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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Fast Tip Friday: Filing in a Flash

This is a work-related post which is extra-sweet specifically because I am not at work today – I’m watching the Blue Jays hopefully kick some butt on their final home stand of the regular season. I was going to make this for my messy partner at work while I was decorating his office but he’s leaving us (tragedy!) so I’m making it for myself. I work in a mostly paperless office but sometimes you need to print things out to use them for reference (like phone lists) or a client still insists on seeing a hard copy of something or another. So I don’t need a whole filing cabinet, or even a drawer (I DO have a filing drawer, but currently it is filled with snacks). I just need a few files, preferably some place I can reach them on my way out the door. For this you just need some file folders (any size, any colour) and some tape (I have here washi tape for the decorative parts and double-sided tape for the sticking-things-together parts). Maybe a ruler if you feel like being measure-y.

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My office actually uses these pretty blue and teal files for storage so they were on hand, and I simply arranged them in a pattern and orientation that I found pleasing (Chel I can see you making use of a nice rainbow one someday).

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I measured and marked them (okay, so you need a pencil too) so they’d be evenly spaced.

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Then I used copious amounts of double-sided tape on the back to stick all the folders together.

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Now I need to do something about the open flappy sides. I was originally going to poke holes and kind of lace them together but I decided that was too much effort for work decor.

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Washi tape to the rescue! I love it because it’s so light and comes in millions of colours. Thanks Japan for yet again making functional things pretty as well.

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I did a couple of layers for security.

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All ready for the bus ride to work!

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I used 3M command strips to stick it to the wall next to my door. It works great!

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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.

So Long Sucker! Creepy Hallowe’en Sucker Stand

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I actually made this project LAST year, but because I never get my holiday stuff organized in time to publish it any time before the holiday it’s for, I decided to set this up so I would look timely and well-prepared this year.

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Anyway, last year, back when the Pie and I were still in St. John’s (weird that we’re not there anymore), Fussellette organized a mixer for the geographical society at MUN and she decided on having a candy bar for everyone to snack on while they got jiggy (do people even say that in the far-off future of 2013?  Better question: do people even say that NOW?).  I volunteered to make a stand for the suckers Fussellette insisted on having, along with our FORTY POUNDS of other candy that we bought.

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You might like to make something like this for your own Hallowe’en party.

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At first I thought I would just do something plain, like a store display, but maybe with some sparkly skulls we’d picked up from Dollarama.  But then, I was looking at a shoe box and I was struck dumb with inspiration (not true: I immediately texted Fussellette about my genius and then told the Pie all about it, despite him not wanting to know).  So here’s what I came up with.

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I’m going to make a grave yard — well, part of one.  It will have a freshly covered grave with headstone and some nice grass all about, and little holes for holding all the suckers.  That will be the top of the box.  Then the extra suckers (there were 100 in the bag) can be stored inside the box itself.

So first, on the shoe box I drew where I wanted the grave to go.

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Then I used a punch to make some evenly spaced holes where the suckers would eventually fit.

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In order to make it so the suckers didn’t just slide all the way through the holes until they were stopped by their candy tops, I had to construct a little hanging platform on the underside of the box lid that would prevent their sliding around and also not interfere with the opening and closing of the box itself.  I just taped a few pieces of spare cardboard in strategic places and there we go.

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Now I got to do the fun stuff.

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I had a package of Model Magic lying around that I didn’t yet have a project connected to, so I figured its lightweight nature would be perfect to make a gravestone.  A bit of shaping (not too much, as I wanted the stone to look old and cracked) and some choice words (stamped in with the same punch I used for the holes) and I set that aside for the requisite 72 hours to dry.  I’m going to paint it later.

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To ensure that the surface of my gravesite didn’t end up accidentally filling in the holes I punched, I marked their places with wooden skewers.

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Then I went outside.  This moss I hauled up from the path next door and the dirt is from my garden. This explains why I can’t grow anything.  I keep taking all the dirt.

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Spread some Mod Podge.  Attach some moss (I snipped off only the tops of the moss, and replanted it when I was done).  Repeat.

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For the grave dirt, I mixed my garden dirt with some Mod Podge to make mud of sorts, and spooned it onto the area.  I added a few rocks for visual interest, and then sprinkled some un-glued dirt on top to get the colour right.  Then I left THAT for 48 hours to dry.  You can still see the box through some of the moss but honestly, I don’t think anyone else would look this closely at a candy dispenser.  Mostly they are probably just thinking “Free candy!  Gimme!”

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Once you’ve got all the stuff glued and set, you can take away the skewers.

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While it was drying I tacked on some black construction paper with tape as a sort of border to the whole thing, and to cover the shoe box-ness of the shoe box.  Then I used craft paint to freehand a picket fence all around (you can see it in the finished shots).

Then, much later, I painted the headstone, filling in the text with black craft paint and adding a bit of texture here and there.

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Hot glue that sucker (ha) onto the dried Mod Podge mud and we’re good to go.

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Insert suckers. You can store extras underneath, inside the box.

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EAT SUCKERS. MWAHAHAHAHAHA.

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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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Adding Festivity, the Lazy Way: Paper Wreath

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Seeing as we’re in Ottawa and not St. John’s for the majority of the holiday season, the Pie and I rarely trouble ourselves to decorate Elizabeth for Christmas.  But this little thing was so easy, and so quick, and the days here in St. John’s have been so very gray, I needed a little festivity … but I was too lazy to do anything too complicated.

So I have here some rolls of wrapping paper that I picked up from IKEA about seven years ago, and which I rarely use (seeing as I still have a chunk left).  The nice thing is that the wrapping paper, since it came on a roll, has a natural curve to it that I used to my advantage.  I also have a large paper plate with an extremely ugly design on it.  I don’t even know how I came to own these things, but I was cleaning out a cupboard and there they were … You will also need a pair of decent scissors and some tape.  Any kind, really, as you won’t see it.  A ribbon is optimal but also optional.

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First, we need to make a wreath form out of the paper plate.  If you want something bigger (or less ugly), you can make your own ring out of cardboard or whatever is handy.  With the paper plate all I had to do was cut out the middle section.

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Then I cut about a 5″ wide strip from the roll of wrapping paper.  I folded it in half lengthwise, so it was then about 2.5″ thick, and then folded it across itself widthwise a couple times, until I had a small rectangle about 2.5″ x 5″.  Or whatever works for you.  This just makes it easier to cut a bunch of leaves at once. This is where having a nice sharp, strong pair of scissors comes in handy.

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Then I cut a leaf shape out of the rectangle, leaving the bottom a little flattened (for optimal tape-age), and ended up with a handful of little leaves.  I did this twice for each colour of wrapping paper I used, so six times in total. I have no idea how many leaves it was, but it was exactly enough for the size of my project, which was pretty convenient — almost like I had a plan.

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Then I started taping them onto the plate, putting a wee bit of tape at the flattened end of the leaf, and making them kind of flow around the circle.  Don’t worry about making them arrow straight, and try to pick up different colours at random.

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When you put on the next haphazard row, it overlaps the first and hides the tape (this is called imbrication – like the layering of scales or roofing shingles).

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Imbrication … (I learned the word today so it’s rather convenient that I have this project for you)

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When you come full circle (and I don’t mean that metaphorically this time), just fold up the leaves already there and tuck the new ones into the space to fill the gap.

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So that’s the whole thing.

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I had a scrap of blanket binding leftover from the baby blanket I made for the Incredibly Little Hulk way back when, so I tied that on as ribbon.

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Then I added another ribbon to hang it on my door.

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This took me half an hour, from start to finish.  Change the colours of the paper leaves and I’m sure you could apply this wreath to any season (black and orange for Hallowe’en, purple and green for spring …).  Easy peasy, blamo kablam, it’s done!

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Imbricaaaaaaaation: an overlapping of edges as in tiles or scales.

Spray-Painting Indoors

Spray-Painting Indoors

Here’s a tip for the next time you need to do some spray painting and you have no choice but to do it inside.

Spray-Painting Indoors

To keep the mist of paint off everything else you own, do your painting inside a box.  It will catch most of the stuff that doesn’t land on the object you’re painting.

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Just make sure to tape up any holes so you don’t have leaks.

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