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Author Archive: Steve on The Blog

Early Risers and Night Owls

Posted by Steve on April 30 at 08:52 am

Getting up in the morning has never been my strongest suit. It’s probably because I’ve been a night owl most of my life, trying to squeeze out every last living second of the day before succumbing to sleep. But over the years, out of necessity and curiosity, I’ve tried to transform into an early riser. So, I wanted to take a little poll from our creative audience: are you an early riser or a night owl?

Here are some observations I’ve made about myself on both sides of the coin…

Me as an early riser: Breakfast is necessary. Put the alarm 10 feet away. Routine is key. Clear your mind the night before. Have your clothes laid out and coffee ready to brew. Try not to snooze it (haha).

Me as a night owl: My best work is done at night. Snack, but don’t chow down. Drink water all night, not Mountain Dew. Waking up naturally is the best. Avoid infomercials, they are evil incarnate.

I’ve got my theories. Now let’s hear it from you: where do you lie (no pun intended)?

Help! How should we organize Fresh Picks?

Posted by Steve on April 17 at 03:01 pm

It’s hard to believe that over that past year, the community of Lima Beaders has designed over 6,000 Fresh Picks! These wonderful idea-generators are featured throughout the web site, but it’s growing harder every day to swim through the variety of concepts, colors, and combos that inspire us to create. So, we’re looking to get a little organized.

In addition to being able to search for Fresh Picks by name (think: “ocean” or “wedding”), we think it would be neat to allow you to browse through the picks by category. This brings up an interesting question, though: what categories do we use? :) Here are some interesting ideas we’ve had:

  • Seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall)
  • Holidays (The typical ones…)
  • Occasions (Weddings, Birthdays, Celebrations)
  • Nature (Flowers, Landscapes, Water)
  • Emotions (Happy, Sad, Thoughtful, Pride, Sympathy)
  • Animals (Pets, Cats, Dogs, The Wild)
  • Going Out (Food & Drink, Night Life)
  • Locations (Landmarks, Cities, Countries)
  • Pop Culture (Movies, Songs, Famous People)
  • People (Family, Friends, Myself)
  • And more…

What do YOU think?

Since you’re the designers, we want to know what you think! Love it? Hate it? Have any good ideas? We’d love to hear the different ways you think Fresh Picks could be organized so they’re easy & fun to browse. Let us know in the comments! And if you’re new to designing Fresh Picks, give it a try!

Beating Creative Block

Posted by Steve on March 26 at 10:08 am

Anyone who’s reading this right now has probably experienced “creative block.” If you haven’t, you’re either lying or I really want to meet you! :) No matter what you’re designing–a necklace, Lima line drawinga bedroom, a dessert platter, or lesson plans for an 8th grade literature class–chances are, you’ll have to get un-stuck some point.

This happens to me all the time while I’m working on the Lima Beads web site. I mean, there are only so many times I can draw the Lima Guy before I start running out of ideas! There are creative minds all around me, but sometimes I just need to bear down and beat the block.

Here are five tips from my experience.

This entry continues: Read the rest…

Update: My New Year’s Resolution

Posted by Steve on March 09 at 11:23 am

Hands holding a screenBack in January, the Lima Team declared our resolutions for 2009. Like every year, mine was filled with good intentions: to find something creative, handy, or fun to focus on in my off time. After two months and a lot of television, I finally did something about it, and I thought I’d share the results. The “HGTV Queen” (what I affectionately call Shannon, my girlfriend) wanted to make a 3-panel room divider, so I strapped on my funny looking safety glasses and we got to work.

Cutting the woodAfter a quick sketch and some measurements, we bought the lumber (6-foot pine boards) and began planning the three frames. The 45-degree cuts went fairly well after I ruined the first couple pieces (note to self: check after the first cut next time). We fastened the frames with wood glue, then used screws to reinforce the joints.

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2009 by the numbers

Posted by Steve on February 17 at 12:00 pm

Last week we had a typical Michigan “heat wave” in the middle of winter… 60 degrees!!! Don’t worry, we’re back to freezing temperatures. But the reminder that Spring is just around the corner got me thinking of what’s been going on at Lima since the new year. Here’s a breakdown!

1700 commentsblue speech bubbleBeaders are a talkative bunch, and we love it! You’ve started hundreds of conversations with our staff and other customers. Are you a long-time listener and first-time caller? :) Let us know what you think and add a comment of your own!

1300 fresh picks created — WOW! We never dreamed that designing your own Fresh Picks fresh pick flowerwould be this big of a hit. This year alone we’ve had over a thousand picks crafted by customers just like you. Thank you!

270 new products — Thursdays have been busy around here with all the new additions to our store. Weeks 1, 3, and 5 were all about gemstone beads. We added some striking new Freshwater Pearls colors in week 2, and some BIG gemstone pendants in week 4.

150 Stampt Metal piecesStampt Butterfly Charmthey’re brand new to the market, and they come in copper, pewter and gold finishes. Don’t miss the cute charms and filigree pieces! See them all!

54 Lunch Specials — every week, 9 new items are on special for Tuesday only. These are fantastic deals on awesome products, Chefs Hatand we even offer FREE beads sometimes! It’s been a huge hit, but you need to sign up to receive the e-mail at your lunchtime on Tuesday!

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And the Oscar goes to… Lima!

Posted by Steve on February 06 at 12:38 pm

For all the movie fans out there, February is Oscars month. And we thought we’d have a little fun by putting Lima on the red carpet! Try and solve the puzzle below by dragging and rearranging the squares to reveal the hidden scene… there’s a prize waiting for you if you succeed! UPDATE: The prize expired on 2/9/09, but you can still have fun solving the puzzle!

Number of tries: 0

Did you solve it? How many tries did it take? :)

Bonus question: what’s your vote for Best Picture this year? Tell us in the comments!

Interview with the Lima Guy

Posted by Steve on January 16 at 02:00 pm

Interview with LimaMeet the man behind the mittens in our exclusive interview with the Lima Guy on The Fresh Daily. I sat down with Lima between photo shoots for a candid chat–check out the transcript below, and ask your questions in the comments!

Steve: Thanks for joining me today.

Lima: No problem, I was in the area.

Steve: The world wants to know… what have you been up to lately?

Lima: Have you seen our ad schedule this Winter? Yeesh, it’s been photo shoot after photo shoot. Have you seen me on the home page? We’ve got a lot lined up for the new year!

July 2005

July 2005

Steve: Yes, yes we do… can you tell me a little more about your early career with Lima Beads?

Lima: I started in July ’05 for the fall promotion that year. As you can see in the picture, I sure had a lot of fun playing in those leaves!

Steve: OK, tough question: gemstone beads, or freshwater pearls?

This entry continues: Read the rest…

Fresh Pick Comments and more!

Posted by Steve on January 08 at 11:49 am

Today we’re making the official announcement about some things that have been in the works for the past month at Lima Beads. Some of you have already discovered (and used!) a few of these features, but there’s more to announce, and I hope you’ll read on.

Commenting on Fresh Picks

Speech bubblesToday is the official launch of Fresh Pick Comments. When you’re browsing any of the Fresh Picks on Lima Beads, you can add your comments and questions at the bottom of the page. Already we’ve seen conversations flourish about design ideas, color usage, our pets, the weather, and just about everything else! You can even upload pics of finished jewelry that was inspired by the Fresh Pick. To quickly browse all the conversations, just click the Fresh Pick Chat topic on the right side here in the blog. Or, follow along under “Recent Chatter” on the main Fresh Picks page. We hope you like it!

New Snapshots page

Who is picking?With our growing collection of Fresh Picks (thanks to YOU!), we knew we needed a better Snapshots page to browse the picks. We’ve organized it with tabs to make it easy to see the latest picks from the past few weeks. And we added the “Who’s Picking” area to feature the designers that create all these great ideas! Check it out, and let us know what you think!

This entry continues: Read the rest…

What I’ve Been Working on

Posted by Steve on December 18 at 01:00 pm

I know I’ve been a little quiet on the blog lately, but it’s been for good reason. I’ve been working on some new features for the Lima Beads web site, and I wanted to give you a sneak peek at some of the things we’ve got planned. We want to start off 2009 on the right foot, so we welcome your feedback and comments!

Start a conversation

One thing we’ve noticed while observing everyone interact on the blog is… everyone likes talking! And one of the recurring topics is the latest Fresh Picks that people are creating. So, we decided to make it easier to chat about the picks. Coming very soon… the ability to comment on Fresh Picks, right from their individual pages!

More Fresh Enhancements…

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December FAQs

Posted by Steve on December 03 at 09:39 am

Hello Lima Beaders! Here are answers to some frequently-asked questions we get around the holidays. If you have questions of your own, add a comment and we’ll do our best to answer you!

When should I order so my package arrives by Christmas?

Here are a few guidelines to help make sure your order arrives before Christmas. If you live in the US, you should place your order by December 17th if you choose our normal (Priority Mail) shipping. If you’re a really late shopper (like me), you can order up until December 23rd at 3pm EST, but you must select UPS shipping to make sure your package gets delivered on the 24th (there are no deliveries on the 25th). This is expensive, but possible!

For international customers, you should place your order as soon as possible, because it’s difficult to tell how long it will take once the package reaches your country. We also offer UPS shipping to many countries, which is speedier in case you need to place your order closer to Christmas. The sooner, the safer!

Does Lima Beads have gift certificates?

Sure we do! You (or your friends and family!) can buy a gift certificate right on our web site. You can personalize the “To:” and “From:” right online! The shipping guidelines above apply for gift certificates, too. Get more information here.

When does the free gift promotion end?

You can choose a free gift with every order through December 31, 2008. We can’t offer rain checks for the free gifts, so make sure to place your order before the promotion ends!

Will here be Lima Lunch Specials over the holidays?

Our Lunch Specials will continue to be sent out every Tuesday, right through the holidays–rain, sleet, or snow! :) If you don’t already get the Lunch Specials (deals e-mailed to you during your lunchtime), sign up here!

Have a question? Ask it in the comments!

What’s Inspiring You?

Posted by Steve on November 06 at 01:11 pm

Here at Lima we like to focus on the inspiration behind the designs. After all, it’s the reason we created Fresh Picks. It’s the brainstorming… the bad ideas put aside and the good ideas put to use… that wild spark of energy that inspires you to create. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional artisan, there’s an inspiration behind every piece you craft. It might be humble, it might be bold, but it’s definitely there–and today, we’d like to offer a way for you to share it with us.

Is it the season? Your friends and family? Fashion trends? The weather? Antiques? Estate sales? Photography? Your peers? The music on your iPod? The city? The countryside? We’d like to know!

Share pictures of your creations!

Starting today, we’ll write special articles on The Fresh Daily that call for pictures of your designs… and you can post them below. When you write a comment below, just click the “Attach a Picture” link, and you can attach up to 3 pictures of your designs along with your comment. This is a special feature that won’t be available for every blog article… so listen for announcements on the blog about new opportunities to share your designs.

So tell us… what’s inspiring you? And post pictures of your designs!

Fresh Daily Facelift

Posted by Steve on November 03 at 08:55 am

The other day, Kevin alluded to some upcoming additions and updates to our web site. We’re happy to announce that you’re looking at some of the changes right now! We reorganized The Fresh Daily blog into sections, which are listed in the right-hand column. The Lima team members that write on the blog are now listed there as well–so you can get to a page with only Ali’s posts (that is, if you like her writing better than mine!). Finally, you can see the recent comments around the blog posted by our customers–so you can stay on top of all the chatter!

We hope this makes it easier to find out what’s fresh at Lima! We’ve got more in store… stay tuned!

Fall Beads Check-up

Posted by Steve on October 20 at 05:00 pm

Staying stocked!

Hi beaders! I just wanted to make sure you had your fingers on our pulse at Lima Beads for the Fall season… Here’s a quick list of the autumn happenings here at Lima.

New Fall Beads

We’ve been busy adding new beads during our Fall Bead Harvest (see the stack of boxes on the right!):

This entry continues: Read the rest…

Week 4 of New Fall Beads

Posted by Steve on October 16 at 12:23 pm

Fall colors, popping patterns, and old favorites: that sums up the new gemstone beads we just added to our store–a total of 24 brand new beads! You can see them all (with photos) on the new beads page. I’ll cherry-pick a few of my favorites and tell you about them below. Read on (and don’t miss Kevin’s post about last week’s fall beads)….

Labradorite facets = sparkly

Labradorite facets = sparkly

First, we’re adding 8 (!!!) new labradorite shapes, including freeform drops, a horse eye, rondelles, and some ultra-sparkly faceted shapes. It’s hard to capture the wonderful blue “flash” with a camera–but these cuts really show it when you’re holding them (or wearing them!). The faceted labradorite shapes have more facets than normal, which means more sparkle!

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Metal Madness: All metal 20% off!

Posted by Steve on October 02 at 01:31 pm

All metal at Lima Beads, including Vintaj brass, Green Girl pewter, Stampt, gold, copper, pewter is 20% off until midnight Sunday (Oct. 5).  There are no exceptions, if it is made of metal and it’s available at Lima Beads — it is 20% off! Shop the metal on sale here:

 Brass – 20% off!    

 Copper – 20% off!

 Gold – 20% off!

 Pewter – 20% off!

Remember, the sale ends Sunday night (Oct. 5). Don’t miss out on the fantastic savings!

Beads in the Animal Kingdom

Posted by Steve on September 23 at 11:08 pm

We’ve got literally thousands of beads here at Lima, and they each have defining characteristics that make up a unique personality. Some beads roar, some blend in with their surroundings, some are rare, but they all have one thing in common: they’re all beautiful in their own way. The animal kingdom is the same way, and if you look closely at our gemstone beads, you’ll begin to see the same colors and patterns living in nature. Here are a few animals that remind me of specific stones:

The Chinook Salmon

The scaly appearance of Green Snakeskin beads would make a great reptile, but it also makes a good fish! The silvery green base and black markings remind me of the Chinook Salmon (also known as the King Salmon), whose natural habitat is the northern Pacific waters. They were also planted in the Great Lakes, which surround our home state of Michigan.

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The Bead Machine gets a tune-up

Posted by Steve on September 17 at 09:47 am

The Big Green Bead Machine was getting a little greedy recently, and needed a tune-up! Normally, the bead machine churns out 9 products and drops the prices every 5 minutes to give you crazy-good deals. But we received several reports over the last few weeks that the bead machine was actually increasing prices every 5 minutes for a few items. We didn’t believe it at first, but with a little detective work, we were able to track down and fix the problem that was causing the machine to flip out.

So everything’s back to normal now, and the deals are as good as ever! If you’ve never tried the Big Green Bead Machine, make sure to check it out. Be careful though, it’s addicting! And thanks to our customers for reporting the hiccups!

Adventures in Painting

Posted by Steve on September 08 at 11:01 am
Office Colors

Office Colors

Picking a color palette for your office can be fun–but doing all the painting is a pain! When we were looking for an office, we picked a space with big walls suited for bold colors. We spoke with an architect, consulted with a color coordinator, buried ourselves in swatches, and selected a palette that felt like Lima. Check out the colors on the right.

That was the easy part… now we had to fight with the existing wall colors, fake wood paneling, rotting ceilings, and still work on 8-hour day. We thought the easiest way to deal with that was…. a commercial-grade paint sprayer!!!!

How NOT to use a paint sprayer

How NOT to use a paint sprayer

This entry continues: Read the rest…

Rewind: Our First Full-Page Ad

Posted by Steve on August 25 at 10:24 am

Fall is my favorite season in Michigan. The air is crisp and fresh, the food delicious, and the colors are inspiring. This fall also marks the second anniversary of the first full-page magazine advertisement for Lima Beads! Little did we know how much work it would take to define the “look” for Lima. We spent days pouring over concepts, colors, and clichés to arrive at something we wanted to put our stamp of approval on. I thought I would share our experience with the design process of the our very first ad, including some of the ideas we tossed in the trash before we found the right choice.

We love defining our goals for our designs. Our goals for this ad were:

  1. Introduce Lima Beads.
  2. Feature fall colors.
  3. Be fun.

Live a Little.

Live a Little.

Focusing on fall, one of our first ideas was to use leaves made of striking color to reach out and “grab” the reader. Our mascot, the little green Lima guy, would be jumping in pile of leaves like we do as children (… OK, and adults) in Michigan. Take a look at a rough concept–BIG color, but there’s one thing missing… BEADS! How could we publish an ad without and beads in it?!? So, we moved on…

This entry continues: Read the rest…


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