1. I make books from scratch. I make my own covers, cut all the papers for the inside pages, and sew them together by hand.
2. Beekeeping. It’s fascinating to learn more and more about the complex life the bees have. Also, it is incredibly rewarding to eat honey that was made by your bees with the flowers and trees in your own garden.
3. One of my favorite hobbies is writing letters. I have penpals all over the world, and I love reading their stories and learning about their cultures while also sharing my own. It’s a great way to get to know about places you may either not have known about before, or had some misconceptions about thanks to the media. I love slowing down to concentrate on a person and respond to their letter, making my own envelopes and decorating them, choosing pieces to go into them with the stationery, and hopefully giving them something to smile about when the letter arrives in their mailbox. It’s a lot of fun, and it can be very rewarding too!
4. I carve wood specificity for the slivers left over after carving; I dye the slivers and make them into flowers!
I also dye and paint (acrylic, watercolor, anything really) paper to make flowers.
I really like making flowers in unusual ways.
5. Maybe not that unusual, but origami and paper crafting in general.
I started with origami when I was super young, but I kept it up out of habit. Nowadays, I use to help control anxiety (can’t chew my fingernails if I’m folding). I started doing papercraft as a low-cost hobby in college and found it was a relaxing way to maintain focus and feel somewhat productive if I was feeling down.
6. I like magnet fishing. It’s taking a strong magnet and putting it in canals/lakes or any water bodies and pulling metallic objects out. People find all kinds of cool stuff like guns, old coins, metal safes, swords and it helps clean the water bodies as well.
7. I grow carnivorous plants. They are super interesting, and they get rid of flies.
8. I knit blankets and hats for babies in hospital.
I was in hospital 2 years ago, and there was a very kind lady who saw how much pain I was in, and always tried to distract me. She told me that’s what she does when she’s bored.
I never got to say goodbye, or thank you to her before I moved to another ward. This is my way of paying it forward.
9. I collect stamps. I have since I was a little girl. My Dad was in the Army and had friends all over the world, they sent me stamps. I still collect, 50 years later. I spend hours going over them. The internet has made it so much easier to identify stamps and to buy/sell/trade.
10. I’m a board gamer. I have around 600 games in my collection ranging from lightweight games and party style games all the way up to 11 hour+ train games.
It’s a great hobby and so sociable. Plus, if you find a friend like me that buys all the games, then it’s almost free!!
11. I make ice creams, sorbets, and gelato from scratch, including inventing my own recipes. I make a different flavor every week, and have done about a hundred by now. It wins me many, many friends at the office.
12. My more unusual hobby is collecting paper maps. I have every US state and Canadian province, plus most major cities, and since I’m in Florida I have every city or county in this state.
I started this many years ago, and I’m glad I did. I got most of my maps free from either state highway departments or through my AAA membership. Unfortunately anymore most state highway departments quit publishing their own maps, and AAA’s selection is very sparse now.
But there’s nothing like correctly folding a paper map and being able to use them either to study the place or navigate if you do use them. GPS is fine, but I like paper maps better.
13. I collect high school and college yearbooks. I have over 400 of them, going back to the 1890s. They’re a microcosm of an era and a specific location, and are fascinating.
14. I collect currency from different countries that aren’t in circulation anymore. If the 10,000,000 Turkish lira comes back, I will be a millionaire in the US.
15. Dirt. I like making compost for my garden. It’s endlessly fascinating to watch plant matter decay over months and years, and there’s endless combinations and methods. Also growing plants for carbon sequestration, since that is a hot topic lately.
16. Apnea training and freediving. Just learning about the body’s cardio-pulmonary system and how you can make it adapt to surviving 5-7 min underwater has been amazing. And there’s nothing quite as peaceful as being underwater and feeling no urgency to move quickly or return to the surface. The ocean animals are also a lot more relaxed when you have that calmness and aren’t exhaling bubbles like a scuba diver.
17. I make Rube Goldberg Machines for fun and post them on Youtube. I really like the creative freedom it gives me and they are so rewarding when they work.
18. I build stonewalls on my property here in Vermont. Weekends are spent walking deep into the forest which surrounds me and search for rocks to pry out of the earth. I try to find the largest which I can safely carry and give them a bear hug and carry them back to the wall in process. There’s something incredibly satisfying building with stone (no mortar) and finding that perfect fit as though that rock has been waiting for thousands of years for this purpose. Sometimes the fit is so good that I start back in amazement and look around as though to ask: “Did you see that?”
19. I raise butterflies. Mostly Monarch Butterflies but also Eastern Black Swallowtails and some others that occasionally show up in my garden. The occasional moth too.
I bring in eggs or any caterpillar I can provide food and a safe place for until they are fully grown. I release them when they become an adult. If they end up sick or diseased, instead of releasing them, I care for them until they pass away.
When I find them sick or in need of help out in the world I bring them in and help them recover. If they don’t get better, they have a calm place with me until they pass.
It is both a heartbreaking and joyous hobby to have. When I’m out in the garden they will land on me and let me hold them. When they are sick they come to me and let me care for them. Even ones I have not raised. I’ve learned so much from them and feel blessed to have the trust of such beautiful creatures.
Butterflies are dying out due to humans destroying their natural habitats and food. Please plant milkweed, that one small kindness can help them so much.
20. I built a little project studio a few years ago in my basement. I’ve now helped a few young rock and roll bands get demos recorded to get them gigs.
Some of the players have been astounding, all have been appreciative and it is a great way to see what kids are up to outside of school. Turns out I really like producing music that isn’t mine.
21. I do recreational mathematics. Because I like math and it makes people laugh when I talk about it.
22. I sing Gregorian chant. It takes daily practice and much concentration to sing chant stylistically and musically correct (with proper intonation), but its beauty and transcendental qualities are rewarding.
23. I do cross stitching and sew my own plushies, amongst other granny type crafts. My mom taught me to sew when I was young, and now that I have kids I’ve moved from mostly clothes to making things like stuffed Bob Ombs and Banthas. Cross stitching is wonderfully relaxing and tedious all at the same time. Perfect for my temperament.
24. Bicycle touring! Every once in a while I like to load some camping gear onto the back of my bicycle and disappear for a few days.
25. Riding dirt bikes on trails and motocross tracks. It’s fun and physically demanding. Also I like the blend of machine with nature. You can explore dozens of miles of mountain trails in an afternoon. For the tracks, jumping through the air and railing a rut is incredibly satisfying. Only downside is the injuries that come with the sport.
26. I collect swords and take medieval weapons classes.
It increases my confidence and gives me an interesting work out. Teaches me a lot of control, discipline and helps with social skills.
Also to be honest I like telling people and watching them go, “What the fuck… seriously, you?!”
27. I do contortion, which is where I bend my body in all sort of wacky ways. I call it a hobby because I practice it and it’s not my main job. It’s quite fun to see reactions when I bend in half and break my arm.
28. I like collecting indoor plants and succulents and propagating them. It’s fulfilling to see a small piece of a plant become a full plant.
29. Speleology – going into caves, exploring them, etc. My parents brought me into a cave when I was 6 months old and when I grew up, I continued with it. Caves are very impressive tbh, lots of formations (stalactites, stalagmites…) And for those wondering, I’m not living inside one.
30. I say that my hobby is finding new ways to not touch the ground. I rock climb, pole dance, and do aerial silks. If I could spend the rest of my life hanging out upside down, I would!