If we have learned anything in the past year, it is that community is so important. Finding a community of people to do life with, to share experiences with, to agree and then disagree with, to watch out for you, and to encourage you is vital to to full life! As a YouTube creator, and actually as a crafter in general, I spend so much of my time alone. I work out of my house, spending hours every day filming and editing. Crafters tend to like being near our supplies. Crafting and creating is how we unwind, and that is often done in the comfort of our own creative spaces. As an introvert, that is usually just fine with me. Plus, let’s be honest, community felt scary in the past year. Even when you put aside the pandemic, there were the mine fields of politics and social upheaval that caused a great deal of tension and insecurity. We wondered if we would be loved and accepted for who we are, and that is a scary thing to overcome.
However, in the past few months, I have had the feeling that something is missing. It’s been lonely in my craft room, and I found myself longing for community even more. I certainly have friends that love crafting just as much as I do, and I am super thankful for them. But, I wanted to meet new people, have some new experiences, and plug in to a larger crafter community. This desire was pulling at my heart strings a lot at the beginning of 2021, and I think that I am probably not alone. So many of us are desperate for connection. And yes, I feel like true connections can be forged even through simple shared experiences like crafting together!
I’ve tried a few different ways to find these type of connections, and there are certainly a lot of options out there. The groups I have found certainly are not an exhaustive list, but they are the groups that are bringing me a lot of joy these days!
I had no idea that when I started a YouTube membership program a few months ago, that I would find such a wonderful group of women to connect with. Yes, my subscribers are all awesome and uplifting, but I had no idea what it would be like to connect over Zoom. I am obviously much more used to filming, receiving comments, and responding to them as often as I could. What would it be like to speak in real time? I’ll be honest I was so nervous! And, to be extra honest, I still have a little bit of anxiety before our meetings every other week, but that is because social anxiety will always be a part of my life. Despite my anxious feelings though, I have thoroughly enjoyed connecting with these ladies over Zoom. We talk, we craft, we talk some more. We laugh and share fun stories and commiserate with each other as well. In just a few months, I would truly say this has become a wonderful circle of crafty friends!
I am not sure that there is anything like a shared experience to bring people together, even if that shared experience is online. In the month of May, I participated in Fearless Foundations, taught by Shawna Clingerman. This online class included a mixture of pre-recorded lessons, Facebooks lives (with tons of interaction in the comments) and Zoom calls where this amazing group of women from all over of the world connected over the feelings and emotions that we were sorting through. We cheered each other on, cried for each other, and prayed for each other. We sat together (over Zoom) through some difficult moments, and laughed hysterically at some crazy moments as well. It was a super cathartic experience, and a wonderful reminder that we all have so much in common!
There is truly nothing like meeting a person face to face, getting to hear their voices, give them hugs, laugh over silly jokes, and sing songs together. I had never been to an in-person craft retreat before I headed to Kansas in June. I went to the Whatever Craft House at the invitation of Kelly Bangs, as a member of her Illustrated Faith Creative Team. She and her bestie, Paula G., had the desire to pull together all of the ladies on Kelly’s various creative teams, and allow them to meet in person, craft together, and relax for a weekend at one of the most perfect houses in the country. I was incredibly nervous to go. Like sick to my stomach nervous! (See my comment about social anxiety above.). I had never met any of these ladies in person, and I had the classic worries that they would find me boring or lacking in some way. What if I gave a bad impression and nobody wanted to talk to me?
Well, it turns out that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. These women were warm and welcoming. We were able to break the ice over a shared love of rainbows and vintage details. We all oohed and awed over each other’s craft projects all weekend long. Conversations came easily. This was a group of women from all over the country, different ages and different life stages. There were different views within the group of course, but there wasn’t any judgement. There was love and appreciation for the other women there. I left with my heart so very full! It turns out that in-person retreats do really make a difference. It can be expensive to travel of course, but I can guarantee that the Legistist Craft Retreat Evah certainly won’t be my last retreat!
As a result of hanging out with all of those amazing ladies in Kansas, I ended up joining the Fussy Cuttin’ Cuties. This is an online group run by Paula G and Kelly B that bonds over their shared love of crafting all the things and of course their love of the cute sayings that come from Paula G! This group has been around for about a year, and I had considered joining earlier, but something held me back. I was nervous about adding another project to my very full plate and feeling obligated to attend things that I didn’t have the time or energy for. It turns out that I completely missed the point! Yes, there are super cute printables and projects to do each month. Yes, there are online group activities that you are able to participate in on a regular basis. But, it isn’t about checking boxes and completing “assignments”. There is not grade at the end of each month. What you do find is a loving community of women. They post craft related content, but also share fun tidbits about their lives. They pray for each other and cry with each other when times are tough. They cheer on their fellow cuties who are stepping outside their comfort zones and starting new projects or new ventures. They laugh…a lot! I’ve only been in the group for a few weeks, and it has already brought me so much joy!
So, why am I sharing these things with you? First, I just wanted to put out my gratitude for these groups into the universe. It always feels so great to focus on the positive things that have happened in your life, and finding great friends is certainly something to celebrate! Secondly, I want to encourage you to put yourself out there and try to build some connections. I get the introverted thing, trust me. But, there is definitely something to be gained from connecting with others. And, personally, I feel like crafty people are the best people.
Keep it creative,
-The Scrappy Wife