Meditation isn’t always about sitting on a cushion. You can also find inner peace while working on something from your own safe space at home. The rhythmical movements used for small crafts have the same effect as prayer beads. Afterwards your head is clear and your hands have made something pretty.
Painting stones will have you relaxed in no time. You can use rocks you found on the beach or in the mountains. Smooth stones are best, and some have beautiful shapes to work with. Use bright acrylic paint to decorate your stone with symbols, dots, leaves, animals, little faces or fine words. It’ll be a gorgeous mini work of art. And it can also be a wonderful gift for a friend.
This is a very rewarding task that also freshens up your home to no end. Buy three plain cushion covers to dye in three different colors. Mix the colors with water, in three separate bowls or containers and stir well. Now you can paint pretty leaves and flowers on one cover, for example, and make stripes on the second one. Let the colors run a little between the stripes for a fun effect. Use the rest of the dyes for the third cushion cover with the tie-dye method: Wind some string tightly around the cover in
a few places. Plug your sink and pour in one of the colors. Put the cushion cover in, push it down a little, then pour the other two colors on top. Leave for 30 minutes before you unplug the sink and let it drain. Remove the string and follow the instructions on the packet. Do you prefer natural dyes? Then try beetroot for red, carrot for yellow, red cabbage for blue and parsley for green.
Some Indian tribes use “talking sticks”: the person holding the stick talks while the others listen without interrupting. It’s a good way to teach children to listen and let others finish, for instance during dinner. Go to the woods together to find a good stick, and decorate it with symbols. Use acrylic paint, find feathers and beads from old necklaces, and tie yarns in pretty colors around it.
Here’s another activity you can happily lose yourself in: origami. Search “origami flowers” on Pinterest and discover a sea of blossoms. Roses, orchids, lilies: Once you get the hang of it you won’t want to stop. Make a colorful bouquet or work in ton-sur-ton hues. Create a bouquet for someone you love. Or string small flowers together, 4 inches apart, until you have about 6 feet. Pin the string to a wooden stick in the doorway for a very original fly curtain.
This very ancient activity is simple and utterly relaxing. There’s no need to buy expensive materials or complicated patterns. All you need is a piece of fabric, an embroidery hoop, a needle and some yarn. You can get them at the crafts store, but you sometimes find it in second-hand shops as well. Draw a pattern on the fabric with a pencil, then follow the lines in back-stitches using embroidery thread. Just sit and let your hands move while you ponder life a little… You’ll feel really Zen in no time.
This is real old-school craftwork. Find some old bits of wood or board and hammer in small clout nails in a design you like. It can be a flower, a leaf or a feather, but geometrical shapes also work well. Search “string art” on the internet if you need inspiration. And then zig-zag, ziggety-zag your way around the nails with a cotton twine, connecting them all. Fasten off with
a small knot.
Macramé has made a serious comeback, except we don’t make plant hangers anymore but gemstone hangers. Take four cotton strings of about 3 feet, fold them double and make a loop in the middle. Pair them up so you have four sets of two strings. Take two strings and tie a small knot. Take two strings again, but this time one from the next group, and tie a small knot. This way you stagger your knots. Keep repeating this until you can completely cover one gemstone. Put it in, tie a knot under it, then keep knotting square knots and attach some more beads from old necklaces. Complicated? There are lots of websites explaining the square knots. YouTube has some “macramé school” videos showing other great macramé patterns.
Text: nicole van borkulo
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