July 27, 2008

Pom Pom Comet

Filed under: Kids Projects,Science and Art — sarah @ 2:35 pm


I have been working on the Astromomy and Astronautics badge with my Scout group and to go with the Coloured Card Solar System, I got them to all make these pom pom comets.

For this you need:

  • Medium sized pom poms in various colours

  • Crepe paper in assorted colours

  • String

  • Scissors

  • Glue or tape

Basically we cut crepe paper into strips which they attached to the pom pom to represent the comets’ trail; some of the kids added secondary tails at different angles. We then tied or threaded the string around or through the pom pom.

They then ran round the hall whirling them round their heads to make the ‘comets’ orbit them; the tails fluttered in a pleasing manner 🙂 and only one ended up in the rafters.

July 20, 2008

Grandfather-in-law’s Flower Book

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Paper Craft,Science and Art — sarah @ 4:16 pm

the book

This boring looking brown book was brought to me by my husband’s aunt. She said it was full of pressed flowers and that I could use them for my cards and things as she had seen me collecting flowers to press. I looked at the frail book and asked where he had got it from, ‘Oh he probably made it,’ was her response and when I looked at the way it was held together with a sort of canvas along the spine, you could tell it was homemade!

However it was not full of pressed flowers – no it was full of the loveliest flower pictures that he had drawn and painted. Here are the pictures – I hope to be able to get proper copies of these made at some point for a set of postcards we could send to people which I think would be nice. His name was Maurice Saxon Snell by the way for those who are interested. I really do like these pictures.

page 1page 2page threepage fourpage fivepage sixpage sevenpage eightpage ninepage tenpage elevenpage twelve

I think the neat clear handwriting is something to be savoured as well and puts me in mind of Beatrix Potter and her botanical illustrations.

July 13, 2008

The Solar System in Coloured Card

Filed under: Kids Projects,Paper Craft,Science and Art — sarah @ 2:36 pm

the solar system not to scale

I have been doing the Astronomy and Astronuatics badges with my scout group and as part of it felt that they needed to understand what was in the solar system and where so I made a solar system out of card which they had to put in order.


the solar system improoved by the kids

I then got them to add the things that were missing such as the asteroid belt and comets! Some of them made their own version of it to take home.

blue and green

For the planets Neptune and Uranus I cut out one green circle and one blue circle, and one blue and one green oval that were about twice as wide as the discs. I then drew a smaller ellipse in the ovals – these touched the top line so when I cut them out it left two ‘broken rings’. Uranus and Neptune are the two smaller gaseous planets and have rings, they tend to both be sort of icy colours so I decided to reverse the colours. They also have rings but this is a relatively recent discovery.

ringed planets

Using pritt stick glue I stuck the rings on with the ‘broken’ bit of the ring behind the planet. This gave them a sense of perspective and helps you to visualise that the ring goes around the planets.

For Saturn I drew a larger yellow circle and cut out an orange ring. Saturn and Jupiter are the larger gaseous planets and tend to be the more warm colours, Saturn is also famous for its rings!

bits of saturn


I glued the ring in place on Jupiter.


I then wanted to add in the stripey type banding that you see on these planets – this is their atmosphere and how it moves about. I chose brown for this and drew a circle the same size as the yellow circle I had initially used for the planet. I then cut it out. Once I had the brown circle I cut sections and bands from it and stuck them on the planet. I should have done this before I stuck the ring on but never mind!

For Jupiter I took a sheet of orange paper that had a pattern of smudgy red lines on it; these represent the storm belts on the planet. I then simply cut out a yellow oval for the ‘red spot’ a storm that has been raging for a stupid length of time and which is very big. I know it’s called the red spot but it doesn’t look that red to me and a red oval didn’t actually look right on the orange and red card.


For Earth, which is one of the small inner rocky or terrestrial planets, I drew a small circle on some pale blue card. I then cut out some green card in roughly continent shapes and put white card on the two poles – to represent the ice sheets – though if warming continues I may have to revise the planet.


I cut small circles out of red card for Mars, orange with red smudges for Venus and brown for Mercury. I then covered Mars and Mercury in glitter from glitter pens and 3D paint. Red for Mars, silver and gold for Mercury.


For the Sun which is the star at the centre of our solar system I drew the largest circle on yellow card with orange smudgy lines on it.  I then cut triangles around the circle to represent the heat rays and light coming off instead of just cutting around the circle (the foot belongs to my little girl who was ‘helping’).

the sun

I then used gold and bronze glitter pens and yellow and red 3D paint pens to decorate the sun.

glittered sun

The scouts added in moons and asteroids which was fun, oh and Pluto which is still being argued about but is considered a plutonian object now rather than a planet or asteroid. Or was last time I checked!


If you made the planets double sided I think you could make a lovely planetary mobile out of them!

July 6, 2008

Russian Doll

Filed under: Wood Work — sarah @ 2:15 pm

Russian doll in half

Russian doll


I rather liked the idea of a russian doll. You know, the ones that open to reveal a smaller one inside. So I thought I might try making one.

I mooched out to my shed and scrabbled about in my box of bits of wood left over from other jobs until I found a nice piece of mahogany. Well yes it was a nice piece of wood even though it was a little on the thin side.

I attached it to the bowl turning plate of my lathe. That’s the gizmo, er plate, with the holes in to allow it to be screwed to the wood. Then I fitted it to the headstock, the bit attached to the motor that spins the wood, and tapped the tailstock into the centre of the wood and tightened it.

The large gouge is the best tool to make a square piece of timber into a round piece of timber. It’s the chisel with the half round blade. Then the skew chisel makes the round piece of timber into a smooth round piece of timber. That’s the flat chisel with the angled cutting edge.

Next I marked the workpiece with the measurements needed for the finished article. Nice and easy so far. Yes? Then I used the parting tool to cut the job in half, more or less. The parting tool is a chisel that is pointed if you look at it from the wide part of the blade so the narrow part of the blade has a fairly thin cutting edge.

Then came the interesting bit. Or the worrying bit. Or the frightening bit, depending on your point of view. Yes it was time to hollow out the doll. I moved the chisel-rest to the correct position and used the narrow gouge to make the hole and because it was the top of the doll I left the bottom of the hole curved. Then I used the parting tool to cut a recess on the inside of the doll to allow the top of the doll to be fitted to the lower part. I measured the recess with a ……… gauge.

I changed from the top to the bottom of the doll ie screwed it to the bowl turning plate and used the gouge to cut the hole. Then used the parting tool to make the bottom of the hole flat and the recess, on the outside this time, the same size as the top. Using the …….. gauge again.

Now the clever bit. I put the doll together and put the tailstock in place, making sure it was a tight fit. Then using the skew chisel I shaped the doll. When you make two parts of one finished article you find that when it is placed back in the lathe it will be out of line and the whole job will need to be reshaped. Allow extra diameter for the waste. It would probabably have been best if I had started with a thicker piece of tinber, as you will realise later.

When I achieved the shape I wanted, more or less, I used sandpaper to obtain a smooth finish. Then I used the skew chisel to cut the doll from the lathe.

Then all that was left to do was paint the rascal.

For the decoration I chose humbrol oil based model paint which is readily available almost anywhere. However most other types of model paint are also suitable for a job like this.

As a base coat I used yatch varnish which provides a really good surface for the model paint which is applied with an artists brush.

I started with the face, which is a vague face shape using a sort of beige colour quite close to the colour of my skin. Then I added the hair, eyes and nose in black, plus a line around the outside of the face. The mouth of course needed red.

The arms were simple black lines with the hands painted on the ends using the same colour as the face. The flower used green for the stem and leaves and red for the petals.

The bottom of the doll, or skirt if you want to be precise, I painted red.

Where did I get all the brilliant ideas for the clever and interesting style of decoration, heaped with the naive interpretation of the human form and the childlike simplicity of features such as the plain hardy face and the delicate detail of the flower.

Yeah, you guessed right, I copied my daughter’s russian doll.

Sadly, I made the thing a bit on the slim side. In other words, its a tad narrow to put another doll inside.

Never mind it can still be used to hold, needles, long pins, short cocktail sticks er um oh tooth picks.

Note : I actaully use it to store errant beads I find lurking about whilst cleaning etc…