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To me, the real signs of spring are blooming bulb flowers and wind (there’s a lot of wind in New Mexico in March, let me tell you!). So when I was sent a copy of the kid crafts book What Shall We Do Today? by Catherine Woram, I was particularly interested in the homemade wind chime as a spring break project with my 7-year-old son.
Happily for me, after looking through the book my sweet boy chose about 5 projects he was interested in, including the wind chime. Yay! A couple of weeks later as I made Pasta Rustica for dinner, a big, 48 oz. can of tomatoes called out to me as the perfect vessel for our creativity.

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We gathered the other materials from around the house, or close facsimiles, picked up a few jingle bells at the Five & Dime, and we were ready.
The project is fairly simple and lots of fun — you punch some holes in your tin can for the hanger at the top and the beads, chimes, and clapper at the bottom. Paint some stripes on the sides of the can, and then string some beads together with some jingle bells. Next, you tie the chimes onto some other pieces of string and thread everything through holes in the bottom of the can. Finally, tie everything together through another bead inside the can, wire on a hanger, and you’re done. The attached PDF explains the steps in more detail.

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Our project, however, was not without a few minor roadblocks. These included:

  • While punching the holes in the sides of the can, my husband accidentally punched a rather deep hole in his thumb. With a sort of rusty awl. At which point my DH lost enthusiasm for the project.
  • We had a few questions about the steps, such as when the instructions call for 4 holes on the edge of the can, does that mean on the sides or at the edge of the bottom? (It’s the edges of the bottom.)
  • In our haste to get the beads and chimes tied on, we didn’t let the paint dry quite enough. So there’s a few spots that need touch up, and a shirt that needs washing.
  • Our favorite blue bead turned out to be a dud — no hole in one end, so no way to thread it. But hey, we used a clear bead instead, and I apologized to my son for questioning the veracity of his claim that he couldn’t thread the string through.
  • I had no idea that a clapper was any different than a big, heavy washer. Turns out it has a little “handle” at the top that you can string the thread through. No worries, we just added a bead, part of a toothpick, and some wire, and we ended up with about the same idea.
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But having the project come off without a hitch isn’t really what it’s about, is it? We still had fun making the project; we spent 2 afternoons together that we might have otherwise spent separately — probably me doing household chores and Arlo playing in his room; and we’re both dang proud of the result.
Within days of starting our quest, we had the chimes that we made hanging from the barren tree branches, waiting for the wind and the budding leaves. Instead, there’s more rain in the forecast, but our shiny chimes will be ready when my version of springtime weather hits!
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Here’s a free downloadable PDF of the wind chime project, excerpted from What Shall We Do Today? by Catherine Woram. Ryland Peters & Small, $19.95; rylandpeters.com Enjoy!
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Copyright Ryland Peters & Small, 2009.

shawnconna

Sometimes helpful editor and digital media director at MAKE and CRAFT.


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