Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The One Where Lori Goes Out of Her Mind

Things have been hectic and hair-raising at the Anderson household, let me tell you.  Everything is tumbled around, topsy turvy, none of it going together or making coherent sense -- and that makes me antsy to say the least.  I'm hopping here, there, everywhere, on one foot, with half a mind, spinning out of control and going slightly crazy.

Zack's marble run.  I feel like the marble.

So what's going on?

I'm not sure if you remember my telling you we're building on to our house.  We started in the summer, and the contractors worked worked worked on everything they could bang bang bang.

Until last week.

Last week, they moved inside.

addition before the siding and windows went on -- screened porch goes in the middle

Why is this a bad thing?  Because I have my biggest show of the year NEXT WEEKEND.   While I *should* be making jewelry the entire time Zack is at school, instead I'm jumping out of the way of walls coming down, floors being torn up and relaid, walls being painted, electricity being turned on and off -- I'm losing my MIND.  I'm not good in these conditions.  I really, REALLY need to make jewelry for this show, and I'm starting to freak out a bit.   I have visions of myself hurling strands of beads at the walls and having a 3-year old's hissy fit, but instead I go for a drive to the next town over for coffee.  

And occasionally I just giggle hysterically because at times, that's all you can do!

Today I came back from dropping Zack off at school to discover the time had come to start moving furniture out of the old section of the living room into the new section so the old section could get new flooring.  This is all well and good, but if you remember, I like to read, and I have the books and bookcases to prove it.

The photo is of one of four eight-foot tall bookshelves in my house.  As you can see, the shelves are packed not just with books but mementos and trinkets.  
And this picture is of just ONE bookcase's contents.  The sparsest one.  Egads.  My back is killing me. 

Let's not even talk about having to empty THIS out tonight so we could move it into the kitchen.  It holds all my beads.

I got the cabinet from
This has been my past two weeks.  I feel like I've gotten nothing done.  I'm frustrated.  I'm worried about the show -- I don't think I have enough stock.  And drywall dust is OH so much fun to get off the furniture.

But I shouldn't complain.  The house is going to be lovely, and all this moving around is giving me a living room with a true library and (the only thing I asked for) a huge, old-fashioned claw foot soaking tub.

So many changes -- Zack in a new school, the house getting close to finished, and reorganizing my life to make room for yet more changes on the horizon.  As I read this over (and wonder if you've gotten this far!) I realize that although I don't like change, when faced with it, the only thing to do is dive right into the middle of it, embrace its prickliness, and do my level best to go with the flow.  Sometimes that does mean I'll leave the house and run away for coffee.  Sometimes it means I'll do paperwork or marketing instead of creating.  I think the important bit is to keep DOING. 

I wonder -- what would you do if your studio got flipped topsy turvey for two weeks, and you had a big show coming?  I'd love some creative ideas!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and writes the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.


  1. Oh, what a pain! I was thinking if it's possible I would pack myself a beady to-go bag and work at the coffee shop. Best wishes for the show - don't over do it!

  2. Just remember the disarray is short lived...but I would be flipping out about the upcoming show, but that's just my nature.

  3. Ooohhhh been there and done that in almost every aspect you are talking about. LOL
    It will all be worth it in the end.

  4. Use part of your table at the show to set up an earrings-to-go display. Put a sign up advertising it, with a price, use two of your clear plastic compartment containers and put some beads that people can rummage around in. Make a set formula...two beads + findings = $__ In the other container, put the earring findings. Let them pick their beads, their findings and then you whip them up for them in front of them. Not only will they get a set of custom earrings, but they will feel like they had a hand in making them. Be sure you've got someone else to watch the rest of the booth while you're busy making earrings. Maybe this will help!?

  5. Anne, I totally had the exact same thought! Too funny... we must be sisters separated at birth. LOL Lori, wherever you find sanity... I wish you all the success in the world with your show!


  6. I think a coffee escape is perfectly sensible. Did you bring a book? Must have a book. But seriously, I can indeed empathize with the frenzy and panic. It's all worthwhile in the end but when you are getting ready for a show, all you want is space, time, and quiet. Good luck with show prep!

  7. Oh, I vote for the tantrum like a 3 year-old. I find they are very cathartic. :)

  8. oh wow..i've remodeled while still living in the house..big pain the the...well you know what.
    do you have to be at home when the work is being done?
    if not, i would ask a friend if i could work at their house during the hours zak is at school..or set up in the garage to do it.
    i've done pottery in a second bathroom and even a closet when there was no real space..
    oh your photo keeps making me think about swirled white might need a lot of that too.

  9. How well do you know your neighbors?!?!? Just kidding.

    I think I would seek out any part of the house the contractors won't be upstairs bedroom? the basement? anywhere that I could surround myself with all my supplies, turn the music up loud enough to not hear the noise, and create away. No matter what, we never feel like we have enough for shows... it's frustrating. Just remember your two hands can only do so much.
    Take care,


  10. We moved to our new house on December 1, 2009, so I know EXACTLY what you are speaking of! I am STILL living out of some boxes. I had to make do with what I could. The good news is that I am like that for the one and only show that I do each year in October. I never have a ton of stuff compared to other booths just dripping with it, but my things are one of a kind and that makes them more special! No one but you knows how much you are going to bring, so the patrons won't be worried. I would say that you should have a schedule, like how many pieces you can conceivable do each day and then celebrate when you get there! I know that it will be great and look at the payoff! Reading a book, whilst sipping wine and eating chocolates in that tub sounds divine!
    Enjoy the day!

  11. I'd keep on going where ever I could. Sometimes, the contractors have to work around me. It's been done before!

  12. I agree with Anne. Or you could take your bead goodies to the home of a sympathetic friend and work there. My daughter just returned from a year in Korea and is staying with us until her new apartment is available. She is staying in my studio/guest room. Sigh. I love having her here, but miss the easy access to my beads, tools etc. But at least I can go bead at the dining room table. You'll have to go further away.

  13. My work space has been moved about 5 times in less that two years - occasionally I will make do with about two square feet or less of space on a table or the couch...
    You can do it!

  14. Hang in there! I had to smile at the image of you laughing hysterically as an option during this mess! And while you're running off for coffee, you can always call me to vent! Can't wait to see you at the show! :-) You'll get there....

  15. Do you have a wonderful local bead store with work areas set up? Or maybe a nearby friend who wouldn't mind if you took over her kitchen table for an afternoon...?

  16. I feel for you Lori but I have only one suggestion to make things better. I think I'd be inclined to just miss the show this once BUT you'll probably be surprised how much stock you've got. Often less is more.

    In the days when I was in business with my sister, the first time we did a 3 day event, we didn't make nearly enough stock. For day 3, we were up til all hours the night before and by 11am on day 3, we sat at an empty table full of empty display items and we just made things.

    As soon as we put something out, it was bought and we had loads of people talking and laughing with us about our mistake. Lots of people took cards and we did get several orders from the website in the following days.

    Hope things calm down for you soon.

    Whilst I'm here, I've been meaning to thank you for recommending the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, I just finished reading Cross Stitch whilst on holiday - it was a big book week all in and all - and I really enjoyed Diana's writing. (I was thinking in a Scottish accent for days!!)

  17. Lori, you are handling this upheaval marvelously well! You are taking a break when you need and you are giggling when needed! You will be fine for the show, just take a deep breath and keep on going like you are! Everything will work out in the end, you will see. And you will have a wonderful new space to be in, just keep that in mind.
    Good luck on your show! You will do awesome and make sure you take care of yourself!

  18. This always happens to me for a couple of big shows that I do each year. My husband always reminds that I have always had enough pieces.
    Always remember less is more. I am sure you have more than you think!
    I always take a picture of my booth at each show and when I look back at it and realize, "heh, I did I have enough stuff!" You will do great.

    P.S. your house renovation looks like it will be beautiful.

  19. Besides running and screaming down the street??? I swear my life is in constant chaos--so I think that I'm good at going with the flow (for the most part).
    I really like Marcie's comment about the earrings...what about just having pre-made doo-dads (for charms, earrings, pendants). Those are quick to make and require very little space to work in. Choose a color family to work with on a day and grab beads all in that family. Whip up say 10-15 of each color family and then set a price. Your customer's can pick what they want to combine--slide onto chain for a necklace, a simple bracelet--add a charm of choice...earrings, etc.

    Hope all goes well and you will, of course, come through with flying colors!
    Bead Happy!

  20. I wish we lived closer, my dining room table is yours!

  21. I wish we lived closer - my dining room table is all yours!

  22. Your show will be fabulous! Your pieces will sell like gang busters! You will love a good soak in the tub followed by some quiet time in the library and breathe! This will all come but......getting there oh my! You are holding up great and hey maybe next time add a little baileys to the coffee and giggle away!!!!!


  23. Ohh, Lori - your description sound funny and awful at the same time. Poor girl! I'd take a deep breathe and even more coffee. Hope you get through this somehow and sell every single piece at the show as a comfort!

  24. First - Go ahead and have yourself a good cry (or tantrum). This will let out some of the stress and frustration!!
    Next, maybe you have a compassionate friend or neighbor that would let you escape to their house for a little beading. Take just enough stuff to bang out lots of earrings! I'd concentrate on making earrings, because they are usually lower in price than other jewelry items, and sell more easily. If someone comes to your booth, and loves your work, it will be easy for them to buy a pair of earrings, while they're thinking about the necklace they love. And, you could always offer to make a necklace or bracelet to match the earrings they just bought!
    Hang in there girl & keep your eye on the prize!! (that tub looks awesome!!)

  25. Ah, this too shall pass....someday you'll look back fondly at the stress and wonder what you were thinking.

    Just go have another cuppa!

    I know, I am not helpful!

  26. Hang in there! (and i'm very jealous of your bead storage - so tidy!)

  27. Lori, I went through a major home rehab that lasted 10 months ... I know what you're talking about. Any chance you can rent out a corner of the coffee shop to set up a beading station? :-) It sounds like as close to paradise as you're going to get for a while.

  28. Well, it's not quite the same as the madness you're experiencing, but my A/C went out last weekend rednering the house unliveable (middle of a massive heat wave) so me and my beads went to a hotel. The kid went to gramma's house.

    Not the cheapest solution, but needs must when the Devil drives (or the A/C goes out).

  29. Oh, Lori,
    You have my deepest sympathy! We had three downstairs rooms done (which meant everything from those rooms were moved into other rooms!) We finally started eating at the neighbors and then they had work and ate at our house. I was nuts with people in my house all the time. I wish you luck in getting your jewelry done. I hope things are going well for Zack!

  30. Oh Lori,I can sympathize with everything you are going through! Been there on all counts. I had mini meltdowns from time to time during the renovations, wine was a definite plus! I often wondered why I would put myself under so much pressure at once, maybe we do our best work then? On the plus side the new spaces and tub will be wonderful, I envy you your library space , and that bead storage cabinet! Deep breaths
    (preferably not in the drywall dust)

  31. Say, my house looks a lot like that and WE are NoT remodeling!! Just one of those cases of bad timing. Contractors gotta do what they gotta do! Look ahead to the soak in that tub while you're telling yourself it was worth it! Sometimes less is better at a show, but I've never put that into practice!

  32. Well Lori, since you can't change your situation you have to change the way you think about it.

    You need to find yourself a place to work. Friends? Family?
    I know my bead store would let me use one of their classrooms because I teach there.

    You're very lucky and you have so much to look forward to when this is all finished. Just envision it.

  33. I would pack a bag of supplies with some unfinished projects and head over to one of my beading buddies home. Hang in there, everything will work out!

  34. Can you work out of your lampwork shed?

    And thank you for sharing the I'm in love!!!

  35. I wish I lived closer so I could help you with some of that furniture/books. And also to enjoy a cup of Joe with you afterwards. Just remember, deep breaths!

  36. I would borrow or rent someone else's studio for the remainder of the remodel. No wonder you are losing your mind. I like the coffee shop idea too because that may drum up some business too!! Hope you are surviving!!

  37. Wonderful wonderful changes Lori! Exciting times!! ox


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