Category Archives: Beads

Bohemian Bangles Galore – Motley Mode Mondays

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Hippie Bracelet/Bohemian Gypsy Style [Pink & Mint] by One Of A Kind Jewelry Designs, Etsy

I spend a lot of time on Etsy just window shopping, browsing, basically foraging really. I discover new things I never knew I wanted or, *sigh*, needed and had to have. It’s a rather addicting thing really, looking at all these amazing hand-made or vintage items, seeing others creativity and brilliance, and knowing that no matter how much the world is changing, there are some things that remain blissfully unchanged. People still have an attraction to things that are one-of-a-kind [OOAK], items that are made by hands with love and intention, treasures that are truly irreplaceable. As I look at these amazing items, I am always drawn to something that seems to speak to me in a way that is very unique. I know what I like, I just couldn’t really tell you exactly what that means until I see it.

Friendship Bracelet Bib Statement Necklace or Choker, Vintage Rhinestones and Swarovski in Hot Pink, Blue, Purple – Prom Necklace OOAK

Ibiza Chic Hippie Cuff Bracelet – Friendship Bracelet Cuff With Studs and Swarovski, Hand-stamped “Peace Love Joy” – OOAK

Swarovski Flower Earrings in Coral, Orange, and Khaki, Antique Silver and Gold OOAK

This entire blog is a testimony to that fact, everything I blog, every item I share, is something special and has something wonderful about it, be it a story, an artistry, a craft, or a soul.  Often I can pick one or two items special items out of an Etsy Storefront, the various individual shops set up directly by the creators or curators, but every now and then, I find myself adding a heap of little ‘love it’ hearts to an entire shop because I am simply in love with everything I see. Every heart means that it is a favorite item, something I want to keep an eye on, look at again and again, something that I may very well eventually buy, bank account willing. But when you find an entire shop full of those amazing things that you love so very much, the best thing you can do is to share the love, and let people know about it. So that is exactly what I am doing. 

Bridal Hair Comb Lavender Moonstones, Vintage Rhinestones – Shabby Chic Wedding OOAK

Romantic Chandelier Earring with Vintage Pear Drops OOAK

Peacock Wedding Bracelet, Shabby Chic Vintage Style Cuff – Bridesmaid Gift OOAK

Karin van Rijn, from the Netherlands, is one such creator and shop owner.  Her self described ‘young and edgy Dutch jewelry brand’ is very special indeed. These amazing handmade pieces of pure genius are like looking through your grandmother’s old jewelry collection, and then mixing and matching the best bits to make totally new and unique bits of wonderful. Rhinestones, acrylic flourishes, paste jewels, metals, leather, woven threads, glass beads, and semi-precious stones abound in astounding combinations of shine, bling, and colourful clashes of fancy. If you are into minimalist and architectural jewelry, I am afraid this is not your day. But if you are into bohemian flair, bangles of brilliance, and wedding jewelry and accessories that are as one-of-a-kind at the Bride herself, then you have just hit the mother-load of awesome.

Bridal Sash Brooch, Vintage Flowers and Sparkling Rhinestones [MADE TO ORDER] OOAK

Bridal Headband – Rhinestone Wedding Hair Piece, Art Deco Style OOAK

Bridesmaid Set of Three [or More] – Shabby Chic Wrist Corsages, Bridesmaid Gifts

One Of A Kind Jewelry Design is exactly what it sets out to be, and van Rijn’s talent for mixing and matching elements and textures is masterful. Never have I seen such a skilled hand at pulling together beads and baubles into harmonious and unique creations that are somehow still very personal and have a note of heirloom quality about them. These are the items you will pass on from one member of your family to the next. This is the gift you give to the one-of-a-kind woman in your life that speaks more than words. A friend would consider herself very lucky indeed to be in possession of one of van Rijn’s creations, or re-creations as the case may be.

Bohemian Hippie Bracelet, Wide Crystal Swarovski Friendship Bracelet Cuff OOAK

Bib Statement Necklace, Hand-painted Neon Pink Ombre Vintage Rhinestone Necklace OOAK

Wedding Cuff Bracelet in Vintage Collage Style, Statement Cuff OOAK

If any of these items tickle your fancy, then you had better get ready to be tickled to death, there is so much more to see at van Rijn’s Etsy Shop. Currently, there is a 50% off sale on some of her collection, so if you are looking for the perfect gift for yourself or someone you love, don’t hesitate to snap up some pretties.  Prices for these items range from 11.50 Euros, about $16.00 US/CDN Dollars, up to
398.00 Euros [$550.00 US/CDN Dollars] for the most intricate and large pieces. Really there is something for every budget and every taste, from smaller items like earring or rings, to bangles and bunches of bohemian bracelets, necklaces, headbands, and other amazing bridal accessories. One Of A Kind Jewelry Design also has some amazing sets for bridesmaids, where you can get three of the same look for one great price, so that all of your bridesmaids can match and still be the only ones in the world with that particular design.

Vintage Collage Bird, Romantic Soft Leather Cuff OOAK

Vintage Flowers Necklace – Blue Wedding, Shabby Chic OOAK

Native American/Aztec/Navajo Inspired Friendship Bracelet Cuff OOAK

Stop in to check out all the amazing looks at Karin’s Store, and check back often, as new things are added almost every week. With a stock of almost 200 items listed for sale, there is just so much to look at and I have no doubt, something will reach out at grab you in that special one-of-a-kind way.

Behind The Mask – Motley Mode Mondays

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Victoriana Mask in Gold Leather by Tom and Jill Banwell, Tom Banwell Designs on Etsy.

 Are you ready for the party? Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras, and revelers are ready to celebrate. Worldwide, Carnival celebrations typically begin at any point after the religious observance known as Epiphany and carry on up until the Ash Wednesday, but most people really see it as a time to to celebrate. From wearing masks and costumes, dancing, and parades, it is celebrated differently around the world, but no matter how outrageous the party gets, it is the last chance to go big or go home, so to speak, before Shrove Tuesday, which isassociated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins. After a night of partying Mardi Gras style, I imagine some have more to confess than others, if you know what I mean.

Mardi Gras Special — Swirly, Victoriana, and Muse by Tom and Jill Banwell, Tom Banwell Designs on Etsy.
Turquoise and Silver Feather Masquerade Carnival Mardi Gras Fancy Dress Mask by Hilarys Bazaar on Etsy.
Elegant Peacock Teal & Green Masquerade Mask with Feathers by Vanessa Rockey Del Bono, AloraLocks on Etsy.
Purple, Green, and Gold Feather Mardi Gras Mask by Jessica, The Crafty Chemist on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Masks Special — Totem, Electro, Decaflor Leather by Tom and Jill Banwell, Tom Banwell Designs on Etsy.

Since Monday is about fashion, style, and accessories here on the Fab, I am glad to take advantage of the Mardi Gras fever as an excuse to showcase some absolutely fabulous masks.  Each and every one of these masks I have hand selected to feature in this post, all found on Etsy, was chosen because they are so visually striking, they would make a great wall sculpture even if you don’t plan on wearing them. When you think about it, there are precious few opportunities to wear masks once we become adults. I was going to say “grown up”, but does anyone really ever grow up? You may get the chance at Halloween, maybe there is a New Year’s Eve party that calls for masks, but rarely do we find engraved invitations to masked balls in our in-box.

Flame Leather Mask by Rebecca Dixon, Up From The Ashes on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Mask Forest Nymph by Aph Custom Leather on Etsy.
Big Cat Jaquar Venetian Mardi Gras Carnival Masquerade Leather Mask Sculpture by Wendy Martin Art, Lyon’s Menagerie on Etsy.
Lady of the Glade Venetian Mardi Gras Carnival Masquerade Leather Mask Sculpture by Wendy Martin Art, Lyon’s Menagerie on Etsy.
MADE TO ORDER – Leather Greenman Mask, Wearable Art, Display, Labyrinth Mardi Gras Renfest Wiccan by Parkers and Quinn on Etsy.

Wearing a mask can be a liberating thing, if it is made well, it almost becomes a part of you, and while your eyes are visible, it may take people a few looks to sort out who is really behind the mask, if they can at all.  But it is rather romantic to partially conceal your identity, to dress up and play at being someone, or something else. Venetian style masks are extremely popular, particularly during Mardi Gras, and have historically been used on many other occasions in the past, usually as a device for hiding the wearer’s identity and social status.

Butterfly Venetian Masks – Customizable by Stephanie, Bridal Bijou & Bebe Bijou on Etsy.
Peacock Feather Venetian Mask by Stephanie, Bridal Bijou & Bebe Bijou on Etsy.
Turquoise, White and Gold Venetian Feather Mask by Jessica, The Crafty Chemist on Etsy.
Old Orleans Dame Mask for Mardi Gras/Costume/Masquerade/Halloween/Prom by Elisha Miller, Effigy Masks on Etsy.
Pink Butterfly and Flower Venetian Mask by Stephanie, Bridal Bijou & Bebe Bijou on Etsy.

A mask allows it’s wearer to act more freely in a circumstance where he or she wants the opportunity to interact with others outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. Even today a mask is useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit, others just personal, such as romantic encounters.  It is delightfully fun to enjoy the perceived anonymity that a mask can provide. No wonder they are so popular at Mardi Gras, where any number of mildly scandalous event might occur.

Mardi Gras Harlequin by Nikki Stone, Dreaming Utopia Designs on Etsy.
Handmade Masquerade Mask Carnival Mardi Gras Halloween Costume 9Mardi Gras Madness) by Levy Wallace, Turntable 2 Treasure on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Fleur Mask by Nikki Stone, Dreaming Utopia Designs on Etsy.
Peacock Mask – Paper Mache – Masquerade – Absolutely Beautiful – Hand Painted by Pirates Quarters on Etsy.
Rhinestone Mask – Venetian Style – “Temptress” by Nora, Bejeweled Masquerade on Etsy.

I have never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras celebrations, but many of my family members have gone, and of course traveled home again with stories of the sheer number of people jammed into the streets of the French Quarter, the noise, the celebrations, the beads, and the strong coffee and beignets the following morning.  My mother has a particular talent for getting beads, bringing home huge shopping bags full of the baubles that have become favorite dress-up staples for her grandchildren.

Papillon – Rhinestone Masquerade Mask by Nora, Bejeweled Masquerade on Etsy.
Pearl Shard Mirror Gaga Mask by maskup.net, on Etsy.
Spiral Masquerade – OOAK Purple and White Leather Mask by Jyn Donham, The Mummers Cat on Etsy.
Venice Pink Lace Butterfly Glitter Mask by maskup.net, on Etsy
Antennae Feather Mask by Regina T, Aveanart Feathered Masks on Etsy.

The three colours designated for New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations, Purple, Gold, and Green, besides looking deliciously decadent actually have been said to have significant meaning.  Purple is said to signify justice, gold stands for power, and green means faith.  Whether you subscribe to that notion or not, these are the colors most often seen during the Mardi Gras season, and particularly in the last five days leading up to Ash Wednesday.

Purple and Green Harlequin Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask by Alia Yasen, Society Carnivale on Etsy.
Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask by Misty W., The Masked Zone on Etsy.
Jester Leather Mask by Mr. Hyde’s Custom Leather, New Orleans on Etsy.
Gold and Blue Masquerade Mask by Misty W., The Masked Zone on Etsy.
Momus Leather Mask by Mr. Hyde’s Custom Leather, New Orleans on Etsy.

While these colours are often seen in masks worn on the day, there is no limit to the design or coloration of masks for Mardi Gras or any other occasion.  While I may not be celebrating Mardi Gras, in the traditional sense, I would likely choose a mask that features more traditional Venetian elements, or perhaps a Harlequin style.  And if you are like me and have never been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras season, or have young children and can’t travel easily, there is no reason not to start your very own family tradition of having a mini-masked ball in your home. Invite your friends and family, decorate the house in the traditional colours of green, purple, and gold, and make your own King Cake. Make a list of fun party games and hand out some throws [traditionally beaded necklaces].  What a fun memory you will be creating, and a great photo opportunity too.

Gold and Black Lace Masquerade Mask by Alia Yasen, Society Carnivale on Etsy.
Mayqueen Masquerade Mask, Handmade by Karen, Grin, Grimace & Squeak! on Etsy,
Venetian Feather Carnival Mask in Gold with Purple Ostrich Feathers, Mauve by Lady In The Tower on Etsy.
Lace Adult Mask Design For Mardi Gras New Years by Lanette, Lanette’s Designs on Etsy.
Gold Fairy Mask by Elaine, A Sight to Behold Masks on Etsy.

Today’s selection of masks are all available on Etsy, and while they may not make it to you in time for this year’s celebrations, it may be wise to pick up a mask to have on hand when the next opportunity to wear one may arise. A wild bachelorette party would be one occasion where a mask might come in handy, or a bachelor party for that matter. There is no reason at all that you cannot have a masked party in your own house, be it a birthday celebration, a grown-up Halloween party, or your next New Year’s bash. Masks make a wonderful conversation starter, and the range of style, from traditional to outrageous, can be a very personal expression of your own character.

Cardinal Leather Mask, Child Size – Made to Order by Chelsea and Marlo, Sundries and Plunder on Etsy.
Rabbit Brown Patchwork Mask by Looking Glass Leather Works on Etsy.
Fox Leather Mask, Child Size – Made To Order by Chelsea and Marlo, Sundries and Plunder on Etsy.
Snowy Owl Leather Mask by Annie Libertini, Libertini Leather Accessories on Etsy.
Gold, Brown and Teal Leather Dragonfly Mask by Looking Glass Leather Works on Etsy.

So grab yourself a strong cup of coffee and a slab of King Cake and settle in to search for the mask of your dreams. King Cake, by the way, is a coffee cake, oblong and braided, and iced with a simple icing then covered with purple, green and gold sugar. Each cake contains a hidden bean or small plastic baby. Different traditions hold for the one that finds that little trinket in their slice of cake. Martha Stewart has a particularly easy recipe for King Cake that you can make at home, and you can decided what significance you want to add to the finding of the hidden prize.

Gradient Purple and Silver Mask by Elaine, A Sight to Behold Masks on Etsy.
Intricate Alphonse Mucha Inpired Leather Mask by S.E.T Design on Etsy.
Waves Mask, Masquerade Mask, Luxury Venetian Mask by Coco Martin, Cocone on Etsy.
Dragon Days – Leather Dragon Mask by S.E.T Design on Etsy.
Black and Silver Metallic Masquerade Mask by Jessica, The Crafty Chemist on Etsy.

Your mask may be among the selection showcased here today, or you might want to head over to Etsy to have a closer look at the amazing mask creations of the artists that combine the skills of a sculptor with that of a milliner, combining elements of paper, leather, metals, feathers, and beads to produce the most magical and pleasing results.  You never know when your next occasion to wear a mask might come along, and you might as well be prepared. Have a marvelous Mardi Gras everyone.

Green Macrame Mask, Masquerade Mask, Elegant Mask by Coco Martin, Cocone on Etsy.
Columbina Venetian Masquerade Eye Mask by Venetian Artiquity, Venice Italy on Etsy.
Mardi Gras, Burlesque Mask, VAMPIRE Masqurade, Headband, Victorian Hair Accessories, Gold Shimmer Princess Queen – DANCE by Theresa Joy, deLoop on Etsy.
Eyes Wide Shut Bauta Masquerade Venetian Mask by Venetian Artiquity, Venice Italy on Etsy.
Mardi Gras, Mask, Pink Feather, Vampire Queen Ball Mask, Princess, Hair Accessories, Pink & Black Shimmer – PRETTY ONE by Theresa Joy, deLoop on Etsy.

Note: All Images and Creations in this post are Copyright and the Intellectual Property of the Individual Artists and their Respective Etsy Shops. No Infringement is Intended. Please follow the Link under the image in question for further information including price, shipping costs, and availability. Some items are Ready-To-Ship while others are Made To Order.

Uncultured Pearls – Motley Mode Mondays

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Genuine Irregular Shaped Pearl Wrapped in 925 Silver, On Silver Chain – B039 by bettylaboutique on Etsy.

It’s fashion post Mondays again, and this week I decided to get all wrapped up in what I call “Uncultured Pearls”. A bit of word play on my part, but it all started with a little look about for irregular shaped pearl jewelry, and then it turned into something else. Irregular jewelry is something that is not really seen in the local jewelry store at the mall or big name designer stores. Those places offer mass produced items, and even if they have customization options, as with a charm bracelet, they are not truly one-of-a-kind [OOAK] items if they can be duplicated exactly by just about anyone with the cash. You would have to work with a jeweler to design something really unique for your Valentine Sweetheart, the only other option is to go with a vintage jewelry piece, which is also wonderful but sometimes very costly.

Broken China Jewelry Handcrafted August Birthday Month Pendant Necklace By Charmedware on Etsy.

Irregular Beautiful Colored Porcelain Pendant OOAK by Porcelain Art Jewelry on Etsy.
Broken China Red Heart Necklace by Robin’s Nest Creations on Etsy.

So what are the options for those of us who want to wear, or gift, OOAK jewelry items that don’t take weeks of planning or searching in a little independent jewelry store or consignment shop? Well, the internet of course. Etsy in particular is a great place to look for really high quality items, it offers small cottage industry artisans a place to sell their one of a kind designs to a wide audience. If you are buying something for a OOAK person, then you want a OOAK item.

Dark Matter – Alchemist – Original Dall Parts Locket Necklace by KarolinFelix on Etsy.
Baby Blue – Retro Specimen, Cabinet of Curiosities Doll Parts Necklace by KarolinFelix on Etsy

Red and White Dots Brooch, Love Valentine’s Day by Cerasa’s KITCHen on Etsy.

Here is a beautiful selection of jewelry made with unique items; irregular pearls, odd shaped stones, strange and unique combinations of materials. Sometimes it is how the items are used not so much the fact that they are being used at all that makes for that unique item. Just a simple pendant necklace becomes a really eye-catching creation , it’s a bit like wearing a tiny museum around your neck.

Golden Pyrite Necklace, Freeform Chunky Gemstone Cube, Oxidized Sterling Silver by Great Expectations on Etsy.

 Natural Agate Necklace by Kezi Handmade Jewelry on Etsy.

Strings of beads in semi-precious stones, shells, pearls, glass, coral, or wood strung in unique colour combinations can become absolute show stoppers when they go ‘outside the box’ and use seemingly random combinations. Using materials not normally associated with fashion jewelry making is also really special. Crochet, ribbons, silk flowers, or fabric yo-yos can have huge eye appeal.

Irregular Textile Choker by PirilampoRiscado on Etsy

Chunky Beaded Necklace by Crafts and Love on Etsy.

Dark Red Tones Crochet Long Necklace, Handmade and Beaded, Fabric Roses Flowers by seragun on Etsy.

Even if there are traditional elements to the piece of Jewelry in question, a unique color combination or unique construction method can be very special for a wearer that may not be looking for a statement so much as a piece with personality.

Hand Beaded Green and Light Brown Toned Necklace by ObsidianRain on Etsy.

Charming Mother of Pearl Ring In Warm Colors by DortheasDesign on Etsy.

Necklaces With Free Form Embroidered Pendants MADE TO ORDER by MisPearlBerry on Etsy.

Asymmetrical placements of featured pendants or embellishments, such as a floral element, really add a lot of impact visually. Our eyes and brains are trained to recognize patterns, and when they are not obvious or as expected, they draw our attention as we try to sort out the elements we are looking at. My favorite irregular and OOAK item in Jewelry of any sort is the Pearl, particularly natural pearl with irregular shapes. I find them to be natural wonders, the way pearls and mother of pearl is created is so interesting. Grains of sand that are coated in lacquer over long decades and suddenly you have a beautiful and natural jewel. 

Awesome Three Mother of Pearl Flower, Leaves, Beads – Twisted Wire – Show Stopper by Bella Mia Creations on Etsy.

Copper Wrapped Champaigne Keishi Pearls Necklace by Mayahelena Jewelry on Etsy.

So love those irregular Uncultured Pearls, those OOAK wearable pieces or art. If you want to be a cookie cutter and have the same heart shaped dog tag around your neck as every other person in your circle of friends, that’s fine. But I am more partial to being the one wearing the piece that no one else will ever be able to duplicate because it is mine alone.  Show your Valentine that they are your OOAK work of art by giving them jewelry that is as OOAK as they are.