Purse Project…Another Reason to Buy More Beads

The purse project continues. I finished the front/back and side panels of the Genie’s Hideout Handbag. I’m kind of sad they’re done because I seriously enjoyed stitching away and seeing how far I can get in a day. Now I’m moving on to the last piece at the top called the lid or what is to be the handle and snap closure.


The lid parts are presenting a few beading challenges. I’m not very good at following written instructions; I am truly a visual learner and need lots of pictures. There are some tricky bead moves around a 12 mm glass pearl…decreases! Ugh! Plain and simple, I stink at decreases of this magnitude. The first attempt went wrong, the second looks good. The instructions call for Toho brand beads but they worked up big and clunky. I switched to the Miyuki brand beads, added a couple of extra rows and got a nice finished product. Lesson learned…while instructions are great, let experience be your guide and make changes if you don’t get the result you’re looking for. In this case, the switch isn’t going to have an impact on any other part of the project.

Beaded bead
I still need to work on the other supporting parts of the lid. Looks like a trip to the fabric store is in order to get some piping to add a little dimension to the top. It’s never safe to walk into a store with endless opportunities to start another project. I’m going in with blinders on. If I’m not out in 15 minutes, someone better come get me.

I mentioned when I started this project, I want to make another purse. My trip to the Bead & Button Show this year was a shopping success. I was able to put together a nice collection of focal pieces and seed beads.


It’s pretty clear by the picture, I probably won’t be making just another purse. My favorite find? The large vintage crystal cabochons from a favorite vendor, Sandy Schor from Fort Worth, Texas. I spent quite awhile sorting through boxes of nicely organized pouches of cabochons once produced for costume jewelry. It’s fun to imagine what original pieces of jewelry held these lovely crystals. Cocktail party anyone, a night at the opera or just a classy trip to the grocery store?






Listen To Your Mother

Do it right the first time…
-Moms Everywhere

Recently, while working on my epic purse project, someone commented on the back of my work,  “It looks as good on the back as it does on the front”. That, my friends is thanks to my mom. My mom taught me to cross stitch, sew, and to just be resourceful. When it comes to the technical end of things she was, and still is, exacting. Do it right the first time and take your time. A lumpy, mess on the back makes for a messy front. If you spend a lot of time putting together a project, why not spend the extra time on the details.
Back of the purse project

This project is full of detail. I’m really enjoying it and I still want to make another one. I’ll share my recent “finds” for the next bag in a future blog. I’ve had to change a few things to accommodate the pieces that I had on hand, but I don’t want it to look exactly like the original.

Progress on main piece and sides

When it comes to working on larger projects like this, there are a couple of tips that will come in handy for your next embroidery project.

  • Start at the center or around a large focal piece and work your way outward. Add your other focals as you go. This will help you avoid awkward little spaces.
  • Don’t crowd your beads. They should lay flat so the rows are smooth.
  • Rows of matte beads next to shiny beads look great and keep a piece from becoming too over-the-top blingy.

Now go get that kit you bought years ago and get busy. Don’t forget to do a good job the first time, sit up straight, and call your mother.