Hello friends, does it ever happen to you that you’ll have a project and it’ll somehow take over your life? That’s what’s happened to me with this bead embroidery project I’m working on. I’ve somehow become obsessed with it to the detriment of other things I’m supposed to be doing (like this poor neglected blog) It doesn’t seem like much progress from the last time but this has taken me so long to do. The beads I’m using are so tiny that I’m going at a snails pace. And I want to get to a point where I can see more of what it’s going to look like but I’m not quite there yet. Oh well, I can’t really give up now right?!
Hello friends, I hope you all had a wonderful and serene Easter break. Its back to work chez nous as well so I thought I’d share with you something new I’m working on. Despite working with beads for quite some time now, I haven’t actually had time to learn the stitches that are so important to beadwork. Peyote stitch, right angle weave, herringbone stitch are just some of the stitches that serious beaders learn to create beautiful and intricate works that incorporate hundreds of beads. I’ve always used the bigger beads and so never saw the need to do these stitches.
But I finally decided to take the plunge when a class in bead work came up with a focus on the peyote stitch. Let me tell you that it is quite a challenge. First, as with any other skill, you are trying to learn, it takes a long time to get the technique down pat. Secondly, it will take hours and hours of work (much more than what I am accustomed to) before I can have the final (beautiful) finished product. You can see my fledging efforts here.
Learning this new weave requires patience, dexterity and precision, miss a step and the whole pattern is shot. You can’t imagine the number of times I’ve had to redo this part (which is only just the beginning) in order to finish it. And its not quite perfect yet either!
There is no easy gratification to be had with this kind of work. It’ll take a long time before I can get it to look like one of the the cuffs pictured here below. And I’m impatient to get to it and start doing more projects. But, as my teacher is so fond of telling us, there is no short cut to get there just the old fashioned way of working away till it gets done. I think the results will be well worth it though.
Friends, it’s a stormy start to the week. A change from the wonderful weather we had last week. When it’s nice out, it’s hard to sit inside and work but I did get some new pieces finished.
This first piece is a sautoir style necklace composed of lovely French glass beads from the 60s. I love this shade. There’s something very Mediterranean about it. And because it’s a sautoir, this can be worn long or looped twice around the neck. It’s quite a versatile piece.
The second necklace features bright red orange glass beads decorated with gold bead caps. The beads are also from France in the 60s.I really like the look of rosary style necklaces and this is my not completely asymmetrical take on that. These beads are a lovely lavender shade and its hard to see through the photo but they are a bit like crackle beads. These are vintage French glass beads from the 50s,Still keeping with the lavender color scheme, this necklace features some vintage opaque glass beads with decorative silver tone bead caps. I have a hard time working with the silver color, whenever I start a piece, my immediate instinct is to use gold (as you can see from the three preceding necklaces!). There’s something immediately accessible with gold though I’ve had a number of people ask me for pieces in silver. This necklace is one of my few attempts. Its simple but I like how it turned out. This encourages me to try to incorporate more silver colors in my work. Last point, I love that lavender goes well with silver and gold.
Here’s to a good week ahead of us!
Hello friends, we’ve been blessed with beautiful sunny weather this week. Just look at that sky! Here’s crossing my fingers it’s for keeps! What brilliant plans have you got lined up this weekend? I’m hoping we get to a good antique market. Or maybe break out the barbecue grill.
And since its Friday, here once again are a few interesting links I’ve found. Enjoy!!
After last week’s news about David Letterman retiring in 2015, its been announced that Stephen Colbert is taking over. I like Stephen Colbert, I can’t forget the time he came out in support of the Philippines after last year’s Hurrican Haiyan tragedy. He just about endeared himself to the whole country with that video.
Do you like fashion films? Remember when Vogue’s The September Issue came out? I remember playing hooky and watching it in the middle of the day in one of the theaters along the Champs Elysee. Anyway it seems that fashion films have become more common these days. Here are the top 10 of the moment.
Are you on Instagram? It seems hard to believe that Instagram was launched only in 2010. That’s a mere three years ago, but I guess that’s light years in terms of technology. Just recently it was announced that there are over 200 million users. I am fairly new to it myself but its completely addictive, I have to admit. Its true what they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. With such a great deal of users, it has even altered the landscape of fashion. Read all about it here. I love discovering different Instagrammers. Do you have a particular favorite? Do share. I am Petites Merveilles (what else?) on IG.
Speaking of pictures, I was amazed at this collection of photos showing Detroit in its early years. Its hard to believe that it was once one of the country’s richest cities. These pictures are so poignant and evocative, view them all here.
And that’s it folks!! Have a great weekend!
More often than not, I find my beads in antique fairs or in shows with antique dealers. But sometimes I’ll find them in unexpected places. Take this pair of earrings made with Czech glass beads from the 40s. They are quite special because of the degradé effect of the colors. It starts out white and graduates to pink to a dark violet. It’s very hard to do this kind of bead and hardly anyone ( if any at this point in time) does it anymore. Where I found them is a story in itself.
We were vacationing in a small seaside town in Southern Spain and beads were the last thing on my mind. Of course I had to ask if there was a local market around and I was told of a small local one. The appointed day arrived and I set out. It was a rather smallish affair with a cluster of stalls and many more vendors with blankets spread out on the ground. It takes a certain kind of dedication (Perhaps it’s more accurate to say it was a sort if madness) to go through about 50 stalls under 90 degree weather. And for all my dusty efforts, there was hardly anything to interest me. Luckily towards the end of the market I saw someone selling beads and kits to make jewelry. Unfortunately he only had new beads, most of which were plastic ones. I was about to give up and leave when he said that his wife perhaps had some old beads still in her collection. I didn’t waste any time arranging a meeting with his wife at local town square the day after and that is how I acquired these beads!
Now these beads are in the possession of a lovely and dear friend, the next step in their long adventure.
This has been in constant play chez nous. And while the original can’t be beat, this version is pretty cute….
Hello friends, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Are you all excited about the new week’s possibilities? I finished some of the pieces I started last week and I’m excited to show you all what’s new this week.I love working with filigree elements. There’s something timelessly pretty about them. I’m fortunate enough to have filigree elements from the 40s/50s and this week’s jewelry features them.
First up is this long green themed necklace. The two focal beads are what I like to call crackle glass, they look almost like they have ice in them and they are a lovely mint green shade. I love dangles on a necklace and I think it goes really well with the filigree in the middle. The beads are all vintage from the 50s.
My collection is not complete without earrings and this week features twin pairs. The first pair features Italian red wedding cake beads from the beginning of the 20th century. Don’t you just love the trailings on these beads?
And I also have a blue pair of wedding cake beads, also from the beginning of the 20th century. I love the filigree dangle on this one, its from the early 50s.
I also made some bracelets and wouldn’t you know it, I stuck to the pink palette with the exception of one. I know, I know, I promise to start making bracelets in other colors the next time!
This first bracelet is a simple one featuring a lovely filigree element and two red crystal shaped beads. I had a few of these filigree links that I had used on a necklace but for some reason, I found a last one at the bottom of one of my bead boxes. I couldn’t figure out how to use it since it was all by itself, till I realized that it was perfect as a focal piece!
And here come the pink bracelets. In my defense, they’re all various shades of pink.
There’s a super simple one for those days when you just want to put something pretty on your wrist and be on your way.
And finally here is one in all shades of delicate blush. I love the color blush, there’s something really fresh and delicate about it.
Eh voila! Now tell me, which one is your favorite?
Hello friends, what fun things have you got planned this weekend? I’m crossing my fingers it’ll be nice and sunny in our part of the world. Did I tell you that we saw the first flowers bravely coming out in our wee garden?
I thought last Friday’s post (you can check it out here) of different links was really fun so here goes another list…
Are you a fan of candles? I’m not talking about run-of-the mill, chase- the -smell -of cooking from your kitchen candles, but rather, of sumptuous, voluptuous candles replete with heady scents. Well if you like that kind, then you had best check out the newest one today. By Khol is a luxurious and exclusive new line of candles (with more luxury products planned for the future) made exclusively in France with only with the finest ingredients. And did I mention that the candles are housed in fine Limoges porcelain? Find out more in their eye catching site and be one of the first to know about this up and coming brand!
Louis Vuitton has just come unveiled the WorldTime, its new watch for men. It features several time zones (the better to adjust while you travel) in an impressive 30 color palette. You can check it out here.
Fans of Kate Moss, rejoice!! After a three year hiatus with Topshop, she’s back with a fabulous new collection.
David Letterman announced that he is retiring in 2015. I came across his first show interview with Bill Murray. A must read for fans!
Finally, I just had to share Ellen’s brilliant response to a recent controversial Target ad. (Backstory: Target photoshopped a model to inhuman proportions and was forced to take down the ad). Here is Ellen’s response. First the Oscar selfie, now this, the lady is on a roll!
Have a good weekend everyone!!
Its late but since its still technically Thursday, I thought I’d go ahead and do a throwback post. I wanted to feature this necklace which was a particular favorite of mine. I found these beads (along with a group of others that I have to post soon) the last time I was at the Antiquities Brocante at Bastille in Paris. Loved ones of mine know how much I adore that particular brocante. I would literally go everyday and look at every single stall. I went so often that sellers started to recognize me! (Ah, those were the days! ) Funnily enough, I didn’t always find old beads there. Lots of other curios and antiques but not the old glass beads.
That last time, I wasn’t particularly looking for beads. Plus it was the last day of the fair so people were in a going home mood. Well, one seller probably in an effort to get everything out, laid out, casually, almost cavalierly, a handful of old beads just as I was passing by. You can just imagine how my heart jumped!! I started looking at them and as is my habit, asked if she had more. To my great surprise, she pulled out a boxful of them!!! They were a glorious mix of different colors and shapes. Some of them were still attached to the mandrel (the rod to which glass is attached when being made). It was an amazing find and I snapped it up. I even managed to get a bit of a deal since she was just about ready to pack up and leave.
Now, here’s the other funny thing about these beads. For the longest time, I thought they were Czech glass beads. They are very very similar in look. But it turns out they are French glass beads according to some research I came across recently. Aside from the Bapterrosses factory in Briare, French production was not as extensive as the Venetians or the Czechs but there was a small cottage industry of lampworkers who produced beads that bear a striking resemblance to those more popular beads. Most of these lamp work beads were produced in the 50s. So the beads on this necklace are French lamp work beads from the 50s.
Hello friends, remember the post I wrote a few weeks ago about the Intersection of Fashion and the Automobile? I had the chance to see the lovely lady curators in action last Sunday at a Roaring 20s themed fashion show in connection with the Roaring 20s: From Riches to Rags exhibit at the Lorenzo Cultural Center.
It was a lively and fun fashion show with Lynn masterfully recounting the beginnings of 20s fashion and its evolution in relation to the times. The audience of nearly 600 people were enthralled especially when the models started to walk the room. There was a good mix of day and evening wear which gave the audience a concrete idea of twenties fashion. Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without fabulous jewelry to complement the outfits!
Take a look at this authentic and original gingham dress worn as a housedress. As Lynn pointed out, can you imagine dusting and cleaning while wearing this outfit?!
Along with live models, the curators brought along some special outfits such as this authentic flapper dress which was completely hand beaded. It weighs a ton and is now too fragile to wear. It comes out only for special occasions like last Sunday’s fashion show.
The other memorable piece was this 1920s wedding dress which came complete with the original wax flowers on the headpiece. This dress belonged to the grandmother of one of the curator’s friends and was donated to the exhibit.
If it was memorable seeing these dresses on display, it was even more memorable to see someone in the audience dressed in her own 20s fashion. Ginny here has been a collector of vintage fashion for over fifty years and she came dressed to the nines with her wonderful jewelry, beaded bag, bejeweled cloche and that silver whisky flask!
Here are Victoria and Elaine, two of the curators along with who was arguably the cutest model of the show wearing an authentic sailor outfit from the 20s. I love how her doll is wearing the matching outfit!
For more photos of the show, check out Fashion and the Automobile on the show.