Tag Archive | charms

A Heart a Day: 13

Heart Felt Wishes to you all! I love hearts, I love the shape, I love to decorate the house at Valentine’s Day, and I have a lot of hearts… so I decided to post A Heart a Day for the entire month of February.

My Crazy Valentine

It takes more than lace and ribbons,
And lovely verses too,
To make a Valentine that is nice enough for you.
It takes a world of special thoughts,
Tucked into every line,
And that’s exactly what you’ll find inside this Valentine.

Happiest of heartfelt wishes for a wondrous day! ~Christen

Bead Embroidery Tools

  • 6” clear quilter’s ruler
  • Air-erasable or water soluble pen: to mark embroidery lines
  • Bead scoop or teaspoon: use for picking up beads
  • Bead thimble: to pick up beads
  • Bead threads: Silamide, Nymo
  • Fast2mark Embroidery Stencils (by C&T Publishing)
  • Gauge to measure larger beads
  • Magnifier to see those tiny treasures
  • Needles: beading long and short, small sharps, cotton darner
  • Needle gripper: to pull the needle through layers of fabric
  • Perle cotton: to sew buttons or charms in place
  • Pincushion
  • Scissors: fabric and embroidery
  • Segmented dish: to organize all your treasures
  • Sewing thread: to sew buttons in place
  • Small crochet hook or awl: use to take knots out of beading thread
  • Synthetic bead wax: use to condition thread
  • Thermal bead mat: use to keep beads from sliding around work surface
  • Thimble
  • Thread Zap II pen: to burn thread close to the knot

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.

Bead Embroidery Basics

Beading Threads

Silamide and Nymo are the beading threads that I use for bead embroidery and bead woven stitches.

  • Choose a color that is neutral to the fabric and to the beads and embellishments.
  • Cut a 3 yard length for bead embroidery.
  • Cut 1 yard length for bead woven stitches.
  • When used for bead embroidery the thread is used double with a knotted tail.
  • When used for bead woven stitches, the thread is usually used single.

Beading Needles

Beading needles are fine and thin and are most commonly found in sizes 10-13 (the larger the number the larger the needle). I prefer the John James brand of needles. They come in both a short and long length. I prefer to use the long needles for both bead embroidery and bead woven stitches, but I find that most people choose what works for them.

Note: A small sharps needle can also be used, on seed beads 10° or larger.

Threading the Needle and Waxing

  1. Cut the end of the thread so that it is straight across.
  2. Cut the thread according to the suggestions above.
  3. Hold the end of the thread close to the eye of the needle and insert the thread an inch or so beyond the eye.
  4. If you are working with the thread doubled, fold the length in half, with the middle of the thread at the eye of the needle; match the tails together. Follow the remaining steps.
  5. Place the eye of the needle next to the wax; pull the thread firmly over the wax.
  6. Place the eye of the needle at your forefinger and close your thumb over the thread. Pull the thread through your fingers to merge the two threads together.
  7. Knot the ends together.

Note: The thread in bead woven stitches is not knotted, the thread is woven between the beads to secure the thread.

Tips on Waxing

The goal of waxing the thread is to keep the two threads together, but not to have so much wax that you have clumps in the thread which will end up on the fabric.

  • A clean “used” toothbrush can be brushed across the surface of the beads and to remove unwanted wax build up on the surface of the fabric.
  • If the thread does not stay together after the first pass through the wax, then re-wax the thread.
  • When removing the thread from the needle, cut the thread close to the eye then pull the threads out of the eye. This will prevent a wax build up in the eye of the needle.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.

BEADS, Glorious Beads

The, beads, those tiny, shiny little treasures!

Types of Beads and Sizes

Seed Beads: round seed beads come in sizes 5° – 18°, some vintage beads can be found as small as 24°. These are used in bead embroidery, bead woven stitches, and beaded jewelry.

Triangle and 3-cut Beads: Triangular beads have 3 sides, and come in sizes 6° – 15°. Cut beads are round with one or several sides squared off, they come in sizes 8° – 15°. These can be used in the same ways that seed beads can be used.

Bugle Beads and Square Beads: Bugle beads are long and cylindrical, and come in sizes 2mm-20mm. Square beads have four sides and come in sizes 4° – 15°. These beads can be used in bead embroidery, bead woven, and beaded jewelry.

Larger Beads: Larger beads come in sizes 2mm and larger. These can be used in bead embroidery stitches, bead woven stitches, and beaded jewelry.


Charms: Charms come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and materials. These can be used bead embroidery stitches, and beaded jewelry.

Buttons and More: Buttons can add that extra bit of sparkle, or create a special design element. Chips, discs, and pailettes can also be used to create interest. These can be used bead embroidery, and beaded jewelry.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you are looking for inspiration or ideas, check out my PDF Classes and books.

By the Shore

I love the sea, the shore, and collecting treasures along the sand, rocks, and tide pools. Growing up in Southern California is a gift that I treasure every minute of the day. Here are some examples of my interpretations of this life.

Sea Urchins
Sea Urchins

Sea Urchins, were made from synthetic felt, one embellished with mother-of-perle buttons, and glass beads; the other embroidered with hand-dyed perle cotton from Artfabriks, with a vintage brown muscle button in the center. Scattered amongst the sea urchins are a group of carved, vintage abalone buttons. This piece and the one below it, can be seen in my book, Hand Embroidery Dictionary.

Tidal Pool Rocks was a piece that I created, intending to add found objects, and other small embroideries. The rocks are made from synthetic felt, and are embroidered with a variety of solid and variegated perle cotton threads. The small bits of “sea ephemera” were created from ribbons, felt, and floral stamens. A ribbon trim poses as kelp, with found shells and starfish skeletons sprinkled around the rocks.

Tidal Pools

Tidal Pools was a piece that I created for my book, Beaded Embroidery Stitching. The felt base for this piece and the rocks above are based on the “Blowing Bubbles” project in that book. The base is made from synthetic felt, and is embroidered and embellished with seed and larger glass beads, miniature sea urchins made from silk bias ribbon, found shells, vintage buttons, charms, sequins, dentalium shells, fresh water pearls, coral beads, and abalone chips.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New

Sage and Cornflower

I have a new book coming out in March 2023 called Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old With the New, by C&T Publishing. The book has 17 projects: 3 Projects by Design with step-by-step instructions and 14 Stash Projects with creative ideas, and minimum instructions for using your stashed bits and precious treasures.

It includes loads of information on vintage stash items, embroidery stitches, embellishment stitches and tips on dyeing. There will be plenty of inspiration to help you create with your stashed, hoarded, and handed down bits and pieces of special treasures!

There are plenty of examples of innovative uses for all kinds of embellishments ― like lace, vintage linens and hankies, trims and ribbons, buttons of all sorts, and vintage notions ― through techniques and projects.

I just finished this piece Sage and Cornflower, which is an adaptation of one of the Projects by Design, Lace, Doilies, and Appliqués. The base started as half of a stained doily, which I dyed (sage), with Colorhue dyes. The (blue) lace and rickrack trims were dyed, as well as the embroidered (ocher) lace. I embroidered the piece with Finca perle cotton, Valdani carried by Rusty Crow Quilt Shop, and a wonderful colorway called Wild Rice, by Laura Wasiloswki of Artfabriks. I embellished the piece with seed and larger glass beads; vintage glass and celluloid buttons; and brass charms.

Happy Stitching to you! ~Christen

National BUTTON WEEK Day 5!!!

Here are a few images of more buttons!

These are a few wall hangings that I have made using buttons. These are all featured in The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing.

Bouncing Button Balloons

This wall hanging is randomly strip pieced with scraps of silk, moire, and bengaline fabrics, with accents of vintage lace fabric. Their are vintage celluloid buttons with a few fabric buttons mixed in. The embroidery is worked in perle cotton and seed beads.

Rustic Door

For this piece I choose batik fabrics that varied from rust to brown. I found these wonderful blue buffed celluloid buttons, which I paired with brass buttons, buckles and both vintage and new keys. The rust and vintage blue ribbons just keep the colors flowing.

Lady Bird 2

This piece started with a crazy pieced base of cotton prints, I added in lace and ribbon as accents. The embroidery is worked with perle cotton and cotton threads. The embellishments include vintage and new buttons, ribbonwork vignettes and garden tools.

Mystic Twilight

The base of this piece started with strip-pieced batik fabrics, that were machine quilted to resemble the wood grain of a fence. I chose clear glass buttons in a variety of sizes for the flower centers, and clear painted back buttons for the accents. The embroidery is worked in both perle cotton and cotton floss, with beads added in for accents.

The Village Sleeps Tonight

The base of this piece is synthetic felt, the pre-cut houses are made from a rayon/wool blend felt that was a gift from Barbara at Joggles.com. I added in a dyed rick rack border, and stitched the details with both solid and variegated perle cotton #8. The buttons are all new, except for the four large buttons in the corners, and the one in middle of the center house.

Hope that you enjoyed looking! Happy stitching! ~Christen

National BUTTON WEEK Day 2!!!

Here are a few images of more buttons!

These projects can be found in my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching.

These are samples of two classes that I have taught. These both use felt as a base, with lace as embellishments, and buttons, glorious buttons!

This is a PDF class called Phat Matt and Friends. Felt is used for the base of the project, embroidery threads and buttons for character.

felt cats

Hope that you enjoyed looking! Happy stitching! ~Christen



Summer Blooms Bracelet

The base of this project is made from a a grosgrain ribbon, with a length of hand-dyed ribbon stitched down the middle. The embellishments include ribbonwork rosettes also made from hand-dyed ribbon, beaded embroidery stitches, and a vintage button for the closure. You can make this project with any type of ribbon it would not need to be hand-dyed (which are not included in the instructions).

Spring in Bloom

The base of this project is made from a blue cotton chambray fabric. The base is embellished with a cotton lace, and adorned with buttons, glass beads and flowers, and my favorite tiniest wee little butterflies.

Both of these simple projects are included in my new book Beaded Embroidery Stitching by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!



Welcome Home

This is a wall hanging that I made using two cotton fabrics, a blue chambray and a fun print with bees in flight. I included some vintage lace for the vase and the center frame, and a novelty ribbon for the outer corner frame. The buttons are really the star here, and they are all vintage, with the exception of the bees that are mingled around the frame of the chambray square. All of the beaded embroidery stitches can be found in my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, enjoy~ Christen!