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Topic Archive: Daily Life on The Blog

Matt Needs Help Beading

Posted by Matt on November 11 at 01:29 pm

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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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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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!

Is My Apartment Haunted?

Posted by rachel on October 31 at 10:15 am

This past weekend, I finally moved into my new apartment! When I first decided to move to Ann Arbor, I tried to find a place really quickly and ended up in a generic, stale apartment complex. For the entire past year, I have been waiting to find a new place that had more charm and a better location. Well, I found it about a month ago and snatched it up immediately because the price was amazing and the location is perfect. I was so excited!  

It’s an older building, but maybe only from the 1920′s or 30′s, which, in the grand scheme of things, is not ancient. I believe the landlord said it was originally a single-family home, but has been has been apartments since at least the 1960′s. The reason I know this is because he also mentioned that woman had just moved out recently that had been in the same apartment since 1964! I can’t imagine staying in the same apartment all those years! Needless to say, the place has a bit of history.

The first day I started to move in, a strange thing happened. My mother was helping me move in and just as she was leaving my apartment a woman with a couple of little girls came out of their apartment. One of the little girls, skipping down the hall, stopped in front of my mom, pointed at my door and said “There’s ghost-tss in there.” What?! What would make a five year old girl say such things to a stranger? When my mom told me, all I could think was “Oh boy.” The next day, it came time to move my cats. These cats have moved a few times and while it takes them a bit to adjust, they are always pretty calm about it. However, in this place, it seems to be quite the opposite. They have never acted this frantic! They have been staring at nothing with eyes wide and running around screaming and crying like they don’t know what is happening. Now I know people say that cats are extra-sensitive and are often a good meter of paranormal activity, but I don’t want to believe that at this point!

Have I really rented a haunted apartment?  Just in time for Halloween.  Perfect!

Is Customer Service Dead?

Posted by Kevin on October 29 at 04:41 pm

The Lima team has been experiencing a string of terrible customer service lately. From restaurants to coffee shops to lumber yards, we’ve seen some shockingly bad service over the past few weeks. It’s strange – we’ve all experienced bad service here and there, but lately it has been much more frequent and much, much worse!

Here are some examples:

Rachel and Riki went to a bar and grill (national chain) for dinner. At the end of their meal, they politely asked if the server could just split the check in two, so they could pay separately. He acted annoyed and told them that he couldn’t split their onion rings onto two checks. He said he would put the onion rings on their own check, which of course didn’t really help Rachel and Riki, but not wanting to cause trouble, they agreed. Now, the funny part – when the server returned to the table, he presented the checks and said “Here’s the $9.00 one for the onion rings, that’s $4.50 each in case you didn’t take high school math.” Wow.

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Some Much Needed Planning

Posted by Kevin on October 27 at 05:08 pm

The Lima team spent most of today planning out the next few months. It was cold and crisp in Michigan this morning. That late-fall kind of cold that you’re not prepared for and takes you by surprise when you step out the door to start your day. After getting our (essential) morning coffee, we all crowded around the conference room table at 9:00am, and started talking. Depending on our role here at Lima Beads, we all have different priorities and concerns to talk about.

The conference room

The conference room

Ali wanted to talk about our winter advertising campaign.  With each new season, we try to come up with a new look for our BeadStyle, Bead&Button, and Stringing ads. The next round of ads will come out in late December, which means it’s too early to start talking spring, but too late for a holiday theme. We’re thinking of focusing on silver (and metal in general) because we plan to have our line of silver available by then :) What do you like to see in bead magazine ads? What catches your eye and makes you want to visit a web site?

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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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Reinventing Vintage Jewelry Finds

Posted by rachel on October 18 at 08:32 pm

Not only am I a new Lima Beads team member, but I am also a novice in the jewelry and beading worlds.  When I was much younger, I dabbled in beading, making bracelets and necklaces for all my friends with those microscopic seed beads, little charms and found objects like shells and sea glass that I had, albeit very poorly, wire wrapped and formed into pendants.  That little hobby eventually dwindled away.

Vintage Owl Necklace

Vintage Owl Necklace

When I got older and became interested in shopping for vintage clothing, my attention was quickly focused on all of the great jewelry I could find. Not only was it affordable, but it was a practical guarantee that others would not be found wearing the same thing! Let it be known that I am not now, nor ever have been, searching for those valuable family heirlooms. My taste has always been quite the opposite.  I adore the things most people refer to as “tacky” and “garish.” If shopping with a friend, I usually hear “I wouldn’t wear it, but you could pull it off.” I’m okay with that.

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Pumpkin Carving and Curry

Posted by rachel on October 10 at 07:09 pm
 Let the fun begin! 

Let the fun begin!

As I mentioned before, autumn is definitely my favorite season.  The weather allows for sweaters and layered clothing, the leaves transform the landscape with their fiery hues, and there’s Halloween fun to be had!

I suppose then, that you have figured out Halloween is my favorite holiday!  I love the kitschy spookiness: the ghost stories, the decorations, and the costumes, especially.  I always take time to dress up in a costume at least once per year, maybe more if I should be so lucky.  Another great thing about Halloween is the carving of the Jack-o-Lantern.  I never miss an opportunity to carve a pumpkin!  Better still are the tasty roasted seeds you get to eat when all the artistry is through. There is a recipe for curried pumpkin seeds at the bottom – they are tasty, so be sure to check it out!

Outlining my design

Outlining my design

Riki, our newest Lima team member, and I decided to get our hands dirty and carve up some squash. We got the pumpkins from a local flower and produce store that has been in business for ages. Luckily, Riki and her roommate have a huge porch at their apartment so we didn’t have to worry about the inevitable mess of pumpkin slime.  We spread out some newspaper and got down to business.  Riki decided to try one of the patterns that come with the carving set.  That seemed a bit too regimented for me, so I set out to make a creepy little face on my own.  After the tops came off, we carefully got all of the precious seeds set aside in a bowl for later; our stomachs were growling!

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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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Whole Foods Hot Bar – Good or Evil?

Posted by Kevin on October 08 at 01:13 pm

Our office (The Lima Loft) is downtown. This means that we frequent the same places (see our favorites) for lunch each day. Occasionally though, I have to run errands that aren’t downtown. On these days, I bring my car and my choices for lunch are virtually limitless! Yesterday, I had finished my errands and it was time to start thinking about lunch.  I was near the new Whole Foods that everyone has been talking about, so I decided to check it out and try the hot bar. I’ve been trying to eat healthier lately and I knew they would have some great stuff.

For people that love food, walking into Whole Foods is like being a kid again and walking into Toys R Us. I think they arrange the fruits and vegetables by color – it’s like a work of art! My nose led me straight to the hot bar near the back of the store. I couldn’t believe the enormous selection. I’d be able to put a healthy, tasty lunch together for sure…

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Lunch at Lima

Posted by Matt on September 16 at 12:36 pm

We love food here at Lima Beads. Who doesn’t? Arguably, the best part of working downtown is the food. The restaurants in Ann Arbor are an eclectic mix of the greatest tastes from around the world. You could easily eat Cuban for breakfast, Middle-Eastern for lunch, and Chinese for dinner all in the same day. The best part is, you’d only have to walk a couple of blocks. Since were sending out new lunch specials today, I’d like to share a little about lunch here at Lima Beads.

For the people who live or have visited Ann Arbor, the restaurants that stand out in their mind are Palio, Real Seafood Co., The Chop House, Gratzi or The Earle. While these are all fine establishments, they’re not exactly “Quick Lunch” material. We love going out to lunch, so while our taste buds may be happier with those restaurants, our bank account wouldn’t.

Lunch at Lima usually takes place at one of the following:

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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

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Help Make Lima Even Greener

Posted by Kevin on September 03 at 08:13 pm

Ali & I have always tried to make environmentally friendly decisions at home and at work. I asked our landlord if he’d consider installing solar panels on the roof of our building and he just laughed at me. Oh well – there’s plenty we can do on our own.

Feed Me

Feed Me

A few years ago, we replaced all the light bulbs in our office with new energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. We went from 27 regular bulbs at 75 watts to 27 energy efficient bulbs at 9 watts. That’s asavings of 1782 watts! To put that in perspective, most toaster ovens draw about 900 watts, so the energy we’re saving could power 2 toaster ovens all day long – that’s a lot of toast. One note, be sure to recycle these bulbs properly, they contain mercury! Some stores, like Ikea, now offer drop-off stations.

We recycle everything. Boxes, paper, containers, plastics, everything! Recycling is a big deal in our city. “Recycle Ann Arbor,” started in 1978 as Michigan’s first curbside recycling service. We’re a really small business, but the amount of waste we generate is amazing. If we didn’t recycle, I can’t believe how much we’d be contributing to landfills. Because of all the recycling, we’re usually able to limit our trash to one (very full) bag per week.

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I Need A Bigger Closet!

Posted by rachel on August 29 at 10:47 am
Rachels Fall Favorites

Rachel's Fall Favorites

Well, it’s about that time of year again; school is almost back in session and the nights are made of a crisp, damp breeze. Personally, autumn is my favorite season. Although I’m usually a bit reluctant to believe that summer has basically passed, the thought of sweaters and boots makes it all worthwhile. Here in Michigan, autumn is sometimes far too short of a season, chilling the air enough for our first snow before Halloween! It’s just enough time to break in your fall wardrobe, but leave you longing for it again the next year. With the first peeks of fall fashion on the newsstands, I thought it would be fun to tell you what I’m excited about this year!

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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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