It may not sound like I have many hobbies or time for much beyond attending dance practices and competitions or chauffeuring Holly throughout three different states, and really, I probably don’t when compared to others. However, the one hobby I do have is that I cross-stitch. (I don’t count reading as a hobby because, well, reading is life. I could no sooner stop reading in my free time than I could stop eating.)
I have been cross-stitching since I was at least ten years old. It was something both my parents did in their spare time. Like any young girl, when you see your parents doing something, you want to know what it is and if you can do it too. With its precision and ability to create complex pictures out of nothing, I took to it like a duck takes to water.
Moreover, I loved doing it and still do today. The part of my mind that struggles with obsessive and compulsive tidiness thrills at creating each little square, and I challenge myself to make the neat look as tidy and precise as the front. Today, working on projects soothes my mind as nothing else can. For example, my family can testify that when it comes to sports, especially when watching either the Badgers or the Packers, I am a yeller. I scream and rant, and when a game is particularly close, I pace. However, put a cross-stitch project in my hands while watching sports, and I become very zen-like. I don’t yell no matter how bad the officiating; I don’t pace no matter how nerve-wracking the event. I enjoy whatever I am watching and can do so without working myself into a frenzy.
This is a particularly helpful trick with the news for the past two years. I find that when work is particularly stressful throughout the day, I long for my current work-in-process so that I can calm down and continue with my work. Cross-stitching is something in which I continue to find joy and peace, and it is even more special when you have a close friend who designs projects and sells them on Etsy.
My dear friend, Chrisbookarama, opened her Etsy shop in 2008, and I have been buying from her since almost the first moment. She started with little, knit items – bookmarks and the like – but moved on to cross-stitch patterns, of which I am a huge fan. At this point, I completed all of her fox pictures and almost every single Halloween picture she offers (she came out with a new design this year that I have yet to start). They are relatively simple, colorful, creative, and whimsical, and they never fail to bring me delight when I look at them. These pictures are just two of my seasonal decor right now.
So, I do have more that keeps me busy other than work, reading, and dance mom duties. This particular hobby keeps me sane in an insane world and brings order and peace to what seems like chaos. While it might not be as useful a hobby as knitting or crocheting is, cross-stitching makes me happy, and that is all that matters.
What other hobbies do you have? How have you remained sane in these insane times?