Saturday, June 29, 2013

Why I'm Not Above Bribery.

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

Looking at the title of this post, you might be wondering... what exactly am I accepting bribes for? Well, put your wallet away and save your money to buy beads, because I'm not taking bribes from you. I'm taking bribes... from me.

(Although I'll always accept donations of stray Barbie dolls, flamingos, and Oreos. I'm just saying.)

You see, I've been really busy with my e-book. I've put a lot of work into it over the past few weeks, and I can honestly say that I love it so far. It's been a ton of fun to write -- even editing has been fun, if you can believe it!

It makes me wish I'd started working on it sooner. The thing is? I might never have started it if I hadn't gotten sick of procrastinating and decided to do something drastic. And yes, that thing was bribery. Here's how I bribe myself...

If there's something I really want to do, like go down to the basement and dye doll hair or watch a movie on the couch, I tell myself that I can do it if I do some writing first. Once I've done a good chunk of work on the book, I'll play around for an hour or so, and then I'll start the cycle again. It's amazing how much I can get done in a day when I use this approach.

It took me forever to consider it. For most of my life, I thought bribery was a bad thing, especially when it came to creative work. Because working on the thing should be its own reward, right? And if I wasn't excited to work on the thing, it was a sign I wasn't meant to do it, right? And separating my creative life into things that are fun and things that are work is an unhealthy attitude, right?

It makes sense, right until you get to the part where I'm an anxious, nervous person who gets more anxious and nervous when a project is important to her. A person who finds the act of sitting down in front of an open document more intimidating than actually writing... and who keeps forgetting how awesome writing feels once she gets going.

I've only read the first part of The War of Art, and I'm not sure I'll get any further than that, but Steven Pressfield calls this persistent persnickety procrastination Resistance. He sees Resistance as an enemy we have to fight so we can do the things that really matter.

I don't agree with everything he has to say, but I do see Resistance as an enemy. After all, it's a part of me, and we're often our own worst enemy, right? So when it comes to fighting this enemy, I don't mind fighting dirty. I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses, I know all the tricky little things I do to sabotage myself, and now I'm learning how to use these to my advantage.

I love learning new things, which is awesome, but I also love becoming obsessed with these things and using them as an excuse to abandon projects. Sneaky, sneaky me. So I'm using my obsessions against my Resistance. I'm making my pursuit of fun new things contingent on following through with projects, and in doing this, I'm turning my self-sabotage into motivation. Sneaky, sneaky me.

And the really funny thing is? Bribery isn't just keeping me motivated -- it's keeping me sane. If I'm alternating between work and play, I'm bringing more balance to my life and preventing creative burnout.  I'm also giving my days the right amount of structure. Enough to keep me moving, but not so much that I feel like I'm in high school again.

(In case you're wondering... high school was like a four year raisin. Yuckballs!!!)

In a perfect world, I wouldn't need to trick myself into working. I'd wake up every morning, bursting with energy and impatient to get started, and it would take a team of super strong flamingos to keep me away from opening that file or making those kits or washing those dishes. But it doesn't rain sequins, and Oreos don't grow on trees, and every house does not come with its own Don Knotts clone, so I'm thinking, this isn't a perfect world.

So I do what I need to do. And things get done.

 (Silly Don. There are never too many beads!)

Now it's your turn: do you bribe yourself, or use any other little tricks, to get through your Resistance? Thanks for sharing with me!

Sequintastically yours,


PS: The Don Knotts thing is an inside joke between me and Mr. Sequin. It's hard to explain, but believe me -- it's hilarious. Also, I make the Don Knotts face when I concentrate.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Exciting New Things!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

As you can see from the title of this post, there are some exciting new things coming to Saturday Sequins. Some of them are still Top Secret, and some of them are still in the brainstorming phase, but one of them is ready for sharing!

I'm super jazzed about this, (with a side of anxious) and I hope you'll be jazzed, too.

The Thing!!

As you know, I like giving advice. I mean, I really like giving advice. And not just any old advice, either -- advice that often puts on sequined army boots and joyfully stomps all over conventional, or popular, ways of looking at things.

Which is why I'm excited to announce... that I'm writing an e-book!

See? Exciting!!!

You see, I like writing as much as I like giving advice. So I thought, what better way to combine two of my passions than to write an e-book based on some of my favoritest blog posts? To expand on them, and to take them in some fun (and useful) new directions.

If you like what I've had to say about the emotional side of making a creative living, and you enjoyed my posts Don't Give Up and Instead of Giving Up, I do believe you're going to love this project as much as I do.


(I'm running out of headlines...)

What's it about? Well, it's about some of the silly reasons people come up with for giving up on the things they love and the one and only reason to run away from your creative work like you're being chased by raisins (which, if you remember, are evil).

I've written most of it already, so I can tell you that yes, it features my oddball sense of humor, and yes, it definitely tramples some popular ways of looking at things. And like all the things I write, it's based on a problem I had and the way I solved it.

The difference? So far, it's twice as long as a regular blog post -- meaning there are twice as many flamingo references! Also, there's going to be a fun workbook section. If you liked the (totally optional) homework I assigned at the end of my Limbo post, you'll love this section, times ten.


I want to make this e-book just as awesome as it can possibly be. I could probably finish it by next Saturday, but I want to make it extra special, so I'm going to take an extra week to refine it and to add some fun little surprises. 

Which means the e-book will launch on Saturday, July 6th. 

(Which is totally scary!!!! But in a good way.)

And in honor of Independence Day, it'll be on sale. Think of it as a celebration of your independence... from the totally freaking lame excuses people use when they tell you to toss in the towel. And, of course, the lame excuses you use on yourself.

You can help!

I also want to give my favorite people -- namely, all of you -- the chance to give me some input. So if there's anything you want me to include in the book, any issues that have been gnawing at you like a bunch of hungry raisins, I would be thrilled if you'd drop me an email or let me know in the comments. 

And if I use your suggestion? Even if it's already in the book, I'll acknowledge you in the Thank You section, because you'll help me confirm that yes, this is an important and relevant thing to write about.

That's all for now! Thanks for putting your two cents (or two sequins) in!
Sequintastically yours,

-- Sarah

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bead Show! (Part II.)

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

Last week I showed you some pieces from the Bead Dreams exhibit, which is always my favorite part of the bead show. Now I'm going to tell you about the rest of the trip!

Day 1

The first day was a travel day. On the way to Milwaukee, we stopped for lunch at Angelfood Bakery. The weather was gorgeous, so we sat outside. While we were eating, a very nice lady left her puppy outside the bakery and had no problem with me fawning all over the little darlin'.

(The puppy didn't mind, either. They usually don't!)

I should mention that a certain fuzzy pink someone demanded to come on the trip.

He had to make sure I didn't snuggle too many puppies while I was away.

Day 2

This was the day Mr. Sequin had his photography class. 

I let myself sleep in -- I didn't have any classes that day, and it wasn't quite shopping time. I had lunch with Mr. Sequin at our usual place, which makes the most amazeballs grilled cheese, and after that I just walked around. This gave me a chance to break in my new bag and find some Oreos.

(Mr. Skull Bag, the newest member of the Saturday Sequins family.)

I spent a lot of time looking at the Bead Dreams pieces. I'm glad I did, because not only were they gorgeous, but I recognized so many names! Each time I came back to look again, I saw another friend. Wow, I know some talented people.

After Mr. Sequin's class, we had dinner at the Calderone Club, and I had some amazing, melt-in-your-mouth meatballs. And as we were getting ready to leave, Mr. Sequin pointed out that Mandi Ainsworth had just walked in. So of course, I had to meet her.

(I'm hoping I didn't trample too many waiters on the way. Can you tell I get excited easily?)

Mandi is just as lovely in person as she is online. And so very patient, too. A friend of hers tried to snap a photo of us together, and I was a difficult subject (this happens a lot). The first time, my face got tired from smiling, so I did kind of a Billy Idol sneer. I flinched the second time because I had a hair on my face, and I thought it was a spider. And then, for some reason, I struck this crazy superhero pose with my neck at an awkward angle.

(I'm not even sure how I got it that way. I guess my superhero name would be The Pink Owl.)

And then it was time for Meet The Teachers!!!! Getting ready, I channeled my inner teenage girl and changed my necklace at least three times. I finally decided to wear this one, which was a great match for my favorite sparkly skirt:

Meet The Teachers was wonderful. I saw friends like Sherry Serafini, Vanessa Walilko, Susan Lenart Kazmer, and Cindy Holsclaw -- Cindy and I even geeked out over chemistry, which was fun and hilarious. I also got to see Dana Powers, who was in my class with Sherry last Fall. Terrific lady.

I made some new friends, too. I finally got to meet Laura McCabe, and she was so nice! She didn't seem to mind my fangirl squealing too terribly much, and we bonded over a shared love of all things circus. And of course, I got to meet Amee Sweet-McNamara. I could already tell I was going to like her.

By the end of the night, I was exhausted, but very happy. All I wanted to do was drink a bathtub full of ice water and go to sleep! I only did one of these.

Day 3

This was an exciting day for me -- the day of my class with Amee! Now, I've had some good teachers at the show over the years, some great teachers, and even one not-so-good one. Amee was one of the best instructors I've ever had at Bead and Button! 

She had this boisterous, bubbly personality and a great way of setting boundaries with the class. She taught us so many little tips and tricks that made the technique easier to learn. And she gave all of us so much individual attention! By the end, I wanted to tag along with her to the rest of her classes, just to observe her teaching style.

And soutache and I? I think we're going to be friends. I'm pretty proud of the little component I made.

(It looks like a butterfly!)

Then it was time... for shopping. Which, of course, is my other favorite part of the show. The very first thing I did was go to Whimbeads so I could shop for seed beads, and most importantly, meet Kinga Nichols, who was working in their booth.

In case you didn't know, Kinga is one of my favoritest bead embroiderers ever. Just look how incredible she is! She's absolutely precious in person, too, as you might guess.

After that, I made my usual trip to BeadAlgo. And just when I thought my crystal buying was finished... I stumbled across C & S Beads! They had these itty bitty crystal beads, which were perfect for doll jewelry. To top it off, Bob Onderlinde was a sweet guy and made me feel so welcome there. Love ya, Bob!

My last stop of the evening was Beyond Beadery. I could have spent all day there, but at this point, I was running out of money, so I limited myself to some bugle beads. As usual, I met some fantastic people in line.

(Deborah K, you need to move to Illinois!!! I don't care how awesome Minneapolis is. Also, Betcey... who was that adorable boy you had working for you? He was a sweetheart -- bring him back next year, OK?)

Wait. Did I say this was the last stop? I was kidding. Mr. Sequin and I made a last minute stop to Green Girl Studios. I didn't buy anything, but Mr. Sequin did. And oh my gosh! I got to meet Greg Ogden, creator of the zombie and skull beads that I love so much. I found out that he's making a skull with a hinged jaw. A hinged jaw!!!! Remind me to buy one next year.

Day 4

This wasn't an eventful day. It was a travel day, and because we met up with Vanessa the previous night for chatting, Sean Connery impressions, and dessert, I was pretty wiped out from all the fun... so I slept through most of it.

But! I was awake for milkshakes at The Chocolate Shoppe. Oh, how I love that Zanzibar chocolate.

And that, in a nutshell, is my trip. I had a blast this year, like I always do. And like it always does, it went by way too fast! I'm already looking forward to next year. 

Now it's your turn: Did you go to the show? What did you do? What did you buy???

Thanks for stopping by, and have a sequintastic day!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bead Show! Part I.

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

It's hard to believe I'm back from the Bead and Button Show already, but here I am. At home, safe and sound, with my beads and my sequins and my punk rock dolls. Happy, but exhausted. A lot happened in just a few days!

I plan to tell you all about it next weekend when I'm a little more coherent. Until then, here are some photos from the Bead Dreams 2013 exhibit.

 Gorgeous chain maille jacket by Vanessa Walilko.

 Amazing copper necklace by Ruth Jensen. 

 Astonishing wire tree cuff by Mary Tucker. 

Unbelievable fish necklace by Kinga Nichols.

Sherry Serafini is once again extraordinary!

Fantastic eyeball corset by Laura McCabe. 

Gorgeous necklace by Virginia Jensen...

 With a view of the back of the piece. 

This last piece wasn't a Bead Dreams entry, but I absolutely had to include it here. Because... amazeballs.

 Beaded kimono by Takako Sako. Kirei desu!

There were so many other amazing pieces. I wish I could include them all, because they all deserve a place in this post! However, because of glare from display cases and my respect for Mr. Sequin's need to take a break from taking photos so he can go buy beads, I'm going to stop here.

Stay tuned for more Bead and Button awesomeness! Featuring several of today's featured artists.

Now it's your turn: did you go to the show? Did you have fun? And what did you buy???!!!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a sequintastic day!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Two Years Of Sequins!

Hello, everyone!

Today is my two year blogiversary. Can you believe it?

I wish I had something profound to say, but all I can think of is... wow. Just wow. That's a whole lot of posting, and that's a whole lot of sequins.

Thanks for reading this blog! It wouldn't be as fun without all of you. Seriously, you rock.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Another Doll Fashion Show!

 Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

Apologies for my absence last week. I was away, puppy sitting for my favorite nephew dog, and I didn't get my Internet connection figured out until the last day. 

Of course, there's another reason for my dropping off the face of the Earth. My obsession with making doll clothes continues, and it's taken some fun and surprising turns.

After my last post, I continued to play around with felt. And as promised... I made a sequined skirt! 

I also started playing around with other fabrics. The black shirt is fleece, the red tube top is stretchy t-shirt material, and so is the other shirt.  And yes, that's a denim skirt with sequin and thread embroidery -- I see a lot of these in my future. 

(In case you're wondering about the doll with the cotton candy pink hair, I dyed her hair just this evening. I absolutely love how it turned out! It's so soft and shiny, and it's the exact shade I was aiming for. If you're interested in learning how I colored it, let me know -- I'd be happy to share the technique.

I did another one, too -- but I didn't have an outfit for her. So I'll have to show her off another time.)

After making my first pair of doll pants, I decided to make some skirts out of cotton quilting fabric. Some of them were pretty cute, but a few of them were too long... and this is where I got my brilliant idea. Why not slide the skirt up past the waist, add a ribbon, and make a dress?

And that's how my Garden Party series came to be. I jazzed up some of the outfits with simple bracelets and necklaces, and the doll in the daisy dress is wearing an itty bitty fascinator I made during my college years. Don't the dolls look like they're ready to sit in the garden, drink lemonade, and talk about scandalous things?

(And in case you're wondering about the doll in the pansy dress, I gave her the haircut. My many, many years of botched Barbie hairdos have finally paid off. She looks adorable! The messier her hair gets, the better it looks.)

I've made plenty of other things, but they'll have to wait for later. In the meantime, I see a lot more doll jewelry in my future. And some more sequined skirts. I've also been playing around with darts and made my first dress while I was puppy sitting. I'm hoping to work my way up to elaborate beaded ballgowns... but for now, cotton fabric works!

(There may also be purple or magenta hair.)

And that concludes this week's doll fashion show. I hope you enjoyed it! Being Barbie's dressmaker and stylist continues to make me insanely happy and to put my creativity into overdrive.

Now it's your turn: what are you making? I'd love to know.

Thanks for sharing, and have a sequintastic day!