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


  1. That's so brave, to admit you are beading for leisure not work. And utterly fab that you know exactly what you want to do! I'm sure it will all work out for you x

    1. Aww! Thanks, Iz! *Hugs.* Most of the time I feel non-brave, so your words mean a whole lot to me. <3

  2. I think that Bead Creature necklace is the most wonderful thing I've ever seen! And I wish more people could just admit that they want to do beads for fun...that's exactly what I'm gonna do when I retire, which is coming sooner rather than later now!

    1. Cyndi, you have no idea what a huge compliment that is, coming from an expert beader like you! You're awesome. *Hugs.*

      I wonder if people not admitting that beading is their leisure has something to do with the stigma attached to the word Hobby? Like, they associate it with stamp collecting. That was certainly my issue, until I realized that business was taking all the fun out of it.

      Ohhh, beady retirement! That sounds awesome.

  3. I really like this post. I to have had a few epiphanies this year and I love when we as women embrace those. I love the doll fashion road you have chosen. No matter where you go with your talent I will be here looking forward to your posts.
    2014 wishing all the best for you.

    1. Thank you, Nicole! I'm so glad you'll be sticking around. You're one of my favorite beady peeps, for sure. Would love to hear more about your epiphanies!

  4. Great post! Isn't it interesting how different our perceptions can be from reality? Sometimes it feels like I'm not accomplishing -ANYTHING-. Then I look through my blog posts or look through the pieces I've created recently and I'm stunned.

    Vocation/avocation is a theme I think about a lot. Is this something I do for myself, to try to earn a living, or both? I'm no good at assembly line production and could never produce enough beadwork to sell at craft shows without driving myself crazy. I need to be able to indulge myself in crazy projects that take way too many hours to produce to be saleable at craft shows. Which was one of the impetuses for writing my books, along with my love of teaching.

    I think we're a lot alike in that way - your most creative, most fun beady projects happened when you weren't trying to gear them for sale.

    Your doll fashion is such fun; I've enjoyed watching your experiments and had fun following all the doll links from your December Craft show. I had no idea it was such a vibrant marketplace.

    1. Wow, we sure are a lot alike in that way! I need to be able to work on crazy projects, too. I tried the assembly line thing for craft shows, and it was so draining.

      I'm so glad you have your books and tutorials! Not just for selfish reasons, either (ie, that I love reading them). It makes me happy that you're able to fund your artistry without compromising yourself and the way you make things. I'm hoping for that kind of thing, too.

      The more I delve into doll fashion, the more I'm amazed. I'll have to post links to some new cool stuff I found. At the same time, I'm seeing gaps that need filling, and it's making me excited... because they're potentially me-shaped ones. :)


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