Hankering for a hobby?

November 7, 2009 | My Jottings

This is the time of year when many people think about taking up a hobby. In my part of the country those of us who don’t cross-country ski, snowboard, or ice fish, think of inside pursuits to while away the cold winter months that are fast approaching.

Some of my friends and loved ones knit. Another friend crochets. Another quilts. I know someone else who does the most amazing cross-stitch creations you can imagine. One of my friends makes gorgeous jewelry. Years ago I used to try my hand at creative scrapbooking but now turn to my beloved books more and more.

For those of you who get that winter hankering to do something creative with your hands, I have a hobby for you to consider.

I’m not sure what it’s called yet – maybe after looking at the photo below you’ll be able to help me with a name for this new crafty trend.

I learned about this new hobby a couple of weeks ago when I opened my home for a Mexican potluck dinner with several women from my church. As we sat together and enjoyed Chris’s Mexican lasagna, Carol’s Mexican rice, Kim’s homemade salsa and chicken tortilla soup, Ginny’s most-delicious-ever-eaten refried beans and Darlene’s Sopapilla Cheesecake, we had the greatest time together. We laughed and shared and enjoyed each other’s company so much, even though some of us were just newly acquainted with some of the women there. It was a relaxed, comfortable, joyful time.

One of the women in attendance was encouraged to share about her job as caretaker to a millionaire family in our area. She works at their breathtakingly beautiful old mansion and caters to the whims and fancies of whatever it is millionaires feel they need. We learned at our Mexican potluck dinner that some millionaires feel very strongly about their toilet paper. This particular family has fourteen bathrooms in their mansion on the lake. And part of this lovely woman’s job as caretaker for this mansion is to make sure the toilet paper in all fourteen bathrooms is just right. Not just well-supplied and always within reach. Not just hung properly, with the paper coming over the top rather than from behind. No. Our dear friend’s job description as caretaker to a millionaire’s mansion is not only to shop and clean and set gorgeous tables and who-knows-what-else, but it is also to make sure that every single toilet paper roll in all fourteen of the bathrooms looks like this when it’s hanging in its place:


See the little banner that hangs down as a pointed pocket, holding the perfectly folded little fan? Have you ever seen anything like this? By this time we had all discreetly unbuttoned our jeans and pushed our plates away, and our friend gave us a lesson on how to create this lovely fan in its holder on a regular roll of toilet paper.

After I picked my jaw up off the ground and reigned in my thoughts about millionaires, I immediately grabbed the camera to snap a picture of this because I knew it would provide inspiration for my readers in search of a hobby.

Here are the amazingly simple instructions: tear off two squares of tissue and fold back and forth back and forth evenly to make accordion pleats, then fold in half to bring pleats together in the shape of a fan. Set aside. Next, pull several squares of toilet paper down away from the roll, keeping them intact with the roll. Fold the two corners up toward each other to make a v-shape pointing downward, then fold this v up toward the roll. Then take the two sides of the paper and fold slightly under toward the roll, creating a gradual diagonal line from the roll down to the end of the hanging piece. Press firmly on each side to crease. Make sure it’s even and crisp looking. Then bring that small tab up again and press to form a secure pocket in which to place your perfectly folded small fan.

So simple, and it only takes about sixteen minutes to do each one. When setting the fan down in the little pocket, take care to do it gently so the pocket holds. If it doesn’t hold and tears, you have to start all over again. But since it’s your new hobby, you wouldn’t be that upset if it didn’t work the first time around, because part of the reason one takes up a hobby is to keep busy and to have something to do with one’s hands, right?

Once mastered, you should do this each time the toilet paper is used, so that the next person in your bathroom is greeted with this delightful little outhouse origami.

Let’s just think this through together. If you’re hankering for a hobby and decide to take up knitting, you’ll have to buy a beautiful designer knitting tote, a bunch of needles in different sizes, some stitch counters, some pattern books, and dozens of skeins of some yarn. And if you wanted to knit something beautiful, you’d have to buy higher end yarn like my daughter dyes, here at her website. If you take up quilting, you’ll have to drag out your sewing machine onto the dining room table, buy a few hundred pieces of fabric, an Olfa board and a rotary cutter, lots of needles and thread, some bifocals, some batting and a hoop. If you want to learn to do counted cross-stitch, you’ll need patterns, charts, canvas, lots of colorful thread roughly the size of DNA strands, and a powerful magnifying glass. If scrapbooking is what you’re leaning toward, you need a nice acid-free scrapbook to start with, different colors of acid-free backing paper, acid-free adhesive, acid-free stickers, acid-free doo-dads, a miniature paper cutter, several pairs of decorative scissors, and a craft room addition on the back of your house.

If you decide to start small and take up the hobby of toilet paper folding, you’re most likely already set to go! Nothing to buy, nothing to haul with you, no special place on the dining room table is needed. All you need is a bathroom, two hands, and a roll of toilet paper. Anyone can do this! Are you a homeschooling mom? This could be your children’s art project next Friday! Teach your little ones the joys of toilet paper folding and they can learn to craft this diminutive fan in its holder each time the bathroom gets used.

And here’s one final benefit to taking up this new hobby. Consider what people’s opinion of you might be if they visit your home and see this unique and elegant creation waiting for them in your bathroom! Your friends will view you in a whole new way. And you will have a satisfying new hobby to busy yourself with this winter.

Me? I haven’t been able to master the fan yet.

I think I’ll stick to blogging and reading books…and praying for my friend who works for the millionaires.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Deb says:

    I’m going to try it right now!

  2. Deb says:

    OK………16 minutes has come and gone…..a long time ago! Toilet paper origami is not for me. I probably donโ€™t have the high caliber toilet paper required for such artistic bathroom endeavors. I am sad because I think Dean and Kyle would have really appreciated the effort after being in the hunting shack all weekend with their toilet paper roll propped up off the floor on a very nice stick! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Jessica says:

    OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I have so many thoughts racing through my head!!!

    I have, in the past, pondered the types of household staff people might have that live in these huge mansions. But I have to say that NEVER, would it have occurred to me to hire someone to fold my toilet paper. Never.

    I do, however, have to try this. Just to try it.

    My hobby is definitely paper crafts. Until now it had consisted of card making, scrapbooking, paper gift designing. Do you think I could now include toilet paper folding?


  4. Just Julie says:

    You absolutely could, Jessica! Maybe you could call Deb and ask her to lead you through the steps. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Just Julie says:

    Deb – it wasn’t high quality toilet paper – I buy the cheap and scratchy Scottissue – the ones with 1000 squares per roll. :p

  6. Robert Franck says:

    At our house, you’re lucky to have toilet paper on the dispenser. One morning, I replaced the toilet paper at 8:00 a.m. and at noon, the roll was gone.

    Here’s a good book if you decide to take up this new hobby: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0980092310/

    But check out the cartoon near the bottom of this page: http://www.origami-resource-center.com/toilet-paper-origami.html (on the difference between “nice touch” and “too much”)

    (Actually, I’m interested in the ship pattern on that page.)

  7. Just Julie says:

    Oh my gosh. I have now seen everything. I actually think the toilet paper origami book would be a nice gag gift. ๐Ÿ™‚ Just the ones on the cover are amazing. A sailboat would be pretty neat at a beach house. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for commenting, Rob!

  8. Carol Willoughby says:

    I had no idea that we at the Mexican dinner would all be famous. Julie, you have such a way with words! I missed seeing your camera in action. But I should have guessed….

    I especially liked the websites that Robert Franck mentioned for even more wonderful options for folding toilet paper.

    I now know what I will be doing extra for my guests on Thanksgiving, after I stuff the turkey, mash the potatoes, make sweet potato casserole, cranberries, gravy, set tables, play hostess, on and on and on…..

    I will discreetly step into the bathroom after each guest uses it, and I will get busy on my new hobby. I cannot imagine a better way to show love to friends and family on this day of thanks.

  9. Just Julie says:

    You made me laugh Carol! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  10. Carol Willoughby says:

    You are welcome Julie!

    I wonder if there is a toilet paper design for a pilgrim?

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