Live and Learn with Hobby Time

Treading on New Ground

Anyway, let's move on. Writing has been almost impossible over the last eighteen months because of the pain and my inability to concentrate. So I needed to find other interests to occupy my time and mind. And I did!

It began the first few months after I was stranded at home with nerve pain. I attempted to write but that was a no go. I quickly realized my brain wasn't going to be cooperative and began to search for something to do. (The television could only take me so far.)

Hobby Number One: Painting

My husband suggested painting. Nothing serious, you understand, just a few scratches here and there on the canvas. I agreed and discovered that I can paint and I'm actually pretty good at it. Who would've known, right? I've always sketched and such but painting? I never would've thought.

I began to play around with acrylics and loved every moment. I dabbled with landscapes and soon expanded my skills to include acrylic pours. I found that I enjoyed re-creating the scenery on the canvas and sharing the beautiful place I call home (much like I do in my books.) I treasure the way acrylic pours take on a life of their own with every tilt or swirl of the paint or swipe of the torch to the canvas.

A landscape takes several months to complete due my condition but I truly love to paint them. Signed limited edition prints are $150.00 each.

A variety of signed original acrylic pours are available for $45.00 if you're interested.

Acrylic Pour

Hobby Number Two: Food Canning and Preserves

I'm not a gardener. In fact, I have what most consider to be a black thumb. But there is one thing I'm always ready to do when harvest time rolls around. I love to can, especially jams and jellies. And that's what happened this year.

Now my hubby's fingers and toes are so green, he's the regular Jolly Green Giant, even the house plants are huge! Our garden flourished this year with everything from peppers to tomatoes and sunflowers to popcorn. Yum, yum and wow! Thanks to hydroponics, we harvested early and continue to do so even now...into the Fall.

We made applesauce, apple butter, apple jelly, banana jelly and jam, peach butter (thanks to the store), wild plum jelly and jam (thanks to my wonderful Wyoming home), tomato jelly, strawberry jelly, jalapeno jelly, and cherry jelly.

The list keeps growing.

Thank you, Grandma Bolding, Grandma Post, and Mama! Y'all are (were) awesome! You taught me so much and I love it the results.

As an interesting side note, James (my husband) and I decided to sell our products at the local Farmer's Market and they were extremely popular! No more Market this year though. The cold weather of Wyoming Fall has arrived. 😢

Hobby Number Three: Bonsai Trees

Well, even though it's black, I'm attempting to turn my black thumb to green. I bought both a Bonsai tree kit and a Bonsai tool kit, and right now, I'm growing a Bonsai tree. And...drum roll please...


I'm so excited that if I could jump up and down, I would!

We'll see what happens. I have to admit, James is helping me. He's watering it more than I am. <sigh> Maybe my thumb is blacker than I thought. (Shamefully blushes and ducks head.)

Hobby Number Four: Soy Candle Making

I'll admit that painting is hard for me to do. It takes a long time to finish a piece of work. Canning is physically limiting as well. And Bonsai trees? Well, time restricts that enterprise. It kind of moves along when it will, you know?

So, while I was waiting for the buds to sprout and my back to give me a break, I decided I needed another hobby. (Like I needed something else to do.) Then I saw a soy candle kit online. It looked like fun! And I absolutely LOVE candles. If you could see my house, you'd agree with me.

I decided what the "hay!" It would be another "selling" item at the Market and I would have more candles to burn. Win, win for me. I tackled the Soy Candles head on and discovered that they don't take quite as long as I thought, believe it or not.

However, they are quite a challenge in their own way. Between calculating the amount of wax and fragrance needed, putting together the wicks, and preparing the candle jars, it's not slapping a seed in dirt or paint on a piece of canvas. But the product smells wonderful and I love candles and soy candles are the best out there! No soot, slow-burning and the best for your health and the environment. Again, win, win!

As I said, these candles are for sale, but prices do vary depending on size and series. If you want one, let me know, and I'll price it for you and make it.

Although my life hasn't been easy the last year and a half, I've discovered many blessings through it all. I've found that my creativity is not limited to words but extends to so much more. In fact, it reaches into areas I never dreamed. I can make the settings in my mind come forth onto canvas. The scent of the mountain valley or the smell of the kitchen come to life within a candle. I've seen the promise of life grow from my own fingertips, albeit with the help of my husband, and grace the shelves only to tantalize the tongue with their flavors.

Who would have thought that pain would yield such blessing? Joy fills my soul. Grace abounds within. I've always said that I live and learn always and for evermore. In this case, it has kept me sane and moving forward.

So when life sends you toward territory that looks like oblivion, turn course. Tread onto different ground and pick up something new. Something that is fun, busy, and enlightening...a hobby. It's time to live and learn. Life isn't about giving up, it's about moving on. God will be with you. He will bless you. He will teach you to learn how to cope with whatever comes your way.

Let's go now! It's


In Christ,

Renee Blare


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