12/31/2014

Confetti System on the last day of 2014

It's the last day of the year, and I am making very rich chocolate-pecan pie and vacuum cleaning everywhere, in honor of our guests, arriving later this afternoon.

New Years Eve is always a bit weird for me, it will never be my best evening - I get too moody and reflective, but I insist on a bit of celebration all the same. I love champagne, and kids can stay up as long as they like. People may kiss or cry as they prefer, and on this one night of the year we do hook up our mirror ball (on display all year round) with its little spin-around motor.

Let's pretend I was a lady of independent means with enormous ceiling height in some vast space: then I would throw a grand ball for everyone I like - and you, all you out there, who have found your way to these pages and enjoyed them through the seasons - you'd be more than invited.

I know exactly who I would summon to do the blingbling-ing for this fantasy party: Confetti System.
They are my paper craziness heroes: a duo of artists from New York, who have taken tissue paper and all kinds of metallic foil to very sophisticated heights.

Read more about them in this article from www.dwell.com.
You could also check out their blog.

Now, back to my fantasy party. There would be champagne, of course. It is one of my favorite beverages in the world. There would be ice cream. There would also be drinks with fresh mint in them, because we mustn't forget our vitamins, and there would be a salsa band playing all night long. Since no band can play non-stop, they would take turns with this very fantastic classic motown disco-type band, with a kick ass horn section. If you wanted to rest your feet, there would be a bonfire outside and cosy chairs around it.

And you could stay as long as you liked.

On this note I will post the last images this year: various projects by the amazing Confetti System.

Happy New Year!


12/24/2014

Merry Christmas, everybody!


Remember the advent gift wrap? It has been a great hit with my son - and I hope some of you out there have used it as well. We have had lots of fun and daily discussions about numbers, and most particularly about how different they might look. Very educational, but not boring, I would say!

I actually hardly remember what I wrapped in these last two, but the rattling teeth and the Playmobil lumberjack, were in there, sometime in December.

And here is our tree. Atopped with candy stripes, and adorned with this and that. Now for a late breakfast, and then I need to wrap some gifts. 

Merry Christmas to all my readers, everywhere in the world.
I wish you all peace and some quiet days and time to enjoy the company of someone dear to you.

12/23/2014

Superstar

The last four days have been non stop activities and driving around for visits and shopping, but now all we need to do is trim the tree and sleep late and eat a slightly unhealthy breakfast in our pyjamas. And here is what I made last night.


If you have some time over for a little crafting project today why don't you make one as well? It's a stripey superstar! I made a woven top star for the tree a few years ago, which have been used since, but we have a really giant tree this year, so I felt like making a new, slightly more outrageous one. And I just looove red/white stripes.

You download these two PDF's - one for the star center and one for the star beams.

(here you see all the beams plus the center bit unfolded, and how it looks when it's folded and glued)

You need to make 20 of the pointy things (so print 5 copies of that PDF), and one center bit - and then you simply glue the 'beams' - as I have decided to call them - onto the center, which is easy and quick. As usual I would say it pays off to cut very precisely, and trace all the lines lightly before folding them. Simply drag the tip of a sharp knife or a needle lightly along the lines (use a ruler), don't cut through the paper of course. And the folding will be so easy! If you make this a top star for a tree, leave out one of the pointy bits, and gently cut a hole in the center bit instead. And the star sits just fine on the top branch. Of course you could make it a big hanging ornament, or a standing paper sculpture as well! 

The finished star is approximately 25 centimeter in diameter. It took me a bit more than an hour to make it, and it is not at all complicated, just a little bit boring to make those twenty beams - but it will be worth it!

Have a lovely December 23rd...


12/19/2014

A teeny tiny crafting party for the young ones

We usually have a kind of party where we invite quite a lot of people over for Christmas paper crafting and general munching and beer / hot tea drinking, and it is usually one of my favorite kinds of Christmas get together, but somehow we forgot about it this year. When both my husband and my sister were going to their big office parties today, I decided to make a mini party for the remaining family. 

I sort of curated some projects for the two five year olds, with a pack of plastic straws and a lot of paper scraps. Since you can be certain that you can always get these two boys to put stuff on a string, I decided to make it simple for them. I punched a gazillion little flowers and cut the straws in bits, before the boys even got here. 

I absolutely insist on activities like these once in a while, even though LEGO and iPads are more appealing at five o'clock on a Friday afternoon. They stuck with it though, the little darlings. And my nephew even wore a tie. How cool is that?

They made glittery garlands and hanging trees. So pretty.





12/18/2014

Graphic Double Diamonds

Since you have all become so good at making these, I think it is time for a slight variation. Now these I have seen here and there, and I had the impression that they were kind of complicated to make. But the other day something made me look at the shape again, and I saw that they had to be somehow related to the origami diamonds I link to above. And they are! The first two thirds of the folds are exactly the same. I did a little digging, and found a super tutorial, and gave it a try (see all links down at the bottom of this post).

They are much easier than they look. Are they origami, when glue is involved? I have no idea, but here they are. And as ususal, I felt like making some special paper design for these, because they work well if they are sort of cool and sharp and graphic looking, I think (you can make them in any paper you like, of course!).

The first paper squares have a grey ombré-effect - and I made two sizes; 13 x 13 and 10 x 10 cm. 

And the thing about this print is, that it is actually anything but grey! Isn't that cool? I love playing around with that effect, a Photoshop filter that deconstructs all shades of grey (as in this case) into pixellated color speckle, that looks like this up close.

I felt like making some different even sharper black / white designs, that emphasize all the folds. I always look for this kind of origami paper in shops, but I haven't come across it. I mean, something with lines that correspond with some of the most common origami folds. So I made some. I think it looks great! It works particularly well, of course, with origami designs that are centered in the middle of the paper. Anything star like, pointy or wheel like, I guess, would be fun to make with these paper squares. 




For hanging I just tried this; I took my long needle and stuck it right through with this pink makramé string. You could insert a string before you glue the two halves together, of course.

Feel free to download my two sets of different origami squares, and remember to print them on thin paper (I always use cheap 80 gr. printer paper from the supermarket for origami, because it is soft and a bit coarse).



If the link to the tutorial no longer works (the blog it is found on is no longer active), I have taken the liberty to put the series of step-by-step images - without the explanations, but they are still very easy to follow - on this page.

The stackable wooden candlesticks in the photos are by my clever friends at Helgo.

12/17/2014

Winter in Copenhagen

Some grey winter mornings I cross this bridge....
....to go to this fantastic place. It is called 'Helgoland' and is a traditional public ocean bath house.
And then we jump in. Here, my friend is on her way - into 4 degrees Celcius. I hadn't been in for several weeks, and I really didn't think I had it in me, but it was just wonderful. We even swam a few strokes. Sauna and tea afterwards!

12/16/2014

No Christmas without woven hearts!

Not on this blog, anyway. And since I have done so many of the traditional ones, especially back in 2011 (links here, at the bottom of the page), I thought you might like these. 

Just like the little project the other day, these are an alternative thing you can do with the Fröbel Star strips, and I think the older kids will like them too. You could also do them with ribbon (that needs to be a bit stiff and coarse), felt, plastic or leather like fabric. These here below, are made with four 15 x 50 mm. paper strips, folded in half, exactly as you need for a star.


If you can weave a Fröbel Star, these are super easy (much easier than stars) - but really, they are, even if you can't.

I have made a tutorial, and you can find it right here.

Apologies for the murky images in the tutorial, but they were taken in lamplight, and that is always a tricky situation - but I assure you, they are cute and easy to make, and I hope you like them.
Bye for now.

12/13/2014

Kasia Gasparskis FLOOR PLAANs

The other day I was walking along one of the small streets in central Copenhagen, and passed some of my favorite dream windows - and you all know what I mean by that! They belong to the fantastic goldsmith and jewellery designer Kasia Gasparski, and I have been coveting her jewellery as long as I can remember, especially her gold pieces with red enamel. In the windows were these fantastic filigree like objects, which turned out to be little architectural silhouettes, when you looked closer....

There was a small note in the window about them, but the shop was closed, and I went home and googled, but found nothing. A couple of days later, I went back and knocked on her door, and found her busily at work on these very interesting objects! Here is what the windows looked like, from the inside, maybe that gives you a better idea.


So, I got the story. Kasia Gasparski has always been fascinated with architectural images in her work, and has made some wonderful pieces using that very basis for all architecture, the floor plan, as a motif, sometimes symbolizing something very intimate and private, and sometimes things much grander. A couple of examples:





The gold brooch is based on a modern Danish family house, and the silver brooch depicts the plan of the old Copenhagen Castle, which stood from 1370 to 1713! Now, she is a very interesting artist, indeed, and I urge you to google her work, and find out more yourself, for her work is both humorous, philosophical, sensual and much more. And very wearable too! She explained that her website is under reconstruction, but I will give you a link anyway, because a new one will definitely emerge here:
Kasia Gasparskis website, www.kasia.dk
 

I will try to stay with the subject, and not talk much about her jewellery right now, even though it's hard (that would require so much more space), but about her FLOOR PLAANs, as she has named her invention: the floor plans of some of the most significant and beautiful churches in the world, done as hanging ornaments. She has just started a commercial production of them, and was working on the first batch, fresh from the people who precisely laser cuts them in wood. Then Kasia herself will sand them, base coat them, sand them again, and finish with a layer of matte white. 

They end up looking so crisp and almost snowflake like, and if you have an interest in architecture, they will make you rediscover the magic beauty of the plan. They could be Christmas ornaments to some, icons or crosses to some, and architectural mobiles to others. I just love the idea, and I think you are welcome to read into them what you feel like!

She told me that she is working frantically on making them available online, but until now, you have to buy them in her shop in central Copenhagen. They start at around 32 euros.
Adress: Kompagnistræde 25, DK-1208, Copenhagen K. Phone: +45 33 14 16 80.

She has made two series, one of churches from Istanbul, Aachen and Jerusalem, among other places, and a series of Danish churches. I will end this post with the Danish series. 




Danish churches from top: Roskilde Domkirke / Grundtvigskirken / Vor Frelser, København /
Skt. Bendt, Ringsted / Vor Frue, Kalundborg

12/12/2014

Blue Origami Diamonds - and a Cph shopping tip

These origami diamonds have been a slight obsession for me and a couple of my girlfriends. We started making them only recently, and they are addictive! Once you begin, you just get into the weird origami flow and only the fact that sometimes you run out of paper, seems to stop you. My friend had made a 146 of them the other day, and then decided to loose count there and then. She says they are just for decorating her tree - so I hope to get a nice picture to post here, because that sounds cool!

They are the simplest kind of modular origami: two sheets to make one diamond. I spotted them on YouTube some time ago, and thought they would be nice if you made them in lots of different patterns, but essentially in just one color. 



If you like my single color idea, I designed you a set of blue shades origami squares! They are also only 11 x 11 cm. (most origami papers are 15 x 15 cm.) and that makes a nice size for the ornament. I punched a hole with a needle through the tip and put some loops of bright blue makramé string in (they do this slightly differently in the video, but my way is easier).



I made a batch of these for the annual Christmas Market in the local weaving workshop, if you just simply cannot be bothered to make them yourself.

This market is really, really worth checking out, if you are anywhere near my neighbourhood, Frederiksberg, Copenhagen. It is the tenth anniversary og the workshop this year, and they have invited lots of guests to join the market - you will find everything handwoven, from large rugs to feather light cashmere scarves, and everything else textile: Pillows, tea cosies, shibori dyed silk, hand knitted fashion items, and much much more. Everything in superior quality, investment pieces at a bargain price all handmade by some of the best weavers and textile designers in town! There are also graphic prints, silver jewellery, glass and ceramic pieces - and lots of inexpensive little Christmas knick knacks (such as my origami) in paper, porcelain, felt, plastic and so on.

This is where you'll find the workshop, at Smallegade in Copenhagen


12/09/2014

Easy Little Paper Wheels

Here in Denmark, Fröbel Stars are a very popular Christmas ornament, and I love making them, especially since the pre-cut strips now come in so many colors and patterns. I used to cut strips myself, to be able to make stars in crazy colors (strips used to come in white, silver and gold only), but no more. I have also painted them and decorated them in different ways.

I didn't start making these slightly complicated stars before I was all grown up, I never had the patience for them as a kid, and they are not for beginners. You can try them yourself, and you could get started with this tutorial! You can find several videos on YouTube, as well.

But back to the pre-cut strips, so widely available here in Denmark. I wanted to come up with a little simple ornament to make from these, so easy that my son (aged 5) could make them - and ended up with these rather cute little wheelie type things.



You make them from exactly two star strips, and a fun thing is that you can play around with how you hang them, as you can see above - either string them as beads, put a ribbon through the hole, or punch a hole for a thinner string in one of the folds.  

They derive from a very traditional ornament: Musetrapper in Danish or 'mouse ladders', or even 'cats ladders'. They are one of the the simplest types of garland you can make - if you need an explanation there is a fine tutorial here

To make the little wheelies, you make one small 'mouse ladder' from only two star strips, and trim the ends with glue. When that is dry, you press together the two square ends with a little more glue, to make the wheel. Voilà.

I made these with the different store bought strips I had, and here are their measurements if you need to cut some yourself: 25 x 860 mm., 15 x 500 mm. (the most common kind) and some 10 x 500 mm. for the tiny red ones (a bit to long for a good wheel, so trim these a bit). These super handy strips can be bought in all kinds of online DIY material shops, and are a must if you like to make Fröbel stars, and now wheels! Google for 'stjernestrimler'. They are inexpensive and will save you looots of time measuring and cutting - plus they have print on both sides, which is what you want for both stars and these types of folded things.

Musetrapper will often be the first kind of Christmas finery children in Denmark make. Along with the classic and universal paper ring garland. Here is a page from one of my old Christmas books:








What you often do, is have the children make lots and lots of the shorter bits, and then your kindergarten group or class will put them together to form a very long one, to hang across the entire classroom, or something like that (The photo above is from Gl. Estrup Herregård, from an attempt to make Denmarks longest 'mouse ladder').

This last image (from the Danish blog Reklamejam) is interesting. It is from last years Christmas season in Berlin, and taken in the &Other Stories shop (a favourite of mine, by the way), where these enourmous paper garlands were a part of the Christmas theme. They look very intriguing, like a kind of 'mouse ladders' but somehow... hexagonal? If anybody knows what they are, please let me know!

Saffron is a necessity

This is the most important purchase I have made for days. I am making 'Lussekatte' for 18 kids tomorrow, and this is the main ingredient that makes these delicious buns what they are. 

I have written about the holy saint Lucia and the saffron buns you eat to commemorate her kindness to the poor, before - and I posted a recipe for the buns as well. They are totally yum, and for some reason I haven't made them the last couple of years, so I look forward to them. 


The day of the holy Lucia is on December 13th, so this gives you a couple of days to get to it!

12/06/2014

Big Patchwork Bauble

If you only make one single paper ornament this year, this could be the one. It is slightly related to these but assembled in a different way. This one is a little bit crazy and multicolored but manages to be quite Christmasy all the same, at least in my view. It is very easy and fun to make, and only requires that you cut the 20 circular units quite carefully, fold the edges and glue the whole thing together. This is actually an icosahedron, but there is absolutely no need to be intimidated by that. 

Download your PDF right here!

A bit of advice follows, and really - it takes about fifteen minutes to make this baby.

An 'icosahedron' is a polyhedron with 20 faces. Now you know.
Cut all your round bits - 20 bits to make one bauble.
Very gently trace - DON'T CUT - the dotted lines with a knife or the tip of a needle. This will make folding easier!
Assemble the first five bits like this.
Add the next five ones like  this - and the next five in between those.
The shape is now bowl-like - now add the last five bits, and perhaps glue in a ribbon when adding the last one.
And your patchwork bauble is done. I punched a hole in one of the round flaps for my string.