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Tucson Happenings Monthly Origami Articles

  Origami August Origami Page: The Ice Cream Cone

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" This chant was learned in childhood and continues to echo over the years... especially during our oh-so-hot summer daze! I always assumed the chant originated by impatient children, but recently discovered there is actually a song called "I Scream, You Scream"! It was written in 1927 by Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert King.

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  Origami July Origami Page: The Watermelon

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


This origami watermelon is from one of my favorite designers, Shoko Ayogi from Japan. She presents a very playful style in the origami models she creates. I love to use this particular model to decorate greeting cards for the summer months. Large models are fun to use to decorate a festive party table as they will stand by themselves, and smaller models can be used as place-cards.

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  Origami June Origami Page: Neck Tie

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


Neckties have a long history in the world. They date back to the 1600's and became a popular fashion accessory in the 1800's. The custom of gifting neckties on Father's Day in the US and other Western countries began as early as 1920, but I cannot discover WHY they became such a popular gift for the occasion!  I decided to create an origami necktie instead of buying ties for the men in my life since they rarely, if ever, even use them! These origami creations signify traditional nostalgic sentiments and are fun to make and personalize for each person. They can be decorated in so many ways: using colored pencils and/or markers; adding colorful stickers; stamping images or text with rubber stamps 

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  Origami May Origami Page: Rosebud

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


There are so many ways to make paper flowers - yet I have a hard time finding ones that are flat enough to be used on greeting cards that I want to mail. So I developed my own! This origami rosebud requires only a few folds, and you can make 2 buds from each square of paper.

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  Origami April Origami Page: Peacock

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


Peafowl are in the pheasant family. The males of these large birds are called peacocks. They're well known for brilliantly colored plumage. The females are called Peahens and only have brown feathers. The male's colorful plumage is usually displayed to attract a female mate. Although the males all look the same to us, in reality they have distinct patterns and “eyespots” scattered across their feathers. Females notice these patterns and choose the male that seems suitable to them. These birds are very social and groups of them are called parties! They sleep in tall trees for protection and make a shrieking sound to warn of danger.

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  Origami March Origami Page: Hina Dolls

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


This month’s Origami Hina Dolls represent a male and female figure, and they can be used for any and all of the Hinamatsuri Festival figures! Using a variety of attractive papers makes a colorful array of origami dolls. The faces can be drawn showing various expressions. “Girls Day” is celebrated in Japan on March 3 every year. The festival is called “Hinamatsuri” which literally means Doll Festival and it is a time to wish for the health and future happiness of all young girls. It is often celebrated in homes with displays of special dolls that represent good luck for girls.

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  Origami February Origami Page: Proud Rooster

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


2017 is the year of the Rooster, starting from January 28th, and ending on February 15, 2018.  It is tenth in the Chinese zodiac.  Each year is related to an animal sign according to a 12-year cycle.  Years of the Rooster include 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 2005, and 2017.  Add another 12 years to get the next Rooster year, which will be 2029!  Traditionally, people born as a Rooster are active, amusing and popular within a crowd.  They are considered to be talkative, frank, open, honest and loyal individuals.

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  Origami January Origami Page: Prosperity $hirt

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


How about starting 2017 with a Prosperity $hirt? Fold one, keep it in your wallet and you'll never be broke! Carrying this particular money fold is also considered to be good luck. This month's origami model is fun to make and as much fun to give away! The attached diagram shows how to fold the model with a one dollar bill, using the "O N E" as a guide mark. You can use other denominations, but to get the right proportion you first need to fold a one dollar bill (only step #2) to use as a template. Then, using that bill as a guide, you can fold any denomination to the same size in step-2. Continue on to follow steps #3 through 11 as diagrammed.

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  Origami December Origami Page: Origami Poinsettia

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


December's origami model is a colorful flower that represents the beautiful poinsettia plant. This plant is indigenous to Mexico and named for Joel R. Poinsett, who introduced the plant to the United States. He was a botanist and the first US Ambassador to Mexico. The poinsettia is particularly well known for its red and green foliage, although there are more than 100 varieties, some of which feature pink, burgundy or white foliage. Some even come in speckled or marbled colors. The plant is widely used in floral displays for the winter Holidays. The showy colored parts of the plant that people think of as the flowers are actually modified leaves called bracts.

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  Origami Origami Page: Origami Pig

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


This origami animal, a pig, is simple to fold and a good addition to your origami animal collection - or to start an animal collection! There are many varieties of pigs, the most commonly known are the domestic pig and the smaller pot-bellied pig; the ancestor of both being the wild boar. Despite their reputation, pigs are not dirty animals. They’re actually quite clean. The pig’s reputation comes from its habit of rolling in mud to cool off. Pigs that live in cool, covered environments actually stay very clean.

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  Origami Origami Page: Haunted House

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


This month’s origami model is a variation of a traditional origami “church” which is included with the diagrams, so you get two-for-one!. The folding sequence is the same except for the final step. The main difference is how you decorate the results.For the Haunted House I like to choose a dark paper and for the church version I begin with colored or white paper. For either model add details with colored pencils or markers. Cut-out shapes and stickers are also fun to use to decorated your work. A favorite add-on item is a Q-tip ghost - this is made by cutting off part of a Q-tip and adding dots for eyes and mouth with a fine-tip pen or marker, then attaching to your house.

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  Origami September Origami Page: The Elephant

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


I chose an elephant for this month's model because of a "Call for Elephants" put out by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The request is two-fold: They are attempting to break the Guinness World Records™ title for the largest display of origami elephants - AND - their goal is to reach 35,000 origami elephants to bring attention to the 35,000 elephants that are killed each year for their ivory. The address to send elephants to is: Wildlife Conservation Society; c/o Rachel Libretti; 2300 Southern Boulevard; Bronx, NY 10460. If you'd like to participate you would have to send your model(s) to them by September 16, 2016 so hopefully you'll see this posting before then! If not, you can still enjoy this fun model.

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  Origami August Origami Page: Friendship Butterfly

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


August 7 is International Friendship Day, a day designed to foster friendships and bridge the gaps between race, color, religion and other factors so humans can more easily enjoy friendship with one another. The "Friendship Butterfly" was designed by Origami Grandmaster Akira Yoshizawa (1911-2005) to help promote friendship worldwide.  His hope was that children of all ages would learn to fold this butterfly and give it away in a friendship gesture - or even better, teach others how to fold it.  Entire classrooms around the world have learned to fold these butterflies and then exchange them with students from other cities and countries.

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  Origami July Origami Page: Origami Star

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


To help celebrate Independence Day, this month's model is a traditional origami star. There are several kinds of origami stars - one uses a thin strip of paper that gets folded over and over. Other models use two or more squares that are folded and then put together to make a star. Origami stars also vary by how many points they have; some have only 4 points, and others have 5, 6, or 8 points. This model uses one folded square, and has a single cut before unfolding it to create the 5 points. These stars have been used as ornaments by hanging with string or thread. They can also be added to pictures, leaving them dimensional or pasting flat.

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  Origami June Origami Page: Message Shirt

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


All greeting cards are NOT the same! Especially when paper is folded into an attractive "Message Shirt"! This origami model is folded from any 8.5" x 11" paper. Begin by writing and / or drawing your message on the center of a piece paper, then fold it following the attached diagrams. Draw on your folded model to add details of a shirt or a blouse, and color additional decorations according to taste. You will then have a unique greeting for someone special.

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  Origami May Origami Page: Flat Tulip

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


The month of May makes me think of flowers! Here is a simple traditional tulip-fold that can be used to decorate cards or gift tags. Folded flowers make a wonderful theme for Mother's Day, birthdays, congratulations, or a "Thinking of You" message. The tulip blossom can be used by itself or with the accompanying stem/leaf fold. If the blossom is used alone and attached to paper, a full picture can be created by drawing in grass, stems, leaves and other objects.

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  Origami April Origami Page: Wind Glider

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


This month's diagram is my favorite origami boat. It is an interactive model - a wind glider that is propelled by blowing on the sail. All you need is a puff of breath and a smooth surface to see it glide away at surprising speeds! It can be fun to decorate and personalize the sails with images or words, using colored pencils, markers, or your favorite stickers.

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  Origami March Origami Page: Bunny Heads

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


There are many rabbit models in origami, but this bunny head is one of the easiest to make. If you'd like to see more origami rabbits you can view 22 different models at this site: www.giladorigami.com/origami-rabbits This flat Bunny Head model is good for use on hand-made cards, especially for someone born in the Year of the Rabbit. (This comes from the Chinese Zodiac which has a 12 year cycle with an animal representing each of the 12 years; the last years of the Rabbit were 2011, 1999, and 1987. If you subtract 12 from 1987 you'll find the previous Rabbit year, and can keep calculating that way for earlier years.)

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  Origami February Origami Page: Origami Hearts

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


Make your own "Conversation Heart" for your Valentine. Use this origami heart and add a strip of paper with your special message written on it - then slide it into the center slit of the heart before you enclose it in a card or gift. Candy "Sweethearts" conversation hearts were invented in the 1860s by Daniel Chase, brother of NECCO Candy's founder. Daniel created the machine that both pressed sayings onto the candy dough and cut the shape.

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  Origami January Origami Page: Origami Penguin

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


This origami penguin is a traditional model and is simple to make and enjoy. Some of the ways it can be used: a table decoration / added to a place-card / on a greeting card / hung by adding ribbon or string. Although in reality most penguins are black and white some of them are very colorful. So make your penguins whatever color you enjoy - you can make them with white paper and color them after they are folded!.

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  Origami December Origami Page: Origami Harvest or Holiday Wreath

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


This month's model is an example of modular origami, which consists of folding several pieces in exactly the same way, then interlocking them together to form a more complex shape. Usually glue is not necessary to hold everything together, but often a few small touches will insure that your model will stay together. Note: Don't add glue until you've put all eight pieces together to be sure they fit together evenly.

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  Origami November Origami Page: The Folded Turkey

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


Celebrating Thanksgiving in November has been an annual tradition in the United States since Abraham Lincoln's presidential proclamation in 1863.  Typically a turkey is the staple of Thanksgiving dinner.  This custom originated because this bird is native to North America and was abundant for our early settlers. This paper folded turkey was created by transforming the traditional origami swan into a turkey.  The major difference comes from adding 'tail feathers' by cutting a slit in the body, and folding a second piece of paper to insert for a tail fan.

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  Origami October Origami Page: The Flapping Bat!

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


The choice for this month's origami design is an interactive model - the Flapping Bat!  It is patterned after a model by one of my mentors, a pioneer in spreading origami in the U.S.:  Florence Temko (1921-2009).  She was a prolific origami creator and wrote several books teaching traditional origami as well as her own designs.  I enjoyed meeting and folding with Florence in 1977 when she lived in San Diego, CA.  Interestingly, she didn't begin to explore paper folding until she was a young mother looking for activities to do with her children.  It is never too late to learn something new, especially when it's fun!

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  Origami September Origami Page: A Hopping Cricket

By Mary Ellen Palmeri


Introducing a new feature, a monthly "Origami Page". Origami is folding paper and ending up with delightful figures and models, such as flowers, boxes and animals. This feature will showcase a different origami model in each monthly issue, with diagrams and photos to help readers learn how to fold them. Most models use one square of paper, some use a rectangle, and others use more than one piece of paper.

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