Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Inspired by Reading: Drinking the Rain

This month's installment of the Inspired by Reading Book Club was Drinking the Rain by Alix Kates Shulman.  I can be a little picky when it comes to memoirs... I tend more toward those that are written with a lot of humor or are about someone with whom I'm more familiar.  So this is another one of those books that I never would have picked up on my own.  I really look forward to hearing what all the other book club members thought of it. 

My take on this book is it is a memoir of the author's mid-life crisis.  Maybe that's not entirely fair, but I guess I had a hard time relating to what she was going through over the period of time that the book covers.  When the author turned 50 and her kids were all out of the house, she decided to spend the entire summer pretty much alone at the family's extremely rustic (we're talking no electricity, phone or indoor plumbing!) beach cabin on an island off the coast of Maine.  Since my idea of "roughing it" involves a cabin with modern plumbing, electricity, and (preferably) air conditioning, I was already having a hard time understanding why she would do such a thing!  This is just the start of big changes for the author... her children are grown, her marriage is falling apart, and she seems to struggle to find relevance in the things that used to fill her New York City life.  There is certainly something to be admired in her efforts to live as naturally as possible off the land while leaving as small a "footprint" as she can, but it seems like she really takes it to an extreme to which I couldn't really relate.  I did finish the book, and it doesn't all take place in NYC or the nubble... but as the island is truly the heart of the story, I focus my thoughts there.

For my piece I decided to focus on the beachy setting of most of the book as my inspiration.  In particular, I thought about the sea gulls that Alix stole fresh caught fish from at the nubble.  I had one of Heather Powers' adorable Humblebeads pendants with a sea gull on it that I thought would be the perfect focal to represent life on the island.  I incorporated a couple of different colors and shapes of pearls (both natural, "shell," and Swarovski) to represent both the sea and the scene where Alix finds pearls in the batch of mussels she has cooked.  I mixed in some shell beads that I've been hoarding forever as well as some little coconut shell beads to keep it feeling tied to the sea shore.  I rounded out the design with some small Amazonite rounds, Fluorite rondelles, Czech glass, and some Picasso finish seed beads as spacers.

As a weird aside, I've noticed myself stringing way more necklaces lately.  When I first starting making jewelry, stringing was pretty much all I did as far as necklaces go... then I got better at making loops and entered a phase where almost all my designs involved wire wrapped links or simple links on head pins.  Now I guess I've found some middle ground and am a little more evenly split between stringing and wire wrapping.  I guess it's a combination of finally getting the hang of properly closing crimp covers (don't judge me... it's trickier than it should be!) and also using more waxed linen in my designs.

Ok, enough rambling from me!  You can see what the others in the group made over in our Facebook group HERE if you're interested in joining in the fun.  I'm sharing a day earlier than normal because of another reveal schedule for tomorrow.    



  1. I love this piece! It really evokes the rocky Maine beaches and is beautiful.

  2. Very pretty! I love the asymmetry of the beads.

  3. I feel you on the stringing! I have never been afraid of crimp beads but have a total mental block against wire wrapping!!! I also have been inspired by you to make more earrings. So I guess we have a good thing going here!!!

    Love the necklace. Great focal, great colors! Love your stringing patterns!!!! Great job, friend!

  4. Love the necklace! The flow is perfect and the colors are spot on!

  5. While the book wasn't my all-time favorite, I did enjoy it. I think it's because I can relate to the author a little more. I think for me, the idea of solitude is so compelling. While I do enjoy my people, I also like to be alone and enjoy the quiet chaos of nature, teeming with the abundance of life. I think I was also drawn to this story more than some because I've shared similar experiences... particularly ones set in New York City. Some of the experiences she wrote about could have been my experiences.

    What a great necklace! I love the asymmetry and richness of variety of beads. It gives the piece a really luxurious feel. Not only that, but that Heather Powers focal is just lovely! I'm so excited that I'll get to see you and Heather soon! Fun times ahead!

    And... I know what you mean about stringing. It's where my heart is. There's something very gratifying about putting beads on beading material. Don't get me wrong, there's magic in other ways of jewelry making... but I always come back to stringing. It's so satisfying.

    Thanks so much for participating!

  6. So pretty! I love the colors, textures, and arrangement of the beads you strung.