Baking · Sewing

Crafting During the Pandemic: In Retrospect

Looking back at this past year, I haven’t really created much at all in comparison to years passed. Seeing as how the pandemic has limited my ability to go out and be social, one would think I’d be spending all my spare time with arts and crafts. However, when things first locked down, I had to adapt to working at home with an ancient Dell laptop my company had on hand with no desk. It was very stressful at first. I had a lot of neck and shoulder pain from sitting uncomfortably at my counter height dining table without dual monitors to view and work on my spreadsheets (I’m an Accountant). I lived in a very noisy apartment complex and had a hard time staying focused while my college-aged neighbors banged around upstairs and blasted music. So, when I wasn’t working, I tried to get out and walk around the neighborhood as much as possible.

When my lease ended a month later, I knew I had to move to some place I could get some work done in peace. I stumbled upon a great find for a reasonable price and had to deal with packing and trying to move during a global pandemic. Surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to find movers willing to work. I had to pay a hefty price, but it was the only way I was going to be able to move myself. Unfortunately, I was surprised that first day by the fact I moved right next to the train tracks and railroad crossing. I don’t know how I missed that when I viewed the place. So although I don’t hear my neighbors next to me, I was being driven insane with train bells. Then, there was the late night drag racing. I guess street racing has peaked during the Covid-19 pandemic out of boredom. Why loud exhausts and backfires that sound like gunshots is “cool” to anyone over the age of 15 is completely beyond me.

I got used to the sounds, mostly, over the past year, but I’ve still been really anxious and stressed. I’ve continued walking and being active to burn off some of my anxious energy and I loosened up about shopping so I began doing that again like normal, but without having in person social connections, or even friends that would video chat with me, I’ve still remained a ball of stress. Even being an introvert who’s hobbies are mostly individual activities done at home alone, it’s been too much for me sometimes. Friends and family really are important to one’s mental health. So are hobbies and creative outlets. Unfortunately, I feel like I’m up against a wall. I want to be creative, but I can’t get motivated enough to do anything. Even sitting down to write this blog post took months of contemplation. So many times I’ve sat wishing I could draw again only to vegetate in front of the TV. I don’t know if other creative types are experiencing this as well or if it’s just me. It really, really sucks though. Thinking back on the past 12 months, I’ve baked twice and sewn once and it all took place within a span of three months. Here are some pictures:

Christmas cookies – December 2020. I subscribed to Craftsy and upped my royal icing game. I just learned a few techniques to help me with straight lines and such. I also made butter cookies for the first time. The other cookies were all my usual Christmas fare, sugar cookies, monster cookies, and gingerbread. No snickerdoodles this year. I did a Christmas cookie delivery for my coworkers and family.

Birthday cupcakes – January 2021. My niece was having a drive-by birthday and I offered to help with treats. My sister-in-law was able to find individual plastic cupcake holders so she could pass them out. Thanks to Craftsy, again, I perfected another frosting technique, the meringue buttercream. Then I just used my googling abilities to get ideas for galaxy looking cupcakes. Some glitter and edible spray paint took pink and blue frosting to the next level. I also crushed some Oreos in the frosting for a cookies and cream flavor. The cupcake itself was a rich chocolate cake which uses buttermilk from my old Betty Crocker cook book.

Punk/Metal/Biker denim dog vest – February 2021. I’d seen some expensive variations of this on Etsy. Some were real vests or jackets and one was a harness/halter. I went with the harness version because I don’t have pattern making or clothing making experience. I know how to throw some hems together and sew buttonholes, but to make a pattern is completely out of my skillset. I used my dog’s k9 vest to trace out a starting place for a pattern. It was a bit of a process to get to the end pattern and I made it long for a reason, but in the end I decided not to continue with the other part of this project so it could have been shorter. However, if it was shorter I couldn’t have fit all the cool patches I found. I scoured through Amazon to find the best patches. I found the parachute clips and nylon straps at Walmart. I threw it all together in a day and I absolutely love it. Now when she’s wearing it, my dog looks like the true baddy that she is.

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