In the spring of 2016, I had my annual eye exam to get my contact prescription renewed. My eye doctor then recommended that I see a specialist, because I didn’t do as well on one of the tests for a second year in a row. […]
A backyard cutting garden can produce large amounts of beautiful flowers every year, and proud gardeners may want to share blooms with family and friends–even if they live far away. You can ship fresh flowers by mail and have them arrive intact on the other side of the country–if […]
When you have to write one, you may be stumped. But then you’ll discover that expressing gratitude is infectious.
Did your mother make you write thank-you notes too? Did you labor over them, scratching your head, wondering what in the world you were going to say? Do you still wonder about how to write a thank-you note?
Seems like I should be writing this after Christmas. That’s when the thank-you note ordeal took place in our house. We couldn’t get out of the house to play with our new toys until we wrote at least one thank-you note to Aunt Mary May and Uncle Alex or Auntie Eleanor or someone else who wasn’t there when we opened that present up under the tree.
That was the rule: You had to write a thank-you note to the people you couldn’t thank in person. Even if you didn’t like the present. Even if the shirt you got was the wrong color (and shirts are so boring anyway) or the book was one you never wanted to read.
You had to show that you were grateful. Somehow.
All these years later, I can say I’m grateful for The Ordeal of the Thank-You Notes or maybe I should call it The Lesson of the Thank-You Notes. Because learning how to be grateful and how to express it is one of the best lessons of life. (Thanks, Mom.)
Every week I have to write at least one thank-you note if not more. And often when I do it I think, “I’m not sure what I’ll say.”
But thankfulness is infectious, like a cold or the flu. You put some of it down on paper, and you start discovering more of it all over. It might feel stiff and artificial to write it out at first. But not for long.
Christmas might be a ways off but Thanksgiving is around the corner, a day when we put gratitude on the calendar, a celebration of thankfulness for all that we have and all that we are. It’s the ultimate Thank-You Note Experience.
“In everything give thanks,” wrote Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians. In everything. And nothing beats writing it down and sharing your gratitude because that’s just like sharing it with God.
For that, I give thanks.
Give your vegetables the shine they deserve with these holiday side dishes. Try your hand at a creamed kale recipe from Tyler Florence or roasted squash with crispy bulgur crumbs from F&W’s Kay Chun. We’ve also got options for lemony fingerling potatoes, honey-glazed roasted root […]
When learning how to fold origami flowers, you’ll definitely want to add the kusudama flower to your list of projects. This pretty flower is relatively simple to fold, but sure to impress all of your friends.
Many novice paper folders make the mistake of assuming kusudama refers to a specific species of flower. The Japanese word “kusudama” can be translated as “medicine ball.” Kusudama origami is origami made of several identically folded units that are glued together or sewn together to make a spherical shape. Kusudama is often considered a precursor to the modern genre of modular origami.
Select Your Paper
The kusudama flower is made with six separate sheets of square paper. You can use origami paper, scrapbook paper, or calendar papers cut to the size you wish. Bigger paper results in bigger petals, which gives you a more dramatic looking flower. Mix and match patterns for an artistic effect or make all of the petals the same solid color if you want your flower to look as realistic as possible.
Form a Paper Triangle
Place the paper in front of you with the back side facing up. Fold it diagonally to make a triangle. In origami, this is sometimes called a shawl fold, diaper fold, or triangle fold. It is a simple base that is used to develop many different types of projects.
Make a Square
Fold the left and right corners up to the middle to make a square. Remember to make crisp folds to ensure the nicest looking origami kusudama flower. When you’re finished, your project should look like the photo to the left. In origami, this shape is called a helmet base.
Fold the Corners Down
Fold the left and right corners down to meet the edge of the paper so your paper looks like the project shown to the left.
Flatten the Flaps
Flatten the flaps you created in the previous step. In origami, this is called a squash fold. Flattening without wrinkling the paper takes a bit of practice, but the squash fold is one of the most important origami folds to know. It is used in everything from origami flowers to origami cards.
Fold the top triangles down so your project looks like the photo to the left.
Create Your Kusudama Flower Petals
Fold the left corner in so it meets the first side crease. Repeat with the right corner. Carefully glue your flower petal together. Repeat until you have a total of six flower petals. Compare the flower petals when you are finished to make sure they are all exactly the same size and shape.
Complete Your Origami Kusudama Flower
Glue the petals together to form your kusudama origami flower. For best results, use a glue stick or liquid craft glue and let each connection dry before continuing. If you’re having trouble, use paper clips on the middle of the petals to hold the flower together until all the glue is dry.
If you’d like to add a little extra embellishment to your kusudama flower, consider attaching a button, scrapbook brad, or rhinestone to the center. If you make a wire loop and thread your button through, you can use the excess wire to attach your flower to the bow on a beautifully wrapped package.
Creating a Kusudama Ball
If desired, you can fold 12 of the flowers and glue them together to make one large origami kusudama ball.
Making an Origami Bouquet
A single origami kusudama flower is pretty on its own, but kusudama flowers can also be added to origami bouquets to create pretty flower arrangements for weddings and other special occasions.
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Sending fresh flowers in the mail is possible. It is even likely that your flowers will arrive just as fresh and beautiful as they were when they were packed. Fresh cut flowers are an ideal gift to send for any occasion, be it Mother’s Day, Easter or a birthday. Florists do ship fresh flowers through the mail, and you can too, using a few simple packing techniques.
Obtain a lightweight wooden box at any craft or home store. A wooden box is sturdy and can withstand the pressure of going through the mail. (A cardboard box is too easily damaged.) The box should be at least the length and width of the fresh flowers you are sending. The height of the box should be only as tall as the flowers, with only enough room on both sides for packing material. This prevents the flowers from moving around during shipment.
Line both sides of the wooden box with a cotton batting material. This material can be purchased at most fabric stores. Place enough batting on both sides of the box to the secure the flowers but not so much that it crushes them.
Place a sheet of tissue paper over both sides of the cotton batting material.
Arrange the fresh cut flowers side by side in the box. Do not place the flowers on top of each other. The blooms of one flower can rest on the stem of the flower next to it.
Pack the flowers close together to prevent them from rearranging during shipment.
Place the lid on top of the bottom half of the box. Tape the two sides of the box together. Address the box and ship the fresh flowers through the mail.