Author Topic: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house  (Read 2918 times)

patch45

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Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« on: March 26, 2018, 07:21:47 PM »
I live in Denver, and generally stay pretty busy. I work as a software engineer, and I bike, hike, climb, hang out with friends pretty regularly. Play music sometimes too. I've noticed on the weeknights when I'm not doing one of these things and I'm not with my girlfriend, I end up just messing around on the internet all night. Which I'm never really happy with when I look back on that night.

I'm looking for a hobby where I can make something with my hands, something to do on the lazy weeknights. I'd rather not spend much time on a computer since I do that all day, which rules out working on open source or personal software projects. I love working on my bike, but I only really do it at the bike coop that isn't open very late.

On top of all this, I don't have a lot of storage space, so I don't really want to invest in large woodworking tools. I know I could join a hackerspace or makerspace, but I the ones in Denver are far enough away to discourage me from biking over there on a rainy day, for instance.

I'm really looking for something that would be easy to move as I move apartments, cities, etc. And something that lets me create something physical. I'm not very visually artistic, but I'd be willing to work on that.

What do you all do?

MrDelane

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2018, 07:34:31 PM »
Have you considered taking up cooking as a hobby?
I know you want to produce and not consume.... but what about something physical you can then consume?

I get a lot of satisfaction out of cooking, personally.
Might not be what you're looking for - but figured I'd throw it out there.

plainjane

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2018, 07:38:57 PM »
This is why I took up knitting.

diapasoun

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2018, 07:44:16 PM »
I knit and crochet. I'd also like to learn to spin, and to do naalbinding. I enjoy the repetitiveness of these hobbies - it's soothing and you can get into great flow states. I also really enjoy having a finished object at the end; much of what I make I use as gifts, which means I can overlap my craft and gift budgets in enjoyable ways. If you want something more masculine coded, knit tying could be a thing!

I also have a bunch of house plants and a nascent garden. It's not necessarily the same sort of productive hobby, but it definitely uses your hands (and is productive if you grow your own food). I've dug up so much Bermuda grass and propagated so many spider plants in the past year...

patch45

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2018, 07:48:27 PM »
I actually cook almost all of my meals, and generally I enjoy it quite a bit! Thanks for the suggestion.

I've never tried knitting but that definitely meets the criteria!

sokoloff

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2018, 09:19:47 PM »
Digital electronics is something that I really enjoy (which will have a programming component, but it's very different from what you do in your day job in all likelihood).

Arduino, ESP32, and the like.

If you want zero computer time, that's not a good choice, but for me, it's a welcome change from $DAY_JOB.

mozar

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2018, 10:04:16 PM »
How serious are you about music? I record myself playing music and upload it to youtube. This doesn't get me away from a computer but it makes me practice a song and I am learning videography so I can edit my videos. If that doesn't work you could join a music group. I sing in a  choir, play percussion in a concert band, and practice with a ukulele group. Another hobby is that I help run a local timebank and I usually have some things to do for that. I still get bored though, lol.

patch45

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2018, 10:29:40 PM »
I actually have a Photon and an Arduino that I haven't really done much with in the past, I'll look into some projects and see what catches my interest.

And I'm a pretty decent guitarist, and I've gotten really into it in the past, the only thing is I have roommates with thin shared walls so sometimes I feel weird about playing and singing loudly enough to make it sound good haha


Lanthiriel

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2018, 10:47:30 PM »
Another vote for knitting. I donít give any gifts that arenít knit anymore and I love knitting practical things: socks, hats, dishclothes, etc. Iím currently making 24 tiny colorwork mittens that will be an advent garland. I love it because itís relaxing, uses just enough of my brain, and six years in I still have so much to learn.

Awesomeness

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2018, 11:23:55 PM »

Ok Iím intrigued by the knitting.  How much to get started and how do you learn? 

diapasoun

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2018, 04:51:46 AM »
Knitting can be a cheap hobby... or a very, very expensive one. It mostly depends on what yarn you buy, in my experience, although there's plenty of other ways to make it expensive, too. You will not save money getting into knitting - it's cheaper to buy nice socks than it is to make them.

I'd suggest starting with a small, simple project. Something like a scarf, a neckwarmer, or a dishcloth is ideal; they're simple shapes (squares and rectangles) and you can finish them pretty quickly, which feels nice.

I taught myself to knit with the help of a handful of videos/webpages; my mother taught me to crochet when I was little. Both worked fine for me. However, I think it's rally helpful to be able to ask an experienced person questions when you mess up. It takes a little time to know what fabric should look like, and how to fix mistakes. You'd be welcome to message me with photos, but your best bet is often in person with a friend or at your local yarn/craft shop.

ETA: You can get started with several dishcloths or a small scarf for 10 bucks.

Cranky

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2018, 05:15:04 AM »
You can buy yarn and needles at JoAnn's (inexpensive) or go to a yarn festival (considerably expensive) or lots of things in between.

I make simple stuff to keep my hands busy while I watch tv, and give everyone I know wool socks, but I also knit hats for charity and some people mostly do that.

If you are interested in woodworking, you don't have to get into the furniture side - what about making wooden spoons? Those also make excellent gifts.

diapasoun

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2018, 05:19:03 AM »
If you are interested in woodworking, you don't have to get into the furniture side - what about making wooden spoons? Those also make excellent gifts.

I'd never thought of this. One of my housemates does a lot of woodworking -- I should see if I can commission a salad spoon+fork from him...

LifeHappens

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2018, 05:24:00 AM »
If you are interested in woodworking, you don't have to get into the furniture side - what about making wooden spoons? Those also make excellent gifts.
A friend of mine has been woodworking since he lived in a studio apartment. One year he made Hobby Horses for his nieces and nephews for Christmas. There are a ton of smaller projects you can do in an apartment. Just be careful not to drop tools on your landlord's floor!

JanetJackson

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2018, 06:05:23 AM »
I might suggest soap making. 
To do a basic few batches at a time, you really don't need more materials than would fit into one of those lock-top Rubbermaid containers. 
I've been making soap for about six or seven years and in that time I have moved about eight or nine times (yes, that many times, I know... :( ). 

Fairly cheap to start, easy to pack up and a fun thing to gift or sell to friends and family.

plainjane

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2018, 06:42:59 AM »
Ok Iím intrigued by the knitting.  How much to get started and how do you learn?

I learned how to knit from a book, but now there are great youtube videos available - and if you don't understand/like one presenter, there is always another.

Ravelry.com is the go to place for knitting on the internets. There are tons of free patterns in addition to the paid ones available, and forums to ask questions. Plus if you like a pattern you can see what other knitters thought of it, or you can see what other people made with the yarn you have. The main problem is finding the right forum to ask any questions, but most everyone is really friendly, and will point you in the right direction if you're in the wrong spot.

So $15-20 for needles and yarn to get started? http://tincanknits.com/thesimplecollection.html is a great free learn to knit option.

Alternatively, if you like to muck about on your own a bit more, buy a 5mm/size 8 circular needle (32 inch) and a ball of Cascade 220, sign up to Ravelry and take a look at.
https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/search#yardage-in=150-300%7C0-150&craft=knitting&sort=projects&view=captioned_thumbs&availability=free&pattern-ideas-for=cascade-yarns-cascade-220

My biggest problem when I started was buying the wrong type of yarn for my projects because I didn't understand the impact of fibre composition (buying yarn with silk for a pair of socks0 or yarn thickness (e.g. buying 1200 yards of sock weight for a blanket that called for worsted). This is where Ravelry is really helpful, because if you buy the yarn first, you can find the right sort of pattern, and if you decide on a pattern first, you can see what type of yarn is suggested and what other people tried.

dcozad999

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2018, 09:06:34 AM »
Other woodworking hobbies, if you have the artistic talent, are wood turning and whittling.

You would need a little bit of space for a lathe to do turning, but with whittling it's just some hand tools. I have like negative talent when it comes to art, so whittling would be out for me.

There are some outstanding wood turning videos on youtube. If I were to run into a cheap lathe at a garage sale I may even give it a try, artistic talent be damned.

Carrie

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2018, 09:32:53 AM »
I like sewing for a hobby. I make gifts, clothes, pillows, curtains, quilts etc. Cooking is fun, trying new international cuisines, baking bread, etc. Lock picking is another fun hobby.

BlueHouse

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2018, 10:26:01 AM »
Sculpting. 

Go to an art or hobby store and buy a brick of pink Plasticine clay.  Cut it into 1/2 inch slices and lay them on an old cookie tray, then place the tray on a lampshade and turn the lamp on.  This is the perfect warming temperature to get the clay into a soft, warm state that's perfect for molding the clay into a form.  Mold into a big blob (for a face or bust) or a long blob (for an animal or a human).  As the clay cools, it will get harder, then you can start carving out features. 

I cannot draw AT ALL.  I can't do most artistic things.  But every time I make something in clay, people are amazed at how cool it is.  Often, people see it long before I've started putting any features into it -- they see it just as I start whittling away at the clay with wire tools, which leaves clean lines and edges.  It looks very abstract and many people think I'm finished at that point. 

What's great about this hobby is that if you're just into producing, you can put it back on that cookie sheet and warm it up again to melt it all down.  So very cost-effective.
But if you create something you love and want to keep or give away, then find a foundry nearby and have it cast in wax or even bronze. 

Clay sculpting is very forgiving and the feel of clay in your hands is like nothing else!

Lanthiriel

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2018, 11:33:01 AM »

Ok Iím intrigued by the knitting.  How much to get started and how do you learn?

I learned off the Stitch and Bitch book. Get yourself some worsted weight yarn and size 7 or 8 bamboo needles. Don't bother with straight needles. Get some 16- or 24-inch circulars. You can still knit flat objects with them. I also recommend getting at least a wool blend to start off with. Most acrylic just doesn't feel good to me and it sticks to cheap needles and makes it hard to move the stitches along. If you just go to a regular craft store, not a local yarn store, look out for Lion brand or similar--they're good wool/acrylic blends.

I just started on page 1 of Stitch and Bitch and did all the little projects she recommended along the way. The great thing about knitting is that it's skill building. You'll learn the knit stitch and think you're on top of the world. Then you'll purl and it'll blow your mind. Then you'll learn increases and decreases, yarn overs, cabling--always something new and interesting!

I second the idea to check out Ravelry for free patterns. You could also try a Craftsy class to get you started, but that learning style never worked for me.

Goldielocks

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2018, 11:36:25 AM »
If you have a spare room, you can set up a 3D printer and laser 3D scanner, and do small parts contract work.  You would need to like computer modelling and fussing with print levels / feedstock, etc.   People do a decent side business with this.

merlin7676

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2018, 09:02:56 AM »
Another vote for crochet. Doesn't take a lot of money. A hook and some yarn.
Mostly I make blankets..sometimes for friends like one I'm making now, but usually I make 3 or 4 at a time and then pass them out to the homeless.

JLR

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2018, 08:57:50 PM »
I crochet blankets, too. It can take months of evenings to make one, so it isn't as if I have a house filled with blankets I've made.

My mum made some cute cushions for my lounge. I might crochet some more of those when I tire of blankets.

I would also like to work on making little baby clothes, for when the time comes I have grandchildren. So I have some skills by the time we reach that stage and then I can make something nice for my grandchildren.

My mum does beautiful work and sometimes makes little matinee jackets to donate to maternity hospitals. They sometimes get babies in with nothing to go home in. Sometimes due to poverty, or because a baby is born prematurely. They seem to appreciate having some cute little crocheted cardigans donated.

OtherJen

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2018, 07:16:01 AM »
Knitting is a great option! Thatís what I do when Iím in the mood to curl up on the sofa and watch a movie, or if Iím a car passenger. I picked up this hobby several years ago and now Iím working on my second sweater for myself (with two others planned). Iíve made so many scarves for various gifts, baby blankets for my niece and a friendís baby, baby hats, dish towels and dish cloths for my own kitchen, and all the hats and scarves I wear in cold weather.

A single set of inexpensive needles (I like bamboo or wood because I tend to drop stitches off of slippery metal needles) and ball of cotton yarn from a big-box craft store is a great start, and if you like the process you can end up with a small kitchen towel. If you really like it and want to make scarves for people, Knitpicks (online) has nice natural-fiber yarns at decent prices, and they occasionally have great sales.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2018, 09:11:07 PM »
Yeah, I was going to say knitting as well.  It's basically construction with yarn.

I learned before YouTube from a book.  If you get really into it, I would highly suggest Knitting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti and Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman.  Both are old books that are about both the mechanics and also the theory and craft in a way.  I really enjoyed them and they offer something you can't really get from YouTube.  They can be had for a few dollars used.

I also sew and sewing is also very satisfying to me.  It's awesome to start with flat pieces of fabric and end up with something three dimensional.  I do a lot of gift sewing - baby bibs, flannel blankets, soft toys - and that is quite a bit less expensive than garment sewing because the more "craft" fabrics go on super sale a lot.  I have a bottom of the line Singer and it does just fine.  As a bonus, you will probably learn sewing machine repair at some point! :)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 09:12:48 PM by SimpleCycle »

diapasoun

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Re: Producing instead of consuming when you don't own a house
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2018, 09:13:20 PM »
@patch45 I was just thinking: you mentioned playing music with friends. What about instrument rehab/repair?