With the exception of the issue I bought a few months ago, the only time I read Highlights magazine was at the dentist's office when I was a kid. I loved the idea of stories and projects and puzzles in a magazine.
It was the same with the early editions of Martha Stewart's Living magazine ... a curated collection of ideas, inspiration ... and activities.
The transformative power of hobbies ...
When I was 14 years old, home alone and bored, I discovered the transformative power of activities. Of doing ... something.
That day it was making oatmeal cookies.
Since then I've had a go at sewing (definitely a good skill to have), fishing (not for me), ice skating (no camel spins or leaps, but I cut a fairly good figure eight), skiing (all set with that), snowshoeing (a keeper), gardening (which way to the farmers market?), hiking (I'll take a day hike, but there will be no Appalachian Trail for me), and lots of other things.
Some experiences (like letter writing, baking, and collage) became long-lasting efforts, others one-and-done.
But all along, what I've enjoyed most is how the doing makes me feel.
Be they long-lasting, short-lived, or complete failures, our hobbies, passions, and distractions leave us better informed, more confident, and happier for having tried.
And because of that, I believe it's in the doing, the learning, and exploring where we find our best selves.
What is Tinplate?
Tinplate, a 32-page activity book that feels like a long letter packed with ideas for things to do and try.
Ideas I think you'll like.
Why the name Tinplate?
Tinplate is a layer of tin applied to steel or other metal to protect against rust and corrosion. And that, I believe, is what our hobbies, passions, and distractions do for us. They are a layer of joy, distraction, and renewed curiosity between us and a sometimes hectic world.
I believe hobbies, passions, and distractions are the waystations of life. They offer the respite and opportunity we need to do the things we want to do ... in between the things we have to do.
July is Anti-boredom Month, the perfect time to launch Tinplate ... get your copy today!
It was so cold on our walk this morning, we weren't surprised to see five ducklings huddled together on the edge of the pond. They jostled and poked and climbed on one another until settling into mound of down ... fluffy, warm, and camouflaged.
Last week I mentioned my new project, Tinplate, No. 1, a summer activity book dedicated to hobbies, passions, and distractions. It's nearly ready, but before I can say it's done, I need to test some of the activities and take photographs. This morning I created natural mandalas from foraged materials on our walk.
This red maple mandala came about from the whirligigs (or helicopters if that's what you call them) that have littered the landscape for weeks. They've finally stopped falling and until today I'd only seen them as a nuisance.
We were standing in line ... a woman, a young boy, a girl about five-years-old, and me. The little girl wore a blue sun hat, a pink-and-white striped one-piece outfit with short sleeves and pant legs cut just above the knee. And hot pink rubber rain boots.
I said hello to the little girl, but she said nothing.
"I like your outfit," I added.
She looked down at her boots, put one hand on her belly, looked up at me and said, "It's a bathing suit."
"Even better." I said, "I'd like a bathing suit like that."
Without missing a beat, she said, "Too bad."
Yes, it is ... especially since earlier in the day I'd been considering a personal challenge this summer ... a swimming challenge. I love to swim and at the end of last summer realized I had gone swimming once.
We are surrounded by rivers, lakes, and the ocean(!) and I managed to swim only once. Yes the ocean water is frigid, but still, once?
This summer I want to change that. Not sure how I'll organize the challenge, but I'm hoping my new activity book, Tinplate, will help me, and you, do more of what we like this summer.
Tinplate No. 1 is a 32-page summer activity book filled with ideas, prompts, challenges, and plenty of space to write about what you've done and what you want to do ... all summer long.
In the meantime, tell me, what you like most about summer?
Are there foods, activities, destinations, or traditions you look forward to when summer rolls around?
I'd love to know.
When I met two friends at the arboretum for a walk and a bite to eat, we decided to keep it simple ... each of us was to bring our own lunch.
We walked along the trails and through the fields, past the larch and the lilacs, to a clearing where we discovered a picnic table. We pulled lunch from our bags, and one by one described what we'd brought ... each offering to share what we had.
When we started eating, I realized not only did I forget a napkin, one of my friends had upped her game and brought a cloth napkin.
I realized in that moment if I had packed lunch for all of us I would have taken more time to consider things like napkins, and maybe a tea towel for the center of the table. But because I was packing just for myself, I rushed the process.
It was a sharp reminder that what we might do for others, we should consider doing for ourselves.
The first edition of Tinplate No.1, the summer edition is coming soon.
It's an activity book ... and yes, picnics are included, along with a checklist(!) of what to pack.
The activity book is my way of reminding myself, and you, to do more of what we enjoy this summer. To take the time between the things we have to do for the things we want to do ... and make the most of it.
I think you'll like it.
Where words and paper come together