Hands on the Monkey Wrench

Happy hands make happy days. I have been working on a quilt for over six years. I started it that long ago, back in 2010 when I lived in D.C.. All the blocks are sewn together, it’s the actual hand stitching that is so time consuming. This year I am going to finish it. That’s right. I’m going to finish a craft project. The quilt has sat forgotten in my closet amongst a heap of fabrics for various sewing projects that remain unassembled.

I liberated the quilt from its bin at the beginning of the month. To see it now, sitting out daily, is a reminder of a long term project I want to finish. My husband isn’t too happy though finding on the floor pins that secured the sandwich of layers.


Do What You Love and Love What You Do

Having realistic goals helps create direction in our lives and we feel a sense of accomplishment when we achieve the plans we set out to do. Our accomplishments then boost our confidence and happiness. Making things by hand deepens the sense of accomplishment. When you make something you feel productive. Creating with your hands is said to reduce stress and be mentally restorative. The process of making in activities like cooking, painting, or writing absorbs our attention and reduces self consciousness and rumination.

I love to sew. The act of line making with thread is very soothing, especially by hand. I have almost quilted one full monkey wrench block. Twenty nine more to go.


Listed as a secret to adulthood, Gretchen Rubin reminds us in her Happiness Project, “I can choose what I do, but I can’t choose what I like to do.”

She is telling us to be authentic in what we love and commit to it and make time for those things we love. I think this goes hand in hand with advice about goal setting. Goals should be our own and not what somebody else wants us to do. When we want it ourselves, we achieve it.

Spoiler Alert

I saw this idea reflected in How to Be Single, which was not a total romcom flop. Alice, played by Dakota Johnson, keeps trying to find a mate that is equally into the same thing she really digs–hiking the Grand Canyon. At the end we see her hiking by herself in a Cheryl Strayed kind of way or maybe she’s winking at her partner before the credits role. She kept putting off what she loved and dreamed about in exchange for a man or love. I love when Alice turns over a new leaf and just starts doing the stuff she really wants to do with no excuses. Like when she spontaneously goes to check out the Rockefeller Tree because it makes her happy.

I feel this happiness/ well-being project has helped me tune into what makes me feel alive. With continued effort I hope to invest more time into doing what I love, even if it means going solo or with strangers.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”-Henry David Thoreau

Apply Thoreau’s optimism to all your goals and you will be more likely to suceed. Just remember to be realistic. Small steps add up and feet turn into miles.

What’s one achievable goal you have this month?





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