Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Skeletons and Roses? Really! It'll Make Sense...

Everyone is a-buzz with the Winter Olympics.  

Tabitha and I have been discussing it.  In fact, she gave me the highlights via text last night because I couldn't watch.  My favorites were "barber pole swiss wins the gold", a reference to his uniform I later found out.

And I laughed at her observation that the "flowers they gave the medalists looked like heads of broccoli." 

I've caught a few glimpses of the excitement.  I saw some of the opening ceremonies. I loved the way they turned the floor into a giant undulating ocean, using light.  And I saw some Luge practice where they were discussing whether the sport is dangerous...  Most anyone knows the answer to that is - YES!  

My favorite is, as always, the ice skaters. I marvel at their ability to stay upright and graceful on a slick surface when my damp bathroom floor is challenging for ME.  

BUT THIS MORNING... Tabitha told me about the SKELETON event!  


What makes a sane person VOLUNTEER to hurl themselves down a slippery slope HEAD FIRST?  The only thing I can imagine is that the overwhelming desire to accomplish something BIG must override that paralyzing fear, and little voice in your head that screams SSSSSTTTTOOOOOOOOPPPPP.

All this talk of accomplishing big things by physically challenging oneself with DANGEROUS Olympic events, of course, got me thinking about the ways I face DANGER to challenge myself physically...

Stop laughing :)

I have recently taken up using wire to enhance some of my handmade projects.  With bits of wire and a chasing hammer you can make some really interesting things.  

I had just one DANGEROUS problem.  I learned that I needed a special cushion for my steel pounding block.  There is just too much vibration without one and your cute little hammered objects end up deadly projectiles.  I don't mind living on the edge, mind you... (Well that's not true.  I don't like to even be in the same time zone as "the edge.")  But I REALLY didn't want to INJURE someone with my art.

So I decided to solve two problems with one project.  My grand plan, my Olympic event, if you will, was to create my own pounding cushion and learn some new needle felting techniques at the same time.

One of the masters of needle felting is, in my opinion... Ambrosia Cottage's Lisa Cruse.  She creates art from wool, of all things.  I especially love her soft wooly roses.   
(You may start drooling with admiration right now.)

A brief detour... I have always loved roses.  My husband has planted roses for me at almost every home I've lived in.  He surprises me with them, just because he loves me.  Awwww.  I know. Isn't he sweet.  And you can imagine my delight to discover that my Dad, who dabbled in art in his youth, had painted this lovely red rose.  He gave it to me before he passed away and I really treasure it.  

Back to the topic at hand... So last Sunday, while the Winter Olympians faced their biggest physical challenges in their quest for the prized gold, I determined to create a lovely pounding cushion AND learn how to needle felt a wooly rose that would make Lisa Cruse proud.  

I knitted up two Fibonacci squares.  Felted them into a solid fabric in the washer and laid them out to dry.  (Are you seeing the beads of SWEAT on my forehead yet?)  

Then I spent the afternoon poking fluffs of wool into those squares with long pointy, very SHARP felting needles.  (Do you sense the DANGER?)

I spent hours arranging, poking, sewing, embroidering... Actually, I was playing with wool like a kindergarten kid with a fresh box of crayons.  I was so enthusiastic in my poking of the wool, in fact, that I broke all three of my felting needles.  

Now I'll admit that my first attempts are childlike in quality but I'm as proud of them as an Olympian crossing the finish line for the gold medal.  

I finished the day off by filling this little baby with copper bb's I got from Amazon and promptly placed my pounding block on the cushion and started smacking some wire with the passion of a burly ice hockey player at the Winter Olympics.

Low and behold, the wire stayed where it belonged and no one had their eye put out.  Not as much can be said for my fingers.  I poked my fingers with the felting needles three or four times, and I hit my finger with the hammer twice.  

I guess my point is this... Every SPORT has it's inherent danger.  Some risk their lives for the Skeleton event and a shot at gold.  Other "athletes" risk their fingers for the thrill of creating fluffy roses out of wool and for the joy of pounding metal.

I keep finding myself on a recurring theme on this blog lately.  Probably because it is what I need to hear.  So here is what I'm telling MYSELF today, and if it helps you that's great too.  

Find SOMETHING you are passionate about
and pursue it like an OLYMPIAN.  

Live the days God gives you to their fullest.  He gave you these days for a purpose.  Spend them doing the things He lays on your heart to do.  

Don't compete in events that you weren't designed for. 
But whole heartedly give yourself to the race He made you for. 
Your Heavenly Father is your biggest fan... He thinks of you... a lot!

Psalm 139 (New Living Translation)

  16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
       All the days ordained for me
       were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.

 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
     How vast is the sum of them!

From My Cottage To Yours....


Linda :)
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