Saturday, March 20, 2010

Meditations in Shades of Gray--Or Is It Grey?

Gray or Grey? I always thought it was gray. But then grey started showing up in art related writing. Or maybe British writing. Whoever can explain why there are two different spellings and when each should be used gets a lot of extra credit points. But since the points will be in a gray (or grey) area, we don't know whether they're worth anything.

I decided to use gray/grey (hearinafter known as gray) for my March BJP. This has been the most interesting color (if it is one) to work with. I know that many people associate gray with dull, dreary, blah. But I thought about gray beads as understated sophistication.

You may wonder what I know about sophistication, either understated or overstated. To be honest, absolutely nothing. Except for how to spell it. But I wanted to work with gray beads anyway. I visualized a glamorous 1930s woman, in a bias-cut satin evening gown carrying a gray beaded handbag.

My first thought was to use some sort of swirly design to counteract any perceived severity from the gray. The beads, however, didn't want to swirl. Instead they wanted to play Art Deco. So what I have are straight lines. I'll finish this next week and then share the final result.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If You Want to Be An Athlete,

don't get glasses like mind. I really like these glasses. They're very lightweight. They're rimless so they don't block my face.

But they've broken three times in the past year. Last spring it was the left earpiece. That was replaced. During the summer, it was the bridge. That was replaced. This morning it was the right earpiece. That was replaced with an almost matching one the optician had in stock. A matching earpiece should come in tomorrow.

You may wonder how an ordinary grandma who closely resembles a little old lady would break her glasses so many times. I wondered that, too. And then I realized...

It's my athletic career. I play contact sports. Hockey. Soccer. Football. Hide and Seek. With my grandsons, ages 8 and 6.

The first incident occurred last May when we were playing soccer in the backyard. I was in goal and the only member of my team, playing against the two boys. My older grandson moved the ball down the field while my younger grandson distracted me. My older grandson gave a powerful kick. Blam! Right in my face! Who would believe that someone with my amazingly fast grandma reaction time could get hit in the face? It was an athletic anomaly.

When I went in to get my glasses adjusted a couple of weeks later, the earpiece broke. My excellent and extremely cheerful optician Mr. Steve replaced the earpiece while I wondered how in the world I could have broken it.

Fast forward two months. One Friday evening the bridge of my glasses broke. Just broke. I dug through the drawer to find my substitute glasses. There were two pairs of old glasses. I couldn't see very well with either of them. For sure I couldn't see any needles, thread or beads. It wasn't my favorite weekend. On Monday I trooped back down to see Mr. Steve.

"How could this have happened?" I asked him. He smiled and ordered another bridge. Within a couple of days, I was ready to start beading again.

Then one day last fall, I had a thought. Could the broken glasses have anything to do with getting hit in the face--in the glasses--with the soccer ball? Duh! Double duh!!

And then the right earpiece broke today. This time I knew why. It was hockey. Or maybe football. Or maybe hockey and football.

This past weekend my grandsons and I were playing hockey. We play in the basement (no ice and no skates) with a wiffle ball and plastic hockey sticks about two feet long. Our hockey games do get exciting. We were scrambling after the puck (wiffle ball) in front of the net when Blam! A hockey stick right in my face. Er, right in the glasses. No harm done; no goal scored. But I realized I'd need my glasses adjusted. Later we played football outside, with a football smaller than a grapefruit. But my amazingly fast grandma reaction time let me down again. Blam! A football right in the glasses. No harm done; no touchdown. But the glasses really needed to be adjusted.

So this morning I went back to see Mr. Steve. And after the glasses had been adjusted and cleaned and I was putting them on, Snap! The right earpiece. I am now nicely dressed in glasses that are silver on one side and bronze on the other. But I can see.

And I'm not going to give up my athletic career. I'm just going to speed up my grandma reaction time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

February BJP - Tranquility

So maybe I've been so tranquil during the past month that I haven't felt the urge to blog... Just a thought...

I started my February BJP February 1 and finished it February 28. In the meantime, I did a few other things, in part to delay the completion of the BJP until the end of the month.

I had decided in late January to use light blue beads and to meditate on the concept of Hope for my February BJP. A few days into February, I made two discoveries. First, the beads were sending feelings of Tranquility instead of Hope. I paid attention to the beads. February would be Tranquility. Second, I was working so quickly that I decided to slow down my beading. I wanted to savor the feeling of Tranquility for the entire month.

Slowing down was easy. I cleaned the house (including vacuuming!) for my book group meeting. That was snowed out so I was left with a clean house, a dessert, and a free evening. I made a couple of small beaded cards. I made three pairs of slacks and a pair of yoga pants. I temporarily perfected my pants pattern. I studied Spanish. I watched Olympic curling. (Who knew it could be so exciting?) And on February 28 I finished Tranquility.

Technical Details:

The foundation is Lacy's Stiff Stuff painted with a mixture of blue and white Dye-na-Flo.

The beads are 15/0s, 11/0s, 8/0s, and a few 6/0s. There are some lentils and some diagonally drilled cubes that are important parts of the design. There is one small blue heart.

As usual, it's done in the backstitch and the stop stitch. There are several rows of twisted beads.

The page is 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.

I used C-lon AA light blue thread. I'm getting used to the C-lon thread, but Nymo still feels more natural to me.

In a departure for me, I started with some segments of circles drawn on the foundation using a compass. You can see the resulting curved lines in the completed page.

What I Was Thinking:

It was very interesting to find that the beads changed this month's theme for me. I considered two types of journaling. My assumption at the beginning of February was that I would journal (bead) about my chosen topic. In the end, I found myself responding to the visual stimulation of the first beads stitched. Robin Atkins has written about some different ways of bead journaling here.

I enjoyed thinking about what tranquility means to me. Peace, calmness, serenity, harmony, peace of mind, composure. And not getting into a twit over unexpected occurrences. I like tranquility. I was glad to have tranquility last the entire month.

I'd like to do a page using grey beads. But what would that color tell me? Right now I'm thinking sophisticated but subtle. Maybe I'll start with a small pin.

Issues that Came Up:

Ok, so I ripped out parts again. That's ok with me. Because I create the page in parts, without an overall plan, there are occasionally sections that detract from the whole. I am very willing to "edit" these parts as I complete more of the page.

This size is working well.

I felt guilty about going so long without blogging. But I didn't do anything about it.

And I was rooting for the Canadian hockey team in the Olympics. Do I dare tell my grandsons?