Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm Off to See the Wizard...

My bag is packed, my computer is backing up, and I've printed out all my directions and schedules for this weekend. I'm ready to hit the road for my first-ever Guide Event for And of course, I'll be driving 5+ hours in a tropical storm...

But in other news, I'm participating in a very exciting and top-secret project that I can't tell anyone about...until tomorrow! I'll make sure I put a post in here tomorrow to let everyone in on the fun.

And on that note, I still have to get a couple of pieces of content published to the Beadwork site after Colden goes to bed because I'll be spending pretty much all of tomorrow in the car. As much as I'm looking forward to going to New Jersey and seeing my friends and spending a couple of days in Manhattan, I still kinda wish it was going to be a beading weekend...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Things to Be Thankful For Today...

A friend of mine, Carol Dean Sharpe, regularly posts on her Facebook page all the things that she is thankful for, and not just around Thanksgiving. I love the way that she is so conscious of all the good things in her life, and I make a conscious effort to be aware of all the incredibly good things in my life, as well, from her example.

This afternoon, I have a few things to be thankful for...

...some beady goodness from Andrew Thornton that arrived in my mailbox this afternoon...

...the amazing colors that I can see in the mountains (and my neighbor's back yard!)...

...and most of all, the crazy little man who fell asleep in my arms as we were playing "Feeding Frenzy" on Mommy's computer...

Yep. Life is good.

Monday, September 27, 2010

That To-Do List of Mine...

Just seems to get longer and longer, instead of shorter. Today's list is particularly daunting - since I'm leaving for the conference on Friday morning, I don't have as much time to get things done. I asked Tom if he could give me as much help as possible in the evenings after dinner this week, even though I know tomorrow is opening day for muzzle loading (deer) season. Things have to revolve around deer season when you live in the Adirondacks!

Another day of no sales at the farmers' market yesterday. Spent an awful lot of time on my feet, though, talking to visitors to my booth and handing out business cards. It started to pour rain almost immediately after we had all set up our tents, and it continued to rain until about noon.

On the plus side, though, I got another semi-embellished rope finished with the Lisa Peters Art bead, and I took a few quick photos this morning. I have one more embellished rope to finish, and then I have to get cracking on the beading for "work" - a custom order to finish, a couple of bracelets to stitch up, and a couple of project tutorials to photograph so I can publish them later this week.

New listings in my Etsy shop and photos of those listings later today, too... Maybe we'll just have Ramen and frozen veggies for dinner tonight!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Foiled Once Again... Sort of.

I tried again to photograph an African Helix tutorial for the site, and it left me so frustrated that I chucked the thing into a drawer and just gave up. So, there will be no new beading stitch tutorials on this week. There will, however, be new charted peyote stitch patterns, new hubs (collections) of holiday patterns, tips for counting rows in your favorite beading stitches, tips for holding your beadwork and maybe a new pattern using some of those delicious new Tila beads from Miyuki.

That said, while I was thrashing about in one of my drawers for a tube of glass leaves that were actually in the bag where I left them a week ago, I discovered the perfect color bead for my latest project using a Lisa Peters Art bead.

The clasp is one of the new stash of clasps that I got from Artbeads during their Labor Day sale.

I seem to be maintaining my level of productivity - I finished another embellished rope the other day. I haven't listed it on Etsy yet, but will probably take care of that later tonight or tomorrow.

I'm calling it, "Jungle Fever". I love this one - it's light and fluffy and feels like feathers around your neck when you put it on.

And then I decided to go ahead and embellish that sparkly rope that I stitched up last week. I was debating just hanging a pendant off of it and leaving it at that, but then I looked at that bag of beads sitting next to it. I made a compromise - I'm only doing short fringes on it so that I don't go totally over the top.

That said, I unleashed a fair amount of venom on some unsuspecting folks today when the topic of overpriced items on Etsy came up. One more reasonf for me to leave Etsy: it seems that they have successfully marketed the idea of handmade items being "cheap". I feel sorta bad about it now, but my opinions are still my own, and I still stand by the idea that our time as artists is valuable and should be priced accordingly.

And now, off to make some dinner...

The Biggest Toad in the World

That's what we told Colden this was when we found him in our driveway last night after dinner.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Need a Wife.

I seem to remember back in high school, I read an essay by a woman writer that was titled, "I Need a Wife". I could use one of those today. It's been a day of trying to keep Colden amused, get the rest of the house cleaned up, get groceries, get to the chiropractor so that my neck doesn't start giving me migraines, do the dishes, cooking dinner... And of course, after Colden had four or five nights in a row of sleeping through the night, last night he was awake four times. I was not a happy girl this morning.

I had a bad day sales-wise at the farmers' market yesterday, and those days always send me into a tailspin. They always seem to come when my ideas are bubbling over, and I'm very motivated to bead, but there's this little voice in the back of my mind that keeps telling me, "Yeah, maybe you should concentrate on selling the inventory you already have!" Ugh. I hate that little voice. One of these days, I'm going to stuff a sock down her throat.

Last night was the first truly COLD night that we have had in a long time. It was below freezing, and when I got up at 2:30 to get Colden a small cup of milk, I nearly froze my toes in the kitchen since the kitchen door and the windows were still wide open! Gack. I finally made Tom get up and close all the windows and pull the curtain between the kitchen and dining room to keep some warm air in the house. It was cold.

Tonight, I'm debating getting into a hot bathtub for a few minutes before I go to bed... If I can stay awake that long.

More beading tomorrow, I hope. I didn't have much of a chance to do anything today except tear apart the stuff I did yesterday because it just flat out sucked.

Friday, September 17, 2010

If I Update This Blog Regularly...

Sometimes multiple times a day, does that mean that I've got too much time on my hands? Or am I using it as a procrastination for things that I SHOULD be doing?

Have I mentioned how much I love my son lately? Or how much I love working at home so I can be with him every day, despite the obvious challenges in time management and keeping my energy levels up?

This photos was taken on one of our afternoon sojourns in the backyard, under the big box elder tree. Every spring, Tom clears out some of the lower branches and undergrowth and we throw a couple of tree stumps in there with some candles and some folding chairs. This year, Tom built a wooden swing for Colden and hung it on one of the branches. Tom calls it our "Hobbit Hole". Colden loves it. He plays in the dirt, we look for caterpillars and bugs in the tree, and he "feeds" sticks to the glass and metal frog yard decoration that we keep under there for company.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another Embellished Rope Begun...

I was bad. I finished another spiral rope base this morning in between everything else that I was supposed to be doing. I couldn't help it - I had to empty the bag of beads that I plan to use to embellish it out alongside of it...

But now I have myself wondering: should I even embellish this rope? Should I just hang a pendant off of it and leave it as is? The colors in the rope are so bold and crazy - metallic gold core with silver lined jewel toned beads in between black for the accents - that maybe accenting the rope even MORE with the crazy assortment of glass beads would just be too much.

Seizure-inducing necklace, anyone?

My October Etsy Beadweavers' Challenge

I can't believe that I actually finished this so ahead of the deadline! I feel like I should get a prize or something... Ha ha ha!

My challenge piece for the August challenge was completed and listed at two minutes to midnight before the deadline. But this piece just came together so nicely - I started it on a Sunday and finished it on a Tuesday! Amazing!

I'm really getting into these embellished ropes. I love embellishment and fringe, and although I'm not a big fan of spiral rope making, I'm now finding that I can do all sorts of cool color palettes and my ideas for embellishing them are coming fast and furious.

Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I suddenly came up with the perfect designs for three of the Lisa Peters Art beads that I have! After I finish this next spiral rope, that's what I'll be working on next...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Empty Beading Tray...

Is a very dangerous thing for me these days.

I haven't been this productive in MONTHS, nor have I felt this inspired. But so far this week, I have finished two hugely embellished beaded ropes and haven't done a heck of a lot else! And that empty bead tray is just calling to me... I can hear it taunting me with the drawer full of Lisa Peters Art beads and cabs that I just bought... And the Venetian glass beads with the matching Czech firepolished beads... The huge Swarovski stones just waiting for me to finish attaching the petals around them to make big flowers... My Catherine of Aragon face that is waiting oh so patiently for me to start embellishing her...

Yeah. And I'm still in my bathrobe, Colden is still in his pajamas, and the breakfast dishes are still sitting on the dining room table.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New in the Etsy Shop...

Is what I hope will be the first in series of embellished spiral rope necklaces. I called this one, "Breath of Spring", and I finished it as the sun disappeared one evening and the rain and the cold rolled in through the river valley down the road from our house...

I made it using assorted glass beads and freshwater pearls. The rope itself stitched up way faster than I remember, and the embellishment techniques bring me waaaaaay back to when I first started beading. One of my first "large scale" pieces was a netted rope that I embellished heavily with pearls, shells, crystals and fire polished beads with an ocean theme. I still have that necklace - I should dig it out and photograph it. When I wear it, I still get compliments on it!

If you want more details about the piece, just click on the picture and it will take you to the listing in my Etsy shop.

Lots of beading to do this week... A custom order that needs a neck strap to be finished, a couple of requests for tutorials, and I'm working on my piece for the October Etsy Beadweavers' Challenge! Woo-hoo!

Colden went down for a nap early today. He was awake early, too - the sound of Tom's motorcycle propelled Colden out of bed and onto the back porch where, for a full twenty minutes, he tried to look out the window and cried, "Come back, Daddy!" I think Colden is starting to feel Tom's absence in this crazy new work schedule of his...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Off my Chest

Tom came home last night with the news that the new mayor in Lake Placid thinks that the wastewater treatment plant is "overstaffed". Heart stopping moment. If he loses his job - if - where on Earth would we go??? We would lose the house, that's for sure. We'd have to sell it and pack up what? Like I said, heart stopping moment, to think that if he loses his job, we'd have to pull up and move away and start over somewhere else.

And of course, along with that, it starts making me wonder about all the "stuff" we have around here that we could get rid of. So why not do it now, right? We could easily purge a ton of stuff from this house - I have been waging war on my closet since early spring, purging clothing that I have been hanging on to for God only knows what reason, and donating it to the thrift shop in Wilmington. I've started looking at things with a different eye - I've been looking for places where I can start purging, start throwing things away, and cleaning up. Slowly but surely, I've started cleaning off all the surfaces in the house and either putting things into storage (sentimental, like stuff that was my mother's) or throwing it away or donating it.

And from there, I start wondering about what I'm doing with my life. I start thinking about the changes and paths and twists and turns and... Why am I here at this point right now? Did I do something wrong to end up where I am? Or have I done something right? Some days, it's not such a clear line between the two.

Am I happier than I was when I was working full-time at a job that I hated? It wasn't a very good job, mind you - no benefits, low pay, and not a lot of support. Every month now is a gamble to see if I make a few sales on Etsy or from a gallery - if I do, it's great. If I don't, it's a tight, scary month where we have to decide whether or not to chip the credit card out from the bottom of the ice cube tray.

But now we have Colden - and he is most definitely the best thing that has ever happened to us. His laugh, his smile, his hugs and kisses, watching him grow and discover new things every day - that is priceless to us. There's no amount of money that could replace the experiences I have with him every day, even if I do drop into bed fully clothed every night.

I wonder about the things I've done in the past, the people I may or may not have hurt, the things that I know I did wrong, and the things that I know I did right.

Some days are just a constant battle for me, trying to balance Colden with work, spending time with Tom, taking care of the house and everything else that needs me... And just taking ten minutes for myself. Sometimes I actually feel GUILTY for having a job that I love and am passionate about, because you're not supposed to enjoy your job, right? I don't think I've had a job that I've loved as much as this since I left New Jersey. So that can't be a bad thing, right?

Tom is putting Colden to bed right now... When he is done, I will change into my pajamas, and we will cuddle up together for a little while before we fall asleep.

In the morning, I will shower, get dressed, and take my camera with us on our morning adventure in the backyard. I'll look up to the sky and into the trees, and I'll look down at the grass and the flowers. I'll take pictures of Colden pushing his wheelbarrow, and I'll take pictures of the chickens and the mountains down in the valley. And everything will be okay.

Is it Wrong...

That as soon as Colden went down for his nap this afternoon, I grabbed a piece of carrot cake and played Farmville?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Starting to Feel Like Fall Today

It was cold at the farmers' market today. Cold and wet and rainy and windy. It probably wasn't the smartest thing for me to go and sit outside today, since I still need to blow my nose every thirty seconds and I'm still coughing like I have the plague, but I went. Tom and Colden went out to Lake Clear so Tom could help his friend hand tree stands (in preparation for deer season) and Colden had a bit of a play date with Alice.

I came home, chilled to the bone, without a single sale. A little depressing, but a plate of hot mac 'n' cheese helped.

And even if I didn't make any sales, I did manage to get a spiral rope finished. I've been dreaming about doing a series of pieces using embellished spiral ropes, ever since I finished that brown piece last week.

They are so much fun, and they work up a lot faster than I had thought. This is about 3 hours so far, and that's including the time to stitch up the rope.

I'm waiting on an order of clasps from Artbeads, and I'm really hoping they arrive tomorrow. I've got three large pieces sitting on my work table, just WAITING for a clasp. I ran out of "good" clasps, and I decided to try some new styles. So I've got toggles, s-clasps and hook and eye clasps coming, all in some really cool metals - antique gold, antique brass, copper, silver and gunmetal. Oooooo...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering September...

I don't think I've ever written my recollections of where I was on September 11, 2001, but this morning, I feel like I need to write it down.

I remember that I was on my way to class. I had a geomorphology class that morning, and as I was getting off the Northway to Plattsburgh, there was a little blurb on NPR about a plane crashing into one of the Twin Towers. I didn't think anything about it until I got into the Dunkin' Donuts to grab my morning bagel and hot chocolate - and that was where I saw the second plane hit the towers. We were all just stunned, standing there, and no one said a word. We just watched in complete disbelief as that second plane slammed head-on into the building.

When I got to school, people were talking about it. No one knew what the hell was going on. We sat through class - I don't think we were really thinking about geomorphology that morning - and when I got out of class and went to one of the school computers to check my email, I saw that there had been another plane that had crashed into the Pentagon, and reports of another plane downed in a field in rural Pennsylvania.

I went to my next class - environmental law - but all we could talk about was what was happening. It was just unbelievable. The professors and staff were all jumpy, too - no one knew what was going to happen next.

I had my lunch and called Tom, and he told me that they had watched the towers fall live on the news at work. They hadn't been doing much that morning - just watching the news coverage of this unbelievable, terrible day.

After lunch, I went to my next class - calculus - but we didn't talk about calculus that day. Instead, I distinctly remember my professor telling us, "I can guarantee you that once we find out who did this, they will be wiped off the face of the planet."

We found out after that class that the school was now in lockdown mode for security reasons. Students who lived on campus were supposed to return to their dorms, and those of us who lived off campus were ordered to go home. No one knew when school would re-open.

I drove home, listening to the radio the whole way. By some freak of the weather, we can get news radio 880 from New York City up here in the afternoons and evenings, so I listened as they talked about the devastation, the hordes of people walking home across the bridges, the road closures, the chaos, the confusion...

Tom and I went out to dinner that night. On the walk home, we noticed that many people had lit candles and placed them in their front windows or on the porch of their homes.

We laid in bed that night and didn't sleep. We left the radio on, tuning it back and forth between NPR and the New York City station. We listened to the mayor of New York City, the governor of New York, the emergency responders, the reporters, the residents, the employees who made it out alive...

I don't really know what else to say about that day. It's just one of those days where you can remember exactly where you were and exactly what you were doing. One of my professors compared it to the day that JFK was shot - she said that we would always remember exactly what we were doing and when we were doing it when everything happened.

So that's my way of remembering. And while I may not be remembering for the same reasons as everyone else, I remember.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Listings, Listings, Listings...

It rained hard last night, and this morning it is chilly and damp. I had to pull out a pair of wool socks because my feet were cold, and I hate having cold feet. I guess fall is here!

So last night, I did a little bit of listing on Etsy. As my (brief) farmers' market season comes to a close, I wanted to make sure that my Etsy shop is loaded to the gills in time for the holidays.

I had posted a picture of this piece on my Facebook profile and wondered if I should keep it or sell it. I wore it a couple times, and then while I was listing last night decided to put it in my Etsy shop - just to see what will happen. I'll probably put it out for sale at the market on Sunday, too. Just to see what will happen. If someone wants to give it a good home, then that's great. And if not, then it will definitely have a good home with me!

And since I was so inspired by just making this piece, I'm working on two new ones, both with Swarovski crystal centers. The flower petals are so much fun to make - I love the way they develop that curve all by themselves. And the colors of the two new pieces - woa. I never thought I had all those blues and purples in me!

I've also got loads more new ideas floating around. I'm going to do another Etsy Beadweavers' challenge - so I have to get cracking on that piece. And I've got a whole stack of unfinished cabochons that are begging me to get to them. And new beading tutorials for the site. And new beading patterns for the site. And a bunch of donuts that are crying out for peyote stitch bails and beaded ropes... I need like four of me to get all these projects done!

And on that note, Tom has started some crazy new schedule at work. We don't know how long it will last - we're hoping not terribly long - but as of yesterday, he and his co-worker are putting in 10 hour days (7 a.m. until 5 p.m.), five days a week, plus they rotate weekends. I think I'm mostly worried about him getting exhausted and burnt out. Good thing he has some vacation time saved up - I think he's going to need it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Camera

So, oh, wow, a few weeks ago, I decided to upgrade my camera from my little Nikon point-n-shoot (which has served me extremely well for the last two summers!) to a new-to-me digital SLR - a Pentax *ist digital SLR with a real macro lens.

When the camera arrived, it had no batteries, so I spent an agonizing week waiting for the batteries. (No one around here sells them, so it was mail order through the internet again!) And then once the batteries and the charger came yesterday, I discovered that the charger only charged one battery at a time. So it took me all day to get the batteries charged. And then finally everything started working!

I'm still sorta getting the hang of it, but I had to get a picture of this spider in the backyard yesterday afternoon. It was huge - about the size of my thumb - and was very busy building a web in between some of the weeds and wildflowers in the spiral maze that Tom cuts in the backyard every year.

And then I got this shot of the pole barn/chicken coop, with our humongous wood pile, the canoe, the tractor... And Colden in his little yellow raincoat, pushing his wheelbarrow up towards the chickens...

It amazes me what a difference a good camera can make!

I feel like I'm starting to see things differently... Almost like I've been bitten by the same photography bug that bit my mother once she moved to Texas and started taking pictures of the birds and the gators, snakes and spiders.

I haven't had a heck of a lot of time to do much else today. Colden has come down with the congestion that I've been dealing with since last weekend, and the poor little guy is just miserable. He didn't want to eat any lunch, but he had something to drink, and now he's taking a little nap. Nothing like walking around with a crying 40-lb toddler in your arms when he's begging you for something and you have no idea what the heck it is!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

My New Work Space!

I finally did it! I went up to Target, blew some money on a couple extra folding tables, and moved my formerly cramped and completely disorganized working space from the dining room (where I was crushed in between the fish tank and a wall) to the living room.

I've got a little more space to spread out without having to worry about burying the dining room table for days or weeks at a time. I can write, take my photos, print things out without having to dig for the printer, and get to my files and beads much easier!

I promised Tom that I would keep the chaos to a minimum, since it is still our living room, after all.

Now I am just patiently waiting for the batteries to charge so I can play with the new camera... Macro lens, here I come!

But first, I smell a poopy diaper that needs changing... Where's that kid o mine?

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Sick, sick, sick...

That's what I am right now. I have an awful summer cold - like it's not bad enough being sick with a sore throat, stuffy nose and a bad cough, it's like 93 degrees outside. I've been miserable all week - and last night, I think I got a grand total of about 2 hours of sleep. Between the discomfort from the stuffy nose and the chest congestion and the gross heat outside, I was just the most miserable that I've felt in a long time. But the snot is making a mass exodus from my nose, so I'm hoping that means the worst is over and that I'll be better in time for the Sunday farmers' market. Like Tom said, leave it to me to get sick in the middle of the summer!

Once again, summer is bashing us about with these horrific temperatures - 90s during the day, 70s at night. Impossible to get comfortable. And I just finished this absolutely beautiful necklace, the one I posted earlier in the week, with a big peyote stitched flower and a pearl-embellished spiral rope, and it's so damn hot, I don't want to wear it.

Temperatures supposedly cooling off tomorrow. Maybe I'll wear it tomorrow...