Category Archives: Projects

Rolling in Art!

Maybe you read our post from last March about the Mobility Cart manufacturing tour we took. If not you can read it here. Maybe you thought to yourself – WOW! I had no idea that so many people suffer from not being able to get around in other countries, just like we did after we saw the incredible videos of disabled people in Africa. This New Years, we came together as a family to create a custom, African design inspired cart for a child in need thousands of miles away! If you read this and think you’d like to do the same or as a fundraising activity or even just donate money toward to cost of a mobility cart, you can check out Mobility Worldwide’s website here.

Once our cart is fully assembled at the plant, we will update this post with a photo…Can hardly wait! Happy New Year!!!

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Here is a video of the people who are helped by these incredible carts!

 

 

Branching Out…

Things are really turning around over here!

Inspired by Olive’s pot-making,  I decided to try a little something new, the lathe! Some of my first projects included: pens and small japanese-like kokeshi dolls… But my new favorite are these mini vases, all of which are less than 4 inches tall! So far I’ve turned many different woods like: cherry, pine, teak, black walnut, redwood and my personal favorite which is made of many types of wood glued together. I’m trying new kinds of wood, both hard and soft, to get an understanding of how each turns and finishes differently. So far, I loved the teak and pine – they cut easily and finish cleanly.  Black walnut has had an unexpected ‘flicker’ in the wood once it is polished. That is COOL! I have been using beeswax as my final coat which makes them smooth and incredible to the touch. Wood has never felt so GOOD!

They are tiny enough to put small bunches of dried flowers, twigs or other natural bits of joy in them. I’m thinking a bowl might be my next project – stay tuned!!

As an aside, for one of my assignments, I researched soft and hard wood. I’ve included the overview of the soft woods on this post. I’ll never look at trees the same again!

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Print

The Water Street Prosthetic Lab!

Sadly, in the last of couple years, the dolls of Water Street have been losing limbs like hands or even heads due to casualties of fun or an attempted playdate with our dog, which has resulted in a bigger than desired group of dolls without arms, feet, legs and hands. It is time for them to regain their full ability as role playing friends. It’s time to turn their disabilities into SUPER abilities!

The dolls of choice were Batgirl, whose arm popped off moments after she emerged from her packaging. The tricky part was attaching it because it broke at the elbow joint and there was still a plastic piece left inside. More on that in a minute. The second doll was an already repainted/modified Bratz doll, named Kimberly, who lost 2 fingers in a dog attack (though it looked like more…).

We used a program called Sketchup! on the computer to create the designs and interfaces we would then print on the Maker Bot. Before we made anything we needed to access the tools we could use. (most of them are listed below) Then we began measuring and writing… we used calipers to measure the teeny stuff so we were sure it would fit correctly. Then we chose an appendage to make: Olive chose a Bob’s Pizzeria box and a hand saw and I chose a large hook and a over-size sword to make…

TO THE COMPUTER!!! after a lot of extruding, re-learning how to measure on that program and getting some critical intellect, we were ready to send it off to the Maker-bot! After a suspenseful night sleep, we went out to the lab to find some printer and part errors: Olive’s pizza box was too thin at the bottom so it looked like a bunch of string and my sword’s cuff was too chunky and short. So we went back to the computer to make modifications on the designs, hit print, and after about 7 hours of waiting – it worked!! The new prosthetics fit tightly  and now Batgirl can cut vegetables with more grace and ease, deliver Bob’s Pizza at a moment’s notice and Kimberly is now continuing her career as a pirate! Arrgh!

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Bitter Sweet, Honey…

A trip out to our hive in late October to feed our bees resulted in an unexpected surprise… Stillness.  The bees were gone.

Unfortunately, we don’t exactly know what happened or why they absconded so late in the season. No sign of mold, or mites. Healthy duroung our last check 3 weeks before with our bee mentor, Sam, but sappily (sad+happy) they left us a yummy treat for the first time since beekeeping… honey! On the far side of the hive there were a few frames of perfectly capped honey. LET PRODUCTION BEGIN!!!

We began our low level harvest by sourcing lots of towels, trays, clips, cheese cloth and bowls from the kitchen of wonder. Before we began extracting the honey, mum thought it was a grand idea to weigh the frames before and after the honey was harvested and most of them were a whopping 7+ pounds each! Now the tricky part – By balancing the frame in a bowl and using a sharp knife to take off the caps on the honey ( which took 4 people and a dog to do) we managed to get clear the frames of both honey and comb. Had we had a full super of honey, we have a centrifuge that would have extracted only the honey and left the comb for the next year, but because we had only a small amount to get, this was the next best way. After separating the wax from the honey using a overnight process called patience and a cheescloth lined bowl, we weighed only the honey and found we had about 17 lbs! Sounds like a lot, but we use our neighor’s land for the hives in exchange for honey that we have never gotten so far with all the hive issues we have encountered over the past 2 seasons. After sharing some with them and a few friends and family, we have a small stash to enjoy through the winter.

We let the honey sit for a few days for the bubbles to setttle out and in that time, Mom made a label for the jars we soon filled. So much fun and hard to ‘bee’lieve all the work that the bees put into making that sweet and sticky substance we love so much!

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In this frame you can see uncapped honey that we did NOT harvest with 2 worker bees frozen in time.
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This was another frame. You can see baby brood (bees) have partially chewed their way out. This is the stillness we mentioned. Everything looks fine, but all the bees are dead.
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This is one of the frames we harvested the honey from. No brood and freshly capped honey.

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Perfectly wax-capped honey.
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Wax comb and honey taken from the frame. This is what we filtered through the cheesecloth.

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Freshly bottled honey. A bitter sweet harvest for sure!

 

Maker Time!

As one of our final end-of-the-year projects, we’re learning to create 3D PRINTS on our MakerBot!!! How cool is that?!?! We’ve been making “simple” things on the computer on a professional design program called SketchUp. We’re designing all kinds of things.

For her first print, Olive created a yacht for her minuscule Polly Pockets complete with outdoor seating, a kitchen and guest bedroom! I started by designing a cute character for my ‘cute character collection’. I have since started working on prostsetics for dolls with lost arms or hands. We are learning so many things about math… scale is a big one (no pun intended!)… when we built our first models, we had no idea that they were actually 64 FEET tall! We reduced them down to a size that would actually work with our toys. Can you imagine a 64′ tall Polly Pocket yacht !?

The fact that your own designs can magically appear in a matter of hours is so impressive! As we learn more about the complex program to create things, the next challenge is to create something that ‘fits together’. More on that when our project gets further underway.

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This is the MakerBot in action!

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This print took about 3 hours to print.

This is Olive’s Party Ship for her Polly Pockets!

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This little baby took over FIVE hours to print!

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1..2..3…..Hatch!

As many of you may know, about a year and a half ago we hatched chickens and gave them to a friend who wanted them for eggs. You can see that post here. That was so amazing that 20 days ago, we started a new project as part of our Life Cycle and Biology area of study….

QUAILS! Fourteen eggs – set, incubated, turned and finally after 17 days development time, they were ready.

As of Tuesday afternoon last week, they began to hatch. First one, then the next, then it seemed like popcorn, one after another, after another. The first one came at 1:37PM. The last one emerged around 8:35PM. 11 baby chicks out of 14 eggs. We had 2 that didn’t pip but were fully developed and sadly died in the shell, another wasn’t viable and the last one which strangely, was the first one to pip, couldn’t make it out of the shell, so a recovery mission was set into motion to get it out of it’s shell.  The membrane had started to ‘shrink’ around the baby quail which happens when the air from the original pip opening starts to dry out. Without help, the baby will get stuck and die. Here’s the thing. The last part of a healthy chick’s formation is once it gets outside air, it begins to absorb the blood and all the nutrients in it from the vascular system in the membrane. It’s final process is to absorb the yolk, (which will serve as a protein pack for 2-3 days) into it’s tummy. If you help a chick too soon, those things can’t happen and some tragic results can occur. We waited about 10 hours and saw the lining of the shell drying up before we decided to start a rescue mission. Happily, it was a success and that last chick out into the world is fine!!!! WHEW!

The quails are TINY!!! The chicks only weigh about 6-7 grams when they hatch. It’s like holding air!

So! We have 11 babies in the house. :0) We love every single one of them and they are little pooping machines! Their wings are growing by the day – time for a cover on the brooder so they don’t start flapping their wings and take off… This week they will fly our coop (brooder) and head to their new, forever home a few miles away at a friend’s farm.

Another awesome adventure here on Water Street. Thanks for checking out our post to learn more about the amazing world of quails!!

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This is the quail development chart we referenced each day.

On the 14th day, the egg turner is removed from the incubator, the humidity is raised and the eggs are set on a cloth for hatching. We color the water in the channels blue so we can see when it is running low. A duck family offered to oversee the hatching since they were familiar with the process ;0)

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The first pip! This was the chick that had to be rescued from it’s shell 10 hours later.
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The first one!

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Many friends and neighbors came by to meet the new chicks and see them hatch.

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It was a busy afternoon having all those eggs hatch over 10 hours time! The next morning, after spending the night in the incubator, we saw the rescued chick needed help getting the now dried membrane off. Under a heat lamp, a little water, a towel and a gentle touch was about all it took to get this little guy to fluff up like the rest of the crew. Once it did, it was time for the brooder box.

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What fun nature can be!!!!

 

Happy New Year!

In early December, Olive and I were asked if we would be interested in coming up with a design ideas and a proposal for the home of our friends to decorate their space for a big New Year’s Eve Party! Of course we said YES!

We immediately went online to get inspiration. We decided on using silver, gold and lots of candles, birch wood and bit of tasseling here and there. We then created the proposal. Here’s a look at it:

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They agreed to hire us and we began SHOPPING – every decorator’s favorite part! We started at Target. It was hard to know how much stuff we would need, so we found a fairly empty shelf and started mocking it up in the store. We were armed with a calculator and a lot of patience. It was hard to get everything we needed and stay in budget. We had so many IDEAS!!!

After returning from our travels for the holidays, we cut the birch platforms, packed up the decorations and headed to their home to begin the decorating. We were happy that we had the perfect amount to create a festive space for them to party in! One of my favorite parts was the fortunes we made. They were hilarious and really pretty. We heard they were a hit. :0)

Check out some of our handy work. It was great fun and awesome to see what we could accomplish! Happy New Year to one and all!!

 

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