Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Tags 2016

I recently read an article where Neuroscientists believe that forms of creativity are beneficial to your health.  Their reasoning is that while we are being creative our brains release dopamine, which is a natural anti-depressant.  Creativity usually takes concentration and it can lead to the feeling of a natural high. Many scientists believe that there is a link between creative activities and the ability to reduce cognitive impairment associated with aging.  Taking the time to activate creativity allows you time to de-stress and relax.  Research shows that creative practices improve depression, anxiety and coping skills while significantly reducing stress, which are all vital for brain health and well-being. Crafting can give you a sense of pride and achievement and teach you patience and perseverance.

I am clearly no scientist but my experience is that crafting is very relaxing.  My creative activities usually involve cross stitching, sewing (lately I've been learning to quilt), paper crafts and baking, but I am game to try anything.  I am not one to sit in front of the TV with idle hands, they must be moving, so I usually stitch if watching a movie. A date with a cup of tea, my corner chair and my latest cross stitch project is very therapeutic to me. I have to concentrate on my stitches and the pattern and soon the stress of everyday life has been dissipated for a while. I tend to believe what the scientists are saying!

The last few years I've been playing with paper; making cards, banners and tags. I make a different Christmas tag each year.  I know, they are not expensive to buy at Hobby Lobby but it's for my mental health, remember?!! This year my design inspiration was a Stampin Up! bird punch that I've had for a few years. I have bird feeders all over my backyard so it seemed rather fitting that I incorporate birds into my tags!

Paper projects are easily broken down into small steps so they can be done over a period of time.  I started my tags on Election night, using a punch to cut out the bird and branch while I watched the election results. One night after work, and using my Silhouette die cutter machine, I produced a bunch of plain white tags in my chosen shape. While watching football on Sunday I stamped them with written images, ran them through a snowflake embossing folder, and glued the birds and branches on them. Each step was easy and didn't take much time. And I'm sure my dopamine production was at high capacity!

I used my Silhouette machine to quickly cut out multiple tags.

Stamping the sentiments and drinking a latte!

Embossing adds texture to the tags.
Now I need to finish the gift wrapping!

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