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Author Archive: Steve on The Blog

Using Smilies in Your Comments

Posted by Steve on January 11 at 09:43 am

Hi all Garden members! I haven’t spoken to any of you since 2010 (haha)! :P

We’ve gotten some questions lately about how to make smiley faces in your comments about Fresh Picks and Designs. Here’s a chart that will hopefully make it easier to put some emotion in there! ;)

To get these different smilies in your comments, just type the text equivalent and The Garden will automatically turn it into the appropriate smiley. :o

Smile away! 8)

Garden Smilies

Design Gallery Feature: Lynn G

Posted by Steve on July 22 at 10:20 am

In between all of the busy work it takes to put up new beads on our web site every week (not to mention ship out all the orders!), we make sure to keep a close eye on all of the inspiring work being done in the Design Gallery. Our customers really have amazing talent! One of those designers that caught our eye recently is Lynn G. Have you seen her PMC pendants? They’re awesome! Check out all her designs.

Some of Lynn's PMC Pendants

Some of Lynn's PMC Pendants

I corresponded with Lynn over e-mail to ask a few questions about her experience & inspiration with her work in PMC and beyond. I hope you enjoy some great information she was able to share.

Getting Started with PMC

Lynn says: “It all started when I wanted to add something different to my jewelry, and I started checking out books from the library, and came across PMC. I read them and I decided to go for it. I purchased a kiln and some other supplies. I started practicing, I think that’s the best way to learn.”

Planning...

Planning...

Advice for Beginners

Lynn had some good advice for those who haven’t worked with PMC: “I recommend reading books like I did. I can suggest a very good one: Metal Clay for Beaders by Irena Meich. If you can’t afford a kiln you can torch some things, but you are limited, or some local bead stores have kilns and will fire for you.” Here’s another great nugget of advice from Lynn: “You have to have an idea ready, because the clay dries out fast!”

Inspiration

Lynn has always been clear that nature is a huge inspiration to her. You can see this in her Owl in Flight, Sea Shell pendants, Strawberry Fields Forever, and even in the leafy adornments she uses in her photographs.

Get inspired!

Get inspired!

I love nature, too, but I wondered how people would get inspired if they lived in a big city and couldn’t go for a quick walk in nature. Lynn advises: “You can make just about anything with a good imagination. If you don’t live by nature, you can use many things around the home: old buttons, lace, perchaced molds and stamps with texture, houseplants, and so much more.”

Final word

I thought Lynn’s final piece of advice was simple and inspiring. She says simply, “if you dream it, you can do it.” Lynn wanted to let everyone know that she’d be happy to answer questions from anyone getting started. You can send her a message from her profile page in The Garden. Thanks again, Lynn, for your time and all your great work!

Handmade Chain close-ups

Posted by Steve on April 16 at 10:11 am

Yesterday, we officially announced our exclusive line of Handmade Chain. It’s a collection of big, funky chain styles that will be available in several metals (starting with antique copper). It’s awesome in person, and we know that sometimes it’s hard to get a feel for a product when you’re just looking at pictures online. So, I wanted to tell you about 2 things that we’re doing that we hope will make this experience better and more enjoyable!

1. We’re going to start showing all chain using wide pictures that let you see the pattern better. Right now, all the Handmade Chain pictures are like this, and we’re going to be transitioning all our chain pictures shortly to this new format. We think it’s going to be a whole lot easier to get an idea of what the chain will look like in your hands (or on your neck!)

chain zoom

2. We’ve added a cool zoom feature that allows you to get a close-up on the chain when you’re shopping. Just move your mouse over the Handmade Chain pictures and you’ll get a close-up that moves along with your mouse. Right now, this is only available for the Handmade Chain, but will soon be available for the other chain, too!

That’s it! We hope these small things making shopping a whole lot better. Check it out, and let us know your feedback in the comments!

And the Grand Prize goes to…

Posted by Steve on April 06 at 09:12 am

… let’s get right down to business. Elaine aka Belly Chick is the winner of the 2010 Easter Egg Hunt Grand Prize, a $250 Gift Certificate to Lima Beads! Elaine found a total of 86 eggs, which qualified her for the Top 10 on the leaderboard and a chance to win the big prize. Congratulations, Elaine!

The Second Prize is a $100 Gift Certificate, awarded to Lara G, who finished tied for 61st on the leaderboard with a very respectable 76 eggs found. Congrats, Lara! We’ll be contacting both winners via e-mail.

We hope everyone had a great time during the hunt! A total of 97,553 eggs were found, and over 2,000 people found more than 20 eggs! Stay tuned for fun promotions in the future… we love having fun here!

Design Gallery Feature: Arja A

Posted by Steve on February 23 at 09:51 am
Arja and Rapsu

Arja and Rapsu

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 8 months since we launched the Design Gallery at Lima Beads. The creativity you have all shown is truly astounding! It’s always fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of a designer, and I was lucky enough to talk with our customer Arja A yesterday about some of the work she’s been designing lately. That’s her on the right, with her dog Rapsu in a red helmet designed and made by Arja herself.

Arja has been beading for only about 8 months, and she’s made quite an assortment of wonderful pieces! I personally love the series she posted that was inspired by a “found” piece of metal she brought home from work.

From "found" to finished

From "found" to finished

Arja collageArja has recently been working with leather, and she told me that she’s interested in working with resin but hasn’t been able to try it yet. Here’s a piece she sent me that she’s still working on (she’s trying to make it less shiny–any ideas?):

Arja's Unfinished Piece

… and here’s her first Full Persian Chain Maille project:

Arja's Full Persian Chain Maille

I asked Arja to tell me a little more about her background. Here’s a note from her, translated from Finnish to English by her daughter.

I’m an emerging jeweler from Tampere, Finland – where I live, work and play with my wonderful supportive husband, two lively Jack Russels and a warmhearted, yet timid cat. Our only daughter Tanja has left the coop years ago, and now lives down under in Sydney, Australia.

During office hours I function as a production developer in the technical textile industry. However, any freetime available has always been consumed by a wide range of creative projects, and I have always been very crafty person dappling in every possible medium from fabrics to wood, glass and metal works.The alluring world of jewelry consumed me less than a year ago, after injuring my hand and not being able to tackle any of my usual bulkier projects. Making jewelry as a hobby has proved an invaluable source of relaxation to balance off a career that can be stressful at times.

I prefer working with silver, bronze and copper clay, Tiffany and fused glass as well as experiment with wireworks, chainmaille, wrapped and coiled techniques. I have also occasionally used gemstones and pearls in some of my creations. Recycling and salvaging readymade objects, as well as fusing unusual materials together into unlikely compositions seems to be forming as my signature.

I am only at the very beginning of a long and enchanting road ahead of me, and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to act out all the inspirations that keep bubbling up!

You can see all of Arja’s pieces in our gallery here. To see more inspiring work from designers from around the world, check out the Design Gallery!

The Crossword Sale

Posted by Steve on January 01 at 01:32 am

crossword saleHappy New Year, everyone! To start off 2010 with a bang, we’d like to announce the Crossword Sale–a new sale every day in January! We’ve put together a crossword puzzle with 31 hints, one for each day in January. The answers indicate which items are on sale for that day. We think it’s going to be a blast!

The sales last 24 hours each, so you need to add the items to your shopping bag that day in order to get the reduced prices. Once they’re in your bag, you have 7 days to complete your purchase (all the details are available on the Shopping Bag page).

The Bonus…

lima with pencilAs a bonus, if you complete the crossword puzzle early, you have the chance to unscramble a secret series of letters to reveal a hidden message. If you guess right, you’ll get a prize! So head on over to the crossword page, and check back daily to see what’s on sale!

Free Gift Reminder

Posted by Steve on December 28 at 03:33 pm

gift giveawayHi, happy beaders! I have a quick announcement… the annual Lima Beads Gift Giveaway is winding down, and there are only 3 more days to get a free gift with every order! So hurry and place your order by midnight (US eastern time) on December 31, and remember to choose your free gift. We’ve got a wide variety of gifts to choose from–and we added even more last Thursday, so check them out and choose YOUR gift!

Here’s to the last week of 2009! We know that 2010 is going to bring new challenges and opportunities. We want to make the most of it with you! Be sure to sign up for our e-mail list if you’re not already… we may or may not have a fun little announcement this week! :)

A Smarter Shopping Bag

Posted by Steve on November 21 at 05:48 pm

My Shopping BagYou may have noticed that it’s been a little quiet around the blog lately. That’s because we’ve been working on something top secret that we think is going to help everyone in a big way when you shop at Lima Beads. Starting today, the Shopping Bag just got a lot smarter!

Easy Shopping from Different Computers

We have so many ways to get special deals (daily Fresh Pick sale, the Big Green Bead Machine, Lima Lunch Specials), but it wasn’t easy to do all your shopping from different computers or locations… until now. As long as you’re signed into your account, your shopping bag will be available from any computer, at any location. All your special deals will stay with you!

More Informative

Price ExpirationWhen you have a special deal in your shopping bag that expires (from the Bead Machine, for example), the shopping bag now tells you when it will expire. Moving your mouse over the clock gives you additional information, and you can even sort your shopping bag by expiration time to get a look at how much time you have left on your deals.

Shipping Estimates

Estimate ShippingAnother new feature we just launched is the ability to get a shipping estimate right from your shopping bag. This will be ultra-helpful for holiday shopping when shipping times are so critical!

Have Feedback?

We’re always happy to get your feedback so we can improve your experience with our web site. Have something to say? Leave a comment below!

Meet the $500 Shopping Spree Winner

Posted by Steve on October 22 at 10:00 am

Shopping Spree for TraciEver since the early days at Lima Beads, we’ve had a $500 shopping spree that we award to a very lucky beader every few months. Last time around, we had the pleasure of calling Traci from Dayton, Ohio to tell her that she was the winner of the shopping spree–and boy, was she surprised! We caught up with Traci over e-mail and she told us a little more about herself. We thought it would be fun to share a few facts about our latest winner…

Traci makes Fresh Picks, too!

Traci makes Fresh Picks!

Traci has been a part of the Lima Beads community for almost a year, and her mother in law told her about the web site. She makes mostly necklaces, but really wants to learn how to make earrings. (Note to Traci: check out the earrings in the Design Gallery!) With the $500 winnings, she plans to buy a lot of beads–like many of you, she’s planning on making necklaces for Christmas presents this year. But she’s not going to give everything away… she plans on keeping some for herself, too :)

The next $500 shopping spree contest is on December 31, 2009. So make sure to get signed up if you haven’t already!

Now for some daydreaming…what would you buy with the $500 if you are our next winner? Which lucky people would you make jewelry for?

Fall Weekend Fun

Posted by Steve on October 12 at 09:26 am

battle creekI think everyone around here agrees with Matt that autumn is a great season–and the colors are beginning to change now! This weekend I was fortunate enough to enjoy the outdoors with some friends and I wanted to share some photos. We stayed at Fort Custer State Recreation Area and hiked, biked, and “geocached” (read on if you don’t know what that is!).

Battle Creek Linear Park

linear park ridingOne of the reasons we chose the location is the bike path in Battle Creek, MI called Linear Park. It’s a network of over 17 miles of scenic paths that travel through downtown, parks, residential areas, and along the river. After a few wrong turns and some unplanned detours, we rode about 26 miles (note to self: next time, don’t print the color-coded map in black & white). I was feeling it the next day!

Geo-what?

On Sunday morning we hit the trails again, this time on foot. Equipped with a GPS unit, we went geocaching, which is basically a mini-treasure hunt. The goal is to find a “cache” (a box with stuff in it) that was hidden there by someone before you. The GPS unit helps you find the cache, and sometimes there are hints when it’s hidden especially well. I’ve only done it twice, but both times I discovered new paths and places that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Eagle Lake at Fort Custer State Rec Area

Eagle Lake at Fort Custer State Rec Area

Next off on my fall checklist: pumpkin carving and candy! Keep your eyes on this blog in the next couple weeks… I have a hunch that there might be some treats (and maybe a trick or two). In the meantime, what’s keeping you busy this fall?

Design Gallery announcement

Posted by Steve on September 21 at 11:48 am

jewelry displayTo all designers (everyone reading this blog, right? :) )… I have a short announcement about the Design Gallery. Some people have expressed a desire to share their displays, spreads, and booths from craft shows. We wanted to give these pictures a home of their own, so we created a new “Displays” area in the gallery. If you’ve got a display to share (or any other jewelry you’ve made lately), head on over to the gallery and add your design!

We’ll surely be adding more categories to the Design Gallery in the future. Do you have any ideas of what the categories should be? Remember, we’d like to keep everything focused on beading and jewelry, so we’re primarily looking at wearable, beading related ideas. We’d love to know what you think for the future!

True Customer Stories

Posted by Steve on September 02 at 12:26 pm

OK, the title of this blog post is a little scary. But don’t worry, we won’t be sharing any horror stories about the beaders who shop at Lima. Instead, we have a few anonymous stories about how awesome our customers are! We get to hear these little bits and pieces by phone and e-mail, and wanted to share.

Unfair Refund

I spoke with a customer the other day who received a refund of $8 for beads she returned to us. She demanded that we take the money back! There was a misunderstanding and we had actually sent her replacement strands because the first ones were damaged. How honest and sincere of her! We truly appreciate it.

If you build it…

Recently, we received feedback from a customer about the Big Green Bead Machine. She said she loved it because it was like “building your own sale.” I liked the analogy so much that I wanted to publish it here! It really sums up the Machine because it churns out deals especially for YOU.

Secret Santa

Several months ago, we were contacted by a customer who wanted to send a gift to another beader who was having a bad few weeks. They had never met before (only through creating Fresh Picks), and we were honored to connect the two so the gift could be shipped out. How cool!

Smooth Move!

During our move to a new warehouse, we received countless e-mails from our customers wishing us a smooth and safe move. We’re ecstatically grateful for your notes along the way–it really helped during the late nights! So, thank you again.

Be a part of the story…

We truly value the opportunity to be a part of these storylines. Whether you’re a first time shopper or a long time Lima Beader, we’d love to play at role in your beading story. Who knows what will be next!

The moving sale is here!

Posted by Steve on August 13 at 10:17 am

If you’ve been following along with the blog, you know that Lima Beads is moving into a bigger, better warehouse. We’re keeping our digs in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but we still have a lot of beads to move. So we’re having a BIG SALE to help lighten the load! Our big move is THIS weekend, so we need your help pronto… Read on for the details including revised shipping times during the move, or just check out the Moving Sale page!

First Come, First Served Deals!

First Come, First Served!In preparation for the big move, we’ve unearthed (literally!) dozens of beads that we want to sell at amazing prices so we don’t have to load them on the trucks. These are one-time-only deals on beads that we may never carry again. We have very limited quantities on some of them, and the prices are AWESOME. We expect them to sell quickly, and when they’re gone, they’re gone! Check them out on the Moving Sale page.

Here are some important notes about these deals:

  • In order to secure these items, you need to place your order and complete the transaction. If they sell out before you do that, they will be removed from your shopping bag.
  • These items are all FINAL SALE, so we can’t accept returns for them
  • We can’t offer rain checks–when they’re gone, they’re gone! :)

All Gemstone Beads 15% off!

GemstonesDuring the big move you can also save 15% on EVERY gemstone bead we carry! From Abalone to Zebra Jasper, they’re all on sale. That’s a LOT of beads… and you can check them all out on the gemstone beads page. These deals are available through Tuesday night (8/18) at midnight Eastern time.

Vintaj, Stampt, CZ, and Pearls all 20% off!

20 percent offWhen we have a sale, we mean business! That means you can save on metal, cubic zirconia, and freshwater pearls, too! Like the beads above, these discounts are available through Tuesday night (8/18) at midnight Eastern time. We rarely have sales on so many items at once, so be sure to check out all the following pages to save:

Shipping Information

We’re starting the move tonight at 5pm, so we have a modified shipping schedule over the next week. If you place your order today (8/13) before 3pm Eastern, it will still ship out before the weekend. However, all orders placed after 3pm today will be shipped next week by Wednesday 8/19. So if you need your beads right away, make sure to place your order today by 3pm Eastern!

A Final Note…

We want to send a big THANK YOU to all our customers who have supported us during the past few years while we’ve been in our current warehouse. We’re moving so we can carry exciting new product lines and serve you better in the coming years with a growing staff! Stay tuned, it’s going to be a pretty wild ride this fall!

Favorite Designs and more

Posted by Steve on August 10 at 11:01 am

Boy, our customers have been busy in the Design Gallery! There are over 900 designs to browse, with more being added daily. I have two quick updates that we think will make the Design Gallery more useful.

My Favorite Designs

my favorite!As of today, you now have the ability to mark a design as a “favorite.” It’s easy to maintain your favorite designs–just browse the design gallery, and when you see a design you like, just click “Add Favorite.” The design will instantly be added to your favorites list. To see your favorites list, just click “My Favorites” in the yellow bar at the top of the page when you’re browsing the gallery. So start browsing and add some favorites!

Rings, anyone?

The other thing we’ve added is a “Rings” category. As more and more rings were added to the gallery, we thought it was appropriate to give them their own space. See all the awesome rings that have been added so far!

Finally, a big THANK YOU goes out to all the customers who have helped make the Design Gallery a huge success by sharing your work! If you’d like to share your work, just head on over to the gallery and add your design!

Fresh Pick search update

Posted by Steve on July 13 at 12:12 pm

Hello, Fresh Pickers! A while back, I gave you a preview of some work we’re doing here to organize our growing collection of Fresh Picks. While the work isn’t finished yet, we were able to release a small feature that we think will be very helpful in the meantime. As of today, you can search for Fresh Picks by typing in part (or all) of the name in the box on the Fresh Pick Search page. Here’s how it looks:

Fresh Pick search

Searching by Fresh Pick name...

We hope you find this feature useful for when you remember a Fresh Pick’s name, but not when it was created! Here are a couple fun searches to try out:

Let us know in the comments if you find this feature useful!

Part of your complete breakfast

Posted by Steve on June 29 at 11:47 am

We’ve talked before on the blog about the challenges of keeping the creative juices flowing (see my posts about beating creative block and being a night owl or an early riser). Everyone has a strategy, but one thing’s for sure: creativity is tough to come by when you’re tired, hungry, sluggish, or buried in the busyness of life. I’ve never been a big breakfast guy, but I’m experimenting with some morning meals to see what cooks up the best balance for my day.

This entry continues: Read the rest…

The Design Gallery is here!

Posted by Steve on June 18 at 03:39 pm

Design GalleryIt’s been a couple of exciting weeks at Lima Beads. Last week, we launched The Garden, a community for beaders to collaborate and share ideas. This week, we’re launching the Design Gallery! The Design Gallery is a collection of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other pieces that are created by YOU! Everyone’s pieces can be included in the gallery, and you can check them out here.

Gallery picThe Design Gallery has photos and descriptions of the pieces, along with a listing of components that the designer used. Some designs will even include step-by-step directions on how to create the piece yourself. And of course, anyone with a Lima Beads account can comment on the designs and share their thoughts, ideas, and compliments.

Adding your own designs is easy…

We’re excited to see what all of our beading customers create! And we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have in the comments.

Introducing The Garden…

Posted by Steve on June 10 at 10:18 am

garden-mainYesterday we released an update to our web site that we’re very excited about: we launched The Garden, a section dedicated to meeting new beaders, sharing ideas, asking questions, and more. I’d like to give you an overview of some of the things you can do in The Garden…

Your Profile

A profile page

A profile page

In The Garden, everyone has a profile page. It’s an overview of what you’ve been up to, along with your bio (if you choose to write one), your picture, and a link to your web site. Your profile page also has a “comment wire”, which is a place for your friends to leave you a short message, or for you to post a status update (more on that below). So check out your profile to begin!

Finding Other Beaders’ Profiles

garden-whoTo see what everyone else is up to (and drop them a note if you want), you can look at their profile pages. To find other beaders like this, just click on their name or picture when you see it appear somewhere (a good place is the “Who’s Online?” section on the main page). We also have a directory of the members–check it out!

This entry continues: Read the rest…

Coming Soon: The Garden

Posted by Steve on May 26 at 03:14 pm

While half our team has been working on expanding our product line (a top priority for us in 2009), the other half has been working on something completely different. I’d like to tell you a little bit about it today. It’s called “The Garden,” and it’s a place where beaders can congregate, share ideas, meet new people, join groups, and showcase designs.

The Garden

This entry continues: Read the rest…

Happy Birthday, Fresh Picks!

Posted by Steve on May 07 at 02:04 pm

This week, we had an important milestone for Fresh Picks. It’s the first birthday of our customer-designed Fresh Pick gallery! It’s been a giant success, and we have one person to thank: YOU! You’ve made the gallery a huge success by creating, critiquing, and commenting on thousands of picks made by our customers. Here are some stats from the first year:

  • Over 8,000 total Fresh Picks have been shared
  • 1,200 different beaders have created picks
  • 4,400 different products are represented in the picks
  • Most used item: Champagne Freshwater Pearl Semi-Round 4.5-5mm

To celebrate, we’ve got a fun little game. Try and solve the puzzle below by dragging and rearranging the squares to reveal the hidden scene… UPDATE: the prize offer expired Monday night (5/11), but you can still solve the puzzle just for fun :)

This entry continues: Read the rest…


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