Blog Entries, Writing

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

Today is raining… well sprinkling. It has been doing so for the past 24 hours and everything looks drenched and as tired of the rain as I am. Birds are sulking, plants are dripping, water pours from the eaves of my house. Dreary.


Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

But, watching the rain makes me think about all the things that I can create. It rejuvenates my brain as if the rain is washing away all the cobwebs and clouds I carry around inside. I feel like singing.

New ideas pop into my head: Make summer gloves and summer fingerless gloves. Make unique crocheted items and sell the patterns… not just the items. When I say unique, I mean one-of-a-kind pieces. Free form crochet. Interesting color combinations and designs.

I am not a crocheter who can sit and just crank out hat after hat to attempt to sell. I get bored with repetition. So, I making sketches of items in my little black book that I may or may not crochet eventually. The fun for me is in the planning.

crochet

What do I LOVE about Crochet?

I have though a lot about crochet the past few days and what aspect of the craft that I enjoy most. The conclusions are not surprising, to me, anyway.

Doesn’t look like much, yet, but in my mind, it is already completed.

I love CREATING. I love making something beautiful that has erupted out of my brain. I love figuring out how to make it MINE.

What I don’t care for is repetition–Making the same thing over and over and over.

I LOVE unique items–Things that you don’t see absolutely everywhere.

I am currently creating a cowl that will work perfectly with your favorite steampunk outfit. Creativity never stops.

Blog Entries, Writing

Design and Creativity

I was curious about where in the brain creativity is created. I looked over several articles dealing with creativity and design and the conclusions were nebulous.

An article in The Guardian from December 28, 2015 stated:

Even in the wilderness that is human thinking, creative ideas seem to be deliberately designed to defy empirical inquiry. There is something elusive, perhaps even mystical, about them – visits from the muse or lightbulbs come to mind.


Where does ‘creativity’ happen in your brain?
Arne Dietrich

A test was developed to measure creativity, like thinking up alternative uses for a common object like a garden hose, for example. Theoretically, the least thought of solution was supposed to be the most creative.

Hmmmm. Really? Does that mean if I figured out a way to use a garden hose as monster truck tire and 18 other people did, too, that I am less creative? Even if I never consulted with those other 18 individuals? Even if I came up with an ingenious solution all on my own?

Einstein (allegedly) said that the measure of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination. And isn’t imagination where creativity starts?

Blog Entries

Domination of Tasks

I am task oriented. What I mean is, I assign myself tasks and then spend the day attempting to complete them. I always have a mental check list in my brain and sometimes, I even transfer that check list to a piece of paper.

Today, for example:

  1. Make coffee and toast. Clean up the midnight snack debris while the water boils and the toast browns.
  2. Get a load of laundry started
  3. Send out a couple of email blasts, check email both business and personal and respond where necessary
  4. Read a couple of chapters in Daisy Goodwin’s Victoria — the novel the PBS Series is based upon.
  5. Start working on my summer crochet projects, which mean crocheting with thread again. My thread order FINALLY came in yesterday, so I am eager to get started on a pair of Bridal Gloves and Steampunk Gears.
  6. Hang laundry up on my little portable clothes dryer as my electric clothes dryer is kaput and my resident dryer repairman doesn’t seem interested in repairing the clothes dryer. It is his dryer, and even though I offered to pay for new parts, he hasn’t even diagnosed the problem, officially, which is likely just the selector switch.
  7. Create a blog entry.
  8. And so forth…

I could have added in, make the bed, brush the teeth, hang up yesterday’s clothes that have been casually thrown across the bedroom chair, eating lunch, ad nauseum, but I will spare you those tiny details.


Photo by STIL on Unsplash

The point to all of this is, my day is a series of tasks and by making a mental (or physical) list, I can get a lot accomplished. I have spent my life making mental lists. I seem to have the most fun when creating a list.

Does that make me organized?

No, emphatically! I am scattered and without focus. The only thing I truly focus on is list-making. Not necessarily list-following.

Such is life.

Essay, Writing

Chandelier of Ideas

Everyone is busy. That doesn’t even need to be said. We have tasks that we must do every day, like brushing teeth or eating. We have task we chose to do every day, like making the bed or reading.

In my case, not only do I have the necessary tasks, daily, I have to battle with my creativity. So many ideas. I don’t get single bulb ideas, I get chandeliers of light bulbs over my head.


Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

What normally happens is there is so much rolling around in my brain, that I get overwhelmed: Writing ideas, crochet projects, organization projects, business plans. Not to mention actually working to earn real money. (I am a scheduler with A Closer Look Mystery Shopping and I do mystery shops for several firms.) On top of that, I have grocery shopping, cooking, dish washing, laundry, finding time to work-out a few minutes every day, and sleeping.


I don’t get single bulb ideas, I get chandeliers of light bulbs over my head.

From what I have read, to be truly effective, I have to set up a routine and make deadlines for myself. I’d rather chew on glass, however, there is merit to this suggestion. This is, I am most creative in the morning, but that is when so many of the “ordinary” tasks take up precious time. Better if I would ignore my mother’s voice in my head telling me I have to make the bed and clean the kitchen before doing anything enjoyable.

Ideally, I would get up, make coffee and toast, then slam out two hours of solid creativity before making the bed and cleaning the kitchen. I could work on those new crochet patterns, write stories, create a business plan, mentally organize my closets.

Then, I could do my job, which is repetitive and not terribly creative. Then, after working a few hours, I could work on the actual crochet project. Another repetitive task that is closely akin to meditation.

Yes, I think this is a good plan.

Blog Entries, crochet, Essay

7 Surprising Crochet Health Benefits

Learning how to crochet can do more than you think for your mental health and happiness.

Arts and crafts are more than just a fun pastime, they’re truly healing and restorative and are actually very therapeutic. In fact, the healing benefits of crocheting (and knitting) are numerous and range from simply calming you down and easing your stress to potentially relieving depression and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Crocheting doesn’t just help you if you’re the one who’s sick – it helps the caregivers around you, your friends and family that help you, love you and support you. It’s also a very good craft to pick up as a hobby for group therapy sessions, as you’re healing together in a group without having the focus completely on you. There are so many benefits of crocheting, so whether you’re stressed out and can’t sleep or are doing your part to help slow down Alzheimer’s, you’ll be doing yourself and your health a favor.

1. Crocheting reduces stress and anxiety

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious in your daily life, take some time for yourself, pick up some yarn and your hook (or your needles), and spend some time being creative. By crocheting and allowing yourself to be creative, you’re taking your mind off of whatever’s been nagging you. By focusing on the repetitive motions of individual stitches and counting rows, your mind is able to be more relaxed and free from anxious ideas and thoughts. 

2. Crocheting helps with insomnia

By focusing on something that’s easy, repetitive and soothing, like crochet projects, you can calm down your mind and body enough to let you fall asleep. So the next time you’re tossing and turning in the middle of the night, don’t get frustrated, just pick up a work in progress! 

3. Crocheting helps ease or relieve depression

When you do something we like, our brains release dopamine, a chemical that affects our emotions and functions like a natural anti-depressant. Scientists now believe that crafts, such as crocheting, can help stimulate that dopamine release to allow us to feel happier and better about ourselves.

4. Crocheting reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%.

Crocheting can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%. By engaging in cognitive exercises and stimulating your mind, you can slow down or even prevent memory loss. Whether you plan on challenging your memory by learning a new stitch or technique or simply by reading and working up a pattern, by getting a little crafty, you’ll be helping preserve your memories.

5. Crochet builds your self-esteem.

We all want to feel productive and useful, and by working up a project to give as a gift or sell at a craft fair, we can do just that. Though we don’t craft just for the compliments, a little bit of external validation by someone buying your finished item or your gift recipient wearing that crochet hat you made all winter long can truly give us the self-esteem boosts we need.

6. Crocheting acts as a form of group therapy.

For those who seek therapy benefits in group settings, crocheting can be supremely beneficial. By placing the focus off of the patient and only the crochet project itself, it provides all of the previously mentioned health benefits of crocheting plus a sense of community and togetherness. By working in a craft, those in a group can immediately have some way of relating to the other group members, and it may help function as an ice breaker for more seriously conversations. Even if you aren’t actively seeking therapy, you can benefit from the sense of community that crocheting can bring.

7. Crocheting puts you in control.

Whether you feel helpless as a caregiver watching someone struggle or you’re the one struggling with your own illness or problems, crocheting is a way to put the control back into your own hands – literally. By choosing to craft, you are in full control of everything, from the type of project you’ll be making, the color and type or yarn and even the type of crochet hooks to work with, and that makes a difference in feeling like you have a say again.

 By: Julia Wiatr, Editor, AllFreeCrochet.com

Blog Entries, Essay, Writing

Not Quite a Resolution

Every year, about this time of year, I get this idea that I should do something meaningful. Maybe a lot of people do that. New year, new ideas. I don’t really make resolutions. This is more of a PLAN for the year. More precisely, projects I hope to complete.

CHESAPEAKE BAY CROCHET

Overriding everything is getting my online business, Chesapeake Bay Crochet, really moving along. I actually sell more items on eBay, but I don’t plan to close my Etsy store. Also, I am selling items on this blog, by listing my latest projects.

A Corner of My Desk. A Large Part of My LIfe

This will involve creating patterns to sell as well as finished items. I have spent time researching key words and updating my SEO knowledge to be relevant to today.

KEEPING A DIARY

No, I am not thirteen. What I mean is, I have a little pocket size notebook that I intend to take with me everywhere I go. You can get them at Amazon. They are inexpensive and small enough to fit in a purse, backpack or whatever else you carry on a regular basis. This little notebook will be the place where I write down everything: ideas, grocery lists, interesting things, funny things, sketches, things I am thankful for, reminders. One notebook for everything instead of having several locations for all of my stuff. Don’t you just love organization?

READ THE BIBLE EVERYDAY

This is not a new idea for me. This is a plan I make every year. Even if my Bible reading consists on just one or two verses, I will read a portion of the Bible daily. Yes, I am a religious person and I believe in what I read. The Bible is my source of comfort, intelligence, wisdom, ideas, knowledge and belonging. I do not read it just for the sake of running a race or for a sense of accomplishment. Over the years, I feel as if I have read the entire Bible. It doesn’t go like a novel, where you begin on page one and carry on until completion. Depending on the day, I will carefully choose what to read: a song, a prayer, practical wisdom, history, an individual’s story.

Blog Entries, Essay

One Year Ago

One year ago, I was worried about so many things that I cannot even remember, now. That is, not until I got the email from FutureMe.

FutureMe is an email servcie, where you can send an email to yourself, or anyone else, at some point in the future-a day, a week, a year, longer. I used to think it was a cool idea, but now, it is a reminder of what I did not accomplish.

I didn’t:
*Lose a bunch of weight
*Read the Bible every day
*Pray every day
*Get my finances on a better track
*Exercise regularly

Maybe, I don’t have to accomplish anything at this stage of my life. Maybe, my life is good enough right now. Maybe, some of those goals are unrealistic. Truth is, I am pretty satisfied with the way things are. The major change I would make is lowering my stress level, which is, I am very sad to say, sky high. There is a single person responsible for that. Or rather I should say that the person I stress about is not going to change what he is doing and in reality, I am responsible for my own level of stress.

So why do I worry about him so much? He has no one else to worry about him. Not really. I worry that he will die and I certainly don’t want that. I worry that he will not get better from his sickness that has been going on for nearly 3 months and he refuses to go to a doctor. Why? Because he says that anyone on earth can look at his medical records and there is a “libatard” (the term he stole from someone else for a liberal retard)–likely the janitor at the doctor’s office–that will take that information and use it against him to have him declared a menace to society and they will take away his right to buy a gun or own a knife.

I say, “That is the craziest thing I have heard in my life…”

“Just you wait and see! It will happen,” says he, interrupting.

I respond, “Like it or not, you are not that important in the grand scheme of things. Neither am I. We are both merely drops in the ocean of nearly 8 billion people. No one is going to look at your medical records to see if you went to the doctor to cure nausea.”

“That kind of thinking will get you in trouble with it all goes down. Stick your head in the sand like everyone else.” He walks away to end the discussion.

I went on vacation to see new faces and to talk to new people and to get a fresh presepctive. I took the problem with me. It seems as if all I could talk about was him, my brother. I realized that I cannot hide from stress. So, a new year and a new resolution: REDUCE STRESS