Unmarketable Skills – Strange and Unusual Talents

Posted November 13, 2019 by Maire in meme, Whimsy / 10 Comments

I have a tendency to pick up unmarketable skills very easily. As a result, I have a lot of hobbies.

Wednesday Weekday Blogging Challenge

The WednesdayWeekly Blogging Challenge is a weekly blog hop hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Last week we talked about book recommendations. This week we’re looking into strange and unusual skills. Maybe you’d like to go on over and see what everyone else’s hidden talents are!

Lydia from Beetlejuice - I myself am strange and unusual...


A fascination with makeup is one of my unmarketable skills: Making Faces and Face Forward by Kevyn Aucoin
Stila and MAC palettes, Face Forward and Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin

It would be difficult to believe now, but I was once fascinated by makeup. To a certain degree, I still am. I’ve always approached makeup as just another artistic medium. The face is just another canvas. Growing up in a household full of artists, it was a reasonable way to view the trade.

These days I have a more minimalist approach to makeup. I can get a lot of mileage just from mascara and a good lip balm. ‘Back in the day’, however, I spent a lot of money on cosmetic products. The looks in Kevyn Aucoin’s books, Face Forward and Making Faces were life goals. If I wasn’t plastering products on my face, I was snagging my few female friends and forcing them into a chair.

Sometimes the guys too. I don’t discriminate.

Of course, I grew up in the 80’s. I’m used to a lot of the focus landing on bright lips, cheeks, and eyes. Aucoin’s books stress eyebrows and contouring.

I’ve never gotten the hang of either. In my defence, I have a scar in my eyebrow that causes some difficulty making things symmetrical.

I consider my talents with the makeup brush to be an unmarketable skill. I’m not sure that in this age of YouTube beauty influencers, a 40-something former network analyst with crooked teeth, rosacea and an asymmetrical face would fit in.

After all…those kids apparently “bake” their faces now. What the heck?

I jest. I actually watch a select few makeup gals on the YouTubes. It’s a weird kind of “comfort viewing”, but it’s mine.

Speaking of Baking…

Magnificent Muffins, Magnificent Cookies, Paleo Slow Cooking and 1001 Low Carb Recipes

I had one grandmother who singlehandedly supplied their church with pies and cakes on a weekly basis. I had another grandmother who was addicted to watching cooking shows. If I didn’t have a little talent with either skill, I’d be very surprised.

Honestly, I drive the cooking aficionados in my group of friends bonkers because I’ll give something a smell and rummage in the fridge or pantry for whatever’s missing. Or I’ll start baking and totally swap out the ingredients.

Do you know how many times I’ve heard “You shouldn’t be able to do that. Baking is science!”?

I’ve heard it a lot.

I consider this an unmarketable skill because it’s something I do very rarely. I have enough issues with my weight without going gourmet or baking up a storm. My mother has realized, in her 70’s, that baking is one of her passions. I’ve had to request she not send home her creations with me because they will get eaten.

I also worked for two summers in the food services industry. One year was with a rather large fast-food chicken chain, the other with a bakery and sandwich shop. I’ve had enough experience to realize that it’s not what I want to do with my life.

I’d rather put my talents to good use creating pop-culture birthday cakes for my spouse.

Textile Arts

Crochet, cross stitch, and books by Elizabeth Zimmerman and Stephanie Pearl McPhee

We used to joke that my mother was a collector of strange and obscure crafts. She often says she should have gone into Textile Arts rather than Interior Design. Every time we’d move, she’d learn whatever crafts the local ladies enjoyed. In Ontario, that was needlework. In the Northwest Territories it was moose hair tufting and beaded footwear.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in our family. By the time I left home, I had a good understanding of needlework, and could at least mend most of my garments if pressed. Over the next 15 years, however, I’ve quickly added knitting, crochet, and sewing.

I like to re-create historical garments, as well. I haven’t spent a lot of time at it lately, but the yen to do so is coming back. Some of these crafts come in cycles, particularly dependent on how it comes into your life. Knitting and crochet were pure peer pressure. Sewing? The first foray into costuming was through LiveJournal historical costuming groups. Now I’m finding like-minded individuals on YouTube. It’s pretty amazing stuff.

Oh…why is this one of my unmarketable skills? Handcrafts require expensive materials and take time to create. Crafters are rarely sufficiently compensated for their work. Former co-workers have tried to convince me to knit them a sweater for the price of a store-bought acrylic pullover…and didn’t understand why I would refuse them (and find the notion downright insulting).

I made a decision long ago: I can share my knowledge and try to help others learn the necessary skills. I won’t do the work for them. My handcrafts are reserved by myself and my family. I’m not hearing any complaints from the folks who need socks and mittens!

Books shown: Free Range Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and Knitter’s Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann

Please Share!

What are your special, hidden skills? In addition to the talents listed above, I’ve been accused of baby whispering, pet-befriending, and a disproportionate amount useless trivia. Bonus points for remembering weird segments of the English Royal Family Tree.

What skills boggle your friends and family? Comment below to let me know!


10 responses to “Unmarketable Skills – Strange and Unusual Talents

  1. lydiaschoch

    Makeup is a great skill to have! I’ve always had trouble knowing what colours to pick and how to make it look nice all day. 🙂

    My TTT.

  2. I so cannot bake well or cook well. Dh will ask me what’s missing and I’ll shrug or say I don’t know. I have no idea what’s missing. Good for you that you can tell. 🙂

    • Most of the time it’s really simple things….modern cake mixes, for example, really shine if you use real milk, eggs and butter instead of water and canola oil.
      And nutmeg. A dash of nutmeg often works well in cookies!

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