Posts Tagged ‘beads’

Sparkling Distraction

Friday, June 25th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

It has been well documented on this blog that I am a great started but not the best finisher when it comes to projects.  I’ve made promises to myself, I’ve publicly stated that I shall not start a new project without finishing at least one existing project and I’ve sworn off learning to spin or anything else knowing it would be just another distraction.

We’ve owned our lovely bead shop for a little more than 2 years.  I’ve been to bead shows.  I even have a small bead stash.  Yet I have resisted the temptation to learn to bead.  I knew what would happen if I gave in.  I mean, about the only thing that can tickle me more than a few lovely skeins of cashmere is sparkle-y beads.  I knew if I went down that road it would be a VERY slippery slope.

Well, about a month or so ago I gave in.  I decided to string just one, little necklace.  I mean, what harm could a few Swarovski Crystals do??  Here’s my first creation:

Nothing super complicated – just basic stringing.  I’ve proven I know how to count 🙂  It’s also reinforced my almost obsessive joy in symmetry.  I’ve strung three other pieces but of course they are sitting on my desk at WEBS waiting to have the crimp beads and clasps put on – I still need supervision with that part of the process.  I’ll scoop them up tomorrow and post the pics.  For one of the pieces I used chunkier seed beads and focal beads and it’s like knitting with super bulky yarn – FAST!

Here’s my stash to date:

And look how compact and unassuming it appears in my della Q project bag:

(Note:  Sorry the pics aren’t the best.  It’s evident that I need to work on my photography skills with beads)

Some of the beads are from the shop, some I’ve picked up at the buying shows I’ve attended.

Not to fear, the knitting continues as well.  This is a hat I designed for a book and was able to retain rights.  The original yarn has been discontinued so I’m reknitting it in our Valley Yarns Northampton, the color is Jade.  The pattern is my Vintage Baby Hat from Luxury One Skein Wonders.  I’m knitting it in adult size this time.

I also have yarn for two other design projects pulled and I’m in the beginning planning stages for those.  One in Valley Yarns Deerfield is beginning to take shape while the other which will be in Valley Yarns Sheffield still hasn’t come together quite yet.

What is on your needles these days?


Big Game Event

Friday, February 5th, 2010
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Just a quick reminder.  Our annual Big Game Event is happening this Sunday, February 7th from 12-4pm.  Both WEBS Yarn and WEBS Beads will be open!  Come join us for a relaxing afternoon of crafting.  Work on your latest project, check out our new yarns and beads and catch up with friends.  We’ll have snacks and giveaways to add to the festivities.  Plus, you will be home in time to see the Big Game  or at least all of the cool commercials!



Tent Sale & Fleece Market Weekend!

Friday, May 15th, 2009
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That’s right folks!  It’s the third weekend in May and it can only mean one thing – it’s time for our 7th Annual Tent Sale and Fleece Market! 


This is one of the craziest sales of the year and it’s what we call an “all hands on deck” weekend.  Tomorrow – everyone is required to work (unless they are graduating from college, getting married, etc.) 

Oh – don’t worry, there will be yarn under the tent in the morning – it’s all being staged and prepped:

Saturday is super special because (a) we broadcast our weekly radio show live from the tent and (b) the Fleece Market will be in full swing – more on that in a minute.

I know you are all dying to know about yarns – what’s on sale, what’s under the tent.  Let me give you a few highlights.  Sorry, no linkage because the tent sale prices are only available at the tent!

Kureyon Discontinued Colors – $47.50/bag of 10.  Folks – that works out to $4.75 per skein and it normally retails for $8.95!  Steve has obviously lost his mind.

Adrienne Vittadini – $27.50/bag of 10 (you can do the math) – normally $8.95.

Dive Zenith (great worsted wt superwash yarn) – $25.00/bag

Rowan Bamboo Tape – $35.00/bag

Fiesta Kokopelli – $7.49/skein – that’s crazy!

Oh – here’s something super special.  Steve bought a HUGE lot of closeouts from Universal.  All 100% wool, all 100 GRAM BALLS – $30.00/bag.

We have an amazing selection of accessories and bags at an ADDITIONAL 25% off (now’s the time to be thinking about gifts for teachers, holiday gifts, birthdays, etc).

We have a great selection of larger size Colonial Rosewood needles at $9.99 – savings of 75%!!

Now, this last tidbit is what really makes me think Steve has gone off the deep end.  He’s GIVING AWAY YARN.  That’s right folks – we’ll have free yarn.  It is not junk, it’s not leftovers, it’s not a big tangled mess you need to deal with.  It’s some really decent yarn from a yarn company YOU KNOW AND LOVE.  Please – don’t let your eyes be bigger than your belly as my mom used to say.  Share the free yarn love.

Okay – onto the Fleece Market.  Fleece Market only runs on Saturday.  This is one of our favorite aspects of this weekend.  We invite local shepherds to bring their fleeces, handspun and hand-dyed yarns and it’s like our own mini-festival.  We are so privileged to be here in Western Mass among an incredibly rich fiber community.  We love being able to give these folks yet another opportunity to share their passion.  We’ve been told there  will be Llamas and we are also confident about Alpacas (I’m really hoping they bring them this year).  Buddy the herding dog will be with us again – we love Buddy.

You can check out a complete list of the vendors here.  Also, Barb Parry of Foxfire Fiber will be vending again this year an in addition to her beautiful yarns, she will also be selling and signing copies of her new book Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing.

Finally – don’t forget WEBS – America’s Bead Store!  They are participating in the festivities and will have their own tent full of great bargains and specials throughout the store!  Our Store Manager Barbara is just back from a show and we have tons of new pearls!

Now – a few tips:

We will have someone directing traffic and we have access to a large amount of parking.  Do not get discouraged.

We will have SIX registers running – 4 in the store and 2 in the tent.  Our strongest ringers are on register (including Steve & I) and every register has a dedicated bagger.  Trust me – no matter how long the lines, we will move them along.

Pictures are welcome.

Bring your coffe and be sure to eat breakfast.  I suggest bringing a snack too 🙂  If nothing else, we’ll appreciate it 🙂

Play nicely and if you have questions we have PLENTY of staff on to help.  Everyone has an assigned area/job.  Even if you think the nice young man in the warehouse can’t answer your question -ask.  Even if he can’t, he’ll get you to the right person.

Spinning Wheels, equipment and fiber are on sale at 20% off throughout the weekend.  In stock items only, no special orders.

Saturday and Sunday 10-5:30.  Come early either day and we’re unlikely to turn you away – show up at 5:15 on Saturday, well, as much as we love you, we’ll be dead on our feet.  We’re going to do our best to bring the lights down at 5:30.  Sunday – we tend to wrap up between 4 and 5pm. 

Smith parents of graduating seniors – if we think you are going to miss graduation, we will send you on your merry way and hold your purchase.  Trust me – we know who you are – you’re the best dressed customers we have all weekend 🙂  Congratulations to you and your graduate!

Speaking of graduates – a special CONGRATULATIONS to our own Elisabeth who works in the store! Yay Elisabeth!  She’s graduating and coming on board full-time!

Steve will be running one of the registers in the store, I’ll be on a register in the tent so be sure to stop by and say hi!

Okay folks – here we go!  Tent Sale & Fleece Market 2009 is almost here!!


Vintage Baby Knits Book Signing & Trunk Show!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
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I am very excited that author Kristen Rengren will be here at WEBS tomorrow evening from 6-7:30pm for a book signing of her new book Vintage Baby Knits and trunk show! 


For those of you who listen to our podcast, Ready, Set, Knit (Show #125)!, I had the opportunity to interview Kristen a few weeks back.  I also was able to meet Kristen in person at the last taping of Knitting Daily TV and see some of the pieces from her book.  I cannot wait to see the rest of the pieces.  The book is adorable so be sure to come by WEBS tomorrow night to meet Kristen, pick-up a signed copy of her book and enjoy some yummy treats!  You know we always have yummy treats. 

WEBS is always opened on Thursday evenings until 8pm and our Thursday night drop-in will be in full swing until 8pm so plan to stay, meet some new friends and work on your latest project!

For those of you who read this blog on a regular basis, listen to Ready, Set, Knit or especially visit the shop, you know Steve & I have had an insane travel schedule since January.  The fact that we don’t get on a plane for the entire month of May is awesome.  I know, most of you are giving me little sympathy because traveling is fun – it is – but it’s also work, literally and figuratively.  Plus, when you travel as much as we have been, it puts day to day life in a weird time warp.  Let me give you an example.

This morning I went out to the store and spied these waiting to be put out on display:

Steve & I bought these from Della Q back in January at TNNA.  I said “Oh, these great bags are finallly in, I love these!”.  The store staff smiled and agreed that they are darling, etc.  I grabbed one for myself and continued on “I love the Marrimekko prints and I love the cobalt blue. . . . ”  They smiled and nodded politely and then someone casually stated “It’s great to have them back in stock.”.  Operative word in that statement would be. . . . BACK – as in, they were out of stock which means they are not new, but in fact a RE-ORDER.  They had been in the store previously and I didn’t know that.  See, this is what happens when you are operating at a million miles an hour and 32,000 feet up.  You miss things.  Now, is the fact that I missed a simple project bag’s arrival a huge deal, no not really, but it is one of those moments that sort of pings me and I think to myself what else have I missed?  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not in worrisome sort of way – we have the greatest staff on the planet and they can manage anything and everything – it’s more my own personal “what’s passing me by” concern.  I mean, how can I live without this bag in my life:

For the record, the cost on the bag is $8.00 and comes in two other adorable prints, but this one is my favorite.

One last item for today.  I spent some time over at the bead store this afternoon.  One of our suppliers was in town and I had not previously had a chance to meet him (Surprise!  I’ve been out of town the last two times he’s come to visit.)  He brought tons of beads for us to look at – Barbara, Janet and I had fun picking out some new items for the bead store:

I am particularly fond of these:

We’re not on-line yet (sorry, sorry, sorry!) but be sure to visit WEBS – America’s Bead Store when you come to visit yarn!


P.S.  A huge thank you to Gail – the Kangaroo Dyer and woman of unlimited talents.  The beautiful planters outside the store feature not only gorgeous flowers, but are packed with fresh herbs.  Gail took the time to clean out the mess from the winter months and get all of the new plantings in.  Thank you Gail!!!  The store front looks beautiful.  I know Freddie is particularly appreciative of the fresh catnip 🙂

Ready, Set, Knit! #112 – Interview with author Carol Sulcoski

Saturday, January 10th, 2009
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This week’s show features an interview with one of my favorite people, author, designer and owner of Black Bunny Fibers, Carol Sulcoski.

Carol’s second book, Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns has just recently published.  Not only is it jammed packed with awesome sock patterns from some great designers, but the first 20 or so pages is full of really great information about working with handpainted yarns and color theory.  Be sure to check out the interview and of course be sure to get her new book!

Pixie and I also kick-off the next KAL with a beading tutorial.  More to come on that next week as well.

Listen to this week’s episode or via iTunes!



Beautiful Things

Thursday, December 4th, 2008
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So, I have to ask. . . .is anyone else out there in denial that Christmas Day is three weeks from today?  I mean, three weeks from right now it’s O.V.E.R.  First night of Hanukkah is TWO WEEKS from Sunday!!!  I am usually pretty on top of the holiday stuff but this year – I got nothin’.   I did order wreaths for our two doors so as of tomorrow afternoon, the outside world driving by our house will think I’m totally on top of things.  I adore the holidays from start to finish but at this point, I’m kind of starting to think I may not pull it off.   Okay, I’m breathing, it will all be fine 🙂  (NOTE:  To my sister who reads this blog – I’m trying on the lists, really.  It’s not easy this year.  Let’s not forget the best you’ve given me for suggestions thus far are mittens and grey sweats).  Where are all of you at?  Did this holiday season just come out of nowhere for you too?  Or is it just me?

Okay, well on to more interesting items.  I’ve got all sorts of odds and ends to share.  Let’s start with some drop dead knitting.  First up, I want to share with you the first of two amazing shawls.  This one comes from Laura of Fiber Dreams.  Laura is an amazing designer with her own line of patterns.   Look what she created using our 2/14 Alpaca/Silk:

Okay – you can all breath now.  I am not even a lace knitter and this blew me away!  It’s called Canterbury Bells and there are many other patterns on her site that you need to check out.  This one is available for $6.00 and if you love knitting lace, I think this might be one you want to check out!

Then, earlier this week one of our yarn reps was in and after the appointment was over, she brought in this:

This is the “Secret of the Stole II – Savannah” from Nautical Knits.  Again, it was knit using our 2/14 Alpaca Silk.  Look at it up close:

What’s hard to see are the beads that Diane added for her own personal touch.

While talking about amazing creations, I want to share a lovely WEBS moment with you all.  A few weeks back our Office Manager Malea moved to a new place and shortly thereafter had a housewarming party.  I’m sure many of you have heard of housewarmings that have a theme and Malea did a great job creating her own.  She requested that each guest come prepared to felt a coaster for her.  GREAT idea!  Here’s some of the WEBS Crew (past & present):

Here are the amazing felted coasters that they made:

Steve & I initially felt badly that we couldn’t attend, but after seeing these, I don’t think we could’ve held our own with this crowd!  Great job everyone!

For those of you who may not read Knitting Contessa’s blog on a regular basis, during the month of December it’s definitely one you do not want to miss.  During this festive holiday season, she celebrates Knitting Contrisstmas.  Each day during the month of December she does a blog interview with someone from our wonderful fiber world.  She kicked off with Cirilia Rose, Designer with Berroco (and WEBS Alum) and over the past three days she’s talked with Jill from Knitterella, Kate Jacobs and Cat Bordhi!  The interviews are great and Tina really does a great job of getting the inside scoop from some of the interesting folks in our industry.  (Full Disclosure – I participated last year, but I would not be revisiting this if I didn’t think Tina was doing a super job).

Okay – I have a few other things I wanted to get to, but I’m out of time for today.  I have to leave  you with this picture:

Steve & Jackson working the register and Jonathan pricing yarns – the day before Thanksgiving.  Priceless.

Remember, let me know how you are feeling/handling the holidays this year!


Substituting is Hard to Do

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
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I was really thrilled when this showed up at the shop last week:

There are two reasons – well make that three.  First, I love Storey Publishing’s series of One Skein books.  Secondly (and consider this the full disclosure portion of this post), there are several WEBS staffers (current and former) who have projects in the book, along with a couple of other industry friends.  Congratulations to you all.  Thirdly, I have a wee little projected included as well!

Just a sweet little baby hat, knit using a bulky yarn.  I chose to use Fibre Company’s Pemaquid.  It’s a yarn we’ve carried for awhile and I’ve always been enamored with it.  I selected it because I wanted to use a chunky yarn -I knew there would be lots of stunning lace projects and gorgeous socks and just wanted to be a little different.  The pattern itself is simple and I even incorporated some beads on the tassel.

While waiting for the book to come out, one of the worst things that can happen to someone who has used a yarn in a project that has been accepted for publication happened.  I found out the yarn was discontinued.  UGH!  How did I let this happen to me?  I own a yarn store!  I speak with the yarn vendors all the time!  I made the fatal error that sometimes happens to designers.  I fell for the yarn.  Head over heels, I-must-have-you- and-nobody-else-but-you, in love.  I just had to knit with it!

Rather than be practical and make a quick call or send an email to double check and say “Hey, Pemaquid’s solid for the next couple of seasons, right?” I let the yarn fumes get to me.  I basked in the glory of swatching, knitting a bit, frogging, knitting some more, etc., until the wee little hat was done.  For what it’s worth, the yarn did behave well during the process.  I was a little worried, given its content (60% baby alpaca/30% merino/10% soy) and the fact that it’s loosely spun,  that it might not hold up to the frogging, but it did so quite nicely.  So, there is my hat in the brand new book.  Now, I must find a substitute.

In considering what yarn to use, I had to start with gauge.  Pemaquid knit at 3 sts = 1″ on a #10.  I took a look at our Valley Yarns line and although Berkshire would knit to the gauge I need, I didn’t think the yarn was right for this project both in feel and quite honestly, as much as I love Berkshire, I wouldn’t classify it as luxury.

So, out to the store I went.  I stayed out of the warehouse because selecting a closeout would only compound the problem (although I do think there are a couple of nice options out there).  Now, for those of you who have shopped the store, you know we have a lot of yarn.  That’s true even for those of you who shop on-line with us.  I figured I’d have more options than I’d know what to do with.  Wrong – again!  Although we have quite a few 3-3.5 sts to the inch yarns, the second criteria I was using was feel.  How would the yarn feel on a little one’s head?  Nobody wants an uncomfortable baby!  Uncomfortable babies = unhappy babies.  Unhappy babies are no fun.

Here’s what I’ve got for choices at the moment:

1.  Ariosa from Classic Elite.

This yarn was actually one of the first ones that came to mind.  I knew without looking the gauge would be right and I knew it was super soft.  Ariosa is 90% extrafine merino/10% cashmere.  It has 87 yards and at 3.5 stitches to the inch, I’m confident I can get it to the gauge I need.  The only problem?  Ariosa has  pretty sophisticated color palette.  I was going to leave this one off the list, but kept coming back to it.  For the traditionalists among you, there’s the cream color and a few primaries.  For the rest of us, I’m pretty partial to the lime green.

2. & 3.  Next up are two similar yarns.  Misti Alpaca Baby Chunky and Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande.

Both are 100% baby alpaca and both are spun similarly (to each other and Pemaquid).  Misti’s has 108 yards and knits at 3.5 sts = 1″.  Plymouth’s has 110 yards and knits at 3 sts = 1″.  The color palettes are different although I think both have nice options (both also have handpaint options if that’s the look you are interested in).  One other point to make with these two options is that I think you would be able to get two hats out of one skein – not 100% sure until I try it out, but that’s what my gut is telling me at the moment.

4.  Lastly, I had to consider the pinnacle of luxury –  cashmere.  Despite Steve’s diatribes about my cashmere stash (which is not nearly as extensive as he thinks it is) we actually don’t carry a lot of it in the store.  I also want it noted that I did not go with cashmere in the first place.  For me, the natural choice was Classic Elite’s Sinful:

Sinful is 100% cashmere and knits at 3.5 sts = 1″.  The palette is lovely and the yarn screams “make me into adorable heirloom quality baby items”.  This is the most expensive of all of the options shown.

So, what do you think?  Do I have a winner here?  Is there another yarn I’ve overlooked (it’s got to be one that I carry – only criteria).  Vote in the comments so I can get knitting!

Win Some and Lose Some

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008
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Well, our beloved Patriots did not come through for us. They were simply out played. Congrats to the Giants and all of their fans. There was much sadness here – Jackson went to bed in tears and Jonathan, who had fallen asleep during the game, got up on Monday morning, asked what the score was and when I told him, burst into tears, ran back to his room and flung himself on his bed and pulled the covers over his head. A hard lesson in losing was learned.
Not all is lost – hope springs eternal as they say and if not that, a mother’s determination to limit crying at 6:30am on Monday morning is without bounds. For one thing, spring training is nearly upon us so the boys have come to terms with the loss and are gearing up for a great season here in Red Sox Nation.
For another, we had a great celebration at WEBS on Sunday afternoon during our “pre-game” festivities:

Many thanks to our special guest, Mary Beth Temple, author of The Secret Language of Knitters. Charming as always, Mary Beth entertained a packed house with several excerpts from her book. Rumor has it there was serious snorting of water. . . . . .

I love our Super Bowl Event – everyone just comes and spends time together, working on projects, socializing and relaxing.
I am always tickled to see the spinners join in the fun too!

We were demonstrating the Schacht Flip Loom, which is a WEBS staff fave. It is a great way to dip your toe into the weaving pool. The loom is inexpensive, compact and easy to use. It’s great for using up stash yarns or venturing into some of those coned yarns we have. Tons of possibilities and if you find you love the loom but want to be able to do more, there’s our Weaving I class. We’ll be offering a class this summer featuring the Flip, so if you have any interest, come into the store for a test drive and certainly watch for our class brochure coming this April.

Thanks to Gail and Leslie Ann for getting this organized!

Thanks also go out to everyone who has sent along well wishes for new adventure into the world of beading! We’ve been working this week to get new inventory into the store and plan to open this coming Monday, Feburary 11th. We’ll be at the old location until April 1st, but we encourage everyone to come on over to the store and meet the great staff!
Finally, our next big event is this Saturday, Feburary 9th. Wenlan Chia, knitwear designer and author of Weekend Knits and Big City Knits will be at the store to discuss her yarns, her designs and all things fashion. This is an incredible opportunity to spend time with a 7th Avenue fashion designer! She just had her show at Bryant Park in NYC this past weekend as part of Fashion Week and less than a week later, she’ll be at WEBS! I had the chance to meet her at TNNA and Wenlan is lovely and friendly and really looking forward to spending time with us so I encourage you to make every effort to join us on Saturday. Please be sure to register here so that we have enough chairs and of course food and goodies! A special thanks to our friends at Classic Elite Yarns for making this event happen!

No, Not Beans. . . . . .And Not In California!

Friday, February 1st, 2008
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For the past few months, I’ve been alluding to some behind-the-scenes-happenings at WEBS. I’ve been able to share with you some of the renovations that have been taking place. I know it’s hard to appreciate the impact in a few two-dimensional pictures, but the changes are incredible. At the end of the day, I can’t blame any of you for not being overly excited about new shipping areas and stockrooms and fancy order pickers and fresh paint and such. There have been some of you that have been enthused for the evolution of my office space into a more comfortable environment (read as: WARM).

Today, I hope I can generate a bit of excitement among you, get the blood flowing as they say. Steve and I are simply bursting like proud parents (no – we are not “literally” going to be proud parents to anyone that isn’t already on the proverbial roster). I finally get to share with all of you another of our secret projects. This one came upon us unexpectedly but has turned into what we think is something awesome – a wonderful opportunity.

This morning, Steve and I purchased this:

Beader’s Paradise is the local bead store in Northampton and it is now ours. I get goosebumps just typing those words! It’s a small store that was founded by two lovely woman, Judy and Cindy seven years ago. Many of you may remember it being located on Pleasant Street, just a couple of blocks up from WEBS. They moved to Main Street and they are currently in a bit of a hidden spot on “the Button St. side of Masonic St.”.

Steve and I are very, very excited. We know there is a lot of synergy between our business and beads. We also think there there is a lot of potential within the industry itself. We have a lot of work ahead of us!

How can you not be excited when you look at these:

We’ll be re-opening the store within the next week or so and staying in the current location through the end of March. We’ll then be relocating to Service Center Road in a space attached to Smith Glass. This means customers can easily walk between the two stores. Now we know for Beader’s long-time customers another move is simply making you groan. But look at it this way – we’ll be in a bigger, brighter, easier to access space with plenty of FREE parking. Plus lots of new and exciting products and classes and samples and. . . . just lots of great things. We will also be changing the name – we just think the WEBS name has too much recognition to not use it. We will be selling on-line as well, but that probably won’t happen until this summer. Hours will be the same as the ones we have at the yarn store (M-Sat 10:00-5:30, Thurs ’til 8pm and closed Sundays).

If you are a beader, local or otherwise and have thoughts on things we should carry, please share your thoughts with me in the comments or privately at

Now I”m sure you are wondering about the bean reference in the title.

My mom will be 82 this year and her hearing is less than stellar. She refuses to do anything about it, so we just deal with it as best we can. I called her from California to catch up and realized I had not told her we were going to buy this business. She was quite tickled, which made me happy because as I’ve said in previous posts, she is not easily excited. A couple of days later, still in California and my sister emails me. She states she hopes there is a job opening at our new California store. I call her back and ask her what the heck she is talking about. Seems my mom told her we were “buying a bean store in California”. To say my sister was bewildered would be an understatement. She had been trying to figure out why we would buy a bean store, what kinds of beans we would have, where the beans would be coming from, etc. Between the conversation with my sister and the visual of the conversation she and my mom must have had, I was laughing so hard I was crying. My sister and I will forever reference the store as “beans”.

But beads are way more interesting than beans – imho 🙂