Mother Stimulates her Brain at 81-Years-Old

Debbie Centeno

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Bottles manually decorated by my 81-year-old mother- image by the author

Anyone Can Enjoy Arts & Crafts

Arts & Crafts are a creative way to unleash your ideas into reality. Both men and women of all ages enjoy them. My 81-year-old mother is big on crafts. She especially enjoys designing wine bottles. Mom uses a variety of materials for her crafts—paint, clay, beads, rhinestones, jute rope, fabrics, buttons, paper, dry leaves—even nutshells! According to Catherine Carey Levisay, a clinical neuropsychologist, “crafting can keep the brain stimulated because it combines the learning and perfecting of new skills with those that are already mastered.”

Great Gifts for all Occasions

Other than keeping Mom busy, crafting makes her happy. One year for Christmas, she made each one of my siblings, her grandchildren, and myself a beautifully decorated bottle. We all marveled at her creativity and proudly display our gifts at our houses. However, the best present of all was the look of pride and happiness on Mom’s face when she saw our reaction. My children were surprised and commented how blessed they were to have such a lovely gift to cherish for years to come and one day say, “this was a handmade gift by my grandma when she was 81-years-old.”

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Handmade tree by my 81-year-old mother- image by the author

She Recycles Waste into Beautiful Works of Art

Mom's crafts not only comprise decorated bottles. Most of her ideas come from watching YouTube videos online. She adds her little twists to the YouTube designs to make them her own. Plus, it’s a way to recycle. Mom has made keepsake boxes out of plastic cookie dough or butter bowls; a Christmas candles ornament made of toilet paper rolls and old torn Christmas ornaments; a Christmas tree out of pine cones; paper ornaments, and a Cherry Blossom tree made with clay and fallen tree branches. One of my favorites is the incense bottle she made for me out of a wine bottle covered in paper mache and ornaments. I use it every day and it has fared well. She even made herself a small dining room hanging lamp that really works!

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Handmade keepsake box from a recycled cookie dough tub. Flowers handmade with clay.- image by the author

No Need to Spend a lot on Materials

Living on social security does not allow Mom to buy fancy or elaborate trinkets to do her crafts. So she and I ransacked our drawers and closets for old broken jewelry, buttons, and whatever else crossed our path, which we thought would be a great ornamental piece for one of her projects. And, whatever she buys, she gets from the Dollar Store, keeping her costs at a minimum. Ironically, I bought her a crafting clay from Amazon thinking it would be better than the Dollar Store children's playdough she uses and it turned out to be a waste of money because it did not hold as firm as the children’s playdough.

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Incense holder bottle- image by the author

Sometimes You Lose Track of Time

Mom admits crafting is not only fun but entertaining. It keeps her busy for hours. The downside is that sometimes she gets caught up in her crafts and forgets to tend to her own needs including feeding herself. When she realizes it is dinner time and she did not have breakfast or lunch. It has kept her away from the television too. She rarely watches television. She watches the YouTube videos on her laptop.

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Handmade paper flower made by my 81-year-old mother- image by the author

It is Therapeutic

Crafting has enriched her life, especially during these past two years with the COVID quarantine. There are so many things you can do. We are never too young or too old to craft and create what only our minds can imagine. Therefore, I suggest you let your creative juices flow, and if there is anything on your mind that you would like to craft, go ahead and try it out. Crafting is not working. It is a form of entertainment which, ought to be considered a healing therapy. Are you an Arts & Crafts type of person?

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My writing journey began as a way to cope with grief. I realized I enjoyed writing and began a blog, Debbie’s Reflection (https://debbiesreflection.com). I also enjoy traveling. Therefore, as a traveler, I began another blog, Traveler Wows (https://travelerwows.com), in which I share tips on places, landmarks, and reviews on airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Thank you for joining me on my writing journey.

Orlando, FL
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