If you’d like to skip straight to the creative project and learn how to make a fidget spinner then look out for Blue’s paw lower down in this post.
This episode is subtitled: ‘An Eventful Open Gardens Event…’
‘You haven’t moaned about the supermarket for 24 hours,’ I heard Beryl say to Kim. ‘You given up your fight to stop it opening now?’
‘No!’ cried Kim, indignantly. ‘It’s just that I’ve got to focus on getting all this Teacups & Tulips publicity material sorted for the Open Gardens event this weekend. Anyway, Jenny knows the guy on the planning committee so I’ve asked her to work on him in the meantime.’
I winced. Firstly, I didn’t want to try and manipulate Shaun on the planning committee and secondly, I had a lot of preparation to do in my garden too. I was keen to help raise some money for charity but I was scared my little patch of heaven wasn’t going to be to good enough for visitors. The supermarket campaign would have to wait.
While I mulled over what bedding plants I should get to add a splash of colour, I picked something up off the counter and absently started playing with it.
‘Is that Harry’s salad spinner?’ Asked Beryl when she saw me with it.
Harry was the son of a customer who’d been in that morning so I suppose it could have been his but, ‘Doesn’t look much like a salad spinner to me,’ I said.
‘Fidget spinner!’ piped Jaz, and carried on with her bouquet as if no other explanation was necessary.
Whatever it was, it was really addictive and I spun it a few more times. Hmmm… think I’ll get some antirrhinums and petunias…. And a couple of hanging baskets with trailing lobelia.
The day of the Open Gardens event was dry and bright with a warm breeze. My peonies were in full glorious bloom and the new bedding plants and hanging baskets were looking healthy and happy in the sunshine. But was it enough? I babbled on to Blue while we waited nervously for our first visitors and had another few flicks of the fidget spinner. This time it was my own invention so the hum as it spun was more satisfying.
Eventually I heard the clunk of the gate and gentleman, aged about 60, walked in, smiling. ‘Hello,’ he said brightly. He held out his hand and added, ‘David Jones. Pleased to meet you.’
‘Jenny McKendrick,’ I said and let him take up my limply proffered hand and give it a good solid shake.
‘You found my wallet,’ he said. ‘Thank you so much for handing it in.’
‘Ah, Mr David Jones. Yes, I remember the name now. Glad you got it back.’
‘The policeman told me it was the local florist who’d handed it in and someone in that crazy garden up the road told me your garden was the next one on the trail. And very beautiful it is too.’
‘Crazy garden?’ I enquired.
‘Yes. You know the one that’s selling the refreshments?’
‘W-what’s crazy about it?’ I asked nervously.
‘A small black dog got excited in the gazebo, one of the waitresses tripped over him and send a tray of cakes flying into the air. She dislodged a pole as she fell and when I left (amid cries of ‘Oh Beryl!’) the gazebo had completely uprooted and blown to the edge of that vast garden. I certainly wouldn’t like to be in Beryl’s shoes at the moment, whoever she is. I was very happy to escape to the tranquillity of your charming garden.’
We chatted a bit more and then out of the blue he said, ‘My wife and I are celebrating our ruby wedding anniversary in July. I’m going to surprise her with a lavish party because she thoroughly deserves it. Would you kindly do some floral displays for me? I want to spoil her with something extravagant and I don’t mind how much it costs.’
‘I’d love to,’ I said calmly, although inside I was doing cartwheels for bagging such a great order.
‘Do you know any cake-makers?’ he asked.
There was my dilemma. Should I admit to my connection with the crazy garden and recommend Kim and co? Better not, I thought.
After Mr Jones had left, I picked up my fidget spinner again and flicked it a few times while I contemplated how I was going to get away with thwarting a business opportunity for Teacups. Kim would have managed, somehow, to pick up a great order for both os us, even in these circumstances. ◊
How to Make a Fidget Spinner
You’ll probably have everything you need already to make a fidget spinner. I used this cereal box for the main body of it because the inside is white, which makes the colours brighter than grey cardboard.
You can make your own template or use one from Red Ted Art. If you’re making your own you’ll need seven 2p pieces. I put a bit of double sided tape on each one to keep them in place in their formation (one in the middle and six tightly packed around the edge). If you don’t have a plastic mat like me then you might want to stick them to a piece of scrap paper.
Next use a wax crayon or a pencil to rub over the pattern onto a piece of paper. This is the point where you need to be very careful you don’t disturb them if you’ve not stuck them down.
Three of the coin shapes will be part of the spinner and the other three are used as a guide for cutting between them.
Once I’d cut out my paper pattern I decided to make a cardboard template so I could use it again and again. But keep your paper pattern too for something later.
Then you need to cut your shapes out of the cereal box. You will need two for each spinner. I flipped my template over for the second piece to be sure they’d fit nicely together, even if I’d not got my shape perfectly symmetrical.
Then you need to use a penny to cut two discs from the cardboard.
I’ve added a piece of green paper to my bench, only to make it easier for you to see my shapes!
Now we need to find the middle of all of those cardboard shapes and make a hole in each. I found the easiest way was to fold the paper pattern in half along each of the three spines and pierce the point where they cross, with a pin. You can just do it by eye if you prefer.
I used a pin to start the holes then a skewer to make them bigger. They need to be bigger than the cocktail stick that you’ll be using in the finished item. If you use a cocktail stick at this point then just wiggle it around a bit to make the hole bigger. You’ll probably need to flatten the little mounds of cardboard around your holes. This will help your assembled spinner to spin more smoothly.
Next use a glue gun (carefully!) to stick a 5p piece to each of the round ends.
Take your other piece of cardboard and test which way is going to line up best with the first piece. Then use your glue gun to glue it to the top of the 5p pieces.
Now decorate it any way you want to.
Cut the sharp end off a cocktail stick and feed the other end through one of the discs and the main body. The cut end should protrude slightly at the disc.
Add a blob of glue from the glue gun to fix the stick to the disc (but don’t glue it to the main body). This small blob of glue will also help you to hold it.
When it’s dry it’s time to feed the other disc onto the sick on the other side. Then cut it off so the stick is quite short, although the stick needs to protrude slightly and the main body needs to be able to move freely. As before, add a blob of glue to fix that disc to the stick. When the glue is dry, you have your spinner. Mine is sliver/neon on one side and silver/purple on the other.
I took it into the garden and fidgeted with it!
- Take care with the glue gun – it’s very hot!
- In case your paper shape isn’t perfectly symmetrical, cut one shape out of the cereal box then flip your template over to cut the other piece. The two should fit neatly on top of each other if you do this.
- Don’t cut your cocktail still so short that the two discs are tight against the main body on each side. It needs to move freely.
- You may have little mounds of cardboard around your holes that interfere with the smooth spinning. I flattened them with my nail before I assembled the pieces.
- Hold it lightly in your fingers while you spin.
- My inspiration came from Red Ted Art so you might find this video useful.
- Cardboard from a cereal packet
This is too addictive! I hope you and your children enjoy having a go at a homemade one.
See you all again next week.
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