I recently mailed a gift for a friend. I spent the most time on the desert scene below, creating prickly pear cacti in a sandy desert scene. I was inspired by Joanne Bast, and her mastery of brick stitch. I do use brick stitch, but not as she does to create scenes. This is comparatively quite simple: I created an outline of the cactus paddle in brick, and then filled it in. I tried to create the right angle weave background of sand in the same plane as the cacti, but it blended too much. Mounting the cacti on the right angle weave background was much better.
The mix of beads for sand includes Japanese 15s, Czech and Japanese 11s, and French 10s. The cacti are a matte ab Czech, and the blooms are a gorgeous transparent French 14. French seed beads are no longer being manufactured, and I love it when I can find a use which highlights their beauty.