The tennis has played havoc with my schedule so I've done less than I set out to do! But......
I have partially solved the problem of how to treat each of the small blocks of diced piecing with embroidery stitches and beads.
I think that I can work a number of variations around this theme.
I have used the pre-set embroidery stitch around the shape as it reminded me of the settings used on rings and brooches and the large hand stitches reduce the "spottiness" of the block and give the (loose) impression of a piece of jewellery with the beads.
On another tack: I had to but some stranded cottons, perle cotton and beads and was stunned by how much a small collection came to - the hidden cost of a quilt.