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The Designing Process

il_570xn-1050051277_g9yxThings are still hopping in our bead shop, and while we’re busy with that, I thought I’d share another of my original designs with you.

When I’m not teaching art, or working on my books (yes, I’m a published author, too), or travelling, or being involved with the day-to-day routine of life, I find inspiration to create from the world that surrounds me. Last year, I designed an easy beaded Christmas ornament cover that proves to be a huge hit with my customers time and again.

Just like with anything else, designing a project is easy, and it’s not. The Beading Muse was kind to me with my Noelle Christmas Ornament Cover project. One evening, I was organizing my Czech glass beads and came across some pretty pink ones I forgot I had. I paired them with some green ones, and liking the combination, it was natural for me to accent them with some silver lined seed beads and a few larger black beads. They looked good on the beading mat and would look even better as an ornament cover.

The color combination may seem unlikely Christmas colors, but my thinking is that if you like it, it works. For example, I’ve seen Christmas trees decorated with all purple – ornaments and lights – and though that’s not my preference, it works for others. Anything goes.

So, I settled into my studio, dug out a clear, round ornament, a needle, scissors, and Fireline ® and got to work. After a few tries and a few restarts, I was on a roll to creating this ornament cover. The picture of how it should look was in my mind; I didn’t even sketch it out first, as I usually do, for each method is different in creating something.

This particular project turned out well, in spite of all the backtracking and a few restarts. The trickiest part was actually taking clear photographs of the steps, then adding diagrams to each to show what needs to be done to create a pretty finished piece. Lighting was key to producing clear images, of course.

As I mentioned earlier, this became my most popular ornament cover tutorial to date. It takes little time to make and can be made in your color combination. Several of my students and customers shared pictures of their finished ones, which I will share here at a later date. Their color combinations are creative and pretty!

If you’d like to learn more about my tutorial, CLICK HERE.

Happy Beading!

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

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Spiders!

At our last bead society meeting, I filled in for another teacher at almost the last minute. With only a few days to consider what I could teach, and being ever mindful of techniques, wire beaded spider ornaments seemed just the ticket.

Using wire, seed beads, larger beads, and minimal tools, I created a spider ornament that is easy to make, uses a minimal amount of beads, and is unique.  We learned how to wrap wire, create loops, and create wrapped loops.

Each member was eager to get started on the project.

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They designed unique spiders.

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We finished our spiders by the end of class, too!

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One of the nifty things about this ornament is that it can be hung in a window using nylon thread, placed on a table or fireplace mantel, or hung with a hook on a Christmas tree. With the right large beads and a pin, it could be a brooch, too.

And – why a spider Christmas ornament? In my nationality, there is a traditional story about a widow with children who had a hard life. One spring day, a pine cone fell through their house’s window and sprouted. By Christmastime, they had a grown tree, but no ornaments with which to decorate it. On Christmas Eve, while the family slept, a spider wove its web on the tree, covering it from top to bottom. When the family awoke on Christmas Day, they saw the tree covered in a cobwebs, but only until the sun shone on it did the cobwebs turn to gold and silver, giving the family beauty and wealth.

My tutorial is available on Etsy at Miss Poppy’s Boutique (click HERE).

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

 

Nefertari’s Delight

NefertariNecklaceTutorialThose who know me well know that I am an enthusiast of the Ancient World – its political history, culture, art, and subsequent influence on the modern world.

In art and décor, I decorated my bath with an Ancient Egyptian theme: framed vintage post cards of King Tutankhamen’s treasures and furniture, miniature pyramids and a scribe statuette, walls painted with a faux stone look, et cetera. It’s also safe to say that if you put a Babylonian sphinx or Egyptian lapis lazuli ring or Roman gold sandwich glass in my path, I want it. Take me back, Baby. Wayyyy back—

On this theme, I created a jewelry piece that Nefertari would love to wear. Nefertari was one of the principal wives of Egypt’s pharaoh Ramesses the Great (also known as Ozymandias, as in Percy Blythe Shelley’s poem of the same name). Nefertari could read and write; she was highly educated. Thinking of her, I designed a beaded necklace I would imagine she would enjoy.

For my Nefertari’s Delight necklace, I started with a vintage 1920s glass cabochon. It’s roughly the size of a poker chip and embossed with an image of a lady in a pharaoh’s headdress. I bezeled the cabochon with glass seed beads and added a beaded bail to it. This was, actually, the most complex and time-consuming part of this piece. The result is appealing.Green Cab

Then came designing the beaded rope. The cabochon focal deserved more than a basic metal chain – in fact, a beaded rope in complementary hues would be the only way to fit the bill. Plus, the rope had to be fancy, but not take away from the focal. As you can see, I incorporated several different styles of beadwork with glass and jasper beads. It is simple, yet ornamental enough for a pharaoh’s wife.

I am happy with the way the entire piece turned out. I wrote a tutorial for it, which can be found in my shop, Miss Poppy’s Boutique (click HERE).  Please note that this is an advanced tutorial and gives specific directions only for making the beaded beads.  The bezel and focal rope holding the cabochon is a given that the beader already knows, or has the resources to research their construction.

Beads are from Poppy and Gene’s Beadery (click HERE) – fabulous, high quality beads and very affordable prices.

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

A Magnificent Summer

It’s a magnificent summer.

I’m enjoying it all: Soaking in the sun, reading, researching, writing, penning letters to friends and family, cooking many new foreign dishes, travelling, bowling (yes, I bowl!), golfing, hosting parties, embroidering, organizing my home, teaching classes, and creating art in general.

Nature is an ever-giving medium to serenity and creativity. When walking in and breathing in the beauty of endless blue skies, tumultuous black storm clouds, a tiny bumblebee on a Shasta daisy, the dripping Spanish moss on old live oaks, or dusky green grasshoppers on a city sidewalk, no wonder my creativity expands and gets new life.

When I return to writing my blogs later in August, I will share with you my fresh creations, new tutorials, and updates on classes I taught this summer.

In the meantime, I hope your summer is full of beauty, relaxation, and creativity.

One of my works in progress.

One of my works in progress.

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

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.

A New Medium

To say I’ve been busy is an understatement, particularly over the past two months or so. I enjoy being busy, and it pays to stay organized. Yes, it does.

Last year, I purchased many pounds of locally made (Pensacola, Florida) glass beads. The artist considered them “seconds,” but I considered them a bonanza of hundreds of perfect and unique pieces of art.

At the time I purchased them, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them. But it took a lot of sorting and selecting for this piece of art I had in mind. In fact, it took months of putting this bead in that pile and that bead in this pile.

Once I had the beads culled, it was time to count them out, for the art work I designed called for a specific number of beads. That done, it was – finally – time to create my piece.

Carefully aligning each bead in group, I capped and wire wrapped each one, paying specific attention to how each bead looked against its neighbor.

Months of work led to my final piece: A wall rosary. It’s substantial and hefty, and a little more than three feet long.

I am now in my studio creating another one, and will be offering it for sale when it’s completed. Of course, as with much of my art, this will be a one-of-a-kind work.

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“Splendors of God’s World” Wall Rosary, (c)Susan Marie Molloy Designs

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