Creative in Quarantine
It’s been a while since we’ve checked in, so I hope this message finds you well! :)
I know most of us have been cooped up for quite some time now and I was hoping we could all share what we’re doing to keep ourselves sane for the time being.
I’ve seen a number of great ideas spread throughout the forum and I don’t think there’s any harm in sharing them!
How many of you have started new craft projects lately? I’d love to see pictures of the afghans I know are being crocheted, or any sweaters or blankets being knitted! Or descriptions if these will be Christmas presents and you don’t want to risk posting pictures. ;)
How many of you are using Zoom for the first time, or have found other new habits to keep in touch with your relatives? My family has participated in a few “drive-bys”, where we decorated our cars and made posters for whatever event we were honoring, and then drove by the person’s house to celebrate them.
I’ve witnessed a virtual wedding on Animal Crossing (a video game), our team members have had virtual pizza parties.
Strange times call for strange measures, or however that quote goes, and we’d love to see how you’re handling things! :)
I started doing a weekly Zoom chat with 3 of my best friends from high school. We could have been doing this all along, but everyone was so busy.
I'm also finally trying to finish sewing the dresses I promised to make for my nieces awhile ago. I hope they still fit when I finish them...
Now that I'm done with my teaching for the semester, I hope to have more time to do yoga.
I also found that, when I was working from home, going for a walk before and after work really helped me to make my work feel separate from non-work time at home.
Oh and I watched all of Downton Abbey a week. I haven't watched that much else, I'm not a big TV person, but I got hooked on that show.
I've been cooking like crazy. I've filled my freezer with lunch sized portions ready for when I go back to work. I normally like cooking well enough, but I hate having to squeeze it in to the regular day, or have it intrude on my weekend resting. But now I have loads of time and it's so much more relaxing to plan and execute the cooking project. I've made churros, cheesecake, Dutch Babies, pasta Genovese, dumplings and scones all for the first time as well as old favorites. This is my faithful companion helping to make sure I don't drop anything as I prep the many, many, many onions for the pasta Genovese.
As for staying in contact, I think I've been more social in the last 8 weeks than the entire previous year. I have a regular Skype happy hour with one set of friends on Monday, another semi-regular Zoom group on Wednesdays and for someone who hates to talk on the phone at home, I've had several awesome chats. I cooked the scones with one friend on Skype, and the churros with another friend while FaceTiming.
I do actually have a creative side job (writing romance novels) but for the first 6 weeks I just couldn't even do it. Couldn't force myself to that kind of creativity. I finally started writing again last week though, so that feels awesome, though it's not what you would call a money maker job and definitely is a long-term deal 😂
It's been a very strange time and definitely not at all as I'd imagined my first stint on unemployment.
During this quarantine period, I decided to give Sourdough Starter a shot (even though we have plenty of yeast! I've been baking homemade bread for years). I tried it once long ago and it did not end well. But, a recent NPR article with a link to a university website inspired me to give it a go again. I was willing to try my hand because even if it didn't work out, it would still be worth it because the science lab wants to know about successes AND failures. :-)
Technically, my starter was a "failure" according to the testing protocols and measurements on Day 15 (final day of experiment to submit data). However, having learned much more about sourdough and its characteristics, I was encouraged to keep going. Our house is fairly cool and that can add time for growth. Finally, on Day 20, my starter came to life. :-) Since then, I've successfully maintained it, and have baked my own, from-scratch, Sourdough breads, crackers, biscuits, pizza crust, and more. Sourdough baking and the community surrounding it has been a very fun addition to C-19 life.
I've also discovered that I enjoy working in the garden a whole lot more when I have less outside commitments. Instead of being another burden to fit into a busy day, it has become a relaxing, de-stressing, puttering around outside awhile part of the day.....
I've also been taking walks in the morning. Except the last 3 days, when it's been raining, but this morning I was able to again. It helps to get moving a little before logging on to work.
Since the schools closed, I kept the same time set on my alarm, so I'm still getting up early as if I were taking my son to school. So after I eat breakfast I've still got time for the walk.
We've discovered a fun app called Marco Polo, where you can send video chats from your phone to people, or groups. I've been in touch with a friend from high school/college a few times, and I've got a couple family groups. One for my wife's family, and one for my family. Kinda tried combining them, but it didn't work great, so we keep them separate. That's OK. It's still fun to see what people are up to.
Church isn't meeting, but the pastors still show up and preach, and we watch live streaming. and some of the small groups are getting together via zoom.
A few family members are essential workers, so my creative project the last few months has been sewing masks. Masks have been a great repetitive project to learn the in's & out's, and a nice change from knitting for me. Here's the next batch in progress:
My grandma's sewing machine and serger were passed down to me, so it's a nice to use them more, and honor her as well!
I just bought a bike from a local bike store. I don't have a car right now, so it's been an amazing way to feel free in a city where people are still wary of public transit. I've been using it as a fun hobby, a fitness workout, and general transport.
Our household (-cough- my boyfriend) goes through mounds of granola and fancy cereal each month. It tastes great, but we were both annoyed that it's so expensive at the store (like $7 for a tiny bag!). So I learned how to make my own for about $2 of ingredients. I didn't realize it was so easy, delicious, and customizable! The boyfriend has asked me to teach him how to make it this weekend so we can be self-sustaining in our cereal eating.