Monday, May 31, 2010

Vote for My Mom's Project

Want to learn how to make a strawberry planter out of a re-purposed plastic jug? Check out my mom's project on Instructables and vote for her. Thanks!

Monday, May 3, 2010

#148 Making Seed Packets

Well, I need to give out credit for the inspiration for this project, which comes from Vale Design. The part of this project that involved recycling & using up stuff is the the seed packets. I used a small paper bag that we got at an area store recently and some leftover double-stick tape. I used a seed packet I have as a template and created my own packets, with which we filled with Wildflower seed mix that we purchased. Making the packets was easy and my daughter helped pull the backing off the tape and press down the tape and fill the packets.

I also used the idea on there for the chalkboard pots (which I had to go out & purchase pots & chalkboard paint). My daughter also made some cards and together we made some coffee filter flowers. We will be giving her teacher and teacher's assistant these gift tomorrow for Teacher Appreciation Day.

#147 Homemade Instruments

Well, these were super simple and quick to make. I took a leftover piece of 2x4 from the xylophone project and cut it into 2 pieces that would be small enough for my daughter to put her hands around. I then stapled the sandpaper down on all four sides and wrapped the edges in duct tape so it wouldn't peel up. She was so excited to have sandpaper blocks since she has never had these before and they have some at preschool to play.

The other instrument we made were maracas using empty spice containers. My daughter wanted each one to have a different sound, so one has a few nails in it and then the other had some rocks. My son was able to some shaking and liked them. I wrapped duct tape around the top to make it harder for little hands to get it open.

#146 Create a Backyard Xylophone

So, here is the finished product. My daughter loves it and hopefully it will be her hours of entertainment. I need to work on some sandpaper blocks & some maracas so that she can have some other outdoor instruments and can have a backyard concert playdate with some friends.

So, here is the Instructables instructions that were the inspiration, but I have to admit that other than glancing at the picture, my husband decided to come up with his own plans.

First, his plans included making it not so wide (their smallest was 22") and made the smallest cut at 12". Then he made the cuts 2 inches larger for each one and made 9 cuts in all. By starting smaller, he was able to use only two 2"x4"x8' boards.

Next came sanding away the sharp edges left from cutting.

Then he stapled rope (he wanted to make sure it was secure so he put 3 staples on each rope segment). He used the leftover rod piece (which was about an inch in diameter) to place between the 2x4's to make sure the space was the same for each. The leftover rod piece was from making the mallet, which I will tell you about soon.

He decided to attach one piece of string to the boards, going up one side, then across & down the other side so that the xylophone was one piece. Then he attached 2 hooks at the top of the top board and 2 at the bottom of the bottom board. He then ran rope through each one so that they could be tightened or loosened independently.

The next step is to step up the anchors use to suspend the xylophone. He screwed a heavy duty hook in the tree at the height we thought would be appropriate for our daughter. And in the ground we inserted an anchor for a dog tie-out. Then he took the rope from the top & bottom attached it to the hook & anchor and tightened the rope to create the tension desired.

You can see a picture of the matter in the top pictures. The mallet is simply a flag pole that we cut down, then drilled a hole through towards the end and inserted some rope so that it could be hung from the hook in the tree when not in use.

Everything we used here were things we had laying around, so we didn't need to spend any money and made her this fun outdoor toy, which will help encourage even more outdoor play & music exploration. Although, the instruction says it would cost about $10 if you made it with their supplies.

Stay tuned for our homemade maracas & sandpaper blocks using stuff we will upcycle and have laying around our home.