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Getting Creative At Home During Quarantine

The coronavirus pandemic shifted our lives and ways of viewing the world. During such a difficult time, creativity is exactly what we need to lift our moods!

By: Elisabell Velazquez

Before the coronavirus pandemic, life felt as if it was rushed. Days passed and we could not even track time for how fast everything happened. However, all of a sudden, we were struck with the COVID-19 pandemic, which obligated everyone to stay home. Now, we're stuck at home and do not know how to wisely use our time. Well, I will tell you one thing you may do... spice up those creativity skills! From journaling to reading to learning new instruments, crafting, baking and working out from home, the options are ample.

1. Journaling

You may create themed journals such as the ones above: the Choose Your Own Journal has questions inside, and the Simply Grateful journal is designed to reflect on the things you are thankful for.

Journaling is a very time consuming activity. However, now that we have all of the time in the world to spend at home, you may begin journaling. There are many journals available for you to purchase, from bullet journals to journals that contain pre-made templates. A couple of materials you will need when journaling is a journal, stickers, washi tape, pens, markers and a ruler. You may use your journal as a diary, calendar, a daily log, a goal-setting planner or even to write your bucket list.

Many ideas for decorating and writing while journaling may be found on Pinterest. While scrolling through Pinterest, you may find templates, writing techniques, fonts, color schemes and prompts. If you are found stuck and not sure of where to begin with writing in your journal, a few topic ideas may be writing travel memories, writing inspirational quotes or even writing your goals.

2. Catch up on reading

Reading is an activity that is great for your health and well-being.

Now that you are at home and not as busy as before, why not catch up on your reading. I know that I love reading but I do not always have time to as I am busy with my school activities. Being at home gives you more free time to organize yourself better and be calmer which allows you to have days available to read, something we can't do much due to the hectic and fast lives we live. From reading poems to novels, you may choose any book to read and alleviate some stress.

Despite the fact that the pandemic made us change our lives, we are able to enjoy many things that we like and that we had lost the habit of doing such as reading. So why not pick up a few of your favorite books and read? Sounds like a great idea to me!

3. Baking

As the days at home pass during quarantine, one feels more anxious to do things to invest our free time, and one of them is cooking. Baking sweets and breads are just a few of the many things we can spend our free time at home during these days.

How does homemade bread sound? Yummy! Well, I will tell you it is much easier to bake than it seems.You may buy the pre-made dough at Publix and just have to put it on a tray, letting it rest and rise for approximately 45 minutes. After having the dough setting for an hour, you will put it in the oven to cook. The loaf of bread should be ready to eat in an hour. Finally, add butter or any topping of your choice to the bread and enjoy it!

The cake is exquisite and you may share it with your family after dinner.

During your stay at home, you may practice your cooking skills and bake a delicious yellow cake for dessert. With just a few ingredients you probably have at home, you will have a delicious sweet in less than 2 hours.

The ingredients needed for the yellow cake are: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar 3/4 cup butter, softened 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla 3 eggs 1 1/4 cups milk

After gathering your ingredients, you will heat the oven to 350°F. Then, you will grease and lightly flour a flat pan or in this case, a bundt pan. Stir the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until it is well blended. In a large bowl, you should beat granulated sugar and 3/4 cup of softened butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and eggs until well blended. After, alternately add flour mixture and 1 1/4 cups milk, beating well and scraping bowl after each addition. Pour batter evenly into pan. After pouring into pan, bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Lastly, let the cake cool completely for about 30 minutes.

After baking, you may decorate the yellow cake with whipped fluffy white. For a more elegant touch, you may add white sugar pearls, silver sugar sprinkles and to give it a last touch, put some strawberries in the center and around the cake.

4. Learn how to play an instrument

Pictured here are the soprano ukelele, an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar.

Feeling adventurous and ready to learn how to play an instrument? Well, now is the perfect time to learn how to play a new instrument from home. During quarantine, my brother and I decided to purchase an electric guitar, an acoustic guitar and a ukelele. Best decision ever! If you love music just as much as I do, then you will for sure enjoy learning how to play an instrument.

When purchasing an instrument, you must take into consideration the music you enjoy listening to and the level of difficulty for playing each instrument. For example, the ukelele is said to be easier to learn how to play than the guitar because it only has four strings whereas the guitar has six strings. A detail that you must have in mind when purchasing a ukelele is that there are five main ukelele sizes: soprano, concert, tenor, baritone and bass. The soprano ukelele is the most traditional size and measures 20 inches. The concert size is a bit bigger at 23 inches. The tenor is 26 inches and produces a deeper sound than the soprano and concert ukeleles. The baritone ukelele is measures around 29 inches and creates a deep sound like that of a classical, nylon-stringed guitar. Lastly, the bass ukelele is the largest at 30 inches and covers a lower register.

The electric guitar is said to be easier to learn than the acoustic guitar. The electric guitar usually has 6 strings. However, electric guitars may have up to 12 strings. The strings are lighter and the neck is thinner than that of the acoustic guitar. Fender sells many packages that include the bag, a strap, picks and amplifier which is an essential component to the sound of the electric guitar. One of the fun and interesting aspects of electric guitars is that you may control the sound and you also have a wider range of choices when playing music.

The acoustic guitar is versatile with many options for playing. You may play the acoustic with a pick or you may also learn finger styling which is a technique for plucking the strings. The acoustic guitar pictured above is part of a pack which includes the FA-115 dreadnought acoustic guitar, a gig bag, picks, a strap, a spare pack of strings and a free 3-month subscription to Fender Play.

Playing the guitar, acoustic or electric, is good for the body and mind. Not only that, but learning how to play the guitar is a true accomplishment that brings positivity to your life in these trying times of the pandemic.

Photo: Fender

The Fender Play app has video tutorials for each instrument with a variety of songs to choose from.

Fender offers a program called Fender Play, where guitar players may learn how to play the instrument by watching tutorial videos from professional and experienced artists. Fender Play is a hands-on app where after you watch the tutorial videos, you may apply the skills you learned to test your abilities. The Fender guitars pictured came with a 3-month trial and you simply enroll with the code inside of the box. You may also register for a 1-month trial by submitting your email and registering for Fender Play. You may cancel your trial at anytime but trust me, learning from the Fender Play app is a unique experience as you witness guitar lessons from professionals.

5. Cricut Crafts

The Cricut Explore Air 2 cuts and prints from vinyl to iron-on to paper.

Would you like to customize your own shirts, stickers, magnets and cards? Then, the Cricut machine is just what you need! With a modern system, the Cricut Explore Air 2 functions on a Bluetooth connection. This means that you download the Cricut software on your phone, iPad or computer and you may print from there. The online design space allows for you to design your own creations and later print.

When creating custom T-Shirts, you will need iron-on material so that the design may be applied to the shirt and lasts longer.

When using the Cricut machine, you will first need to determine what you will be making. If you will be making a custom shirt, then you will want to purchase a plain t-shirt and iron-on rolls. I will say these can be quite expensive! However, there are shops that offer specials and you should always keep an eye out for coupons in stores such as Hobby Lobby, Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics.

After purchasing the shirt and iron-on material, you will customize your design on the Cricut design space. You will create the design on your computer and will print. From there, you will separate the design or logo and will iron it on the shirt, creating your final custom product!

The Cricut machine is totally worth buying if you are looking at creating custom items and perhaps making a small shop in the future.

6. Gym at Home

My brother is running to keep himself fit during quarantine before his baseball season starts.

Due to the pandemic, many gyms closed. However, this does not mean that you may not fit a home workout into your schedule while in quarantine! Home workouts may require a bit more motivation but little equipment.

To get in the workout mood, what better than a Spotify playlist? Spotify has created playlists just for you based on genres or you may also create a playlist of your choice. Now, let's get to the equipment you will need. If you are looking at creating a routine workout you will first need a soft surface such as a mat where you may lay and do push-ups, pull-ups or even yoga. You will also need a couple of dumbbells.

For a workout outside, you may use a jump rope, a tire, or you may even ride a bike. Let's note that no equipment is needed to workout as you may go for a run or may do wall-sits without purchasing any equipment.

After your workout, you will want to prepare yourself a protein shake to repair and rebuild your muscles after exercising. There are many recipes available online for protein shakes. One of my favorites is the banana, chocolate and peanut butter shake. So yummy and nutritious!

There are many videos online with tutorials on easy exercises you may do at home.

After all, working out from home is not as bad as it seems. You are at the commodity of your house and you have many options available to you for different workouts.

The Pandemic Has Sparked Creativity

In addition to spending more time with family, the coronavirus pandemic has taught us to learn new skills and try new activities. We can invest our time in doing all of the crafts previously mentioned. This way, the COVID-19 pandemic will not only be remembered for its negative impact on the world but also for the creativity it sparked in all of us. I really enjoyed doing each of these activities and I hope you do too!

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