Desert Song

DesertSongWrapBraceletBySusanMarieMolloyPhoto3The new Diamonduo beads arrived in my studio a couple weeks ago, and this past week found me doing more design work.

The Diamonduos are approximately 6mm x 8mm and come in a large amount of colors. For my new design, I chose the coral color.

A few mint-colored beads in my supply room caught my eye, and I coordinated the duet of coral and mint with antique gold. Laying all the beads together on the studio worktable, the first thoughts of a soft desert song floating on a breeze came to mind – thus, this piece’s title, “Desert Song Wrap Bracelet.”

As I worked the beads, this project seemed to be (subconsciously) inspired by the many creations of Deborah Roberti of Around the Beading Table. She creates down-to-earth tutorials that can turn any creative artist’s head. You can see her work and shop her tutorials by clicking HERE.

As with my “Queen Twosret” wrap bracelet, “Desert Song” has a beaded peyote stitch toggle clasp. The look is clean, yet elegant.  Depending upon the piece, I would rather have a beaded clasp than a metal one.  Again, it depends on the piece.

The tutorial is now available in my shop, Miss Poppy’s Boutique. Click HERE to read more about it, purchase it, or request one made just for you by me.

In the meantime, listen for that soft desert song wafting in the warm desert breeze.

©Designs by 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.

 

Peeking into Queen Twosret’s Jewel Box

QueenTwosretWrapBraceletTutorialI admit it: I am a fanatic for anything ancient Egyptian, and have been as far back as I can remember.

This week, I obtained some of the new 6mm pyramid beads. They are half the size of the similarly-shaped studs, and much more versatile for my type of creations. This summer I’ve been designing many new projects, and wrap bracelets are just one type.

I took the pyramid beads and combined them with other specialty beads in roughly the same sized category, added seed beads, and I came up with an easy to make wrap bracelet. I enjoy making my own beaded clasps, too, which is what I did for this project.

I used beads in traditional ancient Egyptian colors, and the piece feels like the Pharaohs had an extraordinary influence on this! The blue is like the prized lapis lazuli they used in their jewelry; the precious gold they prized for its flash; the reds of ochre and jasper; the black of the Nile’s rich silt; and the stripes on their headdresses when I created the clasp.

I named this piece “Queen Twosret’s Wrap” after the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Seti II’s wife. Two colors of seed beads are used to give a striped appearance between the larger beads. It adds a little something special, don’t you think?

The tutorial is available now in my shop, Miss Poppy’s Boutique (click HERE to purchase).

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

©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 Beaded Garden

Last year, I purchased a tutorial by Marcia Balonis of Baubles by Balonis called “Garden of  Flowers Bracelet.” It wasn’t until I spent this summer visiting public gardens and tending to mine that I had the inspiration to try my hand at Marcia’s tutorial. Yes, I was in a flower garden mood.

This tutorial calls for various flower beads sewn in such a way to conjure colorful sprawling flower beds. After reading through the tutorial (always a plus before you start any project!), I had my version outlined in my head. I was ready, and all that I needed to do was grab my vintage sugar bowl filled with loose orphan beads:

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I used all glass beads: flower cups, leaves, dragon scales, drops, seeds, Delicas, two-hole cabochons, buttons, and spiky buttons, just to name a few. I added a red lady bug bead nestled in the flower bed, for a surprise. She’s not flying anywhere because I ran my needle three times through her for security. The hole was fairly large, so I added a small black seed bead on either end to finish it off cleanly.

For the beaded toggle clasp, I used a scarab – whimsy!

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Throughout the project, I was careful to make sure that no thread was showing as I sewed. Visible threads annoy me; I prefer a clean, polished look on my creations. Because of this, my process was slow, yet well worth the time.

This “Garden Bracelet” has a nice weight to it; it feels substantial. It also wears nicely on the wrist and sparkles in the sunlight.

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You can purchase Marcia’s tutorial through her Etsy shop, Baubles by Balonis (click HERE). Her tutorials are well-written and easy to follow, and priced just right.  (By the way, she is a fabulous teacher, too, as my husband took a class from her earlier this year at the Emerald Coast Bead Retreat.)

My beads are from Poppy and Gene’s Beadery and from my private collection.

Visiting public gardens and tending to my own verdant gardens are just some of my most pleasurable pastimes. The vivid and pastel hues offset by variants of green foliage are delightful and relaxing. My version of a beaded flower garden ensures that a fanciful garden is carried by me, never to wilt and to always bring a smile.

©Designs by Susan Marie Molloy, Miss Poppies 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.

Pièce de L’élégance

Here at my studio, this seems to be the season for patrons and customers commissioning me to create pieces for them. I’m creating bracelets and wall art, and all this is keeping me busy every day.

One commissioned work in particular stands out for this week.  I was asked by one of my longtime customers and art aficionada to create a purse charm based on a metal bookmark I recently designed. Looking through my supplies, I carefully handpicked Swarovski crystals, Czech glass beads, and a two-tone hand carved Czech glass melon bead. I arranged them in groups for their most aesthetic appearance, and hand wrapped them in delightful clusters with gold plated wire.

Beginning to gather pieces for the charm.

Beginning to gather pieces for the charm.

To make the chain, I fashioned my oval-shaped jump rings as the base for this piece. Then I added each cluster of beads to it, starting at the end with the largest, a cube-shaped peachy hued Swarovski crystal, end capped with crystal Swarovski caps and marguerite flower beads.

I continued adding each cluster to the chain, connecting them with smaller oval jump rings. At the opposite end, I attached a small lobster clasp and tiny wrapped bead cluster.

The finished charm on my vintage straw purse.

The finished charm on my vintage straw purse.

The purse charm in its final incarnation is pretty! It sparkles and shines, and adds just the right amount of interest and effervescence to make this a conversation starter. The lady who commissioned this purse charm recently bought a new purse, and this charm is just the ticket to add that pièce de l’élégance and je ne sais quoi to her ensemble.

The charm on my vintage gold mesh evening purse.

The charm on my vintage gold mesh evening purse.

Most of all, I hope the charm brings joy and that little something to my customer/patron.

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