Paper Butterflies

It’s been ages since we made something hasn’t it? Let’s get our crafting groove going again with this simple origami butterfly.

You will need:
Printer/Scanner
This PDF template: Butterfly template
2 Clothes pins
Decorative Paper
Scissors
Pencil
String or Embroidery Floss

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1. Print the PDF, and cut out the template. You can size it however you’d like.
2. Use the template to trace the shape into decorative paper. I used a photocopy of a favorite book page.
3. Fold the paper lengthwise and crease the fold.
4. With the paper pattern facing up, begin to fold the paper into an accordion or fan fold, using the center line as a centering guide.
5. Fold the entire paper all the way up.

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6. Gather the folded paper and hold it with two clothes pins
7. Tie the center with string or decorative ribbon.
8. Remove the clothes pins.
9. Gently fan the wings up and out to create the shape.
10. Attach to packages, or hang from strings. Pretty!

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Before and After: Closet

I wrote about spring cleaning a few weeks ago so I’d like to show you my progress. One of the things that needed attention was my closet. Sadly, it was a big mess of mostly unworn, ill-fitting clothes and shoes that just hung there.

Embarrassing! Not only that, but it was a pain to find and put things away.
Behold, the after photos!

I can’t help but gush on and on to folks about how much better it is! How nice it is to be able to see everything I have! How great it is to be free of all that stuff! Look I can actually walk into my walk in closet! Amazing right? Right?! Oh, I’m doing it again aren’t I?

Here are some tips on how you can control you clothes clutter:

#1 Work a section at a time. I started with my pants then skirts then… you get the idea. I laid out each in turn on my bed so I could see what I had.
#2 Try on everything. I’m serious! Taking the time to reacquaint yourself with what you own is essential. Also, I tried everything on with both flats and heels and kept the most versatile pieces.
#3 Ask yourself 3 things: Do I wear it? Does it fit? Do I love it? And be honest!
#4 Don’t hold on to the past. It’s that hopeful place where we keep our pre-pregnancy jeans and the size 2 cocktail dress that we’ve never worn. Ever.

I call this my “I have a dream” section. Sure, hang onto those “before” jeans if you’re a new mom. But if, like me, your kid is due to graduate high school next year? Not so much…
Also, don’t keep anything with the goal that it will look great once you lose that last 5-10-15 pounds. When you reach your weight goals, THEN reward yourself with a shopping trip!

Good luck! And If you have the chance, post a photo of your before and after pics!

Weekend Project: Book Safe

I love book safes! They’re so clever and cool, I love giving them as gifts. It comes as no surprise that I’ve always wanted to learn to make one myself. I’ve lost the link to the site where I got the instructions from (of course) but I’ll do my best to explain.

You will need:
1 Book (at least 2 inches thick)
White Glue
Water
Sponge brush
Parchment paper
Weights (for drying time)
Exacto Knife
Box Cutter
Tweezers
“Stash”

First find a book that is large enough and thick enough to be carved out. Next, mix up a solution of 50% white glue and 50% water.

Saving out a few pages in the front of the book, paint the glue solution onto the outside of the pages of the book. The glue will seep into the book about 1/2 inch and once dry will provide a hard shell to carve into. I glued the back cover of the book to the pages to add stability.

Place a piece of parchment paper between the glued portion of the book and the pages you wish to be loose. Allow to dry 8-24 hours. I weighted my book so the moisture of the glue wouldn’t make the paper expand. (Anyone who’s dropped a book into their bath knows what I’m talking about)

After drying, the pages should be rock hard at the edges and still loose at the center. Pencil a line about a half-inch to an inch in then, carefully cut along that line with an exact-o knife or box knife. I carved it out about an inch. Yes, it makes a giant mess and the corners needed a lot of digging and picking. On retrospect I think I should have maybe gone a little further in before cutting.

Turned out quite nice I must say. Now I have a place for my “stash”… ahem.

Batik Napkins Part 3

I had a change of mind when I went to dye the fabric a second time. I really didn’t want to muddy the bright yellow dye I’d achieved, so instead of dyeing the fabric I bleached it.

I forgot to take a picture of the bleaching process, but anyone who’s ever had to fix a white shirt or (I’m showing my age here) acid wash a pair of jeans, knows what to do. Simply fill the sink with half cold water, half bleach and let your fabric sit in the bath for about 30 minutes.

Because the wax was still on the fabric I didn’t want to put the napkins into the dryer. So I hung them out on a clothesline to dry.

The next step is to melt off the wax.

Cover your surface with old towels and sandwich your batik fabric between layers of paper toweling. Heat your iron to high and press the fabric, melting the wax onto the paper toweling. Repeat until all the wax is melted out of your fabric. This will take about 150 YEARS!

Just when you think, “There, that’s got it.” The fabric will cool and you’ll realize you still have a bunch of wax in the fabric. The above photo is an example of “not even close”

I went ahead and tried to get out as much of the wax via the ironing method. Then I popped the napkins into my biggest pot with hot water and boiled them for about 15 minutes. I skimmed of the wax that floated to the top with paper toweling and tongs.

That seemed to get the rest of the wax out. Then I washed them on hot and dried them in the dryer.

They turned out to be a really lovely lemony yellow. No wax left but, no pattern either.

Oh well, this fits my motto: “Make sure your endeavors are beyond your skill and require tools you don’t have.”
Recent advice about this project has it that silk is really the preferred material to use if you’d like to print in a Batik style.
Hmmmm….. maybe a scarf….

Batik Inspired Napkins, Part 2

So, we have our napkins dyed a lovely base color…

Next we’ll apply wax to the fabric to make a pattern before dyeing the fabric again.

Materials:
Paraffin or Bees Wax
Double Boiler
Paint Brush(es)
Parchment Paper
Design Pattern

Iron the fabric and trace or draw by free hand your design pattern onto the fabric. Remember this is where you do not want the second dye to reach. I drew a large simple Chrysanthemum pattern.

Melt your wax in a double boiler.

I used plain old paraffin wax, in the form of some unscented tea lights I had left over from Jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. Chop up the wax into tiny bits so it will melt faster and evenly. Bee’s wax holds up better and is less likely to crack causing the dye to bleed through.
Stir the wax while it melts and don’t leave it unattended. When the wax is just melted take it off the heat but leave it in the double boiler, you may need to re-melt the wax halfway through the next steps.

Place the parchment paper down onto your work surface, place your fabric on top of the parchment paper.

Now you’re ready to paint on your design.

I decided to free hand paint with the wax after the first one. I was just painting concentric tear drop shapes, that was pretty easy.
I had to re-melt my wax half way through this stage, plus I needed to add a little more wax to the pot.
I noticed that when the wax was cooler it did not penetrate the fabric all the way through. I liked the effect but if you’d like to have each napkin the same, re-heat the wax more often.

Next we’ll dye our fabric again and iron the wax off the fabric.