Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Newsletter 2013

Welcome to 2013, Createability Team!

Createability Team was founded Oct 30, 2008 by a handful of Etsy sellers who came together in the old format of the Etsy forums who had one thing in common. Being disabled and caring for disabled family members. Since it's founding, members have joined and left the team and a few are smiling on us from Heaven. As a Team we have taught each other and the world that there are no limits, despite our limitations. Create + Ability = Createability! This award winning team exemplifies determination and warmth and unconditional acceptance. We are able to adapt to obstacles and circumstances that able bodied people cannot even imagine. That, my lovelies is what makes us incredibly special and unique. May this year be a wonderful one for us all and our families and friends. This is the first newsletter for this year and I think a superb collection of information. So get yourself a snack and a drink, get as comfortable as is possible and enjoy the show.


AT CindyBurkeOriginalsHandmade Beaded Jewelry on ETSY.

By TERESA CHIPPERFIELD fromwww.PhotosByChipperfield.Etsy.com1). Tell us a little about your life.
I have lived from coast to coast and in between during my life. Started out in Savannah, Georgia and lived in Illinois, North Carolina, California and Florida.
2). What is your philosophy about LIFE?
The three most important things in life are: relationships, relationships and relationships. I truly believe that!
3). Tell us a little about your creative process and what you love about being creative?
While I enjoy the blogging, search engine optimization, photography and listing process, making the jewelry is my favorite part. The first things are the steps I take to be successful in my “real life video game” called Etsy.
The creative part is when I get to play with beads and make beautiful things. And it’s also rewarding to learn new techniques. I feel more confident in my craft as my skills grow from practice.
4). What does being a member of the Createability team mean to you?
It’s a comfort to know that others are overcoming challenges in life as well. The team has so many wonderful artists who have dealt with what life has to throw at them and continued to pursue their art.
5). What is your favourite item in your Etsy Store right now?
I like this peach/pink pendant necklace because I think it is beautiful and it was a stretch of my skills to make the beading fall just right over the pendant.

6). What advice would you give to new Etsian?
My number one tip would be, “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” Take the time to browse Etsy and see how other sellers in your category handle policies and shipping, the way they stage photos, and their SEO, like tags and titles.
The greatest resource for you will be the Etsy Forums. Before asking for help, do a search. You’ll be surprised at all of the great information archived on the site!
7). What do you do in your spare time?
My husband and I are sci-fi/fantasy fans and we love to watch movies and read books in that genre. This year we made it to the sci-fi/fantasy convention DragonCon in Atlanta and had a blast!
8). What is your Greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement in life is raising two happy, well adjusted and successful young men. One is in Navy training school and the other is working in Charleston and getting married this year!
9). What is your Greatest extravagance?
Our greatest extravagance is taking several short trips a year - to the beach, to see family or (like DragonCon) to attend some event. We are living it up now because we don’t know whether my husband will be able to take many trips when we retire in about fifteen years. It all depends on the course that his multiple sclerosis takes.
I am happy to report that, at this point in time, he is doing quite well. And we are hopeful that we can influence the future course of his illness with diet, exercise and positive thinking!
10). Tell us 4 things about yourself that would let us peek into your world or that you think define you.
1) Never met a stranger.
2) Always have to have a project going.
3) Love to travel.
4) Internet addicted. J
11). Where do you see your life in 5 years.
I hope that five years down the line CindyBurkeOriginals will provide a steady income. To achieve that goal, I am learning as much as I can about making jewelry and working on diversity of prices and styles in the shop.

12). When you Die what would you like to come back as?
I don’t really want to come back. I’d rather be a guardian angel, looking on as my children and grandchildren live their lives!

Thank you so much Cindy for sharing some of your life with us ;)

Here are a few links where you can go and check out Cindy’s beautiful jewelry ;)



Book Suggestion

By Akua Lezli Hope
Crochet Saved My Life, The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Crochet by Kathryn Vercillo
Publication Date: July 1, 2012
ISBN/EAN13: 1478190450 / 9781478190455
Page Count: 304 pages, US Trade Paper, 6.69" x 9.61"

As creators, we all know that we have a special connection to our endeavors. There are many ways that we experience and express this connection – a a fondness, a like, a love, a passion. Another depth is described when we describe our creating as “life-saving”.

In this book KV shares her own story of crafting to heal through depression. She interviewed dozens of women who also shared their story about crafting to heal from a diverse array of conditions including anxiety, post partum depression, OCD, bipolar, schizophrenia, chronic pain conditions, Restless Leg Syndrome and more.

While it is oriented toward people who love to crochet, the methods of healing discussed in the book, such as mindfulness, can be achieved with other crafts, too. “It covers the entire aspect of how to heal by using other methods proven effective in many different conditions.”
Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:
“Crochet saved my life.
…Without it, I may not have lived.
… I had suffered with undiagnosed, sometimes debilitating, always untreated depression for nearly fifteen years. I didn’t know that depression was the problem and I certainly didn’t know how to deal with it. …
…All of this is to say that by the time that I reached the desperate stage of readiness where I would accept any help of any kind (despite feeling certain that nothing could ever help) the problem was nearly out of control. I was barely functioning. I cried most of the day every day. I could hardly move. I could hardly breathe. The idea of trying to make doctors’ appointments or hold down “real” jobs was so far-fetched it may as well have filtered into my mind in another language. I couldn’t do almost anything and yet the one thing that I could do was to move a crochet hook back and forth through yarn, repeatedly pulling one loop through the next to create fabric out of air so thin I could barely breathe in it. Since it was one of the only things that I could do, it became imperative to my mental health that I go ahead and do it. When I first started to crochet, that feeling of temporary relief from the muted chaos of depression was the only reason I was crocheting.
Of course, crochet alone could never have taken me out of that desperate place. It is a craft, not a cure-all for serious illness. And yet I am also fairly certain that I could never have loosened myself from the grip of that depression without crochet. I was stuck in between that proverbial rock and a hard place and my crochet hook served as a crowbar to begin prying me out of that difficult space. I hardly knew that it was happening and yet that hook dug deep down into the core of my being and lifted me into a space where I could once again begin to breathe. In the most basic and obvious way possible I was creating a life for myself simply through the act of creating.
A year later, breathing and healing, I was not only crocheting but also beginning to live my life again. I was beginning to meet other people who also enjoyed literally crafting a life for themselves. …
..As I began to share my thoughts and feelings with this community, I began to see that I was not the only one who felt that crochet had been critical to saving one’s mental health. In fact, it became obvious to me that it is more often than not the case that crocheters feel that they experience some personal health benefits from the craft although that may not be their main motivation for crocheting.
Crochet heals. Crochet saves lives.”
Also of interest to the Createability team, on KV’s blog, Crochet Concupiscence, she posts about the relationship between crochet and health.
Here are a few of the articles she cites:
Pain of Neurological Failure Reduced with Crochet
Crochet for Caregivers
Crochet Helps with 3 Phases of Bipolar
Crochet in Therapy vs Crochet as Therapy
Top 10 Reasons Crochet Helps Us Heal

Resources for Disabled Business Owners 

By Akua Lezli Hope and Doris C
The Federal government offers money and other kinds of assistance via the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy:

They have a quick guide to Small Business and Self Employment for People with Disabilities, and a Small Business and Self-Employment Service that connects disabled entrepreneurs to resources for funding, rehab, and other needs.

Disabled ownership is one of the qualifying factors the U.S. Small Business Administration considers in guaranteeing "7(a)" loans to help small businesses get approved by lenders for startup capital.
Save up while on SSI
A deliberate loophole in the rules governing Social Security benefits can enable you to save up startup money.

The Social Security Administration's Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS), allows disabled people to set aside income and/or resources for a specific period of time to realize a "work goal," such as going to school or starting a business. By eliminating the penalties for income that might normally disqualify or reduce SSI or SSDI benefits, PASS enables you to earn and keep your startup money without threatening your benefits in the meantime.

There’s a Chamber of Commerce for Individuals with
There’s a Self-Employment for People with Disabilities Yahoo! Group is the website.


By Johanna
This is actually my mother’s brainstorm.
I used to wrap a face cloth around a razor in order to shave under my arm. The same was the true when I was a child and had my left hand operated on. My mom would wrap something around a crayon so I could color with my right hand.

For my razor, she took a pool noodle and cut off a section. Then she poked two holes down into it from the top. It doesn’t take much and it’s better to make it too narrow and then adjust.

Unfortunately, it’s been 20 years since my Mom made this for me. (It has sat in my shower the entire time!) When I went to buy a new noodle for this demo, I figured I’d make a new one for myself, but found out that now they are made with a hole through the center. 

No problem, for larger items, the razor for example, this still works, but for a crayon or pen I had to improvise!

So, I turned the cylinder on it’s side and put the hole through from that direction. Then I cut the bottom so it would sit flat.

A regular steak knife easily cuts through the noodle.

Each persons needs are different but with a little improvising this may work for some one else too.

My Life as a Lab Rat: Participating in a Fibromyalgia Study

By Stefanie London
In September 2012 I decided to participate in a Fibromyalgia study being conducted at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.  My husband read about it in a newsletter, and encouraged me to apply to the study, which was about Tai Chi and exercise as treatments for FM symptoms.  Over the years he’d noticed (and so had I) that exercise could be helpful for me.  I wasn't doing any, and flares had kept me from even leaving the house for much of the past year.  Tai Chi has always intrigued me and I did some aerobics back in the day, so I signed up.  When the investigators randomly assigned participants to groups, I got picked for low impact aerobics and not Tai Chi.  I've been attending hour long classes twice a week, and it is the 18th week into a 24 week long study session.

So what is it like being a lab rat?  Well, I do look forward to my classes each week.  There are twelve women in my group, all of them with FM diagnosis, and many are struggling with other chronic illness as well.  One of the benefits of being in the study is meeting other people who understand why I have to take a 3 hour long rest after changing the bed linens, or how my brain shuts down from overload at the sound of a TV.   Sometimes its difficult just to get myself to class.  I’m tired and sore, and the extra walk and subway ride seem too daunting, and the hour of exercise seems near impossible.  But I get there, mostly because I know everyone else is feeling the same way.  I would be intimidated to join a group aerobic class at a gym, and I would be worried about getting an injury.  The study classes are geared specifically for FM, and have adaptations for different levels of ability, such as exercising seated when you cannot stand.  Plus, there are health professionals everywhere in case something goes wrong!

Although my FM flares and physical symptoms have not changed that much, doing the class gives me a sense of accomplishment, and lessens my depression and feelings of isolation.  As a class, the group has definitely progressed from what we were able to do on the first day, and what we can do now.  For example, I have noticed that I can walk farther and more quickly without getting winded.  The stretches we do have helped decrease my muscle stiffness.  One woman has lost thirty pounds.  Another classmate, a single mother of a young child, says the class is the highlight of her week.  For many, the class time represents the only real time they do something solely for themselves, and that alone feels good.  In other studies, such as medication trials, less visits are required and you get some extra cash.  This study is much more time consuming, and I only get reimbursed for travel expenses.  But the group activity and socializing have made it worth my time.

The study is part of a large NIH-funded clinical trial comparing the effectiveness of Tai Chi versus standard-of-care aerobic exercise to treat FM, and determining the optimal frequency and duration of a Tai Chi intervention.  Principal investigator ChenChen Wang, MD Ms is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts, and Director of the Tufts Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (TCIM).  Her research focuses on the use of Tai Chi as an treatment for rheumatic conditions including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and lupus and she has published extensively in this field. For more information about Dr. Wang’s research, and/or about participating in one of her studies, a good place to start is the TCIM website:

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Where can you find out more about the Createability Team?

In Our Next Issue

In our next issue, which should be sent out to you by the middle of the year, we'll explore more of the wonderful world that is Createability Team. If you submitted an article that wasn't found in this issue I sincerely apologize for not including it this round. I hope you accept my apology and can forgive me. I forgot where I saved the files that were not included this time and hope that you can and will send me another copy.

If any of our subscribers would like to contribute articles that you find interesting and helpful to the team, please convo me or send me an email via 

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