Thursday, September 29, 2011

Eclectica's Design Challenge Kit - Partial Sales Go To Breast Cancer Research

Eclectica Beads created a chance to take on a fun challenge and help out a charity at the same time. Purchase their $15 Eclectica Design Challenge Kit, and they will donate 25% of the purchase price to breast cancer research. To purchase a kit, stop in their store or call their mail order department at (262)641-0910.  The challenge is very flexible! Create a single piece or multiple pieces and feel free to add your own beads. When finished, please share pictures in their facebook gallery. You can even donate the finished piece to a charitable organization to help in their fundraising efforts!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spotlight on...Harlequin Beads and Jewelry

Harlequin Beads and Jewelry

Harlequin Beads & Jewelry is a full-service bead store with a talented staff available for design and technical assistance. We carry a huge selection of over 10,000 beads with a focus on quality and conscientious sourcing (mostly Europe and USA) including Swarovski beads and pendants, Czech pressed glass & seed beads, Japanese seed beads, gemstone beads, Tierra Cast charms, locally handmade glass, antique and collectible beads and a great variety of other stringing materials, Soft Flex and findings. Stacy says, "We love helping people design, create, repair, restring, recycle and reinvent jewelry."

Designer - Diane Zigabarra
Local Bead Group - The Northwest Bead Society

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lemon-limeade by Jamie Hogsett

Even though it's now officially autumn, it still feels like summer here. It's going to be in the high 80s today and the warm weather makes me want to be by the pool with a cool glass of something sweet in my hand. Too bad the pool has already been drained for the season! In place of a sugary drink, here's a long necklace in colors that almost bring the tart taste of lemon-limeade to my palette.

This necklace can be worn as one long strand, as a couple of shorter strands, or wrapped several times around the wrist as a bracelet. My favorite part is how the sections of beading wire are braided differently. All of the sections use three pieces each of .019 diameter beading wire in Peridot, Chrysoprase, and Yellow Lemon Quartz. Some sections have the three strands of same color braided together, then all three colors braided together as one braid, and some sections have three different braids with one strand of each color combined in each braid. The braids are almost an optical illusion, since from far away, all the sections look the same. I love how the colors blend together regardless of how they're braided. Java lampwork glass beads, copper Craft Wire in 22-gauge and 26-gauge, and a copper lobster clasp finish the design.

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

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Tool Magic


Tool Magic is a must for designers that work with craft wire. It covers the hard surface of wire working tools with a soft and smooth grip. Tool Magic prevents craft wire from scratching, marring and flaking. Tool Magic is simple to apply, remove and will not damage tools.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

5 Tips for a Winning Make-It-Take-It

One of the best parts of my job is teaching others how to use our products. I've had to design and teach a few Make-It-Take-Its over the years. I've certainly picked up a few tips along the way.

1. Consider your audience. Will you be teaching beginners, a mixed batch of people or more advanced designers and trade people. Design the MITI for their skill level.

2. Keep it simple. Most people want to learn something but have it be quick and easy to learn. Unless working with more advanced folks, try to keep the MITI to one or two techniques.

3. Not too small. A lot of people don't have good eye sight and forget their glasses or just have a tricky time working with extremely small parts and pieces. Try to design using bigger crimps and crimping pliers, or larger beads so that everyone can participate and be successful.

4. Give color options. Although the design can be exactly the same, offering color options means that people can have more of a voice in what they are making. It is nice to see different variations.

5. Be flexible. Some people will want to take the parts and pieces that you offer and create something slightly different than what you are teaching. It's fine! What is important is that they are learning the technique and using the products. Creativity is a good thing!

I will be teaching some variation of the MITI shown above at two locations in the next month. 

Double Joy Beads
Saturday 10-8-11 12pm-3pm (or until I run out of kits)
7131 E Mercer Ln - Scottsdale, AZ 85254 - (480) 998-4495

John Bead
Wednesday 10-12-11 & Thursday 10-13-11 (hours tbd) - 20 Bertrand Avenue - Toronto, ON Canada M1L 2P4 - (888)755-9055

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Soft Flex Glass Art And Bead Festival - Honolulu, Hawaii

Soft Flex Company Glass Art & Bead Festival - Honolulu, HI 
It will be the Most Spectacular Beading Event of the year in the Hawaiian Islands. Join us at the Ward Warehouse on September 23 - 25, 2011 and March 2 - 4, 2012 

Ward Warehouse on the Second Floor
1050 Ala Moana Blvd - Honolulu, HI 96814
FREE Admission and FREE Parking
Festival Location and Map

Friday, 10am - 6pm 
Saturday, 10am - 6pm 
Sunday, 11am - 5pm

September 23 - 25, 2011 and March 2 - 4, 2012 
Juried Show of 30+ Exhibitors
Beads, Gemstones, Findings, Collectible Glass Art & Jewelry
A truly exciting bead shopping Extravaganza 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spotlight on...The Northwest Bead Society

The Northwest Bead Society

The Northwest Bead Society (NWBS) in Seattle, Washington, was founded in 1983 as a not-for-profit organization open to anyone with an interest in beads. We are dedicated to the study of beads, beading techniques and the historical role of beads in human development. Our current membership is a couple of hundred and growing. Our annual Bead Bazaar is successful enough that we can fund a year of great programming for our members and serve as one of the world's very few sources of funding for bead research. Our website will keep you current on what's happening with the organization:

Designer - Diane Zigabarra
Local Bead Group - The Northwest Bead Society

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jewelry Display Ideas for Your Home or Craft Booth by Kristen Fagan

My quest today was to find simple and inspiring ideas for displaying your jewelry. I picked up these ideas from my Internet love, Pinterest and from blogs I follow. With some of you gearing up for holiday craft shows, trade shows and sales within your retail store I hope some of these ideas inspire you!

Show off your jewelry in style with a simply gorgeous wall display using door knobs. You can take this idea and easily adapt it for booth display with a picture frame. I found this idea over at Apartment Therapy.

If you want to organize your jewelry out of sight you won't want to miss this brilliant hidden jewelry box that uses framed artwork on the front creating a secret hideaway for your baubles. Find out how to make this over at  Design*Sponge.

I'm drooling over this wooden frame jewelry display. I love frames and this has so much storage space its fantastic! You can find the tutorial to make your own over at The Borrowed Abode.

For the ultimate combination of form and function check out Heather's pegboard jewelry holder I found over at Apartment Therapy.

This is a fabulous retro inspired idea, re-purposing a small patio table into a jewelry organizer. This would add a pop of color and a fun retro vibe to your home or booth. I also found this one at Apartment Therapy.

Here is another re-purposed idea that is super simple and colorful. It's simply an oven rack! I bet you can pick one up at goodwill for pennies. See how to make your own over at Just Sew Sassy.

I'm in love with this garden rack jewelry holder. It it so unexpected yet makes total sense, am I right? It's similar to the tie rack holder I currently use but so much more fun. With the pearls hanging it has a very shabby chic vibe, original pin from Twig Home.

I thought how nice this would be to setup and take down for displaying at a show. It's made from a supply box for a one of a kind jewelry display cabinet. Check out more details at Design*Sponge.

Composed of a piece of driftwood suspended from the ceiling with fishing wire, the concept is simply lovely. Find details at Apartment Therapy.

This has a similar feel to the printing tray jewelry displays I see all over but on a smaller scale. It's made from a cutlery organizer, old door knobs, and scrapbook paper - genius! It would stand up on its own in a booth really well and you can group a few of them for a bigger impact.

This sweet shadow box display would look so pretty in your home (especially color grouped like they did here). It may also travel well for shows. This idea was found at Better Homes and Gardens.

I know there are a lot of branch display ideas out there but, this one is really elegant. A simple twig with tacks was found at Lou & Tom.

Of course no jewelry storage roundup would be complete without a framed display! I love the white lace but, best of all you can customize it to fit any decor you have just by using different colors for the frame and fabric. See how to make your own over at Handmade Spark

Many of these finds were discovered on Pinterest. It's a great way to visually organize inspiration and online finds. Sara talks more about it here. It is an invitation only website. So if you would like an invitation, please leave your email details in the comments and I will invite you to join! If you are already on Pinterest, let's be pinning buddies! You can find me here.

Guest blogger Kristen Fagan is the Website Graphic Designer for Soft Flex Company. She also has her own blog and etsy shop.  She'd love to hear from you! So, please feel free to leave comments or email her at

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Live in the moment - My bridal shower

I can't believe that I am getting married in 45 days. Because our time before the big day is getting shorter and shorter, every evening and weekend is jam packed with endless lists of things to do: shopping lists, yard projects, home repairs, dress fittings, vendor meetings, etc. Much like the new Sarah Jessica Parker movie, I Just Don't Know How She Does It, the lists run continuously in my head like a movie reel day and night. I constantly feel behind. 

I was pleasantly surprised when my inner monologue turned off at my bridal shower last weekend. I felt myself "be in the moment." Something I haven't felt since my last yoga practice a few weeks ago. I didn't feel as if I had a care in the world. Perhaps it was being surrounded by some of my favorite ladies? Perhaps it was the setting, Morning Glory Cafe, or that I requested  that we keep it a simple brunch? Or maybe it was having my Mom by my side? Regardless, it felt so nice to just BE. When is the last time that you remember living in the moment? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Willowy Earrings by Jamie Hogsett

If you're on the hunt for a light-weight pair of earrings to take you from summer to fall, these just might be perfect for you. Three colors of green beading wire (Fluorite, Green Emerald, and Chrysoprase) and green basketweave carved Kazuri beads are accented with copper beading wire, craft wire in 22 gauge and 26 gauge, crimp tubes, crimp covers and ear wires, similar to the way the leaves on the trees around here are just starting to change for fall. I love seeing the first glimpses of yellow, orange and red tinting the many shades of green in the leaves. Even more, I love having new earrings to wear!

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

Monday, September 19, 2011

Spotlight on...Spotlight on Wire by Melissa Cable

Spotlight on Wire 
by Melissa Cable

Last month while visiting Fusion Beads, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting two friends of author Melissa Cable. They were kind enough to give me a copy of her latest book, Spotlight on Wire. This book contains 28 projects. We (Soft Flex Company) feel complimented to be one of only 11 sources listed. The book features projects created with a wide spectrum in gauges of wire, 16-28 gauges. There are even a few strung designs using Soft Flex Beading Wire. With metallic colors being so hot right now, I have no doubt that every single project is going to wow your friends and family. I love that she covers so many different tools and techniques. I think that even an intermediate or advanced beader may learn something new by reading this book. That is not always the case.

Designer - Diane Zigabarra
Local Bead Group - The Northwest Bead Society

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gorgeous Gemstone Pebble Beads

I was wandering through the Soft Flex website looking for a few things and stumbled across these beautiful pebble beads. Here are just a few of the options that we offer:

Price $14.00

Price $12.00

Price $12.00

Price $14.00

If you need inspiration, my co-worker Lisa Vernon created a lovely design using these pebbles. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party - The Unveiling

I had a lot of fun with this challenge. I used just about everything that came in my Bead Soup. I added two Damask components from Aria Design Studio. I used the Antique Brass in Soft Flex Beading Wire and Vintage Bronze Craft Wire (which happens to be on sale this month) with 1x1 and 2x2 gold filled crimp tubes to put it all together. I'm quite proud of the outcome and enjoyed using beads and findings that I probably would not have chosen for myself. The hand painted flowers were especially unique.

My partner is in Germany. It has been really fun getting to know someone with a shared passion who lives so far away. I hope that she enjoyed creating from the soup that I sent to her. I can't wait to see what she made!
Check her out on her blog: Stories from the City of Brass

So this is the largest Bead Soup Party yet. Here is a list so that you can join the party and see what everyone made. 

The Hostess, Lori Anderson and her partner, Manuela Wutschke

19. Anna Sabina­­­­ and Erin Siegel

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