Welcome to My Summer of Fun! I’m Sarah Dickson, and this is where I record and share little things that make me happy. This blog is really a hodgepodge of crafts, inventions, forms of exercise, and other fun things I like to write about, so don’t feel obligated to read it in order. The list of posts in the menu may help you in finding the subjects that interest you.

I hope this blog can help you preserve a sense of wonder, and not let a day go by without doing what you love. Come, join me in my adventures!

Drumroll please . . .

It is too cold and snowy to do the silks outdoors. Luckily, I have supportive parents who let me mount them in my room! I feel like Rapunzel from Tangled—I can wake up and start climbing!

The ceiling hasn’t come down yet, so I think we did a good enough job securing it. I’ve been having some great (and warm) climbing fun!


Skating in a Winter Wonderland

I have always wanted to ice skate on a pond. Here in Utah, the weather gets cold, but not usually cold enough for safe skating, especially in the valley. After a few days in the teens, this ornamental pond that didn’t quite get drained all the way was frozen enough to take a spin! Even so, the sun had melted the half of the pond that wasn’t in the shade. Luckily, no wet toes.

Outdoor skating is pretty fun. I had the whole pond to myself, and the rocks made a fun obstacle course.


The Taste of Nature

This week I went to a wild edibles class. We learned about all of the edible plants that grow around town, which turns out to be a lot. In fact, the instructor said that you could go around like a little lawnmower and probably not run into a poisonous plant for several miles (here in Utah). We grazed on Oregon grapes, crabapples, daylillies, rose hips, yew berries, Indian ricegrass, acorns, basil, Malia neglectus, juniper berries, hawthorn berries, pyracantha berries, pine needles, rose petals, sumac, elderberries, and purcelain. And one plant that made my tongue burn for a few hours. I didn’t like that one. But several were quite good. For example:

Oregon grape. A little bitter when you chew it, but a nice sour flavor at first. A lot of people plant it in their gardens for show.

Crabapples. I never knew they were edible before. Crisp, sour, and makes you pucker. I want to try making them into a pie sometime.

Daylillies. These are very popular in the flower garden. The flowers and buds are delightfully crisp and have a flavor similar to raw peas.

Rose hips. Before I took this class I had heard rose hips were edible, but when I tried one I put the whole thing in my mouth and got a bunch of furry seeds. What you need to do is to find the moist and slightly wrinkly ones, open them up and dig out the seeds, and then eat them. It tastes like tangy fruit leather.

Elderberries. Mmm. Not quite blackberries, but juicy and pretty good.

Sumac. Surprisingly sour. I didn’t know that anything besides a lemon could naturally be so sour. You don’t want to eat the seeds, just suck on them or make a drink with them.

I was less impressed with some of the other edibles. Yew berries (don’t eat the seed!) are a pretty red but don’t really have a flavor. We had some previously prepared acorn flour bread and cookies, and I don’t really like the flavor of acorn. Its okay, but I prefer wheat. Hawthorn berries gave me the shivers. Juniper berries are too powerful. They’re better as a seasoning.

Now that I know what is edible, I can’t help but notice food growing all around me. Nice to know that there are snacks sprouting out of the ground!



Bow with a Bow

It’s time to take a bow to the great summer of fun I’ve had. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I hope you have enjoyed my discoveries and my journey with me. School starts in just a few days, so I won’t have as much time to do magical summery things. I hope I can keep this summer going by keeping playful and creative here and there, though, and I will keep posting the things that extend my summer through the busyness.

One of my last projects has been making a PVC pipe bow. It is really quite simple and cheap, and it shoots as far as the child’s bow I got at Cabella’s. It’s been fun to shoot at a cardboard box and to see how far the arrows can go.

I also made some arrows to go along with it out of dowels and duct tape.

I used the following tutorial to make it. I found the plexiglass rods at Lowes sold as orange reflective stakes.


A New Spin

Fidget spinners are all the rage right now. So I decided to make a few of my own. Here is the first kind I made:

All it took was a trip to the craft store for glass pebbles and superglue, and a trip to a parts store for some used skate bearings.

If you want to make one, just be careful not to get any glue where it could rub and slow the spinning. (Or on your fingers . . . you’ll be thoroughly stuck.) Also, it is a lot easier to get it evenly weighted with four instead of three weights.

The pebbles do tend to break off if you’re not careful, but now you’ve got a unique spinner to keep your hands busy.

Here are two other designs I tried: bike chain and acorn.


Tatting Time

I have been frustrated by knitting and crocheting patterns for a long time. With all the dc’s, sc’s, and sl’s, reading one is like reading computer code. However, I have finally crocheted something from a pattern!

My success with crocheting led me to try again with another alluring art: tatting. In the past, I have been able to tat little rings and flowers, but nothing bigger. I took the challenge, found an easy YouTube pattern, and made this beautiful little snowflake.

It turns out that tatting is really pretty easy once you know what you are doing.  I was able to make the following bookmark by looking at a photo, using only the basic stitch and the picot.

Just more evidence that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!