In continuing with the Valentine's Day theme, now I'd like to show some of my favorite origami flowers.  Without further adieu here are some of my favorite to fold and give:
This is a common origami flower, the Iris.  Its a traditional model, so the diagrams can be found in many places.  I first learned it in the excellent book The Magic of Origami.  The model by itself is very fun to fold, nice and simple, but at the same time seems to lack a certain completeness that some origami flowers lack.  I took this model a step further for my wedding reception.
Here is an incredible picture taken by my wife's uncle (who is a fantastic photographer) at our wedding reception.  With the help of my wife and mother-in-law I was able to get the leaves looking good and have the whole centerpiece looking really good for the tables.
This is another favorite and common flower (also a traditional model).  The tulip is the first flower that I learned how to fold.  Having never had any experience with origami and thanks to the very basic instructions that I had, it took me a while to get this model down.  I first picked up origami by purchasing a small kit with paper and hard to read instructions on a trip to Hawaii with my family.  This was one of the models diagrammed in that kit.  Here is a link to instructions very similar to the ones I first learned from here :)  As with the origami Iris I've taken this model and attached it to a piece of wire with paper leaves and wrapped them in floral tape making it a little more realistic.  Sadly, I can't find any pictures of these flowers fully assembled :(
This model is a really fun one for beginners to learn, the Tulip.  The flower portion was designed by Makoto Yamaguchi with the leaf portion designed by Kunihiko Kasahara; found in the awesome beginners book The Magic of Origami.  The Tulip itself is based on the water bomb model, with a simple twist.

This model was designed by one of the great authors of Oriland, Katrin Shumakov; the model is a Matthiolis Bicornis.  If you've never had the opportunity to visit their website, its incredible.  The site is  I love the diagrams that Katrin and Yuri Shumakov create, they are very detailed.  I've got 3 of the cds that they sell at their website; I love everyone of them.  This flower model is found the Origami Land cd.  I highly recommend their work.

Here is another angle of the Matthiolis Bicornis by Katrin Shumakov.  Its such an incredible model and its hard to appreciate it from just one angle.  One difficulty with this model is that the center point of the paper has a lot of folds going through it and gets a lot of movement; its easy for the paper to get a hole worked in the middle of it.  Thankfully, you can't see the hole that I worked in this flower from these pictures :)
This model is titled the Rose Brooch, designed by Toshie Takahama.  The diagrams for the model are found in The New Origami by Steve and Megumi Biddle.  Not a terribly difficult model to fold, but not completely basic; which makes it really fun to fold.  When folded from origami paper the has colors radiating from the corners (such as here) it looks a lot better.
This incredible model was designed by Valerie Vann, titled the Magic Rose Cube.  In this form, the model looks fairly plain.  From the picture you can't see that the other 3 sides of the cube are green.  The next picture shows how neat the model truly is.
Here is the model opened.  I absolutely love this model for the angular look, but still looking so much like a rose.  There is a video showing how to fold each of the 6 pieces and how to assemble them here.  Side story:  I work with one of the youth classes in my church team-teaching each week.  I love working with the kids and especially enjoy bringing origami to them for them to pick through and enjoy.  Last week I had one of these cubes in the mix and one of the girls picked it out thinking it was just a neat box.  After I showed her what it did, her face lit up and she was all the more excited to have picked it :)
This last flower is easily the hardest to fold (of the flowers featured here), but I also think is the most rewarding once done.  This is the Rose by the great Toshikazu Kawasaki; the diagram can be found in the book  Origami for the Connoiseur by Kunihiko Kasahara and Toshie Takahama.  The book is definitely one for the more advanced folder, as is this model especially.  With some practice, and probably a couple of attempts, it is possible to fold it though; and extremely rewarding when done.
Here is another shot of the same model to give a better look at the side.  I used an 8 inch sheet of colored copy paper to fold to get this size.  Visually speaking, this is my favorite flower to fold because it looks so amazing when done.  I love it.
 Origami flowers are every even more popular and prevalent than origami hearts.  They are fantastic to fold and give as a gift, especially for Valentine's Day, because unlike real flowers they don't wilt and die.  (Granted a paper flower doesn't have the aroma of a real one :)

This was a glimpse into what I enjoy giving for Valentine's Day each year.  I'll close with some further links to the books and diagrams that I mentioned.  Until next time, Enjoy!

The Magic of Origami (the Iris and Tulip models)

Again the link to the origami Tulip here.

The link to Oriland and the page for the Origami Land cd.

The New Origami (the Rose Brooch model)

The video showing Valerie Vann's Magic Rose Cube here.

Origami for the Connoiseur (the Kawasaki Rose)

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