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Spring birthday gift with origami flowers

In april I wrote about getting reacquainted with origami. Remember I made some flowers to decorate a present?

Some of you asked how I did it and I decided to make a video… Let me tell you: that’s easier said than done! ;) But I’m going to present my 7-minute amateur film anyway, since this month’s mission for Hello Japan! is to create some origami. And who wouldn’t want to be eligible for that awesome prize consisting of kawaii origami paper and droll geisha bookmarks?

If you’re familiar with the art of paper folding, you may want to know that we’re starting of with a bird base (of which the well-known origami crane is created), folding it into a ‘small kite’.

And if you’re an origami newbie and I’m working too quick for you — or the video is too vague, knowing this will enable you to search for additonal instructibles on the web. ;) But try and watch this first!

I have also scanned the instructions I originally used myself. They’re in Dutch so I will redirect you to some English sources and roughly translate the part I couldn’t find online.

It’s best to choose some flamed origami paper for this flower.

  1. Start with a square base with the coloured side of your paper down.
  2. Continue to make a bird base.
  3. Follow the instructions accompanying the picture below.
Instructions for Origami flower
  • Hold your bird base in front of you with the open point downwards.
  • Fold the ‘wings’ down to make a small ‘kite’ shape.
  • Now unfold the whole figure!
  • Using the same creases, fold the coloured part inwards and flatten the paper. You’ll get a 33° pyramide shape; I guess you’ll really have to watch my video for this to understand.
  • Slightly open all four sides and curl the leaves outwards with a chopstick or pencil.
  • You’re done!

Have fun!

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task relating to some aspect of life in Japan.

Hello Japan! is a monthly mini-challenge focusing on Japanese literature and culture. Each month there is a new task relating to some aspect of life in Japan. This month’s mission is ‘Back to School‘: to learn something, anything, about Japan.

I’ve been getting reacquainted with origami. In my early teens it was one of my biggest hobbies that started when I discovered how to fold a butterfly on an Asian open air market. It was probably the first Japanese thing I really got into — not counting my father’s enthralling stories about his childhood in a World War 2 Japanese prison camp… :\

Somewhere along the line I lost interest in the art of paper folding, but I never stopped using my golden paper fir trees as Christmas decoration! Unfortunately I can’t show you ’cause they’re stowed away in the basement. You’ll have to wait till X-mas time! ;) Or ask Mr Gnoe whether it’s true.

Now that I’m having some kind of burnout, I’ve been looking for activities that are less intense than computer stuff, reading or watching movies. Enter: cooking, ‘gardening’ (on our small balcony), hiking & my old pastime origami. My brain is SO hazy I can’t remember a thing, not even how to fold the butterfly that I must have made a thousand times. So I started from scratch again by buying second hand copies of the instruction books I owned back in the days. Of course I had hung on to my multiple cute papers! :)

I’ve been learning how to do some of the old fav figures, but I had to learn something new for this month’s Hello Japan! challenge. Since I’ve also been looking into origata, the (related) art of gift wrapping, I here present the combined result: a spring birthday present with origami flowers I’ve never made before.

Spring birthday gift with origami flowers

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Edited to add: there’s a post up on Graasland explaining how to make these fancy origami flowers!
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As the gift is a book (Crossroads, by Niccolò Ammaniti), I also taught myself how to fold a crane bookmark. In Japan cranes are a symbol of longevity.

The mark is made of gold & blue paper: both colours symbolizing wealth. The feminine blue also represents self-cultivation, calmness and purity and pale blue is specific for April. The warm gold & cold blue tint are in harmony (yin & yang).

A present: novel & origami bookmark

But that’s not the only thing I’ve been learning this month… I also set my mind to learning how to count to ten in Japanese. I already knew how to get to eight, but now I’m trying to recognize the characters, know the digits out of order and to sum up to ten. And yes, I’ve got some proof! Listen to this. :)

1 t/m 4 in Japanese

I hope you’ve also contributed to April’s Hello Japan!? For each and every participant our host Tanabata is donating $6 (¥500) to either the Japanese Red Cross or — even more up my alley — Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue Support (JEARS)! No need to have your own blog, commenting on the challenge post is fine too.

I’ve already donated to JEARS but their work is so important that I hereby pledge to follow Nat’s example with the equivalent of €4,- per person. So please join us if you’ve got a chance!

Here’s why.

Yesterday around 10PM I could no longer stand the pressure and I tore open my two still-wrapped presents from my unveiled Santa.

I have to admit Santa had me a wee bit worried by mentioning in her letter that she thought there should be A RULE to make adults read children’s books… Yeah, Santa would say a thing like that, right? But this is a genre usually not to be seen on my nightstand. Of course the first of her 3 arguments was immediately incontestable:

Because they’re brilliant.

Rightio. Clever Santa! She’s brilliant herself, ’cause you know what she got me?

TADAAAAAH

Unwrapped :)

It’s been only a few weeks since I said:

Now that I’ve crawled out of my familiar reading nook I might also try one of Gaiman’s actual fantasy books — next year.

Santa has been listening closely! ;) Getting me Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (I feel envy coming towards me now ;) What a nice surprise! And she goes even further in getting me to try new things, by also giving me a Terry Pratchett! I know plenty Pratchett enthusiasts, so I’m indeed excited to find out what I’ll think of The Wee Free Men living on Discworld. Whatdoyaknow, maybe you’ll get to meet a new addict here in the new year ;) I already found out that these books are interlinked by the fact that Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett have done some project together…

BTW Note how the gift wrappings are in tone with their respective book covers? Isn’t that marvelous? (Yes, I’m still going on about how great these presents looked ;) This Santa obviously cares about details :)

It was my first time participating in the Book Bloggers Holiday Swap. I figured I would like to pick a present for some reader on the globe, but I hadn’t expected this wonderful feeling because someone who absolutely didn’t know me took such care in finding me a special present as well. Wow.

Thank you so much Santa Valentina!

IIIIEEEEEH just as I was bouncing off the wall out of excitement because my Book Blogger Holiday Swap gift was received (positively) by my santee, the doorbell rang… The MAILMAN! With my present from Secret Santa! And I have a huge secret to blab out tell all who still believe Santa lives on the North Pole… He doesn’t! He is a she residing in Ireland. There you have it, an ancient mystery has been solved ;)

Now, as I wrote to Santa in my letter, I especially like nicely wrapped gifts. And boy did he she take that seriously! Look at these! Really, that’s what I’m doing while writing this post — for now I’m just enjoying these presents the way they are :) It’s called ‘deterred gratification’ ;)

To prove this is the REAL Santa: I didn’t write to him (it needs a bit of getting used to) HER that this Gnoe (Gnu) used to be a magpie in a previous life! Or possibly some glamrock person ;) Gimme glitteries and I’m going OMG OMG OMG! * bouncing off the wall again * Now look at the bling bling on those presents… :) See what I mean? Only the real Santa could have known — proof beyond reasonable doubt!

But wait, you haven’t seen it all yet! Santa went way out of her way to make this the most special gift in the whole Book Blogger Holiday Swap! Even mooooore goodies to enjoy :) Here’s the complete loot:

With a long, kind letter of Santa herself — who by the way has a special fondness for Japan as well ;)

Now, like me, you’ll just have to wait a little while longer to see what’s actually in the presents!

To be continued

The Sunday Salon.comThe Sunday Salon is a virtual gathering of booklovers on the web, where they blog about bookish things of the past week, visit each others weblogs, oh — and read ;)

This is my first time participating in the Sunday Salon. So what bookish things happened to me in week 35?

Sunday dinner (vegan)I finally finished reading The Mapmaker’s Wife by Robert Whitaker. If it hadn’t been a Bookcrossing bookring that came highly recommended by people I trust, I would never have read this book. But now I spent a long time in South American atmospheres, unconsciously stimulating me to eat Moros y Cristiani (Cuban black beans with rice) Cover The Mapmaker's Wifeand have a Mexican meal three times, while listening to the soundtrack of my favourite movie The Mission. I also wrote a review on Graasland because I am participating with this book in the What’s in a Name reading challenge, filing it under two categories: profession and relative. No, I’m not cheating ;) It was my second review for this challenge — but the last book I needed to read! That means I’ve been procrastinating on 4 other reviews… :\

Cover AwayAfter that I started reading Away, by Amy Bloom. And I almost finished it in one go! It is on the list for September in my Dutch online bookgroup (the Boekgrrls) and since it was nominated by me I had to write a reminder to the mailinglist. So I did ;) They’ll have to wait for my review until September has started though! But I can say I especially liked the vivid images of Lillian Leyb’s 1927 journey from New York to Alaska. It was no easy travelling!

Cover Butterfly in the WindSomething that also ‘happened’ (ahum) to me this week: I subscribed to another reading challenge! O no, not again! LOL. But the Japanese Literature Challenge has a very easy target: read one (yes, 1) work by an author of Japanese origin before the end of January 2010. Well, I already started Butterly in the Wind by Rei Kimura: a biographic novel about Okichi Saito, Cover Giftwrappingthe unwilling Japanese concubine of the first American Consul to Japan in the mid 1800’s. I might not stop at that because I LOVE reading Japanese authors — or books about Japanese culture (like non-fiction about origata I am also looking into: Giftwrapping, by Kunio Ekiguchi) — and there’s a chance I’ll be reading some along with other participants of the JLC. I’ll tell you about that when it happens ;)

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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