Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hobby Shopping

For a while there I was thinking that I'm a 'discontent' - one of those people who is always a bit grumpy. Then Jimbo and I talked about it and I realized that I'm just discontent without a project (typical busy squirrel behaviour, I suppose).

I struggled a lot with the surprise of being pregnant a few years ago, because I had so many projects on the go that suddenly I couldn't do: stained glass (toxic lead), furniture refinishing (toxic stripping chemicals), exterior house painting (scraping toxic lead particles), etc. Since then, I've embraced motherhood remarkably well, I think, but I still have a tiny bit of resentment about the lack of serious hobbies.

I don't mind librarianship (especially right now - love my job), but if I suddenly found myself with a livable pension that meant I didn't have to work, I would spend my days making stained glass and refinishing antique furniture. I find both of these activities completely engrossing, exciting, and full of possibilities.

No-one is currently offering me a pension, of course, so I continue to come to work and do my librarian thing.

Anyway, my point is this: I am still regularly frustrated that I can't do stained glass or furniture stripping in the bit of spare time that is available to me, since I am still nursing and don't want to pass lead/chemicals on to my nursling. I do accept responsibility for the fact that I could stop nursing and then go ahead and get toxic, but I'm not ready to go there yet.

The other day, after I mentioned this lack of good hobby thing yet again, Jim suggested that maybe I should just find a new hobby that is not toxic. I dunnowhyIdidnthinkofthat. So, now I'm hobby shopping. Except, how do you shop for a hobby?? I usually start with an interest and go from there. I've never started with a set of parameters before (non-toxic, can pick up and drop easily, can do at home, doesn't affect waning wrist tendonitis, etc.), and gone out trying to fill the space.

It doesn't help, of course, that Jim and my sister scoff at every possible hobby that I come up with. 'Paper tole', for example, really took a killing...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok - this had to make me laugh because my mother's experimentation with non-toxic give-mom-a-life-beyond-the-kids hobbies accompanies my childhood memories like a soundtrack. In case you want to try any of the projects that got her through the 70's with her sanity intact, they were: decopage, macramae (since these two things entered my life in my pre-literate years, I don't even know how to spell them), sewing, ceramics (have a lovely nativity set that is quite the family heirloom now), embroidery, yoga and various types of ethnic cooking. None of these proved harmful to us kids and she always had something on the go to make her feel like she was creating something. Due to a profound lack of innate creative talent in our family, she didn't actually produce much worth keeping, but I don't think that was really the point. Good luck hobby shopping!


5:01 pm  
Blogger Carmi said...

I feel your pain. I've lived my entire life unable to do anything recreational that also adds to the collective human experience.

I like to think of blogging as something of a hobby. But in my case, writing doesn't really qualify because that's my actual job.

Macrophotograhy might work. I leave the development to someone else, so I stay away from toxic chemicals, yet still enthrall - and bore - my relatives and friends with the results. Great fun!

5:17 pm  
Blogger liz said...

I would have thought that blogging and baking were plenty. Please don't tell me they don't count, because those are about the only hobbies I have these days! --Oh, and swiffering the floor. That makes me happy, too.

7:18 pm  
Blogger Eileen said...

Felting? Natural sheep fibres & you get to soak your hands in olive soap?

I say go for embroidery...we did a little refresher in textiles class & making those little flowers again was really fun. You could always spend the next 20 years recreating the Bayeaux Tapestry (drat, that's been a man, no less!).

Check out the Yahoo hobby directory ( Hmmm..lock picking?? knotting? handwriting analysis! Soapmaking is awfully fun & you can buy "melt & pour" soap by the bucket & get into making those soaps with pictures in them? You may have a genetic predisposition to become addicted to pyrotechnics, so best to leave that one alone - ditto for dumpster diving.

7:22 pm  
Blogger Gwen said...

This is brilliant - now that I've put out my little cry for help, the hobbies are coming to me! It's too good. I already made god-awful things with macrame in 4-H, so that's out. Baking and blogging are good fun, but I never transcend my little daily existence while doing them. With stained glass, I get so involved that I can look up and 3 hours have passed. I'm not up for felting because the cats would mess with my artistry. I am mildly interested in the idea of photography? I've always wanted to learn how to work one of those completely manual cameras with all the doodads. Hmmm. I wonder what I could photograph in the house during naptime...

7:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was thinking you could go one step further with the photography and try scrapbooking. my sister and my niece do it, and they love it. you can unleash all your creativity, and you'll have pages of memories as an outcome. my niece made a scrapbook for her boyfriend for christmas, and it actually made him cry. she had the ticket stubs from the first movie they went to see together in there, letters they had written to one another, pictures (of course), napkins with little notes on them, etc. it was really rather sweet.

10:12 am  
Blogger liz said...

I used to work at both a Frank's Nursery and at a Michael's Arts & Crafts, and it was difficult to resist doing *everything*, because I was exposed every day to all the nifty trinkets and gewgaws. Maybe just a trip to a craft store would cause something to jump out at you!

Oh, I was thinking, you could also make your own paper from random things around the house (especially other paper scraps). A friend of mine who was into calligraphy eventually began making her own decorative papers for it, and it looked really fun.

All that pulp spread out to dry on a screen...with pressed wildflowers right in it...wish *I* had time and space for a hobby!

10:24 am  

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