Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beadwork and Velvet and Bits of Old Fabric ...

... these are a few of one's favourite things! The preceding should be sung to the tune of “Raindrops on Roses” with humble apologies to any Sound of Music fans who might be reading this post which, considering the topics generally covered in this blog, seems highly unlikely. But just to make perfectly clear the insomniac's  sentiments about the Sound of Music, neither she nor her long-suffering spouse participated in any of the S of M tours last year whilst in Salzburg, instead choosing to spend time visiting two very lovely cemeteries with amazing catacombs, photos of which will be shown in a future post. The future quite probably meaning next week, since no other possible topics have as yet sprung to mind.

To reiterate: Best. Catacombs. Ever.

The insomniac  will now share with you some of the eBay auctions she has lost over the years, occasionally due to her rather limited eBay budget, but more frequently because she has quite simply forgotten to snipe the highest bidder at the last possible second.

Gilded Shelf with Beaded Valance

As much of the antique beadwork still in pristine condition seems to go for a relatively high price these days, one often has to resign oneself to right-clicking the nicer pieces in order to preserve a copy for posterity, in lieu of being able to actually own the original. The insomniac  is quite a pushover for needlepoint roses on burgundy backgrounds, but never even attempts a bid on face screens or valances of any kind, as they inevitably end up well above one's comfort zone for frivolous purchases. In such cases, one must resort to the RightClick-SaveImage Feature on the computer in order to enjoy them in a more frugal manner. Although one grudgingly admits that one doesn't really need to own every piece of beadwork one runs across on the internet ... very grudgingly, mind you.

Beadwork and Needlepoint Face Screen

Beadwork and Needlepoint Shelf Valance

If one is able to trust one's memory (which, generally speaking, one cannot), the following two pieces were bid on but not won. The beautiful background colour is what first caught the insomniac's  eye, but once the auction was lost, they were then preserved with the aforementioned RightClick-Save. One felt they were good candidates for a future “Crafting with the Insomniac  Project” especially the tea cozy, being constructed with that simple beadwork stitch that works up relatively quickly and would make a perfect introductory project for someone wanting to learn basic beadwork. Let's plan for that sometime this winter, shall we? Start collecting your beads and velvets now, my pretties ...

Beaded Tea Cozy
One can justify not going over budget on this one
because one is inclined to be more of a coffee fiend ...

Another regrettable loss was this beaded tea tray, without it's wooden frame. It should have gone for much cheaper because of the absentee frame, but apparently everyone else in the world who was bidding on it liked the background colour just as much as the insomniac  did, because it went for much higher than one's Highest Bid. Dammit.

Beaded Tea Tray, Bereft of Frame

The following piece should have also gone for a veritable song but, once again, apparently the insomniac  is not the only one who collects antique beadwork in lousy condition with the hope of getting a Really Good Deal. And even though one is quite sure you will have a hard time believing this statement, the insomniac  actually does have definite limits as to what she will pay for a piece of handwork that requires many, MANY hours of restoration work. Really, she does. Really.

Needlework and Beaded Table Runner
Love the design of the leaves ... and the colours.

The remainder of the pieces are actually in the insomniac's  rather limited collection. One is not going to divulge the price paid for this next item, due to the spouse doing the proofreading and all, plus the fact that one hasn't managed to remain married for thirty glorious years by revealing every little purchase one has made during some misguided 2:00 a.m. eBay shopping spree; some things are better left unspoken.

But the beadwork was impeccable, the design and colours actually SPOKE to the insomniac  on some subliminal level, and the size of the beads was so miniscule (around size 16, which is so teensy it makes one's eyes ache just thinking about it) that the budget was tossed aside for that month and the purse will now spend the remainder of its days hanging from the bedroom wall. Thoughts of an artful display on the dresser were entertained but were also tossed aside, because a purse displayed laying flat on a dresser would obviously collect substantially more dust than one displayed hanging on a wall. 

Antique Beaded Purse

The following valance was purchased when there happened to be a little extra money left in the budget for a completely frivolous “investment”. The insomniac  had every intention of repairing the black needlepoint trim at the top, which had worn away and left patches of bare canvas showing. But, as with many things on display in the Gothic Mansion, once the valance had been around for a while, the bare patches became slightly less irritating for some reason. Truth be told, ignoring the bare patches eventually becomes the much preferred alternative to dismantling the piece in order to repair it. 

Beadwork and Needlepoint Valance

The following piece was a rare Etsy purchase. The insomniac  is not sure why she isn't as big a fan of Etsy as eBay, considering one is able to purchase items immediately without the added pressure of having to remember to outbid a fellow eBayer at the last minute. And although one has no idea why the piece was purchased or what it will be used for, it is Burgundy and Black, and that is reason enough. Sometimes the Hunting and Gathering part of a potential project is much more enjoyable than the actual Getting Down to Work part, don't you agree?

Velvet AND Beads Together
This tattered piece also SPOKE to the insomniac,
well, more like whispered - a little like Gollum - yesssssss ...

Just this past month, a gryphon tea cozy was won on eBay UK, the insomniac  actually remembering to snipe some poor soul during the last 30 seconds of the auction. (Sincerest regrets if that was you, but hopefully you remembered to RightClick-Save before deleting the auction info.) Both sides of the tea cozy are in quite bad shape, but it was purchased with the intent to create a needlepoint pattern for working a new copy. Having now received the two pieces, one feels that one side will eventually end up framed as some sort of collage piece, with bits of black velvet mourning trims covering the holes and worn bits. But that is a project for a cold winter weekend, as the real third-floor attic is too unbearably hot at the moment to even consider spending longer than five minutes up there. Possibly sometime in late September, after  the bees and wasps have finally given up attempting to find somewhere in the attic to overwinter.

Beadwork and Needlepoint Tea Cozy
Those gryphons makes one's heart beat faster ...

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams ... and should anyone have any lovely pictures of antique beaded textiles they'd like to share with the insomniac, please feel free to email them to her. Because she has a lot of Virtual Storage available on her computer for pretty pictures, but not much Actual Storage left in the attic. Goodnight, my pretties.



  1. I do French beaded flowers. I don't collect, I make. Right now, I'm on an orchid kick.

  2. The insomniac  has at least five books on how to make French beaded flowers and finally attempted one last summer. It did not turn out well ... One seems to have better luck with beads and thread than beads and wire!

    Care to swap a bouquet of orchids for a tea cozy? :o)

  3. ...♥...
    the hunt is thrilling, capturing the exquisite item to my bosom, oh, sigh...I love looking through op shops, finding treasures and bringing them home...Sometimes,after a while I might think WHY? but hey isn't that just the (small) price of hunting?

  4. Have you found that the treasures are coming less and less often these days? It seems one seldom finds anything of good quality at the thrift store any more. Although that's probably a blessing in disguise! ;o)

  5. I didn't even know about some of these things. Except the purse. I have seen those kind of purses before. I always learn something reading your blog. I will look at thrift stores now. My thing I look for now is turquoise jewelery, miniatures, and etched glass. I love the hunt. Looking for bead work will be fun.

  6. The insomniac  LOVES turquoise jewellery, and has a small (well, for her) collection from when she worked retail in a Native Arts & Crafts store. Probably seems as if the insomniac has a “small collection” of almost everything, doesn't it ...

    A word of caution - Thrift Stores are addicting, just like eBay and Etsy. Consider yourself warned! :o)

  7. I was a big mountain of failure before I figured out a different way to start the lead wire, and a different way to assemble the petals. I'm probably the only person on the planet who makes a French flower the way I do. I should figure out how to film a tutorial.

  8. One was quite surprised the fish didn't die from trying to eat all the beads that kept “sproinging” off into the pond that day.

    A filmed tutorial is a marvelous idea! Better yet, write a book. Then the insomniac  could buy it and get rid of the other five she has that are of no use to her ...