EST. May 2000 (AD)


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Crafting at the Office: A Trend You Can Work With

By Julie Ward and Richard Campbell

From knitting in the break room, to sculpting with paper clips, to making earrings out of staplers so you can sneak them past the security cams and use them at home, crafting in the workplace is definitely on the fast track. With a minimum of supplies, skills and unproductive time, you can get in on the fun too. Our Nun Packet is the perfect project for entry level crafters.



1. Put the nun picture inside the empty tea bag envelope.

2. Fold the envelope shut.

3. Give the nun packet to a dear and trusted colleague.

What does a nun packet say to the beneficiary?

"I care."

"I don't have many crafting supplies here at the office."

"I hope you appreciate nuns as a sight gag, because this little packet is shockingly trivial and stupid if you don't. Even worse, you might think I'm a religious freak."

Animated Nun Packet

We've heard from many readers who say that crafting is frowned upon in their oppressive workplaces. Not to worry-we're including instructions for a computer-friendly version of the Nun Packet, perfect for emailing to your friends. So the next time Kay, the office snitch, peeks into your cube to make sure wrist-to-mouse shackle is in place (Editor's note: Please keep watching this space for "Soldering Projects for the Human Resources Manager"), you can continue e-crafting without fear.

You will need a graphics editing program that lets you create animated GIF files. We used JASC Software's PaintShop Pro, but you could use another product such as's GIF Movie Gear.

The animated GIF is simply a sequence of .jpeg (.jpg) pictures that are squeezed together to create an animation. To create an animated GIF, you use your graphics program to draw a beginning and an ending image for your animation, along with two or three intermediary pictures that the animation program will use to create the illusion of the animation.

For the nun packet, we used the following eight .jpeg pictures:

1. A closed envelope. 2. The envelope with the flap opened.
3. The envelope with the flap open and the nun's head appearing.
4. The nun exiting the envelope.


5. The nun flying upwards away from the envelope.


6. Three images of the nun alone without the envelope.


It's important to note that each picture frame must have the same physical dimensions; otherwise, the movement within each frame will not appear as intended. In this case, each frame is 175 x 226pixels.

Once you've created each .jpeg picture that will be a frame in your animation, you use the animation part of your graphics program to assemble the animation. In PaintShop Pro, the animation program is called "Animation Shop". Start it, and click the Animation Wizard button on the toolbar.

The Animation Wizard prompts you with questions to help you set up your animation. Select the desired settings and click Next for each screen in the wizard until you reach the screen that lets you select the pictures that will make up your animation.

Click the Add Image button and browse to select each picture for your animation. You can select them in any order and then use the Move Up/Down buttons in the wizard to change the order of the pictures once they are all selected.

Click Next when you've selected all the pictures and put them in the correct order for your animation. The Animation Wizard will then show each picture as a frame in a film strip.

By right-clicking on each frame, you can set the amount of time that each should show before the next frame appears. This effectively speeds up or slows down the pace of your animation. You will need to experiment with this to get the best effect. You can test your animation as you work on it, by clicking the "Animation" option under the View menu.

Once you've got the speed and transition effects set for your animation, click the Save button and save your new creation as an animated .gif file.

You're now ready to send salvation to all your friends!




Julie Ward is a writer and special education teacher. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and their two sons.

Richard Campbell spends most working hours writing brilliant software manuals in Vancouver, BC. Despite their brilliance, the volume of incoming support calls implies that they never get read. The rubber ducky on his desk thinks the pay makes it worthwhile.