Showing posts with label hobbies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hobbies. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Baking Clay a Hobby for All Ages and Stages of Life - A Gift Review

This year I will learn a new Hobby!  I will share it with the world and my granddaughter!

If we have learned anything this year, it's that our hobbies will keep us from climbing up the walls when we can't do the things that we are used to doing.  Pandemics and the need to keep ourselves isolated from harm, can do some strange things to people's psyches.  Don't fall into that trap or let the isolation rule you.  Learn to do something new and interesting to keep the depression/isolation at bay.



Crafting has long been a way to fill in "spare time" or do something that we enjoy.  It could be knitting, crocheting, baking or a host of other activities that will keep our minds and hands busy.  Photography, painting, leather crafts and paper crafts all fit that bill. You will find a host of "Hobbies" on Review This Review right here!

Today I'd like to offer another way to do that and it could be a way to connect with our children and grandchildren.  Time spent together is always time well spent.

Getting ready for the holidays is another way that we connect with each other.  This year though we may not be able to do quite as much of that as we would like to do.  But don't despair, there are other ways of connecting that will give you just as much pleasure.  You might even find in years ahead, that this was one of the best ways to connect with our loved ones.

So let's get on with it, shall we?

One of my Granddaughters this year has made a request that I really like.  Not only because she asked for this, but it will let her creativity and imagination come out in something physical!



Using her hands to create something that is in her mind, will help her and us to appreciate what a crazy imagination and vision she has.  There is no right or wrong with creating what is in your mind's eye.   Purple Polka Dotted Cats or Dogs are acceptable!  It is a place where everyone can let loose and show the rest of the world what is happening in your own personal space.  So what is it that will let her do this?

Well, it's not new, although it is much improved from the last time I looked at this product, and I like it much better than Play Doh (sorry playdoh)!  It allows you to create and  oven dry your creation, so that it is a finished product!





I love this oven dry clay, that comes in so many different colors (that's one of the improvements)!  This starter kit has 46 different colors of Oven Bake clay!   It is neatly organized in a container that keeps the clay and tools all in one place!  It has a whole range of tools and  findings (earrings, necklaces and brooches) so that her creative side can be "showcased" in something she has made for someone special in her life.  Mom, Grandma or friends can be "gifted" with one of a kind creations made by yours truly.  Or she can make something for herself!

But here's the twist!  I'm ordering two of these sets.  Why?  Well, one will be for my granddaughter and the other one for me!  When she and I are ready we will Facetime or Zoom and I will create something for her and hopefully she will create something for me!  I know she will enjoy this exercise in creativity and I will wear whatever she makes with the pride!  

You can bet that every time we are together (media wise) I will don my granddaughters gift so that she knows how much I enjoy her talents.  Hopefully the feeling will be mutual when she sees what I make for her.

These are the gifts that make hearts sing and add to memories that just can't be exchanged for "things" that you can buy.  I imagine that we will spend a great amount of time sharing our creativity and the joy of making something that no one will be able to copy!  One of a kind gifts that provide something to do and teach a new talent to young and old minds alike are winners in my book!

When all of the pandemic is over (hopefully soon) and we are able to come together again, I'm sure we will laugh about our "seeing" each other in all our creative glory!







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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Home Made with Love, Christmas Crafts to Blow Your Mind

Christmas has already exploded on the scene and I usually don't jump on board until the First Week of Advent!  But, if you are crafting, you need to start before then!  Cricut, a product review!



Cricut is a platform that lets you make and style so many different materials that you can use to enhance the decor in your home for just about any occasion.

Because we are so close to Christmas, we will focus on this holiday for now.  Rest assured though, that Cricut is not just for Christmas.  You can craft all kinds of things for other holidays too.

So what exactly is Cricut?  

Cricut is a machine that cuts several different types of materials, from fabric, to vinyl and even some thin wood products.  You can cut letters, designs, logos and so much more with this handy machine.  

Paired with your computer, you can make your own designs and within the day have a whole series of items made with that design splashed on T-shirts, mugs, windows and more.  Your imagination is the starting point.

Personalized gifts are easy and the WOW FACTOR is what makes your gifts stand out.  

Do you need inspiration?  There are limitless possibilities with a Cricut, but if you are stumped there are literally hundreds of Videos available to twig your imagination into overdrive.



Any new technology can cause some trepidation, but once you own a machine you will find many videos on YouTube to help you get started.  There are so many videos available and also  help from Cricut itself.  There are idea books, downloads and more to help you organize and execute your first project without any difficulty!

I'm sure you have seen those beautiful signs with Quotes that just make your heart melt!  Well you can make your own using the Cricut machine.  




Cricut even has it's own blog, so that if you are stumped or need some extra encouragement, it is right there for you! 

You can join the Cricut family and open an account.  That will help you to see what is possible with your new machine. They will keep you informed on all kinds of new techniques and materials.  Everything from wall art, decals, t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards and more can be done with your new machine.  

The only thing that will be necessary is a willingness to learn and the time to execute your ideas.  Once you get started though, I'm sure you won't be able to stop!  

Just think of all the Holidays that you can make special with a touch of your creativity and the help of a Cricut.

Chirstmas, Valentine's Day, Easter, Spring, July 1st or 4th, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and so many more holidays.  And then there are the special occasions too that will have you crafting something wonderful.  An engagement, wedding, baby, new home, new job.  Birthday markers like 20, 30 and beyond, all of them are crafting times and a great way to use your new tools.  

I don't like to spend my money on a craft that I will only do once!  Cricut is a craft that you will do all year long and for a myriad of reasons!  

The beauty is, that if you can imagine it, you can also craft it and make it your own!  There are endless ways to make your home and surrounding a reflection of your own personal tastes.  Grab hold of some wonderful ideas and run with them.  I bet all your friends will be amazed at what you can do.



You might even find yourself using your spare time to create beautiful things to make and sell.  Before you know what happened, your hobby has now turned the corner and you could be enjoying self employment.  You just never know what can happen when you start to create with your Cricut and show the world what you have made.


The picture used in this post is my niece's home!  She has made signs, stockings and pillows to help her fill her home with Christmas!  And that is just a small sample of the things she has made.   What is stopping you?

Shop The Best Machine Prices of the Year 

Happy Holidays and Let's Get Creating Some Beauty!




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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

When is the Best Time to Learn Something New? September Sewing Month

September is Sewing Month and a Great Time to Learn Something New!

Fall Season has arrived and the evenings are getting so much cooler that spending lots of time outdoors isn't quite as appealing as it was in July.  So what are you going to do with all those evening hours?

If Television isn't your thing, then learning a new craft just might be.  I know I love to keep my hands busy and sewing is one of the ways I do just that.
                                                  
Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Now, I must admit to you that sewing had been a big part of my life.  Before my retirement I was a designer/dressmaker for many, many years.

I was taught the craft by my mother, and by several courses taken from my early teens and beyond.  Each course building on what was taught previously.  

My grandfather used to say, "Learn something that you can do with your hands so that if need be, you would have a "job" using your talents. No one can take that away from you."    I think he was pretty wise with those thoughts.

Sewing is a talent that everyone can develop if they have the will to do so.  I know my very first attempts at learning how to sew, were used to make my room, mine.  I loved pillows and crazy colors.  So with my need to personalize, my mother wisely let me choose some fabrics that I loved and encouraged me to experiment with her sewing machine.  Of course I had her help (I was only seven or eight years old at the time). 

My point is that if a child shows a willingness to learn something, we as parents or grandparents can help them along by imparting our knowledge to them.  Arts of any kind require an inquisitive mind.  Children are always curious about all kinds of things.  It's a great time to teach and have fun without pressure!  At the same time, our kids learn that originality and creativity can go hand in hand in many different ways.  

While sewing and sewing skills are geared more for girls, I think that boys should have the ability to learn too, if they are so predisposed to do so.  Many of our esteemed fashion designers are men!

To help with this avenue for creativity, there are several kits available that girls and boys may find interesting.  I like these two for a starting point.  Pictures feature both girls and boys making and sewing their own creations.


The first book is geared to teaching some hand sewing techniques, while the second book includes the use of a sewing machine as well.  Depending on your children's motor skills and how well they can handle each task, you may like one better than the other.  **I will add a caution hereParents and/or Grandparents should be able to sit with the children while they are making these items.  There are sharp instruments involved and extra precautions should also be in place.**

If they are new to sewing, start with the first book and then when they have mastered or expressed that they really like this kind of craft, you can move to the second in the series.

Who knows if you will be the one to spark a new hobby, that could lead to much bigger and more beautiful creations.  

What started out as a pillow in my case ended up with me designing and executing some beautiful gowns, dresses, suits and so much more.  I made a nice living doing something that I enjoyed and also gave pleasure to my many customers over the years.

You never know the power you have to guide and form a new designer, they could end up on Making the Cut! (Our own Tracey, did a review on this show and it is quite a revelation in how many got started in the sewing and tailoring business)

Children love to learn new concepts and this is one that they can take with them into adulthood.  Mending and remaking clothes for the budget conscious may just become a "vogue" idea again.  Our days of "throw away everything" have got to stop.  Who knows where and when these skills will be put into practice as our children grow.  One thing is certain, there will always be a need for clothes and if you learn how, you can become quite a master!


I went from Pillows and Bedroom Decor to making beautiful gowns like this one!  Just one gown from my archives!  This was for a graduation and it's still one of my favorites.

Whatever you do, don't underestimate the joy that spending quality time with your children and grandchildren can have.  It will be memories for you and for them and teach them a really important life skill.  




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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Cool Nights, Crafty Nights, How to Get Through the Fall

When Summer gives way to Fall, all of a sudden we find ourselves looking for ways to keep busy indoors instead of outdoors.  It seems the older I get the more I like the idea of hunkering down in the quiet comfort of my home.  Let's Review some ways to make this time productive and fun!

Looking back over the last few months I realize that I did not want to come indoors at all.  Summer was glorious this year, with warm sunny days and warm evenings too!  Alas, all good things must come to an end, especially when you live in the north!

Fall is a great time to get cracking on all those things you wanted to do but didn't.  Fall is also that gateway to all kinds of Holidays that require your time and talents. It's a wonderful time to try your hand at making something crafty too.  Decorating your space was never easier, with themes provided by the Holidays.  So to that end, we will start getting all our crafts in order! Or we will try something new!

hobbies, crafts, learn how to draw




Crafting gives our hands a chance to make something unique and beautiful.  It lets us express some of our hidden talents.  We see something we like and we just know that we could do that too!  So when we are indoors instead of running around outside, we can sit and give our hands a chance to make something that we have never done before.

Halloween and Thanksgiving are great times to try our hands at crafty ideas. We could start by  making special goodie bags for the children that visit our door on Halloween night.  If you have a little more time, maybe we could make something a little more personalized for our family who will visit during Thanksgiving.
Both of these holidays can launch us onto a new hobby.

Now unless you are reviving a hobby that you once invested in, I would not suggest that you go all out and purchase all the items you might be needing for a new hobby.  Head to your nearest  Dollar Tree! It's a great place to start a new hobby and you can do it on-line.  You just never know what you will find there that will twig an idea!  There are hundreds of items available that you might be able to use to fuel your creative genius.  From yarns, to paints, beads, canvases and findings, you know you will have a great time picking out the things that will be transformed under your hands.  Don't spend a lot of money on a craft or hobby until you are sure it is something that you will continue to do.  

There are a great number of "How To" books that will walk you through all stages of a new hobby.  Knitting, crocheting, leatherwork, macrame, rug hooking, drawing and so many more hobbies can be learned through the pages of a great How To book!  I've chosen just  a few to get you started.  There are also many You Tube videos that will give you a "working" look at how to make some things.  I guess what I'm saying is that your indoor time during these upcoming cold months can be productive and fun.  You just might find that you have a talent for a certain hobby. 



I have several writer friends right here on the REVIEW THIS team, that are so talented they have their own ETSY  shops, where they turn their hobbies into a small business.  All the contributors here are passionate about some form of hobby!  Greeting Cards, knitting, crocheting, photography it's all covered by our contributors.

If you don't feel inclined to make things yourself,  I would suggest that shopping at the Etsy Mall will help you find something beautiful, hand made and will help to support someone who is working hard to make things beautiful.   

crafts, hobbies, learn how to make anything





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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How to Encourage Your Children to Save Money

Children and Money are sometimes contentious issues!  Parents have issues around the getting and spending of money that may have been given to the child as a gift.  So the big question is, "How do you encourage your children to look at money differently?"  "How do you encourage them to Save Money?" or "How do you teach them the value of money?"


This very subject has come to light in my family.  Thank God, none of my family is wanting for the necessities of life and that is wonderful, but, it also makes it difficult for Grandparents, and other relatives when it comes to special Gift Giving times of the year. (Birthdays, Christmas, Graduations, Special Honors and such)

Let me give you a suggestion that hopefully will help you out of this quandary.

If Children are taught to look at money differently, they may just find that they will wait before running to the corner store to fill up on candy or "junk".

What do I mean?

Coin collecting has been a hobby and pastime enjoyed by many people all over the world.  It changes the meaning of money for our children too. Let's get our kids looking at their money before they spend it.

Instead of giving them paper money, give them coins.  Collectible coins that will start them on a journey of discovery.

There are many countries including the USA that produce "special" coins for historical, scientific or cultural breakthroughs or events.  These coins are minted in all denominations, from, Pennies, Nickels, Dimes and Quarters, to Half dollars and Dollars.

Can you see how you can get your children interested in something as small as a penny or as big as a Dollar?

Having a book or two on coins and their making, and then starting your children with a set of coins can begin a fascination that will take them through their whole lives.  You just have to look at how much an Indian Head Nickel will cost you today, to know that it's also a great investment.

As the years go by, and the children get older, the denominations of the coins can also get bigger or not!  It is entirely up to you and your circumstances.  One thing is certain, if this sparks an interest for your child, they will be hooked on looking at money from a whole new angle and you will have started them on a hobby that will last through their whole lives.  They will look at their "coin collection" and be able to say Grandma  and Grandpa gave me this coin, or Auntie gave me this one.  Each coin will have a wonderful memory attached to it.







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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Reviewing Knitting Handbooks

Learning To Knit: Will I master the needles?

I have been looking at Knitting Handbooks lately, because I have decided that 2016 will be the "year of the needles" for me. I want to learn to knit or at least become better with what little (very little) skills I have in this hobby. I can do the basic knit stitch and the basic purl stitch but I'm very slow and awkward with the needles and yarn. So, I plan to ask my family for a couple of books that can help me in this journey.

I know from my many years of crocheting that you need to practice, practice, practice in order become proficient in the craft. I am in no way a master in crochet but can hook my way around just about any pattern. In order to get started, I am working on a scarf using the knitting needles and some blue yarn. If it turns out looking good, it will be a Christmas present for my husband; if it turns out looking like a 5 year old did it I can always use it as a dusting cloth. I figure that I won't learn unless I just dive in and work on something. A scarf seems like a good project to start with and I liked this pretty simple waffle stitch since it will give me practice with both the knitting stitch and the purl stitch, counting and working with the needles and yarn. It won't be much different than crocheting a scarf in that you follow the pattern and remember when to do the knit stitch and when to do the purl stitch. I am finding it is a little harder to determine which row you are on unlike crochet where it seems more obvious but that may be a matter of training my eyes to look for certain stitches so that I will know. 

What books should I start with?

I am thinking that the best place to start is with a book or two that covers the basics along with moving on to more advanced knitting techniques. Sure, I could just ask for a book with patterns but until I understand the basics, I know I will just get frustrated. In my search for the right book, this one caught my eye. I liked the title but then I think the book would be very helpful, too.


Not only does the author cover the basics but she goes further in explaining more advanced knitting techniques and she does it with humor which I think I would enjoy. She also tells the reader how to fix mistakes (I'm sure I will make many) and that will be really helpful for my beginner skill level. I think I may be able to join the "chicks with sticks" (knitting needles) in the quest to make some fun and funky along with some traditional knitted items following Debbie Stoller's instructions.

I know when I was first learning to crochet, the terminology sometimes confused the daylights out of me. I might see something like FPDC and think what the devil does that mean? Well, now I know it means to do a front post double crochet stitch and I also know how to do that with my yarn and hook. I am guessing that knitting will be no different. There are going to be directions in a pattern that will at first glance make no sense to me at all. So, this book looks like a wise choice for a beginning knitter like myself.


What I like about this knitting handbook is that it promises to teach in plain English and not in terms that I am going to have to go to a glossary to figure out. I like that idea! Learning the way to use my needles and yarn to make something neat without having a thesaurus next to me to determine just what she is telling me to do. The basics in basic terminology, that sounds pretty darned helpful.

It remains to be seen if I will learn to knit with the same confidence that I have for crocheting. I am determined, though. In the past the using of two needles instead of one hook just seemed to be beyond my capabilities but that was a mental block, I think. So, maybe I have passed the first hurdle...I CAN do this. It will take persistence and practice and I am willing to put in the hours to really learn to knit.

I have some time left before Christmas morning to find out if my family paid attention and got me at least one of these books. So, in the meantime I am working on my little scarf that may be under the tree for my hubby or it might be in the rag drawer, only time will tell. By the way, the color I chose will look good on my husband and it is the team color for the Indianapolis Colts which is his favorite football team. I figure he might actually wear it, at least on game day, if it doesn't look too amateurish. Here is what I have so far. It is working up very slowly but I don't mind being the turtle in the race, after all that rabbit never wins anyway! I will continue to work with the yarn and needles and keep a piece of paper next to me to mark down which one of the rows I am doing in the repeat of the pattern to make the waffle look and hopefully it will turn out to be something my husband will be proud to wear.



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