A Case of the Jollies

While I do make it a point to eat a lot of candy in December, I should note that December is not all candy. In between the pre-requisite holiday automobile troubles, and the myriad other things that make a day go right sour, I find myself invariably returning to craft-as-therapy.

Stitching is very much a part of my work as a designer. But when the designing’s done, and my creative energies are spent, I still stitch. (Or crochet, or sew, or knit…) It helps me relax, it helps me unwind, it helps me reduce stress. Most of the time I’m only conscious of the fact that I craft for pleasure. But it’s so much more than that.

Last week I had a rather sticky situation involving our car and its now time-worn tendency of stranding me by the roadside. There are much bigger problems going on in our precious world right now, but being human, I got a little upset. And a little angry. And a little stressed-out. But there was one big difference between this incident and the ones before it when I got stranded: This time I had my craft bag with me. It’s a pretty Cath Kidston thing, covered with tiny flowers, filled with yarn for my latest crochet project. Instead of falling deeper into frustration, I picked up my hook and crocheted. At first my fingers were tight and twitchy, but after a few minutes, I noticed my blood pressure lowering. A few minutes later I noticed I wasn’t angry anymore. After twenty minutes of crocheting, I actually started laughing. The whole thing looked ridiculous to me. Silly me, stupid car. Oh, is the tow-guy here already? Dang, I wanted to get one more square done…

So, lesson learned.

I, Sosae, will not leave this house without my craft bag, heretofore referred to as my Case of [the] Jollies or Therapy-to-Go Kit. And in this kit I will include the following:

– tools for current crafting medium (yarn & hook, embroidery thread/hoop/needle, knitting needles, patterns, drawing pad & pens, etc.)

– a favorite inspirational magazine or book

– a journal or notepad (because it’s good to write down your thoughts)

– some sweet treats or snack bars (because low blood-sugar happens)

Years ago I made it a point to take my craft bag along with me, always. Then life happened and I forgot to do this. The difference has been noticeable: Whenever I’ve had my “case of jollies” with me, I’ve felt empowered in the face of stress. I’ve handled unexpected problems much more calmly. I think a part of it is just knowing that I have my favorite meditation with me – my tried and true way of finding inner calm. That’s peace of mind right there. And when I’ve actually needed to dive in and stitch or crochet (or knit or draw or whatever,) I’ve immediately felt better. Maybe a ‘Therapy-to-go Kit’ might work for you, too. Or if you’ve got your own crafty way of dealing with stress, I’d love to hear it…

Oh, and just to note: Here’s the beginning of my latest crochet project. It’s a simple scarf, made up of solid granny squares, joined together with a complimentary solid. It’s vibrant, bold, and the perfect antidote to the drab hues of winter. I call it the Rock Candy Scarf. Much more on that later.

Hope you’re doing well this December. Dennis and the kitty cats say hello!

‘Till next time…

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