Sunday, January 4, 2015

{FAIRY DUST} Paper Beads

Several months ago, I came out with some personal medical news in what I called the Selfish post. What I didn't expect was the overwhelming waves of support that followed. Women reached out to me who had had the procedure, some shared stories of friends who'd had it done, and all were filled with love and positivity... things I refer to as fairy dust. Obviously, with magical healing powers, I take all the fairy dust I can get. And, honestly, little things never made a bigger difference in my life.

Tomorrow, Monday, January 5th, I go in for the PreOp(eration). If you share my loathing of needles, then you understand that I'm dreading this simple blood test almost as much as the actual surgery! When I was young, I read in what was probably a Highlights magazine that you can distract yourself from shots by spelling your best friend's name backwards. Most of my friends have short/easy names, and over the years I've become too good at rattling off E-L-L-E-H-C-A-R.

Wednesday, January 7th, is my LEEP procedure. The surgery was originally scheduled for December1st, but somehow they booked me for the wrong procedure... hmm... no, I do not want another colposcopy. That biopsy was the single most painful experience of my life to date, so no thank you! (Fun fact: Apparently, mid-procedure I yelled out, "If this is anything like child birth, NEVERMIND! I'm good!") Having to wait yet another month forced me to zen out in order to enjoy the holidays. And as close as this is to all being over, it'll take at least six weeks to heal.

In conversation, I've been saying "recover." The recovery period is about six weeks. Now that I've typed it though, I like "heal" much better. It's a word I can definitely apply elsewhere; everywhere. This has been a difficult four months and I know it's been challenging to those around me as well. I've seen a lot of patience and understanding where I maybe didn't always deserve it. As I heal, I will definitely make an effort to repair, rebuild, and get stronger as a whole.

Art IS Therapy

As I mentioned in the Selfish post Update, I was a surprised recipient of a lot of fairy dust! And as promised, I put your words to work. In order to suit my situation, this project is a spin off of a DIY that I first read about here. I love what it represents and I love the work required to create it.

The main theme of my graduate thesis was Art as therapy. (Not art therapy-- that's different, more clinical.) Rather, Art IS therapy. (There are several organizations doing great work in this field, AWBW being one, but that's another post...)

On the morning I awaited by biopsy results, this was my Art therapy:

{FAIRY DUST} Paper Beads

I sat in my Enrichment classroom, alone. Usually packed with forty kids at a time, it was interesting (and I was grateful) that a field trip was scheduled that morning. I played phone tag with the doctor's office, scheduled lesson plans for the next two months, and got to work.
  1. I had already collected all of your kind words, messages, emails, and comments onto one file,
  2. and printed them onto bright colorful paper. 
  3. Here, I cut them into differently shaped strips of paper,
  4. and rolled them into paper beads.
  5. I strung them on my favorite color yarn and fastened myself a bracelet and a necklace.


A Paintbrush
Pencil/Pen (optional)

  • Here is a simple template demonstrating how different shaped strips of paper can be rolled into differently shaped beads.
  • In the photos, you'll see I started by rolling the beads around a pipe cleaner. Do NOT use them in your project. Either use a smooth/round pen/pencil or the end of a paintbrush. Whatever you use, make sure it is an even surface and create all your beads with the same opening width. Otherwise, some beads with a smaller circumference will sneak underneath beads with a larger circumference.
  • You can probably use a glue stick at first, but I stuck with liquid glue and painted on a small amount before wrapping the length of the paper into a bead. Later, you can use Mod Podge to secure the beads or add glitter, etc. 

Why & How You Can Use It

Wearing these special beads is the closest I'll get to having actual fairy dust. It kept all the well-wishes close and calmed me during news of the biopsy results and later with my consultation with the doctor. I made a bracelet and when I found myself with still more beads, I made myself a necklace. Sitting and focusing on this was the best thing I could do for myself.

This project can ALSO be used in a variety of beautiful ways. Rachel Bilson set this out as a DIY craft at her baby shower, requesting that loved ones fill the beads with advice for the new baby. It can also be a wonderful project at a bridal shower. Maybe it's the perfect gift you can give your younger sister on her 16th birthday or your mother on her 60th. Doing a little research, I discovered that this can be a neat project when you use newspaper, maps, or other unique paper materials.

There is something very powerful in both knowing and not knowing the wishes contained in these tiny beads. It's a little eccentric but I'll definitely be wearing both my {fairy dust} bracelet and necklace to my PreOp and LEEP surgery this week.

 Thank you, xoxo

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