Further adventures in making jewelry with vintage trim/lace components

I have continued my exploration into using fabric/trim/lace in jewelry, sometimes just using a piece of rickrack as a choker, and sometimes taking the time to find the right weight and composite of beads to compliment something so light and agile. Here is one recent effort:

The speckled blue and yellow beads came from my husband’s aunt, they belonged to his grandmother. I never met this woman, but I love that I have received a box of deconstructed jewelry that once belonged to her. This is one perk of making beaded jewelry: people tend to give you meaningful beads that they have collected over the years and you get to make something that commemorates that meaning. I have a few pieces made so far from the beads that once belonged to my husband’s grandmother, and I love that when I visit his aunt, she always recognizes them. By creating something new, I am part of her memory of a loved one and ancestral connection.

For those who make jewelry: the three-strand format is complicated for a piece of woven fiber, as you might be able to tell from the picture. There is not really a way to help the light weight fabric not get entangled/overwhelmed by the heavier glass beads. I still love and wear this necklace, but it is something I would think twice before designing as a gift or to sell, because it requires careful handling.

Leaf Headdress

A friend had a masquerade and I decided to go as a pile of leaves. Making this dramatic headdress at my grandmother’s kitchen table had us laughing till it hurt. I had to take off my shoes and go barefoot so that it wouldn’t hit ceiling fixtures. I have no regrets!

The first time I balanced it on my head for a trial run

The day after the event, I went and got lost in the trees for a photoshoot of the canonization of my becoming the patron saint of fallen leaves:

…and since I did not have the heart to dismantle it, the leaf headdress now lives as a fashionable fire danger on top of a lamp at the cabin:

Took a break from research to make some end-of-semester gifts for friends

One thing I love about making gifts for people is putting thought into their style. I consider the colors I usually see them wear, what sorts of designs they seem attracted to, and what materials they might like. Even if I am off the mark and what I’ve made isn’t exactly that person’s style, it is something that has been made uniquely with them in mind.


Vintage lace necklace with wooden and stone beads 

Last year I bought an enormous collection of vintage trim/lace/rick-rack off of ebay, I am beginning to experiment with using those materials in jewelry. I have never used the ribbon clamps holding the lace in place before, I am hoping that they will be durable and hold on to it tightly. The necklace feels so light and delicate with such a large part of it being merely lace. I used wooden beads for this reason, I didn’t want to use something heavy that might compromise the durability of the necklace but also would offset the airiness of it.



Earrings with wooden leaves and dyed cultivated pearls 


Earrings with red and purple glass beads, red clay beads 


Earrings with glass beads: blue faceted and gold foil faceted


Hanging with bias tape


I bought a huge lot of vintage sewing trim on ebay this summer and it came with a few rolls of bias tape (for securing hems) that I wasn’t sure what I was ever going to do with. Well, I had two sets of paintings I wanted to gift to some friends and was planning to attach them with jewelry chain, but my friend Kaori gave me the idea of using bias tape to connect and hang the paintings. I used a staple gun, which was definitely overkill and has a little bit of a negative aesthetic, but it’s less permanent or potentially damaging than glue. I’m pretty satisfied with how it worked, and how easy it was!



Three new beaded pieces



Necklace with vintage cameo and pink stone beads

My mother-in-law gifted me this cameo a few years ago and I never knew quite what I wanted to make out of it until I found this vintage Aquarius locket on ebay while researching a different vintage Aquarius pendant I own


Vintage Aquarius locket with long beaded necklace

Seeing the cameo and locket together, I knew they should be paired with brass beads to accentuate their age and character! I made the locket necklace long enough to wear doubled up or to leave long while paired with a skirt or dress for a 1920’s look.


Beaded anklet with pearls and seashells

While I was at it, I threw together an anklet for myself! During late winter or chilly days of spring, I like to make summer jewelry for myself to celebrate and bring focus to the beautiful warm days to come.  I suppose it’s a fashionable kind of therapy! I usually make very brightly colored anklets so I have been finding plenty of uses for this more subdued one.