Do you like to get creative? Despite our pain and illness, if you have a creative streak, find someway to feed it.
WEGO Health asks what is your favorite thing to do that is not health-related but likely improves your life?” Day #11. I chose to talk about doing some crafts or simple decor.
Craft therapy. This is what crafting is to me–a form of therapy. As a child my bedroom door was decorated every month (and yes, my parents would try to hide the scotch tape because I went through it too fast!) In college, I made ornaments, dried flower arrangements and other crafts to sell to make money for Christmas gifts. I cross-stitched my way through the summer I was a nanny in Scarsdale. How weird to go to New York and find “the thing” everyone does is cross-stitch. And then rheumatoid arthritis came.
The hands stopped working.
It became harder to get creative – to be creative – to allow that part of me to find an outlet.
For awhile I did machine quilting and have quilts to prove it. But my hands ache most of the time and are deformed enough I have to put them in odd positions to do anything so they quickly grow sore.
But last year, I started redecorating. After eight years of having my decor taken over by piles of toys, boxes of video games, and –well–junk, I “took back my house.” And now, a year later, I only have my bedroom
and the garage left (let’s not even talk about the garage, okay?) And then it will all look nice be time to start over and clean up more clutter.
My favorite tips?
I love. . .
- Rustoleum X2 spray paint with big buttons (those snap on spray attachments never work for me well.)
- My glue gun
- Thrift stores
- Black contact paper, chalk spray paint, and chalk pens
- Michael’s 50% off coupons
Here are a few projects I have completed this year. I will write up the tutorials in coming months in case you are a detail-oriented person, but most just involve a bit of spray paint and blue spray tape. I have a very beach, coastal cottage theme going, even though I live in an 1160 square foot house, fifteen miles inland in a neighborhood suburb. Who says you have to live near the beach to feel like you are at the beach?
My disclaimer – this is not a competition
Now before you start reading, don’t think, There is no way I can do that! Who is she kidding? I can’t see to thread a needle, afford any projects, find the patience, do that to my apartment. . . I know these are not for everyone. But as I am writing for WEGO health this month and sharing a bit more about the me-behind-the-scenes, I thought you’d like to see what I’m up to when I am not posting on Facebook or writing devotionals, or entertaining my son.
This is part of how I stay sane. I hope you are able to find something to stay focused on life’s joys too, and not just the pain.
Turn a clothe shower curtain into pillow covers
I have huge pillows on my couch and every year or so I like to change the covers of a few to keep it looking fresh. Standing at Target I saw a shower curtain marked way down that had my perfect colors. I knew immediately! Pillow covers! I even had enough for a table runner too. The best part? The button holes are already there. I’d show you the cute little buttons but one pillow cover needs ironed, and my son tore the buttons of the other one already. Sigh. . .
Old furniture redo
This cute little chair from the thrift store is now a place to toss my purse when I come through the front door. I also let go of my Americana theme and went coastal.
A tropical lamp – from placemats?
This little lamp was previously black with a different shade. I have had it nearly 20 years, but I “beached” it up with teal paint and $1 wooden place mats I stained and glued to a $2.50 lamp shade from the thrift store. Total cost to redo it? $5.00.
A really old piece of furniture redo
I turned this 80-year-old side table my great-grandfather built into a sea-foam-colored end table and it is where I put my coffee each morning. See my little pelicane back there? He’s my buddy and I found him at Ross Dress For Less for $.88. I feel like adopted a pet no one else wanted. (smile)
A “so cute and full of potential” side table on 50% off day
This little table was $10 at the thrift shop. Now it is so much more cheerful in my office. I painted the top flat white, then added blue paint tape in stripes and painted what showed through with gloss white paint. The little drawer is covered with scrapbook paper and Modge Podge. Cute huh? I love Salvation Army’s 50% off days. I know — nerd. That’s okay. See the little bottles holding silk flowers? Those are Starbucks frapacinno’s bottles spray painted with flat white paint.
I needed a wreath-ocean style
I made a burlap wreath (I have the tutorial done on this one here.)
Where are the remotes?
I know it is a little thing, but my dad gave me this TV remote holder… because he could never find all 3 of our remotes that ran the television when he visited. But it was kind of an ugly brown color. No problem! I made it a more my style with some paint and letters from Micheal’s and of course, sandpaper to scratch it back up. Now when it naturally gets scratched up you won’t even notice. And yes, we have instructions in the box to for Grandpa and babysitters.
Hooray for Hollywood!
In June my husband and I both worked on my son’s room, turning it into a Hollywood style room (he keeps saying he is running off to Hollywood) and building up a padded headboard and side board (from a $39 bed at IKEA). Actually, I showed my husband what I wanted on Pinterest and he did the heavy work–never once acting put out. Every now and then a man just needs to hold a saw a few hours. You can’t see the headboard or sideboard well, but it’s a corner padded headboard with dark black fabric with a touch of velour. Perfect for kiddos to lean back on it and play video games and hang out.
The Hollywood mountain and sign is just made out of black and white contact paper. I can’t wait to show you more eventually. He is actually keeping it clean too–wow. I even took “before photos” so I am hoping you will accept me unconditionally when I show you his room before the do-over.
When did I fall in love with mason jars?
They are just so homey! And having some of the big teal-colored ones that my grandma used to can with make them even more special. I have my mason jars for everything now–and I can get the lids off! I loved the solar light idea I saw on Pinterest. You can see in the middle photo that I painted the mason jar from Walmart teal and glued a $.99 solar light on top of the metal ring (E6000 glue if you want it to stick–and yes, that little white pumpkin is a victim of my spray paint too.) I also organized my pantry items–now I can see what I am running out of! And I love the jars even on display. Here you can see a mixture of glass items I have like vintage insulators. I made little chalk labels out of “chalkboard contact paper” (much cheaper than Martha Stewart’s labels.)
A rug you don’t have to vacuum
We finally (after 12 years) hired someone to rip out the hot tub that came with the house back in 2000 that no one could ever fix. But my patio looked terrible there, and years ago I had painted the fake brick patterns around the hot tub area. So, yep, patio paint to the rescue. With a pattern I made in Word to a whole lotta tape for straight lines (which immediately pulled up the paint because the cement was too porous) it was a much bigger proect than I thought it would be! But now, it looks like a rug is there.
I can’t sit on the ground and just bending over is hard, so that week I found some muscles I didn’t remember having. I felt like I had been riding a horse! But the result was cute. I know–the cushions don’t match. Maybe next year.
Well, that’s is it for today. It’s been fun sharing some of them with you. Was it a lot of work? Oh, yes! But has it been worth it? YES!
I love to create. . . I love to envision. I enjoy putting things together I already have in my own house to make a new environment, and I like to feel cozy in my own home. There are many projects I worked on during the summer when I just needed 5 minutes every hour or so to spray paint another layer and then come back into the house and rest. I told my family if anyone stood around, they would soon become a new color.
And when I look around, I know I have created these things. Even with my broken body, fatigue, and hands that do not like to bend wires around burlap, I feel a sense of “I have not given up this passion yet. I can still do it!”
I love vintage, retro, things that make me feel like life should be simple. My son recently said, “Why is everything in our house so old?” I told him it all has memories. My grandparents first Bible, my great-grandmother’s quilt, my grandmother’s table, my husband’s grandfather’s train uniform. Each hold a precious memory and a piece of our family history. I hope someday, something will hold a memory for my son that his mommy made.