Sunday, February 28, 2021

Five Random Things to Do with Random Junk

Perhaps not the most endearing title, but it's awfully true. I rounded up five of my random "recycled" projects from around the house to show you. Hopefully they inspire you to figure out uses for all those bits and pieces that you just can't throw away.

    1. Itty-bitty Stuffed Animals or People (Using fabric)

These are so fun to make. Find a pattern online, or draw your own. Any fabric works, but I especially like felt or fleece because they don't unravel and that seems to happen on small stuffed animals. The stuffed animals are very easy to make since they are so small: Minimal stitching and just as much adorable-ness. They make great gifts and surprises, but I do not recommend giving them to small children.

    2. Music Disk-Holder Cup Coaster (Using a music disk holder)
I'm not really sure how many people even have music on disks anymore, but for anyone who does (And keeps the disks in a spot other than their original holders!), the plastic cases the music disks come in make nice cup coasters. You don't even have to do anything. Just put your cup on the case. If you're worried about scratching or something, pick up a few self-adhesive felt pads from your local hardware store and slap them on the bottom four corners. Done.
    3. Storage Containers (Using any nice, clean container)
Anything works for this one. That old flowerpot on the back shelf of your shed. The soup can on the counter, waiting to go to the garbage pail or recycling bin. Even the egg carton you just used the last egg out of. If you'd like your container nicer-looking, either paint directly on it, or cut and decorate a piece of paper to glue around the container. If you're wondering what you can use an egg carton for, it holds rings, hair elastics, and earrings very nicely. Just cut the carton to size, leaving as many cups as necessary. Make sure none of your containers have sharp edges.
    4. Dollhouse Miniatures (Using anything!)
I just love making miniatures so much I couldn't leave this out. My dollhouse was so filled with my homemade miniatures that I eventually had to put some of them in a box until I redecorated again. To make the fabric-bolt shelf below, I used a box from eyeglasses. To make the fabric bolts, I used scraps of fabric glued around scraps of cardboard.
    5. Brown Paper Fun (Using brown paper, obviously)
There are way more uses than one for that brown paper used as padding in most boxes. Sure, you can reuse it as padding when you ship stuff, but it can also be used for many other things. You can cover books with it (Look the different ways up online. I've found at least three that I prefer.). Bonus: When you paper-cover a book, you can paste your artwork or favorite pictures on it, not to mention draw on it. Just make sure to write what book it is on your new cover. You can also just use brown paper as, well, paper. Use it to figure out your math problems, write down your newest idea, or write a letter to your friend. There are so many uses for brown paper.

I hope you had fun reading five of my favorite random uses for random junk! I also hope you were inspired to make some of the random junk around your house useful (Anyone tried a bubble-wrap to-do list yet?). There are no rules except: Clean up when you're done, and always ask an adult before wrecking anything you think might be junk. (If you are an adult, then just do it! But if it might be your friend's, ask them.)

What did you make out of your random junk? Tell me!

Baby Girl

Monday, February 22, 2021

Book Review: A Tangle of Knots

Here's my latest book review! I've done it on another one of my favorite books, A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff.

"In this remarkable world, everyone has a special Talent...

And eleven-year-old Cady's is a phenomenal ability: she can bake the absolutely perfect cake for any person, anywhere. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born, leading her to a mysterious address, a family of children struggling to grow beyond their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever."

First off, I'd just like to say this is one of the better middle-grade books I've read. It's a great family read because, even though the synopsis doesn't mention it, the book really seems to be based off family. The story is told from a lot of different views, so it keeps winding every which way until, like the title suggests, the stories all get tied together.

There are quite a few characters in the book, including Cady who can bake any cake, Marigold who can't find her Talent, Will who loves to adventure, and V who can play the oboe, but I was never confused or got the characters mixed up. The switch of perspectives every chapter was a style of writing I like but don't see often.

I would rate this book five stars and say it's a good read for anyone, even people older than the suggested audience. The tale bounces through a lot of different settings and places, but it doesn't move either too fast or too slow. It has a lot of adventure, but it's all understandable and comes at an easy-to-digest rate.

All in all, A Tangle of Knots is a good read for anytime and (almost) any age. Also, sprinkled throughout the book are recipes for many unusual cakes. The end of the story is pretty conclusive, so it's not one of those cliffhangers that makes you so mad you don't want to read the next book. I'm not completely sure if there's another book in the series, but this one ends off in such a manner that if there is a sequel, you really don't have to read it.

What are your favorite books? Do you have a suggestion of a book I should review? Tell me!

Baby Girl

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Fun and Fascinating "Pets" for the Pandemic

 Animals are fascinating to watch, especially if they live underwater and swim up and down, back and forth, and every which way. We got brown Planaria, living hydra, and daphnia from an online science site called The daphnia were mostly for feeding the hydra and planarians.

Hydra viridissima are a species of cnidarian that live in freshwater. They are discernable by the squid-like appendages on top. They mostly stick to the sides or bottom of the container with their little tentacle-things waving around, but occasionally, struck by a burst of activity, they swim across the cage with an entertaining flurry of movement. To eat, they snatch food with their "tentacles".

Planaria torva are planarians of the family Planariidae. They live in freshwater, and though they do sometimes cling to the container, they are much more active than hydra and are constantly either scooting along the walls or swimming around and over each other. Planarians also eat daphnia. An interesting fact and fun experiment to try is cutting a planarian in half. When they are cut in half, each half turns into a whole new planarian. As in, each half starts moving around and eating like it never used to be part of another planarian.

Daphnia are very tiny, typically so small they're difficult to see. They can live in many environments, anywhere from acidic swamps to freshwater. They're very adaptable. Both hydra and planarians eat them. If you're lucky enough to be able to see them (Providing the ones in your batch are fairly large for daphnia; their size ranges from 0.2mm to 0.5mm!), you'll have the pleasure of watching a very active creature. The ones in my batch were constantly bouncing every which way. To be truthful, they remind me of sand fleas.

After studying the daphnia, planarians, and hydra in the name of science, all of them were deposited in our frog Squirmy's tank. Some planarians are still occasionally spotted today. No hydra are to be seen, and who knows where the daphnia went. I'll admit it: I did keep three of the planarians, one large one and two tiny. They seemed very happy in the container (Which needed refilling often). They are actually very easy to keep. All they needed was a little water and a gnat about once a week. They take well to transferring containers if you need to clean gnats from the bottom. They don't like the light too much though, so I made a paper cylinder to cover their container when I wasn't watching or feeding them.

Do you want to get planarians, daphnia, or hydra? They're amazing creatures that can live awhile with very little care, unlike a goldfish that needs feeding often.

Did you get any? Which ones? Tell me!

Baby Girl

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Minecraft Peaceful Mobs Post Has Been Updated!

Our Peaceful Mobs post has been updated with new pictures, a few completely new mobs, and better descriptions to fit the 1.16.4 update. Check it out!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Friday, November 6, 2020

Five Uses for Rocks

 Rocks. You can find them almost anywhere (Including Amazon! Seriously! You have to check it out.), and they come in a lot of shapes. The preferred shape for these is round and smooth, but you could try a rough rectangular one. One thing these all have in common is a single step: wash the rock before you use it. This is very important, because you don't who did what on those rocks. Bird poo can carry disease.

Use number one: Pet rocks. No, not putting the rock in a dollhouse and covering it with a blanket. This is actually painting and drawing a pet on a rock. Paint a base layer and let it dry. Next, use a pencil to draw the shape of a pet (Maybe even your real one). I drew a cat. Color your shape in with paint or markers that have good coloring and dry on paint, like Sharpies. Let dry.

Use number two: Inspiration. Whether you're an artist or author or a kid trying to make up a story, these are great. Any picture or shape works; just brush a layer of glue on the rock, stick on the chosen item, and brush more glue over it. I've done quite a few with paper, but I did a lizard with fabric here.
Use number three: Gifting. Rocks alone might be an underwhelming gift (Just an opinion!), but a small rock glued to a gift tag or placed in a coffee mug (Make sure it's empty first) is a great way to brighten someone's day. Simply draw right on the rock with markers or paint.
Use number four: Organization and storage. A great place to store rubber bands or hair elastics is on a rock. It not only looks pretty, it's a functional means of storage.
Use number five: A paperweight. Now, you might be thinking why on Earth do I need a paperweight? What is this, the nineteenth century? No, it's not the nineteenth century. Sometimes windows are open when it gets windy, and papers have a tendency to flutter all over the room before landing in the dog's water bowl. A paperweight is a simple solution to that problem. Simply create a paper flower (It doesn't have to like mine) and glue it to the rock. Use glitter glue to create a mandala next to the flower.
You can use your rocks as suggested, but you can also display them inside, share them, glue them to posts and stick them in pots, make small ones for rings or magnets, or place them outside. If using them outside always seal them first. If you don't use a proper waterproof sealer, your lovely designs will wash away when they get wet.
I hope you had fun decorating your rocks! If you find another use you like, tell me!

Baby Girl

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Easy Flip Ponytail

 This time around I'm going to show you how to do a hard-looking, easy-to-do ponytail. (Sorry, the pictures are sideways.)

Start by brushing the hair until it is mostly snag-free. Longer hair works best for this style.
Take a portion of hair from the top of the head and put a hair elastic around it.
Split the hair above the elastic into two equal sections.
Push the ponytail from the bottom up through the hole. Repeat, about three times, until the ponytail sticks up through the top.
The completed and successful ponytail flip number one.
Divide the rest of the hair in half. Put the top half in an elastic band.
As before, split the hair above the elastic.
Flip the hair, from the bottom up, through the hole. Do this about three times until the hair sticks out.
Now, place your fingers between the two twists made form the second flip and pull the hair from the first flip through the hole.
The completed and successful second flip and pull-through.
Put all of the hair in a loose ponytail at the bottom. If you want to leave the ponytail like this, finish here. If not, continue.
Split the hair above the elastic.
Flip the hair through, but do it down through the top this time. Flip it two or three times, depending on how much you want it to twist and stick out.
If you want, add decorative bobby pins at each bump.

I had so much fun doing this hairstyle on my mom!

Baby Girl