Put a celebratory seal on graduation-party invitations, and then continue the themeâ€”and the color schemeâ€” by decorating party wares such as soda bottles and bags of candy. The embellishments can be made by printing a congratulatory message on gold-medallion notary stickers (see the Guide) and placing small notched ribbons behind them before affixing. photographs by yunhee kim
an aid for an ade
room for more
Make a favorite notebook or journal an organized repository for papers, business cards, and receipts by giving it a built-in pocket. Fold back the flap of a colorful envelope (such as one from a greeting card), and moisten the glue strip with water. Position it on the inside of the notebook’s cover, and press to attach. Secure the envelope’s bottom corners with double-sided tape.
Make multiples of these scoopson-a-stick and you won’t have to spoon ice cream, one serving at a time, in the middle of a party. Using a small (1½-inch) ice cream scoop, dole out balls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Insert a craft spoon (see the Guide) into each, and place in the freezer. Chill until hardened. Roll scoops in sprinkles, toasted coconut, or crushed nuts or candies, and store them in the freezer on a freshly lined baking sheet.
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An unlikely kitchen tool can pitch in when it’s time to prepare lemonade and other summer refreshments. Use a pair of sturdy tongs to get more juice out of lemons, limes, and oranges. Cut the fruit in half, and place a piece between the prongs. (The inner lip on metal ones will minimize slippage.) Working over a pitcher, squeeze the open end of the tongs with both hands. When finished, pour the juice through a sieve.
Keep priorities in sight when planning your next trip by tying a to-do list onto luggage before you store it. We printed our list on card stock and used a metal eyelet to reinforce the hole through which a ribbon is passed. To be able to reuse the card for future jaunts, simply laminate it and check the things youâ€™ve done with a dry-erase marker. Wipe off check marks and remove the tag when you head out on vacation.
remember the time
If you hate the idea of grappling with vacation memorabilia after a trip, create a keepsake as you go. Pack a hole punch and a looseleaf ring to string together maps, postcards, and other souvenirs you collect on the road. When you get home, make a cover by affixing a sticker to the front and rubber-stamping a title on top.
rock, paper, weights
Pretty paper goods are no match for an unruly summer breeze at an outdoor party. River rocks (available by the bag at garden centers) help keep plates and napkins where they belong, even after theyâ€™ve left the serving table. Pile them in a bucket on the buffet table for guests to grab along with their utensils; youâ€™ll avoid having to chase flyaways.
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screen saver, for plants
The metal and plastic screens that help keep mosquitoes and other warm-weather pests out of the house this time of year can also prevent soil from washing out of planters during rain or irrigation. Unroll a piece of lightweight screening and set your flowerpot on top. Cut the screen to fit, working around the pot’s bottom with scissors (for plastic screens) or tin snips (for the metal kind). Fit the screen inside the pot to cover the drain holes, and then add soil.
Fashion a card to look like a dapper shirt cuff, and then use it to present a gift of cuff links (make a set out of shank buttons, or buy new or vintage links). Cut a 3¼-by-9inch rectangle from construction paper; round 2 corners, as shown. Rubber-stamp greeting on 1 side. Gently bend paper in half. Cut 4 slits for cuff links. To make cuff links, hook 24-gauge wire onto a button’s shank; secure with needlenose pliers. Cut wire to ½ inch; loop through a second button’s shank. Repeat.
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L au ra M oss ( to p l e f t )
links with Dad
art for the office
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Use this trick to keep ICE CREAM from dripping out of the bottom of a cone: Drop in a mini marshmallow or two before you add your scoops.
J o h n n y M i ll e r ( t o p r i g h t )
Swap the utilitarian look and feel of magazine organizers for something more artful. Trace the tall back panel of a magazine holder onto cardboard, and cut out. Using the template as a guide, trace 1 panel for each holder onto a width of decorative wallpaper (floral and geometric prints work best). Cut out. Squeeze craft glue onto the back of a magazine holder, and spread evenly with a sponge brush. Align paper with the back panel of the holder, and affix, smoothing out air bubbles as you go. Repeat with remaining paper and holders. File issues chronologically, and arrange the holders on a shelf to re-create the wallpaperâ€™s design.
Let kids redo this basic office staple as a gift for Dadâ€”their messages will last well beyond Fatherâ€™s Day. Wrap a rubber band around a notepad cube (see the Guide) and have kids write greetings and make drawings on 2 sides with a broad, pointy marker. (Fine tips will get caught between the pages.) Move band, and decorate the other 2 sides. Tie the notepad with a colorful ribbon. As an added gift, slide in a pen.
four leaf coasters
Freshly cut large leaves make natural waterproof anchors for summer drinks. Lush foliage, such as the hosta leaves we used, add color to table settings and act as reminders of tropical vacations. Cut leaves early in the day, and set them in water immediately, keeping them hydrated in a container until itâ€™s time to serve drinks. Dry before using.
For faster, crisper cuts of chives (or scallions), use a rubber band to hold the herbs together. As you chop along the stems, simply move the rubber band back. The elastic will keep the chives taut and steady, making them easier to slice through and less likely to get squashed in the process. 58 | marthas te wart.com
C r e at e d b y L i n s e y L a i d l aw, J o d i L e v i n e , A s h l e y L i u , a n d M i c h e ll e W o n g ; t e x t b y J e s s i c a C u m b e r b at c h