Thursday, December 29, 2011


I'm not commenting on her skills with kids, but don't hire her to teach your kids anything!

And, while I missed getting a picture, I saw a car driving away from the Wegmans parking lot with a plate on the front that said


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

December assortment

Haven't posted in a while, so here goes an assortment of December 2011 stuff.
Above - a bottle tree Mom and I found in Fairport, NY on one of our Tuesday "just wander around and take lots of left turns" drives. Actually, this particular Tuesday drive had some method in the madness. I wanted to see if I could get Mom to confirm some information I had about places she lived in Fairport many years ago. We couldn't confirm anything, but we had a great time. We hit some streets that I had never been on, despite living in Fairport area for pretty much all of my childhood! As we sat looking at this bottle tree, I spotted a cemetery behind the homes on the other side of the street, and we then drove around and found
Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Civil War Monument in the cemetery.

Above - CJ at the diner, and below, Maya trying a violin at preschool.
Grandchildren are an important part of any month!
Below our 2011 Christmas ornament of the annual holiday party at the Palmeri home.
This year a top that doubles as an ornament! Not a great picture, but I loved that spinning the top in the lid to the cookie tin yielded a view of the other color on the bottom of the top!
Below, a creche puzzle created by our friends Russell and Sue Greenslade graces the mantle at the Sams household! The missing palm tree piece on the left has since been found!
Happy New Year!
Maya - always on the lookout for a project to do - wants to make a bottle tree!
Past Bottle tree posts...
Bottle tree in the neighborhood and Bottle Bush

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Old Whistle made by The Toycrafter

Maya's preschool teacher found this among some old Christmas ornaments, and was very excited to show it to me the other day when I was there to work with the kids. The date on the side is 1979, but may have been made at any time over a number of years as I never changed the copyright stamp that we used on these whistles. This one illustrates very nicely the design system I used in designing this and 5 other whistles -- all based on the basic "police" whistle. Mentally remove the upper portion of the music note, and you have a classic metal (or plastic) pea whistle. We used actual cork balls just like the originals. Blowing on the whistle causes the cork pea to rotate around inside the chamber, with the whistle noise stopping each time the pea passes by the opening. Check out the video/audio below.

I won't go into all the details, but the first designs of "pea" whistles that I did all utilized the same basic blank to create two whistles from each blank. We could create a few hundred blanks, and then later cut out whatever style we needed..... music note, Zwiggle (see picture below), bird, etc. (I can't make my memory bring up the other designs right now) Also shown below is a Saguaro Cactus whistle that I made for my Dad who lived in Arizona for a number of years, and loves all things Arizona!
We usually used the yellow nylon cord loop on the whistles as shown in the music note picture at the top, but for a while we tried using a key chain hook, but these did not sell as well as we had hoped. Below, you can see the opening in the whistle that is the key to the whistle. The whistle is a very simple musical instrument, with air blowing over a hollow space creating a tone. The size of the hollow space determines the pitch. If you take the lower portion of the music note above, and mentally place it over the Zwiggle body, you can see that the exact same whistle blank can be used for both pieces. More about Zwiggles

Below is the Saguaro Cactus I made for Dad!
Also from the same basic whistle blank.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Community Puzzle with Maya's PreSchool Class

Grandpa Don took some Community Puzzles to Maya's Preschool class... morning and afternoon sessions.

Above - the Community Puzzle partially completed during the morning session.

Below (and below that) the completed puzzle toward the end of the afternoon session.

Somewhere around 20 years ago, I created The Community Puzzle. I subsequently sold the product to a friend, who has since sold it to someone else, etc., until it is now owned and distributed by California Paper Goods Company.

Maya and Grandpa made one at home a while back.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Just in case you thought frost was something simple?
Click pictures above and below to embiggen - not as big as they used to be, but still pretty cool - Get it?? Cool???