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Winding Down 2017 and Looking Forward to 2018

It’s been a busy year at Miss Poppy’s Boutique. I haven’t had such a busy year since I opened in 2013, so it’s true that perseverance pays off.

Two of my biggest sellers this year were my handcrafted metal bookmarks and rosaries. There are some left, and since I’m running a 30% off sale (with free shipping) until December 31st, now is a good time to pick up Grab Bag and Christmas gifts. My offer applies to everything, except my tutorials (patterns), which are $4 and under.

My most popular tutorial remains Noelle Christmas Ornament Cover. It’s a steady seller during the year, but from October through February, it sells like gangbusters.

Lately, I’ve been devoting much of my free time working at Poppy and Gene’s Beadery, helping with taking new photographs of beads and supplies and writing fleshed-out product descriptions. A lot of research is involved, from bead hole sizes, how certain beads are manufactured, giving ideas on how to use the beads (particularly in bead weaving), and the like.

What is in store for 2018? Well, I’m working on new tutorials, using some of the new Czech glass beads on the market. I’ll be teaching. And I’m going to make it a point to keep up this blog, at least on a weekly schedule. I’ve been lax in writing this blog, mostly because of the busyness of a long-distance move. No excuses now!

Thank you for a great 2017, and I look forward to 2018 with you.

Happy Beading!

~Susan

©Miss Poppy’s Boutique

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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.

ZSpiderAqua

 

They designed unique spiders.

ZSpiderwork

ZSpiderworkinprogress

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

ZSpiderBlueBlack

ZSpiderHalloween

 

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).

ZSpiderTutorial111

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

 

Keeping It Simple and Festive

©Designs by Susan Marie Molloy for Miss Poppy’s Boutique

©Designs by Susan Marie Molloy for Miss Poppy’s Boutique

In this week’s class, I taught the art of crocheting around a ring. This was a simple technique of single and half double crocheting around a bone ring and adding beads to a crocheted “drop-ribbon” that comes off the ruffled ring. I designed this pattern to help teach this “crocheting in rounds” technique and how to incorporate beads in crocheting. For myself, I made a lot of these, and I use them as “markers” on my clothes hangers, just to dress up an otherwise boring closet. Besides, it’s a good way to use up some leftover crochet thread and miscellaneous beads you don’t know what else to do with.

We had a lot of fun, and because I supplied the beads and bone rings gratis, my students only had to bring their crochet thread and a crochet hook – and their appetites. We had homemade hors d’oeuvre that I made and fresh brewed tea to make this afternoon class more festive.

In setting up and organizing my classes, I look for projects that appeal to a wide range of artists, beaders, and crafters. I look for – and I design my own – projects that will be, in the end, useful as a day-to-day item, or pretty things, such as home décor or jewelry. I tend to not focus solely on jewelry, because that gets “boring” as my students mentioned to me. I agree. After all, there is much more to creating than bracelets and earrings.

This weekend I am looking forward to teaching another class, this time, it’s wire working of a different sort. The class is full, but I’ll offer it again in the future.

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

Heartfelt Art Show

You never know how an artist will touch the lives of others.

Sure, an artist might create art with someone particular in mind.  The artist might do it, with the hopes that someone will like the creation enough to buy it.  And then the artist might create the work for the love of art and not give a second thought as to the who or why.

My latest passion, as it were, is designing and creating rosaries.  For years, I wanted to learn how to make them but was intimidated by wire wrapping.  The closest I ever came to making devotional prayer beads was sacrifice beads.  In fact, when I was teaching at my parish school, one of the art classes I taught in conjunction with religious education was showing my students how to make a string of sacrifice beads with cord, pony beads, and a religious medal.  (My inspiration came from one of my favorite saints, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who used such beads to count off her sacrifices and good deeds.)

Here's a sample of sacrifice beads I taught my students how to make.

Here’s a sample of sacrifice beads I taught my students how to make.

Then, after all these years, something dawned on me.  My confidence with wire wrapping came, I had a lot of beautiful and unique beads, and why not?

I created a couple of rosaries and showed them to my friends.  Before I knew it, I was taking custom orders.  This portion of my studio and shop was taking off, and it still is going like gang busters.

This past weekend, I was in an art show held at The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Pensacola, Florida.  I was happy to sell some of my beaded/sewn jewelry and wire key chains.  What I didn’t expect – but was thrilled nonetheless – was the popularity and selling strength of my rosaries and chaplets.

What touched me greatly were two sales in particular.  One became a gift for a little girl who is making her First Holy Communion this spring.  Her aunt told me, “You can never have enough rosaries, and this one will be her first.”

A young married couple with a several-months-old baby girl bought a rosary for their baby for her christening, which is being celebrated today at the Cathedral.  They were happy to find just what they wanted to present to her.

I felt happy, and frankly, sentimental about those particular sales.  I have every rosary I ever received – from my first plastic glow-in-the-dark one to a real silver one Handsome bought for me in Mexico.  I can only hope that the two little girls who will receive the ones I made will treasure them and remember for what occasion they received them. And I hope they will use them.

And you never know how a buyer will touch the life of an artist.

©Designs by Susan Marie Molloy for Miss Poppy’s Boutique

Contest Promotion

It really was a busy week.  I taught two classes in my studio – basic peyote stitch and three-drop peyote stitch –and I found time to create a few more rosaries for a church art show this coming weekend.  I’m banking on being able to start a Marcia Balonis piece next week.  I like her designs, and I’m anxious to show you my versions of her lovely designs!

 I also need to organize some new beads I acquired through Poppy and Gene’s Beadery. 

Speaking of beads, Poppy and Gene’s Beadery is hosting a bead giveaway.  The shop is giving away 50 grams of Dragon® Scale beads – that’s approximately 1,600 beads – in metallic olivine.  All you need to do is Like, Comment, and Share their Facebook page.  Do it HERE by following this LINK to their page. 

Olivine Dragon Scales

The contest is open until April 14; the drawing will be held on April 15.   

This is a fabulous promotion:  Who would love to get some  Dragon® Scale beads for just liking, commenting, and sharing their page?

Well, I need to get back to my studio.  I have to prepare for one class this week and get ready for the art show this coming weekend.

Good luck on the contest!

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

The Knotted Pearl Necklace

We hold monthly classes at our Bead Society, and at our March meeting, one of our members taught the technique of knotting leather cord with pearls.

Learning how to knot on cord was a long-time objective for me.  As Program Director for our Bead Society, I was excited when our member-instructor suggested this class.  That evening, many of our members gladly sat at the tables, eager to learn, too.  Here’s my necklace, as I was working on it:

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What was most surprising for me was the ease of knotting.  Granted, it does require some dexterity, and using an awl and long nosed pliers are actually very helpful to get the knots lined up “just so” against the pearls.  It took a little adjusting, and in the end, the finished piece has, as one fellow member stated, “  . . . [a connection] with some primal early human desire for adornment.”

My finished piece:

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Yes, it has a beautiful, rustic look in its simplicity.  And it wears beautifully!

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

What’s in a Name

Here we are at the beginning of a new week, and noticing last week went by fast. It definitely was a busy one at my studio.

I held another class. It was a basic needle weaving session using the gourd, or peyote, stitch. This was a new stitch for a few of my six students, and a nice refresher for others. We used one of my own earring designs as a starting point.

This stitch has been around for millennia, and goes as far back as ancient Egypt. I grew up knowing it as the gourd stitch; at some point beaders today more commonly use the term “peyote stitch” instead. What is interesting is that the term “gourd stitch” derives its name from American Indians decorating gourd containers, and “peyote stitch” is derived from American Indians decorating decorative objects used in their peyote ceremonies. Nonetheless, it is the same basic stitch.

I like it for its simplicity and versatility. When I create something using only Delica seed beads, the piece turns out smooth, flat, and slinky. I have modified patterns by using various sizes of seed beads, the most well-known of these is the Cellini stitch. It’s peyote gone ‘round and ‘round with a lot of interesting bumpiness!

We had fun at my class, and we learn from one another. I hold the belief that not only can experienced beaders share their knowledge and talents, but novice beaders bring a lot to the table, too. They see things with fresh, new eyes. And sharing and discussing some background history about the art of beading keeps our conversations between us beaders delightful and positive – and it makes it so much more enjoyable to want to learn more, and to return to my studio to learn and share even more.

©2016 Susan Marie Molloy, Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, The Rosary Shoppe, Miss Poppy’s Boutique, and all works within.