The New Year is often seen as a time of ‘giving up’: giving up smoking, giving up junk food, giving up needless spending, etc. But by placing that negative prefix on a goal or achievement, your New Year’s resolutions become focused on loss instead of gain. Could this be the reason why 80% of resolutions fail?
Instead of giving something up this year, why not aim for gaining something new? By adding something to your life, instead of taking away, you’re already benefiting from a positive experience!
Start 2022 mindfully by reframing your perceptions of the ‘New Year’s resolution’ – you could learn a skill or find something new to be passionate about! To help you have the best start to the New Year, I’ve put together a list of 20 ideas for unusual hobbies that you could try. These are activities that you might not have thought of before, and that don’t tend to appear on the typical resolutions list! Browse the list below, and tell me if you’re planning to try any of these by commenting at the bottom of the post.
Decoupage involves covering an item with pretty paper or cutout pictures using glue (usually PVA glue, but you can sometimes find special decoupage glue at the craft store, if you so desire). Objects that you can decoupage include trinket boxes, vases, scrapbook covers, and more! It’s a great way to personalise gifts or use up old magazines.
You might think that this hobby requires a lot of equipment and materials – but in fact, there’s no potter’s wheel needed, nor a kiln! You can easily find air drying pottery clay online, and use old cutlery to shape and model it into trays, bowls, plant pots and other interesting and unique creations.
This is an activity that allows you to create a submerged or semi-submerged garden! Gather some water-loving plants, a leak-proof container, filtered or distilled water, clean gravel and substrate, and whatever other items you desire. How about creating a shipwreck scene with a model ship?
Calligraphy can take some practice, and requires a steady hand and patience – but once you get the hang of it, you can use it to decorate cards, gift tags, wall art and more! You’ll need a calligraphy pen, good ink and high quality paper, all of which are available online or at a craft store.
5. Build an incense house
If you love using incense to create an aroma or energy inside your home, you’ll need something to hold your incense sticks! You can buy holders, or you can create your own using air drying clay, stone or other materials.
6. Collecting snowdrops
Snowdrops really are a beloved flower across the world – there are even exclusive snowdrop societies online! A lover of snowdrops is called a galanthophile, and it’s very easy to fall in love with this flower. Not just a hobby, some people make a good living from growing and selling snowdrops, some of which can go for over £600!
7. Making candles
You know when you burn a candle, and it leaves a thick layer of wax at the bottom where the wick has burnt out? You can remove this by gently heating the candle from the outside (if it’s safe to), or by placing the candle in the freezer for a few hours. If you collect up the wax from enough used candles, you can purchase a new wick and a fireproof container, melt the wax and pour it into the container to create a brand new candle!
Weaving has been around for centuries, and is a valued skill in the craft industry. You can begin weaving with paper, then move to palm leaves, rope and other weaving materials. Basket weaving is a very popular craft – why not weave some baskets for your houseplants?
A specific style of weaving, macrame was extremely popular in the 1970s, when eager crafters made rugs, wall hangings, table runners and more using cords made with various materials. Today, the art has made a comeback, with more contemporary designs for a range of purposes – including plant hangers!
10. Flower pressing
Flower pressing is one of the easiest hobbies on this list, and is a great way to preserve beautiful flowers. Take your favourite flowers, then arrange them between two pieces of dry kitchen roll, and place several heavy books on top. Wait between 1-2 weeks, then lift the books – your flowers should feel dry and papery. Carefully arrange them into an artwork, place them in a scrapbook, or whatever you want to do with them!
11. Nature photography
Professional nature photographers often use expensive equipment to capture beautiful shots – but you can do a great job with your phone camera! Practice taking photos of flowers, insects and wildlife up close and from afar, and in different lighting and weather conditions, to help you find out what works for you. There’s nothing stopping you from entering competitions and have your images seen by experts!
12. Forest bathing
Forest bathing is simple and soothing – and doesn’t involve getting your kit off in the woods. Simply take a walk in a completely natural environment, without the distraction of your phone or other technology, and remember to look around you while you’re walking to fully appreciate the beauty (but be careful with your footing in case of uneven ground)!
13. Making essential oils
Essential oils can be made at home using plants and herbs grown in your garden. You can use a crockpot or a still to boil the plants until the oils are separated (they’ll float on top of the water), then collect them. Alternatively, if you’re more invested in this hobby, you can purchase a press and filtering system to press the oils out of the plants, resulting in a higher concentration.
14. Jam making
Strawberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and other soft fruits are perfect for making into jams. Simply use equal parts fruit and sugar, and boil with a watchful eye (there’s an easy recipe for raspberry jam here). Then, collect your jam into clean jars and use at home or give to friends and family!
Foraging was once a way of life – not just a hobby! However, although it was common back in the day, it requires a lot of research (and perhaps the help of an expert, if you can find one) to make sure that you don’t pick or eat anything poisonous. When done right, the results can be very rewarding, and extra tasty!
Beekeeping requires knowledge, some equipment and of course dedication to your colonies. Tick all of these boxes, and you could gain a hobby that not only benefits the environment, but also provides you with delicious fresh honey! The British Beekeeper’s Association is a great place to get stuck in with your craft.
17. Seed collecting
You can purchase seed collecting kits online, or you can make your own using small paper or plastic pouches for individual seed varieties, and a larger container such as a tupperware box or metal tin to keep your collection safe. When collecting seeds, keep them well labelled! Then, you can propagate them when the time is right, or even sell them on.
Geocaching is a global activity that involves hiding containers of items for other people to find, or finding containers left by others using GPS. It’s like a worldwide treasure hunt! You can get involved on the official Geocaching website here.
19. Nature writing
Consider yourself good with words? If you enjoy spending time in nature, you can write about your experiences in a journal for your personal enjoyment, or even on a blog for others to enjoy. If you’re feeling super confident, you could even submit your writing to a competition – or even think about publishing or self-publishing!
20. Supporting wild birds
Native birds benefit greatly from human help if executed in the right way! Planting native hedges, installing bird boxes and creating water reserves such as bird baths can help your local bird populations thrive. Additionally, using the right feed can provide birds with the nutrients they need to breed, care for their young, and survive the winter.
There’s a great bird food pack over at QVC, which has been designed by expert Richard Jackson. The pack is full of 13 nutritious ingredients, and isn’t bulked up with cheap ‘fillers’, like some other bird foods. It even includes a special vitality booster supplement, which features Biotin to help maintain the condition of birds’ feathers as well as Vitamins A, B, C and E to help the immune system and day-to-day health.
This is a unique pack celebrating the 10th anniversary of Richard Jackson’s best selling bird food, and is available now, exclusively at QVC.
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.