30 June 2010

Vintage Bookshelf: Origami (Part II)

Ok, now I have total vintage origami book envy after my sister pointed this out.  It's a vintage pop-up origami book no less, and it's from a post on one of her favourite blogs - Bird & Banner.

You can see more photos here.

Flickr Finds: Origami Shapes

1. Infiny by Melisande*  2. Modular Origami by Addie Goodvibes
3. Rainbow Star by Harvest Moon by Hand  4. Little Rhombicosidodecahedron by fdecomite
5. 5Dod by Great Stella  6. Compound of 3 Cubes by Daniel Kwan

Vintage Bookshelf: Origami

This set of 'My Origami' board books have got to be one of my favourite Etsy purchases ever! (I bought them from Honey Brown Vintage, in case you're curious).  They are chockful of fabulously obscure instructions (at least to my uneducated origami eye) and fantastic photos.


It's hard to go past the pigs in the field but I think the origami whales superimposed over the vast ocean are my favourite, what's yours?

29 June 2010

Etsy Finds: Origami

1. Purple paper lamp by Origami-Lite  2. Murasaki Plum brooch by Kimono Reincarnate
3. Origami bangle by Squishy Sushi  4. Origami hair clips by Miso Pretty
5. Origami flower earrings by Handmade Haven  6. Mini kusudama by Julie Dye Craft

Origami cranes are easy, right?

Photo by Shereen M

Mention origami and I bet you have trouble not thinking about paper cranes, right?  They are synonymous with the craft - something that almost every kid learns to fold at some point.  It's been years and years since I did any paper folding but seeing as it's origami week on my blog I figured I should actually have a go...

So I grabbed my vintage origami book of birds (more about that tomorrow) and sure enough the crane was the first pattern in the book.

I have to be honest here and confess that following patterns is not my thing.  Aside from an extraordinary skill for putting IKEA furniture together, I am not very good at interpreting or sticking to diagrammatic instructions (which probably explains why I can rarely sew the same thing twice and why trying to teach myself crochet has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion).

Hmmmm, now that doesn't look right...

So, I could lie to you and tell you I persevered but why do that when there is a budding origami maestro in the house?  Yep, the 9 year old taught me how to make a paper crane. A few minutes and a few folds later and ta-da! (mine is the slightly rough looking jumbo-crane).

28 June 2010

Flickr Finds: Origami Tessellations

1. Pinwheel Tessellation by Eric Gjerde  2. Square Limpets by Polly Verity
3. Star Puff Tessellation by Pierre Andre  4. Seven Puff Stars by Gila Oren
5. Hex Star by Eric Gjerde  6. L-Triomino Tile by Polly Verity

Origami tessellations are amazingly beautiful don't you think?  I love the repetition of patterns, the unexpected shapes and the interplay of light and dark.

If you like this sort of stuff you should have a look at Eric Gjerde's website which has much information and many resources.  He is also the author of this book which is full of breathtaking (and challenging) tessellations - definitely one for the experienced paper folder.  I would be hopelessly inept if I attempted anything in there, but the 9 year old step-son Joe has been working on his first piece this afternoon and it's coming along nicely!

Polly Verity's website is also worth looking at - her portfolio of paper folding work is beautiful.

Origami is good

I watched Between the Folds the other week.  It's a ripper of a documentary about the art and science of paper folding.  I found it most compelling to see how a bunch of artists and scientists take something so very passive and common and turn it into a thing of beauty, or an object full to the brim with emotion, or something that solves a complex problem.  And it also occurred to me that origami is the ultimate in handmade - it can't be any other way, can it?

Anyway, I loved it so much that I decided to have a week of origami on the blog!  This week I'll be sharing a whole bunch of stuff related to the wonderful art of playing with paper: origami masters, vintage books, Etsy finds and more.  And yes, there will be an origami edition of Death by Doxie.  Hurrah!

ps. those colourful things in the photo above are origami spinning tops folded by Joe, the origami maker in this blended/extended family.  They look amazing in full flight.  Joe is currently working on some very cool origami flowers so I hope to show you some of those during the week too.

27 June 2010

Death by Doxie: The Balloon Edition

Sunday morning and while we were having a delightful and much needed sleep in (Korea v Uruguay last night!), the boys were busy making stuff; twisting balloons and folding paper.

I was most happy to see this balloon doxie that Sam made, especially since orange is one of my favourite colours at the moment.  Not sure if Elfi was as impressed.

On a side note, we took the dogs for a walk through Namdaemun Market (yes, it is the largest retail market in Seoul and it is right on our door step - dangerous!) and random strangers were pointing at Elfi and saying 'your dog is fat'.  Which makes me think she really, really needs to go on a diet.  I mean it this time. (But look at those eyes, could you say no?).

26 June 2010

Cut Out And Collect

Writing about Polaroids yesterday reminded me of this fabulous bag which I've long admired.  It's made by one of my favourite Etsy sellers, Cut Out And Collect.  Her name is Cheyne and her stuff is awesome.

I've bought from this shop a few times and apart from the fact that Cheyne is super lovely to deal with, her products are so very very good.  Her fabric choices fill me with wonder and the quality of her seamstress-manship (yep, it's Saturday morning and I'm making up words - join in if you like!) is outstanding.  I have massive sewing-machine-skill envy every time I see one of her pieces.  And to top it all off the things she makes are totally useful!  My life is pretty much organised in Cut Out And Collect zip pouches.  True.

ps. in the course of writing this post, I accidently bought this gingham clutch from her shop.  Ooops.

25 June 2010

Polaroid envy...

I love Polaroid.  Who doesn't?  Polaroid made taking photos immediate, accessible and oh such fun.  They used the coolest fonts, the cleanest graphics, and their happy rainbow stripes were just that - happy!  Then they kind of messed it all up by announcing that instant photography was dead and the future was digital.

Since then, I've been a fervent admirer of The Impossible Project.  If you haven't heard of them, these are the guys who knew what Polaroid didn't seem to know - that their product was super cool and that people had a deep emotional connection to it. As a result they took over the old Polaroid factory, took on retired and retrenched Polaroid workers, and set about figuring out how to make instant film.  They've just released their first film, it's a silvery monochrome and I'm anxiously waiting on Mr Postman to deliver mine so I can have a play!

They also made the old Polaroid stock available on-line at fairly reasonable prices (especially compared to some of the obscene amounts of money that film was being sold for on eBay and the like).  They've been selling film, cameras and even the jackets that the Polaroid workers used to wear in the factory! (My husband is now the proud owner of one such jacket, a birthday present which I think I like more than him...).  Most of it has sold out by now though, so don't get too excited!

Great story, huh?  I love it because it's about passion and determination and recognising when something is just plain good.

All of this is a rather long winded way of telling you that today I have MASSIVE polaroid envy.  You see, I subscribe to the The Impossible Project newsletters, and this morning I was greeted with this:

It's an original SX 70 - completely refurbished and resplendent in all it's chrome and leather-y glory!   Gasp!  Want!  Yes please!

But it's 300 Euros cheap, a tad over my 'just for fun' budget.  And as it's a rather limited edition, putting it on my Xmas wish list won't help.  So I'll just have to admire it from afar.

23 June 2010

Death by Doxie

I bought some beanbags recently (and before you go all interior-design-snobbery on me, they are cube beanbags from Muji - the home of streamlined, simple chic.  So there).  They were meant for my step-sons, but while the boys are back in their first home for a bit the dogs have kind of taken them over.

I should probably kick them off but how could I!  Ferdi looks way too comfortable, right?  I especially like his expression in the first photo, like he's on the brink of getting away with something just a little bit naughty!  Yeah Ferdi!

22 June 2010

Stumbled upon...

After today's Korean lesson (the teacher is laughing with me, not at me...the teacher is laughing with me, not at me...the teacher is...), I stumbled upon this exhibition, which featured the works of Korean photographer Seung Woo Back.

Nope, I'd never heard of him either (I am totally ignorant when it comes to Korean art...well, most Asian art actually), but I completely fell for his style.  The one up there is my favourite.  I would like this hanging on my wall, yes I would.

Happening upon the exhibition was a bright spark in an otherwise dull-ish day.  It made me appreciate the luxury I sometimes have to just wander about, to not always have to rush off to the next thing.  It means I can stumble across ace stuff, and share it with you too!

The exhibition also included a bunch of photos he took in 2001, during a trip to North Korea (like the one below).  Apparently his visit to the North went unnoticed, which meant his photos escaped  censorship.  They have a super-real quality to them I think, and I like them a lot.

21 June 2010


One of several books on my bedside table at the moment is 'Made in America: An informal history of the English language in the United States'.  It's by the ridiculously readable Bill Bryson and is full of intriguing facts and all-round amusement.

In one part he talks about the veritable flood of words and phrases that were coined by Americans in the nineteenth century - gems like 'to go the whole hog'; 'to talk turkey'; 'highfalutin' and 'hornswoggle' (I have no idea what that last one means but it makes me laugh, and that's good).

Sadly, many of the Americanisms that appeared at this time are no longer in use, namely the simply brilliant happify (which is that act of making someone happy, clearly).

Happify!  It's a wonderful, smile-making word don't you think?  Well, I do think, so I am starting a campaign to bring it back into general usage.  Expect to see it scattered about my blog posts and twitter up dates willy-nilly from here on.

Perhaps you might join me?  You could slip it casually into your next conversation?  Or maybe write it the next time you're stuck for something to say on a birthday card?

Together we can happify the English language, just a little!

20 June 2010

Strawberry jam on toast

I love my two hounds, I totally do.  But my gosh can they make you feel like a horrible, horrible person when you're trying to treat them for an illness.  Ferdi (that's him up there) has a nasty ear infection at the moment, which means I get the joy of giving him antibiotics and pinning him down to clean his ears twice a day.

So now, Ferdi hates me.  He seems to think I am some kind of devil woman whose only purpose is to squirt liquids in his ear and shove strange powders down his throat.

The worst part is, you can't explain to a dog 'it hurts in the short-term but it will make you feel better in the long run' (well you can, but it just makes you look like a crazy lady who talks to her dogs.  I know.)  Even when you give them a dog lollipop afterwards for being brave I don't think they really understand it.  Next time, they just want to skip straight to the lollipop.

Anyway, after this mornings ear cleaning he ran and hid under the bed.  And when I tried to get him out he growled at me!  He never growls!

And the only way I could lure him out?  Hot buttery toast with strawberry jam.  OK, I may have eaten all some of it (yummo!), but a little trail of crumbs and Ferdi is out from under the bed and happy to see me again...until tonight, at least.

UPDATE - June 21: I just took Ferdi to the vet and his ear is better, but not best.  So it's another week of him hiding under the bed and thinking I'm evil.  About to go stock up on toast, butter and jam.  Hoping it'll make us both feel better...

17 June 2010

Little Clouds = Awesome

If you haven't guessed already, I love getting things in the mail.  And I love buying stuff on Etsy.  And yesterday I got a package from an Etsy seller that was so full of ace, it made me squeal a little.

If you haven't visited the Etsy shop of awesome that is little clouds yet, you should. Go have look, ok?  Her stuff is fresh and fun and fabulously well made.  I really love the tea bag pin cushion, and the travelers notebook too, don't you?

And yes!  That is a yawning cat wearing leg warmers on the envelope. Awesome, no?

ps. And she has a lovely blog too!

ps. Oh, and anyone who tells me I'm cool gets a blog post written about them. Promise.

16 June 2010

Death by Doxie*

I'm a sucker for alliteration, so I wanted to have a regular 'Daily Dose of Doxie' post. But whilst the chances of me posting a dachshund photo every single day are actually surprisingly high, I've opted instead for a little less sausage dog and a little more outright plagiarism (see note below).  Hence 'Death by Doxie'.  I will commit to one dachshund feature a week though, okay?  So, here's Elfi about a month ago enjoying spring in the gorgeous Namsan park.

Namsan is a mountain right in the heart of Seoul and right near our apartment.  It looks a little like this and is a beautiful place to go exploring.  The dogs love it, and so do I!

It's now hot and humid here (boo), and before that it was hot and dry (yay), and before that - when this photo was taken - it was just sunny and nice and warm, with spring flowers and fresh green growth everywhere.  Beautiful! (By the way, before that it was freezing and windy and grey and snowy.  I am already fretting about getting through my first full winter here, with average temps around -2 degrees celsius.  Help!)

Anyhoo, I haven't seen what autumn is like yet but I can say that if you're planning to visit Seoul, spring really is a beautiful time of year.

*with apologies to @pilgrim_lee for blatantly ripping off her words...

15 June 2010

Meet Me At Mikes: The Envelope Project


Have you heard about the most awesome Envelope Project that Pip is running over at Meet Me At Mikes? 

Basically you take an envelope, decorate it, stuff it with bits and bobs and post it to Pip.  The envelopes will be used in the window displays at Meet Me At Mikes, and some lucky person will also win all the goodies inside all the envelopes!  


Here is a look at the envelope I'll be posting today - I've filled it with lots of fun paper craft stuff, some photos of my dogs (taken with my new toy - a Fujifilm Instax mini!), pretty envelopes and note paper and a few other random things.  

Due to the vagaries of the Korean postal system I have to put my decorated envelope inside another envelope - hope you don't mind Pip!

The Envelope Project is simple easy fun - you should join too!

14 June 2010

Handmade #tweetswap - join us!

With much encouragement from some crafty Twitter friends, I've set up a handmade #tweetswap on swap-bot.

So, if you tweet and you craft and you want to join a quality handmade swap then have a look here.  Sign up ends June 21.

Happy crafty swapping!

12 June 2010

It's a lazy morning kinda weekend...

Is there something you do on those luxurious days where you have time to spare? Something that says 'this day is all mine!'?

For us, it's lazy mornings.   My husband is a busy guy and he travels a fair bit, so when we get whole days together with no obligations we make the most of them.  Sleep ins and late, long breakfasts reading the paper are what we do.

This rainy Saturday morning we whipped up a continental breakfast - crusty bread, cured meats, reggiano, boiled eggs - delicious!

Some mornings we do a proper English fry up, baked beans and all - rather popular with the consistently ravenous step-sons when they are in town (I'm always astonished at how much growing boys can eat, crikey!).  Sometimes it's breakfast steaks, sometimes it's egg and lettuce sandwiches.  Alas, it's never ever been pancakes.

But it doesn't really matter what we make - it's about actually having the time to make it and linger over it.

I love lazy weekend mornings, don't you?

11 June 2010

Things that go woof!

This is Elfi - our short hair miniature dachshund.  Isn't she a handsome hound?

Sometimes I think Elfi has more fans on Twitter than me.  Actually, I know Elfi has more fans.  The lovely Pilgrim over at draw! pilgrim has even requested that Elfi gets her own blog.  

Woof, woof, woof!