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Author Archive: Matt on The Blog

We Love Our Pets!

Posted by Matt on July 06 at 10:47 am

Here at Lima Beads, we love our pets and we’re always intrigued by the number of Lima customers with a reference to an animal in their screen name or profile photo. Pets are such an important part of our family and lives. You can meet the Lima team pets below and tell us about your pets (include photos!) in the comments.

Meet the Lima Pets

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Matt

My wife and I have a Maltese, Minnie, and a dwarf hamster, Sebastian (we call him Sea Bass). Now that we have our own place, Minnie can come live with us again. We’re so happy to have her back. We would try to sneak her in to the apartment every once in a while, but every time we walked out the door, she would bark like crazy. She obviously didn’t understand the consequences! :)

As for Sea Bass, he loves to run on his wheel. So much so that the constant  squeaking was keeping us up at night. After a few applications of olive oil on the plastic axle, I think we’ve finally fixed it.

dakota

Kevin & Ali

Ali and I adopted Dakota from The Humane Society 7 years ago. They told us he was 2 years old, but in the first 6 months after we brought him home, he gained 25 pounds. We figure he was more like 6 months! He’s about 8 years old now and still acts like a puppy — endless energy, high-pitched bark, and all. We like to play fetch with the tennis ball to see who gets tired first. It’s always me…

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We Bought a House!

Posted by Matt on June 08 at 02:29 pm
Our New Home!

Our New Home!

I briefly mentioned this in my “Matt Needs Help Beading” post, but my wife and I have been house hunting for awhile. After 2 realtors, 50 viewings, and 4 offers, we’ve finally found our house! We close this Wednesday at 10 a.m.

We’re obviously really excited about it. It’s a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 1447 square foot colonial with a full basement. It’s nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac and the neighborhood seems really nice. It comes with all of the appliances and a gas fireplace. It’s way more of house than I ever would’ve imagined for being our first.

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Getting The Most from Your Jewelry Photographs

Posted by Matt on May 21 at 02:44 pm

Now that you’re taking beautiful photos of your jewelry, you may be wondering what you should be doing with them. In this post, I’ll explore the different ways that you can edit, share, print and market your jewelry.

Editing Your Photos

The first thing you should think about is editing your photos. While it’s important to use the right camera settings when taking your photos, it rarely turns out exactly the way you expect. That’s where photo editing software comes in handy.

There are dozens of options when it comes to editing your photos. It all depends on what you’d like to do with your photos and how much you’re willing to pay. Prices range from free to $699. I’ve lost almost all of my math skills over the past couple of years, but that sounds like a pretty huge disparity to me.

You’re probably not sure which features that you’ll be needing out of your photo editing software. Here’s a quick list that I came up with:

  • Cropping and resizing
  • Color management
  • File and folder organization
  • Import files easily
  • Cloning tool for removing flaws

Based on that list, I’ve come up with a few possible software solutions.

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Take Beautiful Photographs of Your Jewelry

Posted by Matt on May 15 at 02:32 pm
img_7778

Click to Enlarge

Photography has always been an interest of mine, but it never really developed into a hobby. So, when Kevin asked me if I wanted to take over the reigns for photographing the new products for the site, my answer was an enthusiastic “Yes!”

I’m not sure if you remember this, but a couple months ago, we purchased a new camera for photographing our beads. It’s big, it’s awesome, and it’s pretty intimidating if you’re anything like me. That’s why I decided the best way to tame this wild beast would be to learn more about it. In doing so, I wanted my experience to benefit our customers as well.

While some of you are already well-versed in the ways of jewelry photography, I bet that most of you are more like me. Maybe you’ve tried a couple of times, but nothing seemed to click. Well, that’s where I come in.
You’re probably familiar with taking pictures of people and landscapes, but photographing jewelry is different. Not only are you dealing with much smaller objects, but the different textures and colors of your pieces make it much more difficult.

What Kind of Camera Should I Use?

There are plenty of ways to photograph your jewelry. You don’t need the greatest, most expensive camera. In some cases, you can use a point and shoot camera or a flatbed scanner. For professional-looking results, I would shy away from the flatbed scanner trick, but if you’re in a hurry, it works just fine.

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Vote for Matt!

Posted by Matt on April 20 at 02:32 pm

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I’ll admit, I never watched American Idol before this season, it’s just not the type of thing that would normally interest me. That all changed when I heard that a friend of mine from high school was going to be on the show. You might know Matt Giraud. He’s the good-looking, funny, soulful contestant on the show.

If you’re an American Idol fan, you know that he really needs our help. It was all a little confusing, but the judges used their save to keep him on the show last week after he was voted off by America. Last week’s performance was not his best, but when Matt is at his best, he is the best. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have any competition, but if he can remain consistent throughout the remainder of the show, he has a good chance of winning the whole thing.

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Easter Egg Hunt Results

Posted by Matt on April 13 at 10:55 am

lima-eggAlthough 1368 of you participated in the first annual Lima Beads Easter Egg Hunt, only 22 of you found all 16 of the eggs scattered throughout the site. Of those 22, only 1 of you will be lucky enough to win the $250 gift certificate. That lucky person is…

Jill R. aka Classy Chick JbyJill

Congratulations, Jill! Who said that a bead addiction couldn’t pay off?

To everyone else who made this contest such an overwhelming success, thank you! I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

Easter Egg Hunt Fun Facts

  • 1368 beaders participated in the hunt!
  • 1,437,588 pages were viewed during the contest.
  • The average number of eggs found per person was 7.3.
  • The most found egg was on the Gift Certificate page.
  • The least found egg was in Lima’s Pamplemousse Fresh Pick.
  • Surprisingly, only 20% of those who participated found the egg mentioned in the Easter Egg Hunt blog post.

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The Easter Egg Hunt

Posted by Matt on April 02 at 01:19 pm
The Easter Egg Hunt

They'll look like this.

It’s the contest you’ve all been waiting for! A while back, Alice P came up with the idea of a scavenger hunt for our next contest in the comments of Steve’s 2009 by the Numbers post. Since Easter is right around the corner, we figured an Easter Egg Hunt would be a great idea. Okay, it’s not technically a scavenger hunt, but we hope that you’ll have just as much fun!

There are a total of 16 eggs scattered throughout the site. You have until midnight on Easter Sunday (April 12) to find all of the eggs. If you find all of the eggs, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a $250 gift certificate! If you can’t find all of them, that’s okay. You’ll still have a chance to unlock some other great prizes.

The Prizes

  • Find 4 or more eggs to get a FREE Bronzite Thin Pillow Pendant 60x40mm
  • Find 8 or more eggs to get a FREE Brazil Sodalite Puff Square 14mm - 16″ strand
  • Find 12 or more eggs to get 15% discount on your next order
  • Find all of the eggs for a chance to win a $250 gift certificate

Continue reading for more information and a hint to get you started

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Lima Beads on Facebook

Posted by Matt on March 18 at 04:57 pm

lima1

The Lima Beads community just got a whole lot bigger.

We’re so proud of the community that you’ve help us build here at Lima Beads. That’s why we want to share it with the world! What better way to expand our community than on Facebook? It’s the world’s largest social network and the first place people go when they’re trying to find others with similar interests.

Chances are, some of you are already on Facebook. For those of you who aren’t, it’s free and easy to sign up. All you have to do is provide some information about yourself and BAM! you’re ready to start communicating with the world. I have to warn you though, once you sign up, it’s hard to stay away.

To become a fan of Lima Beads, just search for “Lima Beads” on Facebook or follow this link. Click on the link that says “Become a Fan.”

Why Become a Fan?

  • Sneak peeks of new products
  • Never miss a deal
  • Exclusive feature previews
  • New contest announcements
  • Keep up with the Lima Team

If you have any suggestions on other things that you might like to see on our Facebook Page, let us know in the comments below.

And The Winners Are…

Posted by Matt on March 02 at 07:13 pm

We have our winners in the How Many Strands in the Bin contest.

winner

Although no one guessed the exact number of strands in the bin, there were a lot of you that were very close. The correct number of strands in the bin was 592. Now, let’s see who the winners are!

First Place: Brandy B with 591

The winner of the $25 Lima Beads Gift Certificate and the “Crystal Cavern” Geode is Brandy B! She was only one strand away from the correct answer! Congratulations Brandy B!

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How Many Strands in the Bin?

Posted by Matt on February 26 at 12:38 pm

If you guess how many strands are in the bin, we’ll give you a $25 Lima Beads Gift Certificate and a cool rock! Ok, I know a rock doesn’t sound very cool, so I’m going to call it the “Crystal Cavern Geode”. Check out the photo in the prizes section below.

winner

Check out the New Beads!

Check out the New Beads!

The rules are simple:

  • You have until 2pm EST on Monday, March 2, 2009 to make your guess(es).
  • Guesses can only be submitted in the comments of this post.
  • The winner will be the closest guess (without going over).
  • If there’s a tie, the earliest entry will be the winner.
  • You can guess up to once per day. At the end of the contest, only your most recent guess will be considered.
  • If someone guesses the exact amount, we will announce it immediately. That person will automatically be the winner and the contest will end.

This entry continues: Read the rest…

Why I Love the Bus

Posted by Matt on February 09 at 10:57 am
The Bus Stop

The Bus Stop

When I first started at Lima Beads, I would drive about 45 minutes to work, then park at the closest parking ramp. It was only about a 15-mile drive, but with rush hour traffic, it would end up being about an hour from when I got into my car to when I sat down at my desk. Not only was I wasting two hours every day trying to get to and from work, it was costing me about $10 a day for gas and parking. 

I bet a good majority of you are shaking your heads right now. Either you’re shaking it side to side in disbelief or up and down in a “I can totally relate” kind of way. Chances are, most of you can relate to my situation in some way.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a penny pincher, but most of my co-workers would agree that I don’t like to spend my money on silly things like six-dollar mochas or twelve-dollar lunches. So, when I was spending close to eight dollars a day to park my car, I knew I had to figure out some other way to get downtown.

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Mystery Bead Part II

Posted by Matt on January 22 at 02:42 pm

We have a winner! Mademoiselle M had the first correct guess with Copper Green Opal Diamond 12mm. She wins a $25 gift certificate.

winner2

We’re going to give this another try. Since the last one was solved in the less than an hour, we’ve tried to make this one much harder. The “one guess per day” rule still applies, but for those of you who guessed in Mystery Bead Part I, you may also guess today for this new contest . If you’re not familiar with the last Mystery Bead post, you may be wondering what that blob is directly above. Well, it’s a zoomed in photo of a gemstone bead

The success of our How Many Beads in the Jar? post got us thinking about other ways to have fun contests and give our customers free stuff. In one of our brainstorming sessions, I came up with the idea that we should take a product photo from the website, find some way to make it unrecognizable, and have our customers take a guess at what it is.

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Mystery Bead

Posted by Matt on January 22 at 11:35 am

We have a winner — already! Jennifer A had the first correct guess with African Chrysocolla Tumbled Nugget 10×15-15×20mm. She wins a $50 gift certificate. She guessed it so quickly, that we missed it at first!

Because this contest ended so quickly (thanks a lot Jennifer!) – we’ve decided to have another one. It’s going to be a little more difficult. If you want to play, check out Mystery Bead Part II!

winner1

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The End of an Era

Posted by Matt on January 12 at 10:39 am

Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been in the process of trying to replace one of the founding members of the Lima team. Being responsible for photographing every product photo on the site over the past 5 years and every bead in our magazine ads, we thought that a formal retirement was well deserved. I’m talking about the smallest member of the Lima team — our digital camera.

oldcam

Old Camera

Before I give an introduction to its successor, let me give you a quick history of our old camera. After college graduation, Ali had an internship with an interior designer. Rather than being paid, she asked her boss to just buy her a digital camera. She chose the Olympus Camedia C-720 from Circuit City and it was the first really nice thing that Kevin & Ali ever owned.

The Photo Room

The Photo Room

They set up a “photo studio” in one of the closets of Ali’s college apartment so that she could photograph her jewelry and eventually, beads for a new web site they were thinking about starting… When the camera wasn’t in the photo studio, it was in downtown Ann Arbor snapping pictures of Ali’s friend Heather modeling Ali’s most recent jewelry designs. Needless to say, these were not the most professional of photographs, but she was proud of them :)

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She Loves the Necklace!

Posted by Matt on December 30 at 02:14 pm

As promised, I’m updating you all on Deidra’s Christmas present. As you probably guessed, she loves it!

Pretty Excited!

Pretty Excited!

To be honest, I think she knew that I was making her a necklace, but she had no idea what it was going to look like. She really likes the design and the stones used, but she loves the amount of time and thought that went into making it even more. In fact, she cried a little when I showed her all of my recent posts. I think she was truly amazed at how involved you were in the whole process. So, thank you so much for helping me make this a special Christmas gift for my wife!

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The Necklace is Finished!

Posted by Matt on December 17 at 11:17 am

Front - click to zoom

Sorry it’s taken me so long to give you all an update on the status of Deidra’s necklace. As you could imagine, things get pretty crazy around here around the holidays.

If you’re not familiar with the situation, let me get you up to speed. For Christmas this year, instead of buying each other gifts, my wife and I have decided to make them ourselves. You see, we’re newlyweds making an effort to save some money for a new house.

Up until a couple of days ago, I hadn’t really touched the bead board since picking out the beads for the necklace and laying them out. Oftentimes, when I’m designing a graphic or new page layout for the website, I’ll think my product is really top-notch after I finish it. But after a couple of days, I’ll go back to it and think to myself: “What was I thinking?” I’m sure you all can relate when you’re designing jewelry.

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I’ve Made Some Design Decisions

Posted by Matt on November 19 at 04:44 pm
Our First Christmas

Our First Christmas

First, I’d like to thank everyone who commented on last week’s “Matt Needs Help Beading” post. They were all great ideas and useful hints, but I couldn’t decide on just one of the Fresh Picks that were suggested. Therefore, I created a new Fresh Pick based on the stones, colors and textures that I liked from your Picks.

Since CAS was nice enough to create a Fresh Pick for the occasion, I decided “Merry Christmas Newlyweds” would be a good place to start. As you can see, I chose a similar color scheme and even some of the same stones. You’ll find Plum and Orchid Freshwater Pearls as well as Smoky Quartz in both of the Picks.

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How Many Beads in the Jar?

Posted by Matt on November 17 at 03:05 pm

If you guess how many beads are in the jar, we’ll give you a $100 Lima Beads Gift Certificate!


The rules are simple:

  • You have until 2pm EST on Monday, November 24th, 2008 to make your guess(es).
  • Guesses can only be submitted in the comments of this post.
  • The winner will be the closest guess (without going over).
  • If there’s a tie, the earliest entry will be the winner.
  • You can guess up to once per day. At the end of the contest, only your most recent guess will be considered.
  • If someone guesses the exact amount, we will announce it immediately. That person will automatically be the winner and the contest will end.

The Prize

The winner will receive a Lima Beads $100 gift certificate. The gift certificate can be used for absolutely anything in the Lima Beads shop and must be redeemed within 1 year. The winner will also be announced on the blog, so the whole beading world will know how incredibly awesome you are!

The first person to guess within 25 beads of the actual amount will receive a $25 gift certificate, so hurry and start guessing, but remember — you only get 1 guess per day!

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Matt Needs Help Beading

Posted by Matt on November 11 at 01:29 pm
Peltogyne

Purpleheart Tree

I’m in need of some expert advice! Since Deidra and I are newlyweds and saving for a house, we decided that instead of buying expensive gifts, we would make something for each other this year. Naturally, the first thing that popped into my head was jewelry. The only problem is, even though I work at Lima Beads, I’ve never even held a beading tool or cracked open a beading magazine.

That’s where you come in. Ali has already agreed to teach me a few beading techniques, but I’m not sure what beads I should be using. So as my first step, I want to choose a Fresh Pick that will be the inspiration for my design.

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My Last Post as a Single Guy

Posted by Matt on October 09 at 09:22 pm

It’s 8 PM on Thursday and I’m leaving for Frankenmuth (and my wedding!) in just a few hours. After being engaged for a year and a half, I honestly can’t believe that it’s already here.

I hope that after the wedding, things will slow down a bit. This past week has been the most hectic week of my life. The only thing keeping me sane is the thought of what comes after this Saturday. Not only do I get to spend every minute with my best friend, but we’re spending next week in Costa Rica.

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