Archive for the 'The Workshop' Category

Nettie’s Clever Case

A few years ago, Nettie created this case for her Nintendo DS using duct tape. Today, Treehugger recognized it as #19 in their 20 Clever Uses for Duct Tape list. See Nettie’s original story here. There are a bunch of great ideas in the Treehugger article, but of course #19 is my favorite!

Building da Vinci’s Catapult

This week, Peabody assembled the da Vinci Catapult model from Marbles: The Brain Store. The working model is based off of Leonardo’s Renaissance redesigns of medieval catapults. It comes with everything you need, even glue and clay ammunition. The instructions and illustrations are very well done. With only a little help, Peabody had it going in a little over an hour. We recommend it for 10 year-olds and up who are interested in laying siege to the living room.

Maker Faire 2011

Despite the crowds, the trip to Maker Faire was fun and inspirational. Nettie enjoyed the felt and jewelry crafts and Peabody liked the Lego and miniature steam trains. While Annabelle took in a couple lectures, we watched RC warships fight in the battle pool. After we get through the bedroom re-making project, we’ll need to get to some serious making this summer.

Bedroom wall restoration

We’ve started repairing some of the walls in our 120 year old cottage. The bedroom has some nasty bulges where the plaster has separated from the wooden lathe. Annabelle started stripping the walls this week. Peabody and I joined her for a full day of work on Saturday while Nettie organized her room. We had to break through two layers of paint and five layers of wallpaper to find the plaster beneath. Here is some of Peabody’s handiwork. We still have a bit more stripping to do before we begin repairing the walls later this week.

Wagon restoration

Peabody decided it was time for us to fix up the old Radio Flyer that has been parked under the deck. For a 10 year old wagon, she was in pretty good shape. After scrubbing the tarnished areas with steel wool and applying a fresh coat of Rustoleum to the inside, wheels and handle, the Trav-ler Wagon looked great. We’ll be taking it to the Thursday and Saturday famers’ markets. Peabody says he has no interest in being pulled around in it, but I know he secretly wants to find a hill and ride it like Calvin & Hobbes into space.

Peabody’s Movie Theatre

During the last week of school, Nettie and Peabody brought home a year’s worth of school projects. Here Peabody is holding his movie theatre featuring the diaster film “The Xsplozin.” The theatre is a shoe box with scenes drawn on a scroll. His summary of the scene here: “Some dudes are playing four-square and suddenly the ball is going so fast that it’s flaming. It shoots into the air and hits a plane. The plane crashes and then there is lightening, a tornado, rain and a tree on fire. Did I mention the tidal wave?”

Berkeley Adventure Playground

Tucked away in the Berkeley Marina is a boy’s paradise. Adventure Playground is a small village of wooden huts, boats and castles built by visiting kids. The park provides scrap lumber, tools (earned by collecting trash and lost nails) and plenty of work space. The picture above is Peabody sitting on his three legged chair with Zev from the park’s staff. In addition to areas for building and climbing, the park has a popular zip line. We can’t wait to head back this summer!

Finishing up the bird feeder

Peabody’s after-school carpentry class has been working on bird feeders. The students do all of the work themselves with real tools. Peabody enjoyed hammering, sawing and measuring. He even broke his first drill bit which has become part of the structure. After applying a final coat of varnish at home, we’re ready to start feeding our Towhees, Robins and Scrub Jays.

Pipe-Cleaner Valentines

The night before the last day of school before President’s Day Break I was hunting through the art drawer looking for something to make valentines out of. Of course, no one else in Middle School makes valentines, but I always will. So, in the art drawer I found three bags of pipe-cleaners, (glow in the dark, pastel, and fluffy) some shrinky dink paper, and heart-shaped doilies. I experimented with the doilies and pipe-cleaners, baked the shrinky dinks, and came up with this (See above). The writing on the shrinky dink got blurred, but besides that, everything turned out fine. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Inauguration!

This was Peabody’s first Inauguration and the first one that I could remember, and we made pins to celebrate. Peabody had the idea to use the Obama logo as the background, and Mother let us use her glitter and gel pen to make outlines and write. Then, after seeing a lego Obama logo, we decided to build one ourselves. Finally, I made one little pin the perfect size for Mandy. Yes We Can!