Origami Heart Pendant Garland – Tutorial

I typically don’t get too carried away with decorating for a holiday, except for Christmas.  Then you’ll find lights and greenery and clever little snowmen and paper chains tucked into every nook and cranny in the house.  But for most holidays, I am satisfied with a few scattered decorations, and occasionally, I forget to decorate entirely.

I almost did that with Valentines’ Day this year.  When I realized that January had mostly been all crossed out on the calendar, I knew I should get up a few cutesy hearts or something around the house.  The kids helped arrange some sweet Valentines’ clings in the front window, and I draped a sparkly heart garland over our lawn flamingos.  (Yes, we have six shiny plastic pink flamingos that help us celebrate every holiday.  They have names and everything, but that’s a story for another post.)  Then, while hurrying the kids through Target the other day (impossible!), I saw a package of the cutest Valentines’ scrapbook paper in the dollar section.  I brought it home with the intention of making some sort of decoration for the dining room.  Since the paper is square, I came up with the idea of making an origami heart garland.  The hearts are gigantic and pretty much all kinds of adorable.  I feel like this adorableness should be shared with the world; hence I have written a tutorial just for you.

To make this heart garland, you will need several 12×12 squares of scrapbook paper and some ribbon.  Beware of using cardstock – it just doesn’t do the whole origami thing very well.  Stick to cute, lightweight paper like mine.

DSC_01051. So first, take your square of paper and lay it owl-side down on your work surface.(If your paper is not awesome enough to have owls on it, just know that the design of the paper should not be showing.)  Fold it in half length-wise, and then open it up again.DSC_01072.  Next, fold it in half width-wise and then open the paper up again.  (What?  Doesn’t your paper have a heavenly, blurry glow emanating from it too?)DSC_01083.  Your paper should now look like this.  Well, hopefully yours won’t look quite so wrinkly.  It takes special talent to make it look like this.DSC_01094.  Now, take the bottom of your paper and fold it up to the center crease, as shown.  Hooray for upside-down owls!DSC_01105.  Then,turn your paper over, take the bottom left corner, and fold it to the center line, as shown. (Sideways owls!)DSC_01116.  Fold the right bottom corner to the center line, as shown. (Head-to-head owls!)DSC_01127.  Turn your paper over again so that it looks like this.  Don’t worry  – it may look boring now, but it’s about to get all creative and magical in here.DSC_01138.  Fold the left side in to the center crease, as shown. (Finally, some owls getting their act together and standing upright.)DSC_01149.  Fold the right side in to the center crease as well. DSC_011510.  Fold down the top left corner to the center crease. Woohoo!  It’s starting to get a little more exciting-looking, am I right?DSC_011611.  Fold down the top right corner to the center crease.  Nope, it’s not a kite.  Or a dreidel.  It’s an almost-heart.DSC_011712.  Now, turn your paper upside down.(This is important because otherwise the pictures won’t make any sense to you and it will not look like a heart.  Trust me on this.)  Take the bottom “triangle” of your paper and fold it up about halfway to the other “triangle,” tucking the point into the pocket.  DSC_011813.  Your paper should now look like this. Wasn’t that a cool trick? Smooth the white rectangles flat.DSC_011914.  Finally, fold in the bottom corners as shown.  (Oooooh, here comes the magic!)DSC_012015.  Turn over to see your finished origami heart pendant.  Make lots and lots of hearts for your garland.  It gets a little addicting to do all these folds and see these hearts emerge; so don’t get carried away.DSC_013416.  Once you have made the number of hearts you want, turn them over and arrange them in a row on your work surface.  Thread your ribbon through the folded-over triangle on the back of each heart.  Pink or teal?  Who could possibly choose?  So I used two ribbons for mine.DSC_0143Then hang your garland however you like.  Ours hangs cheerfully over our home school work area.  So simple.  So frugal.  And maybe, after you’re all finished, you’ll come away feeling like Martha Stewart.

Oh, and guess what?  These origami heart pendants make great valentines to hand out.  You can tuck a sweet note, a lollipop, a sheet of stickers, or even cold hard cash into the pocket in the back of the heart.  This will instantly win you popularity among your friends; so I suggest doing this immediately.  (My friends, don’t get your hopes up.  I’m too lazy to make any more.)

My Journey to Freedom: Healing for the Good Girl

(It’s been a while since I posted the previous entries in this series.  If you haven’t read them or need a refresher, here’s the links:

Part One:  Following the Rules

Part Two: Thou Shalt Not Wear Pants

Part Three:  It’s Never Enough )

Do you ever find that it’s easier to draw out a tale than to finish it?  The telling of the event is always more natural than bringing it to a solid and worthy conclusion.  I used to dream of being a writer, once upon a time, as an idealistic junior high student with big hair and even bigger glasses.  I fantasized about a career in children’s literature and wrote dozens of original stories and poems.  Most of them, however, I never finished.  It felt just too difficult to come to a good ending.

For this series “My Journey to Freedom,”  I have felt this exact same way.  It feels like a whole lot has to be crammed somehow into a clear and logical ending, when in truth there is no ending.  It is a journey, after all, and although I live free in Christ, I haven’t arrived.  Not yet. 😉  Still, I will do my best to explain to you just what happened in my life the last year or so that radically altered my thinking and my faith.  Some have questioned why.  Why share this tremendously personal story online?  Won’t people perhaps vehemently disagree with you, or scorn your choices, or even be offended that you have not followed the path of your youth?

Indeed, the reception of the previous posts has not all been good.  I think that it is hard and scary for some people when you start asking questions about the things you were taught all your life.  Believe me, I fully considered that before embarking on the first post of the series last summer.  I balked at doing it at all, knowing it would absolutely cause controversy, but the Holy Spirit kept nudging me to write my story.

In September of 2012, the pot that had been slowly simmering for so long finally burst into a full boil.  I could not handle it any longer – all the rules, the stress of doing everything just right, the frustration at not feeling as if I were ever pleasing God, everything.  So I just quit.  Right then, I talked to Chris, who had been having similar feelings and frustrations of his own, and we agreed together to leave the church we had been attending for eight years.  All at once, everything stopped.  I no longer taught children’s church; there was no more nursery duty to fill more of my church time.  We had no idea of where to go or what to do next.  We attended my in-laws’ church for a brief time on Sunday mornings, but we did not go anywhere else on Sunday evenings or Wednesday nights.  It felt strange to have my entire spiritual world upended, just like that.  I found, to my consternation, that pretty much my entire social life had revolved around church, and now I felt empty and alone.  I worried that we had made the wrong decision and prayed for answers and for peace.

This is when I made a heart-rending discovery.  I prayed, but I didn’t feel connected to God in any way.  I tried to keep reading my Bible, but God still felt distant and aloof.  Without all the rules and the busyness of my former life to masquerade as spirituality, I was left with an empty shell of a Christian life.  My personal relationship with Jesus Christ had suffered dramatically as a result of my focus on outward behavior.  I didn’t know how to fix it, how to draw close to God.  I knew the verse by heart – “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8)  I feared that maybe I wasn’t really saved, that maybe somehow it had all passed me by.  The Bible wasn’t speaking to me, and I was desperate to find out why.  Surely someone else had experienced this exact same dilemma as my own – that of growing up in a Christian home and then becoming disillusioned with it in their adulthood.  I hit the internet and searched for people with stories like mine.  It was difficult to find anything, and the ones I did find had heartbreaking endings of the author turning away from God.  I didn’t want to do that either.

By this time, we had found a new church that we attended once a week.  The pastor there preached through the Bible, verse by verse.  We started attending when he was in the book of James.  After every service, I would go home and search out the things he had said in my Bible, to see if in fact they really were true.  He said then (and has said it many times since, as it’s a favorite statement of his) “Stick to God’s Word.  It has all the answers to life, and it’s the best commentary on itself.”  It was as if the Holy Spirit had tapped me on the shoulder and said, “You heard him!  Now get home and get in God’s Word.  He will do the rest.”

And so I began to search the scriptures.(John 5:39)  Through a lot of stilted, uncomfortable prayer and heartfelt journaling, I started to see who the God of the Bible really was.  I realized that I had always had this view of a big scary God who was never quite pleased with me, no matter what I did.  But my Bible revealed a God who is a loving Father, full of mercy and grace.(John 1:14)  He is also all-powerful, and we are admonished to fear Him. (Psalm 111:10)  Being God-fearing does not mean worrying about whether I am doing enough to please Him.  It does not mean ending each day in frustration and defeat because once again, I did not live up to what I thought I should.  No, being God-fearing means a reverence for God and the boundaries He sets in His Word, knowing that there will be consequences when those boundaries are crossed.  And yet, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)  Of course, I’m going to fail – I am a sinner that needs a Savior – but when I seek His forgiveness, he removes my sins “as far as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12)

And when I began to see God in this whole new light, my prayers were not so awkward.  I looked forward to meeting with Him every day.  Bible reading was not a drudgery – some days I only read a verse or two, but God spoke in my heart through them just as much as the days I read chapters.  I realized that it was okay to question things, and I took my Bible and went right down my list.  Bible versions?  Proper music?  Dress?  How often to go to church?  As I prayed and studied, it was evident that a lot of these controversial areas were about personal conviction, not scriptural mandate.  The breath of freedom that this discovery brought me was exactly why I titled this series “My Journey to Freedom.”

The journey is far from over.  I still don’t know all the answers.  But now I am living in this new-found freedom, worshiping and following my Savior, rejoicing in the hope that He gives, not the fear of not enough.  I write this for that person who may be searching, just as I did, for someone with the same experience as their own.  If that’s you, run, run, run to receive His amazing grace and unfailing love.  Be encouraged that there are answers and that there is hope.  Most of all, know this: God will give healing to the good girl who just never could be good enough.


DSC_0038-001A lot of living and a lot of loving have happened since I last posted.  It was a season in which far too many things took priority over this blog, and I don’t regret giving in to those things one bit.  It’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.  Now, I’ve reached a time when blogging and sharing my ideas and thoughts is once again a very possible part of my schedule, and I’m thrilled to be back.

I realize that I left off my My Journey to Freedom series right in the middle.  I fully intend on completing that series soon.  Since I posted the third installment of the series, God has led me even deeper into that journey of faith.  I absolutely would not have chosen the path He picked, but I am walking it still and am glad for the strength He gives each day.

On my old blog Temporary Insanity – Permanent Joy, I started off 2013 with a ridiculous and copious list of new year’s resolutions that with my absurd confidence I posted for all the world to see.  I read that list recently and just shook my head at the enormity of things I had hoped to accomplish in a single year.  With the wisdom that is gained through personal failure, I entered 2014 with a completely different outlook.  Instead of a long list of impossible resolutions, I decided to focus on a single word for this year.  I know it’s not a new idea – I admit that I stole it from oh, just a whole lot of other bloggers I read.  But the idea of a single word propelling some changes and opportunities for growth this year was very appealing.  And so, after a lot of prayer, I chose the word intentional.

I am not by nature a very organized person.  I often have the best of intentions and then fail to follow through.  This year, I will be putting this word intentional in a prominent place to remind me to live more deliberately.  In my marriage, I want to be consciously putting forth more of an effort to grow and strengthen our love and to be fully present even when he is trying unsuccessfully to get me excited about some computer concept.  With my children, I want to make the most of each moment I have with them, and that means purposeful planning ahead and working diligently to get individual time with each child.  In homeschooling, I want to stop avoiding the direction I know we need to take just because it will require more work and planning. (more about that in another post.)  And in my relationship with Jesus Christ, I want to be more deliberate in pursuing Him and in facing those areas of my life that need to be changed.  As far as my health is concerned, I need to be more intentional about the food I eat and the physical activity I do.

So that’s it.  I guess I am hoping to be a lot more intentional about blogging as well.  Come back soon for the final post in my Journey to Freedom series.