Friday, December 28, 2012

GGM Holiday Party!!!

2011 GGMs 
(plus one... our host at the after-party... 
because every star-studded gala has an after-party, right??)

Reposted from 2011...  (because tomorrow night is THE party and I know you care!!)  


Yes... it's that day of the year... the day that I blog about the subject that my mom says you readers don't care about....  The Girls Gone Mild Christmas Party!!!!!!!!!!  As you know, if you've read this blog for any longer than a year, I love love love this day.  My 3 best girlfriends and I (a.k.a. the GGMs) throw ourselves a swanky Christmas party that only WE are invited to (ok... we do make exceptions and invite friends to the party now and then AND we have been known to take our party of 4 TO other parties, combining the celebratory powers) but it's OUR party...thrown by us FOR us!

 Girls Gone Mild Christmas Party 2010
Tomorrow night is THE night.  I'm so ready to sit and talk to my girls... all 3 of them together.  We don't get to do that often enough and we need it!  Once again, it's been a YEAR to talk about... for some of us more than others.  For me, tomorrow night is a celebration of friends who supported me and cheered me on through a "leap of faith" kind of year.... REALLY cheered me on... like called and made sure I was still alive when I was so busy I could barely breathe... called while I was on the road to cheer me up when things didn't go my way... met me for "OMG I'm going crazy" dinners now and then (which they sometimes COOKED to order) when I needed it most.  They are THE.BEST.FRIENDS.  So for me, my year is all celebration...  For others, we're just celebrating that the year is OVER (it really has been quite a year).  No matter what, we're celebrating and we're doing it together..... FABULOUSLY!

SO... because I know you love to hear it... here is the story of the Girls Gone Mild... the very best friends a girl could have!  (it's kind of like when Linus tells the Christmas story on the Charlie Brown Christmas special... only not)  Click on the image to read...

So if you are with your friends this weekend... drink a toast to friendship...the kind that lasts a lifetime.

To being fabulous and being fabulous friends!!!!!!!  Cheers!!

------Looking forward to tomorrow night with my girls.  Reading this post about 2011, I'm thankful that 2012 was NOT my year to be the one who needed shoulders to cry on and prop me up, but to be the one who did the propping-up, listened, encouraged and sometimes rescued.  That's what has been so great about this group of friends... we are all that for each other at some point.  Thank you for indulging me my annual posting about the best friends ever-----

Here's today's tiny blah blah blah....

music - nothing yet, but I'm sure my kids will have some input since we're spending the day together!
coffee - YES!  And it was made by my very own at-home 15 year old barista!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

... and I feel fine!!!

Having survived the end of the world, I figured I should post something on the blog to let everyone know that we're still alive here at Sylviebeads studio. 

I have a few days without kids to get work done on beadwork projects, glass projects AND artsy craftsy things that are required for Christmas gifts.  I've been doing lots of online research for one of my gifts and I need to go out and buy the supplies to finish it this morning.

It's totally out of my normal ballpark of craftiness, but I'm willing to do just about anything to make my kids happy and this one is a challenge, but I'm up for a challenge.  It will be good for my artistic soul to work in another medium for a while.

And in other artsy-craftsy news...  I dyed my sofa chartreuse.... well almost.  I'm about 1/2 way there.  It requires more than one dye-bath and I have the base of it done, but not all the cushions (besides the fact that I've misplaced one of the cushion covers in another laundry basket and I need to find it before I can finish the cushions since I'd sort of like them all to match.

not the actual sofa, but the actual color.....

If you're my ex-husband and reading this, then you should know.... yes.... it's the really expensive cream colored sofa that I dyed chartreuse.... because I can.  You always said that it's a "neutral" in my wardrobe.... I decided that applied to furniture as well.  (besides the fact that 10 years of kids and pets on a cream colored sofa was requiring a makeover that was a few shades darker than creamy white)

My resolution for 2013, is to live in surroundings that look like ME... that are bright and fun and happy and not vanilla.... because I'm pretty much anything but vanilla.

ok... off to Christmas shop for crazy stuff for kids that I don't even know what they're talking about, but I'm adventurous and brave and will tackle this list!

tiny blah blah blah...

coffee:  It's cold cold cold outside and I'm pretty sure Starbucks will be my first stop

music:  DUH!  It's the Christmas channel on the radio!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's for real!!!

(wow!  2 blog postings in one week??!!!  You'd think it was the end of the world or something.... oh wait... that's next week.)

SO guess what's online now??!!!  The Bead and Button Show Class Catalog!!!!  WOO HOO!  And you know what that means??!!  MY CLASSES are online and have big pretty pictures and great descriptions and you can read all about them before you register in January!!!

What it means for me is that IT'S REAL!!  I know that sounds crazy, but after trying for so many years, I felt funny talking about being accepted because of the "what ifs" going on in my mind... What if they didn't REALLY accept me and I just imagined that e-mail?  What if I mis-read the e-mail????  What if they change their mind???   Well, those are no longer issues so I can say really loudly...

I'M TEACHING AT BEAD AND BUTTON IN JUNE 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

(trying not to let the "what if no one signs up" voice in my head have any volume)

But just to show it's FOR REAL...  Here's the link to my Steel Magnolia class.  I'm SO proud of this class in particular.  It is a REALLY cool and different project and fun to make too!

link to the class website...

The sample pictured is monochromatic and not very traditionally "Sylvie" BUT the kits are going to be available in lots of color choices and there will DEFINITELY be some sylvie-brights in the mix... regular customer/students never fear!  ALSO there will be some options for both classes that use my lampwork beads, since that has always been a trademark of mine.  They'll be optional, so people can decide to go with a crystal rivoli OR a lampwork cabochon for the ring.  Y'all know I love choices... probably too much.

ok.  More to talk about later (like the SylvieLansdowne etsy site being full of really cool glass for the first time EVER!!!)

time to let the dog out...

tiny blah blah blah...

coffee - yes, but it was not Starbucks and it really wasn't very good.
music - bad muzac in said coffee place while I waited for a friend.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Art is a Battlefield

Warning:  Somewhat whiny post ahead....

I try really hard to have a good attitude as much as I can, but some days it's just tougher than others.  I need some CPR for my artistic spirit and I'm not sure what the ticket is for that, so bear with me as I talk it out with myself and whine a little.

This has always been a place of honesty... where I write my thoughts about art and the work of making art and whatnot... but I haven't blogged truly honestly in a long long time.  I felt a little too exposed to people who I didn't really wish to expose myself to.

But those people will read the blog or not read the blog... whatever their motive, it is what it is, so this is an honest blog posting about being down in the dumps artistically.  Some times it's just harder than others to be inspired... and I'm feeling a little UNinspired and a lot defeated.  I'm about to enter some heavy production-mode times getting ready for the Tucson Whole Bead show, so I don't really have time to be TOO creative, but I DO have some time this week and all I can think about is money for art NOT art itself.... and that bites and is not inspiring at all.

I was laughing on Facebook the other day about something my son said.  I was totally stressing getting ready for a show... just the "am I ready? do I have everything I need? will I sell stuff?" kinds of things that I always go through pre-show.  My son sensed the stress (like it was easy to miss?) and said.... "it's OK Mom... you've got this."   and then he started singing "Ain't no Mountain High Enough" and I had no clue why he chose that moment to break out into a Supremes song, so I said "that's a love song... you know that, right?  It has nothing to do with this situation."  To which he responded, "no... it's about climbing mountains and going through hard stuff that makes you stronger!"  To which I replied, "no.  That's the Miley Cyrus song you're thinking of... The Climb."  He argued that it DEFINITELY wasn't that song he was thinking of then started singing again.  This time Pat Benetar's "Love is a Battlefield."  I said to him, "why are you singing THAT song???  It has NOTHING to do with anything!!"  and his response was... "well, art is a battlefield."


Art IS a battlefield.

It's a war of what sells vs. what makes you happy... a war of no money = low self-value, which really really sucks, but it's a reality that I battle DAILY to overcome.  Sales are NOT what make me a better artist... they're just what pay the bills.  So, I need to stop beating myself up over not having the sales I need to have right now and just keep busting my butt to find customers who want to buy what I'm making.

and while I'm singing Pat Benatar I will remind myself of this quote...

and I will keep on keeping on.  Because baby there ain't no mountain high enough.... it's the climb!  (or whatever.)

tiny blah blah blah...

coffee - yes and more please.
music - Christmas movies!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Package full of Feathers

I just opened a box from a supplier and it's filled with..... FEATHERS!!!!!!!!!

(not loose flying around ones... they're all contained and in pretty packages)

I cannot WAIT to play with them.  They're part of some mixed media stuff I've been doing for art shows.  I'm putting things together for my Chastain Park (Atlanta, GA) show, which is the first weekend in November, BUT as it usually is... whenever I want to play and create, there are other busy-work things that have to be done first.

This week it's making the kits.... LOTS of kits.  I'm getting ready for my classes in California next week at Creative Castle   I'm teaching 3 classes and one of them is the PREMIERE of a project... my Steel Magnolia bracelet.  It's one of the classes I'll be teaching at Bead and Button in June 2013, but THIS is the first time ANYONE will get to make one of these stunning bracelets for themselves.

I've had a lot of fun creating the color palettes for this.... I have to whittle down the choices, which is really hard for me, but I want to offer a mix of neutrals and brights.  Right now, the neutrals are winning with FOUR kits (I'm counting the blue as a neutral... even though it's not REALLY... it's just super mellow and not "me"... but the brights are super pretty.  SOMETHING has to go.... we'll see what the CA girls have to say.  They have great taste!!!

Anyways.... I have this box of BEAUTIFUL feathers and I can't play with them.  :(

I'll have to wait till I'm back from CA to delve into the box of pretties!

Happy Weekend!!!!

tiny blah blah blah...

coffee - nope... Dr. Pepper (I'm saving my coffee run for tonight.  It seems like a good night to hang out at Starbucks and chat with friends)

music - nope.... Project Runway finale on-demand..... maybe a chick flick to follow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Just when I thought they were gonna zig.... they zagged!

So... remember the post from the other day????  The one where I convinced myself that it's ok that EVERYONE doesn't like me because MY customers like me?

The one where I said that I thought the colors I used for my Bead and Button class proposals weren't me???

Well, apparently they were SOMEBODY because.....

after 4 tries..... 

I'm going to be teaching at Bead and Button!!!!!  The 2013 faculty list will have ME on it!

(insert happy dance here)

More info later, but I just had to say that I was wrong.  I thought the Bead and Button jury was done... that they had zigged in a non-Sylvie direction, when in fact they Zagged and picked two of my classes! 

(and for the record.... I will have kits in the colors in the submitted photographs, but I will ALSO have COLORFUL versions awaiting my colorful customers!)

tiny blah blah blah...

coffee - yes, but  I've been bouncing up and down even without caffeine since I got this news.

music - yes!  I have the soundtrack from Pitch Perfect on repeat.  I love it!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

California Dreamin'

In two weeks I will be in California!!!!!!!   I'm teaching at one of my favorite bead stores, Creative Castle! (shhhh don't tell the other bead stores I said that!  I love them too, but Carole was a bead customer long before I ever taught beadwork) Creative Castle is in Newbury Park, CA and is a FABULOUS store with TONS of seed beads and crystals and wonderfully fun staff there to help you get into all sorts of bead-trouble!

I will be teaching 3 classes, October 26th - my Enchanted Blossom earrings which are SO fun to make because they are EASY and colorful.  They also can be used as other types of jewelry... as a pendant or as the ends of a lariat... cute cute cute.   I know there are still some spots in this class, so RUN don't walk... grab a seat and come play!

I will also be teaching the premiere class of Steel Magnolia, my newest bracelet project.  This bracelet is SUCH a show-stopper!  (and it's the topic of an uncoming blog post too... so watch for it!)

On Sunday, I'll be teaching my DeLovely Lariat, which has delicate little flowers at the tips of a beautiful twisting rope.  Pretty Pretty Pretty.

Contact Creative Castle to see if there are still spaces available!  (I know there were definitely some for Friday's earring class!)

tiny blah blah blah....

coffee - yes! wonderful yummy iced coffee from the drive thru starbucks while out doing errands
music - Album 88.  Right on the Music, Left on the Dial.  I have no idea who we were listening to, but it didn't hurt my ears, so I didn't complain.  :)

Monday, October 08, 2012

There's an A#$ for Every Dress...

When I was in college, I worked at a high-end dress store, owned by a tiny little Italian lady who was a cross between Olympia Dukakis's character in Moonstruck and the tiny ghost-communicating lady from Poltergeist with a dose of Sophia Loren and Mr. Magoo thrown in for good measure.  The store carried a huge variety of cocktail/formal dresses.... and some of them, made my eyes hurt because they were over-the-top mother-of-the-bride tacky and I was in my early 20s and "way too cool" to sell stuff like that.  (where is she going with this you wonder????)

There were times I'd make a comment about a dress just not being something I could sell... it seemed to sit on the rack forever.   Mrs. C would remind me, in her thick NY/Miami accent "There's an ass for every dress!!"  She recognized that not everyone has the same taste and that is a lesson that I'm having to remind myself a lot lately.

My stuff is bright and colorful and happy and my customers like it that way.  My customers aren't everyone's customer.... in fact, they've often commented that there are not enough whimsical choices for them when taking classes.... but honestly, we whimsical sorts are in the minority in bead-world.... not everywhere, but definitely in bead world.  The things I make don't appeal to people who need to wear serious jewelry... people who want jewelry that looks like they bought vintage recreations or contemporary elegant pieces.  My stuff is fun.  It's happy.  It's colorful and a bit wacky at times.  It's not always the easy piece to wear with everything, but it's always something that makes me smile.

When I looked back at the photos of the work I sent into Bead and Button for my application to teach, I saw that the joy was missing from the pieces.  I love the designs, but I subtracted one of the main elements that makes me me..... color.  Sure, there might be people who like the kit colors that weren't so into them before, BUT my customers are still my customers and I was cheating them and myself by trying to squeeze my square peg butt into the round hole of bead world JUST to get a chance to teach at B&B.  I might not be what B&B needs as an instructor, but I'm good at happy and whimsy and I need to just embrace who I am and try to find the places where I DO fit.  (and I'm definitely still looking for those places)

Lately I fit in better at art shows.  I don't have the financial success in that area yet, but I'm just starting to build a brand and a presence.... but I love what I'm making and at shows, the reaction I get is that my work makes people happy.  My art glass, unlike my recent beadwork is just all out there.... colorful and happy.  SO, I need to stop trying to be what I'm not in bead world and just say "SCREW IT!" and be(ad) myself.... bringing color and joy back into my work.  I will be back in design mode in November and December, so I look forward to seeing what colorful things I can conjure up.  In the meantime, I'm re-beading some samples that need a little kick in the color department.

So... what did Mrs. C have to do with it??  I need to just remind myself that there is a customer out there who loves beaded happiness and it's my job to design for her.

tiny blah blah blah....

music - Aca-awesomeness from Pitch Perfect

coffee - CDL... it's fall, y'all and it's PERFECT weather for a latte.

Monday, August 27, 2012

an unfortunate butterfly

Hi all!!

I told you I was going to try to be better about blogging... so here I am.

What's been going on since last we spoke...

1.  I went to Philadelphia for Bead Fest.  It was a lot of fun and a little successful, which is a nice combo.  I hadn't been to BeadFest since the very first year of its existence (2001 maybe?) and only went this time because I was offered a half of a shared booth space.  My booth neighbor Maureen Henriques of Pumpkin Hill beads was a GREAT neighbor and she made being the "new girl" in town a lot easier.  Thank you Maureen!!!

I sold a lot of stuff... and again, it was mostly glass, although kits sold too... glass was the thing.  This leaves me wondering... is glass selling because that's what I'm excited about?  Is glass selling because something is missing in the beadwork department at my table?  Is the glass selling because it's just AMAZINGLY fun???  It's pretty fun, but I don't know about amazing.  I really DO like the body of work I'm showing though.

2.  I came home from Philly and went straight into production mode for the 2 1/2 crazy months ahead.  I don't have a moment to breathe the next couple of months and I have to budget every little minute of studio time to get the things done that need to be done in order to be ready for the shows/classes that are coming up.... but things weren't as productive as I needed them to be.  I really wanted to add butterflies to the garden stake line, but they were just NOT happening.  They were pretty horrible looking.... like mutant butterflies from mars.  Actually, not a lot WAS happening late in the week... I think I ruined half the stuff I made on Thursday or Friday... it was either ugly ugly ugly or cracked.  It just wasn't meant to be.

I had a little bit of the blues remembering my friend, Keith and I think that maybe it effected work.  He's been gone for a year now and it was his death that put me in the studio last year at this time, in shock, still having to work, but avoiding making the things I was supposed to be making... experimenting with making a cat bead based on a stuffed toy I'd seen.... crying while I tried to make anything. 

The cat turned out horribly disturbed looking, but lead to this whole line of new fun bright things, which I've seen as a gift from him.  I've reached for my phone on more than I'd like to admit, ready to tell him how a show went, or laugh with him about something I've seen.... or ready to answer an email with his constant question, "how's that unfortunate dog of yours?"  When I originally told him I was getting a dog, he asked me what kind of dog.  I told him I was getting a goldendoodle and then explained that it's a cross between a poodle and a golden retriever.  His response, "that's quite an unfortunate combination"   Once I got Cooper, he referred to him always as my "unfortunate dog"   Cooper lived up to his name with antics like eating an entire box of 64 crayons and decorating my yard with rainbow poo and the name stuck. 

So, that is the story of how the Unfortunate Pets got their names.... from a friend who made me laugh almost every day.   He was my biggest cheerleader during the time I took off from doing art as a career (or even art at all).  He pushed me constantly saying, "you need to be doing this.  you need to get back in the studio."   I'm thankful for that push and for the time he spent reminding me that I was FUN and silly and pretty dang cool even if sometimes, as he said, I'm a "sitcom waiting to happen."   I miss him bunches, but I'm grateful for the gift of silliness that spurred new and exciting work for me. 

SO... now I need to kick it back into high gear and get ready for my shows.  I've had 2 really good studio days in a row, so I'm hoping it's going to stay on that track!  Pulling out a bouquet of glass that looked like this today made me energized and ready to rock the rest of this week!

coffee - YES!  Cinnamon Dolce latte was the drink du jour
music - Pandora's Adele station.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

She's alive!!!

Hello dear patient blog readers.  I know I've deserted you for a while, but I have more to say than can be fit into a status on my Facebook page, so I'm blogging.

1.  I survived my summer of kids at home while trying to work.  Crazy... yet it happens every single year.  I concentrated on designing new projects and writing patterns, which made my schedule a little more flexible (although a little less lucrative... as if this job is EVER lucrative!)

2. I concentrated most of my summer on creating projects for my Bead and Button application... these also became projects I'll teach other places, but it seemed to make sense to get them designed and part of the application.  If you want to see all the projects, go here.... Facebook Photo Album of 2013 Class submissions

and here's what they looked like in a box going to Milwaukee...

It's kind of scary realizing my WHOLE summer is in that box and it might be rejected... again.  I'm trying to be positive about it, but after 3 rejections, I'm being more realistic and if I get accepted then I'll be totally surprised and happy.  I'm not giving up, however, so I sent the big box and it's full of good stuff!  (and it's not like I wasted the summer... I'll be teaching these projects nationally!)

And here's what I'm working on today.... PACKING!!!! (well, other than this blog post)  Bead Fest Philadelphia is this weekend and for the first time since 2001(?) I have a booth!  Here's a coupon to get into the show for FREE!!!!!  (a $12 value!)  All you have to do is print it.  It has my name and booth number on there, so come to the show and see me and BUY STUFF!!!!!!

 (click on the image to make it larger and print)

Well...back to packing!  I will try to check in more often!!!  If you need MORE Sylviebeads, follow me on Facebook.  You'll see a lot more images of things as projects develop and things come out of the kiln.

tiny blah blah blah...

coffee - YES!  Starbucks!  (and I'm pretty sure I'll have another one on the road.  Have to stay awake!)

music - not yet, but I'm working on my driving playlist!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Finished Piece

I finished it!  And for all my whining yesterday, I really do love it.  It FEELS good on my wrist and that's a really important quality for jewelry.  You want to wear pieces that feel good when worn!

As for my whining about working in colors that aren't "me" friend Melissa (waving through the computer at Melissa) said on Facebook that she immediately recognized this as a "Sylvie" piece, but agreed with me that I might not see it as "Sylviebeads" because of the color-scheme.... and it made me think more about what makes me ME, other than color.

Then my friend Susan mentioned my use of mixed patterns and it kind of all came together for me.

I definitely love mixing patterns together.  When designing something with seed beads, I rarely use a single stitch on a larger project and I love love love creating intricate patterns through the directions that the beads are aligned.... and after I looked at this piece again, it totally fits that standard.  The directionality (is that a word?) of the beads in the petals, the multiple strands with their own rhythm of bead-placement.... it's very me.  In fact, those traits are kind of intensified because it IS colorless.

So in the end... other than the colors, it's a VERY "me" piece.... and part of me is the girl that goes out on a Saturday night in casual dressy stuff that this will be perfect for!

I know that I'll be wearing this piece A LOT and I was reminded by other friends that I need to remember that there are a lot of people who don't accessorize in bright colors, the same way that I don't... and this might give them a way to wear the pieces I create.  A good reminder that I needed to hear.

SO.... this was learn something week. 

I learned ....

  • that I get bored making monochromatic things, but there is purpose in it.
  • that my work has some definite unique traits that have nothing to do with the colors I use.
  • that I might have been missing a larger customer base just because of my colors, but I don't have to compromise my design aesthetics to make them happy.
  • that when it comes to something I like to wear, I like smaller and more delicate pieces, which require using size 15/0s (and that's going to make my customers groan at me)
and finally...

I learned that when I whine on my blog, my friends step up to smack me upside the head if needed OR cheer me on.  It's good to have friends.

NOW it's time to conquer a design I've been making for quite a while using only metallic beads, but allowing myself some color variety (yay!!!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Trying to Fit in (a.k.a. longest whiniest blog posting ever)

Hello dear blog readers (if there are any left after my many hiatuses lately... and there might not be any after this long long posting)

I know that I desert you way too often, saying things in a briefer version on my Facebook "fan" page (is there another word for that?  it sounds kind of conceited honestly!)  There are times, however, that what I have to say just doesn't fit into a sound-bite kind of status and this is one of them...

Firstly, I survived Bead and Button.  I think that my thoughts on that show merit a separate entry, so watch for that.  I still have a lot to digest about the show... positive stuff, but it really needs some additional pondering and wrapping my head around an anomaly of a show.  Have I piqued your interest?  Hopefully, I'll really take the time to talk about it because it really needs some introspection and sometimes thinking "out loud" here on the blog is a way for me to do that.

(have there been way too many things in quotation marks in those paragraphs???  Probably....and too many things in parenthesis too!)

Back to what I intended to talk about today... fitting in.  (and this is the longest blog posting EVER, so I might bore the 2 of you who read this anyways!!)

I don't usually talk family stuff here, but I will for a moment... not anything huge, but to build bit of context around this topic.

I had a discussion a few years ago with one of my kids about how we have to choose whether we want to fit in or not... that sometimes we can make a conscious decision to be a part of the crowd OR we can go our own direction and face the consequences, good or bad.  This was mostly a conversation about clothing... how what we wear can directly influence what people think of us and that it's something we can easily choose to change if we want to, where other things are not as easily changeable.  (I'm leaving out all the particulars... it was a long long long conversation and I'm not going to air their personal stuff here... just the big points)  In the end, he was adamant that it's more important to be your own person and face any negative consequences.  I, on the other hand, continued to hold the opinion of... make "adjustments" to find a way to make your life easier without totally selling out.... and that's the difference in our personalities.  I'm not a "rock the boat" person and he TOTALLY is.  I love how brave he is.... but I don't think I'm ever going to be that bold.

I'm definitely an individual, but I do find myself occasionally making compromises about certain aesthetic things when I feel it will help me to fit in a little more because it makes my life easier.

For instance, I noticed that I looked WAY too subdivision mom when around other artists out of our area.  I wasn't going to get tattoos to fit in, but I have always loved trying things with my hair and thought that would be a way to do that.  Although I would have liked to dye my hair totally purple as a way to fit in with the art crowd... I knew that fitting into the suburban world in a conservative area, that was going to be a total UN-fit in thing to do, and thus, it would put my kids in a weird place.  I needed some sort of adjustment in BOTH worlds, so I compromised with a purple streak, which was easily changeable if the kids felt uncomfortable... and they both said it was acceptable (I'm pretty sure they just shrugged, but no one spoke out, so I'm interpreting that verbally for them) and thus, I caused no drama for myself, but got a bit of what I wanted in both worlds... art and home.

SO.... what does this have to do with my art itself???  (because that's what this blog is about after all.)  It has to do with me making decisions about adjusting my aesthetic for the benefit of business, which, for me, is more difficult emotionally than deciding what color to dye my hair.

The quandry:  I can look at the Bead and Button show catalog, where I really want to teach, but have been turned down several times now, and immediately see that there is a commonality in most of their beadwork classes and that I don't fit into that mold....  color scheme.  Although the designs are very different, the materials choice is often VERY similar across the board... the designers who are teaching on the circuit use a lot of matte metallic or metallic seed beads and crystals.  When I looked at the course catalog, there were absolutely NO bright colors... no whimsy at all.

First things first.... I've got to say that I LOVE matte-metallic/metallic beads and crystals (AND the artists that use them).  They're YUMMY and they fit into these artist's work really really well.  My work, on the other hand, has always been about COLOR.... and it doesn't fit into that world of sophisticated color palettes that is Bead and Button classes.  When creating things, I love big bright and bold.... which metalics are not.  I love whimsy and pattern and that is also not what is being offered at these venues.

I want to get hired to teach... and I'm not being accepted, so I'm having to make a decision, like my son, whether to make compromises to fit in, hoping that it will make my life easier financially because I might have more opportunities to make money teaching and selling OR to stick to my guns like he would JUST to stay true to myself.

All this said, even if I make the changes, I still might not be accepted.... my rejection might have nothing to do with my materials choices... it might just be that there is a very limited customer base for my work or that it's just not up to par or on the same level as these other instructors (that is hard to swallow, but it's a real possibility)

(this is the longest blog posting ever.... sorry if you're nodding off... I just feel the need to expound on what I've been making quips about on Facebook... to show why I'm having such difficulty in what I've been working on lately)

I came home from a successful show at Bead and Button, where my success was primarily through my glasswork... which had not happened at my booth since the late 90s when I didn't have beadwork kits at my booth.  What did that mean???  I had to really look at it honestly (and that's the future blog posting).  At the same time, I'm thinking about what to send Bead and Button for my class proposals/application for the 2013 show because those applications are due at the end of July.

A lot rides on being accepted to teach, finances in particular.   If I'm not able to sell kits at the Meet the Teacher night, which is the night BEFORE the sales floor opens, when instructors can sell kits to people who aren't in their classes, the time,  according to my customers, that they spend a lot of their money on beadwork kits, I truly believe it will continue to have a negative effect on my own kit sales and my choice whether to remain a vendor or not.  (yes... I said it out loud again.  Meet the Teachers HURTS my beadwork kit sales at the show... enough that I might not remain a vendor in 2014 if I can't add additional sales/income to that show by becoming faculty in addition to selling on the show floor in 2013 first.)  This sounds totally whiny... but it's a business decision.  I can't continue to do a show that isn't as profitable as it should be with the outlay of expenses involved.  The decision is just wrapped up in a big bow of emotional junk, which is why I sound whinier than I wish I did.

SO, trying to rein myself in.... how have I dealt with this decision???  For the last week, I've tried to "fit in" color-wise.  I've worked on a piece that is completely void of color in fact.  I even eliminated black and white from my choices for color palette because they can easily be turned whimsical.  I've worked completely in silver and grey to try to convey my same aesthetic, but without color.  It has been HARD.  It has bordered on painful.  It has been emotional.  I know it doesn't seem like beadwork could be emotional, but this has because it's all tied up in the context of fitting in or not and that's tied to how my work is valued by others (it's SO complicated... selling a part of yourself.)

It's beautiful, in my opinion.  It's sophisticated and definitely wearable... but is it "Sylviebeads?"  no.  It's SYLVIE, meaning, in my own "real life" where I wear more subdued colors...but I don't create for my fashion sensibilities, I create for my emotional self... and color is what makes me ME and makes me happy when creating.

Here's a picture of what I made (still in process... I'm missing a couple of petals at the point of this photo and to be honest... it's all I can do to finish it.  It took me forever to finish one more petal (not because it's complicated, but because I was bored with the color)  I was even bored with the photograph!  I played with the Hipstamatic app to make it more interesting photography-wise!

Pretty and unfinished.... it will be a major miracle if I get the threads woven in  before the weekend because that's my least favorite part... and if I'm procrastinating making a petal, I KNOW I'll put off weaving the stupid threads in.  Once it's finished... I know I'll wear it all the time, which is what's so funny.... but that's how I roll.  I'm a constant contradiction in what I like to wear and what I like to make.  I've been wearing lots of grey lately and this will look great with it.... IF I get the threads woven in.

Where does this leave things after this LONG LONG posting about my dilemma of fitting in vs. being myself?

I'm submitting half of my existing projects to Bead and Button this year in a completely different color palette than what I see as "me."   At least this way, if I'm rejected again, I can take that off the checklist of possible reasons why.  It doesn't mean that I'm totally selling out... there is still my design aesthetic in the project itself, as well as my own color sensibilities... because I am completely capable of creating pieces that are sophisticated in color palette (I offer kits in those sorts of colors in almost every project just so that students who hate brights will have a choice... they aren't ME, but they're mine.  Does that make sense?)   THAT is the adjustment I'm making to try to fit in to the crowd that I WANT to be in.... which is a bit different than my son's situation.  He wants to stand out, be an individual  ALL the time, at any price.

Me?  I want to be me AND pay the bills.... that is the BIG difference.
(After all...  clothes for teenage boys who want to be individuals in the fashion world have to be paid for.)

QUICK NOTE:  After receiving comments and messages on FB, it's important for me to add, I'm not going to totally change what I do.  I won't give up who I am and my aesthetic just because of this application to teach.  I'm still going to make my stuff in ME colors... this is just about me being stubborn trying to make myself work in colors that aren't ME for the application.  Does that make sense?  If I asked my son what to do, he would say "NO WAY!" but I'm being reasonable and responsible..... But No worries... I'm not going to give up my artistic sense to fit in permanently with everyone all the time.  I just need to get hired, so I need the people who might not be looking at my work because of color to look at the design itself.  My customers know who I am and if they see me on the course list, they would KNOW that everything I do comes in brights.  (and I'm DYING to make that bracelet in green and purple!)  I just have to suffer through making these samples in neutrals first.  (and I'm glad everyone likes the silver.... it IS pretty and will look great with my outfit)

Monday, June 04, 2012

So you like Zombies?

So, after posting pictures of the new Head Over Heels Zombie girl, I've been flooded with emails saying "I'm not going to Bead and Button, so how do I get one??"

Here's the answer... I will bring home any remaining kits and will fill orders from people who preordered via PayPal (more on that in a minute). THEN I will start making more to fill additional preorders and after that, I will make more and add the kit to the website. I'm only planning on making 75 kits all together, but my need to pay bills might make me increase this to a number that fills orders through October... No promises)

Based on initial reaction, I honestly don't expect to come home with any of the kits (I'm only taking 20 and several of those are already reserved for preorders) so I expect that I will be making more when I get back to fill the PayPal preorders and they will be ready mid to late June (I won't be back till the 12th so late June is realistic If I give myself a day or two off.)

So... Here's the deal with preorders... If you would like to order a Zombie girl kit at the Bead and Button price of $150 (price will be $175 after the show) you need to put a $50 deposit down on your kit by Sunday, the last day of the show. To do this. Go to and send $50 to Include all your contact info in the notes section.

I will fill the orders in order of receipt and will let you know an expected date of delivery after the show when I know if there are any kits left. When your kit is ready, I will send you a PayPal invoice for the balance. Once received, I will send your kit to you!

Make sense? If not, Email me and I'll answer any questions.

Tiny blah blah blah...

Not enough coffee in the world to get me through this busy day!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Long Time, No Blog... and now Zombies!

It's ONE WEEK till the Bead and Button Show opens in Milwaukee, WI.  I'm only a few days away from leaving and I realized that I probably should say something about it here on the blog.

HERE is what's new....  Head Over Heels Zombie Girl Limited Edition

I will do a bit more blogging about the projects and the show in the next few days.  I need to catch things up a bit, BUT for those of you who have been begging for this project... IT'S DONE!  YAY!!!!  I'll have 20-30 kits with me at Bead and Button (that's not a lot) and will make about the same number for Bead Fest Philly in August.  After that, I'll decide if I'm going to continue the edition through the end of the year or say "done"  SO, if you want one of these, DON'T WAIT!  Contact me and pre-order or run to my booth at Bead and Button on Thursday night!

See you soon!!!

tiny blah blah blah...

SO need some coffee!!!
Music - I'm on a "dance music" kind of thing while I prep for the show

Thursday, February 09, 2012

No time to talk....

This is a super short blog post (but don't I ALWAYS say that??) to say "I'm back from Tucson!"

I'm exhausted.  I'm happy.  It was a cuh-ray-zee show full of ups and downs, but mostly ups.  I spent a fantastic 8 days with a very good friend and I realized how much I really miss her shining face in my life every week!!!  (Alex, you really DO need to win the lottery...then you could move back to Atlanta AND you'd have bunches of money to spend in Tucson on silver!)

I also was reminded that what I do has value.... in all sorts of ways.  I'm not going to tell the long stories here (for now, anyways) but I've been sharing them with other people and the big take-home from the trip was that I was RIGHT where I needed to be RIGHT when I needed to be there. 

I had seriously considered giving up on Tucson as a venue for me.  I've changed my mind.  I will be back there next year.  Things will be a bit different than they were the last few years, but I will be back and I will be teaching again AND I will be spending yet another birthday in Arizona.

... but for now, I'm off to work!  I have some beading to do today... back to the torch tomorrow!

tiny blah blah blah...

coffee - Starbucks FREE coffee on your birthday coupon!  YAY!
music - it's going to be a movie on, but I'm not sure which.  Probably some sort of documentary that I don't have to watch closely since I'll be designing and beading.

Have a great day!!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Attention Tucson Customers (or friends of customers)...

If you purchased from me at the Best Bead Show in Tucson on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, PLEASE contact me.  There was a glitch in processing and the credit card purchases were never really processed and numbers were not saved in the system to re-process them.

This means, that as of right now, if you used a credit or debit card, your sale wasn't actually paid for.  I'm sorry for the hassle, but I need you to contact me so that I can re-do the charge.  I apologize for the inconvenience.

I'm posting this everywhere that my customers might read, so if you know someone who bought in Tucson... ask them to read it as well.

You can email me at   sylvie @ sylviebeads . com   (remove the spaces... those are just there to keep spam mail from coming my way)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lemons and Lemon Souffle

There is so much stuff I want to blog about right now, but I barely have time to do the regular work I do, let alone write.  BUT I do have a little bit to say.

What I DO want to blog about today is my silly new beads.  The Unfortunate Pet ornaments have had a new incarnation as beads... they'll soon be jewelry as well.  I've had pictures of them on Facebook the last few days to get feedback and I'm pretty sure they've had the Facebook seal of approval (yay!)

My friend Keith told me that when life handed me lemons, I would make "an imaginative lemon-based dessert that would be the perfect follow-up to any meal."   The two of us referred to this as "lemons to lemon souffle" from then on.  Little did he know that HE would become a lemon souffle.  That sounds bad... this isn't a Hansel and Gretel thing, he wasn't cooked into a souffle!  What I mean is that his death this summer was what caused me to make those crazy Unfortunate Pet ornaments.... so they are the good that came from the BIG FAT STINKIN' LEMON that was the death of a friend.

and now there's a new batch of lemons in town... the shakes.

While I was in the studio last week, I was trying to control my hands and I had one of those big light-bulb moments (which I'm pretty sure was divine intervention, but we won't go into that now) and I thought that I should embrace the spastic-hand thing by making the Unfortunate Pets as beads instead of ornaments... the blown ornament thing wasn't happening with the shaking, but I thought I could handle a big solid-glass bead.... so I tried it and it worked....shaky hands and all.  In fact the shaky aspect sort of gave me permission to be loose when I might have tried to control things TOO much.  The hollow ones can't really be controlled, but that's what gives them character.  My spastic hands actually kept me loose and spontaneous making the solid beads, which is what gives them character.  Now I've got a fun collection of Unfortunate Pet beads....  So, I'm taking them to Tucson... thanks to Keith and the basket of lemons I was given.

Here's a picture of some of the Unfortunate Pet Beads...

I know he's laughing at the beads AND at me.  He thought I was a sit-com waiting to happen and often I am.  I miss him bunches, but I'm glad he had the idea of making lemon souffle... lemonade is WAY over-done.

p.s. He would have said that my hair unexpectedly turning pink was just another great episode in my sit-com of a life.

tiny blah blah blah...

coffee - free and yummy
music - not sure yet... whatever I can sing to and not shake!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flower Power

My studio days lately have been flower after flower after flower. I'm prepping for my two Tucson shows and the kits I'm replenishing need flower beads... And lots of them. Luckily, my color schemes go from project to project, so I can make lots of the same colors and divide them between projects as needed.

At the same time that it's lucky that they are all the same flower... It's horrible! I'm going batty making the same thing day after day, BUT my hands are cooperating and I'm able to make flowers, so I'm being grateful in my frustration.

As a reward for the production, I've been letting myself make one or two of my "Unfortunate Pets" at the end of the day...when there's time.

My stringer control still isn't all the way there, but it's getting better. You can't see the whiskers on these guys so you can't tell how shaky I was on a couple of them, but here are a few (in the background you see a few of the hundreds of spacer beads I'm making too)

Back to work!!

Coffee- oh yeah... CDL thanks to blog readers
Music- not sure yet, but probably something to sing along with!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Not enough hours...

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see." 
~John Burroughs
 I love that.  It totally captures what goes on in my mind half the time... just add in "art I want to make" (and maybe subtract a few walks)   I have come to love this fall purely because it is one GIGANTIC inspiration-extravaganza.  Every time I go there, I pin a bunch of things that were "oooh! That would be great as a....." sort of stuff.   Those and the millions (well, maybe not MILLIONS) of doodles in sketch books and on Starbucks napkins.... all of things I want to make, or at least TRY to make.

And there aren't enough hours in the day.  There are barely enough hours in the day to make the things I ALREADY thought of... let alone adding NEW stuff...
but it is almost that time of the year.... the scary time that comes between Tucson and spring shows.... the time when income is not guaranteed, but that production time is accompanied by no travel, which means time in the evenings to write patterns, play with new ideas... TO CREATE!!!  
That window of time is often too short, and this year, because I'll be doing art festivals in addition to teaching and bead-shows, it will be a little chaotic.... but I'm READY for some creative time... to let my mind wander and take chances that something won't be perfect... and just MAKE ART.
 But for this month... there are definitely not enough hours in the day to think all the thoughts, read all the books, etc.  Because this month's quote is from the 1980's Dunkin Donuts ad....

It's time to make the donuts....
tiny blah blah blah...
coffee - YES!  Cinnamon Dolce Latte which continues to be FREE!!!  Thank you blog readers!!!
music - not yet... but I need something that makes me feel warm because it's COLD in my studio today!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I totally didn't expect that...

Those who have read my blog for a long time know that this isn't always the "sunny side of the studio" blog.  There are definitely highs and lows in being an artist, and I haven't shied away from the lows... they're real.  I definitely do the "happy dance" whenever possible, but this isn't one of those days.

It has not been a stellar week in the Sylvie studio.  First shaking hands, then more shaking hands, then just feeling less than excited about what I'm working on in general.  I needed a boost.... but that's not what happened yesterday.

I totally didn't expect it to have the kind of effect it did, but when I logged onto Facebook yesterday, everyone was posting about the opening day of registration for Bead and Button... teachers, students, EVERYONE.  It seemed like every post on my newsfeed was about it.  It hit me WAY harder than I was expecting.  I have talked a little bit about not being accepted to teach, but I haven't ranted about it... I really didn't want to go there.  I still don't.  This isn't about whether I should have been accepted or not... it's just about how I feel as a "not"

So... they didn't pick me.  It doesn't mean that my work has less value... it just means that the women sitting in the room picking the pieces didn't choose mine (again).  But as much as I say it doesn't make my work have less value, it DOES effect my opinions about my work.... whether I want it to or not.  When you're the last kid picked in P.E. for dodge-ball, you don't sit there and say "well, I know I'm a great dodge-ball player, but I'm just not what they need right now.... NO, you say to yourself, "I must be really really bad at dodge-ball to be picked last AGAIN"  So, whether I should or not... I take it personally.  I'm not the only one that was rejected... but I'm the only one living in my house and writing this blog, so I can only speak to what I'm going through.... and yesterday... it sucked. It sucked more than it did when I saw people announcing they'd been accepted.  I don't know why, it just did.

Seeing a whole newsfeed of it all at once was just too much... and I didn't want to be jealous of people I really like....personally AND professionally.  They are fabulous artists and I know their students are excited and it's because they're going to be great classes.... and that's why they were posting about it every 5 minutes.  I just had to get out of there because my own jealousy was going to get in the way of me being excited for them.

So, I've excommunicated myself from Facebook for a few days.  I've had a pretty good cry about it and I'll be ready to move on come Monday... but for now, I just have to steer clear of the happy dance.

I'm off to get some coffee and give beadmaking another try.  Right now my hands feel a little better than they did earlier in the week.  Let's hope that stays the case once I'm in the studio.

tiny blah blah blah...

en route to coffee -which is still a treat provided by the silly blog.
music - I'm pretty sure I need something Adele.  (and to prove that I still have my sense of humor about this...  I'll start with THIS song)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Back in the saddle...

Back in the studio today... for reals.

It wasn't a long day because, as I told my followers on Facebook yesterday, my hands are NOT wanting to cooperate.  Of course, they wait until right before Tucson to do this... but that's part of WHY they do this.... stress and anxiety.

My hands shook for almost a year from 2005 to late 2006 and then almost overnight they quit.  Looking back, I see that I was under a lot of stress and much of it was below the surface... I didn't know I was stressed and anxious till I wasn't.  Sure, we all have stuff, but mine comes out in my hands.... which is OH so helpful since my hands are how I make a living.

Anyways... I was back in the studio for a couple of hours today and it was almost funny... whenever I was singing along with a song, the tremors would almost disappear... but then inexplicably, on the next song, they'd be back.  (apparently the Black Eyed Peas are not calming, but Cee Lo Greene and Usher are... and I wasn't even singing along with Usher!)

Tomorrow will be another stab at getting back to normal.  Blackboard of Bossiness is up, but today I erased it and just wrote "chill"  I needed that.

Thank you to all the people who told me they were praying for my hands.  Seemed like such a funny thing to ask for, but I know that it helped.... it helped to calm me down more than anything.

back to work (on non-torchy stuff... seems like there is MORE of that to do between now and Tucson than ever!  But that might be because someone INSANE (me) signed up to do TWO shows!!!  aaaaaaaaaaahhhhh!)

coffee - oh yeah and it was GOOD and it was paid for by my other blog... and that just ROCKS!
music - my "Groove Tunes - extended version" which has TONS of songs that make you wanna dance (which is hard when you're working with fire, but somehow I manage)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

And so it begins...

It's the countdown to Tucson... less than a month away.... TWO shows???  What was I thinking??!!

I'm pretty sure the rest of the month's blog postings will say something like this...


The blackboard of bossiness is up and ready to be filled with directions to keep me on track.  Baggies are ready to be filled with seed beads for kits.  Instructions for classes (did I say that?  I'm also teaching there!) are written and ready to be printed.

It's ON!!! 

(and then what happens???  I remember I'm out of propane..... )

For information on my Tucson shows...

Tucson Classes
Classes at The Whole Bead Show - Tucson

My friend, and former assistant, the LOVELY Alex will be working at the Best Bead Show and will have lots of fun kits and lampworked glass beads for you to oogle and buy.

I will be teaching from a suite at the Whole Bead Show and will have a sales area available for people to browse and buy during show hours... lampworked beads and beadwork kits.

I have a LOT to do this month!!!  But first... go get propane!

tiny blah blah blah...
no coffee YET, but I'm headed that way!
music - not sure yet!
p.s.  I have a new blog.  If you're not a bead or jewelry person it will be total nonsense to you... trust me.  It's a whole blog of inside jokes.... but evidently they're pretty good inside jokes because I've had over 5,000 hits in 3 days.  WOW!  This blog is at about 24,000 in 6 years!!!   I think I must be funnier than my work is interesting....  if you're a beady person, you can probably find it on your own, but if you need help, message me.  If you're a stalker-y person... it really isn't going to interest you.... really.... there is NOTHING about my personal life there.... NOTHING.