A Photo a Week Challenge: The Fruits of your Labor

I’m a Professional Childbirth Attendant. Almost 40 years so hundreds of births now.

But my photos are not about that kind of labor.

This is called Zen Bead Embroidery.


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I started this one with the two tiny copper giraffes

You start with a color theme, or maybe a single button or charm or bead.

Next, collect and collect and collect some more, beads, buttons, rocks, shells, charms, tiny trinkets of any kind, until you have a gathered a bowl or box or pile full of the colors you want to use.

Then, settling as much as you can into a Zen mood, you simply start sewing things onto whatever size canvas/cloth you have chosen. No plan necessary. This is a moment to moment experience. No rhyme or reason. The only patterns will be those that occur to you or that simply emerge as you labor. There is no right, no wrong, and there are no mistakes.

You will spend however many minutes or hours you wish in each stitching session…until you know you are done.

Don’t worry if you cannot muster that Zen feeling. The stitching will assist you.

Or, if you have ever sat through someone’s labor and childbirth, you will already know how.

Frame, if you wish.

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I wanted to be able to call this one Ocean so I just gathered blues and greens and whites for foam

If you figure out that you actually like doing this, you can even choose an image, and let yourself fill it in, Zen Bead Embroidery style.

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And then, you can frame it, or keep it, or give it to your son, your original, 10 pound “labor of love” and tell him it is a “once in his life time” gift!!!

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A Photo a Week Challenge: “Fruits of your labor “

Frame for WPC


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With Zen Bead Embroidery, there is a ton of fairly relaxing (if you do it right) work, but it can sometimes leave you with just a pile of confusing colors and patterns.

Often, the “Frame” is what turns it into a piece of art…

I have to say that I loved doing the embroidery above but when it came to framing, I was clueless and had to go to professionals for help.

I was really happy with how they framed my pieces. (Please forgive the photography. That was definitely NOT professional.)



“Last Detail” by ChosenPerspectives


When my son was about 20, he picked up an old Porsche to rebuild. He worked on it for years, including finally finishing major parts of the body work while it was parked in his grandmother’s driveway. She forgot it was there, drove into her driveway late one night and totalled the car. He is 43 now and has hauled it around with him to every place he has lived…Nebraska, Arizona, and several places in Washington state.

At one point, in support of his project, I told him that though I didn’t much want to work on the car with him, I had a supportive parallel project going that was just about as time consuming, so I challenged him….a race to the finish line.

I won and I gave him MY project a few years ago.

That car now lives HERE at my home, along with my son and his two sons. He plans on the three of them finishing it together. I really hope so as now it has become a symbolic “principle” of the whole thing.

But I am thinking maybe I start a new parallel project and re-challenge him. What do you think?

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Made with beads and my son’s great-grandmother’s mostly glass buttons.

Time for WPC (anyone else hear the Chambers Brothers?)



I inherited this amazing treasure a few years back and all I could think about is how much TIME it must have taken for someone to carve the “thousand faces of Buddha” into this walnut shell. The patience…the dedication…the talent…what an amazing person he or she must have been!

And then, I woke up this morning red-faced, realizing I am also that person.

In the last 20 years, for my closest 5 people, I made a “once-in-a-lifetime, just-because-I-love-you” hand-crafted gift. Each craft project took me a lot of TIME.

Here are some samples:

For my best friend-who loves giraffes and is an official Giraffe Project Hero, I made this. It took me about 3 years. It is made with Zen Beaded Embroidery and contains turquoise, copper, shells, assorted beads and several of my grandmother’s old glass buttons.

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Next, my “adopted” sister, Lenore’s mother died leaving her these old jewelry boxes with lots of broken bits and pieces from her Mom’s life. Nothing wearable or worth repairing but Lenore didn’t want to let them go. So she gave them to me to play with.


I grabbed the Tacky Glue and did this. Now they sit on the Lenore’s bookshelf as reminders of her Mom.


And this one took the longest. My son has been restoring a classic Porsche…for 20 years! It went to college with him. It has lived, in process, at his Dad’s, my house, his house, his grandmother’s house, etc.

One time, he had almost finished it and someone actually crashed into it in the driveway, leaving it virtually totaled.

It’s a matter of principal now. He is determined to complete this endless project.

So to support him (I’m no good with a wrench) I made this. It took me about as long as he’s been working on the car and is made entirely of my grandmother’s glass and shell buttons, and my old Hippie Beads. It is all stitched except for the white background buttons. In an effort to finish in my lifetime, I finally cheated and grabbed that Tacky glue again.

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Time…I wouldn’t trade a minute of it!