She’s stamped up in Black Hybrid ink on top of the Down To The Last Cup background, again with the help of a MISTI to make sure she got a good coverage. The only spot of colour I added was to the flower in her hair and her lips. I used a few Copics, R59, R37, R35 and Y17 plus a little bit of E37 for the middle of the flower for these bits.
It wouldn’t be a good release without some flowers though, would it? The Watercolor Roses hits the spot and as an extra bonus, it has a coordinating diecut too (THANK YOU!!! Sincerely from a non-fussy cutter)
I’ve done one Watercolour Roses with Copics, and one with water colours. The Copic coloured one is definitely more dramatic, which totally pleases my Inner Drama Queen.
For the card, I used the coordinating diecut on both the coloured image and also on some textured gold card stock. These two are layered up with foam tape to give texture and dimension. The background is super simple, as the flowers were demanding all the attention.
I used soft pinks and peachy colours for the roses to begin with, but when they dried it was too soft. To fix this I added a hot pink colour in select places to add contrast and depth.
The background is done by heat embossing the Watercolor Roses on opposite corners of the background, in Opaque Bright White this time. The white on white gives a little bit of interest to an otherwise plain background. The other upside of doing this is that it does detract from the coloured roses.
I used the Fancy Friendships Sentiments again, only a different saying and in Black Hybrid ink, and used the coordinating diecut again. This one was also adhered across the flowers, which had been adhered with liquid glue, rather than foam tape this time.
That’s it from me for today, but I will be back later this week with more cards and inspiration! You can also find a video over on my YouTube channel HERE.
I have used compensated affiliate links in this blog post, for your convenience, at no extra cost to you whatsoever. If you shop using these links I get a small commission from the company directly, in this case mostly Picket Fence Studios and it doesn’t add a single penny to your cost. All the earnings I get from these links go directly back into the running of my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram plus all the usual crafting shenanigans. Thank you so much if you chose to support me by using my links, I really appreciate it more than you will ever know!
Today’s post is an exciting one: it’s my first release blog hop as a design team member for Pinkfresh! *insert giddy dance here*
Unsurprisingly, it’s another fabulous release and full of fun products. If you remember the washi tapes with coordinating dies and stamps from earlier release, they now also come with layering stencils, in case the washis aren’t for you. How cool is that??
I went with a very different colour scheme compared to the Anemone Magic washi tape. Mostly to show how versatile the products are, and how you get gorgeous results every time. The coordinating dies make cutting them all out quick work too.
I used the same Rose Gold embossing powder on an entire panel and then used the Stitches cover plate to add texture to it. This card was inspired by the wallpaper in my little sister’s bedroom, which later became our mother’s sewing room in our childhood home.
A few… or maybe a good sprinkling of the Espresso Jewel finished the card off. Because it wasn’t shiny or sparkly enough with all that embossing powder, clearly.
Right in the middle I stamped one of the sentiments in Black Ink, to make it stand out. It’s such a lovely one too. Who wouldn’t love getting a card with that message on it?
To finish this card I used the Diagonal Stitched Plaid cover plate on white card stock. I could have left it like this, but no. So to add more interest, I made Fresh Pear coloured card stock by dabbing the ink pad on white card stock and then I cut that with the Slim Stripes dies. These I adhered to the card, drew a thin black line on them and then popped up the flowers with a bit of foam tape on top.
Naturally I could not resist the lure of those gorgeous Stargazer Jewels, so I added a few of those too. You can get these in a box with 12 different colours too, and now also individually.
I have made more cards, but as it’s a blog hop I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I have also used compensated affiliate links in this post, mostly to Pinkfresh Studios, at no extra cost to you, for your convenience. Thank you if you shop using my links, I can’t even tell you how much it means to me.
GIVEAWAYS: Pinkfresh will be giving away the full release on the Pinkfresh blog & YouTube channel, so you are going to want to comment on those posts and video for sure!
-We will be giving away a total of TEN $25 gift cards along the hop. As per usual with blog hops – the winners will be picked from the comments, so the more you hop comment, the bigger chance of winning!
All winners will be announced on August 3 , 2021 on the Pinkfresh Studio GIVEAWAY PAGE. Please note that it’s up to you to check that page & claim your prize within 2 weeks, if you win.
As much as I love colouring (she says whilst the inner child is jumping around with joy) sometimes I just don’t have the time or the energy to colour, but I still want colour on my cards. What a conundrum, right? This is where ink blending comes to the rescue and oh, how I love that technique too! It’s one of my go-to for a blast of colour FAST!
It’s fun, fresh, and you can mix and match colours to suit occasions, themes and preferences of the recipient of the card. What’s not to love?
If you don’t want glitter card stock, you can add Clear Gloss on top for shiny card stock. Super simple and high impact! Plus it’s quick and easy to make more when you run out. Win-Win!
Other ways of adding interest to an ink blended background is to splatter some water, coloured or gold water colour, shimmer sprays, white paint or something like Distress sprays. I’m particularly loving gold splatters myself. It’s such a simple, yet wow-factor way of adding a little something extra.
The second card was done in a similar fashion, with the same colours on the background, including the gold splatters. This is the one I used that second shimmer card stock for, and I used the Scarecrow diecut again. I also cut out the word BOO with the Seeing Double Alpha dies.
Instead of gold splatters on the first one, I opted for black and yellow by using Distress Oxide sprays in Mustard Yellow and Black soot. I tried to not overdo it, but I think a few more wouldn’t have been amiss.
Once that was dry, I cut out the scarecrows and again, adhered it straight to the background with the Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive. For the second card, I also cut out the word BOO with the Seeing Double Alpha dies from the shimmer card stock made with the Paper Glaze.
With four cards in total done, all that was left to do was adhered them both to a card base and that’s it. What do you think? Not a bad pop of colour for no-colouring cards, right?
I am working on a YouTube video for these as well, it’s very long at the moment so I’m thinking of doing one full-length version and one more condensed, so you can chose which one you want to watch. Keep an eye out on my YouTube channel and click that notification button so you don’t miss any uploads!
Lots of the goodies for these cards are from Picket Fence Studios, and the rest are from various online shops. I have used compensated affiliate links in this post, for your convenience, at no extra cost to you. Any earnings I get from these go towards paying for things like blog hosting, technology faff-stuff, import duties and new stuff to keep things fresh, fun and free for you! Thank you so much for supporting me while shopping using these links, I really appreciate it!
You can find me on various social media platforms if you want to see more of my work, click the links below and click follow or subscribe to come along on more crafty shenanigans adventures! Instagram YouTube Facebook
Below you can find affiliate links to Ellen Hutson, as well as some suitable alternatives to the products used for these cards.
Today is no ordinary day, it’s my first official blog post for Pinkfresh Studio and I’m popping in here too, because why not?
In case you haven’t seen it yet, the challenge graphic for the month of July is lovely and the theme is Butterflies. If you make a card for this challenge, make sure to link it up on the Pinkfresh monthly challenge blog post as you can win a $50 gift card!
The PostIt tape actually added to the pattern on this stencil though, so it worked but I’m still scouring the web for more of that stuff. It’s a total must have.
When it came to the butterflies, I couldn’t stop at just one or two. It seemed kinda crazy to not play while I had all my stuff out.
And did I play or what? I seem totally incapable of making just ONE card or ONE thing when I’m crafting. Things have a tendency of spiralling out of control more often than not. The result is always a total and utter craftermath… and sometimes a couple of cards and LOTS of spare bits and bobs.
All are inkblended with the help of the layering stencils, using various of the colours from the challenge graphic, and all are cut out using the coordinating diecut. Some are heat embossed with Gold Rich from WOW! Embossing, and my two favourites were the big Butterflies with the gold and the single colour, the yellow one is obviously Sweet Mustard and the other one is Coral Reef. That was a bit surprising to me, but that’s what one of the fun things with playtime and trying things out. You never know what you are going to end up with!
That’s the card done, and now it’s your turn! Make a card with the challenge graphic as inspiration and link up your project on the Pinkfresh Studio blog for your chance to win a $50 gift card!
As always, I have used some compensated affiliate link in this post, at no extra cost to you whatsoever! If you shop using these links I get a small commission from the company directly, and bonus, it doesn’t cost you anything extra at all. Any earnings I get from these links go directly back into the crafting shenanigans over here at CaCaCraft by Erica. Including the boring stuff like paying for blog hosting, upgrades, themes and all that stuff that unfortunately cost a lot of money. I couldn’t do it without your help so thank you so much for the support, I really appreciate it a lot more than I could ever express with words.
p.s. I also want you to know that the Card Maker Success Summit is coming up, and Pinkfresh Studio is one of the sponsors of the event. The mission of the summit is to help you get a game plan for your holiday card making project. I’ll be speaking on Friday the 16th of July about using Paper Glaze to add fun and unique shimmer to your cards. Get all the details and grab your free ticket here!
The event is free, all you have to do is SIGN UP and mark your calendar. The summit is on for FOUR days! There are 25+ classes and some of my crafty friends are taking part as well, such as -Verity Biddlecomb -Natasha Davies -Jo Herbert -Justine Hovey -Laurel Beard
You can also sign up for the VIP All-Access Pass at the early bird price of $59, until the 14th, and with that you can start watching the classes right away! You also get over $2000 worth of extra content, including classes, svg cut files and digi stamps amongst other! It’s such good value for money, and you can watch the classes over and over and over!
As some of you might have already seen, or heard about, I’ve joined the Pinkfresh Studio design team for the rest of the year! I’m SUPER EXCITED about this as I’m such a huge fan of Pinkfresh Studio!
Pinkfresh Studio run monthly challenges, both for the scrapbooking side of things and the card making side of things, so no matter what your preferred way of crafting and creating is, you can join in!
For the month of July the theme is ‘Butterflies’, and you can interpret that however you like. Below you can see the challenge graphic, maybe glean some inspiration from that or just let your creativity loose and see what happens!
For my card, I decided to first make a flowery background, something for the butterflies to be attracted to, so to say.
To keep the card cohesive, I used a heat embossed sentiment from the Perfect Sentiments set. I made a ton of these as the stamp set is so clever, and you get the whole bunch in one go. The coordiating diecut for these is equally brilliant!
That’s my card for the challenge, and over on my Instagram you can find a reel for this card too. Or, well, you would have, if I hadn’t managed to delete it, like a total IDIOT!!!
Now it’s your turn! Hop on over to the Pinkfresh Studio blog and enter your card in the July challenge for a chance to win a $50 gift voucher to the shop!
I have used compensated affiliate links throughout this post, for your convenience, at no extra cost to you. If you shop using these links, I get a small commission from the company it’s linkted to, and it doesn’t cost you a single penny/cent/öre/ruble extra. Any earnings I get from these links go directly towards the running of my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram. If you are shopping anyway, I’d be so grateful if you’d chose to support me by using mine.
Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica
PS There is still time to sign up for the Card Maker Success Summit! You can attend it completely free, and watch all the presentations for 24hrs after they have gone live. If you want to get a whole load of extra content, I’d highly suggest you sign up for the VIP All-Access Pass! Currently the total value of the VIP All-Access Pass surpasses $2000, and there is more content being added all the way up until the summit kicks off on July 14th! It’s yours for $59, or if you sign up within 15 minutes of clicking the link it’s only $39!!
It’s four days of Christmas In July EXTRAVAGANZA, you are not going to want to miss it! Sign up now by clicking HERE!
Back in June my friend Maria Willis, AKA CardBomb, and I hosted a YouTube video hop together, celebrating (a bit early) reaching 2.5K subscribers each. At the time of the hop, neither one of us had actually made it there, and we are still a bit short. We are also very late with the winner announcements. Apologies about that, life happened at a rapid pace for both of us and we couldn’t get it done in time.
If you missed the Rainbow themed video, and the entire hop, you should definitely check it out as we roped in some of our fabulous crafty friends to hop along with us!
For that video I only managed one card, but of course it was a sparkly-licious rainbow card! It was so fun to make and I love that extra pop of the sparkle on the rainbow. If you want to read all about it, you can find that BLOG POST HERE.
For this video I decided to use another mix of sponsors, to highlight them a bit too. They so generously offered prizes and the hop would definitely not have been the same without them.
The first card I made with a gorgeous stencil from Gina K Designs, called Mandala Burst. Stencils are one of my fave items to work with, they are so versatile and affordable! After spraying the stencils with Pixie Spray, I set those aside to cure for a few minutes (this is a critical step, do not skip this!) while I got out the rest of the stuff I wanted to use.
A sentiment from the Thinking Of You stamp set, the coordinating stamps to the word die, was stamped up in black ink on white card stock and trimmed down. This was addhed to the card, and the word die right underneath it. With that, the first card was done. Without a single sequin on it too!! Whaaaaa??
The second card was done with a rainbow stencil from Erin Lee Creative. This one was part of a kit, and isn’t available now, BUT she has a load of other super fun rainbow stencils and rainbow dies. You defintely want to check out her shop and support a small business!
Instead of ink blending, I used my beloved Paper Glazes from Picket Fence Studios. I absolutely LOVE these, not only are they fun to play with but they look fan-freaking-amazeballs-tastic too. That shimmer and shine is enough to mesmerize me, every time!
I used the same stitched rectangle die on this panel and then it was simply finished off with a sweet sentiment in black ink. The one I chose is from a Gina K Design stamp set, called Watercolor Flowers. Super simple, but with a pop of colour and a sweet sentiment, you don’t need much else sometimes.
Some compensated affiliate links have been used in this post, for your convenience, at no extra cost to you. Any earnings I get from these links go directly back into the running of my blog, Instagram and YouTube channel so thank you so much if you chose to support me by shopping with these links. I really appreicate it!
After letting this dry a little, I used an anti-static tool all over the panel before popping it into my MISTI. As I wanted to heat emboss the My Sweet Petunia stamp over it, I am so glad I had the MISTI on hand. NO waaaaaay I would have been able to get it right with a stamping block.
That gold goes so well with the colours, but then it does work with everything in my opinion. I love this gold, it’s so classy and elegant. Apparently there wasn’t enough gold on it already though, so I splattered some gold water colours, from the Gansai Tambi Starry Colors palette, all over it as well.
Sentiments wise I didn’t want to take away too much from the flowers, so I kept it simple with a sentiment from the Here For You set, stamped up in Sweet Petunia Pink, on a slim banner.
Well, that’s it from me for today but I hope you enjoyed this and if you wanted to get a few of these yummy goodies for yourself, I have used compensated affiliate links in this post. If you shop using these links, I will get a small commission directly from the company at ZERO extra cost to you! Yes, that’s right. It’s basically a win-win! Any and all earnings I get from these links go directly back into the running of my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram, so THANK YOU if you chose to support me by using these links. I really appreciate it so much!
I have made a video of some of the colouring and the techniques I used for the whale, it’s coming to the Picket Fence Studios YouTube channel soon. Make sure you subscribe to that so you don’t miss it.
Next up we have More Of A Fishy Lot. These mermaids were so fun to colour! I’ve tried making each one a little bit different, almost like a personality, but still keeping them cohesive. I’m super happy there is a coordinating dieset for this one too!
This next mermaid, Mermaid Dear, is from the ‘Dear’ range and this one is so sweet! I coloured her with Zig Clean Colour markers and added Liquid Pixie Dust to the mermaid tail to make it sparkly. Sadly it doesn’t show up in the photo.
This is another one of those sets I’m super happy to have coordinating dies for. I’m pretty sure more than one frog would lose his legs if I attempted fussy cutting these guys!
If you aren’t into sea creatures, do not worry! There are plenty of land creatures in this release too. Just look at these guys from the Forest Critters Stopping By To Say Hey! There are even wild boars in it! I attempted to colour them as closely as I could to the ones I used to see all the time, whilst living in Poland.
There are lots of little pairs in this set, and a couple of trios, like mama, papa and a baby. Luckily there are coordinating diecuts for these too.
The background has been ink blended very softly with blue, and then I have stencilled over some Snowdrop White Paper Glaze with a blender brush for a soft look. As soon as I finished with the Paper Glaze, that brush was washed to avoid ruining it.
I will have a video up on my YouTube channel soon too, showing off the entire release and some of the cards up close.
That’s it from me for today, thanks for stopping by and I hope I have tempted you to get a little something-something for yourself. I have used compensated affiliate links in this blog post, for your convenience. These links do not cost you anything extra at all, and I get a small commission from the company directly as a thank you for directing you to them. Any earnings I get from these links pay for things like running my blog, YouTube channel and keeping things fun and fresh for you, so thank you if you shop using these. I really, really appreciate the support!
Today’s post is a little celebration for myself and a dear crafting friend, Maria Willis, for sort of reaching a milestone of 5000 subscriber combined. I didn’t quite make it to the 2.5K subscribers as I had hoped, as I haven’t been so active recently due to a stressful family situation. If you haven’t heard anything about it, my FIL is not doing well and will have a very risky operation on Monday, after over a month in hospital. The Man flew out this morning and it was quite stressful and hectic to get it all sorted and organised. Hecking pandemic, eh??
If you want to skip right to the hop, start over at Maria’s YouTube video, and go from there. I am the last stop on the loop, but if you want to go to my video, you can click on THIS LINK to get there.
Life is tough at times and I think it’s important to celebrate and cherish the happy times as you never know when the tide will turn. Hence this little hop! Maria and I roped in some of our crafty friends to make the hop bigger than just two stops, and you are not going to want to miss their projects! The full hop list can be found below, and we also have some super generous companies sponsoring prizes for a massive giveaway to celebrate us.
I have a couple little projects to share today, and as the theme for the hop is ‘Rainbow’ I’ll start with that one:
Once they were all colourful and pretty, I glued them down with the Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive onto the second, intact, rainbow, and this in turn was adhered to another piece of card stock for sturdiness. The excess was trimmed off with scissors. I needed it very sturdy as I wanted to heat emboss Halo Glitter Powder from WOW! Embossing on top for shimmer.
This process is very simple: dab your embossing ink pad all over the rainbow, make sure it’s nice and juicy first though. Then sprinkle the Halo Glitter on top and set that with your heat tool. The simmer is insane and I love it!
Unfortunately I made a boo-boo with the hearts, so I HAD TO bring out the sequins to cover that up. Had to. There was simply no other option. I added a few… -ish… to the card, these are Sparkling Clear from Pretty Pink Posh, and they are adhered with Nuvo Deluxe adhesive. It’s become my new staple in liquid adhesives arsenal.
It’s coloured very simply with some copics in yellows and greens, and a tiny bit of purple on the stamens. The coordinating diecut was used to cut it out, as well as another two layers. These three pieces were adhered together with more of that Nuvo Deluxe adhesive. This is such a clever way to add some interest to clean and simple cards!
It was trimmed down to a mini-slimline size, this one is just a tad bigger than 3”x6” and the scalloped black card base was cut out using the Scallop Frame Slimline Diecutting System from Picket Fence Studios. I customised the size by running the diecut and the card stock through my diecutting machine twice to get the scalloped frame and the correct size.
The sentiment is from the Pressing Thoughts stamp set, and the ‘thanks’ was stamped directly onto the background and the ‘for everything’ was done on a slim strip of card stock. This was adhered with a little bit of foam tape to make sure it didn’t sag on the sides. And that was it!
Well, that’s it from me for today but I really hope you enjoyed this post and will get a chance to hop along with us over on YouTube! That’s where you need to leave your comments to be in with a chance to win one of the fab prizes. We can not thank the sponsors of this hop enough!
I have also used some compensated affiliate links in this blog post, for your convenience and at no extra cost to you, in case you want to shop! If you shop using my links I get commission directly from the company, and as I mentioned, it doesn’t cost you anything at all. This is a great way to show support for your favorite content creators.
Thank you so much for stopping by, and if you want to get hopping, the full hop list is down below. I’m 100% sure it will blow your mind so don’t miss it!!
May is the month of Mental Health Awareness and it’s high time that the stigma around mental health is removed, so that everyone who has been affected, and WILL BE affected, can get treatment.
Unfortunately mental health issues are so very common, as many as 1 in 5 are suffering from some form of if, from phobias, to anxiety, to eating disorders, to panic attacks, to OCD, to chemical imbalances just to mention a few. The umbrella that covers mental health issues is a very, very big one and it’s sadly very underfunded.
Over on Instagram there is a hop going on now, where lots of crafty people are banding together to spread awareness and hopefully help others feel less alone in their struggles with mental health. You can find the hop by following this graphic.
Today’s post is very uncomfortable, probably for you as a reader and me for talking about difficult stuff and I’d like to make a trigger warning announcement right now: I’ll be talking about bullying, and the resulting issues that comes with that. I’ll also be talking about my struggles with depression and obsessive compulsive tendencies. As I have never been diagnosed officially with OCD I’m going to call it ‘my obsessive compulsive tendencies’ rather than actual, diagnosed OCD.
I also made a video, and I ask that you be kind when you watch it. Anyone who leaves a negative or derogatory comment will be permanently banned from my YouTube channel. It took a lot of courage to share all this, and it’s only part of it. There is so much more, and I simply will not let anyone shame me, or anyone else, for sharing what they have/are going through.
My story is complicated, and long. So long. From almost as early as I can remember I have felt anxious, painfully shy and different. As I started school, I almost immediately was singled out by ‘the popular girl’ and she made my life hell for nine straight years.
When I look back now, I realise that she wasn’t popular because she was nice, fun to be around and a lovely person. She was popular because of her family’s social standing in the village I grew up in, and she based her own self-importance on that, and she thought she was VERY important. In actual fact, she was mean, spoilt and downright nasty.
So much so, that one day her best friend decided to give her a taste of her own medicine and banded all of the other girls in the class together to freeze her out, like she had done to so many of us. I vividly remember that day, and when I was told she was crying in the bathroom after one day of being treated like i had been treated for years, I finally found the courage to tell my other classmates that I had spent many, MANY days crying in the bathroom because of her and her behaviour towards me. Clearly having had no idea about this, some were sympathetic but things didn’t really get much better after that. She got her power back and she kept on misusing it, even after feeling as bad as she made me feel. Even though for her, it was just for one day.
Having seen this, I shrank back even more and tried to make myself so small that she wouldn’t notice me, because surely she wouldn’t pick on me if she didn’t notice me? I also started having thoughts like ‘if I can make it to that spot before that car passes me, it will be ok today’. It’s funny when you look at things from an adult perspective, on things you didn’t understand as a child. Now it’s very obvious to me where a lot of my anxiety, insecurity and impostor syndrome come from, but back then? Those weird thoughts could induce a full-on panic.
On the way home from school I had to cross a river, and there were times I stood on that bridge watching the water flow wondering how long it would take to drown. Looking back on those days I am full of rage that someone managed to make me feel so worthless that I actually were thinking along those lines. The only reason I never did anything stupid like jumping the railing, with the intent of not coming back up, was fear it would hurt, love for my little sister, who was also bullied, and my cat.
It wasn’t until I started at a new school, and met new friends (who actually wanted to be friends with me!) that I started to find some confidence in myself and believing that maybe everything she had told me, sometimes on a daily basis, wasn’t true. I wasn’t stupid, I wasn’t fat and ugly, I wasn’t a waste of space, the clothes I wore didn’t reflect my value as a human being, etc etc.
It took a while, but as I spent a year in the US working as an au pair, I really found my feet and let my personality blossom. It turns out that I wasn’t half-bad, after all, people wanted to be friends with me and thought I was fun! Imagine that. After having spent so many years feeling so small and insignificant, it was truly wonderful and that year I spent in the US is still one of the best ones of my life.
After I got back to Sweden, my family unexpectedly imploded. I was 20, but all of a sudden I felt like I was 5. My father walked out on us, with very little indication of what he had planned, and left us in the dust to pick up the pieces. That was extremely traumatic and left us all shell-shocked. I didn’t know how to deal with the onslaught of emotions and responsibilities, so I ran. I’m not proud of it, but I ran. I packed my bags and left, never to move back to Sweden, ever again.
This sudden departure of my father left me with trust issues and a lingering depression, but luckily for me I met The Man that very same year and he did everything in his power to prove to me that he was staying, he was supportive, understanding and patient. Most of all, he simply loved me. Still to this day, some 20+ years later, he’s the same. He’s stood by me through all of my emotional wobbles, my manic cleaning and tidying episodes, all of my depression lows, all of my obsessive tendencies.
The cleaning thing he never really understood, and I have hidden some of the worst from him, which was easy at one point as he worked away from our home during the week and was only home on the weekends. As my trust in him was growing, I entrusted him with more and more of ‘my crazies’ as I call them. Whilst he doesn’t fully understand how cleaning and order could make me feel calm, and would mess with me by moving stuff, he accepts that it’s part of me.
When I have my depression lows, the first thing that goes is my personal hygiene. Gross as that is, it’s the truth. The next thing that goes is the need for cleaning. As I mention in the video, at one point the cleaning and the cleaning routines were almost the very thing that structured my day. I could feel it getting worse, but I also couldn’t see what the problem was with me wanting to have a clean and tidy home. As my compulsions grew stronger, my lists grew. I had one for things I had to do daily, another for weekly tasks, a third for things that needed to be done once a month, and lastly a list for things that only required doing every three months. These lists were laminated and I’d obsessively tick off the things I had done, and then calculate how long it would take me to achieve the rest. There were days where I had to stay up late to get it all done, but going to sleep without having ticked off all the things? Close to impossible.
My obsessive compulsive tendencies started out with a traumatic incident in my life, and ironically, it was another major tragedy that helped me overcome some of it. When we lost both of our dogs within six weeks of each other, I stopped functioning for a while. All I could do to get through the day was by one breath to the next, the grief was so bone deep and devastating that I felt like I was drowning in it.
It took me a little while to get my head above water again, and when I surfaced I realised a lot of time had passed and I had done absolutely no cleaning whatsoever. That need for it had disappeared almost like a switch had been flicked. Like my brain had short circuited and been somewhat reset. I couldn’t hear those voices telling me I ‘had to do this or that, this way, not that way’, over the deafening roar of heartache and grief. Those very voices that had made me believe that if I did what they said, nothing bad would happen. Well, talk about a wake up call that that was a big fat lie.
I still have some of these obsessive compulsive tendencies today, I’m not going to lie. I am a bit of a basket case some days, for sure. If I’m feeling stressed, anxious or sad I will very often clean and tidy stuff. I think the difference now is that those voices aren’t telling me something bad will happen or someone will die if I don’t do this, it’s almost like a trade ‘if you do this, I will tamp down on those anxiety feelings for you’. I don’t even know if that makes any sense to anyone other than me, but there you have it. It does help most of the time, and those times it doesn’t help, at least I will have accomplished something. That’s how I try looking at it these days.
For instance, recently I have had a lot of stress from a family situation, and at first it left me feeling like nothing matters so why bother? I spent three days on the sofa with my chicas and books, and then all of a sudden, I cleaned the kitchen until it was spotless. The next day I moved on to the bathrooms. We have two, so there is always something that can be done there. Admittedly, the levels of anxiety I have had about filming the video for this Mental Health Awareness hop, meant I needed to clean those bathrooms two days in a row, but ok. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the physical, as well as mental, tiredness I need, rather than the order? It’s really too bad I’m not focusing these energies on doing squats. I’d have buns of steel!
Like everyone else, my issues are very personal to me, and everyone is affected differently. Just because someone else has the same issue as you do, doesn’t mean it affects you both the same way, which is why understanding and acceptance are so important. By sharing my story, and opening the door to my inner crazy, I’m hoping that it will help someone out there feel less alone. Know that there are people out there who know what you are going through, and how you feel.
If you are struggling, please know that there is help. Know that people care. You are NOT alone. Ignore those voice that tell you it’s not worth it, why bother, nobody cares etc. They are wrong, they lie and they do not get to tell you you are not worthy, loved and needed in this world. You are not alone.
So much love, and big hugs if you made it all the way to this point.