Glitter *may* be involved.

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I saw this little bit of neat a while back and I’ve always wanted to recreate it for someone special. But of course by recreate I mean do it in a completely different way. Nevertheless.

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What you need for this, however you decide to do it, is an artist’s canvas, some paint, some electric or battery-powered lights (LEDs are safer), a knife for cutting, a brush for painting, and some glue for, well, gluing. In this particular project, there was also glitter involved.

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First, check and make sure your lights are working. Yes? Good.

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Now, paint your canvas however you like. I was going to do mine a nice metallic, but then I thought better of it and went with a soft matte gray instead. Because I didn’t want to distract from the glitter.

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As for your design, well, that’s up to you. The original idea was just sort of abstract, like fireworks. But you could do constellations (like someone’s Zodiac sign), or something more Lite-Brite-y. Or a marquee. Whatever you want. For mine, I decided on a dandelion, where each seed of my favourite flower (and I’m not ashamed to admit that I love that plucky weed) corresponded to a light.

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Here’s a quick sketch I did once I figured out my idea, just for proof of concept.

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I lightly marked out the design on the painted canvas with a pencil. I had to make sure that the design was big enough to accommodate the size of the lights I had purchased.

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Then I discovered that the ugly deflectors on my Dollarama lights weren’t glued on and I could pull them off, meaning I was just left with the pretty little diode!

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Then I cut out holes big enough for the lights to poke through.

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I basically just needed to poke a hole with the Xacto and twist it a bit. While I was doing this the Pie started trying to make me mess up, which I did, on the very last hole. Then he started giggling and saying he shouldn’t tease me when I have a knife in my hand. How well he knows me by now.

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Then I poked through the lights. Make sure to test them and see how they look! Of course my camera plus low light equals blurry photo, but you get the idea.

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Then, if you want, you can secure them in place with a bit of hot glue around the back, but I’ll do that later. I don’t want the lights to get all glittered up.

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Now, for the front, I had to fill in the rest of my design. With glitter. I used regular school glue to fill in the parts of the dandelion seeds and stalk.

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Then dusted them with appropriately-coloured glitter.

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Then let it dry.

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You can dust away loose glitter with a soft fluffy brush and some compressed air. I did most of this outside.

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And sealed up my glitter again. Yes, I have a jar full of jars of glitter. That stuff is dangerous.

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The seeds took forever because I did the little actual seed part first.

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By the time I was done with all the white fluffy bits I was so done with glitter in general.

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Here it is after I went at it with compressed air for a bit. It seems to work best on the superfine metallic powder.

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It looks pretty good just on its own.

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Then I added back in the lights and secured each with a drop of hot glue. This is where I discovered that if you don’t use glue sticks for a while they yellow. Fortunately you can’t see this on the front.

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I also secured all the loose wires and the battery casings. It doesn’t look pretty but you can’t see it so who cares?

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I like it. I like that it looks neat during the day, with the contrast in gray and glitter, and then when you turn it on at night the light sparkles off everything but the background (except for the few stray bits of glitter embedded in the canvas). I also like how the seeds kind of look like dragonflies. NEAT!

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Library Shuffle

Library Shuffle

By night (and by weekend), intrepid blogger and try-er of new things.

By day, mild-mannered law librarian?

Yes.  That is actually what I do for a living as I procrastinate my way through my anthropology degree.  I am a librarian at a large-ish law firm downtown, and it’s a great gig.

A couple weeks ago, someone alerted me to the fact that there were NINE boxes of books hidden in a store room on another floor.  Nine.  And these weren’t small boxes.  It took me and my cart three trips to get them all upstairs, and I got stuck in the space between the elevator and the floor every time.

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These new books turned out to be volumes of statutes and old Newfoundland Acts.  Many of these things we already have in duplicate, but I was able to fill in some gaps, which was great.  But where am I going to put all these things?  I can’t just throw them away.  Lawyers are particularly attached to large-scale book series, because they look good on shelves.  So I had to do some reorganizing.  And so you get a blog post about it!

The last time I reorganized the library was four years ago, when I first started here.  The previous librarian had a laissez-faire attitude towards keeping things current (and tidy), so I did the best I could at the time, given my inexperience with many of the practice areas.  Now I am a hardened veteran, and I know what’s good and what’s not.  And what I don’t know, I ask about.  Plus no one likes to question me when I’m in an organizational frenzy.

This is the library as it was before the organization:

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My desk area:

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These statutes are in constant use and it’s annoying having people constantly going in behind me to get them out, so I’m going to move them somewhere more accessible.

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The “stacks” with the new books piled and awaiting my discretion:

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These, Hallsbury’s Laws of England, are very rarely used by our lawyers, so I thought that I would put them in a more decorative place, up on the highest part of the shelf.

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Unfortunately I didn’t bank on the huge gaping hole between shelves.  Almost lost one there.

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So I blocked it with a piece of foam board and a plaster gargoyle from Dollarama.  I wonder if the firm will reimburse me for my $2.50 expense?

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Looks good, though.

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In the end, I moved almost every single book we have in the library, which, by my estimation is almost three thousand.

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I also ended up recycling probably about two-fifths of the collection.  When your books are updated every year, and the legislation changes rapidly, you can’t even give away your outdated books.  Some of the assistants use them to weigh down pressed flowers or to support their computer monitors, but most of them end up in the recycling bin.  I was looking up DIY projects that use old books, but, cool as they are, I don’t need any bookends or secret hiding places, and I’m not good enough to make sculptures or lamps out of them.  I did save a few hardcovers, just in case, but only a few.

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I can’t even count the number of times I filled this cart for a trip to the recycling bin.  And I could only do it twice a day, otherwise the bin overflowed and I’m convinced the cleaning staff already hates me.

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So this is the new library.  I’m sure you can’t really tell the difference, but everyone who uses it can, and that’s good enough for me.  That piece of cake there is a remnant of my weekly baking club.  Man I love Fridays.

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My desk area, now stocked with books we don’t use very often:

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And the stacks, now clutter-free and filled with duplicate statutes.

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I realize this DIY isn’t really applicable to you, unless you happen to have access and administrative powers over a large number of books, but it’s definitely inline with my irresistible urge to clean things up and throw things out.  And I thought I’d give you some insight to what I do all day. Well, this is it.

Library Shuffle