Jelly(fish) Mobile

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You guys. Guys. Seriously. This might be the best thing I’ve ever done. And I have to give it away. Fortunately I’m giving it to someone very, very special, so all the effort that went into it is definitely worth it. I can see that this sort of project could be used in all sorts of different situations: you could have it simply as a delightful window decoration; a baby’s mobile; as the modified shade on some LED chandeliers (like this one from IKEA); a room separator … anything. really. This one in particular is … a rainbow jellyfish.

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And you can make one too. All you need for a basic version are some gelatin plastic shapes (you may remember we made them earlier), some fishing line or monofilament line (I picked very fine line that will be nearly invisible) and a wire rack of some kind to hang stuff from (mine is round).

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Add-ons to this were some snap swivels I picked up from our local hunting and fishing store and that lovely beaded string I picked up for my miniature chandeliers that I made earlier this summer. I had some flexible wire that I saved from my wire baskets, and I found a set of bent needlenose pliers (and a pair of scissors) to be very helpful.

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I’ll show you what I did and then hopefully you can take this idea and improve on it and make it your own. Let’s begin, shall we?

First I took the flexible wire and I cut it into three equal pieces. I hooked each piece around the three little feet on my wire cooling rack and wound them up tight. Forgive the photos as my camera hates taking pictures of wire apparently. I looped each wire between two feet so I had three arcs coming up from the rack.

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Then I grabbed all three arcs and squished them together, twisting the wire so that all was left was a nice big hoop at the top, tapering to a straight line in the middle and then it spread out to the three little feet at the bottom, like a tripod.

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Then I took my beaded string and I wrapped it around all of those things, to look like bubbles in the sea.

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Then I hung it from my ceiling fan, because I figured it was pretty firmly attached to my ceiling.

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I added some more beaded string, because I knew that once I started hanging the discs it would be harder to do. I put some loops at the top to distract from all the hardware that was going to be visible up there when I was done.

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Next I sorted all my discs into rainbow order.

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Then I grabbed my humble snap swivel. And some pliers.

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And started attaching them to the discs.

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And I did that a million times.

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Then I started tying the discs onto my fishing line. I had originally planned to just use one disc per line, so that the snap swivel would provide the weight needed to keep the line straight and the swivel would allow for spin but before I put it together I reconsidered this and decided to tie multiple discs to the same line. This will prevent clutter on the wire rack and make things easier to install. It will also leave more space around each disc for spinning. If you do this, make sure to tie the discs on at irregular intervals, because you want the colours to overlap in places and if you do it all regularly it will look like a very pretty geometric thing but not like a jellyfish. So I guess it depends on what you’re going for.

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My inner lines were quite long, and each time I moved out a few circles in the rack I made the lines shorter.

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This took several hours, and was quite fiddly because I also used snap swivels to attach the lines to the racks for durability, which necessitated a lot of reaching over my head to fasten a tiny piece of metal to another tiny piece of metal. It is quite a strain on the shoulders after a while. This is where I got to before I threw in the towel for the night.

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The next day I got up early in the hopes that I could catch the early morning sun filtering through the discs but alas it was overcast. I kept going, though.

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Almost there …

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And here is my beautiful magnum opus. The recipients are already in love with it and I still haven’t figured out how to transport it in my car yet. It makes a highly satisfying sound when the pieces click together, like a sink full of popping dish foam.

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A Simple Guest Book

Guestbook 21We’re having a bit of a shindig in a couple weeks to celebrate my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary and Atlas recommended that we set up a guest book for attendees to reminisce in written form. The problem is that most guest books you find in stores are like fifty bucks and they also contain about four hundred more pages than you really need. Then the people who receive the book don’t know what to do with this half-empty journal they have. Guestbook 2

So I thought I’d make a smaller version by hand for the occasion, just a couple dozen large pages for people to scrawl their congratulations, and then it will be a slim little volume that can be tucked away with the wedding album once the day is over.

I started with some basic supplies: coloured cardstock for the interior pages and patterned cardstock for the exterior, a paper cutter, hole punch, ribbon, washi tape, and a decorative punch for the corners. Obligatory corgi butt in photo as well.

Guestbook 1The pastel cardstock I had was already 8″ x 8″ so I left that as is. Guestbook 3

After I’d gotten everything sorted the way I wanted it, Gren came over to take a closer look.

Guestbook 4Then he got tired so he had to lie down. Guestbook 5

Then I told him to move because he was lying on my stuff.

Guestbook 6So he flattened out further. Because he’s kind of a jerk. Guestbook 7

In the end, *I* moved and started punching holes in the pastel cardstock.

Guestbook 8Then I decided on a cover (conveniently this paper is double-sided so the opposite page has a complementary pattern as well). Guestbook 9

I wove the interior pages together with a piece of ribbon and tied it off in the centre.

Guestbook 10Added my cover pages, which were cut slightly larger than the interior, and a spine made of the opposite page of the cover. Guestbook 11

Then I started taping everything together with the washi tape. I chose the tape because it was partly transparent, but with enough colour so you’d notice it.

Guestbook 13I folded back the pages of the interior just to get them more flexible for use. Guestbook 14

And then shoved the interior pages into the exterior cover. I made a hole in the spine for the ends of my ribbon, which I tied in a bow on the outside.

Guestbook 15Then I continued my taping. Guestbook 16

It looks a little messier on the inside but it did the trick.

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Guestbook 19I punched the corners of all the pages to make them pretty. Guestbook 22

And added a few rubber stamped flowers to match the theme of the party.

Guestbook 23Tada. Guestbook 20

Lemon Balm Tea

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Lemon balm (Melissa oficinalis) is one of those magic herbs with many medicinal properties. Among other things, lemon balm tea can settle upset stomachs, calm colic, and help you sleep better. So I’ve been drying the lemon balm that comes out of my garden, and I stole my mother’s as well when she cut her garden down for the winter.

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For several days my house was full of minty-smelling bundles. It doesn’t take very long to dry, which is awesome.

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Then I pulled the leaves and flowers off all the stems. A handful of the loose leaves makes a delightful pot of tea.

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You can sweeten it with honey if you like, or even chill it for a refreshing beverage in the summer.

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Loose leaves aren’t all that practical for me, though, because I wanted to give some of this marvelous tea to people as gifts.  I ordered 200 tea bags off Amazon. They took forever to get here from Hong Kong but were so cheap I didn’t have to pay tax or shipping to get them.

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I got the large size as with dried larger leaves like this you tend to need to use quite a few to make a whole pot of tea.

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Then I stuffed all the bags and tied them off.

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I ended up with 96 bags of tea. That’s a lot of tea.

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I made little tea tags for my tea. I used a circle punch and a hole punch to create the tag itself from cardstock.

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Then I carved a giant T out of a rubber stamp blank.

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Stampy stampy stampy.

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I tied the tags to the bags and stuffed them into wooden boxes I picked up from Dollarama for three bucks, together with a little blurb about the tea itself.

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Fun gift, eh?

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Card Key Chain

Thanks, Alidoesit readers, for a whole year of DIY posts!  Your feedback has been great!

I definitely got this idea from Martha Stewart, but it’s a good one.

I try to avoid joining memberships at stores and things, because I hate carrying cards, but sometimes you just can’t help yourself.  As a result my wallet is jam-packed with cards that I don’t necessarily use on a daily basis.  Plus, they’re tucked inside my wallet when the Pie needs them or vice versa.

Some companies are smart and they give you a wee tag to fit on your key chain.

So why not have a key chain solely for the cards you don’t use all the time?

It’s a simple matter to poke holes in all your cards with a hole punch.  I figure that the middle of the side of the card is the best place to avoid cutting through magnetic tape and bar codes and the like.

Then you can just stick them all together on your key chain of choice, ready for you to use whenever you need them, available to whoever needs them.  Hang them in your car, clipped to your purse, or in the front hall by the door — wherever is convenient for you.