10 Jun
Feeling Creative

Back in the mid-90's, I finally found a craft/hobby that I could stick with. Up until that point I'd tried so many things and didn't enjoy any of them enough to continue. I was the queen of unfinished projects. I had half-done cross-stitch pillowcases, pieces of crocheted scarves and blankets, sewing projects packed away never to be completed and the list goes on. I did finish two easy quilts as gifts, and some random pieces here and there, but crafts weren't really my thing.

And then along came rubber stamping and card making. And I was in the zone. I spent thousands of dollars on supplies from Stampin' Up! and Close to my Heart and Michaels and Joann's and A.C. Moore and the myriad of local rubber stamp shops. Over time, that craft became less "trendy" and the little scrapbook shops and rubber stamp stores closed up and people moved on to other things.

But while I stopped making cards, I'm still a paper crafter. And while I did things on a low-key, every once in awhile basis, I still bought supplies like it was my job. That's what you do with a hobby, right?

In 2014, I started a time of intense internal growth that has gone on through this year. In the last five years, I went on a mission trip to Russia, took on work responsibilities that really stretched me, went on a six-week sabbatical, cared for my mom during her life-threatening illness and then dealt with my own cancer. I'm finally seeing some changes coming and there's some light for me at the end of this long tunnel. These years have been hard but so necessary for my soul.

During all this, my creative mojo has suffered. I had little creativity and my desire to craft was faded. I had ideas and some times inspiration struck, but I quickly became discouraged when I couldn't make what I saw in my head come out on the paper. And so I'd give up for awhile and then venture back now and then.

In these last two months, I've felt my creative juices bubbling again. I have ideas to try and things I want to make. I'm more patient with myself and my mistakes, I've learned the value of "good enough" and that the creative effort is worth it even when it doesn't turn out perfectly. I've realized that trying for perfect has robbed me of the joy of making things. And I'm eager to get my fingers stained with ink and paper cuts again.

I've been working on smaller projects that don't require days of work. And I've tried to slow down and enjoy the process of creating and not just rush through to the finish line. And I'm happy to sit at my craft desk and use my supplies to make pretty things.

Today, I made a 4x6 notebook out of blank index cards and pressboard. I used my Cinch machine to bind them into a notebook and I'll be using it to do some Scripture Writing. I signed up for The Reset Girl's Camp Wanna Craft and have been enjoying the live events online as well as the instructional videos. While I'm not necessarily learning new things so far, getting back to the basics and rethinking my paper craft style has been good for me. And I'm glad I have the ability this summer to be a maker. How exciting to be able to look forward to being crafty, to want to be in my craft room instead of it being a thing of judgement every time I walk past the room.

I'm amazed at the myriad of ways cancer has changed me. Even my creative life has been altered. I think I like the me after cancer much better. Here's to continued growth and more crafty endeavors!

How about you? What are your current crafting hobbies? Have you struggled to be creative? How did you overcome that and what did that time teach you? I'd love to hear from you!

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