Ball Heritage Collection, Vintage Blue Canning Jars

Heritage Ball Jars

Now, I’m know that I’m not the only one coveting these Heritage collection vintage blue Ball jars.  Wee Folk Art just posted on Facebook with a link to a tutorial that shows how to tint your own glass jars.  Which then reminded me about these jars and how I had wanted to go on the search for some.  They are $13.xx something on Amazon (Prime), which is of course pricey for 6 pint jars.  So, I checked my local True Value hardware store, and they had them for $10.99 with free ship to store (they weren’t in-stock at my local store).  I couldn’t resist!  Now, what to do with them when they arrive??  I wonder how canned goods would look with the blue tint?  I will probably save them for craft projects.  They would be great little center pieces or flower jars on the patio this summer.  Maybe some end-of-the-year teacher gift giving.  Thousands of ideas of things to do with  Ball jars — actually it’s a bit overwhelming.  I might just have to use them for drinking glasses so I can enjoy them all of the time!

Handmade Christmas Gift #1: Peg People Chinese Checkers

My boys really enjoy Chinese Checkers, so the hubby and I had an idea to make a board, and instead of using traditional pegs or marbles, I would paint little peg people in different colors.  The rules for Chinese Checkers are pretty simple, and it’s easy for even a 4-5 year old to begin playing with minimal assistance.  We made our first one, and brought it out to Michigan as a gift for my brother-in-law’s family.  I hope they love it!  I have a feeling that the little people may end up being used for many more things than just a Chinese Checkers game.

Hubby made the board with plywood, and used a drill press for the holes.  He made a very nice, elaborate template to line up all the holes accurately.  I think he is going to do a full story on the board/box on his blog(UPDATE:  Here’s his post on the nitty-gritty box making!)

Used the template to pre-mark holes with a small nail, then used that hole to line up the drill press

I was in charge of painting little peg people and I did the painting on the board triangles.  We decided on the following color scheme:

Black – Ninjas
White – Snowmen
Red – Pirates
Blue – Princesses
Green – Elves/Archer-types
Brown – Indians

I did about two coats of paint, and two coats of mod podge to seal them.  They are the “little boy” people that you can get at Caseys and they have a 5/8″ bottom diameter.  I used little pots or clothespin doll stands to help stand them upside-down when the bottoms needed to dry. It worked well.  I put the year and family initial on the bottom.

Painting tip for the eyes — don’t use a paint pen.  The eyes bled a bit when I used a paint pen.  When I just used a small tip paintbrush, they turned out much better.

The board is on top of a box that the hubby made, and I sewed up a little felt bag to hold the people inside the box for storage.

This was so fun to make!  Now we need to make one for our boys.  I have asked hubby to use a bit thicker of a piece of plywood, so the holes can be deeper.  It was too easy to knock over the pieces when playing with the depth that he drilled the holes on this version.  Hubby sealed the entire game/box with shellac.

Here are some close-ups of the little people:

Ready for a game!

Secret Christmas Crafting

I have some special plans for these little guys.  I can’t wait to share, but for now, it’s hush hush.  Aren’t the snowmen cute, though??  These are the tiny “boy” peg dolls that are 1-11/16″ tall.  Hubby and I are collaborating on something.  Fun, fun!

The Start of Christmas Crafting

Now, what do we have here!?

I received an order from Casey’s Wood Products yesterday.  Amazing how many little wooden things they can fit into a small priority mail box.  Lots of little wooden peg people.  Most of these little ones are the “little boy” size.  I also got some of the big people size, some blocks, and some mini and small clothespins.  I have Christmas present crafting plans!!

The boys got right to work however with my stash this morning before school crafting together a ninja army.

And a ninja flying army.

I don’t have any plans for the big people.  They are just good to have around and I was placing an order anyway.  Likewise on the clothespins, but I’d like to try painting them for some art wire displays.  Now the little boy people were my main motivation for the order.  That I have to keep a secret for the time being, but no worries, I’ll be sharing if it all works out!

Do you need any creative inspiration for your Christmas crafting projects?  Sometimes I think that I have too much inspiration!  Seriously though, I highly recommend Pinterest if you are a visual person (or even if you think you aren’t!).  I was just scrolling through it to find something that I had pinned on my Crafty Ideas board, and I was once again blown away by all the ideas swirling about my head when I saw all those lovely pictures!

And just for fun….the puppy wants to say Hi.  Is he still a puppy when he’s three?  He still acts like one.  Unlike our “old-man dog” who tore his ACL six weeks ago, poor guy.  Trying to keep up with the puppy!

Camping Shirts 2011 (Acadia National Park)

Lobster Shirts 2011

Our annual camping trip this summer was to an amazing place – Acadia National Park.  We are lucky to live so close to a national treasure.  Now, that may sound pretty hokey, LOL, but it really is a beautiful place….even in August when it’s overrun by tourists from all over the world.  To be honest, it didn’t even really feel overrun to me.  I think that might be part of the beauty of it.

In honor of heading to Mt. Desert Island for our camping trip, the boys requested lobster shirts this year.  I picked out bright green shirts, and red paint (of course!) for the lobster.  They turned out excellent!  I was going to go the easy route and find a template online that I would just trace, but it wasn’t as easy as that sounds like it should be.  I did find a nice looking stencil, but it looked funny to me.  What was wrong with it?  Oh yes, the poor lobster only had 3 sets of legs!  I’ve eaten enough of the miniscule meat out of those little legs that I knew that there should be four!  I just ended up freehand drawing my own lobster actually and they turned out great.  I only used two coats of red fabric paint.  I give instructions on how to make a freezer paper stencil in my prior posts from 2008 (bears), 2009 (moose) and 2010 (bald eagle).

In the picture above, the boys are also posing with their Harry Potter magic wands that the Hubby and I made for them.  A post on that later!  They are well-loved.

Early morning at the campsite

We camped at Mount Desert Campground and had a great time.  It’s in a wonderful, central location, and as tent campers, we appreciated the wooden platforms and the fact that they only allow trailers less than 20 feet.  Being located right on Somes Sound didn’t hurt either!  The boys really enjoyed fishing for crabs with hot dogs off their kayak docks.  We had an amazing time hiking up South Bubble (and an even more amazing time hiking down the cliff side!).  J, who just turned 7 in June, was a mountain goat and had more endurance than the rest of us.   The hike up to South Bubble (and Bubble Rock) was not that difficult and appropriate for most ages.  Instead of going back the way we came though, we decided to go down the opposite side facing Jordan Pond.  That was a steep climb down that involved quite a bit of two-handed rock scrambling (I think it’s called the Bubbles Trail).  The boys did a great job!  We then headed north around Jordan Pond, and went back up the Bubble Divide.  Then went straight up rock stairs to the ridge and then back down again before meeting back up with the original South Bubble trail.  Whew!  That one was a doozy!  Total was about 3.5 miles and the kids did great.  (Okay, I’ll admit it…it stretched my limits.)

Can they move bubble rock?! Glaciers are super-cool.

Top of South Bubble looking out over Jordan Pond. J is wearing his bald eagle camping shirt from 2010.

Down the Bubbles Trail

Back up the Bubble Divide. Only picture I took because I was huffing and puffing too much after this.

We also spent an afternoon biking on the carriage trails and did a 5.5 mile loop on the Witch Hole Pond trail.  There is a beautiful stone bridge halfway along where we stopped for some creek playing and a snack.  J just learned to ride his bike without training wheels a few months ago, and he did a great job keeping up.  He still needs to practice his gear shifting though.  Some of the hills were hard for him.

One of Acadia's famous stone bridges

On the touristy end of things, we did the Diver Ed excursion one morning.  It was awesome!  Diver Ed takes you out in his boat where he dives off the side and collects sea creatures which he brings up for the kids to touch in touch tanks.  All with some awesome video equipment and a 60″ LCD on the boat!  The kids loved it, and it was nice to take a ride out into Frenchman’s Bay.  We were lucky to have some pretty amazing weather.

Morning fog on Frenchman's Bay

Sea Star!

We only live two hours away, and can’t wait to go back for some bike riding for a day trip one day this fall.  If we can find time between K playing travel soccer and J doing the local rec soccer program.

Peg Leprechauns

Okay, this is my last post about peg people!  K came home last week saying that they had found leprechauns in the playground at school.  They had even caught one!  A few days later, K came home saying that he had talked to one of them and convinced them to come to our house!  So, on Thursday when they came home from school, they found these guys at our house!  K says that the one the he found looks slightly different.  He needs a black brim on his hat, a buckle on his hat, and a mustache instead of a beard.

Leprechauns are exploring the yard


Hmm...where should we build our cave-house?

You can make your own leprechauns using the pattern over at Wee Folk Art!

Peg person Thomas Jefferson

I am on a little painting peg people kick right now.  K had to do a President Project last month, and his president was Thomas Jefferson.  So, after being inspired by this post on the Etsy blog, I made him a Thomas Jefferson guy.

Thomas Jefferson