Starry Cardboard Birthday Crown

Featured

Starry Cardboard Birthday Crown by AmberStarry Cardboard Birthday Crowns by Amber

Starry Cardboard Birthday Crown by Amber  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An easy beautiful birthday crown that my daughter put together on her big day. She wants to wear it again next year, and I agree it turned out beautifully. There is definitely a Glinda, Good Witch of the North quality there.

If you can’t find gold cardboard, try jarred gold paint and pizza box lids……..

Cardboard Playground circa 1967

Featured

LIFE Magazine - November 3, 1967 (Volume 63, Number 18) 

Big Play back top Rescan
LIFE Magazine - November 3, 1967 (Volume 63, Number 18) Page 3 LIFE Magazine - November 3, 1967 (Volume 63, Number 18) Page 2LIFE Magazine - November 3, 1967 (Volume 63, Number 18) Page 1

LIFE Magazine – November 3, 1967 (Volume 63, Number 18) Modern Living — The Big Play in Paper, from Giraffes to Gazebos

Wow, check out this 1967 LIFE magazine article entitled, “The Big Play in Paper”, that was lovingly rescued and scanned by my friend Miss Meryl Ann Butler during a recent Spring cleaning.

Meryl Ann and I met while taking online classes from Diane Gilleland at Crafty Pod, (I learned almost everything I know about blogging from those classes) and I got to know Meryl Ann by her spit-your-tea-out-hilarious sense of humor and from the really helpful stuff she posted in the forums (she has a long and distinguished career in the craft industry.) She is the author of the book 90 Minute Quilts among, many others and she has an intensely joyful, vibrant style with a personality to match.

Meryl Ann recently sent me an email message explaining that:
“This clipping was in my “morgue file” which was a file we had in the olden days before electronic files… with clippings of images that might inspire future artwork. My file had thousands of clippings, and I just threw most of it away a couple of days ago – a hard thing to do, since I had collected images for a long time – well, at least from 1967, lol!  I only saved a couple of them, and of course the second I saw this I thought of you, Amber!”

How very thoughtful, and how entirely awesome. Enjoy a trip back to the glory days of cardboard………………….we’ll relive them again soon?

Cardboard Messages: Teapot

Featured

cardboard sign gift card father's Day Mother's (mug by my college buddy Jeremy http://www.oguskyceramics.com/shop)

We’re planning a little adventure for Father’s Day….something involving a bike ride and a picnic I think? I saw this idea in a book called, “Japanese-style Interior of Living” that I checked out from the library. I thought it was a sweet alternative to a card.

What’s your plan for Father’s Day? Are you going on an adventure?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Woven Cardboard Vase

Featured

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Woven Cardboard Vase DIY by The Cardboard Collective

I’m so excited about Spring’s arrival in Tokyo. Cherry blossoms are in full swing and Forsythia, Snow Drops, Grape Hyacinth and Narcissus are popping up all over our neighborhood.

Inspired by a post on Supercyclers, (Clink on Plastic Fantastic, and then at the end of the post More Plastic Fantastic) I made this long cardboard vase for our Easter Brunch. It’s an easy and unexpected way to showcase single stems and spring greenery. I used some plastic drinking straws left over from our fantastic lunch and bike trip to Ishikawa Brewery yesterday as well as a few plastic bags that some birthday cards came in.

Woven Cardboard Vase DIY by The Cardboard Collective

Last Spring we made tea cup arrangements and I have to say it’s hard not to be happy looking at spring flowers…this is my 3 year old daughter’s arrangement. I love seeing which flowers and greenery she chooses, always different than what I would think of and equally beautiful.

Spring Planting in Cardboard

Featured

The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

Last year I started experimenting with planting in cardboard even though nearly everyone around thought I was crazy. Well, not one of them was shy when the time came to harvest our cherry tomatoes…

This fall I made a simpler kind of planter utilizing the planter hangers that I have, and torn pieces of scrap corrugated cardboard tucked and layered inside. They over-wintered well, and to freshen the boxes up in the Spring, I just added new cardboard to the outside edges and removed some of the inner layers.

Spinach, salad greens, cilantro and nasturtiums…we can’t wait for our little sprouts to start popping up! And we’re curious to see how our experiment with the glass case (Used for displaying traditional Japanese dolls- there are always tons of these at the recycling shop) works for our tomato starts. We’re hoping to transform it into a home for adopted caterpillars……

 

 

Stackable Cardboard Dressers for Kids

Featured

Stackable dressers

My daughters are young and their needs are always changing. They wear a pair of shoes for 6 months then need a new pair.

They use a little chair, or a booster seat for a year or a month or 2 and then we have to replace it and either throw out the old one, find a friend who happens to need the same thing at the same moment we want to get rid of it, or put it on Craig’s List. (We have no charity shops here in Tokyo and limited recycling opportunities for large items.)

I find this kind of turnover exhausting. I wanted to create a dresser system for the girls that accomplished 3 things:

stackable dressers

  1. Recyclable so that we could recycle the whole thing, or just parts of it as the girls’ needs changed. I didn’t want the guilt of throwing away something that was perfectly good and I didn’t want the extra work of finding someone to take on our old stuff.
  2. Facilitates Independence. I wanted a piece of furniture that was easy to use and functional so the girls could easily pick out their own clothes and put them away starting from an early age (about 18 months-2 years ).
  3. Beautiful. I believe that the things in our life should be beautiful and functional. I want my daughters to value beauty, design, the arts, and momma moxie, so we tried to accomplish all of those things when we made the dressers. If you like hot pink and pattern as much as I do I hope you agree on our definition of beautiful….

The Cardboard Collective

To make the dressers, we collected kiwi boxes over the course of a few weeks, as well as beautiful papers; a mix of washi papers, origami paper, paper bags and Gallery Opening flyers.

I then decoupaged the papers onto the fronts of the boxes with water and white glue. I made a door in each box by cutting two sides about a ruler’s width from the edges of the box, and and then scored the bottom to create the door opening.

The doors of the dressers always stay shut and close easily. In a year and a half of using these boxes, the doors have never flopped open or gotten flimsy.

stackable dressers

The girls can easily open and close the drawers. By decorating each box differently they quickly have memorized what kind of clothing each box holds. (Only Dad is still struggling with this.)

Another benefit of these dressers is that they are not a hazard if they fall over in the event of an earthquake – an important consideration living here in Japan.

stackable dressers

If you’re wondering where you can get kiwi boxes, check out your local produce department. This past summer I wrote a post about how to find free cardboard here. We also use these boxes for storing our toys, puzzles, and art supplies. Yes, kiwi boxes are a definite favorite here in our apartment.

 

Cardboard Heart Locket

Cardboard Locket

When my daughter was about 18 months old, we went on a trip to an island off of Tokyo’s coast called Shikinejima. It was the off season, most restaurants were closed and we were sleeping in a tent.

We ended up doing a lot of shopping at convenience stores, eating meals of: apples, Oreos, cans of hot cocoa, and cans of tuna fish, and were even gifted a fresh bag of assorted seafood from a local fisherman, which we hesitantly attempted to cook over a fire… Maybe you’ve had a similarly strange almost-camping experience?

Cardboard Locket

One of the shop keepers, a little old man who was so enamored with our daughter and her blond hair, kindly gave her a red plastic 3D heart pendant which had a light inside that would blink on and off.

It was one of those toys with sticking power, and became well-worn and well-loved over the next year and a half- that is until the battery died.

Cardboard Locket necklace

When I saw this cardboard heart ornament on Pinterest by A Little Learning for 2, it gave me the idea for making a low tech replacement for the blinking heart pendant.

My daughter approved. She loves being able to open and close the locket. We’re now working together to make something similar as a Valentine’s Day present for the grandparents. Definitely not afraid to share the cardboard love….

Info on adding cardboard beads to your locket here.

Make a Cardboard Locket by The Cardboard Collective

 

My Tools

My Tools by The Cardboard Collective

One of the things that I love about working with cardboard is that you need very few tools to get started. This is my go-to, can’t live without, get happy just looking at ’em, collection of tools that has evolved over the past two years.

The tree-pruning-looking shears are the most obscure in my kit. They’re a type of Japanese scissor used for cutting corrugated roofing. I love them because I’m more comfortable cutting with scissors than a utility knife and these are tough enough to get through triple wall cardboard without too much effort.

Other notable tools are the screwdriver and leather punch that I use for poking holes in cardboard on play days. The glue brush and glue comb are nice to have; they save on glue and make for a better bonded cardboard project. Oh, and I forgot one! How could I live without a metal ruler?

Do you have an favorite cardboard tool?

I recently read in the fabulous “2012- Celebrating The Year of Cardboard” article at the Maker Education Initiative that there are some great electrical saws that even small children can use with adult supervision. I’d be interested to try them out someday! Have you got a secret tool in your cardboard making arsenal?

Please share!

Cardboard Play Day at Musashino Place

The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

A few photos from our first ever, open-to-the-Tokyo-public, cardboard pop-up play day.

We ran the event with just recycled cardboard, a few tools, bike power, and creative spirit.

Neighboring Ito Yokado kindly helped us bring many beautiful boxes over from their store (including the fantastic red stuff which was left over from New Year’s postcard displays) and MakeDo pieces were lent to us by the American School of Japan.

The Cardboard Collective

We assembled these incredible Wind-balls prior to the play day, with Tanaka Satoshi’s design plans that you can get here. Just plain fun. We’ve now got the smaller one up as a lampshade in the girls’ room and it’s gorgeous.

The Cardboard Collective

The highlight of the day was seeing parents and children building together. Once my Japanese teacher helped me to write a sign in Japanese inviting everyone to play freely, they all started getting to it. Little houses, castles, tunnels, trains and forts….it’s all poetry to me.

The Cardboard Collective

The Cardboard Collective

The same box on wheels that I made about 8 months ago (and flew back and forth from the US with) withstood countless laps on the concrete around the grass patch. I’m thinking we could do a great pop-up based on these alone….where to reclaim some old wheels????

The Cardboard Collective

Thanks to my friends from MIA, my husband (who even made dinner after we got home) and Chris B of a small lab for coming out, bearing the cold, taking pictures (many of which you see here) and wrangling cardboard with us at the end. A true labor of cardboard love! I really appreciate your support.

I’m looking forward to hosting more pop-ups and play days in 2013 so stay tuned for more info on where we’ll be next…

….of course I hope you’ll consider having a few cardboard pop-ups in your own home in the meantime?