Friday, March 29

A paper-clip for my book

Am always amazed at how the ubiquitous paper-clip can become an ornament to adorn the book you are reading. I love books. And bookmarks. And the fascination that an unfinished book holds.

The moment when you are forced to shut a page, setting you off on an a whirlwind of imagination, of how the story unfolds further and what happens to those characters...ever felt sleepless after leaving a book half-read and agonized about it? Making bookmarks and fixing them there, makes that agony less painful.

The web is full of lovely tutorials and images, of paper-clip bookmarks. Needless to say, I have been inspired to make some for myself. All you need, is some imagination. The ones I have made and fixed pictures of below, are simple ones.

For the paper-clip bookmarks, simple as they may seem to make, I used:

paper clips

cloth flower embellishments from dollar stores

needle and thread

some tissue paper type gift wrap, or Kite paper

scissors and Mod Podge (you may use glue too)

Satin roses with leaves

This set of cloth flowers, roses at that, costs about a dollar per packet, and a little under its equivalent rupee price in India. You may get these, with the leaf embellishments, or without them.

The next step, is to knot up your needle and thread, preferably in colours that match the cloth flowers, and stitch up the back side of your paper clips.

paper clip bookmarks

After this, cut out a circle or oval from a tissue paper wrap to match the flowers. Alternatively, you may use stickers that are in the shape of circles.

paper-clip bookmarks

Let them dry a while, and the paper-clip bookmarks are ready! Paper-clip bookmarks come in a huge variety - with buttons, paper flowers, and a whole lot of other embellishments. I made a bunch of them that may end up as li'l gifts.

paper-clip bookmarks

I toyed with the option of using a satin ribbon on each bookmark to give the gift-wrap feel. But abandoned it in favour of this no-fuss look. You could try this with other cloth flowers too, or make flowers of your own with satin, and try.

If you have plenty of books and want bookmarks that are handy to keep in your clutch purse or wallet while travelling, these are an ideal bet.

They could be used just as they are meant to originally too - as paper-clips to hold your documents! With a dash of d├ęcor that is.

Pictures courtesy: Radhika M B

For permission to re-use, write to me:

Thursday, March 28

Pom-pom delights: Window decor

Sometimes, all you need is a bit of thread and colour to liven up a space.

My friend Hema who has gotten busy setting up her new home, gave a whole new look to her kitchen window.

All she used, was


pom-poms and plastic beads,

tacs (wall pins) to fix the piece

and three or four chenille stems for the base

Pom-Pom window decor

That's the morning sun shining bright into her kitchen.

pom pom hangings

I love the simplicity of this project, besides its neatness. The choice of colours is unapologetic, in bright hues. Hema has used a pom pom and three plastic beads, given some gap in the thread, and used the next set of pom pom and beads.

pom pom curtain for window

And here is the base of the curtain, fixed on the top end of the window. ``I have combined three or four chenille stems for the base,'' says Hema.

pom pom curtains chenille stems base

The whole project costs just a few dollars. She picked up all her material from a dollar store. Frugality has its benefits.

What a way to usher spring in! Try it for yourself, or improvise, and write in through your comments if you have similar ideas.

Monday, March 11

Plastic water jug ball catcher: Repurpose

My parents-in-law are here. While it's taking them a while to adjust - newness of the place, culture difference, being home-bound and missing their grandchildren among other things, water and food are the biggest constraint.

We cook food at home most time. So that solves the problem partly. But water - they have not quite taken to the taste of filters that we attached to our tap for potable water.

So we buy water from wholesale stores. Needless to say, those plastic water containers make me feel guilty like crazy.

I wondered what to do with those jugs. Good ancient google. Got some interesting pictures that gave superb ideas.

The ball-catcher idea looked unique though. Innovative, relevant to the old and young. Here are the links:

Ball-catcher with milk jug


My father-in-law who is adept at household repairs and does a lot of DIY, pitched in for the project. The result was this:

water jug or milk jug ball catcher

It began with me wanting to give him something to do on a boring afternoon.  With some idea of the plastic can's possible future use, I scampered around for:

a heavy duty knife

craft knife


duct tape that I have in stock

masking tape

stickers for embellishing

oil pastels to mark out the shape on the plastic

or pencil

My father-in-law marked out a shape to improvise on the already available designs in other website pictures.

He then used the heavy duty knife an scissors alternatively to cut through the plastic. I must admit that if I had done it, the job would have been haphazard.

plastic water jug
Water jug of milk jug ball catcher cut out

I let the brand label remain, as pulling it out would give a glue mess on the plastic. My father-in-law then used masking tape to blunt out the sharp edges.

Recycle plastic jug as ball catcher

With practice, this shape can look more symmetric. But am happy with this attempt, because it's a first such venture on plastic recyclables around home.

Recycle plastic jug ball catcher

 After the masking tape effort, it was time for embellishing.  I covered the brand name with the zebra print duct tape, and used white-flower stickers generously for

Water jug ball catcher - recycle
 And the ball-catcher is ready, thanks to my helpful dad-in-law!

All you need now, is a light-weight ball, ideally the ping-pong variety. It needs one or two people to play.

One player throws the ball into the catcher from a distance. And the other tries to catch it, with the `catcher'. If you want to play alone, just throw the ball into the air and catch it.

This project is usually listed for kids' crafts in websites. But really, I don't see any age limit with games involving catching a ball!

Water jug or milk jug ball catcher
You could use this alternatively to store or show-case a cuddle-toy on your mantle. Think of other ideas too. Creativity has no limits.