Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spinning Toys

I promised to do a post on spin-toys and at long last, here it is.

When I left my office job, I received a lovely card from a favourite summer student of mine. To my delight, a spinning butterfly came fluttering out when I opened it! It's this sort of simple, yet unexpected surprise which brings pleasure for me. Yes, it's the oddest things that bring me pleasure. I immediately thought to myself, I need to re-create this somehow.

So, after a few attempts and some help from hubby and son, we managed to put together 2 fairly good samples but I must admit that I'm still on the look out for more appropriate wiring supplies to re-create a better model. This is still a work in progress and so it goes back on the shelf for another day.

Using some pretty paper, paperclips, mini rubber bands and some tools, we attempted to fashion our own spin-toys.

The butterfly is the professionally made model. The lady bug and bee are obviously the home-made models.

Here's how the spin toy works. First hold it by the bumble bee's bum and start winding the wing part.

When it's been turned several revolutions.....

release and let it spin..... wheeeeeeeee......... Ok, then. That was about 10 seconds of fun. Definitely worth it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Denim Craft

I recently had a friendly exchange with an acquaintance, discussing carbon footprints and it got me to thinking about ways to reduce my carbon footprint, but still have fun at the same time. As an Arts & Crafts enthusiast/budding environmentalist, I'm constantly looking for ways to create something new out of something old.

I had a pair of old blue jeans that I couldn't bear to part with but I had to admit that its days were numbered. So when that day came, instead of tossing it out to add to the landfill, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I can make something cute with it.

Originally, I was thinking of making an egg for a bunny or chick to pop out of. But the egg didn't quite turn out the way I wanted. As with most of my craft projects, they often end up as UFOs (Un-Finished Objects).

But not this time, baby. I was determined to finish what I started. Nevermind that the end product has changed. I decided that my egg should become a flowerpot instead. I stuck some dried bamboo branches and dried jasmine leaves (potential yard waste from my garden), stuck some puffy stars on them and voila.... A home decor item. I call it the "Make a Wish upon a Star" Plant.

Although I did use brand new ribbon to make the puffy stars, I will use ribbon scraps to make a more colourful arrangement next time. This way, I can claim that my work was made entirely out of old material.

This pair of blue jeans served me well, but the day came when I had to lay it down to rest. Sob, sob...

A couple of the belt loops had already come loose.

There were big gaping holes that no amount of patching could have helped.

I knew there was a way I could incorporate bamboo twigs from my backyard into my crafts.

So here's the completed "Make a Wish upon a Star" Plant!

As always, my biggest wish is for "World Peace", but of course I wish that my beloved Japan's troubles will be over soon and that the rest of the world can learn from them, especially how orderly and calm their citizens remained while coping with this triple (earthquake, tsunami, nuclear radiation) disaster.
Heiwa (Peace)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sushi Birthday Cake

Being Japanophiles, I was instantly enthralled by a Sushi Cake website my hubby recently introduced me to. So, I immediately requested that for my birthday, I'd like to go shopping for all the ingredients to make my very own Sushi Cake. I'm excited to now show how much fun I had making this Sushi Cake.

First, we made some sushi rice. We flavoured it with salt, rice vinegar, sugar and toasted sesame seeds.

Then we formed the cake base.

Now for the fun part... We made some flower decorations using salmon sashimi, clams, squid and mint leaves.

We added on shrimp, flying fish eggs, enoki mushroom and romaine lettuce...

... and voila! A yummy sushi cake, ready to serve!

For my birthday, my family gave me 2 birthday cards. Hubby picked out a card with cutesy animals and purple flowers for me. But my older son insisted on also giving me another one especially hand-picked by him. Awwww, I knew he really cared about me, even though he pretends not to.

Here's what it said on the front. So, he really does listen to me, even though he pretends not to.

... he even thinks I'm wise. And all this time, I thought I was nothing more than a nag and an annoyance to him.

This is so sweet. I'm so touched. (^ ~^)//

I got a cute ladybug mouse. I still don't know what all those black dots are for. Nothing seems to happen when I press on them. I just don't get how some of these high tech gadgets work?!?!?

Among other goodies & treats, I also got more paper crafts to add to my collection. With this, I will post on how to make spinning paper toys next.