Freeform Winter Necklace

As I have mentioned before, I am honored to be a part of Blogging Designer Program for the last few years.   I love designing and creating bead, fiber, and metal jewelry pieces, and appreciate that I was chosen to participate in their program.

The Challenge was to create a piece inspired by “Winter Enchantment.”  I thought about the words and was immediately inspired by snow, winter and to create a freeform necklace and pendant appropriate for a winter bride:

I knew I wanted a pendant, so I searched the Artbeads website and discovered this lovely Swarovski Crystal Snowflake Pendant:

I next ordered a lovely selection of seed beads in various sizes and shades of white, gold, and silver seed beads and delicas.    I also used some lovely pearls, too, to add to the necklace.

To help ground the piece, I used a spiral Cellini Stitch for the necklace strap.  I thought it would a nice juxtaposition to go from chaos in the freeform work to organized in the spiral Cellini strap.

In the end, I love how the piece came out.   I did change colors in the beginning, but that is a part of the creative process- giving yourself the freedom to change directions.

For the Quilters reading this, please be aware that I will be teaching FreeForm Beading for Quilters at International Machine Quilting Showcase in May, 2011.  No experience needed for this class.

Thanks, once again, to ArtBeads.  Please note that I received some of the products free of charge from ArtBeads, but the company gives me complete freedom to review honestly each of the products received.  I have not been paid for any endorsements.

I hope you enjoy seeing this Winter necklace and pendant!  Hugs, Carla Barrett

Freeform Purse Kits

I quilted a very large piece of fabric to make up kits for students in my freeform beading class, and silly me- I forgot to leave enough unquilted fabric so I could cut all the binding fabric strips.  I was about 1/4 yard short.

I ran back to the quilt store and of course, the large bolt of batik was long gone!  No other fabric worked.  Finally, I just started over with about 9 yards total this time.  So, this morning, I requilted all the fabric for the kits, cut out the purse patterns, the strips for binding and the handle, too.  The project uses fusible fleece, so I cut that, too.  Whew!

Some oops are just fortuitous!  In the end, I much prefer the fabric choices of the 2nd purse fabric.  Perfect for the project, too.

Now I have the fun job of organizing the beads for the project.  My order from arrived, and the beads look wonderful!  Thanks to Reyna at ArtBeads for assisting me, and also this terrific company donated items for the kits and my class doorprize, too.  Thank you!!!  I continue to be amazed by everyone I interact with at this online company!

That’s it for today…  Grandson Jack is coming over so we can have some fun time with him!  Enjoy your weekend!  Carla

Peyote Bracelet Tutorial “Undulations”

Here is another free tutorial for you- a peyote stitch bracelet that I call “Undulations.”  Here is what this project looks like:

In this next bracelet, I wanted to experiment with beads and color to make this  peyote stitch bracelet with an antique button closure:

Here is another view:

This bracelet allowed me the opportunity to work with a wonderful variety of red beads from   First, my inspiration for the color palette was this beautiful copper enamel pendant:

I will use the lovely heart pendant on a future project, but it worked really well as my color inspiration here.

In case you are not a beader, I used an off-loom bead weaving stitch called peyote.    Here is how you do this stitch:

Peyote Bracelet Tutorial:

You will need basic beading supplies: beading needles size 10 & 12, fireline, beading tray, scissors, and of course, BEADS!

Bead Supplies: To get the delightful wavy appearance, it is all about the bead selection and bead sizes. The color and type of bead will either make or break your bracelet.

I started with 8 beads in the first row, then using the peyote stitch, I finished the second row.  Changing beads every two rows, graduating the bead size up, then down, then up again.  Doing this will give you the great wavy look to the bracelet.

I started with a small seed bead from, size 15 Delica, in a color called Berry:

and then this bead, delica seed bead size 15:

Next is size 11 Miyuki seed beads:

The next row is this lovely matte bead from

The next 2 rows of beads were a metallic shiny bead from my bead stash, but here is a bead that looks close:

Next is a size 8/0 seed bead:

The next bead is a size 6 matte red  from my bead stash.  This bead would work instead:

the center bead is a silver lined red bead:

Collect all the beads, and be sure to size them from smallest to largest.  I start and end with the smallest size delica seed bead.  Use the Peyote Stitch diagram to learn how to bead the peyote stitch.

By Carla Barrett peyote bracelet schematic

By Carla Barrett peyote bracelet schematic


I start with 8 beads in the first row, as mentioned earlier, then peyote stitch back for the second row.  Switch to the next bead and stitch 2 rows.  Keep repeating with each bead until you get to the largest bead.  Bead 2 rows, then start decreasing the size of the beads until you get to the smallest size bead and then just repeat the process.


Closure:   On one side, I sewed on an antique button that matched.  The closure on the opposite side was made by doing a 2 bead peyote row and make it long enough to slide around the button.  Then I finished it off by attaching to the opposite side:

By the way, here is another bracelet-in-progress in a different colorway, followed by a necklace I made to match a jacket I own:


I would love to see your bracelet if you make one from this tutorial.  Also, leave a comment if you have a question about the tutorial.  The tutorial assumes basic peyote stitch know-how or the ability to learn it.

Regards, Carla

PS:  I’ve added this seed bead chart borrowed from Shipwreck Bead website:

Seed Bead Size Image Approximate Length of 15 beads
laid in a row*
15/0 15 beads=apprx. 14mm
14/0 15 beads=apprx. 15mm
13/0 15 beads=apprx. 16mm
12/0 15 beads=apprx. 17mm
11/0 15 beads=apprx. 19mm
10/0 15 beads=apprx. 25mm
9/0 15 beads=apprx. 27mm
8/0 15 beads=apprx. 33mm
6/0 15 beads=apprx. 43mm
4/0 15 beads=apprx. 58mm

Crystal Silver Chainmaille Necklace

I have been experimenting with creative ways to use my ArtBeads Swarovski Crystals.   This is a work in progress, but my first thought was a chain maille, crystal combination.  So step one was making the sterling silver jump rings with my jump ring maker, then adding them together to make the bottom part of this necklace:

Carla chaincrystal necklace

Notice the peridot colored 4mm faceted bicone swarovski crystals?  They are peeking out from the inverted roundmaille pattern and add just a touch of color to the piece.  I found the sterling silver twisted chain while cleaning out my studio, so I thought it would maintain a neutral appearance- allowing the heavier bottom chain maille  & crystals to be the focal point.

If you don’t happen to have a jump ring maker lying around your studio, ArtBeads does sell jump ring maker supplies18g sterling silver jump rings 6mm in their online store.  Plus they have a nice selection of pliers, too.  My favorite brand is Lindstrom.

I first made a pendant to match the piece, but then discarded it.  I am toying now with another pendant, also playing with a fiber crocheted section to counter balance whatever I do below the chain/crystal section.  This may or may not work.  I will let you know.

My own style of jewelry is rather minimalist, so I wore the necklace above around town the last few days as is (like the photo above).  I prefer the shiny look- as opposed to oxidizing it  or adding a patina to change the metal appearance.  I loved wearing this necklace, as is, so it will be interesting whether I end up leaving it with a minimallist look, or change it up.

Thanks to for choosing me for their Blogging Designer Program.  It has been fun to make a jewelry piece out of the challenge supplies.  Keep watching, I may have another Swarovski crystal project in the works.

Hugs, Carla

Pearl Pendant

I finally finished my pearl project, I am pleased to report!  My challenge was to create something original with this lovely strand of pearls I got from ArtBeads: Pearls

I decided to make a pendant piece which I could wear this winter:

CarlaPearl Pendant

The finished pendant necklace just glows with ambient lighting.  I used just five of the pearls as my focal point for the pendant.  3 strands of Japanese delica beads surrounding each pearl to add interest, and the peyote stitching adds to the overall piece, as well as functions as a beaded bail.  I purchased a strand of smaller olive pearls to use as the necklace.


This is a beginner’s beading project, by the way.  All you need is a quick lesson in flat peyote in order to create it.  There is an elegence in the simplicity of the pendant, I believe.

Longtime Blog readers have noticed that I support the last few months.  That is because I am honored to be a part of the Blogging Designer’s program for the ArtBeads blog.

My first Project I designed for this program was the quilted and freeform beaded bag with the lovely copper enamel pendant.  My next project will feature some Swarovski Crystals that I showed the other day.   I love the challenge to create something original using a variety of materials.

Keep watching to see what I make for my next ArtBead challenge!  Hugs, Carla

See what Arrived?

It has been awhile since I shared some lovely beads…  My current project is using these lovely olive pearls from my favorite online bead store-

I found these lovely pearls at

I found these lovely pearls at

I  LOVE this color and I can’t wait to use them in a project!  It looks very rich in person, too.  In case you wanted a strand for yourself, I found the Olive Pearls here.

ArtBeads also have other pearl colors, and even a few mixtures.   How many other bead lovers are out there? LOL!

My new philosophy:  Do something creative each day.  Today I quilted, and spent time designing with my bead stash.  What did YOU do creative today?  C’mon, I really want to know!

Postscript:  OK, I followed my own recommendation and did some retail therapy again at artbeads.  I promise to share when it comes.

See you on Monday.  Another trip to Tahoe- which is less than an hour away from Feathered Fibers Central.  I will take pictures to share…  it is a beautiful location.  Take care, Carla

Head’s Up!

I am in the process of making a few more freeform beaded bags similar to this one that I’ve shown before:


The company that makes that gorgeous copper enameled turtle,, is having a once a year Blowout sale where they put about 2,000 items on sale for $1 each here starting tomorrow 4/20/09 for 1 week.  I received an email from VP Steve Groenier, and he says some items go for 60% off and many items go fast!  Since I know you all love beads as much as I do, I thought I would tip you off.

PS: I just placed my order and I was bad in a good way!  Just doing my part to stimulate the economy!!  LOL  Carla

Quilted Beaded Bag with Copper Turtle!

Remember that cute copper enameled Turtle pendent I showed off a few weeks ago?  I  designed a cell phone purse around the pendant that showcased both my quilting and  beadwork.  Here’s a close-up:


The  enameled copper Turtle is from my favorite online beading site,    This bag was made to fit my iphone, here they are together:


The only step I need to finish is the strap.  I’m torn between making one out of fabric, or weaving one out of fiber and beads.

How did I make this functional-yet decorative bag?  It started with the teal focal point pendant.  I next chose beads to complement and match the pendant.  I used my own freeform beading tutorial to complete the beading.

Next I auditioned quilted fabric to see what would look best with the piece:


This green  quilted fabric was discarded- primarily because it matched the teal turtle pendant too closely and minimized the importance of the copper enamel piece.   The background behind this pendant needed to be  either a dark neutral or other color which would showcase the pendant.

So off to the quilt store to find the right shade.  I finally settled on the dark brown / black batik with a matching green batik fabric used both inside the bag and as binding on the edges.  This color combination allows the pendant to be showcased.

Next I quilted it on my longarm quilting machine, using teal thread, then cut out my bag pattern.  I bound the edges with the interior green batik and stitched it together.  Last step was sewing on the freeform beaded embellishment.

As mentioned, I will design the straps next.   It has to be comfortable to wear, so I will probably use fabric  to construct.


Last Product to Share:  I also received this delightful Poppy canvas on wood pendant from, too:


Poppy art on Canvas Pendant

I liked it because it reminded me of my poppy quilt.  The canvas art is, in fact, titled, “Poppies,” and is by artist Charlie Clingman.  It has a very nice silver bail, too, to attach to a necklace, or whatever I end up doing with it.

Hope you enjoyed seeing these new products.  I love playing and designing with newer items that come on the market and sharing them with you.

Regards, Carla