Tag Archive | Beading

Cleaning Your Art Medium

One of the most important tasks the bead artist does is to make sure beads are clean before using them.

I was preparing to create a new item the other day.  I gathered all of my strung peridot chips and started to take them off the strings to place them in a bowl.  By the time I was done, my fingers were grey and those bead chips needed cleaning!

The easiest method for me was to put them in a small jar, add a tiny drop of mild dish soap, add some water, tighten the lid, and shake, shake, shake. 

They then went into a mesh strainer and under running water to be rinsed well.

Placing the bead chips on a paper towel is the best way to lay them out to dry.

Leaving them to dry overnight ensures that all the moisture evaporates.

Now they are bone dry and ready to use — squeaky clean!  This cleaning method works well with all types of beads; just remember some only may need a damp rag wiped across them, some need deeper cleaning, and use your best judgement in getting the grime off.

(c)Miss Poppy’s Boutique and all works within.

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Mélange Bracelet

Well, the time sure flew by since the last time I wrote an article, and a lot has happened since then, too.

These past two months found me helping out as a buyer for our online bead shop, creating custom items (like bookmarks, ornaments, jewelry, and accessories), revamping my cookbook library, and cleaning and organizing my studio. I’m sure I had some relaxation time in there somewhere!

The other day, as I was going through boxes of beads and art supplies, I rediscovered bags of gemstones and glass chips. I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them or what I had in mind when I acquired them, but Fate helped. As I was combining bags of the same item into boxes, a few accidently fell together and Voila! – a new custom combination was born.

With my last goldstone box clasp, I created a simply sophisticated three-strand bracelet with a little AccuFlex and the mélange of obsidian, peridot, tourmaline, yellow turquoise, goldstone, and marble stones. The final product surprised me. It’s pretty!

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img_20161120_173334If you would like to create your own Melange Bracelet, I am offering kits in my shop and the beads only, if preferred. To learn more, please click this LINK FOR KIT and the LINK FOR THE GEMSTONE BEADS ONLY. The goldstone box clasp is not available, so I included a three strand tube clasp in this kit in its place.

I like happy surprises. Happy Beading!

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

Moonglow in the Palm of Your Hand

chakra-2aA couple weeks ago, as I was researching for some new projects, I stumbled upon the prettiest cabochons I ever saw:  LunaSoft.

These cabochons have such a beautifully soft and glowing presence about them, they mesmerized me.  When they arrived in my bead shop, one or more of each available color, it was “ooooo” and “ahhhh” non-stop.   It’s one thing to see them in a photograph, and quite another to see them live.

The colors are rich.  The glow is soft.  The backs are metal coated.  The faces feel like they are lightly coated with rubber, or something like it.  The biggest question I had was, “How are they to work with?”

“Wow!” is my answer.

I choose to design a peyote bezel for a pendant using Japanese seed beads and SuperDuo beads, worked around a copper-hued LunaSoft cabochon.  Working the bezel around the cabochon proved to be remarkably pleasant.  I would even go so far to say that the coating seemed to hold the bezel well while stitching.   The way the cabochon seemed to change its glow was amusing.  Depending on how the light hit it, it looked solid, it seemed to glow, or it flashed a rich coppery hue with depth.  I have several more tutorials in the works using LunaSoft cabochons.

Other LunaSoft colors range from reds, to blues, to greens, to oranges, to white and black, and more. At the moment, we have several colors of the round 23mm ones in our bead shop.  I plan to order more in different sizes and shapes to stock in October.  In the meantime, see what’s available now:  CLICK HERE to see more.

If you like something a little different and something fun to work with, I recommend the LunaSoft cabochons, hands down.

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

Add some moon glow to your repertoire!

©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:

Sugar Bowl

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!

GardenBraceletBySusanMarieMolloyInspiredByMarciaBalonisII

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.

SusanMarieMolloysGardenBraceletInspiredbyMarciaBalonisII

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.

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.

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.