Sunday, March 23, 2008

February's Challenge Completed

My response to the February challenge certainly morphed between conception and finished project.  After my last post, which admittedly was eons ago, I had finished an envelope and had gathered an assortment of buttons and seam bindings, with the intent of doing a sort of "rosary".  After the post, I kept looking at the items I had put together.  I kept thinking about my mother and how she'd consider the assembled materials, and what she'd think of the project overall.  And that's when I switched gears yet again.

My Mom was a very fashionable woman in her time.  She'd never have settled for a few buttons and some seam binding.  She'd embellish a dress she'd made for one of her daughters with smocking.  She'd add a corsage.  She'd find some fabulous jewelry to accessorize an outfit.  So I dragged out every conceivable embellishment I had on hand and began considering how I might merge part of me with part of her.  After all, I AM half of her genetically.  Why not have half of me in the project?

I was torn about this approach because all of the items I had from her did not altogether match up well with things from my stash:  glass beads with plastic buttons; colors just a little off to be really compatible; and not enough of any one thing to tie it all up in a neat package.

Then I decided that the neat package concept was my problem.  Alzheimer's takes what was once a neat, pulled together package and rips it open.  Goofy stuff hangs out of a person suffering from the disease.  So who says everything has to be neat and matched in this particular case?  So I settled on a few items from my stash (beads mostly), stopped by Jo-Ann's to get some jewelry embellishments, packed up all the items, and went up to the capitol for a week of paid work.

For once, I left work on time one afternoon and got home with enough energy to do more than flop on the couch with my knitting.  I decided to make a bracelet out of the beads, partly because my mother always would ask of any project, "So what are you going to do with THAT?"  "It's a bracelet, Mom.  I can wear it if the spirit moves me."  I used her buttons, my beads, and the newly purchased findings.  I never beaded before, so I'm fairly happy with my first attempt.  I don't think it's too bad, except that the bracelet is a bit too big for my wrist (okay, it's gigantic!), so if I want to wear it, I will have to shorten it.  Then again, I forgot to measure it as I was stringing the beads and buttons - Freudian?

I really got into stringing beads.  It is very repetitive, almost like knitting if you can manage to work up a good rhythm.  The envelope was sort of plain, so I made a string of beads to embellish the front of it.  When the string was completed, I stitched it to the envelope.  I used some of the buttons that didn't make it into the bracelet to complete the face.  Here's the envelope opened flat.  The colors in this photo are true.

And here it is closed.

And here's the envelope and bracelet together, in case you are interested in scale.  The bracelet is 11 inches (27 cm) long.  The envelope is 4" X 6" (10.5 cm X 15.5 cm).

So there you have it, the February challenge completed by the end of March.  Some demons exorcised, some not.  But I did eventually have fun with this project.  I didn't spend more than $10 (my personal expenditure limit for each month's challenge), and I sure know what's in my stash now when it comes to beads, sewing supplies, buttons, and fabric.  Mom, I don't know what I will do with this project.  I might carry it around with me to remind me of your favorite colors, or to remind me that you were once a very accomplished seamstress, or to remind me that even a practical person like you had a pretty good stash.

And for those of you who think I am so far behind at this point that I will never catch up with the March challenge, well do I have a surprise for YOU.  I have been secretly working on this month's challenge, and I will reveal all next weekend - or not.  Depends on housework, paid work, and whether any more tornadoes touch down in South Carolina.  Now, I'm off to clean up some more debris from the garden.


Meg in Albuquerque said...

I so enjoyed reading your Feb. TIF. The beading was wonderful also. I read an article not too long ago that spoke about color and one of the suggestions is that if a color doesn't seem to work well, put a little bit more of the color in and see if that helps. I kept thinking about that as I read your words. I think you found that out as you finished your project.

loretta said...

The bracelet looks great! I was trying to see whether any of the buttons belonged to any garments mom made for me, but I honestly cannot remember. Uh oh.