The term "self-care" gets thrown around a lot, and like many similar platitudes sprinkled over the internet (usually printed in black or white text over a picture of a sunset or an ocean) it can quickly start to seem empty- a pretty phrase coined by people who've never suffered from anything more than the occasional bout of melancholy to suggest that a night out with friends or an experiment with bullet journaling will be enough to cure mental illness. But when examined independently of it's catchy text and stock-photo backgrounds, "self-care," like gratitude, has a lot going for it- while it is true that many pursuits which fall under the category of "self-care" offer only a temporary distraction from stress and anxiety, we all need temporary distractions once in awhile; nay, I need temporary distractions every damn day. Nights out with friends, or bullet journaling, or a night spent at home with a Netflix documentary and some wine are all good ways to pause the racing thoughts for a moment, and to reconnect with your self and with your values. For example, I highly value creativity- so when I spend time pursuing creative hobbies I enjoy, such as embroidery, I am able to reconnect with that value as well as foster a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when I finish a project. And when cultivated over time, temporary distractions can become life-long practices. There is something beautiful about spending time with yourself, about carving time out of every day (or at least every week) to do something simply because you enjoy it. When we take the time to honor and respect ourselves, it hopefully will become easier to demand that honor and respect from others.
I've recently started doing macrame, because I've always loved the Boho wall-hangings and curtains I've seen on Pinterest and Etsy. The 70s craft is trending again in a big way, and I knew I wanted to include the style in my new bedroom design. But most macrame wall-hangings are so expensive! Solution: do it myself! (#DIM). It turns out, macrame is super easy!! It's especially great for people like me who hate precision and measuring of any kind. It also goes pretty quickly, which is perfect for instant-gratification-obsessed millennials. There are macrame patterns available, but I prefer free-handing with a variety of knots I've taught myself to create my own designs. Here are some pictures from my "Macrame" Pinterest board that are inspiring me right now:
I've been putting off my macrame projects because I've been so busy with other things (which is perfectly ok, by the way- hobbies are only helpful if they release stress, not if they themselves or finding the time to do them stresses you out more), even thought I've been itching to get back at it. But in the spirit of self-care, I finally pulled out an embroidery hoop and some cord and got to knotting.
Here is an in-progress pic of my current project:
I was originally inspired by this picture:
I love this circular design (not least of all because I have about twenty huge embroidery hoops just chillin in my closet) mostly because it combines the aesthetics of my two favorite Boho design trends: macrame wall-hangings and dream catchers. Both are super easy to make, and my latest dream-to-be-caught is to host a craft-and-cocktails party at my apartment which will feature both crafts.
I took the photo of my project a few days ago, and it has already changed a lot. I've un-knotted and re-knotted several different designs. I love how easy it is to reverse my macrame work; it makes making a mistake much less scary.
I'm currently working with cotton clothesline, per the recommendation from my Aunt Dayle (who joined in on the OG macrame craze in the 70s), and I love the texture and how well it holds the knots. However, a lot of the designs in my inspiration pictures require a thinner cord, so I'm going to do more research regarding the cord.
I'm teaching myself knots from a book called "Everyday Macrame" that I found in the bargain-book section at Barnes and Noble (#shoutout) and from this awesome website, Olga's Macrame Hobby Site, which offers free tutorials and patterns.
My second act of self-care this week was inspired by my friend Melissa and her new Instagram account, @thejoyofless, which documents her journey to frugality and minimalism inspired by the work of Marina Condo. Much to the ecstasy of my boyfriend, I finally got around to organizing my parking storage unit, which is the second step of my bedroom re-organization that I've been putting off for about two weeks now. During those two weeks, we had a bunch of plastic Wal Mart bins as well as all the stuff I intended to put in those bins piled up in our living room. Not anymore! They are now packed up nicely in storage. I put off the project because I was so daunted by all the stuff I thought I had and all the time I thought it would take- turns out, I really didn't have that much stuff, and it took less than an hour. I feel so relieved and light! Here is a before picture featuring Jonathan's shadow (I forgot to take an after):
And finally, what better way to show some self-love than hanging out with or looking at pictures of some really cute animals? My cousin (the same one who also has a blog, fishingdogfarm.com....I only have one cousin) got A PUPPY! He is the cutest...his name is Gus, and I can't wait to meet him in person when he makes his way to the West Coast with his new parents!
And of course, there's the sweet kitty princess who is now the mascot of this blog- little Sugar, who I desperately want to adopt! Someone help me convince Jonathan we definitely need a third cat.
Much love to you all! Remember to take a moment for self-care this week.