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My Little House Design: May 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

DIY Paper Crane Mini Art Installation

I lurve paper cranes. My obsession began in the fourth grade when many of my great obsessions began. Having taught in Japan the previous year my teacher made it her mission to teach us all about Japanese culture including how to make paper cranes. Like riding a bike, I've never forgotten how to make a paper crane.

A few months ago I saw two images on Pinterest that got me thinking...

Can I incorporate paper cranes into my home's design? The obvious answer is YES.

This corner of my bedroom was pretty empty and in need of some love so I went for it.

I really like it! When I have more time I would like to add more cranes to make it an even bigger statement but for now I'm very happy with this simple and cheap project.

Here is what I did:

Made some paper cranes
Strung them with fishing wire
Push pinned them to the ceiling


Here is a link on how to make a paper crane. I just used white computer printer paper, but origami paper would probably work better. I think I made eleven, but like I said, I may make more to make the installation bigger and better. The best part about making paper cranes is that it is extremely soothing. If you've never made one before the first few will take some thinking, but after that your brain takes over and does it for you, sort of like typing.

The only thing I bought for this project was clear fishing line which was surprisingly expensive at $7.99. Thankfully, it was the only thing I had to buy for this project so I guess $8 isn't too much. If you have a friend who fishes you could just ask to borrow 20 yards or something since there is no way I'll ever use 300 yards of fishing line.

The way the paper crane is folded creates a natural hole at the bottom of the crane so I used that as a starting point for stringing up the crane. 

In order to string the fishing line through the crane I had to make a hole in the top of the crane. Before the hole:

After I jabbed the smaller end of the scissors into the top:

I started to make the holes bigger after I took this picture because stringing wire through such tiny holes was difficult to say they least. If you look closely you can actually see through to the other side, but it was a very tight fit!

I strung the string through the top hole first and then through the bottom hole and then I wrapped it around each wing and then knotted it on the top. Of course the string is clear so taking a picture of this process was sort of impossible, but you get the idea.

I left about two to three feet of string attached to each paper crane because I wasn't sure at what heights I'd be hanging them.

My plan for hanging the paper cranes to the ceiling was to knot the fishing wire to a push pin and then push it into the ceiling. This would have been simple if my ceiling was dry wall, but the hanging process was much more difficult than I had anticipated mostly because my ceiling is plaster. Plaster doesn't like push pins, this I learned. Instead of giving a huge amount of detail about the process I will just tell you that I used a hammer to get the push pins into the ceiling and also, I broke a lot of push pins.

Below, you can see that the push pins aren't very noticeable at all. Is it a bad thing to make so many little holes in the ceiling? I don't know. I didn't even think about it while I was doing it. I guess whenever I leave I'll just fill them with a little bit of putty or something. But it's so pretty, who cares?

It was sort of hard to photograph because they gently sway in the breeze created by my fan. I find it very soothing. It's like having a adult mobile! This would look adorable in a kids room but I personally think it looks very nice in a 27 year old woman's room too. Although, I am positive that my fourth grade self would be super proud of this project. 

What do you think? Do you have a childhood obsession that you would like to incorporate into your home's design? My advice: Do it.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Toolbox Tour: DIY Must Haves Part 2

Last week I started a mini-series about what tools I use and consider 'must-haves' (here). As I mentioned in that post, these are the must-haves for an amateur or just a regular old homeowner. Sometimes I read blogs where they are building dining room tables and built in bookshelves and I get totally jealous that A) they have such cool tools and B) that they have the math skills to plan that sort of stuff. But I don't own any big or expensive tools and I've been able to do a lot of projects so I should be happy with what I have. 

In that spirit, here are the tools I own and use most often:

I used an IKEA hammer that came in tool kit for like 8 years and it worked just fine. It was eventually replaced when my friend was using it and the hammer head literally bent in half (it looked awesome) and he went and bought me a new hammer. I have no idea what kind of hammer this is but it works just fine!

I haven't sung the praises of a level yet on here but I love a good level. Perhaps it is my proclivity for gallery walls or my compulsive need to fill every. single. wall. with art but my level has become my best friend. Why? Because I've realized either my head is on lopsided or I just have no sense of what is straight because I'll hang something, think it looks straight, decide on a whim to test it with a level, and then realize how insanely off my eyes are. This happened several times before I realized that I should just use a level every time I hang something. I also use it about once a month when I go around and straighten all my pictures (shutting doors, house settling, and people walking by all tend to make pictures go crooked after a few weeks). Bet you didn't think I could get a whole paragraph out of a level did you? Also, please note that, ironically, the level is not straight in the picture above. I needed a level to tell me that my level wasn't level!

I survived without a drill for a long time. I hand screwed screws into the walls or used a hammer and nails to hang stuff for many years. But about the time I moved into this house my Dad said he had an extra one I could take and I am so so grateful to have it. Having a drill is one of those things you don't realize you need until you have one and then you can't imagine your life without it. Especially since my house has plaster walls and I have to pre-drill holes so as not to crack the plaster. I think drills can be sort of expensive but I've been perfectly happy with my second hand one so it may be something you can look for on craigslist. 

I use my tape measure a lot. Like once a week a lot. Because I like to rearrange my stuff and let's be honest buy a lot of new stuff, I use my tape measure to make sure things will fit. Everyone should have a tape measure because using your arms to measure something does. not. work. Trust me on that one. 

The above tools are the basic tools that most people will need in the course of a year. I use my screwdrivers the most but I use the needle-nose pliers a surprising amount as well. The wrench and pliers are more specific but when you need them you need them, no other tool will suffice. 

I got this tool box a few years ago at Target for like $15 or something. Toolboxes aren't all that necessary if you just have the few tools above, but I really like having one to keep everything together and also for this:

The top section of my toolbox has all these little compartments that are good for holding nails, screws, and other miscellaneous items. You don't need to keep all these little bits and bobs around but many times I have needed a screw and I have been able to find it in my toolbox and not had to run to the hardware store. I'm not actually sure where all these screws came from. I think I bought a few kits of screws and nails and then also a lot of these are the extras that came with furniture. 

Are you a tools-having sort of person? Or would rather leave that up to someone else? 

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thrift Shop Find: A Globe (with a surprise)

I've been doing this thrift shops series for twentysomethingindy.com which means once a month for the past few months I've been spending hours driving around trying out thrift shops for research. Best research ever! But also worst research ever because it's so tempting to buy stuff. So far I've written pieces on thrift shops on the east side, north side, and the downtown. Of those three research trips I spent $16, $30, and $15. Not terrible, but it's still money spent every month. A run down of what I bought here, here, and here respectively.

This past weekend I was out on the west side researching and I came across a globe. Globes are crazy trendy and since they are easy to find and generally affordable they are a great trend to jump on. So I was not surprised that I found a globe since they are everywhere but what was surprising was how cheap it was at $12.50. The globe in my entry was about that same price when I got it about a year ago, but lately I've been seeing them listed for $20 and up so I was pleasantly surprised to see one that cheap. But I still probably wouldn't have bought it if it weren't for this:

Shut. Up. It's a light up globe. I nearly squealed when (after asking the store manager where an outlet was) I plugged it in and it worked! For $12.50! Seriously, you can't buy a lamp for under $40 let alone an amazingly life changing globe lamp. Love.

For locals I found this at Trader Baker's Vendor Mall in Avon (or you can wait until my west side thrift shops article is published for more info!). Seriously, though, how amazing is this light up globe?! Have you ever seen one like this? If this had been at a cooler store they could have easily charged $50 for it. 

Tip of the day: The further you drive away from any downtown area the cheaper the thrift-able goods get.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

'Melting Flora' by Nick Knight

There have been a few times in my life where I find a piece of art that speaks to me so deeply that I can't stop thinking about it. That happen a few months ago when I saw a series of photographs that look like melted paintings. They were created by Nick Knight a fashion photographer who spent 10 years taking the photographs to create these prints. I'm not sure I can explain why I love these pieces so much, but I don't think you have to put into words why art speaks to you, so I won't try. I'll just let the art speak for itself.

Unfortunately, these pieces are only showing in London and there are no prints available at this time. But maybe some day they will offer prints and I will buy one and my life will be complete. Just kidding. Sort of.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Arborist Wanted

The next installment of my thrift shops of Indianapolis series has dropped over on twentysomethingindy.com check it out here.

Alright guys, I have a tree problem. It isn't interior design related but I need advise so please indulge me. I can't really complain about the landscaping that I inherited when I bought this house. I have a few bushes and one tree in front. Thankfully, they are all very low maintenance, but the tree just bugs me.

Can you guess why it bugs me? You may be able to tell from the picture above that this tree looks dead. That is what it looks like for nine months of the year. Like a super dead tree. I think it looks dead because it has no twigs, it's just branches, but then few weeks later, the leaves come out proving that it's not actually dead. It is just one ugly son-of-a-gun.

Another few weeks later... It blooms more, but it still looks weird.

In the fourth grade we did a whole unit on identifying trees by their leaves. I was a goody-goody student but even I was like, "This will not be useful in my future life." So I totally phoned-in my report. Well, I guess now is the time that I could have used that information. So what do you think? Have you ever seen a tree like this? One that looks totally dead all winter and then blooms strangely in mid-May? I do realize that most trees look dead in the winter, but this tree looks extra dead because of it's lack of twigs

It still isn't fully bloomed, it looks like the pictures above. Long naked branches with a little sprout of leaves at the tips. It's so ugly!

I'll leave you with my own personal theory: It. Is. A. Giant. Weed.

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