Horse Pinata

Horse Pinata

My daughter wanted a horse piñata* for her party, and I decided I wasn’t spending $25 for a tiny unfilled horse-shaped one from Party City. I thought I was making things simple by making a balloon-shaped pinata with a horse on it, but of course it all ended up taking a lot more effort than I realized.

Still, though, I loved the thing while it lasted. I started with the instructions here, but somewhere along the way I went off script and in the end, the mechanics didn’t really work. It was too heavy, and there was no way to hang it, so I wedged it into the v-shaped crux of our neighbor’s tree trunk. It worked, what can I say?

Drawing the horse on the balloon shape turned out to be the hardest part since I couldn’t see the whole animal at once and had to keep rolling it back and forth to look at the different parts. I followed the drawing guidelines in Sachiko Umoto’s Let’s Draw Cute Animals. Such a fun drawing book, btw, for kids or adults.

Speaking of drawing and painting, my new neighbor came over for the party with all her polish paraphernalia and painted nails for any of the girls who wanted it. Wow! There was also a round of Pass-the-Parcel and Tap-the-Pot. Lots o’ prizes.

My boy (6) has recently gotten turned on to reading via sister’s recommendation of early reader versions of The Boxcar Children. Mind you, not fabulous literature, but boy is it fun to see those “I love this book!” sparks fly. I always loved the Boxcar children myself.

Proud moment: he read while walking home from school. No injuries—I was right there with him and it was really just a moment until he finished the book he’d already started. I just ordered him several used Boxcar easy readers as an end-of-the-school-year present. And I’ll figure out some version of a similar gift for my daughter. We go to the public library a lot in the summer, but it’s always handy to have a large stash of used paperbacks for travels. Goodwill and the used bookstore are great for that. Anything to keep them feeling excited about reading, really. The school is doing a book exchange, too, so I’m hoping especially Little Miss will trade out some of her old fairy books or whatnot for some new-to-her stuff.

I’m still enjoying Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure and just bought a copy of The Divorce Papers, which I’ve been told is in the vein of Where’d You Go, Bernadette? (which I love love loved). What’s on your summer reading list?

*Sorry, folks, neither WordPress nor my keyboard will let me type a proper ñ in my title text box.




Handmade Note Pads Printed with Hand-Carved Rubber Stamp

I read about making your own notepads with padding compound on the most excellent blog, the small object steno pad, and immediately felt I had to run out and do it myself. Padding compound is a fancy word for the red stuff at the edge of notepads that keeps the pages stuck together. Turns out you can buy a huge jar of it for cheap (I ordered mine from amazon), and all you basically have to do is pinch some pages together and paint the compound on the end, then let it dry. For a full tutorial, check out the above link to the small object steno pad.

I acquired (by request) some defunct letterhead from my granddad, who was downsizing.  Then  I  carved a fish stamp using an eraser and lino-cutting tools, then stamped each page with it. Next, I saved cereal boxes for the backing.

I read in the comments on the small object steno pad that an easy way to do a bunch of pads at once is just to layer all the paper and cardboard together and paint the padding compound on the whole batch, then separate the individual pads with a knife.

To keep the pages together tightly, I pressed with clamps between two pieces of scrap wood. Voila!


One tip on using the padding compound—mix it up thoroughly with a stick or spoon before using, as otherwise it will be too watery to work.

Lastly, I dug up a stack of commercial magnets that I had been saving for just such a need. I glued a magnet on the back of each pad so they could hang on the fridge.