Thursday, July 30, 2015

Keep Calm and Craft On...Your Health Will Thank You!



     I was always a "crafty" kid.  I remember watching my Mother lay out Simplicity patterns and gorgeous fabrics on the living room floor.  It was magical to me to watch the transformation from tissue paper and pins to dresses for us.  She was also a big knitter and the click-clack of the knitting needles was always a comforting sound to me.

    I grew up on a great street with amazing families and friends.  One Mom in particular, Mrs. Wu, used to have all the neighborhood kids over to her house for "crafts" times.  She was able to drag us away from our bikes and Barbies and taught us basic sewing skills, sand art, bead jewelry and embroidery.  This is when my love, ok let's call it an obsession, began with craft stores.  I would hoard my allowance money and run to our Singer store and walked around the fabric piles like I was in a candy store.

    The very first "big girl" project I did was an embroidery series.  I remember feeling so happy when my Mom took all the pieces to a frame store.  These first pieces have followed me in all parts of my life's journey to remind me of the joy that creating something always brings me.

    And it turns out that my love of creating has been proven to be good for your health!    The recent edition of "Craft Industry Today", a publication from the Craft and Hobby Association featured an article Healing Through Crafting.  Some notes from the article:

  • "Craft therapy has become an increasingly important part of rehabilitation for people with illnesses, both physical and psychological. "
  • "Needle crafts distract people from chronic illnesses and pain, and improve their outlook on life.  When you are engrossed in creating, there is less time to focus on pain and disability."
  • "Knitting also has positive effects on memory and concentration, helps them problem-solve more effectively and organize their thoughts."
  • "People who paint, write poetry, make jewelry or engage in similar activities have better overall physical health, make fewer visits to the doctor, use less medication and have fewer health problems than people who don't participate in creative programs"
     Here are some tips from Craft To Heal by Nancy Monson which I'm definitely adding to my reading bucket list!!!


   There are so many fun ways to be creative, here are just some ideas to get you started:

  1. Classes -- I love learning new techniques and meeting with like-minded people.  You can find classes at your local college/university, library, YouTube and craft retailers like Michaels, JoAnns and The Paper Source.  For a small, if any investment, you can try something you always wanted to do.  Trust me, you will have fun!
  2. Your Phone --  As someone who grew up with a land line rotary phone, I find the current pick of phones amazing for creativity.  I barely use it as a phone, actually, it has become an easy way to capture images.  With Instagram, it is easy to put up a cool shot from the beach, the mall, your backyard -- the opportunities are endless.  And with free photo editing software like Picasa, you don't need to have a degree in Graphic Arts to spice up your photos.
  3. Journaling --I remember having a diary where I would record my deepest darkest secrets and now they are just hysterical to read.  Now I use a sketchbook to record ideas, to sketch something that interests me or to cut and paste inspirational quotes and pictures.  Use different inks, pencils, etc., and it becomes its own work of art while recording things that caught your attention.  I carry mine everywhere!!   
  4. Coloring Books and Doodling -- I don't know about you, but I spent many hours with my friends and coloring books and a big 64 count box of Crayola crayons.  I particularly loved the Barbie books.  Now coloring books for grown ups are all the rage.  On a recent visit to Barnes and Noble, they had a whole table of coloring books.  Some that caught my eye:
                  "You Can Draw It All!" published by Parragon books.This is a fun and easy way to learn some basic shapes for sketching.

                  "Inspired Coloring:  Travel...coloring to relax and free your mind" published by Parragon books.It is definitely a grown up take on the coloring book and I can hardly wait to get my pencils on these.  Once finished you could also use these images in other artwork pieces ie a bon voyage gift/card for a friend.

     And I am obsessed with:

                  "Hilda's Sketchpad" published by The White Cabinet.  Featuring 16 original drawings by Hilda Glasgow.  Check out more about The White Cabinet for an amazing inspirational back story and products @ The White Cabinet website.

     Now get out there and find some creativity in your everyday life.  Leave me a comment on any other ideas you have!   Happy Crafting!


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