Thursday, June 17, 2004

Tea, Anyone?
but also, Fun with Solvents!

When I lived in Japan, people kept giving me loose tea. I like tea, so this was okay with me, but first of all, I didn't have anything to make it with, nor did I have anything to store it in. I solved the first problem by getting myself a proper teapot with a strainer that fits in it when I went back to Sendai during spring break this past semester. The second problem, easily solved by the possession of a tea canister, was not solved, however, because I forgot to get one, and it is apparently impossible to find one in Lansing.

Until today! Today, I decided to make one my own self. I remembered that I had a Republic of Tea canister stashed in amongst my art supplies. I saved it from my parents throwing it away years ago, and lo and behold, it finally came in handy. There are advantages to being a packrat. I had decided to cover it with some of the paper I brought back from Japan, so the first thing I had to do was remove the label.

This sounds like an easy thing to do. Soak it in water, peel off the label, voila, right? Of course not. You would not believe the amount of glue underneath one of those labels. Tenacious glue, too. I scraped off all the paper in about 30 minutes, but getting all the glue and residue off the can and lid took the next several hours. Yay, solvents! Using an experimental combination of a lot of Goo Gone, (a lovely petrochemical solution inherited from Mark's grandmother,) a water and vinegar bath, and steel wool, by about 3:00 in the afternoon, the can was clean. I started the project around 10am, for perspective.

In the meantime, between attacks on the can, I had been considering the papers I had. Originally, I thought I would have to find some spray adhesive, double stick tape, or meticulously spread glue to affix the paper. Then I noticed something I hadn't noticed when I bought the paper in the first place; one of the packs was actually meant for projects like this, so each of the 5 pieces was mounted on contact paper. Yay!

Of course, after all those solvents being applied to the can, I couldn't just cover it and put the tea in. I ran it through the dishwasher first, since Mark always insists that it's really just supposed to be used as an autoclave anyway. (There is a running battle over whether dishes need to be washed before being put in the dishwasher. The answer, by the way, is no.) By 6:00 this evening, I had a clean, covered, and homemade tea canister to put my green tea in. A year after I received the package at Principal Yamagata's funeral, I was finally able to open the sealed bag it was in, transfer it to its new home, and make some real green tea to have with dinner.

Anyone want some tea?

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