My son makes things out of paper. He once made a moderately convincing machine gun, and he’s recently made a cube and a pair of scissors that actually scissored like a pair of scissors. Perhaps his greatest triumph to date has been this cello, which he modeled loosely on the cello his older sister now plays in middle school orchestra.

The little holes on the front, which sort of look like headless body builders because he misjudged the cut to make, are on a real cello called F holes, but when I was first acquainting myself with the instrument to help my daughter get started, I learned that the concave curves on the side are called the C bouts, had read that there were F holes, and managed to think briefly that the F holes were called the A holes, so that now occasionally I’ll do this schtick in which I name the other lettered bits of cello anatomy and express surprise that I never can find the A hole. I’m still waiting for my Father of the Year award.

Ceci n’est pas une pumpkin

Last week, a coworker showed off some little pumpkins her kids had made using cuties and some ghosts made of bananas. Although I’m not usually the crafty/Pinteresty type, I found these charming and was sort of irrationally excited to make the pumpkins. I don’t really like eating citrus fruit, and I detest celery (which I used for the stalks), but I got a kick out of making these.




My wife ran across an idea for making home-made coasters using glazed tiles, sharpies, and rubbing alcohol. You start with a plain white tile and scribble on it with rainbow sharpies. Then you spritz or dropper alcohol onto the ink. The alcohol makes the colors run together and then it evaporates, leaving the color smears behind.

Sometimes you wind up with these weird almost burned looking effects (I think probably where alcohol has puddled too much). You rarely get quite what you expect. The tiles are dirt cheap, and it’s a quick, neat craft. Once we figure out how to seal the colors in, we’ll have a nice new assortment of coasters, and we’ve talked about figuring out a way to mount these together somehow as a wall hanging in the kids’ playroom.

My tiles are the rainbow one in row 4, column 3 and the one with lots of sort of marbled whitish space (intentional but not exactly as I had intended) in row 3, column 1. I think the top left one looks really neat — like something the Hubble telescope would send back — but my son was really disappointed in it. The one to its right has some neat striations that I think were the result of blowing the pooling alcohol a little.

Sock puppets

A few weeks ago, I proposed that we make sock puppets as a fun activity for the kids. My wife was out of town this weekend and I was antsy to get the craft going, so we went ahead without her. After a trip to the craft store, we laid out our supplies, and the kids started designing their puppets. Although I had intended to make one of my own, we found that our various room-temperature glues weren’t really doing the trick, so I operated the hot glue gun (a first for me) and stuck the various limbs and accessories on. The kids were really happy with their puppets and went straightaway after finishing them to go write and perform for me a brief puppet show that made absolutely no sense. It was a fun afternoon. Pinterest, here I come.