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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Rainbow Heart Wreath

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So, half the reason I’m having people for dinner on Friday is to spend the night with friends and all that mushy crap.  The other half is so that I can go all out on decorations so that I have bloggable activities for you.  So I hope you’re happy.

I’m actually not super happy with how this turned out, so I might try to do it again soon.  But it was super easy, so it’s not like it’s going to be hard.

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I happened to be in possession of a few pads of pastel rainbow coloured scrapbook paper (a thin cardstock thickness).  And I am not a scrapbooker.  That is a little intense even for me.  I also have this fancy schmancy new paper cutter that I got for Christmas, because neither the Pie nor my parents will trust me with a guillotine paper cutter (which, I must point out, is ridiculous, because I used to use one for a living and never cut myself, but anyway …).  I also have a stapler.  Nothing fancy about it, save perhaps that it is pink.  I’d tell you that it belongs to the Pie but that would be a falsehood.  It’s mine.  My pink stapler.  SURPRISE.

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*Ahem* Anyway.  Each sheet of paper was 8″ square so that made my life easy.

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I sliced it into 1″ wide strips — see how the sheet is double-sided with two different colours?  I like that.

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Anyway, fold each strip in half, like so.

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Then bring the ends in towards each other.  You can just fasten the ends and the heart looks a little bit more pretty, but it’s not as structurally strong.

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So I brought the ends all the way into the fold, gave it a pinch …

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… and stapled it all together.

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And did that a bunch of times.

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While Grenadier ignored me.

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Or pretended to ignore me.

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I did it with a few more pieces of paper, 8 hearts per colour.  Gren subtly got closer and closer.

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Until, like the secret cat he actually is, he was lying on my hearts.  Well, he’s always got my heart in any case.

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By the time I’d finished with all the colours, he’d gotten bored and gone away again.

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So now I had these hearts, 48 in total.

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Can I make a wreath with 48 hearts?  Yes, but it looks terrible. And is gigantic.

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So I started putting them together in chains, like this.  I used plain clear adhesive tape for this.

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Very festive.  I didn’t pay attention to which inside-outside hearts were where and I like the non-pattern-ness of it.  Is that a word?

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This is how I wanted it to look originally, and this is all taped together in a lovely fashion.

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However as soon as I lifted it, it immediately collapsed under its own weight. Quel dommage!

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So I did a more compact version that mirrored the shape of the wee paper hearts themselves.  And taped the crap out of it so it would stay in the shape I wanted it to.

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I think there’s a little bit too much tape showing pretty much everywhere and the wreath bears a strong resemblance to a pretzel but it’s a start.

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***EDIT: So I tried again, with the same number of hearts, but this time I stapled them so they looked more conventional.  Then I used a hole punch to make a way to string them onto fishing twine.

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And now I have a garland.  I kind of like it.

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Forgive the pictures. The dining room is the darkest room in the house.

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 …