Fun with paper fish

I recently finished a paper koi pond at work (looks pretty cool right ?)

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The message in the “pond” spells 福 or the chinese charector for blessings. The fact that I made this charactor using fish is important for cultural reasons; the chinese word for fish “鱼” is a homonym for the surplus “馀”.
All in all, this particular pond represents my wishes for a surplus of blessing in the coming new year.

I found the template for the fish over at this blog. There are also a lot of other fun 红包 or red envelope craft ideas and tutorials on the page too!

The instructions use fun colored “ang pow” these are the red envelopes children receive during Chinese New Year. I didn’t have a huge stack of these envelopes laying around when “inspiration struck” so I used some left over wrapping paper. I recommend using a heavy weight wrapping paper but anything will work – even left over coloring pages.
If you have a design in mind, you can make more fish at once by stacking pages on top of each other and cutting 3-4 fish at once. More the merrier, definitely applies!

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Once the fish are made apply tape to the bottom of the fins and tail to atrach them any surf you like.

One or two fish look really cool, too! I taped these two to the middle of our conference  table. The table looks much cooler now 😉

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I would love to see your fish ponds, too. Happy fishing !!

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Royals Win the World Series

The Royals just won the World Series!!!! I am so excited and proud and buzzing with the need to celebrate.

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I’m sharing a Free Printable with the internet so everyone can celebrate with me!!!  Link to the file is below:

Royals 2015 Pennants

(FYI – I don’t really get baseball, but the excitement in KC is totally contagious!)

How are you celebrating “the win” ?

Upcycled DIY Awesomeness!

The whole situation, was a comedy of errors and weirdness until I realized the potential of my medium – boiling water and plastic utensils. I kid not my friends, a silent hand was guiding me to DIY awesomeness! I’ve got a origin story below ( or you can skip it and jump to the tutorial below! )

Late last night I was boiling some water ( can’t remember why – but probably to make some ramen….which I shouldn’t be eating ) when I accidentally dropped a plastic fork into the pot of boiling water. I quickly made a grab for some kitchen tongs only to find that all of them were crusted with food stuff from dinner. I turned to the sink to wash them but the dish detergent was empty but that wouldn’t stop me for long.  I redirected my aim for some hand soap to wash off the tongs. Now, armed with clean ( and rosemary sage scented ) tongs I rescued the poor fork from the pot of boiling water.  After fishing it out,  I dropped the fork into a cup of water nearby to let it cool; and that when I noticed it.  The fork had bent into a U shape in side the cup. Aha!!!! I can make a bracelet ( seriously, that was my first thought…..).

I fiddled with the fork again and found that a combination of tongs and forceps ( yup, still have random med-school supplies lying about) was the most controlled way to bend the fork into whatever shape I wanted.  The key is to control the water temperature ( steam is dangerous, it can cause burns….but I find wearing gloves too cumbersome while working. ), water volume ( make sure there’s enough water to prevent the plastic from burning. ) and not over working it ( the longer the plastic utensil stays heated, the more likely it is shrinking – pop it into some cooler water every once and awhile if your working on an intricate or tough bend. )

I also worked with a spoon, but the time and amount sculpting scratch up the spoon face too much. I think I’ll keep trying though because I see calla lily bracelets or hair sticks whenever I look at spoons now!  I don’t think knives will have nearly the same impact as the spoon or fork, but once the serrated edge is smoothed out it will make a wonderful cuff.

Okay here’s the  tutorial for Immersion plastic sculpting! (ie bending plastic in boiling water )

Materials

  1. plastic utensils ( save the plastic from your latest chipotle binge )
  2. Short/small sauce pot ( NOT pan, pot!)
  3. tongs, forceps, long handle tweezers/reverse tweezers
  4. long safety gloves ( I recommend them, but I don’t use them )
  5. bowl of warm water ( never put some thing hot into something cold )
  6. bowl of Ice ( IMPORTANT use if for those “Crap, I burned myself” situations)

Tutorial

  1. boil water in the sauce pot ( I would start with 4/5 full )
  2. once water has boiled immerse your plastic utensil in the water.  ( you may need to weigh it down or hold it down with your tongs)
  3. wait 1-2 minutes then gently bend the utensil within the boiling water.  use to 2 sets of tongs or press the utensil against the side of the sauce pot.
  4. once the shape starts to form pull it out and cool it in the bowl of warm water.
  5. Repeat as needed until perfect.
  6. once cooled, decorate with paint, glitter, rhinestones or wrap in fabric strips, beading wire or string!

Good luck!

Tangram Murals! a new take on Geometry

 

Another work mural featuring geometric shapes!  But this one’s inspired by one of my favorite  childhood  games/toys-Tangrams!  What is a Tangram? well….it looks like this

tangram

 

Look familiar? I though it might, these 7 shapes can make almost anything! I remember my grandmother and I used to make weird adaptations like Hello Kity, snoopy and Doraimon; but my favorites have always been the traditional bunch:bunny, fox, swan, flying bird.  This is a super fun and easy DIY for Big projects like my office murals or smaller projects that fit in a picture frame.  Read on for some tips on making you own Super Size tangram mural.

First, decide on a size.  I super-sized my shapes ( my wall is 6’x14′) but I didn’t want to go buy giant ( read, expensive ) paper, so I figured out all the right proportions to make a Large Tangram using standard letter size paper.   This took up take up 3 sheets of paper and I had some spare pieces left, but hey I have a 12″ x 12″ tangram!

Second, decide on a color  I picked blue ( I knew I wanted to make a bunny and…bunnies just scream blue to me ^^)  Optional, add other colors that compliment or offset your main tangram design.

Third, create your tangram shapes  generally speaking a tangram can be made from 1 square so use a premade template like the one above or see below for my guidelines on Super-sized shapes.

Forth, decide on your shape I googled “Tangram templates” and found a TON of helpful pictures.  For anyone interested in a long term investment, look for tangram books or puzzle kits! I posted a “bunny by numbers” picture below for anyone who wants to try it out.

Fifth, Build it! ( cue The Lego Movie soundtrack ! )

 

 Post-it model for Super-Size Tangram below:

 

( note that there are some extra pieces….. 1 extra #7 and 3 extra #4’s )

Here’s a Template for the bunny based on the numbered tangram

Bunny by Numbers

 

 

LAST MINUTE Christmas Tree Idea!

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Finally came up for some air and noticed an extreme lack of Christmas Decor ?
Fix it by going old-school with this Throw back to Charlie Brown’s ( sad )Christmas Tree.

  1. grab some scissors and go for a walk;
  2. find an evergreen with nice branches low to the ground and cut off a branch
  3. thank the tree for contributing breathable oxygen!
  4. Take the branch back
  5. plop it into a vase or planter
  6. Lastly, add a red Christmas ornament to finish off the “tree”.

Now you’re festive, culturally relevant, and ironic all at once!