Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Am Not Meek!

"Meekness? What's with meekness?"

That's what I wondered when I saw the July Character Trait of the Month on page 2 of our local newspaper. There was something about this that I just didn't get.

Part of what I didn't get was the rest of the advertisement. I mean I couldn't visually decipher it. The font was small, and the print was blurry and gray on gray. I knew there was a further explanation, but I needed more coffee and better light before I could find it.

The complete text read, "Meekness vs. Anger. Yielding my personal rights and expectations with a desire to serve." I still didn't get it. Next stop, the dictionary. This is what I learned: Meek means mild of temper, gentle, not easily provoked or irritated. Ok, that sounds fine. But meek also means submissive. That's where I draw the line.

I decided to take a survey of other people. My sample was the four people I was eating dinner with. All were thirty-somethings--an English professor, a college librarian, a stay-at-home mom who previously taught math, and a software developer. Only the English professor is a male. (Note to gender discrimination sensitive individuals: He's only listed first because I asked him first, starting at my left side.)

The English professor contributed a biblically-based, academic answer. The college librarian elaborated. The stay-at-home mom and the software developer focused on the submissive aspect. Battered women were mentioned. The occasional feminist, software developer objected to a person having to yield personal rights. The college librarian said that meekness was not always viewed positively.

Even though my survey participants are in a different age group than I am, I look at things the same way they do. It seems to me that meekness connotes submissiveness, which I do not usually view as a positively trait.

I don't have a hot temper, I don't often get angry or irritated, but I am not submissive. I am not meek!

My BJP for July focuses on my non-meekness.

I chose the least meek color I could find. Except for orange. I've played with orange before, and you can see the results here. This is an orange-red-bright coral combination.

Non-meekness is not flat. It shows its lack of submissiveness with texture.

Technical Details:

This page is beaded on Lacy's Stiff Stuff sprayed with some red Memories Mist.

There are more than 30 kinds of beads in this piece. There are a few 15/0s, some 11/0s, 8/0s. and 6/0s. There are some very cute 15/0 triangles, some cat's eyes, some daggers, a couple of little hearts, a few cubes, and one dangling Swarovski crystal. There are two kinds of beads that are slightly smaller that the 15/0s and have extremely tiny holes.

I used the back stitch, couching, the stop stitch, fringe, and a twisted stitch.

It is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used red AA C-lon thread. For the beads with the tiny holes, I used a size 13 needle and grey Nymo OO thread.

What I Was Thinking:

I was thinking about being not-meek. I was hoping that this was not a horrible character flaw, because I don't think I'm going to turn meek in my old age. I have to admit that it was fun reveling in my non-meekness and playing with these non-meek beads.

Issues That Came Up:

It's not all that easy to thread a size 13 needle. I do need some vision correction, which will happen in the near future.

I have a ton of non-meek beads left. I'll have to do something with them.

Want to know more about character traits? Check out the website of the West Michigan Character Council.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Topaz Doll--Her Front, At Least

I decided to make a doll with some topaz-colored beads that I had collected. Then I wondered if collecting is an appropriate way to describe how I acquire beads... But that's another discussion.

Originally I intended to use some of the amber I brought back from Lithuania in 2007. I knew the colors would look nice in my living room. But the pieces of amber are about 1 cm across, and they didn't seem to go with the rest of the doll. (If you want to see what I did with some of the amber, look here.)

My plan was to bead the front with the interfaced fabric flat, sew the back on by hand, stuff the doll, and finally add a picot beaded edge. As I got further and further along on the front, I realized that I had more ideas for using the topaz-colored beads on the doll than there was space on the front. The solution, of course, to this problem (if it is a problem) is to bead the back of the doll, too.

The next part of the process will be to bead the back. Then I'll stitch the front and back together, stuff the doll, and add the picot edge. This will be the first time I've sewn a front and back together after they've both been beaded. I've made several dolls with only the front beaded, and stitched the back on afterward. I've also beaded the front and back of a couple of dolls after they've been stuffed.

Beading an already stuffed doll with a curved needle is much harder on my wimpy, grandma hands than beading flat fabric with a straight needle. I'll see how sewing the beaded pieces together works.

If you want to see my other beaded dolls, look here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Red Hope Stone

This is the red Hope Stone I made for the mother of a friend. Hope stones are given to survivors at the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. The stones are plain, with the word "Hope" engraved on them. I add mount them and add fringe. The stone is backed with ultrasuede.

I also made a little storage bag for this stone. It's edged with gold seed beads in the picot stitch.

I'm sending lots of hope and good wishes to my friend's mom as she undergoes treatment.

You can see a couple of the other Hope Stones I made here. I've made two or three more that I did not photograph.

The Room Formerly Known As Pink

is no longer pink. Sewing supplies are being reinstalled.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

She Must Be Superwoman!

We're painting the Room Soon To Be Known As The Room Formerly Known As Pink. Perhaps a more accurate statement is that my associate homeowner is painting the Room. My contributions so far have been limited to suggesting that we hire a painter (That didn't go far.), picking out the color, putting the screws from the fixtures in a place at least one of us (that would be me) would remember, cutting in around the ceiling, and washing the brushes. My associate homeowner has done the really ugly work of pulling off the wallpaper, cleaning off the old wallpaper paste (Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!) and washing the walls and woodwork.

The ceiling was painted Monday, and it looks nice. Extra credit goes to the painter for working in 90 degree weather.

Yesterday afternoon we decided to put the light fixtures back up. Yeah. Right. It seemed so simple. The first attempt took 45 minutes. It involved two people, a ladder, a step stool, two screwdrivers, masking tape, two drinking straws, and three flashlights. And some rude language, which, you will be relieved to know, I did not use. It was determined that a trip to one of the big box home improvement stores was needed.

Upon returning from the big box home improvement store, a second attempt was made. Doh! The purchased items did not help at all. So it was back to brute force. After about 25 minutes, the light fixture was finally reinstalled. And here it is:

Which made us wonder--After painting her bedroom, how did She Who Shall Not Be Named put her ceiling fan back up all by herself?

She must be Superwoman!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

If I Knew What This Is About, I Would Have Posted It Last Week

Actually, it's my June Bead Journal Project. I finished it during June, but I wasn't sure what it was about.

How can you journal and not know what you're journaling--unless it's some kind of automatic writing directed by an other-worldly spirit. No, this is definitely not spooky, spirit-directed, automatic beading. I did it myself, and I decided how to do it.

In the end, this page seems to be about repetition and how repetition--or maybe the familiar--can be comfortable and satisfying. I don't want to think that I'm in a rut, but there are many times when I enjoy the familiar. Music in the background is one example. I have fewer than 15 CDs, and I seem to play about five of them over and over. None of this iPod shuffle stuff for me, playing songs in random order, calling my attention to the music instead of what I'm doing. So it's repetition, with a few variations.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with dilute Emerald Dye-na-Flow.

The beads are 8/0s, 11/0s, 15/0s, charlottes, Delicas, cubes, hexes, and fringes. There are more than the usual number of larger, individually purchased glass beads.

The stitches used were backstitch, couching, and stop stitch. Most of the beads are in what Robin Atkins describes as the "wallpaper stitch."

The page is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used C-lon thread in the color Seafoam.

What I Was Thinking:

Well, that's the whole issue. I was thinking a lot of stuff, but my thoughts changed as I stitched. Some of the thinking stuff resulted from an irritating incident at the beginning of June. (Notice how politely I put that.) But the irritation passed, and I moved on to a very busy month, which continues to make me wonder where June went. I kept stitching the wallpaper stitch, and I enjoyed it. By the time I was half finished with the page, I was quite intrigued by the ideas of repetition and variation. So I kept repeating and varying.

Issues That Came Up:

I began to see how challenging varied repetition could be. Interesting thought.

I enjoyed using these larger beads. They were part of a group purchased for a Hope Stone (see previous post) a couple of years ago.

The color of the beads signifies absolutely nothing, except that I hadn't used it before in the BJP.

It's interesting to see the limited range of values in this page and the May page.

So here I am at the beginning of July wondering what this month's bead journal will be about. And what color it will be. It's time to start digging in the bead stash.