Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Harold Whitman

Saturday, October 22, 2011

[the dragon bead]

yesterday i had a free bit of time and i decided a childless trip to the craft store was in order. on tuesday we will celebrate my son's 1000th bravery bead (a local version of beads of courage).  he earns a bead for everything he has to do as part of pediatric cancer treatment, even after treatment has ended, because for many, they don't get an express back to normal land.

but this isn't a post about what a stud he is.  it is a response to what mary posted below.  

first i went in there with several ideas of what i wanted.  see on a recent roadtrip we announced the passing of every 100th mile we drove and the kids passed imaginary medals to the driver to congratulate them as the trip meter clicked over.  this came up when discussing his upcoming achievement, "will i get a medal for my 1000th bead?" he may have only meant figuratively, but my crafty brain wanted a real one.

i devised a plan to attach little metal medals to each 100th bead and a different awesome medal for the 1000th.  i wanted numbers 1-9 for the first 900 and then something medal looking for 1000.  the store had neither numbers of any material or anything that looked like a medal/prize ribbon.  this is always a deflating and overwhelming experience at the local mega-craft store.  first, they don't have what you had in mind, and second you must now devise an alternate concept from three aisles of beading supplies.  

i told myself, "it doesn't have to be perfect, he'll love it because it will be the only idea he'll ever see, just pick something."

i decided i wanted something more like charm that dangled as opposed to a fancy bead attached to another bead, that narrowed the choices significantly.  i found a double swirling design, it reminded me of a koru, which had special meaning abounding. medals, done.  came in packs of six, even better, done and done.

the 1000th bead medal took me forever.  and i mean forever.  mostly because beading stuff is so feminine, and he is a brave super tough 1000 bead earning boy.  at last i found a small 3D dragon, it was pretty tough looking.  he and my husband play a computer game called "Dragon Age Legends." dragons are super tough, this was perfect.

i also got some red coated copper wire as i had in my mind the idea to use jump rings to attach them quickly but had realized in the store that the beads are so large they don't make rings that big (not to mention some of the special ceramic beads are 2-5 times bigger than the wood ones).  so since i couldn't let my idea go, i got the wire because it would be tougher and i could fashion my own rings or such. . .right?

disaster.  i tried about eight times before i gave up and got out thread, i found this vintage metallic thread my mom bought in the 70's and it worked perfectly.  the double koru medals are perfect and full of all this meaning to me and our family, the dragon is perfect, the thread is perfect.  i even found a silver star that reads "wish" which i went ahead and attached to the bead for our upcoming make-a-wish holiday trip (look at me not procrastinating. . .she is wearing off on me).  

so the dragon medal is already attached to bead 1000 and ready to go for tuesday when we will proceed to make a big deal over the whole thing.  but this isn't about his beads and what they mean. this is about things mary and i seem to be learning in tandem.

1) it all was a much easier project when i stopped making it so hard 

  • letting go of what i had envisioned for the medals and just looking for meaning in what was available and could be purchased that day finished in 24 hours
  • quitting with the handmade jump ring or loops without scratchy edges idea when it wasn't working, despite trying to make it work over and over.
2) this isn't about perfect execution, it's about meaning
  • josh just wanted medals he never said what they had to look like
  • by opening my mind up to making the best of what was available i was able to insert more meaning into the project because i allowed my mind to just wander and pull in elements that are significant to our family.
  • i had to remind myself that the value in all of this was making him feel proud, not winning some prize for first place crafting.  hearing him say "i'm as brave as a dragon!" priceless.
3) when you set the right intention, things have a way of falling into place, or at the least you don't mind the bumps and mishaps.
  • when i calmed myself and just thought about needing to have this done before tuesday, i sort of released control over the details to wanting to finish it, to wanting to make over his 1000th bead, to having ready some really cool bead for him to string himself after OT on tuesday.
  • as i look on the shelf at the items in the picture above i see all of what i wanted for the medals project.  it all came together perfectly because i gave up the idea of perfection.
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