March 2008

Salad Spinner Art

Inspired, again, by something I read.


  • Paint and a salad spinner. And some paper plates.
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  • A boy who loves to spin salad. Or paint. (He just likes the spinner. Sometimes he requests salad for dinner just so he can spin it.)
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    Place a paper plate inside the salad spinner, pour a few blobs of paint on, and spin!


    Pretty plates. I think we ended up with 6 or 7.


    And this is what it does to the inside of the salad spinner. We used washable, non-toxic tempera paint, though, and it was actually really easy to clean up. (Ben loves doing dishes too, so it was like part of the fun, even!)


    kids' art & craft

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    Inspired by these, we decided we needed a snake of our own. So, naturally, we bought a couple of ties at the thrift store and made Snakey. I don’t know what the originals are stuffed with, but ours has mixed dried beans for about three-quarters of it, then soft stuffing for a bit, then more beans in the head. Gives it a nice weight and dangly-ness (that’s a word, right?).


    Both boys were very into the dried beans we used for filling him — they ended up all over the room, hello sensory experience! — although it took Timothy a while to figure out what we were doing. But once he did, he was right in there in the middle of it, grabbing his little fistfuls of beans and dropping them into the tie. It was cute. He didn’t seem to want to stop.

    After Snakey was all finished, and Ben had cuddled with him for a while (“I’m gonna take the snake to bed, mama. He’ll help me sleep in my own bed all night.”) and named him, it was snack time. Snakey’s snack was totally set up and provided by Ben.



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    Playsilks are a Waldorf concept. They’re big silk scarves, in pretty colors, very versatile. But they’re expensive, usually around $10 – $12 each.

    Having seen a bunch of people lately (here, here, and here) dying their own silk scarves, I was inspired to try it too. I bought a dozen of the 30″ x 30″ scarves from Dharma Trading, eventually found the Kool-Aid at the grocery store (I had no idea where to look! I’ve never bought it before!), and one morning a few weeks ago Ben and I worked on it. We did the simplest version we could:

    • mix up the Kool-aid with water in a bowl
    • wet the scarf, put it in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap
    • microwave and let rest for 3 minutes each, twice
    • rinse and hang to dry


    Some people soak in vinegar and other complications, but I read somewhere that Kool-Aid is acidic enough that there’s no need for that. Our very simple method seemed to work just fine. I haven’t washed them yet, so I have no idea about colorfastness, but if the dye washes out, oh well, it just means we can play with dye again, right?


    We also decided to experiment with some other household coloring agents. When we spill certain things on our clothes, they’re hard to get out. So it seems like they’d make good dyes too. The light gold and coppery ones in the bottom left were soaked with teabags and boiled with coffee grounds, respectively. The light pink one was just soaked in cold blackberry juice for a while. An hour, maybe. The lavender one was microwaved (same steps as above, basically) with a cup of frozen mashed blueberries and a bunch of water and some vinegar.


    The kids have been playing with them a bit. They can be capes, pirate head wraps, blankets for babies. We can dance with them, bounce with them, wave them around. Ben likes to wrap presents in them. Timothy actually had lots of fun walking into them, through them and around them when they were hanging on the drying rack. Must figure out something we can hang them from that he won’t bump his head on, I think he’d enjoy that.


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    I finally started on the king-size quilt I’ve been planning since last August. After entering the quilt I made for my youngest son in the county fair, I decided my goal this year was to make a quilt that would deserve to be hung up and displayed in its entirety, instead of being folded up and hung over a railing in a nook, lost among the bulk of entries. So my husband came up with a design based on a mathematical curve, I started with one fabric I love that I’d picked up at the thrift store, and over the Christmas break I bought all the rest of the materials. (The quilt shop was having a pre-end-of-year-inventory sale, what could I do?) There was much discussion of colors and patterns while my in-laws were visiting for Christmas.

    And finally, last night, I started cutting. I cut out 289 squares. (Rotary cutters rock!)


    Now I have hundreds of little triangles to do. Pondering whether to cut them all at once or cut some and start sewing, cutting the rest as I go. Just to make sure the design is going to work, of course.


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    Room Changes

    I realised last week that we were wasting the sunniest room in the house. What was formerly the guestroom and my sewing room faces south with sliding glass doors. It is a lovely bright room. And it was being used only a few weeks a year by guests who mostly just sleep there, and the rest of the time by me in the evenings when the kids are asleep. And on all of these sunny spring days we’ve been having, it was gated off and inaccessible while the playroom sat there and looked like a dark brown cave. No wonder the kids didn’t want to play in it.


    We moved the guest bed into the “cave” along with some stuff I want to store out of kids’ reach. We moved the toys into the sunny room and kept my sewing machine in there. We’ve spent at least some part of every day in there since then, boys playing together, or Ben helping me make something. All my supplies are easy to get to, and Ben is fascinated by the sewing machine and loves to help me use it.

    I really like this new arrangement, and I think the boys do too.

    IMG_1900 IMG_1896


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    My first Meme

    OK, so I got tagged a while ago by my friend Lisa. I’ve never been tagged before, never done a meme before, but here we go. I’ll answer the questions, but I don’t know about the last part, though, tagging 5 people… I’m usually a completely anonymous lurker on most blogs I read. And sorry, it’s going to be sort of brief…. I want to get to my quilt tonight too. Then I’ll have pictures to share. 🙂

    The rules of this tag:

    A. The rules are posted at the beginning

    B. Answer the questions about yourself

    C. Tag 5 people, let them know in a comment on their blogs that they have been tagged.

    What were you doing 10 yrs ago?

    Um, 1998. Learning about computers. I’d been living in a VW bus with my then-husband, working retail and being hippies. We moved into an apartment and I started doing office temp work because I was SICK of retail, and found I had an aptitude for computer stuff. I took a class in Multimedia and learned about HTML and the internet, and here we are.

    Snacks I enjoy:

  • Apple and chunk o’ cheddar
  • Chips and salsa
  • Bread and butter
  • uhhhh. I guess I’m not a big snacker.
  • Five things on my to-do list today:

  • Finish this and post.
  • Work on my quilt if there’s time.
  • Pick up kids’ toys.
  • Take my antibiotics.
  • Go to bed.
  • Things I would do if I became a billionaire:

  • Buy a house in Northern Ireland near my parents.
  • Buy a house somewhere warm.
  • Invest a lot.
  • Give some to family and charities.
  • 3 bad habits:

  • Eating too much ice cream.
  • Being lazy about housework.
  • Sometimes drinking too much wine.
  • 5 places I have lived:

  • Bangor, Northern Ireland
  • Keele, England
  • Kent, WA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Whidbey Island, WA
  • Jobs I have had:

    Oh goodness. Many, but can be mostly summed up like this:

  • Retail in various places.
  • Data entry.
  • Office Manager.
  • Technical Writer.
  • Mum.
  • Things people don’t know about me:

    I’m a synesthete. Specifically, my days of the week have colors associated with them and always have. There are other aspects of my life that are probably synesthetic, but I’m still trying to figure it out. I only just discovered that other people do this and that there’s a name for it — I always thought it was just me being weird.

    I don’t think there’s much else people who know me don’t know — I’m a pretty open book, I don’t hide much.


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