Archive for July, 2011

Creating a Children’s Fishing Game

During summer’s hot and humid days, many seeks the comfort and enjoyment of water activities. Swimming, boating, skiing, and fishing are among these. Swimming and “fishing” are great ways to keep children active and happy during the dog days of summer and can be accomplished rather inexpensively and with minimal worry as compared to a day on the waters of an in-ground pool, lake, or river. Purchase a small children’s pool and plastic beach toys from a local department store, as well as a dowel, string, and magnet from a local craft store, and get set for some great times and memories with the little ones in your life!

Fashion fishing poles using dowel rods. Do so by first determining the appropriate circumference and length for each based on the ages and sizes of the children who will be using them.

Using a pencil, mark each dowel segment based on the desired length. Then, use a hand saw to cut at the mark. Depending on the cleanness of the cut, you may find lightly sanding the cut to be helpful.

About an inch from the end, lightly V-notch one end of the wood dowel segment. This will be an area in which the string is placed, giving a little extra stationary support.

Determine an appropriate length of string. Although the purpose is to allow the children to have fun, also consider what is an appropriate length based on the child’s age and level of understanding of safety. Certainly bear in mind any risks of strangling.

Tie and knot the string in the V-notch. You may wish to further stabilize it by adding hot glue.

Then, add a magnet to the opposite, dangling end of the string, again using hot glue to keep it attached.

Finally, strategically glue polarized magnets to the plastic beach toys such that magnetic pick-up is accomplished easily and without frustration for youngsters. Use any toy that will bring enjoyment to the children, but consider typical water critters or environs, such as fish, crabs, starfish, seaweed, or shells, as the most environmentally-appropriate choices. Allow children to “fish” as they enjoy time in the pool.

These are the main steps necessary for completing such a project. However, if desired, creative touches can be added as well. For instance, consider having the child paint the dowel and add fishing related touches, like fingerprint fish or fishing stickers, before applying the string. Or lightly glue ocean-themed ribbon strips to the hand-held end of the hardwood dowel segment. This creative touch is also quite functional, adding comfort and grip for tiny hands.

This craft can be used by anyone who has small children to entertain or educate, including parents, grandparents, pre-school, daycare, or early childhood teachers, or summer camp instructors.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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Homemade Kites

Some of life’s creative treasures don’t have to cost a lot or take considerable amounts of time to make. Creating a simple, homemade kite is one of those treasures. What a clever way to make memories with your children or grandchildren and make many more memories when the project is completed!

Kites may be made as big or as large as desired or as needed for the one handling it. However, to support the kite’s ability to soar, select smaller dowels, which will serve as the frame. Typically, a good working size is 3/16″, and two are required.

Using a hacksaw, mark the dowels at 24 and 30 inches, respectively, and carefully cut them at the markings. Arrange them perpendicularly, with the longer dowel placed lengthwise and the shorter dowel placed crosswise and approximately 20 inches from the working bottom of the longer dowel.

Use twine to secure the two dowels by wrapping them in alternating diagonals at their cross point.

Use a garbage bag to make the sail. Polyester film, which is available at craft stores, can also be used to make the sail, too. However, to create a homemade kite using everyday materials, a garbage bag is readily available at home and should do the job nicely. Cut along the seams of the bag, and place it upon a flat surface.

Secure the bag to the dowels by applying tape incrementally. Be certain to leave a some accessible space near the bottom of the longer wood dowel so that the tail can be securely added in a subsequent step. Then, steadily cut diagonally from point to point along the wood dowels to create the diamond shape characteristic of most kites. If free-handing the cuts proves challenging, use a ruler to assist in achieving straight, even cuts.

To create the kite’s tail, use leftover streamers or scraps of ribbon or cloth, cut into ribbon-like lengths, and tie several small, evenly spaced strips of ribbon crosswise on a longer piece of ribbon placed lengthwise. Then, use twine to secure the tail near the bottom of the longer wood dowel. Do so by circularly wrapping twine around an inch to an inch and a half of the tail, then knotting it.

Secure flying line around the twine at the cross point. This may take some creativity. Consider using a sewing needle to accomplish this. So long as you proceed cautiously and ensure that the kite is not punctured, there are other ways to accomplish this. You need only use the supplies readily available to you and a little imagination.

Once completed, enjoy your craftsmanship with your children or grandchildren in any number of places–a park on a cool spring day, a beach during summer vacation, or your very own backyard on a beautiful and blustery autumn afternoon. With a hardwood dowel and some everyday items, a homemade kite is only a few instructional steps away.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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Making a Mail Sorter

One of the main objectives of home organization is to simplify by reducing clutter. Undoubtedly, a lot of the clutter that exists in our homes comes in the form of paper, specifically mail. In most cases, it’s easy enough to dispose of the junk mail, although not always. It’s typically those items that need to be paid, such as utility and cable bills, items that need to be filed, and items that require a response that add to the clutter. Use a minimal amount of material and a simple dowel to make a filing system that can easily and effectively rid your home of paper clutter.

Determine the size of the mail sorter based on the amount and type of mail you ordinarily receive. For instance, do you receive a lot of mail each week or only a little? Do you purchase items online that arrive in large envelopes or boxes that may not fit into such a project? These may require a separate, sturdier design. Base the heft of the material and the dowel on the information you determine here.

Next, use cloth material to make the sorter. This can be material that is bought from a fabric store specifically for such a project, or it can be material that is leftover from previous projects. Since the sorter is specific to your needs, you can design it in any way that will accommodate those needs.

Cut the cloth to the pre-determined, necessary size. With the print side down, fold over the edges lengthwise, and stitch them to add a little more stability.

Next, fold the bottom section of the cloth upward toward the middle or no more than three-quarters of the way to the top of the cloth. Fold the edge over crosswise, and apply a stitch up the length of the folded material to form pocket inserts. These sections are where the sorted mail will be stored.

You may choose to label each pocket so that the manner of mail stored within each can be easily identified. Consider adding such categories as To Pay (such as bills), To File (such as financial or health insurance statements), and Reply (such as wedding or party invitations or subscription renewals). Use iron on labels, or take your creative side to new levels by monogramming each pocket.

If it is not a strong suit, consider applying liquid stitch to each section that requires stitching.

Based on the pre-determined size of wood dowel, fold the material crosswise at the top of the sorter either downward or over, depending on the design you wish to accomplish with the material chosen. Ensure that the dowel fits easily into the insert, then stitch the material.

There are several options for hanging the dowel with the mail sorter attached. Consider the type of material where you wish to hang the dowel. Is it sheetrock? Wood? Determine which method works best based on the materials used and the desired hanging place. Then, hang the dowel with the sorter attached, and insert your mail daily into the appropriate pocket.

Using a hardwood dowel, some material, and a little bit of creativity, you can easily turn your mail clutter into an organizational accomplishment!

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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