Jelly(fish) Mobile

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You guys. Guys. Seriously. This might be the best thing I’ve ever done. And I have to give it away. Fortunately I’m giving it to someone very, very special, so all the effort that went into it is definitely worth it. I can see that this sort of project could be used in all sorts of different situations: you could have it simply as a delightful window decoration; a baby’s mobile; as the modified shade on some LED chandeliers (like this one from IKEA); a room separator … anything. really. This one in particular is … a rainbow jellyfish.

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And you can make one too. All you need for a basic version are some gelatin plastic shapes (you may remember we made them earlier), some fishing line or monofilament line (I picked very fine line that will be nearly invisible) and a wire rack of some kind to hang stuff from (mine is round).

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Add-ons to this were some snap swivels I picked up from our local hunting and fishing store and that lovely beaded string I picked up for my miniature chandeliers that I made earlier this summer. I had some flexible wire that I saved from my wire baskets, and I found a set of bent needlenose pliers (and a pair of scissors) to be very helpful.

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I’ll show you what I did and then hopefully you can take this idea and improve on it and make it your own. Let’s begin, shall we?

First I took the flexible wire and I cut it into three equal pieces. I hooked each piece around the three little feet on my wire cooling rack and wound them up tight. Forgive the photos as my camera hates taking pictures of wire apparently. I looped each wire between two feet so I had three arcs coming up from the rack.

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Then I grabbed all three arcs and squished them together, twisting the wire so that all was left was a nice big hoop at the top, tapering to a straight line in the middle and then it spread out to the three little feet at the bottom, like a tripod.

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Then I took my beaded string and I wrapped it around all of those things, to look like bubbles in the sea.

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Then I hung it from my ceiling fan, because I figured it was pretty firmly attached to my ceiling.

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I added some more beaded string, because I knew that once I started hanging the discs it would be harder to do. I put some loops at the top to distract from all the hardware that was going to be visible up there when I was done.

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Next I sorted all my discs into rainbow order.

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Then I grabbed my humble snap swivel. And some pliers.

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And started attaching them to the discs.

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And I did that a million times.

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Then I started tying the discs onto my fishing line. I had originally planned to just use one disc per line, so that the snap swivel would provide the weight needed to keep the line straight and the swivel would allow for spin but before I put it together I reconsidered this and decided to tie multiple discs to the same line. This will prevent clutter on the wire rack and make things easier to install. It will also leave more space around each disc for spinning. If you do this, make sure to tie the discs on at irregular intervals, because you want the colours to overlap in places and if you do it all regularly it will look like a very pretty geometric thing but not like a jellyfish. So I guess it depends on what you’re going for.

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My inner lines were quite long, and each time I moved out a few circles in the rack I made the lines shorter.

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This took several hours, and was quite fiddly because I also used snap swivels to attach the lines to the racks for durability, which necessitated a lot of reaching over my head to fasten a tiny piece of metal to another tiny piece of metal. It is quite a strain on the shoulders after a while. This is where I got to before I threw in the towel for the night.

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The next day I got up early in the hopes that I could catch the early morning sun filtering through the discs but alas it was overcast. I kept going, though.

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Almost there …

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And here is my beautiful magnum opus. The recipients are already in love with it and I still haven’t figured out how to transport it in my car yet. It makes a highly satisfying sound when the pieces click together, like a sink full of popping dish foam.

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Crystal Cascade

Crystal Cascade

My niece vacillates between wanting to be President of the United States and wanting to be a princess. She can probably be both. She’s a smart kid. A smart kid who likes things that are pretty and sparkly.

So once I can figure out how to package this properly, I’m sending it off to her for Christmas.

You’ll remember that I experimented with cutting rings when I learned how to use my glass-cutting kit a while back.  Of course, I broke way more rings than I succeeded in creating, but finally I managed to make enough to have this work out the way I wanted it. I have some rings from a ginger jar, a salsa jar, some beer bottles and two wine bottles.

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My first step was to gather my gear together: the rings, some sturdy fishing line, a pair of scissors, a strong stick, a towel, and a bowl of warm water and vinegar.

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The water and vinegar help to remove any residue on the glass from my cutting process.  Gets rid of fingerprints, too.

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So now I have arranged the rings in the order in which I want them.

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And I used the scissors to score some lines on the stick, to hold the fishing line in place and keep it from sliding off under the weight of the glass.  I will put a dab of glue on each knot afterwards just to be on the safe side.

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Now to tie everything together.  I used reef knots, to ensure everything was super tight.

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Then I attached it to the stick and looped some more fishing line on the top to use as a hanger.

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The full deal, though the light could be better.

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A cascade of pretty colours!

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Marine Mobile

I haven’t been feeling particularly inspired in the kitchen lately, so the Pie recommended that I make “something like that tea cozy,” which I took to mean he wanted me to get all crafty.

If you know me, you know I am a rock hound.  If you don’t know me, well, now you know that about me.  I love rocks.  I nearly minored in geoscience during my undergraduate degree because I loved them so much, but I didn’t have the physics I needed to take the advanced courses.  So I’m a dabbler, really.

I have a substantial rock collection.  They are in my garden.  They are my door stops.  They decorate my mantle and my book shelves.  I keep them in a bowl in my kitchen. 

And I know where they all came from, too.  Bubbly volcanic basalt and gem-quality chunks of jasper from the beaches of my BC childhood.  Sugary white and rose pink quartz from Algonquin Park in Ontario.  A chunk of slag picked up on the shores of Lake Erie.  River-smooth pebbles from our old cottage at Lavergne Bay, near Arnprior, Ontario.  And some lovely round treasures from our recent visit to Middle Cove Beach.

Spending most of my life near the ocean means I also have a bowl of shells in my kitchen, too. 

Oysters (which I gathered from the beach, cooked in a pail of seawater on an open fire, and ate, how glorious), mussels (I had a massive foot-long complete shell at one point that broke in one of my many moves), periwinkles, limpets, barnacles, snails, scallops, cockles … even a giant moon snail shell given to me on a class camping trip to Denman Island by the first boy I ever kissed.

What you might not know is that in my closet I have a HIDDEN rock collection.  Two little plastic boxes in my office closet, filled with even more rocks, strange found objects like faucets, cream bottles, and artillery shell casings, and mismatched pulleys. 

Twisted segments of driftwood.  The top to some ancient incense burner.  And lots and lots of sea glass.  Bags of it, collected during long afternoons ignoring the rain, scrambling over the slippery rocks by the house, eyes glued to the ground in front of me.

So rather than keep it in the closet, I decided to use some of it to make something.  How about a mobile?  I’ve been toying with the idea of making one for a while.

I sorted through my treasures, and the pieces I chose were solely based on my ability to wrap a piece of nylon fishing line around them and get a decent knot.  So my tools for this were some white glue, a pair of scissors, and some fishing twine.  And whatever else you got.

I’ve never made a mobile before, so it was an experiment in balance for me.  Tying the twine around rocks and pieces of glass was a challenge as well but I managed to get a few strings going.  To make a string, I started with a piece that could form the base and looped the twine around it and tied it tight.

I made sure I had two strings now of equal lengths coming off it.  I measured a random length of twine from the first object, then tied the two pieces together to make a base for the second piece.  Then I tied the second piece on, and so on.

Make sure to dab a little bit of white glue near your knots just to keep things from sliding around.

Balancing things was, well, a balancing act.  I found it much easier to put the mobile together while it was hanging.  I started with this round piece of driftwood I’d picked up in Victoria on the beach in front of my house.  Suspended from that was a piece of shale from Rose Bay, Nova Scotia.  Then a twig I pulled off my lawn here in St. John’s.  And then I worked on my strings.

A stroke of genius was to glue whelk shells (from Holyrood, Newfoundland) onto the ends of the sticks to act as barriers for sliding twine.  I put a few dabs of glue on the sticks as well to hold the lines of pieces in place.

Waiting for the glue to dry (or for everything to come crashing down).

Finished, and hanging in the dining room, the one place where the Pie won’t run into it accidentally.

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