Paper polyhedron for an air plant…

Continuing my play with geometry and paper tubes, I created a Himmeli-inspired polyhedron. You can find varieties of Himmeli all over the Internet. Traditionally a Finnish craft, these geometric shapes were made using straw and combined into mobiles to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Contemporary versions are often made using metal tubing or straws. I really like these made from colorful magazine paper tubes. Using floral wire, I tied four three inch paper tubes into a square. Then I threaded wire through one side of the square and into four six inch paper tubes to create a pyramid shape on top. Adding another pyramid below completed the Himmeli shape. This geometric sculpture hangs from the ceiling with string and is adorned with two air plants.

Day 273 – We pulled out these old recycled dolls because Adin wanted to bring them to school for show&tell. I helped her add hands, feet, and hair to the little girl and then duct tape decoration to all three. She thinks the family needs a dog.

Day 249 – My floppy cat experiment (using a recycled t-shirt) is a challenge. The old t-shirt is too week for stuffing. The shape, as originally drawn, does not work in 3D. Weighted pellet are needed for to create the floppy effect. Onward. (Taken with Instagram)

Day 226 – Taking a break from plush creatures to make a new altered t-shirt. I may add long sleeves, or not. (Taken with Instagram)

The early years of elementary school are all about loosing baby teeth.  My own daughter has lost a couple while at school – never to be found again.  She was devastated and worried that the tooth fairy would not visit her without a tooth to trade.  I convinced her that the tooth fairy is very clever and never makes a mistake.  None-the-less, I am also kind of disappointed when a tooth goes missing, so I decided to create a tooth saver bag to give to teachers.  Entirely hand sewn, the brightly hued bags are made from recycled t-shirts, felt, and ribbon.  Kids proudly wear them during the day at school, keeping their tooth safe until they can bring it home and deposit it under their pillow.

I’ve been working on an idea for a reversible bear for awhile now.  This is my first prototype, made entirely by hand because I could not figure out how to sew it on my machine.  I bought a rainbow assortment of t-shirts from Goodwill.  Complementary colors, green and red, heighten the contrast between the awake bear and the asleep bear. As with all prototypes, there are several things that I would do differently next time. But for now, my 10 month old loves playing with this one.


In an effort to add more art curriculum to our daughter’s school, my husband found this not-for-profit called Trash For Teaching. “Trash for Teaching collects clean and safe cast-off materials from manufacturing processes (that would otherwise become trash) and repurposes them as educational resources.  With those materials we provide a comprehensive arts education program in local school districts, which includes teacher workshops and classroom instruction.” (excerpted from their website)

For a nominal fee per pound, my daughter and I scoured the numerous bins of materials and filled two bags with stuff like giant spools, tape reels, yarns, fabric scraps, etc. When we got home, we dumped everything out, excited to make something.  My daughter had the idea of making a doll.  A few weeks later, we made her a friend, and she named them Romeo + Juliet.  Once they were a couple, it wasn’t long before, yes, a baby girl was born.  With baby swaddled and tied to Juliet, the family is happy and complete.

This project combines two of my favorite things: origami and fused recycled bags.  Fusing is really easy, as demonstrated in this Etsy “How To”.  Once you create your plastic sheet, you can use it like fabric, or as I found, like origami paper. I used an xacto knife to cut the sheet into a rectangle. It is relatively simple to fold, although creasing the plastic takes some effort.  Eight layers of plastic (about 4 grocery bags) provided enough material for one simple origami box. I then used my sewing machine to stitch the edge.  In my first experiment, I tried to fuse the box edges, but the melting process just deformed the box shape.