Friday, August 18, 2017


August 18, 2017

In the beginning......

I started this blog about 7 years ago and could never manage to find the time to "make it work." I love tinkering on the Internet and I find everything so fascinating that I want to try everything. I'm like a kid with a candy box when it comes to the Internet but to tell the truth, I just don't have the time to do everything I want to do.

As you can see from all the gadgets on either side of this mess of words, I'm an Internet retailer of jewelry. Yep, I've got an addiction that just won't let me go. So, first, a little background on that, which means I have to go WAYYYYYY back in my life for you to understand how I got to this particular place in my life.

First, I'm Canadian. Second, I'm also an American.

I grew up in North Vancouver and my first foray into selling was by way of "crafting".  My first foray into creating items was as a direct result of meeting a "Princess" of the Squamish Indian Band Tribe of British Columbia, Canada.  The year was 1965 and this very patient lady taught me to bead a simple ring. Little was I to know that this simple craft was going to open up a whole new world for me.

I took my creation home and from that point on all I could think of was beads, beads, beads! Where to find them, how much they cost, how I could get more. For my birthday I wanted beads. For Christmas I wanted beads. With my allowance in hand, I forewent movies and bought beads. Those test tube-like glass vials of 10 cent beads were my passion. I made ring after ring after ring after ring until I discovered that one of my fellow students in Elementary School ALSO did beadwork.  Her name was Janice and it was from her that I realized there was more to beaded jewelry than just rings. She created necklaces and bracelets and earrings and her efforts made my efforts look anemic! But Janice was kind and gave me a few pointers. First, there were books on beading. "Get one" she told me. (Pictured below is the first book I got on Indian beadwork.)

Second, there were outlets to purchase beads other than the local dime store. There was, she said, a fabulous shop on 4th Avenue in Vancouver called House of Orange that carried beads, beads and nothing BUT beads. I had to visit the store, she told me, but the problem was it was far into downtown Vancouver and I had only ventured by bus downtown a couple of times and really did not know my way to 4th avenue. 

After weeks of cajoling, my father finally volunteered to take me to House of Orange. Thank goodness he had business at that end of town because he set me at the store entrance and told me he'd be back in 1 hour. Little did he know that it would take more than 1 hour for me to take in the sights and scents of the place. Prices for the beads at House of Orange were a little more than the .10 a vial I was used to buying.  At .35 cents for a plastic pill container's worth of treasure I may have gotten more beads but the amount of color I could purchase had been drastically cut.

Walking into the House of Orange is still a memory that resides within me. It is so deeply engrained that I doubt I will ever lose it. That store. That wonderful, glorious, hippie-era store was simply magical. you could almost believe that a witch or wizard would walk in and order up something "not on the menu." The smell of incense and beads mingled freely with the scent of the wooden shelves, newly hewn as the store itself was only a few years old. To this day I can't really describe the scented air and I must admit I try to recreate it in my own living space to this day. I fall short each time but even the scent of burning incense can take me back in time to that first day I walked in the store.

My poor father. He waited patiently in the car while I doled out the small bit of cash I had. Still, $2 bought 6 different colors of beads and I was in seventh heaven all the way home. My father also sensed a change in me as normally I was quite a chatterbox while in the car but this time I simply picked up each container of beads, opened the lid and began to explore. New designs popped into my head with each opening. I couldn't wait to start creating!

Those first few weeks of playing with my new treasures were absolutely the best. But one thing became apparent quite quickly - once beads are used, you need more. And since I had an overabundance of finished product and couldn't possibly wear everything I created, there was only one thing left for me to do. Try selling what I made!

One day I took my creations to school and showed them to my classmates. I was surprised at how fast everything went. Not only did I sell everything, I also had orders. I don't think I had ever seen so much cash in my hands and, of course, the first thing I wanted to do was buy more beads. But my father didn't have a trip planned to Vancouver for awhile and I had to finally learn how to take the bus to get back to 4th Avenue.

My early years were all about beading jewelry. When I became a teen, I was still beading. And when my family moved from Lynn Valley to the region just below Grouse Mountain (Capilano Road), I was still beading. But all that was about to change. And on that note, I will leave this blog now and will start afresh another day.

Stay tuned!