Janice's Doings in Tübingen

Froebel Stars - Dec. 2014

Thanks to the YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-HMJiRg1kk), I finally learned how to make these sweet stars from 4 interlaced paper strips!  As we decorated the Christmas tree this winter, my youngest two children were disappointed that they had no homemade, personalized ornaments for themselves.  We decided to change that!  I taught my 11-year old how to make these Froebel stars then, and together we made a personalized set of stars for him and his five siblings.

Tomoto Fuse's Spiral Ornaments

These spiral origami ornaments, made with four pieces of square paper, have been a joy to learn, thanks to the video:

Again, my two youngest (ages 8 and 11) made some of these along with me to personalize for our 2014 Christmas ornament.  In Christmas-y colors, they look quite festive, but they also look good in pastel colors.  I attach a piece of elastic cord to them, then they can also be used as tags for presents.

3-D Raised Star cards - December 2013

I designed these 3-D cards to make with a third grade class.  The stars are three levels; two versions have lines to color in and simple lines for cutting and two other star types are blank for inspired doodlers and have more intricate forms to cut out.  Here are some examples I made as Thank You notes.

Here an angular version...

... and here some curvy lines for coloring.

These cards below are the ones that are more difficult to cut and have no guidelines for coloring.

... a more curvy version...

... and an angular version...

Kirigami - week of 14.-20. January 2013

All of these work the same way:
Fold a square paper in half diagonally, then again and again.  Using sharp scissors, cut away as shown on the left, making sure that
your folds are on the right and left.  (The center of the paper is at the top in the left picture.)

Here I used the same motif from the center of the yellow one.
I didn't want to mess around with cutting in the middle, so I cheated a bit for those two inner squares.





Folding a Square Paper into a Hexagon (for Snowflakes or Suncatchers) - 11 June 2012

Here is a short photo tutorial to prepare square paper into a hexagon shape so that you can make lovely 6-sided snowflakes or suncatchers, as I do using transparent colored paper.  (Tutorial coming soon!) 

Butterfly Suncatcher - 9 May 2012

This was an ultra-quickie craft that I couldn't resist making in about 5 minutes this afternoon.  Instead of using this for a greeting card, I cut it on colored transparent paper* to hang in my window.  I'm such a sucker for papercrafts, especially ones that involve just a few folds and a few snips.  Lovely!

I took a hexagonal piece of transparent paper.

* Actually, I just realized that I'm not sure what this is called outside of Germany!  It is like tracing paper that's colored - thicker, stiffer and waxier than tissue paper.

Anyway, I folded that in half 3 times to get a nice triangle, then I folded that in half once more and cut as you see here, with the center of the triangle on the bottom.

On opening it up just once, you see the simplified butterfly shape which then becomes 6 when opened completely.

How to Make a Paper Suncatcher - 12 June 2012

Here's the photo tutorial to make paper suncatchers!
This is not really complicated - you can cut as you like - but it may be a bit tricky to work out what to cut away and what to keep.  Experimenting is fun and will result in some interesting designs that you may not have even planned.  The results are always exciting!

Good things to remember: 
1. Don't cut from one fold line to the other fold line on the other side because then you'll chop off a whole piece of your paper!
2. There will be 12 layers of paper to cut through, so don't try to make anything too intricate. 
3. Any finer cuts should be made FIRST before the structure gets too flimsy.
4. Be very careful opening up your cut paper.

Start with your regular hexagon.  Use this tutorial to make one!
Fold your hexagon back up again, keeping the folded sides on the right and the left with the center of the hexagon as the point on the bottom.  There are six layers of paper.
 Fold the left edge over to the right edge.  You now have TWELVE layers of paper with the center of the hexagon still being that bottom point.
Here's a tulip pattern.  Cut on the lines as indicated.
Here's the dragonfly pattern.  Again, cut on the lines.
Here's a fancier flower.
Here's a (green) snowflake using the same shaped (essentially - I leveled off the top) and cutting the same thing on both sides.

Differently-Styled Paper Suncatchers - 19 June 2012

Hello again with more experiements in paper cutting to splash up my windows!  I had seen something like this at a friend's house and thought I'd try it out myself.
These two are made from the same pieces of paper - 2 yellows, 2 light greens and 1 darker green, plus one sheet of white for the right design - the 'cut-away' parts were stacked on top of each other to make the pattern on the left, the 'left-over' parts were stacked to make the pattern on the right.

I also made this one below just using the 'left-over' parts, using 1 white, 2 yellows, 2 light greens and 1 blue. 
On the table surface the 'cut-away' version looks best; you can easily see that there are 5 layers of paper (or shading).  Those distinctions are a little harder to see on the 'left-over' ones.

However, when I put them up in the window, the 'left-over' ones look super (although they are a bit washed-out due to the late afternoon lighting on the far side of the house) and the 'cut-away' one looks, well, like just a blob of sorts!  Using a synchro flash (as in the first picture and the one immediately below) helped some of the color show up as it really is.


Transparent Star Window Decorations - 2 May 2012


Our one bedroom has a gorgeous view out onto our now-lush green garden and the afternoon sun comes streaming in through the window which takes up the entire side of the room, bathing it in light and warmth.  I thought that a little variation and texture in front of the glass would be welcome.  A few months ago I bought a strand of yellow-green glass discs that look quite lovely, but are not quite enough.  I wanted something like a suncatcher, but slightly 3-D. 

I came across this video tutorial for an origami star/snowflake and decided to make several out of colored transparent paper, picking up the colors of spring outside the window and of the glass discs.  These stars each take a good 25 minutes to make, once you get the hang of each of the steps and used to working with the very thin transparent paper, but the folds are nicely intricate and cause lovely variations in the coloring when the light shines through them. 

I strung them up on invisible nylon thread (that stuff is no fun to work with), making two strands of 3 stars alternating with just a few beads to keep it light and airy.  Now I have my strands of stars flanking my strand of glass discs!


Notepad of my Daughter a la da Vinci - Feb 2012

My daughter Sophie is studying fashion design in Madrid and a recent assignment was to photoshop her own face onto a work of art. She chose the da Vinci painting 'Young Girl in Profile in Renaissance Dress'. I loved how well this turned out that I decided to use this for a notepad to have with me all the time to admire!
First I loaded the photo into my standard Preview option. (On my Mac, Preview is how I look at .pdf files.) There I selected out the portion I wanted and I saved this to a file. I used this new picture to make another mirror image version and saved that separately. I then put both facing each other into a Word file and printed it out on thick paper (160 gr.) using my laser printer.
I cut some paper to size for the pages, folded them in half, lay them inside the cover and sewed the whole thing together down the middle. I thought I was all done - ha! The stitching was way too tight making all the pages almost completely ripped down the middle and the folded edge was horrible.
Not discouraged, I took apart all of the pages and now had a separate front cover, back cover and a lot of individual pages to go in between. I lined up the pages and poked holes at even distances. I lined those up with the covers and made appropriate holes there, then sewed the whole thing up with some pearl cotton.
That turned out pretty nicely, but the edge was still fairly raw and I decided to add a little bit of extra decoration. I tied a few more strings of matching pearl cotton to the top back and covered the edge with a strip of paper. (Too bad I didn't think to add the edging before the stitching - I think it would have looked nicer, but it certainly would have been harder to glue on the edging to the unsewn pages.)
I braided the strings and added a couple of charms. The final touch was added a coat of Modge Podge to both front and back covers.
I can't wait to show my friends, but that's actually because Sophie did such a great job to begin with! I just took advantage of it!

Handmade Sketchbook - 14 January 2012

I'm pretty pleased with the sketchbook I made for myself on Thursday. It was very easy to make (just paper sewn together basically) and I like the unusual but nice square shape. I've started doodling in it already!

This doesn't involve any fancy work.

1. I used nine pieces of 20 cm x 40 cm paper and folded each individually in half with a bone folder (to make a very good crease). Stack these in each other.
2. I cut my piece of decorative paper to be 30 cm high (to include a pocket about 9 cm high) and 42 cm wide. Fold up the pocket (9 cm from the bottom). Your paper should now be approximately 22 cm high. Crease well. Then fold in half (the left side over to the right) and crease well. Open up again.
3. Using a ruler and the tip of your bone folder, draw a crease line on both the right and the left edges, about 3/4 cm wide. Fold this in and sew down each hem, sewing the pockets closed.
4. Line up your pages in the middle and carefully sew down the middle.

The full instructions for this easy sketchbook with very nice detailed photos can be found at: http://boygirlparty.livejournal.com/217584.html
I'm thinking of making a mini calendar in a similar fashion to carry around in my pocketbook. I'll probably use the same paper, which is actually a nicely textured gift wrap paper.

Mini-Present - Nice Idea although Last Minute! - 24 December 2011

Last minute 'brilliant' ideas would work out so much better if 1) you aren't having heating issues and 2) your printer has enough ink! Regardless, I managed to get these little Matchbook Pads made before our Christmas Eve celebrations start in 4 hours and I think they will be appreciated by my mother-in-law, who will now have her youngest grandchild right in her purse!

Little Irish dancers - 3 May 2011

Stick-Figure Irish Dance Dolls - 14 March 2011

These are my 3-D version of my jumping Irish Dancer stick figure. A couple years back, I started decorating t-shirts and little bags with this stick figure and decided to expand that for a little consolation prize for our dance school's upcoming raffle this Saturday.

Mini matchbook notepads - 3 March 2011

These little matchbook notepads are a pretty trivial project, but I did get to use up these sweetly-patterned tissue boxes salvaged from my paper trash and I'll use these as consolation prizes for an upcoming raffle. The white paper was packing material.
All this entails is cutting, scoring and folding the matchbook from cardstock-type paper (in my case the side of a tissue box), cutting the paper (pages) to size and then stapling them in. For a decorative touch, I put a little design on every other page. These little booklets are handy for the pocketbook and my 4-year-old daughter likes to write lists and draw in them.

Stitched Christmas Cards - October 2011

Yesterday I did some more crafting with another 3rd grade class. Stitching these pretty patterns was a bit challenging for a bunch of kids who 1) have never done much sewing and 2) had to concentrate a lot on matching up the appropriate holes, but you'll see they were successful in the end!
We just used two different patterns: a pine tree and a 6-pointed star and both are fairly easy to stitch.

The Star
The star has 6 'arms' each with 7 holes and if you think of each arm as being number from the outermost from the center as '1' to the innermost as '7', then you always need to thread from 1 to 7, then 2 to 6, 3 to 5, 4 to 4, 5 to 3, 6 to 2 and 7 to 1, all the way around the start (so six times). The colored star demonstrates this very nicely.

The Pine Tree
First poke the holes:

For the pine tree, I had 13 holes in a vertical line, starting with '1' up top.
You need to add 4 holes to the right and 4 to the left horizontally of hole '5' .
Add 5 holes to both right and left sides (again horizontally) of hole '9'.
Add 6 holes to both right and left sides (") of where an imaginary hole '14' would be!

Now stitch it up:
Stitch from Hole '1' to one just left of '5', back up to '1', then to one just right of '5'.
Stictch from Hole '2' to the second just left of '5', back up to '2', then to the second just right of '5', etc. for the Holes 1-4.
Hole '4' gets used again now, stitching from Hole '4' to the one just left of Hole '9', back to '4', then to the hole just right of '9'. Continue along for Holes 5, 6, 7 and 8.
Hole '8' gets used again now, stitching from Hole '8' to the one just left of 'imaginary hole 14', back to '8' then to the hole just right of 'imaginary hole 14'. Continue along for Holes 9 to 13.

We then glued our stitchings onto a card, but you could also cut these out a bit, back them with some nice paper and use as decorations.

Folded Foil Christmas Cards, part 2 - October 2011

This pattern can be used either for a card or a nice window decoration and also involves just a few folds and a few cuts!

To make the card version, just cut your 6"x6" piece of foil into four 3"x3" squares.

Here's the picture tutorial:

Very carefully glue your star onto a pretty paper and then glue that onto your card. Cutting the five parallel lines on the triangle is a bit tricky, but these are simple and turn out quite lovely!

Folded Foil Christmas Cards, part 1 - October 2011

Here's a picture tutorial for the snowflake card. Since I live in Germany, that's the language of the instructions on the first set of pictures! I made these little 'folding-plans' to help the kids fold a circle into a regular hexagon ('Sechseck' in German meaning 6 (sechs) corners (eck)).

For those of you that aren't getting the live demo:
- fold your circle in half,
- line it up with the little drawing, or fold slightly to mark the middle point of the side
- fold the right straight edge over from the middle point to that left blue line (1/3 of the way)
- fold the left straight edge over from the middle point to the right blue line (which is now the new right edge)
- trim off the top

- cut away a small 'V' from the middle point and a larger one on the opposite side, then cut 3 well-angled parallel lines on each side as shown in blue; open up carefully then fold down the cut pieces, starting with the outermost ones

Carefully glue your snowflake onto a nice paper and then that onto your card.

3-D Paper cuts, part 2 - 20 May 2011

While dinner was cooking and I still felt like playing around with paper patterns a bit, I made a few more of these. They don't work as cards because when folded closed the strips stick out over the edges, but the final open 3-D shape created is quite satisfying. (Can you tell I'm one of those people who liked geometry in school??)

3-D Paper cuts, part 1 - 19 May 2011

Paper is one of my favorite things! Make a few simple parallel cuts and then fold each of the sections the opposite way and you get a neat little design.

These are actually easy to make.  Take a paper, fold it in half, make your series of cuts (starting from the far left make 2 the same length, then each next one progressively shorter by 1 cm until the middle, then progress back to the longest length, again cutting 2 of that one). Open out your paper and make mountain folds in the middle of each strip that you cut and valley folds at each end. Voilá!

Paper making - 23 July 2011

I love paper and have been wanting for ages to make my own. Two Fridays ago when my 8-year old couldn't find anyone to play with, I suggested we try making paper. We tore used copy paper, partially used napkins, some old envelopes, dried rose petals and paper towels into the blender, added about 3 times as much water and mixed it all into a pulp. Then we poured the paper pulp into a basin that was about half-filled with water, dunked our window-screen-covered frame under the pulp and let it rise to the surface. On a few of them, we laid some red rose petals for decoration. We let the water drain off and used a sponge to soak up more water while at the same time pressing down the paper. We stacked up our 5x7 pieces of paper with white felt in between them to soak up more of the water.

I suppose we should have drained them more since they were pretty wavy in the morning after I had left them out to dry. A little spraying with water and some heat from the iron fixed that mostly. Unfortunately, I didn't think to take any photos, but there are plenty of tutorials online.

I made a second batch by myself a few days later, this time adding some yellow rose petals and some other dried seeds and leaves to the mixture.

In essence, paper making is not hard to do, but I would have to learn and experiment a lot more to get a consistently good piece of paper. The ones I made would not be good for drawing or writing. These do have a lovely feel, a homemade look and a nice grainy texture, and I'll enjoy using them for cards, tags, bookmarks or covers for books. Maybe I'll do some embroidery on them first; that would be a neat way to add more texture.

Origami/Kirigami Lily - 27 March 2011

For a long time I've been wanting to combine origami (paper folding) with kirigami (paper cutting) and I finally sat down to try it out today. I still have a long way to go, but I'm not displeased with today's efforts.

First I took a page from an old Bonsai Arts magazine, folded the lily and marked where I wanted to cut away some designs. Then I unfolded my flower and saw that I needed to cut in the corners.

Before folding the next lily (on thinner paper from a catalog), I cut out different patterns on the corners (or edges of corners) to see which cuttings resulted in what look. I only really like the one where both the top and bottom layers are cut away, although some of the others would probably also look good if I had had a contrasting inner/back side of my paper. (Next level, I guess!)

Then I took the cover of the catalog (I decided I needed something more stable since folding cut paper is not trivial I found out plus I liked the colors) to make my final product for today:
I folded and cut the corners all with the same completely-cut-away pattern, opened it up flat then folded it into the lily.

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