Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I-Spy Bottle

Do you remember when you discovered the black hole of time joy that is Pinterest? I do. I was on maternity leave, rocking a baby who would only nap if I held him for HOURS, surfing net for examples of quiet books.

Sometimes, I see things on Pinterest and it's a blow to my self-esteem: I'll never be able to afford a house like that. I can't do that DIY project that because I can't buy [insert something-cheap-from-Walmart here] in England. There is no way I can make that craft, I'll never be that good.

But, sometimes -- probably most of the time -- I see something and my heart leaps for joy! Finger puppet bunnies made of felt? I can do that. Using binder clip (aka Bulldog clip) to keep my iPad wire from falling off the table? I can do that. A homemade toy for my son that only requires pouring things into an empty bottle and sealing it off? I. Can. So. Do. That!

That is the toy I'm talking about. A homemade I-spy bottle. Pretty huh? I highly recommend reading about how Jill made hers on her blog here. Her directions were easy to follow, but I made mine a little differently -- that's why mine isn't as pretty....

First, I found an empty bottle (mine was from juice, but that was fine because my son's favorite color is orange). Then, I found random little stuff: mainly novelty buttons from my mother-in-law. I also used:

a spare non-TSA approved luggage lock
a grey pom-pom
a broken Christmas ornament (blue angel in the bottom right)
a foam hand and foot
bead-letters I sewed together to spell GREAT
a little Scotland flag charm from a key chain my mom de-cluttered
a little saw brad for scrap booking/card making

Talk about random! I did try to balance the colors though. For example, I had a yellow mitten button and a yellow trick-or-treat bag button, so I used an orange trick-or-treat bag button instead so there would be more variety.

I also used couscous as my filler. It's what we had. It works fine, actually it makes a nice sound!

And I didn't take a picture of the contents for Little J. After all, he was only about 6 months old when I made this. Far too young to actually hunt for objects.

I did follow Jill's advice about filling the bottle a little, dropping in a few pieces and filling some more. That really did seem to work well. I also only filled it about 80% full. If it is all the way full there is no room for the couscous to go and it doesn't make the cool shaker sound.

This is my finished bottle. I also sealed it so it won't open on my son. But, as I mentioned, it isn't quite as beautiful as Jill's. I don't think it's a pinstrosity, though. I think the differences are that rice is prettier than couscous, this bottle has ridges so it isn't as smooth and sleek and the cap isn't as nice. But, you know what? It's a lot better than the non-existent I-spy bottle my son had before! ;)

After I made this bottle for next to nothing, my mother-in-law has told me that they sell these in stores for something like $30. Seriously? Also, my father-in-law received one as a gift one year but a visiting child opened it, somehow and there was birdseed everywhere. So, thus far Little J has only played with his when we are there too.

Some Things I Learned:
  1. The key, the saw, the little metal flower button and the flag were bad choices. There seems to be something about the density of the objects that makes those light and thin items hardly ever, ever appear. The light-weight bigger items, like the pom-pom, appear fairly easily.
  2. This did entertain a 6-month-old as something that rolls, makes noise, and is interesting to look at.
  3. There is a special way to shake it to make the items faster to find. You sort of shake it gently like your panning for gold.

In the future, I think it would be fun to make a themed one, maybe for a holiday or road trip.

Or maybe it would be fun to dye rice and make a camouflage one. Maybe... if only there were enough hours in the day!

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