My daughter has moved from writing her alphabet to full words and phrases, and evidence of her recent practice explosion has been popping up everywhere. It all started as a desperate attempt to communicate her Christmas wish list to Santa.
After finally exhausting all Christmas wants and desires, she continued her momentum with a barrage of notes addressed to our pets. We found notes left for the animals on their food bowls.
It’s been fun finding notes all over our house, but by far my favorite note is the very last one I found while tucking myself into bed after a looong day.
I am very excited to announce my guest appearance on the latest episode of Gweek, one of my long-time favorite podcasts from boingboing.net, hosted by Mark Frauenfelder and Dean Putney. My morning routine isn’t complete until I’ve had a few cups of coffee while perusing the latest posts on Boing Boing, and I never miss an episode of Gweek.
As an avid listener, I’ve often been compelled to run out and explore many a gadget, website, book, movie, graphic novel, or various other neat stuff recommended by Mark, Dean, or any of their interesting guests. It was a thrill to be a guest myself and share some of my own favorite things with them. I’d like to thank Mark and Dean for having me on the podcast. It was such a blast! You can read more details about it and listen here.
Little 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!
As my daughter has grown, we’ve moved up from simple paper and glue crafts to working through more involved project books. I’m now always on the lookout for good project books suitable for the whole family. One of our favorites that we’ve found is Mad Professor, by Mark Frauenfelder. We’ve done several of the projects, such as the Shrunken Head, Old Tyme Robot, and Mini Glideabout, which the kids loved, but the dog–not so much.
Now Mark has a new book that we’re even more excited about, called Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects. We’ve already completed our first project–astro ice cream. When I was young, I only remember completing a handful of projects from the project books that I had. Many were too complicated, used exotic chemicals, or were just plain boring. I’d pick the coolest ones (often repeating them) and then move on to something else.
When I flipped through Maker Dad with my daughter and asked her which projects she wanted to tackle, she said all of them! So did I! For a family project to work, everyone has to be interested and engaged, and this is where I think this book stands out. All of the projects seem challenging, educational, and fun for kids as well as parents.
We’re especially excited to make a Friendstrument – an instrument you play with a friend. We’ll be sure to post our finished product. If you’re looking for a great family project book, be sure to check out Maker Dad.