Happy Cinco de Mayo! I’m also happy to say I’m back and really back this time. The last couple attempts fizzled because I was still in healing mode with my hand. I found typing and just about everything else too much of a stress. I’m at the tail-end of my occupational therapy (OT) and I am using my hand as much as possible so that we can see where my weaknesses are and addressing them with exercises.

This has been a very challenging journey for me on all levels; physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually. I’ll address some of these topics in upcoming blogs, because I hope that my experience will help other creatives get through tough injury challenges that change the way they are able to create (even if temporarily).

At present I’m not going to try and keep a daily journal. I will write at least one a week and will aim for more. My energy and my hand’s capabilities are still limited so sometimes I’ll be able to write frequently and other not much at all.

So, what’s happening in my life right now? I’m learning how to digitize embroidery files. I’m hoping to make a business out of this, after the pandemic wanes. Of course with the shelter-in-place order in effect most places it is giving me lots of time to work on perfecting my craft. 

Of course, I’m still working because I’m considered an essential worker (and believe me the volume of my work has more than quadrupled. We’ve had to add staff in order to keep up and it is still a challenge.). 

I’m also honing my machine embroidery skills. I’m having such a blast embroidering out all the beautiful designs I’ve acquired. I’m learning that free means “watch out” for bad digitizing. There are some really nice, well digitized designs but for the most part they are marginally usable. Stabilizer seems to be the biggest learning curve for me. Knowing what to use where is really quite an art form and one I haven’t mastered, yet. I do pretty well with most woven fabrics but special fabrics and knits are still being futzed with.

Gardening is beginning to be a major player again. I’m really going to keep it under control this year. The fact that my hand will only hold out for about two hours of weeding and digging is a great way to keep myself in check. Any more than that and I pay for it the next day with a swollen, painful hand and my pinky refuses to do any work.

Even though my OT is about to end my healing isn’t anywhere near complete. My OT, Brook, has told me it will probably be more like a year from the injury before I know the final outcome. Right now I have to do exercises two times a day or my hand gets so stiff I can hardly use it. Holding things is still a challenge, especially if they are small or heavy. I am seeing improvement in my coordination and fine motor movements. My handwriting no longer looks like a six year old, I’m probably up to about ten and learning cursive, lol. Important things like; threading needles, knitting, crochet (haven’t tried it yet), using scissors or rotary cutter, etc. are coming along. Some things are easier than others. I managed to knit for almost an hour last night without serious repercussions this morning.

I managed, just before Easter, to complete my first project that was from scratch. I embroidered, cut out, and hemmed two napkins with an Easter motif on them. That felt monumental! The new rotary cutter is a godsend, as the straight handled variety are very difficult for me to use and they cause a lot of pain quickly. I’ll write a blog on it in the near future. I want people with hand difficulties to know there are options out there to make following your passion less painful.

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