Lobbying for a Hobby?

This is the last State Fair update, I swear.  Until next year anyway.

On opening day of the fair, I always go by myself.  I go where I want, do what I want and don’t have to give a moment’s thought.  This way I can spend as much time in the Fine Arts Building and the Education Building as I like.  Over the years I’ve discovered that most everyone else does not have enough  tolerance for how much time I can spend looking at dioramas made by 2nd graders, woodworking projects by junior high kids and robots built by high schoolers. 

I also spend a lot of time looking at the quilting projects.  I love looking at quilting – it is just fascinating to me.  Taking all those smaller pieces of fabric and imagining a bigger piece of art.  A little bit like crop art, now that I stop and think about it.  Every year I walk slowly through the entire quilting section; I particularly like the “Quilt on a Stick”.

Quilt on a Stick

Then I always spend the next hour thinking about taking up quilting as a hobby.  Where I could take some beginner classes, where I would put the frame, what kind of cabinet for fabric.  It takes about an hour before I shake it off.  I always have more than one time and space-swallowing hobby!  My paper crafting takes up an entire room my of house.  The number of kitchen toys I own (fancy-dancy pans, fondue pots, ramekins, apple peelers, salad spinners) necessitated a huge shelf in the basement.  My gardening stuff takes up the back wall of my garage.  I really do NOT need another hobby. 

Unfortunately this year YA wanted to do the Education Building on one of the days we went together, so I got to see the quilts twice.

Then I needed to talk myself off the ledge.  Again!

Any hobbies you’ve toyed with starting?

67 thoughts on “Lobbying for a Hobby?”

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  2. At grammar school (age 11 until 16 or so), a lot of boys were interested in chemistry and radio. I actually did tinker with chemistry at home, briefly, until I got onto hydrocarbons and those incomprehensible chemical formulae. My slight touch of Aspergers Syndrome (I honestly believe this) makes stuff like that very difficult to grasp, and I lost interest.
    I had no idea how radio worked(still don’t), but I kidded myself into believing I could learn to understand it without studying, which is a thing I hate. All those little bits and pieces (Condensers? Things like that) looked really interesting, all I needed to do was learn to solder and fix things together.
    But there was plenty of interesting stuff to do on the farm in the meantime. I still am very bad at welding, and have never managed to make anything stick with solder. Must work on it.

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    1. Nice to see your face on the zoom celebration for Steve Fenton
      I was going to ask if there was anyway that we could get you to speak seeing as I doubt we will get to hear you otherwise and then it occurred to me that I suppose we could do that anytime
      Your face is a little like the faces on the voices on the radio I don’t know exactly what I thought you would look like but when I saw what your face really looks like it was different than what I expected I don’t know how

      you have a nice face and I will be able to put a name with it now

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Tim, you don’t look like I thought either, I have (had maybe, I’ll check) a photo Steve emailed me. To you and Jacque, yes I’d like to speak to you all, maybe I should concoct another glossary beforehand. I don’t think you’ve heard many people that sound like me, though I suppose the glossary won’t help that.

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  3. I keep thinking about oil and water color painting again after many years, started a couple years ago. Briefly. Haven’t done any since.
    About the State Fair…at the beginning of the fair this year, my favorite KUMD (Now “The North 103,3) program (Folk Migration) began with Ann Reed’s first State Fair song she wrote for the Morning Show. Last evening Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Simply Folk” request show played another one (she did it three years as I recall). Such sweet memories.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I got hooked on my time-sucking hobby decades ago–golf! Nevertheless, I added another one about 15 years ago–writing. At least writing offers the possibility of profitability somewhere down the road. For me, golf is a cash flow negative other than the few dollars I earn now and then either in the shop games on Wednesdays, or the occasional win in our “$15 games” with several participating foursomes.

    As for quilting, beware of the cost and storage issues. If you think paper crafting takes up space, think double or triple that for storing fabric, getting a cutting table, the sewing machine, all the tools and trinkets quilters use, and maybe even a home version long-arm quilting machine. (Those take up an entire room too!!). My wife has been there, done that. She finally got rid of her long-arm, but has a dedicated quilting room in the basement that she could turn into a boutique retail shop if she really wanted to. 😉 Oh. yes. Fabric isn’t cheap either. And she never seems to have enough or the right color or the right pattern, so it tends to stack up over time. I think she’s finally plateaued and isn’t making net additions to her stash. But it’s diminishing at a microscopically slow rate.

    Chris in Owatonna

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    1. send her to harris fabric outlet at 169 and mills fleet farm north side of the twin cities if she can buy what they have great deals on and stay away from the every day priced stuff
      100,000 sq ft and no room for one more roll of fabric
      it’s a cool place

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Not to mention displaying the finished ones, or storing them. We have a shelf of “grandmas quilts”.

      There is a real nice musical called “Quilters”. The stories are about the squares used to create a very large quilt. One version ended with the finished quilt, sized about 15’x15’ displayed. It was raffled off at the end of the show, but now has been returned and we don’t quite know what to do with it.

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      1. So true, Ben. I keep trying to convince my wife to give more of them away to friends or family or charity–and she does lots of that–but she still loves having a pile here, a stack there, and of course, three or four on the bed in the wintertime. (We setback our thermostat to 61 degrees during the heating season. :-0 )

        Chris

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    3. Maybe if I thought of my studio as a “future boutique” it would feel better some days. I’m pretty sure if I never bought another thing I could still be making cards for the next 10 years

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  5. I suppose a hobby is any activity or focus of attention one undertakes without plans to monetize it. That would extend the umbrella of “hobby” over our various collections as well as our making endeavors. And collections can entail a lot of research and patience and impart as much satisfaction as any other hobby. We have a lot of collections of things.

    We also have a lot of hobbies. Some of them are current and some in the past but for the most part any hobby we take up is one we may decide to return to when so inspired. That means we have a lot of tools and materials associated with those activities. Marie Kondo would not approve.

    Years ago, I made a lot of stained glass objects—panels and lampshades mostly—and I still have the basic equipment. I also have full sets of paint and brushes for oil, acrylic and, to a lesser extent, watercolor, plus a couple of sets of high grade colored pencils from when I was doing botanical drawings. I used to have a photographic darkroom but gave away that equipment in favor of digital. I have the tools for wood block printing and wood engraving but haven’t pursued either for years. I still have a case of rubber stamps from back when I designed and manufactured them for myself and, in a limited scale, for sale.

    There is, of course, the bookbinding equipment that I use to repair and maintain my collection of nineteenth century books. In addition to the tools, that includes flat files filled with various kinds of paper and also rolls of book cloth.

    Robin’s principal hobbies center around fiber arts and I share her enthusiasm though as a supporter rather than as an active participant. She has many skeins of yarn for knitting projects and spinning wheels for producing yarn herself. She has cases of embroidery floss for embroidery projects and equipment for various kinds of fabric dyeing. Many of the books in her studio are fiber related. Among other collections, she has an array of antique sewing implements.

    Presently, she has been engaged in quilting. This is not a new enthusiasm and we were collecting quilts and she was sewing them decades ago. This spring we drove to the Wisconsin Quilt Museum in Cedarburg, just north of Milwaukee, to see an exhibit of the winners of a Japanese quilt competition. Since then she has been collecting vintage and antique kimonos to use for the material. We have been to Cedarburg before and to quilt shows in Duluth and South St. Paul. We are frequent visitors to Cultural Cloth in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, where I would never go unless I were prepared to spend money.

    I used to sew. As far back as college I made myself western-style shirts in non-western style fabrics like Hawaiian prints. For about a decade Robin and I belonged to a nineteenth century reenactment group for which I made all my own clothing. Recently, because of my shared interest in Robin’s enthusiasm, I’ve been feeling like taking up sewing again. I recently had an opportunity to buy a used sewing machine for $12.50. At the height of the pandemic, used sewing machines were almost unobtainable. The machine is identical to one we’ve had for fifty years so I know it well. I checked it out and oiled it and it works perfectly. That makes three sewing machines in our house. Now I just have to decide what I want to make.

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        1. She was all the rage a few years back after writing a book about how to organize your life and get rid of all of your extra junk and clutter. It’s my personal opinion that she’s gone over the deep edge but just my personal opinion.

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        2. Hey Fenton, we’ve talked about Marie Kondo a fair bit on the trail. Check out February 6, 2019 and March 2, 2019 for a couple of good ones.

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        3. One thing Marie Kondo hasn’t done, apparently, is minimize her advice. I just got an email from Next Chapter Books and it lists the release of a new MK book. What else is there to be said?

          Liked by 2 people

  6. At one time I thought mountain climbing would be a good idea. Maybe take on the Seven Peaks challenge and climb the highest mountain on each continent. I’m going with climbing the seven tallest mountains in Ohio.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. What a coincidence, Wes! My current writing project is a middle-grade adventure novel about a Little Brother and Big Brother who climb Eagle Mt. (highest pt. in MN) The Little is 12 and has long had a dream of becoming a mountain climber. 🙂

      Fun writing it so far, even though I’m not a Mt. climber. Alhough I’ve scaled Eagle Mt. five times in my life.

      Chris

      Liked by 4 people

  7. The Fair always inspires me to think about getting back into Hardanger work. I usually pull out some of my pattern books, study the patterns, remember that I can’t make a picot to save my life, and put them back “just until I finish this piece of cross stitch.” Yeah, that’s been going on for a few years…

    Must be 20 years ago now, my old hippie friend was teaching me to quilt by making a couple of simple baby quilts (not the heirloom kind, the toss on the floor and get chewed on kind). It was a lot of fun, so every so often I’d suggest starting another project together, but it never happened (she would never feel up to it, whether due to pain issues or depression). This year she’s finally been properly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. I have thought about getting back into quilting, but I can’t yet face doing it alone. However, a church near us has a quilting group, so at some point I’ll check in and see if it’d be good for a beginner.

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  8. Many, many years ago I did a lot of crewel, preprinted and counted cross-stitch, macrame, and some decoupage. I don’t recall when I lost interest/quit doing them and I have no desire to start up again. One of my aunts taught my sisters and me how to knit and crochet (back when our ages were in the single digits). I was not very good and quickly gave it up. I also had no patience for sewing. I much preferred spending hours at the piano rather than 10 minutes at the sewing machine. That is still true.
    I do enjoy golf but strictly for fun. Back in the 80s and 90s I played an average of once a week or so from late May to early Fall. Now I am down to maybe 4 or 5 times a season. Thirteen years ago I purchased a kayak and love doing that. After the initial outlay for equipment, it is much cheaper than golf. And I will kayak solo – not golf, though. This summer I have been out a record number of 14 times – and I’m not done yet.
    I guess you could say my favorite “hobby” is travel, especially international. 50 countries so far, two more coming up in May, and my seventh continent coming up in three and a half months. Tied in with that is making photo books of my travels (11X14 hard cover or 8X11 soft cover). I used to use iPhoto on my MacBook but Apple has changed to a couple different apps that I find clumsy to use. Shutterfly has improved greatly over the past decade and now I use that.

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  9. I guess I hadn’t thought of them as hobbies but my guitar playing and art and poetry and cooking and collecting hats and vintage clothing are things i do

    I’ve also thought about getting into writing musicals and being a movie reviewer

    I love following sports I do fantasy baseball basketball and football just to keep in touch and to keep current with the players and the teams and the ebbs and tides of the sports world I tried hockey and soccer but it was too much

    There are a lot of things that enter my mind and I let them go away or I don’t have to let them go away I can just leave them floating around in there and they’ll get lost and leave me alone

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  10. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    During the social isolation of the pandemic the last two years, I found that my creativity just went away. I did not do anything except a bit of knitting. I want to do some textile art that I suppose would be considered quilting, but I do not like doing traditional quilting. I want to combine my own style with some polymer clay figures for a multi—media creation. Now I must actually DO IT! It has been on mind for a long time, but I have not yet acted on it.

    When I cleaned out my mother’s house in 2009 after she could not live alone, I found her basement full of her quilting material; her mother’s quilting projects (unfinished) and her grandmother’s quilting projects. As her Alzheimer’s disease progressed she lost the ability to organize this stuff, and she was buying the same project over and over, but it sat in plastic bags and she never did start the projects. Getting the stuff out of the basement and to quilters who would use it became the goal.

    I also found the following bumper sticker: “She who dies with the most fabric wins.”

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    1. I still have a box full of empty .22 shells. I don’t know… just seemed like something to do when I was 15 yrs old. I suppose, they’re brass… the 1400 I’ve got might be worth something…

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  11. I don’t have time to have a hobby now I’m retired, there’s to much to do.
    If I was to analyse that, I’d probably find it wasn’t true.
    And that kind of looks like the first two lines of a song.
    So I’ll make it so the next one doesn’t fit. So tired, so many aches and pains these days. I look ahead to things I need to do, after which I can work on my motorbikes. Seems to get further away instead of closer.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. VS – thought of you when I saw the Pysanky eggs in the Horticulture building. Maybe you should enter some for judging next year. They were in the bee/honey are. Why there? Do they use beeswax? Or is it paraffin?

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    1. I don’t think I have a competitive enough streak to enter anything at the fair. I look at the jars of jam and the trays of cookies and the creative endeavors including the pysanky, and it just doesn’t spark a need to join in. But I do like to look at everybody else’s stuff. And you are correct the pysanky are in the honey wing because of the beeswax. They say that only beeswax sticks to the eggshell but I wouldn’t bet any money on that. I use black beeswax that I get from the Ukrainian gift shop because it’s darker and it’s easier to see where I’ve laid the wax down.

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      1. It’s funny that you remembered that I have the egg hobby and I didn’t when I was listing my various hobbies. I guess because except for two weeks of every year that hobby lives in one box in the attic. Right now the table is up and I just made the dye this morning so I will be doing eggs for the next couple of weeks. And then it’ll go back to the attic and I’ll forget about it again.

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  13. Like tim, I’ve never really thought of myself as having a hobby. For some reason the concept of a hobby seems to both trivialize and exalt whatever the activity is. Some things I was quite passionate about, at least for a while, and others, like sewing and cooking, I indulged in, partially, because I wanted the end product. I suppose you could say that I buy bread because I don’t enjoy the process of baking sufficiently to warrant doing it, while cooking, for me, is more pleasurable and so, I keep doing it. I suppose another reason is that I enjoy a savory meal so much more than I do sweets of any kind.

    Probably my most enduring activity is reading. My eyes aren’t what they used to be, but having had cataract surgery and wearing glasses still enables me to read all but the fine print. Likewise, my hearing has gone to hell in a handbasket, and I just can’t get used to my hearing aids, so listening to music and carrying on a conversation, especially if there’s a lot of ambient noise, is a challenge. In fact, now that I think about it, there are a lot of body parts that don’t function well enough to do much of anything, but I’m grateful that whatever pains I have can be kept to a dull roar by OTC meds. I’m happy that my brain is still
    reasonably intact.

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    1. That dull roar still doesn’t sound like fun, PJ.

      But I was wondering about those 48 empty folders at Mar-a-Lago, bearing in mind what you were saying the other day. Any idea where that stuff went?

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      1. I’ve heard, though I can’t attest to the veracity of the claims, that a lot of that information was moved to DT’s Bedminster Golf Club. Some are speculating that they were buried in the coffin with Ivana. Sounds far fetched to me, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

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        1. Looks likely it went there, and the coffin story is a good one. It’s not as if he isn’t stupid enough to hide something that he’d be better off now, giving back.

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        2. I’m not sure what is going on with this story. I was fearful for awhile that the secrets that were involved had to do with militias and white supremacist groups – that DT wanted to tip off these groups to the informants that are trying to get a handle on them.

          Now, though, it appears that the files have to do with nuclear secrets involving foreign governments. At some point, will we start talking about the role that dementia might be playing in this situation? The careless way these files were jumbled into boxes with newspaper clippings and old photos suggests someone who has just lost whatever executive functioning he may have once had.

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  14. I used to list my hobbies as Rock’n’Roll and motorbikes.
    My intention has always been to make my hobbies my job. Which I did at one time, by working on farms. And occasionally using one of my old tractors or machines on someone’s farm, probably while they weren’t looking. I have a four car garage now, full of stuff that I intend to fix and then use for whatever it was made for. Well, it happens, but very, very slowly. And mostly I have to store it in the same place it was in before it was fixed. I need more buildings for the fixed stuff.

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    1. I am just the opposite, Fenton. A couple of my current hobbies used to be jobs and I had to quit those jobs because it was sucking all the joy out of those things.

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      1. I have a friend who does woodworking and cabinetmaking. I asked once if he had thought about becoming self-employed to use those skills. He said no, that would kill all the joy he takes in creating things. He works in IT for a big insurance company.

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        1. As the wife of a former furniture maker, I can assure you that that was a wise decision – at least as far as income is concerned. For twenty years, Hans ran his own business of making custom furniture, and despite the fact that he was always busy, his income was never sufficient to sustain a livable wage. Had it not been for my jobs, and the income and benefits they provided, I shudder to think of how we would have managed. I’d wager that’s one of the reasons you see very few independent small woodshops anymore, they simply can’t compete with Room & Board, IKEA, or the other big purveyors of furniture.

          I think this is true for a lot of vocations. Musicians, writers, potters, weavers, painters, and lots of other skilled artisans can only make a go of it if they’re not dependent on the income they make from their craft.

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  15. I’ve enjoyed sewing and machine quilting. A little embroidery back in the 70s when we decorated our jeans. But I guess reading and jigsaw puzzles would be my most consistent hobby at the moment.

    It seems that a hobby is something you can just do when you feel like it. I’d like to get cooking to be a hobby, and not something I have to do three times every day.

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    1. I love jigsaw puzzles. I have trouble walking away from an unfinished one, though – I keep thinking I should go to bed, but I want to find that next piece. Then the next one.

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