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That's great...you will be fostering creativity and productivity at the same time! Also the idea of making finger foods encourages us to exchange recipes... Hobbies can be a great way to socialize while we learn too....I wish I had started earlier with some of my "at home" interests!!

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A friend of mine recently started to play dominoes with a group of 6 women and they take turns visiting each others' houses for lunch once a month and play. They have lots of laughs and enjoy the game.

Another friend enjoys trying new recipes and jigsaw puzzles, so she cooks a friend a meal she's never prepared to date and they work a puzzle for an hour or two afterwards. She says she is in hog heaven in more ways than one and her friends feel the same way!

My friend Bob in North Carolina has been in a writing group for years and says he still really enjoys it. Most of the members write about unusual life experiences that they've had and follow up with sharing their thoughts. He says it combines the joy of writing, discussion, a little philosophy and a little spirituality all at once!

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I just bought my boyfriend a tripod for his binoculars. He happened to mention that he has eagles nearby and gets tired holding his binocs while watching them and sometimes loses focus. That made me think of all of the neat gifts we can give our friends and loved ones for various occasions that support current hobbies or new ones.

There are so many exciting plans we can make to fill our time as we retire. And we can experiment and not get stuck in something we don't like or enjoy once we give it a try.

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On a trip to Florida, I visited a friend of mine who had an interesting hobby. His goal was to research palm trees and plant as many different kinds as he could on his 6 acre lot. He said he got a lot of pleasure out of learning about how to grow the beautiful trees and landscaping his property with them as a hobby.

We all could do something like that on our land or even in pots. We could pick a certain kind of flower, shrub or tree, do the research and beautify our deck, balcony, or property with plants or flowers. Or we can use inside lights if we don't have enough sun and grow lovely specimens indoors. I am now growing violets under lights in my dining room. Beautiful.

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A friend of a good friend of mine (I've never met the woman) makes jewelry out of old buttons and pieces of watches, etc. I've had a lot of fun going through my basement "stuff" and collecting things for my good friend to give her friend. I need to repack and get rid of a lot of junk down there, and it makes it more enjoyable to find items that this woman can use for her hobby! She told my friend she intends to make me a piece of jewelry with the bits of items I gave her.

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My friends are all into animals. I have so many allergies that I can't really have a pet so I envy them. One friend is now a very active volunteer in saving homeless cats, getting them spayed and neutered and finding some of them homes. Another volunteers for an animal shelter. If you love animals, there are so many ways you can begin a new hobby by helping groups make animals' lives safer and more comfortable. I think spending time this way would be very gratifying as it is to my two friends!

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I am finding that many people are combining their hobbies with volunteer work, which is great. For example, one friend who is into gardening volunteers at the local Boys and Girls Club and started a children's garden....she helps them learn to grow flowers and vegetables.

Another friend teaches quilting at the local senior center, and another teaches watercolors there.

I think taking our hobbies and skills and using them to benefit others must feel extremely satisfying.

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As a project for my garden club, the members had to make a collage that had a garden/nature theme. It was so interesting that more than one member has told me they are taking up making these collages as a hobby. One woman is donating them to people in the hospital or in rehab. She puts a get well card along with the collage and told me people are delighted to get them.

She finds her ideas on line and then puts her own spin on the examples. She says she uses so many things around the house that she doesn't need anymore to make them. One was created by using small items from her junk drawer! Another using plastic utensils, and so on. Very creative and fun.

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I find that one "hobby" or volunteer project can lead to many other projects within the same rubric. I joined a local garden club and now my gardening is only one small aspect of my participation. I am involved in fundraisers, on the Board, write award applications, help with city beautification and so much more. If there is a hobby you love, there are so many other ways to participate in it and spread the joy!

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