Years ago, I opened Stained Splinters to design creative home decor and gifts that reflect simple beauty. The shop came to life after completing a bathroom renovation with my father. He was the knowledge and muscles while I had the vision, together we completed a total rustic-chic remodel. I loved it! He told me a few times after the reno was finished that I should start "decorating" because throughout the process he thought my design choices were a bit odd. Once he saw the finished product, he was pleasantly surprised. Through the process I also bought and learned how to use a variety of woodworking and construction tools, which I could now continue to put to good use.
I get a lot of splinters but this is a small price to pay since sawdust is my favorite scent! I also love the variation and texture of different species of wood and all they lend to the creative process. A heavily sanded piece with lots of knots, dents and bruises makes me smile. My ultimate goal was to have my customers open a piece they ordered from me and smile.
However, after a short time, my little dream was shattered. My health began to deteriorate. It started with my stomach, then my joints and muscles. And, without any good explanation, I suffered hearing loss. I didn't really know what was happening at the time. I just knew that I could no longer yield a circular saw or guide a hand sander.
For a long time, the doctors had no real answers. My ENT tod me the bone in my ear which conducts sound was "frozen" - calcified. After 5 surgeries to remove tissue and a couple of organs affected by "calcification", the doctors were still clueless.
Needless to say, with all that was happening medically, I spent a lot of time feeling worried, sad, frustrated, angry, and tired - I was so tired. My mood suffered, my relationships suffered. My work suffered. I was a mess.
It didn't take long for my creative bone to also freeze. I didn't have the time, strength or mental clarity to work on a project. I didn't even have the desire to. Depression had crept its way in.
Finally, in 2019, I went to UCLA where a fantastic doctor was able to identify and explain most of what was going on with me. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and what he calls, Connective Tissue Disease. Two autoimmune diseases.
For me, the news brought relief. I had spent so long trying to fight a ghost. Now, I had something to swing at. We came up with a treatment plan and started working toward making life liveable again. The right prescriptions, a lot of rest, and understanding my limits did wonders for me.
I still can't work on projects exactly the way I'd like to, but I can do more than I could before.
I learned a lot through my journey. First, I learned that a good doctor can make all the difference. More importantly, I learned that I am stronger and can endure so much more than I ever thought I could. My most valuable lesson, though, was that I need to fight for me. I need to advocate for my own health and well-being. I need to make sure my voice is heard and my needs are met. I can't take, "I don't know" or "No" for an answer when I know in my heart there's more to it.
Now, I take the time to "smell the sawdust" - slowing down to allow my mind and body to heal through mindfulness and moments of quiet.
I know that when I am relaxed and centered and my pain is well-managed, I can better serve my family and friends. I can be the best version of myself that I can be.
The rebirth of Stained Splinters is happening as a mission to remind everyone to stop and smell the sawdust. Take time to calm your mind and ease the stress of everyday life.
Crafting is a form of meditation that can be a daily way to minimize the effects of stress in your life. So, I have curated or procured a variety of easy, fun crafting projects. Even the busiest person can take the time to complete these calming creations since everything you need is included in each kit.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me. Be sure to follow me on social media for daily affirmations, insight into new releases or just to say hello.