This past summer I had the good fortune to stay with my mother (whom I love dearly and is one of my best friends) and enjoy a relaxing, extended vacation. After a hectic school year, we both needed time off to recharge our batteries.
So as we enjoyed some leisure time by the pool and binge-watching our favorite shows, both of us found ourselves drawn to crafts. She worked hard on knitting and crocheting some beautiful pieces and some functional washcloths. And I decided to create some cross-stitch fan art for one of my favorite shows, the BBCAmerica series Copper.
I’ve always liked to cross-stitch. I remember doing a little Christmas ornament when I was in Girl Scouts. I liked counting the stitches and seeing them all line up to create a tiny little Christmas tree. From then on, I would look for little cross-stitch kits when I went to the craft store. It almost became an addiction. I have a ton of kits for ornaments and wall hangings. I like to look at cross-stitch patterns online and dream of the intricate designs I could create.
This past year, I even cross-stitched presents for friends. Along the way, I made some things for myself. Like this little quote that now sits by my bedside:
So what does all of this have to do with writing, you might ask?
Well, in my daily job as an educator, I don’t get to see RESULTS. I do the best that I can, I throw my all into my work, and I hope my students are learning something. I get to see small glimpses of my work in their tests and papers, but not a lot. And rarely do I get to meet my students again after they have left my classes. Sometimes I’ll get requests for recommendations or someone will stop by to say hello. But these moments are few and far between.
With writing, even though I can look and see my book sales and reviews, there’s still something quite intangible about the whole process. An idea from my head gets written down and put out into the ether. People download it and read it and, as with my students, I might hear something, but probably not.
So as my mom (who is also a teacher) and I sat and did our crafts this summer, we talked about why we felt so satisfied. Each of us held up our crafts at least once a day and asked the other to look at our progress.
What we decided was that in our everyday occupations, we missed the sense of accomplishment that comes with being able to see and admire your end product. It feels good to have something tangible that you can hang on the wall and declare, “Look, I made this whole thing with my hands!”
It’s now a month into the new school year and I’m feeling a bit disconnected from that feeling of accomplishment, so yesterday I went to the store and got some new supplies for a cross-stitch project… We’ll see where this one leads!
So what about you? Do you like to craft or do other projects with your hands? Share some stories and photos below!