A festive wreath out of an old Grinch

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Paperback Wreath Craft

Book Page Wreath Tutorial (originally from Vintage, Paint and More (at www.vintagepaintandmore.com) and adapted by Michelle Steinhusen

Materials:

  • an old book (brown discoloured edges are perfect)
  • stapler
  • glue gun and glue
  • a 10″ piece of twine
  • a piece of foam core or cardboard
  1. Tear out 75 pages or so from the book.

  2. Fold each page into a cone and staple at the bottom.

  3. Use a 9″ plate to trace a large circle on the foam, and a small bowl for the centre, then cut it out.

  4. Tie your twine around both sides of the form as a hanger.

  5. Glue your cones face down in a full circle onto the form.

  6. Turn it over, and repeat step 5.

  7. Glue another row on the same side as step 6 but place the cone so that it hangs over into the centre.

  8. Fold the tabs over into the centre and glue them down on the back.

  9. Do one more row by gluing the back of each cone and attaching it on the cone in the previous row. Each will have a longer tab in the centre.

  10. Again, fold the tabs of this row back and glue in place.

Christmas practically screams crafts, whether you’re simply wanting to make some fun and easy decorations or even cobble together a unique present filled with love.

At the St. Albert Public Library, things do get especially crafty at this time of the year. A few weeks ago, adult programs librarian Michelle Steinhusen brought in local craft expert Jarmila Sazavsky for her usual round of seasonal glee and craft-making mayhem. I mean ‘structured and guided craftmaking’ of course.

According to Steinhusen, they couldn’t find a better craft leader.

“She is just a very crafty person. Every year, she does something different: nature-themed wrapping paper, different ornaments…” she began, noting the sessions are always full: “instant waiting list.”

This year’s session offered the options of making a wreath or a tree, both out of books.

Wait, what? What in blue blazes is the library doing cutting up books?

“These are all discarded books … wrecked. None of the books are fresh.”

Alas, it’s true, Virginia. Books, especially paperbacks, have a limited shelf life made even more limited when they have popular titles like Game of Thrones.

“They don’t live forever. This gives us a chance to do some fun things with them.”

In 2014, Steinhusen made a giant wreath out of a recycled discarded book for the library. It’s a simple process of rolling up pages into cones and setting them in the proper pattern. A stapler, a glue gun, some twine and a piece of foam or cardboard for the backing.

It’s a lot simpler for the tree project: it’s more like paperback origami.

Steinhusen makes a careful note that you probably do want to ensure that the content of the book is family-friendly unless you’re going to spray paint it or otherwise bedazzle the pages. One of the people in this recent program made a wreath using a steamy romance.

“This woman’s wreath was getting a little bit risqué when she was reading it so we dug out a broken science fiction for her. She was much happier.”

If you look closely, the wreath at the library is made out of an old Canadian financial history book.

Perhaps old children’s books with their colourful illustrations might make for more appropriate decorations around the family home.

If you missed out on this craft session, you can still do it at home. The library offers other workshop programs throughout the year too, but you really have to be on the ball to get in on the fun.

“Our adult craft programs fill up right away. They also tend to be the programs that will get people who are coming for the first time to a program. Any time we’ve done knitting or anything, I hear comments from the people saying ‘oh, I had no idea that the library had programs for adults’ or that the library did this.”

The library also hosts the KnitLits knitting group, which occasionally offers its own experience to the public.

If you can’t wait to make something for yourself or as a present for someone else, just look around. There are lots of craftmaking programs to take in.

Krista Leddy always has lots on her schedule. Yes, she’s crafty too.

“From the very beginning, I’ve always been very hands-on. I’m the kind of person who if I see something interesting and I’ll try it a few times, and then I’m doing it. That’s just how my brain works. I pick things up quickly.”

But that’s just her, while many people think that either you’re crafty or you’re all left thumbs like me. Leddy disagrees, saying that we all have the ‘make it yourself’ bug, it’s just that some of us have more aptitude, better fine motor skills, and oodles of time to practice.

“I think we’re all creative, that we all like making things. Our brains like that. That’s part of the human condition. It’s just finding the thing that interests you enough to keep your attention span.”

She still has spaces available for her peyote-style beaded earring workshop tomorrow at Michif Cultural Connections on Mission Avenue. It’s definitely for beginners, she avers.

“It’s just simple bead weaving, making circles, and you make pretty little earrings that wow people because they don’t know how it’s made. When you realize how simple it is, it’s easy to recreate,” she said.

“That’s how I started with beadwork. When I was really little, I’m Métis so my kokum – my grandmother – and her friends tried to show me beadwork. I was little and it was a little bit different. As I got older, I liked the craftiness. Seeing it the first time, saying, ‘wow, that looks so complicated’ then when someone showed me, it was so simple. I just picked it up and started playing with it and creating new things. It’s a great little skill to have.”

As the First Nations, Métis, & Inuit Liaison for Edmonton Public Schools, she has a whole woolbasket full of skills. She also makes bags and moccasins, does hand-sewing, crocheting and knitting, and loves painting, except that she doesn’t have enough time for that last one very often, she said. She even learned how to finger-weave from Celina Loyer, the Aboriginal programmer on staff at the Musée Héritage Museum. That’s her newest passion. Loyer occasionally offers workshops at the Michif Centre too.

The beaded earring workshop tomorrow is $50 and starts at 1 p.m. There are spots still available too. It includes all of your supplies along with tea and bannock … Leddy’s own homemade bannock, of course. She has another moccasin workshop there next month too. She promises a lot of laughter, good times and bonding with the other crafters.

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About Author

Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.