Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm live!

I am live on! Yippee! I got the confirmation email on Friday while I was at the Elizabethtown farmers market that my site has gone live. Wow! Now all I have to do is keep it going. Not hard, right? If you are interested in receiving it, just go to the About.Com Beadwork site and enter your email address. The newsletter will be sent automatically every Monday. That's all you have to do!

I know it's not even nine a.m. right now, but I've already edited and sent out my first newsletter for, logged in to the forums and made a few posts, paid the phone bill, ordered my supplies and materials for kits for the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show, ordered a few pendants from Beadin' Path for the Soft Flex Flex Your Creativity contest, ordered new light bulbs for my photo lights, and managed to stitch a few beads on my piece for Scarlett Lanson's Use the Muse II contest. So now I've got to pack up Colden and head up to Plattsburgh to do some grocery shopping (we are in dire need of dried cranberries and Cheerios!) before I settle down to do some more serious work this afternoon.

As July 11 draws closer, I am getting more and more nervous about the Syracuse Show. I'm so excited to be teaching there, and I think it's going to be a great time, but I am also worried about my sales. I seem to have lost my sales mojo at my farmers markets this year, although I'm hearing that from everyone at the markets. I'm hoping that I do well in sales at the Syracuse Show, not just because I need to pay the bills, but also because I still see sales as confirmation that my work is good. There's this little part of my brain that says, "If it won't sell, then it must be junk." Even though I know that that is not true. It always feels like personal rejection when I have low sales. It's like the customer isn't just rejecting my work, they're rejecting ME. At least I'm not the only one to feel like that - I've read alot on the Beading Daily Forums about other bead artists who feel the same way!

BUT, on a more positive note, even though we are coming up on the Fourth of July weekend, I have a new project to post on my blog, with a tutorial! (As soon as I figure out how to post a document on the blog, LOL!) It is for my necklace called "Lucia", and it was created entirely with beads that were supplied to me courtesy of Auntie's Beads.

I'm pretty happy with the way it came out, considering that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when I started it!

So, stay tuned for the directions as a downloadable file.

Oh, my. I think Colden just dumped an entire can of breadcrumbs into Moose's water dish. So I think I had best be signing off for now!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Going Live!

Kind of ironic, the term, going live... But that's what I'll be in just a few days on!

Getting ready to go live was sort of like an out-of-body experience for me. Learning how to write for the Web was a very eye-opening experience. I would spend hours in front of the computer, editing photos, and then uploading photos and text in a variety of different styles on a huge server.

Yesterday was crunch day. I had to "publish" the bulk of my work so that the training editor could turn my site over to the tech support people. I spent, literally, four or five hours in front of the computer, completely absorbed in sending information into cyberspace. And after I finished up, it felt a little weird to come back into the "real" world.

It wasn't like becoming completely absorbed in a piece of beadwork. Even when I lose myself in the little piles of sparkly things on my work table, I'm still vaguely conscious of my surroundings, and will very often converse with whoever is around - even on the phone. But writing and editing photos, for some reason, causes me to shut myself off so I can really concentrate. I will usually plug my earphones into the computer so I can listen to my iTunes while I work, and the outside world just...disappears!

At any rate, I will be sure to let everyone know when the site goes live! There are going to be lots of great tutorials on there, and lots of my original designs for my fellow beaders to create.

I am really excited about this new opportunity. I love the idea that I can take what I know and put it out there for other interested beaders to use. I have always loved teaching and sharing knowledge, and I think that that is extremely important among artists. I don't believe in keeping secrets when it comes to art and craft. So now I get to reach out to thousands of people who all love beads as much as I do!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Syrcause Gem & Mineral Show

As I might have mentioned before (maybe once or twice!) I'll be teaching on Sunday, July 12 at the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show in Syracuse, N.Y. I'll be teaching a 3-hour class on how to bezel a gemstone cabochon with peyote stitch, and I'm very excited! It should be a great show all around - I've never attended this particular show before, but I've heard that it is very family-friendly with lots of activities for the kids. If I'm still teaching there in a few years, when Colden is a little older, it would be great to bring him for the weekend.

So, if you are going to be in the Syracuse area during the weekend of July 11 and 12, contact the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Society for more information and registration. I believe that the cost of the class is going to be pretty reasonable - around $30 for the class. I will have two types of kits available for the class - one that includes everything needed to make the projects, including a gemstone cabochon, a matching strand of 4mm gemstone beads, Delica beads, seed beads, Stiff Stuff, ultrasuede, thread, needles, a clasp and stringing materials for $45; and another kit that includes just the Stiff Stuff, ultrasuede, thread and needles for $15. I will also have a great selection of my other kits available for purchase at the show. And my good friend Jen will be assisting me at my booth while I teach and do some demonstrations during the show. (Yes, her name is Jen, and no, I'm not developing a split personality, although some days I do need to be in three places at once!)

This past Sunday I did my first farmers' market at Marcy Field in Keene, N.Y. There was a Kite Festival as well that day, sponsored by the East Branch Friends of the Arts, a local non-profit arts group from Keene Valley. It was pretty crazy - when I arrived at 8:30 in the morning, it was raining pretty hard. I thought, how are they going to fly kites in this kind of weather?
But they did fly kites! The weather finally started to clear up around 2:30, after I was all packed and starting to head home.

This week, I will be doing three farmers markets in the area - I'll be at the Willsboro Farmers Market on Thursday the 25th of June from 9 am until 1 pm. This is a new market for the Adirondack Farmers Market Cooperative, and it is held at the little grassy parking area across from the Old Adirondack Factory.

Then I'll be at my regular markets in Elizabethtown on Friday the 26th from 9 am until 1 pm and at Marcy Field in Keene on Route 73 from 9:30 am until 2 pm.

And during the week, I'll be getting more inventory ready for the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show as well as continuing to work for! (The site isn't live yet, but it should be before July 1!)

Right, so, when do I get to sleep?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My lampworking studio

Back in 2003 (it seems like a long time ago!), Tom and I moved into our little house here in Jay. One of the things that drew both of us to it was the workshop in the garage - Tom was thinking about a place for his tool collection, and I was thinking about a place to put a torch and a kiln. (The kiln didn't come until much later, though!)

Tom built me a beautiful workstation.

We installed a ventilation hood and after we got the kiln, Tom built a table out of a leftover door. When I took up fusing, I set up my glass cutting system on the table next to the kiln. What I love about it the most is the beautiful view of the Jay Mountain Range that you can see out of the picture window!

(It's not the greatest picture, but you get the idea!)

So, now that I'm starting to gear up for the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show, I am thinking about what kinds of inventory I want to bring to sell at the show. I think I am going to have a large selection of my handmade glass beads, probably a few bead pens and magnifying glasses, a large selection of kits and instructions/patterns, and a few finished pieces made with gemstone beads. I'm very excited about this show! It will be my largest show ever, and I think with the help I've received from Kathy and Ruby at the Northern Adirondack Trading Cooperative, I think it is going to be a great show for me.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

LARAC Show in Glens Falls!

So, because I have a lot of writing to do today, I thought that I would "warm up" by updating my blog with all the pictures from the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council's June show that I attended this past weekend in Glens Falls!

The closer we got to the weekend last week, the more the forecast called for rain and thunderstorms, which made the prospect of sitting at an outdoor art and craft festival for 8 hours a day less than appealing. However, on Saturday morning, it was clear and cool and beautiful, and by the time I was set up at the City Park in Glens Falls, the sun was shining and the sky was clear!

My new displays looked awesome in the sun! I had a great mix of pieces out for sale - everything from a $400 beadwoven choker based on a piece of African artwork to some simple fused glass pendants for $15. I did receive a lot of great feedback on my work - one woman, a seamstress who happened to stop at my booth, asked me what kind of machine I used to get my stitches so even on the backs of my bead embroidered pendants. She almost didn't believe me when I told her that I did it all by hand. I just happened to be working on a cabochon necklace and I showed her the technique that I used to create the pendants, and she was very impressed.

I knew that Claudia Chandler of "Completely Claudia", one of my fellow Adirondack Etsy Team-mates, was going to be at the show, so I stopped by her booth on Sunday and took a few pictures. (Which was good, she said, because she and her husband had forgotten the camera!)

Claudia had been looking at one of my handmade glass bead necklaces, so I traded with her. I picked out one of her gorgeous baskets (to be incorporated into my booth display this summer!) and two notecards for two special friends.

And then there were my wonderful "neighbors". One my right was Ray and Ruth Woodcraft from Connecticut. Ray did beautiful handmade wood products like lazy susans, cutting boards, coasters and decorative items. Ruth, his wife, did lovely jewelry made with crystals and gemstone beads, all knotted on silk!

On my left was Wilfred Charbonneau who did beautiful antler sculpture from natural antlers.

His daughter and I traded - a dichroic glass pendant for this pair of awesome antler moose earrings!

So, even though my sales weren't what I had hoped they would be, I still had a great time and made some new friends.

Up next this weekend: I will be at the Elizabethtown farmers market again this Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. And then on Sunday, my first day at the Keene farmers market on Route 73 at Marcy Airfield from 9:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. They are having a Kite Festival for Father's Day, so cross your fingers that the weather holds up!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's not pretty, but...

This is the piece that has taken over my life since yesterday morning. The beads are all courtesy of Auntie's Beads, and the piece is one that just sort of came to me as I was looking at the beads online. I just sort of wondered how I could stitch them so they would all fit together. Once I got that figured out, I had to figure out how to connect them so that they didn't flop around. And I think I've almost got that figured out! Then I just have to figure out how to attach the clasp, which I haven't decided on yet. It's a work in progress, but it's so much fun! The little netted connectors work up really quick, and I love the way they look with those red diamonds.

So, when I'm not obsessing over this piece, I am finishing up my new displays for the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council's June Art and Craft Festival this weekend. Tom constructed the panels for me out of foam core and L-brackets. Last night after Colden went to bed, I covered them with a layer of thick bunting fabric, and then today I will finish covering them with a bright turquoise fabric. They will be attached to my table using c-clamps and alligator clamps, and the necklaces and bracelets will be pinned right to the foam core through the fabric. For earrings, I am going to tie either end of a piece of fishing line to two jewelry pins, add a drop of glue so that it doesn't slip, and then fasten the pins into the backside of the board. They'll also allow me to stick little notes about each one right on the board, and I think I will also add a few little accents to the table, like a vase with a few eucalyptus branches or some silk flowers.

My little man was "helping" me when I tried to cover the boards yesterday morning, so that's why I waited until he was asleep! He was so pleased with himself!

And, of course, I've been posting all over Facebook about the show that inspired these new display panels! The Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council is having their June Art & Craft Fair this Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., at Glens Falls City Park in Glens Falls, N.Y. I've heard from a couple of people that the city has recently made some great improvements to the park, and I'm very much looking forward to selling my work at the fair! The weather right now is calling for a 20% chance of rain with highs in the low 70s, so as long as the rain stays away, it is shaping up to be a beautiful weekend.

So that's all for now! I've got a million things to finish up today, so I need to get off the computer and get back to work!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I can't believe the weekend is over already!

This weekend just seemed to fly by. Crazy. It was absolutely beautiful yesterday, and my band, Sounds of the Northway, played a great gig in Willsboro at Noblewood Park on the shore of Lake Champlain as part of the Quadracentennial Celebration of the discovery of Lake Champlain by Samuel de Champlain. The wind was whipping off that lake, and when it let up a bit, the sun baked us. I alternated between wearing a fleece jacket and wearing a sleeveless shirt. When I got home, I discovered that I had a tiny little bit of sunburn. Not bad, but I have to be more careful. I forgot how easily I burn!

I think tomorrow is going to be a picture day. I removed some work from the Adirondack Art Association Gallery in Essex in preparation for the big show in Glens Falls this coming weekend, and tomorrow I am going to set up my lights and my light tent and take some good photos before I put them out for sale again. I also finished two or three new pieces that I need to photograph before I put them up for sale.

This is going to be another busy week! I've got my final preparations for my new displays to finish up (thanks to Tom!), a few more pieces of jewelry to finish, some photographs to take, some writing to do for, and some freelance work I need to continue. I'm not sure if I'm going to go to the Elizabethtown market this weekend - I might be better off skipping it and staying at home, but on the other hand, it does give me some time to bead outside and a chance to socialize!

I know there was more that I wanted to write about here today, but it's too late, and I'm getting too tired. I think I need to go curl up in bed with Tom and Colden and Moose and see if we can keep warm tonight. (Gotta love the Adirondacks - it's going to be forty degrees and raining tonight, so it's not just chilly, it's DAMP and chilly!)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

This is how my dog spends the summer.

Seriously. His favorite spot in the entire house is on that first step of our back porch from the kitchen. I don't know if the concrete is cool, or if the breeze is just right or what, but that is where you can find Moose most hot, lazy summer afternoons.

As for me, I spend my summers a little differently now!

Lately, I feel like there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done, nor do I have the energy to accomplish what I need to. I suppose that's just part of having a toddler. Not that I would trade Colden for anything, but the one thing I am looking forward to on my travels this summer is getting a full night of sleep!

Speaking of my travels, my first big teaching gig is coming up in July! I know, it seems far away now, but yesterday I realized that it's already JUNE!

My first big teaching gig this summer is going to be at the Syracuse Gem & Mineral Show at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. I don't think they've ever held classes at this show before, so I'm honored that they asked me to teach there this year. I decided that, since it is a gem and mineral show, to teach a 3-hour class in bezeling and bead embroidery using gemstone cabochons. It won't be a very intricate project, but it will give the basics for how to bezel a cabochon using peyote stitch and how to create a lovely little ring of accent beads around it. I will have a supply list for students who sign up early for the class so that anyone who wants to can bring their own materials. Or, as usual, I will have complete kits available for students who want to purchase all the materials from me on the day of the class. I should have several different gemstones available in several different shapes. The kits will also include thread, needles, backing for the cabochon, a piece of Ultrasuede or Sensuede and coordinating seed beads. For more information about the show, you can check out the website of the Gem & Mineral Society of Syracuse. The class will be held on the morning of Sunday, July 12, 2009 from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. There are only 10 spaces available for the entire class, so if you are interested, contact the Gem & Mineral Society and sign up quickly!

I am also feverishly continuing my preparations for the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council Spring Craft Show on June 13th and 14th in Glens Falls. I'm very excited to be participating in this year's spring show, and I hope to be able to participate in the fall show as well. I have designed (in my head and in my sketchbook, at least!) a new set of displays that I want to have finished this weekend. I am also working on some new bead embroidered pendants, bracelets and earrings that will be for sale at the show. Here is a sneak peak of one of the pendants:
I stayed up waaaaay too late last night working on it. I finished the embroidery today, and then also finished the onyx cabochon that will hang from the bottom of the pendant. Tomorrow, I hope to add the fringe and then I also hope that some inspiration comes and wacks me over the head for a cool strap to go with this piece! I really do love it - I may have to make a custom toggle for it, now that I think about it.

And then, in the middle of everything, Tom showed me this picture the other night:

We have a catbird nest in the blackberry bushes outside the garage! Tom said that when he went back to look again yesterday evening, there was a fourth egg in the nest. How beautiful! I'll have to check back with photos when the babies hatch!

So, it's after ten o clock, so I think I am going to turn in for the night. Lots to do again tomorrow, and I need to get whatever sleep I can!