Tagged: Hobbies

BirdWatching – Binoculars and Beyond

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Birdwatching, also referred to as “birding,” is the activity of observing and identifying birds in their natural habitat and understanding their ways of life. Bird watching is a popular hobby. It allows the hobbyists to spend their free time leisurely and peacefully exploring the nature.

Birding is more than merely observing birds. It gives the enthusiasts an opportunity not only to identify different types of birds, but also understand and appreciate the beauty and harmony in nature. The activity hones such skills as keen observation, listening, exercising patience, and being in tune with nature, not to mention photographing.

Birdwatching can feel like quite a treasure hunt as one spots different types of the avian creatures for the first time, especially when they are of rare species. Birds are considered to be among the best ambassadors from the natural world, and birdwatching brings enthusiasts closer to nature. The activity helps people understand the various aspects of nature that contribute to making suitable habitats for different types of birds.

Most bird watchers start by identifying birds in their own area. As they become more familiar with the birds in their immediate area, they often expand the territory that they travel. As the bird watchers spot and discover different species, they are motivated to travel farther and farther. Some serious enthusiasts travel the country, even the world in pursuit of their hobby.

A basic bird watching checklist of items to have includes:

  • Binoculars: Helpful for closer observation of birds at a distance, without disturbing and affecting the birds’ behavior in their natural environment.
  • Field guide: A comprehensive field guide is immensely helpful in identifying the birds In the given region.
  • Journal and pen: Most avid bird watchers make notes of their experiences. Keeping a journal helps remember the location the birds are found in, what the birds look like, the sounds they make, the behaviors they exhibit, and other vital details.
  • Camera: Many bird watchers love to bring cameras with them. Snapping a few pictures of birds they observe in their excursions helps them identify the birds better and use them to get excellent photographs to help them document their experience.

A hobby that began in the early 20th century as enthusiasts used to observe and study birds by shooting them down, birdwatching changed into a more peaceful activity. With tools like scopes, binoculars, cameras, and field guides widely available, bird watching allows people to observe these exotic creatures while they are left to live peacefully in their natural environment.

Amita Vadlamudi’s favorite bird pictures can be seen on her Pinterest and Flickr sites.

 

 

A Brief History of Pottery and Its Importance in Cultures

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Pottery is the process by which an individual uses clay fired at high temperatures to create durable figures and vessels. These can be of any shape or size with varying functions.

Pottery has acted as a doorway into the past for us to learn about history and prehistory of mankind. The durability of the materials used for pottery have stood the test of time and carry the stories from past millennia, giving us a snapshot of how people lived and the general view of civilizations over time. Pottery plays such an important role in learning about the past that many archeological sites and ancient civilizations are recognized by the name of the pottery itself.

Heating the clay at different temperatures will give you a different final result, with the lowest temperatures giving you earthenware, mid-temperatures, resulting in stoneware and high temperatures for porcelain. Early civilizations used fire pits with low temperatures, so most ancient artifacts that are found are hand-shaped earthenware.

Earthenware was the earliest form of pottery from the Neolithic era and is still seen today. It is created at temperatures as low as 600˚C and can be made using a variety of different clays, including terracotta. Earthenware is mostly seen unglazed and usually undecorated.

Stoneware is fired at high temperatures in a kiln; temperatures can go up to 1200˚C. The results are a lot less porous than earthenware, meaning the finished product could be used to hold liquids and as tableware. This method was first seen in China, but carried through to Europe starting in Germany and making its way across the continent post the Renaissance.

Porcelain, which is also produced in kilns with temperatures of 1400˚C, was first discovered as part of the Tang Dynasty in China between the 7th and 8th century. This type of pottery was so popular that it was exported to all parts of the world until the 18th century when it was finally able to be produced outside of East Asia.

Pottery today is made with all sorts of materials, with a variety of tools and fired up at different temperatures. The uses of pottery, nowadays, range from elaborately-decorated pieces for homes to simple tableware.

Author: Amita Vadlamudi,    https://amitavadlamudiblog.com

 

Origami as a Hobby

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Origami is widely known throughout the world today. Most commonly used by people to make different animal sculptures by folding pieces of paper, origami is both a recreational activity as well as an art form. This art form said to have originated from ancient Japan, roughly a millennium or so ago. Some scholars debate that the art form originated back in the 6th Century AD, while others believe that it could be even older.

The term “Origami” derives from two Japanese words “Ori,” which means folded, and “Kami,” which means paper. Origami is an art form that  incorporates the aspects of creativity, games, and mathematical puzzles into a single craft. In its art form, origami is able to attract a lot of people today. A simple activity, people are able to produce the most ingenious sculptures and designs by doing nothing more than intricately folding a piece of paper.

Several art and crafts forms involve the use of paper, but origami is a technique that stands out. The unique quality about origami is that you just need to use paper without the help of any other material to form sculptures.

Through a series of well-planned folds and creases, people can make anything from the simplest of animal sculptures to highly sophisticated structures. There is no cutting,  gluing or any other technique involved.

Many people think origami has little more use than being a pastime for children, but this art form carries more weight than it is generally given credit for. Mathematicians, architects, medical professionals, computer programmers, and engineers are just some of the professionals at the top level who are able to take inspiration from origami in their fields.

Traveling from Japan to China, and then to the rest of the world over the centuries, the art of origami is now an internationally practiced craft. It is used as a pastime for children and adults alike. This art of paper-folding even extends from use as a leisure activity to use in various professional fields.

 

After retiring from computer technology job, Amita Vadlamudi now likes pursuing hobbies, fitness, reading and occasionally tweeting. The following is Amita Vadlamudi’s Twitter Page.

https://twitter.com/AmitaVadlamudi

Crossword Puzzles Make a Good Hobby

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With the digital technology dominating contemporary times, pursuing crossword puzzles as a hobby may seem like a primitive activity, a relic left over from ancient times. But even in this computer dominated age doing crossword puzzles on the paper is a major hobby for many people – young and old alike. For many enthusiasts crossword puzzles are an integral part of their morning ritual. They are as welcoming as the morning light and as stimulating as the hot sip of freshly brewed coffee.

This seemingly old-school hobby is more relevant today than ever. Aside from simply keeping the people occupied, crossword puzzles have many healthful benefits such as stimulating minds, keeping the brains sharp, and helping people connect with others. Following are some of the benefits that the crossword puzzles can bring.

  1. Shortcut to Smartness

Crossword puzzles flex cognition, boast verbal skills and prepare peoples’ brains for challenges they face. They trigger connections between ideas and words, stimulate brain activity and help hone the memory and recall skills.

  1. Therapy without Cost

The satisfaction that comes after solving a puzzle is not as short-lived as you think. It triggers the production of dopamine – a neurotransmitter which gives feelings of pleasure and uplifts your mood instantly. This intellectually demanding activity can take your mind off everyday worries and help you deal with stress as well. Solve puzzles, solve problems!

  1. Maintain Social Bonds

When pursued as a group hobby, crossword puzzles help strengthen social ties by creating shared memories and a sense of group accomplishment. It nurtures the ability to collaborate strategically and manage conflicts. If you feel lonely too often, this hobby will turn your spare time into an opportunity to socialize!

Choosing the right kind of hobby can completely transform your outlook on life. Crossword puzzles could be just what the doctor would have ordered for individuals who have free time to fill, who would like to keep their minds and brains sharp and who would like to make and keep healthy social connections. Start your crossword puzzle journey today and see their wholesome impacts unfold.

Amita Vadlamudi is the author of numerous articles on this site as well some of her other web sites.  Following are the links to some of Amita Vadlamudi’s other articles dealing with hobbies:

https://amitavadlamudi.wordpress.com/2019/03/24/stamp-collecting/

https://amitavadlamudi.wordpress.com/2019/06/01/candle-making/

https://amitavadlamudi.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/the-hobby-of-coin-collecting/