Bedroom FANdango

I’m sure you’ve seen something like this all over the internet. I was *going* to make this originally for the back wall in my partner’s office but now that he’s gone I had to save it all for myself.

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When we moved into the Tower, for the first time ever, we actually had enough wall space to display every single one of our framed pictures. We even had some blank space, and one of those spaces was in the bedroom behind our bed. We needed something big. I already put up that odd abstract painting, which is growing on me and is next to my side of the bed. And then I put up those lovely milk art watercolours, on the Pie’s side. But there was a giant space in the middle, directly above the bed. Just a big expanse of gray.

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So I’m going to fix it, and for cheap. And easily. You can do it too, if you have a big space that needs filling. All you need is some regular weight copy paper (A4, US Letter, it doesn’t matter), a stapler (with staples), and a bone folder for crispness.

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The bone folder is optional but I find it really helps. You’re going to want to go ahead and fold your sheet (long side or short side) into a fan.

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I find it easiest to simply fold the paper in half, then  half again, and then backwards on itself …

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… and then take the half that doesn’t make a nice zig-zag and fold it backwards. That way all the sections are even.

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Then grab your little accordion and bend it from the centre so the ends touch.

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Crease that fold as much as you can. Don’t worry if it’s a little wobbly.

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Pinch together the two edges in the centre of the fan and shove a staple in there to hold it together. You can use tape if you want, but staples are more expedient.

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Now do that whole thing with two more sheets of paper.

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Next, take one of the open ends of one fan and staple it to one of the open ends of another fan.

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Use the third fan to close the circle.

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When you flip it over you should have all the staples hidden.

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I did this a million more times, sometimes folding the long side of the paper and sometimes the short end, and I ended up with two different sizes of bunting, in four different colours: light blue, dark blue, gray, and white.

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To put it up on the wall I decided to use simple sewing pins, because they didn’t leave a big hole in the wall and because they were long enough to give the circles some movement and allow me to layer them on top of each other. I used a thimble to push the pins carefully halfway into the wall.

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Then I stuck up some more.

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And some more. I didn’t worry about pattern or where things were. I kind of winged it and went for something assymetrical and disordered.

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I’m quite pleased with the final result, and both the Pie and I are happy to have that big blank space finally filled.

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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.

Pseudo-Peonies

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While the weather might be warmer than it was before, and while I pulled these lovely daffodils out of my garden last week …

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… my garden still looks like this.  Which means that my peonies haven’t bloomed yet.  If they’re going to bloom at all.  And I like peonies.  They’re one of my favourites.

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So I’m going to make my own here.  It’s not that hard.  I found a quick tutorial at Two Shades of Pink and had at it.

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Start with a bunch of coffee filters.  I don’t know how many.  A bunch.

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And some warm water.  And some food colouring.  Or watercolour paint.

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Dissolve some of your paint/dye in the water. This is some Crayola stuff I broke off and stirred in.

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I tried this craft paint but it wasn’t water soluble, not really.

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Then dip your filters into the coloured water.  You can do a bunch at once. And they don’t need to sit in the water for more than a few seconds.

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Experiment with the outer edges.

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Versus the inside. Or the whole thing.

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Squeeze out the excess dye with your hands.

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I totally dyed my hand pink.

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Spread out the filters to dry completely.

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Mine took a few hours, less when I fully separated the layers and put them in a place with lots of air flow.

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This is the full stack next day.

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Now, in addition to the filters, you will need scissors, a stapler (with staples), and then some tape or wire (I have floral wire here).

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Grab between 6 and 8 of the filters and stack them up.  Flatten them a bit with your hands.

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Fold the filters in half, then half again so you have a little cone.

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Take your scissors and scallop the rounded edge of the cone — don’t worry about perfection, it’s all good.

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Now unfold the thing and ruffle it up a bit.  Pinch that spot at the very centre where you made your folds.

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Flip the filters over and you can see what I mean by that pinch.

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Staple over that pinched spot to hold things in place.

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Now flip it back over and smooth it out a bit.

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Pull up the edges of the topmost (innermost) filter and, working from the bottom, squish the filter in on itself, leaving a nice fluffy gathering on top.

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Keep going with each successive layer.

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Make sure to keep the top nice and fluffy, while still jamming the paper against itself.

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Gather up the bottom layer and push it upwards, squeezing into the little handle you’ve created for yourself.

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The paper will hold its shape for a short time, but you want to fix it more permanently.  You can use tape around the little nub here or floral wire, which is what I used.

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I attached one flower to one end of the wire and another to the bottom.  What am I going to do with it?  I’m getting to that.

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Because of the variation in the way I dyed the filters, you can see different colour gradations in the finished flowers.

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On this one I put the darker filters in the middle.

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This was the resulting bloom.

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I used 8 filters per bloom and ended up with 18 flowers finished, which means I had 144 filters dyed.

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When I was finished I gathered some of the blossoms that were tied together and I used an additional piece of floral wire to wind their stems together.

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And it made two lovely little bouquets of 9 flowers each.

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I don’t even want to talk about that horrible plaster job in the background.  The landlord took our chimney away and now I have no place to display my work.

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So until I figure out how to compensate for my lack of a fireplace, I’ve put my pseudo peonies flanking my television.  Because I’m classy like that.

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Newspaper Plant Pots

I have a baby spider plant here for S that I am trying very hard not to kill.

I am also trying to root a cutting of my parlor palm for Kª.  I’m dubious about this, because apparently it’s impossible the way that I am doing it.

Anyway, today I decided that the day had come to introduce them to the earth for the first time.

I don’t have any spare small pots lying around so I surfed the internet for a while on making pots out of paper. These are biodegradable, of course, and can be planted right into the soil outside if that’s what you’re into.  Just make sure if that’s what you’re planning you use a newspaper with soy-based ink.  Because the newspaper is porous, you can put lots of seedlings close together and they will absorb each other’s water.

I found two versions that I liked.  One is the origami version and the other is the jar method.  Both need one half of a full broadsheet of newspaper (as in, not the whole square piece but the half-piece that is the individual page you turn).  Fortunately newspapers tear easily along this fold so you don’t even need scissors for this project.

Origami Method

Fold your paper in half vertically so that the two short edges match up and crease.

Fold it in half again, this time horizontally.

Aaand again, this time vertically.

Take one of the (now square) flaps of paper and turn it out into an upside-down isosceles triangle.  Flatten and crease the edges.

Flip it over.

Do it to the other side.

Now ‘turn the page’ of your new upside-down triangle to the left.

Flip it over and do the same to the other side.

Take the edge of the top flap of your triangle and fold it to meet the centre crease.  Grab the opposite edge and do the same.

Fold those edges in towards the centre one more time.

Make sure to crease your folds good and sharp.

Flip your paper and do that whole rigmarole to the other side as well.

Take the little bit of paper hanging over the top of your folds (the length of it will depend on the size of the newspaper sheet you used) and fold it down over your folds to hold them in. 

Mine were super short, so I actually used a single staple to hold things in place. 

I figured, what’s one staple to the thousands of nails and screws buried in my garden?

Now open out your box and flatten out the bottom.

Fill it up with soil or just admire your handiwork.

Jar Method

This is less complicated but less sturdy.

Fold your newspaper sheet in half, bisecting the short end.

Take yourself a jar, a can, or a glass and place it at the edge of the paper.  There should be enough paper sticking out from the bottom of the jar to fold up and cover the bottom of the jar.

Roll up the paper around the jar.

This works best on jars or cans or glasses that have a depression in the bottom.

Fold the bottom of the paper to the bottom of the jar and use the jar to squish it down.

Pull out the jar.  This version is not freestanding so you need to fill it immediately with soil to keep it steady.

Two pots.  Two minutes.

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 …