Uncategorized

Who Invented Loom Bands?

Lynn Schreiber

Founder and Editor at Jump! Mag
A freelance writer, who lives and works in Scotland with her family and fluffy white dog.

Likes: Writing, reading, twitter and chocolate
Dislikes: Negative and angry people

Where did the loomband craze start, and who invented loom bands? That is the question we are going to answer today. Set your loombands aside for a moment and find out!

The Loomband craze started in 2011 with a Malaysian father of two crafty kids. Cheong Choo Ng’s daughters Teresa, then 12 years old, and Michelle, then 9 years old, liked to make bracelets out of rubber bands. 

Cheong wanted to join in the fun, but his fingers were too big. His first loom made similar bracelets to the ones his daughters were making, which didn’t really excite them.

His next attempt had three rows of pushpins, and he discovered that he could loop the bands in various geometric patterns to create much more interesting bracelets. Now his daughters were impressed!

At first the family made bracelets for friends and neightbours, until Cheong’s 12 year old daughter suggested he should try to sell the kits. He invested $10,000 in the first sets of RainbowLoom, and approached local stores with his invention.

At first the stores were reluctant to stock the RainbowLoom, so Cheong and his daughters filmed YouTube videos, so that people could see what was so fantastic about the loom.

 

 

 

An American toy shop owner discovered RainbowLooms, and started selling them in her two stores in Atlanta. She and her staff would demonstrate the loom bands to young girls, and the kids would ask their parents if they could buy them.

They soon found that loom bands appealed to boys just as much as girls, and that whole families were soon getting crafty with the little elastic bands! 

The store in Atlanta was part of a nationwide franchise (a chain of shops) and when the owners of the other shops heard about this fabulous new product, they wanted them in their stores.

Cheong couldn’t keep up with the demand, as the shops were selling out of RainbowLooms as soon as the new delivery arrived! Cheong gave up his normal job as an engineer for Nissan to work full-time as a toy manufacturer.

So how did a dad with a fab idea beat the big toy manufacturers and come up with this best-selling invention?  Cheong told Fast Company, that his training as an engineer helped him to create the RainbowLoom, and how to be successful in business 

 

 “Being an engineer I was more open to trying different things. Don’t give up. Try all options. Learn as you go. Push as many buttons as possible, one of them will work.”

In fact, Cheong said that the biggest lesson he has learned as a new business owner is to practice something common at Nissan: the lessons learned system. When something goes wrong, you do a step-by-step critical analysis. Trace the problem all the way back by asking why did the problem happen, and why did the cause of that problem happen and so on and so on until you find the root cause. And then figure out how to fix it so that it doesn’t happen again.

 

Cheong redesigned the loom 28 times until he was totally happy with the product, and spent a lot of time working out the best way to manufacture it, how to get the best quality, how to film the videos and market his invention. 

The story of loom bands is often told as an ‘overnight’ success, but that neglects to look at the hard work and innovation Cheong dedicated to developing the product. Having a great idea is only the first part of making it a success. 

 

 

Featured Image by Choons Design

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Uncategorized

Real Life Minecraft – What Is Obsidian?

What is obsidian

Lynn Schreiber

Founder and Editor at Jump! Mag
A freelance writer, who lives and works in Scotland with her family and fluffy white dog.

Likes: Writing, reading, twitter and chocolate
Dislikes: Negative and angry people

 

Part two of our series on the features on Minecraft asks the question – What IS Obsidian anyway? In Minecraft, Obsidian is a deep purple and black block known for its high blast resistance and strength, but what is Obsidian in real life like, and what is it used for? (Hover over words in CAPITALS for further explanation).

 

Obsidian is sometimes known as ‘Nature’s Glass’, because of its smooth, glassy appearance. It is an [infopopup:Igneous] rock which forms when molten rock (i.e. lava) cools very quickly. The speed of the cooling means that crystals didn’t have time to form.

 

Where Can I Find Obsidian?

 

 

 

Since obsidian is formed by the cooling of molten rock, the obvious place to start looking for it would be around a volcano, right? That doesn’t narrow it down much, because we are looking for places which have experienced [infopopup:rhyolitic] eruptions, which include Argentina, Armenia, Canada, Chile, Greece, El Salvador, Guatemala, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland and United States.

 

What Does Obsidian Look Like?

 

 

The rocks have a glassy appearance and while black is the most common colour, other colours such as red, dark brown are also known. As mentioned in the above video, obsidian flows very slowly. Other obsidian flows may occur on top of each other, giving the rock a stripy, or streaked appearance. Obsidian is somewhat brittle, which means that it break easily. The edges of broken obsidian can be extremely sharp.

 

What is Obsidian Used For?

 

The sharp edges of obsidian were used as far back as the 9th millennium BC to serve as knives, scrapers and razors. In the Bronze Age, obsidian was used as tools and weapons, eg arrowheads, but also for vases and other objects. Obsidian was highly valued, and ancient people mined, transported and traded in obsidian over distances of up to a thousand miles.

The sharp cutting edge of obsidian means that even today it is used in medicine. Thin blades of obsidian are used for modern surgical scalpels, used for precision surgery. It is equal or better than surgical steel!

Obsidian is also used in jewellery, often as highly polished beads, but it is easily broken or damaged, which limits it’s usage slightly. It’s more likely to be found in necklaces or earrings, rather than rings or bracelets. This lack of hardness brings advantages – it’s relatively easy to carve. Artists have been using obsidian to make sculptures and figurines for thousands of years.

Featured Image by Jason Clor, via Flickr

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5 Simple Steps to Put on a Play

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Have you ever wanted to put on a  play but felt like it’s just too tricky to know where to start? Love drama but don’t know how to make the whole thing up yourself?

It can seem like a big task but Laura Bates has worked out some simple steps you can follow to get started!

 

Choose a Story

 

 

 

 

You can make up a story yourself or choose a classic story from your favourite book or a famous tale – anything that catches your imagination. Try to start with something not too complicated (the whole Harry Potter series might be a bit too much for a first attempt!!)

One great idea is to pick a traditional story and then change it around a bit – what about a Sleeping Beauty where it’s the Prince who is cursed and the Princess who fights through the brambles to save him, or a funny ending where the things don’t quite go to plan as they do in the original?

 

 Pick 5 Important Moments

 

 

Choose the most important things that happen in your chosen story to give it its basic storyline – as if you were giving a friend the summarised version of what happens.

For example:

-A baby prince is born and everybody in the castle celebrates.

– The wicked fairy curses the prince at his christening.

– At the age of 21, the Prince pricks his finger on an enchanted arrow while hunting.

– The Prince and all the castle and subjects fall into a deep sleep for many years.

– A brave Princess rides by on her horse and hacks her way into the castle to wake the Prince.

 

 Create a Frozen Picture of each Moment

 

 

 

 

Think of showing your audience a still photograph of each one of your important moments – who would be standing where, how can you make it look striking and dramatic? Here are some top tips:

-Use different heights and poses to make the picture more interesting – one person could be reaching up high and another might be crouched on the ground.

-Remember that you can create objects in your image too – think of making a human staircase or using a human tower to show the heights of the castle!

-Just standing in the right place isn’t enough to show your audience what’s going on – use facial expressions to really show what each character is thinking. In the tableau around the new-born baby, for example, the wicked fairy might be lurking at the back, looking devious and plotting her mischief!

 

 Add Speech to Each Picture

For each of your important moments, choose a few key lines to bring the story to life. These could be lines of dialogue, showing what the characters are thinking and feeling, or a sentence spoken by a narrator to explain to the audience what is going on in the scene. Share these out evenly so everybody gets to say some lines. Remember, the narrator doesn’t have to be the same person all the way through the play. You can even use simple costumes like hats or scarves to show who the main characters are – this way the person playing the part doesn’t have to be the same in every scene!

 

Make your Pictures Move!

 

 

 

Now for the fun part! Add in a few actions to bring each picture to life. They can be simple, repeated movements that play over and over again to make the moment stick vividly in the audience’s mind. Or perhaps a string of different movements to show the different events that happen one after another in that scene.

Finally, allow the movement at the end of each scene to blend into the beginning of the next picture. You can use all sorts of exciting effects for these transitions, from slow-motion transformations between characters to sudden changes of height and position for a dramatic change. Let your imagination run wild!

Once you’ve completed these 5 simple steps, put it all together and you’ll find that your play has taken shape as if by magic! Now you can add in any extra dialogue or moments you think are necessary to polish it off. Adding in some good music can help to bring out the tension or excitement of key moments too – you could always include some songs or take advantage of any musical instruments you know how to play.

Once your play is polished to perfection, you’re ready to make your own tickets and programmes and present your performance to your family and friends.

 

Lights, camera…ACTION!

 

 

 

Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project 

 

Featured Image courtesy of Flickr

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Toys and Games, Uncategorized

Angry Birds Epic Game Review

Lynn Schreiber

Founder and Editor at Jump! Mag
A freelance writer, who lives and works in Scotland with her family and fluffy white dog.

Likes: Writing, reading, twitter and chocolate
Dislikes: Negative and angry people
We get Wesley Williams from FamilyGamerTV to go hands on with the Angry Birds Epic role-playing game on the iPad and delve deep into the first levels of Red’s quest to recover the stolen eggs from the evil Wiz Pig! Watch as we fight off a variety of King Pig’s subjects in turn-based battles, free Chuck from their evil clutches, explore our first dungeon and craft a new weapon with all the loot we acquire along the way.

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Raising Feminist Boys

Lynn Schreiber

Founder and Editor at Jump! Mag
A freelance writer, who lives and works in Scotland with her family and fluffy white dog.

Likes: Writing, reading, twitter and chocolate
Dislikes: Negative and angry people

Our contributor is mother to two boys and a girl. She has recently been thinking about raising her boys, and the expectations society has of them. 

 

Raising boys to have a feminist perspective is harder than it should be. The media, peer pressure and the response of other adults allow a view of boys being the hero boys being tough to be perpetuated.

I have a daughter and two boys, my daughter is frustrated when in their play she is always the one to be ‘rescued’ There are ways to challenge this notion. By looking for male role models who respect women and who see women as equals, there is book about cinderella where she rides a motorbike and rescues the prince. I wish I could remember the title.

By showing boys it’s ok to have emotions, and allowing them to express them. The phrase ‘boys don’t cry’ should be banned.

By showing boys for example that mum can check tyre pressures, top up windscreen wash, and dad can do the ironing or cleaning up. Stereotypical roles can be challenged.

By encouraging them to see that all people are equal beings with similar hopes and dreams and by educating them about power, privilege and the responsibilities which come with these.

Hopeful knowledge is power and will allow my children to recognise its what they want to do in life that matters not their gender.

 

 

What do you think? Do the adults around you treat you differently to the boys? 

 

 

Featured Image 

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