Friday, February 19, 2010

Craftie Carolyne



I know the word, Craftie in this blog is an acronym, but for me these days, it also applies to things I've been busy with. Crafts.

I have always loved making things. I used to sew everything my children wore - shirts, blue jeans, dresses, coats. I used to embroider and knit but then I discovered writing. I got published, my kids moved out and a lot of that other stuff fell aside. I wanted so badly to do the best I could with my writing that my focus narrowed down to anything and everything that could improve my writing. Online courses, writing books that fill up five feet of shelf space, writing magazines and articles. My embroidery thread and wool and sewing machine languished in various cupboards of my house. I didn't make time or feel I had time for the handcrafts. Then, one day, I looked up from another round of endless edits, weary and tired and thought, there has to be more to me than writing. I focussed so much energy on writing, I was losing that very energy and enthusiasm. My ideas felt stale and boring. So I took a break from writing romance and fell in love with writing again. How?

By going back to the other things that made me happy. Crafts. I started making scrapbooks. I started sewing for fun. And lately I've discovered a new craft, card making. At first I felt guilty for the time I was taking from my writing to do this. After all, if I wanted to be a better writer I had to devote all my time and energy to it. Write? Wrong.

Because the other benefit of crafting is I got excited about something again. I felt a little thrill of satisfaction when I finished a project. I had fun surfing the web looking for felt flowers, double sided satin ribbon, cardstock in just the right shade of green, buttons and paper and glitter and glue and a new cartridge for my cricut cutter. (I live at the intersection of No and Where so I have to have most of my crafting supplies sent my mail) And when the packages came in the mail, it was like Christmas all over again. I unpacked and enjoyed. I got another little thrill from seeing green, gold, silver, red, brown, pink and blue embossing powder lined up on my crafting desk in their cute little pots. I riffled through paper that came and oohed and aahed over the lovely colors. I discovered the fun of cuttlebugging and embossing folders and textures and colors.

And the other benefit? As I'm crafting, my mind is free to wander. As I'm enjoying the tactile experience of seeing embossing powder solidify and shine, watching my cricut make intricat cuts I start thinking in new and fresh ways about my current story. As I'm cutting and pasting, I am finding joy in my writing too.

And that to me, is the best benefit. Yes I have to find balance. Yes I have to make sure I don't do one at the cost of the other. I'm still a writer first and foremost, but if crafting helps me write, then that to me, is a huge benefit. Plus, my friends now get cards from me. And my children get scrapbooks. And my grandchildren. And doll clothes. Let's not forget the doll clothes.

What about you? Do you have a particular craft that you enjoy that expands your life in other ways than writing?

5 comments:

  1. I am not a witter but read a lot and have just gotten 2 publishers that I will review for. I have tried every craft that has ever been though of, right now all I do is machine embroidery when I need a gift, and I still love to crochet when I can find something someone wants.

    mamat2730(at)charter(dot)

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  2. Carolyne, the crafts are beautiful!! Thanks so much for sharing your story.

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  3. Carolyne,
    I used to love to refinish furniture, but then I had kids. Now my time is split between doings kid's crafts and writing. I started scrap booking but am seriously behind! Maybe one of these days I'll get back to it. I wish I could do better crafts like yours, but my talents probably lie elsewhere:) Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I love knitting and counted cross stitch. They're so much fun, but very difficult for me to do. Since I have JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) it makes it really hard for me to enjoy doing any of these things at any goven time.
    Hannah

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  5. Great post, Carolyne! I enjoyed reading about all the crafts you enjoy and do--WOW! You truly are a "craftie" lady, LOL. ~ I LOVE needlepoint, and have for many years. But when my kiddos were younger and I was teaching school, there just didn't seem to be any time for needlepoint.~ I guess one blessing that's come out of my very bad back "forcing" me to retire early is I now have time for needlepoint(AND reading and writing!). Blessings, Patti Jo :)

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