Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spotlight on...Bead Store Brea Bead Works


Our featured bead store for this month is Brea Bead Works


WHO is Brea Bead Works? 
Coming from various backgrounds, Wendy was a graphic designer for the movie studios, and several other corporations, and Scott was Director of Marketing for Relax The Back, a nation wide ergonomic furniture company, both backgrounds helped create the concept of the store.

WHAT is Brea Bead Works? 
We are a complete bead store that offers 5,000 sq ft of retail and workshop space. The selection of gemstones, pearls, stringing materials, seed beads, etc. will fit everyone's needs. With over 110 workshops held each quarter ranging from beading fundamentals to glass and metal work. Just about something for everyone. No other bead store in the Orange County offers the array of education and product selection.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fast Fourth of July Projects by Jamie Hogsett


Need some new jewelry to wear while you're celebrating this weekend? Here's a pair of earrings that you can make in under an hour using beading wire from the Fireworks Trios wire set, 2mm crimp tubes, 3mm crimp covers, 1mm crimp tubes, a pair of sterling silver bead frames, a pair of ear wires, a pair of eye pins, and a mixture of small red beads, along with bead crimping pliers and a pair of cutters. I used scraps of wire two to four inches in length and used both ends of each wire to string one 2mm crimp tube. I adjusted the crimp tube to form a small loop of wire, then crimped the tube and covered it with a crimp cover. After doing this with six wires, I use each wire end to string one red bead and one 1mm crimp tube. I placed the crimp tubes in random spots on each wire and flattened the tube to hold the bead in place. Next, I attached one eye pin to one ear wire and used the eye pin to string one red bead, one bead frame, and one red bead. Finally, I formed a wire wrapped loop with the eye pin and attached it to one loop of wire of each color before finishing the wire wrapping. Easy as pie!


If you're looking for a project that's faster, easier, and great for any age, try these bangles. Using the Fireworks Trios wire set and 3mm crimp tubes with Mighty Crimpers, cutters and a Bead Stopper,  you'll be able to make one bangle in under five minutes. Cut three wires, twelve inches each, and place the Bead Stopper on one end of each wire. Braid the wires together for nine or ten inches. Use all three wires to string one crimp tube. Remove the Bead Stopper and use the wire ends to string through the crimp tube in the opposite direction as the previous wire ends, to form a circle. Measure the wire against a bangle from your existing collection to find the correct diameter of the bangle, then crimp the crimp tube and trim the wire ends. Bangles are right on trend at the moment, so be sure to pile at least five on your wrist. Enjoy and celebrate well!



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

Friday, June 25, 2010

8 weeks of beading wire giveaways - week 4



This Summer, we are celebrating everyday like it is a holiday. Each week, for 8 weeks, we will feature a colorful holiday Trio as well as tons of our gorgeous gemstones on sale for a limited 72 hour time period. To kick off each week, I'll be giving away a Trio set here every Monday just as the sale starts. So if you don't win, you will still have the option of purchasing the Soft Flex Trio on sale. But you won't have to worry about that because you are going to win, right?!

Enter to win a Fireworks Beading Wire Variety Pack.



To simply enter to win once, leave a comment answering the weekly question, your name and contact email. If you don't want to leave your email on the blog, please leave a comment and then email your contact details to Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com.  To comment scroll to the bottom of this blog entry and click on the link that states the number of comments have already been left.  For example: "31 comments".  This will take you to a page to comment.


Week 4 Question:  How do you spend the 4th of July?  International customers, does your country have a holiday like our American 4th of July - when is it?

To enter more than once:
1. Click to follow this blog. See the follow tool on the right side. Note in your comment that you are a blog follower.
3. Click to follow @SoftFlexCompany on twitter. Note in your comment that you are a twitter follower.
4. Click to befriend Soft Flex Wire on facebook. Note in your comment that you are a facebook friend.
5. Click to subscribe to the SoftFlexGirl youtube channel.And again, note in your comment that you are a youtube subscriber.
6. Use the share feature to share this giveaway. See the little icon below - choose your favorite social network and share our giveaway. Please note where you shared our giveaway in your comment. I will enter you as many times as you share this blog post with your social network!
7. Click like.  See the little like icon directly at the bottom of this post?  Click it.  Please note that you "liked" this blog entry. 

If you already follow or have befriended us on one or several of the listed options, please note that in your comment. You will still be entered more than once.  International entries are welcome.

Winner will be announced June 28, 2010 around noon (PST). Anyone can enter except current and former Soft Flex employees. International entries welcome too.  Please, please, please share this giveaway with your bead loving friends. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com. Good Luck!

New Trios as of June 1, 2010:

If you have time and want to offer your solicited and perhaps anonymous feedback - New Blog Survey

Quality materials for building quality products


Those of you who know me or follow my personal blog, know that Josh and I have been spending a great deal of time house hunting these past few months.  Being that it is our first home, we are excited but we are also very nervous.  I was thinking recently, one thing I've learned from Soft Flex Company that I can apply to this new home buying venture is to look deeper than surface level.  I frequently tell designers to think about the products that they are using in their design and to spend a little more to have a longer lasting better made piece of jewelry.  That is also applicable in this house hunt.  I want a firm foundation and structure for my home just like I do in my jewelry designs.  I want it to last forever, with only minor repairs and modest maintenance.  Sometimes the things that you can't see are more important that the shiny parts and pieces that you can see.  What good is the fancy tile work, if the foundation is cracked and the floor is eventually crumbling?  Likewise, what good are the fancy crystals if your wire snaps and sends them flying in every direction.  So, no matter how frustrating and how long this process might take, I pledge that Joshua and I will find a home that we feel is going to stand the test of time.  We won't give-in to the temptation to settle for something that just looks nice on the surface.  Will you pledge to think about the parts and pieces in your designs, the structure, as much as you think about the design itself?  The quality of wire, crimps, findings and even the tools that you use make a huge difference in the strength and longevity of every single design that you create.  Just some food for thought....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tips and Tricks - Wire temper and hardening

Wire temper chart:
Dead SoftFully annealed
Quarter Hard1 number hard
Half Hard2 numbers hard
Full Hard4 numbers hard
Extra Hard6 numbers hard
Spring Hard8 numbers hard
Extra Spring Hard10 numbers hard


Have you ever wondered about what "half hard" or "dead soft" might mean?  If you have, you should click on over to our Tips and Tricks section and learn all about it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spotlight on...Designer Erin Prais-Hintz




Our featured designer is Erin Prais- Hintz 

My name is Erin Prais-Hintz and I design one-of-a-kind wearable works of art through my company Tesori Trovati Jewelry.I live by two Life Resolutions: to live a creative life and to live a life without regrets. I started designing jewelry officially back in 2007 as a creative outlet (but actually for much longer), and I decided when I turned 40 that I would see where this hobby-gone-wild would take me because I didn't want to look back in another decade and have regrets because I didn't try.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stringing Summer 2010 by Jamie Hogsett

Danielle Fox, editor of Stringing Magazine, gave me an advance copy of the new issue of Stringing at the Bead & Button show. (Subscribers should receive their copies any day now.) I do the technical editing for Stringing, so after seeing and writing the instructions for the projects months ago, it's great fun to see them in print, finally. The issue looks great, with lots of bright summery projects!

Danielle wrote a feature in the magazine called Summer's Sexiest Stones and invited me to be a part of it. I am loving turquoise right now, so wrote about it and designed a project using some great turquoise beads from Soft Flex Company, called Lucky Turquoise.

Instructions for this project are online and can be found here. KimE, our gallery manager, made some short strands of the turquoise and they're available here. In addition, I used turquoise rondelles, 925 Sterling Silver Extreme wire, a versatile hook and eye clasp, and really cool silver beads/links that have a hole running through the center of the bead as well as an additional hole through the tip of one of the petals.


Crashing Waves is another project I contributed to the magazine, using a shell pendant from my good friends at LillyPilly Designs, ceramic beads from JanglesVintaj Natural Brass findings, and Antique  Brass Soft Flex Metallics wire in .024 diameter. Now that this necklace is back in my possession, I'll be wearing it all summer long!


And finally, in the bracelet spread in the magazine, is a bracelet using glass pieces from Michele Goldstein that I've had in my stash forever. I love Michele's glass and am excited that I finally used these pieces in a bracelet. In addition to Michele's glass focal bead and button, I used Czech glass squares and fire-polished rounds from Raven's Journey, seed beads from Beyond Beadery, Green Turquoise Soft Flex Beading Wire, and aquamarine rondelles that I've had for years (and can't remember the source of). It's a colorful, eye-catching bracelet for sure!


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

Monday, June 21, 2010

Best Bead Giveaway Ever


Denise Yezbak Moore is offering a huge giveaway on her blog - well over $350 worth of beads.  Wow, that's a whole lot of beads!  The winner will be announced on Friday, July 2nd!  Now, go enter!

Don't need to recreate the wheel - repost of proper crimps and crimping


If you find that you are having issues with crimps and crimping or just don't feel entirely confident that your crimps will hold, please check out the blog entry that I wrote back on June 24, 2008.  I hope that you will find it helpful!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

8 weeks of beading wire giveaways - week 3



This Summer, we are celebrating everyday like it is a holiday.  Each week, for 8 weeks, we will feature a colorful holiday Trio as well as tons of our gorgeous gemstones on sale for a limited 72 hour time period.  To kick off each week, I'll be giving away a Trio set here every Monday just as the sale starts.  So if you don't win, you will still have the option of purchasing the Soft Flex Trio on sale.  But you won't have to worry about that because you are going to win, right?!   

Enter to win an Egg Hunt Beading Wire Variety Pack.



To simply enter to win once, leave a comment answering the weekly question, your name and contact email. If you don't want to leave your email on the blog, please leave a comment and then email your contact details to Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com.  To comment scroll to the bottom of this blog entry and click on the link that states the number of comments have already been left.  For example: "31 comments".  This will take you to a page to comment.

Week 3 Question:  How do you like your eggs cooked?  Fried, Scrambled, Over Easy, Benedict...inquiring minds want to know. 

To enter more than once:
1. Click to follow this blog. See the follow tool on the right side. Note in your comment that you are a blog follower.
3. Click to follow @SoftFlexCompany on twitter. Note in your comment that you are a twitter follower.
4. Click to befriend Soft Flex Wire on facebook. Note in your comment that you are a facebook friend.
5. Click to subscribe to the SoftFlexGirl youtube channel.And again, note in your comment that you are a youtube subscriber.
6. Use the share feature to share this giveaway. See the little icon below - choose your favorite social network and share our giveaway. Please note where you shared our giveaway in your comment. I will enter you as many times as you share this blog post with your social network!
7. Click like.  See the little like icon directly at the bottom of this post?  Click it.  Please note that you "liked" this blog entry. 

If you already follow or have befriended us on one or several of the listed options, please note that in your comment. You will still be entered more than once.  International entries are welcome.

Winner will be announced June 21, 2010 around noon (PST). Anyone can enter except current and former Soft Flex employees. International entries welcome too.  Please, please, please share this giveaway with your bead loving friends. If you have any questions, please feel free to email Sara@SoftFlexCompany.com. Good Luck!

New Trios as of June 1, 2010:

If you have time and want to offer your solicited and perhaps anonymous feedback - New Blog Survey.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Simply the best beading wire presents simply the best beading contest

It was really nice to see my online friend Erin Prais-Hintz at the Bead and Button show this past week.  She is our designer of the month in Spotlight for June and was one of the top 10 winners of our beading contest last year.  She recently posted about both on her blog.



Have you looked at the details for our 2010 Beading Contest? It is your turn to flex your creativity and win big.  We've used the top 10 design winners in our worldwide ad campaign, featured the designers on our website and each design entry has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.  You could be a star!  Design entries are due on September 1, 2010.  We are considering some early bird incentives.  I'll keep you posted as I know more.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More photos from the Bead and Button Show

Gemstone shopping


Make-it-Take-its - so much fun!

Make-it-Take-it Madness

Gaby from Sweden

Make-it-Take-its

Gemstone shopping

Make-it-Take-its

Live demos from Jamie Hogsett

Live demos from Sara Hardin



Soft Flex'ers at Mo's Pub getting after show chow





If you couldn't make it to the show, you can always check us out online at www.SoftFlexCompany.com and if you like to shop local, we have a fabulous bead store finder to locate the bead or craft store nearest you.  

Shop short strand gemstones - cheap and affordable

One of my favorite things about doing a big show like Bead and Button is that I get the chance to shop from our very own gemstone section in person.  This past show, I bought a stunning short strand of tourmaline slices, carved tourmaline leaves and then the above pictures cz briolettes in olive green.  There are currently over 80 options in short strands on our website. Short strands are a great way to get a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Often times, I find that I don't need a full strand of beads.  These are perfect.  Have you taken a look at our short strands?  Now, I just need to set aside some time to actually bead.  That might be the trickier part.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spotlight on...Color by Margie Deeb - Bead Finishes and Their Interaction with Color



Bead Finishes and Their Interaction with Color
by Margie Deeb

Seed beads are chameleons. They change their color-sometimes dramatically. When strung as a hank, seed beads will enchant you, casting a spell that sounds like "Buy me. You can't live without my color." Then when you stitch or string it alongside ten other colors (you couldn't live without) they darken or lighten, disappear or pop out jarringly.
Glass beads are the grandest of visual tricksters. The smaller the bead, the trickier the tricks. Color changes radically based on the light source, surrounding beads, thread, background, bead finish, and other factors.


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