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Friday, October 31, 2008

Getting ready for the holidays

Ahh, It's Halloween. Tomorrow, all of the Halloween decorations will come down, and the stores will be putting up their Christmas trees, and other decorations. No matter how well I think I've planned, I never seem to be ready. To help you out this year, we're going to be hosting a bunch of Make It and Take It's over the holiday season. For those of you new to beading and jewelry making, this will be especially beneficial.

These sessions are free of chrage, but you do have to buy the actual materials used. A complete list of projects will be going up on the website over the next two weeks. We'll have some cute holiday inspired projects, as well as some stunning jewelry designs that you can use either as a gift giving idea, or gift it to yourself!

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Collect the Whole Set

Remember those ads as a kid - "Free plastic dohickey in every box of choco-frosted sugar bombs. Collect the whole set!"

Well - we must have developed "collect the whole set"-itis from watching those commercials - because, over the years - I have definitely noticed a tendency for all of us here to want to carry every single bead colour, shape, variation in any given line of beads.

In the spirit of that - we are pleased to note that - with a few exceptions of colours that may be on back order with the manufacturer - and pending their development of new colours, of course - we now have the full line up of the Toho size 8/0 seedbeads, and the Toho Triangles.

Bwa ha ha ha! Soon we will control all the beads, in all the worlds! Bwa ha ha ha. Ooops - was that my outer voice?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lots of New Classes!!!!

It may be getting cold out but classes are getting hot here at Beadfx. We have a brand new 2 day Intensive Metal Clay weekend coming up this November 1st and 2nd. This is a tag team class with Jennifer Tough and Heather Bell-Denison and is an excellent introduction for beginners.

If you have take an intro and are looking to do more Jennifer and Heather are also offering a tag team Intermediate Art Clay weekend on December 6th and 7th.

By popular demand we have added another Wire Working 101 class with Robert Burton beginning Monday November 17th until December 1st. Only eight spots so book your spot now.

Something new are our free Make it and Take it workshops. The workshop is free but you will need to purchase the supplies. There are great projects and easy to do, especially if you are looking for the fast and easy gift ideas.

Christmas Tree Earrings with Jennifer on Tuesday November 11th from 12-1pm.

Pod Earrings with Nadine Foskin on Friday November 14th from 5-6pm.

You need to call and sign up in advance, space is limited.

We are also making a change to our Open Beading Night. It will be scheduled one Thursday evening per month and we ask that you call ahead and let us know that you are coming. The next beading night is on Thursday November 27th from 6-8pm.

Happy Beading to all!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Budding Fiction Writer

A couple of weeks ago - Jen promised you some pictures of some necklaces she made - she made them late in the evening, and left them to take pictures the following day. When she went back for them - they were gone!

So, questioning all the usual suspects led her back to her two young girls. "Have you seen the necklaces I left here?" she asked, trying to keep her voice light, so as not to scare them.

The younger girl piped up immediately. "Yes! They burned up on the train."

There's a long silence from Jen as she frantically tries to think what this is "kidspeak" for. "They burned up on the train?" she prompted.

"Yes - there was a bright blue flame." Now Jen is worried - having visions of the bright blue flame that comes from her lampworking set up - Tell me they have not been fooling around with the torch! she thought to herself, but out loud - she said, "A blue flame?"

Isla nodded, her eyes wide with concentration. "Yes, and then a lion ate my fingers." "But you still have your fingers," Jen countered, "See, there they are."

"Yes," Isla replied, smiling bashfully, "It was in my dream."

Uh huh. In your dream. One day, Jen is going to find a massive cache of missing items, and one day, Isla may have a glorious future as the next great fiction writer. But in the meantime, no necklaces to show you.

The joys of having kids! At least, it's never dull!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Importance of Being Comfortable

A recent bout with tendonitis has reminded me, forcefully, yet again, how important it is to adopt a comfortable and sustainable position when beading, lampworking or indulging in any craft that absorbs you so completely that you forget about your physical self and get lost in your world of creativity.

Last Sunday week, I suddenly noticed stabbing pains in one hand - not the ordinary sort of pain that one gets used to - but the "omigawd did I break something in there?" sort of pain. The kind that makes you involuntaryily drop things that you really didn't want to drop. Like cups of coffee and open bags of beads. You know, important things.

So, on Monday - I hied myself off to see a medical professional - some poking and squeezing and the question: "have you been doing anything with, say, pliers?, lately."

"Er - as a matter of fact - I just spent two days demo'ing at the Creativ Festival."

"Aha - that'll do it."

So there you go - working out of my regular environment - table at an odd height - working longer than usual for a stretch - and bingo - here I am. A week later, it's doing much better, thank you - but I am reminded that you really have to watch these things - especially as we who are better matured don't seem to bounce back as fast as we did in former years.

Things to remember when working:

  • get comfortable, get comfortable, get comfortable - try different heights, different positions, etc. Jewellers work at a bench with the table almost at shoulder height, so that they can put their arms on it and be supported. Try putting bricks under the table legs and/or lowering the chair - see if that makes a difference.
  • keep trying different things until you get it right. If beading standing at the kitchen sink is comfy - do it. If beading at an ergonomically designed workstation is not - change it until it is. Keep at it until you get it right. It's worth it.
  • every one says it - remember to stretch. I find that the demands of life tend to keep us moving. Letting the dogs out, cleaning up after the cat, feeding the husband. It's so rare and so nice to find a few hours that you don't have to get up and attend to other tasks - it's tempting to not move. But do try and lean back and stretch in the other direction every once in a while. I can remember a time when you would have to get up to change the record - ha! Like that has any meaning now!
  • resist the temptation to tense up: sitting on ankles, weird positions, etc. If someone has commented that you look uncomfortable - in the long run, you might be. Relax!
  • avoidance behaviour tells you a lot - if you think - "I'll just go clean the bathroom before I sit down to bead" - your subconscious might be telling you to avoid a painful situation. If you just can't get to your beading - it might be life, but it might be your position. Your subconscious is very powerful, and really hates pain.
  • listen to the warning signals. Don't wait until you hurt. Tingling, numbness, stiffness, neck and back aches, headaches, heartburn, hiccups, fantasies about shoulder rubs - can all tell you that you are in an unsustainable postition. Fix it before you get crippled.

Wishing you happy and comfortable beading!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Free Rice Time Waster Just Got Better

I know I mentioned before about, a charitable website that gives you vocabulary questions and for every correct answer - they donate grains of rice.

However - they have added a new wrinkle that makes it even MORE of a time-sponge. New categories of questions! Including "Famous Paintings!" Can you identify the artists that painted these well-known paintings? Can you recognize their style well enough to id some of the more obscure ones?

To play, go to, and to the upper right of the question, it says "Change Subjects." Click on this, and select "Famous Paintings" in the Art category. If you need a better view of the painting - just mouse over it, and it will enlarge, and shrink back when you move the mouse away. It is so cool. I've just wasted an hour already. Ok - not wasted - it's a learning experience.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sneak Peek at Next Week

tb8r2118 Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Toho Seedbeads - Gilt-Lined Soft MintMore in our addition to our Japanese seedbead line up - more of the Toho 8/0s and more of the Toho 11/0s (which are the seedbeads, not the Delicas.)tb11r804 Japanese Seedbeads - 11/0 Toho Seedbeads - Inside Color Luminous NeonPink/Crystal

These on the right are the Inside Colour Luminous Pink. Or, as I would call them: Piiiiihnk. They are so bright they hurt the eyes!

60 New beads in all!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Jewellery News

The front page of the Toronto Star this morning was splashed with an article re: recalled toys and children's jewellery - Made in China, loaded with lead. Some of it even tragically labeled lead-free. Mostly sold through dollar stores - these items continue to slip past testing (and realistically - how much testing could be done?) and make it onto the shelves here. It's sad - and an argument for sure for sitting down with your granddaughters and nieces (and grandsons and nephews) and teaching them to make jewellery from components that you know and trust! There's a moral in here somewhere about trying to turn lead into "gold."

On a happier note - the Royal Ontario Museum's (ROM) exhibit of diamonds opens on Saturday. Called "The Nature of Diamonds" - there will be some fabulous diamond jewellery on display. I know I've had it on my calendar for months. The ROM is also offering a series of lectures related to diamonds - although I can't easily find the info on the website - I do know about it because they put a flyer in the paper. Guess their advertising department supersedes their web development budget! Imagine! What noive!

And, if you are looking for a more intimate jewellery event - our own Sailorgirl - Catherine Winter is having a Party/Jewellery Preview at her new studio. Catherine teaches our jewellery business classes ("How to have a successful craft show" and "Pricing your jewellery - Starting a micro business.") If you are a fan of her happy, shiny jewellery - or just to see what the queen of marketing is doing - why not step down to her studio and have a boo. That's at:

Flux + Form
116 ½ Sherbourne St

Friday October 24 6 – 9 p.m. Wine and cheese, beads and jewelry, Gallery Opening!
Saturday October 25 12 – 6 p.m. Coffee, tea and cookies, beads and jewelry!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Art Clay Classes

Heather and I are really excited to announce that we'll now be offering 2 day intensive metal clay classes. This is fabulous for you, as you get to immerse yourself in metal clay for 2 whole days, but you also get the expertise of 2 instructors! Beginner or intermediate, you'll get tons of practice time, one on one instruction, and the opportunity to explore techniques you've been a little afraid to try on your own.

The beginner class runs Saturday November 1st - Sunday November 2nd.

Join us for a fun filled weekend of everything Art Clay. no experience necessary! We'll start the weekend with a basic introduction to Art Clay products, and a simple project to get your feet wet. Over the weekend, we'll cover and practice making pendants, working with the syringe (filagree), making beads, and toggle clasps. We'll also introduce you to ring making during your final project.

The small class size, combined with two instructors will allow you plenty of opportunity for one on one instruction and assistance.

Cost $385 - All materials included.

Intermediate Art Clay Intensive - Saturday December 6th - Sunday December 7th

Want to expand your skills in metal clay? Come and join us for an intensive weekend of all things metal clay. Learn several ways to create stunning rings, including prong set rings, textured band rings, and an interchangable wrap ring. We will also explore 3D forms, and ways to incorporate colour, and photos into your silver clay creations.Throughout the class we'll incorporate fine silver wire into your designs, and learn the fundamentals of fusing fine silver wire.

The small class size, combined with two instructors will allow you plenty of opportunity for one on one instruction and assistance.

Cost $425 - All materials included.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Looking for something to do? We've got the Answer--Classes!

With the Creative Festival behind us I had some time to put some new classes on the site yesterday. Nadine has a brooch class coming up at the end of November and there is a new Japanese Chainmaille class with Marilyn Gardiner.

There are lots of exciting things happening in the next week too! We have the 201 Wire Wrapping class with Robert Burton starting on Monday at 6:00. This is a 4 week class, suitable for those who have taken the 101 course or if you have previous experience with wire working.

Dwyn has a 4 hour class on Tuesday evening, perfect time to try out lampworking and see what you think!

Looking for a way to support the beading addiction? Try a Catherine Winter class. She has two classes coming up, How to run a MicroBusiness on Thursday October 23rd and How to Have a Successful Craft Show on Thursday October 30th.

There is still lots of room in Cindy Vrooms' River Rocks class and Marilyn Gardiner's Boxchain class. Amy Waldman-Smith's Angel class is also still available

Keep checking the website for more exciting classes and workshops there is some really exciting new stuff on the way!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Creativ Festival Photos

We had a great time down at the Creativ Festival this year. (the spelling doesn't bother me as much as it does Dwyn) - grin. We had such a blast there that I think we'll probably do this show more often. The demos were a huge success, especially our in booth ones.

I demonstrated my birdsnest rings more times than I can count, and my most avid student was Declan, the son of one of our fabulous instructors (Stephanie Dixon). Declan caught on very quickly, and proudly gave his new ring to his mom! Decland is 11, (i think) and is already a chainmaille wiz. I hope my kids love jewellery and beading as much as Declan does.

We are putting up my birdsnest workshops on the class schedule later today. If you want to sign up, act quickly - this class sells out fast.

Here are some pics from the show. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to wander around much, as we were too busy. But from the little I did see, lots of neat stuff for crafters of all kinds.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What do you string on?

Spent the better parts of Friday and Saturday at the Creativ (sic) Festival (you can't begin to believe how the affectation of spelling it "Creativ" bothers me!!!!) - demo'ing making various pieces of jewelry. When we ran out of one component, Cynthia would bring me a pile of something and say - "Here, we have lots of these," and away I'd go again. I came up with a nice bracelet using Swarovski cubes (whotasurprise) and square bead frames - look for that as an inspiration as soon as I can get it back from Cynthia to shoot it (read - pry it off her arm. She liked it.)

Probably the question I heard the most was: "What do you string on?" Well - that varies with the what I am stringing.

Generally, for a simple stringing project, one bead after the other, most of us around here use Softflex - which is a brand-name speciality bead-stringing cable. It is made up of multiple strands of stainless steel wire, twisted and coated with a durable, clear, nylon coating - which makes it very strong, doesn't discolour, and is not subject to fraying, and is kink-resistant - although not -proof. Now that we are also carrying more of the Beadalon line, we are finding that we like this product very much too - both are the same idea. Many people refer to these as beading wire, but they are not wire in the classic sense - being more flexible and durable than regular wire.

For your first spool - I suggest the "medium" weight - as it is the most versatile. The "fine" is best for smaller beads, and a must for pearls - as pearls have notoriously small holes. If your taste runs to large beads, lampwork, big stone beads, etc. - then the "heavy" weight is your best choice - as it better fits the larger holes of the lampwork beads (holes much larger than the stringing "wire" means the beads can shift from side to side, and don't line up nicely when hanging) - and better takes the weight and the possible abrasion of the stone beads.

This "wire" does need to be crimped to be secure - but as you already know how to crimp, that shouldn't be a problem.

If you are making something where you will be passing multiple times through a single bead, like a complex pattern or a bead weaving project - you'll want to pick something in a beading thread - like Nymo or similar. There are a number of threads on the market now, and they all have good points. We'll see if we can't get someone else to blog about threads - as I don't use them much and don't have a very sophisticated opinion on them.

For something that requires multiple passes through beads, but has perhaps metal beads or sharp beads, you'll want something both tough and abrasion resistant and slippery as well - like the braided threads. I like the Power-Pro - but again - not my speciality.

Silk is traditional for pearls - but, traditionally, pearls were also re-strung every 2 years or so because the silk decays and rots. ;-) In those days, if you could afford pearls - you could afford their maintenance - but these days - who has time for that sort of thing? There are synthetic alternatives. BTW - I have it on good authority that embroidery floss also works very well (divide the strands) and comes in a rainbow of colours. If you think white pearls knotted on white silk is so last century, try coloured pearls on contrasting thread.

There are lots of options for stringing these days - way more than the "fishing line or tiger tail" of 30 years ago - enough options to confuse the heck out of a beginner - but this should get you started. Once you've tried a few projects - then it's time to branch out a bit more! (Tiger tail, btw, is a fore-runner to the beading cable of today - it is a twisted steel cable, but does not have a nice protective coating, and is notorious for kinking accidentally and putting a bend in your necklace where you don't want it.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Big Apple - Bead Show Weekend

Two competing shows opened on Friday. The first is the Whole Bead Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The first day is usually pretty busy as the wholesale and the experienced buyers come in early to have first dibs on the best stuff. This is one of the last big shows of the year, just in time for the pre-Christmas shoppers.

Stuff from Swarovski beads to rusted steel chain can be found here. I picked up more of the Uber Curly Pigtails that we can never seem to keep in stock at the store. At one of my stone suppliers, the big thing was burnt jade. This is yellow/amber jade that has been matte finished. I got beads in several shapes and sizes as well as some other cool stuff.

I also restocked on sterling clasps and toggles, including the nice brass ones that have been unavailable for almost a year.

Later, I walked up the 14 blocks to the Glass Arts show, sponsored by the Softflex Company. This is a much smaller show, but the vendors are juried and have lovely one-of-a-kind pieces.
Some of this stuff is pretty pricey, but nice to look at.

One of the new items I picked up is bezel wire which does not require soldering or special tools to use. It can be used to frame cabs, beads, or anything you fancy.Also from this vendor were some nice connectors. Look for those on our website soon.

The vintage look is still popular, ranging from Victorian decorous to anything-goes Steampunk. Big is still popular, too. Big pearls, mixed with big jumprings, joined with short lengths of chain.

Tmorrow is R&R day for me. No beads, just theatre and schmoozing with friends. Ah, New York!

Sneak Peek at Next Week

Coming next week - Graceful, handmade Sonoran Leaves - handmade glass leaves. Some new colours in Firepolish. And 2 sizes of Precisosa Machine Cut Flowers that go beautifully with the Swarovski Margaritas to make a most excellent Christmas Tree.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The BeadFX Buyer in the Big Apple - Day 2

Today I spent some time at one of my stranger bead places. This warehouse is run by an old gentleman and his daughter who buy out the stocks of stores or jewelry-related businesses that have closed down. There are rooms and rooms full to the ceiling with boxes. The only way you can move around in this place is to pick up the box in front of you, drop it behind you, take the next box, put it behind you, etc until you have cleared a box-sized spaced in front of you. Take one step forward and then repeat....

This was about the only place there that had enough open space for me to take a picture. Obviously there's a lot of junk in here, but then, one man's junk can be the making of someone else's Steampunk treasure.

Vintage? Yeah, lots of it, if you know it to see it and have the persistence to dig through a gazillion boxes to find it. I got myself a cardboard box full of cool stuff.

The next stop was to a more conventional store. This place specializes in Czech beads. They are always firstest with the blingiest, but they suck at consistency. They already have the new stuff that we saw at the Czech Bead fashion show about a month ago.

Good thing I've got a heavy-duty shopping cart because between these two places, I could barely drag the stuff the 15 or so blocks to the friend's apartment where I am staying. I had to walk, of course because getting a cab during rush hour, in spitting rain? Fugeddaboudit!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The BeadFX Buyer in the Big Apple

I'm in NYC for a little shopping and a little R&R. This is Bead Week in NY, culminating in two shows this coming weekend.

First I stopped in to one of the big Swarovski distributors. They tend to have some of the Out Of Production stuff that is difficult to get elsewhere. Out Of Production, or OOP in Swarovski-speak means that they are no longer making the item. Every month, there's a big list of items that Swarovski declares is now OOP. This doesn't necessarily mean that it is gone forever. Swarovski usually hedges their bets by saying that they will manufacture more if they get enough orders for it. However, they specify a minimum quantity which is often enormous.

Swarovski's decision to discontinue making some item or other is a whole 'nother topic that I'll rant about at some future date.

Anyhow, back to NYC. I managed to get some OOP bicones in colours that we are currently out of, plus the elusive 12mm Margaritas in Vitrail Medium! Without these babies, you can only make a 3-stack Christmas tree, which is a pretty mingy tree, IMHO. Now, you can make a decent 4-stack tree for earrings. But I could only get a couple of gross, so grab 'em if you want to make a larger tree, 'cause they won't last long.

Today I bought freshwater pearls, to restock our rather pathetic display on the west wall of the store. Big pearls are the fashion these days, so I got 11-12mm potato pearls in a few colours. Also stocked up on the ever-popular coin pearls and Biwa sticks and the usual basics. I always try to buy as close to the source as possible and this NY company is run by the sons of the man who owns a pearl factory in China. I like them because their quality is decent for the price. At the moment the selection is getting low but come Tucson next January they will have all their new colours and shapes.

Tomorrow, off for some more shopping.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some Fall Fun

If you are looking for a bit fun this fall why not try a class. There is still time to take Dwyn's 8 week Lampworking 101 beginning October 16th at 6:30. This class runs until December 4th--it is a detailed and extensive introduction to making glass beads. You also get to hang out with Dwyn our webmistress--how cool is that!

Although the October 18th Charmed I'm Sure class with Heather Denison is full, the Tuesday October 21st class is still open. This is a 7 hour introduction and you will have time to make a few pieces and likely leave totally addicted to Silver Art Clay!!

Next week we have a few class--How to Price you Jewellery with Catherine Winter, River Rocks with Cindy Vroom and two Chainmaille classes with Marilyn Gardiner. Check out the sample pics below.

River Rocks with Cindy Vroom

Boxchain with Marilyn Gardiner

And if you still have time why not come by the Creative Festival this weekend. There will be lots to see and do. We will have in booth demo's going all weekend long. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Million Dollar Necklace

I will be demoing my "Million Dollar Necklace" this Friday and Saturday at the Creativ Festival (in Toronto, in the South Building of the Metro Convention Centre.) This will be the first time that I have demo'ed this piece, and I know quite a few people have asked about it.

It's was dubbed the Million Dollar Necklace partially because, loaded as it is with Swarovski Crystals - it's fairly pricey to make - but mostly because - you feel like a million dollars wearing it! It's truly Oscar-worthy. You'll never be anything other than the centre of attention wearing this! And despite the complex looking weaving of multiple strands - it's surprisingly easy to make. And - it features one of my wave beads in the centre!

So come on out and enjoy the show - drop by the booth and see a demo - head over to the Swarovski Booth for a make and take session and just generally be inspired!

Demo Schedule for Creativ Festival

Here's a our planned schedule for demos for the Creativ Festival - subject, of course, to change!

Creative Festival BeadFX In-Booth Demonstration Schedule

Friday October 17th

11:00 Silver Art Clay Demonstration with Jennifer Tough
12:00 Silent Night Swarovski Christmas Ornaments with Dwyn Tomlinson
1:00 Million Dollar Necklace with Dwyn Tomlinson
2:00 Coach Lantern Earrings with Dwyn Tomlinson
3:00 Cubic Bling Bling Bracelet with Dwyn Tomlinson
4:00 Snowflakes with Swarovski Crystals
5:00 Christmas Blossom Brooch with Nadine Foskin
6:00 Christmas Tree Earrings with Nadine
7:00 Last Minute Gift Ideas!!!

Saturday October 18th

10:30 Snowflakes with Swarovski Crystals
11:00 Crystallized Gift Tags and Bags with Pam Carson-Mitchell
12:00 Swarovski Rainbow Cuff with Dwyn Tomlinson
1:00 Million Dollar Necklace with Dwyn Tomlinson
2:00 Cubic Bling Bling Bracelet with Dwyn Tomlinson
3:00 Coach Lantern Earrings with Dwyn Tomlinson
3:30 Christmas Blossom Brooch with Nadine Foskin
4:30 Christmas Tree Earrings with Cynthia Kolyn-Tough
5:00 Silver Art Clay Demonstration with Jennifer Tough

Sunday October 19th

11:00 Holly Pendant with Erin Singleton
12:00 Snowman Earrings with Cynthia Kolyn-Tough
1:00 Snowflakes with Swarovski Crystals
2:00 Crystallized Gift Tags and Bags with Erin Singleton
3:00 Last Minute Gift Ideas!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Creativ Festival

Ya know, sometimes I wonder if we simply thrive on stress, and we've just become so used to it, that we simply don't know what to do with ourselves unless we've got 15 projects on the go.

We're still trying to catch up from the sale. This one was particularly successful, with a record number of orders coming through on the Sunday. I want to thank everyone for your patience while we catch up. I especially want to commend Lee. All my staff are awesome, but the fact that Lee hasn't called in dead, and is still speaking to me is quite the feat in itself. So thank you Lee!

This week, on top of catching up, we're preparing for the Creativ Festival this weekend. We'll be doing a ton of demo's both in our booth, and in the Swarovski Pavillion. Nadine, Cynthia, and I will be running between the Swarovski booth, and our booth with special demos.

At the beadFX booth, Dwyn will be demonstrating her fabulous million dollar necklace. This is quite the stunner! I'll be demonstrating Art Clay Silver, and wrapped rings. We've also got quite a few other demos and kits prepared just for the show.

If you have a chance, please come on down. We would love to see you there!
The show runs October 17th, 18th, and 19th in the south building of the convention centre. This show has a concession area, you'll be able to grab a bite to eat and coffee without having to leave the show!

Monday, October 13, 2008

What I did on my Vacation - or - I'm baaaaack!

Hey - I'm baaaaaack - back from 5 days in Florence, Kentucky, where I got sunburned to a crisp. October. Sunburn. Kentucky - who knew? We're so pale here in Canada - we don't even have to go to the topics to get badly sunburned.

I went to the world German Shepherd Schutzhund competition. What the? Whosis? Schutzhund - pronounce that shutz (rhymes with "puts") hund (rhymes with "fund"). Schutzhund is a dog sport that was initially developed to test the merits and strengths of the German Shepherd Dog breed - designed by the breed's founder to, as he put it "keep my dog -- a working dog." It is an extremely rigorous event - for both the dog and the handler - similar in scope to a triathlon or the 3-day event for horses - as it combines many different skills and disciplines. It tests the dogs ability to think and solve problems and work independently and the ability to work as part of a team.

It involves 3 distinct parts: tracking, an obedience routine, and a protection phase. The tracking involve finding and following a track left by a stranger walking through a field, and finding dropped items along the way. The obedience routine involves heeling, retrieving, heeling through a crowd, and more complex exercises, such as the "running stand" - where you run with your dog and tell him to stop and stand perfectly still - while you keep running without a pause! The final phase is the "protection" phase - where the dog demonstrates both courage and control. The dog searches for and finds a "bad guy" and then stops him from escaping and attacking.

The sport is extremely complex - and as you can see - you can't just describe it in a single sound bite! It also serves as the wellspring for breeding and training police, service and military dogs - as there are many skills and traits that are common to both and many people who participate in both at one point or another.

This video clip shows just one part of the sport - the protection phase - and I have dubbed a narration over it to explain what is going on.

What does this have to do with beads? Well - all work and no play makes a dull beader! And it totally explains why I have no concept of what "free time" is!

If you want more information on the sport of schutzhund, you can check out:
The German Shepherd Schutzhund Club of Canada
Schutzhund USA
or email me with questions.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is turkey cooking day. I love eating turkey, I'm just not so fond of cooking them. This year I'm going to try something different. My mother thinks she remembers hearing a woman on the radio talking about cooking the turkey upside down ( breast down) Supposedly, this keeps the breast meat really tender instead of drying out. At least it's just family coming for dinner tonight. If it doesn't turn out, my mom won't mind too much :-)

I do have the rest of my necklaces done, from Fridays inspiration. At some point today in between cooking, I'll get them photographed. Then we'll just pretend that I posted them on Friday. :-)

The store will be closed tomorrow for Thanksgiving, and we'll reopen on Tuesday as usual.

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sneak Peek at Next Week

Ah! - wait'll you get a load of these! You know those gorgeous square and round Swarovski crystal fancy stones - the big ones with the centre hole like a donut but no little hole for stringing. Lookit what weeee found - mounts for 'em!

New stone of the month too - Sardonyx!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Planning a wedding? - Bling it with Swarovski

The other day along with a pile of other mail that I don't want to look at (bills, invoices, filing) all that fun kinda stuff, was a neat package from Swarovski. The non fun stuff got pushed to the side for a bit (just a bit as it does still need to get done at some point) sigh.

In this package, which I haven't had a chance to look through in complete detail yet, was a small stack of booklets about the upcoming Tucson Show in February, and 4 wedding booklets. There is some neat ideas there on how to add some Swarovski bling to your dress, your jewelry, your shoes, and even your cake! We're keeping some of the books in the store, but I have 2 extra ones that I'm willing to send out to the first two people who comment on todays post. Everyone else will have to get by with viewing all the info on the Swarovski site. Here's the direct link to Love Is In The Air

In other Swarovski news, they have come out with two new colours for the season. Dark Indigo, and Indian Pink. We should have these colours in time for the upcoming Creativ Festival

Here are some pics of the new colours. Excuse the photos, as I just took them on my cell phone.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hof Off the Press!!

Exciting news...we have just added a new Stephanie Dixon Wire Bead Crochet class on Saturday November 15th! 8 spots available, if you are interested book now because they won't last long.

crochet choker

Already taken Stephanie's beginner class why not try her Wire Bead Crochet Multistrand class this Sunday from 1 to 4pm.

New Beader, no problem. Marilyn Gardiner's Basic Bead Stringing is running this weekend and is a great introduction to colour and finishing techniques. If you enjoy that or are looking for a little chainmaille intro take a look at Marilyn's Shaggy Drops Bracelet!

shaggy drops bracelet

This bracelet is stunning and it even jingles a little while you walk!

Next week is also jam packed with lots of fun stuff, Dwyn's 8 week intro to Lampworking starts and Cindy Vroom's Embellished Biva Chain on Thursday Night.

Happy Beading to all.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Orders galore!

Dwyn is taking off on vacation at just the perfect time...lucky her! All of us in the store are in for one very, very busy week. We've got a couple of exciting things going on. First of course, is picking, processing and shipping all of the orders that came in throughout the sale. I've got a pic of the table behind where Lee sits. Let's just day this is only about 5% off all the actual orders. These ones will be shipped out today, many have been shipped out already, and even more still are in the process of being picked and cross checked. Whew! - Thanks everyone!

Here we have Nadine, Andrea, Erin, and Rachel all trying to get to the exact same stock to pick orders :-)

And here's one of Sue pretending to be happy :-)

We're also working on putting together some kits for the Creativ Festival next week. We will be there selling, and doing a ton of demos. We've even reserved part of our booth space just for demo purposes. Here's a pic of Cynthia putting together some snowflake kits:

Monday, October 06, 2008

Using Cones

As you start making more and more complex pieces of jewelry - you will find yourself with multiple strands, wondering how to finish them off to be nice and tidy at the ends. You might even have seen a necklace finished with long cones at the end, picked it up and handled it and thought "That looks nice - how the heck does that work? How do I get the ends to go in there and stay there?" The answer is annoyingly simple. In a nutshell - you make a loop, attach all the ends to it, stuff the loop with the ends on it into the big end of the cone - and make a loop on the other side of the cone to attach the clasp too. Watch the video and all will be revealed!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Guilty Pleasure: True Confessions

Everyone has a dark side - a hidden secret - a skeleton in the closet so vile and appalling that the weak faint and children run screaming in terror.

Here's mine: this is my flat-out favourite blog. The Comics Curmudgeon.

Josh Fruhlinger daily takes the mickey out of the really lame serial comics that continue, for some unknown reason, to take up space in the daily newspapers. Don't get me wrong, I love comics, cartoons, graphic novels and all forms of illustrated story telling. (And movies based on comic books!) I think that the editorial cartoon is high art. I seriously still read the comics before the rest of the newspaper.

And I think that Josh Fruhlinger pointing out the inanities and over simplifications of Mary Worthless, Mark Snailpaced Storytelling, and Dick Tracedfrombadart is hilarious. That's my dirty little secret, and I'm sticking with it. 'Nuff said.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Sneak Peek at Next Week

Only 2 more days of the sale - then we're back to weekly batches o' new stuff. This week has been a lot of tracking down odds n ends - There's some cool Thai Silver, oh, and check out this Hissing Cat Clasps! And some Dragon Pendants. Because a day without dragons is a day without a large, mythological, fire-breathing lizard. And, for the lampworkers - this bead cap is awesome - large and shallow and a perfect fit on lots of lampwork!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Look what she made!

We LOVE it when our customers show us what they make! Check this out! Halloweeny spiderey yarn with liddle beady bugs! The beads are incorporated into the yarn and ready for knitting up into something very cool! And she has it up for sale on Etsy - so you can buy it and carry on the creativity!

You go girl!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Dance of the Order-Waving Beadpickers

Every store has its own routines and BeadFX is no exception.

On Wednesdays, Nadine and I do the major resupply shopping for the week, returning to the store mid-afternoon with 6-8 large boxes full of beady stuff. These are all arranged in the classroom. I shoo everyone else out of the room and start sorting the boxes into about a dozen categories: fire-polished, pressed glass, bulk findings, stringing materials, Sterling silver, Swarovski-to-be-packaged, and the "dumpy-outies" - the stuff that goes loose into the little bins, etc. After all the beady stuff is sorted, I sit back and watch the Dance of the Order-Waving Beadpickers.

On an ordinary week, the dance is often just a solo performance as someone hauls out the file of orders that could not be completed because they were missing an item or two. She then just goes through the file, picking out the missing items from the sorted baskets.

However, on weeks like this when there's a sale on, the store hooks get emptied by instore customers before the online orders can be picked. On days like this, the Dance becomes much more complicated. The Dance is orchestrated by Lee, who hands out files of orders with missing items to anyone within reach. Each Beadpicker grabs an order and starts hunting through the baskets to find the missing items that will complete the order so it can be shipped out.

At any given time there might be 3-4 Pickers weaving in and out amongst each other, pecking through the baskets muttering, "Here, bead, bead, beadie!" or "Where are you, you little $#$%&!! You're on the invoice so you have to be hiding here someplace!". Occasionally the muttering is interrupted by an explosion of giggles as two Pickers reach into the same basket for the same package at the same time. Sometimes a Picker leaves the classroom with her prize and takes it to the back room to be weighed or counted and then returns the rest to the proper basket.

After an hour or so of this, the pile of completed orders has grown into a few boxes, all waiting their turn to be packaged and labelled for shipping. The rest of the incoming stock is labelled and priced to go out onto the floor or into the back room to be broken up into smaller packages. The Dance is over until next week.

Such is life with the Crazy Bead Ladies.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Classes, Classes and more Classes!

Classes, Classes and more Classes!!

If you are planning to "sale" by sometime this weekend it would be a great time to "sale" in for a class too! This weekend, October 4 and 5th, we have a lampworking weekend with Amy Waldman. This is a 2 day class and is a great introduction into the art of lampworking. Not only to do you get to play with the torch, the glass and with Amy you will also make your very own glass beads!!

If you have already taken a lampworking course, or think that 8 hours or less is just not enough time for you, there is Dwyn's 8 week class coming up on October 16th. This class is open to beginners or to students who have taken an intro class but want more!! This is a great opportunity to hang out with our webmistress and master bead maker Dwyn and to try to prefect your skills on the torch. You get a total of 20 hours on the torch. If you are not already a torch-a-holic you will be.

The ever popular Stephanie Dixon is teaching her Beaded Crochet Necklace this Sunday. This class is super hot right now, but there are still 2 spaces available, get them while they're hot!!

If you are interested in these or any other of our upcoming classes just give us a call at the store. Remember if you are coming in this weekend you will get to double dip on the discount, the Sale-a-bration discount and the class discount. Happy Beading!!