Tag Archives: DIY

Shelfie: December 9, 13, & 17, 2016: Christmas Prep 2016

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2016 was a fun Christmas.  We threw a holiday party at the store, for which I got put in charge of the decorations.  I ought to have done more, but I had fun with what I did do.  I underestimated the amount of decorations needed to make the whole store look grand.  I made one of our wreaths though, as I’d seen my mother do at home.  This year’s book tree was Hollins green and gold.

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Cat-Proof Your Toilet Paper

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Sometimes invention is born of necessity, thriftiness, spatial reasoning, sympathy (in Rothfuss’ sense), and a little out-of-the-box thinking. Our cat found the toilet paper roll and started shredding it. I did some searching around the Internet and found some clever solutions but most required me to buy something and many would involve more permanent damage to the cabinet on which the toilet paper holder hangs—which is troublesome since we rent and the cabinet is not ours to damage. Originally, I’d decided to try to use a 2-liter soda bottle to make a cover for the roll… but I couldn’t easily cut into the plastic, and I gave up before I hurt myself.

An empty tissue box became the savior of our toilet paper. And I mean that quite sincerely because our cat hasn’t found the toilet paper to tear up since.

Admittedly, I didn’t try to fit the tissue box unaltered over the toilet paper roll, and less work might be required than I did, but what I did was not strenuous or lengthy:

I widened the hole at the box’s top a bit, just using an ordinary, unexceptional pair of scissors. Essentially, I mirrored the cut of the preexisting opening on the box’s backside to let the roll sit nicely centered inside the box, where the tissues had been. Once I’d done that, I added two cuts, extending upwards from the farthest point of the opening to catch the roller of the toilet paper holder.

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This same cover has been in use for a month and a half now, and while the cardboard is a bit more pliable from being handled than it once was, it is still intact and still performing its role well.

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The slit at the top has been widened. We found that offered more flexibility—the cover being able to catch more easily with less finesse, and doing so allowed the cover to accommodated fuller rolls better.

Has anyone done anything similar to cat-proof their toilet paper?  Has anyone got any improvements?  Does anyone have other genius DIY solutions to this common problem?

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DIY Sharpie Decorated Mugs

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Like many others, I spend too much time on Pinterest. Particularly, I spend too much time finding DIY crafts and home improvements. I’d seen before on Etsy mugs that had been redecorated. It wasn’t until Pinterest that I realized it might be a simple thing to do.

For this project, I used no one set of directions, but took advice from several sites and a friend who had done this project herself before besides. I used an ordinary Sharpie marker and white mugs (any colors would be fine, I’d guess, but I liked the black on white look, and the wedding registry listed white mugs, so I thought I wouldn’t mismatch the newlyweds’ kitchen too terribly). The mugs I used were both dishwasher and microwave safe but were ceramic not stoneware. I drew and wrote on the mugs. That bit needs no explanation.

A note to the wise, remove the stickers from the bottom of the mug before you start to draw on them and you won’t have to worry as I did about soapy water smudging the Sharpie as you try to scrub off the tack to prepare them to go into the oven.

I did find that scrubbing with a paper towel wet with soapy water did erase the marker when I wanted it to, but a drip of soapy water running down the side over the Sharpie had no effect.

This, I think, is wonderful. There are no do overs as clean with most traditional methods of ceramics painting.

I set my oven for 350 F, waited for it to preheat, put the mugs down on a cookie sheet, face-up, and waited anxiously for the crack that I was sure was coming.

In retrospect I ought to have set them in the oven on the cookie sheet, then turned oven on, and set the timer after the light went off, knowing as I do that you ought to let ceramic heat with the kiln rather than shoving cool clay in a hot kiln.

Doing so, though, made no noticeable difference.

I decided to twice-fire them, because, well, I hoped that maybe by doing so I could better set the marker and make it last longer. Only time will tell if it was worth it. This time I set the cookie tray with the mugs in the oven before turning it on. My oven, usually creaky, was making some noise as I waited for the light to go off. I got nervous, so I decided to heat the oven to only 300 F for the second firing.

I know enough about ceramics to know that I couldn’t open the door to peek, but I can’t tell you how tempting it was.

Between firings I was sure to let everything cool. I left the mugs on their tray in the oven and waited until the stovetop was as cool as if the oven hadn’t been turned on that day, then waited a bit longer besides to take them out, really waiting for the air inside the oven to cool to room temperature.

Neither time did the mugs crack.

The final result: Worth it.

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