Spirograph Shrinky Dinks (Spiral Unplugged Project)

By , February 28, 2010 9:40 pm


I promised another Spiral Unplugged Project post and I am finally here with it – at the eleventh hour (a new Monthly Unplugged Project theme begins tomorrow)!

All day yesterday I was looking after four girls in addition to my own two girls (my son was very happy to escape this overdose of estrogen by fleeing to a friend’s house).

The age of the girls ranged from 4 to 11 and after boredom appeared to be setting in, I tried this totally retro idea out on them:  Spirograph Shrinky Dinks.  Just 3 words:  THEY-LOVED-IT.

I had bought some shrink plastic at a Michael’s craft store on my last trip to the big city.  We pinned the Spirograph rings on to the plastic sheets with no problems.  NOTE:  The frosted type of paper worked out best with markers, the shiny white tended to smear.

Since my original Spirograph ball point pens were long dead after 30+ years, I had also bought some fine point Sharpies in many different colors and they worked great!  The tip was small and long enough to fit through the holes in the Spirograph disks and produce beautiful results.

Before they went in the oven, we punched holes in some of the finished Shrinky Dinks.  A regular one-hole paper punch works fine and, once shrunk, produces a hole large enough for a thread or fine wire.   If you need to thread on something larger than that, then punch several times to make a bigger hole.

The girls strung them on thread to make necklaces.  I actually have an even fancier idea in mind, so check back!

If you like this, then be sure to read my original Spirograph post.  To find out how to make your own Shrinky Dink plastic from home trash, don’t miss my Homemade Shrinky Dinks post!

Reminder: Spiral Unplugged Project Ends Tomorrow!

By , February 27, 2010 9:00 pm

I promised a reminder … here it is!!!!!

REMINDER:   Please link to your Spiral Unplugged Project before tomorrow night:  Sunday, February 28th.  Links go here.  On Monday, March 1st at some point I’ll close the Spiral Linky and post a new theme for the month of March.

We did another neat Spiral Unplugged Project today based on our first Spirograph fun.  I’ll be sure to get the post up before I close the linky.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, then please read more here about the Monthly Unplugged Project.

Spiral Unplugged Project – Spirograph Fun!

By , February 14, 2010 6:54 pm

The theme for this month’s Unplugged Project is spiral.  All along I had been thinking Spirograph and dug out my old Spirograph sets (yes, I am a packrat!), but we haven’t had a chance to play with those yet.

Coincidentally, my husband gave each of the kids a gift bag full of Valentine’s Day goodies, including a very cute, small, heart-shaped Spirograph-type toy!  They pulled those out this afternoon and had a blast with them.  It was their first time playing with such a thing (although the results reminded the kids of our very fun string art project).

It is still a bit hard for my 4 year-old to manage on her own (holding frame still and keeping the gear tracking along the teeth), but she loved it and it seems like a great exercise in fine motor skills.

When I was a child, the classic Kenner Spirograph was as ubiquitous as Crayola Crayons or Play-Doh.  Everyone had one!  But nowadays, as far as I can tell, this is considered a “vintage toy” that can only be found at places like Ebay.  Am I vintage too??  Feeling a little old here…

Anyhow, I have lots of not-so-vintage ideas of things to do with our Spirograph creations.  Hopefully we’ll get to try them and post about it before the end of the month.



Do you have a spiral-themed project to share?  Then please consider joining our Monthly Unplugged Project and link to your post here.  Read more about the Monthly Unplugged Project here!

White Slipcovers

By , February 10, 2010 11:18 am

BLAST FROM THE PAST POST (Originally published on May 23, 2007) – Having fun digging out some old stuff!


I did a silly thing.

With child number three, we finally outgrew our small kitchen table. I ordered this great table with the green chairs from West Elm. The table arrived and I LOVE it! It looks fabulous in my green kitchen area and is nice and big for meals, homework, projects (clutter), etc.

But…I ordered the cushions too. The chair cushions are a lovely, minimalist white. WHAT WAS I THINKING??? They have washable covers, but do I really want to be removing cushion covers and washing them every day? I have enough daily laundry to do without adding more to it. Plus, what about spaghetti sauce? Will that come out or will I need to dye the covers red to match the stains? Maybe we should just eat white food from now on. Potatoes, pasta, milk, ice cream (vanilla)…

This reminds me of one of my pet peeves. Decorating magazines that feature “families” with cute little blonde curly-haired angels running around the immaculate garden in adorable white outfits. These families always have elegant minimalist living rooms in varying shades of white with sisal rugs. The room is completely decorated with “flea market finds” and boasts (and this is the kicker) a WHITE SLIPCOVERED SOFA on which the family greyhound is reclining comfortably.

The glamorous, yet natural-looking mother always offers up some savvy decorating wisdom, such as: “Seek out flea market pieces that have good bones.” Or, “I like to decorate with white slipcovers because you can just pull them off and throw them in the wash!” With a house full of toddlers and sofa-sleeping greyhounds, this mother (or her maid) must be washing her slipcovers five times a day.

My slipcovers would be living in my laundry room. My sisal rug would have cat barf on it (How does one clean cat vomit out of the fibers of a sisal rug anyhow? With a toothbrush?). Do Lazy-Boy recliners have “good bones?” Where do I find a flea market near me? We have garage sales, thrift stores and a “swap meet,” but unless your decorating style is “Early Salvation Army” or involves antlers, you might be a bit disappointed with the availability of elegant antique bargains where I live.

So, this brings me back to my dilemma. What do I do with white kitchen chair cushions? I am simply not as brave as those “magazine moms.” Mine are in a box in the attic to be brought out when my children are in college.

PS. I thought about cleaning off the table for the photo, but decided that it was more interesting to simply capture a moment in time from a “real mom’s” house. I hope you appreciate my honesty.


By , February 9, 2010 7:21 pm


Lately I have been extremely impressed with my 7 year-old son’s Lego-building skills.  Homework completion however, has reached an all time low.

Lately I have been extremely impressed with my procrastination skills.  Mandatory Boring Tasks completion however, has reached an all time low.


He sat ALL AFTERNOON at his desk with homework in front of him reading books.

I sat ALL AFTERNOON at my computer with bills, bank statements and half finished snail mail letters in front of me fiddling about (not very “unplugged” of me).


Wouldn’t you think that my son could just come up with a simple poster about a book he loved
(we’re not talking 200-page PHD dissertation here).

Wouldn’t you think that after 20 years of intense homework I’d be able to buckle down and write my long overdue letter, an essay for a contest, or even update my pilot logbook (that used to be my obsession in the old days when I wanted to be an airline pilot).


I think my son is struggling with his first experience of being overwhelmed and behind.

I think I am struggling with a mid-life Mom Crisis of not being sure of my role in life besides that of laundry and cooking machine.


Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Panorama Theme by Themocracy