Allstream staff share their pandemic hobbies: Part 1

From Star Wars-themed cross-stitching to building electric guitars, quilling, quilting, roller blading and renovations, we share some of the unique hobbies, projects and creative pursuits that got us through long days of lockdown and brought a little Zen into our lives.

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Allstream pandemic hobbies

Some of us learned to bake sourdough bread. Others learned a new language or musical instrument, started training for a marathon or finally started renovating the kitchen (or watched a whole lot of Netflix). Whatever the case, we all found ways to get through rolling lockdowns … and come out the other side with some new, and often rather unique, pandemic hobbies.

In Part 1 of our three-part series, Allstream staff share some of the pandemic hobbies and creative pursuits they’ve picked up in the last year and a half.

pandemic hobbies: Star Wars-themed cross-stitching

“I started learning to play the drums! I have wanted to play since I was a child, and there was no better time to start than earlier this year. Lots still to learn but being able to play a couple of songs I like brings joy and a sense of accomplishment. Next up is to learn my favourite metal songs (way, way down the road). I also learned to cross-stitch! There is something about those little eight-bit style drawings that I like. I have made a couple of Star Wars pieces so far. The repetition and pattern of making little X’s is really calming and you can take it pretty much anywhere! Cross-stitching by the lake, anyone?”
—Eric Riehl, Senior Marketing & Communications Specialist

“I started crocheting. Started as a joke, but it turns out that I’m pretty good at it. Blankets, scarves, hats … with a small obsession buying yarn.”
—Diana Kuhl, HR Business Partner

pandemic hobbies: astronomy

“I upgraded my equipment to make weather observation and astronomy my two passions. Not being able to go out due to the confinement during the pandemic, I had a lot of free time in the evenings and on weekends. To share my passion with my family and my acquaintances, I put two websites online to share my results: (meteorology) and (astronomy).”
—Sylvain Cadieux, Application Specialist, Field Services/Dispatch

“I worked on puzzles. Big ones! The first one took me six weeks but then I found a better organizing method and cut it down to roughly two weeks each. I found it calming and passed many weekend hours at home working on these puzzles. You would think once you got down to 100 pieces, they would all go very quickly … not so much! They were challenging but what a sense of accomplishment to put the final piece in each one.”
—Sheri Austin, Team Lead, Order Processing

pandemic hobbies: building electric guitars

“I have done a few puzzles in the last year, too. Like Eric Riehl, yay for the drums! Warning though, musicianship and its accouterments can be addictive and expensive 😉 Case in point: I have taken up electric guitar building and assembly during the pandemic. I have put together five ‘Partscaster’ guitars and have boxes of parts and materials … and I can’t stop. By build, I mean sanding, finishing (stain, dye, oils), wiring and setup. Here’s a pic of my latest Partscaster.”
—David Beaman, Service Architect

“I started to learn to play the guitar, but that only lasted three weeks. But other things I already do and enjoy, I now spend more time on them — like working out and time with the kids playing basketball in the driveway.”
—Rishi Patel, Vice President, Sales

pandemic hobbies: Bonsai

“I started to expand my limited knowledge and abilities in Bonsai.”
—Len Matusiak, Vice President, Field Operations

“I bought an iPad and have been learning digital art. This has become a therapeutic release that brings me back to the doodling I enjoyed when I was younger. Procreate is a great drawing app that pros use, and I am still learning and enjoying the art and the learning.”
Marty Sausville, Operations Service Manager

pandemic hobbies: quilting

“Shortly before the pandemic hit, I started quilting. Since then I’ve started designing my own quilt patterns. It’s a fun challenge trying to write up the technical pieces of a design and put them into words that someone else can follow to make the same end product. My style is a bit more modern and edgy, certainly not your granny’s quilt. This is my Raven Skull, ‘Nevermore,’ the quilt I designed in March 2021.”
—Chris Marchini, Senior Manager, UC North-America Projects

“I started walking every morning in the summer months before and after work. I tracked 1.5 million steps between April and September 2020. I also completed the Terry Fox Run.”
Hayley Phillips, HR Systems Administrator

pandemic hobbies: quilling

“I started this paper quilling project pre-pandemic, but I’ve been able to make a lot of progress on it in the last year. Quilling is a type of paper crafting that uses strips of rolled paper to create designs. This piece is about 3-feet-by-5-feet on cardboard backing. Occasionally when my son visits he will help me roll the paper so lots of good memories are embedded in its creation. I’m pretty proud of it so far.”
—Angela McCue, UC Manager, Field Service

“I started rollerblading again, after a break of about nine years! It was scary at first, but now I am loving it!”
—Silvia Hozjan, Director, Sales Operations

pandemic hobbies: renovations

“I’m learning how to remodel a home. I’ve removed a few walls, replaced electrical and plumbing in my kitchen and bathrooms, insulation, re-leveling the main floor with a 200-ton jack, and all of the new fun tools to go along with the projects! Finally done with the main floor — now on to learn how to remodel a basement and garage.
—Joshua Nyberg, Senior Financial Analyst

Stay tuned for more pandemic hobbies next month on expertIP!

Main photo: LukaTDB/iStock; all other photos of pandemic hobbies contributed by Allstream staff

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