Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Purple Thumbs... June BJP Finished!

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, bead journal project, garden, texture detail
Although I come from a family of gardeners, the urge to play with growing green things never (ever!) appealed to me. My parents said I have a purple thumb, meaning I don't take to gardening. OK with me... I love purple!

Early this spring, my husband started talking about us having a vegetable garden on our property. Ohhhhh, no! Not me! I don't DO gardening, I said. A bone of contention between us , it became a hot topic in our counseling sessions until I finally agreed to contribute 10% (to his 90%) toward the building and operation of the garden (labor and cost).

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, bead journal project, garden
You guessed it. My thumbs are greening. You can see it in my Bead Journal Project piece for June. The purple bugle bead pathways are my thumbs, the greening around the edges (looking a little like beet greens) is what is happening to them! The other arm of the X is our garden.

I even started a garden blog. I'm ghost writing it for my husband, which he claims is stealing his identity. If you'd like to see the results of horse-trough, intensive, raised-bed gardening, take a look at Rain Barrel Garden.

Now here's some fun... click on the picture below to make it big and see if you can identify the vegetables. Not in order and not counting the obvious ones in the center, they are: beets, carrots, tomatoes, radishes, three types of lettuce, kale, strawberries and spinach.

bead embroidery by Robin Atkins, bead journal project, garden, center detail
Although I enjoy planting, harvesting and eating our own organic foods, I had no real appreciation for how much I enjoy it until it showed up in my beading. All I do at the start of one of these visual journaling pieces is to tell myself, "This one is about the relationship between me and our garden." The rest just happens... improvisationally... bead by bead. It's magic!


  1. Beautiful as usual. And also, glad you could use the green and thanks for the vintage, I do love vintage. Sorry I haven't thanked you before now, life got real busy. Hope you're having a wonderful summer, we finally have summer here and its been really beautiful for the last week. Hope it stays around awhile. Thanks again.

  2. It is magic and your beading is magical and beautiful.

    Green and purple are my favourite colours so, not surpisingly, green and purple is my favourite colour combination :-)

    My dad is a keen gardener and a kids we were made to help on the vegetable alotment. I HATED it! As a consequence I thought I hated gardening. When I bought my first home, the very first thing I bought for it was 2 plants for the garden and I started work on the garden before the redecorating. Before I knew what had hit me, my purple thumbs were bright green!

    I am so pleased you are enjoying growing your own veggies and hope you and your husband enjoy working together in the garden (what is the ration now, 50/50?) Are your horse trough beads as beautiful as your beaded vegetable patch?

  3. Another one of your beautifully, inspiring creations. Wow. I feel like such a wuss at beading, but always come away from here wanting to create.

    Have a wonderful summer and thank you so much for this blog.


  4. i've got purple thumbs too! can't grow a thing to save my life. right now i'm trying to grow grass in my front yard. that's not working, either. my little one, sara, on the other hand LOVES to grow things and she's very good at it at 9 years old. she is growing tomato plants right now, and since it's too too too hot outside they are inside next to the big front window. green as ever.

    your beading is beautiful and inspiring. i love looking at everything you make. this one took hardly any explanation at all. it was very clear what everything is, especially the fantastically beaded garden. now, i don't how to identify plants...we stay far apart from each other...but i could see instantly that your garden and all that you're growing is represented. i do hope dh is helping more in "his" garden. if not, i hope it is growing on you just as much as you are growing it. i think it takes a lot of love to grow anything, so you must be enjoying it more than you thought you would.

  5. Oh, pretty, pretty, pretty! I think you're a gardener now, Robin, both in beads and in dirt!

  6. I love your beaded paths. I can never think a bad thought when I am in my garden. I hope you find that to be true for you also.

  7. Magic indeed - the garden, the BJP piece, the subtle changing of your thumb colour. How about the contribution percentage? Is it increasing?

  8. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Wonderful piece as usual. Good to see that you have gotten back to speed with your beading this year.

    One vegetable you seem to missing are potatoes, a very neglected plant. In the UK, this time of year for potatoes, there are so many varieties in the shop and they are new.So much sweeter and tastier than the old potatoes you get in most supermarkets over here. Closest I have ever seen here are little finger potatoes which cost a fortune.

    I will admit I do not like gardening but I think mainly it because its too hot in Texas so its a constant battle to keep them well watered. For some reason, weeds love the hot weather.

    My husband and I came to a similar agreement about gardening but each year I seem to do more. That's the joy of relationships I suppose, forever changing as we grow, much like gardening.

  9. WOW! I love this piece!!!! It's so interesting!!! Wonderful!!!! Beading is great!!! Design is wonderful!! Of course the subject matter is 'good' too!!! I love veggies!!

  10. This is just beautiful - color, texture and composition are all wonderful. Lovely work!

  11. This is a great piece! Oh how I would love to look through your stash of bead! You have such interesting things! Lovely Robin.

  12. Beautiful! I love the way the purple merges into the green. I find the greatest peace in my garden. I can be feeling mean and hurting all over, and an hour of gardening always sets me to rights. Not that all my plants live and thrive - far from it, I've just lost 2 different sets of zinnias - but it connects me with the natural world and soothes my soul. My husband is not, and will never be, a gardener. He's a musician and can't stand dirt under his nails or wearing gloves. He'll help me prune, but that's about it. Each to his own!

    I love eating veggies from our own garden - there's just nothing like how alive they are and how much vitality they have to share.

  13. Anonymous8:06 AM

    Love the greening of your 'purple thumbs' and the beaded garden is a delight! It makes me think of wonderful French potagers.

  14. That's my kind of garden! Beautiful, weed free, and no bugs. I too have no green thumb. Amazing work as always.

  15. Gorgeous piece of artwork. Love the colors and textures.

  16. Gardening isn't my thing either, although my husband does tend a small vegetable of his own. If it inspired such beautiful beading in me, I might try it; nah, not even then. :-P Robin, your piece is exquisite, as always. I love your creative use of the ruffle stitch, and those little veggie charm/beads are perfect. So, you've started to get green thumbs, it shows in your piece!

  17. I adore your purple thumbs and the manner in which you depicted your learning curve!!! So creative and humorous and delightful!!!!THis years BJP- your work is stunning!!!!
    Happy 2012 Dear Robin!!!


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