This is a blog about how we came to have an on line store and the trials and tribulations of trying to succeed in business during a recession!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Time and the Living is Too Hot

One of my customers came by yesterday and told me that she loved our blog and I sort of feel guilty that we haven't posted anything in over one YEAR!!  For those of you who enjoy our posts we are so sorry.

Where to begin.....well yesterday we took a walk to a nearby park.  It has ducks and to these city girls, they qualify as exotic birds. While walking the trail we spotted a bird which I thought was an owl - but its face wasn't flat enough.  Along the trail came a man with his two kids and we pointed out the bird and the man whipped out his phone and looked it up - it was a FALCON! Talk about exotic birds.  I wrote to Dr. David Bird, a well-known bird expert in Montreal (not kidding about the name either) and it could be a falcon, so of course we went back today ( armed with a camera) and couldn't find it again.  But we were loaded down with bread for the ducks who had to fight with the gulls to get their share, even with the two of us screeching and flapping our hands at the gulls to butt out.  We never go without food though after our episode in the spring.
We decided to go for a walk and Gail said 'Let's bring the ducks some food' but of course I said 'no, let's just GO, they don't need any more food.'  So off we went empty handed and there was mama duck with a whole brood of baby duckies.  She came up to us and waited and waited - nada.  While we started walking away she came out of the water quacking mad and chasing (who else) Gail.  Gail was running with the mama and babies chasing her while screaming ' It's Karen's fault, she wouldn't let me bring you any food".

We have been doing lots of arts and crafty things - see pictures of a fringed and painted TV table, dresser which we bought at a second hand store and repainted,  Gail's horse stool which she decoupaged and named Harley, and an interesting piece of jewellery or two which we put together along the way.

Business-wise, as many of you know, we have put all our stock that is NOT Pandora-style beads and accessories on Liquidation Prices. This would include all lamp work beads, faceted, Tibetan-style beads, glass pendants, wood and acrylic beads and much more that I can't think of at this moment.Naturally they are being snapped up by bead enthusiasts and we advise all interested customers to HURRY UP and check out the site -
We are constantly re-stocking our shelves with new Pandora-style beads and have added shambhala bracelets and earrings to our finished products inventory.  We will be adding some new items shortly as well so keep posted to our site.

Oh yeah - I can't sign off without telling you about Gail's WASP - or as they are now referred to - yellow-jackets - sting.  If you have read our older blogs you will know that Gail is petrified of bees and wasps (and almost anything that flies).  We were taking a walk and halfway home she said OW OW I think something bit me.  I just looked at her.  But she said that something bit her on the shoulder and her back was starting to hurt and it probably was a bee or wasp.  I suggested we stop by the clinic which was on our way since I sure as hell didn't want to have deal with any stinger.  Sure enough, Doc said it was a wasp (Y-J)  bite but no stinger was left inside so all was well.  He asked if she was allergic ( stupid question because if she was by that time she would probably be dead) and to take an antihistamine if it starts to itch. My brother and I though it was kind of funny that she ended up getting bitten, she of all people.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful summer - I know it has been hot and hope that drought- stricken areas receive rain soon. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Tisket a Tassel

Hi all,

Hot,hot,hot - just like the song!  40 degress on the humidex and rising.  How come they never wrote a song humid, humid, humid - cuz it's not very sexy-sounding I guess.  But I'm not complaining since it's better than snow.  All Quebers say that so we don't sound like we are ALWAYS whining and complaining about the weather.

Anywhoooo what's new around these parts - just had the U2 concert this past weekend and I live not too far away from the site and was able to hear the  whole thing.  Actually I was sitting on the throne thinking 'here I am sitting on the toilette  (say it with a french accent, it sounds less vulgar for some reason) and I am listening to BONO' LIVE!  When will that ever happen again in my lifetime.   Probably never. Where did the name BONO come from anyway? ( I always think of Boner when I hear it - a little to close for comfort if you ask me.)

I fell in love  - yep - with trims, tassels and fringe! It seems to satisfy my creative urges for color and versatility.  You can glue it on anything.  We have made great tassels with toppers, keychains, lampshades, purses, pillows, bench covers, kleenex box holders and jewellery.
We now have an armoir full of the stuff and my head constantly whirls with the possibilites.

And yes, I have mastered the glue gun.  I have lived in fear of the thing for years (neurotic) and finally bit the bullet and purchased the "BIG" one.  My cousin Rhoda issued dire warnings about buring down the house with the 'damn thing' (direct quote) but I figured if children can do this so could I.   Also, if you can leave something like that on for two hours how dangerous can it be.

I love that sucker - no really - I do,  Even when I burnt my thumb twice yesterday and had to peel off layers of the glue along with some skin, my glue gun enthusiasm was not dampened.  It  helped me miraculously transform a drab lampshade into a thing of glory within minutes.
I have posted some pictures of a few of our latest creations, along with an ugly wood table I repainted.

We have just posted our latest pandora-style beads onto the site - what beauties. Gorgeous glass beads (lined in sterling) in great colors for the summer - as well as animal prints in browns and blacks.  Of course animal print has no season, they are timeless!!!!! Visit the site to check them out at Just go to Pandoras,  then New Stuff

We will be opening a new ARTFIRE store called OMGdesigns where we will sell the homemade TOTES, tassels, keychains, jewellery etc etc etc.  Look for it soon, as well our original ARTFIRE store where we will be adding new merchandise, especially  yummy pandora-style bracelets.

So that's it for now, hope you enjoy your summer. Please feel free to comment - we love your feedback.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sew and Sew

I know, I know, it's been a while since my last blog.  My bad for sure.  Don't quite know why it's been so long but time just passes by at an alarming speed.  It's kind of like being in a tornado and I am just spinning around and around!

So what has happened over the past few months - eveything and nothing.  We had a BIG birthday in December, and while it could have had significant trauma attached to it, I would say we weathered it quite well.  I try not to think about it and except for when I look in the mirror I  usually don't.  Then it hits me like a brick on the head.  Ouch.   But at least we are healthy and that is pretty much what counts.

Business wise, we have been quite busy and if you visit our site - - you will see our new stock of gorgeous pandora-style beads.  Such colors - mauves, greens, pinks, they make you think of spring and warm weather.  We have a large selection of crystal beads to compliment the glass beads, and just one or two crystal beads in a bracelet seem to make the whole thing pop!  We have opened up a new category under "Pandora" called 'New Stuff" so if you have a hankering -  take a look.

I notice that on my last blog I posted a picture of the 'body bag' that I had made.  Until now I have not had the time to sew again but the past week or so I have been bitten by the sewing bug and have posted some pictures of my creations.  They are considerably smaller and such fun to make.  And I get to decorate them with beads!

I can hear the radio in the background and the nasty weather lady is using the 'S' word again. Boy am I sick of that stuff.  This morning they just carted away the effects of the last storm which was two days ago and now she is blabbering about more tonight and tomorrow. ENOUGH already, and I mean it.  The older you get the less and less you are able to tolerate these cold, snowy winters.  I know some of you are reading this from warm climes and I hate you!  No just kidding, but I am jealous.  This weekend we move the clocks ahead so at least it will be light outside later and you really begin to think that Spring is well on its way.

Our friend Pearl 's web site  - - will be offering a contest to win a gift certificate from our web site  this month, so please stay posted.  It is a really great site so take a look at it.  We will be sending out an e-mail as to the exact date of the contest so stay tuned.

We really love to hear from you so if you have a moment send us  your comments.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Size Does Matter

So the fabric had been lying in a bag for the past two years - at least.  I purchased it with the intent of making a small purse, quilting different patches of fabric together to make a masterpiece.  I even bought two designer patterns and they lay there with my fabric, waiting patiently, reminding me every time I spied it on the top shelve of my closet (obviously the shelf wasn't high enough).
I guess I wrote that I had a cough, and somehow it was ' a touch of bronchitis' according to the doctor. ( A week later after antibiotics, it has turned into 'post infectious bronchitis and I am now on an inhaler!). So I was feeling a bit peaked and totally strung out  (pun intended) on beading.  The perfect opportunity.  A few months ago, I purchased a NEW purse pattern - EASY - so it said.  Now I have been a sewer since I was a teenager however the last few years I admit to sewing very little.  So this looked like a piece of cake and right up my alley.
Wrong.  First of all, the gorgeous fabrics that I purchased unravelled - you just breathed on it and more threads would fall all over the place.  And the fabric was heavy and thus hard to sew, I was barely able to get it under the stitching foot.  Not to mention I had to run out to get iron-on interfacing, hoping to give the fabric some stability and even more hopefully, to stop the damn unravelling.
Well two days of hard labor, and aside from machine sewing, I had added a white brick a brack by hand.  Topped off by four tassels and voila - a real piece of work.  Of course there was one tiny problem - you can fit a body in that bag!!
It looks exactly like what I had hoped for only 4 times larger.  I guess I have no sense of size because it gave the measurements somewhere on the package but I paid no attention to it.  And it deceptively appeared to be a nornal size  on the front of the package.  Who knew.  Of course Gail said (after it was finished) 'didn't you read the size on the package"?).

This past week we went to the Jewish Public Library to see our Miniature Doll House.  It is now the property of the Library and sits in a place of honor in the children's section where it can be enjoyed by all.  We donated it in memory of our parents and I think it is a wonderful legacy.  After all the hard work of putting it together and decorating it (to scale) we are so happy that it has found a wonderful home.

I guess our blog wouldn't be complete without mention of Gail's latest bug sighting.  It happened early one morning while she was brushing her teeth.  As she reached for the glass to take out her toothbrush out came a HUGE  red spider.  I was still lolling abut in bed and heard voices and was wondering who she was talking to and upon further investigation ( 'who are you talking to in the bathroom?')  found her traumatized in the bathroom.

We have been busy at work.  We have decided to take apart the gorgeous bead sets and sell the beads individually.  This is a benefit to our customers as they will be cheaper to purchase as well as giving you the opportunity to buy your favorite beads  without buying the whole set.  Of course this means adding over 400 new beads onto the site and to say this is labour intensive is putting it mildly.

Aside from all this, things are realtively normal and we are glad spring is here.  Hope you are all enjoying the sunshine and rain.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

A 'Boobie" Blog

OK, I know its been a while but life has been crazy and sometime it feels like I'm just along for the ride. I guess  I need a trigger in order to get my creative juices flowing and  it happened while I went to take a shower.  I shed most of my clothes and went into the bathroom where I proceeded to divest myself of my bra.  OMG there was a big red thing inside my bra - kind of like a smartie on steroids.  I thrust it away from me and stared.  It was a bead - Product no# 00809, a bright cherry red rondelle to be more specific.  So now it's not enough that I dream of beads every night, I have to find them in my underwear as well.  Even scarier was that I never even felt it in there.

Received a nice gift on Sunday - started with a sore throat and now it is a lovely head cold, but I have certainly had worse so am suffering through it in silence.  I am slurping up chicken soup as I sit here and while its not the best I ever had it is better than nothing.  I should be right as rain in a couple of days.

Is anyone out there an Idol fan like us.  My personal favorite is Crystal but Lee is a very close second.  I think that even if Crystal wins they won't be able to take the country out of her, and that's a good thing.   She has a certain quality about her that I love. Thank goodness that goofy guy Tim Urban was finally booted off .  It was quite the show last night when you think about it.  Went from a glitzy production with a 'pea' in a sequined bathing suit prancing around the stage to an African man making coffins.  The statistics of the hungry in America are staggering and I doubt that they are any better in Canda.

I'm looking out my window at the beautiful tree ready to blossom and think that it was a year ago when I posted the picture of it in bloom.  Actually my landlord had most of it hacked off last year for some reason so I'm hoping it hasn't lost all of its grandeur.  So much has happened within a year and yet it seems like yesterday.

We have really met some wonderful people through our business - beaders are an amazing breed, not to mention that everyone  loves our finished products.  It really is validating and heart warming.  Last week while I was having a mamogram, my boob in the vise, the technician noticed my pandi bracelet and just loved it.  When I was able to free my boob I gave her my card!

We have made so many new friends from all over and feel blessed.  I think  that tough times brings out the best in people and many of our customers are starting secondary businesses by designing and selling handmade jewelry.

... So I am into another day with this damn cold - you always forget how awful it is until you get it again.  I haven't slept in two nights and feel like a zombie, but think I am now on the upswing. I have been trying to drink hot drinks - something I never do after my morning coffee.  That means I need 'danish' to accompany the said hot drink.  That is the only cold perk I can think of.

I hope everyone has the chance to enjoy the spring weather and watch out for people carrying germs.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Well, It's About Time!

Okay, okay, so its been a while since we last posted a blog.  We know and we are sorry. Really sorry.  Things have been going at a fast pace and it has been hard to find the time to sit down and write - I am now enjoying my morning coffee and brown sugar (fake but yummy) Mini Wheats.  I actually pick out the ones with the thicker coating - GROW UP Karen.   I once worked with a girl who said she didn't like the ones with the frosting - I guess that's why when she turned sideways you couldn't see her.

Last time we wrote we were getting ready to do a show at the JGH - that was a disaster, but good things come from bad and we then hosted a 'Pandi Party' that went really well.  Thanks again Pearl for all your help.
First off, our year-end for the business was December 31st and we had to suffer through 'Inventory HELL'. Enough said about that.  We are still suffering from YESS (Year-End Stress Syndrome). January was a really busy month. We have been  making new jewelry and accessories.  New inventory has arrived - check  out our sterling silver chandelier earrings, and our bookmarks which come in two sizes are really fun and make great gifts.  Not only that, but you can order the bookmarks and make your own creations - either with beads or Pandies.

Oh those  Pandi beads - Yum. Our customers have a great time making up their own jewelry, key chains and pulls.  We have received gorgeous Swarovski crystal Pandi beads as well as Fimo beads - these are really fun for the Spring. 

So far, I have to say that our winter has been amazingly easy - and our hearts go out to our friends in the US and the rest of the world who have to suffer through horrific weather conditions. Of course, ours could change in a minute and we eagerly wait for spring. 

Everyone is enjoying the Olympics - the patriotism and the spirit is contagious.  But I can't help but think that while a commentator talks about the hardships an athelete has to live through to get to the podium, what the Haitian people have to endure just to stay alive.  Somehow it just makes the 'Olympic Dream' a bit of a joke in comparison to what our fellow human beings are suffering through around the world.  And let's not forget the recession.  No matter what they say in the media, it has affected us all. But I honestly believe we will grow stonger from this.

One of the nicest things about this business is the people you meet.  (Beaders are a quirky lot.)  Really nice to be sure, and they all have such interesting personalities. Many of our on-line customers have businesses of their own.  I look at this job as sort of an adventure - you never know what each new day will bring!

I guess by now you know that the funny sister is not writing this blog.  Where is the sarcasm you say, the negative twist, the biting humor and black outlook?  Well, she's in the kitchen!!  I will get her here to proof read my commentary and I am sure she will find much to improve upon. See, I just asked her to come into the office - grumpily she answered "in a minute, I am busy". Oh, wait here she comes now. OK, she is busy changing things.  I certainly don't want to get her pissed off as she has to post the pictures.
While she is doing her thing, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends who have shown such support and confidence in us.  We have truly been blessed by your love and your faith in us.