Spring Papercraft, With Something Special for Gamers

As I started this week's column my neighborhood was under a tornado watch, rain was pouring down, the local gas station had run out of gas and we were all hunkered down pretending we would never go outside again. With spring so tantalizingly close, I decided we should do some papercraft and at least get some fake flowers in the house. Paper flowers are nice for a couple of reasons; they don't wilt and they rarely make you sneeze. But flowers weren't all I tracked down; anyone who knows the cake is a lie will be excited to see the other goodies I've got for you.

This Korean site has what you need to make a cheery little girl who strides through a spring landscape, carrying a frog umbrella. She looks somewhat complicated so if you don't read Korean, you may want to just settle for the umbrella. I'm sure you know someone who has wanted a green umbrella with eyes for years. Now you can make them happy. Conversely you may know someone who is terrified of cute, in which case you now have the means of frightening them whenever you choose.

This site has directions for how to make crepe paper flowers. I hadn’t made anything from crepe paper since I was in grade school so this project felt rather retro to me, always a bonus. Since crepe paper comes in so many colors you can really play with this pattern. It might be fun to make orange and black blossoms come Halloween. Or if, you know, you're still in love with your ex and they're getting married, you can carry a nice bouquet of black flowers to the wedding.

The Canon website has a lovely tulip basket you might like. The page also includes a romantic story from the Netherlands that tells how the tulip came to be. (Hint - it's a love quadrangle!)

And because we might get a little tired of cutting, folding and pasting after a bit, here is a balancing game, also from the Canon site. You make a boat with a curving bottom then balance some pirates on the top. Then, much like a cherry on an ice cream sundae, you place the captain of the pirates, or if you prefer, a princess, on top. Personally I think the princess will then take over the ship, so beware if you don't want an integrated pirate ship. When you're all finished playing you can build a nice treasure chest to keep everyone in, which will make your parents, or your spouse, or possibly you, happy.

For a different take on spring (the kind of spring Wile E. Coyote was always strapping to his feet in order to try and catch the roadrunner), here is an origami spring made by the origami nut, who includes a video as well as an image of their first miserable failure. It's rather odd how eerie a completely silent youtube video is.

Because everyone knows that mice are the harbingers of spring, here are three of the cutest mice ever invented, complete with a delicious hunk of cheese. These adorable creatures come to you all the way from Amsterdam.

Companion Cube
Are you a Portal fan? You probably are if you've played this terrific game from Valve even once. (Haven't even heard of Portal? Watch the trailer here.) You'll be pleased to be able to create your very own companion cube. You can download your choice of three different sizes. Just don't give the poor thing back to the folks at Aperture Science. Or perhaps you'll find this entire scene demonstrating portal technology more to your liking. The creator has some good advice, saying, "I found the best way to make it was to print it out on a sheet of A4 card or thick paper and then shrink my self down to the same size and use a small army of worker puppies to assemble it. If you can't find worker puppies or shrink your self down to size then stare at the print out before you go to bed and you can dream that you made it and wake up feeling happy and refreshed."

Here's a link to something a little more menacing, a marvelous thwomp from Super Mario Galaxy. In case you don't recall, the thwomps are the stone creatures that hurtle down from the ceiling and crush Mario if you're not careful. Once you build several of your own you can set them up around your cubicle and keep intruders out…

One-Paragraph Review
This week's one-paragraph review is from Unlocked Memory, who comments on a new release for the X-Box 360, saying, "In Lost Odyssey the first two bosses are the hardest in any game I've played in a long time. There are items hidden in everything from pots to posters to trees. The game has a unique skill growth system that gives an old style sexy flavor to game play." Have you got a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me and I'll run the most interesting ones. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.