Fellow readers! I have such a treat for you today... A guest blog post by Haley Reimer, a wonderful friend and craft exchange buddy. I hope you enjoy her insightful story, her facetious gifts and love of cats (especially her own feline, Mishka).
During the fall of 2010, I was going through a tough breakup, on top of mourning the inevitable end of college and having to make decisions about next steps and life plans. To sum it up, I was a wreck. In an effort to help me tackle problems that seemed too big to deal with, my roommate Kate demanded that I adopt a handicraft. While it seemed inconsequential at the time, I have her to credit for my awesome hobby and, most likely, my sanity.
Kate tapped into a suggestion that fit right into what I needed at the time, and I picked up cross stitching. The anal-retentive attention to detail directly contradicted the way I was managing all the other decisions in my life, and there was a calming sense of accomplishment when the pattern turned out with all the little x's right in a row, planned and perfect. Sitting on the porch through that fall and spring, with Kate working on her knitting and me on my cross stitch, allowed us to talk through what we wanted out of life, what we hoped for, and what we were planning while keeping our hands occupied.
Now, I'm a (nearly) 25 year old living in Lincoln, Nebraska (soon to be the great Windy City!) with a cat and a penchant for hipster-stitching. The jokes roll in all too easily about being an old lady before my time, but the key is to use some of the great artists and designers on Etsy to give this old handicraft a face-lift.
1.Fawn & Squirrel 2.Galaborn Patterns - geometric patterns 3.Mid-Century Maude 4.Bombastitch - Sugar Skulls 5.Grannies Panties - subversive stitching 6.Satsuma Street - incredible little cityscapes of iconic cities 7.Danceneedle 8.Gecko Rogue - for the super ambitious
Many of the patterns I've finished over the years have come from these talented artists and, their patterns are now displayed all over the country as I've given finished pieces for weddings, birthdays, new babies and just becauses! I've stitched myself through stressful decisions, cozy fall evenings with a glass of wine and lots of laughs while I've taught friends how to cross stitch themselves. If Jeff can learn, truly anyone can (just check out that excellent cross stitching form!)
Even if you're someone like me who felt that "art" wasn't in your wheelhouse, the incredible value spending energy on creating something fun, colorful and tangible can't be overlooked. Just keep looking for that "handicraft" and maybe you'll stumble onto something that keeps you sane in a hectic world.
Haley Reimer is a University of Michigan graduate working for Kenexa, IBM in Lincoln, NE (but will be moving to Chicago, IL in the not too distant future!) She enjoys planning parties with heavy emphasis on adorable paper goods, speaking Spanish, playing Boggle, napping in a sunny spot with her cat Mishka and of course, her favorite hobby, cross stitching. Feel free to follow her cross-stitch board on Pinterest!