Saturday, January 25, 2014

Freeform Beading Resources!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

To get you even more excited about Karen's Kickstarter, here are some of the best freeform beading resources I've found. And because no post on beading would be complete without lots and lots of eye candy, I've included that, too.

 (Gorgeous example of freeform peyote beading by Karen Williams.)

 (Another example of freeform by yours truly.)


Karen, as you know, wrote a book on freeform peyote beading. As I've mentioned before, it's one of my favorite beady books. She also has an Etsy shop with awesome kits and tutorials.

(Freeform cuff by Nancy Dale -- I love this one!!)

Nancy Dale shares the instructions for her Atlantis cuff in her Etsy shop. I have a copy of this tutorial, and it's amazing! The photographs are beautiful, the instructions are excellent, and what's more, it's a completely different approach to freeform -- she combines it with bead embroidery!

 (Another example of bead embroidery meeting freeform.)

Mandi Ainsworth offers a tutorial on her gorgeous freeform hearts.

(Fabulous work by Mandi Ainsworth.)

From Karen's blog, a tutorial on starting a freeform peyote bracelet!

From Cyndi Lavin's blog, a tutorial on creating a freeform peyote necklace! 

(Fantastic freeform necklace by Cyndi Lavin.)

(Sequined freeform by me.)

Beki Haley of Whimbeads shares a freeform bracelet tutorial.


Karen started a Facebook group all about freeform. This is a great source of inspiration and a wonderful community!


 (Beaded mini mannequin by Darcy Horn.)

Darcy Horn successfully funded a Kickstarter project called The Beaded Body. She's covering an entire mannequin in freeform peyote and brick stitch -- you have to see it to believe it! And yes, she used a Barbie body as a prototype. This makes me so happy. 

Blog Hops

Karen and Mandi's Choose Your Own Adventure blog hop.

(One of the pieces I made for the hop.)

(One of Debbie Rasmussen's hop pieces... one of my favorites ever.)

They also partnered for a Captured Objects blog hop.

(Karen's piece for the hop.)

 (Another piece of Mandi's... that uses safety pins!!)

If you haven't already, I hope these resources inspire you to give freeform a try and to support Karen's project! And if there are any resources I've left out, let me know. I'd be happy to add them.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Karen's Kickstarter!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I have some exciting news to share with you. My very good friend Karen Williams is working on an expanded version of her book on freeform peyote beading -- which happens to be one of my favorite ever books about one of my favorite ever beading techniques.

(Sample cover designed by Karen.)

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Karen is a superbly talented writer, beader, and instructor. This project promises to be seriously epic, and I've already become a backer. I think you should, too. If you need convincing, here is a link to her Kickstarter.

Also, here's a link to a Featured Friday post, all about her work.

And of course, here's a link to her blog with more information about her project.

I hope you'll support this project! Sequintastic Ken hopes so, too. In fact, he told me that when Karen reaches her goal, HE WILL LET ME PHOTOGRAPH HIM AND THE OTHER KENS WEARING TUTUS AND POST THE PICTURES ON MY BLOG.* TUTUS!!!! How's that for extra motivation?

(*The other Kens have not officially agreed to this. Boy, they're going to be surprised!)

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Time to Stitch (IV)!

Hello, everyone!

I'm a little late getting this posted today, but here's what I made for Christine and Therese's A Time to Stitch blog hop. The challenge was to create a piece using a netting stitch and one (or more) of three additional stitches.

For my netting piece, I decided to make a necklace to go with a beaded doll purse I'd made last Fall.

 (For reference, here it is.)

I used horizontal netting stitch and matte teal seed beads to make the necklace. And it was a very nice match!

I have to say, I'm definitely a horizontal netting kind of girl. I tried vertical netting to make a similar necklace, and let's just say... it wasn't pretty. I'd show it to you, but the dolls refused to try it on.

(Divas, every one of them.)

For the next stitch, I chose spiral rope stitch. I'd never tried it before, but I found a tutorial online, and it looked fairly straightforward. And it turns out? It was! Here's my very first spiral rope in the same colors as the necklace and bag:

I'm not sure how I feel about this stitch, to be honest. I will say, though, that it goes by quickly. Also, it helps to use a very thin needle when you're going back through all those beads. For that reason, I don't know how it would work with, say, size 15 -- if I try it out, I'll let you know.

Still, it's nice to have another beading stitch under my belt! I wouldn't have tried this one if it wasn't for Christine and Therese and all the people who suggested it. Thanks for keeping me on my toes!

(And my dolls, too -- although they can't help it so much. Pointy feet and all.)

Now that you've seen my pieces for the challenge, hop on over to Christine or Therese's blog for a list of participants! I can't wait to see what they made... and to see if anyone else has the same spiral rope ambivalence.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Quick and Easy Doll Collars!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I've had doll jewelry on the brain this week. Specifically, I've been wondering how to make doll jewelry that's to scale, elegant, and... different.

I love my continuous bead strand necklaces, don't get me wrong. They don't need a clasp, they can be any length as long as they fit over a doll's head, and they can be wrapped around the doll's neck -- or wrist, come to think of it -- several times for a multi-strand look.


But variety is the spice of life... and any doll's jewelry box! And today, while I was looking through the broken jewelry pieces at the IDEA Store -- which happens to be my favorite source for doll and dollhouse supplies -- inspiration struck me like a dozen flamingos falling from the sky.

I found a filigree hoop from an earring -- the kind with the loop at the top. I took it home, and I measured it against the doll. Then I used my wire cutters to snip a small section out of the top, including the bit with the loop.

At this point, I probably should have filed the edges down so they weren't so sharp, but I was impatient. I tried it on my model, the lovely Katie, and since it was such a thin piece of metal, I pressed it down in the back so it was perfectly formed to her neck. 

And here's the result!

I'm really happy with the result. In the future I'd file it, as I said before, and maybe I'd add a coat or two of Renaissance Wax (or maybe even clear nail polish?) to make sure the gold color stays put.

And if I happen across any more of these filigree findings, I'll play around with some chain, jump rings, and itty bitty sequins. Because I could see a funky version of this with the classic Little Black Dress.

(Imagine the possibilities!)

Now it's your turn: Do you have any interesting ideas for doll jewelry? The girls and I appreciate it!

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins 

(And dolls)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2013: Beads, Books, and Barbies.

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I wasn't sure if I was going to do a reflection post this year. I was wondering, in one of my neurotic and insecure moods, if I'd really done all that much. But then I was looking through past blog posts for inspiration, and I discovered a strange and unexpected theme that I just had to share.

That theme? Well, the most significant things in 2013 were, to steal a phrase from Sesame Street, brought to me by the letter B.


Even though a lot of 2013 was marked by a case of beady burnout that bordered on beady paralysis, I managed to create three of my biggest, and most fun, pieces to date. There was my piece for Sequintastic September, which is still a work in progress. There was Mysterious Morning Sea.

And then there was the Bead Creature Necklace. A necklace that my friend/idol Nina Paley called the weirdest thing she'd ever seen. Which, if you know me, is the best compliment I've ever gotten.

I also took a class with Laura McCabe in December. And may I just say she's as awesome, patient, and approachable as she is talented?


Because my beady paralysis was also a business paralysis, I wrote an e-book all about how I trudged through it. It took me about a month of solid work, and the result was called Run Screaming! I sold a total of 6 copies, which is a pretty modest number, but still -- I followed through with an idea, which is kind of awesome. And I got feedback from some amazing people.

I started to think about writing other nonfiction books, but wimped out. But that's a story for another time.


During my beady burnout, I started sewing clothes for the dozens of naked Barbie dolls in my closet. There were early experiments with felt and hand-sewing, and then there was my epiphany... that I could make an easy, patten-free, snap/velcro-free dress to fit any Barbie doll. And from there it was a snowball effect. 

I made friends with my sewing machine! I sewed enough clothing for every doll in the closet (and every new doll I bought). I made bags. And bracelets. And necklaces. I started dyeing hair, styling hair, touching up makeup, and doing total re-roots again for the first time in years. I even started a Pinterest board just for doll inspiration with hair, fabric, and makeup examples for future projects.

And I tried really hard to tell myself that this was my hobby, my way to de-stress. But then I saw a video all about how Sharon Zuckerman designs for Barbie, and I found some old fashion sketches of mine from high school/college, and I started to think... hmm. 


This one was oh-so-complimacated. 

I'd say I made a half-hearted attempt at the jewelry business. I did a few craft shows. Entered more contests. Submitted one article to Bead and Button Magazine. But even though I love making jewelry, trying to sell it and to promote myself was often like being pecked in the rear end by a flock of angry flamingos.

(It's so hard to admit this. I tried so hard to make it not true for so long. But I think jewelry is my leisure activity, not my vocation.)

I'd say there isn't a marketing bone in my body, but I noticed that when it came to my pet-sitting business, I was more than willing to pimp myself to anyone who'd listen. So maybe I do have a marketing bone... it's just shaped like a doggy bone.

And I'm hoping I have a dolly bone too, because I've come to realize that designing for fashion dolls would be the absolute perfect job for me. That maybe one day, I'd like to design for Mattel. Or Integrity Toys. Or any of the other amazing companies out there. It's a pretty crazy dream, but I'm going to respect the dream by putting it out there.


My blogging reflected my business/creative life. Starting with the confession that I'm in a blogging slump, and ending with my realization that this blog is starting to head in a doll direction. Maybe for good, or maybe for just a little while.

There will still be sequins -- so many sequins! There will still be beading, and I am sure there will be jewelry. But Corrie, Rachel, Lagoona and the others will be making more appearances in outfits I've made, and in the tradition of Dolloween, there will be... Dollentine's Day.

And that's all I'll say about that. I find that if I do too much planning, I rebel against myself. To continue with the B-theme, I'm Bullheaded that way.

So that's what happened in 2013. Laying it out like this, B-words and all, it was more eventful than I thought. And that's not including the time I got food poisoning at the library or the fact that Mr. Sequin and I watched all eight seasons of Magnum.

But enough about me! Did you notice any themes, strange or otherwise, for 2013? Curious sequin enthusiasts would love to know.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins