Spongebob’s New Foot

I wrote a post about poor Mr.
Spongebob’s broken foot a few days ago. Thanks to the superior creative mind of Ms. J, he now has a choice of three new ones.

A big purple boot:

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A red elf shoe.

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A blue high heel shoe.

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You may have also noticed that his nose is broken too. That could be the next project.

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Recycling Art

Amy had a post on her  Share and Connect blog about artists using recycled material to create new artworks.  I made a comment about how we will sometimes  use old metal containers for some art projects for our 4 year old and Amy asked to see what we’ve been up to, so here are some examples.

Believe me, these are not nearly as artistic as what she included in her post,  but at least it keeps a busy 4 year old occupied on rainy days! For some much more impressive works, check out her post as well!

Here’s a McCann’s Oatmeal container that Mr. C painted.  My recycling urge just can’t resist doing something with a container like this, just can’t throw one of these metal canisters away!    We use the painted one to store raisins now.

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Here’s an Illy coffe container that we painted in a variety of blue and green colors.  Mr. C uses this one to store the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that we lost the box for.

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Here’s a small metal box that Mr.C painted, inside and out.

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Here’s what the inside looks like.  He calls it “The Nature Box”,  he puts anything interesting that he finds from the forest in the box,  the current occupants are a small pile of leaves.

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One more,  here’s a tomato can which Mr. C wanted to turn into a candle holder.  We filled up the empty can with water, put it in the freezer, then punched holes in the sides with a hammer and nail, and then painted the outside of the can in various reds, yellows and orange paint colors.  The frozen block of water is supposed to make it easier to punch holes in the can, I’m not so sure that’s really necessary, but it does make it more fun for a four year old to see what happens to a frozen block of ice when it’s struck several times with a nail.

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And here it is with the candle lit:

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Mr. Scientist

It’s funny how much our careers affect how Ms. J and I think, and it makes me wonder how this influences Mr. C. She’s a Scientist, and before I was a Stay At Home Dad, I worked in Advertising. So she’s always much more rational and methodical than I am, while she always says that I’m much more creative than she is.

A few months ago we went to a fundraiser ‘yard sale’ for a local non-profit. Ms J picked up a zip lock bag filled with toy parts for $1. It looked like an old Erector set to me, with its collection of nuts, bolts, metal plates and girders. I thought we would store it away somewhere for Mr. C to play with when he was older. At three years old, he was a bit too young to work with all of those tiny nuts and bolts. At least I thought so.

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I had thought I would store the bag somewhere and take it out when he was a few years older, maybe when he was six or seven.

Well the hiding spot I picked stayed secret for about four months.

“Look what I found in the secret closet, Dada!’ He said as I walked into his room as he expertly screwed together metal plates and girders.

So, now that the bag was opened I decided to try to figure out what it was. It turned out to be a set of Meccano pieces, not Erector.

I had only seen Meccano once before, on an episode of a BBC TV show, ‘James May’s Toy Stories’. It is a building toy, an English brand, though I think they are made in France now. (James May tried to make a bridge using Meccano parts large enough and strong enough for a person to walk over. A very funny series.)

As far as I can tell they are not sold in the US, so we were not familiar with the toy at all. The bag had no instructions, and no box was included, it was just a bag filled with the metal parts. We had no idea what the parts were supposed to be used to construct. It was a charity sale, so for $1 we thought, why not, we’ll figure it out.

So me being Mr Ad Man, my questions were things like:

Why don’t they sell Meccano in the US ?
Too much competition from Erector ?
Can I buy a set online ?
What did the box look like ?
Are they still making the toy out of metal ?
Is it cost effective to make it out of metal, or would plastic be better ?
Would they loose loyal customers if they switched to plastic ?

When she walked into the room and saw us making a jumble of connected pieces, with me being completely mystified as to what the parts were supposed to be used to make, Ms J the Scientist, asked;

What can we make with it ?
It has a small battery powered motor, maybe some kind of car or truck ?
No, there’s no wheels so its not a car.
What are the most unusual pieces here, those curved pieces look funny, what are those pieces for?
There’s 16 curved pieces, maybe they make a big circle?
One big circle doesn’t really work, maybe two ?
Two circles. What has two big metal circles of multicolored metal pieces, and needs a motor ?

So after about five minutes she figures it out. It’s a Ferris wheel. A quick search of the internet for ‘Meccano Ferris Wheel’ showed that she was right. I was surprised to find that there is a site devoted to Meccano history, ‘Meccanopedia’. And she figured this out with the set missing a few pieces too.

As Mr. C carefully began to construct a Ferris wheel with no instructions I decided that this time, he’s closer to being a Scientist.