Thursday, December 26, 2013

"Blue Harmony" ~ Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

"Blue Harmony"

*click on photos for larger image

The above photo shows the beaded bracelet after all the top embroidery is completed, but before it is attached to the inner brass cuff blank.  It's easier to see the bracelet design when it is photographed flat like this first. Once the top beaded foundation is attached to the cuff, the rounded form is more difficult to photograph well, or to see in its entirety. 

Many of my bead embroidered bracelets start with an interesting gemstone cabochon - this one, "Blue Harmony," is no different.  The central jasper gemstone cabochon is a beautiful swirl of blue and earth-toned colors.  I chose to feature the blue and the brown colors, choosing to use a sapphire blue that is neither warm nor cool - a true blue - and a soft brown to play up the blue.  I did not want this blue bracelet to veer to the cool side (aqua blue), or the warm side (violet blue). 

Two swirly glass cabochons flank the focal gemstone and carry out the blue/brown colorway.  Light blue, half-domed pearls encircle the jasper stone in the middle and add a subtle elegance.  In addition to these, I've added glass seed beads, Czech crystals, AB glass cut crystals, earth-toned matte Picasso beads, and four light blue, Lucite, "hibiscus-shaped" flowers. Springing from the middle of the Lucite flowers are blue beaded stamens.  Lucite is a type of acrylic glass - these flowers have a charming frosted look to them.
The inside of the cuff bracelet is finished off with an UltraSuede fabric in a floral and lace pattern in soft blues and creams. 

Below are three photos of the finished bracelet.

 "Blue Harmony" showing side view.

"Blue Harmony" showing bottom of cuff, and inner designed UltraSuede, as well as the picot edging around the bracelet that finishes off the design in a delicate manner.

Top view of "Blue Harmony" bead embroidered cuff bracelet.

Friday, December 6, 2013

"Buried Treasure"

"Buried Treasure"

click on photos for larger image

For many years I've held a fascination for ammonites.  These fossilized shells with a spiral core are individually unique in size, shape, and overall appearance.  I chose 12 from my growing collection with the intention of making a bracelet, but clearly there were too many for wrapping around my wrist - and I was determined to use this particular group.  A necklace became the next best idea.

Photos are by my dear friend Sharlet Sizemore, 
of "Beads and More" in Kerrville, Texas. 
Many thanks to her for taking an accurate color photo.

A closer look below ...

Each of the individual ammonites were first bezeled on Midnight Black foundation (Nicole's BeadBacking) and completely finished (without the UltraSuede backing).  Once I had all 12 ammonites bezeled, I then sewed them onto Rich Brown  foundation (Nicole's BeadBacking).  After they were all positioned and held firmly on the foundation with stitches, I then beaded around the ammonites with various beads and gemstones.

Included in the mix were jasper and agate gemstone beads in sizes 10, 8, and 6 mm., some of which were faceted.  Also glass pearls, Swarovski cut crystals, Miyuki Picasso magatamas (delicate drop beads) and a variety of Japanese seed beads in several sizes including 6, 8, 11, and 15.

This was easily the most involved piece of bead embroidery I've ever attempted, but it was also the most enjoyable.  The bead embroidered section (minus the necklace) measures about 9" high by 7" wide.  The backing is a dark brown UltraSuede, and the necklace part is made with brown glass pearls separated by glass seed beads.  

For more information and to order the fabulous bead backing foundation (NBB) by Nicole Campanella, please visit her Web site:

Because her NBB so outshines the competition in the arena of foundation material, I was able to easily manipulate around these very high bezeled ammonites to work the intricate beading between them.  NBB will bend easily, and then magically return to the same perfect stiffness required throughout the entire beading project.  If you are a bead embroiderer and haven't tried it, please treat yourself to the best!

Now to continue my search for beautiful ammonites to make that bracelet . . . 

Photo above shows brown glass pearls necklace and gold findings.
click on photos for larger image

Saturday, November 23, 2013

"Sea Breeze" ... bead embroidered cuff bracelet.

As in older posts, I've photographed the completed bead embroidered top part of the bracelet flat before attaching it to the brass cuff bracelet, for easier viewing.

Click on photos for a larger view.

Here is my first attempt at making a narrow bead embroidered cuff bracelet.  I call this one "Sea Breeze" for the pretty sea-green color of the aventurine cabochon stones. The center cab is somewhat rectangular, and the two on either side are very narrow and also rectangular.  Here's where I learned a lesson (and I learn something with each project, thankfully!) the smaller and narrower the cabochon, the less likely the final row of bezeling with size 15 beads will show up well.  I suppose there just isn't enough room for them to spread out nicely, and they have a tendency to bunch up - live and learn.  The remainder of the beads are gold-toned Japanese glass seed beads and bugle beads. In addition, I have added topaz gold Swarovski cut crystal beads, round and bi-cone, clear-green glass 4 mm. beads, plus 10 glass pearls in the beautiful sea-green color.

Aventurine is a form of quartz characterised by its translucency ~ this is the green aventurine.  The majority of green and blue-green aventurine originates in India.  I think it's a very soothing color, and I was surprised at how well it married with the gold additions.

This braclet was bead embroidered onto Nicole Campanella's NBB bead backing in the Leaf Green color.  For ordering information on this excellent embroidery backing material, please click on this link:

The color combination in this bracelet led me to use an UltraSuede pattern that incorporates the same sea green and gold colors with a charming "peacock feather" pattern.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

"Beyond The Blue" ~ Two Bead Embroidered Pendants

Here are my latest bead embroidered projects ~

Two blue pendants:

As with all of my bead embroidered jewelry, all of the beads are hand-sewn one at a time (if the beads are very tiny size 15, then two at a time), then they are sewn back through again for stability and security.  Not only does this help the beads to line up well, but it keeps them safely secured to the foundation.  

After the question I get almost every time: "How long did it take you to make this?" 
the question I hear lately is:
"Are the beads glued on?"  
No, the beads are all sewn on by hand, with a needle and thread, and no, they are not placed on the foundation already strung.  The art of bead embroidery will appeal to those who (1) love beads, and (2) enjoy sewing.  If that's you, I encourage you to try bead embroidery!   And if jewelry is not your thing, there are examples on the Internet (try: of bead embroidery done on quilts, purses, clothes, and other household goods.  You are limited only by your imagination.

The round 8 mm. lapis lazuli beads team up with blue glass pearls and 3 mm. sodalite beads, as well as cut glass crystals in sapphire blue, multi-faceted light blue beads (which appear cream-colored in this photo, but are a very light blue color), and various glass seed beads in shades of blue.

 Below is a closer view of the pendant itself.  Click for a larger image.

The toggle closure is made entirely of seed beads for continuity, and to keep the pendant and necklace from being limited to either silver or gold metal findings.

The top cabochon is an agate with blues and creams in a gently swirling pattern, and the bottom cabochon is a deep blue color (although the light is reflecting off of it in this photo).

This bead embroidery was sewn onto Nicole's BeadBacking (NBB) in the Royal Blue color, which was a perfect backdrop for the two focal cabochons.
For more information about this outstanding backing by Nicole Campanella, please visit:

The back of the pendant (not shown) is finished off in a dark blue UltraSuede.

I'm enjoying the process of making these bead embroidered pendants.  They work up quickly, and while the bead selection must be limited, they make nice little gifts.  The one pictured below features a Blue Crazy Lace Agate which is oval, and a smaller round glass stone above it.  These two stones are surrounded by two cut crystals on the side, Japanese glass seed beads bezeling the stones, and in the edging, and crystal bicones.  The back is finished off in a soft blue UltraSuede.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Jungle Fever" Bead Embroidered Pendant with Bead Necklace.

Leopardskin Jasper, (also called Jaguar Stone), is one of the many different appearances in the stone called Jasper.  My current attraction to Jasper stones stems from its beautiful earthy and natural look ~ all the warm colors found in nature can be seen in the various Jasper stones.  Each one is a work of art all by itself, even before it is embellished with bead embroidery.

This bead embroidered pendant (with necklace) features Leopardskin Jasper 9 mm. round beads, as well as cut black crystals, glass seed beads in black as well as burnt orange, with a seed bead toggle and clasp for continuity.

 The central rectangular cabochon is an agate.  The colors in the focal agate marry well with the colors found in the Leopardskin Jasper beads, each having rusty browns, blacks, burnt oranges, and cream colors.  At the bottom of the focal cabochon agate is a triangular Leopardskin Jasper chip bead.

This pendant was bead embroidered onto Nicole's NBB in the Rich Brown Color.  See the below link to purchase this amazing beading foundation by Nicole Campanella.

Above the agate cabochon, is a black glass square cabochon surrounded by twelve  4 mm. Leopardskin Jasper beads.
The edges of the pendant are enhanced with a picot beading stitch, and the back of the pendant (not shown) is finished off with a soft cheetah print UltraSuede.  Given the pairing of the Leopardskin Jasper and the cheetah print UltraSuede, I named this one "Jungle Fever."

Below is a closer view of the pendant by itself.  Click on any photo to enlarge image.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Emerald Green Beauty"

"Emerald Green Beauty" is a bead embroidered pendant with attached necklace created with an emerald green oval glass cabochon and a rectangular black glass cabochon situated above it.  Surrounding the two main cabochons are black and green glass beads in various sizes and shapes, including two black faceted crystals on each side.  

Emerald Green just happens to be the Pantone Color of the Year for 2013.
Is green one of your favorite colors?  It's certainly eye-catching.

Black is the perfect foil to set off this rich color.  I've included a few green beads that have a bit of a chartreuse (warm) color to them, as well as some green beads that lean to a blue (cool) shade to give the central cabochon some added interest.  Although both are in the green family ... the slight variation adds an element of depth to the pendant.  Hanging from the bottom of the pendant is a black faceted glass drop with a very long and narrow shape.  The bail is made from seed beads, as is the toggle closure at the end of the black crystal necklace.  When I can, I prefer to make the toggle and loop closure with beads instead of a silver or gold metal closure.  That way, whomever wears the piece is not limited by my color choice.   
As it happens, black is a very hard color to photograph well - at least it is for me.  

Although it cannot be seen in this photo, this bead embroidered pendant was sewn on 
Nicole's BeadBacking in the Leaf Green color - a perfect match, and since the green glass cabochon was translucent, the Leaf Green NBB was an excellent choice that maintained the rich green color.  Each time I work on Nicole's BeadBacking in her various lovely colors, I send up a grateful thanks that I don't have to dye my foundation after I've sewn on all the beads.  Thank you, Nicole!  If you want further information about her great beading foundation, please see the link at the end of this post.

The back of the pendant is finished off with green UltraSuede, sewn to the front of the pendant with black glass seed beads in a picot edging.

Click on photo for larger image.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Night and Day" ~ Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

My latest bead embroidered cuff bracelet presented a challenge.  Could I make something interesting out of only black and white beads without any color to sing out?  Color is the driving force behind all of my jewelry creations, so this limitation was new for me.   I'm calling this bracelet:

"Night and Day" 

click on any photo to enlarge view 

Although I like the combination of black and white, I prefer the more "vintage" appearance of ivory/cream/ecru shade of white instead of a stark, bright white. This project's goal was a more modern look.  I think the bracelet turned out very contemporary.

Below is the finished bead embroidered top piece - photographed flat so that it shows up better:

After the bead embroidered top piece is cut away from the bead backing (Black NBB by Nicole Campanella ~ the BEST backing on the market!), then this top is attached with glue to the brass cuff bracelet blank.

This is the top view of the cuff.  The beads are many varieties, sizes, shapes, and finishes of glass beads.  Although it may be difficult to see in the above photo (black is difficult for me to photograph), there are a total of four black Lucite flowers - each has a white beaded "stamen" in the middle.

This side view shows one of the two large, oval, striped beads.  The design of these two beads contributes to the modern look of the bracelet.

Finally, an end view of the cuff showing the inside black UltraSuede that finishes off the cuff with a soft fabric against the skin, as well as encases the inner brass cuff bracelet.  Around the edges I have sewn a picot edging, which is subtle so as not to take anything away from the focal beads.

* For more information on the BEST bead backing on the market, please visit:

Monday, October 14, 2013

"Canyon Creek" Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

*Canyon Creek*

This latest bead embroidered cuff bracelet is called "Canyon Creek."  The Aqua Terra Jasper stones are currently my favorite gemstones ~ they have that water + land appearance, with swirling earth tones in blues, creams, tans, and rusts. 

Click any photo to enlage image.

Above I've shown the beaded top finished on the "Hawk Wing" color of Nicole's BeadBacking foundation.  I think it's easier to see the entire bracelet design when it's flat like this, since the curavture of the cuff bracelet allows you to see only small sections at a time.

In the photo above, I have cut away the backing foundation, and the beaded top part is ready to be glued to the brass blank cuff.  The central focal jasper stone is rectangular, but the two jasper stones on each side are not exactly the same - this lent a slightly free-form design to the bracelet.  It's always enjoyable to pull out the colors from the stones and let them flow where they will.

After I finished the cuff, I decided the central focal jasper cabochon might benefit from a circle of Aqua Terra jasper beads. 

This below photo shows the side view.  Besides the smaller Aqua Terra jasper beads, I placed six larger beads in the same coloration flat on the bracelet with a "stop bead" to hold them down.  I also had four glass flower beads that carried the same color theme.  The rust-colored beads are also glass, but with a matte finish.  Included are aqua crystals, and AB glass beads in several sizes and shapes.

 Inside is a soft, brown UltraSuede.  The edging on this cuff follows the bead choice on the bracelet itself - which is a different look for me, but one I am pleased with.  I even included some metallic cube beads for added interest.  


Friday, September 27, 2013

"Burnt Offering"

"Burnt Offering"

"Burnt Offering" is a bead embroidered pendant strung on a beaded necklace.  Oh, these colors are my favorite!  Especially this time of year as we approach Autumn. 

After making several bead embroidered cuff bracelets, I was amazed at how quickly this pendant came together. 

*Click on photo for enlarged view

Below is a closer view of the pendant.  I embroidered the stones onto Nicole's BeadBacking
(order yours by clicking here: ) in her beautifully vibrant red color, which lent the piece a firey tone. 

The upper stone is Pyrite - it looks gold in this photo, but it's really more of a vintage silver look. 

The bottom stone is a cabochon that I ordered from India.  It came marked as:  "Natural Silver Spider Web Copper Coral Cushion," and indeed it does have a silver-toned spider web look to it.

In addition to the two gemstones, included are burnt orange cut crystals, two jasper "donut" beads, and various glass seed beads in matte and opaque - sizes 6, 8, 11, and 15 (around the bezel of the Pyrite stone). 

The beads in the necklace are called "Sponge Coral" and each one has a slightly different organic shape to it.

I made a toggle and loop for the closure, as I find this kind of beaded toggle closure ties in the whole design better than a store-bought "silver" metal toggle.  Besides - it's fun to make your own toggles.  You probably already have enough beads, and they make up very quickly. 

The back side of the bead embroidered pendant (not shown) is a very deep, cranberry-colored  UltraSuede fabric.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


"Ivory Coast"

Everything I create gets a name, whether it's an original painting or a beaded bracelet.
This bead embroidered cuff bracelet I have named "Ivory Coast." 
The pearls and beads remind me of the color of shells I've found on the beach. 

* click on photos for larger image
Above is the bead embroidered work before it is attached to the brass inner cuff, and before it is finished off with the inside UltraSuede lining.  These bead embroidered bracelets are easier to see flat first, before they are shown circling a cuff bracelet.

This photo shows the finished cuff bracelet.  The center focal piece is a carved ivory rose cabochon that I encircled with jasper gemstones, glass seed beads, and glass pearls.  On the four "corners" are Lucite tulip flowers with pearl stamens. By each flower is a carved acrylic leaf.  The outer edging on the bracelet is finished with a lacey picot edge.

Besides the ivory rose and jasper beads, this bracelet also includes fresh water pearls, AB crystals, and assorted cream/ivory/ecru beads of various sizes and shapes.  I purposely chose only off-white beads, so no white beads are in the mix.  I think it turned out more elegant with only the cream-colored beads.  The foundation fabric onto which I beaded is a lovely warm tan shade, and the inside of the cuff is covered with ivory-colored UltraSuede in a faux tooled pattern.  The brass inner cuff is sandwiched between the top bead embroidered work and the UltraSuede to give the bracelet form and strength. The bead backing or foundation that I used is by Nicole Campanella (*see last paragraph) and the beautiful tan color is called "Hawk Wing."

I wanted this bracelet to have an old-fashioned vintage jewelry feel to it.  This was my favorite bead embroidered cuff bracelet to work on ... but then, I seem to think that with each one as I'm designing and working on them.  I'm actually a little sad when the bracelet is finally finished, but immediately I'm eager to start a new one.

*For those of you who are already enjoying your own bead embroidery projects, I must share my recent discovery for an exceptional bead backing (the foundation upon which the beads are sewn.)  It's called:  Nicole's BeadBacking (NBB).  This proprietary/copyrighted material is a most excellent surface for not only beadwork, but other sewing applications, and is fast becoming the go-to backing for bead embroidery artists - I know I am a forever fan. 
If you are interested in more information, please visit her Web site at:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Peacock Landing" ~ Pyrite and Iris Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

"Peacock Landing"

  • Pyrite and Iris Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

*click on all photos for larger view

The above photo shows the flat bead embroidered work before it is attached to the inner brass blank that gives the bracelet the rounded cuff form.  It's easier to see the whole bracelet design when it's photographed flat like this.

I have a fascination for the "iris" finish seed beads.  Iris beads feature an iridescence that showcases colors in purple, violet, blue, turquoise, green, and gold.  These beads are often sold together in a mixture, and sometimes one or another intense color predominates the mix.  The mix that I chose featured mostly violet/magenta beads. 

Pyrite is a mineral (iron pyrite/iron sulfide) with a metallic luster often referred to as "Fool's Gold" because of the pale, brass-yellow hue in the stone.  The pyrite beads I chose for this bracelet have more of a silver tone to them, although a flicker of gold can be seen in some of the rough nuggets called Rainbow Mystic Pyrite.

Below photo shows Rainbow Mystic Pyrite ~ rough iron Pyrite nuggets with a shimmer of colors similar to the iris beads.  The mineral Pyrite is coated with titanium, and then heat-treated to bring out the various lustrous and light-reflective colors.  I thought these Pyrite nuggets would make a great pairing with the colorful iris beads. 

Below is the finished bead embroidered cuff bracelet with a central Pyrite focal cabochon bead.
In addition to the several sizes and shapes of Pyrite (including Pyrite nail-head beads), and the iris beads, I have included gray pearls, glass magenta pearls, AB color-changing crystal beads, bugle beads, and silver-colored hematite beads.

The edges of the bracelet are embellished with size 15/0 iris beads in a picot design. 
The inside of the cuff is soft, black UltraSuede for comfort.

This has turned out to be my favorite bead embroidered cuff bracelet so far.  Possibly because I expected the Pyrite gemstones to lend a casual look to the final piece, but they surprised me by turning out much more elegant.  Still ... I'm not afraid to pair a bracelet like this with jeans.  I hope you are inspired by iridescence.   

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Royalty" ~ Bead Embroidered Bracelet


This bead embroidered bracelet is named "Royalty" for the beautiful purples, lavenders, turquoise, and silver colors.  The design is purposely asymmetrical and freeform, with sections that incorporate a myriad of beads in various colors, textures, sizes, and shapes.  The largest cabochon stone is a lovely jasper with swirling purples - bezeled with rows of peyote stitching.  The randomly arranged and organically-shaped stones are dyed Howlite in shades of purple and turquoise.  Interspersed are silver beads with a silver toggle that echoes the square divisions in the bracelet.  The underside of the bracelet features a soft, teal-colored UltraSuede for comfort on the wrist.

*Click on photo for larger image.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

"Singing The Blues" ~ Blue Agate Bead Embroidered Pendant and Necklace

"Singing The Blues"

Blue Agate Bead Embroidered Pendant and Necklace

The pendant began with a blue agate cabochon around which I have added bead embroidery using size 11 Capri blue glass seed beads, size 11 silver seed beads, and size 15 Capri blue glass seed beads.  One blue agate round bead is diagonally attached to the rectangular pendant along with seed beads on each side.  The bail is made with the Capri blue seed beads and the silver seed beads, and was purposefully made large enough to slip off the necklace for when the wearer wishes to enjoy only the necklace and not the pendant.  A Capri blue seed bead rests between each bead on the necklace for graceful movement, and the finding is a silver toggle that complements the silver beads.  The back of the pendant is covered with a soft, light tan UltraSuede fabric.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Heat Wave" ~ Cinnabar Red and Gold Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet


"Heat Wave"

 Cinnabar Red and Gold Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

 (click image to enlarge photos)

This bead embroidered bracelet is somewhat asymmetrical, although the design is balanced on both "sides" of the central gold leaf.  All of the red beads are RED - but as with most colors, there is a combination of the warm reds and the cool reds for added interest and texture.  The same can be said for the golds beads, which vary in shade, shape, matte, and shiny exterior.  Crystals and two uniquely shaped  AB faceted glass focal beads reflect light onto the bracelet.

The above photo (click to enlarge picture) shows the bead embroidered bracelet after the top stitching has been finished, but before the embroidered beadwork is attached to the inner brass cuff, and finally finished off with the inside UltraSuede and beaded edging.

The above photo (click to enlarge picture) shows the top center of the bead embroidered cuff bracelet which features a gold leaf enhanced by glass seed beads for "veins."  Along with the various shaped seed beads in red and gold, this bracelet has bamboo coral beads, crystals, pearls, and two AB glass focal beads on the sides.

This image shows the soft interior UltraSuede fabric, which is in a suble pattern like tooled leather, in a light gold color.  This a side view of the bracelet showing the various shapes, sizes, and colors of the beads embroidered. 

 A final photo of the cuff ends plus the picot edging, as well as four gold buttons can be seen here.  

* My right hand is still in a cast, so this bead embroidered cuff bracelet was made entirely with my non-dominant left hand.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"Deep Sea Diving" ~ Sea Sediment Jasper with Aqua and Bronze Bead Embroidered Bracelet

"Deep Sea Diving"  

Free-form Bead Embroidered Bracelet

Click photo for larger image.

Pictured above is a bead embroidered bracelet with five focal sea sediment jasper gemstones surrounded by various aqua and earth-colored stones.  The piece also includes aventurine stones, glass beads, pearls, crystals, and sea glass along with a few brass metallic beads.  The closure beads are faux ammonites which hold the bracelet closed through tortoiseshell-colored beaded loops. 

Because of the organic size of the jasper stones, the bracelet itself is purposely asymmetrical.  The colorations of aquas (sea) and earthtones (sand) give a coastal feeling to this bracelet.  On the underside of the bracelet (not shown) is a soft aqua shade of UltraSuede with a faint "tooled leather" design.  The sewn edges are covered with hand-dyed silk ribbon in a matching aqua color.

*This bead embroidered bracelet was entirely made using only my left (non-dominant) hand due to a right hand accident involving broken glass. 

"Remember Me" ~ Lavender and Pearl Bead Embroidered Cuff Bracelet

"Remember Me" 

click photos for larger image

Lavender and Pearl Bead Embroidered Cuff  Bracelet

This bead embroidered cuff bracelet was a learning experience in how to bezel a thick cabochon, in this case, a purple agate gemstone placed in the center.  I learned a lot from this project, and I also discovered that using bugle beads adds a nice touch of texture.  This cuff includes pearls, glass stones and beads, bugle beads, crystals, and highly-reflective AB oval beads, as well as an assortment of "leftover" beads from earlier projects. Inside, a brass cuff keeps the shape, and it is lined with a light tan UltraSuede fabric for softness.