Back in 2002 when we got married I folded 145 origami irises to use as placecards at our wedding. And when I taught middle school I held an after-school origami club in my classroom. It was so fun to hang out with all the crafty kids on Monday afternoons!
I still love good origami books and clever ways to use origami to make things.
This week I've been playing with Party Origami, a new origami booklet and kit by one of my favorite bloggers, Jessica Okui.
Jessica writes a terrific blog of craft tutorials called Zakka Life. I'd describe her aesthetic as cute, tiny, careful, and clever. Some of the projects and recipes she's posted have become staples in my household. Here are a few highlights:
sticky note monsters These are on my list for a rainy day.
mini postage stamp flags Such a brilliant idea! I have a huge bag of old stamps from my grandfather's collection.
DIY oversized sequins So cute for a New Year's party!
packing peanut igloo My kids already did this. So much squealing with glee when the peanuts stuck together!
no carve pumpkin faces On the list for Halloween 2013.
soft serve origami Would be great on a summer birthday card.
wine cork vase Cute!
butter mochi Say the words "butter mochi" near my children and they will run up and hug you. I have three boxes of rice flour squirreled away so that we never run out of ingredients to make this.
out of this world valentines These were the 7-year-old's valentines this year. Huge hit.
Party Origami fits right in with Jessica's other work. The front is a booklet with instructions to make 14 origami projects and the back is stocked with 75 sheets of two-sided patterned papers.
My 7-year-old daughter, Stella, shares many of my interests. After school last Wednesday we sat together and made five models from the booklet: the boat chopstick rest, name place card with favor pouch, paper square coaster, pinwheel cupcake topper, sweet lollipop heart cover, and star candle holder.
As we worked it struck me how difficult it must be to write origami instructions. I'm accustomed to writing technical directions for sewing patterns and craft projects, but origami has its own set of symbols and accepted wording. I asked Jessica to tell me more about the process.
"I'm at the point where writing tutorials and instructions comes fairly natural to me," Jessica said. "However, when I had to create the origami instructions, it was like learning to write tutorials all over again. Everything has to be very specific and exact. There's no 'eye balling' in origami."
Origami instructions are really visual, with universal symbols for mountain fold, valley fold, pleating, and reverse folding. "With each fold I would document what I did through a hand drawn illustration," Jessica explained. "Once I had the illustration made, I would write directions for that illustration only. The directions had to be consistent. For example, if I was referring to a 'crease', I could only say 'crease' and not use any synonyms."
An exacting process, just like the act of folding origami.
Use Party Origami to make fun decorations for celebrations all year: Thanksgiving placecards, Fourth of July pinwheel cupcake toppers, and Valentine's Day heart-shaped lollipop covers. These projects are cute, tiny, careful, and clever, exactly what Jessica is known for.
Disclaimer: Chronicle Books sent me a review copy of this book. Amazon links in this post are affiliate links.