Hobbies during quarantine

Self-quarantine has taken many opportunities away from our daily lives. But given the excessive amount of free time is the chance to explore your new and favorite hobbies! We’ve compiled a list of some basic how-to’s and resources for fun, rewarding hobbies. 


Embroidery is a useful skill for self-sufficiency in fixing and adorning clothing or decor, and is a fairly inexpensive hobby: all you need is an embroidery hoop, fabric, embroidery threads, needles and a pattern. Even if you’re confident you can draw your own pattern, it’s easiest to start with free designs and PDF instructions from providers like DMC, so you understand some of the basic stitches before jumping into your own design. You can also find inexpensive designs from sites like Urban Threads, which has an extensive array of designs, or from independent sellers on Etsy. There are also YouTube channels, like Cutesy Crafts, that provide instructions or advice in basic stitches or patterns. 


Learning a language:

While Duolingo is the most popular due to an easy interface and accessible app, there are a variety of other free language-learning services as well, such as Memrise or Babbel, both easy-to-navigate and effective websites that offer a broader range of languages. All programs offer ways to chat with native speakers, as well as forums and discussions on learning a new language. Cardholders for the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System can access MangoLanguages, a language-learning service with lessons in both popular and obscure languages. To access for free, click this link and scroll to Mango Languages. 



Although the libraries are closed indefinitely, you can still access ebooks via Atlanta-Fulton Public Library’s Overdrive or Hoopla, and through Milton’s Sora if you’re interested in children’s or YA books (access through Mackinvia). Internet Archive is another online library that provides free access to books. For access to classical literature, Project Gutenberg hosts a wide array of books, and ebook sellers such as Nook and Kindle provide classics for free. If you prefer to purchase your own physical books, BetterWorldBooks has an excellent selection with books starting at $2.98, and for every book you buy another book goes to a child in need. 



Drawing can become an expensive hobby over time between purchasing paper, pencils and pens, but you can start small with inexpensive notebooks and mechanical pencils. While there are many fantastic programs and classes worth the cost (YouTube artists have made learning the basics of art easy and accessible for everybody. Jazza, The Circle Line Art School, and Proko offer detailed and easy-to-follow videos on the basics of drawing techniques, anatomy and perspective.


Up-Cycling Clothes:

 With retail stores being closed for safety precautions, many of us are looking for new ways to update our closets. All you need to create new styles are as follows: sewing machine (hand sewing works too), needle, thread and old clothes that aren’t being worn like they used too. This project is one of my personal favorites as the opportunities are endless. In my case, I upcycled an old pair of skinny jeans into a brand-new pair of bell bottoms.

Though this project is fairly easy and exciting, understanding cost is also very important. The  sole purpose of up-cycling is to create high fashion statements at low costs. So for those of you who don’t own a sewing machine, I wouldn’t advise to go and purchase one as they can be quite expensive. But those of you who are interested in following this path, investing in one is very rewarding if it is being put to use. The average cost of a sewing machine is roughly $200-$300. There are lots of pros to a machine as they get efficient work done very fast [but at a high price],  versus hand sewing that can be tedious and timely [but at a low price]. 

Both options will get the job done regardless. For those of you who don’t have or plan on getting a sewing machine, there is light at the end of the tunnel! All you need is a few needles which cost around $4-$9 per multi pack, and durable thread according to which materials are being used. In my case I am using Coats and Clark denim thread which costs $2.99.

To re-create this look you’ll need two pairs of old jeans and items to sew them together. Once you have your jeans, take the pair you wish to be worn and take out the in-seam and outer-seams on both legs (up to about the knee) and set them to the side. Next you will take the second pair of jeans and cut out four similar triangles from the bottom half of the pants. You will later use these triangles to sew onto the cut seams of your original pair.

 Once you have everything needed, you will begin to sew! Take your original pair of jeans and fold them inside out. Your next step will be pinning one triangle on each side with an open hem (there should be four total triangles, and four open seams). Once that step is complete, your final and last step is to sew the pieces together. 

 Your pants will begin to look like the picture once you are completed, then turn them in-side out and they are ready to wear! This is a perfect way to spice up your old clothing at home without breaking your bank account!