Tag Archive | Czech glass

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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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.

Ruffled Wreaths

RuffledEarrings3aThough it’s still the sweltering dogs days of August, my thoughts have been floating over green pine needles and fresh red cranberries like white snowflakes on a calm winter morning.  I like the combination of pine needles, fresh cranberries, and soft flurries; they evoke winter warmth and hospitality to me.   Besides, thoughts of cooler weather do help during this summer heat.

Some leftover lava red rizo and minty green SuperDuo beads were sitting on my studio worktable in a jumbled pile.  I had some creamy white rulla beads, too, so I added them to the pile.  Beautiful!  The colors melded and played off each other so well, that a new tutorial was in the works.

Developing this new tutorial took a few attempts.  However, how I envisioned the final product was different as to how it came out – ruffled, rather than flat.

It wasn’t a mistake – it was meant to be!  The beads seem to burst like little fireworks, or the hodge-podge orderliness of a cluster of snowflakes.  They are like ruffled wreaths.

My new tutorial is now available in my Etsy shop, Miss Poppy’s  Boutique; cliek HERE for more information.

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

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.

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.

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.

Ocean Waves Cellini Spiral Bangle

"Ocean Waves Cellini Bangle" (c)Designs by Susan Marie Molloy for Miss Poppy's Boutique

“Ocean Waves Cellini Bangle” (c)Designs by Susan Marie Molloy for Miss Poppy’s Boutique

Last winter, I took a class at the Emerald Coast Bead Retreat in Fort Walton Beach, Florida to learn how to make the Cellini spiral stitch. Since then, it’s become one of my favorite beading stitches.

The Cellini spiral is basically tubular peyote stitch with beads gone wild – a varying amount of different sized and shaped beads make up the unique pattern to create a spectacular piece that gets conversations started.

With this particular project, I went with colors that mimic the warm and undulating ocean waves we see here in Florida, particularly the Gulf of Mexico’s coastline in the panhandle. My colors as like the aquas and blues of the waters, the barely perceptible purple that reveals deep waters, and the golden sunshine that sparkles on the water. The undulating shape of this bangle mimics the ever-moving waves.

I had a lot of fun creating this piece, and it wears beautifully. It may look heavy, but it’s very light and comfortable on the wrist.

It’s one of the classes I will be teaching this summer – I like teaching to help keep the art of beading alive.

I am offering the tutorial and a kit through my Etsy shop, too.  Follow this link HERE.

Maybe a pair of matching earrings would be nice . . . the wheels are turning in my head!

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