From Crochet to Collectables and other Interests
It has been said that many people have found new, or rediscovered crafts and hobbies. I started experimenting with watercolours at the start of being isolated. I painted a portrait of a gr grandaughter which I was quite happy with but didn't have much motivation. Since then I have found the love of painting dog portraits which although still learning I get so much satisfaction from. I am being asked to paint for money but I 'm not interested as that will take the leisure away. I have given some away as a thank you to people who have helped me with my hospital visits
What about other laners. Have you found a new interest and if so, what?
I am now a widow and live with my memories.
I haven't really found any new hobby. I would love to garden more, but am physically unable so to do. Knitting is now out, after knitting since a child, and sewing is the same, the latter due to eyesight, and the inability to use a needle threader, or hold material for any length of time.
I zoom and facetime nowadays, but can't really call that a new hobby, just a means of communication.
Well done you June!
I have exactly the same problems as you Spreckly. I have been an avid gardener for years but back pain won't let me. It still looks pretty but am leaving weeds for wildlife I can knit but the start of macular degeneration stops me sewing. Luckily I can knit but reserve this for the evenings. Doing the painting seems to have given the enthusiasm back for every day living. x
I am now a widow and live with my memories.
I haven't started any new hobbies but recently have been digging into my family history again and tried to find the people missing in my earlier searches. I posted in the Family history result topic about my 4x ggrandfather Alexander Stewart (Scottish ancestor) on the 7th April. Since then I finally realised that another family line had been incorrectly recorded - Collier (clearly written in a marriage record) from Colling (census and baptism records) which was also occasionally referred to as Collins! I've now managed to trace this family back to the 1600s and tracked their migration from Oldham to Bury, then Ainsworth on to Little Lever which is near my home town Farnworth (near Bolton)
Although it can be frustrating at times, I think what I get out of tracing my family history is not only learning who they are and when they were born (surnames I'd never heard of) but where they came from and how or why they migrated, and thinking about the historical events of the time. For example, matching their occupations to the periods of interest - like canal boatmen in the late 1700s/early 1800s (moving coal from the mines to the towns and cities like Manchester), or plate-layers in the 1840s/1850s (I had to look that up and it was the laying of the first railway lines) Being born in a cotton town, you'd think I'd have a string of ancestors working in mills and although there were some, I've been very surprised to find that many actually worked in the coal mines.
And even more surprising were the number of illegitimate children across many of the family lines. One or two have made me smile - a marriage then three months later a baptism. Some seem to have many children (up to about 18!) but so many died in infancy or in their teens - one family had 16 children but only 2 survived to adulthood (obviously one was my 2x great grandmother and the other her sister) which makes you realise just how tough it must have been in those days and how sad it must have been for the parents. One of my 4x ggrandfathers died in his early 20s just a few years after marriage (my 3x ggrandfather was only 4 years old) and his widow remarried. I wasn't going to bother trying to find out much about the step father as I didn't think it relevant if he wasn't a blood relative, but then my 3x ggrandfather married and the surname of the spouse was the same ... seems my 3x ggrandmother was the niece of the stepfather so although I'm not a direct descendant, his parents are my 5x ggrandparents!
The other thing I noticed in my research was the coal mining community - so many married into other coal mining families, and in one family, the brothers and sisters of one family married the brothers and sisters of another family! I even found 2 cousins had married (I was sure the same surname of both spouses in the marriage record was a mistake but after digging around, was confirmed as true when I noticed they shared the same grandparents!)
Even the different denominations is interesting - not all were baptised or married in the Church of England (before civil marriages from 1836) One family followed the United Methodist church, another called the New Jerusalamite. I even found a Quaker baptism (or at least a record marking it as I don't think they have baptisms / christenings familiar to other churches)
I find spending time on the family history is like being a detective - so many clues which don't mean a thing but when it comes together, it's like a eureka moment and you finally see a story there. It's hard to believe that this all started off during the Remembrance weekend of 2014 to mark the centenary of the First World War and some of the online ancestry sites were offering a free pass to access records (to learn more about military ancestors which wasn't helpful in my case as both my parents and grandparents were children during the 2 great wars) I think I've learned a lot since then, and with subscribing to one of the sites, have even made contact with distant relatives to find out how we are related and have shared photos and information.
I bought a new camera, a Canon with an exceptionally good zoom. I am now looking for interesting subjects to photograph. It's making me look at my surroundings more closely. As I walk a lot I am finding trees that make good photographs. It's good for making videos as well. I can zoom in as I walk around with it.
Ilona, well done! I have Ted's camera, which I haven't a clue how to use. He used to download pictures onto the internet. It is sitting on the shelf and I so wish I could find out how to use it properly. I seem to remember that there are pages and pages of instructions on the internet.
My camera has a lot more functions than I need. I tend to leave it on Auto, I don't understand all the ins and outs of focussing and lighting. Last night I walked around the village in the near dark. I wanted to put the flash on. Couldn't find how to do that will have to look it up on the manual which is on my computer. A lot of my photo's are experimental, I discard a lot of them.
Will this work?
I'm very impressed - I love the contours of the foreground with the trees in the background. I like the idea of a photography thread. My interests are close ups - normally I make do with what I can afford but on this occasion I decided to invest in a macro lens for the camera which wasn't cheap but made such a difference to the quality of the images.
I confess that I am the same, and sometimes you can do a lot with photographic software (the basic editing such as cropping but increase contrast, alter colour shading and so on) and create some really arty farty stuff.
However, instead of looking at the manual which even I find complicated, have a look on something like Amazon to see if there are any books written to get the most out of your make and model camera - they tend to be easier to guide you on how to take particular shots with photographs of what you can achieve. If you can't find your particular camera, sometimes general digital photography books can be helpful.
What about buildings? When I've gone into Nottingham on the tram, I find myself looking at buildings and I find some really interesting especially those built in the late 1800s and early 1900s with the decorative fronts (lift your eyes above the floor and door entrance to the windows and roof which you can miss when pounding the streets) Even modern buildings can be made to look interesting when photographs are taken from unusual angles or take advantage of deep shadows cast by the sun. And then there are night shots (imagine a river front with reflection of lights on the water) - you might need to look up how to set up the camera to do that.
So, I've opened a new thread.
Yes, LL I like buildings, old and new. Unusual buildings. Reflections in water are good. Got to have a focal point. I like to play around with close ups but don't have a special lens for that.
I edit with a simple programme already on my computer. Tweak the contrast, crop, level the horizon, enhance the colours if needed. Just started to play around with filters. Most of the pictures taken by this new camera need very little tweaking.
If ever interested in going down that road, it will depend on what sort of camera you've got and whether you can screw on filters to the lens (you should be able to see a fine screw thread on the inside of the ring where you clip on the lens protection cap. If there are, you'll need to know the diameter of that ring which should be stamped on the ring or will be in the manual ....) but a cheap alternate to a macro lens are close-up filters (they are a bit like a set of mini magnifying glasses screwed on top of the existing lens) They are obviously not as good as a macro lens and you have to play around to get into focus (hence why I went down the route of buying a proper lens) but they can still give some really decent close ups.
A little more expensive option are extension tubes - again, it depends on the camera body (is it an SLR where you can remove lens and put a different lens?)
I've even put close-up filters on top of extension tubes which does work but drastically narrows the focal point (so that only a small part is in focus and the rest is not) and I needed a tripod to steady the camera
No, it's not an SLR, cannot unscrew the lens. It's a Canon SX740 HS. I wanted something pocket size that I can carry in a pouch and get it out at any time. It's slightly bigger and heavier than a normal pocket size but smaller than an SLR.
This is a shot I took with an older camera, a Fujifilm fd. On my knees at the edge of a field of sugar beet.
I found the blurb for the camera: Canon SX740-HS:
40x zoom, 20.3 MegaPixels, 4K movie, 10 frames per second for continuous shooting
Just looking at the photo on that link, I can see the controls on the right of the display at the back of the camera - the little flower is for taking "close ups", the lightning is flash - that round disc is like a rocker so press for example the flash and then follow it by pressing set. If it's like my camera, when you click on the flash icon, it should bring up a window with different options (like flash before, during or delayed, but there's usually an automatic option also which means the camera sensors will determine if flash is needed if its too dark. Sometimes there is a no flash option too - this is good for poor light but using a flash might spoil what you are looking for (making it look too pale and washed out / reflect light on glossy surface). The downside is the shutter will be open for longer and often makes for blurry images from having to try and hold the camera steady (it would be better if the camera was mounted on a tripod or put on top of something like a table or other mount so you are not physically holding it)
Not a new hobby (although first of all I'm doing a crash refresher beginner's course and I have also decided to take it further than before and learn how to play properly) but I've treated myself to an electronic keyboard piano!
To cut a long story short, I learned to play on an electric (transistor) organ (late 1950s/1960s style furniture piece with 2 keyboards and foot pedals) when I was in my mid-teens. Mainly self-taught (through books), I considered myself to be a "moderate" intermediate, as in, well beyond beginner level but not advanced. I could read music and provided I was familiar with the song (particularly popular ones - my fave music book at the time had songs from The Beatles such as "Yesterday"), I was able to play it after much practice (especially if I needed to learn new chords) I bought myself a second (or third / fourth-hand) basic model electric organ back in 1980 (from my very first salary when I started work) but had to get rid of it when I was selling my house in 2001 (it wasn't a selling point having big furniture in a small house) but I promised myself I'd get a keyboard in my new home. Well, that didn't happen - first, they were expensive and secondly, after being made redundant and earning less, it wasn't that important.
Since then with advanced technology in the digital age, the price of affordable keyboards are now well within reach. I was going to buy a cheap model from Argos as a belated (60th and 61st birthday) present to myself, but I got somewhat confused by all the specifications and on researching further and reading reviews, I was more aware of the cons than the pros and found myself being steered to more upmarket ones. I definitely wanted the full size 61 key model - still classed as a "beginner's" keyboard so just within my spending limit, the one I've got has a lot more functions (different styles / instruments) Have to say, I watched a lot of YouTube reviews and what really persuaded me was the overwhelming agreement across all of them was that it had the best convincing piano voice (with touch sensitive keys so it plays just like a piano) not normally seen in the lower end of the keyboard market. This model became available from the manufacturer's outlets in October 2020 and from other stores from about January 2021, so still relatively new on the market.
It's a Yamaha PSR E373 - this YouTube is an overview of its capabilities (it does go on a bit but this video gives an idea of the different sounds and functions):
The keyboard arrived on Tuesday - easy to set up and play straight away, but learning what all the buttons do is taking time. I managed to figure out how to set up the voices (that is, the various instruments, and even the weird ones like the sound of bubbling water, telephone ringing, gunshot, chimes and so on - if anyone ever watched the tv series Friends and the episode with Ross playing the keyboard, you'll get a good idea of what I've been up to LOL) As well as the grand piano, my other favourite voices at the moment are the orchestral strings and flute.
I also bought some decent earphones as I didn't want to bother my neighbour while I practiced, and to be honest, it sounds better as I can turn the volume up. The one downside - the ear muffs press against my glass frames (I didn't need reading glasses when I had the electric organ)
I also bought a beginner's book and just as well because I couldn't remember the chords - having saying that, I whizzed through the entire book in an hour and was surprised how quickly I picked up on the easier chords like it was only yesterday. Even remembering some tunes (from popular songs) came naturally too so I have been entertaining myself even without sheet music. I've had to go shopping again to buy more books in the series but gone for the cheaper used section, as well as some music books to play. I do want to learn how to play properly this time round especially how to play the piano (a big difference to playing a standard electronic keyboard)
I'm slowly wading through the manual but it really is very technical (and condensed into a small booklet making it difficult to read especially when it refers to tables on other pages) I was hoping someone had published an easier guide as the manual that comes with the keyboard seems to be geared for someone familiar with previous models and the terminology. This link gives a very comprehensive and an indepth review (probably too much if you are not interested, but I'm posting it here for my personal use in case I need to revisit the site as it had a lot of useful information that I might want to look up again in the future)
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