Archive | January 2010

Friday’s Favorites: Mother of Pearl part 1

mother of pearl

Mother of Pearl or MOP

Friday’s favorites this week is all about Mother of pearl. Mother of pearl (shortened to MOP) is the iridescent layer of lining material that is formed by a variety of mollusks such as oysters and mussels. The beautiful natural coloring of these shells is a favorite material used by fashion designers, craftsman and artisans throughout the centuries. Here is a nice group of items with the Mother of pearl pink/green sheen glowing off of the white shells.

Mother of pearl was very popular during the “Victorian” period in England, when femininity and beauty were prized. The spines of the fan which is from this period are all Mother of pearl, with the fan itself made from silk and lace. The opera glasses (circa 1900’s) are made from brass with sections of Mother of pearl inlaid into the sides. The utensils made from Mother of pearl with attached metal sections were my grandmother’s, and I believe these were handed down from her mother. The utensils made entirely from shell were found at an antique store, and I am not sure of the date on these. The small shell purses are made from whole shells with metal findings, these are newer items and can be found at a shell or novelty shop. The buttons are both new and vintage and can be found at antique stores, quilt shops and jewelry supply stores.

variety of items made from mother of pearl

MOP in all her glory

Here are a variety of items that would have been used in both men and women’s fashions. Starting at the left, these charms and beads are both new and old and would have been used on women’s clothing and accessories as well as jewelry. The middle section of buttons and buckles are from the Victorian period. The cuff-links to the right are worn by both sexes, these examples are both vintage and new.

mother of pearl buttons

mother of pearl buttons

Quilters, embroiderers and crafters alike all have a collection of Mother of pearl buttons! Here I have grouped a variety of different button shapes and sizes; both new and old; carved, pierced and drilled; both sew-on (with wholes) and shank (some self and some metal) styles.

These are probably the most common of the vintage buttons, not only because of their beauty but the availability. They can be found in their natural state carved, mixed with other materials such as metal and rhinestones; they can be dyed, or painted with images. The nacre that is important to the health of the shell is still important to the button. Over washing and drying in the dryer can damage and chip the shell, so take care of these precious beauties!

Enjoy your day, may it be filled with creative wonder! Christen

Tea on Tuesday: Red and her fellow Primaries

apple tea-pot and mug

Tea on Tuesday

Tea on Tuesday today is Lemon Zinger, hoping that the “zing” will take away the “sting” from my chocolate hangover… which is totally my fault and not worthy of sympathy. I am unfortunately allergic to vanilla which is found in many things including my favorite health food- chocolate, and last night I binged on half a bag of M&M’s ($%?!) argh!!!!

This week RED is featured with her other two primaries blue and yellow. I found this wonderful tea-pot with the apples on it a few years ago, and while foraging for more red cups a few weeks ago I found this mug with the beautiful apple on it.

vintage buttons, vintage hanky

Phred's Daizies

Here is a close-up of one of my favorite button necklaces made from many buttons given to me by my best friend Phred, who is one of my dearest friends, staunchest supporters, tailor extraordinaire, and all time counter part! This group of lovely vintage celluloid and plastic buttons were gathered from here and there and the white buttons were from his mother’s collection; the center piece is a fur clip with celluloid flowers. I have placed the necklace and bracelets (below) on another one of my vintage handkerchiefs. This one is from St. Louis, it is really pretty with a rounded scalloped edge and I love the berries on the state flower!

vintage buttons, felt heart

Heartfully Rendered

Here is a close-up of the bracelets that I made for the ensemble. The bracelet on the left is made from vintage glass buttons all coming from the Czech Republic, stitched with vintage and new beads. The bracelet on the right is made from vintage and new charms that are attached to a vintage celluloid chain. The earrings in the center are made from a molded material called “Feather Weights”. The felt heart with felt flowers and embroidery was made a very long time ago, but it still looks nice with this group.

Well I am thinking that a little aspirin and a good walk might take care of the chocolate hangover, so I am off for now. Please join Kimmie and the rest of the ladies for a cup of tea, pleasant conversation, and a wonderful day.

digital image
PS: I decided to create a digital mosaic image with the picture that I took, just cause it looked kind of cool. Enjoy your day!

Tea on Tuesday: Red, Green and a dash of Pink

tea cup and tea pot

Red, Green and a dash of Pink

Tea today is “Raspberry Earl” a black tea with a hint of my favorite, raspberries…. I think that if I lived in a house surrounded by raspberry bushes like we had at our summer cottage life would certainly be close to “complete”! I am using my favorite apple tea-pot, and I wanted to show off my apple salt and pepper shakers, kind of fun. The cup came with a lovely Christmas bouquet of white and red carnations and mums… and works just fine here because I needed a green cup!

I have a small collection of these vintage handkerchiefs, this one is from Michigan, which is where my  Swedish Grandparents immigrated to, met each other and married. They began the family there,  and eventually moved to Burbank, CA, where they raised their eight children. The small dice I found at my grandparents house in Canada, where we had our summer cabin. At night we played cards around the dining room table and apparently gambled in some way…?

art doll, cloth doll

Lady Rose

Lady Rose” is composed of several embroidered and crochet hearts that my mother made and glued to her greeting cards. (The glue was really hard to remove, so bits of green and red construction paper are still tagging along!) Ribbon and ric-rac roses adorn her body along with vintage buttons and a cute pair of brass ballet slippers.

vintage beads, beaded jewelry

Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Fields” is a fun group of jewelry that I made with vintage glass seed beads, novelty beads, glass sew throughs and rondells. The pattern is adapted from my pattern  “Madelaine’s Choker“. You can see a bit more of the hanky in this picture and the one below.

vintage glass beads, beaded jewelry

Strawberry Fields

This is a picture of the two bracelets, with a ribbon rose brooch that I made. You can really see the beads that were used in both the necklace and the bracelet. I love the red and white square-shaped and round green sew throughs. Here you can see a closer view of the vintage ric-rac rack that was used to make Lady Rose.

storm weather

storm weather

Well we have a little sunshine this morning, but it is going to be a wet one for the rest of the week. I know that those of you who live in the mountains, or back east may think, well at least it isn’t snow, and truthfully I do too. But….. weather is weather and rain here is great for the grass and flowers, but it makes for scary times to those who live in the burned out areas or drive the freeways!

Happy T to you, where ever you call home. Please join Kimmie and the rest of our Tea Group for a cup of hugs, valuable tea type information, friendship, and great gals…


Friday’s Favorites: Sequins, Glittering Glamour

vintage sequins

vintage sequins

I am sure if you are a fiber artist or crafter each of you will have a box of sequins, probably very similar to the box  to the left. I think that I have had this box for as many as 43 years, I just keep adding to it. Some of the older sequins came from my mother’s craft stash.

I first started using sequins on the clothes that I made for my troll doll, adding them to her little garments made her and me (by proxy feel) glamorous.

Sequins were something special and certainly not used for everyday wear during the 1960’s and 1970’s when I was growing up. In fact the only other place that I saw sequins when I was growing up was on my Christmas stocking and a few ornaments that were hung on the tree.

vintage sequin purse

vintage sequin purse

During the 1920’s and 1930’s sequins were used exclusively for evening wear, used both on clothing and the accessories that a woman wore.

Sequins were considered the poor woman’s answer to a beaded bag or rhinestones. Often little bags like the one to the right would have been sold in a department store, with a matching hat.

vintage sequin jewelry

vintage sequin jewelry

Here to the left is a wonderful set of jewelry comprised of a necklace and pair of earrings that I found on Ebay. These were probably hand-made and not available in retail stores. My guess would be that these were made in the late 1940’s – 1950’s.

The base of the necklace is a series of large rectangular sequins which are attached together with beads. Each of these sequin’s is decorated with star and round shaped sequin that are attached by seed beads. The earrings are made from fabric with round sequins attached with beads. Quite festive I must say!

vintage hat pins mad with sequins

vintage hat pins made with sequins

Here to the right are a group of hatpins that I would date around the 1940’s, and they also seem to be hand-made.

Three of the pins are made with a sequin trim,  meaning the sequins are pre-strung by a machine stitch. The other pin was made by hand stitching the sequins to a fabric base with seed beads.

vintage paillettes

vintage paillettes

Paillettes are a metal sequin, which is flat and has a large hole. Coins are still used as sequins in some cultures.

vintage sequins

vintage sequins

Sequins though for the most part are a made from plastic or Mylar, and are described as a shining disk or spangle that is used for ornamentation to add to or create a design that lends a certain sparkle.

The samples to the right and below show that they can come in many shapes, colors and sizes. As you can see from these sequins, not all were created round, many came in fabulous colors and shapes such as the wings and fans which are my favorite.

vintage sequins

vintage sequins

vintage soulffle

vintage souffle

The picture below shows a group of vintage “Souffle”, which were made in France and Belgium and are also called “Gelatin” which is a description of the substance that was used to produce them.

They were used to embellish clothing and accessories during the 1920’s. I have used them on a few of my wearable garments, but I recommend that you be careful when using them because they melt in water (sadly I found this out the hard way!).

Well may this brighten your day and give you a little history on the glamor of our past.

Enjoy- Christen

Tea on Tuesday: Rojo and Amarillo

tea cup, vintage textiles, stacking doll

Rojo and Amarillo

Tea on Tuesday is (coffee) today, and it is a wonderful pungent French Roast, just right for this cold January morning, which I must say is probably not as cold for me as it is for the rest of my “tea time buddies”! In keeping with the color of the month (red) I have put together a Rojo (red) and Amarillo (yellow) group of treasures that include vintage textiles, hand painted dolls, a great old tin box, and a crochet collar made by a friend.

I must admit after last week’s proclamation that I would use one color a month (red for January), I realized that I didn’t have enough cups to fit my color scheme for the next few weeks! On Saturday my hubby and I went thrift store shopping and I got a few more cups for the month (phew I was worried!).

vintage embroidered textile

embroidered purse with shisha mirrors

This is a beautifully embroidered purse from India, the antique shisha mirrors are really nice and the embroidery is so evenly stitched! I usually have this bag hanging on the work-room door filled with loads of knitting needles. I really love working with the antique shisha mirrors which are very hard to find nowadays. I have taught many classes on working with the mirrors, and even developed a non-traditional stitch to use that is easier than the customary buttonhole stitch. If you are unfamiliar with the shisha mirrors here is a short article that I have written.

stacking dolls

stacking dolls

This is the group of colorfully painted stacking dolls that I opened up down to the wee little girl who is about 1.1/2″ tall. This group was a gift from my mom one Christmas many years ago. Each doll is painted with such loving care; with each face and rose deoration just slightly different. I wonder if one artist painted the whole set or several artists perhaps each assigned to one doll size????

micro mosaic jewelry

Mosaic Madness

This is a beautiful set of vintage mosaic jewelry pieces that were made in Italy during the 1950’s. My dad bought my mom a bracelet similar to the rectangular one on their first date in Rome, where they met. I have searched and gathered these pieces here for some time, and I finally completed the set a few months ago. The bracelets are original, except for the turquoise extension on the round bracelet. For the heart shaped pendant I made a necklace 0f vintage and new glass beads with silver spacers. The earrings were originally attached to screw-on findings so I removed the charms and attached them to wires. I made this to wear with the Azulejos de Espana ensemble (which actually links to an older set of jewelry-oops!). This group is included in my lecture The Bold and The Beautiful.

Well happy day to you, enjoy your tea and please join the rest of the gang over at Kimmie’s, you are always welcome! Christen

Flower Girl in Mauve: ACFC #56

vintage photograph

Flower Girl

Over at Art Creations Friday this lovely vintage photograph is offered this week as the prompt for Challenge #56. I retouched the colors a bit to match the ribbon and other components that I used for the frame. Thanks for another lovely image to work with!

Enjoy what you do, every day! Christen

Friday’s Favorites: Free-Form Peyote Stitch

free-form peyote stitch

Free-form Peyote Stitch

Friday’s Favorites is all about the free-form peyote stitch. The peyote stitch is a traditional stitch used by Native Americans in a ceremonial ritual. There is some controversy in using the name of this stitch in beadwork today, but because I have no alternative word, I use it here with care.

The stitch is formed after a row of stitches are added onto the needle and thread; the stitching is then reversed with one bead added onto the needle and passed through a bead in the original row; additional beads are added in this manner. In the free-form stitch beads are added at random in singles or quantities creating a flowing organic form. The beads used are seed beads of all sizes (4-15 in my case), square, triangles, Czech glass beads, buttons, pearls, semi precious beads and basically anything with a hole in it.

free-form peyote stitch

Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice was created using the free-form stitch adding and lengthening as needed. Here I have incorporated fresh water pearls, vintage shell and glass buttons, and vintage glass sew-throughs with vintage and new seed beads.

free-form peyote


Here is a close-up of the center, showing you the variety of pearls, glass buttons, glass sew-throughs and seed beads. The light blue beads (almost gray) are vintage beads found in the Hudson Bay area, they are over 200 years old.

free-form peyote neck-piece

Summer's By the Sea

Summer’s By the Sea was created using the same techniques as above, incorporating shells that I had found on Catalina Island as well as on the beaches of Southern California. Here I have incorporated vintage glass beads, vintage glass charms, abalone beads and chips, fresh water pearls along with the vintage and new glass seed beads.

close-up view of free-form peyote stitch

close-up view of free-form peyote stitch

Here is a close-up of the wonderful button shells that I found on Catalina Island.

free-form peyote stitch

Jeweled Pi

This is a close-up view of the Jeweled Pi bracelets, which is one of the patterns that I teach and sell. I have incorporated large Pi or shell discs, along with buttons, jade pieces, fresh water pearls, semi precious stones, and seed beads of different sizes.

free-form peyote with ribbon worked flowers

Tatiana's Enchantment

This necklace is from my Entwined Roses class, which incorporates ribbon worked flowers and leaves and the free-form peyote stitch. This class and the Entwined Treasures class both use silk cord and rayon cords as a base for the neck-piece. The flowers, buttons and beads are stitched on and around the base of cords which give a certain amount of stability and help to defray any tension problems that can arise when stitching without a base.

free- form peyote stitch with ribbon worked flowers

close-up view

This is a close-up view of the center, showing you the ribbon worked flowers that lay amongst the bead-work and buttons.

free-form peyote stitch with ribbon worked flowers

Woodland Elf

This is a close-up of my Woodland Elf necklace, which uses the Entwined Roses pattern. This is a wonderful collection of treasures: tiny sea urchins, vintage troca shell whistle buttons, fresh water pearls, jade charms, ra ku buttons, bronze charms from Big Sur, a dyed gourd, shell flowers….. and more.

close-up view of free-form peyote stitch

Beadazzled Somemore

This is a close-up view of the Beadazzled Somemore class and pattern that I teach. The free-form stitch is attached to the fabric at intervals, and then stitched using the same techniques as a regular peyote stitch.

free- form peyote stitch on ribbon

Ocean River's Bracelet

The Ocean River’s Bracelet uses the same concept as the Beadazzled Somemore, using a ribbon base to work the free-form stitch onto. This is a class that is on the current Winter Schedule for

When all is said and done I enjoy using this stitch both in the structured and unstructured forms, both having their merits in history and style. Happy day to you, enjoy what you do and make everyday count. Christen

Angel of My Heart: The Three Muses Challenge

mixed media collage

Angel of my Heart

Over at The Three Muses the challenge this week was to use an angel in your art. Here is my entry with a lovely little angel that I found at the thrift store. The true Angel of my heart is Gwen our daughter, who by the way gave me all the cards that I have used here in this collage.

Thanks for the great challenge ladies! Christen

Vintage Japan: Mixed Media Monday Challenge

mixed media collage

Vintage Japan

This collage is for Mixed Media Monday’s Leftover’s Challenge, you were to use up your left-overs, and anything goes. I started with the center image which was a post card from a company that sells vintage kimonos. I then added in a colorful wrapping paper that came with a gift from a dear friend. The shiny gold paper foil with the image of holly and leaves came on our “Christmas Crackers” as did the red shiny paper foil. I added in a gold leaf trim, adorned this with hand-made holly berries and plastic green and red holly leaves. The crowning glory was the gold fan with the glass bauble attached at the bottom. Everything including the paper, cardboard, trims, leaves and fan were leftover from another project.

Thanks again for another wonderful challenge! Christen

French Lady: Art Creations Friday

Feminine French Lady

Feminine French Lady

Over at Art Creations Friday they had an open theme, or you could use the image or background of a challenge you missed. My lady is from Challenge 43.

I re- colored the image to work with the materials for the frame. I first dyed Tymtex (which is a stiff interfacing used in baseball hats), then cut it and stitched it into a frame. The frame is embellished with hand embroidery, fabric vine and novelty yarn, velvet milliner’s leaves, and ribbon worked roses and leaves. I also added in vintage celluloid leaves, roses and buttons and a piece of a wooden fence.

So glad that I could include this in the challenge! Thank you for all of the work that you put into this site!