Saturday, December 25, 2010

Homemade Snow Globe

What says the holidays more than a nice old fashioned snow globe? Even better would be one with a special place in it. So I thought, why not make a snow globe with a model of my house in it?

Supplies:

  • Snow Globe Kit (glass dome, wood base, and snow flecks; I used a "Large" size)
  • Distilled Water
  • Glue (I used epoxy, caulk/tub sealant does NOT work - it makes the water cloudy)
  • Colored Polymer Clay (Premo or other brand from Michael's, etc.)
  • Beads?
  • Other waterproof details

I got the snow globe kit from snowdomes.com. All the measurements are on their website, but the wooden base I received did not look like the one in their pictures. I took some pictures of my house for reference as I sculpted with the clay. I have read online to be weary of using paint, as sometimes it will degrade and make the water cloudy.

First step:
Make the basic shapes of the house. Then add a consistent layer of snow over the roof. Finally, I've found that adding some simple texture does wonders for the overall appearance. I used a small flat head screwdriver to add horizontal lines to the sides of the building where they is paneling.





Second Step:
Add the details. Windows were little black squares on top of slightly larger white squares. I used the flat of a knife to press the clay into very thin layers. Again, textures really help. I put a white layer on the base for the snowy ground.

Third Step:
Baking! The directions for clays will vary, but mine took about two hours to cook since the house was about an inch thick. The picture below with the pencil shows the scale.

 


 Fourth Step:
Check to be sure that the stiff model still fits inside the glass dome easily. Then use epoxy generously to affix the model to the rubber stopper. I let it dry for several hours. Then invert the dome and fill it with snow and distilled water. I only used about half of the snow, because all of it seemed very overwhelming. Next squeeze the stopper in very gently. Once the overflowed water is dry, use more epoxy to seal the dome completely. When dry, invert and glue into the base. All done!

video

QR Code Double Knit Potholder


     Have you ever been ready to cook, but not known what to make? Presenting the QR potholder! Just point your phone at it and it will direct you to a website full of recipes. Then when you need to take the food out of the oven, the potholder is right on hand.

     This potholder features double thick knitting, with an inverted image on the reverse side. I already checked, the reverse side does not scan. Oh well.



     Because this knit was a little more rectangular than I cared for, I used some creative felting and washing techniques to try to stretch and shrink it to a square. I put the potholder in a pillowcase and then in the wash. Once soaked and spun a bit, I took it out an pinned it against some foam in the shape I wanted.



     After it dried, it kept the square shape pretty well. It is nice and thick and works well as a potholder and the QR code gives a nice easy way to access recipes.

Aeroponics Deconstruction

     As I prepare for my trip to France, I have to get ready to move most of my stuff back into my parents' place. This includes taking apart my aeroponics setup for transport. This is the first time I've taken apart the system since I set it up. I ran across several surprises.

     First off, I think some of the plants did develop a little root rot. Particularly the onion plants which had no root really to speak of. Second, the roots of many of the plants extended too far! They grew all the way down into the water reservoir, removing any control I had over their nutrition or water uptake. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a separate tank for the water/nutrient solution.

     Another surprise was how dirty the water had gotten. None of the sprayers were clogged and there was no trouble with the pump, so the pump filter must have sufficed.

 
      Since it was dirty, everything needed to be cleaned. I started out by cleaning out the net pots. Those were easy enough. I dumped out all the clay pellets into a bucket (strands of roots and all) and used a scrub brush in the sink to wash off the pots.


     Next, I had to clean out the clay pellets to use again. The problem was how to get the little root hairs off the pellets, without having to do it all by hand which would have taken ages. I tried boiling all the pellets in a big pan. I got the heat up to boiling and then stirred the pellets often. I hoped that the roots would boil down into a pulp like spinach does in order to clean off the pellets. Unfortunately it didn't work! I just had a lot of warm, root-covered clay pellets. Hmm... I think a strong garden hose and some 1/4" wire mesh would do wonders.


     One pleasant discovery was two carrots. They grew pretty well for not being in soil. I washed them off just to get off any excess nutrients, but besides that, no dirt to scrub!