Susan is a grandma, registered school teacher, student host, Pilates teacher and voluntary worker living in the UK, now semi retired.
Stuck at home? Ideas to prevent boredom, economize, be creative and a little more eco friendly.
If you are stuck at home more than you might wish to be for any reason, my Hub Page articles might just give you an idea or two to keep entertained in a budget friendly way. Perhaps you'll save a little money, help the environment and others whilst you have fun in a creative and easy way. Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comment section. Thanks.
A few of the ideas we've hatched up recently.
Hydrangea heads make amazing winter displays.
Winter decoration ideas to organise now.
Have a look around your environment for a few ideas for autumn and Christmas decorations. This will make your home look beautiful without spending hard earned cash on plastic decorations that harm the environment. Just be sensitive to leave plenty of seeds for wildlife and only pick in areas where this is permitted but nature is pretty abundant with her gifts.. We are lucky enough to have a garden and were able to pick these beauties from our border, dry them and spray gold. If you would like to be even more eco friendly or don't have gold or silver spray, the seed head on the right hasn't been sprayed yet but still looks good due to its interesting shape. Another idea is to pick hydrangea heads if you have access to any. Let them stand in a vase to dry for a few weeks, then again they can be sprayed or left natural. Do be careful to wear old clothes, mind your eyes and spray outside on a still day not when it's windy as this can be a bit messy. These sorts of dried displays are expensive in shops. They can be quite large and dramatic. Thistle heads are also an interesting shape and look great if you can avoid the sharp bits! Pine cones should be around soon too. They can be added to small baskets with other bits such as rosemary sprigs. Be creative.
Herbs at Home
Here are a few pots of herbs I grew during August. I grew them outside in our shed window, but it's getting cooler now in the UK hence I'll probably start an extra batch off indoors in addition to the shed shelf in case it's too cool for germination. I'm no gardening expert and have plenty of failures but it's a learning curve and I find it fun to have a go. Economy tips alert. Friends and family may have spare herb seeds and small growing pots they are not using so it's worth asking. If you use yoghurt pots etc. to grow in, remember to pop a little hole in the base for drainage, many herbs do not like to be too wet. There are plenty of gardening tips online but do remember that climates vary, hence it's best to use websites for advice from your own country/area. Lids from vegetable food packages can make good drainage trays if you don't have them. Your local library may have suitable books to help for free too. If you need to purchase your seed, it can be quite costly so you might want to stick to a couple of herbs at first to see how you get on. Herb pots can make great gifts for others too.
Blackberry Picking and Making Memories
Blackberry crumble is delicious.
In common with many grandparents, we had grandchildren to stay during August. My young granddaughter has missed staying with us for a while due to the virus which I will not name, hence was rather excited. We gave the children choices of activities, which included blackberry picking from bushes we could just walk to up the road. The day before we went on a big wheel, went to the seaside and did other activities so blackberry picking seemed to me a little tame. But no. When I asked little one if she still wanted to blackberry pick, she was speechless and trembling with excitement. She had remembered blackberry picking with me from two years before and was desperate to go again. The simplest things can make incredible memories, I had no idea she had loved it so much. Plus the butterflies around the bushes were beautiful.
We had a lovely time with two of our grandchildren eating (washed) blackberries fresh off the bushes at our garden table. They couldn't wait for them to be made into crumble to devour them.
The following week, I braved going alone without the excuse of a grandchild with me. Quite a few people smiled at me, at least I don't think they were laughing, and I could wait to eat them hence we've had a large blackberry crumble this week with free fruit. It was wonderful. Maybe it's just our family, but I remember driving to the countryside with my parents with a picnic, wearing old clothes that could be blackberry stained, taking cream in case of bug bites and prickles in our fingers for an afternoon out. Loved it and now we have passed it on.
Win, win with decluttering. Win time, a clearer home, bless others, sell to make cash.
Decluttering and recycling are buzzwords lately but the concepts make sense. I remember my parents wondering when the rag and bone man was coming round and the guy who shouted, "Any old iron." I'm showing my age here but it makes the point that we decluttered and recycled in the 1950s too.
Accumulating more and more possessions is just depressing for many of us. Basically, how many tops, shoes, pairs of trousers, dresses etc. can one person need to wear? Surplus cosmetics go to waste and our homes feel cluttered and stressful to organize. Why not have a go at clearing a cupboard, drawer or room? The main method for doing this seems to be to have different bags. One for things to throw away, one for recycling and one for charity shop donations. Keep aside anything you'd like to sell on sites such as facebook selling pages or ebay. Remember postage costs can be expensive if not selling for collection though.
There is a charity local to us called, Surviving the Streets. They work alongside homeless people and people who are vulnerable. I love to declutter occasionally by hunting out reasonably good condition practical clothes that are no longer required, non perishable food that seems to remain hidden in the cupboard uneaten, cosmetic gifts that people have kindly given us but that won't be used and other bits and bobs to donate. There is a lady locally who collects and it's also exercise walking to the drop off bins outside her house. Maybe there is something similar in your area? Charity shops rely on our donations, but can get given far too many poor condition donations they have to dispose of. Buttons and zips should be working and clothes should be clean and have no holes. Basically, think whether anyone would want to purchase the item before donating. If you'd like extra cash, Facebook have selling pages, there are Gum Tree, Friday ad and many other selling sites too.
Have you heard of freegle and freecycle? You can also give useful items away using these sites.
I had fun finding sunflowers on my walk.
On a walk a couple of weeks ago, I came across this sight in a field near my home. If I hadn't been out and about I would have missed this beauty. Someone had obviously been having fun with the sunflower and I'm sure it made others smile too.
It's great to get out in the fresh air. Sitting for long periods of time seems to be the new smoking regarding the health issues involved. One of my hobbies is knitting and I'm one of the worst for sitting for long periods of time as I become so involved with my project, I do have to be careful not to be stationary for ages. Walking in the local area is easy to do and brings great health and social benefits as people passing may exchange a greeting plus I meet people I know for a short chat. If you need motivation, there is an app from the NHS called the Active 10 app which might be helpful. There is also a group on facebook if you are female, called 'One Million Women Walking' where women in many countries around the world are walking and posting interesting photographs of their walks.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Susan
Liza from USA on August 31, 2021:
You're most welcome, Susan. I currently reside in Utah, US. It has been a long hot summer season. Therefore, I can't wait for a season change. I bet Autumn is mesmerizing in the UK. I look forward to seeing some photos soon!
Susan (author) from Sussex on August 31, 2021:
Thanks for your comments and encouragement Liz. I love to hear from people in other countries. It has been a rather cool summer for the most part here in the UK. Autumn is wonderful, I agree. The colours are so beautiful.
Liza from USA on August 30, 2021:
I love every single idea you've shared in the article. I enjoyed reading through it whilst you were sharing your experience and story.
I'm very much looking forward to September. I'm done with the heat and drought in my place. I love autumn. It is my favorite season, and it's coming up! Previously, I have shared my ideas by doing various activities during the season.
Thanks for sharing these wonderful and fun ideas of yours, Susan.