We’re almost halfway through January 2017, and if you haven’t made a crack at your “New Year, New Me” resolutions this year then perhaps this wintery Sunday could be the perfect time to start!
Taking up a new hobby that you enjoy is not only the perfect boredom buster but also fun, relaxing and super rewarding. We’ve come up with a few that are a little out of the ordinary to help you get inspired.
1. Upcycling Furniture
You don’t have to be a D.I.Y buff to make a start at turning an old piece of furniture into something a little funkier. Start by thinking about what your home really needs – could you do with another beside cabinet or pretty ladies chair for dark corridor corner you’ve been meaning to tackle? Once you’ve figured that out you can begin your hunt for a neglected piece of furniture to give a new lease of life to, unless you already own something that needs a makeover that is! Malta-based furniture restoring company Shabby Chic does exactly that, and it’s worth having a look at their gorgeous projects for inspiration.
Scour Maltese Facebook groups like Min Ipartat U Min Ibieh or, better still, Recycle Malta, where you can get your hands on some awesome retro furniture absolutely free! You’ll need to buy some essential supplies – sandpaper, primer and paint can all be bought from your local ironmonger but you might need to visit a larger D.I.Y store for that perfect shade of duck-egg blue.
2. Join (Or Start) A Focus Group
And not necessarily a Facebook group. Good, old-fashioned clubs with a modern spin have really taken off in recent years – like “Stitch ‘n’ Bitch” – which to you and me are knitting, tea and catching-up sessions. A book club is always a good idea, where you meet up once every week or so with like-minded people to discuss a particular novel that you’ve all been reading, QSI Malta Book Club looks like the perfect example! Be inventive and assertive, maybe you could start a humanitarian or environmentalist group, or a vegan cooking group – the perfect opportunity to share ideas, make new friends and make a difference.
You could share your event or meeting in Maltese forums like Women For Women and Malta Young Professionals, or go old-school and print out some adverts to stick in your local community centre or grocery shop window. Look into asking your local church about the possibility of making use of a meeting room for a couple of hours each week.
3. Take Up Graffiti
By no means are we endorsing illegal behaviour – what we mean is expressing yourselves through the medium of spray paint in designated legal walls or graffiti zones, just to be clear! Check out the incredible work of tattoo and graffiti artist Justin Bonnici, founder of Justink’s Murals – now that’s some talent right there.
Stencil graffiti is street art in its own right and can be incredibly detailed and intricate but it’s also a great place to start. You can create simpler spray-stencils with thin card, a cutting board and a Stanley knife whilst you build up your technique and can-control. You’re likely to bump into fellow graff artists at White Rocks, which Lovin Malta last year suggested should become a huge open air Art Park, to a great response. Find out where your closest legal walls are by ringing up your Local Council and be sure to invest in some disposable gloves!
4. Become A Culture Vulture
Do you find yourself watching banal television programs in the evening longing for something a little more, well, interesting? You may be surprised to hear this but there are loads of Maltese cultural events on, from talks to indie film screenings to exciting new classical music and contemporary art showcases to put in your diary. Valletta is an amazing city with a lot to offer so it’s worth sticking around after work or making the effort to attend that poetry evening, architecture lecture or networking event you might have heard about; you’ll be sure to go home feeling inspired and fulfilled!
Sign yourself up for mailing lists and Facebook updates for organisations such as Spazju Kreattiv, The Strada Stretta Concept and even ĠUGAR Hangout & Bar which doubles up as a meeting place for creative and philosophical types and will be hosting ‘Winter Cinema Thursdays’ in their cosy downstairs screening space.
5. Try Your Hand At DJing
If you love music you might want to have a go at music production or even Djing- you don’t have to aim to play in front of a crowd! There are many great software programs you can buy and download, but Garageband is a great place to start if you own a Mac computer – test that out before you commit to more expensive production platforms. For those who want to learn from a master there are some great courses in Malta, check out Trackage Scheme or Malta DJ & Music Production School to look into booking your place.
You can pick up used music equipment on Maltapark or the Facebook group Malta Music Monti, and it’s always a good idea to start off with secondhand set ups first of all to see if you’re ready to stick at it or let your expensive CDJs or vinyl decks gather dust. New and used vinyl can be bought from record stores like D’Amato and Sunset Records, online from Discogs or Ebay or even from car boot sales, but look out for any nasty scratches!
6. Get Customising
If its fashion that makes you tick, there’s nothing stopping you from making little changes here and there to clothing you’ve grown bored of to make them more original. Iconic Maltese fashion designer Marco Parascandalo started off by customising second-hand clothing – hey, if it’s good enough for him!
You don’t even need a sewing machine for techniques like appliqué, spray stencilling or just general chopping and changing of garments which could do with a little makeover, Berlin-based Maltese label N2A has got this down to a tee. You could alter the neckline and cut off the sleeves of an old t-shirt or jumper for an edgier look, or turn a pair of faded mom-jeans into shorts you’ll look forward to wearing when the weather gets back on track. You could also add fabric patches, fringing, chain, stud or zip detailing by hand to items in need of a pick me up. Look for interesting detailing from small sewing shops, or go wild in JB Stores’ huge haberdashery department.
7. Start A Blog
Blogging is a great way to get your thoughts and ideas out in the open. People love to see fresh ideas and new perspectives, and self-publishing gives you the opportunity to tackle any subject you feel strongly about in any way you like, whether it’s politics, fitness, wellbeing and everything in-between! Blogging platforms such as WordPress are perfect for writing – check out the stunning blog by Maltese travel writer Wandering Mandy, the diary-style mental health awareness blog From Claire’s POV and Malta arts and culture musings page Malta Sketches for inspiration.
Facebook is also a great way to share your passion with others and gain exposure. Malta and Gozo based foodie blog Island Eats and loveable dogs-with-character page Mutts In Malta are both great examples. Then there’s microblogging like Twitter or photo-sharing App Instagram, which is perfect for fashion bloggers and a fast and fabulous way of documenting your interests and engaging with followers.
8. Get Great At Sign Writing
Love them or hate them, there’s no getting away from inspirational quotes at this time of year. The revival of vintage-inspired sign writing in recent years has become like the calligraphy of our time – beautiful typography shouldn’t just be reserved for paper! However, before you take a paintbrush to your interior walls start by practicing on large blank sheets of paper or pieces of scrap wood.
Check out cutesy Maltese company Pina for Pinterest-worthy professional inspiration. Look out for used shipping pallets on Recycle Malta which can be taken apart and cut down with basic tools or a little help from a carpenter. Sand down and paint the planks in colours of your choice before chalking out then painting on your favourite string of words. Think outside the “Live, Love & Laugh” box and find a quote that really suits your family or workplace. When you feel brave enough you can move onto the spare bedroom or baby’s nursery room!
9. Become A Rollerchick/dude
You’d have thought that with our great climate and long stretches of beachside promenades that rollerblading would be a lot more popular. Well guess what, it’s about to be! Rollerblading is set to be a huge exercise trend for 2017, it’s a fun sport which is relatively easy to pick with a little practice, not to mention a great traffic beating mode of transportation. Stick to pedestrianised areas and skate parks at first, before tackling quiet, hilly areas and trickier obstacles.
Join the Malta Rollerblading 2016 Facebook group to hook up with fellow rollerbladers and keep up to date with the latest rollerblading events. And apart from being an awesome new marketing stunt agency, Roller Hostess Malta is a ladies rollerblading crew that also offers one-on-one lessons and roller hostess training. Who knows, your new hobby might just end up being the start of a career change…
BONUS: Start A Cool Collection
When you think of collecting as a hobby, all sorts of old-timer pastimes spring to mind, but it’s not all stamps and coins! You can become a collector of pretty much anything, but old Maltese advertising material sounds like a cool place to start. Look out for old glass Kinnie bottles, the logo has changed considerably over the years.
When your collection gets out of hand you might need an extra piece of furniture to showcase your prized wares, and you can combine that with your new found passion for up cycling – perfect!