Monthly Archives: March 2012


DIY : Ikea Improvement

Today started with good intentions: I was just going to hang the new magnetic “Spontan” board I purchased at Ikea. But as I went to hang it I was struck by the cold gray metal background— this certainly would not provide the look I have been going for with my home office re-do (refined, yet cozy)…..

The plain original

I didn’t want to drive all the way back to Ikea and return the board, but I couldn’t hang it as it was. Aside from it being a bit plain it also was too visually similar to the side of my file cabinet for my taste. A quick google search did not turn up any better magnetic board alternatives that could be purchased in any case….. What was I to do?

The visually similar file cabinet

If you’re guessing that I decided to turn my little $10 Ikea board into a DIY project that would consume most of my day you would be right! First I decided that the board had to be covered. I tried a few things on for size (maps, book pages, newspaper), but decided I didn’t like anything I had on hand. Off to the craft store 🙂

I returned from the craft store (and a quick side trip to Lowes) with a fabulous Velour fabric….. The color actually is the same as the original magnet board— I decided when I was in the craft store that the color didn’t bother me— it was the industrial texture of the board that I needed to get rid of.

I cut the fabric to be big enough to cover the board with a few inches hanging over the sides. I then just took needle and thread and sewed it all together (messily!) so that the fabric would stay taut over the front of the board and around the edges and corners.

After this I had a lovely board with improved texture—- but I felt like it needed something else. Good thing I picked up some pre-cut molding at Lowes during my craft store adventure! I decided to fashion this into a frame by cutting it at 45 degree angles.

Confession: Todd actually cut the frame pieces…..I had lost most patience with my project at this point and needed Todd to momentarily take over…… Todd’s involvement  is actually how most of my DIY projects are completed 🙂

I decided to paint the frame with Cerulean blue acrylic paint— then I affixed the pieces to the front of my magnet board with hot glue.

Voila! I must say, this is pretty fabulous and looks much nicer than the Ikea original for about $15 worth of extra supplies. Mission accomplished!

DIY – Origami Home Decor

Now that you’ve mastered making your own origami paper and folding a few paper cranes you’re probably wondering what you can do with all your pretty folded projects. Notsokitty to the rescue with a quick and simple DIY idea: framed crane-scapes!

You can display your framed cranes on a table or wall

For this project you will need a few color-coordinating paper cranes (I like to use ones I folded out of 1″ paper for small frame sizes), a piece of card stock in a color complimentary to your cranes, a frame (I like the “Ribba” by Ikea— cheap and nice looking), and a glue-stick.

Start by measuring your card stock to see what will be visible once it has been framed. Arrange your cranes in the visible area by hand— no glue at first! Once you are sure you like your arrangement, then you can go back and glue the cranes to the card stock; one at a time.

Play around with crane arrangement and card stock color combinations. The possibilities are endless!

origami home decor

DIY origami crane-scape

Once you’ve finished gluing, just pop the card stock into your frame and you’re done. How easy was that? Now you have some fabulous and colorful wall decor that cost you the price of a few pieces of paper and a frame!

framed origami home decor

framed origami

You can display them on walls, on tables, together with other crane-scapes, by themselves, or even give them away as gifts! Have fun coming up with your own possibilities!


Book Review #5: Home Decorating with Origami

I have come to a realization after putting together my first origami-instructional on how to make a paper crane: it’s a lot easier to follow origami directions than to write them yourself! That being said, I have a newfound appreciation for Tomoko Fuse, the author of Home Decorating with Origami. Tomoko’s simple illustrations and clear instructions are something that I have probably been taking for granted for years— no longer! I now recognize her genius in a more humbled light.

Home Decorating with Origami was one of the first books by Tomoko Fuse that I purchased and it has lead the way to me purchasing many of her other titles. I have already mentioned how easy Tomoko’s instructions are to understand, but this cannot be understated! Some other origami authors manage to confuse the reader so thoroughly by presenting conflicting illustrations and poorly translated text (since most of the books are originally from Japan), but not Tomoko! She often anticipates any questions readers will have and has them covered with detailed illustrations  and sidebars. Tomoko also gives a nice introductory section where she breaks down what all the symbols in traditional origami instructions mean— something I wish all origami authors did! Because of her excellent instructions anybody over the age of 12 could probably pick up her book and accomplish any design within that they wish to accomplish.

Moving along to the content—  Home Decorating with Origami has some interesting designs that can be used as either functional or decorative objects. Want cheap home decor? Why not make it out of paper!  There are patterns available to make boxes, bowls, envelopes, stars, vases and even a rest for chopsticks. A lot of the patterns aren’t really “traditional origami” (i.e. they require more than one piece of paper), but this fact does not bother me in the slightest. Sprinkled throughout the book are Tomoko’s anecdotes about origami (in general) and what you can do with the objects once you have folded them. My favorite anecdote: Tomoko’s advice on what to do if you have no time for origami (her advice: it will wait for you, no worries).

After completing a few box and star designs from the book, I am comfortable in proclaiming that anybody can create anything they want with the help of Tomoko Fuse’s excellent directions. Thank goodness I found her early in my origami career 🙂

Disclaimer: This post contains links, some affiliate. I am not paid by any company to write about this product— I simply like it enough on my own to review it here in detail. Just in case you needed to know 😉


How to Make a Flapping Origami Crane

Here is my first attempt at an origami instructional– I hope you can follow it! I love to make anything origami and one of my favorite things to fold are paper cranes. I like to use them in DIY home decor projects– which I will be posting on Notsokitty later this week. But first I figured I would see if I can show people how to execute the foundations— here’s a picture of the intended finished project:

paper crane

How to make a paper crane that flaps

I’m going to attempt to do this by a series of pictures with captions following— numbered so that you can keep track of the respective instruction and the respective step. Here goes!

DIY paper crane

DIY paper crane

The first eight steps are how to make a “preliminary” base– a traditional origami base.

#1) Obtain a piece of paper. You may want to start with traditional origami paper which is colored on one-side and blank on the other— this will make it easier to keep track of what side you’re on. You may also want to use something called a “bone folder”— a contraption which I guess was once made of bone, but now usually made of plastic, that lets you crease your folds smoothly.
#2) Fold the paper in half so the color-side is facing you. Unfold the paper and rotate it 90 degrees. Fold the paper in half again.
#3) Unfold the paper. You should have a “cross” made by the creases in the center of the paper. Turn the paper over.
#4)Now, fold the paper on the diagonal— this time with the “white” side of the paper facing you. Unfold the paper and rotate it 90 degrees. Fold on the diagonal again
#5) Unfold the paper. You now have something that looks like a creased “star”
#6) Fold the paper in half again (green side facing you). Hold the paper by the top two corners.
#7) Gently push the corners of the paper towards each other. As you do this the middle will come out and collapse toward itself
#8) Hold the corners of the paper as shown with the middle protruding as shown.

origami instructions

#9) Fold the middle flap down— so that you have something that looks like a square with two layers. Make sure the square has two layers on all sides— you may have to move a flap to position it correctly. Also, hold the paper so that the squares connect at the “TOP”
#10) Lie your square on the table and take the top most right flap (top only). Fold this in towards the center as shown
#11) Repeat on the left
#12) Fold down triangle tab at top— to meet flaps.
#13) Make sure you have made all your creases well for the following three steps
#14) Unfold the paper back to step #9
#15) Grab hold of the bottom corner of the top-most flap (do not get the bottom flap too)
#16) Gently pull the bottom corner of the top flap towards the top of the piece— all the while holding the bottom corner of the bottom flap in place
#17) Squash fold the form into place. You should have something that looks like a diamond on the top layer with a square on the bottom (as shown)

crane diy

#18) Turn the paper over and REPEAT STEPS #9-#17 on  the other side.
#19)You will end up with both sides looking like a diamond (as shown)
#20) It’s probably a good idea at this point to make sure your creases are good
#21) With the “top” of the diamond shape connected, take one flap and pull it to the side.
#22) Turn the paper over and repeat.
#23) Now take the bottom point and gently fold it upwards
#24) Turn the paper over and repeat #23 on the other side
origami diy

#25) Firmly hold the bottom and crease along the edge
#26) Gently take hold of the “neck” or “tail” pieces and pull them forward
#27) Inside-reverse fold the area between the “tail” and the “wing” so that the tail can come forward a bit naturally and stay in this position
#28)  Repeat step #26 on the remaining piece
#29) Repeat step #27 on the remaining piece
#30) Arbitrarily choose a “head”….. Fold the head’s triangle down
#31) Inside reverse-fold the head
#32) And you’re done!

Voila! The completed flapping crane! Gently put its body between your thumb and forefinger and pull the tail with your other hand to see the bird “FLY”!

origami crane diy

Creative Inspiration: Fabulous Origami Websites

I think this week I’m going to try to stick to an “origami” theme for my posts— I have a lot of paper-folding on the brain lately! It all started yesterday with my post on how to make your own floral origami paper—- later this week I will be posting instructions on how to make a  flapping paper crane, a DIY tutorial on some origami-themed wall decor, and a few origami book reviews. I hope you enjoy! In the meantime, I figured I might get started by telling you about some of my favorite origami resources that are 100% online. There are so many designs, patterns, instructions, inspirations, papers, ETC that go into the world of origami—– lucky for us the internet is here to help us sort it all out. Here’s a list of my favorites.


Origami inspiration in the form of buildings, clothing, and other objects is often reviewed on Origami Blog. Also reviewed are some other paper-crafting techniques (kirigami, paper cutting, etc). This website tends to focus on large-scale corporate projects and art installations— less on individual paper-folders. It’s updated about once a month, or whenever interesting origami news happens to cross the site-owner’s desk. Nothing in the way of patterns or designs are really available on this site.

Screen Shot from Origami Blog


Don’t have origami books with patterns to tell you what to fold? Never fear! The Origami Resource Center has free patterns for almost any sort of creation you would want to make. The site is organized by level of difficulty and into  easy-to-use categories which make it possible to find everything no matter what level of paper-folder you happen to be. The designs on the site come from various contributors—- some authors have higher quality instructions than others so you might find that you have your favorites as I have.

Screen Grab from the Origami Resource Center

Origami USA

Origami USA is the non-profit that is in charge of putting on the largest annual Origami convention in the world (June in NYC). I am currently not a member (though I was back in 2001), but I still love to use this website as a great resource for shopping for papers and new and interesting origami books. They also have a comprehensive listing of area “folding” events that perhaps might be interesting to readers.

Screen Grab from Origami USA

As you can see there are some great origami resources right at your fingertips! So if you’re wondering what to do with all the floral origami paper you made yesterday give them a try! I’m sure you will find great inspiration for your next folding project.

Layout mode
Predefined Skins
Custom Colors
Choose your skin color
Patterns Background
Images Background