Sunday, January 4, 2009

It all started with a square piece of paper

I've been a crafty-sort of gal since I was pretty young. My first realization that crafting could be a way to make a living was when I was 8 years old. My parents took me to a museum (I think it was Norton Simon, but I can't be sure). The only thing I remember from the entire trip was the gift shop. I loved all the little amazing things for sale. I wandered into the book section and found a book on origami called "Paper Pandas and Jumping Frogs" by Florence Temko. I don't think I'd even heard of origami before that, but I knew I wanted that book. I begged my parents for it. $12.95 in 1986 was more than my parents were willing to spend out of nowhere for something they doubted I'd ever use after the first day.

"Are you SURE you're going to actually use this?" my dad asked.
"Yes. Yesyesyesyesyes. PLEASE can I have it?" I begged.

Luckily for me, I was the only child and a major daddy's girl. I learned every model in that book and could make them almost without looking. My parents started buying me beautiful packages of origami paper, which I would go through in a matter of hours. I'd then cut my own squares of plain copy paper, color one side and keep right on folding.

I started to realize I needed to do something with all these little animals and flowers and boats sitting around my desk. I started gluing them to note card and the corners of stationary. Pretty soon, I set up "Lia's Origami Shop" near the front door of my bedroom. I charged my (quite indulgent) parents 3-10 cents for my creations. My mother would use the cards and stationary to write to her friends and our relatives. I made all our Christmas cards and gift tags with models I learned from new books or the inserts inside the packages of origami paper. By the end of the year I'd saved an astonishing $65.00 from my origami sales to family and friends. This was enough to go to Disneyland!

Origami is still an art I have a passion for. It's so inexpensive and people are always really impressed with completed models. It's also easily combined with the "chic" crafts out there today: scrapbooking, card making, and even jewelery making. Tiny models covered with a good coat of Mod Podge are easily turned into earrings, pendents and broaches.

I use the gift box model I learned from "Paper Pandas.." for small gifts to this day and Dad brings up that day at the museum every time he sees one. "I was so sure I was wasting my money..." No, he was starting a passion that would lead to a lifetime of crafting.

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