Mai's Makes

The Joy of Craft

I am taking a leaf out of my friend, the wonderful K.A. Kenzie’s, book today, and opening up another piece of myself to you all. Katie wrote a wonderful piece the other day, and whilst I don’t know that I am ready to be quite as brave as she has been just yet, I am taking a baby step in that direction. You can find Katie’s post here, and I would encourage you all to have a read of it.

Some of you will already know that two and a half years ago, a change in my health led to a career change for me and instead of heading out to an office everyday, I started working from home. Going from working in a room with forty other people to sitting on my own all day was a massive adjustment, and although I knew it was the right decision for me, I still had more than a few days when I felt quite low. But then I discovered the wonders of crafting! I had always dabbled with various crafts, but never really had the time to get properly stuck into anything and really learn all the intricacies involved. Becoming self-employed meant that I had more freedom to decide my own working hours and explore my hobbies further. Stumbling across an amazing fabric shop in a town close to where I live, and getting to know the wonderful staff and customers, was a major turning point for me and gave me such a boost to have a crack at projects I would have been too scared to even consider a short time ago – more on the shop in a future post.

Fast forward to October 2018 and my spare room has been converted to an office/craft room, and I can now usually be found sat at either my laptop or sewing machine. Honestly, something as simple as having somewhere to sew in peace has been life changing. Yes, the pain and fatigue and all the other nasties that come with chronic illness are still there, but when it is just me, my sewing machine, and some music, I can completely lose myself in my project and forget about the stresses of modern life for a few hours. My mum tells me that this is something called “craftfulness,” a sort of crafters version of mindfulness.

I have been in mindfulness courses, and read countless books, and while I do believe there is something in it, it is something that I have struggled with myself and I find my mind wanders off on all kinds of tangents if I am just sitting. However, when I am trying to muddle my way through a project, I have no choice but to be completely focused on what I am doing, otherwise the chances are I’m going to sew my fingers together!

Whatever you want to call it, the effects on my mental health have been so good. I get so much pleasure out of completing a project, especially if it is something I have made as a present for someone else. I made quite a few Christmas presents this year (as you can see in the photos, I have got the hang of the reversible bag now), and the reactions I have got for them have been such a confidence boost. I am starting to feel like I might actually be okay at this! I still have lots to learn, and am known for vastly under estimating how long projects will take (to the point that I was still making Christmas presents on 23rd December), but I am excited for the coming year, and I promise to share some of my projects with you all as I go, if you promise not to laugh at some of the dodgy stitches!

Coming soon…

 

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Spoon Shortage Book Club

As some of you will know, I am involved with a Facebook book club for people who suffer from chronic illnesses, the Spoon Shortage Book Club. Through the book club and our sister groups and pages on Facebook, we try to bring chronic illness sufferers together to chat, have a laugh, and make friends, and generally feel a little less isolated than they sometimes do. As a chronic illness sufferer myself, I know just how important my online friends have become to me, and I feel proud to be a part of a thriving community filled with people who I would never have “met” otherwise.

Starting tomorrow and for all of December, we are running a festive photo challenge, and would love for as many people as possible to get involved, either in the group itself, or on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other social media platforms that are out there (I am sure I am well and truly out of touch with more than a few of them!). Please spread the word and get involved if you would like to. Remember to include #spoonshortagebookclub on any posts so that we can see what everyone is getting up to!

Here are the themes for each day!

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