Blingy Bra and Three Inchey Swaps

I saved the funniest named swaps for last: the Blingy Bra and the Three Inchey swaps!

The bra swap was close to my heart (no pun intended!) because it involved embellishing an art bra, something I have done a few times before to promote breast cancer awareness.  (As you may know, I have been taking breast cancer drugs after an extensive biopsy in 2006 showed pre-cancer, which puts me at high risk of developing breast cancer in the future.)  The swap was hostessed by Natalie Hansen, who is fighting the disease; it was a one-to-one swap and I was creating for a woman named Shirl based upon her color choices, and the theme of courage, hope, and perseverance.

I called my creation The Phoenix Hope, which is based upon a poem I found by Don Quixote author Cervantes, which reads:
"The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise."
I just loved the imagery of the phoenix, which rises from the ashes.  To me, it was a representation of hope, and revival, and rebirth.  It also reminds me of the pain of breast cancer and the fire of chemo and radiation.

My phoenix representation -- bling and feathers!

I loved working on this bra, and it made me so, so sad to learn that Shirl didn't make it to Silver Bella; since she wasn't there, one swapper who was there didn't have a bra to take home, so she got the one I made for Shirl.  I really missed not meeting Shirl.

My lovely bra was done by Anna Yates:
My bra from Anna; that's Natalie to the left of me!
Another beautiful bra!
Here's a close-up of my bra:

Anna made a beautiful cover for the bra!
A closeup of some of the embellishments -- vintage jewels and my favorite: buttons!
She put the bling in Blingy Bra!
Anna included a pair of pink dice in the little bag, held on by a beautiful vintage stickpin!
Finally: I have to share with you the gorgeous Three Inchey squares I received that I am just over the moon about!  I really enjoyed doing this swap -- it was the first time I ever designed something in fabric and then reproduced it 12 times.  Here's what my square looked like:

I used an antique photo of a bird which I scanned and printed onto fabric; I then stitched it to a piece of vintage fabric, which I then embellished with two antique laces and fancy stitches.  I sewed on some beads, a vintage button, and some seam binding.  All of this went onto a plain muslin square, which I then packaged with some Bella-worthy ephemera!

Now, grab your coffee and take a gander at the gorgeous pieces of creative wonder I received in return:

All of the stitchers packaged their contributions in unique and beautiful ways!  It was such a delight to unwrap each piece!
 This beautiful tussy-mussy was created by Jami Miller; look at her pressed pansy tag!

 This one was created by Mollie McCabe  -- what cute details and different textures!

Look at this one -- tagged "Grow In Love" -- all in pinks and greens and soft pearly goodness!  It came with a gift of a vintage needlebook from Karla Steele!

Lisa Hajda made these -- that adorable little needle case with my initials on it that was included with her packaging! 
If I was forced to choose my favorite of the group, it would have to be this one, made by Tami Stroh, who was one of the hostesses of this swap.  All the details, all the textures and elements -- including a tiny pocket -- and mother of pearl button flowers!!

Look -- the little piece that slips out of the pocket is two-sided!  And she wrapped it in a vintage hankie.

Jenifer Hilliard made this gorgeous tatted piece wrapped in guilded paper -- look at that blingy button in the middle of the flower!

The co-hostess of the swap, Kris Malone, created this multi-textured square with beads that remind me of eggs in a nest, all in beautiful blues.  I cannot imagine how long it took her to make all those layers of stitches!

This one was made my Colorado buddy, Jeanelle Ricca; I love her design, the sparkly beads she used to embellish, and her wonderful packaging -- she used photos she scanned from a recent scrapbook purchase!

This gorgeous fabric collage was made by Michele Witchell -- I love the hearts and flowers and lace!

The bodice of this tiny gown is hand-stitched by Peggy Lucas -- isn't it to die for?  I want one full-sized!

And this packaging over-achiever is the wonderful Miss Lynn Lebsack, whose blog I've been reading and creations I've been drooling over since she inspired me with her Silver Bella journal/folder!  Isn't that cone just amazing!  And the attached heart was just a bonus!  I actually thought the heart was the inchey, but later found it rolled up inside the cone...

a gorgeous, multi-layered/textured design!  I love the colors!

Tami and Kris included this wonderful set of materials, with a note that we could use one of the two methods provided to put together our swaps while at Silver Bella.  I didn't.  But what a thoughtful idea!  And, I will use them to make a sampler of many of the pieces, I think.

Here I am with Tami and Kris!  Thank you ladies, and all who participated in all the swaps, for such a wonderful start to Silver Bella!


Devonay said…
So beautiful and so meaningful! Your work is breathtaking. Love it!
Alyssa said…
The bras turned out amazingly! I really love the beads and feathers on the one you made. The inchy squares are sweet. I can think of a ton of things I'd do with those and they're so personalized. What a great idea for a swap!
Micki said…
The bras turned out amazing...what a neat swap!
Suz said…
Your swap treats are just heaven! I love them! I love Tami's Twinchie, too. That is just adorable. Love it sooo much! She is a dear! All of your things are over the top and I love your Phoenix bra.
Pretty Things said…
Now, didn't I buy an embroidered bra from you last year????
I didn't sign up for the three-inchie swap, but will if I get to SB next year. How fun! Sewing is my first love, so this would be right up my alley. Loved yours best! I also "borrowed" your photo with Kris and Tammy so I can have a pic of three of my favorite new people in my SB journal.
Anonymous said…
I loved unwrapping my three-incheys, too! In fact, I hung up Lynn's cone wrapping in my craft room and it's now housing my scissors!
Angela said…
The bra you made is my favorite, great symbolism!
Those incheys are amazing, such works of art in such a small space!
m i c h e l l e said…
What fabulous fabulous swaps!!! Your work is amazing, Laurie!!! Thanks for was pretty hard to see all the one-to-one swaps because of the crowds! LOL!
Bunty said…
Oh Laurie, the bra you decorated was beautiful - I love the embroidery and pearls on it. And the other swaps - wow, you were certainly busy before you went to SB but it must have been SO worth it getting back all the lovely goodies from your swaps. How much more can there be to make us completely green eyed??!!

Barbara :)
Christine said…
Your Bellas posts just keep getting more amazing!!!

The bra you made is stunning! Love the beading and ruffling!!! The inchies are such a fun craft! I've done inchies in papercrafting but I like the stitched ones so much more!!! I bet it was just a ton of fun to open up each one of them!!!
Jami said…
It was such a pleasure to meet you at SB, and I was as thrilled as you were upon opening my incheys. There were such a beautiful and meaningful collection of both artworks and women there at the event. Love your blog, stop by to see me too:
Blessings to you,

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