My birthday is always a time of reflection for me.
I am in a much happier place than I was this time last year. So much has changed for me, not physically but emotionally and spiritually. I have learned to truly appreciate what a wonderful life I've been blessed with. It's a work in progress, of course, but that's how it should be!
Craft has been a huge focus for me this year. I've always enjoyed a variety of activities from embroidery to scrapbooking, tapestry, knitting, card making and calligraphy... just to name a few. But recently I've discovered how important a role that craft plays in my life.
Firstly relaxation. I can use craft to help me 'cope' with life! If I need to take my mind off things, I can work on a complex pattern, detailed work, or a project that I can just lose myself in for hours. If I need to assess a particular situation or make some important decisions, I can choose a simple mindless project - one which keeps my hands busy, but leaves my mind clear to do what it needs to do. I've discovered that I can get quite nervous about certain situations, and that crafting beforehand has a really soothing effect on me. Sometimes that means crocheting in the car when we are on our way to a function, but only if Mr Goldfish is driving!
Also confidence. I'm damn good at what I do! It's taken so many years for me to be able to say that. People have always complimented me on my craft, but my response has been "anyone can do this" or "it's so easy" or "I just followed a pattern". Not any more. I craft - I do it well - and I thank you for your compliments. I'm proud of my work and I want to show it to the world.
Stimulation. I have been so stimulated by my craft this year, and I have the internet to thank for that. Especially Ravelry. If you enjoy knitting and crochet, and haven't been introduced to Ravelry yet... go there now!
Essentially it's a knitting and crochet community. But so much more. It's a fabulous place to showcase your work, be inspired by others, and meet like minded souls. Want to knit up a particular pattern? Check it out on Ravelry first. See how the pattern has worked for others, the alterations they made, any problems they encountered. A couple of the groups I have joined within Ravelry such as Oddballs and Silly String have fabulous monthly challenges. The challenges have inspired me to go beyond my comfort zone. To stretch and grow and achieve things I never would have imagined possible.
Appreciation. Focusing on using recycled materials has really made me look at everything around me in a new light. I'm learning to appreciate the simple things, and to look beyond the obvious. There is a great sense of achievement and pride which comes from working with these materials. To take something that others are ready to throw away, and turn it into something beautiful... or useful... or both. It's a way of life for me now.