Fast Tip Friday: PlagiarEYEs Me

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The eyes have it, folks. Feel free to take this idea (rather poorly  executed on my part, after LongJohn was in bed) and run with it for your next greeting card.

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Step one: acquire googly eyes. These came from the dollar store.

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Step two: come up with a pun that can be properly appreciated by a one-year – old (or a fifty-one-year-old).

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Step three: apply both to card stock. I hope you have better drawing skills than I do.

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I have some bigger projects in the pipe for you – now that I’m getting a bit more sleep I can actually think up some stuff – but strangely, when you have a baby in the house these projects tend to take a bit longer than they should. So stay tuned!

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Matchbox Gifts

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My mother is absolutely obsessed with match boxes and the things you can put in them, so I kind of had a lightbulb moment when trying to figure out a present for her birthday last week (normally I handle the cake but this year my dad insisted that he had it under control). If you have a mother with a similar fetish, maybe this will work out for you for a nice Mother’s Day present.

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For my mother’s wee giftie, it was just a silly little thing: I decided to give her MAGIC BEANS. But instead of magic beans it was actual bean seeds that she could plant shortly in the garden. And then we could eat the beans. I also gave her some rosemary seeds because I killed her rosemary tree while she was in Florida.

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I love these little tiny glass jars you can get at the dollar store.

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Don’t worry, I DID label all the little jars.

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I decided to make a matchbox from scratch so I could ensure it was the right size to fit my beans. In order to do that I downloaded a template from the internet. I cut it out and used scrapbook paper (it’s a decently stiff cardstock) for my boxes.

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I used a craft knife to get things exact, but it’s a pretty easy template to cut out.

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Then a little bit of strategic adhesion with craft glue.

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And the beans, they fit! They’re a little loose though.

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So I padded the bottoms of the boxes with a bit of felt.

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I broke this photo. It’s okay, though, because it wasn’t a very good one anyway.

 

Then tied up both boxes with pretty ribbon to give to my favourite mother!

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Match boxes (even custom-made ones) are a great creative way to package up smaller gifts of jewelry or what-have-you. Keep that in mind the next time you’re doing some complex wrapping and you don’t have a perfect box to hand.

Conversation Bunnies Place Markers

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I saw these on Oh Happy Day a little while back and thought they’d make a neat place marker.  So in the midst of running out apartment hunting (yay, moving again!), I churned out nine of these for our Easter dinner.

I picked up some wee hollow chocolate animals.  Hollow is key.

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Then I cut out conversation bubbles from two pieces of scrap book paper and grabbed a stencil to do the names.

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I also used some foil stars I had leftover from being a professor (no matter the age, all students love a sticker for good work!).

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Then you need some glue and some floral wire.

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Cut the wire so it will fit all the way through your chocolate animal — it will need to stabilize itself at the bottom — and all the way through your conversation bubble.

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Glue your two conversation bubbles together over the wire and jam it into your animal’s head.

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You may need to move the wire around a bit to get it steady but you’ll find the right spot. I stored mine in a plastic container until I was ready to use them as place markers.

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Touque-tastic Tea Cozy

Oh, this?  This is my favourite hat.  In Canada we call such a thing a touque (“tuuk”) but no one can agree on the correct spelling.

I knit it myself.  It was the first hat I knit (knitted?) that came out the size I wanted it, and the first hat I made with ribbing.  While not warm enough for the extreme temperatures of Ottawa, it got me through two long St. John’s winters, and I loved it.

But then I washed it.  Normally not a big deal, but this time.  THIS time.

I wasn’t paying attention and it ended up in the dryer, and, being wool, it felted a bit and of course, shrank.

Now it doesn’t fit on my head.  Unless I want to look like I’m trying to encase myself in a sausage.  A green and white sausage, yes.

But it does (with some encouragement) fit over my teapot (what does that say about the size of my head?).  And I could really use a tea cozy.  This way I get to keep my favourite hat, and so we all win.  It’s amazing that such a simple invention as a wrapper for your teapot keeps your tea warm for longer.

Before we go any further, I swear to you that I am actually twenty-eight years old.  Not ninety.  Honest injun.  Hot tea is important when you spend all day locked in your office doing graduate student-y stuff, and tea cozies save you from having to turn on the microwave for reheating, which accords with the starving student lifestyle.  It’s all really a very cunning plan.

Anyway.  The hat.

The hat, in its previous incarnation, was knit all in one piece, with one side seam.

It was a simple matter to unpick that seam with a crochet hook.  The selfsame crochet hook I used to stitch up the seam in the first place.  How convenient.

This is the side where the handle will stick out. I ran a string of blue wool along the seams, trying to make them as large and uneven as possible, to give it a homely look.

I did, however, need to actually create a seam on the other side for the spout where there was none before.  While the wool is slightly felted, I was worried about it unraveling when I cut it.  I was therefore quick to reinforce the seams after the cut so as not to encourage the weave to go to pieces on me.  I was also careful to ensure my scissors didn’t cut into the intricate top circle I had made when knitting the hat.  That would be bad.

I decided to cut all the way along the spout side, instead of just cutting a little hole for the spout, first for seaming symmetry, but also so I could get a more accurate idea of where the spout was supposed to go without unduly stretching the material and skewing my results.

I reinforced both seams in navy blue wool (using a plastic wool needle), to match the pot.

I measured the cozy on the teapot to see where the seam should open up for the handle and spout and I marked them with pins.  Some tea-cozies, I know, cover the spout and the handle (and are actually better at keeping the tea warm) but my head is really not that big.  Honestly, people.

Then I sewed it up.

I also put a line of blue along the bottom edge in blanket stitch for colour.

Then, flushed with my success, I attempted – wait for it – a pom-pom.

Again, I’m 28.  Not 90.  For real.

I went with the age-old technique I learned from me auld grannie (LIES – I got it off the internet).

Cut yourself two circles out of cardstock or cardboard, and cut a centre circle out of those circles to make rings.

Take your wool and start winding it around and around the rings.  You’re going to eventually cut this so you can use different pieces of wool if it makes it easier for you to thread it through.  You can even use different colours if you wish.

Keep going, overlapping your wool, until you can’t get any more wool through. 

It takes FOREVER, and about 80 metres of wool (exaggeration, people).

Cut your losses.

Take a pair of sharp scissors and carefully cut the wool around the edge of the circle.

Once you get all the way around, you should be able to see your two cardboard rings.  Tease them apart a little.

Take another piece of wool and wind it around your new bundle, between the rings, maybe twice.

Knot the wool a couple of times.  I left the strings from this long so I could integrate them into the weave of the touque (I mean cozy), but you can cut them to match the length of the other strands if you are planning on sewing it directly to something.

Cut into the cardboard to break the rings and remove them.  Don’t forget to recycle!

Fluff out your pom-pom and trim the strands so you get a nice uniform ball.

Blamo kablam!

A touque for my teapot.

Crafty Recycled Notebooks

I spent way too much time on MarthaStewart.com the other day and became rather over-stimulated with ideas.  This meant that while I was watching Glee (and I’m not afraid to admit it), I needed something to do.

I work part time as a law librarian at a large firm downtown.  Boy oh boy do lawyers waste a lot of paper.  I save as much of it as I can that can be re-used (at least, the non-confidential stuff).  I have been bringing it home with the intention of turning it into notebooks at the earliest opportunity.  Most of it sits in a pile next to the Pie’s desk, where it gets messed around, rearranged, and buried daily.  The letter-sized stuff I use in my printer, but the smaller stuff, from legal texts and what have you, needed a bit of extra help to get itself organized into something usable.

With some leftover cardstock and fragments of kitchen string from a failed pre-wedding experiment, a stapler, a paper cutter, and some glue and rubber stamps (yes, I have a stamp with my name on it, I’m cool like that), I quickly fashioned my scraps into kitschy little note pads to be chucked in a purse or on a table for use whenever I need them.  Blank usable sheets on one side, legalese on the other.  I think I’ll send some to the grandmas …