Jan 30, 2012

Bookmark Project

Whenever I'm reading a book I tend to use whatever is the nearest 'paper-like' object around as my bookmark.

I've used photos, bus tickets, shopping receipts, my driving licence, sweet wrappers, newspaper clippings, foreign currency, a piece of tree bark, an actual book (although it was slim) and once, strangely, an unfried slice of bacon.

The problem is, when I finish a book, I often forget to transfer the bookmark that I've been using and so over the years, I've  misplaced many of my cherished photos and lost my driving licence on more than one occasion. I know I could 'just bend the page' but I'm just not that kind of person.

Then I saw this wonderful idea over on d.Sharp journal about making your own bookmark from an old envelope.
Image: d.Sharp journal
There are plenty of ideas out there to recycle old envelopes (and I've probably even used a few as bookmarks) but this is such a clever idea.

Simply cut the corner off an old envelope that you were going to throw in the recycling bin anyway.

Image: d.Sharp journal
Then slip it onto the corner of the page.

Image: d.Sharp journal

If you happen to be one of the those people who give books as gifts, you could make a personalised one and scribble a little note on it about why you love that book.

It's a nice little fun idea that couldn't be simpler and I'm pretty sure they would prefer to use it as opposed to a slice of unfried bacon.

Jan 23, 2012

Make Your Own Pencil Project

Image: Scissors.Paper.Wok
I know some of you might think I'm mad.
I know some of you might think I'm crazy.
I know some of you might think I've lost the plot, because I know you can pick up a pencil for less than 50 cent in any corner newsagents. However, here's the thing.

I've always tried to suggest a number of craft ideas that you and any young child in your family could sit down together and pass a few hours on some rainy day. I've also loved finding ways of recycling old magazines or scraps of paper that end up in the recycling bin. To me, recycling is not just about sorting objects into the right coloured bin. Recycling is also about reusing.

This little project fits those 2 criteria and that's why I'm sharing it with you,                                            courtesy of SCISSORS.PAPER.WOK (It also uses Mod Podge which rocks)

Here's what you'll need.
Image: Scissors.Paper.Wok
Here is a note on the supplies.
Paper: They recommend using 6″ origami paper but I think you could use any craft paper or magazine page that looks colourful. Why not try an old map too (you know how I feel about maps). Here is the exact product used in the tutorial in case you are a stickler for rules. Try out a few ideas as you might find the paper you use could be too thick and won't act as a skin when rolling the pencil.

Lead: Make sure you use a HB lead. If you use 2B leads or above, the lead may be too soft to roll without snapping.
I've looked around and found 12 tubes (that's 96 pieces of lead) for an unbelievable €4 plus €4 postage for sale on eBay here. That works out at about .08 cent per pencil.

Here's the How-to.

Image: Scissors.Paper.Wok

There is also this video, made by Kimanh from Scissors.Paper.Wok.

video

You could even try out lots of different ideas.
Try placing twine between the layers to make a hook to hang it on something.
Use an ink stick instead of pencil lead.
Try a different size or different layers. The picture below is layered with different paper to fade from red to light pink.

Image: Scissors.Paper.Wok
The possibilities with this craft are endless and knowing the weather in this country, you might need more than a few hours to pass the time on one of our rainy days.


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Jan 19, 2012

Newspaper Basket Project

I posted an item on Monday about making a newspaper recycling bin and much like I mentioned in this article, there is one glaringly obvious concern. The quality of the crates you can get for free.

Of course if you wanted to go to one of the expensive home stores around town I'm sure you could pick up a great looking faux vintage, shabby chic, rustic crate. However, you need not do this.
Instead of using a crate to hold all your recycled newspapers, why not make a basket out of your recycled newspapers?

Image: How About Orange

This first idea comes from How About Orange where you can find a full tutorial, which was originally inspired by this article over on CraftStylish.


Image: CraftStylish

You don't even have to use it as a recycling bin, pop it at the back door to store your dirty garden shoes in it or fill it with shredded paper to make a nice comfortable bed for your cat or dog.

As for me, I'll try and hold off on any more newspapers articles. For now.

Jan 16, 2012

Newspaper Recycling Bin Project

Image: Martha Stewart
Following on from last weeks 'must get organised' post, I found this other idea over on the Martha Stewart website.

One of my pet hates is dumping all paper/cardboard and all things packaging into the large green recycling bin outside the front of my house. I know it's all going to the same place and it all gets recycled but it fills up so fast its normally overflowing by the time it's ready to be picked up.

The only solution to this problem, as I see it, is to stack the newspapers (which normally take up half the capacity of the bin) into an area, much like our bottles and glass jars, that get taken to the recycling centre every couple of weeks.

The only problem to this solution, as I see it, is my wife would go crazy if I was started stacking old newspapers in random places around the house, for fear I would become much like that man who hoarded everything who was on TV last month.

So this seems like a nice compromise. An easy-to-make bin, ideal for holding old newspapers between trips to the recycling centre. Just choose a paint color to complement your decor and add some twine to make bundling papers a breeze.

Materials you will need:
Wooden crate
Paint
Paintbrushes
4 screw eyes
4 cleats (2-inch)
Twine

Instructions:
1. Paint wooden crate, and let dry.
2. Attach screw eyes, centered, to the top edge of each side.
3. Attach cleats, centered, to the exterior of each side.
4. Before filling the bin with newspapers, run lengths of twine loosely between each pair of opposing screws eyes, and wrap loose ends around cleats.


So there it is. A neatly stacked pile of old newspapers ready to be tied up and disposed of next time you take a trip to the recycling centre. In addition, you might need to dip into this stack as you find a few ideas amongst these pages which may call for some of your old newspapers to be used, saving you a messy expedition into your large green recycling bin filling up outside the front of your house.

Jan 14, 2012

Perpetual Calendar Project

Image: Sarah Wandering

It's January, the start of a new year. Which means that most of us use this time to make a fresh start in some area of our life that requires improvement. We set new goals. New resolutions. We start over and hit the reset button. To others it's just another year. Another month. Another week. Another day.

I fall somewhere in the middle of those 2 thoughts and when I say middle what I really mean is, I spend a lot of time thinking about improvement but eventually end up in the 'it's just another day' camp. Each new year though I've always thought there's one thing I could/should change about myself and that's to start using a diary.

Now, I don't mean a 'Dear diary, what a day...' kind of thing, but a daily diary for writing memos and notes, to-do lists and appointments to keep track of my life and it's something my wife has been trying to get me to do for years. Being an avid list maker herself, she went so far as to buy me a diary one Christmas in the vain hope I might remember to do the things at the time that was arranged. It now meant I had to carry around a diary along with my keys and my phone and my wallet and my mints (which once was cigarettes and a lighter) and my bits and my bobs that I obviously think are very important to my very existence. The only problem with this was I kept forgetting to write stuff in it. 

After a while I saw this perpetual calender and as much as this calendar would look amazing up on the wall  it's not exactly what I was looking for.

Image: Sarah Wandering

However, if you would like to try your hand at creating this practical and gorgeous piece of art then have a look at Leo Reynolds photo collections on Flickr. A wonderful source of letters and numbers.
You can use personalised photos to fill out the rest of the spaces.

Here is a little video showing you a kind of  'how-to'.

                        video

So for me, it's back to the drawing board. Or Chalkboard?
What I need is something more along the lines of this.

Image: Martha Stewart
A chalkboard wall calendar.

If you have the space and the time (and the patience I imagine) then have a look at this article over on marthastewart.com where there is a tutorial showing you everything you need to create it.

Of course, I would not be doing my job here if I didn't offer some kind of cheaper alternative to this chalkboard mural of sorts. So, if you don't have the space or indeed own the wall to be painted, there is a great way of achieving a similar effect with an old picture frame and recycled paint sample books courtesy of The Aesthetic Writer. Drop on over to the site for this post which gives a detailed tutorial.

DIY: Dry Erase Calendar
Image: The Aesthetic Writer

As for the new improvements, new goals, new me attitude, I figure there's no harm in starting a bit late. January 1st doesn't have to be the 'be all and end all' for starting new things. 

As a case in point, today is the exactly one year since my first post on this site which makes my new year start date two weeks late. Which I don't really mind so much, after all, it's better late than never.



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