Monday, November 12, 2007

"O" is for...

Orchids and origami, of course! What else where you thinking of?

My aunt and uncle in Montreal are the most amazing gardeners I have ever encountered. Their garden is magical! Visitors often feel as though they are in a tropical haven with all the lush foliage that surround them. My aunt and uncle even have a secret garden within their huge garden (which is divided by pagodas and climbing plants) and a beautiful fish pond with the biggest koi I have ever seen!

I love plants and flowers as well, so my uncle brings me some of his special prizes whenever he visits us on the Island. His last gift to me was this spectacular chocolate orchid! Yes, people! This orchid makes the house smell like a mixture of sweet vanilla and chocolate! I absolutely
love, love, love this orchid! Its flowers are plentiful and every time I walk by them and get a whiff of that yummy chocolate scent, I just have to soak it all in! Can you tell that I'm a chocolate lover? The tiny white and chocolate flowers just cascade beautifully for all to admire. The orchid also goes by the names Sharry Baby or Chocolate Oncidium.

Mine was given to me as a present, but if you want one, you can get one here.

Oh, and if you were thinking about creative and crafty things to do with your kids (and if you don't mind the challenge), how about trying some origami? In Japanese, the word ori basically means "to fold" and the word kami means paper.

A month ago, I taught an origami workshop here on the Island. I've always been fascinated by the art of paper folding. I could never seem to get my brain wrapped around all the exact and precise folds. It was way too "math related" for me. I know, that sounds like such a horrible thing to say. I just wasn't good at math. This was all symmetry and numbers to me.

When I taught English in Japan, one of my high school students taught me how to fold a paper
crane. The students from this high school class also told me the sad story of Sadako Sasaki.
She was a little girl who was diagnosed with leukemia due to being exposed to radiation from the Atomic Bomb. Her goal was to fold a thousand cranes before she died, but she was only able to fold 644. Her friends completed the remaining cranes and they were buried with her.

There is a statue in Peace Park of Sadako holding a golden crane. I visited Peace Park several
times while I was in Japan, since I taught in a city on the outskirts of Hiroshima City.

Another reason I am interested in origami is because I just love Japanese paper! The myriad of
colours, patterns, textures...Just gorgeous!
If you are looking for a fun and creative way to spend time with your kids, how about a quick lesson in origami? There are different levels of difficulty. Some things are very simple and easy enough for a kindergarten student, while others are very complex, as we (my Korean student, a friend of mine and I) found out the other day!

My recommendations:
Origami Club
Tammy Yee's Origami Page

Oh, my goodness! I must end this post before I reveal the true geek that I really am! ;)


hotmommy said...

thanks chris i checked out the origami club site and will definately be trying some of those out with the kids on a rainy day. where can i get the paper?

Curiosity.Killer said...


I love that orchid!

I love origami!


Ok - I'll stop.

japanmanpete said...

Bloody hell. I've been living in Japan for how many years now and I still cannot do anything origami related!


mrinz said...

Chocolate!!!!!!!!!!! Need I say more.

Years ago I taught some Vietnamese children who could make the most wonderful things with paper.

They showed me how to make a frog that can really jump. I have made hundreds of them for children - its great to see an origami creation that can be played with.

Cherry said...

I love Origami. I'm not good at it, but I find it really fun (as long as you have good instructions!)

I'm an orchid killer. I haven't found a place in my house were they can live (and not be eaten and knocked over by kitties). I might try to keep one alive at work though.

Calfkeeper said...

Thanks for the visit. I love doing Origami, but haven't done any folding in a long time.

I would love to have an orchid like that! It's gorgeous! I just don't have the place for it right now. Sigh. Maybe some day.


BeachMama said...

I love origami too. My only problem is what to do with all the finished products. Hubby once bought me an origami calendar, one a day for a whole year. Cute, but oh so much paper everywhere ;)

And love the orchids, I can never get mine to flower again.

Uncivil said...

I really enjoyed The Sadako Story! I learn many neat things when I visit here!

C said...

Hot Mommy:
The Japanese Paper Store is in Toronto. They've got an amazing collection of Japanese stationery and origami paper.

LOL! You are too funny! Love ya! You aren't going to be back in TO anytime soon, are you? :( Miss ya! xo

C said...

It takes time and patience to do origami. I always had a hard time figuring out how to follow the instructions on paper and in books. It took a high school student showing me step by step how to do things! I still have difficulty with some things. Like the other night, my friend asked me to show her how to do this 3-D cat and a jumping frog. I hadn't done the frog in ages and the cat was something I don't think I've made before. We had the instructions in front of us (all in Japanese!!!) and had a rough time. My friend was the one who ended up figuring things out though!

Mmmmmmmmm...Chocolate!!! ;)
I think you should do a post about the jumping frog! Maybe take step by step photos of how to do it!

C said...

My kitties haven't gone after the orchid yet!! They seem to be way more interested in my Buddha bamboo plant and my bonsai! Yesterday, I caught Spike sitting in the bonsai...she almost broke its limbs off! Grrr.

Thanks for visiting my little spot in the blogosphere! I just found your blog last night (via NaBloPoMo) and I love it!

C said...

You truly amaze me :) You are just so great with any kind of craft!!! I've recently gotten into scrapbooking, since a friend of mine got me hooked. She got me all these cool tools and accessories for decorating and now I am hooked! This means I'm either really easily persuaded or I've got a very addictive personality.

Awwwwww! You are too kind!

caninecologne said...

origami is fun! i like doing the lily flower and crane shapes.

i once had a student who was an origami enthusiast (he was also a math genius). one year, he gave me a bouquet of origami roses and another time, a really cool stag beetle. now he works for dreamworks (animation company).

that sharry baby link is expensive! $80 for that orchid? i've seen them for $20 over here. they're pretty popular at home depot.

re: origami paper...i just bought a bunch of packets for $1.50 each at marukai (my latest post). normally, they are about $3 or $4 at the local craft store. these are going to be my xmas gifts (along with an origami book) to some of my friends' kids.

C said...

My uncle just told me the same thing you said about the Sharry Baby. He said that it's beautiful and special because of its scent, but it's not that special!!! Like you, he said that you can get them for way cheaper.

WOW! You got origami paper for that cheap!?!?! I am SO jealous! I get my Japanese students to send me some or friends from Toronto to send me some. I can't really get it here. There's one store on the Island that carries some, but it's really expensive and there isn't much to select from. It's just the standard solid colours and no paper with prints or patterns. Boo hoo!

J at said...

Does the orchid make you crave chocolate, or is the smell satisfying enough?

When I was an infant, my mom couldn't afford to buy a mobile for my crib, so she made one of origami cranes. Too bad they're so fragile, I would like to have it still.

caninecologne said...

i got solid colors but they also have kimono patterned papers for $2 (at another Japanese market). i'll send you some along with the cd.

louann said...

Those orchids look beautiful. And they even smell like vanilla and chocolate?? Gifts from heaven indeed!

Curiosity.Killer said...

Naw - I won't be coming back to T.O. anytime soon. I've got too many things pinning me down right now.

C said...

Surprisingly, the smell of the chocolate orchid is enough to satisfy the senses! It's just a wonderfully soft, sweet scent.

Your Mom is very creative! That was a great idea to make an origami mobile! When my Mom was a kid, she and her sisters used to make paper dolls and even designed the dolls' paper clothing! They didn't have any of those accessories for their dolls that kids have now, so my mom and her sisters used my grandmother's high heel shoes as "Barbie" cars! LOL!

C said...

Really?!? You're the best! :)

I know! They're beautiful and they smell like chocolate! What more can one ask for? LOL!

Booooooooo! :( Well, the good thing is that you're super busy and having a good time in HK. Toronto will always be here for you when you want a break. Do you think you are going to stay in HK forever?

caninecologne said...

did you ever get that package i sent you? i mailed it last saturday (11/3) and you were supposed to receive it by friday.

i'll send off t/origami paper + cd's this weekend. some packages that are missing a few pieces because i used them for crafts, but i no longer have the time to do it, so i hope you don't mind some sheets are missing. it'll be an assortment.

C said...

I got a notice from the post office today that there is a parcel waiting for me! They would have dropped it off, but no one was home. I was off Island today, so I'll pick it up in tomorrow morning. Could this be from you???? :)

OMG...You are way too thoughtful! Seriously!

Karen MEG said...

gorgeous papers. I wish I had that talent. I can do lego though!

Beautiful orchid too. My husband would love it...he's the plant man around these parts.

caninecologne said...

i hope that's the package. i was beginning to lose faith in the postal service. ha ha.

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