Tag Archive | Designs by Susan Marie Molloy

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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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.

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!

img_20161120_173858

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

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.