The Benefits of a Lazy Crafternoon

 

This weekend, I invited one of my favorite people, Kristina, over to my house for a crafternoon. What is a crafternoon? Well, it’s just like the name suggests – it’s an afternoon spent making something crafty.

I find crafternoons can be most enjoyable when done with friends. Not only do you have some lovely little thing to show for your time, but you also get to chat and catch up with your pals. It can be better than a night out drinking with your friends, where all you may have to show for it is a hangover and some fuzzy memories of behaving inappropriately.

I hadn’t seen Kristina since the holidays, and I was itching to make something with these little hands of mine, so I figured it was time to host a crafternoon. Kristina had a half-finished painting in my shed she had been working on over the past two years of crafternoons at my house. I was excited for her to finish it.

Hosting a crafternoon is easy. I set us up on my patio outside (my husband was awesome and set up a couple of heaters for us so we wouldn’t freeze, it was actually a cold and rainy day here in Los Angeles). I covered the table with newspaper, gathered up all my paints and brushes, set out a couple of recycled jars filled with water, put out some paper towels, and we were ready to go. You don’t need anything fancy. Some of my paint is ten years old, purchased at Michaels for some project or other. I think some of my brushes came from the dollar store. Sometimes crafternoons also include wine and snacks, but since both of us are on a clean-eating kick for the New Year, we sipped juice and water.

crafternoon

You can do whatever kind of creating you want, but since Kristina was going to be painting, I thought I would paint as well. It’s not a craft I participate in frequently, as I don’t have any real skills or training in it. But I find it so therapeutic. I found a simple picture of a lotus flower on Pinterest that I liked and thought was doable with my limited ability, and saved a pleasing square of cardboard on which to paint that had come with a wall calendar my stepdaughter had received for Christmas from my parents.

Even if you have no creative skills whatsoever, I highly recommend setting aside some time every once in awhile just to craft. In fact, people are beginning to study the positive effects crafting can have on your health. It’s a mood-boosting, stress-reducing, drug-free way to feel better.

I think I get the most enjoyment out of painting, and here’s why:

  1. It forces me to slow down. It’s impossible to paint detail if you are racing around like a maniac. I can simply sit in one place for a couple of hours, breathe more deeply, and relax.
  2. It soothes me. I find the physical act of putting a brush full of paint onto canvas, paper, cardboard, whatever, so calming and satisfying. There’s something about that gooey, colorful stuff spreading out before me that lights up my brain in just the right way.
  3. It allows me to look at something with purpose and intent. Have you ever looked at a flower, I mean, really looked? Have you noticed how the light hits the petals? How each petal has its own unique, subtle coloring? How sometimes the stem doesn’t grow straight? Really noticing these things allows me to look at our world with different eyes, and consider the circumstances which brought this object to this space in time. What causes those color variations? What environmental factors caused the stem to have a bend in it? How does this flower turn to face the light?

Do you have a favorite type of craft you enjoy? How do you allow your creativity to enhance your health and well-being?

My finished lotus flower, now sitting pretty over my desk.
My finished lotus flower, now sitting pretty over my desk.
Kristina's beautiful peacock
Kristina’s beautiful peacock