Two new necklaces up in the shop make the perfect pair for those times you can’t decide what to wear…
One is short and sparkly, with a vintage rondelle in an uncommon color while the other is composed of various colored vintage silver foil glass beads.
Well friends, its almost the weekend. And its Mother’s day too. Have you got anything special planned? Whatever relationship you have with your mom, life wouldn’t be the same without her right?
Here’s some great advice from some famous people’s moms.
The recently held Met Ball featured some fantabulous gowns. Check them out here. Aren’t these dresses just dreamy?
Speaking of ball gowns, the new Charles James exhibit just opened at the NY Metropolitan Museum. A must see for fashion lovers. Here are all the details.
And finally, if you love books, I’ve just discovered a great new blog that talks a lot about books. I’ve got several new ones on my list thanks to Mari’s blog!
Enjoy your weekend!!
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.
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!
One of the nice things about bead research is the way the trail leads to other interesting reads, especially on jewelry. I’ll be reading something on beads and very often its bibliography yields a whole other list of books to read. One of the things that struck me when I first started reading up on beads is how often they’ve been used on ethnic jewelry. And ethnic jewelry is a whole other fascinating field! So many great books on this subject. One highly anticipated book is Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba, Marjorie Ransom’s book on traditional Yemeni jewelry (Isn’t this a lovely title? Photo courtesy of Oxford University Press website). I’ve been waiting anxiously for its release since last year, but it seems its publication date has once again been pushed to April 2014.
So I was delighted when I came across an article she wrote in 2012 on this topic in the Saudi Aramco World website. It even features a wonderful video of a silversmith. Reading this makes me anticipate her book even more! Here is the article in full. Enjoy!!
As we close 2013, I look back with immense gratitude to all of you dear readers and friends. It has been a challenging and adventure filled year. May 2014 be full of wonderful and happy events for all of us!
Merry Christmas dear friends! Amidst all the festivities, let’s not forget that today our Savior is born!!
Just in time for the weekend, I discovered the wonderful cakes of the Imerman Cake Company. Their cakes are certified organic and free from artificial sweeteners, in short they’re healthy cakes. To be honest, I’m not so fond of cakes labelled organic. For some reason, all those I’ve tried have been dry. The Imerman organic chocolate chip coffee cake however is delicious and moist. It’s rich without being heavy with a wonderful chocolatey taste. I just had to bring one home.
The company is family run, and the recipe for the cakes are from the family too. They’re fairly new to the cake industry but I’m sure they’ve got a great future ahead of them. I’m really looking forward to more cakes from Imerman!
Here is Jane and her son Jeffrey
And here is the chocolate coffee cake that I’m going to enjoy this weekend.
For more info on Imerman cakes and where to find them, check out their site
One weekend, we decided to take a trip and visit Chicago, a city that holds many great memories for our family. I’m amazed to think that its been at least 10 years since our last visit here. I had the feeling while we walked around that we were walking in the steps of our youthful selves. There is the iconic Hancock tower where I watched one 4th of July spectacle of flying jets.
There is still the beautiful park near the wonderful Art Institute where you can rest just after viewing the great collection of the Institute. The weekend we were there, we saw that this tall block is actually an art installation which just happens to also be a giant fountain of water much to the amusement of many children.
I guess I really am a city girl at heart because I loved being among the skyscrapers and noisy streets, the energy kinetic and dynamic, always on the go. Its still a city of great food with such stalwarts as Rick Bayles’ Frontera Grill and some newcomers like Stephanie Izard’s Girl and Goat and Little Goat Diner. More on that on a future post!
Of course it wouldn’t be complete without a bit of shopping so we went and checked out Ikram. Don’t you love their choice of storefront color?
For all its hustle and bustle, there are quiet spots to be found. We took a rest on a quiet spot just above the River where the trees provided some shade from the sun and we watched the boats go up and down.
Another quiet spot we found was just steps off the busy Magnificent Mile, inside the cool and silent cloisters of this church.
I think its safe to say we won’t wait another 10 years for our next visit!
The night before last, I found myself unable to sleep. A book which normally does the trick didn’t help so I went back to my desk to work on some pieces. I though I would work on some earrings using these pretty gold foil Murano beads. I bought these beads at a Parisian brocante from someone who was selling his mothers things. She was a collector of this and that, he said, and with her passing, he couldn’t keep everything. Amongst the bits and bobs on his table, my eye was caught by these beads. They had a fiery glow. And luckily there were two of them!
At first I thought I would add an extra bead to them to jazz it up a little. But, I hesitated since the gold beads were already so eye-catching. It didn’t really need jazzing up. Some friends agreed and voila, here is the finished pair!
Soon available at the etsy shop!
Hello friends, remember those pieces I was working on last week? (You can read the post here). I did manage to finish them and wanted to show you some pictures. For some reason, they all turned out to be bracelets. And the nice brown one made of beads from Germany managed to find a lovely new owner!
Hello friends, how was your weekend? I spent mine at the Warren Art Fair in the Park and I’m happy to report that it was really great! There was a sizable crowd of people genuinely interested in all the artwork and beautiful handmade items that were on display. There was a wonderful group of artists and designers with their photographs and paintings, beautiful blown glass ornaments and jewelry of course.
I really liked that the fair was very much a community event. Local residents turned up to support the artists and this extended to the theater group that is putting on Shrek the Musical at the local theater. As a special treat, some cast members sang some of their songs and you can feel their pride and palpable excitement at performing!
So much to look at but as I was alone, it was hard to spend time at other booths. I did manage to get a shot of this great repurposed table from the very talented duo behind RetroReimaginings. I love their philosophy of giving a new life to otherwise forgotten objects!
And here are a few photos of my booth display..
What a wonderful weekend it truly was! I’m already looking forward to next year’s fair!
Today’s post is inspired by summer’s red blue and white colors….
Clockwise, from left to right, we have..
The sailing boats of St. Jean Luz, a charming seaside town of the Pays-Basque because summer means going on vacation…
Le Cabanon Bleu, delicious alfresco dining in Porto Vecchio, Corsica because summer is the best time for eating outside…
A cute old fashioned carousel made entirely of wood in Granada because summer is about child like pleasures…
De Petites Merveilles exotic blue clutch and red, white and yellow millefiori necklace (both now available in the shop) for all those summer parties and picnics
Simple summer flowers by the roadside because we need to stop and take it easy during the summer and last but not the least
Vintage finds during the all those great summer flea markets!
Hello friends, I’m getting ready for the Warren Art Fair so I thought I’d share some photos of pieces I’m currently working on. I have to confess that I’m having a bit of a hard time concentrating on work. It’s because its summer and all this sunshine and heat make me want to go to the park. Or eat ice cream. Both even. That said, I have some really pretty beads that help keep my mind on work.
There is this gorgeous vintage Venetian bead that would make the perfect focal bead.
Then there are these pretty vintage pink and green French pate de verre beads
And finally some vintage brown pressed beads from Germany.
So back to work I go! How about you, what do you do to motivate yourself when all you want to do is play?
So far I’ve been very lucky in my bead hunting. I’ve found some beads in pristine condition, while others are in great condition. This is a miracle given their age and the often dusty conditions I’ve found them in. Sometimes though I’ll find some beads that are irresistible but upon closer look are not the easiest to work with. One example is this group of trade beads that I found in a small Parisian brocante. They are pink and green with a sort of silvery streak and the bead core is white. Several beads were very badly chipped and a lot of the colors had rubbed off. But I hadn’t seen this combination before and I finally brought them home. Once home I did some research and it turns out that this kind of bead dates back to the 19th century, the early half of the 19th century! I was happy that I took a chance with them. Unfortunately, it was a disaster when I tried to work on them. Several beads lost even more of their colors and a few even broke. I stopped at that point and thought that I’d save them for my collection of loose beads. That was a year and a half a go.
Fast forward to a a few weeks ago– I took a trip and found myself buying a vintage Uzbek coat with a gorgeous color palette of dusty pink and green. Then somehow I got a strand of faceted pink topaz and I started thinking how beautiful these colors were and how well they worked together. I woke up this morning thinking suddenly of those green and pink trade beads from awhile back.
And somehow (perhaps my beading stars were aligned right), those pink topaz beads, little as they are, fit perfectly over the trade beads. The happy result is this bracelet. It certainly took time to put this one together but the result is well worth the wait.
Friends, I’m very excited to start the week because I have a pile of new beads to work with. Just look at my new finds, aren’t they so pretty? I have great mix of vibrant red French pate de verre, gorgeous pink and gold Czech foil beads and some Swarovski rondelles for good measure. I can’t wait to work with them!
And as if that wasn’t enough, I also have some beautiful new gemstones to work with. I love my antique glass beads but I love gemstones too! And its hard to resist these faceted black spinels and pink topaz. They’re smaller than what I’m accustomed to but I’m looking forward to making beautiful pieces with them!!
One of the things I really enjoy when traveling is discovering new restaurants. I especially like the hidden tiny gems that are far from maddening crowd. In a city like New York, you are spoilt for choice so it can be difficult if not daunting to find a good one. But I had heard of small restaurant hidden in the West Village. The idea that it was hidden was what sold me to the idea of trying this particular one.
When we arrived at the address given for Hudson Clearwater, the entrance wasn’t immediately clear. After looking around a bit, we realized that the entrance was a small green side door. It opened to a tiny little courtyard and we were immediately charmed.
It wasn’t very big inside but it was certainly bustling. With its exposed brick walls and candles lighting the tables Hudson Clearwater has a very cozy ambiance. The cuisine is robust and well-executed American fare. I started my dinner with their butter clam gnocchi dish which was excellent. The clams were served with the gnocchi in this delicious broth that was made for dipping the crostini bread it was served with. If there was one must-order dish from this restaurant, its definitely this one.
For the main dish I went with the crispy duck breast served on a bed of vegetables. I normally don’t order duck but this one was quite tender and well cooked. It was flavorful with the vegetables complementing the meat perfectly. All in all a good dish even if you’re not a fan of duck.
As if weren’t full enough, we decided to go ahead and order dessert. It wasn’t completely reasonable on our part but its hard to regret that when the chocolate banana pudding we ordered prove to be scrumptious! It was a huge portion but I’m happy to report that the balance between chocolate and banana was perfectly proportioned.
A charming location, great food and good service. What more can we ask for? This is definitely a keeper!
447 Hudson St. NYC
212 989 3255
Between the torrential rains and horrendous heat we’ve been experiencing, a duck found its way onto the street. It sat there calmly the time for us to admire him and for me to take this quick photo to share with you all.
I first saw the Handmade Marketplace at TN’s place, my friend and fellow crafter. This friend of mine designs and makes beautiful barrettes for little girls and she and I did a pop up store together back in Dec. I always liked discussing projects with her and having someone to talk shop with is something I really miss here. So I decided to look for the book. Now, I have to confess that I’m not much into “How To” books, half the time, having the words How To puts me off.
But I was pleasantly surprised by this book. There’s nothing preachy or pedagogical about the Handmade Marketplace. Instead it reads very much like a friend sharing things she’s learned from her experiences. The tone is always informative but warm and best of all it is always interesting. It also has a very practical and realistic outlook towards the idea of growing one’s craft business. Hint: there’s a lot of work involved. I think the most important thing I took away from this book is the idea that crafters belong to a community and that its important to find and join this community. In a sense the whole Handmade Marketplace is all about being a big community and its this sense that makes it work. Belonging to a community seems like such a self evident thing but in some ways its not such an easy thing for me to put myself out there in front of other people. I love the process of creation and I love sharing what I do to others. But putting myself out there and being active in a community is not at all an easy thing for me. What’s up with that? No idea. Or rather, it would take too long to go into and is not really the point of this post. The thing is, it is nice to find a group to belong to, where one can learn and ask questions and maybe in turn help out someone else.
Eh voila, friends, my newly found resolve–to join more, to share more and to belong openly to a community.
Hello friends, I wanted to show you my clean and nice looking work space. Truth be told, it doesn’t often look so nice as this. So when it does, I find myself inspired to share it with you. I just found the Bead Timeline, a book I’ve been wanting to add to my bead library so I was overjoyed when I did finally find it! With all the unpacking and moving, I unearthed some colorful flapper era necklaces that I bought from my last flea market jaunt. They’re so pretty for spring and its great for making great coils of color around my neck. And last but not the least, a new piece I’m working on.
How about you, what does your workspace look like?
Hello friends, today I wanted to share with you one of my more serendipitously paired pieces. I found this magnificent bead (its the big focal bead of the necklace) during one of my bead trips and was just immediately taken with it. It is a Murano bead from the 60s and I found it so dramatic with its black and gold color scheme. More importantly it reminds me so much Klimt and a field of flowers. It is a little on the big side so I thought it would be perfect as a focal bead. And since I found it so pretty, I wanted another one like it. Well the seller didn’t have anymore…exactly like it…
But as he rummaged around his box of beads, he fished out the little brother or sister of the first bead!! I hurriedly bought them and hurried home, anxious to get started on a piece.
Since I wanted the beads to be the main focus of the pieces, I kept the necklace and matching bracelet really simple. I added a few vintage black faceted Czech beads and voila it came together without hardly any effort.
Paris is full of pretty little squares but I have to admit that my favorite is easily the Place de Vosges. And the recent snowfall made the Square even more magical than usual.
A little teaser from my new collection. Blue french pate de verre bead from the 50s decorated with gold tone caps and mounted on a gold plated vintage chain.