I’ve been a long-time crafter of some sort. I think it stems from the fact I come from a very creative family. My father sings, plays multiple instruments and is a good photographer. My mother sews, draws and oil paints, and used to play the accordion and piano by ear (before arthritis got to her). I have three siblings–two of them are graphic designers and one is a professional photographer. Dance for the girls was a huge thing. One sister has continued to dance and managed to get back en pointe.
I dabble in a bit of everything. (Jack of all trades-master of none?) I danced and played an instrument when I was younger. I also draw a little, and got into card making with rubber stamps, and vinyl home decoration wall decals. I knit, sew and crochet in the most basic manner, though I’ve made some great Halloween Costumes through the years (the Jedi cloak is still going strong). I can quilt a little as well, and I’m always trying to improve my photography skills. I even try my hand at baking/making fancy desserts.
The creative outlets I’ve done the longest are writing and scrapbooking. I often use my writing skills in my scrapbooks to journal the deeper, more meaningful things. Way back when I first started, it was first with the sticky albums we would pull back the plastic and put in the pictures. I would often cut up magazines and put in memorabilia of things I liked. Then I moved to the acid-free paper that we had to go to specialty stores to find. I remember the advent, rise and fall of die cuts, decorative scissors, stickers, crazy-busy patterned papers and so forth. Lately I’ve been making the switch from physical scrapbooks to digital. The digital books take up sooooo much less space on my shelves. Also, with great apps like Project Life, Over, and Adobe Photoshop Mix, I can scrapbook on the go.
I really love digital scrapbooking because I don’t have to get out tons of supplies, and I don’t have to do it sequentially. I can pick whatever subject, event or person I have the urge to scrapbook and get it done. Then, by labeling and using a system of folders, I can set the finished page aside until I complete my album. It works nicely with my crafting ADD (I have tons of unfinished physical craft projects).
Lately I’ve been trying my hand at digital scrapbook design. I’ve had some design skills with my vinyl business I ran. This is taking me to a new level and I’m learning lots of new skills. With our busy schedule, I’m limited to brief snatches of time, and sometimes I have to watch tutorials more than once to figure out a new technique, but I’m really enjoying the challenge.
Our life has a lot of regimens, routines, lists and schedules. My kids do so much better when we have structure in our lives. They claim they like free time, but I’ve seen repeatedly over the years that disarray and too much unstructured time leads to meltdowns, grumpy and short-tempered children. I use a lot my left-brain to track all of their appointments, activities and our routines. Crafting and creative endeavors let me use the right side of my brain. When I do this I find more balance and peace in my life. I feel energized as a person, a wife and as a mom.
It doesn’t always have to be structured. Oftentimes and throughout the years, when we’re feeling a lot of stress, we turn on some music and have impromptu dance parties. Sometimes we dance like “blithering idiots” (a phrase a friend used to describe his own family’s dance parties). It provides stimulation, breaks up situations, and gets the blood pumping to the muscles and to the brain. Best of all let our creative sides loose and we often end up laughing. I highly recommend you try it.