I consider myself lucky to be married to a traveling salesman (insert all bad jokes here) and occasionally I get to go along on his travels. Naturally, I’m not going to miss an opportunity to participate in some local retail therapy. As an avid beader, I’m going to check out the local beading scene. I’m on a mission to support these local small businesses and artists that support my love of beads. But first, food!
Located along Lake Superior, Marquette, Michigan is a wonderful place to visit. One promotional piece of local literature describes it as “an oasis of food.” They aren’t kidding. There is some seriously good eating here. We ate at a Creole Cajun restaurant, Lagniappe. Wow! We tried everything, gumbo, seafood bisque, Chicken Orleans, catfish, beignets and ice cream and of course a couple of tasty Category 5 Hurricanes complete with an inside out umbrella. I’ve been to New Orleans several times and this food is as close to the real deal as you can get outside of NOLA (that’s New Orleans, Louisiana for you non-traveling types). Check out their website, http://marquettecajun.com.
Now, back to bead shop adventures. A couple of years ago, I sat next to the owner of Bella Beads during a Sheri Serafini class at the Bead and Button Show. We got to chatting and I learned a bit about her and her shop. I saw it during a previous trip to Marquette and I vowed to return.
I love this shop, it has everything. Not an inch of this cozy little store is wasted and it will rival some of the bigger bead shops I’ve been to. I found some charms I had never seen before and picked up a nifty button with a dragon on it. I also picked up some crystals in a favorite color (Swarovski’s Red Magma), colorful glass beads and a spare light (on sale). I definitely could have spent more time here as well as money but now I have a reason to return.
I should add they have a nice selection of classes and the staff is welcoming. This shop is worth the trip to a beautiful part of Michigan with all the scenery and amazing food. http://www.shopbellabeads.com
Any self-respecting crafter yearns for their own space. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always managed to carve out a little corner in a basement or an over-sized closet to have a space for my crafts. I have usually just had storage but no dedicated work surface, but thankfully, my husband has allowed me to take over the dining room in our terribly traditional home to use for my jewelry making efforts. He’s also put up with me taking over a chunk of our basement for the messier aspects of jewelry making.
Flat surfaces usually invite clutter, but a crafty girl has gotta have a work surface so I started with this great table from World Market. I picked it up a few years ago but there are probably others like it. Since I’m working in the middle of the house, I look for nice looking furniture that does the job and fits in with the rest of the decor. This beauty is sturdy and pretty wide for a desk.
I am going to deviate for a moment to the things that drive me nuts. I dislike little baggies for storage. They get piled up and you really can’t tell what you’ve got. Slowly but surely, I’m replacing them all. It’s much easier to see things at a glance. These boxes were originally designed for photos but they are great for sorting all those little findings. I could grab this whole box if the apocalypse comes and I’m ready to bead.
My luckiest find by far has been the flat file drawers I got from a store that was going out of business. I wish I had gotten more. A couple of the drawers aren’t perfect but still very functional. I can layout containers of bead and loads of cabochons. None of those little plastic baggies here!
Sometimes, it’s just as much fun to organize beads and findings as it is to work with them. I’ll come across something I had completely forgotten about and I end up working on a new project then I’ll buy more stuff and start organizing all over again. Drop in again, I’m always on the look out for creative solutions to crafty organization.