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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lazy Hazy Days

We're heading into August - can you believe the summer is half over already?  We've got some fabulous classes lined up for the rest of your summer vacation. Check out the full August schedule on our classes page - and of course, have a look at some of the classes coming up throughout the year. Much more to come!

Tuesday August 7th

6:30pm to 8:30pm

Thursday August 9th

6pm to 9pm

Saturday August 11th 

10am to 1pm 

10am to 1pm

Sunday August 12th

11am to 2pm

11am to 1pm

2 pm to 5pm

Small Beads 2
11am to 4pm

Monday, July 30, 2012

Two Simple Tips for Making Leather Bracelets

Here's a couple of quick tips if you are thinking about making some leather bracelets - because with all this new leather and specialized findings, clasps, beads, etc., they sure are tempting - and sooooo easy.

But leather being, you know, organic, sometimes it doesn't find perfectly into the clasp first time. You can wrestle with it if you like, or try these two quick tips to make fitting the leather into the hole a breeze.

Tip 1: The leather is too thick - make it thinner by filing the end with an emery board. Files down amazingly well, actually. And makes the surface rougher for better glue adhesion too. 

Tip 2: The leather is too wide, or the end got kinda squidged out from trying to force it, and now flares out a bit. Trim a little bit off - using your wire cutters. Scissors may not have the oomph you need to cut the leather cleanly - but a part of nippy wire cutters does the job a treat! 

Leather and Findings here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Joy of Metal Clay

Check the entries in the Metal Clay Today's (online metal clay magazine) Enamoured challenge entries. You can vote for the Viewers Choice Award. Check the entries out here.

There is quite a variety of entries. Good luck to those of you who entered.

In looking through Metal Clay Today's site I found the titles of their upcoming contests. This Fall the title is "Ornamental my dear" and this Winter it is "Building a Better Box". I will update you when I get more details.

  In other news, have you heard about the 25% increase in PMC supposed to hit August first. Argggghhh....

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Business Chat - 3 ways of thinking for success

Me. In a room. Just me. This is my whole company. Ask me what I do and depending on the day I can give you a dozen different answers, that is what being a solopreneur is all about. Sometimes it feels like I’m thinking in a thousand different directions, my brain is on overdrive trying to get everything done. Yet within the variety of jobs that I do there are 3 distinct mindsets that I must have that are the most important. If I can wrap my head around these 3 ways of thinking I can pretty well guarantee that all that needs to be done will be.

Think like a boss.
Sometimes there is crap that just has to be done and in a micro business guess who is going to do that crap? Yes, that would be you. As much as you’d like to be playing with your crafty supplies or making pretty things there are plenty of chores that require regular maintenance. Bookkeeping anyone? These are the tasks that every business needs and without them your business will sink.
When I’m faced with a list of icky tasks that I don’t want to do, I find it helps to put on my boss hat and just do the job. If I were working for someone else then they would expect me to do the tasks. And if I were lucky enough to have staff then I would expect them to do them. So, I pretend that I am the boss and I tell my employee to just do it.

Think like an employee
I am not self-employed, I work for a business. The fact that I own the business and that I’m the only one working here is irrelevant. In the spirit of taking myself and my business seriously I always think of my jewelry company as a business. And when you work for a business sometimes you have to just buckle down and do the jobs at hand. Someone has to do the not-as-much-fun parts. That someone is you. Once your “boss” (see the above paragraph) tells you to do a task, do it. If you were working for someone else you couldn’t blow off a task because you didn’t feel like it, or wanted to do something else. Be a good employee and do it. Then maybe your boss will give you a treat.

Think like a customer.
Without customers you don’t have a business. And as unique and fabulous as you are, there are a whole lot of other unique and fabulous crafters out there. Customer service is where you have a chance to stand out and shine.
Excellent customer service isn’t hard. Put on your customer hat and think about how you want to be treated. Then do that. If you don’t feel like it, think of yourself as an employee, suck it up and do your job. This is your job. Do it. How would you feel if you were trying to buy something at a craft show and the vendor was rude to you? In many ways, online customer service is even more important than offline service. Online, your competition is closer, just a click away instead of across the street.
Every single time you interact with the public put your customer hat on. This means when you respond to an email, post on facebook or stand in your booth. Never open your mouth without thinking first. Watch your language and always be positive and pleasant. No matter how crappy you are feeling or how bad your day is, keep it to yourself.
Make sure you say thank you in every conversation. Remember that each of your customers has friends — and happy customers are the best referrals

Friday, July 27, 2012

Inspiration Friday: YOU!

I am constantly amazed by the beautifully jewellery that you, beloved customer, make from components bought at beadFX. Everyday someone walks in wearing a piece that just blows me away.

On Wednesday, Sarah came in the store to buy more gemstone Swarovski pearls and crystallized filigree beads for bracelets that she makes and is selling like hot cakes on her Etsy site.

Isn't this gorgeous?

Isn't she beautiful?

Well, Jenny and I could not get over how fabulously the filigree beads go with the Swarovski Gemstone Pearls. We pawed over which beads would go with which pearls. At Open Beading Night, I raved about Sarah's design and created a bracelet for display in the store.

To find the crystal filigree beads follow this link:

For the Swarovski Gemstone Pearls follow this link:

To see Sarah's beautiful designs, please visit her Etsy site at

We love it when customers share what they make!! Please post pics on our Facebook page!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Last Spike

s33393 Glass Beads - 17 mm Spikes - 24 Karat Gold-Plated (1)
Once upon a time, there was a vast country, and because the internet hadn't been invented yet - no way to quickly talk to your friends on the other side of it. 

Then someone had this idea - "Let's build a railroad - so we can all go visiting and not have to drive home 5,000 miles after drinking all night." 

s33396 Glass Beads - 17 mm Spikes - Ghost AB (6)They hired some guys and got some metal and some SPIKES and cut down some trees and soon they were building a railroad. 

Oh, sure, s33399 Glass Beads - 17 mm Spikes - Crystal Platypus (6)they had some problems - some guys saw some Ghost ABs, and of course, they were plagued by Crystal Platypuses.
s33401 Glass Beads - 17 mm Spikes - Teal Vitrail (6)Sometimes, they thought they were lost, but then they heard a voice calling, "I TEAL you, you're on the right VITRAIL."

s33385 Glass Beads - 17 mm Spikes - Gunmetal (6)There was danger, but they had lots of Gunmetal. They had to search for Mossy Water to drink - but sometimes there was s33423 Glass Beads - 17 mm Spikes - Smoke on the Water (6)just Smoke on the Water. Actually - they would have preferred Champagne Lustre, garnished with Pale Mint Lustre - or even mixed with some Passionfruit Argent

They built that railroad through the Montana Mist, (they really WERE lost at that point!) through fields of Magic Blueberry, on beds of Pink Coral Celsian, tunnelled through Jet Granite (which is as hard at Matte Black Diamond) and through Stormy Weather

s33361 Glass Beads - 17 mm Spikes - Antique Bronze (6)s33391 Glass Beads - 17 mm Spikes - Nickel-Plated (1)When they got to the end - they wanted to commemorate it with a special Spike - a symbol of their hard work. One suggested they use Antique Bronze, and someone else suggested it be Nickel-plated. Finally, someone suggested a 24 Karat Gold-Plated Spike
s33414 Glass Beads - 8 mm Baby Spikes - Satin 24 Karat Gold-Plated (6)

But then one of them suggested a cute little baby spike in Satin Gold would be just adorable. Then, someone else insisted that Gold Lustred Purple was the only real choice. Right about then, a cat-fight broke out, and they all started stabbing each other with spikes of all colours - mixing it up and calling each other names and trying to scratch each other, without messing up their hair and nails - which had been done up special for the ceremony. 

75521664-101 Rattail Cord - 2 mm Satin Rattail Cord - Silver Grey (yard)s33301 Metal Beads - 17 mm Double Square - Flame - Gold-plated (1)They made so much noise, that they aroused a mountain dragon, who had already been disturbed from his centuries-long nap by the hammering of the spikes. He wrapped his Silver Grey Rat-tail around them all, and threatened to use his Double Square Flame to turn them into Charcoal

s33299 MetalFX -  Metallic/Mica Powder - Charcoal (1 gram)
s33295 MetalFX -  Metallic/Mica Powder - Sunset Shimmer (1 gram)And so, as Sunset Shimmer-ed into Bright Moonlight - they all drank from the Pewter Chalice of Peace.

s33360 Metal Beads - 9 mm Double Square - Twig - Antiqued Copper (1)I'll go out on a Twig here, and say that you don't s33345 Metal Beads - 17 mm Double Square - Leaves - Antiqued Brass (1)be-Leaves a word of this little fable. ;-)

New Glass Spikes this week, 77 of them! And some new MetalFX - which is Mica-powder for embellishing Crystal Clay and Apoxie clay and polymer clay. 

s33328 Metal Beads - 13 mm Double Square - Leaves - Antiqued Brass (1)And these great new Double Square metal beads - 60 different varieties. They are two dome squares, attached at the corners - so they have a wide opening on ALL FOUR SIDES!. They come in 5 metal colours, 5 styles and 3 sizes: 9 mm, 13 mm, and 17 mm - and what is TOTALLY awesome about the 17 mm size is that they fit on the 10 mm leather we brought out last week! 

Look for them on the Metal Beads pages, organized by colour!

We will be closed Aug 15 - 19 for inventory. Our store will be closed and online orders will not be picked during that time, as we will need all hands on deck for the inventory - plus it messes up the inventory to pick orders while counting! If we finish early - we'll reopen early. Online order picking will resume on the 20th, in the order in which the orders were ordered. ;-) Thank you for your patience!

As usual, lots more to explore! Click on a link (or a picture) above, or start with the Main Page and look for the "New" tags. 

Yes - we know there is a LOT there, so you can take it in in bite-size portions by checking out these categories: Firepolish, Pressed Glass, Swarovski Crystal, Seedbeads, Stone and Pearls, Preciosa Crystal, Metal Beads, Other Cool Beads, Findings, Metal Clay & Supplies or Books, Kits, Tools.
And don't forget to check out our free, yes, free projects. Over 300 to choose from - a new one every week!

Lampworking Studio is Now Open - Please call ahead to check availability and reserve a spot.
Don't forget - we are at our new location - so don't automatically drive to the old place by mistake - details on our About Us page.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Open Beading Night: What's It All About?

Imagine if you will:
-Being able to shop in your favourite store after hours and having someone personally help you.
-Being surrounded by your best friends doing a hobby you all enjoy.
-Having access to hundreds of magazines and books for inspiration.
-Having a professional on hand to answer questions and help you through difficulties.
-Having a sneak peek at the new product in the store before it goes live on the website.
-Eating two bite brownies, cinnamon rolls and chocolate.
-and to top it all off, it's FREE!!

That my friends, is Open Beading Night at beadFX!!

I am so honored to be the host of this great beadFX initiative started by Jennifer Tough a number of years ago. The first one I attended as a customer, I went with Cynthia Fawcett. It was oodles of fun.

I can't believe I host it now! We have a core group that includes Barb, Claudette, Bonnie, Dawn, Marion and Vanessa. It's a go with a minimum of 2 and the maximum of 10.

It's on Wednesdays and we start at 6:00 with setting our individual goals for the night and introduce any newbies. I usually give everyone a sneak peek at the new product that will go live at midnight with the newsletter release. Hopefully you all receive our weekly newsletter featuring new product, a free pattern and tons of valuable class information. You can sign up for the newsletter on

So are you tempted to join us? Call 416-701-1373 to sign up. I'd love you to come out. What else are you doing?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I can't believe how fast the summer seems to be flying by. It's the end of July already!

We've only got a few open spots left for Open Beading Night with Stephanie Dixon - sign up now! This Wednesday, the 25th from 6 to 8pm.

Open Beading Night
Do you have questions about a beading project? Are you looking for inspiration or creative input? Why not drop by an Open Beading Night at beadFX?!
Stephanie (and her sparkling personality!) will be in the classroom from about 6pm to 8pm most weeks to answer questions and give advice.

Interested in learning how to create those wonderfully supple bead crochet ropes? Lampworkers take note - crochet ropes look wonderful with a single large lampwork focal bead. Let's face it, we can't torch all the time - now you'll have something to do while watching tv. :-)

Bead Crochet Ropes with Pamela Kearns. Thursday 6pm to 9pm

Course Outline: Bead crochet is a great way to create wonderful and supple ropes for bracelets and necklaces! This class will use size 8 beads to create a bracelet.
Technique Focus: Bead Crochet
Skill Level: Beginner
Please note: In the class. you will learn this technique and may not finish the project in class.

We also have a brand spanking new class this week!

 Create this fabulous stone inlay felted necklace with Dawn Liu-Smyth. Friday, July 27th from 6 to 9pm.

Course Outline: Students will use merino wool roving to wet-felt a necklace with inlaid stone, and bead embellishment. Students will be encouraged to explore colour and texture as they work with the wool fibres. Some basic bead stitching will also be covered so that students may embellish their jewellery pieces. Wet-felting is a physical process so students should be prepared to use their arms and hands to roll and manipulate the felt in process.
This class will include an overview of wool characteristics, the felting process, and material used. Colour combining and choosing of materials. Handling and laying of wool. Wet-felting-the process, tips and tricks. Basic bead stitching and embellishment of final pieces. Show, share and critique.
Skill Level: Suitable for beginner and more skilled jewellery artists.
Focus Technique: Wet-felting with stone inlay.

 Join us on Monday July 30th - 6pm to 9pm for Hot Connections 1 with Iris Melamed. This class regularly sells out, plus this is the prerequisite to Hot Connections 2.

Course Outline:
In this class you will learn how to solder circles of heavy gauge silver wire and transform them into earrings and stacking rings.
We will begin with an overview of soldering tools, materials and techniques. Then we will fuel and fire up our butane torches and learn how to solder jump rings. Next we will discover how to create earrings and stacking rings by forming and soldering larger circles. Some metalwork finishing techniques will be discussed. Time permitting, one set of earrings and three rings will be completed.
Technique Focus: Soldering silver wire
Skill Level: Beginner

A quick and easy way to learn peyote stitch, and perfect for the ummm, attention challenged among us. ;-) Create these awesome peyote stitch beaded beads! Once you've made a bunch, they can be used in a variety of projects, or use a few to make a wonderful bracelet like this one:

 Monday July 30th 6pm to 9pm with Pamela Kearns

Course Outline:
Peyote Beaded Bead - Learn how to use flat peyote to create beaded beads. These great components can be used to make bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Students will learn how to do peyote and read basic peyote patterns.

Technique:Peyote & Wire Wrapping
Level: Beginner

Have a look at our full class schedule on our classes page!   To sign up, please call 416.701.1373, or toll free 1.877.473.2323

Monday, July 23, 2012

Torch Fired Enamels

s32655 Books -  Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry - by Barbara LewisWe have been carrying this book for a few months - but what you probably don't know is that Marg actually took a class in this, just to see what it was like! She made some quite fun and colourful stuff, and enjoyed it a lot. She says it's easy to do!

Here's a look at her results from the class!

Books - Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry - by Barbara Lewis

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Joy of Metal Clay: My Vacuum????

Today, I want to tell you about the awesome vacuum that I invested in.  It is odd to hear me exited about cleaning but let me explain why.

When I fire base metal clay there is often a soot in the bottom of the kiln from the firing pan.  It is messy and not the easiest to clean. Plus, carbon is dusty.  I have to  (read: should) vacuum my kiln and work area  regularly.  I had little Black and Decker hand vacuum but I could never get it to suck all the soot out of the kiln and its power wasn't great.  Alternatively, I could  lug my canister vacuum down to the basement studio and use its  attachments to accomplish this task.  Let's be honest this did not happen all that often for me. Regarding my studio floor, I worried about all the little fallen items that may get sucked up in into the vacuum never to be seen again (have you ever lost one of your precious CZ's in carpet?).

I had considered purchasing a little craft vacuum that I have seen advertised online to clean out my kiln but what about my floor?  I wondered; "Could there be a multipurpose solution to cleaning out my kiln and my studio area?"  Enter my new baby:  the Dyson Multi Floor Stick vacuum. 

Although pricey (I think $349, Yikes) it has been a great solution for me not only for cleaning out my kiln but all the other vacuuming I have neglected. 

It is light, easy to handle and SUCKS.  In a good way.  The first day I had it I was surprised at the amount of dirt that came out of my carpet.

Also, it is bagless.  Therefore, no worries about picking up any fallen beads or findings off  the floor.  Hurray another problem solved. (Not bad for picking up Lego, too)

 It has an attachment that works great to get into my kilns crevices to clear out any soot.

It is cordless and the battery life is only about 10-15 minutes.Given my self-diagnosed attention deficit disorder that is enough time for me to accomplish what I need. The only down side is that it is a little top heavy and you need to hold down the" trigger" (on/off switch) while using it.  If you have hand/wrist problems be aware.  Personally, I have occasional hand issues but I  find that I use it for such a short time I don't have any problems. But this is worth mentioning. 

I don't like parting with my money but this was a multipurpose tool that is useful in the studio but throughout the rest of my home. BTW -my home and car have never been so clean and I rarely use my other vacuum.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Business Chat - Make it easy for your customers to give you money

 “Wow, I LOVE this, it’s totally fabulous! It fits perfectly and it’s so gorgeous”, gushes the customer as she puts your jewelry back on the shelf and walks away. Huh? Why didn’t she buy it? She loves it!

Who knows, maybe she just paid a huge car repair bill. Maybe she just bought a house. Maybe it’s a big necklace and she doesn’t have any special occasions coming up to wear it to. Maybe she doesn’t have any cash and she doesn’t know if you take credit cards and since you were busy with another customer she couldn’t ask you.

Not every customer will purchase every time they see you. It’s up to you to provide your customer with the opportunity to purchase when they want to, not just when you happen to be available.

Here’s a couple of tips for providing ways for your customer to give you money.
  • Have signs everywhere about your terms of payment (credit cards, cash, cheque, email money transfer, whatever). Don’t ever make them ask.
  • On your website have BUY NOW buttons everywhere along with shipping information.
  • If an item has a variety of options list them. Don’t ever make them email for more information.
  • Let them know where they can buy from you in the future. Have your website address on everything. List all your craft shows on your website. Facebook upcoming events, tweet them, blog them, let people know where you will be.
  • Ask people to sign up for your newsletter and then send them the newsletter. It’s not the customers’ job to stay in touch with you, it’s your job to stay in touch with them.
 Making it easy for your customer to give you money isn’t just about the physical exchange of cash for goods. It is about providing the customer with a variety of goods at a variety of price points to allow them to find one that fits their needs.

Back to our shopper from above. The piece she tried on was a very large statement necklace. True, she did love it however she couldn’t figure out where she would wear it, and really, at $500 it was beyond her budget. The customer here loves your work but you haven’t provided her with a way of giving you money. What if there was a smaller version of the necklace? Or a pair of earrings at $35 in the same style?

As another example, think of a painter who has created a stunning landscape painting, magnificent and 6’ X 8’ and $2500. No matter how gorgeous, it will be difficult for her audience (who primarily live in downtown condos) to find a space for this work. The painter could make smaller prints of the work for a more affordable price and at a size that people could envision in their living room. She could also make greeting cards, or create a calendar of a selection of her works.

If a customer just doesn’t have the money to buy your $500 piece, don’t deny them the chance to give you what they can afford. Maybe they can buy a $50 piece. They can always come back for more. 

Money is like water, it will flow where ever you direct it. Go ahead, direct as much as possible in your direction. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Lampwork Beads @ beadFX

Stephanie has been busy organizing all of our artist made lampwork beads. She's set up the display table by artist, and even has everything neatly labeled! The display table looks fabulous, and now it's far more clear as to who made what. :-)  Last weekend,  I snapped some quick shots on my phone, and just uploaded them to Pinterest. We've posted more pics of the beads there. Follow us on Pinterest to keep updated.

A big apology to those of you who shop online - these are only available in the retail store at this time as all of the beads are one of a kind. If you can, the new shop is worth the trip!

Have you ever wondered just where we create our glass beads? Dwyn recently took a picture of our new glass studio.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's not ACTUALLY 360 degrees out there - it's just the humidex

s33242 Findings - Cup Cap - ID 5 mm Swivel Ridged End Cap - Bright Copper (1)360 degrees is the temperature outside, I think. Satan called - he wants his weather back. We strongly recommend finding somewhere cool and hiding there, with your beads. Beading. After all - it is summer, don't you know. Time to kick back and relax - let your mind wander, take the time to relax and refresh yourself. 

We have these awesome new end cups, with a 360 degree swivel attachment on the end. This is a brand new product and you saw it here first! The end rotates, so that it always hangs right, and the clasp always lines up right, and lays flat. When you try these - you'll wonder how you lived without them! 

These End Cups are great for Viking Knit, Chainmail, Kumihimo, Multi-strand necklaces and bracelets, tassels, earrings, pendants, oh - just a host of things. Cones taper - which make them flexible in terms of getting the right size, but there is more space inside an End Cup, because they don't get smaller at the end.

Leather and Skulls

s33259 Stringing -  Regaliz Licorice Leather - Midas (Inch)The Regaliz (Licorice) leather is such a great look - everyone loves it, and so we now have more choices: more colours, more beads, and now, s33261 Stringing -  Regaliz / Rhinestone Licorice Leather - Chocolate and Crystal (Inch)new 10 mm wide flat leather strapping, and clasps and beads designed to fit that too! Woohoo! 

We have Distressed Metallic Gold (Midas) and Silver (Aphrodite), and a deep red Bordeaux colour! And even with Rhinestones - because everything goes better with rhinestones! 

s33272 Beads - Regaliz -  Skullboy - Antiqued Silver (1)s33270 Beads - Regaliz -  Crisscross Oval Charm Holder - Pewter (1)For new adornments, we have the totally rocking SkullBoy bead, and a charm holder - attach your own charms to the ring on the side. How about this Oval Mount - which just begs to have something collaged onto it - maybe a little portrait picture,s33271 Beads - Regaliz -  Oval Mount - Antiqued Silver (1) sealed with resin?

s33263 Stringing -  Flat Leather - Sea Grass (Inch)
This flat leather strapping is just as handsome as the Regaliz - but is not as "dimensional." It has it's own custom-designed findings and beads, and some are deliberately made double-width or extra wide so that you s33269 Findings - Regaliz -  Flat Leather Magnetic Clasp - Antiqued Silver (1)can create designs with two strips side by side, or add some alternate leather cords or wire or what-have-you down the sides. Think of the possibilities!

s33284 Beads - Regaliz -  Open Heart - Antiqued Silver (1)Or just slide on a bead and glue on a clasp - same as the Regaliz. Easy Peasy! Check it all out and see what you can design!


 Delicate Delicas

db1505 Delicas - 11/0 Japanese Cylinders - Opaque Pink Champagne AB (7.5 g)Delicas aren't actually delicate - they are pretty robust - but this batch of 68 new colours! has a lot of delicate colours and db1504 Delicas - 11/0 Japanese Cylinders - Opaque Pale Rose AB (7.5 g)shades. I think the actual origin of Delica has more to do with deliciousness than delicate-ness - and nothing at all to do with delegating. Or delirium, or delinquency. Although, in a delirium of beading, you might be delinquent in your duties and should try delegating. 


Oh, and please NOTE: We will be closed Aug 15 - 19 for inventory. Our store will be closed and online orders will not be delayed, as we will need all hands on deck for the inventory - plus it messes up the inventory to pick orders while counting! If we finish early - we'll reopen early. Online order picking will resume when we are done, in the order in which the orders were ordered. ;-) Thank you for your patience!

Lots more to explore! Click on a link (or a picture) above, or start with the Main Page and look for the "New" tags. 

Yes - we know there is a LOT there, so you can take it in in bite-size portions by checking out these categories: Firepolish, Pressed Glass, Swarovski Crystal, Seedbeads, Stone and Pearls, Preciosa Crystal, Metal Beads, Other Cool Beads, Findings, Metal Clay & Supplies or Books, Kits, Tools.
And don't forget to check out our free, yes, free projects. Over 300 to choose from - a new one every week!

Don't forget - we are at our new location - so don't automatically drive to the old place by mistake - details on our About Us page.