Archive | June 2016

Ocean Waves Cellini Spiral Bangle

"Ocean Waves Cellini Bangle" (c)Designs by Susan Marie Molloy for Miss Poppy's Boutique

“Ocean Waves Cellini Bangle” (c)Designs by Susan Marie Molloy for Miss Poppy’s Boutique

Last winter, I took a class at the Emerald Coast Bead Retreat in Fort Walton Beach, Florida to learn how to make the Cellini spiral stitch. Since then, it’s become one of my favorite beading stitches.

The Cellini spiral is basically tubular peyote stitch with beads gone wild – a varying amount of different sized and shaped beads make up the unique pattern to create a spectacular piece that gets conversations started.

With this particular project, I went with colors that mimic the warm and undulating ocean waves we see here in Florida, particularly the Gulf of Mexico’s coastline in the panhandle. My colors as like the aquas and blues of the waters, the barely perceptible purple that reveals deep waters, and the golden sunshine that sparkles on the water. The undulating shape of this bangle mimics the ever-moving waves.

I had a lot of fun creating this piece, and it wears beautifully. It may look heavy, but it’s very light and comfortable on the wrist.

It’s one of the classes I will be teaching this summer – I like teaching to help keep the art of beading alive.

I am offering the tutorial and a kit through my Etsy shop, too.  Follow this link HERE.

Maybe a pair of matching earrings would be nice . . . the wheels are turning in my head!

©Designs by Susan Marie Molloy for Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

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Kon Tiki Earrings

In 1947, Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl organized an expedition via raft to sail across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia. He posited the idea that pre-Columbian South American peoples could have settled in the Polynesia islands. The raft was named for the Inca sun god “Viracochoa”, and “Kon-Tiki” was an old name for the god.

My friend, Deborah Wear-Finkle, designed a pair of beaded earrings that evoke olden days of the Incas and Polynesia, and she rightly named them “Kon Tiki.” They do have a South Sea isle look about them. I imagine a time long ago, and a Polynesian tribal princess wearing them for a casual cookout with the gang on a beach:

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These are easy earrings to construct. I made my version with silver and grey seed beads, pink crescent beads, black O-beads, black dime beads (in the picture, they’re the smaller beads towards the bottom), and large beads topside (I used black wood beads from Africa on mine).

You can get the tutorial for Deborah’s “Kon Tiki Earrings” at her Esty shop, Shosin Arts. Click on this link: Kon Tiki Earrings.

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©Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

Checkerboard

Black and White Check2The past weekend found me finishing some beading projects I started last fall. Between a beading cruise we went on in October, to getting custom Christmas ornament covers made, I put some projects aside and . . . well, forgot about them until this weekend.

As I was straightening up and cleaning my studio, I found the half-finished projects sitting patiently in a plastic box. The checkerboard-style cuff bracelet was my first to finish.

As you can see, when finishing off the ends, I prefer using wire/thread guards before attaching the clasp. They help to strengthen the clasp to the piece and prevent the Fireline® thread from fraying. For this bracelet, I used a tube/sliding clasp in silver plate. All beads used in this piece are high quality Czech glass.

Nice, isn’t it?

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This pattern is from Virginia Jensen’s book, “Stitching with Two-Hole Shaped Beads,” published by Kalmbah Books (2015). The name of the bracelet is “Herringbone Cuff with Squares and Rullas.”  (Found on Amazon.)

I’m keeping this one for myself. The checkerboard look is nice for summer, as well as year-round.

As always, custom orders are always welcomed!

©Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.
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The Plum Branch Cuff Bracelet as Art

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Plum Branch Cuff Bracelet by Shoshin Arts

A couple of weeks ago, I finished a single peyote stitch bracelet, and immediately knew that since I enjoyed making it so much, this was going to be my “Summer of Peyote Stitching.”  Well, it appears so.

My friend, Deborah Wear-Finkle is a talented artist, an intelligent woman, and a lot of fun to be around.  She expanded her creativity recently by opening her own Etsy shop, Shoshin Arts, and offering some of her original peyote patterns, among other delightful items.  Her Japanese brushwork-inspired bracelet, “Plum Branch Cuff Bracelet,” was my second peyote stitch work I tackled this past week.

(As an aside, I like things Japanese:  I enjoy reading about their history, politics, culture, and art, and savoring the cuisine.  One of my cousins spent her childhood living in Japan, and in college one of my Bachelor of Arts degrees focused heavily on the Japanese political system, art, and history.  So, this bracelet was one of those excited “I want it!” things.)

Deborah’s pattern calls for 8O round seed beads, but I took my version in a different direction by using 11O Delicas (cylinder beads) instead.  I liked how theses beads make the plum branch very delicate-looking, and the overall look is smooth.  Seriously, I am delighted at how delicate the branch looks, with that almost-paint-brushed-look about it.  Yes, to me it looks like Sumi-e, or Oriental brush painting.

Additionally, it made for a much smaller (4” x 5/8”) piece, and stiffer, too.  I was pleased with my result, although since the piece was about half the length it should be for a bracelet, I was going to stitch more rows to add to the length.  Then I thought I’d add tassels and make it a bookmark.  Then my husband, Gene, suggested I add a beaded loop to one end and hang it as wall art.

Brilliant!

I did that.  I added a row of peyote stitches for the loop, and hung it.  It’s a simple, delicate, and an interesting piece of wall art that reminds me of my friend each time I see it on my foyer wall. 

Here it is on my foyer wall. The wall color maybe isnt' the best against the piece.

Here it is on my foyer wall. The wall color maybe isn’t’ the best against the piece.

You can purchase Deborah Wear-Finkle’s Plum Branch Cuff Bracelet tutorial/pattern at Shoshin Arts through Etsy.

I like it!

I like it!

© Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

Dressing Up Your Table with Embroidery

Though I normally have been teaching beading over the past few months, I offered a beginner class on thread embroidery. My students only had to bring their choice of plain cotton napkins, embroidery threads and needles, and I provided the hot iron transfers, iron, and ironing board.

So last week, I hosted this small class to teach a few embroidery basics. My students learned the satin, lazy daisy, and outline stitches, and best of all, we had fun, with childhood stories of attempting embroidery, but not continuing this craft – until now.

We used Aunt Martha’s hot iron transfers, specifically “Assorted Alphabets” #9240 and “New Monograms” #3739.

We took plain cotton napkins and hot ironed the transfers onto the edges of the napkins. Each student placed her monogram and/or flower design where she most creatively thought best.

Following are my finished projects in sets of two. I chose red cotton napkins made in India. I was pleased with my outcomes, though the napkins’ weave wasn’t as even as I liked. It made some of my embroidery stitches a little uneven. Future projects in this vein will be high quality cotton weave or linen.

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I plan on hosting more thread embroidery classes to teach other and more complicated stitches.
©Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

Bead Counters

Most needlework-type art requires counting of some sort. It may be stitches, rows, rounds, beads, threads. loops, et cetera. The trick, sometimes, is correctly keeping track of the patterns.

When I crochet and knit, I keep a piece of paper and a pen at my side and tally off the number of rounds or rows. When I cross-stitch off of a printed design, I use a highlighter to delineate stitches I completed. When I bead, I use beads.

Beads? Yes. Beads, to count beads.

I have a small handful of defective two-hold squares that are fused together and  cannot be taken apart. That happens from time to time, and it’s just a circumstance of the manufacturing process. Now, I’m not one to mindlessly toss out anything that just night have a useful second life.

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I use these beads to keep track of my beaded stitches. I’ll count how many stitches I will be doing ahead of time, place them in a pile on my beading board, and then start my work. As I finish each row or round, I’ll toss one bead on a small plate. When all the beads are on the plate, then I know my rows or rounds are done, and I’m ready for the next steps.

It’s a tried and true method for me. Some of my students do the same, and some are able to keep track in their heads.

How do you keep track of your stitches?

©Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.

Our Ordering Process and Seizing the Silver Lining

From time to time, we – Gene and I – special order beads for our customers who shop at our bead store, Poppy and Gene’s Beadery. A couple of months ago, we special ordered beads for a customer who wanted to create Tamara Scott’s “Sandbox” bracelet. The customer gave us the numbers of the Miyuki Delicas, and we went ahead and ordered them. Part of our special ordering process is that both Gene and I double-check and triple-check the numbers and/or colors and sizes of what our customers want. And, of course, in this case as always, we did just that.

The beads came, the customer took them, and by the same evening, the customer had a couple of different excuses why she didn’t want them. One of the excuses was claiming we didn’t order the right beads. We checked, and yes, we did, according to her written instructions and the numbers on the pattern. However, for whatever real reason, she returned the beads, and I took that opportunity to create my version of the “Sandbox” bracelet with the very same beads.

This piece is such an eye-catcher, that I already have orders for several bracelets for my friends, in these colors. Looks like I’ll be in the “sandbox” for awhile!

“Sandbox” is a flat peyote (gourd) stitch using even-count. It worked up quickly. It’s an elegant piece that really can be worn day or night, dressed up or down. I particularly like the snaps used to close the bracelet. They give it a seamless, professional looks. What really makes the piece a knockout are the patina charms placed in each box, or “sandbox” if you will.

You can find this pattern on Tamara Scott’s website, Tamara Scott Designs. She also sells the charms via her Etsy store, Tamara Scott Designs.

Always see the silver lining in every experience. I do, and that makes for a lot of positive dynamics and beauty in life.

Tamara Scott's "Sandbox," without and with the patina charms. Yes, the charms really make this a knockout bracelet!

Tamara Scott’s “Sandbox,” without and with the patina charms. Yes, the charms really make this a knockout bracelet!

©Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.