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Every time my kids come home with a project sheet, I immediately start to panic!  What will they need to create this time?  I close my eyes and chant “please let it be a poster, please let it be a poster.”  That’s what I’m good at – helping them make posters!  All other projects scare me.  They all seem to require some sort of creative sewing skills, of which I have NONE!

There he is…Zach and his Daniel Boone Bottle Buddy! Not bad, right? Looks just like the pictures we printed out from our Google search!

So when Zach brought home his project sheet a couple of weeks ago, I did my normal “please let it be a poster” chant, but no such luck!  This project was called “Bottle Buddies,” and it was due in one week!  What??  What in the world is a Bottle Buddy?

I sat down with Zach, and it said that he needed to convert a 2-liter soda bottle into his character – Daniel Boone!  You want me to help him convert a 2-liter soda bottle into Daniel Boone?  Oh my…  This was going to be “fun”!

The directions were pretty easy…  The assignment sheet said “Make a bottle buddy – use a 2-liter bottle for the body and a painted 4″ styrofoam ball (found at Hobby Lobby, Wal-mart or other craft stores) for the head.  Fill the bottom with 2 inches of sand or dirt.  Make the bottle look like your person.”

I was okay with everything except “make the bottle look like your person.”  First of all, what did Daniel Boone look like?  And second of all, I don’t sew, so how were we going to dress him??

It went on to say “To make your bottle look like your person use any material available: felt, paint, fabric, rocks, sticks, hats, construction paper, aluminum foil, etc… to create their costume and props.”  Okay…well we all  know that you don’t want your child to be the one who takes in a bottle covered in aluminum foil – you win the “Epic Mom Fail Award” if you do something that simple.  So panic set in…

Zach and I started by talking about who Daniel Boone was, and then went to the computer to Google him for some facts and a picture!  It was all gonna be okay, right?  We printed out a couple of pictures of Daniel and discussed how Zach wanted to dress him up.

“Well, he is a frontiersman, so he needs to have on something made out of leather with fringy sleeves, and I want him to hold his rifle.  He’s famous for his rifle too – he named it ‘tick-licker’ and he needs a coon-skin cap.”  Okay…my mind was reeling.  Where would I find a rifle to attach to a 2-liter bottle, and where would I find a very small coon skin cap?  Let the fun begin…

For those of you who (like me) are NOT crafty with a needle and thread, these kinds of projects are unnerving!  I was thinking I’d just go to my neighbor next door – a very accomplished seamstress, and beg and plead!

“Can you please sew me a leather fringy outfit that will make this 2-liter bottle look like Daniel Boone?”  Once I realized how pathetic and ridiculous that sounded, I pulled myself together and decided that Zach and I could do this thing…

My dining room table was taken over by this project - scraps of leather and felt, beads, rope, hot glue guns, scissors, and many other treasures I found in my "art closet"!
My dining room table was taken over by this project – scraps of leather and felt, beads, rope, hot glue guns, scissors, cotton balls, googly eyes, and many other treasures I found in my “art closet”!

We headed upstairs to my art closet!  Yes…I have an entire closet devoted to art supplies – poster board, paints, googly eyes, hot glue, and all kinds of fabric scraps!  I keep my closet stocked for projects like this one.  But I do not keep styrofoam balls, so I headed off to Hobby Lobby while Zach was at school to begin my search for Daniel Boone’s head!

I’m always happy to go to Hobby Lobby – I can roam the aisles for hours, so I was glad to have this on my list of things to do…  I quickly found the styrofoam ball I needed, but then I had to find the right kind of paint.  According to the Hobby Lobby worker, “the wrong kind of paint will dissolve this styrofoam!”  Dissolve Daniel Boone’s head?  Yikes…

Bottle Buddies from a 2-Liter Soda Bottle
We stuck the styrofoam ball onto the end of a screwdriver, put the screwdriver in a 6-pack of 7-Up to hold it upright, and spray painted the head and left it there to dry. Pretty clever drying rack, right?

She led me to the spray paint aisle, and I picked out a very nice peach color to transform the green styrofoam ball into Daniel Boone’s head.  Well…when Zach spray painted the head that afternoon, he decided that the color I chose looked too orange.  “He looks like a pumpkin,” Zach told me.  “I need some white paint.”

So…off to Hobby Lobby we went and picked up white spray paint to try again.  So please direct your comments about the color of the Bottle Buddy’s head to Zach – not me!  And don’t even get me started on the fact that Daniel Boone does not have a nose.  But after all…it is Zach’s project.  If he chooses not to put a nose on his Bottle Buddy, there’s not much I can do about it…  And believe me, I tried to convince him to add a nose to OUR (I mean HIS) Bottle Buddy project.  (As a former school teacher, I sometimes find it hard to let go and let him be in charge of his projects, when I could totally do it all by myself!)

We were not able to find a coon-skin cap at the store, but my favorite “place” in the world,, did in fact have several coon-skin caps to choose from.  So we added it to our cart and had it sent immediately.

Luckily, I’m an Amazon Prime customer, so the coon-skin cap arrived in just 2 days!  We had all of our supplies (except the hat), and we were ready to begin – the glue gun was all warmed up.  One of my many glue guns!  I have found that you can never have too many of these when you have school-aged kids (especially if you don’t sew)…

Zach decided he wanted Daniel Boone to wear a short sleeve tan shirt, so he traced a pattern on the felt and he cut out 2 pieces.  Perfect fit, so we hot glued them together.  He only burned one finger and handed the glue-gun fun over to me…  “I’ll hold the material, you work the glue gun.  That glue is really hot!”  Yep…

Daniel’s shirt was on, we wrapped some dark brown felt to the bottom of the bottle for his legs, made him a belt out of some rope, and Zach made a frontiersman necklace for Daniel from a kit I had picked up at Hobby Lobby.  We were well on our way…

Bottle Buddies from a 2-Liter Soda Bottle
We didn’t want to leave Daddy out, so he was in charge of touch up painting on the head and then helping Zach attach it! I didn’t want to be the only one with burned finger tips!!

Then Zach looked at the printed picture again, and decided he wanted Daniel to be wearing long sleeves with fringe, so we hot glued some more felt to the short sleeves – look closely and you can see my lack of sewing skills!  Zach glued on googly eyes and cut out a mouth, and this is when he decided that his Bottle Buddy didn’t need a nose.  Whatever…

Now all we had to do was hope that the coon-skin cap would make it in time!  While we were waiting, I learned quite a bit about Daniel Boone.  I was surprised by all the little details Zach knew about him.

He was born in 1734 and was known as an American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman.  All of his adventures as a frontiersman made him one of the first folk heroes from the United States.

Boone explored lots of land, and settled the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky – one of the first American settlements west of the Appalachians.

He was an officer in the Revolutionary War, and he was captured by Shawnee warriors in 1778, but he was able to escape and warn settlers that the Shawnee were planning an attack.

To this day, Boone remains an iconic figure in American history.  He was considered a legend in his own lifetime, and an account of his adventures was published by John Filson in 1784.  He became famous across the United States and Europe.

After he died, Daniel Boone became the subject of many tall tales and fictional stories.  In American culture, he is remembered as one of the earliest frontiersman.  Zach knew so many interesting facts about him, but he really loved the story of his rifle named Tick Licker. “Tick Licker” was a gift from his gunsmith older brother and it is said that he boasted of his marksmanship saying he could shoot a tick off an animal without hurting the beast.

Enough about Daniel Boone.  Back to me and Zach…  We survived a project that wasn’t a poster!  Zach was very proud of his finished Bottle Buddy.  I was too!  I was so happy that his teacher allowed me to come up to the classroom to take pictures of the other Bottle Buddies.  I was eager to see how Daniel Boone compared to them…

Bottle Buddies from a 2-Liter Soda Bottle
Okay, okay… I know…Jim Lovell is pretty good, right? I was quite impressed, but Daniel Boone (right behind him) looks pretty good too, right??

I was so pleased with Zach’s buddy.  They were all great, but of course I was most impressed with Zach’s.  Maybe because I had invested lots of time too – burning my fingers, and trying not to cringe when he told me Daniel Boone did not need a nose.

And it wasn’t until after this project that we read that Daniel Boone wore a black felt hat – not a coon skin cap.  Oh well…I’m sure we all agree that the coon skin cap looks better!

If you get a project sheet like this one, check out Pinterest.  They had several pictures of Bottle Buddies too!  But be careful….there are some over-achievers on Pinterest!  I suggest keeping it simple and have some fun.  Just be careful with the glue gun.  It’s not called a Hot Glue Gun for nothing!  Until next time…

In case you're wondering...we (I mean Zach) got a 100 on his project! Proud Mama....
In case you’re wondering…we (I mean Zach) got a 100 on his project! Proud Mama….

If you’re like me, and you never have the right craft supplies, you’re going to need one of these arts and crafts supply centers like the one below!  It comes with so many crafting treasures.  The kit includes pom-poms, google eyes, stickers, pipe cleaners, and much more!  And…even better than all the treasures, it stores them neatly in these little plastic drawers.  When you run out of something, you can easily order more supplies to fill the drawers again and again!  As my kids have gotten older, the supplies have changed quite a bit, but they always will know where to find what they need for their school posters and projects! And don’t forget your hot glue gun…

If you need help with photos of your school projects or if it’s time for updated pictures of your family, you can find me and my camera over at Paula Mason Photography. I’d be happy to help you with any photography projects!

Until next time…