I thought it might be a good idea to add in some posts on the happier side of things rather than me just rambling on about various struggles, doom and gloom. So here is Positivity Post 1!
Around a year after my diagnosis I realised that I needed to try and fill the void created by the loss of my career with something constructive that would help me maintain a sense of being. Being a mum of two, I had obviously dabbled with various forms of crafting – mostly involving glue, paper, string and glitter – and I had also tried my hand at cross-stitch and other textile crafts with some not-too-shabby results. Whilst, the issues with my hands makes hand-stitching difficult most of the time, I recognised that the sense of achievement, each completed piece had given me would be really beneficial to me, and would hopefully prevent me spiraling further down into the pit of despair that was looming.
And so began my hobby of collecting crafting supplies……. I mean my crafting hobby!!
I was lucky that my two oldest and best friends both share an interest in crafting so in the early days we would attend craft shows together, both at the NEC and Harrogate, myself making good use of the hire-able mobility scooters. Each visit would lead to me discovering new crafts that I was certain I’d be able to do, so I have various craft supplies that arrived home, cooed over for a few days and then got put away, never to see the light of day again! But I have also found some supplies that I really love to use such as angelina fibres, alcohol inks and embossable metal sheets. Some of my many crafting experiments are shared over at my crafting blog here – Steam Fairie Craft. Sadly now I rarely make the shows as they have become a little too much for me, but when I do I love to feel all the creative energies there.
Over time I have developed a style that is based in mixed media, especially textiles and inks, and often involves a steampunk theme. As the use of social media has increased I have been able to find out about workshops that cover this type of crafting and been lucky enough to attend a few, I love getting messy inky fingers!!
My two friends have also found their own niches in crafting, one is an avid quilter and crocheter and the other is the most amazing papercrafter. But despite our styles and interests diversifying we love nothing more than the chance to share our latest makes over a cup of tea!! Very therapeutic!
Obviously I still experience my dark times when I find it difficult to even think about crafting, and I can go as long as 6 months with no creative mojo whatsoever, eventually I realise how much I miss it and I begin again, taking little baby steps. In fact I have just emerged out the other side of one such break as I needed to complete an altered frame for a family christening, I’d already made one for their first child and so there was no way I was letting my health stop me from making one for their second child!
I have found through trial and error that I need to pace myself by doing things in little stages, not to over commit on deadlines although I find that easier said than done (as in the case of the christening frame above) as I am still loathe to believe how my abilities have faded over time. Luckily if you don’t want to commit to a large project there are lots of small scale crafting projects out there such as Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) which are only 2″ x 3″, and altered rolodex cards which are not much larger.
If you are wanting to get into crafting I would definitely recommend it and if it seems outside your comfort zone, don’t forget that there are lots of mindful colouring books out there now and if you like to doodle there is also Zentangling.
Go on – give it a go!!