Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crazy couple days

It's kind of funny how things that you don't particularly like or want just seem to insinuate themselves into your life - at the family gathering for my husband's step mother that died yesterday, we find that one of his step cousins has formed - and is becoming quite a hit with - a RAP group. Our least favorite form of music, yet we find ourselves in conversation about music genres and production and even having to listen to a line or two. Why couldn't he have chosen the BLUES? Or even Country? Way to go, Adam - aka Shrug.....I hope he's not planning to do a RAP tribute to his grandmother....
Was hoping for a nice quiet nite in front of the TV - but hubby has decided to start learning some new piano riffs while talking about them on the phone. A little distracting, to say the least. But at least they're not RAP (but rather Van Halen).
Thanks to those of you who've sent and called with condolences. We're share them with the family, and all will be well again soon...

Monday, March 30, 2009

An Obituary of sorts

My step mother in law passed away today. So it's been a long one. (I must have sensed something - hence the reason for the slothful feeling this morning). Billie was a crafter person like myself - she made beautiful porcelain dolls (she owned her own doll store back in the 70's), as well as lots and lots of ceramic nativities, snowbabies, and other beautiful items. She had to stop being so creative after her stroke last May, but when she was able to communicate, was always interested in how MY creative venture (my store, and my jewelry sales) was doing.
She made great potato salad, and chipped beef dip - and the pool parties with her and Dad will be in our memories forever.
Rose "Billie" Stephens

Procrastination Day

I'm supposed to be cleaning my house to prepare for company at the end of the week - but I am SOOO not in the mood. So I'm trying to find every excuse to keep me otherwise occupied! Therefore - blogging is in order.
The above piece is a collaboration between my sister in law - Lynn Mayes - and myself. She is a wonderful tatter; she tatted the black and ecru choker, which I then focalled with a cab and embellished. It turned out beautifully - very vintage looking.
I've got a few unfinished pieces too - I'll be looking for inspiration in my gajillion beading books and magz this week...hey, maybe that's what I'll do instead of clean!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

One of those days

It is almost 1 oclock in the afternoon - and I still have not touched a bead! At least not PHYSICALLY. Just spent half an hour fighting with Green Girl site and trying to pay with PayPal. Finally. They were on the 3rd strike....
For any of you customers out there that may be reading this - I am now carrying the magazine "Bead Trends" in the shop. It's a publication that comes from the west coast - and is slowly making it way east. I find it beautifully done, and the projects easy to understand. I will also be advertising in it beginning next month. But the BEST part - the NORMAL hobby store price is a whopping $17.95 an issue. I, however, am able to offer copies to my customers at just $12.95. A much better price - and well worth it, too. Stop in and check it out....
Wish I had photos of some of my newest pieces to post. I'll have to wait until hubby's digital is available...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Also "Musing"

I see Liz beat me to the punch! I, too, can now reveal my entry in the "Beader's Muse" contest. I didn't win, either, but it was great fun, and I definitely want to enter the next one. Very organized, and well put together. Great job Scarlett!

This is "Scarlett in Chains". It was a great challenge for me, because I rarely work with gold, or brass. So the wire component, combined with the purple (how did they know it's my favorite color?) was wonderful. It was so fun to see what everyone did with the same component and color combo. NO TWO were even close to being alike....amazing the creativity.
For those of you who'd like to see the wonderful artistry - here's the link

Happy beading. I'm trying to come up with something "juicy" for my next project...hmmmm....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Getting used to Facebook

Still playing with the new concept - Facebook. So far - all but one of my friends are my nieces and nephews. Fun way to keep up with what they are doing - as long as they are being good. :)

Gonna try to do my first bead order with PayPal today - still not sure how that works either. Does all this newfangled computer technology make me feel really old? You betcha.

Not much else for a blog today - anxiously awaiting more signs of spring. My bleeding heart bush out front is poking out, and I think my Peonies may be, too. Still haven't seen much of my perennials out back - but they are mostly north facing - so it may take longer. But when my garden is in bloom...this is what I have to look forward to.....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sometimes It Pays

Sometimes it pays to open my mouth. I decided to give my web hosting service people a "piece of my mind" via return email about the whole don't call us-email/email can't help so call issue.
And lo and behold - they took pity on me and did as I asked. They cancelled my website and cancelled my account. Whalaa. Now how hard was that? You bet I'll be checking my credit card statement to be sure they actually credit me - but no more sitting on the phone for minutes and minutes and minutes. Yay!
Back to the shop today for a rare Sunday. Last day of the spring open house. We'll need to do something different next year about those door prizes - great concept - but we keep FORGETTING to tell people they can choose one! Fat lot of good that does! We'll need to put up posters or something next time. Oh well. I'm having a great turn out - and even better sales, and having fun throughout. Although charging someone $75.00 for a .75 cent item, and neither of us catching it until the sale was complete was a BIT embarrassing. Luckily, she was a good, no GREAT, sport about it - because she's my best customer!
I'm almost finished with my latest project - the tatted and embellished choker that's a collaboration of my sister in law's tatting and my beading. Very unique. LIKE ME! I'll post a photo when it's done - which should be today.
The Babbler

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Vernal Equinox!

That means it's the FIRST DAY OF SPRING! WhooHOOO! And it's sunny out too. I remember in years past that the first day of spring looked more like middle of winter around here. I'm sure the snow isn't done - after all it's Michigan and it's only March - but let's hope we're done with the MASSIVE PILES of it. A flurry or two - or even an inch - I can deal with.

And in other news.....I'm hoping to get started on the "Too Cute" button bracelet instructions and sample pieces this weekend - IF I have time during the Open House. The bracelet came about when an elderly woman brought me a baggy of old vintage hand painted buttons that HER mother made (so very vintage) and said "make me a bracelet". It only took 2 tries to find the perfect solution - and an original one that I can teach, submit to magazines, and sell as my own.
I am sending all my antique and yard sale friends on a vintage shank button search - but am also going to use modern buttons too. I'm very excited about this project - the possibilities for creativity with it are practically endless...
Oh, and that response from the web host? ha. They responded and said they couldn't help me through email - I'd have to CALL them. But then when you call them, you get the automated "We're experiencing higher than normal caller volume" voice, telling you to please EMAIL them with your issue. Ok. So are all of them just sitting around and not doing anything? My guess is YES! Very frustrating. It's like all we have to do in our lives is sit on hold and wait for them to get done filing their nails. Double frustrating.
Busy morning baking cookies for the open house. I sure hope it's a busy one. Our television ad looks and sounds great (finally, actual footage of my booth and not just a box of beads) - and is running during PRIME TIME (bonus!). It's also supposed to be a nice weekend - not too nice as to have people working outdoors, but no snow or nasty weather - so hopefully it will bring people in.
The Babbler

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Killin' Time

I've got some time to kill - what better time to blog! I've started the website cancellation process. Another one of those insufferable automated systems that you have to wade through only to discover that due to "unusually high" caller volume, they aren't accepting any calls right now. Urgh. So - after having to change my password YET AGAIN (one reason for the cancellation) - I finally was able to reach the email support page. Made my cancellation & REFUND request. We'll see how fast they respond.
So glad spring is finally "springing!" Sunny every day this week. AND it's a good hair day. Can't get better than that. Well - the temperature could be warmer - like 80. 80 would be good.
I'm starting to really enjoy this blog thing. And I'm really enjoying finding other fellow beading bloggers and their sites. I can see why people can be online for hours. I got carried away surfing blogs last night and realized it was after midnight! So fun, though. And imagine my surprise at finding the blog of one of my fellow Great Lakes Bead Guild members! All those shiny familiar faces! I'll have to see if my Monday night group will let me photograph them for my blog. And get them blogging, too, while I'm at it! And as an added blog bonus - I'm taking my laptop to the shop with me today - so I can blog AGAIN. So I've gone from blogging every 2 or 3 months - to updating regularly. I think I may be addicted. Sort of like my Biggby Mocha Caramels. $4.25 a pop. I'm trying to wean myself off. But today's a Mocha Caramel day for sure....
Doesn't sound like I need caffeine does it? Haven't had any yet - so I may bounce off my pegboard walls today!
TTFN! Off I go into blog world....
The Babbling Beader (so much more today than usual!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ticklish anyone?

Just teasing. But "Ticklish" is the name of this newest piece. My husband actually named it. Thanks, honey. All I could think of was "Fun". Yours is better.
This is one of my favorite design elements - fringing and then adding fun fur. I also created the clasp from seed beads, too. (See top left-only because I couldn't get it to go anywhere else!)
I've heard from Scarlett Lanson about the Muse contest - there are 60 other entrants besides myself! Yikes. They've got quite the job to do - choosing winners from that group. I can't wait to see all the other entrants designs - and I can't wait to FINALLY be able to publish a photo of mine. We had to keep it secret. The only people that have seen it are visitors to my beadshop, and none of them were entrants. Hope to hear the final word by weeks end.
Hope everyone has a beautiful day. It's finally a snow free Michigan. At least where I am, at least for now....
The Babbling Beader

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Big changes for Cool Moon

Sometimes I think the people that still don't use computers have the right idea. Because dealing with hosts and servers and whoever can be a real pain. It's made me come to the conclusion that as much as I dislike change - that's exactly what I'm going to do.
So look for some big changes for Cool Moon. I'll be dumping the website - something I've been meaning to do for awhile, anyway. I don't use it to sell anything, and I email pertinent info to my customers that want it. Now that I have this blog - I can and will also post info here. I've also been urged and finally pushed to take the plunge and get a Facebook page. That will take the place of my website. I think it will be fun, and a more up to date way to keep in touch with old customers - and possibly gain new ones.
It may take me a little while to make the changes - but after the morning that I had (and am still having, since it hasn't been resolved) with my email server and their "helpful" upgrades (yeah, right) - deciding to make the change has helped to calm me. Somewhat. I'm hoping my beads will do the rest.
A stressed out Babbling Beader

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Adding Photos

This is one of my favorite pieces - and the one that appears on the cover of my book. Doing freeform, fly by the seat of my jeans beading is by far my favorite. This piece came about simply by placing new seed beads in a tray next to an old piece of synthetic Turquoise. Voila! "Rainforest".

My thanks to Bevery Ash Gilbert for providing me with a link that took me to another link that provided me with an idea that I'll be packaging as kits at my shop. "Beading Nature" will be a kit that includes a printed photo of a pretty place - either the beach, or the forest, or the sunset-whatever. Along with the photo will be beads - some seed beads, some findings, some accents. There will be no instructions other than an invitation to use the photo to inspire them to create something (or more than one thing) beautiful from the beads provided, and by adding anything else they want. I'm hoping to put it all together for around $30. Now that I finally broke down and signed up for PayPal, I may someday sell them on my website. I will start with the bead shop first, and see what kind of response I get.
So hey, you lucky readers, (and beaders!) 2 blogs in one day! My blogging is definitely improving!

The Babbling Beader

Sunday Brain

Usually my Sunday mornings are calm, quiet, warm and toasty. For some reason this morning has been quite productive - home wise and idea wise! First of all - in the hopes of starting to get some new readers, and maybe even followers of this blog - I am going to try and update and personalize the layout in the next few days. Then, after running my idea past a few beady friends - I may post my proposal for a challenge here - as well as on my website. It's a secret for now - but let me say that Beverly Gilbert's blog started my brain on a journey that ended in a a really cool way!
Not much time to blog today - have to get dinner going in the crock pot so that I can go off on a beading date with a friend. She had some shoulder surgery a month or so ago - and we haven't beaded together since. Since it's a rainy, blah day out there - what better way to spend it than with beads - and friends.
More on the challenge idea later....
The Babbling Beader

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunny Days are here again!

Finally. More than just a few hours of sunshine. I think it's making everyone, including myself, much happier. Hopefully that means they'll start moving around and getting out and buying BEADS! I had an average month last month compared to the above average ones the last 3, which made it hard to adjust come bill paying time. Plus it's hubby's birthday month, so I need to find the extra in the budget for that. And since I know he reads this blog - no, I'm not going to mention what he's getting. (haha).
I am getting closer to being ready for the May Exhibition. Feeling a little nervous and apprehensive about it. I hope the shadowbox is going to be the solution to keeping my pieces safe. Plus I still haven't been back there to measure and re-evaluate the space. My fault - just plain haven't wanted to go, or go alone. I will HAVE to go soon - because I have to start finalizing and finishing the shadowboxes. I think I only need to purchase one more - maybe two. I would need three if I could find the lost jewelry. My friend Laura - who is a fairly accurate "closet" psychic, says they're in a dark, low, shallow box - she feels at the shop still.
I've looked everywhere there, though. Still nothing. It's about $300 dollars worth of pieces, so finding them would make me VERY HAPPY.
Think I need to make a trip to Old Town again in the next few days. Poor Jerry. That bookstore has been around a long time, so I know he hates to have to let it go - but he just doesn't have the metaphysical energies that it is going to take, or the customer base, to keep it running much longer. Too bad. Much of it has to do with his attitude towards "New Age" philosophies, some of it due to his employees, some of it to his choice of new location. HE should have realized back when he bought the place with no knowledge of, or DESIRE to adopt the metaphysical energies that there would be issues. He's moved three times in hopes of changing that - but the same energy and same employees move with him. And now there is a truly metaphysical minded shop to rival him within 2 miles of his current space (they were there first), where many of his former customers, including myself, have worked, do work and shop. But I am still somewhat loyal to the shop that helped change my life, though. I feel bad for him, and wish I had some advice to help him. But alas, I feel The Mountain's end is near....
The Babbling Beader