Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ready set GO!

I'm off to the annual Bead and Button show in Milwaukee, WI.  My bags are packed.  Many items already shipped to help lighten the load.  I always feel a little better when I get to my hotel with my luggage and boxes all arrived safe and sound.  But not every being is happy with my pending departure.  All three of my cats have taken turns sitting on my suitcase.

I have some special kits in limited quantity which will be released first on Friday Night at Meet the Teachers.  I also will have some one of a kind finished earrings, all unique, and all bead embroidery available. I wanted to do something special to bring customers to me at that event.  I'm excited about offering these special items at that event first.  I expect some may sell out there.  The coupon in your show registration goodie bag will only be honored at MTT.  She's a Suburban Girl is limited to 7 kits!  I wanted more but this is it!  And I won't be asking the artist to do more for me as it is time to move on.  This little collage is just a sample of what is to be offered first at MTT.

I am also selling at Moonlight Madness and in the Show room all weekend.  Loads more kits including newly released Tila or Tile Mosaic.

In addition to the show items, I am also hand carrying the pieces to go in my book.  I meet my editor with Kalmbach books on Wednesday.  We do have a little video clip planned.  I'm a little nervous about that!  I have practiced a few times.  I even got a special manicure for the taping.  Mostly they will be looking at my old hands.  I have not been video taped for production for DECADES. 

The book is expected to be published late spring.  I hope before Bead and Button 2018.  To say this has been an experience is an understatement.  Many times I said that I will never do this again.  And I believe that, but you never know do you?  I will miss wearing some of these pieces for almost a year!  And I am very grateful to several ladies who made extra samples knowing they would also have to wait a year before getting their pieces back.

I look forward to life after B&B&B.  Bead and Button and Book.  This past month has been crazy busy with those two big things happening at the same time.  I suppose I could have pushed to have one or the other done a couple months ago.  Right!  Seriously, who can do that?

I hope to see some of you in Milwaukee!  Say HI!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lions and Tigers and Bears!

Oh My!  Or in my case it is more like Needles, and Thread, and Beads!  Oh My!  (You can't imagine how difficult it was to type Bears not Beads in the title.)

My life is pretty much consumed by beads and related items right now.  I am frankly more than a little out of balance.  Beads have pushed several things out of my world for the time being and some of it is not good.  I look forward to getting back into balance after the Bead and Button in June.

There is no hope before June, as that is my book deadline, as well as the various Bead and Button requirements deadline.  So right now, I work on kits for B&B, I work on a book pattern, I advertise some other bead event or prepare a proposal to each elsewhere.  I work on some special material for my Meet the Teachers Table at B&B, then I edit some more, and simultaneously try to create a couple new things for the book, for Trendsetters, and for my local stores.  In the back of my mind, I keep thinking, what am I going to have ready to submit for B&B 2018??  So much of my new work is going into the book.  Then I pack up and travel somewhere to teach or bead.  I'm not complaining really.  I love my beady life.  I really do enjoy all the travelling.  I just miss a few parts of my other life.

What is missing?  My exercise routine is a disaster.  My house cleaning is a disaster.  My continuous de-clutter process is mostly on hold.  My gardening just isn't happening.  Any visiting with family or friends happens only in conjunction with beads.

I miss my bicycle.  My only peddling is on my stationary, under the desk, bicycle.  I've gotten pretty good at peddling and typing but it is pretty hopeless to draw a line on a diagram and peddle.  I've tried.  I want to get back on my road bicycle, that will be a part of restoring some balance.  I used to go to a gym too, carving out enough time to get my exercise back in balance is a priority.

My daily morning walks are more like weekly.  I missed the spring chick season entirely.  I look at photo's and remember how really cool it is to watch them grow.  I love early morning walks.  It cleans out my mind.  It is also when I am the most creative and able to do my most productive work.  Yes indeed, work.

Cleaning happens a little, with 3 cats and allergies, it has to.  I can tell when it gets too bad, my asthma kicks up.  I'm not complaining, asthma hasn't bothered me in almost 50 years.  I am very thankful that it took this long to come back.  Somehow in the last few months it has re-surfaced.  Could that protective layer of dust on things combined with dust curls and cat hair be part of the cause?  I long to spend days cleaning, tossing out, and de-cluttering.  Don't worry, I find good homes for most things, particularly the beads.  I have hit critical mass on the need to clean, simplify, and organize.  I've lived here about as long as anywhere, almost 12 years.  You know, moving is a great motivator to de-clutter and clean.  It has been too long, two of my three cats have never moved.  Of course they would hate it.  I'm not ready to move yet, but I need to do an imitation of the process to really clean out.

One way I de-clutter is to follow a principle learned decades ago while working for the Army reserve as a civilian.  In short, I try to follow the NUMS-IT principle.  Things must meet that criterion to be saved.  I must truly N = Need it; U = Use it; M = Maintain it; and S = Store it.  I can be pretty ruthless to dispose or donate items.  I'm trying to tackle that a little bit, a teeny weeny bit, each day.  I look forward to some major clean out this summer!  Clutter, as it grows,  really starts to pile in on me and depresses my creative spirit.  Out Out damn spot (clutter).

Organizing is in sore need of a major overhaul.  My desk top is a pile.  Some major sorting and putting things away must happen soon.  I long to find the top of my work space.  Good thing right now it is quite nice on my porch, I gather things and work out there during the day.....that is when I'm not in front of this keyboard working on patterns.  Yes, working, yet, I'm retired?
Needless to say the diet part of my life is another disaster.  It also needs a major overhaul.  Good eating habits gone to fast food is not a good thing.  Where is my afternoon fruit and green mix smoothie?

As the book and show deadlines approach, the stress increases.  I don't know whether this book will be a one shot wonder or something I may do again.  Time will tell.  For now, with only weeks to go, I think I must have been totally crazy.  When I pass off the manuscript, projects, and other material to the publisher at B&B, I will breathe a big sigh of relief.  But of course, I know, at that time, it won't be over......edits will commence won't they?   Right now it is time to work on a project for the book again.  Yet, I'm supposed to be sort of retired.  This is all a bit much, I think I'll go for a walk.  Don't expect to see another Blog until mid June. 







Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Prong

I love being a Starman Trendsetter.  I love seeing the new beads before they come out, designing with them, and dreaming up fun new things.  It is a great thing for me for inspiration and to boost my creativity.  The new Starman beads being released in conjunction with the BIG Tucson show includes two that I am totally enamored with, the CzechMate 2 hole Cabochon and the Prong.  I love them.

Having said that, I do get it with the new beads.  They are coming out like dandelions popping up on a summer lawn.  A couple are ok but a whole field of them?  Not so much.  As much as I love new beads, I do hear the comments from students and customers......enough already.  And the poor store owners!!  The internet stores have it easy compared to a physical store front business.  If money were not the issue, space certainly will be!  Which of the many new beads will be a one night stand vs. a keeper that will continue to be requested by customers?


And another thing, the new beads seem to be published in the magazines with designs using them nearly filling some issues.  They are fun, but these new 'beads de jour' releases are a bit overwhelming.  I have heard more than once that people want to see designs with what they have, not have to go on a hunt for yet another new bead.  So I get it, I really do.

Now the Prong...  Sometimes I am a tad lazy.  I want to quickly get beyond the cabochon focal of a bead embroidery piece to actually get really creative.  Working with peyote using seed beads slows down that process.  There is nothing wrong with it.  I admire those that love doing it.  It just isn't me.  Enter the Prong.  This little tooth like bead, which is sort of like a half a Crescent, is perfection.  



Gone are the days for me to just stare at my stash of cabochons and think that I should do SOMETHING with them.  I can quickly capture the cab and move on.  I'm sure that there will be abundant uses in bead weaving for this little gem as well.  But on my bead table it will be frequently used for a cab capture.

What I have learned in the process is to back stitch with the prong and a seed bead alternating.  I have used both size 11 and size 8 seed beads with equal success.  After the first back stitch row I have found the second row around works best with another seed bead sewn down on the foundation between the butts of the Prong bead  all around.  The seed bead will fill the little space between the Prong beads from butt to butt.


From there you can do anything your heart desires for your bead embroidery piece.  Consider using the other newly released CzechMate bead, the Cabochon by Starman.  Like other beads in the CzechMate system of beading, the holes are aligned to other beads, brick, tile, crescent etc. facilitating bead weaving.  They are a great little add on for your bead embroidery as well.  Yes, there are similar beads out there that are 2 hole cabs but the color scheme used by Starman will be best when using beads from the same manufacturer.  And the little dome of this bead does add some great texture.  It is a CzechMate bead and for that desired texture I am sure you will see bead weaving designs popping up soon as well.

When you have a chance give the Prong a try.  This piece is called the Lazy Lacy Cabochon and the project sheet is available free.  It will not include step by step instructions for stitches like back stitch, edging or the bail but it talks about what I did with a couple drawings and pictures.  It is very simple just to inspire you to give these little gems a try.  It is available on my web site to print.  http://baublesbybalonis.net/free_patterns/lazy_lacy_cabochon



Monday, December 26, 2016

A Little Pollyanna in Me

Here it is the day after Christmas and I am thinking, good it is over.  I can be glad in that.  I am not fond of Christmas any more.  I have many happy memories of past years but time has changed many things associated with those happy memories so I no longer like the season.  I won't get into all of that.  I know I am not alone with my feelings about the season.   But today I woke up and had happy thoughts that it is over, I am glad, and I don't have to deal with it all for another year.

That made me think of many times that I was accused of being a "Pollyanna".  For those of you too young to remember that Disney movie staring Haley Mills, a theme in the movie was the 'glad game' finding things to be glad about in a difficult situation.  Also the movie ended up with a phrase that she was looking for the good in people and found it.  When people at work would accuse me of that attitude, I would tell them "OK, I can think of lots worse things to be accused of.".  Much of that attitude in me has hardened over the years.  Being a Pollyanna resulted in quite a few times where I really ended up with a 'knife in my back' due to what I was told was na├»ve attitude about people.  Ok, I'll take it.  I have learned to be more cautious and that is sad in a way but it was a life lesson I guess I needed to learn.

I spent most of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day binging on Downton Abby.  It isn't a Pollyanna series, there is a lot of sorrow in it.  But they seem to come thru and get on with life in high fashion and the series always makes me smile in the end, maybe thru a few tears.  And then there is the jewelry to look at!  What more can you ask for.  So I beaded and watched.  What better could I do (besides, shudder, clean) than watch that program and hide in my bead holes.  It was quite nice in Florida, so I was on my porch with my cats enjoying squirrels running around on the deck.  It was good.

I still have a bit of Pollyanna in me and I'm GLAD of her in me.  I like to look at things and find something to be glad about.  That has not been easy in this election year.  It seems the world is so filled with hate, prejudice, and so many other negative emotions.  I don't expect it to improve either. 

So I look forward to a year of beading with friends, teaching my passion for beading, sharing with others who love to bead.  I am quite glad I can bead and share that passion.  Yes, I hide from the world of negatives.  I prefer my beading to the reality of our world full of so much poison.  I will bead to be.  Pass me my rose colored glasses.





Saturday, December 3, 2016

Shows in 2017

December brings browsing for the big bead shows in 2017.  I'm very excited to be going back to Santa Fe, NM in March to teach at BeadFest.  I love it out West.  That is no secret to anyone who really knows me.  I am equally excited with my classes for Bead and Button in Milwaukee, WI in June. 

The Santa Fe show is open for browsing now and you will be able to register December 15.  Dreaming about early spring time is fun when it is cold!  My friend Pamela Garbig will be going along with me and she is teaching in Albuquerque March 26.  I will not have an artisan table in Santa Fe.
I'm teaching 3 classes in Santa Fe.  Hippie Girl, a favorite of mine because it is funky.  I've always loved funky.  Hippie Girl is being taught in Santa Fe only at this point.  Obsessed is a wide cuff with a variety of beads.  Studs and Diamonds is a show stopper.



In Milwaukee, I'm adding Top This Cuff, Button Jewel, Caterpillar on a Tile Road and Going to the Ball along with Studs and Diamonds and Obsessed.  Top This is exclusive to Bead and Button as I have a limited quantity of the material used and some parts are no longer available.  Browsing for Bead and Button should be open any day now and for people who attended in the past, the catalog mailed about December 1.  Registration for Bead and Button is January 3rd CST.

In addition to teaching at these two big national shows, I am teaching two of these bracelets at Bead Week in Tampa, FL in March.  Other national instructors will be attending Bead Week as well.  I am teaching Going to the Ball, Caterpillar on a Tile Road, and A Moment in Time during this event.  See www.beadweek.com for details.  Registration for this event will officially start January 2nd.  March is a great time to visit Florida.
I am applying to teach for Bead Fest in Philly in August and hope that will happen.  That application process has begun but any selection will happen about February.  I do expect to have an artisan table in Philly. 

I love teaching at retreats and bead shops and want to discuss any options with you! 

Ok, now back to your regular programming.



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

My beading life - THE Colorado Bead Retreat

I used all capital letters for THE in the title because this retreat is the best ever!  I knew it would be fantastic.  Attendance requires that you have gone before to get "in" or be lucky enough to be selected for one of the few lottery slots.  Betcey Ventrella of Beyond Beadery and her fantastic staff set the gold standard for treating beaders to a combination of a great atmosphere, food, shopping, pampering, goodies, and fantastic teachers. 

The pendant swap and desert social Thursday evening was a great kick off.  I've never seen such a fantastic collection of pendants.  Most, if not all, were bead embroidery.  The pretty sparkling pendant I received was made by Janis Starkey.  The donut used is labadorite which is stunning.
The flowing chocolate fountain during the social was a tempting display as were all the other goodies.  The event was a spectacular kick off for what was to come.  When I returned to my room, I found a goodie bag filled with all kinds of wonderful treasures from all over.  The sponsors of the event really provided some amazing items for everyone.

The classes were all perfection.  I loved them all.  I really enjoyed that they were all bead embroidery with such wonderful teachers.  For me the bead embroidery really set this retreat apart from the growing number of bead retreats all over the country.

Heidi Kummli's pendant is fantastic.  It was so much fun to see how it came together and it was the first project I wore outside of the event.  It is reversible and a such a really nice piece of engineering.  Her colors selected for the 3 kit options were all fantastic.
 

Sherry Serafini's cuff was also great fun to make and I've worn it already to the Il Divo concert in Clearwater, FL.  It was a fun piece to wear to such an outstanding event.
Finally, my project with Kinga Nichols is finished as well.  This spectacular cuff was fun to do, I loved making the bridges.  It took longer but was well worth the time.  I love it.
And for me, nothing tops being in Colorado with the mountains.  The group was warm and friendly and I felt welcomed to the event.  I was thrilled with the special 'Wolf" meeting and talk.  And as you can see, the 'wolf' meeting was popular with many at the retreat.
I was very lucky during the drawing for the prizes associated with the tickets for the Wolf charity.  I won a beautiful Laura Mears moth.  What a wonderful bonus for the weekend.  I look forward to making a bead embroidery pendant or necklace to feature this piece of art.
I've always love Colorado and the opportunity to bead and just to be there, was an event I'm glad to have attended.









Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Snips

New products come out from time to time that are really worth purchasing.  I'm usually slow to try something new unless of course it is a bead.  It took me years to try a Bead on it Board.  I didn't believe the hype.  If you are wondering about one of the several beading boards now available, it is true!  They are worth the investment and I don't know why I waited so long.  But I digress.

In this case, a friend is selling the Super Snips, they are inexpensive which is a bonus and cute too.  So I figured I would try them.  Her ad says they cut Fire Line like it is butter.  Really?  Color me skeptical.

I have dozens of pairs of scissors.  I have purchased all kinds, from less expensive kids scissors to more expensive embroidery types.  I have also purchased a pair of rather expensive Xuron scissor type cutters and they do work very well on various lines and threads.  But I don't want to purchase several pair to have all over where I'm apt to be beading.    Ok, so I could be a little more organized.  Sorry, that isn't going to happen. 

I travel a bit and prefer to use smaller less expensive scissors to pack.  You just never know when you are going to run into a TSA clerk having a bad day.

Typically scissors will just bend the line over if you try to just snip it off without maintaining some kind of tension on the line.  Also, as the various lines dull the scissors, it gets worse and worse.  I've tried to sharpen scissors without much success.  And if you are a fan of Power Pro line, one of the best lines to use for loads of crystals, it can be very hard to cut it with traditional scissors. 

These little Super Snips are under $5.00.  Frankly, I did not expect that they would work.

At first, I cut as I normally do with a little tension on the line.  Then, as I used them over and over, I tried cutting without even holding the other end.  WOW I am a convert.  Ok, so I don't have much of a life outside beading, little things excite me.

SO, I tried them on PowerPro both 8 and 10 pound, tried them on Nanofill, One G and other threads.  They snip the thread right off without holding the other end of the thread on all of them.  Pops off like magic.  I didn't believe it.  So I tried again figuring it was a fluke.  Best darn little thing I've ever seen.  The cute little cover to put on the tips is a bonus.

I'm not big on video but gave it a try to show how great they are.  The video is on YouTube and the Baubles by Balonis Facebook page as I could not get it to load on this blog.  Search Super Snips on YouTube and you will find it.

You can get the Super Snips at:  Beads by Dee