Origami Kusudama Flower Balls

Origami –  how difficult is it? Fold a piece of paper to form a peak, and you have a mountain fold. Fold it the opposite direction, and you have a valley fold. Make a couple of folds, then open them up a bit and squash them, and you have – tada – a squash fold.

Its just mountains and valleys…. How hard could it be?
– Unknown –

My youngest daughter has been making origami Kusudama flower balls. I asked her to teach me how.

We started with a trip to a Hobby Lobby to buy a package of 12 inch by 12 inch patterned paper, a stick of super sticky glue (double sided clear tape or a glue gun would work too), and some  long paper clips.

I would have bought a paper cutter if I didn’t already have one, because each sheet of 12 inch paper had to be cut into four 6 inch by 6 inch squares. If I had wanted smaller flowers, I could have cut the paper into smaller squares. For the project I had in mind, I needed to make 24 flowers. 5 petals per flower. 120 squares of paper.

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There are many websites and YouTube videos that explain how to fold each flower petal, but I’ll fast forward through that rather tedious process so I can display the flowers themselves. The photo above shows some of the petals in various stages of being joined to create a finished flower (which is the one in the centre of the photo.)

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In the photo above, I’m almost finished one half of a Kusudama Ball. Six flowers form half a ball. I used the paper clips to hold the glued sections together until the glue dried.

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Once the half ball was finished, I attached it to a thick piece of black cardboard and mounted it in a frame.

I could have joined two half balls and made a full ball to hang from the ceiling.

The boredom of making 120 petals was relieved somewhat by the variety of papers I chose. If they had all been one colour, or solid colours, I might have abandoned the project!

I don’t suppose any of you have some half finished projects that were simply too boring to finish?!

I was going to start an origami business but was afraid it would fold.
– Unknown –

Those pics are paper-view…
– storm avoider –

Origami – The Math of Fortune Telling

“Pick a colour!”
Schoop, schoop, schoop. (This is the best I can do at describing the sound made when a Paper Fortune Teller is manipulated.)
“Pick a number!”
Schoop, schoop, schoop, schoop, schoop, schoop.
“Pick another Number, and I’ll reveal your fortune!”
The flap with the number two is unfolded and the fortune is read: “You may be small but your ideas will be BIG!”

If I had received this fortune when I was a kid, would I have thought it was hokey? Or would I have thought ‘When I grow up I’m going to share all my BIG thoughts on a blog, which will be read by very few people, but I won’t care because…’  Of course, when I was a kid there was no internet and therefore no blogs, and I certainly didn’t think I was going to remain small, so I would have thought it was a dumb fortune.

But this was the fortune I got when I downloaded, and made a Paper Fortune Teller plan posted by the Children’s Author, Deborah L. Diesen. (She calls it a Cootie-Catcher, but that wasn’t a term used in my day.) Deborah warns that her fortune teller doesn’t really tell fortunes or predict the future, but I beg to differ with her!

When I was a kid, the Paper Fortune Teller would appear on the playground a few times each year (it was banned from the classroom, which was unfortunate.)  Once one person made one, everyone made one, and the craze would last for a week or two, then disappear. At the time, we didn’t know it was a very simple example of Origami and we certainly didn’t think about the geometric shapes we were creating when we folded a flat piece of paper into a three dimensional object.

Paper folding has likely been happening since paper was first invented! However, Origami as a Japanese art form began when paper first arrived in that country in the 6th Century. Paper was quite expensive at that time, so objects made from folded paper were reserved for special occasions. A butterfly, similar perhaps to the one I made, might have adorned the Sake bottles at a formal wedding ceremony.

Origami today is an entirely different duck as a result of the work of a number of  individuals who have described the mathematics of origami, extended the range of what can be folded, and applied origami to real world science situations. One of these ‘Folders’ is Robert Lang. You can see his remarkable Compositions on his website – Robert J. Lang Origami.

Even the simplest Origami is not that easy as you will see when you try to open up the Paper Fortune Teller for the first time. As for the Butterfly I made – well, I won’t give you the link to the instructions because they were abysmal.

Happy Folding! May your mountains and valleys be crisp and precise!

Paper Craft – Where a Newspaper Can Take You

A visitor left a newspaper on my kitchen counter. After I scanned the headlines, I thought I’d like to write a post that tied together: the price of Groceries in my city, Eco-Friendly Cat Litter, Brier Curling Results, the Stock Market Report, the latest on Gadhafi in Libya, and what people are saying in the Letters to the Editor. I couldn’t find a common thread, and didn’t really want to spend much time looking for one.

Yet, I did accomplish what I set out to do, thanks to a website dedicated to green design projects. All I had to do was gather up the appropriate newspaper pages, fold and tie them as directed, and then fan the pages into a Pom Pom shape. In about ten minutes, I had tied all my stories together, though not in the way I had originally intended…

I can’t think of any practical use for this Newspaper Pom Pom in my house, but I have no use for Cat Litter nor Gadhafi either, so I guess this project is a useful social commentary.

I’d never make another one, though, because I really don’t like the feel of newsprint, and I don’t like ink all over my fingers. Which got me thinking about books and ink.

I was at the library the other day with my sister-in-law (The Reader). She absolutely loves books – she likes the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink, and the weight of the book in her hand. Those types of observations would never cross my mind. I don’t think much about how things feel, nor how the smell, for that matter. So while she was happily browsing the books, I was talking to the information man about eBook readers and which books I could download onto my Nook.

If I am not really a tactile centered person, what am I? That question took me to a site about Learning Styles, a place I had no intention of going when I started writing this post. I had not thought about what my learning style was. Yet, there I was in the Visual Learning Section. It described me so thoroughly that it was spooky:
– Good at spelling but forgets names. (This is a big relief…)
– Needs quiet study time. (No TV or radio when I am trying to write!)
– Has to think awhile before understanding. (Explains that blank look I sometimes get.)
– Take notes, make lists. (Is there anything that can’t be put on a list?)
– Likes colors. (Did you guess this by my blog theme?)
– Understands/likes charts. (I like maps too…)

I learned a lot today. I think I’ll go make a list of those things…