Take a look at my first attempts at the "Galaxy Bead" project in Katherine Duncan Aimone's new(ish) book, Polymer Clay: The Art of Jewelry. (The book was a Christmas gift from my parents. Thanks, Mom and Dad!) The photo quality's not much, but it'll have to do for now. It's too dark to take a decent photo (since I normally use natural light). At least you can get the basic impression:
The project was contributed by Jennifer Bezingue. I didn't recognize the name, but the beads (and another, similarly styled project she contributed to the book) are absolutely gorgeous, I think.
I had fun with the project, though it was a little bit of slow going at first. Even by the last bead I made, they're still rather time-consuming beads to make. I'm sure I could crank them out faster by pre-cutting the appliques, but I like to see what I need for each bead as I go. Besides, I don't really need to crank them out.
One thing I had a little trouble with-- in the book, many of the appliques are these darling little stars-- far, far smaller than the smallest star-shaped cutter I have (the Makin's Clay brand of cutters). I ended up using mostly the hand-cut swirls and drinking straws to cut circles and crescent moons. I think the moons turned out pretty well, but I really loved the look of the stars, so I'm putting that on my "Maybe Someday" wish list, assuming I can ever even find a place that sells such tiny shape cutters. Art stores on-line probably do...
So, anyway, fun project, beautiful beads. I'm looking forward to trying it again, maybe with a few twists on the basic idea next time.