Inexpensive Back Yard Slide

I needed a slide in the back yard for my son. He is seventeen, and he really needs a slide in his yard. I could take him to a playground (and I do) but sometimes there are gobs of other kids there, and their parents seem to feel a little funny about what appears to be a large grown man taking turns on the equipment with their toddlers. I get that. It makes sense for my son to have his own slide in his own yard.

IMG_20160810_185251988_HDR (1)But wow, guess what? I’m going to sound like the big cheese at an IEP meeting, but there are “financial constraints.”

There are other constraints too. Sometimes you can find someone willing to sell you the playground their kids have outgrown for a song, but the catch is that you need to disassemble it, haul it to your place, and then reassemble it yourself. I’ve assembled playgrounds, and I’ve disassembled playgrounds. In my experience, it takes about 2-3 times as long to disassemble a playground as to assemble it. That’s because there are no instructions, the metal parts have gotten rusty, the wooden parts have rotted and splintered, and the playground has sunk into the ground. You may find this to be worth your time, but it depends on your situation.

Since I wasn’t doing the whole swingset thing, I found it easier to just build a little slide.

I looked for a used plastic slide in my area, but I didn’t have any luck so I ordered one online.

I built the support for the slide out of thrifted lumber and hardware from the Habitat for Humanity store.

At my local store, people donate all kinds of building materials, some of them new and some of them used. They have a big pile of lumber out in the back and I picked through it three weeks in a row to gather the boards I needed. I used 4x4s, 2x4s, 4x6s, and 1x whatevers. The boards I bought were all sorts of lengths, and parts of them were damaged, so I did a lot of trimming. I had some screws and other hardware on hand, and the rest I bought at the Habitat store.

IMG_20160806_171322289 (1)Since my son is a teenager who knows that he shouldn’t jump off the top of the slide, I did not bother putting a rail or fence at the top. If I were building this for a younger child, I would do it differently.

I put drawer handles on the deck at the top so that my son could easily pull himself up.

I also put some solar lights at the top right near the slide part because my son is really into reflectors. I mean he is really, really, really into reflectors. He likes to play in the dark just so that he can see the lights.

Since I used thrifted lumber, this slide may not last as long as a slide built from brand new lumber. I’ll have to keep an eye on it to make sure it’s safe to use. I guess I would do that anyway though.

IMG_20160806_171238702I built a ladder right into the tower for the slide. My son doesn’t like it so much, so when I get a little free time, I’ll make him a ladder too. He’s right, it is easier to climb up when you can do it at an angle. But he’s enjoying his slide just fine in the mean time.

IMG_20160810_185251988_HDR (2).jpgI can tell he likes it by the ruts in the landing area.

 

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Even tinier crochet owl

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This time I used thinner yarn and a smaller hook to make an extra-tiny owl. I only have one size of eyes though, so it looks a little funny. My daughter thought this was just the head because the eyes are so huge in relation to the body.

I know a lot of crafters use small glass beads for eyes on really tiny crochet animals, so maybe I’ll try that next time.

 

Tiny crochet owl

Look who I found hanging out by my smelly shoes!

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tiny crochet owl from scrap yarn

OK I guess I found him there because I put him there after I crocheted him. I got the pattern from Esther here. (Thanks, Esther!)  It looks like she made hers from cotton thread, so it’s even tinier than mine. Sweet!

I’m going to try again, this time with teensy yarn to make a teensy owl.

 

Why am I crocheting warm slippers in the hot part of the summer?

Why? (Because they are small and they use up scraps.)

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I had some chunky brown mystery yarn and a leftover bit of something soft and chunky and blue. Even though my feet were sweating buckets, I felt the need to crochet some warm slippers. I know, I’m sick that way.

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Then I held a strand of the brown chunky yarn together with some fuzzy stuff and made another pair.

I used an old-fashioned “no pattern” type of pattern. (magic ring, 6 sc for first round, 12 sc for second round, sc around for awhile, then make the opening and keep crocheting until the slipper is a little shorter than my foot. Then sew up the heel. Sorry, that’s as detailed as it gets for me.)

I was able to use up some scraps of yarn, and I’m sure in a few months, I will be very glad for some warn slippers!

 

Crochet Neko Atsume cat that makes me very uncomfortable…

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My daughter is sooo into Neko Atsume you may not believe it’s even possible. For the uninitiated, let me explain. It’s a game she has on her phone that involves leaving food and toys out for virtual feral cats, and then getting all excited and squealing when the cats come to your house and eat your food and play with your toys and leave you little contributions.

It seems to be some of the fun of cats without the litter box and hairballs. Wait a minute, I’d better check on that. There might be some sort of virtual digestive nuggets and fuzzpukes, but if so, they’re probably really, really cute.

I stumbled across this pattern on Pinterest and dragged out a bit of my “therapy yarn.”

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I used a little bit of Bernat Cottontots in Sweet Cream, some Red Heart Bijou in Malted, and some kind of plain black worsted mystery yarn.

I was all ready to get started when I noticed that the pattern told me to make only three legs. SCREEEEECH! (That’s me putting on the brakes.) A discussion ensued.

Yes, yes, I know in the game there are often only three legs showing. We probably should assume the other leg is still there somewhere, but in a two-dimensional drawing on a phone game, we only see three at a time. But when I am making a three-dimensional amigurumi cat, I don’t want to make it with only three legs. Poor little guy!

My daughter and I went back and forth a bit until I caved and (mostly) followed the pattern directions.

I love how it turned out. (Thanks Rachchua, it’s an adorable pattern.) I’ll like it even better once I sew a fourth leg onto the back where no one will see it but me.  🙂

 

DIY to encourage good manners. Well, improved manners anyway.

Why yes, as a matter of fact, I do get tired of talking about going to the bathroom all the time. But I have children. One of my children in particular has issues. Issues with anxiety, issues with language and communication, issues with knowing when it is not appropriate to talk about one’s issues with anxiety regarding digestion…

So I thought I was clever when I introduced the idea of referring to poops as victories, because that just sounds better. I now understand that we will probably never get through a day without talking about pooping. A more achievable (but probably still unlikely) goal would be to talk about pooping in less graphic detail. Or at least to reduce (but not eliminate, sorry for the pun) our frank and graphic discussions of pooping while some people are trying to choke down their dinner without gagging.

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I printed up this nice little encouragement and sealed it with clear Contact paper. I could have used the glass that came with the frame instead, but glass in picture frames is a no-no at our house.

Since I’m an optimist, I used a dry erase marker to fill in the zeroes. A realist would probably have used a Sharpie, but I try to keep it positive around here.

The cardboard at the back of the frame was mangled, so I fixed it with cardboard, a soda can tab, and a blob of hot glue.

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I am expecting wonderful things!

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At our house, “victory” is the code word for “poop.”

 

Crochet Basket from Elefant Twist Macrame Cord

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I picked up a skein of Elefant Twist olefin fiber macrame cord (from the 1970s) at the thrift store in a bag of other crafting goodies.  It was dirty and it smelled bad.

I knocked together a little crocheted basket in less than an hour.  I melted the yarn ends to keep them from unraveling.  Then I tossed it in the washing machine.  No need to even drip dry – the spin cycle took care of all that.  It looks (and smells) nice and clean.

I guess this is why rug makers like olefin so much!

I’m going to try washing the rest of the skein in a mesh bag so that I don’t have to handle it when it’s so dirty.

I don’t know why, but I crocheted a little hat for my bird.

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I had about half a skein of pink variegated embroidery floss left, and I figured if I used it all up, I wouldn’t have to bother putting it away where it belonged.  Plus, Porky needed a hat.  Sorry about the flash.

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A hole in my favorite jeans!

Doggone it, just when I was getting them broken in!  These are my favorites too.

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Normally by the time I’ve ripped the knees out of my jeans, I’ve ripped a lot of other stuff out too and I don’t even bother to mend them.  But I really like these jeans, so I decided a patch was in order.

I don’t know about you, but when I have a giant hole in my clothes, I like to put a giant obnoxious patch on it.  I’m glad that I can sew, and I don’t mind a patch as long as the patch is as awesome as the jeans.

I used some polyester knit scraps and an old button to make a patch and I won’t bore you with the details. The knit has a little bit of stretch, so I hope the patch will stretch at the knees instead of tearing again.

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I flipped my pants inside out and then ripped the seam of the pants near the hole – a few inches above it and a few inches below it.  I ripped out the non-topstitched seam because that’s a lot easier to sew back together when I’m done.

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I pinned my patch to the right side of my pants directly over the hole.  Then I zigzagged all the way around the patch.

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This is what it looks like from the other side.

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Then I pinned the seam that I tore out earlier, and I sewed it back up.  I used the stretch stitch on my machine.

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And here are my jeans, as good as new!  Well, now that I see the photo, I am a bit concerned about the area under the patch.  It’s looking pretty worn.  But I have some lovely grass-like green poly knit that I can use for patch number two if necessary.  I could make that little ducky a nest.

I know what else is coming.  When I made the patch, I cut out a second duck (mirror image) for when the other knee goes. I’ll give it about a week.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Utility apron for me!

poly knit utility apron

I wear an apron around the house most of the time.  I use my smart phone a lot, and I like to carry it with me.  But if I put it in my pants pocket, I’m concerned that I might crack it.  And some pants don’t even have pockets.

Alright, alright I’ll tell the truth.  I’m afraid I will forget my phone is in my pocket and drop it in the toilet.  OK, are you satisfied?

I have been using a freebie apron from the lumber yard.  I can’t complain about the price, but I think it’s more of a “guy” style.  Other aprons I have seen are awesome but maybe a bit too frilly to be practical for me.  I’m not going to choose between durable and good-looking.  I’m going to have it all.

I found some weird-looking polyester knit fabric at the thrift store.  Of course, I had to have it.  It looks like something from the 1970s.  Kind of a diagonal gingham check in dark green.  It’s a nice heavyweight knit fabric, and all polyester, so you know it will wear like nobody’s business!

I made it with big slanted pockets.  My phone goes on my left hip, my keys on my right, whatever else I need can go right in the middle.

I paid 59 cents for the fabric (and I have some left over) and I used part of a dollar store spool of ribbon for the ties.