Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Dress Rehearsal"

"Dress Rehearsal"

Bead Embroidered Bracelet 

I've named this bracelet "Dress Rehearsal" in honor of my maternal grandmother whose love of sewing was passed down to me.  She lovingly made many costumes for my mother over the years.  I imagined her working on a similar project for a special costume in time for a dress rehearsal for a play, pageant, or parade.

For a number of months now I've been noticing on these really striking bead embroidered bracelets that feature a swirling, pleated fabric.  It took me a number of clicks and following a few links, but finally I discovered that this "fabric" is called SHIBORI SILK RIBBON

Next, I just HAD to get some and try my hand at beading with it.  OH, is it wonderful stuff!

I firmly believe in keeping my business local and supporting my local bead shop.  But every once in a while, I need something different that isn't carried by my hometown bead shop.  Thank goodness for ~ this is where I find out-of-the-ordinary unique beads and beading supplies, and it makes me very happy to give my business to Etsy sellers.

If you are interested in incorporating Shibori Silk Ribbon into your beading designs, I encourage you to give it a whirl.  The silk ribbon is dyed the most delightful colors and arrives pleated.  It's up to you if you want to retain the pleats, or spread them out.   Yes, it takes a bit of patience.   The silk ribbon, I found, has a mind of its own ... it seemed easier to work "with" it than "against" it.

The silk ribbon is first gently tacked down onto Nicole Campanella's beading foundation (NBB), with thread in a color close to the ribbon color. I took tiny little (almost invisible) stitches every 1/2" to 1".  This kept the ribbon from moving around too much, and set the stage for the beading process to follow.
click on any photos for larger image

My bracelet includes a number of "Peacock Iris" iridescent beads, and most have an AB (Aurora Borealis) finish.  The bezeled cabochons are Jasper and glass.  The pearls are freshwater (dyed) and glass.  The crystals are faceted.  The round beads are Jasper, and the seed beads are Japanese Toho glass.  The gold clasp is made in Germany and embellished with iris Hematite cube beads.  Around the outer edge of the bracelet, I have sewn AB drop beads in various shades of turquoise, green, purple, and gold ~ interspersed with a picot edging.

On the underside of the bracelet, a turquoise UltraSuede lends softness against the skin.  This was such a delightful project that I could hardly wait to start another Shibori Silk Ribbon bracelet. Next up: in time for Autumn, the glorious colors of a fall sunset... 

I am always happy to share my sources:
215 Water St, Kerrville, TX 78028
(830) 896-9107  Ask for Lizz.
Beading foundation:
NBB by Nicole Campanella
Shibori Silk Ribbon:
ArtisticWeavers on
Deborah Weaver ~ Email:

Friday, September 5, 2014

"Cleopatra's Prize"

Inpiration:  "The Colors of Egyptian Art"

Leafing through a catalogue recently, I came across an example of Egyptian art.  I cut this part out because I love the combination of colors and wanted to use them in a bead embroidered cuff bracelet project.

I've covered up a part of the writing in the lower left corner to make it less distracting - but the colors are black, terra cotta, turquoise/verdigris and a subtle, light gold color.

The above photo shows the beaded bracelet on the foundation before it was attached to the inner brass cuff.
It's always easier to see the whole design flat like this, instead of wrapped around the circular cuff.   

click on any image to enlarge

The turquoise that I chose for my bracelet is a much stronger color with a deeper intensity than what is shown in the example of Egyptian art above.  I was happy with the colors I chose, and the ones in the example were merely a jumping-off point.  Perhaps at a later date I'll use the same inspiration but choose a true light verdigris and incorporate the light gold, as well.

For now, I liked the stronger palette - and I always go with my first instincts.

The turquoise stones in this bracelet are dyed Jasper. These small disks were arranged flat with a size 15 terra cotta glass seed bead as a "stop" bead to hold them down.  They showed more of the Jasper placed this way, instead of lined up flat, side to flat side.

 I've decided there just isn't a "look" that Jasper can't fill in for - it's been my go-to gemstone for most of my projects.  The central oval cabochon is also Jasper, and this one has a rich terra cotta color that works so well with the turquoise.

The round stones with an orange glow are Carnelian.  This stone marries well with turquoise, as it is a very close complementary color (green-turquoise + red-orange).  In addition, I added in some faceted crystals with a turquoise and gold, and a number of turquoise-colored glass pearls in two sizes.  The rest are seed beads - all glass beads, in sizes ranging from 8 to 15.  The blacks are both the shiny opaque black (Czech size 12) and the matte black (Japanese size 8) for added interest.  Tiny light turquoise seed beads are intersperced in any areas where the round stones left a bit of a gap.

The edges of the cuff are finished off with a picot edging,
and the underside is a very soft teal-colored UltraSuede. 

As usual, my work is hand-sewn and embroidered on Nicole Campanella's NBB, the foundation that is perfect for this work.  There is a brass bracelet blank inside sandwiched between the top beaded part and the underside UltraSuede, which is in a rich teal color.

For more information on my preferred bead embroidery foundation called NBB, please click here:

Contact me if you are interested in sources for brass bracelet blanks or UltraSuede.