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Posts from the Hobbies Category

and i’m a serial hobbyist.  i enjoy learning new things. if something piques my interest enough i have to try. some hobbies stick, some ebb and flow, and others  get put on the back burner.

here are just a few of my hobbies – past, present, and future.

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there was the summer (2011) i wanted to learn how to play the banjo. i bought new strings, learned how to tune it (repeatedly, because it kept slipping out of tune).  learned a few tricks through the magic of youtube and then one day i just set it down never to be picked up again. well, except for pulling it from the dark corner in which it hibernates for the sole purpose of taking a picture of it for this post. i may have even attempted a photo from a different angle, but from this angle you can’t see the 1/2 inch layer of dust on the poor thing. learning to play is still on my to-do list; i’m filing it under ‘future hobbies that will never be mastered’. for now, i just don’t have the dedication to practice as often as i should. my interests are being pulled in other directions. but, i swear banjo, one day i’ll come back to you!  *this one may not qualify as an actual hobby, but more of an attempt at a hobby.

 

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i picked up knitting about 11 years ago or so. i did the usual and knit scarves and hats. then people i knew started having babies so i moved on to blankets and wee little socks. then came big socks and sweaters of all sizes. after that, nothing. the knitting bug was gone. but, i missed it so i started on a shawl and half way through i fucked it up royally. i was so turned around on that thing. i brought it with me to philadelphia and jill (thankfully) rescued it for me. i came home so excited to finish it and then i did it again. completely screwed it up! i frogged that thing and never looked back.

okay. that’s not entirely true. i did look back . i miss the knitting. i started a scarf for my girl this winter (a year after i frogged that shawl), but it was mild here so i never felt a rush to finish it up. it’s still only half done. but, it’s practically summer here and i’ve never been a summer knitter (ridiculous and pathetic, i know). the good thing about stopping knitting for such a period of time is that my stash seems like new yarn again. and i’m tempted, i really am! but, the warmest months are when i get my sewing itch. which leads me to . . .

 

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yeah, that’s my sewing machine shoved to the corner of the table in my room. buried behind kid art, camera bags, prints that need frames, a penguin in need of an eye patch, and things that should have been mailed long ago. i’m trying to remember the last thing i made on that machine and i’m struggling. pajama pants for the kids? maybe. probably not. my iron died months and months ago and you can’t really sew without having an iron around so that’s been my excuse. erika, with all her quilt making and gifting finally gave me the push to go buy a damn iron (as long as it took me to go buy one you’d think it was an item only available at specialty stores. ridiculous and pathetic, i’m telling you!) so, the next rainy day we get i’m busting that sewing machine loose and getting to work on a super hero cape for the girl. her brother is getting pissy about her wearing his cape all the time. (if the weather folks have it right, i’m probably working on this little project at the very moment you’re reading this. unless you’re reading this in the morning. i’ll need at least a full hour awake and 2.5 cups of coffee before i get going on this.) wish me luck!

 

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my newest hobby? gardening. we’ve been growing veggies for a few years now, but i’m starting to get a little more adventurous. i love container gardening. this year i’m mixing it up and growing more herbs and a few veggies in containers along with the decorative plants. the truth is our back porch is hideously in need of replacement and until that can happen, i’m covering as much of it as possible in potted plants. i really enjoy looking up which plants will do well in our area and where in our fairly shade yard they could thrive. so far, my biggest accomplishment in regards to this hobby has not been growing actual food that we can eat, but keeping my staghorn fern alive indoors throughout the winter. i’m shocked (and thrilled) that i didn’t kill that beauty.

 
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i feel silly calling reading a hobby, but i suppose it technically is one. this is the eternal hobby, the one i’ve loved for as long as i can remember and will never stop. yet, this hobby has an odd rhythm sometimes. i go through phases where i read tons of non-fiction, or i re-read old favorites, maybe there’s an autobiography binge, or i discover an author and then devour everything they’ve ever penned because they rocked my world. right now my schtick is, i see a book and think to myself, “i’m sure i would enjoy this book. why the fuck haven’t i read it yet?”. yeah, that’s my flow right now. i’m starting with this.

tell me, what hobbies do you have that stuck? which ones fell to the wayside? any new hobbies you’re discovering?

About 15yrs ago, I bought a bike at the urging of some friends.  I was just out of college and hadn’t been on a bike since I was 12yrs old.  I felt foolish.  I felt giddy.  I felt really out of shape.  I did it anyway.  The first time out I felt awkward.  I felt pain in my ass from the seat.  I felt silly.  I felt exhilarated.  I proceeded to fall in love with my bike.  I learned to trail ride and jump logs.  I learned to ride down stairs.  I rode in the mud…I fell in said mud.  I laughed.  I bought toe clips and biking gloves…handle bar extensions.  I rode everyday.  I loved it.  I once tried to jump a curb at a busy intersection in our city and missed.  I landed, quite painfully, on my side…my legs dangling in the street…my bike in peril with oncoming traffic.  I tore the muscles in my side, knocked the wind out of myself, and all I could whisper to my frantic husband was, “bike. grab bike.  grab bike.”
blue bikes

Fast forward a few years (new puppy, house, marriage, new baby) and I found myself riding less and less.    I put the bike in storage.  Looking back on it, I should have known that was a gigantic red flag waving in my face, but I didn’t see it then.  Or perhaps I chose not to see it.  Either way, the bike remained in storage for years until my son began wanting to ride his bike beyond our neighborhood street.  With my daughter big enough to ride in a Burley, we pulled our bikes out of storage and started a new family tradition.  That was four years ago and the tradition continues.  In warmer months, we’re out every weekend on our bikes.  Downtown, college campuses, the art museum, our neighborhood, city trails….always in search of a new place.  For Christmas this past year, I bought my son riding gloves because he kept stealing mine last summer.  He’s eager to hit some wooded trails this year and I’m eager to join him.  It’s been an awesome way to bond as a family and I’m hoping for bigger biking adventures as they get older.  I’ve always wanted to go to Moab.  I still love to pedal on my own, too.  It’s good therapy.

Been on a bike lately?  Give it a go.  Create a new tradition.  Find a new way to clear your mind.  Feel silly.  Feel exhilarated.  The pain in your ass from the seat doesn’t last long, I promise.  Don’t have a bike?  Rent one.  Don’t feel like riding alone?  Find a tour.  Live in the Indianapolis area?   Check ActiveIndy out!

-Erika Ray

Writing is easy for me.  I sort of just spew whatever I’m feeling onto the screen.  It’s always full of typos, but it’s always easy.  Writing is a delicious and therapeutic hobby.  But this hobby’s well is taped out, Folks.  I’ve been writing a lot these days to promote this breakout session and it’s drained my word well.  But I’ll take the drought.  The session is jammed packed with an empowering message for photographers, especially Moms who sometimes get lost in Mommyhood.  If I didn’t believe in it, I’d be pissy with the drought.  But this drought is clearing the way for a new lush garden of words.  Instead of me making up crap to fill this page, enjoy the quilt pictures.  I’m working on a quilt for a friend who sent me a card full of money and said, “I value your time.”  Right now that’s the hobby that I value because it’s letting the writing hobby sit and the new words are just starting to form new roots.

If you’re a photographer and you really want to embrace your rawness, get over here and sign up.

Yes, I’m pimping the shit out of it.

Almost done if that annoys you…

I’m a really good salesman, huh?

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by Jill Greenwood

Yup, we’re a little late getting the month started on O + U. Could be the nice weather, but it only became nice in the past few days in my region. Might be all that time I’m spending taking photographs. Only problem? I can’t find the time to process a damn thing without a small “beagleador” on my lap. So it must be all my hobbies, right? Possibly but not really. Turns out I’ve been reveling in being lazy and doing nothing except for reading the occasional book.

Even while I’m reading or falling asleep, the nagging feeling that I should be doing something else keeps pricking at my brain. What’s missing is knitting. Lucy, the aforementioned “beagleador,” doesn’t really like to share my lap. And it turns out that she’s kind of picky about wanting to play since she’s a puppy and all. Knitting, sadly, has taken a seat on the back burner, and it’s a shame considering I have enough yarn to choke a small family. You want silk? Come on over, my love . . . I have mulberry and raw. Merino? Want that blended or pure? Could I tempt you with a little qiviut? Rub it on your wrist . . . or some place else. Tell you what I’ll do. First skein is free. It’s all yours. But the next one? Well, the next one you’ll have to pay for. Sure, with knitting, you’ll start with some lovely Red Heart (and there are some lovely Red Heart varieties) and think, “This sweater will be perfect!” However, you’ll figure out quickly that you can’t block anything because it’s acrylic. So you’ll buy a nice, reasonably priced wool. Later, a friend will show you some cashmere blend, and that’s it. You’re in for the good stuff from then on. You’ll stalk certain indie dyers to try and score just a skein of the goodness. The same friend will send you links on Ravelry for another indie dyer. You’ll go into your attic to retrieve two balls of yarn and realize that you have not one, not two, but six (yes, six) separate sweaters in yarn form just waiting to be knit.

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But admit you have a problem? Screw that. Because eventually, you’ll have a sweater. Or a sock (probably not its mate). Could be a scarf. All that yarn? It has potential. There is possibility in a skein. The colors meld with a stitch, and you’ve created something magical. Twist your stitches this way . . . nothing. But twist the other way, and it all pops. Maybe you’ll get ballsy and throw a sweater that’s too big and shrink it a little (I would caution you on this; it often leads to tears and sobbing and hyperventilating and booze . . . lots and lots of booze). Save the big one – cutting your sweater – for last. Because after you do that, it’s all downhill from there.

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So why knit? It can be a relatively cheap craft. You can get wool sweaters at most thrift stores and unravel them if you like. There are plenty of small projects out there that take a small amount of yarn. A skein of sock yarn can go pretty far if you’re creative. And if you’re not creative . . . buy a pattern and get to it. Knitting will keep you focused, for the most part. You focus on the stitches and let the rest of your thoughts melt away. Nothing will destress me faster than the garter stitch. Knit a row. Turn it around. Knit another row. Repeat. But if I need to stop from thinking of anything, give me a complicated lace pattern. Because if I have to think about a pattern, chances are I can’t think about anything else. Sometimes, that’s the best part.

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