The bird feeder is a simple open tray with a perch. Lots of room to paint and customize. First I primed and painted the bird feeder barn red. Then once that dried I used Elmer’s Painter Pens to add flowers.
I like to outline graphic images in black to make them pop, but outlining takes so much time. My trick is to draw the stems and flowers first in a thick black paint pen or Sharpie and let it dry. Then I draw the green stems, leaves and pink flowers over the black. I leave the outer edge of the black as a nice shadow outline so it all reads from a distance. No tiny outlining detail brush required!
I suggest using a water proof paint such as acrylic. If you like the wood look, you can weather proof your bird feeder by spraying it top to bottom with clear acrylic spray on paint. I don’t like spray urethane because it often remains tacky and leaves fingerprints and attracts dust. Gross. Be sure to get a crystal clear paint of some sort but look to avoid the polyurethane based sprays if you can.
How to build the JEMTOY Bird Feeder
I suggest putting the whole thing together without glue so you are sure where everything goes. The railing around the tray can be a bit tricky. Once you have everything set, go back and glue it all together.
First slide the Perch into the big circular opening in the main Top piece. The slot of the Perch will slide down and nest in place in the little notch on the bottom of the circular opening. This will create an X shape.
The X you just created has four square hooks at its base. The four hooks push through the 4 rectangular holes in the Bottom piece.
From under the Bottom, slide and glue the 4 loose Tabs into the hooks to catch and lock the X in place.
The railing around the tray is made up of 6 rectangles. The 2 long pieces are the front and back.
The short ones are the sides. Look at the 4 short sides carefully and pair them with their exact double. Keep them together. Let one side of the bird feeder be set A, the other set B.
The B sides have one end where the tabs are offset. The offset tabs connect into the Top piece when gluing the sides onto the tray. Glue all the tabs and holes, complete the railing, and let it all dry.
This is an update to a classic practical joke I loved as a kid. My grandfather used to keep a small yellow envelope that had ‘Rattlesnake Eggs’ written on it inside the door of his refrigerator. It was there to freak out anyone who visited his home. If you got curious enough to open the yellow envelope of rattlesnake eggs, you would be frightened by the loud spinning button mechanism inside.
The envelope contained a simple device. First a paper clip was straightened out and bent into a V shape with a loop bent in each end. Two rubber bands were threaded through the hole of a metal washer. The rubber band was stretched across the wire loops of the wire V. My grandfather would spin the button until the rubber band was wound tight, then he would slip it carefully inside the envelope. Once he closed the flap on the envelope, the button could not spin until opened by some innocent bystander. When opened, the button would make such a loud vibrating sound, it often got tossed across the room in fright. People were convinced rattlesnakes had hatched inside the envelope!
Grampy even put a few dry beans in the envelope so there were ‘snake eggs’ rolling around inside the envelope, because the curious would often shake it before they open it. Once they heard the eggs rolling around, they were even more curious to see them.
What I have done is design a little wood box with a lid. When you open the lid, the button spins and rattles. It’s a fun prank gift. There’s even little fake eggs to put in there so they make a sound if the box is shook. This is a fun Glowforge laser cutter project you can make at home using 1/8″ thick Proof Grade Medium Plywood for best sound. Put a box of delicious Rattlesnake Eggs on your kitchen counter and see who opens it first.
Here is a favorite all the kids love. A rubber band gun. Everyone immediately recognizes the clothespin spring and it’s fun to shoot rubber bands at stacked paper cups or other targets.
I offer my SVG vector designs for laser cutting on a Glowforge or other laser cutter. If you want a simple project that is tons of fun, this is it. All you need is access to a Glowforge laser cutter, some 1/8″ thick Proof Grade Medium MDF or Plywood, a clothespin, and a few rubber bands as ammo.
Carefully remove the clothespin spring. Don’t bend it out of shape, and don’t get your finger pinched when removing it. Slide the spring out of the clothespin, and set it aside for now.
There are 6 pieces with 5 clips to hold it all together. The front has 3 parts, and the back has 3 parts. They stack like a sandwich. The middle pieces are the parts without stars.
Stack the three front parts, line them up, then insert the clips in place into the 3 clip slots. I found it easiest to start inside the handle. The clips are very tight. You must squeeze and line everything up for the clips to push down and lock it all together. You’ll feel it when it goes in place.
Do the same thing for the handle. Clip the 2 slots. Now you only need to add the spring.
Slide the open end of the spring down into the hole on the front piece as in photo above. Now pull the spring outward just enough to slip the other end into the hole in the handle.
How to shoot: The nose of the rubber band gun has a hook. Snag a rubber band onto this hook, and pull the rubber band back. Squeeze the handle to open the top. Close the top so it just captures the rubber band in place. When you squeeze it open, the rubber band will shoot.
This toy is so much fun it requires parental supervision. Please teach your kids not to shoot at people or pets. Have fun! Create a mini shooting gallery with stacks of paper cups or other home made targets.
My Udemy course, Learn Inkscape For Glowforge has been a great success, so I wanted to offer my students fun projects they can download and cut on their Glowforge laser cutter.
My first offering is the Q-Tip Crossbow. Would you like to make a toy crossbow that shoots cotton swabs? Of course you do! All you need is access to a Glowforge laser cutter, 1/8″ thick Proof Grade Medium Plywood, sand paper, glue, 3 rubber bands, and lots of cotton swabs to blast around the room as ammo.
My course includes the crossbow.svg file designed in color to properly separate layers for cutting on a Glowforge. You’ll get detailed video instructions, a troubleshooting guide, and supplemental photos to help you along. It’s a slam dunk.
This project is intended for folk age 15+ because it’s a working mini crossbow made with lots of small parts. Anything this fun requires parental supervision. Kids love this project because it feels slightly dangerous. They love to build it, take it apart, replace the rubber bands. Be a hero – share this project with a kid… but remind them to not shoot it at people or pets.
If you are new to laser cutting, I suggest that you check out my first course, Learn Inkscape For Glowforge. Once you get through that and understand the process and lingo, move on to the JEMTOY laser projects I offer. You will learn tons, and have fun while doing it.
Here’s a fun way to turn common trash into a fun toy. We all know those little square plastic bread tabs that keep plastic bags closed. This is an easy project anyone can make at home. All you need is a hard wood stick from outside. A 3/4″ maple or oak branch off the ground will do. Other than that, all you need is a few bread tabs as ammo, and a saw to cut the branch. Sandpaper 100 grit is good to make it all finished and feel smooth.
You can use pretty much any type of saw, from electric jig saw to a hack saw. Just a couple swipes is all you need to make a shallow cut groove. You want the groove to be deep enough to catch the bread tab when under pressure, but not so deep it doesn’t shoot forward when released. If you cut your groove too deep, cut the branch off and cut another groove until it works. I angled my cut slightly forward to help it release and shoot.
This is a fun toy because it’s slightly dangerous. Please do not aim or shoot at people or pets. Don’t put an eye out, because that’s when the fun stops! If your bread tabs are the type with bumps on each edge, use scissors or tin snips and cut the little bumps away so each edge is straight and fits easily into the groove.
Watch how I made the Wiggly Loaf House: from designing it on Inkscape to cutting it on Glowforge and gluing all the pieces together. You can win this house if you are hardcore enough to play the Wiggly Loaf game until you unlock at least one of the bonus characters. It’s a free download for iOS or Android phones. Check out WigglyLoaf.com and click on Contest. Good luck and enjoy the game!
I love dice! Until someone throws them right off the tabletop and the dice get lost. This made me wonder if I could come up with variations to the way we traditionally depict dice. For that, I turned to Inkscape, the Glowforge Laser Cutter, and my imagination.
Sniffling Sisters Magic Elixers and Potions Apothecary Shop. All wood haunted doll house kit you build yourself that comes complete with laser cut witches and cats to set up inside the spooky old Victorian doll house. Over 50 pieces. All you need is Elmer’s glue and maybe a paper towel to clean up any glue blobs as you go. The build is rather easy. Project takes less than an hour to complete. Watch video instructions above and follow along.
If you have access to a laser cutter, I also offer the SVG vector file so you can make it yourself. SVG includes haunted doll house, characters, and cats!
Each JEMTOY Haunted Doll House Kit also comes with:
Starfire Sniffling – Opening an Apothecary Shop was Starfire’s idea. She is a business smart and determined witch who is very detail oriented. Excellent with power spells, enchantment magic, and has a real sense of authority about her when talking on the phone. The outspoken leader of the Sniffling Sisters. Always with her eye on the light at the end of the tunnel. Starfire is cold, organized and shrewd. Starfire does most of the buying, selling and direct marketing at the shop, and is well versed at negotiating with elder trickster demons.
Eclipse Sniffling – Is Starfire’s younger twin sister. Although it was Starfire’s idea to start an Apothecary Shop, it was Eclipse’s knowledge of plants, herbs, roots, and barks that made it all possible. Eclipse is quite the opposite of her sister in many ways. Eclipse is airy, speaks often of dreams, follows astrology, believes in fairies, has a big heart, reads quietly most nights, and loves all little children, cats, and critters. Like Starfire, she is dependable, reliable, and will actually show up on time, even if you think she’d be the type to be late. She makes most of the potions her sister sells at the shop. Her specialty is Love Potions. She is intuitive, empathetic, and kind. Some of Eclipse Sniffling’s recurring problems is that she doesn’t ever know she’s out of an important ingredient until she’s all out, and it can take days or weeks to order it. And she never knows the date or time of day… if it even is day. Is it day?… Usually when Starfire’s intellect fails them, it is the sweet good luck of Eclipse that gets them through the madness. Together the Sniffling Sisters are a great team.
Cats! – Each set gets 3 or 4 cats at random, because cats are awesome and unpredictable. I love these little cats!!!
Demon – Every coven needs a little demon imp to do their bidding. Right? This one has cute little bat wings, and is so happy to serve you.
Crystal Ball & Stand – Gaze into the teeny tiny crystal ball. The little stand comes in various styles, you will get one at random. It’s these surprise details that make each set a one of a kind experience.
Cauldron and Ladle – Witches just love to stir large vats of stuff. The Sniffling Sisters are no different. You gotta make a potion before you can sell a potion.
Magic Potion Stand – Display your wares and sell potions to your customers.
Sniffling Sisters Sign – Put the sign out front when you’re open for business. Bring it inside when you close.
BONUS CHARACTERS – A place like Sniffling Sisters is gonna get some strange customers. You will get two random limited edition bonus characters, and a few more cats. Yes, you get MORE CATS!!!
Lots of little D shaped Stands – Glue the little stands to the base of each character so they can stand and play.
The completed JEMTOY Haunted Doll House is 11″ tall. The doll house rooms are 3″ deep. Characters are 2″ tall or less. Free standing doll house can also hang and display on a wall using two push pins or small nails and hang the house from the top edge of the top back windows. Contains small parts, so this kit is not for the wee ones that might put stuff in their mouth – you know who you are! Parental supervision recommended. Great family time project to build together. All you need is glue, and a firm belief in magic. Available for a limited time in the JEMTOY Etsy Shop.
Trojan Horse Battle Station Kit Parts List: 3 Greek Soldiers, 3 Soldier Stands, 1 Top Shelf, 2 Buttresses, 4 Wheels, 4 Axle Spacers, 2 Axle Rods, 1 Bottom Shelf, and 1 Trojan Horse.
How to build the Trojan Horse Battle Station Kit
Step 1: Peel away all the protective tape that covers the wood. Be sure to peel away all the tape from both sides of each piece before you begin assembling the kit.
Step 2: Build the cart first. Place the Bottom Shelf so that the JEMTOY logo is flipped over and not seen. Glue the 4 Axle Spacers (little D-shaped things) into the 4 corner spots on the Bottom Shelf. Use a tissue or cotton swab to clean up glue blobs as you go.
Step 3: It’s a good idea to let the Axle Spacers dry. While you wait, glue the 3 Greek Soldiers foot peg into their little rectangular base so they can stand up and fight like an Ancient Greek.
Step 4: A small piece of sandpaper is included so you can easily taper the ends of the Axle Rods for a proper fit into the Wheel. The Wheels don’t need to be glued if they are a tight enough fit. Sand the outer edge of the Axle Rods until they fit tightly into the Wheels.
Step 5: When the Axle Spacers are dry you can move on to this step, but not until. Push one Wheel onto each Axle Rod. Slide each Axle Rod through 2 Axle Spacers and push on the last two Wheels. If you decide to glue your Wheels to the Axle Rods, be sure the Wheels can freely turn when you are done.
Now the cart is ready to roll!
Step 6: Now just a little bit of glue on these 2 spots.
Step 7: Set the Trojan Horse into the 4 peg holes that run down the center of the Top Shelf of the cart.
Step 8: Slip the two Buttresses into place, and glue them to the Bottom Shelf of the cart.
Step 9: A few drops of glue on the Buttresses so the Top Shelf will stay in place.
Step 10: You must insert the Top Shelf diagonally and maneuver it down to rest on the Buttresses.
Adjust the Top Shelf so it is centered and press it down.
The divination set comes with a 6″ x 7.5″ laser etched Oracle Board and three Was Scepters to cast across the board to conduct a reading. The board is shaped as a vessel that represents the heart and its contents. Let us weigh your heart, and see if the oracle can lighten its load with entertainment and enlightenment.
Set the Egyptian Oracle Board facing you. Hold the three Was Scepters in your two hands, shake them up, cup your hands over the top of the board, and release them so they all land on top.
There are three different Was Scepters included with the set:
The one representing the past is the wavy snake shaped scepter.
The straight one represents the present.
The one that fans out into a papyrus shape on top is the future.
The Egyptian Oracle Board is divided into stations. The Was Scepters have two ends. Once dropped, the scepters top and bottom ends will point to six stations on the board depending on how they land.
Start the reading from the station where the bottom end of the past scepter lands. Now read the station where the top end is. From there move on to the present (from bottom to top) and future in the same way. This gives you six points of reference within three time frames to pull your reading from.
All forms of divination take a bit of practice. Combine what the board reveals and your own gut feeling. Divination is a form of theatrical improvisation because divination must come from the gut and be spontaneous. It takes practice to open your intuition, believe what you feel, and dare to speak freely. Practicing divination will make you a better person.
Get good at dropping the Was Scepters and reading them to yourself before you move on to doing readings for others. You can practice on your cats. If you don’t have a cat, you can practice on a pretend cat. Or maybe get a dog. A dog would never jump on the board like a cat might. They’d jump on the board like a dog would. Dog wood? No. The board is made from maple ply, but I digress.
The Stations of the Egyptian Oracle Board
Right Eye of Horus (The Sun) – Your public persona. Role in society, role in family, role in business, social circles. Ambition, or lack of it. This is actually the eye you see on the left side of the board, but it is Horus’ right eye because he’s looking at you… got it? (I just remember sun is on my left, moon is on my right.)
Left Eye of Horus (The Moon) – Your secret side. Stuff inside you don’t let out. Is there something wicked waiting in the shadows or is that a glimmer of hope I see in the dark? Whether you like it or not this is probably the true you. What could be keeping it from getting out? And how can we get it to go back once it does get out? Art, writing, poetry, creativity… it’s all here. Lurking.
Rebirth – DEATH. Things end, but something always begins because of that ending. Remember the dead hippie dude sang: We’re all one and life flows on within you and without you. Be aware of new doors opening, especially as you lose what you once had. Life is big changes. Those who can reinvent themselves win. Thank you dead hippie dude.
Trade – In the balance of life we all must give and receive. What are you trading and what are you getting? Business, social relationships, the concept of trade pops up in lots of situations. Lack of balance, debts owed, supply and demand. Are you at balance with the universe?
Ankh – LIFE. There is one eternal life but many bodies. Our bodies all share in this one life. Welcome to the here and now. Pleasure, plenty, and the good life is what we all desire. You’ve got it or you want it. Go get it. Protect it. Keep what you have. Get more. Most of life is how we see it. Live now or forever rest in peace! What? – It don’t all make sense and it’s not always fair, but that’s life.
Family – Our chromosomes are programmed for us all to cower in our caves clinging to each other hoping we can all cope with whatever horrible terrors are presently outside waiting to eat us, or worse. We need each other. This is why family is important. Raising your own child can be an amazing life experience. On the flip side family pressure can be so powerful it is hard to live life your own way if you don’t agree with everything your family does. We were all born, so at one time we all had a family. We also collect our own family as we go. What family means to us can vary and be very complex. The desire to keep a family together, or to break away from one, can be intense. This is all that and more.
Education – Challenging your brain to learn something new can happen anywhere. A nearby lake side trail, local library, a talk with a wise elder, world travel, school, or YouTube tutorials are great places to learn something new. Education could be school or some other adventure where you learn a lesson. Hopefully it’s a good one. Some lessons hurt, so be careful.
Opportunity – An image of Horus riding a crocodile. There is usually some amount of risk involved with all of life’s opportunities. First you have to see the opportunity, and then you have to say or do something to bring the opportunity to your benefit. It’s risky. Sometimes these opportunities can go very wrong. I say it’s always better to get in trouble from trying your best, than to get in trouble from doing nothing as life passes you by. Keep your agenda pure of heart and go for it, but look out for the crocodiles. They don’t care about your agenda. They think you taste good and they’ll take any opportunity to find out. What sort of vulnerability does your new benefit bring?
Career – Some people like the idea of a life long career. Some wish they had one. Some hate what they have. A long and successful career can gain you respect, power, and standing. Or you could mess it all up and become a scum bag.
Ka – This is your SOUL. Spiritual matters, religion, after life, bucket list stuff, worshipful, thankful, (or fearful) of the divine. Sometimes we are driven to do something to appease our soul. Whatever that means… but you know it when you’re doing it, because it matters that much. You could also be searching for your self. Wondering who you are. Soul searching is serious stuff.
Struggle – Life is struggle. Keep fighting. This is not your time to give up, even if you might want to. You can do it. The board believes in you.
Truth – There are times in our lives when we come to moments of great awakening and awareness. Some small piece of the puzzle comes together and what was once a mystery now makes sense. Truth can be elusive. This can also mean the search for truth. The need to know. Something missing. The passing, withholding, transferring, or destroying of the truth is the power of writing history. How does your story go? What is your truth? Does it fill you with joy or pain?
Here is an example reading:
Your past #1 begins steeped in Education, which has set you up for some strong #2 opportunities gaining you public respect and perhaps even a power position. Your #3 career has become your very #4 life, and by working hard for a fair wage you have turned your #5 opportunities into a good life, full of the good things #6. However, you find at times that your career is taking over your life, blocking your happy future from being complete. Perhaps there is something left undone, maybe more to life than work, work, work?
How I came to this reading:
So I started where the wavy past scepter #1 bottom end rests at EDUCATION and the #2 top rests in between OPPORTUNITY AND THE SUN (Horus’ right eye).
I move on to #3 the present scepter which starts at CAREER and #4 ends at ANKH (Life).
The future #5 rests at OPPORTUNITY and #6 ends with a happy ending at TRUTH.
I do notice that the present scepter is on top “blocking” that happy ending, so there is room for an even happier ending if you focus and unblock what your life needs to get there.
How this all came to be ~
A LONG TIME AGO in an era we call the 80’s, during my undergrad at Maryland Institute I studied under the truly amazing Egyptologist, world traveler, actor, author, and artist, Bob Lienhardt. In one of the many classes I took with Bob, I did a project that involved some research into the Temple of Thoth as the origin of Tarot cards.
The ancient Egyptian Temple of Thoth was popular because one could get a direct answer from the oracle. They would enter a circular room with many painted symbols on the walls. The priest would drop yarrow stalks and then divine the answer from however the stalks landed and pointed at the symbols painted on the walls.
Traveling gypsies passing through Egypt replicated the temple symbols onto decks of cards for easy transport. Reading fortunes became a way for them to earn money while traveling, and the tradition of Tarot cards spread across Europe.
Because the Egyptian oracle is powerful magic, I wanted to create an experience closer to the ancient Egyptian divination method, but I needed to compress the experience into something smaller than a gigantic Egyptian Temple. For my class I had made a hand painted divination board that has since eroded like all great ancient relics eventually do. Here in my new and improved laser etched wood design I have merged the wisdom of the past to the needs of the present to bring you a divination board inspired by the Egyptian Temple of Thoth. It is hard to believe I began work on this project over 30 years ago. It is my hope that the Oracle Board both entertains and enlightens you.
The Egyptian Oracle Divination Board is available at my Etsy Shop, where ever that is. Look around, it’s gotta be here somewhere. Maybe we should consult the board. Oh there it is, it’s up on top of the page. Where it says, Etsy Shop. Thanks so much for checking out my art work.