Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Melbourne, Florida

Melbourne Florida is a charming little town. We have been here three days. We try to make it a habit when we are in new places to try non-chain food establishments. So far, Melbourne has offered us some real treats. Norm and Charla arrived several hours ahead of Chase and I on Monday, so they found a great little pizza parlor called "Sweet Tomatoes." Not to be confused with the big salad/soup bar chain. It was just a little restaurant with good home made pizza. Chase and I arrived in time to have a slice too. Tuesday we went to a restuarant called the Harbour Diner which boasts in having the best burger in town. Well the claim was true! I consider myself a conosuer in burgers, this was hands down one of the best burgers I have ever had, and it was definately the biggest burger I have ever had. It was 12oz, yes, that is 3/4lbs of beef! It was cooked evenly all the way through too. I like a medium steak, but I like a well done burger. I was skeptical when I saw others coming out of the kitchen and saw how big they were, I feared it would be uncooked in the center, but much to my amazement, it was cooked completely. It was awesome. I ate the whole thing...there went the diet...but it was worth it!
Last night we met up with some friends that we haven't seen in 8 years. They have had three children since we last saw them and we have had Chase since they moved from Charlotte. It was great linking back up with Kevin and Vicki. It was as though we hadn't been away for more than a month or two, we fell right back into comfortable banter. No awkward moments of unfamiliarity that you sometime have when hooking back up with old friends. Far too often you lose what ever it was that made you friends in the first place, and find you really have nothing in common any longer. I really enjoyed our visit, and was thrilled to meet their new family members.
Today was my cold connections class with the Melbourne Gem and Mineral Club. They have a very active club with over 100 memebers. Our class was from 9-5 and we had 18 students in attendance. This was a great group of people. Some large groups that I teach are easier than others. This was an easy group, and very friendly. Everything went smoothly, and we all shared tools like good boys and girls. Everyone left with very good finished or close to finished projects. Each was unique and appealing. I look forward to working with this group again someday.
Tomorrow we are heading out for Tampa. We have a 3 day show there with The Down The Street Bead Show. I'm hoping to get to hit some thrift stores and hardware stores on the way. I'll let you know if I find anything good.
Happy Trails!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Well, Chase (our 5 year old son)and I went to get the oil changed on my van yesterday, because I can't remember when I had it done last, so that we could head down to Melbourne, Florida to meet up with Norm. The oil guy said my 1998 van looked great...except...don't you love it....he wouldn't drive it all the way to Florida because the blah blah blah(at this point my eyes glazed over, and my ears quit working)belt was dry rotted and was bound to break at any moment. Right! He showed me the offending belt, told me what it would cost to fix, not a part of the coupon deal of course. I said no thank you, got on I-77 and headed South to Florida. I have road side assistance, if it breaks I'll just call them. Right!?!
Anyway, 9 hours later we're in Melbourne. Thank goodness for DVD players and books on CD. Thank goodness for the fact that one of us was willing to wear earphones. I don't know which cartoons(he was in the earphones) kept Chase busy in between potty breaks, and naps, but Thank you! He was a trooper. He usually is however! He's a great little traveler. I listened to the "The Shack" on CD. Not my ususal genre', but very interesting. I would recommend it. Some points where very enlightening. There were a couple times it brought me to tears, and a couple times I simply said,"hmmm." I was inspired by the way some questions that I myself have asked about "God" were answered by the characters in this tail. I found this book very refreshing, I could see where some might not care for it, and others would relate to it as I do. If you get a chance, read it. When that book was finished, I started Amy Tans; Saving Fish From Drowning. I'm not very far into it, but anything by Amy Tan is good. She has such a way of writing. It's a story narrated by a ghost. Just my sort of thing! I'll let you know how it is when I drive from here back home!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Leaving Town Again

Leaving town is a two sided coin. I look forward to the new people, and experiences I always have when I go out of town to teach at a show or other venue, but I don't like the actual leaving. Of course we all hate the packing and tying to remember everything we're going to need while we are away, that's not what I'm talking about. It's the "guilt" of being away. Traveling seems on the surface to be a glamorous profession, but it rarely is. We are not exempt from the duties of home, they are merely postponed. Believe me, they are all waiting for you as soon as you step back into your house. It is a law, I believe, that anything and everything that can go wrong, will as soon as you embark on a business trip. Your dog sitter gets sick, the hot water heater quits working, the biggest snow storm ever recorded hits town. It never fails. Each time I leave on a trip, I think to myself, next year I'm not going to schedule this many trips. But while your at the show and everyone is excited and motivated, they ask if you'll come back soon, and in the emotional high, you say "of course I will, how soon would you like me back!" I can't help it, I love being out there working with people. I love seeing how excited my students get when they learn a new skill. I love the look of "ah ha...that's how you do that" the students get when you share a new skill. I love the look of accomplishment they have when they finish a project that they never thought they'd be able to do. So will I do less shows next year? Probably not, no, hopefully not. So...I'll see you out there somewhere. And if I don't come anywhere close to you, call me, I'll schedule you in too! insert "they're coming to take me away" crazy laugh!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Worst 4 Letter Word EVER!!!

There...I said it!
I hate to diet, yet I have been cursed with this foul four letter word my entire life. Well since I was 7 anyways! I started another one Thursday, and I'm hanging strong. It's Saturday. 3 days is usually a mile stone for me. Okay, okay, I'm weak. I can't help it, I love food. I wake up thinking about what I'm going to eat throughout the day, and I go to bed worrying about what I'm going to get to eat the next day. It could be worse. I could be an alcholic or on crack or addicted to cigarretes. But no, I'm addicted to something you can't just stop cold turkey! I've read all the diet books, watched The Biggest Loser for 2 seasons (that was enough), tried most of the diets. I've had successes, but the addiction always comes back. The dreaded buffet, or all inclusive vacation, and down the slippery slide of over weight I go again. It's just not fair. My husband, I'll refer to him as Norm from here on out (well, that really is his name) has a great metabolism and he hates almost all food. So he is like,never tempted at buffets and cover dish meals because he trust no one. Everyone is in a conspiracy to get him to eat something he doesn't "like" so he eats nothing. No caserole for him. Man, I'd eat anything in a caserole. I'd probably win the reality show that made you eat really gross stuff if they'd put it in noodles, throw some cream of mushroom in and cover it with cheese. Enough, I guess you've figured out at this point that I'm hungry.
I'm writing this as I choke down another salad. I figured if I wrote while I ate lunch, I could stretch it out a little longer, and I wouldn't be as preoccupied with what I'm going to eat for dinner as soon. Well got to go. I'll keep you posted! Hopefully I'll make it to day 4. One day at a time, as the saying goes.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A Weekend in Tucson

Well...I had to take a day at home to get all caught up on computer stuff. I've checked, answered and deleted e-mails. Added a photo to my Facebook. Filled out an application for an on line writing position. Down loaded a contract for a publishing release. Now I'm trying to update my blog, and then I need to add some jewelry to my Etsy account because suddenly stuff is selling. In between all of this, I've done laundy, cleaned up again and again and again etc. etc. after our new family member, a Boston Terrier pup with health issues, waxed my daughters eye brows, built a train track for my son, and done many trips to the refrigerator to satisfy his every dietary desire. How do people work at home!?! It's crazy! My dryer just now I have to go do that. I'd rather be at work, it's easier.

Now...about the bead and jewelry world. We went to Tucson on a very short trip. We did not exhibit this year. With the down sizing of our shops deadline, the economy, and a broken transmission in our motor home, we decided to cut our loses and just do the teaching for Swarovski and a quick meet and greet with some of our friends and suppliers that we only see this time of year. As for the show, there wasn't anything new that jumped out at me. The stone that I saw the most of was turquoise, both fake and real, unfortunately in some cases "I'm sure unintentionally" miss labeled, buyers beware! There is not a thing in this world wrong with "fake" turquoise, as long as it is marketed as such. The colors that I noticed the most were bright fall colors. This was available mostly in dyed magnasite(a turquoies imposter.) The colors are bold and beautiful, even to a gal like me that likes organic, Earthy colors. There was bright orange, burnt orange, red, burnt red, green, sage, yellow, gold, brown and more! The magnasite holds the color very well, and the natural brown veining lends itself to these awesome colors perfectly. There were so many shapes and sizes you could have filled an entire showcase in nothing but this stone and some vendors did just that. The best thing about these stones however is the price! They are very inexpensive. You could purchase several strands and still be able to afford lunch, which cost more than the stones at the outside show vendors.

One thing that we took note of this year that was new, was the fact that anyone selling sterling silver in any of the GLW shows had to have a sign posted in their booth stating that their silver was in fact .925. With the rise in silver last year, some people were not the most forth coming with this information. If not asked specifically, is it .925, and just, is it silver, the answer was often yes! For indeed, it was "silver" in color. But when tested, some of the material tested out .675, nickel, pewter and "German silver." Now if we could just do something like that for the stone buyers that are often dupped with reconstituted stones, dyed stones, and resine stones sold as natural. If you are going to take the beading business seriously, and consider yourself professional you must become educated. Read magazines, books and take classes. Learn how to ask the right questions and build relationships with vendors that have good reputations. Price is not the most important issue in buying, you get what you pay for. Not just in the items purchased, but in the reliability of the vendor once you get home with the product. Will you be able to purchase more of the same item? Will someone that answers the phone when you call the number from the card or invoice be able to understand your question and answer you clearly when you call?

On a fun note. We went to the Swarovski Cocktail party again this year. It is always the high point of the show. It is the who's who of crystal designing and sales. Margot Potter, Katie Haker, Fernando DeSilva, Lisa Palveka, Laura Timmons, Anna Dreagars and many more outstanding designers, authors, publishers, show promoters, shop owners and friends were there, not to mention the wonderful Swarovski staff! It's so much fun to meet up with all of your peers and share! We usually all meet like this twice a year, during the Tucson show and during the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee in June.
Well, I'll save some more for the next time I can steal the time to write! I'm going to be better this year than I was last year. I promise.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hello Again

Well, it's been almost a year since I posted anything on my blog. I am going to try to start this again. 2008 was an incredible year. It started of course with Tucson, which is alway exciting. Then there was The Bead and Button show which was such a rush for me, I felt like Cinderella at the ball. I taught 9 weeks at William Holland School of Lapidary Arts, and fell in love. I had so much fun up there, that I signed on for 12 weeks this year.
2009 is going to be the busiest year I've ever had. It is the beginning of February and we have already done 4 bead shows. We have completely restructured our shop to be smaller, yet more efficient in customer service and studio space. We are getting ready to fly out to Tucson, where I'll teach for Swarovski for the 5th year. We have had to cancel our booths for selling this year, but maybe we'll try again next year. In April I start up at William Holland again, then in May I'll be in Philadelphia teaching at the Beadfest Wire Show. We return to Milwaukee again this year and I am teaching a whopping 14 classes! I can't believe it. I get butterflies everytime I think about it. August takes us back to Philadelphia for the Beadfest Bead Show. In between all of this, I'll be teaching at the Down the Street Bead Shows, William Holland and various gem clubs, bead stores and private organizations. I am so psyched! There is nothing I enjoy more than traveling and teaching. I am working on a book proposal for Kalambach and I am continuing to write for various bead magazines. I'm living my dream! Peace! Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with this a little better this year.