My Beadwork Blog and Gallery

Beading is a bit of an obsession. My beadwork blog is home to my thoughts on pieces I am working on, techniques I am learning, and my beading inspirations. I live in Bournemouth, Dorset and am mum to two gorgeous young children. I volunteer at both school and toddler group, and work part-time in online ad production. I try to fit in as much beading here and there as I can, for both relaxation, and to stretch and expand my creative side. I've learnt a variety of textile crafts over the years, but have always loved jewellery-making. I enjoy wirework, but beadweaving and bead embroidery have proved to be my favourite mediums, and it is these types of beadwork that I always seem to come back to. I love the colour and feel of beads, planning new projects, learning new techniques and of course, bead shopping! I read a wide variety of beading magazines and books, and apart from the occasional workshop, am primarily self-taught.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Completely inspired.....

There are some fantastic bead artists out there and I am enjoying finding new beading blogs and seeing such amazing pieces - they truly are an art form.

Last night I sat and read my copy of Sherry Serafini's 'Sensational Bead Embroidery' from cover to cover and it's made me ping off all over the place with ideas, particularly since I'm a cabochon obsessive!  It really makes a difference having the designs in print in your hands, and this is such a breathtaking book! It is the first book I've had which on first flick - through I've been instantly torn between reading it and getting a new project together!

'The Art of Bead Embroidery' made me try to source the same components and make projects from the book -this time two years on I'm confident enough to enjoy the designs but want to use the techniques with my own ideas and colour pallet.

One birthday present down, one more to go.......

I have completed one of the beady birthday presents - a scissor case and keeper. I went to the Beadwork Fair in Poole in February and fell in love with this kit from Pandorian Beads.  I haven't done brick stitch for a while but it was very easy to pick up again and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I did keep getting carried away with the meditative stitching and forgetting the non-blue beads so did have to unpick it a couple of times. My intention was to make one for myself too but I have too many ideas for new projects to keep to that one! My next project has to be two necklaces with earrings,  using large link chain and gemstone beads chosen at the bead fair, but I am so switched on by beadwork and bead embroidery (and so NOT switched on with that sort of beading at the moment) I really can't get any enthusiasm together for it at all.  I am going to mock up a couple of components for approval before completing the whole projects so will let you know how I get on.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Insanely excited - have ordered Sherry Serafini's new book!

I have had Sherry Serafini's Sensational Bead Embroidery book on pre-order with Amazon for months. First it was due in April, and I was so disappointed when I got an email pushing it back to July. Today I've checked my Facebook and Stitch n Craft have got it in today! I've never been on the phone so quickly and it is now on its way! You can order it on my link to the right in my shops list, or for speed you can find it at

The countdown begins!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Bead Embroidered Collar Design additions

I am having a tiny enforced break on this as I need to bead two birthday presents and catch up on work, but this is where I got to last weekend.

I've added some random stone pear shaped stone beads and beaded around them with gold 15 seed beads. The next step is to stitch on groups of green freshwater pearls and then complete the final embroidering.

New lists!

There are some absolutely amazing bead artists to be found in blogs, books and online at the moment, and I owe my interest and most of the techniques I've learnt to many of them. I've finally got round to my 'inspiration' lists, which are now on the right. Many of my projects involve sourcing materials that often have US brand names, or are only just becoming more readily available over here, so  I have also added a shopping list too.  These shops sell a huge amount of beading products, but I've mentioned where I've unusual materials that not everyone stocks, or repeat orders.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Bead Embroidered Collar design is evolving

I had some time to bead at the weeekend so my collar is coming along very nicely. It took several attempts to measure up and customise the template that Sherry Serafini works to in 'The Art of Bead Embroidery' and ensure that it fitted me and the sheets of Lacy's Stiff Stuff and ultrasuede backing. Now I have this template I can use it to speed up future projects. The Lacy's is great for glueing cabochons - ultrasuede is good but this just has the edge in drying speed. So far I've bezelled my cabochons with peyote stitch, using delicas and size 15 seed beads as you can see here. As mentioned, I glued them in place with multi- purpose glue (Wilkinson's own, perfect glue but the fumes are quite strong) so they don't need the peyote for security - I just love the intricate look of this style of bezel and will probably use it in most of my designs somewhere.

Now the cabachons are in place, the colour scheme is changing somewhat from how I envisaged -  the peach beads that I was planning to use now don't look quite right. The design is evolving to be very green, gold and black based, and much darker than originally planned, so that's the way I'm going with it. This photo was taken when I'd completed the first row of backstitch round the cabachons on the right hand side, using size 11 seed beads and hex-cuts. Now that part is finished,  I've been laying out beads and smaller cabs and taking photos to see which feel right, and am now have the collar in my kitchen to look at so I can think about it and have a play whenever I go past.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Bead embroidery materials in the UK

I am particularly pleased with my Blue Shell Cabachon Cuff, which was a great experience in how much you may need to change a design, to both get it to work and show off the materials to best effect. I have aspired to bead larger cuffs and embroidered collars for a long time now, which is becoming easier now cuff blanks, ultrasuede and cabachons can be sourced within the UK, rather than ordering from the US where bead embroidery is much more popular.

Many of the US designers use beautiful semi-precious stone cabachons, which can make the finished jewellery expensive to make and heavy to wear. Vintage cabachons come in a huge range of colours, patterns and finishes whilst keeping cost and weight down, and there is something very satisfying in using cabachons with a past in one of your pieces.

My next ongoing big project is a beaded collar with green and peach shell patterned cabachons. I am going to make this more freeform and use more texture than in my pieces so far.

Lacy's Stiff Stuff has arrived!

.....and it is lovely! I am used to a much more flexible beading surface and I wondered if my technique would be different on a stiffer one, but I am really enjoying it so far.  I may be using the wrong side as it is a bit fluffy occasionally, but the shrinkage does seem less with stitch tension so far which is a plus.

 I still have a bit more pearl embellishment to do on my Laura McCabe cuff, but as it's hard to add more pearls without the thread getting tangled a lot (however I hold it) to prevent me messing it up or throwing it against the wall at this late stage I'm only doing a couple at a time.

Which means a new project and I am finally doing the collar that I've been wanting to do ever since discovering bead embroidery courtesy of 'The Art of Bead Embroidery'' by Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli. Sherry's new book has been held up until July which gives me time to get this done first!