beads, beads, and more beads

About ten years ago I thought I might start making beaded jewelry and I went a little crazy buying beads. What can I say—I had a full-time job, plenty of money, and beads can be really addictive. I even went to a big bead show at a hotel ballroom in New York. Those were the days.

apple coral beads
Apple coral disk beads

But, when I thought about businesses to pursue and looked around at the huge number of jewelry makers out there—all with more experience than I, I had a change of heart. And went in a whole different direction.

As part of my reorganizing efforts, I recently started to sort through all the beads I bought and I've decided to sell off most of them.

striped Venetian glass beads
Round carnelian beads

These are mostly ethnic-type beads with lots of Bali silver, African trade beads, amulets and charms from India and the Middle East, and some pretty semiprecious stone beads (turquoise, carnelian, garnet, and lapis). These will probably only be of interest to you if you make jewelry yourself but feel free to spread the word to any jewelry-making friends. Prices are what I paid when I purchased them—I'm not interested in making a profit from these, just in getting rid of things I know I'll never use. And I'm happy to combine shipping costs if you're buying several items—you can fit a lot of beads in a small flat-rate box!

round carnelian beads
Antique Venetian glass trade beads


redecorating project

I'm forced to take it easy today since my bursitis is acting up again. I've been doing some repainting—the first step of the bedroom redecorating project—and all the up and down motion of getting on and off the step ladder has stressed my hip once again. Sigh... it's hell getting old.

I promised to tell you about this project anyway so now is as good a time as any. I've moved my studio into the attic space which is slightly cozier (a nice way of saying 'smaller') so I'm going to have to be a bit more organized than I have been. But, what I gain in the process is a functioning third bedroom.

fabric swatch

In choosing colors for this room I started with a piece of vintage fabric—a Waverly polished cotton from the 1950s-60s—that I found tucked under a stack of tablecloths at an antique mall. Don't you just love the colors on this? I've planned the whole room around them, starting with that pretty blue-green for the walls. Benjamin Moore #619 Copper Patina to be exact. I had a moment (actually several) of panic when I first applied the paint because it looks sickeningly mint green in the can. But it dried much darker and looks perfect on the walls.

I'm going with lavender for the sheets (to match those little speckled flowers), and the original inspiration fabric will become accent pillows on the bed. And remember that wonderful quilt top I bought several years ago for $15 at an antique mall? If not, you can see a bit of it in the top photo of this post. The predominant color of that quilt exactly matches the walls as well. There's a local quilt shop with a quilting machine that will finish quilts so I need to stop by and see what's involved in that process. I have just the top so will need to find a backing fabric that coordinates with everything.

I have a long length of lavender woven cotton (almost a linen-like texture) and will make a tablecloth for the round bedside table and more accent pillows for the bed. I have no idea yet what to do with the windows and floor except that I want to keep it very simple. And I really need to work in that lime green color from the fabric somewhere, too. Most decorating projects are an evolving process, so I'm not exactly sure what it will look like in the end. I'll post pictures when things are more settled!


A is for...

Over on her blog, Brown Gingham Creations (music warning), Melody had a fun suggestion. Once a month, on a Wednesday, she's going to do an alphabet-related post—starting with A, of course, and show something from her vintage collections. Aprons this time. She's asked others to join her and also post something related to A, then B, then C (as the weeks go on).

My first thought was to show aprons like Melody did. But, I've shown so many aprons over the years I've been blogging that you all know I collect them by now. How about something different? I'm going to try to stick to a needlework/sewing theme for this whole challenge - surely I can find something related for each letter of the alphabet. This idea had crossed my mind before but I needed a little push to make it happen :)

So, A is for applique. Applique is when you sew small pieces of fabric to a base fabric, turning under the edges as you go, and often combining it with embroidered details. I haven't entirely mastered the technique myself (smooth curves are my sticking point), but I have some beautiful examples in my collection.

A bunch of grapes from a tablecloth. It has cherries, too.

A section from a placemat; the top of the flower is open so you can insert a folded napkin.

More fruit—a pear and some cherries.

bonnet girl
A sunbonnet girl in red stripes.

polka dot poppy
A poppy done with polka dot fabric.

The skirt of this little girl's dress forms the pocket of the apron it's embroidered on; the top edge is open.

Another poppy, this one from a tablecloth embroidered by my grandmother. In spite of a few stubborn yellow stains, it's one of my most-treasured pieces. The edges of the poppy are sewn down with blanket stitch, then leaves and flower details are embroidered in black and green.

Click any of the photos to see larger versions on my Flickr page. And there's a closeup view of the second poppy so you can really see details. We'd be happy to have you join in and show us your collections. There's a link at the bottom of her post if you'd like to see what others have posted.


time for tea

I'm the proud recipient of a T-Party Kindred Spirit Award! Susan has been bestowing this award for several years and this is how she explains the reason behind it:

Kindred Spirit Award"As part of this cozy blogging community...I have come across many people to whom I have similar interests; so much so that I consider them kindred spirits. They are the kind of folks that, if they lived around the corner, I would ask over for an impromptu cup of tea or a spontaneous trip to the flea market. They prefer vintage over new and collect unusual and sometimes silly items. In other words; they 'get it.'"

In her post about the award she has some very nice things to say about Primrose Design. I live about 4 hours from Susan and I'm terribly jealous that she lives so close to Elephant's Trunk flea market. So, I wish I lived closer, too. We'd have so much fun although, since we like the same kinds of things, we might have to fight for the same treasures :)

I recently helped Susan out by drafting a pattern from a very cute tea towel in her collection  and she's now offering the pattern for sale on her Kitsch Encounter blog. The design is mostly cross stitch with a few outline and lazy daisy stitches so would be perfect as a first embroidery project for a beginning embroiderer. I used the colors from the original for the pattern but you could easily change that up to match your own kitchen decor.

And that reminds me that I have many more of my own patterns to finish and get up on the website. I'll add it to my to-do list!


shop update

Just listed on my website is another batch of vintage Buttons by Schwanda glass buttons made in Western Germany. Lots of cool and unusual designs and I have more than one card of some designs available. It's always hard to find multiples of vintage buttons, so I always grab them when I find them in my travels!

sparkly green glass buttons
At first glance it looks like tiny rhinestones surround the green center but it's actually metallic silver overlaid on the glass.

beige glass flower
Beige glass flower with painted gold bead center.

lime honeycomb
Lime green squares with a textured honeycomb pattern on the surface.



I'm happy to hear that the Pantone Institute chose my favorite color as color of the year for 2010—turquoise!

"Combining the serene qualities of blue and the invigorating aspects of green, turquoise inspires thoughts of soothing, tropical waters and a comforting escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of well-being."

Some pictures of turquoise items in my collections.


jumprope cats

I was in Philly for a few days, helping my jewelry designer friend with her annual catalog/line sheet, so didn't have complete access to the internet for posting. Not that there's much to say anyway. It's snowing again so I haven't been out of the house much. I'm craving a trip to the local antique places I like to visit—sometimes you can find great things during the winter when it's not-so-crowded. I've been organizing paperwork for taxes and cleaning up my studio—not too exciting either.

In the evenings we like to sit in our room with the wood stove. It's toasty warm and the cats like to gather around. I sometimes read but the past few nights I've been finishing up some almost-done embroidery projects. You know those ones that are 90% done because you were avoiding the difficult stitches or fine details. In this case it was noses and eyes.

Excuse the wrinkles. This is headed for an Oxyclean soak today; hopefully that little brown spot will come out!

This is the second of these pillowcases that I've done. The first became a pillow several years ago, and that's my plan for this one as well. Love those kitties, and this design is particularly cute!

Jumprope Cats
The first pillow with my attempt at making prairie points for the edge.


fresh start

Happy new year! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

I'm happy to report that the website redesign is almost complete. I still have the eyelet trim pages and the fourth page of plastic buttons to do. And the links page. Whew, there's nothing like having to redo every single page of your website to make you realize how many pages there are. Hundreds, maybe thousands - I lost count! Anyway, it's mostly done and, if you go there, you probably won't experience too many problems finding your way around.

Someone commented about my craziness in combining the holidays with a website redesign and it made me think of those silly 1980s books about women who do too much. Yes, that would be me. But I knew the holidays would be slow on the website and it was the perfect time to do it.

So, a new year, a fresh start. By now I know better than to make new year's resolutions, but I am trying to get my studio organized. That's complicated by the fact that I'm moving it back into the attic space and turning the room it's in now to a third bedroom. I have cool plans for that - all based on colors from a vintage polished cotton fabric I found last year at an antique mall. I'll share when I get more into the actual doing part of the process.

I have lots of things planned for this year. Tons of vintage goodies (more buttons, sewing patterns, and some very cool vintage aprons) to photograph and get listed. Stitch School will be getting a new home on it's very own blog. You can visit now but I'm still early in the process of moving old posts over so you won't see much there yet. I'll be accepting ads and links to other hand-embroidery and needlework blogs so let me know if you have one of those and want to trade links. Guess I'd better design a new banner for that, too. There's so much to do!