My goal these days is to work (as in do paying work) for half the month and do life things, like garden and be with my people, for the other half. The thing is, I’m no longer immersed in weeks-long, even months-long, stints of working like a fiend. So after a few days of hard work, I really need to clear my head.
When I get let myself go in the garden, before I know it, I’m doing a kind of meditation – I stop thinking. It’s a direct opposite to where I am when I am working – all in my head. And when I have a touch of sadness, I also find gardening to be a great mood lifter, a great healer.
That creative place
But there’s something else that I lean on when I need to still my mind or deal with one of life’s stresses, and that’s working with my hands, preferably in a way that dips into that place of creativity in me. We all have that place – and you don’t have to be an “artist” to be creative.
I find it easy to lose myself in making a mosaic, for example, or fashioning a dream catcher out of swirls of wood and beach pickings. They’re not masterpieces, but they are mine, they come from me, and that’s enough.
In one particularly stressful time of my life, I threw myself into making a loose cover for a big sofa. I’d never made such a thing before, and, of course, I didn’t choose the simple route. Instead of using regular fabric, I made a patchwork and then made the cover out of that. It became very complicated indeed. Maybe that’s what I needed to do at that time.
I’m quite pleased with the outcome of one of my most recent forays into creativity. We needed somewhere to store our linen, and when Cindy tossed out an old TV cabinet, my mind started doing flick-flacks. No wonder she was throwing it out. It was quite ugly: dark imbuia wood, it was a heavy, oppressive piece. But I liked its lines and the little ball-and-claw feet. Plus, it was solid and strong.
I sanded the cabinet, coated it in wood primer, and then painted it in a deep charcoal blue called “Everest Blue” (by Plascon). I scratched out a tin of silver paint, and used that for the top, the beading and the feet. I used the principles of decoupage to cover the doors: instead of paper, though, I cut out shapes from fabrics, chosen largely for their colours. And then I replaced the old wooden knobs with shiny glass balls. Pretty.
V added an extra shelf for storage, and now the recycled unit stands proudly at the front door. People don’t need to know that it is storing linen. It’s just something that is rather pleasing to the eye. And a bit of therapy too.