Saturday, May 11, 2013

Better than Prozac

Before I explain what could be better than Prozac, I want to say hi to Anne and welcome her as a follower. Anne is an old high school friend of my daughter, and lives in Massachusetts. I haven't seen her for years, but I've seen pictures of her charming daughters on their Christmas cards. When the girls were school pals, she was like a second daughter around our house. I'm not sure how she found my blog, but it's great fun to have renewed a connection!

Before getting to the Prozac, I want to tell you a true story about my daughter as a small child. She has always been a project-oriented person. When we were young, Craig brought home large listings on greenbar paper (11" x 24" computer printouts) that I would separate and give to the kids for drawing paper. One day, when she was about four or five, she sat at the coffee table and began to draw picture after picture, carefully stacking them up as she went. She continued this for a couple of afternoons. She drew elephants and giraffes, bears and boats, kitties and kites, people and houses. Finally she handed me the stack and said, as only a five year old could, something like "Here, now I have drawn everything. I don't have to draw any more." She has always been a very creative person and this was not a rejection of art. But at that point she felt like she had done it all and was ready to move on! 

It took me a lot longer to feel the same way. But when I closed the studio and shut down the web site this spring, I felt like I had created everything I was ever going to create! For years I had not had time nor inclination to do crafts "just for myself". Everything I did was because someone else wanted it and was willing to pay me to make it. Yes, I did do some speculative pieces, but I always had the market in mind. 

What next? Would there be a next? Did there have to be a next?

During the last few months I have done a bit of sewing, helped with work on the house, and made a few things for the Alfa, but my creative force has been stuck. Nothing has called to me. I have a degree in art, but I'm not a painter. I like fiber, but am not a knitter, or weaver. I am not drawn to following patterns or kits. 

Neither my eyes nor my fingers are much good for really small close work anymore. 

I think I found it. When I say it is better than Prozac, I really do mean it. Since I have taken up this new craft I have been much calmer and more relaxed. 

So ... what is it?

Needlepoint. Not the small picky needlepoint. Not the "buy a printed canvas picture of cute kittens and fill in the stitches" type of needlepoint.

Big needlepoint, done on plastic canvas with a big needle and regular 4 ply knitting yarn. I'm having fun creating my own designs and images. 

Lynne, an Alfa owner, shared some needlepoint placemats she has been working on during one of the Happy Hours at the Alfa Rally. I just had to try it.

I bought some plastic canvas and yarn in colors similar to the Pendleton Blanket we bought at Crater Lake and use to cover the sofa in the Alfa.

After a couple of frustrating starts and pick-outs, I settled on making some small sampler squares using Indian-like motifs and geometrics. 

My first project was to sew six of them (plus a separately cut top) together to make a Kleenex Box cover. 

I have a bunch of ideas for squares. Beetles, butterflies, fish, dragonflies, and birds to name a few. It's fun to just do geometrics too. 

I will probably get tired of it by the time we go on the road, but if not, it meets the size, weight, and cost requirements of an RV hobby.

I know many of you are wonderful photographers -- what other hobbies do you have?


  1. I enjoy working with plastic canvas, but I am not as creative as you are, Merikay. Good work!

  2. What a cute story about your daughters drawings.

    I am not artistic or creative, so photography is all I do. Years ago, I had the desire to make craft projects, but that seems to have gone away.

    Happy Mothers Day.

  3. You are certainly very creative. I enjoy quilting and am able to have my sewing machine in the RV. I also enjoy counted cross stitch. Glad you've found something you enjoy to get your creative juices flowing again!

  4. I'm not artsy at all, so photography and watching nature are it for me.

  5. Oh, are beginning a new journey and I just predict more crafts are going to follow as those creative genes awaken again. I used to do all kinds of crafts at home--painted cute signs to hang on the door or the wall, scrapbooked, made quilted landscape "paintings", and then when we went on the road, that all came to a screeching halt. I did bring a small sewing machine on board the RV, but haven't used it much. So I took up knitting, then crocheting, then wire crochet, and now I'm on a jewelry bracelet making kick. Hard to say what will come next! Your Kleenex box is WONDERFUL!

  6. For my very uncreative mind, reading is my favorite hobby. I tried to be creative when my son was young but it was really a lot of work so I gave that up. Love your daughter's story.

  7. Crosswords! Not really creative .... but sometimes I get the bug to make something. In fact, last night I spent some time in the craft dept. of the WalMart I overnighted at. Nothing struck me but it would be fun to find something RV-friendly to craft.

  8. Nice artwork. Looks like a good RV craft project.

  9. I love doing handwork, and it is therapeutic. I just recently bagged up all of my counted cross stitch supplies and will be donating them. Too hard on my eyes. But, I have starting making quilts again and am having fun working with all of the different colors and patterns of fabric. I was just working on a blog post about sewing.

  10. Crocheting is easier than knitting, if you are at all interested in that. Some beautiful hand dyed and hand spun fibers can be found now.
    I used your photo of your tissue box on my blog with a link to your blog.
    I hope that is ok. If not, I'll remove it. I also showed a couple of plastic canvas items I did on the same post.

  11. Love the kleenex box cover I am a desert lover.

  12. Packing and discarding my crafts for this new journey has been so tough. Down to 2 totes....I'm an artist want-to-be who had a storefront. So I'll probably still paint and journal on the road and goal is to embroider representation of sites we visit on a old pair of jeans and paint rocks. Nice canvas work!!! I remember doing that with my mom.... :O)

  13. I'm not a crafty person, but if I saw something like tht at a craft sale, I'd buy one to cover the kleenex box in the car. Beautiful work. My hobby is my electronic toys... my iphone, lap top and Nook.

  14. Sorry this is late. I love your plastic canvas crafts. My friends does miniature designs and gives them as book marks to her friends. You know and leaves a tail on one end. They are cute and fast.
    Your kleenex box was so pretty.
    I love to crochet. I have tried the needlepoint you referred to at first and liked to pull my hair out. I like the bigger projects.

  15. Fantastic! I love your rendition. Sometimes we need something to do, and and on the camper it is harder to keep a selection (plus I'm usually so exhausted by all the adventure)!

    I'm glad to see your creative side reamerging - it is a good sign that your spirits are good :-)

  16. Merikay, my problem is that I have too many projects to do. I hand knit, then I have the antique circular sock knitting machine, then I love felting, and I weave and spin yarn. I'd love to try needlepoint, but I will just live through your experiences. And yes, we travel with my spinning wheel and sock machine.

  17. Love the gecko! Very cute!

    I really enjoy knitting. I'm currently into socks, cowls & lace shawls. Someday I hope to advance to sweaters. Knitting really isn't hard. If you learn the basics, the ski's the limit.

    Might be worth a beginner class to see if you like it.

    Cheers! ~M

  18. So nice to see you keeping your creativity going... like it could be stopped.


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