Month: December 2013
I recently moved to a new home, and my neighbors have been incredibly welcoming. To say thank you, I took my creativity to the kitchen. Holiday baking for gifts was festive, fun, and the low cost of ingredients and holiday containers, that was an added bonus 😉
I wanted to include a variety for each recipient, so I chose some favorite recipes and tried some new ones as well. I won’t include
recipes here, but if you’re interested, just leave a request in the comments and I’ll send them your way!
Merry Christmas & blessings on all our continued recovery journeys!
- Gingerbread Molasses Cookies
- Vanilla & Peppermint Pretzels
- Peanut Butter Blossoms
- Chocolate & Almond Toffee
I’m seeing the gifts of my recovery in many ways this holiday season…and I’m getting plenty of opportunities to work my program, too 😉 Truth is, Christmas isn’t a big deal to me, and for years Christmas has brought out my inner Scrooge. I’m not really sure why–my family Christmases were joyful, generous, warm. But as an adult, the holiday has changed… relationships are strained, I feel guilt for receiving and even guilt for giving. My husband’s often child-like enthusiasm for Christmas only poked that inner Scrooge of mine. It tugs on my self-sufficiency (I don’t NEED anything…) and challenges my desire to slow down (what else can I add to my To Do list?). But this new recovery self listens, sees, stills. I tell myself that it’s ok that I have difficulty with this season, and it’s ok that my husband gets giddy about decorations and blinder-focused on the perfect gift selection. I tell myself, it’s lovely that somewhere in my feelings there is some truth and some stubbornness. Lovely that I can give my Scrooge a shoulder rub and ask him to sit down and take a load off. I tell myself, I’m going to feel each day and not just wait for January.
So, I’m listening, starting to see more, and I’m getting still enough to enjoy this holiday and this special season. The nights are chilly, and the air smells like snow. I love scarves and rosy cheeks, scraggly and bare tree branches, breath puffs in the air. And this week, I celebrated creative recovery with wine and good friends 🙂 Our craft? Simple simple: silhouette cards and wine charms. The hardest part is going to the store to buy the materials!
Wine Charm Materials:
– hooked rings
– charms: buttons/old earrings/anything! (I used Scrabble letters once, so cute!)
– needle nose pliers
Silhouette Card Materials:
– pen & plain paper for template (card stock is best for durability)
– decorative paper for silhouette cut-out
– plain card & envelope- glue
The wine charms are self explanatory, I think. The silhouette takes some imagination. As my silhouettes, I chose my hometown skyline (Nashville, TN) and my dog. I looked up images on the computer to aid me in sketching the templates.
My friends used the skyline template and joined me in the project, see our lovely creations!
This week has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. Triggers, spinning, highs & lows, over-commitment, lethargy & so on. My unhealthy response in the past has been anger, isolation, & negative self-talk. As I try to adopt “new ways of thinking” and newer, self-affirming (& hopefully other-affirming, too) responses to life, I was inspired and challenged to do this week’s creative project: I made a gift for the frequent object of my triggers, anger, & sadness (my husband). At times during my lows, this was no easy task; but throughout the process, I began to feel excitement and joy about spending time, energy, and thought FOR this meaningful person in my life. This project–a stuffed toy–may seem an odd gift for an adult, but there’s a story for us…so it works! This, of course, is a great craft for the child in your life. Let’s get to it!
- Felt in assorted colors of your choosing (found at most major craft stores, VERY cheap!).
- Scissors, needle, thread (double up or use thick thread, i.e. upholstery thread).
- Paper & pen for creating stencil.
- Buttons/charms/embellishments of your choosing.
- Cotton batting or other material for stuffing toy.
Create a stencil for your toy using paper. (I chose a monster/animal of my own creation.) Trace onto felt for main body of toy. Double-up the felt when cutting to get a precise match for the front & back for your toy.
Using other colored felt, cut out items for embellishment (for mine, I added eyes, snout, nose, hearts, & buttons). Pin these in place for ease before sewing. (NOTE: if making toy for a young child, determine what additions are safe! Unsecured buttons can be choking hazard.)
Use thread of your choice to begin sewing on embellishments to FRONT of toy. (I added an embellishment to the BACK on his little bum, too!) Now to sew the front & back together… Sandwich the front & back so that you’re looking at the INSIDE (raw stiches facing out). This will give a clean, pillow-like seam. Stitch as you choose, loop thread for messy, visible stitches, like mine. Remember to save an opening to stuff toy! (NOTE: The thicker the thread the better–great visibility & added strength.)
Now for the arduous task of turning your felt toy right-side out! (Since my toy is small, this was a little tricky. I found a capped pen and rounded ruler to be of some help to work the tight areas!) Now STUFF THAT MESS! As you begin stuffing your toy, you’ll start to see it coming to life 🙂 Once fully stuffed, finish off the final stiches & tie tightly off.
Now, you’re finished, feeling super awesome…. AND there’s a cute toy for you to hug!
This week, as I used the creative process as gift for someone who troubles me at times, it became a gift for myself as well. I recommend it 🙂
Step 4: We made a fearless and searching moral inventory of our lives.
I am in the midst of working my 4th Step in my recovery program. The process is deep, revealing. Making time for moments of light and mercy through Creative Recovery have been key for me. I am so grateful for time, energy, and inspiration. I’m excited to show you what I made this week.
As I was doing a little early Christmas shopping over the weekend, I spied a great decoration in a local shoppe. Paper flowers fixed to a winter wreath. Lovely, simple. For this week’s creative self-care project, I decided to recreate these flowers at home. Instead of seasonal style, I am using decorative paper I have on hand. These flowers are very simple to make and have endless decor uses (some of which I’ll list at the end).
Materials: decorative paper, small amount of regular paper (card stock is best) for creating stencil, cutting tool (exacto, scissors), writing utensil, ruler, brads (or similar pins), awl (or similar tool to create small holes), optional: bone folder
1. Using card stock or regular paper, create square stencils of multiple sizes (create 1 per size). I suggest these sizes: 1-inch x 1-inch, 1.5-in x 1.5-in, 2-in x 2-in
2. Using decorative paper (I chose multiple patterns), trim into squares of multiple sizes: 4-inch, 5-inch, 6-inch
3. Take smallest square of paper (4×4) & smallest stencil (1×1), trace stencil into center of paper square. Repeat with other sizes of paper (1.5-inch stencil per 5-inch paper; 2-inch stencil per 6-inch paper) [Note: trace onto BACK side of print, so not visible]
4. Cut 4 petals surrounding stenciled squares. Don’t worry about precision here. Flowers are ORGANIC shapes, a little imperfection works here! Fold each petal at the pen line. [Remember, tracing lines should be on bottom]
5. Layer the flowers (stack bottom to top, large to small). Using an awl, poke a hole through center. Insert brads & clamp.
[Note: another option to brads is to staple layers together & glue a button or small item to cover staple]
6. Using a pen/pencil, curl edges of some/all petals. And you’re done!
Some suggestions for use:
– Attach metal stems to create bouquet
– Add depth to a table center piece
– Adhere magnet to back for fun fridge décor
– Add to an organic wall hanging
– Use as a Christmas Tree ornament
– Pile in a hurricane glass for interesting art piece
– Use as gift label
– An addition to a decorative wreath
– & many more ideas!