We Told You So! Doing a Craft or Art IS Stress Relief

Stress-related hormone cortisol lowers significantly after just 45 minutes of art creation

This is the title of a great new article we are featuring that discussed a study dome by Drexel University.  Here's the beginning of the article.  You can follow the link above or below for the entire article. Now go schedule your 45 minutes a week. :-)

Whether you’re Van Gogh or a stick-figure sketcher, a new Drexel University study found that making art can significantly reduce stress-related hormones in your body.

Although the researchers from Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions believed that past experience in creating art might amplify the activity’s stress-reducing effects, their study found that everyone seems to benefit equally.

“It was surprising and it also wasn’t,” said Girija Kaimal, EdD, assistant professor of creative arts therapies. “It wasn’t surprising because that’s the core idea in art therapy: Everyone is creative and can be expressive in the visual arts when working in a supportive setting. That said, I did expect that perhaps the effects would be stronger for those with prior experience.”

The results of the study were published in Art Therapy under the title “Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making.” Kendra Ray, a doctoral student under Kaimal, and Juan Muniz, PhD, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, served as co-authors.

“Biomarkers” are biological indicators (like hormones) that can be used to measure conditions in the body, such as stress. Cortisol was one such the hormone measured in the study through saliva samples. The higher a person’s cortisol level, the more stressed a person is likely to be...

Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

READ MORE ABOUT THE AFFECT THAT MAKING ART HAS ON STRESS

Being a Light in the World

There are so many ways to be a light for someone else, and we are celebrating this concept this week. A while back, we had a table at a boutique where we invited people to make necklaces to be donated to a local charity, or to make a cash donation if they wanted to make one for themselves. We thought we'd have a few to donate to a good cause, and we ended up with somewhere around 50 necklaces plus a good amount of cash to give to the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita.

We thought they would be a nice thing to give to women who were probably in one of the darkest times of their lives. The center chose to make them part of what each participant receives when they complete a 16 week education course through the center. We had no idea how much these small gifts would mean to these women. They were so liked, that DVC requested we provide more, so we had our first Necklace Night with them, where a group of volunteers, learned about the center, learned how to make necklaces, and had fun. 

We also had no idea when we started this what the process of creating these gifts would mean to the women making the necklaces. It was very emotional for some, and all were carefully planned and assembled with the recipients in mind - women most of us do not even know. As it turns out, these efforts bring light to us all, and strengthen our communities. Know we were all smiling all evening long. This group of light made about 80 necklaces that night!

We encourage you to look for ways to be involved wherever you are, and to remember that no kind gesture is too small.  Pay it forward at the Starbucks drive through, let another driver merge in, thank the grocery bagger for their help. And be sure to absorb the light you get back in return.

Love and Light,
Ann and Karen

P.S. For more information about Domestic Violence Center of SCV or Domestic Violence services, please follow this link.  

Photo by David Pentek on Unsplash

Are You Behind?

We've had several subscribers write to us because they are getting behind in doing their monthly craft kits. NEVER FEAR!  And for sure we don't want you to let your Divine You Crafts subscription become a source of stress. That would be the opposite of our intentions for you and your fabulous life.

So we have some thoughts  for you:

1) You deserve to set aside one small block of time each month for yourself.  When we do our crafting classes monthly for each kit, they typically take three hours or less. Of course you are welcome to spend longer doing these wonderful activities, and we do encourage that. But the point here is that we believe you are entitled to schedule two to three hours a month, preferably with a friend, to do your kit and allow yourself to:

  • unplug from routine
  • connect to your soul
  • relax and enjoy
  • get lost in creating
  • explore an activity and yourself.

Don't you agree? Schedule it now!

2) If you have one (or two or three) of those months where life conspires to derail you, and you find you cannot catch up, you always have the option go into your Cratejoy account and move your renewal date out a month.  This means you will:

  • skip a kit
  • have a break
  • and hopefully, use the month to do some you have been saving.

We'd much rather you skipped a month or two than cancel your subscription. The past kits are usually available in the shop, if there is ever one you skip that you decide you want, or if there is one you want another of for yourself or a gift.  Some do sell out, but we think it's better to skip a month than feel guilty or overwhelmed. So cut that out right now!

3) Invite a couple friends over and have a catch up party.  Catch up on each other's lives, and catch up on your crafting. Everyone can do a kit, you can combine them, you can trade them around, and you can have a ball. The kits will be happy you are using them, and you will be honoring this month's theme of PLAY with your besties.

Remember, It's all about being conscious, crafting, and living well.

Love, Karen

Crafting with Others

Often, in my crazy, busy life, it seems luxurious and impractical to take time out to craft. But much like moments when I feel I must push on to the next task and then the next, when what I really need to do is take a nap, meditate, or otherwise just stop for a few minutes, making the mindful decision to craft and create is a necessary part of my well being.

A regular practice of conscious crafting can help one to let go of stress and step out of analytical left brain into a right brain experience, where time vanishes into presence and intense thought gives way to intuition. Crafting can help us enter a mindful, meditative state and allow us to leave our worries, concerns and cares behind for a few minutes. The practice of taking time out to craft and the experience of crafting is as valuable if not more so than any finished product is. This idea is the cornerstone of our vision. Conscious crafting can change your life.

A regular practice of crafting with others is even more beneficial. We here at Divine You Crafts meet monthly with some of our local subscribers to play with the kit contents plus whatever else we have conjured up from the supply shelves. It’s fascinating to watch the process of people coming together to craft. We hug, we visit, we snack, and then we sit down, dim the lights and do a guided visualization together to set the mood and intention for the evening (recordings of our visualizations are posted on our website for your use). We take a beat, and a breath, and then the participants start looking through their boxes like little children at the holidays.

A quiet comes over the room as we ponder the kit contents, perhaps thinking a bit too hard about what to do with them. We then share some ideas, techniques and tips and let them do their thing. You can almost feel the moment when we slip from left to right brain, from overthinking to letting go and playing. We play, then, together like little children do. We encourage each other, and marvel at the incredible variety that we produce from the same materials. We share ideas, materials, stories, laughter, food and sometimes wine. We share whatever the craft brings up for us. Deeply immersed, it is often hard to come back to reality when it is time to clean up and go home. The memories and experiences we have at these events stay with us, and the personal, meaningful crafts we create, even as we doubted our ability to make them, become cherished keepsakes.

We encourage you to make regular time to craft as often as possible. Subscribing to our kits is a good way to do that. Subscribing with a friend, with a promise to meet regularly and work on them is even better. Subscribing with a group who meets regularly to craft? Priceless. If you and a group of friends would like to do a conscious crafting event together, no matter where you live, please email ann@divineyoucrafts.com and we will help you devise a plan, and offer you group kits at a reduced rate.


 

Do You Have Space for Fun?

What does having the space for fun mean to you? I’ve been thinking about that one a lot, as time seems to speed up more quickly every day and time to relax, rejuvenate, and play becomes harder to find. It may seem odd to say this, but working at finding the time to play and have fun is a worthwhile project.
 
Over the weekend, my natural impulse was to stay put in my air conditioned home, catching up on the never ending housework. My husband, fifteen year old daughter and I opted instead to have a family day at the Natural History Museum and the Americana shopping center on the way home. It was entirely worth the effort, the traffic, and the craziness of crowds to spend family time together in one of our favorite places. We experienced a phenomenal virtual reality underwater adventure, saw an exhibit on extreme mammals, and were awed by the gorgeous winged inhabitants of the butterfly pavilion. We played loud music and our favorite alphabet game on the way there and back. It was a great day and well worth the effort.
 
Sometimes fun happens spontaneously, and sometimes in the craziness of recent times it is an important thing to plan out. I like to sit with my calendar for the next two or three months (because time goes that quickly for me lately!) and plan out some family fun time way in advance. Museum visits, concerts in the park, concerts in arenas as birthday gifts, plays, musicals at the Ahmanson or Pantages, and, of course, very special moments such as when ‘the people’ come to visit. ‘The people’ are my older adult daughter and her three children. My two other adult sons live in town, so when they come I have all of my children and grandchildren in one place, and my heart sings. Planning their visits includes all of the above as well as game nights of Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity, and special foods I only make for the occasion.
 
But then I think, isn’t the real objective of a successful life to create it so that joy and fun are always present? We can identify the things that give us joy and move our lives towards that. What would you be doing if you could do anything? What do you perceive as holding you back? What can you do to move that direction? We can also approach day to day life with a heaping dose of gratitude, which shifts everything. Coming from gratitude, life can be joyous and fun. We can actively choose to do the things we are already doing, and shift our relationships with them. Choosing to be happy and joyous and to have fun with life is the greatest gift we can give to the people around us, and it shifts our lives also.  So be sure and make some space for fun.
 
Wishing you a fun summer!
With love,
Ann
 
 

The Magic of Stone and Crystal Grids

This month's kit showed you have to make mandalas, which we hope you are finding to be interesting, relaxing, and fun. We included 51 stones to use for making your own stone and crystal grids, either on your mandalas or wherever you like. If you have been with us for any length of time, you've also collected several other stones from your kits, and you may have some of your own. Laying out crystal and stone grids is a great way to work with your stones and help them to work for and with you. So here's some some more info about ways to do this. 

You can approach building stone grids several ways, Many people study the qualities of the stones and put them together in combinations of the types of stone energy needed at the moment. We tend to take a more organic approach and put them together by what feels good to us, visually and energetically, and we put them wherever we want, usually on a desk or shelf in our Divine You space. You can also build them on your mandalas or on pre-made sacred geometry charts that are readily available online. These tools help to concentrate and enhance the energies of the stones to work together.

Other basics:

  • Put your grid wherever you would like it to work. Common places are living rooms, work spaces (even under your desk), bedrooms, patios, etc. They are pretty and can enhance any space while they improve the energy or forward your intentions.
  • Use a crystal as a center point.  A quartz point is a traditional center, but calcite, selenite, and really any other stone can act as the focal point for your layout. Quartz has its own piezoelectrical field, which helps to center and concentrate the energies of the other stones in the layout. Piezoelectricity is the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials (such as crystals, certain ceramics, and biological matter such as bone, DNA and various proteins) in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure. You can also use quartz points in groups by laying them out at intervals around your grid, all pointing the same direction, or all pointing inward or outward. 
  • Use groups of the same crystal. Make patterns that are symmetrical and balanced and use numbers you like or that work for your pattern.  You can check the meanings of numbers at Doreen Virtue's Angel Number page here. You can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, as feels best to you at the time.
  • You can mix your types of stones. Karen uses stones that she found outside for north, east, south and west stones, and many other types of tumbled and crystal stones for her grids. Your stones don't have to be "precious" to be in your grid.
  • You can incorporate shells, flowers, leaves, feathers, and other natural materials as well as mementos like charms and photos as you like. You can see below that we do even do it with things like the cards from our kits. That one was part of a brainstorm process we did at a retreat.
  • After building a grid, we always take a moment to "be with it" and activate it. We put our open hands above the layout and sense and feel the energy it emanates, and set our intention for the grid. We also thank it for being here today and helping us. People often use votive candles around and in their layouts as another way to enhance and activate them.

Here's a link to some pictures of layouts and grids we have done, both simple and complicated. Please send us some of yours to ann@divineyoucrafts.com. Sharing Page Link
      
Have fun with your stones and let them play with you in all the spaces of your life.
Love, Ann and Karen   

My Space

What does having space mean to you? Does it mean having an actual, physical space of your own in which to renew yourself? Is it being able to give yourself permission to take care of yourself first? Or even at all? Does having space mean being able to get away from the demands of your life for an hour, a day, a week or more? In what ways can you grant yourself the space to relax, to play, to explore, or just to be?
 
I have lived in a very small house for twenty years, and when my second youngest child moved out recently, leaving only one high schooler left in the household, I find myself excited at the prospect of taking the space he has left as my own. Having space to myself is something I haven’t had in a very long time. As an introvert, time alone to meditate, to craft, create and make art, and to perhaps- gasp- do nothing, is super important. I am grateful that I will have this luxury again.
 
This room has now become a creative project for me in itself, as I plan colors, textures, work and storage surfaces, and how I want it to feel. I will have all my painting, sewing, and crafting supplies in one place, as well as my massage table up and ready all the time. Because of an injury I have shifted my focus away from massage to our wonderful conscious crafting project, but I still like to get my hands on my loved ones for some occasional energy healing.
 
I wish you the space to be your authentic self, and to nurture her as much as you nurture others. I wish you the space to do something just for yourself, just because you want to. The gift you give yourself will make a difference in your ability to cope with the stresses of life in this crazy world. 

Love, Ann