Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Intense Wee Hour

Why is it that everything has more intense meaning and significance at 3:00 am, but only if you were sleeping and woke up to it? You don't have panic attacks at 3:00 am if you've been up all night. At least I don't. (Note that it is significantly more difficult to type at 3:00 am because of the active, purring presence of Ernie demanding one hand all to himself for pets.)

Judy had jury duty all last week and had it not been for Debbie and Becky H. helping out in the studio, everything would have completely fallen to pieces--me included. I have *got* to become okay with telling people no! Of course one of the people I am not (and should not be) saying no to right now is J who will be nine next week and who would like an old-fashioned birthday party with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, a treasure hunt, chocolate cake and vanilla cupcakes, a dart and balloon game, and a pinata. I can hand the food bits off to Dave, but I need to get cracking on the rest. She has a swim meet all weekend so the party is going to have to be right after early dismissal on Thursday afternoon.

Looking back on the (really-should-have-been-but-wasn't) terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week, probably the biggest snafu was caused by UPS shutting my account off yesterday, Friday, and me discovering it at 5:55 pm as I was trying to schedule and process for same-day pick-up and shipment an order that absolutely, positively had to go out RIGHT THEN. And why did they do this? Because they have been trying to pay my invoices (I have auto-draft set-up) against my old checking account in spite of the fact that I changed the information back in August in their on-line billing center/account management interface AND faxed them a cancellation request. I still have not been able to get an answer--satisfactory or not--as to why I can change my information on-line in their system and have the new, correct information show up *for months* and yet that's not what they have and use for billing!!! (Yes, it's really worth three exclamation points.) It was almost 7:00 when I got the right department on the phone and got everything straightened out with them culminating in the assurance that my account would be back on and midnight. It's now just after 4:00 am and I don't have the heart to check.

Later this morning I have my first official beginning kiln-forming class in the studio. I ran a special at our birthday/anniversary party offering a 10 hour open studio card free if you signed up that day for a class. Of course I forgot Judy has the day off today AND I am running a special for the Atlanta Glass Artists Guild today... One of the people I really have to work on saying no to is myself!

Okay, I'll update the firing schedule for tomorrow (today!) and go back to bed. I feel like I can sleep again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


After a bummer of a grey, down, rainy, listless day yesterday (a good bit of it spent in court eavesdropping on the flat tires of the wheels of justice going whapp, whapp, whapp) I am perking up today with the prospect of a Guest In the Studio this weekend! Debbie Suchy, friend, marketer-extraordinaire, blue-sky dreamer, gallery owner, savvy business woman supreme (no, the superlatives are not overdone) is coming to visit for five days, lend a hand, and play in the studio.

She'll be helping with shipping this afternoon in Judy's absence. She'll also be helping me comfort Todd-of-the-bleeding-fingers when I pick up the next 35 trees (shown at right) and 72 keychains for another order. As of today he has done 200 trees in the past few months just for this one store an he has 70 more to go. I called him this morning with an order from another client for 6 people and he practically started to cry. Be careful what you wish for (retail success and popular acclaim), you just might get it.

I continue to struggle through the newly-renamed-but-I-don't-know-to-what obstacle course project for the Waldorf Holiday Fair. It looms over me like a heavy cloud (Dave and Todd are both muttering very grim I-told-you-sos at my confession). Just over two weeks to go, a mummy to design and make, canopic jars to create, and a set of amulets to find, AND obstacle course to design. I'll make it, it'll be fine, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, I will find a whole new village to get through this one.

Another looming project is a set of 1" thick award slabs with "mountainous" rough-cut top edges. I agreed to the project (and priced it) before I had a clear understanding of what they wanted for this edge. Oh boy. I can do it (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can), but it is just one more stresser right now.

My other casting projects have been delayed (again) and at least one of the artists is chomping at the bit to get a finished piece from me. I think I am going to have to do some really heavy-duty scheduling this fall to see progress on the current in-processes.

Oh my, people to pay, orders to fire. Got to run!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off to Civic Duty I Go

I am sitting outside a courtroom at the Clayton County Courthouse waiting to see if I need to testify as a witness in the criminal trial of the driver in a traffic incident that Lee, Todd and I witnessed last December 4th on the way to the Taylor Kinzel Glass Trunk Show. Coincidentally, Judy was picked yesterday to sit on a jury and may not be in the rest of the week. The sign on the door at Siyeh Studio reads:

so we can do our civic (jury) duty.
Sorry for the inconvenience!

Life just waits for me, I think. It hides around a corner or behind a door, crouched over it's front paws, tail flipping the air, claws extending and retracting, whiskers twitching, rhythmically kneading the carpet until POUNCE! As soon as I start to see the faintest hint of light at the end of the tunnel, WHAM I'm flat on my back again. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to just sit on this bench outside the courtroom for the day and work on-line (there is open wi-fi, after all). Of course it would be nice if the prosecutor had given me SOME idea what to do after I told her I was here. But she was talking to the person hit in the accident, and when she finished with him, they both walked back into the courtroom. I told her my name, she saw me sit on this fine bench outside the courtroom door... I'll give it a few hours to see what happens. Hmm. I just need an electrical outlet and I'm all set.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Working Stiff

Los Campesinos on the sound system and a medium mocha with an extra shot for the beverage--it's a fast Kavarna morning! It's a fast k morning as it's Judy's day off and so my day to man the studio and answer the phones. I have to man up, so to speak. The morning started late and poorly with the loss of another pet (J's hamster Tuffy). Seraph last week, Tuffy today... I am not looking forward to telling J when she gets home from school. (She fed him and "let him sleep" this morning. Little did she know how soundly he was sleeping.)

So a quick post to stay in the posting groove, an hour and a half on the website, and off to the studio! I was only over there briefly yesterday as we were closed and I was working on other things, but I hope Lee was able to fix the glass furnace. The auto shut-off stopped working the middle of last week and gave him a tremendous shock in the middle of date night. Since then he's been doing a manual shut-off for every gather, but that isn't a good solution as it's a manual shut-off of the computer which then has to reboot every time.

Okay, enough post. To web!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Project Management

I take a break to post and switch gears. The hardest part of immersive projects is switching between them. Right now I have my website, my book (the second), and the design and direction of the realization of the "obstacle course" for the Waldorf Holiday Festival (in three weeks) in active mode. This past Saturday was our birthday and it was a major project too--one that has been replaced by a marketing push to fill classes and boost the sale of materials and supplies for the studio (Living Social, Sparkfly, Kudzu all contacted me in the last week and I need to put together proposals for them). Then there's the web-based date night picture and video distribution system that Dave coded up for me and is in the process of implementing. He is ready for final spec info from me today so he can finish up.

Every single one of these projects is individually fascinating to me and each also requires wholehearted, wholeminded attention. But there are the day-to-day activities that also must be done--confirmation emails for date night to send, payments to process, orders to fire, pack and ship, supply orders to place... AAAAAAGHHHH! There is simply too much for one little (or not so little) me!

So why do I take on so much? Because I love it all! I am a gourmet and a gourmand all rolled into one. Like Gargantua and Pantgruel I want to rompre l'os et sucer la substantifique moelle--of everything. *sigh* Cloning. I need to be cloned and able to hop from body to body at will. Francois Rabelais meets Charles Stross. Now onto the next project for the day...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It Was a Fine Party, Indeed

The birthday party/one year anniversary party for the studio is over, and it was a fine party indeed. We had neither cake nor cupcakes, but we were celebratory nonetheless. Lots of people showed up to take advantage of 40% off sheet, frit, stringer and confetti glass (I even gave someone 40% off a bottle of GlasTac I was feeling so happy). Even more came to sign up for a beginning kilnforming class to get the 10-hour open studio card for free. We still need to work on getting our glass beadmaking programs to take off--especially since I now have two instructors chomping at the bit to get classes going. Hmmm. Think this is the direction I'll go with the marketing people who keep contacting me about doing a "daily deal" promotion...

Today is the first Sunday the studio is open so I think I'll head over to see how Judy's doing, and check-in on Lee's first glassblowing date of the day.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Siyeh Glass Resource Center!

The clock struck midnight last night as the last keystroke fell on the Birthday Party Reminder email. Whew! Now off to prepare for the hoards who will come tomorrow. If you would like to get lovely emails like the one below from me directly (and not have to scroll) sign-up at right!

Monday, October 18, 2010


Didn't get a chance to post Live From Austin (went for a few days to celebrate our 15th anniversary while D was working there) as I had to take the laptop in to get a new trackpad and lost a whole day of valuable posting time. And I almost didn't get to post this morning either--darn universe conspiring against me! Got home last night to find a subpoena waiting demanding my presence in court this morning to serve as a witness in a criminal trial. I would've thought they'd give me more than 36 hours notice if they really wanted me there (they mailed the summons out on Friday and it arrived Saturday late afternoon), but I found out when I checked in at the courthouse this morning that 36 hours is a luxurious eternity. I didn't have to stay today, but I am on call till 10/29 and they will give me a couple of hours to half-day's notice to get back down there... Joy.

Today is going to be the usual just-back-from-somewhere-the-studio-didn't-sleep-in-my-absence kind of day with paperwork and other administration to do (money in-yay!, money out-sigh), glass to fire, wax models to cast, awards to etch, a one-year birthday party for the studio to plan, and a load of curious glass to cut for the big event. Guess I better make hay while the sun shines, miles to go before I sleep, and all that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

16 Hour Day

Two (three?) day old cold pepperoni pizza (could've had four day old donuts but I think I'll save those for lunch) and yesterday's coffee microwaved for breakfast (can you tell Dave's in Austin this week?). "Choctaw Bingo" (from Live in Aught Three) by James McMurtry on iTunes (going to see him live Wednesday night at the Continental Club, I can't wait!). Let's see if I can finish the post before the song ends (it's 8 minutes and 47 seconds long).

Yesterday was a 16 hour day and man did I kick glass butt. Started the day with Dee and mocha from Stabucks, continuing the work we started last week on the outline of the second book (working title: Studio Practices and Projects for the Advanced Kiln-former). I am really excited about this book--though I still can't believe I'm writing another one. I guess books are like children--nature clouds the memory of the birthing event and makes you focus on the outcome so you'll do it again. But back to the long day... Ended with a full kiln load in at 11:15 pm and then an hour of email, exporting date night photos to make cd's and bookkeeping before heading home. J had a sleepover at a friend's so it was just me and the pets at the house. A bottle of hard cider (well, two) and a half hour of reading to settle down and I was off to sleep! I think this is only the second night I have been alone in the house (save for the four-legged) in nine years.

Tomorrow I head to Austin to celebrate Dave's and my 15th wedding anniversary (Dave is working there this week) with a mini vacation. Well, sort of a vacation. Dave has to work through Friday and I am going to take advantage of the out-of-studio time to FINISH the website layout (got to talk to Mike today to make sure he is willing to take on merging the websites and redo project--it's a monster) and the book outline/project list.

In our absence Judy and Carol are managing the J and the house and the dogs and the cat and the bunny and the hamster and the swim lessons and the cello practice and the studio... I don't pay her enough. But it's good for J to have a third set of grandparents (and local!) and Judy loves to decorate for holidays so I am expecting them to go to town with the plethora Halloween stuff we have boxed in the basement. ("Choctaw Bingo" the studio version just came on iTunes--guess I couldn't get the whole post done in eight minutes. Got to stop fixing my spelling typos as I go.)

The newsletter for October is done and we are preparing for our One Year Birthday Party! No, it never does slow down here. I have my fingers crossed that this event will be better-attended than the fiasco that was Gumbo Day. We are helped by the lack of PGA tour a block away.

Okay, second version of CB is done and so am I. Next: Live From Austin!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Newsletter Time

Another mocha morning at Kavarna, newsletter goes out today, and then it's on to the website! Since my siyehstudio site was hacked recently I have shut it down and now really need to get a new merged site up. (Today is apparently baby morning at Kavarna. There are two who trade off crying/screaming in their querulous little voices. Oh look, they're all leaving... Whew! Back to the website...) Time for online sign-up for date nights, the class offerings I have been promising, open studio policies and schedule--everything I have not had time to get to and more! (The exclamation point is to get me jazzed up at the prospect of the work.)

(Hey! Now that the screaming is over, I can hear that a modern, jazzy version of "La Vie en Rose" is on the sound system. Oh what a nice change!)

Last quick note before I get that pesky newsletter out, we are extending our hours of operation at the studio. We are opening two hours earlier (three on Saturday), and adding Sunday hours. I am still debating cutting Tuesday hours, but it is turning into a decent day and I guess I can put myself on the hook for one full, solo day a week (Judy has Tuesday off as she is picking up Sunday). New hours are Tues-Fri 11-5, Sat 10-5, and Sun 11-5 starting October 19.

Now that you know, it's time to let the rest of the world know in the newsletter. If you're not on our mailing list and would like to be (my goal is one newsletter a month with one reminder before big events--not a lot of email), sign up in the box on the right.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Fall Means Falling Faster

Mocha in a Kavarna mug, something smooth and silky on the sound system. It's a coffee shop morning! Started a post on Monday, never finished it. Didn't get a chance to write anything at all yesterday. Today, before everything goes completely sideways, I'm going to pound one out. Got to practice writing doncha know now that I'm officially starting the second book ;-) .

Last night I got the date night videos through 10/2 up on YouTube. The next step is to send a personal email out to each of the participants with the link to their video. Might not get to that for a couple of days as I also need to finish the October newsletter this morning and get it out AND I still have the Waldorf Holiday Fair obstacle course to design. Oh yes, and orders to fill!

The economy must be on an up as the orders just keep coming steadily in. Just when I think I don't have them all done, I get a couple of little ones or a big one. Today I am waiting to hear about a really big one today (7 X 12 flat rectangles in Tropical, could be 70 pieces, could be 150-200 pieces--and they need them in three weeks). But am I stressed? Overloaded? No sirree. Maybe it's the beautiful fall weather (I am wearing a *sweater* over my t-shirt this morning!), maybe it's the establishment of a regular(ish) schedule and the routine that comes in fall with the resumption of school. I don't know, and this is one gift horse whose dentals I am not going to peruse. I'm just going to go with it.

Date nights have also been extreme. We now book 10-11 per week--that's almost every slot we offer filled. I need to get on Craig's List today and find a real fridge--we have outgrown the little dorm fridge we've been using. We're about out of brochures and I am taking our busyness and lack of brochures to mean that it's finally time to Raise Our Prices. It's also past time to have an on-line sign-up process on our website and to eliminate cd's in favor of photos on-line and a slideshow on YouTube. That will also encourage people to sign the photo release--you sign, I make you a slideshow. You don't sign, you bring your own camera and do the work yourself. I think that's reasonable...

Okay, off to do something else! More tomorrow...

Friday, October 01, 2010

Not Hot, Not Warm, But Cool Glass--Fall is Here!

Coffee in the Atlanta skyline mug, "Ada" by The National on iTunes, Dave just headed off to take a warm bath after sitting on the porch for an hour. Me, I just put on a light sweater. Yep, fall is truly here. First day of October and life continues to feel different, better, slower--cooler.

Glass order from Bullseye was unexpectedly delivered on Wednesday so I need to let everyone who ordered know their stuff is in--and I can finally get to my last big push of orders done now that I have my base glass again. Today is also a good time to finish writing the October newsletter and get it out. What a concept--a monthly publication that actually goes out on the first of the month! I've been wrestling with the issue of classes in the studio and I think I've finally got a solution that works for me, my business model and the small, intimate nature of the studio.

Okay, it's a tiny post, but it's a post. Have a great weekend everybody.