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Shoebox: Animal Art, Toilet Brush Doll, Cards

Today's Shoebox was crammed with interesting letters and project ideas from our viewers.

To start, we have a number of pictures of the many animals that Dr. Ya-Mei Yu of Irving, Calif., makes from throwaways. There were pictures of mice and rabbits and turtles, a giraffe and some ostrich. The mice and rabbits and the giraffe were all made using things like empty foam cups, toilet paper rolls, and even a disposable surgical cap. The turtles and ostrich were made with some of nature’s throwaways, including pine cones, dried tree branches, and nectarine seeds. Dr. Yu was thoughtful enough to include the step-by-step directions for making the turtles, in case you might like to give them a try:

1. Cut the pine cone into two pieces with a pruner.

2. Use the bottom part of the pinecone as the body of the turtle.

3. Cut four pieces of dry tree branches about 1 to 1-1/2 centimeters long each for arms and legs.

4. Cut one small piece from the top part of a pine cone for tail.

5. Use a glue gun to glue a nectarine seed to the body for the turtle's head and glue other pieces already prepared in steps 3 and 4 for arms, legs and tail.

6. Glue eyes on nectarine seed.

7. For baby turtle, use a small piece of dry tree branch for the head instead of a nectarine seed.

Also in the box today were some charming cards made by viewer Bridget Gazlay of Coopersville, Mich. She uses fabric to make pictures on her cards and then photocopies everything for the completed card. The pictures are constructed on the lower right-hand corner of an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper. All of the fabric pieces are attached with fusible webbing. This piece is then printed on card stock, which is then folded in half horizontally and then vertically to form the card. Some cards are left blank on the inside, while on others she prints out a few words. This is done upside down in the upper left-hand corner on the original piece. Bridget also makes book marks and larger pictures using the same technique. All were lovely.

Carole Ryan of Schenectady, N.Y., sent in a little doll that does double duty. She stands in the corner looking cute and covering the plunger at the same time. Though Carole did not send directions, I’m guessing that she first purchased a doll head and then made the long skirt from a length of fabric stitched together at the ends to form a tube. The length of the skirt is determined by the length of the plunger. Before forming the tube, a row of lace was stitched along each of the long sides so when the fabric is gathered along one side to fit tightly to the doll's neck, it forms a lace collar. The bottom of the skirt is then also trimmed in lace. Slip her over the plunger and she will stand on her own.

Penny Ready of Ely, Minn., was inspired to make a valentine for her husband when she saw the clever romantic cards that Lila Steineckert made on the show one day—one card looked like a tuxedo jacket. Penny used the same idea but created two entirely different looking cards. The front of one card looked like a checked flannel shirt...very appropriate for the part of the country that Penny lives in...but the second card was a very personal valentine indeed. The shirt was made to look like a policeman’s shirt and tie with the appropriate additions, including a tiny set of handcuffs. Penny said she was certain we could guess what her husband does for a living. The shirt even had real buttons down the front.

And last of all was the note from Mary Gregory of St. Augustine, Fla. Mary is obviously a woman of few words, but they said it all. "Got a lot of old ties? Well, here’s an idea." Along with her note Mary included an angel made of a tie that had been shaped around one of those old wooden spools. I was sure that the cleverly arranged fabric was an angel because she had wings and a halo.

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