As the days start to shorten, and temperatures dip, many people (myself included) find that health issues surface. It can be harder to leave the house when joints flare up, migraines increase, or darkness descends.
While there are no single solutions that suit everyone, distraction is a key part of my pain toolkit – along with paced exercise, physio and numerous other things (including rest).
I find boredom can exacerbate pain, while creation – however amateurish – can provide distraction from at least some kinds of pain. And of course, you don’t need to be ill to get crafting. These activities are also great for days when you can’t face leaving the house.
I’ve long loved decoupage – a posh way of saying ‘sticking cut out pictures on things and layering with varnish’. It’s a great way to reuse old magazines; and can be divided into stages, cutting out pictures one day, and sticking them down on a day when cutting things out is too painful. It can also be done on a tray in bed, assuming you’re making a small piece.
Creating a ‘happy collage’ is a good place to start. You can work out whether you prefer straight edges or intricately entwined pictures, surreal creations or more traditional scenes. You can also create a whole new magazine from old ones…
A ‘happy memories’ frame can make a lovely gift: cover a picture mount for simplicity, or use an upcycled picture frame. Bear in mind that the smoother the frame, the easier it will be to decoupage: intricate frames are likely to tear the paper.
You can also recycle a cardboard box to turn it into a hamper for home made jam and elderberry cordial or port: a great way to save money on Christmas presents.
If you have tatty old furniture, you can get even more ambitious and cover that. However, bear in mind it takes time to build up the layers so your creation could take several months…
Collect pine cones and twigs, seed heads and feathers when you are able to get out. Use these to create 3D collages or photographic scenes, seasonal bouquets or whatever else your imagination conjures up.
I find nature crafting helps me feel connected with outdoors when I can’t leave the house.
The more photographs I’ve taken of flowers, the more I’ve appreciated how different they are.
Trying to recreate a flower with the contents of the recycling box is a fun, free activity that I find incredibly absorbing.
You can aim for something that’s as true to life as possible, or go for a more creative approach. You can use tissue paper or fabric, painted plastic bottles or recycled paper.
Bottles require the most energy, in terms of cutting, and a hot glue gun can make crafting much lower effort and more rapidly satisfying. (The felted and crocheted flowers were made by one of the Purple Pumpkin Patch artists so I can’t comment on how easy they are as I have yet to crochet or felt.)
While there’s no guarantee that crafting will make you feel better, there’s a chance it could help ease grey days, at least a little. And there are lots more ways to have fun when you can’t leave the house to choose from too.