Simple Pleasures – Draw by the Fireside
As Delilah gets ready to give her Plotting Bootcamp in Oklahoma, Rachel and I got to thinking about the opposite of traveling: the pleasures of staying home. While travel is tremendous fun, and there are some lucky folks in Oklahoma with Delilah, there are many good things to be said for the fireside – especially if you’re fortunate to live somewhere with an actual fireplace!
When I talk to people about doing things like crafts, the biggest complaint I get is that folks have no time to do crafts, even if they wanted to. As any crafter knows, this doesn’t have to be a deterrent. While there are, of course, wildly complicated crafts, there are also simple but fun things one can do as a pastime that are enjoyable and give you a finished product you can display afterwards – a double win.
Here are five suggestions for fun but simple things you can do by yourself, with friends, or with your family as the year winds down toward the holiday season – and, if you think ahead, you can use some of these for gifts!
1. Coloring Books
I know, I know; not really a “craft” in the strict sense of the word, right? But give it a shot. Think about it: you don’t have to think a whole lot, you can just color in the designs. There are some amazing books available – have you seen the Dover Stained Glass Coloring Books? If not, check them out – well worth the investment of a few dollars (most of them are under $10 USD).
2. Knit or Crochet a Scarf
Knitting and crochet are easy to do and have the advantage of being inexpensive and portable. If you, like me, have trouble sorting out three-dimensional stuff from two-dimensional, consider taking a quick class at JoAnn’s or Michael’s. Or, to really get into it, check out your friendly, neighborhood LYS (Local Yarn Shop). You can find listings of them on the internet or, if you’re in the states, look at the TKGA site (The Knitting Guild Association).
These are a lot of fun and I wish they were more popular, because they’re super easy. Some of the designs are cheesy but if you poke around you can find some cool ones (my favorite, personally, is the coyote howling at the moon with a cactus in the foreground). Tip: use your toaster oven tray, and line it with tin foil. Use a tweezer to place the little color beads into the frame. When you bake it, the plastic melts and you have a real, live, stained “glass” ornament.
4. Polymer Clay
There are so many kinds of polymer clay available now that your choices are endless. The two biggest brands are Femo and Sculpey. They both can be baked in your toaster oven. You can make figurines, buttons, beads, and all sorts of little animals. If you have no idea how to do anything with ceramics, this is a great book to try: The Incredible Clay Book.
5. Check out Klutz Press
If you think you’re all thumbs when it comes to crafts, and that the nearest 8-year-old has more talent than you, then you owe it to yourself to check out the offerings of Klutz Press. You can find stuff on all sorts of topics. Have some fun and let your inner child out to play. All you have to lose is your skepticism.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings
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Check out “Taking a Chance“, part of the Charity Sips 2012 to benefit NOH8, available from Torquere Books.