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Ancient art of relaxation

[caption id="attachment_6340" align="alignleft" width="300"] Eleanore Myers shows off a few of the hundreds of origami boxes she has made.[/caption]

Resident makes hundreds of origami boxes

Eleanore Myers is constantly on the go. We see her everywhere on campus — chairing our Community Assembly, leading the women’s Bible study, and volunteering her time and talents wherever she is needed.

It’s hard to picture Eleanore sitting still, but she makes sure to fit some downtime in among all the activity. Eleanore likes to fold origami boxes. Made of several sheets of richly patterned paper, the boxes have become her favorite way to unwind after her busiest days.

"If I feel really stressed out, or I’m working on a Bible study and I get really into that, I get so wound up that I’m afraid I’ll not be able to sleep,” Eleanore said. “I just sit down, turn on some music and make a box. It is just a wonderful way to relax.”

We love seeing the many hobbies our residents enjoy — sometimes a lifelong pastime, sometimes a new discovery. We have card makers, quilters, woodworkers, painters, crafters and collectors, as well as those who love movies, puzzles and games. We have dog lovers and car lovers and sports lovers. Some, Eleanore included, volunteer their time as their hobby. It’s a gift to turn to an activity that brings you joy.

In the three years since she learned the technique, Eleanore estimates she has made hundreds of the eight-sided boxes. They are about six inches across, with a lid. The box and the lid each take eight pieces of 6-inch square paper, folded precisely and secured by one brad each – no glue required. She can make a box in about an hour, almost anywhere.

That wasn’t always the case.Eleanore first learned origami from her sister-in-law, who learned from a Japanese woman in Omaha, where Eleanore’s brother and sister-in-law live. Her sister-in-law gave her a box as a gift. Later, she came to visit Eleanore at Newton Presbyterian Manor. Eleanore decided to turn the craft into a fun community activity.

“There were 13 ladies here. She taught us in the sunroom,” she said. It took them each about four hours to complete one box. Since then, Eleanore has taken on the teacher’s role and occasionally will give a class for a small group of residents. She sells her boxes for $2, which covers the cost of her supplies, but she also gives many away. Eleanore greets new residents with a handmade origami box filled with mints or candy, and she takes some to people when they’re sick. They also make perfect gift card holders.

“I’ve done many hobbies in my life, and this is least expensive, as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “My time making them is something I have benefited from. We all need to keep busy and, really, I am just impressed, living here so long, seeing people active and living good productive lives.”

Eleanore still has the first box she made. It’s where she keeps her Christmas jewelry. Every December, she pulls the box from the drawer. “It’s fun to get it out and see how I’ve improved.”

Is there a hobby you used to do, or something you’ve always wanted to learn? Take Eleanore’s lead and have the courage to try something new. It just might become your new favorite thing.

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