Glass Onion Bead Company was founded in 1990 by husband and wife team David Johnson and Debbie Austin-Johnson. While starting out as a stained glass studio, we have evolved into a bead store with the largest selection in Northeast Wisconsin. We offer a wide variety of classes with award winning bead instructors.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SILK FIBER Challenge


We just got some beautiful silk fiber in stock.  It's actually made out of ripped Saris, the garment wore by women of India on special occasions.  The width varies from 1/2 inch wide to one inch wide and they are sewn and tied together.  Each skein is about 20 yards long. The color palate is fabulous!  They retail for $10 but if you are doing the challenge, you can purchase it for $6.  What a deal!

One first place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate and second place will get $25 gift certificate.
We will post photos on facebook and here on our blog.  We KNOW our customers are creative but let's just see HOW creative you can be! Bead on it, knit with it, knot it, twist it.....what ever your little heart desires.  Oh....but it must contain beads somewhere. 
Contest ends July 31.
Stop in and pick our your color.  I think they'll go fast!
If you can't make it in, we are happy to mail the silk skeins out to you.

We will be having an Anniversary Party in early August celebrating our shop's 23 year!
Bead Challenge projects will be on display for voting along with other great events and give aways.
Hope you'll join in on the fun!

words for the day....
No one looks back on their life and remembers
the nights they had plenty of sleep.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

So Much More Than a Bead Shop

A woman came into the shop today and said “I had no idea you had all this unique jewelry.” It made me wonder if most people were completely unaware of what we really have going on under our roof. Not only are we a full service bead store, we have lots of interesting, one of a kind jewelry, hand dyed wool roving and fabulous chunky yarns for the knitters and felters.

We wear many hats around here at Glass Onion Bead Company. It’s a great place to hid out from your husband and kids. A get-away from your job and other stresses.

We’d like to think that we offer you “Color Therapy”.
Just touching the beads is sometimes all you need to lift your spirits.

We are  Psychiatrists.
We hear all kinds of problems and listen to your worries and offer words of encouragement.

We are  Bartenders.
We put in our two cents on your love life, your mother and many other topics to long to mention.

We are coaches.
“Well of course you can do that! That’s not as hard as it looks…”

We are a museum (well sort of….)
You can stop in to see my doll head collection consisting of more than 50 heads that are not creepy what so ever.

Not only do we provide materials, we offer solutions to problems you may have. Bead related and non bead related.

If you are new to beading, we are happy to show you the basics. If you are old to beading, we offer over 75 great classes with award winning teachers.

We hope we are a place of inspiration. A place you can just come and hang out. Our goal is to be like “Cheers”…..
Where everybody knows your name.

Words for the day…..
You have the choice to create the life your heart is yearning to live.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I had the greatest Dad ever....

I had the greatest dad in the world.  He’s been gone almost six years and I still miss him every day.  He was the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back.  He gave me the greatest childhood and I didn’t even know it.  He spent his time with us instead of money on us.  He would take us to fly kites and pick hickory nuts and go swimming at Waverly Beach on hot summer nights.  He worked hard to support  my mom and me and my five sisters.  He was a pipe fitter at the Kimberly Clark Mill, and every single day he would ride his bicycle to work.  Some days I would be waiting on the corner and he would pick me up and ride me around the neighborhood on the handlebar.  He did paint by number with us and colored in coloring books and in the evenings, we would move the kitchen table and dance to the Lawrence Welk show.  We spent many nights playing rummy or doing craft projects.  (Guess where I got my love for the arts?) Dad  played school with us and made forts in the basement and ate the meat off my plate when my mom wasn't looking. 
He was just an all around great dad. 
My father was a member of the volunteer Fire Department in Kimberly.  (He is the third man in, from the right side) This photo was from the late 1940's.  He worked his way up to assistant chief and he was proud of that. The neighbor kids and I used to ride our bikes to watch the fire calls but I'd have to hide because if he saw me, I would be in deep trouble. I have his old helmet hanging on my studio wall.  See in the photo, the great antique helmets hanging off the truck?  Ya… that’s the one I have.  So cool.
One of my dad's favorite pastimes was fishing.  I think you would fish too, if you lived in a house with seven women and one bathroom.   No one wanted to go along on Saturday mornings because he never knew when to quit.  “Just one more stop, over by that shore” or “Just five more minutes and if we don’t get a bite we’ll go home”.  Never happened…. we stayed all day.  He would bring jelly beans and black licorice and the polka music would be playing and we'd use up every one of those night crawlers we picked up the night before.   Those are some of my best memories ever. 
I took my dad fishing a week before he died.  We rented a pontoon boat & got him out on the Little Wolf River.  One of his favorite spots.  He was the only one who caught a fish that day.  I know he enjoyed it because I saw that spark in his eye.  I didn't know I only had a week left with him.  This is the last picture taken of him before he past away.  I get signs from him all the time. 
I know he is good. 
Fishing somewhere for  “Just five more minutes”.  
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  
I love you more.
Words for the day….
Your Father gives you many things in a lifetime. 
Most of which you will not appreciate until way after he's gone.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

YA YA Sisters from Wausau

I heard a lot of laughing coming from my back parking lot yesterday.  Upon looking, I saw three carloads of women coming into the shop.  It was my pleasure to welcome the YA YA Sisters from Wausau into the bead world.  This group consisted of 12 teachers celebrating the end of the school year.    There was another woman along with the group.  That would be Mary, the hairdresser.  Now who travels with their hairdresser??  These kooky women!  They were having a blast.   Only one of them beaded, so the others were picking out strands that "Donna" the token beader, would make into jewelry for them. 

This is a yearly trek for the group.  They have their favorite stops they make along the way.  Places you can't find in Wausau.  Red Lobster for lunch, Archivers for the scrapbooker in the group.  Penzy Spices for the cook, and Vagabond Shoes.  Apparently, they bought nine pair of shoes before they came to Glass Onion.  When they left, they were headed to World Market Place. What a fun day for them.  It's so refreshing to see a group of friends enjoying each other's company and having a great adventure!

words for the day.....
Burning a bridge takes too long.
I prefer explosives.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bead and Button Show, 2013

It was so nice to sleep in my own bed last night.  The past week went by so fast, but it was packed with a lot of work and fun.   The Bead and Button Show is the biggest retail bead show in the world.  It is held at the Delta Airlines Convention Center in downtown Milwaukee. 

We started the week off by teaching on Monday and Tuesday.  We taught pewter casting classes and the students made some really creative pieces.  Another class we taught was a metal earring class and a steel wire/beach stone project.  The women in class this year were very interesting.  Not only were they from all over this country, but we also had a Canadian and an Aussie!  Wednesday, we set up in the Grand Ballroom for the "Meet The Teachers" event.

This is a great way to see the creations of many fabulous teachers from all over the world.  After the sale Wednesday night, we tore down the booth and hauled it all up stairs to the third floor, where the market place opened on Thursday.  Thursday is always crazy because it is so crowded with the most serious shoppers.  (see below)

This crazy group of women from Ohio found a great way to locate each other.  That lime green Balloon was very easy to spot anywhere in the crowd.  Very Serious....

Friday is the most wonderful day for shoppers because it goes from 10am to 8pm.  Wonderful for them.....not so wonderful for our feet.  If you only had one day to come, this would be the day.  Saturday the show is done by 6pm, so we finally got a chance to enjoy downtown Milwaukee.

We had the pleasure of dining with our good friends Jon and Nate, from Da Beads in Chicago. We sat outside on the water and it actually felt like spring!  Imagine that..... After a great dinner, we wandered down Water Street and found an interesting bar. 
"Spin" is a ping pong bar, owned by Susan Sarandon, where you can rent a ping pong table by the hour.  There were a couple of guys playing like pros and a couple of women playing like....well.....like they never played the game before.  One poor guy had the job of retrieving the lost balls from all over the bar with a big fish net looking thing.  It was very interesting and a really fun concept we had never heard of.  The only problem was, we didn't realize how far we walked from our hotel.  That Hilton Hotel sign looked miles away.  And probably was.

One of my coolest purchases at the show was this awesome "blue bird sitting on a nest" ring!  It was made by Wayne Robbins of California.  Google him sometime.  So cool....  He makes the most funky beads and I usually buy one every year.  Previous purchases from him include a monkey bead smoking a cigar and a polka dotted frog.  I love his work!
I also picked up some new stone, beautiful silk ribbons, fresh water pearls and new crystal shapes.  Sunday, the last day of the show is always sad.  Its nice to see old friends that we don't get to see very often but its nice to get home, too.  Another successful show under our belts.

words for the day.....
Anyone who tells you money can't buy happiness
 doesn't know where to shop.