Tag Archive | shells

Friday’s Favorite: Shells, Pearls, and Beads

I love jewelry, and the combination of shells, pearls, and beads, well enough said, drop the mike, I am all on board!

Summers by the Sea, is a beaded neck-piece that I made, using the free-form peyote stitch technique. I incorporated a variety of treasures using a pallet of soft colors that reflect the sea and shore. I stitched vintage and new glass seed beads and novelty shaped beads with clusters of fresh water pearls, brown muscle shell charms and beads, abalone shells and chips, and my favorite the button shells (they look like small cowrie shells).

Winter Solstice, is another beaded neck-piece that I made, using the free-form peyote stitch technique. I have incorporated fresh water pearls, vintage shell and glass buttons, and vintage glass sew-throughs with vintage and new seed beads. In the close-up you can see the variety of pearls, glass buttons, glass sew-throughs, and seed beads that I used. The light blue beads (almost gray) are vintage beads found in the Hudson Bay area, they are over 200 years old.

Happy Stitching to you, enjoy what you do and make everyday count. ~Christen

Tide Pools Nature’s Treasures

Tide Pools Natures Treasures

Tide Pools Nature’s Treasures

Being a native of Southern CA., a shell lover from early child hood, and an avid collector I am drawn to the ocean, the sand, the waves, the tide-pools and all of the treasures that you can find.

beach sand

I started my project with birch bark collected many years ago from our cabin outside of Toronto, Ontario Canada. This I used for the sand, and the inside of the bowls.

I then crumpled up pieces of cotton paper to create the waves, and rocks. I stitched these together with cotton and rayon threads on my sewing machine. I placed this on an old wooden tray, that had seen better days.

The next step was to create the actual tide pool rock formations that capture the sea life and shells.

I started with Timtex and more cotton paper. I cut round shapes in three different sizes. I layered cotton paper over these, and cut out round pieces of birch bark for the center of the bowls.

I stitched the layers together on the sewing machine. I then cut darts into the circles, and over lapped these to form the bowl shape. The last step was to cut the edges of each bowl and then machine stitch over these edges.

shells, sea life and kelp

shells, sea life and kelp

I had an abundance of real shells that I had collected over the many years of beach combing. I had a great time selecting which of these would be included into my beach scene.

I also had some old celluloid buttons that were somewhat grungy, but the colors matched and the patterning looked like sea urchins to me, these are interspersed amongst the bowls.

I thought that it would be cool to include shells and sea life that I had made from ribbons, crochet and embroidery. I started to play and this is what I came up with:

  • A crochet length of kelp with cord and pearl cotton, and grape shells at each leaf (these have a florist wire glued in the center to attach to the kelp)
  • Crochet and embroidered snail shells
  • Embroidered sea urchins, sea anemones and limpet shells
  • Embroidered and gathered ribbon coral
  • Ric-rac coral and star fish
  • Plumes of something made from rayon cord (I am not sure what these are but I liked them)

close-up view of three sizes of bowls

close-up view of three sizes of bowls

Happy beach combing and treasure hunting, enjoy- Christen!

Friday’s Favorites: Magical Masks and Wands

I have been creating wearable garments for many years. I always have fabric, beads, and treasures left over from those projects, so many of them have additional accessories, such as masks and wands. What better time of year to share some of these with you!

Moonlit Sea was made for a vest called Chandos Summer Storm.

The base of the mask is pieced from left over fabrics that were used on the vest. The base was then embroidered and embellished with shisha mirrors, glass beads, ceramic and metal charms, old earrings, carved bone and shell pieces, and ribbon.

Kalahari Spirit Dancer was made for an ensemble with the same name. The ensemble includes a jacket, a vest, a skirt and a purse.

For the mask, I pieced fabric onto cardboard, then glued shisha mirrors and strands of glue to cover the raw edges. I applied gold leaf to the glue just as it was drying. I have added all sorts of charms and talismans, that have given the piece it’s own spirit.

Madame Butterfly mask was made for a jacket with the same name.

The handle is made from a piece of drift wood that I spray painted. The base of the mask is pieced and machine stitched with metallic threads. It is embellished with fabric yo-yos, shisha mirrors, beads, charms, old earrings, carved bone and shell pieces, and ribbon.

Polgara’s Mask was made with an old tree root that I found. The rounded parts of the root, resembled a mask. I added another piece of wood for the handle.

I embellished the mask with a vintage pheasant feather piece that was attached to an old hat. In addition, I added ribbonwork flowers, vintage millinery glass pods, velvet ribbon, and a tassel to complete the piece.

White Shell Woman was made for one of my first wearable garments, by the same name.

The base is a piece of driftwood that I sanded and sprayed with shellac. Bits of gathered pieces from nature include coral spines, dried pods, shells, and driftwood. Beads, bells and ribbon complete the design.

All Friday’s Favorites posts.

Enjoy your haunts this month, and always! Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

By the Shore

I love the sea, the shore, and collecting treasures along the sand, rocks, and tide pools. Growing up in Southern California is a gift that I treasure every minute of the day. Here are some examples of my interpretations of this life.

Sea Urchins
Sea Urchins

Sea Urchins, were made from synthetic felt, one embellished with mother-of-perle buttons, and glass beads; the other embroidered with hand-dyed perle cotton from Artfabriks, with a vintage brown muscle button in the center. Scattered amongst the sea urchins are a group of carved, vintage abalone buttons. This piece and the one below it, can be seen in my book, Hand Embroidery Dictionary.

Tidal Pool Rocks was a piece that I created, intending to add found objects, and other small embroideries. The rocks are made from synthetic felt, and are embroidered with a variety of solid and variegated perle cotton threads. The small bits of “sea ephemera” were created from ribbons, felt, and floral stamens. A ribbon trim poses as kelp, with found shells and starfish skeletons sprinkled around the rocks.

Tidal Pools

Tidal Pools was a piece that I created for my book, Beaded Embroidery Stitching. The felt base for this piece and the rocks above are based on the “Blowing Bubbles” project in that book. The base is made from synthetic felt, and is embroidered and embellished with seed and larger glass beads, miniature sea urchins made from silk bias ribbon, found shells, vintage buttons, charms, sequins, dentalium shells, fresh water pearls, coral beads, and abalone chips.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

Friday’s Favorites: shell adornments

shell adornments

shell adornments

I think that it is fair to say that shells have been used as a status symbol in personal adornment throughout the centuries. Shells were used whole or a portion of the shell and attached to clothing; strung as necklaces or bracelets for jewelry; or even used in headdresses or hair ornaments. Shells were especially prized in cultures that traded for these precious items such as middle eastern cultures where the vintage mother of pearl button and the inlaid shell with sterling silver came from.

vintage shell necklaces

vintage shell necklaces

These two necklaces were made during the Victorian England era where shells were used extensively for adornment and household items, see Friday’s Favorites Mother of Pearl part 1 for more information. These are made from small snail shells that have a single hole drilled through shell in order to string them into a necklace. The earrings are made from shells that are glued to a metal base.

vintage shell earrings

vintage shell earrings

This is a sampling of the types of earrings that were made as souvenirs for the tourist trade during the 1940’s through the 1970’s. I especially love the parrots which are made entirely from shells except for the rhinestones glued around the collar.

vintage greeting cards with small shells

vintage greeting cards with small shells

Shells were also used for adornment by sailors who decorated small boxes or picture frames for their sweethearts back home, long before they became an established item for the tourist trade. These vintage greeting cards are painted with water-color then decorated with small shells.

vintage shell jewelry

vintage shell jewelry

This unusual group of jewelry is made from a combination of shells and garfish (a flat fish that dried hard and could be painted). In the first pair of earrings the fish have been painted white and adorned with rhinestones. The pin and earring have combined painted shells for flowers and garfish that are painted green to resemble the leaves.

shell purses

shell purses

These small coin purses are made from a variety of shells. The Mother of Pearl coin purse is the oldest, probably 1940’s or so, where as the scallop and cowrie shell ones are newer. These items are usually found at a sea port shop or shell store.

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy- Christen