Seems like creativity/making something/working with my hands is something I use to lower my stress level. This winter Will & I took a metal jewelry-making course. Although I felt icky from chemo most days I went, it was great fun. We used the lost-wax casting method to make bronze jewelry and then did some simple metal-working and soldering. I made some earrings and pendants.
Later in the spring I followed a tiny tendril of interest and ended up with my friend Lisa’s beading supplies for a while. I’ve made some bead earrings and a necklace and bracelet. I don’t know what I’m doing, but it’s fun.
I remember back when Jesse was a baby I got this crazy idea to make a quilt out of old clothes and leftover fabric. Not a crazy quilt, though–a very organized and thoroughly pre-designed one. Someone I knew from La Leche League in Newtown was a quilter and wanted a project, so she mentored me with the cutting and pinning and did the sewing. I did the picking of the fabrics, the pairing of the fabrics, and the semi-obsessive considering and laying out of the resulting many squares into a queen-sized quilt. It was extremely awesome until many of the fabric pieces (which were old, used, well-loved clothes to begin with) fell apart. But what I’m remembering is not just the great feeling of the Making, but the question a friend of mine asked me when I mentioned I was staying up at night to work on it on the floor of the dining room, after Will & Jesse were asleep and before baby Jesse was scheduled to wake up again once or twice in the night: “You are so busy, you have so much to do. Why are you doing this too?” Well, I was doing it to stay sane. To not just feed and nurse and change and tote and drive and buy and eat and sleep and work, but to Make.
I’ve also needlepointed a bunch of pillow-tops in the last decade or so, all of which have eventually been turned into pillows with the help of various people more skilled than I with a sewing machine. (Sewing machines and I do not get along.) Those I do mostly to give my hands an occupation at times I need to sit still and listen: conference presentations, meetings, long conversations, sometimes parts of long labors. Otherwise I have a hard time focusing.
Since cancer came back into my life I’ve noticed also that I am feeling like putting a bit more energy into my clothes and what exactly I wear, and being more interested in clothing items that express a little more about me, or how I’m feeling that day, than do the perfect pair of jeans.
And of course getting this house designed and built felt like a huge, 3+ year multi-faceted creative act. At least on the best days.
Some pictures! (scroll way down for all of them, and click for bigger versions if you’re interested)