Studies show that in the last year, there has been a rise in the number of people taking up so-called ‘old-fashioned’ hobbies. It seems as though lockdown has encouraged people of all ages to explore new pastimes, such as gardening, sewing, knitting, jam making, crafting, and many more. Not only have these activities proved to be an ideal way to pass time and to stay entertained throughout the pandemic, they’re highly valuable skills to have. We decided to ask our readers what ‘old-fashioned’ hobbies they’d started during lockdown and they’ve very kindly shared their stories with us.
Gardening – Viva O’Flynn
I started gardening when my husband bought our home 3 years ago. We have a small pretty garden that is easy to maintain. Before the lockdown happened, we seemed to not have much time to tend our garden.
Since the lockdown, my husband and I have made gardening our couple activity. I’ve learned that it’s even more fun gardening with my husband, growing our own patch of paradise at home.
We don’t have children of our own yet. So we take care of plants as if they’re our kids, although of course they’re easier to take care of and cheaper too.
We’ve learned to buy tools to make gardening easier such as a hedge trimmer, lawnmower, gloves, rake, pruning shears, and more. What’s fascinating is that nature puts on its display for us. We enjoy seeing bees work their magic on our flowers, hearing birdsong. Now that summer is almost here, we eat our meals in our garden when the weather is lovely.
Growing our garden makes us feel connected to earth, that we have a spot we’re responsible for. We’re patient in growing our garden. We know that growing plants boosts our well being and mental health, as we’re experiencing those benefits now.
Picture: Viva O’Flynn
Many of us couldn’t wait to get out from lockdown and do something “safe”. I love to shop in person and I love unique things. During the Pandemic, a woman I know started collecting brooches for an online fashion school certification project she was working on. Seeing pictures of her collection and hearing the fascinating historical facts stirred my desire to start collecting some of this wearable art! I loved everything she was doing except for the buying online – I wanted a personalized experience and I had a plan.
I did online research near my home (I live 1 hour west of Boston) and started going to 2nd hand shops in areas where there were a couple close to each other. Sadly, some of these businesses did not survive lockdown but visiting the small shops that did was perfect during the Pandemic. If a shop was what I deemed too crowded, I could wait until people came out, then go in; or go to one of the other nearby shops first. I usually chart where I’m going and let’s say this could become addictive! My collection was growing, I love them all but my mind (as it often does!) turned to what’s next….
I love color along with shiny but most of my brooches are silver or gold (the ones with color stones are sacred to me – lol!) so I wanted to add color AND if one brooch was lovely why not create jewelry that added color and a collage with a collection of 3 or more brooches! I love creating different types of jewelry including a Laced Leather Bracelet and a Birthday tiara with many more in mind! This is a Pandemic hobby with no end in sight!!!
Pictured here is my ‘Zipped Together’ Brooch
Claire Turned Her Love for Gardening into a Business
My mum was a keen gardener which was lucky as it is an acre of land around my childhood home in rural Lancashire so it is quite a challenge to maintain. I really started gardening at the beginning of lockdown once our house renovation was complete and in an attempt to bring the garden back to life.
I started by growing flower seeds inside which is something my mum taught me to do. Her last present to my son was a mini greenhouse with sunflower seeds in it. Since she died in 2018, we have grown sunflowers each year and kept the seeds from the heads of the flowers to grow the following year which keeps her memory alive.
It was because of being fascinated by these sunflowers that I started to research what sunflower oil can be used for. The benefits held within the sunflower seeds are fantastic and hold many beauty secrets.
Oleic acid, vitamin E, sesamol, linoleic acid all naturally occur in sunflower oil. All my research then led me to research other flowers and what different natural oils can do for the skin as I was no longer happy putting artificial chemicals on my skin. I spent lockdown researching who to partner with to manufacture using organic flower oils and testing 15+ products with friends and family and then in May 2021 my first product was launched online via my website with rave reviews. A very satisfying way to end a very difficult year because on the first day of lockdown I was diagnosed with a melanoma skin cancer from a mole I had removed. The only place I went during lockdown was to see my dermatologist so I was able to pick his brains for my new product after my skin checks.
Back to my new hobby gardening though – now done in long sleeves and a big hat! My window sills were covered in pots of germinating seeds during lockdown and there is something so magical about watching new life grow. Gardening has taught me so many things. The big lessons are to stop myself being a control freak, to slow down to the rhythm of nature and to always make time to smell the roses. It is relaxing, satisfying and also compliments yoga as you are always bending down or reaching up in odd positions…my new nemesis are weeds though so gardening is teaching me patience and perseverance too.
So many of us have realised that it is the simple things in life that matter the most over the past year and gardening in my garden is now my happy place. Fresh air, nature and beautiful flowers are what make my world go round. I want to share this new passion so have developed a Sunflower Promise as part of my new brand. For every product sold, I pledge to give or grow flower seeds to make the world a more beautiful place.