Anyone who has been following me for the past few years is aware of the long, tedious, and side effect filled journey that has been my tale. I have tried the leading medical treatments and hospitals, I have tried some outlandish theories, I have found some successes, and I have given up.
After years of ups and downs and pain I am finally at a point where my peaks and valleys have largely grown closer together until I am at, if not a constant state of wellness, at least a relatively manageable and stable level of pain. I have also dispensed with the side effects that usually come with the treatments and trial periods, so I am better able to reliably guess my limits.
I am dialing it in.
Is it time to try more? If I am achieving balance in this current state is it time to push myself a little? To see if I can eek out a closer to normal existence? Do I dare?
This weekend was PirateFest in Northglenn and as usual I overdid it preparing for and dealing with the event. In addition to creating a slew of last minute items last week I also reinvented my displays. I did manage to rest some leading up to Friday but not a lot.
Friday early afternoon I grabbed Oliver and we headed up to Northglenn to set up. He was amazingly helpful, especially for a 10-yr old. I am certain I wouldn’t have faired as well without him. He helped me set up the tent, the tables, the chairs, the decorations, the displays, and even the items. During the Pirate Ball he even ran for food and drink and minded the store while I used the restroom. By the end of the evening he was up to speed on using the credit card reader and counting back change.
Sales went well. I completely sold out of chokers, which tells me next year I will need more of them. My ‘mermaid tear’ pendants sold well too.
A goodly number of people bought my charm necklaces and some bought my higher end silver items. It was a good feeling to see those pieces find homes.
As usual I learned a few things:
Never, ever, use a red camping shade tent in high wind for a jewelry show. To begin with you will have a red cast to all your pieces – see above photo. Secondly, you will see said tent break as the wind whips all the things around. It’s far better to just buy the commercial tent.
No matter how careful I am I will always overdo it during a show. Ouch.
Electrolytes do help with the headache. Not so much with the swelling and stiffness of fibro.
My back won’t actually snap in half when I force it to move after an entire day on my feet.
I have been pretty good about resting today. I did some hydrotherapy on the advice of my massage therapist. Using epsom salt and peppermint I scrubbed all the sore spots vigorously under warm water and then rinsed with cool. It seemed to loosen me up enough to take a short walk with the dog, which in turn loosened me up even more. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that movement itself, as much as the initial bits hurt, ends up making me feel better.
Next week I have Denver Handmade Market, which means I will need to get more things finished this week and then spend three days in a booth hawking my wares.
Back again after an interlude of extreme involvement in the art of forging metal into pretty shiny things. I am not sure why I am utterly entranced by this process but it makes me feel as though I have come home. Perhaps it’s the fact that all the problems that arise are so easily fixed with a reapplication of heat or a polish here and there. Whatever the reason, I am basking in the sheer joy of turning sheet metal and wire into pendants and bracelets.
Of course, not every will want pendants or bracelets for the holidays so I am back with another handmade gift suggestion list. Last time we focused on college age people, so let’s look at tweens and teens this time around.
Easy Sharpie Tie Dye
I love the look of tie dye but I have always been intimidated by the actual process of it. After some savvy internet research I discovered a simple way to create tie dye decor.
For gift giving the possibilities are vast. You could purchase small canvas bags and create personalized tie dyed lunch bags for your kids. Go bigger and you’ve got overnight bags, beach bags, sport totes, etc.
You can certainly make gorgeous shirts for not a whole lot of money with this technique. Hanes has a crazy sale going on and their shirts are soft, durable, and come in light colors that would be easy to tie dye over. You could even check out their sweat pants sale and tie dye up some super comfy lounge wear for the cold holiday season.
On the opposite end of the DIY shirt spectrum we have bleach. A good friend of mine taught me this technique and it’s fairly simple. You choose a stencil, leaf, shape, etc, that you like. Lay a dark shirt flat on cardboard and place the stencil on it where you want the negative of the shape to be on the shirt. Spray with a bleach spray and toss in the laundry to rinse. You may want to scrunch the fabric around the shape or stencil to get a more even look.
If you want to take this idea to the next level and add additional materials, like fabric paint, the folks over at By Hand London have posted a DIY Galaxy Shirt idea.
Once again, Hanes is a great resource for well made and comfortable shirts, this time in a variety of dark colors, to assist you in making your teen or tween (or anyone really) a well made hand decorated shirt worth wearing.
Duct tape is your new best friend
You can do nearly anything with Duct Tape. As we are approaching Halloween I felt a DIY Halloween Candy Bag was a good image example for duct tape madness. Before you dive in I suggest a visit to diyready.com for their basic duct tape fabric tutorial video. You don’t have to master making sheets of duct tape to make a project, but you do if you want to make a duct tape project easy.
A few ideas for gifting with Duct Tape:
Make a Duct Tape necklace as a cool stocking stuffer, or assemble the necessary parts for said necklace, slip them into a small gift box with several small rolls of colorful duct tape and printed out directions and gift your teen/tween with a duct tape necklace kit.
You can go a little bigger and create this stunning Owl tote bag. (Remember, it’s a sew free project!)
If you are looking for a fun gift for your technology lover (That doesn’t cost a small fortune) try your hand at a DIY tablet cover.
Does your tween or teen have a younger sibling? They can make these charming Duct Tape and sponge boats for the bathtub and gift them with something they made themselves, in addition to a great deal of bath-time fun.
I could do several months worth of blog posts on the power of duct tape. I strongly suggest you check out the Duct Brand websites craft section or just google “duct tape diy” and your browser will be filled with hundreds, if not thousands, of ideas ranging from fashion accessories to waterproof beach totes to wedding dresses.
Friendship Bracelets: Fun and Easy Accessories
Whether you are making them for your teen or giving your teen handmade gift ideas, the friendship bracelet is a time honored gift. Once again I’ll turn your attention to DIYReady.com. They have assembled 19 different styles of bracelet for your imagination to feast upon.
DIY Sites of Interest
The world of DIY is vast and there are so many people putting together lists of ideas for your holiday crafting. Here are a few of the sites I have found the most useful.
Boys often get the short end of the DIY stick. DIY Projects for Teens has a post devoted to them. From splash bomb trebuchets to skateboard shelves these project ideas are sure to delight your kiddo.
Moms and Crafters have a number of good DIY posts for both boys and girls, with one focusing on teens.
Craft Forest is filled to the brim with great DIY ideas, including the good old standby – the marshmallow shooter. However, they peg the meter of coolness with a DIY Lightsaber tutorial!
There’s more to come! Younger kiddos are next. I hope you enjoy some of these project ideas and have fun getting started on your handmade holiday!
Managing life with chronic illness requires savvy spoons