Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Battle of Good and Bad

Our pastor has been going through the book of Romans in the Christian Bible and this week he spoke on the last part of Romans chapter 7, which is unlike any other part of the Bible.  It speaks of the battle between the old self and the new life in Christ for the believer.
On the back of the sermon outline was this quote from C.S. Lewis, which has thrown wonderful light on an area of my thoughts I wasn't even aware I struggled with until I read it.

No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.  A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means.

This is an obvious lie.  Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.  After all, you find out the strength of (an) army by fighting it, not by giving in.  A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.

That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness.  They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.  We never find out the sterngth of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it.

C.S. Lewis

I love the way Romans chapter 7 ends:  "What a wretched woman I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Kathleen Ang - Dalseno of AmenPrintables

Written for the Etsy CASTteam Mid-Week Blog Blitz Thread:  http://www.etsy.com/teams/6326/christian-artists-street-team-cast/discuss/10379409

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bridal Bracelet with a Little Color!!

The latest addition to the elsielight shop is a twist on one of my bracelet designs.  It is a result of a request for a beadwoven bridal bracelet.  I showed the bride several different designs I have made in the past. 

This was the design the bride chose, only she wanted a heart toggle.

The design Brittany chose

She also asked that if it was possible, she would like a little lavendar and silver thrown in here and there as those are the colors of her June wedding.  So here it is with the lavender.  I have put it into my shop as a 'made to order' bracelet, available in many colors.

made with a heart toggle

with lavender flowers and silver 'leaves' here and there

Ready for the Bride!

A few of the colors I might add.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Love NY

You probably are thinking that this blog is about New York or New York City. That would be the assumption I would make from a title like this.

One day recently I found this phrase on my 10 year old granddaughter's top and commented about it, asking her how she could love New York if she had never been there.  (She's been many places including internationally but never been to New York.)

Custom NY city poster, Custom New York city print, I love you, I love New York City, Valentine day 16x23 by OrangeOptimist
Juri Romanov of Orange Optimist

At which time. . .

she informed me that 'NY' didn't have to mean New York.  "Nana, NY could be anything that starts with NY!!

And . .

she continued by informing me about other things it could mean. 

We were making cookies and were at the standing-around-waiting-for-them-to-bake point, when this conversation started.  Anna is a list maker so after batting a few NY phrases around, she washed her hands, got out pencil and paper and started writing them all down.

The list is now on my 'this n' that' board.



NY List:

New York (but, of course)

New Years

Neat Yards

Neon Yellow

Night Yawns

No Yelling

Nifty Yo-yo's

Next Year

Nerdy Yarn

I Love NY Dog Painting (24X30cm)
Jeroen Teunen of blackspecs

Naughty Yorkies (she loves dogs - has an encyclopedia of dogs so heavy I can hardly lift it)

North Yellowstone (a favorite vacation spot)

Nine Yellowjackets

Nasty Yams (hum, I wonder what she could mean here :))

Nifty Yachts

Newfoundland Yelps

No Yes (love this)

Norwegian Youngsters (what can I say, she is an only child)

Native Youth

Nice Yacks (I think she meant Yaks, but I have had some pretty nice ones of this kind on the phone.)

BEACH BABES IV, an original oil painting, inspired by Martha's Vineyard scene
Judi Sunday of JudisArtwork


Nice You

Nutella Yearround

Natural Yards

Nascar Yesterday (daddy is a big fan)

Nothing Yucky


Original, quirky, and vibrant abstract paintings
Meghan Narayan of mnarayan Etsy shop

And there you have it!  Next time you think someone loves New York, they may secretly be checking out your yard or just love that big bright round yellow thing that sometimes appears in the daytime sky!!

Subway Art - City or State Custom Artwork New York 8 X 10 Matted
Nancy at DoodleGraphics

I added this item just for me. It's tagged 'New York City' and I think it is one of the the prettiest photos I have ever seen!

Gown Reflections Blank Greeting Card
Sue Anderson of MYSAVIOR

This blog is written for the Etsy Christian Artists Street Team (Castteam) Mid-Week Blog Blitz.  See http://www.etsy.com/teams/6326/christian-artists-street-team-cast/discuss/10306041/ for other blog contributors.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nautical Inspired

Within a few days of joining the Etsy Beadweaver's team, the May challenge theme "Nautical Inspired" was announced. My mind began to visualize every seashore experience  that would inspire a piece of jewelry, from the beaches of Oregon to Virginia and Hawaii.  Because we live so close, we've spent many weekends camping along the Oregon coast, walking along the shore, watching the waves crash against towering boulders in record storms, touring ships and museums.

One of my husband's favorite things to do is to go crabbing with everyone we know.  Through many of these beach picnics and crabfests I am very familiar with the anatomy of these beautiful delicious crustaceans.  But interpreting a crab into a beaded jewelry item was not something I had given much thought to until now.  Their main body is a broad oval, with a slightly raised bumpy rim.  My mind kept putting two tiny beaded ovals together for the base and proceeding from there.  When the thought of using two oval glass pearls as a center, the beautiful little crab charm came together.

It has been a long time since we have found a glass float wash to shore. It seemed a simple shore, find an appropriate 'float' bead and put a net around it!  In a stash of vintage family heirloom beads I found one I would use for a glass float.  I was most surprised with the difficulty of getting my 'net' of beads to fit around this bead.  Many nets were made and torn out before this feat was accomplished.

Next was kelp.  These 7-10 foot long whip-like stuctures are very familiar on our beaches here in Oregon.  They are the dead stems of a certain type of seaweed. 

Then came seaweed. They or something very like them are frequently depicted in beadwork.   I researched to find what kind it is I see waving about just off shore in the ocean and seaports  and could not believe how many types of seaweed there are.  One website sold prints of ancient drawings of these that were exquisite.  The research was great fun but I decided to do a ragged and non-symmetrcial specimen from my own imagination.

I thought I would strangle with all the threads coming out everywhere!!
The most daunting and time consuming of all was the ocean wave.  I originally wanted it curled around the crab as the 'high' point and center of my bracelet with added ripples throughout the bracelet.  I researched technique of increasing and decreasing peyote.  I put in clear beads, wishing to show ocean spray.  In the end it was too distracting in the center and became part of the closure.

All through the other 4 charms I kept thinking of a starfish.  Starting something with five points was throwing me a little.  My experience with doilies and other bead work made me think it would always turn out round in the end.  Finally my experience with picot edging came into play and with a combination of sewing and tear out I was able to accomplish a very life-like starfish - what I mean is he or she is not perfectly symetrical but looks like he or she is moving.

Next was placing the charms on my peyote stitched backdrop.  The crab, starfish, glass float and kelp are 'at sea', with the starfish finding the nearest rocky tidepool and the kelp nudging up to shore.  The seaweed has freshly washed over some exposed boulders.

Closure was a hurdle I would think about as I progressed through the other elements.  I had thought of an anchor and rope of beads but when the ocean wave did not work elsewhere it became part of the closure.  In the anchor charm I reinforced the point of the anchor is with a metal finding.  It is flexible enough to roll up when brought through the wave.

Lastly the width of the bracelet made it keep shifting on my wrist.  So a couple of boulders on one side and a strand of beads became part of stabilizing the bracelet.

In certain lights it is like looking into a sparkling clear ocean on a clear night - the light shimmers on dark waters.  Depending on style the wearer, it would go exotic, bohemian, elegant, casual.  It makes me think of light, gauzy summer fabrics.  It looks fabulous with medium heather blue, also with yellow.

All in all I am very pleased with this bracelet.  There are a couple of other  techniques I will try if I do it again but it is truly an original - not made with the complexity and skill of the Master Creator but with the imagination and resources He gave me.

 You are invited to VOTE on Etsy Beadweavers May Challenge entries on the team's website:

 May 9 through May 16!!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vision and Forgetfulness

Having seen the movie "Hotel Rwanda" I wasn't so sure I wished to read a book on this same dark subject.   During a conversation a friend and I were having about current affairs in Africa, she asked if I had read the book "Rwanda - A Walk Through Darkness into Light", published in 1995 barely a year past the terrible events of April 1994.  She had just finished it and it was right there on her sofa table. 

It is written by Carl Lawrence who is a Christian and who is blessed with the ability to interweave personal stories with outside perspective in a very compelling and understandable way.  It took me several weeks to get through the book and I finished it yesterday.  Here are a couple of excerpts from a book that are just precious, which I do not want to forget.

I share them here with you and hope they bless you as they have me.

By this time in the book the author has the reader follow the journey of a Tutsi woman from miraculous escape from death and hiding, to a refugee camp.  At the time the author visits this camp, the Hutus who had carried out the atrocities were also refugees at the camp because the once exiled RFP army was gaining control of large parts of Rwanda and the Hutus needed a place to hide.  Lawrence writes:

It has been said that in the Bukavu area . . . the refugee men from the ages of 15 to 25 have killed about 40 people each. 
While reaching out to these people, the thoughts, the sneaky little demons, enter your mind:  This man has probably hacked a whole family to death.  I wonder what he would do to you if he had the chance?  I wonder if he would do it again?  He's looking at you.  Look at his eyes, he hates you.  He wants to kill you.  Those thoughts are perfectly human and normal.
It's hard to remember we serve a God who has the beautiful attribute of forgetfulness.  He is capable -- and would love doing it -- of saying to a Hutu murderer who has been redeemed by His Son, "What murders?  I don't remember any murders.  Gabriel, do you remember any murders this man committed?"  Gabriel, of course, would look in that vast and wonderfully forgetful book and reply no.  If the God we serve chooses to forget all the wrongs done to Him (for each wrong done is really directed to Him), then we must learn to put aside our humanity and look beyond sin to the soul.  It is absolutely necessary if we are to survive and excel in a sin-filled world.  We must look at every person as God would see him.  We must remember to forget.  Somebody called this philosophy "flippant, given the gravity of the situation."  I would much rather think of it as biblical -- not easy, but a command to be followed.  It is easy to remember, for we are human and never forget.  It is hard, and a test of godly character, to forget. . . .
Later in the book, Carl Lawrence talks about lessons we should learn and our responsibility toward these types of events, referencing Isaiah 6:1-5:
In rather simplistic, non-theological terms, what are some of the lessons we are to learn from Rwanda and other crisis areas?
1.  Isaiah's eyes were put on God, 'high and lifted up."  Seeing the holiness and glory of God completely changed his perspective of his nation's crisis.
2.  When Isaiah saw God, he cried out, "Woe is me...I am undone."  I have been looking at the problem through my own eyes.  No wonder my vision is blurred.  "I am undone!"  Everything I was so proud of, those things I put such trust in have fallen apart.  My talents, my dedication, my "compassion," my abilities, my "pure" motives, have been seen as "unclean."  I thought I was collecting jewels for a crown, but I am really little more than a garbage collector! 
There is nothing quite so sad as having sight but lacking vision-- having sight but not seeing.
We now see that our responsibility is not to solve all the problems of the world, but to see God, to be reminded that they are His problems, and if we want to participate in solving them we must see them through His eyes.  But first, we must see Him.
It will make a difference when someone looks us in the face and spits out the question, "Where was that God of yours when those young hoodlums killed my family?"  We can reply, tearfully and humbly, "He was in the same place as the day hoodlums like you and me nailed His only Son to a cross.  He was there, high and lifted up, with outstretched arms.  Stretched out not to rescue His son from our widkedness, but to hold back His armies of angels until in the fullness of time He could redeem our wickedness.  God is concerned not only with a temporary rescue from suffering, but with eternal redemption.
I love this emphasis that we are to look to God, otherwise these things are so discouraging, debilitating, overwhelming!!  He wants us to see with Him!

I hope this encourages you to praise the God

 . . . who has called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.  I Peter 2:9b

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, enighter the present nor the future, nor any powers, neighter height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39
Scripture excerpts from New International Version of the Christian Holy Bible.