Studio Musings

Friday, May 31, 2013

Calls for Entry: Fancy Fish Blog Hop and Design Team

One of the things I love about teaching workshops is getting to see what people come up with using my kits and patterns.  Selling my tutorials on Etsy I lose that close connection.  Sometimes I get extra lucky and I'll find a picture of a newly finished piece waiting for me in my email inbox.  Those are the BEST days.  Mostly, it's more like a black hole.  I'm left wondering whether they liked the tutorial, what they did with it, what cool new innovations they came up with.  So I've decided to do something about it!

I'm hosting a Fancy Fish Blog Hop on July 13th.   
Fish are Friends, Fancy Fish Blog Hop July 13th, 2013

To signup, leave a comment on this post. Make sure that to include a way for me to contact you (either through your blogger profile or by adding your email address to the comment). 

If you don't have a blog you can still participate in the hop - you'll just need to send images to me a little early and I'll put together a special page for you.

Fish Friends Design Team – Call for Entry
To get the ball rolling, I'm searching for a core Design Team (5-7 members) to help out, both with this hop and with testing out some potential color ways for additional kits. Design team members need to have an active blog.  They should also be comfortable with bead weaving and willing to work with right angle weave and be able to commit to the Blog Hop. 

All Design Team members will receive copies of my tutorial.   Several team members will also receive an experimental color way bead kit.  The experimental bead kits are designed to help me test out potential color ways.  If you receive one of these,  I'll ask that you use only the beads included in the kit to design your fish.  Everyone's welcome to apply to the Design Team - to keep shipping costs reasonable I'll be limiting experimental kits to US addresses.  

If you've already purchased a copy of my tutorial and would like to participate, let me know and I'd be happy to add you to the team! 

If you're interested in joining the Design Team leave a comment below including the URL for your blog.  Also let me know whether you'd prefer to work with an experimental color kit or use your own beads.  

Design Team - the Fine Print
If you receive an Experimental Color Way beading kit from me, you agree to mail your finished fish back to me after you have photographed it/them for the hop, but no later than Monday, July 22.  I will then photograph them so that I have standardized images of the various color ways.  I will then return your finished fish to you by US post with insurance and tracking.  You grant me a free license to use images of your fish on my blog, website, Etsy or other places with full attribution to you for the stitching and any design variations you might come up with.  Should your fish appear in traditional print media, you will receive a free copy of that media. 
Participants who receive a free copy of the PDF are asked to share at least two photographs of your finished fish or fish projects that I may use on my blog, website, Etsy or other places with full attribution to you for the stitching, including attributions for any variations you may come up with.

All Design Team and Blog Hop participants are encouraged to use their fish in fun and fanciful ways!


  Signups now through June 7th
  Blog Hop July 13

I've been thinking about this for over several weeks now and I -think- I have it all sorted, but if you have any questions or suggestions please let me know!  :-)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fancy Fish Kits Finally!

Fancy Fish Beadwoven Friends - blue fish color way by Karen Williams
Blue Fish, Two Fish - color way number 1
After much dithering, I finally listed my first Fancy Fish kits on Etsy.  The kits are currently available for pre-order and I'll be shipping by next Friday, June 7th.  They're currently available in three color ways:  Blue Fish (above), Rosy Fish and Wedding Fish.

The kits contain all the beads and materials you'll need to complete at least two fish in your chosen color way.  

Rosy fish (the top photo should seem very familiar by now)
my elegant little Wedding Fish

In playing with different potential color ways, I found it interesting how similar totally different colors could look once they're stitched up.  For instance, here are my purple and green fish:

playing with purple and frosted green
same beads for body & tail, different side fins

I fear that like they're too reminiscent of my Blue Fish, even though they use entirely different sets of beads.  I couldn't decide which I liked better, but the purple beads are on back order and are likely to continue so for some time, so no Purple and Green kits for now. 

I'm also experimenting with some different color ways including limey greens with darker blues, shown below. 

playing with bright greens and dark blues (and another shot of the Wedding fish)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I'm Back, have you missed me?

It seems that I've been running nonstop, full tilt, tiger-by-the-tail crazy with deadlines stacked one behind the other since at least last Fall.  I keep telling myself that as soon as I get past "X", (X being the next major deadline), everything will settle back out, and I keep running.  Sound familiar?  I'm guessing I'm not alone in this. 

Earlier this month my folks, who happen to also be some of my very best friends, invited me to tag along on a cruise with them.  Since we live about 1800 miles apart, we don't get to see each other nearly as much as we'd like. I jumped at the chance.  While cringing at another week lost in my schedule, I thought it would be a good opportunity to review what I've been doing and how I might get it to work better as I was definitely approaching burnout.  At least that's how I rationalized it going in.  :)

I hadn't anticipated just how difficult it would be to say goodby to the Internet for the week.  Out in the middle of the ocean, there are no cell towers, nor easy access to Internet, which I knew going in.  What I hadn't realized was just how much I counted on having that access.  Especially as I went into the trip knowing that I was way behind on my sadly neglected blog and my blog reading list. 

Then to top it off, I returned just in time to start jury duty for King County Superior Court, where I ended up in not one, but two jury selection pools.  With the second, I seriously started to think I might end up a juror on a criminal trial that could last several weeks.  Yikes!  All I could think of was my To-Do list, growing longer and longer as I fell farther and farther behind.  Self-guilt and recrimination building that I 'hadn't planned things right'.  That I couldn't do it all. 

Well, I'm not on the jury as the powers-that-be decided to postpone the trial and start again with a new jury pool.  Thank you!  But the vacation and especially the panic attack have told me I need to make some changes.   Since I know that I'm not the only one in this particular boat, I thought I'd share where I'm at. 

Here's what I've come up with:

1) Admit that this is my life.  I am an over-scheduler (do they have a 12-Step program for this?).  I plan for months at a time, starting with the deadlines and working backwards, figuring out timelines for tasks and expected bottlenecks.  But I tend to 'Error on the Side of Enthusiasm' and I've errored quite egregiously of late.  I get excited about an idea and throw it onto the pile.  Surely I can stitch three beaded beads, build a window screen, do the accounting, weed the garden and paint the hallway today?  As long as I keep doing this, my life will never be sane. 

Strategic planning only works so-so when there's simply too much work for one person to accomplish.  

2) Especially as life always throws you loops, good and bad.  Minor construction projects that spiral out of control (like replacing an old oil furnace and discovering the tank has leaked underground and now you have a pollution liability cleanup situation), having to find a new studio space, pneumonia, unexpected (and quite lovely) vacations.  The one thing they all have in common is they wreak havoc on a too-full schedule. 

3) I like to sleep.  Yep.  Sleep is one of my favorite hobbies.  I'm a useless zombie if I try to cut into my sleep schedule for more than a couple days at a time.  Totally useless.  Sleep is good.  I envy those people who can get by with five or so hours of sleep at night.  That's not me.

4) Don't automatically cut all my favorite things.  Just because they're 'fun' doesn't mean they're automatically less important.  Does anyone else do this?  If something's fun, then it's not as important as the not-fun stuff you have to do?  Only works in the short term, if even that. 

4) It's Okay to Say No.  (Or "Maybe Later" for those things I just can't say no to).  I don't know which is harder, saying no to friends or to myself.  I'm not terribly good at saying no.  In fact, I'm pretty awful at it; friends and ideas come to me all bright and shiny and hopeful and well...  You know what happens next.  Then I run behind because there's too much to do, people think I'm a flake and I start hating myself.  So I'm trying to learn to at least say "Maybe Later".  And if it's a really great idea, I write it down on my list for that mystic time in my future when I have time. 

5) It's Okay to Ask for Help. This last is particularly hard for me on several different levels.  'Asking for help = failure'.  Everyone else is too busy too.  Figuring out what could be parceled out. 

I've been giving this last one a lot of thought.  I have the nucleus of an idea here.   One of the things I really want to do is to put together beading kits for my Fancy Fish.  My current stumbling block is simply finding the time to stitch enough samples of the various color-ways so that I can photograph them for my Etsy site.  Especially since with my early fish I didn't give kit-making a single thought and used whatever beads caught my fancy.  Tracking down the same beads is a nightmare.  I know because I've tried.  And I've discovered that many people expect the kits to contain the exact same beads as my samples - close doesn't cut it.  Did I mention I hate disappointing people?  

So, I'm thinking about ways to reach out and ask for help in a way that's fun and hopefully useful for everyone.  Expect to see more about this early next week. 

Since this post is getting way too long, I'll wrap it up for now with a question.   How do you decide what to keep on your plate and what to toss when life gets crazy?

And thank you for sticking with me!  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 Seedbeaders' Schedule

I started working on this post back in December, but somehow it keeps getting lodged in my Drafts folder.  Likely because I'd hoped to get photos of -ALL- the project samples first.   Well, now we're a third of the way through the year, Seedbeader's was just this past Sunday and I think it's about time I shared what all is coming up over the next few months.  

As a reminder, we meet at the Maplewood Rock & Gem Club in Edmonds, WA and guests are always welcome. Learn a new skill, bring your own project(s) or even just come and hang out, the choice is yours.  So if you happen to be in the area on the fourth Sunday of the month....

my Kongo-gumi on the go
Kumihimo and Kongo-gumi

This month, Shelly Gillmann shared a spectacular lesson in Kumihimo.  Besides making up nearly fifty kits with cording, beads and Kumihimo discs, Shelly had so many wonderful samples (of which I just realized I didn't get any pictures), fantastic hands-on demos and lectures accompanied by detailed notes which included a link list, which she said I could share with y'all.  Thank you so much Shelly for putting this together!

This is a technique I've meant to check out for a while, so I was thrilled.  My disc has become my travel companion the past couple of days - I get some really fun looks when I work with it on the bus. 

Upcoming Meetings
Embellished Cuff by Marla Baer-Peckham, photograph by Karen Williams
Embellished Cuff by Marla Baer-Peckham
5/19/13 Embellished Peyote Cuff
Marla Baer-Peckham
[scheduled on 3rd Sunday to avoid conflict with following Memorial Weekend]

6/23/13 Zulu Square Tube (no photo available)
Ann Wilkinson

Jellyfish Pendant by Jennifer Porter
7/28/13 Jellyfish Pendant
Jennifer Porter

Square Stitch Bracelets by Donna Galstad
8/25/13 Square Stitch Bracelet
Donna Galstad

Slider Bead by Julie Dubois, photograph by Karen Williams
Slider Bead by Julie Dubois
9/22/13 Slider Bead
Julie Dubois

10/20/13    Flat Spiral (no photo available)
Shirley Pauls
[scheduled on 3rd Sunday to avoid conflict with following NWBS Retreat weekend]

12/8/13 Holiday/Planning (2nd weekend of December)
                        decide following year's programs, gift exchange, challenge reveal, bead swap game

1/26/14 Peyote & Crystal Row Bracelet (no photo available)
Ellen Lambright

Snowflake Pendant by Julie Dubois, photograph by Karen Williams
Snowflake Pendant by Julie Dubois
2/23/14 Snowflake Pendant
Julie Dubois

Beaded Baubles by Debby Zook, photograph by Karen Williams
Beaded Baubles by Debby Zook
3/23/14 Beaded Bauble
Debby Zook

4/27/14 Byzantine Chain
Theresa Cleary