New Section & New Listings for the New Year

As of this posting, Some of the Etsy in the sidebar should showcase my new section & listings - barrettes! Or you can click here ->Barrettes! and scroll down just a bit below the featured listings.

I'm working on new designs all the time, for bracelets, necklaces, all the stuff I love to make, and some of them I love enough to list on Etsy. Some of them get thrown into the WWYT (what were you thinking?) pile, along with designs that were just too impractical to produce on a wider scale.

And one of these days, I'm going to photograph everything in that pile and list all the "studio work" at ridiculous prices, just to clear space for yet MOAR ideas. I may have threatened to do this once before, but I sense my space available will soon make this a priority.

Cheers, and more later!


Phase Two of the Barb-Way

I fell down a rabbit hole.

A 1950's French rabbit hole.

Behold, my Barbie dress collection, "Paris 1952." See if you can spot the Dior "New Look" suit.

Let me break this down. The first part of the collection are these dresses with bows.

Then the sundresses:

And the shopping outfits:

I used plain eggshell muslin and some hand-painted muslin and linen I cranked out back in 1995. The hats and bags were made with felt, ultrasuede, chamois, and leatherette. 

I swear that Phase Three will be the end of this madness, when I make the black & white collection for The Jade Dog.

Unless I get sidetracked by beading the muslin stuff from Phase One.

But I won't. I'm longing to get back to the Big Fat Art Project. 

So - more later for sure.


Project Barb-Way. No, Really.

I set aside my Big Fat Art Project in order to make some holiday gifts and do some baking and finish a book series I've been reading (the Poldark novels by Winston Graham). And then *this* thing came up.

I was messaging with my daughter, who has been - let's just say she's not been herself since November 8th. She mentioned that when she's really down she breaks out her Barbie dolls and makes art jewelry for them. We talked of this and that and before I knew it, I had committed to making a dozen outfits for her in black and white. I have a lot of old Barbie patterns so I showed her what I could do, she picked out what she liked, and I made prototypes in muslin - because that's what you do when you're designing a collection, right? I showed her photos of how everything turned out, and she made her final selections from there.

A sampling of the patterns

Most of the prototypes

So I took a little break and did some baking and started making some gifts for my grandsons. I also decided I would decorate my house for the season - get a tree and all that - something I haven't done in sixteen years. I've always been too busy with decorating the bookshop. I went over to the Dollar General where I knew I could find an inexpensive tree, and while I was there I wandered down the toy aisle.

Let me back up a minute here. I had four Barbies I found at a thrift store a few years ago - I got them for an art project I never quite got around to. When it was Barbie's 50th anniversary, they came out with a reproduction doll EXACTLY like my first Barbie, which I never forgot, so of course that was my birthday present to myself six years ago, which increased the herd to five.

And last month I got a surprise package from my BFF Antonia, which included the Barbie-as-Sandy doll. Now there are six.

I get into this whole Project Barb-Way thing, remembering how much I enjoy making the tiny clothes, getting all nostalgic, and walk down the toy aisle in the Dollar General.  So now the herd has increased to nine.

I can't believe I did that.

No. Wait. Yes I can.

Kirsten, Jane, Emma, and Violet were the original four.
Tamsin, Regan, and Deirdre are the new kids.

Now I need to make some clothes for the two Ken dolls I have . . .

Just to legitimize all this for the beadwork blog, the plan is to eventually bead all these outfits.
Honest. That's the plan, anyway.

More later.


My Big Fat Art Project

I gave up on National Novel Writing Month after only three days - a new record for me. There were just too many other projects piled up to give it the kind of attention I have in the past.

My favorite project at the moment is My Big Fat Art Project. It's underway, and the first tile is finished!

Playing with techniques and a minimalist palette is proving more challenging than I originally thought, as well as being interesting, and strangely compelling, work.

Only nineteen left to go -


More later -


I Should Get Dressed

I'm still in my soft pants and it's 10:30 on a Saturday. I woke at about 7 - did some stretches, checked the mail, made coffee, stared at my work table for a while, read a chapter of "Demelza," rode my bike half an hour, thought about - but did not have - breakfast, did some beading, got all dreamy about my Big Project (more on that in a minute), and came to the rude awakening that I desperately need to structure my days more effectively.

Here's why. A few days ago I got this brilliant idea for a beaded art piece. I looked around, and the whole house was knee-deep in at least a dozen projects I wasn't working on, due to sensory overload. I cleaned off the table and all the horizontal surfaces in the main living area. Next thing I know I'm experiencing Craft Creep. I took some photos of my table.

First, there's this Cubic Right Angle Weave bangle cuff I felt compelled to make - something about the combination of matte chocolate and matte turquoise - makes me think of striped socks on witches. It *is* that time of year, you know. CRAW is time-consuming, intensive, has great texture, and is very, very durable. I love the weaving of it. It's meditative. I NEED TO DO THIS.

Also, I need to get going on the next piece for Embellishing the Runway - inspired by the winner of Episode 7. Calling it the Skull Island Challenge. 
The sketch doesn't really tell the whole story. 
But then, it's a very, very short story. 
More like Flash Fiction, actually.

Then last but not least, the Big Art Project, still in the gathering and plotting stage. All I'm going to say about this right now is that it is destined to be wall art, and it involves a lot of mookaite, matte and semi-glaze finish seed beads, and a bunch of pewter stars.

I predict I'll be working on this over the next four to six months, since there are other things that need doing. Like making holiday gifts and ornaments. And baking. And National Novel Writing Month. And other beading projects as they crop up. Hence the desperate need to get seriously organized.

First, though, I should get dressed. And get some breakfast.

Obviously - as time allows -  more later.


Embellishing the 15th Runway

I'm caught up on all the episodes to date, so here they are.

From Episode 4, the winner of the design challenge was Rik Villa - this was the "Heidi's Sweatshop/Create Your Own Textile" combo challenge. I made a two-sided pendant with Japanese seed beads in a harlequin pattern, accented with orange/red glass crow beads

From Episode 5, the dreaded "team challenge." This wasn't too bad - there were multiple looks to draw inspiration from. I had to dig for it, but I finally found mine in the embellishment that was slapped onto that *shudder* coat. I was happy for Dexter Simmons to get the win that week as the leader of the team. Good for him.

And now here we are, all caught up with Episode 6, the cocktail dress competition. I really liked Laurence's design the best, but OH WELL. The winner, Jenni Riccetti, used the Absolut vodka copper pineapple as her inspiration, so I did the same. I used copper lined Czech seed beads, accenting the pendant with glass crow beads and copper metal rounds.

Now it's back to my regularly scheduled beadwork - I'm taking a short break from barrettes and exploring the wonders of herringbone stitch. I saw a wonderful hand crocheted autumn blanket in fabulous muted tones, and I thought - I can re-interpret that into some nice cuff bracelets. I bet.

So more later!


Staying Busy

I finished my fourth piece for Embellishing the Runway, and the fifth challenge is on the drawing board - I'm shockingly behind this week - because in the meantime I've been making some other things.

First off, I'm obsessed with those delica beads I got a few weeks ago. I've been making barrettes.

I created this pattern, Rebecca's Ribbons, as a gift for my daughter-in-law, and just loved it so much, I had to make more and more and more. And there are more on the worktable. 
Here's some close-ups:

The design is based on a traditional quilt pattern.

I'm also working on a bead crochet lanyard for a friend - she requested an ombre effect, which I have done before - I just forgot how long it takes to plot one out and then string it. Two days. Fortunately, the crochet itself just whips right along, so here's that work in progress, just past the half-way mark.

So that's what I've been up to.

And I really am working on that fifth design for Embellishing the Runway. See?

So obviously, more later!