January 29, 2009

I hear the ocean calling...

Bead orders, the book proposal, details for the Bead Cruise - my days are filled with fun adventures, new work and the joy of sending my creations out into the world. And like bread cast upon the water, good things make their way back to me. Life is sweet. Above are my pearls that I ordered from Fire Mountain Gem. Love the pearls, total lusciousness.
And some beads I picked up when Hobby Lobby had their 1/2 off sale last week. I love my Hobby Lobby, just 10 minutes down and road and always filled with good things. I snuck in a little teal branch bead that matched the earthy tones. Loving the wood beads. I made a bracelet with those big chunks of carved wood the other day. I'm thinking of sending it in for the Summer issue of Stringing, so I won't show it here.

I seem to have some kind of pink and teal theme going on in the studio. These are little sets I put together for those taking my bracelet class on the Bead Cruise. I've paired them up with lampwork disks from Blue Seraphim. I will be putting together kits for the cruise. They are not my favorite things to do, so if I can do them in assembly line style with a helper I'm able to force myself to finish them! I have some surprise limited edition kits to take on the cruise for our Bead Bazaar nights. The days are ticking ahead and as the cruise gets closer I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning.
Busy days are ahead...new beads for tomorrow, my newsletter is going out, I have a business workshop this weekend...the list goes on and on! I wouldn't trade a minute of it though, I'm living a charmed life.

January 27, 2009

Sneak Peek

Adding new items to my shop tonight or tomorrow morning. It's been a busy few days!

Happy Creating!

January 25, 2009

Over Exposed?

Just a quick post so you know I'm still alive. Buried under beads and a mile long to-do list, but still here. Working on Bead Cruise details and there are so many of them! Bead orders, new beads, book project directions and samples, dreaming of what I'd like to do for the rest of year and into next. My brain is about to explode. I better take a time out!
Can you believe I'm in all these magazines right now??? Crazy! I worked so hard last year submitting projects and now I'm working equally hard on my book proposal. It's coming along nicely, the projects are shaping up and I have this great thread that ties them all together. I wish I could just tell you all about it right now! I'll post more about Bead Style and Bead Trends later this week. Oh, they have some goodies!
Speaking of sharing good news, are you on my mailing list? You should be! I have two awesome free projects coming out soon for newsletter subscribers only. You don't want to miss it! I always try to include something to spark your creativity and inspire my readers. Sign up for my newsletter here: http://humblebeads.com/newsletter.html
Okay, I'm off to find some Motrin and bat my eyelashes at my husband to see if he'll run and get Chinese takeout. Probably not the best idea for dinner, but what the hay! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

January 22, 2009

Lily Necklace

Busy week of making beads, working on book projects and getting ready for the Bead Cruise. I'll share a necklace that I made a few years ago. A beaded lily, pearls, silver seed beads, stones, a pmc leaf and some of my disk beads.

A detail of the flower. I need to make some more of these! I also did a tiger lily in orange and bronze colors around the same time. It's probably the only piece of jewelry I regret selling, I wish I still had it in my hot little hands!
This purple version belongs to my friend Juliet now. Here is a photo from our Bead Soup night. Beads & chocolate abound! (Me, Juliet & Angela)

January 21, 2009

Rings & Things

Here is a detail from my Bead Soup necklace. I was inspired to make this charm after flipping through the new Rings & Things catalog. I bought Jess a set of letter stamps from Evie's Tool Emporium early this year and decided to pull them out and give stamping on brass a try. The brass is Vintaj from Bello Modo.

And speaking of the new Rings & Things catalog, whoever is in charge of putting it together this year should get a raise! I get their catalog every year and I was always like, huh, there it is, same as last year. But not this year Mon Cher, it's packed with good information about materials, tips on how to use products and best of all, tons of inspiring projects that you can download on their website. I looked through the catalog this year and thought, "Yeah, I need to order from Rings & Things!" It made me wish I could make a Humblebeads catalog. Uh-huh, yup, when my imaginary millionaire silent-partner finally makes my dreams come true.

This is my favorite project, a Sweet Pea pendant from Mollie Valente. You can see more project ideas in the Rings & Things design gallery.

January 20, 2009

Bead Soup

Making good on one of my resolutions I got together with two beady friends for a round of Bead Soup. We each brought a strand of beads to share, put them in a bowl and took turns scooping them out. Our color theme was grey/silver. I brought a strand of smoky quartz, one friend brought along the lovely peacock pearls, she also gave us a little butterfly and a sweet little blue polka dot bead, the hostess of our beady evening brought silver lined crystal seed beads and a small strand of a grey jasper. So this is my work in progress from our night of creativity. I had in mind before I went that I wanted to work with entwined loops of beads, wire and filigree.

A detail of the necklace: I combined some beadweaving with stringing to create the loops. I added in this little bird from Green Girl studios.
I wish I would have taken pictures, but I forgot my camera. Along with the beads were chocolate treats including handmade truffles from Juliet. Wow, I was impressed!

January 17, 2009

Spring Picks

How is it possible that January is half-way over? Where did this month go? I've been crazy busy filling orders and working on the book proposal. Above are my favorite picks from this week's orders. It's looking like Spring in the Humblebeads Studio!

I had a nice surprise yesterday. I have two projects in the next issue of Bead Trends and my advanced copies arrived with a gift certificate for Fire Mountain Gems. So I had a dilemma: should I get findings, splurge on a really outrageous strand of beads, or get the best bargains? I ended up picking a few strands of stick pearls in pinks and browns along with a beautiful leaf clasp. So I went with some old favorites in the end.

Wish I had this clasp in my hot little hands right now!

So if you had some unexpected bead money fall into your lap, what would you go with - the splurge, practical findings or stretch out that money with bargain deals?

January 14, 2009

Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes

A little Paul Simon during lunch today.

This is my favorite song of his and has inspired a necklace design that is in my sketchbook. It will have to wait until the book proposal is sent in, but I can dream about it here today!

My favorite line from the song is this:

"She makes the sign of a teaspoon,

He makes the sign of a wave"

And here they are, teaspoon and wave:

The spoon is a tiny salt spoon from Green Girl Studios and the wave button is from Mamacita Beadworks. Hmm, I wonder if that spoon could be bent into a clasp of sorts? I may to order a few and experiment.

January 13, 2009

Moving Along

Here are a pair of earrings that ran off to New Orleans to live with my mom.

Speaking of earrings, on the Art Bead Scene today I have a pair of Woodland Leaf earrings as a free $10 Tuesday Project.

Thanks for all the encouraging words and emails about my dragons. I wanted to share so that I wouldn't chicken out or talk myself out of submitting and also to hopefully encourage some of you to take the next step toward your dreams.

It was good to struggle this weekend, it led to quite a breakthrough today. I have my direction and core theme of the book, which is beyond exciting to me. I mean, after all it can't be a book on just some random jewelry designs. There has to be a thread that ties everything to together. That clicked for me today in a flash of inspiration and now I can hardly wait to get this sent out. Which I'm working really hard to have it ready to go by the end of the month. Hot dog!

January 10, 2009

Slaying Dragons

Today has been a busy day of working on samples for my book. One of the reasons I'm telling everyone that I'm working on a book is because about now is where I start to talk myself out of projects. And why I haven't written a book sooner, even though I have wanted to for 3 years now.

Self-doubt creeps in: is my work good enough, are these really original ideas, what is the focus of my book, does this even look like my work, do I really know what I'm doing, do I have enough different samples or is everything too earthy, do my designs really stand out above the crowd, what the heck am I going to title this book?

All really good questions and ones that I should be asking. One thing you have to do when you write a book proposal is convince the publisher why your book is better than the rest out there. So I am busy slaying dragons of self-doubt today. Forging ahead. Maybe some of these samples won't make the cut. But instead of freezing up it's time to push through and work harder on creating something that is unique, has my hand to it and that will inspire others to enjoy their own creativity. I can do that!

Whatever your dragon is today, I hope you find the courage to slay it.

January 9, 2009

Give me color!

Winter is getting to me. First the grey and snow of Michigan - the novelty wore off a little too quickly this year and now the brown on brown tone of dried out San Antonio. No one has green grass, the trees are bare and where are my beautiful Texas-size blue skies?

So I'm in serious need of a shot of color. I heard on the news yesterday that if you have the winter blues, bright light and surprisingly, bright colors will help improve your mood. I hope this post will add a little cheer to your day.

First, the photo above are pigments from a market in India. (photo credit: acdme) You can see more photos from the Indian Markets and my write up on Spring color trends on the Art Bead Scene.

I am one lucky girl. My dear Rosanne of Fabfibers is going to make me an Amy Butler bag using these fabrics. Yummy, right? (She has 6 weeks, no pressure.)

I must splurge soon on these shoes from Keen via Zappos. Perfect color of spicy orange, not too bright, but still orange. And won't they be practical for all my running around and sight-seeing on the Bead Cruise?

And the splurge that is more in-line with my post holiday travel budget, these luscious little berry color buri beads from Terrestrial. Can't wait to make something with these.

And speaking of making things, I finished 3 more samples for my book. I'm now at 14. I'd like to have at least 25. So I'm getting there! I have another one on the bead table that is waiting for assembly today. And a pile for designs that I have sketched out and await for my spare moments!

What do you look for in a bead book? New techniques? Designs to inspire? For me, a good bead book shows new tricks to add to my bag of jewelry-making techniques and inspires me to create something that is my own. I don't think I've ever copied a project directly from a book. What would you like to see in a book from me? This isn't a beadmaking book, I know there are quite a few that would love that, but I'm not ready for that adventure yet!

January 8, 2009

Finding Time

But no, really how do I get it all done?

I am a to-do list queen. I have a large white board on my studio door that lists my schedule and major goals for the month.

I also have a running list of daily tasks. For the longest time I used a small spiral bound booklet of index cards. But this week I've been using my little Window's notepad on my computer. I keep it open all day and have my daily task list. Don't you just love checking off tasks?

Since I waste most of my time checking my email and "researching" on the web, this has helped me get quite a bit done this week. It's a nice little nag when I'm getting sidetracked.

So how do I schedule my days? I work from 6am - 3pm weekdays.
Morning is email, blog and computer time.
Mid-morning until lunch is packaging orders.
Afternoons are spent making beads and designing jewelry.

Since I'm my own boss, this is never written in stone and if a project is looming and needs an entire day I just shuffle the workload around. Sometimes I take an afternoon off to work on drawing and illustration. Although I do spend at least 15 minutes a day sketching. The next 3 weekends at least one day will be devoted to finishing my jewelry book proposal.
My biggest challenge is to not work from 3-9:30. That's my family time and darn if I don't try to sneak in working on something during that time. I'm getting better.

Tips for getting more done:
1. Your family needs to help with the cooking and cleaning.
2. Make a plan, it's really hard to accomplish something if it's a vague idea.
3. Let go, you won't do everything perfectly.
4. Learn to say no to all sorts of requests. You have to make time for your dreams.
5. Give in to your muse, don't be a slave to your lists. If a brilliant idea jumps out at you, take some time to explore it.

Do you have any tips for getting everything done on your to-do list? I'd love to hear them!

(Picture above - I made those baby owls for a charm swap that Lynn Davis hosted this fall.)

January 7, 2009

2009 Awaits...

I talked a little about New Year's goals/resolutions this weekend at the Art Bead Scene, stop by to read it and enter to win a free set of disk beads.

2008 was an awesome year.

It started out in New York in February when I won the Tomie DePaola Portfolio Award. The reward was a hefty gift certificate to Dick Blick, which I used to stock up my studio with printmaking and drawing supplies.

(Me & Tomie!)

Next in March, I had the best time of my life on the Bead Cruise. Loved every minute of that event. Great creative women to hang out with, pampered like a queen, a little adventure swimming with the sting rays. Perfect working vacation!

This summer I had my first necklace on a magazine cover. Spent 3 wonderful weeks in my home town and celebrated my 35th birthday!

The year ended with a bang and star, winning twice in the Bead Star competition.

All along my business has grown, new beads have sprung forth and designs keep coming.

For 2009 I have 2 resolutions. Take better care of myself and spend more time with my family and friends. Pretty simple, but things my workaholic brain struggles to accomplish. You know, sleep, eat real food, go for walks, spend more time with my kids, go on dates with my husband, meet for coffee with friends, call friends back on the phone, girls-night out, etc. I forget to do such things.

I also have goals for 2009. This year is going to be the year of the books. I've been working feverishly on samples for a jewelry design book. I'm determined to get this out to a publisher by the end of the month. How long can one sit on an idea and not finish a task! I seem to be going for some kind of record.

I've decided to pull back from submitting to magazines for a few months. I have designs in quite a few this coming year, including BeadStyle, Stringing and Bead Trends. I could have had a book finished if I complied all those projects!

The other books for 2009 are children's books. It's my dream to create books that children and families will cherish. This is a hard field to get into, but one I have been working steadily towards for many years. I'm ready and I'm the only one holding me back.

So that's it. This is my life: beads, bead cruise, art bead scene, jewelry book, kids books. In there is the mix of family, friends and some quiet time for me. How do I do it all?

Ha, don't even look at the pile of laundry in the corner, the suitcases yet to be unpacked, my christmas tree still up or the q-tip (it was a new one, nothing gross I promise!) I found mysterious suspended in mid-air in the corner near my vanity. Closer inspection revealed a cobweb holding it up. Hee, let's not mention that one again.

January 6, 2009

Van Gogh's Irises

Iris Garden Necklace

The Art Bead Scene's new challenge is Van Gogh's famous iris painting, so this is my take on it. It's my hope to create some Iris inspired beads before the end of the month, but we'll see if that hope becomes reality.

For this necklace I started with 5 of my disk beads in purple. I paired them up with glass purple and jonquil, crystals in olive green, a green coin pearl, brass chain, a Vintaj leaf and clasp along with a hearty helping of filigree bead caps. The two glass rings were a gift from Rosanne. I wish I could remember the artist's name.Here is a little photo collage of some of my beads that would work for the theme.

January 5, 2009

Home Again

For those junior detectives out there, you may have already pieced together the clues that I have been in Michigan for the last two weeks. How can two weeks pass so quickly? I enjoyed every minute of it. The picture perfect snowy Christmas, the time with family, all my adorable nieces and nephews, beading with my mom and aunt, even better - bead shopping with them! And giving my brain a rest for two weeks - just what I needed to recharge.

And charge it is, full steam ahead to start off 2009. I have about 8 weeks until the Bead Cruise. At least I keep thinking in my state of denial that I have 8 weeks left. I have many things to finish up this week. This event takes a year of planning and now is the time to bring all that work into fruition. Hardly seems right that I have another vacation in 2 months, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Although I have to admit the Bead Cruise is a ton of work on board too, but I love every minute of it.

While I was at the grocery store stocking up on provisions last night, I spied the latest issue of Stringing. And who should appear before my eyes, why my little Hoot in a feature on owl beads. Be sure to check it out the next time you are at the book store or if you have a snazzy little grocery store like mine!
Now, I'm dusting the virtual shelves of Humblebeads.com. I flipped the store sign over to say, "Yes, We're Open." I'm looking forward to making beads again, I've missed my daily squish of clay and color.