The One That Gave Us A Sign – DIY Beach Sign

In keeping with our annual tradition, our kids completed their Orcas Island project while we vacationed there. This year’s project was a DIY Beach Sign, using items found on the island to spell a word they choose that reminds them of their experiences on Orcas Island.

You may remember last year’s Dream Catchers project.

We chose this project for several reasons. It can be done with very little help from an adult, other than instruction. It requires some imagination on the part of the child. And it requires a little exploring around the island.

The initial materials are pretty basic. Some wood, stain, glue, nails, etc. As for tools, mostly brushes, hammers, gloves.

DIY Beach Sign

Step number one is to prepare their wood. Each kid was given three 1×4 boards cut to 17″ long. We had them sand the edges a little before selecting a color of stain.

DIY Beach Sign

 

Donning their gloves and welding their foam brushes, they applied some stain and wiped the excess off with paper towels. We used a quick drying stain but waited until the next day to continue, just in case.

DIY Beach Sign

 

Some kids chose a dark brown stain. We also had a gray “weathered” look as well as one that gave it a drift wood feel.

DIY Beach Sign

 

Once the stain was dry we connected the three boards together forming their DIY Beach Sign using thin strips of molding cut to 10 1/2″, the height of the sign. We started with some wood glue to make sure it would be nice and solid. Using a foam brush, the kids applied to glue to cover the whole piece.

DIY Beach Sign

 

Once the glue was in place, they used some 3/4″ finishing nails to fix them permanently.

DIY Beach Sign

 

On to the fun part. The kids searched the beach to find drift wood, clam shells, oyster shells, rocks, and anything else they might want to use to form the letters of their words. It was fun to see what each came up with and how excited they would get over a rock.

DIY Beach Sign

 

Each kid laid out the design of their DIY Beach Sign on their board before gluing. Once they were happy with what they had, they glued them down one piece at a time with some of the wood glue.

DIY Beach Sign

 

Novie wanted to use sand from the beach for one of her letters so I drew the letter for her in wood glue and she covered it with sand. Once the glue dried she dumped off the extra.

DIY Beach Sign

 

Wally used the same technique for his border.

DIY Beach Sign

 

All finished! Once we get home we will attach some cables to the back which will allow us to hang them. I love everything about this project from the experience to the words the kids chose.

DIY Beach Sign


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

The One With the Other Trevor

Not a project, really, but I just had to mention it. On July 17th, the Daily Show with Trevor Noah aired an episode with a segment about people keeping chickens as pets. It is a bit of a satire about people spending a lot of money on extravagant coops. But the point is, guess whose coop shows up briefly when they flash through pictures?

Check it out if you have some time, just skip past the first section.

http://www.cc.com/episodes/9uw8xz/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-extended—july-17–2018—wiz-khalifa-season-23-ep-23126

The Daily Show

The One With Arachnophobia – DIY Grandfather Spider Clock

I am a big fan of holiday decorations at work. I think a fun workplace is great for morale and, aside from Christmas, no other holiday screams for decorations like Halloween. Thus, the spooky DIY Grandfather Spider Clock was born.

This project took a lot of pre-planning and prep work. Before we could actually assemble the clock, we had to construct all the little decorative pieces. We based this project on an image we found online, which has several skulls all over it. Since I do work in an office with clients, we changed the skulls to spiders to keep it a little more family friendly.

So we needed spiders. A lot of spiders. Fortunately, I have a particularly crafty and artistic co-worker who whipped out twenty of these cardboard spiders and painted them all black.

DIY Grandfather Spider Clock

 

There are a lot of fine details that make our DIY Grandfather Spider Clock particularly awesome. We had to resurrect some old geometry formulas to get cylinders and cones exactly how we wanted them, but it was worth the effort.

DIY Grandfather Spider Clock

 

Once we had all the pieces created, we started assembling the clock. I began by calling again on my artistic co-worker who too a stack of brown construction paper, a foam brush, and some black paint and 15 minutes later somehow had a stack of paper with wood grain.

We started by wrapping the post in the wood paper. We wrapped the top in black to give the illusion that the clock does not go all the way to the ceiling.

DIY Grandfather Spider Clock

 

Once the paper was done, we added the decorative cardboard ornamentation. It wasn’t too complicated but there were so many pieces! Once we attached all the pieces for one side, we realized we had to do that again on three other sides.

DIY Grandfather Spider Clock

 

We added the spiders themselves. Then the final step was to attach some cobwebs. I have to say, it is a little creepy when you see it in person. I definitely give it a little more room as I walk by.

DIY Grandfather Spider Clock


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

The One For Kindergarten- DIY Knitted Sweater

You may remember from previous posts (The One With the Circle Blanket) that my family vacations on Orcas Island every summer. It is traditional that I start some sort of crochet or knitting project to work on that week while sitting on the beach or by the campfire. This year, I chose a DIY Knitted Sweater, using a pattern I found on Ravelry, for my youngest daughter to wear as she starts kindergarten.

If you crochet or knit and you haven’t discovered the wonder of Ravelry.com you should check it out immediately. There are so many fantastic patterns from knitted sweaters to crocheted hats. The pattern I chose for this project is called Tulle and it is by Signe Stromgaard.
DIY Knitted Sweater

As usual, it is not super exciting to look at when you first start. But it is always fun to begin a new project and I love the color my wife chose. I have several sets of these metal needles which are very cool because they detach and can be switched out.

 

DIY Knitted Sweater

As I make progress you can start to see a cool pattern emerge. It is always amazing to me what you can do with one long piece of yarn if you just tangle it in the right way.

 

DIY Knitted Sweater

It took me long past my week at Orcas. And I spent a lot of nights trying to get it finished in time for her to start school. But I got it done! Once the knitting is done, I got it damp and spread it out on a blocking mat, pinning it down in the shape I want. This will help the yarn relax and maintain this shape once dry.

At first I thought this DIY Knitted Sweater would be too short, but after blocking it became apparant she will be able to wear it for quite a while.

 

DIY Knitted Sweater

And there is my kindergartner. Next in my knitting rotation: a lacey cardigan for my oldest.

 


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

The One We Dreamed Of – DIY Dream Catcher

Every year my family spends a week during the summer at West Beach Resort on Orcas Island and every year we have a project for the kids. This year we chose a DIY Dream Catcher.

There are a lot of examples on YouTube that describe how to make them. While doing my research the first thing I noticed is how many options there are. As usual, I ended up taking ideas from several different videos to create the idea I had in my head.

We began with 12″ diameter metal hoops that I ordered from Amazon. I found a pack of different colored flat suede cord that we used to wrap the hoop.

DIY Dream Catcher

It turned out to be fairly tricky for the kids to wrap the hoops and make sure they were done tight and without twisting so I wrapped most of the rings while the kids combed the beaches for decorations. For mine, I decided to use various types of shells and some driftwood. I needed to pick ones that were thick enough that my Dremel tool would be able to punch a hole through it without cracking it.

DIY Dream Catcher

Using some waxed string, we preloaded a bunch of beads that each kid chose, and wrapped the ring in a webbed pattern, dropping a bead at random.

DIY Dream Catcher

For mine, I ended up finding a cool way to add the beads in a spiral patter in descending order of size. I also used a cool looking oyster shell as a center piece.

Once the main DIY Dream Catcher was finished, I added the strings at the bottom to hang my shells, drift wood, some leftover beads, even some feathers I found from a legendary black Orcas Goose, not the crow that woke me up in the morning.

DIY Dream Catcher

When we (sadly) returned home from another fantastic trip to Orcas Island, we hung all our DIY Dream Catchers under the eaves of our house. It is pretty cool how they act as wind chimes as well.

DIY Dream Catcher


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

The One That Went Pop – DIY Giant Bubbles

I love this time of year when the weather gets warm and we are able to do a lot of the outdoor projects we have been thinking about. The kids and I had some free time today so we decided it was time to see what the fuss was all about with these DIY giant bubbles.

The cost was very minimal. We stopped at our local drug store and home improvement store and found everything we needed: Dowels, eyebolts, washers, water, dish soap, glycerin, and rope.

DIY Giant Bubbles

The first step was creating the bubble solution. After searching the internet and finding tons of recipes for DIY giant bubbles solution, I decided to follow one I found at www.innerchildfun.com. It seemed pretty straight forward and looks like it had good results.

6 Cups water
2 Cups dishwasher soap
5-10 drops of Glycerin (we just gave it a good squeeze)

Then a little boil, boil, toil and trouble and we had our solution. Rumor has it you should let it sit for a while and it will work better so we set it aside and got to work on our wands.

DIY Giant Bubbles

We started with four 3′ dowels which we cut in half, giving myself and each of my three kids two 18″ dowels. We then attached an eyebolt to one end of each dowel.

DIY Giant Bubbles

There are two ropes per “wand”. For the shorter we measured each kid from shoulder to wrist, then wrist to wrist for the longer. Yes, this gives the older kids wands that are slightly larger than the younger, but it also makes mine huge!

DIY Giant Bubbles

As for the results of our DIY giant bubbles project, see for yourself. I especially like the facial expressions.

DIY Giant Bubbles

DIY Giant Bubbles

Bubbles from Trevor Peterson on Vimeo.

Thanks to my amazing wife, Jessica, at One Tree Photography for taking very cool pictures of the kids with bubbles.

 


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

 

The One In The Third Dimension – DIY 3D Printing

I have officially entered the wonderful world of DIY 3D Printing. I have always been a fan of 3D Printing technology, but it hasn’t been until recently that the price and complexity of 3D printers has allowed the average DIYer to jump in at home.

There are now quite a few options out there. After some research I came across the Micro 3D Printer that looked simple, safe, user friendly, and at a price point that, if DIY 3D Printing turned out to not be my thing, would not have been a huge waste of money.

There are several color options available. I also purchased several spools of filament so I would have some color options once I got going. There were a few snags along the way. A gear wasn’t working requiring me to send it back for a replacement. It had trouble feeding the filament through the internal spool holder. And my daughter, well, dropped the printer on the floor.

Once I resolved those issues, I was on my way. DIY 3D Printing definitely takes some patience. Loading the filament, calibrating the print bed, and printing the object itself all take a lot of time. That being said, it is strangely fascinating to watch.

After about 4 hours I had my box. I like that it was able to print the box and the lid at the same time. It’s not super complicated, but my kids liked it.

DIY 3D Printing

After this one I was able to move on to more complicated prints. There are a lot of resources out there for 3D models including my favorite: www.thingiverse.com. The goal is to eventually design models myself instead of downloading existing ones online. I am a big fan of Google Sketchup. I use it for all my designs and plans. From what I understand, it is possible to convert Sketchup files into 3D models. I can only imagine the cool projects I could do. Instead of a hardware Chess Set, we could design and print custom pieces. Quadcopter anyone?

The One Where We Put All Our Eggs: DIY Egg Holder

A quick glimpse of one little prop in a short scene of Downton Abbey and we have a new project on our hands. Based on a handy tool in Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen, I give you our DIY egg holder.

The one on the show was very practical. It had three straight rows and held about 3 dozen eggs. Our chickens, living the life of luxury in their chicken coop, are cranking out several a day so we knew we wanted to hold about the same amount, but my wife wanted it to be a little more decorative as well.

We spent some time looking for the perfect piece of wood. We ended up finding this 5′ long 6″ wide piece of African Wenge (pronounced like wen-ghee) that we loved. It is a really hard wood with splinters that are toxic to skin. I was super careful handling it until I could get it sanded down.

DIY Egg Holder

My plan called for a 50″ board with two basic legs, each about 2-1/4″ tall. They needed to be 6″ wide which this board already was so that made it extremely easy to cut into the pieces I needed with my miter saw. Generally, I would have liked to have another leg with a board stretching this distance, but this wood was so hard and was about 7/8″ thick that I’m pretty sure we will be fine with the weight it needs to support.

DIY Egg Holder

The plan is for our egg holder to include succulents, spread out as decoration. While I worked on the holder itself, my wife found some small pots she liked, which she painted to the color she wanted.

DIY Egg Holder

The hole pattern we decided on was a little complicated, but repeating. I created a template using cardstock which I placed on the board and used screws to drill a small pilot hold at each mark. I then flipped the pattern and did the same for the next section, working my way down the board.

DIY Egg Holder

I used a 1-1/2″ Forstner bit to drill the egg holes in the board.  Actually, I used two. The wood is so hard the first one barely made it through halfway. By the time I got to the end, it took me about 15 minutes to drill the last hole. It was a little frustrating but I didn’t want to spend the time or money to go get another one. For a DIY egg holder, I wanted to make sure it would accommodate different sized eggs. So I tried several and a 1-1/2″ hold seemed to be best.

My benchtop drill press came in very handy. There is no way I would want to do this by hand.

DIY Egg Holder

Once the egg holes were done, I used a 3-1/4″ hole saw bit to drill the holes for the pots. I had to measure carefully the diameter of the pots so they would sit all the way in with the lip resting on the wood, but not fall through.

DIY Egg Holder

I didn’t want any screw or pocket holes visible so I decided to glue the legs on. It was a pretty basic joint. I toyed with the idea of trying a dovetail joint or something like that but didn’t want my first time to be on this project. I used some Titebond wood glue and clamped it tight for a couple of days to make sure I had a solid joint.

DIY Egg Holder

Finishing is usually not one of my favorite parts. But I loved the transformation on this project. I sanded everything smooth starting with 100 grit sandpaper and worked my way up to about 600 grit. By the time I was done it was amazingly smooth.

After doing some research, we decided to finish it with Odie’s Oil. It is a beeswax finish that darkens the wood, is food safe, smells good, and is easy to use. Food safe was an important feature for a DIY egg holder. With a rag, I rubbed the oil into the wood getting good coverage, literally trying to press it into the wood. Once it was completely covered, I let it dry for about an hour, then went back with a clean rag and buffed off the extra all over. And I was done. It was such a beautiful, shiny, smooth finish.

DIY Egg Holder

We let it sit and dry for about 72 hours before using it, but once we put it in place on our kitchen island and loaded it with the succulents and eggs, we were blown away. Every time I walk in the kitchen and see our DIY egg holder I have to stare at it for a while.

Enjoy these pictures of the final product by One Tree Photography.

DIY Egg Holder

DIY Egg Holder

DIY Egg Holder

DIY Egg Holder

 


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!

The One That Was A Snap – DIY Lego Portrait

When my family visited the Art of the Brick exhibit at the Pacific Science Center featuring Lego artist Nathan Sawaya, one of the pieces was a portrait the artist had made of his wife out of Legos. My son, Wally and I thought it was so cool and knew we wanted to do a DIY Lego Portrait for his mother for her birthday.

We had a plan and six months. We just needed a design.

The first thing you need for a DIY Lego portrait is the image to base it on. This was taken during a family photo session by the amazing photographer Megan Hooks. Check out Megan and her work at www.meganhooksphotography.com. I loved this image of Jess and Wally as soon as I saw it and knew this would be perfect for our project.

DIY Lego Portrait

Next, we had to decide on the size of our final product. The portrait would be made with “flat” legos on base plates. A little research gave us a couple of options. We could use the larger gray base plates that are 15″ x 15″, or the smaller, green base plates that are 10″ x 10″.

We knew that the larger the DIY Lego portrait, the higher our image “resolution”. But we didn’t want to go too big. We decided to use the green base plates, and break the portrait into a 3×3 grid of them, making the overall portrait 30″ x 30″.

We took our starting image, cropped it square, and resized it to 96×96 pixels. Each base plate is 32 x 32 lego dots, which means each pixel in our image will correspond to one Lego dot.

We found that Lego basically had 4 colors we could use: White, Light Gray, Dark Gray, and Black. We needed to limit our image to just those four colors and I wasn’t sure of an easy way to do that. Normally, I would ask my wife, the Photoshop expert, but that wasn’t an option in this case. So we asked our other trusted advisor, Google.

As it turns out, Photoshop has a function called “Posturize”, which will take an existing image and limit it to a color palette that you specify. That was exactly what we needed. One click later and we had our image.

DIY Lego Portrait

it was a simple matter to break the image into 9 separate ones. Our idea was to complete one section at a time, choosing our times wisely so Jess would never suspect.

DIY Lego Portrait

I converted each section to an Excel spreadsheet. From there I was able to add borders showing each piece. I grouped them into as few pieces as possible, and added o’s in the center of the cells to mimic the Lego dots, making it easier to read our plan.

DIY Lego Portrait

Once we had all nine plans done, we created a list of all the parts for each section. We then used Lego’s Pick a Brick option to order the bricks. It was not a super cheap project, so we ordered one plate at a time over the next several months. It took a couple weeks to get each plus waiting for a time when Jess wasn’t home to work on it.

DIY Lego Portrait

As we finished each panel, I would take it to work where Jess would never discover it, but I would take a picture so Wally could see how it was all coming together.

DIY Lego Portrait

Finally, it was finished. I can’t believe we both kept it a secret for so long. When he gave it to her, before she opened it, I told Jess “Wally wanted to make you something out of legos. Oh and he has been working on it for 6 months. Oh and it has 1321 pieces.” She was completely surprised and amazed and LOVED it!

DIY Lego Portrait

We hung the final portrait in Wally’s room. There is no frame here, no glass. I love how the Lego’s shiny finish reflects light just like a real glass covered portrait would.  I’m just amazed every time I look at it.

DIY Lego Portrait

The One With The Giraffe: DIY Crochet Giraffe

It’s been a while since I picked up the ol’ hooks and I needed a Christmas present for my nephew. After some internet searching, my wife came across this cute little DIY crochet giraffe at I Love Buttons, where Emma has given us a free pattern to follow.

The first step was to grab some of my scrap yarn, made easy by my awesome yarn shelves. You can probably choose however many colors you would like but for a project like this, the more the better. I went with ten.

There were different types of yarn, thicknesses, etc. But each color only does two rows at a time so I don’t think that will make much of a difference when making a DIY crochet giraffe.

DIY Crochet Giraffe

Emma did a great job of breaking down each step. All the crochet stitches involved are pretty basic. It is a simple matter of following the pattern of increases and decreases to get the right shape of each part. There are legs and arms, the body, head, ears, and horns. Each section went really quickly. I got some basic stuffing and filled each section as I went, and made sure to leave long tails of yarn for sewing the pieces together.

Here is a nice dismembered shot before I attached everything together.

DIY Crochet Giraffe

The final product is so cool for the relatively small amount of work. This took me a total of about 3-4 hours to complete. I can’t help but smile every time I look at this super colorful, somewhat giraffe-like, apparently bi-pedal, stuffed animal, aka a DIY crochet giraffe.

DIY Crochet Giraffe


Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!