Friday, March 18, 2016

March Craft Night

March craft night was a lot of hard work but super fun. I always love when we get to use power tools to create cool stuff. 

We started with scrap bead board and then some folks cut monogram letters from scrap siding (with a jigsaw). You could but precut letters but where is the adventure in that!?! Others cut letters from scrap book paper. For best results coat all your work and paint with modge podge to seal in the goodness for years to come. 

The results of our awesomeness are below. 
Add some ribbon to hang your sign and decorate with embellishments as many or as few as you feel necessary. Now adorn your door with your new creation. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

DIY ski pulk

I've been wanting to convert our bike trailer into a all-season child pulling vehicle. Finally I have completed this beauty. I'm excited to try it out this weekend and will post an update once we've tried it behind both cross country skis and snowshoes. 

To complete this we had a two kid in-step brand bike trailer. This is nothing fancy and costs way less than most brands out there. 

List of materials:
Bike trailer (if different might require different pole attachment)
Old skis (found mine at thrift store for $8)
(6) 2" wood screws 
(2) locking pins 
(1) 1/2" dia x10' electrical conduit 
(2) rated load bearing carabiners
(2) scrap pieces of 2x6 about 16" long
(4) 1/4" x 2" carriage bolts and nuts 
One coil plumbing pipe strapping 
Any backpack with waist strap or heavy duty fanny pack 

First cut wood to contour wheels of trailer. Trace wheels and cut using a jig saw. Remove bindings from skis and attach wood block to skis using 2" wood screws from bottom of skis. Make sure to countersink the screws. You can fill in the holes with ski wax or candle wax if you choose. Next deflate the tires a little and place in cradle. Determine where you want the attachment to be and drill (2) 9/16" holes through the wood about and inch down from where the wheel sits. Cut the plumbers strapping long enough to go over the wheel rim and back down to the holes that you just drilled. Attach strapping with 1/4" carriage bolts. Make sure and attach two connection points to each wheel. Use a bike pump to reinflate the tires. SEE NOTES BELOW ON HOW MUCH THE METAL STRAPS SUCK!!!

Note your wheel should be centered over where the ski bindings are supposed to go. This is the thickest part of the ski and there should be some markings indicating where they go. 

On to the attachment to the work horse... I mean the loving parent. This bike trailer was made of square tubing about 1" outside measure. This allowed for a 1/2" electrical pipe to fit inside perfectly. I removed the plastic end caps so that I could slide the new harness in. 

I cut the pipe in half using a hack saw so each section is 5' long. I measured 5" back on the trailer and started drilling a hole 9/16" diameter all the way through the square tubing. Next I inserted the sharp end of the conduit pipe into the trailer 6" and drilled a hole into the conduit. Connect the two pieces with the locking pin. 
Do this for the other side as well. 

Use a piece of scrap wood and a hammer to flatten the person end of the conduit pipe. Use 3/8" drill bit to make holes in the flat part and then insert carabiners.

Now you have a completed trailer ready to haul the kiddos around. Just attach the carabiners to either a backpack with waist strap or heavy duty fanny pack. Wait for snow and have fun. I will report back on how well this works dragged behind both snowshoes and cross country skis. 
The kiddos are already having fun playing in it. 

I had the opportunity to try out my contraption. I unfortunately have some bad news. The ski attachment to the bike was a total bust. The ski to wood block attachment remained intact but the ski is we're too long and twisted on the wheels. The metal strapping was too flimsy and twisted and split at the connection points. 

On the bright side however the harness contraption worked great!!!!  I bent the pipes slightly by standing on them while we were out. This let the trailer be at more of a parallel to the earth. The carabiners attached easily to my backpack waist strap and was easy to pull. I had three kids in the trailer and it was minimal work to pull them all. BTW I was pulling them all on the snow with just the wheels in my snowshoes. I also pulled them on the sidewalk this way. I really want to try it out this summer as well for walks around the neighborhood. We have a lot of hills and it would be nice to not have to push a double stroller to go jogging.  There is the update. I will write back again if I try some different configuration with the skiis. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January craft night - Hula Hoops

I don't know about you but I've always sucked at hula hooping. Then I realized it wasn't me it was the hoop. Using the $2 gem from the toy store only works when you are a kid because they are sized for kids. As an adult you need a bigger hoop to match your bigger frame. So introducing the DIY hula hoop. 

Supplies you need:
3/4" diameter 160 psi irrigation pipe

10 3/4" male/ male pipe couplers
About 1/2 yard fabric cut into ~2" strips
Gorilla glue or some type of glue that adheres to plastic

To make: 
First you will need to size your hoop by stretching the pipe out so that the hoop is about as tall as your belly button. Cut the pipe using a utility knife. 
Now heat the first end of the pipe in boiling water for about 45-60 seconds. Fit the coupler into this end. If you would like to weight your hoop you can either add sand or water. For an average sized person add about 2-3 cups of water. Now without spilling heat the other end of you pipe in the boiling water. Heat this side longer about 60-90 seconds. Then fit the pipe with the coupler into a circle. 

Now try out your hoop. Easy right!?!? 
If you're still having trouble stand with your feet staggered front to back and move your hips in a slow front to back motion. 

Ok now to cover the hoops. Using the glue make a line along the top of the piping and start wrapping it with the fabric in a spiral motion. Adding another line of glue when you reach the end so that there is glue all the way around the hoop. When you get the the fabric end apply a little glue to make it stick. Overlap the next section with some more glue and keep going. 

Ending a piece of fabric:

Mid section wrapping spiral: 

Starting a piece of fabric:

Wrap the fabric to the end. Let the glue dry overnight and then get to jamming out with your fun new toy. 

In addition to using this for fun and exercise we also are teaching our 2 year old son to ski using the hoop as a leash. It teaching great forward motion and does not pull back on them using traditional leashes. 

December craft night - Santa Logs

These Santas turned out so cute. What an easy way to add a little nature to your holiday decorating. 

To make:
Cut a tree branch from the yard into three pieces of varying length. Don't make them larger than your Christmas storage bins. Cut one end of each section flat and the other at 45 degrees. 

Paint the bottom half of each angled face white and the top third red. Add eyes using black paint or a sharpie. Hot glue on a button or small branch nose. 

We used wire to lock our guys together so tightly wrap your logs with wire so they remain together. Then cover the wire with ribbon. Using hot glue to secure everything in place. If you want to learn how to make the perfect Minnie Mouse bow check out this tutorial.