Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bead and Button 2011 - Day 1

For those of you who aren't in Milwaukee yet, or for those who aren't planning on coming to the Bead and Button show, it was a beautiful day today in this city by the lake.  While Milwaukee is no Chicago (I know, my prejudice is showing) the city gleamed today.  I ventured out at noontime to warm sunshine and beautiful breezes.  

Yes, I spent a good portion of the day indoors working with the infamous Carol Wilcox Wells.  It took ten minutes MAX for her wonderful spirit and generosity to get the creative juices flowing.  Oh, the possibilities.  What would happen if I changed this bead?  What would happen if I changed the count here?  Can I use a variation of this as a chain on a Gary Wilson cab?  And yes, I wrote all these ideas down so I won't forget -- the shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory!  I anxiously await tomorrow's day 2 with Carol, and an evening with Melissa Grakowsky.

Being here for a week to shop and take classes is my time to be totally self indulgent.   Creativity is in the air.  Laughter and good times abound.  Now, off to dinner with dear friends!   

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pay It Forward

As many of you know, part of the reason I opened a bead store was to support one of my favorite charities with a portion of the profits.  Well, I had a most unusual visit from a supplier last week, and was stunned to learn that they, too, donate a portion of their profits to a relief and development organization.  Knowing that I would be helping human beings around the world procure basic necessities, I did some procuring myself!  There were beautiful daggers . . .

and some wonderful leaves . . .

and beautiful flowers . . 

and some really wild lentils with all types of picasso finishes that I didn't get a photo of!  

So pay it forward.  By buying beads at City Beads, you can become part of a positive social movement.  A percentage of your purchase will be used to improve the lives of your fellow citizens all over the world.  How's that for a great excuse to buy beads?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Everything's Coming Up Tulips!

I know the song is Everything's Coming up Roses, but that's not what's happening.  And it's not these kind of tulips . . .

It's these kind of tulips . . .

Yes, there's a new kid in town.  First, beautifully uniform seed beads.  Then, great synthetic thread, and now the Japanese have developed a fabulous beading needle.  The new Tulip Beading Needles are flexible but  springy.  They'll fit into tight places, but won't become "S" shaped or "C" shaped after multiple uses.  The needle's eye is easy to  thread (10 lb. Fireline fits into the size 13 needle).  The tips are slightly rounded to fit more easily into beads and won't  split Nymo, Silamide or One G.  The size 13 needle with thread will pass through a size 15 seed bead 5 times!  Reports from beaders who've used these new puppies report less hand fatigue, easy threading and a smoother beading experience.  

The BEST news -- City Beads will soon be the exclusive store in the midwest to carry these wonderful needles.  They're due in sometime in the next few weeks, so call to stock up before Bead and Button!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

To all the wonderful mothers out there, my best wishes for a Happy Mother's Day!

May your day be filled with laughter and love.

  May your children provide you with a source of comfort, inspiration and pride.  

And every once in a while, may the kids give you a break to do some beading!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Getting Ready for Passover

Passover begins tomorrow evening at sundown.  Up until my mother passed away, the first night's seder was always held at my parent's home.  Each year, the evening before the first seder, mom and I had a date to set the table.  Mom hated her dishes, and always wanted something new, but we always used the blue Wedgewood.  We'd try different table cloths, different center pieces -- different anything, but it was always the blue Wedgewood that dominated the table.  Before she passed away, I remember mom telling me, "You do Passover.  It's harder.  Let your sister do Rosh Hashanah."  So today, in keeping with tradition and in anticipation of tomorrow evening, Rachel and I set the table.

Not many of you know this about me, but I am the Imelda Marcos of dishes.  I must have six different sets of china, some of them with at least 16 place settings.  I love to change things up and love to set a beautiful table.  I inherited mom's blue Wedgewood and it had been sitting with the other china patterns in the storage pantry until today.  Twelve years later, it is once again adorning a Passover seder table.

The name of the pattern is the "Queen's Embossed Garden."  As I unpacked it today and set the table, it took on a new beauty and warmed my heart with many beautiful memories.

The table is looking so beautiful in fact, that I think Will and Kate could have a pre-wedding brunch at a place setting like this!  Why, there are even beaded napkin rings!

And so, dear friends, for those of you that celebrate Passover, my very best wishes for a wonderful holiday.  For those that celebrate Easter, I send holiday wishes to you as well.  And to mom, you're in my heart every day, and will be with us in spirit tomorrow night.   I love you.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Wonderful Weekend with Sherry

As many of you may know, Sherry Serafini visited City Beads this weekend.  The Runway Earrings and All That Jazz, aka Haskell Bracelet classes were outstanding.  However, it was the Creative Component Cuff class that really blew me away.  No kit, no instructions -- one of those "stretch your imagination" classes.  What I both love and admire about Sherry is her openness, and complete willingness to share her artistic soul and spirit.  She gives everything to her students, and now having been both her student and her employer, I admire her even more.

On Sunday, Sherry inspired sixteen outstanding bead weaving artists to explore their creative spirit.   Here are the beginnings of what are sure to be outstanding cuffs, pins, brooches or neckpieces, depending on the respective visions of the beaders . . .  (forgive the photography, my camera was on the fritz and I had to use my iPhone)

Here's what Judy came up with -- a study in rusts

And then there was Cheri

And I think this was either Jennifer or Judy, I was getting excited,

And I don't even remember whose this one was, I was just snapping away!

To everyone who visited the store this weekend, my sincere thanks.  To all who participated in the classes, please stop by so I can photograph (properly this time) your finished pieces.  And to a wonderful teacher and dear friend, my sincere thanks and deep respect.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Sherry Serafini Double Whammy

I think I'm either in shock or a bit overwhelmed.  I've just finished pricing about 50 sheets of Lacy's Stiff Stuff, and 3 dozen tubes of  E6000 arrived today.  That's aside from all the Spring Pantone firepolish and metallic Czech drops.  Sherry Serafini is due in tomorrow, and after teaching a full day of classes on Friday, she will be signing her two new books.  First on the list is Beading Across America.  While many of you attended the first party for this publication, we've decided to have another with Sherry signing as both a co-author and contributor.  A big shout out and thanks go to Janice and Kim at Kalmbach for all their help and moral support in putting all this together.

And as if that weren't enough and as if Sherry weren't busy enough, her solo publication, Sherry Serafini's Sensational Bead Embroidery will also enjoy it's debut book signing at City Beads at the same time.

So my loyal readers, please join us for what is sure to be a delightful and exciting event.  Sherry will sign books this Friday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  at 3928 N. Rockwell Street in Chicago.  If you can't make it then, Sherry will be around teaching all weekend.  Give us a call or shoot us an email and we'll get a book signed and get it out to you.  We'll be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. if you want to shop . . .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I'm beside myself!   After an email from Sherry Serafini and telephone conversations and emails with the publisher and marketing departments, City Beads will be the first store in the U.S. to have a book signing for Sherry and her newest publication, Sherry Serafini's Sensational Bead Embroidery

It's a good thing I never took down the tables!  I'm over the top with excitement.  On Friday, March 18, Sherry will sign her new book AND her pages in Beading Across America where she is co-author and contributor (a great pair of earrings representing Pennsylvania).  That, plus three days of wonderful classes -- oh what a weekend!

But wait.  Tomorrow,  I'm going to San Francisco  for Beading by the Bay with great friends and teachers Marcia DeCoster, Maggie Meister and Jean Campbell.  Two great beading weekends in a row!  What more could a girl ask for?  Maybe some rest, but you know what they say.  There's no rest for the wicked!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Wonderful Weekend!

For those of you who hadn't heard, City Beads had it's first book signing this weekend.  Being the perfectionist I am (although if you saw my house right now, you wouldn't believe it) I approached the event with great trepidation.  Would anyone show up?  Would I have enough books?  What should I serve?  Would the weather cooperate?

There was a steady flow of customers all day long, and Beading Across America was well received.  Everyone was delighted to have both NanC Meinhardt and Paulette Baron available to sign their book.  There was plenty of food, and the weather cooperated until about 5 p.m. Chicago time, when the rain began to fall.  All in all, the day was a great success.

My thanks to everyone for a wonderful event!  To the many old time beading buddies, thank you for traveling long distances to share in the celebration.  To all the newcomers, it was a treat to meet you and I hope to see you again soon.

And now, off to bed.  The work week starts again tomorrow, but it will be a short one.  I'm treating myself to a weekend in San Francisco at Beading By the Bay, where I'm sure much fun will be had.  Until the next post, Happy Beading!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I'm Playing With Beads Again

Today's post is short and sweet.  I've stolen some time to play with beads -- especially some new ones that have come in from a favorite supplier.  When I opened the box, my initial thought was, "What in heaven's name am I going to do with these?"  (well, not exactly . . . )

They're called bubble beads, or mushroom drops.  I'm sure there's more you could do with them, but I'm off to prepare for the Beading Across America book signing.  Why don't you give it a try?  Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


OK.  So you'll all just have to forgive me for not blogging in a while.  First, there was preparing for Maggie Meister's classes.  Then, there was recuperating from Maggie Meister's classes.  From there, on to Tucson.  Then, pricing the 150 plus pounds of beads that were shipped back to Chicago from Tucson.  And now, City Beads will be the FIRST STORE IN THE COUNTRY  to have a book signing for Beading Across America!!!

The folks at Kalmbach have been a big help, together with Paulette Baron and Amy Katz.  Now, to get raffle tickets ready for the drawing for the Sherry Serafini Runway Earrings class,  put out extra tables for the book signing, restock all the AIKO's, as 50 more colors plus the new permanent finish just came in, find a spot to put all of Paulette's kits for the trunk show, prepare refreshments . . . 

If you're in the area, please stop by next Friday.  And if not, find a way to get here.  We're going to have a BLAST!