Can I tell you a secret? Don’t tell anyone, K? 😉 This blog was supposed to have a lot more crafts!! Not just watercolors and crochet, but all kinds of different crafty projects. What happened? Well, life I guess, and finances. I love crafts. I could absolutely get lost in Michaels (craft store), and with an unlimited budget, I’d come out with half the store! So, my intentions were good when I put the word ‘crafts’ in my blog title, but life, it’s funny thing, and I guess I could shorten it to just ‘craft’ it’d be more accurate, but then it’d sound funny. If you feel like going on a rambling journey with me about my experience with chronic illness and crafts, grab yourself some coffee, or tea, or whatever (I don’t judge), and settle in.
I got to thinking recently about how much our paths change throughout our lifetimes. In high school I was really torn between wanting to be a newscaster and an interior designer. I really, really wanted to be a newscaster (I even visited news stations and sat in on newscasts) until I found out they must write their own material (pre-internet), or they did at that time, I’m not sure how it works now. Then I started to question whether my writing was up to par, even though I’ve always loved to write, and that’s when interior design started to sparkle a little more brightly. But then I realized you have to design things to other peoples liking, not your own, and let’s face it, some people have ‘interesting’ decorating ideas. So, after further pondering, and a few years of indecision, I decided maybe law was the place for me, specifically working with juveniles, still lots of writing, but also a chance to tackle one of my passions, which was and always will be helping children in need. While I did go to school to be a paralegal, my plans of then going on to law school did not pan out, I chose to put raising my son as my top priority; I knew I couldn’t commit to both fully. In the end, I ended up working in legal departments throughout my career (unfortunately never with children). Funny thing is though, fast forward to five years ago and it ALL went out the window. We put so much emphasis on what kids are going to be when they grow up, and I do believe having a career is important, don’t get me wrong, but I think there are other things that are more important, like being able to be comfortable in your own skin, having the skills to persevere when the going gets tough, and the self-worth to know your value, even on the roughest of days. Oh, I’m rambling again… 😊 Let me get to the point, I’ve always wanted to contribute to society in some way, make it a better place for others, specifically those that can’t help themselves like children. Chronic illness took that away, or changed it, made it feel impossible, until I changed my way of thinking.
One of the biggest struggles with being ill was finding a purpose. I’m not going to bore you with the emotional spiraling that led me to crochet, but it happened, and that’s when I stumbled upon beginner crochet tutorials on YouTube. Originally, I had hoped to crochet hats for preemies, or blankets, or whatever was needed. But then I found out this requires a specific yarn, and I have pets (allergens), and the list or requirements went on. Also, the yarn type was expensive so that idea came and went, but I did make blankets for a few people, including myself, and that felt productive. But then, as any good little autoimmune-disease-soldier does, my shoulders froze up, so no more crochet. Which honestly was a bummer because let me tell you something crochet is incredibly therapeutic.
Back to the drawing board. I pondered questions like what crafts can be done from bed? What isn’t expensive, and what requires supplies that can be ordered online? While watercolors came to mind, at first, I chuckled at the thought. If you want something organized, logically, I’m your gal. If you want something creative and artistic, keep on looking. But it was something I’d always wanted to learn and hadn’t taken the time. In fact, a watercolor class was on my bucketlist before I got sick. Finally, I convinced my very logical, and in no way artistic, brain that there was no time like the present. I was gifted the jumping off supplies for my birthday a few years ago and it was off to the races.
I’ve learned a lot during the process, and I thought I’d share some of those things with you:
- I can watercolor in bed, but it helps to use a small lightweight watercolor notebook (Strathmore watercolor softcover art journal). I can’t lift my arms to use an easel due to pain and strength, so I rest them on pillows and hold the notebook, which has a hard surface for painting.
- I can dab a little of every color I have out on a tray and leave it forever, but it takes a big, very lightweight tray.
- I can save money with watercolors. Watercolor paints, when doing very small paintings last a long, long time. I still have a lot of the original tubes from when I started. And brushes and paper only need replacing every so often.
- I can stop staining my clothes by putting a hand towel down between my paint tray and my notebook! Live n learn.
- I can spill a whole glass of muddy paint water on my bed and I’ll survive.
- I can learn a lot from very kind and generous people on social media.
- I can accidently dip my paintbrush in my tea, not have the energy to make new tea, drink it anyway, and I’m fine.
- I can have fun, I can laugh at myself, I can get lost in the process, and it’s healing.
- I can share my work with others, sometimes hopefully brightening their day, and they will share theirs too. This is extremely beneficial for those of us who are housebound, having social connections outside the home.
At the end of the day part of happiness is adjusting to what is, not constantly wishing for what was, or what should have been. Tough lessons to learn, but thankful to have learned them. Hopefully someday I’ll get to share more crafts on here, until then let’s all assume ‘crafts’ means just the one craft and I can stop feeling guilty for leading people to a site where there’s just some doodles at the end of each post. Fair? 😁 If you made it all the way down here, you’re a champ! Hoping today brings you goodness!! A few more ‘craft-s’ 😊 below. I like to add bears in February (Fe-bear-uary) so this month, as I’m able, each doodle will have a bear too.