Monday, August 27, 2012

The Flying Ace

You might be surprised to learn that imaginary play doesn't come easily in this house.  It's not that we lack creativity or inspiration, it's that no one is satisfied until the imagined idea has been fully realized (including all working parts and full functionality).

Take our latest project, a DIY airplane.  It all began Saturday morning at 8 AM when Aidan found a thin piece of wood with a whole in the middle. "This would make a great propeller!" quickly progressed to repeated requests to clear out a work space, drag out the saw and start whittling this stick down to a perfectly designed aero-dynamic working propeller.  He even sketched out the exact cuts that would be needed to craft this masterpiece.  Now, I know what you're thinking, "Small children shouldn't use saws."  And you are correct (with all the time he's spent learning to solder, we just haven't gotten around to wood-working).  So, Aidan's Saturday morning project was quickly becoming Matt's Saturday all-day project.

This is where I came in.  "How about we get out a cardboard box and you can turn it into your own pretend airplane!"  Aidan actually agreed to this and set the above-mentioned stick aside.  Down in the basement we found a giant box that held the petticoat from my wedding.  We emptied that sucker out (New giant hoop skirt for the Adelaide will be coming soon!) and hauled it out into the yard while I explained how much fun he could have crafting HIS OWN make-believe airplane.  "Will it be safe to put an electric motor in a cardboard box?" he asked.  Clearly, I was not getting through.  "It's going to be pretend, so it doesn't need a real motor.  You can use markers, tape, extra junk lying around the garage...".  "Oh, I'll just use a gas-powered motor then," he replied.  Sigh...

We carried his bin of miscellaneous garage junk into the backyard and gathered up some markers, crayons and rolls of duct tape.  Adelaide put on her plastic hard hat and goggles.  She is clearly no stranger to "play" in the Hawkins house.  The kids jumped into this new activity with tons of enthusiasm and very little arguing.  I swept off my back deck and cleaned off the furniture while they scribbled with markers and stuck pieces of tape to the box.  Eventually, it was time for Adelaide's nap and I took her inside to get cleaned up and take care of some inside chores.  Matt took over airplane supervision.

This is what I found when I returned...

 You'll note the working wings and tail rudder with separate cock pit controls, spinning propeller, and my favorite, the in-cabin headphones for noise reduction.  This cardboard box airplane probably could make it over the pond if we could get it up onto the roof.  

And I think I am fighting a losing battle over here because, when it comes to imaginary play,  clearly no one is on my side.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Latest Obsession and a GIVEAWAY!

My newest crafting obsession is the ever-popular reusable snack bag!  They are the perfect project for me:  quick, useful and fun to make.  Lined with food-safe rip-stop nylon and velcro-topped, they are great for snacks, cosmetics, crayons and anything else gooey or crumbly!  I wash mine at the kitchen sink with a little dish soap and just flip them inside out to dry.  

I looked at several different versions in Lunch Bags!; but, none of them were quite what I was after.  It took me five experimental tries to come up with my final bag.  I'm really happy with the end result.  There are some other great projects in that book, though,  that I can't wait to give a try!

I had only intended to make a few for the kids.  Some friends really liked them and I ended up selling quite a few of them to friends here and abroad.  I'm making them in three useful sizes and TONS of different fabrics.  They are a great way for me to use up all the fun leftover fabric from old projects.  I'm even planning to get a table at an upcoming craft show in my hometown.  This week, the kids and I are headed to Ohio for some fun at the Fair and hardcore snack bag making!

To kick off my new business, I'm hosting my first GIVEAWAY.  The lucky winner, chosen at random, will receive one snack bag in the size and fabric of their choice.  (I'll email you a photo with everything available).  To enter, just leave a comment below.  Entries will be accepted until Saturday, September 1 at 11:59 PM.  Be sure an email address is included somewhere!  The winner will be chosen next week.  Good luck and happy snacking!!!

This Giveaway is Closed!  Thank You!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My Sparkly Blue Bucket

There are literally hundreds of online tutorials about making your own laundry soap.  The one thing they all seem to have in common is that they are EXACTLY THE SAME.  I have been wanting to try making my own batch for a while; but, the recipes are all soap-based and not very cloth-diaper friendly.  

A few weeks ago, I found this posting for a cloth-diaper safe laundry detergent and I decided to give it a try.  The recipe given made quite a large batch so I cut everything down by a third.  We all have pretty sensitive skin and I didn't want a giant vat of the stuff if we wouldn't be able to use it.

The recipe is really simple:  washing soda, borax and Oxi-Clean.  I used Oxi-Clean Free since we will use it for cloth diapers; but, I'm sure you could use regular if you're not washing diapers.  All the ingredients are dry, so there's no melting, cooking or soaking required.  I just poured everything in and mixed it up with a handy dandy plunger stick that Aidan "collected" from my parents house.  I spent less than $10 bucks on all of my "ingredients".  My only splurge was this super cute sparkly bucket from my beloved ACO.

(When I brought this bucket home, EVERYONE in this house wanted it.  But it's mine.  All mine.)

Even cutting the recipe down considerably, I still ended up with a lot of detergent.  We've actually been using this detergent for about two weeks now and I still have a ton in my bucket.  You only need a small amount per load.  I use 2 Tablespoons for a regular full load and 1 Tablespoon for diapers or partial loads.  The detergent works really well and I am so happy with it that I doubt I'll ever buy bottled detergent again!