Saturday, July 28, 2012

Make A Little Birdhouse In Your Soul

I'm your only friend
I'm not your only friend

But really I'm not actually your friend

But I'm a little glowing friend 
But I am--

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch

Who watches over you

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

Not to put too fine a point on it

Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet

Make a little birdhouse in your soul

(and while you're at it
Keep the nightlight on inside the
birdhouse in your soul)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Paper Airplane Contest: A Craft for the Masses

When I was a wee lass, my dad had an idea to promote his business (a service station/convenience store called The Red Barn) by hosting a huge contest during a halftime at our local high school basketball game. 

He called it his "Red Barn Fliers" contest.

He would pass out a piece paper to every one in the room. 

Each person was to write their name and phone number on their paper and fold it into the most aerodynamic shape possible.

Then, in the center of the basketball court he would place an empty pizza box.
He announced that the plane(s) who made it closest to the pizza box would receive awards. 

 Like a free pizza, for instance. 

He gave the signal and hundreds of paper planes took to the air, gliding through the gymnasium like doves. Some flew up in the rafters, some flew into the floor. Some wooshed over to the pizza box only to suddenly turn and woosh back to their masters.

 I don't remember the out come, but it sure was a thing of beauty to watch all of those planes filling up the empty space of the gymnasium.

 I have reminisced about this contest many times since then, admiring my dad's knack for out-of-the-box (or should I say in-the-box?) advertising strategies. 

 Because it was such an exciting memory for me I've tried to recreate this contest several times with groups of kids, always with successful outcomes.

So when I  was visiting my in-laws and I had six excited, boisterous wee lassies (ages 5 to 11) buzzing around me for six days I knew an activity that they would all enjoy. 

Contest rules are simple: 
You get two pieces of paper to decorate.

Then you fold it into a paper airplane (some adult help was required here.)

Throughout the process there was much singing.

Much laughter
And many thoughtful moments of inspiring creativity.

They had a couple of test flights, 

and then it was time for the real thing.

First there would be a beauty contest. All the planes lined up, vying to be the fairest one of all. Winners were awarded.

But there is more to a plane than its fancy paint job. The REAL contest was about to begin. 

The girls had to throw their planes from up here ....

....down to the hula hoop below. 

The plane(s) who came the closest would win!

My little Amelia Earharts took their spots on the balcony and let their planes loose....

...into the wild blue yonder. 

We did this several times, including a contest a contest to see whose plane could stay aloft for the longest amount of time and the one who could fly the furthest. 

There were prizes for the winners and candy for everyone. 

I am pretty sure my dad enjoyed it, too.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What Every Woman Wants

We are going out West to the Promised Land and we need a gift for the grandmas and aunts so that after we visit them and lay waste to their homes they will still like us. 

We decided to make soap. 

Perhaps I will rephrase that....the soap is already made. 
At the craft store you can buy trays of soap like this:

We are using goats milk soap, but there was also shea butter, avocado and glycerine. 
So no, we did not make the soap ourselves (that would be a REALLY great craft!) but we did dress it up, something mermaids are very good at. 

First we melted it in the microwave.
Then we scented it. 
We used rose for some batches, vanilla-pomegranate for others. 

Then we colored it and poured it into the molds.

This is how the molds look when they are filled and you happen to be laying on the ground.

After about 40 minutes the soap was cool and hard and we could push them out of the molds. 

This was so easy! Too easy, in fact. Next time we do this I am starting from scratch and I am going to find some goats to milk and make my own.

Next is packaging. 

Wrapping paper,

name tags,

glitter glue,

and gossamer bags.

And now our gifts are ready to be packed. 

I think the grandmas and aunts will love these....and in the meantime they will give our suitcases a lovely smell. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Duct Tape In My Hair

Last week the mermaids' cousin Q came to visit and he introduced them to the wonderful world of duct tape. He is a duct tape master and he demonstrated his abilities by making several amazing creations, including a duct tape hammock inside the mermaids' treehouse (mermaids like hammocks!). Q has also made hats, wallets, shoes, boats and many other items. Q has left our home, but his spirit of inginuity has remained and the mermaids are making their own duct tape creations, including some that I am pretty sure that even the amazing Q hasn't yet attempted. 

These, for instance: 

The red mermaid will demonstrate for us how it is done. 
First, pull out two long strips of duct tape and lay them, sticky side up, on your work surface, over lapping one over the other,
 like this:
Then, take a third piece and lay it, sticky side down, in the center of the first two.

Fold the exposed sticky edges over. 
Trim the edges. Now you should have a thick, floppy strip of duct tape with no sticky side. This is your "ribbon."  

Fold the "ribbon" over itself and pinch the center together. This is the tricky part, and it takes some practice to make it look neat. 

 This is how it should look when you've folded it correctly.

Now for securing the bow to the barrette. There are no glue guns needed for this craft! Why use glue when you've got duct tape?
Cut a small, narrow piece of duct tape. This will hold your bow together and it will also hold the bow to the barrette.

Stick the bow, front side down on the sticky side of the small strip. Wrap the strip around the center of the bow to hold the folds in place, but leave some extra.

With the extra, carefully tuck it and wrap it around the barrette, securing it, and making sure to keep everything straight and neat. 

All done.

Duct tape: versatile, useful, creative, strong,

and pretty.

Thanks, Q!