Misusing the Muse

One year in grade school I got crafty for Christmas and made beaded jewelry for all my friends. I worked for hours, threading a needle through  listening to Amy Grant's Home for Christmas on endless repeat. (I am well aware that this is somebody's exact definition of hell -- but I cannot get enough of that "Breath of Heaven," I tell you.) I remember snow falling -- which may or may not be accurate -- and I remember looking up Morse code so I could make the black beads in a black-and-yellow necklace spell out BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. Or something like that -- but I'm clear on the Morse code. Lately I've been getting back into it, and my techniques have gotten more sophisticated. I've learned some new stitches, got a wonderfully instructive book on color, and have a better eye for structure and design than when I was, you know, twelve.

Partly this is due to friend Gabby, who is significantly more talented at the beadery. For instance, she made me this beaded giant squid for my birthday:

I have named him Anaximander: Lord of Men.

Gabby also introduced me to a contest called Use the Muse from The Beader's Muse. You buy a kit and with it arrives a mystery bead that serves as the muse for creative inspiration. You can use as many beads of your own or as few from the kit as you like, as long as  you use the muse. And -- wonder of wonders! -- there are deadlines. I love deadlines, really I do. The urgency gives me momentum. Would Indiana Jones have run quite as fast without a giant smashy boulder behind him? No, he would not.

And now my kit and the muse (no, I'm not going to show you) have arrived in the mail. It has begun.

This contest features winners like this: So far my entry looks like this:

I am completely out of my league.