Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014 Southern California Bead Shop Hop - Three Weekends in September


If you live in Southern California, you are in for a treat. The largest Bead Shop Hop is coming to your area over the next few weeks. 22 local bead stores will be themed as a popular book, many of the stores do Make-it-Take-its, along with trunk shows and specials.

September 5-7, 12-14 and 19-21
Three consecutive weekends!
Fri-Sat: 10am-7pm
Sun: 12-5pm

Win a prize! Just hop three or more stores and you will be eligible to win prizes. This year, there are even participation prizes which are prize packages valued between $25 to $75 dollars. If you shop three or more stores you are eligible to win those along with store gift baskets, regional prizes and grand prizes.

Collect charms! The other cool thing is each store has a charm that fits their book theme. Hoppers will get a charm at each store for free and at the third store they hop, they get a free charm bracelet and the official 2014 shop hop charm. Hoppers can collect all the charms to create an awesome charm bracelet.

This event is put on by the Southern California Local Bead Store Association. Find details and information on participating stores here:  www.sclbsa.org.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday - Knitted Craft Wire Bracelet


I have confessed my love for knitting bracelets out of Soft Flex Beading Wire before but, knitting with Soft Flex Craft Wire proved to be more difficult for me to grasp. I believe that's because I first  learned to knit on a spool using flexible beading wire, which has give to it. Craft Wire is of course, rigid by nature. I struggled a few times and finally decided I would make it work. (Thank you for that gem of a saying, Tim Gunn.)

I found this video by Beaducation on YouTube that made knitting with Craft Wire finally click and make sense for me.It helped me see that with craft wire you pull the wire out to the edge of your spool with your stylus, then flip the wire up and over your pin with your fingers.The tension is carried from one pin to the next - not through pulling on the tail as it is with flexible beading wire.


Materials:
Soft Flex Craft Wire Green -26 Gauge
Soft Flex Craft Wire Bronze - 20 Gauge
5-Pin Knitting Spool
Draw Plate
Cutters
Round Nose Pliers
1 Strand Clasp, Toggle with Jump Rings
or Make your own clasp

Working straight from your Soft Flex Craft Wire 26 Gauge Spool knit the wire using a 5-Pin Knitting Spool. String the wire down through the center of the knitting spool leaving about a 2" tail. Wrap the wire around your pins in the same manner as this Beaducation video minus the addition of beads.


Once you have completed your desired length of wire knitting, cut off about 2" extra wire form the spool and carefully remove your knitted wire tube from the spool. Take the end of the wire and thread it into the last 5 open loops to secure your knitted tube. The result will be a wonky shape as shown. 


Using a draw plate, run your knitted wire tube through one of the large holes to begin smoothing out the shape. Then move to a smaller hole and so on until you are happy with the wire shapes and diameter.



Next, you'll need to finish off your wire ends. You may choose to use a cone or bead cap or you can wire wrap your own cones as I did. To wire wrap your cones, cut a 10" piece of 20 Gauge Bronze Craft Wire (it's better to error on the side of too much length then not enough).  About 1/2" from the green knitted tube end, stick one end of the bronze wire through the knitted tube and tuck it around the knitted tube to secure it. Then begin wire wrapping the tube towards the end. When you get to the end of the knitted tube, use your round nose pliers to create a loop and then wire wrapped back down the tube to where you started making sure to cover the tube entirely with wire and cut off excess. Repeat on the other side.     


 At this point you can add you jump rings and clasp or you can make your own. I decided to make a simple hook clasp to finish off my bracelet. Cut 2-3" of 20 Gauge Bronze Craft Wire and straighten the wire with nylon jaw pliers.


Using my round nose pliers I made a small loop on one end and then made a larger loop with my large bail making Wubbers pliers.Trim excess wire so it's about the same length as the little loop.


Lastly, work harden the clasp with a nylon hammer and rubber block and attach to one end of your bracelet. Here is the finished design. I especially like to wear it layered!




To see free project ideas available from Soft Flex Company, click here

Blog contributor Kristen Fagan is the Website Graphic Designer for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook, etsy or her blog.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Kristen@SoftFlexCompany.com.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jewelry Project Idea Using Wubbers Pliers - Free Instructions!


I made a pair of earrings using my new Wubbers pliers. This time I used the Medium and Large Bail Making Pliers (Round). This design could be really fun in color. Soft Flex Craft Wire comes in lots of really bright and beautiful color options.

Materials:
10 dagger beads
18g Soft Flex Craft Wire in Non-Tarnish Silver Plated
22g Soft Flex Craft Wire in Non-Tarnish Silver Plated

Tools:
Medium Bail Making Pliers
Large Bail Making Pliers
Chain Nose Pliers
Cutters
Nylon Jaw Pliers
Nylon Tipped Hammer
Anvil


With 18g wire, using the smallest mandrel on the medium sized pliers, make a loop. Then, using the largest mandrel on the large sized pliers, make a second loop next to the first - forming an "S" shape. Snip the wire leaving about an inch to work with.


Using the chain nose pliers, grab the bottom half the "S" for stability.


Then wrap the wire once around the base and snip off any excess. Create 1 of these pieces per earring.


Slip the connector onto an ear wire. I made my ear wire using the Wubbers pliers too!


Next, with 22g wire, using the smallest mandrel on the medium sized pliers, make a loop. Then, using the largest mandrel on the medium sized pliers, make a second loop next to the first - forming an "S" shape. Work harden the 22g component using a nylon tipped hammer on a hard flat surface (like an anvil). Create 5 of these pieces per earring.


Using chain nose pliers, open the larger loop on each connector, string a bead on the wire, and then close the ring.

 

Using chain nose pliers, open the smaller loop on each connector, add the large connector, and then close the ring.


Repeat for all 5 dangles and then put together a second, identical earring. 



Blog contributor Sara Oehler (the original SoftFlexGirl) is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook or her blog.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beads of Courage Design Challenge - Strength

"Strength" 
Design by Jamie Hogsett

Bead designed by Beads of Courage Member Niharika Perianayagam
from Johns Hopkins Children's Center
Bead created by Kris Schaible

10 glass beads were created based on drawings by 10 children in the Beads of Courage program. 10 jewelry designers chosen by Soft Flex Company were challenged to incorporate the beads into finished necklace designs that were on display and sold with the proceeds benefiting Beads of Courage at the 2014 Bead and Button Show in the lobby.
The Beads of Courage Mission: We are growing every day, providing innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.


Check back each weekend for 10 weeks to see all ten finished designs!


Blog contributor Sara Oehler (the original SoftFlexGirl) is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook or her blog.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Four - Expandable Wire Bangle, Go with the Flow, Beaded Brooch, Macrame Bead Bracelet


Every Friday, I highlight some of my favorite do-it-yourself jewelry ideas
found on Pinterest for your weekend inspiration. Here are my picks this week. Enjoy!


To follow Soft Flex Company on Pinterest, click here

P.S. If you share a tutorial online using Soft Flex beading or craft wire, pin your tutorial onto our "Cool Designs with Soft Flex" board and we may feature it here on our blog.

Blog contributor Kristen Fagan is the Website Graphic Designer for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook, etsy or her blog.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Kristen@SoftFlexCompany.com.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review - Stylish Jewelry Made Simple

Best of Bead Style

"Stylish Jewelry Made Simple offers 45 of the best projects from the latest issues of Bead Style magazine. Inside, you'll find step-by-step jewelry projects organized by color, so you can pick your favorite palette and begin."

I always look forward to the Bead Style compilation book. Being that it is one of my favorite beading magazines, it is fun to see all of the very best projects compiled into one handy guide. This particular book has the designs broken out by color - reds, greens, blues, pinks, neutrals, metals and mixed. I liked this approach. This 2014 publications has lots to offer to both new beaders and seasoned beaders alike. 


Blog contributor Sara Oehler (the original SoftFlexGirl) is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook or her blog.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Making Jump Rings With Wubbers Pliers - Round, Triangle and Square


Each pair of Wubbers Pliers has two mandrels in two different sizes. The point of this post is to show how to make a jump ring using the pliers but also the various sizes in jump rings that can be formed between the 4 pairs of pliers that we are offering.

Materials and Tools:
Soft Flex Craft Wire - 18g
Wubbers Pliers - All 4 pairs
Cutters
Nylon Jaw Pliers
Chain Nose Pliers - 2 pairs

 

After coiling the wire, you will need to trim each ring using a good cutter. I used my Soft Flex Professional Cutters on Soft Flex Craft Wire in 18g. Please be warned that this could knick the tip of your cutters. I have not had this happen to me on my pair, but I have seen it happen in heavier gauges of wire. Although Soft Flex Craft Wire is fairly soft, 18g is rather thick.


This is hard to see in the picture, but I wanted to mention that when you use a semi-flush cutter (which most are), you will get a flat cut on one side and a diagonal cut on the other side.


If you flip your cutters over and trim the diagonal cut flat, you will get two sides that meet each other nicely. 

 

It is quick and easy to attach the rings together into a chain. In this case, I attached 6 rings in each of the different sizes.

 

large mandrel
small mandrel

large mandrel
small mandrel


large mandrel
small mandrel

large mandrel 
small mandrel


 Square links on left.


Triangle links on right.

Update! Please note that both the triangle and square jump rings work best if you start and finish in the middle of a side rather than on a corner. I learned this trick after creating this blog post and it can make a big difference in having an even sided triangle or square!


Blog contributor Sara Oehler (the original SoftFlexGirl) is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook or her blog.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Beads of Courage - Spirit

"Spirit" 
Design by Cathy Jakcic

Bead designed by Beads of Courage Member Teah Mantzke
from Seattle Children's Hospital
 
Bead created by Lara Lutrick

 
10 glass beads were created based on drawings by 10 children in the Beads of Courage program. 10 jewelry designers chosen by Soft Flex Company were challenged to incorporate the beads into finished necklace designs that were on display and sold with the proceeds benefiting Beads of Courage at the 2014 Bead and Button Show in the lobby.
 
The Beads of Courage Mission: We are growing every day, providing innovative, arts-in-medicine supportive care programs for children coping with serious illness, their families and the health care providers who care for them.


Check back each weekend for 10 weeks to see all ten finished designs!


Blog contributor Sara Oehler (the original SoftFlexGirl) is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook or her blog.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Four - Fringe Earrings, Choice Words Necklace, Gemstone Wire Bangles, DIY Beaded Earrings


Friday Four Birthday Edition! Since today is my birthday, I am highlighting do-it-yourself jewelry ideas from Pinterest in my favorite hue - green. Here are my picks this week. Enjoy!


To follow Soft Flex Company on Pinterest, click here

P.S. If you share a tutorial online using Soft Flex beading or craft wire, pin your tutorial onto our "Cool Designs with Soft Flex" board and we may feature it here on our blog.

Blog contributor Kristen Fagan is the Website Graphic Designer for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook, etsy or her blog.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Kristen@SoftFlexCompany.com.



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review - Create Three Dimensional Jewelry by Heather DeSimone

by Heather DeSimone

"21 creative, colorful, and stylish jewelry projects." 

"Combine stitching, embellishing, layering and riveting."

I love step-by-step photos. I've never been one to read instructions. The step-by-step photos in this book seem very clear and of good quality. Techniques include: layering, riveting, embellishing, stamping metal, bead stitching, knotting and wire wrapping loops. 

Heather DeSimone has a very unique and admirable sense of style. I appreciated her artist disclaimer about not being overly meticulous. This is something that I can relate to. I also enjoyed learning more about how she got involved in vintage plastics. She has some amazing beads!

If you want a book that will encourage you to try many different techniques to make your own unique jewelry, I think that you will thoroughly enjoy this book. You can simply recreate the projects in the book or take them in a new direction using beads from your own bead stash. Many of the techniques are universal for modern day jewelry design. 


Blog contributor Sara Oehler (the original SoftFlexGirl) is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Soft Flex Company. Find her on facebook or her blog.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com.
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