Why living memorials?

 

Life and Death, how nature teaches us how to heal.

From the time we are born, we are learning all about the circle of life. Mother nature is very obviously teaching us, and imprinting on us that all things come and go. We celebrate it on every occasion, without ever thinking of it. The circle of life is around us all the time, we witness it 12 months of the year, and we have landmarks for it, Spring, lambs and flowers. Summer abundance of vegetables and flowers, warm air and blue skies, happy faces  and glowing skins full of life! Autumn ( fall) turning leaves and cooler shorter days. Warm clothes and reflective walks in nature. Winter nights and still cold air, and seasonal celebrations and again reflective times, of friends and family passed. Then New Years and forward thinking, making plans and looking ahead, can you see the pattern? Mother nature is teaching us that all things pass and all things come again. There is a great mystery to life that is written and documented better than I ever could, it is a mystery that we all want to understand, we as humans are complex thinkers, we like to solve things, we look for clues all the time, it is how our brains processes. The answers are there. Everyday, 365 we are been giving the clues and answers.

When a loved one passes. Our world is shattered, we are frightened at the loss, unable to understand that they are gone. Where are they, do they see us still? can they hear us weep and pray? This we will never know… this isn’t a comfort! I know, I know from experience myself. This is our Winter… our dark and cold place in our heads. Like winter these feeling pass, they don’t go but they lessen. Then we have moments of reflection, we smile and laugh and celebrate our memories once again.

However, where is our Spring? our Summer? surely if what I have written about Mother nature teaching us is true, then in the circle next comes spring, then summer..right? This is how our minds work, we need to make it right.. to have that pattern. This is where planting new life in memory of a loved one helps. It is a constant and visual reminder, that life goes on! the circle of life is whole. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, and again, and again…

Plant flowers or Trees in memory of you loved one. Celebrate that even if you can’t be sure, or you can not prove it, life still goes on.

This has helped me. I know it will help you too.

 

Geri xx

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Seed Paper for Schools

gaelscoil pic
Seed Bomb from Local Irish School

Hi, it’s been a long while since I have written here, I have been busy developing projects for my business. I would love to share this one with you all.

sunflower bombs
Seed Bomb

I’m really excited to share this new idea with you all. I have developed a super educational tool for teachers.

I remember my early school days, and the Nature Table we had set up at the end of the classroom. I always felt really proud when I would bring in a feather or an acorn and the Teacher would let me place it on the table. I found myself always on the lookout on my walks with my parents. I was really lucky because my mother worked in Dublin Zoo, in the big restaurant there in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. My sister and I would often go with our Dad to collect her after work. I remember finding a huge feather one day, from a swan. I couldn’t wait to bring it to class the next day. As Dublin Zoo is in the Phoenix Park, one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces in Europe, I was always sure to find some treasure for the nature table.

However, my favorite part of our nature studies without rival was growing plants! We always grew cress seeds on tissue paper. I loved how the grew green shoots for the slippery almost jelly like wet seeds. I loved their peppery taste too! However the whole growing experience was always too short-lived for me. They came and went quickly.

With this experience in mind, I have developed my seed bombs. I make the seed bombs with recycled paper pulp. This is usually a byproduct of my hand-made seed paper offcuts. I then add sunflower seeds to them. They contain Irish wildflower seeds already.

The reason for the sunflower seeds is the germination is very speedy and robust. They can be started indoors and nurtured until a warmer and more appropriate transplant time. This is perfect for schools as the timing is in and around school annual summer holidays. ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have these educational tools prepared so you could focus more on teaching the kids?’ How easy when writing this part of the curriculum to have the aids to hand and have a constant, growing reminder that the kids could take home at the end of term to remember?’ The whole ‘flower’ can be planted as it is 100% biodegradable. This is a very easy way to plant seed. The seed bomb acts as a vessel. The seeds are encased within the paper, and will remain dormant until all elements are in place.  They can keep for up to three years this way in dark dry conditions. When they are planted in compost and watered, the sunflower seed will germinate in a matter of days.

They are easy to handle, visually explanatory and children love them. These wonderful little vessels are perfect for multisensory learning. 

They come with a care pack for teachers and students. The children are encouraged to plant the flowers and gather the seed, to document weekly the progress, even during summer. This is both convenient and a fun way to learn.  The whole pack offers lessons in the importance of recycling and the life cycle of the plant. There are also lessons on bee and pollinators conservation. Below is a video in which you will see the growth 13 days on from planting, enjoy!

Wildflower Wednesday Video

Why seed paper?

My name is Geri Fortune.  I run an arts and crafts business In Dublin Ireland. I have a passion for recycling and more predominantly Up-cycling. Recycling is a wonderful practice, we all know the benefits of it. Up-cycling goes that one step further. This is when we use unwanted, waste or indeed useless products and transform them through creativity. This has a better impact environmentally and through the reuse of   everyday materials we reduce our carbon footprint. I offer online and offline courses in this.

I love to recycle everything I can. I love the challenge of transforming the old and unloved into something new! We as a society waste so much! As a result, our children can think “everything” is disposable. This is NOT the case!

Addressing this as a parent or teacher can be a daunting task! We live in a time when everything we need seems to come in an instant! Seldom do we question how things are made or indeed what impact the process of manufacturing has on our planet. When we need for example paint to do a project, we buy it readymade. This can be expensive both on our pocket and our carbon footprint. Paint can be made from ingredients we have already in our home. This teaches our children to breakdown the dependency of instant gratification, whilst teaching them appreciation.  They become more mindful of how things are made and they learn to make their own. This will spill into all areas of their lives. As the saying goes

 “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you have fed him for a lifetime”.

Arts and Crafts are a wonderful way to teach children science and nature. They unconsciously learn about them through a fun and creative process. This is something I reinforce through my tutorials. I will give you an example of what I mean.  The “Magic Milk” experiment. This is a chemistry experiment, the magical interactions that occur when the dish soap grabs the food colouring. Soap is a “degreaser” so the molecules in it are attacking the fat in the milk, this causes motion which in turn creates the “swirl” of colours. It is a Fascinating process to watch! And when you lay paper on the surface you capture that “lesson” tangibly.

Homemade Recycled Paper, made from paper you rescue from the recycle bin! Used copy paper, old receipts, junk mail, scraps for projects even grocery bags. This paper can be used to make cards, journals etc or just to use in your projects. You can colour and add flowers, spices, herbs etc so that is becomes a sensory experience also.

meadow

Then there is ‘Seed Paper’

Why seed paper? well that’s easy to answer… My idea is to spread the joy of beauty and Nature whenever possible. This simple act of giving a gift of seed paper is hugely beneficial to biodiversity. Our wonderful friends the butterflies and bees love wildflowers and they are in decline. The modern times we live in and the use of pesticides have greatly affected the abundance of our beautiful wildflowers. When I was a girl I remember walking through meadows of them, not to far from Dublin airport.

trees and flowers

There is nothing more beautiful than the sight of a sea of flowers and the sound of the gentle humming of bees. My sister and I would squeal with delight at all of the beautiful butterflies we would dance after on these magical walks with our dad. My seed paper can be planted in garden, pots, abandoned unloved urban areas and so easily. I make little emblems from the paper I make, these are so easy to give as a gift. Why not mark an occasion with one of these special life giving cards, just one small switch in your gift giving can make such a huge impact in this planet we live on. Feed our little friends the tiny ones, they do so much for us.