Tuesday, August 09, 2011

By the Numbers

As I was looking on the internet a couple of days ago for nails to use for the decks on the new house, I started to think about all the counting, adding, multiplying, and dividing I do during the course of a day. I know it's a long time ago, but I actually remember my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Wilson (one of my favorite teachers) telling us that we really needed to pay attention to math because we would use it in so many different ways. He was so right!

Math is quite prevalent in beading:

Doing peyote stitch requires measuring quantities of beads for a design, counting the beads to use in each stitch (particularly if you're doing two or three drop peyote), and measuring the length and width of the bracelet or necklace you're making to ensure a proper fit.

Bead crochet, if creating some kind of design (i.e., not just random stringing), also requires lots of counting so the beads are strung in the correct order. You also have to do some counting as you crochet to make sure you don't drop a stitch and inadvertently switch from an 8-around rope to a 7-around rope.

Right angle weave. More counting, as you're picking up a specific number of beads with each stitch. Start with four beads, then add groups of three beads to create the weave. Of course, that's just basic RAW - there are variations that use different numbers and give completely different looks to the finished work.

Herringbone, tubular herringbone. Yep. You guessed it. Counting. With herringbone, you're counting in twos most of the time, but there are variations that require you to pick up more beads. And you have to count them.

So now it's back to counting nails... because we need to determine just how many hot dipped galvanized ring shank 3-1/4" long nails to order for our nail gun. More math: number of deck boards, number of joists, number of nails at each nailing point, plus some extras for attaching the boards we'll put around the perimeter of the deck. Oh, and we can't forget the hand rails.

Would you guess that we're going to need somewhere in the range of 7500 nails? Sheesh!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Silencing the Muse

At what point do I admit that I cannot possibly create all the things that I envision? I guess I should consider myself lucky that I rarely run out of ideas. I rarely have anything even resembling creative block. In fact, it's usually just the opposite. My Muse is constantly talking to me, showering me with ideas for everything imaginable. And, believe it or not, there are times I just want to tell my Muse to "HUSH!"

It's even worse right now. You see, we're building a house (that's the very house you see in the photo). Now you'd think my Muse would be content to just send along ideas for the house itself -- flooring, siding, how to build the fireplace, cabinets, door styles, window styles, bathroom layouts, kitchen counters, backsplashes, tile, built-in bookshelves, deck plans, etc., etc., etc. But nooooooooooo. He/she/it somehow manages to distract me from those larger decisions and whispers in my ear about how I could use some of the discarded building materials.

Bent nails. Jewelry of some kind? Perhaps a votive holder? Maybe a wall hanging. Bird houses.

Bits of wood. Picture frames? Tiny furniture? Little creatures?

I'm not sure how to tell my Muse that I just flat out don't have the time to consider all those suggestions. I already have all these beautiful beads that are calling out to me all the time. All day. Every day. And polymer clay. A big bin of polymer clay which, thankfully, is still workable even after a couple of years of having been stored in the bin. Yarn. Lots and lots of yarn. Art supplies - pens, paper, cardstock, paint. You name it. The Muse never shuts up, so I've amassed a big collection of "stuff" to try to stop the whispering in my ear.

The sad thing is that, despite my knowing that I'll never have time to make all the things I've thought of, I'm still collecting stuff. There's a whole box of discarded, damaged, and downright cool construction materials sitting in the basement now. Just waiting to be turned into something cool.

I sure do love making stuff... like this. Serpentine Shimmer, a 6' long ndebele rope made with silver-lined metallic delicas.