Yahtzee Score!

We aren’t competitive people. In fact, every fiber of our beings cries out for cooperation (we can hear them crying even now). Seriously, if at all possible, we prefer working together — the greatest win of all. Win and win. No losers! That said, we understand and appreciate the satisfaction of personal achievement. In fact, we play lots of games together. It’s just that we don’t keep score — at least not in the competitive sense. We only pay attention to our own highest scores and only with the intention of surpassing our personal best. Thus, game playing for us is always joyful.

Our favorite games are the games we make Yahtzee Cups and Dice | How to make a Yahtzee game from toilet paper tubesourselves. We’ve found that if we come up with an idea or game we’d like to play and ride the coattails of serendipity, we often get a Yahtzee, and sometimes literally. For example, at the beginning of 2013, we began devising a plan to repurpose everything we possibly could. The idea was to try to imagine a use for something before throwing it in the recycle bin or landfill.

While it may seem a bit odd, we’ve figured out a plethora of uses for the humble toilet paper tube. Our first such discovery was that we could use them to secure things like gift wrapping paper and extension cords. But, as with most things, over time, practice makes perfect — we honed our toilet paper tube skills.

Between our joy of making our own games and our drive to repurpose, we stumbled onto to an idea that resulted in our most used and most beloved game set yet. Yahtzee!

Here’s how we did it:Yahtzee Supplies | How to make a Yahtzee game from toilet paper tubes
First off, we already had the dice, and we downloaded copies of the scorecard from the Internet. Click here to download. The game rules are available from Hasbro. Click here for the rules. We easily gathered the additional necessary supplies:

4 T.P. tubes
1 misc. cardboard box (product placement alert!)
1 scrap piece of wrapping paper (for the backs of the scorecards) 1 scrap piece of wrapping paper (to cover the tubes)
2 self-laminating sheets (or clear contact paper)
packing tape
tacky glue
jute string
4 dry erase pens
scissors

To make the roll cups:

From the Triscuit cardboard, we carefully cut bottom disks to fit tightly in the tubes. We covered each cut disk with a piece of matching wrapping paper and glued the paper onto the disk.

Because we didn’t have quite enough paper to cover the tubes, we attached strips of alternate edging to the tops and bottoms of each sheet. We wrapped each tube with the paper and delicately rolled and tucked the bottom part of the sheet under the bottom of each tube. This created a little ledge to catch the disk. We eased the disk down into the tube until it came to rest on the bottom edge of the rolled under-paper.

Half Finished Yatzee Set | How to make a Yahtzee game from toilet paper tubesWe glued a bit of jute around the bottom disk to secure it in place, and give it added strength. After the glued jute completely dried, we used the packing tape to wrap the outside of each tube. This will keep the roll cup somewhat moisture proof and make it more durable.

To make the scorecards:
We printed out 4 scorecards (download link above). We cut 4 pieces of wrapping paper about 1/4″ larger than our scorecards on each side. We placed the scorecards and wrapping paper back-to-back and secured them with a couple dots of glue. We then cut them evenly to match and covered them with laminating sheets. The beauty of this is that by using dry erase pens, the same four scorecards can be used over and over again. To us, this feature makes this idea a real Yahtzee score!

THAT’S IT!!! DONE! This is quite possibly the easiest and least expensive game we’ve ever made. It is well used and holding up just fine. In fact, it may just be a slightly magical YahtzeFinished Yahtzee Game | How to make a Yahtzee game from toilet paper tubese set. Since we’ve started playing with it, each of us has rolled three Yahtzees in one game. We know, Yahtzee nerds. Oh well.

We hope we have inspired you to make your life more exhilarating through the magic of repurposing.

In Kindness,
~JnK

Rag Rug Crafting

The idea of “repurposing” is to transform one item–most often an unwanted item–into an item that’s more usable, or at least more desirable.

When our entry hall rug began to shed rubber backing material all over the floor (not very useful), we decided it was time to replace it.Rag Rug | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.

We committed ourselves to purchasing the replacement from a “reuse” source, such as a thrift store or a garage sale. We searched for several months, but to no avail. Meanwhile, the rubber backing material had migrated throughout our home.

We brainstormed, and gathered an idea from our past. In 2002, we made braided rugs from strips of flannel pajamas and sold them at various trade shows and farmers markets. They were beautiful and unique, and they sold quickly (fortunately for us). Yet, as seems to be our M.O., Rag Rug Rose Fabric | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.we never made one for ourselves. Now, we thought, would be a good time to dust off our old rug making skills.

We wanted a neutral color (the rug we were replacing was light tan); yet, we were willing to add a little color into our life if the right fabric came along. Over a period of two months, we determinedly searched our local sources and found three queen size sheets with a few tears — gorgeous fabric!

So, in actuality, our “rag” rug is not exactly made from rags. But anyway, we loved the pattern, and Rag Rug First Round With Hook and Yarn | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.these sheets were bound to be rags at some near future point. At first we thought we could make braided rugs, but the texture and the colors seemed to lend themselves better to crochet. And, for this project, we would need a HUGE-MONGOUS crochet hook. Size N! That’s “n” for Need a Strong Arm to Crochet with It.

To turn the sheets into yarn, we cut them into 1 1/2 inch strips and sewed the strips–right sides–together. This image shows how they looked at that stage.

Rag Rug Seam Joining | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.

The best way we found to manage the sewn strips was to roll them in a ball (just like you would regular yarn). We set the ball of yarn in a bowl so it wouldn’t roll around while we ironed and ironed and ironed and ironed.

We ironed the sewn strips by folding each edge toward the middle, rolling it all into a coil as we went along.

Rag Rug Ironing Folds | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.

This kept the “yarn” from becoming tangled, and it helped us see how much was left as we were crocheting. This is always the tricky part when working with repurposed materials: our creativity is limited (or enhanced) by the amount of material available. You rarely can just buy more.

Wrapping Rag Rug Yarn | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.

Using our strip-yarn, we began crocheting the first section.

Rag Rug Yarn Wrapped | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.

While we were at it, we decided to replace our tattered—and becoming hazardous—kitchen rug as well. It was slow going because we didn’t have a pattern. Even though the Internet is loaded with free crochet rug patterns, our rugs needed to be a specific size and shape. So, we just used the old rug as a measuring stick, of sorts. We single crocheted the first row until it was the same length of our existing rug’s first row.Rag Rug First Round With Hook | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.

Next, we made an oval that matched the shape of the old rug. We then kept adding rows to create the pattern and style that we felt would look best. For a while there, we considered physical therapy for our arms just so we could finish the job. Who knew that crocheting could feel like pulling a tugboat through ice cold water with one hand. Yowza! Thankfully, because we both crochet, we were able to spread the muscle damage around a bit — enough to finish, anyway.

Rag Rug First Round Close Up | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.Regardless of the intense upper body workout (or then again, maybe because of it), this is a project we intend to do again in the near future.

If you know how to crochet, this is an easy (aside from the arm thing) and very satisfying project. If you don’t know how to crochet (yet), be encouraged that this is made with the most elementary stitches; a single crochet and double crochet is all we used to make this wonderful rug. And, if you’re not interested in learning to crochet, there are loads of braided rug how-tos on the Internet.

We hope we have inspired you to put otherwise discarded items to good use. Be warned: Rag Rug Finished | How to make rag-rug yarn from sheets and fabrics.repurposing — especially your own household and personal items — is extremely satisfying and addicting. We highly recommend it.

 

In Kindness, ~JnK

Cutting Beer Bottles The Safe Way

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com100 bottles of beer on the wall, 100 bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around … and then take out your bottle cutting kit and show all your friends how they can make a nifty container for candle-making or other crafts in a way that’s both safe and magical. That was a mouthful, but the point is that bottle cutting doesn’t need to be difficult or overly-hazardous. You just need the right tools and the right technique and voila! 99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer …

Tools
A beer bottle — or any beer-ish bottle will do.
G2 Bottle cutter kit
Safety goggles — not really necessary, but better safe than sorry.
Kitchen utility gloves — the kind you wash dishes with
A kettle with boiling hot water.
Horse-brand electro-coated water proof abrasive paper (P120 and P60)
And a friend helps a lot.

Step 1
Follow the G2 bottle cutter assembly instructions.
Once assembled, let the scoring commence!

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2 (Scoring)
Technique is everything here, and you may go through a few bottles before you nail it (but no worries; there’s 99 left).

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com

Here’s the trick: FIRM (but not too firm) and EVEN pressure. We shall explain.

FIRM: This is like Goldilocks and the three bears. You’re looking for “just right.” Don’t score too deep (or hard) and don’t score too lightly. Be just firm enough that you
A. have good control of the bottle and scoring jig
B. can see the score (it can be a very light line) as you rotate the bottle
and C. maybe hear (very faintly) the sound of the glass being scored.

EVEN: As you turn the bottle, keep the same pressure. There is a tendency to let up a little bit every time you reposition your hand to rotate the bottle a little further. Avoid doing this. Go slow and just be as steady and even pressured as possible.

Also, do not score where a score has already been scored. Once you reach the exact point where you started, stop. Resist the urge to over-score!

Step 3 (“Cutting”)
There is actually no cutting or sawing or blow-torch action involved here. Instead, there is magic.

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com All you need is some boiling water and some cool tap water.

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com

 

 

 

 

 

First, pour the hot water slowly over the score of the bottle while rotating the bottle, heating up the whole area. Do this for about 30 seconds or so. This is where the gloves and a friend are handy, by the way.

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com

 

 

 

Then, immediately place the bottle under cold, running tap water. A small stream of water will do — just above a drip.

If the two halves of the bottle don’t separate, repeat the process — hot then cold.

 

 

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com

If the two halves do separate but the break isn’t clean or the bottle cracks, then this could mean one of two things. Just an unlucky bottle. OR you need to work on the scoring technique. 98 bottles of beer on the wall …

 

If you get a clean break — good on you! It’s time to sand.

 

Step 4 (Sanding)
A special type of sandpaper is called for. Namely, Horse-brand electro-coated water proof abrasive paper. You need both the P120 (finer grit for finishing) and P60 (course grit for sanding rough edges).

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We use a baking pan and fill it with enough water to cover the sand paper. Starting with the 60 weight paper, using a circular motion, sand away all those rough edges. Then, move to the 120 to get a completely smooth finish. This can be a bit time consuming, so you and your friend may want to get down another beer.

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com

How to cut bottles—the simplest and safest way to make smooth bottle cuts using water. | jnkdavis.com

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again–there’s still 97 bottles left. We’d love to hear how the project worked for you.

In Kindness,

JnK

Save

Picking the Pass

Fender Guitar Pick

Every semester, we’re issued a new, hard plastic parking pass. The old, expired pass is added to our “scrap-booking box” because, well, we feel awkward about just pitching it in the trash.How to use parking passes and credit cards to make guitar picks.Anyway, we were cleaning house one day, and one of us found something that just really struck a chord (corny pun alert): our favorite guitar pick. Most guitarists have a particular pick weight and size that feels right to them — the Fender Medium is ours. Coincidently, our expired parking passes were about the same weight and feel. You can see where this is going.

We grabbed a pen and using our Fender as a template, we drew a series of picks onto the back of a parking pass. We cut them out, carefully tracing the outline, and presto! One parking pass yielded 10 picks.Tracing a pick | How to use parking passes and credit cards to make guitar picks.

To smooth out and bevel the rough edges, we used a common fingernail file. To get the edges completely smooth, we finished with a nail buffer. Homemade picks! They’re perfect. They’re just like our trusty Fender, except a lot more colorful.

So, we began to think about all the other things that could be made with expired parking passes — or come to think of it, with expired credit, rewards, or gift cards. At any rate, guitar picks were a great start. In fact, that alone could be our million dollar idea, right? Right!? Ok, maybe not.

We hopped online to see if anyone else had thought of it. And, guess what. Of course they had. Not only hPicks made from parking passes | How to use parking passes and credit cards to make guitar picks.ad someone thought of it, but they had already one-upped us and manufactured a pick-shaped hole punch. Rats! Oh, well. “There’s nothing new under the sun,” as they say. Regardless, there’s no shame in saving an otherwise non-degradable item from the landfill.

We hope we have inspired you to keep on dreaming and creating new uses for old things. You likely won’t be the first to have thought of it, no matter how original it seems, but at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that with a little imagination, time, and effort, you can produce a handmade item that will provide you with many years of enjoyment.

In Kindness, ~JnK

Guitar Pick Made From a Parking Pass | How to use parking passes and credit cards to make guitar picks.