All photos courtesy of Carlo Velazquez.

I'm going to be honest with you, Portland: As an introverted homebody by nature, it's at times easy to temporarily forget that I'm staying home because of a literal order from the governor, rather than by choice. I'm used to filling my time by consuming podcasts and TV shows, reading books and articles, and cooking and eating elaborate meals. But even the starchiest of couch potatoes (that's some root vegetable humor for you!) need variation in our routines—so I'm on the lookout for the particular hobbies, crafts, and other varied time-passing activities Portlanders are taking up to help turn their flat, staying-at-home lives into rich, three-dimensional worlds.

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To that end, I'm launching Coping While Quarantined, a new web column about the industrious, impressive, idiosyncratic, and even down-right imbecilic projects Portlanders are taking up while staying at home. So please, send me photos, videos, and other submissions at! Ventriloquism, interpretive dance, stop-motion films—I promise, nothing is too weird for the Mercury to share at this point.

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Our first submission comes from Carlo Velazquez, a technology specialist for a high school in the North Clackamas School District who lives in Portland with his wife, son, and daughter. Here's what Carlo sent to me recently:

"These days I have been catching up with my hobby. I build miniature sets/dioramas using foam board and recycled materials (a polite way to call trash) and I photograph my action figure collection in them.

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In 2018 I participated in the Star Wars Fan Awards and I won the Best Scene Inspired category."

Here are some of the photos Carlo shared with me; you can find more on his Instagram.






Have a quarantine hobby you want to share? Send your videos, photos, or whatever to!

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