Mania or Stress-Induced Crafting Frenzy?

Mania or Stress-Induced Crafting Frenzy?

Lauren Tupper

       2020, Y'all. This has been one for the books. What a weird and crazy time we are living in. I don't want to focus so much on that (since most of us are tired of hearing about it, having it, or some variation of the former) but I would like to talk about the good that came out of it. Back in March, my job put us on a split schedule where my 65 hours per week went to almost 40 in 3 days. My team worked Monday through Wednesday and then had 4 days to "quarantine". None of us knew what to expect, what normal would look like, am I going to have to start stealing toilet paper from the the Walgreens bathrooms? Should I stock up on flour and yeast so I can go old school and bake bread? Will I have to barter for chickens and grow my own veggies so we can eat properly? These were my real thoughts and I did all of it except buy chickens. My cousins, however....but they are cooler than me. 

    My stress tends to show itself in weird ways. I will cook extravagantly complicated meals, organize closets and scrub baseboards, and spend money on things I don't necessarily need. The only things that were open were grocery stores and Home Depot. Oh yes.....and Big Lots. That one stung a little. Next thing you know I have a truck delivering concrete cinder blocks for my garden, I was buying yeast and baking 12 different variations of rolls and biscuits, and I spent a small fortune at Big Lots on outdoor furniture, a grill, and a fire pit. Partial quarantining was the shit. I then would go into work for the rest of the week and we all would laugh about the mess I got myself into in the days I was supposed to be home being bored. I realized in that moment how much I loved being home. Quarantining with three kids is hard, don't get me wrong, but for the first time EVER I thought "hey, I'm pretty good at this momming thing."





     Fast forward quite a few months. This thing is still dragging out, work was in denial about it, business as usual, working late hours and weekends, and then COVID hit my house. We were out for a month and a half. Once I felt well enough and my taste and smell came back, I was back to cooking my ridiculously complicated meals. Lobster Thermidor on a Wednesday night for me and three kids. Why not. It was an experience. Food is life. The schools wouldn't let my kids return for what seemed like weeks longer than necessary and unfortunately, my job had to make other arrangements. 



    So this is where I am at. Three birthdays and Christmas coming off of a month and a half being home, now I have no job, and I can't down the bottle of red wine I would normally go to when my world was falling apart because I put that down 3 years ago. Soooooooo this is how it happened. I had an oyster picture frame that I would admire from time to time. One of my favorite pieces but it is made by Mudpie. Not local. Just pretty. And then there is this thing called Pinterest that I couldn't live my life without. Couple all of that with the fact that I'm buying my dad's flip house in the next few weeks and you have a perfect storm of creative, stress fueled imagination. 

   I became somewhat manic and obsessive (due to my stress level and not having the best coping skills). I made one trip to Joann's and it was all over. There were little frames on sale, wreath pieces, paint, wood, ribbon, jewelry. I didn't think this would blow up into what it is and I definitely didn't think that I had that kind of talent. But I had to channel that stress. I lost my job on Monday, Tuesday I went to Joann's and came home with bags of what I thought was crap, and then that afternoon I headed to the oyster pile.

    I spent time hand picking each one of the oysters, admiring them, thinking about what I would make with them. I brought the kids back and put them to work. We cleaned them, bleached them, and painted them. I got my glue gun and went to work. It is hilarious because I made a whole store's worth of shit in two days. But all things I would put in my new house if I never sold any of it. Or maybe gifts since I wouldn't be able to afford Christmas this year for everyone. I didn't expect for it to take on a life of its own and morph into these beautiful and creative pieces. I isolated from everyone (nicely, of course) and crafted away. I was fueled by stress and caffeine. Didn't even stop to eat. Told the kids it was YOYO night (You're On Your Own). And here we are.

    I sit there and select which oysters will do what job. I decide how and where to put them, how to paint them, how to connect them. They are so beautiful when they come together and my kids laugh at me because I am grinning like an idiot the entire time. I put them to work and it became a bonding experience for us. They see that mom got put in a hard spot and became resourceful while doing something she enjoys. People started asking for pics and prices and one thing led to another. Next thing you know I am creating this website on my cell phone while sitting in my running car in the driveway. Not bad. That is that alcoholic obsessive thinking that is a blessing and a curse. Once I set my mind to something, I go head first and give it my all. So here we are. I hope you guys enjoy following along on this journey with me and my family. Don't even get me started on the furniture flipping that was happening simultaneously. But just like the oyster that was discarded, these furniture pieces were being thrown away and I felt a calling to turn it into something functional and beautiful. Maybe it is because I can relate. So many times in my life I felt like I was discarded or not enough or not worthy of great things. Thank you to the people in my life that picked me up and continue to pick me up, clean me up, and help me be the most beautiful version of myself that I can be. Only the damaged oysters get the pearls and I think there is something powerful to be said about that.