Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mountain Girl Anniversary

It has been nearly a year since Regina Payne released Mountain Girl to the bead world.  I have had so many people ask me why I'm making so many Mountain Girl bracelets or ask me when I'm going to do something new, I thought I'd write about the topic for this blog.  It has helped me to reflect on my year of making Mountain Girl.

I think everyone in the bead world must know the story of Regina Payne's Mountain Girl bracelet.  The condensed version is that after hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, she wanted to do something special to raise funds for the people of the island.  She did a step by step tutorial on Facebook to produce this stunning bracelet with donations going to help.  MANY others from the bead world joined the cause donating items for a drawing for those who donated to help Puerto Rico.  It is a wonderful example of people coming together to help out.  Regina wanted to do something special and ended up with a spectacular demonstration of what people can do when they pull together.
Regina's Mountain Girl tutorial

I started my first Mountain Girl bracelet on October 2nd as Regina posted pictures on Facebook with the tutorial.  I worked each day to keep up as she posted steps.  I captured the daily lesson to have all of her steps for the future.  It is a beautiful design.  This is my first Mountain Girl.

October 10th, my husband Jack died.  I was almost finished, ready to edge the cuff.  My work came to a halt as events took over my life.  I returned to my Mountain Girl on October 24th.  I only needed to put on the edge and the clasp.  During the gap, I did almost no beading.  I certainly did no creative beading, no designing, only some therapeutic work requiring no real thought.  Frankly, until just a few days ago I had not done anything 'new'.  I'd look at new beads, and just go blank.  I continued to bead.  Lord knows I have enough kits from many different talented bead artists ready be made to allow the process to get back to creativity to take a LONG time.  

So, back to my Mountain Girl story.  Timing is everything, well almost, the design is perfection!  At this point, I think I've completed 10 of the cuffs.  I'm tethered to that point in time, October 2017.  All was right in my world.  I was preparing for a bead show and proposing to teach at several other events.  Since that day, when I need some bead therapy, I make another Mountain Girl.  I've made for friends, I've made for family, some sold, some I've kept.  The design I was creating at that point in time has become my mental salvation, my go to, my rock to occupy my hands and create beauty without frustration of designing.  Mountain Girl will all come together to a beautiful result.  That helps me.  For some deep reason I don't quite understand, I'm linked to it.  As I said, I'm tethered to that point in time.

Designing new work from a group of beads is often frustrating with a result being a pile of Fireline pieces and nothing else.  For 11 months, that did not soothe my soul.  I have gone back to 'fix' several designs that needed something to make the design work right.  Several pieces that could have gone in the book were put aside for later because of something I didn't like or maybe because it was to similar to something already going into the book.  So to others it looks like there is something new.  It is not new.  I have fixed several of those things.   Nothing I would call new.  This piece, called Marquee, is actually something done when the Quadra-Lentil first came out.  As a Trendsetter, I often tried something that didn't quite work and set it aside.   When the new Czechmate diamond was released, my problem with the original was solved and this piece was born from the dust of a prior piece.  Not new but recreated.

Still kind of stuck, this summer I tried an Inspiration Kit from Kinga Nichols to spark my mind.  I don't really love what I've done.  The kit from Kinga is beautiful and inspirational.  My mind was not in that place to create.  It is ok and may have started a spark.  I did discover that I really like Demi Round 8's for the brick stitch edge.  They work up quick yet are thinner so I think look better than a standard size 8 seed bead.  Also, this is bead embroidery not bead weaving.  My weaving design mojo was still missing.

I'm happy that I had Mountain Girl and so many other kits from talented bead artists to occupy my hands and mind!  If my design creativity stayed tethered to that point in time, so be it.  I'm was happy with that.  Yet, as I got closer and closer to a year of doing Mountain Girl, I started to feel a gentle pull of ideas for something new.  Time will tell if it continues.  This piece, named Arabella, is all new, it came from a spark of inspiration, a drive to create, and desire to make something new from a pile of beads.

All is well, I'm enjoying my beading, I'm enjoying travel, I'm enjoying the events associated with the release of my book, Lush and Layered Bead Weaving. I'm enjoying my pool and house.  I love walking my new neighborhood, the wildlife is wonderful to see.  And when my hands wish to be busy and my mind does not, I still have Mountain Girl.

My favorite Mountain Girl.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Healing Pool

When I started to look for a new house, I could not decide about a pool.  I could see good and bad aspects of my own pool.  So I ignored the issue figuring if it was supposed to happen it would.  Well it did.  At first it was too cold for me.  Then I was so busy with house repairs, Bead and Button show preparations, and the pending book release, that I didn't do any more than look at the water when it was on each day.

Just before Bead and Button, the book arrived!  I was thrilled with the result.  Now I'm ready for Bead and Button.  And I continued to ignore the pool.  (Yes I know, the wording on the book is a mirror image, that is how I took the picture, standing in front of the mirror.  I could NOT believe how many people asked about that.)

Bead and Button happened, it was quite grand with a formal book signing, selling out all my copies the first day, and having so many people come to me to sign their copy.  It was also a little bitter sweet for me as normally after such things, I would be telling Jack, he would ask about the event and we would share the exciting moment.  I miss our talks and expect I always will.  However, overall, a great Bead and Button year for me.  The book and good friends made it all memorable.

And then finally, with summer, I discovered the pool.

After an hot humid day doing various things out and about, I'm usually hot and sticky.  I often go for an early evening walk just before or after dinner.  Why not try this pool thing that came with the house?  So bathing suit on, rinse off at the pool shower, and walk slowly in.  Kind of nice.  I will have to try this again.

Kitties are quite sure that I'm nuts to get in that big puddle of water.  They love their corner with the tall grass, chasing lizards, and love looking around 'their' yard, but the water is not for them.  This is GiGi near 'her' grass.  And, Peaches staying as far away from water as possible on her march around the enclosure.

So, many more pool dips later, I decide that this pool thing is truly kind of nice.  I have resistance weights, might as well try those.  Also nice.  Just splashing around from side to side or end to end, also, kind of nice.  Drying off in the sun after a dip and having a sip of liquid, also quite nice.

So this summer something unexpected happened, I like this pool thing that came with the house.  It is quite relaxing.  I love sitting outside  listening to the birds, often watching boats on the lake, and enjoying a dip and maybe some light exercise in my very own pool.  Life is good.  The cats still think it is bonkers.  


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Lush&Layered Beadweaving

Great news!  My book is days to release, well just under a month yet but that is days in my calculation.  It will be available at the Bead and Button show.  Here is a sneak peak at the book.  I'm so excited!  I don't have one yet but seeing this helps to make it more real.  My samples have been returned too.  It was great looking back at the pieces I created that were over a year in the making.

I am starting to set up book signings.  The first official one will be at Bead and Button, Friday, June 8th.  I plan to have books at my table for Meet the Teachers too!!!  And of course on my artist table in the big show room while my supply lasts.  The show will be a great event for me!  I hope to see you and say HI.

In addition to the book, I will have kits of a few projects in the book.  There will be no pattern with these kits, the pattern is in the book.  I'm working as fast as I can to make a few more kits from book patterns.  Already done are some kits for Persian Rug, Dream Deep and Magic Carpet Ride.  I hope to have at least a couple more by the show.  There will be limited quantities of all of my book kits.

After Bead and Button, I have a signing at The Beaded Garden in Oxford, FL on June 28 and at Beads! Tampa on July 7.  The Bead Society of Central Florida at their 2-5 August retreat and Texas Coastal Bead Retreat 25-27 October.  More are going to be scheduled very soon.  If you want me to come to your favorite local bead store, tell the owner.  And stop by to see me at the big Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee this June.  #beadandbuttonshow Bead and Button Show

So check the video above, order the book Kalmbach Publishing, or plan to come to one of my book signings,  and share my excitement.  

Here are some pictures of three more of my favorites.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Spring is Coming - A Time for Change, Hope, and Renewal

A Time for Change, Hope, and Renewal

Moving on to a happier place isn't a straight path.  There are twist, loops, dead ends, and hills to climb along the way.  My journey without Jack is moving forward.  He is with me in so many ways and I can feel and hear him when I stumble or shout for joy.

As part of my journey, I have continued to work on a plan started early in 2017, before the day my world changed.  I want to discontinue shipping of product and the whole cost of goods sold part of my business.  My goal is to reduce my inventory in 2018 to close that part of my business at the end of the year.  I don't know if I will reach that goal, but nevertheless, that is my goal.  To accomplish that, I have been running some great sales of 50% off kits and at or below wholesale lots of some beads.  I have lots of clasps discounted.  I will have some Swarovski in larger lots as I get them counted.  I do it all as I have time.  These sales are mostly in my Etsy shop.  Etsy Shop

Slowing me down is a good news story.  After the sale of our home in Groton, MA, I was able to make a change in Florida I'd only been able to dream of.  I had looked and considered a move several years ago but could not afford it.  Yup, crazy as it sounds, I've bought another house here.  It is about 8 miles from my current house.  It is on a lake.  When I walked into the house,  I teared up when I saw the living room.  It was an overwhelming feeling of "this is right".  I tried to discount it at the time as emotional.  It is emotional, why not?  But we went back to see the house a second time and I felt the same.  Now I'm in the middle of something I would not have chosen to do, fixing things up.  I thought I wanted something 'move in ready'.  This property needed a little updating and TLC.  It is quite therapeutic to get things ready to move in.  The neighborhood is great for walking and sitting on the dock is quite serene.  I'm not there yet but it is now part of my daily routine to do something in the new house while getting my old house ready to sell.  My fall house guests who are teaching at The Beaded Garden in Oxford, FL (The Villages), will be in for quite a change of venue.  Yup, the secret is out.  I host the national teachers at my house for the store.  Oh, let's not get too carried away, I don't cook much, but have a great guest room.  The house comes with cats.

Needless to say, the time required to make this happen, is slowing down some of my plans to close out inventory in 2018.  So we shall see what happens over time.  I'm hopeful but also realistic.

More happy news relates to my book.  I had quite a thrill looking at the proof of my book!  The final copy will be so exciting for me to hold.  It is scheduled for release at Bead and Button in June.  I am using the book patterns to make up some kits for the big Bead and Button show in Milwaukee.  These will be limited  in quantity and not replicated.  I'm trying to use up some special inventory, have some unique kits available, and, at the same time, promote the book.  These kits will come without patterns.  The patterns are in the book.  So if you are going to the big show in Milwaukee, come see me!  The two pictures below are samples of two that I will have.  Needless to say, I'm picking my personal favorite designs for these kits.

My book signing is set for Friday, June 11, 2018, on the show room floor in the Bead and Button area.  I will also have an Artist sales table in the designated area toward the back of the show room.  And of course, I will be at Meet the Teachers.  Receiving this flyer from Bead Smith in one of my orders was quite exciting.  Sherry Serafini's book just released is on the other side.  That sort of blew me away.  I am starting to schedule Book Signings for after Bead and Button.  Locally in Florida, the first official event after Bead and Button is set for The Beaded Garden on June 28 from 3-5pm.  The book is available now for pre-order on Amazon and Kalmbach the publisher.

I am scheduled to teach 3 classes at the Bead and Button show.  At this point, to be honest, one or two may be cancelled due to low sign up.  So do not delay if you are considering classes!  Our cancel date is coming up fast and I will make a decision soon.  At this point, Stained Glass is the only class I can confirm will be held.  I'm excited about it as it will be fun to custom design color kits for the students.

I am hopeful for more sunny than cloudy days in my future.  And at some point, I will start designing again.  I have been in a design void now for months.  When I sit with a pile of beads, I find I am empty of new ideas.  In the mean time, I am enjoying working on my rather large pile of UFO's and kits and working up other designers patterns.  It is all good.

I hope to see many of you at Bead and Button or elsewhere, Bead Cruise maybe?   I look forward for the opportunity to reconnect and to say HI to you!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Looking Forward

I have a lot to look forward to in 2018.  I'm so thankful for my many friends and family who have helped me so much the past few months. 

I just ordered a new Fitbit as I've worn the old one out.  I hope to wear this one out too!  It is fun, if I've been sitting too long it nudges me to move.  

I will be travelling a bit more for fun.  The time to do some of the things I've dreamed of doing is now.  I'm very fortunate to be able to do so and to have a good 'beady' friend who also loves to travel that I can be with.  One thing on my list is to return with Beadventures to the Czech Republic this fall.  That is the trip this year I am most excited about.  Beadventures to Czech

My book is pending release this summer.  The projects in the book are the result of 2 years of designs.  The book is available for pre-order now on Amazon.   PreOrder my book on Amazon  It is exciting.  For a year, when Jack and I spoke each morning, he would ask me what I was going to do for the day.  I would say "work on my book".  He would reply, "oh, something different" and chuckle with his deep voice.  I'm happy he saw the cover.

I have 5 classes scheduled at the annual Bead and Button show in June.  I am looking forward to that big event.  There will be a book signing during the show.  I will have a sales table in the show room and a Meet the Teachers table Friday night.  My personal favorite class this year is "A Moment in Time".  The other classes I'm teaching can be found on the Bead and Button show web site.  Bead and Button Show classes.  Registration is Tuesday, January 9th at 12 central time.

I expect to do some travel associated with the book and teach while visiting stores.   As always my teaching schedule will be announced on my web site.  My classes scheduled

I am looking forward to designing new projects and to getting projects published.  I am continuing with Starman as a Trendsetter and have a few ideas in the works.  I look forward to showing you many new projects in the coming year.  I have been quite enamored with the Hubble stitch.  My Pinterest has a whole page dedicated to Hubble.  Pinterest page for Happy Hubble  I love this necklace, which now belongs to a good friend, the Lampwork by Natalie Zhitomyrsky Etsy shop at GLASSFANATA.  Isn't it pretty?  More to come.

Bead Happy!!  I do.  Marcia