Thursday, July 17, 2008

Does Crafting Enhance Your Life?

I was wondering today if my crafts reflect how I am as much as who I am. What about you? Do you craft more or less when you are healthy or sick? Do you craft less when you are depressed or happy? If you do a number of crafts, which craft is more likely to draw your attention when you feel upbeart or sad? Bottom line do your moods affect your crafting and does your crafting affect how you are feeling?

If you need to justify the worthyniess of having a hobby, you might want to send the person you are trying to convince to healthy Here you can read about the benefits of having a hobby that matches your needs and situation and why a good hobby helps you live a balanced life. The entry even suggests how to go about finding a hobby that suits your life and enhances it. “Many women feel guilty taking time for themselves, but for happiness and good health, you need an inspiring purpose,” says Andrea Pennington, an integrative medicine physician and wellness coach. “A good hobby makes you lose all sense of time and self, liberating you from the every­day.” In fact, research shows that a hobby can help you cope with work-related stress by providing a different kind of challenge and letting you disen­gage—and so recuperate—from work."

Personally I believe that in a society where we are increasingly insular, women in particular need to be proactive in finding ways to create their own circle, where they can find fellowship, friendship and in some way recreate the close family and community support of yesteryears. Because I am by nature shy about approaching strangers, you can imagine that moving 5 times in 10 years has been rather difficult for me. Prior to 2002, because I was a busy working mom, the workplace was always the avenue for new friendships. Having lived through the reorganization and move of one employer and the death of a well known multi-national employer I have come to realize that friendships that exist completely in the workplace often do not translate once employment is severed. The larger the lost employer is and the smaller the available pool of new available jobs, the more likely people are to drift away and find new jobs in new communities. While not all work related friendships will collapse, the larger the number of people forced to move away or compete for new jobs, the more likely that they will focus on their new circumstances and on re balancing their personal lives.

In some ways having close online friends that share your hobby or passion, in my case my friends at rec.crafts.scrapbooks, can help smooth out the problem. For one thing they can move with you and your computer, for another, if you are lucky one of them will live in your new hometown and be there to help support you and offer an instant "real life" friend.

In 2004 when my husband and I moved out of state, having my good online friends Kenda and later Deb living in the same city was a true blessing. I could not have felt more welcome or happier to live near them. Although we do not communicate as often as we did, they have become friends for life and no matter when they might call me or ask for my help or support, I will always do everything I can to be there for them. However, in reviewing this period in my life, I realize that I had unfair expectations of my online now new real life friends. Without thinking it out, I somehow expected, that they would meet all my social needs. Women are by nature social creatures and we NEED to be needed, to be surrounded by other women. We need for our own sanity to bounce ideas and problems off our friends. I should have realized that my online friends already have full lives when i rolled into town and that it was my responsibility to build my own social circle. I'm afraid that I was a needy friend partly because knowing that our stay was temporary, I did not go out of my way to make new friends of my own. It was a lesson well learned and hopefully Kenda and Deb didn't feel the pressure I exerted on them too severely.

Thankfully in this time in world history where we are less likely to have a ready made community, the internet and pursuing our hobbies through small hobby stores such as scrapbook stores and knitting store help us create a different type of social circle with like minded people. When I moved away from Kenda and Deb, I realized that I would have to find some way to overcome my shyness of strangers and create a way to meet and make friends that had common interests. I had started to come to the realization that I need face to face interaction to feel balanced. As Kenda, Deb, Marie-Laurence or Janie can tell you, to me a good hug from a close buddy will do more to lift my mood when I am down then I am sure 100 hours of therapy would. Through a scrapbook show where I was selling scrapbook products and by creating my own Scrapbook Buddies meet up group, I found some wonderful friends that I can meet with face to face and scrapbook and share life with. Has the young retiree that I am reached a level at which I am no longer lonely during the day? Not quite yet, but I am getting closer.

All that to say, I appreciate and love all my friends, both online and real life. And I can't wait to see and give a big real life hug to some of my online friends who will be on the Scrapbook Cruise that I am organizing out of Tampa in March of 2009! Well it's time to get back to the "real" world.
Have a truly, wonderful day!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Decorating Tin Boxes without paper

I thought I would share with you a class I am teaching on the 26th. I really wanted to decorate some tins that were just the right size to put in cards. Frankly, I'm pretty sure that I am going to give/sell the originals, well at least the Holiday one, since I really have a whole lot more Christmas cards than will fit in this box. It might be something nice to Ebay complete with some hand made cards.

The boxes are "painted" or a better work would be "inked" with alcohol inks. The process is fun, dries quickly and although the ink may scratch a little, you can choose, as I did with the pink and green one on the left to add a coat of modge podge to make the tin more scratch resistant. In this case, I even added some walnut ink to the modge podge to tone down the color a little. I'd never heard of this eing done, though I am sure that someone else must have. The results to say the least are interesting!

The Holiday tin was not modge podge. My biggest challenge is to come up with dividers for each of the boxes by next week. This will be an unusual class in that I have staggered the start times so that I can spend some one on one time with each student during the inking process. For that reason, at this point the class is limited to 4 people. I sure hope that they will each get here on time so that they can get their full 30 minutes to work on the inking!

If more people let me know that they are interested, I'll just do another class!