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Author Archive: Ali on The Blog

I’m a Landscaping Beader

Posted by Ali on November 08 at 10:09 pm

This fall, Kevin and I decided to do some landscaping in our yard. When we first moved into this house 2 years ago, there were two big, ugly cedar shrubs that literally covered half the front of our house. We tore them out in the spring, so it was time to replace them with something. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, so we got some quotes from some local landscape companies. They proved to be pretty expensive and who was I kidding – us creative types like to do everything ourselves. As I’m sure most of you do, I have a hard time giving up creative control on anything :)  So, we decided to do it ourselves.

I began by marking out the beds and then I went on a search for interesting plants so I could surround the house with focal pieces.  I do the same thing when creating a necklace – I have a habit of using more than 1 or 2 focal pieces. Why let one piece get all the attention?

Our Moms

Usually the process of stringing my design is relatively quick. I thought that this would also be true of planting – I had convinced myself that planting an entire yard worth of plants and trees could be accomplished in a weekend. Ha! 1 week later everything is in the ground except my bulbs. I need a day of rest and most of this Saturday has been spent on the couch. It’s that feeling you get after a jewelry-making marathon for a holiday craft fair or trunk show.

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Cozy Favorite Fresh Picks

Posted by Ali on November 04 at 10:54 pm

The favorite Fresh Picks this week make me want to start a fire and find a blanket to get under. You can tell that winter is starting to make it into our minds and what could be better than being beside a fire with a great book (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), wearing a cozy cashmere sweater, drinking a hot coffee (or green tea) while a chilly nor’easter wind is blowing outside (Brrrrr!)?

I was curious about “Birch Beer” so I looked it up. Apparently it is a carbonated soft drink made from herbal extracts (usually from birch bark) with a taste similar to root beer, but mintier – sounds interesting!

These are the TOP 10 this week

A Midsummer Nights Dream

A Midsummer Nights Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Cuban Queen

I Love the dark and luxurious night effect when the black and purple stones are combined with gold pearls and Stampt antique gold filigree balls. The touch of olive green pearls and fern cz adds that summery leafy feel. Just like Shakespeare’s play, there is that special touch of fantasy thanks to Green Girl’s pewter butterfly faery and romance thanks to the use of the filigree pieces in gold and pewter. Great contrast in shape and texture, love the splashes of sparkle! This pick definitely creates the right mood, I might actually have to go and read A Midsummer Night’s Dream now rather than the cliff notes like I did in school (sorry Mrs. V.).

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Dogtooth Amethyst Love Affair

Posted by Ali on October 30 at 02:09 pm

I love dogtooth amethyst. Lima Beads first started carrying this stone a couple of months ago, but we were only able to get 2 shapes to start. This week, we’ve added a full line of it and I’m so excited. I must admit, I already took out a few strands for myself :)

Amethyst with Calcite

Amethyst with Calcite

When we initially added it to our shop, it wasn’t as popular as I thought it would be. I think the fact that we only had 2 shapes to offer made it more difficult for all of you to use. I think it’s going to turn into one of our most popular stones. It’s a natural purple stone that isn’t very expensive and that’s not an easy combination to find. It has the same gorgeous purple tones of amethyst that we all love, but also introduces white banding. This white banding is caused by a growth of calcite on the amethyst. This is commonly referred to as “dogtooth calcite” — which is where the name for this stone comes from.

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Changing Seasons Fresh Picks

Posted by Ali on October 25 at 01:24 pm

This past week’s top picks are a great example of seasons changing.  Almost all of these picks are inspired by something outdoors – events, moments, favorite places, the weather, etc… 

The top 10:

Lunar Eclipse by Phyllis R

Lunar Eclipse by Phyllis R

Lunar Eclipse – This pick reminds me of midnight.  I love the addition of the chryscolla diamond. The turquoise-green color adds a bit of zip to the deep purples and blues. The blue rainbow fluorite is an excellent choice if you are looking for blues, purples and greens – very economical :) The Stampt Pewter Filigree Beads add a beautiful “mist” to the pick.

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I Found My Vintage Buttons!

Posted by Ali on October 22 at 08:41 pm

I have always enjoyed using offbeat parts in my jewelry — found objects, costume jewelry from my grandma, sparkly vintage buttons, or “hippie beads” from my Aunt Jackie. I feel like using these kinds of pieces in my jewelry adds a special touch to the already cool combinations of stones.

My Vintage Buttons

My Vintage Buttons

In my college days, I could be found selling my jewelry each summer at the Ann Arbor art fair. I always tried to have a variety of pieces available from low to high prices and from simple to super fancy :) Some of my most interesting pieces contained vintage buttons or other random things that I came across as a thrifty college student. These were always my favorite pieces, but they didn’t seem to sell very well. It may have something to do with the fact that I priced them really high — maybe I wanted to keep them for myself :)

I recently found my box of vintage buttons and I was so happy. We moved last year and for the life of me, I couldn’t find them. I started to get inspired immediately!

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Treasure Trove of Earthy Tones

Posted by Ali on October 15 at 05:45 pm

These are last week’s top 10 favorite Fresh Picks! Some new Fresh Pickers made the list – congratulations everyone!

  1. Gold Infinity by Starsparkle
  2. Siren’s Transformartion by Sandy S
  3. The Virtues: Temperance by CAS
  4. Copper Mountain by Victoria M
  5. El Dia de los Muertos by Cuban Queen
  6. Night of a 1000 Stars from Lima’s Picks
  7. Gothic by Perlemamma
  8. Turquoise and Lime by Phyllis R
  9. Raindrops on Roses by Katrina A
  10. Black Cherry Tree by Kitty

What I think about the top 3:

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Subtle and Scary Fresh Picks

Posted by Ali on October 06 at 04:03 pm

It appears as though music and food have played a big part in the inspiration for the favorite Fresh Picks and their titles this week.

I can tell that the upcoming holiday is on the minds of the Lima Fresh Pickers with titles like Halloween Party, Masked Ball, Black Cat, BOO!, Hallow’s Eve, Candy Corn, Midnight Mistress and Samhain. These all offer great ideas for combinations of beads – possibly incorporating items you wouldn’t normally choose, but it’s OK – it’s Halloween :) I think that most of these would be great to make into pieces to be worn year round. Holidays give us great inspiration for jewelry designs.

This week’s Top 10 is a bit of a surprise to me. Not because the picks aren’t fabulous – because they are – but because of the colors and subtleness of the arrangements. There is something very calm about this week’s top picks.

This week’s top 10:

  1. Jazz at the Blue Note by Cuban Queen
  2. Spinner’s Lace by Sandy S
  3. Snow White by Perlemamma
  4. Vanilla Bean from Lima’s Picks
  5. Raindrops on Roses by Katrina A
  6. Gypsy Winds by Steph
  7. Birds of a Feather from Lima’s Picks
  8. Calmed Passions by Lily A
  9. Gothic by Perlemamma
  10. Black Cherry Tree by Kitty

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Fantasy Fresh Picks

Posted by Ali on September 29 at 04:02 pm

There were some great Fresh Picks last week! It looks like Cuban Queen and WLB created true classics with Apple Picking and Arizona Sky.  Not only were they in the top 3 last week, but they were #5 and #6 this week! We have 3 new favorites this week and I love them all.

If you create Fresh Picks that you’re proud of – be sure to add them to the comments below so we can all check them out. Maybe we’ll even add you to our favorites. :)

The top 11 this week:

  1. Merlot & Moonlight
  2. Pacific Coast
  3. Old Stories
  4. Mojito
  5. Arizona Sky
  6. Apple Picking
  7. Coffee Beans
  8. Ariel
  9. American Nightshade
  10. Blue Jean Baby
  11. Harvest Wheat

What I love about the top 3 favorites:

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Crisp Picks — Inspired by Fall

Posted by Ali on September 13 at 03:38 pm

I was out walking around town with Payton today.  What a perfect day to get into the fall mood.  Bright blue sky, temp in the 60’s, fresh air, light breeze – these things make me feel refreshed.  So refreshed that I started thinking about Fresh Picks. In the coming weeks, you can expect to see picks inspired by the following things in the Lima’s Picks section of Fresh Picks:

  • Trees
  • Bark
  • Wind Whistling
  • Sugar Maples
  • The leafy forest smell in Miller Park.
  • The excitement I felt at the football games on Saturdays in my college years.
  • Wearing a sweater

What do you think of this time of year? What inspires you?  If you create Fresh Picks inspired by the season – add comments about them here so we can all check them out!

I can tell that fall is on the minds of our customers from the picks that made it to the top 10 this past week.

  1. Willow Whisps
  2. Arizona Sky
  3. Apple Picking
  4. Harvest Wheat
  5. Chocolate Milk
  6. Rainy Days
  7. Yakima in September
  8. Fairy Tales
  9. Fall Is In the Air
  10. American Nightshade


Here’s my take on the top 3 this week:

Willow Whisps by Sandy S

Willow Whisps by Sandy S

Willow Whisps – The name makes this pick feel green, and whispy before even having looked at it.  Once I took a peek I wasn’t disappointed.  Beautiful natural faceted nuggets and chips combined with the sparkle in bronzite and rainbow aventurine.  I love the mix of greens that will surely give depth to any finished piece.  The wavy coin petals are a perfect addition to this pick, however I’ve had a difficult time using them in anything other than earrings.  Does anyone have ideas for those?

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Help me moms – how to bead with a baby?

Posted by Ali on August 28 at 12:50 pm

Sshhhhhhh, she’s finally asleep, I sneak upstairs to my beading room and hold my breath — did I just hear her cry? Back downstairs…

7 years ago when I was graduating from college, I had a nice little jewelry business going. Like so many of you, I started out displaying my jewelry anywhere they’d let me. After a couple of years, I was selling my pieces in 5 boutiques, I had many regular customers every year at the Ann Arbor Art Fair, and I was getting a steady stream of calls for custom pieces.

Me and my Mom at my Art Fair booth

Me and my Mom at my Art Fair booth

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Fresh Picks. Design ideas without boundaries.

Posted by Ali on August 21 at 01:11 pm

I had the idea for Fresh Picks about 3 years ago. We were still a very small company, but even then, customers were asking us for projects and ideas. I’m not a very technical beader, my designs are usually very simple. It’s the interesting combinations of colors and textures that make them great. To start designing a piece, I just dump a bunch of beads onto my beading table and start grouping them together. My husband thinks I’ve made a giant mess, but after a few minutes (or hours) I have some interesting combinations. After that, it’s just a matter of stringing the beads together, which to be honest, is my least favorite part of the process. I like seeing the beads and visualizing finished pieces in my head – that’s what really gets my creative juices flowing. Like most beaders – my beading table is a disaster when I’m finished. Each time Kevin gets a little piece of wire jammed into the bottom of his foot, he says I have to move it into the basement, but we all know that will never happen!

My Beading Desk

I really wanted to create something that would help our customers get those creative juices flowing, without giving them step-by-step instructions.

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