Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easy Paper Basket

Old World Roses in a Basket
by Albert Williams  (English 1922 - )

This is a simple paper craft that I created for a 5-year-old, but it could be used to accent a table for tea guests, with each basket made to give away holding something else handmade, or anything that suits your theme.  You can use really high-end scrap papers, or you can use a paper from a brown paper bag. I used children's construction paper.

The only ingredients are paper of any size, scissors and tape.

Square-off your paper by picking up a point and bringing the paper over to line up with the straight edge on the other side. 

Fold any excess paper sticking out, evenly lined up with one edge,

and cut it off along the folded line.

Set the excess piece aside 

Open up the paper and fold one side up to the middle line.

Fold the opposite side up to the middle also.

Open up the paper again,

and fold up the other two sides to the middle.

Open it up again and you will see the fold lines of a lot of even-shaped squares.

Cut off all four corners.

This is what it will look like with the corners
cut.  You can use this for a template and just trace around it to make other baskets, or you can follow the entire proceedure for each basket. In my observation, children would rather know how to do this step-by-step so they can pick up a piece of paper any time and do it themselves, so I do not make a template. However if you are making 20 of them for a special event, make a cardboard pattern and trace around it.

Pull up the corner sides and put one piece of tape on each corner to secure it.

Fold that left-over strip of paper in half, lengthwise.

Cut along the fold into two pieces.

Use one piece for a handle, taping it once on each side.

These are not strong baskets, but will hold some lightweight paper craft, hand shredded paper (made with a hand held shredder usually available in craft and scrapbooking stores) or used to hold some kind of food served at the table.

Not "Stuck" At Home

Susan Rios has a host of new paintings both on her Etsy shop and her website. If you'll click on the title of these paintings on this post, it will take you there. 

 There is a popular myth that the decision to be a homemaker will mean confinement and boredom. Some young women fear that if they choose to stay home and raise a family and guide the home, they will be locked up in their houses all day with no connection to other people.

  In reality, most homemakers find themselves on the run more than they care to be, and long for some time where they can actually be home for days on end without having to be interrupted.

To answer those concerns, here is a list of things the home maker needs to do that takes her away from the house, with suggestions for finding more time to be home.

Essential shopping:  If the family eats healthfully, the keeper of the home will naturally have to go to market to select the highest quality produce and other foods. I live further away from a town that most people, so it makes sense to store more supplies, especially in winter when one might be snowed in.

Family outings: A change of scenery is always heartening, as the home seems more interesting afterwards. Finding places to go each week can be educational and inspirational, but also enriches the time at home.  My policy has always been to go out when there is an opportunity, but always have things to do at home when it is not possible to go out.

Favorite places and events: I remember the women at home in times past, who looked forward to getting their essential housework done (wash dishes, straighten up the house, make beds--the simple things) so that they could work on another interest at home or go to a favorite place. It might be a chance to attend a free outdoor classical concert, or a new art gallery or listening to a speaker on natural health. There are really plenty of things to attend, but of course, one must limit it to what they can manage, time-wise, without neglecting the home and family.
A Corner in the Garden
by Susan Rios

Errands:  Anyone who thinks a homemaker does not get out, ought to view a list of possible errands to run: pay a bill, deposit a check, get groceries, return something to a store, stop for gas, return a library book, mail a package, stop at a garden center, feed store, pet  or home builder's supply store. With the high price of gas, most people find it more frugal to do as many things in one trip as possible. Anyone who says a homemaker is not "active in the community" has not followed her around.

Appointments: Another obligation that involves leaving the house. No, a woman is not locked up at home. Most homemakers today have their own cars and are able to come and go from the home at will. It is important, I think, to analyze the amount of time spent away from home, and possibly reduce it if the home falls into neglect.

Church:  For some people, this involves mid-week Bible study, Ladies Fellowship, and consequent social visits to those who may need attention.  Even a very small church will create enough obligations to keep a homemaker going outside the home. I've written a post on this before, where I urged homemakers not to get overly committed to church activities, lest they find themselves away from home too much and fall behind on their obligations at home. But, for those people who think a homemaker is left out of life and without significance, just watch what she does for the local church. Sometimes the homemakers do most of the internal, behind the scenes work of the church, in benevolence and care of people, in making and preparing the communion, in cleanup of the church facilities, and in teaching of young children.

Guests: Some people are kept quite busy going to the airport, bus or train station to meet guests that are going to visit for awhile. All this takes time and takes a woman outside the home. So, who says there is nothing to do and no where to go if you are a homemaker? After enjoying the guests for awhile, she then has to take them back to the airport and train station, so a great deal of her time is used. 

Visits: Keeping a list of people who need to be visited, for one reason or another will come in handy while out on other types of errands.  Again, no one need conclude that women at home are deprived of socialization, for they create their own when they give of their time to others. There must be awareness of the purpose of the visit and the careful use of time, so that the most good can be extracted from this practice and so that is is a benefit to the one visited. 

The daytime commerce is done with women from the home, as they use the quieter hours when others are confined to work in their respective offices and industries, etc.  Women at home do have more freedom to choose where they will go, and when.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Banjo

This is the same young woman, a friend of mine,  who played the harp in the previous post. She also plays the banjo.


This is a piece that a dear friend, played on her harp and posted on youtube. I hope you enjoy it. It was also added to my playlist at the top of the list.

Little Altered Box

The Beach 
by Alfred Victor Fournier,  1872-1924

A child asked me to make a drawing book, and so I looked into my collection of empty boxes and found this. Sometimes friends give me interesting boxes, as I often buy in bulk and don't get the packaging, so you see below the box I have acquired. A fruit pectin box will work, as well.
After cutting the flaps off both ends of this box, cut out one of the narrow ends and open it up so that it looks like a book.

Slide the hand-held hole puncher as far as it will go on each end of the "spine" and punch a hole.
Trace the box on whatever paper you choose by rolling it along the paper folded up and tracing each side. The paper cover will not fit the box if you trace the box when it is flat, because there is extra space on the folded edges.

Cut about a half inch larger around the traced box so that the edges can be folded over, as you will see later.  Swirl glue all over it. The glue sticks work best, as the white liquid glue is too wet and makes it wrinkle.
For end-papers on the inside, trace the box flat and cut about a fourth inch shorter all around. 

Trace on paper of your choice for the inside pages of the book. 12 pages ought to do, but you can make less. Then stack them and cut about half inch smaller all around. Center the papers and lay the box on top to punch new holes through the already punched holes.

Fold the edges in and glue down, and then paste the end paper over, trimming it shorter if necessary.  Re-punch the holes through the paper, with the original holes as the guide.

Assemble the pages inside the book, centering them and punching the holes, using the holes in the book back as a guide. Twist one end of wired ribbon and bring it up from the back of the book to the inside, and into the other hole to the back of the book again. I would recommend using wired ribbon from dollar stores instead of fabric stores.  Trim the pages if they are larger than the book cover.

Form the ribbon into a bow on the outside along the spine of the book.

Depending on what kind of pattern is on the outside cover, you can decorate it  with stickers or clip art to match. This was plain white construction paper so I added paper and cloth butterflies.
Now you have a little book to draw in, and this is what
the inside looks like with the end papers.

Now that you see how this was done, you might find yourself looking at throw-away boxes a little differently, imagining which way to turn it to make a book.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

First Day of Spring

This is what came the first day of spring, covering the pink blossoms on the trees.

The blue spruce looks great with a bit of white powder, and there are some willows bending over with the weight of the snow.

These are holly trees and a large old maple.

Here is a simple creative way of potting a flowering plant. I've taken some primroses from my garden and put them in these waterproof containers to make colorful favors for ladies Bible classes, or other occasions. If you have no cards you want to part with, use new ones that you buy in packages of 8 or 12 from dollar stores and craft stores.

The containers are any plastic boxes similar to the ones that contain unsweetened baking cocoa. There are quite a few grocery items pack in waterproof containers, as you might notice from looking in your pantry.

Remove the lable and trace the container on to the blank side of scrapbook paper, wrapping paper or a greeting card.

Deckle edged scissors can be used to trim the card to fit, and you can fill in the back with other scraps of cards or paper. Cards or paper sticks well with white glue or tacky glue. I prefer Elmer's white glue. (Dollar store white glue seems to be too wet for craft projects.) Paint white glue  or decoupage glue on the outside with a sponge brush to make the card or paper more durable. 

 Put a few rocks in the container for drainage, and add  a plant from your garden or purchased from a garden center. If you like, you can add a ribbon around the box, and set it on the lid. This makes a good accent piece for a small side table, a desk, your mantel or kitchen sill.
Here is another one done with a left over piece
of pre-pasted wall-border. Just dip it in water and it will

I will be giving this one away.

Not home made, but just as enjoyable, are these little water pitchers found at Dollar Tree for one dollar. They  come in light blue, green, yellow and coral.  

Put outdoor plants in them for front porch gifts, or a dining table centerpiece.

Here is another frugal idea. For many years I had spare "lefties" from my pair of rubber gloves, as the "rightie" always got a hole in it. I considered advertising for spare "rights" from left-handed dish washers, but finally got this idea. So far, it is working.  I buy two pairs of rubber gloves, one larger than the other. I put the lower quality, cheaper glove (yellow) inside the larger glove (purple or pink Playtex brand).  So far, it has been a month, and no holes. Not only that, but there is no feeling of heat through these gloves and I can use really hot water. I do have a dish washer, but end up washing many different kinds of dishes, such as tea cups, pots and pans with handles that are not dishwasher safe, or different kinds of bakeware.  I hope to update this with a report of the first leak in these gloves.  I enjoy not running to the store to get a new pair of gloves.