General chatter - I don't have a hobby!

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07-12-2008, 03:48 AM
I have summers off because I'm a teacher. I was bored out of my school by the first week. The house is clean, I've read so much I have a headache, etc. And then my DH said something KI had honestly never thought of, "Honey, you need a hobby."
It dawned on me that he is right. I don't have anything to do that is just for me, that makes me happy. During the school year I'm swamped with teaching and graduate classes, but on the weekends, holidays, and summer I'm bored out of my mind while DH is a work/school. (We don't have kids.)
I'm trying to think of something, and I've been browsing online for an hour now. Why not ask the chickies here? :D
Collecting things does NOT appeal to me (we live in a small apartment). I like the idea of making simple things that other people would like as gifts, like Xmas ornaments, soap, lotions, etc. I also like making photo collages for family and friends. None of us are into scrapbooking, so I take a bunch of pictures, cut out the people and paste them into a neat collage. Then I mat and frame it. They make nice gifts, but it's not something I can make in advance, you know? It would require actively going and finding customers and I don't think I'd have time for that during the school year. I also like organizing things. Not cleaning, lol! But I looove going to people's houses and organizing and rearranging stuff.
I live near Houston and I have a bad back, but I can take walks. Any tips? What do you guys do for hobbies?
Thanks chickies! I know this is a weird topic. I want to feel like my summer was productive. And I think DH is worried about me. I got all excited about getting to trim our cats' claws. (I'm a lot bored!)

07-12-2008, 06:22 AM
Personally, I love to knit and cross stitch. There's a certain satisfaction in the process, but for me it's mostly the beautiful completed project at the end. I love that I can throw on a movie for backround noise and stitch away. Right now, I'm knitting the most gorgeous wool afghan with hand-dyed boucle wool from a local lady.

Basic knitting, crocheting and cross-stitching are very easy to learn and master. I advise starting out with a small, inexpensive project and working from there, that way you can figure out whether you like it and want to continue. You can knit a dish cloth for $5 including the cost of the needles or find a cross stitch kit for $10 which includes everything you need. I spend more now that I know I love it (this afghan was definitely my biggest splurge by far at $190 just for the yarn). I make a cross stitch for my mom for Christmas every year. Some are big, some are smaller, but every one is really appreciated.

I also must say that cross stitching in particular can eat up a lot of time if that's what you want. I once calculated the time it took me to stitch this pattern:

It's around 22 inches tall, much bigger than it looks in the picture, and I calculated that it took me around 600-650 hours to complete. Hehe... I told my mom that I'm getting that one back when she dies. ;) That's obviously not a project I'd recommend for a beginner. I have also done lots of 5-10 hour projects that are a ton of fun. When I want something to complete fairly quickly, I pull out my dish cloth yarn. I can knit one of those in about 2.5-3 hours.

Good luck, I know how hard it can be to fill the hours when you're home alone. I'm currently 5 months pregnant and not working, so also have lots of hours to fill. I've read 3 books in 3 days and you've inspired me to get my stitching back out before my eyes pop out of my head from all the reading.

07-12-2008, 08:39 AM
My mom is a retired teacher who used to have the same problem you did over summers and now that she is retired. She also loves to read, like you but she too needed a hobby and was creative (like you).

She found that she LOVES making jewelry. The initial cost isn't much because beads/fasteners ets generally aren't that expensive. Other beading tools you can buy in a kit so the start up cost is low and it takes up little room. She has made some AWESOME things!

I thought jewelry making would be just stringing beads on a boring but man she showed me differently. There are TONS of techniques and it doesn't take long to get good enough to make the jewelry look store-bought.

I needed something to wear with a new skirt for my husbands HS reunion and she made it for me, she also made me things to wear with my scrubs for D-school... and when I needed something else to give my mother in law and friend as a gift. They turn out AMAZING. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, cell phone charms, even keychains ... you name it.

07-12-2008, 09:15 AM
How about volunteering or getting a job? I know many teachers and most of them have some sort of job over the summer.

Also, many organizations out there would love to have volunteers. I was recently thinking about shifting my work schedule to volunteer at a local animal shelter. It doesn't look like I will be able to do it but it is something on the back of my mind.

07-12-2008, 09:37 AM
I'm not a teacher (though I am in grad school to become one ;)) but my job gives us the whole month of August off each year, since our boss is based in Europe. So we follow the European vacation system -- Ferragosto (in Italian, don't know what it's called elsewhere). Anyway, so I have a whole month, which isn't as much as the whole summer, but still. I don't really have a hobby either -- I usually use the time to clean and reorganize the house, workout and get things done I normally can't because of work (like going to the social security office to change my name, at last, to my married name). I used to draw as a hobby, and I was pretty good at it too, but I dunno... I'm shy ab people seeing my drawings. I like writing, but again, I feel shy ab other people reading what I write.

Jewelry making sounds fun though, I have to say... I also always thought scrapbooking sounds fun too...

07-12-2008, 11:25 AM
If you're into art you could paint/draw. You could even TAKE classes instead of giving them :D

07-12-2008, 12:25 PM
I too am a teacher, so I understand what you mean about the summers. As for the suggestion about getting a job, I find that I'm too mentally burned out from the school year to think about working during the summer. If I did a job in the summer, it would have to be something completely mindless, probably something physical.

I always think I want to take up things like knitting and cross stitch, and then I go buy the stuff and lose patience with it immediately. I'm just not a crafty girl, and I've accepted that about myself. I read constantly, but sometimes you want something different to do, so I understand why you're still looking for something else. Have you considered learning a musical instrument? I play the piano, and I find that working on different pieces can take up a lot of time and can be extremely satisfying. Also, if I don't want the challenge of working on a new piece, just playing in general can be very stress-relieving and relaxing. I find that my fingers start to sort of crave it after a while if I don't play for a few days. A piano is a big investment, but you could start with a keyboard or you could try the guitar or some other instrument. It's never too late to learn how to play something!

I'm taking a year's leave of absence from teaching to stay home with my baby (due Aug 1), so I feel like I might have some boring times in my future. I know I'll be busy with the baby, but when he's sleeping and I can't sleep, I'll need to fill my time. I really want to work on my Master's during that time but I can't afford the classes (even though I would be reimbursed later). I guess I'll read and play the piano and write and stare at my little baby boy!

Good luck finding something -- I know how you feel!

07-12-2008, 01:59 PM
I also like to cross stitch. I prefer the counted cross stitches to the ones with patterns. I tried my hand at crocheting (hope that's close to being spelled right), but I'm left handed, and have had trouble finding books that have left handed instructions.

I love doing variety puzzle books, logic problems, and math puzzles. Dell and Penny Press are the two publishers that I buy the magazines from. Penny Press is less expensive of the two.

Do you like gardening or working in flower beds? I'm not an outdoorsy type person, but my mom enjoys this stuff, and she somehow always gets me out to help. It passes the time. That all I can say about it. lol

For me, something that keeps my mind busy vs. my hands seems to work better. Maybe that is why I like logic problems. That might be why I don't care to garden. I find my mind wondering and I just feel like, though my body is busy, my mind isn't.

07-12-2008, 02:19 PM
These are some great ideas. Unfortunately, I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening. I once killed a plastic plant. We're still not sure how....
I used to cross stitch when I was younger. It might be fun to do little Xmas ornaments--short enough not to get bored with it. The jewelery making thing sounds neat too. Thanks guys!

07-12-2008, 05:53 PM
LOL at killing the plastic plant. The thought of making Christmas ornaments had never even occured to me - that sounds like it could be a really good cheap christmas gift idea! I'm off to google!

07-12-2008, 06:46 PM
This is my cheap, easy way to make ornaments. Mix equal parts unsweetened applesauce and ground cinnamon. This makes a dough. Roll it out to about 1/4" thickness (use more ground cinnamon to keep it from sticking to the table). Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Make a small hole near the top of each ornament (for the ribbon). Place ornaments on foil-lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, flipping the ornaments every 10 minutes. Take them out, and let them air dry on towels for a day or so before you attach the ribbon.
These are non-perishable and smell good for months. When Christmas is over, I put some in my car to make it smell good.
If one of your kids eats one, he'll have a heck of a tummy ache, but it won't hurt them.

07-12-2008, 09:43 PM
I also make jewelry, but I want to warn that it can get very expensive very quickly. It was cheaper at first, but then I discovered wonderful, beautiful things like sterling silver, sapphires, rubies, onyx, jade, amethyst etc. beads that can be made into jewelry. It's just amazing how small of a bag $1,000 worth of beads fits into. I also discovered that once I started using the real stones, not even necessarily gemstones but things like jasper, amber, carnelian, tourmaline, turquoise, citrine, pearls, etc. that I hate working with glass beads and don't do it anymore.

I absolutely love making jewelry, but like I said, I found that it got very expensive after not too long. :)

07-13-2008, 10:14 PM
How do you start if you are interested in making jewelry?

07-13-2008, 10:41 PM
YOu mentioned soapmaking and so forth in your first post. Why not look into making things like your own cosmetics, bubble bath, soaps, etc. I make a lot of my own stuff from herbs I grow in my garden - both to keep and use and to give to friends as gifts.

I also love to cook, so I have fun exploring new recipes and so forth and making things to give to friends. Summer is a great time to hit farmer's markets and get fresh produce and can things. Learn to make healthy jams and jellies, can tomatoes, etc. The benefit to that is also knowing that the food you eat over the winter was made by your own hand and you know exactly what went into it.


07-13-2008, 10:48 PM
Hi... It's not a hobby~hobby, how about a Vision Board, you mentioned you enjoyed doing collages... It may just get the creative juices going.. I started one and work on it a little at a time.... I think its fun... If you are interested in doing one, there is a thread here about them, and lots of info if you google it.... Enjoy

07-13-2008, 11:17 PM
Thanks guys! I got started making bracelets--nothing as fancy as yours Gale02 ;) Just glass beads, metal, etc. I'm actually relaxed by it. I've spent about $60 in the last couple days getting wire, beads, a handy 3 in 1 tool, more wire, clasps, etc. I've made about 10 bracelets so far. I just wish I knew someone in my area that made them. I'm using crimp beads to put on clasps, and I heard there's something called a double crimping tool, but no one at the craft stores can tell me about it.

07-13-2008, 11:21 PM
I'm addicted to crafting, so you could say my crafting hobby is collecting hobbies.

I crochet (also left handed, but my left handed grandma and mom started teaching me when I was 4), but have had a harder time learning to knit. I've read that you should hold the how to book pictures up to a mirror, and that helped a bit, but I could never purl without dropping stitches. I just learned recently that I was even doing the knit stitch "wrong," as instead of turning my work, I worked left to right for one row and then right to left for the next (I'm apparently an ambidextrous knitter). I also recently found out that there are ways to knit with a crochet hook (and even a yahoo group about it), so I'm learning. I'm also ordering a left handed knitting book from (great source for cheap hobby books, especially if you use the used function).

I do collect craft books and craft supplies and it fills an entire room of a very small 2 bedroom apartment. Keeping it organized is a hobby in itself.

I'd recommend starting at the library and brousing the craft section. You'll find an amazing assortment. I've done scrapbooking, bookmaking, crochet, knitting, needlepoint, cross-stitch, tapestry crochet, tunisian or afghan crochet, origami, sewing (doll clothes to pillows to clothing), polymer clay, potato and sponge printing (like making your own gift wrap or even fabric), rughooking, "found object" (from junk) jewelry and crafting, greeting cards, rag rug making (crochet or braided), basket making (crocheting with unusual materials like plastic tubing and wire), beading.

The possibilities are endless. I especially love "mixed media" projects, so I can mix different techniques that I've learned.

07-14-2008, 02:24 PM
This is so odd that this thread got started this past weekend. I just started looking into making jewelry myself. I was intrigued by a girl in one of my summer classes and she had lots of funky jewelry and she mentioned she made them herself since some of the other girls were asking her where she had gotten some of her jewelry. I bought some things myself as well to help try to get me started. I also found out that there are classes you can take too online or even at a bead store and etc so I'm going to look into that as well.