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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Business Chat - a day of labour.

Here it is, Labour Day weekend, a gorgeous sunny weekend and I’m sitting in my studio facing a mountain of work. It is labour day, and labour will be done. It just doesn’t have to be done for the whole weekend. 

My trick to not working the whole weekend is to make sure that I am focused and productive. For those with full-time jobs this should be a weekend off, to hang out and relax. But here’s a thought, what if you snuck in a bit of work on your business? Could that get your business moving forward and get some of those tasks off your list?

For everyone who is struggling to stay on top of your tasks, or who wants to accomplish a bit more, or who has a mountain of work facing them, here’s some tips to make your time more productive.

Get up earlier than you need to 

I admit it, I’m not much of a morning person. I despise the sound of an alarm clock, it’s one of the reasons that I am self-employed. That said, I am using an alarm clock these days to get up 30 minutes before I would usually get up. It’s amazing how much you can get done in 30 minutes. I use this 30 minutes to take care of tasks that don’t require all my brain cells and by the time I am fully conscious I look around and realize, hey! stuff got done.

If you are not a morning person, even setting your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than normal gives you a small window of time to think about what your day holds and how you might tackle it. 

Limit distractions, 

“Oh, what was that thing I was thinking about? I’ll just quickly look it up online”. Famous last words. Looking up something online usually leads to “I’ll just quickly check my email/Facebook/Twitter” and boom, you emerge from your internet coma and an hour has gone by. Or there’s the, "let me just pop in a load of laundry and I'll be right back to this" distraction. Or the "where's my shoes?" screamed at you from the depths of your house. Or a thousand other things that will distract us from getting anything done. It is better to be super-productive and focused for 30 minutes than to spend 3 hours of flitting in and out of the job.

Shut the door. Put a "Do NOT Disturb" sign out if necessary. 
Turn off the internet. I unplug my modem, harsh but required. 
Work on ONE task at a time and do not move to another task until the first is complete.

Make a SHORT list. 

Are you a list person like me? I love opening a notebook (ooh, I get to buy more notebooks!), or a fresh screen and making lists. I feel so much better when I have a list, it gets the clutter out of my head and into something I can organize. Recently I have started making a different kind of list. I call it the Today 5 list. The biggest problem with most of my to do lists is the length of them. Just looking at my 12 page (seriously) list of tasks causes overwhelm and the inability to start anything. 

Best solution is to begin every day with a short list of 5 tasks that must be done. These are the next tasks to get my various projects to the next step and tasks that can reasonably get done in the amount of time I have that day. The trick is to decide how much time I have and what I can manage to do. Even better is to write up the tasks the day before so that when I walk into the studio I don’t have to think, I just sit down and do. 5 things is not such a big deal. 

Use a timer 
Look at your task and think how long it should take. Set the timer. Do it. When the timer goes off, stop. Done. A timer will stop you from getting lost in other things and will make sure you don’t lose your whole day. 

Be organized 
It’s hard to be focused and productive if you can’t find anything. How do you fill out that craft show application if it is lost in a heap of papers on the floor? Being physically organized means you spend less time searching for bits and pieces and more time getting stuff done.
How you keep your to do lists or decide which tasks you should be working on is up to you, there are thousands of different systems. What is important is that you find one system that works for you. Knowing what needs to be done and when means that you can set your timer and do it.

It’s not about putting in the most hours, it’s about making the hours you put in count. Go ahead, labour for a really solid, productive hour this weekend and see how much you get done.

InspirationFX: Braided Charm


Get your creative juices flowing

Braided Charm
by: Pam Kearns
I like to use materials in unusual combinations and find uses other than what they were intended for. I was looking at the Paracord buckles and wondered what else they could connect to. I then thought of the new Lycra strips and knew they would work and could be braided. The result is this bracelet that is fun to wear with lots of movement in a fun colour. It also keeps in style with the Boho look that is popular right now. I've used antique copper accents and Swarovski rounds, but you could easily choose another metal colour and other beads or metal charms.

1. Pull the Lycra tight several times so that it creates a tight rolled tube - do this with each piece.
2. Pull each Lycra tube through one of the ends of the buckle. Secure with a jump ring - this is really fussy! Tack the ends to the tubes for added security
3. Braid the Lycra tubes together to a length that fits your wrist, allowing for the length of the buckle.
4. Pull the ends through the other end of the buckle, maintaining the braid and secure with jump rings. Check your fit and loosen or tighten the Lycra as needed - there is still a lot stretch in the Lycra. Also, the weight of the crystals will pull the bracelet too. Don't tack the ends as yet - wait until the bracelet is completed.
5. Open the jump rings and add one to each braid section by closing it around the Lycra tube - mine needed 30 jump rings along the length of the bracelet.
6. Place a crystal or 6 mm metal bead on a headpin and finish with a wrapped loop. Because the headpins went through the 6 mm metal bead, I added a 3 mm bead below and above the 6 mm bead.
7. Open then the jump rings you added in step 5, and add one of the beads. I put the copper beads on the ivory Lycra; the light turquoise on the aqua Lycra and blue zircon on the storm blue Lycra. Make sure you close the jump rings well so that the beads don't come off.
8. When you are satisfied with the fit, tack the ends of the Lycra tubes securely with a needle and thread.



Go to our components list for this project and to buy what you need!
Need some help with some of the techniques? Check our tips page.

Friday, August 29, 2014

On Sale this week - 25% off Happy Flowers, Vintage Bakelite, Jasper and Agate beads.

On Sale

Happy Flowers 

We call them "Happy" because they are pretty and make us smile! 

s37396 Polymer Clay - 15 mm Plumeria Flower - Compassion Conquers Envy (1)

25% off!

Vintage Bakelite

Vintage Bakelite - the genuine article - in storage for decades!
s36677 Vintage Bakelite - 22 mm Round - Root Beer (1)

25% off!

We had to do some reorganizing in the Stone Beads - it was getting too big for the website software. All the Agate, conveniently in one place. The beauty of Mother Earth's creation's is amazing!
Agate (Stone Beads)

s25136 Stone Beads - 25 mm Coin - Banded Agate (1)

Ditto for the Jasper stone beads. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.

Jasper (Stone Beads)
s19443 Stone Beads - 20 x 10 mm Double Drilled Oval - Artistic Jasper (1)

Sale starts on Wed Midnight.
and ends on Wed midnight.
Items held in shopping cart
will change price automatically at

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Matte Montana and the Missing Puzzle Piece

s40796 Glass Drops - 4 x 6 mm Tiny Tims Drops - Matte Montana Antiqued (50)
My name's Montana, Matte Montana, and I solve puzzles. s40804 Glass Daggers - 5 x 16 mm Dagger Beads - Autumn Stroll (25)This is my story.

I was taking an Autumn Stroll, when s40807 Glass Daggers - 5 x 16 mm Dagger Beads - Earth Mother (25)my cell phone started to ring like a Nightclub. It was this hippy-dippy Earth Mother friend of mine, s40805 Glass Daggers - 5 x 16 mm Dagger Beads - Matte Nightclub (25)and she needed my help.

"Oh Matte," she said, "I'm so confused. I'm at the end of my Twisted Rope. I'm Foiled like a Chaton."

"Hang on, my Petite Flower," I said. "Don't get your Moccasins in a bunch. Pour yourself a glass of Bordeaux and I'll be right there." I jumped my car - a new s40806 Glass Daggers - 5 x 16 mm Dagger Beads - Electric Blue Opal (25)hybrid Electric Blue Opal, a replacement for the Vintage Steel that I used to drive, checked s40773 Swarovski Vintage Rhinestones - ss 48 Chaton Foiled - Starlight (6)my Gunmetal Vitrail, and drove over in the Starlight.

s40724 Findings - Link -  2 Knob Puzzle Piece - Bright Brass (1)There she was, as lovely as a Spring Willow, getting s40715 Metal Charm/Pendant -  Monstera Leaf - Bright Brass (1)Hammered, and fanning herself with a Monstera Leaf.

"I'm Missing a Puzzle Piece!" s40785 Glass Drops - 4 x 6 mm Tiny Tims Drops - Spring Willow (50)she said when I got there.

"Well" I said, "Do you need a 1 knob puzzle piece or a 2 knob puzzle piece?"

"s40720 Findings - Link -  Triangle Puzzle Piece - Bright Brass (1)Oh no," she sobbed, "I think it's a triangle piece!"

"Really?" I said. "Here it is - the Missing Piece - in both Copper and Brass.

Honestly - you are as beautiful as a butterfly but as sharp as a pebble."
s40734 Metal Beads -  Pebbles - Antiqued Copper (1)

s40822 Glass Leaves - 9 x 14 mm Horizontal Flat Paisley Leaves - Fire of 1000 Suns (1)"Oh," she said, you make me as angry as the Fire of a 1000 Suns. You are about as helpful as a square washer. I thought you would bail me out."

"Listen baby, you called me, don't you look daggers at me!"

"Why don't you Tiny Tim Drop out of here, you're not so Bright Gold yourself," she snapped.

s40771 Swarovski Vintage Rhinestones - 8 x 10 mm Oval Cabochon (2190/2) - Smoked Topaz (6)s40922 Book - Bead and Button Books -  Creative Beading - Vol 9Well, who needs that kind of abuse, so I decided to make like a tree and Leaf, and I grabbed an Smoked Topaz Oval Cab home and took up Creative Beading.

Click on a link or image above, or get started with all the new items here and get making!

*We are closed Monday, Sep 1 for Labour Day - but as usual, our trusty computers will continue to take your on-line orders! Have a safe and pleasant holiday!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Just one day left - to get the point ...

This is the point - just one day left to get them at 30% off - that's the point. Get it? Got it. Good.


30% off!

s30253 Glass Daggers - 5 x 16 mm Dagger Beads - Blue Jay (25)

s38801 Glass Beads - 5 x 16 mm Thorns - Cobalt (25)

s31664 Glass Beads - 17 mm Spikes - Sapphire Blue (6)

s37538 Glass Beads - 12 mm Bead Stud - Matte Cobalt Sliperit (1)

Sale starts on Wed Midnight.
and ends on Wed midnight.
Items held in shopping cart
will change price automatically at

September isn't the end of Summer;
it's the start of a new Season!

In Toronto, we know that summer is pretty well over when the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) kicks off. Labour Day will be around the corner and the kids will be back in class. But it's not really an 'end' - it is the start of a new season when we get to wear new fall clothes and look forward to cooler weather and the colours of changing leaves. (okay, cue the violins!)

But really! Our routines get back to normal and scheduling gets back in place. And we do need new jewellery to go with our new fall wardrobe!

Our enthusiastic and creative instructors have organized wonderful classes with many new projects. Plus, you get the opportunity to meet some of the instructors and see for yourself the great projects at our Back to Class event on September 13.

Here is what's scheduled September 2 - 15:

Saturday, September 6
FREE Marg's Birthday Celebration
11:00am - 3:00pm

NEW "Ducette" Wire Knit Bracelet
Instructor: Roxann Blazetich-Ozols
1:00 - 4:00pm

Sunday, September 7
NEW Button Knots and Gemstones
Instructor: Angela Peace
11:30am - 2:30pm

Thursday, September 11
NEW Triangle Ridgeback Bracelet
Instructor: Pamela Kearns
6:00 - 9:00pm

Friday, September 12
NEW Sassy Sparkling Sliders
Instructor: Malliga Nathan
6:00 - 9:00pm

Saturday, September 13
FREE Back to Class Kick-off
10:00am - 4:00pm

Sunday, September 14
NEW Pebbledash Polymer Clay Pendant and Bead
Instructor: Barbara Colautti
11:30am - 4:30pm

Hot Connections 1: Introduction to Soldering
Instructor: Iris Rogers Melamed
10:00am - 2:30pm

Complete information about our classes, including course descriptions, and class and kits fees can be found on our website. Click on the 'Classes' link and follow through to the September calendar.

Bring your projects and join us at our FREE open beading sessions. 

Wednesday, September 3
Open Beading Night
Facilitator: Stephanie Dixon
6:00 - 8:00pm

Thursday, September 4
Thursday, September 11
Afternoon Bead Tea
Facilitator: Pamela Kearns
1:00 - 3:00pm

BeadFX is proud to provide these FREE sessions. In return, we ask that you please use our merchandise in our facility. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Top Five Bead Spills at BeadFX

You know that sound, when you are in a restaurant, an almighty crash of crockery and cutlery, a tremendous burst of sound that shatters the air as well as the dishes. I always hope that we're in a place that doesn't take it out of the waiters' salaries, when I hear that.

Well - restaurants aren't the only places where things spill. Sometimes, we have spills here at BeadFX. They can be pretty spectacular - and always involve everyone crawling around on their hands and knees afterwards, picking up the goods!

Top Five Most Spectacular Bead Spills at BeadFX

5. Early on in our history, I was moving a tray of Swarovski's, all in their little bins, when I dropped the tray and spilled the entire lot on the floor. Back in those days, it was a sizable percentage of our inventory. I felt so bad, I spent the evening sorting them all out back into their proper bins for the next day.

4. Then there was the time when we were doing a show at the convention centre, and the pin for the handle of the dolly came out, and the dolly ran down the ramp and jumped the curb and scattered the contents of the metal beads bins all over the concrete. There are probably still Antique Copper Hex Spacers wedged into the cracks in the pavement, if you ever care to go back there with a pair of tweezers.

3.  And then there was the day the Sterling Bead shelf collapsed in the glass case at the cash register. Oh yeah - there was some sortin' to do that day!

2. And speaking of the glass showcase - we hadn't had it a full week yet, when a half-loaded mobile rack (just back from a show, coincidentally), fell over onto the new and very expensive glass showcase, and smashed through it and demolished it. The owner was out of town and we didn't tell her till she got back - why ruin a vacation, after all?

1.  And the most recent and a truly spectacular one - the table in the counting and packaging area just recent collapsed - folded up it's metal legs at one end, and gracefully slid it's contents on to the floor - where they all landed in their respective bins, bags and boxes, retaining pretty much their exact position that they had on the table, and leaving Rochelle on the phone holding a bag of beads in one hand and her phone in the others, saying, "Gotta go now, table just collapsed."

What are your bead spill stories?

InspirationFX: Fear of Commitment


Get your creative juices flowing

Fear of Commitment

by: Dwyn Tomlinson

Here's a fear - the fear of commitment. The fear of using that beautiful object that you have only one of - and then not having it anymore to use in another piece.

Sadly - I usually buy multiples of the things I really like, and now I have drawers and drawers of stuff, and can't find the thing I'm looking for - so it's all a wash.

This new jewelry system - called, variously, depending on the manufacturer, "In a Snap," "Noosa" or "Klik" is the first interchangeable jewelry system that is quick and easy to change out the focal piece.

Your individual item glues (I used epoxy clay, because I like it's non-runny properties) onto a snap back, and then the items you make, bracelets, pendants, etc, have a snap-into section. As easy as doing up your jeans. Change up your jewelry as fast as you change your clothes, and no special tools required, no fiddling, just snap and go.

I bet spies could use these to exchange information. That could be in a Bond flick. Maybe you could make one with a memory card inside ... ? Bond ... Jane Bond ...

You don't need much of the epoxy clay, about the size of a pea. It's harder to mix well in super small quantities, so glue up a bunch at the same time.

The magnetic clasp is not quite the right size for the regaliz - but I never let that stop me. Trim it down (as shown) with wire cutters and dry fit before glueing.



Go to our components list for this project and to buy what you need!
Need some help with some of the techniques? Check our tips page.