Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pinterest Project: All About Owls

Lately, I've had an obsession with owls, so I dedicated a Pinterest Board to owls & birds. I think they are adorable. For my birthday, my aunt showed up with some owl pillows for me & some small stuffed owls for my daughter. I can't take credit for making these little guys, but they are so neat I needed to blog about them!

I am in love with these pillows, and my daughter likes them too. She took my pillows, snuggled up on the couch with her owls & watched some tv.
If you want to make some of these owls too, check out Lindamade, or several of these pins.
Recently, my aunt made V an apron skirt, and with the fabric scraps (plus some felt), I made an applique' for her shirt. I used the owl template (free) from Lil Blue Boo, which is a great site for tutorials & crafty ideas. I think the applique turned out pretty cute.

Two more of my favorite owl items are this t-shirt, "I'll Love you Owl-Ways," and the owl hat made by Heart for Your Home.

The next owl project I want to try is a felted owl, using the techniques I found here. Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pinterest Playtime: Toothpick fun

My little one is getting older, and closer to the terrible two's. For some time she was easy-going, and I could get away with simple unplanned playtime. As she gets older, I'm finding that if we don't have an activity planned, she gets grouchy. Seldom does she want to just play in her room.
I've been looking at several blogs, and searching Pinterest for easy, fun, and cheap projects for V & I to accomplish.
Our most recent project was one I found here at Chasing Cheerios. We took a shaker jar (think Parmesan cheese shaker at a pizza shop) that I got at the $1 store and a handful of toothpicks. V spent 15 minutes poking the toothpicks in the jar, taking them out & repeating the process.

The jar I used is glass, so I made sure to repeat that we had to be gentle with it. V was very careful. This was a great way for her to concentrate and build her fine motor skills. I think soon we may try the toothpick & marshmallow sculptures.
Lately, I've been spending a lot of time watching the birds at our backyard feeder. The past weekend was the Great Backyard Bird Count. V loves watching the birds at the feeder. A friend told me that when she was little, her mom & her would string Cheerios on a line and hang them for the birds. This project was exactly what we needed this afternoon.
We spent about 20 minutes threading Cheerios on a string. I wrapped the string around a toothpick to make it easier for V. She thought it was a lot of fun. I can't wait for breakfast tomorrow, which is the best time to for us to sit and watch the birds.

 I'm excited to see what birds are at the feeder in the morning. After doing the Great Backyard Bird Count, I'm a lot more conscious about the birds at the feeder. Its fun to teach V the names of the birds and count them.
Have a fun & easy activity? Share it here!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pinterest Playtime: Indoor Snow

We had our first real snow of the season yesterday (and its nearly all melted today), but we didn't make it outside to play. I had seen previous pins about bringing snow indoors for playtime.
My husband brought in a tub full of snow, and we put it in the bathtub and let V have fun. She loved it!
 Jersey came in so we let her taste test some snow,

which meant V had to taste it too. It's cold! 
 Well, its not so bad after all.

Our little snowman.

 When most of our snow melted, daddy went out and got more. V exclaimed "more snow!"

Once she got a little too chilly, we started running a warm bath. She had a blast making the snow disappear. 
This activity was a great way for V to experience playing with the snow, without getting all cold. We will definitely do this again!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Guest Post: Behind the Scenes wandmaking by GipsonWands

My husband Scott, and owner/creator of GipsonWands wrote this post on the steps to make one of his custom magic wands. Check it out!

I'm sure most people who buy a wand from me don't realize the work that goes into making a GipsonWands wand so I thought i'd take a moment to go through step by step to show you, curious reader, how it's done.
From this... to this

The Black Walnut I use was harvested more that 5 years ago, allowed to air dry in a climate controlled environment  before it is split. On larger pieces (such as this) I use a mini-sledge and wedges. Once I get a manageable piece I square it off with a table saw.
It takes many passes to cut off the rough edges.
I end up with wand blanks that are 3/4th of an inch square. These are now ready to be mounted on the lathe.
I'll begin by rounding off the blank.
It will take multiple passes to slowly take off the edges to get a completely evenly round dowel.
Once the blank is rounded, I start to carve the final shape, this can take hours.
Once the final shape is done it's time to begin the long process of sanding.
First I start with a rough grit and after multiple passes progress to a finer and finer grit.

I've worked my way down to a fine sand paper.
Once the sanding is done I switch to 00 steel wool to get the wood ready for it's finish.
The Wand's shape is done and the sanding is finished, now I move on to a coat of linseed oil.

Now for a final buff while it's on the lathe.
With a coat of linseed oil completed, the last thing left to do is cut the wand free.
First, I start with the wand tip.
Once the tip is free and with the lathe still on I sand the rough end. Next I'll focus on the hilt.
It's free! the last step is to hand-sand the hilt end to it's final smoothness and give it another coat of oil.
With the wand now done all that's left to do is to show you a pretty picture of it complete.
This is a 14 3/4th inch Black Walnut wand.

Check out GipsonWands on Facebook, Etsy, or Pinterest!