Friday, January 20, 2012

New Bead: Little Flowers

The Little Flower Bead

Making flowers is such fun, I couldn't stop at just one.  This bead has a collage of three different flowers for my St. Therese, the Little Flower bead. Here's the bead meaning I have written on the bead meaning booklet that comes with the rosaries:

St. Therese of Lisieux uses flowers to describe the diversity of people. No matter what flower we are, God shines his love on us. “Perfection consists in doing his will, in being that which he wants us to be.”
-St. Therese the Little Flower
Making the Little Flower cane

If you have ever read the Biography of St. Therese, she talks about this much more elequently than I have room for on my bead meaning pages. Here is the full quote:
“Jesus set the book of nature before me and I saw that all the flowers he has created are lovely. The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realized that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wildflowers to make the meadows gay. It is just the same in the world of souls - which is the garden of Jesus. He has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but he has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice his eyes whenever he glances down. Perfection consists in doing his will, in being that which he wants us to be. Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be - and becoming that person.”
Little Flowers Cane (sorry the lighting is horrible. It was done at night)

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Bead: Trinity Knot

Trinity Knot beads

I've always loved this symbol of the Trinity, sometimes called the Triquetra.  Who doesn't love those beautiful Celtic knots?  They are elegant, intricate, and awe-inspiring.   It's no wonder that Catholics have taken this symbol from ancient Celtic Tradition for their own and made it into symbol of the Holy Trinity- the central theme of our Faith.   The three parts of the triangle symbolize the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit; while the never ending knot symbolizes the God- with no end and no beginning- the Alpha and the Omega.  Three in One is also represented. Three sides of the triangle, yet one triangle.

Unfortunatly, this symbol is also used by pagans still today as seen in the show, Charmed. I didn't know of it's pagan roots until I started researching it.  But just like many of the Christian Feast Days we have today, Catholics have taken something previously ungodly and made it holy.  God be praised!

I was very nervous about making this bead. There is so much that can go wrong. It's not like I can take strings of clay to make a knot!  I had to use awkward slabs of yellow clay outlined in black-- in just the right places-- to make it appear knotted.  By the grace of God, I chose the right clay for the background that had the right consistency and made the symbol stay intact perfectly.  If you remember some of my other flubs, this isn't always the case! 
Finished Cane

For some reason, I was feeling rather adventurous and wanted to make the background into an arabesque lattice. Hmmmm....leave it to me to make something more complicated than it has to be! Well, it did turn out, but you can only see in in the large beads (which I knew was going to happen-having arabesque on the brain, I just had to throw it in).  The whole pattern would have been more unified had I had twice as much green clay (I ran out near the end).  However, I am glad that I didn't continue with the lattice because the triangle shape is very striking for this bead.  Also, all those colors from the pattern turned into a lovely shade of emerald- Perfect!

I may do some more with this bead- maybe some boy's pendants or Irish rosaries. I think it has potential for some interesting pieces.

Friday, January 13, 2012

New Bead: Confirmation Design

I've always been fascinated by arabesque designs and have wanted to try them out on same clay beads for some years, but just never got around to it.  Very popular in polymer clay designs right now is the repeating kaleidoscope designs, which- when done skillfully, can look very much like an arabesque design like those done by famous designers Donna Kato and Carol Simmons.  I was even thinking about doing the kaleidoscope workshop in February at Laurel, MD, which isn't that far from me, but the thought of spending $400.00 for a couple days during which I may learn a couple things, was not worth it to me.  I decided the best way was just to get my hands dirty. 

I had wanted to incorporate the dove into a kaleidoscope design where I would use red for the symbol of confirmation so I pulled up a couple arabesque designs that inspired me and set to work. 

The concept of the kaleidoscope bead is very simple. Just like a kaleidoscope you look through, the pattern is repeated in a triangular design.  Here is what my triangle looked like when it was finished. 

I wanted a couple of things to be clear- like the dove and the hearts and the three dots above the doves head (for the symbol of the Holy Trinity), but the rest was just for beauty.  When I finished, I thought it looked very Scandinavian- oh well, I keep trying for arabesque!

It won't make a very good Hail Mary bead because the elements of the design will be lost, so I am mostly using it for my new confirmation rosary.  This design will be used for the Pater beads and the centerpiece.  It will also make a pretty pendant.

New Bead: Jerusalem Cross

finished beads

Like the Chi Rho symbol, the Jerusalem Cross is a symbol with which many Catholics are familiar, but may not know the meaning.  The symbol's origins are unclear- but was widely seen when the first crusaders used it on their coat of arms.  At this time, it became known as the Crusaders' Cross.  The Knight's Templar, an elite order of crusaders who built many of the medieval structures in Israel, used this symbol throughout their churches from the 11th through the 13th centuries.

reduced canes

The Cross has a very rich symbolism.  The three different meanings of the five crosses are:

  • A combination of the Old Testament teachings (the four Tau Crosses) and the New Testament teachings (the four Greek Crosses)
  • The four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, with Christ in the center Christianity (central cross) broadcast by missionaries to the four corners of the world
  • Five crosses representing the five wounds of Jesus on the cross (small crosses for the hands and feet, and the large central cross for the spear wound in His side.   (taken from here)

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Bead: Chi Rho

The Chi Rho is a symbol used for Christ that dates back to the second century.  The P over lapping the X are Greek Letters that symbolize the Greek name for Christ: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ.  There are slightly different historical accounts about where the symbol originated, but Constantine I, used this symbol on the shields of his soldiers.  Now we see the symbol used throughout Catholic Churches.  The X is also seen as a symbol for the Cross and Crucifixion.  The wreath around the the Chi Rho is a symbol of the victory of the Resurrection.  The Crucifixion and Resurrection are inseparable in this symbol as both are needed for our salvation.  For more information and historical background, please visit:

I am also working on the Jerusalem Cross which I will post in a couple days.  Getting ready to open my shop in February!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Food Revelations

Healthy cows eat grass!

Yes, I am still obsessed about food and it's only getting worse.  All those thoughts from our little "detox" diet have been getting louder and louder as I learn more about what healthy eating should look like. Turns out I was right to follow my instinct and stop the former grain-dominate diet of my kids. They are now eating many foods that they have never wanted to eat before and it's just the beginning of our healthy eating journey.  They were spotted eating lettuce wraps at the Christmas Eve dinner and when complimented on their tastes, I attributed it to our new grain free, sugar free, vegetable oil free (among other things) diet.  I got a look of pure skepticism, so here's the list of resources that have been very helpful in my learning process thus far:
  • Weston A. Price Foundation. I have my friend, Jaime, to thank for creating a monster! I'm now hooked on their research and diet recommendations.  We will now be drinking raw milk.  I never thought I'd go to this level of crazy. I have to laugh when I tell people!  Turns out the way people were farming and eating for all those thousands of years until the 1900 century was actually the way to go. Who knew?
  • Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, which I cannot wait to read- I have heard so much about it.
  • The work of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride including her book, which I will be receiving in the mail soon.  I'm gearing up for the GAPS diet and it's all I can think about lately.  I've watched her presentation from the Weston A. Price London Conference (scroll through a few videos until you get to her), and I am convinced it's going to solve almost all of the health problems that have exploded in the past century.  So ground breaking, yet so simple; it just makes sense. I've watched the video twice now.
  • Food Inc, the documentary.  Eric and I are seriously thinking about a nice little piece of farm land to grow our own food and animals.  It just may happen in the next year or two.
  • Fat Head, the documentary.  Good overview of our nonsensical low fat, high-carb modern diet.