Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll: Not-Work Hobbies

Some of us work in offices, some of us work at home; some of us are raising children 24 hours a day, others of us are raising someone else’s children. Even if you’re not getting a paycheck, chances are, most of us are working folks. And when you’re working folk, you don’t always have time to do everything that you want. Which brings me to today’s Lunchtime Poll question…

What hobby do you most enjoy doing when you’ve got a few hours to yourself, away from the responsibilities and demands of your career – whether that career is high-powered executive or constantly patient mother of miniature narcissists who never pick up their damned shoes from the hallways no matter how many times you ask?

For me, it’s cooking. Why, just this weekend, I made a bunch of treats for work on Monday and Tuesday. I’m holding a few long, long training sessions on those days and figured a few sweet treats would improve everyone’s morale. Why, I’ve got chocolate caramels, chocolate custard tarts, peanut butter cups (with dark chocolate peanut butter!), banana bread, and cinnamon-apple cake.

Even though it’s hot and miserable outside right now (90° in Seattle is hot stuff, indeed), I can’t step away from my kitchen when I’ve got some free time to cook.

Well, how about you? Is it mountain climbing? Rowing? Baking? Sewing? Taking hot baths until you’re pruney?

By Michelle Miller

Michelle Miller is a twenty-something blogger, cook, freelance writer and editor living in Seattle, Washington. She’s a feminist trying ever-so-hard to embrace her spaces, conventional or not. She looks forward to numerous bad hair days, burnt cremes, a soapbox or two, and maybe (just maybe) a yellow polka-dot bikini in the years ahead.

43 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: Not-Work Hobbies”

My current project at home is a papercraft alphabet for my adorable little nephew. He’s only three months old so it’s kind of jumping the gun but damn I love papercrafts. Maybe they can decorate his room with them? Up high where he can’t nom them?

Other than that I like to cook, do origami, paint/draw/sculpt if I can. Been trying to include more experiences in my life. It was suggested to me that I should do more outside of work to make work smaller in scale to my life as a whole. We’ll see how that goes! I’m hopeful.

I really see the value in making work a smaller part of your life. I really had some luck with that in the past when I felt that work had taken over too much of my thought-life. I couldn’t even make dinner without dwelling on work!

Papercraft alphabet. My mind is creating all sorts of wonderful iterations of this!

Truth be told, I’m not much of a ‘relax’ person. Too many things to worry about, but once those things pass, I suppose I’d be most likely to fill my time up with writing (gotta make some progress on my sites at some point…), making videos, learning stuff online, various degrees of success in growing things to eat, figuring out how to cook more stuff without half of what I buy going bad, and makeup/hair masks/face masks/making scented products to bathe in and/or wear. I’d really like to get into doing stuff w/essential oils. Oh, and, uh, exercising, because I’m super-sure I’ll get right on that.

It’s so funny you mention essential oils. I’ve been giving sidelong glances at essential oils for a long time–for bathing, skincare, hair care, aromatherapy. Seems like I can’t get it off my mind, lately.

All of this started when I spent an afternoon perusing PubMed for articles about the benefits of essential oils. Fascinating stuff!

This is how I feel when I have an unencumbered “weekend.” You know, the sort of weekend when you can stay up as LATE as you damn well please because you don’t have anywhere to be the next day.

Next to napping, this has to be the best feeling as an adult.

No work tomorrow? EFF YEAH.

Yes, I love Ikea hacks! I wouldn’t call myself an enthusiast, though, so much as an ‘I just moved into my first apartment and need cheapo furniture’ person. However, today I spent almost the entire day putting together an enormous chest of drawers all by myself and it feels totally badass.

So, um, there are these paddleboarders who go out on the Puget Sound and Lake Washington–the two major bodies of water around Seattle.

And I cannot even watch them because (1) it looks really hard and (2) I keep thinking they will fall into the gross, gross waters of the Puget Sound and Lake Washington.

So I guess I’m saying, Please only go paddleboarding in cleanish waters. I will worry, otherwise, that kelp and silt will drown you. D:

My first lesson was in Grand Canal Dock in Dublin, so I’m immune to grossness:) Second lesson was in a nature reserve in North Dublin where people were catching crabs to eat, so I’m guessing it was clean enough… third lesson TBC, I’ll let you know:)


Do you find, writing romance as you do, that plotting the story is really necessary? Every time I’ve tried my hand at writing romance, I cannot stick to a plot. It always ends up as something entirely other than what I planned (mostly, everyone ends up dead *sigh*).

I laughed so hard at “everyone ends up dead” !

Personally, I have to plot. I never stick to the plan exactly, but I need to have a basic idea of the storyline. The first book I finished, I didn’t plot ahead, and it was a hot mess (for other reasons too, but still…) No plotting up front can mean tons and tons of rewriting later, or realizing 100 pages in that I don’t really have a story you can sustain.



Sewing for me. Though in my current state of unemployment sewing is the only thing that IS getting me a meagre amount of money. So not sure if that really counts… That said, making myself a sexy silky dress today for a friend’s wedding this coming weekend :D.

Yes, this is very normal. For example I’m usually 8-10 normal closes and 12-14 dress pattern size. I’ve heard the explanation that it is due to the fact that fashion has undergone some serious vanity sizing whereas the pattern world has not. I’d highly recommend doing a skirt before  a dress if you’re new to the sewing thing, shoulders are a tricky thing sometimes. Yay for starting to sew!

Yeah, I started with a dress, and near the shoulders you have to like, scrunch up one of the pieces and cut a bunch of little slits and curve it to make it match up with the other one? (Do you know what I mean?) And it’s kind of hard! I’m going to try to finish it, and then try a skirt next. :)

easing can be a tricky thing, I’d recommend stay stitching along the seam line before you do any cutting. Also, most fabrics squish a little better than they stretch (unless you’re lucky enough to have a stretch fabric in which case all of above is easier)

Photography. Specifically analog photography and alternate processes. As soon as I have a weekend with enough free time I am cleaning out my basement bathroom and turning it into a dark room. (No one wants to pee there anyway because it’s so dark and gloomy.) I don’t have an enlarger yet, but I have all the chemicals I need for dry tintypes and I have a large format camera I inherited from my granddad to take them in. I also shoot a lot of 120 and 35mm, and I have a real fondness for plastic and vintage cameras. Also on my to do list is to assemble a plastic twin lens reflex camera from a kit I got in the mail about a week ago.

Er, yes and no. You can mimic the in camera effects with digital pretty well (think Instagram), but you don’t get analog’s weird unpredictability. I have some cameras that basically have minds of their own. They leak light, they don’t always focus where you think they should, they vignette. I once shot a whole roll only to realize when I got it processed that it had already been exposed once and that I had just made everything on it a double exposure. I also had some fun times with finding some old Polaroid 600 film in my mother’s closet and shooting it long after it had expired. Everything came out weird orange and demented looking. It forces me to quit being a control freak, which I am about most of my other forms of art. For me, it’s more about the experience of taking pictures than the end result necessarily.

You can see the mad experiments here:

Oh, I love looking at your pictures!

And that’s really interesting. It’s probably not an exact correlation, but I sometimes write poetry in traditional form  for the same reason–it forces a little bit of randomness and unpredictability, instead of me controlling everything.

At the moment I swing between digital art and teaching myself the basics of interior design via Sims 3. Once I get a dedicated craft room, it will be sewing, cross stitch and altered art – all the things I can’t do from the computer.

I am all about the reading a good book with a nice glass of wine with some awesome music playing when I have free time. Of course with the amount of free time I have this week, I’ll have to be very careful my love of wine doesn’t crossover in to the alcoholic danger zone.

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