Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oh hot cocoa & winter vacation....

How I love thee.....

Joshua put Ghirardelli hot cocoa in my stocking. It is absolutely fantastic. As I sip my hot cocoa, I thought I'd write a quick blog.

I'm on vacation. I know for some that this would mean flying far away to some exotic destination. For me, vacation....real vacation....is being home and not having to work. Being that I travel so much for work, there is nothing better than being home. I have been catching up on all of the chores that I had put off over the Christmas season. My spare room/office had been abandoned as a dumping ground for all sorts of odds and ends. My bead table was a terrible mess from making last minute gifts left and right. We got a new shelving unit for our dining area which made more room in our kitchen cupboards. So, lots of reorganizing....It is wonderful. Does this sound like the most boring vacation ever? Absolutely not. It is everything I was hoping for!

I have gotten out of the house a little. Josh & I picked up Miss Jamie and headed over to Kristen's house on Sunday. Kristen was the gracious hostess that she always is and her family was just as adorable as they always are!

On Monday, I met up with Jamie & her mom to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". I really enjoyed this movie but do warn you, it is very long. So, plan a good 3 hours for viewing. I felt like it was a mix of "Big Fish" & "Forest Gump". It definitely kept my attention. It definitely made me cry. See it...I won't say any more.

Although I'm not working, I do want to encourage you to take note that there are some really great sales this week. For the last week of the "Home for the holidays" sale, you will find the Extreme 925 Flex Wire & Soft Touch Wire on sale. Also, the knitting spools are on sale. So, if you wanted one from Santa but he didn't have a chance to get it into your stocking, now is your chance to nab one for yourself. If you want a basic tutorial on how to use the knitting spools, check out these blog entries.

All in all, I'm looking forward to the new year. I hope to be organized, rejuvenated and ready to jump in head first! Talk to you soon.....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Thoughtful Tuesday!

Josh sent me a link to an interesting article today. It is called "For Craft Sales, the Recession Is a Help". It highlights something that I was thinking as we went into the holiday season. It is a Christmas to make gifts and your own affordable decorations. It is also a Christmas to stick close to home and support your local economy by buying American Made products. We are all in this together and the more we can lift and support our sister or brother, the quicker we can pull out of this together. I was surprised when I looked more closely and realized just how many Made in the USA products we (Soft Flex Company) sell. We sell a lot of them. Including Soft Flex Wire, Soft Touch Wire, Extreme Flex Wire, Metallics Flex Wire, Artistic Wire, Pro Tools, WigJigs, Twist N Curls, Knitting Spools, Crimps, Diva Custom Cord Makers, etc. Scott and Mike (owners of Soft Flex) have so many great qualities. I couldn't possibly list them all. However, the one that I think is important in this conversation is their desire to give a helping hand to entreprenuers. They were once just 2 guys with a great idea (Soft Flex Wire). They know how hard it was to get started and they have always been open to new and creative ideas. Anyway, the article was interesting and definitely left me thinking!

On another subject, charities are hurting this Christmas. It is up to each of us to do our part to make sure that our favorite good cause gets food, toys or money to fulfill the needs of their clients. Here is one of my favorite charities and is also where Josh works full time: CASS Homeless Shelter. Josh just set up a page for them on change.org. I think you can donate there. Without places like this, people would have nowhere to go to get back on their feet, get food in their bellies, blankets & shelter. I'm so thankful that Josh & his co-workers work so hard to run the largest homeless shelter in Arizona and that people who are down and out have a place to go for help.

Happy Holidays! Get your shopping and baking done because the holiday is upon us. :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Giant Ginger Cookies

These are my favorite holiday tradition.

"Chewy and delicious, these cookies are giants in both size and snappy ginger flavor."

Prep: 20 min.
Bake: 11 min. per batch
Oven: 350 degrees
Makes: about 24 cookies

4 1/2 c. flour (I use wheat flour)
4 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. shortening
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. molasses
3/4 c. sugar in the raw

Mix together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves & salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat shortening with a mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds; add the sugar and beat until combined; add eggs & molasses and beat until combined. Using mixer, add half of the flour mix. Add the remaining flour mix and knead with your hands until all ingredients are combined. This can be messy...I always seem to get cookie dough all over the place between the mixer and the kneading. Wear and apron!

Pour the sugar in the raw on a plate. Roll 2 in. balls of dough in your hand and then roll in the suar in the raw until the ball is coated. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and gently push flat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring. They are very soft when they come out of the oven and fall apart easily. So definitely let them sit for a few.

These babies are delicious! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Long ago someone broke it to me...there is no Santa. I didn't believe it. I knew he was out there....somewhere. Giving more than he received. Entertaining people far and wide. Yesterday, I realized that he's been in my life all along....in the form of Lewis Wilson.

You would be hard pressed to find a family that is more giving than the Wilsons. They are truly unique and caring individuals! If anyone ever embodied the spirit of Santa Claus, it is definitely Lewis.

If you life in Albuquerque, NM - Lewis is offering some pretty good deals on his glass art this weekend for last minute Christmas presents....as well as photos with "Santa". :) Email Jenny (Jennifer@crystalmyths.com) if you'd like details. Otherwise, you can find their amazing work at www.crystalmyths.com.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday cheer

I love our Christmas tree. I think that we got the best tree on the lot. It is big, beautiful and full. We chose gem colored ornaments and the perfect star topper. Being that I have had a real, live Christmas tree in well over 10 years, I'm so very excited. Thankfully, I'm a MacGyver of sorts! Josh and I had no idea that Christmas ornaments come with out hooks. So, I had to hand make each hook using my fancy dancy Soft Flex pro tools & 18g Artistic Wire.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Time to go home...

I had a nice visit in Oklahoma City but boy am I ready to go home! I'm so excited to get our tree and start decorating.....I just can't wait. I think that I'm going to drag Josh to Hobby Lobby to pick out our ornaments. I saw their Christmas section here in OKC and was blown away at the options and price. Yay Hobby Lobby. I also love Hobby Lobby because they support small businesses like Soft Flex by carrying our products. :)

Here is what my friends were up to this week:

Jamie Hogsett is finding fun ways to decorate for the holidays using new Econoflex wire.

Kristen Fagan enjoys making ornaments for the holidays. See the handmade ornaments that adorn her tree!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Econoflex for SALE!

Big news this week!!! We are now selling our Econoflex wire on the website. It is available in 7 GREAT colors. I love the color choices. Econoflex is available in 3 diameters: .010/Very Fine, .014/Fine & .019/Medium. I'm really excited to check out the .010/Very Fine. We've never had such bright and fun colors in the thinner diameters. This product line is not as flexible as our original Soft Flex and even more flexible Soft Touch. It is for craft projects and cost conscious designers. It only runs $2.99/30ft spool. So as you can imagine, the quality of hte product is entirely different than our other products. Having said that, Econoflex is great for lamp pulls, drape pulls, napkin rings, key chains, holiday ornaments, book marks, book/scrapbooking decoration, etc. I'm so VERY EXCITED!!!!

Check out what my friends are up to this week:

Jamie Hogsett created a list of books that will inspire you to bead, bead, bead.

Kristen Fagan just got back from her family cruise vacation, what fun!

Have a lovely weekend. I'm going to Tucson to see the ASU vs. UofA football game with Josh and his family. Then, I plan to check out "It's a Wonderful Life" on stage. Arizona Theatre Company has some great productions. I'm sure that this will be good too.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Puppy Slumber Party

My best friend and roommate of many years bought a puppy when I lived with her many years ago. He is a whippet. With 2 mommies doting over him day and night, night and day....you can imagine that he turned into a very special soul. When I moved away from Erin & Cash a year ago, it was very hard to leave him behind. Although Honey was quite content to be an only dog. If you have ever seen or met a whippet, they can be very energetic. In fact, they can run faster than a greyhound and are far more needy and emotional than any dog I've ever met...then again, that part could just be unique to Cash. On the flip side, when he isn't all worked up and jumping and bouncing - he is cuddly and sugary sweet. Regardless, Honey was happy to have her own spotlight.

So today, Cashy is spending the night while his mommy is out of town. I can't describe how wonderful it is to have him cuddled up next to me. For the first years of his life, he was always cuddled up next to me while I worked. I forgot how much I miss his warm little body next to my leg. It is truly a treat.

I honestly don't know how people survive without pets? Isn't he just adorable. I love him. And last but not least, Jamie sent me a link to puppycam yesterday. I love it too. Take a look.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Winner - Winner - Winner

We have a winner! Anna (AKA Campbell) is our winner! Anna, please email your address to me at Sara@softflexcompany.com. I will get your book and wire out to you ASAP. Thanks to everyone for playing. Congratulations Anna!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Presents

Over the past few years I have purchased more and more of my Christmas presents online unless they are a local or handmade treat.

Here is why I shop online:

#1 CONVENIENCE - It is convenient for me to purchase online as many of my present recipients do not live near by. My family is sprinkled through out the western end of the U.S. Even my co-workers are sprinkled through CA, CO, AZ & NM. When you buy online, you can almost always find a free shipping offer.

It is totally convenient to buy from my living room. I can comparison shop, check out consumer reports as I choose my items and I don't have to fight the crowds in the store. I was horrified to read about the man who was trampled in a Long Island Walmart on Black Friday. That isn't likely to happen in my living room.

#2 PRICE - Let's face it, there are GREAT deals online. If I buy my Mom's gift online, I can have it shipped directly to her. Since the shipping is often times free, I can get away with getting her gift delivered to her door step for no charge. That was not possible for me 5 or 10 years ago.

Here is why I like local favorites and handmade items:

#1 MEANINGFUL - I put my heart and soul into anything that I make. I really think about the recipient's likes and dislikes. I really worry over whether the red bead is right or if I should bake my famous ginger bread cookies instead of trying the new sugar cookie recipe that I just found. I love to print photos of a special moment and slide it into a holiday card. It is the little things that make for a meaningful present. And that is what makes my handmade gifts have so much more meaning than anything I could ever buy.

#2 MADE IN USA - Buying a local treat or buying products Made in the USA has a direct and necessary effect on our local economy. The more we all buy Made in the USA products, the more we give money to our brother and sister citizens. There are lots of local businesses that are really hurting this holiday season - so keep in mind your local bead store, local farmer's market or art festival for Christmas gifts. Look for a "Made in the USA" label.

Best wishes for a happy and meaningful holiday season!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Back from vacation

I had such a nice vacation. You may have noticed, I even took a break from blogging. I just needed to shut off the computer and enjoy the real world for a few days...and boy did I enjoy myself:

  • I walked 60 miles in the San Diego Breast Cancer 3day!
  • I enjoyed San Diego for 5 days.
  • I am on book 4 of the Twilight series (Breaking Dawn) - So, I read book 2 (New Moon) & book 3 (Eclipse). These books are real page turners!
  • And speaking of, Erin & I went to the Twilight movie as well!
  • I taught a class at the Gypsy Trader for WigJig ornaments. We made cute angels.
  • I watched countless episodes of Battlestar Galactica with my boyfriend.
  • I slept.
  • I played scrabble.
  • I spent lots of time with Joshua.
  • I cooked and ate Thanksgiving dinner.
  • We hung outdoor Christmas lights.
It was just wonderful. I hope that everyone else got a nice restful break too.
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