Time on your hands? Learn some crafts during the quarantine!

Instead of simply twiddling our collective thumbs through March and April, the silver lining of social distancing is you now have an opportunity to try some new projects and practice new skills.

by Maggie Eisenbeis
April 21, 2020

The unfortunate reality for many New Orleanians is that we will have a lot of extra time on our hands in the immediate future. Instead of simply twiddling our collective thumbs through March and April, the silver lining of social distancing is you now have an opportunity to try some new projects and practice new skills. Below is a list we compiled of NOLA-themed projects to fill your days productively while your favorite bars are closed.

Learn to Bake French Bread

Photo: Maggie Eisenbeis

There are plenty of reasons why this is the right time for perfecting your french bread recipe. First of all, the ingredients are all basic and easy to acquire. Even the most picked over grocery store will have what you need. You can get everything on Amazon if that’s your style. Second, baking french bread is basically idiot-proof. It is a great first recipe to try if baking has never been your thing before. Never too late to start! Additionally, french bread is comfort food for us. In trying times, eating the food that reminds us of family, friends, and devouring your mom’s red beans will go a long way towards fending off social distancing blues. Finally, the recipe for french bread calls for “punching the dough down” after it rises. If you are feeling some aggression towards your situation, smack some dough around and work out your feelings. Then, eat your feelings.

Plant a Cocktail Herb Garden

When this all blows over, you are going to want to have a drink with your people. Now would be a great time to grow all the accouterments for your favorite cocktail. Seeds and pots are a breeze to order online, and the herbs most commonly found in popular cocktails grow like weeds. Even if you have a “black thumb,” growing these herbs should be no problem. Try making your favorite cocktail (we know you stocked up on supplies) and adding a pinch of one or two of these. 

Photo: Maggie Eisenbeis

Mint: There are tons of cocktails with mint. Mojitos, Mint Juleps, Vodka Mint Lemonade, and even Gin and Juice can be garnished with a mint leaf or two. Make sure you plant it in a pot and not in the ground. Mint will spread quickly and take over everything.

Basil: Great for a Gin Basil Smash, and a popular variation for tequila cocktails

Rosemary: Perfect in a Rosemary Gin Fizz, Rosemary Gimlet, or a Rosemary Old Fashioned.

Sage: Honey Sage Bourbon, Tequila sage smash, or a Sage Bee’s Knees. Sage is super versatile and can add an earthy, complex twist on many cocktails. Note: a little goes a long way.

Plan your Jazzfest Outfits

Photo: Maggie Eisenbeis

Thought you had all your Jazzfest looks locked and loaded? Well, Fest 2020 will be virtual. That means wear whatever you want. No time like the present to start prepping! Sure, you could grab some gear from Dirty Coast or Fleurty Girl, but bonus points are awarded if you can cobble something together at home with the clothes you have on hand.  We want to see what you design! Hit us up on social media @verylocalnola.

Make a Crawfish Trap and Go Crawfishing

Photo: Maggie Eisenbeis

Good news. Going out into the swamp and catching crawfish is a great way to practice social distancing. Traps are cheap and widely available, and there are quite a few ways to make a crawfish trap with household/hardware store materials. You can make one with plastic bottles or fencing wire. Rouses may run out of peanut butter or your favorite cereal, but Southern Louisiana still has plenty of crawfish and right now is peak season. Get out there!

Make Adult Popsicles

It feels like summer already, so make yourself some frozen juice popsicles. Better yet, whip up your favorite cocktails and pour them into Dixie cups for freezing. In a few hours, you will have the perfect popsicle to accompany your all-day reading sessions, Netflix binging, or staring at the wall in the cocoon-like paralysis of existential dread.

Here are some great summery options to consider:

Spiked Arnold Palmer

Gin and Tonic (easy on the gin, or it won’t freeze)

Bellini

Mimosa

Break glass in case of emergency: 

Strip and Go Naked. Keep this one in the back of the playbook in case a  shelter in place mandate extends deep into the summer. Not the most elegant, but highly efficient. Great use of Corona beer!

Maggie Eisenbeis is a New Orleans transplant who loves cooking, gawking at stranger's cute puppies, and taking long walks around the neighborhood. When she's not freaking out over dogs she meets, she works in art education and youth development.

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