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Rediscovering the Joy of Making Things

Being stuck at or near home, I'm rediscovering the joy of making things and creating a space in which to do so.


As I sit around in Covid exile (with the frequent-ish bike ride and the occasional trip to the store), I’ve found myself taking time off social media and off my blogs for a bit and I’ve found some therapeutic respite from current anxieties to start “working with my hands.”

“Working with my hands” is in quotes here because it’s a bit of a misnomer — my craft projects are largely machine-enabled. While I crocheted years prior, I’m unlikely to take up knitting, and my last cross-stitch project, started when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, sits unfinished. She’s now an adult. My younger daughter talked me into buying a sewing machine with embroidery functions years ago, but it sat mostly unused. She also talked me into, last year, buying a less-expensive 3D printer for creating cosplay items, but I’m now putting it to use in making some practical things for my crafting space.

I had a self-image as “creative” but “not into crafts.” Somehow crafts were conflated in my mind with domesticity and house-wifishness…but I only applied this notion to myself. I admired people who made gorgeous quilts or cute crocheted geeky characters. But hell if I was going to do that!

And yet…many, many years ago there was a young me who used to sew whimsical dragons. There was the time I took up pottery (an adventure that didn’t end well), and I actually had fun helping my daughter sew a character hoodie cape.

When I examined it, in addition to my attitude, lack of space was one thing that kept me from bringing out that sewing machine. When it came to my attempts at furniture finishing, I got kicked out of the garage for messiness. So as one daughter moved out, I converted the extra bedroom into a craft area, learned how to do some machine embroidery and bought something I never thought I would: a cutting machine.

I never thought I’d own a Cricut of any sort — I associated them with scrapbooking, another activity not on my list. But then realized that I could use them for sewing projects, making notebook covers, and realized that a machine of that sort was just the type of thing sellers on Etsy were using to make those stencils I was buying. I could make my own! I could make my own vinyl car decals! I realized that I had plenty of tools around here to make things.

So, lately, I’ve been doing only a small amount of writing, and have been sinking into crafting with the goal of making a bunch of holiday gifts this year for the first time in forever. Some of these gifts may be of dubious quality…but, hey, it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it? And I won’t likely be there in person when they open it. I’ll be safely on the other side of that webcam. But I will be able to say that my gifts were one-of-a-kind!

As I go, I may share a few of my successes — and failures — here on this blog.

Happy Crafting!

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Cheryl is the editor of Caffeine Journal and several other websites. Freed from the constraints of her day job, she took to traveling when able and writing incessantly for little pay, because she loves both writing and WordPress. She lives in Washington State with her spouse, one of two daughters, a mutt, and a Siamese cat.

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