2/29/2016

Taking a plunge

The fact that you can make a slight adjustment to an incomplete calendar by simply adding a day every fourth year, sounds like a solution so nuts, but at the same time pragmatic, that just imagining how anybody came up with it in the first place, makes my head spin. 

I had a school friend who was born on a leap day, so the whole wackyness of this phenomenon, has occupied my mind for the longest time! I like the English term 'Leap Day' though. In Danish it's called 'skuddag'  which sounds more like a day where you should go shoot someone. 

Get dizzy or take a leap! (and please don't shoot anyone)




2/14/2016

A hidden heart origami letter

The other day I taught you how to fold traditional Japanese menko and tato envelopes. And if you didn't quite get around to it the other day, here's the chance. And I even designed this very romantic version, where you unfold and discover a hidden heart. 

The rest is up to you!

Download the special Valentines / Galentines / Palentines heart-letter origami paper here, in both passionate red and and a very girly and delicate pink. Print on both sides of the paper for this design, and start folding with the heart pattern facing you. 

Learn how to fold the menko - video on YouTube here (and it's very easy, I promise.)

2/13/2016

February 13th is Purple Hijab Day

Purple Hijab Day is an international day of raising awareness against domestic violence. It is founded in the Muslim community, in memory of Aasiya Zubair, who was murdered by her husband. You show your support for the cause by wearing a purple hijab, scarf, tie, hat - or whatever is at hand!
While it is by no means meant to be only a Muslim event, a very important focus of Purple Hijab, is to go against the prevailing stereotypical idea, that the Koran somehow allows violence against women, and that all Muslim men are misogynists or anti-feminist. In Denmark where I live, the demonisation of Muslims gets worse by the day in our media, and I find that extremely worrying. This is why I love it when things like this, helps us a few steps back on the right track. Or at least a better track.

I hope that lots of people will put on something purple today as a gesture towards more understanding between our different faiths, much more respect between the sexes - and in hoping that the generations to come won't have to celebrate it at all - or perhaps will do so, only to remember Aasiya's story and because it looks great. As in the image above, where a woman in Ethiopia have not only donned her purple hijab, but also painted her doorway purple. The image (the photographer is not credited, too bad - it's a fantastic picture) is from this article.

There are also countless pages about Purple Hijab on Facebook, go check it out if you are curious about local events or activities. 

2/12/2016

Menko and Tato - folded origami letters

Okay, so we all agree that Valentines Day is a nasty old capitalist conspiracy. Now that we've gotten that out of our systems, I was thinking, maybe you have someone to give a small gift to on Sunday, or perhaps a flower? Or just a few words, or something?

So, after blogging under this name (look up at title header) for years, it's a bit odd that I've never done a Valentines post before, I guess. And since I started liking to fold small, practical origami bags, boxes, envelopes, etc., one thing lead to another.

Go make someone smile on Valentines Day - or is it Galentines? Or Palentines? Either way, these are fun to make, and very, very easy. They are big enough for a letter, saying you promise to empty the dishwasher more often - or a photo, a movie ticket, a diamond ring. 

Under each photo, links and explanations - and at the end of the post, links to the special, pretty red/pink large origami papers I have made especially for these. All of them are two sided, because these designs look so much better with color and pattern on both sides of the paper. 

I have saved you a lot of time and found the videos on YouTube (there are thousands of origami videos, and I promise you I have found a couple that are tested by me and easy to follow!) Happy folding!

Now, these - I call them Pinwheel Cards - are not even real origami. They are the most basic way to fold an envelope, but added a little twist. Make them from my template, that is by far the easiest way, and the template (print one on card stock and cut it out, and use it again and again) also explains the eight easy folds you have to make. 




This is a basic One Sheet Menko, the simplest kind of origami envelope. It is a nifty little container, and of the four variations shown in this blog post, this the strongest, and one that actually closes tightly. It divides the paper into nine squares, which means it will be quite small. 


This I will call a Pinwheel Tato - 'tato' being another kind of origami envelope - and it is also very simple, and only requires a bit of skill when the last fold is to be tucked under the first, for closing. You will make a couple of very messy looking ones first, and then you will get it. 


And now the last design: let's call it a Diagonal Pinwheel Tato. It is the trickiest, but actually I think it's a bit easier than the one above, it locks or closes more snugly. 

Follow the advice in the video and use a thin knitting pin or something like that, plus a ruler, to score the diagonal lines before folding them. It really works! And about half way in the video you will go: 'Whaaat??' - but watch it again, try, and soon you will see. And these odd looking folds will magically twist into this beautiful little flexible thing. I love that kind of origami!


And now; the origami papers. All the ones shown in the photos above, for free download! Have fun.

2/10/2016

Masashi Wakui - Tokyo by night

As anyone who sometimes reads this blog knows, I'm a bit of a Japanophile, or whatever the phrase may be. I have visited Japan only once, about fifteen years ago, and I work hard at convincing my husband who hasn't been there, that we really, absolutely must go, some time. I know both he and my son would completely love it.

I came across this fine photographer - Masashi Wakui - who takes the most stunning pictures of street scenes in Tokyo, especially at night. They show a Tokyo actually very much as I remember it; a lot of hustle and bustle, but also lots of tranquil little alleys, and all of it vibrantly, insanely colorful. Lots of wild contrast; steel-and-glass high rise architecture next to two storey wooden houses, and an ancient shinto temple or perhaps a crazily noisy gaming arcade stuck in between. Rain, umbrellas, neon and red silk lanterns. Gleaming, shiny taxis (the Japanese taxi drivers wear white gloves and polish their cars every day. They also sometimes have little lace doilies on the headrests). It's just a marvellous place, full of wonder and unexpected things.

Taking pictures at night is so hard, I find, and his way of doing it is really seductive. He does a lot of sophisticated afterwork, and if you feel inspired, I came across a Photoshop tutorial for matching his visual style. Maybe worth a try? Interesting, anyway. 

In the meantime, enjoy his beautiful Tokyo.  



(All images copyright Masashi Wakui, from his flickr site)