Pleated Easter Eggs

Pleating is not origami, but another great way to manipulate paper into strong three dimensional objects, and this year's Easter DIY project, is fun to try, if you have never tried pleating before. 

There is only one horizontal pleating line in this design - and I have made it super easy for you, because all the necessary lines are clearly marked on the design.

I made six different designs for these easter egg like little lanterns, and I have made some variations to them, by pleating along different lines, and turning them some of them - so some are egg like, others more hot air balloon like, if you see what I mean. 

I also made you a little tutorial, with some photos showing the process and a few bits of advice. Pleating is hard to explain, it has to be tried and experienced - and then it becomes easy!

I went a bit color crazy - I long for spring and warmth and sun - and these are a bit more circus and carnival than traditional Easter decorations, but perhaps you feel the same?

Have a colorful Easter, and happy folding and pleating!


Palm frond weaving - an Easter tradition

This morning we woke up to another snowy day in Copenhagen! Easter starts this Sunday, and we are all more or less desperate for some real spring. So let's enjoy ourselves a moment with a lovely Easter tradition from some of the sunnier places in the world (such places where palm trees grow).

Making beautiful woven ornaments from palm fronds or leaves, is an Easter tradition for Palm Sunday (the day commemorating the triumphant return of Jesus into Bethlehem, where all his followers would wave palm leaves and greet him as a king). 

I have been curious about this tradition for a long time, having seen it on Pinterest and other places where folk art, DIY or crafts are shared - lovely and intricately woven crosses, flowers, crowns or animals - many Christian symbols, of course, but also poles or flower like pieces, like the palaspas above, from the Philippines, where the tradition is very strong. The palaspas are carried in great Easter processions, and sometimes also adorned with straw flowers.

There seem to be almost no limit to the many pattern variations and techniques - and the tradition exists in most of Latin America, in many catholic churches in USA and is also widespread in Italy.

In Florida and other places in the Southern USA, I have seen street vendors making quite non-religious sun hats, roses, grasshoppers and other pretty little things, so of course the material and the techniques are used for all kinds of things.

I find all these simple and so beautiful weavings very inspiring, and would love to try and have a go at it, if I can find some strong enough grass like plant in Denmark, that would do. LOTS of tutorial videos on YouTube, just search for 'easter', 'palm weaving', 'palaspas' and you'll find them. 

And to my joy, I discovered that it is also big in Ethiopia, a country that holds a special place in my heart (our son was born there), where the orthodox Christian community has a big Easter feast called Hosanna, where they give each other home made palm leaf rings - called Hosanna-rings! Aren't they great? The technique used here, reminds me of these paper necklaces.

Image credits, from top:

Palm Sunday in Mexico, Pinterest
Philippine 'palaspas' by Elmer Nocheseda
Domingo de Ramos palaspas from the Philippines, by Mike Alda
More Philippines: flower palaspas, and procession outside church, both Pinterest
Details both by unknown protographers, but the wreath is by Cecilia Woodrome
Hosanna rings and Ethiopian Hosanna procession, also found on Pinterest


Amazing creations by Mariko Kusumoto

Mariko Kusumoto is a Japanese born artist, living in Massachusetts.

She works in several different materials, but I discovered her, through amazing images of her sculptural polyester fibre jewellery, on Pinterest and places like that. Her amazing craftsmanship leaves me breathless, and I have been wanting to share some of her work here for a long time. 

When I did a bit of research, I also discovered her mind boggling and intricate metalwork (links later in this post), but I will focus on her delicate jewels here. 

Apparently she creates these objects by heating thin, filmy polyester fabrics, and then moulds them, in some fantastic way, I am hardly able to imagine. This Is Colossal has an article, where her technique is somewhat explained. 

Nature in all shapes or forms - and colours - seem to be represented here, there are flowers, jellyfish, fungi, corals or micro organisms studied in a Petri dish, all mixed up in the most delightful way. 

As I mentioned, I came across a lot of writing about her metal work, and it is every bit as stunning and full of detail as these creatures.

It is more weird, fairytale like, full of images and symbols. Go check out this article from New England Home, wich also tells a bit about her unusual background (she grew up in a Buddhist temple!).

In this video she demonstrates a metal sculpture, which is almost like a Victorian puppet theatre, or some kind of three dimensional, magical in-a-box-world.

And here she is!
You can follow her on Facebook as well....


Almost a tradition: Valentine's Origami

The last couple of years, I have done a Valentine's origami project for the blog, where I have done special patterns, tutorials and such, but this year I have been too busy. 

The other evening I did try these three dimensional puffy hearts, though, and they were fun to make. I found them on the Paper Kawaii YouTube-channel - a really great place to go, if you like origami. The instructions are very well produced and super easy to follow. 

Have a cosy, or perhaps even romantic, February 14th. Be good to someone, maybe especially yourself!

Go check out the flat origami hearts from last year - or perhaps the Hidden Heart origami letters from 2016. That year I also posted some Valentine's themed traditional Menko and Tato folded origami letters.


Yes, it's that time of year

It's friday and I'm packing for the annual skiing trip to Sweden, a topic I have covered in great length before - but I hope you'll forgive me. It's simply that I am always so delirious with joy that we are going, and can hardly wait. I get like a five year old, when I look at the images from the other years, to me it's better than Christmas (well, almost) and New Years put together, and the best thing we do all winter.

It also gives me an excuse to post silly or nostalgic skiing outfit pictures, so today I am presenting to you (above) the lovely Lady Clementine Churchill, in two piece wool, Hermès scarf and St. Bernard dog. 1937 in St. Moritz, of course, where apparently most truly stylish skiing takes place. She gets to go first, because I just watched the very see worthy 'The Crown' on Netflix, where she is portrayed in a very sweet manner. 

I adore these ladies as well....

However, I could not see myself doing much skiing in heavy wool trousers, fur and stiff leather boots. Skiing I find complicated enough as it is, and modern, functional sportswear are one of the reasons it is doable. 

Except this polka dot number from a sixties editorial in Italian Vogue. Now, that I could go for. 

(images are from Getty Archives and Condé Nast Traveller)


Suits January perfectly: Brutgroup on Instagram

My favourite Instagram flow at the moment is this one: @BRUTgroup - a curated selection of images submitted from all over the world, with one theme: Brutalist architecture. Now, this is an architectural style most people have lots of opinion about, and no wonder, as it often has a kind of totalitarian-regime-vibe, and seems to be more about elaborate, over-the-top visions, rather than constructive ideas. 

But if you follow this account, and see the generous flow of images from all corners of the world, you get a much more nuanced idea, and sometimes simply a bit of a laugh - some of the projects are really absurd (and beware: a few of them are created in Photoshop!).

But there is something really beautiful here, I think. At least it's sculptural and eerie, and just perfect as a kind of architecture of the soul for this January, with its usual lack of sunshine and eternal howling wind. 

All images are from BRUTgroup on Instagram. From top, buildings from Morocco, UK, Brazil, Japan and Vietnam. Some are old, some more recent. Go check this cool account yourself!


A Daruma and a Happy New Year

A Daruma is a Japanese painted papier-mâché tumbling figurine, and a very popular talisman, if you want to set yourself some goals in life, but have ordinary human limitations and need a bit of encouragement. 

It is very much that kind of time in my life right now, and I have a very small one (but size does not matter) staring at me, as I type this.

The plump, little guy is actually a portrait of Bodhidharma, the monk who founded zen buddhism, and when used as a talisman, it works like this: first you set a specific goal - and yes, it needs to be quite specific, measurable and not vague. Then you go get your Daruma. The Daruma is born with blank eyes, and the next thing you do is fill in the one eye. Place your Daruma somewhere near you, like at your desk or bedside table, where he will look at you, wink-wink, reminding you about your goal. 

And then one day, amazingly, your goal is achieved. And then you get to fill in the other eye. 

They are to some extend a New Years tradition, but not exclusively. The Japanese use them all year round, and they even come in different colours for different themes: gold for financial matters, purple for health, white for love etc. The red, for general good luck, seems to be the popular one!

There is a zen proverb often connected with them:
Nana Korobi Ya Oki,
meaning 'Fall down seven times, get up eight'. 

With that little guy, I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year, and hope that your dreams will come true, and that you will meet some of your important goals.

Photo credits:
Darumas outside temple: Tony Lopez on Pinterest / Daruma painter: Yuriko Nakao, Reuters


Magic Snowflake Paper Toy

For all the impatient kids who are tired of bending over their their iPads or TV-shows (and perhaps even some of their parents?), I have this little Christmas present. If you have never had a kaleidocycle in your hands, it's about time you did. This is a cunning little paper construction, and easy to build yourself - and I have made you one with festive and seasonal snowflakes. 

All you have to do is get this PDF, print it on regular paper (perhaps the heavier quality, if you have it), cut, trace and glue. I took a few photos to show you - see the mini-tutorial here. 

It folds endlessly into itself, giving you lots of time to think of something nice and relax for a bit. Think of it as a very low tech fidget spinner, and even something you might decorate the seasonal table with. 

I even made you a primitive GIF to show you how it works.....

Happy Lillejuleaften as we say in Danish - or 'Little Christmas Eve'


Holiday spirits-ish

Even though I am technically only semi-employed and freelance working at the moment, it feels great to be able to say: Finally Christmas vacation and a bit of peace and rest! Or not quite yet, that is. Today we are having a party at our house, tomorrow it's office Christmas parties, Saturday it's going to be all about (I suspect) slightly panicky shopping - and then there's the big to do on the 24th.

But then, perhaps? All I wanna do is take a long, long walk, some place beautiful and quiet, without shopping bags or places to be at a certain time.

I love this photo, I found it on Flickr a long time ago. It's by Manuel Raposo, and appears to be taken in Salzburg. I want to be in that photo.


Upside Down Origami

Are they flowers? Or a kind of three dimensional stars? Should you hang them this way - or that? 
I really couldn't say. You decide. 

But they are easy and quick to make, and for these I had some fun with a pile of old magazines I was taking to the recycle dumpster, but absentmindedly stood around leafing through. And I just saw all these nice colours and textures, and started ripping pages out. 

Dusty or fleshy pink is still unavoidable it seems, and that's all right with me. 

I put together a tutorial for you, so go get it right here, and get started on the little thingys. They take about five minutes to make, and would be fine for kids or origami novices.

Hope you'll have fun with them, have a great weekend!