Karen Thomas Craft POTS, EDS, Fibromyalgia, Raynaud's disease, Chronic pain syndrome, Chronic migraines, Asthma

Meet the Crafties

Our Founders Story

Karen Thomas Conscious Crafties EDS POTS
Karen Thomas
Conscious Crafties Founder

In 2011 I was perfectly healthy going about my workaholic lifestyle when BOOM! – I started fainting up to 10 times a day and my bed became my best friend. A year later I was diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) a rare condition affecting the blood vessels and heart rate. There’s no cure, but reaching out to others with the same condition has been a huge help in learning to live with it.  3 years later I was told my POTS was caused by EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) a connective tissue disorder affecting the skin, cartilage, ligaments & blood vessels – everything that holds us together! I also have some bonus conditions: fibromyalgia, raynaud’s disease, chronic pain syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, plantar fasciitis, mast cell activation syndrome and asthma. Life has been tough, but I’ve met some wonderfully strong friends who also live with chronic illnesses. Many have turned to craft to bring joy into their lives and regain their purpose.  This incredible group of people are the worlds untapped talent x

Hi, I’m Angela. I had to give up my job in 2012 after being assaulted which left me with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), which is an umbrella term for many difficulties such as headaches, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, mood swings, fatigue, depression, anxiety and many more. I also now have post traumatic stress disorder as a result of the assault. This on top of chronic lower back pain and Borderline Personality Disorder, Chronic Eye Infections and the list goes on! Prior to my TBI I used to craft occasionally, making crochet blankets for friends babies and such like, but hadn’t picked up my hook for years. In 2014, after some encouragement, I got into card making, then picked up my paint brush and started doing hand painted tote bags, then after being given a bag of wool, I picked up my hook again and fell in love all over again with crochet. Now, when I’m able, most of my crafting time is spent crocheting but I keep my hand in my other skills too.
Angela O’Reilly – Crafted at The Cottage

I’ve always been passionate about crafting and have been making things for family and friends for years. In 2013 I became bed ridden by M.E. and Fibromyalgia. This prevented me from being the busy wife, mother and career woman I had been before. As time went on and the boredom of just sitting became unbearable I began crafting as ‘art therapy’. When a friend suggested that I sell my growing pile of crafts I set up a facebook page. The support I have received has been amazing so I keep on crafting and selling to make money for the next project and so on. I found the positive in my illness, a change of ‘career’ that I always dreamt of but never dared to and loving every crafty step no mater how small 🙂 It would probably be quicker to say what I don’t make (knitting) but here goes.. decoupaged item, jewellery, cards and gift bags / boxes, memory boxes, stationary, candles, wedding favours, invites, table plans, accessories and decorations.
Zoe White – One of a Kind Crafts

I was a fine art oil painter and had my own studio as well as working part time as a Carer/PA for a lady who had MS. I kinda knew I was over doing things when 2 weeks after my first solo exhibition in 2008, my body crashed. I was diagnosed as having Post Viral Fatigue (PVF). This didn’t improve at all, so after a few weeks (and my internet research) I was told I likely had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME). I was determined to stay interdependent but my life completely changed and all but a couple of good friends stuck by me. After four years things weren’t much different until a friend told me about Mickel therapy and I saw a massive improvement in my health. I still experience symptoms and vary a lot as to how I am. I currently work as a mid day supervisor in a middle school one hour a day and do my jewellery making along side this.
Lilly Ladd – Jewellery by Lilly

I have always been ‘flexible’, but it didn’t really cause a big problem until the birth of my second child. From this point onwards, my joints seemed to ‘pop’ out of place more frequently and the pain became a lot more difficult to manage. In the end, I had to give up my job of teaching at school, because I simply couldn’t predict when I would wake up unable to move because of a joint dislocation or with my whole body feeling as though it had crippling toothache. After five years of working through the various processes of the NHS I was diagnosed with EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) and, subsequently, with POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome). It was a huge relief to get these diagnoses, which may sound odd, but at least I knew now WHAT was wrong with me rather than being told that it was all in my head! I now work from home, which means that I can manage my symptoms far more effectively by being able to pace activities better within my day. My husband, who is my Carer, is also able to keep an eye on me and point out when I’m over-doing things! Crafting gives me the chance to create items that make me smile – hence the ‘Eudaimonia’ meaning ‘Happiness’!
Judith Thorne – Eudaimonia Crafting

Hi there. I make patchwork homewares, accessories and gifts made from recycled fabrics.I particularly like the scrappy look and am a great believer in recycling. I suffer from Fibromyalgia and sew as and when I’m able.
Morag Christie – Morag’s Crafts

Hi my name is Leanne, I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) and Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) diagnosed in 2010, but untreated for 2 years. I have been customising shoes since 2012 and I absolutely love it, it’s probably one of the things that has helped me through the pain & stresses of chronic illness, it keeps me positive and gives everyday meaning. I source fabrics and accessories from all over the world alongside lots of handmade embellishments to make fun quirky individual shoes. I also know how hard it is to find comfortable shoes that look amazing, so I’m always happy to give your older shoes a new lease of life. If you want to know anything else just give me a shout.
Leanne Yan Wright Byrne – Art and Sole

I’m a mommy of 2 little ones and have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility (EDS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) that I know of so far. My two little ones have GERD, severe food allergies, and my oldest has Asthma and we suspect EDS-HT as well. I make wood burned plaques currently and plan to branch out to other wooden items.
Kristina Peralez – Little Rugged Creations

Hello. My name is Ceri and I make needle felt miniatures. I have various medical conditions that prevent a ‘normal’ job, so I started crafting as a way to stay sane. I’ve had Hemiplegic Migraines for over 20 years – a feat in itself as the NHS claim they only last from teens to late twenties (I started getting them age 11 and I’m 34 with no cure in sight) I also have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue, which bring with them other associated illnesses (IBS being one).
Ceri Smith – Cute Creations by Ceri

I was diagnosed with PND (post natal depression) in 2014 after the birth of my second daughter. I was really struggling until I started crafting. It keeps my mind busy when I am feeling low or having a bad day. I first started crafting when I couldn’t find a gift for my daughter, having searched extensively I finally resorted to making one instead. As a result of positive feedback from family and friends, I decided to experiment with gift ideas.
Becky de Wet – Chloivia

Hello! I first got into jewellery making after I was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) back in 2009. I had to reduce my working hours and within a space of 6 months I went from full-time down to only 12 hours a week. The jewellery making was a form of therapy for me… for a while you could immerse yourself in your creations and forget about all the worries in your life. During my last relapse in July 2014 I decided to take the plunge… so I left my job and set up a small business. Quite a challenge for someone who also suffers from anxiety! My business is called The Watcher’s Realm (Pagan, Gothic and Steampunk Jewellery & Gifts). I’ve always been inspired by pagan beliefs and symbolism and gothic imagery, and more recently, by the wonderful world of Steampunk!
Helen Whaley – The Watcher’s Realm

Hi I’m Linzi, I was diagnosed with ME when I was 14! As a result I struggled with full time education and any further education, though I did try I never managed to stay any longer than a couple of months. I started a weekend job in retail then over the years, despite my high sickness level, I worked my way up to a management role and enjoyed being independent. I unexpectedly fell pregnant in 2012 and after the birth of my beautiful baby boy what I thought was my ME gradually got worse sometimes to the point my body hurt too much to pick my baby up. I was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in October 2014. Not currently being able to work I started making jewellery, though it can really hurt my hands I completely fell in love with it. it has really given me a sense of worth back!
Linzi Marie Sutton – Lace Of Hearts Jewellery

In 2011 I started getting tired and having awful pains in my right shoulder, as well as widespread aches and pains. I put it down to being a single mum, and trying to hold down a job, as well as getting older. By January 2012, my shoulder pain was enough to put me on long-term sick. After numerous visits to the GP, in the June I finally got an MRI which showed arthritis in the shoulder. Physio/injections followed, but nothing helped, and the pain elsewhere continued to worsen. August 2012 I got the diagnosis for Fibromyalgia. In Dec 2012 I had an op on my shoulder, where they shaved 2 of my bones and removed part of my shoulder blade. The op was unsuccessful, and I still get excruciating pain. In the last few months my left shoulder has started to ‘play up’ in the same way it started in my right. I have also been diagnosed with IBS, and suffer with panic and anxiety attacks.
Joanna Key – Catching Dreams Crafts

I have was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia along with some other issues in 2011. Since losing my part time job, I have thrown myself into my crafting, as I enjoy what I do and I love making peoples faces light up when they receive their orders 🙂 I take part in local markets and craft fayres as well as help people design personal, floating lockets and jewellery. This includes those celebrating a new baby in the family / circle of friends or those sadly bereaved following losing a family member, friend or pet. 🙂
Kat Hunter – Kattys Crafts

Hi I’m Heidi I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) in 2010 after catching swine flu and glandular fever back to back in six weeks after a seriously stressful time. I’m now doing better mainly thanks to a good doctor and some effective meds gotta love those beta blockers for migraine relief. I started crafting mainly to feel useful and it really helps when times are rough to walk into my workshop and look around and know that even when ME is biting me, I did that, all by myself xx 🙂
Heidi Bowman – Rowan Tree Crafts

Hi! When I was 16 I was diagnosed with ME/CFS following Glandular Fever. I managed to slowly build myself up to working full time as a domiciliary carer (which I believe was me being in remission). When I was 23 I had a relapse due to stress. Slowly my hours became less and less at work and I had to change my role to Care co-ordinator, as I could no longer do physical work. I was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Headaches and Migraines, Irritable Bladder, IBS, Anxiety. I deteriorated until Dec 2014 when I was signed off work as I just couldn’t manage anymore. In my time at home I started to play with some craft things I had. I love to make and decorate things. It also helps me to feel like I have a purpose. My fur-baby Nell keeps me company, I’d be lost without her.
Haze Hicklin – Li’l h Crafts

Christmas Eve 2012 was the day things changed for me. After a trip to the emergency doctors, I was diagnosed with neuralgia. 3 MRI scans later, they found 3 discs bulging and pressing on nerves. The only way to control the pain is through incredibly strong pain medication that limits the things I can do due to the side effects and has left me suffering from chronic migraines. Since then, I have had to give up my full time job as a teacher, a job I adored. It was during my first year off work that I stumbled on sewing. I found it very therapeutic and it suddenly dawned on my that maybe this could be a new door of opportunity for me. So here I am! 🙂
Kath Doherty, Sew Very Beautiful Visit My Shop

I am a bed bound Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) type 2 warrior. I have had it since 2012 after an operation to remove a ganglion tumour in my left foot. I now have this untreatable and incurable disease working its way through my body. This disease has caused all my hair loss. My hands and arms are unaffected as of yet and as long as I can, I will use them to craft items to make others happy. All jewellery items are made with my 15 year old daughter, this way we get to spend quality time together. I also love knitting and make outfits for premature babies.
Sonia Green – S & J Crafting Creations

Aged nineteen, I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. But I won’t let my chronic illnesses stop me from being who I am, or achieving my dream of being a full-time writer. Writing gives me an identity, and becoming chronically ill made me realise just how important writing is to me. Writing is part of me. I have a strong love for anything dystopian, ghostly, or paranormal. I can frequently be found exploring wild places, and at least one notebook is known to follow me wherever I go. My debut novel, UNTAMED (Prizm Books, May 2015), examines a world in which anyone who has negative emotions is hunted down, and a culture where addiction is encouraged.
Madeline Dyer Madeline Dyer Author

Struggling with Sleep Apnea and Depression has meant I had my driving licence revoked and had to stop working. I had been a creative therapist in palliative care. I now run creative therapy and pottery workshops from my home studio and make pottery/ceramic items to sell. Keeping busy stops me feeling so tired, helping other people find their creative mojo is rewarding for me and it’s lovely watching people develop new skills and lose themselves in their creativity.
Ruth Moss Pottery For Pleasure

At 16, I started with agonising pain in my ear which completely stopped me in my tracks. I visited doctors constantly but they had no answers. They referred me to Maxioral Facial who did X-rays and scans but once again, no problem showed. After this, I was pushed away by the doctors, they had tried all they could. Years later the pain was back with a vengeance but was 100 times worse. In September 2015 I handed my sick note in at work as the pain stopped me being able to go. After more maxioral facical visits, my family decided to pay for me to see a Neurologist who diagnosed me with Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia, wow, there was finally an answer! Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia is a rare condition where I have damaged nerves in my brain stem. There can be numerous reasons for this but one of them is that blood vessels in your brain press on the nerves and eventually cause damage. I have since been put on numerous medications, carbomazapine and gabapentin but the side effects have been awful. I’m waiting for an appointment to see the Neurosurgeon for the second time as if the medication doesn’t help the pain.. the last resort is major brain surgery. The pain I feel has since stopped me from going to work as it comes and goes and is so unpredictable. It can be set off by daily things such as eating, brushing my teeth, talking and even cold air on my face. The pain in my ear is electrifying and burning to the point where I can’t move or talk cause little movement knocks me to the ground. Throat and tongue pain feels like I am swallowing razor blades and sometimes it’s impossible to even swallow my own saliva and I beg for a feeding tube. I’m nearly 19 now and learning my own ways to cope with the pain like crafting. I make handmade personalised gifts! I am definitely a perfectionist so if a piece of work goes wrong.. I will start from scratch as I cannot sell work I am not happy with! I make things like box frames, plaques, signs and other things for you and your loved ones. Read My Full Story
Chloe Morante Chloës Crafts & Creations

I suffer with Fibromyalgia and I also Care for my husband who was diagnosed last year with Heart Failure. I fundraise for my local neonatal unit for every sale I make I donate 10% in memory of my daughter Jennifer who was born premature but sadly passed away. I make wooden items, mainly things made with a scroll saw so clocks plaques and much more.
Sarah Kirkby Wooden Treasures and Keepsakes

I have Aspergers and was not diagnosed till i was 35, I have always love art and craft and use it as a relaxation therapy. My first love is my art & my favourite styles are tattoo & fantasy. The second love is jewellery making ever since I got given a kit at about 9 years old, I love to combine my love of art with my jewellery to create unique items. My 3rd main craft is hat & fascinator making, I have had a fascination with hat’s since I was little and got to play dress up in my great granny’s hats from the hat factory she owned in the Victorian era. I love to try new crafts & make items for myself and family.
Rose Hartshorn Tatt2edRoZe

I am a business owner and a wife and mother of four. I have dealt with medical issues all of my life– from incredibly painful Endometriosis to autoimmune disease. In 2015 I was bedridden with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). Despite my disabilities, I have always pushed through when possible and am used to being on the go, go go. To be confined to my bed most of the day everyday has been devastating– not just for me, but for my children also. I have used writing and crocheting as a way to still feel productive and as a way to give back to others. I wrote a book for my kids, “Mommy Can’t Dance” to help them cope with my disability, understand how they can help me, and re-enforce how much they are still loved, even if we can’t do everything they used to. Realizing I am not the only parent with disabilities, I was fortunate to publish this book so it is available to other parents/kids. All proceeds from this book are going to Dysautonomia International to further support research and advocacy of POTS.
Katie Carone Mommy Can’t Dance

I live with Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Depression, 3 teenagers and a large bouncy Staffie! I have always been creative and it has always been therapy for me, but I’ve now taken things to the next level by putting my creations out in the world to try and earn a living. I work in all sorts of mediums, such as acrylics, collage and watercolours but am currently obsessed with Paper cutting. Most of my work has a Celtic theme as I have been interested in their Art and Culture since my teenage years and love history and archaeology. I have shops on folksy and etsy but I really wanted to be part of this wonderful community. I hope you love my work as much as I enjoyed making it!
Maxine Bainbridge Keltika Keepsakes