[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="640" caption="Giftmas origami balloons made out of wrapping paper."][/caption]
One way I kept on an even keel during the recent holiday season was by taking every opportunity I could to practice making these origami cubical "balloons" using scraps of wrapping paper. I made in excess of a dozen, and that was the high point of my recent kick to practice enough to be able to do this pattern from memory.
From a maker-theory perspective, even with the digital revolution and the move to e-texts to replace things, like books, that have traditionally used paper, paper as a material is still ubiquitous and cheap. Its ready availability means that one can cultivate the maker state of mind just about any where--I started out on this recent origami journey after lunch one day a couple of months ago, using the coated-paper basket liner at a burrito place.
Paper fast-food tray liners and place mats do pretty well in a pinch, and making something then and there is a great way to entertain a youngster or to open a discussion with an indulgent friend, co-worker, or even a stranger, about the fun to be had as a hacker and maker.
Amongst different types of paper, paper sold as "origami paper" can be a little more hard to find and more expensive. I also try to resist that tendency projects have to lead off with "first, go out and buy something". So I set out to figure out a way consistently to convert randomly-shaped scraps of paper into squares suitable for use with traditional origami patterns.
More recently, at my last turn on door duty for Interlock's "Do Night" I worked on expanding my repertoire a little bit, learning how to make these open-topped boxes. Also, Reggie was a pretty ggod sport about taking some instruction from me about how to fold up his own balloon made from wrapping paper I pushed on him.
So far, I'm not that enthused about making little animals. Also, I had my paper airplane phase as a kid, so that doesn't hold a lot of appeal for me at the moment. Mostly, pure geometry, as in the balloon-cubes, and potentially useful knick-knacks, like the candy box, are what I've been after. With the holidays gone, my interest may fade for a bit. We'll see.