Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bead Embroidery - May Bead Journal Project Finished!

Now I understand what some other Bead Journal Project members are saying about getting the blues when their May piece is finished. Yup... Actually, it's a mixed bag of emotions, because I'm also feeling lots of joy and satisfaction.

Speaking of joy, my May piece developed along those lines...

Bead Journal Project, fabrics for May
Here are the fabrics... I had recently bought 6 new fat quarters and these two were on the top of the pile, slightly off-set so I could see both of them. When I went to my stash to select fabric for May, there they were, right on top, calling me loudly.

I cut two pieces with irregular shapes from the multi-color leaf print, and one from the sun flower print. Without any concept of what I wanted to do for May, I just arranged the three fabric pieces in a pleasing way and stitched them together onto my stabilizer paper. I couched lengths of #8 pearl cotton over the seams, trimmed the extra fabric around the outside edges and selected some beads - ready to bead!

bead embroidery, Robin Atkins, Bead Journal Project
Here's the finished piece! About 2/3 of the way through beading it, a name came to my mind and stuck - Climb Every Mountain! I love this piece as the last one of the year... great sentiment and full of hope and joy.

Yellow seed beads
I have to comment about the golden-yellow beads I used in this piece. The Czech and Japanese yellow beads (left) have an acid look to them, not a color I like very much. Yellow, in my opinion, is better when it's warm and glowing with friendliness (right). Only the French seed bead makers got it the way I like it. I understand they aren't making seed beads in France any more (boo-hoo). But you can still get back stock (like the ones pictured on the right above) from some suppliers. I recently bought some from Storm Cloud Beads in St. Paul, MN.

What now? Well, I think I'll go ahead and make a piece for June, July and August, just to keep in practice for when the 2008 BJP begins in September. And, what is really making me happy is my plan for displaying my pieces for 2007. More about that in the next post!


  1. Oh, I love this May piece - the colours, the swirls and rounds, pure magic !

  2. Anonymous12:01 PM

    As usual I love this peice, the brightness, the joy and economy of the work which makes it looks like it was done in a breeze.

    Thanks so much for this challenge. I may have been slowed down recently but its always top on my agenda of things to do. Can't wait to start again in September and already I know what the theme will be (yes, I am going to have a theme), so in the next months will be researching like mad.

  3. That piece definitely conveys joy! :)

    And I totally agree about the old French colors ... the Japanese have brought us some amazing colors in the last decade or so, but there's just something special about those old French blues (and yellows, and pinks ;)

  4. Hi Robin... This is a great piece. I love how you combined the colours of the fabrics with the beads. In my continuing bead embroidery journey, you inspire me to be more adventurous and try different things. Thanks!!!

  5. Another lovely piece. I have to agree about the yellows. Leave the lemon to lemonade. I'll go for the sunnyside every time. Give me butter, buttercup, banana...

  6. Robin - I love this, it reminds me of Switzerland when everything is popping! Thanks for showing the differences in the yellows. I'm going to try a couple different fabrics next time. I like the way it looks! Congrats on completing. I'm looking forward to September's start.

  7. That is really pretty!

  8. I love that the sun is shining so brightly over your mountains...

  9. Oh, yes! This is what it's all about. We had a goal. Occasionally we slid back down the hill a bit, but we climbed that mountain. What an accomplishment! I'll bet you never thought all of this would happen when you started this. Your inspiration and encouragement has kept us all going this year. Kudos to you.


  10. Anonymous9:07 PM

    This beaded landscape is dreamy ! It really looks as if it were glowing with summer light !

    I definitely agree with you on the yellow seed beads. I often give up using yellow because I can't find a nice warm shade of yellow, which I love.
    So thank you for the tip, I'll try to look for French seed beads !

  11. Oh this one is so lovely. I love the colors and the fabrics you used. My favorite color combination here.

    I agree with the yellows. I love yellow but so many do have that acid look as you describe it. I'll have to check out where you bought the others.

    I've posted my answers to your meme! You can check them out here

  12. I'm speechless. It's lovely, makes me thinking of India more than Switzerland. What is the name of the French beads you are talking about?

  13. This is beautiful and so apropos for your last piece. You have been very instrumental in helping others climb their mountains, along with climbing your own.
    I also love the sunflower that became a sun. I think I need to go back to Stormcloud!

  14. oh my...this is your liveliest one yet...I love everything about it: the colors, the fabric, the little critter beads and the upside-down heart tulips!
    yes, I'd be a lot sadder but I'm already working on june's bjp so it's still all going on for me!

  15. OMG ! As always your work really amazes me. I agree about yellow and now have to go in search of some warm,friendly yellows! Perfect description of the color ! aeetpm

  16. Absolutely gorgeous. I love how mountains are often represented in your work. I look at them as scaling new heights, always reaching for more.

    Yellows: I have an ongoing argument with yellow. I've made my peace with golden yellows (but I still don't wear yellow) but that high-key acid yellow, we're still on the outs with one another.

  17. Wow!!! That one is way cool!!! I think you have mastered the art of using beads and fabric with this BJ project! Bravo!!!!

  18. Ah, such lively colors and imagery in this marvelous page!

    Thank you for leading us all on this wonderful journey with you . . .

    Kathy V in NM

  19. Joyful, joyful. You must be in a lovely place with a warm sun blazing down on you and the paradise landscape you inhabit.

    Congratulations on finishing BJP and thank you for beginning the whole project. I am not a BJPer but I have been there every step of the way on the BJP blog as well as many individual blogs. What a wonderful journey it has been.

  20. Beautiful piece, I love the name! The colors are so pleasing. Congrats on finishing the pages for 2007, each and every one have been amazing.

  21. What a perfect name for your last piece of the 2007 BJP!
    I love everything about this piece. How you stitched the fabric together, the colors, the beadwork. All so uplifting! Bravo!
    Maybe that's why I've morphed into a behinder. I don't want to finish! ;-)


  22. To all ~ Some of you are asking about a source for French beads... I'd suggest first that you ask your local bead shop, where you buy your seed beads, if they would carry them... that way you can see before buying. If that doesn't work, try searching for French seed beads online. Here is a site that offers quite a good selection of them!

  23. Another great page Robin, I like the symbolism of the piece & the name you gave it...

  24. Anonymous5:29 AM

    Yeh Robin, now I understand that you have so little time.... hihi
    I is beautiful, the colors!! I love it!
    Big hug from the Netherlands,

  25. I'm a huge fan so it was a real joy
    to watch these monthly projects unfold. I love the use of colored fabrics with the beads complimenting them. I keep saying that if ever I have to stop beading I'd become a quilter. But for now too many bead ideas coming. I look forward to seeing the 07 pieces put together and to watch 08 unfold.

  26. Hi Robin,

    Tim has had West Nile Virus and survived, so I haven't read or been around to comment. What a busy lady you are doing all the different things you are doing. Me, I'm going to nap while he is. I'm not a fan of yellow ever, but I agree it is a difficult color to get 'right.' Whatever right is. And I think it different to everyone.

  27. Anonymous8:07 PM

    Hi there,

    What a lovely site and fantastic work. I have just started a blog about beading. And I am looking for other beading blogs to swap links with on our blog rolls. I will also be doing some reviews on beading artists and am very interested in your work.
    My site is at

    Thanks kindly,


  28. I absolutely adore the colours in this piece!!! your work is truly inspiring!

  29. Anonymous8:52 AM

    Hi Robin,

    Just love this piece!...and I think I have both of those pieces of fabric in my collection LOL.
    I've moved East now, but fondly remember (and miss) the wonderful fabric stores in Anacortes, which I used to visit regularly from Alberta.
    Have you been to France? That yellow is the EXACT color of the fields in summer in the SE. LOVE it.


  30. this piece is absolutely beautiful! the beading is gorgeous and i just LOVE the colors! excellent work!

  31. Anonymous4:18 AM

    Ahhh ... what a wonderful new top-piece your blog has gained, with a little bird singing away, announcing the latest news!

    Thank you, and an extra hug,

  32. Anonymous8:31 PM

    I loved reading this post , and looking at all the lovely pictures of the colourful beads. Its great to look at something bright and cheery and your artt work with beads just about sums that up :)


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!