Friday, February 21, 2014

Bead Journal Project for 2014

One of the projects I've been working on in the background here in the Magpie's Nest are my first two pieces for this year's Bead Journal Project.

I may have mentioned that I'm using the idea of a bookmark for this series. Rather than the long skinny rectangle of most traditional bookmarks I used a shipping tag as the inspiration for my foundations. Once that decision had been made I cut 12 pieces of batting to support the fabrics on which I would be beading.

I begin with batting and fabric cut 3" x 5.5." This gives me tags that are 2.5" wide and 5" long. For the first tag I used a bit of fabric my friend C~ gave me for Christmas. She had experimented with ice dyeing with some friends of ours earlier in the year. This is what the half-yard cut looked like:

Having the whole family together for Christmas was the inspiration for the theme of January's tag. I started by pulling out charms and trying different arrangements to indicate my husband and I, each of our children, their spouses and children.

I couldn't find a layout that satisfied me well enough to sew the bits down. Eventually I put all of those away and started fresh, with sequins this time.

This arrangement felt more promising. I played around with stacking sequins and the colors of the beads used to secure them to the foundation. I also decided to add a second large gold heart so that there's one for each of us, my husband and I.

The silver hearts represent our children, the star is our son in law (the sailor) and the flower is our prospective daughter in law. The little flowers are our granddaughters. :- ) Maybe you can also see the seed stitching I did with silk floss to fill in the background. Double clicking on the pictures should make them larger.

In keeping with the idea of a bookmark I chose to finish this one off with a loop and tassel. I made this tassel myself, out of a chenille yarn in my stash.

And now I've completed my bookmark/tag for February:

This one also began with a piece of hand dyed fabric, but this was some I've had in my stash for years. Once again I started out with one set of charms and beads, even had them sewn down this time, and then ended up taking them all off when I found a more appropriate pendant in my collection. My goal was to express visually the pain and frustration I've been experiencing.

To help represent the headaches I stacked four sequins on top of each other, after first trimming the lower two into pointier shapes. They began life as the sort of sunburst or flower sequins that are readily available in craft stores. There's a red one, then a silver one, then a smaller silver buzz saw blade sequin, then the red circle, all topped with the red triangle bead.

The lower half of the composition represents the heavy menstrual bleeding I've been enduring. This isn't a great shot but you can see the variety of beads I used.

You can also see that I used scatter stitching to fill in the background again. This time it was a variegated cotton floss (DMC 4190). I have a sneaking suspicion this treatment will be showing up in many, if not all, of my tags this year. I decided to try something other than a tassel on this one however. I like the tassel but I think a ribbon like this may be more useful if I want to hang the tags for display.

I already have an idea for a theme for March's beaded journal piece. Only time will tell whether that idea bears fruit or not!


  1. These are very expressive bookmarks. It will be interesting to see how you explore your life through the year & then how you feel about it at the end of 2014.

  2. I like these a lot... They show your feelings very well. Nice size!


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