For followers (thank you for stopping by :-)) of this post, you know I have touched on some darker points of living with ASD lately. While I am sure the topics are unpleasant and unpopular, I do feel they are necessary to bring up.
With this post, I want to talk about a lighter topic: stretch cord jewelry making.
Since February 2015, I have decided to pursue an interest of mine: making jewelry. There was plenty of room for doubt. I have fine-motor skill issues. I wondered if a jewelry starter kit would be a waste of time and money, however, I decided to spend $10 at Michael’s and give it a try.
It turned out that while I couldn’t get the hang of bending metal or attaching clasps and jump-rings, I could string beads. I branched out to buying beads with larger hole openings (1 mm or more) and used stretch cord, which is flexible and perfect for my gross motor skills to handle.
There were the frustrating moments where I yelled and swore at the bracelet that snapped and sent beads all over the room. There was the nagging accusation of the devil saying “You can’t do it! You can’t do anything right!” While I was tempted to give up, I took breaks and kept coming back to beading.
The family member I live with helped me to acquire more material from Michael’s. Now I am obsessed with beading. At first, I beaded all day. Then, after running out of material too quickly, I began to pace myself.
I am selling the finished products locally with help from a local business owner as well as keeping a few (like the bracelet pictured) for myself and giving them as gifts. Most importantly, I am having FUN and keeping occupied.
There is something very soothing to creating patterns and stringing the beads.
You might wonder what the extra string on the bracelet is. That is the “umbilical cord” of extra stretch cord that I leave on until the glue on the final knot dries. Then, if it’s good to go, I snip the ends off.
I find it very important being anxious and limited by sensory issues and difficulty communicating in real time, to be able to lose myself in a special interest, especially during a inhospitable February where frigid temps made sledding and outdoor photography impossible.
The only hazard I think it is important to mention is pace. Don’t go at your special hobby too fast or for so long you forget or choose not to sleep or eat.
What is a special interest that you or someone with ASD you know you have that doesn’t cost a lot of money and you might find at a craft store such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby? Painting, scrap-booking, knitting or wood working? There is an ability level and price range for virtually everything.
I should add that the pursuit of profit shouldn’t be a driving motivator. Having fun, staying occupied and relaxing should be. Happy crafting!