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TEN LOCKDOWN ACTIVITIES TO INSPIRE CREATIVITY…

I am a true craft lover and like to spend all my spare time making something by hand. I have tackled a number of projects over the last year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

During lockdown we found out that we to have another granddaughter in the family in late June of this year. This inspired me to look at creative crafts around babies, and baby svg graphic designs. I also have a number of other ideas to get you inspired and creative while lockdown is easing. Here are my top ten creative lockdown activities.

1.If you like knitting or even if you are a newcomer to knitting then this project I did would be perfect for you. I decided to use up all my odd bits of wool and knit a granny blanket for using outside on a chilly day. It is so easy to make as all you need are odd bits of wool, and a pair of size 7 knitting needles. For 9″ square just cast on 35 stitches and work until your square measures 9″ in garter stitch ( knitting every row). If this is your first knitting project then garter stitch is the one to start with and you can find lots of videos and books online to help get going. You then simply join each square to make your blanket.

2. Handmade cards is another great creative craft and is such a personal thing to send to someone. I have been making my own cards for a number of years now which I make for friends and family. During lockdown I regularly sent cards out to friends and family to let them know they were in my thoughts even though we could not see each other. It is easy to send a text message but very special to send a card. Fathers Day is a great one to start working on with dad svg graphic downloads. You can get blank cards online from Ebay and Amazon and accessories from them both as well as Hobbycraft. If you then put handmade card into Google search or look on sites like Etsy, Pinterest or Not on the High Street you will soon find ideas from other hand made cards.

3. Sewing is another lovely craft and if the Great British Sewing Bee doesn’t inspire you then maybe some online courses will help you get going. I bought a small mini sewing machine during lockdown from Hobbycraft for some small projects and learnt how to make box cushion covers for my outdoor cushions. I was thrilled with the end product and enjoyed making a few other small projects.

4. A handmade gift for a new arrival can be extremely creative and there are endless things you can make from baby blankets to bibs or baby shower invitations. I had knitted all the baby blankets for my first grand child so I decided I wanted to look at something a bit more personal. With a baby shower not that far away I decided to concentrate on that and simply by using a baby svg graphic download I could create beautiful baby shower cards. By using these graphic downloads there are an endless amount of ideas to choose from. You could make your own creative bibs to onesies, wall art and much more.

5. Cake baking can be as creative as you would like it to be and something I took to during lockdown. It was great to be able to pop over with my bakes to my family. It meant we could see them from a distance, but at least see them for real. It has become a bit of a joke with my family and is now nicknamed ‘Bars Bakes‘. When there cake stash starts to become low I get a text asking when ‘Bars Bakes’ is next delivering. I have enjoyed baking special cakes for my other granddaughter who is 18 months and made her a very special smash cake for her first birthday. You do not need to look far to find a ton of recipes and ideas to get your juices working and it is something you can get quite hooked on. This Fast Cakes Easy Bakes in Minutes by Mary Berry has been the one I have used the most.

6. Gardening is another creative activity which can be good for your health and can be enjoyed outside. Unfortunately due to my spinal problems gardening is not something I can take on but I do enjoy growing my own herbs in a raised herb planter. I do envy people who can spend hours in their gardens with ideas and inspirations on how to grow a beautiful plant to growing your own vegetables. Since lockdown lots of people have taken to gardening and allotments waiting lists are getting longer.

7. Decoupage is another lovely activity you can do at home and easy to achieve something really special. You can easily make this in your home and simply need some lovely paper with patterns on, pretty napkins or downloads you have made just for this purpose. Decoupage derived from the French word decouper, which means “to cut out”, decoupage is the art of decorating objects using paper cut-outs, paint effects, decorative details, and layers of lacquer and varnish. It’s simply cutting out pictures or shapes from paper or napkins, gluing them to an object then coating the cut outs and the object with layers of Mod Podge and finish with a gloss varnish. I made a pretty little pot using a baby svg graphic download and then finishing with the Mod Podge and varnish. It made it something really special for my granddaughter.

8. Paint By Numbers has become very popular now and there are lots of Adult Paint By Numbers kits you can buy online. This is a lovely relaxing and creative activity which takes little effort but gives a great end product. It is lovely watching your art work developing each time you spend a few hours on it. It is also something that would make a great gift for someone who is home alone and feeling a bit lonely.

9. Scrapbooking is another creative activity which has become as popular as photobooks. It involves taking books with blank pages and adding photos, memorabilia, journaling, and embellishments. The main purpose of scrapbooking is to preserve memories for future generations, but its a great way to use up some old photos and create your own memorable book for yourself or for someone in the family. There are literally hundreds of ideas and books you can buy on scrapbooking or head to Pinterest or other sites like Amazon or Paperchase.

10. My final suggestion as a lockdown activity is a photo book. I have had fun with photo books for a few years now and started my first one for my daughter before she got married. From the day she got engaged I took photos whenever I could of everything she was using for the wedding and every visit we had together at the bridal studio. On the night before she got married I gave her the photo book of a memory of her engagement year with me. She loved it. My recent one has literally only just been finished this week and its a book for my granddaughter for Easter. With her being a bit young for Easter Eggs and not understanding what it is all about I decided to write her a story about a Robin that keeps seeing her at the window. She loves watching birds so I wrote this short story then sketched and painted my own pictures around her story. I then took pictures of my artwork and wrote the story as a photobook to make it special. The image below is one of the pages inside the book which I then got it printed through Snapfish.

I hope you have enjoyed my ten ideas on lockdown activities. Most of mine can be done in my craft room upstairs which is set up so I can craft comfortably for quite a few hours. The most important thing to remember if you are suffering from back pain is to make sure your workstation is the right height and a comfortable chair. I went to a lot of trouble to get mine perfect but it was worth getting it spot on. My herb boxes are the right height for me to deal with so it doesn’t hurt my back and I bake cakes that are no too complicated so that I am not on my feet for too long. You can enjoy many activities if you get yourself set up correctly.

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THINGS I HAVE MADE DURING THE PANDEMIC TO HELP TAKE MY MIND OFF MY PAIN…

Apart from my usual blogging which I find very therapeutic I started a few projects at the beginning of lock-down.

My first project was my shed ( which I’ve written about before). With the help of my husband we totally transformed it. We were so pleased we did as it has given us a lot of pleasure this summer.

I then decided to change all the cushions from my outside dining chairs, settee and arm chairs as I didn’t find them very comfortable. We bought a much thicker foam for all of them but with them not being the bog-standard size it meant I had to make new cushion covers for each of them. Ten in total. 

I bought a midi sewing machine ( a bit better than a mini but just as light) and I followed a YouTube video on how to make box cushion covers. You can see from my photos I managed them quite well. I then made my first envelope cushions to finish the outside look.

My next project was for my granddaughter. I wanted to make her a felt book for her first birthday. This took me a while but as you can see from then end product it turned out ok with lots of touchy feely things in it for her to play with.

My next project was to make the family some face masks. I used an old shirt of my husbands and lined them with some of my granddaughters muslin squares which she had as a baby.

Something I have always done is make my own cards but I was getting bored with my own designs and decided to give pressed flowers a go. I make all my own cards for family and friends and I am often told that I should sell them but I have lots of friends and family so I don’t have many left over. I love the new look with the pressed flowers and really enjoy making them.

I’ve recently started to knit a patchwork throw for when my granddaughter can come and stay. It’s such a great way to use up old wool and I love the way it grows so quickly as it’s so easy to knit. It also makes me feel closer to her although she’s not with me much.

I have also promised my family that I will write my Dads life story. Funnily enough I had an email from the Publishing Parrot Company asking me if I would be interested in publishing my life story on coping with back pain. It’s not something I have thought of doing before but I guess I could add it to my project list.

The next big thing of course is the ‘C’ word. I noticed at a craft shop yesterday the amount of Christmas bits out already so I will never be short of something to do.

I still pace myself with everything I do as sitting for long periods gives me awful low back pain and I have to be careful with my neck but I have all the right equipment and lumber supports etc to hand and as long as I make sure I have a rest every afternoon I can usually do a couple of hours relatively pain free.

What have you been making during the pandemic, I would love to hear from you?

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TEN HOBBIES FOR WOMEN YOU CAN ENJOY FROM HOME…

I just love this list (except gardening) which I’d swap and put jigsaws, as I think they are all manageable for people who suffer from chronic pain.

Can you think of any more you could add to the list?