For the birds
Aside from my obsession with beads, I developed a bit of an obsession with my bird feeder this past summer. Not only with the birds that visited it, but also the squirrels that kept emptying it. I love the colours of the birds and seeing them flit about between the feeder and trees. And I have great respect – and a bit of distain – for how clever the squirrels can be. I’ve been planning this bracelet since the Summer, but was missing one particularly important piece until now!
Given my ongoing battles with the squirrels, I knew that I needed a bead to represent them. But, I was worried it would be one of the more challenging parts of this bracelet. The retired Black Squirrel didn’t have the right colours for the squirrels around here. The artisan silver beads that I found didn’t quite appeal. So, I was thrilled when I learned that Trollbeads was releasing their Squirrel bead with their Fall collection! Some people have pointed out that the ears are a bit big for North American squirrels, but I think the larger ears just add to the bead’s charm.
The next bead on my list was the Sparrow, to represent all of the little songbirds that visit. I debated between the Sparrow and Chick, since the latter is easier to find, but the wing detail on the Sparrow won me over. Of course, since it is retired, I didn’t expect it to be that easy to find one. So, it got put on the “buy it if you find it!” list while I searched for some of the other beads. One day last month, I picked up another bead that had also been on the same list for months. And, the very next day, a Sparrow came up for sale. Happens every time: I wait and wait for a bead, and then as soon as I can’t buy it anymore, it becomes available. Yes, since I had somewhat overspent last month, I had to pass on the Sparrow! (My spontaneous bead budget is, after all, still a budget!) But, a few weeks later, I was unexpectedly gifted one. And that the person was thoughtful enough to choose that bead for me makes it even more special than if I had found it myself.
While I was waiting to find a Sparrow bead, I set my sights on finding the right glass beads to represent the birds. The wide range of visitors made it hard to decide where to start. The summer saw mostly chickadees and goldfinches use the feeder, with an occasional cardinal sighting. As summer turned into fall, the cardinals became more frequent visitors. In mid October, red-breasted nuthatches started showing up regularly. At the end of October, the feeder began to attract woodpeckers, and in November, it was overrun by plump, little dark-eyed juncos. As the days grew even colder, the blue jays that had been very infrequent visitors began to appear several times a week.
Sadly, the squirrels did not get more infrequent through any of this.
With the early arrival of winter, I decided that the bright colours of the cardinals would be my starting point and my Scarlet Armadillo was perfect for them. The chickadees are another favourite of mine, so they were an easy second choice. I love their little song! They sometimes even swoop in as I refill the feeder, sitting on the pole until I’m done. I thought that that grey/white/black of the chickadees would be easy to find, but it proved to be quite the challenge. I found some with the right colours, but the proportions weren’t right. I had hoped to find a striped onyx that might do the job, but in the meatime this jasper almost captures their colouring.
Of course, the bracelet wouldn’t be complete without a bird feeder bead! I thought about using the retired Birdhouse to represent the feeder, but the shape didn’t evoke the right feeling for me. So, I made my own bead. I knew it would be more of a challenge than the hawk skull, but I didn’t expect it to be quite as fiddly as it was! It truly was a pain in the … you know what. But, in the end, it was worth it!
I want to track down a few more glass beads to represent some of the other birds that frequent the feeder, but in the meantime, I’m happy that I can finally represent one of my obsessions through another!