You are currently browsing articles tagged architecture.

homemade ice lanterns

I’m not sure when I started making ice lanterns. I don’t remember doing this as a child, but I don’t think I waited until we moved to Maine either, and I’m sure I couldn’t have accomplished this in Oklahoma. In any case, it’s fun and easy if you live somewhere cold enough that the temperatures stay around or below freezing for days at a time so you can admire your handiwork. These are fun to make for lighting your walk or deck for winter parties as well.

Ruth from Knitting on Impulse asked about winter traditions involving the celebration of light a while back on her blog. I was reminded that I hadn’t made these in a few years. I think the girl and I did build a tiny igloo with a candle in it two winters ago but I think it snowed again before I could get a good picture. When a tree falls in the forest does it make a sound if no-one is there to take a picture of it? (See? random.)

Anyway, I happened to have some smaller ice lanterns in the freezer waiting for the outside temperatures to cooperate at the time. These round ones were made outside in a 5 gallon bucket. Ice will form first on the surface of the water and the sides of the bucket. Once these edges get thick enough you will be able to carefully turn the bucket over, let the ice slide out and the unfrozen inside can simply be poured out. The top will be the thickest part and becomes the base of the lantern. I’m not a good scientist so I can’t give you any data on times or temperatures, etc. The temperature of the water to begin with, the size of the vessel and the temperature outside or in your freezer will all contribute to how clear or not clear the ice is. I don’t think it matters. One of these froze enough overnight I think, the other one was out all day and night. The smaller milk carton size will freeze in several hours. In fact, I have an unfortunate habit of forgetting to check on them and ending up with a solid block of ice instead. You can use those as candle bases in the bigger lanterns. A tea light will burn for several hours protected from the wind. The ice magnifies and fractures the tiny light in an earnestly wistful way. A nice warmth to come home to when the dark descends so quickly on winter days.

hand made ice lanterns 5 gallon bucket tea light

Too bad these are now buried under in a foot of new snow! I wonder if I should dig them out or just make new ones?

Tags: , ,

Some pictures from our walks in the last week or so. I missed shooting the snow we had last Friday because I was driving through it. A bit annoying at this point after nearly two months of nothing. But spring is decidedly here and we have once again lucked out of mud season. (Last year we had plenty of snow but didn’t have much of a mud season because it just stayed cold until June I think.)

Tags: ,

Most of the time when I get out the polymer clay, I use it to make things for the kids or to help them make things, usually animals or creatures of some kind. A few months ago I made this little pink Cape Cod style house. I think the girl must have asked for a house and wanted it to be ALL pink. I thought that would be strange without any other color for definition so I used thick pieces for the simple windows and doors and used the knife to give a little texture without overwhelming the small size. It might be an inch tall or so. After I made it I really liked it.

tiny light pink polymer clay Cape Cod style house

Today I decided I wanted to try making a few more. A light yellow ranch and a light green Cape joined the pink house—the colors of buttermints in a candy tin at my Aunt Ruth’s house around the holidays. I’m sure we had them at home too but for some reason I associate those candies with her house. I also made a gingerbread colored house modeled after the house across the street for our sweet neighbor, E. The kids were excited to give it to her this evening.

light yellow polymer clay ranch house light green polymer clay house with chimney detail gingerbread or terra cotta polymer clay Cape Cod style house miniature

And a picture of the whole neighborhood.

miniature polymer clay houses

I like to think this bears a certain resemblance to our own neighborhood. Not in colors particularly but in the simplicity and neatness of the little houses on our street. And perhaps a bit of the storybook quality of knowing all your neighbors, young and old, and having the children in and out of each others houses. I think with a little cultivation our little street will continue to grow in friendship through the years. I hope yours will too.

Tags: , ,

We spent July 4th with part of my husband’s family. One of his cousins lives in a 200+ year old house that they saved from demolition and have restored in a gentle fashion. By that I mean they repaired a giant hole that ran through the roof and down through the floors to the basement, swept the leaves and animals out of the corners, etc. and generally took the entire house apart and put it back together, but left the marks of the years on floorboards, window frames, doorways, etc. in a lovely way. They opened up the house and grounds to extended family and friends for a feast, water fun for the kids and dogs, watching the town parade together and enjoying the gardens and the waterfall view.

The boy’s favorite part of the parade—Revolutionary War re-enactors gun salute.

Revolutionary re-enactors in a parade

The girl enjoyed the music thoroughly.


Cousin Heather, emcee of the fun!

family gathering

lilies in the garden

old mill stonework and waterfall

bright pink lily

Tags: ,

Our busy weekend started with a trip with Nana and Granddad to the SEE Science Center in Manchester, NH. Housed in one of the historic mill buildings by the river, the hands-on science center includes two floors of hands-on displays and experiments in light, sound, movement, water pressure, AND the world’s largest permanent installation of LEGO bricks built at minifigure scale (55:1). The installation is a replica of a portion of the Amoskeag Mill complex including some of the important buildings of Manchester circa 1900. It includes numerous buildings, some 8000 minifigures, more than 3 million bricks, flowing water and running trains.

largest mini-fig scale permanent LEGO installation in the world of the Amoskeag Mill complex Manchester NH train at the LEGO millyard project at SEE Science Center

I expected the LEGO buildings to be the favorite of the boy who is quite a LEGO fan. He enjoyed most of the exhibits including a pulley lift chair and was particularly interested in a set of guitar strings installed in front of a giant striped wheel which allowed you to see the sound wave patterns, which unfortunately I could not capture with the camera. Use your imagination. (Seen the original Fantasia recently? No? Check it out!)

img_4649 img_4667

Me, I’ve always liked old buildings and these are quite beautiful, inside and out. The view of the old stairs are for Annie, the Mistress of Stairs. (Don’t know that about her? Ask!)

mill building on the Merrimack River, Manchester NH old stairs in mill building, Amoskeag Millyard, NH

Tags: ,