Tag: hobby

The enduring allure of pencils

By Julie Schneider for Hyperallergic 

I hadn’t thought of pencils as objects to be obsessed over or really noticed at all, even though I’d found refuge in writing and drawing since childhood. My parents were teachers and pencils were just always there, like air. I certainly never expected to have a crush on a pencil or to ardently seek out specific models on eBay. But sometimes affection sprouts up in unexpected forms. Sometimes a core of graphite mixed with clay and encased in a tube of wood can surprise you. It hooked me, anyway.

My gateway pencil was dark and mysterious, with a cult following: the storied Blackwing 602. “A kind of unicorn of pencils” is how pencil shop owner Caroline Weaver describes it in her new book, Pencils You Should Know: A History of the Ultimate Writing Utensil in 75 Anecdotes, where she dishes on the origin story of Blackwing 602, among many other pencils. This particular pencil legend was invented during the Great Depression at the Eberhard Faber pencil factory. In 1934, despite cutbacks, the company produced this new and notable writing utensil. With distinctive style — flat ferrule, replaceable rectangular erasers — and a dark, “feathery smooth” graphite core specially formulated for gliding across the page with “half the pressure, twice the speed,” the Blackwing 602 would draw fans for generations to come, including John Steinbeck, Vladimir Nabokov, and Walt Disney. It eventually went out of production in the ’80s when Faber-Castell bought the company.

Blackwings entered my life decades after their initial heyday. In 2012, I read the sort of breathless review touting the reissue of this pencil by Palomino, a California-based brand, that left me thinking, “All this praise is for a pencil?” And, in quick succession: “I’ve gotta try one for myself.” From there, it was love.

I made my first drawings with Blackwings in a Brooklyn art studio, located in a former rope factory. After rising rents shuttered the space in 2015, I relocated to a spot in a former pencil factory. My favorite feature of the building? The giant yellow terracotta pencil sculptures that ring its upper level. Soon, I realized, with great delight, that this was not just any old pencil factory, but the site of the Eberhard Faber pencil factory! This was where the original Blackwings were conceived and produced — and where I scribble with their predecessors today.

After my first foray into Blackwings, one pencil led to another. I began to frequent Caroline Weaver’s charming New York City pencil shop, C.W. Pencil Enterprise, where I’ve spent many happy afternoons perusing the curated collection. Weaver opened the shop in March of 2015, inspired by her longtime love of these writing implements.

“I’ve always been drawn to the pencil as an object,” she writes. “As a kid, I was fascinated by their compactness and simplicity. I love that this affordable little commodity is also highly collectible. After traveling the world and studying the pencils of places near and far, I can glean meaningful information about a culture through each unique object. What is easy to forget sometimes is that the pencil, as seemingly simple as it is, took hundreds of people and hundreds of years to come into being.” Through the shop’s Pencil Box, a quarterly subscription boasting 1,200 subscribers, I’ve met many new and vintage pencils I’m glad I now know.

Weaver’s book, Pencils You Should Know, is shaped like a palm-sized pencil box. Each spread highlights the story of a notable pencil, which is photographed school-portrait style on bright backdrops. “The pencil is a curious object,” Weaver writes in the introduction. “Everyone is familiar with it, yet most people don’t actually know much about it.”

The book is an amble through four centuries of global pencil history, and Weaver is our captivating tour guide. She showcases specialised pencils developed for secretaries, editors, voting booths, test scoring, stenography, and scoring games. Pencils whose shavings unspool to form rainbows or sakura flowers, and pencils made of unexpected materials, like denim. These writing utensils embody the trends, styles, and technical innovations of bygone eras. Taking care to point out the quirks and distinctions of each of the 75 featured pencils, Weaver blends unabashed nostalgia with historical fun facts. She gives colour to an often overlooked tool while adeptly making the case that the humble pencil is, in fact, a cultural icon.

By Glenda Viljoen / Trocraft

Ranger Product Requirements:

TIM HOLTZ ADIRONDACK

ALCOHOL INKS: POPPY FIELD, RED PEPPER

ALCOHOL INK APPLICATOR AND FELT

ALCOHOL BLENDING SOLUTION

TIM HOLTZ DISTRESS

DISTRESS SPRAY STAINS: CANDIED APPLE

MINI DISTRESS INK PADS: CANDIED APPLE,
SPUN SUGAR, FESTIVE BERRIES, AGED MAHOGANY, ANTIQUE LINEN, GROUND ESPRESSO, HICKORY SMOKE

DISTRESS PAINT: PICKET FENCE

DISTRESS GLITTER: SPUN SUGAR

MINI INK BLENDING TOOL

RANGER ACRYLIC PAINT DABBERS

PINK GUMBALL, CLASSIC CHERRY

DYLUSIONS INK SPRAYS

CHERRY PIE, POSTBOX RED

ARCHIVAL INKS

VERMILLION, WATERING CAN

EMBOSSING POWDER

RED CINNABAR

ADHESIVES

WONDER TAPE, GLOSSY ACCENTS, MULTI MEDIUM

Product Information:

TIM HOLTZ ADIRONDACK ALCOHOL INKS
Acid-free, fast drying transparent coordinating dye inks specially formulated to create a colourful, polished stone effect. Use on glossy paper, metal, shrink plastic, glass and other slick surfaces. Alcohol Blending Solution lightens colours and cleaning inks from non-porous surfaces.

PAINT DABBER | DISTRESS PAINT

Ranger Acrylic Paint Dabber and Tim Holtz Distress Paints may look like similar products, but each has its own signature features that make it different from the other: Distress Paint is more fluid, reacts with water, surface remains smooth, opaque coverage, semi opaque when mixed with water and is permanent when dry. Acrylic Paint Dabbers create texture on surfaces, opaque coverage on multi surfaces and permanent when dry.

DISTRESS SPRAY STAINS | DYLUSIONS INK SPRAYS

Distress Spray Stain and Dylusions Ink Spray are different formulations, each with their own reactive properties. Dylusions Ink Spray ghosts and lightens while Distress Spray Stain is designed to wick and mottle when wet. Both products are acid free, non-toxic water based dye inks.

Techniques and instructions:

METAL TIN

  • Adhere tissue tape to rim of lid.
  • Cut two strips of red heart paper: width x 1,8 cm. trim second strip to measure 9 cm. cut a ‘v’ into left edge. Adhere strips to outside of tin. Adhere pearl to ‘v’.
  • Cut 9,5 x 9,5 cm (cream with black heart paper). Corner-round corners and adhere to inside, bottom of tin.

 

EMBELLISHING METAL TIN LID

  • Spritz fabric flower with Cherry Pie Dylusions Ink Spray and Candied Apple Distress Spray Stain.
  • Stamp two paper flowers with script text with Vermillion Archival Ink.
  • Dab Festive Berries and Candied Apple Distress Ink pads onto non-stick craft sheet. Lightly spritz with water. Place ribbon into ink to colourize. When dry create a bow, leaving a piece to create two ribbon tabs for booklet inside tin.
  • Apply a few drops of Poppy Field Alcohol Ink to felt on alcohol ink applicator. Dab onto pearl and rhinestones.
  • Ink small chipboard heart with Festive Berries Distress Ink using a mini ink blending tool.
  • Decorate lid with flower, leaves, die-cuts, word stickers, chipboard heart, inked ribbon, resin rose, stamped paper flowers, tissue tape, heart stickers, pearl and rhinestones.
  • Embellish reverse side of lid with die-cuts, chipboard heart, paper flower, red button, stickers and twine bow.

 

ACCORDIAN BOOKLET (ZIG ZAG FOLD)

  • Cut two strips: 30,5 x 8,5 cm and 25,5 x 8,5 cm. Join two strips, matching lace edges, with ‘postcard’ strip on left, joining with strips of tissue tape.
  • Starting from left side, measure and score at 6,5 cm 13,5 cm and 22 cm and then at 8,5 cm and 17 cm on second half.
  • Fold on score lines, pressing the crease with a bone folder, creating a zig zag fold.
  • Corner-round top and bottom left-hand edge.
  • Lightly ink edges with Antique Linen Distress Ink using a mini ink blending tool.

 

BOOKLET FRONT COVER

  • Stamp left and right edges with script stamp and Vermillion Archival Ink.
  • Adhere acetate die-cut bracket frame to right edge, overlapping folded edge. Adhere red felt and gold foil hearts. Adhere paper die-cut heart to complete heart cluster.
  • Paint metal button with Picket Fence Distress Paint. Dry slightly and then wipe to remove paint from raised areas.
  • Colourize one pearl pin with Poppy Field Alcohol Ink.
  • Finish with tulle bow, pearl pins and button.

 

BOOKLET PAGE THREE: WATERCOLOUR PAPER

  • Lightly dab Spun Sugar, Candied Apple, Festive Berries and Aged Mahogany Distress Ink pads onto the back of layering stencil until the stencil has colours in most areas. Mist inked stencil with water from a mister.
  • Lift stencil and place onto watercolour paper. Press with roller towel to ‘print’ colour as well as to absorb excess ink. Lift stencil and dry with a heat tool.
  • Place stencil back onto inked watercolour paper and ink with Spun Sugar and Antique Linen Distress Ink using a mini ink blending tool.
  • Stamp script text using Vermillion Archival Ink.
  • Cut into a 7,5 cm square and corner-round all four corners. Add inked ribbon tab and alcohol inked rhinestone to right edge. Centre and adhere to page.

 

BOOKLET PAGE FOUR: STAMPING AND EMBOSSING

  • Stamp quote with Watering Can Archival Ink. While ink is still wet, apply Red Cinnabar Embossing Powder.
  • Lightly shake off excess powder taking care not to remove embossing powder from stamped image. Heat with heat tool until embossing powder melts. Add a small felt die-cut heart.

 

BOOKLET PAGE FIVE: STAMPING WITH PAINT

  • Cut cream paper (7,5 cm x 7,5 cm).
  • Dab Pink Gumball Acrylic Paint onto splatter stamp. Stamp onto cream paper.
  • Dab Classic Cherry Acrylic Paint onto splatter stamp. Stamp onto cream paper.
  • Swipe Festive Berries Distress Ink pad onto piece of music note tissue tape. Wipe with roller towel. Adhere onto dry painted surface.
  • Ink foiled chipboard heart with Spun Sugar, Candied Apple and Festive Berries Distress Ink using an ink blending tool. Lightly spritz with water to react and blend ink.
  • Adhere painted paper to page. Embellish with foil and felt hearts, word stickers and tissue tape.

 

BOOKLET PAGE SIX: ALCOHOL INK ON FOIL

  • Apply a few drops of Poppy Field Alcohol Ink to felt on alcohol ink applicator. Dab onto areas of foil alpha sheet, flower rhinestone and pearl.
  • Cut red heart paper to measure 7,5 x 7,5 cm and adhere to page. Trim foil alphas to fit and adhere.
  • Stamp script text onto a paper flower. Add flowers, rhinestone and pearl. Add word stickers to complete.

 

BOOKLET PAGE SEVEN: DISTRESS GLITTER

  • Cut black with cream design paper to measure 7,5 x 7,5 cm.
  • Centre acetate frame onto black paper. Trace inner square with a pencil. Remove frame and set aside.
  • Cut strips of Wonder Tape to cover square extending a few millimetres past the pencil lines. Peel backing from tape and adhere frame onto tape.
  • Place square onto spare paper and pour Spun Sugar Distress Glitter onto exposed tape. Tap off excess and return excess glitter to container.
  • Adhere foil chipboard heart on top of glittered area. Pour Glossy Accents to inner section. Add red glass beads and Spun Sugar Distress Glitter. Set aside to dry. Tap excess glitter off and return to container.
  • Colour pearl heart with Poppy Field Alcohol Ink.
  • Create ribbon tab and adhere to right-hand.
  • Adhere square to page and finish with sticker words, hearts and pearl heart.

 

TO FINISH TIN

Cut cream with black heart paper (9,5 x 9,5 cm). Corner-round corners. Adhere to bottom of tin. Adhere booklet to tin.

 

Find a hobby and get off your smartphone

By Nicole Dieker for Life Hacker 

Every day, I try to do at least one activity that is both engaging and smartphone-free—and if it’s social, that’s a bonus. Sometimes it’s group exercise class at the YMCA. Sometimes it’s choir rehearsal. Sometimes it’s as simple as spending an hour reading a physical book.

I’m always amazed at how quickly my mind quiets down when it isn’t staring at a screen. Even though I’ve already adapted both my phone and laptop to eliminate notifications, noises, and so on, it’s still kind of like looking into an infinite possibility portal (that comes with a side order of infinite demands), and it’s nice to limit those possibilities to the book or the music or the group of us steadily working our lower abdominals.

I’m not the only person who actively looks for activities that require me to set down my various devices. As Minali Chatani, co-founder of pet lifestyle brand Wild One, explains at Inc.:

I’m the first person to admit that I’m a workaholic. When running a start-up and hopping between video meetings, emails, texts, photo shoots to more emails, it can sometimes feel like I fall into this incessant, internet-driven work cycle. Picking an activity that makes you disconnect and be more present can be very grounding at the end of a chaotic day.

Having a non-work hobby or activity that disconnects you from your smartphone and connects you to your body, other people, and/or the natural world is also an excellent way to stave off burnout. Yes, sometimes work and life can be so involving that the thought of squeezing in a run or exercise class or choir rehearsal becomes overwhelming, but I’ve found that I always feel better after I get back from one of those kinds of activities. They’re rejuvenating, perhaps because they ask me to be present in a physical space instead of a technological one.

Plus, getting a hobby that puts you in regular contact with other people is a great way to form low-stakes friendships.

So if you don’t have a hobby that actively engages you in something besides a device, it might be time to get one. There’s cooking, knitting, birdwatching, weightlifting, singing, dancing, tabletop board gaming (though you have to be really careful because it’s easy to spend tabletop sessions with one eye on your phone), family walks after dinner, friend hikes on Saturday mornings, basically anything you can think of that puts you in a different kind of present tense — and, after the hobby session is over, leaves you relaxed.

And if someone might need to reach you during that time, you can always tell them to call your phone twice in a row.

By Bedros Keuilian for Entrepreneur South Africa

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. If Jack is an entrepreneur, it also makes him less effective at building insane wealth.

What’s Jack got to do with you? If you’re a business owner with big plans, every hour of your life matters. Screw around during the day, and you put your bottom line, your lifestyle and your employees’ paychecks at risk. You have to do something useful with your time, even when you’re not in the office. Everybody needs a hobby, and if you pick yours wisely, they’ll all serve your money-making mission.

What hobbies do you need? Here are three that you can’t afford to skip and how they improve your life and support your mission of building an empire.

1. A hobby to make money
“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

You’ve certainly heard that quote before, and there’s some real wisdom to it. But tread carefully. Following your passion blindly won’t do you any good. There are plenty of broke people out there who are staying true to their passions. Unless you want to join them, you’ve got to go beyond your passion and into profit. This means finding the angle that lets you turn your passion into financial gain. And if you’re savvy enough, you can find that angle with absolutely anything. Don’t believe me? Look at history. There was a time when people spent their hard-earned money on pet rocks. And today, naked yoga is a thing people pay to participate in.

If you think your passion doesn’t offer the opportunity for dollars to trade hands, you’re wrong. Research some more. Figure out what people with the same passion most want to learn, have, become or achieve. Then develop a product or service tailor-made to fulfill that. Then sell like there’s no tomorrow.

Remember that if what you create helps you, it’ll help others with the same passion. You can sell your product or service by sharing your own story — no sleazy “tricks” needed.

2. A hobby to keep you fit
Science has proven time and again that there’s an intense mind-body connection. In fact, the connection is so strong that you can’t afford to be out of shape.

Work hard in the gym, and you’ll make your body hard and ready to take a beating. At the same time, exercise conditions your mind to do the same. Working out actually develops your brain, building your mental toughness so you can take on any challenges and stresses that come your way.

Let your body go, watch everything else follow.

And don’t think I’m just saying this because of my background in the fitness industry. What I’m saying here applies equally to entrepreneurs and business leaders in all industries, and it cuts both ways.

At my lowest point, even I had gotten inconsistent with my workouts, and I wasn’t pushing myself as hard I should have. This showed in a business that was not only disorganised and losing money, but also on the brink of collapse.

The first thing I did to take back control of my situation was to take control of my health. That meant making my gym time a non-negotiable, so I could rebuild the physical and mental strength I would need to pull my business out of chaos. If you’re in a similar bad place with your business, you can use this same strategy even if you haven’t ever made fitness a priority before.

While I love lifting weights, your hobby doesn’t have to involve a gym. Get outdoors and hike. Swim every day, increasing your speed and distance. Play basketball or racquetball or tennis or volleyball. Just make yourself move and the synapses of your brain will fire faster and bring you more money-making ideas.

3. A hobby to keep you creative
The simplest ideas are the best and easiest to execute, but it takes serious creativity to find simplicity. This kind of creativity isn’t cultivated in an office. It’s developed out and about, where you can take in new stimuli and actively relax.

Find your free place and grab a paintbrush or pen some poetry, master the harmonica or go full force into needlepoint. Whatever you choose, get creative and funky. Don’t be afraid to mess up. That’s where you learn the most about yourself and break down mental barriers. Push yourself beyond your artistic comfort zones and you’ll never plateau.

My creative outlet is drumming. The most physical of instruments, drums give me a way to beat something to a pulp without going to jail. I have a good ear, and through practice, I’ve developed quite a strong rhythm. However, I don’t sit around hitting everything on the quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes. I push myself to learn new fills and patterns, tempos and styles that make my brain work in new ways.

To be honest, these growth practices aren’t always a fun start to finish activity. In fact, they can be crazy frustrating. But when everything finally comes together and my feet and my hands go where they’re supposed to go, it’s absolute euphoria!

I don’t leave this attention to detail and commitment to success in the practice room. I take it to work with me. Doing something creative can do the same for you. Make it part of your life and it’ll open your eyes and help you see the world in a different way. You’ll understand how things come together, and you’ll have a fresh perspective on whatever problem is nagging you at work.

And you know what happens when you’re thinking clearly and your creative juices are flowing? Another million-dollar idea crops up with a clear path leading right to it.

So pick your hobbies, and go at them with all you’ve got. You’ll never work a day in your life, but you’ll earn an obscene amount of money.

The fascinating history of paint-by-numbers kits

By Emma Taggart for My Modern Met 

You probably remember “Paint-by-Numbers” kits from your childhood, but do you know the history of how they came to be? A mix between a coloring book and painting on a canvas, painting by numbers allows anyone to create a detailed work of art, even if they’ve never taken an art class. The simple art sets were first invented in the 1950s and they still remain popular for both kids and adults today. Despite this, very little is known about their original creator, Dan Robbins

Robbins was a Detroit-based commercial artist who began his career working for the art departments of various car manufacturers. In 1949, he started working at Palmer Show Card Paint Company alongside the company’s founder, Max Klein. At first, Robbins was hired to illustrate children’s books, but Klein soon tasked him with a new, more urgent mission: sell more paint. His solution was to devise a hobby kit that would promote the sale of Klein’s paint products.

Where did the idea come from?
Robbins based his concept on Leonardo da Vinci’s teaching system of numbering sections of his canvases for apprentices to complete. “I remembered hearing about how Leonardo da Vinci would challenge his own students or apprentices with creative assignments,” Robbins recalls in his autobiography. “He would hand out numbered patterns indicating where certain colors should be used in specific projects such as underpainting, preliminary background colors or some lesser works that did not require his immediate attention.”

To create each kit, Robbins first painted an original artwork, and then placed a plastic sheet over it and outlined the shapes for each hue and shade. Each segment was then given a number and corresponding color. After trial and error, Robbins’ Paint-by-Numbers kits were born, and were introduced to the public with packaging that proclaimed, “Every man a Rembrandt.” Post-war, they were launched during a time when American people had more time for pursuing leisurely activities, and the concept quickly became a cultural phenomenon.

The first paint-by-number kits
Robbin’s first ever Paint-by-Numbers kit was called Abstract No. One—a vibrant, abstract still life that paid homage to the abstract expressionists of the era. Unfortunately, the design wasn’t commercial enough to appeal to the masses, so Robbins, Klein, and a new team of artists started to produce less abstract landscape and portrait hobby kits that proved to be more popular.

The public’s response
Palmer Show Card Paint Company was renamed to Craft Master, and the company quickly grew to 800 employees who worked around the clock to produce 50,000 Paint by Number sets a day. In 1955, around 20 million kits were sold in America, and finished works hung proudly in homes across the country. Even President Eisenhower’s presidential appointment secretary, Thomas Edwin Stephens, curated a gallery of Paint by Number pieces made by administration officials in the White House.

However, not long after its initial success, Craft Master went bankrupt, as it couldn’t keep up with the demand. Although Craft Master remains the iconic pioneer of the paint by numbers movement, numerous rival companies soon emerged and started producing their own versions of the hobby kits.

What did the art world think?
While the consumers’ response was positive, Paint-by-Number kits triggered a strong reaction from the art world. They were criticized for oversimplifying the creative process and undervaluing the work of “real” artists (some Paint-by-Numbers designs were based on famous paintings). One anonymous critic in American Art wrote, “I don’t know what America is coming to, when thousands of people, many of them adults, are willing to be regimented into brushing paint on a jig-saw miscellany of dictated shapes and all by rote. Can’t you rescue some of these souls—or should I say ‘morons?’ ”

Paint-by-Number kits meant that art could be infinitely copied, leaving many wondering if they could even be classified as art at all. However, the concept unsurprisingly caught the attention of Pop Art icon Andy Warhol who is known for his love of repetition. He become a dedicated fan and collector of Paint-by-Number canvases.

Despite the backlash, Robbins wasn’t overly concerned about the negative response of art critics, because he achieved his dream of bringing art to the masses. In his 1998 memoir—Whatever Happened to Paint-By-Numbers?—He wrote, “I never claim that painting by number is art. It is the experience of art, and it brings that experience to the individual who would normally not pick up a brush, not dip it in paint. That’s what it does.”

By James Greig for Metro

August 2nd was National Colouring Book Day. This seems as good a time as any to consider the adult colouring book trend, which really took off in the UK in 2015 and … hasn’t been talked about much since.

Are adults still using colouring books? Are they as good for mental health as people claim?

First, the bad news: these are hard times for adult colouring books. Hailed as the saviour to the publishing industry in the middle of the decade, by 2017 sales had plummeted so dramatically that there were a spate of articles concerning the death of the trend. But that said, a quick Google suggests that the trend is soldiering on.

You can still buy books with titles like I Hate My Ex-Husband (aimed at people who hate their ex-husbands).

What could be more rib-ticklingly funny than using swear words in a genre of book traditionally thought of as being aimed at children?

During the boom years, adult colouring books were bought en-masse, whether by people trying them out for themselves or as stocking-filler gifts for their least favourite relatives, many of whom would find that they weren’t that into them.

But there seems to be a small, steady market of people who simply enjoy doing them, or else find them therapeutic. In that sense, the trend is unlikely to vanish outright. As for the much discussed mental health benefits, these have been backed up by research.

One 2017 study showed that using adult colouring books does actually reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety – which confirms what plenty of people had been saying all along.

But are people who experience anxiety or depression still using these books as a way of improving their mental health? If adult colouring books really are an effective way of alleviating symptoms, this doesn’t seem like something which would simply tail off as a passing fad.

We spoke with Olivia, who lives with anxiety and still occasionally uses colouring books, though not as much as she used to.

“I find they’re really good when you just need to step outside of yourself for a little bit,” she says.

“Even though making my own art is a good outlet when I’m really anxious, I sometimes find having to create from the self can be a bit daunting and anxiety-inducing in itself. Colouring books take that pressure off. They let me zone out and reset.
“I always compare them to Buddhist monks creating mandalas,” Olivia continues. “It’s about focusing on one thing in front of you. It’s definitely meditative. Even destroying the pages afterwards is a really nice reminder that everything is impermanent, and that this too shall pass.”

Although, in one sense, the whole point is that colouring books don’t leave much scope for individual creativity, Olivia says that she still makes her mark.

“When looking back on certain pages, I can immediately tell what mental state I was in when I did them: how hard I was pressing, how loose or manic my strokes were, what image or colours I chose,” she explains.

For Olivia, and many others like her, adult colouring books are more than a short-lived publishing trend. Instead, they are an important act of self-care which helps them to manage their conditions – and there’s nothing childish about that.

How YouTube is replacing hobbies

By Marchelle Abrahams / Daily Mail for IOL

Are we raising a generation of web addicts? A major new study seems to point in that direction, saying children in the UK have become so addicted to screen time that they are abandoning their hobbies.

It found that under-5s spend an hour and 16 minutes a day online and their screen time rises to four hours and 16 minutes when gaming and TV are included. Youngsters aged from 12 to 15 average nearly three hours a day on the Web – and two more hours watching TV.

The study said YouTube was “a near permanent feature” of many young lives and seven in 10 older children took smartphones to bed. It concluded: “Children were watching people on YouTube pursuing hobbies that they did not do themselves or had recently given up offline.”

Creative parenting expert and author Nikki Bush believes the danger of technology is that it has become a management tool.

Many times parents look to it as as a virtual babysitter, to the detriment of a child’s mental health.

“Your child’s cognitive intelligence is all based on emotional bonding.

“They are growing up in a very hostile world and it’s hostile for a number of reasons,” said the author of bestselling book Tech Savvy Parenting.

What they really need is that feeling of safety and security that comes from belonging and togetherness.

It’s very important for them – it’s like a cushion for a hostile world. And that comes from human interaction, which is very important.”

But as parents spend more time away from their younger ones, many are flocking to YouTube to fill that void. Some youngsters are becoming so obsessed with YouTube celebrities that they idolise them as role models, an Office of Communications report said.

“YouTube was a near permanent feature of many children’s lives, used throughout the day,” researchers in the study said.

Often they come across unsuitable content by accident, when they are searching for something else.

Sometimes they simply seek out material they are too young to view.

They are also led to it by YouTube’s own algorithm which feeds them suggestions based on their tastes.

Children prefer YouTube to old-fashioned television or TV on-demand services because they “could easily access exactly what they wanted to watch and were being served with an endless stream of recommendations tailored exactly to their taste”, the report said.

Many of the parents involved in the research were shocked to learn what their children had been watching.

 

Paper cut: the ancient stencil art of Sanjhi

By Soma Das for Hindustan Times 

The stencil art of Sanjhi has its roots in Indian folk culture and is associated with Vaishnav temple traditions.

As an eight-year-old, paper artist Jaishree Pankaj Shah would watch intently as her grandfather made hand-cut paper designs or stencils to decorate the swing of Lord Srinathji. That was her first lesson in the Sanjhi paper craft.

Sanjhi is an art form rooted in the folk culture of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, and later became an integral part of Vaishnavite traditions. It was patronised as a refined art form in the 15th and 16th century, and was practised by priests in Vaishnav temples.

“During the Bhadrapad (monsoon) season, the temple floor would often be decorated with banana leaves cut into various shapes and sizes. The art later evolved into paper stencils with floral and geometric designs,” says Shah. “Sanjhi artworks were used to decorate temples, nat-mandirs and kirtan sabhas during Vaishnav festivals such as Holi, Janmashtami and Jhulan.”

At an exhibition at Artisans’ in Kala Ghoda, Shah is showcasing 45 Sanjhi panels (some are three dimensional and as tall as 20 sq ft) depicting the Raas Leela, and inspired by the architecture of the Vaishnavite havelis and jharokhas of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

The traditional art form was quite daunting as the paper cuttings were made directly without sketching or tracing.

To make a Sanjhi, Shah sketches a rough outline of the motif and then fills in the details while making cuts. She then glues the parts together on a coloured sheet of paper or silk before framing the work. “Each work is intricate, and it takes between a week to two months to make a panel,” she says. The traditional art form was quite daunting as the paper cuttings were made directly without sketching or tracing.

The art form of Sanjhi still manifests itself in places where Vaishnav culture flourished. “At Mathura, Vrindavan, West Bengal and Odisha — which are home to Vaishnav communities and Radha Krishna lore in visual and performing arts — you can find this art form reflected in various traditions that work with silhouette and stencil forms,” says Shah.

Bullet journalling drives stationery sales

By Tori Linville for Gifts and Dec

A journal is one of the most personal items someone can own, and the trend of bullet journals skyrocketed in the past year, driving sales of traditional stationery supplies like writing instruments and notebooks, according to The NPD Group.

The bullet journal was deemed “the analogue system for the digital age” by creator Ryder Carroll, and has seen more than 2-million Instagram posts relating to the trend.

Last year alone, consumers spend almost $210-million on unruled spiral, composition, graphing and other kinds of notebooks – 18% more than the year before.

Writing instruments that are often seen being used for bullet journals saw growth in sales as well: colour markers saw a 17% increase, paint markers had a 9% increase, permanent markers saw a 6% increase, gel pens increased by 6% and porous pens increased by 5%.

“Today’s continuously evolving digital transition makes for challenging times in the office supplies industry, but there’s still plenty of opportunity for traditional products to spark interest and maintain relevance,” says Tia Frapolli, president of The NPD Group’s Office Supplies practice.

“As bullet journalling and its close relative hand lettering are the most recent trends to emerge, it’s clear that notebooks and writing instruments remain important to consumers’ lives in terms of creativity, self-expression, and productivity.”

The nitty-gritty of hobby insurance

Source: SA Good News 

If you have, or are considering engaging in an expensive hobby such as Mountain Biking, flying model aeroplanes, collecting coins or artwork, being aware of the risks you carry and having adequate cover in place is essential to avoid financial loss.

Elizabeth Mountjoy, Private Wealth Manager at FNB Insurance Brokers says the first thing you need to understand is the niche types of cover required for your specific hobby and identifying an underwriter who specialises in covering such risks.

This is to ascertain that the insured asset can be covered for its full replacement value, as soon as it is taken out of your home.

Mountjoy says correctly insuring expensive hobbies can prove to be quite complex, leaving room for error if you try and manage it yourself. Therefore, it is essential to consult an experienced broker who can help ensure that you have covered all possible risks.

For example, there is a lot that you can overlook when trying to insure an expensive MTB bicycle valued at R250 000.

She says for expensive assets of this nature, there are a number of considerations that should be taken into account, such as travel insurance as well as tools or replacement parts to restore and rebuild the bicycle should it be partially damaged.

“As a result, a broker can assist you in correctly valuing the asset to ensure that you are fully covered in the event of a peril,” says Mountjoy.

“Although art purchases, for instance, would have an invoice to indicate the value, it can be difficult for an individual to determine a replacement value for an item they have painstakingly built up for months,” she adds.

A further consideration which can easily be overlooked when insuring a hobby is to get liability cover. The easiest way of doing this is by joining an association or club which could potentially offer this cover at discounted premiums.

For instance, when flying model aeroplanes you need to have personal liability cover to protect yourself in the event that damage or injury is caused to a third party property or individual. Read here to know how Atlanta auto accident attorney can assist in protecting the civil rights of the injured victims.

“Lastly, if you have a hobby that requires you to provide advice or you are trading or swapping in items of a particular hobby; it is wise to contact your broker and find out what liability cover they can provide you,” concludes Mountjoy.

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