For many of us, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept us close to home and away from the hobbies we’d cultivated in our pre-pandemic lives.
In the beginning, there was a whole lot of bread baking happening (remember the yeast shortage?)
But as time marches on and the pandemic remains a major disruptor, many have looked for other ways to pass the time or keep their hands and minds busy.
We asked to see what you’ve been working on during the pandemic, whether it’s a new hobby or a finely honed skill, and we were blown away by all of the submissions. We have some very talented and creative readers!
Check out some of the most unique and inspiring submissions we received.
(Reader descriptions have been edited for clarity and length.)
“When the pandemic really got going, I started doing something I hadn’t done in decades… I began drawing again. I quickly discovered that not only could I still do it, it gave me greater joy than what I’d been doing. I draw tiny things on canvas and add color with alcohol inks and water-based brush markers.
“Creating these miniature worlds of mine has been invaluable in helping me cope with the ongoing global mayhem. Fun, imaginary miniature worlds are vastly better than the ‘real’ world.”
— Logospilgrim, Aylmer, Que.
A late-night show for Canadians
“I am an actor and comedy writer who specializes in political satire and late-night writing, and this spring I created an entire first season of a weekly Canadian late-night show called Late Night in Canada, in response to the fact that Canada doesn’t have its own late-night political show.
“I created 13 episodes written, produced, and shot entirely by myself in my apartment. It was a mixture of Colbert meets Last Week Tonight, and definitely helped occupy my time for about six months!”
— Clare Blackwood, Toronto
A few woodworking projects. pic.twitter.com/idYHAmsoI4
— reidgm (@reidgm) December 17, 2021
Started a podcast
“I started a support group and podcast to help parents overcome anxiety and depression so they can give their best to themselves, their loved ones, and their career.
“After struggling for decades, I finally found my way out of my struggles on my own. I decided to pursue my passion in helping others, because mental health is only getting worse before it gets better. I want to give the help and support that people may have never had, but have always needed.”
— Ray Bourcier
New to painting
“During the paramedic I took up painting. I have always enjoyed art but never really put time into it, always something else to do. It started with one picture for me and went from there.
“I have enjoyed doing pictures and giving to friends and family. Spreading a little joy in some difficult times.” — Deanna McKechnie, London, Ont.
— Earla Phillips
I started painting. I had never painted before and now I love it pic.twitter.com/wWVb7il1DW
— Judy Van Leeuwen (@JavaJudeInBC) December 17, 2021
“Late last year, as my pandemic project, I tried my hand (pun absolutely intended) at painting in the wet-on-wet painting technique made popular by Bill Alexander and Bob Ross.
“It went far better than I thought it would, and so I thought I would submit these photos of some of my better ones!” — Mike Stewart, Coquitlam, B.C.
Stained glass mosaic guitar
“I used an actual guitar. I used stained glass, tempered glass, beads, millefiori, and ball chain mainly.
“All sides have been done, and I even painted the inside to match. It is the first of what I hope will be many, as I had so much fun creating it. It is titled ‘Northern Nights,’ in honour of the northern lights theme.”
— Constance Huls, Blind Bay, B.C.
I started baking! I learned how to make macarons and my first attempts were complete failures, but now I'm making character macarons! pic.twitter.com/yDD4lhsqAn
— Roxane PF 😷N95💉💉🦠💉 (@pf_roxane) December 16, 2021
Metal paper cranes
“My COVID project was to show solidarity with communities facing racism. I am a hobby jewelry maker and I wondered if I could fold an origami crane from sheet metal. The answer is yes, and my silver and copper cranes turned into an art project!
“The project goal is to send sets of 1,000 origami cranes to communities facing the effects of racism, and this was inspired by the ongoing exploration of residential school sites for unmarked child burials. I received a budget large enough to complete fourteen sets of 1,000 paper cranes, one silver crane and one copper crane each. Each set will be gifted to a community or organization.” — Peter Wallace
— Wayne Hill
— Lianne (@ArtUnwound) December 16, 2021
Painting pet portraits
“I returned to a hobby I hadn’t had time to do in years.” — Cathy Kay, Fredericton, N.B.
“I started rug hooking just before the first COVID-19 outbreak…and the timing proved to be quite opportune as learning a new craft gave me a creative outlet to focus on during the months that followed.
“My husband and I got COVID during the initial wave in March 2020, with my husband being hospitalized and ventilated. His 77-day hospitalization was a very scary time for all and having this new outlet has kept me sane(ish). It’s a very old craft, something that my grandmother did as a pioneer Saskatchewanite but known now as a very East Coast art form.” — Maxine Boss, Okotoks, Alta.
— Angie (@Angie18438041) December 17, 2021
“We started interior decorating with our daughters when the pandemic started, as they had nothing to do besides a couple hours of online school. So now they like to do interior decorating.” — — Neeru Saluja
A budding artist
“I’ve become an artist during this pandemic. If you look closely you just may find a cat in my paintings. I call it ‘Find Felix.'” —Lisa Ray Koenig
I’ve been making high visibility safety gear for pedestrians! pic.twitter.com/n7eDn5wyaj
— Anne Pickard-Vaandering (@HandyGirl3) December 18, 2021
Yule logs for nature lovers
“In 2020, I spent my outdoor days filming the beautiful things around me and sharing online with others to improve my mental health and hopefully theirs’ too.”
— Tim Madden, Brockville, Ont.
“I saw a picture of a Union Jack quilt on Pinterest and thought it would be a wonderful Christmas gift for my brother. He loves the Union Jack, but is Canadian, so I used maple leaf material, and because he is retired military I used a maple leaf camouflage on the back.” — Ethel Massouh
“I used to do a lot of cross-stitch years ago, but haven’t touched it for about 15 years. When the pandemic hit I pulled it out again.” — Glenda Pentland, Ladner, B.C.
“I have found a passion for woodworking. It all started back in March of 2020 when I decided to try my hand with building some outdoor furniture. After a few weeks I completed two chairs, a twin couch, and a table. I was hooked.
“In November of 2020 my wife and I decided to start an Instagram page to share my woodworking journey. This has ended up being an awesome experience as I have now connected with woodworkers all over the world.” — Ian Mitchell, Mississauga, Ont.
75 yr old grandfather built this over the summer for the grandkids. pic.twitter.com/HRvHGHAd0U
— 1999 (@donebefore99) December 16, 2021
“My family embarked on a ‘Pergola Project’ at our cottage in the spring of 2021. We completed the project with new patio furniture, planters and greenery. We are very happy with the results!” — Lori and Mike Burrows
“I’ve been working on a cross stitch project of a Star Wars poster.” — Natalie Allain, Ste-Marie-de-Kent, N.B.
I started painting on discarded floor boards to make outdoor paintings, I didn't have much for art supplies while things where closed and it kept me semi sane during lockdowns while I wasn't able to work♡ pic.twitter.com/idDuJulIVO
— KT Cook (@KTCook5) December 17, 2021
An uplifting Facebook page
“About a year into the COVID-19 pandemic I felt like everyone was in a wretched mood — not just in person, but even the internet itself seemed to shift into a more negative atmosphere. I wanted to do something — anything — to improve my corner of the world, and to make people know they are loved and supported.
“I’ve always believed making even one person smile can create a butterfly effect that passes through the world, so I started a Facebook page called Johan the Jomosexual, which has been growing steadily with a modest yet global audience — adding a voice for many minority fights, particularly the LGBTQ2+ community which I have come to love being a member of!”
— Johan Jomo, Tillsonburg, Ont.
A stop-motion music video
“I made this stop motion video for my band after our Europe tour was cancelled.”
— Lyndon Strandquist
Embroidery for health care heroes
“While I learned to do this a long time before the pandemic, I created several embroideries, including an embroidery celebrating health care workers. It took a year to finish.” — Daniela McGonigal, Calgary, Alta.
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