Ice ice baby!

Private Property South Africa

I recently realised just how important it is to set aside all the gadgets, switch off and do something creative while attending a cupcake and cake decorating course. I’d forgotten how much fun it was to interact with people around a table and use my hands to create something. The fact that we got to eat our goodies was (almost) immaterial …

It’s no secret that most of us live fast-paced, stressful lives. According to Natural Society, stress levels have skyrocketed since the 1980s. The findings derive from surveys conducted in 1983, 2006 and 2009, and the majority of people questioned in the most recent survey show significantly increased stress levels compared to their 1983 counterparts.

But these results aren’t all that surprising. High work performance expectations, global socio-economic instability, a culture of materialism, high debt levels and information overload are just some of the pressures being felt by the man in the street.

Yes. It’s hard to disconnect, unwind and take some much-needed time out. You may think a holiday to an exotic location is the answer. However, chances are, whether by choice or not, you will remain plugged in to your cell phone or tablet wherever you go. Gone are the days, it seems, when you could really escape from the rat race.

Get hands-on

So what to do? One solution is to set aside an hour or two each day when you switch off your phone, tablet and TV, and spend time in a room in your home that has been dedicated to a hands-on hobby. Hobby-ing is relaxing and also a great way to bring a family together.

And it would seem that demand for nostalgic hobbies is on the rise. According to, the move towards traditional arts and crafts is on the rise with many craft-orientated companies in America reporting escalating product sales.

Here are some other “old-fashioned” hobbies your family may just love:

  • Scrapbooking

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Stamp and coin collecting

  • Sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, or quilting (Julia Roberts knits!)

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Model airplane or car building

  • Drawing, painting or etching

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  • Pottery

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Old-style photo development

  • Jewellery making

Make room

Your hobby room should be arranged in such a way that it caters to your chosen activity. Of course your level of involvement plays a role in outfitting your hobby room. If you simply want to dabble in stamp collecting for instance then a basic workspace will probably suffice. If however you want to go “all out” with hobbies such as painting or cupcake decorating then you will have to consider a number of different aspects such as:

  • The work surface: Do you require a large or small surface area? If you will be working with water, heat or sharp tools and cutters it’s advisable to invest in hardwearing, water resistant surfaces such as granite or stone. Your budget will dictate what you can afford but it’s a good idea to invest in the best possible surface from the start as it should save you money in the long term. The angle of the work surface is also important. If you wish to draw or paint, chances are you will require a surface that can be tilted.

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Lighting: Ask yourself how much detail your hobby entails. Will natural light or soft up-lighting suffice or do you need direct light to illuminate fine details? Will a manoeuvrable light attached to a desk be necessary? Perhaps you will need to black out the entire room to create a dark room for photo development.

  • Storage solutions: This is arguably one of the most important aspects to consider when creating a hobby room. Again, depending on your chosen hobby this could range from a few basic shelves, hooks and boxes to customised, space-saving cupboards and tool holders. Remember, the primary purpose of storage solutions is to keep your work space clean, neat and organised.

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Seating, sound, the type of floor and walls, a display area, power points and appropriate washing up areas.

For hobby and craft room inspiration, browse here. And if that doesn’t de-stress you, scoffing a few cupcakes – beautifully iced or not – probably will.

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