Origami Easter Baskets

With Easter looming, I had to figure out a way of presenting the small collection of Easter eggs we had bought for our nephews and niece. I decided to make baskets using origami. Originally I had intended just to make a plain old box and attach a handle, but when flicking through my origami book I came across this Lazy Susan style basket. Perfect!

A completed and filled basket.

A completed and filled basket.

The 'ingredients'

The ‘ingredients’

What I used:

  • Instructions for folding – found here or watch a video here
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Some things to go inside – I had plastic eggs which I filled with small chocolate M&M eggs and other candy-coated chocolate eggs, a Kinder Surprise Egg each, a chocolate bunny, more loose eggs, and some small fluffy chicks we found at the local $2 Shop

I used the scrapbooking paper because it is larger than any of the origami paper I have, and relatively square. Also, it’s quite a bit heavier than your usual origami paper, which makes for a sturdier completed box. I chose different colours for everyone so no one could get confused as to which was theirs!

– Miriam

Painting fish, or whatever you want

The other week I went to the Kumeu Show here in Auckland, and one of the stalls I came across really captured my attention. There were rows upon rows of plaster-of-paris moulded shapes on the trestle tables, and some tables set up behind with a range of paints and brushes.

I love painting, so you can imagine I was right into this.

I picked up a fish figurine, and for a low $3 I was allowed to take it and paint it.

fish_painting

What you will need:

  • Plaster of paris. This is reasonably cheap from the Warehouse, or any craft store. Haven’t checked out $2 shops for it, but I’m sure I could find one that sells it.
  • Wire (to make the hook to hang it up by)
  • Moulds. Any moulds will do, but I would go for the nice rubber/latex ones work well because you don’t risk breaking the plaster of paris. Two dollar shops, warehouse, craft stores (such as Spotlight), all sell moulds in various forms. Great thing is that this is a one-time investment as you can keep reusing them.

Trim off small bits of wire before starting and bend them into little U shapes (or staple shapes). The spiky ends need to be inserted into the plaster of paris shortly before it hardens. This will create your hook to hang the piece up by. If you don’t want to hang them, you can bypass this. Or you can add the hooks later, though sticking things to plaster of paris is quite difficult as it is very powdery.

I don’t think I need to describe how to mix the plaster (instructions will be on the packet), or how to pour it into moulds (self-explanatory, right?), or even tell you to wait until the plaster is completely dry before removing it from the mould… right?

But once you have a nice collection of blank figurines, it would make a great kids activity. Put out the figurines, put out the paints (you may want a drop cloth, or do this on the back lawn), and let them have at it.

If you want to seal the paint, wait for it to dry completely and cover with a varnish spray. This can be bought from any good craft store (or possibly the Warehouse, too… where everyone gets a bargain).

-Miriam

Knitting socks for Emmaly

Emmaly playing with her sock

Emmaly playing with her sock

I knitted my first sock when I was 12, but after only knitting one, I gave up. I tried again in the next 10 years, but would only ever knit one, or the second sock that I knitted, while made using the same yarn, needles, pattern and knitter, inevitably looked much different from the first one leading to a world of dissatisfied feelings.

Socks, needles and yarn

Socks in progress with hand spun yarn and Addi Pro needles

From there I segued from knitting to spinning yarn with a homemade cd spindle, and then on to spinning yarn with a spinning wheel and then came full circle back to socks. But this time, I had a new trick to try, which has kept me knitting socks for the last 7 years!

I read on a pattern from the website Knitty – Blackrose that there was a technique called Magic Loop, and you could not only knit two at a time, but you could also use one circular knitting needle to do so. Ever since that moment I’ve been a fond knitter of socks, for a few reasons, the decisions you make while you knit are easier to remember from one sock to the next, and when you’re finished you have TWO instead of having to go and knit the second one, and they are an incredibly portable project and can be worked on anywhere. I’ve even knitted on planes post-9/11 (I do check with the airline in advance and again at check in, that I can use them onboard).

Ribbed tops

Socks, showing their ribbed tops

I’m knitting these socks for Emmaly to use this winter when she comes skiing with me. These socks have been knit from the toe up using the magic loop technique and then knit in the round until the heel which has been done in two lots of short rows and then knit in the round using a 2 x 1 rib (knit two, purl 1). This is my favourite method of knitting socks, but there are plenty to try with different combinations of toes and heels, and I’ve found that Knitty.com is an amazing source for inspiration, patterns and tips.

I spun the yarn using some lovely Possum and Merino wool that I bought online from Tally Ho Wool Carding which spins up so easily into fingering weight that I did several 100gm lots, and the knitting needles are 2mm Addi Pro that I purchased in store from Crafty Knitwits, which have been lovely to work with, other than the fact that apparently I am still a little too tense with knitting and have to keep straightening the needles and relaxing my hands.

Addi Pro Knitting Needles

Addi Pro Knitting Needles

I’m hoping that in the next week I will have knitted enough to come up her calf and being able to cast these off and get my loom back into my room!

A craft-less fortnight… so a bit about Miriam

Sometimes life happens and craft stuff doesn’t. It doesn’t mean I’ve been idle, so I’ll give you a window into my life these past two weeks or so.

I’ve been up to mum’s farm in Whangarei and helped with chopping down trees for firewood. We also removed edging around the garden that runs the length of the driveway. This edging was engineered dad-style, which means it was damn near indestructible even more than 25 years after being installed. We also got to reap the benefits of starting the pool-cleaning process earlier in January by swimming in a clean pool. Yay.

I’ve been painting. I tried the line-art style for a while, but have gone back to my good old other style. Dunno what it’s called, but here are some samples:

Lineart style. It has its merits in that it is a lot quicker than the other way.

Lineart style. It has its merits in that it is a lot quicker than the other way (flood fill and masks FTW). Done in Photoshop CS6 for Mac with Wacom Intuos 3 tablet.

My usual painting style, this one is a WIP. There is no part of this picture I don't need to still revisit. :D

My usual painting style, this one is a WIP. There is no part of this picture I don’t need to still revisit. 😀 Using ArtRage Studio 3 on the MacBook Air with my Wacom Bamboo tablet.

My digital painting tools of choice include Adobe Photoshop, ArtRage Studio (I’ve just bought the upgrade to ArtRage 4 and will be playing with that soon), PaintTool SAI (though I need to buy a license for this as the trial has expired), and MyPaint. I vary between using my work MacBook Pro (which I lose next month *cries*), my personal MacBook Air or HP laptop. I have a Wacom Inuos 3 12×9 inch tablet, and a little Wacom Bamboo tablet. The little one is great for portability and using with the MacBook Air, but the big one in combination with the HP laptop is what I use for serious projects.

I have been running, doing the Zombies, Run! 5K training programme. I have just completed the first run in week 2. The whole thing is 8 weeks long, and once I have completed it I hope to be able to run 5K non-stop without, you know, dying. Then I can go back to the normal Zombies, Run! game and keep going on that. I want to work up to being able to do the 1 hour missions. Oh yeah! And depending on how dedicated I stay to this whole keeping fit thing, I may even look at doing a half-marathon.

I went snowboarding at Snow Planet (indoor skiing – the biggest refrigerator in the Southern Hemisphere) and decided that I definitely needed to buy a pair of boots that fit, so I trawled online and found that they were a lot cheaper than I thought (especially if you catch them heavily reduced at R&R Sport). I am now the proud owner of some very pretty white Burton snowboarding boots which I haven’t had the chance to use because we couldn’t get a group together to go on Wednesday night. But Kayleigh says she wants to go down to Ruapehu at least a few times this winter, so I might have to invest in a season pass when they come on sale.

I had more hours at work (and still do for the next three weeks). That has seriously eaten into my crafting time! Haha. Damn bills don’t pay themselves, though.

So there you have it, a small snapshot of my life.

– Miriam

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