Making a mark with art

Gail Wilson is a local artist easily recognisable by her long, bright pink hair. She is well-known in both the Johannesburg street photography and Johannesburg Heritage Foundation circles.

Gail’s parents moved from Kimberley to Johannesburg when she was a child. She returned to Kimberley to complete her high school education, but later came back to Johannesburg and has remained here ever since.

Gail often takes part in local art events, such as Land Art installations. Creating tree wraps is just one of her creative art forms. Since creating her first tree wrap she has improved greatly and now has it down to a fine art.

She currently uses a bright pink synthetic fabric that is weather resistant and more durable than other material. The large letters are then drawn onto the wrap with the aid of a stencil, and painted with black acrylic paint. The white patterns are drawn on with a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen, which is a pigmented India ink.

 

For the first few tree wraps a white correction pen was used as there were no white permanent ink markers available in the country at the time.
Using the correction pen for a large project was cumbersome because Gail had to squeeze the pen constantly to get the correction fluid out.

The white permanent ink Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen applies easily and does not clump, which makes it perfect for using on the wraps.

Gail’s tree wraps with the large words “Hug Me” have been installed in a number of locations around Johannesburg – but they don’t remain in place for long, disappearing after about two or three days.


The only tree wraps still in place are at The Wilds in Houghton, Johannesburg.
You can follow Gail’s blog here.

Image credits: Gail Wilson / Mark Straw

How to create a stationery cake

Source: Daily Mail

Stationery cakes are fast becoming the popular gifts for teachers and parents this holiday season.

The very handy bundles usually include pencil case staples like felt markers, coloured pencils and pens.

They can also have exciting additions depending on the who it is for, including glitter, chalk, scissors and glue.

One mum who was initially stuck for ideas for her children’s teacher’s Christmas presents ended up making them stationery cakes. She said the teachers were thrilled with the gift.

“They noted it as one of the most creative and thoughtful gifts they had ever received,” mother said.

Teachers can use the packs for classes the following year, saving them time and money as they don’t have to buy supplies themselves.

And teachers appear to love it as well.

“So clever. As an educator myself you can never get enough resources,” one said.

“This is the best gift ever, supplies go so fast,” another said.

How to make a stationery cake

You will need:

  • A variety of stationery such as coloured markers, glitter, pencils, chalk, scissors and glue
  • A firm, round cardboard base such as used for a cake, or a round plate or tray
  • Round plastic containers, either empty or containing stationery, to form the tiers
  • Ribbon or tinsel for decorating

Place your round container on the tray and secure with tape, glue or prestick.
Place a rubber band around the container, then add pencils, pens or markers until the entire bucket is hidden.
Add another rubber band around the pencils and bucket and make a layer of glue bottles around the bottom of the cake.
Use a second, smaller bucket or container to create the second team. Add crayon boxes around the sides and with a rubber band. Fill in the sides of this layer with erasers, scissors, and other items.
Use tinsel or ribbon to tie around the rubber bands on each layer of the cake.

Image credit: The Craft Patch 

 

Messe Frankfurt South Africa acquires Hobby-X

Messe Frankfurt South Africa, a subsidiary of one of the world’s leading trade fair organisers, is proud to announce the acquisition of Hobby-X, the premier event for the hobby, arts and crafts supplies sectors in South Africa.

In March 2020, Hobby-X celebrated 23 years. It is a visual, interactive, creative and entertaining event. In 2020, the event featured around 140 exhibitors across the hobby, craft and leisure industries and welcomed more than 14,500 trade and public visitors.

The first Hobby-X edition under the new owners will take place from 4 to 7 March 2021. The sellers of the event will continue to support the efforts of Messe Frankfurt for the 2021 show.

“We are convinced that Hobby-X is a great addition to our South African events portfolio. It shows that even with the currently challenging market conditions, we do invest in the future and believe in personal encounters”, says Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board, Messe Frankfurt.

“Expo Trends, former organizer of Hobby-X, has done an incredible job of establishing the show as a solid platform for independent business owners to find suppliers and source relevant products for their stores. For hobbyists and crafters, Hobby-X is the place to find all the equipment, supplies & ideas they need to take their hobbies to the next level. Lockdown has seen many more people turning their hobbies into income generating opportunities as well as pastime activities and this platform satisfies that need. Messe Frankfurt is excited at the prospect of taking this event to the next level,” says Joshua Low, Managing Director of Messe Frankfurt South Africa.

“We are delighted to be working with Messe Frankfurt and are confident in their ability to take the show to new heights. With a strong consumer show portfolio and the experience of organising events in related industries, we believe Messe Frankfurt to be the organiser of choice and ideal partner for this event,” says Elizabeth Morley, CEO of ExpoTrends.

The acquisition represents an expansion of Messe Frankfurt’s portfolio of events in the country with an additional consumer show and complements the international portfolio of Messe Frankfurt in the consumer goods segment. Comprising trade events such as Creativeworld and Christmasworld as well as the worldwide portfolio of Paperworld with events in Frankfurt, Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai and Hong Kong.

“We pride ourselves in putting together high standard events with a strong complement of resources across the sales, marketing and operations disciplines. We have exciting new initiatives planned for the event including a significant additional investment in marketing and content. We believe that there is great potential to add new elements and solidify Hobby-X as the premier Hobby, Craft and Leisure event in the country,” concludes Low.

The enduring allure of pencils

By Julie Schneider for Hyperallergic 

I hadn’t thought of pencils as objects to be obsessed over or really noticed at all, even though I’d found refuge in writing and drawing since childhood. My parents were teachers and pencils were just always there, like air. I certainly never expected to have a crush on a pencil or to ardently seek out specific models on eBay. But sometimes affection sprouts up in unexpected forms. Sometimes a core of graphite mixed with clay and encased in a tube of wood can surprise you. It hooked me, anyway.

My gateway pencil was dark and mysterious, with a cult following: the storied Blackwing 602. “A kind of unicorn of pencils” is how pencil shop owner Caroline Weaver describes it in her new book, Pencils You Should Know: A History of the Ultimate Writing Utensil in 75 Anecdotes, where she dishes on the origin story of Blackwing 602, among many other pencils. This particular pencil legend was invented during the Great Depression at the Eberhard Faber pencil factory. In 1934, despite cutbacks, the company produced this new and notable writing utensil. With distinctive style — flat ferrule, replaceable rectangular erasers — and a dark, “feathery smooth” graphite core specially formulated for gliding across the page with “half the pressure, twice the speed,” the Blackwing 602 would draw fans for generations to come, including John Steinbeck, Vladimir Nabokov, and Walt Disney. It eventually went out of production in the ’80s when Faber-Castell bought the company.

Blackwings entered my life decades after their initial heyday. In 2012, I read the sort of breathless review touting the reissue of this pencil by Palomino, a California-based brand, that left me thinking, “All this praise is for a pencil?” And, in quick succession: “I’ve gotta try one for myself.” From there, it was love.

I made my first drawings with Blackwings in a Brooklyn art studio, located in a former rope factory. After rising rents shuttered the space in 2015, I relocated to a spot in a former pencil factory. My favorite feature of the building? The giant yellow terracotta pencil sculptures that ring its upper level. Soon, I realized, with great delight, that this was not just any old pencil factory, but the site of the Eberhard Faber pencil factory! This was where the original Blackwings were conceived and produced — and where I scribble with their predecessors today.

After my first foray into Blackwings, one pencil led to another. I began to frequent Caroline Weaver’s charming New York City pencil shop, C.W. Pencil Enterprise, where I’ve spent many happy afternoons perusing the curated collection. Weaver opened the shop in March of 2015, inspired by her longtime love of these writing implements.

“I’ve always been drawn to the pencil as an object,” she writes. “As a kid, I was fascinated by their compactness and simplicity. I love that this affordable little commodity is also highly collectible. After traveling the world and studying the pencils of places near and far, I can glean meaningful information about a culture through each unique object. What is easy to forget sometimes is that the pencil, as seemingly simple as it is, took hundreds of people and hundreds of years to come into being.” Through the shop’s Pencil Box, a quarterly subscription boasting 1,200 subscribers, I’ve met many new and vintage pencils I’m glad I now know.

Weaver’s book, Pencils You Should Know, is shaped like a palm-sized pencil box. Each spread highlights the story of a notable pencil, which is photographed school-portrait style on bright backdrops. “The pencil is a curious object,” Weaver writes in the introduction. “Everyone is familiar with it, yet most people don’t actually know much about it.”

The book is an amble through four centuries of global pencil history, and Weaver is our captivating tour guide. She showcases specialised pencils developed for secretaries, editors, voting booths, test scoring, stenography, and scoring games. Pencils whose shavings unspool to form rainbows or sakura flowers, and pencils made of unexpected materials, like denim. These writing utensils embody the trends, styles, and technical innovations of bygone eras. Taking care to point out the quirks and distinctions of each of the 75 featured pencils, Weaver blends unabashed nostalgia with historical fun facts. She gives colour to an often overlooked tool while adeptly making the case that the humble pencil is, in fact, a cultural icon.

By Jess Wallace for The Examiner

Deciding on an appropriate Mother’s Day gift that is thoughtful and affordable while also saying “Mom, you’re treasured”, is a challenge all of its own in the midst of a global pandemic, declining economy and life in isolation.

Now, more than ever, the importance of sharing in small traditions like Mother’s Day can go a long way towards keeping a sense of normality during a time that couldn’t be further from such a luxury.

Flowers have always been the go-to gift to mark the occasion on the second Sunday in May. In many parts of the world, carnations are regarded as the quintessential Mother’s Day flowers.

With many businesses around the country forced to close their doors due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and others finding creative new ways to stay afloat in uncharted waters, the simple gesture of gift-giving on Mother’s Day suddenly becomes a chance not only to express our appreciation for our mothers, but to throw a lifeline to small businesses around the country.

Gestures speak louder than gifts and the act of making Mom breakfast in bed, hand-made crafts, pampering her or picking up all the jobs around the house she would normally get stuck doing, might be your answer to Mother’s Day in home isolation. Or even something as simple as giving her some much needed “me time”.

Whatever it may look like, as long as it celebrates how much you appreciate your mother, or whoever that mother-figure might be to you, it’s bound to collectively lift the current state of spirits right now.

For a good many of us though, it won’t be possible to give our mothers a hug this Mother’s Day.
Lockdown laws, combined with the simple case of geography, mean digital connection is the only connection right now.

For many this step into the digital space has been a steep learning experience to move into the 21st century. For others it may have meant finding the patience within themselves to teach these technologies without losing their mind and instead remembering that this Mother’s Day, more than ever, is time to stay connected.

A stationery must-have: the sticky-note dispenser

By Srishti Mitra for Yanko Designs

Having some cool stationery designs on your work desk can really transform work into joy, and makes dealing with everyday tasks easier.

It’s hard to keep track of the tasks we have to complete by the end of the day – meetings to attend, calls to return, assignments to complete.

Sometimes we just need to write it all down, especially when your boss walks into your office, throws a couple of random instructions at you, and strolls off! Jonghwan Kim’s Memo Roll promises to help us with that.

The Memo Roll is shaped like a teardrop, and to understand its functionality, I guess it’s best to compare it to a tape dispenser.  You simply tug out a note as needed, scrawl down whatever you need to remember and stick it onto your desk or bulletin board. No more scrounging around for your memo notepad, while you struggle to jot down crucial details.
You can place your Memo Roll conveniently onto your work desk, providing you with easy access to the notes. You surely won’t miss its cute, quirky form.

By Glenda Viljoen / Trocraft

Ranger Product Requirements:

TIM HOLTZ ADIRONDACK

ALCOHOL INKS: POPPY FIELD, RED PEPPER

ALCOHOL INK APPLICATOR AND FELT

ALCOHOL BLENDING SOLUTION

TIM HOLTZ DISTRESS

DISTRESS SPRAY STAINS: CANDIED APPLE

MINI DISTRESS INK PADS: CANDIED APPLE,
SPUN SUGAR, FESTIVE BERRIES, AGED MAHOGANY, ANTIQUE LINEN, GROUND ESPRESSO, HICKORY SMOKE

DISTRESS PAINT: PICKET FENCE

DISTRESS GLITTER: SPUN SUGAR

MINI INK BLENDING TOOL

RANGER ACRYLIC PAINT DABBERS

PINK GUMBALL, CLASSIC CHERRY

DYLUSIONS INK SPRAYS

CHERRY PIE, POSTBOX RED

ARCHIVAL INKS

VERMILLION, WATERING CAN

EMBOSSING POWDER

RED CINNABAR

ADHESIVES

WONDER TAPE, GLOSSY ACCENTS, MULTI MEDIUM

Product Information:

TIM HOLTZ ADIRONDACK ALCOHOL INKS
Acid-free, fast drying transparent coordinating dye inks specially formulated to create a colourful, polished stone effect. Use on glossy paper, metal, shrink plastic, glass and other slick surfaces. Alcohol Blending Solution lightens colours and cleaning inks from non-porous surfaces.

PAINT DABBER | DISTRESS PAINT

Ranger Acrylic Paint Dabber and Tim Holtz Distress Paints may look like similar products, but each has its own signature features that make it different from the other: Distress Paint is more fluid, reacts with water, surface remains smooth, opaque coverage, semi opaque when mixed with water and is permanent when dry. Acrylic Paint Dabbers create texture on surfaces, opaque coverage on multi surfaces and permanent when dry.

DISTRESS SPRAY STAINS | DYLUSIONS INK SPRAYS

Distress Spray Stain and Dylusions Ink Spray are different formulations, each with their own reactive properties. Dylusions Ink Spray ghosts and lightens while Distress Spray Stain is designed to wick and mottle when wet. Both products are acid free, non-toxic water based dye inks.

Techniques and instructions:

METAL TIN

  • Adhere tissue tape to rim of lid.
  • Cut two strips of red heart paper: width x 1,8 cm. trim second strip to measure 9 cm. cut a ‘v’ into left edge. Adhere strips to outside of tin. Adhere pearl to ‘v’.
  • Cut 9,5 x 9,5 cm (cream with black heart paper). Corner-round corners and adhere to inside, bottom of tin.

 

EMBELLISHING METAL TIN LID

  • Spritz fabric flower with Cherry Pie Dylusions Ink Spray and Candied Apple Distress Spray Stain.
  • Stamp two paper flowers with script text with Vermillion Archival Ink.
  • Dab Festive Berries and Candied Apple Distress Ink pads onto non-stick craft sheet. Lightly spritz with water. Place ribbon into ink to colourize. When dry create a bow, leaving a piece to create two ribbon tabs for booklet inside tin.
  • Apply a few drops of Poppy Field Alcohol Ink to felt on alcohol ink applicator. Dab onto pearl and rhinestones.
  • Ink small chipboard heart with Festive Berries Distress Ink using a mini ink blending tool.
  • Decorate lid with flower, leaves, die-cuts, word stickers, chipboard heart, inked ribbon, resin rose, stamped paper flowers, tissue tape, heart stickers, pearl and rhinestones.
  • Embellish reverse side of lid with die-cuts, chipboard heart, paper flower, red button, stickers and twine bow.

 

ACCORDIAN BOOKLET (ZIG ZAG FOLD)

  • Cut two strips: 30,5 x 8,5 cm and 25,5 x 8,5 cm. Join two strips, matching lace edges, with ‘postcard’ strip on left, joining with strips of tissue tape.
  • Starting from left side, measure and score at 6,5 cm 13,5 cm and 22 cm and then at 8,5 cm and 17 cm on second half.
  • Fold on score lines, pressing the crease with a bone folder, creating a zig zag fold.
  • Corner-round top and bottom left-hand edge.
  • Lightly ink edges with Antique Linen Distress Ink using a mini ink blending tool.

 

BOOKLET FRONT COVER

  • Stamp left and right edges with script stamp and Vermillion Archival Ink.
  • Adhere acetate die-cut bracket frame to right edge, overlapping folded edge. Adhere red felt and gold foil hearts. Adhere paper die-cut heart to complete heart cluster.
  • Paint metal button with Picket Fence Distress Paint. Dry slightly and then wipe to remove paint from raised areas.
  • Colourize one pearl pin with Poppy Field Alcohol Ink.
  • Finish with tulle bow, pearl pins and button.

 

BOOKLET PAGE THREE: WATERCOLOUR PAPER

  • Lightly dab Spun Sugar, Candied Apple, Festive Berries and Aged Mahogany Distress Ink pads onto the back of layering stencil until the stencil has colours in most areas. Mist inked stencil with water from a mister.
  • Lift stencil and place onto watercolour paper. Press with roller towel to ‘print’ colour as well as to absorb excess ink. Lift stencil and dry with a heat tool.
  • Place stencil back onto inked watercolour paper and ink with Spun Sugar and Antique Linen Distress Ink using a mini ink blending tool.
  • Stamp script text using Vermillion Archival Ink.
  • Cut into a 7,5 cm square and corner-round all four corners. Add inked ribbon tab and alcohol inked rhinestone to right edge. Centre and adhere to page.

 

BOOKLET PAGE FOUR: STAMPING AND EMBOSSING

  • Stamp quote with Watering Can Archival Ink. While ink is still wet, apply Red Cinnabar Embossing Powder.
  • Lightly shake off excess powder taking care not to remove embossing powder from stamped image. Heat with heat tool until embossing powder melts. Add a small felt die-cut heart.

 

BOOKLET PAGE FIVE: STAMPING WITH PAINT

  • Cut cream paper (7,5 cm x 7,5 cm).
  • Dab Pink Gumball Acrylic Paint onto splatter stamp. Stamp onto cream paper.
  • Dab Classic Cherry Acrylic Paint onto splatter stamp. Stamp onto cream paper.
  • Swipe Festive Berries Distress Ink pad onto piece of music note tissue tape. Wipe with roller towel. Adhere onto dry painted surface.
  • Ink foiled chipboard heart with Spun Sugar, Candied Apple and Festive Berries Distress Ink using an ink blending tool. Lightly spritz with water to react and blend ink.
  • Adhere painted paper to page. Embellish with foil and felt hearts, word stickers and tissue tape.

 

BOOKLET PAGE SIX: ALCOHOL INK ON FOIL

  • Apply a few drops of Poppy Field Alcohol Ink to felt on alcohol ink applicator. Dab onto areas of foil alpha sheet, flower rhinestone and pearl.
  • Cut red heart paper to measure 7,5 x 7,5 cm and adhere to page. Trim foil alphas to fit and adhere.
  • Stamp script text onto a paper flower. Add flowers, rhinestone and pearl. Add word stickers to complete.

 

BOOKLET PAGE SEVEN: DISTRESS GLITTER

  • Cut black with cream design paper to measure 7,5 x 7,5 cm.
  • Centre acetate frame onto black paper. Trace inner square with a pencil. Remove frame and set aside.
  • Cut strips of Wonder Tape to cover square extending a few millimetres past the pencil lines. Peel backing from tape and adhere frame onto tape.
  • Place square onto spare paper and pour Spun Sugar Distress Glitter onto exposed tape. Tap off excess and return excess glitter to container.
  • Adhere foil chipboard heart on top of glittered area. Pour Glossy Accents to inner section. Add red glass beads and Spun Sugar Distress Glitter. Set aside to dry. Tap excess glitter off and return to container.
  • Colour pearl heart with Poppy Field Alcohol Ink.
  • Create ribbon tab and adhere to right-hand.
  • Adhere square to page and finish with sticker words, hearts and pearl heart.

 

TO FINISH TIN

Cut cream with black heart paper (9,5 x 9,5 cm). Corner-round corners. Adhere to bottom of tin. Adhere booklet to tin.

 

LEGO enters arts and crafts space with Dots

By Ryan Tuchow for Kids Screen

The LEGO Group is building its way into the arts and crafts category with the 2D tile-based play line LEGO Dots.

The new flat tiles come in various shapes and sizes and users can place them together to create 2D designs, such as facial expressions, planets and music notes. Dots is a departure for the company, which has primarily focused on 3D play with its many brick-based brands. Dots launches March 1 with bags of coloured and decorated tiles, wearable bracelets and room decor that can be decorated, including photo cubes, jewellery holders, a pineapple-shaped pencil holder, a small picture frame.

The Danish brick-maker is launching the new property to tap into kids desire for more personalised forms of play, where they’re free to explore and express themselves, LEGO said in a statement. LEGO discovered this white space after conducting a quantitative study with 10,800 parents and 7,200 kids across the US, China and Germany.

To showcase the new brand, LEGO partnered with London-based artist Camille Walala – and 180 kids – to build a five-room interactive house full of the new tiles. The installation is at Coal Drops Yard in London’s Kings Cross from January 28 to Feb 2.

In other LEGO news, the company is expanding its licensing relationship with Universal Brand Development to include Universal Pictures’ Fast & Furious franchise. Under the broadened partnership, LEGO will launch the new LEGO Technic brand, a construction toy line where kids can build their own cars, on April 27. Aimed at kids 10 and older, LEGO Technic is coming out ahead of Fast & Furious 9, which arrives in theatres in May.

LEGO has been collaborating with Universal since 2018 to turn some of its biggest brands into CP, including Jurassic World which got an animated special, a miniseries, and play-sets. It also teamed up with the studio as a CP partner for DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming feature film Trolls World Tour for the first time, last year.

This relationship might move beyond CP though as just last month multiple news outlets, including The Hollywood Reporter and Collider, reported that the brick-maker (whose deal with Warner Bros. expired last fall) was in talks with Universal about an exclusive film partnership for the studio to produce new movies focused on the toys.

Find a hobby and get off your smartphone

By Nicole Dieker for Life Hacker 

Every day, I try to do at least one activity that is both engaging and smartphone-free—and if it’s social, that’s a bonus. Sometimes it’s group exercise class at the YMCA. Sometimes it’s choir rehearsal. Sometimes it’s as simple as spending an hour reading a physical book.

I’m always amazed at how quickly my mind quiets down when it isn’t staring at a screen. Even though I’ve already adapted both my phone and laptop to eliminate notifications, noises, and so on, it’s still kind of like looking into an infinite possibility portal (that comes with a side order of infinite demands), and it’s nice to limit those possibilities to the book or the music or the group of us steadily working our lower abdominals.

I’m not the only person who actively looks for activities that require me to set down my various devices. As Minali Chatani, co-founder of pet lifestyle brand Wild One, explains at Inc.:

I’m the first person to admit that I’m a workaholic. When running a start-up and hopping between video meetings, emails, texts, photo shoots to more emails, it can sometimes feel like I fall into this incessant, internet-driven work cycle. Picking an activity that makes you disconnect and be more present can be very grounding at the end of a chaotic day.

Having a non-work hobby or activity that disconnects you from your smartphone and connects you to your body, other people, and/or the natural world is also an excellent way to stave off burnout. Yes, sometimes work and life can be so involving that the thought of squeezing in a run or exercise class or choir rehearsal becomes overwhelming, but I’ve found that I always feel better after I get back from one of those kinds of activities. They’re rejuvenating, perhaps because they ask me to be present in a physical space instead of a technological one.

Plus, getting a hobby that puts you in regular contact with other people is a great way to form low-stakes friendships.

So if you don’t have a hobby that actively engages you in something besides a device, it might be time to get one. There’s cooking, knitting, birdwatching, weightlifting, singing, dancing, tabletop board gaming (though you have to be really careful because it’s easy to spend tabletop sessions with one eye on your phone), family walks after dinner, friend hikes on Saturday mornings, basically anything you can think of that puts you in a different kind of present tense — and, after the hobby session is over, leaves you relaxed.

And if someone might need to reach you during that time, you can always tell them to call your phone twice in a row.

By Bedros Keuilian for Entrepreneur South Africa

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. If Jack is an entrepreneur, it also makes him less effective at building insane wealth.

What’s Jack got to do with you? If you’re a business owner with big plans, every hour of your life matters. Screw around during the day, and you put your bottom line, your lifestyle and your employees’ paychecks at risk. You have to do something useful with your time, even when you’re not in the office. Everybody needs a hobby, and if you pick yours wisely, they’ll all serve your money-making mission.

What hobbies do you need? Here are three that you can’t afford to skip and how they improve your life and support your mission of building an empire.

1. A hobby to make money
“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

You’ve certainly heard that quote before, and there’s some real wisdom to it. But tread carefully. Following your passion blindly won’t do you any good. There are plenty of broke people out there who are staying true to their passions. Unless you want to join them, you’ve got to go beyond your passion and into profit. This means finding the angle that lets you turn your passion into financial gain. And if you’re savvy enough, you can find that angle with absolutely anything. Don’t believe me? Look at history. There was a time when people spent their hard-earned money on pet rocks. And today, naked yoga is a thing people pay to participate in.

If you think your passion doesn’t offer the opportunity for dollars to trade hands, you’re wrong. Research some more. Figure out what people with the same passion most want to learn, have, become or achieve. Then develop a product or service tailor-made to fulfill that. Then sell like there’s no tomorrow.

Remember that if what you create helps you, it’ll help others with the same passion. You can sell your product or service by sharing your own story — no sleazy “tricks” needed.

2. A hobby to keep you fit
Science has proven time and again that there’s an intense mind-body connection. In fact, the connection is so strong that you can’t afford to be out of shape.

Work hard in the gym, and you’ll make your body hard and ready to take a beating. At the same time, exercise conditions your mind to do the same. Working out actually develops your brain, building your mental toughness so you can take on any challenges and stresses that come your way.

Let your body go, watch everything else follow.

And don’t think I’m just saying this because of my background in the fitness industry. What I’m saying here applies equally to entrepreneurs and business leaders in all industries, and it cuts both ways.

At my lowest point, even I had gotten inconsistent with my workouts, and I wasn’t pushing myself as hard I should have. This showed in a business that was not only disorganised and losing money, but also on the brink of collapse.

The first thing I did to take back control of my situation was to take control of my health. That meant making my gym time a non-negotiable, so I could rebuild the physical and mental strength I would need to pull my business out of chaos. If you’re in a similar bad place with your business, you can use this same strategy even if you haven’t ever made fitness a priority before.

While I love lifting weights, your hobby doesn’t have to involve a gym. Get outdoors and hike. Swim every day, increasing your speed and distance. Play basketball or racquetball or tennis or volleyball. Just make yourself move and the synapses of your brain will fire faster and bring you more money-making ideas.

3. A hobby to keep you creative
The simplest ideas are the best and easiest to execute, but it takes serious creativity to find simplicity. This kind of creativity isn’t cultivated in an office. It’s developed out and about, where you can take in new stimuli and actively relax.

Find your free place and grab a paintbrush or pen some poetry, master the harmonica or go full force into needlepoint. Whatever you choose, get creative and funky. Don’t be afraid to mess up. That’s where you learn the most about yourself and break down mental barriers. Push yourself beyond your artistic comfort zones and you’ll never plateau.

My creative outlet is drumming. The most physical of instruments, drums give me a way to beat something to a pulp without going to jail. I have a good ear, and through practice, I’ve developed quite a strong rhythm. However, I don’t sit around hitting everything on the quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes. I push myself to learn new fills and patterns, tempos and styles that make my brain work in new ways.

To be honest, these growth practices aren’t always a fun start to finish activity. In fact, they can be crazy frustrating. But when everything finally comes together and my feet and my hands go where they’re supposed to go, it’s absolute euphoria!

I don’t leave this attention to detail and commitment to success in the practice room. I take it to work with me. Doing something creative can do the same for you. Make it part of your life and it’ll open your eyes and help you see the world in a different way. You’ll understand how things come together, and you’ll have a fresh perspective on whatever problem is nagging you at work.

And you know what happens when you’re thinking clearly and your creative juices are flowing? Another million-dollar idea crops up with a clear path leading right to it.

So pick your hobbies, and go at them with all you’ve got. You’ll never work a day in your life, but you’ll earn an obscene amount of money.

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