For those of you who were wondering how my dryer balls worked, I can only say that I messed up my own experiment! My thought had been to break up my load of bath towels into exactly equal halves and then dry one half with the dryer balls and the other half without the dryer balls. I accordingly divided the load up and dried the first half with the dryer balls in the dryer. When I got to the second half of the towel load, I removed the dryer balls and was surprised when the load seemed to be drying faster without them, until I realized that I had stupidly left this second batch of towels on top of the dryer (air drying!) while the first batch was drying! So I still cannot scientifically state that they are shortening my drying times. I will have to see if I can set up another experiment!

However, I can demonstrate what I was able to accomplish this past week. I don’t know if tissue boxes blend in with the decor of other people’s houses, but for me, they often seem to add a jarring note to an otherwise unified room. This is particularly true of our study/office, which is more masculine in feel since its primary user is my husband. The floral pattern on the outside of the tissue boxes seemed really out-of-place, so I looked for an inexpensive way to cover the tissue boxes. An investigation of my resources led me to this shoe box. I very seldom throw a shoe box away because they are so good for a number of other projects and storage uses. This one was almost the perfect size I needed for the standard tissue boxes that I purchase! It was exactly the right height and width; I only needed to shorten the length. This was not too hard to do. I simply marked on the sides of and bottom of the shoe box where my tissue box ended, opened up the end of the shoe box, and cut the flaps down to reflect the new length that I desired. I glued the flaps down and used tape on the inside of the box to hold them in place until the glue dried.

In order to get the opening for the tissues in the right location on the top of the shoe box, I cut open an empty tissue box and removed the top so that I could trace where the opening should go. After I knew where the opening should go, I had to choose between two ideas. One idea was to simply come a quarter-inch to the inside of the line I had traced, draw a new line on that measurement, and cut it out. This would allow for there to be some slight variation in the openings on different brands of tissue boxes and still hide the box while allowing the tissues to be dispensed.  The other idea I had was to cut an opening on the original line, and then, on a piece of scrap cardboard, to cut another, smaller opening that would fit inside the top of my shoe box and narrow the opening. This was a little more work, but added a stylish element to the box that I liked. I chose to use this second option. (This is visible in the photo to the left.)

My final step was to cover my shoe box. For this I used a brown paper shopping bag. I measured and cut out the size and shape that I needed, then, to give it more visual interest, I crumpled the bag up into a ball and then spread it back out before I glued it in place. To further disguise the brown paper bag look, I used acrylic paint (I used burnt umber) thinned with some water, to brush on a little bit at a time and then blot it back off with a paper towel. Using this method means that I only need about a teaspoon of paint and gives the project an interesting look.  After a coat of sealer, the project was done!

 “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,”  Psalm 17:8.


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