Friday, July 3, 2009

My Maharajah's Palace-Mini Mobiles & Windchimes

I love mobiles and wind chimes, in all shapes and sizes, loud or silent. At home, every 100 sq ft, there is one, collected from one of my travels or when I could not resist.

It is therefore inevitable that I will end up making mini versions so that they can decorate my dolls' houses or my friends'.

I made one for Mercedes' porch, cutlery in a row because I have seen many homemade ones and my friend is Mrs Homemaker of the year.

I made one for Sylvia's beach house, spiralling dolphins with blue chime because everything else can be done much better by her and I thought, windchimes? She could not have thought of that.

I made one for my carpet seller, birds and elephants on dark strings because 9 year old Kristel inspire me and it will always remind me of a great weekend with her. It will forever be "The Weekend of the Mobiles" and the one I bought such an expensive vacuum cleaner, I had to pay it in 36 instalments. All because Kristel woke me up on Sunday for the "cleaning demostration" by a travelling salesman.

This is an extract of the post on Day 79 at My Maharajah's Palace

Extra! Extra! New stocks at the Emperor's Emporium!

It all started last Saturday when Kristel, MarG's 9 year old niece came to visit. You know how kids are, attention span the length of their nose. MarG sent her to me , my very own child labour, she said, to help me build any mini I want.

Drats! I had just finished lighting up the tent and was in a " research " and not "make" mode. In any case, what possibly can a 9 year old do that I will want for my palace, I thought a trifle scornfully.

And then I remembered. ORIGAMI! I had, just the week before, bought these origami papers from Daiso, to entertain my nieces when they come over.

I passed Kristel the papers and before I could say "dinosaur", she had folded a Hiroshima peace crane. She even showed me how to flap the wings! My goodness, an origami child protege!

To keep her interested, I told her I needed it to be dollhouse size. So she kept halving the size of what she made earlier. After 3 versions, she finally hit on the perfect scale using 1/16th of the paper i.e. 2cm by 2cm. I was thrilled to bits when I saw the result. You are a genius, I told a beaming Kristel, now you can make me 2000 of these. 1000 for Hiroshima and 1000 for me.

Kristel made me and Fafa do it with her of course and we "worked" from about 9pm Saturday till 1am on Sunday. By about 10pm, Kristel had finished 10 (in between teaching me like a trillion times and many many breaks for chips, water, computer game, cementing etc etc). Fafa did 5 and me , I was still struggling with my 1st. By then, my child labour had become "Master" and she was quite scornful, politely of course.

Now for those of you who are as disgusted as Kristel on my progress or lack thereof, please click to see how you can make this bird. Then try doing it on a 2cm by 2cm piece of paper.

See how small the bird is? Eventually, the 3 of us made a total of 33 birds. 2 by me. The "diamond" step was impossible!

Unhappy that I am not smarter than a 9 year old, I took out my encyclopaedia of papercraft to see if I could try a even more difficult piece. Was I in luck! This book has a section devoted to origami with projects divided into 3 categories, Simple, Intermediary and Advanced. And guess what is the the most difficult of the difficult? An elephant! How perfect is that?

This is what Paul Jackson, the designer of this origami says in the book :

The final design in the advanced origami section is appropriately the most difficult. Step 7 contains a fiendish closed sink, which will have the most experienced folders fumbling a little. The Step 11 half closed sink is a little better...

So Fafa and I started working on it. Kristel did the 1st 6 steps and gave up. I struggled and then waited for Fafa to figure out what in the world is a "closed sink". About 1/2 an hour later,Fafa finished her "big" elephant while I was placing birds on Kristel's finger nails and taking pictures. We both started working on the "mini" version with her intrepreting to me what the book said. Since it was so complex, we used a 4cm by 4 cm paper. Surprisingly, they took a shorter time than the birds (actually, it was easier because we cheated and cut a few steps including the confounding Step 7). You can check out the easier version here.

My 1st mini elephant (1/2" tall, 1/2" wide", I made 3, Fafa 4) :

A week later, i.e. today, I strung them together and made Indian wall hangings or mobile.

To protect the paper, I used Krylon "Preserve It", a paper protectant which is also good for other material. I sprayed on the mobile after they are done.

Here they are in the tent:

Kristel hasn't seen them yet. I am sure she will be thrilled that her masterpieces are displayed here. I am very proud of her. Just so you know, she can also make origami lotuses and stars and loads of other "advanced" pieces and she learnt it all by reading an origami handbook, no coaching.

Thank you, baby, for these precious gifts.

By the way, there are other "new products" but they pale in significance.

I am sure Kristel will want to dedicate her peace cranes to the memory of all those who have left us, including Michael Jackson and Farah Fawcett, if only she knows who they are.


  1. I've never seen origami that teeny tiny-- so amazing! They look wonderful hanging in the palace!

  2. I LOVE my little windchime...the teensy Eiffel Tower might have to become part of a windchime...maybe...

  3. wow this wind chimes are very impressive and beautiful perfect for a gift .