The first time I visited Québec City as a child, I must have been four or five years of age. I remember winding through the ramparts surrounding the oldest parts of the city, gripping onto my parents’ hands and skipping with my sister.  During the course of our visit, we ended up in a little shop that sold many artisinal wares and handcrafted items. I felt very overwhelmed by all the shiny trinkets – there were so many things to look at and touch (but not break!) NE CASSE PAS! NE TOUCHE PAS!

In wandering around, I stumbled upon a round table of beads tucked away towards the back of the shop. Vials of beads were lined up like test tubes in a chemistry lab. The colours were gleaming under the fluorescent shop lights, the styles and shapes of bead were many and varied, and I felt precisely like the proverbial kid in a candy store. My sister and I left the shop that day each with a tiny glass vial of pearlized multi-coloured seed beads in hand.  Those were the tiniest beads I had ever seen! Our little glass vials were topped off with miniature corks, and I can still recall the fear I had of pulling out the cork only to have these magnificent spheres tumble out and embed themselves in the old cobblestone streets. As such, I kept a firm grasp on that precious vial. As we drove in the car back home to New York, I rolled the cold, smooth glass between my fingers and held the beads up to the window to let the light shine through them. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

The first beads I ever strung on a string were those cherished pearl seed beads, and I must tell you that I have been hooked on beading ever since. It has been many years of collecting and sorting … beading bracelets, necklaces, earrings, brooches… making accessories for outfits, occasions, presents… and now I am sharing this with my own children.

I watched my daughter and son today as they sorted beads into a glass milk jar, each one yelling out colours and shapes, each one claiming their own special beads and tucking them away for safe-keeping.  I saw how my son’s eyes lit up when the sunlight hit the facets of the beads as he dropped them one-by-one into the jar. Before I knew it they were fetching their “friends” – stuffed animals and trains joined in, this one pretending an orange bead was a carrot, another placing beads in its coal cart and funnel. It was a bit of a muddle, and in the end, it took two children, three stuffed animals and five little trains to complete our sorting for the afternoon. When we were done, we all cheered and clapped. The children ran into the living room and I stayed behind to retrieve the lost beads off of the kitchen floor. I reached for the milk bottle, cupped my hands like a funnel and listened to the tink-tink of the beads as they fell into the jar.  

I capped it with a cork. 

Bead sorting
Big sis & little bro working together
A felt & bead flower bracelet from my N&N collection
Lady, Rosie & Thomas the Train


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