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