Tag: Crafting

Spooky Tree Test Tube Holder for a Unique Apothecary

Troll boogers! Snail Slime! Dragon’s Blood! These are three of the Halloween test tubes I’ve for years as part of my Halloween Apothecary. They have been without a stand for years. This month I decided I was going to finally make a science-esk one out of wood. I was still hesitant because it felt too mundane. In the age of Pinterest, it feels pretty darn difficult to come up with something different. Sometimes, I feel stunted by thinking I can’t come up with anything unique. After some contemplation during a drive, I decided to make a spooky tree with curved limbs. Here’s the quick and easy rundown on this spooky tree test tube holder for any are looking to stray from the normal.

Materials: 

  • Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Clay
  • Paint
  • Airbrush (if you’ve got it)

For a reason I can’t remember, I’ve had two spools of this wire for years. I’ve used it for several random occasions on other craft ideas. It’s really what inspired me to craft this tree and provide stability. 

All my three daughters all being in fall sports. Sometimes, crafting boils down to finding a way to build in time around events on our schedule. My eldest had a fastpitch doubleheader an hour away from home. I took along my materials to get started on this quick Halloween decor. While the team warmed up for an hour, I worked on my tree in the parking lot.


Building the Base

 

First, I cut 6 wires of similar lengths. Then, I twisted two wires together to start forming the trunk. I added one each additional wire by twisting it around the base and leaving the ‘root’ for the stand and free limbs at the top. I finished it off by twisting two additional wires around the trunk to form curved limbs the would serve to hold the test tubes. Literally, a 10-minute step.

 

Clay for the Tree Test Tube Holder

I had already been making air-dry clay for another project, so I could easily use it for this project. I found this easy DIY air dry recipe from Kitchen Table Classroom to make porcelain clay. It was simple to make from ingredients in the kitchen but admittedly was not as good for what I needed the clay to do. I only used it for the base. I tried another porcelain clay recipe from Natural Earth Paint using only three cheap ingredients; cornstarch, baking soda, and water. This clay was a bit better but still quite loose/limp. 

 

I pressed the clay around all the metal limbs as best I could, adding free-standing clay limbs as I went. Molding the clay for this was unfortunately an example of one of those times when crafting can cause me more stress than alleviating it. I’ll just leave it at being highly perturbed by the difficulties of trying to get the limp clay to stay put. If I were to do it again, I would buy polymer clay from Michaels.  After letting it dry for a day, I started airbrushing.

Airbrushing Zen

 

 

While I completed the many layers of airbrushing in shades of brown, I was mentally focused on the stress I had been feeling around politics and the impending elections. I felt consumed by the emotions generated by the garbage being shared by people I was connected with on Facebook, some of them being relatives. As I slowly watched the paint spray out of the airbrush, I was contemplating how I could make positive steps to shifting others’ views in a positive way. We’ve been doing a fair bit of personal bias assessment as work, so it’s been fully present in my mind to assess if I’m being objective in my views. In fully trying to understand my own thoughts and feelings and contemplate the perspective of others, I couldn’t come to grips with the lies and delusions others allow themselves to believe.

 

Public service announcement on Political Stress

 

To sum it all up, I was feeling oppressive levels of stress around these unending thoughts. After doing a quick Google, I found quite a lot of references to political/election stress syndrome. Even thinking about it now makes my chest tighten. I quite liked this description I found.

Under stress, the Toddler brain (emotional, all-or-nothing, “Mine! No!”) hijacks the Adult brain, impairing its ability to take other perspectives, weigh evidence, see nuance, plan for the future, and create value and meaning. The Toddler brain is highly susceptible to emotional contagion; toddlers take on whatever negative emotions are around them, as any parent who has been tense or irritable near one can attest…

Part of my election stress disorder may be due to the fact that I’m vastly overworked. … Political campaigns set the web of emotion ablaze with negativity.

Psychology Today

If this resonates with you, there are a variety of things to try to combat the feelings. I’ve chosen to focus on the things I can control, to find my Zen in crafting, and to stay away from the offending sources. Although, over the last week I’ve also been immersed in a sea of stressful work deadlines, the political stress remains at bay. 

Back to this Test Tube Holder

I finished it off with a dark brown touch up around bends in the limbs and the roots. I put it with the rest of my Halloween apothecary set up and called it a day. If you are looking for another easy craft to take your mind to another level, try out these apothecary bottles! Happy haunting to you and yours!

Haunted Cardboard House for your Kids who Love a Little Scare

Those who know me, know my love of cardboard. It’s such a versatile and cheap product to craft with, which leads me to have stockpiles of it at times. My youngest daughter’s birthday is October 29th, so while brainstorming ideas for her birthday party, we thought about how we could make it a true Halloween birthday party. I’d previously done an indoor cardboard gingerbread house that my girls loved. It seemed perfectly logical to do a Haunted cardboard house for her spooky birthday party. She had grand ideas for how she would make it haunted and couldn’t wait to have her friends over.

Starting a Haunted Cardboard House

The request from my daughter for this haunted cardboard house was that it be bigger than the gingerbread house. We have quite a bit of free space in our basement, so I was okay with accomodating that request. 

For these larger-scale houses, larger boxes make things a lot easier than piecing together smaller ones. The size and shape of the house can really depend on what you have to work. I didn’t have a plan going into making this and allowed the box shape and size dictate how it would work best.

My neighbor had large furniture boxes out for recycling, which I happily took off their hands to get moving on the wall frames. I typically use hot glue to glue the pieces together because it dries quickly and works well with the paper surface. Sometimes, it doesn’t hold together well enough if I’m not quick to get it together. For those times when it wasn’t holding together, I used some wood glue and weights while it dried.

 

In order to set the frame, I decided to utilize some small clamps to hold it while I moved things around to find the right shape and size. I was able to do a fair bit of gluing in the garage to remove the fear of getting hot glue on our basement carpet. Folks, hot glue can only really be cut out of carpet (from previous experience). While in this planning phase, I was also able to cut the door out with a razor and a square on the cement floor.

Time to Move to the Final Destination

With the plan in place, it was time to move all those cardboard pieces to the basement to get this Haunted Cardboard House structure together. With the pieces standing, it was a bit like a maze down there. The girls loved it.

 

I had to put a call out for more cardboard to the neighborhood and thankfully the call was answered. I was then able to construct the roof. That was the hardest part of the whole thing. The cardboard was heavy and shifted while I tried to glue it together by myself. I had to get my helpers on board to hold it while I glued it. For this part, the glue didn’t work as well. I ended up using a drill to make holes and piecing the heavy pieces together with screws, bolts, and washers. They made for a very sturdy structure. 

 

Safety Warning!!

Hot glue is, shall we say, Freakin’ HOT! It was about during this part of the build that I got myself with the glue while trying to get the heavy roof together. As I quickly tried to “stop the burn” (as we say in American Red Cross) by rubbing the glue off, it took a layer of skin with it. I’ve burned myself quite a number of times while working with hot glue, but this was by far the worst. We go through quite a lot of types of bandaids in this house. I’ve got to hand it to these NexCare waterproof bandaids. They maintained through a lot of movement. Investing in heat protection gloves is probably a good prevention idea though. 

  

The structure was thankfully set. My daughter said she had envisioned it being bigger than this, but I was unfortunately out of any larger pieces of cardboard. It would have to do.

Faux Scalloped Siding, Ghostly Windows and Shingles

Now was the fun part of adding the details for a haunted house. Using printer paper, a razor, and my circle cutter, I went about cutting a ton of circles to create a scalloped look on the front panel. I wanted to hide the seam that was there from joining separate pieces of cardboard. I used Loctite Spray Adhesive to make this quick work. That spray didn’t work so well with the cardboard to cardboard gluing but worked here. I spray painted them gray after that. 

 

For the windows and shingles, I cut cardboard to size and drew details or spray painted. If you haven’t tried spray painting cardboard, be warned. It takes a lot of spray paint to cover it. It felt like it would have been a better plan to paint the whole cardboard piece before cutting shingles. For the windows, I painted the cardboard with cheap acrylic paint before gluing on the frames and shutters.

After a quick google search, I found the images I wanted for the ghosts in the windows. I enlarged them and altered their colors in Microsoft Word. If you don’t have a picture editing program, Microsoft Word can be surprisingly handy for this kind of need.

With the addition of some Halloween decorations, spooky lights and sound, the outside of this Haunted Cardboard House was ready!

Stepping Inside

I put the big bubble wrap (the kind that comes in packaging) under the Frozen rug, so it would pop when the kids walked on it. I think this would have worked better if it had been a hardwood floor as opposed to carpet. It took a fair bit of jumping to get them to pop. I had a dollar store spider that drops every so often hanging from the ceiling to give a good scare. 

 

There were some body parts and skulls along with an electrolyzed skull and Frankenstein’s head. My main attraction was the spooky touch and feel center. I had a pumpkin bucket full of eyeballs (peeled grapes), a pumpkin bucket full of brains (cooked spaghetti), a box of witches fingers (carrot sticks), a witch’s tongue (sliced banana), and a box of teeth (popcorn kernels). 

When I brought the group of kindergartners down into the dark basement, they were already on edge. I took one little one into the house to have her do the feeling activity. As soon as the spider dropped, she ran out of the house scared to death. I ended up having to turn on the lights on and encourage my daughter to lead them through the houses. After that, they had a ton of fun! 

Party Fare

Of all the things I do, I think I find using candy melts and molds, one of the most difficult to get right. I’m not sure if it’s something I’m doing wrong or if it’s just tough in general. I made these little oozy cake pop brains as a party treat to be placed along side the Cauldron Cake. The design of the cake was all the birthday girl’s ideas. She was quite happy with the end result and the taste of the Oreo cookie cakey insides.

Frightfully Spooky Halloween Book Cover for your Next Craft Project

This project was inspired by a family visit to the Renaissance Festival, a wonderful place of creativity and imagination. My oldest was enthralled with so many of the crafts there and wanted them all. This was much the same feeling I had as a child going to the Renaissance. As a mother, I would have loved to buy her all the things, but my pocketbook definitely didn’t allow for that desire. For many of the crafted items, I put a pin in the idea in my mental board to create later. One of those wares was the leather-bound books with the intricate faces deftly shaped into them. They seemed like the perfect at-home project. And thus, this spooky Halloween Book Cover craft was born into being!


Spooky Halloween Book Cover Materials & Tools

  • Book
  • Leather-like Material
  • Hot Glue
  • Paint
  • Eyeballs
  • Scissors
  • Xacto knife
  • Tissue Paper (Optional)
  • Mod Podge (Optional)

For my first two books, I went ahead with using some old books I had but didn’t care much about. For the next two, I took a trip to Goodwill and happened to come across two books with topics that were a perfecting pairing with Halloween; bugs, and strange stories. I was pretty tickled by the finds!

 

Easy Crafting Steps for the Eyeball Look

1. Cut the material to size. With the book open, you want it to be about an inch and a half bigger on all sides. You can definitely make it a little bigger if you’re worried about it being too small.

2. Use the razor to cut small slits for the eyeballs. For my first attempt, I went with one eye on the binding of the book.

3. Being careful not to burn yourself, hot glue the outside of the material to the surface of the eyeball to give it eyelids. I ended up using a large tongue depressor to keep from burning myself. 

I stuck it through the hole and pushed it down while the glue cooled. 

 

 


4. Hot glue the bottom side of the material and pinch it from the outside to create folds. Feel free to do however many you see fit. With the binding being the focus, I opted for quite a few folds.

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Options with this step:

Create a scar and sew some stitches in with thick thread. 

 

Puddle the glue or glue some items underneath to add dimension. I did both here: Pipe cleaners and glue dots.


5. Glue the rest of the cover to the outside of the book. As it cools, squish the material together to create ripples.

 

 

 

 

 


 

6. Trim the outside edges and notch the corners so when they are folded in, you get a clean diagonal seam.

 

 

7. Leave as is or add whatever shading or darkening you prefer to age the material. 

8. Set it up to show off.

Spooky Bug Halloween Book Cover

Shading

HOT GLUE!

Much of this cover consisted of piling on the hot glue. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my hot glue guns and stock of sticks. Hot glue is truly versatile when it comes to crafting. My first attempt was to create the centipede on the underside of the leather. It didn’t work so well, so I ended up adding it to the top of the leather. And then I added more…. and then a little more to each bug. Let’s just say I went through a lot of sticks.

Cheap acrylic paint served me well to paint the bugs and do the shading. It stuck to the hot glue pretty well with several coats.

A sharpie was an easy and permanent way to add a few details.

Complete Spooky Bug Halloween Book Cover

Tissue Paper Flare

To create a wrinkled appearance, follow the easy steps:

  1. Apply Mod Podge to the surface.
  2. Then press small squares of tissue paper into the glue.
  3. Get a little extra Mod Podge onto a paintbrush before pushing into the tissue paper. 
  4. Add additional layers of Mod Podge based on your desired look. 

Happy Halloween Crafting!!

20 Brilliant Ideas for Decorating with Wooden Crates

Wooden Crates have been riding the decor trend for a few years now. I fell in love with them years ago after moving into my new house and looking for ideas to decorate the new space. The wooden crates stood out as an affordable and interesting way to get creative with home decor. After running through a good many pins over time, I’ve collected those which seem to be more unique and a few of the ones I’ve done myself. If you’re a DIYer like me, you like to try to do everything yourself and need some inspiration to get your own creative juices flowing. I hope this list helps with generating some of your own home decor ideas!

1. Hanging Closet Storage

This hanging closet storage by Table and Hearth has a such a cute look to it.

What a cool way to use vertical space! Hanging closet storage crates

2. Shelving

I’ve seen quite a lot of crates used for shelves, but this one adds a unique twist with the board used for anchoring. Check it out at Family Handyman.

easy wooden crate shelf project

3. Modular Shelving Unit

It might be the pretty yarn display that pulled me in, but I love this shelving unit concept by Make & Do Crew. Look it up here DIY Yarn Storage Shelves Using Wooden Crates – Video Tutorial

This yarn storage changed my life! Use wooden crates to build an easy shelf to organize your yarn, craft room or books. Perfect for knitters, crocheters and weavers!

4. Sliding Drawer Crate Cabinet

Try your hand at adding some hardware with this crate cabinet with sliding drawers by Virginia Sweet Pea.

DIY Crate Storage Cabinet


5. Locker Cubbies

Jaime Costiglio’s locker cubbies are a great combination of simplicity and creativity to create a unique wooden crate structure. 


6. DIY Crate Lockers

This next idea is so fun! A simple addition of hinges and doors and it’s a whole new look. Get the info from Little House of Four on these DIY Crate Lockers.

How to build DIY lockers


7. Coffee Table

There are quite a few crate coffee table ideas out there. This one stood out to me as being more creative in addition to being rustically appealing. Get the info at Pallets: Pallet Furniture Ideas. 

pallet and crate coffee table


8. Shutter and Crate Sofa Table

Follow Bless this nest‘s lead and throw in a long shutter with the wooden crates for this oh so cute sofa table.


9. Cushioned Stools

When I saw this awesome simple yet adorable idea, I was bummed I hadn’t ever considered it before. An easy storage seating idea for your little ones. Get the details at The Biggest Much.


10. Dog Bowl Stand

This isn’t your typical buy a crate and rework it project but has all the appeal of the crate look. If your looking for a DIY project for your pooch, check it out at Ana White.


11. Train Planter

11. There are quite a few planter crate ideas out there. I choose this one for its creative concept. Definitely not something everyone has room or desire to do, but it’s certainly appealing to see. Head over to DIY Wood Crate Train Planter Tutorial for the details.

DIY Wood Crate Train Planter Tutorial

12. Dog Bed

The little sleeping pomeranian kind of steals the show in this picture. If you’re able to look beyond that cuteness you’ll definitely appreciate the simple and appealing dog bed concept crafted from a store-bought wooden crate. If you want the details, check it out here Little Things.

DIY crate dog bed

13. Bed Platform

I’ve been looking at ideas for bed frames for my daughter and came across this interesting crate bed platform by Moved to Create. 

M2CBedDone


14. Desk

With virtual school in full swing, you can’t go wrong throwing together a desk like this one. Take a better look here Apple Crate Desk.

Apple Crate Desk


15. Closet Shelves

I had overbought crates when I was doing some building, so I decided to repurpose them in a simple fashion in our small pantry closet. I just stacked them up and they were ready for use. 


16. Square Coffee Table

When I was trying to figure out what to do for a coffee table in our new living room, I scoured Pinterest for ideas. I loved the look of this coffee table and went about making it. I also did a matching side table. 


17. Stuffed Animal Storage

The coffee table ended up being much too small for the space. I opted to disassemble it to remake it into a much needed stuffed animal storage shelving system. These days it doesn’t house so many stuffed animals. Check it out in the new teen space.


18. Laundry Room Storage

I’m looking to spruce up my small laundry room. I saw this cute idea on the Home Depot blog for laundry storage space. As a side note, I might go ahead and decorate my washer and dryer with some electrical tape to get this appealing look.

Easy and Inexpensive Laundry Room Makeover

19. Fruit Crate

If your like me and looking to wanting to switch out your fruit bowl, go no further. The Wood Grain Cottage can show you how to craft your own fruit crate.

DIY Stackable Fruit Crates I The Wood Grain Cottage

20. Nightstand

Check out Plaid for this simple nightstand with a pop of color and pattern.

Kid's Nightstand

I hope you found some ideas to fit some of your home decor needs. Thanks for checking out the list!

11 Sensational Repurposed Old Windows

Ladies craft night anyone?! Awhile back, I was really into hosting crafting nights. I’d already done some painting parties, so I decided to shift gears into a window upcycling party. I found a stock of old windows for a $20 steal and sent out the invite. The windows were very dirty and very chippy, requiring a good bit of elbow grease. I did all the cleanup before to make it easy. For the event, the guests were informed that I would be providing the paint and paintbrushes but if they wanted anything special, they would have to bring it for themselves. With that, we were ready to relieve our stress by letting our creativity shine through some repurposed old windows.

That party was one of the motivations for putting this list together for you all. Since that party, I’ve had the leftover windows sitting in wait in my garage. I’ve included those generally quick and easy projects below.

11 ideas to give a whirl for repurposed old windows:

1. Bakery Stand Window:

This bakery stand was one of my more recent projects. Click on the pic to see the whole project. My girls were in love with the end results.

 

2. Shabby Chic Display (from my Paint party)

“Every Dream begins with a Wish”

 

3. Shelf and Picture Holder 

My 6-year-old was very excited about getting a desk in her room for Christmas. When I asked if she wanted a window shelf above it, she was all about it. She picked the color and I added shelf brackets. The little ballerinas were a cheap find from Michaels to fit with her ballerina themed room. It was such an easy project.

4. Mantle Decor from Walnut and Vine

5. Mirrored Window by Finding Home Farms

Bathroom Decorating Ideas, Towel Rack and Shelf

This is a tutorial on a footboard towel rack. I love every bit of the total look from antique clocks to pink bottles. Super Cute.

6.  Altered Window Frame by Little Birdie Secrets 

7. Command Center by Dwelling in Happiness

SONY DSC

8. Window Box Cabinet by My Repurposed Life

how to make a repurposed window cabinet MyRepurposedLife

9. Window Planter by Prodigal Pieces

Upcycled Window Planter for Backyard Fence Decor by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #homedecor #garden

10. DIY Mini Greenhouse by HgTV

I’m completely smitten with this adorable upcycle. 

Upcycled Window Greenhouse

The Finale

11. Bathroom Storage Window and Shutters

Last but not least. This was my latest project to spruce up my girls’ sad-looking bathroom. The window started out as a single pane old window without the crossbars. After an accidental slip causing the pane to break, I decided to go with a Plan B. Plan B included constructing my own crossbars with a router and making pull out metal mesh earring holders. I include a tutorial on constructing those on one of my picture frame posts.  It was definitely a win-win situation; I got a larger window and a set of shutters out of my garage stockpile and created a quick organizer for all the bows, headbands,  earrings, and misc items. My girls thought it was a hit!

  

Pop-out Earring Holders: 

Shutter Headband Holder:

To say it simply, my 6-year-old has A LOT of headbands. The shutter pull bar was a perfect way to hold them in place.

Towel Hooks:

The builders of our new home put one long bar towel holder up in this bathroom, which sufficed for the last 5 years. I was tired of not having a place to hang multiple towels separately, so I’m really happy about the added options the double hooks provide.

The very sad looking before photo: a ribbon frame bow holder and an owl earring holder.

End of the countdown on 11 sensational ways to repurpose your old windows

I hope you enjoyed the ideas and that’s it inspired you to create some of your own!

Little Mermaid Birthday Party for your Ocean Loving Princess

Princesses, princesses, princesses. All three of my daughters were entirely enthralled with them around the ages of 3-6. When we started talking about themes for her 5th birthday, a Little Mermaid themed party was a logical choice. I love a good theme and coordinating party activities. I was excited to take on this party planning. Coming from a child development background, I know there’s a fine balance of free play and structured activity time at a party for young children. Even knowing that, I still struggle to tone done my creative energies. Based on the sentiments spoken in the end, I struck the appropriate balance for those 5-year-olds. 

Snacks and Decor made Sea Simple

Easy table decor in the way of shells and Little Mermaid doll
Veggie corral: a big pile of veggie dip and an arrangement of veggies
A Boat server (a Homegoods clearance find)

Cake

Our typical cake planning method has been me asking the birthday girl what she wants her cake to look like. Sometimes, she plans it all herself, but other times, we peruse Pinterest for ideas. This Little Mermaid cake was my replicated Pinterest selection with the birthday girl’s desired cake and icing flavors. 

I was finishing this cake just before the party started. It’s never how I intend for things to go, but I seem to have a tendency to let my procrastinator habits get to me during the workweek. When making these special cakes, I try to make the layers 3 days ahead. My hope is to give myself a day or two to create the decorations. I, unfortunately, end up staying up late the night before to get the bulk of them finished. Then it turns out the kids only eat the icing and a few bites of the cake, and a little piece of me dies inside.

Ocean Obstacle Course

Crafting

The crafting for this party was minimal and made for a more relaxed party prepping experience. Streamers, a cut-up blue table cloth to serve as the water entryway to the ocean, a punch-out board and homemade jellyfish. For the jellyfish, you can make your own using paper lanterns and streamers or there’s a premade version available.

Option 2: Buy them! These are super cute, but not sure I’d want to pay $50+ for as many I had.
Option 1: Cut a paper lantern in half and glue streamers to the the inside of it. This is obviously the cheaper method.

Punch Board

This took a bit of time. You have to cut the circles out of the poster board before gluing the tissue paper to the board. After it dries, glue folded paper bags to the board with something inside. For this obstacle course, the goal was to get to Ariel’s Grotto and find the shell containing Ariel’s voice. 

Green streamers served as the seaweed. The jellyfish were hung with fishing wire at different heights. After that, I just used whatever I had available to make a fun 5-year-old course.

I had them crawl through the tunnel and stay within the jump rope lines. Masking tape would have made for a better path. While traversing the path to cave, they had to avoid touching the jellyfish tentacles.
Then the kids took turns to find the sea shell.

And that’s all it took for those 5-year-olds to have a mermaid fun time. If you’re looking for some other ideas, you could try a Pirate Party or a Detective Party.

Crafting my Mental Health Regimen

“How much longer are you going to be?”, “Why are you starting another project when you haven’t finished the other one?”, “When do you think you will be able to clean up your tools?”, and the list goes on of the questions I’m asked when I’m doing my crafting thing. Up until more recently, I found it very difficult to just sit without purpose. While watching tv with the hubby after a long day, I wanted to multitask that time by planning a birthday party, making a cardboard mailbox, pinning a sewing project, drawing up a woodworking plan or scrapbooking. Anything to keep my mind engaged in that way. On occasion, I also acknowledge I might switch from one project to another midstream because another idea inserted itself into my mental focus. I didn’t realize this could be related to my mental health maintenance.

Baking for my mental health

The Creative Mind

When an idea enters my mind, it lingers there and nags at me. Some of those eventually dissipate into memory and some hang on for dear life until I make them a reality. Those are the ones that plague and prod me to action even when I don’t have the time. I admittedly considered myself to be pretty poor at practicing self-care. I’m not one of those moms or women who do much shopping for myself and very rarely get my hair done or get a massage. I don’t frequent the nail salon and actually went a solid 2 or 3 years without going into one. For a time, I hadn’t read a book for years, because I didn’t think I had the time for it. I tried to purposefully take care of my physical and mental health, but often focused more on my family’s needs.

The Overactive Mind

When we moved into our new house 5 years ago, my mission to produce went into hyperdrive. A newly built blank slate. A DIYers dream. We didn’t paint for the first year to allow for the builders to fix all the nail pops and such. It was downright painful for me to abide. By the third year, almost everything was as we wanted. Our kids’ schedules were then taking over the calendar between travel soccer, travel softball, dance, play rehearsal, basketball, lacrosse, band, gymnastics, etc, etc. This ended up meaning there were periods where I wasn’t able to create anything. During those times, you would have instead heard me telling my husband, “I just don’t feel like myself”. My mental health was suffering.

Tools for my mental health

I was drawn to work on projects when I had a few seconds between making lunch and doing dishes. I would find myself sneaking away to get another coat of polyurethane on the antique hutch while the kids were playing. It wasn’t just for the purpose of getting it to the finish line but also to focus my mind; to sort through my mental mess. It was my catharsis.

Woodworking for my mental health

One day, I decided to do a quick Google search. I came across this article which ended up being my lightbulb moment. Having been in the mental and behavioral field for over a decade, I was surprised at how late the realization hit me as to why I was drawn to it. I knew of the many benefits of art therapy but had never applied it to my own mental health.

The Benefits of Sewing and Crafting for Mental Health

“Crafting, sewing or woodworking help you reduce negative emotions and stress by allowing you to create unique pieces of art. For example, woodworking is one of the most effective form of art therapy in the world, because it combines strategies for planning, , getting the supplies, planning your cut list, measuring, cutting, painting.”….and that explains my addiction


Self Care

So whereas I believed myself to be inadequate at self-care, it seemed I was doing it in the best way I knew how. I realized my me-time was hiding away with my thoughts and a paintbrush in my hand. There’s a sort of peace in concentrating on something you enjoy. There’s also fulfillment in seeing your own ability to create something that maybe only you will love. (Although, I always shoot for others liking it too.)

I also like to share the end products of my me time to inspire. I want to show others really anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I’m frequently asked if I sleep, to which I answer, “Definitely. I can’t go without it.” Now that doesn’t mean I don’t have episodes of insomnia that provide me with a bit of extra time to squeeze in some tasks, but generally, I just make time for the things that matter to me.

How Do You Spend Your Free Time?

We all have choices to make on how we use our time and energy. Some have more abundant energy than others or are selective in what they put the energy towards. Maybe I innately have more energy than some others. Or maybe I choose to put it first towards my family, towards my full-time job and then to the things I see as valuable. I see value in activating my mind in creating.

I had been considering starting a blog for some time and got a bit stuck on the name. After this little revelation, I settled on a name that fits the way creating helps me de-stress and stay sane and reinforces the importance of keeping tabs on the status of your mental health. So go forth and craft to benefit your mental health! Try something simple like refinishing frames.

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