“So, how did it go?” Twosocks asked after I tapped him on the shoulder. For the past three hours, he had been sitting by the window of One Fifteenth Coffee with his laptop and the café’s spectacular coffee while I spent my time upstairs making paper flowers.
Yes, paper flowers.
Earlier that week, I received an invitation for the first bloggers gathering of one of my favourite blogs, Living Loving. Of course I said yes, I love the blog’s focus on highlighting local creative products and its unique ‘One Day In’ travel features and I have been enjoying meeting bloggers offline. However, unlike most bloggers gathering where people come to talk, Nike and Miranti of Living Loving decided to bring people together in their Afternoon Delight event by learning to make something new. In this case, paper flowers.
I proudly showed him my two crepe flowers, one in cloudy pink and another in soft lavender, nestled in a clear glass bottle. He clapped, knowing that I was quite nervous when I left him for the event that took place on the café’s second floor. After all, the last time I touched crepe paper was for a school assignment in junior high and my clumsy fingers have failed me in dozens of craft-related attempts.
“It was challenging, I am not going to lie,” I said while making myself comfortable on a wooden stool and stealing some sips from his cup. “But it was lovely.”
Crafting is so out of my comfort zone, so alien, that I felt lost when we started. My hands started sweating when the instructors, Amesh and Chia from Workshop in a Box, showed us the paper flowers they pre-made. My knees started tingling when they said that we were going to make two of them. Those flowers look so beautiful, so intricate, I was overwhelmed with the idea of making them from scratch. I looked at the stack of crepe papers, masking tapes, rulers, scissors, pencils, and wires, feeling quite helpless.
When the instructions started, I felt a bit more at ease since Amesh and Chia broke down the steps into manageable small tasks. I was slow, though, so I struggled to keep up. Being a planning freak, I also tried thinking a few steps ahead. When I started tracing the petal shapes on the crepe paper, my brain told me to remember that I have to cut them next, curl them with my scissors, take another stack of paper, trace another step… so of course I felt like drowning. I decided to let go, to just focus at one step at a time and ask for help to remember the next step. As I started focusing on one task at hand, little by little I felt less like drowning and more like floating. Instead of just struggling to keep up, I started noticing things around me.
Like the paradox of crepe paper – it is strong enough to hold against the scissor blades we used to tease them to curl yet is so delicate it ripped with the slightest pressure from my forefinger. Like the way the afternoon sunlight bounced off the apothecary bottles holding a few flowers at the middle of the large wooden table, so exquisitely arranged I literally gasped when I first saw them. Like the women around me, who were as enamoured by their craft as I was. I noticed Nyanya’s perseverance, she wouldn’t give up although the crepe petals kept falling apart when they were twirled against the wire stem. I noticed Puri’s bubbliness, she kept chatting while crafting and cheerfully helped me when I, repeatedly, got confused. I noticed Vero’s creativity, she quietly picked a bright red paper while the rest of us followed the instructors’ direction to take the pink one. Her flower stood out, beautifully. These are the things I might notice less of, had we been talking instead of making something together.
As much as I noticed things, my clumsiness did not allow me to multi-task. I did not get to talk to my new acquaintances as much as I would like – I am actually very curious to know stories behind their brilliant creative ideas – but there is always next time. After deciding to take crafting one small step at a time, I prepared double of anything instructed because I knew that I would need back-ups when I screwed up at a critical stage. When I did screw up, at several critical stages, I was glad for the extra roll of fringed crepe and the back-up purple petals. In the end, I exhaled happily. I did it – I made two paper flowers, and they were lovely.
“Crafting reminds me a bit of traveling. You know how people say that the best part of traveling is in the journey, not the destination? The same applies to crafting, I think. I started relaxing when I focused on the petals instead of obsessing over the full bloom. The process allowed me to enjoy myself and notice things around me, so I arrived at the end goal feeling happier for the whole experience,” I said, watching the setting sun casting its glow on my pink and lavender paper flowers. “It’s a good reminder to be mindful of the small things in our daily lives.”
Twosocks took back his coffee cup from my hands and nodded, his expression full of mischief. “I think it’s good that you got out of your comfort zone. You’ve become wiser, my friend.”
I grinned at him, a Cheshire kind of grin. “I am actually glad you said that. Since crafting is not your comfort zone either, I’ll sign us up for a crafting workshop the next time we travel.”
The afternoon ended with Twosocks choking on his last sip of coffee.
PS: This is not a sponsored post. I was invited to the event but the story is my own, written to share what I reflected upon during the event.
P.P.S: The last photo is a regram from @livinglovingnet.Thank you for inviting me to your lovely Afternoon Delight, Nike and Miranti!