I don’t know when I started collecting antique purses.  I just know that somewhere in my late teens or early 20’s I bought one and my collection just kind of grew from there.  It’s not a huge collection, but I have some classics and a lot of memories.  Many of the memories come from the shopping excursions my mother and I took, and the many hours we spent in secondhand stores and wonderful antique galleries.  We hit the best places! Other memories come from the occasions that myself and others used these beautiful bags…

This is the most popular purse in my collection.  Several of my friends have borrowed it for their wedding day, as well as a couple of friends of my daughter for prom. It is patterned with sequins and crystals sewn on to it and is a lovely ivory shade, making it a perfect vintage accent.

Here’s another bridal/prom favorite. It is embroidered all over with white seed beads and sequins.

Here’s one that my mom gave me…I’m not sure where she got it from…probably on one of our shopping trips when I had already bought too much and couldn’t justify another antique purse!  It’s a really pretty lavendar and covered in seed beeds, although it really doesn’t show in the photograph.  It has an embellished lucite handle that is gorgeous.  I don’t know when I got custody of this purse, either, but that was probably my mom’s plan all along… 

While I love my huge purses, there is a part of me that wishes to be back in the time of elegance, when all a woman needed to carry was a lipstick and a handkerchief in a gorgeous purse like this.

Closet Diva…

November 4, 2010

 

I have always blamed it on the fact I was the only girl with four brothers.  Testosterone flowed freely at my house.  No matter what the subject, I was overruled.  My childhood was dotted with family gatherings to watch vulnerable animals being chased down on “Wild Kingdom,” and family night consisted of popcorn and All Star Wrestling on TV.  My wardrobe was hand me downs from the guys (on the plus side, I had more worn-in Levi’s than any other girl in school!)  I had a “pixie” haircut.  We had 1 bathroom, and God forbid I should leave something girly around.  Even my Mom, bless her heart, had too much to do to indulge in a lot of girliness.

It was only natural I would turn into a Closet Diva.

I started buying teen fashion magazines before anyone else.  I started spending my money on makeup and sending for every cologne sample the magazines offered.  I didn’t have money or opportunity to buy clothes, but I learned how to sew in the ninth grade and never looked back! 

My first real job was as a retail salesperson in a mall store, and the rest is history.  Can you say clothing discount???? I worked up to retail assistant manager after a stint in Cosmetology school, and yet my worship of everything fashion and beauty wasn’t quenched.  I had the wardrobe, I did hair, what was left?

The answer came when my children were small.  I began making jewelry.  I have now been in business 9 years and have been very successful at it.  I had to start selling it because I became so addicted to buying beads and making jewelry that I needed an outlet! 

Now if I could just learn to make shoes….

Visual Inspiration

April 14, 2009

blue-poppy-pods

While browsing around at Etsy recently, I was blown away by the photograph above.  I loved the poppy pods, and I LOVED the “shabby chic” or vintage look to the photo.

After clicking over to ScarletBeautiful’s Etsy store, I learned that this photo is part of her “Through the Viewfinder” series.  Basically, these photos are taken though the viewfinder of any camera with another camera.  Who would have thunk it?  Not me!  I can’t look at this enough. 

But was this the only thing I loved?  Not by a long shot.  There were many other beautiful shots using this technique, and tons of others that were such visual inspiration for me.  I just had to write ScarletBeautiful and ask permission to share this with my readers.

While Etsy is a great place to find cool stuff to buy, it is also like a virtual gallery, where every page brings more creativity right to your computer screen.  I encourage you to visit today and get inspired!

My Etsy site  is there, also, if you’re interested in taking a look…!

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I admit it.  I am a total bead shopping junkie.  If I can’t get to a bead store, I’ll be on a website looking for my next big thing.  You  know, that thing that will inspire you, drive you to creative heights you’ve only dreamed about, make you rich and famous…THAT next big thing.

So what do you do when the economy pinches your pocketbook?  When a new bead order is just not in the stars for you?  How do you stay creative in times like these? 

Today I had a creative awakening when I took a new look around my studio.  There are drawers I haven’t opened in months.  There are piles of idea sheets I haven’t gone through in years.  Stacks of old bead magazines with sticky notes hanging out are piled in the filing cabinet.  I literally have hundreds and hundreds of dollars in beading supplies just existing all around me while I always gravitate toward favorites.

But what if this economy forces us to take a second look?  What about that bead strand that looked so cute in the catalog but wasn’t what you thought it was once you got it?  What if you took another look with new eyes?  As for me, I have a huge bin of tarnished and broken jewelry that only need to be cleaned up, taken apart and sorted.  Voila!  Beads again!  I have a treasure trove of tarnished silver that would probably pay for a year of college just sitting around unused because it’s – gasp! – tarnished.  Well, this bead chick is getting out her cotton gloves and getting down and dirty!

What about a new line?  What about that technique you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t take the time?  What about incorporating the beads you already have and aren’t using into a new type of craft project?  I’m looking into incorporating my collection of old jewelry into some new purposes – collage, sculpture or wire working.  I took a basketryclass once and loved it…can I somehow use that?  How about practicing soldering like I always planned on but never took the time to do? 

And, with those things I can’t use, I can always bag them up and sell them on Etsy or eBay, because I’m sure someone else out there can use them.  Then I can use the extra cash to put gas in the tank or something. 

I will keep you posted on my new visions, and I’d love to hear about your ideas for stretching your beading budget during these tough times.  We can all share and help each other out, which is what makes the tough times bearable.

The Mother Bead

June 11, 2008

The Mother Bead

One of my favorite bead stores of all time is The Mother Bead in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  When I first began beading and I had no idea what I was doing, I would spend hours prowling around the small yet overwhelming shop, looking for beads to strike my fancy.  I would buy a couple here, a couple there, and then I never seemed to have enough to finish a project I started.  Thus ushered in the times of excess – buying tons of everything “just in case.”  Now I am a much more disciplined shopper. 

If you believe that I have some swampland to sell you!

I can never go into The Mother Bead without seeing it all – no quick stops in this store for me!  They have also recently expanded the shop to hold even more beads and supplies (yea!) and they also have more room to offer classes.  The staff are all passionate about beads and jewelry, and the atmosphere is contagious.  And don’t you just love the photo?  To me it captures all the excitement and passion of beading.

The Mother Bead has a sister store in Ephraim, Wisconsin called The Bead Bucket.  This shop is set in gorgeous Door County, and I have visited that store as well when I am over in Door County for classes or events at The Peninsula Art School (www.peninsulaartschool.com).  Even though it’s small, it really has a terrific selection of beads…I fell in love with some antiqued czech beads there last summer, and they are still one of my favorite beads to work with.  I have had to stop in the Green Bay store several times to pick up more.

Check out their website sometime at  www.themotherbead.com.  I think you will be as impressed as I am.  Maybe I’ll even bump into you in one of the stores!

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