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Archive for May 26th, 2011

This week my son had a very busy day working on his science project.  My daughter had a very rough time not being able to do the “big kid” stuff too and kept interrupting him.  It was obvious some running interference between the two was needed before it came to blows. Thankfully my “Rainy Day” box had just the answer.  Last fall I had stopped at a local yard sale and lucked upon a bin of sun-catcher kits thirteen in total for $1.00 a piece.  I of course snatched them up.  Walmart, Kmart, Joanne’s, Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and many other places sell these kits for about $6.00 a piece, I supplied a link to JoAnne’s HERE.

The project is very simple, but it keeps children entertained for a few hours making it.  First let them paint the sun-catchers as they desire. I literally threw away the “paint by number” and let her use her own creativity.  Set them aside and let them dry while making the circle top.  Mine as you can see is not fancy, it is a ring cut out of a used milk carton, good way to recycle a bit.  I imagine I could have had her paint it, or wrap it with some scrap fabric to make it fancier, oh well, next time.

To the ring I punched four holes at the top, one on each “side” to which the hanging wires would be attached to.  I then punched eight more holes along the bottom around the circle.  I didn’t bother to measure or do anything fancy, more just eyeing it.  Once the holes were punched. I went ahead and added the string that it would be tied up with.  For this I wanted something that could sustain weather, I chose a fishing line, but the beading line would work well also. Cutting four 15″ lengths of line I fed it into the top four holes and knotted it securely. I also glued it to be sure it held.  I left the strings untied at top as I would be tying it directly to the branch.

I used the same process to attach the ornaments.  Pull the string through each ornament and knot it securely, then pull and knot it onto the ring.  Continue until all the sun catchers are hanging.

Now comes the most exciting part, with your child leading way.  Take the new sun-catcher windchime outside to the tree and hang it securely from a branch.  I love the soft “tink” sound the chimes make at the slightest of winds and the colors with the morning and evening sun shining through are beautiful.  Although, I think the most important part of it all, is the memories the sounds and colors provide of a little girls “rainy day” project.

On another note, my son was outside in the yard the other day looking for bugs to photograph when he happened upon this little cutie.  A small leopard frog had taken up home in one of my water garden beds.  I’m sure there is a more proper name then “bed” for these little ponds, but I don’t have one.  I’m fairly certain my water garden is about as untraditional as you can get.  There are no fancy fountains or preformed ponds, rather there are several flipped over plastic trash can lids set down into small recesses to make them ground level.  A few chipped pottery pieces also adorn out there of various depths and there is a larger heavy plastic “cooler” bucket for the deepest water source.

To help with the transition and more “natural” look, I added peat to the bottoms, through time the trees have added to that.  Some rocks and old logs rings cut off downed trees are used to make levels for smaller creatures, like the frog, to perch on or get out.  Also for birds to stand on to take drinks.  If you are concerned about mosquitoes in the stagnant water, mosquito fish are wonderful and can be obtained free from your local vector control office.  To help protect these air breathing fish from predators placing rocks allows them places to hide near, duckweed, algae, leaves and other sticks and branches make excellent protection areas.

So, the next time you dream of a water garden, or want ways to bring turtles, toads, frogs, snakes, and other wildlife into your yard and garden. Think out of the box, you will be amazed at the items you have laying around which will work perfectly.  As they say, if you build it, they will come.

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