Bedroom FANdango

I’m sure you’ve seen something like this all over the internet. I was *going* to make this originally for the back wall in my partner’s office but now that he’s gone I had to save it all for myself.

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When we moved into the Tower, for the first time ever, we actually had enough wall space to display every single one of our framed pictures. We even had some blank space, and one of those spaces was in the bedroom behind our bed. We needed something big. I already put up that odd abstract painting, which is growing on me and is next to my side of the bed. And then I put up those lovely milk art watercolours, on the Pie’s side. But there was a giant space in the middle, directly above the bed. Just a big expanse of gray.

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So I’m going to fix it, and for cheap. And easily. You can do it too, if you have a big space that needs filling. All you need is some regular weight copy paper (A4, US Letter, it doesn’t matter), a stapler (with staples), and a bone folder for crispness.

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The bone folder is optional but I find it really helps. You’re going to want to go ahead and fold your sheet (long side or short side) into a fan.

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I find it easiest to simply fold the paper in half, then  half again, and then backwards on itself …

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… and then take the half that doesn’t make a nice zig-zag and fold it backwards. That way all the sections are even.

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Then grab your little accordion and bend it from the centre so the ends touch.

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Crease that fold as much as you can. Don’t worry if it’s a little wobbly.

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Pinch together the two edges in the centre of the fan and shove a staple in there to hold it together. You can use tape if you want, but staples are more expedient.

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Now do that whole thing with two more sheets of paper.

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Next, take one of the open ends of one fan and staple it to one of the open ends of another fan.

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Use the third fan to close the circle.

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When you flip it over you should have all the staples hidden.

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I did this a million more times, sometimes folding the long side of the paper and sometimes the short end, and I ended up with two different sizes of bunting, in four different colours: light blue, dark blue, gray, and white.

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To put it up on the wall I decided to use simple sewing pins, because they didn’t leave a big hole in the wall and because they were long enough to give the circles some movement and allow me to layer them on top of each other. I used a thimble to push the pins carefully halfway into the wall.

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Then I stuck up some more.

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And some more. I didn’t worry about pattern or where things were. I kind of winged it and went for something assymetrical and disordered.

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I’m quite pleased with the final result, and both the Pie and I are happy to have that big blank space finally filled.

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Fold ‘Em to the Wall

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I’m redecorating my office at work so it less resembles a prison cell and more resembles a place where I spend the majority of my non-traveling time. I’ll show you the big before-and-after when I’m completely done but until then I’ll keep you updated on the cheap and easy things I’ve done in order to make the room a little bit more ME.

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Here’s the first one. For this you need some origami paper, some tape (I used double-sided tape), some foam board (or poster board), a bone folder (optional), a pencil, and a ruler. I used some large scale origami with plain colours, but this would easily work on a smaller scale with the tiny pieces of patterned paper on a smaller board.

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I started by matching up two sides of the sheet of origami and gently pinching the outside edge of the fold, just so I could see where the centre was.

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Then I did that in the other direction.

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Using those markers as guidelines, I folded each corner of the paper into the centre of the page. It doesn’t have to be perfect; I think it looks a little better when it’s all irregular.

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I did that with every colour I had, one each, for 20 squares total. You can obviously do as many as you like.

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Then I did some figuring to sort out how I wanted them to look and where I wanted them to be.

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I had to do some math to figure out how they were going to fit on the foam board I had.

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In actual fact they were going to fit across two boards. So the pieces that fit across this divide between the two I was going to leave off until I’d mounted the boards on the wall. That seemed easiest.

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I decided it looked best if I had them in touching columns with a bit of space in between. I measured carefully to make sure they were evenly spaced and made pencil marks to show me where to stick things.

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Then it was just a matter of applying some tape. And some dog hair. But that goes without saying.

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Here it is, on my ugly green office wall (not to be confused with my ugly white office wall and my two ugly red office walls).

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It’s already become a conversation piece. My team leader calls them “Grumpy Envelopes” and enjoys putting her tiny elf-like fists in the folds.

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Coasting On By …

Shaddup.  It’s a bad pun.  A terrible title in total.  YOU try coming up with lovely alliterations and pithy puns on a thrice-weekly basis.  That involve baking and making stuff out of magazines.

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Anyway.

We needed some coasters.  Because, uh, we didn’t have any.  And I forgot how much cold beverages SWEAT in the summer in Ottawa.

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I like all the cute cork DIY coasters you see on the internet but I don’t have any cork at the moment.  I do, however, have an issue of National Geographic that I’m currently finished with.  And a paper cutter.  And a pair of scissors.  And a bone folder.  And some time.  You can do this too, with any magazine.  Bone folder and paper cutter are optional, though handy.  The inspiration comes from the late lamented How About Orange but the concept is pretty straightforward and I did it a little differently.  I’ve also seen this done with plastic drinking straws.

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Tear your pages out of the magazine that you want.  Pick ones with bold colours that cover most of the page.  For my coasters I used a 6 x 7 grid, so I needed 13 strips, therefore 13 pages from the magazine.  Cut off the ragged edge (I trimmed off enough that the page measured 6″ wide).  After trimming the edge, cut your pages in half again lengthwise.

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Now take one of those half sheets and fold it in half again. We will not mention that I am using the Pie’s Dark Souls II User Guide as my folding surface.

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Then take the two open edges and fold them inward about a third of the width of the strip.

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Fold the folded edge inward, too, so you’ve hidden the outside edges by folding the whole thing in three.

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Then take your strip and fold it in half lengthwise.  Sorry for the blurry stars — I was losing the light.

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Grab one strip and hold it together in its folded position.  Take another strip and tuck one side of it between the two flaps of the original strip.  So one side will be sandwiched inside and one side will be out.  Do the same with the next strip, but this time put the opposite side into the sandwich, like so.

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Do this until you have it as wide as you want it, with alternating half-sandwichy strips.  Man, it’s really hard to do a play-by-play for this stuff.  Mine was 7 strips wide.

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On your next row, start from the opposite direction, weaving one side of the folded strip in and out of the sandwiched other strips.  Make sure to check both sides of this as you’re going along, because sometimes you can miss one, like you can see in this photo.

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Keep going with more strips.

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Make sure to stop occasionally to shove all the strips tightly together so your weave is solid and even.

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Because of the thickness of my magazine paper, my coaster ended up being more square using 7 strips wide by 6 strips long, so this is where I stopped.

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So now you have lots of tabs sticking out on three sides.  Well.  For the tabs that are sandwiched between other strips, you can just cut those straight off.

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Then you can tuck the opposite tab from the same strip into the space where the cutoff tab is sitting.  You may need to trim the edge of the strip so it will fit properly and not stick out on the other side.

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Just keep doing that until you’re all done!

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You can see the edges are all tucked under here.

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I think I will spray these with some form of sealant or paint them with Mod Podge to keep them from absorbing too much moisture.  But they’re kind of neat, and a nice thing to keep your hands busy while watching TV in the evenings.

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Make Your Mail Literate

Card Holder

When I saw this project on Curbly a while back, I thought it would be the perfect gift for one of the older members of our family to keep cards and pictures and memories fresh and out in the open.

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It’s a very simple trick.  You take an old hardcover book (again, being a law librarian, I have tons of these), and working in batches you fold all the pages in the book in half towards the spine.  You can use as many pages as you want in each batch (you want enough that the fold will hold itself but not too much that you have trouble folding it).

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Use a bone folder to get a sharp crease.

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It gets harder to get a good fold the further in you are in the book.  You really need to jam the edge of the page towards the spine as hard as you can.

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When you hit your last section, fold the pages in the opposite direction, so that all the edges are tucked inside.

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And then you’re done.  It can hold all your mail that needs to be looked at.  It can be a compact way to display holiday greeting cards or letters from friends.  It can also act as a photo stand so you can look at your whole family in one go.

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Then I decided to dress it up a bit.  I used newspaper to cover the covers of the book and stuck a roll through the spine to protect it and then spritzed some copper spray paint on the page ends.  This way you can still see the words on the pages, but they have a gilded appearance.

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Actually, it looks kind of like a heat sink for a computer.

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Then I masked the edges of the covers.

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And used chalkboard paint on the white part.

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So now it’s also a message board as well as a mail holder.

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Not a bad little organizer for a book and a bit of paint!

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