Beaded Home Decor and More!

Sep 29, 2009

My fair Jean CampbellMy Fair Beader
I attended the 20th anniversary celebration of the Upper Midwest Bead Society last weekend. The event was a proper high tea, complete with sandwiches and cakes, lacy tablecloths, and flowers everywhere. You know, I tend to get a little bawdy when I’m around a group of fun girls, so for this event I had to channel Eliza Doolittle (“I washed my face and hands before I come, I did.”) in order to remember my manners. I mean really, there were even a few women with gloves on! Anyway, the event was simply lovely—a beautiful expression of how volunteer organizations like bead societies can create the most fabulous events.




I could have beaded all night
The tea party invitation requested that we wear our Sunday best (yes, lots of “beaders’ handshakes” going on), but also to decorate and wear a bonnet to be judged during the event. You should have seen the entries! Everything from a straw hat with brooches pinned on to a fully-beaded flapper-style cloche. What struck me while watching all the ladies strolling around in their bead-decorated hats was how jewelry-centric I am when I sit down to design something. I automatically go to necklace, bracelet, or earrings—the “jeweler’s troika.” But I have an inkling I’m not alone in this habit, right?



beaded scarf edging

Wouldn't it be 'loverly'
We all know there are many other ways to express yourself in beads. A quick visit to the Beading Daily store’s Home Decor and Gifts section should be inspiration enough. One project catching my eye today is Sandie Abel’s embroidered Beaded Butterfly––a great addition to a tea hat, don't you think?  And while I'm thinking about it, next time I host a high tea I could sew rich-looking trim to my table linens using the edging technique in my Beaded Scarf project. 




Show me
So in my never-ending effort to expand my thinking about the possibilities of beads, I’ve done a quick brainstorm of non-troika designs. Things that aren’t too over the top, you know? Things I’d definitely like to have around, but don’t scream, “You’re a freaky bead lady!”

  • Scarf, sweater, purse edgings
  • Furniture “jewelry” like tassels and chains
  • Shower curtain slides
  • Letter openers
  • Belts
  • Fan pulls
  • Serving utensils

What would you add to this list? Do you get stuck inside the jewelry troika like me, or do you find it easy to design other types of beadworked pieces? And most importantly, does Professor Higgins really think I can ever become a lady? Please share your thoughts below and on the Beading Daily forums!


Featured Products

Beaded Butterfly to Embroider

Availability: In Stock
Price: $4.00


A pleasure and a challenge to render a butterfly in beads


Beaded Scarf Edgings

Availability: In Stock
Price: $4.00


Beads, needle, and thread turn plain scarves into works of art


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beadhappy wrote
on Sep 29, 2009 6:10 PM
I really had to think about this very question because I decided to make beaded jewelry for all my friends and family back in Christmas 2006. I knew my dad wouldn't want a piece of jewelry, being the manly man he thinks he is, and I had only started beading three months prior. I ended up bead embroidering a cartoon image of his World War 2 airplane on a gray nylon pencil case. He loved it. He couldn't believe that I did it all by myself. I often like to challenge myself to make beaded objects, because I always want the bling.
on Sep 30, 2009 2:30 PM
Jean- You look gorgeous, I absolutely love the hat and the whole ensemble! What a wonderful idea the Bead Society had to have an event like this. We all need to put more fun in our lives, in this economy sure, but also everyday! Had to write, was just blown away by the fabulous costume! Look forward to seeing you in Tucson in Feb! Janice.
JanG@25 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 2:36 PM
Bookmarks, key chains, and holiday ornaments make good little gifts. Many bead store sell the little crooks with a hole for the beadwork on the bent end as well as key chains ready for beading. Fusion Beads has carried six-spoked forms for ornaments. In fact, I think some Interweave editors made ornaments from those snowflake forms and posted them on this site. Does that sound familiar to anyone? Anyway, these are some easy and quick non-jewelry things that I've made for little gifts.
DebM@40 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 2:36 PM
Awesome hat!!!!! I have always bead embroidered garments, etc using iron-on transfers as quick patterns Deb
BarbaraW@90 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 2:38 PM
I make lampwork glass beads. I add them to the pulls on my window shades. I add them to the pulls on my light fixtures. I add my "mistakes" (of which there are many) to this big copper hammered bowl I have sitting on my sofa table. It adds quite a splash of color and everyone who comes in the house always comments about it.
MaryH@172 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 2:40 PM
Absolutely beautiful in your hat, Jean. Nothing like a lovely wide brim to show off a pretty face. Sometimes I'm sorry their time is past. I suppose they'd be costly and inconvenient to be required all the time. Anyway - is that a hula hoop in that brim? LOL My favorite home decor is tassels & edging. My favorite things to edge & tassel are lamps and book marks.
MaryH@172 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 2:42 PM
Bowl of beads - my husband has instructions, if I'm ever incapable of beading, he is to put all my beads in a giant bowl so I can still play with them even if I never string another one.
on Sep 30, 2009 2:51 PM
You guessed it, Mary! Hula hoops aren't just for hips...and pasta pots aren't just for boiling water. That was one heavy hat!
Joan@187 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 3:03 PM
The prom dress I made for my daughter was one of my first attempts at beading something other than a bracelet or necklace. It was a beautiful emerald green and she looked LOVERLY as well!! I was so proud and she recieved so many compliments. Would I do it again? YES, she wrote me the most touching thank you card and yes, I did cry. It was soooo worth every minute of work.
JayelF wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 3:37 PM
Beaded purse handles--big beads strung on heavy-duty wire. They sell them in craft stores, but we can do SO much better!
LeslieR@22 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 3:51 PM
My husband is a woodturner and I have made a couple of mandelas which he inserted into his wooden plates. I have also done framed peyote pictures and beaded ornaments some turned by my husband.
DonnaW@82 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 4:06 PM
Beaded bags have always been my favourite way to indulge my creative passion - from crocheted reticules to netted bags, as well as bead-embellished appliqued bags. I am currently working on embellishing a leather-applique hobo bag with beads to resemble the Northern Lights! Great hat, by the way, Jean! I applaud your sense of the dramatic!
MsQ wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 4:13 PM
I make beaded christmas ornaments. Not the flat snowflake kind, but full ornament "drapes" with lots of fringe and my best swarovski for lots of sparkle.
Eva MariaK wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 4:35 PM
My first beaded project was an 8x12 picture of my husband's boyhood home. Then I beaded on river-rocks, made "bead-only" vessels, 3-D objects, and stars. I very seldom make jewelry...
on Sep 30, 2009 6:04 PM
I adore your millinery creation (even knowing what the components are- I think you’re such a clever little ducky) and I too, lament the hat’s sad departure. What soaring heights they achieved...what daring panache...*sigh... Great question BTW...goblet embellishments are a wonderful project, I think... for weddings (especially if in the colors of their newly coiffed home- for everyday use). On that note, napkin rings, placemats, table runners, monogrammed napkins, wine glass charms, party favors, pillow frocks, glove embellishments... But haven’t thought about it much! *smile!
Jewelwatt wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 6:20 PM
One of my favorite non-jewelry beaded creations is personalized beaded baby spoons. I buy the rubber bowl ones with long handles and use craft wire to secure beads and letters spelling the baby's name. They make great package tie-ons to decorate a wrapped baby gift. I've also done appetizer sets that I tie to fancy napkins with a grosgrain ribbon and pretty card for a hostess gift.
Jewelwatt wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 6:22 PM
One of my favorite non-jewelry beaded creations is personalized beaded baby spoons. I buy the rubber bowl ones with long handles and use craft wire to secure beads and letters spelling the baby's name. They make great package tie-ons to decorate a wrapped baby gift. I've also done appetizer sets that I tie to fancy napkins with a grosgrain ribbon and pretty card for a hostess gift.
Gayle@48 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 8:33 PM
I love the "hat" I read somewhere that you are from Mpls, I also live in the area of Lakeville, MN I have only been beading and stringing for a couple of years. How can I get involved/intouch with other stringers in my area. The local bead shop is not that interacting, and not that friendly! I love reading your input on Wednesday's
Patriciakoko wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 8:55 PM
Love the Wednesday column and adore the hat. I would not have guessed the hula hoop and pasta pot LOL. My favorite non jewelry item is pulls for ceiling fans. I love to use faceted crystals in the colors of the room or clear AB ones to pick up the sun's rays and spread the joy.
Deedles2 wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 9:34 PM
Just after my partner and I opened our bead shop, I was commissioned by a lady who was restoring her home which was over 100 yrs old. In her livingroom she had ceiling to floor windows. The curtains were fine Italian silk sheers with heavy dark amethyst drapes lined in pink satin. She wanted all "extras" to be in Swarovski cyrstals. I made 2x2 1/2 inch pins for each of the tie backs using plastic mesh and weaving crystals in pinks, clear and amethyst to the mesh. Material was put on the backs to hide the weaving and a pin back attached. I made 12 of these to pin at the top of the tie backs that held back the drapes. Then I re-did a chandlier in the entry foyer all in crystals of the same colors and made what we called "window necklaces" from vintage crystals of the same colors to hang in the 4 windows, 2 on each side of the entry door. Each window was approximately 18" wide and the "necklaces just draped from corner to corner. It was a fun and very thought provoking experience.
RoxannH wrote
on Sep 30, 2009 9:44 PM
Wow! What fun. Love the hat. I just completed a bead and wire wind chime for Halloween. I used a glass bead witch head put together with some ribbon and beads and connected her to a hammered wire broom. As the wind blows her around she rings the chimes. I had lots of fun making this,
cassie13 wrote
on Oct 1, 2009 7:42 AM
What a loverly damsel you are Jean, in that beautiful hat. Makes me want to do some beaded hats for the Red Hat Society. Also thinking of making some fan pulls using flowers or birds and swarovski crystals. Everyone has such wonderful ideas for different ways to use beading. I just love it! I just have one question. What is the beaders handshake? Bev Holman
on Oct 1, 2009 12:12 PM
Oh, Bev--I'm sure you do the beader's handshake all the time! It's when you walk up to another beader and boldly look at/touch their necklace first, and THEN look up at their face and say hello! Only in our community would that be polite, right?
NicoleL2710 wrote
on Oct 2, 2009 7:51 AM
For non-jewelry pieces i have decorated some Reed diffuser lamps for a friend and i just did a larger Catalytic lamp for my mother in law. i made up peyote panels and embellished with fringe and crystals for both. They loved them, at least that's what they told me...jk
Faewren wrote
on Oct 2, 2009 1:25 PM
I have a tendency to bead bottles. Any color, any size and with any kind of bead. I'm not a bead 'snob' when it comes to materials, and 2 of my husband's favorite items are plastic pony beaded bottles that I made. I also know someone who made a beaded bell pull with a giant beaded tassel on the end, just because she could.
Assetmaker wrote
on Oct 2, 2009 4:04 PM
Love your hat! We have NOT forgotten hats in the RED HAT SOCIETY!! And we have loads and loads of fun decorating them--VERY often with beads, or things made of beads! We even have "hat decorating" parties! If a necklace isn't likely to be worn as such, it will often end up on a hat! Can't wait 'til you're old enough to be a "red hat lady," Jean--you'll do very well indeed!
monaa wrote
on Oct 4, 2009 1:36 PM
I have also have a passion to bead everything inside the house and outside. I've beaded over, through and around:dolls, bottles, rocks,straws, branches,food,leather, anything! Right now I am making a model of 'Niagara Falls in the ICE. A compilation of over 50 pieces created during a 4 year period. Jean you are an inspiration to the beading world at large. I have been hearing about you since the inception of Bead Publishing (way back in the 20th century!). Love your ideas. And look how far we all have come spreading the unique art medium of BEADS.
Wanda Coates wrote
on Oct 5, 2009 4:01 PM
I just attended a Creative Stitches show here in Edmonton and bought a number of fat quarter panels to do highlight beading on and then make into decorative pillows. Beaded drapes for candles and candle holders is also a great way to bring your decor up a notch. Love your column.
on Oct 5, 2009 4:06 PM
HI all, I made chain maille and bead lampshade covers for my UGLY bathroom fixtures. I used the same pattern to make some very pretty wine bottle covers. I'm not sure why I wanted to cover the bottles of wine, but I do know why I covered those glass shades!
JudyC5201 wrote
on Jan 1, 2010 7:23 PM

Doilies would go well in the home.

I can see chair backs. You know. The ones designed to stop the top of the lounge chair being stained with hair oils. I would think that a netting one would keep the hair off the chair back and achieve the purpose.

Christmas decorations, or do they come into the jewellery?