Lively Bead Embroidered Leaves

My local yoga studio is one of my favorite places to be on this planet. Owned and operated by my good friend Robin, it's a place where I can always find a little bit of peace and quiet, or strength and companionship from the wonderful community of like-minded yogis who practice there.

But the yoga studio needed some spiffing up, if you will. Over the summer, a visiting friend painted a beautiful tree along one wall of the studio, and it was just sitting there, all bare and unloved — until I got the idea to create some bead embroidered leaves to embellish it!

The first thing I did was take a couple of sheets of my favorite bead embroidery backing and draw out a handful of leaf shapes. No, they weren't perfectly-shaped leaves, because, really, no leaf in nature has a "perfect" shape. I could have printed out and traced a template, but I wanted my bead embroidered leaves to come from the heart.

Because working bead embroidery on such a large piece of backing can be difficult, I cut out each leaf, leaving about a quarter inch around each shape that I could trim off later. This made each leaf much easier to handle, and would allow me to add more details as I wanted to.

Next, I went down into my basement bead stash and hauled up an entire drawer full of seed beads in various shapes, sizes, and shades of green. Yes! I've always had a thing for green seed beads, and I think I have more shades of green in my stash than any other color.

Since the bead embroidery backing was colored, I felt like I wanted to leave some of the color showing through as I stitched. An added bonus: it made working up each leaf go just a little bit faster when I wasn't worrying about covering every single last square millimeter of embroidery backing with beads.

I just let myself have fun with these leaves — some of them were made with back stitch, some with fringe techniques, and some with just a few beads stitched here and there for embellishment.

Finally, I attached the completed leaves to scraps of Ultrasuede. Because I didn't have an overabundance of green Ultrasuede, I let myself play a bit and used all sorts of colors. After all, the backs of these leaves won't really be seen once we get them attached to the tree!

Now I can't wait to get back to the yoga studio and hang these leaves up so that they decorate the tree on the wall. I think they're just what we need to add a little bit of color and life to that big, lonely tree!

Precious Pave Necklace by Designer Of the Year Leslee Frumin

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Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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