Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Beaded Bowls, Moldy Gourds and Oatmeal Cookies

I went shopping at Job Lot today-my favorite discount store. Most of the stuff is dirt cheap and I found this for only $2.00 so I picked up two of them. Since my Lyme disease has now entered the chronic phase, I've been looking for easy projects to do with the kids. Larry has been on vacation since Christmas so we've had lots of time to do the fun stuff. These were lots of fun for the kids. But now that I know how to make them I won't need to buy the kits anymore. The kits came with 2 pie pans and packets of plastic seed beads and one pack of pony beads. The kids sprinkled the colors that they like in the bottom of the pan into whatever pattern they liked. Patrick did a blue starfish above. Morgan did a stained glass look. And the finished result are these beautiful bowls. Here's how we did it.
  1. Cover the bottom of an aluminum pie plate with the plastic bugle beads.
  2. Heat in 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Cool for 15 minutes. Turn over a round ceramic bowl or metal mixing bowl that is loosely covered with foil.
  4. When cool, take the plastic flat discs and turn them onto the foil covered bowls. Foil can be shaped to give bowl some fluted edges if desired.
  5. Replace in 375 degree oven for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Use for trinkets and such.
A few helpful hints...make sure you have enough beads to cover the entire bottom of the pie plate otherwise you will have some spaces in your bowl...which is still beautiful.

Morgan and her best friend from next door made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Larry today. Right before this was taken there were four kids piled on this chair. That's Larry hiding behind the girls. Guess who's hand is in the Cookie Jar? Don't they look yummy?

This past summer I grew bottle neck gourds. They take up a lot of space and do best on fencing. Each plant only grows about 2-3 gourds so patience is the key. This big fat one was so heavy that I have no idea how it even stayed on the vine. The gourds must be left on the vine until it is completely brown and dry. Most people just let them dry in their garden but I tried that last year and the mice and chipmunks ate them.

These gourds are drying in my laundry room. I had a gourd crop of about 15 gourds this year, some big and some small. There are many methods to drying gourds. One way is to poke holes in the bottom but I have found that the liquid that drains out makes a mess and stinks. And yes, that is mold growing on the gourds and it's harmless. The gourds take 5 or 6 months to dry so this isn't a project that can be hurried. The mold makes these beautiful intricate patterns on the gourds and sands off easily when the gourd is dry.

This is a gourd with beautiful mold patterning (kinda matches my countertop). I just started sanding it and sometimes even use a little shoe polish to enhance the coloring and patterning. When it's completely smooth and the dark black spots are gone, it will get polyurethaned and made into a Shakere'.

Shakere's are those beautiful African beaded gourds used as musical instruments.

You can read about them here.

My hope is that they will look like this when done.Gorgeous.

I don't paint my shakere's and much prefer the natural look with wood beads. The site above paints the gourds and uses plastic beads. Some of the other gourds that are not as strong will be carved into bird houses and bowls.

I thought I would post this really cool picture of my chicken coop and barn lit up at night. There is a crescent moon out tonight, the sky is clear and beautiful.

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