As some of you may or may not know, I struggle with depression. As does much of the population. I have always managed it without medication because first, it’s not so bad as to require it in my opinion, and second, side effects are nasty business. Quite by accident I discovered something that helped me get through these times and found a way to stay productive even when I’m down. (Because above all, I MUST be productive.) Thankfully, I stumbled into woodworking. It all started a couple years ago when we bought an old RV, gutted it and I rebuilt the inside having no clue what I was doing. I found out I LOVED it. I built upper hanging cabinets, beds with under storage, a desk, bookshelf, all custom fit to the RV. I even laid real hardwood floors while hubby ripped off the roof and rebuilt that. The adventure we intended to go on with that RV is another post all together. But the best thing I got from it was discovering a new hobby that I love with a passion. And one that saves me from “the blues” turning into weeks of dragging sadness.
Since moving to Utah and buying a fixer upper here, I’ve been able to really go nuts with the woodworking. I’m getting ready to build a wall to create a third bedroom. I’ve built a coffee table,with matching end tables,
a console table, a see saw for my nephews, and most recently a kitchen table. I learned with this table that you can stain wood with coffee. Safe and non toxic for kitties and kids alike. Soon I’ll be tackling new chairs for the table.
Everything I make is rustic and pioneer looking. Pa Ingalls would be proud. In my mind I’m drawn to the Depression era but in my furniture preferences, I’m drawn to the turn of the century, claim staking, cabin style. It’s all heavy and sturdy and will last a lifetime. My goal? To have everything in my house hand built by me. I want people to walk into my house and step back in time 100 years.
As far as balancing my two passions, (writing and woodworking) I’m rather compulsive but at the end of the week it all works out. I’ve always dreamed of doing both in one day. Write in the morning and build something in the evening. But because of my compulsive nature, it has yet to work that way. I’m still trying though. What I do when I feel the blues coming I will build like a maniac for three or four days. Then my arms are sore, I’m tired of sanding and I’m in better spirits. So I sit down and write like a maniac for awhile. Back and forth it goes. Although I have to say that writing get at least 70% of my attention and woodworking gets the rest. Of course it’s alot faster to put a table together than a book so I’d say it’s balanced pretty well.
I should say here that I am not always depressed when I build. Sometimes I am so drawn to a project or I find there is a need for something, (like a bigger table for Thanksgiving, or super sweet nephews having a birthday) I’ll dive in and bust out a project just for the sheer love of it. But when I catch myself feeling down, when I wake up with a dark cloud over me and find myself giving long sighs staring out the window or just not able to smile easily, I’ll break out the chop saw and wood screws. Works every time.