30 September 2012

A Walk On the Wild Side

Living in a one stoplight town requires one to get inventive about sources of entertainment.  I remember my sister-in-law dating a boy from a tiny town and on Friday nights they went "moth hunting" - they drove their car til a moth flew in their headlights and then they tried to run it over before it could get away.  I'm not reduced to that. Yet. But I have been circling the granary every day, trying to find new angles, new views, new colours.  I'm amazed at how beautiful it's become to me, yet how hard it is to capture what I see.  I think it's healthy for me - literally, in that I walk everywhere; intellectually, because I'm challenged every day to see things in new ways; and emotionally. because I become so appreiative for the simplest of things - like the colour of rust leaching thru metal.  So... I started another website where I'm going to try to post a picture every day or so.  I only have an iPhone camera, and I can barely see out of one eye, so I don't have high expectations of producing masterpieces, but if you want to see what life looks like (to me) in this corner of the world, you're welcome to visit The Grangeville Project.

24 September 2012

Gift Idea #1: Robot Kit

It's 91 days until Christmas! :)  This robot kit is appealing to kids 4-8 years old. It is simply made of scavenged metal parts such as: Nuts, bolts, springs, latches, mint tins, fuses, casters, camera parts, speaker parts, light switches, faucet parts - basically anything cool and magnetic.  You then add some varied sized cans and MANY of those large fat magnets and let their imagination take it from there.  If you do make these this year, email me some pictures and I'll post them!

Some caveats and advice:  

1) Keep the magnets away from little ones, and because (no matter what the kids think) you don't have eyes in the back of your head, don't risk using the so-called "super magnets".  If children swallow those it can cause serious injury and even death. Use the big fat normal ones that look like liquorice lozenges. 

2) Make sure cans and parts have no sharp edges.

3) Not everything that glitters is magnetic!  You can glue magnets onto the non-magnetic items to make them work, or you can just let the kids discover for themselves what's magnetic and whats not (it'd be good for them!)

Believe it or not - Not Magnetic!

4) If you can, sit down and make a few robots yourself before you give this as a gift - it gives you a good idea what works, what doesn't, and how you can tweak your kit to make it function better.  One of the fun things about this gift, though, is soon everyone will be discovering parts to add to the kit wherever they go - bits and bobs from the gravel alley, treasures from recycling, and broken household items all of a sudden become really special - especially meat thermometer gauges!

5) Use Droid Robot font to make a cute label for your kit.