Friday, June 8

Get a Hobby!

Before I had a family, I was a hobby-aholic (hobbiaholic?). I had a (not-so) secret Martha Stewart addiction to things like paper-mache, pottery, decoupage, and homemade Christmas ornament. For gifts, I would create fabric-covered boxes or personalized gift-wrap with matching gift cards, and I really thought my customized picture frames were the cat’s meow (if you received one and didn’t like it, don’t tell me, I’ll be crushed). I took classes in subjects like life drawing (OMG naked old men models with wrinkles everywhere and I mean everywhere), belly dancing, and Ukrainian egg decorating.

In recent years, time has not been on my side. I haven’t abandoned all my creative skills – I've made some fun toys and personalized books for Bumper – yet my creative output is nowhere near what it used to be.

This is about to change because I’ve got a new inspiration.

The Parent Blogger Network asked me to review the book “Get a Hobby!”. The book is a collection of “101 All-Consuming Diversions for Any Lifestyle” aka hobbies. Practicing a hobby is a great method for relaxation, which promotes good health. This fact is supported in studies outlined in the book forward written by the neurologist, Dr. Miguel Figueroa. Heck, I had no idea my hobby addiction is good for my health (so why did I bother to quit smoking?).

The book is set-up reference style. Each hobby chapter includes what you will need to get started, resources (eg. books and websites), overview, history, how to get started, and where applicable - a starter project.

When I cracked the book open I reviewed the list of hobbies and plucked out a few that I already experienced (decoupage and journaling & blogging), a few that I was interested in trying (deejaying and scrap booking), and a few that I like to try when I am retired or if I win the lottery (storm chasing and urban animal husbandry).

I found the chapters about hobbies I had already tried included good information but were not overly detailed. The minimal detail is actually a good thing because otherwise the book would be huge! Each chapter contains a good amount of information to get started or create interest. For instance, I like the decoupage project of jazzing up an old coffee table and the blogging chapter has a good list of resources for getting started.

I was happy to learn some interesting tips for hobbies I wanted to try. I always wondered what are the basic tricks for deejaying. The chapter clearly outlined the steps in the “getting started” portion. Unfortunately I couldn’t try it out because of the limitations of my sound equipment but first chance, I have a playlist planned and I hope to be the queen of the DJ booth at the next rave I attend.

Moving on to the chapter on scrap booking, I was pleased to find this hobby is easy for me to do. I am now creating a place for all those ticket stubs, keepsakes and doodads I have collected from events, concerts, weddings and personal milestones. No more crappy looking shoe boxes filled with “stuff”. I will soon be able to pull out scrapbooks and torture all my guests with a multitude of acid-free trips, I mean pages, down memory lane. Consider this a warning if you are ever a guest in my home.

Now I know I’ve said this somewhere in my archives (probably in a meme) that I would be a storm chaser if I could be any profession in the world. So I was tickled pink when I read that this is a considered a hobby (as opposed to pure insanity). The resources and history are interesting but I’m not sure if this would actually qualify as a relaxing hobby.

As for urban animal husbandry – I totally missed the word animal in the description and was confused for the first few paragraphs. I mean, I understand why you’d need a cage for husbands but the special food?

All kidding aside, the book is a good starting point if you are looking for a new hobby. There is a short (and humorous) quiz to get you started and each of the chapters has keywords in the header describing the “hobby personality”. In applicable chapters there are “if you like this hobby, you might enjoy:” cross-references.

Tina Barseghian created this book to inspire readers to rediscover the “unconstrained, pleasure-seeking state of mind” from childhood, before work and other responsibilities got in the way. It’s meant to be fun and “ inspire you to make the most of the rarest of all luxuries – your free time”. And seriously, if having a hobby is good for your health – bring it on!

Go here or here and leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of the book and a $100 gift card from Michael's Arts and Crafts. It's a great way to start a hobby addiction ;)


St. Amy Jane said...

Ya know... for the last 6 years blogging has been my scrapbooking. I'll blog for 5 or 6 months then I'll disappear... but thats been my hobby for the last 6 years on and off. So I don't know if you lbog for a living, but you can look at that as a hobby :)

kgirl said...

I will never ever fall into the scrapbooking thing, but man, do I have a lot of half baked - I mean half-finished craft projects lying around.

modmom said...

i used to sew, but i can't get started again, i go to the computer too much

mamatulip said...

I tried to have a hobby...I tried scrapbooking. I got to the four month mark with Julia's and abandoned it like nobody's business.


petite gourmand said...

does eating poutine, date squares and chocolate milk count as a hobby?

but seriously, I agree- having a hobby is such an important part of being creative and maintaining some sense of individuality..