Tag Archive | Boho

Blending the Centuries

Lately, I’ve been going through my personal belongings, organizing them, and giving away what I really don’t need, because how much “stuff” does a person really need? Sentimental things aren’t a consideration. They stay. I need them.

One of those sentimental things is a necklace that belonged to my great-grandma. I have a black-and-white picture of her wearing this necklace sometime in the 1940s, sitting in the backyard, cleaning string beans, her head wrapped up in a printed scarf, and the necklace just barely discernable between her dress’s open collar.


The necklace is a string of tin cut faceted 1910s or 1920s-era Czech crystal beads, in graduated sizes, with the original brass spring ring. My understanding was that it went through a couple of re-stringings in years past before I inherited it in high school. The medium back then was black cotton sewing thread, and when I restrung it in high school, I followed suit, using a doubled-up length of white cotton thread, needle, and patience, and a lot of knots.
Over the years, the thread turned green where it met the brass rings, yet the thread itself was in good and seemingly strong condition. However, it was time to restring it with more a reliable material.


Taking it apart was fairly easy work, but the knots were a little difficult to remove from the rings. Once done, I cleaned the brass with dry cotton swabs.


Next, since the beads were hazy, I gently cleaned them and rubbed them with a cotton terry cloth to bring back the brilliant sparkle. Going through each bead, there were two mismatched glass beads with an unusual – maybe antique cut? – shape. Nonetheless, I kept them and used them at each end so they would only be seen from the back if I wear my hair up.


Taking 49-strand AccuFlex, brass crimp beads and crimp bead covers, and wire guards, I restrung the crystals and glass spacer beads, and added three extra vintage era new old stock (NOS) tin cut beads (purchased from Beadtopia Vintage in Flushing, New York) to make the necklace a touch longer. The old and new old stock beads are barely discernable. They look natural.


Now my great-grandma’s necklace is more solid, and I don’t have the queasy feeling that, Heaven forbid, it comes apart while I’m wearing it.


In the past, I wore it for my high school graduation picture, my wedding picture, and countless other special occasions. I’d like to think that Great-Grandma would get a kick out of how her necklace survives and how I’m making sure it lasts for decades to come.

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

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Creating Anew

Since February 2016, I have been creating something a little out of the ordinary in my studio:  rosaries.

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and finally got around to doing.  The whole idea intimidated me and sometimes overwhelmed me, but one day, I just said, “Do it!”

One of the things I discovered is that it’s not as difficult as I imagined.  Sure, it takes concentration, a good understanding of counting beads, and patience.  These rosaries take hours to create.

I sold a good number of them so far.  Being the flexible artist, I accommodated about half of those sales and created rosaries according to my customers’ wishes.  One of the requests was to use 6mm bicones for the Hail Mary beads, and 8mm round Czech pressed beads for the Our Fathers.  I didn’t think the size, nor the color combination, would result in an attractive piece.  Yes, I was unconvinced, but as the old adage goes, the customer is always right.

I went ahead and made the rosary.  Starting off, I had a lot – a lot – of trepidation.  Yet, as each decade of beads grew, I started to like what my customer wanted.  He had some good foresight as to what the final product would look like.  Even his choice of a centerpiece – a fleur de lis – was the pièce de résistance.  I couldn’t have guessed how beautiful this rosary turned out.

I like it.

SWRosary53

That is the conundrum of artistry:  order and balance is good, quirkiness is in the eye of the beholder, and create what you feel that expresses your soul.

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

Crochet Beadwork

We took my class offerings to a new medium last week – beadwork a la crochet.

Crochet beadwork is a technique with which I busied myself several years ago, during a time when I couldn’t get enough of crocheting.  Wanting a little uniqueness to some of my doilies, I strategically placed tiny seed beads within the stitches as I worked them.  Adding beads to my work added the texture and visual interest for which I was looking. They turned out beautifully.

It came across my thoughts again several weeks ago when I was developing and scheduling my classes.  Why not offer this, a little “something different”?

This time, during my class, my friends and I decided to make some summertime beach-worthy bracelets.  My pattern is simple and basic enough for the beginning crocheter, and incorporates single and half-double crochet stitches with size 10 crochet thread in ecru and inexpensive glass or wooden beads.  It does work up fairly quickly, but still, it takes about two hours to complete, depending on how fast or slow you are as a crocheter.

Three of my students chose to create their pieces using glass beads; one chose colorful round wooden beads.  My friend who chose the wooden beads took my pattern in a little different direction.  She added a few extra rows, sans beads, to one of the edges:

CrochetBracelet1

The others completed their bracelets with glass beads, and they also turned out pretty.  (I think my photograph of them turned out pretty nifty, too!)  I think they would look good with black thread, too, don’t you?

CrochetBracelet2

Notice that a matching bead does its work as a “clasp” that blends in nicely.  They are ready for the pool or beach!

I plan on writing out the tutorial for my pattern that is public-worthy, and will announce its availability here when I get it written.

Enjoy your creativity!

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

Needling

Needle

Beading needles should not be so damaged during the first project. This is bad.

One of the most important suggestions I cannot stress enough is using very good quality tools, including beading needles.

I make the mistake of buying beading needles made in China.  Of the five in the pack I bought, three broke within a couple of weeks.  One of them broke off in my finger (you can read about that debacle here in my blog, “Safety First“).

 

I have some wide eyed beading needles from India.  Fair to good, I would say, but they bend, curve, and twist like crazy.  These aren’t worth it, unless you’re using them for one project only.

The best beading needles, by far, are ones made in Japan.  I find them sturdy and available in all sizes and lengths to help you create your professional beadwork.

The slightly extra cost is worth it.  You would actually be spending more in the long run if you kept on buy Chinese made needles, for sure.

Happy Beading,

Susan Marie Molloy

Designer and Owner of Miss Poppy’s Boutique

 

Spring Show

We set up our table at the Emerald Coast Bead Society Spring Bead Show earlier this month, and the event was successful. It was held at a local church in town.

My husband, who is an artist and owns Gene’s Joint, and I shared a table. This arrangement worked well. We could take breaks and cover one another’s’ items, and not skip a beat.

There's Gene from Gene's Joint preparing for the show.

There’s Gene from Gene’s Joint preparing for the show.

We visited our fellow artists’ tables, and we found some pretty nifty creations and supplies. We had a lot of fun talking and laughing with a fellow member whose table was behind ours. Fun times!

All of our fellow bead society members made lovely art, including jewelry, handcrafted glass and polymer clay beads, and similar art. I only wish I remembered to take a few pictures to show their outstanding work.

View from my side of the table with a few of my handcrafted charms and earrings.

View from my side of the table with a few of my handcrafted charms and earrings.

Lunch was tasty. The spinach quiche I had was delicious, and my husband’s turkey sandwich was to die for. The ladies of the church made a large selection of great-tasting and healthy food for our bead society.

One of the things that I would do differently would be to better organize our box of organza bags, gift boxes, and sales slips. I threw everything in a box (including extra business cards and pens) under the table, and it was sloppy. I’ll be better set up at our next show.

Show 1 Table

This is a mess. Organization is the key for the next show!

 

Overall, my husband and I had a fun time and sold a lot of our work. I even garnered a few custom orders.

I heartily suggest attending a bead show anywhere there is one available in your area. The work is beautiful, and sure beats the cheap, breakable junk that’s imported from China.

Before the crowds.

Before the crowds.

Support your local artists.

Happy Beading,

Susan Marie Molloy

Designer and Owner, Miss Poppy’s Boutique

 

Up the Beading Road

My beading fascination and business took another exciting turn this past couple of weeks. I am now learning new skills and techniques with beading with threads.

My first project was a simple back-and-forth sewing technique. I used fishing line, cat’s eye beads, and faceted Czech glass beads. I finished it off with a simple silver toggle clasp.

The project went well, and I was finished in an evening.   I wore the bracelet for a few days and decided that fishing line made the bracelet a little too stiff for my liking. I wound up making a similar bracelet for a friend, but this time I used Fireline thread. What a difference! The bracelet was more flexible, lighter, and felt alive. Now I will take apart my bracelet and redo it with Fireline thread.

GrapesSuzetteForBlog

This past weekend, I attended a regular beading class. The project for that morning was the Darby Bracelet (pattern created by Deborah Roberti). It featured a ladder stitch, which I wanted to learn.

After having a slow start to the first portion of the pattern and two tear-outs, I was getting the hang of it. I broke a needle in class, and that does happen from time to time.  I took my unfinished bracelet home, and I was finished that evening. I finished the bracelet at home, and by the time I was more than halfway done, I gained confidence and speed with each stitch. It got to a point where I didn’t have to rely one hundred per cent on reading the pattern. In fact, I only heavily referred to it when I added the clasp.

PathForBlog2

It turned out well, though I made it about one section too much for my wrist. It won’t fall off, but it could be a little bit smaller. My next Darby Bracelet will take care of that.

I find that threading beads is a nice change from wire beading. I plan on creating a few new pieces for my Etsy shop, Miss Poppy’s Boutique. I believe this new beading technique will be a nice addition to what I offer for my customers.

My finished bracelet.

My finished bracelet.

Happy Beading,

Susan Marie Molloy

Safety First

Last week at our monthly Beading Society’s meeting, we learned how to create pieces with seed beads and thread. Our project was the Sparkly Wheel, and both Gene and I did pretty good. We didn’t completely finish them off, and that’s good because I plan on using both pieces to make an ornament. I’ll write a future piece on that.

Gene's and My Sparkly Wheel Project with Czech Glass Seed Beads and Glass Beads

Gene’s and My Sparkly Wheel Project with Czech Glass Seed Beads and Glass Beads

Today I’m stressing the importance of care and safety when beading. This morning during the pouring rain here in Florida’s panhandle, I decided to try my hand at beading a bracelet with tiny cat’s eye beads and seed beads. All was going well until I pushed the needle hard through a tight bead hole and some of the needle’s plating slid and embedded itself in my index finger. In fact, it left two separate pieces right under the skin.

I spent about six minutes sterilizing a thin cross stitch needle, dripping hydrogen peroxide over my wounded fingertip, and picking out the fragments. Every bit of the foreign matter came out, and my finger is healing well.

This is moments before the beading needle's plating found its way into my finger.

This is moments before the beading needle’s plating found its way into my finger.

The needle itself didn’t appear broken, so I am thinking that some of the metal plating is what slid into my finger. I am not pleased with the quality of this Chinese made product, and I will be searching for a better quality, large eyed threading needle.

Using a thimble would have been better in accomplishing the task of pushing the needle through, and now I have one of my old silver thimbles sitting in my studio ready for future projects.

GrapesSuzette1.jpg

This is my finished ©Grapes Suzette bracelet.

In the end, my bracelet project turned out pretty and better than I expected, since this was my first try with a large project. I plan on creating more of this same style bracelet in different colors and beads, and I will offer them for sale in my Etsy shop when they are ready.

Remember: Safety is important – always!

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