Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Quill Pens from Chicken Feathers

We have goose feathers and ink bottles in our homeschool/art supplies, and the girls play with them every so often. When Will asked to do quill pens this weekend, though, it was with one key difference. Syd wrote with a quill pen made from a goose feather--

--and Will wrote with a quill pen made from Fluffball, her chicken:

When Will asked to make a quill pen from one of Fluffball's glorious feathers that she'd found, I knew it would work, but I didn't realize how difficult it would be to create. I had anticipated teaching Will how to make the quill pen herself with her pocket knife, but the chicken feather had a far narrower, and thus stronger, interior channel, and thicker walls, it seemed, and I had to use a lot of force just to make the pen myself.

The final product, however, although more clumsily made than usual, worked just fine! Syd wrote a letter to a friend using her goose feather pen, and Will wrote out all her vital information--full name, birthday, age, grade, etc.--with her chicken feather pen.

Remember how I've told you on numerous occasions that my children have an absurdly poor memory for their vital information? Just this weekend, on their way to audition for the roles of the No-Neck Monsters in an IU student production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," (clearly a tale for another day!), we were going over audition etiquette and I said to them, "And what would you say if the director asks what grade you're in?", and they were both all, "I don't know." Well, they come by that poor memory honestly, because as they were working, Will asked me a question, and, only paying half attention as I replied while doing my own work, I said something about "since you're eight years old, blah blah blah." Several minutes later, a new thought occurred to me and I suddenly shouted, "Gah! You're NINE!!!" and hugged that protesting baby to my bosom in both joy and grief.

And that's what school is likely to look like at our house!


Tina said...

I love that last part. I hate when I half pay attention, makes me feel like a bad mama, but sometimes when Emma talks nonstop for what seems like hours, my brain just turns off.

Emma is pretty good with address, and both cell phone numbers. Call it paranoia, but when I was a kid I watched the movie "I Know My First Name is Steven" about a 7yo who gets kidnapped. The only info he knew about himself was his first name. He didn't even know his parents names.

Although if you ask when her birthday is, she'll tell you 4 days before Christmas instead of the actual date.

julie said...

I SAW that movie!!! I was addicted to Lifetime as a kid, and I'm sure I watched it there. I can tell you the whole freakin' plot of that movie:

Steven gets in trouble with his dad before school, because he's written his name on the garage door. So after school, when a stranger picks him up and says that his parents have given him away because he's been bad, he falls for it.

Steven bums around with his kidnapper, getting molested by the guy and his one-night stands, living in motels, and buying the guy cigarettes for Christmas. He starts to forget about his former life, and starts to call his kidnapper Dad.

Meanwhile, his family is doing very badly, and his dad has never painted over Steven's name on the garage door.

Eventually, the kidnapper snatches little boy, and Steven rebels, saving the little boy and getting the kidnapper arrested. He's returned home, but doesn't really remember his family anymore, and there's this bizarre scandal when photos turn up of a young Steven being molested, and for some reason the family has to come to terms with their heteronormative biases regarding it, like for some reason Steven has to be ashamed for being victimized by another male?

So, yeah... do you want to know the plot of every Moonlighting episode ever?

Tina said...

I was worried I'd have to re-watch the movie because I only remember the gist of it. With that great recap, now I can find something else to do instead!

Seriously, even though I could't remember the details of the movie, I still remember (for me) it's main message. Make sure you know your vitals and make sure your kids know their vitals as well.

So do you have a tutorial for making a quill pen from a feather? We have some awesome turkey, hawk, and owl feathers that Emma's dad finds for her when he's out mountain biking. I think make a quill would be neat.

julie said...

I'd love to do a tute, but I don't have any good feathers right now--you'll be surprised to know that chicken feathers do NOT make for the best quill pens.

I'd say Google it, and look for a tute that starts with tempering the feather first. Cutting the quill is simple enough that you'll probably only need to look at the tute once, and then you'll remember it forever afterwards.