I get this question a lot, especially around the holidays. I've made seventeen fairies with my students (like the photograph) and ten fairy kits and eight sewn ornaments and now I'm working on eight more angels and three custom fairies. How is it possible?
- It isn't. Not every day. I have break-downs and melt-downs and it's a constant balancing act. I hit the wall and get frustrated, then sort myself out and try with a new plan.
- I am lucky. This may sound strange, since this is a list of compensation strategies. But my nerve conduction test showed that I have good nerves alongside the damaged nerves. So even though I am weak and prone to injury, I still have my fine motor skills (mostly, the little faces are getting more frustrating)
- I am living short-term. I cannot do this every year. Probably not even next year. I don't know what I will change, but I know I must change. This pace is not sustainable.
- Lots of coffee.
- Braces for both hands. I switch back and forth between my right and left hand braces (feels too strange to use both at once :)). They are carpal-tunnel braces available at any drugstore. My custom brace broke (too much activity, I suppose :)
- I get defiant. Oh, fingers going numb, well then, I'll make four more crafts, just to show who is in charge here. I do not recommend this strategy. I know who is charge long-term, and it isn't me :)
- I take more Aleve.
- I have help. At school, my teacher-friends helped children sew the hats. Other friends and family help entertain my kids. They all support me 100% (though many say that I shouldn't do so much).
- I live with the consequences. I hold the pain and numbness with the understanding that I earned it.
- I let other things go. We're eating simple, and the piles are piling up. But I'll get to them. One day :)
- I switch between activities. A lot. I will sew a little, then type, then play with the kids, then sew a little more . . . you get the idea. My hand therapist said that the repetitive motion is the biggest danger. So skipping from activity to activity is actually helping strengthen different muscle groups, right? :) Or is it just causing more fatigue in different areas?
- I have an end-date. This week, it's Friday. The Fairy Shop will close its doors. School will have Winter Break. And I will turn my attention to my family again. So I hope those days of strict no-crafting will allow for healing.
- I love what I do. Really, this is what makes it all possible. I love each and every one of these little treasures. And I feel so fortunate that I get to bring this magic into the world. That magic is bigger than the pain and numbness and fatigue. That's what drives me, inspires me, motivates me. I appreciate the fact that I can make them now, so I will.
Off to make more magic :)