Welcome to Scatterbrain Handmade!
Hello everyone! My name is Lisamarie, and this is my story.
In 2011 I was diagnosed with stage 2B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. At the same time- my amazing grandma AveMaria, was also losing her battle with Leukemia. BOTH of us had moved in with my mother so that she could be care for us together under the same roof.
My immune cell count made it very hard for me to be around other people due to germs, so I stayed inside and tried to keep busy. I had always been a creative person, and had won many art awards through my school years, so I spent my time drawing, or making things. We sadly lost my grandma a few months into my treatment and had to go through her belongings after she had passed. Like most cute, little old Italian ladies, they tend to keep things for many years, which is exactly what mine had did. I found her and my grandfather’s clothing in mint condition from the 50’s along with their beautiful suitcases and clocks I use to always admire while visiting her as a little girl. I collected many things as keepsakes to stay emotionally connected to her and traveled home with my mother.
When I got home I pulled out my mom’s old Kenmore sewing machine and started to play around. You see, when I was a little girl, my grandma had taught me how to sew and I just never really used that skill until now. So I somehow built this emotional, therapeutic connection with sewing- to stay close to my grandmother. And boy was it a strong one.
With every ounce of energy I had, I sewed. I would use what little money I had to go to the salvation army to buy clothing that reminded me of my grandparents; tweed, corduroy, wool, you name it. And I started to sew these little plush octopus toys out of the repurposed fabric. I made SO many of them, that I decided to try a craft fair, to sell the toys I had made.
I remember setting up my very first craft fair, with a bald head around chemo number 6, with a wobbly table full of these little toys made with repurposed fabrics. And thats when it happened. A few kids came up to the table and started playing with my toys- and the looks on their faces- were priceless. They were so happy and full of joy. And that exact moment- I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I was able to make others happy with work I made as a therapy aid for myself for dealing with stress and anxiety of being sick and missing my grandma.
So fast forward a couple of years to where I am now. I’m cancer free, living a healthy lifestyle, and loving my second chance at life to spread happiness with my work to children and adults around the world. I put a heavy emphasis on my toys to provide sensory therapy through texture, color, weight, and heat to help others gain some sort of therapeutic value like it did for me.
I will continue to design and develop new toys and ideas that will foster creative play with a nod to sensory to keep the snuggle game strong for years to come. So follow along with me on instagram & facebook to see what I come up with next! And thank you for reading my story.