Wooden Bead Birthday Present

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Project by ToddHolmDotCom posted 08-05-2012 06:17 AM 1904 views 7 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So I have been having fun making small wooden beads in my shop made wooden bead maker. They are fun and pretty and a great use for small shop scraps. More important is that with a little poetic licence they have made an excellent birthday gift for my wife. I am giving her the $5 Wal-Mart vase filled with 365 wooden beads of various colors and shapes and the following explanation (her copy has some photos embedded). I think she will like it (I put a small piece of Saran Wrap over the top so they wouldn’t spill out).

You are Looking at Your Year

Sometimes we forget how unique and beautiful everyday life can be. This collection of wooden beads is to remind you to really stop and look at each of your days. There are exactly 365 wooden beads in this container, one for each day since your last birthday or before your next birthday. At first glance you will no doubt see that there are a lot of beads and they are all a little different but basically the same. But that is not really true. The beads are reflective of the days you experience each year. True there are some bland and uneventful days in each year and there are some bland and ordinary pieces of wood in this collection. But those days are there to contrast against the richer and more interesting days. If every day were “special”, no day would be special.

Some of the pieces are a dark red. Red is the color of passion. These are the best days of the year. They are the days we spend engaged in what we are passionate about and with the people we are passionate about. These days bring a richness and depth to our lives.

Some of the pieces have fascinating and contrasting growth rings that make them look interesting and elegant. Like God hand painted a seascape on each one. These are the days of contrast we each experience. At first something might seem like a dark ring, a set-back or a tragedy, but later we realize that the negative led to something very positive, the light growth ring. These pieces and these days are fascinating to study. Close examination shows us that while the dark lines contrast with the light and stand out in our mind, there is actually more light than dark.

You will notice there are some very dark pieces of wood; those reflect the dark days in our lives. But even as you look at the dark pieces you will notice that many of them have streaks of light grain running through them, but unless you take the time to really examine pieces you wouldn’t notice them. The same is true of our dark days. Too often we look at a day and say “it has been a rotten day” when in reality the day has had its light streaks as well. Take the time and make the effort to find the light in dark days.

Some are stained with lines from bacteria that give them a rich marble look. Much like the wrinkles and scars we all carry these lines show our personality and character. They reflect how we deal with life. They are not imperfections but rather the perfect quality to reflect your resilience.

Some of the pieces are longer than others because days are longer than others. These are the lazy days. These are the days we spend doing the very important task of doing nothing. They allow us to recover, regroup and recuperate. These are some of the most important days.

The really interesting pieces are the ones in which pieces of wood have been laminated together. These pieces represent the days where your life and the life of someone you love are inextricably connected. Those are the most interesting, the most beautiful and the most fun. The woods may contrast or they may compliment, but together they are much more interesting and beautiful than either one by itself.

Feel free to examine each piece of wood and find its beauty; group the pieces by species or color or size or shape. Then take that same approach to life. At day’s end, take the time to reflect on which piece of wood your day was. At the end of the year look at your year intensely, savor the beauty of the individual days and appreciate how each plays a small roll in composing the art of each year of your life.

-- Todd "I am just a teacher and a carpenter, that doesn't mean I have a God complex. But I am complex."

5 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14179 posts in 4188 days

#1 posted 08-05-2012 11:42 AM

way cool !

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 2438 days

#2 posted 08-05-2012 02:06 PM

They look great! How do you make a bead maker and how does it work? I noticed a lack of thru holes which might be used to string them up.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View ToddHolmDotCom's profile


94 posts in 3005 days

#3 posted 08-05-2012 02:39 PM

Wdwerker, thanks. I haven’t drilled hole through any of them yet but I will in the future. For now they are just decorative not functional. As far as how I make them goes I have pulled all of that from the lumberjocks site. Check out my previous post where I talk about it:

-- Todd "I am just a teacher and a carpenter, that doesn't mean I have a God complex. But I am complex."

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2429 days

#4 posted 08-05-2012 02:49 PM

I imagine your wife was thrilled with both the beads and the essay, Todd.

I had never seen the colored ply before a few days ago and now I am seem another great way to use it. The mix of wood not only supports your story but it looks beautiful in the bowl. I would be grabbing handfuls of these and rolling them around in my hands a la Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Ryan Haasen's profile

Ryan Haasen

385 posts in 2606 days

#5 posted 08-06-2012 05:47 AM

Very nice, I really like the layered beads!

-- Ryan

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