Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Business Chat - Rain or shine, the show goes on

This morning I awoke to that gentle sound of rain pitter pattering on the roof. Ah so lovely. And even lovelier was the knowledge that I am not exhibiting at the first craft show of this summer season! A lot of my crafty friends were however, so as cosy as I was I felt bad for them. 

Here’s the thing with outdoor craft shows, they are rain or shine meaning that they go on regardless of thunderstorms, tornadoes or extreme heat waves. You just have to be prepared.

So here are some tips on surviving an outdoor craft show.

You absolutely must have a tent. And it has to be a good tent. You must weatherproof your tent.

Now you must weatherproof yourself for rain. Craft shows are not the time to be worried about the fashion statement you are making. Yes, we want to look good especially if we’re selling wearables. At the same time, if you are uncomfortable or cold you are not going to be happy. And happiness is the best sales tool you can have. More important than being fashionable is being comfortable.

Let’s start with your feet. If it looks like rain, wear rubber rain boots. Cold, wet feet for a 12 hour day are silly. I leave my rain boots in my booth bin. Along with a pair of socks (who wants blisters?) If it’s not raining running shoes are the best. In the heat, a good pair of sandals with lots of support are critical. Make sure they are shoes that can be easily washed, parks are full of mud or dust.

Before you go to a show check out the weather report and dress appropriately. Always take an extra sweater or jacket and layer up. It is very different to be standing around for 10 hours than to be walking around for 2 hours. 

On my first ever outdoor craft show I had a lovely neighbour who was wearing a super cute sundress and bare legs, by noon she was freezing and miserable. Because she was so cold she was shivering and all scrunched up. It’s not good body language. I learnt that lesson. We want to look positive in all aspects of our presentation.

Pack a decent rain coat, a nice long one. Umbrellas are great but they require a hand to hold them. It’s better to have a really good rain coat with a hood just in case you happen to be standing in the rain. Again, I leave a dedicated rain coat in my booth bin so I’m never without.

Extra tarps. You just never know when you’ll need a tarp to throw quickly over a pile of something. You can pick up cheap ones at a dollar store, do yourself a favour and put 4 of them in your booth bin. You might also want to put in a couple of clamps to hold the tarps in place.

A bag of rags. Paper towels are great for windexing mirrors or dusting small objects but if you get caught in rain you might have to do some serious clean up. Go with a couple of small towels or something else absorbent.

Wet wipes. Should you get caught in rain in a park life can get very muddy. Wet wipes will help, they’re also useful in a very hot and dusty park.

Treats for you and extra to share. Sitting in a tent in the rain isn’t high on the fun list, in fact it can be downright crappy. It’s amazing how much a treat can make you feel just a little bit better, it’s very Pavolvian, but hey, it works. Make friends with your neighbours too and try to make light of it, you’re in it together.

My outdoor season last summer finished on a cold and soggy note. There was a massive thunderstorm that resulted in over 2 dozen tents being destroyed. I had a huge amount of mud all over my display that took an hour to wash off. Fortunately I had great neighbours, and we were all doing the same thing. Someone went on a coffee run, someone produced chocolate cake. 

Even in the crappy rain customers came out. By noon it was just a steady drizzle and yet more customers came out. At the end of the day when I added my sales up I was pleasantly surprised, I sold as much in the rain as I normally do. Yes it was harder, but my neighbours and I had some laughs, we made good friends and I made money.

Rain or shine. The show goes on.

InspirationFX: Golden Pearls and Swirls


Get your creative juices flowing

Golden Pearls and Swirls

by: Lee Metsalo

The beads that inspired this are the Uber Curly Pig Tails.  Isn’t there a myth about a golden pig somewhere?  These curly beads got dressed up to go out today.  They add texture to a necklace, and are a lot of fun!
This is a simple stringing project.  I started out with 30” of Softflex, as I didn’t really know how long the finished necklace would be with the swirly pig tails.  As shown here, it is almost 24” long.  I won’t lie and say the Softflex behaved nicely while going through the Pig Tail beads at first, but I figured out the trick.  The Softflex will go through the bead without issue, but caught up on the edge while exiting the other side.  Use a pin to lift the Softflex over the edge, and everything continues to move smoothly.  Easy peasy!



Go to our components list for this project and to buy what you need!
Need some help with some of the techniques? Check our tips page.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Pearl-a-bration! 20% off Pearls

Bead up something Bridal!


Pearls - is there anything more elegant and timeless than a pearl? Pearls have adorned royalty for thousands of years - their status as a "natural" gemstone making them even more rare and mysterious.

Advances in imitating and culturing pearls have taken them from the lofty reaches of royalty to the humble throats, ears and wrists of everyone, everywhere.

Whether you are looking for genuine pearls, grown in the water in farms by clams and mussels, fun glass "fashion" pearls, or deluxe Swarovski simulated pearls - you can be "the girl with the pearl." Or the guy with the pearl. We don't judge. ;-)

Look at all the Swarovski Pearl choices! You won't find a finer simulated pearl!

20% off - final week
s35387 Stringing - 5 mm Round Leather Cord - Natural (Inch)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

2 - 4 - 6 - 8! What do we appreciate! Siiiiize 8/0s!!!!!!

mb8-0001 Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Miyuki Seedbeads - Silver Lined Crystal
Let's hear it for Team Miyuki! As they head out onto the field at BeadFX, let's give a big cheer for the mb8-0352 Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Miyuki Seedbeads - Aqua Fuchsia Lined Lustersize 8/0s. 11/0s are heaven and 6/0s are quick, but if you want to be outstanding in a field - then 8/0s are GREAT!

mb8-0401FR Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Miyuki Seedbeads - Matte Black Grey ABFrom exotic players like
Aqua Fuchsia Lined Lustre,
Matte Black Grey AB,
mb8-0242 Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Miyuki Seedbeads - Sparkling Pewter Lined Crystal
Sparkling Pewter Lined Crystal

mb8-0408 Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Miyuki Seedbeads - Redto dependablemb8-0406 Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Miyuki Seedbeads - Orange classics like

mb8-0404 Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Miyuki Seedbeads - Yellow

and, of course -
mb8-0401 Japanese Seedbeads - 8/0 Miyuki Seedbeads - Black

Seventy-four new colours to choose from ... dive on in!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

one more day - 30% of buttons and lampwork beads

30% off Czech Glass Traditional Buttons and Sparkling Swarovski Crystal Buttons


Button, button - who's got the button? Buttons make interesting closures for bracelets and necklaces. A button and a loop of seedbeads are an excellent clasp. And we have findings for turning some of our lovely buttons into brooches and pendants.

30% Handmade production


Lampwork Beads

Handmade by artisans around the world. Lampwork beads are made one at a time by melting rods of glass onto a steel core.

Around the Metal Studio: The mandrel sisters

As I continue the tour of the BeadFX Metal Studio, I just want to remind you that great classes take place in the studio all the time, and when the studio isn't in use for classes, you can rent the space and play with all of these great tools on your own time. This is particularly wonderful if you live in an apartment or condo and can't bang and pound on metal and wire. Costs are reasonable and you should call the store to determine availability. In the studio you will have everything you need at your fingertips.

Now to the mandrels. No, not the country music sister group, but the tools you use to shape, form and work harden your wire and metal projects. Mandrels are used to size your jewellery projects and ensure accurate and consistent shaping as you size. They come in a variety of materials with a variety of accessories too. You can work-harden your jewellery by tapping it while it's on the mandrel with a rawhide hammer/mallet. I can't live without my mandrels: they are an essential tool for anyone who's serious about jewellery design and construction. BeadFX also sells mandrels, so you should check them out  at or try them out in the Metal Studio.

Ring mandrel
This mandrel comes in a couple of sizes. BeadFX has several for you to try. It's a tapered, steel cylinder, with a handle at one end and ring sizes marked along one side. There are other versions available with corners, or one flat side, or a groove down one side. The steel ring mandrel can be clamped in a vice so it's steady while you work on shaping or polishing a ring, leaving both your hands free to work. You can also buy wooden and plastic mandrels.
Steel Ring Mandrel, Round, 11-1/2 Inches||MAN-255.00

Bracelet mandrel
I find my bracelet mandrel indispensable. I have a round and an oval bracelet mandrel, and you can find both in the Metal Studio to try out. The oval bracelet mandrel in the studio is also vice-mountable. Use it to hammer annealed metal into a round or oval shape and size your bracelets to fit your wrist exactly. Stepped bracelet mandrels are also great to shape and size metal strips into bracelets.
Oval Bracelet Mandrel, 8-1/2 Inches||MAN-210.00

Necklace mandrel
Well, of course I own one of these too, but there's one in the Metal Studio at BeadFX to use as well. I find this mandrel is great for shaping but I also love it for checking the drape of a necklace. If I'm creating neckwires that I want to hammer to give a primitive look to them, this is a perfect go-to tool.
Polished Necklace Mandrel, Economy||MAN-235.00

Of course, there are other kinds of mandrels. There are the mandrels used by lampworkers.

There are plastic multishaped mandrels for wireworking:

There are Wubbers with mandrel jaws in a variety of shapes and sizes: 

There are small, handheld mandrels you can use for wirewrapping and creating consistent sizes. like these:
Wire Wrap Ring Mandrels, Set of 2||MAN-105.99

As always, tools are only limited by your imagination. Perhaps you'll find other ways to use these great tools and others you can discover and play with in the amazing BeadFX Metal Studio. If you are interested in guided play in the Metal Studio, make sure to sign up for my Open Metal Night on June 26 from 5 - 8 pm.