Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beading Excitement!

My favorite part of CHA is that I have a whole lot of time to be creative.  Being the marketing manager of Soft Flex Company, I find less and less time to just sit and bead.  There is always an ad due, an email newsletter to write, a technical seminar or staff training event to plan, a show to pack for, etc.  At CHA, not only do I get 4 full days to sit and design, but I also get an opportunity to go out and enjoy Make-It-Take-Its from other companies.  Learning new techniques that I can later incorporate into my design work.  I really planned well for this CHA.  I packed according to our new holiday themed Soft Flex Beading Wire Trios (Available from us on February 1st).  I picked beads and findings that I knew would fit well for each upcoming holiday.  I am very happy with my Easter - "Egg Hunt" Trio as well as my Valentine - "Be My Valentine" (pictured above) designs.  It was so nice to just relax and do what I love to do most - BEAD!  The holiday Trios were a big hit.  They are just so darn CUTE! When I get a chance, I'll photograph and blog about some of the MITI's that I enjoyed most.  For now, I'm going to relax and try to recharge my batteries for Tucson.  I leave for Tucson on Monday!  Is it really February already?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Spotlight on...Color by Margie Deeb

by Margie Deeb

Study the two versions of the Aqua/Silver Mini-Radiant Sun Earrings. Before you read further, decide which you think works best and why. Read further and I'll tell you my thoughts.

The one on the right is the final version that I sell as a kit. Here's why it is a much better design than the one on the left.

Article - In the Pink
NEW Color by Margie Deeb - Subtle Color Changes Make Significant Design Improvements
Designer - Zoya Gutina
NEW Free Art - Printable bookmarks, gift tags, etc
Good Book - Beading With World Beads
Bead Seller - Beads F.O.B.


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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dangles and Daggers Bracelet

Guest Blogger: Jamie Hogsett

Dangles and Daggers Bracelet

It's always a happy day when there are beads in the mailbox. I recently received a fun package from full of some great Czech glass beads and Hill Tribe silver findings. I used Soft Flex beading wire in chrysoprase, fluorite and green turquoise to make a fun new bracelet that I absolutely love.

The bracelet includes four different types of glass danlges: duckbills, spades, petals and daggers in gorgeous shades of turquoise and wasabi green. Each strand of the bracelet is a slightly different combination of the four beads. On all three strands, the duckbill beads anchor the other beads because the wire passes through the beads twice, keeping them in place. 

The bracelet is finished off with Thai silver cones and an awesome clasp (one that I need to add to my collection, for sure). I love using colored Soft Flex beading wire with cones. Rather than using an eye pin to finish off the cone, I like to string the cone onto the colored beading wire so that a little bit of it shows at the clasp attachment. It's just an extra design detail that seems to bring the whole piece together. I heart this bracelet.

Monday, January 25, 2010

CHA - Craft & Hobby Association in Anaheim

Yesterday was an enjoyable first day at CHA (Craft & Hobby Association) in Anaheim, CA. I was hard at work on the soon-to-be bracelet shown above.  I'm weaving the seed beads together using our .014 Fine Copper Colored Soft Flex Beading Wire.  It is a long and tedious project but I do believe that it will look very nice when I'm finally done.  I scarfed down a hot dog for lunch at lightning speed in order to drop by a Tim Holtz Jewelry Make-It-Take-It, which I seem to have forgotten to photograph for you to see.  I got a chance to see many familiar faces today: The Bead Monkey (shopping), Rings & Things (shopping) & John Bead (exhibiting) name a few that you may know but there were many more.  It is always a treat to visit with bead and craft store owners. So many have supported us since the very beginning of Soft Flex Company.  They've gotten to see us grow and we've gotten to see them grow too.   All in all, a good day.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Runway Fashion Trends: Spring 2010

Picture borrowed from

1. Capes (I totally want a cape!)
2. Girly (That's me all of the time. I love dresses and skirts....polish and jewelry. I embrace being a girl.)
3. Chain Strap Bag
4. Ruffles
5. Sequins (There is a sequined vest at H&M that I could kick myself for not buying.)
6. Gingham
7. Party Ready Shine
8. Tough-girl Chic
9. Pink Leopard Accessories (Sorry, but I think I'll skip this trend.)
10. Khaki Pants
11. Florals
12. Texture
13. Yellow (I enjoyed this color last Spring and I will surely enjoy it again.  With all of this rain lately a little sunny yellow is more than welcome in my life.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Matt Cole Recycles Bowling Balls into Jewelry

Jewelry can be made from just about anything. I love a good story of recycling a material that would normally just be discarded and turning it into something lovely.  Matt Cole recycles bowling balls into unique and wearable jewelry.

Originally from Detroit, I have lived in Bali, Indonesia for the past 10 years, and I have made jewelry here for as long.

I am a 10-pin bowler too.  I've always thought that bowling balls are pretty.  Even the black ones.  Why not turn them into jewelry?  Encouraged by my friends, I am now saving balls from being buried in landfills. I've designed a line of jewelry using these recycled bowling balls, and it's something I feel quite passionate about!  They're not so heavy after you slice them up.  They look quite stunning in fact!

To my knowledge there are no other designers out there offering a complete line of jewelry made from bowling balls, and so I am doing my best to take this idea to a new level.  I feel compelled and passionate about this!  During the year 2010 I will be introducing several new designs of earrings, bracelets, rings, necklaces, and pendants all made from discarded bowling balls and either silver, copper, bronze or brass.  

Thursday, January 21, 2010

2010 Holiday Themed Soft Flex Trios Beading Wire Variety Packs

Lisa Crone at A Bead a Day won a holiday blog contest and is one of the first to receive a new holiday themed Soft Flex Trios Beading Wire Variety Packs.  The Spring & Summer holiday packs are currently only available at local bead stores.  Have you seen them in your local bead store yet?  Be sure to ask for our products by name.  Check out Lisa's blog for an honest opinion on the variety pack that she received!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Spotlight on....Designer Zoya Gutina

Featured Designer

I was born and raised in the USSR but for more than 12 years I have been living in the United States in New York City and now in Alexandria, Virginia. I hold a Diploma from the College of Culture in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Russia. I love Saint Petersburg with its architecture, museums, palaces, and golden-doomed cathedrals. There is no doubt, the years I spent in my youth in this culture capital city of Russia influenced and influences now my beadwork. Some of my friends call me "nature inspired", and that's also true! I like blossoming trees and flowers in spring, geometric frozen shapes in winter, or watch beautiful colors during sunrise and sunset. Changing nature stirs my emotions, inspires me and captures my spirit.

Article - In the Pink

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Be My Valentine Free Project Idea

Guest Blogger: Jamie Hogsett

New Free Project Idea in the School of Design!

Visit Soft Flex Company's School of Design for free step by step instructions to this project, using the new Be My Valentine Trios wire set. All beads and findings, as well as the Trios set, for this design available from The Bead Monkey.

Jamie Hogsett is the Education Coordinator for Soft Flex Company. Contact her at or via her blog at  

Monday, January 18, 2010

Book Signing at the CHA Winter Convention & Trade Show

Jamie Hogsett will be signing copies of her book, Create Jewelry: Glass at the CHA show. Stop by the Barnes & Noble book signing area on Monday, January 25th from 2-3pm to purchase a book and meet Jamie! She'll have designs from the book on hand for you to see in person. Then, don't forget to stop by the Soft Flex booth to see all of her newest jewelry designs.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Free Trial Issue Beadwork Magazine from Interweave

What is your favorite beading magazine?  I am quite fond of Stringing & Bead Style.  I'm not much of a bead weaver, so most of the projects in Bead & Button or Beadwork seem over my head or simply do not interest me.  I've noticed that since Melinda Barta has become the editor of Beadwork, I have really been gravitating toward the magazine.  I think that she has an exceptional eye for detail and color.  The magazine has some young and hip designs that keep it fresh.  Beading Daily is offering a free trial issue of Beadwork Magazine - so I thought that I'd pass along the link just in case you'd like to check it out too or had checked it out before but haven't had a chance to see it recently.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rings & Things

Rings & Things Design & Photo
Design by R&T's Cindy

Rings & Things posted some wonderful designs using Soft Flex Trios Beading Wire.  Step on over to their blog to get inspired!  All of the designs enlarge if you click on them and if you click on the link you will find easy to follow instructions.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

CHA - Craft & Hobby Association and Tucson Best Bead Show

CHA - Orlando, FL - July 2009
I'm embodying the Crafty Chica and all that sparkles about her.

Winter CHA in Anaheim is upon us again.  We are gearing up to rub elbows with our fellow craft-y people from companies large and small.  

The Craft & Hobby Association is an international, not-for-profit, trade association consisting of thousands of member companies engaged in the design, manufacture, distribution and retail sales of products in the nearly $30 billion U.S. craft and hobby industry.  For more information about CHA, visit

Craft & Hobby Association (CHA)
Winter Convention & Trade Show 

Dates: January 24 - 27, 2010
Anaheim Convention Center
800 West Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92802

Sunday 1/24, 10am - 6pm
Monday 1/25, 9am - 5:30pm
Tuesday 1/26, 9am - 5:30pm
Wednesday 1/27, 9am - 2pm
Admission: CHA Members are FREE, non-members must pay a fee per/person. There are no sales at this show, only order writing. This trade show is open only to those in the Craft & Hobby industry. If you choose to register onsite you will need to bring your business qualifications along with you. Click here to find out what is required.

Shortly after, we will be happily attending the BEST BEAD SHOW in the world.  That's right, the Best Bead Show in Tucson, Arizona.  Tucson is a wonderful place to buy.  Don't let the size of it intimidate you.  There are still plenty of hotels left at this time.  This is a great year to go.  With the past year being slower than normal, I think that the exhibitors at any and all shows will be thankful to see you and offer you the best deals that you can get all year long.  

The Best Bead Show - Tucson 
Dates:February 3 - 7, 2010
Kino Veteran's Memorial Community Center
2805 East Ajo Way
Tucson, AZ 85713

Wednesday 2/3, 10am - 8pm
Thursday 2/4, 10am - 6pm
Friday 2/5, 10am - 6pm
Saturday 2/6, 10am - 6pm
Sunday 2/7, 10am - 5pm
Admission: FREE

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I Spy The 2010 Trios Color Collection

We are now distributing the first 4 of 8 2010 Trios Beading Wire Color Packs. I happened to just spy them at Fusion Beads. Are they available at your local bead store yet? You'd better check it out! These holiday themed Trios offer complimentary color palettes that can be used any time of year.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jungle Fever project in Enchanted Adornments

Guest Blogger: Jamie Hogsett

Enchanted Adornments Inspiration Gallery: Jungle Fever

Many months ago, I was honored when Andrew Thornton invited me to make a piece for the gallery section of his sister Cynthia Thornton's book, Enchanted Adornments. The book has been out for a little while now and I just happened to unearth my copy last week when cleaning my office. I finally sat down to look through the book and I haven't been able to put it down since. Cynthia's drawings and stories are beautiful. The entire book is a work of art.

I've been fortunate to see several of Cynthia's jewelry designs over the years, via Stringing magazine, and I must say that the pieces she created for her book are the best yet. She has such an amazing sense of design, probably because she puts a little bit of magic in every piece. I've never with polymer clay and have only limited practice with PMC and resin, but Cynthia's book makes me want to try my hand at all of the techniques. Where will I ever find the time?

My own humble contribution to Cynthia's book is below. The polymer clay beads, made by the lovely Pam Wynn inspired the jungle theme. I used shrink plastic to make dozens of leaves and attached them to sterling silver flower links using natural brass jump rings. I strung the polymer clay beads, plastic leaves, and purple Czech glass beads on heavy Antique Brass Soft Flex wire.

Thank you, Cynthia and Andrew, for letting me be a part of such an amazing book! 

Jamie Hogsett is the Education Coordinator for Soft Flex Company. Contact her at or via her blog at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spotlight on...Article by Melissa J. Lee

by Melissa J. Lee

Happy New Year! While I enjoy my holiday season, I also like being able to look forward to 2010. The holiday accoutrements have been put away and a whole new glorious year of beading lies ahead of us. Yes!

When I heard that Soft Flex® Company would be launching new color palettes of its excellent Trios Variety Packs in 2010 based on holiday themes, I knew immediately that I wanted to profile a pack for my article this year. And what could be better than "Be My Valentine", a beautiful collection of beading wire in shades of rhodochrosite, pink tourmaline and spinel? These warm, vibrant shades make my heart go pitter-pat.

Article - In the Pink

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Girl from Ipanema Paper Bead Earrings

Design & Photo by Janice Bautista

Run on over to Paper Beads to check out these awesome earrings strung on flexible beading wire! You can make beads out of just about anything!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Enchanted Adornments by Cynthia Thornton

Look-y what I got for Christmas - Enchanted Adornments! We did quite a bit of driving over holiday vacation to see family for the holidays and a family wedding. I found this precious book to be a wonderful companion. Cynthia's drawings and stories make this book absolutely unique and left me feeling "enchanted". I fully review the book for Soft Flex Spotlight, but I couldn't help but mention it sooner. Go get it! It is delightful.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Customer Testimonial to the Strength and Flexibility of our Beading Wire

I received a lovely testimonial in my inbox this week. I asked if Maggie would mind if I shared with you her kind words as a testament to the superiority of our products.

I've tried several types of wire over the last 40+ yrs. of crafting... no other can compare to the quality of Soft Flex!!! Soft Flex has me so spoiled that I can not, will not use any other wire, it's just not worth my time or effort to use other wires. ;] I want my projects to turn out as well as I plan them, to be able to see that they are individually handmade with care and made of high quality gemstones, beads and precious metals--- I'd never lessen the quality of my peice with a less than perfect wire. As far as I'm concerned, all are inferior to Soft Flex! I just love it!

And then, as if that wasn't enough, after I asked her if I could share the message, she went on to say.....

The words were just the truth... :] I'd never make something I wouldn't wear, myself. Having grown up with skin sensitivities to most metals, I only wear and make things with precious metals. I'd never want to be responsible for causing someone else's skin irritations or allergic reactions. That, for the most part, drew me to Soft Flex! That(and, not to mention) the great "drape-ability" and general ease of use.. shoot, what's not to love? ;]

I tend to agree with Maggie Chavis, but I carry 10 solid years of getting messages just like this in email, print and in person about our beading wire. I get to see and talk to designers on a day-to-day basis that have graduated to using nothing but Soft Flex because all of the rest have broken, frayed or kinked.

If you have not had the opportunity to try our wire but have always wanted to, we offer free samples. You will receive 10 inches in each of the 4 diameters as well as a brochure that gives a solid overview of our brands and diameters.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bead Embroidery

As you all know, I'm a bead stringer. I dabble in resin, wigjigs, knitting, etc...but when it really comes down to it SoftFlexGirl strings beads on Soft Flex Wire. Josh's co-worker presented me with a project over my holiday break that was way out of my normal realm of beading. She had a lovely beaded belt that wasn't quite fitting the way that it once did (we've all been there). She really wanted to wear it to an upcoming wedding. I could blame her - this belt is gorgeous. It would be a real shame to keep it locked away in a closet or drawer somewhere. This belt needs get out and socialize! So I explained to her that I had never ever tackled a problem quite like this but that I was happy to give it my best try but was clear that I did not promise to come up with anything at all.
I immediately thought of a satin ribbon belt that I had hanging with all of my scarves in my bedroom. It had found its way there via some dress that I had bought years ago. For one reason or another, the long ribbon had never been used. I pulled the ribbon out and took a look at it. The shiny, delicate material seemed like a nice match. I cut a piece off and began to sew. I quickly learned that the delicateness of the material shredded easily if I didn't take care with my needle. I sewed a square rectangle shape that would fit the extra space of velcro. I located a piece of cardboard to slide inside the fabric to reinforce it and then I set out to do my very first bead embroidery around the edge. I realized quickly that this could take days if I tried to follow the same pattern on the belt. So I settled for a simple stitching around the edge to match the edges of the belt. All that was left to do was to sew up the 4th side and then adhere a bit of velcro on the back side.

Needless to say, I was quite pleased with myself and Josh's co-worker seemed quite pleased too. I'm so thankful to have the ability to create something out of nothing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Claspless Bracelet Design

Guest Blogger: Jamie Hogsett

No-Clasp Bracelet Idea

Remember Friendship Bracelets? In grade school, I was never without my bag of embroidery floss and safety pins, always weaving bracelets for my friends and, really, anyone willing to wear them. Here's a new idea for a friendship bracelet that's fast and fun:

This clasp-free bracelet is great because it can fit over a hand of nearly any size. The loops of Soft Flex Beading Wire, used here in Pink Rhodochrosite and Copper Color with accents of Peridot, flatten out to allow for a bit of "stretch" as the bracelet is put on. Please note that the wire itself doesn't stretch, the excess wire in the loops just allow for a bit of ease when sliding the bracelet on. The bright Czech glass beads were the inspiration for the wire colors.

This is a great bracelet idea for kids, as they won't need to worry about fussing with a clasp. I think all of my little nieces will just love them. For two other great no-clasp bracelet ideas, see Sara's Waste Not Want Not and Friendship Bracelets in the School of Design.

Jamie Hogsett is the Education Coordinator for Soft Flex Company. Contact her at or via her blog at
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