Thursday, January 31, 2019

Local Acting

Now with the wisdom of years, I try to reason things out
And the only people I fear are those who never have doubts

Time keeps flying by.

I took most of the month off from selling beads. Well, to be more accurate, Beads of Courage asked me for another 150 pairs and I actually got to sit down and make them, most of them, after pulling what I could from inventory. Then I had a couple of orders from one of my regular customers, another 80 beads.

Also, on my first day of ceramics class after the holiday break, I found out that there is a show called Home Grown for local artists. An entry could be any media, but the deadline was exactly one week away. So I spent several days stressing about whether to enter, and if I did, how to best showcase some of my beads, because one bead wouldn't be much of an entry for an art show.

I kicked it around with my ceramics teacher, who came by with her daughter to watch me make beads. Before the holidays I traded a bunch of my beads for a bunch of my teacher's ceramic work. She wanted the beads for her daughter who likes to make jewelry. Her daughter is about the same age as mine, but has some sort of developmental disability. They were both interested in seeing how I made my beads.

My teacher encouraged me to put a piece in the show. In the end I decided to make a simple necklace, with a heart focal and 40 of my little dot beads, all strung of a leather cord with ceramic disk spacers. I wanted it to be as authentic as could be, so I didn’t use Czech beads or a purchased clasp like I usually would.

Then there was the problem of presentation. I didn’t want to just hand it over. It’s too fragile for a pedestal, and I could just imagine someone knocking it over and having it come apart or having beads shatter. I did a lot of mental gyrations trying to figure out a frame to mount it on. I wound up going to Home Goods and buying a shadow box and using straight pins to affix the necklace to the backing cloth. It isn’t perfect but I got it done in time to submit it.

During the same week I was also stressing about my knitting class. I'd signed up for a mitten class using a two color fair isle style pattern at a local shop. The homework was to cast on using double-pointed needles and to knit the first nine rows. My first try was a disaster, but I managed to do it well enough on the second try to call it good enough. I was still a bit worried about the class. The prerequisite was having experience with DPNs, and as you know, I've only just relearned how to cast on. I haven't even knit a scarf yet.

I showed up early for the class. The teaching space is just a table in the shop. There were eight seats. I met the teacher and asked where she was sitting. She said she'd be walking around as it was a full class. I chose my seat. I said, I'm just learning to knit. The teacher acted shocked. She said, this isn't a beginner class. I said, I managed to do the homework. I said, I'll do my best to keep up, and if I can't, I'll just watch.

As it turned out, I didn't have much trouble at all. The class was mostly about reading the color chart and that wasn't rocket science, although repeating the 10 stitched four times seemed to boggle the mind of at least one other woman. I did have some trouble controlling my needles. One kept slipping out. The teacher suggested I try wooden needles instead of the metal ones I'd gotten from Amazon. So I paid twice as much for a set from the shop and it really did make a difference.

When I got home, I ripped out everything and started over. During the week, I finished the patterned part of the mitts. Both of them. I was kind of stuck on the next step, the thumb gusset. But that's what the second class was for, right? I've almost finished both mittens now.


So all this to say, I've been busy. Too busy to spend much time making beads and definitely too busy to sell them online. I've decided not to work it as hard as I have been for the last few years. I did list a few beads in the last week and had some bids and purchases. So I may continue to list them as time allows, but I'm not going to flog the horse very much. If they sell, great. If they don't, I'll stop listing again. I'll hope that Beads of Courage will continue to buy them, and I'll have inventory when and if.

This time of year is when I usually have my physical tuneup, so to speak. I've been to the dentist, and I'm getting a new night guard, so I'll be going back for that. I had my annual eye exam, and I'm really excited about new glasses, both for vision reasons and because I haven't liked the glasses I've worn this past year. Not only are they not especially flattering, the frames keep chipping. Neil has touched them up with a sharpie, several times. I am very much looking forward to my new ones.

I can hear my mom's voice in my mind. Vanity, thy name is woman, she'd say.

I'm well due for a hair trim and maybe some fun color. I've come to love my hair, but some shaping and new ends are in order. I don't miss the tyranny of monthly color and cuts, but twice a year or so seems reasonable. I've also gone au naturale with my nails, but suddenly I'm craving a pedicure. No point in getting a manicure as long as I'm taking ceramics. I do well to keep my hands from drying out an getting those little painful skin cracks. Plus nails get in the way when you are trying to smooth a clay seam or score and slip pieces together.

In other news, we're doing all the usual. Smoothies on Fridays. Watching a lot of PBS, rewatching the Upstairs Downstairs (the sequel). Reading The Attenbury Emeralds together, and I'm reading Pippa Passes by Rumer Godden myself. Playing trivia games with Alexa. We are killing Jeopardy.

I finished my wall hanging, which in a way was a prototype for the wall hanging I want to make for the bonus room, where we usually watch TV and I walk on the treadmill. I crocheted it to a curtain rod and Neil hung it in the bedroom.


I'm pleased with the way it turned out and looking forward to starting the next one. I've been collecting yarn specifically for that one.

I'm still buying yarn, but not as much as I was. I started another blanket while I was waiting for other yarn to come so that I could start the next scarf on my list, and now I'm caught up in the blanket. I'm using an assortment of colors from my stash and I am learning so much about different weights and fibers that way. I find it strangely hard to dip into my stash, because if I use the colors then I won't have them any more, if that makes sense. Already I've alternately regretted buying so much of certain brands and blends, and falling in love with certain others to the degree that I'm searching the internet to find more of an elusive color.

Neil continues to be a news junkie and suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome. He obsesses about candidates for the 2020 presidential election until I say that my brain will explode if we talk about it any more. I have a cynical attitude because if Trump won once when it seemed so impossible, he could win again easily. But mostly it's way to soon for me to spin my wheels worrying about it. I tell Neil he needs to get a job to take his mind off things. I tell him he is good at cursing the darkness. I tell him to get involved in local politics.

Act locally. That's my new motto. Accept the things you cannot change. It's all small stuff. Don't pet the sweaty things. Above all, bloom where you are planted.

So that's the scoop


Some things were perfectly clear, seen with the vision of youth
No doubts and nothing to fear, I claimed the corner on truth
These days it's harder to say, I know what I'm fighting for
My faith is falling away, I'm not that sure anymore

Shades of grey wherever I go
The more I find out the less that I know
Black and white is how it should be
But shades of grey are the colors I see

Once there were trenches and walls, and one point of every view
Fight 'til the other man falls, kill him before he kills you
These days the edges are blurred, I'm old and tired of war
I hear the other man's words, I'm not that sure anymore

Shades of grey are all that I find
When I look to the enemy line
Black and white was so easy for me
But shades of grey are the colors I see

Now with the wisdom of years, I try to reason things out
And the only people I fear are those who never have doubts
Save us all from arrogant men, and all the causes they're for
I won't be righteous again, I'm not that sure anymore

Shades of grey are all that I find
When I look to the enemy line
There ain't no rainbows shining on me
Shades of grey are the colors I see

Shades of grey wherever I go
The more I find out the less that I know
There ain't no rainbows shining on me
Shades of grey are the colors I see


(Billy Joel © Universal Music Publishing Group)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz