Where colour plays
and you can, too!



















Beads of Colour is a full service bead store located in Dundas, Ontario, Canada at the western tip of Lake Ontario. Owned and operated by Debi Keir-Nicholson, artist, author, storyteller.




Welcome to Beads of Colour!

Celebrating 15 Years of Beaded Bliss and Community!

Debi's Travels - Notes, Musings and Observations on Life and Travel in Pursuit of Beads

INDIA 2007

Chapter 5- Beached, Baked and Beading! - Posted March 8, 2007

The train trip was great! I am not kidding. Before our trip David teased me all the time about the trains in India and all those pictures of people hanging out the windows, clinging to the sides and riding on the roof. The train we took was nothing like that. We traveled “chair class” and that meant you got a seat. It had lots of legroom and was reasonably comfortable. There was always someone selling something to eat so there was never any need to go hungry. Unfortunately the washrooms were India style, so I didn't eat until I got to the hotel. What can I say? I am not the ‘best’ traveler, simply ‘a’ traveler. Give me a good book and headphones and I could be anywhere! The countryside was wonderful although I had thought we would be traveling along the coast - not so! The ocean is warm and rough, the beach is warm and beautiful, and the sun is hot and hotter!

Of course I burned the first day, just to remind me to be more sensible, and I am! I will probably try and get some colour the last day as well. Beading and reading and sleeping in the sun that is all I am doing these days and loving it. I love it even more when I hear about your snow and ice storms. Saturday night we went to market and it was the most civilized one we have come across. It is really geared for the tourist, and had great colour and atmosphere while being a little less frantic than the ‘real’ markets. It was great fun and local talent was represented with craftsmen and vendors selling their wares. Sunday was Holi, the festival of colours. Holi marks the beginning of spring and was celebrated everywhere. I did not break my balloon; I want to bring it home. I learned that to be hit means a blessing from the gods. Very festive. Very colourful. Very exciting. Very, very, very messy!

Today it is extremely hot so I stayed in the shade and beaded. Love it! Goa is geared for the tourist so travel is much easier but prices are much higher. I am enjoying the time off tremendously although I’m starting to miss everyone now, as we slow down to savour the end of our trip. Also, my son did his part to make sure I’d want to return home - he sent me pictures of my grandson and I was brought tears to hear he’s begun walking! It’s the first time I’ve ever wanted to come home before the end of the trip. I just refuse to look at the photos again until I get back to Delhi, or I may be hitching a ride home early!

I can’t wait to share this wonderful trip with my family, friends and fabulous customers.

- Debi

Chapter 4 - Mumbai and the Purple Angel - Posted March 7, 2007

Travel from Jaipur to Mumbai was okay as we flew. However, arriving in the city of 17 million people was… I’m not sure I have a word to describe it! I don't like cities and this is much more than “just” a city. Every other car on the road is a taxi the approach of every camel cannot go unnoticed. Like the old saying, “your nose knows”! The heat is stifling and the poverty is palpable. This small-town girl retreated to her hotel room and beaded for a few hours. I had to get some courage just to see the city, never mind trying to function in it. It is very intense and it is difficult to figure out whom to trust. The books all warn you to “trust nobody”. Of course, I don't believe that; there are good people everywhere. It is just figuring out the local definition of good! I was standing waiting for the Internet, and before me on the wall was the saying "Never be too honest. Remember the straight trees are always cut first."

Anyway, after a little breathing space we ventured out. I felt it was like holding your nose and jumping in the water, hoping for the best. Fortunately, Spirit sent an angel in a purple suit. With his help we negotiated the market. I’m not sure how to describe this bazaar as no words could conjure up the image of this place. I will definitely work on that. Anyway, our purple-garbed angel helped us to discover some exciting finds. We shipped again - another different experience. Life is an adventure every day in India, where colour meets culture!

- Debi

Chapter 3 - It's the luxury life for me! - Posted March 4, 2007

The last day in Jaipur we gave in and hired a driver. Usually after a few days we (ok, I really mean Dave!), can find our way around but in the Pink City the taxi drivers use every back road and lane and we could not get an idea on where things were. So, with the help of one of the suppliers, we hired a driver for the day. Although, as I said in Chapter 2, the two factory tours were wonderful, we found ourselves on our last day with very little buying done!

Success! We knew where we wanted to go or what we wanted to see and the driver got us in the general area. If I am close enough I can usually find the right place. Sure enough, I found some wonderful silver pendants and some lapis cabochons. For me, the most exciting part of the day was the Lac craftsman. Lac is a resin made by an insect and it has been used to make bangles for generations. Here, as in Bali, the craftspeople for the same media usually sell in the same area. One woman was making a large hollow bead or small balloon out of lac. They fill it with coloured powder and throw it at people. A little like paint ball, but in a much more celebratory atmosphere. This woman’s family had supplied the royal family for 4 generations! She actually had a photo album of articles and pictures about the family, and once we began talking she showed me the photographs. One was of her father meeting Prince Charles! Her father came out to meet me and I had my picture taken with him – possibly the closest I’ll come to royalty!

Of course I am trying to bring back one of the balloons. David insists it be in my suitcase. Let’s hope it gets back in one piece! I can't believe that the powder stains, since they throw clouds of it on each other, but they could not give me that information. I also bought some bangles and had them sized so they would be much larger. Hey Sue, I got one (brightly coloured!) set sized as large as they would make it. They are very small people! After that we where able to run all our errands, send flowers, and go to the mail and still get back to the hotel early.

A great day! Take it from me, sometimes you just have to treat yourself and hire a driver!

More later!

- Debi

Chapter 2 - Where colour and culture collide! - Posted February 28, 2007

The train ride to Jaipur was amazing! Thanks to a tip from a regular visitor we traveled First Class on the train. We actually enjoyed a little room all to ourselves with clean sheets and pillows for the 6-hour journey. I found it Interesting how looking at India from a window, can give you so much insight. I have found it hard to take pictures because once you enter a scene you alter it. I am an oddity here, and I’m still not sure if it is my colouring (red hair), my size (people here are not overweight) or the fact that I am a woman. Women here are still kept at home and nearly everyone you see working is a man, even in women’s shops!. Possibly for one of these reasons or maybe something altogether different, people stop what they are doing and look at me. When out of sight in a train car I can look out the window and see people going about their daily life without disrupting it. It’s enlightening to realize that we are all the same - a boy repeating what his dad is doing, and making a cement sidewalk, a little boy washing himself, a woman scrubbing her front step and another woman doing her laundry. The chief difference is this is occurring in the slums of Delhi, next to the railway tracks as we pass. You can see and feel the order if you look beyond the poverty and dirt. The whole trip was like traveling back in time. Jaipur was exciting.

The first time out to the market was more than this country girl could handle - I ended up wading through wild pigs and goats and cows! I went back to the hotel to de-stress and tried again in the afternoon, when knowing what to expect did make a difference. We kept a few appointments and had some wonderful tours of two factories. One factory makes silver jewellery and the other cuts and polishes stone beads. I have wonderful pictures to share, including the pigs!

More to come when I’ve had time to process the overwhelming experience that is India. All my senses are constantly at work collecting the sights, sounds, smells and textures of this fascinating place.

- Debi

Chapter 1 - I think I'm going to like it here! - Posted February 22, 2007
Okay, I am here!

India is much more than I thought and yet much less than I expected. There is so much more excitement and colour, and so much less to fear than I had worried. It is not frightening at all. I am so surprised at how quickly you can adjust to a different culture. Okay, maybe not totally but at least I am enjoying the colour, the people and the bazaars. culture shock is defined by arriving in New Delhi, India in the middle of the night. Dave’s first words about the street where our hotel is were "it looks like a bomb went off”. There were little fires everywhere and people huddled around them, narrow cobblestone streets and even though it was the middle of the night there were people everywhere on the street. Our headlights caught the image of two people running with their luggage, looking very worried.

In the light of the day we found we were on the main bazaar and yes, it was extremely busy with people, cows, dogs, cars, rickshaws and shops. The noise is omnipresent and horns honk constantly. It’s hard to describe but it is the excitement level that is contagious. So difficult to get things done. But be assured I did find some interesting beads and I have some metal sequins that I am very excited about!

I shipped yesterday and the process took 4 hours. It was so much fun you can't believe it! I took all my purchases to the post office. Under a tree outside, I had to take every thing out and put it on a table where it was inspected by customs. A postal employee actually packages it for you - beautifully I might add! He actually sews it up in white cotton. He is very skilful but not fast; nothing seems to be done quickly. Life is social even though the traffic is unimaginable and numbers of everything are unbelievable. One on one, people like to enjoy what they are doing and don't seem to hurry it. That is, unless they are driving! I do think this is entertainment for others as well. We had lots of people gather round to see what we were shipping home - and others asked after it was wrapped! They were not as excited as you will be when it arrives home. Time is short so as much as I would like to keep you posted every day it’s not really possible. Keep checking and I will do my best.

- Debi – your bead hunter on the prowl!