Sunday, October 19, 2014

Book Review: Friendship Origami

Today is paper craft day. No, I'm not making pretty things out of paper, I am diligently transferring previously published articles (sigh) from that soon to be defunct publishing web site, you know, the one that used to be a good source of passive income for free-lance writers? Alas, it was a good run while it lasted.

I've been slacking off the past couple months, but a recent RT on Twitter reminded me that I have a little over a month left to get all my articles transferred from the site to my blog. Today's session started with the migration of my (former) Helium article on where to find scherenschnitte patterns, a tedious process in that I had to edit each hyperlink and check to be sure all the examples I'd listed in the original article were still viewable on active web pages.

Once that was (finally) over (it may have taken longer because the Saints game was on...) my sojourn into Scherenschnitte was  followed by the relocation of my book review of of Ramona Jablonski's Paper Cut-Out Design Book. The next subject at hand is one of my personal favorites - origami.

This cute little book came to me one day via my aunt; I've used it in the past in my enrichment classes, both for crafting and for sessions in how to follow directions. My students loved making origami items, and when we did them as part of an exercise in following directions I never told them what they were making. If they listened carefully, they'd end up with a paper cup (one of the simplest things to make).

I've even had the kids make their own origami paper by coloring abstract designs onto plain old copy paper. Copy paper is cheap and letting the kids decorate their own (without necessarily knowing why) lets them do something they love to do - color, and it provides them with unique papers later for use in their origami projects.

And so...

Review: Friendship Origami

Filled with sixty-four colorfully illustrated pages, Jill Smolinski’s Friendship Origami promises hours of paper folding fun with over two dozen great projects from jewelry to animals to paper dolls.  Even though the book’s cover says “Girls wanna have fun,” it’s a sure bet that boys will find almost all of the included projects equally as enjoyable.
Recommended for kids aged nine through twelve, Friendship Origami begins by explaining the basic folds and forms essential to creating origami on the first two pages and then moves straight into making stuff with the “Best Buddy Bracelet.”  This accordion folded project can be completed by any child capable of making a folded paper fan.  Children between the ages of six and seven may need a little help from an adult, especially with the last few steps, but even they can make this bracelet.  (This project is a great manipulative to use in the classroom, especially as an exercise in following directions.)  Recycled magazine pages with colorful pictures on both sides produce very interesting bracelets as does gift wrap.
The only difficult fold in the entire book is the Peace Crane. Everything else in Friendship Origami is easy enough that even younger kids (aged seven or eight) could accomplish many of the folds with the help of a fold-savvy adult to clarify some of the step by step instructions.  While the jewelry and purse projects are geared specifically toward girls there are many that are not.
Both girls and boys will enjoy folding the wallet, hat, dice, dog and turtle origami projects outlined in Friendship Origami.  The folded gift box is a great way to reuse stiff paper like the perfume inserts and advertising cards in magazines as well as old greeting cards.  The “Heart of Lace” makes a great Valentine project and the pinwheel, catchall and basket make great party favors.
Many kids learn to fold paper fortune tellers (also known as cootie catchers) at some point in their school careers and Friendship Origami presents yet another option for this project in using them to create puppets.  (Note: In the book they are used as a candy dish and can be found in the table of contents under Sweets for the Sweetie.)
Origami is a great activity that both kids and adults enjoy that yields hours and hours of entertainment and Friendship Origami is a great introduction for young people to the ancient paper folding activity.  All instructions are fully illustrated in simple, plain language.

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