Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Flex Your Creativity Beading Contest 2010


6th Place Winner 2009 Beading Contest

You'll notice over Spring and Summer that we used some of the Top 10 winners of our 2009 contest in our worldwide advertising campaign to "Celebrate Color".  If you'd like to see your designs in a Soft Flex ad next year, you should consider entering our Flex Your Creativity Contest for 2010.  It is pretty easy to participate and we can't wait to see you flex your creativity!  If you entered in 2009, you are welcome to enter again. Entries are due before September 1st, 2010.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Botanicals Earrings


Lisa Kan makes gorgeous lampworked glass flowers in her Botanical Floral Series. Lisa has nearly 50 color options available on her website - they're all amazingly beautiful and can be used in so many different ways. My mom treated me to this pair last fall at the Soft Flex Company Glass Art & Bead Festival in New York City. Now that the sun is shining and the weather is warming, I wanted to make a pair of earrings to welcome spring.

I used Soft Flex Beading Wire in Red Jasper to string the flowers. The wire color matches the colors in my beads so well, that it's difficult to even see it. I put 2mm crimp tubes and 3mm crimp covers on both sides of the flowers to keep them stable on the wire. The wire is attached to a 4mm soldered jump ring, and crimped and covered again, and the jump ring dangles from a sterling silver ear wire. When worn, the flowers look like they're floating. Gorgeous! 


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

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spotlight on...Color by Margie Deeb - Composition: Beauty and Balance



Jamie Cloud Eakin's multi-strand necklace balances all components into a beautiful composition illustrating the color DRIED HERB, from the Spring/Summer 2010 Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Artists.

Composition: Beauty and Balance
by Margie Deeb


...is not the most complicated
...did not require the most technique
...did not take the most time
...is not anywhere near my favorite colors


It is this multi-strand by Jamie Cloud Eakin (author of Beading with Cabachons and Bugle Bead Bonanza) created to illustrate the spring color, DRIED HERB.

The reason why I'm crazy about this necklace is because of her very thoughtful use of materials, their placement, and the gorgeous draping. Let me explain. The balance of metal and glass beads is beautiful, offering just enough contrast to satisfy me visually.


NEW Color by Margie Deeb - Composition, Beauty and Balance
Designer - Jeannie Cox
Good Book - A Bead In Time
Bead Seller - The Beadman


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

Sunday, March 28, 2010

2010 Flex Your Creativity Beading Contest


We recently announced our big, beading contest for 2010.  


As we move toward becoming a greener company, we encourage recycling – even in your jewelry designs.  Design entries must include exposed beading wire.  All beading wire must be one of our Soft Flex Company brands – Soft FlexSoft TouchExtremeMetallics or Econoflex. You may use any color or diameter in your design.  There is no limit to the number of designs that you may enter. We encourage you to feature beads and findings from your local bead shop as well as create your beads and findings from found materials – clock parts, gears, washers, screws, bolts, bottle caps etc.  Lampworkers, recycled glass from bottles, made into parts and components are encouraged too.  Flex your creativity!  If you use beads or findings from your local bead shop, let us know who they are when you submit your design so that we can credit them too!


If you aren't quite sure how to incorporate the steampunk concept into your jewelry design, I suggest checking out the book shown above called Steampunkery by Christi Friesen.  I met her at CHA and she was loads of fun.


From Christi's website: Well, start with 'steampunk'. 'Steampunk' is a look-- a sort of Victorian-era mad scientist-adventurer look- all clockwork gears and brassy bits, leathery straps, and even the occasional bit of lacey filigree. Now apply that look to polymer clay creativity and you have 'steampunkery'! a wonderful way to combine polymer clay sculpting tricks (like making a miniature leather strap complete with wire buckle and tiny little fake stiching) with embellishments of vintage pieces (like watch parts), found objects (like old pen nibs), and stuff you've got in your craft stash (like beads and paper scraps). Doesn't that sound like fun?!



Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bead Fest - Santa Fe



Last weekend Soft Flex Company participated in Bead Fest Santa Fe. In true New Mexican fashion (I've lived in Albuquerque for over 25 years) lots of snow greeted us for the first official week of Spring!


This was the first time I have ever experienced lightning and thunder along with snow. We even lost power briefly a couple of times. Unfortunately, it was also the first time in awhile that I have been around a lot of guys and snow. Mischeivious guys + snow + full day behind a booth = snow ball fight. Luckily they weren't aiming at me most of the time, however, my boss did find it entertaining to use me as a shield.

My camera was dead, but luckily KimE (our gallery manager) had hers, otherwise this blog would just be a lot of words. Here are some pics of our booth at the show.

JoAnn and I

Our booth from across the aisle

Christopher explaining our discounts (or maybe he is tired and just "pointing" them out?)

Santa Fe was a lot of fun! We always like to talk to our customers in person, and try our best to answer any questions they might have. Since I telecommute, shows are one of the few times I get to see my co-workers, which is another bonus (even when they are armed with snowballs!).

Almost forgot, set-up day for the show was on St. Paddy's Day. Wouldn't you know, there was a leprechaun sighting. (little blurry because those guys move pretty quick)

leprechaun or Thomas?




Guest Blogger Jennifer Wilson is the Trade Show Manager for Soft Flex Company. Contact her at
Jennifer@softflexcompany.com

Friday, March 26, 2010

One Word to Describe Soft Flex Company

I think that we now know what one word best described Soft Flex Company from our 2009 survey.    
Quality!  

That seems about right.  We take pride in the quality of our goods and services.  Best and Great both also did very well.  My favorite answer was "Cadillac of beading wire".  Thank you to everyone that takes time to enter into our giveaways and give us feedback on the surveys.  I actually do read and enjoy the survey results.  Customer feedback does matter to us.
.

Wordle: One word to describe Soft Flex Company

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Free Project Idea using the WigJig

WigJig Gift Tag
Designed by: Kristen Fagan 

Skill Level: Beginner 

Soft Flex Company Web Graphic Designer Kristen Fagan is not only talented with graphics, she gets craft-y too!  She is an excellent painter, jewelry designer and always seems to be working on some sort of project in her spare time.  Now getting her to share those projects with instructions...that can be a different story.  I was incredibly happy to see her submit her first free project idea with project instructions.  Woohoo, yay Kristen!   Learn more about Kristen on her blog

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spotlight on...The Beadman






The Beadman
2619 Park Marina Drive
Redding CA 96001 
530-243-8808

Hours: 
Mon - Sat 10am to 6pm
Sun - Noon to 5pm


 The Beadman began as Sandra's Knits & Gifts in Anderson, CA. in 1972. We sold hand made items by local artisans. It evolved over the years to become Gallery & Gifts and finally evolved into The Beadman in 1976. Growing pains caused us to move a few times until resting in our current location on 2619 Park Marina Drive in Redding in 1997.



NEW Color by Margie Deeb - Composition, Beauty and Balance
Designer - Jeannie Cox
Good Book - A Bead In Time
Bead Seller - The Beadman


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

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bright Colors and Blossoms for Spring!


My friends at Artbeads.com invited me to pick out and play with a selection of items that make me think of spring. What always comes to mind are the first flowers emerging through the ground: daffodils and crocuses! I see these blooms in my mom's garden every spring and love their many shades of yellow, orange, red, and purple. I selected Crystallized by Swarovski beads in the very cool Graphic Cubes shape and Antique Silver TierraCast pieces from their new Viva Mexicana! line. Crystals in Amethyst, Light Amethyst, Light Topaz, Siam, and Topaz are spaced apart on Soft Flex .019 beading wire in Purple Amethyst, Citrine, and Spinel. TierraCast Antique Silver Paloma Links connect the three strands of colored wire to three braided strands of Extreme 925 Sterling Silver wire in .024. Finishing off the necklace is a TierraCast Silver Sacred Heart Toggle Clasp - one of the many pieces I love from the new line! During these last dreary days of winter, this bright color combination reminds me that spring is, finally and thankfully, right around the corner.




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

Monday, March 22, 2010

Andrew Thornton Reviews his trip to Hawaii for the Soft Flex Glass Art and Bead Festival


I think that you should visit Andrew Thornton's blog today and read about his stay in Hawaii for the Soft Flex Glass Art and Bead Festival.  Soft Flex hosts a show in Honolulu twice a year, March and September.  This small artisan show is brimming with talent.  It is a perfect pairing with a Hawaii vacation for vendors and shoppers alike.  If you don't already follow Andrew's blog, you really should.  He always has such nice things to share.  Then you should go ahead and book your tickets for the September show in Honolulu, HI. ~Aloha!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

LB O J'ZAZZ Dancing Crystal Choker Using Soft Flex Beading Wire Trio Variety Pack

Photo and Design by LB O J'Zazz

This necklace is a part of Lubna's Signature Series.  She is inspired by insects, cobwebs, cocoons, etc due to their structures strength and drape.  She found that she could use Soft Flex Beading Wire to create this really unique, show-stopping design.  This design appears to use our Mystical Trio.  Beautiful!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spotlight on...Bead Cruise 2010 by Heather Powers


Bead Cruise 2010
Written by: Heather Powers

On January 27th over 50 enthusiastic beaders set sail on Bead Cruise 2010. Our days were packed with creativity, relaxation and pampering. This was the best Bead Cruise yet! I loved all the instructors. They were so talented, generous and fun. The ship was amazing. Each port was beautiful. We enjoyed beading, shopping, eating, laughing, laughing until we were crying. There were celebrations and adoration. We hardly slept, there was so much to do and see. I thought I'd share my top 5 favorite Bead Cruise 2010 highlights to give you an idea of how much fun we had!
Article - Color by Margie Deeb - Composition, Beauty and Balance
Designer - Jeannie Cox
Good Book - A Bead In Time
Bead Seller - The Beadman


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

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Free Gift



Happy Spring!  While supplies last, we are adding a Free Gift to any order over $50.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Western Union Money Order Fraud


Fraudulent Money Order that we received.
We added the "void" to deter the image from being used further.

Recently, we had 2 attempts to use a $900 Western Union Money Order via the mail and the phone.  Thankfully, our sales representative felt uneasy upon receiving the first mail order and called Western Union to verify the amount.  She found out that the amount was actually for only $9.00 but had been changed on the money order that we received to $900.00. As you can see above, it looks legitimate.  We had a second attempt via a phone order.  Apparently, this fraudulent behavior occurs all of the time. But since it happened to us, we felt like it was important to mention it to the beading  blog-o-sphere.  Had Shelley not followed her instincts, we might have been out a good sized chunk of money.  We'd hate to see this happen to other companies in our industry.  If they targeted us, they might target you too. Beware!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Egg Hunt Free Project Instructions

Brand new Egg Hunt instructions are now available in the Free Projects section of Soft Flex Company's School of Design. This necklace was my very first experience with resin and I'm pretty sure I'm hooked now. It's amazing what you can make with beads, glitter, paper, and ICE Resin. 
The Egg Hunt Trios wire set is composed of Soft Flex .019 wire in Purple Amethyst, Chrysoprase, and Green Turquoise. It's one of my favorite color combinations.
Fusionbeads.com supplied all the beads and materials to go with the Egg Hunt Trios wire set and they sent an amazing amount of beads and findings to play with for this project. Their inspiration page for the Egg Hunt necklace allows you to order all of the materials in one spot and is definitely worth checking out. An added bonus is an inspiration page for the materials used in the Egg Hunt earrings. Enjoy!

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

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fashion Trends


Spring 2010 Fashion Trends were posted this past week.  We chose to feature affordable fashions from Kohl's.  Being fashionable doesn't have to be expensive.  We hope that you enjoy a little fashion inspiration!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Neeley Designs Weaves Soft Flex Beading Wire to Create a Unique Beaded Pattern

Neeley Designs Photo and Design

Pam Neeley shared the design shown above with me and I couldn't help but show it with of you (after asking permission - of course).  She told me that she set out to see "what Soft Flex could really do" and voila, this was her end result!  She also said, "This necklace came out great and has held up great."  She designed it a number of years ago.  You can click on the photo to get a better view.  She used .014 Fine Soft Flex Beading Wire but said that depending on the beads, you could even us .019 Medium.  Yay Pam!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Flex Your Creativity Beading Contest 2010


Enter our Steampunk design contest using exposed Soft Flex Brand Beading Wire and win!

Prizes Include:
GRAND PRIZE: $500 Gift Certificate
Runner Up: $250 Gift Certificate
Honorable Mention: $100 Gift Certificate
TOP 10 WINNERS: Free 30ft spool of their choice

The top 10 winners also may be showcased in the following ways:
On our website
Print ads in top industry magazines
Direct mail pieces (fliers, postcards, sales sheets, etc)
Soft Flex Company Glass Art & Bead Festivals

FIND OUT MORE!


Blogger friends, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you will find a banner ad to share the contest with your readers.  

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Project Blogging


Honey on Redhead Rd in Cochise County, AZ.

2 years and 500+ posts later, I'm in shock that I have something to talk about STILL each and every day on this blog.  Today I just wanted to write a short post on the natural progression of this blog.  When it started, it was about me.  All about me. My life.  My dog.  My boyfriend.  And of course, beads.  After it was added onto the Soft Flex Company website as an extension of Ask Sara, I slowly started feeling a little funny about talking about me and my family.  It seemed to me as if most followers were more likely interested in Soft Flex type news.  So, unknowingly....I started posting less and less about me as a person and posted more and more about beads and beading.  I think that it was a natural progression....at least it felt rather natural because I didn't even notice.  Then one day, I woke up and wondered what had happened to my outlet for sharing about my life.  At any rate, I spent time over my holiday vacation in December and built a personal blog that is separate from my SoftFlexGirl blog.  Although I'm sure that beads will sneak in here or there (they always do), it is more about my life, my boyfriend, my dog, our families and living in Arizona - Sara and Joshua.  As of the New Year, I've made a clean break between the two.  If you were following my blog to hear about me as well as to hear about beads, please know that you are more than welcome to follow my second blog.  In fact, you are invited to join.  Sometimes natural progression happens and it is better not to fight it but to run with it.  I think it was just natural to split the two.  Thanks to anyone and everyone that follows either blog.  I'm blessed to have so many friends in person and online.  

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Holly's Folly Glass Uses Tranquil Soft Flex Beading Wire Colors


Holly's Folly Glass Photo & Design

Holly used 2 of the 3 colors in our TranquilitySoft Flex Beading Wire Trios Variety Pack.  I love trees.  They are always so majestic.  I think that her color selection was just right for this piece.  

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Inspired by Alice


My friends took me to see Alice in Wonderland over the weekend - what a treat! The movie is gorgeous, filled with ethereal, romantic colors. I couldn't get the pale pinks and blues, the silver, or the bronze tones out of my head, so I was inspired to make a necklace. I picked charms and a toggle clasp from Green Girl Studios with images of trees, flowers, a castle, a lock and key, and a bird because they were all important the the movie. 
 
Soft Flex beading wire in the .019 diameter Extreme Trios set was braided around stick pearls to give an open, airy look to the pearls. This is a very girlie combination for me, but I can't help but love this mix of materials and colors.

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

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spotlight on...A Bead in Time by Lisa Crone




Our featured book this month is
A Bead in Timeby Lisa Crone

A Bead in Time by Lisa Crone is a thoughtful compilation of fun designs. There is nothing better than making meaningful jewelry inspired by your own history and memories. This book does just that!




NEW Color by Margie Deeb - Composition, Beauty and Balance
Designer - Jeannie Cox
Good Book - A Bead In Time
Bead Seller - The Beadman


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

Sunday, March 7, 2010

D'Olivia Designs Using Soft Flex Beading Wire

D'Olivia Design & Photo

Twitter is such a fantastic tool for connecting people.  I recently received a tweet that said, "I've used your black beading wire in a necklace & received lots of compliments!" from @dolivajewelry.  I clicked through to see the design and found a lovely necklace waiting for me.  It is so much fun to see how creative designers are getting in exposing colored Soft Flex Beading Wire.  

If you aren't on twitter, I urge you to check it out.  It is a great tool for getting up-to-the-minute information on what we are up to at Soft Flex Company.  We post links for new free project ideas, tips, tricks, sales, giveaways as well as retweet links from 25 partner companies on our Soft Flex Sellers List

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Favorite Free Project Ideas

It is always so nice to see what people are checking out on our website.  Here are the top 10 most viewed free project ideas so far this year in 2010.  Enjoy!


by Sara Hardin



by Sara Hardin



by Sara Hardin



by Martina Valdivia



by Sara Hardin



by Janet Balich



by Sara Hardin


by Jamie Hogsett


by Shelley Richey



by Jessica L. Rosenfeld
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