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.”