Do it Yourself; Tips and ideas for DIY projects to give a gift that your significant other won't return.
Meditations on Bookbinding
Recently I began binding my own journals and novels, advancing on a baby-faced dream to become an independent publisher. I also bind journals for charity.
I have a passion for plants. Nothing brings me more tranquillity and satisfaction than time spent in the garden. Some people see gardening as little more than manual labour: all sweat and toil. They think of shovelling compost and earth, of tearing up deep-rooted weeds, of a great struggle with nature. They are wrong.
A Stitch in Timelessness
The most ambitious hand-sewing project I ever undertook was a long-sleeved plaid flannel shirt for my fiancé. I was twenty-one, I’d been using a sewing machine since I was eight, and I hadn’t intended to sew this shirt by hand - I knew from having three brothers that guys could be hard on their clothes, and I assumed the shirt would need machine-sewn seams and buttonholes if it was to stand up to the rough wear I expected my intended - who was working in a sawmill at the time - to give it. But I was going to be spending a few weeks that fall with friends “off the grid,” and I was trying to think of some kind of handcraft project I could bring with me that wouldn’t take up too much room in my backpack. There was no electricity where I was going; even if there had been, I wasn’t about to lug my sewing machine out there. My mom suggested I cut the shirt out and take the pieces with me to sew by hand.
The forgiving medium
When we put things on a “bucket list,” they are often things we have dreamed of doing but suspect we’re not likely to ever get a chance at. You know, stuff like climbing Mount Everest. Or getting a part in a Broadway musical. Or meeting a celebrity we’ve always admired. Or traveling to the Faroe Islands to meet the head of tourism and the shepherds, not to mention the sheep, who helped create Google “Sheep View.”
Beading Good Thoughts
At 29 I became a widow—not just any widow; a military widow. It landed and felt a bit heavier. It came with expectations, legacies and public grieving. I stood on that tarmac with the dignity expected right up until the moment I heard the *click click* (parade shoes exiting the plane). I stood watching still and silent until he was carried off in a casket draped with our country’s flag. Suddenly I was filled with unimaginable pain, the kind of physical pain that makes you feel like you may die from this. If I could have traded places with him I would have but as I watched our small daughter lay a rose for him. I contained the remainder of my screams and held myself with the dignity that this repatriation demanded. This moment is not only ingrained in my memory with the sounds, sights and touch but it’s also still available for public viewing. Thousands upon thousands watched this live. I went home and I layed on the couch waiting for life to end. I had a lot of thinking to do. Life wasn’t over just the life I had and the one I’d had planned. I glanced at my beading and looked away quickly. I am a strong Wolastoqyik woman and I was taught by my Nuhkmos (grandmother) that in our culture when we create anything whether it’s sewing, beading, or braids; we sew in our good thoughts for that person. We believe thoughts have power and they can be good or not. Right now I ached for the peace beading gave me, I just wanted to do anything. My mother always the voice of reason caught me looking one day and said “pick it up it will keep your mind busy—that’s what you need”. I pointed out that my thoughts are not very good and I need to do better before I can. “Your thoughts are a choice. If you want to make someone something think your thoughts about them, what you wish for them. Then you’ll see a difference. You need to focus. One bead at a time as in life.
Knit one, purl two
Knitting is crafting for the analytical and structured mind. There are rules to knitting. Patterns to follow. Drop a stitch or knit in front instead of in back, and your pattern is altered. For perfectionists, this type of responsibility is perfect.
Have you ever looked around a room to find a place to set your coffee cup and realize every surface was covered with plaster? Powdered plaster in bags; plaster in cups being mixed, plaster in various stages of drying in molds, plaster pieces removed from the molds stacked for extra drying, slags of plaster from when the molds were scraped and a dusting of plaster covering everything.
Never in my lifetime would I have thought it possible that I could browse up and down a yarn aisle. A nice mixture of post-traumatic stress disorder and agoraphobia has locked down my life since I could remember. I was constantly terrified of leaving the house. I felt pathetic, trapped, and useless. I couldn’t work, I could barely keep in touch with my friends from college, and I was confined to living at home with my mother and younger sister.
Creativity And Rebellion Why They Go Hand In Hand
Studies on creative people have consistently demonstrated that creativity is associated with openness to new ideas, risk-taking, and being inner-directed. Do these traits put creative people at odds with the culture and people around them? The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no.
Passions Such As These
There is a sense of wonder entering a fabric shop. Something I’ve idealized since I was small. Eyes wide, I’d eagerly ponder the towers of multicolored bolts, wishing I had the excuse and “know-how” to buy every bit of patterned cotton, shimmering sequins, and each effervescent patch of toile.
The modern concept of, "me time" hasn't been something I've been able to fully perfect, let alone practice much of. Spending time working on hobbies, honing in on crafts, or even creating for creation's sake has always been something that I do for others. Ask me how many self-portraits I have, and I'll tell you I created one during a state of depression after feeling very alone and abandoned. Not being able to create for anyone else, I made something of my own, for my own. It never felt natural, and it didn't fulfill me.
There's one skill you must learn. Now.
Congratulations! You Did It! You Survived a Global Pandemic. Overnight you made the most awesome, amazing, and profound shift in the way you work in the history of work.