Hobbies and Interests: Finding Your Passion(s) #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to my letter H post in the #AtoZChallenge. Today I have another lighthearted topic for you. I am going to talk about finding your passions, your hobbies and interests.

I looked over my A to Z posts of last year a few days ago. I found that one of the major goals I set myself in my letter G post was to find a hobby other than blogging that I can do independently. I probably meant a craft, but I feel that other hobbies and interests can become a passion too.

Anything can really be a hobby. You also don’t need to stick to one or two hobbies for life. I mean, of course it can be problematic if you spend lots of money on a hobby that you don’t really like. For example, I spent probably over €1000 on card making supplies over the years, even though it never became a real passion. I probably have spent at least half of that on soaping supplies so far too, but at least I still like that hobby. I’m not great with it and never will be, but oh well.

You don’t need to be talented to find pleasure in a hobby. That being said, feeling you’re good at something and/or getting positive feedback from others, can help you stay motivated.

Anything can be a hobby. It doesn’t have to be art or crafts. It doesn’t have to be music or sports. These are all hobbies that you may enjoy more if you’re good at them. Reading, listening to music or watching movies can be hobbies too and they are things almost everyone can do.

Besides hobbies, your passions can also be interests. Again, anything goes. I have said before that I at one point had an unusual fascination for calendar calculation.

Most people do not find their passions in isolation. They strive to share their hobbies and interests with other people. No, that doesn’t just mean blogging or vlogging about them. (I know I’ve said that I do practically everything I do at least partly with the purpose of blogging about it.) It can also mean sharing with friends. Note that no passion is so weird there’s no-one out there who shares it or is interested in it at least. I mean, calendar calculation is a rather odd interest that no-one in my family or circle of friends shared, but I did enjoy surprising people with my ability. Besides, now, with the Internet, you can be sure to find people who do share your passion online.

Feel free to inspire me and share your passions in the comments.

Writer’s Workshop: Collections

This week, one of the Writer’s Workshop prompts over at Mama’s Losin’ It is about things you collect. It definitely appealed to me, as at least as a child an teen, I used to collect a lot. Now I seem to collect things you can use and that I actually intended to use when buying them, but then I end up rarely using them. Does that count as collecting?

As a child, I, like most other children, had a large collection of stuffed animals. I also had a lot of Barbie dolls and such. In particular though, I had lots of PlayMobil® figures and stuff for them. When I was about eleven, I was even gifted a large box of PlayMobil® by someone on a garage sale. I had previously visited the garage sale and bought some of his stuff and by this time he probably wanted to get rid of it all so bad. That plus seeing how much I enjoyed it and came back each time to buy more stuff, probably convinced him to give it all to me. I however did play with it a lot until I was about fourteen. I particularly remember the games I played with some Native American-looking PlayMobil® figures whom I called Ingassa and Maranna. I had no idea at the time what were real Native American names (still don’t to be honest). I would always say these figures came from Costa Rica.

Later, I collected gemstones and crystals. I had some interest in their presumed healing properties, but mostly just liked looking at the colors and feeling their shapes. I had a lot of quartz crystals, including amethyst, rose quartz and citrine. I also loved calcites and had both the green and honey-colored ones. I at age twelve did a large research project on mineralogy. I however had no idea one of my stones was a form of asbestos. When I found out what it was while living on my own in 2007, I almost landed in crisis thinking I or one of my parents would develop cancer from it.

By the time I came to college age, I didn’t really collect anything anymore. I don’t even know where my crystals are, even though I know I had them at my student apartment. I can’t see the colors now anyway, although I at least used to have a file in which I wrote which one was which so may be able to experience some joy from them anyway.

When I was about 25 though, I developed an interest in crafting and started buying craft supplies. For some stupid reason, I started with card making, which is a pretty inaccessible craft for someone who is totally blind. I probably spent over €1000 on supplies before finally giving it up. Then came jewelry-making, polymer clay, rainbow loom and some others, all hard for someone with my disabilities. I finally settled on melt and pour soap making, although I haven’t done this since coming to the care facility. The good part is though, even if my soaps don’t turn out aesthetically well, I can still use them, so I don’t just collect soap stuff for the sake of it.

More recently, I started collecting all kinds of scented stuff. I have a large collection of essential oils at my husband’s and my home. I also have wax melts and of course the fragrance oils I use for soap making. I love those. Still, my diffuser is probably still packed from the move. I need to ask my husband where it is, so I can bring it to the facility.

When I collect something, I’m usually more interested in researching the stuff I collect than actually using it. I loved learning about lotion making when I first started soap making, but I rarely actually made any lotions. I also have a ton of books on aromatherapy (most thankfully free or through my Bookshare subscription), but rarely make any blends. Of course, the reason is partly that I cannot tell how many drops of a particular oil I put into the blend. I would love to ask my staff for some help with this, so that I can make diffuser blends or even massage oils. But first, I need to find my oils and my diffuser, as I don’t want this to end like my card making obsession, where I spend another €1000 (that this time I don’t have) before realizing this isn’t for me.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Soap: The Fun of Bath and Body Product Making #AtoZChallenge

The First Soap I Made

Welcome to day 19 in the #AtoZChallenge. I’m so excited to share today’s topic, as for today, I will be talking about a special interest of mine.

In the summer of 2016, I discovered soap making. An online friend of mine, who is also blind, had been doing it for years, but I hadn’t given it much thought. Then I decided to buy a starter kit. It contained melt and pour soap base, colorants, fragrance oils, a mold and other supplies you would need. I went about making my first soaps and they turned out okay. I need to say here that I’d tried a ton of other crafting hobbies before, including card making, polymer clay and jewelry making. Though my jewelry turned out okay’ish too, all my other craft projects turned out rubbish. I didn’t notice it at first, so I had some reservations re my soap making too.

The good thing about soap making, is that the result, even if it isn’t visually appealing, can be used. I have several soaps that were too bad for gifting, but I use them in my bathroom.

I cannot make soap completely independently (yet). I have tried, but then my kitchen became a huge mess. However, my soaps usually turn out pretty good if I get some help.

Besides soap, I’ve made body butters and lip balms. I like making those too, but they’re more work. I’ve also tried my hand at body lotions, but they never turned out good. I still would love to make those someday, as their visual appearance isn’t as important as with soaps.

The friend I mentioned above doesn’t use colorants in her soaps. I am still figuring out how to work this thing out, as white soaps don’t appeal as much to sighted people, but with colorants, you have to be careful to match the color and fragrance. I’ve made a few big mistakes in this respect, including a purple soap with coffee fragrance.

Pineapple

Last week, I discovered a writing prompt on a blog that asked us to share our favorite recipes incorporating pineapple. Now I really cannot cook that well, so other than a pineapple and banana smoothie, I have no idea. However, something else came to mind.

One of my main hobbies is soap making. I started this hobby in 2016 after having tried out many other creative hobbies unsuccessfully before, including card making, jewelry making and polymer clay. It’s so frustrating to be blind and extremely clumsy sometimes. As a result of this, I often need a lot of help on any of my creative endeavors except for writing. That includes soap making.

Earlier last week, I’d been thinking of a way to pick up the soaping craft again. I’d not been doing it much for over a year due to not having the support system to help me. Before that, I’d made soap at my old day activities in the institution, but my new place couldn’t help me with this.

I started looking for a soaping buddy. No luck. Then I thought maybe I could try soaping independenty after all. After all, it’s not more dangeorus than cooking and, though I just said I cannot cook, I in fact did cook independetnly many yeas ago. Making a simple melt and pour soap requires less preparation than cooking a meal.

So last week when my husband was at work, I went to business. I deliberately chose to soap when my husband was at work rather than when he was home, so that I couldn’t take out my frustrations on him. As it turned out, the soaping went pretty well. I decided to make a simple soap with just one colorant and one fragrance oil and no additional ingredients. That fragrance oil was pineapple. So here you have our favorite recipe incorporating pineapple.

Yellow soap with pineapple fragrance oil

You just need three ingredients:


  • White melt and pour soap base

  • Yellow water-soluble colorant

  • Pineapple fragrance oil


First, I cut the soap base into small cubes. Guessing how much soap I’d need, didn’t turn out to be as difficult as I’d expected. Then I melted the soap base in the microwave. This is not ideal, as the heat may not be evenly distributed through the soap, but I didn’t want to add complexity by melting my soap base in a double boiler. It worked fine for me. Once the soap was melted (which takes only about 30 seconds in the microwave), I added in a few drops of colorant and fragrance oil. The colorant and fragrance oil bottles I used have a dropper, but I just guessed how much I’d need, as you can never be sure the dropper works properly. Then I stirred quickly and poured the soap into the mold. You only have a few minutes from taking the soap out of the microwave to pouring it into the mold. If you see or suspect bubbles in your soap, you can spray alcohol over them, but I didn’t do that this time, as I cannot actually see where the soap bubbles are. I then left my soap to harden for about 45 minutes. It turned out pretty good.