Crafting Joy From Hardship

| By Meredith Ford

My name is Jessie and I love my husband, my family, my cats and crafting, in that order. Crafting is what fills my time. I started out making bows. Not hair bows, gift bows. The large kind that you’d put on a car. I worked at a party store when I was younger and learned how to create large bows for weddings, parties and gifts. I also learned how to make those giant balloon bouquets and arches and such. I loved working there. But my husband is in the military and we would move fairly often. So I started doing other crafts to fill my downtime after work. When I was healthy enough to work, that is.

You see, I was born with Cystic Fibrosis or CF. CF blocks the sodium chloride channels in our bodies, which basically means our bodies cannot break up the mucus our bodies create. In a CF body, that mucus can block the kidneys, liver, pancreas, even the nutrients from food causing these organs to not work correctly. Most people expect breathing problems with CF (which I have) but it also contributes to diabetes, liver disease, and IGA Nephropathy (which I also have). Because of CF I’ve had two double lung transplants – once in 2015 and again in 2017. But my body has rejected both of the transplants and therefore my lungs only use 1/5 of what they were capable of doing. So I’m back on oxygen and find that I’m tired a lot of the time and just don’t have the energy to go places anymore. A third transplant is not an option for me. This is why I am on palliative care.

When I became too sick to work is when I really started to get into crafting. Making jewelry was my “go to” for a long time, but then I started making wine charms. As I like to explain them, these are charms that go on your wine glass, so when everyone is tipsy, all you have to remember is what charm is on your glass! Mine is either a cat or hummingbird, ALWAYS. I sell sets under Charmed By Jessie at www.cbjwinecharms.com.

I also make lung key chains. The proceeds from these go towards making more key chains and I donate 100 of them each year to the Donor Network of Arizona. They are used as gifts for family members that have lost a loved one and donated their organs. Did you know every donor has the potential to save and heal up to 50 lives? For more information on organ donation visit https://www.donatelifeaz.org/

Embroidery is my newest passion and it has both helped my depression and my health. I have a great beginner embroidery/sewing machine which I highly recommend if you sew and want to try embroidery. I started out just embroidering pieces of fabric. Then I moved on to face masks and embroidering flour sack towels. Now I am up to embroidering on burp cloth (for cloth diapers), kitchen towels and making wristlets. My husband flies on the C130s here at Davis Monthan AFB and a few of his friends’ spouses have asked about C130 wristlets. Examples of Jessie's crafts

I even make cat toys! I put a bell and cellophane into a small pouch (which helps the bell not be so obnoxious; plus, the cellophane has that plastic, crinkly sound cats love). Then I put that pouch into a larger pouch along with catnip and sew them closed. The cats absolutely love them. You can check out videos of the cat toys in action, along with more details on my crafts by visiting my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CharmedByJessie/.

Back to Articles