fishpiss

DIY tips from Church of Craft and MissE

From Vol. 2, No. 4

The following DIY tips (snowglobes, marble magnets, paper) are courtesy of the Montreal Church of Craft. For more information regarding this excellent organization, consult www.churchofcraft.org or email either montrealcofc@hotmail.com or glitterhands  at  churchofcraft.org . The Church of Craft also has a multimedia textiles and politics zine called Fabrication for Sale.

DIY Snowglobes
Find a small jar (say, baby food or pesto) and clean it thoroughly. Attach a small figurine to the underside of the lid using crazy glue or another water-proof glue. The figurine should not exceed the height of the jar, but should not be too short, either. Fill the jar with water (nearly to the top) and dump in some glitter and/or sequins (of any shape/colour).  Add a drop of oil to keep the glitter/sequins afloat for longer. When the glue is dry, place the figurine inside the jar, screwing the lid on tight. Flip the jar, and there’s your very own snowglobe.

Marble Magnets
These are really easy and quite cheap. Also, you can make a ton of them at once, really quickly. The trick is finding clear marbles, which are hard to come by unless you are willing to venture outside the dollar store (art supply and stained-glass stores often have them for a higher price, but still worth it). Magnets are also available at art supply stores or online.
To make: Find clear marbles (flat, round ones that are sometimes used in fish tanks) and similarly sized round magnets. Glue teensy image to card stock and cut it out to the size of the marble. Glue image to marble and when dry, place a dollop of glue on the image and press flat side of marble to it, aligning it to the magnet perimeter.  Let it dry, and there you have it.

Low-Budget Paper, Emily Belinsky
(first appeared in
hodgepodgemag.com)

There’s something about hand-making paper. I’m drawn to crafts that are easy to get started, and can be built on and experimented with from the basics. Paper is like that. The one “essential” that I had to buy was a second-hand blender, and since then I haven’t looked back.
My other materials—all things I was able to find around the house—include an embroidery hoop, an old pair of nylons, a container to soak paper in, and a tub, plus a couple of pieces of felt, though anything somewhat absorbent is all that is needed. And, of course, a sack full of old papers.
The first thing I do is tear the paper into pieces about one inch by one inch. These go into the soaking container, where, in the interest of preserving my blender, they soak overnight in water.

Soaked pieces of paper go into my blender by the handful, then I fill the blender with water to the four-cup mark and blend it into a pulp. Each batch gets dumped into the tub, placed inside the shower, and then I go back for another round of blending until all of the paper has been pulped.
More water can be added to the tub, but I don’t usually bother. If you plan to write on the paper you could also add liquid starch, wallpaper sizing, or glue to the tub at this juncture, which will keep ink from soaking into the fiber too much.
Now I use a piece of my old nylons stretched over an embroidery hoop and slide it into the tub. Most instructions say to use a deckle (in this case another same-sized embroidery hoop, sans the nylons), but I’ve gotten by without one. I stir the water if the pulp has settled, and then slowly lift the hoop horizontally out of the water. I let the water drain some, then flip it over onto the felt and fuss with it a bit until the paper separates from the nylon. Another piece of felt is placed on top, and then I press it with my hands to squeeze out excess water. Then I hang up the paper while it’s attached to the first piece of felt. Depending on what I’m making, though, I may skip squeezing that water out, and allow it to dry flat. When it dries I’ve got paper.
Making paper can go well beyond flat sheets of stationary. Experiment. Embed things, mold it around things, use fibers besides only paper, add things to the pulp…whatever you can think of.

Do It Yourself Canning: Wild Harvest Romp, MissE

I had an inkling that piling wild berries into glass vessels could be enjoyable.
You can find wild berries anywhere in the summer. Go for a walk on the mountain or go hang out on a berry farm for a while. Where I live right now, in the Queen Charlotte Islands, (a.k.a. Haida Gwaii) there are wild thimbleberries.
The colour of these berries is orgasmic. It is a red unlike any other; not a shiny red, but a deep, dark orangey red that my lips just can’t resist. These wild treats are indeed like small thimbles, and when ripe, start to fall off the bushes.
I stand on the side of the road, miles from any town, with a hollow white pail. The sky is brilliant blue, my other favourite colour. I reach up into it and let the berries fall down. I eat as I go, berries smeared all over my fingers, my hair, my white tank top. I get tired and go across the road and gingerly walk barefoot over the rocks encrusted with hard lichens native to these northern parts and sink into the salty ocean. The sound is like a thousand years of people crying.  People clutching their chests and their faces and sobbing, people gathering in each other’s arms and laughing, people breathing and being born and people dying. Crashing and moaning crashing and moaning. It is an ancient sound, long before people ever hit the scene and will remain long after.
The waves are powerful and smash me down. I have to be careful with all these rocks around.  But I am a strong swimmer and have good instincts in the water. Freezing cold on the skin;  numb. Time to get back to work.
When I have finished filing up the pail the berries are heavy, a pile of intoxicating colour to regard and the smell is likewise.
I begin to hitch up the coast to find my friend Nancy; she will help me to preserve this day.
Canning: Get your berries, fruit, or veggies gathered. Canning fish or meats is different; you need a pressure cooker.
Sterilize your glass jars in the oven @ 200 degrees F, or boil them in a big pot. Sterilize the lids in a smaller pan.  Everything should be boiled for at least 10 minutes.
If you want to make jelly, that means you take the seeds out of the berry and add pectin to the juice only. Jam is squished berries, juice, pectin, sugar, and whatever spices you want. I added cinnamon and chai tea to my jam. Only use sugar or maple syrup. Honey can carry botulism.
After you like the taste of your jam and it’s good and boiled, take out one hot jar at a time and one hot lid. Fill you jar with at least an inch of space at the top, keeping the rim clear of jam.  This will help the sealing process, which could take up to an hour. Open and savour your preserved summer’s day when the sun disappears to the southern hemisphere and everything is cold and miserable. Voila!