Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Inspired by Reading: The Ladies of Grace Adieu

This month's Inspired by Reading Book Club selection is a book that I've owned for quite some time but just never got around to reading... The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke.  This is a slim volume of fairy stories by Clarke that is illustrated by the amazing Charles Vess.  The stories are presented as if they were written by various authors and are in a variety of 18th and 19th century styles.  I'm not sure that I loved the stories (although I still want to read Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) but this is a truly beautiful book that was a delight to hold in my hands.

I feel a tiny bit like I cheated this month since I had already hatched the idea for this necklace and earrings before I started reading the book selection this month.  Each year for the Bead Cruise, Heather Powers chooses a theme for a costume/cocktail party.  This year she chose "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Even though I'm not great at coming up with fabulous costumes, I hate to pass up a chance to let loose and be a little wild so I started plotting early.  I had a mask that I got a good deal on at sci/fi convention a few years ago and have never worn.  I thought the great leaf design would be a perfect starting point for my fairy costume!  I did some searching online and found some fun, leafy fairy wings in orange and red and a simple orange tutu.  I still had to make some minor adjustments to the mask and find a suitable under layer for the tutu, but I was feeling pretty good about my costume by November and then sort of forgot about things for a while... and I hadn't even begun to think about jewelry!  Lucky for me, the January edition of Erin Prais-Hintz's Simple Truths Sampler Club got my creative juices going... it was the perfect complement for the rest of my outfit!

I picked out lots of Czech glass flower and leaf beads in the colors of the pendant (and my new leggings that I bought to go under the tutu) and arranged them (along with a couple of rondelles) in an asymmetrical design.  I used brass chain and findings to go with the brass pendant bezel.  

Needing earrings to go along with my new flower fairy necklace, I got to work playing with some enameled bead caps from C-Koop Beads.  I bought a lot of different colored pairs of flower bead caps a while back with the idea of making earrings featuring vine-like dangles, but hadn't gotten around to figuring out how to make my vision reality.  This was do or die time!  I ended up using a skinny mandrel intended for making wire loops to wrap my long head pin around to form my "vines."  They aren't perfect, but I'm pretty happy with how these turned out considering they were a first attempt.  I'm eager to play with some of the other colors and shapes of enameled bead caps that I've been hoarding!

And here's a look at me in my full costume for our party night on the cruise!  It was a great night dancing and cavorting with the other Bead Cruise fairies!

Me in my fairy costume with my roommate Lissa.


  1. How much fun is that?! I love the costume, the leggings, the tutu...the mask is awesome! And I am honored that you chose my little wildflower pendant to be in your ensemble. Looks like you had a great time! Enjoy the day! Erin

  2. The necklace is gorgeous, I love the colors and beads so much and they look so good with this fantastic pendant! Great outfit and you look like you're having the fun of your life :) Oh, and the vines are a great design element!

  3. You look great in your costume and the earrings and necklace are fabulous. I LOVE Erin's pendant, and am so happy to see how you used it. I love the tendrils on the earrings. It's great that you could be efficient and do a two for one with the book club and cruise outfit!

  4. Your necklace is SO pretty, and I love the earring idea, with the coils! Very Faerie! Looks like you had a great time.