Goofy lights and Now We've got the Spirit!

This little guy is our one and only inside tree. I found it at Target. It has fiber optic lighting that blinks different colors, which is why the lights look a bit blurry...they're blinking. LOL
So, Rick laughed at me when I told him we would have an artificial tree...then he grinned when I set this one up in the dining room. Personally, I think it's as cute as can be. The two gifts underneath are for Rick and our niece Kelly. She'll get her gift on Christmas, when we travel north 4 hours to spend the entire weekend with my brother, my SIL, and the two kids, Eric and Kelly. Oh man, are the kids gonna have fun - Rick will play Santa again! I hope to post great pictures this year!
Told you the outside tree looked goofy! We haven't fixed it, or the other tree just like it, because we're not the only ones who did it this way. Down the road is a house that has red on top and blue on the bottom. Yup, looks just as goofy :) The other tree is only about 2 more feet to my left, but just far enough that I couldn't get it into the picture.


The job is good :)

So far, without thinking beyond the fact I've been at the job for just over 30 days, I like it there. They're people who want to make money, are professional in their dealings with customers, and do not whine or complain when I ask them to stay late or come in early or do extra work.

I've given the department the go ahead to decorate for Christmas. I was quite surprised to learn that they didn't do anything special in their cubicles or in the office in general. Not for lack of wanting, just for lack of encouragement. So, I'm encouraging. I'm also hoping to lead by example by bringing in my own tree and ornaments to sit on my desk, in addition to some garland I want to drape around my office. Oh yeah, I'll also either wrap my office door in Christmas paper or hang a wreath...I'll figure it out once I see how difficult finding our wreaths at home will be!

Rick and I decorated two of our trees in the front yard. This is a big deal - we've never, ever decorated outside of the house before. Actually, its been since 2000 that we've decorated the inside of the house. Mainly because the house has been a wreck for that many years with remodeling. Now that we're close to being finished, we're both getting into the spirit. Anyway, even though more lights are needed, and they look a bit goofy with blue lights on top and white lights on the bottom, I like our two spruce trees being lit up at night.

If I can remember - I'll get pictures of the office and home and post them.

My attempt to string! LOL 8mm unakite beads, bone carved beads and red tiger eye. I like it, though I haven't gotten a single comment on it...other than Mom saying 'hmmm, I guess it's ok' .

Pearl and mottled green seed beads turned out to be the perfect combination for this twisted herringbone necklace. I'm currently working on a pearl pendant to wear with it. I love herringbone, it works up so quickly :)

Lightly twisted herringbone. I was thinking, and drinking, heavily creamed coffee and put some brown and tan beads out on the table. About 18" long, it fits nicely with a turtleneck.

Now on to Christmas! I'm currently awaiting the arrival of special order beads for Kate's pendant, have begun beading a dimensional ornament designed by Paula Adams, and am still in search of a handful of 6mm round sodalite beads for my SIL's watchband.


Thanksgiving - Yum!

Rick and I spent Thanksgiving with Mike and his family in northern Indiana. My Aunt Chris and cousin Kate joined us for the day, while Mom stayed through Monday, and Rick and I stayed through Saturday morning.

Tammy did a great job cooking a fresh turkey. It was simply wonderful - enough so that I will definitely use fresh if I ever cook a full turkey again. I was in charge of the sides and didn't do badly at all - mashed potatoes with lumps to prove they were mashed by hand!, green bean casserole (yuck!, but a hit with those who eat it), and candied yams (again yuck!, but with a hand from Mom there were very few leftovers).

Tammy and I got to spend some good time together - yes, we went shopping, but didn't buy anything that she didn't need. I just love having a SIL. Being the oldest and having only brothers really deprived me of some quality sisterhood stuff. Thank goodness for Tammy!

Rick got yanked on, trampled on, squeezed and hugged pretty much the entire time we were there. The kids really enjoy being around him, and I know he truly loves the attention.

I actually got some beading done! Yes, I was surprised. I did up a few simple twisted herringbone necklaces to match a couple of sweaters. Also got a few orders - one from Tammy and one from Kate. Now I'm on a mission to find delicas in a Green Amber color ? Wish me luck!

No pics at the moment. I'll be posting some new stuff this week, though, so keep checking back.


Terrific ceremony

*sigh* what a wonderful experience to have participated in the vow renewal of such grand people. The crowd was small, but the enthusiasm and support was quite large. Essentially, Katherine and David walked through a ceremony whereby they told each other what the past 28 years have been like and what they hope the upcoming years bring...each speaking quite eloquently about the other. Afterward we took group photos (how I wish I had one to share), and enjoyed finger foods, punch and good company. I enjoyed viewing their original wedding photographs and getting the inside scoop on family members from David. The only glitch to occur was that they forgot the music CD :( How I wish I had known a piano was in the room ... I would have been happy to prepare some terrific music for them. Oh well, maybe next time!


Show not so good but the people were great

Well, the U of L show was a bomb. I sold a necklace. Had I had specific U of L items I am sure I would have sold more. The people were a lot of fun, though. I met some wonderful grandmothers - alumni with grandkids currently enrolled. And I got to hear some interesting stories about 'back in the day'. I also met a wonderful gal who had the booth next to me. Her jewelry designs were quite elegant, using semi-precious and strung seed beads. After numerous conversations (between customers) she may contact me about taking a class. What fun it would be to get back to teaching. It is something I really enjoy doing.

The job has been interesting so far. I spent two days at the manufacturing plant. I would have really enjoyed myself if I could have used some of the machinery. Instead, I stood around, watching someone do their job. I asked as many questions as possible, while trying not to interrupt the worker's rhythm. Whew, am I glad that's over! Nine hours of doing nothing really got to me - just ask my dear husband! LOL

I'm back in the office now and have gotten caught up on paperwork. I'm learning more and more about veneer and its applications - which is good because I can't wait to start selling this stuff! Right now I'm handing sales leads over to my inside reps, but am anxious to start making my own sales :)

Rick's mother has taken a turn for the better. She will be leaving the hospital sometime this weekend (if all goes well). The infection is under control, the bleeding seems to have stopped, and though the doctors can't say for sure what is happening, they're glad that she is healing. Keep the prayers coming because she's not completely out of the woods yet!

Tomorrow my friend Katherine and her husband David are renewing their wedding vows :) Its their 28th wedding anniversary and David has Parkinson's Disease. She's always wanted to renew their vows and kept putting it off. Now that David is showing more symptoms I am glad she's taking the opportunity to celebrate their life together now, rather than later. I'm looking forward to the festivities. She has such a cool range of friends :)


What a week!

First, I start the new job. All is well. The gals I manage are terrific, very knowledgeable and all have a great sense of humor about them :)

So, on Monday evening my hard drive dies. Yessirree, very little warning...thought at first an e-book I'd purchased was infected when I tried to download it. But, no. I have this nasty habit of leaving my computer on ... always ...unless Rick and are going out of town. So, a few power surges, outages and spikes and before you know it the hard drive just kicks the dust. My only regret is the loss of photos. I'm hoping I can download some from my Yahoo album.

Rick's mother is in the hospital. She had a bowel resection done three weeks ago, developed an infection, developed leakage, went septic, got ok, went septic again and just recently has developed a bleeder somewhere. Rick has been keeping vigil with his siblings these past three nights. I'll go to the hospital when he asks me to. Although I think I should be there, I respect his wishes and will not force myself on him there. So, many prayers are needed please for Carol, my mother-in-law. She's 73 and in generally good condition, but tonight is on morphine and diuladid for pain - so its pretty bad. Doc won't do an MRI because the dye would hurry the shut down of her kidneys.

Tomorrow is our 16th wedding anniversary. We're going to dinner at Del Frisco's in Louisville Saturday night, providing we're not at the hospital with his mother of course.

I'm finishing up some beadwork for the U of L show on Monday. No new designs. Due to the loss of marketing material on my hard drive I'm limited on brochures/handouts/etc. But, I am planning to print out really cool price notes instead of actual price tags. I'm curious if they'll make a difference in sales.

Well, back to piecing together beading/business/personal information for my hard drive :)

Oh yeah, I have no e-mail addresses. If you're reading this, please e-mail me so I can get my contact list back in shape.

Until next time...


Couple of new beaded items

Anybody recognize the pendant!?
I'm doing a Christmas Boutique at the University of Louisville Alumni Banquet and needed a few things that used U of L colors - black, red and gold. I'm doing a twisted herringbone necklace of black and gold in the hopes of selling the two as a set. If not, then I'll also have some black leather necklaces, too.

What do you think of the flower? Too cool, heh? Thanks to Barb Grainger for her netted flower instructions. The button in the middle sparkles 100 times more than the photo shows. It measures about 4" in diameter. I think it will look marvelous on a Derby hat! I've done this particular flower in burnt orange, neon blue and neon yellow...so far. I'll let you know how many I end up with.

How to attach to a hat, you ask? Well, after much consideration, shopping and consulting with hat makers, I've picked up some hat pins that will work perfectly. They'll also allow the flower to be used as a brooch...should someone decide that is what they prefer.


I got the Job!

Yessiree, I start tomorrow. I know, starting a job on a Thursday is strange, but what the heck. So, I'll start in the office for a few days, then spend a few days out in the plant manufacturing wood veneer, then back to the office for the real work - managing five people in a customer service/inside sales department! I'm really looking foward to the challenge. Thanks for all the good thoughts everyone!

Now, back to beading. I have a few items I'd like to finish up tonight. This weekend I should be able to post new pictures.


Pendant and musings...

When I was in need of a pendant, just for something different, I came across a fellow beader's site and was inspired to make this. She had used various celtic swirls and knots in her beadwork. I guess the Irish in me just couldn't stop the image as I was working up the pattern for this. I usually wear it on a gold chain.

The hunt for a job continues. I had a face to face interview early this week, followed by a 2nd and 3rd interview later in the week, followed by a request for references...of which two were contacted the day of request. According to the references, it looks like I can expect a job offer. I can only hope they offer the right amount of salary...this is not a job to sell yourself cheap for! A lot of work still needs to happen for the department to tighten up and get into shape.


What a glorious day

My goodness, we couldn't ask for better weather in the Louisville area. Sunny skies, 68 degrees, light breeze....hmmmm. A perfect fall day.

Last week was quite an eventful week for me and the job hunt. I attended a few networking lunches and an evening cocktail hour meeting, in addition to meeting with a gentleman about my resume. I handed out quite a few business cards, met a lot of interesting people, was able to connect a few people with other business owners, and will be sending my resume to a few people to forward to their contacts. I'm enjoying the networking much more than I thought I would. I anticipated being overwhelmed or out of place, but in all actuality I fit right in.

I've had a phone interview and am scheduled for a face to face interview with another company later this week. There should be at least one more meeting scheduled from a different company, though I won't be hearing from them until Monday.

So, in the meantime, I'm resting today. Actually, I'm beading, but that is the same as meditating and resting for me. Either later today or tomorrow I'll be taking photos of my latest work to post here and at an online forum I'm active in. Until then...the beads are calling me!


A new start

So, after over a year of managing a customer service/sales department it looks like I've worked myself out of a job. Well, not quite, but close. I was initially hired to tighten up the business end of the office/department and begin developing sales programs to assist the company in their growth plan. Within six months I had completed the tightening up and was just beginning to present my program ideas when it became apparent that the customer service employees required more of my attention.

After another six months, it became quite obvious that the company was not ready for my position. During this time we unveiled a new division where I was the first contact and also became a design engineer - because the primary design engineer was out for quite a few weeks due to surgery - and a customer service rep in the original division was out for surgery - so I was doing three jobs for quite a few weeks. Yet, we succeeded to provide quality products with excellent customer service to our customers.

So, a few more months passed. I met with my boss and we discussed the company goals, the department needs, my expectations and his expectations. It boils down to the fact that I am being replaced by software and a customer service rep. The company hired me about 2 years too soon.

Now, I am out and about. Meeting new people, networking at business lunches and beading up a storm. Look for new designs to appear on this blog, as well as an update on my job search!


Another bracelet

African Helix, a wonderfully elegant stitch. This bracelet sparkles plenty and looks absolutely wonderful on the wrist!


Single spiral lariats

Black ice lariat sold at a Christmas show at IUS in '04. The lady who purchased it was so excited I couldn't help but be happy to have sold it to her. She looked very sharp with it on!

This green lariat/body wrap is finished with Thai silver leaves and beads. While shown at a local gallery it drew quite a lot of compliments and oohs and aahs...which is always fun to hear about my work. Still available for sale, I'm looking for just the right person - someone who wants to stand out in a crowd, be noticed, be an individual on the street.


Leaves are cool...

These are another very popular earring design. I made the purple ones last year and have sold many, many colors since. I always get compliments and requests for color options when I wear these.


4th of July

Happy 4th of July! What a wonderful weekend we had. My brother and his family (wife and two children) moved from Memphis, TN to Warsaw, IN (near Fort Wayne) last month and invited us to join them for the weekend. Their place is on a beautiful lake and we spent most of our time out on the deckboat watching the youngsters try to hang on to their innertubes!

The fireworks display was absolutely wonderful...according to the kids. Personally, I don't care for fireworks. I'm not sure if its the noise or the repetition of patterns. Its just not something I'm into. So, I stayed at the house and listened when the kids came back to share the experience with me. I just love the young ones and their enthusiasm :)


Back to Normal...

whatever normal is! LOL

What a month this has been. First, my boss...the VP...was out for surgery, then one my three customer service reps was out for surgery, then it was decided that we would unveil a new division with its own catalog in May. Wow, I've been too busy to bead! Essentially, I was doing three jobs and loving every minute of it. What a challenge. I wasn't absolutely certain that we could do it, but as each day passed I realized that John (the other engineer) and I could handle the business. I must admit, though, that I am glad that both employees are back and able to take their workload back. I'm enjoying the break!

Now, on to the business of beading. Last year I decided that my company...by Char...would remain a part-time endeavor. I've been approached many times to grow it to a regional level, requiring me to attend shows in Ohio and Michigan, but I have resisted. I do not want to become a production person. I have found that my creativity is stifled and I become resentful when forced to complete a project. This is very interesting to me, because I am so customer focused at my day job. The customer comes first, satisfying the customer is the most important part of the business, etc. Yet, when it comes to my personal art, I simply cannot bead according to someone else's request.

So, I will continue to bead at my leisure and exhibit at local shows only. I will also sell wholesale to a few local boutiques. The teaching portion will continue to be done on a weekend basis, either through my local bead store or the customer's venue. I think this will allow me to continue to be creative, to sell my work on my terms, and to be focused at my day job.


Ready for Derby!

These earrings sure are popular! All sets are made with Swarovski crystals and either silver-lined beads or gold-lined beads. Actually, I made a pair that used both the silver and gold and they were gorgeous! These particular earrings were commissioned by a friend, since then I've sold quite a few in preparation for Derby next month. Look for more next year!


Love the Wave

This bracelet, made wtih 4mm carnelian rounds and gold-filled seed beads, was a breeze to make and sold the first time I wore it out. Finished with my favorite clasp...the snap clasp...it is currently being enjoyed by a very happy lady in Louisville.


Teaching gig didn't work out

The LBS teaching opportunity just isn't working out. The new management isn't taking much interest in my work or classes and doesn't comply with my requests to contact me when people inquire about the classes. They seem to think that if a class is described it is scheduled - which it is not - and that if a student shows up I should be able to drop everything and teach on the spot. I don't think so! The classes are scheduled for a reason - to accomodate my day job. It will always be this way because my day job is the priority.

So, I'm no longer affiliated with that bead store. Instead I think I'll offer myself to the community in some way. Keep an eye out for my plans!


Herringbone - I love you!

One of my first tubular herringbone necklaces. Done in Fall of 2003. It took me way too long to stitch because I was naive enough to think it wouldn't be a big deal! Now, I know better. I ended up selling it to an attorney in town in February of 2005. She was attending a class I was giving and I happened to have my completed pieces with me for inspiration. She went crazy over the color and purchased it on the spot. The last I heard she was proudly wearing it around town.


Teaching again

I got a call from my LBS (local bead store) and the new manager asked if I'd come back to teach bead weaving classes again. Of course, I said "sure, when do you want me to start?" So, I stopped by the store and reviewed their seed bead supply - very pitiful. I'll be helping them order a starting stock. I also dropped off a list of class descriptions. Instead of offering a set project schedule, I'm going to let the student decide which project to learn. Right now there isn't a great marketing campaign for classes so I'm not expecting many students yet. I've offered to take over the marketing for the store, as related to all classes, but the new manager assures me that they will take care of things.


Whew, what a month this has been! Preparing for three annual evaluations, finalizing sales figures and bonus results for 2005, contacting distributors/catalogers/special buying groups to update pricing and product information, market research for a new division. I'm having a good time! I just love this job and am glad for the opportunity to be a part of a company's growth.


Beads and Me

The Bead Retreat will be in Las Vegas in February. Oh my, am I ready to go. I've been looking forward to this since last spring. Unsure how I was going to pay for the trip, I decided to see if selling my bead work would raise enough money. To my surprise, it did. I did a show last spring and made enough to pay for the retreat. Then I did a show in the summer, making enough to pay for the room at the hotel. Then I did a show in December, and there I made enough to pay for the airfare. This is just too cool. I've been selling my work since spring of '04 - a very short time - and last year was so encouraging that I'm working on new pieces to see how I'll do this year.

I've been a member of an on-line bead group for over 2 years now. This group is where the retreat idea generated and took off. I'll be meeting members of this group face to face for the first time, as well as attend classes for the first time. I've taught other people, but never attended a beading class myself. It's going to be quite an experience and I'm ready for it! LOL

Today I'm meeting up with my beading buddy, Lora. We'll bead and gab for a few hours and have a good time - we always do.