Saturday, February 27, 2010

New To My Book Shelf

by Jean Campbell

by Kathy Cano-Murillo

I can't wait to review these two books for Spotlight on... - look for upcoming reviews in May and June. In the meantime, I don't have to even lift a single page of either book (although I have already peaked) to know that they are fabulous.  I've read and enjoyed previous books by both authors.  So pick up a copy of each for yourself and we can read them together! 

Friday, February 26, 2010

New Beads For My Bead Box

I love new beads and charms.  I often wonder what my collection will look like 10 years from now, how about 20 or 30.  I'm pretty sure that it will be overwhelming but wonderful all at the same time.  Yay beads!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cindy Lietz Designs using Soft Flex Beading Wire Variety Packs

Cindy Lietz Design and Photo

Cindy used the Soft Flex Beading Wire Variety Pack in Serenity for these outstanding earrings. Cindy said, "Soft Flex comes in such beautiful colors and has a soft silky feel."  Thanks Cindy!  We are pleased that you have enjoyed using our wire.

Cindy Lietz Design and Photo

This design combines Soft Flex Beading Wire colors from 2 Trios packs, Serenity and Sophisticated. It is definitely a winning combo!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spotlight on....Diana Shiraishi

Our featured designer for this month is Diana Shiraishi

I enjoy designing beaded jewelry and find my inspiration in nature, art, and memories from my childhood.
Growing up I remember how beautiful I thought beaded jewelry was and how the women in my life sparkled when they were wearing it. They had style and grace just like a movie star. The hat, the gloves, the shoes and the matching pocket book; the look was complete!

One New Year's Eve in my early years, my Mother was dressing for a party and she had made her own dress; a shiny silver fringed slip dress. Then she put on a choker of rhinestones with matching earrings. My Mother just shined; she had the blue eye shadow and French twist to pull the whole look together too!

I kept my Mother's rhinestone set in my room and took it out every once in awhile to look at the rainbow of colors in the beads. I could have sworn the necklace was worth a million was to me.

I started beading in the Fall of 2008.

NEW Color by Margie Deeb - Pantone 2010 Color of the Year
Designer - Diana Shiraishi
Good Book - Beaded Opulence
Bead Seller - The Bead Monkey

Don't miss the archives. We have years of monthly posts archived.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Stringing Spring 2010

The newest issue of Stringing magazine is on newsstands now! I just got my copy in the mail. It's gorgeous, like always. Danielle, Debbie and their team do such a great job. I'm still thrilled every time I get to be a part of this magazine. I had three projects in it this time around:
Spring Bouquet uses charms from Earthenwood Studio, a toggle clasp from Green Girl Studios, matte sterling silver beads from, and CZs and 925 Silver Extreme, Chrysoprase, and Pink Tourmaline wire from Soft Flex Company.
The three wires are woven together through the beads in the front part of the necklace and braided together in the back. You know how I am loving the look of braided wire...
My earrings - pair number 9 in the earring spread - use Fluorite wire and crimp findings from Soft Flex Company and satin silver Swarovski crystals and earring findings from
Crimson and Copper Swirls is my piece for the Beading on a Shoestring department. It's made with .024 Copper Color Soft Flex Metallics wire with Czech pressed-glass, a Padauk wood pendant, and copper findings from

Guest blogger Jamie Hogsett is the Education Coordinator for Soft Flex Company. Contact her at

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rowena Tank Weaving With Soft Flex Beading Wire

Design and Photo by Rowena Tank

In this design, Rowena Tank braided thin Soft Flex Beading Wire with size 11/0 seed beads and a few lampwork beads in the center and on both sides of the necklace.  Soft Flex Beading Wire is wonderful for bead weaving of this sort.  It is not only flexible but will also give you oodles of strength for longevity.  You can learn more about Rowena Tank on her website.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rings & Things Russ Nobbs Troll Bead Spotted in Phoenix

Russ Troll Bead 
Based off of Rings & Things founding owner Russ Nobbs

The best part of being in Tucson is visiting with friends.  I had a lovely visit with Russ Nobbs of Rings & Things.  He left Jamie and I each with a Russ Troll Bead.  If you buzz around the internet very often, you have more likely than not seen this little guy in all sorts of strange and odd settings.  I thought that I'd pay homage to his trips to Tucson with a classic cactus shot.  To see more fun pictures, check out the Russ Troll Bead Flickr Group or the Rings-Things blog

Friday, February 19, 2010

Soft Flex Projects on A Bead A Day!

Design and Photo by Lisa Crone

Lisa used a bright red stoneware pendant from Art Beads in this design on our black Econoflex.  Econoflex Beading Wire is a craft grade beading wire. It is perfect for a design like this where you want some body in your design.  If you were looking for more flexibility, I'd suggest trying Soft Flex Beading Wire in black.  Either way, gorgeous design!

Design and Photo by Lisa Crone

Lisa recently won our new Soft Flex Beading Wire Trios Variety Pack in the Egg Hunt color palette.  This color combo was the top seller in Tucson.  In fact, it sold out!  The colors are each pretty in their own right and then when you put all 3 together, it is just even better.  This set includes: Purple Amethyst, Chrysoprase & Green Turquoise.  I love the Jill MacKay clasp.  Lovely!

A Bead A Day is a great blog to follow. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Free Project Ideas

Design by Shelly Richey

Have you noticed that we are adding a new earring project idea each weekday in the month of February?  Go here to see all of the latest earring project ideas.  Check back regularly or sign up for our e-newsletter to see more designs each and every weekday.  The new project ideas are all by Shelley Richey.  Shelley is a Customer Account Representative in our Customer Service Department.  She is a also a jewelry maker, just like you and me.  Most Soft Flex employees use and enjoy the products that we sell.  With hands on experience, each staff member is a wealth of knowledge.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spotlight on...The Bead Monkey

Our featured bead store for this month is The Bead Monkey

The Bead Monkey was founded in June of 1993, by owner Tina Lilja who had fallen in love with beading. At the age of 19, she chose to open The Bead Monkey in the well known and trendy 50th and France shopping district in picturesque Edina, MN.

The Bead Monkey recently sponsored the free project idea shown above using our Be My Valentine themed Soft Flex Beading Wire Trio Variety Pack.  

NEW Color by Margie Deeb - Pantone 2010 Color of the Year
Designer - Diana Shiraishi
Good Book - Beaded Opulence
Bead Seller - The Bead Monkey

Don't miss the archives. We have years of monthly posts archived.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Margie Deeb's Color Report

photo courtesy of Margie Deeb

What an honor it was for me to be a part of Margie Deeb's latest color report. My piece (above) is included in the page about the color Tomato Puree. (Isn't that an awesome name for a color?!) I used Red Coral Soft Flex Beading Wire, crystals, coral, turquoise, and polymer clay beads from Pam Wynn, all finished off with a clasp from Saki Silver. Please read below for information from Margie's website on the Spring/Summer 2010 Color Report and how you can get a copy of your very own.

Spring/Summer 2010 Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Designers

Being on top of today's color trends keeps your jewelry stylish and fresh. And there's no substitute for great color. You can be a brilliant designer, but if your color is weak, so is your jewelry. Because it's based on Pantone's fashion color report of the season, the Spring/Summer 2010 Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Designers connects beading to contemporary fashion forecasts and trends.

If developing your color artistry is more your goal than fashion-forward thinking, download the Spring 2010 Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Designers and get inspired by color harmonies you've never seen. You'll have 10 new ideas by page 5! And you're work will take an exponential leap in creativity and originality. 
23-page PDF pages of palettes, descriptions, photos, and color suggestions based on Pantone's fashion color report of the season. And revel in a gallery of jewelry inspired by the colors themselves.

Margie will guide you through this season's colors and show you how to use them.  Color schemes that are daring, snappy, elegant, subtle, glamorous, and flamboyant... they're all in the Spring 2010 Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Designers.

-Seasonal inspiration for your contemporary designs
-Forecast information designated by the individual PANTONE Color number
-Suggested gemstones, Delica and Swarovski Component colors
-Color swatches are referenced to the PANTONE for fashion and home color palette

Guest blogger Jamie Hogsett is the Education Coordinator for Soft Flex Company. Contact her at

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Be My Valentine!

Sweet Savings for Valentine's Day Weekend.
Save 15% off our new Be My Valentine Trios wire variety pack
. Enter coupon code VALENTINE at checkout. Offer valid between Friday February 12, 2010 and Monday February 15, 2010 at midnight PT. This offer is not valid with any other discounts. If your purchase qualifies for two or more discounts, you will receive the best discount, but not a combination. 

Want to buy this product locally?  Visit your local bead store and ask for the Soft Flex Trios Beading Wire Variety Packs.  You won't be disappointed!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Free Valentine Gift Tags from Soft Flex

If you are looking for a last minute valentine card, try our free printable holiday extras!  So cute!  We offer new desktop wallpaper, earring cards, bookmarks, gift tags and recipe cards each and every month in our school of design.  If you have already, check out all of our free printable art.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Spotlight on....Beaded Opulence

Our featured book this month is

by Marcia DeCoster

Beaded Opulence by Marcia DeCoster is a feast for your eyes. The key theme is "elegant jewelry projects with right angle weave." Although most projects look very complex, when they are broken down by author and designer Marcia Decoster they are actually quite doable. The illustrations are fantastic. I think that the patterns would be really easy to follow. The gallery pages at the tail end were awe striking. It is amazing how different each project is even though it is using the same basic weave. Very cool!

NEW Color by Margie Deeb - Pantone 2010 Color of the Year
Designer - Diana Shiraishi
Good Book - Beaded Opulence
Bead Seller - The Bead Monkey

Don't miss the archives. We have years of monthly posts archived.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tucson Best Bead Show Recap

Double decker coffee bus between Gem Mall and Holidome.
Get amped and the shop, shop, shop!

I'm finally home after a whirlwind tour of CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) in Anaheim, CA and the Best Bead Show in Tucson, Arizona.  It was so nice to visit with my bead-y friends in person.  I am blessed to work in an industry that is full of loving and caring people.  Bead people rock!  I didn't get as many photos as I usually do.  I suppose I was a bit caught in the moment.  I didn't want to look at my life through a lens but actually actively participated.

I've  known AG for around 10 years and look forward to seeing their business continue to grow and prosper.  They have really neat Swarovski Custom Made Chain.  So smart!

Have you ever been to Tucson for the Gem & Mineral shows?  It is CRAZY!  Thousands of people descend on this small desert city.  All of the hotels along the freeway are turned into mini malls full of gems, minerals, handmade materials, jewelry, supplies and best of all...BEADS!  Lots and lots of beads.  Small beads. Big beads.  Red beads.  Blue beads.  Every kind of bead you can think of.....  In the hotel rooms, sellers flip up beds or remove them entirely and turn each room into it's own little shop.  These are only the smaller shows.  The bigger shows put up HUGE tents filled with vendors waiting and willing to sell you just about anything jewelry related that your heart may desire.  I believe that there were 41 shows (small and large) listed in the Colored Stone Show Guide this year.  41!  There are shuttles that take buyers from one show to another. This really helps in cutting down on parking and walking time.  It is actually much easier to get around than one would think upon first inspection.

Whenever I think of Tucson, I think of my many years spent at the G&LW show at the Rodeway Inn (now Grant Inn).  It is one of the longer shows in Tucson, if not the longest.  I was there every single day for almost 2 weeks, year after year.  If I did a 360 degree spin in our booth, I was surrounded by people from Afghanistan, Africa, China, Russia and India.  It was truly a melting pot.  We haven't done that show in years, so I stopped in and visited with my friends this year.  It looked almost exactly the same.  One of the neatest things about the Tucson gathering is that it brings together people from around the world.

Soft Flex Company exhibits at the Best Bead Show every year. In fact, the Best Bead Show had its 15th anniversary this year and I am pretty sure that we have exhibited in all 15 shows.  It literally is the BEST bead show.  Most of my favorite bead makers and bead peddlers were there again, showing off their newest and latest products.  It seemed to me as if there were a few less buyers in Tucson this year (not surprising after 2009) but the buyers seemed very serious.  In 2009, the buyers seemed very concerned and worried about investing in large quantities.  This year, it felt as if the buyers were very serious about stocking up in large quantities and preparing for a busy and successful year.  It was nice to see just how many designers were buying Soft Flex colored beading wire.  We have not only the largest color selection, we have the best colors to choose from.  Everyone was excited to see the new holiday themed Soft Flex Beading Wire Trios Variety Packs and the coordinating Jamie Hogsett designs that will represent each in our advertising.  Each design will be posted as a free project idea.  Egg Hunt was by far the favorite and sold out in the first few days.
Scott Clark and Mike Sherman
Subway in London, Sept 2009

One missing component this year was Mike and Scott, Soft Flex Company owners.  They are at the Spring Fair 2010 in NEC Birmingham UK.  Although they were terribly missed here stateside, I'm sure that they are busily leaving a lasting impression on the UK bead market.

All in all, we are running full speed ahead into 2010.  I think that this year has all of the promise of being a very successful year. If you have never been to the Tucson shows.  Go next year!  I promise that you will not be disappointed.  You don't have to be a business owner to enjoy yourself.  There are plenty of retail friendly spots as well as wholesale only.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Tucson Beaded Jewelry Designs!

Guest Blogger: Jamie Hogsett

New Crystal Beaded Jewelry Designs!

I'm back from the Tucson Best Bead Show, where I met oodles of beaders and saw tons of great beaded jewelry. I had a demo table in the Soft Flex Company booth and talked with a lot of people about the many colors of Soft Flex wire, along with all the tips, tricks, and techniques I know about crimping, crimp tubes, and crimp covers. It was a fun, crazy, exhausting week, and I even managed to make some new jewelry designs!

This bracelet uses a Tierra Cast clasp and Buddha head, crystals from my friends at Beyond Beadery, and Soft Flex Beading Wire in Black Onyx, .019 diameter.

The earrings use crystals from Beyond Beadery and Atlantic Gems and Black Onyx wire, ear wires, and crimp findings from Soft Flex Company.

The necklace was made with crystals from Beyond Beadery and Atlantic Gems, Black Onyx wire (in both .019 and .024 diameters) and crimp findings from Soft Flex, and an awesome antique skeleton key from Glass Garden Beads. The wire is about 30 inches long and is braided, with 6mm rondelles worked in.

As a Create Your Style with Crystallized - Swarovski Elements Ambassador, I am lucky to be invited to their Customer Appreciation Party every year. I always try to wear something with a whole lot of sparkle to this show and these three projects did the trick just fine.

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

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tucson - Tucson - Tucson

I won't even pretend as if I was prepared to blog in Tucson.  I forgot my camera cord....although even if I had my camera cord, I've taken almost no photos.  AND even if I could upload photos, my connection at my hotel is so terrible that I'm not even sure if this blog will post or if I'll be able to add a single picture to it.  I've been up to my eye balls in things to do, people to see, places to be and beads to either sell or purchase.  It can be quite hectic.  Morning meetings, long work days and evening gatherings.  Some of the highlights were a trip to Kate McKinnon's house for a party.  The house was warm, cozy and inviting - as was the host.  I also enjoyed the Swarovski party on Friday night.  This evening, I took it easy.  Joann and I grabbed take out from Pei Wei and then hit the hot tub.  Wow - it was really nice to just relax.  I hope to get some video and pictures tomorrow and will blog upon my return.  Sorry that I'm not the best commentator this year.  It has just been too very busy to keep up.  Having said that, my friend Andrew Thornton of Green Girl Studios has posted lots and lots of great photos and commentary on his blog about Tucson.  You should run on over there to see some happy and smiley faces.  :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

CHA - Craft & Hobby Association Make-It-Take-It Madness

One of the nicest parts of visiting CHA is all of the fun Make-It-Take-It projects available.  Each aisle is brimming with possibilities.  It is wonderful to try new techniques, to dabble in things that I might not be willing to try without help, etc. It is quite lovely.  Here are some of my favorites from this year.

Recycled Sweater & Button Flower.  How cute is this?  This Make-It-Take-It was a ton of fun and really easy.  It was nice to meet Stefanie Girard and to take a peak at her book: Sweater Surgery.  Stefanie can be regularly found at Craft Gossip.

The above necklace is a mixture of 2 Make-It-Take-Its.  The necklace was a MITI from Making Memories.  Jill Schwartz was the designer.  The star pendant that reads "shine" was created at the Vintaj booth.  I fall more and more in love with Vintaj each and every time I see them.  Their products allow for so much creativity and our antique brass colored Soft Flex Metallics Beading Wire is a natural fit for their products.  

Then, of course, there was the Tim Holtz Make-It-Take-It.  It was pretty simple, but fun and cute.  

And finally, the most interesting Make-It-Take-It was a polymer clay pendant taught by Christi Friesen.  Christi was a wonderful and patient teacher.  She has several books!  I really enjoyed polymer clay.  I had never worked with this medium before.  It was great.  It could be as easy or as complex as you make it.  I'll definitely dabble in polymer again. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Opening Day Best Bead Show!

It is opening day at the Best Bead Show in Tucson, Arizona.  This show features most of my favorite peeps.  Best of all, free admission!  If you are in the Tucson area, don't miss this show.  It really is the best.  We are located in the main room / back wall.  We  will have our new Soft Flex Beading Wire Trios in the new Holiday Theme as well as the mini bead stoppers!

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

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Woodland Creatures Necklace

Guest Blogger: Jamie Hogsett

Woodland Creatures Necklace

During the CHA show in Anaheim last week, I was able to create a handful of fun, new designs, including this sweet-as-pie necklace. I used dark brown bamboo rice-shaped beads and chrysoprase wire along with charms, a bead, and a clasp from my friends at Green Girl Studios for this quick-to-make necklace. Obviously, I'm still obsessed with braiding Soft Flex beading wire

Here's a detail of the charms and bead from Green Girl Studios. I used their Double Owl Bead, Mushroom Charm, Snail Dangle, and Lady Bug Charm, as well as their Round Floral Toggle Clasp. Now that I'm at the Tucson show, I'm hoping to stop by the Green Girl booth and stock up on some of their new designs...

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

Monday, February 1, 2010

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