Tag Archives: little red toolbox

Origami Chopstick Holder

I’m the worst you guys! Thanks so much to Susan for reminding me in the comments to post the chopstick/pen holder! I took these pictures back when it was still summer, but then didn’t love the lighting so I figured I would take more, but then the busy-ness of October caught up with me. And now that I’m more free, we’re hitting a rainy spell in Forest Park, which isn’t helping with bright pictures! So, I’m posting these today with hopes of a sunny morning soon so I can update with some brighter, clearer pictures. I really love how easy this project is and I’m trying to find long, skinny objects for all of my friends so I can wrap their gifts in fancy paper holders.

You can use any kind of paper for this project, but I find handmade papers to be most forgiving. (This section at Paper Source is a great place to look for types of handmade papers that work well for origami projects. Steer clear of anything that is flocked or may be too thick to fold well. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them!)  When I made Karen’s pencil holder, I used a lokta paper and I’ve used Japanese washi as well. Both of those fold beautifully. Wood based paper will work just fine though, so you can use wrapping paper or anything pretty you have on hand. It’s just not always as easy to manipulate and tends to show mistakes more.

You’ll need to cut your paper to an 8×8 inch square. I used a ruler and scissors for this since the paper is too large for my paper cutter. Do your best to get nice straight lines since origami is a pretty exact science. My paper had a deckled edge so I placed that at the top to add some interest to the collar of the pencil/chopstick holder. You could also cut the deckled edge off and just have clean edges all around. A bone holder (that thing on the right) is helpful to smooth your folds, but if you don’t have one, you’re fingers will work just fine.
Flip your paper over so the pattern is facing down. Fold the paper in half. Open and fold the right half to meet the center fold. Then fold the left half to meet the center fold. Unfold and now you should have four equal sections in your square. Fold your left corner down to meet the first fold (from the left.) Fold your right corner down to meet the center fold. Now fold the left side over to meet the middle. And fold again in the same direction. It’s kind of like rolling it closed. One last turn and this is what the back should look like. Flip it over and this is what the front should look like. (But turn it back over because we need to finish the back part.) On the back side, fold the bottom up about a quarter of an inch or so. This will be the bottom of the holder. Use some clear tape to hold it closed. I know washi tape would be cuter here, but most of it won’t hold securely on handmade paper. Clear tape gets the job done.
Stick in some chopsticks, pencils, pens, magic wands…and you’re done! I made a bunch for my birthday party this year and for Hasegawa Tanabata. All the different patterns make a pretty table (or picnic!)

Let me know if the instructions are confusing and I’ll try to clear them up! And please send me pics of your finished origami pencil holders!

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My Little Red Toolbox | StazOn Ink


My Little Red Toolbox is back–this time with the one ink I cannot live without–StazOn ink. StazOn is a fast-drying solvent ink and it works on plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, laminated paper, coated paper and leather. Overkill for regular paper and envelopes? Maybe, but I stamp on glossy things like shimmery envelopes, labels, photos and washi tape all the time, and who needs a variety of black inks lying around? (Not me.) StazOn dries almost instantly, which helps when I stamp my return address on a stack of mail and it doesn’t smear all over the other envelopes.


I bought these notarial seals at Pieritz Bros during the letter social last weekend. They are shiny and gold. Normal ink pads would take a lifetime to dry, or never dry on them. The StazOn ink dries almost immediately so I can use my homemade seals (created with this By Pigeon stamp) right after I stamp them. Instant gratification.

I have StazOn inks in Blazing Red (such a solid, true red) and Teal Blue (a perfect peacock blue), but the black one gets the most use by far. The only downside with StazOn is that it stains your stamps, so if you frequently use different colored ink pads, you’ll need the StazOn cleaner on hand to keep your stamps ink-free.

We’re only about halfway through the Little Red Toolbox, so look for another post soon!

*For more about my little red toolbox, go here.

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My Little Red Toolbox | Sakura Quickie Glue Pen

The Little Red Toolbox is back! And, with another pen (not on purpose)! But this one is not full of ink, it’s full of glue. Glue that streams out in a nice fine line. Glue that can be covered in glitter to add little more *sparkle* to your projects. Glue that can be used to stick the teeeeniest bits of paper to other bits of paper.

Sakura’s Quickie Glue Pen writes like a smooth ballpoint pen making it easy to add small glittery details to paper projects. I used it to add some subtle sparkle to some decorations (the Stars & Stripes Garland from Paper Source) for the Election Party. The Quickie Glue Pen writes with a 0.7mm point and is really easy to control. I traced the outline of the stars inside the circles and I had no problem staying along the edge, even though I am often careless, impatient and messy when I craft. When I first started, I traced small sections of the stars and added glitter to each section before “writing” more glue.

By the time I was on the last color, I was tracing the entire star and glittering all at once. (For the record, I only glittered six of these…see what I mean about being impatient?) The good news is, the glue stays tacky long enough to hold the glitter well.

I strung them up (with the included tiny clothespins and twine) and stuck them on the TV stand. I still have eight more circles and eight more stars that I can play with someplace else, if I don’t run out of time (or interest).

It’s hard to see the glitter in the picture, but it adds just enough sparkle to make things festive around here. As soon as the donkey and the elephant are glittered, they will join the garland near the TV for a little sparkle party.

But back to the glue pen. When the glue is still blue, it is a permanent adhesive. While I wouldn’t use a thin glue pen to glue large areas or heavy papers together, I do use it to adhere tiny bits of paper to other paper or to stick down that pesky corner that the glue stick always seems to miss. But for the most part, I use the glue pen just as I used it today–to add some glitter to decorations or cards. Because a little sparkle goes a long way around here. (And even a little sparkle creates a glittery mess that lasts for weeks…but it’s worth it!)

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my little red toolbox | Sakura Stardust Clear Gel Pen

I’m afraid that the fabulousness of this pen is not going to be conveyed in my amateur  photographs…

Remember when gel pens were super-popular? I gave them as holiday gifts to my students when I first started working in education…the kids loved them! I personally never saw the draw…until recently…

Sakura’s Stardust Gelly Roll in clear is my favorite tool to use when I want to create a little sparkly accent on cards, envelopes and decorations. It works just like a gel pen, but it leaves a little trail of glittery ink behind. I used it to color in the acorns on the envelope and to outline the acorns on the decorations (which are part of this Acorn Garland Kit from Paper Source).

It is pretty subtle (you can barely see it on the lighter papers of the acorn decorations, but in person it is noticeable), so I wouldn’t really recommend writing a letter with this particular gel pen, but the Stardust line comes in a bunch of colors, if glittery writing is your thing. I personally just love it because it’s a mess-free way to add a little pizzazz to my projects… without the risk of getting glitter in my eye!

*This and all posts about my little red toolbox are not sponsored posts. I just thought it would be fun to share my favorite tools for paper crafting. For more about my little red toolbox, go here.

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my little red toolbox | coccoina glue

This week’s favorite crafting item from the little red toolbox comes from the land of my ancestors. (It is made in Italy for those of you who haven’t read this post.) My Coccoina glue stick is my favorite glue stick, not because of its superior effectiveness compared to other (cheaper) glue sticks I’ve used, but because of its amazing smell. Those of you who make stuff know that good smells and crafting often do not go hand in hand…but the Coccoina glue stick smells deliciously of marzipan. That is the only reason I bought it in the first place, but upon further research, I’ve learned that Coccoina is very eco-friendly–it is made with almond oil and potato starch and is so pure, you could eat it. (I’m kidding…but it does smell good enough to eat!) Coccoina has been making paste since 1927 and they still use their original recipe. I use mine mainly for mail art…it is perfect for paper-to-paper gluing. But it also works with cloth and photographs, making it perfect for collage and scrapbooking.

I know I can buy a box of Elmer’s glue sticks for next to nothing during back-to-school sales, but for me, the $6 I paid for my giant 40-gram Coccoina is well worth the aromatherapy crafting.

*The blue books in my mail art above were drawn by Donovan. They were a part of the stationery she created for the last LWA letter social.

*This and all posts about my little red toolbox are not sponsored posts. I just thought it would be fun to share my favorite tools for paper crafting. For more about my little red toolbox, go here.

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my little red toolbox | kai scissors

It wasn’t hard to choose the first tool to feature from my little red toolbox. My love for my Kai Detail Scissors is unmatched. I cut a lot of tiny things for mail art and other projects and my old kitchen scissors weren’t cutting it (pun intended…couldn’t resist). My hand would get all cramped, my cutting lines were all jagged and quite frankly, I dreaded having to cut anything. Then, I was exposed to Kai Scissors by an old manager at our local paper store. These scissors are absolutely dreamy! They cut really smoothly and easily and they are tiny and pointy, which makes them great for cutting little detailed objects (like forks and flying men from a Trader Joe’s bag and washi tape banners) and they are comfortable to hold (which is completely necessary when you are doing a lot of cutting). Kai Scissors are made in Japan and the blades are hand balanced and hand polished. And, in case Naoto decides to use my precious paper scissors to cut open a potato chip bag (he knows better…now…), the blades can be sharpened if they get dull. I ordered my Kai Scissors at KaiScissors.com. They offer free shipping and a very good price. Mine are the N5135 model, and though they say they are for embroidery, they’ve worked like a dream for me in paper crafts for over a year now. Yay for tiny cutting with ease!

*This and all posts about my little red toolbox are not sponsored posts. I just thought it would be fun to share my favorite tools for paper crafting! Don’t know about my little red toolbox? Go here!

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my little red toolbox

My dad gave me this toolbox awhile ago after I bombarded him with links to several expensive ones from Etsy. I knew he had one or a dozen to spare and when he offered up the red one, I was thrilled. I love it’s scratchy paint and well-placed rust. I love that it has a tiny tray inside for little bits and a large compartment on the bottom (for big bits?) Until now, this toolbox was holding my giant pen collection, some frequently used erasers and some infrequently used watercolors. Now that my toolbox is going to move into the new (ok, halfway-finished) office area, I’ve decided that it should hold something else.

You see, I am a total disaster. I am completely unorganized and messy. I take after my dad in this sense. My mom is completely organized and tidy…and she–like Naoto with me–fights a losing battle with trying to keep my dad organized. And I often find myself searching for my most frequently used tools–the tools I need to paper craft or make mail art. Instead of putting them away where they belong, these tools often get shoved on the guest bed or in a drawer in the frenzy of tidying up for guests. I’m hoping that having a dedicated crafting space (instead of the kitchen island or the dining table) helps with this problem…but in case it doesn’t, I’ve come up with a fool-proof system just in case my disastrous ways don’t change.

I’m going to use the little red toolbox to hold all of my most frequently-used paper crafting tools. It’s big enough to hold all of my favorites, and small enough that I can leave it on my desk (or take it on crafting adventures). I will always put my tools away. And, in another irregularly regular blog feature (like this one and this one) I am planning to share all of my favorite paper crafting tools.*

In the meantime, a place for everything and everything in its place…

*Hopefully each Friday starting next week can be dedicated to the little red toolbox…and hopefully I can get back on track with posting about the apartment on Thursdays…I’m going to try to make it happen!

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