I Promise We Don’t Live in a Library…

It just appears that way. But can I really help it if books provide seemingly endless opportunities for inexpensive creativity? Plus, the black and white color scheme fits with just about everything.

When I shared the book cover project, it was pointed out that not everyone might be familiar with folded books. In that case, I’m happy to introduce you! I can’t take credit for this idea- I’ve seen it quite a few places out there in blogland, so I’m not entirely sure where it originated.

 

Materials:

book (Did I mention this was simple? I’m telling you- if I can get 64 middle schoolers to successfully complete this project- on the day before Christmas break!- you can do it.)

Instructions:

1) Remove the covers from your book (if they’re pretty, save them for another project)

2)Fold the pages in whatever pattern you like. For the book above, I simply folded all of the pages in half. You can also experiment with patterns like this one:

Fold the bottom of the first page up...

And the top of the second page down.

 

After that, get some lotion for your hands and wait for spring. If you choose to follow the pattern above, you’ll end up with something like this:

 

This particular book is a little too wide for my taste, but this pattern looks really neat using smaller books. You also might choose to leave some of the pages unfolded and use the book as a desk organizer (or use a thin book- the thicker the book, the more likely it is that the final product will hold in the cylinder position)

 

Tips:

1) To ensure that your book will stand up in the cylinder form, choose a book with lots of pages (around 400)

2) Choose a book with thick pages

3) When folding, I like to try and get the pages as close to the center as possible. This tactic provides a good gauge for keeping the pages even.

4) Fold all of the pages the same direction (I always fold into the book- to the left)

I’ll finish by leaving you a picture of a display from the always-inspiring Anthropologie. I think this technique would be really neat as a room divider. So many possibilities!

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‘Course He Isn’t Safe!

Since I mentioned in my last post how we love the Chronicles of Narnia (still can’t underline on WordPress), I thought I’d share a few favorite quotes. Enjoy!

“…But I cannot tell that to this old sinner, and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!” The Magician’s Nephew

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

“Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion;…” The Last Battle

Thanks, Clive

In case it wasn’t obvious, I really enjoy decorating with books. They have a vintage/industrial look, great neutral color palette, and they’re cheap! Some of my favorite books are the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. In my opinion, they are some of the best books in the world. ever.  They also hold a certain sentimental value for me and Zach as they served as our source of entertainment on several road trips. Zach always drives on these adventures, but I sometimes contribute by reading out loud. When we first traveled to Ohio for an Indians game (Zach’s birthday present) when we were dating, I was reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (WordPress isn’t letting me underline things). We started from there, and have now completed the series. We are both huge fans of Lewis’ creativity and theological substance.

When I was at a favorite thrift store a few years ago, I found a complete set of the books for $7 ($1 a book). Even though we already owned them, I bought the thrift store set in hopes of using them for a decorating project. I found these great shadow boxes at Michaels ( http://www.michaels.com/art/online/displayProductPage?productNum=fr0380&channelid=) which happened to be the perfect size for holding the books without altering a single page. I bought the first two individually (I used the weekly 40% off coupon), but, thankfully, they eventually we all 40%, saving me a few extra trips. I’m happy with the result, and I like that the books serve as great conversation starters.

 

 

This post is part of the Frugul Friday Linky Party over at the Shabby Nest (http://shabbynest.blogspot.com/). Head on over to check out the other great ideas!

A New Use for Old Books

During our snow days, we finally got to display a project I completed a while ago. When I first discovered folded books, I went to our local used book store and got a bunch of old Reader’s Digest condensed books for 10 cents apiece. The thing that attracted me to these particular books was not just that they were the perfect size for the folded book projects, but that they have some of the most beautiful covers. Each one has a different graphic print in a fun, bold color.
 
Once I finished with the folded books, I was left with a stack of beautiful covers that I hated to get rid of. We had an old bulletin board that wasn’t being used (I think we got it for $5 at a local state surplus sale), which I decided would serve as a great starting place. 
 
The completed project is now hanging in our office/study. It makes for a very studious looking accessory, and I like the bold color that it brings to the room.
 
Materials:
Reader’s Digest Condensed Books or other hardcover books
bulletin board or corkboard
hot glue gun 
molding
nails
paint or stain
utility knife
picture wire (about 6″ wider than your finished bulletin board)
eye screws
 
Instructions:
1) Remove the covers from the books (save the insides- they are great for other projects like folded books!). Don’t worry if some of the paper tears away from the backs of the covers, it won’t be seen in your final product.
2) Cut the spines off of the covers, giving you two cover pieces in the same pattern.
3) I chose to remove the metal frame from my bulletin board. You can remove it, or leave it for a more industrial look. keep in mind that if you choose to leave the frame, you will need to make sure your book covers fill up the space as the size of the board will be difficult to alter.
4) Arrange your book covers on the bulletin board in a pattern that appeals to you. You may choose to align the bands (where the spine was wrapped to the cover), or simply make things random.
5) Once you have decided on a pattern, hot glue each cover to the bulletin board one at a time.
6) Once all of the covers are affixed, trim away any excess corkboard using a utility knife.
7) Assemble your frame. I recruited my master carpenter/general contractor father for this part of the project, but there are some great tutorials online.
8) Attach eye screws to the frame.
9) Thread the picture wire through the eye screws. Make sure that your wire has some give to allow for easier hanging.
10) Hang and enjoy!

 

 

PS- We got the chair in the picture above for $20 at an estate sale. It needs to be cleaned up a bit, but the quality is good and I love the blue ticking stripe fabric.

Don’t forget to check out the other inspiring posts over at The Inspired Room (http://theinspiredroom.net/). Such amazing creativity out there in blogland!

This post is a part of the Frugal Friday Party over at The Shabby Nest. Go check it out!

Baby Shower

This past weekend, I had the privilege of joining with a few of the girls from our Sunday school class to throw a baby shower for our friend Xiaoling. For this shower, we decided to divide responsibilities by food, decorating, and entertainment. This was our first time organizing this way, but I am now convinced that it’s absolutely the way to go. Each of us got to do something we were really excited about (I got to decorate), and it really helped cut back on the “you do this, I’ll do that” back and forth of regular shower planning.

 We have a small class budget for showers (funded by a group yard sale), so I had to be careful not to go overboard with decorations. Xiaoling is having the gender of her first baby be a surprise, so we went with a green and yellow color scheme. I ended up making tissue paper flowers/pom poms for the first time (after seeing them in about a gazillion blog posts) and totally loved them. They were cheap, easy, and got a great response from the crowd. Overall, we spent less than $30 on decorations (including flowers, paper products, and favors). The pom poms were great because they provided big impact for minimal effort and cost. I’ve been planning on making a bunch of these in all different colors for the craft room, so I was excited to give them a trial run.

 I made mini pom poms for the tables, and we even ended up using one as a cake topper.

 

The little green lanterns were from Michael’s and cost 50 cents each. If you’re ever in need of favors for a shower or dinner party, I highly suggest scouting out your local craft supply store. I’ve found great stuff there on more than one occasion for very little money.

Now, we just need to wait and see whether it’s a boy or girl! Right now, little girls are majorly dominating our class, at a ratio of about 10:2. Surprisingly, the  couples that have waited to find out have ended up with boys. Only time will tell! We currently have six couples expecting, so we’re looking forward to more showers!

Another Shot at the Crock Pot?

The other night I was discussing crock pot cooking with some friends. It seems as though people are in one of two categories:

1) They love it and use it religiously

2) They never use it

Unfortunately, I’m currently in the second category. Not for lack of wanting, mind you. I have tried a few things in our crock pot, but I just haven’t found anything to be as amazing as everyone makes this little cooking gadget sound. This may be partly due to the fact the times I’ve used the crock pot have also coincided with the times that I’ve decided to “try something new” and cook with things that I don’t usually use. The only problem with this theory is that the reason I don’t use the things I don’t usually use is because I don’t usually like them. Like sauerkraut. I don’t even like the name. Why would I think that something as disgusting as sauerkraut would become magically delicious after cooking for six hours?

When I do conquer my crock pot inadequacies, I will be doing this:

http://outofthecrayonbox.blogspot.com/2010/02/i-painted-my-crock-pot.html

So stinkin’ cute. Maybe it’s the teacher in me, but I love pretty much anything covered in chalkboard paint. This would be so perfect for when we have guests! And I’m betting that I could find an old, countryfied crock pot for just a few dollars at a yard sale. I can’t wait to try it!

Snow Exciting!

We got around five inches of snow this past weekend, making for an amazing winter wonderland and a fun, relaxing break. We enjoyed two days of staying at home by playing lots of board games, sitting by the fire, playing in the snow with Zoey, and getting a few things done around the house. Hopefully, I’ll share pictures of our latest projects soon. School was cancelled today and we just found out that it’s also cancelled for tomorrow- not too shabby. :)

One of the best things about snow days is how they allow us time to just relax. Normally, when we have an extra day off we (or should I say, I) fill it up with extra stuff. The unexpectedness of snow days forces us to slow down a little bit- a much needed reminder! I love how in our neck of the woods things come to a stop for a little while. Families are home, the streets are quiet (except for sledders), and everything looks bright and clean. It sure tops any winter decorating I could ever do!

Now it’s time for a Lost mini-marathon (trying to catch up before a new season starts) and maybe a cup of hot chocolate. I hope you’re staying warm and cozy and enjoying the snow!