Doing Projects with CFS/FM

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Doing Projects with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

If you are wondering how I accomplish projects around the house when I have CFS and FM, I thought I would show you.

For this project, I was making a coat rack out of an old window.


The first week I washed them in the tub since they had been outside for a long time.

Making a Window Coat Rack - DIY Project


Then I painted them outside. I forgot to take an after picture but you can see it in the next one.

Making a Window Coat Rack - DIY Project


Then the next week, I started by cutting the wood for the back.

Tawra's Window Project


Then I sat down and had a cup of tea.

Tawra Drinking a Cup of Tea


Then I painted the front side. You can see the window I had already painted the week before in the background.

Tawra Painting a Window


Then I sat down and had a cup of tea.

Tawra Drinking a Cup of Tea


Then I painted the back side.

Tawra Painting a Window


Then I went inside and had a cup of tea.

Tawra Drinking a Cup of Tea


Then I put the back on the window and brought it in to hang on the wall.

Making a Window Coat Rack - DIY Project


Then I laid down to have a cup of tea.

Tawra Drinking a Cup of Tea

So it’s Tea. That’s how I get so much done! hehehe

I got the thing hung on the wall but after I got it up there I hated the way it looked so I am going to have to find something else to do with my “purple window almost a coat rack” project. :-)


BTW, just so I don’t get any emails. I made one pot of tea with one tea bag that gave me 3-4 “cups” of tea. :-)

PS. For those of us who are older and wiser and have CFS we just stick a couple of hooks in the wall then spend the rest of the day drinking our tea with our feet up. : ) : )



  1. Anonymous says

    Hi, I’m an interior designer. I think the coat rack would look better left unpainted–with the old distressed paint left on. Then attach it to the wall without the backing plywood, with just the glass.

  2. Jill Cooper says

    You forgot the part daughter dear about how when you are done you call your mom and moan and groan in pain, say it turned out awful so will you come over and help fix it! :):):) It’s a good thing I love you anyway! LM (luv, mom) Jill

  3. laura b. says

    to add to the decor of the coat rack. how about putting pictures where the glass panes are? either scenic or of your family in black and white? It would sure add to the detail of the overall look. Best of luck, laura

    • says

      Those are good ideas! I might try the picture thing! It’s still sitting in the garage, trying to figure out what to do with it. I hate to see all the work wasted!

  4. Tina says

    Thank you so much Tawra for showing how you get things done while having fibro. I also have it and that is exactly how I manage to get things done around the house. The only difference is that I prefer to have a cup(s)of flavored coffee. There are times that I do not finish what I was doing but there is always tomorrow or Mom to finish.
    Thanks so much for your website, it really helps to know there is someone out there coping with the same things.
    Thank you, Tina

  5. Beth B says

    I love your pics and tidbits. Worth a chuckle, for sure! Have you heard of It is a community of chronic pain sufferers and the concept of “spoons” is really awesome. As a daily-migraine sufferer of 4 years, it helped me feel like I was not alone!

    I love your site, it isn’t just fluff but real life help. Thank you so much for being here for us.

  6. says

    start a knitted blanket for grandchild #1.
    hands and arms seize up so try finishing for grandchild #2.
    pain and life step in so grandchild #3 will get blanket.
    Finally when grandchild #3 is much too large to use blanket.
    Give it to hospital auxiliary to sell in their store.
    2 months later find out other son will present grandchild #4.
    Start knitting for grandchild #4. Still have time to finish so
    working on 3 different outfits. Almost done them just have to
    have the fibro fog stay away so I remember how to do the finishing bits.
    I so understand your life style for projects.
    Coffee, and coke keep me going.

  7. elizabeth says

    Very cute and real! I have Crohn’s disease and every project seems to take a while to complete. Short bursts, I say. lol

  8. Diane says

    Good afternoon. I love how you represented the work on the window rack. I, too, work a bit, rest a lot, but somehow everything gets down. In my down time, I read my favorite blogs and as you can see, one of them is yours, knit and read. So far today, I’ve watered the plants outside, baked chocolate chip cookies, cleaned vegetables and have chicken rice soup simmering on the stove. The rest of the day will be spent resting, sewing a clothes pin bag and straightening the living room, especially around our chairs. I don’t know why things go so awry around our chairs. The rest of the house will be so neat, but by our chairs is chaos: books, papers, books, knitting and patterns by mine, books, coupons and little bits of paper by my husbands, and still more books. I guess we like our books.
    Have a great day, Diane

    • says

      I always think it is fun to read what others do with their day. Others must too because that is why so many of us love the diaries of women in the past and to read how they spent their day so I enjoyed your post Diane. I was laughing at your “chair” situation because I think we all have the same chair thing happening. I have a stack of books, magazines, sewing box, sewing, papers with notes scribbled on them, pencils, thimbles and some candy wrappers ( yes I confess). You need to watch because we are posting an article in a few days called A Home Seasoned with Love and I thought of that as I was reading your post and think maybe you would enjoy it too.

  9. Judy says

    Breaking projects up into steps works for me as a Procrastinator Extraordinary in good health. Once I get myself started, I’m fine but its the getting started that is tough. Imagining basic steps helps so much. Earlier this summer, I painted our three outbuildings one or two walls at a time depending on the heat and my time and energy.

  10. Lisa says

    Thanks for sharing your struggles and making me laugh. I suffer from a chronic disease that has many of the fibro type symptoms too – sjogrens syndrome. I’m still working full time but it is becoming more of a struggle everyday as this disease is hitting me hard. It’s nice to know there are others out there that can relate!

    • says

      Lisa what you say is so true. One thing which helped me the most was talking to someone else who had it or someone who understood. I remember when my son first got sick. It was his first year of high school. What a nightmare. No one had heard about his illness and even though I had slips from 3 different doctors saying how ill he was the principal at the school said if he wasn’t in the hospital there was no reason he shouldn’t be in school. It was awful but one saving factor for me were his teachers. Most of them were very understanding but the one who stood out the most was a teacher who said “I understand exactly what he is going through. I have lupus and will do all I can for him.” I wanted to just cry because here was someone who understood.

      A widow friend of mine (her husband and son both had cancer) once said ” It always amazes me when you see people who go through hard times – illness etc. – it is the ones who are ill themselves who help the most. It is like a scene from Gone With the Wind where the prisoners of war are coming home and the man missing an arm is leading the one who is blind. All the wounded were helping each other.” Oh dear sorry to ramble.

      I did appreciate the fact you said you laughed at some of the things and don’t sound like you are whining at all. We all feel like having a good cry once in awhile and get down in the dumps but I do so appreciate that so many of our readers are fighters and are doing such a good job under awful circumstances. Hang in there and of course if you need a good laugh hit the website when you can. I am sure one of us will be doing something to give you a laugh.

  11. Lisa A says

    Thank you so very much for posting the link for “toothbrush rugs”. I have now made 6 rugs 2 to go for my grandchildren’s rooms. I requested material on freecycle and received so much fabric that I will be able to make lap robes for the local nursing homes. I suffer from Fibro along with other disabilites, so my work is slow going, but I will finish it before christmas. I love love love your site. Keep up the good work.

    • says

      Wow Lisa you are going for it. I have been wanting to make one for my kitchen but so far I haven’t gotten out of the “thinking” stage of it yet so you put me to shame.

  12. Liz says

    Ok so that was awesome!!! I agree it’s the only way I can get things done …substitute tea for coffee and I’m there lol.

  13. rose says

    i like grandma’s idea.. one picture could be of u and mike .. one could be of just the kids and the last pic could be of the whole family ..

  14. rose says

    i love tea too .. hot .. cold .. whatever ..
    they have a tea store in this mall my daughter took me to .. its in orlando .. and the tea pots and cups and different types of tea .. and they give u samples too .. i just prefer my lipton .. but it was nice to go in the shop and really shop and taste-test and look at all the neat china too .. 😀 ..

  15. Michelle says

    I love your blog and can relate to this article! My son was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2003 and after brain surgery, it came back. We spent 3 months at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN in 2005 for radiation treatments. Shortly afterwards, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. With frequest trips back and forth to Memphis from Kansas, and sick family in Ohio, we were spending less and less time at home. Your tips are helping me to get things organized and de-cluttered! Some days it is a struggle to get out of bed, but breaking things up into smaller chores has helped a LOT! I am one that starts a big project adn tried to get it done all in one day LOL They I pay for it the next week. Thanks again for your humor and your insight! God’s blessings to you today! I love my tea (ICED!) too!

  16. grizzly bear mom says

    I’m NOT an interior designer but think the coat rack would look better left unpainted–with the old distressed white paint left on. Maybe you could paint it antique white, sand it some and then put a crackle finish on it to get back to where it started. Then attach it to the wall without the backing plywood, with just the glass.
    Don’t forget lots of tea.

    • says

      Some people don’t like the distressed look so I think it really would depend on the color scheme of your house. I lived with distressed antiques most of my married life. Then I moved and decided I didn’t want one thing distressed in my house at all. Fast forward several years and here I am going for a shabby chic distressed look with all white in my house.

  17. Lori says

    Hi Jill & Tawra,

    I’d seen this posting before and always enjoy reading it because it motivates me to push through my day.

    I have diabetes and for a while I wondered if I had CF too, because I seem to have ZERO energy all the time. After reading the symptoms of CF I don’t think I have it and my dr. hasn’t found anything else wrong with me. It makes me feel like I’m just lazy.

    I work full time outside the home, and go to the gym 3 times a week. I have to force myself to cook & clean at home, especially on the weekends. All I ever want to do is sleep! I am single and childless and don’t know how I’d ever manage a family; I have trouble walking my dog! I am in awe of you ladies.

    I need to start breaking my projects into small manageable steps because they seem overwhelming. When I do have energy, I tend to tackle too many things at once and then I’m drained for days. It’s frustrating.

    I appreciate how, even though you are not feeling great, you still manage to write insightful, helpful and funny posts.

    • says

      It does sound like you may have something else that is wearing you out besides being lazy. Lazy people usually don’t care whether they get anything done or not and it is often more of a state of mind then physically not feeling like doing something. Lazy people have plenty of energy to do fun stuff or even things that are work related but it has to be something they enjoy or they find excuses for not doing it and they don’t usually feel guilty about not getting it done.
      You might try breaking things down more. It sounds as if you are more overwhelmed then anything. Plus try not to browbeat yourself to much for not getting more done. When I finally stopped feeling guilty for not doing all I thought I should I had way more energy. Guilt and browbeating can be very draining.

      • Lori says

        Jill – Thank you for taking the time to answer my post. You know, I hadn’t thought about how lazy people have energy for other things. I know some people like that.

        I do tend to avoid “fun” stuff unless I have energy AND time to recover. I plan outings for Saturdays so I can rest on Sundays. Even the though of getting ready to go to somewhere can be exhausting sometimes.

        I try to run errands after work, because, if I go home first, there’s no way I am going out again. Because of this, I’ve been called a hermit, loner, etc.

        I’ve dealt with depression before, years ago, so I know it’s not that. I will need to talk to my doctor again, maybe I’m low on minerals or something. I know that diabetes can affect the body in many ways, which is why I force myself to workout so my blood sugar stays controlled.

        I will work on not feeling so guilty about letting certain things go. I read your tips about doing something for 5 Minutes at a time and I’ll try that. Instead of focusing on cleaning the whole kitchen, I could clear the sink.

        Again, thank you for your response and helpful comments. Have a blessed day.

  18. Marcia says

    There are lots of things that can make you tired. My husband went through an entire winter with a perpetual cold and feeling exhausted ALL the time. His care provider had just about every blood test imaginable done and found out he was very low on vitamins and he is also anemic which is very unusual for a man. He has to take a lot of vitamins and iron every day and still gets tired easily because his body doesn’t absorb nutrients well. (He’s in his mid fifties by the way.)People are very quick in this hectic society of ours to peg people as “lazy” if they aren’t “productive” and I agree with Jill one hundred percent there is a difference between being lazy and being physically challenged and overwhelmed at times. I don’t believe in making a lot of excuses for yourself but on the other hand there may be times you have to cut yourself a little slack. The trick is being honest with yourself and knowing if you’re just procrastinating or if there is a valid reason for feeling the way that you do.

  19. Jennifer Reynolds says

    Thank you for this! I was diagnosed with fibro earlier this year, plus a few other things. I had planned on starting my own crafting company this year. That is on hold until I get leveled out and figure out what my “normal” is. I work full time and it drains everything from me, very stressful situation. We are trying to find a way for me to be able to stay home. I hate to say it, but I love finding out that someone I follow has a problem that I can relate to, it helps me realize that I am not alone in this fight. I don’t like it that someone is suffering, but it gives me hope that I can find a way to live again. I didn’t know that you had this problem too. I love your posts and will now see the hard work a little differently.

    • says

      There is that old saying Jennifer that misery loves company : ) and that is so true. I know just what you mean though. I remember about 25 years ago when we first got sick it was beyond discouraging. Not only had no doctors heard of it but the public had no clue. Compared to now where I see things all over about it. Anyway after having had it for almost 2 years I got a call from a friend who knew a man who had it to and asked if he could come talk to me about it. I said yes and I remember so well being excited each he mentioned another weird symptom he had and I had it too. That visit meant so much to me. It was like a life line of hope that even if I couldn’t get better at least I wasn’t crazy and it wasn’t all in my head.
      By the way for others who may want to know how bad it was I took my son to 10 different doctors and none of them would listen to us. The only reason we finally got diagnosed was a woman doctor came in for counseling where I worked and I spent hours talking to her for a long time. She was a good doctor so I eventually started going to her for my regular physician (she was an ob gyn). I started telling her about my son being so sick and not knowing what to do. Then shortly after that I got sick too. She moved heaven and earth to find out what was wrong with us. That is the only reason we were finally diagnosed. God certainly was working when He brought her into our lives.

    • says

      Oh if it helps there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our lives are not completely normal per say but we can function better now that we have learned to manage our illness and that is the whole secret. I can’t work as much as I use to, I can go running or even take long walks. I have bad days and good days but it will be ok. I had to teens when I got sick and no one help us at all. I didn’t know how we would make it but it turned out fine. My kids didn’t end up warped and are not responsible well adjusted adults doing a great job raising their kids even though I worried because I couldn’t do it all or have money like others sometimes even for the basics. But I didn’t start feeling better until I excepted that I couldn’t do it all especially things that caused stress in my life. You will be surprise once you finally start letting go of things you didn’t think you could let go of how much you don’t miss them and can do with out them.

  20. Cheryl Sims says

    Thanks for sharing about your CFS and how you get things done in stages as health and energy allow. Reading this has helped me to feel a lot less guilty about what I don’t get done and a lot more thankful for what I do accomplish. I was diagnosed with CFS/CEBV back in 1992 while I was a single mom with three little ones. That was a rough time. It took me a long to time to start learning to listen to my body and recognize and accept my physical limits, and how that could change from one day to the next. After that I had to learn (and am still working on it) that I don’t need to apologize for not being as neatsy-freaksy as some of my family… It’s okay to take my time. It all gets done eventually. So, thank you, again, for sharing how you do life with CFS. I am encouraged! :-)

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