The Plug Problem

Our house on Elizabeth was built in 1962 and hadn’t been updated since, which meant that in the kitchen, where modern cooks use all manner of electric appliances to make their jobs easier, there was a dearth of electrical outlets for us to use.  So we were always unplugging things and plugging in other things.  The one that got the most use was where our coffee maker was.  The issues was that the majority of the appliances we used in that spot had black cords and plugs — including the coffee maker itself.  We unplugged the coffee maker by accident too many times, and re-setting the little clock on it was a pain in the backside.  There’s a life hack out there that tells you to label your cords around your office desk by writing on bread tags and sticking them to the cords in question.  So I did the same thing here.

Plug It In 2

Simply putting a yellow tag on the plug that needed to stay in its socket clues us in to the fact that we shouldn’t mess with this plug, which meant that I never had to re-set the clock again!


Packing Tips: Last Out, First In and the Bits and Bobs Box

Last Out First In 1 I have one last packing tip for you (and thanks to everyone who has contributed their own packing dos and don’ts). You already know when packing that you need to pack up the stuff you rarely use first, and as you get closer to moving day, you start packing up the more often-used items.  But what about the things you’re going to use on moving day?  For this, you need a Last Out, First In box.  This is the stuff that you need in order to actually unpack and move into your new home.  It’s the last box that leaves your old house and goes into the truck last because it’s the first box that enters your new home. A typical Last Out, First In box will probably include some of the following:

  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Toilet Paper & Hand Towels
  • Tools (Hammer, Screwdrivers, Allen Keys)
  • Box Cutter (more than one would be useful)
  • Documentation (Rental Agreement, Proof of Insurance, etc.)
  • Shower Curtain (there is never a shower curtain when you move into a new apartment, or the one that is there has seen better days)
  • Bedding (gotta sleep somewhere that first night)

And most importantly, your Last Out, First In box will include all the little pieces you carefully saved when you dismantled all your furniture before you moved: the casters from chairs, picture hooks, screws from your table … all those pieces.  I put all these things in separately labeled baggies in my Bits & Bobs Box.  I have done this for three moves now and it’s the smartest thing I have ever done.  Many people will just tape the screws or nuts and bolts or whatever to the actual furniture from which it came, but the number of times I’ve seen those come off and get messed around on the floor of the truck is just sad. So if you put them all in the same box, into your most important box, then you will know where they all are at any time. As I take apart my shelving and my tables and desks and whatnot, I put all the little pieces that hold them together in a baggie, label it, and shove it in this box. Last Out First In 2 If I grab little random pieces from around the house and don’t have a second to sort them properly, they go into this box-within-the-box so that I can sort them later and not worry about them getting lost in the interim. Last Out First In 3

Pfft. I can do that: Ali Does It turns three!

Papier Mache Bowls 35

Can you believe it?  I’ve been Doing It Myself for THREE FREAKING YEARS now!  Well, it’s been longer than that, but today marks the third anniversary of when I started putting my foibles and failures (and too many pictures of my dog) up on the internet for you to enjoy.  And I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

How to commemorate this, though?  I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, so I didn’t really want to do that.  And because Christmas is over and we’re moving in a couple months I don’t have any real crafty/fixy projects on the horizon.  But.  I saw this back on Etsy a year or so ago and I thought, I could TOTALLY make that myself.  It won’t be as GOOD, mind you, but I could totally do it.  So I’m gonna.  Here goes.

Because I can never do anything in half measures, I decided to make THREE bowls instead of just the one, and they’re gonna be nesting bowls.

Papier Mache Bowls 15

So I needed three bowls of approximately the same shape but different sizes.  Fortunately I have three stainless steel ones that will do just fine.

Papier Mache Bowls 2

You also need a barrier between the bowl and the paste.  You can use plastic wrap but I didn’t want to deal with wrinkles so I used petroleum jelly, which is the only thing I didn’t have on hand and had to buy.


I still have stacks and stacks of newspapers to use, and so I tore a bunch of those up into thin strips, following the grain of the paper.

Papier Mache Bowls 1

And you need paste as well, obviously.  I went with the same recipe I used for the magnificent and popular papier mâché helicopter piñata I made a few years ago, which is 2 cups flour to 3 cups water.  BAM.

Papier Mache Bowls 3

Make sure to spread newspaper or drop cloths or garbage bags on your work area so you don’t have to deal with errant splashes of dried paste later on.  This, incidentally, is a good project to do while watching movies/television on a bad-weather day.  I curled up with Supernatural, which is not a very good series, but that Jensen Ackles is pretty enough to make it worth watching, and the plot is never too heavy that I have to keep my eyes glued to the screen a hundred percent of the time.

Papier Mache Bowls 5

Start by smearing the outside of your bowl with petroleum jelly.  Try to put it on as smoothly as possible, but make sure it’s pretty thick at the same time.  If you’re using plastic wrap, try to avoid too many wrinkles, and wrap the plastic around the edges of the bowl as well.

Papier Mache Bowls 6

Then have at it, pasting up your strips of newsprint and sticking them to your bowl form.  Do a layer or two, allow it to dry completely, then do another one.  I did a layer, waited an hour, then did another layer and let that dry overnight, then repeated the process the next day.

Papier Mache Bowls 7

This project will definitely take you a couple of days, so make sure to keep your paste tightly sealed when you’re not using it.

Papier Mache Bowls 8

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When the bowl is as thick as you want it to be, and it has dried all the way through, use a thin knife to carefully pry the bowl from the other bowl.

Papier Mache Bowls 10

Wipe off any excess petroleum jelly or peel away the plastic wrap. I found that a cotton tea towel did the best job at getting all the petroleum jelly off.

Papier Mache Bowls 11

Trim the edges of the bowl if you like with a sharp pair of scissors.

Papier Mache Bowls 12

I left mine to cure another day like this, after sealing the open edges with some white glue.

Papier Mache Bowls 14

I flipped the glue over and discovered that it was actually called Troll Booger Glue.  I can’t begin to tell you how delighted I was by that.

Papier Mache Bowls 13

Now, the bowls on Etsy were lined with gold leaf, but I ain’t got the time nor the money for that.  I do, however, have some copper-coloured spray paint.  So I’m going to use that (taking all the necessary precautions, of course).

I couldn’t find my breathing mask so I went with a bandana.  The Pie took one look at me and started laughing so I thought I’d share.

Papier Mache Bowls 21

If you’re using spray paint on your bowls, make sure to do the inside of the bowl first.  That way you can avoid getting the wrong colour on the wrong side of the bowl.

Papier Mache Bowls 17

Papier Mache Bowls 18

Once the inside is done and dried, flip the bowls upside down and do the outside, being careful to direct your spray so it doesn’t get underneath the bowls.  I used blue, white, and black.

Papier Mache Bowls 23

It took a couple coats to make the lines of print disappear.  I thought I had some white spray paint but it turned out that I only had gesso.

Papier Mache Bowls 22

And the gesso only worked so well so I ended up spraying over it with blue.  After that was fully cured, I gave it a once-over with some spray varnish, for added sheen and protection.

Papier Mache Bowls 24

And that’s it.  Not bad, not bad at all.

Papier Mache Bowls 37

Papier Mache Bowls 41

Papier Mache Bowls 44

Wee Clay Pot City

Wee Clay Pots 11

When I saw these wee things over at Say Yes to Hoboken I knew immediately who I had to make them for (but I’m not telling you: it’s a surprise).  Perfect for small plants, especially succulents, I could see these forming a little town on someone’s coffee table.

Wee Clay Pots 9

I decided to make my own template for my wee town, so that I could get some variety in the buildings I created.  Just make sure, when you are creating your pattern, that you account for the width of the base and the thickness of your sculpting medium.  It’s all about the math, b’ys.

Wee Clay Pots

For this little jobbie you need some Sculpey, a cutting tool (I used a paring knife), a smoothing tool (I used some old manicure tools), and something for rolling out the clay (I used an empty Screech bottle).  You will also need a glass dish for baking your clay, and a work surface that doesn’t stain easily.  Raw Sculpey is pretty toxic, so it’s best to work on waxed paper, parchment, or a silicone mat that you can easily wash.


It’s a simple thing to do, but it takes some time.  First you need to condition your Sculpey by squishing it a bunch with your hands.  Then you roll it out, and cut out your shapes.


When you press them together, make a little snake out of extra clay and use it to seal the edges — you want the wee pot to be water tight after all.


Wee Clay Pots

My first go-round, I made my templates too big and so my little houses weren’t really all that little. You can see in the photo below how it sagged under its own weight.  Fortunate thing about Sculpey is you can just squish it all up and start again, which I did.  My new templates work on a 2″ square, and so I can make about four structures out of one pound of clay.


I wanted a bit of variety to my city, so with the white Sculpy I made two regular houses, one house with a slanty roof, and a factory.

Wee Clay Pots 6

Do you see how I raised the floor of the factory on the inside so that the plant would still come out the top?  I know: clever me.

Wee Clay Pots

And the basic house:

Wee Clay Pots

With the terra cotta coloured Sculpey I made a mansion (or row housing), a city hall and a church.  The church is just the small house with a cross instead of a chimney (which baked a bit wonky), and the city hall is just a big house with a circle cut out of the taller roof to signify a town clock.

Wee Clay Pots 5

Use a smoothing tool to smooth out the edges on the outside, too, and the bottom.


The next part is easy.  You preheat your oven to 275°F and pop your little structures into your glass dish (I lined mine with parchment, just because I find if the clay is right on the glass surface it tends to cook with a glossy flat edge that doesn’t jibe with the rest of the piece).  Bake for 15 minutes per every 1/4″ thickness of Sculpey.  You don’t want to overbake, but as some of my pieces were obviously thicker or thinner than that (yes, we’ve already gone over how much I suck at Sculpey), I go for a round 20 minutes and that seems to work out just fine.

Wee Clay Pots 8

Haul those out of the oven and don’t touch them until they’re cool.  Sculpey is designed to shrink less than 2% while baking so you shouldn’t have much trouble with your watertight seal, but you should check anyway.  If it’s not sealed, just add a touch more Sculpey to the hole and bake it for a few minutes.

Wee Clay Pots 7

I didn’t have enough Sculpey left to make a whole other building, so I made this little round pot.

Wee Clay Pots 4

And then a wee man.  He’s a magician (hence the top hat and cape) and he’s sitting staring at this wee box, thinking.  So I call it Thinking, Outside the Box.  I gave him to the Pie.

Wee Clay Pots 2

And there you have it.  I don’t have any succulents on hand, so you’ll have to imagine them in these shots.  But it’s a cute little town, no?

Wee Clay Pots 12

Wee Clay Pots 10

Clapboard Coffee Stirrer Wall Art


I saw this little tutorial over at Make and Do Girl and thought I would give it a try.  You can buy fancy versions of this on Etsy for hundreds of dollars, but I thought I could probably produce nearly the same thing for a lot cheaper. And of course, as is usually the case, I was right.

All you need for this is a frame, some paint, a paint brush, a sturdy pair of scissors (despite the wire snips in this picture, I found a set of poultry shears did the trick quite well), glue of some kind (I ended up using Elmer’s School Glue), and a bunch of wee sticks, like coffee stirrers.

Stir Stick Art

While I’m sure, if you are a regular inhabitant of Starbucks or Bridgehead or one of those places, you may amass a large collection of stir sticks over time, I preferred to get mine all at once and bought several packages at Michael’s, which is also where I bought the frame.  You can also use popsicle sticks for this, but then you have to compensate for the rounded edges.

Stir Stick Art

The first thing I did was paint my frames black, using some acrylic paint.  At first I only did the edges of the frame, but I noticed that the frame showed through the gaps in the stir sticks when I glued them down so I ended up painting the whole frame, even the part that is relatively hidden behind sticks.

Stir Stick Art

Then you need to pick a colour palette.  I had a set of Crayola watercolours that I was going to use, because I wanted the wood to show through the paint.  You can of course use any paint you want.  I made two pieces, so for the first palette I picked a series of greens and yellows, and then the second I went with oranges, reds, and then purples and grays.  Obviously if your frames are small, you should probably go with a smaller number of colours.  My frames were pretty long so I went with 7 or 8 different colours.

Stir Stick Art

Now you gotta paint them there sticks.  I laid mine out along the frame just to get an idea of how many I needed (in the end I had a handful of painted ones leftover so this turned out to be a good idea).

Stir Stick Art

Then you paint.  This took me quite a while as I had to do each stick individually and paint it twice (due to the character of my paint). If you use acrylic or something thicker you could just paint them in a batch, or dip them en masse in ink or a dye … whatever works for you. This is all you.

Stir Stick Art

Then you start laying them out.  I measured the sticks to fit in the frame and cut them accordingly.

Stir Stick Art

Then I cut those pieces up so that I could fit them together like patchwork.

Stir Stick Art

Then you start gluing.  And gluing.  And gluing …

Stir Stick Art

Despite these sticks all coming in a package together, they weren’t by any stretch of the imagination the same.  Some had slight curves, or were cut on an angle, and that made putting them together a little bit more of a challenge.  Because there were gaps between sticks at some points, I chose to apply glue individually to each stick rather than just put a blanket of it down on the frame.  It took longer, but I think it was a neater job in the end.

Stir Stick Art

When I got to the end, my final sticks were a little too wide to fit in the frame, so I just took a piece of sandpaper and filed them down a bit until they fit snugly.

Stir Stick Art

My orange and purple job turned out a little slanty, because some of the sticks I used were really angled, but I kind of like how it messes with your eye that way.



And these frames came with hanging hardware on both the short and the long sides, so you can hang them either vertically or horizontally.


I made these originally as gifts, but they look so good on my mantle that I’m thinking of keeping them. They would make a good frame for my giant squid, once I figure out where to hang him …


Wee Origami Dishes

Origami Dishes

I made these little dishes out of Super Sculpey and baked them according to the directions.  I know.  I suck at sculpting.  But this was my first time using Sculpey in well over twenty years.

Origami Dishes

BUT THEN.  I thought I would use découpage techniques (which I’ve never done before) and experiment with Mod Podge (which I have never used before) and paste some torn up bits of origami paper over top, make ’em look like they’re papier mâché or something.

Origami Dishes

So it was pretty simple.  I started with laying one untorn sheet on the bottom of the dish, as a base, and then I tore up other sheets in colours I liked for the rest of it.

Origami Dishes

Some Mod Podge and a brush later, I’m sticking away.

Origami Dishes

On this one I put a cutout of a key, to imply that perhaps you could keep your keys in this dish.

Origami Dishes

Then I just coated it all with a layer of Mod Podge and let it all dry.

Origami Dishes


Origami Dishes

Simple but fun.

Origami Dishes

The Wee Flea Problem

One of my friends from work asked me if I knew how to get rid of fleas.  I didn’t, but I said I could find out (because that’s how I roll).  So after exhaustive research of the internets (seriously, I read like TWENTY different sites), I came up with what seemed like a sensible solution, and I put so much work into it that I thought I would share it with you.

First, a little note on having fleas: they tend to like damp, dark places, so if you live in, oh, say, Newfoundland, chances are you’re going to encounter them at some point.  You don’t even have to have a pet to get fleas in your house — they can come in on your legs, your clothing, even stuff you bring in from the garage or whatever.  It doesn’t mean that you’re a dirty person.  Fleas just sometimes happen.  Living in crowded or damp spaces will do it.  Getting rid of them takes a bit of work, but it’s a relatively simple process.  So here we go.

Step one:


Take everything your pet lies on and wash it in hot, very soapy water.  Dry it in the dryer or hang it out in the sun.  Fleas apparently don’t like the light.  Or soap.  Wash your bed linens, pillows, cushions, dish towels … anything a flea can hide in and that fits in your washing machine, you should chuck that in.  Anything else, you can scrub it with soapy water and hope for the best.


Step two:

Wee Flea Problem

Wash your pet in flea-killing shampoo.  Either that or use a flea comb to brush him or her and have a bowl of hot soapy water nearby so that when you comb out a flea you can douse it in the water to kill it.  Either way you will need to use a flea comb to get eggs and the like out of your pet.  Always, when brushing or washing, wash/comb the neck first so the fleas can’t jump onto the head while you’re washing the rest.  Don’t let your pet near any other animal that could be carrying fleas.  Use a flea preventative specifically designed for your pet (we use Advantage on Gren, it’s not too expensive).  We use a flea comb on Gren just for the brushing of him, so he’s used to the pull of the fine teeth and his hair is very straight.  If you have a curly or wire-haired dog, this is going to be a little bit more difficult.  You might want to book a special appointment with a groomer for this step if you’re unsure about how to proceed.

Wee Flea Problem

Step three:

Vacuum the crap out of your place.  Go over your carpet with some heavy brush attachment to loosen clinging larvae.  Get into all nooks and crannies, carpets, furniture, and any spots that are dark and/or damp.  Cracks in the floors, behind doors, in grates – anywhere dust collects could be a storage spot for flea eggs.  Immediately throw out your vacuum bag to avoid escaping fleas (my mother-in-law, Mrs. Nice, tells me that if you put moth balls in your vacuum bag it will kill any bug you suck down, though it smells a bit weird when you first turn on the machine).  If you have a canister vacuum like we do, empty the thing into a bag outside and then hose ‘er down.

Wee Flea Problem

Step four:

Use some form of insecticide (most of the internet says you have to go the chemical route, sorry).  Get one with a compound in it known as IGR (insect growth inhibitor) and follow the instructions.  Don’t let children or pets near it.  You could also scrub every surface of your house with soap (rugs included), but you have to be thorough.  The insecticide treatment, while gross and chemical-y, probably will work better than any vinegar-soap-lemon juice thing you can come up with, so it’s something to think about, even if, like me, you’re not into using those kinds of things.

Step five:

Hose down your garden with soapy water (or a chemical insecticide) and trim back all the foliage to expose all the damp dark places to sunlight.  Mow the lawn often.  Keep dark and damp spots to a minimum.

Greenthumbing Update

Step six:

In two weeks, repeat steps one through five, vacuuming every other day.  Fleas have a two-week life cycle and fleas in egg form will not be affected by any form of insecticide, so you gotta do it twice.  If you don’t do it twice then it’s not going to work.

Prevention, the natural way (after you’ve taken the previous steps):

Sprinkle nutritional or brewer’s yeast on your pet’s food or rub it into his or her fur. Our first dog, many decades ago, got fleas one summer and we fed her the yeast.  It seems the fleas don’t like the taste of the dog’s skin once the yeast has gotten into it and they take off.

Herbal flea dip: boil 2 cups fresh rosemary leaves in 2 pints (~1L) of water for 30 minutes.  Strain the leaves out and add the mixture to a gallon (~4L) of warm water.  Saturate your pet and do not rinse – allow to air dry.  This is a nice refreshing thing to do on a hot day.

Cottage Pie

Citrus spray: thinly slice a lemon and chuck it in a pint (~1/2L) of water.  Bring that to a boil and then let it sit overnight.  Alternately, use a few drops of lemon oil in an appropriate amount of water.  Spray in areas where you think fleas might be hanging out (remember that lemon juice also acts as a bleach so watch out for fabric).  Spray it onto your pet as well, and put a few drops under his or her collar to keep fleas at bay.

Diatomaceous earth is something you can sprinkle into your carpets and in your yard.  It has no effect on humans or pets (it’s just dirt) but the granules are sharp and will puncture the exoskeleton of insects, causing them to dry out.  Also a very good humidity and odor buster.

Quick Cushion Cover

Quick Cushion Cover

My mother made the Pie a cushion a few years ago out of a lovely soft brown corduroy, and he uses it to prop himself up whenever he’s reading in bed.  My mother DID NOT make me a cushion, so you can see who the favourite is right there.
Quick Cushion Cover

She did, however, give me this utterly fantastic fabric remnant as part of my birthday present.  Isn’t it ridiculously awesome?

Quick Cushion Cover

I wanted a bed cushion of my own, and I thought this fabric would do the trick.  It’s almost exactly the right size, after all.

Quick Cushion Cover

And if I just overlap the back part, like so, then I won’t need to add any fasteners. And using the selvages as my open edges means that I don’t have to hem anything either. I love selvage.

Quick Cushion Cover

After cutting the fabric to fit more closely on the sides, I pinned it in place on top of my cushion to line everything up.  I then removed the cushion and added some more pins to keep things in place.

Quick Cushion Cover

A simple seam, reinforced, will do the trick.

Quick Cushion Cover

Then you turn it right side out again.

Quick Cushion Cover

And add another seam, just for security.

Quick Cushion Cover

And then you stuff the cushion back in.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.  The whole thing took about fifteen minutes.

Quick Cushion Cover

The pillow of course clashes horribly with our wedding quilt but I don’t really care.  I now have my own cushion, and it’s bigger than his.  Nyah, nyah, nyah.

Quick Cushion Cover

The Accommodating Office

This will (hopefully) be the last full summer that we live here in St. John’s.  Accordingly, our friends and families are taking advantage of it and we are having four separate sets of guests staying in our house from June all the way until August.

Normally when we have guests, we cram an air mattress into the tiny space that is my home office floor and force our guests to live in cramped conditions for the duration of their visit.

Sping Shuffle

This summer, probably because the Pie and I will be sleeping in there while our parents take our bed, we decided to move things around to make for a little more room.

Sping Shuffle

We got a Groupon deal for a new memory foam mattress, and so when (if) it arrives we plan to keep the old mattress for a few extra weeks and use it on the floor of the guest room/office.  As crappy as the mattress is, if you have ever slept with another person on an air mattress you will know how much more preferable it is to being flopped around every time the other person rolls over or gets in or out of bed.  Anyway, in order to do this we had to make a bit more room for ourselves.

Many of my teaching materials are going across the street to my school office.  I should really use it for more than meeting with my students, as it’s pretty spacious and, unlike most of the students in my department, I only share it with one other person, a per-course instructor like me who is never there.  I plan to stake my claim on the desk by the window. I’ve already dusted it, after all.

Spring Shuffle

If we could afford it, the Pie and I would be all over some amazing furniture that better utilizes small spaces.  Watch this video from Resource Furniture and see what I mean — it’s very inspiring.  As we can’t afford it, we did the best we could.  I found this desk online and decided that a small rolling desk was probably the best option for us, and that $60 was a decent price for it.  My old desk, which was actually originally in the Pie’s office, was a sturdy structure from IKEA, in the JERKER line.  I hated it.  Mostly because if you are familiar with IKEA furniture, you know that once you put it together the first time, you really shouldn’t take it apart ever again.  And we moved this heavy sucker FIVE TIMES.

Sping Shuffle

Fortunately our friend Kirby had a serious crush on the desk, and with no IKEA nearer than Québec City, had no way to get one of his very own.  So we gave him this one, and he’s very happy with it.

So, after de-cluttering my work area (so much stuff that was out in view that could be put away somewhere else), and shoving the freezer over to the other side of the room, there’s a lot more floor space in my office, plenty of room for a queen-sized mattress and some more to spare.

Sping Shuffle

We can simply roll the desk into our room or the dining room or wherever, so that I can still do some work at home while people are here.  And I will use my school office more often as well.

Sping Shuffle

I bought this little metal shelf from Canadian Tire to support my herb farm once I re-potted it and I suspect another one will do a handy job of holding all my fabric (the shoe shelf I am currently using is not really up to the strain).

Sping Shuffle

The new shelf in the office.

Spring Shuffle

Of course, removing a large and tall piece of furniture left a huge empty spot on my wall.  But I can fill that easily enough.  I added two more prints I got for Christmas, and then used Rasterbator and a picture of Gren to fill the rest of the space.  Cait tells me she looks forward to waking up to Gren’s looming face when she and her sister come to visit this August.  I told her that not only would she have the poster version, but the real Gren would probably loom over her to wake her up as well.  This is his favourite room to play ball in after all.

Spring Shuffle

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.

Library Shuffle

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:

Library Shuffle

My desk area:

Library Shuffle

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.

Library Shuffle

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

Library Shuffle

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.

Library Shuffle

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

Library Shuffle

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?

Library Shuffle

Looks good, though.

Library Shuffle

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

Library Shuffle

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.

Library Shuffle

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.

Library Shuffle

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.

Library Shuffle

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

Library Shuffle

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

Library Shuffle

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

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