Sunday, August 31, 2008 - the definitive anti-rumor site

You've just gotten an email forwarded to you by your best friend, a plea to send a postcard to a dying child whose mother was kidnapped by a perfume spritzer at Walmart as part of a gang initiation.

Before you dig out the postcards and stamps - toodle on over to and just make sure that this is a legit plea, or that it's not at least 5 years old. is THE rumor busting site, with the full scoop on whatever that weird photo you just got in your email is about, or the horror story, or the sob story too. Or, if you are looking for a little light reading - check out some of their categories. Separate the facts from the fiction.

Course, your friend is going to hate you for revealing that the email that she forwarded to you and 200 of her closest friends is actually a hoax, but hey - when the occasional real one comes around - it's a real gem!

Like this one - "Truck Jumps Culvert"

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sneak Peek at Next Week

tb8r264 Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Toho Seedbeads - Inside-Color Ocean Green/CrystalComing this week - seedbead city. Yowsers - More Tobo 8/0s and now we're starting in on the Toho 11/0s.

And maybe, hopefully - I'll get the new stone of the month done too. Woohoo! Brioche Agate - which sounds more like an exotic dessert to me.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Grey Day

Today was grey, mostly. The sky was grey, the weather was grey, there was a mist on everything that made all the world look saturated with water, but not with colour. Waiting at an intersection - the car across from me was a happy orange, a lovely ripe mango flesh colour. Mmm. Tasty and happy. I watched, as four cars in various shades of grey crossed the intersection. Then more. The cars next to me were grey. Look - a dull sage grey. And more grey. And oooh, a black car! More grey. I sat, stunned, as a parade of endless grey cars, filled with grey people and their grey lives? sped past.

What happened to the colour of our cars? When did it get decided that we all had to be so conservative and dull? Look at me - I'm so wise I have to advertise that I'm dull and make safe choices. Bleh! Remember when cars were Turquoise and Coral and Peach. Or how about Lime Gold? Or Chevy Orange and Candy Apple Red?

Think I'm exaggerating - check this out - top car colour choices for 2006.

Hmmph. I still liked the tasty little orange sports car. You rock!

Toronto Bead Oasis Show

Bead sure and put this on your calendar of beady things to do. September 19 to 21, 2008 at the
Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building, Toronto. The Oasis is one of the two don't-miss bead shows in the big smoke in the fall. Always a lot of vendors, lots of classes, and lots to see and do. Note - this year it is in the South Building. See you there!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fond farewell to our back to school staff!

Well, we've had a busy day around here reorganizing work schedules. It's back to school next week, and I want to wish a fond farewell to Carol. She has been awesome at shipping out all of your packages on the weekend. Carol has been accepted into the Pharmacy program, with a pretty intense workload. Thank you Carol for all of your help this year. We'll miss you!

In other news, Erin will also be going back to school this year to study Physiology, and Anatomy. Fortunately, we'll still have Erin around on weekends. Erin will be taking over Carol's job. You can still count on all of your packages to be shipped out with Erin's incredible attention to detail :-)

Some of you who come into the store may know Rosalyn. She has just agreed to take on Erin's role as our online customer service co-ordinator. We'll give her a few weeks to settle in, but I can assure you, she'll be just as awesome as Erin was....and those are some pretty big boots to fill!

Congrats to the three of you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Knitting and Crochet @ BeadFX

Don't worry, we haven't gone crazy, sold off all our beads and replaced them with a ton of yarn!

This fall BeadFX will be offering two brand-spanking-new courses on how to crochet using beads and fine gauge wire. (And if you've had a look through the October issue of Bead & Button, you'll know just how hot bead crochet will be this fall!) Stephanie Dixon, a member of the Toronto Bead Society and avid "hooker", will be teaching basic (no crochet experience necessary!) and intermediate wire bead crochet classes, starting Saturday September 13th.

That same day, BeadFX will also be at the Waterloo County Knitters' Fair, with a selection of perle cotton, seedbeads and other knitting accoutrements. The Knitters' Fair, which runs from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm at Bingemans in Kitchener, will have more than 70 vendors displaying colourful yarns, knitting books, patterns and accessories.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I love my GPS

I love my GPS - it has made my driving life - and consequently a large portion of my life - sooooo much easier. Gone are the days of hassling with other people's descriptions "Turn left at the house that used to be blue, . . . ." I can route around traffic jams, take alternate routes without fear of becoming hopelessly lost, and fearlessly find my way to new places. It's great when driving w my husband too, it feeds him directions that he likes, "Drive 1.3 kilometers and turn left" - as opposed to "Just head that-a-way and I'll tell you when to turn."
It has a screen capture - you can see that there I am - parked at beadFX. The alternate route that I take due to the current construction shows clearly, along with the frequent detour into McDonalds. ;-)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Top Ten Things You Need to Know to Make Jewelry

I saw this in passing in one of the many magazines that are precariously balanced on the edge of the sink in my "reading room." I didn't actually read the article yet - but I started to think, what are those 10 things? I may have to find the article and read it, because I can't come up with 10 things. If I expanded to 10 - you could make every kind of jewelry ever.

So I will go with a shorter list:

The Five Essential Things you Need to Know to Make Jewelry

This, of course, doesn't cover all jewelry ever! - we're talking basic strung necklaces, bracelets and most dangly earrings. This is going to give you a lot to work with.

  1. How to tie a secure knot
  2. How to crimp
  3. How to make a simple loop
  4. How to make a wrapped loop
  5. How to open a jump ring
First up - a secure knot that won't slip out. Gone are the days of stringing on thread or (shudder) "gut." Even "Tigertail" - a huge improvement in it's day, has been supplanted by a modern range of truly delightful products for stringing. Most of these are multi-strand "cables" that are strong, flexible, kink resistant and even come in colours. Most of these new cables are happy to be secured with a crimp bead, but there is still a time and a place for a knot, especially in inexpensive jewelry, like a Sunday afternoon making jewelry with the kids.

The Surgeon's Knot is the knot of choice for a knot that won't unravel.
You can use this knot to knot to itself, or to knot two threads together.
The classic knot, the overhand knot, is knot that you all will know.
It's a loop and a poke and over and through, and that is the way it should go.

A beefier knot, we all are sure, is to immediately tie another.
We tie a new knot on top of the old, and hope that they work together.

Ah, but it's tricky - this knot on a knot - sometimes they don't get along.
You have to remember that opposites attract, or else the knot will be wrong.

So if you knot with the left over the right, the next must be right over left.
And conversely you see, if it right over left, then left over right it must be.

This give you a knot, a not-a-bad knot, that is known as the knot that is Square.
The feeble old knot, with both sides to match, is knot that we just can not bear.
It's so weak and infirm, it makes us all squirm, it is known as the knot of the Granny.

But a more robust knot, the Surgeon's knot - can be made just one more loop.
This knot has it's charms, you can stitch on old arms! It's strength is something uncanny.

So tie up your thread, your ribbon or bread, and make sure your loops alternate.
And then at the last, don't go so fast, tuck the line through the loop one more time.

Now pull it tight, snug it up right, and have faith that your knot is secure. But make sure at first, that you have it in the right place, 'cuz you surely don't want to undo 'er.

(with my apologies to whomever I just channeled there - Dr. Seuss I think!)

This is an example of how you might use the knot. I have used a crimp bead as a bead for it's look, not to secure the knot.

88827972 Tools - Adhesive -  G-S Hypo-tube Cement -  (1)A little dab of glue can also be used make sure the cut ends of the thread don't fray out. Crazy glue, or our Hypotube cement are excellent for this. Why the heck some resources continue to recommend putting nail polish on knots is beyond me - like we don't have glue? Puhleese!

Next week - Crimping, how to, what to crimp onto, and why.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Trunk Show

What a blast! We always have so much fun at these events. It's really nice to get together with other lampworkers, some of whom we don't get a chance to see very often. Lot's of laughter was heard throughout the day, and our customers we're so excited to show off their new bead purchases.

I'm pretty sure we snared a few potential glass bead newbies to join us in upcoming classes too ;-)

Lot's of pics, so I'll keep the writing short....what that really means is that thanks to Dwyn, I'm addicted to word games on freerice. This is why my blog posting is so late today. (grin)

Waste Time while doing Good

Just what you need - a way to waste time while doing good - so you are torn between the guilt of knowing you should be doing something else, and the guilt of not doing a good thing. donates rice while you idle away your time on their site, paid for by sponsors whose ads you see while playing. You answer vocabulary questions and rice is donated for every right answer you get. Quick - what's the meaning of "entomophilous"? Blow this and a child starves! (Pollinated by insects, btw. Now you know.)

It's a clever idea, and has spawned a couple of imitators - and which donates food to shelters, again, for the priviledge of exposing eyeballs to ads. FreeRice is particularly sticky (the site, which means that you hang around it, as it gives you a never-ending stream of questions, of increasing difficulty. The other two have one question per day, so while you can visit every day, there is little incentive to stick around.

So there you go, more ways to waste your precious time, when you could be beading. Now, if they just had a website that donated seconds to needy beaders . . . .

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sneak Peek at Next Week

Normally, I post the sneak peek at next week on Sat. am. This week, however - I have no idea what you are going to get next week. About all I can promise at this point are some of the fabulous reproduction vintage Czech buttons. These showy, iridescent buttons are show-stoppers, for sure.

It has not been what I call a productive week - due to various computer issues. I spent the better part of Thursday convincing my computer that it was NOT missing a hard drive - despite it's opinion of the matter. I've dealt with downloading images from a camera that freezes whenever you delete an image, and I've encountered an error message that indicates that Windows is shutting down a suspect process that is accessing protected memory - except, of course, that the process that is accessing it is, in fact, a legitimate MS process. Typical Microsoft. Have I mentioned my ongoing love/hate for computers? It's like having a giant box of really cool crayons, that blow up and erase your drawings w/o warning.

Or, like finding a big bag of beads, and then spilling them all on the floor. Ecstasy and agony! Anyway, hopefully, by next week I will have sorted out a bunch more stuff. Until then - you'll just have to wait and see!

Oh, and pop in and visit our trunk show - come for the free food, stay for the demos!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Buying for BeadFX

Today was the first day of the Market at Beadfest. This is the day that jewellery designers and buyers like myself do our power shopping. There are two floors of vendors here, so there was a lot to see.

I headed straight to my favourite stone bead wholesalers and grabbed some of their nicest stuff before it all got picked over. So you will be able to see more Iron Zebra Jasper, Fire Agate, Rainbow JAsper, Onyx, Porcelain Jasper, Snakeskin JAsper, and Rhyolite to mention only a few. My personal fav is undyed Chrysocolla from a new find in Madagascar.

There are dozens and dozens of booths selling stone beads, but most of these are just selling ordinary stuff you can get any old place. Some of these vendors seem to just be in it as a business. For all they care, they could be selling used cars or garden hoses.

I also restocked on sterling clasps and Kazuri beads and picked up some interesting Thai silver pieces.

After that, I started going through the booths in a more systematic fashion. Some major manufacturers such as Beadalon and Softflex have demonstration booths at the show, showing off their newest stuff. We will be carrying a new beading line called Wildfire. I had gotten some samples of this earlier and the beaders among us are raving about it.

I ran into Maria Rypan's booth. She sells her patterns through our store and teaches there on occasion.

i still have half a floor to cover which I'll do tomorrow before my class.

This evening, there was a Meet The Teachers Reception in the Grand Ballroom. This is where the teachers sell their kits to people who were not able to take their classes. It's interesting to note that the teachers who are teaching seed-bead type classes and wire-working classes were both mobbed with people.

Generally speaking, the vendors I spoke to said they were having a good show and the overall atmosphere at the show was upbeat. Lots of people were leaving with full bags and happy smiles, so I think this bespeaks well for the beading world. We are alive and well and still having fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The BeadFX Buyer goes to Beadfest - crossing the border

BeadFest takes place this weekend at the Valley Forge Convention Center outside of Philadelphia PA. I think it's one of the better retail shows on the east coast.

Crossing the border today was interesting - the lineups were massive as US Customs was searching everyone diligently. The poor schmucks ahead of me were searched thoroughly and then sent off to the main Customs Hall to be searched even more carefully. Then it was my turn. I handed over my passport with a sprightly, "Good Morning!" (Anyone who knows me, knows I do NOT do "sprightly", especially in the early morning).

Gruff Customs Guy: "Where you going?"
Me: "Philly"
GCG: "What for?"
M: "Going to a bead convention."
GCG: "A what??? convention"
Moi: "You know - beads. You string 'em together to make necklaces and stuff"
GCG, his eyes glazing over: "Have a nice day", as he returns my passport.

I guess pudgy, older Oriental women with strange hobbies did not meet the THS' search criteria today.

Trunk Show - the View from the Inside

I will be one of the vendors/demonstrators at the Trunk Show this weekend. This is the only public show left that I do, as I approach a sales venue with a fair amount of trepidation. I really don't care for selling direct, as I find it difficult not to take even casual comments deeply personally. I can intellectualize that comments about the beads are not comments about me, my taste, or my skill level. I can understand that "fiscal responsibility" (even if it is not a trait I personally possess!) is a balancing act - some times you might love something but be unwilling to fore go paying the phone bill! I seldom have anyone say anything deliberately mean to me - but sometimes the offhand comments sting like crazy.

I know, from talking to other bead makers and jewelry makers that when it comes selling - I am most certainly not alone in feeling this way. The stings and barbs of offhand, or deliberate, criticism - or just the dread of it - can take the fun out of doing shows for lots of people. What if people don't like your work? What if they say it's too expensive? What if they say it looks cheap or badly made? What do you say when someone points to your work and tells their friend - "I can do that for half the price?" It's not socially acceptable to drag them out back and quietly strangle them - no matter how tempting that might sound. The person who asks "How long does it take to make that?" may be genuinely interested - but boy, you can't help feeling that they are trying to figure out how you got the nerve to charge so much!

If you are going to do shows and sell your work - this is just one of the things you have to learn to cope with. If it doesn't bother you at all - you can count yourself as a very, very lucky person. Go for it - sell up a storm. If it bothers you, well, you need a strategy and some coping mechanisms.

Plan out your answers to those questions. Rehearse them before hand. Strategize with friends - what's your best answer to . . . ? Remember - being sarcastic, nasty or rude will not translate into sales - unless you are maybe selling whips and leather goods.

Learn how to price your wares - so that you do not feel defensive - you know that you are perfectly justified in your pricing and need not excuse your decisions to anyone. (May I respectfully suggest either taking Catherine Winters' class on pricing and or getting her book?)

And finally, if worse comes to worse, hire someone to work in your booth with you. Take a friend, load them up with your jewelry, buy them lunch, give them money, and let them field the questions. They aren't going to feel personally insulted - they will see the questions for what they are - expressions of interest and the invitation to start a dialogue that can lead to a sale. They aren't emotionally involved in the work the way you are. This is my approach.

However, I LOVE doing the demos - I love to show people how magical beadmaking is, and how incredibly fabulous the glass is. Some people hate having people watching them while they work - I love it. I love it when someone is as captured by the glass as I am - they are drawn in to the heat and melting and the flowing. They catch that sense of wonder and they want more!

So - come on down Saturday, come see all the pretty beads. We have a wide range - from dainty florals to dog bones! I will have beads for sale in one room - but I will be demoing in the other. If you want to ask me questions - you'll need to find me at the torch! Where I will happily answer any question you have. Including, I promise, "How long did it take you to make that?" ;-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beadmaking Demo's and Bead Show - This Saturday

If you're going to be in town this weekend, or planning on coming to Toronto. Please stop by the store on Saturday for our Beadmakers Trunkshow. The show runs from 10am to 5pm in the store. We'll have lots of yummy goodies and refreshments available throughout the day.

One huge highlight of the day is the beadmaking demo's. Our studio is always a popular spot during these shows (we also keep the treats in there!). Throughout the day, a number of beadmakers will be showing you how they create their tiny works of art in glass. Have you ever wondered just how they get those tiny little flowers in there? Feel free to spend as long as you want watching, and asking questions. If you're really keen, you can even sign up for one of our beadmaking classes.

The following glass beadmakers will have tables of their beads for sale. This is your chance to pick up some fabulous one of a kind beads! Our beadmakers will be have tables throughout the store, and the classroom is taken over completely.

Dwyn Tomlinson aka Dragonjools
Jody Wieler
Elly Peters
Erin Maloney
Nortel (Glass and tools for sale)
Amy Waldman-Smith
Aimee Kennedy
Kirsty Naray
Susan Stortini

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The things you see ...

... when you're not carrying a jewelry repair kit. So, yesterday, I pop into a dollar store to grab a few quick items. (Note to those who sell jewelry - some of my best display items have come from the dollar store!)

In the line up for the cashier - while we all waited for the woman at the front of the line to sort through her platinum cards (snort!) - I noticed the gentleman in front of me was wearing a necklace. I always look closely at men's jewelry - at the jewelry they chose to wear that is - as I am completely stumped when it comes to designing it. Anyway, this was a stone bead in the center, sort of arrowhead/claw shaped, a few stone beads on either side, and black seedbeads filling in all the way to the back. As I looked closely at the back - which was the part I could see the best - I saw it was strung on wire - piano wire maybe - with a loop - and a "catch" of a piece of brass wire twisted over into a hook. And there were gaps in the seedbeads. Argh!

I tell you, it was all I could do to not grab him by it and drag him away to restring it and put a proper clasp on it. It made me crazy!!!!

You know you're too involved in jewelry when . . . you contemplate mugging a stranger to fix their jewelry. ;-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Colour Hunter

We have another shout out to Stephanie this week for finding yet another awesome site. You may have already found this last week if you spent any time searching through all of the colour forecasting links. This one I'm really quite impressed with though.

Color Hunter: Use this color tool to create color palettes from images. If you don’t have an image, you can find color palettes on Color Hunter when you enter a search term in the box at the top of the page. You can search by tag or hex color code or image URL.

Here are two versions done with our new donut beads.

On another note for you metal clay addicts. Our shipment of Art Clay is on it's way! We should have it by Tuesday or Wednesday. Unfortunately, it'll be back at a bit of a higher price. Art Clay World recently had to increase their prices on metal clay. Unfortunately, we do have to increase ours as well.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Send This File

I love this site - I use it all the time - it's great for friends that want you to email all the pictures you took, but have tiny little inboxes that fill up! is a free service that you can send your file to. They store it for 4 days and send a notice to whomever you want, that they can pick the file up at their leisure (within the 4 days.) Painless. Of course, they have an upgrade version, but for just sending large files around, I've found the free version to be totally fabulous. A big thumbs up from me on this one!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sneak Peek at Next Week

Gack - where has the year gone! August half over and fall coming at us like a freight train - yeesh, back to school and Labour Day just around the corner. Argh!

Next week, look for more Cloisonne, Cinnabar, and Cubic Zirconias beads.

Among other things. ;-)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Colour and High Definition Life

Does anyone else think that these are the MOST colourful Olympics ever? Amazing colour, and amazing colour combinations. From the venues to the computer graphics - that big serpenty gold dragon graphic that CBC is using is AWESOME - I want to take him home! And the costumes. From the opening ceremonies (ok, hands up those who hadn't figured out the kid was lip-syncing from watching it - get HD - you won't miss that sort of thing again) when the team in those "Ack!" uniforms rolled in - near the beginning - big green suits that looked like they had grown some kind of green moss - (we just looked at each other and said - "Well - they won't be wearing those to any other event in the real world after!") - to the gymnasts in their extraordinary colours, and sparklies - notice the rhinestones! And even embroidery, on the Chinese gymnasts' costumes - guess that makes a statement about something - cheap labour, I suspect. Is it me, or are rhinestones new to the Olympic costumes. Maybe it's just the HD.

Actually - the TV we have is not quite HD - it is ED - which is still much higher resolution than regular TV- which is dreadful. But still - seeing stuff in better detail has changed the way I watch television. I will occasionally even watch a sport! - as I can see what is going on. Regular TV is like watching life with those drops the optometrist puts in your eyes - utterly frustrating.

Ok - here's where I have to make this all relevant to beads somehow. Well - we do have the glorious colours and the inspiration they might be. But it occurs to me that if you find beading to not be as pleasant as it might be, you might want to try magnification. I can't work any more without the jeweler's magnifiers (Optivisor) that I have that sit on my head, swing down, and make everything larger than life. I can thread a needle, close a crimp, do a headpin wrap, and I can see! Ok, I can see flaws too, imperfect wraps and minor defects in beads, but you can get over that - either get pickier, or look at it without the magnifiers.

So, if you are hunting for the holes in your beads, can't see where to open the jumprings, can't get the needle threaded, and have to use your fingers to figure out if the wrap is tight, then you might want to try using magnification. If you world looks like the first pic, instead of the second . . . yep, the first one's not bad, I'll grant you that. The second is much sharper! And larger.

The optivisor is one option. There are others, including lights with magnifiers. The method of focusing is different too - you have to move your hands or the item you are focusing on up into position. Don't move your head or the lens, move the object.

And don't worry about wimping out - even if you are young and aren't experiencing the inevitable aging eyes - there's a lot to be said for being able to really see what you are doing. There's a whole, new, fascinating world out there, just waiting for you to come and explore it in it's tiny detail!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Create Your Style

With Swarovski of course!

If you haven't had a chance to check out Swarovski's Create Your Style's certainly worth a look. First stop, check out the downloads section. Lot's of free projects in PDF form available for download. Everything from jewelry, home goods, clothing, and packaging ideas. It's the glittery version of Martha Stewart ;-)

They also have a new community forum where you can chat with other crystal addicts, and show off your work to the Swarovski community. You never know who might see it!

Stephanie just sent me a link the other day to a fashion forcasting site. I have of course seen the colour trend predictions, but I've never come across this site before.

If you haven't yet seen the colours yet for this fall -

These should keep you busy for a while!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Turquoise Waves

After spending the last week camping and relaxing on the shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, I'm finally back to work.

But I didn't manage to escape beads for the entire week! While on our way to hike the Cup & Saucer Trail on Manitoulin Island, we dropped into Lillian's Crafts in M'Chigeeng. There we found quite a large selection of seedbeads and bugles for sale, as well as some gorgeous beadwork. If you are ever in the area, definitely make a stop there to check out the beadwork, carvings and stunning quill boxes.

The scenery is definitely something to see as well! I could easily have spent another week sitting on the shores of Flower Pot Island or hiking the Bruce Trail watching the clear turquoise waves crash against the rocky shoreline.

As a memento of this trip, I'm tempted to create one of Marilyn Gardiner's Flat Mesh Bracelets. The flowing silver jumprings reminding me of the cool, glistening waves of Georgian Bay. And if you are looking to create a memento of your own, why not drop by Marilyn's Flat Mesh Bracelet Class on Friday August 22nd.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Surprise Wine and Cheese

Once a month, a group of heavily addicted art clay aficionados, get together at beadfx to talk about new techniques, teach each other, share our creations, and talk. The meeting is always fun, and we've got a great group of people. Last night, Liz brought wine, cheese, port, dip, and bread! Yumm. Heather showed up a few minutes later with homemade salsa and chips. I of course had missed all of the prep for this, as I'm still trying to get caught up with everything. It was such a nice surprise, and a great way to start the week.

One of the big topics yesterday, was of course the new bronze clay. This was introduced while I was away on vacation, and I'm not sure yet if we'll be able to sell it. (We'll certainly try). A group of us are planning a group order from Rio Grande. Bronze clay is just like silver clay with the exception of it being much more affordable. It comes in packs of either 100, or 200 grams. You can get a 200 gram pack of bronze for the same price as a 20 gram pack of silver.

I was just looking for my good links that I have saved, now I can't find them, and I can't find them in google either... Check back later today for an edited version of this post with lots of excellent bronze clay links!

If you are interested in joining our Ontario Art Clay addicts group, please send me an email to - Even if you are not local to Toronto, we have a mailing list, and lots of other members from other parts of Ontario.

Monday, August 11, 2008

From diapers and bottles to bling and glitter!!

Welcome Back, Cynthia!

This week, we welcome back Cynthia, who is returning from Maternity Leave. She has been never really far away, dropping in occasionally with her baby girl or her boys, staying in the loop. But now, she will be back and in the store - so Welcome Back! Here's her comments and thoughts:
As August begins, my time is up and I am happy to say that I will be returning to Beadfx this week. It has been almost a year since Sophia was born and I am retreating from the world of diapers and bottles back to the glitter and bling at Beadfx. I am returning as the Special Project Manager. I will be in the store on a part time basis--just long enough to get my Swarovski fix!!

While my year has been filled with the giggles and glee of a baby girl I have missed adult conversations, weekly updates and playing with the beads as we put them on display. Sophia has become the Queen of the castle at our domain, her brothers are her most loyal subjects, and she will be hard to leave but the promise of the stone of the month, the upcoming shows and the shimmer and glimmer will make it easier to take.

Thanks to everyone for all of the warm wishes when I left and I look forward to seeing all of our regulars, new and old, in the store once more!!
We're delighted to see you back - I'm sure that you are looking forward to intelligent, adult conversation again. Not sure you'll find too much of it here around all the babbling bead-addicts, but welcome anyway! ;-)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Quiet Musing on Jade

I found this lovely, peaceful blog on the topic of Jade - collecting Jade. The author says "I started this blog to celebrate my loves ... my love for all things jade." She features items that she has collected (I'm assuming it's a she) and includes the sort of lovely trivia (it must be pretty obvious by now) that I just adore - such as "Mandarin Ducks are a symbol of martial bliss." I love these cultural insights - here we would use swans, and duck the issue by saying that marriage isn't all it's quacked up to be. Her blog is called Quietly Musing.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sneak Peek at Next Week

s17186 Glass Drops - 9 x 8 mm Button Drops - Matt Seafoam (30)Next week - Firepolish and Pressed Glass. Cool stuff, and we managed to restock on some of those lovely, limited edition donuts that I know I'm so very fond of!

Oh, and we snagged some coin pearls. Coin pearls seem to be in short supply, and wooee - the prices have gone up. What are they doing, driving them here by car? s17199 Firepolish - 9 x 6 mm Faceted Donut - Moroccan Mystery (strand 25)

Oh, and check THESE out - tiny little goddess beads! For your fertile imaginations! s17192 Glass -  Great Speckled Goddess - Jet Raku (1)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Hosting a Jewellery Party

Welcome back to part 2 of yesterday's blog post. Now that you have all of your promotional materials ready, you now need to decide where you're going to sell your work.

Note - I know I'm skipping over a big step in the process (actually registering your business) I'm purposely not covering this here, as each province/state/country has different rules and regulations. You'll need to check with your local government.

One great way of getting started selling your work is by hosting a jewelry party with your friends, (and their friends, family, co-workers)

The general idea is to host a show in someones house. The hostess provides tea, coffee, and light snacks. Or make it an evening girls night party, and serve wine and cheese.
You'll set up a display, with all of your creations. Talk about the process, and materials that you use. You want to sell them on why your jewellery is so much better than the jewellery sold in department/boutique stores.

Paying your hostess

Decide in advance what you'll offer your hostess as an incentive for hosting the party. It's usually a percentage of the sales either given in cash, or jewellery, or a combination of both.

What to Bring

In addition to the promotional material that you have made up, you need to have plenty of stock on hand to sell. One mistake many people make, is to make too many of the high end items. While these are of course the most fun to make, they tend to take a lot longer, and are priced too high for an impulse purchase. Think about who will be attending this event. Are they professional women? Fashionable? Do they have a large disposable income? If so, then plan your stock accordingly.

If the group is made up of mostly young mothers, don't try to sell them $300 bracelets, and $75.00 earrings!

You'll want to have stock made up in a variety of price points, with the bulk being at the lower end of the scale. It's easy to sell $20 earrings, and most people who are invited to a jewellery party will purchase. Make sure you make it easy for them to do so. Always have a least a few of your best, higher end pieces available. These are your showcase pieces. Everyone will ohhh and ahhh, over the fancy items, and scoop up the lower end more affordable pieces.

You also need to decide ahead of time if you're willing to do custom orders. Be wary promoting this. If you do, everyone will want some sort of adjustment. "oh, can you make this in blue?", "Can you make this longer/shorter?", and so on! You'll need to have a really good idea of exactly what all of your supplies cost. You'll need to come up with an answer on the spot. Make sure that you don't short change yourself.

Most importantly, have fun! Keep the talk short, encourage questions about your work....And most importantly, don't drone on, and on. Do not let the attendees get bored. It's easy for us beaders to get so excited about our materials and process, that we tend to talk too much. Remember that although most women like jewellery, they do not necessarily need to know the entire world history of beads. They just want something beautiful.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

It's that time again....

Please don't shoot the messenger! It's hard to think about the holiday shopping season when the weather is warm. If you're like most of us, we prefer to spend as much time as possible enjoying the lazy days of summer, well...just being lazy :-)

If you're planning on selling your beaded creations this holiday season, you need to start planning now (or three months ago!). All of you veterans have probably got your line planned and mostly made. Your shows and selling venues lined up, and all of your supplies on hand. Hmmm..or not :-)

It's time to get busy folks! This is part of an occasional, but ongoing post about selling your work. Today I'll cover a few tips to help out the novice jewellery seller with promoting your work. If you're fairly local to beadFX, you can sign up for one of Catherine's classes, and learn just about everything you need to know. She also has a book available. I just checked, and it seems we've sold out. We'll get more asap!. I know, we promote her like crazy, but she really, really knows her stuff.

Promoting Yourself.

Does everyone you know, and I mean everyone, know that you make jewellery? Well, they should. Blow your own horn, a little, or a lot, whichever you're more comfortable with. Everyone needs to know!

- Wear your jewellery. This may seem obvious to some, but if we're in a hurry, it's easy to forget. Wear your jewellery, every day, everywhere you go. When asked about your work, hand out a business card. Business cards are very, very affordable. At the least, you'll want a fab picture of your work, your name, and contact information. If you have a website, make sure the link is on there.
A very affordable place to get business cards is Vistaprint. You can use your own artwork, or use one of their templates for the graphically challenged amongst us. Another interesting type of card available is a Moo card. These are smaller cards, sold in packs of 100. Each card can be a little different. You plug in your photo's, and the site will help you create your card.

Make sure you have a lot of cards on hand, at least a 1000 of your regular business cards. If you're doing a show, you want to make sure anyone who even comes near your booth gets one! :-) Put a business card in their bag when they make a purchase as well. If you have a website listed on your card, you can even post your business card in restaurants, the grocery store, anywhere that has a board for cards.

Get your friends and family to help spread the word. If you have a fashionista friend or family member, have her wear your jewellery to work, parties, dinner... Make sure she has business cards on her. You can pay her for being your sales rep with free jewelry! Having someone else toot your horn is a lot easier than tooting your own.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more tips!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Have you been bitten by the bug?

As a result of all the wet weather (this past July being one of the rainiest on record) Ontario has a bumper crop of mosquitos. Its even become so bad, news reports are warning motorists of wildlife being driven out of wooded areas onto highways by the bugs. Whether headed up north to cottage country, down to Olympic Island for Caribana celebrations or off to Thompson Park for Ribfest this past long weekend, hopefully everyone remembered to take along a bottle of Deep Woods Off and a tube of AfterBite.

But the mosquito wasn't the bug i was referring to - I meant have you been bitten by the beading bug?

And if you've been bitten by the beading bug, you know a tube of AfterBite or bottle of calamine lotion won't cure the itch! So why not learn to deal with your new found addiction in a productive manner. Coming this August, Catherine Winter (aka Sailorgirl) will be teaching another session of her famous How to Price your Jewelry - Starting a Microbusiness and How to Have a Successful Craft Show. Learn the ins and outs of the craft market and just what it takes to make your hobby pay for itself!


s15057 Cloisonne -  Tea Leaf - Bright Lime (1)Whoops - sorry - somehow, yesterday got missed.

s15055 Cloisonne -  Tea Leaf - Heavenly Blue (1)We have a bunch of restock that has just been received and processed. We have some of that very nice cloisonne back in - some of it won't show until tonight (midnight) when the database updates.

We also have a bunch more of the carved Chinese motifs, the little wood, bone and stone symbols s13725 Bone -  Bancho Knot - Antiqued Bone (1)that can beautifully accent a design with an eastern theme. We will have some on the site, the same ones we offered before, but there are too many designs and too much variation for us to offer them on the site. Two of this, and three of that, and one of the same in another colour - it would just drive the price up.

So the rest of them will be in the store for those who want to come in and root through them. There are fish and elephants and birds as well as the abstract symbols. Some of them are stone too, Carnelian and Agate.

Monday, August 04, 2008

A Load of Bull

A load of bull arrived in my mail on Friday. I can now say that I own a head of cattle, or cow, anyway. Would I steer you wrong?

Notice the stunningly realistic eyes? (Click on the right image for a larger version). And the keen horn tips? This is a sort of collaborative effort between myself and a sculptural felt artist - Feltability - that I met on I made some eye buttons in lampworked glass, and she used them and made this very handsome Charolais bull, mounted (to go with my other stuffed mounted heads - remember the rhino beetle?) He's accurate, right down to the soft curly forelock. I love her sense of whimsy and the soft touchable tactility (is that a word? Apparently it is - or I've scared the spellchecker into resignation) of the handmade felt.

Anyway - check out her stuff - Feltability. The wolf head ring is cool. And the banana has appeal. And the ponies (I have a unicorn already!)

I've also used some of her felted beads (see the gallery) - and I have some more here that I'm waiting for inspiration to strike.

Guess I need to make more eyes!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

More on this coming update

Wooee - this'll be a big one. 86 new items!!!!! Including the New Stone of the Month! Iron Zebra Jasper. Why do we iron zebra? - so they are not wrinkly like the elephants.

If you work in Retail

Oh my. If you work in retail, you've probably come to the conclusion that the customer is not always right - but of course, you can't say anything. Check out this website and be relieved - you are not alone!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sneak Peek at Next Week

Stones, more stones, and all the bad puns I can think of to go with them.

Stone buttons - aha! Use them as do it yourself toggles, or use them as buttons. Like on clothes! How radical!

And some wood beads too!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Trip to the Gem & Mineral Show

As Jen mentioned, Marg and I drove up the the Bancroft Gem and Mineral Show - the Gemboree - on Thursday. The weather was lovely for the trip up to Bancroft - as opposed to previous years. We driven up there through some horrific weather, aftermath of a tornado, torrential downpours, 30+ heat - so this time was nice!

Thursday's attendance was low - lower than we've seen in the past - some of the vendors were definitely feeling the pinch, but others seemed very happy. By and large - we were actually disappointed - there was very little new - but now that we send Marg off to Tucson each spring - it's getting harder and harder to surprise us at local shows.

We did score some nice rose quartz - look for that on the site soon. I personally picked up some more dragon pendants for my collection and some dragon charms that I put on ear wires and made into earrings. Nice to be able to make your own that way!

For those of you who are veterans of the show - the second building - down the hill - was actually much livelier than usual - don't miss it if you are tempted to give it a pass.

For those who have not been to a gem and mineral show - this is a good one to go to. There are lots of vendors - and if you are a business - don't forget to take your vendor's permit and see if you can at least get the tax taken off.

And, don't forget the obligatory stop at the Kawartha Dairy for ice cream on the way back - This year, I tried the Musoka Mocha - I can highly recommend it. Marg had the Sugar Shack Maple and recommends it too.