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Details Matter

I love custom orders. I mean really love them. Each one is unique, and nothing challenges me more than someone saying, “Can you make this?”

In June, I received such a request; a stuffed, 3D replica of a beloved pooch, Sam.

 

Who wouldn't love a face like this?

Always up for a challenge, I took to the store to find the perfect shade of gold-blonde and came home to begin this masterpiece. Little did I know that even with over 20 years experience on my side, and having made numerous amigurumi dolls and animals, Sam was going to be my toughest yet!

Dozens of hours went into crafting, shaping, and stitching. All to be ripped and restarted time and time again. Finally, I had finished, sewed all of the pieces together, and took a step back…

This is what was looking back at me. I resemblance of a dog, a confused, tilted head, and front legs that were just too long and misplaced. I was crushed. So I did what everyone does – put him away so I didn’t have to look at him! However, short-term solutions rarely yield long-term results, and I had a customer waiting! I took Sam 1.0 back out and started to really look to see what needed fixed, and if anything needed redone completely.

After a few more hours of work, and some tears of frustration, I had finally finished a Sam I could be proud of -complete with floppy lips and sad eyes.

Going through this process helped teach me more about shaping and positioning. It was awesome to be challenged…really it was awesome to learn the techniques, the process sucked.

What have you learned lately through a challenge?

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Thoughtful Thursday: Creative Therapy

For a long time, I have turned to crochet as a mindful activity to clear my head and to cope with the world around me. Having a mental illness—major depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder—finding coping methods is key to fighting my own head. I figured I would put this information right out there early in my blog because so much of my creativity comes from my internal demons, and my need to craft keeps me as sane as I can be. y illness does ebb and flow, and will always be a part of me, but I am learning to manage it.

I have been lucky. In my life I have been inspired by several people with many different artistic talents. My younger sister can visualize a drawing, painting, or scrapbook page and create it as if out of thin air; my daddy is an amazing woodworker, and I remember watching him completely lose himself in the grain of the wood. Both my mother and my aunt express imagination and beauty through quilts, albeit in very different ways. However, that’s the beauty of art; there is not a “wrong way” to create and through each piece the individual’s personalit shines through.

For me, it’s crochet. With every project I do, I fall into a place of calm. I am able to claer my mind and focus on the fell of the yarn, the color, the texture, the thickness… it’s taking a simple skein and turning it into a beautiful piece, no matter the final product. I am able to completely los track of time and self. Crocheting allows me to think in a different way then day-to-day problem solving we all face.

Crochet doesn’t just satify my creative needs, there is evidence that crocheting has health benefits due to fighting against depression, physical pain, insomnia, and grief, to name a few. In his 2004 TED Talk, “Flow, TheSecret to Happiness”, Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi stated, “When we are involved in (creativity), we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life, you know that what you need to do is possible to do, even though difficult, and sense of time disappears. You forget yourself. You feel part of something larger.”

Become Part of Something Larger

I encourage all of you to try something creative. Start small if you have to or take a class. Find something that speaks to the right side of your brain, and straight to your heart. If you desire, there are groups of all creative types who meet and you can soon build your network of positive, creative minds to challenge and accept you just as you are. Local libraries are a great place to start looking, as well as Meet Up, which allows you to find like-minded creators in your area. I personally will be at the Loops ‘N Hooch Meetup, August 20. Feel free to join us!

Reading List – Great books on the topic and to get you  started

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Crochet Saved my Life by Katheryn Vercillo
Crafting Calm by Maggie Shannon
Art Journals & Creative Healing: Restoring the Spirit through Self-Expression by Sharon Soneoff