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January 01, 2019

Crafty corner

Turn winter’s cabin fever into a passion for hobbies and crafts

Christina Loc

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The prospect of leaving the homestead on a cold day is as dreary as the grimmest day of winter. Who wants to layer and bundle up just to face Old Man Winter with extreme cold temperatures, snow piled up high, slick roads and slippery sidewalks?


Feeling more inclined to keep warm in the comfort of your home during the winter months is a good time to cultivate or take up new indoor hobbies. Hobbies have many mental, physical and emotional health benefits. They help relieve stress by keeping you engaged in something you enjoy.

Whether you are in a one-bedroom condo or a 5,000-square-foot home, the key is to first find an activity you take pleasure in. Then, setting up a space conducive to your hobby while not letting your hobby take over your home. This means having a place to properly store and display your hobbies.

PUZZLES AND GAMES
Indoor hobbies can include simple leisurely things such as putting together puzzles or playing a game. These boxes can easily be stored in an upper shelf in the closet, inside a cupboard or storage ottoman and pulled out to play on the kitchen table or in the living room on the coffee table. Make it a fun family or with friends evening and have a wine and charcuterie night or snack on popcorn, chips and other favourites.

A cool product I like is the roll up puzzle mat—it makes for a nice surface work area allowing you to work on your puzzle and then roll it up, completed or not, when it’s time to clear the kitchen table for dinner.

SKETCHING AND PAINTING
Flex your artistic and creative skills, with taking a few art classes to perfect your techniques and brush strokes, will get you on your way to creating masterpieces (or in my case, a pile of “great job, honey” pieces stashed away in to a corner, but, oh so therapeutic!). Set up an easel in the corner of a room and unleash your inner Picasso.

DIY:
Create a magnetic wall using tin sheet or magnetic paint to display artwork done by you and the kids. Rust-Oleum, a leader in specialized paint product, has a line of specialty paints which include products that allow you to create your own magnetic, chalk or white board.

KNITTING AND SEWING
Knitting and crocheting are a great past time especially when you get good enough that you can watch TV, listen to an audiobook or podcast. It doesn’t take up much space at all as you can throw your needles and yarn in to a basket and be done with it.

Chunky blankets are all the rage and you don’t even need needles. Pick up some yarn and dare to impress. They make such a statement and your friends will be so envious.

Sewing can take up more space. Depending how dedicated you are to sewing, a craft room that houses your sewing machine and a cutting table can really get you inspired for all sorts of projects. Dedicate drawers and baskets for fabrics, zippers and other sewing supplies.

Sewing boxes are a great way to keep you organized and tidy.

YOGA AND MEDITATION
Disciplines that become more rewarding with focus and regular practice. Roll up a few yoga mats in to a basket with some towels, blankets or pillows and set it off to a corner or next to a console table.

Big floor pouf pillows have become a trend and are great to use for meditation as well as extra seating on game night or just for stretching and lounging around.

SCRAPBOOKING
Did you know there are retreats for this hobby? Who knew how popular this past-time activity is? Scrapbooking is therapeutic and can really get the creative juices pumping. They make beautiful mementos for any occasion or period and the same supplies can be used to design greeting cards.

Pick up a craft cart to store papers, stickers and embellishments or organize them on a shelf with boxes, trays and bins.

MODEL CARS, PLANES, TRAINS AND LEGO
Build die-cast model cars and start a collection of your favourites. LEGO is always a great past time as a kid and now in to adulthood. Build floating shelves to show off your models.

BAKING AND COOKING
This is a delicious hobby and is oh-so-satisfying. Try new recipes. Make batches of stew to freeze and eat through the winter months. Bake cookies to gift and cupcakes children will drool for.

On top of trying a new recipe, turn food in to visual art by learning how to cut fruit and vegetables in to flowers and other shapes. Food tastes so much better when presented beautifully and creatively.

Fill your pantry with ingredients, supplies and tools for true blizzard days where you can spoil yourself to a nice home-made dish or treat.

When it comes to creating an area in the home for your hobbies, plan ahead. Figure out how much space you need and then re-purpose and multi-purpose a spot or room in the home. Plan for proper lighting, adequate power and ventilation as well as storage and work surface areas. Hobbies are supposed
to alleviate stress but when spaces become too chaotic and cluttered, you are counteracting that positive energy.

You may see online a lot of suggestions to create a craft organization peg board in your craft room to hang scissors, fabrics, paper, ribbon, tape. I strongly advise placing these items behind closed doors. Have your carpenter or cabinet crew design an enclosed unit for these things. Showcase beautiful artwork and decor but keep the tools and material out of sight.

With most hobbies, a well-lit large surface, work area, and stylish system to keep your tools and materials well organized is all you need. Baskets, bins, tool boxes, storage ottomans, filing cabinets, cupboards, drawers and drawer organizers will help you stay organized and your home looking great. Who
knows, the possibility of “do what you love” could turn into a hidden profitable business venture or at the least, improve your overall health and keep you challenged, warm and toasty during the winter season.

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