Origami as a Gift

Time has been simply whooshing by, and Christmas is coming faster every day. I’ll admit, I’ve spent a few dollars on gifts (mostly stocking stuffers), but no more than $5. I know, I said “NO spend” but $5 hasn’t been a huge dent in our budget. “Mostly no spend” Christmas challenge doesn’t sound as impressive, but that’s where we are, I think.

I’ve been working away, and, while still maintaining a few surprises, (in case anyone receiving these gifts is reading along) it’s time to show off the fruits of my labor.

Last year, because our family is small and our finances were tight (student budget at the end of my Mister’s time at law school) so, I tapped into my life-long faith in the concept of a little hard work making all things possible.

Cue, origami BLOCKS.

After a whole year, the last paper block remaining is the blue, black, and white on on the top of that far right tower. But last Christmas…

Quite a cozy little Christmas tree setup we had.

I’d made about a dozen. Combined with a lovely set of yarn&plastic canvas blocks we’d been given, it made quite an impression.

They’re easy enough to make, and just about as sturdy as the plastic canvas ones. I wouldn’t recommend these for babies, or children young enough to regularly put their toys in their mouth (they are paper, after all), but they look nice, and, if you use construction paper, they’re even thicker, with the added benefit of more options on color.

I made cubes of sonobe modules (tutorial here) and used squares of printer paper (though next time, I’m using construction paper, for color and thickness). You need 6 “module” pieces, in order to make 1 cube.

You could also use these wonderfully versatile modules to make an interesting ball, (like this one), or present them as a building set for an older child (or child at heart).

Time-consuming? Yeah. Really cool? Definitely.


Waldorf Style Blocks

Or, mulberry log slices.

This is our block city.

The kids love playing with seashells.

They’re not perfect, and we’ll be making more, but here they are!

The real trick to making “branch blocks” or “natural log blocks” or whatever these are, is curing the wood. “Curing” the wood really means heating and drying it out to kill bugs/bug eggs, as well as to prevent warping and mildew.

To cure the wood, you can either bake your wood in the oven at 175˚F – 200˚F for a few hours. I hear you can also microwave the wood for 1 minute. I preferred the oven, because that meant I didn’t have to cut the blocks while the wood was still moist and green, so I just put a couple logs in the oven to cure before they became blocks.

Sometimes simplicity is easy to find.

More to come.

Goo Gone (or, what to do with homemade deodorant)

I made some baking soda deodorant for myself the other day. (Ok, it was a longer while ago than that…)

And it just didn’t work for me.  It was nice-smelling, and I really, really wanted it to work. But I guess my skin is a bit sensitive, and the format was just a bit messy, and I just wasn’t feeling it.

Vanilla-scented Goop in a tin. Sigh.


So it sat on the shelf. I didn’t want to throw it out.

Fast forward to sometime last week, when I discovered that making a paste of oil and baking soda is a recommended way to remove goo from glass. I had some glass jars and bottles I was hoping to re-purpose, so I had to try it!


Put the gunk on the goo that you want gone.

It worked perfectly!

Squeaky clean!

Keep in mind that removing the actual sticker goo takes some scrubbing, and that you should wash it with dish soap to remove the oil. But I sure love being able to repurpose those lovely glass jars and bottles that accumulate in our house.