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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer gets crafty

Apipe cleaner or chenille stem is a type of brush originally intended for removing moisture and residue from smoking pipes.

Besides cleaning pipes, it can be used for any application that calls for cleaning out small bores or tight places.

Special pipe cleaners are manufactured specifically for cleaning out medical apparatus and for engineering applications. They are popular for winding around bottle necks to catch drips, bundling things together, colour-coding, and applying paints, oils, solvents, greases, and similar substances. They can also be used like a twist tie.

I learned all this when I looked up pipe cleaners to figure out just what they were. And what initiated this research? Our son’s craft project at school!

A few years ago, when he was in kindergarten, he came home with a list of supplies he needed to take for making something for Mother’s Day. Beads, lace or ribbons, etc., I understood, but what on earth were pipe cleaners and why did he need one? After I figured out what they were, I also learned that the ones used in craft projects come in many different colours. 

So off we went to an arts and crafts store and picked up some in neon green, his favourite colour then, along with the other items on the list.

A few weeks later, he came home with a gift for me – a bracelet made with the pipe cleaners twisted together to form links and decorated with beads and ribbons. I wore it to the lunch my husband took us out for.

Since that first bracelet, he has brought home increasingly more elaborate creations made from pipe cleaners. Necklaces, wobbly figures attached to popsicle sticks, even felt animals with pipe cleaner whiskers. They are all beautiful, but a certain bright green bracelet remains my favourite.

                                                                                                                         – Ramona Verghese


 What’s your story? Every newcomer, no matter how savvy or where he or she comes from, has a Fresh Off the Plane (FOP) story to share about their early days in Canada. Do you want to share your story? E-mail it to us at canadaboundimmigrant@rogers.com.

Posted: Jun 5, 2019

February 2020

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