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Pandemic pause in routines help prompts DIY endeavors
covid craft
This nearly discarded gas grill was transformed to a portable bar as a do-it-yourself project.

Come this time of year, I would be covering National Night Out in Ripon.

Local police spearhead this free city-wide event at the Ripon Community Event. For residents, it’s where they mingle, play games and eat.

Sadly, due to the recent uptick of COVID-19 cases in the Central Valley, NNO was canceled. This would have been the 37th anniversary of NNO in Ripon.

Since early March, we’ve all had to adapt to life during the pandemic.

When you work at a place for any length of time, there’s good chances you get into a certain routine – in recent years (as I peruse my camera phone), I’ve enjoyed covering such event as the Manteca Unified District Art Show, Ag Day at Great Valley Elementary School, Medieval Faire at Nile Garden, and NNO, to name a few, from April through August.

NNO signifies the end the summer and the beginning of the new school year.

Instead, we’re left with an uncertain future outside of distance learning, social distancing, and using hand sanitizers and wearing face masks as the new normal.

We’ve had to make personal changes, with some actually being beneficial.

I’m watching cooking shows, trying to replicate some of the tasty dishes by YouTube personalities.

I’m finding inspiration online via Pinterest, taking old junk such as a once discarded barbecue grill and converting it to portable bar.

That was a labor of love consisting of feedback from by those who know a thing or two about crafts. Take the color, for instance. Initially, I tried gray but heeded advice from one of my respected crafters to go with turquoise – and voila!

Oh, but my DIY inspiration didn’t stop there. Next up was an old rusted out charcoal grill that needed a little TLC. That became a multi-colored planter.

I even refinished an old family dining table to give to my son, Josh, who moved into his unfurnished San Jose apartment at the outset of Santa Clara County’s shelter-in-place orders.

Just being engaged in home projects can be quite therapeutic in these uncertain times.

More projects are being planned.

My once rather bland back yard is taking shape as crafting – as in repurposing junk items – continues to consume my free time.

As always, I pray for the health and safety of everyone.

I’m hoping to continue building on what I’ve learned from these home ideas.

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail