Monday, March 22, 2010
I guess there are people who discover a hobby, learn more about it, and spend their lives enjoying it. I'm not one of those people. As part of what I have self-diagnosed as adult-onset ADD, I seem to flit from one thing to another, with high hopes of finding something that will provide me with a sense of accomplishment and, perhaps, even some relaxation.
Through the years, I've test driven many a hobby. My basement "studio" is filled with remnants of what I see as failed attempts at a life outside of court reporting, medical transcription, motherhood, and housework. If you are someone who found your hobby niche quickly, I commend you. It's not so easy for the rest of us. And if you continue reading, you'll get an idea of how, for some, it takes a little trial and error.
If you know me, you'll know better than to look for any athletic-type hobbies in this line-up. Even as a child, my very first hobby could be practiced indoors and in a sedentary manner, two things I still consider as positive criteria when evaluating a future hobby. And what SCREAMS sedentary more than ...
stamp collecting. Yeah, I'll admit it. As a youngster, I experimented with philately...but I swear, I never inhaled. Along with screaming sedentary, I'm fully aware that stamp collecting also screams DORK. Just the thought of me clutching my allowance in my sweaty palms and heading, on a Saturday morning with my mom, to the Joppatowne post office, makes me giggle. They had themed kits for the low, low price of just $2.00 (which was probably four weeks of allowance, back then). I'd come home and carefully hinge each stamp into place.
And don't EVEN get me started about the time I found the "Mystery Cube" at K-Bee Toys! For only one dollar more, you got a cardboard cube filled with 1,000 stamps from all over the world! If that ain't the stuff dreams are made of, then I just don't know what is. Who cares that they were all cancelled stamps that were still attached to part of the envelope and you had to soak them all in warm water first? That was part of the FUN! Yeah, you read that right...I said FUN.
I've held on to my collection through the years. And just between you and me, one of the reasons I've kept having children was in the hopes that I'd produce an offspring that might find the same delight in postage that I did. Instead, I've gotten nods of the head and questionable looks from my kids when I dust off the old albums and give my "You, too, can STAMP out boredom!" presentation. And now that my ovaries are winding down in their production, I'll just have to tuck these gems away and hope that I can one day amaze my grandchildren with how people used to actually WRITE letters on paper, with a pen, and adhere a colorful stamp to them.
Only a few years later, I set my sights on a hobby involving textiles:
It began, and ended, during a seven week summer vacation I spent with my cousin in Austria. She was (and is) quite a talented knitter and I was envious of her beautiful creations. I think the Alpine air must have been clouding my judgement, because I was delusional enough to buy several skeins of yarn to make my first sweater. God bless her, she did try her best. And I did complete two grey and one white stripe of what could have possibly been a lovely piece of apparel...that is, if I would have remembered a single THING that she taught me after I returned home. It's as if when customs searched my luggage, they also picked out of my brain every single knitting nugget she taught me.
I purchased yarn again, years later, thinking maybe knitting was too difficult and I should try my hand at crochet. I learned the chain stitch in about 30 seconds! I was a chain-stitchin' fool! I even made a chain that stretched for the length of my living room. Unfortunately, there's not a big demand for a ten foot long yarn chain. So, in case you're keeping score, sports fans, that would be Yarn 2, Stephanie 0.
That was, until I remembered you could make tassels with left-over yarn!
We used to make them in cheerleading and attach them to our shoes. Give me a "C", give me a "U", give me a "T", give me an "E"! Whaddya got? CUTE! Unfortunately, when I offfered them to my 21st century daughter, she gave me an "N" and an "O". And honestly, even if I did add them to shoes, you only ever needed two. Not really a long-term hobby. And the only other purpose I could think of for them still only required two:
When I was pregnant with my first child, my quest for a hobby turned to something related to motherhood and my new little bundle. I took up cross-stitching and made this piece for my son's room.
Some people call it CCS, counted cross-stitch. I called it contraceptive cross-stitch. I never wanted to have another baby if it meant I had to do THAT again. Next!
Before scrapbooking was the rage, there was stamping. I wasn't a hard-core stamper, but I did dabble in it a bit. It would allow me to make cards, invitations, gift wrap...and all for less money! Or at least that's what I was told. I invested in a few good stamps and stamp pads.
I cut and I folded. I went to demonstrations and classes. I got stamp cleaner and embossing powder and a heat gun. I flipped through idea books and went to websites. All of this research, just to find out that my stamping
And then, when I had just about given up on my hobby search, along came scrapbooking.
I was always a fan of photography, so it seemed like a natural fit for me. And when you've got a lot of kids, you NEVER run out of material. Or catch up, for that matter. But that's okay. A layout here, a layout there, albums for family or friends, it's gratifying. And it's INSTANT gratification. I especially like that.
So finally, I've found two things that make my creative juices flow and give me inspiration. And not to sound too hokey, but scrapbooking and photography truly do make you look at life differently. When you look for the beauty in the everyday, you see it more readily. Even the little details become special.
So if those future grandkids start looking for the door when I start to show them the amazing and colorful stamps from Romania, I'll have all my scrapbooks, with their stories and images, waiting in the wings.