Saturday, March 24, 2012

In Defense of Origami

I had a lovely lesson in origami the other night.  

Origami is derived from the Japanese ori meaning "folding", and gami meaning "paper".  It is the traditional, beautiful, Japanese art of paper folding.   

My friend, K, has taken up origami as a hobby.  She showed me some of her creations...

K shows off this basket made from $1 bill

This one is really cool!!
Some of K's geometric creations and magic rose cubes. 
This is a small box made from two $1 bills.

$1 bill box with removable lid. 

These puffy stars are out-of-this-world!

K showed me how to make a magic rose cube...  Each cube takes 6 pieces of paper and fit together with no tape or glue....  

K's 6 pieces are on the left.  Mine are on the right. 

The pieces fit together to form a cube!

The cube then opens to form a Rose!  It really is Magic!!
K shows off our creations!

With K's guidance, I made another one!!

K is concentrating...

It's coming together now...

K made another one too!!

Yay, K!

 After showing off what I had made to another friend, this frugal, ever-so-practical friend commented, "Well, it certainly looks nice, but whats the purpose?"

That got me thinking...

So, in defense of origami...  Reasons to do origami:

# 1 -  It is incredible to see paper folded and transformed into a functional item or piece of art.  It can be quite enjoyable.  It can be frustrating at times, although mostly, it is relaxing, rewarding, and stress relieving.  The first time you realize you folded an amazing creation, it is super exciting and fulfilling!  

 Many physical therapists and psychologists are using origami in their medical fields.  Origami can improve muscle strength and coordination, as well as attention, memory, and imagination skills.  

# 2 -  Origami requires and re-enforces your mathematical skills - geometry, fractions, and general problem solving skills.  In other words, you have to actually use your brain.

# 3 -  Scientists and engineers are using origami principles to design lots of "cool stuff" (yes, "cool stuff" is a scientific term).  Stuff that can be collapsed, transported in a small area, and then re-opened automatically in another location.  

Solar sails have been taken into space, medical stents placed in blocked arteries, and airbags folded more effective using the principles of origami.  Also, anyone who has ever tried to open or close a baby stroller knows that some deranged origami-loving engineer designed that thing!!

You've heard the saying "It's not rocket science"?  Well, let me just say, origami might just be rocket science!!  and...   It ain't for sissies!!

So, anything that is considered an art form and is used by super-genius science guys can't be all that bad!  I think I want to origami-it-up!

On a more personal note, my patient origami instructor, K, is just a few days away from reporting for Naval Basic Training.

She is a brave, intelligent, young woman who will make an outstanding sailor.  I am honored to know her and honored that she choose to spend one of her last few evenings before basic training with me. 

We love you, K!  We will miss you!  God bless and Godspeed! (I've never really heard anyone use the word Godspeed in real life - only in movies.  So....   Godspeed, K!   Godspeed!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Deco what?

I was in a friend's office and I needed to make a note.  So she hands me her clipboard.  Her clipboard looked just as exciting as these...


My friend's job as a counselor is to help people, giving them hope and inspiration.  (I know that sounds cheesy and corny - are there any other applicable food-y terms? -   but she IS a counselor, sometimes she says things like this and she does NOT sound cheesy or corny - or any other food-y term!)

Let me just say...  The clipboard was so UNinspiring !    It looked hopeless.   OK, I know that's overly dramatic, but seriously, it was just so...  brown.

I told her she needed to decoupage it.  I think she may have said something like, "deco what it?...  Yeah, like that's gonna happen!"

For those of you who don't know - decoupage is just a fancy word, derived from the french, that means gluing paper to stuff to make it less boring-ish.    (That's not the definition you'll find in the dictionary, or any book, but that's what it means to decoupage)

Doesn't decoupage sound more glamorous than gluing??  Gotta love the french for that! 

So, of course, I had to decoupage a clipboard for her!

I found some scrapbooking papers that I thought she would like.

Calming, Soothing, and Inspiring. 

I knew the edges of the clipboard would show, so I painted them before gluing the papers to the clipboard.

 Then I decoupaged the papers onto the clipboard (again, just a fancy word for gluing). 

Yeah, those are wrinkles in the papers.  It adds character!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

I really like the paper on the back. (The side with the bird cages on it).  The bird cages are glittery!   I thought it was pretty and inspiring, reflecting what she does on a daily basis - she helps people "learn to fly".  (Yes, I know - cheesy and corny - still haven't come up with any other food-y terms to use -  but remember, she's the counselor, and it sounds completely natural coming from her.)

After decoupaging the papers onto the clipboard, I used a varnish to seal both sides.

I really like the pen too!

This is the back side  

I attached the pen to the clipboard with braided embroidery floss to keep it from getting lost (I'm not saying that SHE would lose it.  I actually bought the pen a while ago and I didn't want to be the one to lose it).  Then I added the stamped washers (they were an experiment in metal stamping with Sarah).  I like them.  

I hope she likes this clipboard and her clients find it more inspiring than the boring brown one and, with her help, learn to fly.  (again, I know, cheesy and corny.  Just imagine her saying it.)

You may be wondering.....   What was Sarah doing during my project?....

Sarah's philosophy on Spicy Nacho Doritos....  1 bag = 1 serving.
Doritos and Mountain Dew!!  What's not to like?

You may have noticed there were 2 clipboards in the photo at the beginning of this post.

 I decided to decoupage a clipboard for myself.

Sarah helped pick out these very calming, soothing colors and prints.  :-)

I found the pen and HAD to have it!   It matches so well. 

I wasn't sure if this is my style, but I guess I must have a suppressed "wild side" because I really like it.   

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stamp out your frustration

I have been wanting to try metal stamping for quite a while.  I purchased a metal stamp set and some large washers.

I started simple and cheap.  The stamp set was purchased at Harbor Freight Tools and the washers are from Lowes.  Together, they were less than $10. 

I stamped LOVE on a couple of washers, then decoupaged scrapbooking paper on the back.  After it dried, I covered the paper with glitter varnish. 

I plan on possibly putting these on a keychain... maybe.

Sarah got in on the action too. 
She's a little crazy... crazy like a fox! 
Yay!  Fox Hat!

When my husband, Andy, got home from work and heard this craft required a hammer, he had to give it a try, too.  Any time he can use tools, he's all in!  

Are you sure this is how to do it?

He's getting the hang of it now. 

He only hit his finger once!

Here are their results...

Sarah was quite cre8iv.  Get it? creative=cre8iv  :-)

Now we need to figure out what to do with them!

After all the experimenting on the washers, Sarah and I progressed to stamping blanks.  Stamping blanks are metal pieces that are designed specifically for metal stamping and used in jewelry making. 

We had fun checking out the metal stamping supplies (and lots of other stuff) at Hobby Lobby.  We LOVE Hobby Lobby!!  As a matter of fact, we made several trips.  The first trip we picked out some stamping blanks. 

The metal piece on the green paper is actually a metal envelope!  

The second trip (on the same day) we picked out a few more blanks. 

The guitar picks are really cool!

The third trip (this time on a different day) we purchased a smaller, fancier set of letter stamps. 

These smaller letters are more feminine and fit better on the stamping blanks! 
kind of blurry, but that's the best my camera would do. 

We made a gift for a singer/songwriter friend, L.

L names her guitars, so we felt the need to stamp her guitars' names onto the picks.  Sarah wanted to make a bracelet with the guitar picks, but she went back to school and left it to me... so WE made "name tags" for each of L's guitar cases!  I think WE made a good choice.  Way to be a team player, Sarah!      :-)

Guitar names - Ambrose, Eleanor, and Alistair

 L is in the band Prairie Rehab (as she describes it, they play "twangy folk-pop") and is currently working on their second CD (she is the songwriter - lyrics and music - quite impressive!).  Check out her debut CD on itunes here or follow Prairie Rehab on facebook here

A gift I made for another friend included these stamped washers.

The paper on the washers' backs match the rest of the project - watch for a future blog post about this project.

Metal stamping seems to be a good way to work out suppressed anger, aggression, and frustration.  We all experience these on occasion, so you can be fairly certain there will be more metal stamping happening at our house!

Although, we'll just call it "crafting"!       :-)