Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Year in Review...Creatively Speaking

One of the advantages to having a chronic illness, and the fatigue that goes along with it, is the amount of ‘down’ time. I spend hours spent at home, juggling periods of activity with periods of rest. I don’t sleep well, so I have many hours to fill each day, and I choose to do it creatively.

As I look back on the year, I am amazed at how productive I have been.

Immediately after Christmas last year I decided that the family crochet gift for 2015 (hats in 2013, slippers in 2014) would be mitts and matching hats. I started into the project using yarn I had on hand and donations to my stash. Some of these sets were earmarked for specific family members and some were to be for donation. By spring I had about 10 sets completed.

I also started a sweater for one of the grandkids but it is still incomplete. I hate leaving projects unfinished, it is so hard to go back and get motivated once you step away. I did finish two afghans and have two more on the go, but set aside.

The book I started in the fall of 2014 was completed, has been through some editing and is out for others to read, for feedback. I have been slack on getting back to it. Started a new book, and got momentarily waylaid with another story idea. Both have been neglected since my daughter decided to get married, and from the spring planned for a September wedding. I went into full craft mode, did the wedding bouquet, the ones for the two attendants and the two daughters. Also did some table flowers, corsages and boutonnieres for wedding party and family members.

Summer is not a good time for me, as hot weather and MS are a bad mix. Since I was home and inside, I decided to clean out and organize my craft stuff, a great deal of which had not been touched since I move two years ago. First thing I did was complete the scrapbooks I had started for the grandchildren. That gave me a lot of new space, using up the paper and photos I’d stored and then I moved everything (about 12 scrapbooks) from my place to the kids’ place.

Funny isn’t it, how the stuff one person cleans out of their place finds its way to another’s, only to be cleaned up and out once again. I found craft supplies given to me, kept because I figured I might use them, but was vicious in cleaning it out this time round.

I turned to art to fill some time. I was an artist before I became a writer, and realized I had not done any painting in a couple of years. I pulled out the bin of art papers and sorted through what had seemed, when I packed to move, impossible to part with.

I also found projects that I began many years ago. One of these was a series of art work based on the Native Phases of the Moon. I recreated this series, using some of the old, some of my amassed papers and some paint. I felt better to have this old project finished, and now I was on art mode. Here’s what I’ve accomplished since then.
1.      Mixed Media Collage about family for my daughter.
2.      Three other mixed media canvases.
3.      Three paintings on wooden canvases, two in a series.
4.      One acrylic landscape of a beach scene (not my usual thing) for my daughter.
5.      One acrylic landscape of trees for my son.
6.      A mixed media triptych for my daughter’s new home, for over the sofa.
7.      Series of three for my granddaughter’s new bedroom.
8.      A collage in a deep frame of a fancy dress (lace, ribbon, bling and paper) with a decoupaged initial for another granddaughter.
9.      Two sports frames, one hockey and one lacrosse for the grandsons.
10.  Photos of each of the kids’ families, framed.
11.  A mixed media collage about fishing for my son.
12.  And if there’s more, I can’t remember.

That used up a lot of my accumulated stuff, and I purged and reorganized as I went along. The downfall is I have no decent work space, but use the kitchen counter. Things got kind of messy and I had to choose, cook or paint, and paint won, so it was goodbye to all the effort I had made to lose some weight.

Alone time can be good. I’m trying to make my place friendlier, for someone with MS and a bad back. I’m making better use of space, have rearranged some stuff to make it more accessible.

I went gung ho in the month before Christmas, crocheting more mitts and hats (13 sets for family alone), replacement slippers for the ones my daughter wore out and a few new pairs for friends. Then there were the 14 cowl scarves for a friend’s daughter’s hockey team. That was fun. Oh yeah, and the 3 joke gifts I made for my daughter.

Is it any wonder I had to buy some pain relief patches for my hands?

I’m sure there’s more, but that is all I can think of at this sitting. All in all, I’m feeling good, productive. Now that winter has finally arrived, I hope to burrow in and get some writing done. That doesn’t take up any space in the kitchen, so I’m determined to get back to healthy eating.

I don’t think I maintained any of the resolutions I made last New Year’s, which is why I keep it a mental list. I hope to do better this year, with a big dose of creativity thrown in. After all, I’m on a roll.

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