Parenting

Preschool Land Art Class in the Arboretum with Artist Karah Pino

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend an hour making Land Art with preschoolers at the Fiddleheads Forest School in the Arboretum with my son’s outdoor class.

The excitement of their motivation to make these works and their careful placement of objects was so inspiring!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

IMG_4637

What happened when I tried to be a ‘mindful’ parent

LEAH MCLAREN

Special to The Globe and Mail

When I had my son James, I tried to be mindful for the first time in my life.

I had practised yoga and meditation and read books on Buddhism and spiritual enlightenment before. I even did a 10-day juice detox during which I hallucinated colours while in a particularly intense reiki session. But I don’t think much of it sank in. I’d go through these phases of “being present” while half-starving on brown rice and spirulina tea and then return to eating canapé dinners and moaning about my charming commitment-phobe boyfriend of the moment.

But as I found out fast after my son came shrieking into the world, there is really no way of caring for a newborn other than to surrender to the experience. As the old gospel song says, you gotta walk that lonesome valley for yourself – ain’t nobody else gonna walk it for you.

Being alone all day with a baby, I quickly realized, is much easier if you can quiet your mind and go to “the baby place” in your brain. This is a state where you can spend several minutes, and eventually hours, simply laying on the floor and empathizing with your infant by feeling the sun on your face and occasionally thinking, “Oooh, look how my fingers move. I think I might do a poo now.”

Of course, many books will have you believe that to effectively care for a newborn you must spend your days sterilizing, pumping and swaddling according to a strict, incremented schedule, but I didn’t do any of that. I just sort sloped around braless for a few months, silently communing with James’s oceanic ego and changing an endless stream of diapers.

Eventually I went back to work and before I knew it I’d turned into that mother – the one in the supermarket lineup scrolling through work e-mails, snapping at the five-year-old to put down the candy NOW and nearly driving off leaving the baby in the cart.

So I started reading up on the practice of mindful parenting, which incorporates the techniques of mindfulness into family life. There was no shortage of material to choose from: In the past few months alone, several new books have come out on the subject. I started reading the daily tips on The Mindful Parent website and even signed James up for toddler yoga and meditation classes at my local wellness centre.

Much of the advice – effective breathing techniques, strategies to still the racing mind, tips for existing in the moment rather than ruminating about the past or fretting about the future – is stuff I’ve read before. Cultivating stillness is difficult, but it’s also simple.

After all this theory, it was time for practice. I decided to start with one of the most basic exercises on The Mindful Parent blog. The idea is to gather your family together and suggest a minute of silence, and in this way, “insert a pause at a time when everyone is otherwise caught up and engaged in the doing of things.” How sweet, I thought, imagining my stepson Freddie and James clasping hands around the kitchen table and doing cleansing breaths.

I decided Saturday breakfast was my best window of opportunity. First, I made sure my English husband had gone out to buy the paper because, although he is very good at being silent and calm, he has an admittedly low tolerance for what he calls “North American hippy bollocks.” Once Freddie and James were finished munching their muesli, I announced in my best Mary Poppins voice that we were going to play a game called “being silent for one minute.” The boys stared at me in confusion, but I persisted. “Doesn’t that sound fun? So on the count of three we all say nothing and keep very still for one minute. Okay, one, two …”

“BIRD!” James pointed out the window at a squirrel.

Freddie narrowed his eyes and let his spoon clatter in the bowl. “So what do I get if I win?”

“Win what?” I did the Mary Poppins smile again, hoping to dazzle him with my attentive enthusiasm.

Freddie: “The silent game. What’s the prize?”

Me: “The prize is that you get to live in the moment and experience the world without judgment. The prize is being silent. Isn’t that cool?”

Freddie: “The prize can’t be the same as the game, silly.”

Me: “Well the truth is there is no prize because it’s not actually not a game. It’s an exercise for living well.”

Freddie: “So you lied.”

Me: “Not really. More fibbed.”

Freddie: “Miss Mackie says fibbing is just as bad as lying. You have to go on a time out for it.”

Me: “And she’s right.”

Freddie: “Samuel went on a time out just for spitting in Ruby’s ear. He didn’t even fib and he still went on a time out.”

Me: “Thank you for honouring us with that story Freddie. Now could we just try being silent? Just for one minute? Please?”

Freddie: “No fair fibber, you make me go on time outs.”

James (pointing at a passing airplane): “CAR!”

And so I laid down on the floor and went to my baby place, where I felt perfectly present.

Namaste.

Battling A Sense Of Lost Time – the importance of being in nature

Battling A Sense Of Lost Time

by MARCELO GLEISER

December 11, 2013 2:43 PM

The first word that comes to mind when I think about modern life is “overload.” The second is “dispersion.”

We are the targets of an ongoing war for our attention: the Web, new technologies, food, clothing, music. We feel the constant need to be connected; TV and radio are just not enough. We need to link to social media outlets, know what’s going on or else be out; each instant of time is taken by a screen, small or large; information pours down in torrents.

If we forget our cell phone at home, we feel like a body part is missing; we are the phones, the phones are us. We are addicted to it, as we can see when a plane lands after a 45-minute flight and hundreds of passengers turn on their phones as if their lives depended on information that just came out. We are addicted to linkage and I am guilty as charged.

We no longer allow time for contemplation.

People feel time is passing faster because we have less and less control over it. To do nothing feels like a huge waste of time. Any open window of time must be filled with tweets, Facebook updates, email, YouTube videos, podcasts. If no one is talking about us, let’s make sure that they do.

One of the victims of this “race to linkage” is our connection to nature. We can call it the new missing link.

We hardly look up to the sky or the at the life around us. To most people nature is a concept, something that exists out there, that we see in YouTube videos or magazines, on BBC and Animal Planet specials. To recover a sense of control over time we need to return to nature; we need to create space to observe other forms of life; we need to reconnect with the night sky, far from the city lights. At least this is what I do to slow down.

To me, entering a trail for a hike or run is like entering a temple. And as with any temple, I go in search of a connection, trying to restore a sense of identity as I surround myself with green and blue.


You can keep up with more of what Marcelo is thinking on Facebook and Twitter: 

Swiss Artist’s Installation: Folding a Life-Size Origami Elephant Out of a Single Sheet of Paper

Folding a Life-Size Origami Elephant Out of a Single Sheet of Paper  

131213_EYE_1
Swiss artist Sipho Mabona will use the template for this origami elephant to create a life-size version.
Courtesy of Sipho Mabona

Origami has always been an artform that’s fun to watch. But now one Swiss artist is attempting to elevate the concept of origami as performance art with an Indiegogo campaign to help him realize his whimsical ambition to fold a life-size elephant from a single sheet of paper.

The Lucerne-based Sipho Mabona folded his first paper airplane at age 5 and has since made a career producing stunning origami animalsroses, human figures, and insects, among other more abstract creations. He has shown his work and taught origami workshops around the world.

Now the 33-year-old artist is appealing to Indiegogo’s crowdfunding angels to help him realize his ambition of folding a life-size elephant out of a single sheet of 50-by-50 foot paper.* (So far he’s raised $13,843 of his $24,000 goal with three weeks to go.) Mabona says his aim is to show what a single sheet of paper can do by using it to create a replica of one of the world’s most imposing land-dwelling creatures.

131213_EYE_elephant1
A crease pattern used to fold the elephant took a month to work out.
Courtesy of Sipho Mabona

Mabona told me by phone that he developed the pattern for the elephant in about a month, a process that was sped up by having already worked out how to make patterns for origami tigers, bears, and rhinos. He said that his process is a combination of precise geometry and artistic intuition. To make a work of origami, he makes all the folds in the paper before refolding along the crease lines to assemble a finished 3-D object. The beauty of a piece of paper with intricate crease lines has also inspired him to produce crease patterns as wall art and ceramic plates.

131213_EYE_elephant3
The crease pattern used to make the elephant is a work of art in its own right.
Courtesy of Sipho Mabona

The artist said that this is the most ambitious project he has ever attempted. “I’ve never folded anything larger than 6-by-6 meters [20-by-20 feet],” Mabona said. “But in principle the whole folding part stays pretty much the same. I’m not too worried about the beginning, the folding of the base. But the transitions, the shaping of the body and making it three dimensional—that’s what I’m worried about.”

Mabona expects the process will take about two weeks. The project will require three assistants and the elephant will be shored up by an aluminum frame and sealed with white acrylic paint. He plans to set up in a local art venue and provide a live online video stream of the process. If all goes well, he hopes to repeat the performance in other venues.

131213_EYE_4
Swiss artist Sipho Mabona with a baby elephant
Courtesy of Sipho Mabona

Check out this video to learn more about the project and for a glimpse of the giant crease pattern that will be used to make the elephant.

*Correction, Dec. 16, 2013: This post originally misstated the dimension of the paper being used to make the elephant. It is 50-by-50 feet, not meters.

 

Kristin Hohenadel is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in the New York Times,Fast CompanyVogueElle DecorLonny, and Apartment Therapy.

Fiddleheads Forest School, A Parent’s Perspective by Karah Pino

“Wanna Touch the Sap with Me?”

Posted to the UW Botanic Gardens Blog November 18th, 2013 by Sarah Heller, Community Programs Coordinator & Fiddleheads Forest School Director

Wanna touch the sap with me?

Wanna touch the sap with me?

“Wanna touch the sap with me?” This is the question posed by my 3-year-old every Tuesday and Thursday morning when he gets to Fiddleheads Forest School in the Washington Park Arboretum. It is his first stop before each class and he excitedly invites me or anyone else who is around to join him. The sap he is investigating comes from an extraordinary source, just outside of Forest Grove, the preschool center. A tall ponderosa pine tree whose bark has bubbled and buckled from some kind of fungus beneath the surface creates constant streams of sap pouring down in a slow-moving waterfall from 20 feet up its trunk. The sap is moving so slowly we have found spider webs build in the crevices of the bark with a lone drip suspended in the silk.

I encourage Alvin to dust his hands in dirt before touching the sap to make it easier to remove later, but he doesn’t always remember. That’s ok with me, though, because the fragrant scent of pine sap reminds me of my own childhood in New Mexico, playing in the pine trees and junipers. It also reminds me of why I started looking for an outdoor preschool two years ago to give my son the opportunities I had to explore nature free from the ever-present boundaries and dangers of the urban environment we are surrounded by in so much of Seattle.

IMG_7995When I discovered that Fiddleheads was expanding to a full year preschool located in the middle of the Arboretum, I felt as if the universe had bent around to fulfill this dream! I knew it was perfect when I discovered that forest grove is just across from the ancient Sequoia grove I loved to visit as an undergrad at the University of Washington when I lived near the Arboretum. The colors of autumn have been incredible to view each week driving to the school and the wide variety of leaves, berries, nuts and seed pods seems unending. After drop off or before pick up, I make some time for myself to enjoy the smells, sounds, sights and sightings alongside my child, so we can share the magic of the of the forest together. (I’m sure I saw a coyote tail bouncing in the brush one day!)

Occasionally, I will hear the sounds of little voices adventuring along as I am on my own walk and feel their excitement and wonder well up inside of me. I love to watch from afar as they gather sticks to build a “fire” or leaves to pile up and roll in and I inwardly thank all the forces, voices and advocates who came together to create this fantastic program.

Although my favorite sequoia grove is protected by a fence now to protect the fragile roots, their giant trunks and strong presence are a perfect example of why the Arboretum is such a treasure for Seattlites of all ages and I hope there will be many more classes of preschoolers and homeschoolers and every other age of schoolers out in appreciation all year round in this wonderous place!

(Karah Pino, MAcOM is the delighted parent of a Fiddlehead’s Forest student, the social media coordinator for the Women of Wisdom Foundation and she manages the blog Unwind your Mind and Get Creative!

Origami Design – Wine Tote

BUILT Origami Wine Tote

By TheCelebrityCafe.com, 10/7/2013

When you head out to your next party this holiday season give your hosts a gift they can appreciate over and over. The Origami Wine Tote from BUILT is a functional wine tote that features a unique design.

This unique wine tote compresses flat for easy storage. Expand it for use and the wine tote turns into a beautiful carrying case for your bottle of wine.

The tote holds a single 750ml-1 liter bottle of wine. Not only is this tote attractive and can be used to display your wine, it also protects your wine bottle from accidental bumps and drops. A carrying handle makes it easy to transport your bottle of wine so you don’t have to carry it awkwardly by the neck or the thick cylindrical body.

The Origami wine tote comes in black or red. Each tote comes with a gift tag so you can gift a bottle of wine without the need of wrapping.

Find the Origami wine tote at BuiltNY.com and at retailers nationwide.

 

Read more at http://thecelebritycafe.com/reviews/2013/10/built-origami-wine-tote#wjoL9vKRqk3siayD.99

SEED of Origami

Millbrook kids to bring frogs to S.E.E.D., as in origami

STAFF PHOTO BY ROB NOVIT
McKintley Morgan, a Millbrook Elemetentary School fourth-grader, completes her origami frog. She and her classmates will show other kids how to make the paper frogs at the upcoming Science Education Enrichment Day (S.E.E.D.), scheduled at USC Aiken on Saturday, Oct. 12.
STAFF PHOTO BY ROB NOVIT McKintley Morgan, a Millbrook Elemetentary School fourth-grader, completes her origami frog. She and her classmates will show other kids how to make the paper frogs at the upcoming Science Education Enrichment Day (S.E.E.D.), scheduled at USC Aiken on Saturday, Oct. 12.
More than two dozen frogs were hopping all over Karey Santos’ fourth-grade classroom at Millbrook Elementary School last week.

OK, the frogs are made of paper – origami frogs, actually, that the students will bring to the Science Education Enrichment Day (S.E.E.D.) at USC Aiken on Saturday, Oct. 12.

That event will attract more than 3,000 people from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nearly 70 exhibitors – ranging from Savannah River Site staffers, businesses and other organizations — will provide an array of interactive activities. Santos in the past has brought nine-year-olds to serve as exhibitors and is delighted to do so again.

Converting sheets of paper into hopping frogs demands some intricate folding, yet the process is even more involved. The children created large frogs and much smaller “peepers,” pressing down a flap on each frog to send it flying more or less through the air.

McKintley Morgan and the majority of her classmates thought the smaller frogs would go farther, and they were right.

“The smaller frogs are lighter, and the weight made a big difference,” McKintley said.

The kids had other assignments with the project — measuring distances to one-eighth of an inch, plotting the results and determining the mode, mean and median, getting experience with geometry and vocabulary, Santos said.

Her students will get a chance to see all the other exhibits. In two-hour shifts, they also will show other kids how to create an origami frog and test how far it can leap. In addition, they will introduce leaf-rubbing and demonstrate how pantometers are used for measuring angles.

Senior writer Rob Novit is the Aiken Standard’s education reporter and has been with the newspaper since September 2001.

Read more: Millbrook kids to bring frogs to S.E.E.D., as in origami | Aiken Standard

Researchers Receive $2 Million Grant to Develop Unique Origami-Shaped Antennas

Researchers Receive $2 Million Grant to Develop Unique Origami-Shaped Antennas

WEBWIRE – Monday, September 30, 2013

Atlanta – A Georgia Tech-led research team has been awarded a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a unique approach to making extremely compact and highly efficient antennas and electronics. The new technology will use principles derived from origami paper-folding techniques to create complex structures that can reconfigure themselves by unfolding, moving and even twisting in response to incoming electromagnetic signals.

These novel structures could be fabricated from a wide variety of materials, including paper, plastics and ceramics. Sophisticated inkjet printing techniques would deposit conductive materials such as copper or silver onto the antenna elements to provide signal receiving and other capabilities.

Several potential activation mechanisms would allow the origami-shaped antennas to rapidly unfold in response to various incoming signals. These mechanisms include the harvesting of ambient electromagnetic energy in the air, as well as the use of chemicals that produce movement in ways that mimic nature.

“Traditionally, antennas have been sizeable – often very large – and any reconfiguration required complex electronics technology like micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS),” said Manos Tentzeris, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We expect these tiny new antennas to morph – to fold, unfold and reconfigure themselves – using self-activation mechanisms that in many cases would not require electronics or electrical power.”

The result would be powerful, ultra-broadband capabilities in a diminutive antenna measuring only a couple of centimeters when folded. Commercial and military applications for such antennas could include many types of communications equipment, as well as wireless sensors, “smart skin” sensors for structural health monitoring, portable medical equipment, electronics mounted on vehicles or flying/space platforms, agricultural sensors, and cognitive electronics that adjust to ambient conditions in real time.

Origami is a traditional paper-folding art that is prominent in Japan and also practiced elsewhere, and includes both modular and moving types of structures. In recent years, mathematicians worldwide have focused on theoretical and practical questions raised by origami. Technical advances – such as novel ways of folding vehicle airbags – have resulted.

The Tentzeris team is working with mathematicians at Georgia Tech and elsewhere to develop formulations that will allow optimal exploitation of origami-related principles. One important goal, Tentzeris said, is to maximize the number of shapes that can be achieved in a single folding structure. That, in turn, will support antenna functionality.

“This is a major challenge — to increase the shapes you can pack into a device of a specific size,” he said. “Additional mathematical study could result in being able to form 16, 32, 64 or even more different types of antennas from a single device that’s less than an inch square when folded.”

The four-year project will involve Tentzeris and a team of six graduate students, along with some undergraduate students. Other project leaders include John Etnyre, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Mathematics, and Stavros Georgakopoulos, an assistant professor in the Florida International University Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Etnyre will focus on the mathematics of origami-shaped devices. Georgakopoulos will perform a significant set of tasks focused on resonators and related prototypes, while actively participating in the modeling procedure. Various international origamists will participate in this effort by introducing novel origami shapes and folding algorithms.

One element essential to the project is the concept of self-actuation – antennas unfolding by themselves.

In some cases, Tentzeris said, unfolding would happen automatically when a specific incoming frequency triggered a chemical activation mechanism. This kind of mechanism is related to the ability of plants, like daylilies, to unfold in response to a stimulus such as light.

In other cases, energy harvested from ambient electromagnetic energy in the air could provide power for activation, said Benjamin Cook, a graduate student working with Tentzeris on the project. Antenna deployment could be powered by built-in circuits that collect energy from such ambient airborne signals as TV and radio signals – a technique already demonstrated successfully by a Tentzeris research team.

When required, antenna movement could be powered by activation beams from a special-purpose energy harvester. This device would collect ambient energy and transmit it to antennas from as far away as 50 to 100 meters. Novel wireless power transfer architectures, currently being investigated in another joint NSF project of Tentzeris and Georgakopoulos, could further enhance the range of beam-power transfer.

Inkjet printing will also be essential to the development of origami antennas, Tentzeris said. Special inkjet techniques developed in recent years by Tentzeris and his team can deposit tiny antenna circuitry and supporting electronics, dielectrics and nanostructures onto a broad variety of materials.

Such materials could consist of paper, polymers, fabrics, carbon fibers, ceramics and flexible organics, depending on the application. When necessary, the origami-shaped antennas could be ruggedized using robust materials.

Metallic inks – formulated with a wide variety of conductive materials such as copper, silver, gold, nickel and cobalt – would be used. The choice of material would depend on the specific functionality required.

“My group’s extensive research into inkjet printing will be critical to this project,” Tentzeris said. “We have developed what I believe is the unique capability of being able to deposit multilayer conductors, nanostructures and dielectrics on virtually any material, for applications up to the millimeter-wave and sub-terahertz frequency range.”

This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under award EFRI-1332348. Any opinions or conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the NSF.

Backstoppers gets help from the St. Louis Crane Project

Backstoppers gets help from the St. Louis Crane Project

Posted on: 7:34 am, September 24, 2013, by 

backstopper-donations

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – Some bills are being donated to the Backstoppers. It’s all courtesy of the St. Louis Crane Project.

The group will give a check of $2,500 o both the Backstoppers and Responder Rescue. The money was raised through the sale of giant origami cranes, displayed in August on Art Hill.

The 1,000, over-sized cranes were a memorial to fallen first responders and were adopted for $10 each.

Origami Rings from Washington Artisan

GROW Washington grows up, celebrates a year

A ring made with orgami is one of the offerings of a newer artisan at GROW Washington, a store and business incubator for local entreprenuers.  Photo courtesy of Marta Cunha

A ring made with origami is one of the offerings of a newer artisan at GROW Washington, a store and business incubator for local entrepreneurs.
Photo courtesy of Marta Cunha

By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor

It has truly been a year of growth for Sultan’s GROW Washington store, which is getting ready to celebrate its one-year anniversary.

To commemorate the occasion, GROW will be hosting a two-day event held on Friday Oct. 4 and Saturday Oct. 5, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the GROW Washington store located in the former Dutch Cup Restaurant building. The festivities will include free coffee and apple cider along with a gift basket raffle which will benefit GROW Washington and the Sultan Food Bank. Raffle tickets will be offered for $1 or guests can bring a non-perishable food item and receive a ticket free of charge.

The gift basket will feature an assortment of handmade items created by GROW entrepreneurs.

GROW Washington is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to supporting small business owners, providing them tools to help ensure their establishment and success. Founded by Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick, GROW is known as a “small business incubator”  in which members benefit from business classes, seminars and other training which is available on everything from obtaining a business license to inventory management and control.

Once they become members, entrepreneurs receive the opportunity to feature their products in GROW’s storefront and join forces with other small business owners in the community.  GROW Washington opened at its original location at 403 Main St. in Oct. of 2012, which it outgrew in less than six months. The store moved to its new location at 927 U.S. 2 in March of this year.

Since moving to the larger building, GROW has experienced an increase in entrepreneur membership, which has gone from 20 vendors to 29, including 3 vendors who are service-based and do not feature a particular product in the store.

GROW entrepreneurs have been able to expand their businesses as a result of the move. The new commercial kitchen facilities have broadened the opportunities for Maggie Torza of Miss Maggie’s Deserts, enabling her to explore new menu items which she creates fresh daily.

Torza’s baked goods will be on hand both days during the anniversary celebration.

In addition to candy and deserts, GROW Washington features many one-of-a-kind items, made by local business owners.

One of the newer additions to GROW’s team of entrepreneurs is Marta Cunha of Dark Horse Origami.  Originally from Portugal, Cunha fashions traditional origami designs and crafts them into jewelry and other decorative items. She folds the intricate origami shapes by hand out of Japanese washi paper; a paper that is made from fibers of trees and shrubs native to Japan.

The designs are then varnished with a lacquer meant to strengthen the pieces for wear, making the delicate items more durable and water-resistant. She also forges her origami jewelry designs out of pure silver.

Cunha, who is a resident of Gold Bar, creates hairclips, rings, earrings, brooches and necklaces.

GROW’s one-year anniversary conveniently corresponds with a significant anniversary for Cunha, who has been with GROW since June.

“It has also been a year since I’ve arrived in America,” said Cunha. “GROW Washington became more than another business venue, it’s another home where I’ve always felt welcomed, and where I am surrounded by newfound friends, inspiration and creativity.”

Cunha began by taking several of the business classes offered by Eslick until her Washington State Business License arrived in July, and she was able to start displaying and selling her jewelry.

Once a business successfully completes the application process and becomes a member of GROW, the business owners are asked to make a commitment to work in the storefront a minimum of twice per month. This gives them the chance to network with other entrepreneurs and also to share their work and potentially connect with customers who visit the store.

The products made by GROW Washington entrepreneurs include custom jewelry designs, hand-made candles and body lotions, one of a kind furnishings, watercolor and other art, fishing bait and tackle gear, uniquely arranged flora, custom garden art made from repurposed stone, Christmas decorations, ceramics and much more.

JD Slicks Lounge, which opened in June, shares the building with GROW.

“It’s so great to see the east end of Main Street in action again,” said Mayor Eslick. “The GROW Washington store and JD Slicks have really helped the economic health of Sultan. I’m very proud of the entrepreneurs that have made this possible.”

GROW Washington has storefronts located in Snohomish and Sultan, and will soon be opening a new store in Everett.

For additional information on becoming a member of GROW Washington, please visit the website at:  http://www.growwashington.biz/