Here’s a shisomama first: a collaborative project between F and me! A little while back, F had this brilliant idea to create a fishing game for Otis. The kid adores sticks and always picks them up on our walks (he even has a bucket outside the door for them), and he often tells us he’s “fishing” with them. So hey, why not make him a game that enables him to wave long sticks around the breakable things INSIDE our house? It was fun working on a creative project together. Here’s what we did (Sorry for the poor quality of many of the pictures – it was relentlessly rainy while we were working this past weekend. Though I guess you could say it’s the perfect rainy day project.):
F bought two 3/8″ dowels (so that Otis could play his game with a friend) and used a hand saw and cut them down to about 28″ inches. Then he used his drill to make a small hole at one end.
On the other end, he used blue duct tape to create a “handle.” (You can also use bicycle handlebar tape, which comes in a variety of colors.) To make it look nice, he cut a circle out of duct tape and then notched it so that it would look streamlined when it was smoothed over the sides.
Then he cut a long strip of duct tape and wrapped the “handle” in one long piece.
To make the “fishing line” he ran a piece of embroidery floss through the hole that he drilled and tied a couple of knots to keep it in place.
At the end of the embroidery floss, he attached a small stack of 1/2″ magnets to create the “bait hook.” He covered them with duct tape as well, using the same notching method as the handle. On the top of the magnets, he slit the duct tape to the middle, to allow for a tidy look where he ran the embroidery floss. After taping the top and bottom, he trimmed a piece of duct tape to wrap around the sides as well.
For the fish, I drew a very basic fish pattern and cut it out in several different fabrics. I stitched them together, leaving a 1/8″ seam allowance and turned them inside out, with the tails open. In each fish, I inserted a 1/8″ x 1″ zinc washer (I chose the ones with the smallest holes to allow for more surface area for the magnets to adhere to).
I tacked the washers in place by stitching a french knot on both sides of the fish, where the eyes would be. (Here’s a great tutorial; I wrapped my floss around the needle 3 times rather than 2 to create a bigger “eye.)
I stuffed the fish and then stitched a decorative tail to close up the fish. You can be as plain or as fancy as you want, though I left them quite simple.
I decided to make a “fish pond” by cutting out a large circle out of my trusty Marimekko fabric (it’s about 21″ in diameter) and zigzagging it onto some nice, thick canvas. And here it is, finished!
We’ve been testing it out, and even with the stuffing, the fish can be caught quite easily by the magnet “hook.” It’s a challenging game that’ll take him a while to get the hang of, and we hope we enjoys it. We’ll be giving this to him as a birthday present, and it may sound like we’re super organized since his birthday is not until late March, but that’s only because we couldn’t get it together to give to him as a present from Santa Claus.
Hey, it just occurred to me that we’re totally this generation’s version of the granola parent – you know the parent who makes their own granola and sprouts when all the kids really want to eat is Twinkies. We’re forcing Otis to play our handmade game when probably all he wants is a Tickle Me Elmo. And unfortunately for him, I make my own granola as well.
Here’s a video of F and me, playing the game. I’m not making excuses here, but let me just remind you that I was holding the camera here: