Finding Your Happiness

Like many things in my life, it all began with a small conversations with one mesh injured woman. She knows I am very creative and she wanted to know how to bring back crushed silk flowers. I told her that it may happen if she washed them in warm soapy water and hung them upside down to dry. She then told me she was making some things to sell to try to pay off her huge medical bills. We have had conversations before and I knew to travel to get removal she has made things and then offered them in a garage sale to help pay the enormous travel expense. This is what I love about mesh injured women and I told her so, that they really try to work on their lives even with all the complications. She told me it was nice to hear a kind word of encouragement, but I truly meant it.

Some of us will never go back to careers or planned careers because of permanent injuries. Some women are fortunate that the mesh complications were caught early enough and they do not suffer nerve damage and continuing pain. But there is also a flip side even if you don’t. Many times you may not be able to go back to doing things you once loved, such as gardening. Mesh complications are often difficult to deal with and we have to figure out how to change our lives.

Yesterday I began putting links together from my other blogs where I design and often share for free. I have always been a sharer and a teacher of things I teach myself and love to make from my own imagination. I did not have a degree in any of the things I have done in my life but I have been very fortunate to have been given many gifts including the best gift of all. Imagination. I have had careers where I had a retail shop of my own and because of all I could do that was so unique, I had a huge following of others who love to make things. One of the businesses was a shop I began in the 80’s and continued into the 90’s in the heart of Texas, that I aptly names Heart of Texas. I was living in the Hill country outside Burnet Texas which is near Lake Buchanan. I loved the area and I was inspired in many ways. I began by learning by myself how to use a knitting machine and before long I became a dealer for three of the largest knitting machine makers in the world. It was then I began making unusual sweaters and suits because I found patterns very boring. I did not intend on teaching seminars or writing many books, but during ten years of this business I wrote over sixty knitwear design books and travelled around the U.S. Great Britain and Australia, teaching others my techniques. It was a wonderful time of growth in my life and I realized I could actually make a living from designing.

Fortunately I had a wonderful husband who encouraged and helped me build a life I enjoyed and a daughter who was very clever indeed even young and she took over the book keeping side and put all my books together. It was a family business we all three enjoyed. I decided after ten years I wanted to do other things and closed the business down and began painting murals on walls because I had always wanted to. I chose my local community center to offer my free services for six months and turned it into a unique place that seniors and children enjoyed. From there I was asked to begin a free art program for underprivileged children for the City and I was featured in the Houston Chronicle for my work. It was very successful but ended when my husband had a serious illness that lasted for many years until he died. But I still used my own creativity to get me through the years that were so hard to deal with.

All this was long before the Internet. Now I cannot leave my home alone because my injuries no long allow me to drive. So I decided to begin a blog just taking photos and sharing things I was trying and making. I called myself the Teacup Milliner, because I was designing and making hats. I knew nothing about blogs and had no clue if anyone would buy anything from me, but in time people found it and I received orders for weddings and my costume hats from other countries as well as this one, by costume designers who did not make hats and needed them for the stage. I felt flattered and although I was not getting rich I felt useful and enjoyed my life.

As mesh injuries became more apparent in my life, this kept me from going insane from the pain. So I began another blog called Teacup crafts where I sell tutorials and often share things for free. I will never get rich from any of this, but I love doing this and it gives me a purpose for living. I realize how very fortunate I am to have such a creative brain and it takes me away from all the pain I read about of other women and my own.

For many women things will never be the same and they have to find a way to become a happier person and feel productive. It does not matter whether you need money or you don’t. You need to feel useful and fulfilled. You cannot live for what you used to love to do. You have to find something else to make you happier and find a way to live and laugh again.

Yes, regardless of what other non-mesh injured people think, we will all have bad days. Mesh injuries are really difficult to deal with and they take a lot out of us, especially concerning things we used to love to do. And I get it that those who are not mesh injured will never understand your permanent complications. I too get tired of the fact I am supposed to always be up for the rest of the world. I can’t be. There are days when I can barely walk and wonder how I got myself into this mess. But then I have to work my way out of the doldrums and find a way back to feeling happy. I remind myself things could always be much worse and then try to get my brain back into a positive way of thinking. Not always easy to do, but I work at it.

2012 and 2013 were really hard for me. Three surgeries in nine months, fighting an infection that could leave me with permanent problems. Drug reactions that left me with permanent problems and a whole host more to deal with. All the time while dealing with it, I kept this blog going and I helped other women through their issues and sadness. It was not easy. I finally decided I had to get back into a world of less sadness. I knew I could not do it overnight because I could not sit for long periods, so I first began playing in short spurts in my studio by making fairy buildings and furniture. My daughter encouraged me to do things I love and you will find links to all the things I made while I began my slow way back.

Part of my permanent problem was extreme vertigo that the drug gentamicin had done to me. Head and eye movements do not work together the way they used to and I had to slowly teach myself how to sew again on a sewing machine. But I was adamant to come back. I did not want to sit all day and stare at the TV. I was nowhere near ready to give up.

So today I am including a lot of links to things I have made, free tutorials from both my blogs in the hopes it will give you a way to come back and begin trying something you either have never done before or now that you can no longer work, you will find a hobby you may like. I cannot do this for you because you have to find the will to move forward. If you suffer from depression you may want to read the last blog I wrote to see if that will help you. You may be thinking “I don’t have money to begin doing some of these things”. Ask others to donate supplies they are not using. Perhaps through your family or church. Don’t think obstacles. Think of a way to move forward and enjoy life again.

I hope some of these links will strike a cord and help you begin to find some kind of happiness. This is why I am taking the time to write and find all the links you may enjoy. Also remember there are free tutorials everywhere on the internet to learn absolutely anything. If you have an inspiring story to share with others for your comeback, please leave a comment. It just may help another women.

Paper craft tutorials or ideas

it is really hard to begin enjoying your time alone and begin to play, but one of the easiest and very inexpensive crafts to do is paper crafts. However, many paper crafts get quite boring in a hurry, especially for me, so I love to do paper engineering. Everyone enjoys receiving a pop-up card, and even young kids can learn to make a simple pop-up using cardstock and stickers, so I wrote a free tutorial in a simple way. This is it.
Once you’ve made a simple pop-up card, you may want to try something more exciting, so I have written and shared many fun tutorials.
Try making this for Halloween and watch your kids eyes light up.

More card ideas.
I love making special one of a kind cards for those I love. It takes time to make a unique card but when you do, everyone appreciates what you have done. a doggy card I made for my sister from photos she sent me of her new puppies. I made this very involved card for one of my sisters in England because she loves the hats I make. This card I made for my daughter. Or you can use something not intended for cards. I received a gift in the mail from one of my sisters in England and I loved the art work so turned it into a special keep sake pop-up card.

You don’t just have to make cards. Why not give a one of a kind book as a gift. You may like to make a special book for someone using images or photographs. idea using images off the Internet another idea.

Or you have thought about taking those old photographs and begin to do some scrapbooking, but you have no clue where to begin. Now you have time at home, why not begin. Easter is coming up soon and this may give you an idea of making an Easter scrapbook page from old photos. This was one I did from photos of my daughter in 1973.

I also share the products I use and have tested.

Things I make and share how I made them. I often write a blog when I have made a one of a kind item. I do this because someone out there may have something they want to try doing and I hope to inspire them to get going. Since my surgeries I have made things that have sat on the back burner waiting for me to make time. These are two of those projects.

I grew up before the days of cartoons and TV and it was a time when fairies were the biggest things in my imagination, so I love to make something with this theme and share my ideas.

I am also a milliner, which means I design and make hats, however, too many surgeries slowed that down for awhile. But I am beginning to think along those lines again because I love to write E-books about how to make them and include patterns. But beside making them I have also shared a lot more including free tutorials. So I began adding them here so perhaps there is something you would like to try.

I shared some old movie clips of hats.

This one shows you how to make flowers out of organza fabric.

This one shows you how to make ribbon roses.

This is how I cover inexpensive belt buckles to run ribbon through for trimming my hats.

A free tutorial to make a hat storage bag, but could be used for other things.

Making a simple hat stand

How to remodel a summer straw hat

This one will show you how I remodeled an old felt hat.

Dyeing feathers was quite an experiment and I shared over 7 blogs all I did and what worked. Plus types of feathers I use in my hat designs.

This will show you a little about my hat making and how I like to challenge myself.

This was the first E-Book I wrote for making hats.

I also love making jewelry to go with my special head pieces.

Things about my life in the hat trade. I was never allowed to design anything when I worked in the hat trade, and it was one of the things on my bucket list, so I began playing first and turned it into a business.

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