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.

Filing Facelift

Happy 400th post!

Filing Facelift

After I finished reorganizing the library at work I ended up with about two dozen of those cardboard magazine files that I no longer needed at the office.  I thought I could use a few in my home office, to keep my teaching stuff separate from my thesis stuff, and the Pie could always use some organizational aids.

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The problem is, of course, that these are old, ugly, and UGLY.  So they needed a bit of a facelift.

First I took the suckers outside and used a can of spray-paint on them in an attempt to make them less ugly.

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Unfortunately they were SO ugly that I went through an entire can of paint and the ugliness shone through still.  I did, however, forget to wear gloves and thus my hands (and my rings) became encrusted with paint.

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Luckily a bit of vinegar, baking soda, and a pipe cleaner got them shiny again.

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Can’t say as much for my hands though.

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Anyway, I also had a can of spray gesso, and so I went with that, and it worked a lot better.  I only focused on the front part of the holder, the part you were going to see, so I didn’t feel I was wasting it on surfaces I wasn’t planning on showing.

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Then I painted.  I stuck four together, upside-down so the angle was a good one for working, and got going with some acrylic craft paint.

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A few vines and some grass.

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Fun with rubber stamps.

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More rubber stamps.

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And the finished product, on my shelf.  Okay, it’s not my best effort, but I’ve been a little preoccupied recently and it’s better than what was there before.

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Here are two little ‘uns that are going to play host to all of the Pie’s fighting games.  When I get more paint I’m going to do the Street Fighter logo across them to make him happy.

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You can also use wrapping paper or wallpaper or even fabric to jazz up your holders.  Just trace the outline of the box onto the paper or fabric.

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Cut it out.

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Grab yourself some double-sided tape and slap it on. I am a huge fan of double-sided tape. I put that *%#! on everything.

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You might have to trim the edges a bit afterwards but it’s easy peasy.

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