How To Fit Crafting into Everyday Life
Now that we are slowly getting back into our normal lives, things are starting to get pretty busy again - already I am being set science tests, language quizzes and lots of homework. Fortunately, I don't mind too much because I like to have things to do, but it does make me wonder, how do we even get time to craft with everything that goes on in our busy lives? For me, crafting is really important as it helps me to wind down after a long day or prepare me for the beginning of one, but I haven't had a chance to do a lot lately. Are any of you feeling the same way? Recently, I have started thinking about ways to work crafting back into my life, and I thought I would share a few of these with you.
1: Have Smaller Projects
When you're in a rush, working on a huge jumper or an adult-size blanket isn't always a good idea. Whilst it is rewarding to finish a big project, it can be hard to get into one when you have a lot on your mind. I have to admit, the knitting and crochet projects that I have on the go at the moment are not doing me many favours when it comes to this, but once I have finished them, I plan on making some smaller things out of the wool I showed you last week. I'm not sure what though - do leave a comment if you have any ideas!
Even simpler still, I have been doing a fair bit of scrapbooking and collage. At the moment, I'm working on a happiness book, which I'm really enjoying because I can pick it up and add stuff to it whenever I like. Mine is pretty cheesy - it is almost all rainbow stuff, memes and inspirational quotes - but working on it or even just flicking through it lifts my spirits without making me feel guilty for taking a break.
2: Work Crafting into Your Routine
Whilst some kinds of craft can take a while, not all of them have to be this way; in fact, it is much easier to work a bit of craft time into your day than you would think. Think through your day: your morning routine, work/school, your evening routine and everything in between. Whilst it may be pretty choc-a-block, there are probably some points in your day where you don't have quite as much going on. I can think of three main ones in my life: when I'm travelling, after dinner and just before bed. Those may only be ten minute gaps on some days, but ten minutes is plenty of time to do a few rounds on a sock, colour in a few sections on a mindfulness colouring book or to sew up a few seams on a sewing project. Today, I finished one of the fronts of the cardigan that I am working on and plan on casting on the back later tonight!
3: Crafting With Friends
Now, this probably isn't something I would recommend doing every day but, once in a while, perhaps it would be good to meet up with someone (most likely virtually at the moment!) and craft with them. Not only will you have a set time planned for crafting and a commitment to make, but doing your hobby with a like-minded friend could make the experience even more enjoyable and beneficial.
4. Turn Work into Craft
This one is much more aimed at students, particularly those in secondary school. Do any of you get set tasks that are quite ambiguously worded, such as "revise" or "display what you have learned in today's lesson in a format of your choice?" I know I certainly do! When I started secondary school, I often had no idea what to do when asked to revise, but now I have found the perfect way - through the medium of craft. Take mind maps. Teachers seem to love mind maps and I completely get why: they are such a simple and fun way to display everything you have learnt, and summarising information in this way can really help it to sink it. Alternatively, you can use them to organise your day, your feelings and so much more. Mind maps can be whatever you want them to be, whether that is a simple spider diagram or something that looks a bit more like an art project, thrown together with photos, fun stationary and lots of love. Here is one I have made for my upcoming biology test.
There really are so many ways to fit crafting into your everyday life, whether that is through finding small projects, using your time wisely or even using craft as a tool to help you in your busy life. That's all from me for now, but until next time, happy crafting!
This Week in Craft
This week has been a major week for me and many others across the country - it was my first week back at school since March. At first, I was really nervous to go back because of Coronavirus but, actually, the experience was better than I had expected.
At my school, not a lot has changed; we are still able to sit next to our friends and have different teachers for different subjects, but we now also have to sanitise our hands as we come into school, keep our distance from teachers and stay in a set area of the school, away from other year groups. We also have the option to wear face coverings and have time at the beginning of the lesson to clean our desks if we wish. Whilst I wouldn't describe it as perfect, I do feel safe, and when I have asked people to keep a bit of an extra distance to make me feel more comfortable, people have respected that. Overall, I'm happy to be back.
However, this isn't the only thing that has made going back to school a little different for me. This year, I have started the GCSE curriculum. Again, I was prepared for it to be a hugely stressful thing but it really isn't - in fact, I'm actually enjoying it. At the moment, we are mostly just revising and building on what we did a few years back. Of course, I am having to do more revision and homework than before, but because I don't have to do any subjects that I particularly dislike, I do want to put the effort in. At the same time, downtime is very important too, and I have still had plenty of time for that.
Remember last week, when I mentioned that I was having a bit of a clear-out of my craft stuff? Well, through this, I have found so many amazing art supplies and balls of wool that I completely forgot I had! I'm not sure what I'll use it all for, but I'm starting to get a few ideas. Here are some photos of the things I have found:
Also, I am continuing to work on the Creative Smile cardigan that I mentioned a while ago. Attached is a photo of how it knits up - isn't it pretty?! I'm a bit obsessed...
That's all from me today! I hope you have all been getting on well back at school or work too.
Craft and Mental Health
Now that September is here, many of us will be going back to work or school and whilst this can be exciting, it can be daunting too, particularly if you live with someone who has been shielding or have been shielding yourself. Also, workplaces and schools will look a little different, and that change can be enough to bring anyone down, whether they have pre-existing mental health conditions or not. As I have mentioned many times before, crafting is an amazing way of dealing with stress, anxiety and even depression. But how? Today, I will explain a few ways in which you can use craft as a tool to help you with your mental health.
Often, we are encouraged to talk about our feelings; however, this can be really stressful and upsetting in itself. Having said that, getting negativity out of your system is so important too. This is where craft comes in - through craft you can express your feelings without using words and without feeling forced to share anything embarrassing or upsetting with anyone else. It could be something really simple, such as a blanket, jumper or stuffed toy that you specifically use when you are feeling down. Alternatively, you could make something to help you feel uplifted, such as a funny collage or vibrant scarf (particularly if it is red, yellow or green as these colours, in the correct amounts, have been proven to boost happiness). I have been gathering a lot of art materials so that when I am back to school, I can do some crafting to express myself. I'll let you know how I get on!
Also, when it comes to knitting, crochet, macramé and other crafts that use your hands, there is another way to let your emotions go - through your tension. Naturally, I'm a very loose knitter and my crochet tension isn't a lot better; however, if I'm upset, stressed, or even just watching a good drama on TV, it becomes a lot tighter. Whilst this isn't great if you are doing something that needs to be particularly neat, taking my aggression out on a more experimental project does help sometimes!
One of the worst aspects of many mental health conditions are the hard-to-block-out negative thoughts. The only true way to keep these feelings at bay is to engage your senses, and craft is perfect for that. The sound of your knitting needles gently clicking or scissors snipping, the soft texture of the wool (particularly if it is chenille or silk), watching the project grow and the ball shrink, reading through the pattern, even the smell of the wool - yes, some wools do have a smell! All that leaves is taste, but a warm, comforting meal, a cup of tea or a slice of cake can easily fix that. I don't know about you, but all that this scene needs to make it my idea of heaven is good boxset or movie. Ahh, bliss!
On a more serious note, it is important to pick the right pattern if you plan on using one - it must be challenging enough so that it does distract you but not so challenging that it brings on more stress. I would recommend learning the basics of your craft of choice on a good day then picking a pattern that describes itself as "beginner" or "intermediate" (most patterns state their difficulty level on the front or inside the pattern itself). Personally, I recommend socks as these have enough challenge and they are also portable, meaning you can work on them whenever you need.
3. Gaining a Sense of Self-Worth
Another key aspect of many mental illnesses is feeling low on self-esteem, perhaps feeling like you are no good at certain things, or that people do not like you. I definitely can relate to this one, but whenever I give my friends and family homemade gifts, the feeling disappears for while and seeing them use the present afterwards makes my day. Now, you may be thinking "What if I make something for someone and they don't like it? That will make me feel so much worse." That is true, but seeing as craft has such a broad spectrum, it is a lot harder to go wrong. Below are a few things that I make as presents that people almost always love:
Also, even making things for yourself can boost your self worth, as by making your own clothes rather than buying it from someone, you are helping the environment, particularly if you use natural materials.
4: Crafting Socially
Whilst we still cannot meet up in large groups, social media and group calling services are still there to allow us all to connect virtually. Why not arrange a virtual craft club between friends? That way, not only can you see friends again if you have not already and can craft together, you can also use the time to talk about your mental health, worries or whatever is on your mind. If you don't know if your friends are into craft then ask them. Even if they are not, they will appreciate you reaching out and may want to give it a go.
There really are so many ways to use craft as a tool to boost your mental health, whether that is through letting your feelings out, taking your mind off of your worries for a while, making presents to boost your self-esteem or even using craft to connect with others. If the thought of trying craft does seem daunting then remember, craft can be whatever you want to be; it can be as simple as doodling and making collages or as complicated as making a wardrobe and filling it with homemade outfits.
That's all from me today. Until next time, happy crafting!
My name is Sharon the Sheep, the owner of Avicraft Wool Shop in Bromley Kent..