I devised this "Cranes of Thanks" project because I love origami, working with children, and the "heroes" that defend our country!  I am teaching youth to fold paper origami cranes which will be placed on a coloring page with a letter on the back to be sent to our soldiers overseas.  This project will continue until we have completed 1,000 Cranes of Thanks!  All of the supplies have generously been funded by DoSomething.org.

Click HERE for some examples of children's coloring pages.
Click HERE for examples of what teens could make.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Cranes of Thanks Note Cards

Hey all!

Well, I've been creating some simple note cards to bring to locations that just want to do signings.  Usually I have the kids make coloring pages and the adults and teens spend time designing their own cards, but sometimes people only have time to write a note of thanks.



I call this design the "Framed Crane."  There is one 3x3" sheet of origami paper as the bottom layer, a slightly smaller square of white card stock glued on top of that, and finally the crane.  I really like how this design is incredibly simple to make, but it also looks very elegant.


The best part is the "Framed Crane" design can be horizontal or vertical to suit your needs.


I also like to make the Framed Crane with monochromatic paper.


I don't like folding cranes with black paper (for some reason it just seems wrong?)  But using black origami paper looks nice as a frame for other papers.


I wonder if anyone has any opinions on this notecard?  It is really simple, but I don't want it to look too simple.  I would most likely make this design if I was at a location and we needed more cards quickly!  I really wish I had a nice set of flourish stamps, I could put one in the bottom left corner to sort of jazz it up... hmm, maybe an excuse to go to a scrapbooking store soon?!?!?


I also experimented with some stamps and a single crane.  This is a better way to conserve origami paper and glue so I can make plenty of cards.  I think this looks a little more dressed up then the last card.  I also like the picture of the card better then the card in real life... not sure how that happened!


My only complaint about this card is finicky - I wish the "thanks" was just a smidge lower... I'll fix that next time!

I have a few card signing events coming up, so I'm really hoping to create some more of these!  In other news, 12 more "Cranes of Thanks" coloring pages were created by children at a church.  They did not go to Operation Write Home (where I usually send the letters) because the children were also making care packages for soldiers.

Some future things to look for: I will be writing a post with tips on how to write letters to our heroes beyond simply saying "thank-you."  I am thinking of redesigning the blog - but that may come later since these upcoming weeks are busy.  Also, I will try to post some pictures of new cards made by locations involved with the project.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Creative Spirit at the Ronald McDonald House

Yesterday I toted all my Cranes of Thanks supplies to the Ronald McDonald house through wind, rain, and bad traffic... but, boy was it worth it!  We finished 13 cards (19 if you count my mother's) which doesn't sound like much, but a LOT of love went into them.

Here are just a few of the cards that were made.  Can you feel the creative vibe???  I love the psychedelic stars in the bottom right hand corner and the camouflage picture is great too.  The top half with the pink camo says "my version" and the bottom camo says "the real version."  Cute!

One mom made the two cards pictured here.  The first is a very colorful heart with "thank-you" written all around it, and the other reminds me of some sort of famous pastoral painting (but probably without the origami cranes ;)

Below are three more creative cards.  The one at the bottom is bamboo and the guy colored the origami crane to look like a panda - I love all the shading on his picture!  In the top right we have a blue heart with some nice pencil designs.  At the the top right there is a lovely card - I *love* the clouds in it!  They sort of reminded me of the album cover "Painted Red" by Jj Heller (of course, I looked it up again and the clouds aren't really the same... oh well =)  Also the water is really pretty!

I seriously think this was the most creative location I have been to so far!  We had some other cards made, but I forgot to ask permission to put them on my blog, which is a shame because they were also lovely.  All of the designs gave me new ideas and inspiration to make more of my own... which will hopefully give future participants ideas of their own which will give me ideas which will give others ideas which will... well, you get the picture - this could become dangerous y'all!

Here is one more card I forgot to include with the picture I took last night.  Pretty, huh?  I can't decide whether I like the heart or the background swirlies the best!

As I said, we only made 13 cards but, using OperationWriteHome.org math, that equals at least 52 smiles.  Don't believe me?  13 smiles from those that made the card + 13 smiles from me + 13 smiles from the shipper who gets to screen the cards + 13 smiles from the heroes that get to read the cards... plus all the smiles in between, and if the cards get passed around to more than one hero!

So a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated in saying THANK YOU to our heroes last night!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New coloring pages!

All hail the powers of Photoshop!

I am *terrible* at drawing, which may surprise you when you see this picture...

I had help drawing it though!  I used this website as an inspiration and drew the bamboo with sharpie.  Next I placed another sheet of paper over my bamboo and began drawing random leaves.  I messed up a lot but I finally got some I liked!  Next, I scanned the bamboo and the leaves into my computer and then, using Photoshop, I cut out the leaves and placed them on my bamboo.  Finally, I placed my crane in the image.  I rather like how this turned out even if it was "cheating."

This is another one I made!  I'm actually rather good at the random abstract backgrounds, not so much with things that have defined shapes.  I did add the strip, circle, and crane in the middle with Photoshop.  Also, there are some curvy lines at the top and bottom left hand corners - those were not there in my original drawing, but in Photoshop I figured the corners looked empty!

This is not a coloring page, but an example of a card.  It's something older kids might have fun doing.  The art-form is known as "zentangle" and is sort of abstract shapes and stuff.  A lot of zentangles are really intricate (and take a lot of time) but mine is really simple and sort of fun.  Also, I like how the crane looks as if it is flying!

Here's another card that a kid could write in.  More masculine than the others, also the crane is made from a 3x3 inch piece of paper instead of a 6x6 inch.  I think I need to go buy some "manly" origami paper for the teen guys to work with!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teen "Cranes of Thanks"

If you know a group of teens that would like to be involved with Cranes of Thanks, they may enjoy making handmade cards with origami cranes on them or coloring "older" looking coloring pages.

Teens can make handmade cards from a sheet of cardstock folded in half.  Two pieces of origami paper are used, one to fold the origami crane and the other to "frame" the crane.

A letter is written on the inside of the card!

Teens who have experience making origami (or who catch on really quick!) can use a
folded half-sheet of cardstock and a 3x3" sheet of origami paper in their designs.
This is another half-sheet of cardstock with marker designs.  It also features
a white crane with messages of thanks written on the wings.

The design on the front of this card was made with a colored pencil.
This coloring page might appeal to pre-teens - I know it was fun for me to color! =]
Coloring page by JustByJo.

This one reminds me of camouflage and it is fun to do different little
doodles and designs on the inside of each little bubble!
 Coloring page by JustByJo.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Help Make Coloring Pages!

So you want to help make a coloring page for us to use?  Great!  There are just a few guidelines you should be aware of before you pull out your drawing pens or Photoshop program.

1.  Drawings must fit on an 8.5x11 piece of paper.

2.  Must include an outline of a 6inch by 6inch origami crane.  If you follow this link you will be directed to a picture with an outline of a crane.  Simply print this picture, cut out the outline, and trace around it!  If you are doing yours digitally go here for a PNG file.  Or, if you would like I will send you a real origami crane.

3. Make sure your crane outline is the right size!  The measurement from the top wing-tip to the bottom should be just under 3 inches.  Go HERE to see an example.

4.  We are going to fold the pictures in half so they can fit in a gallon baggy (that’s the way OWH ships Any Hero Mail) so please make sure the crane outline is on one side of the page or the other (that way we don’t have to ruin the crane by folding it in half.)  You may also put the crane right in the middle like in this picture and we can fold the sides in to the center.

5.  Pretty obvious, but keep your pictures happy!  Soldiers don’t want to see images of death (skulls and crossbones) or of explosions.

6. Have fun!  (and if you want to make more than one, go ahead!)

7. I will have lines on the back of the pictures for writing letters.  You can sign your picture if you want but I can also provide contact info (your name, your website, e-mail, whatever you want) on the other side.

Not sure what to draw?  Need inspiration?  Go HERE.

Drawing a picture with paper and pen?  Go HERE for additional guidelines and suggestions.

Doing a picture digitally on the computer?  Go HERE for additional guidelines and suggestions.

Want to fold an origami crane yourself?  Go HERE.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Children's Coloring Pages

Here are the coloring pages that have been created so far.  If you donate a coloring page it will end up in this post for the world to admire!

Coloring page created by Hannah Rab

Coloring page by Hannah Rab
Coloring page by JustByJo.

Coloring page created by JustByJo

Coloring page created by JustByJo

Coloring page created by JustByJo