Starlight, Star Bright


Neal and I put up our tree last week, but until now it hasn’t had a star! I wanted to make one by hand and didn’t get to it till last night.

I was inspired by my sister, Abby, to make one out of paper. So I went to my computer to find some inspiration. I wanted something that only required scissors and folding. I put together two sets of directions to make this origami star. Sorry about the poor picture quality. Hopefully next time I will use a real camera instead of just my phone.

First, fold a square piece of paper in half. It can be any size, but I imagine anything smaller than 5 inches might be hard to fold.


Then you turn it around so that the flaps are closer to you and take the left corner and fold towards the center.

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Then fold it back down and fold the top flap in half, towards the original center fold.

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Unfold that and turn the paper length wise. Its still folded in the middle lengthwise. You should be able to see two creases that meet at a point on the top half of the fold.

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Fold the bottom right corner up to that point where the creases meet.

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Rotate the paper right.

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Fold the corner in the middle of the page towards the edge on the left to make a triangle fold.

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Then fold the bottom right corner over to meet the slanted edge.

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Flip it over and fold it so that the two triangles are back to back.

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Now cut the extra paper.

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When you have unfolded it,

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Take the two bottom points and fold them up till they match up with the creases from the points at 10 and 2 o’clock.

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Crease the fold a few inches in each direction.

Do this for each side of the pentagon

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It will look like a mini hexagon in the middle when you are done.

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Then pinch the corners of the star so that the whole thing looks like a taco bowl.

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You should be able to put your fingers between the points to hold it into a star.

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Now the tricky part. Fold over each star point to the left so that it looks sortof like a 5 sided pyramid. Its like a tent at this point, instead of a flat star. Then slowly coax the points apart so that it looks like the picture below.

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I would take two opposite points and slightly pull them apart and rotate around the star that way several times. When you get them pulled apart far enough you can flatten it with your palm.

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Then flip the star over.

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Now you have 5 star points and a small pentagon with points in the middle. Take the hexagon point closest to you and fold it toward the center, creasing the star point length wise. This makes the star points pointyier! That is not a word.

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Unfold and do the next one. Do this for all 5 points.

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The star will look like this. Now go back and do it again, but keep folding the points over each other.

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When you get to the last one, lift up the first so that you can tuck the 5th point under the 1st point.

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Of course I forgot to take a picture of all of the completed ones. I’ll make another post so you can see the completed project.

Happy crafting!

Getting in the spirit


It really has not been feeling like the festive season here in sunny South Africa. It is hot and getting hotter, life is too busy, and most people (including us!) are planning away-from-home-Christmas-vacations on the beach. I miss the short days where the cold steals your breath, the quiet after fresh snow, candles and fireplace that light up Christmas decorations, and holiday traditions indoors to keep the heart warm with the cold outside. Most of all, I miss the smell of what became my favourite holiday in Nebraska: pine and cinnamon, ginger, apple cider, peppermint and cranberry…

So, sitting in shorts and a T-shirt, looking out my living-room window to all the beach-goers and the warm sun glistening off the ocean, I decided to try to get in the Christmas spirit. I lit a candle and made an Advent Calendar.

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(Obviously some of the candles didn’t want to collaborate for the photo.)

Since I did not have pretty paper, I made my own – grey snowflakes and beautiful black words on white paper. But you can use just what ever paper you like, since you’ll mostly be the one looking at your calendar.

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Step 1:

Cut enough circles for each day of advent. One circle will make two trees. I cut out different sized circles, because I wanted to add variety.

5 x big ones (6½”), and 8 x small ones (4½”)

After cutting each of these in half, you will use it to fold the Christmas trees.

Step 2:

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Set the semi-circle on its side so that it looks like a D. Hold the flat side of the semi-circle with one finger about ¾ of the way up and fold the biggest part of the circle over the smaller part (basically over your finger) to form something that looks like a triangle. Start with the biggest triangle first, and make it smaller as you run out of paper. Make sure to cross the side of the bottom layer every time, so you have a pine tree shape.

Fold all the semi-circles like this.

Step 3:

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Fold the stars. I found this site on Pinterest, but had to translate the Norwegian to English with a little help from Google. The tutorial with the photos are very helpful. The only tricky part was understanding how to change it from a 2D shape to a 3D birdy looking thing. When you have the two flat triangles, hold the bigger one’s two bottom corners (that are connected to the second triangle) with your forefinger and thumb. The smaller triangle will then pop up by itself looking a little more rounded in the middle. Just flatten that middle part as a seam, and viola! Also, my stars aren’t as tight as hers. Guess practice makes perfect?

Step 4:

String and embellish! A needle makes a perfect little hole in the paper, and then just pull the string through. I used beads and sequence to add some sparkle.

Step 5:

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Lay-out your trees and stars on a table before fixing the string. It is easier to organize this way, but know that some of it might look different when it actually hangs (like mine!). Add variation and interest by arranging it at different heights. When you are happy with your lay-out, you can add your numbers to each paper tree.

I love the idea of reading a specific piece of Scripture everyday for this occasion, and found a list I liked here. You can add each verse to the back of the corresponding day, or make a separate list as a stand-alone feature with the calendar.

Step 6:  

I used a dowel stick to fix my hanging ornaments from – I think it will be easier to transport for our holidays. You can also hang this from your Christmas tree, or garland above the mantel. My favourite idea (for next year) is to hang it from a hanging branch.

Step 7:

Put on some Christmas music, make hot chocolate and enjoy Advent – and your new calendar – as you prepare for the celebration of our Saviour’s birth.

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