Monday, May 28, 2007

Both William and Max have sweet Etch A Sketch skills. They can write words and create recognizable images... not just sagging squares and wobbly circles. I don't have examples at the moment. My point is that they make good use of their Etch A Sketch, which is why it isn't surprising that they wore one out. The vertical knob wouldn't draw anymore. You can't send these things out for repair. So, we had a learning opportunity we could not resist.

Embossed in black plastic on the back of the toy, is the message that the silver 'aluminum powder and the small plastic balls' are non-toxic. Good to know, but we were cautious none the less. Who knows the story of the original Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz? Buddy Ebsen was cast as the Tin Man, but was hospitalized for 2 weeks after inhaling aluminum dust from his Tin Man make-up. It coated his lungs. Ouch.

Breaking into an Etch A Sketch is not as easy as you might hope, or, er... maybe you wouldn't hope to break in to one, but we love taking things apart and figuring out what makes them tick. Max made the first attempts, then I stepped in to help. Finally, Geoff got out his hack saw to separate the heat melded plastic inner casing. Once he pried open a hole, remembering poor Mr. Ebsen, we decided to pour the contents into a Ziplock bag.

The plastic beads are not small. The plastic beads are teeny, tiny, and they poured out like liquid. The aluminum spread like a fluid too, flowing and following the tiny beads, coating the inside of the bag until it looked like silver mylar (which is actually metalized nylon.)

Once the bag became super-coated in the silver dust there wasn't much to see. But it was cool figuring out as much as we did.

I haven't done any quilting in 2 1/2 years. I finished the last ones just days before Maria was born. Having come across dozens and dozens of lovely "fat quarter" or "doll quilts" I have been inspired to try my hand at one of these mini projects. I drew a bunny and embroidered it with fanciful colors, then while the boys were out and Maria napped I was able to cut a quilt pattern... I was hasty, and I could not find my rotary blade. Excuses. It's not quite as perfect as the one I was imagining, but it did make me happy to see it completed.

It's hand quilted. The real compliment is that Maria has already claimed it as her own. It's in her bed right now keeping her dancing bunny cozy and safe. If you want to see what patience, skill and an artful eye can produce go see Calamity Kim's doll quilts. She is sewing up a storm. And then if you want to see even more amazing work, then you must see Calamity's "Doll Quilt CrAzY." Keep scrolling through the pictures to see the amazing variety of little quilts, styles and colors. I have lots of favorites.


Tarie said...

A family that takes apart an Etch a Sketch because of curiosity and for fun must be an awesome family. :) That bunny is cute. :) I couldn't sew a quilt to save my life!

Natalie said...

There are so many components that go in to making a quilt and there is always some part that seems too daunting. I struggle with the engineering part. I think you would love designing a quilt, and then with guidance you could see it through to completion; I know it. Your colorful sketches in your Moleskine journal made me want to design quilts.

Tarie said...

Hmmm... Now that you mention it, designing a quilt does sound like a lot of fun! :)

Sabine said...

This is the kind of quilt I have in mind to make for my daughter!

Natalie said...

Hello Sabine... if you are used to making full sized quilts, you will have fun making a doll quilt, because it goes so quickly: Instant gratification! I just kept cutting tiny strips and blocks until it looked like something. I hope you'll make one and post your finished piece.