I’m naturally a left-brained, color inside the lines Web Developer, but love to build and create. I need that balance in my life, which is something I always strive to attain. I also consider myself as having a “good eye”, although that can be subjective when working with designers. It’s one of the things that makes our team so unique: our ability to compliment, yet understand each other’s strengths, capabilities, and roles.
During these COVID-19 times—along with living alone during quarantine—I have had to find different ways to occupy my time. I am an avid athlete and workout constantly; however, I’ve always hated working out, it’s just the results I like and the destressing it causes in my brain. Needless to say, during lockdown, which is still currently active, I’ve taken a break from most physical activity. I still walk my dog daily—don’t worry- she always gets 3-5 mi/day—but my brain needs more in order to destress. I also don’t watch much television, so I’ve been looking for other ways to occupy my time right now when we seem to have so much of it. So, in a moment of creative genius I got on Etsy and began looking at cross-stitch patterns.
Let’s face it, shopping is also not only fun but therapeutic, but unfortunately problematic during uncertain times. Regardless, a low budget option in retail therapy was calling, and a desire to help other small businesses at this time made me feel good about my spending decision. Therefore, Etsy came to mind and my old love of crafting, and in this case, cross-stitching. I first built the cute cactus print pictured above for myself. Then came across a T-rex and decided Betsy, my graphic designer, MUST have this. Then I found an amazing pattern to create for my SEO and marketing master Gwen (surprise still to come).
Each project took me about a month, and here’s what I I learned from rediscovering my love for cross-stitch:
- Cross-stiching brings me back to childhood. I used to always create and loved seeing things come together by hand. I have always been a perfectionist, and this little way to occupy my brain would fulfill me for hours. This was true back then and also now.
- Cross-stitching gives me something to build, produce and create from scratch. I love the process of watching the piece come together. That last stitch is so satisfying.
- Time literally flies when I cross-stitch- hours a day. An actual confession. As I’d watch the morning news, I’d start stitching for an hour or so before work. It was a great way to get my brain and fingers moving in the morning. Then at night, I literally couldn’t wait to pick it back up until bedtime.
- It creates a “quarantine countdown”. I didn’t know it would take a month to complete each one, but after hours of daily stitching, it became a barometer for “another month bites the dust”. We’ll see how long this goes on, but just today I received a new pattern in the mail. Quarantine or not, I am obsessed with finishing these cross-stitch patterns.
- Lastly, it gives me something to give back. I made the T-rex for Betsy, and currently working on a surprise for Gwen. My teammates work dubiously hard, and it feels good to create something for them myself to let them know how much they are appreciated. Betsy was actually wearing her T-rex leggings when she opened her surprise gift. That was an added bonus for me.
Along with cross-stitching, I have also been using the extra floss I have lying around to create friendship bracelets to share with my loved ones. Ah yes, I’m a woman in her 40s who still loves them, and they, too, remind me of childhood and giving. It’s endless, and although these times are hard, my cup is full. I feel grateful, loved, compassionate, and secure that no matter what, we’ll all be okay.