I Got Married, Changed Jobs and ALMOST Broke Up With Crafting – 2012 in Review

Ok, so that’s not 100% true, but 2012 will be the year that crafting changed in many different ways for me, but ended up going in a great new direction. Not only did my personal life change this year, I also found a new job, celebrated seven years with Handmade Detroit, CRAFTED WITH MARTHA STEWART, and questioned the path I wanted my life to go, craft-wise. Here’s a little sampling of why my stomach might be forever addicted to Tums from now on. (And probably the most serious post I’ve written in a long time.)

I got married almost two weeks ago. It was a wonderful, marvelous, super-fun day, but the process of getting there almost did me in, paired with this crazy year. The logistics alone were sometimes overwhelming, but the need to be extra creative is what kept me up at night.

When I first got engaged last December, I was asked frequently, “Your wedding is going to be SO crafty, isn’t it?!” I was terrified. I wrote some stories about the nerves and how to combat them, but it wasn’t until this past fall that the panic kicked into overdrive for me. Before getting married, crafting filled a lot of different roles in my life – as a hobby, a way to meet new folks, a revenue provider, a creative outlet, etc. But for the first time ever it was going to be a reflection of my soon-to-be family of two makers and one fat cat and I was scared. What if it wasn’t crafty enough? Blahhhaahahaha, crafter problems.

But the wedding wasn’t the only crazy thing going on in 2012. Some background.

  • As 2012 started out, I applied to be on a crafty reality show (which I’m sure many crafters will guess the title of). I wasn’t selected and I don’t know why. At first I was really upset about it. I had put a lot of time and effort into applying, dammit. This definitely didn’t help my crafty ego, but as I watched the show months later, I was actually glad I didn’t make the cut – it wasn’t meant to be for me.
  • Around springtime I started chatting with a crafty life coach, the awesome Kari Chapin Nixon. For a few months I’d known that I no longer wanted to work in the PR agency world, but didn’t know what to do next. I was actually thinking about quitting my job with no prospects of something else and try to be a full-time crafter, whatever that meant! But during this process two things happened: 1) I continued to become nervous that I was falling out of love with crafting as wedding planning and possible business planning loomed in front of me and 2) I stumbled upon a wonderful job opportunity that changed my entire outlook. No crafts involved, no agency life involved, and I was totally ok with that.
  • I stopped my crafty life coaching and took my new job with a renewed source of inspiration, an inspiration I still have every morning as I drive to work and jam to the ’80s satellite station.

A Pyrex bowl full of hand-punched confetti used in wedding favors. I have a problem.

As I planned my wedding fairly seriously in the summer (reserving folks, getting dates on the book, etc.), just about every book I picked up felt useless to me. Magazines and Pinterest boards were great for brainstorming, but over the weeks and months I felt like I kept seeing the same things and didn’t want to copy something. I finally shut everything off, including posting here on the blog (my last original post was on Oct. 24, 2012) as I had stopped crafting for myself and went into full wedding mode.

One of my pet peeves is when bloggers don’t post for a long time and then come back and say, “Oh! Hi, blog, how are you? Sure has been a while!” Life happens and it’s ok if your blog isn’t updated – it’s just a blog, and it took me a long time to realize that. One of the great ideas Dan Nixon had when developing this site was creating a feed for all of other channels I contribute to that populates this blog. I say and do lots of things all day long, it just isn’t always an original post here. And that’s ok.

A set of ornaments made for the annual Naka ornamentacular. I love contributing to this show and was a great stress reliever!

Not crafting for myself was so hard. Non-crafters might laugh at that, but crafting is such a wonderful outlet for me. I found myself getting bitter about the projects I was making for the wedding. I had wanted to make more handmade Christmas gifts, but simply didn’t have enough hours in the day to make them. (Lesson learned – start your Christmas quilts the day after Christmas for the following year!) When it came time for the Detroit Urban Craft Fair, I didn’t have any projects of my own to work on during the down time at the Handmade Detroit booth that weren’t related to the wedding. I was borderline jealous of our vendors who happily crocheted a scarf while chatting with neighbors. I was dying to make something for fun but just couldn’t do it.

I probably had several meltdowns from Halloween to the day before the wedding – just ask my poor husband who watched them all. Friends offered to help with projects, but time was so scarce that I often found myself stamping notebooks at 1 a.m. on a Friday and didn’t feel right asking folks to trek on over in the middle of the night. I worked as fast as I could so I could cross another project off my to-do list. I made myself sick frequently due to stress and worrying. IT WAS AWESOME.

On the day of the wedding, I was worried that I’d forgotten things, didn’t have enough crafty elements in the wedding, hadn’t emailed someone something… I finally had to stop, turn off the iPad and have a mimosa (or three). While getting hair and makeup for the wedding, I looked at a few of my friends who were also getting ready and saw them laughing with one another as they watched reruns of “Say Yes to the Dress” and helped with last-minute craft assignments. It was then, just hours before the wedding, that I realized everything was going to be ok. When asked what one of my favorite memories of the day was, it was listening to friends laugh right then and there.

One of 400 washi tape drink stirrers I made for the wedding, as captured by the always-wonderful Rachel Hobson, AKA, Average Jane Crafter

The reassurance only got better from that point on. Walking into Henry Ford Museum for the wedding and seeing all of the hard work everyone had contributed over the past 12 months was amazing. Everything was in its place and looking beautiful. And then I realized it was all going to be just fine. For real this time.

At the end of the day, I think our wedding was pretty damn crafty. (I’ll have a roundup of exactly what we did as the photos continue to roll in.) And while the wedding was my priority for 2012 and a huge success, the other success of 2012 was realizing what crafting means to me. I was in a fight with crafting at times last year as I worried about things, but sometimes relationships aren’t easy, you know? Crafting is my passion and I’m actually in love with it more than ever before. I love any and all things related to making things, whether it’s a project for Metro Parent, sharing a great post on Craft, or making a new piece of art for our home. But I’m no longer going to feel like I need to answer to someone about being crafty enough. All I have to do is answer to myself, and right now I think I’m crafty enough. I hope others do that, too.

My name is Lish and I love to craft. I think I’m good at it. And that’s my motto moving forward.

(And in case you’re wondering, my first projects for 2013 include a Swatch organizer and a new quilt.)