Thursday, October 15, 2015

Day Fifteen: Did You Ever Wonder About...Pipe Cleaners?

I feel I've been negligent in the creativity department over the past few posts so I made a burlap wreath last night that took ten minutes. Mine doesn't look as nice as the tutorial shows but I'm still pleased with it. It still needs something - maybe some silk leaves? See below.

I cut a burlap coffee sack 6" wide to make mine. The trick to a straight line is to pull up a thread and pull it right through the length of the burlap. Then, cut along the vertical hole made by the missing thread. Does that make sense? Let me know if it doesn't.

Here are some other tips for you in case you too want to cut up a coffee sack to make a burlap wreath. These tips might save you some swearing time:
  • pull all the loose ends from the strips before attaching them to the wreath. Otherwise you'll be trimming your wreath and making a bigger mess than you'd hoped.
  • cork floor is divine. It is warm and springy and hides a myriad of dirt. This means it's damn near impossible to find all the little bits you've dropped from your wreath that you have to ensure are gone because one of your cats (Angel) has taken a liking to eating said little bits.
  • Wear a long sleeved, high neck shirt. The 'dust' from the burlap hurts as it eats its nasty way into your skin. Something like freshly cut bits of hair do. Don't ask me how I know...
Whilst making my wreath, I used some vintage pipe cleaners that we'd recently inherited from relatives in BC. The pipe cleaners came along at just the right time because I needed some to make my wreath and their arrival meant one less trip to Michaels and, let's face it folks, most of us could use at least one less trip to Michaels.

I used to use pipe cleaners in lots of crafts growing up. To slide beads onto, to bend into shapes and create circles and stick people, even to use as a brush for adding glue to paper when I got stuck. I must admit to not thinking much about the humble pipe cleaner apart from seeing them as a craft item which could be white or coloured or even fancy metallic.

Did you ever wonder where pipe cleaners come from and what they are really used for? Me neither. Until last night. Look at this packaging.

"LEAVING PIPE CLEANER IN PIPE OVERNIGHT for A REAL DRY SMOKE" confused the heck out of me. After all, aren't they too small for a pipe (as in a pipe for a wood stove)? After that dense moment (which was longer than just a moment), I Googled 'Comoy's Pipe Cleaner's'. After all, a company that's been making them since 1825 couldn't still be in business could they?

They are. And pipe cleaners are used to clean out the type of pipes that people smoke! Who knew?!? Am I the only one? The Comoy company is still in the business of making pipes in the UK. I think that kind of longevity is pretty cool.

Then there is the 'Nu-Brush' Canadian Company. Isn't this wonderful? I love how this vintage package states that "THE OLD WRAPPED STYLE DOES GATHER DUST". I wonder how old the old ones are/were? And it looks as though I may have missed an opportunity to make some money if you check out this Etsy listing.

These pipe cleaners feel a little different from pipe cleaners I've used before - much softer. I wondered if they were made from wool but they're more likely cotton chenille like I found other pipe cleaners from a smoke shop to be made of. Then again, another site mentioned that the Nu-brush brand of pipe cleaners were made of wool so who knows.

You learn something new every day.

Here's my wreath.

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