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Author Archive: Ali on The Blog

Introducing: WoolyWire!

Posted by Ali on February 28 at 02:32 pm

Nellie ThomasNew to our Artists line up, from a little fiber arts studio in Lexington, Kentucky, comes Nellie Thomas and WoolyWire. When I first saw these creations, I was immediately drawn to the vibrant colors and funky style of this 24-gauge fiber-wrapped wire. So many ideas swimming in my head on how to use this and incorporate into my design work! Spin-Culture studios sources the raw-wool, freshly sheared, and washes, cards, dyes, and spins it into the most delicious looking yarns. The genius behind all this is felting the yarn to a length of 24 gauge craft wire. Beautiful color throughout a project or as accents along the way. I am swooning.

Thanks to technology, we were able to conduct a long-distance interview from Ann Arbor to Lexington to get the scoop on Nellie the artist and her world of fiber arts.

Q. What drew you to spinning?

A. One reason I love spinning is because I enjoy playing with all of the different textures. There are so many different types of textures to play with when using a number of different breeds of sheep and other various textiles.  I also enjoy how the experience while spinning can be somewhat versatile; I can either relax and have a zen like experience of just making the same motions with my hands while not really having to focus on anything specific, basically enjoying it for the pure pleasure of spinning…and yet I can also be creative with it and let my mind run in different directions with ideas of how to create new types of yarn and spinning methods.

 

Q. What are your favorite colors? least favorite colors?

A. I would say my fave colors are within the blue/green spectrum…my least fave is pastel/cotton candy pink.

Q.  Do you have any pets we should know about?

A. I have one cat named Chloe and is all black and she is my cat pretty much. There is also a dog here in the house which is my mom’s named Casey…she’s a German Shepard.

spinning wheel and dog

Casey supervises the day's work

 

Q. What is your favorite hobby besides the fiber arts?

A. I haven’t had a chance to do this much recently, but I really enjoy playing pool (billiards)

 

Q. Where do you find your inspiration?

A. I would have to say helping people to find their creative outlet inspires me. When people tell me they are learning how to spin, or how to do something particular with fiber prep, or learn how to knit– that sort of stuff really makes me happy to help them to be able to accomplish their creative endeavor. I’m not really sure why..I guess I have just found spinning/finding my creative outlet has affected my life in so many good ways that I’m happy to see it might do the same for others.

 

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to talk to a passionate person about their passion…read Nellie’s final comments to our Q&A session:

“My enjoyment isn’t only derived from spinning/knitting. I really love doing what I need to do to prep the fiber also.  I love dyeing because it gives me a chance to play with a bunch of different colors and see the effects the dye takes on different fibers and mixing with different colors. I also love making the batts because I feel like I can get really creative playing with the different colors and fibers when I apply them onto the carder.  I even like getting the raw fleeces and washing them and seeing how beautiful the fiber comes out– especially the really nice fleeces like the long teeswater locks which reach up to 12″+! It’s a real treat to see this amazing fiber in person which is actually quite rare and hard to find in the U.S.  It is also a treat to be able to use that fleece to spin with and to create special yarns you normally can’t make with any other fleece (like the extreme tailspinning).  Something about doing everything from scratch (i.e. getting the raw fleece and processing it) is just exciting to me because first I really enjoy just the naturalness of it all to begin with, and then to turn that into something that is so different from what it started out as and knowing that you were a part of that…I just really love that.”

We just really love WoolyWire! Check it out and let us know what you think. Can’t wait to start seeing pieces pop up in the Design Gallery… In fact, I was so excited about this particular launch, I posted a few ideas, to get your creative juices flowing (earrings & bracelet). Check ‘em out. Tell me what you think!

Pantone Colors for Fall 2012

Posted by Ali on August 16 at 02:00 pm

Alright Lima Beaders! We’re ready to delve into this magical and mystical thing called Fashion Week. “What? This is a beading website!” you might be thinking, but Fashion Week does have a certain relevance to our humble age-old craft: color schemes.

Fall Fashions: Pantone Color Report

New York Fashion Week was way back in February, but at the time we had no intention of thinking about the Fall. Ew, here in Michigan with all its sloppy, soupy snow in February (it was a mild winter, but winter nonetheless) if anything, we were dreaming of Spring. But now the Autumn season is upon us. (I know because I’ve started buying all the back-to-school pencil cases, lunch boxes, and back packs for Payton.) And now I feel it’s an appropriate time to start matching the new Fall Fashion colors with some of our offerings here at Lima Beads.

I wanted to be really selective when matching these colors. For example, when you see Bright Chartreuse in the Pantone chart, you’re not going to see every green thing we carry. You’re going to find the best components for creating something with this color scheme in mind. I also tried to group some of our multi-colored beads conveniently so you can instantly recognize how hip these beads will be in your new Fall creations.

New Designs

My sense of design and style drew me in to these Pantone colors because of the versatility of the colors. There are some great accent shades–Tangerine Tango? Pink Flambé? Some wonderful neutrals (“blendy” as Payton might say)– French Roast and Titanium. As well as some “cool” yet bold hues to work with– Ultramarine Green and Rhapsody.

Lately when designing, I’ve been really drawn to the raku by XAZ. It’s going to pair extremely well with the Ultramarine Green, Titanium and Honey Gold. Of course I would need to throw in a Turquoise and few rusty harvest colors to make it pop – maybe from some boro glass beads of Sea Shore Glass or some carnelian and amber. It’s always fun to have something new to play with and I feel like the possibilities suggested by Fashion Week 2012 for the Fall are nearly endless. What strikes your fancy? I’d love to see some ideas from you! Fresh Picks anyone?

Ann Arbor Art Fair!

Posted by Ali on July 19 at 12:58 pm

Greetings all, from the Ann Arbor Art Fair!

Aly's booth

My apologies for not unveiling a new Tip or Technique this week, but I’ve been super busy unveiling my jewelry at the 45th annual Ann Arbor Art Fair at State Street. If you’re in town this weekend, please come on by and say hello! We’re camped out on the strip of S. State Street, between E. Liberty and E. William. (Right across from local watering hole, Ashley’s– and they’ve been tempting us with hot dogs and beers–sounds like Summer to me!)

Ashley's hot dog booth

I guess it is possible that I am giving away all my trade secrets by broadcasting this, but many of the designs I’ve shared on Tips & Techniques, as well as in the Design Gallery, are beautifully laid out on my table in this sweltering heat. (Big thanks to my little sister who came up from Florida to hang out with me and haul loads of necklaces, bracelets and earrings downtown).

Sister, Lauren

Did you love learning the Ladder Stitch from this video? That piece is here! The Transparent Resin Frame tutorial turned into these cool earrings, also displayed at my humble table. Boardwalk at Twilight bracelet? Got ‘em. Garden Droplets? Check.

frame earrings

This isn’t just one big advertisement for my super-awesome booth at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. :) But I wanted to let you all know where I have been for the past few weeks (longer if you count all the hours crafting!). Do you participate in Art Fairs? They are a lot of work! As somewhat of a veteran at this point, my number one tip is to always always put your sparkly pieces in the sunlight (eye catchers!) and of course, have a card with your name, contact info, AND location in the fair. Seems simple enough, but those simple things are the easiest to forget sometimes! Those are my tips, but I like to consider myself a life-long learner, so I’d be curious to know, what is your #1 Best Advice when hitting the Art Fair circuit?


top table

Aly in action

 

Holiday Hint #7: Christmas Tree Jewelry

Posted by Ali on November 23 at 11:53 am

This post is part of a series for the 2011 Holiday Season… Follow along on the Holiday Page!

We are always so focused on making jewelry for ourselves that we might forget to make jewelry for our tree! I wanted to make garland for our tree, so I took 2 different spools of hemp and cut 13′ lengths of each. Knot a loop at the end to be able to secure to a branch. Randomly string on large crystals or large sparkly beads by knotting them on each side. As you go along about every 10″ or so, knot a couple scraps of ribbon to add some fullness and contrast to the sparkle. It’s easy and super quick! Your tree jewelry will look beautiful on your tree or wreath–or you can give it as a gift. (I’m keeping mine!)

Handmade Holiday Garland

Handmade Holiday Garland

Holiday Hint #6: Lists, lists, lists…

Posted by Ali on November 22 at 11:44 am

This post is part of a series for the 2011 Holiday Season… Follow along on the Holiday Page!

If there is any time to turn into a crazy list maker, now is the time. Those magnetic pads for your fridge are great. I make lists for everything this time of year. Between Thanksgiving being next week, preparing Christmas presents, getting ready to decorate the house, entertaining, and going to holiday parties I have no time left right now to process a complete thought or idea … so I make lists.

I have a list for:

  • what I am making for Thanksgiving dinner
  • what I need to make each of the dishes and what I need to purchase for them
  • who is getting a gift & what they are getting
  • what I need to decorate inside
  • what I need to decorate outside
  • what craft projects to do with the kids
  • whom to make cookies for
  • … and the lists go on

Any other list makers out there!

Holiday Hint #5: Never Get Caught Empty Handed

Posted by Ali on November 17 at 05:01 pm

This post is part of a series for the 2011 Holiday Season… Follow along on the Holiday Page!

Have you ever been in the unfortunate situation of being the recipient of a gift without having anything to give in return?

Make a few extra gifts to have on hand. Keep them in your car, or in your purse. Everyone likes a simple pair of sparkly earrings or a “match everything” multi color bracelet. These gifts can even be made with your extra beads and findings, so you don’t have to spend more money than you have to!

Holiday Hint #4: Handling “Helpful” Kids

Posted by Ali on November 10 at 12:24 pm

This post is part of a series for the 2011 Holiday Season… Follow along on the Holiday Page!

I am always trying to find a spare second at home when I can try to be creative. Lately this task has become even harder with Payton not consistently taking an afternoon nap and Christmas gift creations looming. She loves to try an help me make jewelry, but isn’t always all that helpful, so I came up with something easy for her to do at my desk while I work on my own designs – button jewelry. I have a couple cigar boxes full of vintage buttons with big holes that make it easy to string hemp or twine through. She loves this because they are colorful and sparkly and she can do it all by herself. I love it because she stays preoccupied so that I can think straight and design something myself.

Payton's Vintage Button NecklaceHere is a necklace that Payton made the other day. I made a loop clasp for her to put the final button through as closure.

Materials needed:
2′ hemp or twine
old buttons or even big hole beads

Holiday Hint #3: Hang your Ornaments in Style…

Posted by Ali on November 03 at 01:42 pm

This post is part of a series for the 2011 Holiday Season… Follow along on the Holiday Page!

One of the things I don’t look forward to during the holidays is reaching my hand into that dreaded box of pointy ornament hooks, only to stab myself and ruin the spirit. This year, I’m taking a different route using some beads and leftover Artistic Wire.

With just a few inches of Artistic Wire and some sparkly helpers, you can hang your ornaments in style. Check out the tip on making ornament hangers on the Tips & Techniques page!

Holiday Hint #2: Make it Personal

Posted by Ali on October 27 at 03:37 pm

This post is part of a series for the 2011 Holiday Season… Follow along on the Holiday Page!

With all of the great mixed-media jewelry supplies out there right now, it’s more fun than ever to create something that has a personal touch. This year, I’ll be designing some pieces that contain resin components, keepsake pendants, stamped blanks, and other personalized pieces.

Resin and keepsake pendants are fun because you can include anything you want, as long as it fits. It could be a photo, a birthstone, or even a little note, or any other little trinkets that have sentimental value.

If you’re comfortable with tools, stamping blanks is a great way to give a personalized gift. You can write anything you want and then texture the blank, or use gilders paste to add some color.

 

Here are some links to items that help you make it personal:

Holiday Hint #1: Gift Brainstorming

Posted by Ali on October 20 at 02:29 pm

This post is part of a series for the 2011 Holiday Season… Follow along on the Holiday Page!

It’s always around this time every year that I start to feel the stress of holiday gift making. This year, I’ll be making an untold number of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings for all the wonderful ladies in my life. They all have different tastes, styles, and favorite colors.

Over the past few years, I’ve come up with a way to get my thoughts organized and my creativity flowing. I start by making a list of everyone that will need a gift. Then, next to each of their names I write down everything I know about their style and fashion preferences — what they like to wear, where they fall on the funky-to-conservative scale, where they like to shop, their favorite colors and anything else I think will help me design something they’ll love.

Starting off with this list has served me well. It has helped me design gifts that are well-received, decide which beads and supplies I need to purchase, and last but not least, it has helped me get a grip on just how much work I have to do before it’s too late!

I hope this helps. If you have something that works for you, please share it in the comments!

January / February Favorites

Posted by Ali on February 28 at 04:45 pm

Top 15 Favorited Design Gallery Pieces

We welcomed a lot of new designers to the Design Gallery in the last two months! They include (newest first): Monkeykat Chick-let Rhi, P Beal, Crissy G, Jade, Celticcrossing, Carole S, Kera D, stormy chic aka D Snyder, Carole C, Penny N, indigo, Reclaimed Vintage, D Dupree, Swedish Chick, Mera C, Firespryte, Connie W, Ms Dear Crazy Chick Fr, valleygirl, Joyce M, Emma Bella, Dionisia, Melanie L, Mary Magdalene, MTDesigns, JunQueJules, Rosie, Karri n, LeighAnn F, ShadesofVictoriana, Copper Dog, Dizzy Chick Lori Z, B Stafford, IzzyBella D, Cathy, JPeg Peggy, The Artful Healer, CIZACO, Harmony on Strings, Goldie H, Jameth, 4HisGloryCreationsbyCJ, N2Beading, Shawn l, D Cauley, GreedieBeadie, Science Chick Runs Sibes, Malina B, KittyMom Linda, Arja A, Eeka Mouse aka MERchick, M martinez, Vampire Chickie Ravin, and Cindy V.

Here are the “most favorited” pieces:

  1. Calsilica Dragonfly by Diane Cauley
  2. Ebony & Ivory by Chippy Chick aka Lindys
  3. not your stepping stone by doktordesigns
  4. Tutorial For My Girls by Lynn g
  5. The Turritella Challenge by Wemai Coffee Chick
  6. Vintage Hummingbirds by Dizzy Chick Lori Z
  7. Katri by Arja A
  8. Seahorse by Gunilla B
  9. IBD*Izzy Bella Designs by IzzyBella D
  10. Stormy Sky Bracelet by trinkets
  11. Ocean Swirl by Leigh D
  12. Cherry Blossom by LeighAnn F
  13. Softly Sparkle by Kathryn Lobert

I love all the great focal pieces in your designs. Wonderful uses for metal this time around. Keep creating and sharing!

Top 15 Favorited Fresh Picks

  1. Sweet As Lilies by Cuban Queen Crazy Chick
  2. Lavender Scents by Chicky Zee aka Alice
  3. Faces of Love by KarenDe-Challenge Chick
  4. Porcelain Beauty by FaeryGoth Chick
  5. For All The Garnet Gals!!!!! by Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
  6. sugared citrus by Shawn l
  7. Violet Delights by Breezy Chick aka Bree
  8. Bronzed Flight by Leigh D
  9. Happiness is a Blue Boat by Mirjam E
  10. Dream in Green by AllureofGemsGlamJulia
  11. ChampagneAndLemonChrysoprase by ChickyD aka Debra
  12. Dance of the Crane by Mommykat Bubbly Chick
  13. Sublime by Vampire Chickie Ravin
  14. Lime In The Coconut by JohnDeereBabe
  15. Navy-Green by Anita QoG Funny Chick

Welcome New Fresh Pickers…

Get ready for a long list, because there were a LOT of new Fresh Pickers in January and February. Here goes!

Spring Trends 2010

Posted by Ali on February 04 at 12:38 pm

As I sat down last week to start designing some spring pieces, I realized that I needed to do a little research on the trends. I tried to find points on style or color where there seems to be a consensus. As designers, we all take suggested trends with a grain of salt. It’s our job to do our own thing, but if you’re looking to sell your creations, it can’t hurt to know what’s popular :) Here is what I found:

I couldn’t find a “great new trend” like large rough stones, filigree, or chain from the past few years. From what I can tell, it seems like trends from last year remain strong, although I pray that the 80s resurgence will pass soon! More and more women are looking to Michelle Obama as a fashion icon, much like my mother and grandmother looked to Jackie O.

orange-necklace

Kingii Necklace at Anthropologie

In terms of style of jewelry and components, I noticed an increased use of feathers, leather, and chain. I also found a lot of cuff bracelets, big earrings, and bold necklaces. Not that delicate pieces are under appreciated, but even they are getting some zing to be bold without needing to be chunky. Art, especially “pop art” has inspired many designers this season in their choices of color and lines. If art is going to inspire me, I’d like to stick to the impressionists.

Memory jewelry and charm jewelry are being created by more and more designers. I think this is because designs with more of a “handmade touch” seem to be very popular. I asked Matt if Deidra would get a charm bracelet when their baby is born and he said she doesn’t wear bracelets. Hmmm, how about a charm necklace?

Pantone colorsColor is playing an important role again this season. Based on what I’ve read, the most important thing in your color choice is to be very deliberate in your choices. Gold metals (both matte and antiqued) continue to rise in popularity. I used to tell my mom when I was little, that I’d never wear gold, but here I am starting to work bits and pieces into my designs. I try to avoid being trendy at all costs, but I have to admit, I’m drawn to the warmth provided by gold, especially in filigree and chain. Pantone has named *turquoise* the color of the year for 2010. They state that turquoise “evokes thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and a languorous, effective escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of well being.” Wow! Turquoise can do all that? It sounds ideal, because we want our designs to carry people away and make them feel great. I’m glad I found that stash of huge Chinese turquoise nuggets under my beading table the other day :)

Pantone also selected green yellow, tomato red (one of my favs), champagne, dove gray, Mediterranean blue, and violet. This is starting to get exciting! What a great bunch of colors.

I’ll most likely keep these color suggestions in mind as I create my spring pieces. Good luck to everyone finding your style and theme for spring and summer! I think we’re going to see a lot of interesting things as people continue to mix their components, metals, and methods.

Lima Cares 2010

Posted by Ali on January 13 at 03:50 pm

Lima Beads customers have been helping us support charities since 2004. When you place an order at Lima Beads, you’ll notice the option to choose a charity at the bottom of your shopping cart. Lima Beads will donate a portion of the profit from your order to the charity you select. This does not add any cost to your order — we just like to let our customers decide where our charitable donations should go. You are the reason we’re here and the reason we’re in a position to help others. Thank You!

It’s that time of year again to choose the charities we’ll be supporting in 2010. This year we have some wonderful causes we’d like to support. Voting will be based on category. Choose your favorite charity from each category below. We’ll be supporting a total of 6 this year. Voting will be open through January 21, 2010, so get your votes in soon!

Environmental Organizations

GreenpeaceGreenpeace

Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. (more…)

Beyond PesticidesBeyond Pesticides

Beyond Pesticides seeks safe air, water, land and food for ourselves and future generations. Beyond Pesticides works with allies in protecting public health and the environment to lead the transition to a world free of toxic pesticides. (more…)

Animal Organizations

World Wildlife FederationWorld Wildlife Federation

We seek to be the voice for those creatures whom have no voice. We speak for their future. We seek to apply the wealth of our talents, knowledge, and passion to making the world wealthier in life, in spirit, and in living wonder of nature. (more…)

ASPCAASPCA

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was the first humane organization to be granted legal authority to investigate and make arrests for crimes against animals. Our organization provides local and national leadership in three key areas: caring for pet parents and pets, providing positive outcomes for at-risk animals and serving victims of animal cruelty. (more…)

Humane Society of Huron ValleyHumane Society of Huron Valley

Our mission is to support the loving, responsible care of all animals in our community by ensuring proper, nurturing care, for the animals in our shelter; placing all adoptable animals in loving homes; reducing pet overpopulation; providing education and outreach; and stopping animal cruelty. (more…)

Children’s Organizations

BGCSMBoys & Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan

Since 1926, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan has provided high quality youth development programs, sporting activities, events and a safe haven for children from all walks of life. (more…)

Eastern Michigan Food BankThe BackPack Program

The Backpack Program is an undertaking of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan which attempts to reduce child hunger, educate students on proper nutrition and promote healthy lifestyles. (more…)

Women/Mothers Organizations

One HEARTOne HEART

The mission of One HEART is to save the lives of women and children, one birth at a time. Saving the lives of Tibetan women and their children is of utmost urgency for the survival of the Tibetan people and culture. (more…)

Women Thrive WorldwideWomen Thrive Worldwide

Women Thrive develops, shapes, and advocates for policies that foster economic opportunity for women living in poverty. They focus on making U.S. international assistance and trade programs prioritize women. (more…)

Grameen FoundationThe Grameen Foundation

At Grameen Foundation our goal is simple – we want to see poor people, especially the poorest and those living in harder to reach areas, have access to microfinance and technology and as a result of access to these services, move themselves out of poverty. (more…)

Food Organizations

Food GatherersFood Gatherers

Food Gatherers exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community by: reducing food waste through the rescue and distribution of perishable and non perishable food; coordinating with other hunger relief providers; educating the public about hunger; and developing new food resources. (more…)

Oxfam AmericaOxfam America

Oxfam America is an international relief and development organization that creates lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and injustice. Together with individuals and local groups in more than 100 countries, Oxfam saves lives, helps people overcome poverty, and fights for social justice. (more…)

Health Organizations

The Michigan DifferenceThe Michigan Difference

The Michigan Difference as it relates to medicine in the 21st century is about ideas, about people intensely dedicated to using those ideas to make the world a better place. (more…)

Susan G. Komen for the CureSusan G. Komen for the Cure

At Susan G. Komen for the Cure®, we are committed to ending breast cancer forever by energizing science to find the cures and ensuring quality care for all people, everywhere. (more…)

DMC Children's HospitalDMC Children’s Hospital

With more than 40 specialties, the Children’s Hospital of Michigan sees more kids and trains more pediatric medical and surgical experts than any other hospital in the state. (more…)

Thanks!

Thanks for taking the time to help us pick the organizations we’ll support together in 2010. For more details and to see the charities we supported in 2009, please visit the Lima Cares page.

Update: Haiti Relief Effort

In response to the tragic series of earthquakes on January 12 that devastated Haiti, Lima Beads will be redirecting our giving for the entire month of January to the American Red Cross to assist in emergency relief and recovery efforts. For those who’ve placed an order in January and are curious, we’ll still factor in the charity you selected for our end of year giving.

Soft and Snowy for December

Posted by Ali on January 12 at 08:03 pm

2009 certainly was a year full of inspiration. Check out some of the favorites from December below…

Welcome New Pickers!

The following beaders picked up a new hobby at the end of 2009: creating Fresh Picks!

Top 15 Favorited Design Gallery Pieces

  1. motherless child by doktordesigns
  2. SANTA FE BRACELET by cdpatricketsycom
  3. velvet pine by Jeannes Gems - Gem Chick
  4. Leapordskin Jasper Pendant Necklace by knjns0
  5. Metallic Blue by Leigh D
  6. Aventurine Dream by Breezy Chick aka Bree
  7. Sugilite Jasper & Silver by Wemai Coffee Chick
  8. Rose and Copper Cuff by ChickyD aka Debra
  9. Beads and Chain by Fine Designs Jewelry
  10. Twilight Inspired by Nicki - Taylored Designs
  11. Midnight Blue by Little Round Chick
  12. Vintage Rose Rememberance by Lynette O

There are some very cool bracelets in the top 15 this past month. None of your pieces look the same, which really makes your unique talents stand out. Great mixing of bead types and chain/metal. Awesome stuff!

Top 15 Favorited Picks

  1. Sweet Fairy Tales by Breezy Chick aka Bree
  2. Eskimo Kisses by Cuban Queen Crazy Chick
  3. Russian Roulette by Chicky Zee aka Alice
  4. Christmas Wreath by Elaine aka Belly Chick
  5. Lima Beans Lima Beads by Lady of Beads
  6. Aunt Fern by Atomic Toad
  7. Ice Skating by Luv2bead - Little Chick
  8. White Christmas by FaeryGoth Chick
  9. Fly, Fly Away by Anita QoG Funny Chick
  10. Bead Therapy by Purple Chick aka Violet
  11. Candy Canes by Faithful Chick aka Faith
  12. Blue Man Group by Jeannes Gems - Gem Chick
  13. Bronzed Garden Gateway by Leigh D
  14. Cuivre Elegante by Chicky ChaCha

It looks like maybe the snow is softening your choices in color or you are dreaming of warmer days, either way they are beautiful. The subtle greens, pinks and purples that were chosen go great with winter whites. What would you design with these picks? In the words of one of Payton’s favorite stories – “What could I be, what do you see?”

Top Picks of November

Posted by Ali on December 17 at 10:03 am

Without further ado, here’s a wrap-up of the inspiring work our customers have been up to!

New Pickers for November

Our Fresh Picks section keeps growing and growing… here’s a list of the newest pickers from November. Feeling inspired? It’s easy to design your own!

Top 15 Favorited Picks

  1. Uluru Ayers Rock by Breezy Chick aka Bree
  2. Brass Menagerie by Chicky ChaCha
  3. his eyes by M mccallister mrs chick
  4. A Winter Iris by Cotopaxi Chickie Sue
  5. Orange Delight by Anita QoG Funny Chick
  6. Septaria Sensations by Luv2bead - Little Chick
  7. Snow Falling on Cedars by J Yee smart chick
  8. Roast Chestnut by Chicky Zee aka Alice
  9. walk on the beach by Shelly m
  10. Silvery Red by FaeryGoth Chick
  11. Winter Winds - MPS by Smoky Rose
  12. Grapevine by Cuban Queen Crazy Chick
  13. Simon, Do Something! by Little Round Chick

I love the combination of subtle and calm fresh picks with the zippy ones with splashes of color such as chartreuse, orange, red, and purple. Great work choosing less obvious stones for your picks – septaria, Mexican painting stone, agua nueva agate, Monaco agate, … I could keep going on and on…

Top 15 Favorited Design Gallery Pieces

  1. Broken Glass by Luv2bead - Little Chick
  2. For the Love of Dragons by Nicki - Taylored Designs
  3. The Beauty of Septaria by Wemai Coffee Chick
  4. Pearly Dewdrops by Starsparkle Spiral Chick
  5. two autumn improvisations by doktordesigns
  6. Crowned Jewel by Wickwire Jewelry
  7. In Love with Amazonite by Froggy Chick aka Wendy F
  8. All the leaves are brown by Brenda H
  9. The Bronze Age by K H
  10. Blue Sky Chalcedony ring by Jewelrybyirina
  11. Ocean Jasper by Little Round Chick
  12. Sandy Waters by Gemme Designs
  13. Mediterranean Sea by Dutchy Madelon
  14. opal spirals by Jeannes Gems - Gem Chick

There seems to be quite a bit of crossover in colors and themes used in Fresh Picks and Design Gallery pieces this time around. I’m not sure if it’s just a coincidence or if they are inspiring each other. I hope it’s the latter.

There was a lot of beautiful wire-work this past month. Personally, I do so much stringing with some basic wire wrapping (when Payton is napping and the little boy in my belly isn’t kicking me… really, it’s the “perfect storm”) that it’s nice to see interesting styles like the What a Whopper Cuff Bracelet and the Blue Sky Chalcedony ring. But it doesn’t stop there… all of the designs posted in the Design Gallery have been wonderful, and I’m pretty sure tons of people have been inspired by the pieces they get to see. We talk to customers all the time on the phone who mention it!

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Bead Star 2009 yet, you should Check Out our ad towards the front to see who was featured. I wish we could have fit everyone… You are all great!

Leftovers

Posted by Ali on December 03 at 09:42 am

It’s officially “the holiday season” and a lot of us will no doubt be eating a lot of leftovers. This post is about a different kind of leftovers – leftover beads.

My definition of leftovers is (a) beads that are remaining after a planned project has been completed, or (b) components that didn’t get used or are from an item that is broken or lost. I never seem to use all of the beads I buy for making a birthday or Christmas gift, I always seem to lose one earring out of the pair and I also have a habit of buying funky pieces that don’t end up getting used. All of that is about to change…. I hope.

Here are some great ideas (I think) that I have come up with so that these treasures don’t go to waste:

  • Share your beads with friends or a group.
  • Create a simple (or difficult depending on the recipient’s experience) project and put together a homemade bead kit to give as a present.
  • Make a funky/unexpected piece of jewelry – throw everything leftover in a baggie, shake it up and start stringing.
  • Make a charm bracelet out of those lone earrings. I recommend a heavier duty chain, like the Tiffany chain bracelets that were so popular when I was in college. Also, I would go with an antique finish on the chain, with all of the different metals and stones that could be in your lost earrings you probably don’t want to use a chain that will look shiny and new when the earrings or other parts probably don’t.
  • Make bead chain.  If you are familiar with rosaries, then you know what I am talking about. A couple different ways this could be done:
  1. Just use your leftover beads along with a decent gauge wire (not too thin or your chain will break). If the beads won’t fit on the wire, I would recommend not using them in the piece rather than using a thin wire that could potentially break on you.
  2. Use a combination of your leftover beads as described above, but instead of linking each bead together using wire, add in leftover bits of chain in random or consistent lengths in between the beads.  This will add great movement and interest to the strand.

How do you use leftover beads? What would you think of an easy way to swap beads & supplies online?

Mission Impossible: Organizing My Beads

Posted by Ali on November 11 at 03:09 pm

photoThis past weekend, I found myself going through my now out-of-control bead room with Payton. I thought it would be an easy project to gather all of my favorite finds and organize them while she was playing with some fabric beads. There can’t be too many favorites, right? Well, as it turns out I have a lot of favorites and a lot of beads in general. Then I thought, at least I can thin out my bead stash by donating or reselling. The problem with that is that my favorite beads change with the seasons, my mood, etc. What am I supposed to do? This is my mission for November: Get my stash together before I start jamming on Christmas jewelry for gifts.

This is what I’ve tried in the past that worked at the time:

  • Dixie cups: Works for holding head pins and eye pins
  • Big red “keg” cups or a box: Works great for holding tools (these were always on hand in college :) )
  • Tackle boxes: traveling with beads. They have great little compartments for taking beads on the go. The only problem is that I now have too many beads to choose from and the tackle box I would need is the size of a small piece of luggage. I will say though that this also worked great when Kevin and I lived in a small apartment and I had to bead at the dining table. Tackle boxes are also great for storing glass or cz beads.
  • Plastic storage drawers on wheels: This worked in my apartment when I didn’t have a permanent beading spot. What I didn’t like about this storage method is that if you make the drawers heavy with too many beads, they don’t pull out very easily.
  • Beads in baggies inside of Tupperware bins with lids: This option worked great for the last year and I think that concept behind it could still work if I could find a better storage option. I used to store all my gemstones together, all my pearls together, all my vintage together, all my glass together…you get the drift. The problem then became that I would miss out on using a cool red bead because I had only been looking in my gemstone bin. I then decided that the best way to organize my beads because of the way I design was to do it based on color, regardless of material. For instance, I take all of my red beads no matter the type, put each in a Ziploc bag and put it in the bin labeled RED.

photoThe last option is by far my favorite for actual bead storage. The only remaining issue is that Payton likes to play with beads almost as much as I do. Our house is not huge, so her playroom doubles as my beading room. There are two problems with this. First, I have a limited amount of space to work with. Second, every time I go in the room, my beads are pulled out of their containers and strewn across the floor, because my little designer has been hard at work when I wasn’t looking :) I think what’ll happen is that I will find an amazingly perfect desk and come up with a fantastic wall storage for above. Sounds realistic right?

I would love to see pictures of your bead storage and/or studios. Not necessarily your beading desk or table, but the place where you store the beads and supplies you’re not actively working with.

What you think the best method for organizing your beads, tools, and projects is?

What special circumstances have you had to work with?

Please help!

Top Picks of October

Posted by Ali on November 03 at 10:28 am
Winter warmth by Carolinawren

Winter warmth by Carolinawren

New Fresh Pickers for October

Top 15 Favorited Picks

  1. 100% Chance of Rain by Chicky D aka Debra
  2. Pinked!!! by Leigh D
  3. Spa Delight by Alice t
  4. Sister Goldenhair by Atomic Toad
  5. Caelia by FaeryGoth Chick
  6. First Impressions by Breezy Chick aka Bree
  7. Wild Purple Asters by Mary S AKA Sweet Chick
  8. Walk Softly by Cuban Queen Crazy Chick
  9. Vintaj Venture en Bleu by Chicky ChaCha
  10. Copper and Ice by L Soponis
  11. Winter warmth by Carolinawren
  12. out of my comfort zone by M mccallister mrs chick
  13. Olympic Peninsula by Smoky Rose
  14. Cinnamon Toast by Jane MS
  15. Smoky Impressions by Luv2bead – Little Chick
100% Chance of Rain by Chicky D aka Debra

100% Chance of Rain by Chicky D aka Debra

This group of favorite picks really showcases the use of subtle and warm tones. There are however a few that feature purples and blues. I always say that purple is my least favorite color, but oddly enough I was reading Vogue UK and found that they are saying the top colors for fashion this winter (2009/2010) are: Indigo (the more saturated and intense the color the better) and regal tones of violet, purple and inky grape. I guess I’ll have to embrace these colors, at least for this season…

These colors are gorgeous when used the right way.  How would you use them? Let’s see some Fresh Picks!

They are all beautiful combinations.  Which Fresh Pick would you be most interested in creating a piece of jewelry out of and what would you create? If you do, be sure to show us in the design gallery :)

Top 15 Favorited Designs from the Gallery

  1. Waterfall of Pearls by Taylored Designs
  2. Amazonite by Chanda C
  3. Amber Waves by Jeannes Gems – Gem Chick
  4. Blue Jeans by Starsparkle Spiral Chick
  5. SANTORINI by Beadazzled
  6. Jasper ‘n Copper by Little Round Chick
  7. A mermaid for my friend by Wemai Coffee Chick
  8. Misty Morning Sunrise by John M
  9. Turquoise and Copper by Kathryn Lobert
  10. Autumn Wine Charm by Chicky D aka Debra
  11. Bon Jour! by Sali Jo GemsChica Chick
  12. Bohemian Tigress by Judith Ann Boyer
  13. Chocolate and berries by Gunilla B
  14. Two Favorites by Brenda H
  15. Laboradorite Nugget and Faceted Gemstone Necklace by Jewelry by Shannon Leigh
Waterfall of Pearls by Taylored Designs

Waterfall of Pearls by Taylored Designs

I have to say the design gallery has never looked so good!

The designs you’re creating and sharing with the rest of us are really beautiful. There are some great textures, colors, and metal work – especially in the top 15 this month.

I do have one request, and I know it might seem cumbersome because everyone is getting so busy this time of year, but I’m going to ask it anyway. If you have a piece that requires more than basic stringing technique, would please add some instructions or tips applicable to your piece? I think that it would really help, because the pieces are gorgeous and inspiring but it would also help to teach people how to achieve the same coolness. Again, if you have time :)

Thanks everyone!

Halloween Pet Costumes

Posted by Ali on October 30 at 10:44 am

At Lima Beads we thought it might be fun to share our pets’ Halloween costume pictures.

Dakota

Dakota

I can honestly say that we’ve never dressed Dakota up in anything. We’ve tried our T-shirts, bandanas, and booties, but he is never very excited. So when it came time to shop for a costume, I headed to Target. I know a homemade costume would be much cuter, but I barely have time to make a pair of earrings :) I enlisted the help of Payton (17 months old) to choose the right costume. She loves Dakota and loved nothing more than the idea of dressing him up to make him even more furry and cuddly. It came down to a chicken or a squirrel and as you can see, Payton chose the squirrel.

After putting Dakota through all of this without being able to enjoy his candy, I am feeling a little guilty so I was thinking about baking him some fresh doggie treats (recipe courtesy of The Martha Stewart Show October 2009)

Izzy’s Apple Cheddar Dog Biscuits

  • 2 cups barley flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients and about 3 tablespoons water to form a dough. Roll out mixture between two sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thick; remove plastic wrap and cut out biscuits with a 3 1/2-inch bone-shaped cookie cutter. Reroll scraps and continue cutting out biscuits.
  3. Space biscuits 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until nicely browned and firm.
  4. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack. Turn off oven and place biscuits on wire rack in oven overnight. Remove from oven and store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

The rest of the Lima staff also got in on the action:

Andrew

Sammy

Sammy

This is Sammy, our 5-year old Yorkie. He’s not really the costume type and I couldn’t get anything else on him. Just getting these pics cost me 2 milk bones. I’ve had this candy corn tie forever, which apparently he didn’t mind wearing because it’s similar to a collar. He’s all set for a night on the town.

Matt

Minnie Bunnie

Minnie

Here’s our bunny Minnie! I mean our dog Minnie. Which I think most of you have already met in our “We Love Our Pets” post. She’s generally pretty easy going, so dressing her up in ridiculous costumes is loads of fun. The ashamed look on her face is the only reason we don’t dress her up more often. If she only knew how cute she was…

Steve

Reesey

Reesey

This year, Reesey wanted to have a little more bite with her bark, so we fashioned a tiger dog coat and booties. It was a tight fit, but I think she appreciated the ferocious twist on her typically laid-back personality! That is, until she shook the whole thing off.

You!

Do you have a photo of your pet all dressed up? Submit it in the comments below!

Garden Update September 09

Posted by Ali on October 06 at 01:39 pm

New Fresh Pickers for September

  1. Lis G
  2. P Canales
  3. gitksanfire
  4. Marlene f
  5. Shelly m
  6. Studio989
  7. Nancepants
  8. Breezey
  9. The Dud
  10. cdbetty
  11. Lauri B
  12. Simone B
  13. Gemme Designs by Johanne
  14. Camden p
  15. Castalia
  16. Jbeadz
  17. Doktordesigns
  18. Chicky ChaCha aka Mary L
  19. Cherie D
  20. Jennifer Vance
  21. M rollins

19506Top 15 Fresh Picks

  1. Cowgirl Up by D D Mystic Chick
  2. Patience by Leigh D
  3. Roman Baths by Cuban Queen Crazy Chick
  4. Open The Window by Valentine Chick
  5. Asian Wisdom by FaeryGoth Chick
  6. A Golden Heart by Wemai Coffee Chick
  7. Sunflowers by Breezey
  8. Hello, Friends! by Smoky Rose
  9. Apatite For Pink by Elaine aka Belly Chick
  10. Crazy Lace Wednesday by Alice t
  11. jewels by Kristina b
  12. Blue Lagoon, Iceland by Chippy Chick aka Lindys
  13. Copper Pistachio by Luv2bead – Little Chick
  14. The Moody Blues by Chicky ChaCha aka Mary L
  15. Colorful Days Ahead by Little Round Chick

I noticed when looking at all of these wonderful picks together that green and brown seem to be hugely popular this past month with a few showcasing soft pinks and yellows. The never-ending creativity is truly amazing. If you’re making pieces inspired by fresh picks, be sure to upload them in the design gallery!

508246006-mediumTop 15 Designs from the Gallery

These 15 designs were the “most favorited” in the design gallery for September and I can see why…

  1. Mosaic Magic by Starsparkle Spiral Chick
  2. Lovely Lima Stuff by Jazz
  3. Storm by Sali Jo GemsChica Chick
  4. Calypso by Gemme Designs by Johanne
  5. Green kyanite and porcelain by Gunilla B
  6. Rub the Buddha for luck by Judith Ann Boyer
  7. Smoky Quartz gets in your Eyes by FaeryGoth Chick
  8. Copper Spiral Pendant Necklace by Lynn Eileen Chicky LE
  9. Mixed Metal Magic by Cotopaxi Chickie Sue
  10. Verdigris Gingko Leaves on Antique Copper by Lynda aka DivaChick
  11. Makeover by Reet
  12. Coming up Roses by Michelle
  13. Brown lace agate by Bead Buzz chick
  14. Silky Shimmer by Leigh D
  15. Antique Brass Moonface Dragonfly, and Beaded Hanging Earrings by Beadylady5

In your designs I see a very eclectic mix of styles. One commonality is the use of gemstone beads. I also see a lot more wire wrappers than I used to. Are beaders getting bored with basic stringing? Has stringing become too heavy (I love heavy pieces but maybe it isn’t for everyone or isn’t the trend) for the end wearer? Is stringing still popular, but maybe beaders have evolved and like to challenge themselves (time permitting) with projects involving more chain and wire wrapping?

Just for fun I’ve put together a few categories to see what type of beader all of you are.  Check it out, the results might be very surprising :)


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