“Snowflakes spill from heaven’s hand
Lovely and chaste like smooth white sand.
A veil of wonder laced in light
Falling gently on a winter’s night.”
–Linda A. Copp

Paper Star Snowflake

Paper Star Snowflake

Several years ago one of the gift wrappers at the University Bookstore in Seattle was making these holiday snowflakes (or they could be stars, I guess).  She gave me a photocopied set of instructions, original source unknown.  I’ve been meaning to make some of these snowflakes for holiday decorations, but until now, I never got around to it.

My finished snowflake hangs in my kitchen window, a lacy wonder that lets in the light.

Here are step-by-step instructions for making your own paper snowflake/star:

Fold each square in half to make a triangle.  Then fold in half again.  And again.

Fold each square in half to make a triangle. Then fold in half again. And again.

You need six square of paper.  I used 5 x 5-inch squares.  Fold each square in half along the diagonal, making a triangle.  Then fold in half again.  And again.

IMG_8523

Cut slits into each triangle.

Now, keeping the little triangles folded, cut four parallel slits on the solid side.  Cut almost all the way across.

Open the paper squares and press flat.

Open the paper squares and press flat.

Open each piece of paper back into a square and flatten with your fingers.

Cutting some of the inner square just to free two corners.

Cutting some of the inner square just to free two corners.

Next you will bring two opposite points of the inner squares together in a sequence.  In order to do this, you will first have to cut the corners free along one long diagonal fold line.  (Leave the other points/corners so that they are not cut all the way through.)

Starting with the smalled inner square, fold two points together and tape.

Starting with the smallest inner square, fold two points together and tape.

Starting with the smallest inner square, fold two opposite points together and tape into a cylindrical shape.

Turn the square over, and bring the points of the next larger square together.

Turn the square over, and bring the points of the next larger square together.

1. Turn the square over.  2.  Bring the opposite points of the next larger square together and tape.  Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all of the opposing points have been taped in the center.

You've finished square one!

You’ve finished square one!

Your square should now look like this.  You need five more.  Start folding and taping!

Staple three sections together at a point.

Staple three sections together at a point.

Once you have completed all six sections of the snowflake, take three and match up at a point.  Staple at this point.  Repeat with the other three sections.

Finished paper snowflake

Finished paper snowflake

That’s it!  Your paper snowflake/star is complete.

Hanging snowflake

Hanging snowflake

Flower made from five squares of folded paper

I admit that it’s a bit out of sync to make artificial paper flowers when the gardens outside are full to bursting with fresh blooms.  But I love to play with paper and was inspired by some instructions for making Japanese Kusudama, folded paper flowers, in a book filled with intriguing papercrafts:  Playing with Books:  The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson. 

Playing with Books

The paper flowers were easy to make, and I love the finished product.  The flowers are constructed from five square pieces of paper, which are folded identically into five petals.  The book recommends using 6-inch squares, but I made my squares 5 x 5-inches and was pleased with the results.  Here are some step-by-step instructions:

I cut five 5-inch squares from old magazines

Fold each paper in half to make a large triangle

Fold two corners down to make a small square

Use your finger to open each flap and then . . .

. . . press flat

Fold up tips on both flaps

Then fold each flap in half and inward

To make a petal, fold inward and glue (I used paperclips instead) the innermost flaps together

Then glue (or paperclip) together the five petals

Finished flower

Decorative folded paper flower

Gift wrapped in recycled newspaper and embellished with folded paper flowers and paper curls

Plug Repair

May 9, 2010

Old plug, a melted mess

The old, derelict electric lawn mower melted the plug of the extension cord before we noticed that it was over heating.  I’m unpracticed at tinkering and fixing things that break, and I had pretty much decided just to buy a new extension cord.  I knew from a few minutes of online research that a new 100-foot extension cord would cost about $25 with tax.  Before spending that kind of money, I thought I’d try to repair the old cord by replacing the plug.

I am inordinately proud of myself for figuring out how to replace the plug all by myself!  I found instructions online at http://www.ehow.com/how_5832458_replace-female-plug-extension-cord.html.  And now I have a usable extension cord that works like new!  I hate being part of the throw-away culture, and I’m frugal at heart, so this little project was definitely a rewarding experience for me.

New replacement plug. Just open it by unscrewing it.

Cut off old plug, then remove 2 inches of the outer covering and insulation. You'll reveal three wires: white, black and green.

Strip 1/2 inch on each wire to reveal bare copper. Attach one wire to each of three screws: black wire to gold screw, white wire to silver screw, and green wire to green screw.

Slide screwed wires back into plug case and tighten the outside screw. You now have a working plug!

Please note this IMPORTANT information, submitted by an alert reader: “Wires are supposed to be wrapped CLOCKWISE around screw heads so that when tightened, the wire is pulled with it.

When they are attached counter-clockwise the screw pushes the wire off the terminal when tightened, which can lead to shorts, overheating, fire, fraying of the stranded wire, etc.”