Friday, July 10, 2009

Bead Journal Project - Banner & Box

Trish holding the banner and box
This is Trish! She is a local friend, quilter, beader!

Just when we started the current Bead Journal Project last September, I did a powerpoint "slide show" about it for our Quilt and Fiber Arts Guilds. Trish was there. She got so jazzed about all the fabulous beading and the idea of visual journaling with beads that she decided to be an unofficial participant (already past registration cut off date).

While watching my presentation, she began to think about her son, Casey, who was just starting his senior year in HS. Trish and Casey are like-minded, close friends and companions... She wished to celebrate his life and his place in their family as he was going through the transition from boy-at-home to man-on-his-own. This would be the theme for her BJP pieces and she would make them into something for him to keep.

bead journal project, box with beading on lid
To have the project finished to give him as a graduation gift and still do one per month, means she has two pieces yet unfinished. These will be for her, to keep as a permanent connection with her son. Her ten finished pieces and how she made them into a banner & box are the subjects of this post!

bead journal project, banner folded into the box
bead journal project, box showing beading in bottom
First, this is the box she made to hold the banner. One of her pages is glued to the top of the box and a second piece is glued inside the bottom of the box.

bead journal project, banner hanging from tree
Above is the full banner, shown hanging from a tree. The banner is made with black Ultrasuede wrapped around a copper tube at the top. Each bead-embroidered piece is sewn to a square backing of black Ultrasuede, cut about 1/4 inch bigger than the piece on all sides.

Trish then sewed these units (beaded piece + Ultrasuede backing) to the banner, but only on three sides (top, left and bottom), leaving the right side open so she could insert a card with a message to Casey explaining the meaning of each piece and her thoughts about him. So each piece has a card that can be removed from the right side.

bead journal project, Who He Is
Who he is - aspects of Casey's personality - uses refrigerator poetry magnates - rainbow celebrates part of who he is.

bead journal project, Let's Bake!
Let's Bake! - represents his creativity with baking and having fun in the kitchen since he was a young boy.

bead journal project, Maturity
Maturity - represents growth, maturity and the development of roots for the foundation of his life.

bead journal project, Sweden
Sweden - represents the time he spent in Sweden as a foreign exchange student.

bead journal project, Strengths
Strengths - inspired by a package of rings with words stamped on them - these represent both his strengths and areas where growth is needed (he knows which are which).

bead journal project, Ferry Boats
Ferry Boats - celebrates our beautiful water and all the sunsets shared as a family.

bead journal project, South Africa
South Africa - honors the time we spent together in South Africa as global volunteers and his strong interest in human rights.

bead journal project, Heart Floating Free
Heart Floating Free - inspired by Hug Nation - Casey is a hugger - the heart is a metaphor for him.

Can you imagine Casey opening the graduation present from his Mom? Do you think there may have been some tears shed?

Personally, I just love this whole idea! Thanks, Trish, for letting me share this with my readers.


  1. These are the wonderful sentimental and lovely gestures I never think of doing. I enjoyed every minute of looking at these picture commentaries.

  2. Thanks for sharing this awesome project, Robin. This will become a keepsake of the best sort forever!

    Kathy V in NM

  3. What a wonderful, wonderful project and gift for her son! Just amazing. Great idea for a very meaningful gift.

  4. OMG ! Yrish did one totally awesome, utterly unique, fabulously creative project that will sustain Casey throughout his journey. Way to go Trish - and thanks Robin for posting about it!

  5. This project is so absolutely wonderful. Not only does she chronical her son's way to maturity, but she has given him a gift of her art that he will be able to share with his own children and grandchildren. Passing on a legacy is so important to me. I love the thought that after I am gone, someone will enjoy my work and hear stories about the way I created it.

    This gift is just so absolutely wonderful.

  6. What a heart-filled spectacular tribute of love!!! Thanks for sharing. It brings tears to my eyes to witness the beauty expressed here...

    Much love,


  7. This is what BJP is all about. What a special gift for a special young man. May he and his mother always share the bond they have now.


  8. What a wonderful legacy! This is something that will be passed down through the generations, as a permanent reminder of the love of a mother for her son. Thank you for the story and the inspiration. Great job Trish!

  9. Anonymous6:38 AM

    Wow! This is absolutely beautiful and so touching! I was heartened to receive a couple comments about taking part in BJP next time after posting my own first and very tiny beaded project, but I didn't feel up to the challenge. However, now I'm inspired. Since beading has become a passion and family is my life, perhaps I'll jump in. Robin, thank you for sharing, and Trish, thank you for the inspiration. You have given your son a priceless gift.

  10. What a lovely gift to casey and inspiration for the rest of the BJPers!

  11. Dear Trish and Robin,

    what a lovely way to show your love and gratitude. Being a mother myself (of two young children) I can imagine how wonderful it will be to make such a present and hand down a lasting gesture. Thank you both so much for your inspiration an sharing.
    Dees (the Netherlands)

  12. this is amazing! So much thought and love going into this as well as talent!

  13. That's so fun! I really like the idea a lot!

  14. Anonymous8:03 AM

    Just been reading your last 2 blog entries and was blown away but the the work on display here. I love the way you told us about the technique for the puff balls, they really are ingenious.

    Despite struggling with the current BJP (almost at a full stop at the moment), I have decided I am going to give in another shot next year. This time I don't plan to have an preconceived ideas. I think that has been what has stopped me this year plus its tied up with my journey with WW® which has equally come to stop for the time being.

  15. To All ~ Thanks so much for your comments. I don't know if Trish or Casey have seen this post yet, but if they have, I know they'll enjoy reading your remarks about this project.

    To Jacqui ~ I think you're soooo right about preconceived ideas... A plan or theme can go stale in a year's time and then you're stuck, unless you have incredible stick-to-it character or are willing to change your plan midstream. I'm very pleased you've decided to give it another try!

    To Barbara ~ YAY!!! Please DO jump in!

    To Camilla ~ Yes, brings tears to my eyes too.

    To Carol ~ Yes, the legacy of this is a wonderful part of it!

  16. Wow! This is really fantastic! Every page is an inspiration. What a wonderful beaded tribute to her son.

  17. This is really a super gift. I'm sure he'll treasure it forever. This shows so clearly the love she has for her son. Wonderful, wonderful.

  18. Tears were most definitely shed!
    My mother is an amazingly loving woman and I am more than blessed to have had her throughout my entire life.
    This is a project I cherish, heavily, and will for as long as I'm still breathing.
    Every person I've showed this to is stunned by the intense love that went into this project and the amount of effort put my mother applied to this amazing piece.
    If only everyone could be so lucky.

    Plus it comes in the most wonderful little box!
    It's a present I can open over and over again!

    Thanks again to everyone for their wonderful comments about my mum's beautiful work!


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!