Thursday, September 12, 2013

Recycling Crafts with Grand Kids

I love doing craft projects with my five grandchildren. It is creative, fun, and gives me a chance to spend quality time with each of them. I find it amazing what creativity they come up with if one just gives them a raw piece of wood, metal, a rock, and simply ask the question "now what would you do with this"?  You know, we adults could learn a lot from this process.
I try and use recycled items as the raw product. This summer we used old silver plated spoons, left over pine from a saw mill, blocks of cedar from Eric's remodeling, tree branches, rocks, scrap cypress from Florida. Why buy new things, when with a little creativity and an open mind, wonders can be invented from existing "stuff."And the best thing - you are working with your loving grandchildren on a pretty equal basis. Here is our Minnesota summer creativity with Eric and Jenn's three kids: Nick, Sophia and Noah.

Last spring while in Atlanta for an Antique Market, I showed my granddaughter Bianca a photo of a pile of old spoons for sale in an antique fair. She said, Ompa (that's me) why don't you make me a spoon ring. Now, what is a spoon ring? You can't turn down your kids, so I said OK. Went onto YouTube and learned how to make spoon rings and here are the results. Made some for B and Sophia in Florida. Then Sophia and I made these 8 rings in MN for the granddaughters on The Sween Floater Houseboat Trip.

 Pile of flatware for sale at Scott's Antique Market

Finished spoon rings

Nick then came up with an idea for taking a block of cedar and drilling holes in each side, going all the way thru. Who knows what the end use would be at first, but we went ahead with a scrap block, drilled the holes and finished it. Nick came up with the idea to string small battery powered holiday lights through the holes and hang it from the ceiling. We call it the Disco Cube. Great idea. Then Sophia wanted one so we made one together and painted it to match her room colors. We added a frame for her recent painting. I can't wait to see the installed lights, hanging from the ceiling.

Nick and his Disco Cube

Sophia operating the drill press.

Sophia with the finished Disco Cube and a frame.

Then Noah, who takes after his Dad in building, made "Noah's Wood Town" out of scrap pieces from Eric's woodworking. It is amazing the creativity that comes from using imagination and a lot of glue.

Then, what is a fun way to display photos, art work, and jewelry? Well, how about a "photo board." Off to a local saw mill we went and bought some larger pine slabs with live edges. They looked terrible to begin with, but with a little elbow grease by all of us, and some clips from Office Depot, they turned out great. All three kids got involved with making their own board. Noah's photo never made it, but he did make one.

Nick's Board - needs more photos.

Sophia's Board - also needs more stuff.

Now here is our future weapons inventor. Nick took some scrap wood, tree branches, tape and rubber bands to make this cross bow with a tree branch arrow. It really worked.

Watch our, here comes Ninja Nick.

I brought up a frame making jig and some pecky cypress scrapes from my Florida workshop. For Sophia's frame, we found some old white oak at the local saw mill. Her frame is shown above.
The below frame was made as an experiment. I showed it to an artist friend, Gary Thorp, who liked it and said he might have a painting to match the size. The result: a great art piece.

I find it amazing when one opens up their mind, take off the blinders, eliminate the "can't do's', what creativity can result. Especially when using recycled and reclaimed materials. When you combine this with child enthusiasm, wonders and love result.

John "Gabby" Gabrielson
Natural Creations
Miramar Beach, Florida

"Being creative is not a hobby, it is a way of life."

"Around each corner lies a new adventure."