Karen Thomas -A crafting spoonies guardian angel.

Its been just under 5 years since I was a diagnosed spoonie and its been a really hard slog. My physical degeneration has been hard but its the mental health that has hit me the most. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had times where I wanted an end. Crafting was a light, I saw a way to matter, to help my family but still my mind was low. I’d lost so many friends because I couldn’t face going out. I was happy to sit inside, in my PJs and watch the world go by. It wasn’t fun.

But then it changed ….. Just over a year ago I saw an advert for a new selling platform; Conscious Crafties. I’d already had 8 months of selling on Etsy but this advert said it was just for Spoonies and their carers. Didn’t see the harm in trying another selling place so I joined the waiting list. Not long after, I was invited to open my own shop there by this woman with the biggest smile on a profile picture and this cute little white dog. As I said, I’d already been selling on Etsy so I expected the same thing, open a shop and get on with it…….. How wrong was I?! 

Karen, this bubbly and happy lady guided me step by step through opening my store and then added me to the social group on Facebook. Suddenly my world went from this little house and my final few friends to a whole group of more people who wanted to help me succeed. Tips were flying all over the place, people cheered for you when you made a sale and at the head of it all was Karen. 

What you’re probably not aware of is that Karen does all this off her own back while fighting her body each and every day. She goes out of her way to help others, going without at times because she’s such a giving person she simply wants to help everyone. She has her own family, a supportive partner and that cute little white dog – her support dog Teddy who tells her when she’s pushed herself too far. Conscious Crafties was started as a memorial to her friend Sam who tragically died from her illness and Karen fights to raise awareness of her own and the other Spoonies illnesses as well as giving them a place to be part of society again, to feel helpful again and to have this HUGE online family who are there at any time of the day for anything you need (and it doesn’t need to be craft related).

Now let me guess…. You want to be part of this loving family? Well that’s easy! Pop to http://www.ConsciousCrafties.com and register for your own shop.

Not a spoonie or a carer but still want to help? You can raise funds for Conscious Crafties through easy fundraising too! 

I can’t wait for you to become part of the family and meet Karen – my online guardian angel.

Conscious Crafties

As those of you who follow my blog know, I have many conditions which hinder my ability for a normal life. For those who have got here as a one off, here’s my story. https://craftymillerjm.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/meet-crafty-miller/

Those with a chronic illness often fall into deep depression as you feel your body giving up on you. Having something to accomplish can help fight this black dog and for me it was crafting, every new item I finished gave my heart a surge. Eventually I realised I was not going to be able to work as I couldn’t predict how I would feel, or how my mobility would be day-to-day, I had to rely on benefits from the Government. However, this Government seems intent on attacking the benefits from those who need it, so I needed a way to make money while still protecting my health.

While trying to get advice from other crafters I found people who weren’t supportive of a newbie, demanding I change my prices as I was too cheap and ruining it for them, the “real” businesses. It was heart-breaking.

Then I found Conscious Crafties! Here’s some info on it –

About Conscious Crafties

Conscious Crafties is a handmade craft buying and selling community for creative people living with chronic illness, disability or caring for those affected. It’s built by a Spoonie for Spoonies.

How was the idea born?

Sam De La Querra, Gastroparesis and POTS warrior
My Beautiful Friend Sam

Hi there, I’m Karen and after becoming sick in 2011 almost overnight, I found my way to various support networks. I noticed that many of us turn to crafts to help distract from our illnesses and to feel useful again. Seeing so much untapped talent, the idea was born to create a community for everyone to showcase their work, in one place and give people a way of creating their own business. It was also a way for me to feel useful again, by using my skills to help others. Conscious Crafties is about empowering us all to be successful through our crafts, tell our stories and meet new like minded friends who understand our struggles. I’m also hoping it plays a key part in changing the way disabled/sick people are viewed by the world. We can still contribute and are incredibly talented!! Conscious Crafties has been built in honour of Sam, my beautiful friend I met through sickness and our love of crafts. Her strong fight with Gastroparethis and POTS sadly ended in Oct 14. Heartbroken, I knew then, after years of thinking about it, the idea for us all to sell our crafts within a supportive community needed to be launched, so it could help people now and give them hope for the future.

Stories are told:

As most of us feel unheard, each ‘Craftie’ gets to tell their story on the site to help spread awareness of our (sometimes invisible) illnesses. Stories appear in the ‘Meet the Crafties‘ page and also posted on Facebook and Twitter. We’ve gained a massive following on Facebook in such a short space of time (thank you everyone!) so our stories are seen by thousands. Our crafts are regularly shared through social networks and many of our Crafties have appeared in various online newsletters, all helping to increase sales whilst raising awareness. Every new Craftie also gets invited to our ‘Crafties Community’, a fun place to share crafts, selling tips and form close bonds with friends who understand our struggles.​

How to get involved

There is no joining fee or subscription, it’s free to list and when your item sells a small percentage is taken to keep the site running.
https://www.consciouscrafties.com/

I applied to join, there’s a waiting list as they’re so popular! 😀 Just after Christmas, I was allowed to join and I swear, it’s been the best I ever did. The support from the community is immense and Karen, who runs Conscious Crafties, is BEYOND helpful, going out of her way to help you list, to the best of your abilities.
Just look how good my shop looks thanks to her – https://www.consciouscrafties.com/Crafties/crafty-miller/

So if you’re a Spoonie, or support a Spoonie that needs to feel accomplishments, PLEASE, take the support that’s out there and come join the community.