craft therapy · Crochet · DIY

Stitching a Colorful Life

IMG_20170904_170418_379

Fearless is going after what you want in life even though you might fall short at times. As a budding maker, I’ve experienced a lot of failures through projects. Sometimes, I didn’t have the best material or I didn’t follow the instructions carefully. However, my goal is to live a colorful and creative life. Living creatively means brushing off fear.

Have you ever woke up one morning and asked yourself “why am I not going after the things that matter to me in life.” Why am I not following my dreams? It doesn’t have to be anything as challenging as finding a new career or traveling across the globe.  It could be cooking out of your dream kitchen, building a new wardrobe, and hosting a fabulous dinner party. Maybe you always wanted to be more social or meet new friends. There are these quiet dreams inside of us that we wish we could explore, but life’s lows can get in the way.

I looked at myself one day, and I was tired of the boring clothes I was wearing to work. I would go to the same tops that were easy to pull over while I dragged myself to work each day. I sure you can relate. You stop putting effort into your day. You quit making lunch. The small wins don’t mean anything. You stop participating in activities that make you feel good about yourself. Eventually, you find yourself stuck in a rut with several developed bad habits.

Dragging to work with the same clothes on each day was irritating me. I found it a challenge to stay motivated. I told myself that I would work on taking care of my appearance. I wanted a creative life, so why not style myself in my own unique way.  I love being creative with my hands. So, learning how to crochet seemed like the perfect creative opportunity to help me work on my appearance. I didn’t necessarily wanted to go out and purchase a finished product, but I wanted to create more looks out of styles I envisioned.

I also had a desire to get back into learning how to crochet. The crochet patterns attracted me. However, the last time I tried to attempt to crochet was  during the summer of 2016. My skills were very rusty. Honestly, I wasn’t very great at crochet.  But, I decided to give it another shot. I took the yarn that was going to waste  in my craft box, and I started practicing single crochet stitches. I would crochet for a while and then I would simply rip the stitches out.

IMG_20170903_144654_905

I wasn’t focusing on failing, but learning and relaxing my mind. I did my best to count my stitches as I carried on. I ripped out the stitches again and started thinking about developing a small project. I had my heart set on a colorful scarf. With a lot of help from YouTube tutorials, I learned how to add a ball of yarn to a crochet project, weave ends, and single crochet the seams of both ends of the project making an infinity scarf.

I know some will find my idea shallow, but for me I felt as if I was taking back a small piece of my life. I wasn’t simply dragging through the day. I was making myself happy. I wanted to live a more colorful life, and instead of dreaming about it, I started thinking of ways I could achieve it.

After completing my first crochet project, I decided that I would continue on with new projects. I want to take simple steps each week to live a more colorful life. I waste enough time just dragging through the day, complaining about work, or wishing I was in in someone else’s shoes. You only get one life.

Do you have a desire to thrive? Tired of being in a rut? Where do you start?

Advertisements
craft therapy · quilting

Quilting for Tough Times

IMG_20170719_235552_645

One of my blog posts from the beginning discouraged sewing while in a bad mood. Honestly, I still don’t like the idea of  sewing for loves ones when I’m sick or angry. I make too many mistakes when I’m not my best self. Overall, it’s just not a great sewing experience. However, if it is a personal quilting project it should be based on your needs. Working with you hands can be therapeutic for many. I’ve discovered that doing a little bit of patchwork with quilting throughout the month helps me get through periods of loneliness, tough times, and moments when I need to be strong.

IMG_20170517_102151_679-1

When I commit to working on personal projects, I do a lot of praying and reflecting on life. I enjoy spending time just working with my hands. I also get lost in my thoughts. Once my rotary skills improved, I enjoyed cutting fabric squares to piece together a small quilt top. Achieving accurate seams is the most challenging for me. However, the journey is always important to me.  The whole process of working on a quilt, gives me the energy to keep fighting.

Life has taught me that I’m responsible for loving myself as well as creating my own happiness.  I know that it is recommended to reach out to people when you are experiencing tough times, but for me I just ended up confused. My advice would be to find a support group or talk to a professional. Talk to supportive friends and family. Spend time enjoying their presence, but be very careful about sharing information about your personal problems with people who aren’t from your core group. You will find that you are looking for answers that people can’t give you. Not everyone has your best interest.

I remember when I was dealing with depression. It was hard keeping up, and it appeared that my professional life was stagnant.  I made the mistake of sharing my problems with someone. I found out that the person was  using my problems against me. I felt like at some point this person was trying to talk me into feeling bad about myself even more. The person would often talk about how depressed I looked and mentioned bits and pieces about how things weren’t going well for me. It was troubling. The person wasn’t encouraging me. It was at the point that I realized that I needed change.  It was time to move on, and find a new life.

There are times that you need periods alone where you can work through problems yourself. Over the summer, I prayed a lot, and I knew I was tired of feeling like I was in the dumps.  I decided that I wanted to get better at quilting.  Each week, I was at my house, learning how to prepare a quilt top. The more it came together, the better I started to feel about myself. I don’t really know how to describe it, but when you make something on your own, it’s like an empowering feeling. I felt useful again.  I was learning new skills, and the great thing about it was that I wasn’t depending on anyone else to validate me.

 

IMG_20170531_073041_726-1

One of my most recent quilts features a lot of cats. I’ll admit that I’m a cat lady with no cats.  I wanted to make a personal project. It’s not perfect, but it reminded me that I have what it takes to finish a quilt. I hang it over my headboard. What’s different about this quilt, is that it was the first time I attempted to bind a quilt. Binding the quilt was hard, and I made a lot of mistakes. I was able to get over my fear of binding, and I have a lot of motivation to do better next time.

 

The most meaningful part of the quilting process was that it taught me how to start creating my own life again. I was learning how to express myself. I found it hard to get negative being surrounded by so much color all the time.  I say to myself sometimes “when life gives you lemons, make a quilt.” I don’t think the saying is original at all, but I tell myself those very words when I’m stressed.  I will always have problems, but at least I’m not sitting around dwelling on them.

Stephanie