Resurrecting Hobbies

It has been done!

The delete button has been pressed and I am now free from social media.

Now what?

<drums fingers nervously on the counter>

All of that scroll-free, constant-checking free time is now floating around looking for something to fill it back up.
So I have been thinking about how best to use all of my newfound free time and a lightbulb went on.


Resurrect my hobbies.

Those things that I used to do before life became so full of parenting and then of social media. You might notice, if you are an old subscriber here, that my crafting updates ended about three months after Miss Oh Waily was born.
Miss Oh Waily is now 11 years old !

To start me off I think I will try to resurrect my cross stitch. I have plenty of almost finished items that I’d love to see completed and framed. It has the advantage of doubling as both a creative and relaxing activity. It fits in nicely with my word for 2019 – Mindful – and I might even manage to get my kids to give it a go. Who knows?

So that is my first step in to post-SM life. Expect to hear more shortly.

For those who are new, here’s a link to my cross stitch page to see where I was when my free time began to dwindle.


Small changes

Quote 2Can small changes really make all the difference?

I’m inclined to believe they can.  I’ve been doing Morning Pages for the past week – only skipping yesterday and today – and I am finding myself drawn to more creative things.  I’ve been wanting to do some sewing with Miss Oh Waily so we’ve been to Village Beads to pick up some nice wooden beads for fairy heads and very cute they are.  Yesterday, I stopped by Warehouse Stationery to check out their easels as I have been inspired by the way a couple of new-to-me blogs (Happiness is Here and An Everyday Story) use them and the universe clearly liked that idea as they were having a rare sale (according to the WS lady who served me) on easels !!

Then this morning we had a busy time out and about at the fruit & vege market in town.  Mr Oh Waily had worked through the night, only returning home at 6am, so this gave him a chance to get something approaching a regular amount of sleep.  When he did wake I was able to take a solo trip to the library.  I enjoyed every warm step of the walk, and it reminds me why I love living within a 10 minute walk of two library branches.  Very spoiled.
What this trip reinforced for me is that I’ve also been finding that I may be in recovery mode regarding my love of books and reading.
By choosing to not attend to t’other blog and it’s ongoing needs, as well as choosing a book purely to enjoy rather than review, I seem to be finding the idea of reading a lot more pleasant.  It’s a simple and obvious thing, but I had been ignoring it largely over the past year or so, with dire results to my attitude.

Perhaps it is the sunshine and the warmer days all contributing to a better mental attitude, or perhaps I’ve just finally reached a tipping point where doing small things are starting to snowball into bigger things.  In my case the small things have been a daily thirty minutes spent writing my Morning Pages, and choosing to be a part of an online community that is designed to make small, but significant changes in our lives.   Vincent is clearly correct and great things are done by the bringing together of many small things, and clearly the small steps are currently suiting my needs.

This afternoon will be spent in attending to another range of small steps – some reading, some tidying and some quiet, personal time – all designed to recharge, refresh and inspire for the coming week.

How about you?  Do you find that small changes create great results in your life?

Hobby Horrors

Photograph by Cristian Ruberti

It may have become clear that things domestic are not my forte.  So why I keep insisting on challenging myself to actually try to learn domestic skills and then implement them as a regular feature in my life is something of a mystery.  The latest attempt is to pull out my wool box and rummage around for something to try and make.  I already have a single sock (yes, I actually managed to knit a whole sock) sitting forlornly in amongst the random balls of wool.  I think the intended recipient of it will have outgrown it by now, so it will have to remain a singleton.

Now I have my eyes on either another pair of socks or a hat.  The only problem with the hat is the idea of knitting in the round.  I have a set of circular needles and it seems quite straightforward.  Until I actually try to do it.
Generally I’m a fairly competent and co-ordinated person, but for some reason I seem to have the manual dexterity of a rock.  Apparently I have fabulous gross motor skills and slightly shoddy fine motor skills.  Well, with the exception of fairly tidy handwriting, of course.

So, what to do, what to do…

I’m totally inspired by the idea that I can learn enough to be competent with 20 hours of effort, but I see something of a drawback to this with knitting my hat with circular needles.  It took me nearly an hour of effort just to get the darn thing cast on and knit one and a half rounds before it became apparent that I was doing something totally cockamamie with the working end of the yarn and therefore somehow messing up the whole shebang.  Even with multiple YouTube tutorials under my belt, stopping the videos, rewinding the videos, watching the videos with a magnifying glass… it has made NO difference to how I managed to tackle this simple act of knitting.

I am incompetent.

I need to mention at this point, that there is one thing I dislike in my life and that is feeling incompetent.  I like to accomplish things.  I like to master things.  I like to be good at things.

I do not like feeling like this cat.  And like this cat, I felt today.

catwoolPerhaps having a bit of nasty headcold (aka my version of manflu) didn’t help my understanding and dexterity, but I rather suspect that it is actually a congenital problem that I suffer from and I fear that I shall never overcome it.  I fear that I shall always be a purchaser and not a maker.

And the sheer fact of that is absolutely galling.

I won’t stand for it.  I just won’t.

If it takes me 200 hours of swearing, cursing (they are different, you know) and cramped fingers, I will learn how to do this simple task of knitting a hat.  Even if I have to abandon my circular needles for the safety and familiarity of my DPNs (double pointed needles for the even more crafty-clueless than myself), with which I have actually managed to produce an object that can be worn.

Don’t hold your breath on seeing any sort of apparel here for some months, but keep in the back of your mind that perhaps one day you will be browsing Oh Waily Waily and will be shocked and amazed to see a lopsided, warped but definitely wooly hat on the head of a put-upon Oh Waily family member.

I will then have become a ‘maker’ and not a ‘purchaser’.  The ultimate in modern woman does retro chic – Stay-at-Home Mum, Business Woman, Community Volunteer, Teacher AND Knitter.  What a superwoman-style résumé I will have then.  Until I look in the kitchen and realise I’m missing Chef from that list.  Darn, it was all sounding oh so flashy for a moment there.

Back to my real life… and my tangle of wool.  Wish me luck, or more usefully – wish me much patience as I repeat and repeat the process until I get it right.

Happy crafting all !

Free and Cheap Fun – Oh Waily style

So here we are, settled more or less, into our new abode.

It’s been a bit hectic so I have only managed to write the one post, but that shouldn’t come as much surprise to those who have moved house more than once in their lives.  There are still things left to finish up and storage issues to be addressed, but other than that we are here and we are functional.

As a result of the move I have a few things to share now with you.
First off, let me start by showing you how your children can be inventive in ways you may not actually want them to be.  Master Oh Waily is a case in point.
For the duration of our time here in the new house I have arranged for wheelie bins* for our rubbish and green waste. Here is what you can do with them if you are quick and they have just been delivered.

New Rubbish bin
Knocked off it's wheels


Home made cubby
Home made cubby

The next thing are the home made money boxes for Miss Oh Waily’s lessons in financial literacy.  They certainly do not qualify me as a high end craft goddess, but considering the care and likely roughing up they will get over the next little while I think they are more than passable.

Money Boxes
Home Made Money Boxes

They are ex-yoghurt pots cleaned out, labelled and a coin sized slit cut in the lids. Ridiculously simple to do.  How do I know?  Because I managed to do it.

Then there is the brand new art caddy. I’ve had this idea in my head for some time, but finding the right thing only really came up today. A very cheap** option that fit all my criteria came up when I was looking through Storage Box for other organising items. A plastic gardening caddy. Some perfectly sized cups were on sale too so they came home with me to help create this…

Art Caddy
The Art Caddy

This is the top view.

Art Caddy from above
Art Caddy from above

As you can see I have upcycled some old honey pots for holding paintbrushes and felt pens.  We’re a bit light on honey pots in the cupboard at the moment, so the new plastic cups are doing a good job with the other odds and sods.  The gap will probably be filled in with colouring pencils when the next pot comes free.
The great thing about this choice is the fact that small hands can carry it from the shelf to the table.  It is light enough so long as I don’t overload it with lots of heavy pots, and it can only get easier the bigger they get.  Hopefully it will reduce the spillage factor and therefore the pick up arguments.

And finally, since it is Christmas and this post seems to be full of cheapie ideas for fun, I have another art suggestion for you. Temporary palettes made from mince pie packets. If your Christmas mince pies come in plastic trays with separate compartments, here is the cheapskate’s quick upcycled paint palette for messy kids.  Or you could use it as a cheapie sorting tray for even younger children – just paint the bottom with the colours you have for sorting, or leave it clear for sorting shapes or other objects.

Mince Pie & palette
Mince Pie & palette

Here ends the Oh Waily family cheapie ideas blog post.

* this may not be the way it works in your part of the world, but that’s how it is in Lower Hutt – you either buy and use plastic rubbish bags, or you hire a wheelie bin.  We used bags at the other house but this time around went with the bins for convenience.
** can you see a theme here.