Mathematical Mindfulness (making book birds)

As you may know this is my year of taking time out and living slow in order to mend.

At times this makes life a little lonely and isolated unless I make the effort to travel and push my anxiety. So today I did just that, I volunteered for my favourite people/ place/ festival/ oraganisation: Wise Words Festival. If you don’t know what they do check them out. They are an extraordinary festival run by people with enormous hearts and passion for change through the arts.

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Anyway, I go every year, whether working or as a guest, and always get involved. Last year I worked collaboratively with them on a number of projects :

This year I’m unable to work to my usual capacity but want to be a part of the goings on, so I decided to volunteer as an artist and maker instead.

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Today we met at my beloved Cowshed Studios to add the ever-increasing flock of book birds that migrate to the festival each year to roost in the trees. I’ve always loved them as a feature and thought they looked like the most complicated things to make. Little did I know how easy they are to create. If you have an hour to spend and a free pair of hands you can make them too. Warning though, its hugely addictive and you may take to your bookshelves, so make sure the books you use are ones you’ll never want to read again.

All there is to it is paper-folding, much less complicated than origami, and a lot of repetition as you need to fold each and every page. You only have to turn to Pinterest to see all the ways you can repurpose and up-cycle old books. I just searched ‘book folding patterns’ to discover all of the marvellous things people create.  I managed 4 books today using simple folds. Here are some pictures of my efforts.

Being a creative I chose a book of mathematics to transform first. I did end up getting caught in some of the pages as I was folding.

The best thing about this activity is not the result but the process of making. It is manual, easy, and repetitive (like a nice set of sums!). Before long it become calming and meditative, productive and relaxing. I could spend hours folding and chatting.

Why not give it a go yourself with an old book. All you have to do is pick a type of fold and repeat with every page in the book till it’s wings unfurl and a new bird has hatched.

If you are in the Canterbury area you could volunteer too, just follow this link to find out how…

 

 

Some days are for warmth…

So today I woke up feeling pretty horrid. New meds are making me sleep for nearly 10 hours a night, and then groggy the next day. I guess this beats the 4 hours average I’ve had for the past few months.

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I’ve begun a new kinder morning routine. It mainly is about not rushing:

Wake Up | Check my journal (not phone) | Feed and let the dogs out | Enjoy coffee / breakfast | Put myself first with yoga or mindfulness | Get ready | Walk the dogs | Check the post | Plan meals and actions for the day

In today’s journal I had scheduled a Weight Watchers meeting, crafts with a friend, followed by a show at the theatre. After sleeping past the Weight Watchers meeting time, and walking the dogs, falling over in the mud, and nearly passing out I knew I wasn’t up to much. In the panic of pain and fatigue I cancelled everything.

Then I realised I did really want to see people and that I needed company and inspiration. I don’t know about you but I am constantly in battle with myself for shared time and alone time? So today I back tracked and rewrote the day. I’m sticking to 3 things at the moment so my new plan was:

  • Drive to the Cowshed to pick up craft materials
  • Meet with Helen, to eat her home made soup and chat and maybe craft
  • Make chickpea blondies

So I did all these things instead of a disaster it was wonderful. Driving through the autumn landscape in no hurry meant seeing the countryside in all it’s glory. Then getting home it’s all warm and cosy and the dogs were waiting.

Helen arrived with a box full of crafts, and her delicious homemade squash soup (I’ll endeavour to get the recipe). We chatted about life, and ideas, and drank coffee. We both, being spoonies, decide to keep the craft simple and make our own ‘advent calendars’. It was Helen’s idea as a way to be kind to ourselves. I provided the labels to write them on and we both came up with ideas for an action a day that would be treating or nourishing ourselves.

Thats all there is to it really. We wrote on luggage labels and decorated them with stickers. I ended up doing 31 to take me all the way to New Year, and have a whole month of adventures. The idea is to pick one each day to do. If it is completely impossible with your schedule we decided we would be allowed to swap one but you should then make time to fit in the discarded one so all the tasks are at least attempted throughout the month. I’ve decided to do mine with the food bank advent idea. In this I put an item of food into a box each day to donate to the local food bank.

Finally I made ‘chickpea blondies’ as a quick sweet treat, they sound odd but they are amazing. I found the recipe here. They are great for lazy days and you literally shove everything in the blender and bake. Oh and then eat of course, still warm from the pan with oozing bitter chocolate.

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What do you do to stay warm once the weather turns colder and the nights are shorter?