Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


At this time of year, when the weather is not conducive to gardening, my energy and creativity often turn to what Nigel calls "Craps" -- because it requires trips to the thrift store and the craft store for lots of "crap" in the form of supplies. In past years, I've been inclined to devote my time to making things out of cement, such as stepping stones and leaf impressions. This year, inspired by a November post by Loree at Danger Garden, I decided to have a go at creating things out of paper culled from old books. A little searching on Pinterest found me plenty of images and links to tutorials on making paper roses, feathers and Origami butterflies.

Paper butterflies, roses and feathers

Paper rose

Here's a link to the paper rose tutorial I used. I tried a couple of different ways of making paper roses, and that one worked best for me. I made them from a children's book -- The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White -- which I bought at the thrift store for less than a dollar. Compare that to the bag of roses that Loree found for $55. Maybe I'll bring some to next year's Garden Bloggers Spring Swap.

Paper butterfly

Here's a link to the butterfly Origami instructions. The butterflies were sooooo easy to make. The tutorial suggests adding wire antennae, but I opted not to do that. A few simple folds, a dab of Elmer's glue, and done!

Paper feathers

Here's a link to the feather instructions. Instead of using book pages I decided to print off some vintage sheet music from a website called The Graphics Fairy, where I often go for images that are in the public domain as well as craft ideas. Check out this link for plenty of sheet music. I'm not as happy with the sheet music feathers, because the texture of the printer paper is very different from actual book pages. It's not as easy to find sheet music at the thrift store as it is to find old books.

And, here's one more craft inspired by Loree's post -- a decoupage project. It's quite a bit smaller and simpler than the large art piece that Loree found, but it has a similar vibe. I made this project using an old shingle from the house of a friend back in Massachusetts. It started out gray, but I liked the black background on the piece Loree found, so I painted the shingle black.

Decoupage project

Decoupage supplies

Crappy shot of some of the botanical illustrations I used

I found the botanical images online somewhere, and saved the jpg file to my computer, then I printed them on my inkjet printer, cut them out, painted Elmer's glue onto the backs of them, then smoothed them onto the black shingle. I still need to put several coats of polyurethane on it to seal it. Let's see, what did this project cost? The price of a few pieces of printer paper, some Elmer's glue and the little vial of black craft paint. Oh, and whatever the polyurethane is going to cost. The shingle was free.

Fun, fun, fun.


  1. Oh, Alison! Your crap work is sensational. I have a whole page of instructions for book crafts.

    I got the notion to try making 'touch quilts' for patients in the nursing home. It would use up decades of hoarded craft fabric. I spent weeks reading how-tos, only to learn that I would not be using buttons nor interesting dangly items like the 'fidget quilts' on Etsy feature for fear of choking once they work those bits loose. My stash of ribbons will be useful.

    My order placed on November 30 for additional fabric from Joanns for backing and fill remains in the hands of Fed Ex.

    There are instructions for origami butterflies online made of fabric. A butterfly would make a beautiful quilt piece.

    You all left the door open again and wind blew in freezing weather here. When Tuesday's promised delivery comes, I'll have more crap to get back to work on my project, in here where it's warm.

  2. I have my college botanical drawings up in a frame, so i can skip that project. Our garden does not let me go even covered in snow. there is a huge pile of Maianthemum dilatatum-snakeberry rhizomes i dug up yesterday that must be planted somehow, today. will you be making your paper shapes into light strings?

  3. I have seen these paper roses on Pinterest but never had a go. I saw ones made out of music scores. Having seen yours I think I might have a go. Does it need thick paper?

  4. I'm suitably impressed, Alison! I think that's a good use of your wet, cold days up there. My brother does origami - I still carry an elephant he made me for luck out of a one dollar bill - but I've never tried it.

  5. Wow, look at you go! This is fabulous Alison...I had mentally scheduled learning how to make paper flowers for January, you've given me a head start with the link, thank you for sharing that. The feathers certainly look impressive, although I understand the difference the texture and weight of the paper would make in person. Where will you hang your bonantical shingle?

  6. Oh my you did have such fun...I love those feathers!

  7. I love the feathers! For awhile, I was amassing DIY projects and crafts on Pinterest, but I haven't even looked at them for some time. Way to go for actually making some of your craft ideas.

  8. Craps...that Nigel! Your projects are way cool & I'm impressed that you do new kinds of things all the time!


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