"Life Abundant" Wall Hanging
I almost don't know what to say about this project. On the one hand, I'm really proud of it and I feel compelled to share it with you all. On the other hand, it's somewhat personal and I'm not terribly confident yet in walking the tenuous line between authenticity and oversharing. Sharing any project always feels somewhat vulnerable. One of the most beautifully terrifying things about sharing my creations is knowing that I'm exposing some small piece of myself for others to poke and prod at; I can only hope that others will be kind or, perhaps more importantly, that I can be confident enough not to let any fingerprints blossom into bruises. And, in a way, that's exactly what this project is.
Blogging has been an interesting experience thus far. I started this little blog of mine as a creative outlet to break up the monotony of endless diaper changing and feeding that can be so all consuming. It was sort of like an anchor, to give me something just for me that would encourage me to keep trying, to keep thinking creatively, to keep learning new things. That's still the heart and soul of my blog, but somewhere along the line, people actually started following along with me. Which is amazing! You all inspire and motivate me and I love love love seeing you all make things from my patterns. (Plus, we're still living that grad school life, so it's nice to have some way to pay for my yarn.) But I'm also an pretty private person and a perfectionist, which isn't the greatest combination for even the smallest levels of public attention.
It's made it difficult not to get swallowed up in the comparison game: trying to make the "right" things in the "right" way. If I don't expose my flaws, maybe no one else will notice and judge me for them. If I keep up with everyone else, maybe everyone will think I have it all together. If I don't do anything that's too personal or too weird, then maybe people will like me and the things I make. But thinking like that is, quite frankly, debilitating. And exhausting. And a huge creative block.
I've spent a lot of time recently contemplating the elements of what actually makes a good life. And I've come to the conclusion that perfectionism is not one of them. Perfectionism drives comparison. Perfectionism means that nothing is never enough. Perfectionism shuts us off from others; the easiest way to look flawless is from a distance, after all.
I was pondering this during my scripture study one morning when I came across a verse that inspired the text of this wall hanging. In John 10:10, it reads, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." I felt like a cartoon with a little blinking light bulb over my head. Not just life, but life abundant. This has become my mantra as of late and I knew that I needed to make it into a wall hanging, to help me remember what actually matters. To remember to turn outwards and upwards, to service and Grace. To remember that authenticity means more than popularity. To remember that genuine, vulnerable connection is worth more than a pedestal of perfection.
To help remind me, I made this wall hanging with a combination of crochet and cross stitching (inspired by the Hygge CAL shawl). After designing the letters, I knew I needed to get some plants involved (guys, I LOVE plants). They seemed like the perfect symbol of an abundant life, blossoming into a deep, satiating joy. I went through a few different variations of plant designs, but I'm pretty pleased with what I came up with for the final version and it was fun to incorporate some different types of stitching. I didn't write out the pattern, since it was such a personal project that I can't imagine anyone else would be interested in replicating it, but I'm happy to answer any questions about how I made it.
I was hesitant to share this post at first, but as I worked through this stitch by stitch, it felt important to do so. Probably not for any of you out there who might be reading this, but important for me personally to help remember what this blog/craft/creative process is about. Sure, it would be nice to be popular, but that's not really what Life Abundant means. Meditating on that lately has brought so much more joy to both my crafting and my life overall. And maybe this post is bizarre and maybe this is your least favorite post ever (going for overly dramatic), but I'm okay with that. So thank you for taking a few minutes to share this little creative space with me. I hope this encourages you to make something wonderful and to never say no to your own creative happiness. Happy hooking!
Thank you for posting this! I know exactly how you’ve been feeling. As a blogger, introvert and perfectionist myself, I find it so hard to stay above water these days. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning amongst all of the self doubt and negative thoughts, thinking I’m not creative or unique enough to keep up my crochet blog (despite its optimistic following). You are definitely not alone!
2/17/2018 01:26:35 pm
Thank you for sharing! It's always nice to hear that I'm not the only one who feels that way sometimes. I hope your blog continues to do well! It looks really fun! As a fellow nerd, I can definitely appreciate it ;)
2/16/2018 08:06:23 am
You're entitled to all of those feelings! I love seeing what you create and sharing a passion with people brave and strong enough to put blogs about it out there for people like me. I LOVE this design (probably because I LOVE the Hygge shawl) - and I love your design for this. I may not use your exact mantra, but I may make something in the future to hang in my house too! Keep doing what you do - I love it all!
2/17/2018 01:28:10 pm
Thanks, Amanda! I'm glad you like the design. I hope you find something that will be inspiring to you for your own wall hanging :) And thanks for your kind words!
2/22/2018 01:07:54 am
First of all this wallhanging is so beautiful, it immediately caught my eye on Hookin On Hump Day! And for doubts etc... Ah well, I'm a perfectionist too. That's why I needn't schedule posts, I will only post when something is finished as well as to my liking. And being a perfectionist I often forget what crochet s all about, why I started crocheting at all... You've left me a bit pensive, and that's good!
3/7/2018 07:22:03 pm
Thanks, I'm glad you like the wall hanging! And thank you for sharing your thoughts!
3/7/2018 10:36:35 am
This is the first time I’ve visited your site from a link on the Petals to Picot blog. I read A LOT of blog posts and struggle with starting my own blog due to exactly what you speak of in this post. Living with depression, anxiety, and PTSD most of my life makes “putting myself out there” feel trying to open my own locked door with a key to someone else’s house. Whether online or in person, it’s a daily battle. This “bizarre” post is one of the best I’ve read (over and over) due to your sincerity and willingness to be vulnerable. It inspires me to continue to create and to be ok with my own lack of perfection. The piece you’ve created is beautiful (I loved the HYGGE shawl as well), even moreso because of what it means to you personally; the scripture is perfect. I’ve been trying to create something for my mother-in-law’s birthday and/or Mother’s Day and I think a piece similar to this would be perfect for her, and my own home as well. So thank you for your sharing your creativity and inspiring me to look beyond the things that hold me back. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. May God bless you as you continue on your creative journey.
3/7/2018 07:32:27 pm
Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story, Kandy! I admire your courage and honesty. I hope that you keep creating and making things that bring you joy! And, if you feel like sharing them, then that's awesome. Or if you'd rather keep them to yourself, that's great too! I'll be cheering for you either way, because the world is always a brighter place with more creativity in it :)
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Thank you for stopping by to visit my own personal corner of the web! Feel free to take a look around and check out what I've been crafting, crocheting, or baking. Hopefully you'll find something to inspire your own creativity!