I stayed at home Friday night, watched TV (more on that in a minute) and cleaned beads. Oh well. It had to be done. I was out of skinny mandrels and knew that if I didn't take some of those gazillion beads off the mandrels, I'd be stuck with nothing to make beads with on Saturday.

Saturday, for the most part, was spent being social, although I did get a little beadmaking done. Social won out over beadmaking... so I guess that sort of balances Friday night????

SUNDAY was the day I was SURE I was going to spend in the studio... well, that didn't happen. There was another project that had to be tackled and I spent WAY more time on it than I had anticipated. I was totally bummed about no beadmaking, BUT I really didn't have a choice.

While cleaning beads this weekend, I discovered a new show... one that had been recommended by friends, but I hadn't watched last season. I found out that I shouldn't watch this year unless I caught up with last... so while cleaning beads and working on the monster-project, I watched last year's season of Damages. I still have a ways to go before I'm caught up and ready to watch this season, but WOW is that show good!!! I was hooked from the first scene.

Now, I have to say that I'm watching the whole thing in black and white (the color went out on my TV) which is probably good because I'm really squeamish and there are some intense crime scenes... but it's pretty cool in black and white. Makes things seem a little more dramatic!

I'm not sure that I'll like it as much in color.... might be too intense for me. We'll see. It's a GREAT mystery though... and I love that!

The other beady thing that I worked on for a little while this weekend was my color-recipe book. I am re-doing it, adding and subtracting some things from my previous one. In my first one I only talk about pixie dust. This one I added enamels too. I used up 4 pages on violet pixie dust and purple enamel... tiny writing... and I still have a lot more to add to those categories!!!

I love love love those color extras and how they make the moretti palette SO different. I think that's one of the things that makes my small beads, no matter how elementary they are, "MINE" My colors are just way different than everyone else's. And that's a good thing.

tiny blah blah blah...

Today's coffee is brought to me by beadmaker and blog-reader, ROSEMARIE who totally rocks for putting money in my starbucks "tip jar"!!!!!! I think I'm going to add "tip jar" to the side-bar over there just because it makes me laugh. So, thank you very much Rosemarie. :)

coffee - Cinnamon Dolce Latte prepared by Omar, who said he missed me while I was cheating on him going to a different starbucks. sweet, huh?

music - NOTHING!!! I left my ipod in my studio on Saturday thinking I would be heading back to make more beads later that night... didn't happen.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday is HERE!!!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!

I'm planning a weekend of beads and friends! Perfect weekend!!!

I'm saying it here "out loud" so that I'm accountable to whoever is reading this... I'm going to make some more difficult beads this weekend AND start working on a new idea that came from the FYV workshop round 1 (when I made beads too... this time I haven't done that).

SO... I'm nervous and excited to try some new things. It's easy to stick with what I know and what I know I can be successful at, but I have a cool idea for a new seed-bead project and I need to make the lampwork to go with it.... so I'm going to go for it this weekend!

In other beady news, I want to copy a "short" (ha!) blurb from one of my FYV classes.

This is in relation to the first assignment that I gave my workshop participants. I had some hesitation in giving the 2nd round people the same assignment as the first round... because a lot of the inspiration images would have to overlap. Here's what I wrote to them...

"I just wanted to share something I've learned this past week with you all posting your assignment 1 beads.

When I did this assignment last round, it was the first time I've ever had 30ish people doing this workshop at once and I pretty much handed out all the Karl Blossfeldt pictures that I had downloaded.

SO when this time came around, I wondered... if I give people the same image... even with a different color scheme, will the beads look similar????

Well... the answer is no... which is SO cool. If you go and look at the "big group" pictures. You should see several pictures there of beads made during assignment one. You are bound to see a couple of beads (or more) that used the same pictures that were used by people in your group.

BUT I haven't seen a single thing posted here that, even though it might have had the same inspiration photo, looks like ANY of the other beads.

I think that is WAY cool.... on many levels.

1. it shows us that even if 2 beadmakers use the same inspiration... it doesn't mean they're going to end up with the same resulting bead.

2. It proves my point that when we look at beads for inspiration, it just causes INBRED beads!!!!! We shouldn't see a gallery of beads that all have a similar style if beadmakers are getting their own inspirations... it's just not going to happen. We've seen here that even when 2 beadmakers have the SAME inspiration, their beads turn out different... so the only way that all these beads are looking alike is.... THEY ARE ONLY BEING INSPIRED BY BEADS (thus my term "inbred beads")

SO... get out there and find inspiration everywhere BUT in glass beads and your work will sing your own song!!!"

I wish I could link you all to a gallery of all of the student work, but I can't. The new groups are private ones on Facebook, so the beads aren't visible. PLUS I want to make it the beadmakers choice whether their work is viewed publicly anyways. There ARE some photos from the first group posted in the facebook group "Finding Your Voice as a Glass Beadmaker"

Later, I was asked later about classes/tutorials and how can someone LEARN, but not have that effect their work. I responded that I really think it's possible. You have to make an EFFORT to separate the techniques you've learned in a class/tutorial from the design that they've used to teach those techniques.

There is a big benefit to learning from people whose style is SO different from your own... it makes that separating design from technique a little easier. You might learn techniques that you probably never will use , but you'll add some new ones to your "bag of tricks" and it's done in a way that doesn't cloud your own aesthetic.

When you're first learning to make beads... you probably don't HAVE a style... so take as many classes as you can, practice whatever beads you need to practice to hone those skills... BUT THEN start looking away from existing beads... stay away from the galleries for a while, give yourself "assignments" that keep you on your toes and keep your ideas fresh and unique.

At that point, when you return to the galleries online and look at the work being posted... you'll see the similarities of a lot of the beads there AND the absolute uniqueness of your own beads in comparison. It's amazing how it happens.

Taking 2 years off from beadmaking was good for me in a lot of ways... it really let me see this clearly when going back to the galleries and checking out stuff. It was like this huge OMG moment when I saw 15 postings in one day whose beads, though different (and very cool) were DEFINITELY from the same inspirational source somewhere. I have no idea from where (or who) they originated, but they DEFINITELY all had an uncanny similarity. And I don't know that people who had been looking at the galleries every day would have noticed it. It took stepping away from things to see it.

The beads that had been "flavor of the week" 2 years ago had all but disappeared... that aesthetic almost vanished and this new one took its place. Sure there were a few beadmakers whose work still was unique, but the majority had a very similar feel... and I could tell it BIG TIME....maybe the other beadmakers couldn't see it... even in their own work.

It kind of reminds me of weight loss. When someone loses weight and you're around them all the time (or if it's you), it's gradual and you can tell they've lost weight, but it's not as dramatic for you as for someone who hasn't seen them in a while... they see the person and it's like "WOW! You have TOTALLY lost a LOT of weight!!"

When we're immersed in the images of beads made by other beadmakers, we don't see those gradual shifts in aesthetics that are being taken by the MASS of beadmakers out there. There has DEFINITELY been a shift in the last 2 years and I hate to say it, but a LOT of the beads out there look alike right now... A LOT. If I hadn't been separate from bead images for those 2 years, I might not have seen it.

SO... personally, I'm staying away from the galleries. I need to focus on me right now. I know who I am as a beadmaker... I definitely have my own style, BUT I don't need this outside influence of the "flavor of the month" beads coloring my work... and it would be easy to let it.... even unconsciously.

ok... that's enough for today.

time for the tiny blah blah blah...

today's coffee is brought to me by ME!!!!!!! And since I bought my coffee, I bought the coffee sponsorship and can say what I want here.... oh wait! I already do that!!! :)

coffee - CDL and it's gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood!!!!!!! (and cost me $4.25 if you need to make note of that)

music - my upbeat mix which right now is playing Otis Redding's Tenderness. I love that song! I found it through Pretty In Pink, but still love it! (and so do my kids!)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday! Thursday! Thursday!!

It's been a really nice week so far, so I hate to put that in peril by saying it's "stress free Thursday" but so far so good!!! I've got a lot of work-work to do at my REAL job since it's year-end, but I don't feel crazed by it... which is a good thing!

I sat and started cleaning the GAZILLION beads that I've made last night. I simultaneously took beads off mandrels while watching Lost (boy! it's going to be good this season!!!!!) I have a LONG ways to go in the bead-cleaning process just because of the sheer number of these tiny beads.

One thing I noticed is I'm VERY green-heavy in my assortment. I was working down my list of green-pixie dust beads and only strayed to other colors a few times. There is a big variety of beads, but not enough strong contrast. I need to work down the purple and red pages next!

I think the fact that I'm using enamels in addition to the pixie dusts is really making the palette MORE green. I've been using "green apple" thompson enamel and it's a strong green. I like the lighter shade better and don't have any more of it. :(

I think it's time to buy some of the "extras" like that. I waited as long as possible before buying glass. I wanted to really make a dent in the inventory that I had... but there are some colors I use a LOT of... most of the transparents in cool colors I was out of. I took a trip to Flame Tree ( the other day and stocked up on all the colors that I was running out of as well as a tiny bit of some new colors I wanted to try.

It was the first time I've bought any REAL quantities of glass in.......... 3 years???? I had bought some fill-in stuff here and there, but no REAL purchases until last weekend. It was scary to spend money on glass when I'm not making money on beads... but as a friend reminded me the other day... you can't MAKE beads to sell if you don't have any glass!!! So, now I'm good on glass, but need to re-stock some of the surface extras that make my colors "mine" and that includes a few key colors of the Thompson enamels. I don't use all of them, but there are about 5 colors that I LOVE... and green-apple isn't one of them!!! After looking at all these beads, I really see that my other color is SO much better.

My color-play is all about shifting the glass slightly into other shades by using either pixie dust or enamel (sometimes both together) and if the enamel color is TOO strong it can really take over and not let the underlying color show through. When using the pink and purple, that's ok... because the glass color never is pink enough or purple enough for me. BUT I like the greens I have available in glass and this apple color is just like poison ivy or kudzu in the way it takes over!!

sorry... I got off on a tangent there.

SO... I need to do a little online shopping this weekend. I need enamels and some silver and gold leaf. I'm going to be GOOD and stay away from all the new and cool color-reactive colors. I really WANT them, and what I've played with of them is really cool.... but it isn't a "stock" Sylvie color and I need to stick with what I know for a while. I know this isn't CREATIVE...sticking with what I know, but right now I'm thinking practical.

I did buy a set of sculpting tools yesterday. I'm really excited to try them, but was really cautious about spending money on them. It took me 3 months (?) to decide to spend $53 on 2 sets.

I was telling someone the other day that it's SO different for me now as far as buying supplies and tools. When I was a full-time career-beadmaker, if I needed glass or wanted to buy a new tool, I just bought it. It was part of the business and made good sense. Now I'm SO cautious about spending money on glass stuff... it's like I'm back in 1996 when I went to the Embellishment show with a whopping $75 to spend on stuff at the show (glass, beads, tools, etc.)

SO... I spent $53 on some tools yesterday and a good bit more than that on glass over the weekend... so if you're making calculations that's..... LESS than zero money made on beads this month.... I need to not think of it this way, but I still do. And for the record, I'm TERRIFIED about spending money on a booth space! Truly. I never would have thought twice about my booth fee at Bead and Button (which grew to a double corner booth...and that should tell you that it wasn't cheap), but even spending on a regular booth is really scary to me right now.

I don't even know if I can GET a booth (although I'm pretty sure I have access to sharing a booth if I want to), but one of my worries is about paying for it and the travel... breaking even at the show is a LOT of sales. What's funny is that in the past, the booth fee wouldn't have even been a consideration. I don't think it's a worry about the economy effecting my sales.... no, it's worse than that. I'm worried that I'll pay the booth fee and go to the show with beautiful inventory and no one will buy my work. Both because it's not as good as the other stuff there.... but also that I'll have lost all name recognition that would have pulled people to my booth in the first place.

I hate this self doubt.

1. It's ok that I spent money on glass.... I'm a glass beadmaker and I needed glass.
2. It's ok that I bought tools.
3. It's not crazy to try to do a bead show and Bead and Button makes sense rather than small ones.
4. It's ok if people DON'T buy my beads... just scary financially and would be sad.... but I can't let this fear paralyze me.

boy... this posting was all over the place. Can you tell I've been thinking about this a lot????

tiny blah blah blah is once again brought to you by some of the members of the FYV class. I've consolidated the gift cards into one, so I'm not sure which of you bought this cup. Thank you guys!!!!

coffee - CDL
music - James Taylor and Jason Mraz mix. Fire and Rain is playing now. love love love my JT

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Is it Wednesday???

I'm totally lost this week!

It's been a very beady few weeks and I'm really thankful for that. I worked for a couple of hours last night making more baby beads. I don't think I can say that I have my mojo back, but I definitely have my color mojo back and have my HANDS back and that's a wonderful thing. I also haven't had any life things that made me have tremors, so that's a good thing too and definitely helps with the beadmaking thing!!!

Being plugged into bead-world again has its good and bad points, however. I'm going to have to really limit the information I allow myself to read online because some of it really irks me. This is my blog and I really can say anything here, so I'm going to...

warning: You might as well fast forward if you don't care to hear my opinions or if you're not a beadmaker...or are only here to see how much money I'm making (none) or spending on coffee (none)...this isn't going to interest you.

Here goes....

To all you beadmakers who are upset for various reasons dealing with economy and voicing it on the forums...

please use your time more constructively. (I originally had stronger words here, but I don't want to be one of the complainers... I truly want to make people see the unfortunate power of their words) In using those forums to voice your negativity, it really spreads and hurts the art of beadmaking. We're such an emotional bunch, we artists, and hashing and rehashing this stuff is so NOT beneficial.

So...stop questioning whether beads are worth the money they were getting before, whether one person's beads are worth more than someone else's, etc. Beads are worth not only what someone is willing to pay for them (as e-bay reinforces) but ALSO what the beadmaker is willing to sell them for. It is not up to anyone but the artist to decide at what price they are willing to part with their treasures. What is a valid price to one person, might not be to another and it really isn't up to any of us to judge that.

I TRULY doubt that people would feel confident walking up to one of the "big name" beadmakers and saying "well, there's only 70 cents worth of glass in that bead... that's a bit of a markup you've got there" Whether "big name" or not, an artist is an artist and their work is theirs to price. Art is not about the cost of the materials... no one ever said it was. We aren't shoe factories... we're artists.

And on that note... Stop complaining about how much prices are going down... I know it's hard... especially if it's something that you depend on for a living, but no one should EVER become an artist because the money is great. That's not what art is about. It's easy to get lost in that (and I'm preaching to myself here). To value your worth by what people are willing to pay for it, but it's NOT the reason to become an artist. Artists have a need to create... whether someone is willing to pay for it or not... we HAVE to create. The term "starving artist" wasn't created in vain... there is something to it... there isn't always going to be a buyer for EVERY artist. A lot of people's work isn't even financially valued in their lifetime (if ever)... but art isn't about that.

Spend your time making ART and stop being negative. We were lucky to have the years that we had and hopefully we will again some day, but no one ever promised us anything. How many other art forms do people go into in order to make money?..... waiting...... anyone? anyone?.....


As of this month, I've been making beads for 13 years. This medium has come a LONG way in that time period and I don't know that the "new"people appreciate that the way they should. I'm not going to go into a long "when I was your age, we had it rough" kind of speech, but maybe some people need to hear it, so I'll go on a SMALL rant (ha!).

Not that long ago there weren't online venues for selling your work. period. All of the people who have been enjoying making a living making beads from the comfort of their own homes... that wasn't what it was like even 10 ? years ago. Those of us who wanted to sell beads had to go to where the bead buyers were. NO ONE came to us.... it cost a LOT of money to sell beads back then...not just a listing fee and a final value fee on ebay or etsy. Let's talk $100-$1000 per show PLUS travel to sell maybe $2000 of beads???? (if I was lucky) And there were no guarantees that you'd sell anything (there were shows where I didn't)... it was always a risk.

I flew to the west coast at least once a month, and drove to other places in between because there were no beadshows in my yard and that was the only way to sell my work. SO you've invested a few dollars on a listing fee and didn't sell the work??? Remind yourself that you've risked very little compared to what you would have years ago.

I took a HUGE risk and became the first glass beadmaker to advertise in Bead and Button (to those people who judged me back then saying "well she thinks she's all that" time to eat some crow...) I did it because I was pregnant and couldn't travel to all the shows. It was a practical decision... but a decision with a lot of fore-sight and a smart one!!! So... maybe I should be added to the list of people you should thank??? (naw!) But back then, I had to make a catalog, and send it out IN THE MAIL (gasp!) to people for them to order beads.

We were SO lucky that online sales became possible... and yes, they've gone down... but hey... it's keeping you all at home with your families. Trust me... you are SO much better off right now.

Just think... you have classes to take! glass readily available! great books/magazines/tutorials! TOOLS out the wazoo!!! (although that might hurt) And daily access to people who talk about making beads!! The only time most people got to do that was in-person at the Gathering or Bead Shows!!! It is SUCH a different ball game right now than it was in 1996 and any of you that were not around to see those changes needs to thank everyone who made that possible and spend your time being grateful instead of wallowing in self-pity or judgement on others. You are SO lucky to have people to share in your joy of making beads, so use that forum for just that... and STOP the other crap.

Anyways... all you complainers...get to making art or GET OUT!!! I truly am hoping for a culling of the beadmakers. I'm hoping that this period of economic uncertainty pushes anyone who is not making beads for the love of beadmaking OUT THE DOOR (because they are usually the biggest whiners). And yes, that's how I really feel about it. Flame away. This is MY blog and I'm totally comfortable saying what I think right here in my space.

tiny blah blah blah...

Today's coffee is again brought to you by one of my FYV students. Merci beaucoup!!! :) I love being thanked in coffee!!!!! (hint hint... please send more gift cards ASAP. LOL)

coffee - CDL which is SO yummy on this cold day!

music - my long long mellow list. I think I need to change things up, it's getting a little draggy. Right now is Clapton's Wonderful Tonight and I'm fast-forwarding because it's too slow. Maroon 5 - Sunday Morning is a little more upbeat. I'll let them stay. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Tuesday!

(but it feels like Monday since we had the day off yesterday)

I'm spending a lot of time helping my sister with her website. She's excited and I'm excited for her! I'll have more info on it later, but we're having a fun contest that you will want to participate in!!!

I had a great 2 hours of beadmaking yesterday. WOO HOO!!! I'm still concentrating on little beads, but it's helping me get my control back.

I need to do more stringer work now... let dot work and more tiny swirly-q types of stuff. I'm really enjoying the quiet meditation of these baby beads.... so I don't think, even when I totally get back into my "big bead groove" that I'll give up the baby beads.

It took me a while to miss beadmaking at all, and at first all I wanted to do was make little beads... that's how I started off when I became a beadmaker too. BUT the more I've been sitting there making little beads, the more i've been planning big beads.

I'm honest with myself and know that my bigger beads are probably NOT going to sell right now in this economy, but it doesn't mean I don't still want to make them. I'm going to keep ruminating on them and make some hopefully later this week/weekend. I've been dreaming of little flower fairies lately... and a seed bead project that goes along with it. I'm really starting to think more about those too.

In other news... I'm starting to think about beadshows again. It's a BIG decision and I'm not sure I'm ready for it, but was I EVER ready for it???? I KNOW that I had no clue what I was doing when I signed up for my FIRST show (Tucson's Best Bead show... yes, you read that right) or my SECOND show (Embellishment, which later morphed into Bead and Button)... those seemed totally logical to me at the time because they were the only beadshows I knew about!! I had no idea they were the BIGGEST bead shows out there... just made sense to me... if people are travelling to buy beads, that's where I should go to sell them.

SO... should my first beadshow back out of the gates be Bead and Button??? Is there any way I can even get back into the show???? I know in the past they've had a huge waiting list, but would my seniority help me move up the list OR are people dropping out due to economy anyways??? And am I ready to tackle something that big????? And where will the money come from to do a show like that???? All things to consider.

(and I'm wanting to go to the Gathering this summer too. If you know me well, you know that is NOT something I normally wanted to do... but I do. I miss my glass friends and facebook has reminded me of that a lot lately) SO... we'll see.

tiny blah blah blah...

today's coffee is brought to me by a student in my Finding Your Voice class who has sent me a very generous "thank you". Thank you to you too!!! :)

Coffee today - very warm Cinnamon Dolce Latte (which is cooling quick because it's so cold here!)

Music - my new really long mellow list that right now is just an "on-the-go" list on my ipod, so it doesn't have a name. Right now it's playing Diana Krall "peel me a grape"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kroger Whimsical Whoopies

I just had to come write that in my blog because....

THAT is the grouping of words that someone googled and found my page through.

WHAT were they looking for in the first place??? And why did they think they'd find it here??? And WHEN did I say that group of words???? What's funny is... if you search for those 3 words... I'm the 3rd entry that comes up!!! (again, why anyone would search for those words I'm not sure)

SO... if you were looking for Kroger's Whimsical Whoopie Pie (as apparently people who looked at the #1 choice were) then you are in the wrong place.

I DO have an entry where I talk about a guy singing loudly in the Kroger parking lot... and I DO make whimsical beads... I can't help you with the whoopie though... I have no idea where that one came from.

And tomorrow we'll discuss why someone chose to come to my blog looking for "playlist non boring spa music" and how many kajillions of listings they had to go through FIRST before getting to my page.

ok... that's it. I don't normally post on a Sunday night, but that made me laugh!!

no tiny blah blah blah since it's not a normal posting day

Friday, January 16, 2009


I SO needed a Friday this week.

It's not been a week that seemed long, but it just seemed BIG. I have no idea if that makes sense to anyone else, but me... but it's MY blog (and ONLY my blog so if it only makes sense to me...that's ok.... please feel free to sing along if you've heard me sing this song before) It wasn't a hugely stressful week, although, for some reason, almost every Thursday in my life seems to have SOMETHING stressful and yesterday was no different.

Thanks a lot Keith... I blame you for my Thursdays being stressful. You call them "stress free" and it jinxes them every single time!!! LOL

So, it was a full week, and I'm looking forward to a weekend... a deep breath, a rest, some free time, some play time... a few days of :)

The boys are out of school on Monday so it's an extra bonus good weekend. We'll have some extra playtime on Monday!!

I'm not planning on having any real beady stuff going on this weekend, so I really should end the beady blog here, but have a couple of other things to say bead-wise.... ok, more than a couple...

I am SO blessed by the people in my life who have encouraged me to get back into beadwork/beadmaking. I just want to say a big public thank you.

1. I'm SO thankful for my bead cheerleaders who listen to my ideas (good and bad), who give me feedback, who commiserate with me and encourage me. I truly appreciate you guys (and I think you know who you are) and I hope that I'm the same support to you all. We've been doing this lots of years together and it's good to have people with that common life experience that "get it" So... thank you Melissa, Karen and Marcy. I know there are others, but the 3 of you have really been a big help lately. Thank you!!!

2. I'm thankful for Ginny, who is going to make my life easier...and prettier! I'm very excited about this... more later.

3. I'm thankful for Say... who is my partner in crime... my receptionist, my editor, my motivator, my facilitator and the sparkle! :)

4. I'm thankful for my new group of "fans" who encourage me as I help them find their own voices. I don't think you all know that you're as good for me as you are. Thank you bunches!

5. I'm thankful for my re-connection in the past weeks with my many bead friends who I haven't talked to in 2 years. I've missed you guys and it makes me smile to "see" you again!!!

6. I'm thankful for my customers who have e-mailed me for 2 years straight wondering where I was and when I'm coming back...telling me stories of how my work has been meaningful to them. I save those e-mails and they really have been inspirational. Thank you.

7. I'm thankful that I have GREAT bead people in Atlanta. I'm spoiled and forget sometimes the "old days" when we had to walk 3 miles up-hill both ways to get glass...let alone talk to other beadmakers. I can't BELIEVE how lucky I am to have a great glass supplier like Flametree Glass 10 minutes (or less) from my front door. How lucky am I???? (their website is and if you haven't bought from them before...their prices are great and they are GREAT people too!) And the fact that we have an active glass group in Atlanta is just as exciting (

8. I'm thankful for my NON beady friends that don't "get it" at all, but cheer me on every step of the way listening to beady stuff when they have no clue what I'm talking about, but not just saying "uh huh" really listening and encouraging. Thank you Cassie, Denise, Jenny, Keith.... and I'm sure others that I'm skipping.

9. I'm thankful for my mom and dad who a lot of times don't "get" the bead thing, but are supportive both emotionally and financially and have helped me keep going even when I didn't think I could. I know I can't ever pay you back, but I want you all to know how much I appreciate you. I love you!!!

10. I'm thankful for my kids who are my biggest beady cheerleaders. They know how much I love being an artist and they really encourage me by telling me how proud of me they are. They also get that it's more than's a job and they support me with that as well. Griffin is always telling me that he wants me to do it full-time again. I don't know that I'll be at that point again, but maybe...and it's good to know that they understand that it IS a job...not just a hobby, as some people think of it. I think Harrison's mothers day card from 2000 says it all "I love my mom because she makes us beds to get us money" The kid "got it"... he couldn't SPELL it, but he got it. :)

11. The biggest... I'm thankful to God who gave me hands that can make things and a brain that can't stop thinking of things for my hands to make. I love that I was given a gift of creation. There are lots of great gifts that he gives, but what I am able to do creatively is something that I'm blessed with and I'm truly thankful for it.

ok... I know that sounded like an Oscars speech, but I needed to say all that here. Most of these people don't read my blog, but it's a good thing to say things and not just think them.

Thank you everybody!!! (because there are those of you I'm sure I missed and if you're reading this, you probably fall into one of my categories)

tiny blah blah blah...

Today's coffee is sponsored by Sam... who hopes that Rich finds his face! (thanks for the coffee Sam!!!)

coffee - CDL - extra hot so that it wouldn't cool off in the 13 degree weather on the way to work! brrrrrr it's cold in Atlanta today!

music - the long fun list which doesn't have a name yet. I just listened to Midnight Train to Georgia and now am listening to Family Affair by Mary J Blige... "Let's get it crunk...." (I have no idea what crunk really is, but I love this song!) I'm looking forward to some New Edition in a little while! LOL

Thursday, January 15, 2009


can't believe this week is almost through. It has ZOOMED by!!!!

It's been a very beady week and that's a good thing!!! I am the queen of the itty bitty baby lampworked beads again and it feels good to be back. I have been a beadmaking MACHINE this week.

It's fun to be back in that groove again. I have a LONG way to go till I'm totally back to "normal" again, but it's really nice to get my rhythm.

Making little beads is very meditative to me. I make about 8-10 (getting better every day, it was 6 a few weeks ago... 12 is the goal) beads per mandrel.... yes, I know... that's a lot. It's just something that my hands know how to do... they know how much glass to melt, how to lay it down, how to rotate, how to move to add dots... it's very repetitive and I'm sort of on auto-pilot when I make these. They're simple beads, but I like making them.

When I make them, I sort of zone out. I think a little bit, but it's more meditative than real thinking... it's good for me. (ok... I have to admit, some of the time it's not meditative, it's singing along with whoever is on the ipod at the time) When I make big more decorative beads, it's a lot more thought, more planning, more art... less automatic. I think having a mix of both is good.

I'm glad to have the time to just get back in the groove without HAVING to be in full production mode. I know that day is coming, but I'm glad to have a little time to slowly gear-up.... and making little beads is good for that AND it's good for other things. It's practical.

I've been talking economy of beadmaking to some close beadmaking friends lately and it's really a scary time to re-enter the market. What's funny is that I'm not totally freaking out like the beadmakers who have been selling for the past couple of years. Why???? Because what was happening out there these last two years was NOT NORMAL. (1,000 or more for a set of beads??? are you kidding me????) Anyone who started making beads when I did knows that no one got rich being a beadmaker back then. The prices on e-bay these last couple of years were a FLUKE.

So, I'm coming back into the market at about the point I really entered it in the beginning. I never PLANNED to make a living making beads... it just happened... some of it because I was getting good enough that my time was best spent making beads and some of it because I HAD to make beads for our family to pay the bills... I was the breadwinner and making beads was what I was able to do to support us.

It never was easy to make a living making beads, and all the beadmakers who entered the market in the past few years... a lot of them entered for the money alone. Those people will drop out unless they did it because they LOVED it and absolutely with their heart and soul had to melt glass. The high has probably happened and REAL is coming back, both due to the economy and just because the market was grossly inflated. It's sort of a culling of the beadmakers about to go on... and I think that's a good thing.

As far as the art goes.... those that have that NEED to create will stick around and the beauty of art beads will remain because of them. Those that were making copies of what was the hot seller, will eventually fade away. I truly believe this. If you're not making beads because you love it, when they're not selling well... why bother???

I hadn't planned to talk about this today, but it's what I've been thinking about a lot lately. SO... that's why I'm focusing on little beads. That's where I started... I'll never forget that I'm "Jenny From the Block"??? (ok, maybe only I thought that was funny) And the fact that I'm just as proud of my little beads as I am my mermaids and beads I've been applauded for, shows that.

HOPEFULLY I'll have time to take some pictures of all these baby beads some time soon... I'd just rather spend my "free" time making beads right now. Taking good pictures of beads is a big production and a pain!!!

tiny blah blah blah... today is brought to you by Frederic, who though he didn't have anything to "announce" here, was sweet enough to buy my coffee today. Merci! :)

coffee - CDL
music - my new long long long mellow list (I lumped all my various mellow playlists into one long one for the studio)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wacky Wednesday...

too much to do and not enough time to talk about it.

Made beads last night for a couple of hours. Still doing color explorations. Hands still shaking a bit too much to do any big-time sculptural stuff with tiny details (which stinks!)

Worked on researching moving my website to another server that isn't as expensive and offers more features. It's overwhelming, but I think it's necessary. It shouldn't cause any disruption in my website due to how they do everything, but it's still a bit daunting.

Too much regular work to do to blog much today.

Very excited about the online classes... the students are really enthusiastic which is great and makes me feel good about what I'm doing.

It's freezing here in Atlanta today... when I left the house it was 25!!! It reminded me of one winter when my studio was outside on an enclosed porch (at our old house) and I was in production mode for the big Tucson show... it was 17 degrees outside and my butt FROZE... yet I still made beads. :)

I don't know if I'm that HARD CORE of a beadmaker now... of course, that was a TOTALLY different era... the beads had to be made for the bills to get paid!!!! I know that time is probably coming again... so I'm glad my studio isn't OUTSIDE!!!!!!!

Hoping for a tiny bit of studio time this afternoon... we'll see.

ok... tiny blah blah blah... brought to you again by Aunt Janie and Uncle Jim!!! woo hoo!!! (I love Christmas)

coffee - CDL - I asked for it extra hot so that it wouldn't cool too fast as I drove to work... good decision!

music - A new and improved long mellow list. I love the song Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison... I keep hitting repeat (I do that sometimes... listen to the same song over and over)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Tuesday and BRRRRRRRR it's cold here!

And it's supposed to get even colder this week!!! It's a good week for Uggs. That's for sure! Ugliest footwear ever but SO warm! (and sometimes warm wins over fashionable!)

It's been very beady around me lately. My new round of classes has started. Everyone has their first assignments and is getting to know each other. I'm really excited.

The thread in Wet Canvas seems to be fairly quiet, so I'm not having quite the panic that I was yesterday about being inundated with requests to join. I did get several, but it could have been much worse (not really WORSE... more like overwhelming) if it had been in its own thread in that newsgroup. A LOT of people read that group, so I couldn't handle a swarm of people... besides the fact that I'm not really getting PAID to teach it. I'm not sure that I need to be offering a free workshop to the entire world of beadmaking.

(I did think it funny that someone called the class "Finding Your Face" and that other people use an abbreviation for it FYV... I had no clue that I had an acronym!!!)

ANYWAYS...I'm HOPING that I'll be hired to teach the class again some day (for money and in person), but it really is a hard class to get people to pay for. Beadmakers seem to be completely comfortable paying $400 and up for a class that teaches them to make MY beads, but not to help them develop their own style. I get it and I'm SURE not criticizing the fact that people want to take my class and learn my techniques... that's really flattering (and a financially good thing when it happens). I'd just like to be able to teach this other class as well. It is one that people who have taken it, LOVE and it's done a lot for their creative development... and as an instructor that's really rewarding.

So, that's the reason, I'm doing it as a free workshop for now... because it's positive PR AND it's a good thing to do... help people find their voice and hopefully go out and make totally unique beads that sing their own song.

I'm doing other beady things as well... tonight I might make some beads for a couple of hours, but for the most part, I'm CLEANING beads... all these bunches of baby beads have to get cleaned before they can get sold.... so if you're waiting to BUY beads... you might be waiting for a while. Keep watching the website... you'll definitely know when the beads are finally up and ready for sale.

I miss my bead divas... the ones who worked for me and kept me organized and helped with bead cleaning!!! Maybe some day I can bring them back.... we'll see how things go this year.

So... what am I planning??? I'm not thinking that I'll be doing ebay anytime soon. I've been watching it and it's not the right time. It's really not the right time for ANY sort of bead stuff, but since that's what I do and HAVE to do (not because I'm being forced, but because there's a part of me that needs to make art).

I think, for now, it's just going to be a small amount of lampwork on my website along with my kits. There are some other possibilities, but for now, that's all I have planned... but that's more than I had in 2008, so I'm making progress!!!

Hopefully I'll get that in action soon!!!

The next hurdle will be finding my way back into shows and teaching. If any of you 20 readers knows of places that might have me come teach... tell them!!! tell me!!!! I figure my world-domination might need to include some teaching gigs!!! :)

SO... someone get those Alaska beadmakers here (1. so I can add that to the list of states reading the blog and 2. so I can teach at the cool studio there) ALSO if any of you have connections at Beadstock... I really really really want to teach there, so any good word you can put in for me would be great!

What good is this blog if I'm not using you 20 readers to help me??? LOL

ok... tiny blah blah blah

brought to you again by my Aunt Janie and Uncle Jim... I haven't finished using their gift card from Christmas yet. THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!! :)

coffee - VCDL (look! I have an abbreviation for that too!!! :)

music - I'm on my 2nd playlist of the day... the first was my mellow classic rock one (lots of Jackson Browne and Tom Petty stuff), now I'm on my Long Mellow List. It's more of a quiet day than yesterday.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's Monday!

woo hoo!!! (not really, but I'm TRYING to look enthusiastic)

I had a wonderful weekend and spent a nice amount of time in the studio. I'm continuing to just find my rhythm again and just practice practice practice. Spent time making little beads and playing with color.

I'm starting the next round of the Finding Your Voice groups today. I'm excited about having a new batch of people going through the process. A lot of the people from the first round liked it enough to stick around and sort of do an "independent study" thing continuing the journey together. Pretty cool.

I found out today that my little project was discussed on Wet Canvas. I was sort of trying to keep it a secret, but knew at some point, it would get talked about if people enjoyed it. I'm just a little worried about what happens now.... do I get inundated with people wanting to take the workshop??? Do I have to turn people away??? Does it just get absorbed INTO wet canvas, where I lose control of it??? Is that ok anyways???

Not sure why I feel so possessive of it... since the whole point is sharing ideas, but the ego inside of me DOES feel a certain amount of territorial ism about the workshop itself. Might have to just get over it.

must think more on it... will keep you posted

Tiny blah blah blah...

today is brought to you by no one... because...

Coffee - Nope. Was really thirsty and in a Dr. Pepper mood instead

Music - My long long long playlist that I had going in the studio all weekend. I'll post it on the sidebar later. It's a lot of FUN music but really a crazy mix... everything from the Dixie Chicks to Flo Rida. It makes me laugh.

Friday, January 09, 2009


And I'm hoping it's going to be a weekend of beadmaking! For those who have asked for pics of the beads I’m making... maybe someday. They aren't THAT exciting anyways...just tiny spacer-sorts of beads...some with knobby dots or roses, some that are just rondelles...again, nothing TOO exciting.

So today's blog... here we go... for all you non-beady sorts, might want to skip the following paragraphs it's gonna get very beady today) as for those of you the words of Bette Davis...

"Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy ride"

Today's Tiny Blah Blah Blah was going to be sponsored by my friend Stacey (although I told her it wouldn't even cost her a cup of coffee for me to say something) BUT I decided that it's one of those things that's important enough to get a whole blog posting...

The "C" word... here we go again.... the topic is Copying.

I KNOW it's a topic that gets heated in some of the bead forums and it can be a sticky topic...and you guys who read this very often know that I have some pretty clear views of how it can be a NON-TOPIC... if people would just start looking at other sources than beads for inspiration... THAT would open bead-world up to SO many more exciting creations.

BUT that's not even what this posting is about... this is about just plain old blatant Plagiarism or Pirating... taking someone's original idea and not trying to replicate it... just STEALING it and making it your own. First I'll tell my own story of this and then I'll tell Anne’s story…the one that Stacey is sponsoring for today.

My own experience with this happened in late 1997-1998 (I think I might have told this story in my blog a LONG time ago…so excuse me if I repeat myself) when I had a customer who bought my beads to use in her jewelry line. She took my mermaids, fairies and angels, which she bought wholesale from me (she bought a LOT of these beads) and put them on simple chain with a few Austrian crystals. Nothing crazy creative, BUT she always got a card from me, to include with the jewelry, a little blurb about me telling that I was the artist to give me credit for my portion of the work she was selling.

Of course she didn't HAVE to do this... we beadmakers know that a lot of jewelry is made and sold with handmade glass beads where no credit is given to the beadmaker. Not cool, but it happens. SO, I was happy that I was being given credit for the work that I was doing…especially since it really was the MAIN feature of the jewelry….these weren’t little spacer beads in a bracelet… it was MY sculpture on a chain. The beads I was KNOWN for in bead-world.

And here’s where the story gets ugly…I found out that she was telling people that SHE made the beads. This was not on a tiny bead-show scale either. She bought my beads, made necklaces from them which she sold at the D.C., Chicago and Dallas Beckman's Handcrafted Gift Show as well as the Rosen Show in Philadelphia which is one of the most prestigious handcrafted shows out there and is highly juried….along with other large-scale gift shows and retail art shows. The jewelry was sold to some of the nicest handcrafted galleries and museum stores, as well as LOTS of little gift stores around the country and TONS of individuals at art shows around the country.

SO... how did I find this out???? I had someone in Atlanta say that they’d seen my work at the Yellow Daisy Festival (a big art show here) and that the person selling it, although they KNEW it was my work, hadn’t mentioned me. Oh well… it was a busy show… stuff happens. Then I was at the Best Bead show in Tucson and someone who was looking at my beads (but didn’t know me) said they'd met my husband at the New York gift show. HUH? I said... no, I wasn't there. You must be thinking of my customer that sells work she's made with my beads... they said "no...They were very specific that their wife made the beads." Hmmmmm. I thought. This is odd, but it MUST be a misunderstanding.

THEN I had someone else come to my booth who knew me and my beads very well. She lives in Chicago and owns a business there. She had received the brochure for the Chicago Handcrafted Gift Show and said my beads were on the cover. They are??? Cool, thought I. Not cool she said... she said it doesn't even mention me. ??? I said??? She said she'd mail it to me.

She did.... and low and behold it had MY beads on the cover. We're not talking jewelry made with my beads... MY BEADS. And did they have my name on them????? NOPE. The credit was given to "Fiddlesticks" This was the business name of my customer (who by the way is still in business under that name…I checked yesterday…she has a website

So, I called the customer "no no no... You must have misunderstood" I THEN called the show-promoter to ask about the cover and inform them of the situation, asking for them to print some sort of correction. "Well, we're not going to do that... she is a vendor and we know that she makes those glass beads." "Oh yeah???? Would you like copies of all the sales invoices for the thousands she's spent on MY glass beads????" says I. They quickly changed their tune (a little.)

I got a sob story letter from the owner of Fiddlesticks telling me that she’s a single mom and this is her livelihood and that I was putting her business in jeopardy. I’m a very understanding person mind you… but this was MY livelihood as well… and my heart and soul… my ART. It truly truly truly hurt that a customer did this to me. One that I had praised for giving me credit as an artist.

In the end, I decided that the best way to handle this would be to stop selling her the beads. She couldn't make more of them, so that would take her ability to pirate my art. I also had the misguided idea that if I went and did those same gift shows I'd be able to "win my name back" and get credit with the customers for what I HAD CREATED. That was where I went wrong. The show promoters did let me in the show, but she stayed on as a premiere "front-row" vendor, while I was with the new guys in the back of the hall.

The other vendors hated me... they thought I was someone who had stolen HER designs. I was told later by another vendor that they'd been told that story. I also heard from a former customer of hers (who became my customer) that they were told upon seeing my stuff at the show that the story was something like... I had been her employee and left and stole the designs. That was a horrible thing to hear… I really really really felt violated then. Not only was my work stolen… but I was being slandered at the same time. I was used to LOVING shows, the camaraderie with the other vendors, the FUN customers… these shows, though I gained many WONDERFUL supportive customers, for me were filled with a lot of negative emotion caused by evil stares and whispers. It was awful….and totally unwarranted.

I did very well at the shows, but it wasn’t what I’d ever set out to do… I never wanted a jewelry line. I wanted to make beads!!! I turned myself into a factory…which is sadly, what a lot of the people at the handcrafted shows really were…actual factories. I just couldn’t keep up with the orders and my sanity, so I gave up the jewelry line and went back to being “just” a beadmaker.

I never took any sort of action against her. It wasn't worth it. She was a person unable to create anything original on her own. She required using the art of others. She now uses the beads of another beadmaker. I looked on her site yesterday and she DOES give that person credit. I was glad to see that. Hopefully she's changed her ways a bit. (Says the nice person/optimist in me)

There are SO many forms of pirating art.... from blatant misrepresentation to taking original designs here and having them reproduced in China...a country who does nothing to protect artistic copyright (this has happened to LOTS of US glass beadmakers) and even pirating of designs used by instructors here at big-name bead shows …someone taking the project and going to teach it as if it was their own design.

A friend of mine, Anne Mitchell (, teaches beautiful metal-work classes at both Bead and Button and other show venues like Beadfest. Her work is published in books and magazines and just this year she was awarded 2009 Excellence in Bead Artistry award by Bead and Button. So, what's the pirating story here???

She found out in the past couple of days that one of her signature classes, Crystal Corduroy with Japanese Overlay is being taught at Beadfest Philadelphia by another instructor using the IDENTICAL pattern with a very similar name. While a lot of metal-work and chain-making classes are based on traditional techniques, making the pirating issue a little sticky, this is a project that Anne has taught OVER and OVER as well as having had published in more than one publication. (You can see the examples on Anne’s blog

It's not a case of "similar," so there really is no excuse for it. I think that the show promoter needs to do more research when booking the very least. It's not only Anne that this has happened to. If show promoters don't REALLY look into their instructors and workshop projects, by comparing them to other show catalogs...they are going to continue to see this. To me, it doesn't seem that difficult. The bead periodicals are out there…FULL of published projects…if they are a BEAD show, they should be reading BEAD periodicals…(and not just their own). And there are not THAT many big venue shows with big name instructors that these class coordinators can't grab a brochure and compare it to the classes that they are considering. Can it be THAT hard????

SO… it’s left to those of us who make beads, create projects and teach to police ourselves. I’m not talking about the “beadmaker A is making beads that look a lot like beadmaker B’s” that goes on in the forums, although that’s going to happen FOREVER. I’m talking about blatant plagiarism and pirating.

If you're looking through a catalog or online and see beads that are UBER cheap and look lampworked... some research into the origins of the beads. If you see ceramic or porcelain beads (again uber cheap) that look like lampworked beads you've seen before... DON'T BUY THEM!!! Don't support the countries who steal the creative properties of actual artists...both from the US and other countries (because there are wonderful glass artists in Europe and around the world.) You should KNOW by the price alone if it's a sketchy situation.

If they're being sold in a big-name catalog... complain!!!!

If you’re in bead-world and you KNOW you’ve seen a project published and you then see it in a class brochure being offered by a different instructor… e-mail and ASK the class registration people about it. They might have a very valid explanation, but I think if more questions were asked, they would be a little more diligent in their research.

In addition, if you’re at a craft show and there are handmade beads being incorporated into jewelry… ask about them! If it’s a REAL beadmaker, they’ll LOVE telling you all about how they’re made…and they’ll KNOW how they’re made. If they’re a wonderful jewelry artisan who is buying and using handmade beads…they’ll gladly tell you about the beads that they buy.

If you ask and get a sketchy answer…someone ACTING like they make the beads but can’t really explain how the beads are made (and those of you who read this for the most part KNOW how beads are made)… ask a little more. If you totally feel that something’s not right… e-mail the show promoter afterwards. It’s not going to do any good to do something while you’re there… things are too crazy at a show AND you want to shop!!! BUT if you truly have a bad vibe… do something about it. Handmade glass beads are still such a “new” art-form in the US that a lot of art shows are bead-clueless and don’t know the art and artists behind the beads.

Show promoters are basically real-estate agents. They sell property...booth spaces… and a lot of times they’re not as concerned who they are selling the property to. This is not ALWAYS the case, of course… some shows are VERY juried and the promoters are very educated about their vendors. Class coordinators should be VERY aware of the classes they’re scheduling though. But it looks like, for a while, it’s going to be up to us to police ourselves.

So… this one was for you, Anne!!! Sadly, with success goes such things, but you deserve better… some credit for your design at the VERY least. Hopefully you’ll get some resolve soon.

And we’ve come to the end of our “ride” for today… Have a great weekend!!!!

Today’s Tiny Blah Blah Blah is brought to you by my brother-in-law, Todd who is buying my coffee so that I’ll say in this international forum…

Florida Gators are #1!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(thanks for the coffee!!)

Tiny blah blah blah...

Coffee today – Cinnamon Dolce Latte

Music – Norah Jones and Lily Allen (a bit of a contrast there, huh???)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Happy Happy Thursday to me!!! (and you too, I guess)

I'm a little punchy today due to lack of sleep. I was up EARLY this morning getting kids ready to go to school EARLY EARLY EARLY, but it made me happy WHY we were going early. My older son has been wrangled into going to "Art Club" by his friend. He was hesitant, but being "art mom" it made me happy that he was willing to go try it at least. (he's not big on "new" things... new restaurants, new shoes, new ANYTHING.... and how can someone NOT want new shoes is totally foreign to me!)

ANYWAYS...I was happy he agreed to try something new....and also happy because it's art!! The things he makes in art are always really cool, so I'm hoping that he'll be able to spend a little more time being creative. Both my kids are actually very artistic... and in very different ways from each other, so it's going to be fun to see if it's something they pursue even as a hobby. So far it has been limited to a tiny bit of beadmaking and lots of comic-drawing, but that's pretty cool on its own.

SO... onto the bloggy beady news... and amazingly there IS beady news!!! woo hoo! My BEAD blog might actually be back fulltime... though I don't want to jinx it YET.

I'm still having problems with control on bigger beads, but I'm getting back in the rythym by making lots of baby beads. I said the other day that I'm the queen of pixie dust.... I really think (and this will sound totally conceited in bead world... but it's my blog and I can brag on myself here if I want) that I do a lot more color-studying than many beadmakers. I don't get bogged down in having a color-scheme, making "sets" that fit into that... I just explore color as a whole and then use the beads as stand-alones putting together sets that are all individual. I think that makes my stuff a LOT different than what's traditionally been sold.

I totally rock color... it's the one thing I can TOTALLY say about myself without hesitating. I have excellent color-sense and take chances with color that make my work different. I very rarely use a rod of glass just as it comes... I mix it with other stuff and make it MINE.

So... enough of the applauding myself (though I need to do that every once in a while). In other bead news... I made beads again yesterday!! Woo Hoo!!! We lost power in my office yesterday, so I headed home early and got about 45 min. in on the torch before picking up child 1. He let me work for another 45 minutes before picking up child 2 and then they entertained each other for another 30 minutes, letting me get some more tiny beads made!!

That schedule wouldn't work if I was trying to make sculptural things, but it was fine for little stuff. I kept working from the "recipe book" and yesterday was all about pink. Violet pixie dust and pale amethyst make a really pretty pale pinkish color and most of these beads were that combination, though I did add some pink enamel in there also. I probably made over 200 tiny pink beads !!!

If you're a beadmaker and are gasping at the quantities, I'm not making one bead at a time AND they really really are simple and tiny beads. And as someone reminded me yesterday.... when you make that many beads, you have to CLEAN that many beads. :)

I'm hoping to get a little beadmaking time in tonight, but I'm not holding my breath... there's some other stuff that needs to get done too.

time for the tiny blah blah blah... (which today is not as tiny because we have a sponsor!!!)

Today's tiny blah blah blah is sponsored by my sister. She has a lot to say about stuff, but it's not stuff I'm willing to let her say here. LOL

BUT because she bought my coffee, she DOES get to make an announcement... SO since I'm editing her REAL comments... I'm substituting them with my own Public Service Announcement with her in mind. In the this day and age of facebook, you tend to find people whose friend lists include people you'd rather forget. A name came up the other day that was on our "wish we could forget list" SO...This one's for you sis....

WARNING: Dating or Marrying anyone named Jim Collis might be hazardous to your emotions, your wallet, your credit rating AND your shoe collection!!!!

My sister dated this guy in college and he was SCUM.... a total low life. There are TONS of stories I could tell, but for THIS cup of coffee, I'll only tell one...

While dating her, he used HER credit card to buy an engagement ring for another girl!!! Who does this????? HE DID. Now, I'm not sure that this is the woman he actually married, but I'm saying it here, out loud that this guy was TRASH. Hopefully he's turned his life around by now, but my sister deserves a BIG apology from him... he ruined her credit AND he stole my shoes!!!!!!!!!!

Hell hath no fury like a the sister of a woman scored whose 8 pairs of pumps were STOLEN. (he took a chest of mine that was stored at my parents house that had AT LEAST 8 pairs of women's pumps in it. I've always wondered if he was a closet cross-dresser. He was a jerk of a homophobe, but he DID drive around with a "pride" sticker for months "without knowing what it was!")

Want to rant or rave? Have a birthday shout-out to one of my readers (like all 20 of you know each other! LOL)... buy me a cup of coffee and it'll buy you a line or two! ;)

SO... what did that "tiny blah blah blah sponsorship" earn me???

Coffee - A " TALL cup of JAVA" which in starbucks talk = 1 Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte (she was surprised to find out that a tall is actually a small and upgraded her sponsorship to a venti)

Music - The Wreckers. I'm in a sort of country mood today... and they're just "sort of" country. yesterday while making beads, I was in a Wallflowers mood.
Happy Happy Thursday to me!!! (and you too, I guess)

I was up EARLY this morning getting kids ready to go to school EARLY EARLY EARLY

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It's a grey grey Wednesday...

I'm really needing some blue skies lately. We need the rain, but it's really getting old. PLUS my front lawn is slowly washing away.... and I have red-georgia mud footprints everywhere from my dog... Not fun.

SO... beadmaking talk (that's why I'm here right?) I got a whole 30 minutes in on the torch yesterday... woo hoo (she says a bit sarcastically). I really had hoped for a couple of hours, but my schedule took a twist that was unexpected. I've said before that even though my kids are of an age that I SHOULD be able to work downstairs in my own house while they play upstairs... for some reason, my youngest just can't.

I remember back in the summer of 2003??? that the boys were with me during the day in the summer and I had THOUGHT I'd be able to make beads for an hour or so a day since they were older... that totally didn't happen back then. (I re-read some of my blog from that summer and was reminded of that) I guess I've been hoping that as they got to be even OLDER, they'd let me have a little time in the studio, even if they're home... no go.

SO ANYWAYS... I got a whole whopping 30 minutes of beadmaking in last night. Little pixie dust beads (pale amethyst with highlight violet)... about 3 mandrels of them.

I'm HOPING to get a little more in tonight. We'll see. If it doesn't work, then I'm going to have to change my schedule around and start making beads from 10-midnight. That's not my optimum time, but I've done it in the past, so I it's possible.

I'll keep you posted....

tiny blah blah blah... brought to you by Sarah who totally rocks for her sponsorship BUT will get to sponsor tomorrow too since I didn't go to Starbucks today... sorry sis.

coffee - nope. Dr. Pepper

music - Lori McKenna's album Unglamorous

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


The kids are back at school!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I'm sure they don't appreciate those extra exclamation marks though) We had such a good time the last week and a half... but I'm ready for some "normal" again.

It's RAINING and grey here AGAIN!!! I'm really getting tired of the grey days. I can't imagine living in the Northwest if it's like this all the time. It would get to me after a while. I definitely need some sun.... even if it's freezing cold outside... I need to see some blue skies SOON!!!

In beady news...

I made beads yesterday!! WOO HOO!!!!! I SO needed that! I didn't do anything crazy or creative, but I made beads!!!!!!!! It felt really good too.

Now... here's where you non-beady people can just glaze over, zone out, or go ahead and press the "back" button because I'm going to talk glass...

I played with color and pixie dust. Some of you all know... I am the QUEEN of pixie dust. That might be a title that some people think they own... but I'd have to strongly debate the issue, as I have been rockin' the sparkle since 1996! I know a lot of people don't use it because they can't get it to perform the way they want it to OR they stick with the "sparkle" colors because they are a little more fail-safe, but I luv me some "highlight" colors!!!

They make using the pixie dusts SO much more interesting! Their subtlety allows the base color to show through and creates new and interesting colors. love love love it!!!

I have a recipe book that I've been keeping notes in for a long time. It's basically a list that has glass colors with the colors of pixie dust I like over them. Some of them include accent/dot colors as well. When it's time to do production work, I sit down with the book and just start through the list. That said, I usually wander from the list a few lines into it, BUT it gets me started and that's the point.

Yesterday I focused on gold-highlight. I made black and red beads with highlight gold. It sounds kind of weird, I know... but they're really beautiful together. The black takes on a bronzy color... sort of a sparkly dark khaki (sounds totally different than black, huh? that's why I LOVE the highlight colors). The red was just an accent and using the gold dust over it, makes it a little more subtle.

The nice thing about putting pixie dust over 2 colors... even those with a strong contrast, is that it brings them together in a harmonious way... it's like when you're mixing paints... if you have a color that is in common between 2 colors, they go together much better. If you're a beadmaker... try it. You'll see what I mean.

SO... yesterday's beads went a little something like this...

black/gold rondelles
black/red/gold tiny dot beads
black/red/gold ruffle beads
black/topaz/gold tiny dot beads
black/topaz/gold ruffle beads
black/fine silver dots/gold rondelles

I made a LOT of beads!!! It reminded me that a lot of beadmakers right now are in serious production mode getting ready for the Tucson show in February. That sort of made me a little blue BUT I was so happy to have made beads, I pretty much got over it.

SO... Sarah Jessica Parker got to dance yesterday (a "you had to be there" blog moment... if you don't get it... never mind)

I'm hoping to get a little more torch time this evening... we'll see.

Tiny blah blah blah - brought to you by MOM!!! Yay mom!!!!

coffee - venti 2 pump mocha. I needed a little chocolate today.

music - Dixie Chicks For some reason, Griffin was listening to them last night on my ipod and when I turned it on, they were "up" so I stuck with his choice. I'm glad... it's a good day for the chicks.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Rainy Grey Monday... AGAIN!

I'm tired of rain. I KNOW I'm supposed to be really grateful for the rain we're getting in Atlanta. We've had a drought for so long and we REALLY need rain... but I'm tired of it. REALLY tired of it.

So... it's Monday and the last day of the boys winter break. We've had such a fun time... it's going to be hard to send them back to school tomorrow... BUT hopefully getting back into the routine will help with all-around time-management stuff because...

I am DYING to spend some time making beads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have NO idea when I will be doing it, but I have GOT to get some time in the studio or I'm going to BURST. It's a really good thing that I'm feeling like this. It shows that I'm REALLY back in the groove and feeling like an artist again, BUT I've got to have some creative time soon or I'm going to DIE!!!!!!!! (ok, I probably won't DIE, but I might spontaneously combust due to internalization of creativity.... sounds like it might be dangerous enough to kill me!)

I laughed the other day about the scene in Footloose where Sarah Jessica Parker's character is bouncing off her seat at the bar, DYING to dance (and her boyfriend doesn't dance) and finally, she just bounces out of her seat and onto the dance-floor. THAT is exactly how I'm feeling beadmaking-wise right now.

I have no REAL ideas of what I'm going to be making... it's not like I have ideas brewing that HAVE to be made, but my hands NEED to be making beads. It's hard to describe, but it's definitely something REAL... this need to create. I'm sure it can't be unique to me... that other artists/craftspeople have that same NEED to make art.

I think teaching the creativity workshop has almost made it worse. I see other people creating... and I want to also. It's just SUCH a time-management thing for me. I have NO idea how I'm going to do it all, but I have to steal some time for ME out of there somewhere.

You would think that now that my kids are a LOT more self-sufficient than they were as 1st-3rd graders (or younger) that I'd be able to make beads while they amused themselves during this break. Not so.... they seem to want to be with me wherever I am (which is sweet, but makes it difficult to make beads). If I DO go to make beads... they want to make beads too, which means I don't get to and pretty much defeats the purpose. SO I'm either going to have to BEG them for some "me" time or find a non-kid time to make beads (and that's not real practical, though with layoffs happening at work.... it might be more of a necessity/reality than it ever was before... but I'm not going to think about that today... says the Scarlett O'Hara in me.)

ok... off to enjoy the last day of break with my boys. (although I'm not sure they're going to think that going to Ikea on an errand is very enjoyable... it's necessary. Harrison needs a new desk-ish thing for his room.

Today's tiny blah blah blah is brought to you by my Aunt Janie again... thank you!!!!

coffee - Cinnamon Dolce Latte (breakfast of champions!)

music - Sylvie's Long Mellow Playlist - right now playing Alecia Keys "If I Ain't Got You"