Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts

I recently watched The King's Speech. Aside from the moment in the middle where Colin Firth spouts the F-word about 15 times in the rhythm of Clackity-clack-clack-clack, it's quite good. It has to be, with a lineup of acting greats in the main roles. Guy Pierce is awfully good at playing a prick. ^_^

But I liked the underlining message of it all. If you pare it down, it isn't about a king at all (even though it is based on real events), but a man who was consumed with fear, and the two people who were able to help him face and beat his demons.

Interestingly enough, I think this is something that a lot of amateur crafters feel. It's certainly something that I've felt in the past few years as I've started on this venture of navigating the avenues of handicrafts. How often have the questions danced in my head?

"You're not good enough."
"That's too complicated for you."
"That's awfully small. Can I even work with it?"
"That's too difficult."
"I just can't do that."

What is it about things that make us stumble? As children if we're asked if we can draw, sing or dance, we answer with a surety "Yes!".  As we age we are told time and again, "No you can't do that", "You aren't coordinated enough", "That isn't one of your strong suits". We come to believe this, because we're told these things by people in positions of authority; parents, teachers, and close companions.  Isn't it sad that we are conditioned to readily agree with the worst assessments of us and our abilities?

Charles Schultz was told he could not draw. Peanuts was turned down time and again, until eventually one person put him through. Where would we be today without Charlie Brown? We resonate so well with the boy that never was able to kick a football or catch a baseball, but persevered. He kept playing sports, and kept going no matter what anyone told him.

When I first started beading my mother told me it was a waste of time. I had other more important things to do, and did not have time to waste on another failed hobby. (Personally I don't think I have ever 'failed' at a hobby, I just get distracted because there is so much out there!)

I didn't listen. My husband, who is a great source of encouragement, told me to keep going. So I did. And you know what? I improved. In fact, I improved enough that my mother actually asked me for some custom jewelry!

One of my favorite sayings is, "It just takes time." Mostly because it is so true! Feelings fade with time, perseverance is rewarded in time. Time is both a curse (since we only have a limited amount of it) and a blessing.

So fear, a sibling to despair, is a mistake. A sort of 'sin' against ourselves, if you will. Outside of physical impediments and the like, there is nothing stopping us from doing what we'd like to do.

So I make this pledge. "I will not be afraid to try new things, with new materials, in new ways. I will not be afraid of new techniques, new crafts, or new lines of thought. I am here to learn, to love what I do and who I am, and share that love to all through my small but beautiful gifts to the world."

I know, heavy right? But eh, I get that way some times.

"People don't really speak that way, you know?"
"I know, but we think that way."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's still snowing outside my window

I love the Christmas season. I love the lights, the sparkle, the human warmth, the outpouring of love. It's great! Although in all honesty I wish it could last year-round. Don't we all?

But as much as I love the Christmas season I hate WINTER. I live in the West in the USA among the Rocky Mountains, and I don't ski. Or snowboard. I like inner-tubing though. (Sledding but with a giant inner tube of a wheel.) I just don't like the cold.

Which is why it is frustrating to see green grass, beautiful blossoms, and SNOW.

But it may be why I've been inspired lately to work on my new series of mini-ornaments. And when I say mini, I mean the ball is only an inch tall.

You'll have to forgive the bad photos I put up of my work, I'm not wealthy enough to own a fancy camera, so I use my phone.

The ornament by itself and then the ornament with my thumb as a reference for size. (Wow, I'm reflected in them! Freaky! ^_^)
Techniques used - Ladder Stitch, Right Angle Weave (or RAW), and Fringe.
The ornament I just bought from a craft store (JoAnn) and it came in a box of  27 (bonus!). I used 3mm yellow cat-eyes, silver-lined yellow AB (size 11) beads, galactic blue gold mix (size 11), and 4mm blue iris bugle beads. Basically it's a 2 seed bead, 2 specialty bead pattern.

For inspiration I looked at a lot of ornaments, and the ones that I were drawn to were the Victorian Era beaded ornaments. Not that they stopped there. There were ornaments made of everything! The Victorians were bigger users of every day materials than we are today - we just have a lot more materials available.

There were paper ornaments, metal ornaments, fabric scraps were sewn into hearts and stars and Father Christmas, and what was not able to be used in clothing or decor were used for the multiple trees that they had. Any scrap of trimming, any ANYTHING that had sparkle or charm or interest was salvaged.

I will be making more of these, so there will be a tutorial later (if you want one).

Monday, April 25, 2011

Last Try . . . Really

Every time I start a new blog I've gotten closer and closer to what I wanted to do. Probably because I'm learning more and more about myself as I go.

Pixels, Art, and Me was close, because it was eclectic.

And now I'm just going to claim my corner here, and show you all that I am doing. I do beadwork, cross stitching, and I'm trying to learn to knit. I make jewelry, decor, and failed attempts at stuff.

I've got a lot going on at the moment - I'm working with the Patchwork Gym (kinda the leader) to make a quilt that has all of the Generation I Pokemon (the original 151), plus all the gym leaders, elite four, and the Champion plus the Trainer that we played. Plus a logo patch. It was tricky to put all the Pokemon on the 81 patches. But I did it! ^_^

I did the Ditto patch.

Also I'm working on a gift to myself for my birthday (it was last Friday) as a kind of break. Sounds selfish I know, but I'm not just participating. I'm trying to do prizes for competitions, fix problems, work on publicity, and so on. There's a LOT I didn't realize I'd be doing that I'm trying to do.

But I am so grateful towards the international effort that is going in to this. America, Australia, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, England - and this is just the short list. I'm sure I'm missing a country somewhere. I can hardly wait to get the patches when they send them in. Wow.

People are already wanting to do a Second Gen quilt. Their enthusiasm is just amazing.

Oh yeah, I have just finished a Prom hair jewel clip and forgot to take pics. So I'm going to get my husband's cousin to bring it to the next family function so that I can.

I also finished the first in 19 beaded Christmas ornaments that I have to do this year. 3 for my nieces and nephew, and 16 for the family ornament exchange. I'm doing sets of 4 per box because the ornaments are extra tiny.

And I have my sister-in-law's b-day coming up too to do. She wants a beaded anklet. Thank goodness I found a clasp that was "Somewhere between silver and black". Thank goodness for metal patinas!

Anyway yeah, that's the short list of what I'm doing.

Next year I'm going to buy a TON of tiny ornaments (365 to be exact) and I'm going to try to do an ornament a day. But for now, I'm just contenting myself to my current crafts. ^_^

Craft now, go insane later!