Pandemic projects

So last year it seems like a whoooooole lot of folks decided to spend some time learning new things or doing projects or both.

We did a lot of work on our back yard the past year: put in a garden, hung some lights, bricked in a walkway, built a new fire pit, and a few other things. We scrounged most of the materials to keep costs down, and I’m super pleased at how it’s come out. I’m a lot more comfortable taking on new projects around the house, and our little back yard is way nicer now than I would’ve believed it could be two years ago.

What are some of the things you did or learned? Show off a little!


I started making marble runs for my kiddo to enjoy. My first two were cardboard, then I started making them from wire on a wood base.


Well since you insist…

I terraced my front yard by building new rock walls; 2 parallel walls about 6 feet apart. The “someday I’ll irrigate once the drought is over” tubes are kind of ruining the photos though

All together it’s about eight tons of rocks. Turns out you can move an enormous amount of rock if you do it one at a time and there’s no deadline.

That is an excellent back yard. I especially like the string lights and the raised planter bed. What are you going to grow?


I bought a sewing machine. I’ve attempted to make the same dress twice. Hmmm.

Oh, and my roommate and I are trying to make our own puzzles. Results are pending.

On the more positive side, I decided to finally watch some movies that I had been meaning to for a while. I watched 90 movies last year and am sitting on 53 right now. I’m also 36 movies into the AFI’s list of 100 Greatest American Movies. (Does that count as a project?)

And I’ve been continuing on my German language course. I’ve postponed my Berlin trip 3 times already…it’s gonna happen eventually!


We basically let our kid pick what was going in the garden, plus added some seeds that we saved from produce we bought at the grocery store. Butternut squash, corn, Roma tomatoes, bunch of different kinds of peppers, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, onions…uhh…oh, lettuce, carrots and potatoes. I’m sure other stuff I’m forgetting. Some of it came up and did great, some of it came up and did okay.

We’ve never done a garden before, and we decided not to do the thing where you pull out some of them to give the rest room to grow. It’s gotten…dense. We’ve had to add a trellis and repurposed a handrail into a squash ladder.

I dunno if these will upload in the right order, but they should show kind of the evolution so far.

The only thing the kid cared about was the watermelon, and the squash was killing them in the big box so I made a little one and we put it next to a headboard frame thingy in another part of the yard and it’s absolutely loved it. We’ve got seven or eight watermelons hanging in hammocks on the fence now.

I don’t know if watermelon should hang in hammocks, but ours seem to like it?


I made this!


Cross-stitch and crochet! Two of my favorite projects so far:


Wow, that’s impressive! We tried a garden but it didn’t go quite so well. Twice the seeds we planted were pounded up out of the ground and washed away by hard rain, then on the third try a squirrel or a bird ate our one tiny cucumber plant. We ended up with a ton of tomatoes and peppers, and not much else :joy:

Next year we’re trying raised beds!


I say we’ve never gardened before, but we did actually try last year in the ground right where the raised bed is now.

It didn’t do anything at all, really. We grew a handful of very small onions and one rhubarb plant, but the whole rest of it was just dirt.

Raised bed filled with a 50/50 compost/soil mix from a garden supply place (buy it by the yard, not the bag!!!) made a huge difference. I was totally floored when it all just started growing. It’s like magic.


I’m not much good with my sewing machine. Have you tried moving rocks? It’s way easier.


Wow! As someone who can barely grow zucchini I’m very impressed :grin:
Love the idea of watermelon hammocks… it’s like an extra layer of summer


I finally played Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind from start to finish, plus all expansions, sans strategy guide.

After reviewing your posts I feel I could have done more with that year.


Trying to learn guitar. So far I’ve just played a lot of Rocksmith, and only done anything resembling actual practice about four times.


I learned how to cook more dishes, while at the same time my mind went insane.


I built some tiny guitar amps using cigar boxes (no, I didn’t smoke any cigars).

I’m particularly proud of this one:

I built enough of these tiny amps that my family questioned my plan. Embarassingly, I have no actual plan, but making these was a ton of fun!


Well, let’s see. I made these:

Installed these:

And got this for my wife:

Which does things like this:


That is a very serious quilting rig.


Those are awesome, E.


Nice! I really, really need to finish the game; I’ve never quite pulled the trigger on Dagoth Ur. I like collecting all the books and mega weapons and organizing them in my manor.

I might finally go all the way with my current character, a Nord archer I named Illya.


I have really fond memories of Morrowind. My lockdown game obsession has been modded XCOM2 though. I have so, so, so many more hours in that than is strictly reasonable.

We’ve been talking about having solar panels installed. I should really look into how tough it is to do them myself.

We’ve talked about getting a sewing machine, but we don’t have room for anything unless it is one of those mid-sized travel jobs. That machine is nuts!

Those amps are gorgeous. It wasn’t during the pandemic, but I made some wooden notebooks once and I’ve been thinking about getting back into it now that I have a little shed/shop space to work in.