by Jesse Holth –
As the holiday season approaches, many of us are wondering how to keep busy over these cold winter months, while staying safe from COVID-19. There are plenty of fun activities we can enjoy from the warmth and comfort of our own homes. Why not start a new project? Here are a few ideas that could help you pass the time this winter.
Macramé. This old favourite is making a comeback – from keychains to woven wall art, there are so many ways to channel your creativity. Try a hanging plant holder: all you need is a pair of scissors, the potted plant of your choice, and some medium-sized rope (4 – 7mm). There are plenty of YouTube tutorials you can watch to get started. You’ll end up with a finished product in as little as five minutes: once you realize how easy they are to make, you might not be able to stop!
Mason Jars. Simple glass mason jars could be one of the most versatile items on the planet: they are used for everything from food storage to garden lights to trendy home décor. Need some inspiration? Pinterest has thousands of ideas for decorating mason jars. You can wrap them with yarn to make visually interesting vases; paint them to match your interior design; or even create gorgeous pieces of stained-glass art if you’re feeling ambitious. The only limitation is your imagination. You could even try different themes, like a leaf lantern in autumn, flower-petal candle holders in spring, or Christmas-themed décor for the holidays.
Blackout Poetry. A trend on the rise, blackout poetry is a fun and easy activity that can make use of old books, magazines or newspapers. Take a black marker, and cross out – or colour in – all the extraneous words on the page, except the ones you want to use. This will form your newly-created poem. You can be as artful as you like in crossing out the rest! Some people draw multicoloured patterns or images, like waves or flowers, in the surrounding text. Instagram is full of blackout poetry examples sure to spark your interest.
Upcycling. What to do with old clothes that no longer fit but aren’t suitable for donation? That’s where upcycling comes in: for all those items that are too far gone to sell, donate or repair, don’t throw them away! You can use the material for scraps – and less landfill garbage is always a good thing. From denim yarn out of old jeans to a tote bag out of a T-shirt, there are so many ingenious ways to repurpose old items. Aprons are a popular favourite, as are Christmas ornaments, rag rugs, sweater slippers, napkins, coasters, pillow covers, and other home décor. All it takes is a change in perspective to give these items new life.
Zen Garden. We could all use some extra relaxation in these stressful times. Making a Zen Garden will give you that much-needed peace of mind. Use a container, like a small wooden box, and fine sand – then, you simply add whatever you want to fill it in. You can arrange small rocks and plants, and use a mini rake – or even a fork! – to draw soothing lines in the sand. It’s perfect for your home office, coffee table or wherever you might need a sense of calm.
Knitting or Crochet. The options for knitting or crochet projects are almost endless – it just might be hard to choose! You’ll need some skeins of yarn in the colour of your choice, and either a crochet hook or knitting needles. Hats, scarves, gloves and blankets make wonderful holiday gifts for your loved ones. Help them bundle up for winter: they’ll appreciate the time, energy, and thoughtfulness of a handmade gift. You can find patterns for sweaters, storage baskets, and even stuffed animals once you get the hang of it … all online! Have kids at home? Finger knitting is a great activity that’s a bit easier for beginners to learn.
Some other projects to keep you busy: learning to paint or draw; building a large jigsaw puzzle; doing a virtual tour of a museum or art gallery; making tie-dye T-shirts; learning a new language; writing a novel, short story, or memoir; starting a blog; sewing a useful item, like potholders or pencil cases; getting a colouring book for adults; trying origami or calligraphy; making a painted rock garden; learning how to quilt; making a bird feeder; or attempting a new meditation practice.