Sunday, May 29, 2011

Alpacas and Winery Tour

Itching to have a getaway day trip from Portland, my partner and I just drove to Sherwood area.  While looking for a place to visit, we found out that this weekend, an alpaca farm in Sherwood is open to public, while many wineries in the same area are open for wine tasting.  Ever since I heard about alpaca wool being much warmer than sheep wool and hypoallergenic, I've been curious about alpacas.  I wanted to see what they are like.

The alpaca farm is just 30 minutes drive from southwest of Portland in Sherwood, Oregon.  We enjoyed the drive through the rolling hills.  As we arrive the farm and come close to these animals, I keep hearing funny noises that they make, different from any other animals I've heard.  It's hard to describe or try to imitate the noise.  They are just as funny looking as they are funny sound,  but soooo cute!

After the visit to the alpaca farm, we visited a winery nearby for wine tasting.  Unfortunately, I am ultra sensitive to alcohol so I just let my husband enjoy it.  But it happened to be sunny at the moment, and the scenery there was beautiful, so it was definitely worth visiting.

It's so gorgeous out there that made me wish that I could sit on one of these chairs and fold paper all day!  I bet I can be so inspired by the beauty there.

Looking at the alpacas at the farm made me want to make an origami alpaca after I got home.  I seem to do this every time after I see an animal.  I didn't know of any origami alpaca instructions, but I realized that I do have a book with an origami llama. Which made me think what's the difference between alpacas and llamas anyways? 

I ended up researching on the web, and I found out that the llamas are roughly twice as large as alpacas.  Llamas have very coarse outer coat over softer inner coat, as opposed to alpacas, which have very fine, single coat. In addition, llamas produce far less fiber than alpacas, despite its much larger size.  This is because alpacas have been domesticated and carefully bred for thousands of years as a luxury fiber-producing animal. On the other hand, llamas have been bred for the same amount of time as pack-carrying animal.  But they are very similar in looks.

So here it is, my origami alpaca.  He currently lives in my succulent garden pot.  But I will eventually move him in my origami farm diorama.

The origami llama/alpaca instruction can be found in Fun with Animal Origami by John Montroll.  I should do a book review on this sometime.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Origami for Scrapbooking

My new library program for adults, Origami for Scrapbooking will be offered at Hollywood Library on this coming Sunday, the 22nd from 2 to 3:30pm.  This program is about making scrapbooking more fun by adding embellishments made in origami. You will learn to make easy origami photo corners as well as pretty embellishments including origami bows, hearts, stars and flowers that you can add to your scrapbooks or use for stationary or greeting cards.

This program will also be offered at three other branches of Multnomah County Library over the summer:
Tuesday, June 14  6-7:30pm at Holgate Library
Saturday, July 30 3-4:30pm at Fairview-Columbia Library
Saturday, August 7  3-5pm at Rockwood Library

They are all drop-in classes and of course, free of charge.  Hope to see you at one of these classes!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Succulent Garden Pot

Today my husband and I did planting and replanting of our house plants.  We were especially excited to create a potpourri with a mix of succulents that we had collected for the last few months in a donabe (Japanese earthen pot).  Ever since I broke its lid, we talked about doing this and were slowly collecting little succulents that we like.  Now the pot holds a mix of beautiful succulents instead of a mix of yummy food.  It's almost as good as having food inside. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Origami Alphabet

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to make a sign with the children at my school.  The sign was to urge car drivers around our playground to slow down.  Without a doubt, I decided to make the sign in origami.  I know the instructions for origami alphabet letters.  I taught each child to make one letter from one sheet of square.  We just finished making the sign, laminated it and hung it up on the fence with zip ties.  Here is what it looks like.

This sign stands out so well even from across the street!  For the origami alphabet letters, we used what's called The Greengrocer's Brownbag Paper, cut to 8.5x8.5 square from letter size.  100% recycled, this paper is grocery sack brown on one side and cranberry tint color on the other.  In order to be readable, each alphabet letter needs to be made by a squared paper that is different color on each side, and the back side color needs to be the same as the background color (make sense?).  So using the brown bag/cranberry tinted papers for letters and a piece of natural brown butcher paper for the background worked out very well.

Here is another origami alphabet letter sign that I made a while back, using regular origami papers for letters, glued on white background.  The stand is made by origami too.

Origami Club has the instructions for origami alphabet.  There are two sets of fonts!

Monday, May 2, 2011

More and More Paper Cranes for Japan

I just read another update on the Students Rebuild's Paper Cranes for Japan project.  Last time when I checked, which was about a week ago, they had received over 610,000 cranes, well over their goal of 100,000.  This tireless effort from all over the world triggered Bezos Family Foundation to decide to double its initial donation to $400,000.  Since then, Students Rebuild continued receiving more and more cranes, reaching 1,000,000!  They had also just received anonymous donation of $100,000, raising $500,000 in total for Japan!