Making Things from Empty Tissue Boxes

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You know those trips I take to the thrift store that I post about (like here)? The reason the visits are spaced out to be about once a month is that the Value Village I go to is a drive away, so Nick drops me off while he takes the car for a monthly ‘big’ shop at a No Frills store that is near the thrift store. For those who’ve never been, No Frills is a grocery store whose motto is ‘Won’t Be Beat’, in that they aim to keep their prices as low as prices get. He goes there to gets the basic pantry items that we use regularly, such as Olive Oil and flour, because why not get those types of things at a lower price if you can, as long as the quality is the same?

Anyway, the last time he went, he picked up a 6-pack of boxes of tissues, which I was all over because the patterns on the boxes were so colourful and nice looking. I was looking forward to using the clean printed cardboard to make stuff with.

Dividers for my Planner : I love this small binder and use it every day. The size of the pages of this small ‘half-size’ binder are universally known as A5, and Daytimer products fit into it. They’re great at helping me stay organized but they’re not overly attractive, so I thought I’d spruce things up with some colourful dividers.

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Each divider takes the two side pieces from a tissue box. Turns out the size is exactly right to fit this size of planner. All you do is cut them out and then stick them together, so that both sides will have the pattern on them. If you use two-sided tape like I did, cover the whole thing. Glue would also work.

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Cut a tab at the top, so the divider will fit into your binder and be able to turn with the pages. Also, I trimmed my corners to give then a smooth rounded look, but it’s up to you if you want to do that.

Then you punch the holes. You can make two types of dividers — One is a stationary type, which you open the binder to move. I found that this style could be turned more easily if I made the holes a bit wider by moving the punch. The second type is a divider that can be pulled out and moved without opening the binder. For that one, make normal holes and then cut a v-shape next to them, with the point cutting right to the edge of the hole, as shown in the picture. This style won’t last as long, because the cardboard will bend when you move it, but since it’s just a tissue box, and you can easily make another one when it won’t stay in your book anymore.

If you have an official Daytimer binder with the 7 rings, you’ll have to punch 7 holes. These will work in a Filofax binder if you punch 6 holes to fit their 6 ring system.

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A Notebook : Next I made another a notebook, which closes like a pack of matches. I love these handy little pads, which I previously explained how to make in here post. For this one I used the entire side of a tissue box, and the finished pad is about 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.

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Bookmarks : The third thing I made were a couple of bookmarks. These were made a little fancy with the addition of stitching around the edges, a braided ‘tail’ and the application of a sticker on one of them. The stitching is done with embroidery floss, using 3 of the 6 threads. Then a couple of additional pieces of floss are attached, to make a thicker braided part. In order to make the stitching easier to do and more even looking, I made holes around the edges with an awl first. A tack would also work for that.

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These three things were quick and easy to make, and turned out pretty cute. So keep your eyes peeled for some good looking tissue boxes!

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Thanks for taking a look,
xo loulou

Posted in Bookmark DIYs, Making Things DIYs, Upcycling and Reusing Trash and Found Objects | 1 Comment

Cleaning up the Bookshelf and Finding a Keeper

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Something that Nick and I each collected before we got together were cookbooks. We both came into the relationship with a stack of them, which have since sat, mostly unused, gathering dust on a bookshelf.

We still both enjoy cooking and experimenting with all kinds of foods, but these days, like most people probably do, we turn to the internet for ideas and recipes. So we thought a good place to start a purging session was with these books. We thought this would be an easy task, since we’d be dealing with things we hardly ever use, but it seems, we’re both kind of attached to our cookbooks. They are steeped in memories : of a time we were learning to cook, and of meals made long ago, perhaps enjoyed with ghosts from our past.

But they are taking up a lot of room and require effort to keep clean, and we’re still determined to get rid of what we don’t need. So we’ve modified the plan — we will pull a cookbook out at random, once a month or so, and then the person who brought the book into the home will choose a recipe and prepare the dish.

If nothing pops out or looks particularly interesting, the book will be moved to a pile for donation, and another one will be selected. If the book ends up with only one or two recipes which were the reason the whole thing was being saved, than I will transcribe those particular recipes, photograph the cover, and then donate the book.

Or, if the dish prepared is so delicious that we end up with a need to try many more of the recipes, the book will have won its keep on the shelf.

And that is what ended up happening with the very first book we picked, an old well-used paperback, called ‘Chinese Cookery’, by Rose Cheng and Michele Morris.

This one is Nick’s, something he picked up secondhand while he was a student. He tells me that this was a favourite at one time, the book through which he learned what he now knows about cooking Chinese food. And cook it he does, as we have Fried Rice, Peanut Noodles or Stir Fried Vegetables at least once a week, and then a second time when we have the leftovers. But those dishes don’t really require a recipe, so he hasn’t used the book in ages.

It is dated 1981, so I assumed that it would be long out of print, but to my surprise this book is still going strong and is available on Amazon here, among other places. It was reprinted in 1987 but the cover is exactly the same as the copy we have, as is the list of recipes. The reviews of the book are terrific, averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars. People love this book! And here we had it sitting unopened all this time.

The experience has lead me to conclude that if every book on that shelf is hiding at least one recipe that is as delicious as the one we made from ‘Chinese Cookery’, this whole cookbook purging thing is going to take a very long time indeed.

I guess I’ll have to move onto another area of our home that could stand to undergo some serious editing … that would be my closet. I’m going to try to follow the popular edict that if you haven’t worn it in a year, it’s time to let it go. Wish me luck!

Back to cooking, Nick prepared his chosen recipe meal for our Sunday lunch, and while he cooked we had a glass of wine, and I took pictures in the waning light.

These first ones are of the making of the stir fried vegetables that accompanied the main dish …

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The table was casually set with our everyday things, many of which were thrifted. It gives me an inordinate amount of pleasure seeing my thrifted things in use! See the posts about finding them – Green Melmac Tray, Oval Platter. Table Cloth, Plates, Big Bowls.

After a decade of use, the wooden chopsticks I had bought for Nick for our Wooden (5th) Anniversary, have broken, so he put these neat stainless steel ones in my Christmas stocking.

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Note : the remainder of this post will not appeal to people who don’t eat meat, pork in particular.

The recipe Nick chose to make was ‘Sliced Pork in Garlic Sauce’. He served it with steamed brown rice and stir fried vegetables.

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I learned an unexpected cooking technique from watching him make this, which is to boil the whole pork tenderloin in a seasoned broth, until its done. I’ve never thought to boil meat, except to precook ribs before barbecuing them. But I like the idea of it because, aside from being easy to clean up (none of those sticky, hard to clean, pans that go along with frying, grilling, roasting or broiling), there is no added fat. Since pork tenderloin is one of the leanest sources of meat protein there is, this dish not only tasted very good, but it was nutritious too.

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I couldn’t find the recipe on-line but since it’s still in print and belongs to someone else, I’m not sure if it’s right for me to post it here. I will though, with the notion that this recipe can be a little glimpse into the pages of this book, and temp people to purchase it. Of course, if I’m asked to take the recipe down, I will.

The recipe serves 4 so we only ate half of it during this meal, and saved the rest. The leftovers were just as delicious.

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Thanks very much for taking a look. Wishing you an excellent weekend. We have another interesting meal in store for us, as Andrea is coming over to prepare us an authentic Czech dinner. Yum!
xo loulou

ps. Nick just looked over my shoulder as I was proofing this post and said, ‘I’ve got lots of snow peas and some shrimp … I’m going to make that recipe on the front of the book.’

Posted in Dinner Details, Main Dishes, Recipes | 4 Comments