Teaching others drew Holli Mostella out of depression

6 October 2021

Holli Mostella grew up in Alabama, in what she describes as loving, supportive relationship with her parents. She always knew that she wanted to do something with her future that helped others. Contributing to society in a way that she felt made a difference felt like the right future for her. A survivor of pre-natal and postpartum depression, Holli often felt pulled from this path.

Now, Holli’s podcast, Beyond Crafting, tops charts and she has an audience of nearly 500k across Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. She found a way to help others in a way that she never expected, through a long — but fulfilling — journey.

Unexpected beginnings

Stemming from her desire to help others plus her parent’s influence, Holli initially enrolled in nursing school. Her mother was a nurse, and her father worked in nursing administration at the time. During nursing school, Holli took up embroidery as a spare time hobby but gradually started making more. This is where Holli says her spark ignited, and she realized crafting could bring her joy.

But unfortunately, four years later, Holli didn’t graduate from nursing school.

Around that same time, she became pregnant with her second daughter, Mayer. She later realized that she fell into prenatal depression. Holli found it difficult to push past failing school and not spend time on hobbies that brought her joy. She found herself hospitalized often because of different issues, made more difficult with this depression. Holli went into liver failure and was on bedrest for several months during her pregnancy.

All I knew was that I had spent four hard years putting in 100% effort and I had failed… that’s when a big hit of depression waved over me. I lost myself for a long time.

Holli Mostella

After Mayer was born, Holli said it got worse. “When postpartum depression hit, suicide became more logical to me,” she said. “I had beaten myself down with this depression so much. I thought my children, my family — that I am very close with — would be better off without me.”

She cut out her friends and kept her family at arm’s length. Holly worried that her family would blame themselves, so it was a secret she didn’t want to share with anyone. The question that plagued her — would she ever be able to fulfill her long-held goal to help others?

I was really happy to be carrying my second girl, but it was a depression that I couldn’t control. I couldn’t help it and I couldn’t change it. Nothing made it better. So, I got really sick. It was like a hopelessness. What was the point? Why am I even trying to do anything good?

Holli Mostella

Finding a way to push forward

Daughters Harlow and Mayer are everything to Holli. She loves her two girls, but wanted to do something for herself — outside of the home. She talked to doctors about this, and its relation to her depression, but she didn’t feel like it helped. Instead, she felt that she needed something more “unconventional.”

“There was a time where it was kind of swept under the rug, where it was in your mind. You just had to overcome it.”

Holli Mostella

Holli thought about getting her embroidery machine back out, but felt it would take her attention away from her daughters. She wanted to be more present for her girls and embroidery required too much focus. Her previous Cricut machine was sold to help make ends meet, but it seemed like something to consider. She knew that a Cricut machine didn’t require as much attention since you could walk away while it cut.

Feeling like it could be a possible path for her, Holli decided look up the Cricut website. She was excited to find that Cricut released a new machine, with even more features and functions than she had before. For Holli, this felt like a path of possibility opening up.

Holli committed to “going all in.” She wanted to get back to her creative roots and buying the new Cricut Maker felt like special something for herself. It had been so long since she felt like she was getting something she deserved this. She finally felt excited, with hope bubbling up to the surface.

She couldn’t wait get her machine and get it running. There wasn’t really a limit — Holli knew she could make anything she wanted for her girls. When the machine arrived, Holli went all out with Cricut vinyl. She said that covered everything in vinyl decals “from the refrigerator to the washing machine to the dog’s bed and even the kids.” As she used her Cricut machine, and used her creative nature to design and make, Holli said she found purpose again. “It took using my hands and being productive to find that,” Holli said.

Creating her own path through crafts and teaching

Holli started a small crafts shop shortly after she bought her Cricut Maker, soon making enough money to afford childcare. Knowing by now some of the internal blocks that Holli faced, Holli’s mom Dale encouraged her to look at this as an opportunity to “reset her frame of mind.” Dale was Holli’s “biggest cheerleader, biggest fan, and biggest supporter.”

With early signs of small business success, Holli couldn’t contain her excitement for learning more about Cricut. But, she felt like she actually found more joy in teaching others. “I kept getting kicked out of Facebook groups, because I kept wanted to go Live,” she exclaimed. Holly said she wasn’t looking to make a name for herself, but she really just found true excitement. Holli rediscovered her passion for crafting and found a way to tie it back to her aspirations of helping others.

A Facebook group was Holli’s next step. “I found a like-minded community of people who liked to create things,” she said. Her own group on Facebook also was a way not to get kicked out of other ones. Every day, she found her self thankful for the opportunity do just do another video.She couldn’t wait to chat each day and teach others about her Cricut projects. It wasn’t long before she added Instagram to her community.

I knew I had found where I was supposed to be.

Holli Mostella

Holli continued to develop a presence online by holding live tutorials through her Facebook group, sharing through her Instagram, creating a YouTube channel, designing images for her Patreon group, and even starting a podcast.

Dale has since retired from nursing, got her own Cricut machine, and joined Holli at work as her first full-time employee. Her dad continues to support and celebrate the career Holli carved out for herself. But, best of all, Harlow and Mayer maybe provide her with the ultimate compliment.

“They mimic my tutorials,” Holli mentioned. They “mirror what I do for a living” and even “gravitate towards things in school like art class [and] anything creative.” Holli can’t wait to see what they do in the future, with no pressures from her, of course.

I will always battle depression. It’s not onset by any actions or experiences. Sometimes it just flares up like a chronic illness. You don’t necessarily have an explanation for it.

Holli Mostella

For Holli, keeping her mind and hands busy with creating, designing, crafting, and teaching was her control. It was her version of making the “world more beautiful.” This newfound control gave her focus and empowerment.

There is no greater honor for Holli than when people thank her for sharing her story. For her, the long, uphill struggle was worth finding her calling, her path to her childhood dream. It wasn’t the journey she thought she would be taking, but she truly believes it was the path she needed.