Monday, September 29, 2014

Beads, Beads, They're good for your art

This weekend was the Dallas Bead Market, which I didn't even know was a thing until a friend called me up on Saturday after seeing a sign for it while driving past one of the local civic centers. So on Sunday, we hit it up, not because I need more beads, just, you know, out of curiosity. I wouldn't be gone long, I told my husband. Yeah, that happened.


But look at all the pretties! I fell in love with these blue metallic beads and bought three strands for $3 each.


Then there were these freshwater pearls. I realize pearls are more valuable the more round they are, but I actually like the oblong ones better. Maybe I'm weird. I snagged these two strands for $5 each.

I found some cute black skull beads on the clearance table for $2. These are going to make a great gift for a friend who loves all things skull.

Finally, I sorted through a bin of fossil pendants and picked out the very best one to bring home with me. This set me back $6.



I was still on a bead high when I got home, so I immediately made a quick and simple necklace and earrings set with the blue beads.

Meanwhile, the peyote bracelet continues apace. It's definitely getting easier and faster (but still super slow) as I get more practice with it. It's about twice as long as last time you saw it, but only because I haven't had much time to work on it the past few days. I'm really happy with how the transition between the pinks is going so far.


Thursday, September 25, 2014


I feel like I can be honest with you guys. I've been a bit out of it this week.

You see, I've been experimenting with peyote, and I'm afraid I made have become addicted.


Oh no, not that peyote! This peyote:

Peyote Pearls

I made a couple practice swatches using two different sizes of fake pearls. I've learned I like the smaller beads better. The fabric - for lack of a better term - they create just looks more delicate and more uniform.

I've also learned that the first few rows are quite fiddly. Once the pattern's established and you've got a solid piece to hold on to, it isn't that bad, but getting it started can be a chore.

Then I got to eyeing these pearly pink glass seed beads in my stash. I'm thinking they'll make a lovely gradient bracelet, slowly fading from the paler pink to the darker one.

Pearly Pink Peyote

Finally, I've learned the whole process is really slow and tedious. Tedium, I love - getting all those little beads in neat, tidy rows - but slow isn't exactly my cup o' tea. The beginning of my bracelet, a mere inch long so far, took at least a couple hours.

Pearly Pink Peyote

It's great. I'm really enjoying the process. I just wish it were a faster process.

So have you tried peyote before? What did you think?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Sew-Day: Frankenstein

I got back to sewing today, but the project was a little... different than usual. First, let's flashback to roughly 46 weeks ago, when I introduced you all to our newest family member, Laika.


One of her first toys (and probably her favorite) was a stuffed alligator we creatively called "Gator."


Laika got bigger and more destructive, and we went through three Gators, each of whom had many surgeries to prolong its life before we would give in and buy her a new one.


Sometimes there even would be multiple surgeries in a single day when she would rip him open again almost immediately after I returned him to her.


Eventually, we gave up. The third Gator was retired (to the closet in my craft room), and we vowed to only buy her hard rubber toys after that.


But the three Gators stayed in my craft closet, wondering if they would ever be restored and reunited with their canine companion (Stockholm syndrome much?).

Now, with Laika's first birthday tomorrow, I decided to give her the gift of Gator. I pulled out all three and surveyed the damage. A detached leg. A notched tail. A single remaining eye, the other having been torn off and the socket closed up. And of course, many, many tooth holes and gnaw marks, mostly on the heads. For some reason, the heads were always her favorite part.

Gatorpillar - Before

Since the heads were more my stitches than original fabric, I decided to just remove them from the equation entirely.

Gatorpillar - In Progress

I joined two bodies together, tucking the damaged tail inside the rear-most body's neck hole.

Gatorpillar - In Progress

Then, I reattached the severed leg to the third body...

Gatorpillar - In Progress

...before attaching the third body to the first two.

Gatorpillar - In Progress

Next, I salvaged a fourth squeaker (there's one in each Gator butt) from another disemboweled toy and stuck it in the front of the third body. Then I used the most intact swath of fabric I could find from the three heads to patch the last neck hole.

Gatorpillar - In Progress

Tada! Headless Gatorpillar!

Gatorpillar - After

Gatorpillar - After

Laika was camped out in the hallway outside my sewing room the entire time I was stitching these guys together. She could smell her long lost toys and was very upset with Mommy for playing with them without her. The whining and sniffing and pawing at the door was too much to bear. So the birthday girl got her present a day early.

Gatorpillar - After

I think she likes it! This was the least blurry picture I could get.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bling It On!

In my ongoing obsession with refashioned jewelry, I present to you these lovely little barrettes a friend gave me to re-purpose. It's been a good 20+ years since I've worn barrettes, let alone sparkly ones, but these are mighty cute. I think we can find a way to make them a bit more age-appropriate.

Barrette Necklaces - Before

Sunday, September 14, 2014


I haven't sewn a single stitch this week. You see, I've been on a jewelry kick, and since it's kind of an ordeal to get out and put away my copious beading supplies, I like to make sure it's all out of my system before I clean up and proceed to the next craft project. So at the moment, my entire sewing desk is covered with beads, wire, jump rings, and whatnot.

It all started when I noticed the dreadful state of my boss' lanyard for her keycard to get into our office. It was essentially a ribbon with colorful rhinestones glued to it, and now that most of those rhinestones have fallen off, it's looking a little sad. So I decided to make her a new one. I went to Joann's and grabbed some lanyard clips for $1.12 (25% off $1.49) and two strands of bright, cheery beads at $6 (40% off $10) to supplement some similar beads I already had. Those beads were in the form of this necklace, which I had made several years ago from an old brooch that was my grandmother's. I just never wore it though. The colorful brooch plus the wild beads was just too much bling.

Upcycled Brooch Necklace - Before

So I took it apart, and used its beads - and the beads I had just bought - to make this brand-spanking-new [and much more durable] lanyard!

Colorful Beaded Lanyard

Then I added a length chain to the brooch using jump rings. I feel like simplifying the necklace will help keep the brooch the focal point, as it deserves to be.

Upcycled Brooch Necklace - After

But as I said, I couldn't just put away my jewelry stuff after two items. So I pulled out this necklace, which a friend had given me months ago. She said she was never going to wear it, so I could have it or re-purpose it if I like.

Lapis Drop Necklace - Before

I'm not that keen on chokers (they're a little too '90s, right?), so I disassembled it and made it new again. I used head pins to dangle the stones from a basic chain necklace. Then I added a second, shorter chain with a few more drop beads on it.

Lapis Drop Necklace - After

The best part of this one was when the friend who had given it to me complimented it when I wore it on Friday.

Lapis Drop Necklace - After

Next up was an old bracelet (with I totally forgot to photograph) from a different friend. It was just a basic, single-strand bracelet in shades of purple.

Purple Dangle Necklace

I took all of one kind of bead from it (the rest went into the stash) and put them on head pins. A little chain, some jump rings, and a clasp later, and I've got another new necklace.

Purple Dangle Necklace

After that, I went through my stash and grabbed a few random one-of-a-kind beads.

Drop Necklace

Dangled on head pins from a bit of chain, and they look like they belong together!

Drop Necklace

Lastly (for now), I pulled out another necklace I made years ago. This one began life as a pair of clip-on earrings from my Granma's jewelry box.

Clip-On Earring Necklace - Before

I had wired them together and strung up a necklace, but the wiring wasn't the most attractive solution, and I wasn't happy with how I strung the beads. The smaller beads at the top just made it look like I ran out of the red and silver beads at the bottom (which I had).

Clip-On Earring Necklace - Before

So this time, I used jump rings to join the earrings together and created my own linked chain with the red beads incorporated.

Clip-On Earring Necklace - After

Vast improvement!

Clip-On Earring Necklace - After

Fair warning: I'm not sure it's entirely out of my system yet. So don't be surprised if you see some more beadery in the near future.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Sunday Sew-Day: Flowy and Floral

Today's piece started off as a $2 XL button-down blouse with shoulder pads out the wazoo and absolutely no shape (though I suppose square is a shape).

Floral Polka Dot Blouse - Before

Despite all its faults, I really liked the tiny little navy and off-white floral print. Plus the fabric (rayon I think, but the tag was very faded) had a nice drape to it that would make a great flowy top.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Thursday Thrift Score: Coral Wedges

Yesterday did not feel like Thursday at all. This week has been... frustrating at work. Plus I've been a little under the weather the past couple days. And to top it all off, my sewing room is currently out of commission as we attempt to push a small home-improvement project over a minor speed bump.

In the meantime, check out these cute shoes I picked up at Buffalo Exchange last week! Only $13.50 and in pristine condition.

Coral Lace-up WedgesCoral Lace-up Wedges
Coral Lace-up WedgesCoral Lace-up Wedges

Together with my free denim/chambray shirt, my recently skirtified khaki shorts, and a me-made necklace, they create a nice transitional outfit for this awkward time of year when it's still hot as hell here in Texas while the rest of the northern hemisphere is claiming it's autumn. I'll believe it when I stop insta-sunburning upon exiting a building.

Coral Lace-up WedgesCoral Lace-up WedgesCoral Lace-up WedgesCoral Lace-up Wedges