Category Archives: Projects

DIY Juggling Clubs

DIY Juggling ClubsI recently wrote about my experience learning to juggle. I hope it has inspired someone out there to give it a try. Please let me know if you do! I still have a lot I’d like to learn juggling three and four balls, but I’ve also become curious about juggling clubs, which are bigger and flashier. While I’m at it, I also want to learn how to unicycle, but I’m afraid that my family may get fed up with too many circus shenanigans at once.

While juggling clubs are a natural progression, I’ve been reluctant to run out and buy a nice set of them  because I still have a ton to learn with juggling balls. Fortunately, I found some great online instructions to make your own DIY juggling clubs. They are made almost entirely from common household items such as empty soda bottles, duct tape, and tennis balls. I scrounged up the majority of materials at home, and only needed to buy some rivets and wooden dowels.Juggling Materials

They look like they’ll do a great job of giving me a feel for juggling clubs before committing to purchasing a professional set. Now I don’t have an excuse to avoid learning clubs any longer. Time to practice!

Scuttlecam Test Run #2

scuttlecam

I’ve been keeping the Scuttlecam in the trunk, because you just never know when you’ll come across parking lot seagulls eager to make new friends. It worked out the other day, as we happened upon a rather large flock on the way out of a grocery center parking lot.
Unfortunately, the seagulls weren’t interested in the least, although we did get the attention of a white SUV that drove over to take a closer look. Perhaps with a large flock, the birds are more skittish, moving together collectively just like a school of fish. The smaller group that we encountered on our first Scuttlecam run was far more accepting of the Scuttlecam. Even though we know better, we prefer to believe that the seagulls just get grumpy sometimes when the weather is lousy.

Disco Garage Hack

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#Disco garage hack.

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With the help of a LiftMaster Light and Appliance Remote, you can use your remote control garage door opener to turn on a light inside your house or garage. Or, you can use it to activate your disco ball right as you roll into your crib.

Arrr! Pirate Treasure Box Wood Burning!

Pirate treasure boxLittle by little, I’ve been painstakingly working on my very first wood burning project: an old wooden box that I’m making into a pirate treasure chest for my son. As usual, I had no clue what I was getting myself into, so I vastly underestimated the time and patience that would be necessary to finish such a “simple” new project. I finally just finished the centerpiece on the front of the box. While it took a lot longer than I anticipated, the results have been well worth the time, and the smell of lightly burning wood has been an added bonus that perfectly compliments autumn weather.

The ship is a design from Etsy shop Eleitheliel, which I’ve used with permission. Thank you Emily and Hannah! Please be sure to check out all of their awesome, original ink drawings and other wares at their Etsy page!

Once all of the wood burning is complete, I plan to adorn the box with some gritty parts, like this iron lock that I purchased on eBay. I may even modify the box so that it glows when opened. Aye mateys–stay tuned for more project updates, though I reckon it may take me until next ‘international talk-like-a-pirate day’ to finish it!Lock

Wood Burning Pirate Ship

Jazzy Cat walks the Plank

 

A Bird’s-Eye View: Scuttlecam

scuttlecamThe kids love to visit the seagulls that congregate in a local strip mall parking lot during fall and winter months. This year, we’re getting ready early, and we’ve concocted a crazy plan to get a much closer look at the seagulls without the threat of being pooped on or pecked at.
We made a paper mache seagull, attached it to the chassis of an old R/C car, and outfitted it with a small keychain camera. We aptly named our goofy creation the Scuttlecam, after the famously wacky seagull from The Little Mermaid.

Scuttle body Scuttle body2

Only a half-dozen or so seagulls were around for our first test run of the Scuttlecam, but we were still able to have some great fun and capture some video.

The seagulls definitely took an interest in the Scuttlecam. They were weary at first, but after a few minutes they seemed to warm up. As more and more seagulls arrive this fall, it should be even easier for the Scuttlecam to blend right into the crowd and get some great undercover video!

The Wand of Polymera: A Polymer Clay Fairy Wand

Wand I helped my daughter make a magical fairy wand from polymer clay. All of its power comes from the pommel, a magical stone which was looted from Clover’s underwater castle.

Clover's Castle

Clover’s Castle

The handle features a hand impression that only fits my daughter’s exact grip, ensuring that only she could wield its awesome power.

wand 3The wand performed superbly right out of the gate. It had no problem transforming a pile of sticks into an enchanted fairy house.

wand2 fairy house sidefairy houseIn the meantime, little brother made a snowman with his own magical stone and chunk of clay. He’s still waiting for it to come to life.

The Adventures of Sprowkey: Chapter 10, Mooser’s

The Adventures of Sprowkey is part of a series following the whereabouts of a trackable geocaching item. Actual locations and events surrounding this trackable item form the basis for a fictional narrative, creating a unique and interactive geocaching experience. For more background on this series, see the first installment of The Adventures of Sprowkey. 

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With merely 500 miles between him and his destination, Sprowkey’s mission has been severely compromised! He had been carefully packed up and stowed away, patiently awaiting final transport by secret agent BirdsIView. However, BirdsIView had picked up the dossier for the wrong field agent, and while he carefully read the mission details and waited for the absolute perfect time to make his move, he actually set out in precisely the opposite direction of Sprowkey’s intended destination.

BirdsIView smuggled Sprowkey all the way from Phoenix back to Ohio, which would have been bad enough, except it was just a pitstop before their true target–New Brunswick, Canada! The complete opposite side of the continent! This setback puts Sprowkey nearly 16 driving hours FURTHER past where he had started!

The good news is that Sprowkey is in a safe place that the locals know as Mooser’s Restaurant. This popular pub and eatery is actually just a front for a top-secret geocaching operations base. Here, undercover agents are safe to share highly confidential information and to pool their efforts.

Mooser's

 

Breakfast

A favorite breakfast special among special agents

Sprowkey’s morale is at an all time low after this devastating setback. Will he give up hope and abandon his mission, or will he set out again, more determined than ever? Stay tuned for Sprowkey’s next adventure!

Total miles traveled: 10743

Previously:

The Adventures of Sprowkey: Chapter 9, Phoenix, baby!

 

The Adventures of Sprowkey: Chapter 9, Phoenix, baby!

The Adventures of Sprowkey is part of a series following the whereabouts of a trackable geocaching item. Actual locations and events surrounding this trackable item form the basis for a fictional narrative, creating a unique and interactive geocaching experience. For more background on this series, see the first installment of The Adventures of Sprowkey. 

Tucson

Last we heard of Sprowkey, he had been found unconscious and severely dehydrated in the Sonoran desert. He was captured by an intimidating gang of desert nomads that included F. Dawg, Kandy Kane, and L.A. Roaming Gnome. As it turns out, this ratty desert gang was really a group of good samaritans at heart. They cared for Sprowkey, and in time, were able to nurse him back to full health.

After his recovery, Sprowkey said his goodbyes to the Sonoran desert gang and was escorted from Picacho Peak State Park back into town under the care of Linda1201. Agent Linda1201 provided the field photos below to prove that Sprowkey was indeed alive and well.

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Once back in Tucson, our special agents wasted no time making their moves. They disseminated across the region and took their positions. It began with some stealthy, short trips in between several secure local hideouts. Cachemasters91 took Sprowkey to Upper Geronimo Wash, where he stayed for 10 days before being picked up by FreddyColgate. From there, the action really gained momentum. Sprowkey made the trek one hundred miles northwest to a place called Kenya’s Love, right in the heart of Phoenix. Here, he made the acquaintance of several other trackables that could potentially become strong allies. Unfortunately, there was no time to get comfortable and make friends. He had to move, and he had to move quick – before his trail could be picked up.

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With the help of SylverWinged and Cbritt84, Sprowkey navigated through the heart of Phoenix, making brief respites at the west campus of Arizona State University and the Buckeye Municipal Airport, all the while managing to skirt his adversaries without attracting their attention.

Currently, Sprowkey is in the capable hands of BirdsIView. He’s been in sight of a several hideouts, though something just seemed a bit off at each of them, and BirdsIView is not one to take unnecessary chances on the ground. It’s conceivable that someone picked up his scent while making the move through Phoenix. For now they will proceed with caution, keeping a low profile until another safe haven can be found. While he is finally closing in on the west coast, the finish line within tormenting reach, the real dangers are just beginning.

Miles traveled since last stop: ???

Total miles traveled: 7707

Previously:

The Adventures of Sprowkey: Chapter 8, Picacho Peak

 

Holiday Gifts for Dads – Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities

Looking for a truly unique holiday gift for dads? Then check out Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities, which is available for pre-order on Amazon, shipping just in time for Christmas (12/17 according to Amazon, although the author expects preorders to ship in the first week of December). Inspired by the Whole Earth Catalog, the contents of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities include a curated list from ten years of user reviewed tools, gadgets, and more featured on the Cool Tools website. Cool tools are described as “the best, the cheapest, or the only thing that works.” I can’t wait to get my own copy, which is precisely why I’ve already preordered it as an early Christmas gift to myself! I’m dreaming about perusing it with my kids on my lap, imagining all of the possibilities for future projects, and the adventures that will ensue.