Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bead and Button, Part Two: The Friends

One of the things I love about the internet is its ability to pull people together from all corners of the world.   What's even better is when a bunch of people who "know" each other online can finally meet in person!

I was so excited I started taking pictures before I even reached the show.  Plus it took my mind off the fact that I really don't like to fly.

I've got an arsenal of bad-flight-mangled-luggage stories from my years of traveling the world, but lucky for me, the flights were on time and luggage arrived with me (the beauty of a direct flight). 

The Bead and Button Show is the perfect place to meet up with like minds, people who love beads and jewelry (and tools!).  The excitement on the show floor is contagious.  I was going on four hours of sleep when I got to Milwaukee, yet was completely energized and excited to meet as many online friends as I could.

I registered and picked up my Bead and Button Official Tote Bag with Freebies and parked myself on the floor to start perusing and mapping out my shopping course with the directory.  While I'm sitting there, who should walk up but the lovely Sarah of Saturday Sequins!  She had on an amazing necklace and clued me in to a great book for learning how to make a seed beaded bezel (yes, seed beads are going to make an appearance in my life!).

I went to lunch with my editor, Karin (she's written a lot of books herself!) and I got to see the rough rough draft of my book.  Rather, I should say OUR book, to include all the contributors, because their work is what makes this book sing.  There is such an eclectic mix of beads and designs that there truly is something for everyone.  I can't wait to see the galley proofs!

The shopping started on Thursday evening.  I was able to go on the show floor before it opened to the public and visited with a few friends and caused a minor disaster.  Well, maybe disaster is the wrong word, but I did forget my own #6 on the How to Prepare list , turned around, and whacked a tray of Lisa Liddy's carefully sorted bead caps onto the floor two minutes before the show doors opened to the waiting throng.  Egad.

Speaking of Lisa Liddy, we had a little squeal-fest when we finally got to meet in person.  Not only have we shared a lot online, but Lisa has been my source for autographed Diana Gabaldon books and I was thrilled to be able to hug her to pieces in thanks.

BTW, Deanna is a novelist and had her books at the show!)

Hilary Frye came up with the great idea of wearing a green ribbon on our badges so other members of the Bead Soup Cafe could recognize each other on the show floor. 

And speaking of the show floor, I wish I'd remembered to take more photos while shopping, but I have a good excuse -- totally distracted by the beads!  But I did snag a shot of the tool to end all tools...

However, that wouldn't fit in my luggage and I'm pretty sure the TSA would confiscate it anyway.

I paid attention to my Rule #8 and took frequent breaks, and during one break had a chance to peruse the vintage button display in the lobby.  Wouldn't you love to have this collection????

And my favorite, mother of pearl and shell buttons....

Thursday evening I actually left the show floor before it closed -- something I've NEVER done -- but it was the best thing I could have done.  Since I knew I had to stretch my budget over three days, spending every second shopping was no longer an option and I was much more relaxed and made better decisions.  My friend Ann made sure I ate real food (yummy Greek food both days for lunch) and rested.  Ann and I first met four Bead-and-Button's ago, and we've emailed since I first started making jewelry.  She's local to Milwaukee (how lucky is she???).  

I actually took a class this year, a three-hour lampworking class geared towards tips and tricks for people who had experience with a torch but needed some questions answered.  There was only one other person in the class, and the things I learned were WELL worth the time and money.  Totally psyched to get back to the torch now.

After the class on Friday night I got together with Ann, Hilary Frye, Suzann Sladick Wilson, Eva Sherman, and Kris Lanae (whose jewelry I wanted to steal) at The Capital Grille.

We sat down at 8:30 and proceeded to close the restaurant.  It was midnight before we rolled ourselves out of there.  My face hurt from laughing so much!  And while creme brulee isn't pie, it's my dessert of choice on the rare occasion I get to go out to eat, and I wasn't disappointed.

Suzann, Ann, Eva, me, Hilary, and Kris

Back a few weeks before the show started, I put out feelers on Facebook to see who might want to get together on Saturday night.  I had no IDEA so many people would be up for it, and thankfully Lisa Peters Russ took the helm and negotiated a ballroom at the Doubletree for our dinner party.  Including me, we had 30 people meet and mingle and laugh and share.  

I arrived early to set up -- goodie bags and a page with everyone's blog or Facebook address on it were placed at each table setting -- a bag was set up to collect the bead swaps -- and a huge basket was filled with goodies for the Grand Prize drawing.

I loved that we were able to have the table set up like King Arthur's round table.  We went around the room and did a quick introduction and discovered some pretty interesting things about each other.  New Jersey and Minnesota were largely represented, and just like the Bead Soup Blog Party, we covered a few countries.

We voted for the most creative badge (winner --  Lola Surwillo) ....

....traded beads with each other, and then came the fun of The Giveaways!  I had a blast putting together an eclectic mix of goodies -- a Bead Soup book, a water-proof notepad (since good ideas do come in the shower!), a set of lampwork beads, a doodle coloring book and colored pencils, a tin of Japanese washi tape, and a package of origami paper in Tiffany glass designs.  But the Grand Prize was a basket packed full of things contributed by the party-goers -- and that basket was a DREAM!  

Who won?  

Stephanie Dixon, aka The Dixon Chick
(here with her Facebook avatar, Poopsie).

How did I pick the winners?  Well, it all involved pie.

My husband and I sat down and listed 28 different types of pie.  I then made scratch-off cards for everyone with those pie names.  The grand prize winner's card just read "PIE!".

You have no idea how HARD it was to come up with 28 pies.  

Once dinner was over I treated myself to a chocolate martini, which made me feel all sorts of giggly.  Apparently, drinks made everyone really happy -- or it could have been the huge tray of DouDoublet chocolate chip cookies!

Joni Kison, Marla Davis, Lola Surwillo, and Diana Ptaszynski

Susan Sheehan wrote the nicest thing on Facebook after the party -- "If Lori invites you to a party, GO!".  That meant the world to me. 

So let's end the post with a mini blog-hop of the party attendees!  You'll find some inspiring work out there!

Betty Stephan (and her sweet husband!)
Lisa Peters Russ (and her stunning mom!)

Hope to see you all next year!
(And this time, I won't misplace my credit card.
At least I waited until the last day to lose it!)


Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party tm.   

Join me at the Facebook group Bead Soup Cafe for bead chat, swaps, challenges, and lots of eye candy!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing with those of us who couldn't make it to the show!

  2. Looks like a world of fun. Sorry I missed it. But I did get to met you and a few other wondeful people on Facebook. Hopefully one day it will be an official meet. I am so jealous, the gift bags look amazing. And I will have to try the chocolate martini. Sounds yummy. Have a wonderful afternoon. :) BTW: Your a beautiful lady! I love the photos.

  3. What a wonderful blog post Lori! I really enjoyed reading it! you captured some great photo's. can't wait until next year!

  4. What fun you all had - loved the post & pics - Thanks! ~~T

  5. You looked like a perfect host! I guess that's what I get for not being on facebook!! :)
    But I did meet Cassie at the Show's cafe.

    Next year....

  6. ARGGGGGG. Oh well maybe next year!
    Sounds like you had a beautiful time.

  7. Thanks for the invite. It was a wonderful evening. I had lots of fun.

  8. Thanks for the invite. It was a wonderful evening.

  9. How much fun was that? For someone who wishes they were there. . .Thanks for sharing the memories!

  10. Looks like you had a blast.

  11. Thank you for sharing with those of us who don't get out much!

  12. Casssie Donlen1:05 PM

    It was totally fun and I know I giggled a lot. Thanks for hosting it Lori!!

  13. ok, another blog should be about all the freebies in gift bags, etc...with pictures!!!! I absolutely love love love freebies and gift bags and love to see what others gte!

  14. years ago I had a friend who always joked, " I only like 2 kinds of pie, hot pie & cold pie" (but please use your southern translator in your head & say 'paah') & I have to agree w/ him, although I could probably name 26 to creme brulee vs pie, we have a cafe here in tulsa (although I think it is dallas based) la madeline that serves a fresh fruit underneath custard pie that is bruleed, a noble combination

  15. Thankd=s for hosting the party Lori. I had a great time and it was so nice to meet some of people I only know through their blogs and the Bead Soup Blog Hop.

  16. What a fabulous time you all had!!!

  17. I love Bead and Button blog posts. I feel so sad when the show ends, and getting to relive it cheers me up a ton. :)

    I'm so glad we could meet! Sorry if I was a little spacey... I tend to get dizzy when it's time for lunch!

    Also, I wish I'd made it to the Saturday party. Maybe if you have one next year, I'll go! <3

  18. Oh my! As if all the treasures weren't enough. I'm trying not to be all colored with envy, man it looks like fun! Maybe one day

  19. Looks like all you ladies had such a wonderful time! There's not much better than getting together with like minded friends!

  20. Wow - bead girls certainly know how to party! - great shots - fun times.

  21. I had such a wonderful time! I hope we can do this again next year!

  22. Lori-
    Looks like everyone had an awesome time together! I'm flying out to B & B next year. I'm so psyched-already! See you then!

  23. Lovely post! I' far away from the show...but thanks to your post I was there with you ^_^

  24. It almost makes me feel like I was there. Thank you so much for posting. I get a fun rush just reading it all! --Diane

  25. Lori, Thank you so much for posting pics of your trip. I especially loved the one with Lisa, Susan and Deanna! I've never met them but have been corresponding with them for about 5 years. You look so beautiful and happy in these pictures; it's so nice to see you that way! You shouldn't be surprised at the party compliment you received; other than the birth of my own child, I would chose to party with you any day, any where, over any thing else I can think of!

  26. Wow what a jam packed show, looks like you had an amazing time

  27. Oh, what a grand time! Great loot, good friends, both old and new, learning new things. Sounds perfect.

  28. It sounds like you all had such a wonderful time, I'm so jealous! :)

    And you mention the Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies. MMM!!! I haven't had one of those in years but I remember I used go to a convention at a Doubletree and would beg a cookie from the front desk every time I passed by there! :)

  29. I don't even know what to say to this. . . what an amazing time it sounds like you had. I'm absolutely jealous, but also so very happy you shared your experience with us. Thank you for all the details!!

  30. Lori, oh man, you look like you had an AWESOME time!! What I wouldn't give to have been able to go and walk around with you and go to your party. It looked like an amazing time!!

  31. Oh I so want to go! Well it looks as though me and Amy (from the FB page) are going to plan on going in 2014 together.

  32. Lori - thank you for hosting the Bead Soup dinner!
    What a great time!

    I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to organize the event, and put all the adorable little finishing touches to make us all feel welcomed and a part of the family.

    thank you!



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