Monday, 30 September 2013

Russian Doll Gift Bags

I just love Russian dolls - any excuse for a craft project. So here are some Russian doll-inspired mini gift bags'n'tags. Good size for treats and party favours. 

I call these "Babushka" gift bags because the fringed shawl is the star feature. Works a treat in mixed prints.

The pillow-box base bags are a cinch to make. Nevertheless, I've included a mini-tut.

There are two different bags styles, with the mixed prints reversed:
... and of course, once you have your downloads, you can play with the sizes to make a nested-shape-look grouping.

Here are your free downloads:

Now for the tut:
1. Use the leaf-shaped guide to inscribe the curved fold line at the base. Do this on both the back and the front of the bag.

2. Next, mark the centre fold. Use an embossing tool held against a metal straight-edge.
3. Mark the side flap next. Note how the bottom of the flap is cut away so that it clears the pillow base.
4. Apply D/S tape to the right side of the flap. Crease all the folds, including the base curves. Prep complete! Time to assemble the bag.
5. Fold the bag in half, tuck the flap under. Seal the join, making sure it is perfectly aligned.
6. Tuck the back pillow flap in. Next, apply a sticky dot to the underside of the front pillow flap.
7. Fold down the front pillow flap. It springs into place securely. Finally, tie on the gift tag. You can add a bow to the handle if you wish. Me, I'm going for "less is more."
You can make these up in quantity in a jiffy!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Matchbox Gifties

I'm a big fan of matchboxes. They are fun to make - and give. And they make a nice "thinking of you" alternative to a greeting card. Who doesn't like little mini-surprises? So --- I've whipped up a batch of all-occasion matchboxes. You can either cut-out the lacy fanlight design or print it. Here - see the difference:
Digi-cut version, left. Printed matchbox, right.
For the cut-out version, you must back the cut-out with a rectangle of coloured paper. Easy.

Downloads here:

Helpful tips: for the .pdf drawer, remember to snip the tabs that secure the sides together.

I like to add brads as drawer pulls, but you may wish to leave them out - no frills.

The gifties can easily be made up in quantity as party favours.The tags and charms are optional.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Book Review: Folding Paper - the Infinite Possibilities of Origami

Folding Paper: the Infinite Possibilities of Origami

By Meher McArthur & Robert J. Lang

Tuttle Publishing, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-8048-4338-6


Take a piece of paper, make a few deft folds – Magic! A bird, a bunny, or a box. Origami is a transformational craft, adored by kids and magicians. Surprise! In the past 50 years, origami itself has dramatically morphed from a craft into a unique artform with heavy-duty scientific credentials. Did you know that there is a professor of Computational Origami at M.I.T.?

This exquisite book, companion to an exhibition, chronicles the history of origami in both the East and West – and celebrates its coming of age. Origami – a craft for the 21st century.

Many books that accompany exhibitions are coffee table books – big pics and no substance. This book does indeed have magnificent photography – but the content holds its own. This title won’t gather dust because you’ll want to go back to it time and again. This lavishly-produced book is slim but substantial. It is both a history of origami and an appreciation.

Folding Paper is divided into two main sections, an illustrated history of origami by Meher McArthur, the author and exhibition curator. Part 2 is an essay by Robert J. Lang, physicist and origami guru. Dr Lang is an inventor of “circle packing”, a mathematical method of designing incredibly complex origami projects. Dr Lang’s section discusses how art and science come together in the artform of origami.

The history of origami has several you-couldn’t–make-it-up moments. For example, Frederich Froebel, the German educator and “inventor” of kindergarten – he of the folded Froebel Christmas Star ornament (Google it) – was responsible for putting origami on the Japanese school curriculum.

The rapid development of origami was kick-started in the 1950s when Akira Yoshizawa  (1911-2005), the father of modern origami, developed the now-familiar system of folding diagrams (you know, mountain folds, valley folds, directional arrows) for instructioning projects.  This brilliant system of notation bypassed language barriers and enabled the international exchange of ideas. A network of active origami appreciation societies grew wordwide. And the computer revolution and the internet was, of course, also an enabler.

Akira Yoshizawa also developed the technique of wet-folding, which facilitates the creation of more sculptural-looking origami. Organic forms.

Roughly speaking, origami practitioners can be divided into to camps – the geeks and the artistes (no offense intended). This makes for a lively exchange of ideas.

Back to the book, which showcases work from both camps.

Yes, origami can be designed using mathematical algorithms. An origami-based designs have been used for arterial stents and satellite telescopes.

Like the craft of origami, this book has the wow factor. If you have more than a passing interest in orgami, you’ll want to own a copy of this fascinating, exciting, and inspirational appreciation of a craft both traditional and modern. And of course, this title is very giftable. Behold the folds!

Amazon Link: Folding-Paper-Infinite-Possibilities-Origami/dp/0804843384/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379790637&sr=1-2&keywords=Folding+Paper 

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this title.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Patchwork Star Gift Box

More slot-lid gift boxes - I'm on a binge. These are topped with a folded
patchwork star (which coordinates with the box print):
The folded star makes a pretty swirl top-knot. Looks a bit like notched ribbon. There's a tut to follow on how to fold the star. 

Here are your downloads:

The file download looks like this:

Here's the tut for the foldy-star:
1. Pic left shows the patchwork star pattern template cut out an folded.
The folds at the base of each arm are mountain folds (green arrow). The folds at the V-point of each arm are valley folds (red arrow). Pic right shows the completed patchwork star.
2. Fold the first arm to the centre.
3. Proceed in an anti-clockwise direction. Fold two: same as first. Make sure the bases of the V-notches meet in the centre.
4. When you get to the third arm, you have to swing it under and around. It's a perfect fit - it will catch in the centre.

5. Side four: last side. Swing it under and around, as for the previous step. Tah dah!:

Here's a pic of the flip side (left), and the right side (right) of the patchwork star:
A sticky dot fixes the star to the box top.

Of course, you can also use the foldy stars as embellishments on cards and/or scrapbook pages.

No how-tos for the box. Been there, done that!