Pfahl in love with organization

Discover a new beading product to simplify your experience, and meet the inventor too!

Darlene Pfahl has many creative interests, ranging from knitting and sewing to counted cross-stitch and watercolor painting. She has been married to her husband, Herm, for 63 years. She exclaims, “He is a very patient, supporting man! I have a habit of diving headfirst into any project I have ever taken on. He has had to put up with my hobby clutter for a long time.” Darlene and Herm live in northern Idaho (the land of potatoes – although she prefers broccoli) and together they have three children, four grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. 

Darlene (bead tray inventor) and Herm (tolerant husband of 63 years)

Darlene added to their home’s “craft stash” after she completed her first bead-woven project when she was 70 years old. She made a pair of earrings for her sister-in-law and (pun intended!) she was hooked after that. She continued her bead weaving escapades, and within a year her original work was being showcased and purchased in local studios. “I sold necklaces, bead-embroidered cuffs, bracelets, rings, and earrings. I used peyote, RAW, CRAW, herringbone, spiral stitches… just about everything,” she explains. 

She started a bead-weaving group six years ago, which is comprised of eight members who meet every Monday to stitch together and share their accomplishments. “It is such a wonderful, supportive group,” she adds. Even though Idaho’s official nickname is the Gem State, the closest bead shop to Darlene’s neighborhood is 70 miles away in Washington state. As such, Darlene has stocked up on beads and is fondly known as the “local store” among her friends.

Sloppy beads can lead to mix-ups and lots of frustration.

In the spring of 2018, she embarked on a peyote-inspired adventure during which she designed a bracelet with a large variety of colors. She spent countless hours sorting out her piles of beads that continued to mingle together despite her best efforts. Finally, she had had enough. She stresses, “Keeping the beads confined to neat little piles on my bead mat had become an intolerable problem… I put some thought into how to conquer the aggravation.” Thus, the No More “Oops!" Bead Tray was born.

It took Darlene two months and five prototypes to get it right. Her final design is made out of a neutral shade of Vellux fabric – the stuff that premium bead mats are made out of. There are nine slots total, which can be identified upon order with letters or numbers of your choice. The beads are easier to identify and pick up throughout your project with the added bonus of quicker clean-up. She tested the tray on her beading group and they urged her to market it. 

It is always a pleasure to work in an organized beading area!

At 82, Darlene was unsure if she could manage such an undertaking. “I was most apprehensive about being able to produce enough product, as I do all the work by hand which consists of a lot of scissor work, adhesive and stiffener application, packaging, shipping, and paperwork.” Regardless, she went forth and listed the tray for sale on Etsy in the month of May 2018.


By the end of June, she had sold only one tray and thought she had failed. But she was determined. When she posted a Facebook photo of her tray with beads from the peyote bracelet that she had made, she had ten orders within a day. By the middle of September, her business was off and running. Several YouTube jewelry artists have shown her tray, and she has now sold more than 1,000. 


With the No More “Oops!" Bead Tray, cleaning up becomes a simple task!

Darlene is currently working with a manufacturer to assist in a small part of the production process. She is still going to do a bulk of the handiwork, but she hopes this will assist her to make the trays quicker to keep up with orders.


Her favorite part of having her own product is reading the reviews and knowing that it has made beading easier for so many people. The moral to the story, in her words, is this: “If you think you have a valuable idea, give it a try. The world may have been waiting for your brainstorm.” 

The No More “Oops!" Bead Tray sells for only $20, and can be purchased from Darlene at or at 

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