make something with your hands

Make something with your hands TIP 1/7, Series 2

In September I posted a series of tips to help you find your tech/nature balance. They turned out to be pretty popular, so I’m going to share some more.

Every Tuesday for the next seven weeks I will post a weekly tip about Christmas gifts and activities which promote digital wellbeing.

There will be gifts you can enjoy making yourself, as part of your own tech/nature practice, and gifts to buy which the geeky people in your life might enjoy.


make something with your hands
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The first is a simple suggestion that you make some of your gifts yourself.  The illustration here shows a pottery wheel, but of course it could be anything. When did you last spend time and attention on creating something lovely from natural materials? Clay, wood, yarn, fabric, paper, glass, metal…  there are so many ways to handcraft simple gifts using skills we may have learned years, even decades, ago.

For example, this summer I started sewing again. I used to make all kinds of clothes for my daughters and myself, but last August was the first time I’d touched a paper pattern since around 1985. It was fascinating to feel my fingers remember how to pin the fragile sheets of paper onto the material, how to tack in the darts, cut, stitch and assemble. After three decades, I revived the sensations of spinning the wheel of the sewing machine to start it up; of guiding the fabric beneath the foot, and of gently following the curves of the pattern. It was as if a complete process had been unlocked from the chambers of my brain and was  suddenly there again, ready to start up. It was a wonderful feeling, and one I plan to repeat.

Which skills have you left unused for years? Could you revive them now to craft hand-made presents using natural materials? The act of re-engaging that knowledge will not just increase your own tech/nature balance, but will also culminate in a thoughtful (and hopefully beautiful!) gift.   These days, when we can purchase almost anything we need, it is the gifts we don’t buy which can often mean the most. It’s about reconnecting to the physical tangible universe in a world where so much around us is abstract.

If you like the idea, it’s best to start soon because if you’re rusty, you’ll need space to screw up, relearn, and try again. There’s still plenty of time, so be patient and enjoy the pleasures of stimulating those dormant neural pathways!

I hope you enjoy these 7 tips. Right-click on the image to save and share with your friends. Check back on Tuesday for the next one or join my mailing list  to make sure you don’t miss out.


Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital AgeBuying for geeky friends or family? Here’s the perfect fireside read:  Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age: how to feel better without logging off.