I originally wrote this in May to appear in a patron-submission Quaranzie by Sarah Shotts. I’ll add some additional updates after the main post.
One never really knows how one will react to a global pandemic until one finds oneself in one. And for me, that meant depression naps, lots of Animal Crossing and ice cream, and many conversations with my mental health specialists. I’ve tried to give myself space to feel and grieve and process, but blessedly, sheltering at home with my husband and two cats, with our jobs still intact, has been the best part of this whole mess.
There have been a lot of ups and downs in my energy, from only wanting to lie on the couch and watch YouTube for hours, to organizing all of my craft supplies, and I still sometimes feel like I’m pushing myself to work my job when I have no desire to do it. But one thing has definitely changed for the better: the time to try out new things. My old regular routine would often strip my emotional energy with the stress of driving around and interacting with people, even under the best circumstances, but now I can funnel what energy I have towards new and exciting projects I’ve been putting off! It’s still a struggle sometimes, but I’m thankful I can use what I have to put towards my creative goals.
Of course, like everyone and their mothers right now, I tried my hand at making COVID masks, but crocheted ones with microfiber towel linings, to play to my strengths. The crocheting part is easy for me, though the hand-sewing part is not my favorite. But they’ll hopefully be useful gifts for a few family members and a close friend! I’m also still continuing old projects, like editing Draft 7 of my fantasy novel, making hair clips and jewelry for my Etsy store, tending to my yard and house plants, finishing some presents I’ve been putting off, and slaving away at a queen-sized Tunisian crochet blanket that’s about halfway finished.
But my biggest new try has been jumping headfirst into a project I’ve been planning for months: designing and building my own 1:6 scale dollhouse. A fairy stump dollhouse with a pond and LED lights and everything! So after an encouraging talk with my engineer/mathy/programmer husband, I launched into it despite my fear of failure. I have to say, I’m really proud of my progress! It’s nowhere near done, as I’m leaving time between sessions for glue to dry and more supplies to come in, but I have the bones of the house, and my little Hujoo Freya ball-jointed dolls seem pleased with my progress. Plus, the long wait time means I have time to do other things in between, like starting a different, but less-complicated cardboard dollhouse and making miniatures for my other dolls, or recording a video for Eric Whitacre’s Sixth Virtual Choir (debuting July 19 on Youtube), or writing this article! These are all new things I’ve never tried before, and I’m so excited that I’m doing them, even if they feel difficult. And if I ever worry about not being good enough, I shoot up a prayer, and try to remind myself that if I’m not having fun, I need to change my approach, because that’s the whole point! It’s still a daily struggle to compete with my mental health and procrastination on account of my anxiety, but I’m making really good progress on all of my projects going at my own pace!
My next flight of fancy will be needle felting, I think, if I complete a few smaller projects first! And I have so many new things I want to try, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored! Besides, if I don’t start trying out new creative projects now, when I’m being forced to stay at home because of a global pandemic, when will I ever? ✍
I’m amazed that so much has happened in the world since I wrote this article, so if you notice a definite lack of mentions about the struggles of black Americans, that’s because it hadn’t taken the world by storm yet. It has now, obviously, and it’s both broken my heart and made it hard for me to go on Instagram, and I’m trying to keep a balance of managing my mental health and also staying engaged and supporting where I can.
Well, about a month later, and here’s what I’ve completed or started in addition to what’s mentioned above, as well as some more info:
- Pictured is one of the miniatures I mentioned above, a 1:6 scale knitting basket.
- That cardboard dollhouse mentioned above is for my lookalike Barbie (photos of her and the house to be posted on @myminlandia).
- Speaking of which, I re-vamped an old Instagram account @finnyandfuzzies into “My Minlandia,” to post posed photos of my miniature collections (@myminlandia).
- Oh yeah, MomoCon was virtual this year, and we volunteered running games remotely, which was super fun and a cool change of pace!
- I made some crochet wig caps for my Hujoo BJDs, with help from My Froggy Stuff videos on Doll Hair Extensions and a Crochet Wig Cap, and part of the yarn weft-making video by Mozekyto.
- Bought and put together more shelving to organize my many craft projects. I’m still so glad I reorganized all of my craft supplies, it really has helped to know what I have and where everything is!
- Planted more indoor and outdoor plants, including herbs and a little garden of micro-greens.
- I have finished an old project, but have taken on a new one: this time a Zelda hat commission!
- I haven’t made as many hair clips for Etsy as I’d like, but I plan to take some dedicated time to work on them soon. I’d like to make some, and give proceeds to charity, but I need to do my research first.
- I haven’t gotten as far on editing as I hoped, I’m still on Ch. 7, but I am still making slow progress! I’d like to start working on photos and stories for my dolls, but all I can think of is quarantine-based ones, and I don’t know how I feel about that…but I might just go with it, you know, for historical documentation purposes. We’ll see.
- uBass practice is continuing slowly, though I want to try teaching myself a piano piece soon, once I have the energy.
- I’ve been doodling more, in hopes of making designs to use in my shop, or illustrating a slice of life webcomic, but we’ll see where they go.
I’ve decided to not worry about going over my agenda from last time like I usually do, because it didn’t feel like fun and I basically went over everything anyway. Still planning to update the front page though!
Okay, see you all in a few months, if not sooner! ✍